The Preacher's Pen
Settled in Faith Concerning God's Will - 03/24/2021
In Daniel 3:16-18, we read, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
A few things we can surmise from this text:
- They were “not careful to answer” the matter. They were not concerned with how the king would feel or react to their answer; their answer was their answer. They understood the ramifications of their answer.
- They were settled in their faith concerning God’s will. Notice their answer: They knew that God was full well able to deliver them. Their faith was not in that He would deliver them, but that, if it were His will, He could deliver them. However, if God chose not to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace, that would be okay as well; they still would not bow to the kings idol!
So often believers tip-toe around the issues and are careful how they say things, rather than just speaking it like it should be spoken. We understand the repercussions, but are too often moved by them to soften the blow, or even to go with the flow. This is not the proper response.
Far worse, and probably more often, believers expect God to deliver them according to their own desire. They expect Him to quench all the fires in their lives. Every trial that comes their way, they expect God to deliver them, and when He does not, they get upset, bitter, angry, and discouraged, because He did not do what they expected. They fail to consider that His will may just not be their desire. Inadvertently, they stop serving Him the the same vigor that they once had, and begin to serve their flesh and this ungodly world.
Sure, they read their Bibles, but they don’t truly believe their Bibles. They think or even say, “I wish things were like that today!” The fact of the matter is that those things will not be like that today until that reader has the faith of those men of old.
Biblical Ignorance - 01/28/2021
In the book of Isaiah we find this statement:
“Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read...” - Isaiah 34:16a
Then, in the New Testament, Jesus made several doctrinal corrections to the religious crowd with a precursor concerning their lack of reading what was written...
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” - Matthew 19:4-6
“Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” - Matthew 21:42-44
“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” - Mark 12:26-27
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” - Matthew 22:19
Biblical error is due to biblical ignorance, which is directly related to the lack of reading the Scriptures. There is only one way to reduce these errors brought on by ignorance, “read” the book! (KJV)
Stop Doing Wickedly - 01/22/2021
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” - Isaiah 1:10-20
It would certainly do us well to look back at God’s way of dealing with a sinful rebellious people!
As we see in v.18, it is God’s desire to cleans sin (that’s why Jesus died on the cross for us). Here we see that even though God’s people were willingly vile and rebellious, God still wanted to cleanse them; He wanted to “reason together” with them. However, He also set the parameters for that reasoning, stop doing wicked (v.17), start doing good (v.18), be “willing and obedient”, or else (v.20).
This was not written as a means of becoming God’s children, it was written TO God’s children! We cannot blame the spiritual condition of our country or our world on the actions of the heathen. No, that blame belongs to the Church (God’s people). It’s not until God’s people get right that we will begin to see our nation healed from its sin (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
Just food for thought!
The Backslider 4/23/19
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. (Proverbs 14:14)
In my morning devotions today, I was reading on what I believe to be the best New Testament illustration of a backslider.
In the 21st chapter of John we read of this account:
“After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. (2) There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. (3) Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. (4) But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. (5) Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. (6) And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. (7) Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. (8) And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. (9) As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. (10) Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. (11) Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. (12) Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. (13) Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. (14) This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.” (John 21:1-14)
In this passage there are a few things that stand out…
I. The backslider walks Away – “I go a fishing” (v.3) – Peter made a conscious choice to return to his previous way of living. He was a fisherman before he met the Lord (Mark 1:16) and was called to be a fisher of men. (Mark 1:17) He knew that Jesus was risen from the grave already and had seen him on two occasions (John 20:19-29), so there was no reason to be discouraged. He just made the decision to go back to fishing.
II. The backslider leads others Astray – “We also go with thee” (v.3) – Though they are ultimately responsible for their own decisions, their backsliding is the result of one man making the wrong decision. No matter who you are, or who you think is watching you, when a believer backslides, you will undoubtedly lead others into backsliding as well.
III. The backslider fails to Pray – “entered onto a ship immediately” (v.3) – None of them stopped to pray about the decision that they were making. If the backsliders would have taken the time to consult the Lord before making their decisions, they would never have been led to make those decisions. Prayer is one of the most important tools a believer has, second only to the Word of God. We should pray before we make any decisions, and not move until we have the answer. That will help us avoid bad decisions.
