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Our Perverse Generation

2019-03-11T07:49:46-04:00 March 21st, 2019|

If I were to ask you to describe this present generation in the twenty-first century, what would you say? You might say a lot of things. But there is one thing you probably would not say. You would not describe yourself or those you know as perverse.

Over 2000 years ago the apostle Peter preached to a gathering of thousands in the city of Jerusalem. The burden of his message was simple. He said, “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40).

Wait a minute, you say. What a preacher said over 2000 years ago hardly applies to this generation. But I ask you, have people really changed over the centuries? What about lawmakers in our nation’s capital who regularly rebuff legislative efforts to stem the tide of abortion? And how do you handle the fact that newborn infants are actually allowed to die of starvation because they have some physical deformity? There was also a man who shot and killed his elderly wife who was terminally ill. A grand jury refused to indict him. The, so called, Hemlock Society supports and promotes such acts.

Yet God says the taking of human life in the ways described is murder. Such acts are clear violations of the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Surely a generation which tolerates the needless slaughter of the unborn and the careless taking of other human life can be called nothing less than perverse. You see, the words of the ancient preacher do apply to you and to me, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

To help you understand your need for salvation a little better, I encourage you to click here and listen to a sermon, “Our Perverse Generation.”

God’s Marvelous Grace

2019-03-11T07:42:58-04:00 March 20th, 2019|

We used to have a young Ethiopian man worship with us occasionally. This college student was fond of saying his native tongue, Amharic, is the language of heaven. This handsome dark-skinned man was also a Christian. God renewed him and remade him. God changed him on the inside. This is the great modern day miracle, the work of God changing human hearts. God says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).

Many people have problems; they are accustomed to doing evil. They are addicted to sexual sins, illicit drugs, cheating in school, or stealing things from work. Can these people change permanently? The popular answer is a resounding No. An alcoholic always remains an alcoholic. As the leopard cannot rub off its spots, so those practiced in sin cannot change themselves into saints. Only God can bring about such change. The apostle Paul reminds Christians, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, not the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, italics added).

God does what we cannot do. He miraculously changes people so they are no longer what they once were. To help you understand this better, click here and listen to the message, “Grace: God’s Remedy for Evil.”

God’s Great Grace

2019-03-11T07:40:30-04:00 March 19th, 2019|

We used to have a young Ethiopian man worship with us occasionally. This college student was fond of saying his native tongue, Amharic, is the language of heaven. This handsome dark-skinned man was also a Christian. God renewed him and remade him. God changed him on the inside. This is the great modern day miracle, the work of God changing human hearts. God says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).

Many people have problems; they are accustomed to doing evil. They are addicted to sexual sins, illicit drugs, cheating in school or stealing things from work. Can these people change permanently? The popular answer is a resounding No. An alcoholic always remains an alcoholic. As the leopard cannot rub off its spots, so those practiced in sin cannot change themselves into saints. Only God can bring about such change.

The apostle Paul reminds Christians, “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). God does what we cannot do. He miraculously changes people so they are no longer what they once were.

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to the message, “Grace: God’s Remedy for Evil.”

Tools for Remodeling

2019-03-11T07:37:07-04:00 March 18th, 2019|

Remodeling a house? Overhauling an engine? Planting a garden? If you put up a wall, unscrew a nut, or dig a hole, tools are the means. Wire, pipe, and a hose are the means to get electricity, gas, and water to the job. You always use some means to send a letter, whether it’s the postal service, email, or FedEx. It is not uncommon to think in these terms.

God is no different. He used the means of taking on human form to display His own nature. Jesus Christ “is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). God uses the means of a book to reveal Himself. That book is the Bible. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). God uses faithful servants who tell others about Christ from the Bible. “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). God also uses the means of His word to change our lives. “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

You use the appointed means to remodel your house. Take advantage of God’s appointed means. He will remodel your life. To encourage you in your use of means, click here and listen to “Learn to Preach, Learn to Listen.”

How God Promises to Use the Sabbath

2019-03-15T09:59:23-04:00 March 18th, 2019|

The Fourth Commandment begins with this positive requirement, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). You ought to sanctify the Sabbath; you ought to set it aside for the purposes of God. What are God’s purposes for the Sabbath? The Sabbath reminds you that God is your Creator. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11). The Sabbath also reminds you that God is your Redeemer. “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm” (Deuteronomy 5:15). Israel’s redemption foreshadows yours (1 Corinthians 5:7). You belong to God by right of creation and redemption.

The Fourth Commandment indicates how you ought to remember or memorialize your creation and redemption. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:9-10). The Sabbath is, therefore, a day of “rest” (Exodus 31:15, Deuteronomy 5:14). At the same time, the Sabbath is a sign. “You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations” (Exodus 31:13). What does it signify?

Ultimately, “rest” is a state of grace which leads into heavenly “rest.” Hebrews 4:1-3 exhorts, “Let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest.” You enter “rest” with God when you abandon your own works and trust in Jesus Christ as the only adequate payment for your sins. You enter “rest” by grace through faith.

And so, how do you remember your redemption? You stop your regular work and recreation to “rest” on the Sabbath Day. You assemble with God’s people, enter God’s gracious presence for worship, and taste the things of heaven. When you cease your work and taste God’s heaven, you testify to a watching world that your salvation is by grace through faith and not by works. You testify that you trust the works of your Creator and Redeemer, and not your own, to give you right standing with Him. You testify that you are not your own, “you have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). You memorialize justifying grace in your life by ceasing to work as though eternal life depends upon it.

There is a second purpose for the Sabbath. Listen again to Exodus 31:13, “You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Italics added). God promises to use the Sabbath Day as a means to assure you that you do indeed belong to Him. You may know that you trust Christ for salvation, but you lack deeper assurance of salvation itself. You are therefore tempted to abandon Sabbath observance and worship. This is the exact opposite of what you should do. The Sabbath Day is God’s means to remind you and assure you that you belong to Him by right of creation and redemption.

