ONEFAMILY Outreach

Brief Overview

ONEFamily Outreach exists to "Connect Kids to Community and Communities to Kids."

Have you considered having a mission week for your church? This is one of my favorite "in-depth" ways of reaching out with the Great News of Jesus Christ. Activities can include:

  • Interactive and participative praise concerts for children, youth, and families;
  • Morning staff studies on Servant Leadership
  • Soup lunches for the community with a gospel-study focusing on our scriptural call to justice;
  • In-service for your volunteers or teachers on reaching today's youth and families with the vibrant, living, message of Jesus Christ;
  • Evening parent seminar on "Significant Conversations: The 21-conversations you want to have with your child before they leave home";
  • Local networking with other groups to talk about starting a "Character-Based Mentoring Program" for at-risk youth in your area;
  • Humorous and thought-provoking assembly for local schools (secular or religious).

ONEFamily Outreach is primarily supported by trainings, workshops, retreats and concerts (God has blessed me with five popular music awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers). Please consider bringing ONEFamily Outreach to your community and support our endeavors.


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“Keep and Guard”

John 17:6-19

Easter 7b

John 17:6-19

6 “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word. 7 “Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; 8 for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me. 9 “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; 10 and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 “And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are. 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 “But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. 18 “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Overview

“The Call of God: Just Show Up…”

Dorothy Day once said; “Pray for the dead but fight like hell for the living.”

I understand her rhetoric and the sense of frustration that prompts her statement; the reality is that prayer is the most powerful weapon that we have!  Indeed, for God”s purpose, I find it is often the only resource that we have to combat injustice in our midst.

Yet, the most powerful form of prayer is not for the poor; but with the poor (which Ms. Day consistently practiced).  I find that prayer is an especially powerful force when you cannot physically provide for someone’s needs and yet, you still do not walk away.  In 99 percent of the cases in which I visit incarcerated youth and adults; I find that I can rarely do more for them than to be a consistent companion through their highs and lows.

I can’t break down jail walls and yet… I can show up. I can listen, share in joy and suffering, share stories of faith and… I can share in prayer.

“I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil {one.}” [John 17:11]

How often I wish that God would give me the resources to take people “out of their world”; out of homelessness, jails, nursing facilities, cycles of abuse or addiction.  And yet, he doesn’t!  Instead, he tells me to go into their world and be present through the despair.  You and I are called to bind hopelessness and offer all that we have: two eyes, two ears and often, too little time.  We are rarely called to show up with solutions, but we are called to show up. Yet, nothing seems to keep away the evil one more than the friend who consistently “shows up.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t advocate as well; we still try and find food, clothing, a warm room, a safe house, a treatment center, or an appointment with a doctor or a dentist.  We do what is possible and turn to God for the impossible); but above all else… We show up.

Please consider:

1.        Where can you “show up” today? 

2.        Where is the darkness in your community and how could you show up and bind hopelessness?

John 17:6

6 “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word.”

“I manifested Thy name…”

Here, in this most intimate prayer of Jesus to his Father, we see what Jesus resolutely focused upon for three years; “I manifested Thy name.” Let’s look at a couple of those words:

·         Manifested [NT:5319 phaneroo (fan-er-o’-o)] means to shine publicly, clearly declare, or reveal “in the light of day.”

·         Name [NT:3686 onoma (on’-om-ah)] is unique in Greek from our understanding of the word. It doesn’t mean that Jesus went around saying the surname of God to everyone he met. Far from it! It means that he displayed the “character” or the “authority” of God wherever he went: Galilee, Samaria, Trachonitis, the Decapolis, and Judea! Regardless of who Jesus was with—religious authorities, demoniacs, the poor and suffering, or the Roman Occupiers—our Lord consistently revealed the glory and authority of God.

That is our call.

Yet, in this prayer, the intimacy of Christ’s appeal goes even deeper. For Jesus did not just reveal God’s character and authority (his name) to the world. He consistently revealed it to “the men whom Thou gavest Me.”

It is incredible for us to recount that the only apostle that we know Jesus went out of his way to call was the tax collector, Matthew. All the others came to Jesus and our Lord accepted them. They were not the people we would normally go seek in an effort to reveal God’s character and authority to the world. If I were to sit here and think of whom I would “go and seek” the list would be distinctly different from the people who God sends into my life everyday: Angry and oppressed youth, incarcerated men, widows, illegal immigrants, and the homeless. Yet, with just such people our Lord revolutionized the world.

These were the people needing hope and they were the people that God brought to Jesus. This is ultimately the test of the sincerity of my servant leadership as a follower of Christ: Do I find those who most need hope and turn them into people who “manifest God’s name to the world?”

