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Sermon No: 681-The Christian work ethic



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SERMON TOPIC: The Christian work ethic

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 19 October 2013

Topic Groups: WORK, ETHICS, CHRISTIAN WITNESS

Sermon synopsis: 2 Thess 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
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MEN AT

WORK

Reading from the NIV:

2 THESS 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.

10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

The Message Version (paraphrase) renders it:

2 THESS 3:6-9 Our orders - backed up by the Master, Jesus - are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of

diligence, hoping it would prove contagious. 10-13 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately - no excuses, no arguments - and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty. 14-15 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.

WHY MUST

WE WORK?

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, we read that:

Gen 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Gen 3:23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

NOT PART OF THE CURSE

Adam and Eve worked – so work was part of God’s plan for mankind even before the Fall.

Contrary to popular belief, the need for man to work is not part of the curse. It is true that the ground was cursed and man was told that he would have to work hard to survive in the world:

Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground...

WHY MUST WE WORK?

But before the Fall or the Curse, man had already been given work:

Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

So the oldest profession is actually gardening or farming.

The point is though that Adam and Eve were not just sitting around in the garden all day eating fruit and ‘loafing’ – they were placed in the garden “to work it and take care of it”.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

God also gave Adam the ‘job’ of naming all living creatures:

Gen 2:19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

In addition to working the garden, both man and woman were given dominion over the earth and told to subdue and rule it:

Gen 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

WHY MUST WE WORK?

God himself works.

The process of creation took six days and was a ‘work’ of God:

Gen 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

But the creation is also sustained by God. Jesus said that both he and his Father continue working:

John 5:17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”

WHY MUST WE WORK?

Jesus works.

Before his ministry Jesus worked as a carpenter. Jesus was known in his hometown as “the carpenter”.

Mark 6:3 “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter?…”

WHY MUST WE WORK?

The ministry that Jesus was called to, was ‘work’ assigned by the Father:

John 4:34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”

John 5:36 “... For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.”

John 9:4 “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me...”

John 17:4 “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”

Work is honourable, because it is in the nature of our very Creator and Redeemer to work.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

Paul himself was an example of how a Christian should work.

Paul worked as a tent-maker to support his ministry. He told the Ephesian elders:

Acts 20:33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions.

Paul did this even though they were entitled to support as missionaries:

1 Thess 3:9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

In Corinth:

Acts 18:1-4 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila… Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

1 Cor 5:12 We work hard with our own hands.

In Thessalonica:

1 Thess 2:9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

So we work so that we can sustain our lives (our food and accommodation) and support our families:

Gen 3:19 “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food...”

WHY MUST WE WORK?

We work so that we can help those in need:

Eph 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

And in so doing we receive God’s blessing:

Acts 20:33 “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

WHY MUST WE WORK?

There is satisfaction in working:

Ecc 2:24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.

Ecc 5:18 Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him - for this is his lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

We work so that we can be financially independent and not reliant on anybody else – thereby winning the respect of non-Christians:

1 Thess 4:11-12 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Thess 4:11-12 Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends. (The Message)

WHY MUST WE WORK?

Christians should not have an ‘entitlement’ mentality (when we expect things for nothing) but must work for a living:

1 Thess 3:7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

Regarding an ‘entitlement’ mentality a Christian should realise that:

It is not the government’s responsibility to support you - unless you are earning a pension after having worked while you were able-bodied and younger – and having paid your taxes and contributed to pension fund schemes.

If you are an able-bodied man, it is not your parent’s or your family’s responsibility to support you. You should be earning your living and supporting your family – not the other way around.

It is not the church’s responsibility to support you.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

The Biblical teaching is that even those who need support (like widows) should only be assisted by the church if the following four conditions are met:

She is at least sixty years or older (i.e. not in a position to work)

1 Tim 5:9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty... 11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list...

Paul advises younger widows to rather remarry:

1 Tim 5:14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

The widow has no living family who can help her.

1 Tim 5:3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God... Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever... 16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

She was faithful to her husband when he was living.

1 Tim 5:9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she ... has been faithful to her husband...

She has good character and lives a Christian life:

1 Tim 5:9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she… 10 is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

Many people don’t even attend church, but expect the church to support them when they’re in need.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

Work is a part of our Christian testimony. If we as professing Christians are lazy, this will cause people to turn from the gospel.

Heb 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Prov 21:25 The sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

2 Thess 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

The Greek phrase θέλει ἐργάζεσθαι means “is not willing to work”. In other words Paul is not referring to someone who is temporarily unemployed, while looking for new employment.

2 Thess 3:11 We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.

There were some people in the Thessalonian church who were lazy. They didn’t work to provide for themselves but lived on the kindness of other Christians.

WHY MUST WE WORK?

