The Person of Christ – Part Three – Mark 3:1-35

 

Let’s review a bit as we continue in our study of Mark. In Mark 1:1 we saw The Pronouncement of the Person and Passion of Christ.  In Mark 1:2-13 we saw The Preparation of the Christ. At present we are studying through the third section of the Gospel of Mark looking at The Person of Christ. In this major section of Mark we stated previously that there is a fourfold value in knowing the Person of Christ:

 

1.      First, there is great value in knowing it is POSSIBLE to know Jesus personally (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20). It is possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

2.      Second, there is great value in making it a PRIORITY to know Jesus personally (Philippians 3:8-11). Everything else in life pales in comparison to knowing Jesus personally.

3.      Third, there is great value in God’s PURPOSE for your knowing Jesus personally. God tells us in His word that His purpose is to conform us to the image of His only Son Jesus (Romans 8:29; Philippians 2:1-16).

4.      Fourth, there is great value in knowing Jesus personally because it brings a PRIZE (2 Timothy 1:12). Knowing Jesus personally fulfills and satisfies us and helps us to make sense and see God’s purpose in our lives.

 

In the section of Mark we are presently studying we are seeing The Person of the Christ. As we see the characteristics of Jesus we MARK THAT ACTION and go prayerfully to the Lord seeking for Him to work that aspect of Jesus into our own being. Thus far we have seen 10 attributes of Jesus:

 

1.      Preacher – Mark 1:14-15

2.      Disciple Maker – Mark 1:16-20

3.      Teacher – Mark 1:21-22

4.      Liberator – Mark 1:23-28 (see 1 Corinthians 10:13)

5.      Ready Servant – Mark 1:29-31

6.      Man of Prayer – Mark 1:32-39

7.      Doer of the Impossible – Mark 1:40-45

8.      Forgiver of Sins, God – Mark 2:1-12

9.      Seeker of the Lost – Mark 2:13-22

10.  Lord of the Sabbath – Mark 2:23-28

 

As we continue our study in the Gospel of Mark and the section that focuses on the Person of Jesus, in Mark three we will see three things about Jesus:

 

·         Jesus the Relationship Builder – Mark 3:1-21

·         Jesus Respecter of the Spirit – Mark 3:22-30

·         Jesus the Spiritual Family Builder – Mark 3:31-35

 

Let’s look at these three aspects of Jesus and His ministry.

 

Jesus Relationship Builder - Jesus is Interested in Relationships Not Religion

 

Mark 3:1-21 – “And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.7 But Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judea8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and those from Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they heard how many things He was doing, came to Him.9 So He told His disciples that a small boat should be kept ready for Him because of the multitude, lest they should crush Him.10 For He healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about Him to touch Him.11 And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw Him, fell down before Him and cried out, saying, “You are the Son of God.”12 But He sternly warned them that they should not make Him known.13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him.14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:16 Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter;17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”;18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Cananite;19 and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him. And they went into a house.20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”   [1]

These verses give us a clear contrast between those who follow Jesus and those who do not. The key phrase in marking the distinction that separates the two groups are the words, “that they might be with Him . . . .” (Mark 3:14). These words speak of the relationship Jesus desires people to have with Him. Those who rejected Jesus were religious and were unwilling to deviate from their system of religion. This put them in a position of opposition to Jesus who wanted relationships with people. Herein is a very important truth that can be stated as follows: Jesus wants relationships with people; religion prevents the relationships Jesus wants.

 

In Mark 3 Jesus enters a synagogue, a center and symbol of religion (3:1). What does this account of Jesus encounter with the religious reveal to us about the negative effect of religion and the relationships Jesus desires?

 

First, right from the start the religious people in the synagogue watched Jesus to see if they would break one of their laws by healing on the Sabbath (3:2). They were not concerned about the presence of One who would do the work of God, or that an ailing person would be miraculously healed, but they were concerned rigidly with keeping their law even if it hindered the work of God.

 

Second, the religious are silent before the Lord (3:3-4). There is little positive conversation between Jesus and the religious demonstrating the lack of relationship with Him. Religion relies on wrote repetitious words rather than real conversation of relationship and before the Lord the religious are silent.

