Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Entering the Narrow Gate

A thought for the day by Arthur Pink:

"Make every effort to enter through the narrow gate, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." Luke 13:24

Entering the Narrow Gate signifies the heart's acceptance of Christ's holy teaching. Ah, my friend, to really and actually enter this "Narrow Gate" is no easy matter! These words do not picture salvation as a thing of simple and easy attainment. That Jesus should utter such a statement, clearly implies that there are formidable difficulties and obstacles to be overcome, and that slothful nominal professors will surely not enter in.

Why is such striving necessary to "enter" the narrow gate?

First, because Satan is striving to destroy your soul. "Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour!" 1 Peter 5:8

Second, because natural appetites of the Flesh are striving to destroy you: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims--abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11

Third, because the whole World is arrayed against you. It will seek to draw you by its alluring promises, its Delilah-like deceits, and fatal enticements. Unless you overcome the world, the world will overcome you to the eternal destruction of your soul.

From what has been before us, we may plainly discover why it is that the vast majority of our fellow-men, yes, and of professing Christians also, will fail to reach Heaven--it is because they prefer . . .
  sin, to holiness;
  indulging the lusts of the flesh, to walking according to the Scriptures;
  self, to Christ;
  the world, to God.

Men refuse to .  . .
  deny self,
  abandon their idols, and
  submit to Christ as Lord
--and without this, none can take the first step toward Heaven and enter through the narrow gate!

 Arthur Pink

Take some time today to examine your life and your walk with Christ and be sure not only that you have entered by the  narrow gate, but also that you are on the narrow path. Look to Jesus, the Author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wow, What A Testimony!

 For those of you who may not know, Matt Chandler, who is the pastor of The Village Church in Dallas Texas, had a seizure Thanksgiving Day and after some tests were run it was discovered that he has a brain tumor in his right frontal lobe. He underwent surgery to have it removed the past Friday, but before he went into the hospital he recorded this video and all I can say is Wow! What a testimony!  

Please pray for Matt Chandler and his family.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Are The Non-Negotiables For The Gospel?

In this video Ligon Duncan spells out exactly what  the Gospel is.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shameless Bragging

On Sunday my son ran his first marathon... and won! Below is a story from the local paper in Cocoa Florida where the race took place and a video of him being interviewed on the local news.

First time's a charm for marathoner

Georgian, a rookie to marathons, wins 26.2-miler; local woman takes half

COCOA — Matthew May came into Sunday's Space Coast Marathon having never run a full 26.2-mile event. But he knew one thing about himself.

 "The longer I go, the better I get," the 25-year-old from Athens, Ga., said.

That certainly proved to be the case, as May easily outdistanced the field, crossing the finish line at Cocoa Village's Riverfront Park in 2 hours, 37 minutes, 58 seconds.
Renae Cicchinelli, who was worried that she had set too fast a pace for herself in the early portion of the race, took the women's title in 2:59:01.

Boca Raton's Jon Volpi won the men's half-marathon in 1:10:45, while Beth Whalen of Melbourne was the top woman with a time of 1:26:05. Meredith Van Veen, also of Melbourne, was second in 1:28:47.

The 38th annual event drew 2,484 competitors -- including a man on stilts -- and was run under near-perfect conditions. The temperature was about 50 degrees at the 6 a.m. start, and the wind was minimal.

"Last year, it was really hot and windy," Volpi said. "This year, I actually ran alone the entire race all the way, and my time was actually better this year. I think everyone's time will be better this year because it was cooler. It was actually a perfect day."

Volpi, the only one of Sunday's four winners who had run the race before, was trying to complete some unfinished business.

"I was second last year," the 26-year-old said. "I was back for more. Mission accomplished."
The 23-year-old Whalen, who moved to Melbourne from Bettendorf, Iowa, in July, has been making a name for herself on the local running scene. Sunday's win added to that fact.

"I ran a 15K about three weeks ago and tore up my feet pretty bad because I ran in flats that I probably shouldn't have run in," she said. "So I was nervous for today. I didn't how my feet were going to feel. I've been taking it easy, cross training and pretty much nursing it.

Cicchinelli, 29, had been planning to run the Palm Beaches Marathon next weekend but decided to push up her race schedule because of a hamstring issue that has been bothering her for the past year.

"Somebody told me this was a really good (race) -- and it is," the Haines City resident said.
Taking control halfway through the race, she finished well ahead of second-place Maite Moscoso of Longwood, who had a time of 3:06:09. However, Cicchinelli was worried early that she was setting too fast a pace for herself.

"The last six miles, my times started slowing," she said. "I think I took the first half a little too fast. I even had a 6:11 mile, which is way too fast. But it was pretty steady after mile 17."

May, who had previously only run half-marathons, started training six months ago to run 26.2 miles. He decided to run the Space Coast event because he has relatives in the area and, like Cicchinelli, had heard good things about the race.

He took the lead at the 10-mile mark and finished nearly seven minutes ahead of second-place Lee Rietsma of Tampa.

"I felt good until about mile 23, and that's when it hit me that . . . this is the real deal," May said. "(I told myself), 'Three miles to go. You run 5Ks all the time.' "

Merritt Island's Thaddeus Austin was the top local finisher in the men's marathon, finishing in 2:58:41, which was good enough for second in the 30 to 39 age group.

Melbourne's Cheng Ten was the first local woman to cross the line in the marathon. Her time was 3:20:56, which was second in the 35 to 39 age group.

Melbourne's John Davis was the top local men's finisher in the half-marathon, finishing fourth overall in 1:20:17 and winning his age group (30 to 34). Steve Chin of Satellite Beach won the Men's Masters Division in 1:21:31.

Orlando's Rory Helzer, who was attempting to break several world records for running a marathon on stilts, did not complete the race.

The mood of the day was perhaps best summed up by a little girl who ran alongside her father as he labored toward the finish line nearly six hours after the race started. "Daddy," she said, "I'm so proud of you."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thoughts On Logos Bible Software

This post will be a little different from what I normally do here, but hopefully some of you will find it helpful.

