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Showing posts from August, 2016

Drunkenness, part 2

Being drunk is sin, even if you only do it once. If a person is drunk often or regularly, he is a drunkard and will not inherit the kingdom. “Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:10) “Drunkard” is a harsh term, so it has been euphemized to “alcoholic” or “addicted to alcohol.” Both euphemisms attempt to remove some of the responsibility from the person. There is a further euphemism: “disease.” This “disease” may be physical or psychological or both. Diseases are normally caused by the alien invasion of a virus or bacteria and the subsequent failure of the infected person’s immune system. We can combat a virus by shots and bacteria with antibiotics. Alcohol is the closest thing to a germ for the “disease” of alcohol. The following is from Joe Thompson (now with the Lord). Is Alcoholism a Disease? The problem is not alcoholism, but alcohol. There could be no problem of alcoholism without alcohol. If


“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18) “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” (1 Tim. 5:23) Notice these three words: drunk, debauchery, and little. There is no prohibition of alcohol in the Scriptures, but there is a strong prohibition against drunkenness. We have laws against drunk driving because of the danger to people. It is estimated that from 2008 to 2012, there were approximately 45,000 deaths related to drunk driving in the United States. (This is a low estimate. Some numbers are much higher.) In the same period, 4,000 American soldiers were killed in Iraq. Those soldiers were all volunteers for the danger. None of the 45,000 volunteered for the danger other than being on the streets or highways. God’s prohibition is against drunkenness, not against drunk driving. He wants to stop debauchery. Debauchery is extreme indulgence in sensuality or s

Illegal and Immoral

Crime and sin can be very similar. Certainly they overlap, and sometimes they are identical, i.e. murder is sin, and it is also a crime. Lying is sin; sometimes it is a crime. Crime is a violation of the law. Sin is a violation of God’s moral law, God’s holiness. The criminal is to be punished on earth according to his crime. The sinner is to be forgiven or to be punished everlastingly. It is possible to be executed for murder (a crime) and also to be forgiven for the same murder (sin). I know of several such cases. There are people who do not commit crimes, but they do lie. They are not in danger of jail. They are in serious danger (unless they are forgiven) of hellfire. “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inhe

If Everyone Else Does It...

A bumper sticker I saw recently: “Eat American lamb; ten million coyotes can’t be wrong.” Many people operate on the idea that if everyone does it, it must be good, right, or at least ok. The problem with this is that it contradicts Scripture: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “There is not a just man upon earth that does good and sins not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) If everyone does it, it must be wrong. When it comes to moral judgment, the majority does not determine what is right.

Scriptural Decisions Made on Earth

In recent years, there has been a series of accounts of people who have been pronounced dead and sometime later came back to life. They then told what they saw and experienced during the thirty minutes when they were dead. Most of the accounts said that they had pleasant experiences. Some of those later said they had lied. It is not my purpose to verify or refute these stories. The Bible tells the stories of two men, both of them named Lazarus. Lazarus #1 had been dead four days, wrapped in grave clothes and buried. There is no written account of his experience during those four days. The point of the story is Jesus’ own resurrection. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.’” (John 11:25) Lazarus #2 does not come back to life. Jesus tells us of a conversation Abraham had with a rich man after the rich man and Lazarus both died. The rich man wanted Lazarus to go back to earth. Here is the story: “There was a ri

The Immediate Judgment & the Final Judgment

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10) “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…” (Heb. 9:27) “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:11-15) These three text

Hypocrites Are Not An Excuse

There are people who do not follow Jesus because of the hypocrites who say they are following Jesus. By definition, hypocrites are play actors, fakers, pretenders. We know that! Do we think Jesus does not know that? People who make this excuse are not following Jesus because of other people who are not following Jesus. That makes no sense at all. But people who love to sin are not rational. Here is what Jesus says: “But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 24:48-51) These people will end up in the same hell as the hypocrites are in: “…assign him a place with the hypocrites.”

A Hypocritical Excuse

Most people have a negative view of hypocrites. Jesus also had a negative view of hypocrites. However, there is a difference in His response. People talk about hypocrites; Jesus talked to them. This is what He said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:13-15) People use hypocrites as an excuse for not becoming real Christians. That should be a reason not to be a hypocrite, not a reason not to be a Christian. Hypocrites are not Christians. Unless they repent, they will end up in the bad place. There are some people who know that they are not hypocrites. They are just bad and wicked. Jesus said: “He will cut him to pieces and ass

The God of the Bible

One of the ways I can tell that someone has not read the Bible is they say this authoritatively: "I believe in the New Testament's God of love, not the Old Testament's God of wrath." That is biblical illiteracy at its worst. God did not change His character at the end of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, we see Sheol, the place of the dead. To my knowledge, the Old Testaments does not describe Sheol. Jesus describes it several ways. In Luke 16, Jesus tells us the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This is not a parable, for two reasons: 1) Lazarus is named. People are not named in parables. 2) The Scripture normally tells us if they are parables, as in Luke 15:3. If the story were a parable, then the real would be much worse than the parable says, not less. "So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire'" (Luke 16:24). Jes

True or False? 1 Thessalonians 5:18

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:18) Is this true? Are there any exceptions in the text? Is "giving thanks" something mechanical like teaching Susie to say "thank you" to Aunt Mary? No. Just saying "thank you" is thanks from the neck up. Do you thank God from your heart in everything? If not, does your conscience hurt when you don't thank Him? Even though it does not hurt, do you confess the unthankfulness as sin? Is it forgiven? If not, are you chastened? "And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, 'My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.' Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disc

True or False? Luke 14:12-14

"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) Does this apply to Christians today? If so, Jesus tells us who not to invite to lunch. He gives us the reason - they will owe us a lunch back. He also tells us who to invite to a banquet and why. We will be repaid at the resurrection. How many Christians (including yourself) obey these directions?

Follow God's Example

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children..." (Eph. 5:1) Here are a few of the characteristics of God that we are to imitate: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Eph. 4:32) "And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Eph. 5:2) Here are other characteristics to imitate: "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfe

True or False? Matthew 6:24, 1 Timothy 6:9-11

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matt. 6:24) Is this true? If it is, are you endeavoring to do both? One of them will win. If it is God, then you are the real winner. If it is money, you are a real loser. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." (1 Tim. 6:9-11) If you love money right now, make not loving money your primary objective. "As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. 'Good teacher,'

True or False? John 14:15

"If you love me, keep my commands." (John 14:15) Here are some of His "love" commands: • Love God with everything (Matt. 22). • Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matt. 22). • Love your wife as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25). • Love one another as Christ loved you (John 13:34-35). • Love your enemy (Matt. 5:44-48). Is it true that we are commanded to do these things? Which of these five (if any) do you even want to love? This love does not have anything to do with the other person's loveliness. Confess that you do not love in the way that you are commanded to. When you are forgiven, choose to love as God has required. Ask Him to give you the love for the other person. Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in ev

True or False? Ephesians 4:31

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." Have you gotten rid of these six events/states from your life? Do you want to get rid of them? If so, call them sins, not problems. Confess both the occurrences of these things and the reservoir of anger that you have in your heart. Do not quit confessing until they are all gone. After you are clean, you can start obeying. "Getting rid of" these things is not the same as confessing them after you sin. "Getting rid of" means it does not continue to happen. If you need help with this, call or write to me: (208) 882-4383 or