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

Archive for June, 2017

If You Had Been Noah…

What if you had been Noah? That is, if Noah had your characteristics, would the Bible story have to be changed? We know the story of Noah as recorded in Genesis 6-7; you know it yourself, so let’s consider them together.

The story of the flood and a man “perfect in his generations” is a very familiar one. God was disgusted with the continually sinful lives of the people of that time. Finding Noah to be a righteous man, God gave a very unique command. Build an ark to save yourself! Is the world so different today? Peter’s cry on Pentecost is still appropriate today: “Save yourselves.” Put yourself in Noah’s place. What would you have done when God gave you the command?

If you had been Noah, would you have found favor in the eyes of God? The matter is of initial importance. What kind of a life is yours? How often do you inventory your spiritual qualities? This is a matter that is too serious to simply take for granted. Is your life or character fit for spiritual work? At times, our hands are dirty, consequently we can’t do a particular job until we wash them. So, our lives might be stained with sin or unprepared.

Preparation is essential for one to be useful in God’s kingdom. First, there must be the remission of sins by becoming a Christian. Our preparation is just beginning. We must study. By diligently applying ourselves to God’s word we may be an approved workman (2 Tim. 2:15). Readiness is a factor that sometimes is overlooked. Properly prepared Christians are ready and willing to take up some spiritual work. Would you have found favor in the sight of God?

If you had been Noah, would you have built the ark? Would you have taken the responsibility? Building the ark was a major construction job. Undoubtedly, no such structure had been built before and there was little evidence for its need of usefulness. A boat 450 feet long is gigantic even by today’s standards, much less in Noah’s time. A common reaction is “I don’t want to take on so much responsibility.”

There is responsibility in being a Christian. One cannot evade this and have any hope of heaven. The idea of not taking any responsibility as a member of the church is absurd. Yet men and women are frequently guilty of this. When some work is mentioned as needing to be done it is easy to say, “Let someone else do it” or “I’ll help but I won’t be responsible for it.” Such reasoning hinders all Christians in serving the Lord and reaching their potential as servants of God. We can’t bury our “talents” in earth and expect to be rewarded (Mt. 25:14-30). The early disciples took the Lord’s cause to heart as they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). When we refuse to teach others or fail to do our part in the church, we demonstrate that we would not have built the ark.

If you had been Noah, would you have built the ark according to God’s pattern? Innovation has no place when it comes to doing God’s work. That is, where God’s will is specific we must act accordingly. This has been an acute problem for men through the ages. Learn this lesson. God had a definite idea about the plans for the building of the ark. That is why he specified the materials, dimensions, and design. Noah did not have the right to change anything that God had told him. All of the work had to be done according to God’s pattern.

The church has been plagued by institutional issues in recent times and the effect of modernism is easily seen. Some Christians will tow the line on the “issues” but fail to see or show little concern about the rest of God’s pattern. The home is very much a part of God’s plan. His way is right. What one wears, how one lives from day to day in relation to others are questions whose answers are to be found in God’s pattern. God has a plan for your life. Are you following it?

If you had been Noah, would you have been satisfied to save only those that God said should be? Read that again. This last question is very serious and quite appropriate for our times. Modernists are seeking to take away responsibility for one’s action. However, this principle has an eternal quality about it that we need to face up to. God has set forth the conditions of salvation. Disobedient people will be lost. In Noah’s day, God closed the door to the ark. No doubt, when the water began to rise there were several people that remembered the preaching of Noah and wanted to get in, but the door was closed.

Sympathy and efforts are misplaced today. Rather than trying to see how someone could be saved out of the church we ought to be trying to get them in the church. Instead of worrying whether God will have mercy on some good person we ought to be trying to teach them the truth.

Yes, people are going to be lost and the sooner we accept that fact, the sooner we will begin to work at saving some. Are you satisfied with God’s way? Then let’s act like it.

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The Unchanged Bible

The Bible is an inspired book and I am an uninspired man. There are many things that point to the inspiration of the Bible. It is complete and cannot be changed because it is from God. Since the close of the New Testament scriptures, no religious leader, no matter how many Ph.D.’s he may possess, has been able to bring forth a single new religious truth, which is not already set forth in the Bible. There are some who claim to have done so, but what they claim is either already in the Bible, or it is condemned by the Bible.

