Monday's Mini-Messages 2014

Proverbs 24:17-18 - "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." Sometimes the experiences parents have with their own children can shed a lot of light on scriptural principles. For example, a child may come to their parents with a complaint about one of their siblings. However, the child exhibits a very haughty and self-righteous attitude when bringing their siblings fault to their attention. This causes the parent to focus on the child with the poor attitude, rather than the one being tattled on. Many times God acts the same. When we come to Him with our grievances about others and we do it with an improper attitude, He directs His attention to our fault, rather than the one we had hoped He would reprimand.

Proverbs 24:17 - "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:" Many people reference the biblical principle of Sowing and Reaping, or its pagan parallel karma, and seemingly gloat over the prospect of people getting what they think they deserve. However, God's motive for this principle has a much higher purpose. God wants to bring people face to face with their sin and its consequences, so they will repent of it and restore their fellowship with Him. So, don't rejoice when people get what they deserve. Instead, pray will lead them to repentance.

Romans 3:4 - "...let God be true, but every man a liar..." If evolution were true, what would be wrong with beating your wife, bullying those different than you, attacking other nations for their natural resources or euthanizing the elderly? If evolution were true, nothing would be wrong with anything of those things. There would be no such thing as right and wrong. Instead it is survival of the fittest, and the strong win! Good thing evolution is not true, but since much of society teaches it is, the results are the same. However, it is not the severe societal consequences of evolution that make it false. Instead, it is the fact that it contradicts God's revelation to man in the Bible. In John 7:17 Jesus said, "...thy word is truth."

Acts 5:29-33 - "Then Peter...said...The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree...When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them." The religious leaders in this passage are "cut to the heart" when Peter rebuked them for their rejection of Christ and their part in His death. The phrase "cut to the heart" can be explained with Hebrews 4:12, which characterizes the Word of God as a two -edged sword that is able to pierce man's inner most being. In other words, the preaching of Christ and God's Word brings conviction over sin. And when this conviction comes our way, we can either lash out in anger against those who delivered the message (like those in our text) or repent of our sins and gain forgiveness from God. While the choice appears to be an easy one, our flesh hates to admit wrong doing and would rather attack the messenger than deal with the message.

According to 1 Thessalonians 1, Notice some of the consequences of the people in Thessalonica believing the gospel: 1) They "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God," 2) They "became followers of (Paul) and of the Lord," 3) They became "ensamples to all that believe," (by persevering through persecution), 4) They "sounded out the word of the Lord," and they "wait(ed) for his Son from heaven." Have you believed the gospel? And if so, has it resulted in a divine transformation? 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Ezekiel 33:2-6 - "Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me." A watchman who doesn't sound his trumpet at impending danger is not only useless, but responsible for the deaths of those he failed to warn. Likewise, Christians who do not warn sinners to "flee from the wrath to come," (Matthew 3:7) will be held responsible by God for neglecting their duties. So, please forgive some of us if we are a little zealous in our efforts to point people to Jesus Christ. If you have not repented of your sin and trusted Christ as your savior, please consider it.

Revelation 3:19 - "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." Most everyone would agree we should love one another, but not everyone would agree as to what constitutes love. Some would define it by cultural norms. Others would define it be their own ideas and experiences. And yet others, would define it by the Bible; and the biblical definition of love is seeking the best interest of another. It is common for unbelievers to accuse Bible believing people of being unloving for pointing out that certain things are sinful. However, since the Bible teaches those who do not repent of their sins are doomed to endure the judgment of God, the only loving person is the one warning the sinner to turn from his sin and ask God to forgive him. Those who ignore someone's sinful behavior, or worse excuse it, are not seeking the individuals eternal best interest.