 

Third, the hard heartedness of the religious angers and grieves Jesus (3:5). The hard heartedness and spiritually insensitiveness of the religious is a source of great grief to the Lord who desires so much more for them. But worse, Jesus is angered by the hindrance religion has in preventing people from entering a relationship with Him.

 

Fourth, religious people hate and want to kill the living relational work of Jesus (3:6). All throughout the New Testament we find that those who oppose true Spirit filled Christianity are not the secularists, but the religionists. Often those who think they are serving God by their religion are in reality in direct opposition to the work of God. Saul is an example of this (Acts 9).

 

Fifth, religion is no match for the true relational ministry of Jesus (3:7-12). Yes it is true many flocked to Jesus because of His miracles, but many also went to hear His teaching (Mark 1:22).

 

Sixth, Jesus calls people to come and “be with Him” in a relationship (3:13-14). Jesus wants a warm loving relationship with people, one that is living and vibrant and active and present. Religion is deadness, relationship with Jesus is life (John 10:10; 14:6).

 

Seventh, Jesus calls people to share with others about having a relationship with Him that transcends even earthly biological relationships (3:15-21). His own people” (3:21) refers to the members of His own biological family (see 3:34; 6:3; Matthew 13:55), who thought, “He is out of His mind.” This tells us that biological birth does not bring us into a spiritual relationship with Jesus, you have to be “born again” into a saving relationship with Jesus (John 3). Jesus opens the door to all people to enter into a spiritual family that has a personal relationship with Him. Jesus puts no numerical limits on the family of God, though He does say that few enter into it (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23).

 

Another thing needs to be mentioned here. Notice that a distinction is made between “sicknesses”   and “cast out demons.”  The reason we need to see this distinction is because some who do not believe in the reality of spiritual entities such as demons try to attribute any reference to demonic possession to mental illness. Others try to attribute any and all physical illnesses to demonic possession and seek to “cast out” demons from people who are sick with for instance “the demon of a headache,” or “the demon of a stomach ache.” The truth is probably somewhere in between these two extremes. Some mental illness is mistaken for mental illness and visa versa and some physical illnesses are related to physical causes as well as some to demonic influences. It takes the discernment of the Holy Spirit to wade through each circumstance. Demonic possession of unbelievers is a reality. Christians cannot be demonically possessed (Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; James 4:7; 1 John 4:4). Also, some physical illnesses are demonically induced. Job would be an example of this (Job 2:4-5).

 

This is a summary consideration of the relational versus religious components surrounding Jesus’ ministry. How can we identify religion? What is it?

 

Religious Opposition – Seven Marks of Religion

 

Jesus primary opponent during His earthly ministry were those who were religious. When we speak of “religion” here we are not using the term in a general sense to refer to any system of spiritual practice. Here we use the term “religion” to refer to:  Religion is man’s attempt to reach God. In religion the focus is on what “I” must do to be saved from sin or attain to a better afterlife. Since all fall short of God’s glory and no person in and of themselves can measure up to God’s righteous requirements of justice (John 16:8-9; Romans 3:23; Titus 3:5), religion is doomed to failure and leads only to frustration and futility in discovering who God is and finding peace with God.

 

There are seven things, which result from and are characteristic of the religious experience. These seven marks of religion are:

 

1.)                CEREMONIALISM – Isaiah 1:13; Mark 7:4; Acts 15:10; Colossians 2:20

2.)                FALSE PROFESSION – Psalm 78:36; Proverbs 26:23; Ezekiel 33:31-32; Mathew 7:21

3.)                LEGALISM – Mark 2:24; Luke 6:2; 13:14; John 5:10

4.)                RELIGIOUS PRIDE – Isaiah 58:2; 65:5; Jeremiah 2:35; Matthew 6:5

5.)                HYPOCRISY – Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 23:23; Romans 2:21

6.)                JUDGEMENTALISM – Romans 2:1

7.)                SELFISHNESS – JAMES 2:15-16; 1 JOHN 3:17

 

