Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

God is Love

GOD IS LOVE!  Such simple, well known words and yet how difficult for us to grasp! None of us can totally  comprehend God’s love.  If we could only begin to understand a little of it, what a difference it would make in our relationship with Him and with others.  What peace and joy and comfort it would bring to our troubled hearts!

Because God is infinite; His love is infinite, endless, immeasurable and it has no boundaries.

 

Because God is everlasting, His love is everlasting. It had no beginning and it has no end.  “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”  Jeremiah 31:3

 

Because God is omnipotent, His love is powerful enough to accomplish whatever is best for me.  Read Romans 8:28-39 and as you read it, learn that  God takes all the circumstances of your life and mixes them together for your good.  Nothing is too good for God to give to His child and no power can destroy His love for us.  If I delight myself in Him,  He promises to give me the desires of my heart.  Psalm 37:4

 

Because God is omniscient (all-knowing), He sees the end from the beginning and knows what is best for me.  God is pleased when I trust Him with plans for my future.  Jeremiah 29:11   Isaiah  55:8-9

 

Because God is holy, His love is holy and pure. Isaiah 6:1-8  Revelation 4   God, who is omnipotent (all-powerful) could be an ogre or a tyrant if His love were not holy.  Because of His holiness and purity,  I  need not fear any harm from Him; only good.

 

Because God is omnipresent, His love is with me wherever I am and regardless of my situation.   He is able to show His love to me.  Psalm 139:1-18

 

Because God is immutable, His love is unchanging.  He is not fickle.  He does not with-hold His love from us as we do from others when we think it is undeserved.

 

Because I am human and have my physical and emotional weaknesses, I cannot always feel His love; but He is still with me, working out good in my life.  Job 23:8-10

 

God’s love is practical.  It is more than mere words.  God’s love is self-giving and is shown to me in His Son, Jesus, who died to pay the penalty for my sins.  John 3:16  Romans 5:8   Only as I trust Jesus and know Him as my Saviour and Lord, can I ever know His love for me.  None of us deserve God’s love.  We can never earn it.  It is totally a free gift of His grace and He lavishes it on His children.

 

Those who spurn that love will one day be forced to face His wrath.  John 3:36;  5:24  Revelation 6:12-17

 

If we are yielded Christians,  living under the control of His Holy Spirit,  Christ fills us with His love and it spills over to others.  I John 4:19;   2:5;   John 14:15;  15:12-14

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June 5, 2006 Posted by | God | Comments Off on God is Love

Hell

Jesus had more to say about Hell than anyone else in the Bible. Either He was a monstrous liar and deceiver to teach such a thing, or else He is God who speaks only truth. You have to decide who He is before you can decide about Hell. One thing for sure, if Jesus was not God, He certainly was not a good teacher.

God is holy and righteous and there can be no sin in His presence. Mankind has followed his father Adam into sin and the entire human race is cursed by sin and under the wrath of God. Romans 5:12-19 John 3:36

BUT WAIT! Our holy, righteous, just God is also a God of love and grace. In His love and wisdom He has provided His only begotten Son, Jesus, who came in a human body to this earth to suffer God's wrath for our sins. He is wholly God and at the same time He was wholly man, when He walked this earth 2000 years ago. Though tempted as a man, He was totally without sin. Hebrews 10:1-5, Hebrews 7:26-27. He is willing to save all who come to Him by faith and receive the Gift of salvation He has provided. Those who reject that Gift, continue on their way to Hell. Ephesians 2:4-10

What did Jesus say about hell?
It is a place of fiery, inescapable, conscious, bodily torment.
It is as eternal as God and Heaven.
It is a place of memory.
It is a place of darkness.
It is inescapable.
It is a place where every unbeliever will spend eternity with the demons and the monsters of human history.
Is it NOT a place of annihilation.
Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31; Romans 2:3-6; Revelation 20:10-15; 21:8

