Monday, June 30, 2008

"When God made the world, where was He?"

[This is an excellent question not asked in the spirit of a disagreeing argument, but of serious investigation. When the Kenyan student asked this question, the whole room got silent as everyone went to their thoughts. I don't even remember exactly how I answered the question during the conference, but I'm sure it went something like this (as I think about this all the time):]

God exists outside time and space; therefore, He was "where he was" when He created the world. This is very much in relation to His very name, "I AM." He IS, and that's where He was--where He was "being." Have you ever noticed that God never says, "I was," or "I will be"? His being is found in His name, "I AM"; that is, He is always contemporary. Only those who worship Him call Him "who Is, who was and is to come." This is not a statement of chronological linage, like moving from point A to point B in order to get to point C. This is more of a 3-D word picture, describing one person who not only encompasses all time and space, but is outside it, transcendent.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Miracles


The late Dr. Walter Martin delivers an astounding lecture on “Miracles” beginning with an examination, critique and response to David Hume’s influential philosophy and how we as Christians can believe that God is Truth. Listen to this two-part lecture here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Which way?

"To every man there openeth
A way and ways and a way;
And the high soul treads the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low;
And in between on the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro;
But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go."

(John Oxenham, 1852-1941)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Saturday Night Evangelism: Blues at Finlay Park 6/21/08

This last Saturday, Steve and Jan and I went to Finlay Park to share the gospel with folks attending the Summer Concert Series. As most people set up chairs close to the stage, it was hard to find a good place to actually converse with people--the music was just too loud. Besides, one of the "ground rules" of evangelism is that when an event is taking place (such as a concert) great care must be taken concerning "breaking in" to the event; that is, getting between the event and the person or persons attending. Most conversation takes place outside the event; that is, with people walking around on the periphery.



After I spoke with this family, I spent two hours talking with one young man near the fence. After taking him through the law, and his admission of sin and how God saw his heart, we spent our time wrestling through questions that he was wrestling with. Though he was sincere in seeking resolutions to ethical delimmas, doctrinal and philosophical issues, I kept returning to the foundational question on my part, "what does this have to do with the fact that you will have to stand before God on judgment day?"

Though I really wanted to see him come to Christ in that hour, he really felt the need to have his questions answered. There is that fine balance of answering questions and chasing rabbits. Use discernment in conversations because there are times when people try to skirt the real issue at hand, moral responsiblity of sin before a just and Holy God. Answered questions do nothing to remove the sin issue, so keep at at as the LORD leads. Remember that the Lord resists the proud and gives grace the humble--return to the Law as the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment there. But give grace to those who are humbled under conviction.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

12 Sins We Blame On Others

From Desiring God: The following is a guest post by Ben Reaoch, pastor of Three Rivers Grace Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

It started in the Garden. Adam said to God, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12)

The first man, caught in the first sin, turns to blame his wife. And he extends the blame to God as well! He implies that he would have remained innocent if God hadn’t put Eve in the garden with him.

The blame-shifting in the Garden continues today. Our proud hearts send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin. There must be someone else—our spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, pastor, friend, or God, himself.

We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational. Here are 12 examples.

"Happiness comes from God. Can the devil give happiness?"

With all due respect to the Kenyan student who asked the question, the answer is found in the preceding statement: "happiness comes from God;" in other words, "the devil cannot give happiness."

Let us first consider who the devil is, and what he brings to the table. Jesus describes Satan as "a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44) Satan, the murderer brings truthlessness. So if Satan comes along and says, "this will make you happy," can he be speaking the truth?

Notice Satan is also called the devouring enemy. "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) If Satan comes around offering happiness, remember that he is not coming as my friend, with any best interest in mind. "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14).

The question also helps us examine the distinction between the pleasures of sin, and happiness. The devil would like us to think we are made happy, but as great Christian writers of the past have often pointed out, we are too easily satisfied. This is the place of deception.

Happiness is from God. "To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:26) Reject God, and one finds no happiness (and no wisdom or knowledge for that matter).

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:11-13)

Here is a great blog on "Jesus and Buddha on Happiness."

Monday, June 23, 2008

“Why can Satan who came from God not be redeemed? How are there unredeemed fallen angels?”

