Index by Subject

“Your sin will find you out”

Numbers 32 records the petition the children of Reuben and Gad made to Moses and the leaders of the congregation of Israel. They desired to settle on the east side of the Jordan River rather than with the rest of the Israelites in Canaan. Moses agreed to allow this, so long as the two tribes guaranteed they would fight with the rest of Israel until “until every one of the children of Israel has received his inheritance” (vs. 18). Having given his approval, Moses warned the people should they go back on their word:

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (vs. 23).

There are many different examples, in both the Old and New Testaments, of people trying to hide their sin. While it is possible for the sinner to hide his sin from men, it is not possible to hide his sin from the Almighty.

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Rationalizing Sinful Behavior

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

Babylon in the book of Revelation

Babylon is first mentioned in the book of Revelation at chapter 14:8.  John writes, “And another, a second angel, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, that hath made all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”  The Babylonian Empire had already fallen hundreds of years before these words were written.  What then is John writing about?  Who is Babylon?  Why is Babylon falling?  A study of the book of Revelation reveals Babylon to be the world of sin and sinners.  She is Satan’s realm (see John 12:31; 16:11; 1 John 5:19).  Babylon is used, throughout the book of Revelation, as a personification of things opposed to the authoritative will of God.  She is powerful, seductive, and terrible (see Daniel 2:31).  Knowledge of Revelation’s Babylon will better equip the saints today to identify sin and avoid it rather than participating in it (see Revelation 18:4). Continue reading » Babylon in the book of Revelation

Babylon

Babylon goes down in Biblical history as the great harlot of lust, pride, and vain glory (see Revelation 17:5).  A study of her rise to power, sin, and fall yields great lessons for the Christian of every generation.   Continue reading » Babylon

The Bible Is Relevant

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

The Intolerance of Toleration

intoleranceI recently came across an internet article listing the 5 most hated YouTube videos in internet history. This list was based upon the number of “thumbs down” designations given. Fifth on the list is the music video, “Baby”, by teen pop singer Justin Bieber. First on the list is a young lady who videotaped her opinion that the earthquake and resultant tsunami that devastated Japan was an answer to prayer, that God might convince the atheist of His existence. Interestingly, the girl later admitted that her video is a hoax, deliberately outrageous with the intent of provoking the ire of viewers.

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Sins Against the Holy Spirit

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

HU Queer Press Reviewed: A Dialogue on Homosexuality

In early March, 2011, some anonymous former and current students of Harding University published a “zine”, devoted to changing student and administrative attitudes toward homosexuality.  Harding is a conservative private university in Searcy, Arkansas.  The publication, entitled The State of the Gay at Harding University, was published by a group calling themselves HU Queer Press.  A website was created to host the document (huqueerpress.com), and at this writing the site consists entirely of the document itself, and positive or neutral reviews published on blogs and internet news sites.  The document is 32 pages long, and consists of personal testimonials, a review of Harding’s efforts to deal with homosexuals in the student population, and an attempt to justify homosexuality by an appeal to scripture.

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Can We Talk About Your Porn Stash?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article contains frank discussion of a sensitive subject matter and might not be appropriate for young readers. Please exercise discretion.

You would rather not talk about your porn stash and I can understand that. I would rather not talk about it either.

If you grew up in the 1960s, 70s, or 80s, it might have been hidden between your mattress and box springs, a stack of dirty magazines mailed to you from Hugh Hefner or Bob Guccione. Maybe your father had one, too, and you happened upon it, innocently enough one day, as you rifled through his night table, looking for … well, it doesn’t matter.

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Cyberporn

The statistics are overwhelming. Sexual addiction is such a subtle epidemic that some writers are comparing it to the more prominent and palatable obesity problem among Americans, just to attract some satisfactory level of attention.

Pornography, nothing new in itself, is fueling this randy epidemic, driving the “Triple-A engine” on the Information Superhighway. Internet delivery of sexual titillation and amusement is affordable, anonymous and accessible at the speed of light. It is ubiquitous, gender-neutral, age-defying, and ugly. It is exploitative and lucrative for its purveyors, and it is only getting worse as technology continues to develop. “The Internet is an essentially gnostic, disembodied medium: You can dispense ideas through it, but not sacraments, community, or embodiment” (Byassee 2008, 15).

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"God Knows My Heart"

We often hear this phrase uttered when one is caught in open sin, and when there is a clear disparity and discrepancy in their practice and the truth of the scriptures.  During the course of a discussion or Bible study one may be convicted by the scriptures of their sin, yet they are not willing to come to repentance and follow the Truth of the scriptures. Thus, this phrase “God knows my heart” is uttered. It is a feeble attempt to justify their sin in their own minds. The phrase is said to nullify obedience to God’s divine word.  Thus, those who make this argument, imply “I am convinced in my own mind and heart, thus it must be pleasing to God regardless of what He has revealed in the scriptures.”   It is the credo of those who “serve their own belly,” rather than “the Lord, Christ” ( Philippians 3:17-19).  The phrase defines the very attitude of those who seek to follow their own emotions and feelings, and reject the clear teaching of inspired scripture which alone is able to make us complete and equip us unto all good works ( 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Let us consider the scriptural implications of such an argument…..

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April Fool

Rumor has it that there is no fool like an old fool, but on April 1, he has company.

Evidently, April Fool’s Day derives from the fact that ancient cultures, including the Romans and Hindus, celebrated a new year on or around the first of April, coinciding with the arrival of spring. In the middle ages, much of Europe likewise observed March 25 as the Feast of Annunciation and the commencement of a new year. In 1582, however, the Vatican king replaced the old Julian calendar with his own, calling for each new year to begin on January 1. According to legend, some failed to get the message – perhaps their banks and insurance companies neglected to mail the new calendars – and they were mocked as fools and traditionalists for showing up in Times Square in early spring, expecting a ball to drop amidst a shower of confetti.

