Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Resurrection

The resurrection is a foundation truth of Christianity. Without the resurrection of Christ we could have no gospel. "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:17).

"Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). He "was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25).

Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection. Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, but they had to resort to lies and bribery to satisfy the soldiers and deceive the public.

Satan is behind all the opposition to the resurrection, for by it his power was annulled. For the believer--his power is gone; he now works by his wiles. The tomb was sealed, but only to be a witness of God's power over death and the grave. To Martha the Lord said, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). And for the benefit of those at the grave of Lazarus, the Lord spoke with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth" (John 11:43,44).

"Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).

Faith is imputed for righteousness, if we believe on Him (God) that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.

It is a divine assurance that the sins of the believer have been put away, since God has raised His Son from the dead. God, who had been sinned against, and who knew those many sins, laid them all upon Jesus. As the hymn puts it--

"God, who knew them, laid them on Him,
And believing, we are free."

And it is a righteous God who has set us free, for His righteous claims have been fully met in the death of His Son. For was not the veil rent the moment the Lord died, and were not the graves opened at his death, and saints came out of their graves after His resurrection? For He was the first to rise. In all things He must have the pre-eminence.

The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

He "was raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6:5).

"Beloved, now are we the sons of Good, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2).

Not only have we such assurance as to future blessing, but we are now blessed with all (or every) spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.

Christ risen, ascended and glorified is the head of a new race, and all believers belong to that race. It is well to keep in mind that we are no longer in Adam but in Christ. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).

No condemnation to those in Christ and all spiritual blessings to those in Christ Jesus.

To the unsaved reader: here is your refuge from judgment, your security and your blessing. Do not neglect the gospel. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).

"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3).

--J.P. from MWTB

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do you really Love Jesus Christ?

John MacArthur preaches the truth about love, the greatest commandment. Deuteronomy 6:4-6. Taken from the message "Rekindling Your Love for Christ"

Read or listen to the full message at

HT: Truth Matters

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If You Love the World You Don't Love Christ

Study excerpt by Tim Conway on 1 John 2:15-17

Download the mp3 or listen to the full study here.

Jesus The Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)

The Eastern shepherd occupied a position of friendship with the creatures of his care to which there is no counterpart among ourselves. In the early morning he would lead his flock to the pasturelands. All day he must closely watch, lest harm should come to them. Should one of the lambs be unable to keep pace with the flock, he must carry it in his bosom. Should one of the flock go astray, he must search until he finds it. Should danger assail, he must be prepared to risk his life.

Now all this is true of our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep. He has a shepherd's heart, beating with pure and generous love that counted not His lifeblood too dear a price to pay for our ransom. He has a shepherd's eye, that takes in the whole flock, and misses not even one poor sheep wandering away on the cold mountains. He has a shepherd's faithfulness, which will never fail, forsake, leave us comfortless, nor flee when He sees the wolf coming. He has a shepherd's strength, so that He is well able to deliver us from the enemy. He has a shepherd's tenderness--there is no saint so weak that He will not gently lead, and no soul so faint that He will not give it rest.

Ah, He has done more! "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6). Punishment and disaster were imminent, but Jesus, from His throne in eternity, saw the danger, and was filled with compassion for the multitudes which were as sheep not having a shepherd. Therefore, He offered His own life as the substitute, and God laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Then was heard the terrible summons: "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd" (Zech. 13:7). "He laid down His life" for the sheep, and thus redeemed the flock (1 John 3:16). Praise Him! Praise Him!

--Condensed from The Shepherd Psalm by F.B. Meyer

Sunday, March 27, 2011

For you, a vile sinner, a rebel worm!

This excerpt was taken from "Christ Crucified" by David Harsha

"David Addison Harsha was born in Argyle, New York, on September 15, 1827. He received a classical education and studied theology, but was prevented from entering the ministry by a chronic bronchial affection. Harsha was a frequent contributor to the press, and has spent most of his life in his native town, engaged in literary pursuits."
--Grace Gems!

How can I know that the Bible is the Word of God?

The best way to find out if the Bible is the Word of God is by reading it prayerfully and carefully. You cannot honestly judge a book which you have not read. I suggest that you begin reading the New Testament, starting with the Gospel of Matthew and continue reading right on through Revelation.

