Beware Of Those Who Never Admit Fault
When a five-year-old child denies doing something wrong, that’s one thing. But when someone who is more mature never admits fault it is clear sign of pride and it shows that the person does not understand the pervasiveness of sin in his or her own heart. In fact, the more I meet people who never admit fault and never apologize, the more I am very cautious around them – especially if they call themselves Christians.
The Recompense of Good Works
I doubt that on that wonderful Judgment Day any who are Christ’s will be thinking about, looking upon, or even dare to offer up their best works of sanctification. Then we will be robed both within and without in only the Righteousness of the Lamb; and yet even our blood-washed garments of righteousness will not draw our attention. Rather, all eyes will be fixed on him who died for us.
Grace is a Person
Sinclair Ferguson, in his 2007 Banner of Truth Minister’s Conference lecture, “Our Holiness: Abiding in Christ’s Love,” made the bold assertion that “There is no such thing as grace. There is only the Lord Jesus. Grace is not some appendage to His being; nor is it some substance that flows from Him. All there is is the Lord Jesus.”
Hymns We Should Sing More Often: O Word of God Incarnate
I am always looking for good songs that can lead us into the preaching of God’s word, and this hymn does the trick. O Word of God Incarnate works well as a prayer of illumination or a prelude to it. It fits well into Sunday morning liturgy immediately before the sermon because it centers its hearers on the light we receive from the incarnate Word of God in the form of the Bible. The written Word is a “lantern to our footsteps”, which “shines from age to age”; it is the “chart and compass” that guides us through the perils of life to Christ.
Faithful Christian Communities in a Darkening Future
Today we are faced with a civilizational disaster, Dreher asserted. It is a comfortable collapse, but a collapse nonetheless. Now a new Benedictine rule is needed to teach Christians how to order their lives. We need practice for resilient and faithful Christian communities. No longer can we identify Christianity with the American Empire. We must examine and purge ourselves for a new mission and community, forming new Christians for Christ’s service.
“Everyone You Know Will Be Able to Rate You on the ‘Yelp for People’”
There is a judgment coming before a holy God, One whom we have all offended. Without Christ, we could not bear to even hear this judgment, much less take the time to decide which parts we will keep and publicize and which we will keep to ourselves. There are no private affairs. And no social network makeover will help us when we are exposed for who we truly are.
What I am trying to describe is a simultaneous grasping of both extremes in our corporate worship: humbling ourselves before our Holy God Who has condescended to us in His Son, Jesus Christ, while at the same time showing respect to our fellow worshippers who are co-heirs of grace. These principles guide all that we do in our lives, and especially in our worship. It impacts and informs how we respond to God in our worship service, as well as how we treat one another in His family.
4 Reasons Christianity Isn’t Actually Dying
So is Christianity dying? No. Like Mark Twain’s demise, the report of the inevitable death of Christianity is also exaggerated because of mistaken identities. It will frustrate its critics and comfort its followers, but Christianity is still alive and well.
The Tolerance Jesus Will Not Tolerate
Christians in the ancient world didn’t have to go searching for idolatry. It was woven into the fabric of their whole culture. To not participate in these pagan rituals was to stick out like a Yankees fan at Fenway Park. These feasts, with their idolatry and the sexual revelry which would often follow, were a normal part of life in the Greco-Roman world. To remove yourself from them could be socially and economically disastrous. Which is why false teachers like this Jezebel in Thyatira or the Nicolaitans in Pergamum gained such a hearing. They made being a Christian a lot easier, much less costly, must less counter-cultural.
The Difference Between Ethics and Morality
In the first instance, ethics is called a normative science; it’s the study of norms or standards by which things are measured or evaluated. Morality, on the other hand, is what we would call a descriptive science. A descriptive science is a method to describe the way things operate or behave. Ethics are concerned with the imperative and morality is concerned with the indicative. What do we mean by that? It means that ethics is concerned with “ought-ness,” and morality is concerned with “is-ness.”
The Will of God and Your Next Decision
Sometimes your wise and worshipful decisions will lead to fun; other times they will result in misery. Sometimes God will use your decisions to provide riches in abundance; other times he will take you to the poor house. Sometimes your best plans can come to nothing while your worst decisions result in everything. However, keep in mind that your experiential negatives are often part of God’s positive program. So don’t second-guess. Don’t live in the past. Don’t wonder “What if I’d taken the road less travelled, or more travelled?” God is sovereign. He is in control. He loves you.
Planned Parenthood Drops Fetal Tissue Fees
The sudden shift in policy comes as Planned Parenthood tries to defend itself from an ongoing conservative push to cut off its federal funding. A series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress this year show Planned Parenthood employees haggling over the payments they would receive in exchange for providing organs from babies aborted in Planned Parenthood facilities.
The Supreme Court, 9-0, On Student Organizations’ “Freedom To Express ‘The Thought That We Hate’”
Although registered student groups must conform their conduct to the Law School’s regulation by dropping access barriers, they may express any viewpoint they wish — including a discriminatory one. Today’s decision thus continues this Court’s tradition of “protect[ing] the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’”
Meet The Millennial Who Infiltrated The Guarded World Of Abortion Providers
Whatever the outcome, Daleiden’s project has already exceeded the wildest expectations of antiabortion activists. He has released 10 videos from clinic visits, Planned Parenthood meetings and lunches with executives, and put the abortion issue back on the front burner in Washington and on the presidential campaign trail.
10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Heaven
“To believe in a future, endless, and human-populated heaven means Christians will think about that heaven by examining the resurrected body of Jesus. It means heaven will be an embodied existence and not just a spirit-y or soul-y kind of ethereal, spiritual existence.”
A Songwriting Rant
“Many modern songs are scatty, cloying, fluffy, incoherent, repetitive, flighty, bumbling, empty, careless, shallow, heretical, repetitive, nauseating, anaemic or repetitive. The fact that they nevertheless make their way into our times of corporate worship is not primarily the fault of the songwriters.”
Trophies And Martyrs
“Last Thursday, October 1, the killing of eight students and their professor at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon added some names to the small but growing roll of American Christian martyrs, regardless of what some detractors who have been scrounging for evidence that this is not true now say.”
South African Church Latest to Fold on Same-Sex Marriage
The move to allow same-sex marriage in the church should not come as a surprise to observers. In July, the church decided it was time to pursue equal rights for homosexual pastors. The church had been contemplating the change since 2007, when it opened its doors to openly homosexual members and refused to exercise church discipline against them.
Jesus Died To Make You (Spiritually) Rich
“Mr. and Mrs. Prosperity Teacher, Scripture calls you to repent of your sin: Your sin of leading astray the sheep, robbing them of their money, and lying to them. Jesus died for the sins of the world; that’s a heavy thing to disregard as secondary to prosperity.”
Human Dignity According to the Gospel
“The gospel says that those found in Christ are joined to the judgment he endured to the cross, and they stand with him in the new creation of an empty tomb. The repentant woman who had an abortion, the repentant man who empowered an abortion, and indeed the repentant abortionist who committed the abortion, are not beyond the grace of God.”
5 Resources for Cultivating a Beautiful Culture of Marriage and Sexuality
“We underestimate just how much cultural cultivation we have to do if we think success is just getting people to say “no” to same-sex marriage. We need the wider narrative of Scripture, and the bigger picture of marriage, if we are going to make sense of Christianity’s vision for family.”
10 Fall Outdoor Activities to Grow Closer to God and Each Other
Just as Autumn brings the beauty of falling leaves, going outdoors frees us to shed busyness and draw closer to God and each other.
