Saturday, September 23, 2006


Tongues and Trances

The Southern Baptist convention is now through provocations raised through their international Mission Board having to confront the issue of speaking in tongues. In a very insightful commentary on his blog,
Jerry Corbaley has raised some thought provoking questions. Here is the guts of his post.

Acknowledging your bias.
You have one, don’t fool yourself into thinking you do not.

The Primary Question: Do we even know what we are talking about?
1. There are a lot of different words being used for a variety of practices as if the words and practices are interchangeable. The assumption that the words and practices are interchangeable insures poor communication and misunderstanding. The different words used for the different practices are not interchangeable. If you ignore this, you are part of the problem. If you will take this to heart, you will see the poor communication and misunderstandings developing and will have the opportunity to increase clarity.

2. If Southern Baptists do not define glossolalia, we will not know what we are talking about. If you are unwilling to define glossolalia, then you do not know what you are talking about. Further, you will sense that you do not know what you are talking about, so your unwillingness to reach a corporate definition will be based on personal confusion and fear. Since you cannot decide nor define what glossolalia is, you will not want anyone else to decide either. If you have no working definition for glossolalia and are opposed to the practice, then that is bigotry. Both extremes are sinful. Brothers and sisters, we really ought to know what we are talking about.Definition of glossolalia

3. The spiritual gift of glossolalia is, and was, a language miracle. Language miracles are prominent in Biblical history. Adam and Eve were recipients of a language miracle. The people of Babel were recipients of a language miracle. Balaam’s donkey was the recipient of a language miracle. Isaiah in God’s throne room almost certainly included a language miracle. When God supernaturally enables one to speak a language that was not naturally learned, it is a language miracle. The spiritual gifts of glossolalia and the interpretation of glossolalia are also language miracles. When God supernaturally enables one to speak or interpret a language that was not naturally learned, it is a language miracle. It is shallow to ignore the Old Testament light and context regarding New Testament practice.

4. Can you improve on this definition of glossolalia, and the interpretation of glossolalia?

5. Do you agree that all spoken languages are specific phonetic sounds consistently related to specific rational meaning?

6. Do you agree that all languages can be easily verified with the presence of an interpreter of said language?

7. With tens of millions of people who assert they are gifted practitioners of glossolalia and millions of people who assert they are gifted with the interpretation of glossolalia, it should be rather a simple matter to verify the current phenomena as Biblical glossolalia.

8. Now would be a good time for the practitioners to do so. Will you cooperate?

9. With tens of millions of people who assert they are gifted practitioners of glossolalia and tens of thousands of people who are gifted at learning languages and breaking encoded information, it should still be possible to verify the current phenomena as biblical glossolalia even if there are no persons spiritually gifted with the interpretation of glossolalia.

10. Now would be a good time for the practitioners to cooperate. Will you do so?

11. Regarding spiritual gifts, should Southern Baptists embrace teachers who can’t teach, workers of miracles that don’t work, healers who can’t heal, and practitioners of language miracles that can’t help us proclaim the gospel across language barriers?

12. Should we have confidence in a verifiable practice that millions of practitioners refuse to verify?

13. Since hundreds of millions of brothers and sisters are in doubt about the veracity of the experience of those who assert the spiritual gifting of glossolalia, isn’t it incumbent upon the practitioners to walk into the light so that it can be plainly seen that what they are doing is done through God?

14. Is there not a desperate need to cross language barriers with the gospel of Jesus Christ in North America and around the world?

15. Let me stress again that I am not a cessationist. I find cessationist arguments unconvincing. I find assertions that SBC entities are dominated by cessationists to be false. What ever God has done he can do again. It is likely that all of us will receive a language miracle when we arrive in heaven.

16. If the spiritual gift of glossolalia and/or the interpretation of glossolalia is available, then we should cooperate with the practitioners. Period. Bigotry should have no place in our efforts to proclaim the gospel in every language. Do you agree?

17. Should Southern Baptists advocate or deny the current assertions of glossolalia without attempting to verify the assertions?

18. The SBC has two missions boards composed of missionaries, staff, and trustees that have more education and experience than any several of our seminaries combined. The mission boards are involved in crossing language barriers 24/7, in North America and around the world. The SBC has 7 fine seminaries, many fine universities and colleges, and active working relationships with Bible believing Christians around the world. Is there any group more qualified to discern if current assertions of glossolalia are true? Is there any group with more need to know?

19. What about other Christian organizations that we call Great Commission Christians? Would they be willing to walk into the light and reveal that what they are doing is plainly being done by God?

20. Do Southern Baptists really want to walk into the light on this issue?

Definition of Babble

21. My testimony is that I am acquainted with hundreds of people who babble and think it is the expression of glossolalia. I do not want to be offensive. I am choosing the word “babble” because it literally describes the practice I have observed repeatedly. If the SBC is going to dialog about glossolalia then we are going to have to get over emotional reactions to words that literally describe practice. I am truly sorry if people’s feelings get hurt. I am truly sorry if open discussion about the veracity of people’s sincere practice causes them discomfort. But the issue must be truth, not sincerity. There will be hurt feelings within sincere people on all sides of this issue. This pain has been going on for longer than any of us have been alive. To refuse to address this issue from fear of consequences and/or sentimentality is unacceptable. Since SBC entities were not allowed to handle the issue internally, with discretion, it is now very public. Perhaps it is for the best.

22. Babble is: to talk irrationally; to talk thoughtlessly, to say incoherently; incoherent talk or vocal sounds. Synonyms include twaddle, prattle, gabble and prate. Look it up for yourself. If you have a better word that literally describes the practice, let me know and I will adopt it immediately. If you think the definition does not fit the practice; then help me convince the practitioners to demonstrate that their verbal sounds contain rationality, thought and coherence. If the “babble” is rational, thoughtful and coherent, then it is language isn’t it? If the vocal sounds lack rationality, thought and coherence then it is babble. If it is language then we can cross language barriers with the gospel can’t we?

Private Prayer Language

23. There will be a sincere effort to frame the glossolalia issue as “private prayer language”. This is inaccurate from both the Biblical and experiential points of view. It is literally misleading though most who use it do not mean to mislead others. They just have not thought it through. I will address this assertion in reverse order; “language”, then “prayer”, then “private”.

24. If private prayer language is “language”, then specific phonetic sounds will have specific rational meaning. Like it or not, this is what spoken language is. Languages can be verified as languages. An interpreter can facilitate the verification. Even without an interpreter, a language can be verified from repeated observations of specific phonetic sounds if the observations and the context of the observations are known. With tens of millions of practitioners babbling, there is no lack of opportunity to observe the phonetic sounds and the context in which the sounds are uttered.

25. Why isn’t private prayer language babble?

26. If private prayer language cannot be discerned as language, how do the practitioners know it is “prayer”?

27. If a practitioner has verified their verbal expression as language through one who is gifted as an interpreter of glossolalia, then interpreters are available and should make themselves known so that we can set this matter to rest and use the gifts of glossolalia and the interpretation of glossolalia to cross language barriers with the gospel.

28. If the practitioner and interpreter do not wish to minister to the needs of the body of Christ in such a way; then their sincere testimony is suspect. Why would they not wish to do so? Have you ever met a spiritually gifted teacher who was reluctant to minister in the power of the Spirit?

29. If the verbal utterances of the practitioners are language, and have never been interpreted, then the practitioner does not know what they are saying. How does the practitioner discern the nature of the spirit speaking through them if they do not know what is being said? Because it “feels” good? Is that an adequate way to try the spirit? How can the practitioner not care to know what they are saying?

30. How can tens of millions of practitioners not ask themselves this question, organize, and do some corporate introspection and research to verify their practice? Come now brothers and sisters; become proactive in the process.

31. As a similar example, should Southern Baptists advocate the reality of the spiritual gift of “teaching” without the “teachers” bothering to validate what they are teaching? Should teachers check and see if anyone is learning?

