Verse of the Day

My Musings, Observations, etc.


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June 30, 2011
We receive many comments and questions from our blog. Sometimes, we answer the questions directly, some of the comments are trollish and are responded to with the delete key and some are here. So, here are a few of the short-answer kind of questions...
Isn't the head of the church in Rome?
No. The head of the church is Christ. Ephesians 5:23 The local church here on earth is led by its Pastor. God never establishes a 'chain of government' for the church. The idea of people ruling over groups of churches is an idea contrived by man.
Would you ever consider going to a Bible church or are you strictly Baptist?
While a real Baptist Church is a Bible church, we must sadly accept that there are differences in connotations of words. While words have specific definitions, their connotations may be completely different. Sadly, this has come to be true with many "Bible" churches. There certainly are good "Bible" churches out there, but it seems that the majority of them are leaning away from the Word of God and toward liberalism.
Did God really intend for man to rule over women? Aren't men and women equal? Can't they do the same things?
I believe God plan, from the beginning, was to have man and women be equal. However, Eve was deceived. As a result of Eve being deceived, women were placed under the leadership of men. Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This is an all-consuming, sacrificial love. Then, the real, Biblical love of a man should earn the respect and following of his wife. Just as the Bible commands the husband to love his wife, the wife is commanded to submit to her husband. Again, the key lies with the husband. If the husband is a tyrant, he is not being obedient to God. His love for his wife should be such that she wants to please him. I am planning to deal with this in more detail in a coming post. Be sure to look for a post entitled, "Who Rules the Roost."
Isn't gluttony a sin? Is gluttony preached against at your church?
Yes, it is. Before I get into the detail of the answer, let me say that I was not born yesterday. I realize that the author of this comment is attempting to take a pot-shot at me. That is fine. There are many people who do not like the fact that I preach the truth. They are especially concerned when the truth I preach lands squarely on their sin. As they attempt to take this juvenile shot at me, they do not know that I have lost over 70 pounds. Now, back to the answer.
Gluttony is a sin. It is an overindulgence. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines a glutton as, "One eager of any thing to excess." So, one can be a glutton for food, one can be a glutton for alcohol, one can be a glutton for Facebook, one can be a glutton for gossip, one can be a glutton for ... Well, you get the idea. Some things, in moderation, are acceptable, but in excess, they are a sin.
Is gluttony preached against at our church? Yes, just like every other sin under the sun. You should visit sometime. If you're saved, the Spirit inside of you will be right at home, but your flesh will not be happy!
June 23, 2011
For the last eleven weeks, or so, in our Wednesday night Basic Training, we have been covering the book of John. A few weeks back, we didn't have our usual Wednesday night. That particular night, our Pastor had a special burden on his heart (maybe I'll post on that later) and wanted the entire church family together. On that night, we were supposed to cover John chapter 9. In particular, I was set to preach on this passage:
Joh 8:1-11 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. (2) And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. (3) And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, (4) They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? (6) This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. (7) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (8) And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. (9) And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
This is a very clear passage on the mercy Jesus extends to one who repents as well as an illustration of Jesus' disdain for the Pharisee. In this passage, we see the Pharisees bring in this woman. From the passage, we see the woman had been taken in the very act of adultery. How did this happen? Had the Pharisees been minding their own business, how would they have discovered her sin. Yes, adultery is a sin. Many believe the Pharisees actually arranged the adultery, thus making them as guilty as she was. When they brought her in and presented her to Jesus, they tempted Jesus by reminding him of the Law of Moses. Specifically how the Law of Moses commanded that someone who was guilty of adultery should be stoned. Jesus showed the woman grace and mercy. Jesus also stooped and wrote on the ground. We can only speculate as to what Jesus wrote. Some speculate that Jesus listed some of the sins of the Pharisees. Some speculate that Jesus actually listed the names of the ones who were guilty of committing adultery with this woman. Regardless, the Pharisees left and Jesus was there with the woman. In the conclusion of this passage, Jesus instructs this woman to "sin no more." What was Jesus instructing her to do? Jesus didn't really expect her to never sin again did He? That's not what sin no more means, or is it?
First, let's look at the reasons people believe we will all sin in the future. They look at verses such as the following:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 5:12 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:
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Notice how, in each of these verses, the sin is a past-tense event. There is nothing in any of these verses which indicate a future of sin. These verses all point to the present or to the past. To claim that these verses prove that everyone will sin in the future is a laughable application of Scripture. Actually, it is a quite sad application of Scripture as it proves a lack of Biblical understanding. It also illustrates the compromiser's attempt to comfort their own flesh.
