What Do You Think?

2019-05-31T10:33:15-04:00 June 19th, 2019|

The basic Christian confession is quite simple. “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9). Jesus Christ is the King and Sovereign the Bible calls us to serve. We must implement His law of love in all of life. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

According to the Bible, this confession is no fantasy. Hundreds of years before Jesus walked the dusty trails of Galilee, King David prophesied, “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’” (Psalm 110:1). Peter interprets the Psalm. “It was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’” Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:34-36).

Hebrews 1:3 declares of Christ, “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Paul teaches, “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). Jesus, therefore, asks, “What do you think about the Christ?” (Matthew 22:42).

Click here to a message called, “What Happens After Death.”

Faith and Life

2019-05-31T10:30:51-04:00 June 18th, 2019|

Lazarus died. His sisters wept. Four days later Jesus arrived. “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). Martha knew the hope of eternal life taught in Scripture. “Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day’” (John 11:24).

Jesus pointed Martha to the incarnation and personification of life. “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies’” (John 11:25). A person who enters the state of death, separation of the body and spirit, will return from death. The implication is clear. A time will come when dead bodies and departed souls will be reunited. Does this sound far fetched?

To prove His point, Jesus turned to the tomb of Lazarus and “cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go’” (John 11:43-44). Pretty impressive lesson.

Jesus adds, “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 5:26). Literally, He says, “Everyone who lives and believes in Me will not die forever.” Death gives way to life. The big question is simple. “Do you believe this?”

Click here to listen to the message called, “What Happens During Death.”

Moving from Fear to Love

2019-05-31T10:27:37-04:00 June 17th, 2019|

Despite apparent good economic times, there is a lot of anxiety in the hearts of young men and women. Baby-boomers had parents who sacrificed to give them a better life. Generation Xers now see their parents let the good times roll. They consume with a vengeance. The Xers may not have the same financial or family security.

Easy divorce and abortion on demand heighten tensions. Parents split and go their own way. Unwanted “products of conception” make their way to hospital incinerators with diseased body parts. It’s a gruesome metaphor covering all sense of worth and security with a melancholy gloom. The holiday season tends to make things worse. Where is the joy? Where are the security and inner peace of heart and mind?

Here is a profound text from the Bible. “You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father’” (Romans 8:15). The fears and anxieties of life spring from self-centered, selfish, pleasure-driven living. They lead us into slavery.

Jesus Christ breaks the cycle of self-serving sin. Through faith in Him and His sacrifice on a cross, we receive adoption into a new family full of hope. God, it turns out, is not One to fear but to love. God is our Father.

Click here to listen to the message called, “Moving from Fear to Love.”

Honor Your Fathers

2019-05-18T12:27:02-04:00 June 16th, 2019|

Father’s Day is a time to honor your dad or the dad in your household. It is also a time to remember one of God’s Ten Commandments. It’s the Fifth Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Ex. 20:12). Yes, God requires us to honor our fathers and mothers. Unfortunately, there are those who go so far as to curse and to beat their parents.

Long ago, in ancient Israel, God wanted such sin punished. This is what God said: “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death…And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death” (Ex. 21:15&17). God must have considered such sin to be very serious. It is serious. Of course, today we don’t call for the death penalty when a son hits or curses his father. This does not mean the sin is any less vile. The son or daughter who refuses to repent or turn away from this evil still faces the death penalty. It’s the penalty of eternal death in hell. This is what the Bible means when it says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23).

The only solution is to turn away from such sin and to turn back to God. Ask God to forgive you because of Christ’s death on the cross. Trust Christ. Trust in His death as the only adequate payment for your sins. This is really the only solution to the sin of breaking the Fifth Commandment. God also promises long life and prosperity to those who keep this commandment. To help you understand this better, click here and listen to a short message called “Honor Your Father.”

Fathers and Families

2019-05-31T08:29:34-04:00 June 15th, 2019|

What is Father’s Day? It is a day in which you can honor your dad or the dad in your household in special ways. Most dads receive a tie or another gift as a way of saying, “Thanks for just being you.”

But why should Father’s Day be only one day a year? Shouldn’t families always be about the business of honoring the moms and dads in their midst? At least God would have it so. He gives familiar instruction in the Bible in the form of what we traditionally call the Fifth Commandment. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12). The New Testament of the Bible picks up this same theme. “Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise)” (Ephesians 6:2).

What is the promise? The old Westminster Shorter Catechism says this “is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.” On the negative side, the breakdown of families and large teenage suicide rates argue in favor of keeping the Fifth Commandment. On the positive side, Father’s Day is an annual reminder of the Fifth Commandment and the promise God attaches to it.

