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I'd like to introduce you to a new friend I've made through a Facebook writing group, and the blogging world. Lynn Hare blogs at LynnHare.com. Today she posted this song with its lyrics and I fell in love. It is such a clear declaration of what God has done for us. I think you'll love it, and I hope you'll follow Lynn's blog too.


East and West ~ Jonathan David Helser

Today I’m excited to share my #1 favorite song with you:
“East and West” by Jonathan Helser from the album Live at Home.

“There’s no mistake I can make that could ever make you change Your love.”

Enjoy this 4-minute video and soak in the vast floorless sea of God’s mercy.

East went lookin’ for West
And never found him
Guilt went lookin’ for my past
But only found love

I heard about a sea where
Sin sinks like stones...

Head over to Lynn's page for the rest of the lyrics. They are not to be missed.

Thanks for coming by.

See you again soon,

Ben

 

1

What does the Gospel teach us about God? What attribute of the Father is made plain by the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Is it His love? His grace? Perhaps His mercy?

Each of these is manifest in the Gospel.

But when Paul starts his wonderful treatise on the Gospel (also known as the book of Romans) he says:

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; - Romans 1:17 NASB

Not love, not grace, not mercy, but righteousness.

Sometimes I look at God’s great salvation plan, where He wipes away my sin, and think, it’s anything but righteous. You see, righteousness implies a keeping of the law, doing what’s right—doesn’t it?

So if I look at the Gospel’s implications toward me, it seems unrighteous. How can a righteous God turn a blind eye to all my crimes and rebellions.

But is that what God has done? Does He simply sit on His throne with His fingers in His ears while the accuser walks back and forth listing my indiscretions, my transgressions?

This line of thought belies a misunderstanding of the Gospel. God did—does nothing of the sort. God has not turned a blind eye to my lawlessness. Not by a long shot. The wrath of God was stored up for me according to the multitude of my transgressions and the magnitude of my rebellions. The cup of God’s wrath set aside for me was brim full.

And God in His righteousness, handed the cup of wrath set aside for me, to Jesus. Just as Jeremiah saw, God handed Jesus the cup of wrath assigned to me—assigned to you—and said drink all of it and die.

"You shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, "Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you."' - Jeremiah 25:27 NASB

God’s righteousness required that blood be shed—that the cup be taken.

And He gave it to Jesus.

And Jesus did not turn away the cup of the Lord, though He despised it, though He hated it.

Jesus took the cup from the hand of His Father, for thus He fulfilled all righteousness. He fulfilled the law by taking the judgement—the guilty verdict—for us.

Do you see how God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel?

It’s stunning.

And it get’s better. He takes these broken, sin scared vessels and put’s His righteousness in us. Just as Jesus became sin for us, we become the righteousness of God as we dwell in Him, and He in us.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

We become the revelation of God’s righteousness to those around us, as we walk in the Spirit.

that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. - Romans 8:4 NKJV

Hallelujah!

I think I’ll say that again.

Hallelujah!

Arn’t you glad you stopped by?

BenHeadshotI am.

See you again soon

Ben

4

Kingdom of Heaven

Preach the Gospel!

Share the Good News!

Spread the Word!

But what Gospel are we preaching?

The Gospel of salvation you say? OK. But do you know that these two words, gospel and salvation, only appear together twice in the Bible.

Here:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - Romans 1:16 NASB

And here:

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, - Ephesians 1:13 NASB

The phrase “gospel of the kingdom” show up twice as often.

For example:

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. - Matthew 9:35 NASB

And here:

"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. - Luke 16:16 NASB

What’s the difference you ask?

I grew up hearing a gospel that could get me saved—forgiven—but it left me at the cross. Once in a while I’d pear around the side of the cross to see what lurked behind it, within that wonderful kingdom. But I found that I never ventured much beyond the cross. Week after week we would hear the message of salvation, the “gospel” was preached.

Discipleship amounted to teaching one another about how to share the gospel with others. How to get them to gather round this cross with us. So there we huddled—around a cross—at least it was an empty cross—we camped out before a risen Lord—but there we camped.

Jesus preached about life IN the Kingdom of Heaven. His discipleship program was not just about dying, but about living. Buried with Him in baptism—risen with Him in newness of life.

Hallelujah!

Oh—He taught the boys how to die to themselves, sure, and how to put to death that old man. But His lessons were not just about self-control and sin avoidance. He also taught them how to walk in power, and love. And how to demonstrate the kingdom of God.

Here are a few examples of Jesus teaching His disciples about life in the kingdom of heaven.