IV. The backsliding doesn’t Pay – “and that night they caught nothing” (v.3) – A backslider will seldom be successful in their pursuits. There is nothing more satisfying, to the true believer, than serving the Lord.
a. There is no victual for the backslider - Jesus asked them, “have ye any meat?” (v.5) How disheartening it must have been to respond to the Saviour, “No.” There is no meat (nourishment) in the life of the backslider.
b. There is no vision in the backslider – “the sea of Tiberias” - These men were so disheartened that although they could see Jesus on the shore (about a half of a football field away), and hear His words clearly, they could not recognize who He was. The irony here is that “Tiberias” literally means “good vision.” (HBN) Here on the sea of “good vision” the disciples vision was blurred by their backslid condition.
c. There are little values in the backslider – “for he was naked” (v.7) - Another detail that describes the depth of his backslid condition concerns his nakedness. People can make that say what they will, but nonetheless, the Bible says that he was naked, and nakedness revealed a spiritual condition back then, just as it does today.
A very important point that needs to be understood is this next one….
V. The backslider doesn’t Stay – When he knew it was the Lord, Peter jumped out of the backslider’s ship and headed for shore, and the others followed on the ship! When the backslider is confronted by the Saviour, he does not remain in his backslid state!
a. His Presence - Jesus did not come to them; he simply drew their attention. (v.4-6)
i. The darkness of their backslidden condition was veiled in the darkness of night. (v.3)
ii. When morning came, and the physical darkness was taken away, there was a familiar figure standing on the shore, though they could not recognize Him, He could recognize them as His “children!” (v.5) It would be good to add this thought… It did not say that Jesus appeared on the shore, but rather that “Jesus stood on the shore.” (v.4) How long had He been there, was He there all night obscured by the darkness of his backslid “children?” How wonderful of a thought to ponder! Our Saviour is there through our darkest hours! He was just a stone’s throw away. I recall His precious promises “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Mat. 28:20), and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Such promises we should hold dear to our hearts. As humans, we will fail, and make bad choices, but remember, Jesus is very near!
b. His Paternity - As previously stated, He called them “children.” Even in their backslid state, Jesus did not cast them off, or disinherit them. They were still His children. A real father will always love his children no matter how far they wander. Love and acceptance are two different things. Though He loved them, he did not go to them, and He did not call them back to the shore, he (like the prodigal’s father) simply was available for them to return and called them to dine (fellowship restored) when they did. That hits home for me, as I have one who has wandered. My love for him will never end, he will always be my son. He is always on my heart, on my mind, and in my prayers. I can only pray that in my lifetime, I will see his return, if not to me, to the Saviour.
c. His Preparation – Jesus had already had fish on the fire awaiting His children’s return. It brings to mind an old favorite hymn… “The disciples came to land, Thus obeying Christ’s command, For the Master called unto them, “Come and dine”; There they found their heart’s desire, Bread and fish upon the fire; Thus He satisfies the hungry every time… “Come and dine,” the Master calleth, “Come and dine”; You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time; He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine, To the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.” (Widmeyer)
Easter.... Should Christians Celebrate It? April 15, 2019
Here we are again… That time of year when well meaning Christians greet each other with the words, “Happy Easter,” and churches are having Easter Sun-rise services. I have an issue with these things, and my issue is biblically based.
Many theologians, past and present, have claimed that “Easter” means “Passover” simply because the Greek word “πάσχα” (pronounced pascha) was used for both, “Passover” and “Easter.”
- If you believe that the modern translations are superior to the King James Bible, then you have no business even using the word “Easter” in your vocabulary, because you believe the word was misinterpreted, and should be calling the day “passover” or “pasch” as your Bible calls it in Acts 12:4. Using what you believe to be a mistranslated word for one of your celebrations is hypocrisy.
