Monday, February 25, 2008

Walking In The Dark

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Last time we looked at what it means that God is light; today we are going to see what it means to walk in darkness, and then how each of us can walk in the light as He is in the light.

1. What does it mean to walk in darkness?

John begins today's passage by writing, "If we say we have fellowship with Him and we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." As we saw in the previous verse light is a metaphor for holiness and perfection, and here by John using the metaphor of darkness he is telling us that without us being holy and perfect ourselves we cannot have fellowship with God. Light and darkness can never occupy the same space, so John says, if you say you are in a relationship with God and you continue in darkness then you are a liar. Because God is holy and pure He cannot fellowship with darkness and sin. In other words, since God is light and cannot live in darkness it is up to us to walk in the light to have fellowship with Him. We cannot continue to walk in darkness and claim to have fellowship with Him because light drives our darkness and by continuing in darkness we prove that we are not in the light. So this then brings up yet another question: in what ways do we walk in darkness?

In his letter to the Galatians (among other places), the apostle Paul gives us a list of actions that we are to avoid as Christians. and this list would be a good place to begin to see what it means to walk in darkness. Here he writes:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So here we have a list of the things people do that show that they are walking in darkness; these are the practices that we can look at and according to 1 John know for sure that if we are practicing these things we are not walking in the light. In fact, John goes so far as to say that if we say we are in fellowship with God and we are doing these things then we are a liar and we are not practicing the truth. In John's mind a person is either walking in the light, or they are walking in the darkness; the very nature of light and darkness do not allow for a person to be in both places at the same time, so John then writes. "But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." This brings us then to our second question:

2. How can we walk in the light as He is in the light?

As we saw last time, light here is a metaphor for the holiness of God, who commands each of us to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). In fact, Hebrews 12:14 tells us that without holiness no one will see God. So we have a dilemma, we are sinful and God is holy, and he requires that for us to have fellowship with Him we must also be holy. God is light, he cannot come into the darkness so for us to be with Him it must be us who moves into the light. But even if we take the list above and commit to not do any of those things ever again we are still not holy, because we are all sinners and Jesus told us that sin comes from within us and causes our actions, not the other way around (Mark 7:20-23).

But if we keep reading here John gives us the answer to our greatest problem; he concludes today's passage by reminding us that, "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." This is the greatest news we could ever receive; we can be cleansed from all of our sin. And how do we get this cleansing? It is by the blood of Jesus. In Galatians 3:27 we are told that those who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. In 2 Peter 3:10-14 we are told that those who are in Christ will be spotless and blameless at the coming Day of the Lord. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us that Christ gave Himself up for us so that we could be presented to Him with no spot or wrinkle, but that we would be holy and blameless.

What this means is that as we repent of our sins and put on Christ, His blood cleanses us and we become holy, not because of what we have done, but because of what He has done. In Christ we can now walk in the light, and in Christ we can now have fellowship with the Father.

What does this look like? Just as we looked at Scripture to see what it looked like to walk in darkness we can also look to Scripture to see what it looks like to walk in the light; in the very next verses from the passage we looked at earlier in Galatians, Paul wrote:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

So just as Galatians 5:19-21 shows us what it looks like when we walk in darkness, verses 22-24show us what it our life will look like when we are walking in the light. He then concludes with:
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
So we can see here that the life that is lived out in the light is the life that is being actively lead by The Holy Spirit, and it will take on the characteristics of the Holy Spirit which are given to us here. So take some time today and ask the Spirit to reveal any sin you have not repented of, repent of it, and move into the light where God is and where we can have fellowship with Him.

Next time we will look at 1 John 1:8-10 and what it means to confess our sins.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

God Is Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

In my last post I pointed out that John is writing here to show us how we can have fellowship with God. As we move now into verse 5 he shows us the very first thing that we must know - God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. John goes on to say that if we say we have fellowship with Him, and we are still walking in darkness, then we are a liar and we are not practicing the truth. So the questions we have to ask here are these, what does in mean that God is light? What does it mean to walk in darkness? And how can we walk in the light? We'll look at the first question today, and take up the second and third questions in my next post.

God is light
So what does it mean that God is light? John is using light here as a metaphor, which we can see by his contrasting statement "in Him there is no darkness at all." As we look at this it must first be pointed out that what John is telling us is not what God is like, but rather what He is; John writes that God is light. Light is not all that God is, but this is where we must start in our understanding of who He is.