God is not willing that anyone should perish. II Peter 3:9 He has set up road blocks all along the way to keep you out of hell. Perhaps it is a Christian relative or friend who has prayed for you for years. Perhaps it is someone who has come to you with a Gospel tract. Certainly this web site is another road block on your way to Hell. If a prisoner on death row is given a pardon by the Governor, he must accept the pardon to walk free. If you end up in Hell it won't be because God did not love you. It will be because you rejected the pardon God in His love provided for you in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

In the night when all is quiet, that still small voice of God keeps speaking to you to turn from sin to Jesus. Most of us are given many years of opportunity. Every heart beat is another opportunity to turn to God. One day that heart will stop beating. One day you will take your last breath on earth. Where will you be one minute after you are dead; Heaven or Hell? There is no other choice. Your body will eventually be buried or cremated. But what is more important, your soul will immediately be either in Heaven or in Hell.

For further information about your eternal future, go to my link on PROPHECY

Although we read and hear of deathbed conversions, don't count on getting saved then. The fact is that the longer one rejects God's salvation, the harder the heart becomes until in time, one is beyond feeling. NOW is the day of salvation. NOW is the accepted time. Don't put it off. Tomorrow may be too late. Proverbs 29:1 II Corinthians 6:1-2. You or I could be in eternity within the next hour.

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Eternity | Comments Off on Hell

Fools or Wise

There are basically four categories of people listed in Proverbs: Simple, Scorners, Fools and Wise.

Everyone is born simple.

That is, we don’t know very much. We have much to learn. We make lots of mistakes. We have lots of accidents. We do childish things. We tend to be gullible and swallow everything we hear. We can easily be led into evil or into good. Proverbs 14:15 We can learn when we see others punished for evil. We begin to understand that we don’t need to do the same thing and be punished. Proverbs 21:11. The simple can easily be deceived by false teachers. Romans 16:18 We need parents and teachers and good examples to follow. Thank God, He preserves the simple from making a mess of their lives. Psalm 116:5-6

As we grow and develop we find ourselves confronted by the Bible, God’s Word. Ultimately, we are confronted with the truth that we are sinners and in need of a Saviour. We are confronted with the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins. Our response to God’s Word and to the Gospel determines whether we become scorners and ultimately fools or whether we become wise. As we receive God’s Word and receive Christ as our Saviour, we are given spiritual illumination and understanding. Psalm 119:130.

Those who reject God’s Word and the Gospel become scorners.

You can recognize a scorner by the sneer on his face and by his rudeness and impudence towards his parents and teachers. A scorner, in his ignorance does not realize that he is headed for trouble, prison and ultimately destruction. It’s the road he chose when he rejected God’s Word. We waste our time rebuking scorners. Proverbs 9:7-8, 15:12. They are beyond the ability to learn. That’s why the Bible instructs us to remove them from the classroom where they can hinder others from learning. Proverbs 22:10 Severe punishment awaits them. It is a short step from being a scorner to becoming a fool.

We are warned not to call anyone a fool; Matthew 5:22 however, God describes fools and by reading His Word, especially the book of Proverbs, we are able to identify them.

The following are some distinguishing marks of a fool.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” or “No God for me!” Psalm 14:1. He claims to be an atheist, but he is deceiving himself. No one goes into a rage to defend his position that there is no Santa Claus or no Easter bunny or no tooth fairy. Why? Because these are not even matters of debate. But a so-called atheist goes into a rage when trying to defend the idea that there is no God. Why does this upset him so? Because he knows in his heart there IS a God before whom he must one day stand and give an account. By his rage he proves to himself and others that there IS a God.

Fools despise the wisdom of God’s Word. Proverbs 1:7
Fools make a mock of sin. Proverbs 14:9
A fool despises his father’s instruction. Proverbs 15:5
A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. Proverbs 10:1 He breaks her heart.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. Proverbs 12:15
A fool’s mouth is his destruction. Proverbs 18:7
A fool can’t keep his mouth shut. If he could, others would probably not recognize him as a fool. Proverbs 17:28 They pour out foolishness every time they open their mouths. Proverbs 15:2

Proverbs 26:11 graphically likens a fool returning to his folly as a dog returning to his vomit.

