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there is Something about that Name!
1:21 And she will bring
forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His
people from their sins."
Irreverence shown to that Name
people are going to swear today, it is often the name of the Lord Jesus
that they use. While there
are other ways to take the Lord's name in vain, certainly this is one
way to do it. People don't
say, “Oh, President Trump!” or “Oh, President Obama!” when they
want to swear, instead they say “Oh, My God!” or “Jesus!”.
I have tried to figure out why people use the name of a person
that they say is a myth, that they say is not the Son of God, that they
don't believe in and that they don't think has any power or authority
over them to add emphasis to whatever they are trying to say.
Why not use the name of someone whom they think actually existed?
I think it is because rebellion against God is inbred in the
heart of mankind. Using the
name of the Lord irreverently certainly seems to me to be unreasonable
tells us in Philippians 2 that Jesus humbled himself but God has exalted
Him and someday everyone is going to bow before the name of the Lord
Jesus. Philippians 2:8-11
says, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and
became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the
name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those
under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I believe that those who figuratively raise their fist in the
face of the God in whom they say they don't believe, will one day get to
find out that they should have bowed while they were alive on earth.
They will bow after they die.
Many will bow during the tribulation period.
The Great Day of His
We read in Revelation
6:15-17, “And the kings of
the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men,
every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the
rocks of the mountains, and
said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the
face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to
The great day of His
wrath is going to come. It
is easy to see that many people love war more than peace when they are
in power. It is good for the
economy. It good for the ego
of those who want to be domineering.
We are headed for a day of great calamity.
We have nuclear toys we have never used but when they are used,
the whole world is going to suffer.
Most people do not invent things to let them sit idly unused.
Whether future wars in our generation will be the culmination of
the prophetic plan or whether it will just be the culmination of the
stupidity of mankind, war is probably coming.
The only way to prepare for it is to be ready for our eternal
To Those Who Believe
Peter says that to
those who believe He is precious (1 Peter 2:7).
We who believe find it offensive when people use that name
irreverently. We wouldn't
want our family name used as a curse word, nor would we want the name of
our friends and those we respect and love to be used as a curse word.
We certainly don't want the name of the One who died to save us
used as a curse word. I
wonder if those who swear using the name of Jesus have really considered
what they are doing. It
would be so much nicer if those of us who love the Lord could convince
those who hate and disdain Him, to love Him as well.
Gaithers have written and sung a very precious song:
just something about that name
the fragrance after the rain
all Heaven and Earth proclaim
all pass away
there's something about that Name.
there is just something about that name!
for the week of October 1, 2017
Properly understanding our
2 Timothy 2:15 Be
diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need
to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Some Things are Hard
I am convinced that
many well-meaning Christians have never been taught how to rightly
divide the Word of Truth. They
think that is something that should be taught in seminaries.
But actually each believer should be equipped to do this.
Many translations say that rightly dividing should be translated
“rightly handling.” I
personally believe the idea is to properly interpret the word of truth
and then rightly apply it to our lives.
It is obvious that there are things that are hard to interpret
since Peter says that Paul wrote some things that are hard to understand
(2 Peter 3:16). So how can
the person who wants to know and understand God's will, rightly divide
the word of Truth?
Basic Principles of
First of all we need
to be absolutely certain that the God has providentially preserved for
us is the very God breathed or inspired Word of God.
Just because some of it doesn't make sense to us, doesn't mean
that it is wrong. The Lord
says in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words
will by no means pass away.”
Second we need to
properly understand the audience that each book or section of the Bible
addresses. The Bible is
divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Old Testament deals with an earthly people with an earthly
land and with earthly promises. The
New Testament primarily deals with a spiritual people with a spiritual
land and with spiritual promises.
However, some of the Gospel passages are oriented toward the Jews
and their earthly promises and prophecies.
We must distinguish what is for the Jew and what is for the
believers of our day. Believers
must be careful not to think we are Jews and that we are still living as
Jews under the Law of the Old Testament.
Many promises that I see Christians taking courage in today are
really principles that apply primarily to the Jews.
