Joke of the Week
A college professor of astronomy was at a faculty party and fell into conversation with the wife of an Indian colleague. When he remarked about the fact that the only thing that held the earth in space was gravity, she replied, “No, young man, the earth is resting on the backs of four elephants.” The professor asked, “And what do the elephants stand on?” She replied, “Why, they stand on the back of a giant turtle.” The professor smugly asked, “And what does the turtle stand on?” The Indian woman replied, “You can’t trap me, young man. It’s turtles all the way down.”
William Gurnall on fighting Satan in the strength of the flesh
It may take reading and thinking on this paragraph a couple of times to grasp it, but it is a point we must grasp and take heed of if we are to wrestle with Satan with any hope of success.
Christian, ply the work of mortification close. It is no policy to let thy lust have arms, which are sure to rise and declare against thee when thine enemy comes. Achish’s nobles did but wisely, in that they would not trust David in their army when to fight against Israel, lest in the battle he should be an adversary to them [see 1 Samuel 29]; and darest thou to go to duty, or engage in any action, where Satan will appear against thee, and not endeavor to make sure of they pride, unbelief, &c., that they join not with the enemy.
Only 46 days till Christmas. Have you done your Christmas shopping?
Don’t put it off till the last minute. You have a juvenile reader in your life who devours books like I devour fresh young garden peas. Buy him or her The Crescent and the Cross: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. In a nutshell, Sinbad the Sailor sails away a Muslim and becomes a Christian after many thrilling dangers and adventures and the witness of his young Christian friend Selassie. This book is for readers 7 to 14 years of age. They need to know the basics of Islam, the truth of the Gospel, and how Jesus meets their real needs and Islam does not. Reasonably priced this Christmas season at $10.99, which includes shipping. Go to Buying My Books at the top of this page or buy on Amazon. Note: You will be charged the full price (including shipping) of $16.99, but I will send you a check for $6.00 along with the book so that you pay only the Christmas sale price of $10.99.
Bible study: Parable of the Net: Matt. 13:47-50
- What does the net represent?
- What does the sea represent?
- We are told that the fishermen represent the angels, the good and bad fish represent the righteous and the wicked, and the separating of fish into good and bad represents the judgment at the end of the age. What other parable presents the same event using different things to represent these persons and events?
Exposition of the Parable
The Parable of the Net teaches the same truth as the Parable of the Weeds, necessary changes being made. In the one parable, the world is represented by a field, in the other it is represented by the sea. In both parables there are both wicked and righteous people. In both parables the wicked are separated from the righteous by angels and are cast into a fiery furnace.
There are some differences between the parables. The Parable of the Net has no one corresponding to the enemy who sowed weeds in the field (no one placed bad fish in the sea). Also, nothing in the Parable of the Weeds corresponds to the net. The Lord tells us that kingdom of heaven is like the net; that is, the net represents the kingdom of heaven. What can we learn from that?
We learn, first of all, that the kingdom of heaven presently contains both the wicked and the righteous, the unsaved and the saved. In the Parable of the Weeds it was the field, representing the world, that contained both the wicked and the righteous. Is the world in the Parable of the Weeds equivalent to the net in the Parable of the Net? No; the sea is equivalent to the world in the Parable of the Net. The net represents not the world but the Church.
This is not nitpicking, for it helps us understand better the relationship between the kingdom of heaven and the Church. The kingdom of heaven on earth is equivalent to the Visible Church. The Visible Church consists of all on earth who have made public confession of their faith in Jesus Christ and have been baptized, and their children. It has always contained false Christians as well as those who are truly born again—good and bad fish.
Protestant theologians make a distinction between the Visible Church and the Invisible Church. The Invisible Church consists of those who are truly children of God, those who have saving faith in Christ. Some of that church has passed on to glory and is in heaven (called the Church Triumphant) and some remains in the world (called the Church Militant).
Why is it important to know this? It is important because some in the Visible Church are bad fish. Are we good fish or bad fish? Those who profess to be Christians are exhorted to make sure of their salvation:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5
There is a day of judgment coming, when all men will be separated into two groups: the righteous (in Christ) and the wicked. The most important thing a person can and must do is to put on the righteousness of Christ by faith, to make sure that he or she is right before God, before Christ purges all causes of offense out of his kingdom, casting the wicked into everlasting fire.
 Those who hold to believers’ baptism don’t recognize that all the children of believers belong to the Church. They don’t accept the distinction between the Visible Church and the Invisible Church. The notion of a visible church and an invisible church is valid and eminently defensible, but this study is not the place to argue for that distinction.