Friday, February 29, 2008

What Brings Satan Pleasure???

1. When men of God abandon the preaching of the gospel to become "social engineers and would be politicians" consumed with the temporary affairs of society.
2. When the preaching of God's Word is substituted with relational anecdotal experience, personal happiness programs, health and wealth gospel, and human potentiality makeovers.
3. When pastors no longer shepherd God's people and the pulpits become playgrounds.
4. When psychology replaces biblical discipleship.
5. When men of God are flattered to become "late night talk show guests" on cultural and spiritual issues, but never once open up the Bible to develop their answers; or call the nation, other guests, or the talk show host to repentance by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation; they've simply become culturally acceptable biblical motivational speakers thinking that access to mainstream media means they are making an impact.
6. When the vicar of Rome is acknowledged as the vicar of Christ.
7. When sin is called sickness; when disobedience is called disease; and when adultery is called addiction.
8. When money becomes a prerequisite for ministry by charging people for the gospel, worship, discipleship, counseling, evangelism, etc.
9. When we are liked by all people; when the world is not offended by the message we represent and flatters us for being "relevant and nice."
10. When church becomes something we only do one hour a week on one day a week.
11. When prayer becomes the seldom thing we do.
12. When brothers and sisters hold ought against each other in bitterness and unforgiveness.
13. When church discipline of sin ceases.
14. When irreconcilable differences becomes an acceptable reason to break the covenant of marriage.
15. When the goal of faith is no longer holiness, but happiness.
16. When the object of faith is no longer Christ, but self.
17. When the foundation of faith is no longer the Scriptures, but my personal experience.
18. When error is tolerated and accepted as truth.
19. When Christians partner with nonbelievers in the work of the ministry.
20. When ministries are enticed to give up their autonomy and become owned by the world for just a little more money and a little more personal promotion.
21. When the worship and glory of God is treated as entertainment.
22. When the church bows the knee to the seminaries and surrenders her God-given duty of primary authority to train men for pastoral ministry (2 Tim. 2:1-2). Academic schools of religious learning make students - but not men of God.
23. When men personally profit from the sale of God's Word.
24. When repentance from sin, justification by faith, the law, the active and passive obedience of Christ, penal substitutionary atonement, are no longer considered part of the gospel.
25. When salvation is no longer proclaimed as being by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, on the Word alone, to the glory of God alone.
26. When partnering with Romanism, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, Church of Christ (Bostonian), Seventh Day Adventists, Islamic moralists, Atheists, Agnostics, etc., by divorcing the centrality of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ from their burden for social change, and therefore, indirectly legitimize them as being "morally sound and culturally chaste" by naive evangelical leaders who have forgotten their heritage, sold their spiritual birthright, and have abandoned sound doctrine for the sole purpose of establishing politically-correct alliances in order to try and turn back the tide of moral decay through cultural co-belligerence.
27. When the offense of the cross is removed for cultural acceptance, media accessibility and endorsement.
28. When the gospel is contextualized rather than being contended for, proclaimed and heralded.
29. When the sacred desk is no longer used for biblical exposition, but for comedic stand up by ribald raconteurs who delight in smutty humor, foul language, graphic sensuality, and using the Lord's name as a punchline for their jokes.
30. When the Word of God is not clearly taught, explained, exegeted, exposited, or preached from the pulpits of every true gospel church around the world.
31. When picketing sinners is more acceptable than loving sinners.
32. When "God is my girlfriend" songs are considered expressions of biblical worship; and the use of secular music defines our praise.
33. When the denial of the One Triune God of the Bible in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - coequal, coeternal and coexisting from all eternity is considered orthodox teaching.
34. And when the certainty of hell, eternal judgment, divine wrath, and everlasting perdition is considered myth.

The above list is by Steve Camp and posted on Christian Worldview Network News.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Matthew 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Jesus had just healed a sick man and promised him forgiveness of sins. How can anyone find fault with that? The Word of God says that certain scribes “said within themselves, This man blasphemeth” (Matthew 9:3). The scribes were disturbed over the fact that Jesus said to this man, “thy sins be forgiven thee” (9:2). They did not agree with Jesus offering forgiveness of sins. They rejected the truth that Jesus was God, and therefore, had the power and authority to forgive sins. Their prejudice against Him blinded them to the obvious evidence that He was God. The miracles He performed should have convinced any honest seeker that Jesus was the Christ. Jesus addressed the wickedness of their hearts, saying, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” This is such a great question. The word “wherefore” means “why”? Why did they think such hateful thoughts? Why did they find such fault with His gracious acts? Why could they not rejoice in His miracles? I have often wondered why some people seem to be so dominated by critical thoughts. Like the scribes, they cannot rejoice in God’s goodness and what He is doing because of their obsession with “evil.” As hard as it is for people to admit, there are those who are driven by this same ambition. They are always finding something to be negative about because they are always looking for things to be negative about. These scribes represent that kind of person. There is something desperately wrong when people who are in the presence of God’s wondrous work find themselves dominated by critical and negative thoughts. It is not healthy when someone cannot appreciate the positive because of his obsession with negative thoughts. The longer a person has been in such a habit of thinking, the more difficult it may be to change, but it can be done. God is in the business of transforming our lives; this includes the way we think. As much as we may like to, we cannot change the way other people think. We must, however, take charge of the way we think. If we would be honest and watchful, we would realize that negative, critical, or unbelieving thoughts often seek residence in our minds. It is our duty to recognize these thoughts that are “evil” and reject them.