I always try to look
for the principles that we believe in the Gospels, for examples of those
principles being developed in the Acts of the Apostles, for teaching in
the epistles (letters) and for confirming illustrations in the Old
Testament. However, I
believe the epistles are the backbone of Bible interpretation for
believers today. The letters
written by the New Testament authors explain how the rest of the Bible
fits together. If we find it
in an epistle, it is an explanation of Biblical Truth for us today.
We always interpret
in context. We need to
interpret a verse in the context of the chapter, the context of the book
and the context of the Bible. We
let the simple explain the difficult and not the other way around.
All interpretation should be consistent with the truth of John
3:16 and with the truth that we are to love God and love our
neighbor—truth that is found in the Old Testament and in the New.
The Bible is a
spiritual book and will never be understood properly by one who is not
“born of the spirit.” The
Bible should convict the unsaved of their sin, and it will warn them to
flee from the wrath to come. However,
until a person bows to the Truth that they are lost and that only Christ
can save them, the Bible will for the most part be a closed book to
them. God is a God of order
and if we won't believe the simple truth of the Gospel, we aren't going
to be able to properly understand truth that was written for a believer.
If we are living a rebellious life as a Christian, we won't have
a clear understanding of Biblical truth.
Since most people want to become experts in the Bible without
letting the Holy Spirit teach them precept upon precept as they are
ready for the teaching, many turn to religious teachers that are not
saved and that are not living in fellowship with the Lord for their
teaching. Some of these
teachers are well-educated but they teach the logic of the natural (unregenerated)
man rather than the spiritual truth of the Bible.
In order to come to
saving faith in the Lord Jesus we have to repent—we need a mind
adjustment. The reason is
found in Isaiah 55:8-9 which says,
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My
ways," says the LORD. "For
as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than
your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Just as we needed a mind adjustment in order to trust Christ for
salvation, we often need a mind adjustment to understand and apply truth
that makes absolutely no sense to the natural person but that makes
perfect sense to the spiritual person.
There is no short-cut
to proper Bible interpretation. It
starts with coming to faith in the Lord for salvation.
It requires earnest prayer. It
takes time. We can get a lot
of help from others but ultimately we need to be taught by the Holy
Spirit and we need to develop our own convictions.
We also need to remember that letters by the New Testament
writers were understood by the recipients without teachers coming along
and telling them what the epistles “really meant.”
We need to have confidence that with some help with language and
the customs of the day, that we too are intelligent enough to understand
the messages found in these letters.
Understanding the letters will help us understand or rightly
divide the Word of Truth.
for the week of October 8, 2017
What is it Going to be like to Face Christ As the Judge?
Rev 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich
men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid
themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to
the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of
Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to
Wrath of the Lamb
many of us have seen an angry lamb?
We know that rams can get kind of feisty but lambs are usually
fairly docile. But the Lord
is looked at as a lamb. Isaiah
says He was led like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).
John the Baptist calls him the Lamb of God who takes away the sin
of the world (John 1:29). But
there are those who are going to experience the Wrath of the Lamb--the
One who died as the meek and lowly Jesus.
know that there is a difference of opinion as to the the timing of what
happens in the Book of the Revelation.
But let me assure you that what is promised will happen.
Just as God promises eternal life to believers in John 3:36, He
also promises that His wrath presently abides on the unbeliever (that
is, the Christ rejecters). The
picture of kings, great men, rich men, commanders, and mighty men hiding
themselves from the Lord when He comes to judge is a sobering sight.
Today, we have leaders all over the world who are posturing for
war. They seem to think that
they personally are invincible, but when they face the Lord, they are
going to cower in fear. Then
they will want to hide, but then it will be too late.
Religion as a Club
Revelation 13 we are confronted by two men.
One is described as a beast rising out of the sea (likely the
Mediterranean Sea). His
power will be the outgrowth of kingdoms that have dominated the world
scene historically. This man
wants to be worshipped as God. I
doubt very much if he believes in God, but I suspect that he uses
religion to get the worship of people who believe lies. There is another
man who rises out of the land. He
is likely a Jew. He gives
his allegiance to the first man and convinces the nation of Israel to
accept and worship the first beast.
Both of these men are antiChrist.
Both are doomed. They
control the world for a while. They
have power over commerce; you can't buy or sell without the mark of the
beast which means you aren't going to eat unless you are marked as his.
These men have political power and they have religious power.
You would think that they were winners.
