Saturday, March 31, 2012


Christians are often asked, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Struggle as we might to explain something that only God knows for sure, perhaps the best answer would be to discuss why Jesus, the only truly good Man, suffered such torture and death. If they have a difficult time believing, don't be surprised; the Lord's disciples couldn't believe it either! Following His rejection by the Pharisees (Matt. 12:24), Jesus began emphasizing His pending death to His disciples, as recorded in Matthew 16:21-28; Mark 8:31-9:1; and in Luke 9:22-27. His prediction was clear to all who heard Him, especially Peter. Peter's reaction to the Lord's announcement was typical of the impetuous disciple. He said, "Be it far from Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee!" One of the clearest passages of Scripture describing what was about to occur is found in John 12:20-33.
"And there were certain Greeks (Gentile converts to Judaism) out of those coming up to worship in the feast. These then came near to Philip, who is from Bethsaida of Galilee, and were asking him, saying, 'Sir, we wish to see Jesus.' Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus responded to them, saying, 'The hour hath come that the Son of Man may be glorified. Verily, verily, I say to you, if the grain of the wheat, having fallen to the earth, may not die, itself remaineth alone; and if it may die, it doth bear much fruit. He who is loving his life shall lose it, and he who is hating his life in this world, shall keep it. If any one may minister to Me, let him follow Me, and where I am, there also My servant shall be; and if any one may minister to Me, the Father will honor him. Now hath My soul been troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? No, it is because of this I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.' There came, therefore, a voice out of the heaven saying, 'I both glorified, and again I will glorify it.' The multitude, therefore, having stood and heard, were saying that there hath been thunder. Others said, 'A messenger (an angel) hath spoken to Him.' Jesus answered and said, 'Not because of Me hath this voice come, but because of you. Now is a judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast forth. And I, if I may be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself.' And this He said signifying by what death He was about to die" (Jn. 12:20-33 - based upon Young's Literal Translation).
Amazingly, even after the Crucifixion had taken place, the disciples did not understand Jesus had to die. In Luke 24:13-48, we are told of two of them who had given up hope that Jesus was their Messiah, and being totally discouraged, they decided to return home. When Jesus appeared to them, it was not until He broke the bread that they recognized Him. Perhaps they were so distraught that their minds would not let them see Him standing before them. Regardless of the reason, when Jesus appeared to them again following their return to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples, they were all afraid, "believing that they had seen a spirit" (v. 37).

You would think the Lord suddenly appearing in a locked room (Jn. 20:19) would bring them joy, but it only brought them fear. It was not until He "opened their understanding" that they were able to believe and rejoice (v. 45). Today, it still takes Jesus "opening our understanding" for us to comprehend who He is, why He suffered and died for our sin, and to believe in Him as our resurrected Lord and Savior. Until He does that for you, you will not be able to believe either.

Do you want to understand? Trust the Scriptures! He is alive and well!

Friday, March 30, 2012


Should the Lord decide to continue working on me until September, I will be seventy years old this year. I have noticed that the older I get, the more I reflect upon the mistakes I have made in the past. Don't get me wrong, I am not overwhelmed by depression over the poor choices I have made, for that would be the ultimate in pride. That would mean that I somehow thought of myself as being "a better man that that." It would mean I have not yet come to realize that within me, apart from God, there is not now, nor has there ever been, anything good. God's Word says "there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:12).

Following my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I honestly believed I would no longer sin; that God had changed me into being a "good man." That lasted for exactly one hundred days. I had successfully resisted yielding to the many habits that had defeated me for so long. Then it happened! I succumbed to temptation and I was devastated! The first thing Satan threw at me was, "How can you be saved when you did that?" And to be quite honest, I did not disagree with him. I must not have been born again. I must still be lost!

Again, being honest, I do not remember how the Lord ministered to me during that time. What I do know now, is that it was then that He began teaching me that my salvation was 100% grace. I was a sinner in the past, a sinner then, and am still a sinner today. I began to understand that, like the Apostle Paul, I am nothing apart from the Spirit within me. Paul wrote:
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:14-23).
My only regret is that I keep forgetting this, and when I sin, my pride keeps being disappointed in me. I find it incredible that after forty years of repeated reminders by my old nature raring its ugly self, I am still surprised! It is bad enough that others expect me to be perfect, without me thinking I should! Thank God for 1 John 3:2:

Beloved, now are we the sons of God,
And it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
But we know that, when He shall appear,
We shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Dear brothers and sisters,

The longing of my heart and my prayer to God is that the Jewish people might be saved.
I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don't understand God's way of making people right with Himself. Instead, they are clinging to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the Law. They won't go along with God's way. For Christ has accomplished the whole purpose of the Law. All who believe in Him are made right with God. For Moses wrote that the Law's way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands (Lev. 18:5). But the way of getting right with God through faith says, "You don't need to go to heaven" to find Christ and bring him down to help you (Deut. 30:11-12). And it says, "You don't need to go to the place of the dead" to bring Christ back to life again (Deut. 30:13-14).

Salvation that comes from trusting Christ -- which is the message we preach -- is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, "The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart." (Deut. 30:14).
For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

The Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed." (Isa. 49:23).
Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives His riches to all who ask for them. For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Joel 2:32).

But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" (Isa. 52:7).

But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, "Lord, who has believed our message?" (Isa. 53:1). Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news -- the Good News about Christ. But what about the Jews? Have they actually heard the message? Yes, they have: "The message of God's creation has gone out to everyone, and its words to all the world." (Rom. 1:8). But did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God had said, "I will rouse your jealousy by blessing other nations. I will make you angry by blessing the foolish Gentiles." (Deut. 32:21). And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God: "I was found by people who were not looking for Me. I showed Myself to those who were not asking for Me." (Isa. 65:1). But regarding Israel, God said, "All day long I opened My arms to them, but they kept disobeying Me and arguing with Me." (Isa. 65:2). (based upon the New Living Translation)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


How do you know who is a born again believer and who is simply religious, when it comes to Christians? For years, I have quoted the verse, " their fruits, ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20), but over the years, I have come to realize I am not as good a "fruit inspector" as I thought. I have often questioned my own fruit. You would think, based upon God's repeated statements saying only He knows those who belong to Him, that we would not be so quick to judge. His Word says:

* "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).

* "Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; for Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men" (1 Kgs. 8:39).

* "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins" (Ps. 7:9).

* "Shall not God search this out? for He knoweth the secrets of the heart" (Ps. 44:21).

* "But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see Thy vengeance on them: for unto Thee have I revealed my cause" (Jer. 11:20).

* "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer. 17:10).

* "And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two Thou hast chosen" (Acts 1:24).

So then, what exactly does the Lord see when He looks at the hearts of those who are His? He sees faith!

"And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:8-9).

