29 September 2008

Psalm 10.3 – 9.29.08

Psalm 10:3-4 For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Have you ever read through the Bible and noticed a verse that you had never seen before and wondered who put it in there since the last time you read it? Well, that's part of what makes the Bible such a great book and what ought to make us want to read it over and over and over again. And it happened to me last night when I read this passage. I know I've read Psalm 10 numerous times, but I never remember reading what it says in verse 3, the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous.

Have you ever been around the person this verse describes? Someone who can't stop talking about what they want…What they want to do…Where they want to go…What they want to see…What they want to buy…What they want to build? Or maybe you are that someone described in the verse. Whenever you open your mouth, your covetousness – in one form or another – just spews out.

Now, we know it's true, and Psalm 10 reminds us it's true. God HATES covetousness. Can't we find something better to talk about? Can't we find something better to think about? Can't we find something better to SEEK AFTER (v. 4)? Come on Christians. We're saved! We have eternal life, a home in heaven, an eternal inheritance, all things pertaining to life and godliness.

Let's make our boast – not in the things we want and don't have – but in THE LORD (Psalm 34:2)! Let's not seek after what is empty and meaningless (Luke 12:15; Ecclesiastes 1:2). Let's seek God! And He's promised to reward us richly (Hebrews 11:6).

23 September 2008

The Devil’s Bible – 9.23.08

Luke 4:9-12 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

It's always great to read the account of Jesus' temptation and to watch Him come out on the other side triumphant! Praise the Lord…

Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations…

What we must never fail to notice in this account is the fact that Jesus Christ combated the devil's enticement with scripture. The word of God truly is our weapon (Ephesians 6:15) in the battle against an unseen enemy (Ephesians 6:12). May we hide its truths in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) and may the Holy Spirit bring those things to our remembrance (John 14:26) so we might not sin against God.

But what I'd like to bring out from this passage today is the devil's use of scripture in tempting Jesus Christ. He takes Him up to the pinnacle of the temple and quotes Psalm 91:11-12. It's obvious that he twisted the passage and took it way out of context. And Jesus retorted with the command, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord THY God." (Perhaps a suggestion that the devil go back and read Psalm 91:13!)

This tactic didn't work on the Lord Jesus Christ, but I believe it has been much more successful with the feeble, weak-hearted men and women of our modern time. You see, sin always sounds more spiritual when you have a scripture to back it up. Problem is you can't half-quote and mis-quote and take scripture out of context…and get away with it.

Here are a few examples.

There's hardly a drunk on the street that can't half-quote 1 Timothy 5:23...use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. The problem is that they always leave out the first part of the verse, Drink no longer water and fail to recognize that this word of instruction is given to a young missionary who got sick because of the water he was drinking. So once that drunk gets saved, goes to the foreign mission field, and gets sick from the water he's drinking, THEN we'll talk about 1 Timothy 5:23.

Likewise, there's hardly a social-drinking Christian that doesn't know about the command in Ephesians 5:18 Be not DRUNK with wine, wherein is excess…See there. Everything in moderation. But you stopped short of the end of the verse…but be filled with the Spirit. Question. Would the Christian who is under the guiding and controlling influence of the Holy Spirit ever be directed by that Holy Spirit to violate the clear commandment of Proverbs 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. Or Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink (cp. Revelation 1:5-6).

What about that classic statement of the all-inclusive Christian who's ashamed to speak up for the Lord and against His enemies – Judge not, lest ye be judged. Well, that's close, but Matthew 7:1 actually says Judge not, that ye be not judged. If you examine the context, you will find that Christ's discourse is a warning against HYPOCRISY, not a prohibition on casting judgment. Actually, if you were to learn other verses in the Bible, you would find that Christ COMMANDS us to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24) and that the spiritual man judges all things (1 Corinthians 2:15).

The list could go on and on. But take a minute to think about your own life. Is there any sin in your life that you are "justifying" with a misinterpretation or misapplication of a verse – or part of a verse – of the Bible? If so, recognize that you've fallen prey to one of the devil's old tricks and repent.

