The Land of If Only

By James C. Stephens

Hard lesson. It is good to take a moment, take a deep breathe, a selah and meditate on this issue, especially when tensions grow higher over issues beyond our personal control.

A very hard lesson. “How shall I lose the sin, yet keep the sense, and love the offender, yet detest the offense.” -Alexander Pope

Is that not in essence what our LORD Jesus is saying, “Love your enemy as yourself?” It in no way excuses an enemy’s sin which is an abomination to God, but that enemy made in the image of God is still is an image bearer as marred as that image may be.

We too were at one time strangers to His grace and were lost in our sins and trepasses. But how, once saved we forget and become our brother’s accuser rather than his advocate. Is he not but a drowning man, lost in sin and in need of redemption? Why else was he brought across our path? He is before us, a creature to be pitied in his blindness and bondage to self. We intercede. If for only one who might be saved from the fiery furnace and an eternal and unending horror called hell, separated from He who lovingly created you, those whom he or she onced loved, to dwell forever in the land of if only.

Remember, I must tell myself, there is much rejoicing in heaven of one who turns from the path of destruction and returns to Christ. Very hard lesson. Knowing such love from our Savior is it not commanded that we love one another? Knowing such love, can we remain silent when we see a brother racing headlong into hell and leading others astray? No. We must speak or his blood will be on our heads and we like Cain will speak in defiance to God, “Who am I? My brother’s keeper?” Knowing all the while, that it was I who killed my brother Abel.

Silence+Apathy=Complicity

Exploring God’s Library 2021 – Week One

Week‌ ‌1‌ ‌(10.17‌ ‌to‌ ‌10.23.2020)‌ ‌ ‌

 ‌Portion‌ ‌1‌ ‌-‌ ‌“In‌ ‌the‌ ‌Beginning”‌ ‌

 ‌Weekly‌ ‌FB‌ ‌live‌ ‌(Tuesday,‌ ‌6-7pm‌ ‌pst)‌ ‌10.20.2020‌ ‌

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Devotional‌ ‌

“New‌ ‌Beginning,”‌ ‌‌Valley of Vision ‌p.‌ ‌93.‌ 

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1st‌ ‌Five‌ ‌Books‌ ‌-‌ ‌‌Genesis‌ ‌Chapters‌ ‌1-6:8‌ ‌

Paradise to Prison,‌ ‌Commentary‌ ‌on‌ ‌Genesis‌ ‌by‌ ‌John‌ ‌J.‌ ‌Davis‌ ‌p.‌ ‌15-117

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Prophets‌ ‌&‌ ‌Writings‌ ‌-‌ ‌‌Joshua‌ ‌Chapters‌ ‌1-10‌ ‌

The Book of Joshua,‌ ‌by‌ ‌Marten‌ ‌H.‌ ‌Woudstra,‌ ‌p.‌ ‌26-42:‌ ‌66-76:‌ ‌106-117‌ 

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New‌ ‌Testament‌ ‌-‌ ‌‌Matthew‌ ‌Chapters‌ ‌1-7‌ ‌

 Behold the King ‌by‌ ‌Stanley‌ ‌D.‌ ‌Toussaint,‌ ‌Intro,‌ ‌p.‌ ‌17-34;‌ ‌35-119‌ 

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Psalms‌ ‌-‌ ‌‌Chapter‌ ‌1-7‌ ‌

Treasury of David ‌by‌ ‌Charles‌ ‌H.‌ ‌Spurgeon,‌ ‌Psalms‌ ‌1,‌ ‌p.‌ ‌13-15‌

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Proverbs‌ ‌-‌ ‌‌Chapter‌ ‌1-2:15‌ ‌

Proverbs ‌ ‌by‌ ‌Charles‌ ‌Bridges,‌ ‌Preface,‌ ‌ixi-xv,‌ ‌Proverbs‌ ‌1:5-7,‌ ‌p.‌ ‌2-4‌

Doctrine‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Week‌ ‌

Creation ‌-‌ Pastor John MacArthur on the theology of creation and ex nihilo     

Marker‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Week‌ ‌

Genealogy ‌-‌ ‌Alistair‌ ‌Begg’s‌ ‌Sermon‌ ‌on‌ ‌Matthew‌ ‌1‌ ‌

 