I guess the ultimate question is, am I saved? Am I a born again believer? When I look in the mirror of God's Word, I do not see the image of Christ (Jam. 1:23-24). But one thing I know; I believe in Jesus Christ, and the Apostle John says that I have eternal life, even when I doubt myself (1 Jn. 5:13)!

God's "Mirror" always tells the truth; man's "mirrors" often lie!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Over the past three years, I have repeatedly stressed the fact that there is nothing a person can do to be saved. You either believe and place your trust in Jesus, or you don't. The only "work" God will accept is stated in John 6:29; "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him (Jesus) whom He (The Father) hath sent (see Jn. 3:16). I cannot count the times I have referenced Ephesians 2:8-9 to show that salvation if a gift, not something for which man works. That being said, once a person accepts Christ, out of gratitude, he wants to please his Lord. The Scriptures use the word "ought" to describe how one can and should show his thankfulness. Here are just a few examples:

Believers ought to "walk" as Jesus, The Way, walked
* "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (1 Thes. 4:1).
* "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked" (1 Jn. 2:6).
Believers ought to "behave" according to the customs of the Church
* "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).
* "For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you" (2 Thes. 3:7).
Believers ought to be Christlike (humble, forgiving, loving, obedient, etc.)
* "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3; compare Phil. 2:5-8).
* "So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow" (2 Cor. 2:7; compare Lk. 6:37).
* "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (1 Jn. 4:11; compare Jn. 15:12).
* "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29; compare Jn. 17:4).

Believers ought not do these things (worship graven images, be a burden, be idle or gossip, curse, teach for money, etc.)
* "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:29).
* "Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children" (2 Cor. 12:14; see also Gal. 6:5).
* "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not" (1 Tim. 5:13).
* "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (Jam. 3:10).
* "Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake" (Titus 1:11).

A born again believer ought to be like his Role Model: Jesus!

Monday, March 26, 2012


A recent inquiry from a woman to those in the Facebook group Christ in Prophecy, asked if her sudden "abnormal craving" for Bible prophecy was unusual. Several persons assured her that she was just experiencing what a great number of born again believers had begun experiencing in recent years. One does not need to be a Bible scholar to know that the events occurring in the world "ring as strangely familiar" to those who have even the most limited exposure to the Word of God.

Call it anxiety over the news; call it a morbid desire to understand the tragic events unfolding; or call it the Holy Spirit reminding God's children that there is little time remaining to share Christ with the lost; Bible prophecy is extremely popular. Many believers, as well as many of the curious, are flocking to prophecy conferences, buying books on prophecy, and inundating pastors with requests for more prophetic preaching. Unfortunately, the majority of "believers" could care less. Sad! But for the faithful child of God, there are four excellent reasons to study Bible prophecy:

1) God does not want ignorant children (Rom. 11:25; 1 Thes. 4:13).
2) God does not want gullible children (Matt. 7:15; 24:4-5; Jn. 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:3).
3) God does not want fearful children (Lk. 1:74; Rom. 8:35-39; 1 Thes. 4:18).
4) God does want His children to know His plan (Gen. 3:14-15; Ps. 22:1, 8, 16, 18; Isa. 53; Jn. 1:29; Eph. 3:1-12; Rev. 13:8).

Here are eight excellent passages from the New American Standard Version to ponder:

1) "I am God, and there is not other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning...I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it" (Isa. 46:9-11).
2) "Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants, the prophets" (Amos 3:7).
3) "(Jesus said), Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17).
4) (Jesus) said to them, These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (Lk. 24:44).
5) "Of Him (Jesus) all the prophets bear witness that through His name, everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:43).
6) "The prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow" (1 Pet. 1:10-11).
7) "...we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place...But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Pet. 1:19-21).
8) "The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10).

Why study Bible prophecy? Why not?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


It has always amazed me how the majority of those who profess to be Christians are so fearful of death. Perhaps it isn't death that causes such fear, but the process of dying itself. No one likes to think about pain, extended illness, dependency on others, the astronomical expense, etc., but like it or not, unless Christ returns to take us up to heaven during our lifetime via the Rapture (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-55; 1 Thes. 4:13-18), our bodies are all going to die (Heb. 9:27). The good news is, to those of us who have trusted in Jesus, our souls and our spirits will never die (Jn. 11:25-26).

Here are seven wonderful statements which should be the source of peace to every born again believer:

1) “And Jesus said unto him (the thief on the cross), Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43).

2) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be” (Jn.14:1-3).

3) "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us (born again believers from the love of God; which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39).

4) “We (born again believers) are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain . . .For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23).

6) “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).

7) “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).

Winston Churchill was right; "All we have to fear is fear itself!"

Fear is the opposite of faith!

Saturday, March 24, 2012


There is a false doctrine that is gaining strength among Evangelicals which I believe must be challenged. Simply stated, it teaches that a person is saved when he acknowledges Jesus as his personal Savior. I know what you are thinking; what is wrong with that? The problem is, we have preached what Jesus has done without preaching who Jesus is! Salvation is the result of faith in the resurrected Lord Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10), not simply believing in the historic event that occurred two thousand years ago on a cross.

This false gospel suggests that at some time later, the saved individual will recognize that Jesus is supposed to be his Lord, and at that time, he may or may not decide to surrender to His Lordship. Proponents of this view insist that those who choose not to submit to Jesus as Lord are born again, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and eternally secure as children of God. They see a clear distinction between believing in Jesus and being His disciple. Well, let's look at what the Word of God says about Him.

The identity of Jesus was announced by the angel of the Lord to lowly shepherds attending their flocks. He said, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11). Who is this Savior? He is Christ the Lord!

Jesus is called "Lord" over seven hundred times in the New Testament, and of those, over two hundred appear in the four Gospels. In contrast, Jesus is only called "Savior" twenty-four times in the entire New Testament.

When a person is saved, who is the Person in whom he trusts? Luke wrote, "And they said, Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). When you put your trust in Jesus, who is Lord, you are saved. You become a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). Jesus was identified as “Lord” before His death, after His Resurrection, and after His Ascension: The thief on the cross next to Jesus said to Him, "LORD, remember me when Thou comest into thy kingdom" (Lk. 23:42). Following the Resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Thomas, upon seeing Jesus, said, "My LORD and my God" (Jn. 20:28). The Apostle Paul's response to Jesus was, "LORD, what wilt Thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6).

In addition to the use of the term in the Gospels, Jesus is called "Lord" over one hundred times in the Book of Acts. In the Apostle Paul's epistles, Jesus is identified as "Lord" more than one hundred fifty times. The writer of the Book of Hebrews describes Jesus as "Lord" sixteen times, and in the small epistle written by James, he calls Jesus "Lord" thirteen times. In his two epistles, Peter calls Jesus "Lord" twenty-three times, while tiny Book of Jude identifies Jesus as "Lord" six times. In his three epistles, and the Book of Revelation, John calls Jesus "Lord" twenty-four times.

