Why?

Act 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

How many preachers have read this verse?  How many elders?  How many Christians?  I once wrote an article explaining why I feel “political correctness” is a sin.  And it is far to prevalent in today’s church.  How long has it been since you have heard a sermon on Hell?  On how God is a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)?  A plain teaching on the fact that God will punish sin?  In fact, any sermon which does not deal generally with the goodness, forgiveness, and love of God?  Those things are certainly important.  HOWEVER…

You cannot appreciate the goodness and forgiveness of God if you fail to understand the consequences of not obeying God.  That is why the “whole counsel of God” is so very important.  In a time when few really study the Bible as they should, it is even more important that preachers warn the congregation of the wrath to come if they are not obedient.  I am not saying that is all they need to preach; I am saying that there is a place for the preaching of judgment.

The problem is this:  Elders and preachers are hesitant to preach the whole truth because it might “offend” someone.  Brothers, if the Scriptures teach it, you should preach it!  What good is it if 1,000 people leave your service feeling good if they are all lost because they truly believe that such a “good, kind” God as you preach will never let anyone go to Hell, but will ultimately forgive everyone?

What say ye?

Horoscope

Did you read your horoscope today?  Well, be truthful…did you? “So what”, you ask.  “What’s the harm?  It’s just entertainment.  No problem.”  Is that right?  Let’s take a closer look.

In Deuteronomy 18:10, we read: There shall not be found among you any who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that used divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch…  In like manner, in II Kings, we read: And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire.  And they used divination and incantations, and sold themselves to do evil in the sigh of Jehovah, to provoke Him to anger.  Now, it is obvious that these two verses are from the Old Testament and we are under the New Testament, but the principle given is that fortune tellers and/or witches are not receiving their powers from the Lord God, or He would not have forbidden them.  However, the New Testament continues  the injunction.  In Galatians 5:19-21, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to include “witchcraft” as one of the works of the flesh which will cause one not to inherit the kingdom of God.  In fact, in Acts 19:19, when those were converted there, they brought all of their books and publically burned them, destroying the means of using the power of Satan to ensnare those in the young church.

So…where am I going with this?  Simple.  What do horoscopes purpose to do?  Obviously, they claim to predict the future, to tell you how your life will be today or tomorrow, or at some point yet in the future.  In essence, they are a type of fortune-teller, are they not?  Well, if God has condemned soothsayers and fortune tellers, why would a Christian want to pay attention to them?  They are not able, today, to foretell the future, and, if they could, their power would be that of Satan and not that of God.  Therefore, I maintain that Christians have no business depending on horoscopes or astrology to forecast the future.  In II Peter 1:3, Peter tells us that we already have everything that pertains to life and godliness.  That being so, why deal with questionable sources?

What say ye?

 

Joy

I am afraid that we, as Christian, have misrepresented God and His Word.  It is entirely true that our God is a consuming fire.  (Hebrews 12:29)  It is equally true that we hear so many sermons on the goodness and mercy of God that many forget that God, Himself, has said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay.  (Hebrews 10:30)  Maybe it is through the influence of these two verses, and others like them, that we have come to believe that God is somber and totally serious, and that His children should be the same.  Somehow, we have forgotten that Christians should be the happiest people in the entire world.

How do I justify this statement?  In at least 26 verses in the New Testament, the word “joy” appears, with the suggestion that it is an identifying mark of a Christian.  Let’s look at just a few examples:

  • Romans 14:17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
  • Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
  • I Thessalonians 1:6  And ye become imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Spirit
  • Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising shame, and hath set down at the right hand of the throne of God

In addition, there are at lest 28 examples of joy given to us in the New Testament.  Let us look at just a few of these:

Given so great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1), how can we call ourselves Christians and not be the most joyful people in town?  Christians are not called to be exclusively serious and somber. We are specifically taught by

  1. direct command
  2. necessary inference
  3. approved example

all of which portray the Christian as a joyful person.  Please keep in mind that joyful does not necessarily mean happy.  Happy is a temporary state of mind, dependent upon the current circumstances.  Joyful, on the other hand, is that  peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:1), and which is given only to God’s children, the members of His family.

Are you a child of God?  Then, let the world know that by being  basically joyful person.

What say ye?

Ephesians 5:11

Generally speaking, when anything is stated in the imperative voice in the Bible, it is to be taken with the same seriousness as a command.  Therefore, when Paul tells the Ephesians to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,  this is not a mere suggestion, but rather a command that is given to all Christians.  We have no choice but to reprove works of darkness when we encounter or observe them.

