Do Not Look Back!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed (Genesis 19:17 KJV).

Here are God’s instructions to Lot and his family. Will they be snubbed?

Recently, I passed by one of our old church buildings at which we attended denominational services over 20 years ago. The people we knew there are now long gone (in Heaven, or elsewhere); the current pastor is apostate (I talked with him years ago). Looking at the structure (it sure looked much larger when I was a little boy!!), I recalled good memories and friends, but the bad doctrine and spiritual confusion I did not miss. I still have no regrets leaving legalism, for grace teaches me how to live (Titus 2:11,12). Thank You, Lord, for bringing me out of that spiritual nonsense and into Your marvelous grace! I now have the privilege of helping others do likewise!

Concerning today’s Scripture, God will soon destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. He commands Lot and his family to escape; after much urging, they get moving. Lot “sat in the gate of Sodom” (verse 1): he was a politician or other governmental official. He and his wife were reluctant to abandon their lavish home, social standing, and other comforts. As they fled, God commanded them not to look back.

“[24] Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; [25] And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. [26] But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Lot’s wife was so materialistic, worldly-minded, she had to take one last look, lamenting, “Oh, look at all that we are leaving—the wealth, friends, celebrations, delicacies!” (Glance at Luke 17:28-33.)

Friends, when we come to faith in Christ, let us not yearn to return to the old life. As alluring as they are, the exquisite stained glass windows, the “feel-good” ceremonies and songs, and the “humbling” edifices are nothing compared to the eternal truths of God’s Word rightly divided!

The Goodness of God

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17 KJV).

Friend, would you give a cup of water to your enemy? One slice of bread? A piece of fruit? The God of the Bible gives much more to His enemies!

Some people have so offended us, we think twice about letting them drink from our garden water hose (let alone our kitchen faucet!). We hesitate to give them crumbs (much less a full course meal!). Today’s Scripture closes the sermon the Apostles Barnabas and Paul preached to the pagan idolaters in Lystra (southern Turkey). The one true God had given these heathen over to the satanic religion they had desired (verses 11-13,15,16); yet, He sustained their crop production with the natural laws He had ordained in creation. Recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:45, “…he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

The God of creation let them have His water (rain). He allowed them to eat His food that grew in His soil with His sunshine. His matter, His atoms, His molecules keep them from starving and dying. Back in Genesis chapter 1, He had created it all from nothing, spoken it all into existence; then, these spiritually blind Gentiles took His provisions and gave them over to worthless false deities! He knew the heathen of the world would ignore Him and worship and serve idols of wood and stone, gold and silver. They would prepare food and drink offerings for pagan gods, not Him (the God of creation, the God of Israel). Yet, He let them have their way. His creation—notice again that it is His creation—would be used to praise everyone and everything but Him. Sad!

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). Calvary is the greatest expression of God’s goodness toward His enemies—us!

When Sin Creeps In #1

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….” (Romans 5:12 KJV).

Behold, how sin creeps in!

Recently, a Christian brother expressed to me how he had been in a long-term online conversation with a female stranger. He eventually realized that he was spending more time with this lady than he was with his own wife! Once this problem came to his attention, he broke off contact with the online friend. It was quite a smart move on his part—lest he wind up in an affair and divorce court!

Dear friends, do we see how something innocent gradually becomes sin? It is so subtle that we are transgressing and not even notice it until long after we started that conduct (if ever we do notice it). Well-meaning people in religion constantly emphasize confession of sins as being necessary to be saved unto eternal life or to stay saved unto eternal life. Wrong! We are saved (and stay saved) by grace through faith in Christ, not works! Furthermore, they say our prayers will not be answered if we have “unconfessed” sin. If that were the case, no one would be saved or get prayers answered. Wrong! There are things in all our lives we do not yet realize are sin because we have not matured enough in sound Bible doctrine to discern our actions.

Without daily exposure to the Bible rightly divided, we will be vulnerable to all sorts of sins creeping into our lives without our knowledge. Thus, Ephesians 5:15-17 exhorts: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” In today’s Scripture, had Adam applied sound Bible doctrine by faith, he would not have let sin “creep in.”

