Our Kids Are Not Good Kids

February 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments
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As Christian parents we must talk to our children about some hard truths and difficult subjects that are page one headline material in the Bible, even though it might be tempting to shield our children from these truths when they are very young. The temptation is there because, in our sentimentalism and worldly conception of “love,” we do not relish the idea of giving them information that might make them uncomfortable. However, they need to know, understand, and believe that:

1. You are not a good kid.

According to the Bible, children come into the world as simple, but not virtuous. They are ignorant, but not innocent. As parents we don’t want them to be “wise” ABOUT sin, but we do want them to be humbled by the truth that they ARE sinners.

Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Psalm 58:2-3

We think of using these verses about wickedness when witnessing to strangers (and we should), but look at Psalm 58:1 and see to whom they are addressed: “the congregation” (which would include the children of God’s covenant people).

The Bible makes it clear that children are not exempt from the classification of “wicked sinners.”

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:5

And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Genesis 8:21

Why is it so important for our children to understand that they are not inherently “good?” Because we want them to be looking for a Savior, not a participation trophy. We want them to humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, not to hear that they have something about which to be proud. We, as their parents, are charged with the task of utterly convincing them of the absolute supremacy of God.

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Romans 14:11-12

As a Christian father, I do not want the children that God has entrusted to my care to have self-esteem; I want them to have “God esteem.” I do not want them to have self-worth; I want them to recognize God’s worth. Children will not naturally want to admit they are evil, but it’s true. They are not basically good – they are basically evil – just like Dad and Mom. They will love God more truly and deeply when they understand that they themselves are not the initiators, nor the instigators, of God’s love for them. We ONLY love God because He first loved us. And He ONLY loves us because He is love.

Next time we will face another difficult truth for children.

Catechism Question 6

May 16, 2014 at 10:49 am | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 24 Comments
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Question 4: How was everything when God created it?
Answer: It was very good.
Prove it.
Genesis 1:31

Question 5: What went wrong with everything God created?
Answer: Sin brought the curse of death into the world.
Prove it.
Romans 5:12

Question 6: What is wrong with you?
Answer: I was born a sinner, and I have sinned against God.
Prove it.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:5

You may remember a popular television commercial from several years ago. A dad finds marijuana in his son’s room, and confronts him about it. Finding the son less than forthcoming, the dad demands in an angry self-righteous voice, “Where did you learn to do this?”

https://i2.wp.com/i.ytimg.com/vi/KUXb7do9C-w/hqdefault.jpg

This prompts the son to respond indignantly, “I learned it by watching you!”

When you tell your child that he or she is a sinner you will be violating every self-help book, counseling guideline, and child psychology tactic known to man concerning building up a child’s self-esteem. But you will also be obeying the Bible, so it must done. And like the sullen boy who blamed his drug use on his dad’s own example, you, too, may get the same question thrown back in your face. “I’m a sinner, you say? Well, what about you, Dad? What about you, Mom?”

And the only right response is, “Yes, me too. Everyone is a sinner.” Which is a great lead-in to be able to explain that no one can stop sinning on his or her own. It is in our fallen nature, and fallen sinners need help from God.

Other verses to consider:

And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Genesis 8:21

Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15

How to Get High in Christian Ministry

October 21, 2013 at 11:13 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

John 8:23

Christians are supposed to operate on a different level: the level of Christ, not the level of this world. The level of Christ is a higher, better level, where God is honored and people are truly helped.

1. Get High by Climbing Up

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?

Psalm 24:3 (emphasis added)

Who can ascend? Who can climb the hill of the Lord? The strong? The swift? The worldly wise? The prestigious? The famous? The wealthy? The influential? We must throw out our worldly ideas of what it means to “ascend” – to go up. You have to be bold to climb, says the world; but Gods says the contrite are the ones who will climb up to higher ground.

