There is no room for a “close” gospel, and according to Paul in Galatians, any iteration of the gospel that is not pure on both sides is a false gospel. Therefore, those who hold as their hope these nuanced gospels are to be understood as having not been converted as they do not have the truth.
The Bible, of course, is a book with history, not only in its pages but about its pages. For centuries the Scriptures have been passed down, translated, copied and established in many dialects and languages. No ‘version’ of the Holy Writ has held the heart of a culture as has the English translation from 1611 known as the King James Version. This copy of the Scriptures included not just the Old and New Testaments, but also the Apocrypha and other related non-canonical writings. The language of that era is breathtaking and even the small and quirky nuances are cherished by millions as the voice of “their bible” from childhood. Through the years the King James Bible has been changed, updated, corrected and supplied to any household who wanted one in English speaking lands. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this translation of Scripture, very few people have actually read an original and fewer even have a replica of this literary masterpiece. Strangely in contrast to this fact, many taut that the King James Version, or KJV, is God’s ordained “translation” from the original “tongues” and any other translation efforts are “unauthorized”. This type of thinking is rooted in a wide pool of theories, suspicion, conspiracy, fear, and ignorance.
The KJV is a fine contextual representation of the Scriptures but it is no different and no better than other good translation efforts put forth in contemporary times. Now there is a difference between a translation and a ‘version’ of Scripture. A translation concedes to the original meaning in context and word-for-word accuracy as able, so that the message of the original text and its variants can be brought forth. A paraphrase or thought for thought commentation is not translation work at all. These types of so-called “bibles” are best left alone. For the KJV, it along with many of its English counterparts are good copies of Scripture and can be safely utilized to know the truths of God and the Gospel of Grace. But when it comes to those who try to wage war with the KJV as a divinely ‘inspired’ or ‘authorized’ version of Scripture, they are committing idolatry and in a real sense, are exposing a very dark side of human depravity and the ploys of the enemy.
Dr. Edward Dalcour and I produced an informal podcast on this topic a few months ago and have it published at the ChristianPodcastCommunity.com for anyone who’s interested you can listen above. We discuss the idea that while the KJV is a perfectly fine version of Scripture, the dark side of KJV “onlyism” is that many fail to understand the silly ignorance behind it and worse, they fail to see the horrible sinfulness of placing undue burdens on the church who fear things that Scripture itself commands not to fear. They have no authority to hold to their views on the very book that claims sovereign authority over the church. We’d love your thoughts and engagement. If you have any questions for our show, please go over to TheologyAnwers.com and post them!
Gospel of John
Many people followed after Christ but not because they belonged to Him or even loved Him. This text reveals to us the nature of humanity and most of all the religious of our day just as they were in the days of Jesus, so they are in these last days.
- The Parties include the mediator and the subject of the covenant.
- The Promise can be natural or supernatural or both.
- The Conditions are established at the behest of the mediator and must be met.
- The seal or ceremony shows us something about the covenant as it also reveals the certainty of the promise.
A promise given from one party to another upon which are imposed stipulations or conditions that are sealed by a token, symbol, or ceremony.
Trey teaches us about covenants and shows that when it comes to redemption, God meets the stipulations or conditions of the covenant that has been established and the promise is given to some before the conditions are even met.
 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love  he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,  to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ  as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (ESV)
Thomas (Trey) Mason is an elder candidate with GraceTruth Church and actively serves in areas of teaching, research and pastoral care.
- V11 – Took the loads and distributed and also the fish
- The bread that he was GIVEN gave forth more bread. It was transformed
- Their hope was in escape from ROME and revitalization of Judaism
- Their focus was that Messiah’s significance was Earthly: Wealth, Food, Victory, Freedom
- They could not see the DIVINE revelation of Jesus Christ, nor Him being the bread of life, nor their own true need for salvation!
- Lamb dies points to the death of Christ
- Bread and fish will FILL but not satisfy
- MANNA is a shadow of the TRUE BREAD
- PASSOVER is removed and JESUS BECOMES THE BREAD and the WINE (His flesh is now the true lamb)
- In John 5 the JEWS put their hope in Moses.
- They saw Scripture but could not see Jesus
- Passover was their PRIME festival
- NATIONAL pride was at its highest
- THE people were taught that EXODUS was a picture of FUTURE GLORY that Messiah would bring and give them freedom from ROME, just like Egypt.
- They came to Christ on their own terms with their own conditions
- They saw Christ through their human interpretation and practice of Moses
- They comprehended by the flesh, not the Spirit for they were not born of the Spirit
- They searched the Scriptures for salvation but they spoke of JESUS and His gospel, not them
- John 5 leaves us seeing the condition of Israel and her spiritual leaders: Dead and blind, feasting on morals not grace!
- John 6 reveals to us the product of the sheep without a shepherd; feasting on manna not glory!
- They wanted Jesus as King and would do anything to get Him there
- They had the numbers, He had the power, they were all in Jerusalem and could do something!