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


(Here is an article written by Paul Proctor and posted on NewsWithViews on February 20, 2008)

It goes without saying that the world around us is becoming an increasingly vulgar place. One need only turn on network television in the morning to see and hear things once reserved for cable, satellite or after hours viewing.

I suppose that's why the studio audience laughed when "born again" Hollywood actress, Jane Fonda, recently used a four letter word to reference a certain part of the female anatomy on NBC's The Today Show while viewers were eating breakfast with their children - something the host strangely felt compelled to apologize for later.

Further complicating matters are all of the differing definitions now of what is and isn't decent. For instance, throwing an empty coke can out a car window these days might be considered more offensive than hurling an obscenity or an extended middle finger. Consider which of the above will most likely get you a citation.

Have you ever wondered why?

The sad result is children growing up in a world choosing value systems much like they choose computer operating systems. They're taught by our conflicting and confusing standards that there is no right or wrong system. One is merely incompatible with the other; so, just pick the most personally appealing to you and get on with your life because it really doesn't matter in the end.

But, you see, it does matter.

Vulgarity is near-sighted. It sees only its immediate desire - not the long-term or widespread consequences. It is the ultimate expression of pride, selfishness and rebellion and the predecessor and prophet of violence - a force with no conscience or compassion - only cravings set on satisfaction.

When I read or hear of militant homosexuals trying to use the Word of God to justify their own deviancy by saying fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah because of their "lack of hospitality," I don't know whether to laugh or cry!

Ezekiel 16:49-50 is explicitly clear about why they were destroyed and it had nothing to do with hospitality. You see, the inhabitants there weren't just depraved - they were proud of their depravity and couldn't wait to force it on others. And it is that pride in their perversion that earned them the wrath of God.

I would also add that vigilante violence against homosexuals is just as vulgar because is too is rooted in rebellion. Heterosexual pride and perversion is no less evil than "gay pride" and perversion. Neither of them produces the fruit of the Spirit the Apostle Paul wrote about.

America didn't invent vulgarity anymore than Sodom and Gomorrah invented homosexuality; but if and when we as a nation become so proud of our perversions that we collectively pleasure ourselves victimizing others with them, I have no doubt God's mercy will again give way to His wrath.

Ezek. 16:49-50 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Prov. 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Prov. 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Crusades And “Those Violent Christians”

(Below is an article by Larry Spargimino found in the February 25, 2008 Eagle newsletter)

It has been customary for secularists, atheists and the proponents of creating an environment hostile to Christianity in the public sector, to argue that all religions are the same.

The Crusades are cited as an example of “the bloody history of Christianity.” They are cited as proof that military conflicts and the promise of forgiveness of sins granted to “Christian warriors” are examples of a “Christian jihad.” They are examples of a “Christian offensive” against innocent, peace-loving people.

This would be laughable if it were not believed, and taught, in colleges and universities, and through left-wing media outlets, i.e., “Western mainstream media.”

For one thing, the Bible nowhere encourages Christians to enter into an armed conflict for the purpose of extending the faith. Supporting the imperialistic goals of the papacy is not taught in the Bible. Moreover, the idea of any Christian warrior finding remission of sins by going to war is nowhere taught in Scripture. We come to enjoy forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and faith in His once-and-for-all finished work on the cross.

And the idea of innocent, peace-loving Muslims in the Middle Ages is as ludicrous as a one-eyed porcupine dancing the polka.

In his book Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t, award-winning author, Robert Spencer, writes “the Crusades were a late and small-scale response to Islamic jihad conquests that began 450 years before the First Crusade and overwhelmed what had been up to the time of these conquests over half of Christendom.”

The public schools, colleges and the secular media, along with governmental pundits and Congressman who are too busy living the good life to read what they are signing into law, thrive on ignorance. Indeed, Jesus put forth the pre-eminence of truth for all to see when He said: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

World's Most Hated

Who do you think is the most hated man in history? Is it the murderer of millions, Adolf Hitler, or perhaps mass murderer and terrorist Osama Bin Laden? I don’t think so. I think Jesus of Nazareth is by far the most hated person of all time. Who else can you think of whose name is used daily as a cuss word? Two thousand years after He was on this earth, even Hollywood uses it as profanity, in the name of entertainment.

Why is there such a deep contempt for Jesus Christ? That is easy to answer. This is what He said of why the world hates Him: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (John 7:7). The world hates Jesus Christ for the same reason criminals hate the police. He accuses them of crimes against God.

Despite the hatred, the Bible warns (and Scripture cannot be broken) that every hate-filled human being will bow the knee to Jesus Christ and be judged by Him. Most think of Him as “the Son of God,” and limit Him to being whatever they think that means. But the Scriptures clearly tell us that He was actually God “manifest in the flesh” (see 1 Timothy 3:16) and that “all things were made by Him” (see John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:15-16). That's why they will bow the knee.

The reason that God was manifest in the flesh was to provide a morally perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, and the reason that we needed a sacrifice is because we are in debt to God’s Law. If you don’t believe you are in trouble, listen to this part of the moral Law: “Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart.”