There have been many who, like yourself, have wondered if the Bible really is God's Word. Some of them even doubted the existence of God. But when they began to read the Bible in earnest, their doubts left. They were convinced that there is a God and that the Bible is His Word. How did they come to that conclusion? Because in reading the Bible they became aware that God was speaking to them personally. The Bible revealed to them the need of Christ as Saviour and God's love in providing that Saviour. They became believers in God and His Son Jesus Christ. This is because the Bible is unlike any other book in the world. As the Bible tells us so clearly, "the Word of God is quick, [living] and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword" (Hebrews 4:12).

Although the personal reading of the Bible is the surest and best way to tell its authorship, its uniqueness also points unmistakably to God as its author. Let us consider some of the facts about the Bible that show it is unique--altogether different from any other book:

It has stood the test of time. In the last half of the 18th century, Voltaire, the French infidel, made the statement that within 100 years the Bible and all Christianity would be completely forgotten. Voltaire died in 1778. The Bible still lives on. How many 2,000 year old books are still being printed today? Since Voltaire died, it has been estimated that over 2,500,000,000 copies have been printed. It is still the world's best seller and is the world's most widely distributed book, having been translated into hundreds of languages. All of this has taken place despite the many efforts of various men to destroy the Bible. As the Bible says, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35).

It is accurate and reliable. If you were to read science and history books that were thirty to fifty years old you would find that they are outdated. Some of the facts they reported would have to be revised to reflect man's latest discoveries. What about the Bible? Although its references to historical and scientific data have often been challenged and disputed, none of them have needed revision. Instead of revisions, recent findings are continually verifying the truths of the Bible. I will refer to only one example among many which could be cited. For years, critics of the Bible have pointed out the fact that Daniel mentioned a Babylonian king named Belshazzar of whom history had no record. New archaeological findings have revealed the name of Belshazzar on clay tablets along with the names of his secretaries and sisters. We can trust what the Bible says.

Its prophecies have a 100% accuracy record. This becomes even more impressive when we consider that one fourth of the Bible was predictive when it was written. There are hundreds of prophecies made in the Bible which have been accurately fulfilled and there are many more yet to be fulfilled. The prophet Micah predicted about 700 B.C. that the Lord Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). The fulfillment is recorded in Matthew 2:1. Over one hundred years before Nineveh was destroyed, Nahum wrote that Nineveh would become "empty, and void, and waste" (Nahum 2:10). Today, this would be like predicting that Chicago will become a wasteland. (Remember, in Nahum's day there were no nuclear bombs.) Nineveh, just as it was prophesied, became empty and void and waste. About 600 B.C. Daniel accurately predicted the succession of three great world empires: the Persian (530 B.C.), the Grecian (331 B.C.) and the Roman Empire (about 68 B.C.). See Daniel chapters 2,7,8. Only God can declare the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

The unity of the Bible's sixty-six books. The Bible was written by about forty men who were not contemporary, but lived at various times during a period of more than 1,500 years. What makes it even more interesting is the varied occupations of these men. Kings, fishermen, shepherds, noblemen, tax collectors, doctors, lawyers and statesmen were among those whom God used to write the Bible. They wrote about every subject which vitally affects us--creation, sin and its origin, death, life, heaven, hell, Satan, and God.

When you consider all of this diversity you might expect that the result would be a book which would be both contradictory and confusing. But instead, we get a book which has a continuity and unity throughout the sixty-six books that is simply amazing. You can only come to one conclusion from this--the Bible is God's Word.

It alone claims to be the Word of God. From the "And God said" of Genesis 1:3 to the "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things" of Revelation 22:16, we have God speaking to us in this Book. The men whom God used to write the Scriptures were inspired and controlled by God to write the exact words which He gave them. This means that what we have in the Bible are the very words of God completely free from man's thoughts and reasonings (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21).