The title "Savior," on the other hand, appears three times in the Gospels, twice in Acts, twelve times in the epistles of Paul (six of those are in the Book of Titus), five times in Peter's epistles, once in the epistles of John, and once in the Book of Jude. Based upon how the writers of the New Testament present Jesus, I have to come to the conclusion that He is LORD, and being the Savior is the role He played in God's plan to redeem mankind. And, since repentance was a part of the Gospel message (Lk. 24:47), it is clear that those who receive Christ are to turn from doing their own will, and begin doing His!

Jesus is either your Lord, or He is not your Savior!

Friday, March 23, 2012


The Gospel of John has eighty-five verses which contain some form of the word "believe." That is exactly two and a half times the word "believe" appears in the three Synoptic Gospels combined (34 - Matt. 8x; Mk. 15x; Lk. 11x). In fact, "believe" appears more times in Acts (41x). Since the Synoptic Gospels are believed to have been written during the time period covered by the Book of Acts, one has to wonder why the first three Gospel writers did not place more emphasis on believing.

"Believe" is from the Greek πίστις (pistis), meaning "a conviction that something is true." The word is also translated "faith." While "believe" appears to always be in the present tense, "faith" can be used to describe one's belief concerning the past, present, or future.

Believing, in and of itself, does not save someone from their sins. We believe in gravity, but that has no bearing upon our spiritual condition. One must believe in the Person who paid for our sins. John wrote, "I (Jesus) said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24). When Jesus said, "that I am He," He was referring to their Messiah, the One for whom they said they longed. In the context of John 8:24, He told them He was the Son of God, sent to them by God, that God was His Father, and that He was "I Am" (v. 36, 42, 54, 58; Ex. 3:14).

In the midst of His conversation with the Pharisees, we are told that "...many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (v. 30-32). Later in John's Gospel, we read that the "Truth" to which He referred, was Jesus Himself (Jn. 14:6).

Often Christians wonder if they are really born again, if they are really saved. Somehow, Christians have bought into the world's view that a genuine believer does not sin, and when we do sin, Satan loves to cause doubt, which is always based in fear. It is clear from God's Word that we do continue to sin; that is why the Church, pictured in the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, involves two loaves of leavened bread. Leaven always represents sin, and the two loaves represent the Church made up of converted Jews and Gentiles who still sin (Lev. 23:17; Rom. 7:14-25; 1 Jn. 1:8-10; 3:2). Yes we still sin, but the real question one needs to ask himself, "Do I believe in Jesus Christ?" If the answer is yes, then 1 John 5:13 should give you much peace:

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life...."

Thursday, March 22, 2012


What are demons? Let me begin by saying that I do not know for sure. "Demon" is from δαιμον (daimon) which means "devil." Since there is only one devil (Satan - Rev. 12:9), translators transliterated the word for clarity. While it appears that most biblical scholars and noted theologians believe demons are fallen angels, I am not sure. The passages which refer to Satan's fall (Matt. 25:41; Lk. 10:18; Rev. 12:4, 9) do not state demons are "fallen angels."
"Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41).

"And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Lk. 10:18).

"And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born" (Rev. 12:4).

"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:9).
And, according to 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6, the angels which chose to follow Satan are currently bound by chains in hell until they are judged by God.
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" (2 Pet. 2:4).

"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 1:6).
The obvious question is, if they are bound in hell, how could they possess folks during the ministry of Jesus? I have a theory, but let me say at the outset, I do not know of anyone who believes as I do; therefore, I caution you to be as the Bereans (Acts 17:11).

It is possible that the "fallen angels" were cast into hell after the ministry of Jesus. Note that at the time of the writing of Jude and Revelation, they were bound, but they may not have been bound until after Jesus rose from the dead, and was then given the keys to hell. John wrote, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev. 1:18).

There is a distinct possibility that "fallen angels" were loosed during the ministry of Jesus in order for Him to cast them out of folks, thus verifying His identity. Matthew quoted Jesus as saying, "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you" (Matt. 12:28). Today, they are bound, thank God!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Religious jargon often hinders one's attempt to reach someone with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Take for instance the use of this passage to explain how one can be saved:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:9-13).
There are at least five words which may not be clearly understood by the person to whom one is witnessing for Christ: "confess," "Lord," "saved," "righteousness," "scripture," etc. Here, "confess" means to "declare or proclaim." "Lord" means "Master or the One to whom you submit yourself." "Saved" means "rescued from eternal damnation for one's sin." And "scripture" refers to the Holy Bible; other writings, sometimes called "scripture" by cults or other religions, are rejected as such by mainline Christianity.

The root of the word, "righteousness," in the Greek is δικαιοσ (dikaios), and it means "just or one meeting with judicial approval." All religions believe that man is sinful and in need of becoming righteous in order to be acceptable with God. The method of achieving a righteous standing with God is the main difference between religion and genuine Christianity. All religions, including false "Christian churches," teach that man can become righteous by doing good works, and by avoiding their specific list of sins. Genuine Christianity teaches that one becomes righteous by believing in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. The passage above states "man believeth unto righteousness." In other words, a man is not made righteous, acceptable to God, by being "religious," but by simply believing that Jesus died to pay for his sins, that Jesus was buried to prove He was dead, and that God, His Father, raised Him from the dead to reign over those who would put their trust in Him (1 Cor. 15:1-26).

The word "righteous," in some form, appears forty-three times in Romans. We learn that no man is righteous (Rom. 3:10); righteousness is by faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:22); Abraham's was considered righteous because of his faith (Rom. 4:3); and that righteousness is a "free gift" (Rom. 5:15-18; also Eph. 2:8-9).

Being considered righteous by God takes work;
thank God, Jesus has done that work!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


[1] Whosoever (Especially you, for God is no respecter of persons - Acts 10:34; Rom. 10:13) believeth (Rom. 10:9-10) that Jesus is the Christ (The Son of the living God - Matt. 16:16) is born of God (Born again - Jn. 3:3-21): and every one that loveth Him that begat (The Father - Acts 13:33) loveth Him (Jesus) also that is begotten (Jn. 3:16) of Him (The Father).
[2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His Commandments (His Commandments describe how to love Him and all those who are His. The Commandments of God for the Christian are summed up in Galatians 5:14 which says, "For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself").
[3] For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments (In other words, we love God by loving others): and His commandments are not grievous (Matt. 11:28-30).
[4] For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:7).
[5] Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
[6] This is He that came by water (Water refers to the flesh - Mk. 14:22; Jn. 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 11:24) and blood (Mk. 14:24; 1 Cor. 11:25), even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth (Jn. 16:13).
[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (Jn. 1:1, 14), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are One (The Holy Trinity - Matt. 28:19; Lk. 3:22; Jn. 14:26; 1 Pet. 1;2; etc.).
[8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water (His flesh), and the blood (His blood): and these three agree in one.
[9] If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.
[10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.
[11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
[12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
[13] These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God (1 Jn. 2 repeatedly tells us to whom John wrote; believers of all ages); that ye may know that ye have eternal life (Be absolutely certain that you are saved), and that ye may (continue to) believe on the name of the Son of God.

