God KNEW before Adam and Eve sinned that they would do so.

There are some who believe that God was caught unaware when Adam and Eve sinned. But this flies in the face of what scripture teaches.

Ephesians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

1 Peter 1:20

20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

So no, God was not caught unaware when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus was not Plan B. It was always in God’s plan to provide a solution to the problem of man’s sin. That solution is, and has always been, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. It is only by grace through faith in the saving work of Christ that we may truly live – live an eternal life.

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With what sort of things should Christians be entertained?

So many time I see or hear Christians say they went to see some movie which depicts things God has said are abominable, or said to not do. I have long felt that a Christian should not be entertained by things God has said to not do. Does scripture agree?

First we have to realize There are things of the spirit and things of the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-24 (NKJV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

So we know from Galatians 5:21 that we should not do the things considered to be works of the flesh, or we will not enter heaven.

Scripture tells us to not look at bad things.

Psalm 101:3 (NKJV)

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.

Scripture also tells us what to focus upon.

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

We are warned that making ourselves friends with the world will ensure we are enemies with God.

James 4:4  (NKJV)

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Indeed, people who love the world or love the things in the world, do not have the love of God in them.  We are told not to love the things in the world – lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life – because they are of the world, not God.

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Finally, what ever we do, we are to do it in the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Should a Christian  be entertained by something that depicts as good that God has said to not do? Magic/witchcraft/sorcery, getting drunk/high, homosexual sex, heterosexual sex with someone to whom you are not married, lying/deceitfulness, covetousness, stealing, murder are all things we are told are not good (Galatians 5:18-21, Romans 1:28-32).

Romans 1:28-32

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

We should seek things which will please God, not the world.

Ephesians 5:8-10(NKJV)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

And we should not be entertained by things which depict as good the things God has said is evil – regardless of the form said entertainment is packed in – such books, games, movies, TV shows, theatre plays, etc.

 

For further discussion, see What and Who you surround yourself with affects you.

Do people born gay go to heaven?

Someone wrote me,”God made everyone the way they are and he doesn’t make mistakes. When My oldest nephew was only 3 I knew he’d be gay. So tell me how he’s gay only because he chose to be gay?”
I think the real questions people want to ask are, “Are people born gay?” and “Do people born gay go to heaven?”
I dont think it matters whether God created anyone gay or not. What matters is God created us all, and God has standards He requires us to adhere to – whether we believe or not, whether we agree or not, whether we succeed or not.

The fact is,  God makes everyone the way they are.

We are all sinners.
Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

We all earn death.
Romans 6:23a

For the wages of sin is death,

But this is so that grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20-21
20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23b
but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Just because we are born with a trait that is not normal, such as being born blind, or with an illness or a disorder, or gay (I am not saying it happens; I am just not arguing either way), this does not mean it is to show that a certain behavior that God calls sin is acceptable to God. It is so the work of God might be displayed.
John 9:1-3
1 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

But do not be deceived, homosexual sex is sin – for both the passive partner (Greek word Malakos translated as “effeminate” in this translation)  and the active partner (Greek word Arsenokoites translated as “homosexual” in this translation) – and that sin will prevent people from entering heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived;neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Even lesbian sex is a sin.
Romans 1:26-28
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

 

The good news is that people can be forgiven, washed, sanctified and justified. We sinners CAN be forgiven. In fact, even those the Apostle Paul wrote to had been doing exactly those sins  and were washed, sanctified, and justified.
1 Corinthians 6:11

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

But for this, we must repent, turn away from sin to God through faith in Christ.
Acts 26:20
but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance

 

We can be thankful that it is GOD who leads us to repent.
Romans 2:4


Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

 

We need to remember all of us sin. None of us are without sin. God forgives any who turn to Him in repentance and we are gifted eternal life, causing us to live lives which demonstrate our new faith in a growing obedience. Its not that obedience is what saves us. But it is part of what demonstrates living by faith.

A Memorial of a Special Lady


Obituary:

Janessa Lawyer Moore, 41, of Searcy, died Wednesday, February 24[, 2016]. She was born April 18, 1974, the daughter of Linda Earles and Michael Lawyer.

Janessa is survived by her parents, Linda Earles of Searcy and Michael Lawyer and wife Martha of Wynne; three sons, Michael Moore and future daughter-in-law, Erinn Tozer and Ian Moore of Searcy and Samuel Moore of Somerville, Tennessee; one daughter Julia Moore of Searcy; one brother, Robert Lawyer and wife Lynnette of Cypress, Texas; one step-brother, Paul David Earles and wife Patricia of Clarksville, Tennessee; two step-sisters, Rachel Earles Cates of Clarksville, Tennessee and Lesley Paddock Scates of Loveland, Colorado; and two grandchildren, Isis and Griffin Tozer. She is preceded in death by her grandparents, Lloyd and Juanita Leasure and Robert and Vera Lawyer and her step-father, Dick Earles.

