We know that there are many things that we must not do as God’s children. Paul gives a list of things “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21),”the works of darkness,” (Rom. 12:13-14), and, things which those “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” do (2 Tim. 2:2-5). So much is written in God’s word about things that His people must not do, that many have gotten the idea that Christianity is a “negative” religion. Many Christians think that, if they avoid certain behavior, they are “faithful Christians,” and will go to heaven based on what they have not done. But, is Christianity a negative religion based solely, or mainly, on avoiding certain sins? Is it a religion of “thou shalt not’s,” and not of “thou shalt’s?” Let us see what the Bible says.

The Old Testament Law Was a Positive Law

It may seem that the Law given by God through Moses was a negative law. After all, of the ten commandments, only two, “Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy,” and “Honor thy father and thy mother,” are positive commandments. But when we consider the answer give by Jesus when asked by a Jewish lawyer, “Which is the great commandment of the law?” a different picture emerges. Jesus answered:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus’ words, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” are particularly informative. Paul elaborates on Jesus’ words. He writes in Romans 13:8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” He continues in Romans 13:9:

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

He concludes, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). So even the Old Law was a positive law!

The New Testament Law Is a Positive Law

While we are in Romans 13, let us notice what Paul says in verse 8: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Here is a negative and a positive. However, the thrust of the sentence is positive – Love one another! The context shows that Paul is telling us that the Christian religion, like the Jewish religion, is a positive religion based on the principle of love. Love fulfilled the Old, love fulfills the New.

John 13:34-35

At the last Passover before our Lord’s betrayal and crucifixion, He told the twelve, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” How was this a “new” commandment? Jesus answers, “As I have loved you.” Love one another was not a new commandment, but to love as Jesus had loved the apostles, and all men, was a new thing. How so?

Jesus says in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He had told Nicodemus in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Later, Paul wrote,”But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). God loved the world enough to send His only begotten son into the world. The Son shared God’s love for the world and willingness to come to this world and die that sinful man might be saved (Luke 22:42; Phil. 2:5-8). The commandment to love fellow man that much had never been given before Jesus gave it to the twelve in John 13:34! Sadly, one of the twelve did not heed Jesus’ words.

Jesus made a statement in John 13:35 that we all should give heed to: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

John 17:20-21

Just before Jesus’ crucifixion, in John 17:20-21 (For a discussion of John 17, see John 17, The Real Lord’s Prayer), He prayed for the apostles, and for each of us:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:2-3:

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Endeavor is from a Greek word meaning, “To hasten, make haste; to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence,” according to Thayer. Such is the effort that Christians are to make to promote unity among themselves.

Luke 24:46-47; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16

Shortly before Jesus’ ascension, He told the eleven apostles in Luke 24:46-46:
And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Matthew and Mark include Jesus’ command to preach/teach the gospel and continue with the command to baptize those who believed. Mark’s account is more specific, including our Lord’s statement, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, thus affirming that salvation comes only after one believes and is baptized (Mark 16:15-16; See also 1 Pet. 3:20-21). The Holy Spirit would inspire Peter to preach on Pentecost that repentance is also a prerequisite to salvation.

Matthew’s account includes Jesus’ command to “teach” those things that Jesus had taught the apostles. The gospel was spread in the first century and is to spread in the twenty-first century, by those being taught teaching others (2 Timothy 2:2).

Hebrews 13:16; 1 John 3:17

Communicate means, according to Vincent, “Lit. but be not forgetful of doing good and communicating.” The same word is translated, “Contribution (for the poor saints)” in Romans 15:26. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 8:4, “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” Fellowship is from the same word translated, “communicate” in Hebrews 13:16 and “contribution” in Romans 15:26. Notice that Paul connects “gift” with “fellowship.”
John writes in 1 John 3:17:

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
Christians are to give to those in need. Love demands it!

