Whatever happened to sin? The belief in sin, and the idea that someone could be referred to as a “sinner,” have all but disappeared from our permissive society. Sinful behavior has been explained away, excused, tolerated, defended, and now accepted by many people. To accommodate this “enlightened” view, the doctrines of sin and Hell have even disappeared from some churches.
The Bible tells us that the proper way for God’s people to deal with their sins and receive forgiveness is to confess these sins, repent, and pray to God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9; Acts 8:22). When confronted with the reality of his sin, king David simply said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). However, when some Christians are confronted with the sin in their life, they become defensive and seek to excuse the behavior that is under question. In this article we will consider some of the more popular methods that men and brethren use to rationalize their sinful behavior, and we will look at what the Bible says about such efforts. Continue reading » Rationalizing Sinful Behavior
On one occasion I was visiting an older man who was in the hospital recovering from a stroke. His wife and two grown children were in the room with him. As we were talking about his serious condition, he told me that he was not afraid of dying because he knew he would be in heaven. His son, sensing this was directed towards him, replied, “Dad, I’m not afraid of going to Hell when I die because at least I know I won’t be alone.”
I was shocked when I heard him say this. How could a person not be afraid of going to Hell? However, when you think about it, most people probably do not really know what the Bible says about Hell. If a person understood what Hell is like, they would never make a statement like the one cited above. Therein lies the problem: many people today are ignorant of what the Bible really has to say about Hell. Continue reading » The Bible Doctrine of Hell
Many churches have members appointed to an office or wearing a title called “deacon.” These churches have their own concept of what these individuals are and what they are supposed to be doing. In some churches deacons are the decision makers. In other churches deacons are nothing more than figureheads. The preacher is doing the work of the elders, the elders are doing the work of deacons, and the deacons are doing nothing.
Deacons have an important role to play in the Lord’s church. We know that God has set the church in order. He has put every part in its proper place. To understand what a deacon is, and what he is to do, we must understand what the Bible says about deacons. Continue reading » Deacons – Their Qualifications and Work
Often times the appeal is made for men to attend the church of their choice. While we certainly appreciate the noble sentiment behind this appeal, we deny that such is in harmony with the Word of God. What does the Bible say about attending the church of your choice? Continue reading » Attend the Church of Your Choice
There are several phrases and themes that are used repeatedly throughout the Bible. One is these is “light” and the ongoing contrast between light and darkness.
The creation of light is the first command given by the God (Genesis 1:3). At the end of the Bible, the light of God is shown as overwhelming and casting out all darkness (Revelation 22:5). Between these two beacons, the imagery of light makes nearly two hundred appearances in the Bible. Continue reading » Let There Be Light
On one occasion, when Jesus was with His disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi, “He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Matthew 16:13-15).
Just as in the days of Christ, it seems that everyone today has an opinion about Jesus. Some wish Him away by claiming that He never existed. However, the historical evidence proves that He did exist. Some claim that He was a prophet of God and a good man, while others claim that He was a liar and a troublemaker. Christians believe that He is the Son of God, and claim Him as their Lord and Savior. Continue reading » Is Jesus Really the Son of God?
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
If God has given us children, then we must realize that He has given us a great blessing. In the above passage alone, we are told that children are a gift, a reward, and a source of strength and happiness.
Children are a great blessing, but with great blessings comes great responsibilities. It has been said that children are like lumps of clay to be molded. Taking that lump of clay and molding it into a godly young man or woman is the task that God has given parents. This responsibility does not belong to the grandparents, extended family, friends, teachers, elders, preacher, etc. While these individuals can be expected to provide a good influence upon children, God has singled out fathers and mothers and given them instructions concerning their responsibilities towards the “heritage” that they have received “from the Lord.” Continue reading » Responsibilities of Parents
Relevancy is important. It has to do with making sure we are spending our time, attention and energy with something worthwhile. When discussing the relevancy of the Bible, it would question whether or not the Bible has any bearing upon our lives today. Some people would say that it does not. While acknowledging its historical and religious significance, the prominent opinion seems to be that the Bible is an outdated book. It may have served a purpose for previous generations, but times have changed. Some question how a book as old as the Bible can have any serious application to our lives today.
Is the Bible relevant? Does this ancient book have any practical application to our lives today? Does it satisfy our needs as individuals and as a society? Or do we need something else? I believe a consideration of the following points will help to answer these questions and prove that the Bible is relevant today. Continue reading » The Bible Is Relevant
This is the final article in this series on the Holy Spirit. In our study, we have noted that the Holy Spirit is an equal member of the Godhead. He is God. The Holy Spirit bears the marks and characteristics of a person. The Holy Spirit is not an “it” – a mere force or influence of God. He is an individual, a distinct member of the Godhead. Continue reading » Sins Against the Holy Spirit
The denominational world is filled with the teaching and conviction that the Holy Spirit personally and literally dwells within the Christian. Many of these people do not propose to know how this indwelling takes place, nor do they seem to care how it takes place. They are just comforted by the presumed “fact” that it does happen.
This belief in a literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not limited to individuals in various denominations. Some of our own brethren believe in a personal, literal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This view is held by some who are sincere and very knowledgeable in the Scriptures, but it is a view with which I do not agree. Continue reading » The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
All of the apostles were chosen by the Lord for a reason. All of them shared in the ministry and apostleship, even Judas (Acts 1:25). Despite this equality, the gospel accounts reveal that on three different occasions, Jesus chose three of His apostles, separated them from the rest, and allowed them to see things that they were not permitted to tell the others.
