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So far Denny has created 1019 blog entries.

A Radical View

2019-11-11T11:27:11-05:00 November 20th, 2019|

In today’s sophisticated world, the radical view is that the Bible is the Word of God. But do you know what it means to be sophisticated? Well, first of all, a sophist is a person who knows how to win an argument by manipulating words. He can beat you in an argument every time even if he is on the wrong side. The object is to win. Truth is of little significance. And if you are sophisticated, you buy into these arguments.

One set of arguments charges the Bible with all sorts of errors. These arguments assume the Bible is the word of fallible men and therefore it too must be fallible. And so the argument is that the creation story is a myth. The miracles of the Bible never happened. And Jesus Christ was a mere man among men. The arguments seem plausible! And if you hold to the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, you are viewed as a radical.

The problem is that such arguments have overthrown biblical Christianity. And with it the biblical ethic has been overthrown. For example, the Bible says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). But if you are sophisticated, you reject the Bible and buy the arguments for “safe sex.” Following the biblical ethic would curtail sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies. But that would not be sophisticated.

Now listen to a message on “The Traditional View of the Bible.”

Traditional Morality Needed

2019-11-11T11:25:39-05:00 November 19th, 2019|

The subject was teenage violence. One of the women on the television talk show had a son who was shot to death. It’s an ugly topic that is tragically real. Teenage boys and girls are carrying guns. Schools are using metal detectors and confiscating weapons. Why is it happening?

Let me offer an explanation. We have determined that teaching absolute moral standards is taboo. We cannot do it in our schools or in any of our public institutions. The Ten Commandments are out of bounds. Why? The Ten Commandments are plainly religious. And so we have not taught our children the precept, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). No matter that obedience to this commandment saves lives! No matter that the Ten Commandments are supremely practical. No matter that growing up under the standard of absolute commandments has a salutary effect.

Couldn’t we say the same thing about teenage pregnancy? But shame on you if you talk to teens about the commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). Shame on you if you preach this “religious” value! No matter that millions of families could have avoided untold turmoil and expense. No matter that obedience to this commandment is supremely practical and healthy!

Amazing. Seventy years of atheism was too much for many people in the former Soviet Union. They wanted what we reject, the Ten Commandments.

Now listen to a lesson emphasizing morality as the “Weapons of Warfare.”

 

Trust Christ; Pursue Christ; Serve Christ (Jude 12-13)

2019-11-21T10:49:52-05:00 November 18th, 2019|

Jude 12-13 continues to describe the Jude 4 people. Taking the two texts together, they read as follows.

Certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ . . . These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.

That these folks go unnoticed within the congregation calls for further comment. In teaching on effectual calling, Westminster Confession of Faith 10:4 speaks of the common operations of the Spirit. “Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved.” Chad Van Dixhhoorn makes this observation:

Here we are reminded that there are some who are able to hear the ministry of God’s Word but not the true call of God. Our Lord sums this up by saying, ‘many are called, but few are chosen’ (Matt. 22:14). They may joyfully hear preaching and decide to change their lives (Matt. 13:20, 21). Incredibly, they might be permitted to prophesy, cast out demons, do wonderful works, and even have a taste of the work of the Spirit (Matt. 7:22; Heb. 6:4, 5). And yet they might not genuinely love Christ at all . . . There are some who appear to come to Christ, but while their feet carry them down an aisle, or the confession of their mouths brings them into the visible church, their hearts have never been moved by the gospel. They did not really come to Christ at all (Confessing the Faith, 156-157).

Robert Shaw further explains, “That there are’ common operations of the Spirit,’ which produce convictions of sin, by means of the law in the conscience; and joyous emotions, by means of the gospel, in the affections of men in their natural state; which do not issue in conversion” (An Exposition of the Confession of Faith, 123). Individuals within the congregation may enjoy these common operations of the Spirit, receive real conviction of sin, and receive actual tastes of the Spirit yet never enjoy. This fact goes unnoticed, as Jude 4 indicates.

Jude 4 also stipulates that such people “long ago were designated” for this condemnation. Verse 11 pronounces a curse, “Woe to them!” Jude 13 declares that these are people “for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” True believers, on the other hand, have a reservation in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). These truths declare what we call double predestination. Westminster Confession 3:8 teaches us how we ought to handle these solemn truths. “The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.” Therefore, our exposition of Jude should lead us into the light of grace and assurance.

