Monday, August 31, 2009
What is the remedy for last day living amongst the scoffers? God's word. II Peter chapter three deals with the last day scoffers, and tells us to look for Christ and trust in His promises. The passage begins:
II Peter 3:1-2 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.
This passage begins with exhortations to be mindful of the word of God; to stir up their minds by recalling the precious truths of God's word.
The following verses deal with last day scoffers, and shows the foolishness of their mockery, as the Lord is coming again. Peter ends with another command for the word in verses 15 and 16.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
This passage opens and closes with the admonition to go to the Bible. Read, study, call into your remembrance; hear the word preached, read the promises over and again, be strengthened in the word. You will find the same happens in II Timothy 3 when speaking of men in the last days, Christians are encouraged to the Word.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Go to the word. Be grounded in the bible. We have absolute truth, the very words of our Creator, the infallible, sure, Holy Scriptures. The Almighty verbally inspired every word, and that is the remedy for living in the last days, turn to God. Turn off the scoffers; do not pollute your mind with their mockery of your Lord.
Jude 20-21 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Among those that profess Christianity and throughout the different denominations there have been for hundreds of years arguments over what mode of Baptism is acceptable and proper. Some baptize by immersion, some by sprinkling and some by pouring. The bible declares that there is “one faith, one Lord and one baptism”; so only one of these ways can be correct. How was Jesus baptized? How did the apostles baptize? What was the New Testament understanding of the word baptism? Answer these questions, and we know the proper mode of baptism.
The answer can be found simply by defining the word baptism. An English dictionary will only tell us what the word has come to mean. The New Testament was written in Greek, and the Greek word that was translated baptism was baptizo. What does the word baptizo mean? John Broadus, former professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote this in his commentary on the book of Matthew the following:
“The Greek word baptize, which we borrow, was of very common use, as is seen in every period of Greek literature and was applied to a great variety of matters, including the most familiar acts of everyday life. It was thus a word which every Greek speaking hearer and reader in apostolic times would at once and clearly understand. It meant what we express by ‘immerse’ and kindred terms, and no on e could then have thought of attributing to it a wholly different sense, such as ‘sprinkle’ or ‘pour’ without distinct explanation to that effect…..Luther and Calvin both explicitly declared that the primitive baptism was immersion and the former said it ought to be restored; but they allowed the existing practice to remain undisturbed. In the course of time many Protestants came to perceive that it was very awkward to rest their practice in this respect on the authority of the Church of Rome, and being accustomed and attacked to the practice they very naturally sought countenance for it in scripture. Such are the unavoidable defects of language, that strongly biased and ingenious minds can always cast some apparent doubt over the mean of the plainest words.”
In fact, the very word means to immerse, and there would have been no question in New Testament times what baptizo meant; dipping or immersing. JR Graves, in his study of the Greek word baptizo in his book John’s Baptism found that “sixty-two standard Greek Lexicons giving only to dip, to immerse, as the literal primary meaning, which is the real meaning, of the work in Greek, corroborating the declaration of Dr. Charles Anton (Episcopalian), [then] President of Columbia ‘The primary meaning of the word [baptizo] is to dip, to immerse; and its secondary meaning, if it ever had any, refers to the same leading idea. Sprinkling and pouring are entirely out of the question”. Using scripture as our sole authority, when a person is saved by God’s grace, they are to be baptized, and scripture declares that we are to be baptized by baptism, which is immersion.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I have grown weary of the apathy of our day. “Who cares? What difference does it make? Someone should do something.” Only recently have many been awakened by political debate, but even that seems to be merely venting frustration of a few on each side of the health care position. Worst of all is the apathy in God’s house.
Of all people, we should be the least indifferent. The church in Laodicea was mired in apathy. One reason for their lethargy was their riches. When people have a lot they begin to get comfortable in what they have. The problem was Christ said that they were not rich or even in a position to be sluggish because they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Talk about misreading a self-diagnosis. They had a “whatever” attitude. They were not hot, they were not cold but right in the middle. Not really on fire for God, but not cold to the point they stopped believing, just comfortable. “Sinners are going to Hell” somebody says, “oh, yeah, uh.. somebody should go preach to them”. Or “look at the worldliness in the church” and you might hear “It’s the last days, what are ya’ going to do”.
