Friday, August 30, 2019
Thursday, August 29, 2019
The bottom line is that there are some who profess to be Christians, go to church, take the Lord’s Supper, get baptized, go through all of the motions, but are not truly Christians. The proof is that they left because if they had been of us, they would no doubt continued with us.
Of these people, Peter says in 2 Peter 2:21-22 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (22) But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
J. Vernon McGee said, “You can wash a pig, put a little bow around his neck, polish his toes, brush his teeth, and take him into your home, but it’s still a pig! In the end, it will go right back to the mud hole it came from.”
This even happened in Jesus’ ministry with Judas. He seemingly walked like, talked like, and looked like a true disciple on the outside, but of him, Jesus said in John 6:64, there are some of you that believe not…Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
The mystery that Paul is talking about there is the grafting in of the Gentiles to the purposes and plans of God prior to the glorification of Israel in the Kingdom that is yet to come.
We should never confuse the prophesied salvation of Gentiles in the Old Testament with what is happening today, because each of those prophecies used the instrumentality of glorified Israel, under her Messiah, to bring the nations to God. That was plan A in the mind of God until Israel rejected their Messiah and it was postponed.
I believe that ignorance of this mystery is a preeminent feature in the church today. Being wise in our own conceits is the result of our ignorance in regards to this mystery. Only knowing that the Jewish nation has been cut off and the Gentiles are being saved, without knowing the mystery behind it, one comes to incorrect theological conclusions which can give an anti-Jewish arrogance to the we Gentiles.
Monday, August 26, 2019
On Wednesday night, I decided to venture back out to visit with the church and counted 3 people in attendance. I didn't even go inside. It was simply too discouraging for me. Instead of going home, I dropped by the next church on the street, sneaked a peek in side, and counted 5 people in attendance. I then drove down the street to a Southern Baptist church and the lights were out. I proceeded to another large SBC church only to find that on Wednesday evenings they only have a children's program.
What an absolute pathetic state the church in America is in. It is dead as a bag of hammers and totally breaks my heart; and my question is, "Why?" What has caused this? While I do not think that the answer is easy in that it is most likely many things that have contributed to it, and I can only speculate based on my experience as a pastor, teacher, and missionary. In other words, it's merely my opinion.
First, the majority of the churches in America are filled with people who are not truly born again. They are the tares among the wheat that the Lord spoke of (Matthew 13:30), and I believe that they represent the majority in the average church. They have turned our churches into childcare centers, entertainment venues, and country clubs. This is the result of the gospel not being clearly taught.
Second, many men in the pulpits are simply not called by God into the ministry. I have met and even ministered to several of them. They merely choose a career path. No doubt, they are "good" men and do indeed want to serve the Lord and their communities, but simply were not called by God to do so. As a result, they have no anointing on their ministries and are doing more harm than good.
Third, many men who have been called by God into the ministry have sold out. They no longer follow the Lord's leading, but are now coddling the "felt needs" of the aforementioned tares. As such, lest they offend, they no longer teach the Word of God, but prefer to amuse the goats instead of feeding the sheep in an attempt to gain acceptance, favor, and security.
Fourth, church members in the pews are simply too busy with the world to care. They whined about Wednesday night being a school night and the church capitulated. They then then whined about Sunday being their only day off that they can spend time with their families. The church capitulated again and canceled the evening services. The end result, most of them are carnal and look for any reason under the sun to not show up on Sunday morning.
In conclusion, the church is full of lost people and carnal Christians who are being led by men who are not truly called to the ministry or who have sold out. Is it any wonder that the pews are empty? I think not.
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Yet many Christians’ worldview is not biblically consistent. They may approach some issues from a biblical viewpoint, but not every issue. There are many possible reasons why some Christians fail to have a consistently biblical worldview:
1) They are ignorant of what the Bible says. They do not know the Word. If someone doesn’t know what the Bible says about the sanctity of human life, for example, it will be difficult for him to form a biblical view on the subject.
