You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Forbidden Bible verses’ tag.

Bible penngrovechurchofchristorgContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 16:18

Divorce and Remarriage

 18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

——————————————————————————

Last week’s passage from Luke 16 concluded with:

17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

The context is our Lord’s pointedly rebuking the Pharisees’ hypocrisy.

He takes on divorce because of the way the religious hierarchy approached it, writing their own rules on top of God’s.

John MacArthur tells us that there were many ways in which a man, particularly a highly-placed Pharisee, could divorce his wife. The esteemed Rabbi Hillel devised these and, for those of us who know the name through the Jewish university-oriented charity of the same name, they come as a shock (emphases mine below):

… fortunately for the Pharisees, along came Rabbi Hillel. He lived the last 50 years of B.C. and Rabbi Hillel came up with his very popular interpretation that whatever you decide is uncleanness to you is uncleanness and the point of the passage is when you decide it’s an uncleanness, you have a right to divorce her. They stopped at that point. They didn’t bother with, “and when you remarry you commit adultery,” etc. They had twisted that. Hillel conveniently had worked his machinations with the text to make it a permission to divorce your wife for some uncleanness and go ahead and marry another, total misinterpretation and total misrepresentation and I might just add hastily that false religion is very adept at misinterpretation and unable to make accurate interpretations. And so, by the way, here was Rabbi Hillel’s list. Here are the causes for divorce…burning dinner, lousy food, too much salt, spinning in the street so someone saw her knees, taking her hair down, saying something unkind about her mother-in-law, infertility, not giving you a son, or finding someone prettier makes her in your eyes unclean and then there’s a whole lot of blanks. You can fill in your own, very convenient interpretation, a very happy one for the Pharisees, and they didn’t bother to interpret the rest of it accurately so they were proliferating divorces. When they saw somebody they liked better or somebody that was nicer or they were tired of having lousy food or whatever for any excuse.

The Jewish Encyclopedia says the same thing:

The origin of the Jewish law of divorce is found in the constitution of the patriarchal family. The fundamental principle of its government was the absolute authority of the oldest male ascendent; hence the husband, as the head of the family, divorced the wife at his pleasure. The manner in which Hagar was dismissed by Abraham illustrates the exercise of this authority (Gen. xxi. 9-14). This ancient right of the husband to divorce his wife at his pleasure is the central thought in the entire system of Jewish divorce law. It was not set aside by the Rabbis, though its severity was tempered by numerous restrictive measures. It was not until the eleventh century that the absolute right of the husband to divorce his wife at will was formally abolished.

Both MacArthur and the Jewish Encyclopedia mention Rabbi Shammai, who said that divorce could take place only in the case of sexual infidelity.

The Jewish Encyclopedia explains the difference between the two schools of thought. Please note the last sentence:

In the Mishnaic period the theory of the law that the husband could divorce his wife at will was challenged by the school of Shammai. It interpreted the text of Deut. xxiv. 1 in such a manner as to reach the conclusion that the husband could not divorce his wife except for cause, and that the cause must be sexual immorality (Git. ix. 10; Yer. Soṭah i. 1, 16b). The school of Hillel, however, held that the husband need not assign any reason whatever; that any act on her part which displeased him entitled him to give her a bill of divorce (Giṭ. ib.). The opinion of the school of Hillel prevailed. Philo of Alexandria (“Of Special Laws Relating to Adultery,” etc., ch. v.; English ed., ii. 310, 311) and Josephus (“Ant.” iv. 8) held this opinion. Jesus seems to have held the view of the school of Shammai (Matt. xix. 3-9).

MacArthur explains Jesus’s statement, which condemns frivolous divorces:

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?” That’s what they believed. That’s what they did and he answered and said, “Didn’t you read in the book of Genesis that He who created them from the beginning and made them male and female and said, ‘For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. The two shall become one flesh. Consequently, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.'” Marriage is two people coming together constituting now one flesh indivisible for life. That’s the divine pattern ...

And so Jesus is saying, “Look, you’re accusing Me of being a lawbreaker. You’re the lawbreakers. You’re divorcing your wives all over the place for burning your dinner, for putting too much salt on it, because you found somebody you liked better. I’m upholding that law.” And of course, in the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ, God forgives all violations of law to the one who repents. They didn’t understand grace and the gospel and they certainly didn’t adhere to a true interpretation of the law.

Matthew 19 has more on this conversation about divorce:

3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”[a]

This is no doubt why some couples separate in situations where a serious issue other than adultery is involved.

MacArthur explains the Old Testament passages to which Jesus referred:

Jesus here is referring back to that Deuteronomic law in Deuteronomy 24 in which there are no exceptions. He’s simply reiterating that law but that has to be taken in comparison with a couple of other passages. Since God in His common grace had allowed the death penalty for adultery to disappear, and it is a kind of common grace; since God graciously had allowed the nations to go their own way sinfully and not punish adultery with death, there was a provision for divorce under one condition …  Jesus is saying this is taking it all the way back to the original law with the one exception that if there is the cause of immorality, unchastity, sexual sin, then there is a granting of the right to a divorce.

the death penalty not being enforced, even back in Moses’ day, there was a concession that you who have been offended by immoral conduct of a spouse can divorce …

We find the same statement in Matthew 5:31-32:

Divorce

 31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

These are difficult verses to accept and understand. I struggle with them myself.

On the other hand, for too many couples, divorce is the first thought which comes to mind at the first sign of marital disagreements which could be resolved with care and consideration.

Too many people today also tend to marry because the sex is good and they’re having fun together. When that comes to an end, they look elsewhere. Not so different to the Pharisees, then. Maybe that is a reason why Scripture forbids fornication. As the old saying goes, ‘Kissin’ don’t last, cookin’ do’.

There are also a number of men — I can think of three whom I know personally — who divorced their wives when their sons became teenagers. Being a full-time father seems to have become too much for them. Only one of these men went off with another woman. The others just want to be left alone except on weekends.

Marriage is full of trials and death. It’s not a bed of roses, but a solid friendship between the betrothed enables them as a married couple to survive with a deeper love and affection for each other. God works His grace and blesses an informed choice of spouse. This is why it is important to pray and use discernment when deciding whether to marry.

In closing, Matthew Henry’s commentary has this gem on marriage:

Christ will not allow divorces, for his gospel is intended to strike at the bitter root of men’s corrupt appetites and passions, to kill them, and pluck them up and therefore they must not be so far indulged as that permission did indulge them, for the more they are indulged the more impetuous and headstrong they grow.

Point taken.

Next time: Luke 17:1-4

Bible oldContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur (sermons cited below).

Luke 16:14-17

The Law and the Kingdom of God

 14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

 16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[a] 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

———————————————————————————-

The first 13 verses of Luke 16 concern the Parable of the Dishonest Manager which ends with this verse:

13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The servant was unfaithful to his master, wasting his possessions and/or stealing his money. Jesus’s parable is an analogy for our wasting or misusing God’s gifts. It is also a warning to those who value money and possessions above God.