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 57:15

Contrition is a recognition that you have been conquered by someone more powerful than you. Contrition is freedom before God; it is bondage, oppression, and terror before anyone else. It takes strength to climb, says the world, there are no handicapped mountain climbers; but God says the broken are the ones who will climb up to higher ground in Christian ministry.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 51:17

Someone who is broken before God is someone who realizes that he or she has messed up badly: someone who is willing to admit that he or she is wrong. Common sense would tell us that this is disastrous in a setting where other people can use your admission of wrong-doing or failure against you, but God requires a brokenness – a willingness to admit mistakes, faults, sins.

No one will ascend to higher ground under his own power. The only ones who will ascend are the ones who do not get weary in well-doing because they do not depend on their own strength. The only ones who will ascend are the ones who have a guide Who will lead them over or around the streams and boulders of temptation. The only ones who will ascend are those who have the right foot-gear: their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. That means we need to be prepared to be Gospel-centered when we deal with non-Christians and with each other. Our distinguishing characteristics should be grace, mercy, love, truth, peace, forgiveness, and longsuffering.

The only ones who will ascend are the ones whom the Lord Himself will lift up.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James 4:10

In Christian ministry you “get high” by “getting low.”

2. Get High by Cleaning Off

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Psalm 24:3-4 (emphasis added)

What makes our hands so unclean?

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

I Timothy 2:8

Wrath makes our hands dirty. You can’t get right with God while you’re not right with your brother or sister in Christ. Wrath is reserved for God with the exception of our wrath against sin and against our spiritual enemies in high places. Wrath makes hands unclean, and so does doubting. When we have an unpleasant ministry job to do, we say we’re getting our hands dirty, but really we’re getting them clean. Jesus was not afraid to touch the unclean.

If ministering in love cleans the hands, what washes the heart to make it pure? The Word of God.

Christ gave Himself for the Church…

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Ephesians 5:26

3. Get High by Casting Down

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

Psalm 24:4 (emphasis added)

Vanity is a type of idolatry. It is anything you are pursuing, or walking after the course of, that is not of God. Hopefully, you do not worship a graven idol, but if idolatry is giving your heart to anything that that is spiritually empty, then I am afraid that too much of what captures our hearts is vanity, and we are guilty of lifting up our souls to it. What should we be doing with vanity? With emptiness? With anything that is what the Bible calls “imaginations:” anything without eternal worth?

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

II Corinthians 10:5

We should be casting vanity down, not lifting ourselves up to it. Casting down means destroying: the way that God’s people were at times supposed to destroy their enemies under the herem (the “ban”). God wanted them all destroyed: women, children, livestock, altars, statues of false gods – everything. If a weed is simply pruned back, but not utterly destroyed, it will always grow back, often stronger than it was before. If we are going to climb up to higher ground, we are going to have to cast down imaginations, not just what the imaginations produce. If I am not reading my Bible regularly, it’s not enough just to determine to read my Bible more. If I am not praying regularly, it is not enough just to determine to pray more. I must get to the thinking which is causing these problems. I must get the root out by casting down imaginations and worldly thinking.

God Versus a Mud Puddle

August 1, 2012 at 9:26 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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In the great prayer of repentance found in Psalm 51, David is very concerned with God purging him from his sins and making him clean on the inside.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:2

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Psalm 51:6

David has much to say about washing in this Psalm. We think of washing as an external procedure, but David realizes that God sees what others can not see: the condition of the heart.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

However, it is also clear that David, once he has been cleansed inwardly, expects that there will naturally be some outward visible signs of this renewed and restored relationship with God.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

Psalm 51:11-15

Sometimes, when I am teaching in church, I apologize for being late, and I explain that the reason I am a little tardy is that, a few minutes ago, when I stepped out of my car, I fell into a mud puddle. As I tried to get up, I slipped again, and wound up rolling around for awhile before I regained my footing and escaped. As I say this, I stand there before the class, looking clean and neat (at least for me). As the students look at me suspiciously, I admit that there are two possibilities: either I have gone insane or I am lying. The point is that an encounter with a mud puddle is going to make a visible difference in my appearance.
But what are we to make of a person who claims to have had a life-changing encounter with the Thrice-Holy God of the Universe, yet remains basically unchanged in behavior and attitude? Who is more powerful: the Lord of Glory or a muddy puddle of water? We need to make sure that the witness of our lips matches the witness of our lives.