William MacDonald writes:
By this He meant that God is absolutely holy, absolutely righteous, and absolutely pure. God cannot look with favor on any form of sin. Nothing is hidden with Him, but “all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
The Bible also tells us that:
But if we are to have fellowship with Him we must first recognize that God is light.

In his commentary on 1 John, Dr J Vernon McGee writes, "when John says that God is light, he is revealing many facets about the person of God. Although it doesn’t cover the whole spectrum of the attributes of God, it says a great deal about Him." He then goes on to show us the characteristics of light and how they relate to what we are talking about here; he writes that one of the characteristics of light:
is that it is self-revealing. Light can be seen, but it diffuses itself. It illuminates the darkness. It is revealing. It lets me see my hands—I’ve been handling books, and I see that one of my hands has dirt on it, and I’m going to have to take it out and wash it. If it hadn’t been for the light, I would not have seen the soil. Light reveals flaws and impurity.
As we draw closer and closer to God we too see the dirt that is on us; the light of His holiness reveals the dirt of sin in our lives. But unlike us, in God there is no darkness at all. That means that because God is light, whatever He does is light. When he judges there is no dark side to his judgments; He judges in holiness. When He gets angry there is no darkness to His anger; His anger is righteous and pure. Everything about Him is summed up in this phrase - God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

So what does this mean for us?

As I mentioned above, the first thing it means is that the closer we get to God the more we will see our own sinfulness. As painful as this might be it is actually a good thing, because without the knowledge of our own sinfulness we will not see our need for the Savior.

Secondly it means that we can trust God totally and without question. Since there is no darkness in Him at all we know that whatever he says is right and true, and that He is completely trustworthy.

And finally, we know from observing light in nature that without it you cannot have life, so what this means for us is that as we draw closer to God, who is light, we are moving closer to the very source of our life.

Next time we will look at what it means to walk in darkness and see how we can walk in the light as He is in the light, but until then take some time to praise God for showing you that He is light and what that means. Remember, we can put our trust and faith in Him today without worry because He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

An Introduction to 1st John

As I have been praying about where to go with the teaching here I thought that I was being directed to Paul's letter to the Romans (and we may still end up there), but as I continued to pray about this I really feel like I need to take some time to just follow daily where the Holy Spirit is leading me, and right now I feel like I am being led to the epistle of1st John. So for the next few weeks (unless I am directed otherwise) we will be studying this short epistle.

Martin Luther wrote:
“It is not Christ walking on the sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on here to imitate.”
This is what we have in the book of 1st John; a picture of how we as followers of Jesus Christ are to walk day-by-day; how our lives as His follower is supposed to look. As we move through 1 John we will see that in this letter the apostle John has contrasted for us the themes of light vs. darkness, love vs. hate, and truth vs. error. We will see that these are very practical and that as we look at each one of theses we will see what it means to walk as he walked. We will also encounter several tests along the way that are given so each of us can determine if our faith is genuine. The apostle Paul wrote:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
That is exactly what we are going to do here; we are going to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith and know that Christ is in fact in us. So with that said let's look now at the first 4 verses of 1 John chapter 1 and get a brief introduction to this wonderful epistle.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
John begins in verse one by reminding us that he was an eyewitness to the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He tells us that he has heard, seen, and touched the Lord Jesus himself; what he s writing to us here is a first hand, eyewitness account of the teachings of Jesus. This is not something he heard second hand; he got this straight from Jesus.The phrase word of life at the end of the verse is a reference back to his Gospel where John wrote:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In these verses, as well as in the beginning of 1st John, we see that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, and that He is in fact God Himself.

John continues this thought in verse 2 where he emphasizes again the eternality of Christ.Notice he writes here the life was manifest, this means that the life of Christ did not begin with His birth in Bethlehem, only His incarnation began there. His life has never had a beginning as He is eternal, and when He came to earth it was to make Himself, and His Father, known to us. But this was not His beginning.

John then tells us in verse three that he is now writing to proclaim to us the life of Christ to which He was a witness, and that the reason he is doing this is two-fold: first, that we may have fellowship with one another, and that we can have fellowship with God the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Then in verse four he adds yet one more reason for writing: that our joy may be complete.