Some will also use John 8 and point out how Jesus asked the one without sin to cast the first stone. Then say none of them were without sin. They are correct: none of those men were without sin. They were all unsaved and under the curse of the law. They were also all unrepentant. They had never sought forgiveness for their sins. Finally, in all likelihood, they were guilty of the very sin they were accusing this woman of.
The simplest truth is that we are in a generation of compromise. Still, there are many people who, though living in sin of one kind or another, have the Holy Spirit inside them. The Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin and they are looking for a way to justify it, even to defend their sin. This is a sign of the generation we are in. This peculiar, ungodly notion fits hand-in-glove with the flight away from the Word of God to other (per)versions, the flight from God-honoring churches to so-called non-denominational churches, and the absolute flight from Godly standards to the standards of the world. The claim that it is impossible to live a victorious Christian life, free from sin, is one from the depths of hell. It sounds like something a foolish woman preacher would feel "lead to preach".
So, what does God say about living a holy life? We see in John 8:11, above, that Jesus, God made in the form of a man, that He expected this woman to never sin again ("sin no more"). Was she special? No. You may recall form John 5:14 that Jesus told the leper He had healed to "sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee." Again, Jesus was giving a clear warning to this man. This leper was told that he should never sin again or something worse than leprosy would befall him. If there is anyone who knows the frame of man and the heart of man, it is Jesus. After all, it was Jesus who stooped down into the Garden of Eden and formed man out of the dust of the ground. It was also Jesus who lived, robed in flesh, just as we do every day. It was Jesus who was tempted in all points, just as we are. Knowing the frame of man, Jesus told these two to "sin no more."
Some may argue that the time when Jesus walked on earth was a special time and there were special directives for certain people. It was special time, but this was no special directive. You may recall this passage:
Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
I know. If you are one who claims we are all doomed to sin, you will quickly point out that this is an Old-Testament passage, as if to claim that we can ignore anything in the Old Testament we do not like. However, if your claim is true, you cannot ignore Peter as he reaffirms the principle in this passage:
1Pe 1:13-16 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (14) As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: (15) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (16) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
In their vain attempts to thwart God's will for our lives, some even attempt to redefine words such as holy. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines holy as
Properly, whole, entire or PERFECT, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character; and man is more or less holy, as his heart is more or less sanctified, or purified from evil dispositions. We call a man holy,when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts. Hence, holy is used as nearly synonymous with good, pious, godly.
With that definition in mind, we can see that Peter's affirmation of Lev 20:7 agrees perfectly with Jesus' admonition to the leper and the woman taken in adultery. Peter's statement is also a directive for us. We are to live a HOLY life. We may fail. We may fail often. However, when we sin we must realize that we have failed.
Our goal should be a sin-free life. However, when we are wrapped in flesh, how can we ever hope to accomplish that goal? This is where many people give up and succumb to the will of their flesh. At the realization of this very point, many people simply give in and enjoy their sin. This is not God's will for our lives. The first thing we must do is realize God does want us to live a sin-free life. Can any Christian in their right mind really believe God wants us to sin? Think of what Christ went through to pay for our sins. Take time to study that absolute torture He endured for us. Not just the torture of the Cross, but the beatings, the mocking, the scourging, the guilt of all the sins of all of mankind and worst of all, being forsaken by God the Father. Consider what God the Father endured as His only begotten Son endured all of this for our sin. Could any real Bible-believer ever contend that God wants us to sin? No. But there are only two choices: either God does not want us to sin, or He does.--- No, God does not want us to sin. Instead, God sent the Holy Spirit to help the believer. Moreover, God gave us His Word. Yes, that Blessed Old Book is the key.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
We must memorize Scripture. When we memorize Scripture and use the verses we learn, we can defeat sin. There is more to combating sin. You cannot combat sin when you feed it, but that is another discussion.
Where are you today? Do you feed your flesh with the sin of the world or do you feed your Spirit with the Word of God. Perhaps you do not even know what the Spirit of God is, but something inside of you is tugging at your heart telling you that you need to be saved. See, if you are not saved, you cannot defeat sin and you cannot live a victorious life. You can only do these things with the help of the Holy Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit of God will not come into you until you are saved.  If you are not sure if you are saved, or know you are not saved, please follow this link to learn more about how to be saved.
June 11, 2011
What is a contemporary church and why is it wrong?
I was recently asked this question in response to a comment I had made regarding contemporary churches.