John MacArthur has sermons discussing this parable, referencing other Bible verses. One of the sermons says (emphases mine):

… we have a right to money. It comes from God; He gives it to whom He will, sovereignly, in varying amounts. We are told to work for it, to save for it, to plan for it. God will give us all that we need. Everything that we have we manage for Him. If we manage it faithfully it will increase and it will grown and we will be blessed both here and throughout eternity and there will be friends there to welcome us when we arrive who are there because the gospel went to them when we supported it and we’ll find that having been faithful over whatever we had here, we’ll be given much to enjoy there. And having served God not money here, we will enter into the joy of our Lord there.

Another says:

He intends some basic things to occur with whatever it is that we possess. One, support your needs. God knows that you have to survive; you have to live. You’re not supposed to be a charity case. You’re supposed to take care of yourself. The Bible says if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat, so you’re given the priority responsibility for you as an individual to take care of our own needs. That is why God has given you what He has given you in terms of resources and talent and opportunity, so you can engage yourself in such a way as to take of yourself, always recognizing that the source of everything is God and using what God has given to meet your needs in a reasonable way.

Secondly then to support your family. And to support your family, would mean if you’re a husband your children and your wife. If you’re a family member and somebody in your extended family has a need you, of course, then become responsible for that extended family as I Timothy 5 says …

A third and very important thing to think about is this: support your nation. The Bible is crystal clear on the fact that we are to pay our taxes, that we are to be good citizens, and we are to render to the government what is due to the government, tax to whom is tax is due, Romans 13, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom is due …

Moving a little bit beyond that as you use your money for your personal needs, your family needs, and as you pay your taxes, I think it’s reasonable to say that God expects you to enjoy sensible comforts with a worshipping heart. I don’t think we’re supposed to take a vow of poverty and go around in dirty clothes, eating brown bread, and drinking water for the rest of our lives. I don’t think God filled this planet with the richness that He did for us to ignore it and live in some level of destitution. I think we can enjoy a measure, a reasonable comfort with a worshipping and grateful heart.

Matthew 6 has more on this subject, especially the spirit of giving to our place of worship and to the poor.

In today’s verses from Luke, we read that the Pharisees — ‘lovers of money’ — heard Jesus’s parable with derision (verse 14). MacArthur explains that everything they did was for status and public display:

[Matthew 6] Verse 2, “When you do your alms, give your alms, don’t sound a trumpet.” Can you imagine what those Pharisees did? On the way in to give there were thirteen trumped shaped receptacles around the court of women and they would drop money in, they would blow a trumpet to announce their arrival. Look folks, I’m giving, this is how much I’m giving. These are the hypocrites. They did it in the synagogues too. They would give in the synagogues, the local synagogues in the same public way. They do it in the streets, he says in verse 2, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you they have their reward in full. Their full reward is they were honored by men. No reward from God. You don’t want to give that way, so when you give your alms, this is an interesting way, this is kind of hyperbole, over the top, don’t even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Be so secret that one side of you doesn’t even know what the other side is doing. Not only do the people around you not know, but it’s that secret. Let your alms be done in secret, and then your father who sees in secret will repay you, believe me in an open way in heaven to come. So your giving is to be secret and humble.

Jesus told the Pharisees that what they did they did for men’s admiration, which God found abominable (verse 15). They did nothing for His glory, despite all their outward appearances.

The condemning words here are ‘those who justify yourselves before men’. Their hearts were spiritually dead, yet they made it look as if all their works meant they were obeying God’s laws. They were all about external style and no spiritual substance. Even worse, they lorded their status over the people. They demanded excessive obedience to the Law, whilst creating loopholes for themselves. This is where the lawyers — theologians — came in to the picture. The lawyers devised the loopholes. They also demanded money from widows and rejected sacrifices brought to the temple because they were not purchased there. They ignored everyone who was not in their elitist circle.

Jesus told them that John the Baptist’s ministry hailed the coming abolition of ceremonial law of what we know as the Old Testament (verse 16). This is because John the Baptist announced the coming of Christ. Jesus referred to Himself and John with the words ‘since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached’.

Then we have Jesus’s statement about everyone forcing themselves into the divine kingdom. Matthew Henry interprets this in the following ways. First, our Lord’s Gospel message is irresistible. Second, it isn’t just for the Jewish people anymore but for the whole world. Third, because it is open to everyone, the relationship between God, our Lord and us is an intensely personal one. Fourth, those who take it to heart might have to struggle against the world for their heavenly reward:

“But,” saith Christ, “now that the gospel is preached the eyes of the people are opened, and as they cannot now have a veneration for the Pharisees, as they have had, so they cannot content themselves with such an indifferency in religion as they have been trained up in, but they press with a holy violence into the kingdom of God.” Note, Those that would go to heaven must take pains, must strive against the stream, must press against the crowd that are going the contrary way.

Jesus concludes by saying that it would be easier for the universe to end than for the law to be invalidated (verse 17). Henry explains:

The moral law is confirmed and ratified, and not one tittle of that fails; the duties enjoined by it are duties still; the sins forbidden by it are sins still. Nay, the precepts of it are explained and enforced by the gospel, and made to appear more spiritual.

We are enjoined to obey the Ten Commandments, which encompass loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves. In light of the Gospels, we are able to understand them and obey them all the more with our knowledge of Christ, through God’s grace.

Next time: Luke 16:18

Bible evangewomanblogspotcomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur (sermons cited below).

Luke 14:34-35

Salt Without Taste Is Worthless

 34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

—————————————————————————————–

Our Lord has given strong warnings about belief and condemnation throughout Luke 12, Luke 13 and Luke 14.

Some of those warnings featured in Forbidden Bible Verses, which is why I wonder if the clergy really want us to know what the Bible says. So often, the Lectionary for public worship omits many — although not all — meaty verses which describe the true nature of Christianity and God’s purpose, which Jesus discusses.

For new subscribers or those who have missed some of the past three chapters of Luke, the following are among those excluded from the Lectionary readings:

Luke 12:1-3 – Jesus, leaven of Pharisees, faith, disbelief, false teaching, hypocrisy, secrets

Luke 12:4-7 – Jesus, sparrows, Hell, God’s omniscience, fear of God

Luke 12:8-12 – Jesus, Holy Spirit, blasphemy, unbelief, persecution

Luke 12:22-31 – Jesus, anxiety, worry, material cares, temporal cares

Luke 12:41-48 – Jesus, parable, master and servant, punishment, condemnation

Luke 12:57-59 – Jesus, judgment, examination of conscience

Luke 13:10-17 – Jesus, miracle, healing, bent over woman, mercy, disabling spirit, Satan, hypocrisy, sin, repentance

Luke 13:18-21 – Jesus, parables, mustard seed, leaven, kingdom of heaven

Luke 14:2-6 – Jesus, miracle, man with dropsy, edema, Pharisees

Luke 14:15-24 – parable, Parable of the Great Banquet, Jesus

Fortunately, the Lectionary includes hard-hitting verses such as these (emphases mine):

Not Peace, but Division

 49I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53)

The Narrow Door

 22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)

Lament over Jerusalem

 31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 35Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (Luke 13:31-35)

The Cost of Discipleship

 25Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-33)

One cannot help but wonder what would happen if Jesus preached in our churches today. What would our reaction be? If He were to say any of the above, it is likely many in the congregation would complain of being offended and/or walk out. ‘Where’s all-loving, all-forgiving Jesus? I didn’t sign up to this!’ People would no doubt ring the local news outlets and send countless outraged tweets.