- Jesus would provide for their bodies and families, how much more could come from His hands if He were made their King!
JESUS IS THE ONE WHO TOOK INITIATIVE5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
- He sees them and is concerned with their need for food (but mostly spiritual food)
- He feeds them to later show them their true god… their bellies.
- Mark records the crowd running and trying to catch up on the north side of the hill and that Jesus taught them for a while, then speaks of them needing to eat.
- JOHN focuses on the continuity of his gospel’s THEOLOGY, not CHRONOLOGY
- He inquires, not for the sake of needing to know, but for the image of revealing that NOTHING could be done with ANYONE’S help. It was a HOPELESS cause
- Just as it was hopeless for these people to eat food, it is hopeless for these people too be fed the true bread from heaven.
MANS FEEBLE FAITH AND FOOLISH ATTEMPTS7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
- Mary needing wine
- Jews thinking 48 years
- Nicodemus thinking natural birth and wind
- Samaritan woman considering a bucket of water
- Disciples looking for real food
- Philip looking at the world’s market
- Andrew shows that this is an impossible task
- The disciples never once considered that Jesus COULD do anything, they set out to prove that they could neither AFFORD nor PRODUCE any food that would feed the 13 of them, much less the crowd.
CHRIST NEEDS NO ASSISTANCE10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.
- HE could have asked the crowd to bring all they had etc.
- INSTEAD he asked them to sit down in an orderly fashion, he had a plan, he was going to feed them
- WHAT were the disciples thinking at this moment as Jesus only had the one man’s lunch.
- 5000 men alone were to large to handle and feed, but also women and children could make this crowd a number of 15-20K large.
- Imagine that 5K men could easily have overtaken Jesus at any point.
- THIS MIRACLE IS ABOUT TO BE A PRECURSOR TO A SPIRITUAL PICTURE (manna vs Jesus)
CHRIST PROVIDES THE NEED WITHOUT INCIDENT OR HESITATION11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.THE SATISFACTION AND FILLING OF THE GIFT OF GOD12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.THE BLINDNESS TO TRUTH WITH THE VOICE OF TRUTH14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
- Many believed he was messiah, but they did not know his intention nor their need for true salvation.
- With Rome and the Jews
- With Herod Antipas (Galilean King) Mark 6; though JTB had risen from the dead.
- Ceasar – John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
- JESUS KINGSHIP was to die by the Spear, not Fight by the Spear
- JESUS withdrew from them, dispersed the crowd and TOLD His disciples to leave there in boats
- Jesus went to pray, because what had just happened, and what people wanted to happen were grave and serious events, very burdensome and pushing toward the ultimate end: His crucifixion.
- People were looking for him
- His disciples were looking for him
- Authorities were looking for him
- ALL for different reasons: crowed wanted more from him, disciples believed he was their life in the flesh, authorities were fearful of his teaching (against their own)
- DARKNESS seemed to be the state of men without Jesus; they were scared, alone, and didn’t know where they were going.
- EVEN though JESUS had proven His power, when he wasn’t CLOSE, they feared. Even when He was close, they feared: (sleeping in the boat).
- Jesus had JUST FED (like manna) the multitude and now His people faced the sea!
- This act of creation was enough to topple the faith of the men. WE LOSE ALL SIGHT when things go ary. We lose all hope, like being in darkness. (Storm)
- The disciples were looking for Jesus
- Jesus appears in the sea. MIRACLE number 5: He walks on the water.
- He had power over the water, the bread, and now the sea. He defies the laws of nature
- Peter comes out to him here, but John doesn’t record it because it is already recorded in the Synoptics.
- THREE OR FOUR MILES is to PROVE that Jesus was not walking on the shore! They were in the middle of the sea.
- Their fear is not the point of John’s writing… he is focusing on what takes away their fear:
- Jesus is our refuge, hope, and life
- Jesus brings faith for His people so they walk in confidence that he is near
- Jesus is the only ONE who would have calmed them in this situation, they were no longer afraid.
- ANY STORM is in the hands of Christ. He is always near…
- Jesus also is the GOD of time and space. He moves the boat and the 12 with himself immediately to dry land.
It appears that the death of Billy Graham has brought out a type of worldwide idolatry masked under the guise of appreciation. I won’t speak to Graham but I have to speak to the matter most disturbing relating to the authority of what Scripture teaches. If one holds to the sufficiency and efficacy of Scripture as the arbiter of truth, the full revelation of God, and the place by which they find the gospel of grace, then I must object to this overwhelming bandwagon of foolishness concerning “other” means of salvation. Scripture teaches that God’s word is profitable for teaching, that it is the message of the cross of Christ and His atonement (that is the gospel), that it is the Power of God unto salvation, and that those who do not hold to its authority and message are condemned already because they do not believe on the Son of God.
