A few days later, unable to get the book
off my mind, I returned and purchased a copy.
Some of the facts it reveals are
For example, creatures with "no backbone"
comprise 99% of the world's total animal species! There are,
some scientists believe, up to 30,000,000 (thirty million)
species of them!
Thus, I make this statement. To have a
backbone on earth today is a rather rare situation!
To be bold and really defend what one
believes is rare too!
Preachers, of all people, we need
Jesus was that bold!
Watch His actions in Luke 13:31-33.
"The same day there came certain of the
Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for
Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell
that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and
to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day
following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of
He would not "run," would He?
In fact, He sent word back to wicked King
Herod that His schedule would leave him in the vicinity for
three more days! (In the conversation He called the deceitful
King a "fox!")
Preachers, quit running! (Stand and fight
for the Lord! Be a good soldier for Jesus Christ!)
Christians, no longer "sell out" what you
believe! (Compromise, in this sense, is a bad word! Conviction
is a good one!)
Believers, stop acting like the world in
your lifestyles! (Be different! Be a "peculiar" people! Come
out from among them and be ye separate! Touch not the unclean
thing! Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers!)
Don't be a part of the "majority!"
I once heard an old preacher pray: "God,
give me a backbone like a saw-log!" I've never forgotten those
Paul maybe says it best of all!
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour
of God, that ye may be able to
withstand in the
evil day, and having done all,
And I say, "Amen!"
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 3 ...
DECEMBER 31, 2004:
These Pharisees told Jesus, "For
Herod will kill Thee." The verb they used there
means "to murder."
I would like to make an announcement.
Herod did not murder Jesus! No one else did either!
Jesus, God come in human flesh, could not have been
murdered. That "murder" business shows shortsightedness on
the part of the beholder!
Jesus Himself explains it to us.
"Therefore doth my
Father love me, because I lay down
my life, that I
might take it again. No
man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power
to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This
commandment have I received of my Father."
Jesus expressed it perfectly!
No man did (or could) take His Life from
Him. He was (and still is) GOD!
He laid it down of His own accord.
Jesus decided when He would die!
Here's how John words it:
"When Jesus therefore had received the
vinegar, he said, It is finished: and
he bowed his head, and
gave up the ghost." John 19:30
Of whom have you ever heard who chose his
very moment to die? Who then bowed his or her head ... and
breathed out their last bit of air? Who determined theeir
time of expiration? (Luke 23:46 puts it: "And when
Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy
hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the
ghost." That Greek verb "gave up the ghost" translates "ekpneo"
and means "to breathe out" one's last breath!
I am not saying that the men who crucified
our Lord were not guilty. They were! Peter says so in Acts
2:23 --- "Him (Jesus), being delivered by
the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye (the Jews)
have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."
No excuses here!
So ... when it was suggested to Jesus that
Herod would "kill" Him, He had no fear! He knew God's Plan!
And that's why our Lord responded the way He did!
"And he (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye, and
tell that fox (Herod), Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures
to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be
perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow,
and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet
perish out of Jerusalem." Luke 13:32-33
Jesus was absolutely fearless!
Indeed ... "God hath
not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and
of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
And, truly, "Perfect
love casteth out fear." 1st John 4:18
Jesus was a MAN. He was and is The
His courage is amazing!
"The wicked flee
when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion."
(Proverbs 28:1) And Jesus is THE Righteous One!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 4 ... JANUARY
Jesus said something quite unusual in our
He called someone a name!
And it appears to be a demeaning name!
Here are Jesus' words ... directed at
wicked King Herod. "And he said unto
them, Go ye, and tell that
fox, Behold, I
cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the
third day I shall be perfected." Luke 13:32
Did you see that?
"And he said unto
them, Go ye, and tell that fox ...."
A fox lives in a hole in the ground, a
cave or den of some kind. He is associated with this
earth. So was Herod of this world!
Jesus talked about the "holes" where the foxes lived.
A fox is a sneaky animal. He will
even "play" dead to avoid danger. So did Herod act the
hypocrite again and again!
A fox is deadly to its prey. So was
Herod deadly to John the Baptist. He executed him for
preaching against sin! Jesus never forgot this I believe.
