Tag Archives: gospel

God’s Telephone Directory

Before Sherry and I got old and gray, we used to go hiking down various nature trails. One of the nicest areas we found was around Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake. There are some beautiful hiking trails there. We’d take our walking sticks, and make a day of it.

Down one trail we followed, we found something I still can’t figure out – even years later. We were about a mile in – very far from the road – when we found a washing machine. There’s something freaky about finding a washing machine – one about 20 years old – down a narrow path that no vehicle could follow.

As I was reading and studying Nehemiah, I got to chapter 7 and said to myself, “Oh great. A washing machine!” The bulk of this chapter is nothing but names – many difficult to pronounce – and numbers. The summary of these figures is in

Nehemiah 7:66-67 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, 67 Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women…. Continue reading

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The Wall Is Repaired Through Unity

We have been studying the Book of Nehemiah, and how that wonderful Book relates to the Church today. God expects His Church not to languish, but to grow. As the Church we are called to promote the Kingdom of God in this present world. Jesus sent us with a specific commission to tell others about Him and His Gospel, and to be the light of God in this present darkness.

Israel was destroyed because they got away from the Word of God, and started to love themselves more than they loved God.

God sent a series of enemies into Israel – Babylon, Assyria, and Medo-Persia – to punish His people and awaken them from their sinful slumber. The Church in America today is in much the same place. We are a “Post Christian” nation because we as Christians have not stood at our post. Years ago the great Evangelist Dwight L. Moody said:

“A great many people have got a false idea about the church. They have got an idea that the church is a place to rest in … to get into a nicely cushioned pew, and contribute to the charities, listen to the minister, and do their share to keep the church out of bankruptcy is all they want. The idea of work for them—actual work in {and through} the church—never enters their minds.”

This is a poor concept of the Church. God calls His Church to work together for His glory. The reason that God gave us ministers:… Continue reading

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Enduring And Eternal Faith

James came to know Jesus as more than a stepbrother, but as the very Son of God, and was with the disciples on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given. Why did the brothers not believe in Jesus prior to the upper room? It is very possible that – as siblings – they were envious of the respect that Jesus received from Mary and Joseph. It is also true that the god of this world (Satan, the devil) blinds the minds of the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). In order for a person to be saved the “God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” must shine in our hearts, giving us a knowledge of Christ. No person is ever saved unless “the Father Who sent Jesus DRAWS them” (John 6:44). Salvation is a supernatural work that God does in our lives from start to finish.

The main point of James’ writing is that …. Continue reading

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God Is With His People

Last Sunday we started in the Book of Nehemiah. To review, Nehemiah and Ezra were considered one book by Israel and by Judaism. Ezra tells the story of the first return of Israel from exile to Jerusalem. Ezra and Zerubbabel led a team to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, and to introduce Israel to the Law of God once more. After Ezra’s team had been in Jerusalem 12 years or so, some of the exiles returned to the winter palace of the Persian King Artaxerxes, and met the Cupbearer (the Butler) of the King named Nehemiah. These exiles told Nehemiah that the walls of Jerusalem were down, and its gates burned with fire.

So Nehemiah prayed.

If you want to be used of God, you cannot be in bondage. The reason God gave us who are Gentiles the Old Testament is to show us that God can only use a liberated people. When Israel was in bondage to Egypt, God raised up Moses to go to Pharaoh, demanding:… Continue reading

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Jesus Is From Above

John 8:17-24 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. 21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. 22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. 23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

No One Ever Spoke As Jesus Did

When a jeweler wants to show off the beauty of his diamonds, he does not put the diamonds on a white, clean surface. No, the jeweler puts the diamonds against a black surface, usually black velvet. The black focuses the eye on the light reflecting through the facets of the diamond. Displayed against the darkness, the beauty of the diamond comes out.

As our Lord Jesus ministered on this earth, the times that His beauty was most seen was when He was seen against a black surface. Many times we see Jesus being approached by those who were under the blackness of sickness and disease. Other times Jesus was seen against the darkness of sinful man. But Jesus shone brightest when He was seen against the darkness of self… Continue reading

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Three Judean Kings

Because Ahaz did evil and led Israel to do evil, “the LORD his God delivered Ahaz into the hand of the King of Syria” (2 Chronicles 28:5). “Ahaz was also delivered into the hand of the King of Israel (Northern Israel)”, who killed many citizens. Southern Israel or Judah lost 120,000 “valiant men” in one day on the battlefield – a horrendous loss. The Bible says:

2 Chronicles 28:19 … the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of {Southern} Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord.