The least we should do is care, right? Christ, the Faithful and True came and suffered on the cross the wrath of God, shedding His blood that we might have forgiveness, justification and eternal life, and we should at least care, right? Jesus told the church it would have been better if they were cold or hot, but the lukewarm temperature of their church was going to cause Him to “spue thee out of my mouth”. Jesus makes it crystal clear what He thinks of apathy in His church.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent”. Why should we repent from apathy? Because He loves us we should love Him and our love should be evident. He said not to be lukewarm; but rather be zealous, be on fire for God. We should care, we should be passionate, and we should be zealous, full of passion and vigor for the truths of God, His gospel, the cause of Christ.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Father, but by me.
The foundational truth of Christianity is Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Jesus simply and authoritatively declares that in John 14:6. The context of this passage tells us that Jesus informs His disciples that it would be necessary for Him to die upon the cross; Jesus was going to lay down His life for His people (John 10) to suffer God’s wrath for sins in their stead. Starting in the 14th chapter, Jesus then tells the disciples not to be troubled because His death will secure them Heaven, and that Jesus would live, and return for them. Thomas asked Jesus, if you leave, how will we know how to find you, how can we get to Heaven?
Then Jesus tells Him that He is the way, the truth and the life.Jesus is the way to Heaven. Some want to make God bend to the sincerity of a man’s heart, and as long as a person believes in “a god” then they will go to Heaven. Can you go to Heaven without faith in Christ? Jesus answers the question for Thomas, and for any who ask it, Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
Jesus is the truth. In our post-modern society, everyone gets to have their own truth, and the only thing that is definitive is, nothing is definitive. Truth is absolute, God’s word is absolute truth and in it we read that God sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for sin, then He was buried for three days and three nights, and rose from the grave for our justification, and whosever believes in Him and by faith and trusts in the finished work of Christ, shall be saved. That is the only truth of the way to Heaven.
Jesus is the Life. Man has an eternal soul and one will either be present with the Lord in Heaven, or lift up their eyes in Hell to pay for their sins. Only Jesus can provide eternal life in Heaven. No man can come to God, expect through Jesus Christ. Some say that different faiths worship the same God, only in different ways. Jesus said no man cometh unto the Father, but by me; no one will be saved unless they believe in Jesus Christ. If a person tries to know God or worship God in any other way than through Jesus, according to Christ they are “thieves and robbers” (John 10:8) and will go to Hell.
This is basic Christianity, this is the gospel. There is one God who is a Holy God. He created man in His own image, man rebelled against Him and now the human race is sunk in depravity. God being Holy and Just must punish sin, which is breaking God’s laws. God also being merciful sent His Son, Jesus, to take the place of sinners on the cross. Jesus accepted the punishment for the sins of His people, He took their place that they might have eternal life. Jesus died, the just for the unjust, and shed His blood on the cross for an atonement for sin. He died, and rose victoriously from the grave; by faith, whoever believes in Christ, shall not suffer in Hell for their sins, but be born again and have everlasting life.Jesus makes it plain, there is only one way to God, and that is faith in Christ. Any other belief system is rejecting the way, the truth and the life; the consequence of rejecting Christ is an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thomas Watson, in his book, The Divine Cordial says "There are two things, which I have always looked upon as difficult. The one is, to make the wicked sad; the other is to make the godly joyful. Dejection in the godly arises from a double spring; either because their inward comforts are darkened, or their outward comforts are disturbed."
A common feeling for the Christian, so don't feel alone as if some strange thing has happened to you to be cast down, we often go to Romans 8:28, as well we should, for comfort; but, on the other hand, let's not be too quick to forget that the good works for good as well. ALL THINGS, not just some things. That includes bad, as well as good things. Indeed the context of chapter eight is for the comfort of Christians, but this verse does not need to stay hidden until we come into trouble, we can praise God for everything. All things, God giving me a wonderful wife and four healthy children, all things, God saving my soul and putting me in the ministry, all things word together for good Romans 8:28.
Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. God's counsel shall, without doubt or question stand. Nothing will stop or slow God's counsel and everything that God wants to do, He will do. I will do all my pleasure, everything God wants to do, everything that is pleasing to God will come to pass according to His counsel. What a wonderful thought, especially that when I think that God loves me, and that God is for me; He is not my enemy, but my father. Christ is my Lord, my Saviour, my friend, and sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for me. When I think of these truths, I ask my self, as David, "why art thou cast down oh my soul?".