Historical‌ ‌Figure‌ ‌

Alfred‌ ‌Edersheim,‌ Life‌ ‌&‌ ‌Times‌ ‌of‌ ‌Jesus‌ ‌the‌ ‌Messiah‌‌ 

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Resource‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Week‌ ‌

Is Genesis History? ‌

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Memory‌ ‌Verse‌ ‌-‌ ‌‌Psalm‌ ‌1:1-3‌ ‌

“Blessed‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌man‌ ‌Who‌ ‌walks‌ ‌not‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌counsel‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌ungodly,‌ ‌Nor‌ ‌stands‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌path‌ ‌of‌ ‌sinners,‌ ‌Nor‌ ‌sits‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌seat‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌scornful;‌ ‌2‌  ‌But‌ ‌his‌ ‌delight‌ ‌is‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌law‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Lord,‌ ‌And‌ ‌in‌ ‌His‌ ‌law‌ ‌he‌ ‌meditates‌ ‌day‌ ‌and‌ ‌night.‌ ‌3‌  ‌He‌ ‌shall‌ ‌be‌ ‌like‌ ‌a‌ ‌tree‌ ‌Planted‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌rivers‌ ‌of‌ ‌water,‌ ‌That‌ ‌brings‌ ‌forth‌ ‌its‌ ‌fruit‌ ‌in‌ ‌its‌ ‌season,‌ ‌Whose‌ ‌leaf‌ ‌also‌ ‌shall‌ ‌not‌ ‌wither;‌ ‌And‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌he‌ ‌does‌ ‌shall‌ ‌prosper.”‌ ‌

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Announcements‌ ‌ ‌

Recommended‌ ‌-‌  New King James MacArthur Study Bible   ‌

Closing‌ ‌Prayer‌ ‌

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***Disclaimer‌ ‌-This‌ ‌page‌ ‌contains‌ ‌affiliate‌ ‌links,‌ ‌which‌ ‌means‌ ‌by‌ ‌purchasing‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌products‌ ‌,‌ ‌we’ll‌ ‌receive‌ ‌a‌ ‌small‌ ‌commission.‌ ‌This‌ ‌helps‌ ‌support‌ ‌the‌ ‌ongoing‌ ‌work‌ ‌of‌ ‌Exploring‌ ‌God’s‌ ‌Library.‌ ‌Thank‌ ‌you‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌support!***‌ 

The Book of Acts

EGL2020. Although we are still reading through the Old Testament and will continue to do so at our present pace, we have finished our journey through the New Testament. However, we thought that it would be a profitable experience for those who choose to during the remainder of our reading year to experience what it would be like to plunge into an exposition of one book of the New Testament.

We have chosen the Book of Acts. We fondly recall as new believers devouring audio tapes each evening after work. With Bible and pen in hand, we intently listened at our little kitchen table in Santa Monica, California, to Pastor John MacArthur exposit the Book of Revelation and First John.

Much of our exploration of the Word this year has been built upon the foundation of our years at Grace Community Church listening to three live sermons by Pastor MacArthur each week as he taught through the Scriptures verse by verse on Wednesday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday evening. We have utilized his excellent Bibliography on commentaries and helps along with our experience of his multitude of references to historic resources of the church from Gurnall to Owen, to Spurgeon to Watson.

So here’s the plan. While we may not get through the entire Book of Acts, we will be reading the Word along with his two set commentary on Acts and each day posting the verses we will read accompanied by a link to the appropriate sermon on Acts. They are about 50 minutes long, but so worth your time as is the Word of Grace website which is a treasure house which you will want to visit over and over as you continue to mine the riches from God’s Word.

Before we plunge into the verse by verse study of the Book of Acts by Pastor MacArthur, we start today with his excellent introduction. You may not have his commentary set, but neither did we when we first started attending Grace back in 1985. You will definitely want to have your Bible, your pen, highlighters and pad of paper ready for a most profitable journey through this exciting Book.

We look forward to your comments and questions along the way. Please subscribe to this blog for the daily updates. And if you haven’t joined us before on the journey, Welcome aboard!

May God bless us all on this journey,

James and Elizabeth Stephens

Exploring God’s Library

An Introduction to the Book of Acts.