How to Read the Bible (and Get Something out of It): Part 3

May 7, 2014 at 9:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Previously I discussed some of the exciting things about reading the Bible. Be patient with the Bible. Some sections are like a torrid novel (there are even some scandalous passages!), but some parts are more like the terse outline in a study guide for a history exam. Other sections are beautiful poetry. Take some time to figure out what genre you are reading. The Bible has an unlimited depth. The more you learn, the more you will want to know. And the more you want to know, the more fascinated you will be. Here are some practical tips for getting more out of your Bible-reading:

1. Remember the truthfulness of it.

Thy word [is] true [from] the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments [endureth] for ever.

Psalm 119:160

The Bible is unique in this respect. It is absolutely true in every circumstance and situation. It is the Word of God, and God cannot lie, and He cannot change. Therefore, His Word cannot be wrong, and it does not become outdated. Everything else you hear is susceptible to being (and often is) a lie. The Bible is the “verily verily” of God – the “true truth.” You can depend on it and rely on it, even when everything around you and “common sense” seem to indicate otherwise.

… 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

2. Reacquaint yourself with God in it.

Some people only have a second-hand knowledge of God. You know Him through your parents. You know Him through sermons. Your main experience of Him is through praise and worship. It’s time you get to know Him better – in the Bible.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

II Peter 1:3

We know that God is loving, just, merciful, gracious, wise, and powerful, because He tells us these things about Himself, and He has recorded Himself demonstrating these things in the Bible. Can you imagine your spouse, child, or favorite person in the world giving you a letter telling you their most important thoughts, and telling you what they are truly like, and you don’t bother to read it? God has demonstrated His love and His care for us in the highest way conceivable. How can we not want to find out as much as we can about Him?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:11

3. Recognize yourself in it.

The seeker-sensitive cliche’ “it’s not about you” is true, in a sense. But in another sense, it is about you. The Bible is where we learn how we got here and what our reason for existing is. A good hermeneutic principle to follow is to picture yourself as the sinner in every Bible story you read.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15 (emphasis added)

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)

You are in the Bible in one of those two verses. If you are truly a Christian, then you are a “whosoever” in John 3:16. If you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, then you remain one of the “whosoevers” in Revelation 20:15, and I plead with you to ask the Lord to change your status today.

The Crisis

August 31, 2012 at 11:38 am | Posted in Biblical Doctoring, Salvation, The Great White Throne | 11 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I once heard a preacher say to his congregation: “You are in the Bible.” This is a strange statement because the events that are recorded in the Bible, for the most part, took place thousands of years ago. What he meant was that you might very well be one of the ones standing in the crowd described in this passage of Scripture:

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:11-14 (emphasis added)

Obviously, if you are reading this, you are not yet among the “dead,” and I pray that you will never go to face God before His Great White Throne in judgment, but we must deal clearly and directly with that possibility.

You may have heard preachers say that you can find yourself in the Bible in another, less-frightening place. They will tell you that you can insert your own name in this well-known Bible verse:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that [insert your name here] should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

The words that are supposed to be replaced by your name are “whosoever believeth in him,” referring to believing in Jesus Christ. If you will believe the truth about Jesus Christ and call upon Him to save you from the just punishment for your sins against God, then He will give you eternal life. If you will be the “whosoever” of John 3:16, you can avoid being the other kind of “whosoever:”

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15

Being unsure about any of this should bring you to a crisis. A crisis is a critical, crucial moment. It is when you come to a fork in the road of your life and you have to make a decision to go one way or the other. Going back is not an option and standing still is not an option.

Here’s an example: Pretend you are in the doctor’s office. You have been there many times before – for checkups and for minor treatments. Usually it is routine. Every once in a while you get some medicine, or at worst a mildly painful injection, but you always leave the doctor’s office with the hope that everything is okay – that you are going to get better. But this time it’s different. Instead of the doctor telling you it’ll be okay, he is very serious. His voice almost shakes and this scares you. He is telling you something you have never heard before and never expected to hear in a million years. He says you have a terrible disease – it is all over you – it has invaded your body and will eat you alive – and you will die. He goes on to explain some of the details about your condition. He has test results. He has x-rays, and they show that your body is black with this disease. He is trying to tell you there is a chance to survive – but only one chance. You must have surgery right now – right this minute – no thinking it over, no talking to your family and friends, no second opinion. Get to the emergency room right now and submit to being cut open – or die.