I am not responsible for what the Bible teaches. I am responsible for what I add to the bible or take from it. Even so, it is my responsibility to study the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), follow it (2 Thess. 5:13, 14), and to teach it to others (2 Tim. 3:14-17 f; Rev. 22:17). If anyone wants to praise the Word, he must praise Him who gave it. Also, those who want to criticize the doctrine in the Bible must criticize not me, but its author, who is God. If I misrepresent the Word of God, a person has a right to point out my error. Yea, even more, it is their  responsibility to do so. However, if what I teach is taught in God’s Word, no one has the right to criticize me, because it comes from God.

If, for example, I teach that baptism is a burial and a resurrection, I can read in Romans 6:2-4 that this is true. Also, I can read that baptism puts us into Christ, His church (Gal. 3:27), that baptism is for the remission of sins, and that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit subsequent to baptism (Mk. 16:16 f; Acts 2:38). Men do not like this teaching concerning baptism. To them it is a hard doctrine. Those who preach this doctrine to the denominational world are considered narrow-minded.

What does the Bible teach about denominationalism? The Bible teaches that Jesus prayed for unity of believers on earth (Jn 17:20). Denominationalism contributes to unbelief and thus hinders unity. It takes time, talent and money to build up denominational groups which could be used in evangelizing the world. The Bible does not support many different doctrines. There is only one doctrine of faith in the New Testament (Eph. 4:5), but the denominational world twists the Bible to make it support their doctrine. This one doctrine derived from God the Father and came to us through the Holy Spirit and through Christ and His apostles. (Jn 7:16,17 ff; Jn 12:49,50; Jn 16:13) All Christians are commanded to continue in this same doctrine (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9).

Some fail to believe the Bible because those who profess to believe it are so divided. Thus we see that denominationalism is a curse (1 Cor. 1:10-12). I did not write the Bible, therefore, I cannot change it. So, before you criticize the Bible or try to change it, remember that God is its author and some day we will all be judged by the words of Christ (John 12:48).

Remember this, all the works of God are written for us in the New Testament. There is nothing new we can do as Christians which will please God. We have no new revelation from God today, as some claim. Man did not write the Bible and man cannot change it.

Therefore, music in the church is prohibited by God’s in the New Testament because God commanded music to be in the heart and not with the harp (any instrument) (Eph 5:19 f; Col 3:16). Women preachers or teachers of the Word, in or out of the assembly, is prohibited by God because He silenced and subjected them to man’s authority (1 Cor 14:33-40 ff; 1 Tim 2:11-15; 2 Tim 2:2; Tit 2:3-5; Eph 5:22-24). Women were prohibited by God to lead the church, but are commanded to submit to qualified elders (men) (1 Tim3:1-13). Tithing in the New Testament was prohibited by God because giving was to be done without sorrow or of necessity, but cheerfully. (1 Cor 16:1,2 f; 2 Cor 9:6,7). Partaking of the communion in the New Testament was prohibited by God to be taken on any other day but Sunday, because God never commanded any other day but the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

If you don’t like God’s commandments take it up with HIM. God prohibits anyone from adding to or taking from HIS WORD (1 Cor 4:6 ff; Gal 1:6-9; 1 Pet 4:11; Rev 22:18,19). Does the Bible suit you? Do you find fault with those who preach it? Do you call on them to revise it? Do you persecute preachers because they stand up for what the bible actually says, and not what so many want it to say?  Remember, our revisions will face us in judgment (Jn 12:48). Let us strive to be Christians and to serve God in the things that are pleasing to Him. After all, the bible should be changing us and not us changing the bible.

When and How Often Christians Partake of the Communion

The Lord’s supper was instituted by Jesus Christ on the night of his betrayal and was designed to bring to our remembrance his beloved sacrifice for sin. Knowing that he would soon depart this world, Jesus commanded his disciples to take unleavened bread and fruit of the vine to remind them of his death on the cross, the shedding of his blood for the remission of sins. The Scriptures read,

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. For I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom (Matt. 26:26-29).

When men partake of the Lord’s supper, they partake of a memorial feast (1 Cor. 11:24 – “This do in remembrance of me”), a communion with Christ and other disciples (1 Cor. 10:16,17). This solemn act of worship was instituted by the Lord as a part of the public worship of the church.

