II Peter 1:3 – God Has Given Us All Things That Pertain Unto Life And Godliness

January 23, 2020

II Pet 1:3 reads “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”

Some may think this verse is talking about how God gives us everything we need informationally through His word, the Bible. II Tim 3:16-17 does teach that, but II Pet 1:3 I think includes more. It is talking about ALL the things that God gives us (using his divine power) that pertain to life and godliness. Let’s name a few (but not all) of those things …

1) God’s word, the Bible. This is such an important gift. Without it we would be groping around in the dark trying to figure out how to please God:

· John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. – God’s word is the truth. That means it has no errors, and would also mean it encapsulates all the religious truth God intends for us.

· II Tim 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. – So the Bible is the thing we look to for doctrine, for religious instruction, etc. It makes us complete as a Christian. We don’t need anything else such as the Pope or church tradition as a standard of truth.

2) Forgiveness of sins through the death of Christ. There is nothing more important to us than this:

· Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, – Without the death of Christ, we couldn’t be saved (Heb 9:22).

· Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. – Only believers who repent and are baptized will receive the forgiveness of sins.

3) The right to pray:

· I Thess 5:17 Pray without ceasing. – We should take full advantage of the power of prayer.

4) The necessities of life. This probably would pertain more to life than to godliness:

· Matt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. This context shows that if we will put God first, even before our jobs, he will make sure we get the necessities of life.

5) Parents to guide us in our youth. Without our parents’ good influence, probably not too many of us would be faithful Christians today:

· Eph 6:4 … ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Good parents’ first priority is to teach their children to serve God.

6) The angels to minister to us:

· Heb 1:13-14 … the angels … Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

7) Other Christians to encourage us to remain faithful:

· Heb 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. – One of the main reasons we should attend church is to encourage others and be encouraged toward love and good works. Maybe that’s why this passage makes it a sin to skip church services.

Conclusion: The last part of II Pet 1:3 says “through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”  So none of this will work as intended unless we are a faithful Christian.  We should be so thankful God gives us (using His divine power) everything we need to survive this life, and especially everything we need to be godly – so we can please him and be saved eternally. Remember, passages like Heb 5:9 say Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him,” so we have to please him to be saved.

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Does God Still Act Supernaturally Today?

January 16, 2020

It is true God does not still perform the miraculous through the hands of men in order to confirm His word (I Cor 13:8-13, Zech 13:1-4), but does that mean God never acts supernaturally today? If someone denies He does, that usually reveals a misunderstanding of I Cor 13:8ff. Why else would they think such?

God has always acted supernaturally in the affairs of men (in ways that man cannot necessarily see) and nothing in the Bible indicates He has ceased doing this. To prove this, let’s start with the classic case found in James 5:16-18 which is given as an example for our prayers today. When we combine what James says with the story of Elijah and the rain in I Kings 18:41ff, we see that God sent rain (I Kings 18:1) based upon the prayer request of Elijah. Some might say God used natural means (a cloud) to send the rain, and that is true, but it is obvious God also used supernatural means to form/send the cloud in answer to Elijah’s prayer. The meaning of James 5:16-18 is that if only nature had run its course, it might not have rained, but God intervened in nature to make sure it rained to Elijah’s advantage.

What do we mean by God acts supernaturally in the affairs of men “in ways that man cannot necessarily see”? Think of the case of God providing the ram (caught in a thicket) in Gen 22:13 for Abraham to sacrifice instead of Isaac. An outside human observer might have concluded the ram was there by accident/coincidence, but reading the whole story, we know that God supernaturally “provided … a lamb” (verse 8). The ram wasn’t just there by the natural course of events; instead God intervened in nature to make sure it would be there – He did not leave it to chance.

Another example of how God acts supernaturally today is found in Rom 8:26-27 where God says the Holy Spirit helps us with our prayers by making “intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” This is something the Holy Spirit does in addition to the word and is obviously not acting within the laws of nature, therefore it is supernatural.

Another way the Bible reveals that the supernatural occurs today is found in the Heb 1:14 assertion that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Obviously these angels do not act solely through the laws of nature (since they are spiritual beings); instead they function supernaturally to help Christians.

Recently my nephew mentioned to me another way God acts supernaturally on a regular basis today that I had never thought of. A baby is born of course through the laws of natural procreation that God set up in the beginning. Only Adam and Eve have been created supernaturally. But that only explains the physical part of man’s existence. What about the spiritual? The Bible also teaches man has a Spirit (James 2:26). Eccl 12:7 says at death the “spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Well, when did God give that Spirit? At conception, right? Is the giving of the spirit only done through natural means? Obviously not. So every time a child is conceived, God performs a supernatural act to make that child a spiritual being – God gives the little one a spirit.

