“The Gospel” – One Year Bible Reading – August 23

  Old Testament:  Job 8:1-11:20

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Job 8:1-11:20    The Merit System

You might be wondering why Job is classified as poetry since it doesn’t seem to be poetry even though it’s laid out in your Bible as poetry and looks like poetry.  The reason for that is because it is Hebrew poetry.  The main characteristic of poetry is that it is parallelism.  That means that there is one line followed by another line that it is complementary, or is a contrast.  But it doesn’t rhyme.  You see that in Job but also Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations.  Explains a few things, doesn’t it?  Also, it is a lot easier to translate if you don’t have to come up with rhymes in another language.  And it gives us more information than a simple rhyme usually.

Today we hear for the first time from Bildad, the Shuhite (maybe he was a high top?).  Bildad means “son of contention.”  He is a pain.  McGee says he is “brutal, blunt, and crude.”  We’ve all known someone like that.  The first thing he does is says God rewards good people.  The point is that Job must’ve done something bad.  In fact, that is what all of Job’s “friends” think.  Even Job is thinking that he must’ve done something bad.  One of the main features of the book of Job is that bad things do happen to good people.  What we don’t usually understand as Christians is that we are in the middle of a huge spiritual war between God and the bad angels.  (By the way, one third of the angels fell with Satan and are bad angels or more commonly referred to as demons (Rev. 12:4).

In chapter eight,  a crowd may have gathered to hear the repartee.  They didn’t go to football games, they went to debates (cf. McGee).  Bildad is zinging Job.  He calls Job “windy” (v. 2).  The point is that all Job’s trials have come on him because he and his family have sinned.  Of course, that wasn’t the reason.  Keep that in mind the next time something bad happens to someone and you want to attribute it to his or her sin.

In chapter nine, Job answers back Bildad.  He tells him he hasn’t made him feel any better (v. 2).  Job wishes God was a man so he could talk to him.  He wishes there was a mediator between God and man to mediate his case (cf. Job 9:32-33).   Imagine.  God did become a man and did become a mediator for us! (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5). 

In chapter ten, Job again wishes he was dead (v. 19) and doesn’t understand why he is suffering while bad people he knows are not suffering (v. 3).  I had a dream last night that I was about to die.  In my dream I was thinking, “I thought I wanted to die but here I am trying to save myself in the face of death.  I guess I don’t want to die.”  I think a lot of us might have wished we were dead at sometime.  But did we really mean it?  Probably not.  (If you do, seek help immediately!  It is not Biblical!).  Death will not put us out of misery.  It will rob us of rewards in Heaven.  In fact, it is what demons want you to believe.  The “thief [demons, the devil] comes only to rob, and kill and destroy” but Jesus “came that [we] might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

In chapter eleven,  we meet the third of Job’s “friends.”  His name is Zophar and his name means “sparrow.”  He probably uses Twitter and tweets and twitters a lot (cf. McGee).  But he is bad news. When you see a guy coming like Zophar you probably think “Zo-phar, so bad.”  And that is the way chapter eleven is.  After hearing from two negative friends, it’s “so far, so bad” encountering this guy.

McGee thinks Zophar was the oldest.  Wiersbe thinks Eliphaz was the oldest and Zophar was the youngest.  I don’t know who was the oldest.  They are all as dumb as the other.  Numbers of years is no guarantee of wisdom or intelligence.   At least there is the mellowing of experience with age if we let it have its effect.  Certainly, the young do not have that advantage.  Zophar seems to be a legalist.  If Job hadn’t sinned, this all would not have come on him (Job 11:13-14).  What a comfort he was!  They all sing the same refrain.  If only Job would confess what’d he’d done wrong, he’d be fine.  Prosperity theology is basically the opposite:  give money and God will bless you.  Man has it ingrained in him that God works on a merit basis:, if we’d just do right God will bless us.  It is true to a certain extent that God works on the merit system.  It works like this.  Christ merits our salvation for us.  Then we have to choose to believe in Him for that and His merit is applied to us!

New Testament:  1 Corinthians 15:1-28

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1 Corinthians 15:1-28    The Gospel

Have you ever wondered what the gospel was exactly?  Paul tells us in this passage.  Verses 3 -4 say it is the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those are the facts of the gospel.  One of my congregants got in my grid one time because I had been saying that the Roman Road was the gospel (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:8; Rom. 10:9-10).  Of course, we were both right but I was emphasizing what it would take for a person to be saved.  To give intellectual assent to 1Cor. 15: 3-4 won’t get anyone to Heaven.  Many people know that but won’t make it to Heaven.  To actually be saved, a person has to believe he/she is a sinner (Rom. 3:23), believe that Christ died in their place (Rom. 5: 8), and personally trust Jesus that He died specifically for them (Rom. 10:9, 10).   They must personally appropriate Christ for themselves.  If someone is knocking at the door and you know they are there, will you get to see them?  No.  They’ll still be on the other side of the door!  You have to open it! (see Rev. 3:20).  How can you have the Son (1 John 5:11-12)?  You must believe.  It is a matter of your will.  And if you do believe, you can have complete assurance that you will go to Heaven (1 John 5:13).  God does not sneak in.  He does not want robots.  He wants human beings who love him.  Would you marry a robot?  I wouldn’t.  I didn’t!  God loves everyone (John 3:16; 1 John 4:19) and  God wants those who love him.

There’s more amazing stuff in this chapter.  Look at the end of verse 5.  After Jesus raised from the dead, he appeared to people so they could see Him.  They were not hallucinating.  They were not seeing a vision or a mirage.  Jesus was appearing in a resurrection-type body so we could see it was all real and so we could see what we’ll be getting (cf. 1 John 3:3)!   He first appeared to Cephas (Peter, the “point-man”), then to the twelve apostles (not Judas but Methiolate, I mean, Mathias, v. 5) but then look at verse 6!  Oh My Goodness!   He appeared to give hundred believers at one time!  Five hundred!   Two or three witnesses in a court case can win you a verdict.  Can you imagine if you had five hundred to testify?  The Jesus appeared to James, his brother, and to all the apostles (probably more than just the 12 biggies, see BKC, v. 7).  Finally, he appeared to Paul himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:27).  Paul called himself the “least of the apostles” (he was also the “apostle to the Gentiles,” Rom. 11:13) since he persecuted the church (v. 10).

The resurrection is the crux of all we believe.  It’s what differentiates what we believe as Christians from everything else.  Buddah didn’t rise from dead.  Neither did Zoroaster or Ghandi or any other religious leader.  Jesus was the only religious teacher to raise from the dead!  Everything stands or falls on the resurrection.  Verse 19, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”   If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, we are just pathetic, “pitiable,” human beings.  On the other hand, we’re not pitiful, we have hope and we are victorious!  (cf. Rom. 8:37; 1 John 5:4; 1 Cor. 15:54, 57).

Christ is the first to be raised from the dead, the “first fruits” (v. 20, cf. the Feast of First Fruits).  Paul contrasts Adam and Jesus.  Adam brought death (v. 22a) but in Christ believers have life (v. 22b).   Christ will reign in the Millennium (v. 24-25) when spiritual warfare will be completed and Satan and his angels will see that Christ reigns supreme.  All will be put under His feet ( 1 Cor. 15:25, 27, cf. Phil. 2:10-11, Ps. 8:6; Eph. 1:22; Heb. 2:8).  The point of everything, and I do mean everything, is that Christ will reign supreme!

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