When we sin and doubts come, remember, we are not believing in ourselves;
we are believing in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Today, when a born again believer reads the word "saints" in the Scriptures, he invariably thinks of those who have placed their faith in our resurrected Lord. In other words, he thinks of Christians. However, there have been "saints" ever since God created Adam. The word "saints" is from the Hebrew qodesh, and the Greek hagios, meaning "most holy one." "Holy," in turn, means "those who are sanctified, that is, set apart unto God."

Going by the chronology of James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, published in A.D. 1650, I believe it has been approximately six thousand years since Adam was created. Two thousand years passed until Abraham, known as the Father of the Hebrew people, was chosen. Another two thousand years passed until the birth of Christ. And, as most people know quite well, it has been two thousand years since our Lord "became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14). That means for the first two thousand years, there were only Gentiles living on earth. From the time Abraham, the father of the Jews, until the beginning of the Church Age (Acts 2:1-4), there were two kinds of people in our world: Gentiles and Jews. Since the birth of the Church, however, there have been three groups of people: Gentiles, Jews, and born again believers. I prefer the phrase "born again believers" because there are millions of "Christians" who are not saved, and therefore are not genuine members of Christ's Body, the Church (see Christ's parables in Matthew 13).

The Book of Hebrews has an entire chapter devoted to men and women of faith, saints of God. Although there are only three names listed from the first two thousand years of man's history on earth (Abel, Enoch, and Noah), obviously there were more than three people set apart unto God (Adam, Abel, Seth, Melchizedek, etc.). The same is true of the two thousand years from Abraham to Jesus. Hebrews lists only seven (Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab), but the writer states he did not have time to discuss people like Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, or the prophets (Heb. 11:32). I have always found it interesting that he had time to discuss two women, one a prostitute, but did not have time for folks like Gideon, David, or the prophets.

I am not sure if there is any significance to the number of saints listed in the first two two-thousand year periods (3 and 7), or if there is some meaning to there being seven for which the writer had no time. I would think that there being seven mentioned, and seven not discussed could indicate that Israel, like the Church, consisted of those who were genuine Jews, and those who were Jews in name only (Matt. 13:1-53; 25:1-12; Rom. 9:6). It is ironic that Hebrews 11 addresses only the first four thousand years of man's history, especially since over the last two thousand years, all born again believers are called saints. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote: "He (God) gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12). If Jesus is your Lord, you are a saint.

Born again believers are saints; therefore we should live like it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


As I see it, there are two purposes for prophecy in the Bible. Prophecy informs man as to what will take place in the future, and, prophecy serves to verify, or authenticate, events that have already taken place. Today, Christians look forward to the Second Coming of Christ (Jn. 14:1-3; 1Thes. 4:13-18; etc.). And, the Gospel is a perfect example of the Word verifying what has already taken place; notice it says, "according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Based upon the Old Testament promise to David (2 Sam. 7:12), the Jews were expecting their Messiah, the Son of David, to come as a mighty King (Matt. 1:1; 12:23; 21:9, 15; 22:42; Mk. 11:10; 12:35; Lk. 3:31; Jn. 1:41; 4:25; Acts 1:6; etc.). Apparently, their eagerness to escape from a seemingly endless series of conquering empires caused them to miss those prophecies which foretold the sacrificial death of their Messiah (Ps. 22; Isa. 53; Dan. 9:26). After His Resurrection, Jesus explained that He would appear twice, once as a sacrificial Passover Lamb, and a second time as the King for whom they so longed (1 Cor. 5:7; Lk. 24:26-27, 44-45; Jn. 14:1-3; Acts 1:11).

The period between Christ's two appearances is known as the Church Age. In this age, the Holy Spirit is bringing both bad news, and good news. The bad news is, men are lost sinners. The Spirit is working to bring man under conviction concerning his sin, and to make him aware of his need for a Savior (Jn. 16:8-11). The good news is, Jesus died so that men could be saved from the penalty of their sin (1 Cor. 15:3; Gal. 1:4; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10).

Scripture also is prophetic in that it tells us the bad news as to what will happen to those who fail to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In John 8:24, we read, " I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I Am He, ye shall die in your sins." For those who turn to Jesus for forgiveness of sin, He is Faithful and Just to forgive (remit) our sins, and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness (Lk. 24:47; 1 Jn. 1:9). Luke 24:47 speaks of man's repentance (turning from sin to Jesus), and the Lord's remission (from the word, "remit" meaning "forgiveness or pardon from sin"). Both are to be preached!

Some people, wanting to make sure that those considering accepting the Lord's offer of forgiveness know that salvation is a gift and cannot be earned or merited, fear by adding the necessity of repentance for salvation, we are saying man contributes to his own salvation. This could not be further from the truth. The Holy Spirit convicts a man of his sin, and points him to Jesus. When a man believes he is lost and that Jesus has died that he might be saved, he has a choice; he can reject the free gift of eternal life, or he can turn from going down the path to destruction, and seek to please the One who loves him.

The Lord is holding out His nail-pierced hands with the free gift of salvation;
turn to Him and take it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Do I see myself as a guilty, lost sinner who stands condemned before a holy and righteous God (Rom. 3:10-19, 23)? Do I recognize that my own heart is deceitful and wicked and incurably sick (Jer. 17:9; Mk. 7:21-23)? Do I see myself as deserving of death and hell (Rom. 6:23)? Do I realize that if God were to give me what I deserve and repay me for the way I have lived, then I would be totally destroyed (Ps. 130:3, 10)?

Do I recognize that there is absolutely nothing I can do to save myself (Titus 3:5)? Do I understand that trying my best to perform good works will never gain me or earn me an entrance into heaven (Eph. 2:8-9)? Do I realize that my church or my religious system cannot save my soul (Jer. 17:5)? Am I convinced that my own righteousness and my own goodness falls far short of the righteousness that God requires (Rom. 3:10-12; 1 Cor. 6:9-10)? Do I, in and of myself, have any personal credentials that are acceptable before God (Isa. 64:6)?