In The Cost of Discipleship — the last passage which immediately precedes today’s two verses — Jesus is saying that we mustn’t start what we cannot finish (the tower in verses 28-30). We also have to be prepared to lose our families, even our lives, if we follow Him.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is not a bolt-on extra in our lives.

Yet, over the past decade, Christians — Catholic and Protestant — have succumbed to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, or comfy Christianity

Fading ‘memory’ of Christianity, the Divine Butler and false teaching

Forbidden Bible Verses: John 6:16-23

God and His Son have become divine fixers. We pay them heed only when we need something in our lives and often make outrageous promises such as, ‘O Lord, if only you sort out this crisis for me I promise to go to church every Sunday and honour You forever!’ Once pulled out of the mire, we quickly forget about what we promised. The Almighty goes back into our cupboard until the next time we need to call on His services.

We also have parents who decline to raise their children in the faith at home. ‘That’s why I’m sending them to a Christian school. That’s the teachers’ job, not mine.’

Above the laity, however, are the clergy. Evangelicals often come under fire for their conversion practices. Yet, longstanding denominations (e.g. Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran and Catholic) get involved in making social justice pronouncements or run socio-political programmes and collections in their congregations. Marxist community organisers are connected with a number of urban Catholic parishes in large American cities. Senior Anglican clergy comment publicly on anything under the sun — Sharia, the finance industry and social justice — rather than the Gospel; anyone would think they were writing for The Guardian. Episcopal clergy embrace New Age practices and turn a blind eye to sinful practices. A few years ago Lutheran clergy in the ELCA banded together to promote the idea of climate change; yes, carrying a hessian (burlap) bag to the shops really will guarantee eternal salvation. Some more conservative Lutheran denominations in the United States have embraced an unbiblical quasi-universalism called Universal Objective Justification; congregants speaking out against this can find — and have found — themselves excommunicated. Left-leaning PCUSA has been making more public pronouncements against Israel than about the Gospel.

Then there are the seminaries. Most are an abomination. Anything goes. Let’s reinterpret Holy Scripture. All are saved. Jesus came to redress society’s problems. Jesus’s words support liberation theology. We should honour nature and Gaia. And so on.

REALLY?

All of these aberrations from laity and clergy blind us to the Gospel message, elaborated on in the Epistles.

Is it any wonder that Jesus warns that many who notionally serve in His name will not be admitted to God’s heavenly kingdom?

Then we have Church Growth programmes. All right, let’s look at how well Jesus’s ministry worked out with the spiritually blind and hard of heart. One of the most instructive chapters in the Gospels is John 6, which describes what happened after the Feeding of the Five Thousand. The people return for another miracle. Jesus rebukes them for asking for another divine meal and explains that He is the bread they should be seeking:

58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[a] the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59Jesus[b] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life

 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

Returning to Luke’s Gospel, this is why Jesus told people to weigh up the cost of following Him. Don’t do it if you cannot finish the course. Don’t be a fair-weather disciple.

When He says that the believer will ‘hate’ his family and his own life, He doesn’t mean ‘despise’ but to ‘love less’ or ‘prefer less’. This is what the ancient Jews understood by ‘hate’.

On the discipleship that Jesus desires, John MacArthur explains:

Discipleship has the highest cost. Our Lord made it clear. He never held it back. It’s one thing to tell people the gospel, it’s one thing to give the facts, but when you call people to come to Christ, this is where you have to take them. Are you willing to set aside all your past priorities relationally?

He may take your possessions; He may not. But the point is it doesn’t matter to you because you understand the value of what you’re receiving and you are confessing Him as Lord. Anything less than that, Jesus said, you can’t be My disciple.

In today’s two verses, we read of salt. It can be confusing because few, if any, among us know of salt to lose its flavour. Why would Jesus mention salt?

MacArthur tells us that there was a type of salt which came from the Dead Sea which sometimes had gypsum in it. As such, it was worthless when harvested. However, there was no place to dispose of it:

What do you do with old salt? Well, I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t throw it in the garden. It’ll just kill everything there. They wouldn’t even throw it in a manure pile and that’s a compost heap. That salt is a problem because once it’s useless; it’s really useless … You are the salt of the earth…right? And He even said if salt loses its taste, then what’s its goodness? It has none. So what He’s saying is this. What I’m asking of you is this. Put the past aside, assess the present power and commit to Me for long-term loyalty in the future and I’ll use you for good. I’ll make you a preserving influence for righteousness. You will be the salt of the earth. That’s what He’s asking. Basically, He’s going to change the role you play in society. He’s going to change the role you play in this world. All of the sudden you’re going to be for preservation, for seasoning. Jesus is saying don’t start in letting Me use you unless you intend to be faithful. I’m asking for long-term saltiness. I’m asking for long-term loyalty. And if you are at all corrupted by some spiritual gypsum and you’re going to have a very short span, I’m not interested in those kinds of disciples.

This means that we might lose out on jobs (Christian institutions of higher education listed on a CV are the death knell in the UK), friends (in an increasingly secular, materialistic society), spouses (either potential or present for the same reason). If you want to know what following Jesus is like, come to the UK. Our secular society works on all sorts of misconceptions and incorrect assumptions. Yet, this is what Christians must be prepared for mentally. This is why Jesus says to make very sure you can stay the course.

Of course, there are tragic, extreme examples in the Middle East (Iraq) and Africa (Nigeria), ongoing as I write. Recently, Iraqi Christians had to pay extortionate sums of money in order to leave the country. Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by militant Muslim extremists a few months ago. This is what Jesus meant by being prepared to lose one’s possessions or even one’s life.

Christianity involves serious commitment. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t understand the Gospel. This is why belief in the scriptural doctrine of grace is so essential. It is that divine grace which sustains us.

Of the clergy’s saltiness, Matthew Henry had this to say in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Aberrant preachers existed then, too:

A professor of religion whose mind and manners are depraved is the most insipid animal that can be. If he speaks of the things of God, of which he has had some knowledge, it is so awkwardly that none are the better for it: it is a parable in the mouth of a fool ... Such scandalous professors ought to be cast out of the church, not only because they have forfeited all the honours and privileges of their church-membership, but because there is danger that others will be infected by them.

This is why we have church discipline. Casual Christians and unbelievers think it’s a cruel power-play by senior clergy. It isn’t. Apostate clergy distort their flock’s beliefs and could be sending them to hell in a handcart.

In closing, note Jesus’s last sentence. ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear‘ appears several times in the Gospels. He says this whenever He has an essential point to make. (A comparable expression is ‘Selah’, which features often in the Psalms.) It means to pay attention, listen carefully and heed the message.

Jesus wants our whole commitment for His and God’s purposes. Their kingdom, thankfully, is not of this world.

Next time: Luke 16:14-17

Bible kevinroosecomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 14:15-24

15When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16But he said to him,  “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

———————————————————————————

Verses 7-14 which precede today’s reading and follow last week‘s concern Jesus saying that the humble and the lowest will be exalted. He uses the Parable of the Wedding Feast to illustrate this.

