Monday, December 31, 2007

The Fourth Commandment

The Fourth Commandment

Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5:12-15 NIV)

The key to this command is its purpose: “…so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.” Everybody rests!

Jesus confirmed this purpose when he answered criticism of violating the Sabbath by picking heads of grain (harvesting, working). “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” This command was given for man’s benefit: to rest. It was not given for the Sabbath’s benefit, nor for God’s. It was given so that man would rest. Jesus then added, “So the Son of Man [Jesus] is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8).

The Sabbath was not made for gathering together to worship. It was made to rest. At the time the command was given, there was no place to gather. Even if there were, the place would not accommodate two million people.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Friday, December 28, 2007

More on Fellowship

Christian fellowship is not possible without all or both parties being in fellowship with the Father and the Son.

This begins to happen when a person has his sins forgiven by coming to the Father through the Son.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

This fellowship continues to take place when he walks in the light. He has fellowship with other people who have come to the light and who are walking in the light.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been through God.” John 3:19-21

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

There does not seem to be much of this kind of fellowship in the Christian Communities today. It is for one of two reasons.

1. The people have not come to the light. They have not been forgiven; they are not Christians.

2. They have come to the light but they are not walking in the light.

Although #1 may be true, I will consider #2 in the Roots by the River.

These are Christians whose sins are not being cleansed as fast as they occur. In other words, probably most Christians. There are two major reasons for this.

1. The Christian does not confess his sin.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

2. The Christian does not forgive those who have sinned against him.

Pay attention to the following teaching of Jesus.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14, 15

“So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.” Luke 17:3, 4

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. "The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35

Read them again.

Is the teaching to the one who sins, or to the one who is supposed to forgive?

What is the consequence to the one who does not forgive?

The greater cause of no fellowship in the saints is “not forgiving” not in “not repenting.”

The forgiver in Luke 17 is to forgive when the other says he repents. The forgiver does not get to judge whether the other is really repentant. He is not a competent judge. To say He is not repentant is to give himself reason not to forgive. He does not have that option.

The seventy-seven times does not mention that the sinning man repents seventy-seven times. Forgiveness is unrelated to the person’s repentance. The forgiveness must be from the heart, not from the mouth only.

To respond by saying “there is nothing to forgive” may be a dodge to keep from forgiving.

Lack of forgiving is a major cause of no fellowship in the saints.

“I can forgive but I can’t forget” is another means of hanging on to unforgiveness. It is amazing what you forget when forgiveness is from the heart.

“I can’t forgive,” is either a way of saying, “I am not saved” or if saved, saying “I will not forgive.” Either way, it is big trouble for the unforgiving. Christians are commanded to forgive.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

If you are unforgiving then that is simply sin. It is a greater sin than the sin which you are not forgiving. Confess it as sin until you are cleansed of it. Then forgive your brother. Two of the ways it is possible to know that you are unforgiving, even though you have convinced yourself that you have forgiven is that, 1) you have no joy and, 2) you are still not in fellowship with him.

You may wonder about a case of Church discipline when we are told not to eat with a person who continues to sin and calls himself a Christian.

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11

“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18:17

Certainly, there is no fellowship because of him retaining his sin.

I am not allowed an “attitude’ toward this person. We are to treat him as a non-Christian.

How did Jesus treat tax collectors and sinners?

Even in legitimate church discipline, we should be walking in the light and rejoicing always. To hold a grudge is not forgiving.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Second Commandment--part 2

The second commandment--part 2.

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments." Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)


God is jealous. There is one right kind of jealousy.

When can you be jealous and not be in sin?

When the person belongs to you and is unfaithful to you. This is God's kind of jealousy. People who belong to him but have given homage to false gods receive his judgment.

There are two wrong kinds of jealousy. The first is when the person belongs to you and you imagine unfaithfulness. The second is when the person does not belong to you.

The right kind of jealousy, God's, does not allow unfaithfulness, expressed here as disobeying and hating him. This disobedience and hatred will have consequences for three and four generations. Sin flows downhill through generations. Today these are termed dysfunctional families.

This is followed by a promise to those who are faithful to him, described as those who love him and keep his commandments. The consequences of this are also generational. How many generations? Three? Four? No, a thousand generations. They have the love of God shown to them.

