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Why more than one translation?

Why more than one translation?

A number of observers have commented on, or rather asked about, our use of more than one translation on Sunday mornings, specifically, Why do I read from the KJV first and then the NLT or NIV? I would like to offer some understanding and, hopefully, wisdom on this matter…

I use two translations, primarily, to give us a well-rounded sense of the text for the morning. Many of you, my beloved, have English as a 2nd or 3rd language and so I use NLT and NIV because they are very easy to understand and, generally, are the most readily available translations outside the United States. Indeed, in Asia, the NIV and NLT are in a statistical tie for the dominant English translation of the Bible.

As for the KJV, I use it because it has stood the test of time, and I am not only referencing the fact that it has been the Bible of the English speaking world for over 400 years. 31 years ago, at the age of 5, I learned to read and my mother and grandmother taught me to read using phonics and the King James Bible. While it has not always been my main Bible, there has never been a point in my time as a disciple when I have not owned a King James Bible. It is familiar, an old friend if you will, who always leads me before the Throne of Grace. There are times when I struggle with depression and it is the KJV Psalms that I turn to for ministering to my soul.

KJV is also the Bible I heard in church for the first 25 years of my Christian life. It is the same for many of our members and for a large swath of Christianity, the KJV is what they envision when they hear the word Bible. It is timeless, beautiful, powerful, a salve for the hurting soul and the very life of our worship.

Lastly, I use 2 translations to minister more effectively to all who come to church. The true Gospel divides, as it should, separating the wheat from the tares and it does so well enough on its own; there is no need to have a particular translation of the Bible alienate someone. Christ, our Great Shepherd knows His sheep and we know well His call. Our desire is, always, to make sure that you hear the call and, ultimately, that is why we use more than one English translation. We  want you to hear the call of our Savior to come to Him and live, regardless of your familiarity with the English Language.

 

Grace to you my beloved.

Pastor Matt

Understanding Sin

Understanding Sin

Introduction

Talking Snakes and Other Problems

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent (Heb. Nacash which is translated serpent, snake, dragon) was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”

Eve finds herself confronted with the most dangerous words ever spoken, “yea hath God said…?” Neither before nor since have there been words with such potential to destroy and they come repeatedly but today they sound different. Today they sound like this: Would a loving God really send people to hell (did God really say the wages of sin is death?) Don’t all religions basically say the same thing (did God really say Jesus was the only way?) If you listen carefully, you can hear the subtle hiss behind the words as once again the serpent says, yea hath God said?

It would be great if I could say that Eve’s biggest problem was a talking snake; it wasn’t. The biggest problem she faced was that she erred, not knowing the word from the Lord. I do not mean to say that she did not know what God had spoken but she did not know the certainty or sufficiency of the word, which had been spoken.

Sin becomes her

Fully half or more of the scholars in the world will tell you that “the Fall” happened when Eve ate the forbidden fruit. I beg to differ. Look at verse three of chapter three. Eve adds to the word that had been spoken. “Neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Some will say that Adam embellished when he passed the Lord’s instruction on to Eve; I tend to doubt that. There is nothing in the text to indicate that God told only Adam of the prohibition against eating the fruit of that tree. However, adding to the word that God had spoken, though bad enough in itself is not what got Eve…

“The Fall” happened in verse six. She saw that it was good for food (lust of the eyes) and desirable to make one wise (lust of the flesh) she took it and ate (the pride of life). And there it is. The fall happened not in the eating of the fruit, no that was the symptom; it happened when Eve decided that the serpent knew better than God and that she wanted the fruit.

 

We must, then, deal with the following question: What is sin?

 

Sin, Original and Personal

Sin came into the world through the disobedience of our first parents, and death by sin. We believe that sin is of two kinds: original sin or depravity, and actual or personal sin.

Original sin, or depravity, is that corruption of the nature of all the offspring of Adam by reason of which everyone is very far gone from original righteousness or the pure state of our first parents at the time of their creation, is averse to God, is without spiritual life, and inclined to evil, and that continually. Our fallen nature continues with us until our glorification by Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Actual, or personal, sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person (There no particular age set forth in Scripture for this moral responsibility. That being said, every individual is, at some point in their life accountable to God for their sins and are faced with the choice to respond or not.) It is therefore not to be confused with involuntary and inescapable shortcomings, infirmities, faults, mistakes, failures, or other deviations from the standard of perfect conduct that are the residual effects of the Fall.

