These are my favorite types of evidence for creation, the ones that make for gorgeous pictures! When you drive past great ridges of every color you get the feeling that the God we love is an artist of tremendous magnitude.
What evidence am I referring to? The fossilized trees found standing upright in the middle of layers of rocks. These rock layers should have taken millions of years to be laid down. How is it possible for a tree to withstand millions of years all while lying upright? No geologists question the impossibility of this. Yet, they see no reason to change their theory, they have faith in evolution despite evidence otherwise.
What do these trees really show? Quickly laid down layers from a great flood. Why do so many both within the church and without want to refute the validity of Noah’s flood? To those unsaved Noah’s flood relates Gods judgement on the wicked, and their own complete inability to stand in the face of His wrath. To the saved, or those claiming to be saved, Noah’s flood seems as though we serve an angry God so they choose to ignore it, or in more serious cases, refute it.
There are two questions then, did the flood happen? And, do we serve an angry God?
As a believer we must accept the truth, Jesus Christ Himself spoke of the flood as a true event. Even if there were not massive evidences all over the world got a global deluge, the Messiahs testimony would be all I needed to believe.
Are we serving an angry God? This question is confused by mankinds seemingly endless ways to misunderstand God Himself. God is not sometimes omniscient, He is always omniscient. He is not sometimes loving, His loving kindness knows no end. Psalms 7:11 says God is angry with the wicked everyday. God is always all the things He is, He is not man that changes emotions like they were going out of style. He is always loving, always just, always merciful, and always angry with the wicked.
How can that be? Let me ask you this, friends, why do you find murder so deeply disturbing? When someone abuses a young child, why does that make you righteously indignant? Because you love Gods creation, the young innocent particularly. If you had no love for humanity you would find no angry in the murder of innocents. Gods love for His creation is the very evidence for His anger against the sin which corrupts them.
Beloved, Gods Word is true. We can stand on it firmly.
Last week we talked about the Strong’s Concordance, a wonderful Bible help that is invaluable. Another Bible help that is comparable, and in some respects even more helpful depending on the type of study you’re doing, is the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge.
If the Concordance is often left unmentioned, the Treasury is virtually invisible. This book is an absolute treasure, true to its name! I’m not sure how it is possible that the churches have forgotten the hard work believers have put into the blessing and edifying the body of Christ, but it’s time we were reminded.
The Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge is usually printed with R. A. Torrey’s name, although he promoted the book, he wasn’t the author.
Torrey was an important American evangelist who was even the superintendent of a little-known
school, although it was called something different back then, it’s now known as Moody Bible Institute. He was also born a decade and a half after the book was published, in 1830. Samuel Bagster was the man behind this jewel, this particular saint had a heart for getting the Word to more people.
If you’re doing a word study I strongly recommend the Concordance, however, if you are just reading a verse that you want to go deeper on, the Treasury is the place to go. It connects the verses, whereas the Concordance just gives you one word at a time. There are over 500,000 references in the TSK, and as with the Concordance, the entire book is available in App form! You can also find several websites offering this tool free, along with inexpensive copies for your own library on Amazon.
I hope you will all find this book friend, and use it, and that it helps each and every one of you grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have a very serious problem in the church today, particularly in America. It is an issue that I am specifically burdened with, having been so close to it.
The problem is the confusion over salvation. There is a great disillusionment happening within churches, where goats are being told they are sheep. They’re given sheep’s clothing and reprimanded when they act like goats. They have been told a lie so deceptive, you can barely tell the difference between it and the truth. Say this prayer, this sinner’s prayer, and you’ll be saved. I even heard a story from a street evangelist who said the sinner’s prayer with a man, who then turned right around and began to belittle the evangelists for his belief in God. But he had just accepted Christ! Didn’t he understand that Christ was God’s son? Hadn’t he just repeated the sinner’s prayer?
You see friends, the problem isn’t the prayer, the problem is the way it’s sold. Often times pastors will have people repeat this prayer, and then announce those who believed what they had said were saved. Wow, so I saved myself with my own prayer and the power of my own belief! I’ll just pat myself on my back and be on my way to hell, none the wiser. These people, goats as we’ll call them, do one of two things. 1) They continue to go to church and try as hard as they can to behave like the sheep (Like I did, for an entire decade before I finally heard the true Gospel which you can read about here) or 2) they leave the church, go back to their sinful life as goats, believing that one day they’ll go to heaven because they said a prayer.
