Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Consider the love of God
God's Love is Holy


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

God's love did not let sin go. True love, Godly love, does not make excuses for sin rather it seeks to deal with sin. Lust accommodates sin, godly love expiates sin. Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is a demonstration of what love really is, love is sacrificing ourselves for the sake of another, desiring the what is godly and best for them. Here God the Father loved us so much that He spared not His Son. I don't know if it is right to describe God's attribute of love with another attribute (holiness) but when I think of the cross it sure makes a lot of sense.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Consider the love of God
God's Love Is Universal


"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

There is not one person in this world that God does not love to the point where He wants to see them saved. Whether a man is rich and famous or poor and miserable, if God had his way, He would that they all would come to repentance and be saved. God wants the intellectual humanist to come to the Salvation just as much as He wants the illiterate low-life to get saved. This blessed verse ought to get every Christian excited about the opportunity we have to proclaim to 'every creature' the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ freely without any restraints. I heard someone say this, you can never give the Gospel to the wrong person, and I believe that to be a true statement.

A personal note: When I go soulwinning, I still get nervous knocking on doors. I constantly remind myself of this great verse. Somehow, I find such comfort and strength in this verse when I realize that God wants people saved, and His ordained way of accomplishing this task is through my obedience to His will.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Key Verse


"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:" (Phil. 2:5)

As evidenced by this great "parabola" of Scripture (2:6-11), Christ provides for us an example of true, godly humility and oneness of mind with God the Father. After doing a little bit of personal study in the book of Philippians, at least for me at this time, Phil. 2:5 appears to be the central thought, the 'key verse,' that corresponds to every unit in this precious Pauline epistle.

There are several methods of Bible Study. I for one have highly benefited learning how to study using what is called a "Synthetic chart." I would guess the method could be called the synthetic Bible study method. The word 'synthetic' means "the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole" (Miriam-Webster). The basic idea of this method of Bible study is to examine a passage, or a book and deducing from that its various components as well as providing from the observation the point or the key verse that relates to the whole. It is basically observation (of course I should add 'spiritual observation'). I would like to go into greater details of this and other methods but that really is not point of this thread, perhaps I will elaborate on this topic some time in the future.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A rather simple reminder


"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;" (Phil. 1:12)

Part of the reason Paul wrote this epistle is to give an update of his condition to the Philippian church. Verse 12 is a great reminder to us that no matter what hardships we may be facing, God could use us to further the Gospel. The word 'rather' seems to suggest a reverse in what one could expect. Paul could have chosen the easier route of shutting up, and resigning the ministry. He could have allowed the lies (btw both within and without the church) to eat him up spiritually and embitter him. Rather than destroying his faith, message and testimony, Paul's imprisonment and hardships made his Gospel witness shine even brighter in a dark world of sin.

Dear Christian, don't give up the good fight of faith.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Think on these things (part 6)


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)

"Anything worthy of praise" (Barnes). And I must say that "things" which are praise-worthy are things that are conformable to the Word of God. To a Christian everything (every thought, every decision, every action, etc.) must be tested by the Bible if it is going to be worthy of praise.

Think on these things (part 5)


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)

Every Christian is to exhibit elements of virtue and praise in his life. Virtue means 'moral excellence' (Thayer). It's not just doing things right, but rather doing right things in the right way. I am a firm believer in rehearsals and practice simply because they help ensure of doing things excellently. A common mistake among Christendom is this attitude that things done for Jesus does not have to be 'excellent.' If we look at God for an example, He gave us His best, He gave us His only begotten Son. When we seek to serve the Lord, we ought to give back to God what is our best. We ought to strive for moral excellence. The Bible does teach us to add to our faith, virtue (see 2 Peter 1:5). God desires us to immediately add to our faith that which is morally excellent, and He certainly deserves that.


