All posts by JT

Christian. Husband. Dad. Preacher. Baseball fan. Music nerd. Bookworm.



I. Old Testament

    A. The only fast commanded by God was the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-31; 23:26-32; Numbers 29:7)
    B. Other reasons for fasting can be observed: war (Judges 20:26; 1 Samuel 7:6); danger (Ezra 8:21-23; Esther 4:16); illness (2 Samuel 12:16-23); death (1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 1:12); forgiveness (1 Kings 21:17-29; Jonah 3:4-10; Nehemiah 9:1-3)
    C. Just as reasons varied, so did lengths of fasts – from one day (Judges 20:26) to seven days (1 Samuel 31:13)

II. New Testament

    A. Many fasted for ritualism (Luke 18:12) and show (Matthew 6:16)
    B. Reasons for proper fasts in the New Testament: ministry (Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 11:23-28); sending out missionaries (Acts 13:1-3); appointment of elders (Acts 14:21-23)

III. What about today?

    A. Jesus expects His disciples to fast (Matthew 6:16-17)
    B. First century Christians practiced fasting (Acts 13:1-3; 14:21-23; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 11:23-28)
    C. Fasting should be done to help us focus on a specific spiritual purpose

To Fast or Not to Fast? (Mark 2:18-22)

To Fast or Not to Fast? (Mark 2:18-22)

Mark 2:18-22

I. The basis of the criticism (2:18)

    A. John’s disciples and the Pharisees fasted (Luke 7:33; 18:12), but Jesus’ disciples did not
    B. Fasting was seen as a measure of commitment, humility, and piety (Psalm 35:13; 69:10)

II. Three illustrations (2:19-22)

    A. The bridegroom (2:19-20)

      1. While Jesus was present, it would not be appropriate – this was a time of rejoicing! (John 3:29)
      2. But, a time of mourning would come (John 16:16-22; Ecclesiastes 3:1)

    B. The cloth (2:21)
    C. The wineskins (2:22)
    D. Judaism and the accompanying corruptions brought about by human tradition would be replaced by something entirely new—Christianity!

Closer To Thee

Closer To Thee

Based on a hymn written by Austin Taylor in 1911.

I. God’s grace

    A. When we come face-to-face with God’s holiness, we see how undeserving we are (Job 40:3-5; Isaiah 6:5)
    B. Yet, His grace allows us to be near Him, in His embrace (Ephesians 2:8-9)

II. God’s guidance

    A. Closeness to God gives us peace and rest (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 11:28-30)
    B. Closeness to His Word provides guidance and guards us from sin (Psalm 31:3; 73:24)

III. God’s glory

    A. If abide in His Word, He will never abandon us—in times of joy, sorrow, or even death (Hebrews 13:5-6)
    B. And when that time of death comes and we await the final judgment, we have confidence that He has prepared a place in glory—in His eternal “home on high” (John 14:1-3)

The Great Physician for the Sin-Sick World (Mark 2:13-17)

The Great Physician for the Sin-Sick World (Mark 2:13-17)

Mark 2:13-17

I. Jesus calls Levi [also known as Matthew] (Mark 2:13-14)

    A. The multitudes taught (Mark 2:13)
    B. Yet, the Teacher took the time to address the individual – and an individual unworthy of His attention [in the eyes of man] (Mark 2:14)

II. Jesus eats with Levi and his friends (Mark 2:15-16)

    A. Tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2:15)
    B. The Pharisees criticize Jesus (Mark 2:16)

III. Jesus reveals His purpose (Mark 2:17)

    A. The physician treats the sick, not the well (Mark 2:17a)
    B. The Lord calls sinners, not the righteous (Mark 2:17b; cf. Luke 19:10; Romans 3:10)

Compassion for the Lost (Matthew 9:35-38)

Compassion for the Lost (Matthew 9:35-38)

Matthew 9:35-38

I. Continue working (Matthew 9:35)

    A. Even when persecuted and ridiculed (Matthew 9:3, 10-11, 24, 34)
    B. If it happened to Jesus, it will happen to Jesus’ followers – rejoice! (1 Peter 4:12-16)
    C. Don’t let anything in this world stop you, recognizing that God is with you when you obey His will (Matthew 28:18-20; Hebrews 13:5-6)

