Seeing the Glory of God

by Frank Jones


And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:3–6)

“In context, he is making it clear that this rejection is not due to any flaws in the message or even in the messengers. If unbelievers reject the gospel, it is because Satan has blinded their minds. But the passage does not simply state that Satan blinds unbelievers from seeing the gospel. Verse 4 says that Satan “has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” So, the devil keeps people trapped in condemnation by blocking their vision of the “glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” The heart of the gospel message, therefore, is the glory of Christ. Verse 6 further expands on God’s glory in the gospel by describing the gospel message as “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” The gospel that saves people is a gospel that reveals God’s glory in Jesus Christ. If people don’t accept the gospel, it is because they don’t see God’s glory in it. The verse that comes between these two phrases further reinforces this truth. It is precisely because the gospel is “the gospel of the glory of Christ” and “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” that Paul without hesitation claims, “we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord.” Contrary to many contemporary approaches of evangelism that tailor-make the gospel to fit the needs of the hearer, the biblical gospel focuses first on Christ, not the sinner. We preach Christ, not an eternal life insurance policy or keys to changing your life. The gospel, the message that is the heart of missions, is the truth that God’s glory is revealed in Jesus Christ. He is Lord before whom all will bow, either now in repentance or later in judgment.(David M. Doran, For the Sake of His Name (Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, 2018), 16-17)


Evening, Morning, and Noon I Call Upon Your Name

by Frank Jones


As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. (Psa 55:16-17)


“Regularity, setting specific times apart for prayer — and keeping to them in a disciplined way — is something the Bible encourages. We all find the story of Daniel’s practice in prayer moving to read (Daniel 6:10). How, in spite of the king’s foolish, self-glorifying edict, he went to his upper room, with its windows toward Jerusalem, and knelt down three times a day. We sense not only the old man’s yearning heart for the city of God, but his confidence in prayer and his commitment. I wonder if Daniel had caught the vision of the threefold discipline from Psalm 55:17, ‘evening and morning and noonday’? How to end one day and begin another; how to stop in the middle of a busy life and turn to God. Isaiah made a forecast that the Servant of the LORD — the Lord Jesus — would practice the discipline of what we used to call ‘the morning watch’ (see Isaiah 50:4), and Mark 1:35 records an occasion when he did just that. In Acts 3:1 we find Peter and John keeping the statutory hour of prayer, the ninth hour, and the devout Cornelius testifies to the same prayer discipline (Acts 10:30). Should we be ‘evening, morning and noon’ people? The answer is ‘Why not?’ Two truths are important before we make excuses about the busyness of life today. First, prayer is a simple thing, not necessarily prolonged (Matthew 6:7-8), and secondly, none of the passages we have referred to says anything about the time when we pray or for what length of time. As soon as we think of starting the day with God, our minds begin thinking about four or five a.m. or some other unearthly hour — because we read somewhere that some great prayer-warrior was always up and about by then! ‘Setting aside time’ means just that — doing what is possible for us within our God-given day and our God-given abilities. Time to read a verse of the Bible; time to call upon God. … If we say we are those who trust, those who are saved by faith, then a primary way this shows itself is to balance life’s demands with life’s prayers.” (Motyer, Alec. Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation, 147.)


Sifting Peter like Wheat

by Frank Jones


But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” (Luk 22:60–61)

Satan desired to sift Peter like wheat in order to permanently collapse Peter’s faith. Our Lord prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. Jesus allowed Peter to be sifted in order to collapse Peter’s pride.

Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Tim 2:7)


Old Testament Revelation to the Suffering, Risen Christ

by Frank Jones


As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. (1 Pet 1:10-12)

“Peter, however, does not press the privileged status of his readers. Rather, he builds on the unity of the OT prophetic message with the Christian gospel as an apology for the cross and a foundation for his exhortations that follow. It does not appear that it was primarily Peter’s knowledge of the OT prophecies that led him to the Messiah. Rather, it was actually seeing and hearing Jesus. But after he recognized Jesus as the Messiah on the basis of Jesus’ teachings and miracles, the prophets’ forewitness provided a biblical basis that helped Peter later come to grips with the necessary suffering and death of the Messiah, the very concept he had once so resisted as unthinkable (Mark 8:31–33). By witnessing to the sufferings of the Messiah before they happened, the prophets provide a confirming forewitness that a crucified man would indeed be the long-awaited Messiah.

Peter knows his readers also needed to understand what he himself had come to know: that the suffering and death of Jesus Christ was not an untimely accident or tragic mistake but rather a necessity that had long been foretold. After the Christ has suffered, the predictive aspect of prophecy recedes, and the prophecy becomes a confirmation for the benefit of the generation who would see the Messiah suffer, and for the generations to follow them, that they might rightly understand the cross of Jesus. They need to know that the foreseen suffering of the Messiah necessarily preceded the expected glory of the Messiah. Peter extends this concept to develop the idea that as followers of Christ, his readers should therefore not be surprised when they, too, suffer (1 Pet. 4:12). Their sufferings for the name of Christ unite them to the experience and purposes of their Lord.” (Jobes, Karen. 1 Peter, BECNT, 103-104.)



The Inner Room

by Frank Jones


But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:6)

In a previous post, we looked at Jesus’ command of secret prayer to an invisible God. We are to avoid doing our religious practices to be seen of men.

The inner room, this geographical location, should be a location not to be seen of men (6:5). The contrast is compared to standing and praying in the synagogue (among gathered people) or on the street corner.

The inner room should be a place of privacy (go & close the door). The Greek term is used in various forms in the New Testament (Mat 6:6; 24:26; Luk 12:3, 24) and in the LXX (Exo 8:3; Jud 3:24; 15:1; 16:12; 2 Chr 18:24; Pro 20:21; 24:4; 26:22). It is translated in the NASB, bedroom (Exo 8:3; Jud 15:1), cool room (Jud 3:24; probably a bathroom), inner room (Jud 16:18; 2 Chr 18:24; Mat 6:6; 24:26; Luk 12:3), inner part (Pro 20:21), rooms (Pro 24:4), innermost part (Pro 26:28), and storeroom (Luk 12:24). The inner room is a place for keeping valuables or an interior room in a home (BDAG). In other words, it is not to be a frequented location.

We are to shut your door. The verb carries the idea of locking or barring the door. Once you enter this retired place – pray to your Father. In other words, pray. Praying is the business of the hour and the prayers do not have to be lengthy. People suppose that the longer one prays, the more “spiritual” that person. However, this is not always the case.

Lengthy, repetitious praying does not cause God to hear us. This is incorrect and is illustrated from Mat 6:9-11 in our NASB. Six requests are in the model prayer with a thankful conclusion. Six categories of need are prayed in approximately 68 words and 30 seconds! Surely, every believer can get private to pray for 30 seconds?

1.    Praying for the sanctification of God’s Name takes 10 words

2.    Praying for the coming of God’s kingdom takes 3 words

3.    Praying for God’s will to be accomplished takes 11 words

4.    Praying for our daily food takes 7 words

5.    Praying for forgiveness takes 12 words

6.    Praying for deliverance from evil takes 12 words

7.    Praying a thankful closing takes 13 words.

Our Lord is not a reluctant prayer-answering Lord. He already knows our need. To be rewarded with answered prayer is not an exercise in sweat in order to get His ear. I am the Lord that answers prayer (1 Pet 3:12).

— for the exhortation at our midweek prayer meeting, see sermonaudio.