We’re warned not to spend time with fools nor try to help them. They are beyond help and they will only drag us down with them. Proverbs 26:4

Jesus, in Luke 12:15-21 describes a rich farmer, who as a fool, trusted only in his wealth and left God out of his life. After a life of success, he settled down to retire and enjoy his prosperity. He thought to himself, “I have plenty of financial security. I am going to retire and live it up!” But God announced to him that night, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall all these things be which thou hast provided?” The problem with this farmer was not his ambition or his hard work or his success; but that he saw no need of God in his life.

If you are a fool, what choices do you have? Only two.
1. Continue on in your sins, ignoring God and eventually you will die and go to hell.
2. Come to the end of yourself, turn to God and cry for mercy and salvation. God will save you and as you get into God’s Word and read it and determine to obey it, He will begin to fill you with His wisdom and use you for His glory.

I encourage you to read Proverbs 1:20-33 and listen to wisdom, who as a person pleads with you to turn to Him. That person is none other than Christ Himself. Note in that passage the awful consequences or rejecting Him. Then read Proverbs 2:1-6 and see how serious you must be to receive wisdom. It’s likened to searching for a hidden treasure in a field. If you knew that in a certain field there was hidden ten million dollars, how serious would you be about digging until you found it? That’s how serious you need to be about seeking wisdom.

Are you a wise person? You are, if you have received Christ. In fact, Christ is your wisdom. I Corinthians 1:30 Colossians 2:3 You receive the Bible as God’s Word. Proverbs 2: You love it and hunger for it. You read it every chance you get. You seek a church where the Bible is preached and you soak it up and let it change your life. Read Proverbs 3:13-18 and see all the good things God wants to do for those who seek His wisdom.

It’s your choice, my friend. You won’t stay simple forever. You will come to a fork in the road. It may be this very moment. You will either choose to scorn God’s Word and all authority and become a fool and die and go to hell; or you will choose Christ and His Word and receive the gift of eternal life and with it, wisdom.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Fools | Comments Off on Fools or Wise

Fellowship

When God created Adam and Eve, they were sinless and flawless. The weather was always perfect; never too hot nor too cold. Imagine living in a perfect garden setting with no weeds. The roses had no thorns. The animals lived together, tame and in perfect harmony with man. There was no sickness, pain or death. They were not even troubled with head aches or tooth aches or back aches. Best of all, they enjoyed walking and talking in perfect freedom and fellowship with God, their Creator, in the Garden of Eden. They lived together in total freedom and happiness. Oh, there was one fruit tree in the midst of the garden, of which God has warned them never to eat, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But that would be no problem- or would it?

Enters Satan
Satan, who had been cast out of Heaven for rebelling against God, was now freely roaming the earth, intent on corrupting God's new creation of Adam and Eve. In his cunning and wisdom, he chose to indwell a snake and approach Eve. Eve was not afraid of snakes, nor of any animal in the Garden. Why should she be? She had never known pain or suffering or fear or sorrow. Life was perfect in the Garden of Eden.

Satan brazenly and boldly dared to accuse God of witholding good from Eve. She listened to him and fell for his line and ate the forbidden fruit. By this time Adam came to his beloved wife and seeing what she had done, he joined her in disobeying God. Eve had been deceived by Satan. Adam knew exactly what he was doing, but in his love for his wife, he could not bear to be separated from her.

Fellowship Broken
After they sinned against God, by disobeying God's one prohibition, eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; they immediately sensed guilt and tried to hide from God in the Garden. The fellowship with God was broken and they must die and so must all their progeny. The entire human race inherited their father's sinful nature and the consequences, death. Satan had won a victory over God, but that victory was short-lived.

God desired fellowship with Adam and Eve and took the initiative.
God, in His love and grief; searched them out, found them, and confronted them with their sin. When they had confessed their sin to Him, He forgave them, killed animals (perhaps lambs) and clothed them with the animal skins and banished them from the Garden of Eden. Those slain animals were the first of millions of lambs and other animals that would be slaughtered on Israel's altars as God's temporary plan of atoning for sins. Leviticus 17:11 All those slain animals pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who would be slain for the sins of the world. John 1:29 Hebrews 10 Nine hundred and thirty years later, Adam died. Read the intensely interesting and important story of the creation and the fall of Man in Genesis chapters 2 and 3..

