Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Did you ever hear anyone talk about an irresistible force and an immovable object colliding with one another? No one seems to know what will happen, and yet everyone knows that something has to give. We may run automobiles into stone walls and one or both give way. One or the other is not going to be as impregnable as we had thought it would be. So it is concerning the gospel of Christ and the people of the religious world with whom it comes in contact.

Contrary to the thought of many people, the gospel itself is a dynamic force. In fact, in some senses it is an irresistible force. Paul talked about its force labeling it as “power of God unto salvation”. (Rom. 1:16) This power will break down all sin and unrighteousness and bridge the gap between man and God, bringing man into an acceptable position before God. Maybe to some it seems senseless, but without pie suppers and pony rides and even without missionary and benevolent societies, the gospel alone can make men pleasing to the God of heaven.

The only trouble is that there are some people who desire to be immovable objects. Remember in Old Testament history when Pharaoh hardened his heart against God, and refused to let the Children of Israel go? He thought he was an immovable object. Remember the Jewish nation in the days of John the baptist and Jesus Christ and how they put both John and Christ to death in order to preserve their arrangement of things? They thought they were an immovable object.

The interesting thing is to notice what happened to these “immovable objects.~’ Pharaoh lost Israel and a good army too. The Jews, in putting Christ to death, lost a home in heaven (unless they repented) and some forty years later they lost an entire political system on earth.

When men begin to tamper with God’s arrangements, they lose their immovability. Men think they will not be moved, but Paul said that this person needs to “take heed, lest you fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). There are so many in this category going about daily thinking that they are set in their ways, and nothing and no one will move them.

Denominational people preach their false doctrines never stopping to think that God is going to put a stop to it. (Gal. 1:6-10) The sad part of it is that many of our own brethren are not much better. Some will preach their sermons on love, peace, and “antis,” and go on not willing to allow anything the gospel has to say to move them to change their minds and conform them to the irresistible word of God. It is not just in institutionalism, either. We preach to our young ladies about their dress. Do you think it does any good? Why, they think they are immovable objects, and yet, they go right ahead and wear their godless apparel anyway. Not only wear it, but parade up and down the streets and football fields in it. Our young men are not far behind. Civil law means nothing to many of them. We preach obedience to civil codes, but they think they are immovable objects.

My plea is to allow the gospel to move you. Be immovable for it (1 Cor. 15:58) and do not stand in opposition to it. If you do not allow it to move you now, it will move you in the last day into eternal damnation (Jn 12:48 f; 2 Thess 1:7-9).

Advertisements

When people base their decisions on lies, they make bad choices, which ends up destroying the lives of others. Moreover, lies conceal the truth, which may lead to injustice for both the guilty and innocent.

The sin of lying contradicts the very character of God. The Bible teaches that God cannot lie (Tit 1:2 f; Heb 6:18); it is against His very nature to advance that which is false. However, Jesus says that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Therefore, to lie is to choose not to be like God, but to imitate the character of Satan. Proverbs 6:19 says lying is among the things that God hates. It is no wonder that one of the ten commandments is, You shall not bear false witness (Ex 20:16).

The Bible acknowledges different categories of lies, but never once teaches that any lie is less significantly damning than another. The little white lie is equally condemning as perjury, though, the consequences may not be entirely the same. John writes in Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” John certainly didn’t discriminate on what kind of liars would be lost; he simply said, ALL LIARS, which implies all kind of lies, both great or small.

Christians must be people who speak truth. Ephesians 4:25 says, “Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.” The context of Ephesians four tells us that speaking truth is part of what it means to be a new creation in Christ; it is at the heart of being a Christian. Colossians 3:9 parallels Ephesians; “Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds.”

For the Christian who is striving to follow Jesus’ teaching, it is a simple matter of observing Jesus’ teaching on this subject. In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said, “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil”. James echoes Jesus comments in James 5:12 “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” The Jewish people had turned oath taking into another way of lying. Such was forbidden by Jesus and by implication, lying as well.

Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth. People don’t always want to hear it because it exposes the darkness in their lives, and people love darkness better than light (Jn 3:19). As Christians, we are obliged to tell the truth in love (Eph 4:15) and we speak truth because we do love (1 Cor 13:6). Let us do so and be people who love truth regardless the consequences of speaking it, and let us never be involved in the sin of lying nor upholding the lies of others.

In life we are called upon to make many decisions. Some of these are routine, physical actions such as stopping for a red light or eating when we are hungry. Some of our decisions are judgment calls on matters of significant importance: selecting a mate for marriage, choosing a vocation, investing money for future security, preparing for retirement. Each must “make up his own mind” on these issues. The freedom (and responsibility) we have in these areas are often “assumed” in religious matters. Many feel that each of us are at liberty to decide what is right or wrong on moral issues or for religious practices. A study of the Scriptures indicates this is not man’s right – God has given us the direction and we are to recognize his regulations.

