Daily Archives: March 11, 2019

March 11 The Steps of Forgiveness

Scripture reading: Hebrews 12:12–15

Key verse: Hebrews 12:14

Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

You’ve heard of the stages of grief that a person experiences when someone close to him dies. Death brings out a host of emotions that must be dealt with honestly as they arise.

The same is true for dealing with an offense when someone hurts you. The pain is very real, and even if you know the incident was unintentional, the ache is still there. See if you can recognize these common stages in the process of coming to forgiveness:

Confusion. At first, you may be bewildered by the offense. You may try to find an explanation and relive the scenario in your mind to try to find answers. When the offender is someone close to you, the assault may be all the more troubling.

Denial. Another term for this is detouring, and it involves telling yourself that the offense did not even occur. You explain it away and try to convince yourself that you should not have felt hurt.

Discovery. Through the truth of God’s Word, you come to realize what you’re doing. Jesus urges you to forgive immediately and put the past behind you.

Forgiveness. You come before the Lord, confessing your sin of resentment and at the same time releasing the other person from all obligation to you. You are now free to love as Christ intends.

Lord, help me to identify where I am and move me through the steps of forgiveness.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2002). Seeking His face (p. 74). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

CULT OF GAIA: The Green New Deal CULT And Its Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Are Hellbent On Destroying America And Ushering In Socialism/Fascism — These Christian Times

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says we only have 12 years to reverse climate change before it’s too late. Leftist radicals have been saying that for YEARS, and it NEVER comes true. Remember in the ’70s when a Harvard biologist warned climate change would lead to the end of all mankind in 15-20 years? They did it again in 2006 when Al Gore warned we only have 10 years before global warming kills us all. Now Miller is joined by ex-SJW and religious scholar Gracie West who says these radicals are akin to a religious cult. She discusses how they use the climate change doomsday narrative to rebrand Marxism.

via CULT OF GAIA: The Green New Deal CULT And Its Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Are Hellbent On Destroying America And Ushering In Socialism/Fascism — These Christian Times

March 11 Requirements of Biblical Meditation

Scripture reading: Matthew 14:22–23

Key verse: Psalm 27:11

Teach me Your way, O Lord,

And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

In her book Discipline: The Glad Surrender, Elisabeth Elliot writes about the requirements of biblical meditation:

We have been discussing making an offering of the body, which is an act of worship … offered by mind and heart. The next thing we are to do is to let our minds be remade and our whole nature transformed.

We cannot do this by ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit who must do the work. But we must open our minds to that work, submit to His control, think on the things that matter rather than on the things that come to nothing in the end. Here again we see both the necessity of a sovereign God working in and through us and the responsibility of the disciple himself to adapt to what God wants to do …

In times of prayer and meditation, do not try to “think about nothing.” “Set your mind,” Paul says, not, “Empty your mind.” Set it on Christ, not on earthly things. One phrase from God’s Word can be taken and repeated quietly, asking that we may be given … the spiritual power of wisdom and vision, by which there comes the knowledge of Him.

Make sure the place you select for your quiet time is relatively distraction free. Avoid putting God in a spiritual box. Instead, be open to the newness and joy He brings each day as you enter His throne room with praise.

Lord, keep me open to the newness and joy You bring each day as I enter Your throne room with praise![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 74). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

March 11 Supernatural Strength

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1–3

Key Verse: 1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Spiritual fatigue hits everyone. In the race to know and serve Christ, our bodies, minds, and hearts can reach an overload point, causing us to drop back. If severe enough, spiritual fatigue can discourage us from future participation.

God’s strength to endure is ours when we “lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us” (Heb. 12:1 nasb). Cast your burdens on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). Keep short accounts with God daily concerning your sin.

God’s strength comes when we recognize that “in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9 nasb). Your efforts will pay off. Harvesttime will come. Your toil will be rewarded. God promises it.

God’s strength comes to finish the race when we are not “anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself” (Matt. 6:34 nasb). Live one day at a time. Do not be unduly concerned about tomorrow. The race is run step-by-step.

God’s strength comes when we let Him turn our weaknesses into His strengths: “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power” (Isa. 40:29 nasb).

When you are weary, draw from almighty God’s unlimited power supply. Faint not. Fear not. Fret not. He gives supernatural strength to finish the race.

Dear God, transform my human weakness into supernatural strength. Let me faint not, fear not, and fret not. Give me supernatural strength to finish the race.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 74). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Judicial Watch Files Ethics Complaint Against Adam Schiff Over His Shady Contacts with Glenn Simpson, Michael Cohen — The Gateway Pundit

Tom Fitton, Adam Schiff

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Monday it filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Adam Schiff over his contacts with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

The official complaint filed by Judicial Watch with the Office of Congressional Ethics, requests House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) be investigated in connection with recent revelations that he secretly met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson in Aspen, Colorado in July of 2018.

The complaint also requests Schiff be investigated after it was revealed his staff traveled to New York and met with Michael Cohen for 10 hours prior to Trump’s former lawyer testifying to the House Intel Panel.

“Rep. Schiff has an ethics problem. His and his staff’s irregular communications with anti-Trump witnesses reflect poorly on the credibility of the House and its committees’ investigations,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It has long been apparent that Rep. Schiff can’t be trusted to lead the Intelligence Committee, so we hope that Democrats on the Ethics Committee stop protecting Mr. Schiff and take action.”

Excerpt of the ethics complaint via Judicial Watch:

Dear Chairman Skaggs,

Judicial Watch is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law. We regularly monitor congressional ethics issues as part of our anti-corruption mission.

This letter serves as our official complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) concerning the activities of Rep. Adam Schiff. Rep. Schiff appears to have violated House Code of Official Conduct, Rule 23, clauses 1 and 2, by inappropriately communicating with witnesses. Clauses 1 and 2 provide:

1.A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.

2.A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House and to the rules of duly constituted committees thereof.

Rep. Adam Schiff attended the Aspen Security Forum conference in July 2018, which was also attended by Glenn Simpson, the founder of the firm Fusion GPS. Press reports have detailed evidence of a meeting and discussion between Rep. Schiff and Glenn Simpson at the July 2018 Aspen Security Forum. As noted in The Hill newspaper:

At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Fusion GPS is the political opposition research firm involved in procuring “unverified” information claiming the Trump presidential campaign had “colluded” with Russia, among other things. That Fusion OPS-supplied information was the basis upon which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrants against Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

Mr. Simpson’s leadership of Fusion GPS and his centrality to events resulted in his having to testify before congressional committees or their staffs. Specifically, Mr. Simpson testified before the House Intelligence Committee, of which Rep. Schiff was the ranking Democratic member, on October 16, 2018 – approximately three (3) months after the Aspen Security Forum.

We note that following revelations in 2017 that Rep. Devin Nunes had informed President Trump that U.S. intelligence agencies had been engaging in “incidental collection” of his campaign’s communications, Rep. Schiff demanded that Rep. Nunes, then Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, recuse himself from any investigations involving alleged Trump collusion with Russia. Indeed, Rep. Schiff wrote the following on twitter:

This is not a recommendation I make lightly … But in much the same way that the attorney general [Jeff Sessions] was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials, I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.

Then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi concurred with Rep. Schiff’s call for Mr. Nunes to recuse himself.

The July 2018 contacts between Rep. Schiff and Mr. Simpson create, at a minimum, the appearance of impropriety. As a result of Rep. Schiff’s previously undisclosed, private discussions with Mr. Simpson, the public’s confidence in Mr. Schiff’s ability to objectively and impartially carry out his duties as Committee Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have been gravely damaged.

Further, Rep. Schiff’s contacts with Mr. Michael Cohen should also be scrutinized in the same light as the Simpson contacts. Journalists have reported:

President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen told House investigators this week that staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., traveled to New York at least four times to meet with him for over 10 hours immediately before last month’s high-profile public testimony, according to two sources familiar with the matter – as Republicans question whether the meetings amounted to coaching a witness.

The sources said the sessions covered a slew of topics addressed during the public hearing before the oversight committee – including the National Enquirer ‘s “Catch and Kill” policy, American Media CEO David Pecker and the alleged undervaluing of President Trump’s assets.

Judicial Watch also argued in its complaint that Adam Schiff’s conduct creates the “appearance of unethical collusion and synchronization” that calls into question whether Cohen’s testimony was legitimate.

Schiff’s conducts and contacts with witnesses have in the least undermined the “credibility of the House and its committee proceedings,” the watchdog group argued.

“We call upon the OCE to investigate Rep. Schiff and his previously undisclosed, inappropriate contact with key witnesses in congressional investigation over which that Member holds significant sway. I acknowledge that Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code applies to the information provided above,” Judicial Watch concluded.

You can support Tom Fitton and his team at Judicial Watch by clicking here.

via Judicial Watch Files Ethics Complaint Against Adam Schiff Over His Shady Contacts with Glenn Simpson, Michael Cohen — The Gateway Pundit

Fox News ‘strongly condemns’ own popular host

Judge Jeanine Pirro (Fox News video screenshot)

The Fox News Channel is taking the rare step of “strongly” condemning one of its own talk-show hosts after controversial comments were made regarding U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

On Saturday’s airing of “Justice With Judge Jeanine,” host Jeanine Pirro said of the Muslim congresswoman:

“Think about this. She’s not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat party … So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested.

“Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to shariah law which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

On Sunday, the network issued a statement about Pirro’s remarks, saying: “We strongly condemn Judge Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar.

“They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

In the wake of the controversy, Pirro issued her own statement.

“I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American,” Pirro explained.

“My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution. I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

Public reaction online is mixed, with comments including:

  • “I didn’t see anything wrong with Pirro’s remarks.”
  • “She said nothing wrong, Fox, so your reproof of her comments are unfounded and have no basis in truth.”
  • “Will we hear Jeanine Pirro condemn Jewish women who wear head coverings? Or SiKH women, or Hindu women? What about Coptic Christian women, or Orthodox Christian women? Why is she singling out a Muslim woman? Is that Constitutional? I know I have a lot of questions, but can anybody explain how Pirro was ever [an expletive] judge?”
  • “By ‘addressed the matter with her directly,’ they’re probably using legalese a**-covering code for they gave her a high-five and told her to ‘keep up the good work.’”
  • “OH! So CNN and Fox News SUPPORT death sentence for gays! Also husbands can beat their wives! Wow what a reveal!”

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeKovacsNews

Source: Fox News ‘strongly condemns’ own popular host

The Mod | The Three ‘E’s’ of Evangelism

There’s a word in American Christendom that strikes fear into the hearts of God’s people. It’s not ‘Islam,’ ‘liberalism,’ ‘socialism,’ or ‘atheism’ (although all those do create irrational fear in Western Christians). The most terrifying word in all of American Christendom is “evangelism.”  If you doubt me, just ask a fellow believer when was the last time they verbally shared the gospel with an unbeliever—the answer will likely be silence. When one considers why it’s hard to share the gospel with the lost, many answers will come forth, but the common denominator is usually fear.  North-American Christians are afraid of looking unintelligent, weird, awkward, and ignorant.  In our celebrity-obsessed culture, to look uninformed, unintellectual, and unattractive is the highest of social sins. However, we are not called as Christ’s church to proclaim our own excellencies (we have none) but to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:19).  Fortunately, there are tools available to help with this.  Consider “The Three E’s of Evangelism”:

Engagement

What do you think of when you see that word? Do you think of going up to random people in a confrontational or obnoxious manner?  Do you think of being loud or aggressive?  You’ll be happy to know that that’s not what engagement in evangelism means. Engagement in this context is demonstrating to those who don’t follow Christ that you welcome them and their opinions by listening to them. When it comes to evangelism, we often think we have to be the ones speaking or even leading the conversation, but that’s not true.  In my experience evangelizing non-believers, they appreciate it when they see that we truly care for them as fellow human beings as opposed to being just another notch on our spiritual belt.