- One problem with this is that the word “pascha” was NEVER translated to be the name of a Christian holyday. Aside from this one instance, it was translated as “Passover” a Jewish holyday that occurred the 14th day of Abib (the first month on the Jewish calendar). That makes “pascha” a Jewish holyday.
Now that I have your attention, let’s look at the text in context…
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:1-5)
A few quick observations…
- Herod was not a godly king, he had just murdered James, the bishop of the Church in Jerusalem. Why would he be concerned with offending Christians on a Christian holyday? He would not. This further established the argument for the use of the word “Easter” as a Christian holyday.
- Herod liked the idea that killing James pleased the Jews, so he was going to do the same to Peter.
- This was occurring during the days of unleavened bread, as seen in the passage. The problem here is that “the days of unleavened bread” are the seven days that follow the Passover. The Passover feast had already taken place in order for this to happening during the days of unleavened bread. Therefore, Easter is not the same as the Passover.
“Easter” has nothing to do with Christ. It is celebrated with bunnies and eggs, which are symbols of sexual fertility, NOT the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The sex goddess was called by various names through various cultures. Whether she was called: Eoster, Ishtar, Inanna, Semeramis, Astarte, Ashtoreth, or Isis, she has NOTHING to do with Christianity. “Easter” is a pagan holiday.
For more see the PowerPoint Presentation at http://craigmoss.com/Eoster.ppsx
The Doctrine of Repentance Explained - March 20, 2019
I am going to address a doctrine that has for far too long been discarded and distorted by the modern church. This doctrine is the root of the weakness and worldliness of the modern Christian. It is the doctrine of “Repentance.” Before I begin to explain what repentance is, I will first explain what it is not. Repentance is not a work of the physical turning away from sin or sins. Repentance is not “penance,” as some religions define it. Repentance is not the abusing of one’s self to pay for one’s sins or doing good works to counterbalance one’s sins. Repentance is not turning over a new leaf. There are other erred definitions that “repentance” seems to have taken on by the modern church, in an attempt to discard the doctrine altogether.
However, a gospel that does not require repentance for salvation is a false gospel. I probably just lost several people who were reading this post. That’s okay. This post is not intended for debate or argument with people who hate the thought of repentance. It is simply intended for the purpose of educating people who have been struggling to understand it. So, you might ask at this point, “What is repentance.” First, I will give you some definitions.
REPENT'ANCE, n. (from the Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language)
1. Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.
Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Cor 7. Mat 3.
Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.
A Few other words defined by the same in context….
PEN'ITENCE or PENITENCY, n. [L. poenitentia, from poeniteo, from poena, pain, punishment. See Pain.] Repentance; pain; sorrow or grief of heart for sins or offenses; contrition. Real penitence springs from a conviction of guilt and ingratitude to God, and is followed by amendment of life.
PEN'ANCE, n. (Note the difference)
1. The suffering, labor or pain to which a person voluntarily subjects himself, or which is imposed on him by authority as a punishment for his faults, or as an expression of penitence; such as fasting, flagellation, wearing chains, &c. Penance is one of the seven sacraments of the Romish church.
RELIN'QUISHMENT, n. The act of leaving or quitting; a forsaking; the renouncing a claim to.
The Greek word that has been translated as repentance is “μετάνοια”(pronounced “metanoia”) it is defined as “(subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision): - repentance.” As expected, it was translated precisely in the KJB.
Thus, the word repentance, in a summary statement, can be defined as: A change of mind brought on by sorrow over past conduct because it exposes the offender (us) to judgment and it has offended and dishonored God. This change of mind results in the relinquishment of said conduct and a turning to God in faith.
If repentance was not present in your salvation “experience,” then your “experience” is invalid, regardless to how many joy bubbles you may have felt. To further the discussion, I will provide below a few examples from Scripture. I will approach it first from misused verses, and then from appropriate verses.