A fox can't walk straight! He
zig-zags through the countryside! So was Herod always
politically dealing ... for his own benefit!
And foxes were so common in Israel that
they had become rather insignificant! Jesus well may be saying
to Herod ... "You're just another person to Me, Mr. Herod!" I
have no fear whatsoever of you. You're a nobody compared
to the great Preacher you've slain!
And, oh yes, foxes "spoil" the little
grape vines! They are especially dangerous to the little
branches! (Jesus is The Vine. We are the branches!
John 15) Jesus, with His vast knowledge of the Old
Testament, may have in mind the danger to the children of God
this fox Herod poses. Song of Solomon 2:15 says ---
"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that
spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."
That verb "take" means to capture or to seize!
And "spoil" means to destroy or corrupt.
When we Believers see Jesus, I think we
shall not hear names like "foxes" or "serpents" or "vipers" or "whited
sepulchres!" Rather, because of Calvary, we shall hear
names like "servants" or "friends" or "children" or "good and
That's a big difference!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 5 ... JANUARY
Look at something Jesus told Herod in Luke
13:32. "And he (Jesus) said unto
them (the Pharisees), Go ye, and tell that fox (Herod), Behold,
I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the
third day I shall be perfected."
On the surface it is clear what Jesus is
Our Lord is boldly telling Herod that He's
not afraid of his threats!
Jesus planned to be "in town" for two more
days and then, on the third day, His business there would be
completed. Presumably, Jesus would then leave the area.
(Jesus just published His schedule to the murderous King!)
Our Lord was fearless!
In the same spirit of Elijah, Elisha, John
the Baptist, and a host of other Christian men and women ...
Jesus had not been given the spirit of fear ... but of holy
courage and strength!
Paul said this to us all:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of
fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2
But ... I think Jesus may have been saying
something "deeper" here too.
The term "third day" triggers all kinds of
thoughts for the Christian!
Here's what Jesus may be implying.
Herod, you can't "kill" me! No one
can! I am God! But ... one day soon (in Jerusalem) I
shall lay My life down for sinners to be saved!
You can't stop Me either, old Wicked one!
On the Third Day, I shall be perfected!
(The verb there, "teleioo," means to reach one's goal! To
fully accomplish! To bring something to its proper
It sounds to me like "resurrection ground"
on which the Lord here stands!
That expression, "the third day," occurs
16 times in the New Testament alone!
Preachers, these occurrences are worth the
study time too!
However you may feel led to apply the
"third day" statement of Jesus here in our text ... you must
agree with this: He was not afraid of Herod in any way!
I personally believe Jesus feared nothing
... but His Father's displeasure!
What a Saviour we have!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 6 ... JANUARY
It looks to me like the Pharisees are
trying to use "scare tactics" on Jesus!
Trying to "frighten" Him out of town!
This has happened to many a preacher ...
and some of them have rapidly retreated and fled!
For example, see Jeremiah 26:20-23.
The Preacher's name is Urijah. It means "Jehovah is my
Light" or "Jehovah is my Flame!"
Here's his story: "And
there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD,
Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied
against this city and against this land according to all the
words of Jeremiah: And when Jehoiakim the king, with all
his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king
sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was
afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; And Jehoiakim the
king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of
Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. And
they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto
Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his
dead body into the graves of the common people."
He got scared and ran ... and was killed
as a result!
He, unlike Jesus, ran away!
Now ... here's another Preacher they tried
to scare out of town!
His name is Amos and someone (the King's
hired "Preacher" named Amaziah) has just met his "match!"
Amaziah has told Amos to "get out!"
And Amos, in his beautiful bold way, just
(I wish more Pastors would look some
backslidden deacon in the eyes and say NO when told to leave!
It is not Biblical for a group of 3 or 4 or 5 men (with bossy
women behind them) to "run a preacher off" ... while the church
people sit idly by watching.
God help us!
Woe! I'd better get back to Amos!
"Also Amaziah said
unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of
Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But
prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the
king's chapel, and it is the king's court. Then
answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet,
neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an
herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD
took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go,
prophesy unto my people Israel. Now therefore hear thou
the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel,
and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in
the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the
sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die
in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity
forth of his land." Amos 7:12-17
Amaziah, the "politically correct"
hireling, says to Amos, God's man: "Go, flee away! You don't
Amos right back: "God called me and
sent me and I'm not leaving until HE says so!"