This begs the question then, from where is it that we get our joy, and what is it that makes our joy complete? We get our joy from our relationship with God and from the fellowship that we have with one another through the Gospel. But John emphasizes here that our fellowship is not just with each other, but also with the very God of the universe.

I think this is going to be an exciting journey and I am looking forward to working though this short letter together. Please take some time to read through the entire letter of 1 John (several times if you can). Also please share with me what the Holy Spirit is teaching you over the next few weeks as I share with you what He is teaching me. And remember, it is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can have fellowship with God the Father, and this relationship is what then allows us to have fellowship with one another.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Puritans (Part 5)

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

How often do we as Christians look at a passage like this on from Philippians and look around at all of our stuff and wonder how Paul could make a statement like this. He said that for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain, that the only reason to keep living is to win more people to Christ, and that his desire is to die so he can be with Christ, which he says is far better. How many of us can make a statement like this, and mean it?

Below is an excerpt from a sermon by Thomas Watson, the Puritan pastor and writer. In this excerpt he tells us that there are nine things that end with the death of the Christian, and give us reason to look forward to the day that we will "depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!"

"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23

It is the desire of a true saint to be gone from this present world, "I desire to depart." What a wicked man fears--that a godly man hopes for! The worldling desires to live in this present world forever; he knows no other heaven but earth--and it is death to him to be turned out of his heaven. A wicked man does not go out of this world—but is dragged out!

But a soul enlivened and ennobled with a principle of grace, looks upon the world as a wilderness wherein are fiery serpents, and he desires to get out of this wilderness!

The bird desires to get out of the cage, though it is made of gold. Just so, the saints of God have looked upon themselves as imprisoned in the body, and have longed for a jail-delivery. "Oh, that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!" (Psalm 55:6).

It is no wonder that a true saint is so earnest to be gone from this present world--if we consider how beneficial death is to a child of God. Death puts an end to all his evils! In particular, there are nine evils which death will put an end to:

1. Death will put an end to a believer's SINS.

2. Death will put an end to a believer's TEMPTATIONS.

3. Death will put an end to a believer's FEARS.

4. Death will dry up a believer's TEARS.

5. Death will put an end to a believer's TROUBLES.

6. Death puts an end to a believer's CARES.

7. Death will put an end to all our NATURAL imperfections.

8. Death will put an end to the imperfections of GRACE.

9. Death will put an end to a weary PILGRIMAGE.

Though death is a bitter cup, there is sugar at the bottom. Death is the believer's best friend; for it brings him to Christ, which is far better. "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Does Your Worship Look Like?

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.

In this passage we see a woman anoint Jesus with a bottle of expensive perfume as He reclined at the table for dinner. This is another passage that we usually read and then just move on, but there is a lot going on in this passage and we need to pause and take note of what is happening here. In the parallel passage in the Gospel of John we learn that the woman mentioned here in Matthew 26:7 Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead (see John 12:1-3).

As we read this passage we see that there were three different views of what was taking place here: first we have the view of Mary, then the view of the Disciples, and finally the view of Jesus. It is very interesting to look at what was happening here from each of these perspectives, at the individuals involved, and at the role each played in this encounter.

First we have Mary. Mary is only mentioned 3 times in the New Testament and in each of these occurrences she is found at the feet of Jesus. Warren Wiersbe writes:
She sat at His feet and listened to the Word (Luke 10:38–42); she came to His feet in sorrow after the death of Lazarus (John 11:28–32); and she worshiped at His feet when she anointed Him with the ointment (John 12:1).
There is a great deal we can learn from Mary; what a great compliment it would be if every time we were seen it was at the feet of the Savior. And what was she doing here? She came to Jesus with what the text calls a "very expensive ointment" and she anointed His head with it. In this passage we are not told the value of the ointment, only that it was valuable, but in the parallel passage in the Gospel of Mark we are told that it was worth more than 300 danarii (Mark 14:5). John MacArthur writes "Since a denarius was a day’s wage for a common laborer, it represented almost a year’s work for such a person." When was the last time any of us gave a whole years wages as an offering to Jesus in an act of worship?

Let's move on.

