Life of Christ Lesson 24b: Tackling Tradition - Part II

March 15, 2020 @ 11:04 pm

In this second half of our lesson on Jesus "Tackling Tradition," He performed the well-known miracle of healing a man who had spent 38 years of his life sitting at the Pool of Bethesda near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem waiting and hoping he would be healed.  He was an invalid; he could not walk.  It was a Sabbath when the Lord Jesus came near the pool, looked over the multitue of impotent people who were all around it, and rested His focus on the one man, who He then proceded to question ("Wilt thou be made whole?") and heal ("Rise, take up thy bed, and walk").

 

Because the man was "caught" walking and carrying his bed pallet on the Sabbath, the Jews accused him of breaking the Law (John 5:10).  They showed no joy for the man who could finally walk after 38 years!  Instead, they were hypocritically "concerned" about their Sabbath traditions.  Jesus, Who is "the Lord of the Sabbath," was then persecuted by the Jews for healing on the Sabbath.  His response to their foolish accusation of "breaking" the Sabbath, was to make Himself equal with God (which He is) by saying to them, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17)!  It sent them into orbit, and they wanted all the more to kill Him (5:18)!  In case you wonder, there was absolutely nothing wrong with doing "an act of mercy" or "an act of healing" on the Sabbath!  The One Who created the Sabbath was trying to teach that truth to His people, who loved their traditions more than they loved God, as proven by the way they treated His Son.  

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Life of Christ Lesson 25: Lord of the Sabbath - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:05 pm

In this lesson, the Lord gave the second recorded sermon of His earthly ministry.  Interestingly, most people do not know this sermon by its name; nor do they realize how powerful it is, for it is Christ's defense of His claim to equality with God!  It is called "The Sermon on the Judgment and Resurrection Power of the Son" (John 5:19-30, 40-47).   In the sermon, Jesus gave Israel five significant truths about Himself, about His relationship with God, Who He "dared" to call His "Father" (because it is true), and about His real power.  Did you know that the Father has given all judgment over to His Son (5:21-23)?  Who will sit on "The Bema Seat" to judge the works of believers?  Who will be the Judge of "The Sheep and the Goats" at the end of the Tribulation?  Who will sit on the Great White Throne at the judgment of all unbelievers following the Millennial Kingdom?  Answer: God the Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Also included in this lesson are five witnesses the Lord Jesus presented to prove that His own witness of His Identity is true (5:31-39).  THEN, we get into a discussion of some of the ludicrous traditions the Pharisees had devised over the years regarding the Sabbath.  They had added 1,512 man-made restrictions to God's original commandment about the Sabbath!  In the Jewish Talmud, there are 24 chapters containing Sabbath regulations!  Talk about a heavy yoke!

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Life of Christ Lesson 26: Lord of the Sabbath - Part II

March 15, 2020 @ 11:06 pm

In this second lesson on "The Lord of the Sabbath," we look at the fourth and final division of our outline for both Lessons #25 and #26.  It is called "Three Truths about Sabbath Reverence and Practice".  The Lord Jesus gave three reasons, each illustrated, to explain why neither He nor His men had broken the Mosaic Law regarding the Sabbath.  

 

The three reasons given were: (1) God's Law Allowed for Acts of Necessity, (2) God's Law Allowed for Acts of Worship, and (3) God's Law Allowed for Acts of Mercy.

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Life of Christ Lesson 27: Appointment of Apostles

March 15, 2020 @ 11:07 pm

With this lesson, we come to the time in Christ's early public ministry when He commissioned twelve men to be intensely trained by Him so they could carry on His work after His departure.  In our two-part outline, we first discuss "God's Beloved Servant" as we see how Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 42:1, 2.  Then we discuss "Christ's Beloved Servants" and briefly talk a bit about each of the Twelve.

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Life of Christ Lesson 28: Sermon on Mount Overview

March 15, 2020 @ 11:08 pm

The greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest Preacher Who ever lived - the famous "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 4:23-7:29; Luke 6:19-49)!  The words of this sermon have been compared to X-rays of our souls; they expose us to ourselves.  They convict us to an uncomfortably GOOD place, where we make some serious self-examination regarding the reality of our salvation, the authenticity of our Christian walk, and the level of our Christian commitment.

 

This lesson is an overview of the entire sermon.  In it, we discuss the setting for the sermon, the purpose of the sermon, the reasons for studying it today, and the basic principles in the sermon for believers.

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Life of Christ Lesson 29: Highway to Happiness - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:09 pm

There must have been an expectant atmosphere among the assembly gathered on the green hillside northwest of Capernaum to hear Jesus speak.  Hearts were high with hope for future glory; Rome might soon be chased from their land by an Israeli army under the leadership of this God-sent miracle-worker (another Moses was among them)!  No longer would they be poor and hungry as they filled Rome's coffers with their hard-earned money.  No longer would they mourn over their oppression, hardships, and constant fears.  No longer would Israel appear meek before the mighty Roman "Goliath" who persecuted them (another "David" was among them)!

 

But when Jesus "opened His mouth, and taught them," the people heard nothing about warfare with Rome.  Instead, they heard teaching so full of wisdom, spoken with an authority never before known - yet with a tone of genuine love and compassion that the crowd was mesmerized.  Their dry, thirsty souls and starvingly hunger spirits felt the raindrops of Heaven softening the hard, crusty ground of their hearts.

 

The people that day  were hearing the words of the greatest sermon ever preached from the lips of the greatest Preacher Who ever walked the earth!  They were the privileged, initial recipients of the Lord's famous, "Sermon on the Mount," which He began with what is called "The Beatitudes".   In Lessons #29 to #32 of our Life of Christ study, we refer to the 8 Beatitudes as "The Highway to Happiness". 