Its practical application, whilst instructive, is outweighed by the allegorical application to heaven. John MacArthur explains (emphases mine):

Now what Jesus is saying here is not about social reconstruction. It’s not some kind of etiquette training to be a better hypocrite. It’s not moral motivation. It’s a picture of salvation that ends in final judgment. The judgment of the righteous. The resurrection of the righteous is where those who lived like this, because they were humbled and put their trust in the living God and in His son are then reward[ed] by God

So the assumption, the truth behind the illustration is that honor and blessing and God’s kingdom, salvation eludes those who think they can scramble for it and earn it. Honor and blessing and God’s kingdom come to those who know they don’t have it, they can’t earn it, they don’t deserve it, and they come humbly to God pounding their breast, God, be merciful to me a sinner.

This approach is very different to that of the Pharisees, with whom Jesus is breaking bread. There, He healed a man at his host’s house who was afflicted with dropsy (edema). His seeking out those in need and teaching about humility in all things clearly went against the value the Pharisees placed on temporal and religious status.

One of the guests at the Pharisee’s lunch heard Jesus’s words and exclaimed how blessed all those would be who will partake of the heavenly banquet (verse 15). Matthew Henry offers four reasons why he might have said something when everyone else remained silent:

(1.) Perhaps this man, observing that Christ reproved first the guests and then the master of the house, fearing he should put the company out of humour, started this, to divert the discourse to something else. Or, (2.) Admiring the good rules of humility and charity which Christ had now given, but despairing to see them lived up to in the present degenerate state of things, he longs for the kingdom of God, when these and other good laws shall prevail, and pronounces them blessed who shall have a place in that kingdom. Or, (3.) Christ having mentioned the resurrection of the just, as a recompence for acts of charity to the poor, he here confirms what he said, “Yea, Lord, they that shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the just, shall eat bread in the kingdom, and that is a greater recompence than being reinvited to the table of the greatest man on earth.” Or, (4.) Observing Christ to be silent, after he had given the foregoing lessons, he was willing to draw him in again to further discourse, so wonderfully well-pleased was he with what he said and he knew nothing more likely to engage him than to mention the kingdom of God.

One of the pleasures of reading Henry’s commentary is the practical advice he gives:

Note, Even those that are not of ability to carry on good discourse themselves ought to put in a word now and then, to countenance it, and help it forward.

Jesus continued with a second parable about grand feasts, this one concerning the Great Banquet. This is another lesson about who will be admitted to God’s kingdom.

He says that a man invited many people to a great banquet of his (verse 16). The host here is analogous to God.

When he and his household had prepared the banquet, he sent his servant to gather the invited guests and bring them to his house (verse 17). No one knew exactly when this grand feast was to be, just that they were to be ready at short notice. The servant alludes to Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist and Christ Himself.

However, the would-be guests began making excuses for declining this generous invitation. One had just brought land he wanted to view again (verse 18). Another said he was busy examining new oxen he had just purchased (verse 19). A third said he just got married and would not be able to attend (verse 20).

John MacArthur warns us that they are guilty of putting temporal interests above spiritual ones:

Two of them have to do with possessions, one of them has to do with relationships. And this is typical. That’s all you’ve got in this world. You either have possessions or relationships. You either have animate things in inanimate things. You either [have] stuff or people to fill your life. Disinterest, indifference, self-satisfaction

And, so often, like the Pharisees and the invited guests of the parable, we put people and possessions above our devotion to God and His Son.

Henry has this warning for us by way of commenting about the newlywed of the parable:

Our affection to our relations often proves a hindrance to us in our duty to God. Adam’s excuse was, The woman that thou gavest me persuaded me to eat this here was, The woman persuaded me not to eat. He might have gone and taken his wife along with him they would both have been welcome.

What does the great man of the parable do when his servant gets back to the estate to say that everyone invited declined when they were called (verse 21)? Rightly, he becomes angry. Imagine planning a dinner party today, buying the food, perhaps employing cleaners and caterers, then finding out everyone who accepted your invitation wasn’t coming! You’d be furious.

In the context of the parable, Henry tells us that God is just in shutting out those who reject Him and his mercy. Furthermore, as we know from history, the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 AD. And, if we are like the foolish, unprepared virgins of the famous parable (Matthew 25:1-13), we will be denied admittance to heaven:

Note, The ingratitude of those that slight gospel offers, and the contempt they put upon the God of heaven thereby, are a very great provocation to him, and justly so. Abused mercy turns into the greatest wrath. The doom he passed upon them was, None of the men that were bidden shall taste of my supper. This was like the doom passed upon the ungrateful Israel, when they despised the pleasant land: God swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest. Note, Grace despised is grace forfeited, like Esau’s birthright. They that will not have Christ when they may shall not have him when they would. Even those that were bidden, if they slight the invitation, shall be forbidden when the door is shut, the foolish virgins will be denied entrance.

This parable is yet another statement that not all will be saved.

Jesus continued with the parable. The man directed his servant to go into the city, walk thoroughfares great and small, gathering the disabled — with whom no one wanted to associate — to come to his house (verse 21). Once all were seated, the servant saw that there were yet more empty places to be filled (verse 22).  The estate owner told him to go into the countryside to bring people in to fill them (verse 23). He, still filled with righteous anger, said that none of the original invitees will have a place at his table (verse 24).

Not all will be saved. Universalism goes against Holy Scripture.

What we also learn from this is to be merciful and kind to all people, who, despite their physical or mental capacities, are created in God’s image. The same holds true for those of low social status.

We can also read ‘the poor and crippled and blind and lame’ as a reference to those who are spiritually broken; Jesus invites them to come to Him. Indeed, spiritually broken Jews did follow Jesus. God gave our Lord the broken to save and share in His eternal kingdom, His everlasting banquet.

On a historical level, we find that the Jewish hierarchy — analogous to those originally invited to the Great Banquet — rejected God’s invitation to eternal life. Jesus then expanded the invitation to the Gentiles, the rest of the world.

MacArthur sums up the parable of the Great Banquet this way:

Absence at that dinner is due to a rejection of the gospel. The originally invited ones won’t be there. And there are many of you who have been invited. You have heard God’s invitation to the banquet and you have used some lame and ridiculous excuse to refuse to come to Christ. Take this warning, unless you accept God’s invitation to come through Christ, you won’t be there either. No matter how much of an invitation you had you’re going to be like those virgins in Matthew 25, on the outside with no oil in your lamp. A lot of spiritual information and no light.

Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ will never experience heaven. Anyone who rejects Jesus Christ will never experience the celebration God has prepared in heaven for those that love His Son. And the gospel is God’s invitation. Take a look at what ridiculous excuses you might be throwing up that will ultimately exclude you from the greatest opportunity every given.

Let’s pray for more faith through grace, even the simplest ‘Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief’ (Mark 9:24). Let’s make a commitment today to put aside our secular entertainments to read God’s word. Let us ask for grace to be better followers of Christ and for more fruits of faith.

We know not the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13) when we will be called to the divine banquet. May we be ready.

Next time: Luke 14:34-35

Bible treehuggercomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 14:2-6

2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son[a] or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they could not reply to these things.

————————————————————————————-

Luke 13 concludes with two dramatic warnings from our Lord. Emphases mine below.