Does that sound like the focus of my life? Will the last prayer of my life be like Jesus’; “I manifested Thy name to the men (people) whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word.”

If not, what do I need to leave behind today so that prayer will be my last breath? Because when we pray that prayer, that last prayer, we don’t want to say something like; “I kind of manifested your name to a few people that I personally liked hanging around.”

John 17:7-8

7 “Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; 8 for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me.”

“…and truly understood that I came forth from Thee.”

“Give and send.” These are two of the operative words of Christ’s life. God gave [NT:1325 didomi (did’-o-mee)] Jesus the words which Jesus gave to the disciples and they understood that it was also God who sent [NT:649 apostello (ap-os-tel’-lo)] Jesus. In turn, Jesus gave himself to his disciples and sent them out to the world. Do we understand that call? Let’s look at the usage of these words:

Gave [didomi]; this term is not necessarily used for giving someone a present (as in gift). In fact, we could say it is used for giving someone a future. The fullest sense of the word is to “have the power to send someone on an adventure.” It is also the word for “strike” or “smite.” It is the term we might use for confirmation. As when a Bishop symbolically slaps an initiate on the cheek and sends them forth with the sacramental blessing of the Holy Spirit.

Do we see that 1) we are sent forth (committed to) an adventure and 2) Do we give others the adventure and power of the Holy Spirit to pursue an adventure as Jesus gave to us?

Sent [apostello]; here is the verb of Apostle. It means to send one out on a mission. This is the primary reason that so many of our churches lack commitment today. We emotionally entertain people rather than engage them in mission. The King James Version also translates the term as “to set at liberty and to be sent forth.” Does that sound like our daily “task” list?

“Give and Send.” These actions should be the bookmarks of our day. Each day, as a follower of Christ, we should be looking for ways to “give an adventure [didomi],” and “send forth with power [apostello].” Could we imagine if that was the heart of our relationship with the next generation; that we focused on “giving them an adventure,” and “sending them forth with Christ’s power?”

John 17:9-10

9 “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; 10 and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.”

“…for they are Thine”

This statement of Jesus is very mystifying. He asks protection on behalf of his followers, but not on behalf of the world. That seems so different from the Jesus who is constantly sending his disciples out into the world. So we need to ask; “From what is Jesus seeking to protect his disciples?”

The clue lies in the beginning of this prayer of Jesus which is actually in chapter 16:

John 16:32-33

32 “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

As Jesus begins the prayer he is facing the doubt of the disciples. Already they are confused about what Jesus is saying and his statements regarding his imminent death:

John 16:17-19

17 Some of His disciples therefore said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, “A little while, and you will not behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me”; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?”  18 And so they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’?”

John 16:25-31

25 “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. 26 “In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. 28 “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.”  29 His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly, and are not using a figure of speech. 30 “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?”

In this most intimate prayer of Jesus, we see first his frustration at the disciple’s lack of faith—”Are you deliberating together about this?”—followed by his compassion for their lack of faith. It was not uncommon for Jesus to reprimand the disciples when their faith was lacking. For example, when they couldn’t feed the multitudes, couldn’t heal a demon-possessed boy, or couldn’t understand his simplest parables (or didn’t want to understand them).

Yet, Jesus’ compassion is always greater than his frustration and this prayer is an example of that compassion. It is Jesus’ last supper with this intimate group of believers and only two people at the table are even aware of the horrors ahead that night. The rest of the disciples are riding high on the events of Passover and totally mystified (even irked) when Jesus “brings them down” by talking about his death. It is something that obviously does not fit with “their agenda.”

As they complain and argue about and to Jesus, our Lord can already see the work of Satan trying to scatter his tender flock. They think they are so confident, but their confidence is really ignorance and naiveté. How often as Christians (or in our churches) is our confidence based in similar falsehoods. We are so confident of our faith and our claims of religious righteousness that we are even belligerent. Yet, our faith has rarely been tested beyond our own upper rooms.

Jesus prays for this group (and not the rest of the world) because this group will be shattered by the days ahead. Their confidence, their dreams of holding stock in the kingdom, their requests for seats by the Master, will be shattered in just a few hours. As much as Jesus is hurt by their deliberate blindness, his compassion is even greater. “Save them Lord… from themselves.”

Is that how Jesus prays for me? Do I display and purport a belligerent faith that is untested in the fire? Am I like a little dog barking at the wolf behind a great big fence—oblivious to the hole just a few feet away? “Lord, save me from myself.”

We need to plead with Jesus; “Please don’t let my belligerence block my faithfulness. Save me from myself.”

John 17:11-13

11 “And I am no more in the world; and {yet} they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, {the name} which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We {are.} 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 “But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

In the world

“Toto, we’re not in the Garden of Eden anymore.”