Fellowship with Christ and His Church is a blessed privilege into which each Christian is called.
God saved us because he loves us and longs for us to walk in fellowship with Him as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden before they fell into sin. Paul writes, "God is faithful by whom ye were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." I Corinthians 1:9

Our fellowship with Christ and with believers can be marred by sin.
God cannot have fellowship with us; nor do we desire fellowship with Him when we are living in sin. When we confess our sins to God by admitting that what we are doing is sin and that we have offended our Holy God, the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross, cleanses us immediately and the fellowship is restored. See I John 1.

Our fellowship should also be with all who have put their trust in Christ.
If we are in fellowship with God, we are also in fellowship with all those who belong to Him through faith in Christ. We are part of God's family, regardless of our church affiliation. It's not difficult for those who love Christ to recognize others who also love Christ.

Christians tend to limit their fellowship with others.
We limit that fellowship to Christians who think as we think. We so soon forget that Christ is our center of fellowship and we get caught up in our own little circles of friendship and shut out those who do not agree with us on every point.

For example, our denomination or association of churches can tend to restrict our circle of fellowship. We enjoy being with those who agree with us doctrinally. The more points on which we agree, the closer our fellowship. That's understandable, but it's wrong to hold fellow believers at arm's length. It's good to talk with and read the works of those Christians who do not hold to our doctrinal position. God gave pastors and teachers for the building up of His Church. I'm so thankful that early in my ministry I read the books of those beyond my doctrinal circle. If one holds to the doctrine of Christ, and if he is walking in fellowship with Christ, he probably has something worthwhile to teach..

Our preferences for Christian music and styles of worship, Bible translations and church government may or may not have biblical support; but none of these should be the reason for building a wall between Christians and cutting off fellowship.

Dr. Bob Jones Sr. used to talk to "his preacher boys" about fellowship with other Christians. He taught that if we magnify Jesus and His Word we can have fellowship with all those who love Jesus and His Word. I have found that to be true.

As much as I love God's people, I will not allow the pressure of a fellow Christian to apply a tourniquet of "separation" and restrict my fellowship with the rest of the Body of Christ.

In Heaven, all the lesser circles will be banished. There will be only one circle of fellowship and that will be around Jesus the Son of God who shed His blood and rose again from the dead to save us from our sins.

With those who reject Christ as Saviour and Lord, there can be no fellowship, though we can show love and friendship to them. But those who have received Christ as Saviour and Lord are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can enjoy sweet fellowship together as long as Christ is exalted and the things we disagree on are not made an issue.

In recent years I have learned that a true servant of God loves Christ's Church and guards the unity of the Spirit. A false servant of God loves his position more than he loves Christ's Church and he will do whatever it takes to promote his position, even if it means tearing apart Christ's Church. Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 17 to watch out for those divisive leaders who would promote their own agendas within the church, regardless of the damage they do to the Body of Christ.

Paul writing to the carnal, immature Corinthian Christians in his first Epistle to them, chided them for their childish sectarianism and pride. I encourage you to read I Corinthians 3:1-9 and join the ranks of those who magnify Jesus and are laboring to win a lost world to Christ.

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Fellowship | Comments Off on Fellowship

Evangelism

Can’t keep it quiet!
When a girl has just received a diamond engagement ring, she shouts it from the house top. She flashes her ring, showing her friends and even strangers that she is engaged. Her eyes sparkle like the diamond on her finger. She has good news to share and she can’t keep it quiet. So when one receives Christ as Saviour and is born again into the family of God, it is normal that he cannot keep it a secret. He just has to share the good news with anyone who will listen.

The Samaritan woman whose conversion is recorded in John 4, had very little understanding of spiritual things, but she went throughout her town talking up Jesus and as a result, the people came to hear Jesus. John 4:39 says, “and many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him, for the saying of the woman.”

