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So far Denny has created 1089 blog entries.

Reading the Bible

2020-11-03T18:08:29-05:00 November 13th, 2020|

I remember my college roommate reading the Bible every night. We were classmates at West Point. But when I tried to read the Bible, it didn’t work. The Bible made no sense.

Is that how it is with you? Sure, you have a Bible, but you never use it. It gathers dust on the shelf. And perhaps it has a flower from the prom pressed between its pages.

Well, things changed for me. Why? I met the author of the Bible. No, I did not meet Moses or Paul. I met Jesus Christ. One day, while still in the army, I visited a chaplain. He asked me point blank, “Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” I hadn’t; so I said “no!” And that chaplain began to introduce me to Christ. The chaplain showed me “that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He showed me why Christ died on the cross. He died to pay for the sins of people like me. And he showed me that I needed to confess my sins and ask God’s forgiveness. I needed to trust in Christ as the One who paid for my sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That day I met Jesus Christ. Sure, I already knew some things about Christ, but I had never really met Him before.

And after I trusted Christ for my salvation, I wanted to read the Bible. And the Bible, which is Christ’s Book, took on a whole new meaning. I could not get enough of it. You see, getting to know the author can make all the difference.

For some direction in reading the Bible, listen to today’s podcast, “Bible Study: Not and End in Itself.”

Growth Means Life

2020-11-03T18:03:36-05:00 November 12th, 2020|

A little gal we knew was not growing properly. Her legs were too short. A certain doctor took a look at her and immediately knew the problem. It was a heart problem. Adequate blood was not getting to her legs. Improper physical growth was evidence of this physical heart problem.

In the same way, improper spiritual growth is evidence of a spiritual problem. You see, growth is an absolutely necessary part of the Christian life. The Biblical word referring to growth is sanctification. The Bible says, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). People who call themselves Christians and do not grow in a spiritual way are fooling themselves. Without this growth, they will not see the Lord. Why? Spiritual growth is an evidence of spiritual life. It is evidence the Holy Spirit living in you. But if the Holy Spirit does not live in you, you are not a Christian. The Bible is clear. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9).

How does growth come about? Listen to the apostle Paul, “I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). When Paul speaks about the word of God, he means the Scriptures of the Bible. Other books may claim to be Scripture. Only the Word of God in the Bible is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance of heaven. So if you want to grow, you need to read the Bible. Read five or six pages every day and you can read through the Bible in a year.

For more encouragement, listen to today’s podcast, “Your Growth through the Bible.”

Razor Sharp

2020-11-02T11:15:18-05:00 November 11th, 2020|

Why do people avoid the Bible? For one thing, the Bible cuts. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

We get mighty indignant when someone makes judgments about our actions. But the Bible not only judges how we act, it looks into our hearts. Here is a book that is “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts.” Yes, the Bible evaluates our thought life. Not only so, the Bible evaluates our motives and intentions. Looking askance at what we do is one thing. Prying into our hearts is something else! But this is exactly what God does through the Bible.

And there is real purpose in this. The judgments of the Bible are designed to lead us back to God. In the Bible we find out who we really are. We discover our need of Jesus Christ. And we learn that through Christ there is access back to the Father. Sure, the Bible cuts. A surgeon’s knife cuts to bring healing. But we are grateful for its work. The word of God is infinitely superior. Its razor sharpness brings healing to the soul.

Now, listen to today’s podcast about the Bible, “Razor Sharp, Pinpoint Accuracy.”

 

Your Spiritual Disposition

2020-11-02T11:09:39-05:00 November 10th, 2020|

When I get up in the morning, I’d just as soon be left alone. I have my little morning routine and I like it just fine. If you upset that routine, I’m liable to get upset. I guess I just can’t stand too much change. This is true with many of us. Change threatens us. And we react!

The same thing is true when we start talking about God. You see, the God of the Bible demands change! We are told that God loves us just the way we are. But I take exception to that line of thinking. God may love sinners. Christ may have died for sinners. But the Bible tells us that Christ came into the world to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God calls Christians to leave old sinful lifestyles and form new habits, which are pleasing to God. This kind of change is a real challenge. But it is part of what it means to be a Christian.

“Well,” you say, “if being a Christian means giving up my drinking and the little affair I’ve been having with my neighbor’s wife, I’m not interested.” That’s right, you are not interested. But listen. You cannot continue in your sin and expect to experience the love of God. When I get up in the morning, I sometimes have an ugly disposition. But that is nothing compared to a disposition that is opposed to God, which needs to be changed. Why? “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Let me reword this verse so it makes more sense, “The disposition of the flesh is death, but the disposition of the spirit is life and peace.” The disposition of the flesh is opposed to God. But the disposition of the spirit loves God.