Paul teaches in Romans that God uses the preaching of the gospel by the power of Spirit in order to bring regeneration and that no man can come to trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ without this working of the Spirit. The point being that if Scripture teaches this and so many who profess to be “in Christ” are refuting this in favor of a kinder, more gracious God who would not “condemn” a man because of his lack of hearing, then to what end are we able to believe in any portion of Scripture?
We must hold the full Witness of God through the Scripture to which we would all do well to pay attention. Even the personal testimonies of the Apostles were not the authority of the revelation and message of Jesus Christ. Peter tells the church to listen to the Scriptures through which God will save them and secure them. Paul tells Timothy that the Word of God is able to make one wise and the means of salvation. What a glorious truth! Listen to the word of God, listen to the Scriptures and reject anyone who tells you that there is salvation found through any other medium!
The second commandment is something that many people have questions about often. I wrote an article last year in relation to the question, “Can a Christian Violate the Second Commandment with Pictures of Jesus?” Here is a podcast on that answer.
Success can be confusing. No matter the field or context of life, measuring success is a dominant desire. This measuring becomes problematic when the matrix is misunderstood. Ignorance of what constitutes success can bring a plethora of issues both externally and internally in the life of an individual or organization. Considering successful ministry can be daunting and I know in my tenure as a pastor I’ve been taught conflicting thoughts on how to know if I am successful. For over 20 years the idea of ‘counting’ heads and money has been the measure of success but if we peer into the pages of scripture, there would be no example of a successful church, pastor, apostle or Savior if that were the case. Others have concluded that success should be based on the experience of the individual or the congregation. They would posit that true success isn’t how many, but rather, how powerful the experience. Again, if this is measured in comparison to the New Testament, there would be no historic picture of success found in these measurements.
There is the room of course, for many conversations of practical wisdom as it relates to dealing with people, communicating, caring and doing life together, but any human being can pull off successful ventures of gathering up people with a common goal or vision. It only takes a brain and a voice. The problem comes when all this discombobulated instruction on success invades the mind of a pastor or congregation and they begin to make strides to ‘measure up’ according to man’s wisdom. While I’ve spoken to these things before, I want to know just put the authority where it should be; the Word of God.
When we want to see an amazing feat we can go to either a magic show, and be deceived and enjoy it, or we can go to a sporting event or daredevil exhibition. Either way, there are many amazing things to behold in the world of daring humanity. If we want our breath to be taken we can listen to a chorale of voices singing the classics of old, a symphony bringing the trills and tonal harmonies to life in our ears, or we can view the grandeur of the sea, the mountains or the beyond! Sadly, all of these things, while awe-inspiring, are not majestic or awesome in comparison to the glory of God. So, in man’s feeble mind, he has tried to find other ways to behold the power of God and then painted the canvas of “worship” and “church” with these silly and boring tactics.
How amazing would it be if I were preaching this Sunday and out of the blue I began to float in the air and fire came from my hands as I read the words of Jesus? People would think they had witnessed a miracle and their hearts and minds would be overpowered by that experience. Likewise, if I walked out into the congregation and touched the ailing and their bodies were actually healed, legs grew back, eyesight restored; people would lose their mind in amazement. What if I were able to know things that were not mine to know or had the ability to provide music that would shudder the soul and cause others to feel, what they thought, the very presence of God? I would submit that all of this, even if it happened in greater detail, would be boring and nothing in comparison to seeing the glory of God face-to-face!
So, if we want to SEE a miracle, it is better to stop looking for the next great “work” of God and realize that there is already a perfect miracle for us to behold every moment of our lives! Jesus in John 6 says, “This is the work of God that you believe in the Son that He has sent.” See, the people of John 6 wanted more miracle food. When Jesus refused to feed them in their hunger and commanded them to be satisfied in Him, they wanted a sign for Jesus to prove Himself as worthy. In the same manner, many professing believers seem to believe in anything they can feel, create, and experience that satisfies their flesh instead of actually believing in Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption. The point is that success in ministry is not measured by the number of people in the pews, money in the bank, missionaries in the field, miracles on the stage, healings in the clinics, or tongues in the air like cymbals. It is measured by the majesty and glory of God in the face of the people of God, who believe, worship and love each other with all authority. So how then are we to measure this? How is this experienced and evident in the life of the church? Through the Word of God Alone!
God’s word faithfully proclaimed is the only measure of successful ministry.
2 Timothy 3: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
ὠφέλιμος – means valuable, profitable, having worth and bringing a yield. So, the word of God, which is God speaking, is profitable for all things that the church needs. It teaches (doctrine), reproofs (disapproves), corrects (sets right), and trains in righteousness (teaches Christ). The successful pastor is equipped for every good work through the Scripture. That is the miracle of God and a display of His creative power at work. His word being taught, His sheep hearing and heeding, and His people being governed by the Miracle of New Life by His everlasting Grace. Anything else is just boring and of lesser awe than this! Stop seeking out the devil’s measure of majesty and rest in the revelation of God to you.
Rest in Christ!