There are a number of divinely revealed memorials in the Bible, some of which ceased with the inauguration of the New Testament. The feast of Passover reminded the Israelites of the tenth plague in Egypt which destroyed the firstborn of every house which did not have the blood of a lamb sprinkled on its doorpost and lintels (Ex. 12). The sabbath reminded men of God’s rest after creation (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:11). The rainbow reminds us that God will never again destroy the earth with water (Gen. 9:8-15). The Lord’s supper reminds us an event more important than creation, the flood or the tenth plague in Egypt. It reminds us of the shedding of Jesus’ blood for the sins of the world.

How often is the Lord’s supper to be observed? The practice of observing the Lord’s supper varies from church to church. Catholics celebrate mass every day; most Protestant denominations celebrate the Lord’s Supper less frequently, some observing it once a month, others once every six months, and others once a year. The prevailing attitude toward the frequency of observing the Lord’s supper is this: how often one observes it is inconsequential. If that is the case, one might observe the Lord’s supper only once in his life and be done with it forever. If that is not true, then the Bible must reveal a pattern for the frequency of observing the Lord’s supper and that pattern is binding on men of every age.

Jesus commanded men to observe the Lord’s supper saying, “This do in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24). If he did not reveal to us how to observe the Lord’s supper, his instructions for obeying the command “this do” are inadequate and incomplete.

 

The Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Supper

The New Testament evidence is clear that the early church assembled on the first day of every week for a period of congregational worship. The congregational assembly for worship is discussed in 1 Corinthians 12-14, with explicit instructions for that worship to be conducted decently and in order (14:40). That period of worship was conducted upon the first day of every week (1 Cor. 16:1-2). The church in Troas met upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). This day of worship for the church became known as “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). Saints were exhorted not to forsake this day of assembly (Heb. 10:25).

These are the only verses we can find which tell us to observe the first day of week as a day of worship. Yet, the very passages which are used to prove that the early church assembled on the first day of every week show that one of the main purposes the church had in assembling was to observe the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7 f; 1 Cor. 11:20). If the prime object of the Lord’s day meeting was to celebrate the Lord’s supper, then all of the evidence we have of the custom of meeting every Lord’s day is equally conclusive in reference to the weekly observance of the Lord’s supper.

 

 

Conclusion: How can I walk by faith in observing the Lord’s supper? The only way in which anyone can do by faith that which is taught in the Bible is to obey a precept, follow an approved apostolic example, or act in accordance with a necessary inference. If nothing more had been said than “this do in remembrance of me,” then congregations would have been at liberty to select their own time for observing the supper; but since we have an example of the practice of the early church, with apostolic approval, we know that we can do by faith that which they did (Acts 2:42). It is equally certain that no one can celebrate the feast by faith on any other day than the first day of the week or any other frequency than weekly.

 

Does God Hear A Sinner’s Prayer?

In John 9:31 it is recorded that a blind man healed by Jesus told the Pharisees, in defense of Jesus, “Now we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.”

Some will quickly turn to Cornelius to contradict the above verse. In Acts 10:1-6 and 24-33 states the case of Cornelius before his conversion. He was not a Christian but he was a godly (devout) man under the law of Moses. Up to this point, no Gentile had become a Christian. Cornelius was the first, and as such, God chose a pious man who worshiped and prayed to the God of Israel always. Thus, the idea that Cornelius was a sinner is purely ludicrous.

It is note worthy that no where in the scripture is John 9:31 ever refuted. No one calls the blind man a liar, not even Christ who was in his presence. The statement of the formerly blind man isn’t without scriptural support. From the Old Testament we learn that God doesn’t listen to hypocrites (Job 27:7-10). He turns his ear from men full of evil pride (Job 35:9-13). Scorners, fools, those who hate knowledge, the wicked and those who turn away from the truth are similarly given a divine deaf ear (Prov. 1:28-30; 15:29; 28:9). “The apostle Peter also quoting from the OT wrote, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil”(1 Pet 3:12).

A better understanding of this issue probably will involve our definition of “sinner.” The most general meaning of the word would simply be anyone who has ever sinned. That includes all men (Rom. 3:23). Use of this definition would preclude prayer even by Christians who sin. The instruction to Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:22) would be erroneous. A more common biblical use of the word “sinner” applies it to those who habitually practice sin, as opposed to inadvertent or occasional sinning.

