Prophecy Opinion Today: "'The G8" - Chuck Missler

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The G8 Summit Wind

Chuck MisslerBy Dr. Chuck Missler 
Koinonia House 





The G8 summit was held over the weekend in Deauville, France. The leaders of United States, Britain, Germany, Russia, Japan, France, Canada and Italy met to discuss a number of major issues, including African development and the ongoing Arab Spring, nuclear safety and the repercussions of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, defense issues, the reeling global economy and climate change. With all the talking that gets done at these meetings, the question is always whether anything substantial gets accomplished - and accomplished for good.

Arab Spring: One of the most pressing matters addressed at the G8 summit was what to do about Africa. The United States committed $20 billion toward enhancing "democratic transformation" and the G8 leaders met with the prime ministers of Egypt and Tunisia in an effort to foster a move toward the rule of law and stability. In a statement, the G8 leaders declared, "[W]e renewed our commitment to support democratic reform around the world and to respond to the aspirations for freedom, including freedom of religion, and empowerment, particularly for women and youth. Democracy lays the best path to peace, stability, prosperity, shared growth and development." 

According to Tunisia's finance minister Jalloul Ayed, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced a package of $40 billion for northern Africa, supposedly to help set up stable governments in the place of deposed dictators, but where the money is coming from was not nailed down. Meetings between finance ministers are to take care of the details in July.

Regarding Libya, Britain and France have agreed to send in attack helicopters to aid rebel forces. In statements, the G8 leaders demanded that Muammar Gaddafi cease using force against Libyan civilians and promised that Gaddafi would not be harmed if he leaves Libya. On the other hand, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has consented to have Russia mediate between Libya and the Western powers, a step that the other leaders seemed to agree would be "useful." 

Then there's Syria. The G8 called on Bashar Assad to "stop using force and intimidation against the Syrian people." Obama and Sarkozy called for Assad to either help Syria transition to democracy or step down. There's no clear plan for making Assad play nice, of course. Russia is not keen on using any force in Syria, and Syria cares much more for Iran and Turkey's opinions than those of the West. 

As NATO planes still fly over Tripoli, Spanish demonstrators were filmed last Friday being beaten by Barcelona police trying to dispel a crowd from the city's Plaza Catalunya prior to Saturday's Champions League final. Apparently, violence against civilians is not confined to the Middle East. 

Russia: France's Sarkozy and Russia's Medvedev engaged in serious discussions during the summit. Along with collecting a mutual agreement on the Arab Spring situation, the two leaders finalized a deal for Russia to buy two French warships and permission to build two more according to the French design in a fairly historical €1.5 billion deal. 

Medvedev and Obama did not resolve the missile defense system issue, and Medvedev concluded that the matter would not likely be resolved until the end of the decade. The two leaders repeatedly assured the world that US and Russian relations were good, but Medvedev noted, "It does not mean that we'll have common views and coinciding views on all the issues. It's impossible." 

International Aid: United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron urged the other leaders to give substantially to foreign aid to troubled countries. Last year, the UK contributed 0.56 percent of its GDP, the largest relative amount of any Western nation. The US gave more total money, £18.5 billion, which is .21 percent of its GDP, and Germany gave £7.8bn, which is only 0.38 per cent of GDP. The voters back in the United Kingdom were not all pleased with their generosity, snarling about spending money on third world countries while Cameron makes spending cuts at home. 

Japan: The G8 leaders expressed sympathy for and solidarity with Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. However, they did not offer any specific help, trusting "in the ability of the Japanese authorities to respond to the challenge and build a speedy and lasting recovery." Still, the leaders said, "[W]e stand ready to assist as needed." 

Nuclear Safety: The biggest lesson learned from Japan was the importance of nuclear safety. The presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso, were pleased that the G8 endorsed the need to do stress tests around the world. France acquires the majority of its energy from nuclear plants, so the excitement about nuclear safety will affect Paris. The concern will also affect Germany, which is planning to turn its back on nuclear power altogether. The EU will start launching tests on June 1. "We cannot compromise on nuclear safety," said Van Rompuy and Barroso. 

Israel: Above any other country, Canada came to Israel's defense at the summit. Most of the countries were content to affirm Obama's recent speech in which he called for a return to the 1967 borders with land swaps as a basis for peace negotiations, even though Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu has called the prospect "indefensible." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, sprang to Israel's side. He argued that the G8 leaders could not focus on the 1967 borders part of Obama's speech and leave out the parts that protected Israel. In his speech, Obama had also affirmed the Jewishness of Israel and declared that a future Palestinian state would be non-militarized. Obama had made it clear that Hamas could not be part of negotiations if it did not accept Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and commit to previous agreements between Israel and the PA. In the end, the other G8 nations relented and accepted these additional elements important to Israel's security. 

Global Recovery: The EU recognizes that it has to get ahold of its sovereign debt problem. The $1,000 billion in debt owed by Greece, Ireland, and Portugal cannot just be forgiven; it's a lot of money for French and German banks to lose, and it sets a horrible precedent. Greece cannot be allowed to default, and yet it is struggling without a lot of hope. It's locked into the euro, and so cannot adjust its currency to deal with its severe financial problems. 

On top of it, the International Monetary Fund is in the middle of a semi-crisis; its director-general Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged with sexual assault in New York, and the post needs to be filled. It is a position that has been consistently held by Europeans, but other countries, like Mexico, are vying for the post with the argument that fresh outside eyes might be able to bring solutions to Europe's financial problems. 