The Narrow Door (Luke 13:22-30) recounts His advice to enter by the narrow door (verse 24):

24Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

And:

25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’

Never think that everyone will be saved. Jesus tells us that many will not. John MacArthur says that outward appearances can belie spiritual death:

You can be devout, you can be dutiful, you can be outwardly good, you can be serious about God, you can be a defender of your religion, you can be a fundamentalist. You can be a protector of God’s will. You can be the best of the best of people and you can reject Jesus Christ and your life is a blasphemy to God. It is a slander to His name and you are left in spiritual death and eternal judgment.

The second warning at the end of Luke 13 is Jesus’s lament over Jerusalem (Luke 13:31-35):

31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 35Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'”

As Luke 14 opens, Jesus was dining at the house of a leader of the Pharisees (verse 1). The Pharisees were watching His every move.

Jesus saw a man with dropsy (verse 2), which is edema.  The word dropsy comes from the Greek hydrops, the prefix hydro meaning ‘water’. People with certain heart or liver ailments sometimes contract it. Today, they can be treated with diuretics and other medication. In Jesus’s time, there were no such remedies, so the person had to suffer in pain with a swollen body.

Matthew Henry’s commentary posits that the man was too ill and immobile to live on his own:

probably he was some relation of the Pharisee’s, that now lodged in his house, which is more likely than that he should be an invited guest at the table.

Thinking of this man, Jesus asked His host and fellow guests if healing on the Sabbath was allowed (verse 3). Recall that in Luke 13, synagogue leaders censured Him for healing a bent over woman on that day, when all ‘work’ was forbidden. Yet, as He pointed out, the Jews could feed and water their animals.

The Pharisees didn’t respond to Jesus’s question (verse 4). Our Lord turned His attention towards the man with edema. The verse says that He ‘took him’. Henry explains (emphasis in the original):

He took him, that is, he laid hands on him, to cure him epilabomenos, complexus–he embraced him, took him in his arms, big and unwieldy as he was (for so dropsical people generally are), and reduced him to shape. The cure of a dropsy, as much as any disease, one would think, should be gradual yet Christ cured even that disease, perfectly cured it, in a moment.

MacArthur agrees:

Verse 4, “He took hold of him and healed him and sent him away.” That verb took hold of him really strong, very, very strong verb. Epilombano, it’s used in Acts, I think it’s Chapter 19 or Chapter 16, verse 19 and in that particular passage it says “They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them to jail.” Very strong word. It’s used in the gospels of Jesus taking hold of a child and setting them in the midst. He literally wrapped this man up, this bloated man with sick organs manifest in this edemic condition. Why did He did that? He did it without hesitation. He did it forcefully. He did it unmistakably. He did it defiantly. Instead of keeping His distance in the healing the man out of compassion in such a way as it might not be clear what had happened, He just grabs the man, seizes him, crushes him in His arms as if to squeeze the fluid out and gives him a new heart, a new liver, and a new anything else he needed, and creates in the man a whole new set of internal organs.

Astute readers might wonder why Jesus sent the man away afterward. Henry surmised that He was protecting the man from possible verbal attacks from the Pharisees. MacArthur thinks that Jesus sensed the man was so thrilled by being healed that he wanted to go home and tell everyone what happened. In any event, as Henry’s commentary states, the man was unlikely to have been a guest at table.

Our Lord then turned His attention to the Pharisees with a second question, again about healing on the Sabbath (verse 5). Who wouldn’t have the mercy and compassion to rescue his son or animal from falling in the well on the Sabbath?

But they couldn’t answer Him (verse 6). They were spiritually dead, focussed on their interpretation and additions to the law, making it nearly impossible for the people to observe them. Yet, the Pharisees had opt-outs for themselves; which is why they had religious lawyers. The lawyers studied the law and came up with loopholes. However, only the religious leaders knew what these were. They had one easy set of laws for themselves and an onerous set for everyone else. Then they lorded themselves over everyone else. Not only were they religious legalists they were elitists.

In the intervening verses between today’s reading and next week’s, Jesus exhorts the Pharisees — and us — to extend charity towards those who are in need. He advises them to invite people to dinner who cannot repay it either with a meal in kind or with influential favours. This exhortation also serves as a representation of heaven. There is no way we can repay our Lord for His love, His mercy, His ultimate sacrifice. Furthermore, we often think of the high-status souls in heaven, but, as He reminds us, the humble will be exalted (Luke 14:11).

Next time: Luke 14:15-24

 

 

Bible readingContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 13:18-21

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

 18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

 20And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

—————————————————————————————-

In last week’s reading, which immediately precedes today’s verses, Jesus rebuked the hypocrisy of synagogue leaders who took issue when, on the Sabbath, He healed a woman who had been bent over for 18 years because of a demon.

In today’s verses Jesus states that the kingdom of God will start out small but grow to the extent that everyone under its influence will benefit (verses 18, 19).

Jesus makes this statement because, as Matthew Henry’s commentary says:

Many perhaps were prejudiced against the gospel, and loth to come in to the obedience of it, because its beginning was so small they were ready to say of Christ, Can this man save us? And of his gospel, Is this likely ever to come to any thing? Now Christ would remove this prejudice, by assuring them that though its beginning was small its latter end should greatly increase so that many should come, should come upon the wing, should fly like a cloud, to lodge in the branches of it with more safety and satisfaction than in the branches of Nebuchadnezzar’s tree, Daniel 4:21.

In order to explain His ministry and the sowing of the seed of His bride the Church, he uses the analogy of the mustard seed which grows into a huge, sturdy bush. Everyone in His audience knew how tiny these seeds were.

John MacArthur says that the mustard seed was the smallest seed in that part of the world in those days. The only seed which approximates it in size is the tobacco seed, which is the size of a full stop (‘period’ to my American readers) seen on this page. However, tobacco was an American plant exported to Europe only in the 16th century.

MacArthur elaborates on the size of a mustard seed bush:

Now a mustard seed produced a bush. Typically it could grow to eight feet high and 15 feet in diameter. That is a big plant. As far as garden plants go, that is the biggest garden plant that they new anything about …

And it grew to be a tree it says, it’s not a timber tree, but a large shrub is in view here. In fact, this thing is so large it says that birds of the air nested in its branches. And the word nested here is permanent dwelling. They set up their home, they put their nests there. It’s branches were big enough and broad enough to build permanent nests in. A little unusual for a garden plant. That’s the picture. They get so big and so sturdy and so strong that the birds find it a good place to put their permanent home. We’re not talking about lighting on it and flying away. We’re talking about building a nest and staying.

Jesus’s ministry produced relatively small results at the time because of unbelief often driven by hypocrisy of the religious hierarchy, hence, His allusion to the mustard seed. Yet, it would continue to grow and spread throughout the world. Civilisation under the influence of Christian belief would come to provide a good, secure life for all. Certainly, there have been exceptions throughout history; nothing is perfect. Civilisation has had to evolve over two millennia. And we all wonder about the world today, including Western society.

Despite that, MacArthur says (emphases mine):

And you know, as the kingdom grows in its external visible form as Christianity develops, what comes with it? The greatest civilization, the most advanced civilization, the greatest comforts, the finest medicine, the best education, the best harnessing of human resources and the resources in the earth. Christianity is the one that brought along all of the graces that grace this otherwise pagan world.

