Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stiff Necks against the Truth

        The true and living God is not hiding.  Truth is not elusive.  Men claim to want the truth, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and actions speak louder than words.  From Plato to philosophers of the present day men have searched for the truth, especially ultimate truths (like origins and purpose of life).  Through the different philosophies there is one common thread through them all, man is the measure of truth.  Rationalism assumes man's mind is the measure of all.  Empiricism, that man's observation is the measure.  Existentialism claims man's experiences as the measure.  And the current modern mysticism has every man doing what is right in his own eyes and truth is ever subjective.  Through the centuries of Western philosophy men have espoused a certain philosophy, that philosophy has reigned for a time, then pronounced incapable of the answers men seek, and eventually replaced by something different.  Through all the successive waves of philosophies men are drowning in their endeavour because they are swimming in the same ocean, the ocean of the assumption of man's supremacy--that man is the measure of truth--that the answers men seek are found in ourselves.

God reveals to us in His Word, The Bible...

"He [God Almighty] is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."  (Deuteronomy 32:4)

"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1John 1:5)


The GOD of the BIBLE is the TRUE GOD.

        If you are to know truth you must know, first, about God, but more, you must know God Himself.  Again, mankind's track record in seeking truth demonstrates that men will take any road except the one that leads to God.  Are you seeking God like a thief seeks a policeman?

        The prophet Jeremiah ( as per the Old Testament portion of the Bible) prophesied to the people of Israel in the city of Jerusalem and surrounding area (Judah) in the 6th Century B.C..  It was the time leading up to, and through, the siege of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and the subsequent deportation and captivity of the Israelites to Babylon.  God had told the people that Nebuchadnezzar was coming, Jerusalem would be destroyed, including the Temple, and that they would be carried away into captivity for seventy years--very specific.  They refused to turn from their sin and listen to God.  They gathered false prophets to say what everyone wanted to hear.  They fashioned their politics to gloss over the situation and encourage people that all was well.  They tried to shut Jeremiah up.

Finally, God, through Jeremiah, said...

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words."  (Jeremiah 19:15)


        Men have not changed over time in their opposition to God.  "They hardened their necks"--this is a very graphic depiction of unyielding stubbornness.  We have all done it.  We are mad, stubborn and we turn our heads away with a stiffened neck, which is a physical expression of an inward rebellion and hatred.  A stiff-necked person is a person that is unyielding.

        They set their hearts against God so "that they might not hear" God's words--so that they might not know the truth.  The auxiliary verb "might" means, having power, to be able.  They were able to hear but refused.  Their ears were fine.  Their understanding was fine.  They listened to Jeremiah speak/preach publically.

      The unyielding heart of the lost sinner cannot always be seen by looking on a person's appearance.  Consider...

THE DETERMINED ATHEIST:    Such a person has hardened their neck against the truth of the existence of God.  Read Romans 1:18-32.

THE DETERMINED PAGAN:    Such has heard, but has hardened his heart against the God of righteousness and truth, the Judge of all men.  He serves the gods of his pride, passions, and fears.  See Philippians 3:18-19.

THE DETERMINED MORALIST:    Such has heard and hardened his heart against the righteousness of Christ Jesus, and goes about to establish his own righteousness.  See Romans 10:1-4.

THE DETERMINED RELIGIONIST/POP-CHRISTIAN:    This one has hardened his heart against the absolute authority of the Word of God and the Spirit of God to bring them to true repentance and saving faith in Christ Jesus.  See Acts 7:51; 2Timothy 3:1-7.

        Will you allow me to be a friend to you and warn you?  When you are hardened against God that you must be the god of your life you are destined to destruction in your lie because...


Dear soul, won't you seek God?!  There is mercy and eternal life in God's Son, Christ Jesus.

    The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed...

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
(John 14:6)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How Can God Forgive Me of My Sin?

        Most people like the thought of God forgiving them; but they either treat the subject as if they deserve to be forgiven; or, that God is so unconcerned with sin that sinning against God is not that big of an issue.  Neither of these are true.  Deserving forgiveness is a contradiction of terms.  A bank robber may have only robbed one bank and never committed another crime; but, he will be charged, tried, and jailed.  You might say, 'sometimes criminals are pardoned (forgiven).'  Yes, but the pardoning of a criminal is an act of mercy not a deserved reward.