Cornelius’ was not saved by prayer but by his obedience to the gospel of Christ. Yes, Cornelius prayed to God as a non-Christian, but this is the beginning of Christianity, not centuries later. His story is the transition of the law of Moses and the law of Christ. Cornelius was a worshiper of God and did God’s will under the old law. When confronted with the gospel (the new law), he obeyed it. Thus, the story of Cornelius does not contradict God’s Word, but confirms it.

Remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa 59:1,2).

The bottom line is that God will not hear or adhere to a sinner’s prayer. Even a Christian’s prayers are hindered when they turn from God. In order for God to hear a Christian who has gone astray he must first repent from his sins. Repent and then pray (Acts 8:222). Therefore, if a Christian man is living in the state of adultery, God will not hear his prayers. Why? Because he is not doing the Will of God.

If we want God to hear our prayers, we must first obey the gospel of Christ, worship God in spirit and in truth, and do the Will of God.

Praying For The Sick

Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him (Jam 5:14-15).

I have noticed that when we pray for someone who is sick, frequently the prayer goes something like this:

“Our Father in heaven, we thank you for the many blessings you have given us. . . . We come to you in prayer especially at this time in behalf of our brother who is sick. We pray that you will bless the doctors and nurses who are attending to him. We pray that you will be with his family in this hour of crisis that they might minister to his needs and be a source of comfort, consolation, and strength to him”.

There is nothing in this prayer that should not be prayed for. However, the prayer frequently comes to an end without the one leading it ever asking the Lord to heal the sick body of the person who is suffering. In my observations at the hospital, I see the doctor in pretty good health, not worried about how to pay his medical bills, and doing quite well. The nurses attending to the needs of my loved one also look cheerful, in good health, and generally doing better than the one lying in the hospital bed. The family and friends who come to cheer and comfort the sick also seem relatively in good condition. Any of these can properly be the objects of our prayer. However, in this situation, who is most in need of our prayers? Obviously, the sick person who is in such poor condition that he had to be admitted into the hospital. Why should anyone be so reluctant to pray for him?

Have we so studiously avoided the errors of modem Pentecostalism that we are afraid to ask the Lord to heal the body of someone who is sick? I hope that we have not reached a point in our faith that we no longer believe that prayer does any good. Before proceeding any further, let me close a couple of doors. There are two erroneous concepts of the present operation of the world:

(1) The Pentecostals are wrong when they promise miraculous healing to those who are sick. There are no miracles being performed today. Faith is not a condition to physical health.

(2) The naturalists are also wrong who teach that everything is governed solely by natural law. The deistic concept of the universe teaches that God created and empowered the universe; ever since creation everything has occurred as a result of natural law. The naturalists deny that God even created the world, but are agreed with the deists in believing that all things that happen are the result of the operation of natural law. Neither believes that God intervenes in the affairs of man. Neither of these concepts are true. God does work in the affairs of men, as is expressly stated in such passages as Daniel 4:32. I am afraid that some Christians may be approaching the deistic concept of the world. That would be the case if one were to conclude that prayer does not change things.

When Hezekiah became aware that he was sick with an illness that would lead to death, he prayed to God and wept (2 Kin 20:3). The Lord answered his prayer and extended his life for fifteen years.

The 116th Psalm records the praise of a saint delivered from death. He described his condition:

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Then called I upon the name of the Lord; 0 Lord, I beseech you, deliver my soul (3-4).

The psalmist brought his plight before the Lord and asked for his divine assistance and aid.

If we cannot directly ask for God’s help when we are sick, how can we praise and glorify him when we are healed? If we believe that he has nothing to do with our recovery, why praise him for deliverance? Why not solely give thanks to the doctors, nurses, and natural laws that enable us to recuperate? Most doctors will tell you that they cure no one, but that information evidently hasn’t gotten into the minds of God’s children. Doctors are not God and it is impossible for man to heal anyone. Only God heals! (Jer 17:14)

I plan to ask for God to heal me when I become ill. I am not asking him to perform a miracle, but I am asking him in his providence to heal my sick body. There is not a father or mother among us with a sick child who has not unabashedly taken their prayer directly to God and asked him to let the child live!

Why are we afraid to say in public what we pray in private? Let us not hesitate to ask God to extend the life of our loved ones, to heal their sick body that they might resume their role in the home, and to strengthen them during the hours of their sickness. Let us also recognize that the God who has the power to heal also has the privilege of saying to me like he did to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9). I will pray earnestly until I clearly see that the answer to my prayer is “My grace is sufficient for you.” When I so perceive his reply, I will quit asking for healing and ask for the strength to accept what has come to me.

