A Survey about Your Unsaved Friends!

Friends:  I’ll be in Rochester, NY, this coming weekend (March 23-25) for a simulcast with Biblical Eldership Resources.  I’ll give two messages on Saturday — the topic is “Faithful Preaching and the Power of the Spirit.”

On Sunday I’ll be speaking at Northgate Bible Chapel.  During the Sunday School hour I will be asking the following questions about our being a friend of sinners like the Lord Jesus was:

An Unsaved Friends’ Survey
Seven Questions about Your Unsaved Friends

1.  How many unsaved friends do you have?

2. What’s one danger of having unsaved friends?

3. What is one benefit of having unsaved friends?

4. What is one basic aspect of friendship that you might need to work on?

5. How are you praying for your unsaved friends?

6. How should the church fit into your efforts to reach your unsaved friends?

7. What’s one activity you could do with your unsaved friends if you chose to?

Your thoughts?

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 22, 2018 in friendship


Tags: , , , ,

Back to the Basics: Theology Proper #12 God’s OMNIPRESENCE!

As we continue our brief exploration of some of God’s attributes revealed to us in the Scriptures, we come to His omni-attributes. “Omni” means all. His omnipresence means He is not limited by space.  His omniscience means His knowledge is not limited in any way.  His omnipotence means He is able to do all things consistent with His nature as God.

Let’s consider His omnipresence.  “Wherever there is a where, God is there,” says the noted theologian Millard Erickson.  It is true that sometimes God’s presence is difficult to discern.  We’ve noticed in a previous post that occasionally God hides Himself.  And there is the experience of what some call “the dark night of the soul” when He appears to have abandoned His child.

What verses in Scripture indicate God’s omnipresence?  Here are a few:

Jeremiah 23:24 “Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.

1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Psalm 139:3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Psalm 139:7-10 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

Isaiah 66:1 Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?

Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?

Acts 17:27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Job 34:21 “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.

What can be learned from these verses about God’s OMNIPRESENCE?

1. We can’t hide from the Lord! There is no hiding place which excludes His presence!

2. His omnipresence implies His omniscience. HIs “eyes” are in every place. He sees both the evil and the good. We are to pray to our Father “who is in secret” and He will reward us!

“I can’t run fast enough to flee from God!”

3. He is not “contained” or limited by space. If I am in one place, I can’t be in another. God isn’t confined in that way.

4. His presence (especially in the difficult matter of church discipline – Mt. 18:20) ought to encourage us to do what is honoring to Him.

5. There is no escape from the Lord. The fastest runner in the world (Usain Bolt) can’t get away from the Lord!

6. Our tiny houses (churches) don’t contain God!

7. His omnipresence ought to encourage lost people to search for Him.

We don’t need to “invite” the Lord to our church meetings.  He is there before we arrive.  A better prayer might be, “Lord, make us aware of Your presence with us.”  How might you become aware of God’s presence with you today?


Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2018 in doctrine of God


Tags: , ,

A Great Quote from Vance Havner, NC Preacher! Preparing a Sermon!


Posted by on March 20, 2018 in Vance Havner


Tags: , ,

Back to the Basics: Theology Proper #11 God’s HOLY HATRED!

“You Christians have simply made God in your image!  You’ve created a deity you are comfortable with!” Really?  My unsaved friends have sometimes expressed such an opinion.  If their charge were correct, my God would be a lot easier to live with!

But the Bible presents the true God as holy, judgmental, and, at times, hateful! Really.  Let’s think for a few minutes about the HATRED of God. (The following is from my book When Temptation Strikes):

In a culture whose mantra is “God is love (if there is a God),” God condemns the Canaanites by saying to His people in Deuteronomy 12:31, “You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.” The God of the Bible is not into respecting religious pluralism, is He?


The Psalmist says in Psalm 5:5, “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.” This seems a bit difficult to reconcile with Christians often saying that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. Similarly we read in Psalm 11:5, “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.”

In fact, one passage even tells us that the Lord turns from loving to hating those who commit sin: “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.” (Hosea 9:15).

We learn from Scripture that God despises empty religion, rituals that have lost their meaning. The Lord says to Isaiah, “Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.” (Isaiah 1:14). The Lord’s burdened, exhausted soul is fed up with their empty festivities. The prophet Amos records the Lord’s words: “”I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.” (Amos 5:21). When we just go through the religious motions, leaving our hearts at home, I wonder what the Lord feels about our meetings?

(This one’s clever.)

Several specific sins are listed by God as those He abhors. Isaiah 61:8 tells us, “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity.” The Lord speaks of certain practices as “detestable things” that He “hates,” such as not turning from wickedness or not ceasing to worship other gods (Jeremiah 44:4). Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us that “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him . . .” The six things listed are “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and . . .” [I’m going to leave the seventh for you to look up. The Hebraic wording indicates that the seventh is something that God absolutely despises]. Zechariah records the Lord saying, “‘. . . do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,’ declares the LORD.” (Zechariah 8:17).

In our divorce-addicted and violence-obsessed culture, God declares, “‘I hate divorce . . . and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,’ says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” (Malachi 2:16). God has a hate list and it includes such sins as robbery, iniquity, plotting evil against one’s neighbor, loving to swear falsely, divorce, addiction to violence, breaking faith, etc .

(Do you agree?)

Not only does God hate wickedness (Psalm 45:7), but the Psalmist says that God’s followers are to do the same: “Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 97:10). The Psalmist follows his own advice, for he says in Psalm 119:163, “I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.” In fact, the very definition of fearing the Lord, says Proverbs 8:13, is “to hate evil.”