The first question is best answered by recalling the origin of Satan. Ezekiel 28:12-18 is a good starting place, where we are reminded that this is no mere human being we are talking about, but “the anointed cherub who covers” (v.14). The one who stood over God’s throne was found with unrighteousness, specifically with prideful rebellion against God (v.15). God cast this angel from Heaven to be destroyed (v.18; Isaiah 14:12-15). Also, we must not miss how this angel, once called Lucifer (whose name means “star of the morning”) became Satan (“accuser”) when God cast him out (Ezek. 28:12; Luke 10:18). Isaiah 14:15 shows us God’s response to Satan’s sin, and ultimate destruction (Revelation 20:10).

The second answer is not far from the first. When Satan fell, he “swept away a third of the stars of heaven” (Revelation 12:4). These are angels who aligned themselves with Satan (Revelation 12:9).

Because God is just in His punishment of sin and Satan nor any of his angels will not have redemption anyway (could one enjoy eternity with the one he rebels against?), Satan and his angels will never be saved. Together they hate God and all He is, hate Jesus and all He does and hate the redeemed as well.

[I must highlight Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “True Grace Distinguished From The Experience of Devils,” a sermon on James 2:19. Here Edwards demonstrates [described partially in my own words below] there is no difference between one who depends on anything else but Christ for salvation and Satan or his angels (devils):

Introduction:
A. The devils have no degree of holiness;

B. The devils are not objects of saving grace;

C. A person is like the devil (as a rebel against God and Christ; acts in accordance with and not contrary to the devils; shares the same end as the devils).

Argument:

I. Damned men have no high principles or excellence, but are servant and sharers of the devil and his end;

II. Satan and his angels have more knowledge of true religion than men and are not saved (“being educated in the best divinity school in the universe”); “therefore, no degree of speculative knowledge of religion us any certain sign of true piety.” Knowledge does not save.

III. Satan and his angels know the doctrines that God saves and are not saved. Doctrine does not save.

IV. Satan and his angels expect God’s wrath and are not saved. Terror does not save.

V. Satan and his angels know they have broken God’s law and are not saved. Conviction does not save, nor does a guilty conscience. “When sinners are the subjects of great convictions of conscience, and a remarkable work of the law, it is only transacting the business of the day of judgment in the conscience before-hand.”

VI. Satan and his angels tremble at the suffering to come. Desiring to be saved does not save.

VII. Satan and his angels know the reality to come. Denial and “happy thoughts” do not save.

VIII. Satan and his angels:

a. Know the importance of the spiritual world;

b. Know of the awesome greatness and majesty of God;

c. Sense all the attributes of God, both natural and moral (His power, wisdom, holiness, justice, grace, mercy, truth. “Devils and damned men know that God is eternal and unchangeable. And therefore they despair of there ever being an end to their misery. Therefore it is manifest, that merely persons having an affecting sense of some, or even of all God’s attributes, is no certain sign that they have the true grace of God in their hearts.”]

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Why do we need the Holy Spirit?"

A student asked, “God sent Jesus to fulfill all the promises of God to man. What is the need of the Holy Spirit? If we have Christ Jesus, why do we need the Holy Spirit?”

Jesus actually answers these questions in John 14 (just one place among many we could consider). First, we learn that Jesus Himself asked the Father to send another Helper, the Spirit of Truth (14:15-17a). This Helper, the Spirit of Truth, is sent of the Father in Jesus’ name (14:26), and is not of the world (14:17b). Second, Jesus makes it clear that the Helper will abide with us, not leaving us as orphans (14:17c-18). Third, Jesus makes it perfectly clear, “I will come to you,” reinforcing the unique relationship of what we call “The Trinity.” Jesus helps us understand that the Holy Spirit will teach, bring to remembrance all He has taught (14:26).

Jesus elaborates further on the special ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 16. First, if He does not go away, the Helper will not come (16:7). Second, when The Spirit does come, He will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment (16:8-11). Also, when the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide in all truth, speaking only what He hears from the Father (16:13). The overall purpose of the Holy Spirit is to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ (15:14).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

“Men and women who saw God in the Bible: Why did they not all die?”

July 2004 I went to Kenya, Africa to speak in two Pastor’s Conferences on the subject of Man, Sin and Salvation. At the end of each day I left just over an hour for questions (half the time were questions touching the subject of my lectures, and the other half for “open questions”; that is, people could ask anything). For the next few weeks, I will be sharing the questions that were asked of me, and my answers—and believe me when I say these people really know how to think!

