Archive for November, 2017

Have You Forgotten How To Blush? by Fred Newman

November 30, 2017

Blushing is the bodies physical response to the emotion of embarrassment or anger. God said of His people, Israel, that they did not know how to blush, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 6:15). Have we (Christians) forgotten how to blush?

How Do You Dress? When women and men dress in provocative and revealing clothing without embarrassment, I know that some have forgotten how to blush! This problem has even permeated into our worship assemblies. Sadly, it is not uncommon to see women wearing tops and skirts, dresses or pants that are so tight that their every proportion is shown through their clothing. Skirts and dresses are sometimes so short that women have difficulty sitting without revealing not only their legs but their undergarments as well. The Lord had this to say about a woman’s attire, “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Men’s pants and shirts can be just as revealing and sensual as women’s clothing. Men have equal responsibility to dress modestly.

How Are You Entertained? Sometimes when brethren are discussing the movies and music that is part of their entertainment, I know that they have forgotten how to blush! In defense of the music which they listen to and the movies that they watch, Christians sometimes argue that these do not affect them. I only listen to the tune; I do not pay attention to the words. The thoughts with which we fill our minds have an effect on the kind of people that we become. Jehovah said regarding man, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life (Proverbs 4:23 NCV). God instructs His children to fill their minds with wholesome thoughts and not with music and movies that are full of sex, violence, and twisted thinking. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

What Do Your Words Say About You? As you listen to some Christians speaking, it is apparent that they have forgotten how to blush! The language that proceeds from the mouths of some of my brethren is enough to sting ones ears. The flippant use of God’s name, using profanity when angry, and euphemisms should not come from the tongue of God’s people. God commands His people, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Christians should also avoid engaging in off-colored jokes to impress others or to fit in with the crowd. Paul wrote, “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:4). In addition, Christians should be positive people and not constant complainers. God was very displeased with Israel when they complained and sent the destroyer to punish them. We need to be sure that we use words that will not condemn us nor cause dishonor to the name of our Lord. Christ Jesus told His followers, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).

Have You Forgotten How To Blush?

Jesus Paid For Our Sins = Substitution – Acts 20:28

November 23, 2017

Just like we might purchase a foreclosed house by paying off its mortgage, Jesus purchased us by paying off our sin debt:

· Acts 20:28 Jesus “purchased” the church with his own blood

· Tit 2:14 Jesus did “redeem” us (“… payment …” – Thayer)

· I Tim 2:6 Jesus was a “ransom” for all (“price” – Thayer)

· Rom 5:11 the “atonement” (“exchange … of money” – Thayer, to make amends for –”)

· I Cor 6:20 Jesus “bought” us with his blood (“buy” – Thayer, “to acquire the possession of … by paying .. an equivalent” –

If you believe Jesus paid for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to, then you believe in Substitution whether you like to use that term or not.

Conclusion: Jesus paid for our sins instead of us paying for our sins. That’s what is meant by Substitution.

What Is Jesus’ Point On Divorce And Remarriage In Matt 5:31-32?

November 16, 2017

As in the other five “it hath been said … but I say unto you” cases in Matt 5:20-48, verses 31-32 is a contrast between the Old Testament and New Testament laws. Verse 31’s “let him give her a writing of divorcement” is a quote of Deut 24:1 – “let him write her a bill of divorcement.” The Old Testament teaching in Deut 24:1ff was that a man could divorce his wife for reason short of fornication. Jesus’ Matt 5:32 teaching is that fornication is the only scriptural cause.

The same contrast is made in Matt 19:8-9: … Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered (permitted, NKJV) you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery …

If Matt 5:32 and 19:9 are only correct interpretations of Old Testament law, then they would not apply today (being Old Testament law, Gal 5:4) and there would be no divorce exception today, as Rom 7:2-3, I Cor 7:10, etc. give zero exceptions. If Jesus’ MDR law is the same as Moses’ MDR law (what the moral liberals are contending for), then the “uncleanness” in Deut 24:1 would have to be fornication, and the put away fornicator could remarry today (Deut 24:2) – which would contradict Matt 19:9b. Notice the following details which prove neither of these two views is correct …

Moses On MDR ≠ Jesus On MDR

Moses’ MDR Teaching

Deuteronomy 24:1-4, etc. (OT)

Jesus’ MDR Teaching

Matthew 5:32, 19:9, etc. (NT)

divorce for any uncleanness Deut 24:1 divorce only for fornication Matt 5:32a
may let captive wife go if “no delight in her” Deut 21:10-14 for fornication only Matt 5:32a
adulteress put to death Lev 20:10 adulteress divorced Matt 19:9a
divorcee could remarry Deut 24:2 divorcee may not remarry Matt 19:9b
polygamy allowed Exod 21:10, II Sam 12:8, Deut 21:15-17 polygamy disallowed I Cor 7:2
marry wife of dead brother Deut 25:5 no such requirement

This is the contrast of Matthew 5:31-32 (and 19:8-9).

Sometimes People Study A Bible Topic “Too Much”

November 9, 2017

Of course we can never study the Bible too much as a whole, but sometimes people keep studying and studying a passage until they can figure out a way to come up with a meaning for the passage that is different than the plain and obvious meaning.

My friend Bill Smith once told me where he had read somewhere a whole page explaining why Philip didn’t go down into the water in Acts 8:38, in spite of the fact that the verse says he did!

Another example:  Jesus said in Mark 16:16a “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” It should only take about 5 minutes to understand that verse means a sinner has to be baptized to be saved. Some might study the scriptures for hours to try to figure out a way to get around it. That’s worse than a waste of time.