Janessa was an LPN, employed at The Crossing at Riverside and a member of Trinity Baptist Church.

Courtesy of http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/Janessa-Lawyer-Moore-103331561


Memorial:

Today we celebrate the life of quite a woman.  Janessa Moore has had, in some ways, some very difficult experiences, such as medical issues. She also had some very interesting experiences – she told the story of angels helping her drive home in the midst of a storm. She also had some very funny experiences – she was also known to tell of when the mafia laundry attacked her, or when she was in the drive thru lane at Mc Donald’s and a Jewel Spider dropped down on her and she was suddenly in the passenger side of the minivan, with both arm rests bent out of the way, throwing a water bottle, screaming bloody murder – and the car was still idling in drive as it moved forward hitting the new brand new Cadillac in front of her, and the entire staff of young people leaning out the drive-thru window to see what was happening. This is a woman who was told was told she had less than 1/2 percent chance of ever getting pregnant – yet God gifted her with four lovely bright lights called Michael, Ian, Samuel, and Julia.

As you all know – she loved. She loved every body, and every thing – except bugs. She loved puppies. She loved babies. She loved learning.  She had learned Spanish when we lived in Miami. She loved everything medical – she had been a medical transcriptionist while we lived in Miami, and in fact, she went back to college later in life to get a degree in nursing. She loved children – she loved having teens and adults coming to the house and hanging out. She loved movies, and sci-fi – in fact she wrote fan fiction and poetry. She loved people – people of all ages, all walks of life, all -you-fill-in-the blank. She loved.
She also worried. While she would be aware of our pain, and would have wanted us to process it, she wouldn’t want any of us to wallow in it, or to get lost in it. She would want us have our pain relieved. She would pray – to God. We had had long conversation about a month ago where she had reaffirmed her faith in God.

She would want us to know that God is there. God is here. God is with us. God loves us.

Jeremiah 23:24

Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the LORD.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.

God is everywhere.

The Apostle Paul told us that HE had been burdened beyond what HE could bear, so that he would not trust in himself, but in GOD.

2 Corinthians 1:8-10

8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; 10 who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.

God WANTS us to turn to Him – especially in the hard times. God is love.

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

God loves you and wants you to trust Him.

John 3:16-18

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

We do not know necessarily know why things happen when they happen. But we know we must turn to God and trust in the work of Christ. We must remember God’s love, as well as Janessa’s love. Let us take comfort in the fact that,  just as Janessa loved us and wanted us to be happy, God loves us and is there for us.

Dear God – we hurt. We are in shock and in pain and some of us are looking around, trying to make sense of what happened. We simply don’t understand. Please God, comfort us. Guide us. Protect us. Help us. Strengthen us. Help us love like Janessa loved, like YOU love. In the name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Are ghosts real?

Generally speaking, when a man dies, he is dead.
Job 14:12

So a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep.

 

To be dead is to be with the Lord. I take this to mean a believer will be found justified upon death while an unbeliever will be judged.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8

6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Hebrews 9:27

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment

So… are there exceptions? Do ghosts of people hang around after death?

Recall that Moses and Elisha were with Christ at the transfiguration.
Matthew 17:1-3

 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.

 

We have to realize that people walked out of their tombs upon the death of Jesus.
Matthew 27:50-53

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

Later, when Jesus was with the disciples, Jesus said he had flesh and bones, unlike a spirit. Notice, Jesus did not claim spirits didn’t exist, but that they did not have flesh and bones.

Luke 24:39

See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

Remember that Samuel was called up by a witch. There are many who believe this was a demon, but the text does not support that. The text shows she was surprised, indicating she might have been surprised she was actually able to call up a ghost, or Samuel might have told her something that made her realize it was King Saul (the one who threatened witches and mediums with death) that she was working for.

1 Samuel 28

Now it came about in those days that the Philistines gathered their armed camps for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Know assuredly that you will go out with me in the camp, you and your men.” 2 David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.” So Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists. 4 So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. 6 When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.”

8 Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you.” 9 But the woman said to him, “Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?” 10 Saul vowed to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul.” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid; but what do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” And Saul answered, “I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me, and God has departed from me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do.” 16 Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? 17 The Lord has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. 18 As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!”