Now you see the meaning of a crisis: only two choices. No standing still, no waiting, no going back. Trust your life to a surgeon or die. Could you accept such a diagnosis? Or would you begin to hesitate? “I can’t be as sick as he says. I feel fine physically. I am strong. I am relatively young. Surgery is a major ordeal. It’s serious, my whole life will have to change. No more eating whatever I want, drinking whatever I want, no more staying out late doing whatever I want. I can’t just lie down on an operating table and trust a surgeon to cut me open. I like to be in control. I’ll control this with medicine. I’ll exercise, eat right, get more rest, change my lifestyle. I’ll do it in my own strength.”

When the doctor begins to plead with you and threaten you, you cup your hands over your ears, and you run out… thereby cutting yourself off from the only remedy.

Is this what goes through your mind when someone corners you with a Bible or tries to tell you that you are going to hell without Jesus? “This is too much to face. I can’t just trust God. Everyone will laugh at me. This is a big step. What if God really does give me a new heart and I don’t like to do the fun things of this world any more? What if I become God’s child and, like a good father, He begins correcting me when I sin? I like to sin – I don’t want God’s Spirit living inside me making me feel bad all the time. I can’t just stop doing the things I do for fun – the things I’m addicted to. Maybe I can cut back some. I’ll work on it myself. Maybe I can change the kind of person I am. I’ll go to church more often. I’ll even volunteer to do some work there. I’ll show God I’m not so bad.”

Please do not cover your eyes and cup your hands over your ears. Please do not run away. Sit still for a moment and stop thinking about what you’re going to do with the rest of your day. Put out of your mind the problems you will face at work tomorrow. Forget about what other people will think of you. This is about you and God. If you lie down and submit to Him, He is not like the earthly surgeon. Even if an earthly surgeon cures you it will only last for a little while. When God performs surgery, the surgery will be successful. The new heart that He will give you will be capable of loving and obeying God. You will care about eternal, important, valuable things – not the foolish everyday cares and concerns of this world. You can’t understand the joy of salvation until you experience it. Will you receive it today? Will you receive Him today?

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

I John 5:12

Standing before the Throne: Man’s Responsibility

August 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Posted in The Great White Throne | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Great White Throne shows:

I. God’s righteousness. All those who appear before God for judgment will be judged fairly.
II. Sin’s repulsiveness. God hates sin, and its consequences are severe.
III. Man’s responsibility.

At the Great White Throne where God will judge those who have rejected Jesus Christ, there will be certain books. One of the books will contain the record of the sins of the unredeemed. I believe the Bible will also be one of those books. But there is a third book mentioned.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15 (emphasis added)

If you find yourself before this Great White Throne, you will be judged – but you will not be tried. The outcome of your trial would be a foregone conclusion. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your name is not in that Book of Life. If you go to the lake of fire you will have no one to blame but yourself. There was a day when the King of the Great White Throne – when the Judge – hung on a Cross before all men. You weren’t there in person, but you know – deep down – in your heart of hearts – that it’s true. He hung before all men, and one day all men will stand before Him.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

Do you see that if you stand before God without Jesus Christ, you will stand before God completely alone? I’m not talking about the “God” you’ve seen in popular Christian art. I’m not talking about an effeminate male model with a trickle of blood running from his temple, pouting seductively at the artist. I’m not talking about a bumbling old grandfather who stumbles around to a laugh track while younger, cooler people get away with things that he’s too old to understand. I am talking about the God from Whose countenance heaven and earth will flee. You will be alone with HIM!