In the meantime, let us avoid the tendency of allowing our reaction to Pentecostalism to drive us away from asking God to heal the sick.

Who Exactly Is God?

In order to find out who God is, the best source of information to consult would be the book that claims to be the Word of God himself. A thorough examination of the Bible should give us plenty of understanding about who God truly is.

God is “The Creator”

If we look in the Bible, the first time God is mentioned is in the very first verse, Genesis 1:1, which says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” With regard to the Creator, Nehemiah is more specific when he says, “You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things on it, the seas and all that is in them” (Neh. 9:6). The previous two verses explain how everything came into being. God created them all. And since it was God “who built all things” (Heb. 3:4), including us, we aught to gain a better perspective of our relationship to him. We owe him everything — our very existence and we should be thankful. Moreover, since we are his creation, we should submit to him and reverence him as a child would its own father. We must remember that we are not and never can be greater than he is, as a vessel is not greater than the potter who made it.

God is “Everlasting”

Since recorded history indicates that God began creation as much as 7000 years ago, one might wonder if he is still alive; and if so, what he is doing or where he is.

With regard to his “life-span,” God has this to say: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). This verse indicates that God is not dead, as some may argue, but is very much alive. He was present in the past and will be present in the future. He is an “Eternal God” (Deut. 33:27). He will continue living long after you and I are dead and gone.

What is it that makes God eternal? Why does he not die like we do? The reason is that he is not a man as you and I (Num. 23:19). He has no physical temple which can decay, or mortal body which can be killed. Jesus tells us in John 4:24 that God is a spirit. He is an eternal, everlasting, never-ending being.

God is “In Control”

After learning that our Creator is indeed still alive and well after all these years, one might wonder what he is doing. After all, we don’t ever “see” God doing anything. He doesn’t float by and greet us or pass over our towns in plain view to assure us of his presence.

If we turn to the Bible to see if there is any evidence as to what God might be doing now, we find several passages that give us the answer. In Genesis 14:22, Abraham calls God the “possessor of heaven and earth.” This indicates God’s ownership of his creation. In Daniel 5:21 Nebuchadnezzar learned that “the most high God rules in the kingdom of men and appoints over it whomever he chooses.” So God does not nonchalantly sit back and watch things go. These verses indicate that God is still proactive with respect to our world. God is not only watching over us, but has ultimate control over what happens here. If he chooses to overthrow a nation he does. If he desires a specific leader to lead a nation, that person will lead that nation. If he wishes to save a person from death or disease he can. So many people are afraid of man’s ability to destroy the earth and every living thing it sustains with nuclear weapons; but if God doesn’t want that to happen it won’t, for God preserves heaven and earth and all things on it (Neh. 9:6). And think about this: Jesus said of sparrows, “. . . not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (Matt. 10:29). The simple fact that God knows this and is aware of the most minute’ details of his creation should show us that he is in complete control.

God is “All-Powerful”

As we continue searching the Bible for attributes about God, we find that he is mentioned as being so powerful that no one is able to withstand him (2 Chron. 20:6). In Deuteronomy 32:39, God himself exclaimed, “. . . I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, nor is there any who can deliver from my hand!” Truly he is all-powerful. He created all things, he sustains all things, and no one was ever able to withstand him or defeat his purposes. He is the “Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).

One might wonder why he was called the “most high God” (Gen. 14:22). It was most likely to show his standing with reference to the other “so-called” gods of pagan idolatry. In Deuteronomy 10:17, Moses reminded the Hebrews that “…the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the Great God, mighty and awesome!” King David praised God saying, “You are great 0 Lord God, for there is none like you, nor is there any God besides you according to all that we have heard with our ears” (2 Sam. 7:22). Those people who were honest and sincere knew that the idols of their day were only man-made objects fashioned from base materials (Isa. 44:9-20). And, they realized that God was the only supernatural being that made himself known to mankind.

God is “Fearsome”

Throughout the history of the Bible, God has had to lift his hand and wield his power to catch the attention of certain nations and their rulers. They needed a reminder that he was still “All powerful” and in control of things. In many cases those who stood up against God or mocked his Holy name were sent away in shame and despair. And, in some cases, God not only became feared by them, but was praised and adored by them because of his wonderful works. Notice the following:

When Moses came to free Israel, Pharaoh would not release them. He said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?” But, after the 10 plagues, Egypt became very familiar with God. Unfortunately for them, that was not enough. God had to destroy the Egyptian army in the Red Sea “that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord” (Ex. 14:14).

In 2 Chronicles we find the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites joining forces to attack Judah. Upon hearing of the approaching invaders, Jehoshaphat with the elders of Judah came to the temple to call upon the Lord. The Lord answered and comforted them by saying, “. . . do not be afraid . . . for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15). God then caused the enemy armies to become confused and to destroy one another. Verse 29 shows the attitude of those nations after the great slaughter: “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.”

In 1 Samuel 4 the Israelites went out to battle against the Philistines. Israel later brought the ark of the covenant into the camp to help them win. When the Philistines heard of this, they were afraid and said, “God has come into the camp! Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before! …Who will deliver us?” (vv. 7-8) But after pulling themselves together, they slaughtered Israel and captured the ark as God permitted. Soon after, though, they felt the wrath of God when they desecrated the ark. Their idol, Dagon, was shattered in its temple and they were plagued with disease and death. Finally they sent the ark back saying, “let it go back . . . so that it does not kill us and our people” for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there (1 Sam. 5:11).

In Daniel 3, the three Hebrews Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were commanded to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s gold image or be cast into a fiery furnace. When they did not, Nebuchadnezzar said, “If you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately .. . and who is the god who will deliver you from my hand?” Then they replied, “Our God is able to deliver us.” So, with rage, he commanded them to be thrown into the fire. But, to his astonishment, they were not even singed; and, an angelic figure appeared with them in the midst of the fire. Then he called them out of the fire and exclaimed, “Therefore, I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this” (v. 29).

In Daniel 6, Daniel had a trap set for him by the other governors and lords of the empire, making it unlawful to pray to anyone but the king. The offenders would be thrown into a den of lions. When Daniel was caught praying to God anyway, the other governors accused him before the king. Even though King Darius did not want to harm Daniel, he could not change the law; so Daniel was thrown to the lions. In the morning, when Daniel was found still alive, Darius, with joy, wrote, “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God and steadfast forever. . . He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions” (vv. 26-27). The other wicked governors and lords were then fed to the lions for breakfast.

God is “Holy”

It was once said of God, “… who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?” (1 Sam. 6:20) God certainly is holy. He is pure, without fault or blame. There is no sin or guile to be found in him. He is not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with him. He hates all workers of iniquity, destroys liars, abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful (Ps. 5:4-6). God does not like it when man is unrighteous and sinful. He hates sin. That is because “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). And because evil cannot dwell with God, he made a way for sinful man to be reconciled from their sins by the sacrifice of the pure and sinless Messiah, “who bore our sins . . . on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).

Conclusion: Even in the ancient history provided to us by archaeology, we can find references to God that corroborate the Bible. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that help us understand who God is. These are just a few select ones that really hit the spot. From them we see that he truly is the Most High God, the Holy One, the Almighty, the Eternal Father, the Great Creator. He created us and knows what our limitations are and what our purpose is. His inspired Word is the “operators manual” to us his machine; and we would do well to become familiar with it.

Jesus said in Luke 12:7, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” If God knows and sees even the most insignificant things, we had better live and speak and move as if he were walking around behind us every single day! And since God is all-powerful and will judge our deeds when this life is over, we had better be concerned about how we live and where we stand in relation to him; for as Solomon said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14).

When You Feel Unworthy to Partake

Some members of the body of Christ do not partake of the Lord’s Supper because they feel they “are not worthy.” The only passage, to my knowledge, to which they might be alluding when expressing themselves in this manner is 1 Cor. 11: 27, 28 which is as follows:

 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup..”

What should the person who is about to partake the Lord’s Supper do when he knows that he has sinned? Perhaps these words of Jesus best explain:

“If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there you remember that your brother has anything against you, leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way, first to be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23, 24).

Notice that Jesus did not say “offer no more gifts” but told the man to correct the sin and then return to offer the gift. Likewise, if, while in the process of self examination, one finds himself guilty of sin, he should do whatever is necessary to obtain the forgiveness of that sin and then partake the Lord’s Supper.

Those who continually refuse to partake the lord’s Supper because they feel they are “unworthy” are openly refusing to obey the Lord’s command of “This do in remembrance of me.”

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