Daily Archives: January 15, 2014

A Theological Toolbox – Challies

Every pastor, and I suppose every Christian as well, has a kind of theological toolbox, a means of dealing with the questions and concerns that appear throughout life. I was thinking recently about the tools I use most often and narrowed it down to two. There are two grids I’ve found especially helpful, and ones I return to again and again, not only in my own life, but also as I interact with others.

What Is of Primary Importance?

How do we know which of the Christian doctrines are most important? How do we know where we must stand firm without wavering and where we may be able to work with others despite differences? While no truth is insignificant, there are clearly some doctrinal foundations that, if disrupted, will force the whole structure to collapse.

Read More

Questions about Marriage: Why Is Sexual Temptation a Bigger Problem for Men than for Women?

 

While women are by no means immune from sexual temptation, men struggle with sexual temptation to a much greater degree. Far more men commit adultery than women. In premarital relationships, men are far more likely to seek sex from their partners than women. This is perhaps hinted at in Matthew 5:28, which refers exclusively to men lusting after women. While lust is sinful for both men and women, the fact that the passage only speaks of men committing “heart adultery” implies that sexual temptation is primarily a male problem.

Why is this? Why is sexual temptation a bigger problem for men than for women? The Bible does not seek to answer this “why” question. Instead, the Bible makes it abundantly clear that sexual immorality is always a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The fact that overcoming sexual temptation is more difficult for men is definitely not an excuse. “It is so hard to resist” is not an explanation God will accept from a man, or from a woman for that matter. Again, sexual immorality is always a sin. Therefore, sexual temptation is to be overcome (1 Corinthians 6:18), whether the temptation is strong or mild, and whether the person tempted is a man or a woman.

Since the Bible does not specifically give an answer as to why sexual temptation is a greater struggle for men than for women, we can look to biology/physiology for insight. Physiologically, men typically have a much stronger sex drive than women. Men naturally think about sex more often and desire sex more frequently than women do. Especially when sexual intercourse has not occurred recently, the male body has a greater desire for the release that sex provides. This is then compounded by the fact that men are far more easily stimulated by sight than women are (which also explains why men are far more prone to look at pornography). Simply the sight of an attractive female is sometimes enough to trigger a male’s sex drive. If a sexual thought is not immediately forsaken (with God’s help), it can become a cascading river of sexual temptation, very difficult to resist.

Again, let it be said, the male sex drive is a fact, not an excuse. If a man gives in to sexual temptation, he has no one to blame but himself. First Corinthians 10:13 declares, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” If we do not take advantage of the divinely provided “way of escape,” we are without excuse. Sexual temptation can be powerful, and sexual sin is among the most devastating (1 Corinthians 6:18). But, with God’s help, sexual temptation can be defeated. This is equally true for men and women.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Relationships: What Does the Bible Say about Sex before Marriage?

 

There is no Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage. The Bible undeniably condemns adultery and sexual immorality, but is sex before marriage considered sexually immoral? According to 1 Corinthians 7:2, “yes” is the clear answer: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. First Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way.

Since 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly includes sex before marriage in the definition of sexual immorality, all of the Bible verses that condemn sexual immorality as being sinful also condemn sex before marriage as sinful. Sex before marriage is included in the biblical definition of sexual immorality. There are numerous Scriptures that declare sex before marriage to be a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).

Far too often we focus on the “recreation” aspect of sex without recognizing that there is another aspect—procreation. Sex within marriage is pleasurable, and God designed it that way. God wants men and women to enjoy sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Song of Solomon and several other Bible passages (such as Proverbs 5:19) clearly describe the pleasure of sex. However, the couple must understand that God’s intent for sex includes producing children. Thus, for a couple to engage in sex before marriage is doubly wrong—they are enjoying pleasures not intended for them, and they are taking a chance of creating a human life outside of the family structure God intended for every child.

While practicality does not determine right from wrong, if the Bible’s message on sex before marriage were obeyed, there would be far fewer sexually transmitted diseases, far fewer abortions, far fewer unwed mothers and unwanted pregnancies, and far fewer children growing up without both parents in their lives. Abstinence is God’s only policy when it comes to sex before marriage. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and, most importantly, honors God.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Parables: What Is the Meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins?

