There Are Some Absolutes

March 31, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Eternity, Selected Psalms | 20 Comments
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One of the key principles of debating is to take great care about making “absolute” statements. Sentences that begin with phrases like, “Every time this happens…;” or “I’m always the one who…;” or “Nobody knows what it’s like…” can be easy to disprove. One contradictory example, and the whole thesis is ruined.

However, God’s Word is not like the words of men. God has no qualms whatsoever about using absolutes. Jesus could say with confidence that He did always the things which pleased His Father (John 8:29). God can guarantee with complete certainty that those to whom He gives eternal life will never perish, nor can any man ever pluck them out of His hand (John 10:28). The Lord, Who is eternal, without beginning or end, will endure for ever (Psalm 9:7).

The virtues and qualities of God’s character and glory are likewise immutable. When God’s Word says in Psalm 25:8 that “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way,” we can rest assured that God is always good and God is always right. If this be so, then it only makes sense that we continue to trust in the future victory He has promised, even when defeat and disgrace seem imminent. After all, our profession lacks integrity if we forsake Him after He has promised never to forsake us.

Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

Psalm 25:19-21

See also, The Eternal Glory of God.

Satisfied Patients

March 27, 2009 at 9:46 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Ezekiel | 4 Comments
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The Great Physician, Jesus Christ, is greater than any earthly doctor. This can be seen in how He deals with pre-existing conditions, in the type of Doctor’s orders He gives, and in the success rate of His treatment.

People who have been well-treated by a doctor will always recommend that doctor to their friends. You may see a billboard or advertisement occasionally, but “word of mouth,” rather than paid advertising, is how most doctors get their patients.

If you’ve been healed from the fatal sickness of sin by Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, you should “spread the word.” Don’t miss a chance to tell people about the Lord.

And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

Ezekiel 3:11

An earthly doctor likes to get referrals from patients, but the Great Physician has commanded us tell others about how He has PERMANENTLY healed us.

The Wesleys Were a “S.W.I.M.”ming Family

March 26, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Quotes | 1 Comment
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You are now fairly launched. Hold up your head and swim like a man.

Samuel Wesley, to his son, Charles, upon Charles’s graduation

Jesus Christ, approaching what this world calls His “teen years,” was not interested in vain amusements, dabbling in youthful sin, or filthy entertainment. They did not have Guitar Hero for XBox in His day, but if they had, you can believe He wouldn’t have played it in the synagogue. Our Lord’s affections were set on sitting in the house of God, among the elders of the church, listening to the Word of His Father.

Ministry Addict

The Paycheck You Don’t Want to Receive

March 25, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Posted in Romans, Salvation | 18 Comments
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Everyone who reads this – and everyone you know – has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:23

Your sins have “earned a wage.” In other words, everyone is due to receive a payment from God for our sins against Him. However, God would rather give you a free gift, than pay you what you deserve.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Here is the way He has made to deliver you from death and hell, and to give you eternal life in Heaven:

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.

Romans 10:9

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13

A Major Award

March 24, 2009 at 9:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I have won a blog award. I was so excited, I tried to print it out, and find a frame for it on my office wall, but my wife said it doesn’t really work like that. (Besides, it’s sort of pink, and it would clash with my manly office decor.) Still, though, I am very excited to have won something, and I would like to refer you to two of my favorite blogs, where you will find some brilliant and inspirational writing:

The “Great” that Doesn’t “Grate” – Part One

March 23, 2009 at 10:43 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Biblical Greats | 15 Comments
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As Christians, we should spend much time meditating on how great our salvation is. However, because it is so great, there will always be a great lack of understanding, and a difficulty in truly appreciating it.

We try our best to grasp as much as we can of what God has done in saving us and changing us and regenerating our hearts.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10-12

No one in this world can say that he has loved God his whole life. We were all born with a heart that was not capable of loving God.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

When God saves someone, He gives that person a new heart. This new, regenerated heart has the capacity to love God more and more. A well-loved old hymn says:

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.
Every day with Jesus I love Him more and more.
Jesus saves and keeps me.
And He’s the One I’m waiting for.
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

Robert C. Loveless

Through God’s power, we have the ability to love Him every day more than we did the day before. But most Christians fail to exercise this ability. Part of the reason why may be that we underestimate how great God’s love for us truly is. It would be impossible to overestimate it. The fact of God’s love for sinful men may just be the greatest of all the great miracles. Someone said the greatest miracle is when God raises the dead, but I’ve got three school-age daughters – my wife does that miracle almost every morning! I think the greater miracle than God raising sinful men from the dead is God Himself dying for sinful men.

