Monday, December 20, 2010

Born for God to Die for God

Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

This important OT messianic prophecy is also a Christmas text. Micah foretold that Christ would be born in Bethlehem 710 years before He ever became flesh in a Manger.

This prophecy is amazing because the way the deity of Christ is expressed in the verse’s final phrase, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

The birth of Christ in Bethlehem was not the beginning of Christ as God’s Son and our sovereign Lord. He is eternal. He “came forth” from Bethlehem, but He did not come from there in the first place. His “goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.”

But I want you to notice that this prophecy is spoken directly by God the Father. God the Father says this: “out of thee he shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.” Or, to say it this way, “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel.”

Don’t miss the importance of those two words, “for Me.” God the Father is sending the eternal Son to be born and to rule and to redeem His people, and to make righteous reign over all the earth. The Scriptures testify of this truth:

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 10:36, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

1 John 4:9-10, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

1 John 4:14, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

Yes, Christ came to die for our sins but he first came to satisfy the Father’s offended holiness that we might be brought into the Father’s presence.

Christ died for our sins but He also died for God. He came for God to die for God. This truth is expressed in the doctrine of propitiation.

Ro 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

1Jo 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

1Jo 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Propitiation is the atoning death of Jesus on the cross, through which he paid the penalty demanded by God for sin, thus setting the sinner free from sin and death thru faith of the sinner. The Son’s death appeased or satisfied, the Fathers offended holiness.

The gospel is imbedded in this prophecy. God the Son came to this earth sent by the Father, on a mission of mercy and redemption. He calls us to repent of our sins and believe in Him.

He does all the work of redemption Himself. It’s not up to us to atone for our own sin, we simply lay hold of His grace by faith. No man can come to God without God's grace; neither can he come without saving faith.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Impeccability of Christ

1. Was Jesus Sinless?

Luke 1:35 “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

John 8:46 “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” He challenged His enemies to show that He was a sinner, which they could not.

John 15:10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”

During his trials and crucifixion, He was declared as innocent 11 times [by Judas, by Pilate 6 times, by Herod, by Antipas, by Pilates wife, by the repentant thief, and by the Roman centurion].

Jesus never offered a sacrifice, He was the sacrifice.

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

1 Peter 2:22 “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.”

1 Peter 1:19 “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”

1 John 3:5 “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

Hebrews 7:26-27

Most agree Jesus was sinless, but the debate comes with the Question, “Could Jesus have sinned?”

2. Could Jesus Have Sinned?

A. Two words or views:

1. Peccability? Latin for the fact that Jesus could have sinned. Liberals believe He could have sinned and did sin.

Heb. 4:15- If temptation was real then Christ had to be able to sin; otherwise the temptation was not a genuine temptation. This view does not sufficiently consider Christ in His person as God as well as man. Temptation does not demand the ability to sin. Temptation is used of God the Father and the holy Spirit [Acts 15:10; 1 Cor. 10:9; Heb. 3:9]. It is unlikely they could have sinned.

2. Impeccability? Latin for the fact that Jesus was not able to sin. Christ’s temptation was real, but it was impossible for Christ to sin.

6 Observations from Matt. 4:1-11

Observation # 1- The purpose of the temptation was not to see if Christ could sin, but to show that He could not sin. To show the nation he was the impeccable Son of God.

Observation # 2- The Holy Spirit initiated the temptation and not Satan [4:1]. If Christ could have sinned, then the Holy Spirit enticed Jesus to sin. God does not entice to sin [James 1:13].

Observation # 3- His divine and human nature could not be separated from the person of Christ, and since His divine nature could not sin, it must be affirmed that Christ could not sin.
Observation # 4-Christ’s temptation in Matt. 4:1-11, was for demonstrating His holiness and sinlessness [Heb 4:15] without any possibility of enticement to evil [James 1:13].

Observation # 5- They were designed to test a God-man [Matt. 4:1-11]. No ordinary man could have been tempted to turn stones into bread, jump off a high place expecting to land unharmed. No ordinary human could take seriously Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of the world. These were peculiar to the God-man.