It is relevant to our needs today. Go into any large bookstore today and you will find hundreds of books, many of them with catchy titles, all claiming to meet some of our needs. Though a great number of these books do fill a need for knowledge and learning, they do not give us the answers to our spiritual needs. Many of them leave a void and emptiness in our hearts. Only the Bible can explain, to the satisfaction of our hearts and consciences, the facts of sin, death, judgment, the love and holiness of God, the atoning work of Christ, and heaven and hell to mention a few. These are the things which meet our deepest needs, both present and future. Many who have questioned the Bible's relevancy for today can testify that when they finally came to read and believe it, they found peace, joy, and satisfaction. The Bible has the answers.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Never give up praying

Never give up praying, not even though Satan should suggest to you that it is in vain for you to cry unto God. Pray in his teeth; “pray without ceasing.” If for awhile the heavens are as brass and your prayer only echoes in thunder above your head, pray on; if month after month your prayer appears to have miscarried, and no reply has been vouchsafed to you, yet still continue to draw nigh unto the Lord. Do not abandon the mercy-seat for any reason whatever. If it be a good thing that you have been asking for, and you are sure it is according to the divine will, if the vision tarry wait for it, pray, weep, entreat, wrestle, agonise till you get that which you are praying for. If your heart be cold in prayer, do not restrain prayer until your heart warms, but pray your soul unto heat by the help of the everblessed Spirit who helpeth our infirmities. If the iron be hot then hammer it, and if it be cold hammer it till you heat it.

Never cease prayer for any sort of reason or argument. If the philosopher should tell you that every event is fixed, and, therefore, prayer cannot possibly change anything, and, consequently, must be folly; still, if you cannot answer him and are somewhat puzzled, go on with your supplications notwithstanding all. No difficult problem concerning digestion would prevent your eating, for the result justifies the practice, and so no quibble should make us cease prayer, for the assured success of it commends it to us. You know what your God has told you, and if you cannot reply to every difficulty which man can suggest, resolve to be obedient to the divine will, and still “Pray without ceasing.” Never, never, never renounce the habit of prayer, or your confidence in its power.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Pray Without Ceasing," delivered March 10, 1872.


Thursday, March 24, 2011


Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." -John 4:24

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. -1 John 1:5-7

1) Those who worship the Lord
Worship in Spirit and Truth
Those who say that they know Him
Must walk as He walked
He is the way and the truth
And in Him is the life
If we obey His word
Then we walk in the light
2) If we say that we know Him
But we don’t keep His word
Then we walk in the darkness
And the Truth’s not in us
If we walk in the light
We will have fellowship sweet
And the blood of Jesus
Will cleanse us from sin

From: Christ Our Life

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Is Hell Forever?

By Russell D. Moore

For the past several weeks, evangelical Christians have spent a lot of time talking about Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins, in which he seeks to redefine the Christian doctrine of hell. As others have noted, Bell’s argument is not new at all. But Bell’s central point is always relevant. One of his questions weighs particularly heavily. Why, if there is a hell, is it forever?

Continue reading here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

How Firm Our Foundation

by Fred Butler

Let me ask you a theological question: Are you born again which results in your believing in Christ, or does your faith in Christ result in your being born again? Maybe you think I’m just playing with words, but how you answer that question significantly affects what you believe about man’s sin, God’s salvation, and more important, your eternal security.

Natural Born Sinners

The Bible is crystal clear about our condition before we came to Christ. All of us come from a different personal background. I may be from a poor family, whereas you come from a rich family; others of us lived moral lives, while still others lived shameful, ungodly lives. Whatever the case, we were all sinners in need of a Savior.

That’s exactly what the Bible tells us in Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18 and Ephesians 4:17-19. Those passages reveal a couple of important truths about our sinful nature.

First, we were separated from any true, intimate fellowship with God, and we lacked spiritual understanding of His ways. For example, Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who seeks after God,” and Ephesians 4:18 speaks to how we were “darkened,” “alienated,” “ignorant,” and “blind.” Sounds harsh, doesn’t it.

Second, we were spiritual rebels. Romans 3:18 specifically says we had “no fear of God” before our eyes; and Romans 1:18 explains how we all suppressed the truth of God, trying to excuse away our obligation to Him. Rather than choosing to live in obedience to God's laws, we willingly gave ourselves over to lewdness and uncleanness.

In short, when we were all without Christ, we hated God and wanted nothing to do with Him.