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 30: Highway to Happiness - Part II

March 15, 2020 @ 11:10 pm

In this continuing study of the Lord's Beatitudes, we come to the next three beatific virtues: hungering and thirsting after righteousness, being merciful, and being pure in heart. 

There is really no better "self-examination" a person can give himself (herself) with regard to his (her) Christian profession than to ask the Matthew 5:6 test question, "Do I genuinely hunger for the things of God?  Do I deeply thirst to know Christ?  Am I hungering and thirsting to be like Him in my life?"  

What exactly is the Biblical meaning of mercy?  What does "they shall obtain mercy" mean?  Have you ever heard of "God's Mercy Cycle"?  You will in this lesson.

The Purity of Heart Beatitude is the apex of all the others; the reason is the first 5 lead up to it and the last 2 flow out of it.  The world asserts that "happy" people are the physically beautiful, rich, powerful, famous, successful, highly educated, and elite.  Jesus says the truly happy people are those who are spiritually beautiful, rich,wise, and successful (fruitful) because their hearts have been purified by Him. 

Come join us in our continued walk down "The Highway to Happiness"!  Who doesn't want to know the key to inner JOY inspite of the chaos, confusion, corruption, and corona all around us?  [Yah, I know, there are some people who seem to enjoy being miserable.  Do you know why?  They've never been down the Beatific Highway.]

This lesson in written form (with Homework Questions) is found in our "Caldwell Commentary" entitled "Life of Christ Vol. 2" or "The Sermon on the Mount" (available through www.scripturetruth.com)

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Life of Christ Lesson 31: Highway to Happiness - Part III

March 15, 2020 @ 11:11 pm

 

On both a national and a personal level, mankind has a natural inclination toward fighting, quarreling, and warring.  Peace has been the most elusive of all goals in the world.  According to James (Christ's half-brother) conflicts come from our inner lusts (selfish desires) waging war in the heart (James 4:1, 2).  This is not only true for non-believers; it is true for Christians.  James was writing to the "brethren".  Just think about how divided "the Church" has become since the early days of the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem.  This is why it is important for us to understand the Lord's seventh Beatific virtue: peacemaking!  

What is a peacemaker?  What did the Lord mean by that word?  What does a peacemaker do, exactly?  How did Jesus set the example of being a Peacemaker?  Does it mean always agreeing with everyone, even when they are dangerously wrong or wickedly evil?  Why is a true "peacemaker" a soul-winner?  What is "the ministry of reconciliation" Paul talked about in Second Corinthians?  What are the five basic necessities that comprise a godly peacemaker?  Why is it sometimes necessary for the true peacemaker to stir-up trouble in order to make peace?  (What?)  Did you realize that the Christian peacemaker actually engages in real warfare, for he wrestles not against flesh and blood, but against the evil forces of the kingdom of darkness?  All this is discussed in this lesson.  

We also begin to discuss the final Beatitude, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake . . . Blessed are ye when men shall revile you . . . and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.  Rejoice, and exceedingly glad . . . " (Matthew 5:10-12a).  How can a believer happily rejoice to the point of exceeding gladness when he is persecuted, reviled, and slandered falsely?  That sounds like one of the greatest paradoxes of all, does it not - Happy are the Hated and the Harrassed?  Yes, but think of this truth, the reward for those who are willing to be a living sacrifice for Christ, is that they will gain everything - ". . . for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (5:10b)!  Compared to what is gained, even a martyr's price is small.  We begin our discussion of the final Beatitude in this lesson and continue it in Lesson #32 (so be sure to "follow up").   

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Life of Christ Lesson 32: Highway to Happiness - Part IV

March 15, 2020 @ 11:12 pm

The Beatitudes of the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount are referred to as "The Sacred Paradoxes" (Thomas Watson), for they tell us that opposites often can and do co-exist.  The Lord Jesus is "The Master of the Paradox"!  Think about some of the seeming contradictions He taught - the first shall be last; giving is receiving; losing is finding; dying is living; serving is ruling, weakness is strength, being His bondslave is being set free; and the least is the greatest.  The Beatitudes contain some equally paradoxical statements:  the poor are rich; the sad are happy; the meek are winners; the hungry are satisfied - and, strangest of all, the persecuted rejoice!  This lesson continues the discussion from Lesson #31 on the final Beatitude, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for My sake".

Why did the Lord spend three times the space on the last Beatitude?  Why did He mention the word "blessed" twice in this last Beatitude?  What are the three primary types of persecution of Christians?  What does it mean if a Christian is experiencing not one of those three types of persecution in his life?  How is the believer in Christ to respond to both persecution and the persecutor?  And how in the world can a Christian rejoice because he is persecuted (which includes not only physical harm, but verbal abuse, and false witness - including slander)?  One more question: is it wrong to be motivated by heavenly rewards to live righteously?  

Would you like to hear answers to the above questions?  Okay.  Push the play button on this message!  Enjoy. 

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Life of Christ Lesson 33: Shake and Shine!

March 15, 2020 @ 11:13 pm

In Lessons #29 and #30, we looked at the characteristics of Kingdom citizens as presented in the Beatitude virtues.  This lesson is about the function of Kingdom citizens!  After we have entered onto "The Highway to Happiness," we have a responsibility to the insipid, dark world around us.  What is that responsibility as followers of Christ?  We are to "Shake and Shine"!  We are called by Him to be the salt and light of the world!  We are to be salt for a corrupt world and light for a confused world.  To put our Christian responsibility in two words, we are to INFLUENCE and ILLUMINATE.

Lord, shake on me Thy savory salt, 'til I am ready to burst!

Fill me so full with righteousness that others for Thee will thirst.

Shine on me Thy radiant light so I almost seem to glow;

Help me, Lord, guide others to Thee, so Thy Truth they also might know.