Recently, I was speaking with a young man at a local park.  Through the course of the conversation, he had mentioned his rough upbringing and how it shaped his view of the things of God. I could’ve gone straight to answering some of his objections, but I didn’t.  Instead, I asked him to share more of his story.  As he did, his tears started to flow. He poured out his heart and allowed me to share in his pain and sorrow. When he finished, I was able to minister to him further by offering some perspective on his trials and questions that he had. At the end of our conversation, he mentioned how he needed to rethink his views on God and I was able to share the gospel of Jesus with him.  It was a good time of fellowship and encouragement for us both, and I wonder if one of the reasons for that was my willingness to simply love him by listening. As Pastor Leon Brown of Montage Church in Los Angeles, CA writes in his book, Words in Season: On Sharing the Hope that is Within Us, “A listening ear is usually welcomed and appreciated.”[1]

When speaking about evangelism, people often ask me what are some of the main things they should remember and do. I have two pieces of advice: “love God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…[and to] love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). Evangelism must come from a heart in love with God and neighbor. If our evangelism doesn’t flow out of love for God and neighbor, then we are nothing more than a “…noisy gong…[and] are nothing” (1 Corinthian 13:1-3).  The second is like it: James 1:19, “…let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” If we are truly operating out of a love for God and the neighbor with whom we are sharing the message of eternal life, then we will engage by eagerly and actively listening. By doing this, we demonstrate our genuine love for the lost by treating them as fellow valuable image bearers of God instead of debating opponents against whom we’ve won an argument.

Empathy

Empathy is defined as “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” There is a belief about American Christians—a belief that has sadly proven true in too many cases—that we think of ourselves as holier (and therefore, better) than our non-believing neighbors.  True, Christians are holy unto the Lord because of the work of Christ, but we are not superior to unbelievers, nor do we possess an innate quality of holiness over against them.  We easily forget that all we have (especially salvation), is a free gift of God’s sovereign grace and that we therefore we have nothing to boast about. We too were once “…dead in the trespasses and sins…” and “…were by nature children of wrath…” (Ephesians 2:1, 3).  When we forget that we were once enemies of God and on our way to the Lake of Fire and assume a self-righteous superiority, we make our evangelism more about our ‘kind willingness’ to let ‘these people’ join our special club, and less about a good desire to see all tribes, tongues, and nations praising God for his salvation.  Empathy allows for a better, more God-glorifying way of relating to our unsaved neighbors. Pastor Brown writes,

To various degrees, both believers and unbelievers know what is right and wrong. When confronted by the law, we must admit we’ve all broken it. Since this is commonplace, we have another ally: compassion. We know what it’s like to fight against our true identity and follow after the course of this world; to be constantly drawn away from the Lord to fulfill the lusts of the flesh…God in Christ had compassion on us…Can we have compassion on others in a similar way (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)? Can we relate to others since we know the struggle that sin brings-the temptations, the guilt, the shame…because Christ had compassion on us, that Christlike compassion should flow from us to others.[2]

In my years of experience sharing the gospel on high school and college campuses, street corners, boardwalks, airplanes, movie theatres, etc., I’ve seen that my willingness to admit that I have sinned against God and deserve His wrath frees others to admit that as well.  When I’m honest and admit that as a Christian, I’ve wrestled with doubts and questions and still do at times, it frees the unbeliever to admit his own doubts and questions and opens up an avenue for discussion. When I admit that I still wrestle and struggle with sin, it frees them to open up about what sin(s) they’re trapped in and how it is affecting their lives. We know what it is to be “…separated from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

When we stop pretending that we have it all together and are honest about our struggles in life and the hope of Christ we have in the midst of it all, it shows that we aren’t holier-than-thou, but struggling pilgrims going through some of the same issues they are and yet, have hope. Wise transparency, compassion, and empathy are far more becoming to God’s chosen people, the Church, than compelling arguments and sophisticated rhetoric.

Explanation

At some point during our evangelistic conversations, we have to explain the truth of the gospel. In other words, we have to actually break down for the non-believer how they can be reconciled to God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This is what most Western Christians fear the most. Listening and being empathetic comes much easier than actually sharing “…the hope that is within [us]…with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). This brings forth the question you probably wanted answered the moment you clicked on this link: how do we share the gospel? While there’s no 100%-of-the-time-it-works-every-time method, there are certain biblical principles that can help us navigate the waters of evangelism. Personally, I use these five categories: God as Creator, Lawgiver, Judge, Savior, and Caller.

At the beginning of this year, I went to that same local park near my house and spoke with a young African-American man named Jeremy. When I first asked if he had any spiritual beliefs, he answered, “Well, I don’t believe in white Jesus.”  I told him that I also didn’t believe in the white Jesus presented by American cultural Christianity, and over the course of an hour, I told him about how he was lovingly created in the image of God (Creator), how he (and I) had fallen short of the perfection God demands of us by breaking His perfect Law (Lawgiver), that we both deserved His wrath in the Lake of Fire for eternity (Judge), how God bridged that gap between us and Himself by sending His Son to live, die, and rise in our place, thus paying the sin debt we owe (Savior), and how we are called to stop running from God and trust in Jesus alone (Caller). After about ten minutes of clarifying our terms and making sure we understand one another accurately, he told me that he had been thinking about these issues for a while and that he was thankful I had spoken to him about the gospel. He then bowed his head and prayed to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior! We exchanged phone numbers and he’s been reading his Bible and asking great questions about his new faith. He’s also come to church with me since then and we’ve discussed him getting baptized.  When speaking to non-Christians, it is important to realize we no longer live in a culture and time where the Christian worldview is a commonly-held framework for life. Many don’t have or understand Christian concepts, and those that do profess a form of spiritual beliefs will use similar words with very different meanings. We must seek to make Christian truth understandable by explaining our terms and clearing up any misconceptions about our message.

Remember…..

Salvation does, after all, “belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). No matter what tools we utilize, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t regenerate a spiritually dead sinner, they won’t respond positively to the Gospel. However, the Holy Spirit has been and continues to be pleased in using these tools of engagement, empathy, and explanation to bring life to people dead in their sins and it is this truth that should make us bold in using the “Three E’s of Evangelism.” The gospel is the message non-Christian image bearers need to hear and believe in order to be reconciled to the Triune God and it is our privilege and blessing to share it with others. May the Spirit of God give you His love and boldness as you seek to reach a lost and hopeless world for Jesus Christ.

 

Anthony English is the Assistant Director of Mission to the World’s West Coast Office and is currently enrolled at Birmingham Theological Seminary. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three boys.

 

Does evangelism terrify you?  Does the thought of having philosophical and theological arguments make you want to bury yourself in the couch and start Netflix bingeing?  We get it—it’s intimidating.  That’s why we’ve written dozens of articles on the most effective ways to talk with your non-believing friends about the faith for the past 25 years (spoiler alert: it’s not having a bachelor’s in philosophy or biblical studies)—subscribe to Modern Reformation and get access to a host of helpful, practical pieces on evangelism and apologetics.

 

[1] Leon Brown, Words in Season: On Sharing the Hope Within Us (Spotsylvania, VA: Gospel Rich Books, 2013), 68-69.

 

[2] Leon Brown, Words in Season: On Sharing the Hope Within Us (Spotsylvania, VA: Gospel Rich Books, 2013), 116-118.

via The Mod | The Three ‘E’s’ of Evangelism — The Mod | Is Reality Secular? An Interview With Mary Poplin (Part 3)

March 11, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

Noah: Obeying in Faith

(11:7)

By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (11:7)

“Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). True faith always has actions to support its claim. Earlier in the second chapter of his letter, James condemns the man who says he has faith but who does nothing to help a fellow Christian in need. In order for faith to be valid, it must visibly radiate itself in good deeds. If you really believe in God, there will be evidence of it in the way you live, in the things you say, and in the things you do.

Abel illustrates the worship of faith, and Enoch the walk of faith. Noah, perhaps more than any other person in history, illustrates the work of faith—obedience.

Satan has continually tried to confuse and mislead people, including God’s people, about faith and works. If possible, he will convince a person that he can be saved by doing certain good works. If this strategy works, the person will be lost to God. If a person trusts in God and is saved, Satan then tries to convince him of one of two extremes—that he must do good works to keep his salvation (legalism) or that, now that he is saved by faith, he can forget about good works (license). From Genesis to Revelation, however, the Bible is clear that a person is saved only by faith, and that when he is saved, good works should follow as a result.

Paul, who so strongly proclaimed justification by faith alone, also proclaimed a life of good works for those who are justified. “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim. 6:18). Believers are, in fact, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). For all the saints listed in Hebrews 11, their genuine faith was made known in something they did. Faith cannot be seen except in the things that it does. And if it is true faith, it will do many good things.

Noah was a man of faith, and his life continually showed his faith by his utter obedience to God. “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). He worshiped God faithfully, as Abel had, and he walked with God faithfully, as Enoch had. He also worked for God faithfully.

I once heard a sports announcer interview a professional football player shortly before he was scheduled to play in the Super Bowl. He asked the lineman what he thought his team’s chances were in the upcoming game. He replied, “We believe that if we just do what the coach says, we will win.” The team had absolute faith in its coach’s wisdom and judgment. But the players also knew that winning depended on their doing what he told them to do.

Noah’s faith was stupendous. It was stupendous because of his absolute trust in God and because of his unhesitating and persistent obedience for 120 years in an undertaking that, from the human perspective, looked totally absurd and absolutely impossible.

Three things in Hebrews 11:7 give proof that Noah’s faith was genuine. First, he responded to God’s word. That is always a characteristic of true faith. Second, he rebuked the world. He was such a man of God that his very life was a rebuke to the wicked people that surrounded him. Third, he received God’s righteousness. These are the classic marks of true faith.

Noah Responded to God’s Word

By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household. (11:7a)

When God told Noah that He was getting ready to destroy the world because of its wickedness and instructed him to build an ark (Gen. 6:13–14), Noah dropped everything and started building. Noah probably lived in Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, a long way from any ocean or sizable lake. It is difficult to imagine how God’s message must have sounded to Noah. To most of us it would have been so strange, so demanding, so embarrassing, so absolutely overwhelming, that we would have done anything to get out of it. We would have thought up a thousand excuses for not doing it. We would have done our best to talk God out of the whole idea, or at least convince Him to get someone else for the job.

But Noah, who had but a fraction of the divine light that we have, did not argue, quibble, make excuses, complain, or procrastinate. He did not question God, but simply began obeying Him. He spent over one hundred years fulfilling this single command. True faith does not question, and Noah did not question. Among the countless faithful saints who have endured and persisted in obedience to God, Noah stands supreme, if for nothing else than the shear magnitude and time span of his one incredible assignment from the Lord.

Noah doubtlessly had a lot of things of his own to do. To surrender all his time and effort to building a boat took a special kind of commitment. He probably had little idea about what an ocean-going ship was like. Certainly he had never seen, or even heard of, a giant ship such as the ark was to be. He had no experience in shipbuilding, no easy access to building supplies, and no help except that of his sons. Even they were not able to help for many years after the ark was begun, because they were not born until after Noah was 500 years old (Gen. 5:32). One of the greatest practical acts of faith in all history was Noah’s cutting down the first gopher tree for wood to make the ark.

Noah was warned by God about things not yet seen. He had never seen rain, because it probably did not exist before the Flood. He had never seen a flood, since floods could not have occurred without rain. Noah responded to God’s message by faith, “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). By faith Noah … prepared an ark. He had nothing to go on but God’s word, which for him was more than sufficient.

Noah built the ark in reverence. The Greek word (eulabeia) can be translated “pious care, or concern,” with pious taken in the original sense of genuine spiritual devotion. He treated the message of God with great respect and awe. He “was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). He was a man of obedient faith even before God called him to build the ark. He had been faithful over smaller things, and now the Lord gave him a great thing to do.

The ark symbolized many of God’s future dealings with men. The Hebrew word for pitch, for example, has the same root (kpr) as that used for atonement. The pitch kept the waters of judgment from entering the ark just as Christ’s atoning blood keeps judgment from the sinner.

The exact length of the cubit during Noah’s time is not certain, but using the lowest, most conservative figure it would be about seventeen and a half inches. On this basis, the ark was 438 feet long, 73 feet wide, and 44 feet high. In other words it was nearly one and a half times the length of a football field and more than four stories high. Since it had three decks, the total deck area was almost 96,000 square feet, and the total volume within the decks was about 1.3 million cubic feet. Naval engineers have discovered that the dimensions and shape of the ark form the most stable ship design known. The ark was not designed for maneuverability but for stability, in order to best protect those within it.

