Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dishonest and Deceptive Christians

If you are going to speak against or debate a position different from your own, you need to represent that position honestly and convey it truthfully with integrity. In other words, you need to study that position to make sure you understand correctly what it is they teach and believe in order to ensure you represent their position truthfully and honestly. If you are merely going to make statements that condemn a position based on your dislike thereof, and make those statements in ignorance and dishonesty, misrepresenting the other position, then you are merely lying to your hearers and leading them astray by your deceptions. I will give you an example:
"A hyper-Calvinist believes that everything is predestined and thus God, they have no problem saying, is the author of sin. A hyper-Calvinist believes that predestination and foreknowledge are the same thing; what God predestines He divinely decrees and thus they believe in what we call double predestination. That God has elect and chosen some to be saved, and others He has chosen to be damned, and God gets the glory. A hyper-Calvinist believes that invitations are an insult to God. That predestination is the highest of all doctrine."
—Ergun Caner
This is typical of how cults and most Arminianist-based faiths debate, how they attack positions different from their own. Without a correct and proper understanding of what the other position believes, they just make up a bunch of absurd nonsense in order to deceive their hearers into thinking they are teaching the truth. They demonize the other positions without dealing with them fairly, justly, honestly, or truthfully. Cults are well known for doing this so that they can keep their numbers up and their members confused. The above quote is chock full of fallacious statements deliberately meant to misrepresent his concept of Calvinism or hyper-Calvinism.

Not only is everything Mr. Caner says above incorrect, proving he knows nothing about hyper-Calvinism and could not be bothered to study it, but he interchanges Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism throughout his entire sermon. Not only that, but his attempts at explaining the Greek deliberately avoid and ignore the context as well as other passages of Scripture that use the same words. He attempts the typical ignorance in explaining the word "all," the word "world," and the word "whosoever," all the while making fallacious accusations in regard to those who exegete and interpret these words correctly according to their contexts. Dave Hunt plays the same fast and loose games with the texts, making the same fallacious accusations.

People like Ergun Caner and Dave Hunt would do well to educate themselves by reading this blog entry and this blog entry, two letters to two different groups of people.

Arminianists and non-Reformed (people who do not fit the full definition of Arminianism) like to camp out on certain verses that use "all," "world," and "whosoever." If they were true students of the Word, they would look those words up in their original Greek to see what precisely they mean, while also looking up their occurrence elsewhere in Scripture. These people like to say that "all means all and that's all that all means," and that the word "world" is inclusive of "each and every individual without exclusion." What do these people do with Romans 5:18? "So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." Unless you are a Universalist, the second "all" cannot mean "each and every individual without exception."

Let us look at some other problems for these people. Romans 7:8a: "But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness." There is a limitation on the word "all." Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Does this mean God is going to give us divine powers? I mean, if all means all... Romans 11:32: "For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all." Again, unless you are a Universalist, all cannot mean "each and every individual without exception." Romans 14:2: "One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only." Can he eat a rock? 1 Timothy 4:10: "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." A very Arminianist commentary, by I. Howard Marshall and Philip H. Towner, had this to say: "Adoption of the traditional translation of malista (μαλιστα) as 'especially' leads to some strange exegesis. These problems disappear if we accept the other possible translation: 'to be precise, namely, I mean.' 'All' is thus limited here to believers."1 1 Timothy 4:15: "Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all." Did each and every individual on this planet without exception see Timothy's progress? Of course not!

Emotional ignorance is no excuse for poor exegesis and bad study habits. In fact, villainizing the other position as Ergun Caner has done, and as Dispensationalists frequently do, whether intentionally through deception or out of sheer ignorance and laziness, is not only dishonest but cowardly. Whatever our presuppositions, we need to approach Scripture openly, honestly, and with great humility, so that if it teaches something contrary to what we believe we might humble ourselves and conform our beliefs to the truth of the text. If one says, "Yeah, that's what the text teaches, but I don't accept it," that is fine. At least they are being honest. But when they purposefully ignore what the text says and lie about it, that is an entirely other matter. Misrepresenting the other position by setting them up so you can easily knock them down is dishonest. Unfortunately, and sadly, there are many professing Christians who will deliberately lie about certain information in order to try and make their case. If you have to be dishonest, then you have won nothing and proven nothing. You have only proven you are a liar who cannot play fair. I do not like it when professing atheists do it, and I like it even less coming from those who profess to know Christ Jesus.


1 This quote was not copied directly from the book, but written down by my own hand from hearing the reading of the quote from the book by James R. White. Exact rendition thereof may appear entirely different.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Questions For Potential Suitors

from Wretched

We are not barbarians. Dads should not threaten a potential suitor with a fire-arm. At least not a loaded fire-arm. But that doesn’t mean a Dad shouldn’t put the young man on the hot seat.

Below are some questions that may help you determine if a young man will have access to your daughter. Your mileage may vary. Start with #30.
  1. Share your salvation testimony.
  2. What is the Gospel?
  3. Share the most recent Bible verse you have memorized.
  4. Can you recite all 66 books of the Bible in order? Try.
  5. How often do you read your Bible?
  6. When was the last time you read your Bible?
  7. Tell me about your participation in your local church.
  8. Can you recite the Nicene Creed for me?
  9. If you are a virgin, why? If you are not a virgin, tell me what you have learned.
  10. Tell me everything you know about the Protestant Reformation.
  11. What is your approach to protect your sexual purity as well as my child's?
  12. What Scripture verses guide your interactions with the opposite sex?
  13. Explain your doctrinal views on the Bible, the Trinity, salvation, the Church.
  14. What Bible verses are presently the most challenging in your personal walk with Christ?
  15. Where is he convicting you now?
  16. How has God grown you as a Christian over the last year?
  17. Do you agree with that plan? Are you following that plan?  
  18. What do you believe is God's plan for premarital relationships with the opposite sex?
  19. Is your conscience clean before the Lord in your dealing with my child?
  20. Have you crossed those boundaries in your relationship with my child?
  21. What are the boundaries that you have set in order to maintain purity?
  22. How would you describe the role of the husband in marital relationships?
  23. Do you see issues or concerns in this area?
  24. What is the role of your parents after marriage?
  25. Have you discussed this area with my child?
  26. What are your thoughts regarding children?
  27. When was the last time you looked at pornography?
  28. Do you have the ability to provide for my daughter? If not, what is your plan?
  29. What is your theology of financial stewardship?
  30. Tell me about your little brothers and sisters.

User-Friendly Nonsense

Even though it is not my intention to offend anyone with this article, I know that I am going to step on some toes. It is unavoidable. But I am in no way attempting to judge anyone. The purpose of this article is meant to have people look at the bigger picture and to have them examine themselves to see what kind of insignificant things they have placed as concerns and/or priorities in life and/or ministry that really have no importance at all. We live in a time of convenience and comfort and sometimes get sucked into it, having unreal expectations. Read on and you will see what I mean.

Since when did the pulpit one preaches the Gospel from become an inconvenience? Since when did it require comfort for the preacher? Since when was it a necessity to be user-friendly? Last I checked, the mandate was to preach the Gospel. There was nothing in there about comfort and user-friendliness.