There was no attempt to fully settle these issues at the summit. There was simply a recognition that the sovereign debt problem needs to be resolved, and those present supported Europe's efforts to get its books in order. 

While communication between the world's largest economies is good, and it is useful to get world leaders seeing eye-to-eye, it is always questionable how much real benefit is accomplished at these meetings. Will the $40 billion designated for Africa actually produce stable, healthy, pro-Western governments where human rights are honored, or will the money be funneled away into regimes just as corrupt as the ones they replace? Will the G8 leaders' voicing their opinions to Bashar Assad have the slightest effect on his treatment of his people? Will Europe fix its debt problems and spur the economies of the world toward prosperity? Will pushing Israel to accept a return to the indefensible 1967 borders move Israel to do any such thing, or move Hamas to accept Israel's right to exist? Some cynicism attends all these questions. 

The one definite accomplishment of the summit seems to be that Russia will be buying some very expensive warships from France. At least that, perhaps, will help soften the blow if Greece's remains unable to repay its debts.


 Yes! Jesus is Coming!


 

WEDNESDAYintheWORD: "John 5 " -Chuck Smith

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John 5 

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Shall we turn in our Bibles to the fifth chapter of the gospel of John.

John has just recorded in the fourth chapter the ministry of Jesus in the Galilee when He was at the city of Cana and the nobleman came to Him concerning his son, who was sick. And Jesus spoke the word and some twenty miles distance the Spirit of God did a work and healed the nobleman's son.

So after this, that would be after His ministry there in Cana, and the healing of the nobleman's son,

There was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there He's at Jerusalem by the sheep market at a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. And in these there lay a great multitude of impotent folk, blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: and whosoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty-eight years. And when Jesus saw him lying there, and he knew that he had been a long time in this case, he said unto him, Would you like to made whole? And the impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I'm trying to get in, another steps down before me. And Jesus said unto him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk (Jhn 5:1-8).

So John is now giving us another little scene in the ministry of Jesus. We remember that the gospel of John is selected pictures. In the nineteenth chapter of John he tells us that Jesus did many other things which are not recorded. But these were recorded that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and by believing have life in His name. So John is telling you that he's just selecting certain things out of the life and the ministry of Jesus to demonstrate to you the fact that He was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. That by your believing in Him you might have life in His name. When John closed his epistle he said there are so many things that could be written about Jesus. That I suppose if someone tried to write them all, all of the libraries in the world could not hold all that could be written about Him. Well, surely we are proving that today with a multitude of books that are being published concerning the Bible and concerning Jesus, and yet, we have not nearly exhausted all that could or perhaps should be said. This is another little insight. The pool of Bethesda, inside it said of the sheep gate, today it lies inside of what is known as the lion's gate, the sheep gate no longer exists in the walls of the city of Jerusalem. But inside the lion's gate, in their excavations they have found the pool of Bethesda where the five porches where Jesus ministered to this lame man.

There were many people around there blind, lame and all, for a tradition had been developed about the pool. That whenever the waters began to move whoever was the first one into the water would be healed of whatever disease they had. So all of these people who where lame, blind, maimed, or whatever, would lie around this pool just waiting for the water to be troubled. Can you imagine what a pitiful sight that must've been? To see this pool of water with these five porches and all of these grotesque creatures lying around it just waiting for the water to be troubled and then the mad scramble and the blind person was, of course, was disadvantaged because he can only hear the rustling of people and then realize what must be going on and trying to get in, and everyone trying to get in first, and the first one in was healed of whatever disease he had. You say, "Well, how can you explain that, that the first one in could be healed?"

We know there is tremendous power in faith. Jesus said if you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. How many times Jesus said to people by faith has made you whole. Faith is a tremendous power. It can activate the work of God in your behalf. And people oftentimes need a point of contact for releasing their faith. Many times faith is rather passive. Our faith in God is often passive, but should not be. I'm not advocating this, I'm just making a statement of fact. But passive faith really doesn't do much. I believe that God can. I believe that God created the universe, so I know that God can do anything. I have the passive faith to believe that God could replace an amputated arm. I say the passive faith to believe that because I don't have the active faith to believe that. You say, "Well, do you believe that God created the world?" Sure. "Do you believe God can do anything?" Sure. Then if God can do anything, sure He can put a new arm upon a person who had his arm amputated. I believe He can. I don't believe He will. You see, that's the difference between the passive faith and an active faith. An active faith believes He will.

Now many times we need some kind of a place, a point, an experience where we turn our faith from a passive faith which does little, to an active faith that will accomplish a lot. And oftentimes the point of contact is extremely valuable.

Now with these people a point of contact have been developed to where, whenever the water became troubled they believed that the first one into the water would be healed of whatever disease or malady they had. And because they believed this to be so, the first one into the water, his faith was immediately activated and he believed God is going to heal me. And because he believed that God was going to heal him, he was healed. His faith became active.

Much as the woman who in her heart said, "I know the moment I touched the hem of His garment, I would be made whole of this plague." And so she made her way through the crowd until she got close enough to reach out and touch the hem of His garment, and the moment she did, she released her faith. It became active and God's power ministered to her as the virtue went out from Jesus, because God responds to our faith. Your faith can be a hindrance or a blessing. What I believe is very important. If I believe that God can't or won't do a certain thing, then it usually follows that God doesn't. If I believe that God will do a certain thing, then it usually follows that God does.

