Friday, June 20, 2014

God's Resistance to Sin and Offer of Salvation

When God cursed the earth, He made it more difficult for man to fulfill His commands to "...be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over ... every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28) God shortened the lives he had given to Adam and Eve, but did not snuff them out. God created thorns and made the ground more difficult for Adam to work, but it was not impossible for him to get his food. God gave Eve great pain in childbirth, but she could still have children.

He did all of this because His holiness demands that He not bless and assist man's wicked and sinful rebellion in any way - yet His grace and mercy plead for patience and second chances. He permits sin to exist on the Earth for a short season, not because he approves of sin but because the alternative would be to destroy the world.

Yet, "scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' ... But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:3-4,8-9)

Repent therefore, and turn to the Lord that your sins may be blotted out and your name added to the Lamb's book of life. Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be made righteous through Him. "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Old Testament Verses About the Resurrection

I was speaking with a Jewish woman recently who stated that "we are only guaranteed this life". I found that surprising since the Old Testament contains several references to the resurrection, but it seems that her perception is actually fairly common among Jews.  I was able to remember Job 19:25-27 when I was speaking with her - here's that verse plus a few more for future reference:
  • Job 19:25-27 - For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
  • Daniel 12:2 - And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
  • Isaiah 26:19 - Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
  • Psalm 17:15 - As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
  • Psalm 49:15 - But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
  • 1 Samuel 2:6 - The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
  • Hosea 13:14 - I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list.  Is anything ever an exhaustive list?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Salvation is Freely Available for All!

Salvation by grace through faith is the only way God can offer eternal life to everyone!  If salvation depended on performing some great physical or mental task, there would be some who could not attain it.  If salvation depended on how much money we had, there would be some who could not afford it.  Even if salvation depended on our good deeds, some would not be able to accomplish the required deeds before they died.  (The thief on the cross had his arms and legs nailed down)  No, but because salvation is through faith, anyone can obtain it in an instant of time.  How great is the love and mercy of our God which is poured out freely for all!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Christianity Cannot Be Forced

One of the reasons Christianity is unique is that since salvation is by faith in Christ, Christianity cannot be forced on anyone. I cannot put a gun to your head and make you believe in something. I can make you say a creed, perform a ritual, or do a "good deed", but none of those things will make you a Christian and save your soul from Hell. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Simple Prayer

What we do not know, teach us.
What we do not have, give us.
What we are not, cause us to be.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Rejection of Christ, His Acceptance of Us

For years Jesus had been working with His disciples to explain to them about Himself, the Father, salvation, and the coming kingdom. These men had given up their jobs and had left their families behind temporarily in order to follow Christ and be His disciples. The people of Israel had followed Him into the deserts, going days without eating so that he needed to perform a miracle in order to prevent them from fainting from hunger. The crowds were at times so thick and pressed so hard upon him that Jesus had to place himself into a ship off the shore or otherwise remove Himself just a little out of their reach so that He could talk to them. The people of Israel desired at one point to come and make him their King by force, and when He entered the city of Jerusalem they shouted Hosannas; yet at the cross all rejected and forsook Him.

We expected this reaction from the Pharisees and the Sadducees since they had been against Jesus from the beginning. That the huge crowds of people who were following Jesus throughout his ministry would turn against him is a little surprising, though we can minimize it because they didn't really know Jesus intimately. The disciples are a different story, though. They were with him daily, watching His every move, hearing His every word, taking part in miraculous events, and seeing Jesus perform great signs and wonders. They heard Him prophecy of His death and resurrection. Just a few hours before they had been eating and drinking with Jesus, reclining on His breast, and swearing they would never forsake Him and would fight to the death any that would try to harm Him. Yet they all fled. God the Father had to turn His back on His Son during this dark hour as well, though He was not motivated by fear and self-preservation like the others; the Father possesses holier eyes than to look upon iniquity, yet the end result was the same. Jesus was left completely alone on the Cross with the weight of the sin of the world bearing upon His soul.

Heb. 12.2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross and despised its shame for the joy that was set before Him. This joy was quite plainly the joy of redeeming sinful mankind to Himself, in order to enjoy fellowship with the sanctified redeemed for all of eternity. Christ was willing to go through unthinkable suffering and rejection because of the great love with which He loved us.

Less commonly thought about than Jesus' love for sinners, however, is his extreme patience with those who forsake Him. How many times in the Old Testament did the nation of Israel sin against God or reject Him outright in favor witchcraft, idolatry, or false Gods; and yet they were still His chosen people and He promised to revive and restore them at the slightest hint of repentance. Now in the New Testament Israel's God had put on human flesh, which they crucified. What was Jesus' reaction to His disciples betrayal? He greets them in a friendly manner as if nothing had happened. What about Thomas, who not only fled his master but also refused to believe the witness of the other disciples? Jesus treats him patiently and kindly. What was Jesus' command concerning the Jews who crucified Him? He told His disciples to continue to give the Jews preference and to go to them first with the good news of the gospel of peace.

These insights into the heart of God give me great courage to continue on in my Christian walk. Have I disgraced Jesus by fleeing from battle, denying that I am a Christian, persecuting His followers, or handing Jesus over to the authorities to be crucified? If Jesus forgave others these sins he can yet forgive my sin if I ask Him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Old Paths Magazine

Years ago SermonIndex.net started publishing an excellent monthly magazine focused on revival which was entitled "The Old Paths".  I recently wanted to locate the PDFs again and had a great deal of trouble finding them, due in part to the fact that they had let the registration of the oldpathsmag.com domain lapse.  Here for posterity are the archived PDFs which I was able to locate only after much searching:

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=429