Christianity is not religious. Religion is people working their way to heaven. Christianity is God reaching down through Christ to lift people up to heaven (Romans 5:8; Titus 3:4-6). Religion focuses on people’s imperfect efforts and therefore is doomed to frustrate and fail. Christianity is based on the perfect work of Jesus Christ and therefore will never fail (2 Corinthians 5:21). Religion is based on laws.  Christianity is based on grace (Acts 15:11; Romans 5:15-20; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 1:7). Religion produces guilt and enslavement  (Romans 7; Galatians 3:1-13). Christianity produces peace with God, spiritual growth, fruit and freedom (Romans 5:1; 6:15-23; Colossians 2:6-10; 2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Peter 3:18). The foundation of religion is human work and its command is,  “do!” The foundation of Christianity is the work of the God-Man Jesus who says, “done!” “It is finished!” (Genesis 15:6; John 19:30; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:5). Religion is inadequate; the relationship with God of Christianity is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Religion helps a person to know a lot about a manmade church or group; Christianity helps you to know the Person and work of God (Matthew 16:18; 2 Timothy 1:12).

 

You Can Know God Personally!

 

Maybe you’ve been going to church all your life and all that has resulted is that you feel guilty and that God is distant and unknown. Perhaps you’ve gone to church trying to seek God but He seems even more distant and your eternal destiny seems even more insecure and uncertain. This is not God’s will for you! You can know God personally and know you are going to heaven when you die. Paul said:

 

  • 2 Timothy 1:12 – “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”  [2]

Paul said he knew “whom” he believes in; he didn’t merely say he knew what he believes in. A lot of people know what they believe, (e.g. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, et.al) but unless a you can say “I know whom I have believed in” you are being cheated from receiving the greatest treasure, a personal eternal saving relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

And you can experience such a saving relationship with certainty. When someone comes up to you and asks, “If you were to die, would you go to heaven?” You won’t have to respond with uncertainty like, “I think so,” or “I hope so,” you can say, “Yes, if I were to die in the next moment, I would go directly to be with Jesus.” Jesus said:

  • John 5:24 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” [3]

John was inspired by the Spirit to tell us this when he wrote:

  • 1 John 3:24 – “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”  [4]
  • 1 John 5:13 – “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”  [5]

When a person is born again (John 3) the Spirit comes to reside within them and gives them an assurance of their eternal life and relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:9-17). God has given us His word, the Bible; so that we can “know” that we have eternal life. This is something that religion does not offer. Religion holds a saving carrot perpetually out in front of a person just beyond their reach. The relationship we can have with God through faith in Christ, as taught by Christianity in the Bible, is offered to us by God freely by His grace as a gift (John 1:12).

Now I ask, what would you rather have, a journey of doubt and guilt and an uncertain future, or the assurance, peace and fulfillment now of an eternal relationship with God in Christ? That is the choice between religion and the relationship offered by the gospel of Christ in true Christianity. The choice is yours.

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus wants people to enter into a RELATIONSHIP with Him not a religious pursuit of Him. Therefore, we need to enter into and continue in a personal saving relationship with Jesus.

 

As we have seen, Jesus focuses on relationships with people not religion. Don’t settle for religion or wrote repetitious responses to God that are cold and spiritual dead. Enter into that living relationship with Jesus the Holy Spirit provides.

 

Jesus Respecter of the Spirit - Jesus and Our Right Response to the Holy Spirit

 

Mark 3:22-30 – “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.25 “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.26 “And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.27 “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house. 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter;29 “but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”—30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”  [6]

 

Before we get into these verse let’s build a bit more on the Jesus desire to build a relationship with people. We’ve just seen that Jesus desires a relationship with people and Himself. The means by which we can have a relationship with Jesus is by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts the sinner of sin and reveals the need for a personal saving relationship with God in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who brings the presence of Jesus into our hearts and establishes such a personal relationship. Let’s consider a few points in this regard.

First, Jesus related to the Father in a personal intimate relationship. This is very clear by the way Jesus interacted with the Father in the Scriptures and by His words regarding His relationship with the Father. The following verses show the personal nature of Jesus’ relationship with the Father.