Observation # 6-. The testing of Christ fell into these 3 categories [Matt 4:1-11; 1 John 2:16; Hebrews 4:15].“All points” means all means or manner.

Christ was sinless and impeccable- He could not have sinned.

7 Evidences that Jesus could not sin

Evidence # 1- Christ is immutable [Heb. 13:8]. If He could have sinned on earth, what assurance is there that He will not sin now?

Evidence # 2- Christ is omnipotent [Matt. 28:18]. How could He be all-powerful and still be able to sin?

Evidence # 3- Christ is omniscience [John 2:25]. If Christ could have sinned then He really did not know what would happen if He would sin. Christ cannot be deceived because He knows all things.

Evidence # 4- Christ is deity. God cannot sin. Which nature was stronger?

Evidence # 5- The nature of temptation [James 1:14-15]. Christ was tempted from without not within. Jesus did not possess a sin nature to respond to the outward temptation.

Evidence # 6- If Christ could have sinned then His human will would be stronger than His divine will.

Evidence # 7- The authority of Christ [John 10:18]. If Christ had authority over life and death then He had authority over sin.

Christ was sinless and impeccable- He could not have sinned.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Living the Christian Life

Hebrews 13: 20-21

These verses are a benediction of the writer to the Jewish Christian who were in danger of not going on to maturity in the faith.

The writer calls on God to make possible the outward working of the truth in the lives of His people.

1. We must have God’s power [vv. 20-21a]. “Make you perfect in
every good work.”

2. We must know His will [v. 21b]. “to do His will.”

3. We can’t please God in the flesh [v. 21c]. “Working in you that
which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.”

What does this mean?

1. We contribute willing yielded-ness to the Christian life. Let God’s
power work thru us.

2. Because Christ does the work, He alone deserves the credit and

2 Cor. 9:10; Phil. 2:12-13

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Witnessing to the Major Cults

1. What to say to a Mormon?

Refuting Mormons belief [Doctrines and Covenants Sect. 130:22] that God is material, a man with a body like us who progressed to Godhood.

God is a Spirit [John 4:24]. No man has seen God in his full manifestation and lived.
God is a spirit that does not have flesh and bones [Luke 24:39].
God is not a man [Hosea 11:9; Numbers 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29].
God is invisible [Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27].

2. What to say to a Jehovah Witness?

Refuting Jehovah Witness as to the Deity of Jesus and the Trinity-

Jesus is God- Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Gen. 1:1; John 1:1; 10:30; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Titus 2:10-13; 2 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Tim 1:1; 1 John 1:2; 4:2-3; 5:1; Rev. 1:8; 21:6 Jesus was not just a perfect man but he is the God-man.

The Trinity in the O.T.- Gen 1:1-2, 26; 3:22; 11:7; 19:24; Isaiah 6:8; 9:6; 48:16; 63:10; Psalm 45:6-7; 110:1

The Trinity in the N.T. - Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20-21

Refuting JW’s that Jesus is first created being-

John 1:1 [was God, not a god. Jesus was co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal with the Father] John 1:14; 5:17-18; 8:56-59; 10:30-33; Col. 1:15-20; 2:9

3. What to say to a Seventh- Day Adventist?

They are not the remnant church as they believe and the only ones who have truth. The church consists of believers from Pentecost to the rapture- Matt. 16:15-19; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12-14; Eph. 1:22-23; 3:21; 4:4-13

The church is to worship collectively on the Lord’s Day not the Sabbath. Sunday worship is not the mark of the beast. The Sabbath was for Israel as clearly stated in Exodus to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt and God’s seal. Christ is our Sabbath. The church celebrates the resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week. The Sabbath commandment is the only one of the 10 commandments not repeated for the church in the N.T.- Rom. 13:8-10; 14:4-13; 1 Cor. 16:2; Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:13-17.

They believe the believer is kept by works which refuted by- John 10:28-29; Rom. 8:1-2, 35-39; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:8-10; 2 Tim. 1:12

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What is True Worship Music?