2) They reject what the Bible says on certain issues. The Barna Group conducted a survey asking questions about the Bible to determine if people truly believed what the Bible said. The results were startling: only 4 percent did. Professed Christians did not fare much better. If a professed Christian does not believe what the Bible says, it will be impossible for him to have an authentic biblical worldview.
3) They are more concerned with what the world thinks of them than what God thinks. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). A believer who views the world from a biblical standpoint recognizes that he is not of the world. Jesus said, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19; 17:14).
4) They are lukewarm in their commitment to Christ. Like the church of Laodicea, they are “neither cold nor hot” (Revelation 3:15), unwilling to take a stand for Christ.
5) They are influenced by the lies of the world. From the time of Adam and Eve, Satan has used his ability to deceive and confuse (Genesis 3:1-6; Revelation 12:9). A powerful tool in Satan’s arsenal is the idea that the Bible is a book of myths, that it’s full of errors and not to be trusted. Satan wishes to convince people that the Bible is no longer relevant; its laws and principles are obsolete.
6) They are swayed by their circumstances and doubt God’s promises. In Matthew 14, when Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water, he was demonstrating a biblical worldview: Jesus is the source of all power. However, when Peter focused on the storm-tossed sea, his worldview shifted: maybe the waves are more powerful than Jesus.
To have a consistently biblical worldview we must go back to the Bible and take hold of the promises God has made to us, for the world offers us nothing (Luke 9:25; John 12:25; Matthew 6:19).
(This was taken from Got Questions? Question of the Week)
Friday, August 23, 2019
Sadly, so many do the same thing today in the church. They come in long enough to hear the truth and then get lured away into error. They start out well, but then they take a detour. It is a big deal who you believe Jesus is. Was He just a great man or God Incarnate? It's no small issue. As a matter of fact, it is the none other than the difference between Heaven and Hell. Jesus said in John 8:24, I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. In this verse, Jesus is invoking the name of God, "I am" (the word "he" is not in the original text). He is claiming to be the same God that said to Moses in Exodus 3:14 after he asked him His name, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
The choice is ours to make. Jesus asks the same question of us today that He asked of Peter almost two thousand years ago in Luke 9:20, But whom say ye that I am? Josh McDowell says that each of us has to answer that question one way or the other. He is either Lord, Liar, or Lunatic to each of us. Who is He to you?
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Can you imagine the day that we all stand before God? According to the Bible, the very first thing that we will see in Heaven, after the throne of God (Rev. 4:2), is our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Revelation 5:6 says, And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain... What will go through our minds at that moment? Sorrow? Pity? Regret? Maybe that is why Revelation 21:4 says, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes… What are these tears for? They may be because for the first time, we are going to realize just how much Jesus suffered so that we could have eternal life. Maybe, they will be because we are going to wish that we would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve, done so much more with our lives? Sadly, there are going to be many Christians with tears in their eyes on that day because they are simply going to be overwhelmed with the unfortunate reality of misplaced priorities. How about you? Where are your priorities right now?
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
That being said even with a sacred worldview, there are still internal struggles that happen within each of us that cause conflict when it comes to our individual desires. Much of that, I have found, is dependent upon where we are in our walks with the Lord. If we are walking close to Him, in His world, obeying His truth, we do not tend to struggle as much, and things tend to be more black and white. However, if we are not where we need to be with the Lord, not in His word, not being obedient, that is when things tend to get complicated and conflict arises in regards to our desires.
The Apostle John described it very well when he said in 1 John 2:15-16 that we are not to love the world, nor the things that are in it. He goes on to say that if any man does love the world that the love of the Father is not in him, and as a result, he will desire for the things of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life. None of which is of the Father. Again, the struggle tends to boil down to where we are in our relationships with the Lord. As believers, we are called to a standard that is above the world’s standard. You might say that it is a heavenly standard, and the holy way to reach that standard, or to at least make an honest attempt, is with a worldview that is firmly grounded in the Word of God.
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
We were told in the first chapter that the first reason why John wrote this letter was, that your joy may be full. Now here in v.1 we see the second reason that John wrote this letter is that ye sin not.