Most people ask, “What about the Philippian Jailer, he wasn’t told to repent?” Let’s examine that instance for a moment. Here is the extent of what most debaters quote: “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31). However, if you follow proper biblical hermeneutical principles, you would not extract two verses from the text without viewing them in light of their context. Thus, let us look at the context. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison for commanding the evil “spirit of divination” (v.16-18) out of a woman in Philippi. (v.22-24) Then “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God” (v.25). There was then a “great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed” (v.26). This earthquake was pretty impressive. The jailer was preparing to kill himself because he thought that the prisoners had escaped. (v.27) In those days, it was better to kill yourself than to be tortured and killed for letting the prisoners go on your watch. Paul cried out from the dark dungeon, stopping him from killing himself. (v.28) This jailer had seen these men beaten for serving their God, no doubt he had heard them singing praises to the God that allowed them to be beaten. He thought for sure that they had escaped. He realized that there was something much different about these men than there was about himself. They actually cared about the life of their enemy. When he fell down before Paul and Silas and brought them out, he asked what he needed to do to be saved. (v.29-30) At this point, this man had already realized that he was wrong and wanted to change. He had already changed his mind (repented) about what was right and wrong. This is not presenting an unrepentant gospel, but rather a repentant one. Why would Paul and Silas have to tell a repentant man to repent? There is no need to, so they go right to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (v.31). They did not just leave it there… “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:32-34) Removing repentance from this story, simply because it was not stated by name, would be just as erred as removing this man’s faith from the story, because it does not state that he believed. In fact, you could claim that Paul and Silas baptized this man and his household, without them being saved, or that they were saved through the false doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Let us be careful what we read into and out of the text.
Now let us turn to passages that support repentance as a necessary part of salvation.
The very first message that Jesus preached was “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat. 4:17). In the last orders Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 24 He said: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Now you can dispensationalize it out of your Bible all day long, but the fact is, Jesus called people to repentance.
When Jesus sent out the twelve apostles, “And they went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12).
Peter preached repentance in Acts 2:38 and 3:19. See also 2 Peter 3:9.
Paul preached repentance on Mars Hill in Acts 17:30; through Damascus, Jerusalem, Judea, and to the Gentiles in Acts 26:20. See also Acts 20:21; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Timothy 2:25; and Hebrews 6:1.
There is much evidence in the Scripture to establish the doctrine of repentance and its function in conversion of the soul. There is NO evidence in the Scripture to support the unrepentant devil’s doctrine of easy-believism that is being heralded today in mainstream churchianity (a made-up word that better defines that crowd). Sinners must repent and turn to God in faith in order to be saved!
The Book of JonahAn Exegetical Commentary on The Book of Jonah - By Bro. Craig Moss (Aug. 21, 2018)
The Blessed Man"The Blessed Man" - An Exegetical Analysis of Psalm 1 - By Bro. Craig Moss (July 7, 2018)
Walking in the Spirit"Walking In The Spirit" - An Exegetical Analysis of Romans 8:1-8 By Bro. Craig Moss (May 2, 2018)
The Book of RuthAn Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Ruth - By Bro. Craig Moss (Jan. 19, 2018)
The Effects of Gay Parents on Children - 10/17/2016
Downloadable PDF: Research: The Effects of Gay Parents on Children
Set Free or Made Free? 7/15/2016
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 KJV)
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36 KJV)
Notice the term “make you free”? Now watch what the corrupted versions do…
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32 NIV)
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV)
“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32 NLT)
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36 NLT)
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31-32 HCSB)
“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” (John 8:36 HCSB)
For years now, I have had issue with singing “He Set Me Free” and songs that say such. In fact, I changed the words to “He Made Me Free”. I saw a difference between being “set free” and being “made free”. If a prisoner gets help breaking out of prison, he has been “set free”, he is not “free indeed”, he has escaped. He will be recaptured, and will be back in the jail again. However, if the Governor pardons that prisoner, he is “made free”, and is “free indeed”. A pardon declares a guilty man to be free. Once pardoned, he may never be incarcerated for that crime again.
I found the same principle in Acts 16. We often read this passage as a justification by faith passage, as seen in the response to the Philippian jailor. However, let’s look at the whole picture.
In verses 19-26, we find Paul and Silas in a bad way. They are arrested, beaten and incarcerated…
“And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.”