First, in this context, the word contemporary simply means of the present time or modern. So, we could equally say that a contemporary church is a modern church. In itself, there is nothing wrong with a church having modern aspects to its operation. For example, when Paul preached, he did not have the benefit of using a public address system. A modern church service is certainly aided by the use of some kind of public address system. The congregations Paul preached to did not have the benefit of electric lighting, air conditioning, heating, indoor plumbing and many other modern conveniences. None of these conveniences are contrary to the Word of God. In fact, they all assist us in spreading the Word through preaching.

If using modern conveniences and technologies does not harm the spread of the Gospel and does no violence to Scripture, what is wrong with ‘modern’? Often, we must look at the connotative meaning (common use) of a word as well as its denotative (dictionary) meaning. Compared to the churches Paul started, I attend a modern church, but I do not attend a contemporary church. What is the difference?

There are several aspects which will identify a contemporary church. The most predominate of these aspects will feed the contemporary church’s root in liberalism. That first issue is a compromise on the Word of God. As soon as a church moves away from the Blessed Old Book (for the English-speaking people, this is the King James Version Bible), compromise begins. We have discussed the Word of God and the KJV on many different occasions. The KJV-Only road has two ditches which will lead to error. The first is the position that anything called a Bible is okay. At their root, these other versions are translations of inaccurate or incomplete original manuscripts. The other ditch is the so-called Ruckman position which claims that the KJV translators in 1611 received a second revelation and were able to correct the original texts (as if Paul didn’t get it exactly right).

Ultimately, it comes back to the contemporary church’s position on the Word of God. There are three basic positions one can adopt concerning the Word of God:
The Bible is the Word of God
This is the foundation of our faith: the Bible is the Word of God. If we did not believe the Bible is the Word of God, we have freedom to apply the Bible as we see fit. We would believe there is nothing divine about the Bible and there is nothing special about it. However, when we accept that the Bible is the Word of God, we must acknowledge that God exists and that God has spoken. Moreover, we must acknowledge that God has spoken to us in a personal letter. The natural conclusion is that we must honor and obey the letter God has written to us. We must also acknowledge (as anyone with any common sense would) that God cannot lie and cannot break HIS promises. If we accept these facts, we must also accept that God’s Word is absolute truth.
The Bible becomes the Word of God
Those who adopt this position believe the Bible is a guide for life, but is not necessarily God’s letter to us. The Word of God is what the individual decides to apply to their life. It is only the Word of God if God chooses (in the individual’s opinion) to apply it to their heart.
The Bible contains the Word of God
Parts of the Bible are God’s Word, parts are not. You decide. Under this premise, the reader of the Bible (or whatever the reader calls the Bible) has the liberty to discern for himself what is and is not actually the Word of God. If the reader doesn’t like what he reads, he can simply discount it believing it is not God’s Word.

At any rate, the contemporary church will be identified by it's flawed position on the Word of God. If someone builds a building on a flawed foundation, the entire building will be off. Likewise, a church which does not have a foundation upon the Word of God (which is in an English speaking country, the KJV Bible) will be off just as much as any building built upon a weak, flawed foundation.

When the contemporary church dilutes the Word of God through incomplete or imperfect versions, the Gospel and the commands to spread the Gospel will also be diluted. Many members of contemporary churches are taught that a confrontational evangelism is not God's intention. As believers, we are to share our testimony and the Word of God with others to convince them of their need for salvation. Contemporary churches teach that that a social gospel is the real need. They teach that it is more important to fill a belly than share the Bread of Life. We are not commanded to feed the poor - we are commanded to preach the Gospel. It is through the foolishness of preaching that men are saved.  God never promised to feed all of the poor or needy, He promised to take care of His children (no, everyone who draws a breath is not a child of God. Only the saved are children of God).