(Original sin: Genesis 3; 6:5; Job 15:14; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 1:18-25; 5:12-14; 7:1-8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16-25; 1 John 1:7-8

Personal sin: Matthew 22:36-40 {with 1 John 3:4}; John 8:34- 36; 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; 6:15-23; 8:18-24; 14:23; 1 John 1:9- 2:4; 3:7-10)

This Doctrine of Original Sin leads us to discuss Total Depravity…

Let’s start with the obvious question, what is Total Depravity? Total depravity is a phrase that is used to summarize what the Bible teaches about the natural spiritual condition of fallen man (By that I mean the spiritual condition we are born in because of Original Sin).

Total Depravity, though often misunderstood, acknowledges that the Bible teaches that every part of man—the mind, will, emotions, and flesh are corrupted by sin. This is a result of the sin in Genesis 3:6. This is to say that sin affects all of our being—who we are and what we do. Sin has so penetrated us, going to the core of our being, so that everything is polluted by sin. Any good deeds that we do, any righteousness that we bring to God is like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) To give you an idea of how disgusting sin is to God, how utterly repugnant it is, I will share with you what the Hebrew literally says; “filthy rags” is the cleaned up version for church. Literally, in the Hebrew, it says our righteousness is as a menstrual cloth. I realize that what I just said is shocking and it should be. We don’t take sin seriously enough; you don’t and I don’t and that’s just reality. None of us lives in constant awareness of just how awful our sin really is. Let’s move on…

In the bullet points below, we have summarized the Doctrine of Total Depravity

  • The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • We are born dead in our transgressions and sins (Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3 and Ephesians 2:1-5)
  • We are held captive to a love for sin (John 3:19 and John 8:34)
  • There is no one who seeks for God (Romans 3:10-11)
  • Man loves the darkness (John 3:19)
  • Men do not understand the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14)
  • As a result, men suppress the Truth of God in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) and continue to live in sin.
  • Because of the totally depraved nature of man, he continues to live in sin and this sinful life actually seems right to him (Proverbs 14:12)
  • Depravity is so pervasive that, by nature, we reject the Message of the Gospel as foolish (1 Corinthians 1:18) and our minds, naturally do not submit to God because it is unable to do so. (Romans 8:7)

Paul summarizes Total Depravity this way (Romans 3:9-18)

  • No one is without sin
  • No one seeks after God
  • There is no one is good
  • Our speech is corrupted by sin
  • Man’s actions are corrupted by sin
  • And above all, man has no fear of God

God confronts the sin (Genesis 3:8–13)

 

Avoiding God (vv. 8–10)

vs 8. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

God arrives at the customary meeting place, at the customary time but Adam and Eve are not there.

 

vs 9. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

God is not asking for information. He is inviting Adam and Eve to meet with Him. This is the 1st act of redemption recorded in the Bible- He seeks Adam and Eve who are hiding in shame and now separated from Him.

 

Even today, God still leaves open the invitation…We sing it in the hymn, Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling “O sinner come home.” In Matthew’s Gospel Account, Jesus invites us, who are wearing and heavy laden, to come to Him

 

vs 10. He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

 

 

Adam, within earshot of the Lord’s summons, does not simply come forth and say, “Here I am” (Genesis 22:1, 11; 46:2; Exodus 3:4; Isaiah 6:8). Instead, he explains his hiding in an attempt to excuse it.

 

Adam’s explanation is true but misleading. Yes, Adam had been naked (Genesis 2:25), and his fear is self-evident in the fact that he has attempted to hide. He offers an explanation of the latter as being due to the former, but the explanation doesn’t hold water as we realize that his nakedness hasn’t resulted in hiding before now. He is afraid because of his disobedience.

 

The Blame Game (vv. 11–13)

  1. And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

 

Again, the questioning by the Lord does not indicate a lack of knowledge on his part. He knows what has happened. But he gives Adam a chance to confess his sin. He does this in a way that confronts Adam with the obvious as God says, in effect, “Let’s talk about your discomfort with being naked. You didn’t feel this way yesterday when we met. What changed? Did you eat the forbidden fruit? That would do it.”

