Tag Archives: the gospel

Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord: Psalm 130

Psalm 130

A song of ascents.screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-7-07-10-am

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

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Posted by on May 23, 2017 in salvation


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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #1 (con’t)

Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference is coming up — and I have two workshops to prepare!  The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and I will be presenting two workshops:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s focus on the first one this morning: “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)”

As we read in I Timothy 6:20-21, we learn that God has entrusted to Timothy something.  God has given him the gospel — and he is to guard it.  Guarding does not mean we seal up the gospel, get it out of sight, hide it under a bushel (NO!).  We guard it by (1) knowing it clearly, and (2) sharing it faithfully.  The gospel is not meant to be locked in a vault and kept away from strangers.  As the Good News of God, the gospel is meant to be shared — and that means it will be available for challenge, criticism, rejection, consideration.

Guarding the gospel assumes that the gospel will be under attack.  But if it is not shared, it is in no danger of attack — and it is not available to save anyone!  Why do we not share the gospel?  Pastor Steve Brown once said, “When I share the gospel, I’m afraid of what people will think of Jesus and I’m afraid of what they will think about me.  But mostly, I’m afraid of what they will think about ME.”

Ready to guard the gospel today?  Then — share it with someone!  Sometimes we share only a small part of the gospel.

Please describe (in the Comments section) your experience of sharing the gospel with someone today, even if you only share a bit of the gospel.  (to be continued)


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Posted by on May 7, 2017 in the gospel


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Time for a Great Quote: Jesus as the Only Savior!

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Posted by on July 26, 2016 in truth


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The Joy of Unit-Reading #17 (the book of Galatians)

Let’s continue our journey in reading 65 (of the 66) of the books of the Bible in one sitting — one book at a time, of course.   Some of the longer books may take an hour or two.  But there are benefits to reading a whole book at one time — and that’s called unit-reading.

You may not know that the chapter and verse divisions in our Bibles are not inspired by God!  In fact, one article tells us that —

“The chapter divisions commonly used today were developed by Screenshot 2016-01-05 06.32.52Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place in around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton’s chapter divisions.

The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi by the name of Nathan in A.D. 1448. Robert Estienne, who was also known as Stephanus, was the first to divide the New Testament into standard numbered verses, in 1555. Stephanus essentially used Nathan’s verse divisions for the Old Testament. Since that time, beginning with the Geneva Bible, the chapter and verse divisions employed by Stephanus have been accepted into nearly all the Bible versions.”

But, if you’re at all like me, you stop reading at the end of a chapter!  Unit-reading means reading through the whole book.  And our book today is the short NT letter to the Galatians!

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Posted by on January 27, 2016 in unit-reading


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A Few Thoughts on B.B. King

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 6.14.11 AMWhat a sad day.  I enjoy the music of B.B. King, especially when he Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 7.02.57 AMused lines like, “No one loves me but my Momma, and she might be jivin’ me too!”  In one song he sings, “I gave you 10 children — and now you want to give them back?”

When I read of celebrities passing away, especially of those who had some exposure to the gospel, I wonder, “Did he have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  Had he trusted Christ as his Savior?”

God’s love can be counted on for those who turn to Jesus.  And that’s a love that is stronger, yes, even more than your Momma’s.

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Posted by on May 16, 2015 in B.B. King


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L.A. Clippers’ Owner Donald Sterling, Hell, and Eternal Banishment

FirefoxScreenSnapz513    Mr. Sterling was recorded making outrageous racial comments, a recording FirefoxScreenSnapz514released this past Saturday.  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has been on the job only a few months, made the announcement today.

As sad as this story is, it is interesting that the sports world all seems to agree to Mr. Sterling’s lifetime banishment from any involvement in the NBA.  The other 29 team owners apparently will vote to force him to sell his team.

BANISHMENT.  What a terrible word.  I certainly don’t disagree with the Commissioner’s decision.