The ark is a beautiful picture of the salvation offered in Jesus Christ. The ark was easily large enough to hold all the animals needed to assure each species’ survival. It had plenty of room for every person who wanted to come to God for safety. The fact that only eight persons came into the ark means that only eight wanted to be saved on God’s terms. God does not wish “for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). God’s nature does not change. His will in Peter’s time was the same in Noah’s time. Only those perished in the Flood who rejected God’s way of salvation. Had more come to Him for safety, we can be sure the ark would have accommodated them. Just so, Jesus’ blood is more than sufficient to atone for all the sins ever committed since the Fall. That no more people are saved than are simply means that these are the only ones who want to be saved. Jesus declared absolutely that no one who comes to Him will be cast out (John 6:37).

When God first called Noah to his gargantuan task, He told him of the covenant He would make with him (Gen. 6:18). As the Lord explained later, the covenant was also with “every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (9:16) that survived the Flood, including, of course, all mankind. But the covenant was first of all with Noah, the man who had “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (6:8).

Though Noah was “blameless in his time” and “walked with God” (6:9), he was still a sinner. He was a fallen son of Adam, as seen so clearly in his shameful display of drunkenness and immodesty when things began going well after the Flood (9:20–21). He was saved because of God’s “favor,” because of God’s grace, working through his faith. Noah’s righteousness, just as that of every believer before and after him, was “in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah was counted righteous, justified by God’s pure grace, applied because of faith. Not even Noah’s faith in itself, amazing as it was compared to that of most of us, saved Him. God would not be obligated to save a single person even because of faith, had He not in His love and mercy declared faith to be the condition on which He would save. It is God’s right to save whom He will, and He wills to save those who believe in His Son. He takes our faith and, by His grace, counts it as righteousness (Rom. 4:5).

That Noah’s faith was genuine is proved by his obedience to God’s word. In God’s economy, trust and obedience are inseparable. As we love to sing, there is no other way than “to trust and obey.” Just as Noah trusted and obeyed, God wants all who belong to Him to do the same. He wants us to trust Him in the trial we are going through, the temptation we are facing, the decision we are making. He wants us to worship Him rightly, as Abel did, and to walk with Him, as Enoch did. He also wants us to obey him, as Noah did. The Lord has arks for every believer to build. It is just as important for us to build the ark He gives us as it was for Noah to build the one God assigned him. Ours may not be as big or as awesome or as time-consuming as Noah’s, but it is the only one we can build that will please God. And, like Noah’s, when we build it in faith, according to God’s plan and by His power, it will accomplish what God wants it to accomplish. Also like Noah’s, our work for the Lord may look foolish and purposeless in the world’s eyes. But if it is His work, it will please Him, the only one a believer needs to be concerned about pleasing.

My father used to tell the story of a man who walked up and down the sidewalks wearing a sandwich board with “I am a fool for Christ” painted on the front. On the back was “Whose fool are you?” In a sense, every person is a fool for something in the eyes of someone. Many political activists and cultists are perfectly willing to look like fools for the sake of their causes. How much more should a Christian be willing to look like a fool for Christ’s cause.

Peter and his partners had fished all night and caught nothing. As they were washing their nets on shore, Jesus got into one of the boats, preached for a while to the crowd that was gathered there, and then told Peter to put out into the deep and drop the nets again. Peter let the Lord know he thought the effort was useless, but he obeyed anyway. They caught so many fish they had to ask for help, and two boats nearly sank under the load. Peter’s faith was small, but he obeyed and was rewarded far out of proportion to his faith. Like Noah, he faithfully obeyed God, and God honored his faith and his obedience.

Noah believed God’s word about the coming judgment, and about the right size and way to build the ark, and about the promise to save him and his family. He did not pick and choose what to believe and what to obey. He believed everything and obeyed everything God said.

Noah Rebuked the World

By faith Noah … condemned the world. (11:7b)

Noah’s obedience included his passing on to the rest of the world God’s message of coming judgment. In 2 Peter 2:5, he is called “a preacher of righteousness.” God called Noah to preach while he built. The preaching was probably more difficult than the building. Hard jobs are always easier to deal with than hard people.

The times in which Noah grew up were among the most evil and corrupt in history. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). If any man had reason to regret the time in which he lived it was Noah. But he did not complain about when he was born, his lot in life, or his calling. He obeyed as he was and where he was.

Noah’s job was to warn the people of his time that God would soon judge them because of their wickedness and unbelief. They had had the same opportunity to know God and His will as had Noah. The difference between Noah and everyone around him was not a difference in the amount of light but a difference in response to it.

Mankind had become largely demon possessed. I believe the “sons of God” who came down and cohabited with the “daughters of men” (Gen. 6:2) were fallen angels, demons (cf. 1 Pet. 3:19–20). Because of this cohabitation, the fallen race fell even further. The evil of man’s own nature was compounded, and it became too much for the Lord to bear. Judgment had to come. Donald Barnhouse said, “Hell is as much a part of the love story as God in heaven is.” Righteousness and sin cannot coexist. God cannot establish righteousness until sin is destroyed.

As always, the Lord’s judgment was tempered by His mercy. He is never happy with judgment, no matter how deserved. God was “grieved in His heart” (Gen. 6:6) about man’s wickedness and the fact that he would have to be judged so severely. He allowed 120 years for the people to be warned and to repent, thereby staying the judgment (6:3). Actually a type of warning was given when Noah was born, 500 years before he started the ark. As he was being named, his father, Lamech, said, “This one shall give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed” (Gen. 5:29). And then, while God had Noah build the ark—a dramatic picture of the coming Flood—He also had Noah witness to the people, warning them. “The patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark” (1 Pet. 3:20). In other words, at the same time He was preparing judgment He was also preparing a way of escape.

The people had ample warning of judgment, and they also had ample knowledge of the truth. For one thing, they had the witness of nature. “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). They also had Abel’s testimony about proper worship of God and Enoch’s testimony about proper fellowship with God. In addition to this positive light, God’s punishment of Cain should have been a constant reminder of what He thought of sin. God’s very Spirit was striving with men (Gen. 6:3), seeking to turn them back to their Creator. Then they had 120 years of righteous preaching by Noah. What more could God have done?

The people had no excuse for their sin before Noah began building the ark, and they had even less excuse after he finished. One hundred and twenty years, even when men sometimes lived to be nearly a thousand, was more than ample time for anyone to repent who wanted to repent.

C.H. Spurgeon said, “He who does not believe God will punish sin will not believe that he will pardon it through atoning blood.” Many people are glad to hear about God’s gracious promises but want to hear nothing of His judgment. Spurgeon went on to say, “I charge you who profess the Lord not to be unbelieving with regard to the terrible threatenings of God to the ungodly. Believe the threat even though it should chill your blood. Believe though nature shrinks from the overwhelming doom. For if you do not believe, disbelieving God at one point will drive you to disbelieve God upon the other points of revealed truth.”

Just as the people must have made excuses for not repenting or for putting it off, Noah too must have been tempted to make excuses about his qualifications for preaching and boat building. Surely Satan suggested to him more than once that he had plenty of time to build the ark “later.” One hundred and twenty years gives a great deal of opportunity for procrastination. But Noah did not make excuses or procrastinate; he simply preached and built, just as he was called to do. Amidst ridicule, wickedness, long years with little evidence of success, and many unanswered questions, Noah obeyed and obeyed and continued to obey.

Not only is God’s warning of judgment an act of mercy, but even the judgment itself has a merciful aspect. For the sake of the believing remnant on earth in Noah’s day, the Lord had to cut out the malicious and destructive spiritual cancer or it would have overwhelmed the world.

Against that wicked, cruel, and dark world, Noah’s life and testimony shined in glistening condemnation. Black never seems so black as when white is put beside it. The man of faith rebukes the world just by his living, even if he never utters a word of reproach. A young man of Athens told Socrates, “I hate you, because every time I meet you, you show me what I am.”

Perhaps the saddest lesson from Noah’s day is that men have not changed in their attitude toward God since then, and will not change until the Lord returns. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37–39).

The parallels of Noah’s day to our own are sobering. In Noah’s day God’s message was rejected, as it is today. In his day, wickedness, immorality, violence, lewdness, vulgarity, profanity, lying, killing, and blasphemy were rampant, as they are today. In his day a remnant found grace, just as a remnant believes today. In Noah’s day or shortly before it, Enoch was translated, picturing the rapture of believers when the Lord returns, which could be in our day. We can be as sure as they should have been that judgment is coming, because God has promised it just as clearly and men deserve it just as much. Someone has said, “If God doesn’t destroy our world, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” The next judgment will be different in two ways, however. First, it will not be by flood (Gen. 9:15) but by fire (2 Pet. 3:10). Second, it will be the last. And again the only security is refuge in God’s ark, Jesus Christ.

Noah Received God’s Righteousness

Noah … became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (11:7c)

Noah’s faith was proved by his receiving God’s righteousness, which is only bestowed on those who trust in Him. “A righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). He was the first person in Scripture to be called righteous.

All who believe in God are righteous, not always in practice but always in position. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us by faith (Rom. 3:22). The Father sees us as He sees the Son, holy and righteous, because by faith we are in the Son. If we put on colored glasses, everything we look at will appear that color. God looks at believers through the lens of His Son, and He sees us as He sees the Son. Thousands of years before Jesus became incarnate, God looked at Noah and saw the Son, because Noah believed.[1]


Faith Working

Hebrews 11:7

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Heb. 11:7)

Our study of Old Testament examples of faith in Hebrews 11 now brings us to the story of Noah, one of the great figures of human history. Noah shares a distinction with Adam, that every single human being today is one of his descendants, since God restarted the human race through his family after the great flood.

The flood from which Noah was saved is one of the great events in the history of our planet. It was an event brought on by the magnitude of humanity’s sin. Genesis 6:5 says, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,” so God expended his wrath in the destruction of our rebel race, saving only faithful Noah and his family. Not surprisingly, practically every religion and mythology, from Asia to North America, remembers Noah and the flood. A Sumerian tablet from 1600 b.c. tells how a king was warned about a destructive deluge and therefore built a great boat. In Akkadian there is the Atrahasis epic, which tells of a great flood that destroyed mankind after earlier attempts to curb its wickedness. Only Atrahasis and his family, who were warned by the creator-god Enki, escaped in the boat they were told to build. This saga seems to have provided the source material for the Babylonian epic Gilgamesh, which tells a similar story. While these and other examples are corrupted by pagan ideas, they preserve a shared memory of this cataclysmic event.

Noah’s name seems also to have passed down into one language after another. In ancient Sanskrit his name became Manu, based on the word ma for water. Thus the name is “Nu of the waters.” This was passed on to ancient India, where Manu was the father of all peoples. Egyptian mythology named its water god Nu, and the mythical founder of the Germanic peoples was Mannus, from which we get the word “man.”

The events of Noah’s life have great theological significance. The words “righteousness” and “grace” first appear in the Bible in his account. He gives us a great symbol of judgment in the flood. His ark provides a symbol of salvation (1 Peter 3:20). The rainbow remains an enduring symbol of the covenant—a reminder God put in the sky for himself, standing between us and God’s judgment, just as Jesus now is “the guarantee of a better covenant” (Heb. 7:22).

Noah is perhaps best known today as a conservationist icon, a kind of Santa Claus for the environmental movement. The main thing associated with him is the animals he saved, but in Hebrews 11 it is faith for which he is remembered. Everything we have said about Noah proves that he was a very great and significant man, yet it was his faith that made him great in God’s eyes. Indeed, Noah sums up everything we have learned about faith so far in Hebrews 11. Like Enoch he “walked with God” (Gen. 6:8–9); like Abel he was an heir of the righteousness that is by faith.

A Model Faith

Hebrews 11:7 begins, “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” This tells us that Noah is an outstanding example of faith as being “certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1 niv). There were two things Noah believed that were unseen: the great flood that God had promised and the salvation that would come by means of the ark. The key verses describing this are Genesis 6:13–18:

God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

Genesis 6:3 tells us that God spoke these words to Noah 120 years before the flood. There had never been an event such as God described, or such a vessel. The ark Noah was told to build was stupendous in size—about the size of a modern battleship—and we can guess that Noah was to build it on dry ground, far from any ocean or sea. That is faith in things unseen! Even though he had not one shred of proof apart from God’s Word, Noah nonetheless believed. This shows that faith in things unseen is the same as faith in God’s Word, the same as faith in God’s promises. We believe things apart from tangible evidence because God has so informed us and given his promise. We believe God himself, and that is faith in things unseen.

