Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

World Peace

Some time ago I received a letter from a very troubled but earnest young lady who was crying out to church leaders in our city to help share her concern for world peace. Her letter is about what God told her in her dreams. She wrote about the tragedy of 9/11 and what she believed to be America’s wrong response by going to war against the terrorists. She wrote of the special messages she had received from God and from angels and from the spirits of those who had been killed in the terrorist attack in New York and Washington. I am concerned for her and many others like her throughout the country who are living in a dream world with no compass in life but their dreams and with no foundation but crumbling liberalism that rejects the Bible as the inspired, infallible Word of God. The following is my response to her letter.

Dear Friend,

I read your letter carefully and prayerfully. The peace you long for is the peace for which man has searched ever since it was lost in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve listened to the lie of Satan and sinned against God their creator. Isaiah 57:20-21 says, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Religion and psychiatry cannot bring lasting peace. Jeremiah 6:14 “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.” Adam’s sin and the consequence of death has passed on to the entire human race. Romans 5:12 “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.”

God has provided reconciliation and peace to all those who confess they are sinners, helpless and hopeless to save themselves; and who look to the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for sinners. Jesus, the holy, sinless, Son of God, took upon Himself all our sins and bore them on the cross, paying the penalty of death for all of us. When we put our trust in Christ, He justifies us, reconciles us to God, declaring us righteous through the merits of Jesus’ righteousness. Romans 5 1 says, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Not only does He reconcile us to Himself through Christ, but His Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives filling us with His love, joy and peace.

I encourage you to not trust your dreams, but rather spend time reading the Bible, God’s holy, inspired Word to us. Hebrews chapter 1 teaches that in the past God did speak through dreams and visions. Today He speaks to us through His completed Word, the Bible. Read the warnings of the coming departure from the Word of God that Paul wrote about two thousand years ago to Timothy in II Timothy 3 & 4. Read in Colossians 2:18. the warnings of worshipping angels and looking to them for direction.

The peace you so long for is coming to this earth. But first, Jesus said, there would be wars and rumors of wars. Matthew 24. For the past 2000 years, ever since Jesus spoke those words, wars and distress have rocked this world. Here’s what lies ahead.

Jesus is imminently returning to this earth to suddenly remove from this world every true Christian. In John 14:1-3 Jesus clearly promises He will one day return to this earth to take us to be with Himself. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 gives details concerning this great event. Then this earth will be plunged into seven years of Great Tribulation when the Anti-Christ appears and rules the world. He will come offering his false peace to the world.

I Thessalonians 5:2-3 warns, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, PEACE AND SAFETY, then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall no escape.” II Thessalonians 2 describes the coming of Antichrist to this world. The Tribulation is described in Revelation 6-18.

After the Great Tribulation we will return to this earth in glorified bodies to reign with Christ for 1000 years of perfect peace and righteousness. Read about this wonderful thousand year reign of peace in which Satan will be bound and unable to do any damage. Revelation 20:1-6 Read prophecies of this Millenium in Isaiah chapters 11 and 35, Zechariah 12-14 and in Psalm 2. For 1000 years God will show the world how wonderful it is to live under the rule of Jesus.

Following the Millenium, God will release Satan from his bottomless pit and he will once again stir up men for one last rebellion against God. Imagine rebelling against Christ after having just lived through His thousand year reign of peace, joy and righteousness! The rebellion will be over in a flash. Revelation 20:7-10.

Then those who have rejected Christ through the centuries will be raised from the dead to face Christ at a Great White Throne Judgement and be condemned to join Satan, and the Anti-Christ and his false prophet in the Lake of Fire to be punished throughout eternity. Revelation 20:11-15.

Finally, God will destroy this earth and the heavens as we know them and will make a new heaven and new earth on which all His redeemed children will live forever. Read about this in II Peter 3 and in Revelation 21-22.

Imagine living with God and with all the redeemed for eternity in perfect righteousness, love and peace. No more Satan. No more sin. No more rebellion against God. Dear friend, is this the peace for which you seek?

In the meantime, we still live in a world of sin and terrorism. In this sinful world, crime and terrorism and attacks against our nation must be met by the force of human government. Paul explains this in Romans 13. I encourage you to read this and then thank God for strong leadership and a strong military that is working to protect us from facing in America what people are facing in the trouble spots of the world.

My prayer for you is that God would give you His peace through coming to Him as a guilty sinner and gratefully putting your faith in the sacrifice Christ made for you on the cross. We would love to see you and your boy friend come to our church, and discover that peace that passeth all understanding. Philippians 4:4-7.

