Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Truth vs. Fiction

There is a tale told of that great English actor Macready. An eminent preacher once said to him: "I wish you would explain to me something." "Well, what is it? I don't know that I can explain anything to a preacher." "What is the reason for the difference between you and me? You are appearing before crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all." Macready's answer was this: "This is quite simple. I can tell you the difference between us. I present my fiction as though it were truth; you present your truth as though it were fiction." - G. Campbell Morgan

Monday, November 28, 2011

23 Minutes in Hell

Students, please listen and give me your thoughts.

Anger Without a Cause

Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' (22)  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

After Jesus said that he had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it, he began to interpret a couple of the commandments. Bear in mind that he is still dealing with the issues of outward righteousness verses inward. His point is that there is a difference between the letter of the Law and the spirit of the Law. He starts with the sixth commandment (killing) and the issue of anger and then proceeds to the seventh commandment (adultery) and the issue of lust.

Of course, there is a difference between murder and self-defense or accidental death (Num. 35:16-25) and the Law recognizes that.

On this basis, the Lord gave the interpretation of the commandment not to kill.
Again, he is taking the Law from the physical to the spiritual. He said, basically, you're guilty of murder if you are simply angry with your brother without a cause.

Unfortunately, the NIV has done a rather poor job in proper translating this verse for it just says, "But I tell that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment."
In the Majority Text it says, "But I tell that anyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to the judgment." If God condemned for being angry we would all be in Hell.

Obviously, the fact that the words are there indicate that there is a cause to be angry. Jesus looked on the hypocritical Pharisees with anger (Mark 3:5). Jesus did get angry, but he had a cause. The Bible says that God is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11). Even Paul agrees that there is a way to be angry and yet not sin (Eph. 4:26-27). So, the bottom line is that to justify anger, there must be a cause.

You see, anger is that feeling which we have when we are injured.
It is sometimes totally appropriate to respond in anger. Quite frankly, there needs to be more of it in the church today.

However, the anger that Jesus is condemning here is the anger without a cause.
That is anger that is unjustly, rashly, hastily, where no offense has been given or intended. In that case it is evil; and it is a violation of the sixth commandment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Fault Box

I came across this illustration from one of my messages in Ephesians 5 while answering a marriage question for someone and thought that I would share it.

"A couple married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a "Fault" box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: "leaving the jelly top off the jar," "wet towels on the shower floor," "dirty socks not in hamper," on and on until the end of the month. After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, 'I love you!'"

Friday, November 18, 2011


Paul reminds us in Colossians 2:13, When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.

It reminds me of a story that so perfectly illustrates forgiveness.  "A missionary was walking along a trail in East Africa with some friends, when became aware of a delightful odor that filled the air.  He looked up in the trees and around at the bushes in an effort to discover where it was coming from.  Then his friends told him to look down at the small blue flower growing along the path.  Each time they crushed the tiny blossoms under their feet, more of its sweet perfume was released into the air.  Then his friends said, "We call it the forgiveness flower."

In the end, what can be learned from this story is that the forgiveness flower does not wait until we ask forgiveness for crushing it. It does not release its fragrance in measured doses.  It does not ask for an apology; it merely lives up to its name and forgives-freely, fully, richly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blessed Are the Persecuted

Matthew 5:10-12 says Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11)  "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. (12)  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  

Jesus was persecuted from the time of his birth to the time of his death.
His disciples were also told that they would be persecuted and even rejected by their families (Matthew 10:34-39). Even the blind man who Jesus healed in John 9:33-34 ended up being eventually thrown out of the synagogue. We too are promised blessings as we face persecution (Luke 6:27-36).

"Hast thou no scar?  No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?  I hear thee sung as mighty in the land, I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star, Hast thou no scar?  Hast thou no wound?  Yet I was wounded by the archers, spend, leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent, by ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned: Hast thou no wound?  No wound, no scar?  Yet, as the Master shall the servant be, and, pierced are the feet that follow Me; but thine are whole: can he have followed far who has no wounds nor scar?" - Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


One day, Martin Luther's little puppy happened to be at the table, he looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes; to which Martin Luther replied, 'Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish or hope." Tomorrow, I'm going to teach on prayer!

Thank You, Lord

With Thanksgiving coming up pretty quick, I thought of an old song that I used to sing as a child and it still holds true today!

Thank you, Lord for Your Blessings on Me

As the world look upon me as I struggle along;
They say I have nothing, but they are so wrong.
In my heart I'm rejoicing. How, I wish they could see!
Thank you, Lord for your blessings on me.

There's a roof up above me. I've a good place to sleep.
There's food on my table and shoes on my feet.
You gave me your love Lord and a fine family.
Thank you, Lord for your blessings on me.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Matthew 5:9 says, Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. A peacemaker by definition is one who tries to make peace, especially by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight. Jesus clearly taught that his disciples to do this (Matthew 5:39-42; 18:15-17).