This kind of faith required Noah to stand alone in his generation. Apart from his immediate family members—and the strength of their faith is not at all clear—Noah alone trusted in the Lord. If we are going to live by faith and not by sight, that will often be true of us as well.

Noah also provides an excellent example of what we are told in Hebrews 11:6, that “without faith it is impossible to please [God].” We know that Noah pleased God because Genesis 6:9 says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” Like Enoch, Noah was an eminent man of faith, with much to say to us.

Because Noah is described as blameless, many people argue that he was justified or that he pleased God by his works. This fails to recognize what the preceding verse says: “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). It isn’t that he was blameless and thereby found grace with God, but that his blamelessness itself was the result of God’s favor. Indeed, God’s grace was the source of his faith, which in turn was the motivating power behind his works. Hebrews 11:7 insists that Noah did everything “by faith.” Faith was the operating principle for all that Noah did or achieved. “By faith Noah … constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” He shows us that the same faith that brings us into a right relationship with God also moves us to actions that please God in practical works of obedience.

Indeed, what God demanded of Noah was far greater than what he asks of us. God required Noah to believe something that had never happened before, something totally unprecedented and seemingly unlikely. By contrast, God asks us to believe things that have already happened, namely, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—things that were done not in a corner but in the full light of history and recorded in the Bible. Similarly, God promised to do something for Noah that was difficult to imagine, that is, to save him through the flood by means of the ark. But God promises us something he has done countless times before, probably in the lives of people we know personally. He promises to forgive our sins through faith in Christ, to give us his Spirit and lead us into a new life. Some promises remain for the future, such as the resurrection from the dead. But even this lacks novelty, since it already happened to Jesus, who has gone before us in all things. Like Noah, we are saved by believing things that are not seen, and we please God only by believing his Word and trusting his promise.

Faith and Works

In addition to showing us a model faith that saved him and his family, Noah also demonstrates that faith always results in works: “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household” (Heb. 11:7).

People are often confused about the relationship between faith and works. The apostle Paul insists that we are declared righteous in Christ “apart from works” (Rom. 4:6). But the apostle James says that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). James goes on to say, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (v. 18). This apparent contradiction has led many people to choose one versus the other. Martin Luther, for instance, a famous champion of Paul and of salvation by faith alone, derided James’s letter, questioning its canonicity and labeling it “an epistle of straw.”

One of the most helpful expressions in sorting this out is a famous one from John Calvin. Calvin said, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” True and saving faith is always accompanied by obedience, “which flows from faith like water from a fountain.”

Hebrews 11:7 tells us two things that proved Noah’s faith, flowing forth naturally from that fountain. The first is one word in the Greek, but three in our English text: “in reverent fear.” The Greek word is eulabētheis. F. F. Bruce translates it as “out of reverent regard.” B. F. Westcott renders it, “moved with pious care.”6 Philip Hughes puts it as “taking heed” with careful attentiveness. The point is that Noah had reverence for God, which led to his attentive care to the details of what God commanded.

In Genesis 6:14–21 we read a summary of detailed instructions for building the ark. Undoubtedly Noah needed such details to do the job given him. But his faith is commended by his attentive care to all that God told him: “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (Gen. 6:22).

The Puritans in seventeenth-century England were like Noah. The name “Puritan” was given to them by scoffers because of their care for studying and obeying God’s Word in great detail. Then, as today, people think such reverent attentiveness to be narrow religion. They wrongly equate it with the attitude of the Pharisees, who made life difficult not with their biblical obedience, but with their man-made restrictions. Yet biblical obedience does not fetter you, or make you narrow. Rather, it liberates you to what is good and true and wholesome. This is why James speaks of “the law of liberty” (James 1:25). Studying and following through on God’s Word will not shrink you but make you grow. Yet the path of obedience to Christ is a narrow one, one that speaks both yes and no, one that keeps us in the ark and out of the flood. Jesus taught: “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13–14).

This was Noah’s manner of life, arising from his faith. But there is one great work that both flowed from his faith and served as its main evidence—Noah’s ark. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the “conviction of things not seen,” and Noah’s ark was evidence that pointed to the flood long before anyone saw the raindrops falling.

Noah’s ark provides a classic demonstration of the relationship of faith to works. Why did Noah build the ark? What caused this work? It was his faith. It was “by faith” that he built the ark. That is clearly the case, because unless he believed, it would have been lunacy to do something like this. Noah built the ark only because he truly believed that what God said about the flood was true, that the flood was going to come, and that unless he built the ark, he would be drowned with everyone else.

But what if Noah had not built the ark? What would we say about his faith? Imagine Noah insisting that he believed what God had said if he were not busy working on the ark! What would we say to a faith like that? We would say what James did—that such faith is useless and dead unless accompanied by works. If Noah did not even start working on the ark, chopping down trees and making diagrams, then the simple fact is that he could not have believed. But he did believe and therefore he built the ark. That is how faith and works fit together.

The same is true for us. We always act according to our beliefs, in keeping with our real convictions. If you believed there were a bomb in your room, you would run out of it right now. If we trust that it is necessary to repent and believe the good news to be saved, we will flee temptation and at least begin chopping at the trees of our sinful habits and building our faith. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark, and it will take a while for our sanctification. But if we believe, we will at least get to work now. There is no escaping the truth: faith and works are inseparable. As Alexander Maclaren put it, “If faith has any reality in us at all, it works. If it has no effect it has no existence.”

Faith Condemning the World

Hebrews 11:7 provides a stark comparison of faith and unbelief, as viewed through Noah and his unbelieving generation: “By this he condemned the world.” Noah can be said to have condemned the world in several ways, but before he condemned the world, we can be sure the world condemned him. Ray Stedman says:

We may rightly visualize the mockery and jeering which Noah must have daily faced as he built a huge ship. He was a hundred miles from the nearest ocean, with a ship many times too big for his own needs, and when he had finished, he filled it with animals! Had he lived in our day he would have been dubbed, “Nutty Noah!” Yet Jesus used “the days of Noah” as representative of the condition of the world before his own return, and indicated that his followers must be prepared to face the same kind of scornful hostility that Noah met day after day.

The Christian life seems just as nutty to a self-absorbed age like our own. That anyone would deny himself, willingly sacrifice, and devote himself to holiness is mind-boggling to the world around us.

Noah’s faith condemned the world, first of all through his witness. Second Peter 2:5 calls Noah a “herald of righteousness.” Surely he would have explained his actions, why he was building the ark, to those who inquired and went on to laugh at him. He would have warned the world of a judgment to come and offered the way of safety in the ark. Likewise, we are to teach and explain the life we lead, the truth we believe, and the salvation we seek. And in its rejection of our message, the world is condemned for unbelief.

Noah’s witness condemned the world, but we can also say his faith condemned the world. There it was before their eyes, evidence of God’s Word, which they rejected or ignored. Ignoring Noah comes to the fore in Jesus’ description: “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:38–39). Just like today, the great mass of people paid no attention to spiritual matters; they were indifferent to God’s Word as it was proclaimed, and Noah’s faith condemned them for their unbelief.

John Calvin points out that Noah also condemned the world by his salvation: “The fact that Noah obeyed the command of God condemns by his example the obstinacy of the world, and the fact that he was miraculously saved from the midst of death is proof that the whole world, which God would doubtless have preserved had it not been unworthy of salvation, justly perished.” Noah’s salvation proved that anyone could have been saved through trust in the Word of God. Noah’s salvation certainly vindicated his faith and his testimony, once wickedly made sport of by the voices of the world. Alexander Maclaren pointedly remarks:

No doubt there were plenty of witty and wise things said about him.… And then, one morning, the rain began, and continued, and for forty days it did not stop, and they began to think that perhaps, after all, there was some method in his madness. Noah got into his ark, and still it rained.… I wonder what [they] thought about it all then, with the water up to their knees. How their gibes and jests would die in their throats when it reached their lips!

Faith Inheriting Righteousness

This leaves one final statement about Noah, that he “became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Heb. 11:7). There are two key elements in this statement: inheritance and the righteousness that comes by faith.

Let me treat the second of these first. The apostle Paul follows a similar line of reasoning in Philippians 3, where he contrasts the righteousness of faith with the righteousness of the law. First he tells about his former righteousness as a Pharisee: “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless” (Phil. 3:4–6). He then places these items onto a balance sheet, noting that the very things he once considered assets, so far as righteousness is concerned, he now understands as liabilities. Only one asset provides the righteousness God accepts—the righteousness that is by faith. He continues:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith. (Phil. 3:7–9)

The key statement is the last, that Paul wants not the righteousness of his own works under the law—which must be flawed at best and therefore useless—but the righteousness of Christ, which comes only through faith in him. Surely the writer of Hebrews is making the same point about Noah: although he did many good things, he sought not a limited and imperfect righteousness of his own, but the perfect righteousness from God that comes through faith.

This righteousness, we are told, came to Noah by means of inheritance. By faith he became an heir of righteousness. By faith he became a child of God. This is why it was so appropriate for him to act in a godly and righteous way—because by faith Noah was God’s child and therefore destined to inherit his riches. Inheritance means that the source of the gift was not his own resources, but the one who granted the inheritance. This is how the righteousness of Christ comes to us: as an inheritance from God to his children and not from ourselves as an achievement. Furthermore, an inheritance is established by a fixed law and procedure. Paul speaks of this in Romans 4:16, where he says that our inheritance “depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace.” It is a gift, and a gift is received with open hands to the praise and the glory of the Giver himself.

This is what makes the righteousness of faith so secure. When we receive righteousness as an inheritance, by the open hands of faith, it is afterward possessed as a right. It is not something that has to be protected. Children do not hold their inheritance by conquest or by cunning, but as an unbreakable right inherent in their status as children of the father. In just that manner, our righteousness in Christ, received as an inheritance by faith, cannot be lost or taken away. It is as closely joined to us as a father’s name is joined to his child who bears it. Ultimately, our inheritance is based upon the sovereign will of God and not upon our own will: “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13).

All that being true, how much more secure is this righteousness that comes by faith than any we might try to win for ourselves, a crown more steady than any we could have placed upon our own heads, perfect and completely acceptable in the sight of the Lord.

A Ministry of Salvation

Noah’s faith meant salvation to some—namely, himself and his family—and condemnation to others, indeed to all the rest of the world, which fell under God’s holy wrath. But the direct result of his faith was salvation, while condemnation was only an indirect consequence.

Hebrews 11:7 says that Noah’s faith condemned the world. Christians are sometimes encouraged by statements like this to make it their job to condemn the world; they make it their ministry to point out how rotten it is, to fixate on the reigning sins and unite in hysteria over the latest debaucheries. But that does not seem to be the way Noah lived; he charted a different course for us.

Everything Noah did was calculated to save. He acted as an instrument of salvation, even though his faith indirectly condemned the world. He was an ambassador of the grace of God, and that is what every Christian is called to be.

Noah was “a herald of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5). Surely that involved a condemnation of sin and a warning of judgment, but all of that was done in the shadow of the ark of salvation. That is where Noah’s real effort went. His faith set him to work upon the ark. If the world would not seek its open door, then yes, it would be destroyed. But Noah directed his labor to salvation. Our labor must have this same influence: to commend and offer salvation to others, praying that God will grant them faith to believe and be saved. This is the labor of the Christian, by faith in the Word of God. Paul said this in 2 Corinthians 5:19–20: “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Believe, God says to the world through our faith, that a judgment is yet to come. And believe that in the cross of Christ—an ark as wide and long and high and deep as Noah’s ever was—everyone who believes will find safety through the storm. Peter Lewis says it well:

Christ Jesus is our ark now: big enough for the whole world, strong enough to withstand the shocks of life, the rising waters of death, and the upheavals of the last judgment. There is safety here in the Son of God, sent to be for us all the shelter, the salvation, that we so desperately needed; our ark and safe passage into the new world God has planned. From that ark we will emerge to inherit a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1).