God asserted in I Cor 14:34-35 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” That is about as plain as you can get on the issue of women preachers. Perhaps the reason many come up with something different than what God says on the issue is because they study around and around until they figure out a way to allow women to preach from the pulpit – just the opposite of what the Bible clearly says.

Jesus taught in Matt 19:9 “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.” That is pretty easy to understand. Take 10 minutes and study it to understand what Jesus is saying. Many must study it for too long, because they somehow find all kinds of reasons for divorce other than the only one that Jesus allowed.

Jesus commanded in Matt 5:34 “Swear not at all,” but a few preachers develop whole sermons and whole articles trying to prove why it is acceptable to do just what Jesus said we are not to do – swear. Me thinks they are studying too long on the subject. Wouldn’t it be wiser just to take a minute or two to accept what Jesus said here (Luke 6:46), and then spend all those additional hours gained studying a more difficult passage, say in the minor prophets or elsewhere?

Jesus told us in Matt 5:22 “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of h-e-l-l fire,” but some preachers talk and talk and talk and finally end up saying that we can call our brother a “fool” without being in danger of h-e-l-l fire. I think their time would be better spent studying another Bible topic. Perhaps that would keep them from rejecting such simple statements from the Lord.

On the cross Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We can read this passage and accept it as is, or some people spend days and days studying to get around the plain meaning of the text because they “cannot” (they refuse to) understand how the Father could forsake Jesus. Why not just take two or three minutes to accept the truth of what is said there, and then spend all that extra time saved studying a passage in the Bible that is more difficult to understand – perhaps from the book of Revelation?

By all means, study the Bible in-depth. Jesus said about the scriptures “in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39) But don’t waste a minute of time studying the Bible in order to get around the obvious meaning of passages. Like was said earlier, that is worse than a waste of time.

What Does I John 3:9 Mean When It Says A Christian ‘Cannot Sin’?

November 3, 2017

I John 3:9 reads “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Some take this verse to mean that a Christian never sins, but that position clearly contradicts I John 1:8,10 which teaches everybody sins, at least every now and then.

Some try to resolve the difficulty by saying I John 3:9 is talking about the “practice” of sin, but that doesn’t help either since it is not impossible for a Christian to practice sin (e.g., I Cor 5:1). I think we’ve all seen Christians who have fallen away into the practice of sin.

I guess it is true the Greek present tense sometimes means “continuous action,” but many times it just means “action not yet completed” (Vines). “The present tense is the linear tense; it describes an act as in progress” (Vaughan and Gideon, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament). Of course that is what’s meant by the grammar category “present tense” – something happening in the present.

Examples of this very common use are Matt 8:25, when the disciples in the ship asked Jesus to save them from the waves, “we perish.” The word “perish” is present tense, but not repetitious. The word “buyeth” in Matt 13:44 is present tense, but is referring to a one time purchase, not continuous action. The word “maketh” in Acts 9:34 is present tense and refers to a one time act of physical healing.

The key to reconciling I John 3:9 with I John 1:8,10 is not to understand the word “sin” in I John 3:9 as “practice sin” (because as I said, it is not impossible for a Christian to practice sin), but to understand the word “cannot” as “should not” (inconsistency). Let me illustrate: Suppose I tell my daughter Leah to drive down to the store and get a loaf of bread and bring it right back for supper. Suppose a friend Leah sees at the store says she is on her way to a ballgame and asks Leah to go with her. Leah should answer “I cannot go,” but this wouldn’t mean it is impossible for Leah to go with her friend to the ballgame. Instead, it would simply mean Leah couldn’t do such and remain in obedience to her Dad, and so she is refusing. The Christian “cannot” sin (I John 3:9), but this doesn’t mean it is impossible to sin. Instead it means a Christian cannot sin (one time or many times) and remain in obedience to their heavenly Father, and so we refuse.

This use of the word “cannot” is common in the scriptures. Jesus said in Mark 2:19 that the “children of the bridechamber … cannot fast … as long as they have the bridegroom with them.” Does “cannot” in that verse mean it was impossible for the groomsmen to fast, or that it wasn’t appropriate at the time? In Luke 14:20 one replied to the great supper invitation “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” He didn’t mean it was impossible to come, but his excuse was that because of his marriage, he would not come. I Cor 10:21 teaches Christians “cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils.” That doesn’t mean such is a physical impossibility, but that it is inconsistent for a Christian to claim to serve the Lord (and partake of His supper) and at the same time worship idols – even just one time.

The following passages prove we are acting in a way inconsistent with being a Christian when we commit sin, even just one sin:

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all

I John 1:7,5 if we walk in the light, as he is in the light … God is light, and in him is no darkness at all

I John 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him

I John 2:11 But he that hateth his brother (even one time) is in darkness, and walketh in darkness

Eph 5:3,8 Christians who “walk as children of light,” do not let sin “be once named among them”

some others: Ezek 33:12, 18:24, Mark 8:32-33, Gal 2:11,14,17-18, Acts 8:18-23, I Chron 13:7-10

Conclusion: Understand that I John 3:9 is not talking about impossibility, but inconsistency. And we realize it is inconsistent for a Christian to sin whether we are talking about practicing sin or just one sin. Simply put – I John 3:9 means a Christian does not retain his character as a follower of Christ at the moment he sins.  A Christian should not sin, not even one time – I John 2:1 and I Cor 15:34 make that abundantly clear.