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
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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Joshua 12-13; Psalm 145; Jeremiah 6; Matthew 20

WHEN WE REFLECTED ON PARTS of Psalm 119 (see the meditations for June 22, 25, and 27), we note that the psalm is an acrostic poem. In the first section, all the verses begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; in the second section, all the...

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Sunday, 08 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

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Joshua 11; Psalm 144; Jeremiah 5; Matthew 19

VERSES 12-14 OF PSALM 144 PICTURE and idyllic situation in the land: sons and daughters multiplying and healthy, barns filled with produce, cattle filling the fields, trade flourishing, military defenses secure, freedom from some regional superpower,...

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Saturday, 07 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 10; Psalms 142-143; Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

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Joshua 10; Psalms 142-143; Jeremiah 4; Matthew 18

PSALM 142 SHOULD BE READ IN TANDEM with Psalm 57; both were the product of David’s experience of hiding in a cave while fleeing King Saul. In some ways, however, the two psalms are quite different. Although in both cases David is pushed to the...

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Thursday, 05 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 8; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

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Joshua 8; Psalm 139; Jeremiah 2; Matthew 16

THERE IS A PERVERSENESS TO human thoughts about God that would be risible if it were not so tragic. We find ways to make him small.

A marvelous antidote is Psalm 139. It paints an exalted picture of God, yet does so in stunningly personal ways, as befits a...

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Wednesday, 04 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 7; Psalms 137-138; Jeremiah 1; Matthew 15

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Joshua 7; Psalms 137-138; Jeremiah 1; Matthew 15

IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK LIKE THIS, of course. Sometimes it is not the case that the sin of one man and his family — in this case Achan — brings defeat upon the entire believing community (Josh. 7). For example, the sin of Ananias and...

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Tuesday, 03 July 2018 18:05

Joshua 6; Psalms 135-136; Isaiah 66; Matthew 14

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Joshua 6; Psalms 135-136; Isaiah 66; Matthew 14

EVERY VERSE IN PSALM 135 quotes or alludes to or is quoted by some other part of Scripture.

Verse 1 reorders the phrasing of Psalm 113:1, putting the emphasis on the “servants of the LORD” who are then further described in verse 2 —...

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Joshua 5; Psalms 132-134; Isaiah 65; Matthew 13

THREE ELEMENTS ARE striking in Joshua 5.

(1) Circumcision is now carried out on all the males that were born during the years of wilderness wandering. At one level, this is rather surprising: How come they weren’t done as the boys were born? In...

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Joshua 4; Psalms 129-131; Isaiah 64; Matthew 12

FROM OUT OF WHAT KIND OF “depths” is the psalmist crying in Psalm 130:1? In other psalms the sheer despair of the expression is bound up with treasonous “friends” and overt persecution (Ps. 69), or with illness and homesickness...

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Saturday, 30 June 2018 18:05

Joshua 3; Psalms 126-128; Isaiah 63; Matthew 11

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Joshua 3; Psalms 126-128; Isaiah 63; Matthew 11

THE FIRST VERSE OF Psalm 127 is often quoted today: “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” In an age of overpopulation, we less often cite verse 3: “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from...

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