If our salvation had been left up to us, we would never have sought it. Nothing could have persuaded us or moved us to faith in Christ, not even the most eloquent preachers or the most compelling arguments. We would have cheerfully continued living lives in willful disobedience to God.

That’s a bleak description, but according to the Bible, it is the spiritual reality of all people, without exception. The only hope we have is a miracle—a profound and radical change of our hearts and minds...

Continue reading here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A New Heart (Steve Lawson)

Sermon Jam from the Steve Lawson Resolved Conference 2009 "Blessed Purity"

Download the mp3 or listen to the full message here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Run! (Carter Conlon)

This video clip is an excerpt of a message given by Carter Conlon on the first Sunday following the tragedy of September 11th, 2001 at Times Square Church in Manhattan.

Download the mp3 or listen to the full sermon here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What Does Luck Have to Do with It?

by Jim Elliff

Joni Eareckson Tada is one of the most gracious and effective Christians in the world. She has lived with the results of a diving accident that broke her neck during her teen years. At 50 she continues to radiate Christ to a listening world. Joni is known by thousands of Christians, perhaps millions, through her books, radio program, and conference speaking.

Once my brother asked Joni how she made it through the difficult battle with her paraplegia. I later heard her give the same answer in a large conference in Orlando. Her reply will surprise you. "I suppose what helped me get through this more than any other thing" she said, "was reading Loraine Boettner's Reformed Doctrine of Predestination."

Now that caught you off guard, didn't it?

What she was saying was that she came to understand through this book that God is in control. And if God is in control then her accident wasn't just a fluke, but a purposeful arrangement by a loving God. She could trust a God like that. That accident cost her freedom and brought chronic suffering. But to Joni, that diving accident was a huge gift from God—a platform for speaking to the world about her favorite subject, Christ.

I know that it might seem insensitive to say that God is in control. But this is what the Bible teaches, like it or not. When we analyze national tragedy we sometimes recoil from the notion that God could be in control of His world. We seek to protect God from such an accusation. But the Scriptures don't do this.

The Bible teaches that all good things, as well as all tragic things, come from God. (See Lam. 3: 37-38) They usually come via secondary sources, that is, they are delivered on your doorstep by other people or through the convergence of events and complex connections. Without being a tempter or evil (James 1:13), God determines all things, while still leaving men responsible for their actions.

Complicated? Sure. But true nonetheless.

A clear illustration of this can be seen in the death of Christ. Is the death of Christ a good thing? Of course. Did God just "hope" that everything would work out to accomplish the greatest event of the universe? Did God feel lucky that it all worked out as He projected?

The early Christians did not think it was luck that brought about Jesus' redemptive death. Here's the way they put it in a prayer meeting:
For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. (Acts 4:27-28)
We can think of all events, tragic or good, under two categories. They are either for the punishment or for the benefit of the person, but they're all in the end for the glory of God.

Now think carefully. First, realize that everything that happens to a non-believer is a tragedy. Even mercies from God, if sinned against, work out for the worse to the non-believer. Every apparently good thing coming to a person who will finally reject God, only serves to make his judgment more severe. (See Rom. 2: 4-6)

But for the child of God, life works out exactly the opposite. The Bible says, "All things work together for the good of those who love God, the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28).

So, when a difficult thing comes into the life of a believer, as in Joni's swimming accident, then the end result is good. It is for a loving purpose. Even discipline from God toward true believers is for the good. And when sinful people are involved, we can say with Joseph, "You meant it for evil; but God meant it for good." (Gen. 50:20)

As one theologian said, "Tragedy is anything that happens to a non-believer." And we can add, "Good is anything that happens to a true Christian."

This can only be said because God is in control. And luck, well, it isn't even there.

Copyright © 2003 Jim Elliff.,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A Puritan Devotional by William S. Plumer brought to you by Grace Gems, a treasury of ageless sovereign grace writings.

"For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14.