In Acts 2 we read of how the early Church in Jerusalem mushroomed in growth as the Apostle Peter preached the Gospel. Later on persecution of Christians began and in Acts 8 we read of how the Christians were scattered abroad and everywhere they went they preached the Gospel. These were not Apostles. They were not spiritually mature, trained Christian leaders. They were simply excited Christians who could not hide the light of Christ that blazed wherever they went. That is evangelism, pure and simple!

Gifts to the Church
Ephesians 4:11-16 teaches that throughout the Church Age these past 2000 years, Christ has given gifted Christian leaders to His Church.

First it was the apostles and prophets who laid the foundation of doctrine concerning Christ, the cornerstone of Christianity. Ephesians 2:19-20 In Acts 2:42 we learn that the early church was grounded on the Apostle’s Doctrine. That foundation is spelled out for us in the epistles of the New Testament. However, a New Testament preacher is not to limit his preaching to the New Testament epistles only. II Timothy 3:16-4:5 teaches that he is to preach all the Bible from Genesis through Revelation, using it to instruct Christians how to live the Christian life..

Through the years Christ has called evangelists, pastors and teachers to edify (build up) and equip the saints to carry out the work of their ministry. Every Christian is a saint. Every saint is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is given a particular gift to enable him to fulfill his ministry. These gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12-14. The gifts are not given to us to make us feel pious and self-righteous. They are given for us to use to reach others with the Gospel. Some have the gift of teaching with such clarity that others can understand spiritual truth.

Others have the gift of hospitality. They can invite people into their homes and make them feel comfortable. Some have the gift of helping others, perhaps with an automotive or a computer problem. Some have the gift of helping a young mother with the care of her children. Some have the patience and empathy to listen to someone’s personal problem and try to guide them to Scriptural help. The varied ways of helping others go on and on. But in all we do to meet the needs of others, our ultimate goal is to introduce people to our friend and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, when the timing and circumstances are right.

The pastor’s calling is to first of all, set a godly example to his congregation by his own life and that of his family; and then through the preaching of the Word of God, to help individuals and families become beautiful saints who attract people to Jesus. In this age of fragmented and broken families and wayward children; a godly family with submissive, happy children is a tremendous advertisement for Christianity in a neighborhood.

We can’t save anyone!
In our efforts to evangelize the lost, we must understand that we cannot save souls. We cannot open hearts to the Gospel. Only God can do that. I Corinthians 3 teaches that some of us sow the seed of God’s Word. Some water it through acts of kindness and through intercessory prayer. Some have the opportunity to lead receptive hearts to Christ and thus be involved in the harvest. Whatever we do does not make us more important than other Christians. I Corinthians 3:9 teaches us that we are all laborers together with God. In Acts 16:14 we read of how God opened Lydia’s hearts to the Gospel. I Corinthians 3:7 makes it clear that God gives the increase.

Loner Christians?
Some Christians have the idea that they do not need to be involved in a local church. They fly off on their own, doing their own thing and ignore the church and end up just “spinning their wheels” and accomplishing nothing Every Christian needs to be in a church where he can receive sound Biblical doctrine and be fed. Every Christian needs a pastor who loves and cares for him and helps to hold him accountable and helps to steer him in the right direction as to how and where he can best prepare to serve the Lord. If you have a question about your spiritual gift, ask your pastor or some other mature Christian who knows you. He may be able to help you discover your gifts and God’s will for your life.

Share the Good News!
Though this web site is addressed to Christians, we try to weave the Gospel through many of the articles so that if unbelievers read it, they will understand the Gospel and be saved. My desire for you if you are a Christian is that you might grow in the knowledge of God and become a beautiful saint who is “always ready to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” I Peter 3:15 If this web site is a blessing to you, would you share it with another?

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Evangelism | Comments Off on Evangelism

Are you Saved?