Romans 3:20 - "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." God did not give the Old Testament law as a means of being justified (declared righteous) or saved. Instead, the law demonstrates man's sinfulness. Yet, nearly all religious institutions teach that a man earns a place in heaven by his good works. However, the truth is we must stop trusting in our own righteousness and appropriate the work of Christ to our lives by faith, if are ever to be given access into heaven. Romans 10:3 - "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

To the Saints of God - Matthew 9:36 - "But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." Matthew 24:12 - "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." There is a sense in which these two verses are connected. As the people of America move further and further away from the moral standards of the Bible, iniquity increases. As a result many of the saints become wary of constantly contending for the faith, and allow their love to grow cold. However, notice how Jesus responds when He looked out at the multitudes, who were undoubtedly engrossed in sin. Jesus is MOVED WITH COMPASSION! It is true most Americans have rejected the Bible as a standard for truth. It is true that most Americans have rejected that from of government that was founded by our forefathers. It is true that most Americans have no intention of repenting/turning back, but do not let this cause your heart to grow cold. Instead, see people as Jesus saw people. They are "as sheep having no shepherd." Be a shepherd and kindly and gently instruct them in the way they should go. Lead them to greener pastures and still waters.

Proverbs 13:10 - "Only by pride cometh contention..." Any time there is conflict between two individuals it is the result of pride; either on the part of one of the individuals, or both. So, when there is strive between us and another person, we should examine ourselves to see if it is the result of our pride.

Hebrews 11:10 - "For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." While many focus on riches, wealth, peace on earth, a body that seemingly does not age, love and acceptance by all, God's people should rather focus on a city, which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God (i.e. heaven). There the saints shall have all of these things and more. Hebrews 11:16 - "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:"

Romans 14:22 - "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth." If you were a doctor, would you want a patient to be able to force you to be an accomplice to murder by performing an abortion or administering a lethal dosage of poison (euthenasia)? If you are married, would you want your spouse to be able to force you into immoral physical relations with his/her best friend? If you are employed, would you want your employer to be able to force you to lie in order to sell more products or services to customers? The obvious answer is, "No," because you would not want to be forced to participate in something you think is wrong and therefore, a violation of your conscience. So, is it right for our government to try and force business owners to violate their consciences by being a partaker of other men's sins? This is exactly what is taking place when bakers, t-shirt designers, reception hall owners and others are told they must take part in the sins of homosexuals, or close their businesses. It is both a violation of the constitution and of God's word.

1 Samuel 22:22 - "And David said...I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house." The Bible says David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), and the account in 1 Samuel 22 helps us understand one reason why: He was in the habit of saying, "It's all my fault." When he sinned, or when others were hurt indirectly by his actions, or sometimes when he appeared to have nothing to do with events that unfolded, he can always be found saying, "It's all my fault." He was a man who took responsibility for his actions. When Nathan confronted David about his sin in 2 Samuel 11, he did not try to cover it up, or blame someone else. Instead, he repented and confessed his sin to God. How do we respond when confronted with our sins by others? It is only when we humbly repent of our sins and take responsibility for our actions that we can be a "man after God's own heart."

It is common today to hear people say, "You don't want to be on the wrong side of history." Usually they are referencing the efforts to normalize homosexuality or the push for climate change legislation. But a much more significant concern is to be on the wrong side of eternity. In Mark 8:36 Jesus said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Due to the serious consequences of being wrong, make sure you consider the claims of Jesus Christ. Will you be on the right side of eternity?

1 Corinthians 14:24-25: "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." While the context of this passage relates to spiritual gifts, it indirectly helps us to understand the purpose of preaching in the lives of unsaved people. Preaching convinces (i.e. brings conviction for sin), judges and reveals the secrets of the heart. People often feel like a preacher is directing his words at them, or they feel he has some secret knowledge about their life. However, this is not case. Instead, it is the result of the Bible being a living book and reveals the truthfulness of Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick (alive), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." This is precisely what happened to me when I began attending a Bible believing church in 1993. The preaching from the word of God revealed to me my sin and resulted in exactly what our passage says will happen: I fell down on my face, worshipped God and acknowledged that the church preached the truth. May God raise up preachers today who will preach the bible without reservation or compromise. Perhaps, then we can see a spiritual revival in our land. And if the preaching of the word of God offends you, don't blame the preacher. Your problem is not with him, it is with God!