At the end of the gospel of Mark when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane He states:

  • Mark 14:36 - And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” [7]

The term “Abba” that Jesus uses to pray to His Father in heaven is a very intimate warm word that is the equivalent of our English “Daddy” (Strong’s #5 - ÆAbba` Abba, ab-bah´ . . . father . . .  Abba.” [8] Of the phrase, “Abba, Father” one commentator writes:

“Abba” is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust; “father” expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.” [9]

What a blessing it is to see the tenderness and love of God in Christ. Other pagan gods are capricious, cruel and cutthroat. But The Holy God of scriptures is no such God.

Second, amazingly, the same word “Abba,” is used to describe the relationship believers have with the Father. What is interesting is that the word “Abba” is used elsewhere in the New Testament to describe the relationship the Christian is supposed to have with the Father:

  • Romans 8:15-17 – “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”  [10]
  • Galatians 4:6-7 – “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  [11]

When the word “Abba” is used therefore, it points us to the possibility of having an intimate and personal tender relationship with God in Christ by the Holy Spirit. The Father desires a person tender relationship with people, Jesus has made a way for that to be experienced, and the Spirit brings people into the reality of such an intimate tender relationship with God in Christ.

Third, Jesus desires for His followers to have the same intimate kind of relationship with God the Father that He has. When Jesus prayed the night of His betrayal we see His expressed desire for His followers to be one with or in a relationship with the Father like He is. This does not mean we become gods or take on deity, it means though that we can have a close relationship with God in Christ. In His high priestly prayer Jesus said:

  • John 17:3,20-26 - “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. . . . 20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.25 “O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.26 “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  [12]

Here we see some incredible words of Jesus in His prayer. His words are rich with true and close fellowship. This is what Jesus desires with us and for us. But how can this become a reality in a person?

Fourth, the Holy Spirit is the One who brings the presence of Jesus into our hearts and brings us therefore into that personal and close relationship with God in Christ. This is what Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit when He said:

  • John 14:26 -  “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  [13]
  • John 15:26 - “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”  [14]
  • John 16:7,13 - “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. . . . 13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”  [15]

Later in Paul’s epistle to the Romans He is inspired to write:

  • Romans 8:9-17 – “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”  [16]

All of these words about the Holy Spirit bringing us into a persona relationship with God in Christ should be the backdrop for our understanding what Jesus goes on to say in Mark 3:22-30.

The Unforgivable Sin

There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about the words of Jesus in Mark 3:28-29. According to Jesus’ words in Mark 3:28-29, there is only one sin that is unforgivable, what is it?

First, understand that Jesus sacrifice on the cross is able to pay the debt of any and “all sins” for the one who repents and seeks forgiveness through faith alone in Christ alone. Jesus states something very important not to miss here. He says, “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, . . . (3:28a). What does He mean by that? The Bible tells us that on the cross Jesus paid the price for ALL SIN. We see this in the following verses:

  • 1 John 2:1-2 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”  [17]

The gospel or literally “good news” is that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for all sin, even the sins of the world. We can go to anyone and tell him or her, “Do you know your sins have been forgiven you?” There is no sin a person can commit while living that God will not forgive, if that sinning person turns to God in repentance and faith in Jesus and asks God sincerely to forgive them. The cross of Christ is that powerful and satisfies the debto of all sin for all people for all time. There is a sin that dams to hell and that sin is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What is that sin?

Second, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not merely certain words uttered against the Holy Spirit.  Jesus says, “and whatever blasphemies they may utter;” These words of Jesus tell us that there are blasphemies that are forgiven. From this we deduce that the “blasphemies against the Holy Spirit” is not merely a word, us bit merely a magic word that damns to hell, but are words that express a continual condition or decision of the heart. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not a specific word or words that are uttered once which God says He won’t forgive. Indeed Jesus goes so far as to say that words spoken against Him are forgivable (Luke 12:10). But what does lead to the unforgivable sin are the words that express a continual condition of the heart toward God. Later in Mark Jesus says:

  • Mark 7:20-23 – “And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.23 “All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” [18]

The mistake that is made is attributing blame to the words themselves as being the cause of an unpardonable sin. But the cause of the unpardonable sin is the state of the heart they show.