Jesus said in John 12:48:

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
Jesus describes the events of the “last day” in Matthew 25:31-46. He lists six things by which each of us will be judged – six positive things! He will say to those us who have done these six things, “come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34). He will say to those of who have not done these six things, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). He concludes in Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Christianity is a doing religion! Certainly, we will be judged by what we have done that we should not have done, but we will also be judged by what we have not done that we should have done.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven – Matthew 7:21.



Who is the main/sole spiritual trainer of your children? You may say, “I send them to bible class every Sunday,” or, “I take them to Bible classes every Sunday,” or, “My wife (or husband) teaches them about the Bible,” or, “I am their sole spiritual trainer,” or “I am the main provider of spiritual training of our children, but their mother is also involved,” or, “I am the main provider of spiritual training of our children, but their mother is also involved, and we take them to Bible classes three times a week.” Or, you may say, “They have no spiritual training.” Who should be the main provider of spiritual training in your family? As with most important questions, the Bible has the answer, the correct answer. Let us see.
What Does the Bible Say About Spiritual Training?
Old Testament Teaching
God has always considered it important for His people to know His will. This was particularly true with His chosen people, Israel.
God told Moses at Mt. Sinai, “I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them” (Ex. 24:12). The priests were given the same charge (Lev. 10:11). In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Moses told Israel:
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Perhaps the most well-known Old Testament passage on providing a child’s spiritual is Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” On this passage, Garry K. Brantley writes:
Apparently, however, the phrase is an idiomatic way of referring to a child’s specific personality and peculiar traits. The “way,” therefore, does not refer to the “strait and narrow path” mapped out by God’s Word, but to the singular characteristics of each child. Parents are to inaugurate (from hanak, usually translated “train”) their children in the way paved by their unique dispositions. This is the behavioral and attitudinal course from which a child, as a general rule, will not deviate as indicated in the following phrase: “When he is old, he will not turn from it.”
New Testament Teaching
The Word of God must be taught. Jesus spent most of His ministry teaching. He told the apostles, in Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” According to both Thayer and Strong, teach means, “to teach, instruct.” The word also carries with it the idea of making disciples, but a disciple is defined as, “a learner, pupil, disciple” (Thayer, Strong).
Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:2):
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

So each Christian is responsible for passing along the truth to others. That is how the gospel was spread in the first century. That is how it will be spread in the twenty-first century.
Who Is Responsible for Teaching the Truth to Our Children?
We have seen that the gospel is spread by being taught by one Christian to another. But who is responsible for the teaching of our children?
Paul wrote to Titus in Titus 2:4-5 to teach the younger women. But these, obviously, are women of marriageable age. Who is responsible for teaching children?
Paul referred to Timothy as “my own son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2). Luke writes that Timotheus (Timothy) was “was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16:2).
Where did Timothy learn to live the kind of life that resulted in others holding him to such a degree of esteem? Paul gives us the answer. He writes in 2 Timothy 3:14-15:
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
He wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5:
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy received his spiritual training from his mother and grandmother. It is likely that Timothy’s father, being a “Greek” (Acts 16:1), was likely not a believer in God, thus would not have been involved in Timothy’s spiritual training. Thus, that responsibility fell to his mother and grandmother who were Jews. But, what if both parents are Christians?
Paul writes in Ephesians 6:1-2:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”
The inspired writer continues in Ephesians 6:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
So, according to Paul, the responsibility of providing the spiritual training of the children in the home falls on the father! That may come as a surprise to many fathers who busy themselves with work, recreation, taking care of the material home, etc. and leave the spiritual training to the mother. Sadly, many fathers are almost, or entirely, absent from the home and have little contact with their children.
According to the 21st Century Dads Foundation, “There are approximately 24 million kids growing up across America without their dads.” They continue, “Children from father-absent homes are more likely to; drop out of school, abuse drugs and alcohol, get involved with crime and become incarcerated, become teen parents, have psychological problems and commit suicide.” Later, they conclude that, contrary to the modern narrative that all a single mom needs is financial support, “The truth is, what kids need are responsible fathers who are present financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually” (Emp. mine, LJB). The statistics accord with what Paul, by inspiration, wrote long ago – children need their fathers in the home bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1-4)!
1 Samuel 2:12-17 describes sins of Levi’s wicked sons. Later, God gave young Samuel a message to take to Eli. He says in 1 Samuel 3:13:
For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
Eli’s house would be judged because he had not “restrained” his sons. He had not been the kind of spiritual father that his sons needed. They sinned, but he was held accountable as well as they! Sadly, God will judge many modern fathers who fail to “train up” their children, “in the way” they should go (Prov. 22:6). If more fathers provided the proper training for their sons, there would be far fewer youth involved in crime. More would be faithful children of the Lord and serving Him as a part of His church!
May we always be the spiritual fathers that God requires of us!



