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
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
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 While acknowledging its historical and religious significance, the prominent opinion seems to be that the Bible is an outdated book.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
Curiously, the two letters, D. V. are often found at the end of letters written in Eighteenth Century and older correspondence of some very famous people, just after the post script of their hand written correspondence. The “D” and the “V” stand for two Latin words, “Deo Volente” which simply means “if God wills.” By this means, whatever was communicated in the letter, the author trusts, can only happen if God wills it to happen. If this expression is not used simply as a habit with no thought given to its obvious worth, this shows an obvious and faithful subjection to God’s will and the true desire of the one who has remembered to express this to the one being written. The real strength and good that comes from such a thing is that this shows the correct dependence upon God for not just our well-being but also our planned actions in this life. I would like for us to think for a few minutes about what God says about our need to trust and depend upon Him more. Continue reading » Always Trust And Depend Upon God
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
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
Psalms 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
There is a feature that most of us put a lot of stock in. This is that any maker, whether he or she be an architect, painter, sculptor, potter, metal smith, gunsmith, jeweler; any of these, will usually leave their mark upon their creations. Their seal or stamp or signature assures the owner of its authenticity and worth; it’s very quality. Usually when we know who made a thing it tells us a lot of things we want to know about the thing itself and of its standards of usefulness or quality. A valuable and very fine Rembrandt, Vermeer, or a Matisse or even a Picasso can be authenticated by the artist’s signature and if the painting lacks such an identifying mark, then it is usually worthless. We look for those identifying marks to know whose it is. Continue reading » The Maker’s Mark
(Editor’s Note: A while back, I started a series of five minute videos on YouTube, designed to teach fundamental principles concerning God, the Bible, Salvation and the Church. To see the videos themselves, look elsewhere on this site, or click here. Because the scripts are designed for verbal speech, the style is significantly different from my usual writing. It dawned on me that the scripts from that series might benefit some for use as bulletin articles or other teaching materials. As of this posting, seven videos have been produced. The scripts to these will be posted in the next couple of weeks. After that, each new script will be posted following the release of the video. Feel free to use these!)
To see this video, click here…
Does God exist? This is perhaps the most important question that man can ask. I freely admit that I can’t prove His existence empirically. That is, I can’t see Him, touch Him, or perceive Him with the five senses I possess. Others could speak more authoritatively on the subject. Moses, for one, who spoke directly with God. Our Lord Himself is another, as he descended from Heaven and God’s presence, and returned there after His resurrection. (Of course, that is another thing to prove, and we will reserve that for another broadcast).
I accept that God exists on Faith. I believe. Mind you, it is not a blind faith. I contend there is compelling evidence of His existence. In fact, we are surrounded by it!
Continue reading » Video Script: Does God Exist? (1)
My parents gave us a great old Electrolux vacuum cleaner as one of our wedding gifts long ago. Even though it does not see much use these days we still have it and I marvel at its design. The chrome and stainless steel Electrolux nearly screams Buck Rogers in its science fiction spaceship design which hails back to the middle of the last century.
One of the most peculiar things I have noticed about the old Electrolux is if one holds the nozzle close to ones mouth when speaking, it seems to suck a great deal of the sound of the words right down that long hose! It is a strange observation and I have amused a lot of kids with that little trick over the years. Sound waves are dependant on air to be carried and like shouting into the wind voices are carried away with the air.
Maybe we have felt this way in another way, too. Have you ever said to yourself, with a degree of resignation, “Oh, what’s the use? No matter what I say or do, my spiritual efforts for the Lord will always be misunderstood and unappreciated by others. It seems just like shouting into an old vacuum cleaner!” That while others do relatively little, and you at least labor on, you are not respected nor recognized by them. We must realize that it will always be like that. Though it is gladly received when it rarely happens, we must not ever become dependant upon others to be spiritually buoyed. What we must rely upon and must fully realize is that the Lord is always there and we can access Him in prayer and He not only listens to us but gives us the help and encouragement we so often desperately need.
At such times we should remember what scripture has to say in wonderfully encouraging ways: Isaiah 41:14, “I will help thee, saith the Lord.” 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
There is even more: Psalms 8:1-4, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Just think of the wonderful and encouraging passage in Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
Our personal efforts may seem to go nowhere and often no one seems to care, but there are much larger issues at hand. Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Pagan mythology paints a very unflattering picture of “the gods.” The pagans viewed deity through the filter of their own humanity. In fact, this is a non-technical, but powerful argument showing the difference between the inspired record of Jehovah, and the imaginations of men which led to the pagan superstitions of antiquity. For the pagan, the gods were jealous, petty, capricious, and flawed. Though they had superhuman powers, they were limited, and behaved like corrupt men. War, treachery, infidelity, immaturity and envy are common themes in pagan mythology.
Continue reading » The Attributes of God
In 1 Peter 1:13-16, the apostle Peter wrote:
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Here Peter revealed the basis of the appeal made to holy living on the part of those who name Christ as their savior. We are to be holy because God is Holy. It is not an arbitrary requirement, nor is it capricious. Further, holiness is to be defined by the nature of God rather than the customs of men. Finally, holiness should be present in every aspect of the Christian’s conduct.
