Reading through Acts, I found a statement that struck me. I must not have thought about this in my past readings of Acts. In Acts 13, Paul is preaching to Jews in Antioch when the Jews "were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him" (v. 45). I want to note what Paul says in response to them,
[Act 13:46 ESV] And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles."
Had you asked me yesterday, "Are you worthy of eternal life?" I would have answered with an emphatic no, but now I see that would be wrong. Paul says to these Jews and then the Gentiles, they are worthy of eternal life. What a statement!
How am I worthy? Not by my righteousness or my abilities at all. I am sinful and have not lived up to the standard God expected of me (Rom. 3:23). But if God offered me eternal life, doesn't that mean he thinks I'm worthy of it? If God thinks you are worthy of something, then you must be worthy of it, right? So, if God sent his Son to die for me, I must be worthy of it. Again, my worthiness is not by my ability.
How am I worthy of eternal life? I can think of only one answer: God's love. Romans 5:8, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." I suppose the saying is true, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." While I was unworthy of salvation by means of merit, God saw me as someone worthy of saving.
In all the teachings of how sinful humankind is we may forget that God highly prizes his creation. He made us in his image, he has guided our species through history, and he even gave his own Son for our sake. Humankind makes mistake after mistake and no doubt, none is righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10). For all the transgressions of mankind, God's grace is that much greater (Rom. 5:20).
I find myself thinking like Job, "What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him" (7:17), or like the Psalmist, "O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him" (144:3).
There is no greater lesson on the value of humans than the sacrifice of Christ. Too many humans believe they are no more valuable than an animal or that they are even less valuable than that! Too many humans believe their value lies in their appearance, their success, or their talents. The value of a human being is derived from the love of God that offered the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:19).
In Acts 13 the Jews refused to believe they were worthy of eternal life like God said, but the Gentiles gladly accepted this good news, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).
God says you are worthy of eternal life--if you weren't he wouldn't have offered it to you. Believe this, rejoice, and glorify the word of the Lord!
by the Babylon Bee, edited by Bobby Price
It's important to count the cost before you decide to follow Jesus. Luckily, we read the
Bible, asked a few pastor guys, and checked Twitter, and we came up with these compelling pros and important cons to consider before you make the leap. Are you thinking about following Jesus? Think about both sides of the issue now:
Pro: Eternal life
Con: Some random person on the internet might think you're weird
Pro: You don't have to go to hell for eternity
Con: You have to go to church
Pro: Finding your transcendent meaning and purpose in life
Con: Getting up a little earlier on Sundays
Con: Church coffee
Pro: The all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe loves you and sent his Son to die for you
Con: His book is really long
Pro: Your life will be redeemed to the glory of God
Con: Can't get drunk and do coke in Vegas anymore
Pro: Traditional family values that lead to a satisfying, productive life with your large, loving family
Con: Only two genders to pick from
Pro: Cathedrals, classical music, Michelangelo, the foundation of western art and music
Con: God's Not Dead 3
Pro: Chris Pratt
Con: Kirk Cameron
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
Woodcrafter's Carpenter Shop
From: Jordan Management Consultants
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.
The profiles of all tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully.
As part of our service, we make some general comments for your guidance, much as an auditor will include some general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation, and comes without any additional fee.
It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew had been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.
We wish you every success in your new venture.
Jordan Management Consultants
[Jhn 20:30-31 ESV] 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Naturally, when signs are present, two reactions are possible: acceptance, or rejection. The entire Gospel of John is an attempt to swing the reader to the side of acceptance or to remain on the side of acceptance. Acceptance of these signs are embodied in the word believe.
The Greek word for “believe” (pisteuō) is used 100 times in the book of John. The word is usually translated as believe, though in a few instances it is translated as trust or commit. The word never means mere assent to a proposition. It usually means acknowledgement of some personal claim, or even a complete personal commitment to some ideal or person. This word is more than accepting a fact as true.
An interesting note about the book of John: the word faith is never used. The verb form is always used, believe. Faith is a dynamic activity. It is not something you have--it is something you do.