Third, blasphemy is an expressed rejection of God. Here we need to get an understanding of the word “blasphemy.” The word “blasphemy” means, to defame, or speak impiously, it is TO EXSPRESS REJECTION (Strong’s #987 - blasfhmevw blaspheµmeáoµ, blas-fay-meh´-o; from Strong’s #989 - blavsfhmo" blaspheµmoás, blas´-fay-mos; to vilify; spec. to speak impiously. . . (speak) blaspheme (-er, -mously, my), defame, rail on, revile, speak evil.” [19] This word is usually used exclusively in regard to one’s response to God. Blasphemy therefore is expressing rejection toward God.

Fourth, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is rejecting the clear work of the Spirit to the extent that one is even willing to attribute the work of God to Satan. That is what we see in this passage. The scribes who opposed Jesus were so hell-bent on discrediting Jesus (because they feared His popularity and envied Him) that they were willing to defy logic and credit Satan with miracles rather than Jesus. They were actually willing to see that Satan got credit for good than Jesus get credit or God get the glory!  Jesus explains the illogical nature of their blasphemous accusations saying:

  • Mark 3:22-27 – “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan?24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.25 “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.26 “And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.27 “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”  [20]

Jesus was doing good and defeating evil. If, as the scribes were saying, it was Satan who was doing this, it would mark the downfall of Satan because “a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” And Satan was clearly not in the business of doing good. Jesus was delivering people who were possessed by demons. He was preaching and teaching the gospel that saves people’s souls. All that He did was aimed at Satan’s defeat (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8). Jesus came to bind the strong man Satan and that is what He was doing. He empowers believers to overcome the strong man Satan (Romans 16:20; James 4:7; 1 John 4:4). By going so far as to attribute and credit Satan with the good that Jesus was doing, the scribes exposed the extent to which they were willing to go to keep their position. They were willing to give Satan credit if that was the only means left to discredit the work of the Spirit through Jesus and keep their position.  That is hardhearted rejection of God and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Fifth, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the continual expressed rejection of the attempts by God through the Holy Spirit to save a soul from sin through faith in Jesus. The context of this statement by Jesus is that a demon-possessed people are delivered. An obvious work of God has occurred. The only way one could deny the work of Jesus would be to willfully turn one’s back on the evidence and choose to hold to any position (no matter how illogical or untenable) rather than choose to accept Jesus.

The grammatical form of the word “blasphemes”  (3:28) conveys the thought of a completed action, an action that is set in the heart and decided upon (Aorist tense). The English translation in the New King James Version of the word “blasphemes” in the plural conveys a continuous action or more than one time action. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is not once rejecting the Spirit, it is persistently rejecting the efforts of the Spirit to lead a person to Christ as Savior. This rejection may or may not be evidenced in words. It is always evidenced in the condition of a person’s heart. The sin that is unforgivable is that sin that a person refuses to repent of and seek God’s forgiveness for through faith in Jesus. The unforgivable sin is to persistently and permanently reject God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins in His Son conveyed by the Holy Spirit. The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the continual rejection of the Spirit’s offer to accept salvation in Jesus Christ until the point is reached where God determines the decision to reject Jesus is to be accepted by Him and /or when a person dies in defiant rejection of the Spirit’s attempts to offer them salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

One commentator states regarding these verses:

In light of the context this refers to an attitude (not an isolated act or utterance) of defiant hostility toward God that rejects His saving power toward man, expressed in the Spirit-empowered person and work of Jesus. It is one’s preference for darkness even though he has been exposed to light (cf. John 3:19). Such a persistent attitude of willful unbelief can harden into a condition in which repentance and forgiveness, both mediated by God’s Spirit, become impossible. This person is guilty (enochos, “liable to, in the grasp”) of an eternal sin ( the ultimate sin because it remains forever unforgiven; cf. Matthew 12:32). Judas Iscariot (cf. Mark 3:29; 14:43-46) proved the reality of these words.[21]

Another commentator states:

When a man blasphemes with his mouth, that is not the thing that condemns him [i.e. the actual words the person uses]; it is the attitude of his heart, which is a permanent condition—unless he stops resisting. This is the sin against the Holy Spirit: to resist the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life.[22]

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a willful and persistent, permanent rejection of the Spirit’s overtures to come into a saving relationship with God in Christ.