As soon as the King James Bible, the only true standard, is removed the decline of that church will begin. So, when you look at the contemporary church, you will see a church which has little, if any, preaching on sin and personal standards. There will be no preaching on separation, dress standards or personal holiness of any kind. It is very likely that sin will never be mentioned. If it is mentioned, it will only be in the most vague of terms. Of course, there are also many contemporary churches which openly endorse sin. I know of one contemporary church which participated in evangelism by passing out shot-glasses which simply said, “Give Jesus a shot.” How disgusting. Many contemporary churches will see nothing wrong with alcohol consumption or, in many cases, fornication. Another church, in their advocating of “sexual health” suggested that married couples abstain from physical relations for one month. At the same time, the same “Pastor” recommended that unmarried couples take more time to explore and experience all the joys of the physical relationship. There are also the contemporary churches which ignore the Word of God when it comes to homosexuality. Some merely condone the activity in their church while others believe there is nothing wrong with ordaining homosexuals to the ministry. The Bible is clear: homosexuality, adultery and fornication are all sins, and they are all sins which are endorsed in many contemporary churches.

In the same line, the contemporary church will likely not have a Biblical stand on marriage and divorce. So, their "pastor" will likely condone the marriage of people who are divorced, thus condoning their continual lifestyle of adultery. There are many churches which ordain deacons and pastors who are divorced and remarried. The Bible teaches that the pastor and deacon must be the husband of one wife.

Another clear indicator that a church is a contemporary church is the music. Praise bands and worship teams are the norm in many churches one would label as contemporary. Music is important to worship, but the music must be in order and the music must not violate other principles of Scripture. When the music sounds like a rock concert and the music “ministers” look and act no different than the world, you can bet you’re in a contemporary church. We have discussed music many times before. You need only search this blog for articles on music. There is not, necessarily, one genre which is correct. So long as the music is, well, music, and is distinctly different from the world’s music and praises the Lord or edifies the saint, there is nothing wrong with it. However, the so-called Christian contemporary music of our day is not distinctly different than the secular counterpart. Even if the CCM music has a different sound, it is likely performed by ecumenical performers whose goal is money, not praising the Lord.

Does the church yoke up with other churches of different denominations? Regardless of what your denomination is, if you even claim one, hopefully you are a member of that church because you believe what that church teaches. Why would you attend one kind of church and support another, different kind of church? Two different kinds of churches (denominations) will have different beliefs. If they were not different, they would be the same! The Bible commands that we should not yoke-up with unbelievers. Are other denominations non-believers? If they do not believe salvation is by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, they are.

The idea of joining with people who have different beliefs is what we call the ecumenical movement. The ecumenical movement has its roots as far back as the ancient nation of Israel. When the Israelites took wives from other nations (Exo34:16), they were compromising with those other nations to fulfill their physical desires. This is no different than the contemporary church which seeks to please the attendee’s flesh through music and entertainment or which seeks to please their congregation by condoning their sin (perhaps actively condoning or passively condoning it by not preaching on it). The Lord compared this mixing in with the unbelievers to adultery. Remember, adultery is a sin we can commit in our heart. The Israelites were God's people. At the same time, they were seeking physical pleasure outside of their relationship with God. Today, in the church age, the believers are the bride of Christ. When we 'covet' a lifestyle we cannot have, when we look to the worldly pleasures, when we step out of God's will for our lives, we are committing spiritual adultery. In Revelation 17 the Lord refers to the great whore as the one “…with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” With that in mind, the contemporary church is nothing more than a whore house for those who wish to commit their spiritual whoredoms.