Because the call to holiness is so important, God’s children should have a clear idea of what is required of them. In our time the call is muted and distorted by the static of worldliness. Too often Christians either ignore or are unaware of the standard God has set for his people. They compromise the mark God has set, and are guilty of embracing a morality that has its genesis in the mind of man rather than the mind of the Creator. Let’s examine the basis of God’s call to his children to be Holy.
Continue reading » The Holiness of God
The Bible quotation that is the title of this article is language used in the King James Version of Acts 10:34. There, Luke records, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” KJV). Modern translations would use the phrase that God “shows no partiality” (NKJV) or “is not one to show partiality” (NASB). Just for clarity’s sake, understand that the modern translations more accurately state the premise. Some have misunderstood the ancient language to mean that God has no respect for mankind indicating some disdain for man. Nothing could be further from the truth. God sent His only begotten Son to the earth in order to save man. God so loved the world, not disdained it.
That initial point dealt with, let us now look into what Peter said and why. The situation in Acts 10 is the record of the conversion of the first Gentile to the gospel of Christ in the person of Cornelius, a Caesarean army officer, a centurion. This was a man of a good reputation as well as powerful military rank. For verification of these details, please see and read Acts 10 and 11 in their entirety. The significance of the events recorded in these two chapters is seen in that up to this point in time the apostles and the initial converts maintained their Jewish bias against all Gentiles and considered them unworthy of a relationship with God, and certainly not with themselves, as the Jews were the chosen people of God. This bias was misapplied, but God had a plan to overcome their prejudice and show them a better way. Peter, a servant of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ as well as a devout Jew, was a tough nut to crack. This would not be the only time he had a problem with prejudice against Gentiles (See Galatians 2, beginning at verse 11). God had a way of dealing with tough nuts, too. Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: God is No Respecter of Persons
There is a beautiful and rich word in the Hebrew language that powerfully describes the faithful mercy and steadfast lovingkindness of our Lord. This meaning filled Hebrew word is transliterated into English as hesed.
Why Study About Hesed?
There are several compelling reasons to engage in a study of the word hesed:
- To be wise. The Scriptures proclaim that if we desire to be truly wise, we will understand what hesed is. “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness (hesed) of the Lord” (Psa. 107:43, take note that hesed will be in parentheses immediately following its English translation throughout the rest of this article, kdm).
- To be obedient. The Bible also explains that if we are to be truly obedient to God, then we will love hesed. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy (hesed), and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8). The Lord commands us to “observe mercy (hesed)” (Hos. 12:6).
- To learn from the O.T. We frequently, and rightfully so, preach about the use and abuse of God’s grace from the New Testament perspective. However, there is a tremendous wealth of often overlooked information about the loving favor of our Lord from an Old Testament standpoint (Rom. 15:4). A study of the Hebrew word hesed will firmly reinforce many substantial truths about God’s gracious relationship with man.
- To refute error. Some affirm that the God of the New Testament is different than the God of the Old Testament. They claim that the God of the New Testament is a God of grace while implying that the God of the Old Testament was not. Others also teach that God’s grace provides an unconditional umbrella of safety that overlooks ongoing sins of immorality and doctrinal error. This study of hesed will prove such teaching to be false (Jer. 16:5, 10-13).
- To know God. Most importantly, the more we understand hesed, the more fervently we will endeavor to remain under Jehovah’s strong wings of protection and love. “How precious is your lovingkindness (hesed), O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings . . . Oh, continue Your lovingkindness (hesed) to those who know You” (Psa. 36:7-10). Continue reading » Solid Food: HESED – God’s Faithful Lovingkindness
Inherent in the idea of the word “judgment” is the concept of making a decision. People are constantly making decisions of one sort or another. We decide what to wear, what to eat, how best to make provisions for ourselves and our families. On the job, decisions must be made concerning the most efficient way to complete a task. We exercise this normal human function by using a process of judgment. We accumulate facts, analyze them, and then select which course to follow. It is a natural human event to judge.
As with so many natural human events, the Lord has regulated man’s judgment processes. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Jesus did not here prohibit the exercise of this natural human task, but placed his demand for righteousness upon it. We could cite many examples of this same sort of regulation. Sexual relationships between men and women are not prohibited by God, but are regulated by the command of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:27-32; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:1-9). Business activities, even when they reap great wealth for those involved, are not prohibited, but are most certainly regulated (Luke 12:16-21; James 4:13-17; 1 Timothy 6:17-19). Continue reading » Associate Editorial: The Righteous Judgment of God
Why do you read the Bible?
Some actually read the Bible looking for problems with God. For example, atheists and some religious persons read the Bible looking for what they conceive to be contradictory actions of God or contradictory scriptures. They hope to prove that the Bible is not the inspired word of God because it contains contradictions. We should not read the Bible to find problems with God or contradictory scriptures. The problem is not with God, but with mankind. It is mankind that has sinned. It is mankind that has acted contradictory. It is mankind that has made mistakes. The Bible is the perfect story of how mankind, with his problems, can be saved from sin through obedience to Jesus Christ. The Bible contains no contradictions! Continue reading » Solid Food: Faithful Obedience or Sinful Practice? (Genesis 22:1-19)