 

  1. The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

 

When confronted, Adam seems to realize there is no hiding his sin. Yet he does not say, “Yes, Lord, I ate the forbidden fruit, but I regret it deeply. Please forgive me.” Instead, Adam attempts to dodge his guilt by redirecting the blame. In one of the saddest moments of all Bible accounts, Adam points the finger of guilt in two directions. First he points that finger toward his beloved wife. Then in the same breath Adam indicts the Lord as well with the phrase the woman you put here with me. Adam’s admission I ate it comes with no acceptance of personal responsibility.

 

  1. Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 

Following the model just set by her husband, the woman admits I ate, but attempts to shift full blame elsewhere: to the serpent. There is no repentance, no asking for forgiveness.

 

 

Judgment (Genesis 3:14–17)

 

On the Serpent (vv. 14, 15)

vs 14. So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

 

God, knowing precisely what has taken place earlier at the tree, does not question the serpent. If the questioning of the two humans indicates opportunities to repent, we see no such opportunity being offered to the tempter. The Lord merely passes judgment and declares the penalty. The penalty reflects the categories of land creatures from Genesis 1:24, 25: livestock and wild animals and crawling-on-the-ground animals.

 

The apostle John identifies “that ancient serpent” as being “the devil, or Satan” himself (Revelation 12:9; 20:2). Because of his ability to speak and his intelligence (Genesis 3:1–5), he is more like the man and the woman than any other creature in the garden.

Whatever his form before God’s sentencing, the serpent is now to be included among the lowest and most despised of the land animals: the ground-crawlers. The description gives us the picture of a snake as we are familiar with today, that of a slithering, dust-eating belly-dragger. We assume this also includes the loss of speech and cunning intelligence.

 

vs 15a. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;

 

This verse, sometimes called the protevangelium (meaning “first gospel”), is the first prophecy in the Bible about a future Savior. Until this story there has been no need for a Savior because there has been no sin. But now there is.

 

The pronouncement in this verse, given directly to the serpent, has three parts. First, there is a promise of enmity—fear and loathing—between the woman and her offspring (descendants) and the serpent and his offspring. This reflects a coming battle related to the serpent and his agenda to undermine God’s authority and entice humans to sin (compare John 8:44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:17). This is spiritual warfare, the struggle for the hearts and souls of men and women (Ephesians 6:10–12).

 

vs 15b. “he will crush your head,

The coming Savior will strike some kind of blow to the serpent and his power. From this side of the cross, we realize that Jesus accomplished this when he rose from the dead and thereby defeated the power of death (compare Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 15:54–57;

Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18).

 

vs 15c. “and you will strike his heel.”

The coming Messiah will be wounded by Satan’s efforts, but not defeated. He will experience death, but not remain dead (Revelation 1:18; 5:6).

 

  1. On Humanity (vv. 16, 17)

 

vs 16a. To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.

God’s pronouncements continue, now with regard to difficulties that lie in the future of the woman in particular and that of women in general. Childbearing and childbirth will become unpleasant and painful, something all mothers today can verify.

 

vs 16b. “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Furthermore, the woman will also be tied to her husband in ways that are not always joyful. She will fulfill her desire by marriage, but will also have a new master who will rule over her (compare 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22). This dependency has not yet existed in the case of the first man and woman, but it will haunt humankind in the future. The Hebrew behind the translation rule over is translated “govern” in Genesis 1:18.

 

vs 17. To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.”

 

The pronouncement to Adam is the strongest and longest of all. First, God states the basis for his judgment. Yes, the temptation had come through his wife, but he still bears responsibility for his sin (Here is the first and clearest articulation of male headship- the idea that God holds the man to a higher standard. As a consequence, the man will no longer have access to the blessed, perfect fertility of the garden. He will now have to scratch out a living from ground that is in some way cursed. Life will be difficult and tenuous.

 

 

III. Banishment (Genesis 3:20–24)

 

Provision (vv. 20, 21)

  1. Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

The story ends with some final arrangements. The woman needs a name, and Adam served as the namer-in-chief earlier (Genesis 2:19, 20). He gives her a hopeful name, one based on the word for living. Adam understands that Eve will produce babies and multiply the number of humans (1:28).