Wow, a great earthquake that resulted in the doors opening and the chains falling off! Paul and Silas were “set free”! But, as you read on in the story, simply being “set free” was not good enough for Paul. Let’s read on through verse 34...
“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. “(Acts 16:27-34)
In this passage, the jailor brought them into his house. The jailor’s house was in the jail; it was where he lived. He didn’t have the authority to “make” them free. If he had taken them out of the prison, or let them go, he could have been executed for doing so. They were still in the prison… Unshackled, door open, but not free!
“And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city.” (Acts 16:35-39)
They were “Made Free” by the ones who had the authority to do so. And not only were they “made free” from the jail, but also from the city! The Christian is not only “made free” from the penalty and bondage of sin, but is also “made free” from the bondage of this world! Thus he can sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just ‘a passing through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue. My Saviour beckons me, from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home, in this world anymore!”
I thank God that I was “Made Free” on August 19, 1997. My sin debt had to be removed in order for me to be free to enter into God’s Kingdom and His Heaven. God freed me from the penalty of Hell and the Lake of Fire when, in repentance and faith, I accepted the sacrifice that Jesus Christ had ALREADY paid for my sin debt. My acceptance of His payment at that very moment “Made” me FREE, and no matter what, I cannot be eternally incarcerated for my sin debt, I am FREE, indeed! I am no longer anchored to this world, my home is up yonder!
How about you? "Made free" or "Set free" or are you still shackled?
Faith Which Was Once Delivered Unto The Saints 7/15/2016
"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." - Jude 1:1-4
As I read this passage, I couldn't help but notice how quickly true faith can become distorted and diminished, and God's people can begin to preach a lascivious grace, a grace that requires no change of mind, no conviction over sin, no amendment of life. A grace that allows the professor of faith to "continue in sin that grace may abound". Recall brother Paul's response to that mindset?
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" - Romans 6:1-2
Paul, speaking directly to Christians, said that we are supposed to be "dead to sin". That means that sin is not supposed to have an overwhelming influence over us. In fact, it is not supposed to influence us at all, let alone become our indulgence.
If you study out the lives of the apostles, and the early Church, you will find that they had a faith that motivated them to serve Christ, not sin. They were not at all by any means perfect, but were striving for that end. They had a faith that is scarcely seen today... A faith that caused men to walk contrary to their flesh and its ungodly lusts.
A faith that as we see in Jude, was already scarce in the first century of the Church. Remember, Jude was Jesus little brother (Short for Judas - Matthew 13:55). In his lifetime, he saw that faith had diminished from what it was when he and the apostles received it... What would he think today?
We need to pray for the faith that was once delivered to the saints!
The Number “Two” 7/15/2016
Two, in Biblical numerology represents “Division”. The Bible begins in Genesis 1:1 with the creation of two places, “the heaven and the earth”. Verse two presents us with “darkness” and verse three with “light”. We get to verse four and these two conditions are divided. From the very beginning of the Bible, therefore, we find “division” in the number “two”. In Genesis 1:7, you have “the waters under the firmament” being divided from “the waters above the firmament.” In verse 10, you have “Earth” and “Seas”. I could list all of the occurrences of “two” equaling “division” in Scripture, but it will not be practical for me to do so, nor beneficial to you; a good read through the Bible will certainly help sharpen your understanding of this principle.
We will move along to Adam and Eve, the first “two” God created. Quickly we find that even in a perfect environment, man cannot keep the simplest of rules, let’s examine. In Genesis 2:7, God formed man (one). In Genesis 2:9, we see that God mentions “two” specific trees “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (one good, one not good). “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). Here we find the very first law. There is no mention of any violation, so long as man was “one”. Then, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Genesis 2:21-22). Now there are “two” (DISCLAIMER: I am not inferring that women are bad, follow the numbers, not the feelings, I love women, I was born of one and I married one, which is what normal men do!). The very next thing we find after God created the second person, in Genesis 3:1-7, we meet “the serpent”. Now there are “two” voices speaking to man, and division begins. We saw that there was only one law for the first “two” to keep, and they violated it, by choosing the wrong choice of two, because they listened to the wrong voice of two! (Man had respect unto the second of the two voices, and chose the second of the two choices “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”) As you read Chapter three, you find that man was now divided from God, no longer to walk with Him in the garden in the cool of the day.