December 31, 2017

L. John Bost

We usually refer to the prayer given by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13, and repeated with some variations in Luke 11:1-4, as “The Lord’s Prayer.” This prayer is not intended to be a prayer for the Lord’s disciples to repeat verbatim. It is, rather, a model prayer.
Though that prayer is usually considered, “The Lord’s prayer,” because it was given by Him, there is another prayer found in the New Testament that I believe should be referred to as “The Lord’s prayer,” rather than that one. That is the prayer recorded by John in John 17. In this article, I will explain my position on that point, and take a close look at the prayer in John.
The Traditional “Lord’s Prayer”
In Matthew 6:9, Jesus says, “After this manner therefore pray ye.” The prayer in Luke is given in response to a disciple’s request, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The two prayers are not exactly the same. For example, the prayer in Matthew contains the request, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). The request in Luke, slightly less specific, reads, “Give us day by dayour daily bread” (Luke 11:3). Also, Matthew’s prayer reads, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12), whereas Luke’s prayer reads, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us” (Luke 11:4). and the prayer in Luke omits the statement, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever” (Matt. 6:13). These variations show that the intent of our Lord was to teach His disciples how to pray and what to pray for in a general sense. Most importantly, we are to pray acknowledging the hallowed (holy) name of God, and that God’s will must be done on earth as it is in heaven.(Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2).
John 17, the Real Lord’s Prayer
John writes, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” (John 17:1). This prayer was prayed by our Lord just before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray before he was betrayed by Judas Matthew 26:36-49; Mark 14:32-45; 18:1-2). He has spent some time after announcing that He would be betrayed (Matt. 26:21-26; John 13:18-27) comforting them. Now He prays for them. The needed their Master’s prayer since He would shortly be crucified, rise, and ascend back into heaven. The work of telling the world of His sacrifice for our sins would then be theirs (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47.
Jesus first asks God to glorify Him so that He, the Son, might glorify Him (John 17:1). He would be glorified by his death and resurrection which fulfilled His mission on earth, bringing salvation to the world (John 17:4). He prefaces this request with the statement, “The hour is come,” that is, the hour of His crucifixion, literally only hours away. He gives as the reason for His request that the Father had given Him “power over all flesh” to give eternal life to as many as God had given Him(John 17:2). He was given the world and would offer eternal life to all (John3:16). He mentions that power as His authority to commission the apostles to “teach all nations” (Matt. 28:18-20).