Another common mistake is to think that so long as "Jesus" is tacked to a thing, that regardless of the base, lewd, sordid quality of that thing, that that perhaps becomes acceptable. And so in the music industry we have what is labeled as "Christian" Contemporary Music. BUT this is not moral and certainly not 'excellent' since it violates Scriptural principles of separation. On the other hand, you can listen to a completely secular classical music piece by a potentially unregenerated composer such as Mozart or a Chopin and they still demonstrate music that is virtuous. Dr. Sargeant in his Systematic Theology book said: "Secular does not mean worldy." What an observation! and how true that is.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Think on these things (part 4)


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)

Pure means clean. If our thoughts are pure, then it only follows that our actions will be pure. The point about thinking on these things is to put them into practice (v.9 "Those things...do..."). Every Christian is called to purity. We are to love God and others out of a pure heart (1 Tim. 1:5). We are to present the Gospel with a pure conscience (1 Tim. 3:9). We are to keep ourselves pure, understanding that we can potentially be participating in other's sin (2 Tim. 1:3).

"Whatsoever things are lovely." The world thinks of loveliness as being soft and some kind emotion that generates warm fuzzies. However the Bible defines for us what love really is, this helps us understand from a Biblical perspective what then is lovely. In John 14:15 Jesus said: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." True love is doing what God says to do. Therefore if we are to think and act on things that are lovely, then we must run our decisions through the Word of God. Love that is void of obedience is not lovely. God is interested in aesthetics. Somehow, there is a stupid philosophy that says things done for God does not have to be the best. I disagree. I think God is worthy of our finest service all the time. Doing our dead level best, in clothing, in singing, in music, in giving, in preaching, in teaching, in reading the Bible, in witnessing, ought to stem from a heart that truly thinks on things lovely.

"Good report" means reputable (Strong) or sounding well (Thayer). When God finished his creative work, He evaluated it and pronounced them 'good.' We ought to do or to practice virtues in our lives that can bring others to an appriciation of our God. We must constantly be on our guard to proctect our reputation before a fallen world, lest the name of our God be evil spoken of. What a priveledge it is to be called a "Christian." I remember reading a Spurgeon sermon, where Spurgeon said in essence, we should not worry about our Lord Jesus since He will never betray us, rather we should worry that our lives may betray the Lord Jesus we say we serve.

Friday, May 19, 2006

On a more personal note...


Books, books, and more books. This year's annual York Expo Center Book Nook Sale was outstanding. We literally stood outside for an hour before they opened. We thought we could beat the crowd, we did not do too bad, but there were plenty of 'die hards' who were already lined up and ready to go. Hey, more power to them, I'm not bitter, I choose to be better. Anyway...

I got lots of Oliver Greene books for 25 cents a piece, some were 50 cents, but I won't complain. I also got a book by Walter Wilson (with his signature in it, WOW!), Jay Adams, Howard Vos, JC Penny, Mortimer Adler, J Sidlow Baxter, and Theodore Epp. There were only two tables designated "Religion" and swarms of people swiftly picking up books as if they were going out of style. There were even some boxes of books for sale underneath the tables that we rummaged through. I did get 'shooed' by an oriental woman under the table because I was snooping in her box...LOL! she was under the table calculating her books when I accidentally started to rummage through her choosen books (I could have had a Renald Showers book - errr!). Opps, my bad.

I must have gone up and down at least five times in each table to ensure that I was not missing out on anything. All in all it was a book-hunting adventureous afternoon!

Think on these things (part 3)


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)

The word 'honest' in this verse carries the idea of 'honorable' (Strong) or 'venerable' (Thayer). This word is translated 'grave' in 1 Timothy 3:8, 11; Titus 2:2. Many professing Christians attend church in an attitude that is casual rather than 'grave.' They view God as a 'buddy.' Church is a social club. Some throw a swimming party when observing baptism (by this I mean: they would back-flip some candidate into the water if so requested). I read of a church and restaurant merge called "Holy Macaroni." I believe they still try to hold services there, but folks could just sit and relax, enjoy a meal, as well as a church service, of course "no one is going to force Christianity" on anyone. How casual, how irreverent, how opposite of 'things honest.'