How Much Do You Know about Abraham? 4 Things You May Not Remember
God knew that Abraham would struggle with the call before him, but He also knew that Abraham’s struggle would produce great growth and faith.
From the Bahá’í Faith to Porn to Alpha to Jesus
God has been faithful all during my winding journey to complete surrender.
What I Learned From Being a Vegas Call Girl
Hookers for Jesus founder: Lamar Odom news is just a glimpse at the industry’s brokenness.
WVW-TV Special Report: Please e-mail the url of this program to your friends, tweet the url, and post on your Facebook page. Help us get this program before as many Americans as possible. Thank you.
Guest: Shahram Hadian was born in Iran and his father was in the Iranian military. Shahram now lives in America and is warning Americans of the very serious national security threat our nation is facing from Muslim terrorists. In this program that you must share with all your friends and social media contacts, we will cover these topics: Are Syrian refugees being used as a trojan horse to bring ISIS terrorists into Europe and America? Topic: Louis Farrakhan has called for 10,000 black Americans to rise up against the white system. What exactly does this mean? Are the race baiters and Muslims working to bring about a civil war within America, and if so, what could be the tipping point?
Topic: What will the moderate Muslims do if a civil war breaks out in America? Will they remain on the sidelines and be seen as apostate and thus open to being killed as called for in the Koran along with the other infidels or will they join the fight? What has happened in other nations that might help us answer that question? Topic: Has ISIS funded many of the tunnels between Mexico and America for the drug lords and is this part of their plan to infiltrate America and even take Americans as hostages back to Mexico? Topic: What about the schools in America and their security? What should every parent and grandparent be requesting of their local law enforcement and state officials in regards to school security? Topic: Shahram begins our program by sharing his testimony.
Worldview Weekend Radio: Shahram Hadian was also a guest on the radio program of Brannon Howse. Click here to listen to this mp3.
Short Video Clip: Understanding the Dangers & White Magic of the Book
Jesus Calling in 7 Minutes
Short Video Clip: How Muslims Took Over Egypt & Are Now Working to Take Over Europe & America:
Short Video Clip: The Dangers of White Privilege Curriculum in America’s Schools
Short Video Clip: The Real Meaning of Mark 10:27 “With God All Things Are Possible”
Short Video Clip: How The Real Lord’s Prayer of John 17 is Twisted For Ecumenicalism
Homosexual Men “Divorce” to Become Threesome, Now Plan to Use Sisters as Surrogates
Christian News Network reports:
Two homosexual men recently “divorced” under Canadian law so that they could include a third man in their relationship, and now plan to have their sisters serve as surrogates to bear their children.
“We just want to say that love is love. It should be multiplied not divided,” Adam Grant told the Daily Mail. “It shouldn’t matter if you’re in a three-way or a four-way relationship.”
Grant and his partner Shayne Curran met Sebastian Tran at a nightclub in 2012, after “tying the knot” the year prior. A year later, they agreed to be open to seeing others.
Church of England: Could we really re-evangelise the country by shutting down most churches?
Christian Today reports:
When we talk about someone facing an existential crisis, we often mean that they’re unsure of their identity, don’t know how to move forward and are struggling to work out what they stand for – or even whether there’s meaning in life.
But to apply the term more literally, it means that person is fighting to survive – their very existence is being called into question – an existential crisis then, is a matter of life and death.
Both these definitions apply well to the Church of England. The Established Church is, by any definition, in serious trouble.
“It takes a village to raise a child”. These infamous words were spoken by Hillary Clinton nearly 20 years ago as a way to push, among other things, federal education standards for all American children. Now we have “Common Core”…and some experts are sounding the alarm that there is much more behind it than “educational […]
Eastern Ugandan Evangelist Killed After Muslim-Christian Debate
According to Christian News Network:
Islamists upset by a Christian-Muslim debate are suspected in the killing of a long-time evangelist in eastern Uganda who led many Muslims to Christ, sources said.
The mutilated body of Samson Nfunyeku was found close to his home in Kalampete village, Kibuku District early on Sept. 23, after the latest in a series of organized debates with Islamic scholars at Tirinyi Trading Center ended prematurely due to flaring tempers the previous night. He was 59.
The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio
Is so-called Christian radio an instrument of God being used to bring people to Christ? Blogger Timothy Hammons takes a look at what is being passed off as Christian radio. Should we financially support this stuff?
In regard to “Christian contemporary music,” does it matter if the lyrics to the songs are theologically and biblically based?
Hammons also tackles contemporary worship or “praise music.” Is the music we sing in our churches even biblical? In his view: “The church should be giving us the songs we sing from God’s word, not from the sinful inclinations of the musician.”
Contrary to what you may have been taught, the world was made to be known and you were made to know it. Contrary to what you may have been told, the world around you, though corrupted by sin, is not an illusion and evil is not winning. Believe your eyes and ears but do not believe everything you read and hear. You can and should, however, trust that God’s Word is reliable and true, that Christ is the Saviour, that he really came, that he was really raised, and that he is really coming again to make all things right again. Until that time you and I have a great calling to trust Christ with all our heart and out of that confidence to serve him in this world by loving God and our neighbour. Find a true church where the gospel is purely preached, where the sacraments are purely administered, and where they love the people enough to practice loving, gracious discipline.
The Tolerence Jesus Will Not Tolerate
Are you aware that the church in Thyatira’s big sin was……..tolerance? (Revelation 2:18-29) Tolerance “made being a Christian a lot easier, much less costly, must less counter-cultural,” writes pastor and best-selling author Kevin DeYoung. “But it was a compromised Christianity, and Jesus could not tolerate it.”
So why has the visible Church become so tolerant of the things the Lord Jesus said He hates?
Christians cannot be tolerant of all things because God is not tolerant of all things. We can respect differing opinions and try to understand them, but we cannot give our unqualified, unconditional affirmation to every belief and behavior. Because God doesn’t. We must love what God loves. That’s where Ephesus failed. But we must also hate what God hates. That’s where Thyatira failed.
Of the seven cities in Revelation, Thyatira is the least well known, the least impressive, and the least important. And yet, the letter is the longest of the seven. There was a lot going on at this church–some bad, some good.
Let’s start with the good. Verse 19, “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance.” Ephesus was praised for its good deeds and strong work ethic. Thyatira is even better. Is has the deeds that Ephesus had and the love that Ephesus lacked. The church at Thyatira was not without genuine virtue. It was a tight-knit bunch who loved, served, believed, and endured.
The lengths to which some people will go to destroy Scripture to justify the homosexual lifestyle can be quite extraordinary. I have heard just about every distortion, lie and perversion of the biblical data there is on this issue. The theological revisionists are up to their ears in rewriting the Bible to support their ungodly agenda.
But sadly those who claim to be onside here can be just as unhelpful. The amount of fuzzy thinking found in both the pulpits and pews of so-called evangelical churches can be quite astounding. Church leaders and ordinary believers are increasingly just buying into the homosexual agenda, while ignoring or denying the clear teachings of Scripture.