Question from Kenya #1: “Men and women who saw God in the Bible: Why did they not all die?” [“But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’” (Exodus 33:20) was the basis of the student’s question].

Answer:

First, consider those who did see God—how did they respond when they saw Him? They were instantly aware of their sinfulness, and God’s holiness and righteousness (to name a few. And notice also that each responded in an attitude of worship, bowing down): Abraham built altars, worshipping on his face; Isaac and Jacob set up heaps of stones as memorials when they saw the LORD in visions; Moses was told to remove his sandals for he was on Holy ground; only one priest could enter the Holy of Holies once per year provided sin was covered; Joshua fell on his face before the captain of the hosts of the LORD; Gideon not only saw, but presented an offering to the LORD and received the promise that though he saw the LORD, he would not die having seen Him; Manoah and wife fell to the ground; Isaiah pronounced judgment against himself when He saw the LORD; Joseph obeyed immediately after his vision; Mary demonstrated submission and obedience; John the Baptist recognized he was not worthy to untie Jesus’ sandals; Paul fell on his face; John did likewise.

When each saw the Lord, they were aware of His holiness and their own sin and mortality; but, each also experienced a level of grace; that is, God granted them continued physical life because they honored and glorified Him for who He is (unlike Nabad and Abihu), recognizing there was nothing good in themselves, and everything good in Him. Each time God extended mercy because they submitted to His righteousness. They furthermore trusted Him by faith to make them spiritually alive as well.

Second, consider the context of the verse specifically. Moses is on Sinai receiving the Law (moral, civil and ceremonial). While God would not allow anyone to see His face, He still made Himself available to be seen. Additionally, God provided what was necessary (a covering) in order for what was seen of Him to be enjoyed. The Law reveals His glory while simultaneously revealing man’s sinfulness. Seeing God without dealing with sin leads to disaster.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Why did God make the whole world with millions of other life forms and went through the trouble to give only one of them special treatment?"

I received the above question in an e-mail from a web-surfer who tried very hard to blaspheme and deny the true and living God. Actually, the question is an excellent one, and here is my answer:

According to Genesis 1: 26, God created man for Himself; that is, for His own glory, not man's. "And God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.'" God could not have complimented man more than to make man like Himself. Man is the crown of God's creation. We need to recognize that we were made for God and in His likeness and image. We fulfill our eternal purpose when our lives honor God and reflect His glory.

Monday, June 16, 2008

got a prayer?

I recently read an article reprinted from a 1994 Leadership magazine called "Why people don't pray."

The writer's friend suggested an examination be done as to why people avoid devotions. He reports in the article four factors people "weigh" as they consider their embracing or resisting an activity (see if any of these is "you")"
People ask themselves:
1) Will it work for me?
2) Can I do it?
3) What's it worth for me?
4) Will it cost me?

The article began with this pastor confessing his sparse prayer life and Bible reading to a psychologist friend. My first thoughts as I read: confessing to a friend, that's one thing; but, confessing to a psychologist? Wincing at the thought of how easily people replace the Bible with human reason, I braced myself for the rest of the article.

The question is: why don't people pray?

Each of the considerations listed above do not answer the question, only makes the problem worse. People don't pray because it does not work for them. The mindset is to pray in order to get what you want--if you don't get it, why pray? So my question is: why SHOULD prayer work for YOU? If prayer is self-centered, of course it is not going to work for you. Prayer that works for you is prayer to yourself and that is idolatry.

People should pray because God works for His glory, not for the glory of the one who is praying. The question should be "Will prayer glorify God?" and the answer is "yes." "Will prayer glorify you?" the answer is "no."

The second question: "Can I do it?"
Do WHAT exactly? Pray? What kind of ridiculous question is that? How can one afford NOT to pray? If a person is stuggling with his self-efficacy he will ask this question--he is not surrendered to Christ's sufficiency. If one struggles just to pray, he is trying to live out Idolatry 3:16 in his own life ("God helps those who help themselves").

The third question: "What's it worth to me?"
If it does not work for you, if you can't do it yourself, then there is no worth. Should'nt the question be: "What is prayer worth to God?"

The last question: "What will it cost me?"
Would you believe me if I told you that the article writer actually encourages the reader to evaluate the cost (so far so good) and if it is too high, to lower the cost (WHAT?).