32. Private prayer language is babble. It has yet to be demonstrated that it is language. It has yet to be demonstrated that it is prayer. It is also not reasonable to conclude that it is “private” in practice, or intended to be private in Scripture. Indeed, it would be sin for a practitioner of private prayer language to keep their practice private.

33. Let’s assume for the moment that the current expressions of babble are actual glossolalia. The Spirit moves the faithful Christian (gifted with glossolalia) to minister in the power of the Spirit in the local congregation. The Christian expresses their verbal sounds. To those in the congregation who do not recognize rational, coherent thought, the verbal sounds are babble. But there is an interpreter present who recognizes the meaning expressed in a language and interprets that meaning to the congregation in a language the congregation understands so that the church is edified. If there are unbelievers present who speak the language expressed by the practitioner, or some who are uninstructed, who also recognize the meaning in their own language, then they have received a message in the context of a supernatural sign. Great stuff if it is real. If this is real we need to participate don’t we?

34. As the months turn into years, the integrity of the expressions of glossolalia and the integrity of the interpretations of glossolalia are protected by the agreement, and character, of several interpreters of glossolalia. They verify each other’s accuracy. They would spot each other’s sin. The content of the messages, once interpreted, are subject to the prophets. Great stuff if this is what God is currently doing. What would you call it if this is what is being asserted by the practitioners and it is NOT what God is doing?

35. If the practitioner uttering verbal sounds does not find an interpreter present, then they are to cease speaking, because the congregation will only observe babbling. It is predictable that people will conclude that such a group is “out of their mind” (1 Co. 14:23). Yet God says (1 Co. 14:13) that the practitioner is to pray that he may interpret. That would require a desire to publicly express their “gift”. How is that “private”? The practitioner of a “private prayer language” is instructed by God to pray that he may publicly interpret the language he speaks? How could that remain private?

36. God says (1 Co. 12:7) that the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. The spiritual gifts are manifestations of the Holy Spirit to edify the church, not the individual (1 Co. 10:24; 10:33b; 13:5; 14:3-5; 14:12; 14:17; 14:26; 14:31). If the Spirit of God has empowered an individual with the spiritual gift of glossolalia, how can the practitioner refuse to speak it publicly without quenching the Spirit? Is that not sin? Would it not be sin to keep a gift designed to edify the church from edifying the church?

37. Will the practitioners respond that the “private prayer language” cannot be uttered audibly?

38. If the practitioner recognizes that the spiritual gift they have received is intended to edify the church (not themselves), then they must periodically speak publicly to see if one is present who is gifted with the interpretation of glossolalia. How is this private? If the practitioner finds no interpreter present on the first Sunday of the month, might not God empower a member of the congregation by the second or third Sunday of the month? How is one empowered with glossolalia to know if an interpreter is available without uttering potential babble on a periodic and recurring basis? How can this ever be private? How often do you want this to occur in your main worship service? Or is direct communication from God unwelcome on your Sunday mornings? One empowered by God to minister to the needs of the congregation must have an internal drive to do so. To assert the expression of glossolalia as a current spiritual gift and to assert that it is private has no Biblical basis and cannot be faithfully attempted; it is quenching the Spirit if it is real. Is it not disruptive in the extreme if it is not real?

39. If the current expressions of babble are truly glossolalia, then we absolutely cannot prohibit it from audible or silent expression (1 Cor. 14:37-39). I urge you to study the Scriptural text; we are commanded by God not to forbid glossolalia. Period. However, if the current expressions of babble are not glossolalia, then it can be forbidden. It is not glossolalia. In fact, if it is not glossolalia then it should be forbidden, shouldn’t it?

40. So, do we know what we are talking about? Do you have a working Biblical definition of glossolalia and the interpretation of glossolalia? If you will not decide, you will not have a rational voice in this issue.

41. Until reasons can be given to the contrary, the assertions of private prayer language should be called “babble”. That is literally what it is. Expressions of private prayer language must be shown to be “language” before it can be shown to be “prayer”. The teaching of Scripture prevents glossolalia from remaining private.

42. If the practitioners of babble want to verify their “gift” as glossolalia, then tens of millions of them worldwide should be able to do so. Will you please begin the process and save the body of Christ from months and years of uncertainty and division?

Testimony of the practitioners of babble

43. The testimony of our brothers and sisters who babble is still important. Like the rest of us, they are saved by grace and God uses them before they are perfect. The testimony of a babbler must be given the same weight as the testimony of a skeptic. Matters are established by testimony in the kingdom of God (Mt. 18:16). We must not lose sight of the fact that a babbler may be more blessed than a skeptic. You may have noticed that overweight Christians can still be effective Christians, and by grace can be more effective than physically fit Christians. Such is life in a sinful world. Let’s trust God’s grace through this.

44. There are some questions deserving answers that can help Southern Baptists faithfully address the controversy over glossolalia, babbling, and private prayer language. Such public testimony is a necessary part of the adoption of private prayer language amongst Southern Baptists. If the hundreds (thousands?) of Southern Baptist practitioners will honestly and publicly respond, then the congruence of their testimony is partial evidence of the veracity of their experience and gifting. In like manner, the absence of response is potential evidence of the weakness of their perspective.

45. You who are practitioners, will you respond? You have our attention. This is your cue. Respond where you like, but please publicly respond. The spiritual gifts are part of the good news, don’t be ashamed of it.

46. If private prayer language is private, then how does it spread?

47. If private prayer language is an advantage to the Christian, then how can you not proclaim it publicly?

48. If private prayer language is glossolalia, then how can you not demonstrate such and help the SBC fulfill the Great Commission?

49. If private prayer language is glossolalia, then how can you not periodically search for one who is gifted with the interpretation of glossolalia within your own congregation?

50. How can you conclude that you are practicing the spiritual gift of glossolalia, if you have not had your utterances interpreted many times?

51. How can you conclude that you are “praying” in glossolalia if you have never understood what you were saying?

52. How can you try the spirit (if any) behind your utterances if you don’t know what you are saying?

53. Is it unimportant to try the nature of the spirit empowering your experience?

54. What is the nature and advantage of the “edification” you receive when uttering your private prayer language? Can you describe it?

55. Is this edification exclusive to uttering a prayer language? That is; can the same edification be received through reading and memorizing Scripture, witnessing to the lost, feeding the poor and etcetera? What would you lose through stopping this practice?

56. The command of God in 1 Co. 14:37-39 (NIV) says you should ignore anyone who forbids glossolalia. Does this mean you don’t care what others think or say about private prayer language? Do you have divine permission, even direction, to display contempt toward Christian brothers and sisters who are unenlightened regarding private prayer language? Can you in good conscience ignore NAMB and IMB policy because God tells you to?

57. When you encounter a brother or sister who is struggling with a trial of faith in this world, would you encourage them to be edified through speaking in glossolalia?

58. If glossolalia is such an integral part of your own life, how could you not encourage others to seek such a blessing, such divine intimacy?

Questions for the SBC as a whole

59. What is the scope of babbling/glossolalia within the SBC?
60. Is the outcry from the bloggers in the margin over the last year representative of the SBC as a whole?

61. Is the outcry from the bloggers in the margin over the last year primarily doctrinal or overtly political?

62. Current policy within the NAMB and the IMB takes a dim view of the veracity of babbling. Should these mission agencies become advocates of babbling? Is any SBC institution better equipped to discern the veracity of babbling/glossolalia than our missions organizations?

63. Should the SBC Executive Committee become an advocate of babbling?

64. Is the rejection of babble a violation of local church autonomy? Have any churches been forced to change their doctrine?

65. If a Southern Baptist applies for a missionary appointment and is rejected because they practice babble, does that prevent them from going to the mission field? Are there not a hundred other ways to go?

66. Are individual Southern Baptists entitled to apply for appointment as a missionary, or entitled to an appointment as a missionary?