When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves."

But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” -Matthew 14:15-16 NASB

Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

And He said, "Come!"

And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. - Matthew 14:28-32 NASB

Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." - Matthew 9:35-38 NASB

Jesus was putting the boys through JSSM—Jesus School of Supernatural Ministry.

Perhaps the biggest discipling moment arrived the day He sent the boys out on their own. (Midterms at JSSM.) He showed them. He helped them see and do. Finally in Matthew 10, He pushed them out of their little nest.

"And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. - Matthew 10:7-8 NASB

In effect, Jesus told them to get out there and do this stuff! The kingdom is near you; The kingdom is in you; The kingdom goes with you; Preach the kingdom; Demonstrate the kingdom.

It amazed them that the demons were subject to them. It didn’t surprise Jesus. That’s what life in the kingdom looks like. The supernatural is natural in a supernatural kingdom.

In Jesus’ day, the gospel always came with a demonstration of the kingdom, thus the phrase gospel of the kingdom.

I know that Paul codified the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15. He boiled it down to Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearance to the disciples and followers. The essence of the gospel is this, Jesus is Lord, He is King. He brought this kingdom, and He didn’t take it with Him when He left. We could even boil it down further. As my friend Pastor J. said in a recent comment—The gospel in its simplest form is Jesus.

Jesus told the boys how it would be at the Last Supper.

After He told them they would do greater works that He did Himself, and that if they would ask anything in His name, He would do it. (John 14:12,14) He explained how it was all going to work.

Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. - John 14:23 NASB

Is it any wonder that kingdom life should look like the life of Jesus? Every citizen of the kingdom of heaven is a residence—an abode—for the triune God. [Tweet This] This is the good news! This is the Gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Christ In You.

Lord, fill me afresh this morning. I want to let you work through me. Speak through my mouth, touch through my hands, love through my heart. Have Your way in me.

BenHeadshotThanks for coming by.

Preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as you go!

Ben

2

Kingdom of Heaven

Yesterday we looked at repentance, and how Jesus expected repentance as He brought the Kingdom to His people.

One thing we looked at yesterday tweaked my spirit a bit.

We read,

Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. - Matthew 11:20

It seems that Jesus expected repentance as a response to miracles.

Let’s read on,

Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you. - Matthew 11:21-24

Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. As we observed yesterday, it came with a call to repentance.

It also came with miracles.

Don’t miss this.

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. - Matthew 4:23

When Jesus brought the gospel, He brought a message of deliverance for the whole man, body, soul and spirit. He came bringing life—shalom—whole life—abundant life—to all who would hear and receive Him.

When He came to Chorazin, Bethsaida, and even His adopted home town of Capernaum, He brought healing, just as He did throughout Galilee, Jerusalem and all Judea.

Do you think it took Him by surprise that these great cities of Galilee did not repent?

Why does Isaiah 53 call Him the Man of Sorrows? This is it right here. Because light walked into darkness, and darkness put out the light, rather than risk exposure. It broke His heart.

The kingdom of heaven had come near to them, and them rejected heavenly citizenship to hold on to the fleeting pleasures of this life.

How is it with you? (Yes Ben, I’m looking at you.)

First—have you turned from your own path to The Way and followed after the One who brings life?

Next—do you bring the good news with the expectation that God will confirm the word preached with signs—wonders?

Finally—do you expect to see repentance. Do you call for it? Do you nurture it either in those to whom you are preaching, or in your own life?

Lord, teach me to preach the good news, as I go, in such a way as to foster repentance, and please bring signs and wonders as the word goes forth. Thank you for the promise of Your presence as we go and preach.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for stopping  by. Sorry this was a bit of a ramble today.

Be a blessing today,

Ben

4

prepared for the gospel

The laws of Moses and the revelation of the prophets have prepared you for the arrival of the kingdom realm announced by John. And now when this wonderful news of the kingdom realm of God is preached, people’s hearts burn with extreme passion to press in and receive it. - Luke 16:16 TPT

Here’s another verse that came out of the box for me when I read it in this new translation (The Passion Translation.)

The context is Jesus parrying with the pharisees. It’s fitted snuggly between His teaching on the Lord’s requiring sole proprietorship of you life, and a rebuke for those who use divorce laws to commit adultery.

You may be more familiar with it in the NASB or something like it:

The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. - Luke 16:16 NASB

What I love about this new take is the idea of the Old Testament being preparation for the Gospel of Grace. The law and the revelation of the prophets was supposed to be getting us ready to receive grace.