So, here is my question:  When was the last time that YOU stood up for the Word of God?  When was the last time that YOU spoke up and denounced something that was wrong in the sight of God Almighty?  When was the last time YOU risked ridicule or a friendship to set the record straight on what God has said was not pleasing to Him?  What do you fear most…society’s disapproval or God’s wrath?

What say ye?

Proof of God

In our Bible class last week, we discussed how and why we need to be able to tell others about God.  Many excellent answers were given.  But…I must confess, no one hit on the problem I have with telling others about God.  My problem is this:  In today’s society, there is simply a majority who do not believe in God or that the Bible is the Word of God.  Many who claim to believe in God and the Bible will say something like, “Yes, the Bible says that, but that was just a cultural thing, and does not mean that today.”  I have even personally heard someone say that they absolutely affirm that, if Jesus were alive today (?), He would definitely support “gay love” because He was all about love!

So, I began to think how to handle this.  First of all, if a person absolutely rejects the idea of God, it is almost impossible to change their minds.  But, for those who are willing to at least think, I believe I have found a  starting place.  Romans 1:20 reads:  For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being realized by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.  When a reasonable person looks around at the world, it should be easy to see that there is a pattern in the world.  There are far too many questions about the world that any rational person can see that are not answered by Darwinism…not answered by evolution…not able to be answered by the mere thinking of man.

Everything we see in this world reflects a pattern.  Everything we see reflects the fact that there was a designer.  To believe that everything in this world..indeed, in the entire universe…is simply a result of chance is to disregard the facts of true science that have been irrefutably proven.  Things simply do not evolve to a higher level.  In fact, they always degrade…rocks become sand, leaves become  mulch, etc.  If you can ever convince an unbeliever of this fact, then it becomes much easier to convince them that God is, indeed, the Creator Who set the standard and created all things.

What say ye?

The Preacher Said…

OK, here goes my soap-box again.  Too frequently these days, we forget to open the Bible and see for ourselves what the Holy Spirit has directed man to write.  We hear, “Well, Preacher So-and-so says it is this way, and he really knows the Bible, so he must be right.”  Nope, sorry.  No man is infallible, but the Bible is.

So, here is the latest to set me off.  I, personally, can find no place in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is not clear in what He wants us to know.  If  what a person says or does is not correct, the Holy Spirit–the Bible–tells us so.  Therefore, in Acts 26:28, when Agrippa says, “Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian,” why do some make it a point to have Agrippa shown as making fun of Paul?  Today, in Bible class, the teacher (who is also a preacher, but not at this congregation) stated that  Agrippa laughed at Paul and said, in effect, “Paul, are you so stupid as to think you could convert me?”  This is not the first time I have heard this interpretation, but this time I decided to go to the Bible and study for myself.  I investigated several commentaries, and also Young’s and Thayer’s.  Sorry, but most of these, including McGarvey and Thayer, tend to agree that Agrippa was very close to being converted, and that he was acknowledging this rather than that he was making fun of Paul.

This is really a small thing.  However, it points out my first premise:  Preachers (and I love them) are not infallible.  Neither am I.  Nor any man.  Therefore, regardless of the preacher, elder, or Bible teacher, we ALL need to “search the Scriptures” for ourselves.  Because ANY human can be mistaken, it is really vital that each of us goes to the Bible and is sure of what the Bible says…not what we are told it says.

What say ye?

Light

Always, the Bible is its own best commentary.  For example, the following verses:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom yu shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:15)  You are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)  For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)  I say to you that likewise there will e more joy in Heaven over ne sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:7)  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one anther, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

WOW!  How beautiful is that!  That is what light is all about.  We are called upon to shun sin, follow Jesus, and be the light of the world that all men can see today, and thus attract them to the Lord.

What say ye?

Strong Delusion

2Th 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,
2Th 2:12  so that all those who do not believe the truth, but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned.

What is this “strong delusion?”  Paul was speaking specifically of religious error, of preaching things specifically designed to lead the flock astray.  Although Paul certainly does not address evolution, I believe the same principle applies there.  Likewise, Peter did not specifically address evolution, but the principle applies when Peter, in II Peter 1:16, said, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables…”

We allow evolution to be taught as scientific fact in our schools, and we do little to refute the “theory.”  I have even heard a man who is now an elder say in a Bible class, “What difference does it make if the ‘days’ of Genesis were 24 hours or 24 million years?”  Well, it makes a lot of difference.  The Hebrew word for “day” used in Genesis, when used with a number, always indicated a 24-hour period.

