SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD
Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) was a Congregationalist preacher, revivalist, theologian, and philosopher. Though not a Puritan, he was influenced by the Puritans. He believed strongly in the sovereignty of God and stressed the beauty of God’s holiness. His most famous sermon was “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God,” preached on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut. (Edwards had earlier preached the sermon to his congregation in Northhampton, Massachusetts). In this sermon Edwards emphasized that God calls on men to repent of their sins, and if they fail to do so, they can expect God’s judgment of wrath. It is said that the sermon was so powerful and moving that people wept and cried out, “What must I do to escape God’s judgment?” Continue reading
“If” is a little big word—little in the number of letters it comprises, big in its consequences. It is often used in the Bible to set forth a necessary condition with which one must comply in order for a particular promise, benefit, or blessing to occur. Consider the following.
1. Jesus declared: “If you continue (abide, ASV, NASB) in My word, then you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Turning that statement into a negative question, what would be the result of one not continuing (abiding) in the word/teaching of Christ? Is it not abundantly clear that a person must continue in the teaching of Jesus in order to be a true disciple/follower of Him? Continue reading
GOD’S GRACIOUS PLAN OF SALVATION
From time to time, at least twice a year, I try to present to my readers God’s gracious plan of salvation as set forth in the New Testament. Since it has been several months since I have posted this, I thought that now, early in the new year, would be a good time to do so. Nothing in this will be new to most of my readers, but I hope that they may use it as an evangelistic tool and forward this edition of “Hugh’s News & Views” to friends, neighbors, and family members who are not New Testament Christians. Think of the joy that would come if just one soul learned the truth, obeyed it, and was saved! We must all be faithful in sharing the gospel and its saving truth with as many as possible. Continue reading
Luke 13:3 – “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” This statement is repeated by Christ in verse 5. The statements were made in the light of two tragedies that had recently occurred in the country of Israel, causing some to wonder if those who had perished in those tragedies were greater sinners than all others. Jesus’ incisive answer was, “No, but except/unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” The “perishing” anticipated by Christ would not be simply physical death caused by some earthly calamity, but that eternal perishing of the soul that God sent His Son into the world to prevent (John 3:16; cf. Matthew 16:26).
To repent means to change one’s mind, followed by a change in the direction of one’s life. W. E. Vine notes that it “signifies to change one’s mind or purpose, always, in the N. T., involving a change for the better, an amendment, and always, except in Luke 17:3,4, of repentance from sin” (An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. III, pp. 279-280). Continue reading
Both the King James Version (1611) and the American Standard Version of the Bible (1901) use the word “except” in a number of vital passages. The word sets forth a condition or situation that must exist in order for a benefit or blessing to occur or in order to avoid the disapproval of God. Other versions use the word “unless” in several of these texts. The point is that except or unless a certain condition is met or is true the matter is not acceptable to the One “with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). Seriously reflect on the following.
Psalm 127:1a – “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” In context, the Psalmist is talking about the building of a family (note verses 3-5). Unless the Lord’s plan and design for the family is followed, that “house” (family) is doomed for failure. Substituting modern sociology and psychology for the wisdom of God where family life is concerned is an exercise in futility. Continue reading
“WHICH OF YOU BY WORRYING . . .?”
In a portion of His marvelous Sermon on the Mount dealing with the futility of worry and anxiety, Christ asked the rhetorical question, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature” (Matthew 6:27). Keying off of that question, let us ask the following:
Which of us by worrying…
Can add one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour, or even one minute to our life?
Can bring happiness to ourselves? (Is worry one of the keys to happiness?)