Moving along we now come to Genesis Chapter 4, where we meet Adam and Eve’s twin (“two”) sons, Cain and Abel (One conception, two children = twins). Here we begin to see God sets forth a pattern involving the “two”. “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:” (Genesis 4:3-4). Now God has respect unto the offering of the “second” of the “two” sons. This sets a precedent throughout the Scriptures. As we know Cain kills his brother Abel in Genesis 4:8, and God curses him and puts a mark on his flesh in verse 15.
There has been racial division ever since!
Fast forward now to Genesis 12:1, we are introduced to Abram. In Chapter 15:4-6 we find God promising a “seed” to Abram. Abram believes God, nevertheless, he takes matter into his own hands instead of waiting on God, Abram has “Ishmael” (Genesis 16:1-11) of Sarai’s handmaid Hagar. This was his first son, but not the promised son.
In Genesis 17:5, God gives Abram a second name “Abraham”, and in verse 17:15 God gives Sarai a second name “Sarah”, and to them both in Genesis 21, God give a second son! “And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.” (Genesis 21:1-3) The promised seed was “Number two”! “And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.” (Genesis 25:11)
There has been division between Ishmael (Islam) and Israel ever since!
Skipping forward, In Genesis 24:67, Isaac marries Rebekah. In Genesis 25:21-26 God gives this second son, two Children, Esau and Jacob, in the order they came out. In time, without covering the whole story, in Genesis Chapters 25-27, Jacob (number two) received both the “birthright” and the “blessing”. “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him… And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. (Genesis 28:1-4). In Genesis 32:28-29 God gives Jacob a second name, “Israel”.
In Genesis Chapter 29, Jacob ends up with two wives, of whom he loves the second one. There was division in his home the whole time. (God never created man to have two wives).
Jacob’s son Joseph (The first son of the second wife), has two sons in Egypt (Genesis 46:27). Jacob’s family was such a mess, he ended up blessing Josephs sons, but note the order: In Genesis 48:8-19, Israel blesses the younger (number “two”) son over the older!
Leaving Genesis, we are going to fast forward to the “New Testament” (Number “Two”).
In 1 Corinthians 15:45-47, The Apostle Paul said, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”
Jesus Christ is the “last” Adam, the “second” man! He is found all throughout the First Testament in spiritual form, but in the second Testament, he is found in the flesh form! (John 1:1-14) “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:7-10)
If you receive Him as your Saviour you will become God’s son, talk about a blessing! “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
You can only become God’s son by going through a “second” birth! “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:3-7)
As the first birth was earthly, there is an earthly record of that birth. The second birth, which is spiritual, also has a record, but this one is spiritual as well. Having your name on a Church Roll is good, but that is not the record God will be checking. Being a member of a denomination is ok, but God is not going to call the head of your denomination to check the record. There is a birth record book in which God will consult which will testify of your spiritual birth: “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” (Revelation 21:27)
Is your name in the Lamb’s book of life? Is there a record there that will attest to your “second” birth?
If not, there is only one choice left… “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14-15).
This second death is again a division, instead of abiding eternally with the Righteous and Holy God who created you, you will abide separated from Him in an eternal torment of the Lake of Fire.
Friends, numerology can be intriguing, but don’t stop there. You have a choice of “two” to make: “Birth One” (flesh), or “Birth Two” (spirit)? Be very careful that you choose in time!
“Steak and Potatoes, Hold the Veggies!” 12/02/2015
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)
In this passage Paul is dealing with the spiritual diet. He tells the Church at Corinth, who thought that they were a spiritually mature bunch, that they were yet carnal babes, who he had to feed with milk, not meat, because they couldn’t handle it. We see the same thing said in Hebrews 5:12-14 (One of the reasons I believe Paul wrote Hebrews is that the language is consistent)
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Today’s Church cries out for meat, yet, for the most part, they can’t handle much more than milk, and the meat they can handle, is causing malnutrition.