The gathered church is to sing to God and edify each other when we come together. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” [Col. 3:16]. “Dwell in you richly” actually means to “fill the house with riches.” This scripture speaks of our being filled with the riches of God’s Word, out of which will come true worship. The Bible tells us to sing with understanding. If we can’t hear the words then we certainly can’t worship with understanding.

Paul gives the same instruction to the church at Ephesus where he connects the singing and the singer to being filled with the Spirit. “But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” [Eph. 5:18-20].

God sets a high standard for music in the church. It should never simply be “music for music’s sake.” The music we play and sing must come from the riches of God’s Word and in the fullness of His Spirit in us. When music is used under the influence of the Holy Spirit, it prepares the way for the preacher to preach. We don’t “work up” worship by the music, but rather, true music comes from a worshipful heart.

Church musicians are not performers or entertainers that attract attention to them selves, but lead the people to God. If we leave the service drawn to the singer or singers, then something went wrong. Music must be God-centered and not man-centered, which is operating in the flesh. We don’t use God to display man’s talents, but man’s talents are used to display God. Any offering that is not acceptable to God will bring no spiritual or eternal benefits to God’s people, no matter how much they enjoy what they hear or do. If the beat or music supercedes the message, then we are not leading people to God through the scriptures and have merely fleshly entertainment. Adrian Rogers used to say, “If the beat or rhythm move the feet before the heart, then it is from below. If it moves the heart before the feet, then it is from above.” True worship will stir the spirit and not the flesh. True worship was never intended to “get them in,” but rather, to be an expression of their worship because “they are in.”

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cleaning Church Rolls

Why should churches clean up their membership roles?
Mark Dever

1) Christ’s name and honor is at stake in the world. Think about the Apostle Paul’s passionate concern for who was associated with the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5).

2) Membership in a church should reflect, as best as possible, membership in Christ’s Kingdom. We should neither receive nor dismiss members lightly. "Dropping someone from the rolls" should be treated with utmost care, even if the member himself has been careless.

3) Pastors, elders, and leaders will "give an account" to God someday for their shepherding (Heb. 13:17). God took Israel’s shepherds to task for repeated unfaithfulness (e.g. Ezek. 34).

4) Congregations will also give an account to God for how they receive members. Consider who Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 5!

5) Less mature Christians are at risk of being confused about the importance of the church in the growing Christian’s life and could be led toward complacency themselves.

6) The member who has moved out of the area should be encouraged to link arms with a church in his new hometown and make himself known to believers there. If he does not, his former church should encourage him to do so by letter or phone. If he remains unresponsive, the church should inform him that they will remove his name in the next members’ meeting, thereby sending the message that they can no longer account for his life.

How should churches clean up their membership roles?

If you tackle all the problematic membership cases at once, you will run into fire. But it’s difficult to predict where. Will your members be happy to remove local non-attenders? Out-of-the-area members? The dead? Pastor, be wise and only do what your people can tolerate. Be patient and teach until they are ready to move.

So where do you start? Picture multiple concentric circles (like a dartboard) with the center (the bull’s-eye) representing meaningful membership. The outer rings represent meaningless membership, and hopefully they are easiest to clean up. As you move from the outer rings to the bull’s-eye, your membership rolls should increasingly consist of confessing believers who are actively involved in your church. Let’s start from the outside and work in:

1) Members who are dead. (At my church we found 10!) This outer-most ring should be the easiest to clean up. At you church’s next meeting for conducting business, put these names before the congregation with a motion to remove them from membership in the following meeting. Don’t ask the congregation to immediately remove these names, but give them time to think about the motion.

2) Members whom you cannot find. Probably the next easiest group to remove. Two women in our church hunted for seventy members for six months in vain! These names were then put before the congregation asking for help. When all efforts were exhausted, a motion was put to the congregation to remove them.

3) Absent and disinterested members. Our church had dozens of members who we found but who wanted nothing to do with us. We found one woman in Germany who had become a Unitarian and was upset that we contacted her.

