Tuesday Teaching Tips: Bonus Episode, “Question about John 10.8”

I’m having trouble with the YouTube embed feature. In the meantime please follow this link to find the video version of this post.

My old friend Johnson sent me this question all the way from India. In the passage below, who is Jesus referring to when he mentions “thieves and robbers”?

Therefore Jesus said again, “All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.”

(John 10:7–9 NIV11)

Who did he have in mind? Three possibilities come to mind.

  1. Unspiritual shepherds

There may be an allusion here to OT passages like Jeremiah 23:1–8 and Ezekiel 34, in which the prophets pronounced judgment upon the shepherds of Israel for their failure to care for the people. 

    ““Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD. “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,         “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,     a King who will reign wisely         and do what is just and right in the land.     In his days Judah will be saved         and Israel will live in safety.     This is the name by which he will be called:         The LORD Our Righteous Savior. “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”” (Jeremiah 23:1–8 NIV11)

See also Ezekiel 34 – and the series by Douglas Jacoby.

2. False Messiahs

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24 NIV11)

“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Mark 13:22 NIV11)

3. ‘The Jews’

  • Who treated the man born blind so badly.
  • Of such leaders, Jesus says, the sheep did not listen to them.
  • The man born blind certainly did not listen to them.
  • Those who belong to Jesus, the true shepherd, do not resonate with voices such as theirs.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV11)

What kind of life?
The kind of ‘life’ envisioned is connected with v9 – salvation, safety and sustenance.
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tips 156, “Brilliant Barnabas – Acts 14”

Barnabas is brilliant. But what is it that makes him so “effective” as a speaker (Acts 14:1)? We don’t know much about his technique, but we know a lot about his character and his spirituality. In this series we will investigate brilliant Barnabas in the book of Acts and beyond. In doing so I hope we will all gain insights which will help us to be as effective as him.

We move on today to Acts 14.

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

“Jonah: The story of a prophet who hates God for loving his enemies”

  • Why does Jonah run?
  • Why does Jonah tell the sailers to kill him?
  • What was it like for Jonah in the fish’s stomach?
  • Why does he not say sorry?
  • What is odd about Jonah’s message?
  • Why does God provide the shade and then take it away?
  • In what ways is Jesus like Jonah?
  • In what way is Jesus different from Jonah?
  • In what ways are we like Jonah?
  • How can we be more like Jesus?

Conclusion

Are you OK with the fact that God loves your enemies?

 ““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43–48)

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6–11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Three Big Questions”, Class One: “Did Jesus Exist?”

Three Big Questions

Thames Valley churches of Christ, May 2019

“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22 NIV11)

Class One: “Did Jesus Exist?”

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15–16 NIV11)

  1. Procedure
    1. Ask what they think of Jesus
    2. Ask what kind of evidence they would need
    3. Ask if they would be open to revising their opinion
    4. Clearly, something happened or we would not have 2,000 years of Christendom

2. Tacitus – 55/56-c.118 CE

  • Annals: 116-117
  • “Neither human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered by Nero. Therefore, to put down the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unsual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular.”
  • QUESTION: WHAT DO WE NOW KNOW ABOUT JESUS?
  • Summary
    1. ……………existed
    2. …………….founded the movement
    3. Christus gave his …………. to the movement 
    4. ………….. by ………….. of Judea
    5. During ………………. of P…………….. 
    6. During reign of…………..
    7. ………………. spread to R…..… 
    8. ………………..began in J………