        When God created heaven and earth and mankind he took upon himself the responsibility for his creatures.  Abraham, speaking to God about God's judgement upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, said--"Shall not he Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18:25)  He certainly shall!  God is our Judge!  God will right all wrongs!

        The Bible teaches a number of different judgements.  There are two, one past and one future, that we need to talk about in regards to your personal standing before God.

        The first judgement we need to learn about is the future judgement called the Great White Throne Judgement.  This judgement is described in Revelation 20:11-15, please read that.  Those being judged are all those that have died UNFORGIVEN--small and great.  God is no respecter of persons.

        Notice, that out of God's records of your doings you will be judged.  Twice it says, "according to their works."  No one at this judgement is saved from the Lake of Fire--all those judged according to their works are guilty before the Living and Holy God and are cast into the Lake of Fire for ever.

"...and they were judged every man according to their works." (Rev. 20:13)

         There are two ways you can approach God.  The first way is to approach God based upon your works.  It is true, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness." (Pro. 20:6)  The problem is YOU ARE NOT YOUR JUDGE, God is, and God Himself is the standard of right and wrong.  Note the following truths....

....God's standard demands 100 percent flawlessness--"...God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1John 1:5)    "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10)
....your nature (the nature of every man) is completely infected with sin--"as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Rom. 5:12)  
....that means even our best actions are unrighteous in God's Holy judgement--"...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isa. 64:6)
....all men are corrupt in God's eyes and prove that they are God-haters by everything from indifference to murder--Psalm 14: 1-3, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."  Read Romans 3:10-18.

        As you can see ALL men that approach God based upon their own works--their self-claimed goodness--will be found short of God's holy standard, guilty, and are under the condemnation of God.

        How can a man be forgiven by God?

        God has graciously provided THE WAY of forgiveness through the second judgement of man's sin of which we need to speak.  This judgement is finished.  During the time that the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, hung on that Roman cross approximately 2,000 years ago he made a number of statements.  The two statements which most directly instruct us about what we are speaking of here are...

"...My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"--Matthew 27:46.


"It is finished."--John 19:30.

        The fact that the Son of God became a man for the suffering of death was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 53
"...he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities..."
"...the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
"...for the the transgression of my people was he stricken."
"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin."
"He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."
"...he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

       The Lord Jesus Christ took upon himself YOUR judgement.

The Apostle Peter wrote...
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"  1Peter 3:18
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."  1Peter 2:24

The Apostle John wrote...
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  1John 2:2
"And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin."  1John 3:5
"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."  1John 4:14

The Apostle Paul wrote...
" For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."  2Corinthians 5:21
"Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:"  Galatians 1:4

Death is the result of sin.  God the Father forsook his Son on that cross because Christ was judged for your sin.  If you reject God's merciful and gracious gift of His Son and trust your own works you must suffer the eternal fire of God's wrath.  But God himself has provided a way that God can be just (punishing all unrighteousness) and also forgive sinners.  God did this through the substitution of God's Son, Christ Jesus, in your place and imputing to you (counting it to you) Christ's righteous payment for your sin which He worked in dying and shedding his precious blood on that Roman cross.

God forgives sinners ONLY through Jesus Christ and the blood Christ shed for you in death.

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:...And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."  Colossians 1:14, 20

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"  Galatians 3:13
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"  Ephesians 1:7

It is finished.

Repent, dear one.  Jesus Christ ALONE is the Truth, the Way, and the Life and no one can come to God but by Him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I was Baptised, doesn't that make me a child of God?

Does baptism make a person a child of God?

        The word baptize means, "to dip." It used 116 times in the New testament portion of the Bible.  The Old Testament portion of the Bible does not mention baptism at all.  You will find it used as a proper name, "John the Baptist," as a noun, "baptism," and in verb forms, "baptized," "baptize," and "baptizeth" (same as 'baptises,' but with third person verb ending).