How are we to decide moral issues? Is it right or is it wrong to lie? to steal? to kill? to commit adultery? What process do you usually hear used to decide these maters? “It seems to me. . . ” or “I think. . . ” are common expressions in such discussions. Using this process, changes can result in standards of morality. Within the past generation a classic example of this process has occurred.

Sixty years ago, most “everyone” condemned homosexuality. Anyone who practiced homosexual relations were considered an abomination to God. The practice was so generally condemned that violators were discharged from the army, removed from government posts, fired from businesses, and otherwise rejected and ostracized by society. Although some of this rejection still exists, we see the practice defended now as “an alternate lifestyle.” Practitioners have “come out of the closet” and openly parade for gay rights. Many churches have given open acceptance for the practice and gay churches exist in many cities. Society has declared them to be as normal as heterosexuals. They are allowed to be preachers, school teachers, government officials, parents, and even given in marriage. Sodom and Gomorrah means nothing to this society!

What standard should we use to govern our lives in religious or moral issues? A look at the Bible shows that the inspired writers recognized “the Scriptures” as the standard. In Romans 1 and 2, Paul reasons that both the Gentiles and the Jews stood condemned because they had left God and his Word. No appeal was made to Paul’s own feelings or to how society felt about these issues. (Actually, “society” would have approved the common practices which Paul condemned.)

On another occasion Paul reflects the attitude toward God’s revelation which should characterize all of us. In 1 Timothy 5:18, while discussing the support of elders who gave their time and efforts to the teaching of the word, he says, “For the scripture saith, You  shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the corn. And, the laborer is worthy of his hire.” Note the appeal made by the inspired apostle: “For the scripture saith . . .”

What should we recognize as authority today for our moral code or for our religious practices? God’s Word, the Scriptures, are the proper source, and we should be careful not to substitute the judgments of men with the commandments of God (Matt 15:7-9). How I feel or how you feel may be of interest, but only what God says is right! Yes, let God be true and every man a liar; as it is written, That you may be justified in your sayings, and might overcome when you are judged” (Rom 3:4).

When discussing forgiveness, do we have the ability to punish the person who wronged us? Oftentimes, when making the case for the ability to forgive with conditions, we quote Bible verses where God’s forgiveness included a punishment. It is true, there are examples of God forgiving and then punishing those He forgave. We find an example of this in the Old Testament when God forgave the Israelites, but still punished them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
Leviticus 19:18: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord”.
While this statement is true, God does not give us the authority to punish someone we forgive. There are many reasons for this, with the most obvious reason being, we cannot judge someone’s heart. If we could properly judge someone’s heart, we could be trusted to understand his or her motive and true intentions. There are two key difference between God and us; He judges the heart and all of His actions focus on saving souls. Our punishments are based on preconceived notions and the desire for self-aggrandizement. We do not like being wronged and believe an apology is the least someone could do to earn our forgiveness.
Romans 12:17-21: “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”.
Christians are not encouraged to punish the actions of others. Instead, they are commanded to leave the wrath to God. James explains why, as the wrath of man does not bring about the righteousness of God (Jam 1:20). Even if someone only required an apology to forgive another… are they not seeking to avenge their mistreatment? Whether the person apologizes or not, Scripture makes is very clear we are to treat everyone (friend or foe) with love. The Apostle Paul states, any action completed without love does not benefit us (1 Cor 13:3). We are to forgive others in love, because God loves and forgives us of much more. If we require some form of penitence, how did we determine what was required? By compelling an apology, can we be certain someone has repented? Since repentance is a change in one’s heart and mind, only God is able to determine matters of the heart (Jer 17:9-10). We can only judge by outward appearance, which is unreliable because we are judging based on our personal dispositions (1 Sam 16:7). We must rely on God’s vengeance and not our own.

Do You Believe In Hell?

The subject of hell is shunned by many preachers. It is considered distasteful and, I suppose some think that if we will ignore it, it will just go away. False teachers try to evade the Bible teaching on the subject and give false consolation by such statements as: “Hell is what you go through on the earth,” or “Hell is only temporary.” Even some who claim to be Christians reveal a lack of conviction about hell by their preparations to go there. When you hear a brother say: “If I go, I will not be by myself,” or “If I go, you will be on the front row,” you are listening to one who does not truly believe what the Bible teaches about hell.

Some of the confusion on the subject comes from translation. The word hades is translated “hell” in some versions, but these are from two different words and do not refer to the same place. Hades and sheol refer to the abiding place of spirits between death and the resurrection. With the story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16 we discover that the hadean world is divided between where the evil go and where the saints go after death.