Study Genesis chapter 3. Notice how Satan was pretty skillful in deceiving Eve. Adam could have stopped it, but he remained quiet. What started as nothing more than eating forbidden fruit… is now our world of endless wars, rampant starvation, unspeakable crime, heartbreaking poverty, great suffering, horrific sickness, and eventual death. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, will correct our thinking (and change our behavior)….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who was the father of the Prophet Zechariah?

Sound Doctrine Versus Fables #1

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:3,4 KJV).

First comes the intolerance toward sound doctrine. Then, and only then, arrives the tolerance toward fables.

One religious holiday, some people noticed water flowing from a tree. After a few days, on another holiday, the stream was still running. Assuming it was a “sign from God,” they prayed there and bathed in the “holy” water. It was later determined that the tree’s roots had squeezed and ruptured underground water pipes!!!

Such an absurdity—and yes, it is a true story—underscores this present evil world system. It demonstrates how gullible religious people often are. They have so rejected God’s Word that they are predisposed to fall for anything and everything no matter how nonsensical. Dear friend, pay attention to today’s Scripture: no one “accidentally” falls for spiritual lies. Regardless of the dispensation, going all the way back to the beginning of creation, man has always had a word from God. Man has never been without Divine revelation… unless he has so chosen. There is not one soul Earth today “accidentally” deceived. Even in countries “closed to Christianity and the Gospel,” these people can see creation and know a Creator exists. They also have a conscience that tells them right from wrong; they know they will face that Creator in judgment.

Romans chapter 1: “[19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:….” Romans chapter 2: “[14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: [15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; )….”

Alas, most have rejected that basic knowledge….

The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

Monday, April 22, 2019

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what are the ‘Cherethites’ and ‘Pelethites?’

Not Willingly Ignorant!

Monday, February 11, 2019

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (John 7:17 KJV).

Are we ignorant—or actually willingly ignorant?

Recently, a dear Christian brother lamented that he was “ignorant” of the Bible. I quickly corrected him. We are all ignorant of Scripture to some degree. No man on Earth today knows the Bible as he ought to know—even he who has memorized 15,000 verses is not guaranteed exemplary spiritual discernment and superior Bible understanding!

Certainly, it is no sin to be uniformed about Holy Writ. The problem is when we are willfully or deliberately unfamiliar with it. After all, it is easier to remain uneducated. Preconceived notions remain unchallenged. Religious tradition is hard to abandon. Habits are not easy to change. Second Peter chapter 3 speaks of Bible mockers who intentionally overlook historical truth—namely, the Great Deluge of Noah’s day—because it contradicts their “things never change” prejudice:

“[3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:….”

The Bible’s definition of “sin” is Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way….” Proverbs chapter 18 adds: “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself” (verses 1,2). The fool has an agenda, a “pet” idea or system, and has no interest in changing it on account of the Bible. Thus, he pleads ignorance—willful ignorance! Dear friends, may we not be numbered with him. We are ignorant, yes, but we are nevertheless endeavoring to correct and refine our distorted thinking by “studying… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

333’s 2800th – What is God Doing? #25

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Addressing the postponement of Christ’s flaming return, the Apostle Peter wrote in chapter 3 of his final epistle: “[8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God is not sluggish, undependable, or unconcerned; He is merely giving ample time for people to join His family (become saints) before He judges them for not being in His family (sinners)!

“[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Even Peter confessed that the Apostle Paul had been given Divine instruction found nowhere else in Scripture.

For the last 2,000 years, God has commissioned His people to preach “the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19). We find this Gospel of Grace in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. The Lord’s message today to the world—yes, this worthless, godless world—is “grace and peace” not “wrath and war.” “For he [Father God] hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (verse 21). We have an opportunity, by faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, to avoid God’s wrath. As members of the Body of Christ, we are destined to reign in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come.

Saints, we have come quite far in our Bible understanding these last 2,800 days. However, we are still not where we should be, so onward we go by God’s grace to #2900! 🙂