Can bring happiness to a family member? Continue reading
In reading the New Testament I have been impressed with the number of times the word “first” is used in what I consider to be strategic passages. It is a word that indicates primacy, that which is to be paramount, foremost, and pre-eminent, that which is of the highest and most urgent importance. Consider the following. Continue reading
SOME WHO LEFT US IN 2020
The wise man Solomon wrote: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a). He further observed: “No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no one has power over the day of death” (Ecclesiastes 8:8). Truly, “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Likely during 2020 every one of my readers lost a loved one, a close friend, a neighbor, or a fellow member of the Lord’s church. Our daughter-in-law’s father, John Carson, a good man, a genuine Christian, left us in March. Almost 350,000 Americans died from the Covid-19 virus. From various causes, a number of well-known people passed into eternity. It can be sobering to pause and reflect for a moment on the names of some of these people. From different walks of life and in no particular order, I have listed below some of those who left us in 2020. You will think of others. Continue reading
COMFORT WORDS AND PHRASES
From my childhood to the present there have been various words and phrases that have brought me much comfort and happiness. As we close out an exceedingly trying year I thought it might be beneficial to share a few of those words and phrases with my readers. (Each of you will have your own words and phrases). Beginning with my earliest memories, here are some of the random words and phrases that have brought solace to my soul for over 80 years. Continue reading
The apostle Paul urged the young preacher Timothy, “Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season” (II Timothy 4:2, ASV). In everyday, down-to-earth language, this has been understood to mean “preach the word when they like it, preach the word when they do not like it.” The King James Version says, “Be instant in season, out of season.” The New King James Version says, “Be ready in season out of season.” The point is that the word of God is to be faithfully preached at all times. Paul goes on to explain why. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (teaching), but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers (those who will teach what the hearers want to hear rather than what they need to hear, hf); and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (vv. 3-5). Preachers today would do well to heed this solemn exhortation.
But in this week’s installment of “Hugh’s News & Views” I want to take a little different “twist” on the phrase “in season, out of season” and under the heading of “Seasonal Preaching” talk about the various “seasons”/holidays we pass through each year and how they afford some great opportunities for effective preaching on various Bible subjects. I am by no means suggesting that seasons and holidays should control what a preacher preaches and when he preaches it; I am only suggesting that from time to time it might be wise to take advantage of the particular “season” of the year to do some faithful preaching on a particular biblical theme. Continue reading
Different preachers use different kinds/styles of preaching to convey the gospel message. Some are fine expositors. Others excel at textual or topical preaching. The important thing is not which of these kinds/styles of preaching the preacher uses but that he faithfully sets forth only that which the word of God teaches, honoring both the text and the context of every passage of scripture used in his sermon. Continue reading
BESTOWALS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
In our first essay we discussed Holy Spirit baptism as received by the apostles (including the apostle Paul) and the household of Cornelius and the purpose of Holy Spirit baptism in those instances. In our second essay we discussed the impartation of the Holy Spirit to various members of the first century church by the laying on of the apostles’ hands and the purpose of these bestowals.
But what about today? Do Christians today have the Holy Spirit? If so, for what purpose(s)? Continue reading
BESTOWALS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
As was pointed out last week, a careful study of the New Testament reveals that the Holy Spirit was bestowed or imparted to different people, at different times, in different ways, for different purposes. We learned that the apostles (Jews) and the family of Cornelius (Gentiles) were baptized with the Holy Spirit. By implication, we concluded that the apostle Paul also received Holy Spirit baptism. These are the only instances of Holy Spirit baptism found in scripture. Holy Spirit baptism was neither commanded, nor could it be administered by a human being. But, there were others who received the Holy Spirit in other ways and for other reasons. Continue reading
BESTOWALS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is an eternal and divine person, a member of the Godhead, compatible in nature with the other two members of the Godhead, the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14). If we have no trouble conceiving of the Father as a divine person or conceiving of the Son as a divine person, then we should have no trouble conceiving of the Holy Spirit as a divine person rather than as an impersonal “it” or only a force, power, or influence. Seven times in a single text Jesus used personal pronouns to refer to the Holy Spirit, referring to Him six times as “He” and one time as “His” (John 16:13). This is but one of many texts that speak of the Holy Spirit as a divine person/being. Continue reading
SOME MORE THINGS THE BIBLE PLAINLY SAYS
Continuing from last week, let us note some more things the Bible plainly says.
1. That God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
2. That through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22-24). Continue reading