Do we ever read or hear of anything where Martin Luther complained that his pulpit was not "user friendly"? Did John Calvin ever complain that his pulpit was not "user friendly"? How about John Wesley? What about George Whitefield? Jonathan Edwards? Surely Charles Spurgeon complained that his pulpit was not "user friendly." No? So why is that an issue with preachers today?

If these great preachers of the past were alive today, and heard about preachers complaining that their pulpit was not user friendly for all who spoke from it, what do you suppose they would have to say about it? I am certain that I do not have to tell you because I think you already know...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Where Does Morality Come From?

A man I work with, after telling him that we do not get our morality from animals, in a conversation regarding homosexuality, said that we do not get it from a book written two thousand years ago either. This is an area that is a huge problem for fools like him. People like him want to think and/or believe that morals are relative. If that is the case, if morals are determined by you and I, then what is right and wrong? If morals are relative, determined by the individual, then what if my morals say it is okay to rape and murder your daughter? If morals are something we determine ourselves and do not come from a book written two thousand years ago, or from someone outside of us, then by what right can you judge me and say I did wrong by raping and murdering your daughter? You cannot!

This is what post-modern stupidity looks like, saying that there is no absolute truth and that truth is just relative to the individual.

The fact of reality is that morality comes from Someone outside of us. That Someone is God, and He wrote that morality down for us in a book. That book is called the Bible. Without the morality contained in that book, we would be left to ourselves and we would do whatever seemed right in our own eyes: raping and murdering someone's daughter, for example. Morality did not come from evolution. It did not come from society getting together and agreeing on certain things. Morality is intrinsically written upon our hearts by the Creator. We know what is right and wrong, what is true and false, but choose to suppress it in unrighteousness. We do not want to be caught having done something we know we should not have done, so we lie, even though we know intrinsically that lying is morally wrong.

So, yes, morality does come from the Bible, which was given to us by the Creator. Because He is holy and perfect, He determines what is or is not moral. We had no say in the matter and we have no say in the matter. If God did not set the standards of morality, then mankind would be left to themselves and men would do whatever was right in their own eyes. The system of right and wrong would be determined by each individual, which means if you sneezed in my direction I could lawfully kill you for it. Be thankful the Bible makes morality clearly known to men, because without it we would be more wicked than we already are.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Pa-Rum-Pa-Pum-Pum

Once again, Christmas time is upon us. As per usual, millions of people will be celebrating this day with numerous theological errors. Let us face it, most Christmas carols are rooted in tradition rather than theological accuracy. While there is nothing wrong with listening to and enjoying these songs, we need to remember that we do not receive our theological beliefs from Christmas carols, Christmas pageants, or any other such things. Our theological beliefs must come from Scripture alone. Traditions and inaccuracies do not take away from our enjoyment of these songs, but we do need to be aware of them and make sure they do not creep into our theology and the practical application thereof. Let us face it, we can say we believe one thing, but our actions demonstrate what it is that we truly believe.

The ironic thing here is that while the world hates Christ Jesus and wants nothing to do with Him or His children, they sing along with these songs on the radio without paying a single piece of mind to what the lyrics are saying and what they mean. They have never given it any thought. Probably because they are incapable of such thought, but I digress. So, let us observe a few of the inaccuracies that exist in our Christmas carols.
  1. Scripture says absolutely nothing about there being only three wise men; it merely mentions three gifts, all of which had to do with burial rites (Matt. 2:1-12). Not to mention that the wise men were not at the nativity scene; they showed up when the child was around two years of age (Matt. 2:11, 16).
  2. The herald angels did not sing anything; one angel made a proclamation and then a host of angels spoke, "Glory to God in the highest" (Luke 2:8-14).
  3. It is extremely doubtful that the nativity scene was silent; "No crying He makes?" Really?!? One wonders if the author had ever been around a newborn baby before. Maybe the author presumed that because He was God, He would not cry. Whatever the reason, Scripture tells us that He was like us (Heb. 2:17; 4:15) and that He cried (John 11:35).
  4. There was no little boy with a drum—anywhere in the narrative.
  5. "Joy To the World" is actually about the return of Christ at the end of the age to usher in eternity—not about His birth.
Christmas time is celebrated incorrectly every year by millions of Christians. While we have the freedom in Christ to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas however we choose, there is consistently one prevailing thing missing from both sides of this pendulum: the true meaning of Christmas, and Who and what it is we ought to be celebrating. God Almighty sent His only begotten Son in the form of human flesh to dwell among us in order that He might save His people from their sins. That is the true meaning of Christmas. The Gospel of Christ Jesus. If we are not celebrating this fact, we might as well not be celebrating anything at all because we have become like the heathen.

The true meaning of Christmas: God Almighty sent His only begotten Son in the form of human flesh to dwell among us in order that He might save His people from their sins.

While Jesus was not born on December 25, and while we should be celebrating this every day of the year, when we celebrate it on December 25 it should be that much more special to us and hold that much more of a place in our hearts and minds than it currently does. In light of the true meaning of Christmas, perhaps many of us would like to re-think how we celebrate it each year and make sure we are actually doing so in remembrance of His birth, life, death, and resurrection. Let us remove the idolatry and adultery from our celebration and center our celebration around the true meaning of Christmas—the Gospel. Whether or not you have a tree, hang decorations, or exchange gifts is secondary to what you need to be doing. Let us celebrate Christmas right!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Two of the Dumbest Common Homosexual Arguments

Probably the two biggest arguments used in defense of homosexuality are the "consenting adult" argument and the argument of "love." Both of these are also designed to eliminate comparison of homosexuality with other sexual perversions such as bestiality and pedophilia. So let us look at the lack of logic and the fallacious nature of these arguments.
"CONSENTING ADULTS"
If you are dumb enough to try and argue this line of faulty reasoning, then you have just given your sign of approval for polygamy (having multiple wives) and incestuous marriages (brother and sister, son and mother, daughter and father, niece and uncle, nephew and aunt, grandson and grandmother, granddaughter and grandfather—ALL who are of CONSENTING age).

"LOVE"
If you are dumb enough to try and argue this line of faulty reasoning based on false "love," without having a single intelligent clue as to what love is or what love looks like, then you have also just given your sign of approval for polygamy and incestuous marriages. After all, if they "love" each other and are "consenting adults," they should be allowed to "be happy." Right?
The thing is, there is no happiness to be found in sin. Sure, it will satisfy for a season, but once that season ends, you need to find the next thing to make you feel satisfied. The thing with sin is that it always takes you a step further than you were willing to go previously. So what will you willingly walk into this time? Bestiality? Pedophilia?

It is a known fact that homosexual men like their partners to look like young boys—without facial hair. Why? Because pedophilia is at the heart of it. It is also why guys nowadays like their women to look like little girls in their pubic region. A woman—a real woman—has hair down there, whether full or trimmed. Like the hair in your nostrils, it is there for a reason. It acts like a filter to keep stuff out that should not enter. If the woman is hygienic, it helps keep her healthier down there. Too many people these days who have not got the intelligence to think logically for themselves have gotten the idea that it is unacceptable for a woman not to shave her pubic region from it being repeated frequently on television and in movies. That is our modern culture for you. If it is repeated often enough in movies, ignorant fools will believe it blindly. But that is neither here nor there.