I encounter this all the time. Just how can they manage to get things so wrong when it comes to one of the great moral issues of the day? Let me offer a few examples of some really shoddy thinking by those who should know better. Consider for example a response to a poster on a social media page that a believer had put up. I thought it was a perfectly sound poster, biblically speaking:
Someone calling themselves a gay Christian is like someone calling themselves:
An adulterous Christian
Nothing wrong with that of course. Yet some Christian wrote in, seemingly utterly clueless as to basic biblical teaching on such matters. He said this (replete with typos and bad grammar):
Are there no christians that commit adultery, lie, steal, have angry thoughts , are to busy too help their neighbor or what about helping out at the church or what about those who show favour to their friends, family, race or faith ? Matt. 5 Jesus fills up the law James 2:8-11 favortism. Are you so ignorant that you don’t know it is God’s goodness that turns mens heart to Him in repentance (change) Romans 2:1-8, Love your neighbors as yourselves, as for me I still have a few times I must go to the throne of grace to find mercy and help in my time of need Heb.4:6. Agape
Um, talk about some real confusion and lack of clarity. I replied as follows:
You of course totally miss the point. This is about ongoing, unrepented-of sin. If someone lies, but knows it is wrong, confesses it and repents of it and seeks to stop doing it, that is altogether different than thinking it is fine, doing it without compunction, and self-identifying as a lying Christian. That is exactly the point of this poster. Plenty of folks are claiming it is just fine to be an ongoing, affirming homosexual Christian. That is the same as claiming to be an ongoing, affirming adulterous Christian. All these are a contradiction in terms, and all of them will send you to a lost eternity as Paul makes crystal clear in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. This is basic Christianity 101. Why is it so hard to grasp?
My second example is equally worrying. It is a claim made by an evangelical pastor about a “homosexual Christian” that his homosexual desires are just his “thorn in the flesh” to bear! I must confess that I am not aware of anyone in 2000 years of biblical theology and hermeneutics daring to claim that homosexuality could somehow be identified with the thorn Paul speaks about.
The phrase of course comes from 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 where Paul discusses a thorn in the flesh sent by Satan (while allowed by God) that he prayed to have removed, but to no avail. While we do not know for sure just what this thorn was (persecution, a bodily ailment) it is never something inherently sinful that Paul would dared to have just hung on to.
In claiming that homosexual desires are just a thorn that this “homosexual Christian” should put up with, the pastor might as well have said that having lustful thoughts about those of the opposite sex, or sexual attractions to children, etc., are just something we must put up with, and perhaps even embrace (‘it is just who you are’).
Um no. We are to always resist such sinful lusts and desires, and not glibly claim they are my thorn to carry, that they are part of my identity. Scripture makes it clear that both inward desires and outward acts can be sinful, and thus to be resisted. Jesus said looking lustfully at a woman is as bad as adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). And Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality in Romans 1 includes not just their acts but the “the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity” (v. 24).
Sadly, just as atheists and homosexuals refuse to listen to anything an ex-homosexual has to say, it is getting to be that way more and more in our churches as well. So many refuse to allow former homosexuals to be heard, yet give “homosexual Christians” plenty of opportunities to push their line. This is deplorable.
I would rather listen to ex-homosexuals who have found freedom and deliverance in Christ than “homosexual Christians” who simply make lousy excuses for their sin, even with the help of church leaders. Either Jesus is in the business of transforming lives, or he is a liar. I know which option I will run with here.
Sure, every Christian struggles with various sins and temptations, as mentioned above. But the increasing tendency of churches and church leaders to deny that Christ can radically heal and restore homosexuals is helping the other side, not our side.
One Australian ex-homosexual put it this way:
In the last few years there has been an increase in the number of Christians with ‘unwanted’ homosexual desires who are saying that they can be Christian and remain ‘celibate’ (non-practising) homosexuals on the other. They tend to deny the healing of such desires (contrary to Colossians 3:5-6 and 1 Peter 2:11) and aim to fuse a homosexual identity in with their redeemed identity…. To my mind, it sells short the gospel and leaves those thinking like this in confusion and sin (and, therefore, under God’s righteous judgement). Just as Jesus said one cannot love both God and money, so it is in this case (see Luke 16:19-31).
A recent position statement by the Restored Hope Network in America, drafted with the expertise of Dr Robert Gagnon, is well worth reading. They too refuse to go along with the “homosexual Christian” position. The document begins:
Restored Hope Network (RHN) respectfully disagrees with anyone who continues to identify as both ‘homosexual’ and Christian. Identification with Christ can and must displace an identity based on disordered desires. The New Testament repeatedly calls believers to repent of old identifications and to cleave to the new, true source of one’s identity—Christ Jesus Himself (Rom. 6: 11, 12; 8:6-14; Gal. 2:20). Paul in particular reminds ‘homosexuals’ to forego their ‘gay’ selves when he declares to believers: ‘such were some of you’ in light of having been ‘washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God’ (1 Cor 6:9-11). Yet many Christians today claim to be faithful to both God and their ‘homosexual natures.’ ‘Gay’ Christians tend to fall into two categories: first are persons who are open to homosexual erotic unions, behaviors clearly prohibited by scripture (see RHN doctrinal statement). The second group is comprised of ‘gay’ persons who claim to be celibate. These celibates appear to be faithful to scripture and church tradition but actually foster the ‘gay’ self by encouraging same-sex attracted persons to ‘come out’ to their faith communities and to form ‘spiritual friendships’ with others, even covenanting in exclusive homo-emotional unions.
RHN advocates for healthy same-sex friendship as a key to transformation. However, RHN believes that claiming to repent of sinful behavior while cultivating homosexual selves and desires in exclusive homo-emotional ‘spiritual friendships’ is unscriptural and unwise. Such an approach reinforces a ‘gay’ identity and orientation, which undercut God’s purposes for our sexuality. Identification with Christ cannot be separated from these purposes. Jesus’ command to love our neighbors applies to our self-definitions and relational choices. That requires a realignment of our fallen natures to Christlikeness.
The document ends as follows:
The world and worldly Christians now view same-sex attraction as synonymous with a ‘homosexual’ orientation, which can be defined as an intrinsic, immutable part of one’s humanity that must be recognized, protected, and even celebrated. RHN disagrees. We contend that this concept of sexual orientation is a false cultural construct that is at odds with biblical truth. Sexual desire is something that we feel; it does not define who we are. God made humanity for more and can redeem us accordingly. Jesus calls the faithful to forego worldly thinking on the topic in order to realize ‘the more’ that God intends for humanity.
In light of the new creation, Paul implores Christians ‘to see no-one from a worldly point of view’ (2 Cor. 5:16). RHN refuses the worldly perspective of ‘gay’ Christians due to the new creatures we have become in Him. ‘God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’ (2 Cor. 5: 14-21). We encourage all who turn to Jesus to identify with Him and so become righteous in the whole of their humanity.
These words seem far more faithful to the biblical text than those by the ones who prefer to compromise and capitulate, running with the world’s agenda rather than God’s. I salute RHN and other groups like them for standing solidly on biblical truth, and offering homosexuals genuine hope and a real chance to change.
That is far superior to leaving people wallowing in their sinful desires, a false identity, and a defeated life.
God didn’t want you to burn in Hell, that’s why He shed every drop of blood he had. I don’t want you to burn in Hell, that’s why I’m witnessing to you.
“But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” Luke 12:5 (KJV)
What is the purpose and goal of NTEB? One of the main purposes and goals of NTEB is to lead sinners to Christ, help prodigals come home, and to preach and stand for the truth of God’s word in last days of this age. Unfortunately however, there will be some readers of NTEB that will one day awake in a Devil’s Hell. I do not rejoice over this, but it is the sad reality. One of the reasons for this is that the vast majority of professing Christian churches in 2015 are no longer preaching on Hell. It upsets too many people, so most pastors just stopped talking about it. As a result, many people who mistakenly think they are saved because they are “good people: will wind up in a place that God never intended for them to go.