        A quick FACT:  baptism is to dip, and every instance of baptising in the New Testament is of immersion (technically speaking, followed by emmersion).  ........

John 3:23, "And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized."; Matthew 3:16, "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: "; Mark 1:5, "And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins."; Mark 1:9, "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan."; and Acts 8:38-39, " And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

........No where in the New testament does sprinkling or pouring water on people appear.

        Another FACT, less quick :).  People that were baptized in the New Testament were first repentant believers that had been born-again by the Spirit of God; therefore, they already had been made God's child.  The Bible says, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26)  The Bible no where says that we are the children of God by baptism.

        In Acts 8:27-38 we have the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch.  Philip the Evangelist preached Jesus Christ to this man (vss. 30-35) and after some time the Ethiopian asked, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"  Obviously, Philip, in preaching Christ to this gentleman taught him what baptism was about.  Philip's response is key, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest."  Baptism comes after faith and conversion in and to Christ, not before.  The Ethiopian professed his faith, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," and then Philip baptized him.

Faith and conversion before baptism is also seen in the following:  Acts 2;41; Acts 9:1-18; Acts 10:34-38; and, Acts 19:1-5.

        Baptism is a figure, a picture of reality.  1Peter 3:21-22, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."  Baptism is a picture of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ--His death, burial, and resurrection.  Peter is clear that baptism does not cleanse our heart, saying, "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh."  The fact that baptism is an outward picture of an inward reality of the heart of a born-again soul is also spoken of in Romans 6:1-9.

Baptism is...
...for persons already born-again, as has been already shown.
...a declaration of the Gospel--the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  (See Romans 6:1-6 & Acts 19:1-5.)
...a declaration that one is repentant toward God and has exercised faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Saviour.  (Mark 1:1-4, 14-15; Galatians 3:27.)
...a commitment to the new life which is now resident in the born-again person.  (Romans 6:1-6; 1Peter 3:21, "the answer of a good conscience toward God."
...the required ordinance in order to be a member of one of Christ's New Testament Baptist Churches. (Acts 2:41; 1Corinthians 12:13)

No where in the Bible does it say that Baptism saves a person or adds to a person's salvation.

Please continue reading the blog to learn more about God, the Saviour, and your need of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I am a Good Person.

I am a good person.  

Can't my goodness make me acceptable to God?

        The Bible states, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" (Proverbs 20:6)  By what standard are you judged?  By your standard--you proclaim your own goodness--or by God's standard?

        Can you imagine being found guilty of a crime, and as the judge is pronouncing your guilt and sentence, you interrupt and tell the judge he is all wrong because you think that you have done more good in your life then bad? or, that you don't consider that which you were found guilty of to be a crime at all?

If you were the judge what would you say?

        It is unreasonable, a fantasy, and intellectual blindness to think that you will tell God what is right and wrong when you stand before God, the Judge of all the earth.

         In the Second Psalm (in the Bible) the conflict between God, Who is the Creator and Sovereign Lord of all, and rebellious mankind is spoken of.....

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,  Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

        You can remain in your rebellion against God, but your end will be--the righteous judgement and the wrath of God.  Three truths regarding God and your goodness/righteousness are essential to understand.

(1)    God is absolutely holy.  "The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." (Psalm 145:17); and "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1John 1:5)  God hates sin with a passion; sin is abhorrent to God.  In Proverbs 6:16-19 it is written, "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

(2)    To be accepted by God based upon your good works and good intentions would mean you would have to be absolutely sinless.  God Himself is the standard of righteousness.  The Bible is clear regarding God's standard of righteousness, the Law of God, and what is required--"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10)  To break God's Law is to rebel against and offend God Himself.  The breaking of God's law is sin, see 1 John 3:4.  And the result of sin is "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23)  You might say, God is that picky?  You can take that attitude if you want; but, the truth is God is that HOLY and He is not going to change for you.  You are His Creature; it is your responsibility to bow to God.

        Before we go to the final of these thee truths read all of Romans 6:23.  I only quoted part of it above.  "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  God knows that you cannot keep His holy Law and out of His great LOVE has provided a way of salvation from your sin and the wrath to come; but, he will not force it on you, it is a gift to be received.  Consider, if God had appointed, back when he made the everything, that you would have to come to Him based on your works every single one of us would be eternally condemned.  You should be thankful God does not look to you best efforts to be justified.