A Point of No Return

The Spirit of God strives with the sinner seeking to repeatedly offer the way of salvation (Genesis 6:3; John 16:8-11). But there is a point of no return for a person who constantly and persistently rejects Jesus.  In Genesis just prior to the Flood, God said the people had rejected the Spirit’s offer of salvation so persistently that the Spirit of God would no longer strive with them (Genesis 6:3). In John’s gospel we are told that the Pharisees rejected the overtures of the Spirit until they could not believe. John writes:

  • John 12:37-40 – “But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”   [23]

Those who hear the offer of the gospel presented them by the Spirit and who constantly and persistently reject it; they can and will get to a point of no return. God spoke to Jeremiah and told him:

  • Jeremiah 7:12-16 - “But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.13 “And now, because you have done all these works,” says the Lord, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer,14 “therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.15 “And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren—the whole posterity of Ephraim. 16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.”  [24]

God will not be anyone’s patsy. God will not allow presumption on His grace and longsuffering. He says in His word:

  • Hebrews 3:7-15 – “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: 1 “Today, if you will hear His voice,8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”   [25]

When you pray for your unsaved loved ones, pray passionately that they will open their heart and accept Jesus in (Acts 26:18). Only God knows the time when the blasphemy of the Spirit has occurred, so keep on praying, but understand, “today” is the day for each person’s salvation.

Lastly, Pastor and Bible teacher Chuck Smith makes the following comment on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit:

Satan likes to take this particular scripture and use it against sensitive souls. And oftentimes we have had people come up totally disturbed saying, Chuck, I think I committed the unpardonable sin. And I always tell them, If you had, you wouldn’t be here. You’d have no more conscience, you’d have no more desire at all for Jesus. You’d have no more desire for spiritual things. When the Spirit of God leaves you, God said, “My Spirit will not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). And the very fact that you’re concerned about it, the Spirit of God is still striving with you. When you’ve committed the unpardonable sin, there’s no more striving with you. You’re just cold, no feelings concerning Jesus. No feelings concerning your eternal salvation. You’re just turned off. So don’t let Satan lie to you and say, You did it. As long as there is that concern for your salvation, you haven’t committed it.

But eternal life is not something to be toyed with. It’s not something to take chances with. It’s something you want to be absolutely certain about without any question, you don’t want any uncertainty when you’re talking about eternal life. You want to make sure. [26]

 

MARK THAT ACTION:  Jesus respects the Holy Spirit and holds the response to the Holy Spirit as of utmost importance because the Holy Spirit is the One who brings people into a personal relationship with God in Christ. All sin is forgivable except the rejection of the Holy Spirit’s attempt to draw a person into a saving relationship with Jesus. If the Spirit is convicting you of your sin and calling you to be saved and forgiven through faith in Jesus, don’t turn away or rationalize away or “blaspheme” the voice of the Spirit, respond in faith and seek forgiveness through faith in Jesus.

 

Jesus focuses on the Holy Spirit and His ministry to bring people into a personal saving relationship with Him. Is that our focus? Or is it merely religious? As we have seen, the only sin that God will not forgive is rejecting the overtures He makes to people by way of the Holy Spirit. How about you, has the Spirit been talking to you about your need to be saved? What are you going to do about it? There is only one thing God will not forgive and that is rejecting His overture to be saved through faith in Jesus. What are you waiting for? Receive Jesus as your Savior (John 1:12).

 

 

 

Jesus the Spiritual Family Builder

 

Mark 3:31-35 – “Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him.32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?”34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers!35 “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”  [27]

Here is evidence that Mary had other children besides Jesus. We also see here that while Mary was a follower of Jesus, Jesus did not give her special attention beyond her position. The reaction of Jesus toward His biological family here conveys a very important point to be considered by us. Jesus is more interested in creating a spiritual family than a mere biological one. Jesus is not against the biological family, but is more concerned with seeing that biological families are not primarily tied by mere biological connections (which are temporal) but more importantly, tied spiritually, connected spiritually (which is an eternal tie). Let’s see what the passage says about this.