HT: Defending. Contending.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Pelagian Captivity of the Church

by R.C. Sproul

Shortly after the Reformation began, in the first few years after Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the church door at Wittenberg, he issued some short booklets on a variety of subjects. One of the most provocative was titled The Babylonian Captivity of the Church. In
this book Luther was looking back to that period of Old Testament history when Jerusalem was destroyed by the invading armies of Babylon and the elite of the people were carried off into captivity. Luther in the sixteenth century took the image of the historic Babylonian captivity and reapplied it to his era and talked about the new Babylonian captivity of the Church. He was speaking of Rome as the modern Babylon that held the Gospel hostage with its rejection of the biblical understanding of justification. You can understand how fierce the controversy was, how polemical this title would be in that period by saying that the Church had not simply erred or strayed, but had fallen — that it’s actually now Babylonian; it is now in pagan captivity.

I’ve often wondered if Luther were alive today and came to our culture and looked, not at the liberal church community, but at evangelical churches, what would he have to say? Of course I can’t answer that question with any kind of definitive authority, but my guess is this: If Martin Luther lived today and picked up his pen to write, the book he would write in our time would be entitled The Pelagian Captivity of the Evangelical Church. Luther saw the doctrine of justification as fueled by a deeper theological problem. He writes about this extensively in The Bondage of the Will. When we look at the Reformation and we see the solas of the Reformation — sola Scriptura, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, sola gratia — Luther was convinced that the real issue of the Reformation was the issue of grace; and that underlying the doctrine of solo fide, justification by faith alone, was the prior commitment to sola gratia, the concept of justification by grace alone.

Continue reading here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Golden Chain

Excerpt from the message "The Golden Chain" on Romans 8:29,30 by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church given on Feb 20, 2011

Download the mp3 or listen to the full sermon here

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joel Beeke on Hell

I know I've been posting a lot about hell lately but there has been a recent trend by some supposed evangelicals to promote universalism and downplay the severity and the eternality of hell. Here’s a short clip by Joel Beeke on hell.

Joel Beeke on Hell from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.

Crazy Love Chapter 5

Francis Chan talking about lukewarm Christians from his book Crazy Love.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Ruler of Hell

by John MacArthur

And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

People, and even Satan himself, are unable to kill the soul. Physical death is the full extent of the harm they can bring us; they cannot touch the soul, the eternal person. Even the bodies they destroy will one day be resurrected and become imperishable (1 Cor. 15:42).

It should be made clear that destroy does not here mean annihilation. The lost will not cease to exist, but in their resurrected bodies “will go away into eternal punishment,” just as the saved in their resurrected bodies will go into “eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). The word behind destroy (appolumi) does not convey the notion of extinction but of great loss or ruin. Paul uses the same term in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, where he speaks of “eternal destruction”-a phrase that would not make sense if “destruction” meant annihilation, which by definition cannot be eternal. That which is annihilated ceases to exist.

Jesus’ point here is that the only fear a believer should have is of Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell; and only God can do that. In the last days Satan himself will be cast into hell, which is the Lord’s domain, not Satan’s.

But this fear is not that of terror or fright, but of reverential awe and honor. It is not that a believer is in danger of having his soul and body cast into hell, because his eternal destiny is heaven. God’s ability to destroy both soul and body in hell is mentioned here only to contrast His unlimited and permanent power with Satan’s limited and temporary power. God is the only One who can determine and bring to pass the destiny of souls and bodies.

Reverence of God in His sovereign majesty is a powerful motivation for Christians to serve Him and to be fearless of any earthly, physical consequences that service may bring. The power of human threats seems rather puny in comparison to the power of God’s promises.

When Hugh Latimer was preaching one day in the presence of King Henry VIII, he reports that he said to himself, “Latimer! Latimer! Remember that the king is here; be careful what you say.” Then he said to himself, “Latimer! Latimer! Remember that the King of kings is here; be careful what you do not say.” For such unflinching faithfulness Latimer was eventually burned at the stake. But He feared failing God more than he feared offending men.

Over a period of some 300 years of terrible persecution, ten generations of Christians dug nearly 600 miles of catacombs beneath and around the city of Rome. Archaeologists estimate that perhaps a total of 4 million bodies were buried there. A common inscription found in the catacombs is the sign of the fish, the Greek word for which (ichthus) was used as an acrostic for “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” Another common inscription found there is “The Word of God is not bound.” During the most prolonged period of persecution in the history of the church, those believers revered God more than they feared man.