If people were born homosexuals, then why is it a known fact that older homosexuals target younger people and attempt to bring them into their ranks? They will employ tactics such as asking the younger person, "Have you ever been with someone of the same sex? How do you know you don't like it until you've tried it?" It is playing mind games with the younger people and leading them into confusion. Once they have drawn them in, then they try to convince them they were born this way but they had to discover it. I am sorry, but if I am born a certain way I do not need to "discover it." "Oh, look! I was born a boy—with a penis, but I need to discover that I am actually a girl trapped in a boy's body." Yeah... you need to seek professional help. Sorry.

Bruce Jenner is getting the Woman of the Year award?!? Yes, his name is Bruce and he will always be a man, no matter how you dress him up. We need to stop catering to people with obvious mental problems and start getting them the professional help they need. Not making them a special class of untouchable citizen with more rights than the rest of us.

There is a time for speaking truth in love, but there is also a time for being bold and stating the truth bluntly, saying, "Enough is enough—quit acting stupid!" When I am speaking with LGBT people or those who support them, I will first try to reason with them by speaking the truth in love. But the more it drags out and they persist in their stupidity, attempting to level personal attacks at me, then it is time to be bold and blunt with the truth. Some of you people reading this need to smarten up, pull your heads out of the sand, and start using your brains for once. Quit being followers! Every single person on the face of this planet knows intrinsically that "Tab A inserts into Slot B." There is a reason why one part of any type of connection is called "the male end" and the other part is called "the female end." Try making any connection using two male ends or two female ends. It does not work! It is not compatible! A nut screws into a bolt. A bulb turns into a socket. A plug inserts into an outlet. The penis goes inside the vagina. It is not rocket science. It is practical, logical, common sense.

Common sense is not very common any more, however, and nobody wants to think logically, if they even think at all. They would rather fit in with the masses than to think for themselves. Every area of life screams the truth that male belongs with female, yet people willfully and deliberately ignore it in favour of rhetoric from illogical arguments meant to emotionally manipulate and brainwash. The Bible said it then and it still holds true today: "[They] suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18b).
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For 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. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." Romans 1:18-32

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Deitiphobia

Simply put, homosexuals are Deitiphobes. Not only them, but also those who accept and support them. Deitiphobia is the fear of God. Not the fear they should have, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever" (Psalm 111:10), "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10), but the fear of knowing precisely Who He is, what He wants from us, and submitting and conforming to His will.

Realistically, however, every non-believer is Deitiphobic. You try to talk to them about God and they will have none of it. Yet, they will try and treat "science" as if it is a god. Science this, science that. Even though it is a fact that science cannot explain everything. There are hundreds of things science cannot explain and never will be able to. Science is not the end-all be-all. Science is only science if it adheres to the scientific method. The moment it goes beyond that, it ceases to be science. Period!

I had one guy at work tell me he will not believe anything regarding natural medicine until he has seen the scientific data in support for it based on the scientific method. (I am not talking about those Old Wives' Tales "Home Remedies," but about actual Natural Medicine.) I was tempted to point out the hypocrisy in his statement by asking him if he has ever seen the scientific data in support of all "modern medicine" based on the scientific method. The answer is clearly "No," but he has a bias. He is exercising blind faith in "modern medicine" because it professes "science" behind it. There is a place for doctors and medicine, just as there is a place for natural medicine. One needs to be wise and do their research to know when which is which. It is not good to rely solely on natural medicine and it is not good to rely solely on "modern medicine." "Modern medicine" is not all it is cracked up to be. People would do well to open their eyes and pay attention to the sordid past that "science" and medicine have. There is a reason it is called "practicing medicine," because what they think they know today will be proven wrong tomorrow. Even today, "modern medicine" does as much harm as it does good. But we are off topic.

Homosexuals and those who support them like to try and call Christians and anyone who disagrees with their choice a "homophobe." Likewise, many people will try and call anyone who exposes the truth regarding Islam an "Islamophobe." I think it is high time we cast the die back at their own teeth by correctly identifying them as Deitiphobes. Of the three terms, the only one that holds any truth behind it is Deitiphobia. The other two are merely manipulative terms concocted as a means to try and silence the truth from those opposed to them.

It is rather ironic how the people behind both fallacious terms, "homophobe" and "Islamophobe," have the exact same character, mentality, and agenda against Christians: "Convert! Or lose everything!" In the Middle East, that is the ultimatum from Islam toward Christians. In North America, that is the ultimatum from the LGBT toward Christians. And who is falsely accused of being guilty of "hate" crimes? People need to wake up and open their eyes and take a closer look at the behaviour and actions of the homosexual community if they want to see what real hate crimes look like. Unfortunately, a great number of people in society have been emotionally manipulated and brainwashed into ignoring their common sense and logic in order to support the fallacious and illogical arguments of the LGBT community. Demonstrates how much of their brain they actually put to use...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Rules For Bible Study

The first rule when reading/studying/interpreting the Bible is:
     Context, context, context!

The second rule when reading/studying/interpreting the Bible is:
     Compare Scripture with Scripture! (Examine the whole counsel of the Word of God.)

The third rule when reading/studying/interpreting the Bible is:
     Wrestle with and submit to what the text actually says, and conform your beliefs accordingly.

When a preacher/teacher preaches/teaches the Bible expositorily verse-by-verse, they need to remember these three rules. As they go verse-by-verse, the tendency is to isolate the current verse or passage from its immediate (surrounding verses), sectional (surrounding chapters), and/or canonical (other passages) contexts. This can lead to false interpretations and doctrinal errors that can have grave consequences. Preaching/teaching the Bible expositorily is the best method, but the above three rules must remain in tact the entire time.

So, when you are preaching through Matthew and you arrive at 5:31-32 or 19:3-9, or you are preaching through Mark and you arrive at 10:2-12, Rule #2 ensures that you consider the whole counsel of God's Word on the matter, which includes Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, 39; Hebrews 13:4; Malachi 2:13-16; Deuteronomy 22:13-21; 24:1-4; and the narrative of Jesus' birth regarding the state of His parents. Remember, there is no room for experiential interpretation. All your work must be exegetical. Do not force the text to say something it does not, just because that is what you desire it to say even though you have just been confronted with the fact it says something completely different.

Rule #3 acknowledges that if you are doing proper Bible study, you are going to encounter things that go against how you have been raised and/or what you have been taught, whether by your parents, your pastor at your church, or professors at Bible schools. At this point, you seriously need to wrestle with what the text has just revealed and then you need to submit to it and conform your beliefs in accordance to what the text actually says. To do anything less is rebellion. Remember, children of the King delight in the truth. Better to swallow your pride and correct your beliefs than to proudly and stubbornly continue preaching/teaching false doctrines and lies.

Adhere to those three rules and you should never go wrong.

Salvation After the Rapture?

"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way." 2 Thessalonians 2:7
If you are not familiar with it, the Christian Zionist, or Dispensationalist, uses this verse to teach that after the "Rapture" the Holy Spirit will be removed from the Earth and that He will no longer indwell or influence men. Among the hundreds (if not thousands) of nonsensical and illogical beliefs bound up in this bankrupt system of theology, this one has got to be the most astounding.