Furthermore ... Amos then went on the
attack! (Thank God for preachers who are willing to be
stern and bold!) "Amaziah old buddy, you've got troubles
coming down the road! Your children are going to be slain
and your wife will sell her morality and you will die ... at the
hands of an enemy you say does not exist!"
And it happened just like God's man said!
Jesus did not run ... and saved countless
lost souls by means of the Cross of Calvary!
Amos did not run ... and has given courage
to millions of preacher ever since!
Urijah ... feared and ran and died!
(By the way, Amos would not have run even
if death had been the consequence!)
Thank God our Saviour was a MAN!
Don't you just love Him today?
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 7 ... JANUARY
middle verse of our text Jesus even announced to Herod what He
would be doing for the next few days.
those divine activities was casting our devils!
"And he (Jesus) said unto them (the
Pharisees), Go ye, and tell that fox (King Herod), Behold,
I cast out devils,
and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I
shall be perfected." Luke 13:32
"I cast out
here is "ekballo."
literally means to throw ("ballo" ... what we do with a
ball!) out ("ek" being a preposition that means out or
around throwing the devils/demons out of folks. Folks who
were poor victims of demonic cruelty!
The verb is
in the present tense. Jesus is going to continue doing
these mighty acts! It is also in the active voice.
Jesus is supplying the power behind these expulsions!
noun "devils" translates "daimonion," fallen spiritual beings
inferior to God and superior to men! (Ministers of the
devil! His emissaries or servants or errand runners!)
verb here ("cast out" or "ekballo") let's check some New
Testament references that employ it in some way or another.
2:15 Jesus drove out ("ekballo") the wicked moneychangers from
the Temple! Positively, Jesus casts
6:37 Jesus tells us some folks He will NOT cast out ("ekballo")!
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that
cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." What a
great verse! Negatively, Jesus
refuses to cast out repentant sinners!
Matthew 7:5 we are told (by Jesus) something that we all should
cast out ("ekballo")! The "beam," a big piece of lumber,
needs to be removed from our own eye ... before we try to take
care of a brother's sins! "Thou
hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and
then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy
brother's eye." Wow! And
theoretically, Jesus wants us to cast sin our of our lives!
All this is
in addition to:
cast out devils! (Again and again!)
We have a
Oh, by the
way, once Jesus was Himself "cast out" of a place! He had
just preached His first recorded sermon. The folks got mad
at what He said! "And rose up, and thrust
("ekballo") Him (Jesus) out of the city, and led Him unto the
brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might
cast Him down headlong." Yet thank God for the
following two little verses! "But He
passing through the midst of them went His way, and came down to
Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath
days." Luke 4:29-31 They kicked Jesus out of
made up my mind!
I'll not be
guilty of "casting" Jesus "out" of my life!
When I came
to Him as an old rotten sinner ... He did not cast me out!
He took me in!
... I want Him in the middle of everything I am and do and say!
agrees give me a good loud "Amen" please.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 8 ... JANUARY
Here is part of Jesus' answer to the
threats of Herod: "And I do cures to
day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be
perfected." Luke 13:32
The verb "I do" is "epiteleo" which
literally means to accomplish or complete! Jesus is
working to complete a program, a schedule! One that will
lead Him to Calvary where He will die for the sins of lost
But the interesting word that has caught
my attention today is "cures." In Greek it's "iasis"
(pronounced "ee'-as-is"). It is only used 3 times in all
the Bible ... in the New Testament of course ... being a GREEK
term. (And all three times it flows from the pen of a
physician, Dr. Luke!)
Here are the references for all three
occurrences: Our text in Luke 13:32 then in Acts 4:22
followed by Acts 4:40. I noticed something yesterday about
the sequence of these three occasions.
First (Luke 13) it is just JESUS doing the
Next it is done at the hand of the
Apostles Peter and John. They had performed a miracle of
"healing" on a lame man! (Acts 4:22)
Lastly it is done by our reigning Great
High Priest Jesus The Christians prayed:
"And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy
servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by
stretching forth thine hand to
heal; and that
signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child
Jesus." Acts 4:29-30
Here's my point: with each use of
the word ... it's domain grows wider and wider! Its sphere of
influence widens progressively! First ... just the Lord!