4) Members out of the area. These are people who are unable to attend on a regular basis due to distance, and any meaningful accountability is near-impossible. You will no doubt encounter people who have a wrong understanding of membership in this group: "I’ve held my membership in that church since I sang in the Junior Choir in 1959" or "I walked the aisle in that church in 1970, and I promised my mother I would remain a faithful member." Despite their emotional attachment to your church, this group needs to be taught a right understanding of church membership. Remember pastor, you will give an account for these individuals. Don’t be caught with names on your rolls of people whom you have never met. Make a motion to remove these individuals "for non-attendance" at your next business meeting.

5) Non-attending members in the area. Certainly we’ve reached one of the toughest circles. These people want to maintain their membership and they can attend; but they want little to do with the church. This circle is often difficult because of the relationships these individuals maintain with attending members. Maybe it’s a grown child or an old friend from the choir. Again, teaching is required and movement must be slow.

These first five categories are the biggest and most obvious targets. There are other categories like "attends, but won’t sign the statement of faith" or "in the area, but cannot attend." Old age or an infirmity might prevent a member from attending; they should not be dismissed, but specially cared for! Also, we encourage special charity toward elderly members who have moved out of the area and into retirement homes. Why? They often grew up with a different understanding of church membership and are unlikely to change. Out of love, consider allowing them to remain on the rolls.

Once again, out of love for your people, do not clean the roles more quickly than your congregation can handle. For some, this may take years to work through the different rings. Churches are too often divided over careless pastoral exercises when the goal should be unity. Remember, each listing on your roll is more than a name; it’s a soul.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lack of Assurance of Salvation

Why do some Christians lack assurance of salvation?

1. Some feel they are too sinful to be saved and have difficulty in accepting forgiveness.

2. They don’t fully understand the Gospel and the saving work of Jesus.

3. They believe that only the sins forgiven are those sins they committed before salvation. Christ’s atonement paid for the sins- past, present and future, for all who believe.

4. Some can’t remember the exact moment and occasion they got saved. A decision for Christ has been over emphasized over a present reality of faith in Christ’s atoning work. The evidences of true faith [1 John] play second fiddle to a decision that may not have been real. Some believe they can be saved without true regeneration.

5. Because of the battle with the flesh, some doubt.

6. Some don’t see God in their trials, and miss the strong proof of assurance which is a tested faith.

7. Some lack assurance because of sin which robs them of their joy.

8. Some lack assurance because they are not genuinely saved.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The King and His Subjects

When a believing sinner trusts Christ as Lord and Savior, they are delivered from Satan’s power, moved into God’s kingdom, redeemed, and forgiven.

Colossians 1:12-14 “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us, meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

The believer has been liberated by God from Satan’s kingdom and translated us into Christ’s kingdom.

1. Translated means “to change or remove” He caused us to
stand in a new kingdom.

2. Once translated, we can’t be translated back. We didn’t do
the translating.

John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

3. A kingdom is a group of people ruled by a king. We are in
a kingdom under the care and authority of Jesus Christ.
The Father gave this kingdom to His Son as an
expression of his love for Him.

John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

4. How do you get into this kingdom? You must be born
again, you must believe.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mysterious Musings # 3

I continue to write about things that have always been a mystery to me in the pastoral ministry.

Why don't Christians know and develop their spiritual gifts?

The Word of God names about 17 spiritual gifts in four different passages in the NT that the Body of Christ has to minister to the body. Each believer has at least one gift which has been given at salvation. If we are to be fulfilled and happy in the body, we must find our gift/gifts and use them to minister to one another. We must function in our giftedness in the body.

Many setting in our pews are totally ignorant of spiritual gifts and don't seem to care. Many pastors have not taught spiritual giftedness because they so afraid of being called a "charismatic."

We must know what the gifts are, experiment with the gifts, seek confirmation, and walk in the Spirit. As we walk in the Spirit living under the control of the Spirit,the Spirit will express that gift through us to the body.

If the body is to grow as God intended, we must all use our gifts in the Spirit and not the flesh [Eph. 4:11-17].

