Seventh Day of Pentecost,
I John 4:1-6
II Peter 2:9-22
 I learned both what is secret and what is manifest,
 for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
mobile, clear, unpolluted,
distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen,
 beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety,
all-powerful, overseeing all,
and penetrating through all spirits
that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.
 For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.
 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
I John 4:1-6
 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.
 Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
 They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them.
 We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
 As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ,
 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
 So, with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people.
 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Hero’di-as, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done,
 added this to them all, that he shut up John in prison.
 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened,
 and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilki’ah, of the priests who were in An’athoth in the land of Benjamin,
 to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josi’ah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
 It came also in the days of Jehoi’akim the son of Josi’ah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedeki’ah, the son of Josi’ah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, `I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you you shall go,
and whatever I command you you shall speak.
 Be not afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD.”
 Then the LORD put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
 Now Shephati’ah the son of Mattan, Gedali’ah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemi’ah, and Pashhur the son of Malchi’ah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people,
 “Thus says the LORD, He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out to the Chalde’ans shall live; he shall have his life as a prize of war, and live.
 Thus says the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.”
 Then the princes said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.”
 King Zedeki’ah said, “Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you.”
 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchi’ah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.
 When E’bed-mel’ech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern — the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate —
 E’bed-mel’ech went from the king’s house and said to the king,
 “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern; and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.”
 Then the king commanded E’bed-mel’ech, the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.”
 So E’bed-mel’ech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes.
 Then E’bed-mel’ech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so.
 Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
II Peter 2:9-22
 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,
 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.
 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them,
 suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you.
 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
 Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be’or, who loved gain from wrongdoing,
 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved.
 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.
 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.
 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.
 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.”
 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicode’mus, a ruler of the Jews.
 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”
 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
 Nicode’mus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized.
 John also was baptizing at Ae’non near Salim, because there was much water there; and people came and were baptized.
 For John had not yet been put in prison.
 Now a discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying.
 And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.”
 John answered, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven.
 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.
 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.
 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all.
 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony;
 he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.
 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit;
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America