The Savior reaffirms the truth that salvation comes through the knowledge God as the only true God, and Jesus Christ. Know, here, means, “to keep on knowing,” (Robertson). It does not mean to simply know in the sense of being acquainted with, or knowing that He exists. There is much more involved. (For a discussion of this, see What Bible Says and Salvation in Romans.
The Lord affirms what John had written in John 1:1-3, that He was in the beginning, and with the Father, created all things (John 17:5).
In John 17:6, Jesus gave the highest commendation possible. The Son says to the Father, “…thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Paul would later write, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). The apostles pleased God! The pleased God and Jesus because they knew that the words of Jesus, as He, had come from the God (John 17:6-8).
Jesus specifically prayed for the disciples, and not the world of unbelievers, because they belonged to Him and to God (John 17:9-10).
Jesus would be with the Father, but they would still in the world, so He prayed that the Holy Father would keep through His own name “that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11). That oneness of the disciples is important. Jesus prayed for that unity four times in John 17 (John 17:11, 21, 22, 23). Nor was it a prayer merely for the eleven apostles. The Lord prayed in John 17:20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” That would be us, as well as all of His people who have come before us, and will come after! He continues, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:20-21). Notice an important reason for this unity that our Lord sets forth in John 17:21, “…that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” We must be unified so that the world will believe that the Father sent the Son! (See also 1 Corinthians 1:10; Eph. 4:1-6).
In John 17:12, Jesus again mentions Judas, referring to him as, “The son of perdition. He was the only one of the twelve to be lost.
Jesus said that He said these things while in the world that the apostles would have His joy fulfilled in themselves (John 17:13) They must remain in the world and endure much for Him while He is with the Father (John 17:14). They need to know that they would be hated by the world, but would be loved by Him and the Father, and would later be with Him.
Jesus did not pray that God would take the believers out of the world, but to keep them from the evil (one). They were in the world, but not of the world (John 17:15-16). His prayer was that that would continue while they were in the world. He prayed that God would sanctify them (set them apart from the world for holy service) by His word, as He had sanctified Himself (John 17:15-19). Notice the affirmation by our Lord, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). This is the answer to Pilate’s question in John 18:37-38 when Jesus said, “I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth”. It is the answer to your question, “What is truth?” And it affirms that there is such thing as truth.”
After praying for the Eleven while they are on the earth, He turns, in John 17:24, to their place in Eternity. He prays that they “be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.” He continues, “For thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” God loved the Son the beginning, while He was in Heaven, while He was on the earth, where He took the form of man (Phil. 2:5-11), and He will love Him in Heaven throughout Eternity. Now He prays that His followers be with Him there.
In John 17:25, He mentions that the world had not known the righteous Father, but He had known Him, and the Twelve had known Him. Now He prays “that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26).
I believe that the prayer in John 17 is really “The Lord’s Prayer,” because it was actually prayed by the Lord Himself. It was a heartfelt prayer for the future of his disciples, throughout the future, that we would remain faithful to Him, though the world hates us. It was a prayer born out of the Lord’s love for God and those given Him by God.
It may be that the prayer was given in the apostles’ presence so that they would be reminded of the truths that He recounts, and be better prepared to continue His work as He was crucified, rose, and left the world, leaving them in the world that hated them to do the work that He had begun and made possible by His death – the work saving the world from its sins.
John recorded this prayer so that we might learn these truths and allow them to motivate us as we go about the work of preaching the Gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world.




The opening chapters of Matthew and Luke describe the birth of Jesus Christ. The coming birth of Christ should not have been an unknown event in the minds of the Jews of that day. There are numerous prophecies of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament. In this article I want us to look into some of these Old Testament prophecies.

Prophecies of the Messiah

The Jews would come to know Him in New Testament times as the Messias and the Christos {khris-tos’}, Christ. Both words mean, anointed (one). But the Jews of the Old Testament knew Him as mashiyach {maw-shee’-akh}, the Hebrew word for the Messiah, the anointed one.

Because Man sinned in the garden, disobeying God’s commandment not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-18), the punishment of death came into effect (Gen.3:1-24). But even as Creator pronounced the deadly punishment on man, He gave the first promise of a solution to man’s self-inflicted sin problem. He told the tempter in Genesis 3:15; Also see Gal. 4:3-5), “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This was the first of many promises of a messiah, a savior, that would reconcile man to God and take away his sins.