Jesus made no secret that we would be enemies of this world.  We are in “occupied territory.”  Though the world is beautiful in creation and a model of its Creator; it is a fallen world.  Yet, even in the Garden of Eden, the Evil One existed and sought to destroy the children of God.

Genesis 3:1-5

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’“

4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

In the world, we are:

1.        Sheep among wolves;

Matthew 10:16-22

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves. 17 “But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to {the} courts, and scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 “But when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak. 20 “For it is not you who speak, but {it is} the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 21 “And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father {his} child; and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 “And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

2.        Hated because we love Christ;

John 15:18-20

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before {it hated} you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

3.        In this world the Christian will face tribulation but Christ will help us overcome whatever we face if we are obedient;

John 16:33

33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

4.        This world is occupied territory, it lies in the power of Satan;

I John 5:19-21

19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in {the power of} the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

The message that Christ preached about this world’s hatred toward Christ-Followers is so strong that one could rightfully ask: “If the world hates us because of Christ, then can we be ‘of Christ’ if the world loves us and we love the world?”

James 4:4

4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

The more I love Jesus and the more he allows me to serve Him, the more I see through the thin veneer of this world.  When I move out of my own comfort zone and into the pain at the fringe of society, then I see through the fog of Satan.  I see all what it costs to keep the wealthy rich and the comfortable insulated.  I see Satan’s face through the fog!

His smooth talk and beguiling ways make it easy to slip into the satin sheets of complacency and under the downy comforter of this world.  I see the deceptive warmth of the bath of prejudice and the reclining chair of negligence as the most glaring temptations of the Evil One.  As a Christ-Follower, it is my duty to find injustice; to reveal it and with all my strength to try and make it right (righteousness) through the love of Christ.

Micah 6:8

8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Of course, this “unmasking” of the world does not mean we neglect the beauty of creation which is a constant testimony to the character of our Creator.  Stewardship is also an indication of the God-Follower.  Good stewardship shows that we care for whatever God places in our trust; indeed, returning it to God “with interest and more”:

Matthew 25:26-29

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I scattered no {seed.} 27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my {money} back with interest. 28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ 29 “For to everyone who has shall {more} be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”

While we are in this world; we make the most of its resources and return whatever “we make” back to the Giver of all Gifts.  We invest what we are given adding grace to whatever He has placed in our hands:

Ecclesiastes 9:10-12

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do {it} with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. 11 I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. 12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.

Yet, we are not to confuse this world with our destination.  This is not our home.  We are “strangers in a strange land.”

Hebrews 11:13

13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

This is not our place; this is not our time.  We are not to be comfortable with this world in either temporal or spatial terms.  Our only home is God; we must never set our roots here.

Ephesians 2:19

19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.

Indeed, whatever roots we set into the earth usually become binding chains.  So, if we are to be yoked; let the yoke be to the One that is the Beloved of God:

Matthew 11:29-30

29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

1 Timothy 6:6-12

6 But godliness {actually} is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

We are “in” this world, but not “of” it.  It is here that the “un-reached” of God cry for purpose; it is here that we are destined to carry His word.  Paul’s words are forceful indeed!  “Flee, pursue, fight and take hold.”  We have work to do!

Keeping them in Thy name

As we previously studied in Christ’s message of the Good Shepherd [John 10:11-18]; Jesus is the Good Shepherd because he doesn’t abandon us:

John 10:11

11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

The good shepherd guards and keeps his flock [GSN5083 tereo] in his Name.  These terms would be used in multiple circumstances:

5.        To protect and guard

It would be used for protecting or guarding a young woman’s virginity (purity);

1 Corinthians 7:37

37 But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep [GSN5083 tereo] his own virgin {daughter,} he will do well.

6.        To follow the commands of God;

It would be used for keeping the commandments so that one could enter into heaven:

Matthew 19:17

17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is {only} One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep [GSN5083 tereo] the commandments.”

Matthew 23:1-3

1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe [GSN5083 tereo], but do not do according to their deeds; for they say {things,} and do not do {them.} 

1.        To store or treasure

It was used when Jesus protected Mary from those who would try to diminish her loving gift for Jesus.  It was a term for keeping a treasure.

John 12:7-8

7 Jesus therefore said, “Let her alone, in order that she may keep [GSN5083 tereo] it for the day of My burial. 8 “For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me.”

2.        To preserve or keep intact

It was a term used for preserving: setting aside something for a holy purpose.

1Thessalonians 5:23-24

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

3.        To be prepared; to not be caught unawares;

It was the term John used to express that we should remain prepared for Christ”s return.