20 Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground and was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; also there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day and all night. 21 The woman came to Saul and saw that he was terrified, and said to him, “Behold, your maidservant has obeyed you, and I have taken my life in my hand and have listened to your words which you spoke to me. 22 So now also, please listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you that you may eat and have strength when you go on your way.” 23 But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” However, his servants together with the woman urged him, and he listened to them. So he arose from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 The woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly slaughtered it; and she took flour, kneaded it and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 She brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night.

God said to inquire of HIM, not use mediums and spiritists to consult the dead –
Isaiah 8:19

When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

Speaking to the dead was considered to be evil.

Deuteronomy 18:9-13

9 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God.

We also have to realize that sometimes the word spirit is substituted for demon.

Matthew 8:16

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.

Luke 8:29

For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.

Luke 9:42

While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father.

Sometimes angel and spirit are known as different things.

Acts 23:8-9

8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. 9 And there occurred a great uproar; and some of the scribes of the Pharisaic party stood up and began to argue heatedly, saying, “We find nothing wrong with this man; suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”

So are angels and demons and spirits different? Do ghosts exist?

I think scripture sometimes uses spirits to mean demons. Other times they are used to mean different things. I know Samuel and Moses and Elisha all were manifested. I know that dead people came out of their graves/tombs and walked about when Jesus died. But I do not think that is the norm. I think that in most cases, any ghostly things we might see are in fact demons.

 

Regardless, we are to avoid demons and spirits. We are to turn to God, not the dead.

Do practicing FILL-IN-THE-BLANK who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?

I cant tell you the number of times I have read or heard a question that goes something along the lines of “Do practicing FILL-IN-THE-BLANK who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?”

Let’s fill in the blank:
Do practicing liars who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?
Do practicing murderers who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?
Do practicing adulterers who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?
Do practicing witches who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?
Do practicing homosexuals who are “saved” go to heaven after they die?

We MUST repent and show our repentance by our lives.
Acts 2:38

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The person who does not obey Christ, does not know Christ.
1 John 2:4

4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

Lying, sexual immorality, murder, and practicing magic are all sins and those who do them and do not stop and turn to God through faith in Christ will end up in the lake of fire. It doesnt matter the sin… If you dont stop, you have not repented of that sin and its more important to you than God. Those who practice unrighteousness will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:26-32

 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Revelation 21:8

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Is stopping easy? No. But its needed. Pray to God to help you leave the sin behind.

If you are in Christ, you will be changed.
2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

It is GOD who changes us.

Ezekiel 36:26

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Philippians 2:13

13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

We must ALL turn now from our sin and to God – repent, change! Trust Christ as LORD and as SAVIOR – not just as a get out of jail free card, but as the one who deserves our love and obedience. Sometimes it will be a matter of repeatedly repenting from a given sin – but we cant simply embrace our sins and say “God will forgive me.” We must turn from our sin and turn to God. God works in us to desire and to do as He wants.

We are NOT expected to be perfect, but to grow in our sanctification.

Romans 6:22
But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.
Hebrews 12:14
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-7
1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.
Living a life of sin shows we reject God, even if our words claim otherwise. We must turn from sin, to God, through faith in Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Jesus has come. Now what?

We have all just finished celebrating Christmas – some of us did it with an evergreen tree covered with lights and ornaments; the cheerful melody of Christmas songs, or perhaps the evocative sound of worship songs; some with Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas; a baby figurine in a manger surrounded by figurines of Mary and Joseph and three wise men and an angel or three; lots of shopping; family: children, grandchildren, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend; love; lunch; dinner; arguing; yelling; cuddling; hugging; giggles; laughing. Most, if not all, of us celebrated the birth of Christ. But now what?

What difference does it make that Christ has come? Confucius was born over 2500 years ago. So? Confucius taught people how to live, with many of the same things that Jesus taught – live with integrity, treat others as you wish to be treated (Luke 6:31).

So Jesus has come… What now? What do we do with the fact that Jesus has come. What difference does it make in our lives?

Today’s passage is Acts 2.

 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of firedistributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving themutterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus andAsia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, andvisitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in ourown tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17 And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy.
19 And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David says of Him,

‘I saw the Lord always in my presence;
For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted;
Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades,
Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’

29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne,31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, andhaving received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:

The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at My right hand,
35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from thisperverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

There is so much in this passage – the beginning of the Church, the trinity, the Holy Spirit filling people and causing them to act as He wants, people believing, being saved, growing together in Christ, loving each other….

The passage starts with the fact that God came down into humanity.

Acts 2:1

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

 

The Holy Spirit reached down from heaven and filled the disciples and spoke through them. The people of God spoke and acted as The Holy Spirit desired. This is how we are to be – filled with the Holy Spirit and acting as God desires. Our lives are to reflect the fact that GOD lives within us. Jesus has come, now what? God entered humanity, now what? God filled people with the Holy Spirit. Are you someone filled with the Spirit? Does God speak through you?