It’s even more sinister than that, however, because this disillusionment has created millions of goats seeking a shepherd.
They do not know Christ, so they do not hear his voice. This is why they can comfortably listen to false teachers blaspheme, and preach every type of heresy imaginable. This is why when the antichrist comes, they will happily worship him, they want to worship a christ of their own invention.
So, you see, it is more important than ever to have an answer for what we believe. What is salvation truly? We have some examples in the Bible.
Today’s testimony is an ancient one, a story of salvation that has a markedly different tone than most of the other testimonies in the NT. Saul, a persecutor of the brethren and fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy that the day would come when those who killed believers would do so under the impression that what they did they did for God. It continues even to this day, millions of Christians all over the globe are persecuted and even martyred, by those who are doing the work of their god. Sauls testimony serves as another reminder, that no one is too far gone for salvation.
Sauls salvation is dramatic, as he is heading from town to town to persecute, arrest, and even kill believers, a voice stops him.
He is blinded, and the goes where the voice told him to go. He fasts and prays for three days before a believer comes to him. They pray, his eyesight is healed, he is baptized, then eats and is strengthened. Acts chapter 9 tells us he immediately began to go into the synagogues and preach Christ as Messiah. He changes his name from Saul to Paul (which translates into small) then spends the rest of his life teaching and preaching Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles. He is beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked several times. During his life, he writes a large portion of the NT and is eventually beheaded for his faith.
What do we learn about salvation from the story of Paul? We learn that once the conversion has happened we no longer desire the sinful lusts we desired before. When the Holy Spirit entered Saul, he immediately ceased his murderous rampage. What else happens when we become saved? We cannot help but seek out the brethren, our desire is no longer for worldly amusement. We now love our brothers and sisters in Christ and seek out fellowship with them. What else do we see in this story? We see that we grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We become a new creature, the old man passes away. No longer do we return to the vomit of sin.
It’s not going to happen overnight, and some grow faster than others. As Jesus himself said, some bear different amounts of fruit. However, it will happen, if you have been saved from eternal damnation you will grow. Even when you do sin, and you will fall short, you hate that you’ve sinned. As Paul himself said, what he desires to do he does not, what he hates that he does. It’s a race, friends, run it well. Do not accept the delusion that you can save yourself by saying, and believing a prayer. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
“People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I always tell them, twist not scripture lest ye
be like Satan.”
― Paul David Washer
There are many places in the Bible where it warns us to be careful not to take God’s Word out of context. This is no small matter, this is a deep concern.
We are told to be on guard, watchful of the untaught and unstable who will distort to the word. So what happens when the world of unbelieving church goers pick one verse and use it to their advantage? Chaos, confusion, manipulation, and even spiritual death. This, then, is truly a matter we must address. As believers, we’re given the wonderful blessing of the Holy Spirit, who, coming to make His abode within us, will teach us all things. Confusion on God’s Word need not stand, friends. Not when we have the Helper to clarify. Remember, Christ spoke in parables to the unbelieving multitudes, but in private He expounded the parables to his disciples. If we are true followers of Christ, we do not have to remain in darkness as to the truth of God’s Word.
Now that we are in the light we must be wary of false teachers, false preachers, and false gospels. There are men from within our churches who arise speaking perverse things. These men twist the scripture to fit their own desires.
One such scripture that is well known, and well used, is ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’. Whew…well, in that case, I guess we better let our brothers and sisters fall into sin without helping them back up. I guess we better not proclaim the Gospel to the world because in doing so we pronounce judgment over sin. You cannot hear the good news without first understanding there’s bad news.
Luke 12:57 Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?
Jesus is speaking here to the people about how they can discern the weather, but do not discern the time they were in. They are not judging for themselves what is right.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul even writes about how the congregation there should have judged one in sin, and how he had already judged the man and given him over to Satan that his spirit might be saved. Those are some stern words, however, Paul is speaking of salvation…is there a greater, or more weighty matter?
Luke 6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Here Jesus is speaking to his disciples, he gives many ‘blessed are,’ and ‘woe to them’, then he says…
“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which do good to you, what thank have he? For sinners, also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? For sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father also is merciful. JUDGE NOT, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” Luke 6:31-37
Whoa…what a minute…did Jesus just tell us to judge not, then in John 7:24 contradict himself? Of course not. So, what happens when we take the full counsel of God?