God asks simply that you believe, that you trust him, and through that faith he will do the rest in and through you, saving you and others from the wrath to come and carrying you to the wonderful salvation he has provided in Jesus Christ.[2]


7. By faith Noah, &c. It was a wonderful example of magnanimity, that when the whole world were promising themselves impunity, and securely and unrestrainedly indulging themselves in sinful pleasures, Noah alone paid regard to God’s vengeance though deferred for a considerable time,—that he greatly wearied himself for a hundred and twenty years in building the ark,—that he stood unshaken amidst the scoffs of so many ungodly men,—that he entertained no doubt but that he would be safe in the midst of the ruin of the whole world,—yea, that he felt sure of life as it were in the grave, even in the ark. It is briefly that I shall touch on the subject; each one can better for himself weigh all the circumstances.

The Apostle ascribes to faith the praise of so remarkable a fortitude. He has been hitherto speaking of the fathers who lived in the first age of the world; but it was a kind of regeneration when Noah and his family emerged from the deluge. It is hence evident that in all ages men have neither been approved by God, nor performed anything worthy of praise otherwise than by faith.

Let us now then see what are the things he presents to our consideration in the case of Noah. They are the following,—that having been warned of things to come, but not yet made visible, he feared,—that he built an ark,—that he condemned the world by building it,—and that he became the heir of that righteousness which is by faith.

What I have just mentioned is that which especially sets forth the power of faith; for the Apostle ever reminds us of this truth, that faith is the evidence of things not seen; and doubtless it is its peculiar office to behold in God’s word the things which are hid, and far removed from our senses. When it was declared to Noah that there would be a deluge after one hundred and twenty years, first, the length of time might have removed every fear; secondly, the thing in itself seemed incredible; thirdly, he saw the ungodly heedlessly indulging in sinful pleasures; and lastly, the terrible announcement of a deluge might have appeared to him as intended only to terrify men. But Noah attended so much to God’s word, that turning away his eyes from the appearance of things at that time, he feared the destruction which God had threatened, as though it was present. Hence the faith which he had in God’s word prepared him to render obedience to God; and of this he afterwards gave a proof by building the ark.

But here a question is raised. Why does the Apostle make faith the cause of fear, since it has respect to promises of grace rather than to threatenings? for Paul for this reason calls the Gospel, in which God’s righteousness is offered to us for salvation, the word of faith. It seems then to have been improperly stated, that Noah was by faith led to fear. To this, I reply, that faith indeed properly springs from promises; it is founded on them, it rests on them. We hence say that Christ is the real object of faith, for through him our heavenly Father is reconciled to us, and by him all the promises of salvation are sealed and confirmed. Yet there is no reason why faith should not look to God and reverently receive whatever he may say; or if you prefer another way of stating the subject, it rightly belongs to faith to hear God whenever he speaks, and unhesitatingly to embrace whatsoever may proceed from his sacred mouth. Thus far it has regard to commands and threatenings, as well as to gratuitous promises. But as no man is moved as he ought and as much as is needful, to obey God’s commands, nor is sufficiently stirred up to deprecate his wrath, unless he has already laid hold on the promises of grace, so as to acknowledge him as a kind Father, and the author of salvation,—hence the Gospel is called the word of faith, the principal part being stated for the whole; and thus is set forth the mutual relation that there is between them both. Faith, then, though its most direct regard is to God’s promises, yet looks on his threatenings so far as it is necessary for it to be taught to fear and obey God.

Prepared an ark, &c. Here is pointed out that obedience which flows from faith as water from a fountain. The work of building the ark was long and laborious. It might have been hindered by the scoffs of the ungodly, and thus suspended a thousand times; nor is there a doubt but they mocked and derided the holy man on every side. That he then bore their wanton insults with an unshaken spirit, is a proof that his resolution to obey was not of an ordinary kind. But how was it that he so perseveringly obeyed God except that he had previously rested on the promise which gave him the hope of deliverance; and in this confidence he persevered even to the last; for he could not have had the courage willingly to undergo so many toils, nor could he have been able to overcome so many obstacles, nor could he have stood so firm in his purpose for so long a time, had he not beforehand possessed this confidence.

It hence appears that faith alone is the teacher of obedience; and we may on the contrary draw this conclusion, that it is unbelief that prevents us to obey God. And at this day the unbelief of the world exhibits itself dreadfully in this way, for there are a very few who obey God.

By the which he condemned the world, &c. It were strange to say that Noah’s deliverance condemned the world, and the context will hardly allow faith to be meant; we must then understand this of the ark. And he is said on two accounts to have by the ark condemned the world; for by being so long occupied in building it, he took away every excuse from the wicked;—and the event which followed proved how just was the destruction of the world; for why was the ark made the means of deliverance to one family, except that the Lord thus spared a righteous man that he should not perish with the ungodly. Had he then not been preserved, the condemnation of the world would not have been so apparent. Noah then by obeying God’s command condemned by his example the obstinate disobedience of the world: his wonderful deliverance from the midst of death, was an evidence that the world justly perished; for God would have doubtless saved it, had it not been unworthy of salvation.

Of the righteousness which is by faith. This is the last thing in the character of Noah, which the Apostle reminds us to observe. Moses records that he was a righteous man: history does not expressly say that the cause and root of his righteousness was faith; but the Apostle declares that as arising from the facts of the case. And this is not only true, because no one ever devotes himself really and sincerely to God’s service, but he who relies on the promises of his paternal kindness, and feels assured that his life is approved by him; but also on this account, because the life of no one, however holy it may be, when tried by the rule of God’s law, can please him without pardon being granted. Then righteousness must necessarily recumb on faith.[3]


7 From Enoch we turn to the other Genesis character who “walked with God.” Noah’s building of the ark when there was as yet no sign of a flood was a supreme example of faith triumphing over appearances. He did it not because he could see the need but because God told him what was coming. (Chrēmatizō [GK 5976], here translated “warned,” is used especially of divine communications to guide God’s people; cf. 8:5; Mt 2:12, 22; Lk 2:26; Ac 10:22.) By describing the flood as “things not yet seen,” the author again reminds us of faith’s grasp on “what we do not see” (v. 1). Noah’s response to God’s apparently bizarre command was one of “holy fear” (the same word as “reverent submission” in 5:7 and “reverence” in 12:28) in that he took God’s word more seriously than the evidence of his eyes. In this he “condemned the world” (REB, “put the whole world in the wrong”) in that his faith contrasted with their skepticism; the mockery of Noah by his contemporaries for building a huge boat on dry land, while not mentioned in the Genesis account, became a standard feature in the retelling of the flood story, as did Noah’s preaching in vain to them to repent (cf. 2 Pe 2:5; 1 Clem. 7:6; and, e.g., Sib. Or. 1:125–199; Josephus, Ant. 1.74).

The NIV’s phrase “the righteousness that comes by faith” sounds like Paul’s language about justification, making Noah, like Abraham after him, a prototype of Christian salvation. But our author’s terminology is different, using a phrase Paul never uses and more correctly rendered by TNIV as “the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” Faith is not so much its origin as the context in which it is found. The phrase in itself could then simply mean the righteous behavior of a man of faith (Ge 6:9: Noah was “righteous” and “blameless”). But “became heir of” hardly fits such a meaning and suggests a status resulting from Noah’s response to God, namely, justification rather than righteous behavior (cf. Ge 7:1: God “found [Noah] righteous”). The meaning may not then be very far from Paul’s, though the terminology is different. Noah believed God and acted on that belief, and as a result he is counted among the “righteous” who, like him, live by faith, as Habakkuk 2:4 requires (see 10:38).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 317–324). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Phillips, R. D. (2006). Hebrews. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (pp. 424–434). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 274–277). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 151). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

March 11, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump on Monday will ask lawmakers to hike spending for the military and the wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border and slash other programs in his 2020 budget, the opening move in his next funding fight with Congress.

The United States is pressing India to stop buying oil from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government, Washington’s top envoy for Venezuela said, as the Trump administration this week threatened more U.S. sanctions to cut off Maduro’s financial lifelines.

Senator Elizabeth Warren vowed on Friday to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook if elected U.S. president to promote competition in the technology sector.

Students around the world are expected to skip school on March 15 in order to demonstrate against climate change, taking their cue from Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg whose weekly “school strike for climate” has won a global following.

A United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar voiced deep concern on Monday over Bangladesh’s plan to relocate 23,000 Rohingya refugees in April to a remote island, saying it may not be habitable and could create a potential “new crisis”.

An Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday, killing all 157 people onboard, was trailing smoke and making a strange sound before it came down, two witnesses said.

China and Indonesia grounded their fleets of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Monday, and investigators recovered the black box from a crash that killed 157 people, the second disaster in less than five months involving the new model.

U.S. business inventories increased in December as sales recorded their biggest drop in three years, potentially pointing to an unplanned piling up of unsold goods.

Furious Venezuelans lined up to buy water and fuel on Sunday as the country endured a fourth day of a nationwide blackout that has left already-scarce food rotting in shops, homes suffering for lack of water and cell phones without reception.

Barrick Gold Corp withdrew its $18 billion bid for its biggest rival Newmont Mining Corp, ending a hostile and bitter takeover effort that sought to unite the world’s two biggest gold producers.

AP Top Stories

Nicaragua’s government said on Saturday it would release prisoners rounded up in months of protests and implement electoral reforms, as talks continue with the opposition to end the country’s worst political crisis in three decades. At least 320 people have been killed, many more wounded, and several hundred detained in a crackdown on protests that were triggered last April by a social security reform but quickly swelled into a national call to oust President Daniel Ortega.

President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday Syria was suffering an “economic siege” as his regime faces a raft of international sanctions over the eight-year civil war.

Three Philippine Catholic priests said Monday they and some church leaders who are critical of the president’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs have received death threats from unknown people.

The trial has started in an Iranian court for 13 petrochemical industry executives charged with embezzling $7.4 billion in one of the nation’s biggest corruption cases, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Tens of thousands of “yellow vest” demonstrators marched in France Saturday, but the latest turnout figures suggest the movement is struggling to maintain momentum after nearly four months of protests.

The head of the World Health Organization denounced a deadly attack Saturday on an Ebola treatment center in eastern DR Congo, during a visit to the site hours after the raid.

Iran’s judiciary has delivered a verdict against U.S. Navy veteran Michael White who was detained last July in Iran but there is no information as to what the ruling contained, a semi-official news agency reported Monday.

A young Iranian couple have been arrested after a marriage proposal in public that was captured on a video clip that went viral on social media. The police say the pair offended Islamic mores on public decency but were later released on bail.

In private discussions with his aides, President Donald Trump has devised an eye-popping formula to address one of his long-standing complaints: that allies hosting US forces don’t pay Washington enough money. Under the formula, countries would pay the full cost of stationing American troops on their territory, plus 50 percent more, said US and foreign officials familiar with the idea, which could have allies contributing five times what they provide.

BBC

Venezuela’s government has ordered schools and businesses to remain closed on Monday as a power cut drags into a fifth day. The opposition says at least 17 people have reportedly died as a result of the blackout.

Humans will always make the final decision on whether armed robots can shoot, the US Department of Defense has said. The statement comes as plans emerge for gun platforms that can choose their own targets on the battlefield.

A former Royal Marine who lost his leg in an accident has completed the fastest unsupported solo row across the Atlantic. Lee Spencer finished the crossing from mainland Europe to South America in 60 days, breaking the able-bodied record for the route by 36 days.

WND

According to a recent survey, 53 percent of all Californians, 63 percent of millennials, and 76 percent of residents in the Bay Area say they are seriously considering leaving the state.

Pomona College already recognizes its transgender and nonbinary students by their preferred identities, but it’s a different matter legally in California, where the private institution is located. That’s why the administration is offering to cover “typical application and document fees” for students who want to change their name or “gender marker” on legal documents in the state.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Mar. 11, 2019

The Foundation

“We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.” —John Adams (1797)

House Demos’ Election (Fraud) Bill

Democrats pass latest government power grab under the guise of voter protection.


Deficit Spending as Far as the Eye Can See

Trump’s budget shifts balance from 10 years to 15, while funding military and a border wall.


