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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #5895 on: September 05, 2017, 09:45:59 AM »

How to Respond to Defamation

“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Corinthians 4:11-13)
 
Bible-believing Christians today, especially creationists, have become the object of intense vilification by the news media and by self-appointed spokesmen for the scientific and educational establishments. The natural reaction is to respond in kind.
 
But this is not the spiritual reaction. “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
 
We not only have Christ’s example before us but also His direct commandment. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. . . . Love your enemies, bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:11, 44).
 
The apostles endured far more insults and opprobrium for Christ’s sake than any of us shall ever have to suffer. Yet Paul, speaking for them all, could say in effect “Being reviled, we bless; being defamed, we entreat, even though they call us the filth of the world!”
 
We can trust the Lord to take care of our reputations, for He is more concerned even than we, and His Word tells us: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). HMM
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« Reply #5896 on: September 06, 2017, 09:11:52 AM »

The Father Testifies of the Son

“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:28)
 
This is the last of three remarkable occasions during the earthly ministry of Christ when God the Father spoke directly from heaven concerning His only begotten Son. The first was at His baptism. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; also, Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). This thrice-recorded testimony was given primarily to the forerunner, John the Baptist, who said, “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).
 
The second was to three chosen disciples at the transfiguration. “Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5). Years later Peter recalled, “This voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (2 Peter 1:18).
 
Finally, the Father spoke in the words of our text for the day, in direct response to the prayer of His Son at the beginning of the final week before His crucifixion. The message was to His Son but for the people. Jesus said, “This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes” (John 12:30) as He spoke of His imminent death on the cross.
 
When God spoke from heaven, the message was to assure and encourage His own dear ones: John, the disciples, and Jesus Himself. But it has also become an exhortation to all people for all time. Jesus Christ is God’s Son, and God is glorified in Him. Hear Him! HMM
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« Reply #5897 on: September 07, 2017, 09:20:45 AM »

Preaching Against False Teachers

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
 
Jude, an earthly brother of our Lord, had become a leader in the early church by the time he wrote his epistle. He had intended “to write unto you of the common salvation” but instead was compelled by God’s Spirit to write and “exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3) against the onslaught of false teachers. He writes “to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 1:15).
 
Few categories of people are so summarily denounced in Scripture as false teachers, those who teach error from within. Nearly every biblical writer echoes God’s hatred of them and their work. Here, Jude refers to Enoch’s ancient teaching to demonstrate the fact that God has always hated false teachers and has warned them of their doom. Unfortunately, many of today’s pulpits and “Christian” airwaves are filled with false teachers and their teaching, leading many astray.
 
But this is also a lesson to be learned by any who would teach, even born-again, God-gifted teachers. Error is a serious thing in God’s eyes, and a Bible teacher must continually submit to God’s Word and Spirit to discern and teach only truth. Evidently, it would be better for those teachers, seminarians, and others who espouse errors such as humanism, evolution, and other false concepts that a millstone were hung about their necks and that they drowned in the depth of the sea than to lead astray those “little ones” in their influence. JDM
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« Reply #5898 on: September 08, 2017, 08:52:11 AM »

The Three Appearings of Christ

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:4)
 
The wonderful promise of this text actually refers to the third appearing of Christ. The New Testament speaks of His past appearing, His present appearing, and His future appearing. These three appearings are all set forth in one fascinating passage of Scripture, Hebrews 9:24-28, where three different Greek words are used in reference to the three appearings.
 
1. His past appearing. “Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26). Here the Greek word is phaneroo, meaning “become apparent after being hidden.” His appearing had been prophesied since the beginning of the world (Luke 1:67-70), and finally He had come.
 
2. His present appearing. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). The Greek word here is emphanizo, which means “manifest or declare openly.” He is now our “advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), where He “also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
 
3. His future appearing. “Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). The Greek in this case is optomai, meaning “gaze at face to face.”
 
Our text (Colossians 3:4) speaks of His future appearing at the Second Coming. However, here the Greek for “appear” is again phaneroo, the same as used for His past appearing in Hebrews 9:26, as discussed above. This usage assures us that His future appearing will be just as real to us as His past appearing was to His first disciples. And when He shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory! HMM
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« Reply #5899 on: September 09, 2017, 09:32:55 AM »

By Man Came Death

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)
 
These verses, coupled with others throughout the Old and New Testaments, teach a very important principle not fully appreciated by those Christians who would hold that man evolved from lower animals or even that his tenure on Earth was preceded by millions of years. For if the earth is old, then death is part of the natural order of things, and billions upon billions of organisms have lived and died, struggling for existence, surviving only if they were “fit.”
 
