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Truth Decay! (A Study of 2 John 1-4)

Would you not agree that we are experiencing truth decay in our world? Many believe what they want to be true. Others doubt the existence of truth at all (except their statement that there is no truth). In times like these, we need the spiritual sanity of a writer like John who proclaimed in his gospel that Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me!”

Here is what John says about TRUTH in his second epistle:

1. We are to LOVE other believers “in the TRUTH” (v. 1).

2. All who know the TRUTH also love God’s people (v. 1).

3. The TRUTH lives in us and will be with us forever (v. 2)

4. Three amazing gifts will be with us in TRUTH and love: grace, mercy and peace (v. 3).

5. We should experience great joy when we find some of God’s children walking in the TRUTH (v. 4).

I love G.K. Chesterton’s statement when he said . . .

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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With Friends Like These . . . (A Study of the Book of Job) Week #5

“Miserable counselors are you all!”, says Job to his friends as he suffers from his trials — and their lectures! Those of you who have signed up for our online Bible study of this great Old Testament book are ready for your next set of study questions, right?

Study Questions for Class #5 (for Sept. 13th):

We will be going over these questions on Sunday night, September 13th. We will cover Rounds 2-3 of Bildad’s Badgering (Job 18 and 26; Job’s response: Job 19 and 26-31). If you wish to join us, please go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84055712719 at 8 pm (EST).

Round Two (Ch. 18)

1. What direct question does Bildad ask Job in 18:21?

Round Three (Chs. 25-31)

2. What’s meant by the expression Bildad’s “worm” theology in Ch. 25?

3. With Job’s response in Chapters 26-31 —
a. How does Job use sarcasm in 26:1-3?
b. What has God denied Job, according to 27:2?
c. How does Job define wisdom in 28:28?
d. List several things Job misses in Chapter 29.
e. What about Job’s sex life (Ch. 31)?
f. What is it that Job really wants (31:35)?

4. What do you find helpful in the following quote?
“Frankly, I do not know who started the idea that if men serve God and live their lives to please him then he will protect them by special intervention from pain, suffering, misfortune, and the persecution of evil men. We need look no further than the recorded life of Jesus Christ himself to see that even the most perfect human life does not secure such divine protection. It seems to me that a great deal of misunderstanding and mental suffering could be avoided if this erroneous idea were exposed and abandoned. . . . The idea that if a man pleases God then God will especially shield him, belongs to the dim twilight of religion and not to Christianity at all.” (J.B. Phillips, God Our Contemporary)

 

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2020 in book of job, Uncategorized

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Educational Apathy)

Calvin is apathetic toward any formal study subject, like math! Do we Christians sometimes over-analyze God’s Word, instead of simply enjoying it? I’m all for in-depth, strategic, systematic study of the Scriptures, but we must not lose our JOY in the process!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes, Uncategorized

 

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God’s Co-Workers! (A Study of 2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

Let us continue our study of several verses in chapter six:

God’s Co-Workers! (2 Cor. 6:1-2)

1. The Incredible Privilege (v. 1)
We are God’s co-workers! He doesn’t need us! But He has invited us in. And we get to work with Him!

2. The Critical Message (v. 1)
“We urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” What does that mean to “receive God’s grace in vain“? God’s grace not only saves us, it teaches us how to live (see Titus 2:11-15 for a full explanation of God’s teaching grace). Our lives are not to be content with just being saved from His wrath. We are to press on to godliness and conformity to Christ!

3. The Crucial Present (v. 2)
“Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” This sure sounds like a gospel appeal, doesn’t it? Were there unsaved in Paul’s Corinthian audience? Of course. But perhaps he is referring to more than soul-salvation. He is challenging these believers to a life of response to the God who “heard” them and “helped” them.

Today’s Challenge: If you are in full-time professional ministry, take time to thank the Lord for your partnership — with HIM! If you are not in vocational Christian ministry, thank Him for the work you are enabled to do for the kingdom — by His grace and strength!

 
 

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A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17) Part 1

Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.

We’re now working our way through 2 Corinthians. Here’s my outline for several verses at the end of chapter two:

A Fragrance . . . or a Stench? (A Study of 2 Corinthians 2:14-17)

For regular readers of my blog, this will be the third time I’ve touched on these verses! Way back on Dec. 23, 2018 we looked at I Samuel 27 and how David had become “obnoxious to his people” (v. 12). We looked briefly at 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, noticing that sometimes we Christians are a stench to others. On February 29, 2020 we talked about a couple of online friends who hate Christianity and how we are either a fragrance to those who believe or an odor to those who don’t.

Now, because we are working our way through 2 Corinthians, we get to look at this passage again! And I will be taking my time doing so. There is so much here!

Notice, first of all, the image of a triumphal procession (v. 14). We have been conquered by Christ! Oh, glorious defeat! He has won our hearts and we are now captive to Him. And therein is true freedom! No wonder Paul says, “But thanks be to God”!

Notice also that God “always leads us as captives” in this procession. It is as if His parade is going on all the time. And we are lined up in it, letting the spectators gawk at us — vanquished and defeated enemies of God who are being shown to the world. We are captives on display — and should rejoice in our publicly-displayed defeat!