The Dispensational system of theology teaches that even after the "Rapture" people will be getting saved. There are a couple monumental problems with this.

First, if all the Christians were removed from Earth at the "Rapture," who could possibly tell the remaining people about Jesus? Who could disciple them properly? Who could tell them about sin, repentance and faith? That is right... No one! "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. 10:14). All the Christians have been removed. Who is going to preach to the lost? If someone could miraculously believe, they would then be a Christian, which, logically, would "rapture" them out of the world since, according to Dispensational theology, Christians are not supposed to experience the wrath of God poured out on the world. If you are a believer, you are a Christian and you belong to the Church. Simple as that.

Second, if the Holy Spirit is removed from the Earth and no longer indwells or influences men, how could the remaining people possibly get saved? You cannot exercise something that has not been given to you. Read your Bible! Faith is a gift from God. If God does not grant you faith, you cannot and will not believe. Every change that must accompany salvation is brought about by the Holy Spirit. If He does not first make you born again from above, giving you a new heart with new desires and granting you faith so that you may believe, then you remain dead in your sins. You can only exercise faith once the Holy Spirit has changed you in order that you will exercise faith. "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit" (Matt. 7:18). An unregenerate person with a heart of stone (bad tree) cannot choose to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. They cannot regenerate themselves nor give themselves a heart of flesh. Likewise, a regenerate person with a heart of flesh (good tree) cannot choose to reject Jesus as Lord and Saviour. They cannot unregenerate themselves nor give themselves a heart of stone. If the Spirit has regenerated you and given you salvation through faith, you will exercise the faith you have been granted because you can do nothing less. If the Holy Spirit has not regenerated you and given you salvation through faith, you cannot exercise a faith you do not possess.

Jesus has been reduced merely to an object by the Dispensational system of theology. All you need to do is exercise something you do not possess (faith) and you can save yourself. Their system of theology teaches that your salvation is in your hands; that you can choose to accept or reject Christ Jesus. Jesus is the object and you and/or your faith are the source.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is both the object and the source of our salvation. If you do not believe, it is because you do not belong to Him. What do John 3:18 and 3:36 say? What does John 10:26 say (see also John 8:47; 18:37; 1 John 4:6)?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Book of God

by Unknown Author

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness—that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This book contains:
    the mind of God,
    the state of man,
    the way of salvation,
    the doom of lost sinners, and
    the happiness of believers.

Its doctrine is holy,
its precepts are binding,
its histories are true, and
its decisions are immutable.

It contains . . .
    light to direct you,
    food to support you, and
    comfort to cheer you.

This book is . . .
    the traveler's map,
    the pilgrim's staff,
    the pilot's compass,
    the soldier's sword, and
    the Christian's charter.

Here Heaven is open—and the gates of Hell are disclosed. Christ is the grand subject,
our good is its design, and
the glory of God is its end.

This book should . . .
    fill the memory,
    rule the heart,
    and guide the feet.

It is . . .
    a mine of wealth,
    health to the soul,
    and a river of pleasure.

It . . .
    involves the highest responsibility,
    will reward the greatest labor, and
    condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.

Read it to be wise,
believe it to be safe,
and practice it to be holy.

Read it . . .
    slowly,
    frequently,
    and prayerfully.

This Book—the Book of Books, the Book of God, the Bible—is the revelation of God to man!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Your Worthy Walk

"No, I can't dance, I can't talk
Only thing about me is the way I walk"
Genesis, "I Can't Dance"

Whether or not we can dance, talk, or sing, or anything else we can or cannot do, the only thing about the Christian is the way he/she walks. Our walk speaks volumes. The world, whether Christian or non-Christian, is watching. If our walk does not match our talk, they will know it and they will call us out on it. No amount of excuses will let you off the hook. Even the non-Christians know how Christians are supposed to behave. Christians cannot be and should not be hypocrites.

Galatians 2:11-14 teaches us to (1) watch our lifestyle and not to act hypocritically, and to (2) act in a manner that is worthy of the truth of the gospel. "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6). In other words, walk as if you have truly received Him. "Bear fruits in keeping with repentance" (Luke 3:8). If you truly belong to Christ, you will be marked with an undeniable difference in your way of life. We are in this world, not of it.

Walk worthy of...
  • "...walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called," Ephesians 4:1
  • "...conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ;" Philippians. 1:27
  • "...walk in a manner worthy of the Lord..." Colossians 1:10
  • "...walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." 1 Thessalonians 2:12
Ephesians 4:1 has nothing to do with vocation. Compare it with 1 Thessalonians 2:12. You were called to be sons and daughters of the Most High. Ergo, walk in a manner that is worthy of that calling, a manner that proves you were truly called and set apart. If you are not sons and daughters, then you are illegitimate children and have no part with Christ. Many professors of Christ try to make excuses for the sin they live in, the way they walk or talk, but if they were of Christ, rather than try to make excuses for being caught in their sin and called out on it, they would hate those aspects of themselves and continually pray for the Lord to remove it from them. Prayer and the Word are our weapons against besetting sins that hold us back and trip us up. If we are not doing battle, then we need to re-examine our claim of faith.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Experiential Interpretation of Romans 7

"The Apostle Paul says, 'There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,' and he says that on the heels of the remarkable testimony of his battle with sin in Romans chapter 7, where he says he has this inner turmoil not doing what he wants to do and doing what he hates and when he would do good evil would be present with him."
Dr. Rick Horne, "Take Ten Looks" from Timothy Brindle's album The Restoration
Dr. Rick Horne, along with a great number of Christians out there, is sadly mistaken. In fact, he is outright wrong, and, unlike most of our post-modern society, I am not afraid to say it. Romans 7 is not a testimony of Paul's battle with sin. People seriously need to learn what it means to conduct exegesis. There is no room for, and no excuse for, experiential interpretation. Our experiences do not interpret the text. In fact, our day and age, with its individualism and rampant acceptance of sin, offers absolutely nothing into the interpretation of Scripture in the least. Scripture, like many parts of the world still today, functioned on the base of familial units. If you want to understand Scripture correctly, you need to understand familial units. Many places in the world today still operate thus, where the children reside with the parents until they get married, and later in the parents' life are looked after by their children, even contributing to the family while living at home. The familial unit often extended beyond just immediate family and would include extended family. Everyone looked out for everyone else, something our Western society and culture lost following the Renaissance. But that is neither the here nor there of this article.

Paul did not ask if Christians would continue to sin or even struggle with sin. So what was the question he asked? For that answer, we need to examine the preceding verse to the section frequently ripped out of context—verse 13. Verses 14-25 are cited in isolation of the immediate context 99% of the time. The rhetorical question Paul asked in verse 13 was, "Did that which is good [the Law] become a cause of death for me?" He provides a strong denial to his question and then proceeds to give an answer. Paul did not finish answering his question with the remainder of verse 13 only to shift gears into a completely unrelated issue for the rest of the chapter.

