For The Week Of April 17, 2007
**TABLE OF CONTENTS**
This Week’s 66/40 Radio Broadcast
Articles and Commentary
- When Bad Things Happen – (Read)
- Rise of the Red Dragon – (Read)
- The Sermon on the Mount – (Read)
Important News Headlines
Memory Verse of the Week
**THIS WEEK’S 66/40 RADIO BROADCAST**
Mark 1 – 2
A Gospel of Action
Mark’s Gospel is that of a shooting script, as for a movie or a teleplay. It moves rapidly through a series of visual images, emphasizing action. This week we begin a study of this important book.
Manifesto of Our King – DVD by Chuck Missler
The Sermon on the Mount is the manifesto of our King and the platform of the Prince of Peace. And it’s the Law! It goes vastly beyond the Law of Moses. It is the Ten Commandments amplified and expanded. It raises the law to the nth degree.
As the Law of the Kingdom, it is the highest ethical teaching in the Bible. It will be the law of this world during the Millennium, and then it will find full fruition. Christ will reign on earth in person and will enforce every word of it. The Sermon on the Mount will finally prevail when He whose right it is to rule shall come.
DVD – $17.95 (a $2.00 discount)
Audio CD – $11.95 (a $3.00 discount)
MP3 Download – $7.95
This offer will expire in 7 days.
**ARTICLES AND COMMENTARY**
WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN – (Print)
It has been described by the press as the worst incident of its kind in US history. While that description of Monday’s massacre on the Virginia Tech campus may be accurate, the distinction is hardly necessary. Irregardless of its place in history, the brutal murder of 32 people has plunged this nation into a state of sadness and utter disbelief: How could someone do such a thing? Is there anything that could have been done to prevent it? What is happening to our society? Why is there so much evil in this world? If there really is a God, why do bad things happen to good people?
The inability of some to reconcile the existence of a loving God with that of an evil and depraved world is one of the primary reasons why many reject the message of the Bible. However while this tragedy will prompt some to question the existence of God, in truth, it is only by turning to God that any real answers can be found.
The Bible teaches that God created the whole universe. He created our world and everything in it, but the world he created was very different from the world we live in today. Genesis 1:31 says that "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." However when Adam and Eve disobeyed God everything changed, sin and death entered into the world.
God created man with a free will – the ability to make choices. He could have made us like robots, preprogrammed to love and obey him. Instead he gave us a choice, because he wanted us to come to him willingly. Mankind suffers because of its sin, and it is because of our sin that we are separated from God, who is perfect and holy. However there is hope. Our suffering need not be in vain.
The Bible says that everyone has sinned, that the punishment for sin is death (both physical and spiritual), and that our sin separates us from God. Furthermore, there is nothing we can do to obtain the holiness (or perfection) necessary to enter into God’s presence. Left to ourselves, without God’s intervention, we are hopeless. However because God loves us, he has graciously given us a way out of our predicament. He provided us with a substitute, Jesus Christ, who was perfect and blameless, to take our place and bear the punishment for our sins. Because he died for us we can be forgiven.
When we trust God and choose to follow him, our suffering is not in vain. The Bible says that God uses trails and obstacles to teach us and draw us closer to him.
Why Do Christians Have Trials?
It has been said that you can best discern a person’s true character by observing them in times of trouble. It is easy to claim to be a faithful follower of Christ when things in our lives are going smoothly; it is often a very different story when the road gets rough. The Bible has a lot to say about trials and tribulations, and it is filled with example after example of God’s faithfulness. So why do many Christians bolt at the first sign of trouble? If we really believe that God is good, why are we so quick to turn our backs on Him in anger and resentment when things don’t go our way?