We are told to warn those who claim to be Christians, but who are lazy:

1 Thess 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle…

If they don’t heed the warning we are told to disassociate ourselves from those who are not willing to work:

1 Thess 3:6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.

CHRISTIAN WORKERS

CHRISTIANS

AT WORK

Not only is the fact that we work part of our testimony, but so is our work ethic (i.e. the way we conduct ourselves in business):

As Christians we must only engage in honest work. So it’s not enough to realise that you need to work for a living – you need to make an honest living. You cannot claim to be a Christian and engage in criminal activity e.g. drug dealing, theft, prostitution etc to make a living:

Eph 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands …

Prov 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

CHRISTIANS AT WORK

As Christians we should not be looking for easy ways to get rich without working (like gambling or the lottery):

Prov 12:11 He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

Prov 28:19 He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

1 Tim 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

CHRISTIANS AT WORK

Christians are not corrupt and do not accept bribes:

Deut 16:19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.

1 Sam 8:3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

Job 36:18 Be careful that no one entices you by riches; do not let a large bribe turn you aside.

CHRISTIANS AT WORK

A. Christian

E.M. Ployer

28/ 05/ 2011

CHRISTIAN WORKERS ETHIC

As Christians we must be diligent and not slack in our work:

Prov 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

We should work hard:

Prov 14:23 All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

1 Cor 4:12 We work hard with our own hands.

As Christians we must seek to excel in our work:

Prov 22:29 Observe people who are good at their work – skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don't take a back seat to anyone. (The Message)

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Prov 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.

We should work well even when we are unsupervised:

Col 3:22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Christians should not be grumblers. We should not complain about our salary and working conditions:

Luke 3:14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay.”

As most strikes revolve around wage increase disputes – it follows that Christians should not be involved in strike action, even if they feel they are being wronged. We present our case to God not man.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Christians should not run down their employers or management.

Ex 22:28 Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

Although this verse applies to governing authorities the principle is the same for employers, teachers, parents etc and anyone in a position of authority over us. Indeed in Acts 23:5, Paul applies it to the religious leader (i.e. the High Priest Ananias) who had just ordered Paul to be unjustly struck.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Christians don’t steal from their employers:

2 Kings 12:13 The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the LORD; 14 it was paid to the workmen, who used it to repair the temple. 15 They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

As Christians we do our work as unto the Lord:

Eph 6:5 Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. 6 Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. 7 And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. 8 Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. (The Message)

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Col 3:22-25 Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. (The Message)

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Working as unto the Lord means:

We don’t take sick leave when we’re not sick.

We should be punctual i.e. we don’t always arrive late and leave early. We don’t ask someone else to clock out for us.

We don’t engage in any activity that could constitute a “conflict of interest” to our place of employment.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

Notwithstanding all this, we don’t put our work before the Lord:

Ps 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for he grants sleep to those he loves.

We don’t stop attending church because of work.

Ex 20:9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYEES

CHRISTIAN

EMPLOYERS

ETHIC

A Christian businessman must be honest:

Prov 11:1 The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.

Scales were used to measure the quantity of the item being sold. Having the scales deliberately unbalanced was a means of cheating people by giving them less than what they had paid for.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

A Christian businessman should provide a quality product or service - at a fair price.

Amos 8:4 Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, 5 saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?” - skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, 6 buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.

Luke 16:11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

A Christian businessman mustn’t commit usury (charging exorbitant interest - either illegal or at least oppressive).

Ps 15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?... 5 (He) who lends his money without usury …

Ezek 18:5 Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right... 8 He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

A Christian businessman must be financially accountable:

Rom 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Creditors should be paid – and as far as it is in your control, they should be paid on time. While the trend today is to hold out as long as possible before you pay your debt – Christians should be different and not follow the way of the world.

Rom 13:7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue…

When you receive money, your first priority is to pay your creditors – not to purchase something else.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

Christian businessmen should pay their taxes :

Mark 12:14 ... Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” … 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

Rom 13:6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes …

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

Christian businessmen must be fair and considerate to their employees:

Col 4:1 And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master - God in heaven. (The Message)

Christian managers must not be abusive or threatening:

Eph 6:9 Masters, it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them. (The Message)

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

Christian businessmen must pay fair wages and not withhold money that is due to workers:

James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

A Christian businessmen must honour contracts “even when it hurts”:

Ps 15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?... 4 (He) who keeps his oath even when it hurts...

We must have integrity and be men of our word:

Matt 5:37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYERS

CAN ONLY

MEN WORK?

In Proverbs 31 we have a detailed description of “a wife of noble character”. It is clear from the description that she is a working woman:

Prov 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies... 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

WORKING WOMEN

Prov 31:20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple... 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

WORKING WOMEN

We saw earlier in Genesis 1:28 that both man and woman were told to “subdue the earth”.

Incidentally it is only women who are mentioned as supporting Jesus’ ministry financially:

Luke 8:1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, 2 and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; 3 Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

WORKING WOMEN

Paul’s first convert in Philippi was a businesswoman – who subsequently gave Paul accommodation at her home:

Acts 16:14-15 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.”

WORKING WOMEN

1 Thess 4:11-12 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

CLOSING EXHORTATION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. ("http:// www.lockman.org/ ">www.Lockman.org)

Scripture taken from The Message ("http:// www.biblegateway.com/ versions/ Message-MSG-Bible/ ">The Message)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.




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