Next the disciples! Then, prayer is offered for our Resurrected
Ascended Saviour to work through all His dedicated
We too can do great things for God ... by
means of His Holy Spirit! I am not now speaking of
physical healings and such ... but of mighty spiritual feats of
faith and stability and consecration for our dear Lord!
And, truly, yet today ... it is nothing we
Christians within ourselves do that accomplishes anything to
God's Glory. It is all Him working through us! (John
14:12 --- "Verily, verily, I say unto you,
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;
and greater works than these shall he do; because I go
unto my Father.")
Just think what mighty spiritual "cures"
have been wrought ... sins forgiven and lives changed forever
... by the Spirit empowered preaching of the Word of God!
Lastly let me mention something else.
Jesus mentions here "the third day." You can see
that in the King James text the word day is italicized.
This is the way our Bible so accurately tells us that a word has
been supplied for a clearer understanding. And it is
However, Jesus here literally says
"Go ye, and tell that fox (Herod), Behold,
I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the
third ... I shall be perfected."
The third what?
Obviously ... the third day!
But Jesus just says ...
I believe Jesus has long since known
(eternally so) about His coming Death on the Cross ... AND about
His ensuing Resurrection from the grave!
He lived for those events! He came
to die and be resurrected! He came to save sinners!
And He was positive that as sure as the
Cross came ... so would THE THIRD follow It!
And, as sure as the sunrise this morning,
the THIRD did come and Jesus came forth from the grave!
(Even on the THIRD day of creation, things
started springing up out of the earth! And when Abraham climbed
the mount to sacrifice Isaac, that Bible account is framed in
"third day" terminology! And the preacher Hosea uses the
expression as he addresses Israel ...
"After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will
raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.")
But when we get to the New Testament, it
uses the expression 14 times in reference to Jesus'
I willingly say ... HE WAS PERFECTED ON
ON THE THIRD GLORIOUS DAY!
And He prophesies that great fact in our
verse today ... as He spoke to those hypocritical Pharisees and
indirectly to Herod himself!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 9 ... JANUARY
Today we arrive at verse 33, the last
section of our "text."
I must walk to
day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot
be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem." (Luke
I was studying an old book. The
author (a preacher) had been dead many years.
He simply said this.
"As far as can be told, Jesus walked
EVERYWHERE He went during His public ministry ... with one
exception, the day He rode into Jerusalem on a little donkey!
(The last week of His earthly life before the Cross!)
He likely even walked to and from
Jerusalem as a 12 year old Lad.
Thank about that!
When Jesus told Herod that He would "walk"
for three more days in the King's territory ... then head toward
Jerusalem, He meant it literally!
The verb "to walk" (in Greek = "poreuomai")
means to travel from one place all the way through to another
place! It comes from a root word that means "to pierce,"
to go from one end of something to the other!
Another interesting feature of the word is
that this "piercing" (to travel) is also the idea behind a group
of Bible words that imply trials and testings! To be
"pierced through" with adversity!
No wonder Jesus often used the word "walk"
as a metaphor or word picture for the whole Christian life, our
whole manner of behavior!
Luke 20:46 ---
"Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and
love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the
synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts." Their
"walk" is their very lifestyle!
Or John 8:12 ---
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the
world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but
shall have the light of life."
And John 11:9 ---
"Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any
man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the
light of this world."
Again, John 12:35 ---
"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little
while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest
darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth
not whither he goeth."
Then the Holy Spirit gave Paul the word to
Here's an example, Romans 8:1 ---
is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the
Or Romans 13:13 ---
"Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and
drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and
1st Corinthians 3:3 ---
"For ye are yet carnal: for whereas
there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are
ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
Here's a classic example, 2 Corinthians
5:7 --- "For we walk by faith, not by
Galatians 5:16 --- "This
I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not
fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 6:16 --- "And as many as walk
according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and
upon the Israel of God."
And Ephesians 4:1 ---
"I (Paul) therefore, the prisoner of the
Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith
ye are called."
And there are many more!
Colossians 4:5 ---
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the
time." (I couldn't help it!)
Christian friend, how is your walk today?