To learn more, listen to today’s podcast, “Our Mindsets and Attitudes.”

The Bible? The Ten Commandments?

2020-11-02T11:06:23-05:00 November 9th, 2020|

In the span of twenty-five years there were two terrible riots in Los Angeles. One talk show host asked the question, “Where did we go wrong?” The answer is simple. We have turned our backs on the Bible. For example, we no longer allow the Ten Commandments to be posted in school rooms. The Supreme Court declared this public display of the Ten Commandments unconstitutional on November 17, 1980. Of course Moses is depicted holding the two tablets of stone, the Ten Commandments, in the Supreme Court itself.

But the court was deeply concerned that if these plainly religious values were posted in school rooms students might be encouraged to follow them. Since then, generations of high school students and generations of college students have graduated. By implication these students were taught that God’s absolute moral standards summarized in the Ten Commandments are taboo. Ted Koppel, a former ABC anchor, actually angered people when he said Moses did not come down from the mountain with the Ten Suggestions. Now these students have entered the mainstream of society. And the more recent Los Angeles riots, although shorter than the previous riots, were the occasion for more looting, violence, and murder.

There is a correlation. When we turn our backs on the Bible and the standards of God in the Bible, we can expect more violence, more murders, more rapes, and more thefts in our society. The problem is that we no longer believe in absolute truth coming to us from God. We no longer believe in God who has spoken to us in a book. And so we are a society which is adrift. We desperately need to get back to the traditional understanding of the Bible as the Word of God.

And so to help you in this, listen to today’s podcast discussing “The Traditional View of the Bible,” which is so much needed today.

Why is the one-point sermon such a hard sell?

2020-11-02T14:03:27-05:00 November 9th, 2020|

“Well, I don’t think a sermon must have one main point.” That was the response of a well-respected senior pastor in our denomination. It immediately undercut all I had just said. We were speakers in a conference on sermon preparation and preaching. My first session reviewed a series of preachers and professors, emphasizing that sermons should have one central point. But now, I had just been blown out of the water. Why is the one point sermon such a hard sell? We think the concept is unnecessary and foolish.

We can say the same thing about sequential sentence outlines. We think they are also foolish and unnecessary. Why? We believe that writing a sermon is just like writing a paper. Not so! We prepare sermons for people to hear. We write articles for individuals to read. Writing and speaking are different media. Reading and listening are very different activities. One Sabbath morning after worship, I said to my wife, “Pastor has begun another book.” Looking at me quizzically, she responded, “How do you know?” My answer was simple. “We just got the opening chapter in this morning’s sermon.” Our pastor composed the sermon for later reading as part of a book.

“‘There is little doubt,’ Scottish preacher Eric J. Alexander writes, ‘that Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the greatest preacher the English-speaking world has seen in the twentieth century'”(Lawson, 2016, p. 2). What were the foundation stones upon which this great expositor built his preaching? “Lloyd-Jones realized the expositor must capture the central thrust of his text. He called the main idea of the sermon the ‘doctrine'”(Lawson 91). What did Lloyd-Jones think about finding the main point of a text and determining his sermons’ central point? “He conceded this [process] is sometimes the most difficult and time-consuming work of sermon preparation”(Lawson, 2016, p. 91). This great preacher understood the importance of sermons having one central idea.

What about the need for a logical sequence of thought? “Lloyd-Jones was explicit that the sermon divisions are not to be placed in random order. To the contrary, these headings must be arranged in a logical sequence that best presents the particular doctrine that the text teaches”(Lawson, 2016, p. 88). In other words, individual sermon points ought not to point back to a central point like spokes on a wheel. Lloyd-Jones described sermon points as follows, “Each one should lead to the next, and ultimately lead to a definite conclusion” (Lawson, 2016, p. 89). Dr. Lloyd-Jones also understood the power of a sequential outline.

My favorite quote on this subject comes from W. J. T. Shedd. “Sermons are more defective in respect to unity of structure, and a constant progress toward a single end, than in any other respect”(Shedd, 1877, p 147). Sermons can be bushel baskets of facts tossed out to members of a congregation to grab what they may. However, a sermon arrow striking a human heart with God’s truth will yield much more fruit.

Denny Prutow
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Books Cited
Lawson, S. J. (2016). The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust.

Shed, W. G. T. (1877). Homiletics and Pastoral Theology. New York: Scribners.

