Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2018

Dogmatic, Objective Truth

One of the great words in the Bible is the word truth. However, it does not have a good reputation outside of the Bible. Perhaps it is because liars use it so often: “It’s the truth!” Gossips also use it to justify themselves: “Well, it’s true, isn’t it?” However, when rightly understood, truth is the measuring stick by which all falsehood is determined.

Let’s look at a few of the places truth is used in the Bible.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…

Behold the Lamb of God

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Rev. 12:11)

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp…. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev. 21:23-27)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Rev. 22:1)
Jesus, the Name High Over All (Charles Wesley), vv. 6-7

His only righteousness I show,
His saving truth proclaim:
'Tis all my business here below,
To cry, "Behold the Lamb!"

Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp his name!
Preach him to all, and cry in death,
"Behold! behold the Lamb."

Being Impressed with Myself

Obedience is always from the heart. If it is from the head only, it might be by the act of will only, and therefore it will be by effort and not by grace. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” (Col. 2:6). We are to obey the same way we received Christ, that is, by grace through faith.

Before I became a Christian, I lived a life of “obedience” in that I did not use profanity or slang, nor did I smoke, drink, or have sex. I was impressed with my goodness (or lack of badness). I impressed my non-Christian classmates with my “goodness.” I did not impress the Christians.

I had two strong attributes which also happen to be the primary attributes of Satan:

• Arrogance: I was self-righteous and proud of it. Satan said, “I will be like the Most High.”
• Lying: I lied very much. Jesus said of Satan that when he lies, he speaks his first language.

There I was being like the devil and thinking I was good. That changed on October 18, 1947. I cam…

Faith in Persecution

You may be aware that more and more Christians are being killed today for their faith in Jesus Christ than in all generations prior to this one. We do not know how many have denied their faith in order to stay alive. In my 70 years as a Christian, I have seen many who have not denied their faith and many more who have confessed their faith under persecution.

Over the years, I have asked many Christians if they wanted to be godly. It is an embarrassing question. They do not want to answer it. If they answered no, it wouldn’t sound right, even though it would be the truthful answer. They don’t want to answer yes, either. It would not be truthful, and if they said yes, God might help them be godly! They would lose most of their Christian friends.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “Take up the means of your own execution and follow Me.” So many Christians in the science and educational communities have compromised on little things. I am not sure how they would fare in a life and death decision.

A Homework Assignment

For some of you (you can decide which of you), I am giving an assignment. You do not need to turn in your homework for grading. It is an open-book assignment.

1. Read chapters 1 through 3 of Ephesians several times, listing everything that the believer has in Christ. Thank God for each of them.
2. Do the same thing with Colossians 1 and 2.
3. After you are fortified with all this wonderful truth and are rejoicing in it, then read Ephesians 4-6 and list all of the commands.
4. Repeat with Colossians 3-4.

You will find that the commands are not impossible because of where you are in Christ.

How to Wait for Christ

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patient waiting for Christ. (2 Thess. 3:5)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Phil. 3:20-21)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11-13)

They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thess. 1:9b-10)The common theme in these verses is waiting. We are to wait patiently and eagerly for …

The Results of Obedience

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land. (Isa. 1:19)

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. (Isa. 48:18)

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. (Isa. 32:17)According to Isaiah, the results of obedience and righteousness are peace, quietness, and confidence forever.

Washing the Dirt

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Ask the priests what the law says: If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?" The priests answered, "No." Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?" "Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled.” (Haggai 2:11-13)Notice this! Defilement, uncleanness, and dirt can be transferred. Cleanliness cannot be transferred. If I pour clean water into dirty water, does that make the dirty water clean? No! If I pour dirty water into clean water does that make the clean water dirty? Yes! If I have dirty hands and shake hands with you who have clean hands, do I transfer dirt to you, or do you transfer clean to me?

Dirt is transferred! “Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character'” (1 Cor 15:33…

How to Bear Good Fruit All the Time

This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jer. 17:5-8)

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the w…

Thoughts on Our Struggle Against the Enemy

I would like to draw attention to a few Scriptures about our Enemy and our relationship to him.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Eph. 1:18-21)

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 …

God's Personal Interest in Everyone

Have you ever noticed that God expresses a personal interest in everyone? Here are a few of those statements:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. (1 Tim. 2:3-6)He has given us some commands to obey concerning everyone:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. (1 Tim. 2:1)

Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (1 Cor. 10:32-11:1)

And the Lord’s servant m…

Praying for Our Leaders

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. (1 Tim. 2:1-3)I had a boss once who loved to make decisions. He did not make them rationally or emotionally or under God’s guidance—he just made them.

We are to pray for the authorities mentioned above so that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and holiness.

The leader you are praying for may not be a Christian. Pray for conviction of sin. Pray that he will hear the gospel and receive Christ. Pray for his decisions, that they will be good ones. And thank God! “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18).

You Go to the Best Church in Town, But...

Is your religion pure and faultless?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)If you are normal, you want to be in the best church in town, and you may be in it. However, does this church (or any church) fit God's definition of pure and faultless religion?

This is in the sight of God the Father. He is paying attention to see if your religion is pure and undefiled. There are two requirements: 1) to visit orphans and widows who are in distress and 2) to keep yourself unspotted from the world.