There are two major errors we can make regarding trials: The first mistake is the failure to anticipate trials. Jesus suffered trials. Jesus promised us trials (John 16:33). All the apostles suffered trials. Trials are an expected part of the Christian life. And, like all storms, preparation can be critical in successfully enduring them. A second mistake is to harbor a morbid fear of trials. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
The Apostle Paul certainly knew sufferings (2 Corinthians 4:7-11, 16-18; 2 Corinthians 11:23-28; Hebrews 11:32-40). And he regarded them as opportunities. There are many reasons why we face trials. Here are just a few:
- To glorify God (Daniel 3:16-18, 24-25)
- Discipline for known sin (Hebrews 12:5-11; James 4:17; Romans 14:23; 1 John 1:9)
- To prevent us from falling into sin (1 Peter 4:1-2)
- To keep us from pride. Paul was kept from pride by his "thorn in the flesh" (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
- To build faith (1 Peter 1:6-7)
- To cause growth (Romans 5:3-5)
- To teach obedience and discipline (Acts 9:15-16; Philippians 4:11-13)
- To equip us to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- To prove the reality of Christ in us (2 Corinthians 4:7-11)
- For testimony to the angels (Job 1:8; Ephesians 3:8-11; 1 Peter 1:12)
When faced with times of trouble remember that God loves you, He knows what is best for you, and He has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). The Bible says: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35, 38-39)."
• Virginia Tech Shooting Leaves 33 Dead – New York Times
• What Is Truth? – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
• The Grand Adventure – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
RISE OF THE RED DRAGON – (Print)
China has the fourth largest economy in the world, and the nation’s red hot economy has been growing even faster than analysts predicted. For the fifth straight quarter the Chinese economy has grown more than 10 percent – with no signs of slowing down.
Made In China
Recently the World Trade Organization released its first batch of global trade statistics for 2006. According to the WTO, China has surpassed the United States as the world’s second-largest exporter. Furthermore, at current growth rates, China is projected to overtake Germany as the world’s biggest exporter in 2008. Since 2000, China has more than doubled its share in world merchandise exports.
Meanwhile, the US trade imbalance with China grew to $232.5 billion, the highest ever with a single country. The United States has accused the Chinese of benefiting from an undervalued currency, illegal government subsidies, unfair barriers to foreign competition and widespread piracy. The United States filed two new complaints against China at the WTO on Tuesday over copyright policy and restrictions on the sale of American goods.
In November of last year, China’s foreign currency reserves passed the 1 trillion dollar mark – setting a new record for the world’s largest currency reserves and sparking a debate over China’s economic policies. China‘s currency reserves have been growing at a rate of nearly 30 million dollars per hour. In just the first three months of 2007, China‘s foreign currency reserves have surged even higher, to over $1.2 trillion dollars.
Experts estimate that over 70 percent of China‘s record-breaking currency reserves are US dollars. However the Chinese Central Bank has announced plans to diversify their currency reserves. Besides China, other countries, such as Iran, Switzerland, and Russia have also announced that they plan to move reserves away from the dollar. At present, approximately two thirds of world trade is conducted in dollars and two thirds of central banks’ currency reserves are held in the American currency which remains the sole currency used by international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund. This confers on the US a major economic advantage: the ability to run a trade deficit year after year. If more banks move away from the dollar it could cripple the US economy.
A New Era
In recent years China has transformed itself from an isolated communist nation into a growing superpower. If the 20th century was the American century, then the 21st century will undoubtedly be the Asian century.
In addition to its considerable influence on the international economic and political scene, China is a major player in Biblical prophecy. We find references to their involvement in both Isaiah and Revelation. For more information on China‘s role in prophecy see our briefing titled The Kings of the East.
• Strategic Trends: The Rise of the Far East – Koinonia House
• Kings of the East – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
• Kings of the East – DVD – Koinonia House
• China’s Foreign Reserves Rise Past $1.2 Trillion – China Daily
• China’s Economy Grew 10.4 Percent – Bloomberg
• WTO: China Overtakes US in Exports – MSNBC
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT – (Print)
The Sermon on the Mount is the manifesto of our King and the platform of the Prince of Peace. And it’s the Law! It goes vastly beyond the Law of Moses. It is the Ten Commandments amplified and expanded. It raises the Law to the nth degree. As the Law of the Kingdom, it is the highest ethical teaching in the Bible. It will be the Law of this world during the Millennium, and then it will find full fruition. Christ will reign on earth in person and will enforce every word of it. The Sermon on the Mount will finally prevail when He whose right it is to rule shall come.