Jesus warned that the Day will come when every one of us will stand before God and give an account even of our secret sins . . . sins of lust, of hatred, and evil imaginations. The Bible tells us that liars and thieves will not enter Heaven, and warns of a terrible place called Hell that awaits for all who are found guilty on that day.

The last words of Jesus on the cross were “It is finished!” In other words “the debt has been paid.” His suffering on the cross was sufficient to pay our fine for us. His consequent rising from the dead means that God can now legally commute our death sentence. All we have to do to find everlasting life is to repent and trust Jesus alone for our eternal salvation. The plan of salvation is that simple.

A word of warning. Once you find peace with God, hold on, because the world will hate you because you belong to Jesus Christ.

An article by Ray Comfort distributed by

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Stare at the picture above and find which donut is not like the others. "Take your time…good job I knew you could do it!" That, my friend, is called discernment. Some of you might not have been able to be discerning because you did not want to pass judgment on the donuts. Maybe you feel that it is not your place to say if there is any difference between the donuts and that it is for God to judge. For those that believe we are called to be discerning, you followed a simple process. You put the suspecting donut to the test. From across the room everything looks fine but as you come closer you start to see some differences. You just distinguished between a Krispy Kreme donut and a McDonald's cheeseburger, which was pretty tricky since they are the same size and shape. But, you know enough about Krispy Kreme donuts to sniff out a copycat.

The world we live in is becoming one ecumenical lazy river of religion. Where religious deception abounds, how can we possibly discern the true from the false? So many churches, so many preachers. Here is a simple strategy for seeing clearly. Study the Word of God verse by verse. It is the measuring stick for testing all preaching and teaching. The more you know the truth, the easier it will be to identify or expose a false teaching.

Why is it so important? It was the apostle Paul who wrote, "...... but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:7-9).

The Apostle Paul was pretty clear with his continued warnings.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).

Having discernment means that you can separate truth from error. You examine teaching; you don't believe everything you hear, but you test the teachings. Even the Bereans tested Paul's teaching to see if it was in harmony with the Word of God.

You will never notice the counterfeit unless you know what the original looks like. The Bible is clear that there is only one true gospel and MANY false gospels. Don't be afraid to contend for the faith. No one is above being tested against scripture, not even the angels. Test, evaluate, and examine the teacher and the message.

Discernment is your responsibility. Use your brain to reason what you hear against scripture. It should become a life's discipline.

1 John 4:1-6 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

An article written by Ray Baumann posted on Christian Worldview Network

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Friday, February 22, 2008

The Authority of God and His Word

God is the ultimate authority. Men who summon the Bible to appear at the bar of human reason and substitute a "Thus saith the mind of man" for a "Thus saith the Lord" forget that fact. The Word of God is the voice of the Almighty!!!

Now I would have us, as Dr. A. T. Pierson has set forth so beautifully and potently, consider the Bible, the Word of God, in relation to God.

Since God is eternal, His Book will not be the product of any single generation or century or age of history.

Since God is infinite, His Book will be independent of those finite limitations which characterize man's work.

Since God is immutable, His Book, will reveal changeless elements, and be throughout essentially consistent.

Since God is one, however varied the human writers of His Book and the times in which they were recorded, it will be one Book and will reveal a definite and homogenous plan. That is why I so often call it the miracle Book of diversity in unity - the Book so harmonious in infinite complexity.

Since God is omniscient, we can expect His Book to deal with facts of past history or future destiny with equal certainty as the present.

Since God is wise - never errs and is never chargeable with folly - His Book will be marked by convictions, conclusions and counsels according to highest truth and wisdom.

Since God is almighty, His Book will display and record achievements far beyond the unaided powers of posssibilities of human strength.

Since God is the Creator of all things, we may expect to find in His Book the marks of a creative hand and mind.

Since God is righteous, His Book will exhibit a high standard of moral teaching and practice and be consistent with the unchangeable principles of right and wrong.

Since God is holy, His Book will be a revelation of His holiness - of infinite beauty and excellence, of highest sympathy with what is faultlessly perfect for its own sake.

Since God is benevolent, His Book will both teach and exemplify unselfish goodness and love, will inculcate forgiveness, mercy, and self-sacrifice.

Since God is mysterious and incomprehensible, His Book will contain mystery, paradox and apparent contridiction. It will be with infinite magnitudes as well as moral certitudes.

Since God is superhuman and supernatural, His Book will speak as the language of one who knows man and the secrets of his whole being - and of the universe - and to whom what man deems marvelous and impossible is possible and simple.

Since God is unimpeachable, we can expect His Book to be instinct with vitality - a living Book, indestructible by man, divinely preserved by the Author.

Since God is a God of absolute faithfulness, His Book will be an uncompromising rebuke of human falsehood, vice, inconsistency - catering never to human sin, pandering never to vice, compromising never with evil.

Since God is a God of purpose, His Book is independent of the limitations of the locality.

Since God is a God of divine providence, His Book represents God as controlling both the present and future - having oversight of all persons and events.

Since God is Judge, His Book reveals Him as judicially dealing with men - rewarding virtue and punishing vice partially in this life, and fully and finally in the life to come.

Since God is sovereign, His Book represents Him as supreme, even over foes. He makes even the wrath of man to praise Him, and restrains the remainder. He performs all His pleasure, despite His enemies and their plots.