67. If the SBC decide to evaluate the babble/glossolalia issue; should we not consider the testimony and practice of other Great Commission Christians and our international Christian partners (who now outnumber us at least 4 to 1)?Why address the babble/glossolalia issue at all?

68. This may be difficult for many of you to understand. A few months ago I hosted a blog article regarding the IMB policy on glossolalia (now removed, I have other things to attend to). Two things were very evident from the multiplied thousands of words that were exchanged. One is that the vast majority of respondents did not know what they were talking about; they had no definition of glossolalia, and no personal experience with the practice. The second is that almost no one who practiced babbling would even try to answer questions that could build understanding of the babbling experience.

69. I now expect that the above is true of the vast majority of Southern Baptists. You have not seen the frequent results of babbling within churches. You have not yet spent months and years praying, studying and thinking through the issues. You are capable of wisdom and will achieve it, but not quickly. Thinking takes considerable time. Consensus takes a lot longer.

70. When a person babbles in a congregation, it has a dramatic effect on the entire group. They must conclude the babbler is out of their mind, or withhold judgment (rare), or decide the Holy Spirit is directly manifesting his divine presence through the faithfulness of the babbler. Those who continue babbling always opt for explanation number three, and assert their spirituality. While some intend and achieve humility, all (in a congregation that tolerates the occurrence) receive a significant boost to their influence within the congregation. Their babbling has publicly established their faithfulness and usefulness to God himself. God, himself, has publicly set them apart from the norm and spoken through them. Everything the babbler does and says receives increased respect. New believers are especially attracted to whatever “deeper life” or “fuller gospel” is available.

71. Now this is great stuff if it is real.

72. Influence is the fulcrum of the issue. If babbling is glossolalia, it is the supernatural manifestation of divine revelation and it deserves respect. Also, the interpreted message is the expressed will of God. Often babble is “interpreted” as praise. Often it grows to become “divine direction” and “divine interpretation”.

73. If voiced publicly and interpreted publicly, (if babble is not glossolalia) then, at best, it is emotional intuition and similar to rolling dice to discern what God is saying to the congregation.

74. If voiced publicly and interpreted publicly, (if babble is not glossolalia) then, it is by definition a false presentation of the voice of God expressed through false testimony.

75. Southern Baptist had better care about this issue.And it all returns to the primary question.

76. Do we know what we are talking about? If you do not have a Biblical definition of glossolalia, then you do not know what you are talking about.


Tongues and Trances

More than twenty five years ago I went to Papua New Guinea, the Baiyer River Valley, at the height of the revival there (Some 10,000 or more were swept into the kingdom of God during the 1978 Enga revival).
The beautiful Baiyer River Valley was a 2 hour road trip North down a muddy dirt road down deep ravines and valleys from the top of the Central Highlands, Mt. Hagen. The Baptist mission station there had been in existence for about 20 years. 30 years before, two courageous godly men (Albert Kroenert and Harry Orr, both ex service chaplains during WW2 stationed to that region with the Australian Army fighting the Japanese invasion).had walked into the valley in 1949 just after World War 2. The Baiyer River had been off limits to Westerners, because of the furious nature of the cannibal tribesmen. Close to50, 000 lived in that isolated region of Papua New Guinea.
Specifically, although on a work party, I wished to gather data for a University thesis on the tongues movement that was affecting some parts (not all parts) of the revival region.
The trip to this small village was amazing. The complete trip to the village took a further 2 hours drive and a further 3 hours walk from Baiyer River -Kumbwarata base station. At one stage the party of 5 forded a wild mountain river. A bridge over the river had been washed away many years ago. The clear cool mountain water surged against our bodies as we carefully navigated our feet from one large rock to another. It was amazing that no one caught their feet between rocks, or were dragged away by the river. After negotiating the river we were led down a long jungle path, about 18 inches (.5 metre) wide. The head high Kunai grass at times masked the directions in which we were travelling, and for sometimes half an hour, all we could do was trust that the track lead somewhere.
I remember entering a village with a small group of 5 other Australians. This village had not seen a westerner in their region for many years. The entire village and people from outlying areas had travelled to the small clearing and grass church hut to meet us. Although we had decided just a few hours before that we would travel to this particular village, word had somehow spread, and hundreds were gathered expectantly for our arrival.
There was a language barrier. One of our party, an ex Vietnam vet walked to the gathered crowd of 300 at the village entrance. Unable to communicate (they knew only the Enga language, not even Pidgin English) except for the basic hello "Kinganuya", the gathered multitude excitedly extended their hands "Kinganuya". Some began to talk excitedly to Jim in their own language. Jim, the salty ex vet, responded, "Kinganuya, - and your mother wears army boots too!" in a smiling happy greeting, which flashed his broken front teeth..
Surprisingly, the women in the crowd reacted immediately with shaking, ecstatic languages and trances. Jim's greeting had brought REVIVAL!
The group of ladies gathered there began to shake violently, standing upright, as though they were on some vibrating machine. Some began to take little jumps up into the air jumping up and down continuously. Others began to babble madly, as though they were in a prophetic frenzy. The whole scene became one of obvious religious fervour. The ladies involved seemed possessed of something greater than themselves.
That evening we sat down in a small smoke filled wooden hut on a dirt floor to the lavish banquet supplied by the church members there. The meal was canned fish (Mackerel) and spinach. Soon, as we completed the meal, there appeared at the door of the hut the leaders of the community. “Were we ready now to conduct the church service held in our honour?” One of our party, Rev. Max Knight, had ministered in the region for twelve years. He had translated the gospel of Mark and the book of Acts into the Enga tongue. He had then come home to Australia for medical reasons in 1969. Max, (now 50 years old) informed us that we needed to get ready for the church service. We would each be expected to speak. The service would begin at 9 pm, and conclude about 3 am. After that trek, I , a very fit 19 year old, was struggling to keep awake.
The church service, conducted in a large grass hut, with, a plaited matting floor seating on the floor around 200 people, continued for some hours until about midnight. It had been a good old Baptist service, lots of singing, lots of praying lots of preaching. The people generally had green water proof New Testaments that had obviously been well used. This was so incongruous to our minds, because everything else about these people spoke to us of their ancient stone aged ways. The only elements of civilisation that we had seen in their region were what was obviously a church building (grass hut with a pitched roof, so unlike their other constructions) and a vacated medical nurses hut with a red cross painted on a whitened wall of the wood hut. To see a New Testament (in Enga) held by each man of that tribe, and obviously read and laboriously studied seemed incongruous.
At midnight the ladies took over. It wasn’t as though the elders of the church had planned it. It seemed like it was something spontaneous. But they came to the front and started jumping again in front of the meeting. Then came the shaking, as though they were in the grip of some monstrous ghoul shaking them too and fro. Then came the tongues. The ladies became trance-like. They began to prophecy. They spoke in tongues.. obviously unknown to the hearers, and more unknown to us there. The tongues were musical uses of monosyllables, a “huh, huh , huh” repetitive panting and then a babble.
This continued for about an hour, until Max, and the younger missionary decided the continuation of the service was useless, and shepherded myself and the two other young adults to bed, all the while being careful not to give any offence, lest the situation grow suddenly dangerous.
What were we to make of these events, in such a distant and isolated place?

On the 24th of June 1949, a few months after their arrival into that region, Albert Kroenert and Harry Orr baptised 47 Enga Christians in a makeshift dam in front of 10,000 plumed and painted Enga tribesmen. Nearly 1,000 would indicate that day their desire to follow Christ and their desire for baptism. Over the next 30 years 20, 000 would come into the Kingdom of God by the slow hard work of committed and sacrificial missionaries. Many of these Engas had become Christians in a widespread revival that swept through that region in 1973. Reports of the second revival of 1978 had come to Sydney where I lived, and I was keen to see first hand a mighty work of God.