The Lord’s Laundry

July 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Psalm 51:9 (emphasis added)

When David pleaded for a “blotting out” he was asking the Lord for a miracle, because the Old Testament Law did not provide a sacrifice for the types of deliberate sins of which David was guilty. David appealed to God’s mercy and grace.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7 (emphasis added)

Under the Old Covenant, ceremonial cleansing would make a sinner safe for society and give others protection from the sinner’s defilement. “Wash me,” David prayed. I am the one in my household who does the laundry, so I know a couple of things about washing clothes. In fact, all that is required of the other members of my family is that they bring their dirty clothes to the hamper or the laundry room. There are certain kinds of stains that are tough to remove from garments – even for today’s high-tech washing machines. They require hot water, harsh detergent, and an agitation cycle. When we seek to be cleansed from our iniquities before the face of God, we need to be willing to submit to His chastening. For Christians, God is more than willing to wash our clothes, but we’ve got to be willing to bring them to laundry room.

David’s sins were against his family, his people, Bathsheba, and Uriah, but he also recognized that all sin is ultimately against God.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 51:4

The Holy Spirit used the poetry of Psalm 51 to inspire the revelation of the Gospel through the Apostle Paul.

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Romans 3:4

When God truly cleanses, He also restores.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

51:10

A renewed heart must be created. It must come from God Himself. A tainted heart would continue to pump out iniquity, re-contaminating the whole body. David wanted to be cleansed and he wanted to be restored – so he could be used. He wanted to be an effective witness.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Psalm 51:13

David also wanted to be an effective worshiper.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

Psalm 51:14-15

He wanted to be an effective builder.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Psalm 51:18-19

Those who have been broken and rebuilt by God can be used very effectively by God to help rebuild others.

You the Man!

June 29, 2012 at 10:24 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Selected Psalms | 6 Comments
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Psalm 51 is a penitential psalm. It was written during a time of suffering. The suffering was a form of discipline used by God. The suffering in this case was the result of sin.

And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;

II Samuel 12:1-7

Nathan told David, “Thou art the man.” There is a popular expression in our day where one man will congratulate another man on some superficially impressive achievement by telling him, “You the man!” That’s not the way Nathan was using the expression. David was “the” man – and David was “a” man – with all that implies concerning the condition of human sinfulness. We are all “the man” in the sense that, like the first man, Adam, we have sinned against God and deserve divine punishment. But God has made one Way – and one Way only – to escape what we deserve. Does that sound bigoted or intolerant to you? To hear someone proclaim that Jesus is the only Way to God? Jesus Himself is the One Who said this. Or do you find it strange that God would make only one way when there are so many people in this world who might be more responsive to other ways? I can tell you that the amazing thing is not that God made only one way. The amazing thing is that He made any way at all!

Here is the beginning of David’s prayer of penitence and repentance:

[To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Psalm 51:1

When someone breaks down and admits that he has done wrong, we say that he “comes clean.” David’s prayer is not so much about what he did (explanation), but more about who he is (examination). When we sin, explanation about why we did it profits little. Examination of what our sin says about who we are may profit much.

David asked God to blot out his “transgressions.” We might think of “transgressions” as “going across” (trans) God’s boundaries with aggression. We have all done this. We have presumptuously crossed the boundaries marked out for us by God.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:2

Sin is “missing the mark” of God’s standard. We have all sinned and “come short” of the glory of God. You may have heard the illustration of the child who wants to ride a roller coaster at the state fair, but isn’t allowed to because her head doesn’t reach the line on the chart marked “height requirement.” None of us have come close to reaching the standard of God’s righteousness, which is moral perfection from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Transgression is crossing the wrong mark; sin is failing to meet the right mark.