And just like 1 Corinthians 7:14 says, “That an unsaved spouse is sanctified by being married to a Christian.” So unregenerate people are sanctified by being around the influence of the growing kingdom of God. I mean, we who live in America should understand that, right? Don’t call America a Christian nation. It isn’t. But Christians have been such a dominating force in this nation’s history as to have provided the best possible life on the planet for all the non-Christians that nest in the tree of Christianity. So the Lord shows by simple power…a simple parable, don’t underestimate the power, the external growth of this kingdom. Christianity, as we speak today, in name is the largest religion in the world; in the world. And it came from such a small and obscure beginning. Just as Jesus said it would. And nesting in the tree are many nations throughout the history of the world benefiting from the blessing of the growth of the kingdom. That’s the external.

Note his mention that this analogy represents the external Church.

In the next two verses (20, 21) Jesus describes the internal growth of the believer. He compares it to the woman who leavened flour. MacArthur says she would have done this with sour dough culture:

when a young Hebrew girl married, her mother would give her some things as mothers do when girls get married, but one of the things that a mother gave a Hebrew girl was some fermented sour dough. That was a wedding present and she took it to start her first batch of bread in her new family. And it symbolized the wonderful continuity from her family into that new family. There are some things you want to leave behind, like the wretchedness of Egypt. There are some things you want to take with you like the love of a family.

And so this idea of leaven symbolized all kinds of influences. And He is saying so it is with the kingdom.

Jesus is saying that faith transforms one person at a time, just as a relatively small amount of raising agent transforms flour into dough from which one can make bread.

Henry says:

But you must give it time, wait for the issue of the preaching of the gospel to the world, and you will find it does wonders, and alters the property of the souls of men. By degrees the whole will be leavened, even as many as are, like the meal to the leaven, prepared to receive the savour of it.

MacArthur makes two good points about the influence of Christianity in our fallen world. The first ties in nicely with Henry’s perspective of allowing a lot of time for the Gospel to percolate. It concerns the Tsunami relief work which was going on in 2004 when MacArthur preached the sermon I’ve been citing in this post:

many of the relief workers in South Asia helping with the Tsunami victims are Christians. In fact, this word that I received was that Christians are flocking in there realizing that these nations are anti-Christian, persecute Christians, kill Christians, burn churches, etc. I heard a story this week about a whole seminary that was burned to the ground. They know there’s a window of opportunity and that the relief work is permeated by Christians. The world doesn’t know it. The world doesn’t see it. It can’t be seen. But it’s a way that God advances His kingdom, and it comes down to this, it’s you and it’s me in the sphere of our influence. That’s how it happens. It’s not going to happen in the great capitols of the world. It’s not going to happen through bureaucracies and civil government and authority. It’s going to happen the way it’s always going to happen, hidden as we influence the world. What a glorious calling and what a great ending.

MacArthur’s other point is that the Church continues to grow, believer by believer, even in countries which forbid any exercise of religion:

I read recently that 95% of the world’s population presently have part of the Bible or all of the Bible in their language. It’s working. Ninety percent of all tribes have had an opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. You think about Ethiopia, claims to have something around 35 million “Christians.” Talk about 50 million plus Christians in China. Did you know Cuba has 50 Christian denominations operating there under Fidel Castro? Somebody estimated that about 65,000 people profess to give their lives to Christ daily somewhere in the world.

And about 1,500 new churches start ever week. We don’t need the political power. We don’t need the military power. Christians through the years have gotten that very confused. It happens through influence. And Jesus put it this way, “I will build,” what, “my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” And some day He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords. And at that time, let me tell you folks, every eye will see Him as King of kings and Lord of lords and we will be revealed as the glorious manifestation of the children of God becomes evident to the whole world, and we’ll reign with Him in glory for 1,000 years and then on into eternity forever.

May we rejoice every time someone asks us about the Gospel message. That’s the internal influence leading to further external influence of the Church.

Next time: Luke 14:2-6

Bible croppedContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 13:10-17

A Woman with a Disabling Spirit

 10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

———————————————————————————

Luke 13 is a continuation of Jesus’s calls to repentance in Luke 12.

Last week’s Forbidden Bible Verses post looked at the conclusion to Luke 12, Jesus’s likening the Final Judgement to appearing before a magistrate. He advises ‘settling along the way’ — making amends with God via repentance whilst we are alive, rather than face condemnation in the life to come.

The first story in Luke 13 concerns those who are asking about the spiritual state of the Galilean victims of Pilate’s persecutions and those who perished when the tower of Siloam fell (near the healing pool of Bethesda/Bethsaida in John 5). Jesus tells the people that they had no greater spiritual afflictions than they, therefore, what happened was not a divine punishment. However, Jesus emphasises that those who are wondering about other’s spiritual state should spend that energy examining and improving their own, lest they face condemnation in the next life.

He then relates a parable about a fig tree which has not yet borne fruit. The gardener — vinedresser — advised his boss the landowner to allow him to give it special attention for a year to see if it would bear fruit. If it did not, then he would fell the tree. Jesus’s message here is that God gives us a certain time to repent; if not, we face the consequences of eternal condemnation. We can pray for sinners to be infused with grace and wisdom so to do. However, we cannot pray that God will pardon the unrepentant. Matthew Henry’s commentary says:

Reprieves may be obtained by the prayers of others for us, but not pardons[;] there must be our own faith, and repentance, and prayers, else no pardon.

Now we come to today’s passage, Jesus’s merciful healing of a disabled woman on the Sabbath. This, too, although a healing miracle, symbolises God’s acceptance of the repentant sinner who believes in Christ.

Jesus was teaching in an unnamed synagogue (verse 10). Among the congregation was a woman who was stooped over and could not stand upright; a demon caused her longstanding condition with which she suffered for 18 years (verse 11).

Keep in mind that in synagogues then — as is true in Orthodox synagogues today — women had to sit separately from women. John MacArthur surmises that, in Jesus’s day, the women sat at the back, so she would have been out of sight from the leaders at the front.

Jesus called the lady to come forward and told her she was healed (verse 12). As He laid His hands upon her, she was able to stand up for the first time in nearly 20 years and praised God (verse 13).

The leader of the synagogue then stood up and denounced our Lord’s healing by saying that He had six other days of the week to do it; work was not permitted on the Sabbath (verse 14).

Jesus expressed His righteous indignation at the synagogue leader’s denunciation by saying that hypocritical Sabbath observers were kinder to their livestock than to a human (verse 15). Furthermore, He added, this lady was a Jew — one of their own (verse 16). In other words, who would deny her this merciful healing miracle? Only a hypocritical legalist.

With that Jesus shamed the legalist synagogue leaders and the people rejoiced at His words (verse 17).

MacArthur unpacks this scene for us (emphases mine):

He endeavors to bring on the head of Jesus a violation of the law of God. But of course, there’s nothing in the law of God that says you can’t help somebody on the Sabbath. Any deed of mercy, any necessity was perfectly acceptable on the Sabbath and their Jewish law even said it. The Mishnah even said that you could do anything for a person or an animal that was necessary or merciful. And Jesus, Himself, in the 12th Chapter of Matthew had told them, you know, you’ve got the whole idea of the law of God wrong. Do you remember when David’s soldiers were hungry and they went into the temple and ate the show bread, because they were hungry. And feeding men who were hungry was more important than the symbolism of the show bread.