Revelation 16:15

15 “Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame.”

The Hebrews used the word; Shamar [HSN8104 shamar] an even richer term than the Greek “tereo” [GSN5083].  This rich word was used of a shepherd who would put a hedge about his sheep in the wilderness at night; the shepherd would then sleep in the doorway both to keep the sheepin and the wolves out.  The Hebrews used the term for keeping your life on track (“to look narrowly”) instead of letting your mind, eyes or thoughts wander from a singular focus on God.  It would also be used for the person who “heeds” the words of God, who observes the commands, preserves his ways, waits patiently for God to reveal himself.

You can see this is an important word to the God-Follower.  It is the word of commandment and obedience; a word of protection and preservation.  It is Jesus himself who places his body at the gate of our hedge.  It is our very Lord who guards and protects us from the Evil One.

Psalm 41:2

2 The LORD will protect him and keep him alive, and he shall be called blessed upon the earth; and do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.

Psalm 121:7-8

7 The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. 8 The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.

Finally, “tereo” and “shamar” were also words for a soldier who is on watch.  In this respect, I am humbled by God’s amazing faithfulness.  For he watches over us even though we could not “stand watch” with him:

Matthew 26:38

38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

The Lord himself stands watch upon our lives and he will keep his watch until the day of our final restoration:

Daniel 12:1-11

[1] “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. [2] “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. [3] “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. [4] “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”

[5] Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. [6] And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” [7] I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the  power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. [8] As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” [9] He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. [10] “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. [11] “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.”

They may be one, even as We {are.}

“All for one and one for all,” shouted the Three Musketeers.  Did you ever wonder if Dumas might have borrowed this term from Jesus? 

To many of us, numbers are simply a way of accounting or keeping track of items.  However, the more one studies numbers, the more one realizes that they are actually a language of their own, even a key for unlocking the mysteries of a consistent universe (made by a consistent Creator).

To the Hebrew mind, numbers carried deep scriptural meaning.  The number Seven was a number of completeness, the number ten was the number of Satan, the number twelve represented the tribes of Israel, the number forty meant “as long as it takes” (as in, they were in the wilderness for forty years—as long as it took for God to mold them into a unified people)

However, the number One stood out among all the numbers.  It was the number of wholeness and completeness.  In Hebrew the number one [HSN259 `echad], meant first, primary, properly (as in a sacrifice completed correctly) and united.  Yet, above all else, it was one of the central tenets of Judaism (and Christianity) that there were not gods but The God was One:

Deuteronomy 6:4

4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”

Oneness was 1) an inseparable bond, 2) a constant purpose and 3) a consistent character.  When a man and wife were joined in marriage; they became one flesh:

Genesis 2:24-25

24 For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

To hurt my spouse would be to hurt myself.  To love my spouse is to love myself.

Ephesians 5:28-32

28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also {does} the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

Furthermore, the love of man and woman produced children; the consummation of this bond of unity.  A “sum greater than the parts.”

Therein is the primary meaning of being One with Christ who is One with God and who, through the Holy Spirit, becomes One with us.  In fact, most theologians would describe that very bond of Oneness itselt as “the living being of the Holy Spirit.”

John translates Christ’s statement of unique oneness using the word “heis” [GSN1520].  This term also means primary (as in first love), it also means “the only” and even “abundantly.”

The term “heis” was also used in the following ways:

The slightest detail—to the “letter of the law”

Matthew 5:18-19

18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter [GSN1520 heis] or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. 19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches {them,} he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

James 2:10

10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all.

It was a term of choice, as in “you have to choose one or the other.”

Matthew 6:24

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

It was used of a singular unit; as in Jesus’ love for each one of us as though we were his only lamb or that all of heaven rejoices for a sinner who comes to God; even just ONE sinner:

Matthew 12:11-13

11 And He said to them, “What man shall there be among you, who shall have one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it, and lift it out? 12 “Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand!” And he stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.

Luke 15:10

10 “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Similarly, it was used for the importance of the “least little one” to Jesus:

Matthew 18:10

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

Mark 9:37

37 “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

Mark 9:42

42 “And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”

It is used of the one pearl that is worth selling everything to possess;

Matthew 13:45-46

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Jesus speaks about the unique goodness of God.  Only God, the one, true, God is good;

Mark 10:18

18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

It is the term that Jesus uses to express the singular command that the rich, young man lacks in his life.  He has followed the letter of the law; yet he lacks just one thing;

Mark 10:18-21

18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 “You know the commandments, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’“

20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”

21 And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Jesus confronts Martha about the myriad concerns of her life when there is truly only one thing worth our concern;

Luke 10:41-42

41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but {only} a few things are necessary, really {only} one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

It is the word of perfect unity.  The unity that Christ brings to us and we need to bring to the body of Christ (the Church);

John 10:16

16 “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock {with} one shepherd.”

