Children Need to Know that Death Is Real

March 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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Last time we talked about a key Bible theme that must not be ignored by parents when teaching the Bible to our children. In fact, it must be emphasized. Here is another:

2. Death is real.

It is also scary.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Hebrews 9:27

Death should be scary because it is a result of sin, and God absolutely hates sin.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:17

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12

Sadly, when we teach the standard “children’s” Bible stories – baby Moses in the Nile, the parting of the Red Sea, Jonah and the big fish/whale, Daniel in the lions’ den – we tend sanitize them and gloss over their fuller meanings, when, if we look at them faithfully, the fact of death comes up organically and realistically.

Look at the story of Noah’s ark, for example. What must we do to make this a happy children’s fairy tale? Well, to start with, you have to skip the prologue.

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Genesis 6:7

And most of the actual story, for that matter.

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Genesis 7:16

All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

Genesis 7:22

To make it what our modern culture thinks of as “child-friendly,” you have to limit it mainly to just talking about a few animals, and cut straight to the rainbow.

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

Genesis 9:13-14

And even then you have to be careful about reading too far!

And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Genesis 9:15

The story of Noah’s ark is not a Disney story. It’s not like the man who tied balloons to his house so he could float away from death to a magical place.

Noah and his family were not in there petting kitty cats and singing rain rain go away, little Japheth wants to play. They were probably covering their ears against the screams of terror outside… and they were resting wholly in one thing and one thing only for their salvation: God and His Word.

Have you ever told the children that God has entrusted into your care that the only reason Dad and Mom can laugh and smile and play with them – the only reason that they are looking forward to getting older instead of dreading it – is because Jesus has defeated death for all – BUT ONLY FOR ALL – those who have trusted Him?

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

I Corinthians 15:24-26

Next time I will discuss another difficult truth that we must teach our kids.

shadow of death.png

God’s Reason for His Delivery

August 26, 2010 at 9:57 am | Posted in Romans | 6 Comments
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The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans was written around A.D. 56. “A.D.” means anno domini, Latin for “in the year of the Lord.” What we now know as the Book of Romans was written in Corinth and sent to Rome from there by Phebe.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Romans 1:1

Paul was a voluntary slave to Christ. All slaves serve their masters, but many slaves do not love their masters and question their orders. Paul served Christ willingly, and did not question His instructions.

The part of the Bible which is its main theme, and which we must not, as believers, get wrong, is the Gospel. It is the Gospel of God and of the whole Bible. Most people think of the “Gospels” as the first four books of the New Testament, but it is much more than that.

The Holy Spirit through Paul refers right away to the holy Scriptures – opening the Word of God.

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Romans 1:5

Paul had a mission. He was sent with grace and a special calling. With these gifts came his obedience to go to all “nations” (gentiles). What do we have that we can honor God with? Our obedience.

Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

Romans 1:6

The Holy Spirit had Paul remind other believers that they were appointed – given a special commission. Let’s not waste time waiting around to receive our special “anointing.” God can find me wherever I am. I need to be busy taking the Gospel everywhere and reminding others to do the same, unless and until God leads me into some very specialized ministry. The “body” starts off as just one small cell. It gets more specialized as it develops. God is really the One Who owns “my” time.

In Romans 1:8-15, Paul expresses his love for the other Christians.

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

Romans 1:13-14

He freely told them he was in debt to them – but also to many others. I need to remember that I owe a debt to God I can never repay. What if you discovered a cure for cancer? Would you anxiously start telling everyone, or would you keep it to yourself? When God revealed His Gospel to you by His Spirit, you discovered something far greater than the cure for cancer.

In verse 17, Paul begins to preach:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:17

This is the main theme of Romans Chapter 1, and, again, Paul preaches straight from the Word of God:

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Habakkuk 2:4

He now begins to explain where the Gentiles went wrong in relation to sin, and he shows that all are guilty before a holy God.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

Romans 1:18-19

Unbelievers “hold” the truth, but do not allow it to have any effect in their lives. Sadly, the areas where sinful man first went wrong are the areas where we go just as wrong today.

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Romans 1:26-27

I believe the King James version, cited above, is the best translation of these verses, which clearly condemn homosexual acts, but there are many modern Bible scholars who are trying to prove from the New Testament that the original languages didn’t condemn homosexual behavior. However, even in today’s liberal and disbelieving climate, there are still scholars who believe that the Bible passages on this topic are even more clear and more graphic than most fundamentalists believe. From Robert Jewett’s 2007 Romans commentary, here is his version of Romans 1:26-27: “For this reason, God delivered them to the desires of their hearts for passions of dishonor, for their females exchanged the natural use for the unnatural, and likewise also the males, after they abandoned the natural use with females, were inflamed with their lust for one another, males who work up their shameful member in other males, and receive back for their deception the recompense that is tightness in themselves.”

Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Romans 1:31

The Holy Spirit through Paul is speaking of people whose affections, desire, love, and “knowledge” were so far from God that He gave them over to a reprobate mind.

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Genesis 6:3

A reprobate mind is what happens when God’s Spirit is so grieved that He no longer strives with someone. Let us pray for the unbelievers we know that their hearts would not be hardened.

“Aman” of Faith

March 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Genesis | 10 Comments
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Abram had brought his nephew along on the pilgrimage to which God had called him. Sodom being a Biblical picture of the “world,” events transpired in such a way that Abram ended up “putting a Lot into the world.” Now he was trying to “get a Lot out of the world.

And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Genesis 14:15-16

After the battle:

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

Genesis 14:18

The existence of Melchizedek, a Godly priest, who had continued to please God even before God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, is one of the reasons why I believe there remained a Godly remnant (a continuation of the “sons of God” from the line of Seth referred to in Genesis 6). There has always been a Godly remnant opposed to the “daughters of men” who followed the “way of Cain” – even between the time of the flood of Noah and God’s covenant with Abraham.

And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Genesis 14:19-20

Note that Abram gave to Melchizedek in gratitude to God after the battle, not in order to bribe God before the battle.

And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

Genesis 14:21-23

Abram didn’t want to take even a shoelace from the “world” because that might “trip him up” in his “walk with God.

Genesis is the Book of “firsts.”

After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Genesis 15:1

This is the first “fear not” in the Bible, followed by the first specific mention of salvation by grace through faith.

And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Genesis 15:6

This is the first time Abram “leaned his whole weight upon God.” The Hebrew word for Abram’s belief in God is aman. Understanding the intensity of Abram’s faith helps us understand how Abraham could later offer his son as a sacrifice to God.

Even so, in Genesis Chapter 16 Abram fails another test of faith.

Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

Genesis 16:1-5

Could anybody be surprised that Sarai treated Hagar badly after this?

Abram was 85 years old. He had been walking with the Lord for 10 years. Abram had not been perfect. He was still learning about faith, but he was in an unbreakable covenant with God.

Men Rise and Fall, but the Lord Reigns Forever

January 14, 2010 at 9:24 am | Posted in Genesis | 3 Comments
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Few Bible patriarchs can match the sheer magnitude of Noah’s heroism. When every thought and imagination of all the men in the world was only evil continually, Noah alone found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:5-8). Our highest praise is not given to Noah, whose righteousness saved the human race. Our highest praise is reserved for God, Who, by grace, created a righteousness in Noah that allowed him to be used by God.

The years that followed were tough for Noah. Certainly he was ridiculed and ostracized as he and his sons labored to build an ark. Surely he experienced some moments of fear and doubt as God ripped open the crust of the earth and released the flood waters beneath, while also pouring down torrents from above. It would not be a stretch to suppose that Noah felt anxiety at times as he and his family and the animals were shut up in the ark for well over a year while God purged the world of external wickedness.

We might even imagine that Noah, seeing all the promises of God come true, and being the ultimate obedient survivor of the world’s greatest catastrophe, would have gone on to live victoriously, never failing to wait upon the Lord, nor to do His will. We know from Genesis Chapter Nine, however, that this was not the case.

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

Genesis 9:20-22

Men who are in danger, and are totally dependent upon God’s grace and mercy every moment, tend to have an easier time resisting sin. It is when a man begins to think that he is mighty – and that his past service to the Lord has earned him a special license to serve the flesh – that he is most prone to fall. Beware of the notion that God, just because He has decided to use you in a great way, will allow you to sin successfully.

Falling, Flooding, and Facing Facts

December 21, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Posted in A Little Alliteration, Genesis | 13 Comments
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Last time, we learned that there is a clear separation between the lines of Seth and Cain. At least the separation was clear until:

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Genesis 6:1-2

When the Godly line of Seth intermingled with the ungodly line of Cain, which side influenced the other? The Godly did not influence the ungodly for good. The ungodly dragged the Godly down into sin. This happens even today whenever Christians become participants with, instead of witnesses to, the lost.

The majority of commentators disagree with me, but I believe that the “sons of God” in these verses were men, not fallen angels. Angels do not procreate.

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.

Genesis 4:25-26

There is a clear distinction between men who called upon the Lord – and were known for doing so – and those who began to be “mighty” in their own eyes, and began to make light of their need to call upon the Lord. Lamech is a good example. There was a “Seth-Lamech” and a “Cain-Lamech.” Seth’s Lamech called his son Noah, and believed in the promise of God that a redeemer would come and reverse the curse. But look at Cain’s Lamech:

And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.

