I integrate Google Calendars into my clients' websites because Google Calendars are free, allow group sharing & editing, integrate multiple calendars into one, and are very easy to syndicate.
Let me explain by way of an example. I have a lot of calendar events to keep track of--my wife and my schedules, anniversaries & birthdays for family & friends, events at church, at my business, clients' calendars, and as a pastor, various community calendars scattered throughout multiple websites and printed publications. I really don't want to compare multiple calendars with each other every time I add an event to my own personal calendar.
Too many calendars!
So I've grouped all the events I can control in separate calendar files under one Google Calendar user account. I open my Google Calendar and all my different events display in one unified view. My wife and I share some calendar files so we can both edit them, even simultaneously from different locations.
Ahh, one calendar
But the events I can't control still live in websites & newsletters where I have to manually enter them into my calendar if I can find the time. What's more, if I install a calendar for my clients that can't easily be syndicated via RSS and thereby integrated into another calendar, too often the client simply doesn't use the calendar. Disconnected calendars are an evil; even a result of the Fall and probably of Babel. But there is a solution.
Normally I'm not real excited about retyping someone else's calendar events. But in one case I did type them in: I want to go to my local high school's sports events to get to know people in the community, so I added all the high school's sports events to my calendar, in its own calendar file. Google makes it easy to put that calendar into any web page by inserting a little code Google provides, which results in a calendar like the one below.
New and improved!
Works great! So now I know what's going down at the football stadium. And what's cool is all my friends can add these events to their own calendar by clicking the "+ Google Calendar" button at the bottom. But I don't want to add the high school's events to this calendar every time the high school's own calendar changes. Nor do I want to be promoted to the "Calendar editor" position at the high school. They already pay someone to do that.
So I shared the calendar with her and gave her editing privileges. She can give editing privileges to anyone else she needs to in the school, and create and integrate different calendars for other kinds of school events (PTA, School Board, clubs, etc.) Now all that needs to happen for me, my friends, and any parent in the school district to have a perfectly up-to-date calendar is:
for the right school administrator to approve replacing the school's current calendar with a Google Calendar,
for them to approve posting the little bit of code above into their calendar page on their website,
and for people who visit the calendar to add it to their own personal calendar.
Note: You may download all study guides in one PDF file here.
The 1st Commandment
The text of the 1st Commandment
Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me.”
The Preface: Covenant & Redemption
“Before me” in the commandment refers back to “I” in the preface
I am the LORD...no other gods before me.
So the 1st Commandment’s requirement is based on the reality of God’s covenant with us, and in His having already redeemed us. That is why we must keep His commandments!
In Hebrew (reads right-to-left)
“Be to you,” translated “You shall have”
Not Ownership – we can’t put God in our box! Nor could we do so with false “other gods”
But Orientation & Commitment – God is committed to be God to us
This is the thought & wording of the covenant formula throughout scripture: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
The covenant formula reads literally in Hebrew: “I will be to you for a God, and you will be to me for a people.” Cf. with the KJV’s similar literal rendering.
As such it recalls God’s name , Yahweh - “yihyeh” here is the same verb; God introduced His name Yahweh to Moses in Ex. 3 with a similar form, saying “ehyeh asher ehyeh.” “I AM who I AM”
The implication is this – there is no other god who can make a covenant commitment to be our god, as only Yahweh can, and therefore we must recognize Yahweh “to be the only true God, and our God.” WSC 46
Is. 45:21-22: 21 And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
Matt. 4:10: Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ' You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
This implies a covenant between God & His people, whose central components are God’s foundational absolute commitment to us, and His requirement of our reciprocal absolute commitment to Him
God’s commitment is expressed in His promises – “I will be your God”
God’s requirement is expressed in His laws - “You shall be my people”
This implies the reality of other gods, but not their divinity
Kinds of “other gods” in scripture:
Spirits – angels or demons
Col. 2:18: Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels
Deut. 32:17: They sacrificed to demonsthat were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.
2 Chron. 32:19: And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men's hands.
Ps. 96:3-5: 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Rom. 1:22-23, 25: 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 25 ...they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
“Before my face,” translated “before me”
Presence not Priority: It does not mean “don’t worship other gods more than you worship me; don’t give them a higher priority than me,” but rather, it means “don’t worship other gods in my presence, before my face, where I can see.”