John 17:23

23 I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.

Romans 12:4-5

4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

1 Corinthians 6:17-20

17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit {with Him.} 18 Flee immorality. Every {other} sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 12:11-14

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. 12 For even as the body is one and {yet} has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Finally, it is the term of the ONE sacrifice that takes away all sins:

Romans 5:15

15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.

The Lord [HSN136 `Adonay] God [HSN430 `Elohiym] is indeed One [HSN259 `echad] and his Oneness is our inheritance through the one sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ.  Imagine that day when our unity, our Oneness is revealed:

Revelation 21:22-27

22 And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp {is} the Lamb. 24 And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it. 25 And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there) its gates shall never be closed; 26 and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb”s book of life.

All who are cleansed by the sacrifice of Christ shall be united (one) in the unity (one) of the God who is One!

My joy made full

Joy [GSN5479 chara] crammed full [GSN4137 pleroo] to the breaking point.  Do you remember when Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection and told them they were “fishing off the wrong side of the boat?”

John 21:6

6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find {a catch}.” They cast therefore, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

This is the type of joy that Christ has in mind for us.  Most of us spend our entire lives casting our nets off the wrong side of the boat.  We put all of our effort into work that the world says will bring us prestige and admiration yet we find ourselves empty and deeply longing.

Ecclesiastes 12:8

8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”

Yet, the moment that God enters our “cycle of vanity” the curse is broken, we free from hopelessness (and vanity).  No longer is life an endless repeat of wanton greed and momentary pleasure.  Suddenly, life takes on new meaning; our hearts are filled with a new purpose.  We become lights to the nation taking Christ’s abundant joy to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 49:4-6

4 But I said, “I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely the justice {due} to me is with the LORD, and My reward with My God.” 5 And now says the LORD, who formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and My God is My strength), 6 He says, “It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

John 17:14-16

14 “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil {one.} 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Thy word

The concept of “the word” to the Hebrew believer and the early Christian was filled with meaning.  We mentioned before that most of us see numbers as no more than symbols of accounting; few of us see words as more than a way to express ourselves.  Not so to the Jews and the early Christians.

The prophets of the Old Testament believed that “the word” [HSN1697 dabar], was not just a term of communication; the word was living, vibrant, and had a life of its own.  Indeed, the word was a living body that “went forth” on a mission from God.  Nearly all the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament declare that; “the Word of the Lord came to me.”

To Abraham, the word came to him and was a living shield:

Genesis 15:1

1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.”

To Samuel, the word of the Lord was a living purpose; a new direction that would change God’s relationship with Israel:

1 Samuel 3:1-11

1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 And it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim {and} he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God {was,} 4 that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.”

5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down.

6 And the LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.”

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, “Speak, LORD, for Thy servant is listening.”“ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Thy servant is listening.”

11 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.”

Throughout the Psalms, the word of the Lord is a living being that is a shield, a lamp, and a light.  Here we see the word beginning to take shape and the shape looks like Jesus Christ:

Psalm 18:30

30 As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 119:105

105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

To the Prophets, the word of the Lord was the embodiment of God that was:

1.        Eternal

Isaiah 40:8

8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

2.        Unlimited Power

Jeremiah 32:26-27

26 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

3.        A living vision and a promise that could restore a broken people and complete the covenant of God:

Ezekiel 12:21-28

21 Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you {people} have concerning the land of Israel, saying, “The days are long and every vision fails”?

23 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will make this proverb cease so that they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.’“ But tell them,” The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. 24 “For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 “For I the LORD shall speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I shall speak the word and perform it,” declares the Lord GOD.”“

26 Furthermore, the word of the LORD came to me saying, 27 “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many years {from now,} and he prophesies of times far off.’“ 28 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed.’“ declares the Lord GOD.

The mystery of the word is completely unfolded in the New Testament when the word of the Lord is no longer “promised” but “fulfilled.”  The word of the Lord takes on earthly form and becomes the Word of the Lord.  The name of the Word is Jesus.  God’s Word becomes 1) perfect life, 2) perfect sacrifice and 3) perfect love; the Word lives among us.  When Jesus states; “I have given [GSN1325 didomi] them Thy word [GSN3056 logos],” he is speaking of giving himself to the disciples!

The Word [GSN3056 logos] is quite literally defined as “the divine expression of God.”