With all of the above in mind, Jude 12-13 uses several metaphors to describe the people of verse 4: hidden reefs, clouds without water, trees without fruit, waves of the sea, wandering stars. Hidden reefs are outcroppings of coral and rock just below the surface of the water. Love feasts are congregational gatherings for meals culminating in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Fellowship meals and celebrations of the Lord’s Supper should testify to God’s love for His people and the people’s mutual love for one another. The presence of individuals “caring only for themselves” alters this testimony. Shipwreck may be inevitable.

Clouds on the horizon offer the confidence of rain. Clouds without water provide no hope for refreshment. Apparent conversions furnish an expectation of new life within the congregation but are bitterly disappointing. They are like trees that bear no fruit and must be uprooted and destroyed. They are doubly dead, totally depraved, and reserved for outer darkness. The powerful waves of the sea present a picture of pride. Yet when they crash on the beach, they are full of foam and mud and sludge. Pride too often leads to embarrassment and a catastrophic fall.

Jesus Christ appears in the Book of Revelation with seven stars in His right hand, which are the seven angels of the seven churches (Revelation 1:16, 20). John the Baptist was God’s messenger or angel (ἄγγελόν). The angels of the seven churches are their pastors. It could be that the people of Jude 4 include stars, pastors and teachers, who do not hew the line of true doctrine but wander off course and lead God’s people astray. Outer darkness is their final awful destination.

The opposite is true of you when you “make certain of God’s calling you and choosing you” (2 Peter 1:10). How so? Second Peter 1:5-8 answers.

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The most important thing to know in all of life is that you belong to Christ by faith in Him. You validate your faith in Christ by how you live (James 2:24). And so, trust Christ; pursue Christ; serve Christ!

Denny Prutow

Reasons to Believe

2019-11-11T11:23:27-05:00 November 18th, 2019|

Christianity involves a leap in the dark, right? Wrong. You thought faith meant the absence of reasons. But if you don’t have good reasons to believe in Christ, why place faith in Him? After all, the eternal welfare of your soul is at stake. And so to act without any good reason is the height of stupidity.

The Bible exhorts, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). When we are asked for the reason for our hope, we do not say there are no reasons. The reason is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. There is ample evidence of this. For example, the apostle John saw Jesus after the resurrection. “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you,” says John (1 John 1:3). And the apostle Paul said the resurrected Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now” (1 Corinthians 15:6). You can fool some of the people some of the time. But were all five hundred of these people fooled? Doubtful.

So there is great reason for the hope of life after death. And that hope is backed up by the evidence supporting Christ’s resurrection. Faith is not a leap in the dark.

Now listen to a discussion called: “Many Infallible Proofs.”

That Inner Struggle

2019-11-11T11:21:08-05:00 November 17th, 2019|

We all have inner struggles. The problem is that those inner struggles often break out into violence. Oh, we don’t mean it to be that way. But we are out of control. The Bible explains it this way. “What is the source of the quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:1-2).

You see, struggles with others stem from inner conflict. That should not be too hard for us to grasp. But we rarely make the association. We would rather lay the blame elsewhere. It all boils down to a lack of education or my upbringing or poor living condition. Sure, all these factors may contribute to our problems. But the root and core of our difficulties lies within. We are envious and cannot obtain, so we fight and quarrel.

Now if there is a cure for envy, can’t we expect that cure to curtail our quarreling and fighting? Well, there is a cure. His name is Jesus Christ. And His cure involves a total change of heart. He says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:27). Wow, that’s a cure worth pursuing.

For further help in growth in Christ, listen to “Inner Warfare and Sanctification.”

 

Jesus Christ, Attorney at Law

2019-11-11T11:20:15-05:00 November 16th, 2019|

You probably never thought of Jesus Christ as a lawyer. And if you have, you probably dismissed Him. After all lawyers are just out after your money and so are preachers. Right? But the Bible makes an entirely different connection, “If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Those who get themselves into trouble with the law need a good lawyer. In like manner, those who get themselves into trouble with the Law of God need an advocate. That’s the parallel to be drawn.

And where do we stand? “All have sinned,” (Romans 3:23). We have all broken God’s law summarized in the Ten Commandments. But “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And God says, “You shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them” (Leviticus 18:5). As a result, we are barred from heaven.

But Christ came into the world to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty due to people like us for their sins. Now, when those who trust in the sacrifice of Christ stand before God, Jesus Christ is their ultimate lawyer. He pays the penalty due to His clients. Then He defends them by name.