Had Jim’s greeting "Kinganuya, - and your mother wears army boots too!" really brought revival?
I discussed this later with two men, the missionary who had brought us there ( a young accountant from South Australia who had lived at Baiyer River Mission station for about 4 years) and the first convert of the Sau Enga tribe and head pastor, Pastor Saui, then about 60 years old.
These discussions revealed an interesting sociological phenomena.
1. Where the people were well versed in the scriptures, there was revival with little or no ecstatic expressions of shaking, jumping or tongues.
2. Where the women of the community were scared of losing their newly gained rights (The revival had brought new rights to women on the mission field: no more sleeping with the pigs since the revival and conversions of their husbands; no more polygamy; and no more sacrificial murders to spirits; and no more mutilation or violence towards wives)because their husbands may be backsliding into the old ways, there the WOMEN exercised the outward visible expressions of the charismatic movement. The missionaries I spoke to expressed their belief that this was a sociological phenomenon, where the women of the community were looking for the security of their rights gained through the gospel.
In short, they did the revival dance to protect themselves and their children from the paganism that threatened to swallow them up again at the hands of their husbands. It allowed them to exercise control!
As Chuck Swindoll notes: “I do not believe the modern tongues movement belongs in the church today. It does not square with Scripture nor does it edify the Body... 1 Cor 14:34 the women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says. 35 And if they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church meeting.
The woman is to be an example of quiet submission.. But let me ask again: is this happening in today's tongues movement? .. Have you noticed how many ministries are dominated by women?" (Tongues 1981 Multnomah Press p. 7, 16).

Here for the first time I was confronted with the reality of what I have grown accustomed to recognising as "spurious revival".
I think Jonathon Edwards comments on this in some of his work on religious experiences. Where there may be true revival, there the devil may sow false revival to bring the gospel into disrepute.
There in the back blocks of PNG I was privileged to see true revival, and false revival sown with it (for all the right reasons sociologically).

If that is not so, then one of our greatest evangelistic and revival messages should be "Your mother wears Army boots!"
I personally believe they were expecting some "prophetic message" from Jim, and were self-deceived into reacting in tongues and "revival phenomena".

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Steve is on holidays till Mid October

The preachers at the Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle during this time are:
Jeff Shepley
will be preaching Sunday the 17th September at 10:30 AM will be a mission message from Psalm 96.
PM message on the 17th will be on “Handling Giants of any Kind” from 1Sam.17.

Sunday the 24th September AM will be on “3 Things God Wants You to Know in Hard Times” from 2Cor.12:7-10, and the PM message will be on the Rich Young Ruler, from Mk.10:17-23.

The following two Sundays:

October 1 Our preachers will be AM :Ron Scott PM: Arthur Upton

October 8th Our preachers will be AM :Ron Barker PM : John Heaney


Ephesians Bible Studies


Study 1: Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Key verse: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” 1:3.

Way in…. What does society think God is like? What do you think God is like?

Read Ephesians 1:1-14 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the saints and believers in Christ Jesus at Ephesus. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; 4 for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 He made known to us the • mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment—to bring everything together in the • Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him. 11 In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. 13 In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—in Him when you believed—were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

1) List the blessings we have “in Christ” (1:3-14)*. What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
2. We have amazing spiritual blessings…
a) Who gives us these spiritual blessings (1:3)?
b) Where are these blessings to be found (1:3,4,7,9,11,12,13)?
c) How do we receive these blessings (1:13,14)?

3. We only have these “spiritual blessings” (blessings received through the Spirit) because of who God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is and because of what he is like.
a) How do these verses (1:1-14) describe God?

b) How does this list compare with the answers given in the “Way in”?

4. What do we learn about God’s present and future plans (1:9-14) for:
a) the world?
b) Christians?

5. It is clear that God blesses us for our good, but there is a bigger reason why God has given us all of these amazing blessings. Read verses 6,12,14. What is the reason?

6. The idea of God bringing glory to himself may seem arrogant to us. This can often be because we think of him as just another person like anyone of us.
a) So how is God different to us?
b) Why is it not arrogant, but absolutely right that God is glorified (honoured and recognised for who he is)?

Reflection & Action
At times we can feel that God doesn’t love us. How does what God is saying here help you to see that he does love you even if you don’t feel that he does?
How does the knowledge of God’s purposes as described in verses 10-11 help you when:
a) you or other Christians are persecuted?

b) evil seems to be winning in the world?

EPHESIANS Study 2: Focused Prayer
Key Verse: “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” 1:16.
Way in…. Do you ever struggle with what you should pray for other Christians? Why or why not?

Read Ephesians 1:15-23
This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 [I pray]that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 [I pray]that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. 20 He demonstrated [this power]in the Messiah by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in the heavens— 21 far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put everything under His feet and appointed Him as head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way.

Ephesians 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 [I pray]that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think—according to the power that works in you— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

1. a) What does Paul pray for in his 1st prayer - 1:15-23 (at least 3 requests)?
b) What does Paul pray for in his 2nd prayer - 3:14-21 (at least 4 requests)?

2. In summary, what does Paul want for the Ephesian believers?

3. Power is mentioned a lot in these prayers:
a) What is this power (1:19-20, 3:16)?
b) What is the purpose of this power for us (3:17-19)?
c) What is the outcome of this power for God (3:20-21)?

4. The word “know” in these prayers refers to head and heart knowledge combined. Why is it so important that we “know” the things Paul mentions in these prayers?

5. Paul’s passionate prayers for the Ephesians show that they haven’t made it yet as Christians. How does Paul’s passion and honesty encourage us as we pray?

Reflection & Action
God wants us to “know”: him better; the hope to which we are called; his incomparably great power for us who believe; and the width, length, height and depth of the love of Christ! If we really grasped these things, how would that challenge the common beliefs that:

o we need quality clothes, the latest gadgets, good looks & lots of money?

o we need to find love in the arms of another person?

o we need to be the centre of attention?

Pray: Paul’s prayers reveal what really matters in life. Pray some of these prayers for each other, your churches and any Christians you know of across the world!


Study 3: Saving Grace

Key verse: “…God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgression” (2:5).

Way in…… Think of some TV “makeover” programmes. What are the people, homes or gardens like before and after the makeovers? Describe any you can remember.

Read Ephesians 2:1-10
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also. 4 But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! 6 He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His]kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

1. How do unbelievers live their lives according to 2:1-3?

2. What kind of relationship do unbelievers have to God (2:1-3)?

3. How does God change the status of unbelievers (2:4-10)? Why?

4. Read 2:8-10. Why do we do “good works” (live in a way that pleases God)?

5. Remember that 2:1-3 describe the state of all people before they come to know Jesus. Fill in the following sentence in your own words:
I was…………………….but now am……………….………because…………….…….

Reflection & Action
What response would you give to a friend who says “people will go to heaven if they live a good life”?

Reflect on the reasons why God has made you alive (2:4,5,10). Are you living in the knowledge of God’s love and grace, or are you trying to earn it? What things do we put our trust in instead of God’s grace?

Everyone is either under God’s wrath or under God’s grace. Pray for friends and family under God’s wrath to turn to him and his rescue plan in Christ. Thank God for the amazing undeserved love he has shown you!


Study 4 "brought near…"

Read : Ephesians 2: 11-22
So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” done by hand in the flesh. 12 At that time you were without the Messiah, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, with no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He did away with the law of the commandments in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 [He did this so]that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 17 When [Christ]came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

In Ephesians 2: 1-3, and in verse 12, we are given God's terrible but true description of fallen humanity. Apart from Christ we are: Dead in sin (verse 1); Deceived by the world (verse 2); Dominated by Satan (verse 2); Degenerate in our living (verse 3), and Doomed to punishment (verse 3).

What is God's attitude towards fallen humanity?
What is His attitude towards us? "but" 4, l3.