The Bible also talks about BANISHMENT.

In their book Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment, editors  Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson write:

FirefoxScreenSnapz515“The idea of hell as banishment, separation, exclusion, or being left outside is found in the writings of most New Testament authors, with the exception of James or Hebrews.  Hell as banishment is especially prominent in the teachings of Jesus, particularly in Matthew.  This is to be expected because of the kingdom themes developed in Jesus’ teaching in this Gospel.  The contrast is vivid:  Believers are welcomed into the Kingdom while the wicked are banished outside of it.”

“Mark 9:42-48 reveals that those who do not enter the kingdom of God will be thrown into hell by God.  John the Baptist stresses the final separation of the righteous from the wicked, nothing that the wicked will be thrown into hell and ‘burned with unquenchable fire’ (Mt. 3:1-12).  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus proclaims that he will judge the world and declare to unbelievers, ‘Away from me!’ (7:21-23).  In doing so, he personally banishes them from his kingdom. Jesus regularly portrays hell as being outside the kingdom (and in outer darkness) and the wicked as excluded from God’s kingdom (8:12; 13:42, 50; 25:10-12, 30).”

So, we are deeply sorry for any expressions of racism in our culture.  But what about those who reject the Son of God’s sacrifice on the cross?  What should God do with them?  The Bible is clearer than Commissioner Adam Silver was today in his news conference:  BANISHMENT for those who turn away from Jesus.  As believers, let’s thank God for the forgiveness of sins received when one believes in Jesus and receives Him as Savior — and let’s reach out to those who, without the Son, will be excluded from the family of God.


Posted by on April 29, 2014 in the gospel


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Lack (Part 1)

I’ve been studying Mark 10 recently which says:

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up FirefoxScreenSnapz098to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

There is so much in this passage of Scripture.  Let’s notice what happens here.

I.  A Young Man’s Urgent Question (v. 17)

If you had the opportunity to literally and personally ask Jesus a question, what would that question be?  Some might ask Him, “Why am I going through this trial?  Why me?  Why now?”  Others might ask, “How can I achieve maximum happiness in this life right now?”   Others might not ask a question at all, but point an accusing finger at Jesus and declare, “”How can you possibly allow such evil in Your world?”

This young man’s question (we are told that he is a young ruler in the parallel accounts, Mt. 19 and Lk. 18) was urgent!  He “ran up to [Jesus] and fell on his knees before him . . .”  He obviously thought his question extremely important.  He cast aside all customs of dignity for Eastern royalty to ask his question of Jesus.  Eastern rulers did not normally run — for anything.  His falling on his knees indicated respect and honor as he prostrated himself before Rabbi Jesus.

The very way we sometimes word questions says much about our assumptions — and ourselves.  This man’s question was:  “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He obviously thought Jesus could teach him what he needed to know, and that His answer would be good.  His question was about the next life — and how he could prepare himself for it.

But what a great question!  The parallel account in Matthew 19 has him asking, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (v. 16).  This man was really into goodness, wasn’t he?


There is, of course, a difference between asking how might I inherit eternal life and what good thing must I do to get eternal life.  I believe that there are ultimately no real contradictions between the gospels, so it may be that Mark picks up on the inheriting part of his question while Matthew focuses on the doing part of his query.

Before we read further in our passage, how might you or I respondKeynoteScreenSnapz008 to both parts of that question, if we were Jesus?  To the inheriting part, we might say, “Well, someone has to die for you to inherit anything — and that’s why I came — to die for sinners.”  That answer, of course, would be true, but it isn’t how Jesus responds.  To the doing part of his question, we might say, “There is nothing that you can do to get eternal life!  You can’t earn it.  You can’t buy it!  It is given as a gift!”  And that would be a true, biblical answer as well.

How Jesus really answers this man’s question will be discussed in our next installment.  (to be continued)


Posted by on November 7, 2013 in saved


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