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Another Ox Goes to the Slaughter

In the sixth and seventh chapters of the Old Testament Proverbs, the ancient writer of wisdom lays down some timeless warnings for his son concerning the danger presented by “the evil woman” (6:24). Along the way, however, he alerts us all to the perils of sexual temptation and immorality through evil women and men.

The hedonism of this world has infected Christianity to the point that new excuses are being created every day to allow for the tolerance of sexual immorality. Standards of attire, behavior and repentance are being cast aside by the soothing self-delusion that nothing evil will result. In these proverbs, though, we find unalterable truth and a reality that must force us to ask wisdom to be our sister and understanding our near kin. No matter your age, marital status or gender, sexual immorality is an issue that must be soberly considered.

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The Truth About Matthew 18:15-20

Introduction

It’s a shame that Matthew 18:15-20 is one of the most misused and misapplied passages of Scripture: its true purpose is saving souls!

All verse references are from Matthew 18 unless otherwise noted

What kind of sin?

Verse 15 starts: “If your brother sins against you….” The sin in this passage is a personal sin one against another. In his follow-up question at verse 21, Peter understands the sin to be personal: “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?

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Does God Cause Natural Disasters?

On January 12, 2010 the island nation of Haiti was devastated by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Of its nine million residents, it is estimated that 200,000 lost their lives, another 250,000 were injured, and two million became homeless. News of this tragedy was brought to our attention on a daily basis. Politicians and celebrities appealed to Americans to donate money to help the people of Haiti. All of the pain and suffering caused by this earthquake lead some to ask why God would allow such a thing to happen. Continue reading » Does God Cause Natural Disasters?

Teetotalers

Introduction

The word “teetotaler” means someone who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages.  The Bible calls on Christians to be teetotalers. Continue reading » Teetotalers

"What is Written … How Readest Thou?": The Inward Conflict – Who Is Described?

Examining Romans 7:7-25

To say that this passage has been the occasion for much debate is an understatement. The fact that it is a difficult passage, regardless of the interpretation defended, is a truth to which all serious students would readily agree. In this brief study, we cannot raise all of the questions posed about this text, much less take the space required to reason towards answering all of those questions. We will, however, try to lay a foundation needed to properly understand the main points. For a detailed study, Whiteside’s commentary gives an excellent examination of this text.

The apostle Paul began the epistle to the Romans by affirming that the Gospel is God’s power to save those who respond in faith to that message. He then shows that all are in need of that salvation because all have sinned beginning with the Gentiles and then concentrating on the Jews (Romans 1:18 – 2:20). The next two chapters emphasize the themes of faith and grace as they relate to the justification of the sinner through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This point is also made with special emphasis to the Jews. Up to that point in the book, the writer stresses the need for, and nature of God’s action in salvation.

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Associate Editorial: Sin is Never Conservative

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).  In this first Bible reference to “the church” Jesus promises to build it on the foundation of His deity. Having made a construction reference in regard to the church, he completes the figure by promising to turn over the keys to those who would live in that church. Interestingly enough, in verse 19, He does not call it a church again, but rather He uses a synonym for it and calls it “the kingdom of heaven.”  They are one and the same.

The keys to be used in entering the kingdom, or church, would also involve inherently that which fits in the figure of a kingdom, that of rule, or authority. The possessor of the keys would have power to bind and loose. That is a function of law, to restrict behavior or to allow behavior — binding and loosing — restricting, allowing. Law permits or prohibits behavior. Such is the basic premise of law. Those that want to contend that the kingdom and church are not the same neither understand law, construction, or grammar, much less the scriptures. Why would the Lord promise to build His church and then promise the keys to something else? When builders complete their construction, they turn over the keys to those who will use that which is built. Jesus promised to build His church and then promised to turn over the keys to that church to those who would use it first, the apostles. Peter opened the door of the kingdom, church, to jews first at Pentecost and then to Gentiles in Caesarea when he preached to Cornelius and his household. The same thing happened on both occasions. The keys were used, the door of opportunity was opened, and penitent, faithful believers went through the door through baptism into Christ. Acts 2:47 affirms that those entering the door were added to the church.

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Walking Worthy: Drawing Lines

Where do you draw the line?

That is the question that confronts many people as they think themselves wandering somewhere in between righteousness and iniquity. How much is too much? When do we go too far?

So many believe that the answers to those questions will always be a matter of personal conviction and that each person’s answer is as valid as the next. Yet in many cases, God has drawn lines for us and inching closer and closer to iniquity is like the moth flitting nearer to the flame. While it is imperative that we resist any urge to draw our own artificial, arbitrary lines and impose them on others, it is equally vital that we learn to respect the lines that God has drawn in his word.

When God Has Drawn A Line

In creation, God enacted certain lines, limits and boundaries for this planet on which we live, and in all the years since, it has not added an ocean or a continent (Proverbs 8:25-31).  In Proverbs 8, personified wisdom respects the authority of the Lord to set limits and draw boundaries, and when those limits are pressed, as they are in storms and floods and droughts, there is great conflict and injury that follows.

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God’s Attitude Toward Sin

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

It has been established that God is holy, and demands holiness from those who would belong to Him.  God demands and rightfully expects obedience from man because he is God, “Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them:  I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:37).

Men today are involved in all types of sin.  This is no different from times past, but it seems men are terribly wicked in our time.  Especially in America, men seem to have a skewed set of values, which lead them to ungodly actions. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

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