For the past several years I have been using Logos Bible Software for my personal study and lesson preparation. I really like the flexibility and ease of use this software provides, and I have found that by having my library in digital form instead of in printed books and by using the reports that are generated by Logos it really cuts down on the time that I would spend searching though book looking for what I need. 

I found that although the software could really save time in lesson preparation, but rarely ever have I used it as a time saving tool; what I find instead is that I am able to go much deeper into a passage in the time that I have available to me to study.

I have found Logos software to be an essential tool to by study and I have recommended it to many of my friends. 

Now, after several years of using this program and becoming very comfortable with how it works and what I need to do to get where I want to go Logos has decided to go and change everything; about three weeks ago they released version 4 of the software and it really has a different look and feel than version 3, the version  that I have been happily using.

After watching the demo (see below) of the new version on their website I decided about two weeks ago to go ahead and upgrade to the new version. There are a lot of great features in the new version, but some of the features that I used are not yet available in version 4. I have found, however, that some of the new features are just awesome and I don't know how I lived without them in version 3.

So, with all that said and despite the fact that there is a learning curve with the new version, if you are a Logos user I highly recommend that you upgrade to version 4. And when you do here are a few videos that I found that will help you with the transition from version 3 to version 4.

Here is the Demo of Version 4.

And here are some videos to help you make the transition from version 3 to 4.

Logos-3-vs-Logos-4 from Mark Barnes on Vimeo.

I hope that you found this information useful and hope that some of you will give Logos a try; I think that once you try it you will never want to go back to the way you used to study.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful For The Gospel

Today is Thanksgiving here in America and there are many things that I am thankful for today. I am thankful for my wife, I am thankful for my son; I have bee so blessed in my life that I could literally spend all day here listing the various things that I am thankful for. 

But as a follower of Jesus Christ there is nothing that I am more thankful for than the Gospel, which the Apostle Paul summed up perfectly in just two verses in 1 Corinthians 15:

For I have delivered to you as of first importance what I received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
That's it, that's the Gospel; Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again on the third day. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ it is my prayer that you will take a minute today to thank Him for what He has done for you. 

If you are not it is my prayer that you will consider the verses above and that you will bow before Him as your Lord and Savior; after all, He died for your sins.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Lost Gospel

Another great sermon by Paul Washer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Revelation Chapter 1, Part 2 - Greeting

The last time that we were in Revelation we looked at John's introduction in verses 1-3 of chapter one. Now with verses 4-8 we move into John’s greeting to those who were to receive this letter; the seven churches of Asia Minor. So let’s look at these five verses now, and then we will walk through them phrase by phrase:
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:4-8
The first thing that we see here is that once again the author is identified as John. Next we see that this is being written to seven specific churches in Asia, and unlike the letters of Paul which were addressed to just one church, this letter is addressed to all seven and all seven would have received the entire letter. In other words, when we get into chapters two and three and see the individual messages to the individual churches, we need to remember that even though the message for the church at Ephesus was addressed to Ephesus it was heard by the other six churches as well, and the warnings expressed in each of these letters, while addressed to a specific congregation, must be heeded by all who hear it.

Then John said, Grace to you and peace. I have always loved this greeting in the New Testament because, as you see from the next part of the greeting, it is not from John but from the Lord Jesus Himself. Paul also used this same greeting in every one of his epistles, so let’s take a closer look at these words and see what they mean.

First, the word Grace is the Greek word cháris, which comes from the word chaírō meaning to rejoice. This word expresses the idea of favor or acceptance. Dr Zodhiates defines this word like this:
A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor.1
The second part of the greeting is the word peace, which is the Greek word eiré̄nē. This word expresses the idea of harmony. Again, quoting Dr Zodhiates, he says this word expresses “tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of a divine favor.”2

Next notice that the greeting is from God the Father, not from John. I am sure that John was also expressing grace and peace to the readers of this letter, but the text says that the grace and peace come not from him, but from the one who is, who was, and who is to come. Remember that John said in verse one that this is the Revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, so this grace and peace comes directly from the Father to the bond-servants of Jesus. And isn’t this exactly what He gives each of us with salvation? As we put our faith and trust in Christ and choose to follow Him as an act of our will, He gives us peace and unmerited favor that is motivated only by His love for us. Of the use of this phrase John MacArthur says:
The greeting ‘grace and peace’ is appropriate only for believer to believer, because it speaks of blessings that only they possess.3
Now we move into a section beginning at the end of verse four that some see as the first mention of the Trinity in Revelation. Notice that verse four and moving into verse five says “Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the  firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” There is absolutely no debate over the fact that the One who is, who was, and who is to come is God the Father. There is also no debate about the identity of Jesus in this passage. Where the confusion come in is with the phrase “the seven Spirits who are before His throne.”  

There are some who believe this is a reference to the Holy Spirit, and there are others who view this as a reference to angels. In his commentary on Revelation Robert Van Kampen does a good job of laying out the reasons behind these differing views; he writes:
Those who support Holy Spirit as the seven spirits argue:
(1) Isaiah 11:2-3 describes seven benefits of the Spirit in the Septuagint (LXX).
(2) Revelation 1:4 seems to be focusing on a Trinitarian representation of the Godhead.
(3) Zechariah 4 indicates that seven lamps represent the "eyes of the Lord" throughout the earth. This is connected with the Spirit (Zech. 4:6).
(4) "Seven spirits" expresses the Spirit’s perfection. This idea is derived from the symbolic use of the number seven to denote completeness.
(5) Angelic beings would not be included among the Divine greeters.
(6) Christ holds the seven spirits, which follows the defined relationship of the Holy Spirit to God the Father and the Son in the New Testament (Rom. 8:9, John 15:26).