Next we have the disciples. The disciples watch this event take place, and instead of admiring Mary for the profound act of worship they have just witnessed, verse 8 tells us that they became indignant at wha they perceived as a colossal waste. Matthew tells us that it was the disciples who became indignant, but John tells us that it was one in particular who led the charge, and while all of the disciples may have joined in, it was Judas who in John 12:5 said , "Why was this ointment not sold for 300 danarii and given to the poor?" Then John goes on to tell us that Judas was not really concerned with the poor, but that he wanted to steal the money (John 12:6). Judas pretends to be concerned about what he perceives as waste, but Warren Wiersbe points out that it was Judas who was guilty of waste; he writes:

While we can never fully understand the mind and heart of Judas, we do know that he had every opportunity to be saved. He was often warned by Jesus: in the Upper Room, Jesus even washed Judas’ feet. Probably, Judas saw in Jesus the hope for Israel’s political freedom. If Jesus established His kingdom, Judas, as treasurer, would have had an important position. When Jesus repeatedly refused to become a political Messiah, Judas turned against Him. Satan found a willing tool in Judas. Satan put the ideas into Judas’ mind (John 13:2) and then entered into Judas to use him to betray Jesus to the enemy (John 13:27).

Judas’ life is a warning to those who pretend to serve Christ but whose hearts are far from God. He is also a warning to those who waste their opportunities and their lives. “Why this waste?” asked Judas when he saw that expensive ointment poured out on Jesus. Yet Judas wasted his opportunities, his life, and his soul! Jesus called him son of perdition (John 17:12) which literally means “son of waste.

So we see that Mary was performing and act of worship, and the disciples (at least Judas) saw it as a waste of money, but how did Jesus view this encounter? We get the answer to this question in verses 9-13.

Jesus comes to Mary's defense; He tells the disciples that what she had done was a beautiful thing; she has anointed His body in preparation for His burial (which we will see in the next chapter). Jesus didn't view this as a waste, He saw it as an act of love and devotion. Again, Warren Wiersbe reminds us,
Nothing given to Jesus in love is ever wasted. Her act of worship not only brought joy to the heart of Jesus and fragrance to the house, but also blessing to the whole world. Her devotion encourages us to love and serve Christ with our very best.
So my question for all of us today is this, what is our worship like? Are we giving Jesus our best, or are we indignant when we see true worship taking place perceiving it as a waste? We are not to ignore the poor, but we should take every possible opportunity to pause and worship our Savior with everything we've got.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Sheep And The Goats

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

God will judge sin - all sin. And as Christians we are not exempt. As Christians however have had our sins placed on Jesus; on the cross He took the judgment that we deserved upon Himself and He satisfied the wrath of God that our sin deserved. But it is important to remember that ALL sin will be judged.

With that said we come now to the passage that is known as the separation of the sheep and the goats. Jesus tells us that there will come a day when He will come in all of His glory, and He will bring His angels with Him. On that day He will sit on His throne and all of the nations of the earth will be gathered before Him. The passage goes on to tell us that He will separate the nations into two groups - the sheep and the goats. We are told that He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left, and that He will say to the sheep, "Come you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And to the goats He will say, "Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels."

What is the difference between these two groups? Why are they divided as they are? Why are some received into His kingdom while others are condemned to hellfire? Jesus gives us the answer. He tells us that the sheep are those who had compassion and cared for their fellow man. But they didn't do this to earn a reward, they did this because they were followers of Jesus. And Jesus tells them that when they cared for the poor and needy they were really caring for Him. The goats on the other hand He says, didn't bother to help anyone. They are the ones who took everything they had been given and consumed all of it on their own comforts and pleasure with no regard for the welfare of their fellow man.

There are some today who have twisted this passage into a proof text for a works salvation, or to teach that Jesus' only purpose of coming to earth was to teach us to care for the poor. but is Jesus talking about a works salvation here? I don't think so, because that would contradict the teachings of the rest of Scripture. Or is He telling us that the most important thing we can do is help the poor? Again, I don't think so. Do we need to help the poor? Absolutely we do, but first we need to make sure that we are in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and when we are we will find that we are helping the poor not because we have to, but because we want to show the love of our Heavenly Father to the poor and hurting of the world.

Remember that in John 10:27 Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him; in this case it means that we will help the poor because He helped the poor. This is just another example that the true sheep listen to, and follow, the voice of the Shepherd.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Are You Doing With Your Talents?