In order to understand precisely what Paul is getting at with Romans 7:13-25, we still need to keep it in context with Romans 7:7-12. The entire chapter is dealing with the Law and man's relation therewith. In Romans 7:7-12, Paul, using the historical-present 'I', says, "I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, 'You shall not covet.'" Because of the Law, he noticed all sorts of covetousness within. The good he wanted to do (Do not covet), he did not do, but what he did not want to do (covet), he did. In both Romans 7:15 and 7:19, there are two Greek words used, and they are used in the reverse of each other to paint an undeniable picture that those who falsely misinterpret Romans 7 refuse to address. These words are prasso (πρασσω), meaning "to perform repeatedly or habitually," and poieo (ποιεω), meaning "to purpose." So, continuing to speak using the historical-present 'I', these two verses read thus:
15: For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I do not repeatedly or habitually practice [prasso] what I would like to do, but I purpose to do [poieo] the very thing I hate.
19: For the good that I want, I do not purpose to do [poieo], but I repeatedly or habtiually practice [prasso] the very evil that I do not want.
Putting the two verses together, he is saying, "I do not repeatedly or habitually practice what I would like to do, but I repeatedly or habitually practice the very evil that I do not want" and "For the good that I want, I do not purpose to do, but I purpose to do the very thing I hate." Does that sound like a Christian?!? Not in the least! Interestingly enough, 1 John 3:4-10 also uses both of these Greek words, and this passage clearly tells us that a person who purposes to sin and repeatedly or habitually practices sin is not of God. He/she is of the devil!

For you preachers and teachers out there who continue to lie about Romans 7 and deal with it from an experiential interpretive standpoint, rather than an exegetical interpretive standpoint, if you are not going to give the Word of God the due treatment and respect it deserves, then might I suggest you step down from your position. The church needs leaders appointed by God who hold His Word in the highest regard and do their work diligently. There can be no haphazard work. In preaching the Bible verse by verse, we need to do so exegetically and we need to be comparing Scripture with Scripture so as to give the most accurate interpretation of the text—as a whole.

Romans 8 is the normal Christian life. "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Love Thy Selfie

by Jerry Sheppard

"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy." (2 Timothy 3:2, ESV)

It is no secret that "self love" is on the rise today. So much so that the present generation is three times more "self-centered" than the previous generations. It is one thing to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31, ESV), but it is quite another thing when you have an unhealthy view of yourself. For another Scripture says, "I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he [or she] ought to think" (Rom. 12:3, NASB). It is hard to focus on others if our focus is too much on ourselves. The Apostle Paul instructs, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil. 2:3-4, NASB).

At present, there is much in music, the social media, magazines, movies, and so on, in our society that promotes the "self" life. Modern technology is boasted to help make our lives easier, but instead it has fed our egos and inflated our self-esteem in such a way that we think too highly of ourselves. Many people from various age groups have become narcissistic, self-entitled, and privileged. Such people get easily offended if you don't feed into their over-inflated perception of themselves. Such social websites as Facebook is chock-full of profiles of young people who have numerous "selfie" photos. It's like they are obsessed with themselves and addicted to the attention they get from the number of "Likes" and complimenting comments they get.

I have personally come across this type of behaviour myself in my interactions with some women on Facebook. Look, I'm not against people taking pictures of themselves, but when you see their photo page littered with selfies, or their conversations with you peppered with little selfie shots, then it's obvious there is a deep underlying problem in their life. It's a cry for attention, insecurity, or, as mentioned earlier, an unhealthy obsession with one's self. For example, one 40-something lady on Facebook titled her photo section, "LOVE THY SELFIE." She had over 200+ selfies. Or as one guest, Iyanla Vanzant, on Oprah Winfrey put it, "It is Self-full to put yourself first." This lady on Oprah's show was exalting self as an actual virtue! Imagine that! Even more disturbing was when she cited this quote from A Course on Miracles: "When you give to others to the degree that you sacrifice yourself, you make the other person a thief." Then she concluded, "They are stealing from you what you need, and they don't even know it." This of course is in complete opposition to Jesus' words, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, NASB). Again, Jesus says, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matt. 16:25, NASB). Noted author, Ayn Rand, in his very telling book, The Virtue of Selfishness, made this self-exalting statement: "To hold one's own life as one's ultimate value, and one's own happiness as one's highest purpose, are two aspects of the same achievement." With such comments, is it any wonder people today are so self-centered and narcissistic? Whether people realize it or not, this unhealthy act of self-love is a form of "self" worship. It is idolatry (see Ex. 20:3-5). Actually, the practice of self-love and the worship of self is known among Satanists as one of their most revered practices.

The wonderful news is, it doesn't have to be that way. You don't need to post a hundred selfies to get validation from others. Put away your video cameras, cell phones, iPhones, and other computerized gadgets and go out and talk to people; really make an effort to socialize with people without whipping out your cell phone every few minutes to check your messages and updates. Really make an effort to focus your interest on other people, and never seek validation from others. If you really want validation from other people, then give them a reason to do so by focusing your attention on them and not yourself. Put your focus on Christ, and not yourself; put your focus on your neighbor, and not yourself. Make this a daily habit, and soon you will reap the positive benefits from it. I challenge you with this thought provoking quote from Jim Elliot: "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose."

I came across this quote from a friend on Facebook. The quote reads:

"So many years of education, yet nobody ever taught us how to love ourselves, and why it's so important." -Spirit Science.

I would not say education is the problem, but rather the issue is, they don't know how to love themselves appropriately. For most people don't have a problem loving themselves. People are usually full of self-love, so much so that many are narcissistic, in love with themselves. It is a self-centered kind of love that fails to reach beyond one's self in love towards others. For the Scripture says, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31, ESV). You see, it is too much self-love that is the real problem here, not a lack of it. People need to be taught to not love themselves too much to the exclusion of others. Why is this so important? Because without a healthy balance between loving our self properly and loving others appropriately, we get off balance and fall victim to such inappropriate behaviours as self-entitlement and narcissism.

Notice the host of sinful problems that follow right after Paul's phrase, "For people will be lovers of self." The list goes beyond just the verse in today's text. The complete list reads as follows: "lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God," (2 Tim. 3:3-4, ESV). This of course is akin to the works of the flesh (see Gal. 5:19-21). If focusing on loving our self amounts to producing such bad fruit that is mentioned in the list of bad behaviours by Paul in the verses above, I will gladly pass. I would rather have the fruits of the Spirit produced in my life, which are as follows: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23, ESV). You see, as I stated earlier, it is not a lack of loving our self that is the real problem here, but rather it is "self-love" that is at the root of our problem. If we are to be taught how to love, it should be in how to love others. For we selfishly love ourselves naturally. With that said, I concluded with Jesus' words here: "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, ESV).

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Church-going Atheists

by Frank Hall

"The fool says in his heart: There is no God!" Psalm 14:1

To deny the existence of God is to be an atheist--and all atheists are silly fools. However, those who profess to be atheists, and live according to their profession, are more honorable fools than the millions of painted hypocrites who profess faith in Christ and yet live like infidels! At least professing atheists are consistent fools! Atheists say that there is no God, and being true to their profession, they live as if there were no God. But there are untold multitudes of church goers who, in their pretentious religiosity, denounce atheism as an abomination--and yet they live just like atheists! These church-going atheists are pathetic because they lack the honesty and courage to speak what they say with their lives and in their hearts every single day--that there is no God!