This is the most shocking thing I have read in a while. And it came from a Christian Leadership magazine! No wonder we have such shallow Christianity! People do not pray BECAUSE they answer these questions from the self-centered viewpoint. If it does not work, stop using it. If you get nothing out of it, go find something that will. If it has no worth, find something that does. If it the cost is high, go for the bargain.

People don't pray because they are satisfied with themselves. They are convinced they don't need God. This man confessed his prayerlessness to a psychologist who basically gave the writer a set of reasons to continue in his sin.

I am so grossed out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Hell's Best Kept Secret" on "Truths That Transform"

Truths That Transform (Dr. D. James Kennedy's national radio ministry) will be airing “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” on June 10-11. This will be the third time they have broadcast the teaching. TruthsThatTransform.org will stream the program the day of airing and afterwards. If you haven't heard "Hell's Best Kept Secret," you can freely listen on www.livingwaters.com (just click here).

ht: The Soap Box

Monday, June 09, 2008

My heart breaks

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a lady in the park. She claimed to have a Christian background, though was surprised to be caught by the law and her exposed sin. She admitted her guilt before God, and that the punishment for sin is death. She also said that though she did not deserve heaven knew she would be there because God “just forgives.”

I asked her what she meant by that.

She told me that she knew she would go to heaven because her mother was an atheist, and God would not send her mother to hell, so God forgives and lets everyone into heaven.

My heart breaks right there. Recently Steve Sanchez shared on his blog: “But what can you say to someone who realizes that a deceased loved one might already be in eternal torment? One lady ran up to me after a recent open air sermon, furious about what she had just heard and shouted at me, ‘You mean to tell me that my 11-year-old son is in Hell for stealing a piece of gum? That’s a bunch of $#%&*!$%!’ Then she stormed away.”

My heart just breaks. My heart breaks because the gospel has been tinkered with so much that God is refashioned, men are exalted (both are idolatry), sin is excused, righteousness is rationalized, the kingdom is trivialized, and Christ and His finished work by death and resurrection are dismissed.

My heart breaks because the wrong gospel message greases the slide into hell. People are offended when they are awakened to the paycheck for sin and alarmed to face the realization that loved ones may indeed be there because they believed the wrong gospel, if they believed anything at all. They are angry because (whether they realize it or not) their conscience tells them sin must be punished. They are angry because their conscience tells them that God’s remedy is right. They have a right to be angry when they know that “something is wrong” with the gospel. Sadly, I believe that way deep down, they are angry at themselves because of their own unbelief—they just won’t admit it.

The lady I talked to created for herself an idol because of a loved one. “With all due respect (I having lost relatives too, as we all do),” I replied, “would you please think about what you are saying?” I reminded her she agreed with scripture, that the soul that sins must die (Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 6:23) but the forgiveness of God is bound up in the payment of Jesus by His death on the cross and our repentance from sin.

She shook her head at me, “no.”

“So you mean to say,” I went on, “that God must empty hell and release every wicked and vile sinner He has sent there. How could someone who has denied God throughout life enjoy an eternity with Him?”

“God just forgives,” she said. And she left.

Friends, when we get the gospel right we should see boys and girls, moms and dads enter heaven and not experience the heartbreak of hell.

Remember these words by Milton Green:

"Thousands of sinners think of God having only one attribute, love! When you tell a stranger ‘God loves you’ his mind registers something like this, ‘Yes he loves me, he would never harm me so all is well with my soul.’ To say to a rebel ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life’ is a terrible misinforming.

The truth is that God is holy! Thus He is angry with the sinner at this moment. Wrath already hangs over the head of the guilty and will forever torment him unless he repents and trusts God. This plan is not so wonderful!

Sinners frequently think of God as flexible so that He will by no means punish the wonderful men. If you rush into four easy steps with a man that has a defective view of God, you will deceive him. You may lead him to pray after you, and you will be praying to the God of glorious holiness but when he repeats to God in his prayer he’s going to be praying to another god, he don’t know Him. Preaching several easy steps to heaven is not evangelism, preaching the whole counsel of God is! Paul was a missionary evangelist he could say to his ephesian elders I am free or I am pure from the blood of all men. Not because he had given each person four spiritual laws, the next verse substantiates this claim. ‘For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.’ You know why some people shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of God? Because it upsets flesh!”

