God Gives The Holy Spirit To Those That Ask Him

October 5, 2017

Luke 11:13 reads “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

Notice in this verse the Holy Spirit himself is what is given; He is the gift. It is not just a gift or power from the Holy Spirit. This confirms that in Acts 2:38, the “gift of the Holy Ghost” is the Holy Ghost himself (in person).

Who is promised the Holy Spirit according to Luke 11:13? Those that ask him, that is, ALL those who become Christians (not just a select few like the miraculous). This verse applies to everybody just like verses 9-10 and the parallel Matthew 7:7-14 do. Context proves that.

How does one ask God for the Holy Spirit? The same way one asks God for salvation:

• Acts 22:16 ask (call upon) God to wash away sins by being baptized

• Acts 2:38 ask God for remission of sins by repenting and being baptized

Acts 2:38 ask God for the Holy Ghost by repenting and being baptized

Have you ever asked God to give you the Holy Ghost by repenting and being baptized for the remission of sins?


Should Preachers Avoid Controversial Topics?

September 27, 2017

Many of us have heard of the preacher who decided to skip the controversial I Cor 11:2-16 when the congregation was doing a class textual study of the book of I Corinthians, and we can easily see how this is a violation of the Acts 20:27 requirement to preach “all the counsel of God.” But why can’t we see the same thing when a preacher shies away from teaching on I Cor 11:2-16 in regular sermons at his home congregation, or when preaching gospel meetings at other congregations?

Either of the above three cases is a violation of our Acts 20:27 approved example, and ignores passages like Ezek 3:18 which require us to warn those in sin. Would we be loving our Mother properly if all we did was tell Mom how good she was doing by getting plenty of rest, but left off trying to persuade her to take a medicine she had to have to overcome a fatal disease (Eph 4:15)?

And God’s covering requirement is not the only needed instruction that is being regularly avoided. I suggest there are several other Bible topics that are getting the same “hands off” treatment. Congregations are heaping to themselves teachers, having itching ears; turning away their ears from the truth (II Tim 4:3-4).

One of the worst things about this situation in the brotherhood is that some of those same preachers who limit their preaching of the truth (in order to maximize opportunities?) encourage congregations to ostracize those who are determined to preach the whole counsel as they have opportunity. In this case, the courageous are called troublemakers in the same sense that Elijah was called a troublemaker in I Kings 18:17-18.

Faith Which Worketh By Love

September 21, 2017

Galatians 5:6 reads “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Notice this verse teaches it takes at least three things to avail with (to be pleasing to) God.

First is faith. If there is anything the New Testament teaches, it teaches faith is necessary to our salvation …

· Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

· John 8:24 “I said … unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

· John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The second thing listed by Gal 5:6 as being necessary to pleasing God is works. Did you notice that none of the above faith passages say that we are saved by “faith alone”? Gal 5:6 says that “faith which worketh” is what avails, not faith alone. Other passages confirm this …

· I Pet 1:22a “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth …”

· Heb 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

· Matt 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

And lastly, love is required. I suppose it is possible for a person to have a faith which works, but not have love. Gal 5:6 shows that doesn’t avail in the sight of God either. We must have the right motivation for whatever we do in our service to God and man …

· John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

· I Cor 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (NKJV)

· Eph 4:15a “But speaking the truth in love …”

Conclusion: So Gal 5:6 makes it clear that all three traits (faith, works, and love) are necessary to us being pleasing to God, our salvation.  We know many people around us who only have faith. They talk about their belief in God, but their daily life is like anybody else in the world.  Some of those even have love for others. They are good at helping others in need, but they are not careful to follow God’s word in many of its particulars (John 8:31-32 – “Then said Jesus … 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”).  And we all know some who have faith and works, but don’t do it out of love (Eph 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”).  I think the song “Trust And Obey” sums it up pretty well.

The Vicarious Atonement Proof Texts All Say The Same Thing In Essence

September 15, 2017

The following passages prove conclusively Jesus died “rather than” us:

· Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us …

· Isaiah 53:6c the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all

· II Corinthians 5:21a for he hath made him to be sin for us

· Matt 27:46 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Why not just believe those texts as is and let the chips fall where they may? There is really no need to try to explain them away.

Our iniquities were laid upon Jesus. That’s equivalent to He was “made to be sin” and Him being “made a curse.” All three are talking about Jesus taking the responsibility / consequences / punishment / penalty for our sin (Isaiah 53:5). So because our sins were laid on Him, Jesus had to be forsaken by the Father, that is, treated like a sinner so we wouldn’t have to be.