So, because He died for us we should love Him more and more each day. The question is, practically, how do we do that? How do you make yourself love someone?

Let’s think about it this way. In human terms, to get my love for a person to grow, generally, I need to be around that person – to spend time with her. However, we know that familiarity – in human relationships – can breed contempt. Familiarity isn’t always such a great “love-enhancer” in human relationships. This is because people have faults. The more you get to know someone, and the more time you spend with her, the more of her faults you start to notice.

It’s not the same with God. He is perfect. There are no faults in Him. Since He is perfect, the more you know Him, the more you will love Him.

Keep in mind though, that, in addition to being perfect, God is also great. Since He is great, when I start knowing Him more and more, I recognize His greatness more and more. This means that my love for Him does not become a careless familiarity.

With people, love means “never having to say you’re sorry.” (I know this is not technically correct, but follow the reasoning.) Among people, love can become relaxed, and, ultimately, it can lapse into presumption.

Again, it is not so with God. With Him, we recognize His greatness, and our love does not become a careless familiarity. It becomes worship. It becomes a desire and a motivation to serve Him.

We draw closer to God. We see that He is great. We see that He is perfect. We are thankful for it.

In a future post, I will try to elaborate on three principles that will help us to appreciate the greatness of God: His supremacy; His strength; and His splendor.

Professing Atheists Are Affected by Their Past

March 20, 2009 at 8:59 am | Posted in ProfessingAtheists | 7 Comments
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Professing Atheist: I can understand where you are coming from. I was a born again Christian for 30 years. Born and raised to believe that the “Word of God” is perfect and infallible. My grandfather was a preacher; my father was a deacon at my church and I was ALWAYS VERY involved in my church. I will tell you that 10 short years ago, my faith was 100% unshakable.

Christian: While I appreciate your insight, we do not appear to have very similar backgrounds. I was not raised to believe that the Word of God was perfect and infallible, although I have known it to be for some time now. Also, I have no reason to think you are being intentionally deceitful, but, according to your own words and logic, your faith was not 100% unshakable. This is evidenced by the fact that, by your own admission, you no longer have this faith. Therefore, it was in fact shaken, and, apparently, shaken loose. I regret that, and I encourage you to turn back to it.

Professing Atheist: I am very ashamed of the way that I once behaved. I have apologized to all my Jewish, Mormon, JW, and atheist friends for trying to convince them that they were doomed to an eternity in hell if they did not conform to my beliefs.

Christian: Part of the problem may have been that you tried to convince people to conform to “your” beliefs. I do not advocate conforming to the beliefs of any person. My prayer is that everyone would conform their beliefs to the Word of God, which is immutable Truth.

Professing Atheists: You do NOT have it all figured out.

Christian: Neither I, nor anyone else, has “it all figured out.” However, I know that God is perfect, and He does have everything worked out. When people tell me they used to trust God, but they walked away from Him because of a problem with His people, I like to point out Jeremiah 2:5: “Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?” You may be very ashamed of past behavior on the part of men who claimed to love God, but God Himself never did anything to cause you to turn away from Him.

Quarterback Commandment No. 2

March 19, 2009 at 11:37 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 17 Comments
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This is the second in a series of 11 “Quarterback Commandments” which Bill Parcells gave to Tony Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. The connection between the Quarterback Commandments and this series of Bible lessons can be found in the preface to Quarterback Commandment No. 1.

Quarterback Commandment No. 2: Clowns can’t run a huddle. Don’t forget to have fun, but don’t be the class clown. Clowns and leaders don’t mix. Clowns can’t run a huddle.