In Matthew 5:48 Jesus said, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. God requires perfection. Why? – Because He is perfect. Is it possible for us to be perfect? – Yes, but only through the finished work of Christ and not ourselves.
We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: That means that the Lord Jesus is our advocate (intercessor) and one day he will present us spotless to the Father (Ephesians 5:25-27).
I’ve found that even though I know this, I still allow Satan to step in and accuse me. I've found that he usually attacks me the strongest after I've sinned. His attacks come in the form of feelings of shame and unworthiness. Why? - So that he can drive a wedge between me and God. He wants me to run away from God just like Jonah (Jonah 1:1-3) did.
I've also found that I can always tell when I am being attacked by Satan or being convicted by the Holy Spirit by my reaction to the situation. When I'm being tempted to run from God, the church, and my brothers and sisters in Christ, I know it's the devil that is behind it because he is trying to drive a wedge between me and God. However, it is the opposite with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, because He uses conviction to draw us to Himself, the church and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Friday, August 16, 2019
Verbal inspiration means that not only was the message of the Bible inspired but the very words that are contained in that message. Actually, the word verbal means “by means of words” or “word for word.” Now you know why I shy away from thought-for-thought translations in favor of word-for-word translations. Our said in Matthew 5:18, "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” The NKJV translates it “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” A “jot” is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and a “tittle” is a small appendage that differentiates two similar letters. The best way that I could compare it to our English language would be the equivalent of a dotting of the “i ” and the crossing of a “t”. The dot and the crossing make a big difference. As such, verbal inspiration requires dictation which is the “act or manner of transcribing words uttered by another.” In other words, God gave the words, and the writers wrote what they heard.
Finally, the word plenary means “full” or “all”. So, we believe, or at least I believe, in plenary verbal inspiration which means “All Words God-Breathed”. Pretty simple in my opinion, but a very divisive issue in the church today.
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Covenant Theology is favored more so by those of a Reformed or Calvinistic persuasion. However, in the United States, especially among Evangelicals, Dispensationalism is far more popular and has been since the latter half of the 19th century. Please also understand that even among each, there are disagreements, but they are basically the same in their overall approach. I am only scratching the surface in this blog post.
At the risk of oversimplifying both, the difference between the two is that one interprets the Scriptures through the lens of covenants, i.e., Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and the New Covenant, while the other interprets the Scriptures through the lens of dispensations. A dispensation by this definition is the particular means by which God deals with man and creation during a given period in redemptive history. In the most popular view, there are seven dispensations which which include: Innocence (Genesis 1 -3) - Adam and Eve before they sinned, Conscience (Genesis 3-8) - First sin to the flood, Civil Government (Genesis 9-11) - After the flood, government, Promise (Genesis 12-Ex. 19) - Abraham to Moses, the Law is given, Law (Exodus 20 - Acts 2:4) - Moses to the cross, Grace (Acts 2:4 - Revelation 20:3) - Cross to the millennial kingdom Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:4-6) – The rule of Christ on earth in the millennial kingdom.
As I stated earlier, I am convinced that the dispensational view is the correct one because it requires a consistently literal interpretation of Scripture while the other does not. Covenant Theology uses a lot of allegorization. The earliest proponent was Augustine, the father of amillennialism, who used what is called a "dual hermeneutic" by bouncing between literal interpretation and allegorical interpretation to arrive at such doctrines as amillennialism. This approach must be utilized in order to arrive at many things that are embraced by those on that side of the aisle and is the main reason that I reject it. It is also how they arrive at such teachings as the Church is spiritual Israel (Replacement Theology), therefore, God has no special purpose for the people of Israel. I could go further, but time does not permit. Suffice it to say they do not interpret the Scriptures literally. For straightforward compare and contrast, I would recommend an article by Dr. Richard P. Belcher, Jr., Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary. Click HERE.