Peter, James, and John seem to have formed an inner-circle within the Twelve. Why were these three men singled out? What was special about them? To address this question, we will first consider the occasions on which they were singled out, then we will consider the validity of some possible explanations. Continue reading » Peter, James, and John
It seems that our society is always changing for the worse. Immorality is shamelessly promoted and defended by celebrities, educators, and politicians. The law of our nation will allow a mother to kill her unborn baby, but will incarcerate a man for mistreating his pet. We have seen great changes in our nation as a result of the pro-homosexual agenda. What was once considered an abomination, detested and rejected by our society, has become embraced and championed. Laws have been changed, marriage has been re-defined, entire denominations have become split over this issue – and it is only getting worse.
The religious landscape of our nation is also changing. Basic truths of Christianity are constantly challenged and denied by so-called Christians. This change has had an impact upon some of our brethren. In recent years we have heard brethren make arguments for a figurative interpretation of the creation account in Genesis, question the inspiration of 2 Peter and Jude, and deny the eternal nature of Hell.
All this change going on in the world is enough to make one’s head swim. However, we must remember that we are not the first ones to have lived in a time of great moral decline. Things generally happen in cycles (consider the book of Judges), which should indicate to us that we are not living in the “worst of times.” Continue reading » Timeless Truths in an Ever-Changing World
- I wrote this article just weeks after the terrorist attacks occurred on September 11, 2001. I have reprinted it here for our consideration on the tenth anniversary of this event.
As President Bush has said, none of us will ever forget where we were and what we were doing when we heard about the terrorist attacks on September 11th. I saw a little bit of footage on the morning news as we were getting ready for the day. I was too busy to stop and listen and left the house thinking that there was just a fire on one of the floors of the World Trade Center. After I dropped Paige off at school, I turned on the radio to find that all the programming had been preempted. It was then that I realized that something serious was taking place. After a few moments of reporting the radio went silent. Then I heard Peter Jennings say in disbelief, “The north tower has just collapsed.” Continue reading » Lessons From the Tragedy of September 11, 2001
In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord provides a description of those who will be citizens in His kingdom. The sermon begins with a short section referred to as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). There are eight Beatitudes, each consisting of a desired characteristic and a promised blessing. Each Beatitude begins with the word “blessed,” which literally means “happy.” True happiness is found in acquiring and manifesting these qualities in our life.
The subject of this study is the third Beatitude, which reads, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Continue reading » “Blessed Are the Meek”
Christians who faithfully oppose the consumption of alcohol are sometimes asked how one can harmonize the argument of total abstinence with the fact that the Bible allows for the use of wine for medicinal purposes. This instruction is found in First Timothy 5:23 – “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.” The argument posed by some is that since the Bible allows wine for one’s stomach, then no one can say that the Bible condemns the moderate consumption of alcohol.
The Bible does not condemn the practice or use of medicine. The inspired penman of two books of the New Testament (Luke and Acts) was a physician (Col. 4:14). The Bible also mentions a number of natural products that can be used for medicinal purposes: aloe, anise, balm of Gilead, cumin, figs, fitches, gall, mandrake, myrrh, ointment, olive oil, rue, saffron, and wine.
It cannot be denied that wine was used, and even prescribed, for medicinal purposes in the Bible. However, this fact is in no way an allowance for the social or recreational use of alcohol, which is the unfortunate application that some desire to make of First Timothy 5:23. Continue reading » The Medicinal Use of Wine
James said that the tongue is “a world of iniquity” (James 3:6). Indeed, there are numerous sins that can be committed by or aided with the misuse of the tongue. When one thinks of the sins that are committed with the tongue, he often thinks of things such as lying, speaking blasphemies, using profanity, and gossip. However, we rarely consider complaining to be a sin.
Americans are granted the freedom of speech, and many of us exercise this right with pride and passion. We think very little of voicing a criticism or complaint about another’s driving on the highway or service at a restaurant. We see it as our civic duty to complain about our elected officials. We feel that the price we paid for admission to a sporting event gives us the right to let the players, coaches, and umpires know if they are doing a lousy job. We even have careers that are based upon the practice of criticism (restaurant critic, movie critic, etc.). Our society abounds with criticism. For this reason, some Christians have a difficult time viewing complaining and criticizing as a sin.
Continue reading » The Sin of Complaining
There are individuals in the religious world today who claim to possess the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Religious programs portray televangelists speaking in tongues and healing the sick. However, excitement over these gifts is no longer limited to “charismatic” churches. In recent years, I have heard members of several different mainstream denominations claim to have the ability to speak in tongues.
No one can deny that the apostles and some other Christians in the New Testament possessed the ability to perform miracles. The question that we will address in this article is whether or not the Bible teaches that these same gifts exist today?
Continue reading » The Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit
One of the greatest tragedies of the church today is our apparent apathy toward the souls of men. We can become so caught up in the material aspects of our daily lives that we all too often lose sight of the spiritual condition of those around us. As Jesus Himself lamented, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38).
The apostle Paul was a man who saw the need to respond to the Lord’s appeal for laborers. The extent of Paul’s concern for lost souls can be seen in all of his efforts and writings, but this article will focus upon the first few verses of his address to the elders of the church in Ephesus recorded in Acts 20:17-21. Continue reading » Paul’s Concern For the Souls of Men