What were the disciples saying? Lets read…

Acts 2:5-11

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

 

The disciples were speaking to people who were from different regions of the Roman empire and who spoke different languages – yet each one heard them speaking in their own languages of the mighty deeds of God.

This is a picture of exactly the opposite of what happened at the tower of Babel. To see what I mean, let us turn to Genesis 11:1-9

1 Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

In Babel, the people all spoke the same language and came together and tried to reach heaven to make a name for themselves. In response, God confused their language, stopping their building, and scattered them over the face of the earth. But in Jerusalem, God came down and entered men, causing them to speak in a way that all men understood them, praising God, and bringing the men together in one group – into what would become the Church.

But some didn’t understand what was happening – while others mocked those who spoke, as we see by returning to our passage: Acts 2:12-13

12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Rather than taking offense, Peter spoke truth, reminding the people of what God had said through the prophet Joel in Acts 2:14-21…

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

God had spoken through Joel in ages past (Joel 2:28-32), and God fulfilled His prophecy through disciples of Christ after the death of Christ. Men filled with the Holy Spirit spoke in languages of other peoples. While some mocked and claimed they were drunk, Peter spoke the truth – that they were speaking for God, prophesying. This prophecy is a matter of already and not yet – they were warning of the things which had already happened, and of things that will come before the day of the Lord shall come.

We can see this when we look at the hours just before the death of Jesus in Matthew 27:45

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

And then when we look at Revelation 6:12

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;

And finally, these people, chosen by God to testify of what God had done and was doing and was going to do, the disciples of Christ, were telling people that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

So we see that not only did God come down into humanity, but we see that God provided the sacrifice.

Acts 2:22

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know

We celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ at this time, but so what?
 Jesus the Christ has come, but what difference does it make?

God attested who Jesus was with miracles and wonders and signs that GOD performed through him. Notice – while some were mocking the disciples for speaking in languages others could understand, there was no such mocking here. No one challenged Peter when he said that God had attested to them with miracles, wonders, and signs. The ‘miracles’ attest to the fact that what was being attested to was miraculous – not natural. The ‘wonders’ tell us that people were made to wonder and be in awe by what God did. And the ‘signs’ indicate that what God did through Jesus were intended to point to the fact that it was GOD who did the works through the man Jesus.

Acts 2:23

this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

Jesus was delivered to his executioners by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. God KNEW what was going to happen – in fact, He planned it before hand – not just planned FOR it, but planned it. Think about it, GOD DETERMINED that His Son would become human, would live a righteous life, would be handed over to be judged and executed – although he was innocent.

And even though it was Romans who carried out the execution, Peter said the Jews nailed him to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. It was not just the Romans who were responsible, it was the Jews who manipulated the situation and had him put to death. But it was not just they who were responsible, but everyone who ever sinned who is responsible for the need for the death of Christ.

Act 2:24

“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

And although God handed him over for death, God also raised Jesus the Christ up again, ending the agony of death, because it was impossible for Jesus to be held in the power of death.

Acts 2:25-28

25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’

And here we come to the essence of the trinity in this passage – the Holy Spirit has filled the disciples and caused them to speak as He determined, prophesying what God the Father had previously said, that the Son of God, the Lord,would not abandon David’s soul to Hades, and nor undergo decay.

We have to look at who God is. These are not three different gods, but one God made up of three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:35

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Isaiah 48:16

“Come near to Me, listen to this:
 From the first I have not spoken in secret,
 From the time it took place, I was there.
 And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

And yet there is no god beside the One True God.

Isaiah 45:
21

“Declare and set forth your case;
 Indeed, let them consult together.
 Who has announced this from of old?
 Who has long since declared it?
 Is it not I, the Lord?
 And there is no other God besides Me,
 A righteous God and a Savior;
 There is none except Me.

There is one true God.

Jeremiah 10:10

But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

Having dealt with who God is, let us return to our text. Peter makes clear that David was not speaking of himself – but of the Christ.

Acts 2:29-31

29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY

King David died and was buried and still in his tomb. But he looked forward to the resurrection of the Christ, knowing Christ would not be abandoned to Hades and He did not decay.

Acts 2:32

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

God raised Jesus up again. How do we know that Jesus was raised up by God? Because the disciples were witnesses! The disciples saw and spoke with Jesus – AFTER His death. We see this in Luke 24:46-51

46 and He [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

Not only did we see the disciples were all witnesses to the fact that God raised Jesus after His death, but returning to our passage, we see in Acts 2:33-35

33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”‘

Jesus was lifted up to the right hand of God. Jesus received the Hoy Spirit.