And I saw the dead, small and great

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

There are men in this world who are thought to be great “movers and shakers.” They have influence and power and authority in this world, over nations, over small groups of people and over vast numbers of people. But they will not be “great” before this Throne and they will not be excused. Nor will those who thought their sins would be overlooked because of their smallness. You may not be a big sinner in a small pond. In fact, you may be a very small sinner in a very large ocean – but, apart from Christ Jesus, you are an enemy of God and your sin makes you abominable to Him.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God…

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

If you appear before the Great White Throne you will stand. There will be no excuses. We live in a day and age of excuses and rationalizations and shifting the blame. Someone commits a horrible atrocity which is unquestionably evil and one of the first things the media wants to do is start looking for someone else to blame: Was it something in his childhood? Was it a chemical imbalance? Was it society’s fault? None of that will wash before the Great White Throne. There, every man will be judged according to his works.

You do not have to stand in the place of the condemned and be judged before the King of the Great White Throne. Believe the Gospel, trust Christ the Lord, and be saved right now.

Standing before the Throne: Sin’s Repulsiveness

July 18, 2012 at 8:36 am | Posted in The Great White Throne | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Great White Throne shows:

I. God’s righteousness. All those who appear before God for judgment will be judged fairly.

Furthermore, the Throne shows:

II. Sin’s repulsiveness

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:11-13

Has Satan or the world talked you into believing that as long as you are pretty much like everyone else, you are going to be okay? That it is okay to be just be one of the crowd? This thought is intended primarily for people who do not have a real and a personal and an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, but Christians – you listen to this too. This world does not need another pale imitation of itself. Do not “go with the flow.” Any old dead fish can float downstream. Don’t play around with sin. God made you and He made this world and He has the right to make the rules. The attitude of the world is “no rules, just rights,” but you will not be the exception to God’s rules. If you break them, they will break you. There is a wage for sin, and the wage for sin is death. You can choose your actions today, but when you stand before the Throne of God, you will not be able to choose the consequences of your actions.

Standing before the Throne: God’s Righteousness

July 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Posted in The Great White Throne | 8 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Possessor of the Great White Throne is the Lord God Almighty, who will judge His creatures. The Power of His Throne is great – no one will dare to challenge or even come close to having the strength to challenge His right to judge. His Throne is Pure. Judgment against sinners shall be passed before this completely white and holy throne.

The Great White Throne shows God’s righteousness. Those who stand before this Throne will get a fair hearing. The evidence will be incontrovertible.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:12 (emphasis added)

The evidence against the unconverted will be in these books. If you die having not been born again in Christ Jesus, then you will be there when these books are opened, and a record of everything you have ever done and everything you have ever said will be in one of those books. Another one of the books will be the Bible. Have you ever thought about the things you have done and said – the things you do and say – and then laid them alongside the commands and precepts of the Bible? The objection that you don’t understand everything in the Bible will not be an excuse. The fact is, if you have bothered to read it, then you understand some very important things already. Mark Twain once said that it was not the things he didn’t understand in the Bible that scared him. It was the things he did understand. The idea that your actions and your words have been – and are being – recorded in God’s book is bad enough. But it goes even further. Every thought – every secret thought of your heart – is recorded. They are all written down in the King’s book. You will not be able to argue that it is unfair for God to judge you by your actions, and to plead that He should be taking into account the attitude of your heart. For your heart will condemn you even more than your words and actions. Can you imagine every thought you’ve ever had being played out on a public viewing screen? You will want to do anything to keep this book from being opened! But it will be opened.

There is only one thing that can blot out the record of your sins from that book. It is the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Have you called upon Him to save you? If you are reading this, it is not yet too late.

Standing before the Throne: Purity

May 18, 2012 at 9:22 am | Posted in The Great White Throne | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We have examined:

I. The Throne’s Possessor
II. The Throne’s Power
Now,
III. The Throne’s Purity

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

This is a Throne which is both great and white. It easy to imagine the potential problem for a king who sits on a throne this powerful. We know from recorded history and from our own experience that power tends to corrupt. The famous maxim is that, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” However, here we have a King who sits on a Throne yielding power that is magnified to an extent far beyond what our finite minds can even conceive of when we think “absolute.” Yet this Throne is completely white – completely pure. This King has never sinned. He has never done iniquity. He has never committed any type of wickedness.

… Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Genesis 18:25

Our hearts seize upon this idea that His Throne is pure and that He always does what is right! How horrible would it be to have an all-powerful judge – an all-powerful king – who is the least bit inclined toward wickedness? The thought of God’s pure goodness makes us glad… but it should also make us afraid. For the King who sits on a Throne that is both great and white can not have sinful creatures come before His Throne without judging them by a perfect standard.

Now, you begin to see the problem. The Possessor of the Throne will be your judge and the power of the Throne is great. No one will dare to challenge – or even come close to having the strength to challenge – His right to judge. Not a single soul will be pure enough to pass judgment before this completely pure and white and holy throne.

Have you met the One Who is willing and able to take your place before that Throne and meet God’s perfect standard of righteousness on your behalf? Time is running out. He wants to save you from this terrible judgement. Will you trust Him?

Next time we will see how the Great White Throne exhibits God’s righteousness.

Standing before the Throne: Power

May 4, 2012 at 11:52 am | Posted in The Great White Throne | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last time we looked at:

I. The Throne’s Possessor

Now let’s look at:

II.
The Throne’s Power

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

The Greek word for “great” in that Verse is “mega.” A device which makes your voice sound loud and important is called a “megaphone.” A department store which is the biggest store we can imagine is called a “mega-store.” A big city is a called a metropolis, but a city which is almost too big to comprehend – a city made up of several big cities – is called a megalopolis. If an atomic warhead could explode with the power of one million pounds of dynamite, we would call it a “megaton” bomb. This throne – this GREAT White Throne – is the greatest, the most magnificent, the most powerful throne that you will ever see. It makes King Solomon’s throne look like a child’s plastic toy throne. If you could take the greatest thrones of all the greatest men in the history of the world – the thrones of Pharaoh, the kings of Babylon, Ghengis Kahn, Alexander the Great, Caesar, George III, all the Kings of England and Europe, the gold thrones of the Aztec empire – if you could combine them all together into one magnificent, giant throne – it would be nothing – it would be like a cardboard cut-out of a throne – compared to the Throne upon which this King sits: the Great White Throne of the King of Kings.

great white throne

The kings of all the thrones and kingdoms of this world will tremble and fall before this Throne – before this King – with Whom we have to deal. This throne is so high, and the King who sits upon this Throne is so powerful, that…

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Hebrews 4:13

He is watching you now. He sees you, yet you do not see Him. Are you living in submission to His power? Or in defiance of it?

Next time: The Throne’s Purity

Standing before the Throne: Possession

April 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Posted in The Great White Throne | 13 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

The King of all kings is sitting on a Throne. Will you stand before Him one day? Are you prepared to stand before the King of all creation and be judged?

Lord, thank you for Your great plan of salvation. It is a grace-gift offered freely to us – even though it cost You so much. When we look in Your Word we see that we are so unclean – and we have no excuse. We are undone. All our reasoning, all our speculation, all our schemes and imaginings amount to nothing. Lord God, help us not to just put You “first.” Help us to recognize that You are now, have always been, and will always be so much more than just “number one” out of many others. Help us to see that You are worthy ALONE, and that You alone can save and sanctify. In the Name of Christ Jesus I pray. Amen.

Most of our lives are passed in a haze of distraction. We are caught up in entertainment, in amusements, in the day-to-day business of earning and spending money, and tending to our families and talking to our friends. It is as if all three of our enemies – the devil, the world, and our flesh – are conspiring to keep us preoccupied with the temporal and superficial. But there are times – maybe a five minute interlude of unexpected solitude – when we get what recovering alcoholics sometimes refer to as a “moment of clarity.” The cold water of reality hits us in the face and we suddenly see what life is really about. This can be terrifying – and terror is a rational response. Here’s why: Within a relatively few years everyone reading these words will see God. And the stark reality is that the most pressing issue in your life is: How will you be judged when you stand before His Throne?