Friday, June 06, 2008

Preaching a Superficial Gospel

by Greg Gordon, at Sermon Index

A warning against preaching an unbiblical modern gospel.
A POPULAR PERVERSION.

Is it possible that modern popular Christianity is preaching a spurious, superficial, shallow Gospel in the 21st Century? If you look carefully at the history of the people of Israel many times the “popular” majority of priests and prophets turned from preaching the truth before the people and became profane in their speech and life’s. In Jeremiah’s time we see this recorded in Holy Scriptures: “For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.” What horror! what dismay to see almost all of the spiritual leaders of Israel speaking lies in the name of the Lord. Could this happen again? Is it possible that in our modern day evangelical circles there are many that are not preaching a true genuine, Biblical Gospel?

True Christianity is never popular Christianity! True Christianity is accepted by few and rejected by many. True Christianity is an abhorrence to the flesh, devil and the world. True Christianity is a Cross! Death to self! Crucifixion to the world! But we want it easy a salvation and Gospel that does not hurt us or crucifies us. We want a Gospel that is catered to man and his interests.

A DOCTRINE OF SATAN

Milton Green shares in one of his conferences on the theme of a false modern day Gospel: “I am going to read to you a statement that Martin Luther made and I want you to listen! Martin Luther wrote this, ‘I should have never foreseen that Satan would raise a sect as such that teach the ten commandments should be taken out of the Church. And that men should not be terrified by the Law.’ Are you terrified by the Law? Martin Luther said he was! Moses trembled. Do you reckon Moses knew anything what is being said?

Martin Luther continues, ‘And that men should not be terrified by the Law but gently exhorted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.’ You know ‘gently exhorted!’ Martin Luther also said it is a doctrine of Satan, that men are no longer terrified by the Law and have replaced it with a Gospel of love and grace only.” The law and fear of God are foundational aspects of True Christianity and to replace those with the love and grace of God is to build on sand.

This Gospel of love and grace has a paramount place in the evangelical Church today. If a minister speaks of the Law and the Judgement of God he is considered by most a extremist and legalist without a proper conception of God’s grace. In the last days Scripture speaks of many false teachers and gospels to abound in the world. In the epistle to Timothy the Apostle Paul wrote: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Could it be possible that you have been believing on a false, spurious gospel? Is it possible that you have been preaching a superficial gospel that does not relate the whole counsel of God to your hearers?

UNBIBLICAL BIBLE PREACHING

Milton Green continues to share on this false gospel: “I have a book back here called ‘Todays Gospel’, I don’t have too much to do with books, unless I know there is a whole lot of anointing and truth in it and thats what I found in this book. There’s some truth in it, It’s good! And this is what Walter Chantry said in his book, ‘We have inherited a system of evangelistic preaching which is unbiblical. Our message and manner of preaching the gospel cannot be traced back to the Reformers and their creeds. They are much more recent innovations worse that cannot be traced back to the Scriptures. They have clearly arisen from the careless mixture of 20th century reason with God’s revelation. Products of modern evangelism are often sad examples of Christianity. They make a profession of faith and then continue to live like the world. Only a small proportion of those that make decisions evidence a transformed life. When emotional hope is gone and the evangelist invitation is moved to another city. What do you have that is real and lasting? Large numbers have been led to assume that they have a right to everlasting life and have been given assurance that does not belong to them.’ In other words I am going to add it’s a false security! ‘Evangelicals are swelling the ranks of the deluded with a perverted gospel! Many who have made decisions in Churches have been told in the inquiry rooms their sins have been forgiven will be surprised to hear I never knew you depart from me! What about those that have decided for Christ and you cannot tell what they decided. They do not study the Word, they don’t mind if they are absent when it’s preached. You know they give no evidence of true conversion. Have you considered the possibility they were never evangelized at all?’

“Thousands of sinners think of God having only one attribute, love! When you tell a stranger ‘God loves you’ his mind registers something like this, ‘Yes he loves me, he would never harm me so all is well with my soul.’ To say to a rebel ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life’ is a terrible misinforming. The truth is that God is holy! Thus He is angry with the sinner at this moment. Wrath already hangs over the head of the guilty and will forever torment him unless he repents and trusts God. This plan is not so wonderful! Sinners frequently think of God as flexible so that He will by no means punish the wonderful men. If you rush into four easy steps with a man that has a defective view of God, you will deceive him. You may lead him to pray after you, and you will be praying to the God of glorious holiness but when he repeats to God in his prayer he’s going to be praying to another god, he don’t know Him. Preaching several easy steps to heaven is not evangelism, preaching the whole counsel of God is! Paul was a missionary evangelist he could say to his ephesian elders I am free or I am pure from the blood of all men. Not because he had given each person four spiritual laws, the next verse substantiates this claim. ‘For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.’ You know why some people shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of God? Because it upsets flesh!”