(3)    God sees things in you that you do not.  Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."  And in another place we are told, "...the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1Samuel 16:7)  God sees all the little twists and working of our hearts.  God knows you better than you know yourself.  God has judged already, pronouncing, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 17:9-10)  And, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

I have two things left to say in this little blog article.

        God's Judgement on you is...

Psalm 14:1-3

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

        God's love upon you is...
        Since God was so loving as to deal with your sin in all its ugliness, you do not have to be afraid of facing up to your sin before God.  God has dealt with all your sinfulness in His Son, Jesus Christ.

"For he [God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2Corinthians 5:21)

"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" (1Peter 3:18)

        When Jesus Christ hung on that Roman cross in agony God poured out His wrath due to you upon God's own Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)  The blood Jesus shed in the atonement (satisfying payment) to God for all your sin and my sin.  "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1:14)  Redemption is to purchase.

My friend, God love you!    God commands all men to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ

Please feel free to email me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Does it Mean to be Born-again?

        The term "born-again" was first spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ very early in his earthly ministry as it is recorded in John's Gospel chapter 3.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

    By the way, the kingdom of God is bigger than Heaven, but includes Heaven.  So, Jesus was saying, that except you are born again you are not going to Heaven.  There have been so many opinions as to what the Lord Jesus meant here, as to make people tired of the whole thing.  A drunk finally gets sick of booze and kicks the bottle, cleans himself up, and becomes more reliable and hard working; some would say he was 'born-again.'  Some cults relate being born-again to water baptism.  There are a significant number of people in 'church' circles that claim to be born-again but their lives show no essential difference from before they made that claim.  Is being born-again just religious speak with no real substance?  From all the talk and different opinions one might think that the Lord Jesus left us all hanging as to what he meant and no one really knows.

       That could not be further from the truth.  When you set aside all the commentators and go directly to the source, The Bible, Jesus explained himself very clearly.  And from there, Jesus' Apostles gave us more explanation.

        Go and read the full conversation in which Jesus first speaks of being born-again--John 3:1-21.  The man Jesus was speaking to did not understand, asking, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?"  The Lord then gives a two-part answer.  (1) Jesus says, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."  (2) And then, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

        I would like to take the second statement first since it is the clarifying statement of the first statement.   "That which is born of flesh is flesh..."--here you are.  You are flesh and your were born of your mother, as everyone is.  This is physical birth brought about by physical generation of life.  Then Jesus says, "...and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."  These are parallel statements.  Notice, "the Spirit," is a proper name and that is the name for God the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, to be born again is an act of God whereby he makes a man something he was not before--God generates spiritual life in a person; obviously, not having possessed that spiritual life before.    You say, I have a lot of questions about that.  Nothing wrong with honest questions.

        Notice, being born-again is not something you can do for yourself.  Who ever heard of a baby conceiving and birthing itself?  Being born-again is a supernatural event effected by God in a person.  The Apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit describes it in these words, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2Corinthains 5:17)  This new birth makes a person different on the inside--in their soul.

        Now, on to the first statement Jesus made to answer Nicodemus's question.  Jesus said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit..."  What is this "born of water"?  Is that a reference to baptism?  There is no verse in the Bible that calls baptism a birth.  But there is James 1:18, which says, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."  Then, again the Apostle Peter says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1Peter 1:23)  According to the Bible the Word of God is the "seed" by which we are born-again by the Spirit of God.

        This is because the Word of God genders faith in the hearts of men who will receive it.  It is simple, you could never know what God requires you to believe except from the Word of God.  Consider the following Scriptures...

Romans 10:17
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Hebrews 11:6
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Hebrews 4:2
"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."