It really was the hatred they had for Jesus. He was going to make up a rule that you can’t heal on the Sabbath. There could never be such a rule in Judaism, because nobody could heal anyway. So how would that rule develop? So the Lord answers him in verse 15. The Lord answered him and said, “you hypocrites,” He was direct, as always, you spiritual fraud, “does not each of you on Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him?” Well, He got them, because they did that.

In fact, in the Mishnah, the codification of Jewish rabbinic law, it prescribes that you can do that. You can take your animal if you put no burden on his back and lead him to water or to eat. It even gives you a maximum of 200 cubits that you can go. And they even have some prescription about how wide the well is so you can see how they encumbered these things. But it was perfectly fine to do that. You phonies.

Of course, the crowds that lauded Jesus for His mercy and compassion turned against Him by the time it came for His trial and crucifixion.

That said, not only is this account of Luke’s one of merciful physical restoration but a pointer towards the compassion God has for us sinners. As Matthew Henry puts it:

This cure represents the work of Christ’s grace upon the souls of the people. (1.) In the conversion of sinners. Unsanctified hearts are under this spirit of infirmity they are distorted, the faculties of the soul are quite out of place and order they are bowed down towards things below. O curvæ in terram animæ ! They can in no wise lift up themselves to God and heaven the bent of the soul, in its natural state, is the quite contrary way. Such crooked souls seek not to Christ but he calls them to him, lays the hand of his power and grace upon them, speaks a healing word to them, by which he looses them from their infirmity, makes the soul straight, reduces it to order, raises it above worldly regards, and directs its affections and aims heavenward. Though man cannot make that straight which God has made crooked (Ecclesiastes 7:13), yet the grace of God can make that straight which the sin of man has made crooked. (2.) In the consolation of good people. Many of the children of God are long under a spirit of infirmity, a spirit of bondage through prevailing grief and fear, their souls are cast down and disquieted within them, they are troubled, they are bowed down greatly, they go mourning all the day long, Psalm 38:6. But Christ, by his Spirit of adoption, looses them from this infirmity in due time, and raises them up.

4. The present effect of this cure upon the soul of the patient as well as upon her body. She glorified God, gave him the praise of her cure to whom all praise is due. When crooked souls are made straight, they will show it by their glorifying God.

Therefore, as the psalmist said, let us rejoice and be glad.

Next time: Luke 13:18-21

Bible kevinroosecomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 12:57-59

Settle with Your Accuser

 57“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”[a]

————————————————————————————-

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Luke 12 is a hard-hitting chapter.

Jesus warns against secrets, says that God is to be more feared than man and that we are to acknowledge our Lord openly.

The Parable of the Rich Fool follows, in which Jesus condemns materialism. He says that believers are to put God’s Kingdom first; everything else to satisfy our temporal needs will follow.

Jesus then relates to His disciples the parable of the servants who are unprepared for their master’s return. Similarly, severe punishment awaits those who persist in sin, thinking that they have plenty of time to repent.

The chapter goes on to recount Jesus’s warning that His divine truth will divide families. This continues to be true today:

51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Jesus then rebuked the hypocrisy of many of the people whom He encountered in His ministry. He said they could interpret the weather but were ignoring the greatest blessing they could ever receive — His presence, as God had predestined from the beginning of time. A similar passage can be found in Matthew 16:1-4, which I wrote about in 2010.

Therefore, His question about discerning what is ‘right’ (verse 57) is a call to repentance — now.

To illustrate this, He uses the analogy of appearing in court. Law-abiding people fear this, and rightly so. However, as off-putting as a temporal court is, Jesus tells us God’s court on Judgment Day will be even more so.

This is why He advocates settling with one’s accuser on the way to court (verse 58) — in other words, embrace repentance. Turn away from sin before it’s too late, because, just as those who are convicted for debt are imprisoned until the last penny — lepton, in His time — is paid, those whom God finds guilty of sin will receive a punishment with no reprieve (verse 59).

Matthew Henry’s commentary gives this advice:

let us give diligence to be delivered out of the hands of God as an adversary, into his hands as a Father, and this as we are in the way, which has the chief stress laid upon it here. While we are alive, we are in the way and now is our time, by repentance and faith through Christ (who is the Mediator as well as the magistrate), to get the quarrel made up, while it may be done, before it be too late. Thus was God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, beseeching us to be reconciled.

John MacArthur says:

2 Corinthians 5 talks about that God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He’s provided reconciliation. God wants you to settle out of court and the way you settle is to make peace with Him through His Son, through faith in Christ, whom God made sin for us that we might be made the righteous of God in Him. God punished Him, the just for the unjust, that we might be brought to God. Grace is available. Forgiveness is available. Freedom from sin is available. Freedom from punishment, the hope of eternal life, escape from judgment. You can settle with God out of court. If you don’t, you’ll get to court and you will pay in full down to the last cent. Don’t even be there. Settle your account. Put your trust in Christ. He says to them, “How…how could you waste such an opportunity? You didn’t discern the time and you didn’t discern the threat”…tragedy. Isaiah 55, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near.” 2Corinthians 6, “Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation.” Don’t miss it.

In closing, MacArthur also explains how the courts system worked in Jesus’s time. Some of it remains unchanged in certain countries even to this day:

The magistrate is the archonta, the archon, the ruler, the person of power, and this is sort of a preliminary hearing which would occur. You’d go and the guy would lay out his case and the magistrate would then remand the thing to the judge and put him to court …

The judge is just that, kriten, the judge. The constable, proctor is the word, and the constable was the person who had the responsibility to exact the punishment. He is called an exacter of penalties. A proctor, here called a constable, is one who enforced the payment of debt by imprisonment. It’s always been interesting to me. I’ve been in Northern Ireland and I toured with the Northern Ireland Police, who have no small job, and they are called constables and the police are the constabulary. They are the ones who enforce the payment of debts by imprisonment. That’s what they do and that’s exactly what this Greek word means.

Next time: Luke 13:10-17

Bible evangewomanblogspotcomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry.

Luke 12:41-48

41Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

———————————————————————————

In verse 41, Peter enquired about the parable which Jesus had just told His disciples:

35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Jesus replied that the master of the house will reward the faithful servant who is wise enough to anticipate his return home at any hour (verses 42, 43). The master will give that servant care over all his possessions (verse 44).

However, the servants who do not expect the master to return anytime soon and go about abusing other servants or partying with the master’s food and drink will find themselves at the hands of an irate master who will ‘cut them in pieces and put them with the unfaithful’ (verses 45, 46). Similarly, the servant who ignored his duties to his master in other ways will receive a severe beating (verse 47).

Yet, Jesus says that the servant who was ignorant of his responsibilities and deserved the same treatment will receive a lighter punishment (verse 48). That said, He concludes that those who have been given the most — the gift of His eternal truth and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit — will be expected to use these for His glory or risk condemnation.