Would you like to see your generations turn around from three or four dysfunctional families to a thousand generations in the love of God?

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Second Commandment

The second commandment:

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)

This should be clear, but it is not clear to many people. The command has several parts.

1. You shall not make
2. You shall not bow
3. God is jealous and punishes four generations
4. God is jealous and shows love to a thousand generations

Does the command not to “make for yourself an idol” (icon, image) include art forms like Michaelangelo’s David?

No! But it does include statues of Zeus, Buddha, Hindu deities, Diana, Athena, fetishes, amulets, charms, etc.

Does it include pictures of Jesus, crosses, and crucifixes?


Yes, in many instances.

When would it not?

If the picture was made to teach a truth for people who cannot read. The picture or pictures could tell a story like “the feeding of the five thousand” or “Jesus healing Bartimaeus.” If the picture is used in home or church as a place of reverence or worship then it should not be made. This leads us to the second part of the command, You shall not bow down to them and worship them.

Questions? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Greatest Expression of Love

The greatest expression of love in the history of the world was the voluntary death of Jesus Christ.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV)


God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)


Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14, 15 (NIV)

In some way you may think mystical, God took care of sin, death and the devil all in the death of Jesus Christ on a cross near a Middle Eastern city close to 2,000 years ago.

If that is so and has been so for these years, why do we have so much sin, death and the devil today? Here’s why:

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:45-57 (NIV)

All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. Acts 10:43 (NIV)

The answer is very simple: Christians have not preached Christ to all nations, and people have not believed.

Questions? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Big Bang

Several years ago, two different well-known magazines had something about the creation. The first I noticed was a contest in Sky and Telescope. The competition was for a new name for the “Big Bang” theory. Apparently, “Big Bang” does not sound scientific nor does it sound astronomical. It certainly does not sound religious. I guess it must sound childish. Certainly, if it did happen, “big bang” is an understatement.

The second was Big Bang Comix in the New Yorker. The strip had six frames; the first four were empty except for the captions, “A WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING…,” “THE BIG EMPTY…,” and “STILL ZILCHVILLE….” The fifth was a big frame with “KER-BLOOEY!” and the last was captioned “AT LONG LAST—STUFF!” with stars, suns and planets.

I thought of sending in “Ker-blooey!” for my entry in the contest, but that would have been plagiarism. This made me think of God’s possible entries.

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth…. For he spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. Psalm 33:6, 9, (NIV)

...but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…through whom he made the universe. Hebrews 1:2(NIV)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1 (NIV)


...I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. Jonah 1:9 (NIV)

I doubt if these entries would win. They are too long. They are also too true. We will shorten them and keep the truth. God created.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

God's Laws and Man's Laws

This might not be understood by some of you, but here goes anyway.

People are subject to two kinds of laws: God’s laws and man’s laws. We are to obey them or be punished by them. There is a way we can get out from under man’s laws—die! And there is a way to get out from under God’s laws—die! However, there is a difference in the way we die. In the first case when we die physically, the 55mph speed limit has no authority over us. In the second case we can die to the law and remain alive physically.

“Likewise, my brethren, you have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.” Romans 7:4 (NIV)

God’s moral law is good in content, but it has another, different effect upon sinful man. The command “You shall not commit adultery” has no more power to keep people from committing adultery than the 55 mph speed limit has the power to make people drive less than 55. God’s moral law does three other things.

“For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 (NIV)

“Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Romans 5:20 (NIV)


God’s moral law 1) does not make people righteous, 2) makes people conscious of sin, and 3) increases the sin of people.

When we die to the law, we are made righteous by grace. When we die to the law, our conscience is made clean. When we die to the law, it no longer increases sin.

There is a connection between God’s law and our sin nature. Our sin nature is rebellious.

“What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I should not have known sin. I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, wrought in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead.” Romans 7:7, 8 (NIV)

When we die to the law, we die to sin.

“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:2 (NIV)

“The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.” Romans 6:10 (NIV)


When we die to the law we are made alive in Christ, and obedience increases as opposed to sin increasing.

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3, 4 (NIV
)

Suggested reading: Romans, chapters 1-8.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Continuous Fellowship

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

This “walking in the light” guarantees two things.