Thought from Isaiah 63:15-64:12

by Frank Jones


“Did you notice the telling similarity of wording in 63:14 (‘your mansion of holiness and beauty’) and 64:11 (‘our house of holiness and beauty’)? The former is the Lord’s heavenly habitation, and the latter the early house where he promised to live among his people (cf., Exod. 25:8). The former is inviolable in holiness and beauty; the latter, given into the charge of his earthly people, is caught up int he disaster caused by their sin (cf., Ps. 74:4-7). In the divine intention the earthly was meant to be the replica of the heavenly (cf., Exod. 25:40). The truth remains the same today: the Lord’s earthly people are themselves the temple in which he lives by his Spirit (I Cor. 3:16), the locus and display of his holiness and beauty. Well may we mourn that our sinfulness, divisiveness, our failure in biblical distinctiveness, and our manifest lack of holiness have marred the image. Who, looking at today’s church — denominational or local — can see the likeness of Jesus? And this is not a matter only of denominational failure, thought that is all too plain. The Bible knows nothing of our ‘denominationalism’, and if Isaiah’s wording prompts us to put our hand to reform and renovation then its proper focus is the local church to which we each belong. When we look at the merest sliver of a crescent, then we don’t say, ‘Oh, there’s part of the moon’. We say, ‘Look, there’s the moon.’ In the same way each local church, however small, or in the eyes of onlookers, insignificant — is meant to be a mirror and image of the whole, an earthly replica of the heavenly reality where Christ is all. We should be able to look at the fellowships to which we belong and say, ‘There is the Church’, bearing the two outstanding marks of holiness and beauty; obeying the command, ‘Be holy because I am holy’ (Lev. 19:3), and display the beauty of Jesus in all its gatherings, relationships, and individual characters.” (Motyer, Alec. Isaiah by the Day,306.)


Life of Emptiness

by Frank Jones


“The serpent lied, and we got taken in. Now, despite the overwhelming evidence that we live amidst overflowing abundance — abundant food, clothes, warmth, friends, things — we always feel it’s not quite enough. We sense it’s running out, it’s insufficient. We live for the Next Thing.

There is an Indian parable about this. A guru had a disciple and was so pleased with the man’s spiritual progress that he left him on his own. The man lived in a little mud hut. He lived simply, begging for his food. Each morning, after his devotions, the disciple washed his loin cloth and hung it out to dry. One day, he came back to discover the loincloth torn and eaten by rats. He begged the villagers for another, and they gave it to him. But the rats ate that one, too. So he got himself a cat. That took care of the rats, but now when he begged for food he had to beg for milk for his cat as well. “This won’t do,” he thought. “I’ll get a cow.” So he got a cow and found he had to beg now for fodder. So he decided to till and plant the ground around his hut. But soon he found no time for contemplation, so he hired servants to tend his farm. But overseeing the labors became a chore, so he married to have a white to help him. After time, the disciple became the wealthiest man in the village.

The guru was traveling by there and stopped in. He was shocked to see that where once stood a simple mud hut there now loomed a palace surrounded by a vast estate, worked by many servants. “What is the meaning of this?” He asked his disciple.

“You won’t believe this, sir,” the man replied. “Butt there was no other way I could keep my loincloth.”” (“Trapped in the Cult of the Next Thing,” Christianity Today. September 6, 1999)

Vanity of Vanities … says the Preacher.



Praying in an Inner Room

by Frank Jones


But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:6)

The context of Matthew 6:6 is an illustration of the truth of not practicing one’s righteousness to be noticed (Mat 6:1). The areas of illustrated danger are in the devotional practices of giving (6:2-4), public praying (6:5-6), repetitious, lengthy praying (6:7-15), and fasting (6:16-18). People typically see long prayers, giving, and religious fasting as signs of “spirituality.”

Jesus is not saying that all praying is to be “secret.” It is self-evident that our Lord Jesus 1) retired for prayer, 2) prayed in the presence of the disciples and the multitudes, 3) prayed while walking, and 4) prayed in communion; that is, silent or non-vocalized praying.