O Lord, make me salty!  O Lord, make me shine!

Use me, dear Saviour, for Thy glory divine.

O Lord, make me salty!  O Lord, make me bright!

May I create thirst, and guide men to Thy Light! 

                                                                                                                   Katherine Caldwell

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 34: The Reliabilty of Scripture!

March 15, 2020 @ 11:14 pm

Since the remainder of the Lord's teaching in "The Sermon on the Mount" was based on the Old Testament, He prefaced the remainder of the sermon with a "prologue" (Matthew 5:17-20).  In just four very significant verses, Christ affirmed to His listeners the absolute "Reliability of Scripture"!  

The Lord's words in this critical passage confirm for us He did not come to destroy the Law and the prophets (the Old Testament), but to fulfill them!  He confirmed His belief in the preeminence (the superiority) of Scripture; in the permanence of Scripture; in the pertinence of Scripture, and He understood the purpose of Scripture (obviously, for He is the Author and Finisher of Scripture)!

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Life of Christ Lesson 35: Heart Righteousness {Murder}

March 15, 2020 @ 11:15 pm

In Matthew 5:21-26 of His "Sermon on the Mount," Christ drew a strong contrast between His teaching on certain key matters of life and the teaching that had been presented to the Jewish people by their leaders for centuries - teaching from the Old Testament that they had both altered and expanded upon so that it was not anything similar to God's original meaning.  In each of the six subjects of this section, "Reinterpretations of the Law" (murder, adultery, divorce, oath-making, retaliation, and love), He stressed HEART-righteousness.  

 

Learn what the Lord had to say about the sin of murder!  It goes a whole lot further than the actual killing of another person.  In fact, every one of us is guilty of "murder" the way the Lord defines it!  

 

The Lord also laid down some very specific steps for reconciliation with a Christian brother or sister in this section of His Sermon.  

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Life of Christ Lesson 36: Heart Righteousness {Adultery}

March 15, 2020 @ 11:16 pm

In Matthew 5:27-30, the Lord Jesus gave the second contrasting, corrective illustration between the rabbinic teaching the people heard wrongly presented to them and His interpretation of the Law.  In this section, He spoke about adultery, making it clear that the sin is a lot more than just a physical act.  He taught (as He did with murder) that the sin of adultery begins in the heart.  The religious rulers, as with most people today, needed a divinely given course on the doctrine of sin.  They had lowered the level of God's holy standards to an exteranlism they felt they could achieve, and then they self-righteously convinced themselves God was pleased with their great efforts to master their own standards of "righteousness".  They were pious-acting hypocrites!

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Life of Christ Lesson 37: Old Testament Teaching on Divorce

March 15, 2020 @ 11:17 pm

In the Lord's famous "Sermon on the Mount," He went from discussing the matter of adultery to the subject of divorce and remarriage (Matthew 5:31, 32).  Coming to a subject like this demonstrates the importance of an expositional, systematic study of Scripture, for it forces us to discuss subjects we may be otherwise tempted to avoid.  This topic is difficult and sensitive for many people; it is not one that is taught with joy, but we are commanded to study the whole counsel of the Word of God and not to ignore those things some find offensive, painful, or convicting.  It is critical in our day of high divorce rate even among Christians to see the matter of divorce and remarriage through the eyes of God, so, beginning with this lesson and ending with Lesson 38, we will look at what He has to say about this subject in both the Old and New Testaments.

This lesson (and Lesson #38 on "New Testament Teaching on Divorce") is found in our "Caldwell Commentary" series "Life of Christ Vol 2" and "The Sermon on the Mount" (availabe through www.scripturetruth.com).

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Life of Christ Lesson 38: New Testament Teaching on Divorce

March 15, 2020 @ 11:18 pm

It would be good to preceed hearing this message with Lesson 37 from our Life of Christ study, "Old Testament Teaching on Divorce". 

This study stems from the Lord's teaching in "The Sermon on the Mount," but we also look at Paul's inspired words in First Corinthians 7:10-16 for further information about the subject of divorce.  What are the only two Biblical grounds for divorce?  Listen and find out. 

What about remarriage after a divorce?  Again, listen and find out.

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 39: Taking Oaths/Speaking Truth

March 15, 2020 @ 11:19 pm

This lesson is on Matthew 5:33-37, part of "The Sermon on the Mount".  Throughout this famous sermon, the Lord Jesus was attempting to convey to His listeners the fact that everything a citizen of His eternal Kingdom says or does is important to God.  If a Christian is to be an effective witness to this world where fake news, half-truths (which are lies), vain philosophies, false religious, evil cults, and massive deceptions reign, he or she must be a person who guards both his or her heart and tongue to speak only the truth and to keep every vow made to God or man!  God looks with great seriousness on every aspect of our lives!

We consider three sections on the matter of "Taking Oaths and Speaking Truth".  First, we look at what the Old Testament says on oath-taking (Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12; Numbers 30:2; Deuteronomy 23:21).  Then we consider what the Pharisees taught on the matter and, finally, compare the Pharisaic teaching with what the Lord Jesus had to say about it.

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Life of Christ Lesson 40: Resisting Personal Retaliation

March 15, 2020 @ 11:20 pm

This lesson is on Matthew 5:38-42.  In this section of "The Sermon on the Mount" (5:21-48), Christ was contrasting Pharisaic, external "righteousness" (see 5:20) with God's true, inner righteousness, using examples like murder (Lesson 35), adultery (Lesson 36), divorce (Lessons 37 and 38), and oath takine (Lesson 39).  His next topic to use in comparing the teachings propagated by Israel's religious rulers (gross misinterpretations of the Law) and His own teaching dealt with the matter of personal vengeance and retaliation.