Taken at face value, however, the Bible indicates a far different scenario. Evidently, at the beginning, all living creatures (i.e., conscious life as opposed to plants and non-conscious “animals”) were created to live forever. There was no death, for all were designed to be vegetarian (Genesis 1:30). God had warned them of disobedience to His one command: “For in the day that thou eatest thereof [i.e., of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] thou shalt surely die” (or more literally, “dying thou shalt die”) (Genesis 2:17). All of creation was placed under the Curse of death at that time, the animals (3:14), the plants (v. 18), the ground (v. 17), and mankind (vv. 15-17, 19); all would be dying. Sadly, as we know all too well, this situation continues today (see Romans 8:22).
 
But if death is a part of the created order, what can our text mean? Furthermore, if death was not specified as the penalty for sin, what does the death of Christ mean? Belief in the concept of the old earth destroys vital doctrines, including our redemption through Christ’s death.
 
Thankfully, the reign of death and the Curse will end one day (Revelation 21:4; 22:3) as God restores the creation to its intended state. JDM
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« Reply #5900 on: September 10, 2017, 09:37:17 AM »

Earnest of the Spirit

“Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)
 
This is a fascinating concept and a wonderful reality. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is said to be an “earnest”—that is, a pledge or deposit—on an ultimate fulfillment of a magnificent promise from God Himself. The word translated “earnest” (Greek arrhabon) is essentially a transliteration of its Hebrew equivalent (arabown), translated “pledge” in the Old Testament (see Genesis 38:17-20).
 
Now if the guiding presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, is merely an earnest payment, the fulfillment must be glorious beyond comprehension. This “selfsame thing,” as our text calls it, is a wonderful “house which is from heaven,” the spiritual body we shall receive when we go to be with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).
 
The phrase also occurs in 2 Corinthians 1:22: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” In context, the earnest payment here is associated with the “sealing” of God and the assurance that “all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” (v. 20).
 
The third and last use of this word in the New Testament is in Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom also trusted . . . after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” We are “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and He is to inherit all things.
 
Thus, the Holy Spirit, a present possession of all who have received Christ as Savior, is also God’s pledge of a glorious future—a perfect body, a great inheritance, and the certain fulfillment of all of God’s gracious promises. HMM
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« Reply #5901 on: September 11, 2017, 11:07:41 AM »

Deliverance from Fear

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
 
There are many things in such a world as ours that can bring fear into human hearts—fear of want, fear of war, fear of rejection, fear of the dark, and a multitude of others. Some fears are rational, some are foolish, but all are very serious to those who experience them.
 
The good news of the gospel, however, can set us free from every fear. Remember that fear entered the world when sin entered the world. “I was afraid,” Adam explained when God found him hiding in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:10). The second reference to fear in the Bible, on the other hand, was when “the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). The Lord protects us and provides for us; we have His Word and need “fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4).
 
At least 19 times in the New Testament we hear the words “fear not” or “be not afraid” on the lips of Christ. Whenever phobias beset us or fears discourage us, deliverance is ours when we seek the Lord. Then “we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). Even if we must sometimes “suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled” (1 Peter 3:14).
 
Perhaps the greatest fear of all is the fear of death, but the Lord delivers us even from this fear, for He has conquered death. In His glorified body, He has said, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:17-18). HMM
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« Reply #5902 on: September 12, 2017, 09:32:26 AM »

Those Who Depart

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)
 
One of the most hurtful experiences in the life of a Bible-believing fellowship is when an ostensibly Christian leader, teacher, or pastor decides to abandon his faith and even to teach against it. This sort of thing does happen all too often, and it obviously raises difficult questions.
 
Can a true believer, a teacher of the Word, a soul-winner, actually lose his salvation? Can a born-again Christian go back and be unborn? Can one who has received everlasting life through faith in Christ not really have eternal life?
 
If so, what about the many promises that have assured us that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13) and that we “shall never perish” (John 10:28)?
 