This lesson preached by Jeff Smelser April 12 is by far the best I’ve heard on the “Vicarious Atonement” subject – way better than I could hope to do. If you are not fully convinced, I especially urge you to hear him out.


We Are Under New Testament Law Exclusively

September 7, 2017

The following scriptures establish the fact that today we are under New Testament law exclusively, not the New Testament law plus the Patriarchal law, or the New Testament law plus any principle, precept, ordinance, commandment, statute of any part of the old law:

· The law of Christ is what we are under (Gal 6:2, I Cor 9:21), not the law of Christ plus anything previous

· Jesus is the mediator of the “new testament” (Heb 9:15, 7:22), not the New Testament plus anything previous

· II Cor 3 contrasts the “new testament” with the “old testament” as our law for today, not the “New Testament plus other” vs. the “law of Moses”

· Heb 8:8-9 contrasts the “new covenant” with the “old covenant ” as our law for today, not the “New Covenant plus some principles of the Old Covenant” vs. the “Old Covenant”

· Rom 7:4-7 says we are dead to and delivered from the law (all of it), even including the principle “thou shalt not covet”

· Gal 3:24-25 teaches we are no longer under the law (not just part of the law)

· Gal 4:21ff shows events that occurred in Genesis (the Patriarchal period) are part of the law that was to be “cast out” (4:30), that we are “no longer under” (3:24-25), that has completed its purpose (3:19)

· Since circumcision represents every old law (Gal 5:1-2, 2:16), then Gal 5:3 teaches if we bind even one rule or principle of the old law, we are obligated to keep all of it

· Eph 2:14-16 teaches the law period (that’s every bit of it) has been abolished

· Heb 7:12 only makes sense if it is arguing that if one part of the law has changed, then the whole thing has changed

· Heb 10:9 teaches Jesus took away the first covenant, not just 99% of it

Conclusion: The Bible never teaches we are under any laws or principles that preceded the New Testament. No instruction (in any form) taught in Genesis to Malachi is any more binding upon us today than the command given to Noah to build an ark. If we try to bind even just one principle of the old law, Gal 5:4 teaches we lose our salvation; that’s how serious this issue is. The 7th Day Adventists have no business picking and choosing what rules of the old law we still have to keep, and neither do Christians!

The SECOND Coming Of Christ And The 70 AD Theory

August 31, 2017

Heb 9:28 says “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” So Jesus is going to come a second time – no doubt.

Some preachers say Jesus already came the second time when He came figuratively in judgment against Jerusalem in 70 AD. But that won’t work. Last week Doctrine Matters pointed out at least 14 references to comings of Christ (Isa 19:1, 26:21, 31:4, 35:4, 40:10, 59:20, 66:15, Jer 4:13, Dan 10:20, John 14:23, Rev 2:5, 2:16, 3:3, 3:20) – not counting the first or second literal comings, or his 70 AD coming. These 14 were all figurative comings (in judgment or etc.). If Heb 9:28 were talking about a figurative coming like the 70 AD coming against Jerusalem, then it would have had to say the 15th coming or something such as that, instead of the second. The fact that God calls it the second coming proves the verse must be talking about another (yet to happen) physical coming like the first coming. That’s pretty simple – yet conclusive.

The A.D. 70 Destruction Of Jerusalem

August 25, 2017

The apocalyptic language of Matthew 24 causes many believers to think it is talking about the future second coming of Christ. And they are correct about verses 36 and following. But verse 34 makes it very clear the preceding verses in the chapter are talking about something that happened in that generation. The verse reads “ … This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

In fact this text is prophesying of the physical destruction of Jerusalem which indeed occurred about 40 years later in 70 AD. by Titus and his Roman armies. Josephus and other secular historians confirm the catastrophic event. This is a marvelous instance of Jesus being able to predict the future, and therefore is evidence the Bible is inspired of God. No human can predict the future like that.

There are many other examples of the Bible successfully predicting the future, but this is one of the most detailed. And if the Bible can predict future history so reliably, then it can be depended on upon when it says Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:37).

The PLAIN Meaning Of Scripture

August 18, 2017

When I was first converted from the Baptist church, I thought members of conservative churches of Christ always took the plain (most obvious) meaning for passages, and didn’t shy away from that because of family, circumstances, consequences, feelings or emotion, or any extra-Biblical factor. But I have since found out I was wrong in many cases. Instead many Christians are now interpreting the Bible using the “hermeneutic rule that says to not construe a passage in such a way that it has consequences that are not acceptable” (Robert Waters, Christian, Facebook, 1-31-2017).