But we read that they are captured by the Lord and imprisoned in
a terrible place. Revelation
19:20 says, :"Then the beast was captured, and with him the false
prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who
received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These
two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Now I don't know if this is a literal lake or an allegorical
lake. If it is literal it is
bad. If it is allegorical,
it is worse because God is using something we do understand to explain
something we don't understand.
during this Period
20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was
committed to them. Then I saw
the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and
for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and
had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand
years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first
resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be
priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
who were the losers in the eyes of those who think they are the winners
actually are the winners. They
live and reign with the Lord for a 1000 years.
On them the second death has no power.
They have it made.
is all this Going to Happen?
think it is already happening but I don't think so.
I really do believe that the Lord has delivered saints of our day
from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
The things written in Chapters 6-19 of the book of Revelation
occur after the catching away of present day saints to spare them from
the judgments of the unbelievers on this earth.
If the current hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires, and mass
shootings are not part of this period, what must the judgments of this
"tribulation" period be like?
I really believe our President is going to back off his nuclear
posturing because nuclear war would destroy our planet and I see a
Biblical future of over one thousand years for it.
when the Lord begins to judge, losers are going to be winners and
winners (so-called) are going to be losers.
I am a present day loser and I am glad to be one.
Meditation for the week
of October 15, 2017
What should a Christian look Like?
(1 Corinthians 15:32)
If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,
what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, "LET US EAT
AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE!"
Corinthians 15:33) Do not be
deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
Corinthians 15:34) Awake to
righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of
God. I speak this to your shame.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
know that a Biblical Christian is one who trusts in the Lord for eternal
salvation and for preservation in this life.
Salvation is a gift that we receive and not a work that we do.
However, because only God can see the heart, we who claim to be
Christians need to look like Christians by the things that we do and
say. When the Lord was
having Jesse's sons pass before Samuel because one of them had been
chosen by God to be the next king, the Lord said to Samuel, "For the LORD
does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but
the LORD looks at the heart (1
Samuel 16:7) .” I don't
think this was a criticism, I think it was a statement of fact.
God can see the heart (that is what motivates us and what we
love), but man can only see the way a person behaves and looks.
We base our judgments on outward appearances.
Some times those judgments are based on our prejudices and other
times those judgments are valid evaluations based on the way a person
acts. My question is,
"What should a Christian look like today?"
A Christians should
Paul says, “Now
godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into
this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food
and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be
rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful
lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of
money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from
the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many
sorrows (1 Timothy 6:6-10).”
Getting ahead should
not be our goal in life. Being
God-like should be our goal. Being
rich is not a sin but sinning to get rich is certainly not 'like
Christ." The Lord
didn't even have a home to live in and He owned the cattle on a thousand
hills. Matthew tells us that
the Lord said to one who wanted to follow Him,
"Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the
Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head
A Christian's words
should be Gracious
says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good
for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers
(Ephesians 4:29).” Our
words should build people up and not tear them down.
A Christian should be
“Pursue peace with
all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord
(Hebrews 12:14).” The
Lord blesses peacemakers in the beatitudes.
I think one aspect of holiness (or a sanctified life) is the
desire to be peaceable rather than disagreeable.
Not too long ago I was in a Bible study and the person I was with
was going on and on about something he didn't understand.
Of course he thought he did understand it.
I tried to stop him on several occasions to explain this concept
to him (one that I have explained many times before).
Because he thought he was the expert on this matter and I thought
that I was, I finally raised my voice to get him to stop and let me
talk. But because the gospel
is not a debate, it is a fact, I should not have done that even if I
never had a chance to get a word in “edgewise” as they say.
I am sure that those listening to our conversation did not see a
“peaceable” Christian in me during that exchange that afternoon.
A Christian should
tell the Truth
It is impossible for
God to lie but for some people they lie when the truth would do better.
Our faith in Christ is based on the fact that He has not lied to
us. When He says, “He that
believes on the Son has everlasting life,” you can take that promise
to the bank (John 3:36). But
since Christians are the ones who tell others about the Gospel, how can
they be believed about eternal things if they are not believable in this
life? I am reasonably
confident that we have all lied but this should not be the character of
Evil company corrupts
What does Paul mean
by this? He is saying that
the company we keep is going to affect the way we act.