The Law demonstrates to us how incapable we are of living up to God’s standard of righteousness on our own. As Paul says,

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, - Romans 8:3 NASB

The law could not save us, but it could prepare us. We were like steak in a marinade. Stewing in the law was supposed to tenderize us for the grace that God had in store.

The prophets demonstrate both the law’s frustration with man and his inability to keep it, and God heart toward His people. Over and over in the prophets we read the Father’s heart to be our God, and for us to be His people. His desire to be a Father to us is stated over and over.

They shall be My people, and I will be their God; - Jeremiah 32:38 NASB

Those attentive to God’s Fatherly intentions were ready to receive with gladness the teachings of this Messiah who came to save. They were ready for baptism, ready for repentance, ready for regeneration.

But this was not universal. There were many who used the law to their advantage, instead of allowing it to tenderize them, to break off their pride and draw out the sweet juices of repentance. These refused the kind offer from the Lord to enter into relationship. They were content with their relationship to the law. They would wield the law, thinking it held no threat for themselves.

But they were so wrong.

As the Lord began to preach the Gospel, many set up fortifications against the incoming tide of grace. This grace would ruin the law leash by which they kept others under control. It would give the hearts of the people back to their Father and release them from the tyranny of these pretenders.

I’m so glad for this Gospel of grace. I’m so thankful for the freedom it offers. Freedom from the tyranny of the law. Freedom to truly connect with our Father. Freedom to be His children and live in relationship with Him.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

3

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;

Isaiah 53:2a NASB

I have heard so often folks tell me that in this area (perhaps the North East, perhaps New England, perhaps Germany, perhaps the West Coast, perhaps Australia) the ground is hard to the gospel.

It’s hard to penetrate this hardened soil with a 2000 year old message.

I am hear to tell you today, that though the ground is parched – dry – beyond hope - this tender shoot can break through.

And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. - Luke 10:2 NASB

Jesus looked at this parched ground Isaiah prophesied and rather than seeing dry earth with no hope – He saw a plentiful harvest. [Tweet This]

But you must believe – you must see the arm of the Lord – you must hear His voice with the hope of the nations.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

5

What follows here is one of the most moving works of art I have ever heard. At the bottom of the post is a link to the Youtube of this song, but i wanted to post the song lyrics here for those who "hear" better in written form. Misty Edwards is one of the most anointed ministers of worship of our day. Here you will find the gospel beautifully depicted in an encounter with Jesus. Please make time to read or listen this week as we move toward the Crucifixion and Resurrection celebrations this week.

 

The Harlot - Beauty Arise

I am broken
I am wounded
I am wretched and ashamed
and a harlot is like a chain around my neck
it's my name

She sings the song of humanity the song of you the song of me

They drag her through the city square
dragging her by her hair
she's kicking screaming and fighting

I'm broken I'm wounded
I'm angry and afraid
and a harlot is like a chain around my neck
it's my name

She's face down

There's tangled hair
everywhere as she's crying in the dust
as the dust turns to mud on her face

There's tangled hair
everywhere as she's crying in the dust
face down

Open up o open up o ground beneath me
how long does it take to stone one harlot down

I know the law as well as they do and I’m guilty, guilty
an adulterer, and I know I know

O will this day never end
how long does it take to stone one harlot

I am broken
I am wounded
I am wretched and ashamed
and a harlot is like a chain around my neck, it's my name

As the congregation of the righteous gather round
they are ready to stone her down

And someone from that frenzied mob
shouts out, "let's take her to the Teacher
let's test Him and see what He will say!"
An erruption of agreement

As they take her by her hair
they drag her through the city square
they're dragging her by her hair
she gave up the fight like a limp rag

They drag her through the city square
dragging her by her hair

She's faced down

I am broken I am wounded
I am angry and afraid
and a harlot is like a chain around my neck, it's my name
it's who I am

Open up o open up o ground beneath me

It wasn't supposed to end this way
but I am guilty and I know it
I've got so many plans so much to do
but now it's too late

Guilty and I know it

Face down

What is He doing?

As the congregation of the righteous gather round
they're ready to stone her down
they throw her at the feet of the Teacher

Dare I look up?
Surely they have brought me here to mock me..

There's tangled hair
everywhere as she's crying in the dust
as the dust turns to mud on her face

There's tangled hair everywhere she's faced down in the dust
in the mud
and there is a hush
in the congregation

What is he doing?