Some readers have already predetermined within themselves that they are going to trust in whatever their religion says to the very end, no matter what God’s word has to say about it: whether it’s commandment keeping for salvation, enduring to the end for salvation, tongue speaking, trusting in lying signs and wonders they’ve “seen”, water baptism regeneration for salvation, etc. Some readers will just simply not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Once again, I do not rejoice over this. Maybe it’s not a reader. Maybe this article gets passed along to a lost relative, friend, or co-worker. Maybe this article gets read right before a lost man or woman goes out to celebrate the Devil’s holiday on the 31st. I don’t know, but I pray that all will come to the Lord Jesus Christ as a broken sinner with no means of justification outside of the blood that Christ shed on Calvary’s cross for them; but this just won’t be the case for everyone. Before you mark me as simply being negative, notice that both Moses and Joshua had similar views about the nation of Israel regarding their eventual refusal to heed God’s word:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?” Deuteronomy 31:16-17 (KJV)
“And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:16-21 (KJV)
If you are saved and reading this, be sure to a) thank God for your salvation! And, b) be encouraged to witness to those lost around you. Time is so very short.
Here are 6 horrific facts about Hell that you might want to take note of:
Horrific Fact #1 – You didn’t have to go to Hell
I believe that one of the many reasons why God refers to atheists as fools (Psalms 14:1 KJV) is because only a fool would choose to burn in Hell when they didn’t have too. I mean seriously, what the heck are you doing down there?!? Did you not read where the Lord Jesus Christ specifically stated the Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels?
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” Matt 25:41 (KJV)
Are you the Devil? No. Are you one of the Devil’s angels? No. Then WHAT ARE YOU DOING DOWN THERE?? God didn’t want you to burn in Hell, that’s why He shed every drop of blood he had. I don’t want you to burn in Hell that’s why I’m witnessing to you. The Devil wanted you to burn in Hell, but he couldn’t FORCE YOU to go. Why did you choose to go?? Talk about a mind-boggling question that will hunt you throughout eternity.
Horrific Fact #2 – In Hell, you’ll be a misfit
What do Jacob Taylor Roberts, Elliot Rodger, and Asa Coon all have in common? Well on top of being Atheist active-shooters, all three of them decided to take the cowards’ way out after their mini-murder spree by committing suicide. Many ask why they would commit suicide. That answer is simple in my opinion. In the atheist worldview, after death there’s nothingness. Nothingness is a thousand times better than being a young white or Asian adolescent male in prison these days! You talk about being a misfit! How is a middle-class young male that had just about all the privileges and opportunities in life going to “fit in” with some of the world’s most hardened rapist, career criminals, gang members, serial murderers, habitual abusers, and sadist that are doing life in prison? You think that’s going to be some sort of walk in the park??
In eternity, you’re down in Hell with the Devil and his angels after you were given several chances throughout your life to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior. You think you’re going to get along with the devil and his angels down there?? You think you’ll have something in common with them?? They were damned since the book of Genesis with no plan of redemption like you had; what will they think of you whom God choose to manifest in the flesh for, paid your price for sins you committed and you refused it?? You’ll be an eternal misfit.
Horrific Fact #3 – You’ll be burning in Hell AT LEAST 1000 years before God judges you
Once again, Rightly Dividing the word of truth shows up (2 Tim 2:15 KJV). The Great White Throne Judgement does not occur until AFTER the Lord Jesus Christ 1000 year Millennial Reign on earth. Meaning that you’ll be burning in Hell for AT LEAST 1,000 years before God officially judges you face to face at the White Throne Judgement. Think about a lost sinner going to Hell at the age of 17, 27, 37, 49, 62, 99, or 100. What’s 100yrs on this earth compared to at least 1,000 years in Hell! That alone should make to want to repent and come to Christ!
Horrific Fact #4 – Hell is currently located right below your feet; in the heart of the earth
As a lost sinner, do you know what will drop your soul to Hell after you die? It’s called gravity. Your sins have a weight to it (Heb 12:1 KJV). Your sins burden you down. When you breathe your last breath, that weight of sin is manifested upon your soul (Ezekiel 18:20 KJV) and your soul plunges down into Hell. You see, death for the lost is not like what the world’s movies show you on television. There are no demons that come up and have to fight with your soul to take you to Hell, it’s not like that. When a lost man dies, gravity continues to do what is always does. There is nothing inside that lost man to bring it up, he’s dead in trespasses and sins. The saved man however DOES have something inside him to bring him up to Heaven!
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:9-11 (KJV)
Horrific Fact #5 – No such thing as annihilation
Contrary to what science, religion, or worldly education has taught you, there is no “nothingness” after death. There is also no such thing as “nothingness” in Hell. Don’t believe the religious heresies that come from Jehovah’s Witness or Seventh day Adventist that teaches you there is no literal fire in Hell and no eternal torment. They are both VERY REAL:
“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Mark 9:43-44 (KJV)
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Luke 16:22-24 (KJV)
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12 (KJV)
“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched. Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?” Ezekiel 20:45-49 (KJV)
Don’t believe the lie when they say the rich man in Hell was a parable. The Lord Jesus Christ never referred to that as a parable. In Hell you will burn. You will burn good and you will burn forever!
Horrific Fact #6 – God specifically reserves the greater damnation in Hell for false teachers and preachers
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” Matthew 23:13-14 (KJV)
The greater damnation in Hell doesn’t go to the murderers, pedophiles, sadist, homosexuals, no. God specifically reserves the greater damnation to the unsaved false teachers and preachers. What exactly that is I don’t know, but it’s a greater damnation then just burning in Hell. That is precisely why having the right doctrine is CRITICALLY important. People ask me all the time why the Pre-Time of Jacob’s Trouble catching away vs the Post-trib rapture is such a big deal. It’s a big deal because the Post-trib doctrine teaches that the sinner must “endure to the end” to be saved. This consist of not worshipping the beast or his image, nor getting his name, number, or mark in your forehead or hand. If a sinner trust that as the “plan of salvation” for today, he’ll bust Hell wide open when dies. WORST YET, if he teaches or preaches that as the plan of salvation to others, he shall receive the Greater Damnation in Hell. The same goes with other false doctrines such as baptismal regeneration, sacraments, commandment keeping for salvation, etc. When it comes to false doctrine, God has ZERO tolerance:
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:7-9 (KJV)
“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6-12 (KJV)
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:16,17 (KJV)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17,18 (KJV)
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” Ephesians 4:14 (KJV)
In the end, it all comes down to this. In our dispensation of the Church Age, God has ordained the word to go out by good, old-fashioned, Bible preaching. It’s not about “7 Steps To A Better Marriage”, or “The 12 Traits Of Successful People”. It’s about JESUS CHRIST, and Him lifted up to draw all men unto Him.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4 (KJV)
And yet, without their contributions, the Reformation wouldn’t have worked out so well.
Most Christians have heard the names of John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Knox, and other giants of the Protestant Reformation in Europe. But there are many, many other men and women who worked to advance the cause of the Reformation! It is my pleasure to introduce you to 5 extraordinary women of the Reformation! Each of these women played an important role, either in disseminating the ideas of the Reformation, or using their political power to protect the preachers and teachers of these ideas.
Give it a read. Great stuff.
The doctrines of grace are not just rooted in the grace of God, and demonstrate the grace of God; they should also produce grace in those who believe these truths. Here are five fruits that result from a full embrace of the doctrines of grace.
1. A Profound Humility
Total depravity does not mean we are as bad as we possibly can be; it means that we are so corrupted in every part of our being that we are rendered disabled for any good work, faith, repentance, etc. Total depravity may be better named, Total inability.
- 67% agree, “Everyone sins at least a little, but most people are by nature good,”
- 40% agree “God loves me because of the good I do or have done.”