 

First, the world exalts biological family above all else; here Jesus points to a deeper more eternal family, the family of God. This is not to imply the neglect of disregard of earthly families by believers (see 1Timothy 5:8), but it is to recognize that that the relationships we have with other believers are eternal not temporal.

 

Second, becoming a member in the family of God does not come by physical birth. If your parents are born again believers who serve the risen Christ that does not necessarily mean you are. If you go to church, that does not necessarily make you a member in the eternal family of God. If you do good deeds and consider yourself a pretty good person, even a very good person that does not necessarily mean you are a member in God’s family. No, the only certain way to be a part of God’s eternal family is for Jesus to say of  you,  “Here are My mother and My brothers!” is if Jesus’ substantiating comment is true of you too which is,  “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” Therefore, to become a part of Jesus family, (“My mother and My brothers”) you need to do “the will of My Father in heaven.”

 

What is, “the will of My Father”? How does someone become a part of the family of God?

 

“the will of God”

 

What is the will of God? Through the revelation of His word, God has given some very specific truth about His will. Let’s see what God’s will is and how it relates to becoming a part of the Family of God.

 

It is first and foremost the will of God that people be saved from their sin and receive eternal life. The Bible is a story of redemption, of salvation from sin to a personal eternal relationship with God. That this is God’s will is seen in the following verses:

 

  • 1 Timothy 2:3-4 – “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  [28]
  • James 1:18 – “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”  [29]

It is God’s will for people to be saved through faith in Jesus. He loves the world and wants to see people saved. He goes out of His way and uses every possible means to save lost souls. You can’t be physically born into the family of God. You must be born again into the family of God (John 3).

Entrance into the Family of God as Jesus’ “brother and sister and mother,” is accomplished by doing the will of the Father. The will of the Father is expressly stated in Jesus’ own words when He says:

 

  • John 3:5 – “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”  [1]

We should not think that doing the will of God implies that being born again is our work. Quite to the contrary, doing the will of God is His work in us. Jesus states this with the words:

  • John 6:29 – “Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”   [2]

Being saved from one’s sin must be done on God’s terms, not our terms. We do not dictate the conditions of our salvation. God is the One who has been disobeyed and offended and therefore we come to Him for forgiveness on His terms (Psalm 51:4; Ephesians 2:1-10).

Secondly, it is God’s will that salvation comes through faith alone in Christ alone, received as a gift of His grace. God has by His grace, sent His only Son Jesus Christ to save the world from their sin. It is His will that we might be saved from the sin that separates us from Him, through faith in Jesus Christ. The following verses show this:

  • John 6:39-40 - “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”  [30]
  • Galatians 1:3-5 – “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”  [31]
  • 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  [32]

Notice that when we take 2 Peter 3:9 along with the other verses we see that saving faith in Christ includes the characteristic of repentance, a change of heart and mind, a turning from sin to God (See Ephesians 2:1-10). This leads us to the third aspect of God’s will that places us in the Family of God.

 

Third, God desires that the saved live a holy life. This is clearly stated in numerous verses a few of which are:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”  [33]

 “Sanctification” is translated from the Greek term HAGIASMOS (Strong’s #38) meaning, “holiness; a separation to God” for His use and purposes. When we are saved from our sins we are saved to service of the Lord. God is not a taskmaster, but through service we grow in our faith.

Other verses which show that God’s will is that we live a holy life are:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always,17 pray without ceasing,18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  [34]

The holy life is a joyful, prayerful, and thankful life.