 

  1. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

The garments of skin provided by God replace the flimsy and temporary fig-leaf apparel (Genesis 3:7). The author presents this as a gracious and loving act by God. He knows that Adam and Eve will need more than mere coverings for their nakedness, once outside the garden.

 

Expulsion (vv. 22–24)

  1. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

 

The author gives a divine detail at this juncture: the gist of God’s rationale for expelling the two from the garden. Things have changed, and sin has caused a loss of innocence for the man and his companion. God foresees that Adam has become like one of us. The “us” is not specified. Some see this as God’s addressing his heavenly council of angels (compare Job 1:6). Others see it as conversation between the three persons of the Trinity. Still others see it as the “plural of majesty” (see the commentary on Genesis 1:26 in lesson 3 on page 27).

 

To lose access to the tree of life signs the death warrant of Adam and Eve. Instead of living forever, they will age and eventually die. Another future feature of the New Jerusalem is year-round access to the tree of life, planted in or straddling the river of life (Revelation 22:2).

 

23, 24. So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

The Lord takes extraordinary measures to prevent contact with the precious tree of life, posting a guard of heavenly beings known as cherubim (compare Ezekiel 10:20). Although stated as guarding the east side of the Garden of Eden, the implication is that the cherubim prevent any approach to the special tree. This raises a question: Why didn’t God just destroy the garden and its location? He did, during the flood.

 

Adopting New Curriculum

Adopting New Curriculum

As our ministries continue to grow, Exploring the Truth and Abounding Grace Baptist Church will be adopting a more uniform set of curricula, specifically, the Uniform Series from Standard Publishing/David C. Cook. “The Uniform Series is a 6-year plan for reading and studying the Bible. By participating in the Uniform Series, a believer will be given help in knowing the content of the Bible, understanding its message, and responding to that message by living a life of faith and love.” (standardlesson.com)

Below, you will find some questions that have been asked and that you may be asking yourself:

  • Will you, now, teach a pre-packaged curriculum or a pre-written sermon? No. As the pastor, I will still do the work of studying the Scriptures to bring you in-depth material. I will still incorporate lessons that I learn from other teachers.
  • Why change if you are not utilizing pre-packaged sermons? Teaching the Bible, especially as a bi-vocational pastor, presents some fairly unique challenges. By using Standard Lesson as a “map,” we can have a more effective journey through the Bible. Over a six-year period we will cover every book in the Bible but we will still have the flexibility to go deeper on various subjects as the need arises.
  • Will you still be teaching expositionally? Yes. We are not abandoning an expositional method for our pulpit. If anything, this change will add more discipline and structure to our lessons as we navigate the Bible and grow together.
  • Will you change Bible translations? We will continue to hear the New Living Translation from the pulpit, along with other translations as is helpful. You can expect to keep hearing NASB, ESV, KJV, and NIV as we go through our lessons.
  • Do I do anything different to prepare to receive from God’s Word with this new system? Nope. You still pray before coming to church. We will still have hymns and a responsive reading.
  • What about sin? Will the new system still talk about sin? Our view of sin does not change. We believe that all of mankind is polluted by sin and separated from God because of that sin. We believe that the only remedy for our sin is the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary. We do not, currently, pick out particular sins to “preach against” on Sunday but we deal with different sins as they come up in the text of Scripture; that will not change.
  • Is the Statement of Faith changing, too? Not at all. We still affirm the Baptist Faith and Message. All we are doing is adding a little more structure to help ensure that we are growing as disciples.

 

It is my sincere hope that this change will bless you and that you will continue to grow during your discipleship walk. Grace to you

Pastor Matt

Why I will use The Living Bible Paraphrase and Reject the Message

Why I will use The Living Bible Paraphrase and Reject the Message

I have been asked, a few times, why I will use The Living Bible Paraphrase but reject The Message Bible Paraphrase with some even saying that both are simply harmless paraphrases. After careful research there are a couple reasons why I reject The Message. Let’s start with the language and we will use the Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as our example text.

 

The Living Bible The Message
“Pray along these lines: ‘Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name. 10 We ask that your kingdom will come now. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. 11 Give us our food again today, as usual, 12 and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. 13 Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.[a] Amen.’