Those who support an angelic reference:
(1) The term spirit is used in the New Testament to refer to angels.
(2) The seven spirits are before the throne of God, which suggests a position of subordination, which would be inappropriate for the Holy Spirit.
(3) Angels are given a very prominent place in the Revelation throughout.
(4) Luke 9:26 and 1 Tim. 5:21 place angelic beings in positions of honor equal to that of the Father and the Son.
(5) Jesus Christ is never mentioned in Trinitarian type passages following the Holy Spirit. The order is always God the father, God the Son and God the Spirit. 4
While I do believe that Van Kampen makes some valid points I personally believe that his is a reference to the Holy Spirit, and his point that Jesus is never mentioned in Trinitarian passages following the Holy Spirit can be explained by the fact that Jesus is the primary focus of the Revelation and as such mentioned last for emphasis.

In verse five John gives us a threefold description of Jesus; he says that Jesus is: the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  Warren Wiersbe says that this is a reference to Jesus’ threefold office of Prophet, Priest and King.5 Let’s look at each of these and see what we can learn.

First John says that Jesus is the faithful witness. This would refer to His role as a Prophet since a prophet was one who represented God to man. In His role as Prophet, John is telling us that Jesus was faithful to communicate to us exactly what He received from His Father. We can see this as well in the Gospel of John:
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.

John 12:49-50
In his next description, the first-born from the dead, John is referencing Jesus’ office as our Great High Priest. The role of a priest was to represent man to God, and as one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet remained sinless (Hebrews 4:15) He alone is qualified for this office. The term “first-born from the dead” is also a reference to His resurrection.  “As the ‘Firstborn,’ He is the first to be resurrected with an everlasting body, which is a token of other selective resurrections including those of saints who die in the Church Age (Phil. 3:11), the Tribulation martyrs (Rev. 20:5-6), and the wicked dead of all ages (20:12-13).” 6

As the ruler of the kings of the earth we now see Jesus as our King. This description shows us the sovereignty of Jesus; He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. As the message of Revelation unfolds this will become a source of comfort to the Church since this title shows us that even though there are kings and princes on the earth they all get their authority directly from Jesus (Romans 13:1), and even though they may not honor Him as king He is still sovereign over them and they can only do what He allows, and He will only allow what is ultimately for our good (Romans 8:28).

John can no longer contain himself, and in the rest of verse 5 and verse 6 he breaks into praise for Jesus. He says, “To Him who  loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a  kingdom,  priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  This is the first doxology of the book, and there will be many to follow. A doxology is an expression of praise to God, and here John is ascribing praise to His Savior because He is our Prophet, Priest, and King.

John begins this praise by remembering that Jesus loves us; and this love is the motivation for all that will follow. First, because of His love for us He released us from our sins by His blood. Hebrews says:
For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Hebrews 9:13-14
It then goes on to say:

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22
Next John offers up praise because Jesus has made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father. This is a two-fold blessing: first John says that Jesus made us a kingdom, which parallels what Paul said in Colossians:
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

Colossians 1:13
John MacArthur tells us:
Kingdom refers to more than the future millennial kingdom, when Jesus will reign on earth for a thousand years. Nor does it speak merely of the general rule of God over His creation. The kingdom is a spiritual reality right now… The kingdom is the special relationship men in this age have with God through Jesus Christ. A kingdom in its most basic sense is a group of people ruled by a king. Christians have acknowledged Christ as their King and are subjects in His kingdom. 7

But that is not all, not only has Jesus made us His kingdom; He has also made us priests to His God and Father. By calling us priests John is making reference to the fact that through the shed blood of Jesus we now have access to God. We do not have to go through a priest since we are priests ourselves. Peter talked about this in his first letter when he said:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10
Peter called us a royal priesthood which goes right along with what John said in Revelation 1:6 where he said we are a kingdom, priests to His God. William MacDonald, in his commentary says that as Christians we are both holy priests and royal priests, then he give this explanation as to the difference:
As holy priests, [we] enter the sanctuary of heaven by faith to worship. As royal priests, [we] go out into the world to witness. This difference in priesthood is illustrated by the imprisonment of Paul and Silas at Philippi. As holy priests they sang praises to God at midnight; as royal priests they preached the gospel to their jailor (Acts 16:25, 31). 8 
This is great illustration of what our priesthood should look like; on the one hand it allows us to offer praises to God, and on the other is compels us to share His love with the world.

Now John closes this doxology with the words “to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” This is the exact response that everyone who read this book should have. We should fall on our knees and praise the God to who belongs all glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Now with verse seven we see the first prophecy of the book: “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.”

Many link verse seven with the Second Coming of Christ, but a close examination of the text here will show that this passage is actually speaking of the Rapture; the time when Christ returns for His church just prior to the pouring out of God’s wrath on the earth. Note that this passage says, “He is coming with the clouds.” Note that this is the same imagery that Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians to describe the Rapture of the Church:
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Also note that the text says all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. If this were referring to the Second Coming the tribes of the earth would have already been mourning because of the judgment that is being poured out on the earth. According to Robert Van Kampen, the only time in the book of Revelation that you see the wicked mourning is in chapter 6 at the sixth seal, which is when God begins to pour out His wrath on the earth in the Day of the Lord.9 (This will be discussed in detail when we get to chapter six.)

Verse seven also says that every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. If this is talking about the Rapture of the Church, and I believe that it is, then this passage clearly rules out the possibility of a secret rapture.

The phrase ”those who pierced Him” refers not to the Roman soldiers who carried out the crucifixion, but is a reference to all of the unrepentant people of the earth. Those who have rejected Christ and who love their sin will mourn when they see Him. The word translated “mourn” here is the Greek word kóptō, and this word means “to beat the breast or cut oneself in loud expressions of grief, to lament, wail.”10 John MacArthur says that the mourners:
[W]ill be prompted by terror, not repentance. They will mourn not for the Christ they rejected, but over their doom. They will ‘not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.’ 11
Even as they are confronted face to face with the holiness of God those who have rejected Him will still not repent.

Then in verse eight Jesus speaks; He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” The one “who was, who is, and who is to come, the Almighty.” This statement is Jesus signature on the prophecy we have just been given; His guarantee that is will come to pass exactly as it is written. Much like the promise that God made to Abraham, and then confirmed with an oath that He swore by Himself (Hebrews 6:13), Jesus is validating this promise by three of His divine attributes.