The Sermon on the Mount is the longest discourse recorded in Scripture and it was addressed to believers! (This would be a source of condemnation to the unsaved.)
Don’t let the familiarity of this passage lure you into thinking that you have mastered it; it is tough ground and one of the most misunderstood portions of Scripture.
The word beatitude is not found in your Bible. It simply means "blessing" and comes from the Latin word for "blessed." Note that these verses deal with attitudes – what we think in our hearts, and our outlook on life. "Beatitudes" are the attitudes that ought to be in our lives if we are true Christians.
These first 16 verses of Matthew 5 describe the true Christian and deal with character. The rest of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) deals with the conduct that grows out of character. Character always comes before conduct, because what we are determines what we do. There is a definite progression in these verses. They show how the person begins with his or her own sense of sin and finally becomes a child of God and the results that then follow:
- "Poor in spirit" (v. 3): This is our attitude toward ourselves, in which we feel our need and admit it.
- "Mourn" (v. 4): This is our attitude toward sin, a true sorrow for sin.
- "Meek" (v. 5): This is our attitude toward others; we are teachable; we do not defend ourselves when we are wrong.
- "Hunger and thirst" (v. 6): Here, our attitude toward God is expressed; we receive His righteousness by faith because we ask for it.
- "Merciful" (v. 7): We have a forgiving spirit and love others.
- "Pure in heart" (v. 8): We keep our lives and motives clean. Holiness is happiness to us – there are no substitutes.
- "Peacemakers" (v. 9): We should bring peace, between people and God, and between those who are at odds with each other.
- "Persecuted" (v. 10): All who live godly lives will suffer persecution.
It’s interesting that there are eight beatitudes listed; the number eight in Scripture usually represents a new beginning. (The unwritten 9th Beatitude: "Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken.") The rest of the Sermon on the Mount shows the results of the new life in the believer:
Salt of the Earth
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. – Matthew 5:13
Salt was used as a preservative; it preserves materials from corruption. Salt also creates thirst and introduces flavor. Salt speaks of inward character that influences a decaying world. Our task is to keep our lives pure that we might ”salt” this earth and hold back corruption so that the Gospel can get out.
Light of the World
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. – Matthew 5:14, 16
Light speaks of the outward testimony of good works that points to God. Our good works must accompany our dedicated lives as we let our lights shine.
The Higher Righteousness
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven… For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:19a, 20
What a blow to the Jew! He knew the extremes that the professional Law-keepers resorted to! What was to become of them? This is the key point of the passage. You cannot break the commandments and get away with it. But you cannot keep them in your own strength either. The only way you can keep them is to come to Jesus Christ for salvation, power, and strength.
The commandments are not a way of salvation but a means to show you the way to salvation – through the acceptance of the work of Jesus Christ.
The scribes and Pharisees were not insincere: they tried to adhere to the keeping of the Law. Although misguided, they were zealous and sincere. Anyone that tries to reconcile himself to God by his works, his rules, or his legalism is pharisaical. Is there any other way to heaven other than by Jesus Christ? If there is, Jesus’ own prayers were not answered – in Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded with the Father three times for an alternative.
What are "these commandments" being referred to in Matthew 5:19? The ones we find in the remainder of Matthew 5 and continuing in Chapters 6 and 7. Jesus will emphasize "my words" (Cf. Mt 7:24-27). His call was to obedience (Jn 14:15, 21, 23; 1 Jn 5:3).
Does the Christian need to "keep the Law"? The fact of the matter is that the Law is still a standard: it reveals to me that I cannot measure up to God’s standard. This drives me to the cross of Christ. The only way I can fulfill the Law is by accepting the only One who could fulfill it – Jesus Christ.