Denny Prutow

Play by the Rules

2019-03-11T07:35:33-04:00 March 17th, 2019|

All games have rules. When a football player throws an illegal block, an official throws a flag and calls a penalty. The whole team suffers. Hardly seems fair, does it? When a basketball player steps out of bounds, he loses the ball. The other team takes over. When a sprinter does not stay in her lane, she is disqualified. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Running to win means following the rules. You must always run in your lane.

This is a vital biblical principle. “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). The way to heaven is narrow. You cannot run, willy-nilly, all over the place, doing all sorts of things to please yourself, living a life of wild abandon, and expect a good outcome. The way to eternal life is narrow. Jesus Christ defines it. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to a message called, “Seek According to the Rules.”

Gifts

2019-03-11T07:34:10-04:00 March 16th, 2019|

We all have different gifts and abilities. Seven-foot basketball players have a life on the court. Their performance in computer programming may be quite different. Actors and actresses on stage and screen know how to play a role. Getting suited up for real life is another matter. Hollywood divorces are legendary. Gifts and talents are real.

Ancient Israel found herself in a privileged position. God saved her from slavery in Egypt. God also brought her into a special relationship with Himself at Mount Sinai. He entered into a covenant with the people. The response of the people was unanimous. “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient” (Exodus 24:7). After forty years of grumbling, wrangling, and disobedience, Moses realized the problem. “Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear” (Deuteronomy 29:4). That generation died in the wilderness.

Heaven is not a given. Salvation is not a right. It is a gift. We must have eyes to see God. We must have ears to hear God. We must have hearts to know God. These things come from God. They are gifts of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

To understand this devotion further, click here and listen to a message called “Needed, New Hearts.” And may the great God of all bless you with a new heart.

The God of the Second Chance

2019-03-11T07:32:34-04:00 March 15th, 2019|

So you have problems. Your nerves are frayed. Mole hills seem like mountains to climb. You look for a means of escape, but there doesn’t seem to be one. And so you turn to alcohol. At least you can drown your problems for a few hours. Or you turn to drugs, perhaps with a doctor’s prescription, just a little something to calm your nerves. But your problems don’t go away. The morning after reveals the same hurdles to cross.

Let me suggest a different approach. This approach involves turning to God. It involves coming to Christ. It involves saying with David of old, “But as for me, I trust in Thee, O Lord, I say, ‘Thou art my god'” (Psalm 31:14).

Believe me, David had problems. When he was a youth, King Saul attempted to kill David, more than once. Then when David became King, he committed adultery and had the woman’s husband murdered. David had to live under a burden of guilt until God forgave him and restored him. Then David’s first son, the child of the adultery, died in infancy. Later, another son gathered an army in an effort to overthrow his father.

But David always turned to God and confessed, “I trust in Thee, O Lord.” David knew that God always leads His children through their problems. David trusted God and learned this lesson first hand. Is this a lesson you also need to learn? Then you need to turn to the living God. You need to commit your life to Christ.

And to help you, click here and you can listen to a sermon that answers the question, “Does God Change Lives?”

Atheist Contradictions

2019-03-11T07:31:44-04:00 March 14th, 2019|

In a recent interchange with an avowed atheist, he claimed there is no evidence for the existence of God. This fellow also affirmed the God hypothesis cannot be tested.  Testing evidence for the existence of God is impossible.  There is a contradiction here. On one hand, I do not believe in God because there is no evidence for His existence.  On the other hand, the God hypothesis cannot be tested. Such a contradiction undermines this atheist’s argument. Too subtle? Listen carefully.

Why would a person insist we cannot test for the existence of God?  One of two reasons.  First, God cannot manifest Himself in and through His creation. However, do artists reveal anything about themselves through their paintings or music? Then, why can’t God reveal Himself through His creations?  Second, God does not exist. In this case, our friend looks at all the evidence through his atheistic glasses.  He assumes what he desires to prove.  This too is contradictory.

When I asked my atheist friend to define himself with a term which does not refer to God, he refused.  He insisted on defining himself in terms of what he calls a non-entity.  I am a theist.  I hold God does exist.  This other man is an atheist.  He says God does not exist. Odd.  For some reason, he must describe himself with reference to the God he rejects.  This also seems to me to be a contradiction.

To help you understand this dynamic, click here hand listen to a lesson called, “Approaching Unbelievers.”

 

Atheism Sceintific?

2019-03-07T07:56:20-04:00 March 13th, 2019|

As a self-conscious atheist you accuse those who believe the Bible of being unscientific. On the other hand, you boldly contend that you follow the scientific method. Let’s examine your position for a moment.

You base all your thinking on the assumption there is no God. But you face a serious problem. Listen to what the Encyclopaedia Britannica says about scientists. “If at any time they put forward theories for which they refuse to admit the conceivability of falsification, they have abandoned the scientific method” (Vol. 20, pp. 20-21). In other words, to be true to his calling, a scientist must never exclude a hypothesis or a theory just because he thinks it is unacceptable. And so, here is the problem. Your methodology places certain demands upon you. You must never set forth a hypothesis which cannot be proven wrong. Yet, as an atheist, you reject the possibility of the existence of God.

And so, when you reject the existence of the God of the Bible at the outset, you violate your own methodology. You begin your thinking with this assumption. And you are unwilling to be proven wrong. To this extent you are unscientific. You have abandoned the scientific method.

Any system of thought with such a glaring inconsistency should be reevaluated if not abandoned. It is like the pot calling the kettle black.

To help you get this point, click here and listen to a lesson called, “Contending for the Existence of God In a Broken World.”