First, He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha is the fist letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last; by using this title Jesus is making reference to His Omniscience. He is saying that all knowledge begins and ends with Him and because He is all-knowing we can be assured that He will come again.

Next Jesus says that He is the “one who was, who is, and who is to come” which shows us His Omnipresence. Since He is not confined by space or time we can be assured that there is nothing that He cannot see, and since nothing can take Him by surprise there is nothing that can stop His return.

And then He says that He is “the Almighty.” This one eliminates any doubt that would possibly be left after the first two. As the Almighty Jesus is showing us His Omnipotence. He is all-powerful and because He is sovereign over all things there is nothing anywhere that can thwart His will. This passage says that He will return and that the world will see Him and mourn, and that is exactly what will happen.

1 Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.) (G5485). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
2 Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.) (G1515). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
3 MacArthur, J. (1996, c1984). 1 Corinthians. Includes indexes. (7). Chicago: Moody Press.
4 Robert Van Kampen.  Revelation Commentary Ch1 Pg4 (© Orlando Fl.: Sola Scriptura
5 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Re 1:4). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
6 Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary: An exposition of the scriptures (2:929). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
7 MacArthur, J. (1996, c1992). Colossians (39). Chicago: Moody Press.
8 MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (1 Pe 2:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
9 Robert Van Kampen.  Revelation Commentary Ch1 Pg6 (© Orlando Fl.: Sola Scriptura
10 Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.) (G2875). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
11 MacArthur, J. (1999). Revelation 1-11 (34). Chicago: Moody Press.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recall Notice

I received this in an email yesterday and thought it was worth sharing.

RECALL NOTICE: The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in
the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been technically termed 'Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality,' or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed. Some of the symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.
The Repair Technician, Jesus, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:

1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self control

Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded.

For free emergency service, call on Jesus.

DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!


P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Words Of J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle is one of my all time favorite authors, so I was very excited a few months ago when I found a ministry that sends out emails every weekday with a different quote by J.C. Ryle. Now each morning when I turn on my computer I am greeted by my daily Grace Gem (which I highly recommend that you sign up to receive) and a quote by Bishop Ryle.

And since it has been several weeks since I have posted anything here I thought that today I would take several of these quotes and post them so you can see what I am talking about and why I love to read the writings of J.C. Ryle.

Know Your Doctrine
Learn to know what you mean when you talk of believing the doctrines of Christianity. Be able to give a reason of your hope. Be able to say what you think true, and what you think false in religion. And never, never forget that the only foundation of soundness of faith, is a thorough textual knowledge of the Bible.
~ J.C. Ryle: Never Perish

Dying To Know Christ 
The story of Christ’s moral teaching, self-sacrifice, example, and the need of being earnest and sincere like Him, will never smooth down a dying pillow. Christ the Teacher, Christ the great Pattern, Christ the Prophet, will not suffice.

We want something more than this! We want the old, old story of Christ dying for our sins and rising again for our justification. We want Christ the Mediator, Christ the Substitute, Christ the Intercessor, Christ the Redeemer, in order to meet with confidence the King of Terrors and say, ‘Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory?’
~ J.C. Ryle:The Upper Room

The Proper Mindset at the Table
The benefit of the Lord’s Supper depends entirely on the spirit and frame of mind in which we receive it. The bread which we eat, and the wine which we drink, have no power to do good to our souls, as medicine does good to our bodies, without the co-operation of our hearts and wills.
~ J.C. Ryle: Day by Day with J.C. Ryle

A View From the Pew
There are those, of whom their congregations have said, that when they were in the pulpit—they were so good, that never wished them to come out; and when they went out of the pulpit—they were so bad, they never wished them to go in!

May God give us all grace to take that to heart! May we seek so to live, so to preach, so to work, so to give ourselves wholly to the business of our calling, that this bitter remark may never be made about us.
~ J.C. Ryle: Give Yourself Wholly to Them

Three Essentials in a True Christian
There are three things which, according to the Bible, are absolutely necessary to the salvation of every man and woman in Christendom. These three are: justification, regeneration, and sanctification. All three meet in every child of God: he is both born again, justified and sanctified.

He that lacks any one of these things is not a true Christian in the sight of God, and dying in that condition will not be found in heaven and glorified in the last day.
~ J.C. Ryle: Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle

The Main Cause of Backsliding
Now what is the cause of most backslidings? I believe, as a general rule, one of the chief causes is neglect of private prayer. You may be very sure men fall in private long before they fall in public. They are backsliders on their knees long before they backslide openly in the eyes of the world.
~ J.C. Ryle: A Call to Prayer

Christ’s Demonstration of Salvation
There is one great work which the Lord Jesus Christ has done and finished completely. That work is the work of atonement, sacrifice, and substitution.

He saw us ruined by the fall, a world of poor, lost, shipwrecked sinners. He did not sit in heaven pitying us from a distance. He did not stand upon the shore and see the wreck, and behold poor drowning sinners struggling in vain to get to shore.

He plunged into the waters Himself. He came off to the wreck, and took part with us in our weakness and infirmity, becoming a man to save our souls.”
~ J.C. Ryle: Old Paths

The Dissatisfaction of Money 
Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions. It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away.

There is trouble in the getting of it. There is the anxiety in the keeping it. There are the temptations in the use of it. There is the guilt in the abuse of it. There is the sorrow in the losing of it. There is the perplexity in the disposing of it.

Two-thirds of all the strifes, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world, arise from one simple cause – money!
~ J.C. Ryle: Practical Religion

Take Heed What You Read
Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and Apostles be despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind.

Young men, give the Bible the honor due to it every day you live. Whatever you read, read that first. And beware of bad books: there are plenty in this day. Take heed what you read.
~ J.C. Ryle:Thoughts For Young Men

Let Us Glory in the Cross 
Let us ever glory in the cross of Christ; let us regard it as the source of all our hopes, and the foundation of all our peace. Ignorance and unbelief may see nothing in the sufferings of Calvary but the cruel martyrdom of an innocent person: faith will look far deeper; faith will see in the death of Jesus the payment of man’s enormous debt to God, and the complete salvation of all who believe.
~ J.C. Ryle: Day by Day with J.C. Ryle

Our Compassionate Savior 
Let us remember that the eye of our loving Savior is upon us, morning, noon and night. He will never suffer us to be tempted above that we are able to bear. He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, for He suffered Himself being tempted.