The short of it is that God has always performed supernatural acts; that is what He does – He is a supernatural being. And there is no reason to think such has ceased.

Just why is this point so important? Because it affects our prayers. If the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man” does not “availeth much,” if it never causes God to change the course of nature (what would have happened anyway if we had not prayed and God had not intervened), then we will lose confidence in the real power of prayer. Why would we pray for rain if we don’t think God might change the course of nature and cause it to rain when it wouldn’t have rained otherwise? Why would we pray for a person with cancer if we don’t think God might change the course of nature and help that person get better when they wouldn’t have gotten better otherwise?

There is no justification for boxing up God when the scriptures don’t. We should have confidence in our prayers that God might change the course of nature if He decides to answer such prayers “yes.”

Compromise On Divorce And Remarriage

January 9, 2020

Over the last several decades, many preachers have compromised and become more and more lenient on Divorce and Remarriage:

•Because of their own marital situation? – Matt 23:3

•Because of the marital situations of many members of their congregation (to keep their preaching job)? – Rom 16:18

•Because of family members or close friends? – Matt 10:37

But the BOOK still reads the same as it did 1900 years ago.

Matthew 19:9 still says: Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

The Bible says it; that settles it; I believe it. Do you?

Jesus’ Teaching Method

January 2, 2020

Many talk about Jesus’ teaching method, but consider what His teaching method actually was. Jesus constantly challenged his audience with things they were in error on. He didn’t waste all His limited, valuable opportunities on things his audiences already agreed with.

Consider his long sermon on the mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) – where He went through a number of various topics that directly contradicted the views of those He was teaching. Consider what Jesus did with the rich ruler in Matt 19 – He challenged the young man on the very issue that was keeping him from being in an acceptable relationship with God. Consider what Jesus did earlier in Matt 19 when the Pharisees asked him a question about divorce. Jesus told them exactly what they needed to hear on that subject; it didn’t matter to Him that that truth might offend them. Because they thought Jesus taught a hard truth in John 6, “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (verse 66). I am sure Jesus knew that was going to happen, but that didn’t hold Him back. Consider Jesus’ answer to the scribes and Pharisees in Matt 15:1ff. He didn’t just talk to them about their strong points; instead he went straight to their religious errors. Matt 22:45 says “when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him ….”

Evidently Jesus taught in such a way that his listeners knew He was talking about them, and that they needed to make a change. All of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is filled with this method. And Jesus was the master teacher. Finally consider the old testament warning of Ezek 3:18 – “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand” (Acts 20:20,26-27, 31). We should use Jesus’ teaching method in all circumstances – challenging our audience to conform to the truth (John 8:31-32).

Religious MYTHS attributed to the Holy Spirit by Andrew Richardson

December 26, 2019

1. The Spirit communicates information via feelings, intuitions. FALSE. No scripture demonstrates such. Never did this happen in the Bible. The Spirit imparted truth through words of human language (1 Cor. 2:10-13). This is inspiration.

2. The Spirit causes uncontrollable movements, speaking, conduct, and experiences. FALSE. In 1 Cor. 14, in the context of congregation members being endowed with the Holy Spirit, Paul says, “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets” (v. 32). Meaning, the prophets have control of themselves when speaking in tongues and can remain silent as commandments. No falling on the floor and shaking in the Bible (“slaying in the Spirit”).

3. The Spirit supernaturally opens our understanding of the scriptures. FALSE. The Bible teaches that the Spirit gives understanding (of divine truth) through His word (the word of God). John 6:63. 1 Thes. 2:13; Eph. 3:3-5.

Eph 3:3-4 – The Bible Needs No “Interpretation”

December 24, 2019

Most of the Bible needs no interpretation. Instead we can just read it and understand it the same way you would read and understand a letter from your Mother. You don’t have to interpret your Mom’s letters do you? We see this from Eph 3:3-4 which reads “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).”

It is true that a few books (cases in point Revelation and Daniel) might need some interpretation because they are highly figurative / written in symbols (Rev 1:1), but almost all the New Testament books are not like that. They are personal letters such as we’ve already mentioned, or books of history. The main thing is not to let the so-called “spiritual elite” scare you away from studying the Bible for yourself. We can understand it as well and as easily as they can.

What Does “Propitiation” in Rom 3:25 Mean?