Gehenna (hell) refers to the eternal abiding place of the wicked, after judgment. The word is used 12 times in the New Testament, and is always spoken by Jesus Himself, except in James 3:6 (also read: Matt. 5:22,29,30 cf; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33 ff; Mk. 9:43,45,47; Lk. 12:5). This is the place of eternal punishment, which implies eternal existence, for you cannot punish what does not exist!

Some say that since hell is called the “second death,” this proves that it means non-existence. The truth is that “death” never means non-existence. It means separation. When it refers to physical death it means that the body is separated from the spirit. When it refers to spiritual death it means that man is separated from the spirit. When it refers to spiritual death it means that man is separated from God. Isaiah said, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God. . . ” (Isa. 59:2). When Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead” (Matt. 8:22), He was not saying that those who do not exist can bury those who do not exist! He was saying that those who were spiritually separated from God (dead) could bury those who were physically dead. Paul said that the widow who gives herself to pleasure “is dead (spiritually) while she lives (physically)” (1 Tim. 5:6).

The word “death” is used to refer to hell, because it is eternal separation from God. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whore-mongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). This does not mean “second non-existence,” but second separation. All men die physically (Heb. 9:27), but the unsaved will experience another death – eternal separation from God.

What does the Bible say about the condition of those who go there? It calls it “a lake of fire” (Matt. 13:42), and “outer darkness” (Matt. 25:30).

The same Bible that says that heaven is eternal says that hell is eternal. Any argument that will shorten the time in one will do so in the other. “And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). Also note what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thess 1:6-10). The question for you is, “do you believe in hell”? If not, you should, because 99.99% of all human beings will be spending their eternity there. If you don’t believe in hell, the chances are you will be one of them.

Adultery Destroys

In giving the Ten Commandments, Jehovah declared, “You shall not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14). The wise King Solomon said the adulterer “destroys his own soul” (Proverbs 6:32). The apostle Paul tells us “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4).

An adulterer is one who divorces his wife without the cause of fornication (sexual immorality), and marries another (Matt 19:9).  It is anyone who has unlawful sexual intercourse outside of their marriage (Jn 8:3,4).

People often ask, “Why is adultery so bad? What harm does it cause?” While modern society sometimes winks at adultery, God will hold adulterers accountable (Rev 21:8).

When the great patriarch Job gave a speech affirming his moral character, he said, “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down over her. For that would be wickedness; yes, it would be iniquity worthy of judgment. For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all my increase.” (Job 31:9-12). In verse 11, some translations use the words “heinous crime” instead of “iniquity” to describe adultery.

Under the Mosaic law adultery was punishable by death (Lev. 20:10); and under the new covenant, the furnace of fire (Rev. 21:8, ‘fornicators’ include all sexual perversions and violations). Figuratively, it is a fire that consumes the whole person, body, soul, and spirit (Prov. 6:20-35 cf; ch. 7). Also, when such immorality becomes the accepted conduct of a nation, it brings that nation to destruction (Israel and Judah).

Adulterers are covenant breakers. When a couple gets married they enter into a covenant (Mal 2:14). The seductress is one who “forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God” (Prov 2:17). Wedding vows are a covenant between the man, the woman and God. The man and woman vow their faithfulness to each other and promise to “forsake all others” as long as they both shall live. Adulterers break this promise and are therefore liars. They have lied to their spouse and to their God. They lied to their friends who stood up with them at their wedding and served as legal witnesses.

What makes adultery different from other sins? In 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul wrote, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” “Every sin that man does, is without the body: the apostle means all sin except fornication.

The fornicator takes his body which belongs to Christ and unites it with a harlot. In fornication, the body is the instrument of sin and becomes the subject of the damage wrought. In another sense fornication brings on one’s own body terrible bodily diseases (STDs and A.I.D.S.) that curse one’s own body and transmit the curse to the third and fourth generation.

An adulterer can be forgiven of his sin like the adulterers and homosexuals at Corinth (1 Cor. 6:9-11). However, there are lingering consequences of sin, and especially the “heinous crime” of adultery.

It would take many years for one guilty of adultery to ever be qualified to serve as an elder or deacon, since both are to be “blameless.” How long would it take for an adulterer to restore his good name and “have a good testimony among those who are outside” (1 Tim 3:7)?