When I was a child, unfortunately, there was a lot of negative preaching. And many people became victim of the negative preaching. I heard many sermons against a lot of things. And one of the favorite subjects of attack by those ministers was smoking cigarettes. And I heard over and over as a child that if you smoke a cigarette, God will not, you cannot be a Christian, you cannot be a child of God and smoke a cigarette. And I heard this.

Now there were many of my companions who also heard this teaching and this preaching and they believed what they heard. So that when they began to experiment and smoke cigarettes they believed, "Well, God can't save me. I'm a sinner because I smoke a cigarette, and I can't be saved as long as I smoked this cigarette." And because they believed that they could not be saved smoking a cigarette, it became true. They could not be saved, they could not believe that God could save them while they were bound by a cigarette habit. Because what you believe becomes the reality in that case. And unfortunately, many people have been destroyed through negative preaching.

I had a man in Tucson who said, "Chuck, I would like to be a Christian. I would like to come to church, I would like to live for the Lord. I used to be the youth director in our church when I was growing up. And I was serving the Lord and I was happy and all and I would like to do it now, but my job gives me a lot of stress. And when I get home in the evening after a stressful day on the job I love to sit down and relax and have a can of beer. And so I can't be saved." I said, "Eddie, who told you that you can't have a can of beer?" I said, "That isn't the issue." Just to shock him I said, "I drink all the beer I want; I don't want to drink any."

But many people are kept away from God because they have become entangled into habits or into patterns that they can't break. They've tried to break them, they've been told as long as they were doing that they can't be a child of God. And so they've tried to quit smoking, but they can't quite smoking, and so they think, "Oh, God, I wish I could be saved. Oh, I wish I can be a child of God." And they long and desire to be, but they're bound; they can't quit smoking. What they're trying to do is get the cart before the horse. You give your life to Jesus Christ, and He'll take care of those things in your life as the Spirit of God conforms you into the image of Jesus Christ.

We so often in our endeavor to be righteous before God are trying to work from the outside in, but that is always a difficult, if not impossible, project. The Spirit of God works from the inside out. He brings to pass those changes within me which have their expression on the outside. So our faith, what I believe to be, becomes a reality in my life. But there is that possibility of activating faith, and oftentimes, the point of contact is valuable in doing that. If there are any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church, and let them anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord shall raise them up.

Now, as the elders come and anoint with oil and lay hands in the name of Jesus and pray for that person, it gives the point of contact to release the faith. "I know as soon as the elders get here and anoint me with oil and pray for me in the name of the Lord I'm going to be healed. Oh bless God, I can hardly wait for them to come. Oh praise the Lord." You know, and as the doorbell rings, "Oh, they're here bless God. I'm going to be healed now in just a few moments, the moment they lay their hands on me and anoint me with oil in the name of Lord." And because I believe the promise of God and I believe the Word of God, the moment they lay their hands on me in the name of Jesus and they pray for me, I'm healed. Why? Because I've now triggered or activated the faith. It is no longer if God can heal me, but God is healing me now at this moment, and it is that activating of faith.

So these people sat around the pool waiting for the waters to be troubled. Because it created the point of contact with their releasing their faith for that work that God was wanted to do in their lives. But this man had been lame for thirty-eight years. And he had been lying around here for a long time. But he was so crippled that whenever the waters began to stir, by the time he could get his body into the water someone else had already gotten there in front of him. And thus, he remained in his crippled condition, hoping and waiting that some day he might be the first one in. And as his case was, he didn't have any friend to help him. You know, those who were just there beside him and holding him and as soon as the waters troubled toss him in. So he was there in that hopeless state, and Jesus said would you like to be healed? And he brought up his problem to Jesus, "Of course I would like to be healed, but there's no one to help me. When the waters are troubled someone always get there in front of me." And then Jesus commanded him to do the impossible. Jesus said unto him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk."

I love the way Jesus is always giving to people impossible commands. Because whenever the Lord gives you an impossible command then you are faced with one of two choices. The first choice is you can obey the command that Jesus gave you, or you can argue with the command.

Now this man could have said, "Who are you trying to kid, mister? I told you I don't have anybody to help me, the waters aren't troubled now. You think that if I could carry my bed away from here I'd be lying here all this time. I've been thirty-eight years like this, man, there's no way I can stand up." And he could have argued with the command of Jesus and remained impotent. But he made a wise choice, he chose to obey the command of Christ. And we read,

And immediately the man was made whole, and he took up his bed, and walked (Jhn 5:9):

He chose to obey the command of Christ, though he knew it was an impossible command.

Now many times the Lord gives to us commands that, to us, seem like an impossible command. Maybe there is an area of weakness in our life that we have struggled with for years. It has kept us in a defeated state. And the Lord said, "Alright, now don't do that again." We say, "Oh, Lord, you don't know how I would like to quit. Oh, you don't know how miserable I am when I do this. I don't get any joy out of this." And we argue with Jesus and we tell Him all the times we tried. We tell Him of all of the programs that we've been on. All of the books we've read. All of the money we spent trying to change our behavioral patterns and I'm still the same. And we are arguing with Him, rather than willing to obey.

Now, one thing we must learn and that is, though Jesus gives to us what seems to be an impossible command, that Jesus never commands us to do anything, but if we will, but will to do it, He will in that moment give to us all of the capacity all of the power and all of the ability to do it. Don't argue with Him and say, "Yes, Sir," and do it. Because if you will will to obey the command of Christ, immediately you will receive all that is necessary to obey that command. So many times we look and we say, "That's impossible, Lord." Not anymore, because He told me to do it. And by virtue of the fact that He told me to do it, He will give me the capacity to do it.