If you are truly a Christian – if you have been truly born again – you will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Your works will be judged there, but you won’t be judged for your sins. The reason why you will not be judged for your sins if you have been truly born again is that Christ Jesus was already judged in your place.

For those who are not truly Christians there is another judgment. If you choose to reject God’s Son, you will stand before God and be judged by Him at His Great White Throne. There are three things I want us to see about this Throne.

I. The Throne’s Possessor

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:11 (emphasis added)

The Possessor of this Throne is the King. In fact, He is THE King of kings – the Lord of lords. He is the Possessor not only of this Throne, but of all of Heaven and of Earth – of all creation. This is a King who once appeared Himself before the judgment seat of men. Pontius Pilate sat on a judgment seat with Jesus Christ standing before him, and he bartered over him. He used Him like a pawn to bargain with King Herod. He trifled with this Man Who was a King, but the real King will one day judge Pilate.

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

John 5:22

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Acts 17:31

You see, God never stopped being God, but in the Person of Jesus Christ He became what God had never been before: a Man. Men crucified Him and He laid down His life. They buried Him, but the grave couldn’t hold Him. He was resurrected and He ascended. He came – in the body of a Man – to the gates of Heaven. Imagine the scene with me… Can you hear the silence within? The gasping and the holding of breath within the courts of Heaven? Who is this One who dares to come to these gates? What manner of man – a MAN! – dares to approach where only angels have come before? And this Man says,

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:7

Can you see the significance of this? A Man commanding the ancient gates to lift up! Perhaps a lone inhabitant of the Heavenly City dares to speak up:

Who is this King of glory..?

Psalm 24:8(a)

And the reply comes back:

…The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

Psalm 24:8(b)

Now – with great authority – not a request for admission, but a command:

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:9

The gates lift at His command, and this King of Glory enters… All bow before Him. All give Him praise and honor and glory. All worship and adore Him. He goes up to the Father – to the Father’s right hand – and He sits on a Throne that is both great and white – and He looks to the Father, and He says, “Father, it is finished.” Not a question. No hint of not belonging. Perfect Son and perfect Father and perfect Holy Spirit – all Three in One. The Father looks at the Son, and says, “Yes, Son – it is finished indeed.” Oh, can you see the Possessor of this Throne – the rightful Owner – the rightful King!

Maybe someone at some time has exhorted you to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Maybe you have been told to “crown Him King.” Perhaps someone has pleaded with you to “put Him on the throne of your heart.” But according to the Bible, God has already made Him Lord over all!

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:36

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Acts 10:36

He is Lord over His children and over His enemies. He reigns and rules in Heaven and on Earth and in hell. One day you will stand before Him in judgment. Are you ready for that day?

The Lord is the Possessor of the Throne. Next time we will look at the Power of the Throne.

Calling Witnesses (Part 3)

April 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Posted in Bible Studies, Luke, Salvation | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The witnesses who have testified so far against the unconverted sinner have been:
1. True Christians
2. Praying People
3. Godly Men and Women of the Bible

Now I call:

FOURTH WITNESSES: DEPARTED CHRISTIAN LOVED ONES

These witnesses are called to rebut the claims that are often made by those who are unconverted: “My best witness could not be here. I had a friend or a family member who knew the Lord, and this person would vouch for me and tell you that I’m not so bad as to need a savior. But this person has gone on into the afterlife.”

Therefore, I will call such a person to testify now. This person will not testify in your favor as you suppose. This person wants very badly for you to come to Jesus. Your departed Christian loved ones are in Heaven now, and though they may have shed many tears for your condition while they were alive, they can not cry for you now. Surely they prayed for you often and fervently while they were in this world, but they have other, far more pleasant, occupations now. They are engaged in full-time worship of their Lord – in-person worship – joy unspeakable. It is not completely clear from the Bible if these loved ones will be present when you are called before God on the day of judgment, but, if they are, and if they hear God’s sentence that you are condemned, and if they hear God’s command for you to depart from His presence for all eternity, their response will not be the response they would have had while still living in this earthly realm. No, their response before the judgment throne when you are cast out will be, “Amen, God is good and He has done what is right.” You see, no one, having experienced God’s love, His unveiled presence in Heaven, the full application of His free grace, will take sides against Him. All tongues will confess that He is just. These people pitied you while they viewed you through the lens of God’s common grace, but if you remain unconverted, God will lift the restraining grace which you experienced in your earthly life, and you will be revealed for the monstrous rebel against your Creator that you truly are. As one preacher said, all of creation will stand and applaud that God has rid the earth of such a thing as you.