To give [GSN1325 didomi] means to bestow upon someone a grand adventure; to endow someone with power, even to “smite” them as when (in the some traditions) a Bishop slaps a neophyte believer at confirmation.  It is a slap that wakes us from our slumber and “knocks” us to our senses.  It is like the slap the Peter received to his side from an Angel:

Acts 12:6-16

6 And on the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and roused him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”

9 And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 And when they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street; and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 And when he realized {this,} he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 And when she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15 And they said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. And they kept saying, “It is his angel.”

16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened {the door} they saw him and were amazed.

In the New Testament, the word is defined first and foremost as Jesus himself:

 John 1:1-4

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John 1:14

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Those who believe that Jesus is the word (belief is defined as acceptance and obedience) will receive eternal life:

John 5:24

24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

John 8:51

51 “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

John 14:23-24

23 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. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”

Romans 10:8-9

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

Elsewhere, the word is defined as:

1.        True sustenance:

Matthew 4:4

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’“

2.        The Word of God is justification, while the word of man is condemnation

Matthew 12:36-37

36 “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. 37 “For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-19

18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

3.        Fruit beyond measure for those who understand it (which translated means “hears and applies”):

Matthew 13:23

23 “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Acts 2:41

41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 6:7-8

7 And the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

James 1:22

22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

1 Peter 1:22-23

22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, {that is,} through the living and abiding word of God.

1 Peter 1:22-25

22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, {that is,} through the living and abiding word of God. 24 For, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 But the word of the Lord abides forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

4.        The word of God is confirmed by signs; it”s not just talk—it is action

Mark 16:20

20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.] [{And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.}

Colossians 3:16-17

16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms {and} hymns {and} spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, {do} all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

5.        Through the Holy Spirit, the word of God dwells in us and leads us to act with boldness:

Acts 4:31

31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and {began} to speak the word of God with boldness.

Romans 10:8-9

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

6.        The word of God is protection from evil thoughts;

Ephesians 6:14-17

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil {one.} 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

7.        The Word of God is freedom itself and cannot be overcome or held in check by this world;

2 Timothy 2:8-13

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus {and} with {it} eternal glory. 11 It is a trustworthy statement: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny himself.

8.        The word of God is living, it is both discernment and judgment;

Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

9.        The Word of God is Jesus and is eternal

2 Peter 3:3-9

3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with {their} mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For {ever} since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God {the} heavens existed long ago and {the} earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one {fact} escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Revelation 19:11-13

11 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it {is} called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 And His eyes {are} a flame of fire, and upon His head {are} many diadems; and He has a name written {upon Him} which no one knows except Himself. 13 And {He is} clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.

The Word of God is one of the most important concepts of the entire bible.  It is living, eternal and powerful.  It IS JESUS!

I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world

Christ does an amazing thing in this verse; he doesn’t ask for us to be removed from trials but to be protected from the Evil One.  Our time on earth is neither wasted nor accidental.  There are two reasons that we are here:

1.        To prepare ourselves spiritually for eternity with God;

Am I ready for the presence of God; a love so pure that evil intentions cannot exist in his presence?  Am I free from the encumbrances of this world so that I might focus solely on him?  I need to use this life to rid myself of every greedy and selfish intention that would block me from his holy presence.

Psalm 101:1-4

1 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, to Thee, O LORD, I will sing praises. 2 I will give heed to the blameless way. When wilt Thou come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. 3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil.

The saving act of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit will assist me in this quest that is humanly impossible.

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

4 I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

2.        Our second purpose on earth is to lead others to seek salvation in Christ.

Christ left a huge responsibility to his disciples and to us through the church:

Acts 1:7-8

7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Nothing exercises our faith and strengthens our relationship with God then leading others to him.  Especially if we lead others in a manner that God intended.  Not just by words but primarily by example:

Matthew 10:7-8

7 “And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 8 “Heal {the} sick, raise {the} dead, cleanse {the} lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give.”

Our time on earth has only two purposes: To draw near to God and to draw others near to him as well.  Anything else is superfluous.

The evil one

Scripture clearly talks about evil but it also talks about the “Evil One.”  Evil [GSN4190 poneros] implies malice, even viciousness and also disease.  It refers to Satan but also to sinners. 

2 Timothy 3:13

13 But evil men and impostors will proceed {from bad} to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

The term for evil is also translated as harmful, lewd or wicked.  To look at evil is to consider life in the absence of God.  Yet, the absence of God is not the absence of evil it is the triumph of evil!  It is horrible to even imagine a place where every thought and every action is centered around the personal pleasure or gain of the source of evil.  It is painful to even acknowledge that this is the consuming force that exists in the human heart in the absence of God.