Matthew 7 Jesus expounds on the point, to further explain what we are being required.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? OR how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother‘s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Are we told here that after we remove the beam from our own eye that we should ignore the speck in our brother’s eye? No, we’re told to work on our own sin so we can see better to help our brothers. This is judging righteous judgment, the command not to judge is referring to hypocritical judgment. Therefore, again, it is so important to take the full scriptures and not cherry pick the ones that fit your own agenda.
In Roman’s 2 Paul writes “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for, in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”
So we see this repeated over, and over again. Judge righteously. How? It’s the heart friends, it always comes back to the heart. God is the very one who judges our hearts, He sees why we judge one another. So often we pick the flaws out in others that are actually things we don’t like about ourselves. This is a small example, but it is true also for sin. Men living in the sin of adultery preach the loudest against, as to not appear guilty. This is the sinful type of judgment, to judge others while sinning yourself.
We should first deal with our own sin, confess it, repent of it, ask for forgiveness for it. Then, when God has granted us the strength to overcome that sin, we will see clearly to help others out of it as well. There is no better testimony than to throw down the shackles of sin, not by our strength but through God’s Grace.
As always friends, take the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Be good Bereans, and study to find yourselves approved.
I had hoped tonight that my husband would have a testimony for me to write, but the hospital he works at has been very busy. Today is the 8th shift he’s taken in a row! He’s even had to switch from day shifts to night shifts, and thrown in a few 16 hour days between it all. Not real sure how he has the ability to work so hard!
So, instead, tonight I thought I would give some further insight into my journey from false religion to freedom. Before receiving salvation I followed a specific form of legalism. Although I was surrounded by the ‘name it and claim it’ crowd I found their hypocritical behavior disturbing. Not back biting, but pastors daughters having affairs with members of the youth. Or the 30+-year-old man who came to the youth meetings was treated like a youth, and as such preyed on 14-year-old girls. Didn’t these people know that if you didn’t look like, sound like, or act like a Christian then you probably weren’t one? They actually had the more consistent faith. They worshiped self in all the ways the ‘health and wealth’ teachers had told them to do.
What was I doing? Hiding my sin to the best of my ability. I was going to earn my way into heaven through cleaning the outside of the cup. But after becoming a new creature all I could see was the rags my righteousness represented. So I was shocked that, after finding true salvation, legalism once again found it’s way into my theology. Just in a different way.
This time it was through the messianic movement. After being set free from the chains of sin I wanted to show God how much I loved Him, and how grateful I was! It wasn’t long before a friend approached me about keeping the OT. I poured over material, teaching, preaching, and scriptures. It didn’t add up, but I was in too much of a hurry to love God. Did it matter if I worshiped Him the way His Word told me to? (Jesus said repeatedly if you love me keep my commandments) There are so many mediums with which we can get information. I was inundated, and way over my head. Like the Pharisees of Christ’s time, I placed heavy loads on my family that they were unable to bear.
It didn’t take long before the Holy Spirit began revealing the truth to me, those He loves He prunes. What we need to search for is the whole counsel of God’s Word. We can not cling to Galatians 4 while ignoring John 13. We need to take all our thoughts captive, compare what we believe to be true to the actual truth of the Bible. This gives us a greater picture.
As it always is with God, it’s about the heart. Why was I trying suddenly to keep the Shabbat, and the festivals, feasts, and other laws? To impress God or these new friends? To do what was right, or what was right in man’s eyes? In the end, it was clear that I was still trying to gain my way through my own works.
Don’t get me wrong, I think having an understanding of the law, festivals, feasts, and Shabbat is extremely important. Everything in God’s Word is important, inspired, and true. My righteousness, however, is still as rags. That is why I needed a Saviour!
When it comes to the scriptures, context is key! We can read something into the text that has nothing to do with what Gods Word is really saying. It’s far easier to do for those of us who are still trying to learn Hebrew and Greek. Those languages are so much richer than English! It’s no wonder, then, those false teachers repeat Psalms 82 as a way to back up their heretical view that they, themselves, are gods. Ironic, as that scripture is talking to corrupt leaders of Isreal.
This is what makes the contexts so imperative, context and the full council of scriptures. Only in this way can we correctly worship the King of kings. The first scripture I read after being saved was 1 Corinthians 8:2. It sums up perfectly my natural tendencies as a ‘know it all’.
So after a year in heart-wrenching prayer, I started back at the beginning. Now, having learned my lesson the hard way, I take each Biblical belief to the Word. How does it stand the test of scriptures? What does church history have to say about it? Are there commentaries that conflict? Are there trustworthy men expounding it? We must be able to have an answer for what we believe friends!