FIFTH WITNESSES: THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN IN GENERAL

These witnesses are in glory now. One instant after their very first glimpse of the glory of their Lord, they realized how foolish it was for them to have wasted any time whatsoever bickering and squabbling over who may or may not have wronged them while they were here in this world. It no longer matters to them in the least whether someone took something that rightfully belonged to them, or whether someone said something hurtful about them that wasn’t true. Those common worldly occurrences do not hinder their joy one bit. All their tears and regrets have been wiped away. When they appear before God for judgment, His beloved Son steps into their place, and says, “Father, this one has trusted Me – His sin was put to My account, and I have paid it all.”

I know that you would probably like the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses. “Aren’t you bored there,” you want to ask them, “just worshiping God for all eternity?”

How foolish your question seems to them! Their very first glimpse of God’s glory seemed to last an eternity of eternities and it was all pure bliss. And that first glance was just the start of the start. It only gets better and it never ends. There is no such thing as boredom in Heaven.

SIXTH WITNESSES: UNREDEEMED SINNERS IN HELL

These witnesses are the opposite of the previous witnesses. They have gone to the grave without trusting Jesus. Their pain and torment will make it difficult for them to testify.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Luke 16:22-24

As an unconverted sinner, their testimony might shock you. Jesus used Gehenna to illustrate something of the nature of hell. Gehenna was the dump outside the city where the fire was not quenched and where the worms that lived on the garbage never died. It is not a place of relief for unconverted sinners – not a place where you will be able to say, “At least I don’t have to listen to preaching there – no more ‘holy rollers’ to invite me to church. No one trying to tell me about Jesus – none of those ‘religious hypocrites’ there.” That is not the testimony of these witnesses.

Instead, their testimony is “Oh! – how I wish I would have believed God’s Word! How I wish now my idiotic pride would not have kept me from admitting I was wrong and God was right! How I wish I hadn’t believed the evolutionists and the agnostics – they supported me and encouraged me when I was alive – but where are they now? Where are the people who told me, ‘Everybody gets to come to God in different ways?’ They told me that it was silly to think that Jesus of Nazareth was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that nobody would come to God the Father if they didn’t come through Him. Now, I am separated from God, I am in darkness – I am trapped – I will never get out… and I am in torment.”

If you are an unconverted sinner, even those who sided with you to their end are now testifying against you.

SEVENTH WITNESSES: THE ANGELS

Next, I call to the stand the Heavenly host of ministering spirits that we call angels. They are servants of God. They are His messengers and His army. They also minister to living Christians. Now, however, they will testify against the unsaved.

These angels are not the red-faced little babies playing harps that you may have seen in greeting cards or curio cabinets. These creatures move among the spirit world. Whether they are on an errand for God, engaged in battle against Satan and his minions, or protecting one of God’s servants in his ministry at any given time, we do not know. However, we do know that they rejoice in Heaven when a sinner is saved. Their testimony is most likely going to be that there are times when they pass by an unsaved person who suddenly uses God’s name as part of a curse word, or who utters the precious name of Jesus Christ because he is exasperated or frustrated over something. In righteous outrage the angel lifts his fiery sword to take vengeance on behalf of the Almighty, and it is only the loving longsuffering grace of the Almighty that restrains him. These angels have not disobeyed the Lord since the rebellion of Lucifer caused the banishment and condemnation of one-third of their number. They must find it almost unthinkable and immeasurably horrible that you would rebel daily against your Creator, and even more so that you would then reject His Son Who bled and died for your soul!