Do I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only Solution to my sin problem (Acts 4:12)? Do I recognize Him as the ONLY WAY to God (Jn. 14:6), the ONLY DOOR to salvation (Jn. 10:9), the ONLY SAVIOR for sinners (Matt. 1:21) and the ONLY ONE who can give me eternal life (Jn. 10:28; 17:3)? Do I understand that Jesus Christ is Eternal God (Jn. 1:1-3) who came into this world and became a man to save me (Jn. 1:14; 1 Tim.1:15; Jn. 3:17)? Am I convinced that He loved me even when I was a great sinner (Rom. 5:8; Jn. 3:16) and that He died and rose again to save my soul (Rom. 4:25)? Am I persuaded that the Lord Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He died in my place as my perfect Substitute, dying in my stead and paying completely the full penalty for my sins (Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21)?

Am I trusting in Him and in Him alone to save me (Acts 16:31)? Have I come to Him in simple, child-like faith (Jn. 6:35, 37; Matt. 11:28)? Have I, by faith, personally received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior (Jn. 1:12)? Am I resting my entire self on Him (John 8:24), on what He has done (1 Cor. 15:3-4) and on what He has said (Jn. 6:47)? Do I believe that He is able to completely save all those who come unto God through Him, including me (Heb. 7:25)? Do I believe the statement of Christ found in John 5:24? Is John 3:16 true of me? Have I ever shared with others that Jesus Christ is my Savior (Rom. 10:9-10; Matt. 10:32)?

Another helpful question that I can ask myself is this: If I were to die today and stand before God and He should ask me, “Why should I allow you to enter My holy heaven?” what would my answer be? If my answer in any way points to MYSELF (my own credentials, my own works, my own religious deeds, etc.) then I am not trusting only in Jesus for my salvation. Then I am not saved.

Part of "Am I a True Believer"; from with permission.

Friday, March 16, 2012


When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, rarely does he fully comprehend the awesomeness of the One upon whom he has placed his faith. And to be quite honest, none of us will until we enter into the presence of the Son of God. 1 John 3:2, my favorite Bible verse, says this: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." Oh what a glorious day that will be!

Today, all that can be known of Jesus begins with the Word of God. There are hundreds of Old Testament references to Him which helped His disciples recognize Him when He ministered here on earth (Lk. 24:25-26). And now that the Bible is complete, born again believers have the four Gospels, the witness of Paul (1 Cor. 15:8), the witness of the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 5:6), the witness of the Father (1 Jn. 5:9), and we even have the witness in ourselves (1 Jn. 5:10)! Within the Gospels, we have the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Jesus Himself (Jn. 8:18).

Jesus said, "I Am: meek and lowly in heart (Matt. 11:29); come in My Father's name (Jn. 5:43); the Bread of Life (Jn. 6:48); sent to you by My Father (Jn. 7:28-29); the Light of the World (Jn. 8:12); from above, not of this world (Jn. 8:23); before Abraham (Jn. 8:58); the Door (Jn. 10:9); the Good Shepherd who gives His life (Jn. 10:11); the Son of God (Jn. 10:36); the Resurrection and the Life (Jn. 11:25); Master and Lord (Jn. 13:13); the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6); in the Father (Jn. 14:10-11); the True Vine (Jn. 15:1); glorified in them (His disciples - Jn. 17:10); King (Jn. 18:37); etc.

Of course, there is so much more we do not know about Jesus, than the comparatively little that is revealed about Him in the Bible. The Bible is a single volume composed of sixty-six individual writings, or books. But according to John's Gospel, it is merely "a drop in the bucket." John wrote: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (Jn. 21:25). The Apostle Paul wrote: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Cor. 13:12).

But the most important "I AM" a person must know is "I am a lost sinner and I need a Savior." John wrote: "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go My way, and ye shall seek Me, and (ye) shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I AM HE, ye shall die in your sins" (Jn. 8:21-24).

He died as the Savior; He rose as King of kings and Lord of Lords!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Those who believe a person can be saved by accepting Jesus as his Savior are correct. However, when one accepts Jesus, he is saved IF the Jesus he accepts is the Jesus of the Bible. Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, that He was simply a man who is now elevated to "God-status." Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus was simply the man God chose to be man's substitute for sin. Neither of the two believes He is Eternal God, and Creator of the Universe (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2). Muslims believe Jesus will return as their Mahdi, the one who will execute all those who refuse to surrender to the Allah of Islam.

Yesterday's blog provided a lengthy list of the names and titles of Jesus in the Bible. Do you suppose, for an instant, that a born again believer would deny any of those listed as being true? And while a person does not usually know that Jesus is described in so many ways at the time he accepts Jesus, there is one title he must understand: Jesus is Lord! That means He has authority over all those who put their trust in Him, past, present, and future. Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:8-13 on this matter. I have highlighted my comments in bold type.

[8] But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach (that is, the Gospel of the Lord which is the power of God unto salvation - Mk. 15:16; Acts 2:36; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-4);
[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (proclaim Him as your Lord publicly), and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead (have genuine faith in the resurrected Lord), thou shalt be saved.
[10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (notice believing comes first, and then confession).
[11] For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed (the natural result of a genuine faith in Jesus is a willingness to boldly tell others).
[12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek (there were only two classes of people in the world - Jews and Greeks, also known as Gentiles): for the same Lord over all (LORD OVER ALL) is rich unto all that call upon Him.
[13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD) shall be saved.

Trusting in Jesus to have taken away one's sins, but being unwilling to trust Him to lead him as his Lord, makes absolutely no sense. That is like trusting a doctor to diagnose your illness, but being unwilling to follow his advice on what to do about it. A genuine born again believer has within him the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), whose job it is to remind you of the Lord's instructions, and guide you into all truth (Jn. 14:17, 26; 16:13). Do you think it is possible that the Holy Spirit would remind you of Christ's "suggestions" instead of His "commands?" The Great Commission has three parts: preach the Gospel that they might be saved; baptize those who accept Jesus; and teach them "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20). That certainly sounds like Lordship to me!

One must accept the Jesus of the Bible, and not simply what He did in the Bible!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


After Joseph got over the shock of hearing Mary was with child, the Angel of the Lord told him, "thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). "Jesus" was His name, but the Scriptures are replete with other names which describe Him. Here are some of His names:

