A Newlywed Pounding?

September 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: Now I know what a “pounding” is in the context of church, but I still don’t know why it’s called that.

Answer: You’re referring to the practice of welcoming homeowners into a new home by helping them stock their pantry with groceries. I sympathize. The first time my wife and I heard about it in church (many years ago), they were calling it a “newlywed pounding,” and boy did we giggle through the rest of the service. Actually, my wife giggled, and I chuckled manfully in a deep baritone, but you get the idea. So we looked it up after church, and it seems to have originally been a Quaker practice, from the days when most food item staples were purchased by the pound: a pound of sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, etc. Personally, I think it’s one of those things (like “potluck dinner”) that could probably use a name makeover.

Jesus’s Power Over Circumstances

September 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Luke | Leave a comment
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After demonstrating His power over the weather and over demons, Jesus demonstrated His power over disease.

And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:

Luke 8:41

Jairus was wealthy, powerful, and influential, yet he had no power in or of himself to save his beloved daughter.

For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. Luk 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

Luke 8:42-43

Jairus’s daughter was 12 years old, and this lady had been sick for 12 years. Unlike Jairus, the lady was neither powerful nor wealthy – in fact, just the opposite.

Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it , he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.

Luke 8:44-55

Jesus’s Disciples thought He had arrived too late to save Jairus’s daughter, but they failed to fully grasp that Jesus has power not only over the weather, demons, and disease, but also the minutest circumstances. No one is too wealthy to need Jesus and no one is too far gone to be helped by Jesus. That’s the most important thing you can do for anyone with any kind of a problem: get them to Jesus.

The Prophet’s Reprieve

September 13, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
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Some Bible commentators believe that Jeremiah 26 contains a second “temple sermon,” the first one being found in Jeremiah Chapter 7, but others believe that Chapter 26 references the same sermon, with an added emphasis on what happened after the sermon. Much of the Book of Jeremiah is non-chronological, so it is tough know for sure.

In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.

Jeremiah 26:1-3

These verses, and on down through Verse 6, sound like a summary of the temple sermon from Chapter 7, but the intervening chapters have given us more details and the backstory on the operations of Jeremiahs enemies, and the conflict that existed between him (as a true prophet) and the false prophets. The false prophets did not always shout Jeremiah down. At times they listened to what he said with ears of unbelief, hoping to trap him or twist his words to use against him. They also, at times, mocked him for what he said. The Pharisees behaved similarly with Jesus, trying to trap Him and deliberately taking His Words out of context, especially after they perceived that He had generated enough support among the common people to make it difficult for them to simply put Him to death with impunity.

So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.

Jeremiah 26:7-8

This almost makes it sound like an angry mob scene, and I’m sure there was plenty of hostility, but it was really the commencement of a legal proceeding – what we would call a trial – against Jeremiah. There were four groups of people here: priests (the Temple leaders); (false) prophets; and “all” the people (the crowd). Conspicuously absent from the list are the “princes” – the civil leaders or government office holders or advisers to the king.

Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

Jeremiah 26:9

These are the formal charges, which amounted to a charge of blasphemy based on the fact that Jeremiah pointed out the destruction of Shiloh despite the presence of the Tabernacle there, and said that the same fate would befall Jerusalem despite the presence of the current Temple, where he had just preached and was now being tried.

At this point the princes make their appearance.

When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the Lord, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the Lord’s house. Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.

Jeremiah 26:10-11

Jeremiah didn’t really “defend himself” with any sort of legal maneuvering or sophisticated argumentation. He knew that whatever he had said when he was prophesying/preaching was just a recitation of what God Himself had told him. He told his accusers to repent or perish. The Babylonian invaders had already invaded the city and deported a vast number of Judeans.

Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.

Jeremiah 26:16

The princes sided with Jeremiah, validating his prophetic credentials, and even the crowd apparently was swayed by his integrity. Of course, nobody really repented, but at least God made it so that public opinion was momentarily opposed to executing His servant.

Another of the Lord’s prophets, Uriah, did not receive the same result.

And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the Lord, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah. And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.

Jeremiah 26:20-24

How to Fight Evil

September 11, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Posted in I Peter | Leave a comment
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As Christians, we are being prepared for glory. We should be prepared for being prepared. Look for opportunities to show God’s glory, and then you will see coming trials as opportunities instead of obstacles.

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

I Peter 3:8

In order to prepare for trials we must begin to sow the seeds of love among each other. Normally, we speak of the principles of the harvest in relation to reaching the lost, but love among the brethren (including the “sistren!”) is also something we must “cultivate.” If we can’t love our friends and family, we will never be able to love our enemies.

There are three levels for fighting against evil:
1. Fighting good with evil is the Satanic level.
2. Fighting evil with evil (or returning good for good) is the earthly – or fleshly – level. Sadly, most Christians hover at this level.
3. Fighting evil with good is the Godly level – the Christ-like level.

For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

I Peter 3:10-12

This level will require vigilance in four areas:

1. We must control our tongues. Don’t be like many preachers who are quick to condemn Peter as a hot-head, and an example of someone who was always writing checks with his mouth that his actual conduct couldn’t cash, for we are often just as bad, and many times much worse.