Jesus Fulfilled the Law
Jesus became our sacrifice and shed His own sinless blood on our behalf. He offered Himself once for all for the sins of all mankind (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 26, 28, 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18). Everything was fulfilled just before Jesus’ death on the cross when He uttered His last words: "It is finished!" (John 19:30) tetelestai = "paid in full."
The second way He fulfilled the Law is that He taught and commanded what God’s will is under the New Covenant for those who would enter the Kingdom of God.
He gave us a new set of rules. Paul called those rules Christ’s Law. Some of those were the same as God gave in the Old Testament Law. Many were changed, but most of Old Testament Law was not included at all in Christ’s Law. "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom 10:4)."
New Testament believers are not under the Law; Jesus abolished the Law through His sacrifice on the cross.
The Purpose of the Law
- "Through the Law we become conscious of sin." (Rom 3:20)
- "The Law was added so that the trespass might increase." (Rom 5:20)
- "It was added because of transgressions until the Seed [the Lord Jesus Christ] to whom the promise referred had come." (Gal 3:19)
- "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24)
- "Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the Law." (Gal 3:25)
Paul was the writer who most discussed the question of the Old Testament Law and its applicability to the New Testament Christian. He was in a unique position to do so, having been a Pharisee who had been taught by Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), an esteemed teacher of the Law. The Law said, ”You shalt not kill [murder]” (Ex 20:13); but Jesus said, ”Don’t be angry with others.” Anger is like murder in the heart and it can lead to evil words and actual murder.
And while actual adultery is far worse than inward lustful fantasies, the inner desires can quickly lead to this forbidden sin (Ex 20:14). We must deal ruthlessly with ourselves and not encourage the imagination to ”feed on” these sins. The eyes and the hands (seeing and touching) must be kept under control.
In Matthew Chapter 5, the King speaks of the righteousness His subjects must possess. It must be a righteousness to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, and that comes only through trust in Christ.
Matthew Chapter 6 deals with the external part of religion: the righteousness that the subjects of the kingdom are to practice. The internal motive, of course, is the important thing in what you do for God. Chapter 7 deals with judging others, prayer, and the "Golden Rule."
The Law of Christ
Jesus did not set aside the Law of Moses, He fulfilled it! He takes the Law of Moses, interprets it in the extreme, and in an absolute sense. And then He absolutely fulfills it! Remember that your salvation does not accrue because of your ability to fulfill Matthew 5, 6, and 7, but because Jesus did – and you can appropriate His achievement to your benefit. Do it now, in the privacy of your own will.
• The Manifesto of our King – DVD – Special Offer!
• The Manifesto of our King – Audio CD – Special Offer!
• The Manifesto of our King – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
**IMPORTANT NEWS HEADLINES**
US Doubts N Korea Reactor Reports – April 17, 2007
The US has said it has no confirmation that North Korea is starting to shut down its main nuclear reactor. Comments by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack follow media reports in South Korea that Pyongyang may have begun dismantling the Yongbyon reactor. BBC
New Suicide Attacks Hit Morocco – April 17, 2007
Two suicide bombers have blown themselves up in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, officials say. The incident came four days after three people blew themselves up and a fourth was shot dead during a police raid on suspected militants in the city. The recent foiled suicide attempts in Morocco, coupled with recent explosions in neighboring Algiers have raised fears of a new surge of radical Islamic violence in North Africa. BBC
New Strain of Avian Flu Found – April 17, 2007
In a paper in the May issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, an international team of researchers report the first ever large-scale sequencing of western genomes of the deadly avian influenza virus, H5N1. Their study of 36 genomes of the virus collected from wild birds in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Vietnam confirms not only that the virus has very recently spread west from Asia, but that two of the new western strains have already independently combined, or "reassorted," to create a new strain. YubaNet
Australia Gearing Up For Vote On Therapeutic Cloning – April 17, 2007
Australia is set to join countries that allow therapeutic cloning, with a vote on the issue due later this week in the Victoria State Parliament. AHC Media
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK**
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 3:1 KJV
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