Spiritual Application: Christians are supposed to be Christ-like. We are supposed to act the way Jesus acted. There is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Jesus was generally morose, pedantic, boring, overly austere, or just plain old “no fun to be around.” I know many preachers and teachers like to claim that some of the church fathers, reformers, and Puritans gave Jesus a bad image by portraying Him as somber, serious, and grumpy. Modern evangelicals love to point out that Jesus was not a “cosmic killjoy.”

Let’s be analytical for a second. We know Jesus had a sense of humor. Matthew 7:4 and a few other verses show that He could turn a phrase to humorous effect, and even be a little sardonic at times (Matthew 23:24). After all, He was the Book of Proverbs personified, so He must have been witty, as well as wise. We also know that He went to a wedding (John 2:2), He enjoyed good food (John 21:13), and little children liked to be around Him (Matthew 18:2, Luke 18:16).

However, the instances of Jesus joking around are extremely rare in the Gospel record. We see Him angry (Matthew 21:12). We see Him grieved (Luke 13:34). We see Him challenging the status quo (Matthew 23:33). We see Him teaching the greatest and most valuable truths ever taught. We even see Him crying (John 11:35).

So was Jesus Christ a bitter, discontented grouch? Definitely not! Was He a clown? Definitely not! In Christ Jesus, the supreme example for every Christian, we observe the perfect balance. He could weep with those who wept. He laughed with those whose laughter was not sinful. He sternly admonished those who needed correction. He showed compassion and real solutions to those who were truly hurting. And He never, ever ONCE brought shame or disgrace to His Holy Name, to His character, or to His testimony. He never once stepped even a millimeter outside the will of His Father.

As Christian “quarterbacks,” it is possible to have fun in Christian leadership. But, for a quarterback, there must be a difference between having fun and being a clown. The Gospel is a not a “business,” but we might say that we should consider our duty to preserve, protect, and promote the Gospel message to be “serious business.”

Lester Roloff, before he would begin a sermon, would sometimes sing along with some of the young ladies whom God had used him to rescue from lives of addiction and immorality. In one song, he liked to remind people of the seriousness of our spiritual warfare.

“It’s a battlefield, brother, not a recreation room,” he would sing.
“It’s a fight and not a game.
“When I fall down I’m gonna get right up,
“‘Cause I didn’t start out to play
“Run if you want to, run if you will,
“But I came here to stay.”

Consider what the Bible has to say about the demeanor of Christian leaders:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Titus 2:2

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

Titus 2:6-7

Whether we are running a prayer huddle, a Sunday School class huddle, a family worship huddle, or a Biblical counseling huddle, let us remember that “Clowns for Christ” is an oxymoronic idea.

The Eternal Glory of God

March 18, 2009 at 10:21 am | Posted in Eternity | 10 Comments
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What passes for “glory” in the world of men is generally a poor imitation or substitute for God’s glory. Any glory which man can achieve on his own is short-lived and subject to reconsideration with the passage of time.

Contrast this to the glory of God, which is eternal. In fact, the greatest glory that sinful man can probably hope to interact with is the glory of God manifested in the grace-gifts He bestows upon His elect. Obviously, chief among these gifts is salvation.

One of the most amazing things about God’s grace is that He planned it – in love for His elect, and for His glory, before He created us – even though He foreknew the worthlessness of men’s works and our futile attempts to achieve righteousness on our own.

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

II Timothy 2:10

The Doctor Who Never Fails

March 17, 2009 at 8:24 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Galatians | 7 Comments
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Doctors often take the majority of the credit for healing a patient. However, all physical healings are, at best, temporary. Earthly doctors, being human, are susceptible to mistakes. A patient may need a second opinion. A patient who has been proclaimed “healed” may suffer a relapse. But when you have been healed from the fatal illness of sin by the Great Physician, you have been fully and permanently healed.

When the Lord Jesus, the Great Physician, saves someone, it is by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you have been healed from the sickness of sin, you were not healed by works, so you should not trust in works to keep you healed.

The Holy Ghost spoke to the Galatian believers through the Apostle Paul:

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Galatians 3:2-5

An earthly physician offers a temporary cure, but the Great Physician has the power to keep you healed, and to make you GROW.

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