- Only 16% agree with the doctrine that says “people do not have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative.”
- 71% of Americans agree that “an individual must contribute his/her own effort for personal salvation.”
- 64% of Americans agree “a person obtains peace with God by first taking the initiative to seek God and then God responds with grace.”
This has serious repercussions because unless we know how serious our sickness is, we won’t see our urgent need of the Good Doctor, Jesus Christ, and will be slow, or refuse, to call upon Him for mercy and grace. On top of that, if we think we have any spiritual ability left, we will give ourselves at least part of the credit for salvation, especially if the decisive cause of our salvation is in ourselves.
The doctrines of grace show us what we are and what we truly deserve. They therefore humble us, bring us low, puncture pride, eliminate self-righteousness, drive us from self-sufficiency, and silence all boasting. As the Apostle said: “No flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:29).
2. An Inestimable Value
Some might say that the doctrine of total inability demolishes self-worth and self-esteem. Yes and No.
Yes, it demolishes all false and groundless views of our moral or spiritual worth. Because of sin, we have none.
No, because a right view of the doctrines of grace produces a new, better, and deeper sense of worth.
Despite what I am, despite what I am not, despite what I cannot do, and despite nothing in me to attract Him, God has chosen to love me, Christ has chosen to die for me, and the Holy Spirit has chosen to make me alive and live inside me. Can anything produce a more valuable self-identity, a greater sense of worth, than that?
As John Piper wrote, the doctrines of grace “give the lowest view of the saved person as utterly depraved and hopeless in himself, and the highest view of the saved person as individually chosen and loved and purchased at infinite cost.”
3. A Deep Intimacy
Calvinism should also produce a much more personal relationship with God than Arminianism. For the Arminian, everyone is loved the same as the other. There is no discrimination in God’s love. God loved me no more than Adolf Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. The Arminian says that the difference between me and Hitler/Bin Laden is simply that I chose to believe whereas they did not. God did no more for me than for them when it comes to the decisive cause of our salvation.
But the doctrines of grace teach us that God’s love is so personalized that it infallibly secures the salvation of every single person it is set on. God chose particular named people, Christ died for the exact same people, and the Holy Spirit effectually calls exactly the same people. That’s so much more personal and intimate than a generalized love for all.
4. A Lively Spirituality
In What Is Experiential Calvinism?, Ian Hamilton wrote:
Calvinism is natively experiential. Before it is a theological system, Calvinism is deeply affectional, God-centered, cross-magnifying religion. A man may loudly trumpet his adherence to the distinctive tenets of Calvinism, but if his life is not marked by delight in God and His gospel, his professed Calvinism is a sham. In other words, there is no such thing as “dead Calvinism.” Such is a theological oxymoron for one simple reason: Calvinism claims to be biblical religion, and biblical religion is not only profoundly theological, it is deeply experiential and engagingly affectional! Wherever men and women claim to be Calvinists, their lives and their ministries will pulse with life—the life of living, Spirit-inspired, Christ-glorifying, God-centered truth.
When we really grasp God’s sovereignty, we will firmly grasp His throne in prayer, we will long to live in grateful obedience to His commands, we will seek the advancement of God’s glory, and we will sing as never before and as no-one else. Consistent Calvinists should be the most thankful, the most worshipful, the most prayerful of Christians.
Because we believe not only in salvation by grace, through faith, to God’s glory; we believe in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, to the glory of God alone. Which brings us to…
5. A Big God
The doctrines of grace result in a bigger view of God. They give us a God-centered view of reality, putting God at the beginning, center, and end of everything. “Of Him, through Him, and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36).
One consequence of this is that no sin is too big for our big God. We can approach the most hopeless situations and the most helpless people knowing that salvation is “not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Rom. 9:16). What unstoppable impetus this should give to our evangelism and missions.
If we realize that salvation is totally, completely, and entirely of the Lord (Jonah 2:9; John 1:12-13; Rom. 9:16), we will take no credit but give all the glory to God (1 Cor. 1:31; Rev. 1:5-6). There’s nothing a Calvinist enjoys more than seeing his own glory diminish and God’s advance, seeing himself shrink and God being magnified.
I’m not saying that you will find these five fruits in every Calvinist, or even in me — if only — but they should be the logical and biblical outflow of God’s sovereign grace conquering not just the head but the heart.
Previous Posts in this Series:
This is not a pointed tirade against tattoos, nor a defense of them; it’s a jab at bad hermeneutics. I have found that some like to decorate their arguments with Bible verses that have no place in the debate.
These are the three usual suspects…
1. Thou shalt not tattoo thyself.
Leviticus 19:28 “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”
This one is the biggie. It is literally the only verse in the Bible to actually employ the word ‘tattoo.’ So if you can’t get this one to play for your team, you don’t have a team.
The immediate North & South context of the verse should provide a clear indication that an understanding of Leviticus’ place in the canon of Scripture is going to be a key. The verse below says don’t make your daughter a prostitute. I sure hope that still applies. But the verse above says you can’t trim your beard or the hair next to your ears. Ever been to an orthodox synagogue? The gents who congregate there (and keep the whole Mosaic Law—kudos for consistency) look a little different from those who attend the men’s breakfast at your church, right? If Christians don’t need to apply verse 27, then why do we have to obey vs 28 of the same chapter?
I experienced the arm wrestling tourney between Law & Grace when I preached through Deuteronomy. (See Bodily Fluids & Skin Diseases: Is Deuteronomy Relevant to Me?). It was in that laboratory where I examined how the OT and the NT dance in unison. To be sure it’s a greasy topic to grasp, but I’m confident we can all agree that the verses in Leviticus are not directly binding on the NT church in the same way that they were for Israel (Rom 10:4).
So, Lev 19:28 gets a red card and is sent off the field as too old for this team.
2. Your Body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,”
Here’s an oldie-but-goodie that also wants to come out and play every time someone lights a stogie or perforates their nose. Unfortunately for our tat debate, this verse is already busy opposing real sin, namely sexual immorality. It can’t be pried loose from that important function to join our debate team.
First Corinthians 6:19 is talking about sexual immorality being a spiritual affront on God’s holiness and a contamination of the Church Body. If this verse did apply to the physical damage we allow to deface the façade of our skin (“temple vandalism”), then we need to be consistent. Ever mowed the lawn in sandals, or without sunblock? You jeopardized the temple. Do you maintain your ideal BMI? Ever downed a can of Coke without immediately brushing your teeth? You see the thin edge of the wedge. Why draw the line at ink? So let us let this verse get back to work, while we audition another.
3. Do not be conformed to this world.
Rom 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world …”
This verse is a strong candidate. I like this one a lot. I don’t get why some Christians try their darndest to blend in with what the world is doing. Being holy and worldly at the same time is a messy business.
A common defense is that of contextualization for the sake of the gospel, which is little more than a sophisticated version of, “everybody’s doing it.” And everybody is doing it. In fact, no tattoo is the new tattoo.
So, are there any verses left? I propose we stick to what God is concerned about: the heart.This body will be renewed sans scars later, but the soul needs to stay in shape now.When I counsel young people who want a tattoo, I ask about their heart in the decision.
- motives (1 Cor 10:31)
- parents‘ views (Eph 6:1)
- level of contentment (1 Tim6:6)
- view of modesty in dress (1 Tim 2:9)
- understanding of dishonorable nakedness (1 Cor 12:23)
I like this insightful blogpost by Gareth Palmer, a young non-conformist who has some good thoughts on the issue (and no tattoo).