We will first look at the Old Testament teaching on the subject of retaliation (the Mosaic principles found in Exodus 21:22-25; Leviticus 24:19, 20; Deuteronomy 19:20, 21), and then see how the Pharisees had perverted that teaching.  Finally, we will look at the Lord Jesus' perspective on the subject!  He teaches the following: do NOT retaliate even though your dignity is smitten, your security is sued, your freedoms are sacrificed, and your possessions are surrendered.  Wow.  Turning the other cheek, surrendering your cloak also, going the second mile, and giving to him that asks!  Being a Christian is not easy!

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Life of Lesson Christ 41: Loving and Living Supernaturally

March 15, 2020 @ 11:21 pm

This lesson is on Matthew 5:43-48.  Nowhere is there a greater contrast between the false, hypocritical "righteousness" of the Jewish religious rulers of Christ's day and true, godly heart-righteousness than in the Lord's sixth and final illustration on the section of "The Sermon on the Mount" entitled "Reinterpretations of the Law".  This greatest contrast deals with LOVE.  In no more important area had the scribes and Pharisees so critically departed from God's standards of holiness.  Unfortunately, they were far too "in-love" with themselves and their social status to have time or leftover concern for anyone outside their inner circle.

We divide this study into three sections.  First, we look at the Mosaic principles about love (Leviticus 19:18), then we discuss the Pharisaic perversion on the subject of love.  Finally, finally we look at Christ's persepctive, ewhich is to possess a supernatural love that enables us to love our enemies, pray for our enemies, and to have absolutely no partiality toward any one.  

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Life of Christ Lesson 42: Beware of Religious Hypocrisy!

March 15, 2020 @ 11:22 pm

In Matthew 6:1-18, the Lord Jesus (in His "Sermon on the Mount) continued to emphasize true, heart righteousness by contrasting it with false, hypocritical "righteousness" in the realm of three practical, religious activities: (1) giving, (2) praying, and (3) fasting.  His words about giving deal with a person's righteousness as it acts toward others; His words about prayer deal with righteousness as it acts toward God, and His words regarding fasting discuss heart righteousness in relation to oneself.

In this study, we discuss the sins of silent cowardice, selfish complacency, and showy conduct.  We learn where the term "blowing your own trumpet" (or "sounding your own horn") originated.  We discuss "silent hands" and "secret closets" and the four ways people approach religious responsibilities (only two of which earn God's praise, not the praise of others or the praise of self).

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Life of Christ Lesson 43: How to Pray Effectively - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:23 pm

Prayer is perhaps the single greatest activity in which the human soul can engage, for in prayer we come face-to-face with God.  Prayer is our golden opportunity to give God the opportunity to manifest His power, majesty, love, and providence to His beloved children.  Although prayer is one of the most vital aspects of the Christian life, most of us feel it is the area in which we are the weakest.  The disciples of Christ obviously felt this way, too, which is why they asked Him to teach them to pray.  Thus, He gave them instruction and guidance for proper, effective prayer in Matthew 6:7-15 (part of "The Sermon on the Mount").

First, Jesus spoke about the errors of ineffective prayer (vanity prayers, valueless prayers, and verbose prayers), before He then taught about the essentials for effect prayer (having right relationships, with God and others; having right responsibilites, and making right requests - which is discussed in Part II of this study).

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Life of Christ Lesson 44: How to Pray Effectively - Part II

March 15, 2020 @ 11:24 pm

To be effective in our prayer lives so God is honored and pleased by our prayers, we need to fulfill certain Christian "responsibilities".  In this second lesson on the Lord's "Perfect Prayer Pattern" from His "Sermon on the Mount".  Whereas the first three petitions of the Lord's prayer pattern dealt with exalting God, His name, His Kingdom, and His will, the last three petitions (6:11-13) have to do with us (the believers).  We discuss these petitions under the headings of (1) or present provision, (2) for past pardon, and (3) for future protection (from temptation and evil).

We also discuss the closing doxology of the prayer ("For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen"), as well as the postscript on the subject of forgiveness found in verses 14 and 15.  That postscript has upset a lot of Christians over the centuries, for they think Jesus was saying a person's savlational forgiveness is conditional upon his own forgiveness of others.  That is not what He was teaching, and we explain the meaning of those verses in this lesson. 

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Life of Christ Lesson 45: The Treasure Rule

March 15, 2020 @ 11:25 pm

From Matthew 6:19-24 (part of "The Sermon on the Mount"), the Lord taught how Kingdom citizens are to have the right perspective on earthly "treasures," which are merely temporary, as compared to heavenly "treasures," which last forever.  The Christian is to set his affection on things above, "For where your heart is, there shall your heart be also".

 

In this lesson, we discuss how the Christian is to have a single focus and a solitary Master, "For no man can serve two masters . . . ye cannot serve God and mammon [money/material things".  This is a serious message for our day of vast materialism!

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Life of Christ Lesson 46: The Worry Rule {Christ Teaches on Anxiety}

March 15, 2020 @ 11:26 pm

This lesson on Matthew 6:25-34 (from the Lord's "Sermon on the Mount") is on the subject of WORRY!  Oh dear.  With the current Coronavirus Pandemic upon us, this is an extremely important message from the Lord Jesus for all of us to hear and adhere!!  

 

In His words of wisdom, the Lord tells His followers that to worry about earthly matters demonstrates three things:  1. distrust of our Father's Providence, 2. distrust of our Father's Promises, and 3. doubt in our Father's Protection.

 

What do we do when circumstances arise that appear to be potential situations for worry (anxiety)?   We discuss 6 reasons why Christians should NOT worry in the midst of storms (or any time).  Listen and sleep well tonight.