Since that day, many more millions have given their lives for the cause of Christ. Perhaps as many as 50 million believers were martyred during the Dark Ages, and millions more have been martyred in our own century, largely by communist regimes in Europe, Asia, and Africa. As is said of Lord Lawrence on his memorial in Westminster Abbey, they feared man so little because they feared God so much. In many other countries, state religions prohibit Christian missionary and evangelistic work and seriously restrict worship by those who are already Christians.

The faithful disciple values his soul immeasurably more than he values his body, and he will gladly sacrifice that which is only physical and corruptible for the sake of that which is spiritual and incorruptible. Jim Elliot, mentioned earlier in the chapter, wrote, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Jesus’ warning in verse 28 may have been specially directed at Judas, as an early appeal for him to consider that the God he rejected was able to destroy both his soul and his body in hell. Beyond that, it stands as a continuing warning to the unbelieving Judases of all time.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Doing Away with Hell? Part One

by Albert Mohler

Current controversies raise this issue anew among American Christians and even among some evangelicals. Nevertheless, there is no way to deny the Bible’s teaching on hell and remain genuinely evangelical. No doctrine stands alone.

• Keep Reading →

Read Part Two here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Eight Symptoms of False Doctrine

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.

1. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their “earnestness” makes many think they must be right.

2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.

3. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.

4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.

5. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using. Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.

6. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.

7. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

8. There is a wide-spread “gullibility” among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man.

All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be carried away!”

~ J.C. Ryle

Warnings to the Churches, “Divers and Strange Doctrines”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1967], 76, 77.


"I Don't Believe in Hell"

This statement is frequently heard. Is my reader of the same conviction? It is quite easy for a person who has not received the divine nature by being born again to embrace such a thought, though the evidence is all against it.

Not to believe in hell is to deny the truth of the Bible and the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. In fact, it acually brands the Son of God as a liar!

In the Gospels we learn that the Lord Jesus spoke more often of hell than He did of heaven. Eleven times the word hell is found. See Matt. 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5. It is also found in James 3:6. The word in each reference is Gehenna. It is the Greek equivalent of two Hebrew words meaning "Valley of Hinnom." This was a place south of Jerusalem where at one time pagan worshipers offered their children by fire to the heathen god Molech (2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6). However, in the reign of Josiah, the place was turned into the city dump where fires burned constantly to consume the worm-infested garbage.

The Lord Jesus used this place to illustrate the place called hell. Three times He said it is a place of "fire that never shall be quenched," no doubt referring to the external torment of the judgment of God; also, "where their worm dieth not," speaking of the internal, unending gnawing of the conscience of one who had despised and rejected the salvation of God in Christ.

That it is a place of eternal punishment we can plainly see from references in Matthew 3:12--"unquenchable fire"; 18:8--"everlasting fire"; 25:41--"everlasting fire"; Jude 7--vengeance of eternal fire."

Another character of hell is found in Jude 13--"the blackness of darkness for ever"; and in Matt. 22:13--"outer darkness." Whether "fire," a symbol of God's penetrating judgment, or "darkness," suggesting the total absence of God who is Light, the punishment in hell is eternal.

In Revelation 20 we read of "the lake of fire." The beast and the false prophet, cast into the lake of fire at the coming of Christ to judge the world (Rev. 19:20), are still there 1000 years later, at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, "tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10).

How solemn to read in Revelation 20:15, "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." This refers to the judgment of the Great White Throne. The bodies of the unsaved dead will be raised, united with their souls which had been tormented in "hades" (the condition of disembodiment), and then cast--body, soul and spirit--into the lake of fire forever.

Will this be because they had sinned? No! for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). It will be because they did not accept the provision God made for their sins in the death and shed blood of Christ on their behalf. They had not been born again into God's family and consequently are not inscribed in the family register of heaven.

Whether one believes in hell or not does not change the truth of its existence, nor the eternal consequences of unbelief. If one does not believe in hell, he does not believe the Son of God. God says: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). When one repents, there is cleansing from all sins of the deepest dye through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).