So this man was made whole, he took up his bed and walked, but they weren't looking at the calendar.

the same day was the Sabbath (Jhn 5:9).

And he didn't get very far until some of these black robe men with black hats and long curls said unto him that was cured,

It's the Sabbath day: it's not lawful for thee to carry thy bed (Jhn 5:10).

It's interesting to me the tradition that man can acquire, but really what amazes me most is how deeply ingrained tradition can become in a person's life. You know, I think one of the hardest things to be freed from is tradition. It's just awfully hard to shake ourselves from tradition. Unfortunately, into the church there has come a lot of tradition, church tradition, which has its roots in the mystery Babylon in religion. But it has become a part of church tradition. But because it is tradition, it has become so deeply ingrained that when Martin Luther sought to make his break and did make a break, it wasn't a truly clean break from all of the abuses. For he brought into the Protestant Reformation much of what was tradition brought in from the mystery Babylon religion systems. So that as Jesus wrote to the church of Sardis, the Protestant Reformation, He said, "I have not found your work complete before God. You still got a lot of these trappings that belong to the mystery Babylon religion that have no place in the body of Christ." But traditions are very difficult to throw off. They are so deeply ingrained within a person.

They had certain traditions that had developed concerning the Sabbath. They sought to interpret the Sabbath law. They had what was known as the Mishnah. The commentaries on the law of Moses. And in the Mishnah some twenty-three chapters were devoted to the interpreting of the law of the Sabbath day. How God just said, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, six days shalt though labor and do thy work, but the seventh day is the day of rest." So just remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy.

Now they began to try to interpret this particular law, and in twenty-three chapters of the Mishnah you find interpretation of the law. What constitutes bearing a burden on the Sabbath day.

Now the other day when we were in Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, our bus was going down the street, and there was this little Jewish boy, looked to be ten or twelve years old, with his black robe and black hat and long curls. And as the bus went by, he was incensed that the bus should be traveling on the Sabbath day, and he made all kinds of faces at us. Finally he stuck out his tongue at us because we were daring to ride in a bus on the Sabbath day. Now it was lawful, I guess, to stick out his tongue but... There were certain areas of the city of Jerusalem that we could not drive the bus. Certain areas that had barricades near the area known as the Miasherim. And should we have tried to drive the bus by that area, though it was unlawful to bear any burdens on the Sabbath day, they would have stoned us.

This man was nailed; he's carrying a bed on the Sabbath day. "Hey, fellow, it's the Sabbath day. It's not lawful to carry your bed."

And he answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up your bed, and walk (Jhn 5:11).

Now they, no doubt, knew this man. Jerusalem did not have that many people, but what a man that have been around lame for thirty-eight years became sort of a public figure, and people knew him, recognized him. And so he calls to their attention the fact that he was cured. "Surely, anybody that can cure me after thirty-eight years of lameness must have some word of authority, and so He told me to take my bed and walk."

And they asked him, Who is it who said to you to take your bed and walk? And he who was healed didn't know who it was: for Jesus had just conveyed himself away, because there were a lot of people in that place. So afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and he said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, less a worse thing come upon thee (Jhn 5:12-14).

Now in this particular case, it would seem that Jesus related the man's illness to some sin in his life. "Sin no more less a worse thing come upon thee."

There can be a relationship between sin and a particular malady. But it would be very wrong to generalize and say that any sickness or malady is directly related to some sin. This is the mistake that Job's comforters made, and it is a mistake that often people make even subconsciously in their mind when a person is quite sick or afflicted, and unfortunately, there are those evangelists today who would sort of foster that false concept. "If you just had enough faith, you could be healed. Just get your life straightened up; God wants to heal everybody. And if you're not healed, it's because there's something wrong in your life, something wrong with your faith." And all they are doing is heaping heavy burdens upon the poor sick people that they don't need. Making them feel guilty or even worse in their condition. God has a special judgment, I'm sure, for such comforters.

This man did not know who Jesus was until Jesus found him in the temple. And his condition had a relationship to some sin in his life, and Jesus just warned him, "Go your way and sin no more, less a worse thing come upon." Jesus taught that when an evil spirit goes forth out of a man, he goes through dry places seeking a house to inhabit, and in finding none he'll come back to the house from once where he was driven. And if he finds it all slept in garnish he will go out and get seven other spirits that they might come and make their abode in that house. So that the last state of the man is actually worse than his first. We are told in the scriptures that it would be better for a man to never have known the way of truth than to know it and to walk away from it. If you've had a work of God wrought in your life, you then have certain responsibility towards God. If you come to God for some work in your life then you do have a definite responsibility towards God. And not just opening, your life to God's work, but opening your life to God Himself.

And so the man departed and [finked on Jesus] he told the Jews it was Jesus, who had made him whole (Jhn 5:15).

And this was something that the Jews never forgave Jesus for. This is what eventually brought Jesus to the cross. His violation of their traditional interpretation of the Sabbath day.

Therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day (Jhn 5:16).

Now to them their traditional keeping of the law was more important than the healing of a man. Jesus said to them one time, "Which of you if you had an ox or a donkey, if it falls in a ditch on a Sabbath day won't you lift it out? Now if you're that concerned with your dumb animals, don't you think God is concerned with a person who is needing help whether it be the Sabbath day or not?" So they sought to persecute Jesus because He had done this on the Sabbath day.