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mysterious Musings # 2

Why some who call themselves Christians don't study their Bible?

1 Timothy 3:15-17 tells that the Scriptures are beneficial for salvation, sanctification and service. The Scriptures help us grow as Christians as we learn, love, long for, and live the Scriptures.

How can one claim to be a Christian and not desire the Word of God? The Bible is full of Scriptures that tell us that Christians love the Word of God and desire to hear and learn the Word.

We study whatever we need to study to be the best at our jobs in the workplace, why don't we have the same desire when it comes to God's Word?

So, It's always been a mystery to me why so many don't read the Bible and really show a eagerness for God's Word.

The Word has been implanted in our hearts, and I believe we should have an ongoing desire for spiritual food.

When one does not want to eat, they are either sick or dead!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mysterious Musings # 1

There are some things that continue to be a mystery to me among "so-called" Christians. I think of these often and ponder the mystery of them, thus the title, "Mysterious Musings." Here we go as I begin to look at several over the next weeks.

First Mystery I muse over:

Why don't Christians share the greatest news ever given to mankind?

We have been saved by the good news of Jesus Christ and we should desire that others be as well. Do we not know how after setting in the church under Pastors and teachers whose job it is to equip the saints for the work of ministry? [Eph. 4:12]. We can say we don't know how, but that will be no legitimate excuse at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Don't we understand there is a literal hell that our unbelieving family and friends will spend eternity?

I am afraid that the reality of a heaven and a hell don't really motivate us to share the gospel. If we really believe what the Bible says about hell, then we should embrace the truth and put it into practice by our witnessing. I am afraid most don't know what they believe and why they believe it. They just give intellectual consent to a truth and it has never really gripped their heart and they have not really gripped the truth.

So, we build a false theology that will keep our lost family and friends out of hell, and thus depart from sound doctrine. We are able to live with our lack of concern and passion for souls by embracing a false doctrine fabricated in our own minds.

My question is this, "Do we really have something to share?" Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men" [Matt. 4:19].

Monday, March 22, 2010

Revival Services

We at Trinity are in what we hope will be genuine revival this week, March 21-24, 2010. I know that Christians are to live in revival 365 days a year, but due to our flesh, we need to be "re-vived."

My dear friend, Pastor Joey Harris from God's Way Baptist Church in Adel is our guest preacher. I had made a commitment to have only expository preachers in the pulpit at T.B.C. He preaches the Biblical text in its Biblical context, not perverting the intent and flow of the oringinal author.

Sunday morning he preached on "How to Live a Separated Life" from 1 Cor. 6:14-18. He challenged us to the truth that you can't experience revival till you are separated from the world. In one sense we are separated at salvation in position, but we must practice separation.

Sunday night he preached a message to the lost from the demon-possessed man in the fifth chapter of Mark. He made some comparisons and contrasts to the lost man and the demon-possessed man. Our children sang Sunday night and Kaleb Smith blessed our hearts with a song about being made more like Jesus "little by little."

Monday night the Brooks family was with us and as always, sang from their hearts true Biblical songs. Bro. Joey preached on commitment and the lack of it. Many go away because they never had genuine faith. Our choices reveal what we love and what we put first in our lives.

Tuesday night Bro. Joey's wife, Missy, sang two songs and then Bro. Joey preached on how to protect your church from wolves from without and within. His text was Acts 20:28-32. If Satan can't get to the church from without, he will attack from within.

Wednesday night Bro. Joey preached on how to be sure you are saved from 1 John. Certainly an honest examination of 1 John would reveal to anyone their genuineness of salvation or lack thereof. Bro. Joey preaches the same on this subject that I do- the evidence of a changed life is a great indicator of spiritual life.

Bro. Joey has been a blessing and a source of affirmation that expository preaching is the only true Biblical preaching that fulfills the preachers command to 'preach the Word."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Perfect is Coming

1 Cor. 13:8-13

Context: After having shared that Love is permanent and will not fail [vv. 1-7], Paul now shares that spiritual gifts will cease; some gifts now and others later.