Check ... and be sure all is acceptable to
your Heavenly Father and dear Saviour His Son the Lord Jesus
Christ! Be sure your "walk" is not grieving the Holy
Spirit of God.
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 10 ...
MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2005:
Notice that Jesus knew He was going to die
("perish" in our text).
Here's part of the message the Lord sent
Herod: "Nevertheless I must walk to day,
and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be
that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem." Luke 13:33
Herod, Jesus says, I will be busy serving
God for three days ... then I'll be going. Going on toward
Jerusalem ... where I will die for the sins of mankind! For it
cannot be that a real Prophet die outside of Jerusalem!
Think what it would be like to know HOW
you were going to die ... and when ... and why!
With the "pressure" of that knowledge on
any one of us, we like would hardly be able to "function" in any
Yet Jesus did!
In fact, He seemed to "thrive" on the fact
that He had come to die to be the Saviour of the world!
Mark 10:45 proves what I mean. Jesus
said: "For even the Son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life
a ransom for many."
Or Luke 12:50 where Jesus says:
"But I have a baptism (His death on
Calvary) to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be
accomplished!" Here He nearly says that He can't
Constantly in the Gospel of John Jesus
talks about the coming of "His Hour," the Cross! He was
nearly obsessed with it! And little wonder, it is the
greatest fact of all history!
Yet ... facing such information and such a
death, He continued His life work and obediently (calmly even)
did His Father's Will!
Who else could have done such preaching as
is found in John chapters 12-16, facing imminent death?
Who else, on His death march to the Cross,
would have taken time to heal a severed ear? See Luke
This quality is called BOLDNESS!
Jesus was a real Man!
He was fearless in the face of death!
He took on the forces of darkness and
defeated them all ... even as He died on Calvary!
Listen to Jesus in Isaiah 50 as He
"challenges" death the the devil: "I
gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked
off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the
Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded:
therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I
shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me; who
will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine
adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD will
help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they
all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up."
That is the greatest example of courage
that I've even known in all my life!
What a Saviour we have!
I love Him today!
Glory to His Name!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 11 ...
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2005:
The Pharisee thought they had "threatened"
They no doubt sought to "scare" Him, maybe
even alter His plans!
But, again, they failed!
Our Lord's "itinerary" was NOT based on
Herod's whims or the Pharisees' plots.
It was based upon the Divine Plan, the
Program of Calvary!
Jesus was on a Journey!
Luke, who has given us our text here, also
writes of Jesus: "And it came to
pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he
stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem." Luke
A Journey to Jerusalem!
To die for you and me!
The verb "stedfastly set" is in Greek "sterizo"
and means to make firm, to "fix," to strengthen, or to render
constant! Jesus was determined to go to the capital city
and face the Cross!
Listen to our Lord in John 12:27 ---
"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I
say? Father, save me from this hour: but
for this cause came I unto this hour." Wow!
Jesus refused to bend His plans or change
His priorities just because some King threatened Him! He
had a Higher Goal!
And (on a much smaller scale) we have a
God given plan to follow also! It's called the "will" of
God for our lives!
We too should ignore the scare tactics of
the devil and refuse to allow the hypocrites of the world (and
church) to detour us.
After all, "The
steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD."
And Proverbs 3:6 says the same
thing, just in a little different way:
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He
shall direct thy paths."
In Psalm 32:8 the Lord promises His Own
children: "I will instruct thee and
teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee
with mine eye."
Jesus followed such teaching ... so should
Even the servant of Abraham knew WHERE to
be as he sought a bride for Isaac! "I
being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my
master's brethren." Genesis 24:27
I love that!
"I, being in the way, the Lord led me ...."
Let's live with that thought in mind!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
While working on this exposition I came across some information about "spineless" creatures.
"Backbone" has become a synonym in a Preacher's world for "courage and
strength and conviction!"
Every man of God needs "backbone!"
Perhaps I was not too surprised to learn that the common "fly" is an
invertebrate, having no backbone.
It also is a filthy little thing!
To be clean in today's moral world one needs "backbone!"
I can remember when I was but a child back home, Mama hated flies.
If one got in the house ... out came her fly-swat! And she didn't
rest until she had committed "flyicide." (I think a word has just
been coined!) She killed that thing. Even now I can still hear
her saying, "Those things are nasty!"