Renewable Energy’s Inconvenient Truths

Wind and solar cannot compete with fossil fuels and nuclear energy for efficiency.


Many Teens Stressed, Depressed, Obsessed With Self

The deleterious effect social-media technology has on mental health is becoming clear.


R. Kelly: Compassion and the Constitution

The rush to convict and punish even distasteful individuals is contrary to Rule of Law.


Video: Americans Don’t Know Their Own History

Will Witt took to the National Mall in DC with some American history questions.



Today’s Opinion

Gary Bauer
A Worthless Resolution
Ken Blackwell
Iran Regime’s Hardline Policies Will Not Prevail
Tony Perkins
Brownback Asks for Freedom Made in China
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Gratitude, Sacrifice, and Hope
William Federer
Blockade of Boston’s Harbor, Virginia’s Day of Fasting, and the ‘Shot Heard Round the World’
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Monday Top Headline Summary

Omar rips Obama, spending cuts, migrant families, airliner crash, socialism, Venezuela blackout, Jussie Smollett, and more.


Monday Short Cuts

“There’s manufacturing a crisis, then there’s ignoring one for fear of conceding anything to Trump.” —Rich Lowry



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

News – 3/11/2019

Palestinian officials: Abbas picks ally for new premier
Ishtayeh, a British-educated economist, is a top official in Abbas’ Fatah movement. He is a former peace negotiator and strong proponent of a two-state solution with Israel. He also is a strong critic of the Islamic militant group Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah forces in 2007.

Pope Denounces Anti-Semitism Among Christians While Democrats Hesitate To Denounce It Among Themselves
Francis’ unequivocal denunciation of anti-Semitism came days after House Democrats delayed voting on a resolution against anti-Semitism sparked by comments from Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to the House, in which she claimed that supporters of Israel were loyal to a foreign country and therefore could not be fully loyal to the U.S.

Congress hates Christians, whites, men
This week Congress passed a resolution against “hate,” which is laughable. Never has Congress been filled with more hateful people. We have a government full of evil liberals and cowardly RINO Republicans who hate Christians, whites and men.

PA Slashes Salaries to Civil Servants But Pays Terrorists in Full
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it will pay civil servants half of their salaries for February but terrorists and their families have already received the full amount paid to them as a stipend for attacking Israelis.

Israeli Police Stands Strong in Holy War At The Gate of Mercy
A video released by Hamas media intended to show the brutality of Israeli police showed instead one lone policeman standing strong against in the battle for Judaism’s holiest site. With a firm but polite demeanor, this policeman handles in his daily beat a situation that could explode into a regional conflict.

Shi’ite militia leader in Iraq threatens U.S., slams ‘Zionist regime’
Two Shi’ite militia leaders spoke out over the weekend, with one threatening the US, and the other demanding American troops leave Iraq. Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba spokesman Hashim al-Mousawi slammed the US and Israel after the US last week designated the group as a terrorist threat. Iraqi Transportation Minister Hadi al-Amiri said he was looking forward to a visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and that he opposes the continued US presence in Iraq.

King Abdullah heads to Washington amid Temple Mount crisis
Jordan’s King Abdullah II left Amman for Washington on Saturday to speak with members of Congress about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the crisis over the Golden Gate on Temple Mount. In talks on Thursday, Israeli and Jordanian officials failed to resolve what began on February 22, when Jerusalem’s Wakf Islamic religious trust unilaterally opened a building near the Golden Gate that Israel had closed in 2003. In response, Israel arrested a senior Wakf official two days later.

U.S.-backed SDF says attack on last Islamic State enclave has begun
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started an attack to capture Islamic State’s last remaining shred of territory in eastern Syria on Sunday and were exchanging fire with the jihadist militants, an SDF official said.

Report: US Military Buildup in Iraq to Prepare for Confrontation With Pro-Iranian Forces Set to Conquer Golan
an Israeli English-language military intelligence news site, reported over the weekend that U.S. troops were flown to Iraq last Wednesday to prepare for confrontations with pro-Iranian forces in Syria and northern Iraq. In their exclusive report, Debka stated that American forces in the Gulf region and southern Europe were placed on high alert in anticipation of the confrontation.

Syria Notifies Israel It Will Attack If IDF Doesn’t Leave Golan Heights
In a surprising and provocative ultimatum, Syria has notified Israel through United Nations diplomatic channels that it is prepared to go to war if Israel does not leave the Golan Heights. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad reportedly sent the message through the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), Christine Lund, this past week, according to a World Israel News report and later picked up other major Israeli sources, including The Jerusalem Post. “Syria will attack Israel if it does not leave the Golan Heights,” Mikdad told the UN representative.

Turkey’s economy slides into recession
Turkey went into recession at the end of last year, according to the country’s official statistics office. The Turkish Statistical Institute said the economy shrank by 2.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018, from the previous quarter. It followed a 1.6% drop the previous quarter, making two quarters of falling growth – the definition of recession.

Russia internet freedom: Thousands protest against cyber-security bill
Thousands of people in Russia have protested against plans to introduce tighter restrictions on the internet. A mass rally in Moscow and similar demonstrations in two other cities were called after parliament backed the controversial bill last month. The government says the bill, which allows it to isolate Russia’s internet service from the rest of the world, will improve cyber-security.

Exclusive poll: Young Americans are embracing socialism
Generation Z has a more positive view of the word “socialism” than previous generations, and — along with millennials — are more likely to embrace socialistic policies and principles than past generations, according to a new Harris Poll given exclusively to Axios…Gen Z and millennials are projected to make up 37% of the electorate in 2020, and what they’re looking for in a presidential candidate is shifting.

America is set to surpass Saudi Arabia in a ‘remarkable’ oil milestone
Move over, Saudi Arabia. America is about to steal the kingdom’s energy exporting crown. The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products, like gasoline, according to energy research firm Rystad Energy. That milestone, driven by the transformative shale boom, would make the United States the world’s leading exporter of oil and liquids.

Christian University Blocks Black Speaker Because Her Pro-Life Views are “Radical Beliefs”
A university that boasts of offering “Minnesota’s finest Christian education” blocked a black pro-life advocate from speaking on campus.

UK schools are now teaching how to treat knife wounds, as Islamic stabbing attacks skyrocket all over Britain
…“Now schoolchildren are to be taught how to treat knife wounds: New first aid classes are planned amid soaring numbers of teens stabbed”:

Hillary Clinton: Killing Babies in Abortions is a “Human Right”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed legislation Friday that would require the State Department to bring back a “Reproductive Rights” section in their annual Human Rights report. Clinton claimed the term’s omission was “dangerous” and also advocated for a global right to access abortion.

Rioting Muslims are burning down France…and not one thing is being done to stop them
Predominantly Muslim rioters in the French city of Grenoble set cars on fire and hurled molotov cocktails at police for a fourth consecutive night.

Ocasio-Cortez Fundraising Email: Let’s End The US-Israeli Relationship
Well, if you thought there would be a day where the far left wing of the House Democratic caucus would quiet down a bit, given their anti-Semitism issues, you’d be wrong. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) sent a fundraising email last night suggesting that AIPAC was coming after her and that the U.S.-Israeli relationship should be severed. No, I’m not kidding. This is insanity. AOC has been one of the few defenders of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who once again was accused of anti-Semitism for suggesting those who support Israel are exhibiting dual loyalty.

Washington State Trying to Force Churches to Pay for Abortions in Their Health Insurance Plans
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against Washington state officials for forcing churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance plans. ADF attorneys represent Cedar Park Assembly of God in the federal suit, challenging the constitutionality and legality of a new state mandate that requires the Seattle-area church to fund abortion if it provides its staff members access to group health insurance.

PENTAGON TO ACTIVATE TRANSGENDER MILITARY BAN AFTER JUDGE REMOVES BLOCK
A federal judge removed a bar on President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military Thursday as litigation in the case moves forward.

Civil War: Swedish Citizens Rise Up To Protest Globalism
Citizens across Sweden have begun rising up to protest globalism, in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of French protestors.

The US is building up their military presence in Israel as a prelude for their impending clashes with pro-Iranian militias in Iraq
US troop reinforcements were flown to Iraq on Wednesday, March 6 ready for an offensive by Iraq’s two largest pro-Iranian militias against US forces in northern Iraq and Syria. The additional troops were consigned from US bases in Jordan and Israel. The next day, when those militias called for “resistance to US presence in the region,” American forces in the Gulf region and southern Europe, particularly in Romania and Bulgaria, were also placed on high readiness.

Over 1,500 Migrants Cleared From Bulldozed Italian Shanty Town
Approximately 1,592 migrants have been removed from a shanty town migrant camp in southern Italy as part of the populist government’s policy to dismantle squatter camps across the country.

Democrats Hire George Soros-Tied Investigator for Latest Trump-Russia Probe
The Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee has hired an investigator with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros for the latest Trump-Russia probe.


Headlines – 3/11/2019

Netanyahu to take Lindsey Graham to Golan in push for U.S. recognition

US Senator Graham, Ambassador Friedman tour tunnels on Israel-Gaza border

Tamar Zandberg to Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah: Peace is Israel’s supreme interest

Netanyahu warns Hamas: Don’t count on elections preventing major Gaza operation

New Poll Shows Netanyahu Gaining on Rivals, Likely to Form Next Government

Trump says he’d poll at 98 percent if he ran to be Israel’s prime minister: report

Trump said to tell GOP donors: ‘Democrats hate Jewish people’

Netanyahu says Israel ‘belongs to Jewish people alone’ in attack on nation’s Arab population

Wonder Woman vs. Bibi: Gal Gadot Takes Stand in Row Over Jewish-Arab Equality

Palestinian Authority uses International Women’s Day to glorify female terrorists

PA continues to teach that Israel is ‘Palestine’

Abbas announces appointment of longtime adviser Shtayyeh as PM

Hosting Meretz leader, Abbas lashes out at Israel for withholding tax revenues

PA minister announces austerity measures to mitigate budgetary crisis

Trump bringing trade war to Israel

Ritual animal slaughter law leaves Belgium’s Muslims and Jews facing shortages, price hikes

82% of Israelis say Israeli-Egypt peace deal essential for security-Poll

US-backed Syrian force launches ‘direct and fierce’ attacks on ISIS enclave

UK mulling how to bring home children of Isis Britons, says Hunt

Shi’ite militia leader in Iraq threatens U.S., slams ‘Zionist regime’

Algeria’s President Bouteflika returns home, confirms the presidency

Algeria’s angry youth ready to rise up to topple ailing president

Iran demands Pakistan acts ‘decisively against terrorists’

Tens of police hospitalized after Ukraine clashes ahead of poll

Ethiopian Airlines crash kills 157, spreads global grief

Boeing likely to face new questions after another 737 crash

Israeli says he was on Ethiopian jet days before it crashed, it had engine woes

At least a dozen UN-affiliated personnel killed in Ethiopian crash

China grounds Boeing 737 MAX planes after Ethiopian air crash

Chinese entrepreneur suddenly vanishes after accusing country’s most powerful judge of corruption

US-North Korea tensions approach boiling point

Russia internet freedom: Thousands protest against cyber-security bill

Venezuela enters fourth day of blackout as Maduro blames U.S. cyberattack

Nerves fray, tempers flare as Venezuela blackout hits fourth day

Internet Collapses in Venezuela with 80% Offline; Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud Blocked

Venezuelan hospitals struggle to tend patients without power

Poll: Young Americans are embracing socialism

Illegal border crossings from Canada quietly rising, data shows

In budget, Trump to ask Congress for $8.6 bln for border wall

Pelosi, Schumer warn of another government shutdown over Trump’s $8.6B wall proposal

ABC News’ Terry Moran: Media, Democrats Face ‘Reckoning’ If Mueller Finds No Collusion

Buttigieg calls Pence ‘cheerleader for the porn star presidency’

New York City is edging toward financial disaster, experts warn

Powell: Fed not in ‘any hurry’ to change rates amid global risks

‘Brexit in peril’ as PM May faces heavy defeat

Jeremy Hunt says Brexit could be stopped ‘in the next couple of weeks’