Luke 3:23-37

We began with a New Testament passage, Luke’s account of the genealogy of Jesus. Luke begins with Adam, the first man, and traces the genealogy through Adam’s son, Seth, Noah, Noah’s son, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s son, Judah, David, David’s son, Nathan, Heli, Heli’s son, Joseph (the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus), and Jesus (Genealogy abbreviated by me, LJB).

Genesis 12:1-3

In Genesis 12:1-3, God called Abraham from his country to go to another land, promising him that he would make of him a great nation. He also promised him, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). Keep this promise of blessing to all the families of the earth in mind. This covenant was reaffirmed in Genesis 17:4-7. It would be through Abraham’s son, Isaac (Gen. 17:19 and 21:12) and his son, Jacob (Genesis 25:22-23 and 28:13-14).

Genesis 49:10

On his deathbed, Jacob told his twelve sons, “that which shall befall you in the last days” (Gen. 49:1). He told Judah, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen. 49:10). Shiloh is from a Hebrew word meaning, “He whose it is, that which belongs to him,” according to Brown-Driver-Briggs. Shiloh is an epithet of the Messiah. The NET translates the verse, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs; the nations will obey him.” The line of kings of Israel would ascend through the tribe of Judah until Jesus Christ, the ruler of all nations would come!

1 Samuel 16:1; Isaiah 11:1, 10

Saul, the first king of Israel, had been killed himself after being dealt a mortal wound in a battle with the Philistines. God tells Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:1:

How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

Later, Isaiah would write (Is. 11:1, 10):
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots…And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

So far we have seen that the coming Messiah would bruise the head of the serpent (Satan), bless all nations, and become the ruler of all nations. Now we see that all of the Gentiles would seek Him, and He would provide a glorious rest.

2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 9:6-7

Please read 2 Samuel 7:12-16. God told David in 2 Samuel 7:13, “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” Isaiah writes in Isaiah 9:6-7.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

The fulfillment of these passages is found in Luke 1:32-33; 3:23-38, Matthew 1:1, 6-7. Matthew affirms that Jesus Christ was descendant of Abraham – the blessing that would come from Abraham’s seed (Gen. 12:3; 17:4-7)!

Isaiah 7:13-14

Isaiah writes in Isaiah 7:13-14:

And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Virgin, in Isaiah 7:14, is from a Hebrew word meaning, according to Strong, “A lass (as veiled or private):—damsel, maid, virgin.” Brown-Driver-Briggs define the word, “Virgin, young woman.” They add a comment from Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: “There is no instance where it can be proved that this word designates a young woman who is not a virgin.” Although the word can be translated, “young woman” (As translated in NET), Matthew and Luke, in presenting the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, give us the inspired translation. They use a Greek word which means, according to both Strong and Thayer, virgin (See Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).

Robertson writes:

“Virgin-birth” is the correct and only correct designation of the birth statement contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke…The only statement which is sufficiently specific is “virgin-birth,” inasmuch as according to the New Testament statement Mary was at the time of this birth virgo intacta.
Isaiah also prophesied that the son born of the virgin would be named Immanuel. The word in the Hebrew means, “‘God with us’ or ‘with us is God'”(Brown-Driver-Briggs; See Matt. 1:23).

Read Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-35 for the full description of the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14.

Micah 5:2-3

Micah tells us where the Messiah would be born:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Luke 2:1-7 and Matthew 2:1-6 give the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy. According to Luke, Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem to be taxed, or registered for taxation, obeying the decree of Caesar Augustus. According to Matthew, the wise men from the East were told by the scholars of Judea that the king would be born in Bethlehem, as Micah had said.

Luke writes:

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Numbers 24:30

As Balaam blessed Israel, he said, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Balaam spoke of a “Star out of Jacob.” Matthew 2:1-2 provides the fulfillment of this one:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

These “wise men” had seen star in the east and had interpreted it to be the star of King of the Jews. They may have been familiar with the star Balaam had referred to. Perhaps the star was more than a sign and guide to these wise men. It may be that this is another way of identifying Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah.