1. Spiritual gifts are temporary, partial, and elementary [v. 8].

Note that He says that tongues will cease and prophecy and knowledge shall fail or vanish away. “Vanish away” in verse 8 and 10 means to abolish gradually. Prophecy and knowledge will one day be made inoperative. The verb is passive which means something or someone will cause them to stop. That something is the coming of “the perfect” [v. 10].

“Cease” in regards to tongues means “to stop, to come to an end.” The Greek means tongues will cease in a self-causing action. God gave the gift of tongues a built-in stopping place. Many believe it ceased at the end of the apostolic age.

Prophecy and knowledge will be stopped by something outside themselves. They both will end when the perfect comes [v. 10]. Tongues are not mentioned in relation to the perfect coming [v. 10].

2. Prophecy will vanish when the perfect comes [vv. 9-10].

Both prophecy and knowledge are partial now, and represent all gifts that will be done away when the perfect comes.

We as God’s servants know and prophesy in part. When the perfect comes we will no longer need a Bible, preaching or teaching, and prophecy, because we will be in the presence of the Living Word.

3. What is the perfect [v.10]?

A. The perfect is the completion of the Scripture.

How would the Corinthian believers have understood the perfect, certainly not as the Scripture, but moral and spiritual perfection? If the perfect refers to Scripture, then prophecy and knowledge have already ceased. Prophecy will be active in the Kingdom age [Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17]. Scripture does not allow us to see “face to face” [v. 13].

B. The perfect is the rapture.

If prophecy and knowledge they are done away with after the rapture then they could not be present in the tribulation and Kingdom age. Paul clearly states that once done away with, they will end permanently.

C. The perfect is the second coming.

The Greek word “perfect” is in the neuter, which means it can’t refer to a person. You still have the problem of prophecy in the Kingdom age [Isa. 11:9; 29:18; 32:3-4].

D. The perfect is the eternal state.

If the others are not the perfect, then it leaves only one possibility. Spiritual gifts are for time, but love is for eternity. The eternal state allows for knowledge and prophecy in the Tribulation and Kingdom age. Only in heaven will we see God “face to face,” and be known as we are known.

4. Gifts are elementary [vv. 11-12].

Paul compares the believer’s earthly life to what they will be like in heaven. We will be complete and mature in heaven. Now we are spiritually childish, imperfect, and limited. We see in God’s Word dimly, but in heaven we will see completely and fully.

Conclusion: Spiritual gifts are temporary, but love is eternal. It will last in the eternal state.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eternal Security

In Phil. 1:6 we have one of the most definitive Scriptures in the Bible on the doctrine of eternal security, or what I like to call, perseverance of the saints or preservation of the saints.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Eternal life is a present possession, not something we hope to gain at the end of our life. I believe eternal security and sovereign grace are closely related. If it were not for sovereign grace our salvation would not be eternal.

There are several passages in the Scriptures that are dear to me in regards to eternal sacurity. Here are a few [John 5:24; 10:27-28; Rom. 8:1,29-30; 11:29; 1 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 7:25; 12:1-4; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24].

Let me make a few observations from this passage in Phil. 1:6:

1. What is the "good work?" Some would have us believe that it is a project or material work as the prosperity gospel preachers proclaim [Oral Roberts], while others believe Paul is talking about the monetary gift the Philippians' gave Paul. Neither of these fit the verse.

2. Paul is talking about the work of salvation that God began in us and will complete it till Jesus comes again and we are glorified. Regeneration, sanctification and glorification are the three tenses of salvation. Note the reference to their fellowship in the Gospel [v. 5], and confirmation of the gospel [v. 7]. Note that it is a work "in" you.

3. Salvation is God's work from start to finish. He began it and will perform it [perfect, fully accomplish it].

4. God is still doing a work in you. We have not reached the "day of Christ" yet. We are in the process of becoming like Christ [sanctification]. As the song says, "He is still working on me."