There are as many ways a contemporary church can compromise as there are ways the human flesh can devise ways to sin. There simply isn’t enough time to detail them all. The shear simplicity is that the contemporary church is defined by the contemporary book it uses. From the use of a flawed book, the only possible result is a flawed walk with the Lord, if any at all. If the pastor of a church accepts that the Bible is absolutely the Word of God and preaches that truth, that church will have biblical standards and cannot, by definition, be a contemporary church.
June 5, 2011
There are some who claim socialism or even communism is a better way for America. Some even go so far as to claim Jesus was a socialist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First, what is socialism? defines socialism as a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. In America, the socialist movement is one where a few people want to confiscate the earnings of the middle class workers and use those earnings to support those who do not work or otherwise cannot support themselves. So, was Jesus a socialist? Consider this passage:
Matthew 25:14-30 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. (15) And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. (16) Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. (17) And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. (18) But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. (19) After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. (20) And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. (21) His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (22) He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. (23) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (24) Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: (25) And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. (26) His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (27) Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. (28) Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. (29) For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (30) And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
As we consider this passage, we must consider it in the light of our own role. We are only stewards who have been trusted by the Lord to oversee His wealth on earth. With that in mind, we notice is that the man delivered his goods to his servants, each according to the servant's ability. He knew one servant was wise and could be trusted with more than the other two. He knew one servant was unwise and could not be trusted. To this one he gave the least. The second was not as wise as the first, but not as foolish as the third. His amount was between that of the first and third servants. So, likewise, the Lord knows each of our talents and abilities. To some, He will entrust more of His wealth to look after. To some, the Lord will entrust less of His wealth to oversee. When the man returned, He was anxious to see what the servants had accomplished with his wealth. Two of the servants invested their master's money and each doubled what they invested. The third hid the master's money and only returned what he had been given. Some would say that no loss is a gain, but what did the Lord say? The Lord had some harsh words for this third man. The Lord called him wicked and slothful (vs 26) and rebuked him for not investing the money. The Lord called this man an unprofitable servant and ordered him cast into outer darkness. Not only was this man unwise, he was, apparently not saved.
From this passage, the first principle we see is that the Lord wants us to be wise with what He has given us. We should invest. We should take what the Lord has given us and make it grow. In contrast, Socialism teaches that the ones who do not work, the lazy and wicked, should receive that for which they did not labor. What does the Bible say about that concept?
2 Thess 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Again, the Lord is taking a very strong stand! He is not endorsing the socialist position that everyone deserves a good bed, three hot meals and all the care they want, whether they work or not. Socialism encourages a man not to work. If he works in a socialist system, he will be only slightly better off than the man who does not work. The Bible cries out: If a man does not work, he should not eat! I would lean toward making an allowance for the one who is physically unable to work. But the majority of those collecting state-sponsored welfare are physically able to work and choosing not to work. This is a sin!
Then there are those who do not work enough.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
There are families where there is not enough income to support the family and the family is forced to rely upon the state for support. The Bible has a clear opinion of the man who fathers a family he cannot support. I would not be so bold. I would say he lacks self control or wisdom. Perhaps he does not know the Lord and does not have the benefit of guidance from the Holy Spirit of God. However, the Lord says this man is worse than an infidel. There are families where there is no father. Families where the baby-daddy (a term which sickens me for a number of reasons) spent the night with this woman this week and that woman the next. As a result, he has babies all over town. This is a shame and the children pay the price. These men should be found and forced to support their children. The women who willingly permit the abuse of their bodies to gain welfare income should be dealt with as well.
In Scripture, there is no role for the state to tend to the needs of God's children. This is God's duty. We often lose sight of just what a need is. God promises to provide two things. In 1 Tim 6, Paul instructed Timothy to be content with food and raiment. If you have a full belly and a coat for your back, you should be praising God! Anything more is a blessing. God didn't promise nice cars, cell phones, high-speed internet and cable television. God didn't even promise a dry roof over your head.
Acts 6 defines the creation of the deacon. What is the role of the deacon? The deacon is to attend to the physical needs of the widows and the truly fatherless.
One last point. Who is a child of God? God promises to provide for the child of God. This is usually met by providing the husband in the family the physical and cognitive ability to work. Is everyone who draws a breath a child of God? No. This is a popular misconception. If you see no evidence of God's provision in your life, if you are unable to find work when you look, if you find yourself defeated at every turn, perhaps you need to look inside yourself. Are you like that third man, the fool who is bound for outer darkness? Is hell waiting for you? Do you know for sure you are saved?