If examining the heart doesn’t work just have your arty teen turn to Leviticus. By the time they have matured enough to know they’ve been hoodwinked by skin deep hermeneutics, they’ll have outgrown the impulse for a tattoo.
What verses would you use to counsel one through making the decision?
Historically speaking, both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have understood that there are degrees of sin. The Roman Catholic church makes a distinction between mortal and venial sin. The point of that distinction is that there are some sins so gross, heinous, and serious that the actual commission of those sins is mortal in the sense that it kills the grace of justification that resides in the soul of the believer. In their theology, not every sin is devastating to that degree. There are some real sins that are venial sins. These are less serious sins in terms of their consequences, but they don’t have the justification-killing capacity that mortal sins have.
Many Evangelical Protestants have rejected the idea of degrees of sin because they know that the Protestant Reformation rejected the Roman Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sins. As a result, they’ve jumped to the conclusion that there are no distinctions between sins in Protestantism.
We should return to the views of the Reformers themselves. John Calvin was an outspoken critic of the Roman Catholic Church and their distinction between mortal and venial sin. Calvin said that all sin is mortal in the sense that it deserves death. The book of James reminds us, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (James 2:10). Even the slightest sin is an act of cosmic treason. We fail to feel the gravity of our actions to this degree, but it is true.
When I sin, I choose my will over the will of God Almighty. By implication I’m essentially saying that I’m more intelligent, wise, righteous, and powerful than God Himself. Calvin said that all sin is mortal in the sense that God could justifiably destroy each of us for the smallest sin we’ve committed. In fact, the penalty for sin was given the first day of human creation: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Yet God doesn’t deal with us always according to justice. He deals with us according to grace, He allows us to live, and He moves to bring about our redemption. Calvin said that all sins are mortal in that we deserve death from them but that no sin is mortal in the sense that it can destroy our saving grace. We have to repent, yes, but the justifying grace that the Holy Spirit brings to us is not killed by our sin. Calvin and every one of the Reformers strenuously maintained that there is a difference between lesser sins and what they called gross and heinous sins.
This distinction is important for Christians to understand so that we can learn to live charitably with each other. The sin of pettiness, by which people begin to dwell on minor transgressions in the community, can tear the body of Christ apart. Great damage comes when it is fueled by the fire of gossip and slander. We are called to patience and tolerance towards the struggling failures of other Christians. It’s not that we’re called to be lax on sin, for there are certain sins listed in the New Testament that are serious and ought not be allowed in the church. Adultery is serious. Incest calls for ecclesiastical discipline. Drunkenness, murder, and fornication are repeatedly mentioned. These sins are so destructive that they call forth church discipline when they are manifested.
It’s clear that we have different degrees of sin when we consider the warnings of Scripture. There are at least twenty-two references in the New Testament to degrees of rewards that are given to the saints in heaven. There are different levels, different rewards, and different roles in heaven. The Bible warns us against adding to the severity of our judgment. Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, “He who delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). Jesus measures and evaluates guilt, and with the greater guilt and greater responsibility comes the greater judgment. It’s a motif that permeates the New Testament.
The idea of gradation of sin and reward is based upon God’s justice. If I commit twice as many sins as another person, justice demands that the punishment fits the crime. If I’ve been twice as virtuous as another person, justice demands that I get more of a reward. God tells us that entrance into heaven will be only on the basis of the merit of Christ, but once we get to heaven, rewards will be dispensed according to works. Those who have been abundant in good works will receive an abundant reward. Those who have been derelict and negligent in good works will have a small reward in heaven. By the same token, those who have been grievous enemies of God will have severe torments in hell. Those who have been less hostile will have a lesser punishment at the hands of God. He is perfectly just, and when He judges, He will take into account all of the extenuating circumstances. Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).
Why is it important for us to emphasize this point? Many times I’ve talked to men who struggle with lust and they say to themselves or to me, “I might as well go ahead and commit adultery because I’m already guilty of lust. I can’t be in any worse shape in the sight of God, so I might as well finish the deed.” I always answer, “Oh yes, you can be in much worse shape.” The judgment of actual adultery will be much more severe than the judgment upon lust. God will deal with us at that level, and it’s a foolish thing for a person who has committed a misdemeanor, to therefore say, “I’m already guilty; I might as well make it a felony.” God forbid that we should think like that. If we do, we face the righteous judgment of God. We must keep this in mind as we seek to build a Christian conscience and a Christian character.
For followers of Jesus, there will come moments in our lives where what he wants for us and what we want for us part ways. Perhaps you’ve been there. These are crucial times, when we are forced to answer an uncomfortable question: Am I really a follower of Jesus, or am I just a consumer?
We aren’t the first people to struggle with this tension. Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Peter did, too—and at first, he failed rather miserably. In Mark 8:27–38, we see Jesus expose the 3 elements of consumer faith:
1. You have consumer faith if you expect Christ to remove all hardship from your life.
Mark 8 should have been one of Peter’s finest moments. Jesus had offered the disciples a pop quiz, and Peter got a perfect score. “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked, to which Peter alone replied, “You are the Christ, the Messiah.” That may be the most important question a person can ever answer, and on his first try, Peter nailed it.
But then Jesus started talking about how he, the Messiah, would have to suffer and die. Never one to lack in boldness, Peter took Jesus aside to correct him. (It takes some chutzpah to give Jesus on-the-spot sermon critique!) And Jesus responds by calling Peter Satan. Ouch.
Why was Jesus so opposed to what Peter was saying? It’s not that Jesus had an ego-complex, and just didn’t want anyone correcting him. It’s that Peter assumed that the Messiah would come to remove all hardship from his life. That’s a sentiment that many immature Christians share: Jesus Christ came so I wouldn’t have to suffer.
But Jesus said, “No, Peter, I’m not going to save you from suffering; I’m going to save you through suffering.” Jesus came to bear a cross, and whoever wants to follow him had better expect a cross as well.
You will come to a point like this in your walk with God. When you find out that God may not remove every problem from your life—when the cancer doesn’t go into remission, when the son or daughter doesn’t come back, when the marriage isn’t healed—in these moments, God is asking you, “Why are you following me? Is it for the benefits I can give, or because I’m more valuable than life itself?”
2. You have consumer faith if you think of discipleship in terms of self-fulfillment instead of sacrifice.
Peter, like most of us, thought of the Messiah as someone who would make his life better. He was looking for someone to overthrow Rome and give his country freedom. Most of us don’t dream of war with Rome, but we have expectations of Jesus. We think of him as part genie in a bottle, part therapist, part life coach, part cheerleader, part financial advisor. We expect Jesus to do certain things for us. And he responds with, “I’m going to a cross to be tortured to death. Who’s with me?”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, reflecting on this passage, said it best: “When Jesus bids a man to follow him, he bids him come and die.”
Have you ever stopped to think about what Jesus’ purpose was in saving you? It wasn’t to clean up your life and send you to heaven. As a friend of mine says, Jesus didn’t save us to disinfect us and put us on the shelf. He saved us to put us into service. He offered up his life as a sacrifice and called us to follow him. Have you offered yourself to Jesus…like that?
3. You have consumer faith if your obedience to Christ has limits.
Peter had been excited about following Jesus when it meant healing and power and popularity. After all, he had left his entire livelihood for Jesus. But with all this talk of suffering, sacrifice, and service, Peter’s coming to a realization: following Jesus is going to cost me.