Men and women who say that they believe in God, and yet live like Hell, are atheists at heart--and that makes them the most foolish of all fools!
"I'm a drunk, but I believe in God.
 I'm a profane worldling, but I believe in God.
 I'm a vile, filthy fornicator, but I believe in God.
 I live like Hell, but I'm going to Heaven.
 I don't worship God, but I believe in God.
 I don't read the Bible or practice its teachings, but I love the God who wrote it."

Such stupid gibberish betrays the atheism that is bound up in the hearts of religious hypocrites around the world! If you want to know what someone believes, look past what they say, and just consider how they live. All who say that there is a God in the heavens, and yet refuse to honor God's Son, are nothing more than atheists masquerading as Christians.

I wonder, what does your life say? Does it prove your profession to be true--or blast it to pieces?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Three Attitudes A Christian Should Avoid

by Jerry Shepperd

The problem I see with the church and with many fellow Christians in general today is indifference to their own faith. I'm sure there are a number of reasons for that. Personally, I think there are three primary reasons why a lot of Christians will not make a stand for Christ and the principles we hold to, because such believers are too much like the world.
  1. The Compromising Christian: Their reasoning is, we need to be like the world in order to win unbelievers out of the world. Such misguided believers misinterpret Paul's words: “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some" (1 Cor. 9:22, NASB). The question this raises is, what difference does Christ make, then, in a sinner's life? If we are to behave like those in the world, then how can we show those in the world the difference Christ has made in our lives? The fact is, Paul became "all things," whether a Jew, Gentile, Roman, slave, or free, in order to win them to Christ. By no means does this imply he practiced the various corruptions and sins in order to be like a pagan, Roman, or any other person who he was trying to win to Christ. He could behave according to the custom and behavior expected of a Roman citizen, or as a Jewish citizen for that matter, without adopting their questionable, sinful practices. However, the saint is called to be like Christ. Paul puts it this way, and instructs us to: "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Rom. 13:14, NASB).
     
  2. The Christian who will not submit to the Cost: There are those who call themselves Christians, who are not willing to suffer the cost of being associated with Christ or fellow saints. Such "Christians" love it when things are going great, but quickly bail at the first sign of persecution. They want to follow Christ on their terms, not God's. Paul knew this all too well, for one of his fellow workers, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Tim. 4:10, NASB). Demas did not want to share in the Apostle Paul’s suffering and persecution, let alone share in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. He was too much a companion of this world to be a true companion to the Apostle. Of such, James writes: “You adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4, NASB). How can any Christian truly be at peace and friends with a world that has the blood of Christ on their hands? The Apostle John’s words are clear: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15, NASB). So what should our attitude be to the world? Again, Paul writes: “And those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31, NKJV). The fact is, to the child of God, this present world is not their home. We are travelers, not settlers, here in this world. To the believer the world has been crucified to him/her, and the believer to the world (see Gal. 6:14; 2:20).
     
  3. The Condemning Christian: This type of Christian is highly critical of both Christians and non-Christians. The moment he learns a particular Christian or unbeliever falls short of the condemning Christian's unreasonable expectations and standards, he or she, like the Pharisee of old, will harshly judge and condemn that person. First, to the fellow saint, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1, NASB). If Christ does not condemn our brother or sister in Christ for their faults, neither should we. Second, the Lord Jesus was not an isolationist, for He often sat and ate with sinners. The Lord Jesus' attitude towards the condemning was "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32, NASB). Self-righteousness is not a virtue; Christ's righteousness is! Let us adopt His righteous attitude, and stop condemning our fellow brother in the Lord.
As believers in Christ, let's avoid being compromising, Christ denying, condemning Christians. Let's glorify Christ by lips, by love, and by our life!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

LGBT: Choice Or Genes?

 by Mark Escalera

The science aspect of this question is rather simple. There is no “gay” gene. There never has been a “gay” gene. There never will be a “gay” gene. Modern scientists will strive in vain to find that which undermines and countermands the Word of God. The reason is because modern culture hates everything about God. It hates the Bible with a passion because it points out the sin nature that is found in every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. Modern culture wants to think that man is getting better and better. Because of this thought process, it demands that all must conform equally to whatever is considered to be the acceptable norm.

Enter the LGBT community along with their open and unashamed agenda for the total destruction of all that is right and wholesome. How have we come so far in such a short time?

There was a time when acts such as lesbianism and homosexuality were punishable as crimes, and we do not have to go all the way back to the Old Testament to find that such behavior has long been considered an abomination. However, if the only guide we had to what is acceptable behavior, we can go all the way back to creation to find that God made them male and female. Ultimately, the final authority belongs to God. He created marriage to be between one man and one woman, but sin has destroyed all of that. God created marriage to produce and populate the earth and to care for His creation, but sin has destroyed all of that.

The wickedness of the earth continues to grow as it rises in rebellion against God.

The advent of television and movies is probably one of the greatest contributors to the open acceptance of the perversions that run rampant in our societies over the last century. We found out that certain movie stars were womanizers, adulterers, fornicators, or living a life as a homosexual or lesbian, and we excused it because, “That’s just Hollywood.”

People acting in an effeminate manner were mocked but only for a short time. The so-called wholesome family shows soon began mocking the family unit. The role played by the husband was denigrated and they were made to look like bumbling fools. The beautiful picture of a lady quickly faded into obscurity as women were paraded into more and more masculine roles.

Bedroom scenes quickly moved from a man and woman sleeping in separate beds to the actors being filmed in risqué and questionable situations. Before long, that was not enough for audiences and the movies began to include partial nudity. Then, it became more open as the cameras relished in the depraved scenes mocking all that God created to be holy within the bonds of matrimony.

But that was never enough! Movies began to flirt with lustful relationships between two men or two women, then proceeded to make films and tv episodes where homosexuality and lesbianism was fully acceptable. Those who cried against these perversions were mocked as being prudes and as those “Christian types who really don’t understand that God is love and that He loves everybody just like they are and that He even created some men to love other men or some women to love other women.”

Do we wonder why there are so many who have chosen lifestyles that are opposed to God? It is because culture has made it seem innocent. It has taken all that is good and holy before God and destroyed it a little bit at a time. What is acceptable now brings little more than a yawn to many, even to some who claim to be followers of Christ. Such portrayals on the screen 20, 30, or 50 years ago would have brought the wrath of much of America down on the heads of movie studios.

However, the movie producers were smart. Test the waters enough and before long, what is sin and wickedness will be acceptable. Now, social media like Twitter and Facebook has allowed those who live in open rebellion against God and His Word to parade their sin. Gay parades and the accompanying perversions of those who prey against our children is no longer headline news. Those who make the news are the “bigots” who stand in the way of cultural evolution as “the earth moves towards a utopian society.”

In just a few short decades, the LGBT community went from only wanting to be free to do whatever they wanted in the privacy of their homes to demanding that their perversions must be taught to impressionable young boys and girls. Believers got a little squeamish with the idea but began hearing from the pulpit that “God loves people just like they are. He wants us to accept people for who they are. Whatever they do in the privacy of their own homes is none of our business.” And we bought the lies. Churches began to accept the depravity a bit at a time.