 

As we take a good look at the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1–13), we must acknowledge up front that there has been much debate as to the meaning of these words of our Savior. At least one aspect of this parable can be known with absolute certainty. The bridegroom is Jesus Christ, and this parable describes His return. Both the Old Testament (Isaiah 54:4–6; 62:4–5; Hosea 2:19) and the New Testament (John 3:27–30; Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19–20) represent the Messiah as a bridegroom. Both God’s people Israel and the Church are described in Scripture as the bride (Ephesians 5:25–32) for the Messiah.

The historical setting can also be known with a fair amount of certainty. In describing a first-century Jewish wedding, D.A. Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary describes the setting this way: “Normally the bridegroom with some close friends left his home to go to the bride’s home, where there were various ceremonies, followed by a procession through the streets—after nightfall—to his home. The ten virgins may be bridesmaids who have been assisting the bride; and they expect to meet the groom as he comes from the bride’s house … Everyone in the procession was expected to carry his or her own torch. Those without a torch would be assumed to be party crashers or even brigands. The festivities, which might last several days, would formally get under way at the groom’s house.” The torch was either a lamp with a small oil tank and wick or a stick with a rag soaked in oil on the end of it which would require occasional re-soaking to maintain the flame.

Of interpretive significance is which return of Christ is this? Is it His return for the rapture of the Church, or is it His return to set up the Millennial Kingdom at the end of the Tribulation? Dispensational scholars divide over this issue, and no attempt will be made to answer that question here. Regardless of which return it is, the lessons to be learned are relevant to both.

The overall and easily seen thrust of the parable is that Christ will return at an unknown hour and that His people must be ready. Being ready means preparing for whatever contingency arises in our lives and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times while we eagerly await His coming. As seen in the fact that all the virgins were sleeping when the call came indicates that it doesn’t matter what we are doing when Christ returns. We may be working, eating, sleeping, or pursuing leisure activities. Whatever it is, we must be doing it in such a way that we don’t have to “make things right” (get more oil) when He comes. This would apply to either the coming of Christ for His Church or for the Tribulation saints as they await His second coming.

Being ready for Christ’s return ultimately involves one major thing which manifests itself in several areas of our lives. If we would be ready for Christ’s return, we must be born again through saving faith in Jesus Christ … His death, burial and literal resurrection from the dead (John 3:16; 14:6; Romans 10:9 and 10; 1 Corinthians 15:1–4; Ephesians 2:1–10). Saving faith in Jesus Christ will manifest itself in every aspect of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) will begin to show. A desire for greater holiness and less sin will be apparent. And a consistent looking for His coming will mark our lives. One of the best passages articulating what saving grace and faith look like in a believer’s life is Titus 2:11–14, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

The five virgins who have the extra oil represent the truly born again who are looking with eagerness to the coming of Christ. They have saving faith and have determined that, whatever occurs, be it lengthy time or adverse circumstances, when Jesus returns, they will be looking with eagerness. The five virgins without the oil represent false believers who enjoy the benefits of the Christian community without true love for Christ. They are more concerned about the party than about longing to see the bridegroom. Their hope is that their association with true believers (“give us some of your oil” of verse 8) will bring them into the kingdom at the end. This, of course, is never the case. One person’s faith in Jesus cannot save another. The “Lord, lord” and “I do not know you” of verses 11 and 12 fit very well with Jesus’ condemnation of the false believers of Matthew 7:21–23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ”

May we not be found “going away to make the purchase” (v. 10) when Christ returns. Take the time now to fill your lamp with oil and take extra along. Keep waiting and watching with joy and anticipation.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Enjoy The Radioactive Fish: Tests Show Fukushima Fish Are Up To 124X Above Safe Level