19 September 2008

Good to Be Saved – 9.19.08

Matthew 11:11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

I'm glad to be part of a group of people who have much better things to talk about than the weather, politics, sports, the latest fashion, etc. Oftentimes, when we minister together and fellowship together here at Bible Baptist, the topic of conversation drifts towards something that somebody read in the Bible.

Recently, the above 2 passages came up. At first glance, you'll notice that the Matthew passage makes mention of the kingdom of heaven (the visible, physical kingdom Christ will establish when He returns to this earth) whereas the Luke passage makes mention of the kingdom of God (the invisible, spiritual kingdom that is at work within the believer) and that both make the same statement – that one who is a participant in either of those kingdoms is greater than John the Baptist.

How can that be? And how can it be true of both the physical and the spiritual kingdom? I admit, I didn't have all that great of an answer. Thankfully, Bro. James was nearby.

The point of both passages is this. John the Baptist was the best man there ever was. What an amazing statement for the Lord to make! Think of some others that could take that title. What about Moses? Samuel? Daniel? Job? Noah? Ezra? Good men. Great men! But not the best. That was John.

Now, the statement that Jesus makes does not exclude John from either of those kingdoms but points out this fact – that it'd better to be the least in God's kingdom than to be the best man on the face of the earth.

When I lived at home, I was blessed to enjoy quite a few rounds of golf with my dad. We played enough to have some good rounds every now and then, but we also had our fair share of days that were well-nigh embarrassing. At the end of one of those type days, Dad would say one of two things. Either, "I think I'm going to take up tennis." Or, "Well, it still beats working."

Maybe you've heard it this way…A bad day [golfing, fishing, hunting, shopping, you fill in the blank] is better than a good day at work.

Let's re-state that with the above passages in mind. Your worst day saved is better than your best day lost! Isn't it good to have your sins forgiven! Isn't it good to have assurance of eternal life! Isn't it good to know that He will never leave or forsake us! Praise God! My sins are gone!

15 September 2008

Pilate’s Bowl – 9.15.08

Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Ever since Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day and confirmed His claim as the Son of God (John 5:16-18), the Jews – or at least their religious leaders – have been seeking an opportunity to put Jesus Christ to death. Now the hour has finally come (John 7:30; 8:20). Judas has betrayed the Son of God with a kiss. Jesus has been led away from the Garden of Gethsemane and has been examined by Annas, as well as Caiaphas. They, of course, have pronounced him guilty of death. But because they are under Roman oppression (John 8:33), they cannot execute the sentence without approval from the Roman governor Pilate.

As the narrative of Christ's crucifixion unfolds, Pilate becomes a very interesting character to consider. The exchange recorded between Pilate and Jesus Christ on the eve of his crucifixion is simply intriguing. It is clear that Pilate is certain Jesus was a just man who had done absolutely nothing worthy of death…and that was before his wife told him about her dream (Matthew 27:19). Three times Pilate brings Jesus out before the Jewish multitude and declares that he can find no fault in Him. Later he refuses to revise the title he had placed on Jesus' cross – JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS (John 19:19). When the chief priests and Pharisees request that a watch be placed at Jesus' tomb, Pilate's "make it as sure as ye can" almost makes it seem as if he believed Jesus might just rise on the third day.

And yet despite all that Pilate seemed to believe about Jesus Christ, he gave in to the relentless pressure of the envious Pharisees (see the political angle they spun on the scenario, John 19:12) and delivered Jesus into their hands to be crucified. But before He does so, he washes his hands in a vain attempt to declare himself innocent of THE innocent blood (Matthew 27:4) of "this just person," the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sorry, Pilate. Doesn't work that way. No matter why he did what he did, he did it, and he will give account to God for it on the day of judgment. Washing his hands in a bowl of water didn't do anything to change the fact that he did what he knew was wrong.