Since God is Spirit, His Book shows Him as independent of physical organs and limitations.

Though all this be true, there is still manifest toward the Bible devilish antagonisms. The Bible has had and still has many enemies. Considering the persecution the Bible has encountered, its survival is the miracle of history and the history of miracle:
  1. There was pagan persecution under Diocletian.
  2. There was the papal persecution of the Bible in a different form - locking it up from the common people and putting the key in the hands of the priests only. Rome became the jailer of the Word of God.
  3. There was the enemy of rationalism, the deification of human reason, resulting in the denial of the miracles and other teachings of the Bible and continuous textual criticism adding and deleting from the Word of God.
  4. There is the element of pantheism, making the divine element to pervade all things, degrading God's Word and lifting everything else to a divine level.
  5. There is the enemy of modernism, which minimizes sin, humanizes God, and deifies man.

Yes, the Bible has had many enemies in years gone by, and has a multitude of enemies in today's world. Yet, God's Word still lives and changes many lives today. It has power like no other book in the world; it lingers in the minds of anyone who picks up and reads its pages.

Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Challenges of This Hour

(Here is an article from the editor's notes in the February 8, 2008 issue of The Sword of the Lord newspaper written by Dr. Shelton Smith.)

Christians in the 21st century live in a battle zone. We're saved and we're Heaven-bound, but our days on this earth are fraught with many challenges.
  1. Evil Men! - 2 Tim. 3:2-5 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
  2. False Teachers! - 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
  3. Satanic Ministers! - 2 Cor. 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
  4. Disorderly Brothers! - 2 Thess. 3:14-15 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
  5. Satan Himself! - 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
  6. The World System! - 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
  7. Our Human Flesh! - Matt. 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

These are very real adversaries and enemies. They are formidable, and sometimes very forceful as well.

The question all of us must face and hopefully answer rightly is: Will we take the enemy to task, or are we going to go along with whatever the enemy wants???

Tragically, a lot of today's Christians are trying to be "cool" or "find relevance" instead of standing up to be counted.

Instead of having conviction and courage, they want to be contemporary.

They've replaced what the Bible says with "What do the people want?"

Wearing their feelings on their sleeve, and determined to have their own way, so many bounce from one church to another.

Bible doctrine and Christian deportment are cast aside for personal preference and carnal ambitions.

In these times, these days, this hour, the challenges are constant, and they are compelling. I pray that you will keep yourself viligant so that your witness and testimony do not erode into oblivion.

Who will face the challenges? Who will go down into the valley to meet Goliath? Who will refuse to eat the diet required by the wicked king? Who will stand up to the wicked ruler and the conniving woman in this life? Who will cry aloud when the people set up their golden calf? Who will stand to confront the prophets of Baal?

Hopefully, those of us who know the Lord and know our Bible will do what we know we should do. Let's go ahead and start on it today. AMEN!!!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Which Way Out?????

The Great Society says, "Spend your way out."
The politician says, "Legislate your way out."
Militarism says, "Fight your way out."
Industry says, "Work your way out."
Capital says, "Buy your way out."
Science says, "Invent your way out."
The philosopher says, "Think your way out."
The inebriate says, "Drink your way out."
The thief says, "Steal your way out."
The deceiver says, "Bluff your way out."
Jesus Christ says, "I am the only way out - trust Me!!!"

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Soul Winner's Alphabet

  1. Annointed for action
  2. Blessed for bidding
  3. Concerned for Christ's sake
  4. Desires to deliver
  5. Earnest to enlist
  6. Faithful to fulfill
  7. Gives out the Gospel generously
  8. Helps the helpless
  9. Interested in individuals
  10. Joys in justification
  11. Keeps the King's instructions
  12. Loves the lost
  13. Manifests the message
  14. Notifies of the new birth
  15. Obeys for others' sakes
  16. Propogates the pardon
  17. Quests to quicken
  18. Redeemed to reproduce
  19. Stable to serve
  20. Trusts His truth
  21. Understands his usefulness
  22. Vigilant for victories
  23. Wise in witnessing
  24. 'Xcited to tell the story
  25. Yielded yesterday, today, and forever
  26. Zealous for the zero hour

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

The "Young" Disciples???

A friend once told an elderly lady that New Testament believers were very young. He then read from Acts 19:7: “And all the men were about twelve.” She didn’t get the joke, and instead pointed out that the “twelve” wasn’t a reference to their age, but to how many men were present at the time.

The incident reminded me of how skeptics read the Bible. They are the true fundamental literalists, who don’t have the wherewithal to interpret Scripture with Scripture. I have heard the same arguments for years about Cain and his wife, about there being two creations in Genesis, or the earth being flat, and about Adam not dying the day God said He would. These, and a million other “mistakes” in the Bible simply need to be read using Scripture to interpret Scripture.

If you and I open the Bible with the presupposition that it is written by men who weren’t inspired by God, then we will find our mistakes. But if we come with the humble thought that this Book is the Word of the Living God, we will have a different attitude. Here’s a lame metaphor. It’s like finding Einstein’s personal notebook on how he conducted his experiments. If we read it with condescending attitude of "Who is this dummy?" we’re not going to figure out what he is saying. Rather, if we want to grow in knowledge, we should take the humble road and say, “This man is more intelligent than I am. I wonder what I can learn from him.” If we have that attitude to the Word of God, it will begin to open its wonderful truths. Until then, it will truly be “dead letter.” Always remember “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Think about that.