God can see all things, so worshiping other gods provokes God to anger
Ps. 44:20-21: 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
Deut. 32:16 : They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.
The Issue of the 1st Commandment
Love God for who He IS
WSC 46: The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.
WSC 47: The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.
Love God in accord with who He is
Because God’s wholehearted commitment to us - “All of You is more than enough for all of me,”
We should give our wholehearted commitment to Him - “All of me for all of You”
Our whole being needs to be brought into accord with God’s whole being
Matt. 5:48: Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The Biblical Commentary on the 1st Commandment
The Introduction: 6:1-25
Ch.’s 6-26 are “the commandment, statutes, rules” (& testimonies 4:44) 1-3
The 1st Commandment & its implications introduced 4-9
The 1st Commandment paraphrased: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” 4-5
The statutes & rules must be applied to the heart and life 6-9
Alert to the threefold danger that will lead people away from God: riches of the land 10-12, gods of the land 13-19, self-righteousness rather than the obedience of faith 20-25
Remember: Not false gods but only the true God chose & will bless Israel 6-16
Command: Do not fear, but utterly destroy the Canaanites 17-26
Riches of the land 8:1-20
Remember: God provided in the desert 1-4
Remember: Canaan is rich in water, soil, minerals 5-10
Remember: Future wealth is a gift from God; forget this and perish! 11-20
Canaan given not because of Israel’s righteousness, but Canaanites’ unrighteousness 1-5
Israel is not righteous in heart, but stubborn, rebellious 6-10:11
The Threefold Encouragement: 10:12-11:32
The commandment’s positive requirement 10:12-11:7
Fear the Lord, love Him, serve Him, keep His commandments 12-13; 20-22; 11:1
Because God “set his heart in love on” them, they must “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.” 14-16
Love their neighbor 17-19
Fear God’s discipline 11:2-7
Prospect of a rich land to be entered by obedience 11:8-17
Obedience must be applied throughout all of life, and will bring blessing. Disobedience will bring a curse. 11:18-32
In the History of Redemption
The Old Covenant Problem
Rebellious, evil heart – Dt. 9:6-10:11; Gen. 6:5 “every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Need & responsibility: A circumcised heart – Dt. 10:14-16; Ezek. 18:31 “Make yourselves a new heart”
The New Covenant Promise
God will give a new heart – Ezek. 11:19; 36:26
The New Covenant Fulfillment
God regenerates our hearts by the word & Spirit, so we are “born again,” a “new creation,” a “new man” – John 3:3, 7; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Tit. 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3, 23
In the final resurrection God will remove our “old man,” the “flesh,” and give us new bodies as well
The Application of the 1st Commandment
Duties Required – WLC 104
Thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him
Trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him
Being zealous for him
Calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man
Being careful in all things to please him, and sorrowful when in anything he is offended
And walking humbly with him.
Sins Forbidden – WLC 105
The not having and avouching him for God, and our God
The omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment
Ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him
Bold and curious searching into his secrets
All profaneness, hatred of God
Self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part
Vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God
Using unlawful means, and trusting in lawful means
Carnal delights and joys
Corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal
Lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God
Estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God
Praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures
All compacts and consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions
Making men the lords of our faith and conscience
Slighting and despising God and his commands
Resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us
And ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have, or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.
In the end, to keep this commandment is to keep the whole law, and to break this commandment is to break the whole law!
Hence it is quite appropriate Deuteronomy calls this “The Commandment!”
Excursus on the death penalties – Which ones apply today?
Death Penalty for worshiping other gods – God’s right of vengeance was temporarily delegated to a human court
Noahic covenant – universal for all men
In the Noahic covenant God limited human courts to meting out no greater punishment than that which fits the crime. God made this covenant with all mankind, so this limitation applies to all human courts.
Gen. 9:5-6: 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
Mosaic covenant – includes elements particular to the uniquely theocratic nation of Israel
The Noahic limitation on human courts is expressed in the “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” principle called the Lex Talionis, the “law of the tooth.” Its limitation was not rescinded by the Mosaic death penalties, and was applicable to citizens of other nations. The punishment must still fit the crime.
Ex. 21:23-25: 23 But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Lev. 24:16-22: 16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. 17 Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18 Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life. 19 If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. 21 Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. 22 You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.
The sin is against God when someone worships other gods, and the offense committed against God is worthy of death.