Public schools were the breeding ground for the introduction of sexual freedom of all kinds to children. Children went home and the things not acceptable in homes was openly allowed to be portrayed on the televisions when they got home from school. The sexual revolution opened the door and now pregnancy out of wedlock and people openly living together with no commitment and no marriage is totally acceptable. To question a person living in such a lifestyle is to be a bigot.

Is it any wonder that once society accepted the perversions, and the family allowed the perversions on the screen, and then the church accepted the perversions – is it really any wonder that boys and girls are growing up in confusion as to what they were created to be? Today, judges are passing laws that demand equal rights for those who want to live in a fantasy world while demanding that those with any morals left be held in contempt of court.

Churches stopped taking a stand for truth. Pastors failed to prepare the hearts of the believers to stand for the truth because there were no more absolutes. Absolutes were only for bigots. Churches went from preaching the truth to accepting all lifestyles that were opposed to all that is holy to God. Pastors stopped preaching against sin because it was not popular and would cause a decline in the offerings every Sunday.

What sane person finds it acceptable for a man to walk into a woman’s bathroom because he thinks he is a woman? What sane person finds it believable that through the use of medicine and genital mutilation a person can actually change themselves from a man to a woman or from a woman to a man? Sorry, but Bruce Jenner will always be a man and he is no hero. He is a man who needs to seek forgiveness from the Most High God that he has offended and against Who he lives in outright rebellion.

What is next? Polygamy? Many false religions already allow for this and it will not be long before they will demand equal protection for their lifestyle. The polygamists of Utah and Colorado used to be a very quiet group who worked diligently to stay under the radar of the authorities. Now, television and movies have promoted this lifestyle as being acceptable. Judges are already throwing out cases that involve polygamy and it will not be long before polygamy will no longer be a crime, but will be openly acceptable behavior from any who choose to have more than one husband or one wife.

What else is coming? Bestiality? Lowering the age of consent to accommodate the agenda of the LGBT community? Yep, all of the above and even worse will be coming because our societies in the west are on a cliff-face headed straight for hell. If you doubt that the LGBT community has an agenda, then you are living like an ostrich with your head in the sand.

The Roman Empire was destroyed from within by its debauchery. Rome became a place where biblical Christianity was mocked while allowing polygamy, slavery, and the selling of boys and girls for whatever perversions were needed to satisfy a person’s lust was on offer. Our society will also soon be there because it hates God, but God will not be mocked. Neither will His judgment be withheld forever.

However, there is hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone. You will never find hope inside of a pill, or drugs, or a bottle, or illicit sex, or lust-filled relationships. The emptiness that is within the heart of each person can only be filled by Jesus Christ. When a person comes to the end of themselves and realizes that they are lost in the depravity of their sin, only then will they be able to understand the joy that belongs to true believers. Repent from your sin while there is yet time.

If you claim to know Christ, you cannot remain in your sin or your perversions otherwise the Bible makes it clear that you are not a true believer. If you are called to be a minister, you must take a stand for truth regardless of what it will cost you.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Disciple's Prayer

"Pray, then, in this manner: 'Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.'" Matthew 6:9-13
This prayer is frequently and erroneously referred to as "The Lord's Prayer." However, not once did Jesus pray this. In fact, He had no need to; He was perfect, without sin. The Lord's Prayer is found in John 17. The prayer found here is The Disciple's Prayer. Jesus was teaching His disciples how to pray—not what to pray. Notice that He did not tell them this was the prayer they were to habitually pray, but rather they were to pray "in this manner." We need to examine the structure Jesus provides for us, because this is how our prayers out to be patterned after. The structure of The Disciple's Prayer is:
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
We should begin our prayers by acknowledging that God is our Father in heaven and that we honour Him. This is an important step in humbling ourselves before Him and telling Him that He is our God and that we trust His Word and wisdom.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
We should let Him know that we understand that He is in control and in charge of all things, that His kingdom will continue, and that it is His will and not our own that we are to listen to and obey. His authority governs both Heaven and Earth.

At this point, we should acknowledge all that He has done for us, all the bountiful blessings He has provided for our good, all the trials He has blessed us with in order to learn what we need to learn, and every good thing in our lives.

Give us this day our daily bread.
We should then petition Him for our needs and the righteous desires of our hearts—not our whims or worldly desires. The righteous desires of our hearts will conform to His will. "Our daily bread" is not merely food, but all the daily necessities for our growth and salvation.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We should lay before Him our sins and transgressions, asking forgiveness and for the strength to forgive those who have sinned against us. If we remember that we have something against a brother, or a brother has something against us, we need to rectify it. This is our opportunity for repentance, for our weaknesses, for our thoughtlessness, for our disobedience, for our sins of commission or omission.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
We should pray for His guidance in our walk and the power to overcome sin. We need to have self-mastery, or self-control, so as to conquer the adversary. Remember, Romans 6:11 tells us to "consider yourselves to be dead to sin." In other words, reckon it to be true.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
We should close by once again acknowledging that this is His kingdom and that He has all the power. The glory of what we do belongs to Him for all that He provides for us. We should close in the holy name of Christ Jesus our Saviour and Redeemer.

7 Biblical Tests For Christians and Music

by Ed Stetzer

Christians disagree about music style as much as any other issue in the body of Christ. More than likely, you've experienced this firsthand. As I've already written, conflicts over music have been common through out church history. Christians have listened to and enjoyed all of kinds of music. But should they?

In seeking to determine what is the right music for a church, it's important that we use biblical principles in our evaluation. That's not always easy—the Bible doesn't contain music notes. God never gives us His musical preferences.

While it may be difficult, I do believe it's possible to evaluate musical preferences using God's word. The following seven tests each relate to biblical principles that we can apply to our music to determine its suitability.

1. Message Test
This may be the simplest of all the tests. Examine the words of the song and consider its message. Does this song communicate the Word of God? Does the message appeal to our higher nature, or do the words appeal to our lower nature? If we seek to glorify God, it's important that the message of the songs be consistent with what God has already told us in Scripture.

2. Purpose Test
All music was written with a purpose in mind. Here we ask, "For what purpose was this song written?" or "What is this trying to promote or encourage?" Determine whether the music is sad, joyful, uplifting or soothing. Music that may be appropriate at one time may not be appropriate at another. Some music may even be intended to promote sinful choices or ways of thinking. When we apply the purpose test to our music, we choose songs whose purpose lines up with our own as Christians and the values of our local church.

3. Association Test
No music exists in a vacuum. An otherwise good song may be rejected because of its associations. The key question for this test is, "What does the music bring to mind in the heart of the worshipper?" Don't confuse the question. It's not what does it inspire in myheart, but what does it inspire in the heart of the worshipper.

This will depend on the context. When I spoke to a group of pastors, some of whom were Jamaican, they agreed that a variety of musical styles could be appropriate for their churches, but not reggae. For them, that style of music was about drugs. I then asked if it would be OK to use reggae music in my church where it does not have the same connotation. They agreed. The music was not the problem, the association was.