Rejoicing in Christ,

Pastor Mal Bicker

March 13, 2006 Posted by | World Peace | Comments Off on World Peace

Simplicity

Dr. Bob Jones Sr., founder of Bob Jones University, used to say to us in chapel,  “Simplicity is truth’s most becoming garb.”   I love that.  I’m so glad that God made salvation simple enough for a child to understand.  I’m so glad that the Bible is a simple book; that it doesn’t take a PhD degree to understand spiritual truth.

Our Inscrutable God

It’s true that God is inscrutable or unfathomable.  There are depths of theology that you and I will never understand perfectly until we stand glorified in His presence. 

 After writing by inspiration of God some of the most difficult truths of Scripture in Romans 9,10 and 11,  truths that Paul himself did not fully understand and truths that learned theologians have been struggling with for centuries;  Paul breaks into a doxology of praise to God in Romans 11:34-36.  “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and His ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord?  Who hath been His counselor? Who hath first given to Him, and is shall be recompensed to Him again? For of Him, and through Him and to Him are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.?  Paul is glorying in that fact that he cannot fully understand God and  theology,  the study of God,.

Our Incomprehensible God

I’m so thankful that my God is so big and so great that I cannot begin to fully grasp Him intellectually.  I’m so glad that,  as a little child does not fully understand and know all his father knows, so  I do not have to know and understand all my Heavenly Father does and all He allows. I can trust Him even when I cannot understand Him.  I find great comfort in the truth stated in Isaiah 55:8-9.   “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the  earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The Simplicity of God’s Truth

After condemning proud,  self-righteous people for their unrepentance, Jesus said in Matthew 11:25-26 “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou  hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Even so, Father,  for so it seemed good in Thy sight.”  I’m glad that Christianity is simple enough for a child to understand; that humble and broken-hearted people who hunger and thirst after righteousness can receive Christ’s righteousness through simple, childlike faith..  When His disciples were concerned about who was the greatest, it’s recorded in Matthew 18 that Jesus brought a little child into their midst and instructed them to humble themselves and accept  God’s truth with the humility and  trust of little children. Only then could they understand and accept what it meant to enter the Kingdom of  Heaven.

The Scholar who Preached Simply

In I Corinthians chapters 1 & 2 Paul is dealing with a divided church who were glorying in intellectualism rather than in Jesus.  Paul, who was extremely well educated and could have impressed his congregation with his intellectualism, chose to preach the simplicity of the Gospel,  trusting the Gospel itself to make the changes in their lives.  As he taught in Romans 1:16, so he repeats here that it is the Gospel that is  the power of God to salvation; not his intellectual genius. or his power of persuasion.

Nobodies and Somebodies

In  I Corinthians 1:26-29 Paul reminds us that God  does not choose too many intellectuals to preach the Gospel.  Oh, He chooses some, if they are humble enough to know they don’t have all the answers and who understand that it’s the Gospel that saves; not their persuasiveness or intellectual ability.  

God delights in using nobodies to confound  somebodies. 

Continue reading chapter 2  and see how Paul trusted fully in God to do what he with all his intellect could never have done.

God Puts No Premium on Ignorance.

Lest someone should jump at this truth and glory in his ignorance, let me make clear that God doesn’t need ignorant preachers.  Paul instructs young Pastor Timothy to study the Word of  God and gain an understanding of how it all fits together.  II Timothy 2:15  and 3:15-17  If you don’t have the big picture, you will probably have a serious misunderstanding of any part of the Bible.  You will probably do more damage than good in a pulpit. Don’t confuse simplicity with ignorance. It takes a Bible college and perhaps seminary education today to understand the Bible so you can preach its depths with accuracy and simplicity.   Any new Christian can lead another person to Christ if he has a basic understanding of the Gospel.;  but it’s another thing to pastor a church and teach God’s Word without a Bible Institute or Bible college education.  Just make sure you get into a sound, Bible college and seminary. 

The wrong education can do you more harm than good. 

The wrong education has destroyed the faith of many young men who started out to prepare for the ministry.  If you have questions about this, I would be glad to give you some guidance  in this matter.

How You Can Understand the Bible

If you are not a Christian, you probably have no idea what we are taking about. Why?  It’s  not because you are stupid; but  simply because you are a natural man or woman without Christ. The Bible is a dead book to you.  It makes no sense at all. I Corinthians 2:14If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit living in your life.  See Romans 8:9  The Holy Spirit is your teacher.  As you read your Bible, God’s holy, inspired, infallible Word;   the Holy Spirit teaches you and guides you.  As you listen to sermons and as you read our  web site,  the Holy Spirit living in you confirms what is truth and what is chaff and error. John 14:26. If what you read or hear does not square with the Bible, it is error.  Now go back to I Corinthians 2:9-16 and follow along.   In vs 9 Paul is speaking of all the wonderful truths of Scripture, as well as the wonders of Heaven that God has for us.  Man in his natural state cannot begin to grasp it.  I Corinthians 2:10-13 show us that God’s Spirit living in us reveals  truth to Christians.