But Jesus answered them, and said, My Father works today, and I work (Jhn 5:17).

Aren't you glad the Father works on the Sabbath day? What if God took off every Sabbath day? Think of all the mess the world would be in, trying to recover from God taking a rest every Sabbath day. He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. God doesn't take any day off. God is working in the lives of His people all the time. And so Jesus said, "Look, my Father works, and so I work."

Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but he said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God (Jhn 5:18).

Now there are those today who say, "Well, Jesus never claimed to be God. That this was something that others build up around Him, the aura and all of divinity." These people studying the records today read this, or get this understanding as they study the records today. Those people that Jesus talked to knew exactly what He was meaning and what He was saying. They didn't have any mistaken ideas about what He was claiming. Because if He was saying He was the Son of God, they knew that He was making Himself equal with God and they were wanting to kill Him for it.

Then Jesus said unto them (Jhn 5:19),

And He begins to talk to them now, emphasizing what He's saying with these words verily, verily. And the repetition of the word is for emphasis, it's, "Alright, now hear this." I mean, it's really calling their attention to what I'm about to say.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what thing soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (Jhn 5:19).

And so Jesus is claiming here that His works are the work of God. That they are not His works. That He is showing to them the work of God and doing the work of God. "I've brought this healing to the man, but it was God who brought the healing. I don't work apart from God. I'm working in total harmony with God. You're finding fault with Me for working on the Sabbath day, but this is the work of God that was wrought on the Sabbath day. Can't you see that?" But they couldn't because traditions have blinded their eyes.

For the Father loveth the Son, and he shows him all things that himself does: and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel (Jhn 5:20).

God is going to continue to work and even do greater works just that you might marvel at what He does.

For as the Father raises up the dead, and makes them alive; even so the Son will make alive those whom he will (Jhn 5:21).

And so, as we follow on in the ministry of Jesus, we find Him raising to life the son of that widow in the city of Nain, Jairus' daughter there in Capernaum, and finally Lazarus, who have been dead. Because God can make alive even those who are dead, and the Son, doing the work of the Father, will give life to those whom He will.

For the Father judges no man, but he has committed all judgment unto the Son (Jhn 5:22):

I'm acting in accord to the Farther in harmony with Him doing His work.

That all men should honor the Son (Jhn 5:23),

And this is what God is desiring, that we should honor the Son.

Now, one of the marks of a false cult is the failure to honor the Son. There are three things that Satan is constantly attacking: the Word of God, the divinity of Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit. He's attacking the Godhead. He attacks God's Word. Hath God said, and he still attacks the Word of God. He attacks the divinity of Jesus Christ, and you find this in every false cult. Try the Spirits to see if they be of God, and if their testimony of Jesus Christ where it really reveals itself. And he attacks the work of the Holy Spirit.

So God has wrought these works through Jesus,

That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. And he that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which have sent him (Jhn 5:23).

There's so many people say, "Well, I believe in God, but I don't see the necessity for Jesus. I really don't know about Jesus." Jesus is here declaring, "Look, if you don't honor Me, you're not honoring the Father." And so the Jehovah Witnesses, and these who fail to really honor Jesus, though they claim to be Jehovah Witnesses, they are not really honoring the Father.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life (Jhn 5:24),

Believing on the word of Jesus, believing in the Father who sent Him.

and he shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life (Jhn 5:24).

"He that hears my word," that is, hears in the sense of observing, keeping my word, and believing on God, you have eternal life. You will not come into condemnation, but you have passed from death to life.

Now look at how man has interpreted this through the church history and how many regulations and requirements we put on a man in order to say, you know, "Your sins are absolved and you're a child of God, if you do this and this and this. Keep these rules and read these regulations and follow this, you know, and pay your tithes, and all this kind of stuff." And we lay all these heavy burdens on them. Where Jesus said, "Look, if you just hear my word and believe in Him who sent Me, you have everlasting life. You're not going to come into condemnation, you passed from death to life." It is Satan's work to condemn the child of God. And he is very adept at it. He never ceases.

The angels in the Book of Revelation cry out, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitors of the earth, for the accuser of the brethren is cast out who accuses them before God day and night." "The accuser of the brethren," one of the titles of Satan. And how he accuses us, but if you hear the word of Jesus and believe on God, you have everlasting life. You won't come into condemnation, but you passed from death to life.

Verily, verily I say unto you, [the third verily, verily] The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live (Jhn 5:25).

Jesus will soon be going down into hell and preaching to those souls in prison. That He might deliver them from their captivity. The hour is coming, it's upon us almost where those that are dead are going to hear the voice, and they that hear shall live.

For as the Father hath life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself (Jhn 5:26);

Jesus said in a little while as we get into John, "No man takes My life from Me; I give My life. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again." Even as the Son have that self-generating, even as the Father has life within Himself, so the Son has that life within Himself, and power to give life, the authority, and He has given to Him the authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.

Now marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice (Jhn 5:28),

Jesus is talking about that ministry that He's going to have very soon to those faithful, who with Abraham were waiting the fulfillment of the promise of God. Those who died in faith, not having received the promise, but seeing it afar off were embracing it, holding on to it, waiting for that redemption to be completed.

And they shall come forth; they which have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they which have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. And I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which sent me (Jhn 5:29-30).

He again is declaring that He is working in perfect harmony with the Father. Later on He will tell Philip, "The works that I do I do not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." The same witness that He's giving here. "What I'm doing, I'm only doing because I've seen the Father do it. I'm doing the works of the Father in your midst."