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
Today we come to another parable that Jesus used to teach us the truth of the kingdom of heaven. This parable, known as the parable of the talents, teaches us the necessity of making the most of our spiritual opportunities. In this story we see a man who is going on a journey so he calls together his slaves and gives each of them some money before he leaves. The text tells us that he gave the first one five talents, the second two talents and to the third he gave one talent. According to one source I looked at, a talent is a very large sum of money. Each talent is equal to about 6,000 denarii , and a denarii is the equivalent of one days wages for a laborer.

While the man was gone two of his slaves put his money to work and they doubled what they had been given, but the third took the one talent that he had been given and he hid it in the ground, doing nothing with it. When the man returned he called all of his slaves together and examined what they had done with what had been given to them. The first two were praised for what they had done, but the third who only returned what he had been given, because he had done nothing with it, had his one talent taken away and he was thrown out. He was not able to share the joy of his masters kingdom with the other slaves who had used their talents to enrich their masters kingdom.

So what does this mean for us today? Each of has has been blessed beyond measure by our Heavenly Father, and as His bond-servants (slaves) everything that we possess belongs to Him. He has entrusted each of us with varying degrees of ability, talent, and money. These are all gifts from Him and they are given to us to use to advance His kingdom. But are we using what God has given us to advance His kingdom, or are we consuming it all for our own comfort and pleasure? Or even worse, are we just hiding it away and not doing any good for anyone with what God has given us?

We cannot earn our salvation, but God does expect us to use the gifts and talent He has given us to bring Him glory. Are you doing that today?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Parable Of The 10 Virgins

"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Today we come to a passage known as the parable of the ten virgins. Jesus begins this parable with the familiar words "the kingdom of heaven will be like..." We have already seen this several times in the gospel of Matthew, and have pointed out that when Jesus is telling a parable He is taking something that everyone hearing Him would have understood and He is using it to teach a spiritual truth. This parable is no different.; Jesus has just finished answering the disciples questions about His second coming and the end of the age, and now He is going to use a parable that will show them (and us) the need of being prepared for His return.

Jesus begins by telling us that there were 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom, and right away He tells us that five of them were sensible and five were foolish. He then tells us what it was that made them sensible or foolish; Jesus says that the sensible ones took oil for their lamp and the foolish did not. What is the significance of this? Jesus had just finished saying that no one knows when the day will be, not the angels, not Him, but only the Father in heaven (Matthew 24:36). So He is now using this parable to illustrate that point.

The Jewish wedding ceremony in Jesus time was much different than ours is today. At this time the bride and groom were betrothed to each other, but they did not set a date for the wedding. The groom would return to his fathers house and construct a room for he and his bride to live in, and when the father decided that the room was ready he would say to his son "go get your bride." Then the son would go get her, bring her back to the fathers house, and the wedding would begin.

In this parable Jesus is telling us that the 10 virgins represent those waiting on the return of the groom, and that some of them are not prepared. In this parable the virgins represent those professing to be Christians. We can see this by the fact that all 10 of them took lamps with them. But only 5 were actually prepared for the Bridegroom's return; those were the 5 virgins who had oil for their lamps. I believe that the oil here is a picture of the Holy Spirit who is inside of all true believers.

Speaking of this parable, John MacArthur writes:
The evidence that some of the bridesmaids were unprepared despite their outward appearance was the fact that they took no oil with them. They carried torches that looked exactly like those of the others, but they had nothing to burn in them, nothing that would give light and significance. A torch without fuel is obviously worthless, and a profession of faith in Jesus Christ without a saving relationship to Him is infinitely more worthless, because one is left in spiritual darkness.

Remember that Jesus said He would come back at an hour that we do not expect, so as you reflect on the parable of the ten virgins today, take a few minutes and make sure that you are ready for the Bridegroom to come.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Kirk Cameron & John MacArthur Explain The Gospel

Here is a video with John MacArthur and Kirk Cameron explaining the Gospel. This is what we all need to hear, and what our churches need to be preaching. There is one line in the video where Kirk is talking about people who say that they have "found Jesus" and he says, "Jesus wasn't lost, I was. I didn't find Jesus, He found me." How awesome is it to realize that it was God who sought after us, and it was God who saved us!

Titus 3:4-5 says;
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

I could write page after page on just these 2 verses, but I will stop myself and let Kirk and Dr. MacArthur take it from here.