Verse 14 contrasts this with the natural man who cannot receive the truths of God’s Word. Everything sounds  foolish to him. Perhaps I am describing you.  If you will come to the end of yourself and realize that your self righteousness is repulsive to God and if you will bow before God as a guilty, helpless sinner and trust Jesus for salvation, you will experience a supernatural change.  God’s Spirit will come to live in you and you will begin to think God’s thoughts. As verse 16 says, you will have the mind of Christ.   You will glory in the truth and  in the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel.

March 13, 2006 Posted by | Simplicity | Comments Off on Simplicity

Rest

To the sinner, sick of his sins and tired of trying to run from God; to the Christian weary, worn out and burned out, trying hard to live for Jesus and serve Him- and failing; Jesus invites, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.The key to salvation is resting in Jesus. The key to living the Christian life is resting in Jesus. The key to serving the Lord is resting in Jesus.

BAD NEWS!

Sin is pleasurable. Sin is attractive. Sin is exciting. Sin is fun. No one, but God, is going to convince us otherwise. But we must understand that the Bible teaches that our sins infuriate God. He must punish us with eternal damnation in Hell. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die!" Ezekiel 18:4 "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable,(perverts) and murderers and whoremongers, (those guilty of illicit sex), and sorcerers,(fortune tellers) and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

The fact is that YOU are a sinner. I am a sinner. Everyone born into the human race is a sinner and we all deserve to die and go to hell. This is the teaching of God's Word, the Bible. What can you and I do to make ourselves presentable to God? NOTHING! We are helpless and hopeless to save ourselves. That's the teaching of Ephesians 2:11-12

GOOD NEWS!!!

But thank God, there is good news for sinners and only for sinners. God can do nothing to help the self-righteous. But if God is speaking to you through His Word and has convinced you that you are a helpless, hopeless sinner headed for eternal damnation, then God can intervene and save you. The Good News is that God Himself came down to earth in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and paid the penalty for your sins on the cross 2000 years ago. Three days later He rose from the dead. His death and resurrection provide His gracious Gift of Eternal Life for anyone who will receive Jesus and REST in His complete, final sacrifice for our sins. Yes, salvation is as simple as RESTING in Jesus. Will you quit struggling and trying to impress God with your self righteousness? He describes it as filthy, smelly rags.. Isaiah 64:6

Perhaps you had taken the step of salvation earlier and you have been struggling to try to live the Christian life­ and all your efforts have failed. Though Christ has saved you, you still struggle with sin and are constantly defeated. I have a word for you also. Give up the struggle and REST in Jesus. His invitation to come to Him and rest is addressed to defeated Christians as well as to the lost. "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.

Throughout the Bible we are taught to rest in God. Read and meditate and rest in some of God's promises to you.

"Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord." Exodus 16:23 The seventh day of the week was given to God's people,
Israel. For further teaching on the Sabbath, go to my article on the SABBATH on this web site.

"My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest." Exodus 33:14

In Deuteronomy 3:18-20 God challenges Israel to conquer the Land of Canaan which He has given them and possess it until He has given them rest.

Numbers 13-14 tells the story of how the older generation failed to trust God to conquer
Canaan.

All the old generation wandered for forty years and died in the wilderness except for two men, Caleb and Joshua. These two men had the opportunity to conquer
Canaan with the younger generation.

Joshua 21:43-45 tells of how God gave them victory and rest in
Canaan.

In Hebrews 3-4 the Christian is instructed to learn from
Israel the importance of resting in Christ. I encourage you to read these two chapters carefully and prayerfully and ask God to help you to learn of this rest in your own life. Note that our rest as Christians is the theme of these two chapters.

Going back to our text in Matthew 11:28-30, note that rest comes as we accept the yoke of Jesus. Think of the yoke on two oxen or two horses. Jesus is the strong one. You and I are the weak ones. But when we accept His yoke on our necks and bow to His will in our lives and allow Him to direct us, the load that was once heavy, becomes light. The neck that is yielded to Christ is not rubbed sore trying to fight the yoke. His yoke becomes easy.

In John 15 Jesus likens us to branches in His grape vine. He is the vine. We are the branches. How do we bear fruit? How do we live for Christ and serve Him effectively? It's easy. Just abide in the vine and allow His life-giving sap to flow through us. Only then can we bear His fruit and He alone gets the glory. That's how we serve Him without growing weary and experiencing "burn-out".