Well, they are!
Some flies lay their eggs and raise their young in dung! (I am
sorry ... but I need to tell you at least that much about them!)
Some Americans nearly do the same thing with their children nowadays!
Boys and girls need to
be reared in a morally and socially clean environment!
Now I more fully realize that ... Mom sure was a smart lady!
No flies in her kitchen ... not for long anyway!
And flies vomit many times an hour too! ( Fact: 29.7% of its time
the fly is vomiting, say the scientists!)
They "play" with and "blow bubbles in" and "spread" their putrefying
mess everywhere too!
Those who study medical history tell us that flies have been known to
spread more than sixty (60) diseases!
But ... how in the world did Brother Bagwell get on that subject?
I'm preaching about cleanliness!
Purity of life!
We Christians are to be unlike flies in two major ways.
One, we are to have "backbone" and stand for what we believe and
practice it fervently!
And secondly, we are to stay away from the filth of the world!
In Nehemiah 3, one of the "gates" of Jerusalem that had to be
repaired was the "dung" gate. That's where the filth of the city was
removed and taken to the local garbage dump! (Obviously that's how
it got its name.)
"But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of
Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the
doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof." Nehemiah
3:13 (The name "Malchiah" means "My King is Jehovah!" That's the
kind of person who will live a clean life!)
Some Christians have not used the "dung" gate of their lives lately!
They have some things at home or on the job or in the office that need to
Paul tells us not even to touch unclean things!
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I
will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians
Brethren, let's remind the people of God that the "filthy rags" of this
world are NOT for the Believer in Christ Jesus!
We are to be different!
After all, we have been saved by and follow after a Saviour Who is ...
"holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,
and made higher than the heavens!" (Hebrews 7:26) And
we are to walk "in His steps!" 1st Peter 2:21 says in part:
"Because Christ ... leaving us an example, that ye
should follow his steps ...."
The Holy Spirit of God (the gentle "Dove" of the Trinity) ... so unlike
the "fly" ... has backbone and is clean!
And That's the precious Holy Spirit Who indwells you ... if you're
He will produce cleanliness and purity within our hearts before He's
through ... and some courage on top of that!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 13 ... THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 2005:
Earlier this week as I read some material (in a motel lobby where their
continental breakfast was being served) I came across this statement.
An author (and a Bible scholar too) said that he had discovered
similarities between Jesus' words in Luke 13:31-33 about being "perfected"
and Jesus' great declaration from the Cross (just before laying His Life
down in death) "It is finished!"
"Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day
and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected."
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar,
he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
The verb (Luke 13:32) "shall be perfected" translates "teleioo."
(Here it's an indicative present passive 1st person singular.)
The verb (John 19:30) "is finished" translates "teleo." (Here
it's an indicative perfect passive 3rd person singular.)
Both have the same "root" stem and both have the same meaning!
The meaning: to fulfill or to accomplish or to come to the end! Even
... to completely finish!
Jesus on Calvary would fully atone, entirely pay the price, wholly shed His
Blood ... that sinners could be saved!
And Jesus for His whole Life on earth was looking forward to that day
of Fulfillment! That day of Completion! That day of
Satisfaction! That day of Victory!
He had that in mind in Galilee (Luke 13) and later in Jerusalem (John
19)! In fact it had been on His mind since pre-creation days!
See here what I mean. "Forasmuch as ye know
that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and
gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your
fathers; but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without
blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the
foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."
1st Peter 1:18-20
And here's the good news!
Herod didn't stop Him!
The Pharisees couldn't either!
Nor the devil himself!
He was perfected!
And sinners can come to Him ... and be saved!
In fact, He is "drawing" one somewhere right now!
What a Saviour we have, a PERFECTED One!
Listen to Jesus Himself: "Verily, verily, I
say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me,
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed
from Death unto Life." John 5:24
Friend, these words are true!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
JESUS WAS A
REAL MAN! HE WAS GOD COME TO EARTH IN A PHYSICAL BODY! AND, OH,
WHAT STRENGTH AND COURAGE AND "MANLINESS" HE HAD!