Strong defines a “wise men,” “A Magian, that is, Oriental scientist; by implication a magician:—sorcerer, wise man.” We are not told how many of them. The tradition that they were “three kings, named Gaspar, Melchior, and Belthazar” (Smith), is without foundation. The tradition is likely based on the fact they brought three gifts, gold, and frankincense and myrrh (Matt. 2:11). But three gifts could have been brought by any number of wise men. We simply do not know.

When Was Jesus Born?

Please read Daniel 9:24-27. Adam Clarke describes how Daniel’s seventy weeks equals 490 years from the rebuilding of the temple (c. 516 BC) destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. until the Messiah, by the sacrifice of himself, caused all other sacrifices and oblations to cease. The Messiah would come 483 years after the rebuilding of the temple, if you take away the “one week” (7 years), which would include the ministry of John the Baptist plus the ministry of Jesus. Michael Scheifler writes, “It can be demonstrated from the 70 week prophecy of Daniel 9 that the baptism of Jesus occurred in 27 A.D., which would place His birth about or before 3 B.C.” See his explanation of how this year is determined here.

It is not certain when the taxation, or census mentioned in Luke 2:1-6 took place. So that is not much help in establishing the when of Jesus’ birth. But it gives us a general idea. See Clarke for a discussion of the difficulties in determining when this census took place.

We cannot be sure what time of year Jesus’ birth took place. The idea that it was on “a cold winters night,” etc. is only tradition, probably arising from the establishment of the Date of December 25. That date can not be confirmed by anything in the scriptures.

We simply do not know when Jesus was born. What is more important that when He was born is that He was born, and why He was born. Paul explains in Galatians 4:3-5:

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.


Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:16:
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
And one day the baby born in a manger in Bethlehem who became a prophet, and high priest who sacrificed Himself for our sins, and King of Kings will come back for us. Are you ready?




I do not like to worship with hypocrites, do you? They are such, well hypocrites! I like to worship where everyone is sincere, always practicing what they preach, don’t you? I have never liked to worship with sinners. It is so much more pleasant when everyone is always friendly and considerate and makes me feel at home, know what I mean? And it is always great when every worshiper is as pure at work, play, school, at the restaurant, at the bar (bar?), or wherever, as they are at church, isn’t it? Sure. Then we agree. I wonder where that might be? Well, nowhere! Oh! Well, I guess we will just stay home, right? We might as well. Christians are no better than non-Christians.
If you agree with the statements above, stay with me. Let us think about that for awhile.

What Is a Hypocrite, Anyway?

Like you and me, Jesus did not much like hypocrites, either. In Matthew 6:2, He said:

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men…

Hypocrite is from a Greek word which means, “An actor under an assumed character (stage player), that is, (figuratively) a dissembler (‘hypocrite’),” according to Strong. Jesus gives us a picture of hypocrisy in Mathew 23:27 where he tells the hypocritical Pharisees that they are “are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” (See also Acts 23:3).

The hypocrites that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:2 pretended to be godly men by doing alms, but they were really seeking the “glory of men,” rather than sincerely helping the needy out of compassion, which is the meaning of the word, alms. (See also Matt. 6:5, 16).

Please read Matthew 15:7-9. Here, Jesus addresses another hypocritical act that the Pharisees were guilty of. They taught the “commandments of men” as if they were the commandments of God. He had already rebuked them for transgressing the commandments of God by their traditions (Matt. 15:1-6). He did not condemn them for practicing tradition per se, but practicing traditions, as if they were commandments, instead of obeying the commandments of God. Now our Lord illustrates their hypocrisy by using an Old Testament prophecy (Is. 29:13) and applying it to them. They showed their hypocrisy by honoring God with their mouths while teaching false doctrine. They pretended to be honoring God while at the same time setting aside His commandments and replacing them with men’s traditions. Hypocrisy!