At some point, obedience to Jesus is going to take you 180 degrees away from what you want. He tells you to forgive someone you don’t want to. He nudges you to make a financial sacrifice. He prompts you to speak the gospel to a certain person. He calls you to follow him somewhere in mission. At that point you’re going to have to decide how valuable he is to you. Did you come to Jesus to get something from him, or to offer yourself to him? Do you want something from Jesus, or do you just want Jesus?
Jesus doesn’t come to be part of our lives. He comes to be the new center of our lives. And as long as our obedience to him has a limit, we’re still standing in the center. What Jesus demands is a Copernican revolution of the soul—not adding Jesus into orbit in our lives, but aligning our lives in orbit around him. So we come to him with open hands, saying, “All that I am, all that I have, all that I ever hope to be…it all belongs to you.”
For more, be sure to listen to the entire message here.
How Not To Ask for Forgiveness | The Christward Collective
Five ways in which we can evaluate whether our own repentance is sincere or self-justifying.
Against Hotels: Calvin on Gen. 18.1-8 | Reformation21 Blog
Calvin saw hotels as a testimony to the failure of (Christian) folk to extend hospitality — that is, food, drink, and accommodation — to those in need.
Meet the millennial who infiltrated the guarded world of abortion providers | The Washington Post
Fascinating look at the background to the Center of Medical Progress’s video exposé of Planned Parenthood.
Four Simple questions for writers | Seth Godin
1. What is this for? 2. Who are you? 3. Who is it for? 4. Will it spread?
How It Feels When Your Epileptic Child Gets To Make A Wish
Touching insight into the challenges of parenting children with epilepsy.
50 Free Productivity Apps | Fastcompany
Slack looks worth a look for ministry teams.
A Lost God in a Lost World by Melvin Tinker. Here’s an extract of David Wells’ foreword
From David Wells’ foreword: “I welcome this fine book. I appreciate the fact that Melvin Tinker has gone to the heart of the matter, to the very center of our faith. Evangelical faith is never going to be renewed by better marketing techniques, or more cultural accommodations, slicker presentations, or better business acumen. It will be renewed only when our knowledge of God is deepened, our walk with him becomes more genuine, our faith more authentic, and our churches more biblical. This is exactly what this book calls for.”
Head Over Heels: How to Fall in Love and Land on Your Feet by Dr. James Dobson $0.99.
Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? by Eugene Cho $1.99. You won’t agree with everything in this book, but you will be challenged in a good way.
An Introduction to Biblical Ethics by David Jones $2.99.
The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell $2.99. I wouldn’t transfer all 21 qualities to pastoral ministry, and others I’d qualify, but that still leaves much more than $2.99 of value.
Success is Faithfulness…Even When it’s Hard
This short documentary shows how Southern Seminary alumnus and Texas pastor John Powell learned how to be both a cowboy and a shepherd. Discover how his theological training and his network of supporters from Southern Seminary helped equip him for rural ministry and get him through a burnout crisis.
Anxiety is the most predominant form of mental illness in our country, plaguing both young and old, showing up as post-traumatic stress syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, even phobias and generalized anxiety disorder.
We all struggle from time to time, whether as a way of life or due to particular circumstances beyond our control. It brings about physical reactions like shaking, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, frustration, and anger. Even depression can be linked to a series of anxieties we experience in life.
Culturally, we are a nervous wreck, and no one is immune to it.
Jesus Heals Anxious Hearts
My struggle with anxiety started early. As a child, I experienced vivid dreams that made my heart race. Even thinking of them today brings on certain emotions. The night terrors came on suddenly and without escape. I was trapped for half an hour after waking, held captive in terror.
Eventually, a counselor helped me to break free from those dreams. But as an adult, anxiety returned in the form of insomnia. Some nights I wake up completely drenched in sweat. An average night’s sleep for me is about four hours. I wake up at two, three, four in the morning and never go back to sleep.
Over the last twenty years, I’ve read the text of Matthew 6:25–34 hundreds of times, as I have not only wrestled with the anxiety, but also with embarrassment and shame for having the struggle in the first place. There, I discovered that Jesus cares about our anxious hearts. And he teaches us how to direct our minds and hearts in order to please God.
Jesus Shifts Our Focus
Understanding the fears bedded deep within being humans, Jesus starts the discussion with a bold command, then adds reasoning we can all grasp.
Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25–26)
Look up. There are five hundred million hungry birds flying around. They don’t sow, reap, or gather into barns and yet your Father in heaven knows their need and feeds every single one of them. If God feeds animals, essentially his pets, will he not feed you?
You, whom God created in his image. You, whom he designed to be unique from the creatures of this earth. You, whom he has placed his spirit within. Look up and remember that he cares for you and will provide for you. God designed you, knows you, and wants to guide you into a fruitful and productive life.
Jesus shifts our focus to the “more” in life — what our hearts crave. There is a different kind of life we experience in fellowship with our Creator that is supernatural. That’s where our lives become more than “food and clothing.”
“Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27). The minutes, hours, days, or even years we expend being anxious amount to wasted, stolen time. Concerns about natural things regarding our bodies, health, retirement funds, the imminent political race, and ISIS are matters for God. He will be concerned about them because he cares for you, and wants to guide you into living a fruitful and productive life.
What Our Worry Says About God
In verse 30, after continuing to prove the care and love of God, Jesus calls out our anxiety by saying, “O you of little faith.” The hard truth is that when we are anxious, we demonstrate lack of faith. We don’t trust God and instead take control, somehow believing we can take better care of our lives than God. It’s as if we say to the Creator of the universe, “I don’t need you, because I have to figure this out.” Then our hearts and minds circle and spin like hamsters on a treadmill. But we are worth more. Even when the situation seems unbearable, we can trust God.
We can go to him with our worries, even when our hearts feel unsettled about our marriages, children, jobs, retirement, health care, and son. Even when we doubt, we can acknowledge our sin. Faith turns to God and accepts what’s been given, asking him to use whatever circumstance we encounter for his good and glory, and to refine us into his image.
Practice the Shift
Then, near the end of the passage, Jesus calls us to change our hearts by shifting focus. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (verse 33). He tells us to move our minds from the worries of this life to issues of greater importance, to shift our focus to eternal values.
Breathe. Trust. Transfer your anxiety to God and place your concern where it belongs: on the things of God.
It is difficult to practice, but this is the road to supernatural living. When the mind is focused on what God is concerned about, anxieties dissipate, and God provides us with what we need.
I used to hate being an anxious person. Now I don’t mind it as much because in those moments when I wake at two or three o’clock in the morning in a cold sweat, my mind racing, concerns of money, the future, those who depend on me overflowing, I roll off my bed and onto my knees in prayer. I practice this shift every time my anxiety strikes. I ask God to transition my anxieties from the things of this world into the things that God is concerned about.
And there in those moments I fight the war that God has called me to fight as a man of God.
Kindle deals for Christian readers
- Take Words With You (5th edition) by Tim Kerr—$2.99
- Preaching for God’s Glory by Alistair Begg—$1.99
- Preach the Word edited by Leland Ryken & Todd Wilson—$3.99
- Expositional Preaching by David R. Helm—$3.99
- Distortion by Chelsen Vicari—$4.08 (As I wrote in my review, despite its problems, there are some helpful aspects)
A popular topic of conversation in theoretical astronomy as of late is the possibility of terraforming. Terraforming is the idea of taking a planet like Mars, one with an environment hostile to Earth-based life, and creating on it an atmosphere with the composition and density to support liquid water—and thus life.
Despite the optimistic view of the article’s author, this is not good news.