A godly old preacher studied the life of
Jesus and pointed out some areas which he felt especially
illustrated our Lord's courage and fortitude!
Let me share
with you some of his conclusions. I believe you will agree that
they are Biblical.
First think of
the manliness it would have taken to live one's whole life under
the authority of Another! Jesus came to do one thing ... His
Father's Will! And for 33 years He did not depart from that
Will once! Jesus said in John 8:29 (in reference to His
Father): "I do always those things that
please Him." And in Hebrews 10:7 and 9 Jesus adds:
"Lo, I come to do thy will, O God."
Next ... Jesus, already knowing His
Mission from the Father, waited patiently and obediently for 30
years before implementing His public Ministry! What manliness
that represented! (Waiting is a hard thing!) I am absolutely
sure that at age 12 in the Temple when Jesus expressed to Mary
and Joseph that He had to be about His Father's Business ... He
already knew Who He was! And then He waited until just the
right "time" to move on the program of Redemption!
Then think of the Temptation in the
wilderness! Forty days! Tempted of the devil! Yet without
sin! Refusing each alluring lie of satan, Jesus triumphed
gloriously! That took manliness too! Strong men know how to
wield the Sword of the Spirit, saying skillfully "It is
Then remember His cleansing of the
Temple. He made a scourge of cords and drove out those
rascals! (This would have upset the whole politico-religious
system of the day!) And this action again required extreme
And the many times he "stood up" to the
Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees and Chief Priests further
reveal His courage! Never backing down! Never compromising!
Standing for the Truth! What fortitude!
And we've not even counted the times He
did what was needed on the Sabbath Days of His lifetime! (Never
violating the Law of God ... but crushing their man-made
traditions!) Again ... courage personified!
And examine His life carefully as He
neared death, His sacrificial vicarious death on Calvary. Do
you see any "hint" of fearfulness or cowardice on His part?
There is none! In fact, He challenged death! He longed for
"His Hour" to come! He came to die to saved the lost!
How could our Lord have been so manly?
One verse comes to mind. 1st John 4:18
tells us. "Perfect love casteth out
fear." And Jesus was (and still is and will be forever)
Then Paul adds a bit of Light:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of
fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
2nd Timothy 1:7 Jesus, being God, had no spirit of fear about
Listen to our Lord as He (via Bible
Prophecy) faces death and the cross and the devil:
"For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore
shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a
flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that
justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together:
who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord
GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all
shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up."
There it is! Perfect Manliness, Jesus our
Lord and Saviour!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
We have just been studying the Boldness
of Jesus. His Manliness as well as His Deity are clearly
described in Scripture.
What courage He had!
Preachers also MUST have backbone, a
synonym for stamina and fortitude.
In focusing on Jesus' determination,
I came across a study of little creatures called
"invertebrates," animals with no backbones!
One such specimen is the leech.
He is a little blood-sucking fellow with
many unusual traits.
There are about 650 species of his kind in
the world today.
They are annelids and are closely related
Their blood-sucking abilities are known
The leech does not merely consume five to
ten times its weight of blood in a half-hour (!!!) ... the wound
it creates continues bleeding for quite some time.
In the early to mid 1800's leeches were
used for medical purposes ... almost bordering on paranoia!
During that time, when leeches were in
such high demand by doctors and hospitals, men earned their
living by being "leech-gatherers!" They would simply walk
around in infested waters, allowing the animals to attach
themselves to their bare legs, harvesting as many as 2500 per
day from a good pond!
Some Amazonian leeches grow to be 18
So there's a little bit of information
Animals who do little else than suck blood
from other "victims!"
Often their "bites" also cause resulting
A bunch of blood suckers who are also
invertebrates ... having no backbones!
Excuse me Preachers, but I thought of that
bunch of liberals and compromisers and false teachers who have
"hounded" us for years. In fact, they have ruined many a young
college or seminary bound study of the Bible.
They do spiritually what leeches do literally!
I mean: Attach themselves to a young (or
old) but gullible preacher boy ... and begin "sucking."
They suck away his belief in the Virgin
Birth or the Inspiration of Scripture or the Deity of Christ or
the Second Coming or the literal Resurrection of Christ!
And their specialty: BLOOD sucking. They
love to deny and deplete faith in the Blood of Jesus, the saving
Blood of Jesus!