In regards to Dispensational Theology, there are basically six things that are essential and this is where I will spend the bulk of my time. In the meantime, I would encourage you to compare and contrast the two on your own to be able to determine where you stand on the issue because the bottom line is that one of them is wrong and the other is right. There is no way for them both to work in harmony with each other. You will lean to the one or to the other in your approach to the interpretation of the Bible or you will be terribly confused. Just make sure that you are informed and not just regurgitating something you heard someplace which is the norm in our society today. It is just laziness. Our faith is worth more than that.
The first essential belief to Dispensationalism is that the primary meaning of any passage in the Bible is found in that passage of the Bible. The New Testament does not reinterpret or transcend the passages in the Old Testament in any way that would override or cancel the original intent of the author. This is called a high view of Scripture and it simply means that the author said what he meant and meant what he said when he said it and who he said it to. That does not mean that other passages can not shed new light on what the author meant, but that they simply can not altar what the author originally meant. This approach is at total odds with Covenant Theology.
Monday, August 5, 2019
When I speak to people about this issue, they are pretty quick in acknowledging that there are some differences between the two gospels I just mentioned, but when it comes to the book of Acts, this is where they normally start resisting and digging their heels in because they have been incorrectly taught for so long. That is when I challenge them to show me how the message of the Apostles changed after the death and resurrection of Christ in the first several chapters of the book. It is obvious that it did not. They were still preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is also obvious that there is some type of transition taking place in this book. For example, after Peter’s first sermon in Acts 2, the people asked him, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37), and his response was repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:28). Did you see that? He didn’t say anything about just believing in the death, burial, and resurrection at all. Instead, he said repent and be baptized: still the Kingdom Gospel. Later on in the same book, after the conversion of Paul, he was asked the same question when the keeper of the prison asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30), and Paul simply said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31). Their responses were totally different. Why? – The Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Grace are different. You and I do not teach the Gospel of the Kingdom, but it will be preached again during the Tribulation or what is also called Daniels’ Seventieth Week by the 144,000 (Daniel 9:27; Matt 24:14; Revelation 7). There is no way to harmonize the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of the Grace. One did not just "become" the other.
The book of Acts should be seen for what it is; a book of transition. There is no doctrine for the church in it. You can’t take the things that happened during that period in which the Kingdom offer was still on the table, preceded by signs and wonders according to Joel 2:28-29, and apply it to the church. If you do, and most of the church tries to, it will only lead to confusion at best and heresy at worst.
In conclusion, notice the transition throughout the book. In Acts 2:45 it says that they sold all of their possessions, and in Acts 11:29, a collection has to be taken from the church at Antioch, where they were first called Christians (Acts 11:26), (by the way, the church today has far more to do with Antioch than Jerusalem) for the Jews in Jerusalem’s very survival. In Acts 12:11, we see Peter being delivered by an angel, and in Acts 26:32, we see Paul still under arrest and being sent to Caesar. Obviously, something had changed. In Acts 1:14, 2:1, 2:26, 4:24, and 5:12, they were all in accord, and yet when we reach Acts 28:25, they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word. There is no way around it. A transition had taken place.
Sunday, August 4, 2019
We must understand that Jesus and his apostles ministered to the House of Israel with a message of an offered kingdom if the nation would collectively repent. It was not contingent upon individual repentance, but national. There were at least five thousand Jews, maybe eight thousand, depending how you interpret the response to Peter’s second sermon, that we know of that repented in the book of Acts (Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4), but the nation itself never did repent, and thus, rejected their Messiah and his kingdom offer. The kingdom was postponed, not be offered again until the Tribulation Period or what is called Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:27). As such, God raised up the Apostle Paul with a new message to take to the Gentiles.
Another thing that many fail to see is that the New Testament does not start in Matthew, chapter 1, in spite of the fact that all of our Bibles have a page marked New Testament between Malachi and Matthew. As a matter of fact, it could not have started until after the crucifixion, and I would contend, the resurrection of Christ. Hebrews 9:16-17 makes this clear when it says, For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. In other words, there can be no testament without the death of the one making it, i.e., Jesus. (Remember, that our Last Will and Testaments are not enforced until after we die.) That means that all of the Gospels are Old Testament. The New Testament could not have begun until at least Matthew 27:51 when Christ died. To rightly interpret the Bible is to understand this. Do not be tempted to pull the teachings in the Gospels into the Church! If you do, you will end up with confusion as I discussed in the last blog.