A short thought from the "Comfort Food" blog

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Human Heart

Deut. 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my comandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

God's emphasis on the heart pervades Scripture. The English word appears in no fewer than 878 references in the Bible, with the related Hebrew or Greek words appearing in another 55 passages and translated as either "mind" or "understanding." Of the 66 books of the Bible, only seven do not use the term.

That the heart of man is distinct from either "soul" or "mind" is clear from the Lord's emphasis in His allusion to Deuteronomy 6:5, as recorded in Matthew 22:37: "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (see also Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). But just what is this heart that God so explicitly requests love from? One must collect the biblical data before a correct conclusion can be drawn.

The phrase "with all thy (thine, their) heart" is used 20 times in the Bible, citing the heart as the key to obedience, love, and service (Deuteronomy 10:12); repentance and turning back to righteousness (1 Kings 8:47-49); trusting in God's direction (Proverbs 3:5-6); and, of course, believing unto salvation (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9).

Whatever the heart is, it is the part of the human condition that is absolutely necessary for a right relationship with the God of eternity. The heart is surely the fountain from which the nature of a person is revealed. Several obvious statements are made in Scripture:

"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23)"...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34)"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." (Matthew 12:35)

Whatever the heart may involve, it is clearly the source of our "real" character.

Our heart can commit sin--even apart from carrying out the actual deed (Matthew 5:28)--and is naturally linked to the "treasure" we lay up for ourselves (Matthew 6:21). The heart is capable of religious deceit (Matthew 15:8), and in its natural state is full of wickedness (Jeremiah 17:9). If left to follow its natural inclination, the heart will become hardened and unreachable with the truth (Mark 6:52; Romans 2:5). Indeed, it appears that we have the ability to harden our hearts even beyond their natural tendency to rebel against God (Hebrews 3:8). Mercy! No wonder Paul cried, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24).

The answer to that desperate question is, of course, the "new" heart that comes with the "new birth" (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10; 10:16). God promises that we will find Him if we seek Him with "all our heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). We are also told that even the "desires" of our hearts will be granted when we delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4). Once we have learned to trust God, our hearts can rejoice and be glad (Psalm 28:7; Zechariah 10:7), ultimately reaching a steady "comfort" and full assurance that acknowledges the great mysteries of our relationship with God (Colossians 2:2).

But we still have not yet uncovered what the heart is. It is abundantly clear that the heart is vital to our behavior, our salvation, our understanding, and our commitment--either to righteousness or to evil. But what IS the heart?

The heart can reason (Ecclesiastes 7:25; Mark 2:8), and has "thoughts and intents" (Hebrews 4:12). The heart is in some way connected to our flesh (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3), but is also definitely associated with our conscious understanding (Proverbs 2:2; 15:14; Matthew 13:15; Ephesians 4:18). But this connection goes deeper than the conscious mind. The heart is the source of a "hidden man" that produces qualities in character (1 Peter 3:4). The heart can feel pain (Nahum 2:10) and anguish (2 Corinthians 2:4), as well as sorrow or joy (Isaiah 65:14).

It seems that the heart is inextricably intertwined with our whole human nature--influencing and being influenced by everything we do! It operates something like a network of spiritual connections that senses every thought and every emotion, both external and internal, and will feed back its own desire and focus, influencing and controlling our behavior more than we realize. Perhaps a good modern illustration would be the operating system of our computers--Windows, Linux, or the "heart" of an Apple. The programs that we use-- Word, Excel, or email--are the training, education, habits, and associations that we develop in our lives. But the operating system--the heart--controls what can be done with the programs!

No wonder God longed for "such an heart" that would fear Him and obey Him, so that we might be the beneficiaries of His blessings (Deuteronomy 5:29). God cannot, of course, reward evil any more than He can be evil. Although God's love for us has moved Him to sacrifice His only begotten Son on our behalf, He nonetheless will not acquit the wicked (Nahum 1:3). Before we can have our hearts made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), we must bring them into a "contrite and humble" state (Isaiah 57:15), one that is "broken" before His holiness (Psalm 34:18; 51:17). When the heart believes "unto righteousness" (Romans 10:10), repentance (Acts 8:22) leads to an enormous change in the "natural man" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Obviously, since this huge change is not a normal human event, it must be brought about by the supernatural power of the great Creator Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17). And since it is God who is creating the new heart, there is no possible result but that the new heart is created "after God… in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).

Once the event of the "new creation" takes place, we are given a heart--an operating system-- that can run the "programs" of righteousness. After the new birth, it becomes possible to fear (or "reverence") the One who created us, and to keep the commandments that are all recorded in our "Owners Manual," also known as "The Book." While no analogy is totally satisfactory, this may help us to understand how essential our heart really is in working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12). If we would desire that it be "well with us, and with our children" (Deuteronomy 5:29), then we must "keep our heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

This article was written by Dr. Henry Morris and published in the February issue of Acts & Facts, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.

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Monday, February 11, 2008


Proverbs 19:27 Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.