1. Continuous fellowship
2. Continuous cleansing

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fake Fellowship...Based on a Lie

“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 John 1:6

It is not possible to be in fellowship if we are walking in darkness and not living by the truth.

Walking and living are not the same as singing and reciting. We can sing, “Walking in the Light.” That is not the same as walking in the light. We can recite truth, the Apostle’s Creed. That is not the same as living by the truth.

We can claim to have fellowship with Him and be lying while we are claiming.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fellowship

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:3-4

We find several wonderful things in these two verses.

1. The proclamation of the Gospel
2. Fellowship with us
3. Our fellowship is with the Father and the son
4. Complete joy

In local assemblies, fellowship is based upon cultural activities. Some of these are singing, eating, fun, games, and talking with each other. They take place in a separate room in the church building called the Fellowship Hall.

This is not what the text is saying. It is saying that there is no fellowship outside of the Lord Jesus. It is also saying there is complete joy in this fellowship and this fellowship is with the Father and the Son.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rescue, Redeem, Save, and Set Free

Here are a few verses about the birth of Jesus that are not normally recited at Christmas time.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Galatians 1:3-5 NIV)

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4, 5 NIV)

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21 NIV)

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14, 15 NIV)

We see the purpose of God in the birth of Jesus: “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age”; “to redeem those under law”; “because he will save his people from their sins”; “and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Jesus was born to rescue, redeem, save and free.

Would you like this to be true of you? Rescued, redeemed, saved and freed?

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good, but Not Good Enough

The Old Testament is a history of bad people with bad actions and good people with bad actions. In other words, it is a history of sin. The bad news precedes the good news.

The New Testament has a detailed history of the good news as a solution for the bad news, which came first.

What about the good people with good actions? Well, there are not very many, according to the Bible. In fact, the Bible says there are none. However, we will choose one who, by man’s standards, might fit.

His name is Cornelius, and he shows up in the Book of Acts, chapter 10. He is not a Jew; nor is he a Christian, nor a Buddhist, nor a Muslim.

He and all his family were devout and God fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. (Acts 10:2)

He was good, but not good enough. He needed help, and God sent it by an angel, by the Holy Spirit, and by Peter.

The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a remembrance before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.” (Acts 10:4-6)

If Cornelius were already good, why would he send for Peter?

“Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.” (Acts 11:13)

Cornelius and his household needed to be saved. He knew it, too. That is why he prayed to God regularly. If you are praying to God regularly and giving generously to those in need, it may mean that you’re searching for God, not that you have found him.

Questions? You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Liars

My memory is very sharp when it comes to the lies I have told. I still remember them, but they do not bother me as they once did. It is not the passage of time, but the forgiveness in Jesus Christ that eased my conscience yet kept my memory.

Today is a reminder of bad news. It is what God thinks of liars and His judgment upon them. We will start with Proverbs 6:16-19.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
1. Haughty eyes,
2. A lying tongue,
3. Hands that shed innocent blood,
4. A heart that devises wicked schemes,
5. Feet that are quick to rush into evil,
6. A false witness that pours out lies,
7. And a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.



Why “six,” and “seven”? Because lying is in the list twice. Notice also that pride or arrogance is #1, lying is #2 and #6, and murder is #3. God does not have a light view of lying. Jesus said of the devil,

He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

The three great judgments on the devil were 1, 2, and 3—Pride, Lying, and Murder. Lying is the devil’s first language.

What is the judgment on liars; that is, unforgiven liars?

And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever. (Revelation 20:10)

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake of fire that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:14)
The devil is not running Hell. He is there with all other liars.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Time Brings to Mind the Father and Son

At Christmas time I think of the Father.

“God is love” 1 John 4

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

He is love and He loved us.

At Christmas time I think of the Son.

“I am gentle and humble in heart” Matthew 11:29

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8

In the Incarnation two great qualities of God were expressed, infinite love from the Father and infinite humility from the Son.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Deliverance from Evil and Terror

Occasionally I still hear people make comments about the innocent people in Central Africa or Papua New Guinea or Amazonia. “These are people who are living in pristine Edens and should not be tampered with by White men who will bring evil into their lovely, innocent gardens.”