The word 'just' means 'righteous, observing divine law' (Thayer). We should want to learn more about God and His Word to in order to be 'just.' We live in a day and age where right and wrong is being blurred by compromise. Good is spoken of as evil and vice versa. Doing what is just may not necessarily be the most popular thing to do but as Christians we have a responsibility to make sure that we are equitable in dealing with others. When we deal with people about their soul's destiny, for example, we must tell them about their sinful condition and warn them about Hell. When we deal with others in business we must strive to provide them with the best materials, or the best service that we could possibly render.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Think on these things (part 2)


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)


Larry Elder is a famous 'talk radio' libertarian who uses a really 'catchy' catch-phrase: "Truth beats all." And how true that is. Truth is foundational to Christian living, and in this case Christian thinking. Paul was perhaps trying to calm the mind of his readers since they are longing to know about his condition. The truth of the matter was that Paul did not allow his circumstances to ruin his calling and ministry. As Christians we have a responsibility to make decisions based on the truth. Where is truth? where do we find truth today? Jesus said in John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth." We have all of God's truths in the Bible. The Bible speaks truths about the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, it speaks to us about a future judgment day (Judgment Seat for those saved; and the Great White Throne Judgment for those who are unsaved). It speaks truth that often we may not like to hear, but it speaks about it anyway...loud and clear. Part of the reason I have great difficulty and even discomfort (better yet a distate) for Hollywood Movies is the fact that much of what they 'put out' is truly morally, and doctrinally untrue. Our young people are promised happiness in booze, cigarrettes, and promiscuity however, the truth is that happiness is found in serving the Lord instead of self. In fact, one cannot serve two masters (see Matt. 6:24). The truth says "wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction" (Matt. 7:13b).


There are many other things I would love to say about 'truth' so many verses one could consider. I think this will do for now.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Think on these things (part 1)


"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Phil. 4:8)

"Think on these things" meaning to 'take inventory' (Strong). This deals with what Christians are suppose to reflect upon, or to 'meditate upon for the purpose of putting it into practice' (Gill). While we all have the freedom to think individually, (and thank God He did not make us all to think exactly alike - makes the world a little bit more interesting - at least that's what I think) we are responsible before God to make sure that we don't just entertain every thought that comes to mind. Every Christian is commanded to truly think the kind of thoughts that are pleasing to God. We are given some objectives to reflect upon. The reason why 'these things' are God-pleasing is because they represent or rather they are consistent with who God really is. In other words, 'these things' reminds us about God's character. And so in keeping them in mind, we really are keeping God in mind. "These things" are to help us aspire to do great things for our great God, in a manner that is godly.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Moses' Song (יהוה)


"Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God." (Deut. 32:1-3)

Moses' song is likened unto rain and dew primarily because the content of his song can bring life to those who hearken. And what was the content of his song? What was so life-giving and refreshing about it? Verse 3 says: "...I will publish the name of the LORD." That means he will proclaim the name of the LORD. That is why his song is special. It is special because he is declaring to all who God really is. God has several names, but the name that is frequently used in the Bible is that which is revealed to us as Yaweh or LORD (in all caps).


Recognizing who God is and submission to Him will result in having a meaningful and fruitful life. Moses has come to the end of his life, although he was barred from entering into Canaan, he did not allow God's punishment to embitter his spirit. Moses rather declares to the Israelites the greatness and steadfastness of the LORD, and the one responsibility they had, and we do as well, is found in the latter part of verse 3 "...ascribe ye greatness unto our God." This could very well be every living creature's purpose: to ascribe greatness unto our God.




Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Abounding Love

"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;" (Phil. 1:9)

Many churches and religious leaders and even young people have sacrificed their convictions and standards of separation on the altar of love. In the name of love, they call for the walls of 'doctrinal separation' to come down. For youngsters, they easily mistake lust for love. For many professing Christians, it could be that messages about Hell are unloving. How far is that from the kind of love that God wants us to have. Love that is not guarded by knowledge and judgment is not spiritual. Thankfully the Bible is exact about how we should develop our love. It should 'abound more and more in knowledge...' Knowledge of who God is, what He says (the Bible), what He is like, and what He desires. I think of the 'social gospel' movements, when I think of love without knowledge. The problem with it is superimposing physical needs over their spiritual needs. When I think of love without "judgment" or discernment, I think of religious movements like neo-evangelicalism, or doctrinal beliefs such as 'easy prayerism.' The latter stems from an intense love to see souls saved, but it is not rooted in discernment. And God will have none of it.
We can praise the Lord however, that He has given us everything so that we may be able to have a love that progressively abounds in knowledge and judgment.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Moses


"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel." (Deut. 34:10-12)

I heard a preacher say: "To a large extent we are responsible for the kind of sermon which is preached at our funeral." And how true that is.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Fellowship

"For your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now;" (Phil. 1:5)