Teaching or instructing is a powerful tool. Truth can be communicated and received in such a way that it will stay permanently in the mind of the learner. In the same manner, error can be taught and explained so convincingly that students enthusiastically embrace it. Our text warns us about the importance of carefully screening our sources of information. Simply stated, we are to stop listening to teaching that will cause us to depart from the truth. We are taught to respect the power of truth; but too often, we fail to respect the power of lies. Error can lead us away from the truth. The sometimes overlooked fact is that error can become “perceived truth” in the unsuspecting mind. Those who have been successfully indoctrinated in error will stubbornly defend it. Cults are convinced that their false beliefs are the absolute truth. We need to be careful about who our instructors are and who is teaching our children. Lest we think this is not really all that relevant, remember what the New Testament says: “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). How much error does it take to corrupt the truth? It was this passage of Scripture that convinced me, many years ago, not to allow our children to be taught in the government schools. We did not want our children to be taught the godless theory of evolution or the revised history of our nation, which ignores our Christian heritage. Who are our teachers? One of the most powerful and dangerous mediums of information is the media. The valueless system of this world is being communicated through music, movies, television, and the printed page. Minds are being conformed to a way of life that is opposed to the Word of God. Medical professionals who should be trained to protect life have been brainwashed to believe that aborting a living human is permissible. Judges in our nation have had their judgment defiled until they believe it is their duty to protect society from the message of Christianity. Where did all this nonsense begin, and how has it been sustained? It has been promoted and propagated through teaching. We need to take this caution from the wise writer of Proverbs seriously. We are to quit listening to teachers whose error can cause “to err from the words of knowledge.”

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Scriptural Basis for a Godly Contempt for Man's "Wisdom"

Romans 1:20-32 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1 Cor. 1:18-31 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

2 Thes. 2:10-12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Tim. 3:1-9 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

2 Peter 2:10-22 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 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. 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.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008


Matthew 28:13, 15 Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

After the death of Jesus, the chief priests and Pharisees made a visit to Pilate. They reminded him that Jesus had promised that He would rise again after three days. These religious leaders requested that Pilate secure the tomb, lest the disciples come and steal His body. Pilate ordered the tomb to be made sure and established a watch to guard the tomb. After the resurrection of Christ, the soldiers told the chief priests what had happened. As our text records, the Jewish elders gave money to the soldiers and commanded that they lie about the whereabouts of the Savior. “Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” The Bible then says, “they took the money, and did as they were taught.” Dishonesty and deceit has been around for as long as mankind has existed. The thing that makes this lying even more treacherous is the fact that the lies were conceived and spread by the religious leaders of the Jews. The hatred and jealousy of the Jews moved them to lie about the body of Jesus. They would rather lie, and cause others to believe the lie, than to accept the truth. Unfortunately, religious envy continues to foster deceit and dishonesty today. False religions preach error and promote lies to keep people from believing the truth. Multitudes of followers have been convinced to believe the lies of their leaders rather than the truths of the Scriptures. The remarkable thing about error is that sometimes error is easier to believe than truth. These lies seemed believable to those who heard them. The above text records, “this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Although the falsehoods had no substance to them, they were commonly believed and reported among the Jews. One thing could have settled this question convincingly. They would only have had to believe what the Word of God said, both in the Old Testament and from the lips of Jesus Christ. We should all be warned of the power of lies. When some teaching disagrees with the words of the Bible, it should be shunned as error. Believing things that are not consistent with the Scriptures can be destructive to any of us.

A devotional thought by Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Friday, February 08, 2008


I Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

The word carnal is used eleven times in the New Testament. Seven of those occasions were directed to the Corinthian church. To say that the church at Corinth was a carnal church would certainly be an accurate assessment. The word carnal means “pertaining to the flesh or fleshly.” Being carnal is the opposite of being spiritual. Paul said that he could not speak to them as spiritual people, but as carnal, like “babes in Christ” (3:1). Because the Corinthians were carnal, they were not able to digest spiritual meat. Their spiritual diet was restricted to milk. Our text gives us some common evidences of being carnal. Characteristics such as “envying, and strife, and divisions” are manifestations of being carnal. The final words of our Scripture tell us that these carnal Corinthians walked “as men.” Their conduct was like that of natural men. They did not walk as spiritual men, but as the rest of mankind. These were serious words to the members of the Corinthian church. Any sincere Christian should be ashamed to be called carnal. They describe a lifestyle that is far from what God desires for His children. He did not redeem us that we might live according to the ways of the world. God did not save us that we remain fleshly and unspiritual. Church members are to love one another and serve one another. Instead, these members were jealous and divisive. The Corinthian church had its share of spiritual problems. What about many churches of our generation? Could they not also be considered carnal? As a matter of fact, the behavior of the Corinthians would probably be considered normal in most modern congregations. Believers could commonly be described as being more carnal than spiritual. Churches are often filled with members who are jealous, critical, selfish, and worldly. The message of the Word of God would aptly apply today, “ye are yet carnal.” We should not be satisfied living in a worldly or natural way. Our lives should be drastically different from that of the unsaved. We ought to develop appetites for the things of God, rather than the things of the flesh and the world. What is needed in our increasingly compromising society is a generation of Christians who are truly spiritual, rather than carnal.

A devotional thought from Pastor Smith of Mt. Zion Baptist Church

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Importance of Bible Prophecy

During work a week or so ago, the topic of prophecy came up in a general setting. Fulfilled prophecy in the Bible is a vital truth to the Christian faith, but it also gives the Christian today encouragement in his daily walk with the Lord. Here is a portion of a helpful outline from the Learn the Bible website which outlines the importance of prophecy, with an emphasis to the bible-believing Christian and his service to his Saviour and personal evangelism.