Today’s Challenge: Have you been defeated by Christ? Do you see yourself as a vanquished foe, eternally grateful for the victory of His grace over your sin? Then don’t be embarrassed to be on display! Don’t duck the spotlight, but live this day as a joyful captive of Christ!

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 11: Man (Final Series Post)

Friends: I goofed. Somehow I forgot about the area of Christian theology that deals with human beings. Anthropology, the study of man, asks a variety of questions about man’s make-up: does man have an immortal soul? What does it mean to be made “in the image of God”? Should we believe in capital punishment [WHAT?! Where did that question come from?!], etc.

These posts were inspired by my thinking about the books from the late Paul Little who wrote Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. We’ve been asking not WHAT or WHY, but IF. Do we really believe what we say we believe?

When it comes to the issue of man, the Bible has much to say about this aspect of “the glory of God” (I Cor. 11:7). God made man “in His image,” a description found several times in the Scriptures. Here’s a brief chart I’ve put together:

Today’s Challenge: IF I believe that men and women are made in the image of God, I will treat them with respect. I will also pray for opportunities to share the gospel with others, recognizing that every person will spend eternity either in fellowship with God or separated from Him.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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A Theological Check-Up: Do You Really Believe? Part 7: The Church

IF – is a big word, though only two letters long. These posts have been inspired by the very helpful books of Paul Little: Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. We’re asking the question not about what or why we believe, but IF we indeed believe.

We have asked IF we truly believe what the Bible teaches about Truth, Sin, God, Jesus Christ, and Salvation. But WHAT do we believe about the CHURCH — and do really, really believe it?

Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He is only building one thing — His church. The writer Dorothy Sayers once said that “God underwent three great humiliations in his efforts to rescue the human race. The first was the Incarnation, when he took on the confines of a physical body. The second was the Cross, when he suffered the ignominy of public execution. The third humiliation is the church.”

How do we bring humiliation to the Lord? Let me suggest several attitudes that reflect a poor view of the church:

(1) “I’ll serve — but only if I have the time. Afterall, don’t we pay the pastor and the staff to do the work around here?”

(2) “I really don’t care for the music. Maybe we should start looking for another church.”

(3)  “You want me to witness to my friends?! But what if they won’t be my friends anymore?”The early church in the book of Acts practiced four priorities: They worked hard at teaching the doctrines of the faith. Truth mattered to them. They practiced genuine fellowship with one another. They recognized the fact that when Jesus saved them, He put them in a Body. They worshiped together. They knew that their God was worthy of praise and adoration — and so they gave it willingly. They actually prayed with and for one another.

Here are a few questions to consider IF you and I really believe in the CHURCH:

1. How high a priority does your church give to truth? To the preaching and teaching of God’s Word?

2. How dependent are you and I on other believers — for their encouragement, service, fellowship?

3. When you or I leave a “worship” service, is our breath taken away by what we have learned about our God?

4. Do people in your church or mine ever actually pray for each other? Do you see that happening in the foyer or the parking lot?

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Clever T-Shirts

Saw these on the internet today. I’d give the company name, but some of their other examples were quite, uh, inappropriate.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2020 in humor, Uncategorized

 

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KJV Publishers Switch Exclusively to Large-Print Editions (Satire from the Babylon Bee)


NASHVILLE, TN—Publishers of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible have come to an agreement that they will only produce large-print editions of the sacred text. The decision is primarily based on sales trends, but some say the choice also has spiritual significance.

Dan Gregg, president of Authorized, one of many KJV publishers, said, “It’s weird. We didn’t get a single order for our regular-size-print edition, but our large-print Bibles are flying off the shelves.”

An apparent reason for the popularity of large print would be the age of its readers, but a team of researchers with the publishing aggregate found that might not be the case.

“The immediate thought is that it’s only old people reading the KJV and that’s why they want larger print,” said researcher Amy Rito. “But we discovered that people actually feel holier when they’re reading a bigger font, and we believe that’s the primary reason.”

The new information has led some publishers to print KJV Bibles with an even larger text size. Authorized already has extra large and super-extra large editions in production. “We’re even gonna do one limited special edition with a font size of 1611,” said Gregg. “We’re very excited about it.”

Publishers of John MacArthur books are making a similar decision.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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The Forgotten Third: Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from the book of Revelation about the Holy Spirit?

There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what do we learn from the book of Revelation about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.

What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the book of Revelation?

What do we learn from the book of Revelation about God the Holy Spirit?

Ch. 1- 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”
Ch. 2- 7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.   11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. 17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Ch. 3- 6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” The Spirit of God speaks to the various churches.

Ch. 4- 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”

Ch. 14- 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”

Ch. 17- 3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”

Ch. 19- 10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” Here the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of prophecy.

Ch. 21- 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. We learn of John being “in the Spirit.”

Ch. 22- 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Here we have the Spirit and the Son speaking.

There is no doubt that the book of Revelation is a challenging book to understand. But we do see the Spirit leading John in what he wrote. This same Spirit has much to say to the churches.

How do we hear the voice of the Spirit today? We now have God’s completed Word. The Spirit’s primary instrument to speak to the churches today is the written Word of God. The real question is: Are we listening to the Spirit?

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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