1 Samuel 17:28-29 - "...and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither?...I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart...And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" When David stood up for God and His people and volunteered to fight Goliath, his brother accused him of being motivated by pride. However, it was not pride that motivated David, but a zeal for God. Likewise, many believers today are accused of being motivated by pride when they are simply trying to stand up for God and His truth. Be careful about mistaking someone's zeal for pride.

Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..." My dad once told me the advent of the birth control pill helped to ignite the sexual revolution. Until reliable birth control methods were available, people who engaged in sexual relationships outside of marriage, risked becoming pregnant. Because the bible still shaped the thinking of multitudes of Americans, this possible "side effect," and the fear of getting caught, was a deterrent to these immoral unions. However, when this risk was negated, and the consequences were minimized, a sexual frenzy ensued. This does not, as some have supposed, make birth control evil or make it to blame for rampant immorality. Instead, it is the heart of man that is to blame. Reliable birth control has simply allowed man to more freely fulfill the desires of his depraved heart. Matthew 15:19-20 - "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man..."

What would you do if you discovered you held a belief, or behaved in a way, which was contrary to the scriptures? For example it was demonstrated that salvation cannot be obtained by any other means than faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 4), or you were shown the proper roles of men and women within the home (Eph. 5:21-31), or were taught that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is immoral (Heb. 13:4), or it was revealed that women are forbidden to hold the office of a pastor, 1 Tim. 2:9-15. Would you criticize the one who brought it to your attention and attempt to justify your unbiblical position, or would you conform your beliefs and behaviors to the Bible? We would all be wise to confirm our thinking to the bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

Proverbs 12:16 - "A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame." Like the verse used in last week's "Mini-Message," this passage is also very relevant to those who use social media sites. It draws a comparison between a foolish man and a prudent man. The fool cannot help but vent, rage and express himself when he is angry. However, the prudent man is careful to avoid the shame that comes from such rash behaviors. So, be careful about expressing yourself when you are angry, whether in person or on social media sites.

Proverbs 29:11 "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards." The book of Proverbs is the most practical book in the Bible, and it is extremely relevant to those who use social media sites. For instance the verse above contrasts the fool and the wise man. A fool "uttereth all his mind." In other words, he says what is one his mind with little, or no, restraint and does not consider the consequences of his words. However, a wise man realizes that saying (or posting) every thought he has, may not be the best course of action. So, another way of expressing the sentiment of this verse is: "Think before you speak (or post)."

Revelation 12:13 - "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child." The other passages in Revelation 12 explain the identity of the dragon and the woman. The dragon is Satan and the woman is the nation of Israel. While most of the chapter is speaking of events yet to happen in the future, the Jews have always been a hated people. Egypt tired to destroy them as recorded in the book of Exodus. Persia tried to wipe them out as recorded in the book of Esther. Herod, a Roman Emperor, attempted to kill all of their children as recorded in the book of Matthew. And in more recent times Germany tried to exterminate them and the Palestinians, and many Arabs, are determined to "drive them into the sea." Even the progressives of America are prone to side against Israel, though many times secretly. The hatred towards Israel would be difficult to comprehend outside of a knowledge of the Bible. The battle against Israel is a spiritual one. Satan attempted to destroy Israel before the birth of Christ in order to prevent His coming and while his plots did not succeed, he continues to hate Israel because she is God's chosen people of the Old Testament. Again, we see exactly what we would expect to see in the world if the Bible were God's Word and true.

Proverbs 15:12 - "A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise." According to this passage, men will often refuse to seek council from those who would actually give them the best advice. Usually, this is because they know the wise will not give them the answer they want. The first part of the verse indicates that the wise will place blame on the scorner, rather than excusing his behavior. In the end, the one hurt the most by not seeking honest (though sometimes hurtful) advice is the scorner. "Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not," Proverbs 8:33.