Now listen to today’s podcast, “Honor Your Father.”

Testing, Testing, Testing

2019-05-31T10:19:02-04:00 June 14th, 2019|

After miraculously delivering them from slavery, God led Israel on a four-decade journey through the desert. As the crow flies, the trip was eleven days (Deuteronomy 1:2). Why this long and arduous pilgrimage?

It was a test to show the people their hearts. “God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). Israel failed the test.

God also led Jesus Christ into the wilderness to test Him. “After He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry” (Matthew 4:2). Enter the devil. “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matthew 4:3).

Christ answered the devil with Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”(Matthew 4:4). Christ also lived Deuteronomy 8:3. Christ kept faith with the Father as a perfect Son, passing the test for people like us.

Click here to listen to the message called, “Not by Bread Alone.”

A Worthy Role Model

2019-05-31T10:16:59-04:00 June 13th, 2019|

Four thousand years ago, God spoke to a man by the name of Abraham and told Him to leave home and family. “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Abraham was a wanderer and a nomad. “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise” (Hebrews 11:9).

Abraham had direction. He was on a search. “He was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). God gave Abraham a promise. “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). It is through Jesus Christ, a distant son of Abraham, that God blesses all nations. Abraham “died in faith, without receiving the promises” (Hebrews 11:13). Abraham did not live to see the coming of Christ but he looked ahead. Jesus said it. “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).

He became the prototype of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. He entered the eternal city as “the father of all who believe” (Romans 4:11). He’s an excellent role model.

To hear more on this subject, click here and listen to the audio message, “God, the Reward of those Who Seek Him.”

Requirements for Membership?

2019-05-31T08:46:56-04:00 June 12th, 2019|

Should churches have stringent requirements for membership? The New Testament does not appear to require much. Say you believe in Jesus and you’re in.

When the people were gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai, Moses gave them the word of God. “He took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people” (Exodus 24:7). The book of the covenant was at least Exodus 21, 22, and 23. These are three extensive chapters listing explanations of the Ten Commandments that are given in Exodus 20. This seems overbearing. Why this list of requirements, all these stipulations?

What was the reaction of the people? “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” (Exodus 24:7). The people agreed with the requirements of God for membership in His visible body.

Christ later gave the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Membership in the company of the disciples requires baptism. It also requires a willingness to learn all that Jesus Christ teaches. Think about it. Disciples of Christ must be willing to pledge, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”

Click here and listen to a message called, “A Covenant of Church Membership.”

The Purpose Jesus Gives

2019-05-31T08:43:53-04:00 June 11th, 2019|

A lot of people these days are going through life without a sense of direction or without purpose for living. They are unlike those who think they have their lives under control. For these people, everything is out of control. As a result, life seems futile. Perhaps you are one of these people. If so, you need to consider the claims of Christ.

Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:19). In other words, Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He reigns as King of kings. From your perspective, the circumstances of life may seem to be out of control. But the truth is that Jesus Christ, the Lord, is in control. He even goes so far as to say, “The very hairs of your head are numbered” (Matthew 10:30).

In the end, nothing is out of control. And once you learn to rest in Christ you too will find that your life is not out of control. Not only so, your life has real purpose and meaning. But it only has meaning under God as you realize and experience the Lordship of Christ. This is why it is so important for us to preach Christ as Lord.

But in addition, the Great Commission God gives his disciples underscores the importance of preaching Christ as Lord is underscored by the Great Commission. Jesus said, “All authority is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:18-19). You see, because Christ is Lord, Christians can be confident about preaching Him as Lord. And to proclaim Christ as Lord is to call men and women to the one person who can bring some sense and meaning into their lives.

To help you understand this better, click here and listen to a sermon on Matthew 28:19-19 called “Great claim, Great Comfort.”

The King

2019-05-31T08:41:33-04:00 June 10th, 2019|

The Bible is full of blessings and curses. Jesus utters them both. Many of His blessings are in the form of beatitudes. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The opposite is the pronouncement of woe. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

Jesus follows the pattern of the Old Testament. There were blessings in following God. “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country” (Deuteronomy 28:3). We’ll take that for sure.

The opposite was also true. “Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them” (Deuteronomy 27:26). We do not like such statements, especially if they apply to us. Those who are particularly heinous villains deserve to be cursed. In fact, we’ll curse them ourselves.
In this, we step over the line. We may say some people are praiseworthy and others are blameworthy. But should we, can we, actually bless and curse? Isn’t this the prerogative of Christ? He is the King of kings. He is the true Master of the Universe.

Click here and learn more about “Christ, Our King.”