Help, I’m Drowning!

idolatry, materialism No Comments

If you were drowning, would you want someone to help you?  If you were drowning in the lusts of the flesh, would you want someone to rescue you?  In many ways, we place greater value on our physical lives than we do our souls.  In I Tim. 6:9-10, Paul writes, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The Peril
Paul identifies a group of people who are marked by their desire for riches.  Three nouns indicate what they fall into:  temptation (enticement to sin); snare (trap of the devil who desires to bring us to condemnation before God); and lusts (many foolish and hurtful lusts (strong desire for what God forbids).  There are two words modifying lusts:  foolish (morally unwise) and hurtful (injurious and so unprofitable).  Peter states that fleshly lusts war against the soul (I Pet. 2:11).
The Penalty
Paul affirms that these lusts “drown men in destruction and perdition.”  The word destruction comes from the Greek word, olethros, which is always translated destruction and indicates the ruin of the whole being both physical and spiritual.  The word indicates the scope of the ruin:  present and eternal.  The word perdition comes from the Greek word apoleia, which means brought to ruin, loss of well-being, final and irrevocable ruin or condemnation by God.  The design of the temptation by Satan is realized–a person is condemned eternally by God.  The word drown literally means to plunge to one’s death in water or some other liquid.  Here, it is used figuratively of lusts which overwhelm and overcome the soul causing spiritual death.
The Proverb
In I Tim. 6:10, Paul states, “For the love of money is the root of all evil….”  This is a proverb which states a most emphatic truth.  The phrase, love of money, is from the Greek word philarguria which indicates a person who places his/her heart on possessing money.  Synonyms would be:  covetous, greed, and avarice.  This misplaced love would supplant love for God which must be supreme (Matt. 22:36-39).  Jesus said that no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).  The god of mammon is a false god.  The love of money becomes a radical source of all types of evil.  What would people do for money?  Some would kill, steal, defraud, lie, cheat, prostitute themselves, destroy others, commit injustice (bribery), start wars, rob God, corrupt their own hearts with stinginess, and many other sins.  The root is the means of supply and support for a tree.  The love of money is the essential element involved in many types of sin.  To err is to transgress the faith (the Word of God, the gospel).  Those who love money pierce themselves through with many sorrows.  These are impaled by idolatry.  The heartache is self-inflicted.  The results are:  mental distress, grief, sorrow, guilt, and estrangement from God.  Judas Iscariot is a good example.  Judas was a thief (John 12:6).  He betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  In doing so, he sold his soul to the devil.  Self-destruction followed the indulgence of this lust of the flesh.
True Prosperity
Paul provides the remedy in I Tim. 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Godliness is piety towards God involving both a love for God and a desire to please God in all things.  Contentment involves being satisfied with God’s sufficiency for our lives.  It involves being satisfied with God’s grace.  Contentment provides the contrast to covetousness and establishes a better way to live.  The result is great gain.  The true riches of life are spiritual not material (Matt. 6:19-20).

A Response to Matthew Sokoloski’s Review

apologetics, Big Bang Theory, creation No Comments

I have uploaded a response to Matthew Sokoloski’s review of Nobie Stone’s book, Genesis 1 and Lessons From Space.  Sokoloski teaches in the Humanities department of Faulkner University.  He wrote a book review of Nobie Stone’s book for Sufficient Evidence, a journal published by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center.  The review appeared in the Fall, 2017 issue.  Sokoloski’s review exposes one of the major weaknesses of Nobie Stone’s book (also published by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center) which is its skepticism (agnosticism).  However, Sokoloski fails to point out some of the other errors contained in the book.  You will find my response to Sokoloski’s review under my Book Reviews page on this blog.  Please take the time to read it.  Then, for more background information, please read my book reviews of both the first edition and revised edition of Nobie Stone’s book.  The publishing of Stone’s book utterly destroys the integrity of the Warren Christian Apologetics Center and brings shame and reproach on the name of Thomas B. Warren.