I remember one University of Maryland student who said to me, “What do you mean putting clothes on those innocent people?” I then showed her the last picture in The Savage My Kinsman by Elisabeth Elliot. It was a photograph of an Auca Indian with no clothes on walking hand in hand with a little white girl, also with no clothes on. I then said to her, “It looks like the Indians are taking the clothes off the missionaries.”

Here is an excerpt from Spokane author Neil Anderson’s book In Search of the Source. Neil Anderson and his family spent the last 20 years in Papua New Guinea translating the New Testament into the Folopa language.

Soon others joined in with a cascade of graphic descriptions of the worst torture I’d ever heard…like the times they would hold torches up to the captured person’s skin until it blistered, or they’d pour boiling water on him until the skin literally came off. Or they’d tie him spread- eagle and naked to the ground and have the women beat him with their digging sticks….

This is a description of a civilization that has been in existence for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. It was decadent, living in terror of evil spirits for centuries. When the good news came, the people were delivered from their terror and evil.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. Romans 1:28, 29 (NIV)
You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Talking, but not Walking

We are all aware of people who talk Christianity but do not walk it. In other words, their lives do not reflect what they say. Jesus said it this way:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. (Matthew 23:25, 26)


Probably, the greatest criticism of Christianity today is the hypocrisy of the “Christians.” It is amazing how easy it is to recognize hypocrisy in others and not recognize it in ourselves.

I do not know if George Gallup has conducted a poll on hypocrites. If so, I do not have access to his figures. So I will guess the results. These are imaginary figures. Since I am imagining, I will take a sample of 100% of the population.

Q: What percentage of people are hypocrites?
A: 70% (Average answer.)
Q: Are you a hypocrite?
A: No! (Average answer.)

From the two questions in one poll we find out that 70% of the population is hypocritical and that 0% are hypocritical. I have yet to meet a person who thinks that he himself is a hypocrite.

I would like to draw your attention to 1 John 1: 6, 8, and 10:

If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth…. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us…. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

While we are at it, here is another:

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

And another:

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. (1 John 2:9)

I will end with these two sentences and then encourage you to read 1 John, all five chapters.

The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness. (2 Timothy 2:19)

Are you a hypocrite?

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lack of Joy May be the Result of Unconfessed Sin

Today I would like to write to those of you who have passed from death to life and know it, but your life now is not made up of the same joy and peace that you had when you first crossed over. You would like to have that love and joy and peace in abundance again. It is easy to connect your present state with your present circumstances. Your environment and circumstances did not determine your peace then, and they do not determine it now.

When you received Christ you were born from above. At that event all of your sins were washed away. You were clean on the inside. You received the fruit of the Spirit, which included a peace that passed your understanding. That peace was the result of two things—your sins were forgiven, and you were indwelt with the Holy Spirit. This peace, joy, and love were God’s peace, joy, and love given to you.

Here is how to remain in the peace, joy, and love you had when you first became a Christian.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all…. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin…. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5, 7, 9)

It is a good possibility that you have lost your joy because you have unconfessed sin in your life. Memorize verse nine.

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Do You Want the Good News First or the Bad News?

You may be thinking, “How about some good news without the bad news first?” It is difficult, maybe impossible to do and still be honest. The reason for this is the very nature of the words “salvation,” “saved,” “redemption,” and “justification.” They all have a meaning in them that implies something to be saved from, redeemed (bought back) from, and to make just that which is unjust.

Here are two examples:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-5)

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)


If we were not bad, we would not need to be saved from our badness and God’s judgment on that badness. Besides the contrast of the good and bad, there are those wonderful words “the kindness and love of God” and “his mercy” and “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy” and “by grace.”

Recommended reading: Three Kinds of Love by Masumi Toyotome. You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Heterosexual Immorality

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor the idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


Today my emphasis is on heterosexual immorality. There are two expressions used here: sexually immoral and adulterers. The sexually immoral would be people who have practiced fornication before marriage or after a divorce. An adulterer is one who commits fornication with someone who is not his or her spouse. Then the marriage vow is violated. These people are wicked people, and unless they are forgiven through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ they will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Adultery is not a good word. It is related in magnitude of evil to murder and perversion.

We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:9-11)

Jesus used the word this way in Mark 8:38:

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the angels.

If you are currently living in an unforgiven, immoral situation and would like out of it, please contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our website address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)