When a preacher commits adultery it affects every member of the congregation where he labors. It is a sad fact that many gospel preachers have been guilty of adultery. I can not understand why some brethren want them to keep preaching. They can not be trusted by their spouse. Do you trust them? They have proven themselves to be liars and covenant breakers, and now they want elders and other brethren to have confidence in them? It is amazing that some who are the most discerning in detecting “heresy” among us are men who have had trouble finding their own bedroom. Maybe they think that by focusing on some current doctrinal issue brethren might forget how they broke their wedding vows, ruined their reputation, lied to both God and their spouse and caused another man’s wife to commit this “heinous crime” with them.

Sometimes men caught in adultery claim they are just like King David of Israel and therefore we should just overlook their transgressions. I have read of King David. David was a friend of God. These men are not King David! When Nathan confronted David with his sin, David humbly and meekly repented. David did not deny his adultery nor seek to censure Nathan. I have never known an adulterer like David. Everyone I have ever heard of who was accused of adultery first tried to deny the crime. Then, after proof was brought forth, they tried to minimize the seriousness of their crime or blame someone else. Many speak ill of the ones who try to bring them to repentance.

We would not have to spend time discussing the consequences of adultery if people would heed the words of Paul to “flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18). Man should escape from it; he should not stay to reason about it — to debate the matter — or even to contend with his propensities, and to try the strength of his virtue. There are some sins which a man can resist; some about which he can reason without danger of pollution. But this is a sin where a man is safe only when he runs from it; from pollution only when he refuses to entertain a thought of it; secure when he seeks a victory by flight, and a conquest by retreat. Let a man turn away from it without reflection on it and he is safe. Let him think, and reason, and he may be ruined.

I wish that every mother and father would sit down with their teenage children and read together the words of Solomon as he admonished his own son to “flee fornication.” “For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent.” (Prov 6:26-29).

In the current furor over “gay rights,” there seems to be a concerted effort to brand anyone opposed to homosexual behavior as bigots still living in the Dark Ages. We are constantly bombarded with calls to wipe out bigotry and to be more tolerant of people different from us, regardless of the source or nature of that difference.

It is becoming ever more politically expedient to cater to the “gay rights” cause. Past administrations, both democratic and republican, have allowed gays to participate in the military and to engage in marriage. Even the present republican administration is turning a blind eye and avoiding the issues of “gay rights”.

Religious groups are being pressured to get in step with modern society by accepting “gays,” not only as members, but into their leadership. Any group who makes any kind of gesture in that direction is generally, and often generously, praised by the news media for being enlightened and progressive. Such efforts are considered as just another step away from the bigotry of the past.

All of this has caused me to ask, sometimes out loud, “Does the Bible condone bigotry? Were some of those we read about in the Bible bigots? Is God a bigot?” The answer is “yes” — if opposition to “gays” and their perverse lifestyle makes one a bigot.

God destroyed Sodom, a city with the dubious distinction of having a sin named for it. The nature of her prevailing sin is learned from reading Genesis 19. On the eve of her destruction, two angels in the form of men were guests in the home of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. That night, the Bible says, “The men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, `Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally”‘ (vv. 4-5). To protect his guests, Lot offered the men what he considered a lesser evil — his two virgin daughters. This did not appease this “gay” mob. In verse 9, they just told Lot to “stand back!” and accused him of keeping on acting as a judge (v. 9). I guess they thought he was some kind of bigot. But God made good his threat to destroy the city. It went up in smoke. Did this make God a judgemental bigot?

In giving the law of Moses, God included a ban on homosexual conduct. He said, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them” (Lev. 20:13). Was God a bigot in commanding such? Was Moses a bigot for passing it on to Israel?

Paul wrote, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. . . . Who, knowing the righteous judgments of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom. 1:26,27,32).

Again he wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9).

Was Paul a bigot? Paul said, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Cor. 2:12,13). He also said that the things that he wrote were the commandments of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37).

Are the biblical writers, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to be charged with bigotry? Certainly not! Neither should anyone who follows their teaching on the moral issue of homosexuality.

Does God love the “gay” person? Of course He does. He also loves the drunkard, the thief, the murderer and the heterosexual fornicator. Jesus died for them and all other sinners. If they will meet the Lord’s conditions of salvation they can be washed from their sins in the blood of Christ. When they do this, their guilt is removed. They are no longer unrighteous, but made righteous by the mercy of God. They are washed, sanctified and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). One of the conditions for all of this is repentance (Lk 13:3 f; Acts 17:30). God does not accept them “just as they are” without any change of heart and behavior. Until people turn from their ungodly conduct, they have no reason to expect that the saints of God should turn a blind eye to their wickedness and say nothing about it. It is the responsibility for the saints of God to preach and teach against any sin, and homosexuality and lesbianism is a grave sin (2 Tim 4:2-5). If this makes the world think of God’s chosen as bigots, then so be it. God’s Word must be preached, in faith and love in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 1:13)!

Tag Cloud