1 Corinthians 15:32 - "...if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die." It is common today for people to have a list of things they want to do before they die (i.e. bucket lists). Some conclude that because you only live once, you need to spend as much of your life as possible doing the things you enjoy. But how different would our conclusions be, if we consulted the Bible? How does it say we should spend our days upon the earth. Notice that 1 Corinthians 15:32 says if there is no resurrection (i.e. no heaven or hell), then we might as well eat, drink and be merry because this life is all that there is. However, the bible declares there is a resurrection, and that each of us will give an account to God for what we have done upon the earth. The saints will be judged to determine their degree of rewards in heaven, and their level of responsibility in heaven will be directly related to their service for the Lord on earth. The lost will also be judged to determine their degree of punishment in hell. So, rather than spending all of your time doing the things you enjoy, spend your life investing in eternity, so you can enjoy heaven to its fullest.

Since the Bible says, "Be ye kind one to another..." (Ephesians 4:32) and " good unto all men..." (Galatians 6:10), I would not want to minimize the positive aspects of smiling at people or performing other small acts of kindness. However, one of the greatest acts of love someone can demonstrate to another person is explaining to them the Gospel. The Gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 as, "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" May the saints of God proclaim the good news to a lost and dying world, and may the unsaved turn from their sin and trust Jesus Christ to save them!

Luke 16:22-24 - "...the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments...And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me..." Many people will listen intently when someone who is about to die talks about their regrets because they know the person has been put in a situation which has caused them to reflect upon what is truly important. However, a better measurement of what is most important would be listening to the regrets of a dead man. Because he is not just looking at things from an earthly perspective, but an eternal perspective. The biggest regret of the man in Luke 16 was that he had not done what was necessary to escape an eternity in a place which was absent of God's mercy. Make sure you have no regrets upon dying by repenting of your sin and trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation.

Judges 21:25 - "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." I had the privilege of preaching at my home church's (First Baptist Church of Grafton, IL.) Bible camp last week in Bunker Hill, Illinois. The camp theme was "Do Right!" One of the messages I preached was on the subject of "Who, or what, Determines What is Right?" There appears to be only three alternatives: 1) Each individual determines it for themselves, 2) Culture defines it (usually through a pragmatic approach or popular opinion) or 3) A source outside of ourselves (i.e. the Bible). If either of the first two are true, then we have nothing by which to judge anyone else's actions or the actions of previous generations. We could not dogmatically condemn, Charles Manson, Hitler, slave traders, rapists, etc. The truth is God defines right and wrong and has written it upon our consciences, which is why we instinctively know there is right and wrong.

Luke 13:3 - "...Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Jesus said repentance is a part of salvation, but what is repentance? Notice how Genesis 6:6 uses the word: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth..." Clearly in this context repentance means a change of mind. So, if this is what it means to repent, what must we change our mind about in order to be saved? We must change our mind about ourselves, our sin and the Saviour. We must recognize we cannot save ourselves, agree with God regarding our sin and Acknowledge the truth concerning Jesus Christ (That He is the Son of God who died for our sins). In addition, Genuine repentance and faith always results in a changed life. Acts 17:30 - "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:"

Proverbs 31:30 - " is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." Due to our culture's fascination with toned and tiny female bodies, there have recently been some who are trying to get the big and curvy girls some attention and love, too! You will commonly see slogans like, "Curves are beautiful!" or "Big girls need love, too." But rather than trying to change society's perception of what is beautiful, maybe the focus should be on something of greater importance. Rather than focusing on outer beauty, which God calls vain, the focus should be on the "inner man." 1 Peter 3:3-4 - "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Psalm 122:1 "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." A preacher was asked by a lukewarm Christian, "Do I have to go to church?" The pastor replied, "Don't you WANT to go to church?" When someone gets truly saved, their natural desire is to assemble together with God's people and worship the Lord. Do you show signs of new life in Jesus Christ by desiring to assemble with God's people?