If someone were to confront you and ask you if you are saved, what would you answer? Most people react negatively to that question. They become irritated, defensive and angry. They would say something like this, “I’m not a sinner. I’m as good as the next guy. I’ve always been a Christian. I attend church. I take the sacraments. I don’t need salvation. I’m not lost.”

But, dear friend, you are lost if you’ve never received Christ as your Saviour.
Everyone born into Adam’s human race is born a sinner. Romans 5:12-19 If you are part of the human race you are a sinner. Read the first three chapters of Romans. Read Psalm 51:5. Until you can humble yourself before God and admit the truth about your sin, there is no hope for you. You are a sinner and need to be saved.

But I’m religious!
Religion does not save. Religion is man’s futile effort to try to impress God with his self-righteousness. Baptism, confirmation, taking the sacraments, giving to the poor, attending church regularly, teaching a Sunday School class, giving your life as a minister or priest or missionary or faithful church worker; none of these efforts can make you worthy of Heaven. Titus 3:5-6

Saul of Tarsus, whose name was changed to Paul after his conversions, was as religious as they come. Read in Philippians 3:1-6 his testimony of the vanity of religion Then continue reading the rest of that chapter and see the difference Jesus made in his life when he was confronted by Jesus and trusted Him for salvation.

The Bible teaches your need to be saved
The Bible has much to say about the need of salvation and it shows us the only way of salvation. Here is just a small sampling of the hundreds of Scriptural references to salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The angel Gabriel when explaining Mary’s pregnancy to Joseph said, “And she shall bring forth a son , and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Peter preached at Pentecost, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

In answer to the Philippian jailer’s question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy household.” Acts 16:30-31

Paul shares his broken heart for his people, Israel in Romans 10:1-4 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record, ( I know because I was one of them) that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness (or the fulfillment of righteousness) to everyone that believeth.”

Later in the same 10th chapter of Romans in verses 8-13 he explains how one is saved by believing in Jesus and confessing Him publicly as Saviour. I encourage you to read the passage and then ask yourself if you have received Christ and publicly confessed Him as your Saviour.

Paul writes to the Ephesians, “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Salvation has three tenses: past, present and future. II Corinthians 1:10 outlines these three tenses. “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver us, in whom we trust He will yet deliver us.”

In the following articles on salvation we will emphasize these three tenses as we consider the three major doctrines of salvation: Justification, Sanctification and Glorification.

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Salvation | Comments Off on Are you Saved?

Don’t Miss It

Jesus invited Peter, James and John to join Him in a prayer meeting on a mountain. They had no idea what was going to transpire that day, or they would have been so excited that they could hardly stand it. Instead they slept through some of the event; no doubt, the greatest event in Jesus’ life between His birth and His crucifixion and resurrection. The story is told in Luke 9:27-36.

While Jesus prayed, an amazing thing happened. His body was changed and glorified, still recognizable, yet glistening with glory. Not only that; but of all things, Moses and Elijah appeared with Him, men who lived on this earth a thousand years earlier.

About this time the three disciples awoke and could hardly believe what they were seeing. The three glorified men conversed about Jesus’ coming crucifixion. Peter was star-struck! Imagine, seeing Moses and Elijah from the past and having the ability to recognize them!

Immediately Peter’s tongue started flapping before he had his mind in gear. “Jesus, this is wonderful! Let’s build three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah and let’s just stay up here, we six and no more!” As usual, Peter had to say something on this occasion, but he really didn’t know what he was talking about. He was about as subtle as an elephant in a china shop, as he babbled on in this transcendent moment.

Then another amazing thing happened. A heavy cloud came down upon them and made it difficult to see. From the cloud came a powerful voice, the voice of God the Father. He spoke, “This is My beloved Son, hear Him!” When the cloud disappeared, Moses and Elijah were gone and there stood Jesus, in His normal human body.

Peter and his friends, James and John, kept quiet about this event and told no one. It was too awesome to even talk about it. Later on in life, Peter commented on the event when writing II Peter 1:16-21 In that passage he described what had happened and then he explained that the Scriptures we now have and can read for ourselves are more wonderful and more certain than the experience he shared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

What can we learn from this story?