He knows what battles and conflicts are, for He Himself was assaulted by the Prince of this world. Having such a High Priest, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
~ J.C. Ryle: Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle

Hold Your Possessions Loosely 
Are you prosperous in the world? Have death, sickness, disappointment, poverty, and family troubles passed over your door up to this time and not come in? Are you secretly saying to yourself, ‘Nothing can hurt me much. I shall die quietly in my bed and see no sorrow.’ Take care.

You are not yet in harbor. A sudden storm of unexpected trouble may make you change your note. Set not your affection on things below. Hold them with a very loose hand and be ready to surrender them at a moment’s notice. Use your prosperity well while you have it; but lean not all your weight on it, lest it break suddenly and pierce your hand.
~ J.C. Ryle: Practical Religion

Never Be Ashamed of Christ! 
Live a courageous life, my brethren. Confess Christ before men. Whatever station you occupy, in that station confess Christ. Why should you be ashamed of Him? He was not ashamed of you on the cross. He is ready to confess you now before His Father in heaven. Why should you be ashamed of Him?

Be bold. Be very bold. The good soldier is not ashamed of his uniform. The true believer ought never be ashamed of Christ.
~ J.C. Ryle: Warnings to the Churches

Do You Ignore the Lord’s Table? 
Nothing can possibly be of small importance which the Lord Jesus Christ ordained and appointed. Our Lord most distinctly commanded His disciples to ‘eat bread’ and ‘drink wine’ in remembrance of Him. What right has any Christian to disobey this commandment?

No doubt a man may be saved, like the penitent thief, without having received the Lord’s Supper. It is not a matter of absolute and indispensable necessity, like repentance, faith, and conversion. But it is impossible to say that any professing Christian is in a safe, healthy, or satisfactory condition of soul, who habitually refuses to obey Christ and attend the Lord’s Table.
~ J.C. Ryle:The Upper Room

Take Heed What You Read
Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and Apostles be despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind.

Young men, give the Bible the honor due to it every day you live. Whatever you read, read that first. And beware of bad books: there are plenty in this day. Take heed what you read.
~ J.C. Ryle: Thoughts For Young Men

Humbly Believing In God’s Election 
Is the doctrine of Election plainly stated in Scripture? This is the whole question which an honest Christian has to do with. If it is not in the Book of God, let it be forever discarded, refused and rejected by man, no matter who propounds it.

If it is there, let us receive it with reverence, as part of Divine revelation and humbly believe, even where we are not able to understand completely or explain fully.
~ J.C. Ryle: Old Paths

The First Mark of Conversion 
A habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian. All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of the life of an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.
~ J.C. Ryle: A Call to Prayer

Dying With The Bible in Hand
There is but one fountain of comfort for a man drawing near to his end, and that is the Bible. Chapters out of the Bible, texts out of the Bible, statements of truth taken out of the Bible, books containing matter drawn from the Bible – these are a man’s only chance of comfort when he comes to die.
~ J.C. Ryle: How Readest Thou?

The Key to Your Salvation 
You may be saved, and reach heaven without many things which men reckon of great importance — without riches, without learning, without books, without worldly comforts, without health, without house, without land, without friends — but without Regeneration you will never be saved at all.
~ J.C. Ryle: Are You Regenerate?

Bring Your Mind to Church
Let us take with us to church, not only our bodies, but our minds, our reason, our hearts and our consciences. Let us often ask ourselves, ‘What have I got from this sermon?’, ‘What have I learned?’, ‘What truths have been impressed on my mind?’.

The heart is unquestionably the main point: but we must never forget that the Holy Ghost generally reaches the heart through the mind. Sleepy, idle, inattentive hearers are never likely to be converted.
~ J.C. Ryle: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

Careless Christianity? 
Sanctification is a thing which depends greatly on a diligent use of Scriptural means. When I speak of ‘means’, I have in view Bible-reading, private prayer, regular attendance on public worship, regular hearing of God’s Word, and regular reception of the Lord’s Supper.

I lay it down as a simple matter of fact, that no one who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in sanctification. I can find no record of any eminent saint who ever neglected them.
~ J.C. Ryle: Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle

Examining Your Debt to Christ 
How is it that many who profess and call themselves Christians, do so little for the Savior whose name they bear? How is it that many, whose faith and grace it would be uncharitable to deny, work so little, give to little, say so little, take so little pains to promote Christ’s cause and bring glory to Christ in the world?

These questions admit of only one answer. It is a low sense of debt and obligation to Christ, which is the amount of the whole matter. Let us daily pray that we may see the sinfulness of sin, and the amazing grace of Christ, more clearly and distinctly.
~ J.C. Ryle: Day by Day with J.C. Ryle

Boldly Proclaiming God’s Word
Let us pray to be kept from corrupting God’s Word. Let neither fear nor favor of man induce us to keep back, or avoid, or change, or mutilate, or qualify any text in the Bible. Surely we ought to have holy boldness when we speak as ambassadors of God. We have no reason to be ashamed of any statement we make in our pulpits so long as it is Scriptural.
~ J.C. Ryle:Warnings to the Churches

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Revelation Chapter 1, Part 1 - Introduction

I was looking back over some of the studies that I have already posted here on The Christian Journey and I realized that when I began posting the study of the book of Revelation is was as a study on the seven churches which begins in chapter two and I never went back and picked up chapter one. Instead I have just continued on and posted studies on chapters four and five. So before I move on to chapter six in that study I thought I would go back and post a series of studies on chapter one. I pray that you find this helpful and that through this (and everything else I post) that you will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation Chapter 1, Part 1

Chapter one begins with the words “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” and this is what we need to remember as we study this book. This book was not given to us so that we can debate over the chronology of end time events, or so that we can speculate on what the ten horns on the beast might be. The purpose of this book is to reveal Jesus Christ. In this book we will see Jesus not as the suffering servant of the Gospels, but as the risen King, and the Judge of the world.