Deut. 17:2-3: 2 If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden,
Yet in the Mosaic covenant, the sin’s investigation & punishment were delegated to a human court, which remains under the Lex Talionis’ limitation.
Deut. 17:4-6: 4 and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. 6 On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.
The death penalty taught the heinousness - “the evil” - of the offense against God
Deut. 17:7: 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
The Lex Talionis limitation still applies in the NT. Personal retaliation is forbidden; only the civil courts may execute the death penalty. But the NT does not give human courts the right to execute the death penalty for offenses against God; rather, it reserves that punishment to be executed by the hand of God alone.
Rom. 12:19 : Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Hebrews 10:26-31: 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Christ does not abrogate the principle of justice, but more fully expresses the limitation of our desire for personal retaliation
Matt. 5:38-41: 38 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
The pedagogical purpose of the death penalties—to teach how heinous sins against God are—has been accomplished by their OT practice and now consummated in the death of Christ, rendering their practice no longer necessary.
Gal. 3:24: The law was our pedagogue until Christ came
The death penalty for murder is still required, because human courts must execute punishments that fit the extent of the crime’s offense against one’s fellow man.
The death penalties for committing an offense against God are no longer required, because God reserves the right to execute those punishments Himself.
The Way to Holiness: The Divine Perspective 1:2-27
The Trial-Temptation Complex 1:2-18
The Confrontation with Trials 1:2-8
Joy and Trials 1:2-4
Wisdom and Trials 1:5-8
The Range of Trials 1:9-11
The Trial of Poverty 1:9
The Trial of Riches 1:10-11
The Outcome of Trials 1:12-18
Confidence in Trials 1:12
Defeat in Trials 1:13-15
Victory in Trials 1:16-18
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
What are some ways you often respond to trials?
Are trials a reason for joy? Why? Why not? Notice James says "when you fall into trials."
Why does James say "Count it" all joy in v. 2? Consider Phil. 3:8.
What does it mean to "Count it all joy?" Consider Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28.
What results do trials bring about? Trials produce the t___________________________, which produces s_______________, which makes you p_______________________________. How does each thing produce the next thing?
What is God's goal in your trials, according to v. 4?
What is one better way for you to respond in the next trial you face? _____________________
We'll begin our study of the book of James with an overview of the book as a whole. The outline below is taken from Henry Krabbendam's commentary, "The Epistle of James," privately published in 1995.
The Author 1:1a
James, the brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal. 1:19), leader of the Jerusalem church, presided at Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15; Gal. 1:19). Initially skeptical of Christ (John 7:5), but converted when Christ appeared to him after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). Martyred in AD 62, thrown from the pinnacle of the temple.
Date of writing: Probably before the Council in Jerusalem in AD 49; perhaps earliest NT book.
The Addressees 1:1b
Twelve tribes – Luke 22:30; Acts 26:7
Dispersion – 1 Pet. 1:1; Acts 2:9-11; John 7:35
Content: Epistle, sermon, wisdom literature, diatribe, moral exhortation
Construction: Separate preaching units loosely woven together by linked themes? Better: a unified guidebook on holiness.
The Way to Holiness: The Divine Perspective 1:2-27
The Trial-Temptation Complex 1:2-18
The Word of God 1:19-27
The Principles of Holiness: The Biblical Framework 2:1-26
The Law as Substance of Holiness 2:1-13
The Focus upon Partiality 2:1-7
The Nature of Partiality 2:8-13
Faith as the Dynamics of Holiness 2:14-26
Faith and Works 2:14-19
Faith and Justification 2:20-26
The Implementation of Holiness: The Christian Experience 3:1-4:10
The Obstacle to Victory 3:1-9
The Fact of Human Impotence 3:1-5
The Root of Human Impotence 3:6-9
The Nature of Victory 3:10-18
The Rejection of Compromise 3:10-13
The Description of Defeat 3:14-16
The Description of Victory 3:17-18
The Requirements for Victory 4:1-10
The Range of Holiness: The Fabric of Life 4:11-5:18
The Relationship to "The Other" 4:11-17
Facing your Brother 4:11-12
Facing the Future 4:13-17
The Relationship to Yourself 5:1-11
The Rich 5:1-6
The Poor 5:7-11
The Relationship to the Circumstances 5:12-18
The Description of a Godcentered Attitude 5:12-14
The Effectiveness of a Godcentered Attitude 5:15-18