2. We must have a hatred of sin. As we cultivate the garden of love, we must aggressively pull out weeds.

3. We must go out of our way to pursue peace – to be a thermostat, not just a thermometer.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

I Peter 3:15

4. We must sanctify Christ as our Lord. The fear of Him keeps us from being afraid of anything else. I should be afraid to rebel against Him. I should not be afraid to commit my life to Him. His will is perfect (Romans 12:2).

We must be prepared to give an answer, but we are witnesses, not prosecutors.

Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

I Peter 3:16

We must constantly maintain (perform maintenance on) our conscience. Con means “with” and “science” means “knowledge.” Our conscience is what we “know with.” It is like a mirror. It should show the truth, but it only works when there’s light. If a mirror gets dirty, it gets distorted. It can make us think we’re okay, that we look fine, when we are not okay, or when we’re actually filthy. If it keeps getting dirty, eventually it gets blackened. It shuts out all light, and we are left thinking good is evil, and evil is good.

Does God have to Investigate the Future?

September 6, 2018 at 9:57 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
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Question: A while back, I was listening to a sermon on Ephesians Chapter 1, and I was having trouble understanding the idea of predestination, even though I couldn’t say it’s not a real thing when I read Verses 3-5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Then, I realized that God can see the future, so He just looked ahead into time, and saw the ones who would choose Jesus, and then He predestined them to be saved. Is that the right understanding?

Answer: I don’t want to discourage your acceptance of the doctrine of predestination, because you are right in saying that it is clearly spelled out in those verses (and others), but there are two problems with your understanding of it.

1. God is omniscient and immutable and eternal. This means that He knows everything, and there has never been a time when He did not know everything, and His knowledge cannot grow or diminish, and, therefore, He can never learn anything new. Your theory has God looking ahead in time to see what people will do, and thereby acquiring some new information, and this is not possible with God (Psalm 147:5).

2. For God to base His decision as to who will be saved on finding out who will make the wise choice to trust in Christ, He would have to accept the merit of human beings in the salvation that He offers by His free grace, and that is a contradiction in terms. We add no merit, including human wisdom or making good choices, to God’s salvation. He receives all the glory for it. Since it is by grace, we have no reason to boast, for we contributed nothing to it. The only reason anybody ever has chosen, or ever will choose, Christ, is because God first chose him or her (II Timothy 1:9; Romans 11:6; Titus 3:5: Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Nude Dude in a Rude Mood

September 4, 2018 at 11:34 am | Posted in Luke | 2 Comments
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In Luke 8:22-25 Jesus demonstrated His power over the weather by calming a storm with a simple command as He and the Disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee.

He went on to demonstrate His power over demons.

And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

Luke 8:26-27 (emphasis added)

This crazy man living in the graveyard, naked, is often referred to as the “Gadarene Demoniac.”

When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

Luke 8:28-29 (emphasis added)

And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

Luke 8:30-35 (emphasis added)

Being properly dressed is a sign of sanity. Clothes were invented by God as a reminder that we are not what we once were, but that our sins can be covered by the righteousness of Christ. Saved people have entered back into a right relationship with God, but not (with the exception of Christian marriage) into the “naked and unashamed” condition that Adam and Eve enjoyed before the Fall. One reason why immodest dress is unbiblical is that clothes should not draw attention to what they are meant to cover up.

Reunion, Restoration, Regeneration, Reconciliation, and Rejoicing

August 29, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | 1 Comment
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In Jeremiah Chapter 31 there is a promise of reunion – of God reuniting His people. Judah (the southern kingdom – consisting of only two of the twelve tribes) would be restored after 70 years, but Israel (the northern kingdom, consisting of the other ten tribes) would one day (a day which is still in future even for us) be reunited with Judah and also restored.

At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

Jeremiah 31:1-2 (emphasis added)

You will note that division and separation and factions do not generally make God happy. The casting out of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden had an element of protecting grace in it, but it was not a blessing. The dispersal at the Tower of Babel was deemed necessary by God, but it was also a judgment against the people’s sin. Unity must be unified around Truth, but God does desire a true unity among His people. I hope you are more of a uniter than a divider.

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:3

God’s love is revealed to be the motivating attribute behind His “call.” To “draw” is a more forceful term than it sounds like in modern English. It has the connotation of dragging something along by force, or pulling back the string on a bow-and-arrow. However, it is tempered with lovingkindness. How can someone be forcefully dragged into a covenant or relationship with God and experience it as not only “kindness” but “lovingkindness?” The answer lies here:

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Jeremiah 31:31-33 (emphasis added)

The creation of a new heart makes God’s irresistible drawing into an act of lovingkindess, and He loves with an everlasting love (v. 3) because His attributes include immutability, and He is making an everlasting covenant.

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 3:16 (emphasis added)

What sort of emotions and attitudes will this New Covenant usher in?

Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

Jeremiah 31:4

There will be dancing.

Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

Jeremiah 31:12-13

There will be singing (the kind without sorrow).