The answer to this vexing question is apparently in our text verse above. When such people, who once seemed to be genuine Christians, become apostates, denouncing the truth they once taught, it is because “they were not of us” at all, no matter what they professed at one time.
 
This fact implies a sober warning. When professing Christians fall away, assuming they have truly understood the facts and evidences of the Christian faith, it is impossible “to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).
 
How important it is, therefore, for all professing believers to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). We must be “rooted and built up in him” (Colossians 2:7), “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). HMM
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« Reply #5903 on: September 13, 2017, 09:09:49 AM »

Dark Sayings of Old

“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.” (Psalm 78:2-3)
 
Most people do not think of parables—especially the parables of Christ—as dark (i.e., hidden) sayings but rather as figurative illustrations to help people comprehend some spiritual teaching. But Christ used parables to conceal truth, not to reveal truth! “Therefore speak I to them in parables,” He said in response to the disciples’ question as to why He was speaking in parables, “because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand” (Matthew 13:13). The principle is this: a person must first believe and obey the light he has already received before God will give him further light. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (v. 12).
 
Thus, the parables of both Old and New Testaments are not of any obvious interpretation. They require study, meditation, and obedience to comprehend, but then they bring great blessing. “Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (v. 52).
 
The “dark sayings” of Scripture are not to be associated with occultism or darkness, of course. The word in Greek simply means something hidden from the world but transparent to eyes of faith and love. “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery. . . . Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. . . . But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8, 10). HMM
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« Reply #5904 on: September 14, 2017, 07:26:01 AM »

Who Gets Weary?

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28)
 
Everyone gets weary, and everyone must rest. Even in Eden before sin came into the world there was a weekly day of rest, and each day of work in the Garden was followed by a night of rest in sleep. The Lord Jesus Christ, in the days of His sinless human flesh, occasionally became “wearied with his journey” (John 4:6) and had to rest. On one occasion, He was so weary that during a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee He was “asleep on a pillow” (Mark 4:38) while the disciples tried to keep their ship from destruction. He once advised these fretful and busy disciples to “come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). We sometimes need to come apart before we fall apart!
 
In the New Jerusalem, with our new bodies, we perhaps will not need rest and sleep, for “there shall be no night there” (Revelation 22:5). In our present frail tents of clay, however, we do need rest, for God made us so. In one area of life, on the other hand, we are twice admonished to “not be weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13).
 
And when we do get weary, and perhaps are not yet able to stop and rest, we can draw on God’s strength, for He “fainteth not, neither is weary.” “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4). “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31). HMM
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« Reply #5905 on: September 15, 2017, 10:18:55 AM »

Life in Christ

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)
 
A host of biochemists and other scientists have tried for over a century to determine how life evolved from non-life. Such a quest is absurdly impossible, for the simplest imaginary self-replicating system would be infinitely more complex than the most elaborate machine ever designed by man. Life can come only from life. The first human life, indeed the first living system of any kind, could only have come by special creation from the living God. “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
 
Thus, “in him we live, and move, and have our being,” and He is “not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:28, 27). The Lord Jesus Christ is the one “by whom also he made the worlds” and who now is “upholding all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:2-3). The beating of our hearts, the breathing of our lungs, the very atoms of our bodies are continually sustained by Him. Were He to withdraw His power for a moment, life would cease and all light would become darkness. Even those who reject Him and blaspheme His name owe their very existence to His power and grace.
 
“As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26). Life is “in him”; He alone can conquer death and raise the dead. “As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will” (v. 21), for as “the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).
 
Thus, “he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). Through faith in His sacrificial death and resurrection life, “ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Henceforth is Christ Himself “our life” (Colossians 3:3-4). HMM
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« Reply #5906 on: September 16, 2017, 10:23:51 AM »

Fruitless Trees and Fruitless Lives

“He was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.” (Mark 11:12-14)
 
Many detractors of our Lord have pointed with glee to what on the surface seems like a fit of petty anger on Christ’s part, spawned by His selfish appetite. In reality, it was probably unrealistic to expect figs at that time of year, a fact that He must have known quite well.
 
Perhaps the key to the whole passage is in the fact that “his disciples heard it.” When we look at the surrounding passages, we see that Christ was using the barren fig tree to teach His disciples something they desperately needed to know. This might be called a living parable.
 