 

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

 

 

There is a lack of reverence in the Message. While “we honor your holy name” is not the greatest word choice, we are still left with the idea that God is apart from us and deserving of honor and reverence. “You’re in charge! You can do anything you want!” does not really fit with either the Greek or Latin renditions of this text. We pray “lead us not into temptation” asking God to lead us away from the storms of life and into His best for us. “Deliver us from the Evil One” is our ultimate prayer. Like Peter Satan has demanded to try us and our prayer is for deliverance from his power and from the end result of yielding to Satan but The Message Paraphrase removes that. Lastly, the ending of the Model Prayer in The Message Paraphrase is less of a prayer and more of orgasmic language; The Message repeatedly fails to give the Scripture its reverence due and we don’t even have time to discuss the New Age language (as above, so below).

 

There are some concerns that I have about Dr. Peterson that prevent me from ever endorsing any of his works and most especially The Message Paraphrase. In 2017 Dr. Peterson affirmed “gay marriage” and then retracted his statements as soon as he realized that Life Way, the largest “Christian” Bookstore would stop selling his materials.

 

The Message Bible waters down, if not removes entirely, the deity of Christ. Consider John 10:30 “I and the Father are one” where the Message reads, ” I and the Father are one heart and mind.” This gives a different connotation entirely from the statement of Trinitarian unity that is in John 10:30.As Justin Peters points out (link to article below), The NASB, NIV, and KJV are all practically identical, save for the insertion of a personal pronoun found in the latter. Not so The Message’s rendering. The Message denigrates the uniqueness and deity of Jesus. Let us remember that David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) but he was not God.

 

To read further from Justin Peters…https://fortheloveofhistruth.com/2011/10/07/why-is-the-message-bible-not-safe/

 

The Message does not give proper reverence to holiness nor does it give sin its proper place. See http://www.doveministries.com/topical_listing/dangers-of-the-message-bible

 

To bring out a little more from my research and Dove Ministries:

Following is a comparison between The New King James Version and “The Message” of the words used in Galatians 5:19-21:

New King James – The Message

  • Idolatry –  Trinket gods
  • Sorcery –  Magic show religion
  • Hatred  – Paranoid loneliness
  • Contentions or strife  – Cut-throat competition
  • Jealousies  – All-consuming yet never satisfied wants
  • Outbursts of wrath  – Brutal temper
  • Selfish ambitions  – An impotence to love or be loved
  • Dissensions  – Divided homes and divided lives
  • Heresies  – Small-minded and lopsided pursuits
  • Envy  – The vicious habit of depersonalising everybody into a rival
  • Drunkenness  – Uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions
  • Revelries  – Ugly parodies of community

 

Also from my research

Eugene Peterson’s distinct lack of awe and reverence explains his apparent lack of esteem for serious Bible study. In“A Conversation with Eugene Peterson,” in “Mars Hill Review (Autumn 1995, Issue 3: pages 73-90) Peterson is quoted as saying: “Why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text which has a separate life of its own and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we’re doing it…. Christians should be studying less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God…. I’m just not at all pleased with all the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing Christians do, and the more they do the better.”

 

The Pagan Bible: The Message Bible Exposed

Before we go, a little from and about Dr. Kenneth Taylor, paraphraser of The Living Bible and his paraphrase

 

The Living Bible (TLB) is an English paraphrase of the Bible created by Kenneth N. Taylor and first published in 1971. Taylor used the American Standard Version of 1901 as his base text. According to “Ken Taylor, God’s Voice In The Vernacular” by Harold Myra in a 1979 issue of Christianity Today, Taylor explained the inspiration for preparing The Living Bible:

The children were one of the chief inspirations for producing the Living Bible. Our family devotions were tough going because of the difficulty we had understanding the King James Version, which we were then using, or the Revised Standard Version, which we used later. All too often I would ask questions to be sure the children understood, and they would shrug their shoulders—they didn’t know what the passage was talking about. So I would explain it. I would paraphrase it for them and give them the thought. It suddenly occurred to me one afternoon that I should write out the reading for that evening thought by thought, rather than doing it on the spot during our devotional time. So I did, and read the chapter to the family that evening with exciting results—they knew the answers to all the questions I asked!