The Design Argument For God’s Existence

creation, evolution, theistic evolution No Comments

In Ruth 2:3, the Bible says, “And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech.”  The word hap means “an accidental set of circumstances.”  For accidental causes to accomplish something that would normally require insight is a coincidence (Theistic Evolution, p. 97).  Ruth gleaned in the field of Boaz by coincidence.
Probability is the math of coincidence–  the math by which we rigorously rank coincidences.  For instance, you bump into an old classmate at a restaurant a thousand miles from your home and understand that it was a coincidence.  However, if your entire graduating class was at the restaurant, then, you know that it could not be by accident or coincidence, but would have to be by design.
Common Science
Whether or not we know how to calculate probabilities, we all seem to know from everyday experience–common science–that the number of opportunities cannot be large enough for anything but minor coincidences to occur.  Douglas Axe introduces us to the concept of common science in a chapter that he wrote for the book, Theistic Evolution.  Axe confidently affirms that inventions never occur by accident.  An invention is illustrated by a pizza, a power point presentation, or a paragraph in a book.  In invention (and we are all inventors) a large number of small things must be done sensibly (intelligently) in order for the big thing to come together.  Projects like making a pizza are easy to accomplish because we have mastered all of the elementary skills they require, but the fact that these skills had to be acquired assures us that accidents will never take the place of inventions.  If an invention such as a pizza will never be made by accident, then, for mind blowingly spectacular inventions like hummingbirds or dolphins to happen by accident is completely out of the question.  The rule then is: accidental invention is impossible.
Application of the Rule to Evolution
If accidental invention is impossible, then macroevolution is false.  The theory of evolution does not escape the rule of accidental invention.  Yet, evolutionists insist that, given enough time, the natural world and the universe that we live in including all life forms happened by accident!  They affirm this even though the probability is so high that it violates common science. 
Application of the Rule to Theistic Evolution
The concept of theistic evolution attempts to compromise the theory of evolution and the Biblical account of creation.  However, evolution and design are contradictory as noted above.  Theistic evolution is false because it attempts to assert that both evolution (chance development of all things) and design (intelligent design) are true.  This violates the law of non-contradiction.  The law of non-contradiction states that a proposition cannot both be true and not true at the same time.  Every precisely stated proposition is either true or false.  Evolutionists like Charles Darwin and his followers explicitly claim that chance variation (mutations) and the law of natural selection have produced all species of living organisms from a common ancestor including human beings. If true, then, design is ruled out.  In contrast, if design is the cause of creation of species as the Bible affirms, then chance and the law of natural selection are ruled out.  Theistic evolutionists attempt to have it both ways and violate the law of non-contradiction. This simply means that you have to be irrational in order to be either an evolutionist or a theistic evolutionist.
Evolution is a story without a mechanism.  It is not possible for chance to produce the design (invention) that we see every day in our universe.  This means that there is only one explanation for the design we observe all around us–an intelligent being–God–created it (Gen. 1:1)!  (reference:  Theistic Evolution, edited by J. P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger, and Wayne Grudem).

Irrefutable Proof of the Day of Christ’s Resurrection

Sabbath, Sunday No Comments

Roderick C. Meredith in Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath? affirms that Jesus was resurrected on the Sabbath day. He also affirms that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday and buried Wednesday afternoon.  He states, “But the Bible is very clear that Christ was not resurrected on Sunday morning” (p. 22).
In the interest of trying the spirits whether they be of God (I John 4:1), let us put Mr. Meredith to the test of truth.
First, Jesus predicted His resurrection on the third day. Matt. 16:21, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”  “Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22).  Many other passages teach the same thing (Mark 9:31; 10:34; Matt. 17:23; 20:19; Luke 18:33; 24:46).
Second, Luke gives us irrefutable evidence that Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week or the third day.
Luke 24:1, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”  This passage indicates the day when the women came to the tomb of Jesus to prepare His body with spices. They discovered that His body was no longer in the tomb.
Luke 24:13, “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.”  The phrase, “that same day” refers to the first day of the week.
Luke 24:21, “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”  These words were spoken by Cleopas and another disciple (unnamed) as they spoke to Jesus while on the road to Emmaus.  They spoke of Jesus’ crucifixion (Luke 24:20). This day was, in fact, the third day from the time of Jesus’ crucifixion which was the first day of the week (Luke 24:1).
Luke 24:46, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.”  In Luke 24, the third day was the first day of the week. Jesus was resurrected on Sunday, the first day of the week.  We affirm this confidently because Luke, an inspired writer, recorded it and not because of any tradition of men.

