But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

For the Love of God - Apologetic Report
Friday, 03 August 2018 18:05

Judges 18; Acts 22; Jeremiah 32; Psalms 1-2

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Judges 18; Acts 22; Jeremiah 32; Psalms 1-2

PERHAPS AN INNOCENT READER might have hoped that yesterday’s reading (Judg. 17) reflected a minor aberration among the people of God. Today’s (Judg. 18) makes that hope less sanguine: one entire tribe of Israel is off the rails, and doubtless...

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Thursday, 02 August 2018 18:05

Judges 17; Acts 21; Jeremiah 30 – 31; Mark 16

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Judges 17; Acts 21; Jeremiah 30 – 31; Mark 16

THE SIGNS OF MORAL, SPIRITUAL, and intellectual declension in Israel during the time of the judges now multiply, some of them obvious, some of them subtle. Although Judges 17 is a brief chapter, it is charged with an abundance of them.

(1) A grown...

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Wednesday, 01 August 2018 18:05

Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

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Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

PAUL’S ADDRESS TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS (Acts 20:18-35) can be broken down into three parts. In the first (Acts 20:18-24), Paul talks about his own ministry in Ephesus and his own future. In the second (Acts 20:25-31), he uses his example of ministry as...

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Tuesday, 31 July 2018 18:05

Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14

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Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14

ONE OF THE STRANGEST ACCOUNTS in the book of Acts concerns the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-20). Paul’s ministry in Ephesus lasted some considerable time, perhaps two and a half years, and during that time “God did extraordinary miracles...

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Monday, 30 July 2018 18:05

Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

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Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

SOME OF US HAVE WONDERED why God has occasionally used in powerful ministry people blatantly flawed. This is not to say that God should only use perfect people, for that would mean he would be using no people. Nor am I referring to the fact that we all have...

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Sunday, 29 July 2018 18:05

Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

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Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

MOST OF PAUL’S EVANGELIZING of Gentiles began with the synagogue. His regular procedure when he arrived in a new town was to visit the synagogue and (since it was not uncommon to ask visitors to speak) avail himself of the opportunity to preach the...

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Saturday, 28 July 2018 18:05

Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

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Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

THREE OBSERVATIONS ON THESE STEPS in the ministry of Paul and Silas (Acts 16):

(1) To understand Paul’s “Macedonian call” (Acts 16:6-10), one must follow his movements on a map. After traveling through the central part of what is now Turkey,...

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Friday, 27 July 2018 18:05

Judges 11; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

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Judges 11; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

HERE I SHALL SQUEEZE TWO SEPARATE meditations into this space, one on each of the primary passages.

In Acts 15, it is critically important to understand what the dispute was about that called into existence what has since been labeled “the Jerusalem...

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Thursday, 26 July 2018 18:05

Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

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Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

PAUL HAD BEEN EVANGELIZING for fifteen years or more, probably largely around the Tarsus area, before this “first” trip is recorded. Doubtless he built up extraordinary experience evangelizing Jews and Gentiles alike, so that by the time he emerges...

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018 18:05

Judges 9; Acts 13; Jeremiah 22; Mark 8

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Judges 9; Acts 13; Jeremiah 22; Mark 8

TODAY I WANT TO DRAW attention to a couple of points drawn from opposite ends of Acts 13.

(1) The church leadership in Antioch must have been extraordinarily diverse (Acts13:1). Barnabas’s real name was Joseph. He was a Levite from Cyprus (Acts 4:36-37)....

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Tuesday, 24 July 2018 18:05

Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

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Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

IN MANY WAYS, Gideon was a great man. Cautious when the Lord first called him, he took the first steps of obedience at night (Judg. 6). Then, filled with the Spirit of God (Judg. 6:34), and convinced by two extraordinary signs that God was with him (Judge. 6:...

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Monday, 23 July 2018 18:05

Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

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Judges 7; Acts 11; Jeremiah 20; Mark 6

WHAT IS STRIKING ABOUT Acts 11: 1-18 is the amount of space devoted to retelling the narrative already laid out in some detail in Acts 10, often in the very same words. Isn’t this a rather extravagant use of the space on a scroll?

But Luke sees this as a...

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Sunday, 22 July 2018 18:05

Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

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Judges 6; Acts 10; Jeremiah 19; Mark 5

THE ACCOUNT OF THE CONVERSION of Cornelius occupies much space in the book of Acts. As the Gospel moves outward from its Jewish confines, each step is carefully charted. First it was the Samaritans, a mixed race with a peculiar view of Scripture. (They accepted...