Canada’s no-sex, no-money scandal could topple Trudeau

France’s Yellow Vests hit streets for 17th time, protest at Paris airport as numbers dwindle

Proponents look for Trump ‘free speech’ executive order to hit universities where it hurts: Their funding

Judge Jeanine asks whether Omar’s hijab is ‘indicative’ of her loyalty to Sharia law

Fox News’ Pirro says Rep. Omar’s hijab could signal views ‘antithetical’ to Constitution

Robo-journalism gains traction in shifting media landscape

Flying cars coming in five years, says Intel drone chief

6.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kulumadau, Papua New Guinea

5.9 magnitude earthquake hits near Reykjanes Ridge

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwaki, Japan

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Reykjanes Ridge

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits the Southwest Indian Ridge

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits the Reykjanes Ridge

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Kuril’sk, Russia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwaki, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Iwaki, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Southwest Indian Ridge

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Krajan Tambakrejo, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Karymsky volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 17,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Kerinci volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

Teggar Caldera volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Tropical Cyclone Idai to bring rain, strong winds to Madagascar, Mozambique this week

Severe storms, tornadoes rip through south-central US for 2nd weekend in a row

Mumps, other outbreaks force U.S. detention centers to quarantine over 2,000 migrants

At least 15 people gunned down in Mexican nightclub shooting

Mormon President and Pope Francis meet for the first time, after decades of hidden diplomacy


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Bill Randles – Why God Hates the Occult

Former Harvest Employees Say James MacDonald Lived Large on Church’s Dime

Victim settles civil lawsuit against former Grace Ministry Center pastor Mitch Olson

Pope Joins Mormon Leaders for New LDS Temple Dedication in Rome

Ga. pastor repents, church fires accused staff member

Majority of churches in decline or flatlining; nearly half see dip in giving, study says

Church of Norway apologizes for previous pro-life stance, says abortion promotes ‘women’s safety’

Hillary Clinton: Killing Babies in Abortions is a “Human Right”

City Bans Prayer, Prohibits Praying Outside Local Abortion Center


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This Clinton Foundation Scandal Is Larger than Uranium One – Covered Up by FBI/DOJ Before 2016 Election – Part IX — The Gateway Pundit

 

A 2016 DOJ criminal investigation was suppressed and buried by the DOJ/FBI that involved a major NY Democratic power broker and the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation.

The investigation revolved around the illegal sale of controlled US Homeland Security technology to Russia and China in the years before the 2016 election by a company named AGT International.

The DOJ terminated its internal investigation in 2016 despite clear and irrefutable evidence of criminal activity and hid it from the public!

In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT International.

In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR controlled products were provided and sold to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.

(Below is an AGT International article about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.)

In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT International and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!

 

In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT International in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the access controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the site.

In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT International to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of sharing/selling it to the Russians. AGT International personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT International offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands. This information was provided by AGT International senior managers like Gadi Lenz, a US national who also held a CTO executive position at the US based defense contractor 4D Security Solutions.

The image below shows an AGT International C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.

In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT International took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT International utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed state and Federal Law Enforcement Agents (LEA’s) and former Federal and political figures in in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.

In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND.

AGT International management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and other subsidiaries and noted that “since the blog is planned to be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names.” This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.

In Part VIII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International assisted a group of Chinese officials to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying their purpose, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and products from AGT International.

Today in Part IX of our series we discuss AGT International’s ‘lubrication’ activities (paying off individuals and entities to initiate sales and open doors). 

AGT International appointed as its Country Manager of Singapore an individual by the name of Danny Beh –

But Danny Beh needed some help, so they added to their list of assets in Singapore an individual by the name of Ng Jui Ping (AKA JP), the former Chief of the Singapore Army and the Chief of Defence Force –

One bio of Ng describes him as follows –

Lt-Gen (Ret) Ng Jui Ping, 64, had a distinguished 30-year military career culminating in the position of Chief of Defence Force, Singapore from 1992 to 1995. He was Chief of Army, Singapore from 1990 to 1992 and prior to that, Director Joint Intelligence Directorate. He held various appointments on the General Staff including being Head of Personnel, Training, Operations and Chief of Staff. He has been conferred various prestigious awards for distinguished service to Singapore, including the Meritorious Service Medal (Military), PPA (Gold) and PPA (Silver). He has also been conferred prestigious awards by regional countries, in recognition of his significant contributions.

Following his retirement from the Armed Forces, Lt-Gen Ng took up the entrepreneurial route and listed the company he co-founded on the SGX-ST Mainboard in January 2000. He exited via a share sale in late 2004 and now heads his own business consultancy, August Asia Consulting Pte Ltd. Lt- Gen Ng is an Independent Director of Yanlord Land Group Limited and Pacific-Andes (Holdings) Limited, both listed on the SGX-ST Main-board.

Lt-Gen Ng has held various positions including Deputy Chairman of the Central Provident Fund Board, Singapore; Director of PSA International Pte Ltd and Chairman of PSA’s China and North East Asia grouping; Corporate Advisor to Singapore Technologies Pte Ltd and Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd; Chairman, Chartered Industries of Singapore Pte Ltd; Chairman, Singapore Technologies Automotive Ltd, Chairman, Ordnance Development & Engineering of Singapore (1996) Pte Ltd. He was Advisor to Aldar, the largest Abu Dhabi property developer, and to Chesterton International Property Consultants Pte Ltd.

Lt-Gen Ng holds a Master of Arts (History) degree from Duke University, USA. He completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School, Harvard University, USA. Beyond the corporate sphere, Lt-Gen Ng has sports interests and is Vice-President of the Football Association of Singapore.

Ng pulled some strings in order to win some local and regional contracts in Malaysia and China.  One individual that Ng courted was Lim Ming Yan, the CEO of Capitaland, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies.

The below email exchange is between Ng and AGT International’s Danny Beh (note that it includes the CEO of AGT International Mati Kochavi) –

Ng organized an official state visit with the Singapore government to promote the Falcon’s Eyes solutions (another name for AGT International’s Wisdom and UrbanShield Intel products).  Note that the company names on the meeting agenda below are ATS/AIS, which is another front company for AGT International –

In the meetings there was a clear understating that Falcon’s Eyes is the same technology that was used in Abu Dhabi and is just being ‘enhanced’ and ‘repurposed’.  AGT International did this worldwide to cover for selling US high tech classified Intel technology overseas.  What came next will be reported in our next post in this series.

It can’t be overstated the amount of defense technology and state secrets that was illegally exported to Russia and China by AGT and its host companies as a result of its international sales!

The AGT International family of companies participated in numerous corrupt and criminal activities. The leaders of the company were Clinton friends and major donors to the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons in turn helped promote AGT.

AGT International then participated in numerous shady and criminal activities, the worst of which were selling US ITAR regulated products and information to the Russians and Chinese.

The DOJ/FBI started an investigation of AGT International but then covered it up. The investigation into the Clinton Foundation and AGT International was material to the 2016 US election and yet the FBI and DOJ concealed it from the American public.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Clinton Foundation and the DOJ and FBI must be investigated and the crimes committed by these entities must be brought to justice!

via This Clinton Foundation Scandal Is Larger than Uranium One – Covered Up by FBI/DOJ Before 2016 Election – Part IX — The Gateway Pundit

What Is the Greatest Challenge in the Church Today? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

What is the greatest challenge in the church today? From one of our live Ask Ligonier events, Sinclair Ferguson considers the challenges of prayerlessness, dysfunction, and more.

Just Ask.Ligonier.org to get clear and trustworthy answers to your biblical and theological questions.

via What Is the Greatest Challenge in the Church Today? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Revealed: Far Left Activist Group that Contracted with Fusion GPS is Linked to Soros, the FBI, Sen. Feinstein and a Dark Money Group — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump retweeted an article today by Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller.

Ross revealed the dark money group that gave $2 million to the Democracy Integrity Project, the far left group that hired Fusion GPS and Chris Steele to work on the fraudulent Trump-Russia dossier.

According to Ross, The Fund for a Better Future (FBF) donated $2,065,000 to the Democracy Integrity Project (TDIF) who in turn hired Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to continue their bogus ‘investigations’ of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In March 2018 Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska penned an oped at The Daily Caller on the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

According to Derispaska — Daniel Jones –- a former FBI investigator, Feinstein staffer and now a Fusion GPS operative – told the Russian Oligarch’s lawyer in March, 2017 that Fusion GPS was funded by “a group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros.“
Via Zero Hedge:

Deripaska describes the ongoing “Russia narrative” as nothing more than a scandal manufactured by the deep state. “Wagging the dog costs money,” writes Deripaska. “So, who is the “funding mechanism” of this “shadowy government?”” Why, none other than billionaire financier George Soros, according to Daniel Jones – as relayed to Congressional investigators by Deripaska’s attorney Adam Waldman:

[O]n March 16, 2017, Daniel Jones — himself a team member of Fusion GPS, self-described former FBI agent and, as we now know from the media, an ex-Feinstein staffer — met with my lawyer, Adam Waldman, and described Fusion as a “shadow media organization helping the government,” funded by a “group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros.” My lawyer testified these facts to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Nov. 3.

via Revealed: Far Left Activist Group that Contracted with Fusion GPS is Linked to Soros, the FBI, Sen. Feinstein and a Dark Money Group — The Gateway Pundit

March 11 Mounting Up Like an Eagle

scripture reading: Titus 3:3–8
key verse: Isaiah 40:31

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

The story is told of an eaglet that fell from his mountain nest into a wooded valley. There he discovered a roving flock of wild turkeys, and since they appeared somewhat like him, he joined them.

He ate like the turkeys, fed like them, and eventually thought like his adopted family. Occasionally he saw a solitary eagle fly majestically overhead and felt a certain kindred spirit. But, of course, turkeys don’t fly very high.

Then one memorable evening as he returned to his roost, a golden eagle landed nearby. Seeing the odd behavior of a member of his own species, the golden eagle explained to him that he, too, was a proud eagle and had no business dwelling with turkeys. The youngster decided to trust the elder eagle’s advice, so he spread his wings and ascended into the heavens.

Many Christians have been deceived by Satan into acting like miserable, wretched sinners because they do not realize what their identity is in Christ. The truth is this: you are a redeemed, saved, sanctified, secure child of the Father. You are a saint, a called–out one. Believe it, act upon it, and soar above your problems into the abundant life promised by Christ to His people.

Thank You, dear Lord, that You are working in my life despite my problems. May Your power enable me to mount up with wings as an eagle and soar above the storm.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

11 march (1855) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Consolation proportionate to spiritual sufferings

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5

suggested further reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7–18

I have sometimes heard religion described in such a way that its high colouring has displeased me. It is true “her ways are ways of pleasantness;” but it is not true that a Christian never has sorrow or trouble. It is true that light-eyed cheerfulness, and airy-footed love, can go through the world without much depression and tribulation: but it is not true that Christianity will shield a man from trouble; nor ought it to be so represented. In fact, we ought to speak of it in the other way. Soldier of Christ, if thou enlisteth, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of down for thee; there is no riding to heaven in a chariot; the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven, believe me; for those who have gone but a very few steps therein, have found it to be a rough one. It is a pleasant one; it is the most delightful in all the world, but it is not easy in itself, it is only pleasant because of the company, because of the sweet promises on which we lean, because of our Beloved who walks with us through all the rough and thorny breaks of this vast wilderness. Christian, expect trouble: “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial … as though some strange thing happened unto you;” for as truly as you are a child of God, your Saviour has left you for his legacy,—“In the world, ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace.”

for meditation: The man who proclaims that the Christian life is an easy one is not only contradicting the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles, but also exposing his own ignorance of true Christianity. Jesus promised his followers blessings now “with persecutions” and eternal life to come (Mark 10:29–30).

sermon no. 13[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 77). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

11 MARCH 365 Days with Calvin

Strengthening Covenant Promises

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Psalm 105:8

suggested further reading: Genesis 15

God made a covenant with Abraham and by solemn oath also promised to be the God of Abraham’s seed. To give greater assurance of the truth of his promise, God graciously renewed his covenant with Isaac and Jacob. The effect of extending the vow to posterity is that God’s faithfulness might take deeper hold of the hearts of his people. Also, when God’s grace is renewed on recurring occasions, it becomes better known and more illustrious among men. Accordingly, this covenant is proved more steadfast and immovable, for what is affirmed concerning each of the patriarchs belongs equally to them all.