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 47: The Criticism Rule

March 15, 2020 @ 11:27 pm

From Matthew 7:1-6 (part of "The Sermon on the Mount"), the Lord Jesus "switched gears" from having taught about having a right perspective toward material things ("The Treasure Rule" - Lesson 45 and "The Worry Rule" - Lesson 46) to having a right perspective toward people!

 

In this lesson, we discuss both the positive and negative sides of what we call "Teeter-Totter Theology".  We also discuss that verse so often taken out of context, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (7:1).  There is a righteous form of judging!  There is also an unrighteous form of judging - and we need to know the difference!  There is also a right way and time to criticize and a wrong way and time to criticize!  Again, we need to know the difference.  We also need to know how to do honest self-judgment to make sure we are not pointing out someone's "eye-mote," while there is a major "beam" in our own! 

 

Another important lesson from the Greatest Teacher ever, Jesus!

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Life of Christ Lesson 48: The Prayer Promise!

March 15, 2020 @ 11:28 pm

Are you frustrated with the quality of your Christian life?  Do you seriously desire to be a Beatitude-type believer?  Do you long to have the righteous motive in your service for the Lord?  Have you longed to rid yourself of some harboring bitterness, vengefulness, or maybe a critical spirit?  Have you wondered about ways you could and should be investing in heavenly treasure?  Have you longed to have greater spiritual discernment?  Do you truly want to fully trust God about your needs and your future - and cease worrying?  If your answer to any or all of these questions is "Yes," then listen to Jesus' command-prayer-promise, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7).  

God will not do for us, apart from prayer, that which He has promised to do for us only through prayer!  Though He is Sovereign, that does not mean we receive all the blessings He has for us and desires to give us if we fail to ask for them - "ye have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2b)!  Did you realize that a lot of the frustrations of our Christian lives are the result of not having turned our frustration-energy into prayer-energy!

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Life of Christ Lesson 49: The Golden Rule

March 15, 2020 @ 11:29 pm

Of all the "Rules for the Redeemed" discussed by the Lord Jesus in "The Sermon on the Mount" (the treasure, worry, criticism, and prayer rules), the last is the most well known: "The Golden Rule" (Matthew 7:12).  In this study, we take great care to connect this important truth for godly living with the context; thus, we see how it relates to the subjects of judgment (see Lesson 47) and prayer (Lesson 48).

 

Find out what the difference is between "The Brass Rule of Humanity" and "The Golden Rule of Heaven"!  Find out the great difference between what Israel's religious rulers, the ancient philosphers, and the Greek stoics taught about proper treatment of others compared with what Christ Jesus taught!  Did you know that "The Golden Rule" is actually a consolidation of all Old Testament teaching (the Law and the Prophets) about human relationships?  If ONLY mankind could OBEY this ONE rule!!

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Life of Christ Lesson 50: The Two Gates

March 15, 2020 @ 11:30 pm

In the Lord's seventh and final section of His "Sermon on the Mount," He invites His immediate audience - and all of us - to choose between two diverse ways for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven: (1) Christ's way (which is through Him) and (2) man's way (a merit/work system exemplified by the system of the scribes and Pharisees).  There is either the system of grace (where it all a matter of divine accomplishment) or the system of works (where it is all a matter of human achievement, which fails utterly to get anyone into God's holy Presence).

 

There are only "Two Gates," my friends!  One is narrow, for it is Christ and Christ alone.  The other is very wide, for it consists of every devised "way" to Heaven man has ever invented.  The only problem with the wide gate, is that it leads to destruction, not life.

 

THIS IS A MOST SERIOUS LESSON FOR ALL PEOPLE TO HEAR!  The Gospel is presented and the way to be saved is laid out clearly!  SHARE with your non-Christian family and friends!

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Life of Christ Lesson 51: The Two Trees

March 15, 2020 @ 11:31 pm

In His final words before descending the Mount where He spoke what many declare to be His greatest Sermon, the Lord Jesus extended an invitation to His listeners to do some serious self-examining to make certain their salvation was real.  He began by inviting any who had not yet entered the Kingdom of God to enter at the strait gate, which is Him!  He IS the narrow way that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:14) - see Lesson #50.

 

In Matthew 7:15-23, in the second part of Christ's extended invitation, He gave a solemn warning about two prevalent dangers that deceive many into thinking they are going to Heaven, when they are really on the broad road to destruction.  In this important, but difficult lesson to hear, which is entitled "The Two Trees," He warned to beware of false prophets and to beward of false professions!  "Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven . . ." (7:21)!!  SERIOUS.

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Life of Christ Lesson 52: The Two Builders

March 15, 2020 @ 11:32 pm

This lesson is on Matthew 7:24-29, the final words of the Lord's great "Sermon on the Mount" in which He talks about "Two Builders".  After having given an invitation to salvation in Him with His discussion of "Two Gates" (Lesson 50) and "Two Trees" (Lesson 51), He went on to say that the person who responds to His invitation is like a wise man who builds his life on a solid foundation of rock.  The Rock is Himself and His Holy Word.  Conversely, the one who does not respond positively by receiving the truth of His teaching and His invitation is like a foolism man who builds his life on the shifting, insecure, sinking sand of this world.

 

If you really want to know how to survive all the storms of life, the Lord's words we discuss in this lesson give you the answer.  Be wise!  Heed His advice.  Build your life on HIM.

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Life of Christ Lesson 53: Christ Responds to Faith and Despair {Compassion I}

March 15, 2020 @ 11:33 pm

There are two fantastic demonstrations of Christ's compassion in this lesson, which covers Matthew 8:5-13 regarding His compassionate response to great faith (healing a centurion's servant boy) and Luke 7:1-17 regarding His compassionate response to a widow in Nain (raising her dead son from the dead)!