According to Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman, “All evidence is fundamentally based on eyewitness observation—whether it be scientific observation during experiment and testing of scientific hypotheses, or eyewitness testimony as in a court of law.  No one has actually observed or eye-witnessed evolution…Attempts to study evolution have failed to observe any real evidence in spite of multiple efforts.  Adaptions of living things are always within groups, not between species groups.”

Here is my point—Evolution is taught in schools, not as a theory, but as fact.  There is no “proof” for the teaching.  If we, as Christian parents, do not refute this teaching and teach the truth at home and in the church, are we not allowing our precious children to be raised to “believe a lie?”  Make no mistake…teachers and professors are strong influences.  If our children never hear our truth that evolution is a flase theory, how are they to know the Truth?

Whay say ye?

 

Food Inspection

Please follow me.  You are a shepherd, responsible for a flock of 100 sheep.  Although you and your dog can easily move the sheep around where you want them to go, you have hired a man to be responsible for preparing the feed for the sheep when they are not out in the field.  One day, you notice that the hireling is putting rat poison, ground glass, and cotton in the feed.  What do you do?  I sincerely hope you would lose no time in firing the hireling.

Now, make no mistake:  The preacher is a hireling, hired by the elders to “feed the flock.”  It is the preacher who is before the congregation every Sunday, bringing them the bread of life.  However, it is the shepherds or elders who are ultimately responsible for what the flock is fed.  We love our preachers.  Most of them are wonderful men.  But the duty of the elders is NOT to support the popularity of the preacher.  The duty of the elders is to be sure the flock is fed pure, wholesome food.  If the preacher who leads a congregation astray is condemned by the Lord, so, too, are the elders who allow that to happen.  And so, too, are the members who sit back and swallow the poison, never reading the Bible for themselves to determine the truth of what they are told.

What say ye?

I’d Rather Err…

What?  I am hearing this phrase more and more and I simply cannot believe that any Christian would want to err.  So, let’s look at what they are saying:

  • I’d rather err on the side of mercy than on the side of judgment.
  • I’d rather err on the side of accepting what God has condemned than on the side of condemning what God has accepted.
  • I’d rather err on the side of being too liberal than on being too conservative.

There are more, but you get the idea.  What bothers me is this:  Any sin is sin.  God does not categorize sin as man does.  That is, God does not say homosexuality is worse than lying.  No, God says both are sin.  Right?  So, if we err, we err.  Rather than decide we’d “rather sin” on this side instead of that side, should we not go to the Bible, study what God has said, and determine NOT to sin on any side?  Should we not strive to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) and do what God expects us to do in each situation?

What say ye?

VOTE!!!

Okay.  First of all, as Christians, we ought to be always eager to leave the world a better place than we found it.  As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”  In the last election, only 40% of all who claim to be Christians were registered to vote.  Of that number less than 40% actually voted.  Of course, we have people who think abortion and homosexuality is the right way because we elected them.  If every person who professes to be a Christian voted, we could take back our country.

I would never try to tell you for whom you should vote.  It is none of my business who you check off on the ballot.  However, before our country sinks even further, I strongly urge you to register to vote. Obviously, there are no perfect candidates.  It is not really very difficult to check on candidates to see what they stand for.  There are many sites that will post what candidates have done in the past, which is a pretty good indicator of what they will support in the future.  Pick the candidate which most closely reflects the choices you hold dear, whatever they might be.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The problem with a democracy is that the people get the government they deserve.”  All Christians need to vote so that Christian values are represented.

I pose this thought:  I absolutely do not believe, as I have heard some say, that God has visited the recent destructive happenings on America.  I do, however, firmly believe that God is in the process of withdrawing His protection from us, just as He withdrew His protection from the Israelites, and allowed them to be taken into slavery.  The remnant was persecuted the same as the evil.

Make no mistake; when we continue to allow the killing of millions of unborn children, when we continue to  praise and value homosexuality and unmarried couples living together, when we continue to value all kinds of sin…then God will surely turn His back on the USA and allow us to be conquered.  You can start to regain our country by the simple act of registering to vote and then voting!

What say ye?