We will break this chapter down into three sections as follows:

    Introduction (verses 1-3)
    Greeting (verses 4-8)
    John’s vision of Jesus (verses 9-20)

Let’s jump right in and see what we can learn.

Introduction (Verses 1-3)
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Revelation 1:1-3
As I have already pointed out, Revelation begins with the words “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” and that is, first and foremost, what this book is. Merriam Webster defines the word Revelation this way:
An act of revealing or communicating divine truth: something that is revealed by God to humans. 1
The word comes from the Greek word apokálupsis, which means to reveal, uncover, unveil, disclose. Dr Zodhiates says that this is:
One of three words referring to the Second Coming of Christ. The other two words are epipháneia appearing and parousía coming, presence. Apokálupsis, a grander and more comprehensive word, includes not merely the thing shown and seen but the interpretation, the unveiling of the same. 2
So what we will see here is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. This is telling us that the book of Revelation is an open book, that is, it is a revealing of God’s plan.  By way of comparison let’s look at what Daniel was told when his prophecy was written:
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.
Daniel 12:4
When Daniel was given his prophecy he was told that the book was to be sealed, or shut up, until the end of time. When John received this prophecy; however, he was told that he was to write it down and share it with his fellow servants because he was going to be shown the things that “must soon take place.”

Daniel also tells us “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Daniel 2:28) and that is exactly what He is doing here; God is revealing to the church the mystery of what is to come. But as we will see in a few verses that is actually that third part of the book; first John will tell us the things that he has seen, and then the things that are.

Next notice that this is the Revelation that God the Father gave to His Son Jesus. The use of the word “gave” here implies that this was a gift from the Father to the Son, but for what purpose would God the Father give a gift to Jesus? Some have tied this back to Mark 13:32 where Jesus said, speaking of His second coming, “Of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” John MacArthur points out that there are two “insurmountable difficulties” with this view; he writes:
The most obvious one is that the book of Revelation nowhere gives the day or hour of Christ’s return. Thus, it does not contain the very information the Father was supposedly revealing to the Son. Further, the glorified, ascended Son resumed the full use of His divine attributes more than half a century before the book of Revelation was written. Being fully God and omniscient, He had no need for anyone to give Him any information.3
So why is Jesus receiving this gift from His Father? To see the answer to this question we must go back to Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Speaking of Jesus, Paul said:
who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:6-11
Here what we see is that because Jesus humbled Himself to become a man, and because He was obedient to the Father’s will even to the point of death, His Father highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name. Every knee will one day bow before Him, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. Again John MacArthur writes:
Christ’s exaltation, promised in the last three verses (9–11) of that passage, is described in detail in the book of Revelation. It thus contains the full disclosure of the glory that will be Christ’s at His return—His ultimate reward from the Father for His faithfulness during His humiliation.4
So the answer to the question then is this; the Father, by giving this Revelation to Jesus to show to His followers, is telling us that Jesus, because of His faithfulness and obedience, has been exalted to the highest place of honor, and this Revelation lays out, in detail, what that exaltation looks like.

The next thing we see in these verses is the progression of the message. Verse one tells us that God gave this Revelation to Jesus to show to His bond-servants. The word that is translated here, as “bond-servant” is the Greek word doúlos, and it means:
A slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other.5 
This word, according to Dr. Vine was:
Originally the lowest term in the scale of servitude, came also to mean “one who gives himself up to the will of another.” 6
What a perfect picture of what it means to be a Christian. As a bond-servant we willingly put ourselves in into a permanent relationship of servitude under the authority of Jesus. Our will becomes subject to His will and we give ourselves up in service to Him. This is not a concept that is unique to the book of Revelation; Paul used this term many times to describe himself and his relation to Jesus.

To understand the concept of a bond-servant we need to look back to the Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy where we can see the Jewish origins of this position.
Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,6 then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.
Exodus 21:1-6

If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. But if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slave you shall do the same.
Deuteronomy 15:12-17

From these two passages we can see that a bond-servant was one who has chosen to be in a relationship of subservience to his master. This is not one who has been forced into bondage, but one who has, because of his love for his master, chosen to submit himself to his masters will. As a bond-servant he has forever and willingly given up all of his own rights and his own will to do the will of his master.

Paul uses this term to describe himself at the beginning of three of his epistles (Rom. 1:1, Phil 1:1, Titus 1:1) and in each of these instances it precedes his mention of apostleship indicating that his position as a bond-servant of Christ was of greater significance to him than his position as an apostle. And this is the term that is used here in Revelation to describe the followers of Christ; we are told that this is the Revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His bond-servants. (For more on this topic see the post Servants or Slaves)

Continuing in verse one we see is that this revelation was given to show us the things “which must shortly take place.” This is an interesting phrase, and it is the reason that some scholars, know as preterits, believe that this book was written to prophesy the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. They reason that the book was written during the time of Nero (about 65 A.D.) before the fall of Jerusalem, and that it was a warning to the Jews living at that time about the things that were about to happen. They also argue that since the book doesn’t contain anything about this event, one of the most significant in Jewish history, it therefore stands to reason that this is what the book was warning about.

Those with a pre-tribulational position also use this phrase to support their position that the return of Christ is imminent. They argue that this phrase means that the events contained in the book of Revelation will take place “soon.” But this Greek phrase can also mean that once the events described in this book begin they will continue in a rapid-fire fashion, and will all be accomplished in a very short period of time. This point can definitely be argued since all of the judgments contained herein will come to completion in the span of just seven years. Warren Wiersbe says here:
The phrase… “shortly come to pass” (v. 1) [does] not mean that these prophecies were to be fulfilled right away in John’s day. Rather, they indicate how swiftly time will transpire when they are fulfilled. 7
So the question that must be answered here is this: is John talking about how the events will happen, or when the events will happen? Robert Van Kampen in his commentary on Revelation put it this way:
Theologically, for John to state that the events depicted in Revelation will happen soon, with reference to time, contradicts Matthew 24:36. Matthew 24:36 states, ‘But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.’ Therefore, John could not say how soon the Lord might return or how soon the events connected with His return might transpire unless God gave him direct revelation.8
For this reason I believe that John is telling us how and not when these events will take place.