Love and Knowing God

Christian living, love No Comments

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (I John 4:8).
The beginning of a New Year is a time for new challenges.  The apostle Paul gives us a challenge in the context of a prayer in Phil. 1:9-11, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in judgment.  That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”  Paul challenges us to grow in love.  In order to do this, we must be partakers of the divine nature.
The Divine Nature-Love
John affirms that God is love.  Love is not all that God is, but it is an aspect that characterizes God in the fullness of His Being.  Love permeates all that God is and does.  First, the love of God is His benevolent goodness.  God is good ((Mark 10:18). God created all things good (Gen. 1:31).  He is the benefactor of good things (Matt. 7:11).  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).  Second, God’s love is His selfless, sacrificial giving manifested in the unspeakable gift of His Son (II Cor. 9:15; I John 4:9-10).  Third, God always seeks our highest good (II Tim. 1:4; II Pet. 3:9) and this means He wants us to come to repentance and be saved.  A basic meaning of love is to seek the highest good of another.  God actively does this on our behalf.
Becoming Partakers of the Divine Nature
Human nature is unregenerated.  This refers to the spiritual state of man without Christ and the Holy Spirit while he is yet in his sins (Eph. 2:1).    Man’s redemption and salvation was promised through Jesus Christ when he (or she)  is born again (John 3:3-5; Gal. 3:26-17; Rom. 6:3-4).  Those who have been baptized into Christ have undergone a new birth.  They walk in newness of life.  They are new creatures created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  Paul states that the new man, “is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:10).  At conversion, the new man created in Christ Jesus becomes a partaker of the divine nature, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:3).  As Christians, we bear the image of Christ to the world (II Cor. 3:18).  Love is a part of the holy character of God.  Christians have been called to holiness (I Thess. 4:7) and are partakers of His holiness (Heb. 12:10).  Love is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).  Our love must imitate God’s love (Eph. 5:1-2).  Our love must be:  undefeatable, benevolent, goodwill.  It must be selfless and sacrificial.  It involves seeking the highest good of others.
Love and Knowing God
Knowing God involves much more than being intellectually aware of some facts about God.  Knowing God involves intimacy with God through the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ.  It is a personal, spiritual, relationship, communion, and fellowship with deity.  It is experiential in that we have tasted of the heavenly gift (Heb. 6:4-5).  In this way, we become partakers of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 6:4).  Whenever a person becomes a Christian, he/she must deny self (Matt. 16:24), sacrifice self to God (Rom. 12:1-2) and commit to a life of service to God (Rom. 12:1-2).  In short, the conversion process involves love for God which is manifested in each of these acts.  The alternative to love is selfishness and rebellion against God.  Unbelief and disobedience are the hallmarks of lovelessness.  Failure to love is failure to know God.  John goes on to show that when we hate our brother we prove our failure to love God.  If a man says he loves God and hates his brother, he is a liar.  This incongruity can only be reconciled by repudiating human nature and being a partaker of the divine nature.  If we truly love God, we will love one another.  Love for God is the greatest commandment and must take priority in our lives or we will fail to keep all of the other commandments God has given us.  Jesus said that if we love Him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15; 14:23-24).  You can obey God without loving Him, but you cannot love God and disobey Him!
The Nature of Love
In I John 4:8-10, John indicates that love is a virtue (God is love); a motive (love prompted God to send Christ into this world) and an action (God sent, God gave-John 3:16).  Whenever we become partakers of the divine nature, we will manifest love as a virtue, a motive and an action.  Unleash the power of love in your own life.  Love will bind you to the heart of God, change your heart, become the underlying motive for all that you do and impact the lives of others for good. Love, properly understood, is the greatest thing in the world (I Cor. 13:13)!

Preaching In The New Testament

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Jonathan Griffiths wrote a new book in the New Studies in Biblical Theology series edited by D. A. Carson titled, Preaching in the New Testament: An Exegetical and Biblical-Theological Study.  The book was published by InterVarsity Press in 2017.  I have posted a review of this book on my website and it can be found under the Book Reviews page.  This book (1) defines biblical preaching; (2) gives a thorough word study of the verbs in the Greek New Testament translated by the English word, “preach or preaching”; (3) establishes that preaching is distinct from other forms of word ministry and (4)  argues against the complementarian view –though this is not done as demonstrably as I would have liked Griffiths to have accomplished.  Every year preachers should read a book that pertains to their craft.  This book would be beneficial to furthering one’s own understanding of the value of preaching.  Preaching is irreplaceable and indispensable to the growth of the kingdom of God.

Seize The Blessing in Giving

generosity, giving No Comments

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  At some time in Jesus’ public ministry He stated these recorded words.  Jesus also taught, “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure ye mete withal it shall be measured unto you” (Luke 6:38).
The Principle
Luke 6 records the Sermon on the Plain– a sermon similar in some respects to the Sermon on the Mount, but delivered at a different time and place.  In the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus develops the principle of reciprocity.  There are five elements referenced:  be merciful, obtain mercy; judge not, be not judged; condemn not, be not condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; and give and it shall be given unto you.  The principle is:  with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  There is a positive and negative aspect to this principle.  The positive aspect involves blessing:  God’s rewards fit the good deeds of men.  The negative aspect is cursing: God’s judgments fit the crimes of men.
The Principle Applied To Giving
In 2 Cor. 9:6-8, Paul teaches, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”  Giving does not diminish us.  Instead, it empowers us.  When we consider that “power” is the ability to do work, especially the work of God, then our selfless giving increases our ability to do the work God’s has given to us.  Generous giving does not impoverish us, it enriches us.  Purposed giving reflects the intent of the heart as well as the selflessness that characterizes the heart.  When we give selflessly, we give resentment free and consequently we have great joy in giving.  Where love is present joy abounds.  Giving is a measure of your heart.  The amount you give serves as a standard made by you for you.  Once that standard has been established by your heart, then, God responds in like kind either rewarding you or condemning you.
The Greatness of God’s Grace
God’s grace is greater than any amount of our giving.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”  You cannot out-give God!  Be generous in your giving because God’s grace can supply you with all things that make you abound unto every good work.  As God blesses you through His grace, your ability to do His work and fulfill His purposes is enhanced.  Take God’s increased blessings and accomplish even more for His name’s sake.  God can and will use you to accomplish His purposes and you will become a channel of blessing to others. Your giving prompts God’s grace!  Herein lies the blessing in giving and why Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

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