A WONDERFUL AND HORRIBLE THING

Jeremiah wrote this when a entire nation was embracing a false gospel: “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their own means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” What shock should we experience if we realize that a false Gospel abounds and overflows in our evangelical Churches. Could it be possible that just as in the days of Amos the prophet today it is the same as was prophesied: “Behold, the days come with the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” I hear of this desperate searching from many in this day that are seeking out Churches were true biblical doctrine is preached. Where the conviction of the Spirit of God, the burden of lost sinners, the judgement of God are preaching. How rare it is to find such a Church were there is not just presented floppy, sappy, feel-good messages that warm the backslidden soul.

Milton Green continues to share on this false gospel: “Present day preaching only pays lip service to the concept that a man must recognize himself to be a sinner before he can genuinely embrace the Saviour. No definition of sin is included in this presentation. It is God’s Law that convicts of sin. It is essential to declare the Commandments in order to show the sinner his heart of hatred toward God and enmity towards men. Only then will he flee to the grace of God in Christ Jesus to provide him righteousness and love. Men are not turning to Christ because they have a sense of sinning against the Lord, they have no concept of sinning because the Law of God is not preached.

In the 20th Century the Church is tried to see how little it could say and still get converts! It is succeeding in spreading the truth so thinly that the world cannot see it! We must preach the holy character of God. We must preach the eternal Law of God. Where are the pulpits showing God’s clear Law makes strict demands upon motives, desires, feelings and attitudes of the soul? When you find them or pastors that preach these things, you will also discover Churches with convicted sinners prepared to hear the way of salvation.”

“Our ears have grown accustomed to hearing men told ‘accept Jesus as your personal saviour.’ A form of words that is not found in Scripture. It’s become a empty phrase that totally ignores a essential element of the Gospel namely repentance. Evangelists and pastors are forgetting to tell sinners to repent this misinformation leads sinners to believe that they can live in their old way of live and just add Jesus. Build treasures on earth and also build treasures in heaven! Who could turn down that bargain? Pleasures of sin and joys of eternity! Sinners are not being saddened or offended, repentance is necessary for forgiveness, confession of sin is not enough. Churches are being filled with professing Christians that have never heard that Jesus demands repentance of any who seek eternal life. People flock to accept Jesus as personal Saviour without selling all!

The converts of modern evangelism are often as worldly as after their decision as before. In a panic over this phenomena, modern day evangelicals have invented the idea of a carnal Christian. They are said to be folks that have taken the gift of eternal life without turning from sin. They have allowed Jesus to be their Saviour but they have not yielded their life to the Lord. No one is saved while being unrepentant! What a lie! Giving false assurance to sinners is a Scriptural sign of a false prophet.”

Peter the Apostle said “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Oh to realize this is happening now in our modern day evangelical circles! “damnable heresies” being spoken from renown pulpits across America. This half-gospel that is being preached nullifies God’s power and makes it void. Jesus Christ our Lord spoke these words: “ye have made the commandments of God of none effect by your tradition!” And dare I say that our modern day evangelical “traditions” have made the word of God of “none effect.” May God anoint his vessels in these last days to preach a true Biblical gospel message in our day.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What I think

Lately I’ve been asked my opinion of Todd Bentley and the so-called “revival” in Lakeland, Florida.

My response is:

At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” (Matthew 23:23-28)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Payday

Have you ever gotten a blank, signed check on payday? I haven't, but it would be nice to write your own check, wouldn't it? On my paychecks, and probably on yours, the amount is already filled in. But we still look forward to each payday. That's because we count on our paycheck to pay our debts, or to pay for a house, a car, food, clothes, and many other things. For many of us, it seems there's "too much month at the end of the money," but sometimes we might have some money left over to put away for the future.