Our Lord had just come from His triumphal entry into the city, having been proclaimed as King by the multitude (vv. 7-11), knowing their shallow adoration would soon turn into cries for His death. Leaving the fig tree, he drove the money changers from the temple grounds, having recognized that they were not only exploiting all the Jews who entered but had taken over the court of the Gentiles, using it as a shortcut through town (v. 16) and a place of business (v. 15), thus denying the possibility of true worship to all, both Jews and Gentiles.
 
The fig tree was an object lesson on barrenness, typifying the Jewish nation’s condition in spite of their privileged heritage. This type of hypocritical fruitlessness receives condemnation (vv. 20-21), exhibits a lack of faith (vv. 22-23), and hinders our prayers (vv. 24-26).
 
Our desire must be to bear much fruit in our worship, in our faith, in our prayers, and in our lives. JDM
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« Reply #5907 on: September 17, 2017, 09:40:24 AM »

That Which Endures Forever

“But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment.” (Psalm 9:7)
 
This world will eventually pass away. The law of entropy assures us, in fact, that everything decays and dies. Atheistic scientists have even calculated that the very protons of which matter is composed will eventually disintegrate. And the Bible itself also tells us that the present earth and heaven “shall wax old as doth a garment” and “shall perish” (Hebrews 1:11).
 
But God Himself is eternal! As our text confirms (and many other texts agree), “the LORD shall endure for ever.” And that is not all! His glory will remain! “The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works” (Psalm 104:31). And His great name will never change. “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him” (Psalm 72:17). That also means that His righteousness will never change. “His righteousness endureth for ever” (Psalm 112:3).
 
Then also “his mercy endureth for ever.” All 26 verses of Psalm 136 end with this wonderful assurance, and the same promise occurs 16 other times as well. If God’s perfect righteousness will last forever, then His great mercy must also endure forever, and we shall continue to thank Him for His everlasting mercy in all the ages to come.
 
Next, God’s Word will endure. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25).
 
Finally, because God is forever, we also shall live forever. “His seed shall endure for ever” (Psalm 89:36). “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:17). HMM
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« Reply #5908 on: September 18, 2017, 09:59:31 AM »

Never Like This

“And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.” (Matthew 9:33)
 
In His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus was fully human (except that He did no sin). He probably looked and acted very “average,” yet He continually performed works of healing and other miracles that were utterly different from those magical deeds attributed to the many conjurers of the day. When the man “sick of the palsy” was instantaneously and completely cured, he “went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion” (Mark 2:12). It was no wonder that Nicodemus, Israel’s greatest teacher at the time, acknowledged to Jesus that “no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him” (John 3:2).
 
It was the same with His teachings. When officers were sent to arrest Him because of these teachings, they came back empty-handed, reporting simply that “never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).
 
His words and deeds were uniquely from God, and those who saw and heard Him should have known this. It was appropriate that when the time came for Him to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy concerning the coming of Israel’s King, entering Jerusalem on a donkey, He had to “find a colt tied, whereon never man sat” (Mark 11:2) to serve as His kingly chariot. Others before Him had come into the city on donkeys but never like this, on an unbroken colt.
 
And when He died, He had to be buried in “a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid” (John 19:41). His birth was different, as were His life and death and burial, from those of other men, and “there is none other name . . . whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #5909 on: September 19, 2017, 09:11:57 AM »

Blind Hearts

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:18)
 
It is a tragedy for a person to have blinded eyes but infinitely worse to have a blinded heart. No one ever willfully chooses to be sightless, but spiritual blindness is a product of the human will.
 
After Christ had given sight to the man born blind, the Pharisees still refused to believe, so Jesus said to them, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. . . . If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9:39, 41).
 
Like these ancient intellectuals, it often seems that modern intellectuals are incurably blind. They profess to teach science and philosophy of the highest complexity, but their understanding is darkened and their hearts are blinded when it comes to the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. As Paul says: “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
 
Even very religious people, people who believe in God as Creator, may blind themselves when confronted with the truth that the Creator must also become their Savior. “But their minds were blinded . . . even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart” (2 Corinthians 3:14-15).
 
Nevertheless, Christ came as “the light,” and when anyone will simply in faith “turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away” (2 Corinthians 3:16), and the gospel will “shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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