1 Corinthians 15:33 - "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." Another way of expressing the thought of this passage is, "Don't fool yourself by thinking you will not be negatively influenced by poor associations." This applies to our relationships, as well as the type of entertainment we consume. I am grateful for the preachers who have warned me about the dangers of secular themed television, the movie industry, the rock-n-roll industry and many other anti-christ influences. If we separate ourselves and our families from these influences and replace them with Christ-honoring elements, our homes can be a place ripe for spiritual growth. After all, a good garden requires more than planting seeds, you must also pull out the weeds.

Colossians 2:8 - "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." Many times, if Christians are not careful, they will allow popular thought to pervert their understanding of the scriptures. For instance, I recently read a post which stated: "Moses told God he wouldn't lead because of how he saw himself. God used him in spite of how he saw himself, get a view of what God sees in you." Such an interpretation may fit well with the motivational speaking we find everywhere today, but it does not fit the context of Exodus 4. If you read this passage, you see that Moses did not need to get a proper view of himself, but instead, he needed to get a proper view of God.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 - "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." WALK FOR SINNERS! Helping to bring an awareness to the biblical truth that ALL men are sinners. It is reported that 1.1 million people in the United States are infected with aids, 13 million by cancer, and 26 million with heart disease, but 100% of mankind is infected with sin. Fatal diseases result in physical death, but sin results in spiritual death (a permenant separation from God in the Lake of Fire). Therefore, this is not just a matter of life or death, it is a matter of ETERNAL life and ETERNAL death. The good news is there is a CURE...Jesus!

2 Peter 2:1 - "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." About ten years ago a co-worker of mine gave me a recorded sermon delivered by a pastor of a church in downtown Indianapolis. The preacher's text was Exodus 32, which speaks of how the people of Israel made and worshipped a molten calf, while Moses was on Mt. Sinai. The choice of texts was a good one, but his application was ridiculous. He likened the molten calf to oil and preached against America's "dependence" on fossil fuels. This is the kind of nonsense which has been preached in liberal churches for decades. They preach on topics found nowhere in the Bible, while rejecting the plain teachings of scripture (i.e. Jesus being the only Saviour of the world). While this is disheartening, it is not surprising, as the Bible predicted it. Beware of false teachers!

Esther 4:14 - "...who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" The book of Esther is one of only two books in the Bible which does not reference any of the names for God. Nor does the book reference prayer. However, multiple times it mentions a gentile king, the superstitions of the heathen and pagan practices. God's people (Israel) are living defeated lives and scattered throughout the Persian empire. The early chapters describe the acts of a carnal king, a rebellious queen and an esteemed gentile prince. Hardly the things you would expect in a world where God is in charge. On the surface, it appears as though God is dead, sin is supreme and all hope is lost for God's people. However, as you watch the events of the book unfold, it becomes clear that God was providentially working behind the scenes to bring about a deliverance for his people, even before there was a need. Likewise, before God created the world, He formulated a plan to deliver us from our sin. 1 Peter 1:19-20 - "Christ,...Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world..."

Your best life LATER!. Hebrews 11:13 - "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Notice those in the "Hall of faith" did not choose to enjoy all that this world had to offer. Instead, they viewed themselves as pilgrims on earth and denied themselves worldly pleasures, sacrificed for the cause of Christ, and served the Lord in hopes of a better existence in heaven. Will we choose to selfishly enjoy the sinful pleasures of this life and forfeit rewards in the next life, or will we forego the things of this live and reap eternal rewards?

Ephesians 4:22-24 - "...put off concerning the former conversation (conduct) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts...And that ye put on the new man." It is not uncommon for someone to assume a particular behavior is okay, because it comes natural. For instance, the book "Looking out for Number One" asserts that because selfishness is a universal trait of mankind, there is nothing wrong with it. Likewise, many advocates of homosexuality content that because some people are born with an attraction for those of the same sex, it must be morally okay. But this type of logic fails to understand man's natural condition; man is born a sinner and has many natural sinful inclinations. Many men find it normal to want to cheat on their wives, many children find it natural to disobey their parents, and many woman find it common to want to gossip about other women they do not like. But none of these behaviors are morally right. Therefore, we do not determine right and wrong by what comes natural or by what we consider normal, instead , we determine it by what is found in God's revelation to man (the Bible). Once we determine what is right and wrong, we restrain the "old man" and "put on the new man."