II. Look upon opportunities with love (Matthew 9:36-37)

    A. Jesus’ compassion compelled Him to help (Matthew 14:14; 15:32; Mark 1:40-41; 5:19; Luke 7:11-15)
    B. You are not expected to do what is beyond your ability, but you are expected to do all that you can! (2 Corinthians 8:12)

III. Pray (Matthew 9:38)

    A. Pray for more workers (Matthew 9:38)
    B. Pray for boldness in the work (Acts 4:29; Ephesians 6:18-20)

The Power of Jesus (Mark 1:29-2:12)

The Power of Jesus (Mark 1:29-2:12)

Mark 1:29-2:12

I. The compassion of His power

    A. Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31)
    B. The leper (Mark 1:40-41)
    C. The paralytic (Mark 2:5-11)

II. The immediacy of His power

    A. Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:31)
    B. The leper (Mark 1:42)
    C. The paralytic (Mark 2:12)

III. The popularity of His power

    A. Simon’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:32-39)
    B. The leper (Mark 1:43-45)
    C. The paralytic (Mark 2:1-4, 12)

The Benefits of Baptism (Romans 6:1-11)

The Benefits of Baptism (Romans 6:1-11)

Romans 6:1-11

I. Death (6:1-3)

    A. Answering the error of a misapplication of Romans 5:20b
    B. Jesus died to sin (6:10), when we are baptized into Christ (and into His death) we also die to sin through Him—and we die to ourselves! (cf. Romans 8:13; Galatians 2:20; Luke 14:33; Romans 12:1)

II. Burial (6:3-4)

    A. This points to the mode of baptism – “buried”
    B. An act of submission

III. Resurrection (6:4)

    A. Just as Jesus died, we die – just as Jesus was buried, we are buried – just as Jesus was raised, we are raised
    B. The purpose: “to walk in newness of life” because we are dead to sin, freed from sin, made a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)

IV. What it means for the Christian (6:5-11)

    A. We are united with Him in His death and resurrection (6:5)
    B. We are freed from sin (6:6-7)
    C. We live with Him to God (6:8-11)

The Devil Among God’s People (Mark 1:21-28)

The Devil Among God's People (Mark 1:21-28)

Mark 1:21-28

I. The authority of Jesus heard (1:21-22)

    A. Taught by example – He went to the synagogue (1:21)
    B. Taught by word – consistency between His words and actions, unlike the scribes (1:21-22)

II. The existence of evil (1:23-24)

    A. The man with an unclean spirit was among God’s people at the synagogue (1:23; cf. 1 Peter 5:8)
    B. The demon knew who Jesus was (1:24; cf. James 2:19)

III. The power of Jesus demonstrated (1:25-26)

    A. Restrained the demon’s ability to speak (1:25)
    B. Forced the demon to exit the man’s body (1:25)
    C. The demon left, but did not go without a fight (1:26)

IV. The reaction of the people (1:27-28)

    A. Amazed at His authority over evil (1:27)
    B. When amazing things happen, word gets around (1:28)

The Trees in Eden (Genesis 2 & 3)

The Trees in Eden (Genesis 2 & 3)

Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-7, 22-24

I. Abundance of trees (2:8-9)

    A. God provided beautiful trees – “pleasant to the sight”
    B. God provided nourishing trees – “good for food”

II. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:15-17; 3:1-7)

    A. Eve noticed three things about the tree (3:6)
    B. What is the “knowledge of good and evil”?

III. The tree of life (3:22-24)

    A. A tree that made perpetual life possible
    B. This tree is still available to us, but not in the “here & now” – it is in “the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7)
    C. How can we have access to it? (Revelation 22:14)

The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry (Mark 1:1-20)

The Beginning of Jesus' Ministry (Mark 1:1-20)

Mark 1:1-20

I. John the Immerser prepared people for Jesus (Mark 1:1-8)

    A. The prophets foretold of John’s work (Mark 1:2-3; cf. Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3)
    B. John’s work included confession, repentance, and baptism (Mark 1:4-5)
    C. John’s humility seen in his attire, diet, and attitude (Mark 1:6-8)

II. Jesus faced ups and downs as He prepared Himself (Mark 1:9-13)

    A. His baptism (Mark 1:9-11)
    B. His temptations (Mark 1:12-13; cf. Hebrews 4:15)

III. Jesus did not attempt to do it alone (Mark 1:14-20)

    A. Jesus’ message (Mark 1:14-15)
    B. Jesus’ fishers of men (Mark 1:16-20)