        The New Birth is only effected in those that believe the Word of God, including the Gospel which is in the Word of God--"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)
        Therefore, God the Holy Spirit effects the new birth upon the repentant believer in the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.  This is exactly what Jesus told Nicodemus as recorded in John 3.  Nicodemus asked, :How can these things be?"  How is this possible?  Jesus explained, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:14-15)  Moses lifting up a serpent (made of brass) on a stick is a reference to an event in Israel's history.  See Numbers 21.  There are many truths taught in this historic event; but, for time, note the obvious, that the brass snake was lifted up on a stick and any bitten by the poisonous snakes were saved by God through the act of faith (they believed and then obeyed)--look and live.  Jesus said, "so must the Son of man be lifted up."  The Lord spoke of being "lifted up" two other times.  In John 8:28, "Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he..."  And then, finally, in John 12:32-33, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die."  That is, lifted up on a Roman cross--crucified.  Jesus was telling Nicodemus that which made the new birth possible was Him being lifted up in death.  Therefore, you can neither be born-again by your own power, or because you deserve to be.  The basis by which God gives the new birth to men is the sacrificial work of Christ Jesus for you.

This all begs the question(s), Why do I need to be born-again?  Am I not good enough as I am?

Ephesians 2:1
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;..."
Ephesians 2:5
"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"
Colossians 2:13
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;"

        The Bible describes man before being born-again (quickened--made alive) as dead in trespasses and sin.  In fact, you and I were born with a sinful nature.

Romans 5:12
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

        The first man, Adam, willfully sinned against God, and all his children (you and me) are born with a nature completely at odds with our Holy Creator God.

Psalm 51:5
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

        King David testified about his sinful heart; that he was conceived with it.

Romans 8:21
"Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."

        The Apostle Paul said that just as men and women who are saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, so the rest of creation "also shall be delivered" from the bondage of corruption.  Meaning, the sinful condition into which each of us is born is also called "the bondage of corruption."

        God cannot leave you in your sin and bring you to live with Him.  Your sin is not just a few acts you do.  Certainly you do sin, and that is offensive to God.  You need to be forgiven.  But the reason you commit acts of sin is because you are a sinner by nature.  If God were to forgive you, but leave your nature as is, you could never be allowed into God's presence.

1Corinthians 15:50
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

        God is amazing.  He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, who humbly became a man, sinless, and Jesus willing took your death and the wrath of God belonging to you upon Himself and died and shed His precious life blood to pay your sin debt before God.  He calls sinners to repentance and wants to forgive you based upon His shed blood; but, he does so much more to fit you for eternity with God; he will, by His Spirit, make you a new creature on the inside, and then one day in the future, at the resurrection unto life, give you an immortal body.

        I hope you will read more from this blog, compare what I am saying from the Bible yourself.  All Bible quotes are out of the King James Authorized Bible, which is the pure unaltered Word of God in the English language.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Tragedy of the Religious Lost

The Tragedy of the Religious Lost

Our Scripture text is Matthew 9:1-8, and particularly verse 8.

Parallel passages to our text:    Mark 2:3-12 & Luke 5:18-26.

You may ask, “These people glorified God and acknowledged His power; why is that a tragedy?  The tragedy is that they missed the forest for the trees.  They marvelled at the healing of this palsied man (paralysis) and gave God they glory but they missed the reason that the Lord Jesus healed this man’s physical ailment.  Jesus healed this man to show the truthfulness of his claim that he has the power to forgive sins.  To miss how God forgives sins, and who can forgive sins, is to remain un-forgiven—lost—and die and enter the judgement of God condemned. 

It is a tragedy when people remain in their sin when there is forgiveness in God’s Son, Christ Jesus.  And it is a double tragedy when religious people talk of God, see some of the works of God, but refuse to see their sinful state before God and God’s gracious gift of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in his Son. 

So, let us continue…

What does it mean to be lost?
Chapter 15 of Luke’sGospel is often called the Lost and Found chapter of the Bible.  It contains three parables: the parable of the Lost Sheep, of the Lost Coin, and of the Prodigal Son.  In the first two we learn that the Lord seeks the lost, the Lord places great value on men’s souls, and all heaven rejoices over on repentant sinner.  In the Prodigal Son parable we learn of the prodigal’s rebellion, of the prodigal’s lost estate (inheritance), and of the prodigal’s estrangement from his father.  Notice in Luke 15:32 the father describes the repentant returned son as having been once dead and lost and now is alive and found.