It is said that God “swore to Isaac.” Had God not before sworn that to Abraham? Undoubtedly he had. It is also said that it was established to Jacob for a law, and for an everlasting covenant. Does this mean the covenant was previously only temporal and transitory and that it then changed its nature? Such an idea is altogether at variance with the meaning of the sacred writer. By these different forms of expression the psalmist asserts that the covenant was fully and perfectly confirmed, so that, if the calling was perhaps obscure for one man, it might become more evident by God’s transmitting it to posterity. By this means the truth of the covenant was better manifested.

Here we are once more reminded that God with great kindness considers our weakness when, both by his oath and by frequently repeating his word, he ratifies what he formerly promised to us. Our ingratitude then appears fouler in disbelieving him when he not only speaks but also swears.

for meditation: The promises that God makes to his people also extend to their posterity, which includes sinners like us. How does each manifestation of God’s covenant promises help strengthen believers’ responses to their covenant commitments?[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 89). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

Monday Briefing March 11, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

What happens in California doesn’t stay in California: If you want to see a glimpse into America’s political future, look to the West Coast

The vast worldview divide in America on display: Why it’s more difficult to pass actual legislation than support general policy ideas

Controversy over a Catholic school’s recent decision reveals much about religious liberty and the precursor of the same-sex revolution

The post Monday, March 11, 2019 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

Download MP3

— Read on albertmohler.com/2019/03/11/briefing-3-11-19/

The Mailbag: How can I tell if a church is doctrinally sound? — Michelle Lesley

How do I know if a church is doctrinally sound? Do I base it off their statement of faith?

This is such a great question in a day when you can’t really trust that a building with the word “church” on the sign out front actually teaches and practices sound doctrine.

Because it would be impossible to cover every single aspect of doctrine that churches need to handle biblically, and because many of my readers are new to some of the deeper points of theology, what I want to do is give you some “signposts” to look for as you’re checking out a new church that will help indicate whether or not that particular church is likely to be one that handles those harder to understand points of theology in a doctrinally sound way.

First, check out these resources (and others) under my Searching for a new church? tab at the top of this page. These should be helpful if you’re unfamiliar with the biblical issues that a church should be handling correctly:

Looking for a Church Home? by Tim Challies

Church shopping? 35 Key Questions to Ask the Churchat Berean Research

4 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Church by Brian Croft

How Can I Find a Good Church? 

Finding a New Church: Starting from Scratch

Six Questions for a Potential Church

If you are a brand new Christian and you aren’t sure what the answers to the questions in these articles should be, ask the person who led you to Christ, a pastor you know to be biblically trustworthy, or a friend who’s a mature Christian to help. You can also use the search bar at the top of this page to see if I’ve addressed your question. And, make liberal use of Got Questions? It’s a wonderful website that gives simple, biblical answers to all kinds of questions about the Bible, church, theology and other issues.

A church’s stance on many of these theological issues can be found in their statement of faith, which most churches post on their websites (often under the heading “What We Believe,” “Doctrinal Distinctives,” or something similar). While you’re on the church website, here are some other things to look for that can give you a fuller picture of whether or not the church is likely to be doctrinally sound.

⛪ Be wary of a church with no statement of faith on their website at all, and be cautious if they have a very simplistic statement of faith with few or no Bible verses cited to support it. Generally speaking, in my experience, the longer and more detailed a statement of faith is, and the more Scripture references it has, the more likely it is to be a doctrinally sound church. (Here and here are some typical, good statements of faith, and this one is particularly detailed.)

⛪ A few things to look for in the statement of faith:

•The Trinity: You’re looking for language along the lines of, “We believe in one God in three persons.” If you see three “modes” or three “manifestations,” that’s the language of modalism, and it is not a doctrinally sound church.

•Some churches have a section of their statement of faith on spiritual gifts or the Holy Spirit and include wording indicating whether they are a continuationist (ex: “we believe all the spiritual gifts are in operation in the church today”) or cessationist (ex: “we believe supernatural gifts such as healing and tongues have ceased”) church. Generally speaking, a church is more likely to be doctrinally sound if it holds the cessationist view. (No, I am not saying every continuationist church is heretical. I’m strictly talking probabilities here.) If there is anything in the statement of faith that indicates that a Believer will or must speak in tongues in order to be saved or as a result of salvation, or that the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” occurs separately from salvation, it is not a doctrinally sound church.

•Some churches intentionally indicate that they are complementarian in the “Marriage and Family” or “Church Leadership” section of their statement of faith by stating that the husband leads the family and the wife submits to her husband, or by explaining that the roles of pastor and elder are limited to men. It’s usually a good sign when a church makes a point of saying these things.

⛪ If you find the pastor’s name listed here, it’s not a doctrinally sound church.

⛪ If a church subscribes to a creed/confession/catechism you know to be biblical (ex: 1689 London Baptist, Westminster, Heidelberg, etc.) there’s a better chance they’re a doctrinally sound church.

⛪ Some churches have a page on their website where they recommend books, blogs, and other resources. If they’re recommending doctrinally sound materials by trustworthy authors and teachers (click here for a few), that can be a good sign.

⛪ If they have a women’s ministry page, check out who’s speaking at the next conference they’re going to and who is the author of the Bible study materials they use.

⛪ Check the staff page and make sure they don’t have women serving as pastors/elders. (Be aware that some churches are now using titles like “Coach,” “Director,” “Facilitator,” etc. to disguise the fact that women are serving in unbiblical positions of leadership. Regardless of the way the position title is worded, women are not to serve in pastoral or elder offices or in any position in which they will be teaching or exercising authority over men.)

⛪ Check the sermon archives for a couple of things: 1) to see if they invite women or false teachers as guest preachers, and 2) does the pastor preach mainly expositorily or topically?

Keep in mind, however, that there are lots of churches out there who look perfectly doctrinally sound “on paper” but are not practicing what their website preaches. Take a look at these statements of faith for example: Lakewood (Joel Osteen), North Point (Andy Stanley), and Bethel (New Apostolic Reformation). (You can find out more about these churches/pastors under the Popular False Teachers tab at the top of this page.) Three of the most unbiblical churches in America today, and yet, on the surface, and especially to those newly saved or not very familiar with the Bible, these statements of faith look fairly decent (although…notice that no Scriptures are listed, and they are short and/or somewhat vague).

Because churches’ practices and teachings often differ – sometimes significantly – from what you see in their statement of faith, you’ll have to dig deeper in order to get a better feel for the church’s doctrine. If the website posts the audio or video of their worship services, listen to several sermons. Make an appointment to go in and talk to the pastor about what the church teaches and ask any questions you might have. And visit the church for a while before joining to see how things actually go. The most a church website can do is help you weed out the churches that are definitely bad. The website cannot tell you that a church is definitely good.

If you’re looking for a new church but you aren’t sure where to start, check the church search engines and churches recommended by my readers at the Searching for a new church? tab at the top of this page.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

The Mailbag: How can I tell if a church is doctrinally sound? — Michelle Lesley

Breaking Free from the Performance Trap — Biblical Counseling Coalition

Have you ever wanted God to give you something so badly that you did a quick spiritual inventory and secretly started to “do better” in those areas where you lacked—like praying more, giving more, studying your Bible more, signing up to “serve” in your church, or going to church “every” Sunday?

There is a nature inside of us that believes what we do or don’t do determines whether or not we get what we want. Unfortunately, this mindset comes with us into our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is something we must fight against every day.

I’m not talking about a “works-salvation” mindset. Most of us believe that by grace through faith we are given the gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). Afterward, the battle between living by the law or living by grace begins.

We know that doing well benefits us and not doing well hurts us. That’s generally true as we move through the many facets of life:

  • If you study hard, you get good grades. If you don’t study hard, you fail.
  • If you fulfill your duties in a job, you get paid. If you don’t, you get fired.
  • If you are a good friend, you have friends. If you aren’t, you lose friends.

This world system has taught us that our works, good or bad, affect our lives in positive or negative ways.

Performance-Based Thinking

Performance-based thinking is low-level legalism in Christianity. We believe how God treats us is based on how well we perform. When we perform well, we expect to be on good terms with God and receive His blessings. When we perform poorly, we expect to be on God’s naughty list and receive His punishment.

There are five core heart idols that drive us to perform for selfish gain: self-righteousness, self-justification, self-reliance, self-pity, and self-esteem.

Heart Idols of Performance-Based Thinkers

Self-Righteousness

  • Motivation: To gain God’s approval by my good works
  • Lie: My good works are good enough for God to love me and to bless me.
  • Truth: No one is righteous, and we must submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 3:10; 10:3).

Self-Justification

  • Motivation: To gain God’s peace by excusing my sinful heart and actions
  • Lie: I have a good excuse for my actions; therefore, God will see it my way.
  • Truth: I have peace with God through justification by faith (Rom. 5:1).

Self-Reliance

  • Motivation: To acquire God’s love by trying harder
  • Lie: If I try harder and work harder, God will love me.
  • Truth: God’s love is unconditional, and His grace is sufficient (Rom. 5:6-8; 2 Cor. 12:9).

Self-Pity

  • Motivation: To show disagreement with God in how He treats me
  • Lie: In feeling sorry for myself, God will see my suffering and make things better.
  • Truth: My life is not my own. God will do with it what He wants (Gal. 2:20).

Self-Esteem

  • Motivation: To gain God’s acceptance by building up my worth and value
  • Lie: If I feel good about myself, then God will feel good about me.
  • Truth: There is nothing good in me. My value is in Christ (Ps. 16:2; Luke 12:7; Rom. 5:8).

The Perilous Cycle of the Performance Trap

We get stuck in the performance trap without realizing it. Our hearts want love, acceptance, approval, recognition, joy, peace, and comfort. We enter each day driven to perform well in the roles that will give us the greatest applause. We continue to reassess and readjust our efforts if we’re not reaping the rewards.

This toxic cycle of self-deception weighs heavily on us. Feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, and despair invade our hearts. God feels cold, distant, and unapproachable. We find ourselves stuck in a cesspool of sin and destructive behaviors such as food and drug addictions, pornography, overspending, workaholism, etc. The Apostle James warns us of this cycle in James 1:14-16:

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.”

When life goes desperately wrong, we search through our dusty sin archives: I committed adultery. I had an abortion. I stole the money. I cheated on my taxes. I lied to my boss. I had a baby out of wedlock. I married an unbeliever, etc. We deceive ourselves, thinking that we can steer God’s will by our performance.

Self-deception says:

  • God is punishing me.
  • God doesn’t love me.
  • God may be good to you, but He’s not good to me.

Self-deception asks:

  • What am I doing wrong?
  • Why is God punishing me?
  • What must I do to be on good terms with God?

Breaking Free

Breaking free from the bondage of the performance trap requires three crucial elements: believing God, receiving His grace, and obeying God.

1. Believing God

Performance-based thinkers must believe God at His word when He says, “without faith it is impossible to please him” (Heb. 11:6). The work that is required that we “do” first is to believe in Jesus Christ (John 6:29). Believing in Jesus means to believe:

  1. God unconditionally loves us (John 3:16).
  2. God justifies us (Rom. 3:24).
  3. God accepts us (Rom. 8:31).
  4. God gives us His peace (Phil. 4:7).

2. Receiving His Grace

We receive God’s grace by faith in Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul proclaims it is God’s grace that enables him to work hard in service for God. Like Paul, God’s grace transforms our life from one characterized by self-centered performances to one characterized by God-centered acts of obedience.

3. Obeying God

Obedience without faith is self-righteousness. Obeying God’s commands because we don’t want to be punished, we want assurance of His love, or we want to justify our actions are acts of self-love. God desires obedience through faith in Christ, which is evidence of our love relationship with God (John 14:23). Instead of performing to win God’s favor, let us respond in obedience because of His favor.

Questions for Reflection

In what ways do you see your life caught in the performance trap? If you can’t think of anything, ask someone who knows you well. They can give you some hints. How do the three elements of breaking free apply to your walk with Jesus?

Breaking Free from the Performance Trap — Biblical Counseling Coalition