Preachers, if they can't get to YOU
personally ... they will try to reach you through the printed
page. Through a liberal commentary or through a devious
magazine article (even a religious one)!
Blood-suckers yet abound in the spiritual
There is a lab now in Europe that grows
leeches commercially for professional use!
Some seminaries and universities do the
same thing on a spiritual plane!
Men of God, stay away from Blood-suckers!
Maintain a strong faith in the Blood of
Jesus and the fundamental Doctrines of the Bible!
And, by the way, as you do that ... also
keep your BACKBONE is good strong shape!
You're not an invertebrate!
Here is an example of Paul dealing with a
couple of early New Testament leeches:
"This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the
prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest
war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which
some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of
whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto
Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." 1 Timothy
Or 2 Timothy 2:16-18.
shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto
more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of
whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have
erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and
overthrow the faith of some."
Such warnings demand that we
Bible-believing Preachers STAND ... and, as you well know, in
order to really STAND, one must have a great strong BACKBONE!
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell
LESSON 16 ...
JANUARY 18, 2005:
Today I'd like to tell you about the little
animal we commonly call the "dragonfly."
Old American folklore also designates these
little creatures as "snake doctors." This is based upon a
legend that they could care for sick (nearly dead) snakes and
revive them to "health!"
They don't sting. They don't bite either
(not humans, anyway). But they do have teeth! More
about that later.
And they do fly. In fact, they are superb
aviators. They can outmaneuver any of their enemies in
aerial combat! They have been "clocked" at a flight speed
of 35 miles per hour! They can "take off" backward, turn "unbanked"
in an instant, come to a dead stop (hovering) in a split second,
and even somersault in the heat of aerial battle! (One
third to one half of their body weight is dedicated to its
flight muscles!) Wind tunnel tests have actually shown the lift
power of their little wings to produce a vortex similar to a
Technically girl dragonflies are called
They live in a small nesting area usually
overlooking a pond somewhere. And they "hunt" from the
air. They eat enough mosquitoes (300 or more a day) to
have earned the nickname "mosquito hawk!"
That's where their "teeth" again come into view.
They catch and "grind" flies and mosquitoes by the hundreds
every day! Read eating machines!
And what eyesight they have! They can see
nearly 360 degrees at once! Each of its little eyes has up
to 30,000 lenses!
There are about 500 known species of these little
fellows ... with a new one or two still being discovered every
year! God's creation is so vast that we have not yet (in
all 6,000 years of human history) fathomed it!
These amazing little insects are much too
complicated and intricately "designed" to have simply evolved as
a stroke of fate (or luck) or chance or whatever else the
Darwinian scientist might call it.
They argue for a living Almighty God Who is
Creator as well as Redeemer of lost mankind! More
accurately, the Lord will some day (upon His return) redeem this
whole earth, removing the curse of original sin!
These astounding little "dragonflies" are
certainly one of the growing arguments today used for what's
today coming to be called "Intelligent Design." They could
not have just "happened!" However I'll just keep calling
Him (That Intelligent Designer) my Lord and Saviour, Jesus
But ... one more little thing. (And I
almost hate to mention it. This little being is so
"cute.") The dragonfly is an invertebrate! That
means he has no "backbone!"
He is harmless to you and me ... but has no
He is a dynamic pilot ... but has no backbone!
He is a wonderful mate to his "wife" ... but has
He is lovely to watch as he skillfully operates
... but, again, has no backbone.
Did you know there are folks down at church (and
on your job and at your next family reunion too) who are
relatively harmless, kind and gentle in nature, pleasant
associates ... who also have no backbone?
Who will not "stand" for anything!
Who lack "conviction" and "strength" to do right
whatever the cost!
I must close this Article. In fact I may
have veered in a direction I had not originally intended here.
But let us all pray ... "Lord give us courage and
strength and backbone ... to stand for Thee in these present
evil days! In Jesus' Name, Amen."
Paul's famous words apply here I think:
"And having done all, to stand."
How unlike Jesus, the Man of character and courage, the Son of
Man as well as the Son of God, Who had BACKBONE for sure, is the
That's why I have placed this Article at the end of the Luke
--- Dr. Mike Bagwell