The Asbestos Fire

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12 KJV).

What does God’s Word say about asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of a half-dozen naturally occurring silicate minerals that have long, thin, fibrous crystals. Since they are fireproof, manufacturers once used them to insulate products and make them heat- and flame-resistant. However, the very small fibers, when inhaled, can cause lung diseases; therefore, asbestos has been almost universally banned.

Our English word “asbestos” is actually a transliteration of the Greek, “asbestos”—literally, “not quenchable; inextinguishable.” A fire cannot put out the mineral-product asbestos; flames are unable to consume it. Similarly, the fire of today’s Scripture cannot be extinguished: yea, “asbestos” is rendered “unquenchable.” The Greek term appears three other times in Scripture.

Mark 9:43: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched….” And verse 45: “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched….” Finally, Luke 3:17 (the parallel of today’s Scripture): “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

Some people argue that a “loving” God would never send people to an eternal Hell. They contend that everlasting punishment is not fair retribution for a “short” life of 70 or 80 years of sin. Actually, friends, God in His love did everything to keep us from going to Hell. Someone who dies and goes to Hell could have avoided that awful torment had they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork. Hell’s torments are literally never ended—the fire is never quenched—because God’s wrath against sin is never satisfied there. To wind up in such a terrible place is to bypass every warning God has issued in His precious Book about the “asbestos” fire!

Loving the Unlovely

Thursday, October 5, 2017

“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 KJV).

Behold, the Man (Jesus Christ) who loves the unlovely (you and me)!

An individual said that he was so disgusted with people as a whole after learning about a recent tragic crime. Despite what we may see in the news, dear friends, we will never see the atrocious view that the LORD God saw in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Now, read verse 10: “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” So, God investigated the human heart. What did He see?

The answer is in Mark 7:20-23, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “[20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

If we could see the above heart—multiplied by (say) 10 to 15 billion—would we want to have anything to do with people? Well, God sees that all the time, and in spite of that awareness and foreknowledge, He sent His Son Jesus Christ (Heaven’s best) to die for us (Earth’s worst)! God’s very nature is love, seeking the benefit of others (even when they do not deserve it). That worked to our advantage, as Calvary’s cross demonstrates.

The aforementioned individual who was disgusted regarding the heartbreaking news, he added that he found it encouraging that heroes were protecting and saving lives during that troublous time. Likewise, it thrills our hearts to remember the Hero of today’s Scripture, who risked (and literally lost!) His life protecting and saving us from the eternal flames of Hell!

Christ Loved Me—He Died for Me

Sunday, September 24, 2017

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 KJV).

The Gospel is not personal until it is coupled with personal faith!

Years ago, a Bible teacher gave a presentation to college students. After the lecture, a skeptical pupil approached him to complain. The student objected to the teacher reading Romans 5:8—“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He grumbled that the Bible’s promise was “not personal enough.” Actually, he wanted it to say, “God commendeth his love toward you… Christ died for you” (as in, directed to him personally rather than a group).

Sin causes such people not to appreciate the truths of God’s Word. They have no insight into Scripture, even when a Christian explains it to them. Why? Willful ignorance. The Lord Jesus Christ said in John 7:17: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” The key to “knowing of the doctrine” is “will[ing to] do [Father God’s] will.” Some lost people want to know God’s will; hence, they listen to and believe the Gospel preached to them. Others are content where they are, and will use any excuse—even the pettiest—to dismiss Scripture.

Today’s Scripture is a Christian (the Apostle Paul) reckoning—considering true—the application of Calvary’s merits to his personal account. It is only when someone willing to have faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork does one see the individual aspect of Calvary’s merits. An unbeliever who wants to stay dead in sins, does not see the full impact of Christ’s finished crosswork. There is mental assent, an intellectual exercise, but no heart faith that leads to righteousness (Romans 10:10a). The believer sees God’s love as personal, Christ’s death as personal. However, as long as lost people view verses through unbelieving lenses, they will see the verses printed on the page, hear the words proclaimed, but not trust the truth in the heart!

Our latest Bible Q&A article: “Can you explain 2 Timothy 4:13?

The Worst Day Ever!

Friday, August 11, 2017

“And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour [9 A.M.], and they crucified him” (Mark 15:24,25 KJV).

No matter how bad a day we are having, there is always someone worse off. For example, look at the worst day of the Lord Jesus’ life!

We complain about fighting with a broken computer while someone else is down at the cemetery burying a loved one. We whine about high food prices while someone is sleeping in a cardboard box in the alley behind the store. We complain about someone calling us a bad name when at least they did not torture or imprison us!