Now, take a moment to think about that bowl that Pilate used to wash his hands and compare it to the excuses you make to do, and say, and involve yourself in what you know is wrong:

  • "So and so does it, and he goes to church."

  • "My parents don't mind."

  • "Everything in moderation."

  • "I'm a good Christian. I read my Bible."

  • "I'm a good Christian. I witness to my lost friends."

  • "I'm a good Christian. I participate in church ministries."

  • "Well, I'm not as bad as THEM."

Your excuses might be more creative or they might be more lame. Your justification for doing what you know is wrong might be more carefully crafted or it might be thoughtless. Doesn't matter. You can line up all the excuses you want for your parents, for your pastor, for your Christian friends. But what you need to consider is the fact that none of them matter the tiniest sliver of a bit TO GOD. And HE is the one you'll have to answer to.

You see, He knows that you know that it's wrong, and He'll make a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). He'll give you victory over that sin in your life. But He'll not make a way for you to escape the consequences that will result when you wash your hands in the bowl of excuses and do what you know to be wrong.

10 September 2008

When Ye Pray – 9.10.08

Matthew 6.9-13 & Luke 11.2-4 are often referred to the Lord's Prayer, though they could more accurately be called the disciples' prayer. In Matthew 6, Jesus points out the errors in the prayer habits of the Pharisees, then sets forth an example or a pattern of how His disciples ought to pray.

The order of this prayer is important and is what we'd like to mention today. Notice that before moving on to the requests of verses 11-13, Jesus said in verses 9-10, After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Psalm 100 sets forth the same order. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Any child knows that before you ask your dad for something – especially something important – you've gotta say something nice about him, or express some sort of appreciation, or at least ask in a humble, grateful sort of a way…that is, if you want to increase your chances of getting the answer you're looking for.

Now, it's not exactly the same with our prayers – we're not trying to "butter" God up – but it is similar. Before rushing into our "prayer requests" that oftentimes look more like a Christmas list or a complaint form, we should spend some time in the presence of God thanking Him for all He's already done. Thanking Him for the prayers He's already answered. Telling Him how good He is. Telling Him how much we love Him. Giving Him some praise. Giving Him some glory. Blessing His name! Why? Because He's good. Because His mercy is everlasting. Because His truth endureth to all generations. Because He's worthy!

And because it'll give us the right and proper perspective on all those things we're about to ask Him for. Verse 10 of Matthew 6 says, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. This is the key to answered prayer.

1 John 5:14-15
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

God's way is best (2 Samuel 22.31). He knows what's best for us. He knows what we need before we even ask (Matthew 6.8). And if we align our hearts with His will by abiding in His word and if we seek His glory in all things, we can be confident that God will hear and will answer our prayers…all for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8.26-28).

1 John 3:22
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

05 September 2008

Prove Me – 9.5.08

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Well, here's a popular verse in Baptist pulpits across the country. Before we move into the practical lesson for today, we need to ask some questions of a doctrinal nature:
  • What did these tithes consist of and what is their purpose?
  • What is the storehouse referred to in this verse?
  • Is this commandment and/or this promise repeated in the NT for the church-age believer?
An honest review and consideration of this and other OT passages will clearly reveal that the Baptists have misapplied the law of the tithe as badly as the Seventh-Day Adventists have misapplied the law of the Sabbath. There was a lot more to the tithe than bringing money to the temple every week just like there was a lot more to the Sabbath than rest and worship on Saturday. What we have done is picked out those parts of the law of the tithe we like and treated them like commands, while leaving out the parts that aren't quite as convenient (like the fact that the tithe was for the support of the Levites NOT the upkeep and outreach ministry of the local "synagogue" or the fact that you had to add 20% if you brought money, not animals and crops).

I'm not saying that 10% is not a good principle for giving, but I am saying that it is not a hard and fast commandment for the NT Christian. We are commanded to give cheerfully out of our abundance in gratitude to the God Who has so richly blessed us, both spiritually and physically, NOT because God promised to make us rich if we do or kill our kids if we don't.