There is “a time to love and a time to hate,” Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 3:8. Amos 5:15 tells the believer to “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.” And it is not just the Old Testament that contains such hate speech. Paul tells us that “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9). John compliments the church in Ephesus by saying, “But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:6). Believers are to hate their own actions which are inconsistent with God’s Word. Paul confesses in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

The mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg once said, “I never liked anyone who didn’t have a temper. If you don’t have any temper, you don’t have any passion.” While there are differences between anger and hatred, we must realize that there is a holy hatred that we must have. Hating what God hates shows a passion for Him and His truth. I realize this could sound crazy, especially in a culture that expects Christians to show only love, but could it be that we have not learned how to hate?!

Some have suggested that the God of the Old Testament was a God of anger, fury, and wrath, but that the God of the New Testament is a God of mercy, love, and forgiveness. This old liberal saw does not survive serious examination, especially in light of Jesus’ declarations about hell in the Gospels and the book of Revelation’s descriptions of the Lake of Fire. We learn in Daniel 12:2 that “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Those who die outside of the saving work of Christ will be in the end not eternal objects of God’s love, but of His wrath and of His holy hatred.

What response to sin would we want God to have? Some think He is actively torturing His creation, that He is a cosmic sadist who entertains Himself with human misery. Others believe that He combines both the good and bad in Himself, the Yin and the Yang, that there is a dark side to God. Still others suggest that God is impassive, that He doesn’t care one way or the other what happens in His universe, that He is really “beyond all that.” But as Sam Mikolaski says, “Unless God is angry with sin, let us put a bullet in our collective brain, for the universe is mad.”  (your thoughts?)


Leave a comment

Posted by on March 19, 2018 in doctrine of God


Tags: , ,

If There Is No God . . . (Will Durant quote)

“In a frank interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, the famous atheist Will Durant admitted that the common man will fall to pieces morally if he thinks there is no God. ‘On the other hand,’ said Durant, ‘a man like me … I survive morally because I retain the moral code that was taught me along with the religion, while I have discarded the religion, which was Roman Catholicism.’

Durant continued, ‘You and I are living on a shadow… because we are operating on the Christian ethical code which was given us, infused with the Christian faith…. But what will happen to our children…? We are not giving them an ethics warmed up with a religious faith. They are living on the shadow of a shadow.’ ~ Cited from Norman Geisler, Is Man the Measure, 170-71.


Posted by on March 18, 2018 in doctrine of God


Tags: , , ,

Back to the Basics: Theology Proper #10 God’s JEALOUSY!

One of the many attributes of God which is seldom preached on — is His JEALOUSY!  But, wait a minute!  Isn’t jealousy as SIN?  How can it be right for God to be jealous and for us not to be?  As with all other questions, we need to ask not what we think, but what does the Bible actually say?

Here are some texts on the jealousy of God:

Exodus 20:5 – You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

Exodus 34:14 – Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24 – For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 32:16 – They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.

Psalm 78:58 – They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols.

Psalm 79:5 – How long, Lord? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?

Ezekiel 16:42 – Then my wrath against you will subside and my jealous anger will turn away from you; I will be calm and no longer angry.

Nahum 1:2 – [ The Lord’s Anger Against Nineveh ] The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.

Zephaniah 1:18 – Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.” In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.

Zechariah 8:2 – This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”

James 4:5 – Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?

There is no doubt that God is a jealous God, that idolatry makes Him furious, that His jealousy is intimately connected to His anger and vengeance, etc.  We even read in the book of Numbers about a law of jealousy:  Numbers 5:15 – then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

However, believers are told in Romans 13:13- Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. We also read in 2 Corinthians 12:20 – For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.  The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:2 – I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

How are we to understand the jealousy of God?  The answer, I believe, is that there is a godly jealousy.  Just as there is a godly hatred and a godly anger, there is a godly jealousy.  How can jealousy be a virtue in God and a vice in men?

  1. Biblical statements about God’s jealousy are anthropomorphic, i.e. descriptions of God in language drawn from the life of man. In reading anthropomorphisms, we need to remember that man isn’t the measure of his Maker, and that none of the limitations of humanhood are implied. Consequently, God’s jealousy isn’t tainted with frustration, envy and spite, but is a zeal to preserve something precious.
  2. There are two kinds of jealousy among men. One says, “I want what you’ve got, and I hate you because I haven’t got it.” The other is manifested in romantic relationships, and is the fruit of marital affection. This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, as its aim is to keep the marriage intact.

John Stott says, “In the second commandment God goes on to describe himself as ‘a jealous God’. There is no need to be disturbed by this. Jealousy is a resentment of rivals, and whether it is good or evil depends on whether the rival has any right to be there. Since God is unique, and there is no other, he has the right to ask that we worship him alone.” (John Stott, from page 96 Christian Basics, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969).

J.I. Packer in his Knowing God put it best:  “But there is another sort of jealousy—zeal to protect a love-relationship, or to avenge it when broken. This jealousy also operates in the sphere of sex; there, however, it appears, not as the blind reaction of wounded pride, but as the fruit of marital affection. As Professor Tasker has written, married persons ‘who felt no jealousy at the intrusion of a lover or an adulterer into their home would surely be lacking in moral perception; for the exclusiveness of marriage is the essence of marriage’ (The Epistle of James p.106). This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, for it shows a grasp of the true meaning of the husband-wife relationship, together with a proper zeal to keep it intact.”

Are you thankful for God’s JEALOUSY today?

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 17, 2018 in doctrine of God


Tags: , , , , ,


The Sufferings of Others (a great quote)

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 16, 2018 in suffering


Tags: , ,