And if I bear witness of myself (Jhn 5:31),

And now He's going to talk about the witnesses of Him, but He said if I bear witness of Myself,

the witness is not true (Jhn 5:31).

Not that it wouldn't be a true witness, but they would not accept the witness if He would witness of Himself.

And so there is another that bears witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesses of me is true. For you sent unto John, and he bore witness of the truth. But I do not receive testimony from man [or the witness of man]: but these things I say, that you might be saved. For he was a burning in the shining light: and you were willing for a season to rejoice in his light (Jhn 5:32-35).

So I, if I would witness of myself, it would be acceptable. But John bore witness of Me, and you went out and you heard him and you were satisfied to walk in the light that he brought. But he said, "I do not even except the witness of John as the final proof of who I am."

But I have a greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me (Jhn 5:36).

And so Jesus is appealing to the miracles and to the works that He wrought as the witness and the testimony of His authority and of His origin.

Now Nicodemus came to Him and said, "Rabbi we know that you are a teacher that came from God, because no man can do the works that You do unless God was with him." And Nicodemus recognized this as a valid witness when he came to Jesus.

Philip said to the Lord, "Lord, just show us the Father and it suffice with us." And Jesus said, "Have I been so long in time with you, Philip, and have you not seen Me? He that hath seen Me has seen the Father. Why do you then say, 'Show us the Father'? Believeth thou not that I'm in the Father and the Father is in Me? The works that I do I do not of Myself but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the work. Now believe Me that I'm in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works' sake." He calls as a witness of His authority the works that He was doing, for He was doing the works of God. And they are a powerful witness of who He is. And to deny that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God is to deny the miracle and the works that He has wrought. Now you will always find those liberals who are seeking to do just that. Rationalizing all the miracles.

And as we get into the next chapter and Jesus feeds the multitude with the five loaves and the two fish, they'll tell you that in those days everybody carried their lunch in their long sleeves which were tied at the wrist. And they were all so selfish that none of them were willing to share their food with others that may have forgotten to bring theirs. And they all sat there in their selfishness, not wanting to eat their own food in front of others, but still not willing to share--until finally one sweet little boy came forth and said, "Here, Jesus, I'll give you my lunch." And they were all so moved and touched by the beautiful example of this child, that a miracle took place. They all untied their sleeves and shared their lunch so that when they gathered up the fragments they have given more than twelve baskets full, you know. Isn't that sweet and wonderful the example of a child leading the congregation to generosity? And so the lesson that they would teach is that an example of a child being able to lead us into benevolent acts.

Jesus really wasn't walking on the water, He was walking around the shore, and the disciples were almost at the beach already, they just didn't realize that. And so, He just waded out and got in the boat, and they were at the shore, you know, there's no problem. Too bad Peter was so dumb he didn't realize it and started to sink and had to cry for help. Isn't it... Figures don't lie but liars sure can figure.

So Jesus is declaring, "I could testify of Myself, but you wouldn't receive that. John testified of Me, but I don't ask you to believe that. The works, they are the witness, but even more than the works."

And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath born witness of me (Jhn 5:37).

"The Father is witness of Me." When Jesus was baptized, God spoke from heaven and said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I'm well pleased." "The Father is born witness of Me." But Jesus wasn't referring to that, He was referring to the Old Testament scriptures. Where in the Old Testament, God bore witness of His Son who He would send into the world. "The Father hath born witness of Me."

But you have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape (Jhn 5:37).

"You don't know the Father, you've never heard the Father. For you do search the scriptures." Now this is often misinterpreted. People think that Jesus is saying, "You go home and you search the scriptures." He's not saying that, He's saying you do.

Search the scriptures [you have searched the scriptures]; for in them you think you have life: but really they are testifying of me (Jhn 5:39).

Peter in his epistle said, "We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we declared unto you the glory of the Lord. But we were actually eyewitnesses of His glory on that most holy mountain. But we have a more sure word of testimony in prophecy. I saw it with my own eyes, but I'm not even asking you to believe what I saw with my eyes, we've got something that is more sure than what we have seen. We've got the Word of God and the witness of God in the Old Testament scriptures, and if you really search the scriptures, you will find that they testify of Jesus Christ." The whole Old Testament was bearing witness of that One who was to come. As Jesus said, "I have come in the volume of the book it is written of Me to do thy will Oh Lord." Declaring that the volume of the book, the Old Testament, was written about Jesus.

Now He saying to them, "You haven't really heard the voice of God. You search the scriptures because in them you think you have life. But in reality you haven't heard God's voice because those scriptures testify of Me."

But you will not come to me, that you might receive life. [Now He said] I do not receive the honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. For I have come in My Father's name, and you have received me not: but there's another who is going to come in his own name, and him you will receive (Jhn 5:40-43).

The reference here is to the antichrist who will soon be coming on the scene. And though the Jews rejected Jesus Christ, they will embrace this man who will come on with a great deception, a program of peace and prosperity.

If you talk to the orthodox Jew today, they will tell you that they will recognize their Messiah, for He will come and bring them their temple. And they are looking for the rebuilding of the temple today, but they're looking for some man to lead them in the rebuilding of the temple. And whoever that man is will be hailed by them as the Messiah. And that is the sign that they are looking for, whatever man will bring to them the rebuilding of their temple. But because they are in unbelief of the Son of God they will be deceived, and the man who is going to lead them into the rebuilding of their temple is the antichrist, who will becoming in his own name. But Him, Jesus "came in my Father's name and My Father's authority but you didn't except Me." This man is going to come in his own name and you're going to receive him. And the prince of the people that shall come will make a covenant with the people, but in the midst of the week, he will break the covenant and he will establish the abomination which cause desolation. He's going to come into the temple after three and half years declaring that he is god and demanding to be worshipped as god. And through his blasphemy he will trigger the great wrath of God which will be poured out at that time upon the Christ-rejecting world.