 

A terrific study about the magnificent love in the heart of the world's only Saviour!

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Life of Christ Lesson 54: Christ Responds to Doubt {Compassion II}

March 15, 2020 @ 11:34 pm

From Matthew 11:2-19 and Luke 7:18-35, we see more of the Lord's great heart (see Lesson 53 regarding His compassionate response to faith and to despair) as He responds compassionately to the doubts of those who belong to Him.  In this case, He had just received word from John the Baptist, who had been in prison for about one year after publicly denouncing the adulterous marriage of Herod Antipas with his brother's wife.  While in his confinement, the Baptist allowed certain doubts to captivate his thoughts, which is a danger every believer can fall into at times.  Fortunately, John rightly took his doubts, confusions, and perplexities to the right Source.  He dealt with his doubts by going to (via letter) Jesus, Who confirmed His identity to John in no uncertain terms!  

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 55: To Whom Much is Given . . .

March 15, 2020 @ 11:35 pm

From Matthew 11:20-30, we discuss what the Lord had to say about greater spiritual privilege bringing greater judgment.  The citizens of the Galilean cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum had greater spiritual privileges and opportunities for repentance and salvation than any other people, for Jesus Christ, God's Son, spent more time in their vacinity than anywhere else on earth.  However, although the people were amazed by His miracles and authoritative teaching, few were spiritually and eternally affected by putting their faith in Him as Saviour and Lord.  Thus, Jesus pronounced three "woe judgments" on them.  Discussed also in this lesson is the sin of indifference. 

From Luke 7:36-50, the Lord taught a second important Biblical principle: greater pardon brings greater love.  This is the account of the sinful woman who came uninvited to Simon the Pharisee's house to annoint Jesus' feet with her tears of joy and wiped them dry with her hair.  Simon and his other self-righteous guests were horrified that Jesus would allow the woman to even touch Him.  He used the occasion to make the contrast between a humble "babe" in Christ and a narcissitic "wise and prudent" man (see Matthew 11:25).  He then taught "The Parable of the Two Debtors".

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Life of Christ Lesson 56: The Misunderstood Messiah

March 15, 2020 @ 11:36 pm

A deeply tragic truth about the Lord Jesus is how greatly misunderstood He was - not only by His foes (jealous of His power and popularity), but also by those closest to Him, His family.

 

In this lesson (Matthew 12:22-50), Israel's religious rulers gave their "official" decision that Jesus performed His works with satanic power.  At this same time, we also find that His own brothers thought He was not quite right in His mind.   

 

Included in this study: Christ's healing of a blind and mute demoniac; "The Parable of the Divided Kingdom," "The Parable of Subduing the Strong Man," "The Parable of the Empty House," and another prophecy given by Christ about His up-coming death and resurrection.

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Life of Christ Lesson 57a: Mystery Kingdom Sowing - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:37 pm

Witnessing the rejection of Jesus by both Israel's religious rulers and even His own step-brothers would cause the Lord's disciples and other followers to wonder what would happened to the promise of the Messianic Kingdom if Israel rejected the King?  The answer is the primary focus of Jesus' teaching in Matthew 13 (with parallel accounts in Mark 4 and Luke 8).  Through a series of parables, He told His men that the literal Kingdom on earth would be postponed until a time when Israel would accept Him (His Second Coming).  

 

However, though the literal Kingdom was postponed, the Lord taught about a "mystery" form of the Kingdom that would be established in the interval between His rejection and His return.  This "interregnum" would be an internal, spiritual Kingdom on earth - not visible because it would exist in the hearts of believers.  This truth was unknown to the Old Testament prophets and writers, which is why it is called a "mystery".  Through the parables presented in Matthew 13, the Lord revealed the "mysteries" or "secrets of the Kingdom" to those with ears to hear and understand.  

The first parable of "The Mystery Kingdom" is the very famous "Parable of the Sower".  The Sower is Christ (and His followers); the Seed is His Word; the four types of soil represent the four types of heart conditions (human responses) upon which the sown Word falls: (1) roadway soil, (2) rocky soil, (3) reprobate soil, and (4) ready soil.

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Life of Christ Lesson 57b: Mystery Kingdom Sowing

March 15, 2020 @ 11:38 pm

This is the second half of our study of "The Parable of the Sower" and the four types of human heart types upon which the Seed (God's Word) is sown!

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Life of Christ Lesson 58: Mystery Kingdom Sprouting

March 15, 2020 @ 11:39 pm

In this lesson from Matthew 13:24-43, the Lord Jesus fulfilled another Messianic prophecy, which is that the coming Messiah would speak in parables (Psalm 78:2), for in teaching His men on the inter-advent Kingdom of God on earth (roughly equivalent to the Church Age), He gave seven parables.  It was followed with an eighth parable, not directly related to the others, but one that taught a Biblical principle: with understanding comes responsibility (see "The Parable of the Householder" in Lesson #59).

 

We discuss the reason the Lord often taught by way of parables before we then get into an indepth look at three important parables which shed a lot of light on the current age of Christendom.  They are (1) "The Parable of the Wheat and Tares," (2) "The Parable of the Mustard Seed," and (3) "The Parable of the Leaven Hidden in Meal".  We spend valuable time explaining the varied interpretations of these parables, always settling on the one that best fits the context, the original meaning of the Greek, and the rest of Scripture.

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Life of Christ Lesson 59: Mystery Kingdom Separation

March 15, 2020 @ 11:40 pm

From Matthew 13:44-52, the Lord continued to teach what theologians call "The Mystery Parables Discourse".  In the next two parables: "The Parable of the Hidden Treasure" and "The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price," He spoke of what God Himself would gain during the intermediate stage of His Kingdom.  He would gain a precious treasure an a valuable pearl.  