3. Josephus: 37-38-Early 2ndC CE

  • Jewish antiquities – Book 20
  • “Being therefore this kind of person [i.e. a heartless Sadducee], Ananus, thinking that he had a favourable opportunity because Festus had died and Albinus was still on his way, called a meeting [literally, “Sanhedrin”] of judges and brought into it the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah…James by name, and some others. He made the accusation that they had transgressed the law, and he handed them over to be stoned.”
  • Book 18 quote: 
  • “Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who did surprising deeds, and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place came to love him did not give up their affection for him, for on the third day, he appeared to them restored to life. The prophets of God had prophesied this and countless other marvellous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so-called after him, have still to this day not died out.” 
  • QUESTION: WHAT DO WE NOW KNOW ABOUT JESUS from these two quotes?
  • Summary.
    1. Jesus existed as a ……….
    2. He was called …….…
    3. He was known as someone who did ………..…
    4. He was known as a ………………
    5. His ministry was effective with ……….. people and G……………
    6. He was accused by ruling …………. authorities.
    7. Pilot s…………. him to …………..…
    8. His followers continued their ………….…
    9. His followers were called ………….…
    10. He was known as ………….… 
    11. He founded a new …………..… 
    12. It was still ………… at the time of writing.

4. Others

  • Lucian of Samosata: c. 125 – after 180 AD – “The Passing of Peregrinus” 
  • Celsus: 2nd-century Greek philosopher and opponent of early Christianity.
  • Pliny the Younger: (61 – c. 113), lawyer, author, and magistrate. 
  • Suetonius: c. 69 – after 122 AD), a Roman historian 
  • Mara bar Serapion: 1stC Stoic philosopher from the Roman province of Syria.

Conclusion

  • Early writers; Romans; Rabbinic Judaism

Suggested questions for your friend…

  • How does this evidence effect your view of Jesus?
  • How does this evidence effect your view of Christianity?
  • Would you like to know more?

“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”  John 7.17

Resources

Next week

  • “Did Jesus come back from the dead?”

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample: Episode 82. “Variety is the spice of worship”.

How do we avoid the corporate worship rut? How many people are involved in influencing your song selection and arrangement? 

Today I’m sharing what we’re doing in Watford and Thames Valley, as well as some thoughts from “One Heart, One Voice” by Andrew Maries.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

(Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Three big questions”, gentleness and respect

Information about the new series in the month of May. We’ll be tackling “Three big questions”. “Did Jesus exist?”; “Did Jesus rise again?”; “If there is a good God, how can he allow suffering?”.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 87. “How to prioritise like Jesus”

We start a new series today based on the book, “Unloading the Overload: Stress management for Christians” by Chris Powell and Graham Barker.

Today we explore the issue of prioritising.

How did Jesus decide what to do with his time and energy? What is the place for prayer in this challenge?

Jesus had clarity about his long-range goals, day-to-day priorities and yet had the heart to be flexible.

Scriptures referred to: Matt 4; John 11.50; Mark 10.45; Mark 5.21-34; John 11.6; Mark 6.45; Mark 5.24; Mark 9.30-31; John 5.30; Mark 6.31-46; 2 Timothy 1.7.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tips 155, “Brilliant Barnabas – Acts 13.13-52”

Barnabas is brilliant. But what is it that makes him so “effective” as a speaker (Acts 14:1)? We don’t know much about his technique, but we know a lot about his character and his spirituality. In this series we will investigate brilliant Barnabas in the book of Acts and beyond. In doing so I hope we will all gain insights which will help us to be as effective as him.

We move on today to Acts 13.13-52.

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

“How to find people who want to listen”, Acts 13.3-14

Malcolm Cox, Watford church of Christ

“How to find people who want to listen”, Acts 13.3-14

Introduction, vv3-5

  1. Be Active in the Spirit’s Mission, vv3-5
    A. Partnership
    B. Proclaiming
  2. Trust God to Connect You with People (who want to hear the Word), vv6-7
    A. An unlikely introduction
    B. Who is God connecting you to?
  3. Take Opportunities God Provides to Display His Power, vv8-12
    A. To be expected
    B. Against God, not us
    C. God is more powerful

Conclusion, vv13-14
We will find people who want to listen

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

(Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Three big questions”, Promo 1

Information about the new series in the month of May. We’ll be tackling “Three big questions”. “Did Jesus exist?”; “Did Jesus rise again?”; “If there is a good God, how can he allow suffering?”.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John