Are you purchasing radioactive fish at the grocery store? Are you absolutely certain that you know the answer to that question? You are about to read about a test that discovered that a fish recently caught off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture was found to have 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. That is 124 times above the level that is considered to be safe. But it is not just fish caught off the coast of Japan that you need to be concerned about. In this article I will also discuss a report by the National Academy of Sciences which states unequivocally that Pacific Bluefin tuna have “transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean”. In fact, if you just had a tuna sandwich for lunch you may have ingested radioactive material without even knowing it. Each day, another 300 tons of highly radioactive water is released into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima, and that means that the total amount of radioactive material that is getting into our food chain is constantly increasing. And since some of these radioactive elements have a (Read More…)

The Level Of Economic Freedom In The United States Is At An All-Time Low

Americans have never had less economic freedom than they do right now. The 2014 Index of Economic Freedom has just been released, and it turns out that the level of economic freedom in the United States has now fallen for seven consecutive years. But of course none of us need a report or a survey to tell us that. All we have to do is open our eyes and look around. At this point our entire society is completely dominated by control freaks and bureaucrats. Our economy is literally being suffocated to death by millions of laws, rules and regulations and each year brings a fresh tsunami of red tape. As you will see below, the U.S. government issued more than 80,000 pages of brand new rules and regulations last year on top of what we already had. Even if we didn’t have all of the other monumental economic problems that we are currently facing, all of this bureaucracy alone would be enough to kill our economy. (Read More….)

Obama’s True Legacy: Not Healthcare

While Arab leaders are forced to lie to literally save their necks, Obama is using this insincere strategy for convenience. Why is he saying one thing and doing another? What leads him to consistently tell lies to the American people? Could it be that he knows he can get away with it?

View Article

Seven Major Prophetic Signs Of The Second Coming

13th Annual Update January 2014

There are seven major prophetic signs of the Second Coming, and currently all of them are in some stage of fulfillment. As in years past, I’ll list the seven with their primary biblical references and offer commentary from current events.

View Article

Tyrants Lie: Why the Deal with Iran Won’t Work – Cal Thomas

Does any serious person believe Iran, which is on record as wishing to destroy Israel and the United States, and whose leaders claim to have a mandate from Allah, is going to abide by any agreement with the United States, which it considers The Great Satan?

Recall North Korea broke several agreements with the U.S. about its nuclear program and used those agreements to buy time while it kept working on acquiring nukes.

View Article

Cruz Calls President ‘Dangerous And Terrifying’

The conservative Republican laid out his reasoning for why he thinks the president is “dangerous and terrifying.”

According to the Statesman, Cruz also slammed Obama for what he referred to as a pattern of “lawlessness on a breathtaking scale.”

View Article

Hostility toward Christian students in public schools ‘epidemic,’ says attorney

A California-based legal group says the number of cases showing hostility against Christian students in public schools is increasing.

Over the last year, Advocates for Faith & Freedom has experienced a surge in phone calls from both parents and students who are victims of religious-motivated bullying. The group has noticed roughly two to three times the number of calls for assistance in the past 60 to 90 days than it typically receives within a year. Most of the calls originate in California, but requests are coming from all across the country.

View Article

Albert Mohler Blog: “Evolution Is Most Certainly a Matter of Belief—and so Is Christianity”

In his latest Blog Essay, “Evolution Is Most Certainly a Matter of Belief—and so Is Christianity,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. comments on “[o]ne of the most misleading headlines imaginable” that recently appeared over an opinion column in USA Today. The headline: “Evolution Not a Matter of ‘Belief.'”

Do science and theology operate under different kinds of knowing? Are evolution and theology compatible? What about naturalistic evolution and Christianity?

Click here to readDr. Mohler’s answers and why he concludes that the USA Today column, while confusing in substance, is “one of the clearest catalysts for thinking about these issues to arrive in recent times in the major media. It represents an opportunity not to be missed.”

The Way of Wisdom and the Way of Folly A Biblical Contrast

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6-9 ESV)

As we live in a time of great deception, let us reflect on our Lord’s ways in contrast to the way of men. God’s ways are not man’s ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. No matter how high and lifted up we perceive that God is, He is higher. No matter how good we come to believe that we are, we are…

View original post 952 more words