Ahaz would not repent and return to the Lord. Rather than admit his sin, Ahaz tried to build an alliance with Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria. Ahaz robbed the Temple of God (verse 21), and instead of turning to the Lord our God he adopted the gods of his enemies.

2 Chronicles 28:23-24 For {Ahaz} sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. 24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.

Ahaz robbed the Temple, taking away all furnishings, altars, and equipment used to worship God. Then Ahaz locked the doors of the Temple so no one could enter in and worship the Lord, and offered Israel false altars made for false gods to worship. Throughout Jerusalem – previously known as the City of God’s Temple – Ahaz established altars to false gods. Not satisfied with this, we are told:… Continue reading

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Mislabeling Jesus

Already we see Satan’s hand at twisting the truth. The Pharisees and Scribes are at the Synagogue with Jesus not to worship God, but to find something they can use to “accuse” Jesus. These people have redefined religion, redefined Judaism. The Great or Primary Commandment of the Law (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29-30; Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 30:6) is

Matthew 22:37 (ESV) … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

The second pillar of the Law is:

Matthew 22:39 (ESV) … You shall love your neighbor as yourself ..

Jesus said “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). That is, if you were to take the Law of God and condense it, these two commandments are the foundation upon which the Law rests. God’s faith is relational, not ritual. This unnamed man with the withered hand is suffering. If the Scribes and Pharisees were in the same position, they would want to be healed – even on the Sabbath Day. Redefining religion, they make it more ritualistic than relational. The Psalmist knew this, and said “You, O God, do not delight in sacrifice … you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings” (Psalm 51:16). God wants a relationship with us, with His people. He wants us to be in union with Him, loving Him and others…. Continue reading

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Being A Good Soldier Of Christ

Unless believers pass on Bible truths to the next generation, the Gospel light cannot continue to burn. The Books of Timothy were written by the Apostle Paul to pass on Biblical truths in a world covered with darkness.

Paul met Timothy (or his Roman name, Timotheus) in Acts 16 during his second missionary journey. We read:

Acts 16:1-3 Then came {Paul} to Derbe and Lystra: {located in Southern Asia Minor & Turkey} and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, {or Timothy} the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, {Eunice} and believed; but his father was a Greek: 2 Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.

Timothy gave his life to the Lord, and committed to following the Apostle Paul as he moved to start new churches. Though Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were believing Jews (see 2 Timothy 1:5), Timothy’s father was a Gentile. Because of this Timothy had never been circumcised. Though the Apostle believed that:

Colossians 3:11 … there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Circumcision is not necessary for salvation. Nonetheless, Paul asked Timothy to be circumcised since he had a Jewish mother, so that his lack of circumcision would not hinder his ministry among the Jews. Many of the Pharisees would not even listen to an uncircumcised person. There’s a principle in this that we need to understand. … Continue reading

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The Faith That Perseveres

The religious leadership of Israel had gradually moved away from God.

The Pharisees placed more emphasis on being physically born a Jew, and on knowledge of Scripture rather than application of Scripture.

The Pharisees, Scribes, and Priests of Israel gathered together in conspiracy, we are told in …

Matthew 26:3-5 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty {conspiracy}, and kill him. 5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people {political conspiracy}.

As Paul said,

1 Thessalonians 2:15 {they} both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets…

The Jews plotted against Jesus. They hired men to tell lies about Jesus at His trial. They held Jesus’ trial at night so there would be few witnesses to what transpired. In short, those who should have known better violated numerous teachings in God’s Word in order to get rid of Jesus. They did the same thing with the Prophets that God sent to them. Jesus said of these pitiful religious lost people:… Continue reading

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Walking Worthy Of The Gospel

It shocks me, but doesn’t surprise me when the lost do terrible things. This past Tuesday, May 24, 2022 an 18 year old man named Salvador Ramos went into Robb Elementary School and killed nineteen children and two adults. Seventeen others were wounded. The young man earlier that day shot his own grandmother in the face, severely wounding her.

What creates such a horror? People are quick to blame guns, and call for gun control and additional laws, including enhanced background checks prior to the sales of guns. Sadly, there’s no easy answer that government can give us to the problems we face in our nation. The first murder in the Bible was not committed with a gun, but an unnamed weapon (Genesis 4:1-10). The horror is not in the weapon, but in the heart of the one who murders another.

Had Ramos gone into that classroom and killed 21 people with a machete, or a stick of dynamite, or a poison gas, it would be just as horrible. The horror is that his heart could yield a weapon to destroy lives made by God.

What are the first causes of this terrible behavior? Bloodshed, murder and mayhem are pushed through network media and the larger movie screens and streaming services, along with sexual perversity of every kind. Children are allowed to play video games where they participate in bloody mayhem. The Bible says:… Continue reading

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