We work all week, or even all month, to get our paycheck. Then we are paid what we have earned, or according to the contract we have negotiated. But wouldn't it be nice to get a big check and not even have to work for it? It's possible! But, it's also possible to get a paycheck that we wouldn't want to have.

A check that we wouldn't want? Yes, there are wages that I think none of us would like to earn if we had a choice--"the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Have you ever thought about the end result of your sin? God says that for sinning, we earn wages, and the payment of those wages is not in money, but death. No one is exempt from these wages, "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Roamns 3:23). Is death then the end? No, it is not. God's Word says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). For those who are not saved, this will be the payday of God's holy wrath. The payment will be everlasting punishment in hell, "the fire that never shall be quenched" (Mark 9:43).

How can we avoid the wages of death and judgment? We might think that since our sins have earned us death, our good deeds can earn us eternal life. They can't. Because of our fallen, sinful nature, even "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" in God's eyes (Isaiah 64:6). No matter how hard we work, or how hard we try, we cannot do anything to earn God's forgiveness for even one sin.

Remember the check I mentioned before that we don't have to work for? God has written such a check. It can pay for your salvation. It is not a blank check, though. It is already made out for a priceless amount--the price of your soul. But don't worry about this check bouncing, because it is paid out of the endless riches of God's love and grace. This check is written with the blood of Christ, and signed by the Heavenly Father. It is dated for today, because "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

All that you must do is put your name on God's check. How do you do that? You need to admit that you are a sinner, and that your sin has produced a debt that you cannot pay. You need to confess your sins to God, and believe that Jesus Christ paid for your sins by dying on the cross and rising again.

When you trust Him as your personal Saviour you can put your name in this verse: "For God so loved _______, that He gave His only begotten Son, that _______ believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

When you come to Jesus as a sinner, and by faith put your name on God's check of eternal salvation, you can be assured that you are His, and that you will miss the payday of judgment that awaits all those who have not trusted Christ.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

(Posted with permission of Moments with the Book.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Just what does "head-dibs" mean, anyway?

(repost from January 17, 2004, for my friends who lovingly take a few minutes to read my meager postings)

"Head-dibs" includes three ideas:

1) This blog is an online journal, so here will one find a record of some of my thoughts; hence, the "head."

2) The Puritan mindset of being "God saturated" is the goal of my Christian walk. Think of a sponge filled to capacity, every part having fully absorbed that in which the sponge is placed. When squeezed, the fluid comes out. I want to be "God saturated."

3) The definition of "dibs" is seen in the second definition listed just under the title of this page. It is the "honey" of fruit.

Recently I was challenged to evaluate what God's Word means to me. Here is the scenario:

Between the ages of 6 to 10, Jewish boys dedicated their first years of schooling to the memorization of the entire books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Rabbi would pass around fresh clay that in which students would imprint their letters (their "paper" was easily erasable by simply mashing it in their hands into a fresh ball). In later times, the clay was replaced with slate on which students would write.

Anyway, the Rabbi would pass out the slate (or clay) and then would write the first word of Genesis (beresit ,or, "in the beginning") and the student would hold this in their hand. The Rabbi then would stand before the class with a jar of honey in his hand, and would take off the top so that the smell of honey would fill the room.

Honey in the older times, was precious, a delicacy, "like gold" and was not used as a condiment as it is today.

He would walk around the room, allowing each student to inhale, then dip his finger in the honey and smear it on the word written on their clay or slate.

The Rabbi would instruct the students to lick the slate clean, then would ask, "How does the Word of God taste?" Each student would respond, "It is sweet! I love the Word of God!"

As each student proceeded though his schooling, he was given a test of his memory . . . not by chapter and verse (those are recent editorial editions), but by context. The Rabbi would quote a passage of text and the student would be required to recite the text before, and after the included text.

Now, understand that they did not sit quietly at their desks waiting to be called upon, but would literally clamor over each other to be the one called on to recite, that he may "taste" the word of God on his tongue again.

I dare you to look up "honey" in a Bible condordance (you may find upwards of 50 or more passages). Think of the sweetness of God's word in every context and you will discover a sweetness you never knew before--afterall, gold is that standard of all that is precious and honey is the standard of sweetness!

One passage of note is "How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth." (Ps. 119:103).

Why don't the wicked look towards rivers of honey? (Job 20:17)

Head-dibs are my thoughts on the Word of God, primarily--the sweet squeezings of my theological processes . . .

So get some on ya!

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