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Showing posts from June 2, 2015

Origins of the Samaritans

Origins of the SamaritansJohn 4:1–45

SAMARITANS (Heb. hachsšōmĕrōnɩ̂m; Gk. Samareɩ́tēs)

A Hebrew religious sect geographically focused on Mt. Gerizim and claiming to be descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh among the tribes of the northern kingdom. They believe they preserve the original Mosaic religion. Several hundred survive today, about equally divided between Nablus at the foot of Mt. Gerizim and Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Josephus traces their origins to the foreigners (he calls them Cutheans) forcibly brought into the territory of Israel after its defeat by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.E. (2 Kgs. 17). The earliest evidence of the schism between Jew and Samaritan comes from the Persian period. This includes the more ambiguous mention of Samaritans in Ezra 4, which could be a geographical designation of peoples rather than a reference to a religious group. But the 5th-century B.C.E. Elephantine papyri contain explicit religious reference to Samaritans. Included are letters from both Sa…

Death to Sin, Alive in Christ

Death to Sin, Alive in ChristRomans 6:1
6:1 Paul had just written (in Rom 5:20) that where there is an increase in sin there is an even greater increase in grace.1 So the question was bound to arise, Why not continue in sin so the greatness of God’s grace may be seen more fully? The question may have arisen from antinomian sources that purposively misconstrued the doctrine of justification by faith as providing an excuse for a sinful lifestyle. Against such a perverted inference W. Barclay writes, “How despicable it would be for a son to consider himself free to sin, because he knew that his father would forgive.”2 Equally possible is that the question stemmed from conscientious Jews who felt that the doctrine of salvation by faith alone would encourage moral irresponsibility.3 Although the latter group questioned the teaching for fear of what it might do, the former embraced the doctrine for what they felt it would allow them to do.
6:2–3 The answer to the rhetorical question is a res…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

June 2

  A fountain … for sin and for uncleanness
Zech. 13:1
You that have faith in the Fountain, frequent it. Beware of two errors which are very natural and very disastrous. Beware of thinking any sin too great for it; beware of thinking any sin too small. There is not a sin so little but it may be the germ of everlasting perdition; there is not a sin so enormous but a drop of atoning, blood will wash it away as utterly as if it were drowned in the depths of the sea.

James Hamilton

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Connect the Testaments

June 2: Transformers
2 Chronicles 4:1–6:11; Titus 1:5–9; Psalm 92:1–93:5

Some people are like spectators in their faith communities—they simply watch while others interact, serve, and reach out. But Paul’s instructions to Titus about overseers show us that communities need people who will do more than just show up.

“For it is necessary for the overseer to be blameless as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, prudent, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast to the faithful message according to the teaching” (Titus 1:7–9).

Titus was counteracting the harm false teachers had caused in the Cretan community (Titus 1:11). He needed the leaders’ assistance to succeed. At first, Paul describes this type of leader as someone who doesn’t commit certain actions—anger, desire for personal gain, drunkenness, or violence. But Paul also realized that leaders did need to take certai…

Morning and Evening: Daily Readings

Morning, June 2                                                   Go To Evening Reading

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.”
         — Galatians 5:17
In every believer’s heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active, and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armoury against newborn grace; while on the other hand, the new nature is ever on the watch to resist and destroy its enemy. Grace within us will employ prayer, and faith, and hope, and love, to cast out the evil; it takes unto it the “whole armour of God,” and wrestles earnestly. These two opposing natures will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The battle of “Christian” with “Apollyon” lasted three hours, but the battle of Christian with himself lasted all the way from the Wicket Gate in the river Jordan. The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while w…

My Utmost for His Highest

June 2nd
What are you haunted by?

What man is he that feareth the Lord? Psalm 25:12.

What are you haunted by? You will say—‘By nothing,’ but we are all haunted by something, generally by ourselves, or, if we are Christians, by our experience. The Psalmist says we are to be haunted by God. The abiding consciousness of the life is to be God, not thinking about Him. The whole of our life inside and out is to be absolutely haunted by the presence of God. A child’s consciousness is so mother-haunted that although the child is not consciously thinking of its mother, yet when calamity arises, the relationship that abides is that of the mother. So we are to live and move and have our being in God, to look at everything in relation to God, because the abiding consciousness of God pushes itself to the front all the time.

If we are haunted by God, nothing else can get in, no cares, no tribulation, no anxieties. We see now why Our Lord so emphasized the sin of worry. How can we dare be so utterl…