The Universe is All that Is or Ever Will Be

2020-11-02T11:04:48-05:00 November 8th, 2020|

The doctrine of evolution has been popularized in book made into a TV series that begins, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” (Carl Sagan, Cosmos, pg.4). This teaching replaces the God of the Bible with the universe. It is blatant atheism.

And this doctrine of evolution permeates the classroom instruction of our elementary and secondary schools and colleges. God is rejected in the so-called objective studies of science, history, mathematics, sociology, etc.

The alternative to this atheism is theism, Christian theism. And Christian theism teaches that God is the One “who was and who is and who is to come” (Revelation 1:4). The church must lead in the creation of educational institutions based upon Christian theism, schools in which every discipline involves the discovery of God and His plans and purposes. If the world is to be reclaimed for Christ, children and young people cannot continue to drink at the fountain of atheism. Christian schools are a must. And the church must lead in their creation.

Listen to today’s podcast, “Six Day Creation.”

A Higher Perspective

2020-11-02T11:08:31-05:00 November 7th, 2020|

Recently there has been concern expressed over the greed and materialism of people in the financial world. One Wall Street guru encouraged college seniors by telling them that greed is OK. That same individual, along with several others, has been found guilty of illegal trading on the stock market. Greed and the drive for more in the way of material possessions was a motivation. One result has been a call for more training on ethics in our colleges of business.

Obviously a higher perspective is needed. But unfortunately, this higher perspective is not taught in most ethics classes in colleges and universities. Jesus sets it forth in one of His sermons, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

The point is, your money and your material possessions were never intended to be ends in themselves. You should never become a slave to your job because of your need for a bigger house or a new car. Rather, your physical possessions and your financial resources are one of the means God has given you to support the advancement of His kingdom. You should give to the work of your local church so that souls can be healed; so that men and women can learn to live and work and play to God’s glory. In this way your finances begin to reap eternal benefits. There is nothing more exciting nor more rewarding.

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to a sermon called “Kingdom Treasure.”

When the Trumpets Sound Up Yonder

2020-11-02T11:07:26-05:00 November 6th, 2020|

In the book of Revelation, seven angels sound seven trumpets. These trumpets are calls to repent – to change our minds. We all change our minds at one time or another. When you really change your mind – say about buying a home or buying a car, you have a change of heart. This change of heart radically affects your actions. In the Bible, this kind of change of mind is called repentance.

Jesus Christ often called people to repent. Why? He thought they needed to change their minds about how they were living. We need that today. It was not that long ago that if a young couple contemplated living together, their actions were not condoned. Today, such arrangements are common. God says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). If you don’t agree with God, you need a change of mind and heart. You need to repent.

Jesus also called men and women to repent because they needed to change their minds about him. Jesus Christ is God. He is not just a great prophet or teacher. Neither is he just a god, one among many. He is God in human form, God in flesh. He is Emmanuel, which translated means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Now, if you do not believe Jesus Christ is God, you need a change of mind and heart. You need to repent.

Not only so, Jesus Christ calls us to repent because he came into the world to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). If you do not believe Jesus Christ came into the world to die on the cross to pay for the sins of people like you, you definitely need a change of mind and heart. You need to repent.

Like the trumpets in the book of Revelation, this message is a call to repentance. Now, listen to today’s podcast based on Mark 10:45, “Assured Christ is your Ransom.”

Make Friends Quickly

2020-11-02T11:03:28-05:00 November 5th, 2020|

The headline across the top of the front page quoted the estranged girlfriend. “I knew he would do it.” The offended boyfriend shot another man and then turned the gun on himself. Violence, hatred, animosity; they are with us in abundance. Our own homes are war zones. Whole nations may go to war, but husbands and wives often live in the midst of just as much hostility. There is such a need for personal peace, marital peace, family peace, national peace, and world peace. But where will it be found?

Jesus Christ commands, “Make friends quickly” (Matthew 5:25). But how? Jesus again says, “Be reconciled to your brother” (Matthew 5:24). But how? We must start with ourselves. “First take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4). We must look at ourselves first. We will never be able to address the other fellow’s problems if we persist in ignoring our own.

Making friends quickly involves going to that other person, perhaps a spouse, and confessing our own sin and begging forgiveness. The same thing is true of God. We must confess our own sins and beg God’s forgiveness. We must trust that Jesus Christ paid the penalty we owe for our sins when he died on the cross. We must be reconciled to our neighbors. But we must also be reconciled to God. Both of these are involved in making friends quickly.

Today’s podcast is also called, “Make Friends Quickly.”