Those who believe have everlasting life (3:16) and will never die (11:26); they are the children of God (l:12). Those who do not believe are condemned (3:18) and will not see life, but will experience the wrath of God (3:36).
Sometimes John uses the simple term "believe" as the expression to define what God desires (4:53; 9:38), and Jesus's followers are called “believers" (4:41). But more often John defines what Christ calls people to believe in. It is an impressive list. John's readers are to believe in: God (14:1); God as the one who sent Jesus (12:44); what the Old Testament says (2:22; 5:46-47); Jesus as the one sent by God (6:29); Jesus's name (2:23); Jesus himself (3:18; 4:39; 10:42; 12:42, etc.); Jesus as the Son of Man (9:35-38); Jesus's miracles (10:38); Jesus as the Messiah (11:27; 20:31); what Jesus says (8:45-46; 14:11); that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus (14:10; 17:21).
Three elements in John's use of the word for “believe.”
○ Conviction – that Jesus is the Messiah, the divinely appointed author of salvation.
[Jhn 11:27 ESV] She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world."
○ Truth – this means full commitment to him rather than trust in myself and in my own righteousness.
[Jhn 5:24 ESV] 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
○ Obedience – saving faith in the Bible must always be obedient faith. It is that way in the Old Testament as well.
[Jhn 3:36 ESV] Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 2:13-22 contains Jesus' first "cleansing" of the Temple where he denounces their evil practices concerning worship of God. This is such a great example of anger used in a godly way.
This is one of the most violent reactions Jesus has. He drives out the animals. He turned over the tables of the money-changers. If you were present to witness this event where Jesus has a whip, is driving people out of the temple, chasing out sheep and oxen, overturning tables, and pouring out money, and yelling, would you think he sinned? Our definition of sin is sometimes slightly off. If we think Jesus sinned here, then we need to adjust our definition.
Sometimes anger is wrong and sinful. Sometimes anger is right and proper. Christians today need to learn that it is right to be indignant. It is right to be angry when God’s name is denied, when that which is unholy and that which is impure is taught and practiced by others. And it should be a righteous indignation in the heart and lives of God’s people.
Notice that Jesus was not overcome with anger. He was in control the entire time. Verse 15 reveals his patience. He made a whip of cords. It would have taken him time to gather the materials and to carefully braid the cords into a whip. Jesus is in control. He is not blacking out, not lashing out, not doing anything he will regret, he is thinking his actions through.
Whips in that time were braided to make a handle. Jesus, being a man used to working with his hands, could make this whip quickly but still would have taken perhaps five to ten minutes. At this time, I imagine Jesus fuming and watching the Temple's business, the source of his anger. In my imagination, Jesus is considering what he is going to do and thinking how it needs to be done. The fact that he braided the whip shows his patience and self-control.
Anger is a dangerous emotion because it risks overtaking us and shutting off our conscious reasoning. But that does not mean anger itself is sin. God gets angry and so does Jesus. Anger is good when done in the proper way, in proper measure, for the proper reason.
[Eph 4:26-27 ESV] 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
Are there times when you should make a scene out of anger? Yes. They are few and far between, but yes. Most often people are controlled by their anger, angry at the wrong thing, or too afraid to do anything. But there are times for a public demonstration of anger. Worship being abused is one of them. This is the appropriate response when we see worship become for-profit business.
I know for myself, when I find something that stirs up anger it is important not to react then and there. I take time to step back from the scene, think things through, and often ask my wife or friends if I am overreacting. And often, if it is a silly reason to be mad, doing something else will calm you down. As a kid I was taught to hold your breath and count to ten. Jesus certainly did a version of that when he made the whip, but after calming himself he found his anger to be justified and he needed to act.
Anger isn't sin, but it is an "opportunity to the devil." So we must be cautious and self-controlled in our anger.
Bobby Price was born and raised by Christian parents in Perrin, Texas. Bobby decided early in life to become a preacher of God's word. He attended the Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas where he graduated in 2015 with his Bachelors of Biblical Studies with a focus in Congregational Ministry. Afterwards, he interned for a year at the valley view Church of Christ in Jonesboro, AR. He is currently working on his Masters of Biblical Studies, through the Sunset International Bible Institute Graduate School.