Matthew 15:6…Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

Anyway, the thought I wanted to draw out of this verse is God's challenge to the nation of Israel, prove me now herewith. God is reminding the people that when He gave them the law way back in the book of Exodus He attached some promises of blessing for obedience to those commandments. But Israel's problem has always been UNBELIEF. Obviously, they didn't believe God could or they didn't believe God would come through on the blessings He promised. They probably wouldn't have admitted that verbally, but their actions proved it because for hundreds of years they ignored His law.

I believe this challenge is valid for us today. Though the promises God has given us are of a more spiritual nature, there are many exceeding great and precious promises made to us as NT believers. Problem is that we don't REALLY believe God's word. If we did, we'd put it to the test by being OBEDIENT to Him in all situations and allowing Him to bless our lives just like He said He would.

Oftentimes the reason we don't is that it takes longer than we think it should for the blessings to come around. For example, when the trials and hardships come, the temptation is to worry and to take matters into our own hands. However, God has promised blessing to those who pray to Him, trust in Him, cast their care upon Him, and let Him take care of the situation. So we'll try that for a while…but when it doesn't work out like we thought it should we get impatient and give in to the temptation.

Let's take this challenge to heart in whatever temptations we face. It's unfair and dishonest not to believe God will bless your obedience when you haven't given it a shot. Prove God's word. Put it to the test. Rest in His promise.

2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

02 September 2008

Dangers of Education – 9.2.08

Malachi 2:12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.

This is one of only 2 places where the word "scholar" is mentioned in the Bible, the other being 1 Chronicles 25:8 (in reference to the 24 courses/orders of the Levites devised by king David). Obviously, the reference here is not a positive one. The book of Malachi is a burning rebuke to the nation of Israel and its leadership, which had fallen into the same "treacherous dealings" that caused them to spend 70 years in Babylonian captivity. Here in 2:12, the scholars are singled out for God's judgment.

Now, it is un-debatable that the nation in which we live worships the false god of education. So taking off from this mention of the scholar in Malachi 2:12, let's consider some NT passages that deal with the dangers of education.

Romans 1:20-22 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Starting in the earliest grades, the school system of this supposed "Christian nation" will attempt to educate you out of an inherent belief in the God of creation. Despite the lack of any truly scientific evidence, the theory of evolution is pushed and promoted in the science classrooms to the point where people accept it as proven fact. Having denied the God who created them for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11), they become fools (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).

Christian, if you're in one of these science classrooms where this evolution business is advanced, politely and respectfully encourage your teacher and the class to be broad minded and consider other alternative THEORIES of origin.

Visit these websites for ideas on defending the biblical truth of creation.




Colossians 2:8-10 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

A heady, high-minded philosopher was lecturing his class on "relativity" and declared, "There is no absolute truth." A student calmly raised his hand and asked, "Are you absolutely sure?" Fact is, there is absolute truth, and God has revealed it in the pages of the Holy Bible (John 17:17). Don't let anybody talk you out of that belief.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

Many throughout the years have contended that the Bible isn't to be trusted because it is not scientifically accurate in one way or another. However, the truth of the matter is quite to the contrary. Modern science has done nothing more than provide support for our belief that the scriptures are inspired by Almighty God.

Read the tract "That Amazing Book" 


Now, don't get me wrong. Education is important. The proper attitude of a Christian toward education is well summarized in Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Young men, you need to apply yourself to learning so that you can read and understand the Bible and one day you can provide for your family and send missionaries around the world and a be a successful and productive Christian citizen. Young ladies, you ought to apply yourself to learning so that you can and understand the Bible, and teach your children everything they need to know to be successful and productive Christian citizens, and take care of yourself if anything ever happens to your husband, or if God has other plans for your future.

But beware of any teacher, any class, or any theory that would deny or dilute the truth you have been taught concerning the God of creation and the absolute truth and authority of His word.