“Iniquity” refers to the condition of being twisted, bent, or perverted. This is the totally depraved inherently sinful nature which we inherited from our earthly father, Adam, and from our spiritual father, Satan, prior to regeneration.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 51:7

If we are truly Christians, transgression, sin, and iniquity should make us feel dirty. Unsaved people, like pigs, don’t mind being dirty. In fact, they actually like it. It’s not that true Christians never get dirty with sin. We do – and far too often. But a mark of salvation is that you do not like being dirty, and that you want to get clean.

A word of warning, though: If you are a true Christian, be diligent about your confession and repentance when you sin. Each unconfessed sin is like a new layer of dirt, and each layer of dirt makes us more and more used to the dirt. How dirty I “feel” is not always a good indicator of how dirty I really am. The mirror of God’s Word (which is really what Nathan held up to David) is a better indicator of how dirty I really am.

Give Good Advice: Vow to be Sincere with God

June 20, 2012 at 10:23 am | Posted in Biblical Advice, Selected Psalms | 9 Comments
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Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psalm 4:4-5 (emphasis added)

Making a vow is a dangerous thing to do. It’s better not to vow a vow than to vow a vow and not keep it (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). But we are not forbidden from making vows, and the vow to be sincere with God may be the least dangerous of any vow – because you are committing to tell God what He already knows – and what you know He knows.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Psalm 51:17-19 (emphasis added)

What are the sacrifices of righteousness? They are sacrifices that are acceptable to God only when you have come to Him with a broken and contrite heart. Good advice is to obey the Lord and serve the Lord, but we must also serve the Lord in such a way that we are not taking credit for adding something to Him or showing Him how “good” or “righteous” we think we are. Make a vow to God that you will be sincere by recognizing your own sinfulness and worthlessness apart from His Own righteousness that He imparted to you when you were broken and contrite.

A.void sin
D.elay taking rash action
V.ow to be sincere with God
I.
C.
E.

The Thousand Year Reign of King Jesus

February 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Ezekiel | 5 Comments
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If Ezekiel was describing the Millenial Temple in Chapters 40-48 – and I believe that he was – then it is somewhat surprising to see that this temple will have altars for sacrifices.

And from the bottom upon the ground even to the lower settle shall be two cubits, and the breadth one cubit; and from the lesser settle even to the greater settle shall be four cubits, and the breadth one cubit. So the altar shall be four cubits; and from the altar and upward shall be four horns.

Ezekiel 43:14-15

And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 45:15

Why sacrifice? Didn’t Jesus die for the sins of the whole world once and for all? You better believe He did! But in Ezekiel we have descriptions of burnt offerings, trespass offering, sin offering, peace offering, meal offering, drink offering… What gives?

It is helpful to remember that Old Testament believers weren’t forgiven because of the actual shedding of the blood of animals.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

Hebrews 10:4

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 51:16-17

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

Habakkuk 2:4

The Old Testament believers were not saved by the sacrifices of animals, but, as we see in Hebrews 11, they were saved because of the sacrifice of the then-future Messiah, through faith.

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

I Thessalonians 2:9-10

These verses are addressed specifically to believers.

As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

I Thessalonians 2:11

Note the honesty and authenticity in the “exhorting, comforting, and charging.” Note that the Apostle and the other leaders did not subtly insert themselves into the lives of the new Christians. This was more deliberate and intentional discipleship than backyard barbeques and once-weekly meetings at Starbucks. The purpose of discipleship is not to make new believers feel comfy and cozy.

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

I Thessalonians 2:12-13 (emphasis added)

These new believers received the Word of God more than the excitement of experiences, more than the external appearance of exuberant praise and worship, more than fun, food, and fellowship. Many folks will agree that the Word of God must be trusted at salvation, but then they abandon it, or don’t place the same importance on it. The Word of God is still of paramount importance after we are saved. It works “effectually” in those that believe.