As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers. Paul said in Romans 12:18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. The writer of Hebrews said  Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

To illustrate what God can do with a peacemaker, I'm reminded of a story of Saint Telemachus who was a monk that lived in the 4th century. He felt God saying to him, "Go to Rome." He was in a cloistered monastery. He put his possessions in a sack and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets. He asked why all the excitement and was told that this was the day that the gladiators would be fighting and killing each other in the coliseum, the day of the games, the circus.  He thought to himself, "Four centuries after Christ and they are still killing each other, for enjoyment?" He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, "Hail to Ceasar, we die for Ceasar" and he thought, "this isn't right." He jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field, got between two gladiators, held up his hands and said "In the name of Christ, forbear." The crowd protested and began to shout, "Run him through, Run him through." A gladiator came over and hit him in the stomach with the back of his sword. It sent him sprawling in the sand. He got up and ran back and again said, "In the name of Christ, forbear." The crowd continued to chant, "Run him through." One gladiator came over and plunged his sword through the little monk's stomach and he fell into the sand, which began to turn crimson with his blood. One last time he gasped out, "In the name of Christ forbear." A hush came over the 80,000 people in the coliseum. Soon a man stood and left, then another and more, and within minutes all 80,000 had emptied out of the arena. It was the last known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome (January 1, 404 AD).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blessed Are The Pure in Heart

Matthew 5:8 says, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. To be pure means to be free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind. This is what the Psalmist was referring to when he asked Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?  His answer was simply He who has clean hands and a pure heart.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Future of Iran

Harvest Online ::: Webcasts

Joel Rosenberg takes a look at what the Bible says about the future of Iran according to Jeremiah 49. It's very interesting!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bob Jones University

Bob Jones University...no longer a political factor? (OneNewsNow.com)

I refer to my previous post "Schools that aspire to gain the respect of the secular world and compliance with the secular norms will in the end of necessity find themselves distanced from their original theological commitments. This will be the admission price for secular respect."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Blessed Are The Merciful

The Bible says in Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Mercy by definition is compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power. The Psalmist said To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless (Psalm 18:25).

The law of mercy in the kingdom of heaven is simple. You grant mercy and you receive mercy. You withhold mercy and you get judgment. The blessed are merciful and therefore they receive mercy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Real Scandal

Guilty or innocent, the real scandal goes far beyond the case of Herman Cain and his accusers. The real scandal is that the law allows people to impose heavy costs on others at little or no cost to themselves.

The real scandal (OneNewsNow.com)

Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst

The Bible says in Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. The Jews were desperately looking for something. Unlike most of the Pharisees, they all knew that they didn't have righteousness and they wanted it so badly that they could taste it. That's why Jesus said in John 6:35,  I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. The righteousness that they wanted, and that Christ offered, could only come through Him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Secular Respect

Schools that aspire to gain the respect of the secular world and compliance with the secular norms will in the end of necessity find themselves distanced from their original theological commitments. This will be the admission price for secular respect.

Blessed Are The Meek

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.  Meek be definition is the act of being humbly patient or docile when under provocation from others. Zephaniah encouraged us to Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger  (Zeph 2:3). The strict interpretation here is that the Jew who was truly meek would place himself under the authority of God's word and God's Son, and as a result, would inherit the earth in the kingdom that Christ offered. This is also what the Psalmist said in Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. To the Christian, it means we are to also submit under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt (us) in due time (1 Peter 5:6).

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Swoon Theory

There is a theory that Jesus never actually died on the cross, but that he merely "swooned" and woke up later while in the tomb. This is called the "swoon theory". Here is a humorous letter to the editor of a Christian magazine about it that I thought I would share with you.

Dear Eutychus,

Our preacher said, on Easter, that Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed Him back to health. What do you think? Sincerely, Bewildered.  Dear Bewildered: Beat your preacher with a cat-of-nine-tails with 39 heavy strokes, nail him to a cross; hang him in the sun for 6 hours; run a spear through his heart; embalm him; put him in an airless tomb for 36 hours and see what happens.


Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

Last night we looked at Matthew 5:4 where Jesus said Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. To mourn is to feel or express sorrow or grief. Isaiah 61:2 says that Jesus came to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and for those who do He promised to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

To the Jews specifically, Jesus promised comfort to those who would except Him as their King. To the Church, He promises comfort to those who mourn over their sin.

This is also what James was referring to when he said, Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  (10)  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:9-10).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Authority of Scripture

"The Reformation took place not because men accepted the inspiration of the Bible, but because having accepted its divine inspiration they were overwhelmed by its divine authority." - Millard J. Erickson

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Authority of Scripture

Reject the authority of Scripture and it will only be a matter of time before you are back in Rome or have become a humanist.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Matthew 5:2-3 says and he began to teach them, saying: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The word poor in our way of thinking is to have no money, goods, or other means of support. However, that is not what the word means here. Instead, it is referring not to physical poverty, but spiritual poverty.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 34:18 "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." The word “crushed” in this verse means "to be remorseful". The Psalmist is saying that God is close to those who are remorseful for their spiritual poverty.

It is only when one becomes remorseful for their spiritual poverty that one can be saved.

When Facebook Meets the Good Book

This is the video that I mentioned in New Testament Survey and Bible Doctrines today. View the video and then click comments to enter your name and any thoughts that you may have about it.