I. Prophecy Makes Up Over One-Fourth of the Bible
II. Prophecy is Exalted by God Himself
III. Prophecy Proves the Authority of Scripture
IV. Prophecy Explains the Meaning of History
V. Prophecy Arms the Believer Against Cultism
VI. Prophecy Motivates the Church to Evangelism
A. The Imminency of Christ’s Return
B. The Urgency to Reach the Lost
VII. Prophecy Challenges the Believer to Holy Service
A. To Watchfulness--Matthew 25:13
B. To Faithfulness--Luke 12:42-44
C. To Comfort--John 14:3
D. As an Encouragement in the Lord’s Supper--I Corinthians 11:26
E. To Confidence--Philippians 1:6
F. To Sincerity--Philippians 1:9-10
G. To Faithfulness to the Word--Philippians 2:16
H. To Heavenly Conversation--Philippians 3:20-21
I. To Moderation--Philippians 4:5
J. To Mortification of Fleshly Lusts--Colossians 3:3-5
K. To Waiting--I Thessalonians 1:9-10
L. To Brotherly Love--I Thessalonians 3:12-13
M. As a Source of Consolation--I Thessalonians 4:14-18
N. To Sanctification--I Thessalonians 5:23
O. To Obedience--I Timothy 6:13-14
P. To Pastoral Diligence--II Timothy 4:1-2; I Peter 5:2-4
Q. To Love the Second Coming--II Timothy 4:7-8
R. To Separation--Titus 2:11-13
S. To Look For Him--Hebrews 9:27-28
T. To Patience--James 5:7-8
U. To Endure Temptations--I Peter 1:7
V. To Soberness--I Peter 4:7
W. To Bear Persecution--I Peter 4:13
X. To Godliness--II Peter 3:11-13
Y. To Abide in Christ--I John 2:28
Z. To Purity--I John 3:2-3
AA. To Repentance--Revelation 3:3

Here is the link for the complete outline:

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

It Is A Gift!!!

No matter where people are from, any culture, any social ranking, most of them naturally believe they can please God and go to heaven by doing good deeds. They figure that if they do more good than bad, they will earn their way to heaven.

Nowhere in the Bible is going to heaven by good works taught. We cannot pay for our sins by our good deeds. However, a price has been paid for our sins. Jesus’ death on the cross is the only payment God will accept. Salvation is a free gift offered to those that will accept Christ’s work as payment for all their sins. Here are some verses showing that salvation’s price has already been paid, and that it is a free gift to us:
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • 1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

An article from The Bible View by Bill Brinkworth

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Word of God, Not Broken and Not Bound

John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
2 Tim. 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

As these verses above declare, the Bible, the Word of God, cannot be broken and is not bound in this modern world in which we live. If asked today to speak about the Bible, many wise and eloquent men could express only a measure of its greatness, so wonderful in its antiquity, yet never antedated. This wonderful Book of 66 books, a vast library in one volume, written by 40 men of different capacity and temperment and position over a period of 1600 years, has one message - progressive, constructive, and complete.

All who wrote are immortalized by their writing of this great Book, supernatural in origin, divine in authorship, human in penmanship, infallible in authority, infinite in scope, universal in interest, personal in application, regenerative in power, inspired in totality - the miracle Book of diversity in unity, of harmony in infinite complexity.

It comes to us drenched in the tears of millions of contritions, worn with the fingers of agony and death, expounded by the greatest intellects, steeped in the prayers of many saints, stained with the blood of martyrs. The accuracy of its statements and prophecies is substantiated by every turn of the excavator's spade in Bible lands, by history, by multitudinous inscriptions deciphered among classic ruins - from rusty coins and corroded marbles we find confirmations of its own veracity. Volumes that would fill the shelves of many libraries have been written on single chapters, single verses, and even single words. Yet those chapters, verses, and words are as fresh, as fertile, as inexhaustible as ever.

Addressing itself to the universal conscience, speaking with binding claims, commanding the obedience of all mankind, it is the one and only source of information concerning divine revelation, the world's creation, the soul's salvation, human destiny and the realities of eternity. Only the Bible can state, "Thus saith the LORD."

Isa. 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

We wonder at its indestructibility when we know how it has been severely abused in the hands of its enemies and sorely wounded in the house of its friends. Our faith in its eternal indestructibility is strengthened when we read, "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." Psalms 119:89 Isaiah wrote, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." Isa. 40:8 Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." Mark 13:31

All Scripture is God-breathed into the writers of this Book. This makes it plain that what we call inspiration is not the man, but the book; not the writer, but his writings; not the speaker, but his words. The purpose of God in inspiration was not to give us a number of infallible men who would soon pass away, but to give us an infallible Book that would never pass away. Between this position and infidelity is no neutral ground.

All Scripture is inspired. Therefore, no Scripture can be uninspired. Scriptures supporting verbal inspiration are abundant:

To the Christians at Thessalonica, Paul wrote:

1 Thes. 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

To the church at Corinth, Paul wrote:

1 Cor. 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

Luke records the Spirit-filled Zacharias as saying:

Luke 1:70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says:

Heb 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Of Moses, 'tis recorded:

Ex. 24:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD,....