For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

I Thessalonians 2:14-16 (emphasis added)

In the Millenial Temple Jewish people and gentiles will study the Word of God and worship together.

But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.

I Thessalonians 2:17

Circumstances caused the Apostle and the other leaders to be physically separated from these new believers, but they longed to see them face to face. As Christians today, we need to physically attend church whenever possible so that we can see our brothers and sisters face to face.

In the Millenial Temple there will be no “separating wall.” In the Book of Acts we saw that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Paul because they thought he had brought Gentiles into the Temple.

If you are reading this, and you are a gentile Christian like me, I am not sure what we will be doing during the Millenial Reign. Perhaps we will have authority over certain regions (under King Jesus, of course). Perhaps we will have specific ministry- or worship-related tasks. It appears that we will not be “priests,” although that is what we are, in a sense, today.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

I Peter 2:9

There will be singers in the Millennial Temple.

And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south: one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north.

Ezekiel 40:44

Perhaps some people in the Millenium – Old Testament saints, New Testament believers, Tribulation martyrs – will have glorified bodies. Perhaps there will be some Tribulation survivors with mortal bodies who will be subject to death. I suppose that babies born in the Millennium will be sinners who need to be saved. Apparently, Satan will be able to raise an army to oppose the Lord. The descendants of Zadok will be the ones who will serve as priests.

And the chamber whose prospect is toward the north is for the priests, the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the LORD to minister unto him.

Ezekiel 40:46

“Zadok” means “righteous.” They will not shave their heads, nor allow their hair to grow too long.

Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads.

Ezekiel 44:20

Ezekiel Chpaters 45-48 describe the geography of the Kingdom, not just the Temple.

There will be a “prince” under the Messiah.

And the residue shall be for the prince, on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city, over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border, over against the portions for the prince: and it shall be the holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house shall be in the midst thereof. Moreover from the possession of the Levites, and from the possession of the city, being in the midst of that which is the prince’s, between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.

Ezekiel 48:21-22.

There will be 20 separate “Years of Jubilee” – one every 50 years for 1000 years.

There will be a river of life, which Ezekiel was shown in a vision. He was taken out of the north gate of the Temple because the east gate has been closed. His vision was highlighted by things like fertility in the desert, bountiful fruit, and leaves for medicine.

Born Which Way?

February 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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If you claim to be a Christian, how do you answer this question: “Are some people born gay?” Shockingly, more and more professing Christians these days are starting to answer that question in the affirmative. How can this be? Here are some of the foolish reasons that I have heard professing Christians use to support the belief that some people are born to be homosexuals:

1. “I have a gay brother/sister/cousin/parent/child/close friend/loved one/family member, etc., and I know this person really well, and he/she is a good person, and I can promise you, he/she did not ‘CHOOSE’ to be gay.”
2. “Gay people are persecuted and ridiculed and bullied into committing suicide. Why in the world would anyone ‘CHOOSE’ to be gay?!”
3. “People like Ellen and Elton and Rosie and [insert famous gay-celebrity-of-the-week here] are all gay and they are really brave and stand up for what they believe and they give lots of money to good causes and they are very famous and talented, so if they say they – and others – are born gay, they have to be right.”

Now, these statements are indicative of the type of unbiblical, irrational thinking you would expect from non-Christians. But, if you are a Christian, presumably you believe the Bible is right even if it contradicts the opinions of the people you love or the really popular famous people or even your own “common sense” ideas. So, at the risk of sounding like an old-fashioned, draconian fundamentalist, let’s actually look at what the Bible – God’s perfect, inerrant, infallible, inspired Word – has to say about homosexuality and those who practice it:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20:13

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

I Corinthians 6:9, emphasis added

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

Wow. I suppose God could place a stamp on the forehead of every child who comes forth out of his or her mother’s womb that says, “I was not created by God to be a homosexual.” But I don’t think even that would be as clear as the Verses cited above. God considers all human sexual relations – except for those between a male husband and female wife within their own marriage – to be sinful. Sexual relations outside of a real God-recognized marriage are called adultery and fornication. He considers sexual relations between people of the same gender to be sinful abominations. He created marriage and He defined it. There is no such thing as “same-sex marriage.” He hates the sin of homosexuality. God cannot sin. He is not the author of sin. He has never made a human being who can or could legitimately blame God for “making” him or her a homosexual. It’s just that clear.