Fourth, God’s will is that you are conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is His highest desire and plan from before creation as the following verses show:

  • Romans 8:28-29 – “ And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  [35]
  • 1 Peter 4:1-2 – “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”  [36]

When Paul wrote the final inspired words of his letter to the Colossians, he mentioned a prayer of one Epaphras which was:

  • Colossians 4:12 – “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”  [37]

It was the desire of Epaphras that the Colossians be “perfect” or complete and mature regarding the will of God (Perfect’ – Strong’s # 5046 - tevleio" teáleáioás, tel´-i-os; . . . complete (in various applications of labor, growth, . . . character, etc. . . .completeness . . . of full age, man, perfect.)[38] . Can these characteristics of’ God’s will come to be in our lives? Can we become a member of the Family of God through faith in Jesus?

The Bible tells us we can be certain that if we pray according to God’s will, we have our answer. John was inspired to write:

  • 1 John 5:14-15 – “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”  [39]

Therefore, knowing the will of God, pray with confidence and receive God’s will in your lives. It is God who will work His perfect work in you (Philippians 2:13).

Just think, when you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, you become a member of the family of God, an eternal family with God as your Father, your perfect Father. What an incredible gift God has given to us here. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior the Spirit comes to regenerate and reside within us and we enter into an intimate personal loving family relationship with God. In Romans Paul was inspired to write of this saying:

 

  • Romans 8:12-17 – “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”  [40]

These are all expressions of what it means to be a part of God’s family; to be born again spiritually and have the Spirit working in and through you in life. That is what it’s all about in God’s family. What an incredible gift and blessing God has provided for us to become a part of His eternal family!

Mariology 

 

Furthermore, we need to mention that if ever there was an opportunity for Jesus to glorify His mother Mary, this was it. And yet, Jesus nearly disrespects His mother. If Mary is the “Mother of God,” as claimed by some, then Jesus has very little regard for her based on what we see here. She doesn’t seem to have had much influence with Jesus. Jesus diminishes the role of Mary if anything. If this is the case, it is baseless to pray to Mary now because she supposedly has influence with Jesus, if she did not have such influence then. Mary was a holy believer who accepted Jesus as her Savior (Luke 1:46-47). She is a tremendous example for all believers and especially for women, but she is by no means eligible to become the fourth person of the Trinity co-redemptrix, mediatrix, immaculately conceived, or any such thing (see Romans 5:12; 3:10,23; 1 Corinthians 15:20,23; 1 timothy 2:5). There is just no scriptural basis for such a tradition or doctrine.

MARK THAT ACTION: Jesus calls us to an eternal spiritual family of God and we should not neglect it.

Jesus holds His spiritual family of utmost importance. Do you? Have you been neglecting your spiritual family? You need to hold dear the family God has called you to be a part of and cherish it and serve in it. Don’t neglect it (Hebrews 10:24-25), you will inevitably need it and others may need you too! (Galatians 6:2).

Conclusion

I received this story from a pastor friend over the Internet. The story does not have an author and its truth cannot be verified, but what happened to the people in the story is not uncommon for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus.

 

Does God Still Speak To Men?

 

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice.  The young man couldn't help but wonder, "Does God still speak to people?"

 

After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message.  Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.  It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home.  Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, "God.. If you still speak to people speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey."

 

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought, "stop and buy a gallon of milk."  He shook his head and said out loud, "God is that you?"  He didn't get a reply and started on toward home.  But again, the thought, "buy a gallon of milk."  The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. "Okay,God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk."

 

It didn't seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk.  He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, "Turn down that street."  This is crazy he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down seventh street.

 

At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, "Okay, God, I will."  He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around.  He was in a semi-commercial area of town. It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed

and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed. Again, he sensed something, "Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street."

 

The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep.  He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.  "Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid."

 

Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, "Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don't answer right away, I am out of here."

 

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man's voice yelled out, "Who is it? What do you want?" Then the door opened before the young man could get away.  The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. "What is it?"

 

The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, "Here, I brought this to you." The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying.

 

The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, "We were just praying.  We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn't have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk." His wife in the kitchen yelled out, "I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?"  The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put it in the man's hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers and that God still speaks to His people.

 

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

 



[1][1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[9]Vine, W. E., Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell) 1981.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[22]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26] Chuck Smith, Word For Today audiotape #8031 Mark 3

[27]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[38]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[39]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.