Evil company will likely lead us into evil “habits” or
behavior. Good company will
be a help to us in being Christ-like.
People today are playing follow the leader in most areas of their
lives and in many cases they are following leaders who do not have
“the knowledge of God.” In
other words, they have never been regenerated by the new birth.
They have never repented and believed.
But because they appear to be successful, many people imitate
them to their own sorrow. I
often wonder what the Lord would say if He were present today in our
religious gatherings. Would
He call us scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites or would call us his faithful
servants (Matthew 25:21)?
We need the
fellowship of others who are godly because those who become our friends
will have a great influence on who we become.
We need to choose our
for the week of October 22, 2017
Do We always Rightly Divide
the Word of Truth?
Jeremiah 17:5-8 Thus
says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh
his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see
when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the
LORD. For he shall be like a
tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will
not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding
The Curse and The Blessing
In reading this passage without looking at
context, I would assume that if we trust in the Lord things should go
well in this life. If we
trust in men things are not likely to go well with us.
Now we all trust in men for some things.
We trust our auto mechanics, our dentists, our doctors, our
lawyers and we should be able to trust our parents, our friends and the
elders and deacons in our congregations.
But I think that trusting in this verse has to do with worship
since those who trust in men have hearts that depart from the Lord.
Here the trust in man seems to be in opposition to trusting in
But even if we understand that trusting in the
Lord is the trust that means we worship Him and that trusting in man is
a trust that is substituted for trust in the Lord, how can we explain
martyrs and the persecuted church today?
Why are those who have left all to follow the Lord persecuted and
I asked my friends for help with this problem.
Maybe these verses are only a problem for me because most of the
people that I thought would have good answers didn't even try to answer
this question. Others
spiritualized their answer. That
is, they basically felt that martyrs were having an inner joy and peace
that we don't know about. It
is also true that down through the years, martyrs have often been the
means of spreading the Gospel. They
didn't see the results of their dedication but those following them did.
So the fruit that didn't cease for them was for eternity and not
necessarily for the here and now. And
that is how I have looked at this promise over the years.
Yet, when reading the promise, it seems that whether the fruit is
practical or spiritual, it still should be fruit in this life.
A righteous person should be like a tree planted by the waters
and should not cease bearing fruit.
The New Testament promises to the righteous do
not seem to be the same as this Old Testament promises.
Following the Lord involves a cross which is a place of death to
this world. That place of
death is spiritual for all as well as literal for many.
The Lord says in the world we will have tribulation, but to be of
good cheer because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Even in trying circumstances, He will give us peace.
Many religious leaders and politicians want us to put all of our
hopes in them but those who want us to follow them rather than to the
Lord are charlatans, wolves and Antichrists.
Revelation 13 describes one such man who is going to come on the
scene after the rapture of the church.
He will be both a religious leader and a politician.
People do follow men even today to their shame and ultimate
eternal destruction. Mobs followed religious leaders in the Lord's day
and they cried for the Lord's crucifixion.
But following the Lord does not necessarily bring blessing in
this life. That was even true for King David in Psalm 37 and for Asaph
in Psalm 73. The blessings
of the true believer are eternal. There
is an afterwards when it comes to our relationship with the Lord and
that afterward is where our reward, our hope, and our Lord is.
So what is the
Interpretation of our Passage?
First of all, the passage is written to the
remnant of Judah. The
northern tribes are already in captivity because of their idol worship.
Judah is being promised that if they will worship the Lord as He
asks to be worshiped then they will be blessed.
Their blessings will be national and practical. Of course they
didn't do that and they too were taken into captivity.
So the promise is primarily to Judah and not to New Testament
Christians. As we have
seen it wasn't always true individually with Old Testament believers
either. If we assume that
trusting in the Lord is going to keep the wind at our back, and that the
road is going to always be downhill and that there will be no sickness
or illness, and that our children will always be bountiful and will
prosper, then I think we are going to be disappointed.
But the Lord will not have failed us; we will just have failed to
understand the context of the promise being made.
We can't take Judah's physical promises as our
own. But trusting in the
Lord for time and for eternity will always bring ultimate blessing and
is the right thing to do—even if our cross becomes a literal cross.
for the week of October 29, 2017