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Raymond Knopp

June 22, 2003

Paul exhorts Timothy to “commit to faithful men” the things he has been taught by Paul.  Are you among the faithful?  2 Timothy 2:1-15

Jesus used many different tools for teaching his disciples.  In Matthew 22:23-46, he gives us an example of “rightly dividing” the Word of truth.

Using this study technique of “rightly dividing,” let’s take a “vertical” look at evil, keeping in mind, that the Kingdom of Heaven is not only a place, it’s also a system (Matthew 20:1-15).

When it comes to understanding the scriptures, we are totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit to guide us (John 16:7-13).  Under His guidance we must “study” the Word and use care not to take words for granted.  “Conviction” is one of many words that we often brush over without really considering what it means.  Though the Holy Spirit, according to John 16:8, “convicts” us of sin, we tend to think of this in terms of the Holy Spirit making us “aware” that there is a sin problem.  But there’s more.

In a criminal trial, the guilty are “convicted.”   In much the same way, the Holy Spirit “convicts” us.  We are found “guilty” of sin (Praise God for the blood!) (John 8:9, 46; John 16:8).

JESUS ORDAINED THE TWELVE Matthew 10:1-8.  We must assume from this passage that Judas also healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, and cast out devils.  So, was Judas Iscariot an evil man?   Horizontally?  Most likely.  Vertically?  Absolutely!

Luke 22:1-6;  Matthew  26:20-24; John 13:26-29; Matthew 26:47-50; Matthew 26:55-56;  Matthew 27:3-5

Judas Iscariot was not necessarily a wicked, evil, man -- at least not in the eyes of the world (horizontal)!  The more evil we can make others out to be, the more righteous we make ourselves to appear.  That’s how the world does it.  That’s how the world justifies its sin!  And that is why the world hated Jesus  (John 3:16-21; John 7:7). 

The world has a horizontal standard.  But in the eyes of God (vertical), according to His nature, according to His law, according to His perspective, wickedness and evil are defined as any violation of His law (The Standard).

When it comes to God’s law (His standard), obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).  When it comes to God’s law, vertical is the standard, and horizontal is unacceptable.

When it comes to your daily Christian life, is your standard horizontal or is it vertical?

If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

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