With that said, the epistles of Paul are of supreme importance to you and me today. They are where the Church gets its doctrine. Also, they shed tremendous amounts of light on the Old Testament by revealing things that we never would have or could have known without them.
This also means that the gospel that Paul received from God himself was different than the gospel which Jesus and the apostles taught in the Gospels and even well into the book of Acts. Now, before you become a bit unhinged, remember that the apostles had no clue that Jesus was going to be crucified; even when he told them directly because the Bible says that it was hidden from them (Luke 18:31-34). Bear in mind, this was right after he had commissioned them to go out and preach the kingdom of God (we call this the Gospel of the Kingdom) and they had already returned (Luke 9:1-10). The apostles were not preaching the Gospel of Grace that Paul preached.
Paul’s gospel was different in that it included the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It also required only belief as compared to the Kingdom Gospel that required repentance and baptism. (That is another blog for another day). All throughout Paul’s epistles, he refers to this gospel that was exclusively delivered to him. He said in Galatians 1:11-12, But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Also, in Ephesians 3:2-4, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ). Paul even stated in Romans 2:16 that God will judge the secrets of men…according to my gospel. Other verses that speak to this gospel can be found in Galatians 1:15-17; Galatians 2:2; Romans 16:25. The bottom line is that the gospel that Paul preached was different from the gospel that the other apostles taught.
The conclusion is that when interpreting the Bible, we must remember that Paul’s gospel is unique to the Church. Only he received the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25) that had been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (Colossians 1:26) as revealed to the Apostle Paul.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Many today struggle, especially in a culture that denies absolute truth, that the Bible says what it means and means what it says, period. Not a very popular idea for sure. However, when it comes to biblical interpretation, we can both be wrong, but we can't both be right. I suggest to you today that the main reason for incorrect Bible interpretation, other than just sheer ignorance and a desire to twist the scriptures to mean something they do not agree with, is inconsistency and a failure to adhere to the fundamentals of biblical interpretation.
The Bible must be rightly divided in order for it to make sense and never contradict. Paul told young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. The very fact that Paul said this indicates that there are divisions in the Bible and they must be rightly divided or it will not make sense or there will be apparent contradictions in the text.
One example of many comes to mind: the Law of the Kingdom as given by our Lord in Matthew 5. It was obviously not part of the Mosaic Law, but a kingdom that Christ came to offer to the nation of Israel. Remember that the first words out of both John the Baptist and our Lord's mouths were, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." This is the message that they and the apostles proclaimed throughout their earthly ministries. However, in the end, that kingdom was rejected by the Jewish nation, therefore postponed, and the church that was the hidden mystery was born as revealed through the Apostle Paul. Therein lies the confusion which leads to all kinds of wild interpretations and various heretical doctrines.
You and I are not under the Law of Moses, never have been. Neither was the rejected and postponed kingdom ever offered to the church. At this point at least, we have no part of the kingdom they spoke of. We are not in it and we are not building it, and yet, how many times do we hear things like, "we are a kingdom church, we are building the kingdom, we are enlarging the kingdom, we are bringing in the kingdom, we are doing kingdom work", etc. Why? - A failure to understand that the kingdom was not offered to the church. As a matter of fact, little, if anything, that was spoken in the gospels in their entirety has anything to do with you and me today.
Think about the things that are taught today in regards to losing one's salvation, the need to stay faithful until the end, baptism as a requirement for salvation (baptismal regeneration), the church is now Israel (replacement theology), and amillennialism. Where do these come from? The gospels. See the problem? No, I have not always understood these things so clearly, and many around me may disagree. However, I believe that a failure to understand leads only to misinterpretation and contradiction.