1. What does it mean to be Born Again? (verses l and 5).
We who were spiritually dead because of sin have been made alive, by the miracle of the new birth (John 3: 3 and 5). The moment we believed on Christ and received Him as our Saviour (John 1: 12), we were born of God (John 1:13). Having received the Lord Jesus Christ we became possessors of eternal life (1 John 5: 11-12), and partakers of the divine nature(2 Peter 1: 4).

2. What does it mean to be Raised to Sit in Heavenly Places in Christ (verse 6).
We are now "citizens of heaven" (Philippians 3: 20).

3. What does it mean to be Saved by His Grace? (verses 8 to 10).

4. What does it mean to be Reconciled? (verses 14 - 17).

5. What is this New Relationship with God? (verse 18).

6. What is the significance of the Household of God? (verse 19-21).

7. We have been Made Fit Dwelling Places for God (verse 22).
But notice that the Church is "a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit"; and this is true of each individual member - see 1 Corinthians 6: 19.

By nature and by practice far - How very far from God! Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him, Through faith in Jesus' blood.
So nigh, so very nigh to God I cannot nearer be; For in the Person of His Son I am as near as He.
So dear, so very dear to God, More dear I cannot be; The love wherewith He loves the Son - Such is His love to me!


Read Ephesians 3: 1-12
For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 you have heard, haven’t you, about the administration of God’s grace that He gave to me for you? 3 The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. 4 By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. 5 This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 the Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 I was made a servant of this [gospel]by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. 8 This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is according to the purpose of the ages, which He made in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness, access, and confidence through faith in Him.

1. Why Is There a MYSTERY about the Church.
The word "mystery" occurs in verses 3, 4 and 9. 1 Corinthians 2: 7-12. Romans 11: 25; 1 Corinthians 15: 51; 1 Timothy 3:l6.

2. What do we MEAN when we speak of the Church?
What does God mean? 10, 6 Ephesians 4: 12, 15 and 16 and Colossians 1: 18.

3. What Is Important About The MEMBERSHIP of the Church?
- 1 Corinthians 12: 13.
4. What Is The MISSION of the Church? verses 8 and 10, Matthew 28: 19.

5. Who Are The MINISTERS of the Church? Verse 7, Ephesians 4: 11.

6. What Are The MARKS of the Church.
Notice the following five marks which should characterise every member of the Body of Christ: (1) Captivity. Are we bond-slaves of the Lord Jesus? (verse 1); (2) Fellowship. The words "heirs" and "sharers together" remind us of that which we share in Christ (verse 6); (3) Humility. (verse 8); (4) Testimony. (verse 8); (5) Acceptance. (verses 11 - l2). Underline the words "approach", "freedom", "confidence" and "in Him".

7. The MIGHT of the Church.
This is indicated in verse 7 in the words, "the gift of God's grace given me"; and also in the words, "through the working of His power."
There are those who think that because the witness of the Church today is often weak and ineffective, and many Christians are half-hearted, the Church will decline until she fades away altogether! - but the Church will never fail, because the Lord Jesus Christ is her Founder, her Foundation, her Builder, and He has guaranteed that no power on earth or in Hell will prevail against His Church - look up Matthew l6: 13-18 and 1 Corinthians 3: 11.


Study 9 The Spirit-Filled Life

Read : Ephesians 5: 15 - 33
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which [leads to]reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit: 19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord in your heart, 20 giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives should [submit]to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh, but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body.31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.

In Ephesians 5: 18 a contrast is made between the person who is under the influence of alcohol and the person who is under the controlling influence of the Holy Spirit. We as Christians are not to be drunk with the wine that comes from any earthly vineyard but with the new wine of the Kingdom which comes from the heavenly vineyard, from Him who is the True Vine (John 15: 1). There is a purpose in setting these two commands in contrast. It was a pagan belief that God dwelt in the blood of the grape, so that in drinking wine man was drinking God into himself. Drunkenness was therefore held to be a sacrament in which a man was supposed to be under the control of the god who filled him. Paul reminded the Christians at Ephesus of this pagan belief, and then he pointed them to the true way of being God-possessed. Concerning the Spirit-filled life, let us notice the following truths:

The Spirit-filled life is a command. Ephesians 5: 18

The Spirit-filled life is a command to every Christian.

To be filled with the Spirit is more than being indwelt by the Spirit. The Christians at Ephesus were "sealed" by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1: 13; 4:30), and thus they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as every Christian is (1 Corinthians 6:19), but we may be indwelt and not filled by Him; we may possess Him without His possessing us.

To be filled with the Spirit is not a matter of excess, but of sanity.

The Spirit-filled life is to be the normal experience of God's children. Ephesians 5: 18 means "Go on being filled…" God's plan for every one of His children is that they may be filled with the Holy Spirit so that they may live lives that are glorifying to Him in all their personal (Ephesians 5: 15-21), domestic (Ephesians 5: 22-33 and 6: 1-4), and business (Ephesians 6: 5-9) relationships.

Being filled with the Spirit is not our getting more of Him; it is His getting more of us. The Holy Spirit is a Person, and to be filled with Him means to allow Him to take full possession of our personalities.

The Spirit-filled life is marked by certain definite and easily discernible characteristics. Just as a drunken man can easily be recognised, so can a Spirit-filled Christian be recognised; the same characteristics are true of both.


Study 4: Living as One Body

Key Verse: “… we are all members of one body” (4:25b)

Way In…. What would you say to a Christian who said: “I don’t get anything out of church so I don’t bother going, I have my own relationship with God and that’s all I need”?

Read: Ephesians 4:1- 16
I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, 3 diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds [us]. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the • Messiah’s gift. 8 For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people. 9 But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The One who descended is the same as the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. 11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, [growing]into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

1. How does Paul urge the Ephesians to live (4:1-3)? What does he mean in light of the first 3 chapters? See especially, 1:6,12,14.

2. Read 4:4-6. Baptist churches all over the country share a doctrinal basis that they agree on. Do you think this is good or bad?

3. Why does Jesus give Christians different gifts (4:11-13,16)?

4. How do the images Paul uses help us to understand what a mature Church looks like (4:14)?

5. Why is it so important that we have both “truth” and “love” in the body of Christ (4:15)?
Reflection & Action

Think back to the “Way in”. Would you answer the question any differently now?

What impressions does a church give to the outsider if it is full of divisions?

How can you “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” in your Church?

Pray for unity in our church to be centred on 4:4-6.

Challenge: This week make an effort to encourage some Christians in your church.


Study 5: Giving up the old way of living!

Key Verse: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children” (5:1)

Way In…. Share with each other in what way(s) you bear your family’s likeness (in personality or looks etc).

Read: Ephesians 4:17-5:2
Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus: 22 you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth. 25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
5:1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.

1. How do people who do not know Jesus think and act according to 4:17-19?

2. Read Genesis 1:26-27. What was God’s original intention for human behaviour?

3. a) As Christians who know “the truth in Jesus”, what three things have we been taught to do (4:22-24)?

b) How does this relate to Genesis 1:26-27? What is God doing in us now?

4. What behaviour are we to take off and what behaviour are we to replace it with?

5. Why is it right to live this way (there are quite a few reasons given in this passage)?


Study 6: Relationships that honour God

Key Verse: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” 5:21

Way In…… When a person has power or authority over someone else, how are they likely to act?

When a person is under the power or authority of someone else how are they likely to respond? Can you think of any examples of these situations?

Read Ephesians 5:21-33
1. What overall rule should govern our relationships? What does this mean?

2. The marriage relationship is a picture of Christ and the Church (5:22-33).
a) How should the wife relate to her husband?

b) How should the husband relate to his wife?

3. a) How should the Church relate to Christ?

b) How does Christ relate to the Church?

Read Ephesians 6:1-4
4. Most families, including Christian families, have strained and stressful relationships from time to time:

a) How can we do our part according to 6:2?

b) What does this mean in light of 6:1?