I am aware that there have been some people recently in the professing Christian church who would try to twist the Scriptures and claim that God is not clear about homosexuality, but you don’t have to “interpret” those Verses to get the point. You just have to read them. Any argument that says that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality is what the theologian R.C. Sproul calls “an exegesis of desperation.” It is disingenuous and it is not rational.

As human beings we have inherited a sinful nature from our forefather, Adam – the first man to sin against God (Romans 5:12). Therefore, we have a predisposition to sin – each and every one of us. So from our first moments of willful consciousness we begin doing things like lying and stealing and being greedy and being disobedient and being selfish. And some people go on to be things like extortioners and kidnappers and child molesters and arsonists and murderers and rapists and practitioners of homosexuality. In that sense only can anyone be said to have been “born gay.”

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:5

We are born with a predisposition to sin, but we “choose” every sin we commit, just like the gay person “chooses” to commit or fantasize about acts of homosexuality. It’s not an “alternative lifestyle.” It’s not a “celebration of diversity.” It’s not a “right.” It’s a choice and it’s a sin. Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for those who commit it and other sins. You can be forgiven for it and set free from it, if you repent and trust in Him, believing the Gospel.

If you are a Christian, you are not doing anyone a favor by “supporting” a gay celebrity or trying to justify the sin of homosexuality. If you love gay people – and all Christians are commanded to love gay people and all sinners – then you must tell the Truth. Lying to sinners about their sin is one of the worst kinds of hatred.

I realize that you may not be used to this type of plain speaking. It probably sounds “intolerant” to you. But if you believe that some people are “born gay,” then you have no logical grounds for being critical of my intolerance. After all, if our genetic make-up is to blame for our sin, then why couldn’t Jeffrey Dahmer have been “born a serial killer?” Why couldn’t Hitler have been “born a mass murderer?” Why couldn’t Bin Laden have been “born a terrorist?” And how do you know that I wasn’t “born intolerant of gay people?” If you’re tempted to excuse or support sin, at least try to be consistent. But if we claim to be Christians, we are far better off getting our opinions from God than from a daytime TV talk-show host.

Clean and New

April 5, 2010 at 9:01 am | Posted in Selected Psalms, Uncategorized | 16 Comments
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The prophet Nathan came to David the king. Nathan told him about a man who had been blessed by God with more than he deserved. However, this rich man was covetous, and he took a fancy to something that God had given to a poor man. Even though the poor man valued the thing dearly, the rich man stole it from him.

David was furious. He wanted the rich man to be punished with the loss of his very life. That was when Nathan revealed that the Lord knew David had committed a sin like the rich man’s, but to an even worse degree.

The anger drained from David. It was replaced by shame, and he admitted his sin and earnestly sought God’s forgiveness (II Samuel 12:1-13).

David realized that he needed cleansing from sin, but even more than that, he needed to remove the cause of the sin. Otherwise, it would only be repeated. Therefore, he prayed,

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

Who alone can “create?” Who can make something out of nothing? Who can bring into existence a thing which never before existed? Only God. David needed more than a repaired or improved heart. He needed a whole new heart. Furthermore, he needed a “right spirit.” Christian preachers have a saying whereby they encourage people to “get right” with God. Despite the dubious grammar in this expression, it correctly captures the idea of David’s plea. Grievous sin has grievous consequences, but for those who come to God by faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross, the Lord will create a new heart, a right spirit, forgiveness for past sins, and the victory over repeated sin.

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