Continuing then in verse 1 we see that Jesus sent and communicated this message, by means of His angel, to His bond-servant John. As we move throughout the book we will see that at several times John is receiving this message from an angel, but we will also see John getting pieces of it from the elders, the living creatures and from Jesus Himself. But Jesus communicates the majority of this revelation to John through His angel. The Greek word translated angel here is the word ággelos, which simply means messenger.

We also see here in verse one the use again of the term bond-servant. This time used to describe John himself. Just like Paul, James, Jude, and Peter, John does not bring any special attention to himself. He doesn’t say that he was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, he doesn’t draw attention to his apostleship, he simply says that he is John, the bond-servant of Jesus.

Now, moving into verse two we are told that John “bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ”. With this simple sentence John is telling us that he took no literary license with the recording of this book – he didn’t embellish anything; he simply bore witness to what he saw – the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Like the prophets in the Old Testament, who received the “word of the Lord”, John is also receiving the word of God, and the word that he is receiving is the testimony of the risen and glorified Son of God; Jesus Christ the Almighty.

This is not the first time we have heard this from John. This is the same way he began his first epistle:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:1-3

This should be the passion of every Christian. We know God, and we know His Son. All that we need to do is share what we have seen and heard with this lost and dying world. Jesus said that if He is lifted up He would draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). Getting people ‘saved’ is not our responsibility - that is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are simply to lift up Jesus and declare what we see and hear as we grow closer to Him through His word; He will draw men to Himself. This is what John is doing here; it was the pattern of His life.

In verse three we see the first promise of blessing in the book of Revelation. This blessing is promised first to the one who reads the book, and then to the one who hears, and heeds, what is written in it. In the church of the first century it was very uncommon for the congregation to have in there possession more than one copy of the Scriptures since all copying was done by hand and the expense of doing so was beyond the means of most people. So it was the practice of these early Christians to have someone, usually the leader of the congregation, read aloud from the Scriptures whenever they assembled together. What we are being told here is that there is a blessing promised to the one who reads aloud the book of Revelation.

Secondly, we are also told that there is a blessing for those who hear and heed what is written here. Note that this promised blessing is not promised to these who hear only, but to those who act upon what they hear. This is no different than what we read in the letter of James:
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
James 1:22-25 (NASB)
John then ends his introduction by telling us that the time is near. He is not here telling us that he has knowledge as to when the events he is describing will take place; what he is pointing out is that the events contained in this prophecy are the next events to take place in the plan of God. Again, Robert Van Kampen writes:
Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost indicated that the coming of the Holy Spirit is a mark of the ‘last days.’ We are presently living in the ‘last days.’ Thus, a literal physical reign (kingdom) of God is the next event on the agenda of God. It is near. 9

1 Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
2 Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.) (G602). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
3 MacArthur, J. (1999). Revelation 1-11 (17). Chicago: Moody Press.
4 MacArthur, J. (1999). Revelation 1-11 (18). Chicago: Moody Press.
5 Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.) (G1401). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
6 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vine's complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:73). Nashville: T. Nelson.
7 Wiersbe, W. W. (1997, c1992). Wiersbe's expository outlines on the New Testament (795). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.
8 Van Kampen, Robert.  Revelation Commentary Ch1 Pg2 (© Orlando Fl.: Sola Scriptura
9 Van Kampen, Robert.  Revelation Commentary Ch1 Pg3 (© Orlando Fl.: Sola Scriptura

Next time we will look at John's greeting in verses 4-8.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

In 1741 Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon that many feel is the greatest sermon ever preached - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. While I take some time to study and write some new posts I encourage you to take some time and read the outline to this great sermon below, and if you have a few minutes click on the link at the bottom of the page and give it a listen.

Sinners in the hands of an angry God!
Jonathan Edwards

"Vengeance belongs to Me--I will repay! Their foot shall slide in due time, for their day of disaster is near, and their doom is coming quickly!" Deuteronomy 32:35

OBSERVATION: There is nothing which keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell--but the mere pleasure of God.

 1. There is no lack of power in God, to cast wicked men into hell at any moment.

 2. They deserve to be cast into hell.

 3. They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell.

 4. They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God, that is expressed in the torments of hell.

 5. The devil stands ready to fall upon them--and seize them as his own--at whatever moment God shall permit him!

 6. There are those hellish principles reigning in the souls of wicked men, which would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire--if it were not for God's restraints.

 7. It is no security to wicked men for one moment--that there are no visible means of death at hand.

 8. Unsaved men's prudence and care to preserve their own lives--do not secure them from death for a single moment!

 9. All wicked men's pains and contrivances which they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject Christ--do not secure them from hell for one moment!

10. God has laid Himself under no obligation, by any promise--to keep any unsaved man out of hell, for one moment!

1. Consider more particularly--WHOSE wrath it is!

2. Consider--that is the fierceness of God's wrath, which you are exposed to!

3.  Consider--that the misery you are exposed to, is that which God will inflict to that end--that He might show what His almighty wrath is!

4. Consider--that it is EVERLASTING wrath!

Monday, September 28, 2009

J.C. Ryle On The Importance Of Using The Mind

Let us take with us to church, not only our bodies, but our minds, our reason, our hearts and our consciences. Let us often ask ourselves, ‘What have I got from this sermon?’, ‘What have I learned?’, ‘What truths have been impressed on my mind?’.

The heart is unquestionably the main point: but we must never forget that the Holy Ghost generally reaches the heart through the mind. Sleepy, idle, inattentive hearers are never likely to be converted.