Concerning the first requirement, you may not know any widows or orphans in distress. However, they are there in your town. Ask God who they are.

The second requirement is not letting the filth of the world touch you at all. Jesus prays in John 17:15-17, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.…

Jesus, the Name High Over All

Jesus, the name high over all
In hell, or earth, or sky;
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly.

Jesus, the name to sinners dear,
The name to sinners given.
It scatters all their guilty fear,
It turns their hell to heaven.

Jesus the prisoner's fetters breaks,
And bruises Satan's head,
Power into strengthless souls it speaks,
And life into the dead.

Oh, that the world might taste and see
The riches of his grace!
The arms of love that compass me
Would all mankind embrace.

His only righteousness I show,
His saving truth proclaim:
'Tis all my business here below,
To cry, "Behold the Lamb!"

Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp his name!
Preach him to all, and cry in death,
"Behold! behold the Lamb."

- Charles Wesley

Feelings: More on Depression

Thank you for the comments and questions I received via email.

A woman’s menstrual cycle is not sin. If however, she loses her temper because of the hormones, that is sin and must be confessed.

I lost a classmate from suicide due to depression when he was a student at the Naval War College. There is no question in my mind that he was under the influence of the Enemy.

The Holy Spirit has fruit in the Christian’s life. The fruit of the Spirit is given to all Christians when we receive Christ. At that moment, all of our sins were forgiven.

When, as a new Christian, a person sins, he is chastened by the Lord (Heb. 12:5-11). No chastening is joyous. He loses his joy in the Lord. When he is chastened for his sin, he confesses it, and his joy returns.

God gives us the fruit of the Spirit. They are all emotions: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Each of these things is also commanded. We are not commanded to do these things in order…

Help for Getting out of Depression

Depression seems to be common among many of my Christian friends. It is not only common—it is accepted as normal. There are several causes—physical, emotional, the cycle of the seasons or your latitude on the earth. Some of these can be helped simply by moving south.

Even where depression is not caused by sin, once it sets in, it is sin in itself. How do I know? There are commands in the Bible like, “Rejoice in the Lord always—again, I say, rejoice!” That is a command to Christians. It says always. Sins do not travel in singles. Sins associated with depression are anxiety, impatience, and anger.

Whatever the physical causes, there is a solution to the spiritual sin. It is calling it sin, being convicted by the Holy Spirit with guilt for this sin, and being forgiven for it, back in the joy of your salvation.

How do I know there is a solution? We do not see depression as a fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithful…

Confession & Sins the World Does Not Recognize

We as Christians have been influenced by the world to have similar views of right and wrong—lying, cheating, and stealing are a few of the common sins. So as long as we do not lie, cheat, or steal, our conscience does not yell at us.

There are other sins, such as complaining, arguing, not being thankful, not rejoicing, being anxious, and being depressed. These are all very clearly sin. They need to be in your conscience. You should be convicted of sin when you do any of these, convicted so that you confess them and get forgiven. The non-Christian will not be convicted of these. He does not have the Holy Spirit.

Stealing Continued

In the recent post on stealing, you will have noticed that stealers are also liars. However, many types of lying do not include stealing. There is one form of lying in the Ten Commandments. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16).

Other forms of lying are:

• Bragging about some experience you had which never happened. I certainly did that in letters to my older brother when we were both in the Navy. Later after I was a Christian, I wrote fiction to my girlfriend. Later, I confessed it to God and to them.
• In my junior and senior years in high school, I worked 8 hours a day after school, from 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. As a result, I did little or no homework for all of my classes. I lied to some of them. History and chemistry teachers were led to believe I was studying when I wasn’t. in algebra, I told the teacher how many math problems I did in homework when in reality I had done none. The same with English. I told the teacher how many books or articles …

Revisiting An Old Subject

It has been several years since I taught on this subject. It is time for another reminder.

If you are a normal, moral person, that is, not into drugs, sex, or alcohol, you are probably still guilty of stealing and lying. Today it will be about stealing, not bank robbery, but just taking things that are not your own.

This is described in Leviticus 6:1-7. Pay attention to the text. “The LORD said to Moses: ‘If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving a neighbor about something entrusted to them or left in their care or about something stolen, or if they cheat their neighbor, or if they find lost property and lie about it, or if they swear falsely about any such sin that people may commit—when they sin in any of these ways and realize their guilt, they must return what they have stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to them, or the lost property they found, or whatever it was they swore falsely about. They must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the va…

Three Types of People Christians Don't Love

There are three types of people in the world that Christians do not love with the Gospel. The first type are the people we witness to and do not love. The second type of unbelievers that we do not love are the ones we do not witness to. The third are people we love and do not witness to.

That sounds like double talk. Let’s change it. 1) We witness to people we love. 2) We love everybody and witness to them with love.

As Christians, we have the fruit of the Spirit—love. We are commanded to love neighbors and enemies. The first thing is to have the love. The second is to choose to love our neighbors and enemies.

Sometimes we can’t make the choice because we have lost the fruit of the Spirit, love. We lack the fruit of the Spirit of love because we are under the chastening of the Lord because of unconfessed sin. In order to get the love back, we must confess sin.

Once we get the love back, we can choose to love our neighbors and enemies and preach the gospel to them.