There are many times when our confidence in the Bible can come under attack. Consider a temptation to doubt the truth of God’s Word when you or someone close to you is diagnosed with a severe medical condition. Are you tempted to doubt the sufficiency and truthfulness of God’s promises? Or consider the moment of great temptation to sin. Like Eve you are appraising the way the desire can bring satisfaction to you and meet your need. You weigh this against God’s Word. At some point you have to remind yourself of the truthfulness of the Bible. Finally, consider a conversation with an unbelieving friend who is sanctioning their lifestyle because the Bible is not true. In each of these scenarios you need to have some quick, simple, and compelling truths on retainer.
I’ve put these 5 together as something of a quick reference notecard for why I believe the Bible. I’m sure there is an acronym or something clever but I’ve not thought of it.
Last week Ligonier Ministries hosted a Google Hangout with Rosaria Butterfield, author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. If you missed it, you can watch it at the link above.
Words such as Gospel, Great Commission, evangelism and mission are rising in popularity. Influential blogs, books and conferences alike utilize these terms and their cognates (e.g., Gospel-centered, missional, etc.) in their titles and themes. As much excitement and encouragement as this trend brings, believers must guard against the temptation of talking about the Gospel to those who know it best without taking the Gospel to those who need to hear it most. Whatever meaning believers ascribe to being “Gospel-centered” should incorporate an understanding that in order to be so, our conversations with unbelievers should center on the Gospel as much as, if not more than, our conversations with believers. To ensure we do so, believers should employ a standard measure by which we test ourselves—a Gospel Shibboleth, so to speak.
Here are a few Kindle deals for those who are in library-building mode: Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur ($2.99); Expositional Preaching by David Helm ($3.99); Preaching for God’s Glory by Alister Begg ($1.99); Preach the Word by Leland Ryken & Todd Wilson ($3.99); Take Words With You by Tim Kerr ($2.99).
My thanks to all who prayed for safe travels to Germany. I arrived Sunday morning right on schedule and was able to preach a few hours later at Munich International Community Church. Today I head to Teisendorf for the ICC Ministries pastors’ retreat.
This sad article from the New York Times looks at what happens when an unknown and forgotten person passes away.
R.C. Sproul: “Many Evangelical Protestants have rejected the idea of degrees of sin because they know that the Protestant Reformation rejected the Roman Catholic distinction between mortal and venial sins. As a result, they’ve jumped to the conclusion that there are no distinctions between sins in Protestantism.”
David Murray continues his look at what you might call “true Calvinism” by a look at its five fruits. If your Calvinism isn’t bearing this kind of fruit, you might want to consider what he says.
The Gospel Coalition is looking for volunteers who can translate material into Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese.
This Day in 1959. Al Mohler was born fifty-six years ago today. You can wish him a happy birthday at @AlbertMohler.
The sad truth is that the industry has become so complicated that there’s no longer any visible logic to it. Which is to say, you almost always lose.
This is a helpful article. “The intention for every Christian is to run hard and to rest well.” That pretty much summarizes it, doesn’t it?
Your ministry does not need to be grand and visible in order to be significant. GoThereFor shows how a mini ministry can serve others and bring glory to God.
ARTICLES I LIKE FROM AROUND THE WEB:
(Click title to go to full article)
Tattoos and Skin Deep Hermeneutics – “It used to be easy for Christians to formulate an opinion about tattoos. Sailors had them. And some prisoners. Other than corpsmen and convicts the only ink you saw in church was on the page. This is not a pointed tirade against tattoos, nor a defense of them; it’s a jab at bad hermeneutics. I have found that some like to decorate their arguments with Bible verses that have no place in the debate. These are the three usual suspects…”
The Five Fruits of Calvinism – “The doctrines of grace are not just rooted in the grace of God, and demonstrate the grace of God; they should also produce grace in those who believe these truths. Here are five fruits that result from a full embrace of the doctrines of grace.”
Are There Degrees of Sin? – “Historically speaking, both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism have understood that there are degrees of sin. The Roman Catholic church makes a distinction between mortal and venial sin. The point of that distinction is that there are some sins so gross, heinous, and serious that the actual commission of those sins is mortal in the sense that it kills the grace of justification that resides in the soul of the believer. In their theology, not every sin is devastating to that degree. There are some real sins that are venial sins. These are less serious sins in terms of their consequences, but they don’t have the justification-killing capacity that mortal sins have.”
Historical Science, Observational Science, and Creation – “Several months ago, I stumbled upon this post over at a blog called, Faithful Thinkerswritten by a fella named Luke Nix, a Reasons to Believe fan, Observational Science vs. Historical Science? It is meant to be an ‘apologetic’ corrective to the sloppy thinking of young earth creationists, particularly the folks over at Answers in Genesis, regarding their articulation of historical science and observational science.”
The Friction of Faith – “In the hours before His arrest, trial, and execution, Christ celebrated the Passover with His closest friends—the disciples. In the intimacy of the upper room, He encouraged them with promises of the powerful, Spirit-enabled ministry awaiting them, pointed ahead to their eternal home in heaven, and spoke warmly of His love for them.”
Charles Finney and the Heresy of American Pelagianism
Skyler’s Abortion in Cases of Rape Fail
“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur
Christian Headlines Daily – Monday, October 19, 2015
Lobbying Group Thwarts Attempts to Monitor Homeschooled Children with Testing
Report: ISIS Could Wipe Out Christianity in Iraq by 2020
Palestinian Rioters Set Fire to Joseph’s Tomb in West Bank
Earliest Draft of the King James Bible Discovered by New Jersey Professor
First ‘Greater Church of Lucifer’ to Open Doors in Texas
Christian Football Film ‘Woodlawn’ Opens Friday in Theaters
Transgender Student Files Complaint against School District for Girls’ Locker Room Access
Boycott Gay Weddings, Even Family, Says Southern Baptist Leader Al Mohler
US Missionary Roberta Edwards Killed in Haiti Ambush; Kid under Her Care Abducted
Michelle Duggar Gives Controversial Words of Advice to Married Women
How to Fail until You Succeed
Planned Parenthood’s Problems Go Far Beyond Whether it Sells Organs
Do You Know God’s Purpose for Your Life?
Dr. Ho Feng Shan: A Lesser-Known Christian Hero Who Changed the World
Suicide by Any Other Name
“Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). See http://www.needGod.com
By Chuck Lawless on Oct 19, 2015 01:00 am
READING: Matthew 15, Mark 7
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: If you were to walk with me non-stop for the next seven days, how much would you know about my heart at the end of the week? I hope you would learn something about me by watching my priorities — priorities that I trust are simply living out the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
You’d probably learn about me by observing what I read, what I watch on TV, what I listen to on the radio, what searches I embark upon on my computer. You’d learn my heart by watching how I treat my wife. With all those possibilities, though, I suspect you can learn even more by listening to how I speak, by paying attention to what comes out of my mouth. At the risk of sounding arrogant and judgmental by even writing these words, I can tell you I’ve learned that words spoken in back room conversations are often more reflective of one’s heart than any words spoken to large, adoring crowds. What comes out of our mouth really does reveal our inner being, just as Jesus told us:
Matt. 15:18-19 But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.
Jesus was not limiting His application to only our words, of course — for our heart is revealed in our will, our actions, our thoughts, and our desires as well — but surely He was not ignoring our words. To pretend that our words don’t somehow reflect our heart is to lie to ourselves. To speak one way in private and another way in public is simply hypocritical.
ACTION STEPS: Ask God to make you fully aware of what’s in your heart today — especially as your words make that apparent. If your potential words reveal a heart in disarray, repent before you speak.
PRAYER: “God, make my heart pure today, and let my words reflect that purity.”
Our Time is Short
What is The Gospel?
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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