 

In the seventh parable, "The Parable of the Dragnet" (13:47-50), the Lord spoke of the judgment that would come at the consummation of the mystery form of the Kingdom, when He would return to establish the Messianic form of the Kingdom offered at His First Coming - but postponed because of Israel's rejection of Him, the King.  the judgment will be a time of separation (wheat from tares; good fish from bad fish).

 

Matthew 13 ends with "The Parable of the Householder," by which Christ charged His disciples with personal responsibilty to generously distribute both the old and new truths they were so very privileged to have!

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Life of Christ Lesson 60: Handling Life’s Storms

March 15, 2020 @ 11:41 pm

America, and, in fact, the world, is in the midst of a "storm" this very hour.  It is an unsettling time as the Coronavirus is aggressively spreading its invisible tentacles across our globe.  How are Christians to respond?  Well, actually, the same way we should respond to all the rest of life's storms!  It is often said that if you are not in a storm, it is either because you have just come through one or you are soon to enter one!  Storms are a natural part of living in a sin-cursed world.  There is no way to avoid them, but there is a very calm way to "ride them out" free of fear and full of faith - not faith in ourselves (or we will surely sink); not faith in all the resources of government and science (we will still sink, for there are storms greater than mankind's combined intelligence and strength), but faith in the one Person Who is able to guide us safely through any and all storms. 

There is no reason to fear the furies and floods of life if you have invited Jesus Christ "on board" to be the Captain of your ship!  He will see you safely to your final destination, no matter what is happening in your personal life or in the world today.

This lesson comes in our "Caldwell Commentary" series "Life of Christ Vol. 3" (available through www.scripturetruth.com).

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Life of Christ Lesson 61: The Great Physician {Delivering Demons} - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:42 pm

Mark 5:1-20.  The fifth chapter of Mark is often referred to as the Bible chapter for "incurables" because it contains the written record of Christ's confrontations with three humanly incurable cases.

First, He had "a divine appointment" with two men who were mentally deranged because of demonic possession.  That will be the subject of this first of a three-part study on "The Great Physician". 

The Lord's second encounter was with a physically disabled woman who had gone to every doctor she could find, and none could cure her of the issue of blood that plagued her for 12 years.  The third situation was the most "incurable" of all, from the human perspective,  It was death, in this case it was the death of a 12-year old girl, the daughter of a man named Jairus.  Both of these situations will be discussed in the second part of this study (see Lesson #61a and b).

The three humanly incurable situations of Mark 5 picture man's incurable situation regarding sin.  Apart from the healing/saving power of the Great Physician (Jesus Christ), men are the hopeless, helpless victims of Satan (first case of this chapter), of disease (second case), and of death (third case).  

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Life of Christ Lesson 62a: The Great Physician {Touching the Hem} - Part II

March 15, 2020 @ 11:43 pm

Mark 5:25-34 (also Matthew 9:20-22 and Luke 8:43-48) is the record of the Lord's encounter, as He was on His way to Jairus' house to see his 12-year old daughter, who was dying, with a woman who suffered from an issue of blood for 12 years.  Not only did the woman suffer physically (never finding any physician who could help her), but she also emotionally and socially.  Her ailment made her ceremonially unclean, so in Jewish society this meant she would be excluded from all social gatherings, including to worship in her local synagogue.

The woman heard about Jesus and His incredible healing powers.  Thus, when she found out He was in her hometown of Capernaum, she carefully joined the thronging crowd around Him as He made His way to Jairus' house.  She believed that if she could just reach out and slightly touch His clothing (not Him), that she would be made whole!  When she managed to touch the hem of the Lord's clothes, the Lord felt power issue forth from Him.  He knew someone had reached out to Him in faith, and when the woman came forward to share "all the truth" about her situation and what she had done in secretly touching His garment, the Lord, on the only occasion in the gospel accounts, called her "Daughter".  Then He said to her, "Thy faith hath made thee whole" (5:34).   It is a beautiful story about our Great Physician!

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Life of Christ Lesson 62b: The Great Physician {Raising a Dead Girl} - Part III

March 15, 2020 @ 11:44 pm

Mark 5:22-24, 35:45 (also Matthew 9:18, 19, 23-26; Luke 8:40-42, 49-56).  This is the account of the "healing" by Jesus of the third humanly incurable situation in Mark chapter 5 (the first two were the healing of dehumanized demoniacs - Lesson #61 and the healing of the disgraced daughter of Israel - Lesson #62a).  The third consecutive healing miracle of the Great Physician (Jesus) in this chapter was the most "incurable" of all.  Jairus' dying 12-year old daughter actually died before Jesus made it to the home.  After the dely with the woman with issue of blood, the Lord arrived "too late" (it would seem), for the little girl was dead and the professional mourners had already arrived!  

If you don't already know this story, you will be richly blessed; if you do already know it, you will also be richly blessed.  Why?  Because we can never hear enough how our Great Physician Saviour, Who is incarnate God, can "heal" every humanly incurable situation, including the worst of all, death!  Halelluiah!

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Life of Christ Lesson 63: Binding Blindness

March 15, 2020 @ 11:45 pm

There are two kinds of blindness that afflict the human race: physical and spiritual.  The Lord encountered both types in this lesson, "Binding Blindness".  He healed the physically blind eyes of two man whose eyes may have seen nothing, but whose spiritual "eyes" were enlightened to "see" the Light of Christ!

The Lord also encountered the spiritual blindness that abundantly existed in Israel, particularly among the citizens of His hometown of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6a).  Sadly, Jesus encountered far more cases of spiritual blindness than ALL the other types of physical deficiencies and diseases put together!

There are two miracles discussed in this lesson: the miracle of sight to two blind men (Matthew 9:29) and the miracle of healing a dumb demonian (Matthew 9:33).