Matthew Henry explains (emphases mine):

Here seems to be an allusion to the law, which made a distinction between sins committed through ignorance, and presumptuous sins (Num. xv. 29,30), as also to another law concerning the number of stripes given to a malefactor, to be according to the nature of the crime, Deuteronomy 25:2,3. Now, (1.) Ignorance of our duty is an extenuation of sin. He that knew not his lord’s will, through carelessness and neglect, and his not having such opportunities as some others had of coming to the knowledge of it, and did things worthy of stripes, he shall be beaten, because he might have known his duty better, but with few stripes his ignorance excuses in part, but not wholly. Thus through ignorance the Jews put Christ to death (Acts 3:17,1 Corinthians 2:8), and Christ pleaded that ignorance in their excuse: They know not what they do. (2.) The knowledge of our duty is an aggravation of our sin: That servant that knew his lord’s will, and yet did his own will, shall be beaten with many stripes. God will justly inflict more upon him for abusing the means of knowledge he afforded him, which others would have made a better use of, because it argues a great degree of wilfulness and contempt to sin against knowledge of how much sorer punishment then shall they be thought worthy, besides the many stripes that their own consciences will give them! Son, remember. Here is a good reason for this added: To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required, especially when it is committed as a trust he is to account for. Those have greater capacities of mind than others, more knowledge and learning, more acquaintance and converse with the scriptures, to them much is given, and their account will be accordingly.

These readings from Luke 12 are often used when discussing a clergyman’s responsibilities to his flock. The clergyman is the Lord’s foremost servant.

Yet, they apply equally to all believers, with punishments given according to one’s abilities and awareness. The more intellectual and cognitive gifts we have, the more we are to apply them in our understanding and exercise of the Christian faith.

One primary example of this is teaching one’s children Christian beliefs, including prayers and Scripture. Too many leave this to Sunday School or Religious Education teachers. Some parents also think that children are ‘too young’ to understand these things; one often wonders if that is used to excuse their own laxity in this regard. Whatever the case, it might count against the parents one day.

We are obliged to grow in love and faith of God through His divine grace and help from the Holy Spirit. May we not be like the unfaithful servant running the risk of a dreadful punishment.

Next time: Luke 12:57-59

 

Bible kevinroosecomContinuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.

The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.

Do some clergy using the Lectionary want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? You decide.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Luke 12:8-12

Acknowledge Christ Before Men

 8“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

—————————————————————————————–

Today’s reading is particularly pertinent, given that, as I write, it is the first Sunday after Trinity.

To recap where we are in Luke 12, the chapter began with Jesus criticising hypocritical religious practice, particularly that of the Pharisees. He warned that what was considered secret would be uncovered and revealed.

In the verses which followed, He counselled that we had no reason to fear others as much as we do the living God who can condemn us to eternal death.

In today’s reading, Jesus makes it clear how we are to consider the Holy Trinity, although He does not use this term.

On Judgment Day, anyone who honoured Jesus during his lifetime, our Lord will acknowledge before God’s angels (verse 8). In other words, if we proclaim Jesus to others — through evangelisation in the traditional ways for those who are able or through a consistent Christian example — He will proclaim us as His own.

The word ‘acknowledge’ is used in that verse. Men of the cloth also use the word ‘confess’ when explaining this verse. We might find ‘confess’ has a negative connotation, used in connection with sin or crime, however, even in that sense, the word is used in connection with coming forth with the truth. If someone confesses a sin or a crime, he admits that he is guilty. In a positive sense, those who confess that Jesus is Lord are affirming eternal truth.

In the context of Jesus’s discourse, He meant that the Pharisees and their followers did not love God because they did not accept Him (Jesus) as the Messiah.

John MacArthur explains:

Confessing the Father also requires confessing the Son. Honoring the Father requires honoring the Son and confessing Me means, as I told you last time, the word confess means to say what is true…to say what is true about the Son of Man, to say what is true about Jesus Christ is to say that He is God, He is Savior and He is Lord. It is to confess Jesus as Lord in the words of Romans chapter 10. And we pointed out last time that you cannot honor God unless you honor Christ. Jesus Himself said in John 5, “No one honors the Father who doesn’t honor Me. Whoever honors Me honors the Father.” And so in order to escape the judgment of those in false religion, the judgment of hypocrites, we must confess and honor God, we must confess and honor Christ. There is no way to God except through Christ. “No man comes to the Father but by Me,” said Jesus. So you do not honor the Father unless you honor the Son.

Those who claim to love God yet reject Christ will be denied before the angels (verse 9). Many people today say they believe in God, yet they have no time for His Son. These are lapsed Christians who often speak of a church-oriented upbringing. This is a grave mistake to make with irreversible consequences for the afterlife. We owe it to our friends and family who talk of God yet deny Christ to set them aright by explaining the New Testament teachings to them.

Matthew Henry describes the afterlife for deniers:

a considerable part of the misery of damned sinners will be that the holy angels will abandon them, and will be the pleased witnesses, not only of their disgrace, as here, but of their misery, for they shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels (Revelation 14:10), who will give them no relief.

Jesus went on to say that those who speak against Him can be forgiven but those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit cannot be pardoned that sin (verse 10). Not enough of us are acquainted with that verse, which, as I wrote two years ago, is also documented in Mark 3:28-29 and Matthew 12:22-32. Recall that in that context — as in Luke 11:14-23 — those who said that Jesus was driven by Beelzebul (Satan) to perform miracles were really denying the power of the Holy Spirit which enabled those dramatic acts of healing.

As for us, MacArthur says:

We must acknowledge the Son as sovereign Savior and Lord. And we must acknowledge, this is very important, the Holy Spirit as sovereign revealer…sovereign revealed. We acknowledge God the Father as the One whose holy Law has been violated. We honor God the Son as the one who has paid the penalty for that violation and satisfied God’s wrath. And we honor the Spirit as the one whose revelation concerning God and Christ has been made known to us. No one comes to God except through Christ. No one comes to Christ except through the Spirit because you can’t come to Christ unless you know the truth about Him and you can’t know the truth about Him unless you believe the revelation of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that tells us about Christ. It is Christ who points us to the Father. To say it another way, God is revealed in Christ and Christ is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then moves to the subject of persecution.  Once again, He tells His disciples not to be afraid of suffering at the hands of men (verse 11), because the Holy Spirit will guide them during any trials and give them the right words to say in their defence and in affirmation of Christ the Lord (verse 12).

Some may say, ‘What about all the martyrs, then?’ There is no guarantee against suffering in these last two verses but rather the promise of a continuing affirmation of faith — and eternal life — by the one who is on trial, whatever the earthly outcome.

MacArthur unpacks this for us:

it’s not the Holy Spirit in a vacuum, it’s the Holy Spirit working internally from the hearing of the external Word which the Spirit has authored. This is absolutely foundational, absolutely foundational. A full true confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit through exposure to the written revelation, the external Scripture which He authored and accompanied by the internal hard work by which He regenerates, illuminates and sanctifies.

Despite our Confirmation classes it would seem that many of us still have a rudimentary understanding of the Holy Spirit and His gifts.

It was thanks to the Holy Spirit’s descending on the disciples at Pentecost that the Church was able to expand among both Jew and Gentile. Remember that it was the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to send once He ascended into Heaven.

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom, discernment, fortitude and piety in our Christian walk.

Next time: Luke 12:22-31

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post -- not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 -- resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 495 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

September 2014
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  
Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 679,469 hits
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers