Articles

Do or Do Not: There is no other choice

Christians cannot walk in idleness, we need to be constantly doing the work of the church. Whether thats going into the community and spreading His Word, calling those who need us, volunteering to help with the operations of the church, or even just making sure that there are visitor cards in all the pews. To put it bluntly, we can never do enough as a christian. Christ gave us all, and therefore, the least we can do is give all to Him.

We Are to Be a Living Sacrifice.

What is a living sacrifice?

Let's look at Paul's message in Romans 12:1-2:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In the Old Testament, sacrifices were made to atone for the sin of Israelites. But these were just a foreshadowing of of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Because of His ultimate, once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross, the Old Testament sacrifices became obsolete and are no longer of any effect (Hebrews 9:11-12). In light of the fact the only course for a christian is to offer ourselves completely to God in Christ. We are to be instruments for righteousness for Him (Romans 6:12-13; 8:11-13). In fact, let's read Romans 8:11-13:

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, nHe who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies 4through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Paul calls christians "debtors", that means we owe something to someone. Who do we owe? We owe all that we are, we was, and who will be to Jesus Christ. In view of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus for us, this is only “reasonable.”

Lukewarmness Is Not Acceptable to Christ

It's a sad fact, but most churches in America are lukewarm. What is sadder is that many believe that they are "on fire" for the Lord, but are they truly "on fire"? What does the Lord think of this? Let's read Revelation 3:14-22:

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

God would much rather you to be actively working against Him, than to come into church sit in a pew and just take up space! There are no "benchwarmers" on God's team. You either in the game or your thrown out of it! That is a scary proposition and one that should make you question where you stand. It does for me everyday I get up out of bed. It's time to get in the game! Do all that you can do.

We Are to Use the Talents That We Are Given

Do you know that there is a work that every one of us is able to do, that it is our duty to use it, and there are severe consequences if we don't use them for God? Let's read Matthew 25:14-30:

14 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

The first two's investments were doubled and the master gave them rule over many things, but I want to focus on what happens on the one who hid his talent. In other words, did nothing with what was given to him.

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The "talents" in this parable may have been money, but this parable also applies to the "talents" that we are given. We all are given, in abundance, gifts from God, but what are we using them for? If we use our talents for anything but God's work first, our fate will be the same as the this servant! Let that sink in. We often forget that these were servants of their master, just as we are servants of God. God will do to christians what this master did to this servant if we don't use what he has given us for Him.

It Is Rewarding to Work for God

Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you." This is a often quoted verse, but what things is he referring to? If someone is seeking the kingdom of God he is working as hard as he can to find it, that's what seeking means. Let's look at Matthew 6:14-32 and see what it says:

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you

God will forgive you of your sins, if you work to forgive others. That's a great award because if we are not forgiven, then we cannot enter the kingdom.

17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The things we do for God are to be done without seeking acknowledgement from men. If you do, then thats your reward. Do things for God only, and he will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Everything that we do on this earth for God will be rewarded by Him in heaven. I don't know about you, but I would much rather receive a reward in a place where there will be streets of gold, gates of precious jewels, and will last forever, than on this earth which will soon be gone!

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

If we do the work of God, then we do not have to worry about finding shelter, clothing, or food. He will provide those things. It may not be a mansion, or the finest food or clothing, but it will be enough for you to continue the work that you were called for. It's that simple. There is no need to worry about life when we are doing everything we can for the Lord. This doesn't mean sitting at home doing nothing and "waitin' for the blessin's", it means much more!

  • If your young, be an example to those around you young or old, respect those who older than you and live your life according to Christ (1 Tim. 4:2, 1 Tim 5:1-2, Titus 2:6-8)
  • When your working on the job, and you should work (2 Thess. 3:10), then work as if your working directly for God Himself (Col. 3:23, Eph. 6:7)
  • If your an older woman, be diligent in training the women who are younger how to be a woman of God (Titus 2:3-5)
  • If your a man, then we should strive to become the leaders that the church needs. we should all strive to be teachers, preachers, elders, deacons. All men should strive to have the attitude and life that reflects Christ.(Rom. 12:3-13)
  • If your a christian, then you need to be working to spread the gospel far and wide, encouraging your brethren, be willing to do any task that is required (no matter how "lowly" it seems, remember Jesus washed the disciples feet, John 13:1-17 ) and strive to be as close to Christ that you can be. (Rom. 12)

Conclusion

In short you can never be not working for God, but not working for Satan. You are either for or against Him. If you don't want to work for Him (and subsequently the church), then you might as well become a atheist and work against Him, because you'll be better off in the end than just sitting in a pew and taking up room. Now is the time to decide, not tomorrow, because one day tomorrow will be to late. Make the right decision today!

To become a christian one must:

Do it today don't wait!

Things God Cannot Do

Can God do anything? That is a question that many have and one that I would like to answer.

Apologetics Press's Dave Miller says the following:

Both Christians and atheists generally have assumed that if the God depicted in the Bible exists, He can do anything—since He is represented as being all-powerful. However, this assumption is incorrect. The Bible does not claim that the omnipotence of God implies that He can do anything and everything. In reality, “omnipotence” does not, and cannot, apply to that which does not lend itself to power. Skeptics and atheists have posed queries that they feel nullify the notion of omnipotence, thereby demonstrating the nonexistence of God. For example, “Can God create a boulder so large that He, Himself, cannot lift it?”

Asking “Can God create a boulder so large that He, Himself, cannot lift it?" is absurd. It is like asking someone to do three front flips backward, or to draw a four-sided triangle. These are logical absurdities. What that question does, is draw upon a misunderstanding of what omnipotence means.

Omnipotence means that a being can accomplish all things capable of being accomplished. God being perfect in logic, cannot do something that is illogical to do. In fact there are a some things that the Bible tells He cannot do.

  1. God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2). God is perfectly truthful and is by definition unable to tell a lie. Even if by some stretch of the imagination it were possible, why would he break his own commandments, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
  2. God cannot be partial (Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:11; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17). God is perfectly just and shows no partiality in His judgement. His dealings with man are always fair and just. He judges us based on our own behavior. What we do in life, he rewards or punishes based upon that alone, not on what color our skin may be or how much we "appear" to be a christian on the outside.
  3. God cannot forgive those who will not repent (Joshua 24:19; Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 6:15; 18:35; Luke 13:3,5). God's mercy is infinite but it cannot be given to someone who does not seek it. It is like someone giving a person a $1,000,000. They must take the money for it truly to be a "gift".

God is capable of doing anything that is logical and able to be accomplished in the universe. That means from forming the universe with a simple word, to sending His only Son to bear the sins of the world, past, present, and future. However God cannot break His own commandments, and the most important is that one must be in Christ to be saved. To be in Christ one must:

  1. Hear (Romans 10:17)
  2. Believe (John 3:16)
  3. Repent (Acts 17:30
  4. Be Baptized (1 Peter 3:21)
  5. Live Faithfully (Revelation 2:10)

Don't delay, make your self right before God.

Satan - The Enemy We Are Up Against

Satan - The Enemy We Are Up Against

By John Waddey

God’s Word identifies the devil as the great adversary with whom we must deal (I Pet. 5:8). Our world abounds with evil governments, evil institutions, evil people, evil things, evil deeds and doctrines. Multitudes suffer greatly from these evils, yet many foolish people are hesitant to acknowledge the existence of Satan, the author of all evil.

God, in his book, has provided us a description of Satan. He is the adversary of God and all things good (I Pet. 5:8). He is the accuser of all who live godly lives (Rev.12:10). Remember how he accused righteous Job before God (Job 1:9–11). He is the father of lies (John 8:44), the deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9). He is a master of disguises. He sometimes appears as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). He is a schemer who plots evil against God’s people. He is a murder of souls (John 8:44) and has caused millions of people to be struck down by the hand of others. Like a hungry lion, he is stalker and a predator (I Pet. 5:8).

Satan uses four methods to ensnare the souls of human beings. The first of these is affliction. He used pain and suffering in his efforts to destroy Job (Job 1:13–19). With swift strokes, in a single day, he destroyed Job’s children and swept away all of his possessions. When that failed to break Job’s faith, he afflicted him with a horrible disease similar to small pox. He turned his wife and neighbors against the suffering man. Job was forced to live in isolation at the village’s refuse dump (Job. 2:7–8).

Luke tells us of a woman who was afflicted by Satan for 18 long years (Luke 13:16). Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”was a “messenger of Satan” to torment him with pain (II Cor. 12:7). Among the afflictions Satan uses are physical, mental and emotional suffering, distress, fear, hopelessness, loss and betrayal.

Deception is another of Satan’s devices. John calls Satan “he deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). With deception he lures us to indulge in soul-wrecking sin. You may have heard his deceptions: “Nobody’s perfect;” “Its no big deal;” “No one will ever know;” “This is your business, no one else will be hurt;” “You can quit whenever you want to;” “You have already gone too far;” “You know you can never be forgiven.”

To keep us from turning to Christ for salvation, Satan tells us,“You are too wicked to be saved;” “You could never live up to the Christian standard;” “You are too old to change;” “It makes no difference what you believe so long as you are sincere;” “One church is as good as another;” “The church really doesn’t matter as long as you live a good life;” “Baptism isn’t really that important, as long as you live a good life.” Mark it well, Satan is a liar, the father of lies (John 8:44). He is an ancient and highly skilled liar. He has no shame. His goal is to keep you from Christ, so he (Satan) can own and enslave you and use you for his own wicked purposes.

Distraction is an effective method of Satan. Jesus compared the minds and hearts of some people to a garden filled with weeds and thorns. He explained, “the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matt. 13:22). The author of Hebrews wrote that “sin…doth so easily beset us” (Heb. 12:1). For every Christian who is overcome by wickedness, there are a hundred or more lost by distraction from their commitment to Christ. Satan leads us to get so involved with so many things that we lose interest in spiritual matters. Many are distracted by things that are insignificant and don’t really matter: hobbies, sports, clubs, lodges, etc. will keep millions out of heaven. We can allow other worldly people distract us. Problems in the church can distract us. Christ expects us to seek “first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt.6:33). Whatever the cause of the distraction, Satan wins, and we lose.

Temptation is a key tool used by Satan to draw us away from God. He tempts us through many avenues: fear, sex, money, power embarrassment, peer pressure, desire for recognition and popularity, discouragement, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, loneliness, pride, harboring anger, resentment. All of these and more the Prince of Darkness will cast in our pathway, hoping to bring us down.

We dare not allow Satan to win in his efforts to capture our hearts. Never doubt his existence. Don’t underestimate him. He is evil, strong and determined to destroy you.

God has promised that we can be victorious against him. We will not be tempted above what we are able to resist (I Cor. 10:13). The Holy Spirit in our hearts is greater “that he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). God’s written word is sufficient to defeat any temptation Satan presents (Matt. 4:1–11). God has provided adequate spiritual armor for the conflict. It is our duty to use it for our protection. We must arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:11–18). It is essential that we resist the devil. When we do, he will flee from us (James 4:7). Always keep in mind that there is not a single wound that Satan can inflict upon us, that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse and heal (I John 1:7). We can and will be “more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

Once Saved Always Saved?

Author: Unknown

One of the most destructive doctrines to the Bible and Christian character is the man-made teaching that once a person has been saved he can never loose his salvation. This doctrine is destructive to the Bible because it twists the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). But, it is also destructive to Christian character because it provides a license for sin. Does the Bible really teach that once a person is saved he can never again be lost? Let us consider two passages of Scripture.

Galatians 5:4 “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” The teaching of Galatians 5:4 absolutely repudiates the idea of “Once Saved Always Saved.” In the letter to the Galatians, Paul is writing to “the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2), which represents all those who have already been saved. This is very significant because some have tried to say that these people really weren’t saved in the first place. By saying this, they are saying that Paul, an inspired man of God, didn’t really know who was and who wasn’t in the church. Friend, Galatians 5:4 clearly teaches that some were at one point saved and in the church and then they later fell out of grace with God. Others have objected to this verse by saying that these people had not fallen out of grace, they had merely fallen from within the center of God’s grace. First, what difference is there? Both are without God’s richest grace. Secondly, the Greek Testament will not accept this rendering. The literal word for fallen from is the Greek preposition that means “out of”. Paul is not only saying they have just fallen from God’s grace, but that they have literally fallen out of the realm of God’s grace. Friend, the Bible does not teach once saved always saved, it clearly refutes it!

Acts 8:20“But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!” If Galatians 5:4 teaches by principle that the doctrine of once saved always saved is false, then Acts 8:20 teaches it is false by case example. Here is a man who has been converted to the gospel by inspired teacher. He then tries to buy the gift of miracles and is found in sin. Then, Peter says to him “That’s okay you’re once saved always saved.” NOT SO! Peter told Simon that his money would perish with him. Peter told Simon he was about to perish spiritually. Remember, here is a man who has just become a Christian and then Peter told him he was about to be lost. There could be no more convincing example than this that a person can become a Christian and shortly after that be lost. Friend, the Bible does not teach once saved always saved, it clearly refutes it!

Dear reader, please do not be deceived. Once saved always saved is not taught at all in the Bible. In fact, it is clearly refuted. Please do not let yourself get caught in the modern teachings of men, but return to the Bible.

The doctrine of once saved, always saved teaches that a Christian can never so sin as to be completely lost for all eternity. Regardless of how bad your sin is or how evil you act, you cannot be lost once you are saved. No doubt, this is a very comforting teaching but it is not taught anywhere in the Bible. In fact, as we've seen, it is explicitly condemned in Galatians 5:4. Let us notice two other passages in the Bible that teach once saved always saved is not biblical.

1 Corinthians 10:12 “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” In this passage Paul clearly teaches that the Corinthian Christians could fall away from God. Corinth was a very wicked city and the church was becoming wicked in some ways as well. They had division, idolatry, immorality, adultery and other problems that were about to cause them to be lost. However, some might object to this passage by saying “fall doesn’t mean to be lost forever.” Let’s let the context determine the meaning. Those whom Paul is speaking about were involved in the following sins: lust, sexual immorality, idolatry, tempting Christ, and complaining (1 Cor. 10:1-11). Can anyone with these sins in their life go to Heaven? No! In fact, the context defines “fall” as “being destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Cor. 10:10). When Paul says fall he means to be lost for all eternity from God. Truly, these Christians were about to be destroyed spiritually by God and so can we if we are not careful.

2 Peter 1:10 “Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall.” Once again, Peter tells Christians they can so sin as to be lost. Why must a Christian make sure he stays saved if he can never be lost to begin with? Once saved always saved is in total contradiction with this passage of Scripture. There is no need to make sure if you are eternally secure. But, someone might object by saying “These people were never saved in the first place.” Are we willing to say Peter didn’t know who his “brothers” (2 Pet 1:10) were? Peter knew who was and wasn’t a child of God and he also knew that they could be lost if they were not careful. Truly, this passage teaches that the possibility exists for Christians to be lost and fall from grace.

After considering these passages, one wonders why those who claim to believe the whole Bible teach this doctrine. Could it be because of the comfort it brings? Possibly, but it is a pseudo-comfort. Could it be because it is what we have always heard? Very likely, but we will not be judged by what we have heard but by God’s Word (John 12:48). Could it be because we have not studied the Bible to find the truth? Yes! It is time for all of us to go back to the Bible and find the truth instead of letting our denominational party tell us what to believe.

Gospel Meeting 2013!!!

"All about Jesus"

January 27-29

January 27:   Manny Lago 11:00 AM

January 27:   Josh Clevenger    1:30 PM

January 28:   Mitch Francese     7:00 PM

January 29:   Riley Nelson    7:00 PM

Refreshments will be provided on Monday and Tuesday following the lesson

Come join us and learn about this man Jesus!

Call us @ 1.912.925.1719 or email us @ questions@cocsavannah.org

Hiatus

We apologize for the lack of posts over the holiday season. We were busy with family and friends (as most are that time of year). Keep coming back as we ramp up our posting schedule for this year. Can't wait to see where this site goes from here!

The Indestructible Church of Christ : ChristianCourier.com

Have there been members of the true church of Christ since Pentecost? Some answer yes, based upon certain biblical texts; others doubt it since there appears to be no continuous historical record of such.Daniel, in considering the future administration of the Roman Empire (63 B.C. – A.D. 476), declared:
And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever (2:44).
Scripture is explicit: once the kingdom was established, it would “never be destroyed,” but would “stand forever.”

A wonderful article and it's one that should encourage all of us to believe that the church we worship is the same one that Christ founded and died for over 2000 years ago.

Why Study Christian Evidences

Another excellent article from Focus Press's Think magazine.

Why Study Christian Evidences?

Denny Petrillo, Ph.D.

And beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be saved.” - Luke 8:12

If the Bible is true, then belief in it is paramount to one’s salvation. But the assaults upon God’s word are now coming from so many fronts that one doesn’t even know where to start. If you’ve been paying attention, you may have heard about the “Creation Legend” or the “Jacob-Joseph Saga,” or the “Folktale of Samson,” the “The Plagiarism of Matthew and Luke” or the “Myth of Miracles.” Evolutionists are winning the battle in the public schools, and liberal theology is winning the battle in many of our churches.

Some are even saying that the reason these Bible critics are winning is because there just are no credible evidences to support the Bible. Recently a renowned scientist said “the Bible is so full of holes that a fourth grader can see through it.”

Has God left us without any ammunition to fight the false doctrines of our age? Is there no legitimate defense for the claims of the Bible? Certainly this is not true, nor has it ever been true.  What we must do is “roll up our shirtsleeves” and get to work. There are many good reasons why we should study Christian evidences:

First, we should study evidences because they exist and are abundant. The Hebrew writer said that faith is based on “assurance” and “conviction” (Hebrews 11:1). God has never expected men to follow Him blindly. The proofs are plentiful that show the Bible is accurate and factual. Only the fool believes the rhetoric of the critic without considering the “other side.” The wise man wants to get all the facts, and there are ample facts that support the Bible.

Second, we should study evidences because they confirm the truth. The ultimate goal is to find the truth. Without truth we shall not free ourselves from sin (John 8:32). Without truth we cannot be sanctified (John 17:17). No one wants to be the fool whose life is defined by ignorance.  Evidences give us the foundation on which to make solid, informed decisions.

Third, we should study evidences because they convict the critic. The number of former atheists and scientists turned into believers is astonishing. What led them to accept the Bible? Evidences! Christians should study, “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). The word for “defense” is apologia. We get our word “apology” from this word. It means a formulated argument, a sound reason or logical conclusion. We may never encounter a scientist or college professor, but there are plenty of friends and neighbors who have believed the lies. Why? Because they have never heard the proofs on the other side! It is our responsibility to offer them a defense of the truth.

Fourth, we should study evidences because they establish us in the faith. We should know why we believe what we believe. Our faith in God is not because of our parents or grandparents. It is because we have looked at the evidences and arrived at a firm conviction of the truth. Paul, for example, noted that the creation itself provides “knowledge” (vv. 19, 21) “evidence” (v. 19), “understanding” (v. 20) and allows us to “clearly see” the truth about God (v. 20).

Studying Christian evidences is a fascinating journey into the works of God. It is a way of listening to what God has silently said. Note the words of the Psalmist: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the firmament is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-3). There is knowledge to be gained by studying God’s evidences. Every day something is being said; every night knowledge is made available. Are we listening?

Taking Off Our Mask

This post is from Think magazine. It's an amazing magazine that you should definitely subscribe too. They can be found at focuspress.org

On a recent visit to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, our family went on a safari tram ride. Among the wonderful benefits, you get to sit and ride while going through the majority of the park (a definite plus with three little ones) and you get to see the animals in their own environment as opposed to cages. While on this safari, the tour guide told us to notice the markings on the animals. God in His wisdom (my words, not the guide’s) gave them specific markings to help them survive and thrive in the wild. While we know the zebra’s stripes help confuse predators when they group together and the giraffe’s spots are used for camouflage, we learned about other markings, which mean either “follow me” or “watch out—I bite.” While watching the antelope, the guide told us that they lift their tails when in danger—exposing their white fur to silently flag the others and also to be seen and followed by their fellow antelopes. He went on to tell us that animals with black around their mouths are warning, “Stay back—I bite.” We were all very impressed with our new understanding of God’s wisdom in designing the animals. Then I thought how nice it would be if we as humans so clearly had those same warning or leadership markings. If our kids could look at friends or adults and see clear signs to either safely follow them or stay back lest they be hurt. We, as Christians, are obviously supposed to reflect Christ and thus be a light to follow. How many times do we instead present the image that says “warning-- beware,” or simply, “I’m dangerous”?

Let’s look at the Christian who is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is more dangerous to our children than the trench coat-wearing guy on the street. Why? The latter is obviously dangerous, and the other is able to get close to your child through deception. How many of the Church’s youth have been led astray by innocent looking—yet deadly—friends, teachers, coaches, even parents? The danger comes from believing a person is a faithful Christian and then ultimately seeing a different side revealed as they take off their mask and leave the church building. Outside the confines of the church building they gossip and become a money-oriented, self-seeking, friend of the world. The revelation can do one of two things to our youth: either turn them off to “religion” because of the hypocrisy or get them to play the game of masks themselves. Many so-called Christians go to worship and Bible class and engage in various activities organized by the Church but are not involved out of love for the Lord, but instead only for the outward appearance of serving God. Parents themselves can be a danger in this deception because our kids are not fooled when they see us read everything but a Bible at home, have an inconsistent prayer life, and watch and listen to any and everything on television, movies, and the radio. When our kids are surrounded by apathy and lack of love for the Lord and His sacrifice on the cross for all of us, we rear a generation who knows not God—and doesn’t care!

On the other hand, the “follow me” Christian isn’t necessarily vocally saying, “I’m the one to follow because I have it together,” but his or her life is a consistent example of selflessness, sacrifice, love for the Lord, and gratitude for the sacrifice Jesus made for us while we were yet sinners. These Christians live the life they project on Sunday. When they are out of the public eye, their Bibles are open. They aren’t waiting to be fed just on Sunday but eat at the feast the Lord had provided in His Word every day. They live on their knees in appreciation of the privilege they are granted to come to the very throne of their Heavenly Father any moment of the day. They guard their hearts, eyes, and minds by restricting what they put in through the medium of entertainment. They care for their children’s souls by training and disciplining, and not trying to just educate them in the ways of worldly success. These are the teachers who want the kids to get excited in class and seek out the wisdom of God, and they prepare their lessons with that desire in mind. It is the parent who still prays whether they are out at a restaurant or alone at home. They are the friends who are there even when it is not convenient. It is the citizen who goes out and votes because he knows his one vote matters. It is the way God wants His people to be: honest, true, and giving their best as a spouse, parent, employee, boss, in any and all walks of life.  

Which one are you? Does your life encourage others to follow Christ just as you do, leading by example and glorifying God? Or, are you known by your “markings” to the contrary? Though you espouse Christianity, does your attitude and actions tell others “stay away”! Let’s make it a point to examine ourselves and see whether or not we are truly in the Faith. Like the animals at the zoo, we too will be known by our markings—the fruit of our lives.

How long is Eternal?

The following is an article from Christianity: Then and Now. I was not able to find the link to the original article. You can find their website at: www.christianity-then-and-now.com 

“He gains wisdom in a happy way, who gains it by another’s experience” (Plautus). 

HOW LONG IS ETERNAL? 

When Jesus spoke of  the judgment and life to come he said, “And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46 ).  Across the ages the great majority of Christ’s followers have understood and taught that  the punishment of the wicked will last just as long as the salvation of the righteous. Early in the fourth century, Arnobius of North Africa was the first to set forth the idea that God would annihilate the wicked. Since that time there have been scattered individuals and groups who advocated some form of the annihilation doctrine. Faustus Socinus, a Polish theologian, held this view as do the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses of our day. Originally all the major Protestant reformers and their disciples accepted the principle of everlasting punishment for the wicked. In the last century, as liberalism exalted human wisdom and  eroded their faith in Scripture, many of their theologians have denied that a literal hell exists.  Some have embraced the idea of universal salvation while others have concluded that the wicked will be spared by being annihilated.  In the early days of our Restoration Movement  Dr. John Thomas, a brother  in Virginia, held that the wicked would cease to exist.  He separated himself and started his own Christadelphian denomination. In recent years, a small handful of men have come forth with a replay of this old, discredited doctrine. Most notable was Edward Fudge who set forth his views in The Fire That Consumes

Consider these random observations regarding how long the wicked will suffer for their sins:

● Although the Bible mentions everlasting or eternal punishment seven times, not once does it mention annihilation of the wicked. 

● Eternal life is often contrasted with eternal punishment, but never with annihilation. 

● The thought of annihilation is dreadful to those who are happily enjoying life, but to the condemned sinner,  facing endless painful punishment, it would be a blessed relief. 

● Is it possible that Jesus meant to impress the impenitent wicked by threatening to put them out of all their misery? 

● The punishment of wicked men will be the same as that of wicked angels; not in annihilation, but in torment (I Pet. 2:4, 9Jude 6). 

● In speaking of the future punishment of the wicked Jesus says, it is a place where the fire is not quenched and where their worm dieth not (Mark 9:48). If they are annihilated how could this be? 

● In hell, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30), but this could not be the case of those annihilated. 

● If God had wished to tell us that hell is of limited duration he did a poor job of it, for the overwhelming majority of people have concluded He meant unending punishment! 

● If God had desired to convince us that hell was truly everlasting in nature, how else could he have stated the case to make it clear to humanity? 

● If the words “eternal” and “everlasting” when used in relation to hell are not to be taken in their usual, literal sense, on what basis can we conclude that heaven is eternal in duration? 

● Annihilationists argue eternal punishment is inconsistent with God’s loving nature.  Jesus was the epitome of love, grace and mercy, yet he repeatedly mentioned eternal punishment as the destiny of the wicked. The concept of everlasting punishment in hell does not  fit  well  with the fuzzy philosophy of Postmodernism which rejects judgmentalism, personal responsibility and all things absolute.

The doctrine of annihilation is appealing to a certain class of people. It provides hope to the wicked and their loved ones, that they will escape the reality of eternal punishment.  They prefer this to the Bible’s depiction of hell as  eternal punishment which the wicked cannot escape!  To teach annihilation is a warped, misguided compassion that is actually deceptive and extremely dangerous to those who base their hope on it. Silence about “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in the pulpits of churches will contribute greatly to the tragic  population of hell. It is our responsibility is to remind men to “fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).  Because we know “the fear of the Lord, we persuade men” (II Cor. 5:11).  Rather than question the reality of hell, we need to teach people that the only time they can escape hell is now while this side of death (II Cor. 6:2).  To promote this unfounded, speculative doctrine it to inflict another wound on the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus.   JHW

Apologetics Press - California’s Continual War Against Biblical Values

The bill to ban homosexual therapy in California is simply the latest example of how far the homosexual community (and those who represent them) will go to silence the opposition. One cannot help but wonder what the next step will be? If a Christian therapist in California can no longer counsel a teenager about the sinfulness of homosexual actions and ways to overcome homosexual feelings (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), how much longer will preachers be able to preach on the sinfulness of it without being prosecuted?

We truly in a dark time in the world. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20