Jesus is saying to be aware of our subtle, deceitful desire for man’s “notice.” The prevention to this perversity of our nature is to outwork our basic devotional practices in secret. We are not to parade our religious observances to gain admiration, notice, credibility, honor, or attention of men.

There is a segment to our praying that is “secret.” We pray secretly to a secret or invisible God. Invisible to men, praying to the invisible God. This type of righteousness practiced brings reward — the reward of our prayer answered.

— for the exhortation at our midweek prayer meeting, see sermonaudio.


The Sin of Rejecting Christ Jesus

by Frank Jones


And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. (1 Peter 2:4–8)

"In Ps. 117 LXX the rejected stone has become the chief cornerstone of God’s building program. ... Even in the psalm, the chief cornerstone rejected by “the builders” is closely associated with salvation, implying that to reject the stone is to jeopardize one’s salvation. Alluding to the later Greek versions of Isa. 8:14, Peter further describes the stone in relation to those who reject it as a stone of stumbling (προσκόμματος, proskommatos) and a rock of temptation to sin (σκανδάλου, skandalou, 2:8).4 Ironically, Peter himself (the rock) was accused by Jesus of being a skandalon when Peter rebuked Jesus and attempted to deflect him from his predicted road to rejection and death (Matt. 16:23). Peter had become an occasion for Jesus to sin, a temptation that Jesus vigorously overcame by his sharp rebuke of Peter’s thought. Here in 1 Pet. 2:8 Peter claims that Christ the cornerstone presents an opportunity either for trust or for rejection. Moreover, rejection of Christ is not an amoral decision; it is itself an instance of sin. This is a message that our religiously pluralistic society today finds just as offensive as did first-century polytheistic society. To reject Christ is to stumble and sin. (ed., bold added) Peter quotes only the portion of Isa. 8 that refers to those who reject and stumble, but that passage also refers to the rock as a refuge for those who trust (Isa. 8:13–14 LXX): “Sanctify the Lord himself; and he himself will be your fear. If you trust in him, he will become your sanctuary, and you will not encounter him as a stumbling caused by a stone, nor as a fall caused by a rock” (NETS). Isaiah is speaking of those who do trust in the Lord. Peter uses the prophet’s words to reflect on those who do not. By implication, those who have not trusted in the Lord have not “sanctified” him, and therefore they have indeed encountered him as a stone and rock over which they have fallen.

As Marshall (1991: 73) summarizes, the quotation of Isa. 28:16 LXX and Ps. 117:22 LXX (118:22 Eng.) functions in Peter’s argument first to explain that the unbelief of those who reject Christ was already predicted in the OT prophecies; therefore, the rejection of Christ by friends and neighbors should not cause Christians surprise or doubt in their own faith. (ed., bold added)Second, Peter has clearly presented Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation, by which all will be judged. When people reject him, they do it to their own peril." (Jobes, K. H. 1 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Baker Academic, 153-154)


Living Stones

by Frank Jones


And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,” and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. (1 Peter 2:4–8)

"The image of living stones being built into a spiritual house whose cornerstone is Christ also speaks of the unity, significance, and purpose of all believers, concepts essential for Christian self-understanding. The primary attribute of a temple in first-century thought was its holiness. Just as God’s presence sanctified the temple of Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit sanctifies the Christian community, setting it apart as God’s own. The unity of the temple is derived from God’s presence, the one Cornerstone, and a unity of purpose. There is one single temple into which all believers are built. The Christian church is not primarily a social organization but the new temple where the transformed lives of believers are offered as sacrifice to the glory of God. The imagery of the living stones being built into a single unit implies that the significance and purpose of the individual Christian cannot be realized apart from community with other believers. Coming to Christ means coming into relationship with others, not only in one’s own generation but also by being united with believers of every generation, who likewise have been built into God’s grand building project. The structure will be completed only when the scaffolding of human history comes down and the kingdom of Christ is revealed in all its glory." (Jobes, K. H. 1 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Baker Academic, 149)