2024 Archives

The Way, The Truth, The Life

  Almost everyone I speak to claims to believe in God, but the majority of them know only what people have said about Him, and not what He says about Himself.  God actually gave us a book to reveal Himself to us—The Bible.  Those who say they believe in God generally have some notion as to how they might win His favor and live in His eternal presence, but again, relatively few have any biblical basis for their claims.  It is abundantly obvious that America has become increasingly Bible illiterate.  Given the times in which we live, and the apparent nearness of the end of the age, our ignorance places us in a precarious situation.  Without regard to how long any one of us will live, we would all be wise to make ready for our soul’s eternal abode before it is too late.  God tells us, “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2Corinthians 6:2)”

  You and I need to understand that our breach of God’s holiness, coupled with His moral obligation to exercise justice, has already sealed our eternal doom, and except for His loving provision we are all without hope.  The gospel (good news) of the Bible is that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to offer forgiveness for our offenses.  He died to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose from the dead in three days.  He ascended back to Heaven to “prepare a place” in His Father’s household, for those who would trust Him.

  Before He returned to Heaven, He told His disciples, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)”   If you want to know how to go to Heaven, Jesus is the WAY!  If you wonder how, in the menagerie of beliefs espoused by man, that you are going to find the truth, Jesus is the TRUTH!  If you are concerned about the wages of your sin, and life after death, Jesus is the LIFE!  Jesus, God’s Son, came from Heaven to Earth to provide a WAY for You, to make TRUTH available to you, and to offer you eternal LIFE.  The Bible says, He is all that you need!  He is God in the Flesh!  He is both Lord and Savior—or you are on your own.

  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)”

Dirty Dishes

  Nobody likes to be served on a plate that contains fragments of a previous meal eaten by a stranger, or a cup with lip and finger prints smeared around the rim.  We muse that, if those dishes are dirty now, it follows that the food which comes out of them may be tainted and unfit for our consumption—those fragments could make us sick.

  In the Bible, our Lord compared the religious leaders of His day (Pharisees) to dirty dishes: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (Matthew 23:25-26)”  His point was that good deeds and keeping creeds were of no value if they were not performed first in the heart.  As a matter of fact, God keeps His eye on the heart of man. “…man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1Samuel 16:7)”

  God knows that if a person believes and thinks pure and wholesome thoughts within, what he does and says without will be pure and wholesome as well.  On another occasion He told these filthy leaders, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Matthew 12:34)”

  Getting cleaned up on the inside sounds logical, but it is nonetheless impossible to clean one’s own heart because, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)”  The Psalmist prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)”

  If you desire to be clean within and without before God, you will need help—you’ll need Jesus.  “…and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1John 1:7)” “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)”

I Never Knew You

  In Matthew 5-7, Jesus taught the people of His day in a lengthy discourse often referred to as “The Sermon On The Mount.”  In it, He described a people who would please God not only by what they do, but by what they are in their hearts.  It is immediately obvious to the reader that no man can, of himself, attain unto such a life as described in the sermon—It would require help, constant help from God.  Jesus’ first advent was to afford such a help.  He came to purchase man’s pardon for sin, to translate him into the kingdom of God, to give life in exchange for the spiritual death that had been wrought by our sin.  These treasures, and so much more, belong to those who, by faith, surrender and commit themselves to Him as both Lord and Savior.

  In His sermon, Jesus spoke of those who describe themselves as being “All Set,” when it comes to their relationship with God—men and women who will be shocked to hear Him say, “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)”  These are sincere people, but sincerely wrong.  They will argue, “…Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (Matthew 7:22)”  They will have lived their lives with a false sense of security pertaining to their eternal future.  Their security will be based upon what they have done to please God, rather than what He has done to rescue them from their sin.  Salvation for fallen man, cost God His Son, and only by faith in the work of His Son will anyone live in His presence. 

  The Bible is clear, if you and I are saved, it is, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)”  Here is the simple truth: He is our holy and just, Creator God.  You have offended Him with your sin.  You can do nothing to save yourself.  He sent Jesus to purchase your pardon with His own blood.  His forgiveness can only be received as a gift.  To be saved you must repent of your sins, place your faith and trust in Him to do for you what you cannot possibly do for yourself.  Those who are truly saved, know God personally and are known of God!

Fear

  Just after the terror attacks on 9/11, I had a missionary friend speak at my church whose flights back to Spain had been cancelled for several days.  When planes returned to the air, I asked him if he was afraid to travel.  He answered, “No brother, I’m not afraid of anything.”  He was confident that the Lord would protect him.  After all, “If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)”  Later, as I thought about his answer I was reminded of the many “fear nots” of the Bible.  e.g. Jesus taught, “…fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul… (Matthew 10:28)”  Neither Satan, nor demons, nor evil men are able to affect our eternal souls, so, while there are trials inherent for all living things, we truly have nothing on earth to fear.  As a matter of fact, God tells us, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25)”

  Conversely, the Bible is filled with verses that instruct us to “fear the Lord.”  The rest of Matthew 10:28 (above) says, “…but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  At least31 times you’ll find the words, “fear the Lord” in the scriptures,and 27 times the phrase, “the fear of the Lord.”  Only God is able to affect our souls, and determine their destiny.

  From The Proverbs:  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (1:7);  The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way,…(8:13);  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (9:10);  The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened. (10:27);  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. (14:27);  The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (15:33);  By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. (16:6);  The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. (19:23);  By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. (22:4);  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. (23:17)”

Pride

  Most people are quick to admit that they want to be well thought of, to be appreciated for what they contribute to the cause, whether it be scoring a goal for their team on the ball field, providing delicious desserts for a picnic, or challenging the masses to think by public oratory, article or essay.  But God has instructed us, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Corinthians 10:31)”  A problem arises when we desire the glory for ourselves—when we stand between God and His glory.

  The first sin in the universe was the sin of pride, and it was committed by Satan.  “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15)

    Pride in a preacher might make him say things like, “I want people to like to hear me preach, so that they will come back for more.”  I have determined that, though this might sound innocent enough, it can easily be rooted in pride.  How much better to say, “When I preach God’s Word, I want people not to notice me, but to go away knowing that they have heard from God.”  Truth of the matter is, when we do something for the Lord, it is not about you or me at all.  We should consider the words of the Apostle Paul, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1Corinthians 4:7)”

  Whether we are talking about a preacher, a chef, a barber, a pilot, a doctor, a housewife, or a greeter in the local department store, God wants us to know that, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)” and “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (16:18)”