Read Ephesians 6:5-9
5. a) What attitudes and actions should the slave and master have to their work and each other?

b) Do you have relationships equivalent to the slave-master relationship? If so, how should you apply this teaching?

Reflection & Action
How does this passage compare with society’s idea of relationships?

Why is submitting “to one another out of reverence for Christ” the way forward?

Pray that God will fill you with His Spirit so that you have a right view of Jesus and each other, so that you are motivated to serve Christ and one another!


Study 7: Doing Battle in the Armour of God
Key Verse: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” 6:10

Way In…. Think about one of the many films with ancient battle scenes (Gladiator, Troy, King
Arthur, Kingdom of Heaven etc). What makes a successful soldier and army?

Read Ephesians 6:10-20
1. Why do we need to “be strong in the Lord” and to “stand firm” (6:10-13)?

2. What do the devil’s schemes and the battles and struggles look like in every day life
(use these passages to help you: John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4, 11:14)?

3. The armour that is mentioned in these verses was put on in the order in which it is listed. Looking at the role that the pieces of armour have, why is each piece so important in our battle against the devil?

Verse Physical Armour Spiritual Importance
6:14a Belt: the strap upon which all of the soldier’s armour hung.
6:14b Breastplate: covered the body from the neck to the thighs. It was known as a heart-protector.
6:15 Feet: refers to shoes thickly studded with sharp nails so as to ensure a good grip and quick action
6:16 Shield: covered the entire person. It was made of wood and covered with metal straps and leather to extinguish flaming arrows.
6:17a Helmet: was a bronze piece that covered the neck and extended over the eyes and cheeks.
6:17b Sword: refers to a short dagger for use in close combat situations

4. How does prayer help us as we wear God’s armour in battle (6:18-20)?

5. Read 6:18-24. What do Paul’s request for prayer and his closing words reveal about what really matters in life?

Reflection & Action
As Christian soldiers what disadvantages are there to standing alone, compared to a standing as a group together?
We are in a spiritual battle but with far superior armoury thanks to God! Pray for one another: that you would glorify God by standing firm together continuing to put on all of the armour of God.


Steve is on holidays for 4 weeks until mid October.

The preachers at the Newcastle Baptist Tabernacle during this time are:
Jeff Shepley will be preaching Sunday the 17th September at 10:30 AM will be a mission message from Psalm 96.
PM message on the 17th will be on “Handling Giants of any Kind” from 1Sam.17.
Sunday the 24th September AM will be on “3 Things God Wants You to Know in Hard Times” from 2Cor.12:7-10, and the PM message will be on the Rich Young Ruler, from Mk.10:17-23.
The following two Sundays:
October 1 Our preachers will be AM :Ron Scott PM: Arthur Upton
October 8th Our preachers will be AM :Ron Barker PM : John Heaney

Monday, September 11, 2006


Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil

Psalm 50:15 Call on Me in a day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

My dad remembers that during the Second World War when he was a small boy that somehow we begin to have air raid practice times in our little in South Sydney. And they would sound the siren and we would cut out all the lights and pull down all the window shades, and a plane would fly over to see if anybody would dare break the curfew... if anybody would dare leave a light on. My dad was filled with anxiety about the war as a youngster. And he remembers following daily as best he could what was happening as this group would move and that group would advance. But he was reassured by his parents and by older people that this would never happen there. We'd never have to worry about bombings. We'd never have to worry about war. And so even though they practiced those air-raids would frighten me as a youngster, he had assurance that he would never have to worry..."this is just a practice. It's not real. The fiery trial will never take place." But you and I have a trial that will definitely take place!

"temptation" peirasmos, = testing or temptation.
Lead us not.. implies a moral aspect to it.
Evil = the evil one, or trials of a physically emotionally or spiritually agonizing nature.
Or it includes all of these aspects of evil right through to the spurce of evil, the devil.
It would be good to take this as one petition. Lead us not into temptation or trials but deliver us from the evil one and all the evils of which he is the culmination.

As Bishop Latimer said to the convocation of Clergy in the 16th century in England
And now I would ask a strange question: who is the most diligentest bishop and prelate in all England, that passeth all the rest in doing his office? I can tell, for I know him who it is; I know him well. But now I think I see you listening and hearkening that I should name him. There is one that passeth all the other, and is the most diligent prelate and preacher in all England. And will ye know who it is? I will tell you: it is the devil. He is the most diligent preacher of all other; he is never out of his diocess; he is never from his cure; ye shall never find him unoccupied; he is ever in his parish; he keepeth residence at all times; ye shall never find him out of the way, call for him when you will he is ever at home; the diligentest preacher in all the realm; he is ever at his plough: no lording nor loitering can hinder him; he is ever applying his business, ye shall never find him idle, I warrant you. And his office is to hinder religion, to maintain superstition, to set up idolatry, to teach all kind of popery. He is ready as he can be wished for to set forth his plough; to devise as many ways as can be to deface and obscure God’s glory. Where the devil is resident, and hath his plough going, there away with books, and up with candles; away with bibles, and up with beads; away with the light of the gospel, and up with the light of candles, yea, at noon-days. Where the devil is resident, that he may prevail, up with all superstition and idolatry; tensing, painting of images, candles, palms, ashes, holy water, and new service of men’s inventing; as though man could invent a better way to honour God with than God himself hath appointed. Down with Christ’s cross, up with purgatory pickpurse, up with him, the popish purgatory, I mean. Away with clothing the naked, the poor and impotent; up with decking of images, and gay garnishing of stocks and stones: up with man’s traditions and his laws, down with God’s traditions and his most holy word. Oh that our prelates would be as diligent to sow the corn of good doctrine, as Satan is to sow cockle and darnel! And this is the devilish ploughing, the which worketh to have things in Latin, and forbids the fruitful edification. But here some man will say to me, What, sir, are ye so privy of the devil’s counsel, that ye know all this to be true? Truly I know him too well, and have obeyed him a little too much in condescending to some follies; and I know him as other men do, yea, that he is ever occupied, and ever busy in following his plough. I know by St Peter, which saith of him, “He goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I would have this text well viewed and examined, every word of it: “Circuit,” he goeth about in every corner of his diocess; he goeth on visitation daily, he leaveth no place of his cure unvisited: he walketh round about from place to place, and ceaseth not. as a lion, that is, strongly, boldly, and proudly; stately and fiercely with haughty looks, with his proud countenances, with his stately braggings. roaring; for he letteth not slip any occasion to speak or to roar out when he seeth his time. he goeth about seeking, and not sleeping, as our bishops do; but he seeketh diligently, he searcheth diligently all corners, where as he may have his prey. He roveth abroad in every place of his diocess; he standeth not still, he is never at rest, but ever in hand with his plough, that it may go forward. But there was never such a preacher in England as he is. Who is able to tell his diligent preaching, which every day, and every hour, laboureth to sow cockle and darnel, that he may bring out of form, and out of estimation and room, the institution of the Lord’s supper and Christ’s cross?