Time stands still

 

As the court of heaven was seated
there is a great throne of judgment
and there is the harlot and she is me

Face down

Looking through the tangled hair and the mud in my eyes
With a grimace I raise my gaze only to realize
I am surrounded by beauty that would never be mine
as regret like a wave came crushing over me

If I had only known that such beauty was available
if I had only known but now it's too late-

And the accuser of the brethren was pacing back and forth and back and forth and to and fro
as he spat out his words

He was going back and forth and back and forth
he was listing off my sins one by one
and the thing was he was telling the truth
guilty guilty guilty guilty

And the great count of witnesses and the angels o the angels
looked on the scene

As the accuser of the brethren was going back and forth
glee in his eye
guilty guilty guilty guilty
and resounded to the corridor of eternity and time
like a thunder in my soul

He was right I was guilty
guilty to eternal damnation for my soul
and there was nothing I could there was nothing I could do

Face down

Face down

Couldn't even open my eyes
the regret was so strong

There's a hand on my shoulder
a hand on my shoulder
and I hear a voice
like music in my ear

Dare I look up?

I couldn't lift my eyes but all I saw
were those beautiful feet
and I heard that voice like music
music to my soul

He said, "Father, I desire that she will be with me where I am.
show her my glory.

"Father, I desire this one
this one she is mine
she is mine
she is mine."

He was praying for my soul
He was pleading for my behalf
He was praying for me

I couldn't comprehend it
I couldn't understand what was going on

“Father, I desire that everything that's Mine would be hers and everything that's hers would be Mine.
Father, Father, I desire this one, this one,
she is Mine
she is Mine
she is Mine."

And all the heaven gasped unbelief
and I opened up my eyes
and I watched in wonder

This beautiful one stood to His feet

I looked up and there was a great throne and there was the Father
and He had a cup of wrath with my name on it
it had my name on it

And I was just about to rise to drink
guilty guilty guilty
but I watched in unbelief
As this Beautiful One
He walked over to His Father
and took of the cup

And before I knew what was going on
He drank of the cup
He drank of the cup

He drank of the cup of the Father's wrath
He drank of the cup of the marriage wine
He drank of the cup with my name on it
He drank of the cup
and oh the blood..

I jumped to my feet and I ran over to Him and it was too late

I tried to stop him but I didn't know it was too late

And oh the blood
and oh the blood
and oh the blood

It should have been me
and I was weeping and weeping
and I ran over forgetting where I was
and I fell down
face down
O please Father to crush Him
but it was too late

I began to plead it should have been me
it should have been me
but it was too late
why did he do it
but it was too late
and oh the blood

I was weeping and weeping and crying it should have been me
it should have been me
face down
Why did He do it?

It should have been me
was weeping and weeping
why did he gave his life
Oh the blood
was weeping and weeping
and I heard a whisper like music
"what's yours is Mine and what's Mine is yours"

I looked to the left
I looked to the right
and i was on a sea of glace like crystal

There was a great great great congregation dressed in white
from every tongue
from every tribe
from every people
and the music began
and a celebration erupted

and I opened up my eyes
and there was the Lamb
as though he was slain
and I was at a wedding
and I couldn't believe my eyes

I looked down
and I was dressed in garments
garments of beauty
and the music erupted and the angels sing hallelujah hallelujah the chorus broke out

And I looked out and saw the lamb with eyes like fire radiating radiating with desire
and he said what's yours is Mine and what's Mine is yours

Arise and sit on the throne, prepare for your beauty arise beauty arise, beauty arise

And we say with one heart and one voice
"Worthy is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world"

"Oh worthy is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world"

"Worthy is the Lamb of God yeah,
who takes away the sins of the world"

We will marry the Lamb
Halle halle hallelujah
Halle halle hallelujah
we will marry the Lamb forever amen

and worthy is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world
worthy is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world

hallelujah hallelujah

There's gonna be a wedding
There's gonna be a wedding
there's gonna be a wedding yeah people get ready

There's gonna be a wedding
There's gonna be a wedding
there's gonna be a wedding people get ready

There's gonna be a wedding
There's gonna be a wedding
there's gonna be a wedding

What's yours is Mine and what's Mine is yours
who can comprehend where this is going
He said, "Beauty arise, arise, arise"

Misty Edwards & David Brymer - The Harlot Lyrics

 

Misty Edwards - Beauty Arise (the harlot) - YouTube.

Last Sunday, August 4th 2013, I had the privilege of preaching at Pascack Bible Church, in Hillsdale, NJ. We have been working our way through the book of 1 Corinthians and I was asked to cover verses 1 – 34.