How can you believe, you who are receiving honor one of another (Jhn 5:44),

One of the most sickening things to me is that building up of other men's egos. In the bestowing of honor and glory and the heaping of praises upon man. When I was within a denomination, one of the most sickening things that I had to go through were the convention. Where the men would get up and honor each other. The introduction of the speakers were a pain to endure. As they began to tell of the great mighty, marvelous instrument of God. That God is sent to us in these days to be a blessing and honor and glory, and then the guy when he gets up to start to speak has to give honor to the guy who gave him such a glorious introduction. Who, "I thank God for brothers like this who has stood and all was for God," and they go on and just patting each others' back and exalting each other and lifting up men. Jesus said as long as you're lifting up men, how can you hear the voice of God? The voice of God seeks to exalt Jesus Christ. John said, "He must increase, I must decrease." And so says every true child of God. Rather than seeking the honor and glory of man, He is seeking the honor and the glory of God. And Jesus said, "How can you believe when you receive honor one from another,"

and you seek not the honor that comes from God only? But don't think that I'm going to accuse you to the Father: I'm not going to accuse you, Moses, the one you [love and] are trusting in (Jhn 5:44-45).

He's the one that's going to accuse you.

Now the law came by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I didn't come to condemn the world, but that the world through Me might be saved. And he that believeth is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already." Moses is accusing you. Moses laid out the law. Moses told you how God would have you to live. And you haven't lived up to that standard, and thus the law stands as the accuser of man. Not the Redeemer, not the Savior. The law cannot save you, it cannot make you righteous. The law condemns you and accuses you, cause it shows you how far short you have come from what God would have you to be. "Don't think," Jesus said, "I'm going to stand up there and accuse you before the Father. The one you're trusting in is the one that is going to accuse you. Moses, he is going to accuse you. For you believed Moses."

If you have believed Moses [he said], you would have believed me: because he wrote of me (Jhn 5:46).

So go back in the first five chapters, you'll find, as Jesus said, "You do search the scriptures; in them you think you have life, but they are actually testifying of Me." And you go back and truly understand the first five books, you'll find Moses is talking about Jesus all the way through as he deals with the sacrifices and the various types of sacrifices and all. He is talking about Jesus who is to be the great sin offering that would be offered for the men of the world.

But if you don't believe his writings, how are you going to believe My words? (Jhn 5:47)

Because actually, Moses was declaring My word. Jesus here is claiming the authorship of the books of the Old Testament.


WEDNESDAYintheWORD: "Matthew 3" -David Guzik

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Study Guide for Matthew 3

Study Guide for Matthew 3

Matthew 3 - The Ministry of John the Baptist

a. The public ministry of John the Baptist.

1. (1-2) The message of John the Baptist.

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

a. Repent: John’s message was a call to repentance. Some people think that repentance is mostly about feelings, especially feeling sorry for your sin. It is wonderful to feel sorry about your sin, but repent isn’t a "feelings" word. It is an action word. Jesus told us to make a change of the mind, not merely to feel sorry for what we have done. Repentance speaks of a change of direction, not a sorrow in the heart.

i. Is repentance something we must do before we can come to God? Yes and no; repentance does not describe something we must do before we come to God, it describes what coming to God is like. If you are in New York, and I tell you to come to Los Angeles, I don’t really need to say "Leave New York and come to Los Angeles." To come to Los Angelesis to leave New York, and if I haven’t left New York, I certainly haven’t come to Los Angeles. We can’t come to thekingdom of heaven unless we leave our sin and the self-life.

b. For the kingdom of heaven is at hand: John wanted people to know that the kingdom of heaven was near - as close as yourhand. It wasn’t as distant or as dreamy as they had imagined. This is why John was so urgent in his call to repentance. If thekingdom of heaven is at hand, then we must get ready now.

2. (3-4) The identity of John the Baptist.

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.’" And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

a. Prepare the way of the Lord: Matthew uses this passage from Isaiah 40:3 to identify John the Baptist as the prophesied forerunner of the Messiah. In this role, John’s purpose was toprepare hearts for the Messiah, and to bring an awareness of sin among Israel so they could received the salvation from sin offered by the Messiah (Matthew 1:12).

b. Make His paths straight: The passage Mark quotes from (Isaiah 40:3) has in mind building up a great road for the arrival of a majestic king. The idea is to fill in the holes, and knock down the hills that are in the way.

i. The idea of preparing the way of the Lord is a word picture, because the real preparation must take place in our hearts. Building a road is very much like the preparation God must do in our hearts. They are both expensive, they both must deal with many different problems and environments, and they both take an expert engineer.

ii. Jesus was the coming Messiah and King, and John the Baptist was the one crying in the wilderness, and through his message of repentance, he worked to prepare the way of the Lord. We often fail to appreciate how important thepreparing work of the Lord is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation.

c. Clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt: In his personality and ministry, John the Baptist was patterned after the bold Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who fearlessly called Israel to repentance.

i. In the spirit of today’s age, John’s ministry would have been very different. He wouldn’t start in the wilderness. He wouldn’t dress funny. He wouldn’t preach such a straightforward message. He would use marketing surveys and focus groups to hone his message and presentation. John wasn’t motivated by the spirit of today’s age, but by the Spirit of God.