You Must Pray To Be Delivered From The Dangers Of The Devil
Consider Satan’s Power 1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Luke 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Matt 16: Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

(1) As a spirit he can convey himself into the imagination, and poison it with bad thoughts. As the Holy Spirit puts in good thoughts, so the devil does bad. He put it into Judas’s heart to betray Christ. John 13: 2. Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Him.
(2) Though Satan cannot compel the will, he can present pleasing temptations to the senses, which have great force in them. He set a ‘wedge of gold’ before Achan, and so enticed him with that golden bait.
(3) He can excite and stir up the corruption within, and work some willingness in the heart to embrace the temptation. Thus he stirred up corruption in David’s heart, and provoked him to number the people. 1 Chron 21: 1. Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to count the people of Israel. He can blow a spark of lust into a flame.
4) Being a spirit, he can convey his temptations into our minds, so that we cannot easily discern whether they come from him or from ourselves. One bird may hatch the egg of another, thinking it to be her own: so we often hatch the devil’s ideas, thinking they come from our own hearts. When Peter dissuaded Christ from suffering, he thought it came from the good affection which he bore to his Master, little thinking that Satan had a hand in it. Matt 16: 22. Now, if the devil has such power to instil his temptations, that we hardly know whether they are his or ours, we are in great danger. We have need to pray not to be led into temptation.
Consider Satan’s Purpose 2 Cor 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

We must take him seriously because he is serious about you. He is on the warpath like a prowling lion at times roaring ferociously at times hoping catching us off our guard whilst quietly stalking us. The evil one is twice called the tempter in the New Testament. He is the master of seduction and boldly appeals to our desires.
First of all he presents the temptation in its most attractive from. Like an angler he presents the bait and hides the hook. He presents the enjoyment and hides the guilt and hurt and shame we will later feel.
Secondly he persuades. He persuades us that bad is good and uses cunning arguments to justify giving in to temptation.
Thirdly he persists. He doesn’t give up and often pounces when we relax safe in the knowledge we have not given in. Fourthly he pressurises. There are times when we become very aware that the devil is attacking us when the force of this tempting becomes almost unbelievable.

Consider Satan’s Plan Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Beg wisdom, that you may see the wiles of Satan, and may not be caught short, unaware of his manipulations, for he is 'transformed into an angel of light,' 2 Cor. xi. 14. The devil doesn’t care so much to draw wicked men to evil; he has enough of them, and he as them securely in his power; but he labours to snare believers, if he can, to get those who belong to God to do his business; therefore he changes himself into an angel of light.

We pray for strength to withstand his darts, that we may take the armour of God and withstand the evil one, Eph. 6:13. We can’t deliver ourselves from the least evil, therefore it is God alone that must keep us safe and secure. Therefore we go to him, that we may get his strength, that we may be 'strong in the power of his might,' for conflict with Satan. It is God alone that can keep us.

You Must Pray To Be Delivered From The Dangers Of The World
Sometimes we get the glare of this world dazzling our sight, so we cannot see spiritual things. Sometimes our love for the Lord is replaced by our love for the world.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Psa 73:27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God:

When our delight in communion with God is lessened by our delights in the things of this world, it is unfaithfulness, spiritual adultery.

You need to pray that the world not get in your eyes.

You Must Pray To Be Delivered From The Dangers Of The Flesh
The apostle Paul groans sadly, Rom.7:24, '0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?'
That God would weaken the strength of inbred corruption, that we may not stumble because of it.
If we be foiled by our corruption, we beg that we may not lie in our sins, and suffer sin to have a quietly reign in our lives : Ps. cxix. 133, 'Let not any iniquity have dominion over me.'

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

You Must Trust The Lord To Be Delivered
The Lord Sympathises

Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The Lord loves you and wants to support you against these enemies.

The Lord Succours
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
The word succour, although an old word, carried with it the idea of being nursed, or being cared for, of being helped. The Lord cares for you and wants to help you.

The Lord Is Sovereign
Although the conclusion of the Lord's prayer : "for Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen!" is possibly not part of the opriginal wording of the Lord's prayer (vis. NIV and NASB footnotes), the thoughts are very biblical.
1 Chron 29:10 Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. 11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Your only hope of vanquishing these three enemies is because the Lord is Sovereign. You are weak, but He is strong, He alone can keep you from all wrong.
You need to know that He is Lord. You need to trust Him since He is Lord. Prayer and trust are very closely linked together. Prayer is trusting the issues to God.
Will you pray more that the Lord deliver you from al evil?
He wants to.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’ Matt 6: 12.