The word “lost” is defined as 1) mislaid,  2) ruined,  3) forfeited,  4) not able to find the right way,  5) bewildered,  6) alienated, and  7) shipwrecked (Noah Webster 1828).  To be lost means that by your sinful rebellion you are ruined before God, you have forfeited all claim upon God, and you are alienated from God.

How can I be found?
First, a lost person cannot find themselves.  Sometimes you have to state the obvious.  The prodigal son could not recover his squandered inheritance (estate), it was wasted, gone.  He could not pay back what he did not have.  Also, the prodigal’s father owed him nothing!  You cannot do anything to restore your ruined soul, redeem your forfeited inheritance (life with God), or cancel your alienation from God and restore a blessed relationship with God.

All the prodigal could hope for is the mercy of his father.  God must be merciful to you and graciously redeem you and reconcile you to himself.  Your salvation—forgiveness and restoration—is entirely upon God. 

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Remember, in the parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin it is the shepherd and the woman that seek the lost objects.  Likewise, it is God who has taken action to pay your sin-debt, and must take action to graciously bring you to Christ Jesus to be saved.

Second, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come and has given his life a ransom for you.

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Romans 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Romans 5:8-9, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”

Third, Jesus Christ, who victoriously rose from the dead, is today seeking out lost ones that he might save them.

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Fourth, the Lord Jesus Christ commands all men to repent.  Just like the prodigal son, you need to come to yourself—the end of yourself—knowing and owning your rebellious sinfulness, and count yourself utterly unworthy of forgiveness and reconciliation, and come to God for mercy (Luke 15:17-19).

Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Mark 1:14-15, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,  And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

Ways of the religious lost.
The religious lost came to hear the Lord Jesus teach:  Matthew 9:8 (with Luke 5:19).  In Mark 4:16-19 we have another parable, the Parable of the Sower.  Notice that both types of people describes in verses 16-19 hear the Word of God for a time joyfully.  You might say, they got religion.  Then they later hear something in the Word of God at which they are offended.  The religious lost like to hear select things from the Bible, but are offended when it convicts them.

Herod the Great was a ruthless and powerful ruler.  In Mark 6:20 it is recorded that John the Baptist preached right at Herod, rebuking him publicly for his sin.  Herod, rather than immediately having John killed, heard him gladly and “did many things.”  The inference is that he did religious things—maybe like praying, offering sacrifices, or giving to the poor.    John’s preaching got to Herod deeply.  But, like many a tragic lost soul, when it came down to choosing between this world or God, Herod chose this world; and, although reluctantly, had John the Baptist beheaded.

The religious lost in Matthew 9:8 came to see the works of God on those others in need.  They like to see the drunk delivered, the religion-less become a church goer, and the loose person become moral—they marvel—they glorify God.

They fail to see their need of a work of God in them to bring them to the feet of the Saviour and redeem them.  The Lord did not heal the palsied man to amaze the crowd; he healed him so that men would know that the Lord Jesus Christ alone can forgive sin. 

The religious lost are blind to their sin because they have faith in their own righteousness; because they mis-use Jesus to build up their own righteousness; because they believe themselves to be the answer to others—“Do like I do and all will be well with you.”; because the disregard the Word of God; and, because they resist the Spirit of God.  The religious lost are blind to the power of Christ to forgive sins—Matthew 9:8—they saw the man healed and paid no attention to the forgiveness of sins.

If you say, ‘You are describing me as a religious lost person, what am I to do?’

Consider these truths…
Your sinful heart offends God and you are condemned already—John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

You have no righteousness with which you can justify yourself before God.  Christ did not come to show you how to make yourself good before God—2Corinthains 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Only Christ can make you right with God by the gracious gift of His righteousness graciously put upon you.  Christ died your death on Calvary.  Christ sacrificed himself to God to satisfy God’s wrath against you.  Christ shed his blood as the payment to God for your soul.  Christ rose victoriously from the dead, which declares to us that He is the Son of God with power to forgive sins and find and redeem lost souls.

Seek God and repent; seek God that he would do a gracious work in your heart and bring you to the feet of the Saviour that you might be saved by Him.

