Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Every Good Work

There are better ways to obey the commands of God than try, effort or will power.

Here is one of the ways:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
(Colossians 1:9-12)


The Colossians end up having all of the characteristics simply because Paul had prayed for them to have them. They had no means of obeying them. They could not be filled with the knowledge of His will with all spiritual wisdom and understanding by any act of obedience.

Have your friends pray for you using this text. You will find yourself bearing fruit in every good work with no effort.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Commands of Jesus

Please pay clear attention to the words of Jesus.

“If you love me, keep my commands...Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
(John 14:15;21)


“...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20)


Loving Jesus requires obedience to his commands. Discipleship requires obeying everything he commands his disciples. Here are a few of many commands:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
(John 13:34)


“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
(Luke 6:38)


“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
(Matthew 6:31-34)


“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
(Matthew 5:44)


“Then Jesus said to his host, 'When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'”
(Luke 14:12-14


Have you obeyed any or all of them?
Do you love Jesus?
Are you his disciple?

Please write out every command of Jesus and answer the question, “Have you obeyed this command?”

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Ever Hearing



“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' and I said, 'Here am I. Send me!' He said, 'Go and tell this people: 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.'”
(Isaiah 6:8-10)


These few verses are quoted in the New Testament. The first is in Matthew 13 when Jesus says why he uses parables so that people would not understand.

“This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.' In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ''You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
(Matthew 13:13-16)


Jesus quotes it again in John 12:29-41 and Jesus said that they would not believe and also that they could not believe. John also tells us that the one who appeared to Isaiah was the Lord Jesus.

“Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”
(John 12:41)


Finally, Paul quotes it to the Jews who came to him when he was under house arrest (Acts 28:16a) in Rome. Here he is; verse 25-29.

“They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: 'The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet: “Go to this people and say, 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” 'Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”
(Acts 28:25-29)


He says that they don't want to believe.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sex in Marriage Part 2

Sex in Marriage #2

In the Bible there is much indirect reference to sex, much of it having to do with procreation in marriage.

“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.’” (Genesis 4:1)

“He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.” (Genesis 16:4)

“That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.” (Genesis 19:33)

“Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” (Genesis 21:2)


Women have two strong instincts:

1. To be a wife
2. To be a mother

Sometimes the mother instinct is so strong that the woman will marry just to have children. The mother instinct may be stronger than the wife instinct.

With men, they also have two strong instincts:

1. To be a husband
2. To be a father

The instinct for sex is stronger than the fatherhood. Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (I Kings 11:3).

He was more interested in sex than he was in children. However, he was a father many times over. He was not a good father.

The genealogies in I Chronicles 1-10, Matthew 1, and Luke 4 all have to do with procreation. From the great verses of the men of Faith in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews here are a few who were all poor fathers: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Samuel. All were justified by faith. That means that they were forgiven for their sins which included being poor husbands and fathers.

After the flood, God blessed Noah and gave him commands, one of which was Genesis 9:7.
“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (Genesis 9:7)

Mankind has obeyed that command but not in a godly way.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sex and Marriage, Part 1

When I was a very young man, premarital sex was not common among Christian women or women from Christian families. During the same time I spent four years in the Far East. When the ship was in port, whether it was in Sasebo, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Manila, or Subic Bay, the first several blocks from the dock were several hundred prostitutes. Officers and enlisted men both participated in the sex business. But back home there were few pregnancies and few abortions.

If some young woman got pregnant or was known to be promiscuous, she was avoided by the saints. In the late sixties, I was Sunday School superintendent in a church in Maryland. One of the teenage Sunday School teachers got pregnant. I met with her and found that she was repentant and forgiven for her sexual activity. She was not guilty of being pregnant. Only God creates children. I allowed her to continue to teach. The church got upset with me for that decision. There have been over 50 million legal induced abortions performed since 1973 in the US.

Here are some statistics:

1.2 million abortions per year
135,000 adoptions per year

There are close to four million births every year in the US. One hundred thirty five thousand of these are adopted out.

There are over five million conceptions in a year and one million of them are aborted. That is one fifth of all pregnancies are aborted.

I am not writing this to horrify you with statistics. I am writing to see if you care enough to reach out to these women to love them into the kingdom. I am concerned about the lack of love. The two choices seem to be either acceptance of premarital sex and of abortions, or judgment and exile of the women. Neither one of these is a Christian view. Read John 8:1-11 and John 4. What about the men? They are the most responsible. But they are not as vulnerable as the women or as helpless. They should protect the woman, not take advantage of her. This means we have to go after the men.

In addition, we should go after the fathers of these women. You could reach out to them while they are still virgins, or when they are promiscuous, or when they have an abortion, or after they have had it. In every case they will be open to your love.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Korea

Here are a few facts about Korea.
It is about the size of Utah with 45 times as many people. The first movable printing type made of metal was invented there in the late 1300’s. A phonetic alphabet with 24 letters was invented in 1438. Other first inventions were armored warships in the 1500’s, marine’s compass and a suspension bridge. Only 22 percent of the land is arable.
 
Recent Political history:

Japan’s influence in Korea became strong in 1895. In 1905, Japan took control of Korea’s foreign affairs. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea as part of Japan. This continued until August of 1945. After Japan’s surrender in World War II, Russia invaded Korea as far south as the 38th Parallel. North Korea invaded South Korea in June of 1950. This was continued for an even three years, at which time a truce was signed but there has never been a peace treaty. The two nations are still at war 60 years later. Total military casualties dead, wounded, and missing for South Korea , United States, and the UN – 580,135. Total military casualties for China and North Korea – 1,591,000. Civilian casualties are unknown but both North and South Korea were devastated physically.

North Korea is under a dictatorship. The country is very poor.

South Korea is a modern industrial democracy. A satellite picture of Korea at night shows South Korea lighted with electric light. North Korea is physically dark.

Friday, January 09, 2015

J.C. Ryle on Zeal

In 1958 I became acquainted with J.C. Ryle. We received an anonymous gift of three one dollar bills from Lancaster, PA. Also in the envelope was a tract on Hell by bishop Ryle. Many years later while ministering in Taiwan, I was given a picture of J.C. Ryle with his own signature on the picture. More years went by when here in Moscow, a man was publishing hard back books of all of J.C. Ryle’s writings. I gave the man the picture with the autograph. He was grateful. I received free new books.

This is an excuse to quote two quotes by J.C. Ryle on zeal.

“It may be very true that wise young believers are very rare. But it is no less true that zealous old believers are very rare also.” – J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 147

“A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies – whether he is rich, or whether he is poor – whether he pleases men, or whether he gives offence – whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish – whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame – for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is, to please God and to advance God’s glory.” – J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 130.