Jesus poured the Holy Spirit on the disciples. God lifted Jesus and said to Him to sit at God’s right hand until God the Father makes His enemies a footstool for His feet.

Again, Jesus has come, now what? We see the answer in the last part of 1 John 3:8

… The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

And we see in Acts 2:36

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”

God made Jesus, who was crucified by both Jews and Gentiles, to be Lord and Christ. And God wanted the House of Israel – the family of God’s people – to know this. This was a shock to his audience – they had not expected to hear how this man was both God and the Messiah. And this was when God made believers.

Acts 2:37-39

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Having realized what had happened and their culpability for the crucifixion of Jesus (the Lord and Christ), the audience were pierced to the heart – they were convinced intellectually, as well as spiritually convicted of the truth of they had done, and even more importantly, of who Jesus is and what God has done.

This conviction is likely what prompted them to ask what they were to do. Peter told them to repent (to change) and be baptized in the name of Jesus FOR the forgiveness of their sins and they would received the Holy Spirit – that they and their children and all who are far off (meaning both those were not near by physically and those who are not near to God, the unbeliever) and as many as the Lord God calls to Himself can be forgiven.

Many think we are forgiven because we are baptized, that water baptism is needed to be saved. In fact, the word translated as ‘for’ here is actually ‘eis’, which translated means ‘in’. People are baptized IN the forgiveness of their sins – not so they will be forgiven, but BECAUSE they have been forgiven. We are forgiven when we turn to God through faith in Christ, our repentance (our changing from sin to God) is demonstrated through our baptism.

Acts 2:40

And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

Peter solemnly testified and kept on exhorting (appealing to) them. He didnt leave it with the facts, but warned them to be saved from this perverse generation, from among the people who disobey God. In doing so, he reflected back to Deuteronomy 32:5

“They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His children, because of their defect; But are a perverse and crooked generation.

In so doing, he was saying what Paul would say in Philippians 2:15

so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world

Believers grow together, which we see beginning in Acts 2:41

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Those who had received what Peter said – those who believed to the point where they were changed – did something about it. Those who believe in God, who have Christ as their Lord and Savior, obey God. In this case, those who believed were baptized – about 3,000 people in one day!

Acts 2:42

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

So what should happen when one believes? One acts upon one’s belief. We saw in verse 41 that they were baptized – that was obedience. But we also see they continually devoted themselves to what the apostles taught AND to fellowship – They studied what was taught, they put it into practice in their lives, they hung out with other Christians, which included eating (probably worshipping through the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

Jesus has come, now what? What was the reason Christ was born? To bring salvation and instruct us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Acts 2:43

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

Do you have a sense of awe? The believers were first hand witnesses to the wonders and signs the apostles were doing. Its easy for them to be in awe. Yet, for us, sometimes its easy to get caught up in the daily things of life and forget God is there, or what He has done, but we need to remember what God has done – how God has sent His Son to be born, to live a righteous life, to suffer and die, to be the perfect Sacrificial Lamb…

Acts 2:44-45

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

All the believers were together and did not keep things to themselves, but helped any who had need. This may mean they only helped believers but more likely, it means they helped anyone who had need. So they sold stuff and gave to those in need.

Acts 2:46-47a

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

Believers met together, ate together, praised God together, enjoyed the favor of all the people. This was a time of learning together, living together, sharing life together, practicing living righteously together, challenging each other to live as God commanded.

Not only did believers meet regularly together THEN, but Christians are to not stop gathering together with the assembly.

Hebrew 10:24-25

24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

This is why we meet together in church with other Christians: so you are not tossed about by every wind of doctrine, by trickery of men, by deceitful scheming, but are no longer children, but are built up and grow up in all aspects.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

We end this passage with Acts 2:47b

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers daily. God did it – not them. God grew the number of believers and God grew the believers – God worked in them to grow in the knowledge of the Son of God so they grew to maturity.

In the same way, we must recognize that God sent His Son to be born for a reason – to provide the avenue by which men might be saved. Are you saved? Have you celebrated Santa, but not the Savior? If your life does not reflect a turning from sin and a turning to God, then you must ask yourself – now what? Why did I celebrate? Jesus has come, now what? Is Jesus a baby in a manger, or is Jesus hanging on a cross, or is Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father? If Jesus God or merely a man? If he is a man, then you have little reason to celebrate. But If Jesus is Lord and Christ, then He is in charge of your life – does your life reflect that? Are you a testimony of what God has done? 

 

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