If one does not believe God as to the revealed truth concerning hell, he will most surely soon find out that it is a fact. But, alas, it will be too late to "escape the damnation of hell" (Matt. 23:33). I urge any unbeliever to:

"Turn and believe this very hour,
Trust in the Saviour's love and power;
Then shall your final answer be--
SAVED through a long eternity."

Source: MWTB

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You Must Be Born Again

C.H. Spurgeon on John 3:7

Regeneration is a subject which lies at the very basis of salvation, and we should be very diligent to take heed that we really are "born again," for there are many who fancy they are, who are not. Be assured that the name of a Christian is not the nature of a Christian; and that being born in a Christian land, and being recognized as professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever, unless there be something more added to it--the being "born again," is a matter so mysterious, that human words cannot describe it. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Nevertheless, it is a change which is known and felt: known by works of holiness, and felt by a gracious experience. This great work is supernatural. It is not an operation which a man performs for himself: a new principle is infused, which works in the heart, renews the soul, and affects the entire man. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus. To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. If you have then, been "born again," your acknowledgment will be, "O Lord Jesus, the everlasting Father, Thou art my spiritual Parent; unless Thy Spirit had breathed into me the breath of a new, holy, and spiritual life, I had been to this day 'dead in trespasses and sins.' My heavenly life is wholly derived from Thee, to Thee I ascribe it. 'My life is hid with Christ in God.' It is no longer I who live, but Christ who liveth in me." May the Lord enable us to be well assured on this vital point, for to be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, without God, and without hope.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Life is a Vapor

The tragic story of Wes Leonard hits hard and reminds us of how fragile life is. Just 16, he collapsed and died suddenly while celebrating a 20-0 season with his Fennville, Mich., teammates on the basketball court after scoring the game-winning shot.

James said: "yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." James 4:14

So what are you living for? Are you living for eternity or for the moment? Jesus said: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:26

Don't waste your life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Grace, One-Way Love

by Paul F.M. Zahl, excerpt from Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life (pg. 36-38)

What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable.

Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualification the receiver may personally hold.

Grace is one-way love.

The one-way love of grace is the essence of any lasting transformation that takes place in human experience. . . . One-way love lifts up. One-way love cures. One-way love transforms. It is the change agent of life.

Grace depends on the fact that its origin is wholly outside myself. This is the heart of love; it comes to me from outside myself. Moreover, while it almost always elicits a response, which is my love in return, it comes toward me without any reference to my response. One-way love does not deviate on the basis of its goal. It is determined solely by its source.

One-way love is the change agent in everyday life because it speaks in a voice completely different from the voice of the law. It has nothing to do with its receiver’s characteristics. Its logic is hidden within the intention of its source. Theologically speaking, we can say it is the prime directive of God to love the world in no relation to the world’s fitness to be loved.

One-way love is also irrational because it reaches out to the specifically undeserving person. This is the beating heart of it. Grace is directed toward what the Scripture calls “the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Not just the lonely, not just the sick and disconsolate, but the “perpetrators,” the murders and abusers, the people who cross the line.


Mommy, Are We Animals?

by Dr. Georgia Purdom

Last week, the well-known atheist blogger PZ Myers posted a guest blog on his site from a mother who explained how she taught humans are animals to her young son. The mother worked with her son on a project using magazine clippings of animals to create a poster that showed how animals could be grouped. At the top of the poster was a human baby.

Continue reading here.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Importance of Hell

There are plenty of people today who don't believe in the Bible's teaching on everlasting punishment, even those who do find it an unreal and a remote concept.
by Tim Keller

In 2003 a research group discovered 64% of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die, but less than 1% think they might go to hell. Not only are there plenty of people today who don't believe in the Bible's teaching on everlasting punishment, even those who do find it an unreal and a remote concept. Nevertheless, it is a very important part of the Christian faith, for several reasons.

1. It is important because Jesus taught about it more than all other Biblical authors put together.
2. It is important because it shows how infinitely dependent we are on God for everything.
3. It is important because it unveils the seriousness and danger of living life for yourself.
4. The doctrine of hell is important because it is the only way to know how much Jesus loved us and how much he did for us.

Read the full article here.