I liken it to when I was a child. My mother, like most, would fix our meals. When she would fix us the typical 3 course meal, most of the time, I liked 2 of the 3 items on my plate (aside from liver). I liked hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken and the like. I liked potatoes and corn and the like. What I didn’t like, and usually passed under the table to the dog, was my green vegetables, squash and carrots. I was eating food, but meats and starches are not a real healthy diet. The most important “meat” I was needing, was that which I was throwing to the dog.
The Bible says: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” (Genesis 1:29)
God put vegetation here for us to have for “meat”. Steak and potatoes may taste good, but without the nutrients we get from our vegetables and fruits, that good taste will not make you healthy. You are robbing yourself of a healthy body.
Much the same, if we come to Church expecting the preacher to preach a “Steak and Potatoes, hold the Veggies” Sermon (and he does what we expect) we may walk away feeling fed, maybe even stuffed, but not altogether nourished.
In a sense, we all need a little milk from time to time. I usually take mine in my cereal in the mornings, Sunday mornings, we often find unsaved souls in our pews, that’s a good time to put a little milk in with your cereal. Cereal is a good start for the day. Sunday and Wednesday evenings, we are less apt to see the unsaved, and thus becomes a time to feed the flock. When we dig into the Word of God and teach them about the Temple, the Tabernacle, The Ark and all of the pictures of Christ we find in the Old Testament, and how they connect to the truths of the New Testament, we have begun to give them “Steak and Potatoes”. However, when we dig a little deeper, and deal with the way that the priest would have to present himself holy before God, and how he would have to wear linen breeches to cover his nakedness, and we convey that to the Church in such a way as to apply it to holiness and modesty in practical Christian living, we have then begun to put the “Veggies” on the plate. Learning how to live as a Christian is detrimental to one’s spiritual nutrition, and it is the portion that is missing from the meals served from behind most pulpits today.
Just as it is a shame that many of today’s parents give into their kids woes, and give them their Burger and Fries Happy Meals, or Nuggets and Fries, neglecting their nutritional needs (or whatever it takes to stop their complaining), Pastors who get up on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening and feed their flocks “Steak and Potatoes” but fail to give them the “Veggies” that will nourish their spirits, ought to be ashamed of themselves for giving in to the woes of the people.
Its high time we lift up the standards of the Christian diet!
Do You Honour Your Parents? ... 9/13/2014
"Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." - Matthew 15:1-9
Consider Your Ways... 9/6/2014
"Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:" - Haggai 2:3-4
This was written concerning the condition of the Temple in Jerusalem. However, by application, I saw a message to the Church.
Could you imagine this question being asked about the Church? If the Apostles were alive today on Earth, how would they respond? How would Paul or Peter or James or John answer this question? What about the saints from even the last century?
I am afraid that they would undoubtedly lower their heads in shame over the condition of the modern Church.
The very same text gives us the remedy... "Be strong...be strong...be strong...and work"
The problem is not going to fix itself, we as God's people must be strong and work at it. It may mean that we will need to fast and pray; we may have to lay aside the NFL, NASCAR, golf, etc., video games and, yes, even Facebook! It may mean that we will have to pick up our Bibles and renew our knowledge of the Scriptures. We may have to go out with the gospel and knock some doors, or find a street corner to preach on. We may need to begin personal and family devotions. We may need to be so forward with the gospel that we get people upset with us. It may cost us our careers, friendships, freedoms and even our lives... But then, and only then, will we be in comparison to those who have trod this sod before us! Look at what it cost them...
Perhaps we need to "Consider" our ways... - Haggai 1:5 & 7
Those Little Parasites... 8/16/2014
"The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten." Joel 1:1-4
"Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? " Joel 2:12-17
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed." Joel 2:25-27
Here in the book of Joel we find that in Chapter 1, the children of God have fallen prey to little parasites... The palmerworm, the locust, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller. These were not ferocious large beasts, like wolves and lions, but little parasites, which do their damage and leave, however, the damage is done. By the time the damage is done by all 4 of them, there is pretty much nothing of any value left.
