To Pray or Not to Pray—That is the Question

In 1 John 5:16, John wrote that if you see someone committing a sin that leads to death (the KJV goes on to say) I don’t say you should pray about that. On the surface, that sounds strange, doesn’t it?

Well, it is strange. Why shouldn’t you pray for him?

Because of the kind of sin he committed-one that leads to death. What sin is that? To answer that isn’t the purpose of this posting. I want to concentrate on that word “pray” or “ask,” as some have it.

There are two distinct words in the Greek—

One, aiteo means “to ask for, or pray.” That’s not the word used here.

The other is eratao, which means “to ask about, inquire.” It is used here.

The verse doesn’t say not to pray, but rather not to go about trying to dig up all the dirt behind his sin unto death! A very important exhortation we need to stress often to overly curious people and gossips.

For more information about this passage and 49 others (shameless plug alert), see my recent book, Fifty Problem Passages Explained.

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A Note to Our Students

Perhaps I should contact you more often.  But there is little to say that I haven’t already said on the disks that you are watching. But, perhaps, a word of encouragement is what some of you need.

Life is full of activities—God has designed things that way; so that’s good! But it does mean that if you are going to do anything worthwhile that takes time and effort, you probably must schedule your work. If you’re having trouble finding time, then you must look for it—it’s there.  We all have 24 hours a day—it just depends on how we cut the pie!

Notice JESUS HAD A SCHEDULE. Often it is pointed out that His hour had not yet come.  But when it did, He said He came for that hour. If Jesus thought it important to set times for what He was doing, don’t you think we might do so too? I suggest that if you’re having some difficulties, that you set aside about two hours at least once a week, and work on the course at hand.

Blessings as you study,

Jay

Work

Thank You, Lord,
__for the work You have given
__me to do.
__Few things satisfy so much
__as to know
__when night falls
__that by Your goodness
__I have been able
__to pursue some task
__to a satisfactory conclusion.
Forgive me
__for complaining,
__for protesting,
__for stalling
__along the way.
And enable me to complete
__today’s projects
__in a manner
__that pleases You,
That at the end of this day
__Christ may be glorified,
__and I may be able
__to stretch my weary limbs
__with that tired,
__but satisfied feeling
________As I give thanks again.
_____________In Christ,
______________Amen

Never Enough!

“What is it with preachers anyway? They never seem to get enough! Week after week, there they are up there in front of us prodding us to get with it in doing this, believing that, having a new attitude about . . . If you can exhort a person about anything, they’ll find a way to do it. They’re never satisfied. What a change it would be if some day they would just get up and compliment us!”

Is it right for preachers to always be urging people on to greater heights? Would it be wise for them to take a rest now and then from doing so?

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Travel

As I travel, Lord,
__I encounter new sights and sounds—
__fresh experiences bursting upon my senses;
__bathing me in their glow,
__chilling me by their harshness.
Exposure to the brusque (but often brittle)
__sides of life
__as well as its gentle (but often brittle) aspects,
__reminds me of the fact
__of human sin in a good God’s world.
Lord, this day, as I travel on,
__open my eyes and ears.
Teach me to see and hear again not only the fact
__that I and these about me
__possess the common faults of Adam’s heirs,
__but also that by grace I have come to know
__the second Adam
__and am a joint heir with Him.
Continue to remind me
__not only of the glorious treasures
__reserved in heaven for me—
__of which today’s joys
__are but the merest reflection
__(though they also are a priceless pledge)—
__but of the truths that You disclose
__in what is now at hand.
Quicken all my senses, Lord,
__and teach me to so apply the Word
__that in each experience
__I may recognize—
__beyond the tragedy of sin—
__the triumphs of Your Son,
__________________in Whose Name I pray,
_________________________Amen

The Devil

The Devil didn’t make you do it!

In spite of frequent offering of this excuse by sinners, it simply isn’t true of Christians. 1 John 5:18, indicates that he can’t even touch the believer.

What can he do?

He can tempt a Christian to sin—as he tempted Christ.

But, it is the believer who is responsible for yielding to it.

He doesn’t do it directly as with Jesus, but usually by the world (his crowd) and the things that are in the world. Christians never have a reason for saying “The devil made me do it.” They need to be told so and held responsible for sinful behavior on all occasions.

We must look out for the evil one who wants us to sin, and puts many temptations in our way. He is not God and, therefore, is not omnipresent. He can’t be in more than one place at a time. But he has his “angels” (fallen, sinful ones) by which he operates in all the world. The devil is an adversary of the first order, but the Lord Jesus is more powerful and will keep you from his influence.

Chapter Headings

The opening statement of Romans 5:1

Therefore, having been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the conclusion of Paul’s argument in chapters 1-4, and should be the concluding statement of chapter four. The chapter headings were not in the original Scriptures, but were added many years later by uninspired men for our convenience in locating things. They are useful for this purpose but, often, not “very sensibly placed.  As result, they often create confusion. A “therefore,” obviously, concludes rather than begins something.

The argument which it concludes in Romans 1-4 is simply this:

  1. The Gentiles, without the law, sinned and are condemned.
  2. The Jews, with the law, sinned are condemned.
  3. Therefore all have sinned,
  4. And must, as a result, must be saved by faith, as Abraham was.
  5. This is true also of us—so that when we believe the Gospel,
  6. We are at peace with God because He has declared us righteous (justified us) by faith. And, we have peace of heart as well!

Let’s not get confused because of a chapter heading in the wrong place. Justification is by faith; God declares us righteous when we trust Christ as our Savior.

Now, how are we sanctified, progressively? Paul goes on in the 6-8th chapters to make that plain—it is by replacing the old fleshly patterns, habituated by the body (which, of course, included brain), with new, spiritual ones. How can that be done? By the work of the Spirit who enables us to produce, what Paul calls in Galatians 5, His own fruit. We are to produce the Spirit’s fruit by His wisdom and power at work in us, enabling us to obey (2 Timothy 2:22)whatsoever Christ commands us to observe (Matthew 28:20).

What Is Food to You?

Jesus said, His food was to do the will of God, who sent Him to do it. (John 4:33,35). What did He mean?

The disciples expected Jesus to be hungry; He wasn’t. They couldn’t understand this, so they asked Him if someone had brought Him some food in their absence. That was when He spoke about His food.  He was saying that He needed no other food to satisfy His appetite. He had sufficiently satisfied any hunger He had, by satisfy a greater hunger—to do God’s will.

Do you receive satisfaction from doing God’s will, Christian? If so, good.  If not, there is something wrong with your perspective on life. To please God by doing His will ought to be so soul-satisfying that all other hungers (for food, money, fun) should take a back seat to it.  He could tell them that He was filed with the greatest food—obeying His heavenly father. He had been doing God’s will by witnessing to the woman at the well.

What satisfies you above all else? Do you have a hunger for pleasing God by doing His will? Even witnessing to her was not satisfying, in itself. It was only so because to do it was to do God’s will. As God for this hunger if you don’t have it—otherwise, you will to be able to say what Paul did in Philippians 2:13 (look it up!).