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Life of Christ Lesson 64a: The Ordination Sermon - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:46 pm

Matthew 9:35-10:42.  This is the record of the very first ordination that ever took place among those who would serve as the foundational, living stones of Church, the lord's Apostles.  In the fourth recorded sermon of Christ's ministry, He gave the ordination charge to His men before sending them out, in pairs, on their first mission venture without Him.  

To this point in His ministry, Jesus was doing everything (teaching, healing, preaching) on His own.  His men were merely observers and learners, but not participators in His works.  They needed to learn how to also become directly involved as "laborers" in the ministry of sowing seed and harvesting souls for the Kingdom of God.  The Lord's time with them was getting short.  They needed to have some "hands-on" training!

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 64b: The Ordination Sermon- Part II

March 15, 2020 @ 11:47 pm

In this lesson, we further discuss the Lord's "Ordination Sermon" to His men.  We discuss the men in their groups of four and then in the pairs by which they were sent forth.  Also important is why they were to travel in pairs - we talk about the various wise reasons for that.  Jesus explains to themwhat their ministry was to be, as well as the message they were to give and the miracles they would be empowered to perform.  So, too, He talked about their "means" (to trust God to provide) and their method(s) they were to use as they went to towns and cities and stayed in homes, etc. 

There is a lot of practical information for us today as we go forth in the name of Christ, proclaiming Him to those of our communities and beyond!

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Life of Christ Lesson 65: The Ordination Sermon - Part III

March 15, 2020 @ 11:48 pm

In this next section of the Lord's "Ordination Sermon" to His Apostles, Matthew 10:16-23, we find that the Lord really had something important to say to all His "helpers" (followers), not only the ones present with Him at that time, but also to those who would serve Him in the future (us and the Tribulation believers).

As we cover the information of the Lord in verses 16 to 23, we will discuss His words of warning about the opposition of the "wolves" His disciples can expect to encounter (then, now, and in the future).  He forewarned that the opposition to their message about Him would come from the religionists, the rulers, and their own relatives.  So very true!

The persecution the godly believer can expect to encounter will give him or her opportunities to witness.  Jesus assured His men (and all future disciples) they need not be concerned what to say in those situations, for the Spirit would speak through them (10:19, 20).  We also hear the Lord talk about the disciples' obligation to withstand.  We discuss what He meant by His words, ". . . but he that endureth to the end shall be saved" (10:22b) - often misunderstood.

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Life of Christ Lesson 66: The Ordination Sermon IV

March 15, 2020 @ 11:49 pm

In the final section of the Lord's "Ordination Sermon" to His men, found in Matthew 10:24-42, His words apply to all believers.  In fact, in this interesting passage, we find some of His most definitive teaching on the true nature of Christian discipleship in the New Testament.  He "pulled no punches".  He "painted" no pretentious pictures when it came to revealing what is involved when a person chooses to follow Him.  He spoke about the blessings and the bruises; the promises and the persecutions, and the rewards and the rejections.

This is the key passage in Scripture on Christian discipleship, which is the great task of the Church!  IMPORTANT LESSON

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Life of Christ Lesson 67: Fears and Follies of Herod

March 15, 2020 @ 11:50 pm

Matthew 14:1-12.  We come in this lesson to the death of one of the most fearless men of God who ever lived, John the Baptist.  In this same episode about the godly, fearless Baptist, we learn about a godless man who feared just about everyone except God!  His name was Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea; the man responsible for the beheading of the Baptist.  This is a great lesson to illustrate the truth of Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man brings a snare".  It is also a good lesson on the human conscience, as well as on the very serious danger of lust and peer pressure.

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Life of Christ Lesson 68: Lord Multiplies a Lad’s Lunch

March 15, 2020 @ 11:51 pm

John 6:1-15; Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-40; Luke 9:10-17

The feeding of the 5,000 men (plus women and children, so more likely at least 15,000 people) is the only specific miracle recorded in all four gospel accounts other than Christ's resurrection!   It was a spectacular miracle that produced a peak in the peoples' interest in Jesus, even causing them to want to crown Him king, but for the wrong reasons.  This is why after we discuss Part I of this lesson, "Jesus Feeds the Multitude," we then look at Part II, "Jesus Flees the Multitude".  Many spiritual lessons were taught the disciples of Christ through this miracle; they also apply to us today!  A "must" listen message!

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 69: Cresting and Resting the Stormy Sea

March 15, 2020 @ 11:52 pm

In this lesson from our 8-year Life of Christ study (through all four gospels), titled "Cresting and Resting the Stormy Sea" in the accompany commentary-book ("Life of Christ Vol. 3), we discuss the Lord's amazing deliverance of His disciples from sure death in a very violent storm.   The Lord calmed that storm by simply getting into the ship with His disciples, but there was another miracle that occurred at the very same time!!  That simultaneous miracle is mentioned so briefly, it is OFTEN NOT NOTICED AT ALL.  It also took place quickly (in the twinkling of an eye), and may very well serve as a beautiful prophetic picture of THE RAPTURE (and/or the individual Christian's "home-going").  The ship and all "on board" were instantly on the shore of safety (i.e. Heaven)!

 

 

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Life of Christ Lesson 70a: Bread of Life Sermon - Part I

March 15, 2020 @ 11:53 pm

After feeding the 5,000+ people with five barley loaves and two fish (an amazing miracle), the Lord Jesus then presented a powerful message in what has come to be known as His "Bread of Life Sermon" of John chapter 6.  We present this very important discourse in four parts (of which this is the first).  

This sermon was a defining moment in Christ's life, for after hearing it and misunderstanding what He taught, most of His followers turned and walked no more with Him.  It is critical to rightly interpret this sermon, which we do!

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