These parasites don't represent big sins like murder or adultery, but more like complacency and slothfulness. As each one does its damage, it sets up for the next one. Once the damage is done, it won't fix itself.
Pretty soon, the parasites have sidetracked our lives, and the bigger sins move in more freely. You see, the parasites break down the hedge, giving the wolves and lions easier visibility and access to the sheep.
The Word of God gives us the cure for this problem. "Turn ye even to me with all your heart". Herein lies the actual root of the problem. We can not be half or even most hearted Christians. We must be whole hearted Christians! Half heartedness is why God sent the parasites in the first place (v.2:25). However, He says that if we will turn to Him with all of our hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning He will be gracious and merciful to us. He will not only forgive us, but will restore unto us even that which the parasites have taken away....
How about it Christian, have the parasites consumed the hedge that protects you from the wolves and lions, in your lives, homes or even Churches? Perhaps the wolves and lions have already made prey of you or your family; or possibly are about to. We have the cure in our Great Redeemer! Take back the ground you have lost! Right now, turn to the LORD with ALL your heart!
Love One Another... 8/5/2014
"The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it." - 2 John 1:1-6
Here we have John the beloved writing to a favored lady in the Church, a woman who is loved by all who have known the truth. This was a godly woman, and it was reflected in her children who were then grown, and still walking in truth! This woman and her family validated the Scripture, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). There are women addressed and discussed in Scripture for raising godly children without a godly man in their home to lead them. This is one of them, Lois and Eunice would be examples of the same. As this woman's product was her children walking in truth, their product was Timothy, Paul's son in the faith. When a man will not lead, it falls upon the shoulders of the woman to do so. When that woman is godly, she will lead them into godliness, and it will be evidenced in her children as they grow up. Children are by nature followers, and thus will tend to follow their parent's examples. What examples are we giving them? John was able to greatly rejoice when he found them walking in truth! How will our children be found walking when they grow up?
John describes their walk as "walking in truth", not truth according to man, but "as we have received a commandment from the father". There is no truth outside of the Word of God. It MUST be our sole source of truth. (Even the very laws of gravity must be established in the Bible. No body or thing ever fell up in the Scripture, the only time physical things or people went up in Scripture, there was a catalyst used to make it happen, with the exception of Jesus Christ. However, many a people and things fell down.) All truth MUST be Biblical and provable! John found this woman's children walking in a Bible based truth.
John further declares that that commandment was nothing new, but it was the commandment from the beginning, "that we love one another". He didn't just leave it there, he explained what love was, "that we walk after his commandments". Did you get that? Love is not based upon bubbly emotions and feelings, love is based upon obedience to God's Commandments! I cannot love someone if I am not willing to walk in obedience after God's Commandments, because my love would be feigned, it would not be perfect! "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." (1 Peter 1:22-23).
Modern Christianity seems to want to run on a love based upon emotions, rather than and unfeigned love based upon obedience to the truth. This modern love has created a dysfunction in the body of Christ. It is the very substance of the the rebuke Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth. in 1 Corinthians 5. They had a man in the Church that was committing a vile sin, and they felt that they were spiritual because they could have compassion on him. Paul loved this Church, and strongly rebuked them for it, and brethren we must strongly rebuke sin in the house of God as well, or we do not truly love the Church. As a parent, I love my children. If I were to sit back and allow them to do wrong, and embrace them and tell them that I love them, according to Scripture, I would be lying to them. "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Proverbs 13:24). I do have to admit, emotionally, I hated having to chasten my children, but real love is not based upon emotion, so in truth I had to do that which I did not take pleasure in doing. Love can only be based upon truth not pleasure.
John continues to explain, "That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it". What John is saying is that this love is not based upon anything new, but rather the commandments that we see throughout Scripture, all the way back to the beginning, these are the pretext for walking in love. We cannot walk in love, toward God or man, if we fail to yield ourselves to God's Word!
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." - John 14:15
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." - John 14:21
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. - John 14:23-24
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." - 1 John 5:2-3
Evangelist Craig Moss • Henderson, NV • (406) 521-0753