Luke 19:10 - "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." There are two very important subjects missing from many gospel presentations: repentance and sin. While Jesus helps HIS FOLLOWERS through their trials and times of discouragement, this was not his purpose for coming into the world. He came to die for the sins of mankind. He came to redeem us and make an atonement for sin. All too often when talking to people about salvation, they think they are "okay" because God pulled them through a surgery, caused them to triumph over a disease, or helped them to reconcile with those who had wronged them in the past. But none of these things speak of man's greatest need, which is to be forgiven for his sins against a holy God. And this forgiveness can only be received, when we repent of our sins and trust in what Jesus has done for us on the cross of Calvary.

Proverbs 10:17 - "He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth." We can tell a lot about our spiritual condition by the way we respond to godly/biblical instruction. If we dismiss it, or attack the messenger, we are in err, but if we receive it, consider it and act upon it, we are going in the right direction (i.e. "...the way of life..."). Proverbs 9:9 - "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."

Luke 13:2-3 - "Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, EXCEPT YE REPENT, ye shall all likewise perish." It is common for us to recognize the inconsistencies, moral failures and sins of others, while being blinded to our own. Especially, when their sins may be of a more vile nature. Consequently, we, like those addressed in this verse, may see the need for others to repent of their sins, but feel no need ourselves. But notice Jesus said the need to repent is universal and if we fail to repent of our sins, we will perish. Have you repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ?

Ephesians 4:15 - "But speaking the truth in love..." - It is not uncommon for some people to focus on the need to speak in a loving manner, while compromising the truth in order to obtain their objective. But there are others who emphasize the need to speak the truth, while neglecting to do it in a loving manner. However, the Bible tells us to do both! We should speak the truth without compromise, even when the truth hurts or is perceived as offensive. But we should also seek to present the truth in a loving manner, where we have the recipients best interests in mind.

Romans 2:15 - "Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness..." An avowed atheist once told me of something he thought was immoral. I asked him on what grounds was it immoral. In other words, by who's authority. He could not answer. Nearly everyone acknowledges certain things are right (kindness, self-control, humility) or wrong (murder, rape, cheating, stealing). This is because God's law is written upon our hearts. However, if there is no God, as evolution claims, then these moral standards are man-made and can be totally disregarded. If there is no God, then it is survival of the fittest and the strongest win. If there is no God, then we have no moral grounds by which to judge any other individual or any previous generation. But there is a God and your conscience bears witness of this fact.

Genesis 4:7 - "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?" Jude 1:11 - "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain..." There are numerous examples of people in the Bible who did not want to receive deliverance on God's terms. Naaman wanted healed from his leprosy, but initially did not like God's means of deliverance (dipping himself in the Jordan River), 2 Kings 5. The mariners with Jonah were told to cast him overboard to save themselves, but at first ignored these instructions and instead tried rowing harder, Jonah 1. In Genesis 4 Cain wanted God's approval and acceptance but he was unwilling to receive it on God's terms. Therefore, he was rejected. Likewise, many people today want God's approval, acceptance and salvation, but they want it on their own terms. They, like Cain, bring an offering of their own choosing (i.e. Good works) and think God will accept them on those terms, but He will not. In order to be saved you must come to God on His terms by repenting of your sin and putting faith in Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross.