I blogged through the first 11 verses which talk about the gospel, but have been silent about the rest. I thought I would share some of my notes on the next portion of the passage over the next couple days.

As I prepared, there were a number of wonderful ‘ah ha’s that came my way – God is so merciful and always willing to teach if we are willing to dig in and listen. He provides food for the hungry – Hallelujah!

The first sermon, called “The Gospel According to Paul” can be heard or downloaded here. I will post this weeks as soon as it is available for any of you who prefer audio. But the content will not be the same, since these are more or less notes and ponderings some of which got left beside my big comfy writing chair and did not make it into the sermon.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by

See you soon.

Ben

Pascack Bible Church PascackBible.org

As I said last week, I preached last Sunday and will preach again next Sunday, August 4th, at Pascack Bible Church, 181 Piermont Ave, Hillsdale NJ.

If you would like to listen to, or download the sermon from July 28 entitled "The Gospel According to Paul" taken from 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. You can find it here.

If you can make it this week, I would love to see you there, and meet you in person. I will be preaching on the Resurection from 1 Corinthians 15:12-34.

For info about the Church including directions, you can go to the Church Web Site - PascackBible.org.

Ben NelsonHave a great weekend.

Ben

 

We have been poking about the edges of 1 Corinthians 15, gleaning some wonderful gospel truth.

Today I want to do a quick rescan of the passage and notice the “proof” Paul offers for the gospel, and specifically for the resurrection, since that is where he is planning on spending the rest of what we call Chapter 15.

Proof #1 ~ The transformation in the lives of the Corinthian believers:

the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

We have looked in-depth at these effects of the gospel already, but they also act as proof, a validation of the veracity of the Word. The gospel was received, and now the Corinthian believers stand, they are saved, and they hold fast.

They have been transformed, and this is the first proof, the power to change man’s life. I am not the man I was, and by this I know that Jesus lives.

There is a schmultzy old hymn we used to sing when I was a kid called “He Lives.” Though I never much like the music, I love the words. Here is the chorus.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart. ~ Alfred H. Ackley

I know Christ is alive because – well – He lives!

Proof #2 ~ Hundreds of fulfilled prophecies:

...according to the Scriptures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3 & 4

We looked at a few yesterday, but I would refer you to a couple of my Christmas posts if you want to dig a little deeper.

My post “One more Christmas Gift” list more than 25 Old Testament prophecies that are fulfilled in the Life of Jesus.

My post “GF Handel’s Messiah – Lyrics” has the entire libretto for Handel’s “Messiah”  the text of which is 100% scriptures, and I have tagged it with references for easy access.

Proof #3 ~ Eye witnesses:

and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:5-8

1)    Cephas (a.k.a. Peter) ~ I love that Peter is listed first. He says, "first Peter," and clearly this is talking about after Christ met Mary in the garden and went to the Father to present His blood, but the fact that Peter is touched, since Peter was left hurting after the last week’s events.

I suppose it may be that Paul was not counting women at all, since in courts of the day, women were likely not considered. (sad)

2)    The 12 ~ Well – I would assume the name “The 12” was more of a moniker than an actual count, since Peter we already know about, and Judas was dead.

3)    Greater than 500 at one time. Hard to deny this testimony. And Paul points out that many of these are still alive at the writing of this letter.

4)    James ~ This was referring to His half-brother, not the son of Zebedee. This James always interested me. We know that Jesus’ half brothers didn't follow Him during His ministry, but now, risen from the dead, these are guys who could not be moved. James and Jude were both New Testament contributors, and we learn in the book of  Acts that James became the main leader of the early Church.

5)    Apostles ~ It interests me that Paul gives us Apostles in addition to “the 12.” Pretty clearly (to me anyway) demonstrates that Apostleship was not dependent on being a disciple.

6)    Paul ~ Finally talks about His own meeting with Jesus. The story of His meeting on the road to Damascus is told and retold (3 times total) in the book of Acts, but I believe those 1,000 days in the wilderness of Arabia, Paul was receiving from the Lord the gospel that he never did stop preaching.

Proof #4 ~ The Graces or gifts given to Paul:

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10

In particular we see Paul’s transformation from Christian killer to in his own assessment (which was sponsored by the Holy Spirit) the hardest working apostle to walk the earth.

Pretty compelling proof! Any lawyer would love to defend a case like this.

Christians, I hope this stirs up your confidence. The gospel stands incontestable.

Do not fear

Go and preach it today.

Ben NelsonSee you again soon.

Ben

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