So hypocrisy is pretending to be one thing but teaching and/or doing things that are contrary to what you pretend to be.
Often Christians are accused of hypocrisy when they fail to live up to God’s commandments. While this can be evidence of hypocrisy, it is not always such. There is a difference between committing a sin out of weakness, ignorance or forgetfulness, and habitually teaching one thing and doing another. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes.

Are There Hypocrites in the Church?

Are there hypocrites in the church? Certainly, there are! The church is an organization that is made up of people. As such it has people in it that are not what they pretend to be. There were hypocrites in the church to whom Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:1-2.

The church is designed to be a place where sinners who are saved from their sins help each other to grow to be as God would have them to be. Peter urged his readers, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever” (2 Pet. 3:18). Paul writes about this in Ephesians 4:10-24, and church members are urged to “grow” (Eph. 2:21; 2 Th. 1:3; 1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18). So the church is made of growing Christians, not perfect Christians! So there are going to be people in the church who are not in every respect what they ought to be.

Hypocrites Will Go to Hell

Hypocrisy is a sin. Jesus warned the Pharisees in Matthew 23:15:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

The Lord pronounces woe on these hypocrites twelve times in Matthew chapter 23. In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul warns of those who will “…depart from the faith…speaking lies in hypocrisy…” According to Revelation 21:8, “…all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

So there will be no hypocrites in heaven! That is why Peter urged his reders in 1 Peter 2:1 to “lay aside…all hypocrisies.”

The Hypocrisy of Staying out of Church Because There Are Hypocrites in It
Should you refrain from attending worship services to avoid worshiping with hypocrites?

Remember, hypocrisy is pretending to be one thing but teaching and/or doing things that are contrary to what you pretend to be. If you are a Christian and refuse to attend worship services because there are hypocrites in it, are you doing God’s will?

Christians are God’s children. As such, we strive to do his will as perfectly as we can. We are not perfect, we make mistakes. But when we do make mistakes, we repent and work on doing better (See 2 Cor. 7:9-10; Acts 8:18-22; Rom. 2:1-4; Rev. 2:5). We are commanded to be faithful (1 Th. 5:21; 1 Timothy 1:13; Heb. 10:23; Rev. 2:10). That includes faithfulness in assembling with the saints (Heb. 10:25). If we profess to be Christians while forsaking the assembling with Christians, are we not hypocrites!?

Each person is responsible for his own salvation. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). No one can believe for us! No one can be saved for us. No one can cause us to be saved or lost but ourselves. We are not responsible for the hypocrites in the church. They are responsible for themselves! We cannot blame them for our unfaithfulness. Each of us must decide for ourselves if we are going to be faithful or unfaithful.
We cannot blame our own hypocrisy on the hypocrisy of others!


We will not be lost or saved based on whether or not there were hypocrites in the local church. Our eternal salvation depends on our own sincere obedience and worship to God. In the day of judgment, the King will not ask us, “How many hypocrites were in the local church where you lived?” (See John 5:28-29; 12:48-50; Matt. 25:31-46). Rather, He will ask, “Have you obeyed the gospel? Have you attended to the needs of your fellow man? Have you faithfully served and worshiped God? If your answer is, “Yes,” then the Lord will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matt. 25:21, 23).

By-the-way, there may be a few hypocrites in the church, but the world is filled with them!

Will those hypocrites in the church cause you to go to hell? Only if you allow them to! Why not be faithful in your attendance and worship, and help hypocrites become sincere Christians? Why not help the hypocrites become former hypocrites and go to heaven, rather than allowing the hypocrites cause you to go to hell? After all, if you allow the hypocrite in the church to cause you to go to hell, they will be with you in eternity! Would it not be better to spend a short time on earth with a few hypocrites and eternity in heaven where there will be none?


As for Me and My House

Source: As for Me and My House


What, Or Who, Is the Holy Spirit?