However, Christ particularly speaks in this passage about “THE [GSN3588 ho] Evil [GSN4190 poneros]” or “the Evil One.”  This is a focused reference to “a being” not a general reference to “a condition.”  This is a reference to the one who delights and prevails in evil.  He does not cause evil (for he is not that powerful); but he seduces us towards a life devoid of God and finally hell; an eternal enmity from God.

The Evil One goes by a number of names and each name reveals his character.  Let’s look at a few of the names (the character) of the Evil One:

1.        Satan

He is known as Satan [HSN7854 satan], the arch-enemy of all that is selfless and good.

Matthew 13:25

25 “But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away.” The Adversary

2.        The Hebrews called him the adversary [HSN7853 satan], the “resister” of God; the attacker and the accuser.

1 Peter 5:8

8 Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

3.        The Pestilence [HSN1698 Deber], or the Destroyer [HSN6986 Qeteb]

These two words are quite graphic in Hebrew, the pestilence can be a plague of either disease or living creatures (rats, toads, locusts).  What they have in common is that they fall upon people and leave devastation in their wake.  Satan’s pestilence knows no rest.  His sole hunger to devour as many people as possible drives him in every moment of everyday in his relentless pursuit.  He will not stop until he has subverted every life he can ruin:

Psalm 91:6

6 Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

4.        A fiery serpent [HSN8314 saraph]; [GSN3789 ophis]

The fiery serpent that the Lord unleashes upon the Hebrews bites all of God’s followers.  Only those who do as Moses commands are saved from his poison:

Numbers 21:8

8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.”

Similarly, only those of us who are obedient to Jesus can be saved from the venom of Satan; the serpent:

John 3:14-15

14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.”

There are two interesting addendums to this incident of Moses and the fiery serpent.

a.     The Greek word for snake [GSN3789 ophis] is another word for Satan.  It is also a word for a malicious gossip or a cunning person (see the study of John 3:14-16).

Titus 2:3-5

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 {to be} sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.

b.     The term for a serpent’s bite [HSN5391 nashak] is the same term used to oppress someone with usury.  In fact, it means to “lend upon usury”.  How symbolic in a culture overwhelmed by credit card debt and “Payday Loan” Stores!  To borrow against Satan is to borrow against a debt we cannot possibly hope to repay.  The only repayment that Satan will accept is our life in exchange for our sins!

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

5.        The Devil

The writers of the Gospels frequently speak of Satan as the devil [GSN1225 diaballo] a term which can be best translated as: “Cast out to the dung heap to rise from the dung heap.”

It is the insidious pleasure of Satan to cover us with the stench of sin and then to convince us that our reeking state is representative of our true character.  It is the joy of Jesus to wash us clean of Satan’s stench and to clothe us in his holy garment!

This term for Satan was a translation of the Aramaic term used for the Prince of Demons [HSN954 Beelzeboul] which translates directly into “dung-god.”

6.        Demon

Satan, and his servants, are often called demons [GSN1142 daimon]. This term comes from a phrase that means “to distribute fortunes” and to “manipulate lives.”  How appropriate! Satan is quite capable of distributing fortunes in this world. He is also the source of all manipulative behavior.  Yet, his enticements are never for the good of the receiver:

1 Timothy 6:10-11

10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance {and} gentleness.

Consider the fortune that Satan distributes to his flock.  It is like a horrific drug habit, Satan begins with wanton desire relinquished by a moment of pleasure.  Then, he increases the desire and decreases the pleasure.  One has to get more and more of the drug to achieve the same high.  Soon, the pleasure is gone and all that remains is the continual hunger.  The user will sell everything, give up everyone, and commit any degrading act just for a semblance of the pleasure they once knew.  This is the inheritance of Satan; the manipulator and distributor of fortunes!

2 Timothy 3:2-5

2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.

7.        The Father of Lies; the Deceiver

Satan will stop at nothing to deceive.  His greatest tool is the “half-lie.”  For example, he reveals to us our sin and tells us that we are unfit for heaven.  Yet, he does not reveal the power of Christ; the cleanser, healer and restorer.

John 8:44

44 “You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own {nature;} for he is a liar, and the father of lies.”

2 Timothy 3:13

13 But evil men and impostors will proceed {from bad} to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

8.        Cast Out [GSN1544 ekballo]:

Satan, the Adversary, the devil, the manipulator, the Father of Lies, whatever alias he chooses; he will still not confess his true name; Vanquished!   He is “Cast Out” [GSN1544 ekballo]:

Mark 16:17-18

17 “And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly {poison,} it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

His accurate title is “Cast Out!”  His is the “cast out” [ekballo] Prince: Ekballo Satan, Ekballo Adversary, Ekballo Devil, Ekballo Demon, Ekballo Father of Lies—He is Cast Out!  He wields power in this world, he retains many minions, but he operates only under the thumb of God and his days are numbered!