For example, many believe rap music connected to violence and misogyny. To others, however, it can simply be a vehicle to rage against sin and "the world powers of darkness" (Eph. 6:12 HCSB). Lecrae, epitomizes this in the intro track to his album Rebel:
And I rap the bread of life cause they dyin' to eat
I'm a rebel you know the kind that die in the street
Cause you refuse to conform,
won't eat the king's meat yeah

Christ rebelled by shunning the culture
He eatin' with sinners givin' Pharisees ulcers
He never got married, He was broke plus homeless
Yeah, that's the God I roll wit
What Lecrae has done in "Rebel Intro" is to take a form and to use it for a different meaning. The form of rap is no less godly than the form in most of our hymns. It is a canvas waiting for a picture. The target of the rebellion by Lecrae and others like him is the prevailing cultural attitudes that are contrary to Christ.

4. Memory Test
Memories and past experiences are often associated with significant songs. This can be positive or negative. The memory test asks, "Does the music bring back things in your past that you have left?" Remember, repentance is a significant step in conversion. If you have left the darkness, don't sing songs that make you want to return. This is often a personal issue, as some may struggle with memories associated with a song that can be enjoyed free of those thoughts by other Christians.

This means no one can claim a style of music they don't enjoy violates some policy of "offending our brother." That's not scriptural. What the Bible does teach is that we ought to avoid a practice if it causes people to sin. Listening to contemporary music does not cause a senior adult to sin, though it may offend. There is a distinct difference between the two.

5. Emotions Test
Music stirs our emotions—both negative and positive ones. The emotions test asks, "Does the music stir our negative or sinful feelings?" Christian music should stir our passion for godliness, prayer and righteous living. If music causes you to crave sin, it is wrong; no matter how innocent it may appear. We should always evaluate how music affects us emotionally.

6. Understanding Test
This seeks to determine which type of music we understand the best. Some people enjoy and understand classical music, while some don't. Others enjoy and understand country/western (though I'm not sure why). Other people—also known as "those who are right"—hate it. Those who appreciate classical music would find it easier to worship God listening to a recording of Handel's Messiah than a southern gospel quartet. This will depend on the person, their tastes and what it is that best encourages their worship.

7. Music Test
This test, like many of the others, is a "cultural" test that will differ from place to place. It looks at the song to determine its merits based on hymnology. Is the song singable? Does it make your heart join in the song? A song may have Christian words and be sung by a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, but the music can be flat and leave the audience empty. That particular song will probably pass out of existence because it fails the music test.

Conclusion
These tests lead us to one simple fact: God can use any form of music. He has no musical style or preference. With the exception of the message and purpose test, the biblical tests listed here are all really about reflecting a biblical grid.

When you or your church is choosing music, it is important that you think through these issues. You may have the freedom to choose, but use discernment to choose wisely. Any musical style can pass the test in the right context, but it takes wisdom and a biblical perspective to determine whether that is the case. Hopefully, these seven tests can help you in that process.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Rich Man and Lazarus: NOT a Parable!

It is no wonder more and more people are doubting the existence of hell, or simply downplaying it, when even individuals such as John MacArthur falsely refer to the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 as "a parable." In John's latest book, Parables, on pages 157-174, he does precisely that.

What is a parable? A parable is a figure of speech using "like," "as," or "than" for comparison. A parable is a story designed to illustrate the truth of reality. Since a parable uses an illustration in order to convey a truth of reality, if the rich man and Lazarus is a parable, what truth of reality is it conveying for us?

Look at every one of Jesus' other parables and note how they illustrate something completely different from what He is actually saying. So, if this is a parable, what truth of reality is it revealing to us?

This story uses an actual person's name, which Jesus' parables never did. The story clearly says, "And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment" (v.23). If the Greek word "hades" (αδου) merely refers to the grave, how can an individual have consciousness, as is clearly demonstrated here, and also be "in torment"? If it is merely a grave, how does torment tie in with it? How is he able to lift up his eyes?

The parables Jesus told always referred to something else, to some spiritual form of reality. So, again, if this is a parable, what truth of reality is it revealing to us?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

An Infallible Test

by Samuel Davies

"If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him!" 1 Corinthians 16:22

If you truly love the Lord Jesus Christ--then you earnestly study and endeavor to please Him by a life of universal obedience. Love is always desirous to please the person beloved; and it will naturally lead to a conduct that is pleasing. This, then, you may be sure of, that if you truly love Jesus--then it is the labor of your life to please Him.

The only way to please Jesus, and the best test of your love to Him--is obedience to His commandments. This is made the decisive mark by Christ Himself: "If anyone loves Me--he will obey My teaching. He who does not love Me--will not obey My teaching." John 14:23, 24.

Jesus repeats this theme over and over in different forms: "Whoever has My commands and obeys them--he is the one who loves Me," verse 21. "If you love Me--you will obey what I command," verse 15. "You are My friends--if you do what I command." John 15:14. "This is love for God," says John; that is, it is the surest evidence, and the natural, inseparable effect of our love to God, "that we obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3; that is, they will not seem grievous to one who obeys them from the principle of sincere love.

Here, then, you who profess to love the Lord Jesus--here is an infallible test for your love! Do you make it the great aim of your life to keep His commandments? Do you honestly endeavor to perform every duty which He has required--and that because He has commanded it? And do you vigorously resist and struggle against every sin, however constitutional, however fashionable, however gainful--because He forbids it? And is the way of obedience pleasant to you? Would you choose this holy way to heaven, rather than any other--if it were left to your choice?

Your not loving God--if it continues, will certainly lead you to Hell. You are fit for no other place! Where should the enemies of God be--but in an infernal prison? There is the same propriety in throwing you into Hell--as in shutting up madmen in bedlam--or rebels in a dungeon! Why, you are devilized already! You have the very temperament of devils! Enmity to God is the grand constituent of a devil--it is the worst ingredient in that infernal disposition; and this you have in your hearts, and, as it were, incorporated with your habitual temperament! And what do you think will become of you? Judge for yourselves--must you not be doomed to that everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels--whom you resemble?

"If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse be on him!" 1 Corinthians 16:22

The Gospel of Christ Admits of No Compromise

by Jared Waterbury

"So then, any of you who does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple!" Luke 14:33

The gospel of Christ admits of no compromise. It demands our ALL. If it required less, it would be unworthy of its great author and finisher. I rejoice that it requires ALL--this is its glory. When we are brought to yield to its claims, and give up ALL--then, and not until then, will it throw around us its arms of mercy.

And do we talk about self-denial? Do we say, "It is hard to give up ALL!" I am ashamed to use such language--and ashamed to hear it used.

What did Christ give up for us? Let that question blot out "self-denial" from the Christian's vocabulary. When you think the Gospel makes severe requisitions by requiring ALL--go up to Mount Calvary and weep over such suggestions. See the blood of your Immanuel so freely gushing from a heart that never exercised towards you any emotion but love--love unspeakable--love unsought--and love for the guilty vile! Go hide your head in shame and penitence at such a thought.

It is a glorious privilege, my friend, to give up ALL to Christ. The soul that feels the constraining influence of His love, asks not how little may be given consistently with obtaining the heavenly reward--asks not for the lowest standard of discipleship. It burns with an ardent desire to devote ALL, and to aim at perfect "conformity to His death."

Determine, by the grace of God, that you will forsake all, and follow Christ. Do not, like Peter, follow Him afar off--but, like Mary, sit at His nail-pierced feet--like the beloved disciple John, rest upon His sweet bosom.