This sounds like real joy. We who are blessed to know the reality of the fulfillment of the New Covenant probably don’t express our joy in the Lord as often as we should.

Submission and Honor in Marriage

August 27, 2018 at 10:46 am | Posted in I Peter | 1 Comment
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Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

I Peter 3:1

There are the levels of rank in the army of the Lord. A wife who will not come into subjection and submission to the will of her husband, or a child who will not come under subjection and submission to the will of a parent, will have a very difficult time submitting to the will of the Lord.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

I Peter 3:7

Husbands and wives are joint heirs of gracejoined together by God for His glory. The wife who will not submit, and the husband who will not honor, both rob God of His glory. An earthly father who is zealous for his daughter’s well-being will certainly deal harshly with a son-in-law who mistreats that daughter. How much more will the Lord deal harshly with a husband who mistreats a daughter of God? Husbands will answer to God for how they have treated His daughters, probably even before they answer for have they have handled their church-related ministry responsibilities.

The “likewises” in v. 1 and v. 7 refer not just to Abraham and Sara, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our spouses are not just given to us by God for our pleasure, nor merely for companionship and comfort.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:22

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Ephesians 5:25

God has joined spouses together as part of His plan to conform us to the image of Christ. Christ loved – and gave Himself for – people who were originally unresponsive to, or actually opposed to, His love. If we hope to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, we must learn to submit to, to honor, to obey, to love in spite of unresponsiveness or opposition, to love unconditionally and CONSISTENTLY our spouses.

Fake Loyalty vs. Real Loyalty

August 24, 2018 at 9:28 am | Posted in Jeremiah | Leave a comment
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Jeremiah Chapter 34 deals with Zedekiah making an 11th-hour bid to try to bribe God into letting him keep his position as king of a kingdom (Judah) on the verge of destruction

Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon.

Jeremiah 34:2-3

Zedekiah’s plan was to have everyone free their slaves.

That every man should let his manservant, and every man his maidservant, being an Hebrew or an Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother.

Jeremiah 34:9

This was indentured servitude rather than chattel slavery. Under the Law Jewish men and women could sell themselves into slavery, but the Law required that their masters treat them fairly and kindly, and they had to be released in the seventh (Sabbath) year. The Jewish people had not obeyed this law for centuries, but here Zedekiah had them make a formal covenant to do it.

Now when all the princes, and all the people, which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his manservant, and every one his maidservant, go free, that none should serve themselves of them any more, then they obeyed, and let them go.

Jeremiah 34:10

This was ostensibly to obey God, but it is also likely that Zedekiah and his advisers hoped to escape the responsibility and obligation of having to feed their servants during a siege. Furthermore, they had the ulterior motive of hoping that these released servants would join in the fight against Babylon.

Of course, after making this big official statement, and making a big deal about doing it via a sworn covenant, they changed their minds and forced the servants to return to servitude, which only incited the anger of the Lord more.

But afterward they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids. Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying, At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers hearkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour; and ye had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

Jeremiah 34:11-16

Chapter 35 shows us another means by which Jeremiah showed the faithlessness of the people of Judah.

The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.

Jeremiah 35:1-2

The Rechabites were a part of the Kenites – nomadic wanderers who had attached themselves to the Israelites during the wilderness wandering, and had come with them into the promised land. The Rechabites, who traced their ancestry to Jonadab (not the “friend” of Ammon who helped him seduce or rape his half-sister Tamar when David was king, but another Jonadab), and who believed that God’s people should never drink any alcohol nor settle down in homes, but should always live in tents. They had obeyed this rule faithfully for 250 years

God was not here condoning their principles, but He had Jeremiah round them up for an example and an illustration.

Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.

Jeremiah 35:3-5

This was a huge amount of wine, and Jeremiah was not really trying to tempt them, but he was very expansive and welcoming, basically inviting them to, “Help yourself to the wine, have all you want.” What was admirable about the Rechabites was not their rules, but their unwillingness to forsake their principles in the face of pressure to violate them: their long-standing faithfulness to their commitment, their founder, and perhaps their view of God.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 35:13

The Lord contrasted His people’s rebellion and faithlessness with the Rechabites’ faithfulness and obedience, and He promised to bring blessings upon them, and curses upon His own people.

The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.

Jeremiah 35:14-17

The Difference between Saved and Lost

August 22, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Salvation | Leave a comment
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The distinction between saved and lost, spiritually speaking, is the sharpest, most significant distinction in the world. The difference between “saved” people (those who have been truly born again by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, John 3; Ephesians 2:8-9) and those who have not been saved is more important than the differences between people of different political beliefs, different nationalities, different skin colors, different genders, and different ages. A person who is saved is truly a child of God. His or her name has been written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), and he or she will one day go to Heaven to be with Jesus forever, because his or her sins have been forgiven. A person who is lost is an enemy of God, whose sins are unforgiven. This person, unless his or her condition changes before death or before Jesus comes back, must be punished by the just and living God, and he or she will go to a place of separation from God that the Bible calls hell, and ultimately to a place called the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), which is a horrible place of eternal conscious torment. There is nothing of greater consequence for human beings than believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and trusting Him unto salvation.

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