Certainly, we miss much when sleeping or day dreaming or whispering or just messing around in church when we could be listening and learning. To some, preachers are boring. To others in the same service, the preacher is teaching exciting truths. Some go out bored. Other go out blessed.

Like Peter wanting to build three tabernacles, we also want to capture exciting moments and make them last forever, but that is impossible. Exciting moments come and go. If you are chasing after excitement in church or anywhere else; you will probably find it, but it won’t last. Next day it will be gone and you will be depressed. The important thing is not to seek exciting emotional experiences, but to seek to know Jesus. Learn of Him in His Word. If you seek Jesus, He will still be there after the excitement is gone.

In that moment of Transfiguration, God the Father said to the three disciples, “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him!” When it comes to spiritual growth, it is much better to shut our mouths and listen to His Word. When the Word is being preached, that’s the time for us to listen with expectation, discernment and submission. When we are out in the world among those who do not know Christ; that’s the time to open our mouths and proclaim the Good News.

God does not announce beforehand what He is going to do. If we get in the habit of chasing the spectacular, we are going to miss God’s glory altogether. Jesus didn’t say to them, “If you men aren’t at prayer meeting tonight, your are going to miss seeing Moses and Elijah.” He didn’t say to them, “You had better stay awake tonight or you are going to miss something tremendous!” Most of the high point of our life come without notification.

Think of that beautiful young woman, Rebekah, in Genesis 24. She could have felt sorry for herself and griped about how boring it is to go draw water from the well, but instead she carried out her routine responsibilities. In doing so, she met an old man by the name of Eleazer and because of her hospitality to him, she met her future husband. What if she had chased the spectacular and ignored her boring duties?

Every day starts out as another ordinary day, but if you have spiritual eyesight, you may be amazed at what God is going to teach you or bring about in your life. One ordinary day, when we are not even thinking about it, Jesus is going to suddenly return to catch us up to be with Himself and we will be with Him forever in sinless, glorified bodies. You can read about it in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Does that excite you or are you bored by the idea?

Jesus transformation and glorification came as He prayed on the mountain. His was a total transformation, at least for a few minutes. Later at His resurrection it was a total, eternal transformation. In II Corinthians 3:18 Paul tells us that we also can be transformed from one degree of glory to another as we spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. One day, we will also experience a total transformation when we are changed and caught up to meet the Lord when He returns for us in.

Thank God for His divine intervention at special times in our lives. In those time, God transforms us and makes us usable servants for Him. Don’t doze through your transformations!

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Transfiguration | Comments Off on Don’t Miss It

Division

One of the greatest of tragedies in the life of a church is that of needless strife and division. No one is left untouched. People who were beginning to come to church, become harder to reach with the Gospel. Immature Christians grow cynical and fall away. The Church often develops a reputation in the community that is difficult to live down, sometimes for a generation or more. Church splits, that come about as the result of sin, cause untold damage to the cause of Christ. It's true that God in His sovereignty and grace can take any bad situation and bring good out of it.

It is one thing to divide and separate ourselves from a church that is set on a course of false doctrine. When the Doctrine of Christ or the issue of the Inspiration of the Bible is at stake and there is no way to change the position of the church; the Christian has no choice but to part company with the apostates.
II Corinthians 6:14-18 II John 7-11.

However, in nearly every other situation, division is the result of carnality and pride. Proverbs 13:10 bluntly states, "ONLY by PRIDE cometh contention." Paul sent his Epistle of I Corinthians to the carnal church at Corinth to deal with the pride and division that was destroying them.

The responsibility to protect from division rests primarily with the pastor. The pastor MUST feed the flock and build them up. In Ephesians 4 Paul writes the church about their responsibility to guard well the unity that the Holy Spirit gives them. In that chapter the emphasis is again put on the pastor's work of feeding and caring for the flock entrusted to him. Such efforts result in a beautiful, peaceful church increasingly growing into the very likeness of Christ.

Like the Good Shepherd in John 10, the true pastor cares for the feeding and the protection of his flock. It is always uppermost in his mind and nothing is more important for it brings glory to God.