Advocate (1 Jn. 2:1); Almighty (Rev. 1:8); Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8); Amen (Rev. 3:14); Anointed One (Ps. 2:2); Author and Perfecter of Our Faith (Heb. 12:2); Beginning and the End (Rev. 21:6); Branch (Zech. 3:8); Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35); Bridegroom (Matt. 9:15); Carpenter (Mk. 6:3); Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4); Christ (Matt. 1:16); Comforter (Jer. 8:18); Consolation of Israel (Lk. 2:25); Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20); Dayspring (Lk. 1:78); Day Star (2 Pet. 1:19); Deliverer (Rom. 11:26); Desire of the Nations (Hag. 2:7); Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23); Faithful and True Witness (Rev. 3:14); First Fruits (1 Cor. 15:23); Foundation (Isa. 28:16); Fountain (Zech. 13:1); Friend of Sinners (Matt. 11:19); Gate for the Sheep (Jn. 10:7); Gift of God (2 Cor. 9:15); God (Jn. 1:1); Good Shepherd (Jn. 10:11); Governor (Matt. 2:6); Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20); Guide (Ps. 48:14); Head of the Church (Col. 1:18); High Priest (Heb. 3:1); Holy One of Israel (Isa. 41:14); Horn of Salvation (Lk. 1:69); I AM (Ex. 3:14); Jehovah (Ps. 83:18); King of Israel (Matt. 27:42); King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16); Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29); Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45); Light of the World (Jn. 8:12); Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5); Master (Matt. 23:8); Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5); Messiah (Jn. 1:41); Morning Star (Rev. 22:16); Nazarene (Matt. 2:23); Our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7); Physician (Matt. 9:12); Potentate (1Tim. 6:15); Priest (Heb. 4:15); Prophet (Acts 3:22); Propitiation (1 Jn. 2:2); Purifier (Mal. 3:3); Rabbi (Jn. 1:49); Ransom (1 Tim. 2:6); Redeemer (Isa. 41:14); Refiner (Mal. 3:2); Refuge (Isa. 25:4); Resurrection (Jn. 11:25); Righteousness (Jer. 23:6); Rock (Deut. 32:4); Root of David (Rev. 22:16); Rose of Sharon (Song 2:1); Ruler of God's Creation (Rev. 3:14); Sacrifice (Eph. 5:2); Savior (Lk. 1:47); Second Adam (1 Cor. 15:47); Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16); Seed of David (2 Tim. 2:8); Seed of Woman (Gen. 3:15); Servant (Isa. 42:1); Shepherd (1 Pet. 2:25); Shiloh (Gen. 49:10); Son of David (Matt. 15:22); Son of God (Lk. 1:35); Son of Man (Matt. 18:11); Son of Mary (Mk. 6:3); Son of the Most High (Lk. 1:32); Stone (Isa. 28:16); Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2); Teacher (Matt. 26:18); Vine (Jn. 15:1); The Way, The Truth, and The Life (Jn. 14:6); Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6); Word (Jn. 1:1).

When a person places his trust in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he is acknowledging that he is a sinner, that he needs a Savior, and that he accepts the free gift of the Father: Jesus! As he grows from a new born baby into a mature Christian, he discovers that the Person on Whom he placed his faith is much more than just a Savior; He is both Lord and God!

Isn't it odd that one gets a gift from God, and then he has his birthday?
ir sins.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Salvation is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one's heart. The Apostle Paul wrote, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). We hear the Gospel that Jesus died for our sin, that He was buried, and that He rose from the grave as the Old Testament said He would (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Dan. 9:26; Ps. 16:10; Lk. 24:25-27). We hear and are drawn to the resurrected Jesus by the Father (Jn. 6:44). We hear when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our need of a Savior, and convinces us that Jesus is The Savior (Jn. 14:6; 16:7-15).

So, is faith the same thing as "hearing?" No! The disciples experienced three years in the presence of the Son of God, and when Jesus was arrested, they all scattered in fear (Mk. 14:15). Even after He was resurrected, Thomas still could not believe in Him unless he placed his finger into Christ's wounds (Jn. 20:25). Jesus had clearly taught them He would be crucified and raised (Matt. 16:21-23). He had taught in parables so that His disciples could understand, but those who would not place their trust in Him, would not (Matt. 13:11-12). Even the disciples, having heard His preaching, did not really hear (understand) until after the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles who believed in Christ (Acts 11:15-16). In fact, their understanding that the Church was a new work of God, and not an extension of the Mosaic Law, did not become clear until the debate in Acts 15:1-29.

True faith comes from the sort of hearing which changes one's understanding of who Jesus is. It is the result of the Holy Spirit showing us that He is the Father's gift to us (Jn. 3:16). It is the result of the Holy Spirit showing us that we are sinners, doomed to spend eternity in hell, unless we accept God's gift (Rom. 6:23). It is the result of our coming to an understanding all this, and realizing it is true. Then, and only then, can we choose to believe in, trust in, surrender to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Paul wrote,
"But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:8-13).

Saving faith comes from hearing that results in repentance and surrender!

Monday, March 12, 2012


"A certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him (trying to trap Jesus), saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus responded by asking him, "What is written in the Law? How readest thou?" The lawyer replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Jesus then told him, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live" (Lk. 10:25-27). In other words, you cannot do your way into heaven.

There is so much irony in such a short conversation between this "expert on the Word of God," and the very Word of God Himself. Like Satan (Matt. 4:6), he knew what the Scriptures said, but he did not allow them to change him. The Apostle John wrote that those who love God, also love His Son (1 Jn. 1:1). So, by trying to trap Jesus, he was failing to love God and failing to love Jesus, his neighbour.

The lawyer knew he was to love the LORD (YHVH - Jehovah - I Am - God) because his Bible, the Old Testament, told him to fourteen times, nine times in Deuteronomy, twice in Joshua, and three times in Psalms. What he did not know was that he was speaking to the LORD; Jesus is Jehovah! Yes, the lawyer knew the right answer, and perhaps he did love the idea of God with all his mind, but he certainly did not recognize Him, nor did he love Him with all his heart, soul, and strength.

And in reality, he wasn't all that great of a Hebrew scholar either. Had he been, he would not have asked Jesus what he should "do to inherit eternal life." Usually, one does not have to do anything to inherit; he just needs to outlive the person passing it on. The Old Testament is clear that righteousness was the result of believing in, and trusting in God. People were "saved" prior to Israel receiving the Mosaic Law (Enoch - Gen. 5:24; Noah - Gen. 6:8; Lot - Gen. 19:19; etc.), so obedience to the Law was not the answer. We are told, in the Book of Hebrews, that Enoch "pleased God" (11:6), and the next verse says that "without faith, it is impossible to please Him" (11:7). Once the Law was given, those who were called "righteous" were, in fact, righteous because they believed God (Abraham - Rom. 4:3).

On another occasion when Jesus was asked what works had to be done in order to be saved, He replied, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him (His Son Jesus) whom He (The Father) hath sent" (Jn. 3:16; 6:29). Saul of Tarsus, when meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, asked, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). Notice he already acknowledged Jesus as Lord; what Paul wanted to know was, now that I have come to faith in You, what are Your instructions! Later, when Paul was miraculously freed from jail in Philippi, the jailer wanted to know "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas told him, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31).

What must you do to be saved?
Believe in the Savior! Period!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The most common New Testament Greek word translated "hell" is gehenna, from which the Valley of Hinnom was named. It was an ever-burning garbage dump outside the walls of Jerusalem. Apart from one use in James 3:6, this term is found exclusively in the Synoptic Gospels. Gehenna is described as a place of fiery torment (Matt. 18:8-9; Mk. 9:43-49).