5. God will complete the work He began. No true Christian will fall away or quit believing. He began it, He gave us the faith to believe [Eph. 2:89] and He will fully accomplish His purpose in His work of salvation. I like Rom. 8:29-30, it is full of "He" and absent of "me." He begins with those He foreknew to the past tense "has glorified." Some call this the unbreakable chain of redemption. All those foreknew will be glorified.

Thank God for so great a salvation! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Birth Pains

I recently heard a 'religious advisor' on Fox News respond to a question he was asked, "What is happening with these earthquakes?" He responded with a simple answer, "We are not in control." This "religious advisor' missed a great opportunity to tell millions who was in control!

Jesus was asked three questions in Matt. 24:1-8, "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."

Why so many earthquakes? I read a list on a website recently of the number of earthquakes in the last 7 days. I scrolled down on my computer screen, but got tired of counting.

I believe they happen for 3 reasons:

1. Jesus promised "birth pains" judgments that lead to greater judgments in the tribulation period. These birth pains will increase in intensity and frequency till they reach their apex in the tribulation period.

2. The creation is groaning to be delivered from the curse. Romans 8:22, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

3. Jesus is warning mankind of the coming judgment. Earthquakes are a sign of judgment in the Bible.

Yes, we are not in control. A Sovereign creator God is in control and he is coming again for His church [rapture] and coming again with His church [revelation], to judge and reign.

Amen! Even so come Lord Jesus

Saturday, February 13, 2010


What is the Apostasy “falling away” in 2 Thess. 2:3

The Greek word is apostasia which means “to defect or depart from the truth,” or “to forsake or revolt.” It is where we get the word “apostasy.” This falling away from the truth is an increasing departure that will culminate in full blown apostasy after the departure of the true church and only the presence of the harlot church on earth. The final act of apostasy will be the false prophet causing an image of the beast to speak in the rebuilt temple [abomination of desolation].

Jesus described this apostasy in the tribulation in Matt. 24:10-12, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” In this passage he gives the character of man’s heart when restraint is removed. This spiritual treason reveals an unregenerate heart. They give evidence they were never saved [v. 13]. The guarantee of perseverance is built into the New Covenant promise, “I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me” [Jer. 32:40].

The Bible teaches that true Christians will persevere in the faith because they are kept by the power of God [1 Peter 1:5]. Those who fall away prove they were never truly believers to begin with [1 John 2:19]. Yet, the Scriptures do warn the believer from falling away in such passages as [Heb. 10:23, 26-29; Rev. 3:11], but true believers will persevere [John 10:28, 29; Rom. 8:28-30, 31,38, 39; 1 Cor. 1:8-9; 15:57-58; Col. 1:22-23; Phil 1:6; 1 John 2:24; 5:13].

Matt. 10:26-39 is talking about a false faith that does not continue. The people that the writer of Hebrews is talking are those who fall away or defect intentionally. Apostates hear the gospel, understand the gospel, but turn when they are on the verge of belief.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Amazing Love

1 John 3:1-3 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. There are many great truths contained therein and I have preached on this passage several times emphasizing different words or phrases. We can know Him as Father, but we can't comprehend what this relationship will be like in the future.

In this post, I want you to consider three words. Persecution [v.1b], Promise [v.2b], and Purification [v. 3].

1. Persecution [1:1b]. The world can't know us and understand us because they don't know Him. The Bible says the natural man can't understand the spiritual things because they are spiritually discerned. No wonder the world went crazy with Tim Tebow's "Pro-Life commercial."

2. Promise [v. 2b]. Though we are sons of God now, it remains for us to see what we shall be like at the rapture and in heaven. One thing we do know, we will be like Him as He is revealed in Scripture after His resurrection. To be a child of God is great now, but our best life is later and not your "best life now."

3. Purification [v. 3]. Because of what we are and what we shall be, we should be motivated to live holy and faithful lives. We are to surrender and yield to the Spirit through obedience to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit will make us more like Christ in a gradual process called, sanctification.

Behold, what kind of love is this that the Father has given us that we should be called the sons of God!