December 19, 2019

Dictionary.com defines “propitiation” as “by which it becomes consistent with his character … to pardon … the sinner.” Let me illustrate the concept being described. Suppose I were to tell my son over and over that I was going to spank him if he did such and such, but said child kept doing such over and over and I never spanked him. Instead I just kept “letting him off the hook.” Would you have any respect for me as a Father? Though my son would probably be glad to get out of a spanking, I doubt he would respect me either.

Similarly God has said “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), but if He pardons us so that we don’t have to die for our sin, if He lets us off the hook so to speak, how can we respect God? The question boils down to this: How is it consistent for God to forgive us of our sins and still remain just? Romans 3:23-26 provides the answer, and bears out our earlier Dictionary.com definition. God remains “consistent with his character” even as He does “pardon the sinner.” That is, God can let us off the hook, because Jesus is taking the due penalty for us.

We see this in Rom 3:24-25. When Jesus redeemed us thru His death, that very act did “declare His righteousness” for the “remission of sins that are past,” that is, all of the times he forgave Old Testament saints in their day. God was declared righteous in forgiving sins for centuries past by Jesus’ death which paid for those sins. We see the same in verse 26. Jesus’ shed blood enables God to be the “justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” and at the same time remain “just.” He doesn’t just let us off the hook with no one paying the consequences. Jesus paid the price for all so anyone choosing to be an obedient believer (verse 26, II Thess 1:8) can be “let off the hook.”

We need to very thankful for what Jesus has done for us, don’t we? And serve him accordingly out of that appreciation.

Does Eph 2:8-9 Prove Baptism Is Not Necessary To Salvation?

December 12, 2019

Ephesians 2:8-9 reads “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Many say that means we don’t have to be baptized to be saved.

What Eph 2:8-9 is really teaching is that we cannot earn our salvation by our works (something a man could boast about). The basis for salvation is Christ’s death/blood – not our obedience, not even our faith. But Eph 2:8-9 is most certainly not ruling out obedience as a condition to salvation (Heb 5:9, Matt 7:21, etc.). That would also rule out faith itself as a condition (John 6:29).

Illustration: The “Walls Of Jericho” fell by grace (Josh 6:2) through faith (Heb 11:30) not of works (Josh 24:13) – but that didn’t mean the Israelites didn’t have to do anything for those walls to fall. They had to meet conditions – walk thirteen times around the city, right? See the parallel to Eph 2:8-9 and our salvation?

Actually being baptized is admitting we can’t be saved on the basis of our works. Baptism is really an act asking God for his grace, forgiveness (Acts 2:38), and mercy.

Do Not Confuse “Literal” With “Physical” In Bible Study

December 5, 2019

To help us to see that “literal” does necessarily mean “physical” in Bible study, following are some definitions from Dictionary.com with my Bible examples …

literal – in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical

John 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

The word “dove” here is used literally. A timid person could be called a “dove” but that would be a figurative use of the word.

figure – representing by a figure or emblem; emblematic

John 2:19,21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. … But he spake of the temple of his body.

The word “temple” is used figuratively to represent Jesus body.

spiritual – of or relating to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature

Matt 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Jesus literally forgave the man’s sins, but that is not a physical thing; it is an non-material idea/thought that happens in the mind of God.

physical – of or relating to that which is material

Matt 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

The man was physically sick, not sick spiritually. Perhaps I Cor 11:30 is an example of someone who is sick spiritually.

The word “literal” is the opposite of “figurative” and “spiritual” is the opposite of “physical.” Just because something is not physical/material does not mean we can’t talk about it literally.

Why It Is Wrong To Tell A Lie Even In Jest

November 28, 2019

Rev 21:8 (“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death”) and many other Bible passages condemn lying. The definition of telling a “lie” is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth …” (dictionary.com)

It is wrong to tell a lie even in jest because we are making a “deliberate intent to deceive” – even if only for a moment to be funny. Sometimes people say something that is not true in order to be humorous, but they are not trying to deceive anybody. Instead they expect their hearer to understand what they are saying is false; that is what makes the joke funny. That is not a lie as there is no intent to deceive.  But if one tells a falsehood with intent to deceive, even if it is just for a prank, that is a lie and falls under the condemnation of texts like I Tim 1:10.

Prov 26:19 reads “So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?” (NASB)  So even a deception we think is for our listeners own good, or we think is harmless, or “all in good fun” (like telling small children there is a Santa Claus) is a lie. We must eliminate all corrupt communication (Eph 4:29) from our conversations.