You have heard the testimony of a number of witnesses. They are all against you, and yet they plead with you to turn to Christ. You might say, “I’m not in any kind of shape to come to Jesus… I don’t dress like a church person, I don’t talk like a church person, I don’t even think like a church person…” My friend, that is irrelevant. The issue is not what you look like – it’s Who you look to. God in His grace and mercy has allowed you to make it this far. Do not turn away from the testimony you have heard with the poison of unforgiven sin still in your system. Look to Jesus today: LOOK AND LIVE.

If you’ve already looked to Christ by faith – if you’ve already trusted and received Him as your Savior – what a world of good it will do you to look again – look often – look every chance you get! There’s nothing more encouraging for a Christian who’s on a long arduous journey home than to look upon the One Who saved him to begin with.

Where to Find Yourself

September 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Posted in Genesis | 7 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Genesis” means “beginning.” The Book of Genesis is the beginning of the Bible, but not the beginning of God. He had no beginning and He will have no end.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

The first verse of the Bible presupposes the prior existence of God. God did not create the heavens and the earth and all the things and living creatures because He was lonely or bored. The triune God is eternally self-sufficient in glory. And He has enjoyed the fellowship of Perfect Father, Perfect Son, and Perfect Holy Spirit throughout all eternity. To be perfect means to be complete, to need or lack nothing.

In Genesis we can see some very basic things about God’s existence, and some of the basics of His plan concerning His creation.

We should not get frustrated that we can not understand more about God. The fullness of His glory is not comprehensible, but the glory of God is not discouraging or “hopelessly confusing.” Actually, it’s hopeFULLY confusing. If we are not motivated to service and worship by God’s glory and utter “otherness,” then there is a serious problem with our doctrine.

God is called by the Hebrew name Elohim 32 times in Genesis before the first appearance of “YHWH” – Jehovah.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

Genesis 2:4

Jehovah is “the mighty God.” Elohim is plural – God in three Persons. Also, in Hebrew, there is a great reverence of God’s name. The plural form Elohim is used because plural forms are used to give greater emphasis and magnitude to that which is being described. For example, some have argued that we shouldn’t speak of the majesty, beauty, and perfection of God. Rather we should speak of His majesties, beauties, and perfections. The glories of God – all His attributes – are overwhelming and unending.

So, we see that Genesis is a book of basics – a book of fundamentals. When you really want to learn as much as you can about something, you start at the fundamentals. This is true of academic, athletic, and practical endeavors. When I coached tee-ball, we didn’t start off by learning how to turn a double play, or hit the cut-off man. We started by learning what a ball is, what a bat is, and the order in which to run the bases. Sometimes – even in Bible study – you have to start at the basics.

Passages from Genesis are found quoted over 200 times in the New Testament. In Genesis we find the blueprint for God’s whole plan of redemption.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Revelation 21:1, referencing Genesis 1:1

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Revelation 22:2, 14, referencing Genesis 2:8-9, 3:24

In Genesis the tree of life is forbidden and guarded. In Revelation it is open and available.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Revelation 19:7-9, referencing Genesis 2:24

Genesis has the first marriage. Revelation has the last.

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

Revelation 20:10, referencing Genesis 3:1

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:4, referencing Genesis 2:17

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Revelation 18:21, referencing Genesis 11:9

In Genesis Babylon is built. In Revelation it is destroyed.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15, referencing Genesis 3:15

In Genesis the Redeemer is promised. In Revelation the Redeemer reigns.

In Genesis the first Adam disobeyed in a garden. In the Gospels the last Adam accomplished the ultimate obedience in a garden. (Luke 22:41-42)

Genesis tells us a great deal about ourselves. It tells us where we came from, why we are here, and what God expects us to do.

In Genesis we learn about God, ourselves, and our world. When you first meet Christ, you learn about God. Then you learn about yourself. Then you learn about the world.

There is a heresy which says that Biblical Christianity is “all about me.” But there is also a heresy that says, “It’s not about me at all.” No psychologist, self-help program, chemical, or worldly experience will help you “find yourself.” However, if you look, you will find yourself in the Bible.

Next Page »


Entries and comments feeds.