To learn more, click on “We Have an Advocate.”

Self-Love?

2019-11-11T11:18:47-05:00 November 15th, 2019|

Self-love is a popular teaching within the church. It is said we need to learn to love ourselves before we can love God. Self esteem taught in our schools bolsters this notion.

But look at what the Bible says, “Let each esteem others better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). That’s just the opposite. The Bible continually warns against thinking too highly of ourselves. Rather, we are to esteem others more highly than ourselves. This does not mean we are to be doormats under the feet of others. Far from it! Instead, we are to put others first. We are to allow others the better place at the table and the better seats at the ball game. We are not to have a `Me First’ attitude.

If you think too highly of yourself, if you are selfish, you may neglect your responsibilities. You may think the work you have been assigned is beneath your dignity. And so the assigned tasks go undone. What’s the result? You get bad grades. Your parents reprimand you. You don’t get the raise you were wanting. You feel bad.

But if you see the needs of others as more important than your own, you are more likely to work hard to accomplish assigned tasks. Then, when you complete your work, you feel good. Try it; you’ll like it.

Click here and listen to: “Love Yourself – Not”

Seek the Lord Seeking You

2019-11-11T11:17:16-05:00 November 14th, 2019|

When we call time out from the grind of making a living, when we hop off our entertainment carousels, we take time to really think. And we inevitably start asking basic questions. Why am I here? What is my purpose for existence? What is the meaning of life? These are nagging persistent questions? They can drive us to despair. Or the answers can give us unbounded hope.

Unfortunately, despair is more prevalent. We see it on the faces of kids in the street, mothers in the grocery store, and dad’s at the office. And no wonder, if the human race crawled out of the primeval slime and is destined to find its end six feet under, what is the use? Tombstones, which celebrate life with two dates: birth and death, tell the tale. We live. We die. That’s it.

The Bible sheds more positive light on our lives. It tells us why we were put on this earth. Men and women were placed on this lush outpost in a magnificent universe “that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). Our mission is to seek out the Author of life. Who can better inform our greatest longings? Our search for meaning and purpose ends in Him.

“Seek the Lord Seeking You,” click here.

No More Atheists

2019-11-11T11:16:23-05:00 November 13th, 2019|

Atheists confuse me. They talk about God. They cannot avoid it. And there is a reason. When the Bible tells us how God created human beings it says, “He has also put eternity in their heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In other words, every human being is born with a God consciousness. It is part of the warp and woof of their nature. Because they cannot escape this God consciousness, they suppress it and reject it.

As a result, atheists insist God does not exist. To be sure, the God they are talking about is the all-powerful Creator of the universe. They reject Him. But the atheist must then contend with the existence of the universe. He cannot deny the panoply of stars, planets, plants, and people that do exist. But how did all this come into being?

Most atheists lean on popular answers that have something to do with self-creation and the ‘big bang’ theory. What is the ‘big bang’? That’s when the universe exploded into being. But strictly speaking, this cannot be. Why? The universe could not exist before it existed in order to explode into existence. Any junior high student with a test tube full of sense can figure that out. For something to create itself, it must exist before it has been created. That cannot be. Self-creation is nonsense. If atheism reduces us to such nonsense, it is untenable.

Click here to listen to the alternative: “From Faith to Faith.”

Two People, Two Paths

2019-11-11T11:15:07-05:00 November 12th, 2019|

Imagine being a lawyer in the White House. That place must be the mother of all pressure cookers. Perhaps this is why White House attorneys fall by the wayside. Vincent Foster was one. His suicide note is revealing. “I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here, ruining people is considered sport.” Foster no doubt felt terrible guilt. He knew of no other way to alleviate the pain than ending his life.

Another White House counsel went to jail for crimes committed in the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon. He too can no longer practice law. His name is Charles Colson. When he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion he said, “I speak as one transformed by Jesus Christ, the living God. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He has lived in me for 20 years. His presence is the sole explanation for whatever is praiseworthy in my work, the only reason for this award.”

Two lawyers caught in the web of intrigue, violence, and guilt. Two ways to approach the agonizing results of violence. The followers of Jesus Christ exclaim, “Not one of us lives for himself, and not one of us dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord” (Romans 14:7-8).

Click here and listen to “Two Families, Two Fathers, Two Faiths.”