There are several biblical terms for sin: : Trespasses, transgressions. Lawlessness, debts
Why does the Lord Jesus call sin a debt?
Because it resembles it a debt. (1) A debt arises upon non- payment of money, or the not paying that which is one’s due. We owe to God exact obedience, and not paying what is due, we are in debt.
(2) In case of non-payment, the debtor goes to prison; so, by our sin, we become guilty, and are exposed to God’s curse of damnation. Though he grants a sinner a reprieve for a time, yet he remains bound to eternal death if the debt be not forgiven. (Thomas Watson)
Sin is the worst debt
(1) Because we have nothing to pay.
(2) Sin is the worst debt, because it is against an infinite majesty.
(3) Sin is the worst debt because it is multiplied debt. Forgive us ‘our debts;’
(4) There is no shifting off the debt.
Forgiveness Is Commenced At Conversion
(1) To forgive sin, is to take away iniquity, as the greek word Aphiemi implies. ‘Why dost thou not take away mine iniquity?’ Job 7: 21. Hebrew, lift off. It is a metaphor taken from a man that carries a heavy burden which is ready to sink him, and another comes, and lifts it off, so when the heavy burden of sin is on us, God in pardoning, lifts it off from the conscience, and lays it upon Christ. ‘He has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ Isa 53: 6.
(2) To forgive sin, is to cover it. ‘Thou hast covered all their sin.’ Psa 85: 2. This was typified by the mercy-seat covering the ark, to show God’s covering of sin through Christ. God will not impute it.
(3) To forgive sin, is to blot it out. ‘I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.’ Isa 43: 25. The Hebrew word, to blot out, alludes to a creditor who, when his debtor has paid him, blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance; so when God forgives sin, he blots out the debt, he draws the red lines of Christ’s blood over it, and so crosses the debt-book.
(4) To forgive sin is for God to scatter our sins as a cloud. ‘I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions.’ Isa 44: 22. Sin is the cloud, an interposing cloud, which disperses, that the light of his countenance may break forth.
(5) To forgive sin, is for God to cast our sins into the depths of the sea, which implies burying them out of sight, that they shall not rise up in judgement against us. ‘Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.’ Micah 7: 19. God will throw them in, not as cork that rises again, but as lead that sinks to the bottom.
(6)Forgiveness of sin is purely an act of God’s free grace. ‘I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake.’ Isa 43: 25. He forgives as when a creditor freely forgives a debtor. ‘I obtained mercy.’ 1 Tim 1: 16.
(7) Forgiveness is through the blood of Christ. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace Eph 1: 7.
‘Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.’ Heb 8: 12.
How do I get forgiveness? There are some things you don't do.
1. You don't beg. You don't say, "God, please forgive me. Please, please, pretty please... forgive me!" You don't have to beg. It's instant forgiveness.
2. You don't have to bargain with God. "God, if You'll forgive me this time I will never do it again." Confession is saying, “ God, I admit it was wrong, I’m sorry forgive me”.
3. You don't bribe. "God, if You'll forgive me, I'll read my Bible every day. ... I'll tithe 20%. ... I'll work in the Jr. Hi department in Sunday School."
4. You just believe. Believe that what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross for you, God accepts, that your sins have been paid for. You believe that God's forgiveness is instant, complete, repeated, and it's free. You accept it.
Forgiveness Is Continued Each Day.
Your Current Consciousness Of Failure
1John 1:7 If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” and • walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You are right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for you at the cross. This is a once for all time event that occurred the moment you were “justified by faith”. Nothing can change that. You became a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As a child of God, you can never lose your family relationship to God who is your Father.
However, just like any child born into a family, you may lose your fellowship with the Father.
I was born a Grose. No matter what I will always be a Grose. My Father will always be Peter Grose. Nothing can change that. But my fellowship with Peter Grose, my human father may change. Sometimes it may be very good. Sometimes it may be very bad. Your fellowship with your human father may be good or bad. Some of you, I am aware, are not a speaking terms with your human father. On fathers day, today, if this is your fault, SHAME on you!
You should do all in your power to be in fellowship with your human father.
If you have trusted the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, you have become a child of God. John 1:10He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not recognize Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. 12 But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood ,or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man ,but of God.
Nothing can change that. But your fellowship with the Father may not be good. You may have some sins that are clouding up your fellowship with God, perhaps its bitterness, unforgiveness, resentments, hatred, self will , lusts, selfish living? All these sins are transgressions, trespasses, and you need to sort out your fellowship with your Heavenly Father. Get into a right fellowship with Him. That’s what you need forgiveness for. The taking away of that sin problem that is causing you to be out of fellowship with God. The Lord may seem very distant iin your life this morning. Three may have been very little “joy of the Lord” filling your soul. There may be a sense of guilt that clouds it all up. There are things you have done, or left undone that are a problem. As the Prayer Book's General Confession says:
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
Your Cries For Forgiveness
Continual sonship, but Distant fellowship: The prodigal son.
Short accounts
Your Condition For Fellowship is Offering Forgiveness
Why should I forgive?
A captive was once brought before King James II of England. The King chided the prisoner: "You know that it is in my power to pardon you?" The scared, shaking prisoner replied, "Yes, I know it is in your power to pardon me, but it is not in your nature." The prisoner had keen insight to know that unless a person had a spiritual rebirth, we have no nature to forgive. If you are born again, it is now in your nature to forgive. If you have truly been forgiven by the Lord, then you will become forgiving in your nature.
Let me give you three reasons why you should forgive others that have hurt you.
1. Because God has forgiven me.
1. God forgives instantly.
Nehemiah 9:17 (Living Bible) "You are a God of forgiveness always ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, full of love." God is merciful and quick to forgive." Isaiah 55:7.
2. God forgives completely. He utterly wipes everything out. Completely.
Colossians 2:13-14 (Phillips translation) "He has forgiven all your sins; He has utterly wiped out the evidence of broken commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it to the cross."
When the Lord Jesus died on the cross he died for every sin that you have ever committed or ever will commit. There is forgiveness for past sins, present sins and forgiveness for future sins.
1 John 2:1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who pleases God completely. 2 He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
Jeremiah 31:34 (Living Bible) "I, the Lord, will forgive and forget their sins."
3. God forgives repeatedly. Good news for those of us who are not perfect.
1 John 1:9 says (Good News translation) "If we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right; he will forgive our sins and make us clean from all wrongdoing."
Hebrews 7:25 (Phillips translation) "Christ is always interceding on our behalf."
4. God forgives freely Romans 3:23-24 (Living Bible) "All of us have sinned... Is anybody not included in "all"? It's everybody. We're all in the same boat. ... Yet now God declares us `not guilty' of offending him IF we trust in Jesus Christ, who freely takes away our sins." Ephesians 2:8-9 (Good News) "For it is by God's grace that you have been saved, through faith. It is not your own doing but God's gift. There is nothing to boast of, since it is not the result of your own effort."
That old law about "an eye for an eye" leaves everybody blind. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude."
If you are born again, a child of God, it has become your nature to be forgiving.
2. Resentment doesn't work.
Job 5:2 "To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do
Job 18:4 "You are only hurting yourself with your anger." it's not what you eat, it's what eating you.
"The Sunflower" by Simon Wiesenthal.
SS soldier Karl asks for forgiveness. 30 troops had been killed by booby traps in Dnyepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and so 300 Jews where herded into a three-story building and set ablaze.
"I am left here with my guilt," Karl concluded at last." In the last hours of my life you are with me. I do not know who you are, I know only that you are a Jew and that is enough. I know that what I have told you is terrible. In the long nights while I have been waiting for death, time and time again I have longed to talk about it to a Jew and beg forgiveness from him. Only I didn't know whether there were any Jews left.... I know what I am asking is almost too much for you, but without your answer I cannot die in peace." Simon Wiesenthal, an architect in his early twenties, now a prisoner dressed in a shabby uniform marked with the yellow Star of David, felt the entire weight of his race bearing down on him. He stared out the window at the sunlit courtyard. He looked at the eyeless heap of bandages lying in the bed." At last I made up my mind," he writes, "and without a word I left the room."
3. I'll need forgiveness in the future.
Mark 11:25 "When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too."
Graham Staines, martyred recently in India, and his wife Gladys answered the call. Today, the godly example of Gladys Staines, who has openly forgiven the murderers of her husband and two young sons, is piercing the hearts of millions in India. Her forgiveness of such brutality is being seen as "true spirituality" which is inherently attractive to the Hindu mind.
This "true spirituality" is what our relativistic post-modern world is crying out for. The world is looking for truth that is lived out with conviction, passion and changed lives. Each of us must decide whether we are ready to present this kind of "true spirituality" to a waiting world regardless of the price we must pay. After the murder of her husband and two sons, Gladys Staines said, "The thought of getting up and leaving has just not occurred to me once. I just feel that this is where God has called me." Even after all that she has suffered and the terrible price she has had to pay in serving Christ, she is not willing to turn from God's calling on her life. Her terrible suffering has not diminished any of the "apostolic passion" that first led her and her husband to India. May we also similarly resolve not to turn from God's calling on our lives and to commit ourselves anew to reaching the unreached peoples regardless of the cost. God's glory and worship among the nations are worth it.

1. NEVER RETALIATE. Proverbs 20:22 (Good News) "Don't take it on yourself to repay a wrong. Trust the Lord and he will make it right."
2. YOU DEAL WITH IT IMMEDIATELY Ephesians 4:26 (Living Bible) "Don't sin by nursing your grudge. Don't let the sun go down with you still angry. Get over it quickly." Don't nurse your grudge. "Don't sin by nursing your grudge." When you are hurt, you have four options - four things you can do with a hurt. You can nurse it, curse it,
rehearse it or you can disperse it.
3. FORGIVE THEM WHETHER THEY ASK OR NOT Ephesians 4:32 (Jerusalem Bible) "Forgive each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ."
There was a 18-year-old boy in Sydney who witnessed the murder of his mother and brother. His own neck was cut and he was left to die in his backyard at Ashfield. His life seemed ruined. He was apathetic and withdrawn, and did poorly in his work. Hooked on drugs, given a last chance by the courts, picked up at Wiseman’s Ferry on side of the road by MA Butler of Word or Life. He led him to Christ. Later, as a friend, I discussed with him how he felt about the murderer. He forgave the murderer and visited prisons in chaplaincy!
The martyr Stephen and Jesus, both filled with the Spirit, died unjustly with a word of acquittal on their lips. Stephen, on his knees among the flying stones, makes a last appeal to the heavenly court - not for his own life, but for mercy toward his executioners. Before he was finally put to silence and death, he was heart to cry aloud, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."
4. DO GOOD TO THEM. Luke 6:27, 28, 35 (Good News) "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you and you'll have a great reward."
Romans 12:17-18 The New Living Translation17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.
Who are you still holding a hurtful memory about? Who are you still bitter against? A parent? A husband/wife? A former spouse? An old boyfriend? A teacher who said something to you in school and embarrassed you? A boss? A friend who betrayed you? Let it go! For your own sake, let it go! Do the right thing whether you feel like it or not. Don't retaliate, deal with it immediately, forgive them whether they ask or not and do good to them. They are not going to run my life any more. Not by memory and not in person. You need to let it go.
You say, "I just can't! I can't forgive." That's why you need Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Even forgive that person who doesn't deserve it. You need Christ in your life. He's the answer.

James Boice was once talking to a Christian psychiatrist about the problem of forgiveness and the need people have for it. The psychiatrist said, "As far as I am concerned, most of what a psychiatrist does is directly related to forgiveness. People come to him with problems. They feel guilty about their part in these problems. They are seeking forgiveness. In effect, they confess their sins to the counselor and find that he forgives them. Then a pattern is set up in which they can show their change of heart in tangible ways toward the other person or persons." We have a great need to be forgiven by people. This is actually only a shadow of the far greater need we have to be forgiven by God.
The head of a large English mental hospital once said, "I could dismiss half my patients tomorrow if they could be assured of forgiveness."Do you have forgiveness of your sins? Is there someone you need to forgive? Do it now!

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