John 12:31

31 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.”

John 14:30

30 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” 

Revelation 20:10

10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. 

Revelation 12:7-12

7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. 12 “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has {only} a short time.” 

Despite the power of Satan in this world, we can be assured that Jesus will not abandon us to his ruse and the Manipulator has no clout against the dominion of Jesus:

Luke 22:31-32

31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded {permission} to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 

James 4:7-10

7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. 

We can be confident in Christ; he has covered us with his protection, washed us clean in his blood and draped us in his holy garment, you are his beloved.  He will keep us from the evil one.

John 17:15

15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil {one.} 

John 17:17-19

17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. 18 “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.” 

The Truth

Psalm 84:10

10 For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand {outside.} I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 

The courts of this world make us long for the court of God.  The injustice of this world makes us cry out for the justice of our Lord.  Even the seeming compassion of this world—so often tied politics or economic colonialism—makes us hunger for the true compassion of God, our Deliverer. 

Do we hunger for one day in his courts instead of the thousands of false judgments in this world?  Like the Psalmist, would we rather live on God’s doormat than party in the resplendent tents of this world’s wicked?  Are we yet so disgusted with the falseness of this world and the way of the Father of Lies that we hunger for the revealing truth of God, even if “the truth hurts?”

Yet, truth must hurt before it can heal!

Truth hurts because:

·         Truth forces me to admit that I am a sinner;

·         Truth forces me to admit that I am lost;

·         Truth forces me to admit that all of my earthly efforts and all of my plans will not lead me one step closer to salvation.

Truth heals because:

·         Truth prepares my heart to seek Jesus.

The term for truth [GSN225 aletheia] which John uses is subtly different from the normal form of the Greek word for truth.  The common Greek word for truth would be “alethes” [GSN227] as opposed to “aletheia” [GSN225].  Aletheia is really a combination of a Hebrew and Greek concept.  It uses the Hebrew word “A” (HSN1) combined with the Greek word “Alethes” [GSN227]. “A” [HSN1] (a.k.a. Alpha) means first, primary or the beginning.  Jesus gives us Alpha Truth; the truth, the beginning and the end truth.  Unchanging truth that will last forever!

Jesus doesn’t present us with a relative truth as in the truth of Pontius Pilate.  To Pontius, truth changed with the perceiver, truth was relevant to whoever held the upper hand.

John 18:37-38

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say {correctly} that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. 

The sin of Pontius was judging truth by his situation; situational truth.  Our truth is not situational, we do not weigh truth against our standards but we set our standards by God’s truth!  The truth of Jesus Christ is not a relative truth; it is a primary truth; it is Alpha Truth.  It is the truth that will stand the test of time!

Revelation 1:8

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 

Revelation 21:6-7

6 And He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.7 “He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” 

This, then, is the Alpha Truth:

Revelation 22:13-15

13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. 

Seek the Alpha Truth, not the relative truth of Pontius, not the half-truth of Satan, not the words of those who manipulate and practice lies as an art form.  Seek the Alpha Truth that shows our weakness and Christ’s strength.  Even to lie on the “doormat” of truth is better than to live an eternity in the company of liars (those “outside” reveling in their own falsehood).

Better is one day in the court of truth than an eternity in the company of liars!

God’s truth (Alpha Truth) is unwavering.  It is good for the ages.  It is life and breath itself!  God’s truth heals and makes holy (sanctifies).

Alpha Truth perfects and restores us; it is wisdom itself:

Psalm 19:7-11

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 

Alpha Truth will keep us on the path of God and away from sin;

Psalm 119:9-12

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping {it} according to Thy word. 10 With all my heart I have sought Thee; do not let me wander from Thy commandments. 11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee. 12 Blessed art Thou, O LORD; teach me Thy statutes. 

Psalm 119:104-105

104 From Thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. 

Alpha Truth is freedom;

John 8:31-32

31 Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 

Alpha Truth clothes us in Christ’s glory;

II Thessalonians 2:13-14

13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Alpha Truth is salvation;

James 1:21

21 Therefore putting aside all filthiness and {all} that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 

 Alpha Truth is also Omega Truth; it will be the same on the last day as it was on the first;

1 Peter 1:22-25

22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, {that is,} through the living and abiding word of God. 24 For, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 But the word of the Lord abides forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you. 

Copyright Notice

Copyright © 2005 Jerry Goebel. All Rights Reserved.  This study may be freely distributed, as long as it bears the following attribution: Source: Jerry Goebel: 2005 © http://onefamilyoutreach.com.

“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988.  Used by permission.”

Biblesoft”s New Exhaustive Strong”s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.

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