~ J.C. Ryle

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kirk Cameron Bashed for Darwin Campaign

Here is an article that appeared on WND today that I thought my readers might find interesting:

Kirk Cameron bashed for Darwin campaign
Media gets snarky over effort to debunk evolution on college campuses

Posted: September 25, 2009
12:45 am Eastern

Kirk Cameron in screen shot of video introducing his "Origin of Species" campaign

A campaign by Ray Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron to give away 100,000 copies of a special edition of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" on 100 university campuses in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the seminal book's publication in November already is drawing a caustic reaction from media.

The special release of the book challenges the theory of evolution with a 50-page introduction that includes an overview of Darwin's life and presents a case for a universe created by God through arguments such as the structure of DNA and the absence of species-to-species transitional forms.

Reacting to a video presentation of the campaign by Cameron, a television writer and contributing editor to Rolling Stone magazine, David Wild, wrote in the Huffington Post that Cameron "seems like a really nice guy."

"Unfortunately, the Artist Formerly Known as Mike Seaver seems like a really nice guy who's evolved into a willfully ignorant idiot," Wild wrote, alluding to Cameron's role as a teen star in the 1980s TV sitcom "Growing Pains."

The introduction to the special "Origin of Species" release, which can be read on Living Waters website, also shows how great scientists of the past such as Nikolas Capernicus, Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon and Albert Einstein, believed in God's existence

Meanwhile, a TMZ video parody features "the matchup of the century, Kirk Cameron versus Charles Darwin, who is dead."

"Yes, the former 'Growing Pains'-star-turned-religious-fanatic is launching an all-out attack on Darwin's theory of evolution."

The TMZ spoof says, "Kirk has decided to unbrainwash people by teaming up with fellow Bible-thumper Sonny Bono, er Ray Comfort, who literally rewrote Darwin's 'Origin of Species.'"

Cameron is co-host with Comfort of "The Way of the Master" television show, produced by Comfort's Bellflower, Calif.-based Living Waters ministry.

In his video presentation of the Darwin campaign, Cameron says, "An entire generation is being brainwashed by atheistic evolution without even hearing the alternative; and it's radically changing the culture of our nation."

Cameron encourages providing students with an alternative view of life's origin and letting them decide for themselves what to believe.

The Huffington Post published a brief item on the Darwin campaign, coupling Cameron's video with a snarky "response" from a Slavic-accented YouTube user.

The YouTube video, with more than 444,000 views, is accompanied by a robust string of more than 8,800 comments, including, "Sorry, science teaches that people evolved. That means NO Adam and Eve. That means NO first sin, or fall from grace. That means NO need for Jesus to have died on a cross to save us."

The Living Waters video, featuring Cameron, has more than 143,000 views.

Comfort previously told WND "atheists are going crazy" on Internet forums in response to the "Origin of Species" plan, saying, "How can we stop this? We're going to have a book burning."

Comfort's Living Waters is working on the project with Answers in Genesis, Campus Crusade for Christ, Teen Mania and the Alliance Defense Fund.

To critics of the campaign, Comfort points out his edition features the entire publication, with nothing removed, and his name will be on the cover.

"I think that the liberal media need to stand back for a moment, take deep breath and think about what they are saying," Comfort told WND in an e-mail.

He argued there have been more than 140 reprints of "Origin of Species," most have had introductions or forewords, and some were critical of the theory of evolution.

Comfort cited an introduction by Prof. W. R. Thompson in 1956, who said it was "right and proper to draw the attention of the non-scientific public to the disagreements about evolution."

Thompson added: "But some recent remarks of evolutionists show that they think this unreasonable. This situation, where scientific men rally to the defense of a doctrine they are unable to define scientifically, much less demonstrate with scientific rigor, attempting to maintain its credit with the public by the suppression of criticism and the elimination of difficulties, is abnormal and unwise in science."

Comfort contends he hasn't attacked Darwin, "but simply looked objectively at his belief and asked if it's scientific, and then left it up to the reader to make up his own mind."

"What's wrong with that?" he asked. "Charles Darwin, in his own Introduction in 1859, said, 'A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.'"

Ray Comfort

Comfort also pointed out that, thanks to advice from atheists on his blog and others, the 50-page introduction will address Darwin's "racism" and "reveal how he was truly a gentleman who was adamantly against slavery."

It also qualifies Darwin's apparent disdain for women and argue that his moral character is irrelevant to the theory of Evolution, just as the theory of relativity should stand on its own merits and not on the morality of Albert Einstein.

Comfort said his introduction also makes it clear that Adolf Hitler's attraction to the theory is not relevant to whether or not it's true, pointing out the Nazi dictator also used Christianity for his own political ends.

"I want this introduction to be fair-minded, free from prejudice against Darwin, with no straw men or quote-mining," Comfort said.

Nothing created everything

Comfort notes a survey showed 61 percent of U.S. professors in biology or psychology said they were atheists or agnostics.

"Atheism has doubled in the last 20 years among 19 to 25 year olds. So young people are being brainwashed by this stuff," he said. "All we want to do is give an alternative."

"So many young people are being convinced that atheism is right, that evolution is right, there's no god, there are no moral absolutes," he said. "Who cares if you marry a dog? What's the big deal? And that's what atheism believes, too. It's very sad, and we're going to do our best to fight back in November."

He said the plan includes a trip to a leading bastion of academic skepticism, the University of California at Berkeley.

"So what is Berkeley going to do, ban 'Origin of Species'? Especially when they sell it in their bookstore for $29.95, and we're going to be giving away copies."

As WND reported, Comfort's lively interaction on his Atheist Central blog with scores of atheists and agnostics of all kinds – from young students to decorated scientists – has given him unusual insight into the skeptical mind and led him to conclude atheism rests on a remarkably illogical and unscientific premise that became the title of his latest book, "Nothing Created Everything."
Comfort's new book leading scientists who believe "nothing created everything," including British biologist and unofficial leader of the popular atheist movement, Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins, in his 2004 book "The Ancestor's Tale" wrote, "The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice."

As Comfort offered $20,000 to Dawkins to debate him on BBC radio, but the British scientist has not responded. 
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