To Jeremiah, God said:

Jer. 30:2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
Jer. 1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

Note especially now:

1 Cor. 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

In this way spoke all whom God ever inspired to speak to us:

John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

Note the last words of David:

2 Sam. 23:1-3 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

I pray that all this we have written indicate to you the truth of the facts, the Word of God in not bound and is not broken.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Confusion of Conversion???

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new - II Corinthians 5:17

WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? - I John 5:1-5

Why do so many folks today make professions of faith, attend our fundamental, Bible-believing churches for a short season, and then flee because they are either unable or unwilling to tolerate Scriptural truth, even in the area of very basic doctrine? Why must pastors struggle to keep those who profess to know Christ as their Savior in church? Why do so many who profess to know Christ take so long to take the first step of obedience as a Christian by submitting themselves to believer’s baptism? Why do so many local church assemblies today lack the supernatural power of God, and lack faithful church members who know God, seek God, and walk with God in true holiness and sanctification? Why is it today that it seems pastors must expend copious amounts of time and energy just maintaining folks as opposed to discipling them to spiritual maturity? What in the world is going on?

Dan Puckett made some disturbing observations in an article he wrote in Revival Link entitled, Jesus is Still the Answer!. He declared, "It was said of the early Christians in the New Testament book of Acts, chapter 17, verse 6, 'These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also' . . . . Today, the sad commentary is that the world has turned the church upside down. There remains no Christian distinctive. Social ills are as rampant in the church as outside the church. Divorce, abortion, child abuse, pornography, adultery, fornication, and almost any other ill you can name is epidemic in the professing church . . . ." Though many would deny that this is true of our churches today, close examination would reveal otherwise in many cases.

I believe much of the problem can be laid at the feet of wrong doctrine. I speak in particular of a wrong approach towards the doctrine of salvation. It is my belief that the presentation of the Gospel has been so weakened and watered-down in recent decades, what we are seeing produced today is not a vast number of people who have been truly born-again, but a constituency of those who are now church members who have been "stillborn." They have not been truly converted, therefore they have no overcoming power over sin and sinful living. They may be baptized, become church members, learn the language of Christianity, even work in the church, but at some point they begin to fall away, and end up going back to the vomit (II Peter 2:20-22). The other possibility is that they continue on building a facade whilst living a secret life of sin behind the scenes.

One writer has placed the problem we face today in our churches at the feet of what he calls "decisionism." He describes "decisionism" this way: "Decisionism is the belief that a person is saved by coming forward, raising the hand, saying a prayer, believing a doctrine, making a Lordship commitment, or some other external, human act, which is taken as the equivalent to, and proof of, the miracle of inward conversion; it is the belief that a person is saved through the agency of a merely external decision; the belief that performing one of these human actions shows that a person is saved."

On the other hand, our writer says that true conversion is an entirely different process. Of conversion he says: "Conversion is the result of that work of the Holy Spirit which draws a lost sinner to Jesus Christ for justification and regeneration, and changes the sinner's standing before God from lost to saved, imparting divine life to the depraved soul, thus producing a new direction in the life of the convert. The objective side of salvation is justification. The subjective side of salvation is regeneration. The result is conversion."

One Bible commentator said this: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. It is vain for a man to profess affinity to Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in his heart and life, and dead in trespasses and sins; for he that is in Christ, that is, a genuine Christian, having Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, is a new creature; his old state is changed: he was a child of Satan, he is now a child of God; he was a slave to sin, and his works were death; he is now made free from sin, and has his fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. He was before full of pride and wrath; he is now meek and humble. He formerly had his portion in this life, and lived for this world alone; he now hath GOD for his portion, and he looks not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are eternal. Therefore, old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new. This man is not only mended, but he is new made; he is a new creature . . . a new creation, a little world in himself; formerly all was in chaotic disorder; now, there is a new creation, which God himself owns as his workmanship, and which he can look on and pronounce very good."

Beloved, we are sending the wrong message when we tell folks who are the powerless slaves to sin their chosen habitual behavior is an "addiction" rather than a sinful offense against God that needs to be repented of. Yes, I know there are certain behaviors that lead to physiological addiction, but that is then a medical problem the result of a chosen pattern of behavior. The answer is not a mix of Freudian philosophy, pop-psychology and Christian lingo. The answer is, and always has been, Christ. The answer is coming to God without one plea, with a broken and contrite heart that hides nothing, and seeks to cover nothing - without one excuse or "cop-out." We live in a day where many have developed a hatred for orthodox Christianity, and a hatred for biblical truth. As a result, many have turned to programs and methods that are part-and-parcel to a humanistic approach to the problems of lost people, as well as those who profess to know Christ but have no evidence of His overcoming power. Sadly, many good men, and many good churches have been caught up in these things with good intentions, and with a real desire to help hurting people and those destroyed by sinful choices in life. But, we all need to beware, be wise, and be warned that all that glitters is not gold, and be sure to examine our approach to the sinner and the sinful ways of man. We have an awesome responsibility in the way we handle the Word of God, and especially in the way we present the Gospel. Let us, above all else, be thorough as we talk to folks about their need of Christ. Eternal souls are in the balance, and we must take great care to be thorough in our dealings with lost men and women.

Excerpts from an article by Evangelist Paul Mershon in "Revival Thoughts"

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