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Saturday, 21 July 2018 18:05

Judges 5; Acts 9; Jeremiah 18; Mark 4

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Judges 5; Acts 9; Jeremiah 18; Mark 4

WHAT WAS PAUL’S PERSPECTIVE before he was converted (Acts 9)? Elsewhere (Acts 22:2; Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:4-6) he tells us that he was a strict Pharisee, brought up (apparently) in Jerusalem, taught by one of the most renowned rabbis of the day. For him, the...

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Friday, 20 July 2018 18:05

Judges 4; Acts 8; Jeremiah 17; Mark 3

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Judges 4; Acts 8; Jeremiah 17; Mark 3

THE CONVERSION OF THE Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) marks an important extension of the Gospel across several barriers.

We need to understand who he was. He was “an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the...

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Thursday, 19 July 2018 18:05

Judges 3; Acts 7; Jeremiah 16; Mark 2

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Judges 3; Acts 7; Jeremiah 16; Mark 2

THE OLD TESTAMENT historical psalms offer plenty of examples in which writers review the shared history of the Israelites for some special theological or ethical purpose. Something similar occurs when 1 and 2 Chronicles retell 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings,...

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018 18:05

Judges 2; Acts 6; Jeremiah 15; Mark 1

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Judges 2; Acts 6; Jeremiah 15; Mark 1

FROM A READING OF JUDGES 1-2, it appears that after the initial Israelite victories, the pace of conquest varied considerably. In many cases tribes were responsible for bringing their own territories under control. With the passage of time, however, it seems to...

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018 18:05

Judges 1; Acts 5; Jeremiah 14; Matthew 28

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Judges 1; Acts 5; Jeremiah 14; Matthew 28

THE ACCOUNT OF ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA, whose names are recorded in the earliest Christian records because of their deceit (Acts 5:1-11), is disturbing on several grounds. Certainly the early church thought so (Acts 5:5, 11). Four observations focus the issues:

F...

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Monday, 16 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 24; Acts 4; Jeremiah 13; Matthew 27

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Joshua 24; Acts 4; Jeremiah 13; Matthew 27

WHEN PETER AND JOHN were released from their first whiff of persecution, they “went back to their own people” (Acts 4:23). The church gathered for prayer, using the words of Psalm 2 (Acts 4: 25-26). They understood that Old Testament text to be...

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Sunday, 15 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 23; Acts 3; Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26

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Joshua 23; Acts 3; Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26

ACTS 3 INCLUDES A BRIEF REPORT of a sermon preached impromptu. (Though like many impromptu sermons, doubtless it was made up of pieces Peter had used before!) There are many points of immense interest.

(1) Peter repeatedly ties the coming of Jesus the...

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Saturday, 14 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 22; Acts 2; Jeremiah 11; Matthew 25

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Joshua 22; Acts 2; Jeremiah 11; Matthew 25

ACTS 2 IS SOMETIMES CALLED the birthday of the church. This can be misleading. There is a sense in which the old covenant community can rightly be designated church (Acts 7:38 — “assembly” in NIV). Nevertheless there is a new departure...

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Friday, 13 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 20-21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

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Joshua 20-21; Acts 1; Jeremiah 10; Matthew 24

BETWEEN JESUS’ ASCENSION AND Pentecost, the nascent church, about one hundred and twenty strong, met together and prayed. At one such meeting, Peter stood up and initiated the action that appointed Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:15-26).

(...

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Thursday, 12 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 18-19; Psalms 149-150; Jer. 9; Matt. 23

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Joshua 18-19; Psalms 149-150; Jeremiah 9; Matthew 23

THIS (JOSH. 18-19) IS A GOOD TIME TO reflect on the many chapters of Joshua that have been devoted to the dividing up of the land.

(1) Focusing on the division of the land, these chapters implicitly focus on the land itself. After all, the land was...

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 16-17; Psalm 148; Jeremiah 8; Matthew 22

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Joshua 16-17; Psalm 148; Jeremiah 8; Matthew 22

ALL OF THE FIVE CLOSING PSALMS begin with the single Hebrew word Hallelujah — “Praise the Lord.” This psalm (Ps. 148) is remarkable for its emphasis on the sheer range and comprehensiveness of beings and things in the universe that...

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Joshua 14-15; Psalms 146-147; Jeremiah 7; Matthew 21

PSALM 146 HAS BEEN THE inspiration of hymns in many languages. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote a hymn that was largely inspired by this psalm. That hymn is still widely sung in the United Kingdom; regrettably, it is virtually unknown in North...

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