The other
New Testament Greek word translated "hell" is hades, which refers to the unseen world of the dead. Both gehenna and hades describe the temporary abode of the lost souls of those who have died (Acts 2:31; Rev. 20:13). Hades was separated from Paradise, or "Abraham's bosom," by an uncrossable gulf (Lk. 16:19-31). Today, hades continues to hold the lost who are awaiting their resurrection and the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-13), but the righteous who die, now go immediately into the presence the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).

There are four verses in the Scriptures that speak of the Lake of Fire. They are Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14,15. Here are those things which will be cast into the Lake of fire:

"And the beast (the Antichrist) was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19:20).

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10).

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:13-15).

In order to insure that you do not spend eternity in a burning lake of fiery brimstone, you need to place your trust in Jesus Christ. He said, “I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life; no man cometh unto the Father except by Me!” (Jn. 14:6). Do you believe Jesus died for your sins? All you have to do is turn to Him for forgiveness and He will save you from your sins and make you a born again child of God. Just trust Him!

The only way to avoid spending a timeless eternity with Satan,
is to allow Jesus to spend time with you as your Lord today!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


The earliest known English-language usage of "brainwashing" is found in an article by Edward Hunter in the New Leader published in October of 1950. During the Korean War, Hunter, a journalist and a U.S. intelligence agent, wrote a series of books and articles on the theme of Chinese brainwashing. "Brainwashing" has been defined as: 1) a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas; 2) persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship.

From the wording of these definitions, it is evident that "brainwashing" is viewed as an infringement upon an individual's freedom. However, these methods of changing one's mind are sometimes viewed as acceptable; it depends upon who is changing the mind of whom, the methods they are using, and for what purpose. Take for instance the Drill Sergeant in a military boot camp. "Breaking a recruit down" is seen as a good thing, because the objective is to build recruits into a cohesive and homogeneous fighting unit. Some might say that the persons being "brainwashed" had volunteered, and it is therefore acceptable. But what about individuals who are drafted? They are not volunteers, and yet it is okay to forcibly indoctrinate them.

The term "brainwashing" is most often applied to religion. Religious cults are infamous for using "brainwashing" techniques to gain control over those foolish enough to be drawn in by their false promises and false doctrines. Sleep deprivation, "love bombing," isolation, peer pressure, etc, are common tactics to weaken resistance to the cult-leaders' control. Today, there are groups of genuine Christians who are devoted to the rescue and deprogramming of those caught up in the deception of cultism.

However, there is such a thing as "good brainwashing." When a person places his faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, he becomes "a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). Unfortunately, he often does not think or act like Christ. The Bible says that a new believer should hunger for the Word of God (1 Pet. 2:2). He should submit himself to the authority of church elders (Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5).
They are "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. 4:12-14).
And finally, we are to participate in "brainwashing" ourselves. Much of our way of thinking is corrupt and contrary to the teachings of God. We need our minds "washed" and purified (Titus 3:5; Jam. 4:8). Ephesians 5:26 speaks of being set apart for God (sanctified) by "the washing of the water by the Word." "Water," here, is used in the same sense as it was in John 3:5-6, where it refers to the physical person, as opposed to the spiritual person. We need our "brains washed!" Paul admonishes us, as Christians, to have our minds "renewed" (Rom. 12:2). Elsewhere he wrote, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph. 4:23). Believers must submit to elders and study the Word, if they want to think like Christ.

For a believer in Christ, "brainwashing" is a must!


Friday, March 9, 2012


Yesterday, I addressed the topic of Christians having fellowship with those who "abideth not in the doctrine of Christ" (2 Jn. 1:9-11). The text clearly teaches that we are not to fellowship with them; we are not to allow them into our homes, nor "bid (them) God speed" (a blessing on their future endeavors). But what is "fellowship?" Christian fellowship may be defined as "associating with those of like mind concerning the things taught in God's Word." Another obvious question is, what is "the doctrine of Christ?" That phrase could mean two things: it could mean those teachings about Jesus Christ, such as His virgin birth, His resurrection. etc.; or it could mean those things Jesus taught during His ministry.

The Book of Romans, perhaps the greatest theological document ever written, sheds much light on what one is to believe concerning Christ and His teachings. First of all, genuine faith has a beginning point of time in one's life (Rom. 13:11). It is at that moment that the individual, having believed the Gospel and placed his faith and trust in Jesus, is born again (saved - Rom. 1:16). He has believed the doctrine of (about) Christ.

At the moment of salvation, God imputes Christ's righteousness upon the believer (Rom. 3:22; 4:3, 5, 11; 4:22-24; 10:9-10; also 2 Cor. 5:21). As long as we walk in obedience to the doctrine of (teachings of) Christ, we remain in a state of righteousness. However, when we disobey God's will, we are tainted with unrighteousness. When that happens, we need to repent (agree with God's view of our behavior, and turn from it) and confess it to God. He, in turn, cleanses us from all unrighteousness, making us righteous once again (1 Jn. 1:8-10). That does not mean one loses his salvation, or ceases to be a child of God. It means that, as God's child, sin produces discipline, weakness, sickness, and even death for those who don't repent (Heb. 12:5-11; 1 Cor. 11:30).

While it is obvious that a believer can not share in Christian fellowship with those who do no claim to believe in Christ, nevertheless, just as Jesus associated with unbelievers (Pharisees, tax collectors, Samaritans, and even adulterers), Christians need to associate with the lost of this world (Matt. 5:16; Mk. 16:15; Acts 1:8; Rom. 12:17-18; 1 Cor. 10:32; 2 Cor. 5:20; Gal. 6:10; Phil. 4:5; 1 Tim. 2:1; 3:7; 1 Pet. 2:17; etc.). We are to be in the world, but not of the world (Jn. 17:14-18); with them, but not yoked to them (2 Cor. 6:14).

That being said then, it is clear that those with whom we are not to have fellowship, are those who do not have the doctrine of Christ, that is, do not follow the teachings of Christ. They claim to be Christians, but their behavior is inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. Jesus taught concerning church discipline in Matthew 18:15-18, Paul wrote concerning the treatment of believers who are not living in accordance to God's Word (Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thes. 5:14; 2 Thes. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 5:19-20; 6:3-5; etc.). Separation from a brother must be with the goal of reestablishing fellowship (2 Cor. 2:6-8; Gal. 6:1; Jude 22-23).

I would rather be seen with the lost, than with a believer who lives like the lost!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


2 Corinthians 6:14 - "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness
and what communion hath light with darkness?"

The Apostle Peter wrote, "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy...because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:15-16). The word "holy" is "hagios" in the Greek, and "kadesh" in Hebrew. Both mean "to be set apart." Just as God is not a part of His creation, those who belong to Him are not to be a part of this world. Jesus said, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them (set them apart unto Yourself) through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth" (Jn. 17:15-17).