Taking the obvious meaning for a verse ought to be one of the top rules of hermeneutics (after “the Bible does not contradict itself”). Notice how this is expressed in David Cooper’s Golden Rule Of Interpretation: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages, and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.” In other words, we should always accept a text at simple face value, unless something else in the Bible forces us to do otherwise.

As we know, the Bible is to be understood just like any uninspired document written by men. Eph 3:3-4 says “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.” Also II Cori 1:13 reads “For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand …” (NASV). To understand uninspired literature, we take what it says at face value unless something dictates otherwise. Clearly we should do the same with inspired texts. After all, God is communicating with us in our language.

Notice further this quote from D.R. Dungan’s book “Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpreting the Scriptures” (pg.184,195-203): “All words are to be understood in their literal sense, unless the evident meaning of the context forbids. – Figures are the exception, literal language the rule; hence we are not to regard anything as figurative until we feel compelled to do so by the evident import of the passage. … here great caution should be observed. We are very apt to regard contexts as teaching some theory … in our minds. And having so determined, anything to the contrary will be regarded as a mistaken interpretation; hence, if the literal meaning of the words shall be found to oppose our speculations, we are ready to give to the words in question some figurative import that will better agree with our preconceived opinions. Let us be sure that the meaning of the author has demanded that the language be regarded in a figurative sense, and that it is not our theory which has made the necessity.”

Having said all that, what is the plain meaning of the following? …

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved …

Matt 19:9 And I say unto you, 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.

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 … 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.

Matt 5:22 … I say unto you, … whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of h-e-l-l fire.

Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting ….

Matt 12:31-32 … All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Luke 17:3 … If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

Matt 27:46 … Jesus cried with a loud voice … My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

James 4:15 … ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that

Matt 5:33-34 … I say unto you, Swear not at all

Tit 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Why do many Christians try to get around the plain meaning of the above passages instead of just accepting and applying them?

The Big Bang Theory

August 11, 2017

The Big Bang theory says a small particle of dust exploded and then expanded to become all of our whole infinite universe. Does it even sound reasonable that all the universe’s mass could have previously been so compressed into one speck of dust? And does it sound reasonable that after jillions of years of nothing whatsoever happening, something all of a sudden happened to make that speck of dust explode? And where did that original speck of dust come from anyway?, and how was it surrounded by absolutely nothing?   And since science says that life never comes from non-life, does it sound reasonable that somehow life came from non-life (that exploded speck) just that one time?

Doesn’t the following sound much more reasonable/likely? …

· Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

· Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Me thinks most people don’t believe the obvious because it would require answering to a creator for their actions (II Cor 5:10).

I Peter 3:21 – Baptism is Not the Figure

August 4, 2017

I Pet 3:21 says baptism saves us, referring to water baptism. Some say it only saves figuratively since the word “figure” is in the KJV version of the verse. However if you read the text carefully, you see that the word “figure” is not referring to baptism, but to the eight souls being physically saved by water in Noah’s day which prefigures our spiritual salvation via water baptism.

So to be clear, the passage does not say that baptism is a figure. The figure is Noah and his family’s salvation by water. Baptism is the real or antitype (defined by The Random House College Dictionary as “something that is foreshadowed by a type or symbol, as a NT event prefigured in the OT”).

Notice these translations and definitions that make that fact abundantly clear:

· NKJV – There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism

· New Testament in Modern Speech – And, corresponding to that figure, baptism now saves you

· The Good News Translation – Which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you

· The New Living Translation – And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you

· Thayer defines the word as, “a thing resembling another, its counterpart; something in the Messianic times which answers to the type prefiguring it in the Old Testament, as baptism corresponds to the deluge.

· Vincent’s Word Studies says that it is to be read as “which, the antitype or as an antitype; i.e., which water, being the antitype of that water of the flood, doth now save you, even baptism.”

· Arndt and Gingrich’s Lexicon – Thus in I Peter 3:21 … means baptism, which is a fulfillment (of the type), now saves you, i.e., the saving of Noah from the flood is a …, or ‘foreshadowing’ …, and baptism corresponds to it.

· NIV – “and this water symbolized baptism that now saves you also” (notice that baptism is not the symbol, but is what is being symbolized, the real).

· The King James translators indicated this with the word “whereunto,” which according to The Random House College Dictionary means “whereto” or “to what or what place or end.” So the passage is saying the figure (Noah’s family’s salvation by water) is to the place or end of water baptism. The figure points to baptism, not that the figure is baptism. See the difference?

Notice also, that if baptism is the type here, then the eight souls being saved by water is the antitype. Water baptism symbolized the flood – who believes that?

The NASV translates it, “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you.” That’s easy to understand, isn’t it?

Conclusion: We are saved by the death of Christ when we are baptized in water, and not before.