On the other hand, the hireling of John 10 has no concern for the flock whatsoever. To him his church is just a stepping stone to bigger opportunities. He cares only for himself and what he can gain from his flock. When he had gotten what he wants, he leaves, taking whatever and whoever he can with him.

Trouble-makers are not hard for spiritually-minded Christians to spot. Through their smooth talking and superficial piety, they don't hesitate to divide Christians from one another.

Just as surely as sheep grow wool, sheep are followers. No matter what their position in the business world; when it comes to the church, sheep tend to follow. If they don't follow their pastor, someone else will appear for them to follow. That's why Paul in Acts 20:29-30 warns the Ephesian church in his farewell address to them. Every true pastor should be able to say with Paul in I Corinthians 4:16 "Be ye followers of me." But that leadership must not be coerced or forced. It must be exercised by our example. I Peter 5:2-3

Remember, the true shepherd loves his flock and guards them from division and strife. The false shepherd doesn't care about unity. His only concern is that he has his way and he WILL have it at all costs, no matter what damage he does to the flock.

Early in my ministry I pastored two small country churches several miles apart, Mt. Hermon and Mt. Zion. I have an idea that the experience must be a little like being the husband of two wives at the same time. Psalm 133 became very meaningful to me at that time. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard , even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments. As the dew of Hermon and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Division | Comments Off on Division

Death

They say there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes. Some people evade their taxes, but no one evades death. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, this world has known death. Romans 5:12 tells us “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam), sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” The same chapter goes on to show us that as one man, Adam, brought death to the world; so one Man, Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has brought life to those who trust Him.

When do we die?
We were born dead in sin. Every human being born into this world is born spiritually dead as a result of the curse of sin we inherit from our father Adam. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes our plight as sinners; spiritually dead and under the power and influence of Satan. Eventually we die physically just as our first father died physically.

Death is our enemy.
Dress is up, if you will, and refer to it as “a normal next step of life.” Death is still not a pretty sight. For many, death is a painful, lingering experience. Thank God for the dear hospice people who so lovingly help us and help our dying loved ones pass through the experience of physical death. We vainly try to mask death as a friend, but Paul describes death as our enemy in I Corinthians 15:26.

Death is like a swarm of killer bees–without stingers.
Because of Jesus’ bodily resurrection; Paul in I Cor. 15:55-56 explains to us that death has been swallowed up in victory. For the Christian, death is a victorious Home-Going! For the Christian death is likened to being chased by a swarm of killer bees who’s only terror is the buzzing sound they make as they surround us. Christ has removed the stingers.

Satan thinks he has scored a victory when we Christians experience death and are buried in the grave, but because of Christ’s resurrection, our resurrection is guaranteed and so Paul mocks the grave with the words, “O grave, where is thy victory?”

When do we receive eternal life?
For the Christian, eternal life begins the moment we are born again through faith in Christ. For the Christian, death is like falling asleep in this world and instantly waking up in the presence of Christ. In II Corinthians 5:1-5 Paul beautifully describes death for the Christian as the dissolving of his old body and the putting on of new glorified body. He clearly states that to be absent from our dead physical body is to be present with the Lord. The body sleeps until Christ returns to this earth to call us from our grave. The soul never sleeps. The unsaved soul goes immediately to hell to await the final judgement when his body is resurrected from the grave to be reunited with his ever-living soul, to be cast into the Lake of Fire described in Revelation 20:11-15. David in Psalm 23 describes death for God’s children as a shadow and God promises to be with us as we pass through the “shadow of death.”

I thank God for saving me when I put my trust in Christ as a nine year old boy, and for the joy I have experienced for over sixty-five years walking with Him every day. Proverbs 4:18 describes it so beautifully. “But the path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more (brighter and brighter) unto the perfect day. I’m not walking towards the sunset, but towards the Sunrise. Come join me in that walk by trusting Christ as your Saviour and learning to know Him through His Word.

June 5, 2006 Posted by | Death | Comments Off on Death