What did Jesus mean by "the world?" "World" is from the Greek "kosmos" which has to do with the way it operates. Born again believers are to be set apart from the world by living according to the Scriptures; not following the world's ways. We are to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 25), which is always according to God's will as described in the Word of God. In other words, born again believers are not to do things "the world's way," but God's way.

It goes without saying that believers are to avoid sin; that is a given. The Apostle Paul warned of being unequally yoked with others who do not walk according to God's Word (1 Cor. 5:1-13). But believe it or not, he warned of a far worse kind of yoking that takes place within the Church. Believers committing sin within the Church is bad enough, but a greater problem is having "fellowship" with those who, claiming to be believers, proclaim a different Gospel.

In Galatians 1:3-9, Paul describes the true Gospel as teaching salvation is a gift, it is by grace (v. 6). He said Jesus gave Himself to "deliver us from this present evil world" (v. 4). Paul is quite clear that the Church should have no fellowship with those who preach salvation by works (v. 7-9). In his other epistles, Paul presented the Gospel as being based upon one's faith in the finished work of Christ on our behalf (Rom. 10:1-13; 1 Cor. 15:1-23; Eph. 2:1-13; etc.).

The Apostle John also made it quite clear as to how born again believers are to treat those who hold to "another Gospel." He wrote, " Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 Jn. 1:9-11). Here are some other passages you might want to consider: Romans 16:17; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:6; and 2 Thessalonians 3:6.

There really is such a thing as guilt by association!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Psalm 90:1-17
"LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."
There are two ways to approach Psalm 90: taking the Psalm as a whole, that is, summarize it; or to "dissect" it piece by piece. Due to my Obsessive Compulsiveness, I do not like to take each individual detail because I will always feel like I have left something out. That being said, here are a few observations of what I understand the Psalmist to be saying:

1) God is eternal and man's days can be counted by generations (v. 1-2).
2) God chastises man in order to get him to repent (v. 3).
3) God is patient. Unlike man, He has "all the time in the world" (v. 4-6).
4) God's patience has a limit. He will judge mankind (v. 7-11).
5) Man's desire for God to teach us and give us wisdom (v. 12).
6) Man's desire for God's return (v. 13-16).
7) Man's desire to be like God, so that our works would be according to His will (v. 17).

Notice that my first four points describe the contrast between God's character and man's. God is eternal, He disciplines out of love, He is patient to a point, and then He judges man. My last three points describe a believer's humility in asking for God to teach us, give us the gift of wisdom, return so we might rejoice in His presence, and for Him to work through us. For the born again believer, there is nothing that brings more joy than knowing we are pleasing our God.

It is the ultimate irony that Satan tempted Adam and Eve with a fruit that would make them like God (Gen. 3:5). Apparently Adam and Eve did not know they already were like God (Gen. 1:26-27). It was by eating of the forbidden fruit that they ceased to by like God! The irony continues in that, while man was instantly created in God's image and likeness, regaining that status also happens instantly. When a believer places his trust in Jesus Christ, he is immediately born again (Jn. 3:1-36). However, just as human birth is the beginning of man's growth to maturity, the new birth is just the beginning. He begins as a "baby" (1 Pet. 2:2), and he eventually matures enough to be "self-sufficient" (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12). God begins the transformation into Christlikeness (Phil. 1:6), and it is upon meeting Jesus face-to-face, that we are finally like Him (1 Jn. 3:2).

For me, all I can say is, "Come Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20)!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


If you have been watching the news, you will notice that North Korea is threatening to destroy South Korea, Iran is threatening to rid the world of Israel and America, the United States is demanding Israel give up territory for peace, the global economy has nations declaring bankruptcy, earthquakes are on the rise, morality has hit an all-time low.... With a record number of homes being in foreclosure, unemployment so bad that the government distorts the statistics to prevent panic, and a President who apparently thinks socialism is superior to democracy, I am sure the number of folks on "nerve pills" has climbed to an all-time high. Let's face it, things are bad, and those in the know tell us the future will be even worse. It is almost enough to drive a person to drink. Almost!

Why almost? Because born again believers, at least those who know their Bible, are not surprised or shaken by it all. The Word of God, which describes life on our planet during the end-times, has been predicting events with 100% accuracy for centuries. And for those who have "read the last chapter," we know how it all turns out. God wins! And since born again believers are God's children, we win! The Word says that there is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God:
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:37-39).
There is nothing Satan can do to us that will change our eternal destiny; we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

So, what is the source of the downward spiral of civilization? The answer is simple; mankind has "bought into" the lies of Satan. From the very beginning, he has twisted the truth in an effort to become equal to God (Isa. 14:12-14). He was the "serpent" deceiving Adam in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3), and he will be deceiving man, as the "serpent," until he is finally cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:2, 10). Apparently, because Satan knows what the Word says (Matt. 4:6), and therefore knows his future, he agrees with the saying, "misery loves company." Sadly, the majority of mankind will share his fate (Matt. 7:14).

So, if you think things are bad now, just wait; you "ain't seen nothin' yet!"
By accepting Jesus as your Lord, you will avoid spending eternity with Satan.
For your sake, and for God's glory, don't wait!

Monday, March 5, 2012


Born again believers are engaged in a war with the god of this world, with the prince of the power of the air, (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:12). He is known by many names, but primarily as "the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan" (Rev. 20:2). And while he may be able to steal, kill, and destroy the lives of God's children, he cannot separate us, that is, our souls from the love of God (Jn. 10:10; Rom. 8:35-39). He is fighting a war that he cannot win, and his end is already determined (Rev. 20:10)!

Born again believers are also engaged to be married. The Apostle Paul wrote, "... for I have espoused you to One Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2). In other words, the Church is engaged to Jesus Christ, and in the eyes of God, we are pure, or righteous, because He has made us so (Matt. 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Jn. 3:2-3).

Even though the marriage of the Church to Christ is yet future, for all practical purposes, we are already married to Christ. Using the relationship between Joseph and Mary as an example of how the Jews viewed marital engagement, we see that the Law considered engaged couples as already being married. Matthew wrote:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily" (Matt. 1:18-19).
"Betrothal," getting engaged, included marriage vows, and a divorce was required to break the engagement (Wycliffe Bible Commentary p. 932). The woman was considered the man's wife, and since Mary was pregnant by "Someone" other than Joseph, had he made it public, she would have been stoned to death (Deut. 22:23-30; Lev. 20:10).

Paul, in describing the perfect relationship between a husband and wife, used our relationship with God as a pattern. He wrote:
"Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5:24-27).
According to the Book of Revelation, the Church will be officially married to Christ in heaven while the Tribulation is occurring on earth (Rev. 19:7-9). That means, we are espoused to Him now. We are engaged to Christ.

Do you live like you belong to Jesus, or you living in "spiritual adultery?"