 

Overall, I find The Living Bible Paraphrase to be much more faithful to the Scriptures and therefore

I am left to conclude that The Message Paraphrase is NOTsufficient for Christian use and therefore cannot support it.

The Bible Train (Family Worship Guide) 4.30-5.6

The Bible Train (Family Worship Guide) 4.30-5.6

This week’s Bible Train stops are full of action; David unifies the Kingdom and destroys Israel’s enemies.  Then he returns the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem the Holy City. We are also treated to several of the exultant Psalms of praise linked to these events.

Monday 1 Samuel 31:1-13
Tuesday 2 Samuel 5:1-25
Wednesday Psalm 19
Thursday Psalm 23
Friday 2 Samuel 6:1-23
Saturday Psalm 96
Sunday 2 Samuel 8:1-18

Discussion Questions

  1. Psalm 23 was very likely written while David was still fleeing Saul; what does in mean to trust God and fear no evil, even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death?
  2. Why did God kill Uzzah for touching the Ark?
  3. What do we learn about praising God from the jubilant praise surrounding the Ark’s return?
  4. Why did God punish Michal?
  5. What lessons do this week’s readings teach us about holiness and God’s glory
“I AM” Statements in Genesis and Revelation

“I AM” Statements in Genesis and Revelation

God identifies Himself in Exodust 3:13 as I AM building on revelations He gave in Genesis and that description culminates in Revelation…

In Genesis God gives 7 I AM Statements:

  • Thy shield and thy exceeding great reward (15:1)
  • The Lord (15:7)
  • God Almighty (17:1 and 35:11)
  • the God of Abraham (26:24)
  • The God of Abraham and Isaac (28:13)
  • The God of Bethel (31:13)
  • The God of thy Father (46:3)

 

 

In Revelation, God’s identifier as I AM becomes triumphal declarations of who He is…

  • Alpha & Omega/ the Beginning and the End (1:8, 11, 17, 21:6, and 22:13)
  • He that liveth and was dead and is alive forevermore (1:18)
  • The Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star (22:16)
Bible Train/Family Worship 3.26-4.1

Bible Train/Family Worship 3.26-4.1

This week, our guided tour of the Bible is full of action. We are seeing the conquest of the Promised Land as well of the Transition of Leadership from Moses to Joshua. If you like action, this is the week to ride the Bible Train.

  • Monday–Deuteronomy 31:1-29
  • Tuesday–Deuteronomy 34:1-12
  • Wednesday–Joshua 1:1-2:24
  • Thursday–Joshua 3:1-4:14
  • Friday–Joshua 5:13-6:27
  • Saturday–Joshua 10:1-27
  • Sunday–Joshua 11:1-23

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why was Moses prevented from entering the Promised Land?
  2. What do we learn about God’s holiness from the purging of the wicked from the Promised Land?
  3. The story of Rahab, the prostitute, is one of the most profound in the Bible. What does her story teach us about God’s grace?
Why Is There a Congregational Reading?

Why Is There a Congregational Reading?

On Sundays, as part of our worship, Abounding Grace Baptist Church offers a Congregational Reading of the Scripture. I have been asked, several times, what this is and why it is a part of our worship service.

First, our Congregational Reading is a passage of the Scripture that is related to the text that we will be working with in the sermon portion of our worship service. During the reading, we stand to give reverence to the Word of God and I read the odd numbered verses while the congregation responds with reading the even numbered verses.

Second, we have a Congregational Reading because the Word of God, both the written Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Logos (word) of God is the central focus of our worship service. It is in the singing of hymns and the responsive readings that the congregation participates in the worship of God. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) and, in reading aloud together, we strengthen the faith of the worshippers.

Also, we read together because life is busy and full of activity, which means that for some of our beloved congregation, all the Bible they will get in a week comes on Sunday. After rich worship and the preaching of the Bible, we send our congregation out as sheep amidst the wolves and so we desire to send them out as full of the Scripture as possible. The days are evil, the Bible is our sure comfort, and it is our first line of defense against the wickedness.

In short, we have a Congregational Reading because we love you and we want you to have as much of the Bible as you possibly can.

 

Grace to you,

Pastor Matt

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