Genesis 4:23

He was the first bigamist, and possibly the author and performer of the first sinful poem or song. The “and” in Genesis 4:23 does not denote two separate killings. It is an example of Hebrew parallelism. A modern English example would be: “I went to the store, and I went with my shoes on.” That does not mean I went to the store twice. The “and” in Genesis 4:23 is the same kind of “and” that connects Genesis 1:1 and 1:2: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Emphasis added.) There has only been one world-wide flood (Noah’s). There was not a “flood of Lucifer” during a “gap” between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

Lamech not only celebrated his killing with a little ditty, but he made a mockery of God’s mercy to Cain:

If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

Genesis 4:24

Several centuries later Jesus would make a mockery of Lamech, though, when He said that we are not to avenge seventy times seven; we are to forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22).

So, in Genesis 6 the sons of God mixed with the daughters of men, and the remnant of Godly descendants of Seth started becoming corrupted. The devil wins converts by forming relationships.

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5

In just a few generations man became completely deteriorated. (See Romans 1 and II Corinthians 10:5.)

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Genesis 6:6

God does not repent from sin, because He can not sin, but He has feelings, including grief and the excitement of fellowship with His creatures.

And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Genesis 6:7-8

We do not praise Noah for being found righteous. We praise God for making Noah righteous.

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Genesis 6:9

Noah was not perfectly sinless, but he was without blame in his complete devotion to God, in comparison with everyone else. Noah lived his life in the awareness of being in God’s presence.

And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Genesis 6:10-13

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

II Peter 2:5

For 120 years Noah and his sons built and preached. They preached righteousness: Get right with God. And they preached truth. The devil’s way is to defile by forming relationships, but God’s way is to cleanse by preaching righteousness and truth.

1. Noah built: He built the ark.
2. Noah believed: He believed the Word of God.
3. Noah brought: He brought his family into the Ark.

Jesus did the same with His redeemed family, and we are to do likewise:

1. We are to build His church.
2. We are to believe His Word.
3. We are to bring a spiritual family into the safety of the Body of Christ.

We can be sure that the flood of Noah’s time was indeed a world-wide flood.

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

Genesis 6:17 (emphasis added)

That is God’s Word – not Noah’s or Moses’s viewpoint. It was God’s Word then – and it is His Word now.

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

Genesis 7:21-23 (emphasis added)

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

Genesis 7:11 (emphasis added)

This was more than just rain. It was an event of cataclysmic, geological changes – changes like the formation of the Grand Canyon. Possibly a water or vapor canopy fell from around the Earth – which would help to explain why men and animals lived so long prior to the flood. God really shook the whole earth. If not for God’s mercy, no one would be alive today to make up false “scientific” theories to refute it.

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

II Peter 3:3-10

Talk about a “big bang!” Men have a problem with a God who destroyed the earth, but Heaven has a problem with a God who would save one man and his family – knowing that his descendants would later mock and deny the event. Heaven solved this problem in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Professing Atheists Are Incapable of Being “Good”

February 24, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Posted in ProfessingAtheists | 2 Comments
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Professing Atheist: Of course intelligent atheists read scripture, just like intelligent believers do. How else are atheists to debate with believers if not from a position of knowledge? I was a fundamentalist once, so I know how things look from where you are.

Christian: I am always encouraged when people read the Bible, so I appreciate your comment. I’m not sure if I’m a “fundamentalist.” We might disagree on what that term means. If it means trying to obey the fundamental principles of the Bible, and agreeing with many of the traditional fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, then I suppose you could call me a “fundamentalist.”

But it seems unlikely that you know what things look like to me, because I am holding fast to the Bible as the inspired Word of God (Hebrews 4:14; 10:23; II Timothy 1:13). I do not mean this to be insulting, but it appears that you did not “hold fast” to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and they have slipped from your hands.

Professing Atheist: You challenge me to continue reading scripture. I will. Similarly, I challenge you to read the books written by Dawkins, Hitchens and others, so that you can understand for yourself where atheism is coming from. When I hear Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the music invariably moves me to tears, even though it’s now about 629 times that I have heard it, and even though I reject the Holy Spirit (yes, you read that right).

Christian: You might profess to having rejected the Holy Spirit, but whether the Holy Spirit is still dealing with you is up to God, not you (Genesis 6:3; Romans 9:18).

Professing Atheist: Atheists do not have horns. We help old ladies across the road. We have loving and happy families. We do good because it is simply better for us all.

Christian: I am also glad you help elderly ladies cross the street. Many Christians do likewise, and then afterward offer to share the Gospel message with them. If they refuse to hear it, they help them cross again next time, anyway. Perhaps you give them a copy of a Hitchens or Dawkins book, perhaps not – I have no way of knowing. But there will come a day when many of the works which “seemed” good to men will be tried by fire, only to be burned up as hay, wood, and stubble. Some of the works of Christians, which were thought to be nothing more than debating techniques, will have eternal value, and will last (I Corinthians 3:11-14).


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