Read, meditate and rejoice in this wonderful truth from Isaiah 40:28-31 "Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

I encourage you to read and mediate on Psalm 37. Like the cow lying down in the pasture and ruminating on its cud, read and ponder this comforting Psalm.

March 13, 2006 Posted by | Rest | Comments Off on Rest

Beatitudes Series #2: Now and Forever

Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount is recorded in Matthew 5-7.  His Sermon on the Plain is recorded in Luke 6:20-28.  They are two distinct sermons preached in different times and places.  Jesus, no doubt, preached these truths wherever He went during His three short years of ministry. In these sermons He contrasts those whose lives are filled with blessing  with those whose lives are filled with sorrow and woe. Proverbs 10:22 promises us, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”

 

God Wants to Bless You.

 

God wants to bless you and fill your life with joy and purpose;  but I warn you,  if you turn from that life and seek to live your life independent of God;  your only alternative is a life of woe.  God is not a kill-joy. He wants to fill your life with satisfaction, fulfillment and joy.  In these sermons  He teaches us how to live the blessed life and warns those who reject His teaching  that they will face woe and judgment.  I beg you to take this seriously.   You are this very moment either on the road of God’s blessing or on the road  of woe and judgment.

 

Don’t drown out the voice of God

 

The worldy-minded person is searching for happiness by trying to drown out the voice of God by  immersing himself in entertainment, sports, music and making and spending money, etc..  This is LIFE for the average person.  In fact, this is LIFE for the average Christian.  These things  are not in themselves sinful, but anything can become sinful for us if we allow it to be the priority of our life and draw us away from God and from His Word.

 

It’s NEVER right to watch TV programs, videos and movies or go to shows that glorify sin and mock righteousness.

 

Paul warns in I Timothy 4:8 that some sports and some exercise profits us a little,  but a life given over to this is unbalanced and courting disaster.

 

Music, of itself, cannot bring us blessing or lasting happiness. It brought wicked King Saul temporary peace when David played his harp before him;  but afterwards he reverted to his sinful life style. Music is powerful.  The right music can be used of God to bless us and draw us closer to Himself.   The wrong music can stir up rebellion in our hearts and draw us away from Him.

 

The Christian gifted with music  has the responsibility to use that talent only  for God’s glory.  If music is an important part of your life, be careful that you do not make music your god and live only for your music. Such a Christian is unbalanced and courting God’s woes and not His blessings.

 

The person whose driving passion is to be wealthy  is headed down the wrong road.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:33  “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things ( money and material things) will be added unto you.  There is nothing wrong in working hard and smart to be successful in business.  In fact, God promises that if we saturate ourselves with the Word of God and are obedient to Him,  we will be successful and prosperous.  Joshua 1:8,  Psalm 1:1-3.

 

Understand that there is lots more to prosperity and blessing than being wealthy.  My wife and I  have lived together for the Lord for over  fifty years, never wealthy, according to American standards;   however,  we have enjoyed God’s blessing and never lacked anything that we needed.

 

Financial success will not of itself bring happiness and contentment. King Solomon, the richest man in the world, found that out and admits it in Ecclesiastes 2:4-11.  It’s only as we use our business skills and success to glorify God that we enjoy His blessings.  Those who live only to hoard money and live for themselves  eventually face God’s woes.  Read in Luke 12:15-21 about the rich farmer who made a fool of himself. 

 

So where is happiness found?

 

It is not found searching for it.  Rather, we stumble over it  as we seek to know God and live for Him.  True happiness and blessing comes only from God.  David testifies in Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt show me the path of life:  in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

 

God created us to be happy all of our lives.

 

He placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden paradise.  Life could not have been better. They were totally free. God gave them only one prohibition.  Satan tempted Eve to disobey God and Adam shared with her in that disobedience and thus brought sin and death on the entire human race.  See Romans 5:12

 

God’s Laws are to bless us; nor to squelch us and make us miserable.

 

The Psalmist  testified in Psalm 40:8 “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy Law is within my heart.”

 

Christ alone is our source of blessing

 

I encourage you to receive God’s Gift to you.  Receive The Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. He alone is our source of blessing.  Ephesians 1:3   Praise God that our blessings in Christ are not just for eternity.  We can experience them right now.   Notice  all the Beatitudes.   “Blessed ARE  for they SHALL BE.”  They are given to us to enrich our lives presently as well eternally.

 

March 13, 2006 Posted by | Beatitudes Series | Comments Off on Beatitudes Series #2: Now and Forever