Whose Doctrine?

I am, unfortunately, aware that some of our brethren are advocating the idea that anyone who professes to believe in God and who may or may not have been baptized must be accepted as brethren.  Even in the church, some are saying that there is more than one path to God, that man is free to approach God in the way that seems best to each man.  I must admit that I cannot agree with that philosophy.

In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus inform us that the way to Heaven is strait and narrow and not many will find it, but many will follow the broad way that leads to destruction.  Sorry, but that does not sound to me like just any way will do.  In fact, it seems to me that, in Matthew 7:21-22, Jesus specifically says that simply saying you belong to Him will avail you nothing if you do not follow His teachings.

Now, I want you to read closely I Timothy 4:1  But the Spirit expressly says that, in the latter times, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and the teachings of demons.”  Here is my point:  If Jesus says that many will be lost because they do not strictly follow Him, and the Holy Spirit says that anything not following New Testament teachings if the doctrine of demons, how can it be possible that any deviation from the plan given to us by the Holy Spirit can possibly save man?

What say ye?

Are You Jealous?

In Psalm 73:3, David wrote, For I was jealous of the proud when I saw the peace of the wicked.  Now think about that.  Today, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, Christianity is under attack in the United States of America.  You don’t think so?  Wake up, my friend!  When we are told that preachers should not preach against homosexuality or abortion, against “open marriages” or adultery, or living together with the benefit of marriage, then I say we are under attack.  When I, in a conversation with a friend, defend Biblical principles and am told that I am a “hate monger,” then I say that we are under attack.  When our children can no longer pray in school on their own or wear clothing with Christian symbols because it “offends” others, then I say we are under attack.

Here is the sad part:  When we STOP preaching and defending the Truth, whether individually or from the pulpit, are we not guilty of desiring the “peace of the wicked?”  If we, as Christians, do not speak out concerning the evil that is rampant today—and make no mistake, these things are evil—then who will?  If not Christians, who will defend the Word of God?

How many times lately have you “held your peace” for fear of being offensive?  Have you said, “I would rather err on the side of peace than on the side of Truth?”  Because when you do not defend the Truth, that is, in essence, what you are saying.  While the wicked may have the advantage of peace here on Earth, who do you think will be those who have the peace of the righteous after Judgment?

What say ye?

Alone?

For some strange unexplainable reason, I am drawn to songs and stories of loneliness.  Although I do not approve of Kris Kristoferson, I just heard his song, “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” and it struck a chord.  Let me give you a few of my thoughts.

He says, “Ain’t it sad to be alone?  Help me make it through the night.”  As a Christian, I never have to face that.  First of all, I am never alone.  Now, I may feel lonely…everyone does at some point in their lives.  But, my God has promised, in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  With that promise, I can know that I am never truly alone, regardless of how I feel at the moment.

Secondly, life, in and of itself, is a type of night.  Here, we struggle with sin and pain of various kinds.  Even as Christians, we are always striving to reach the perfect Light.  I John 1:7 tells us that, “if we walk in the light…”  “If” is a big word, but it is not an impossibility.  As we strive to be obedient children, we are striving to “walk in the light,” and our precious Jesus WILL help us make it through the night.

What say ye?

Warning

A wise man once said, “All that is necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing.” I used to wonder about that. But, I have now decided that that man was exactly correct. As Christians, we have allowed a country founded on Christians principles to fall from that beginning.  We allowed the Supreme Court to say that abortion was all right.  We allowed the Congress to decide that God has no place in the classroom.  We have allowed the government to decide that homosexuality is a natural, good part of life, and we have allowed them to teach our children that same thing.  We have quietly given in when we were told that standing for the truth made us examples of “hate crimes.”

How has this happened?  Well, when was the last time you stood up and were counted?  In a conversation with non-Christian friends, when was the last time you spoke out against any sin?  Do you realize that fewer than 50% of all who claim to be Christians are registered to vote?  Are you aware that, of those who are registered, fewer than 40% actually voted in the last election?  If all Christians studied the people running for office and voted for those who most nearly reflected Christian virtues, we could again become a Christian nation.

And if all Christians studied their Bible, and actually knew what God said, then surely we could teach our children and show them that the current state of our nation is not in keeping with God’s teachings.

So, what will you do? Will you stand and be counted, regardless of the cost?  Will you follow the example of our Blessed Lord Jesus, and stand for the right, even unto death?

What say ye?