You have, no doubt, heard such expressions as “I’ve got the spirit,” “I’ve got the Holy Ghost feeling,” etc. But what, or who is the Holy Spirit? Why is it even important? We will explore these questions in this article.


The English word, spirit, first appears in the Old Testament in Genesis 1:2, if reference to “the Spirit of God.” The Hebrew word means, “Wind, breath, mind, spirit” (Brown-Driver-Briggs). It refers to the Spirit or spirit 232 times in the Old Testament. The first time spiritappears in the New Testament is in Luke 1:17. The Greek definition is “A current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit” (Strong). It is always used in the New Testament as “spirit,” either the spirit of God, Christ, or man, or the Holy Spirit.

That the Hebrew and Greek words mean both “wind” and “spirit” results in some problems understanding what/who the Holy Spirit is. Is the Holy Spirit a what or a who?

Is the Holy Spirit a What or a Who?

We can determine whether the Holy Spirit is a what or a who, that is a living being or inanimate, by a study of Bible references to the spirit.

The Spirit Speaks

When Zachariah the high priest succeeded his father Jehoiada and led the people to sin, the text tells us, “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you” (2 Chron. 24:20).

When Jesus gave instructions to the Limited Commission, He told them in Mark 13:11:

But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1:

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils…”

So the Spirit has the ability to speak.

The Spirit Is An “I

In Acts 13:1-2, there were certain “teachers and prophets” at Antioch. Luke writes, “…the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Here, the Holy Ghost (Spirit) speaks and refers to himself in the first person pronoun, “I.”

The Holy Spirit Is a Comforter/Helper/Advocate Who Dwells in Men

Jesus told the Apostles in John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” The word translated, comforter, in the King James Version is from a Greek word meaning, “An intercessor, consoler” (Strong). Robertson writes, “This old word (Demosthenes), from parakalew, was used for legal assistant, pleader, advocate, one who pleads another’s cause…” The word is translated, “helper,” in the New King James and English Standard Version. It is the same word translated, “advocate,” in 1 John 2:1 (KJV, NKJV, ESV, etc), where John writes (KJV):My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.Jesus identifies the comforter/advocate in John 14:17 as:

the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

So, the Holy Spirit is a comforter/helper/advocate who can be known and dwells in human beings.

The Holy Spirit Can Be Grieved

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Obviously, the Holy Spirit can be grieved or Paul would not have warned the Ephesians against doing it!

The Jews of Isaiah’s day “vexed” the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10).

The Holy Spirit Is a Teacher

Jesus says in John 14:26:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

The Holy Spirit was to make sure that what the apostles taught was the truth, and that no important truth was missed. It reminded them of what they already knew from their time with Jesus, and it taught them new things that they had not already learned.

This is what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 2:13. It is the process of inspiration that Paul would later write about in 2 Timothy 3:16. It is also what Peter was referring to in 2 Peter 1:21 when he wrote, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (See also Eph. 3:5). This is how we got the Bible. This is how we can be sure that what we read is the truth and all of the truth 2 Peter 1:3:

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.


The Holy Spirit comforts and helps us and serves as an advocate for us to the Father. He speaks, and we can grieve Him. He is a teacher. He guided the biblical writers by reminding them of what they had learned from them while Jesus was on the earth and teaching them new truths they had not before known. Can these things be applied to a force, power, or any inanimate object? Certainly not. The Holy Spirit is a living being.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, or Triune Godhead. John writes about this in John 1. God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1John 1:1-3). The “Word, the “only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14), was present and participating in the creation, John 1:1-3). The “Spirit of God moved upon the waters” at the creation (Genesis 1:2). The Spirit of God came upon Jesus at His baptism (John 1:23-33). These passages show that all three, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are all God, the Holy Trinity, three divine persons in one. All three of these divine persons are one in purpose and one in agreement.

Do you follow the teachings of the Holy Spirit? Please do not grieve the Spirit. Obey Him today.