3. (5-6) The success of John’s ministry.

Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

a. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him: John’s ministry met with wonderful response. There were many people who recognized their sinfulness, their need to get ready for the Messiah, and were willing to do something about it.

i. John’s main message wasn’t "You’re a sinner, you need to repent." John’s main message was "The Messiah is coming." The call to repentance was the response to the news that the Messiah was coming.

b. And were baptized by him: With baptism, John offered a ceremonial washing that confessed sin and did something to demonstrate repentance. Before we can gain the kingdom of heaven, we must recognize our poverty of spirit (Matthew 5:3). This type of awareness of sin is the foundation for most revivals and awakenings.

i. Baptism simply means to "immerse or overwhelm." John didn’t sprinkle when he came baptizing. As was the custom in some other Jewish ceremonial washings, John completely immersed those he baptized. "Naturally, therefore, the baptism was not a mere sprinkling with water, but a bath in which his whole body was bathed." (Barclay)

ii. Baptism was practiced in the Jewish community already in the form of ceremonial immersions; but typically, it was only among Gentiles who wished to become Jews. For a Jew in John’s day to submit to baptism was essentially to say, "I confess that I am as far away from God as a Gentile and I need to get right with Him." This was a real work of the Holy Spirit.

iii. John’s baptism might have been related to the Jewish practice of baptizing Gentile converts, or to some of the ceremonial washings practiced by the Jews of that day. Though it may have some links, at the same time is wasunique - so unique that John simply became known as "the Baptizer." If there were a lot of people doing that, it wouldn’t be a unique title.

iv. Is Christian baptism - the baptism we do today - just like John’s? Christian baptism is like John’s in the sense that it demonstrates repentance, but it is also more. It is beingbaptized into Christ, that is, into His death and resurrection (Romans 6:3).

4. (7-12) John’s confrontation with the Pharisees and Saducees.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

a. Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? John accuses them of wanting to appear anxious for the Messiah, but not truly repenting and preparing their hearts; John will demand fruits worthy of repentance.

i. Real repentance will show itself in life. It has to be a matter of living repentance, not just talking repentance.

b. Do not think to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father." John warns them to stop trusting in their Jewish heritage because they must truly repent, not simply trust in Abraham’s merits.

i. It was widely taught in that day that Abraham’s merits were plenty for any Jew’s salvation, that a Jewish personcouldn’t go to hell. John points out that these Pharisees and Scribes are of a different family; they are a brood of vipers- meaning a family associated with serpents!

c. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: John’s baptism was one of repentance. In this regard, it was not identical to Christian baptism or baptism into Christ(Romans 6:3), which includes a demonstration of repentance and cleansing, but also recognizes the believer’s identification with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).

d. Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry: John recognizes his own place before Jesus. He is one not worthy to carry thesandals of Jesus, and he does not consider himself far above those whom he is calling to repentance, and he knows where he stands in relation to Jesus (instead of getting a big head because of the crowds he is drawing).

e. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor: John warns them to prepare for the Messiah’s coming, because He is coming with judgment.

i. Baptize you with the Holy Spirit: This is the promised out-pouring of the Holy Spirit promised with the New Covenant (Ezekiel 37:14).

ii. And fire: To baptize with fire means to bring the fires of judgment, which will purify the pure, but destroy the wicked like chaff. Chaff is the worthless residue of a wheat stalk after the kernel of grain has been removed. These proud and unrepentant leaders are just as useless to God.

iii. The Jewish leaders thought that the Messiah would come with judgment, but only against Israel’s enemies. They were blind in their self-righteous confidence that only others needed to get right with God.

b. John’s ministry in baptizing Jesus.

1. (13-14) Jesus comes to John for baptism.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"

a. Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized: This is a significant emergence of Jesus from his many years of obscurity. These first works in His public ministry carry great meaning in understanding the rest of His ministry.

b. Jesus came: No one compelled Jesus to be baptized. He came to John of His own accord.

c. I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?John recognized the inherent irony in this situation. Jesus had nothing to repent of, and it would be more appropriate for Jesus to baptize John!

2. (15) Jesus allows Himself to be baptized by John.

But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him.

a. Permit it to be so for now: Why did Jesus need to be baptized? The words it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness imply that it was necessary for the plan of God, but why?

b. The purpose was for Jesus to completely identify Himself with sinful man. This is exactly what He did in His birth, His upbringing, and His death. So here, as John allowed Him to be, here is Jesus, standing again in the place of sinful man.

3. (16-17) The Divine witness to Jesus’ status as the Son of God.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

a. The heavens were opened: It was important for God the Father to publicly demonstrate that Jesus’ baptism was not just like anyone else’s, in the sense of being a display of repentance. It was not a display of repentance, but instead it was a righteous identification with sinners, motivated by love, was well pleasing to the Father.

b. The Spirit of God descending like a dove: Significantly, this is an occasion when the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are all manifested at the same time.

c. This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: When this voice of God the Father spoke from heaven, everyone knew that Jesus was not just another man being baptized. They knew Jesus was the perfect (in whom I am well pleased) Son of God, identifying with sinful man. By this, everyone knew that Jesus was different. Jesus was baptized to be identified with sinful man, but He was also baptized to be identified to sinful man.

©2000 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission.


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