Genesis 3:7, 21 - "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons....Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them." When Adam and Eve sinned and became aware of their nakedness, they tried to cover it up by sewing together fig leaves for clothes. Likewise, mankind tries to appease his guilty conscience and cover up his sin with his good deeds. But all of the humanitarian efforts in the world cannot atone for sin. God had to clothe Adam and Eve with coats He made from a slain animal. Likewise, God gave His Son as a sacrifice for sin and when we place our faith in Him, He clothes us in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:5 - "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened (made alive spiritually) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" Notice the condition of someone when they are saved; they are DEAD IN SINS. This excludes the possibility of our good works playing any part in our salvation. When Rehab was saved, she was a harlot. When Saul of Tarsus was saved, he was actively persecuting and killing the disciples of Jesus Christ. When the woman at the well was saved, she was living in fornication. When the thief on the cross was saved, he was being punished for his thievery. While their lives would change drastically, it was the consequence of their salvation, not the means of their salvation.

Ephesians 2:2 - " time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan)...fulfilling the desires of the flesh..." Before we are saved we are directed be three things: the world, the flesh and the devil. But after our conversion we are to be led of God and His Word and are no longer a slave to worldly philosophies, fleshly desires and Satan's deception. If you have been born again, does your life reflect a change in direction, or do you continue to allow the fads and fashions of this world to shape your thinking and behavior?

Many people suppose it is impossible to both live a separated (i.e. holy) life AND reach people for Jesus Christ. However, notice God commands both: Mark 16:15 - "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." 2 Corinthians 6:17 - "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord..." These two scriptural truths are not contradictory, but complimentary. Living a holy life gives credibility to the message we preach. So, let the saints of God be both a separated people and a soul-winning people.

01/13/14 The liberal approach to education and politics is very concerning to God fearing home schoolers. The Obama administration recently argued against giving the Romeike family from Germany political asylum in the US. The administration does not view home schooling as an individual right protected by the constitution. The Romeike family has been targeted by the German government because they home school their children. In the past the German government entered the home of this family and forcibly removed the children. The highest court in Germany ruled that the government had the ability to stop families from home schooling lest it create a "parallel society." President Obama stated in a recent speech that communities that have a protestant school and a catholic school divide us. Naturally, liberals (they like to call themselves progressives these days) oppose traditional families and seek to take steps to destroy them, since they are one of the last lines of defenses to their socialist policies. If they can prevent parents from home schooling their children and force them into the public education system, they can indoctrinate them with their belief systems. Biblical conservatives place a premium on individual rights, as does the constitution of the US (The bill of rights is a list of individual rights). America was founded as a republic, not a democracy. A democracy is majority rule, a republic is not. In a republic, an individual and his rights are protected even if he is opposed by the majority. Many parents home school their children because they oppose the theory of evolution, which is taught in public schools. They also oppose the liberal indoctrination that takes place, where capitalism is often vilified, while the extreme views of liberals (green energy, homosexuality) are exalted. I see a time when the country perceives the views of bible believing Christians are too extreme and therefore, harmful to children. They will therefore try to justify their position that all children must attend public schools. This is their way of trying to control the thinking of all people. I, for one, am creating a sub-culture within American culture, and I am doing it on purpose. I am creating a culture within my family and church that is decidedly biblical. A culture where Jesus is Saviour and King, where the Bible is the sole authority for faith (what we believe) and practice (how we behave). A culture that is pro biblical morality, pro personal responsibility, pro limited government and pro capitalism.

James 2:19 - "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." It is not a belief in the existence of God that saves a person and results in them going to heaven, but rather trusting in the finished wor of Jesus Christ for the atonement of one's sin.

Jeremiah 6:16 - "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein..." It is common in our culture today to find people who are critical of those who adhere to the teachings of the Bible concerning pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality, roles of women and men in the home, Jesus being the lone savior of the world, etc. Some will call people who believe these things old fashioned, narrow minded and out of sync with society. However, this is not so much an indictment against Bible believing people, as it is an indictment against American culture. Believers are simply standing where God fearing people have always stood. It is the culture that has moved; it has moved from the biblical standard.

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Shepardsville Baptist Church, P. O. Box 68, Shepardsville, IN. 47880 - (765) 832-8259