Do not resist the Holy Spirit.
Acts 7:51-53, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.  Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:  Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

Matthew 12:31-37, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Human Religion and Veiling the Truth

Luke 11:52

Because men, in their sin natures, do not want to be ruled by God they do all in their power to cover-up the truth about God.  The evident truth in our own consciousness regarding the special and intelligent creation of the Universe by Almighty God has been covered over by man’s arbitrarily imagined philosophical materialism in forms such as pagan polytheism (the deification of ideas), and modern evolutionary scientism.  Maybe in the future I can address that issue.  In this brief article, I want to speak about how man-made pseudo-christianity has veiled the Bible.  The religious power brokers have refused to enter into the God-given truth and they have constructed an apparatus to hinder you from entering.

In Luke 11 the Lord Jesus was not rebuking those afar off and obviously contrary to the Bible, the Word of God; Jesus was rebuking those that claimed to know and believe the Bible and represent God.  The closer a lie is to resembling the truth the more dangerous it is.  In the statement by the Lord Jesus we are speaking of in Luke 11:52…

“Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”

…the lawyers mentioned are not practitioners of civil or criminal law, as we might think today, but practitioners in the laws and teachings of Judiasm.  If you assume that Judiasm and the Law of God (the Old Testament Scriptures, called the Torah by the Jews) are one and the same you would be wrong.  The key of knowledge is a figure of speech for the means of knowledge.  Jesus had already spoken of the means of knowledge in Luke 11:28 where He states, “…blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”  You want the truth? Hear the Word of God—take God at His word, and do what God says.  The following event and exchange between the religious leaders and the Lord Jesus recorded in Matthew 15:1-9 is a case in point, illustrating this veiling of the truth.  You can read that here

The scribes and Pharisees complained to Jesus that His disciples were eating without washing their hands.  This was not hand washing for hygiene, but as a religious rite.  Here is the problem, the Pharisees appealed to the tradition of the fathers and not to the Bible directly for authority.  These men were appealing to the fathers—the foregoing generations of Judiastic teachers (Rabbis).  The Lord brought them up short, rebuked them, and exposed the wickedness of their hearts, asking, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”  Jesus continues by giving an example of how they had superimposed man-made tradition over the Bible and hid the truth from men.  The Law of God commanded that a man was to honour mother and father and the man that cursed his mother and father was guilty of death.  But the ‘fathers’ had imposed a tradition which said that if a man has goods by which he should be looking after his aged parents in their need but claims those goods as a future gift to God he is free from obligation, leaving his parents in poverty.  What is the source of this self-righteous rebellion?  Their hearts were far from God, regardless of how much they said they honoured God.  They were GUILTY of the SIN of teaching for “doctrines the commandments of men.”

When you superimpose anything over the Bible you take away the key of knowledge.  Said another way, you veil the truth from people.  In my experience what most people know about Christianity comes from Roman Catholicism and, its off-spring, Protestantism.  This is so heart breaking because these large religious groups, have departed from the Bible (a long, long, long, time ago) and have taken away the key of knowledge by their traditions, which is the teachings of the (so-called) “church fathers.”  That is why they speak of Catholic Tradition or Christian Tradition.  God warns us about the traditions of men… “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col. 2:8)  The history of man’s philosophizing and religion-izing has long proven itself to be a worthless exercise where men are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Tim. 3:7)

For your own eternal good, please, do not abdicate your personal responsibility to know and believe the truth to another man, or group of men—priests, scholars, clergy, etc.  Set aside the commentators, ‘experts,’ scholars, creeds, traditions, catechisms, etc. and study the Bible directly.  I am not inciting you to make your own religion.  There are too many of those now.  Neither is the point rebellion against organized religion.  The point is that you would not allow yourself or others to superimpose a tradition over the Bible so as to hide what God has said.  I appeal to you to go directly to the Bible yourself and take God at His word according to the normal laws of language.  You may have religious and family loyalties that would attempt to bar you from this.  You may have religious prejudices that would attempt to bar you from doing this.  You may have vested interests that would be threatened by doing this.  Well, you have to decide if those things are worth your soul.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)