One of the reoccuring themes in Philippians is "fellowship." Paul is thankful to God for the Philippian beleivers and prays for their continuance in the faith. Part of the joy that Paul experienced is their 'fellowship in the Gospel.' Fellowship is 'real spiritual participation' (Jameison, Fausset, and Brown). I must admit that when I think of 'fellowship' I think of getting together and having fun along with some type of food. That is more like feasting, but it does not necessarily mean 'fellowship.' Fellowship, therefore is deeper than just getting together, it is deeper than feasting. It is sharing in something and not just of something. In this verse Paul was in prison, and yet he rejoices when he thinks of the Philippian believer's fellowship in the Gospel. Fellowship is a spiritual participation, being commonly involved in the spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. In this case, the Philippian church among other things, gave financially to Paul. They were sharing in this endevour to spread the Gospel.

How about it dear saint? Do you have an active spiritual participation in the Gospel? It may be in giving to your church's missions program, it may be in passing out Gospel tracts, it may be in going out on visitation, or door knocking, it may be in sincere prayer, it may be in speaking to others about the Lord Jesus Christ - speaking to family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends, even enemies. I do believe it is all that and more. How goes your 'fellowship?'

Friday, May 5, 2006

Bread from Heaven in the Wilderness of Sin


"Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;" (Exo. 16:4a)

The children of Israel traveled to the Wilderness of Sin (a real geographical location south of Elim, where they probably were a month ago). They came out of Egypt by the great deliverance of walking on dry ground through the Red Sea. Now they were complacent, perhaps having the opportunity to see Egypt from a far, they longed for their former lifestyle, even under bondage. The LORD heard their murmurings and meets their need yet again. He supplies them with bread in the morning and meat (quails) at night. They called this bread "Manna." We are given a description of this bread and its taste in verse 31. Furthermore, the LORD instructed Moses to keep some "Manna" in a pot for a memorial and later it was placed in the Ark of the Covenant.
We too are in a 'Wilderness of Sin.' In fact we are born in sin. And unless we partake of that 'bread from heaven' we cannot survive. Ultimately, we would die in our sin and face the LORD as our Judge. In John 6 Jesus declares Himself to be the true bread from heaven. Verse 35 says: "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." These sayings in John 6 were too heavy even for those who initially began to follow Jesus. "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (verse 66). So they turned their backs from the bread of life, the only supply that could sustain eternal life. They chose to return to their 'wilderness of sin.' They lost their souls. Have you partaken yet of the bread of life, Jesus Christ? I pray before it is too late, that today if you have not yet trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ that you would do so.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Servants and Saints

"Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:" (Phil. 1:1)

The word for servant in this verse means 'slave' or even 'bond slave.' Almost like slavery we Christians are bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). However, in contrast to slavery, we serve a wonderful Lord and Savior, not a taskmaster at all. Jesus does not 'crack the whip' nor mistreats us, rather He sent us another Comforter to aid us in our daily lives to become the kind of Christian we ought to be (i.e. more Christ-like).
Another term describing Christians is 'saints.' That means we are 'set apart.' But we are not merely set apart to do nothing. We are set apart for the purpose of serving God. I used to belong to a church where people had to go through a process before being called a saint. But Biblically speaking, a saved person is a saint. This means that all who claim to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have a responsibility to serve. We are saved to serve. Many today like the 'saving' part but do not want anything to do with the 'serving' part. I don't know if that kind of an attitude is becoming of a saint. Not that serving merits Salvation, but rather Salvation produces servitude.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Their 'rock' is not my Rock


Many of today's churches are using a style of music that sounds no different from that found in rock concerts, social clubs, bars, and other questionable places. The current trend of music is really nothing new. The musical revolution began in the 50's with a new genre of music called: 'rock n' roll.' Who would have thought that it would trickle down into many churches today?
Rock, in all its various forms, has found a resting place in scores of churches all across this land. Interestingly enough, so-called 'Christian' artists who perform or 'do their thing,' are applauded by the same crowd that honors 'worldly' artists, with hardly any distinction that could be differentiated by their music, with the exception of the lyrics (even then some lyrics tend to be vague or suggestive).
In the Bible, Christians were not lauded, they were hated (see John 15:18, Hebrews 11:36-38). What a contrast in attitude and acceptance in todays society. One question comes to mind when thinking upon this subject of "Christian Rock", what's so Christian about rock music?