On the worst day of Jesus’ life, many horrible things happened to Him. You can read Matthew chapters 26 and 27, Mark chapters 14 and 15, Luke chapters 22 and 23, and John chapters 18 and 19. While we always have bad days, we can be thankful that we will never, ever experience the worst of all days in human history. It was far worse than even the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. On that day that the Lord Jesus died, His most trusted apostle betrayed Him. His chief apostle denied Him thrice. He was falsely accused and blasphemed against. They spat in His face and punched Him. They yanked His beard off. He was whipped. They struck Him on the head with a reed. A crown of thorns was forced into His scalp. They mocked Him. He was forced to carry His cross. They stripped Him of His clothing. He was nailed to the cross. They taunted Him as they sat at the foot of that cross. After slowly suffocating for six hours, He let Himself die!

Dear friends, such suffering is beyond our comprehension. We can read about it in the pages of Scripture but these events really do not sink in. How could God love us that much, to go through with all of that, just so we could have our sins paid in full? We are speechless. What we can do, the feeble souls that we are, is tell Him, “Thank You, Lord, for the worst day in human history!”

The Love of the Truth

Sunday, July 16, 2017

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 KJV).

What is “the love of the truth?”

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The “love of the truth” in today’s Scripture is the love of God manifested in the truth of God, and the truth of God is the Word of God (particularly the Gospel of Grace). The people in today’s Scripture rejected God’s love to them as He offered it to them in the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ. That is, they “believed not the truth” (verse 12), and “the truth” is the Gospel mentioned in chapter 1.

Chapter 1 already said: “[7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” Those individuals consumed in the fiery wrath at Christ’s Second Coming, God had a controversy with them. They did not have an intimate relationship with Him. Why did they lack that personal bond with Him? They “obey[ed] not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our Gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works (Ephesians 2:8,9). These people refused to come God’s way, so they will not be saved from God’s judgment (short-term, the Antichrist’s deception [today’s Scripture]; ultimately, hell and the lake of fire).

Returning to chapter 2, we see their punishment for their receiving not the love of the truth, that they might be saved: “[11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” They rejected God’s love manifested in the truth, so He has given them over to the lie that the Antichrist is the true Christ.

A Father to Follow

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1,2 KJV).

Lo, a Father to follow!

Early one morning, after a snowfall, a drunkard walked from his house to the saloon. As he left footprints, he heard the snow crunching behind him. Turning around, he saw his four-year-old son. The little boy giggled, “Daddy, look, I am following in your footsteps!” Instead of going to the saloon, the man picked up his son and they went home. He never went to the saloon again!

Brethren, it is no secret that children are a reflection of their parents. Usually, people unwittingly adopt their parents’ habits. A small child told me recently he yells all the time because “my daddy does it.” Bless his little heart, but he has no idea that his daddy is not to be his pattern if his daddy disregards the Holy Word of God. While some parents do their very best to lead their children in the ways of Christian living, unfortunately, that is often not the case. Many of the world’s problems originated from individuals whose parents taught them wrongly or failed to teach them anything decent at all!

Today’s Scripture says that, in light of everything that has gone before in Ephesians, we should be “followers of God, as dear children.” We are to be cognizant of God’s love for us at Calvary, and we are to “walk in love.” The pattern for us “walking in love” is to see how “Christ also hath loved us.” He loved us even to the point of self-sacrifice—yea, literally, to the death! It is that love of Christ that makes God pleased with us: He does not smell our rotten sin or sins, but rather the wonderful fragrance of Jesus Christ! He wants what is best for us, and, if we love Him, we will listen to His words and obey them. Will we act in accordance with how He “smells” us? Remember, He is a Father worth following!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What was ‘the epistle from Laodicea?’

Shine as Lights #10

Thursday, May 25, 2017

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16 KJV).

Shine as lights, brethren, shine as lights!

When Paul’s converts—whether the Philippians of old, or us today—follow by faith those principles of grace the ascended Lord Jesus Christ entrusted to him, they are preparing for the Judgment Seat of Christ. We want to have this “gold, silver, precious stones” (sound Bible doctrine) stored up in our inner man: we want to have as little as possible of “wood, hay, stubble” (worthless teaching) (1 Corinthians 3:8-15).

All members of the Church the Body of Christ are the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s 2,000-year-long ministry through the Apostle Paul. Brethren, if we walk now by faith in the Dispensation of Grace, Romans through Philemon, there will be so much rejoicing on Paul’s part at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Moreover, all Christians will see the results of their ministries fully exposed, also rejoicing in how God used them to benefit other Christians. (I look forward to seeing you there, dear brethren!)

Immediately after the Judgment Seat of Christ, Father God will gather all His “lights” (members of the Body of Christ), and literally light up the heavens with them! Romans 8:18,19 says: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” What a day that “manifestation” of “glory” will be!

We began this series with a quote by a brother who has since moved to Heaven. Accordingly, to conclude, we use another quote from him: “We are the only Bible this careless world will read. We are God’s signboards in a sinful world. Men watch us, and they judge Jesus by the way we live, work, act, and talk.” Think as lights—“shine as lights!” 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A articles: “What is ‘the botch of Egypt?’” and “What are ‘emerods?’