Monday, May 14, 2018

One of These Days

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.  
The Bible says in both the Old Testament in Isaiah 64:4"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him."  and the New Testament in 1st Corinthians 2:9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." The Word of God promises that the Lord Jesus Christ will return one day. In Acts 1:11 the angels announced to those early church apostles and other believers, "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." From the first day that I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus in 1965 and understood that He was coming back one day, I have had that hope in me.

The Bible says in 2nd Peter 3:3-4, "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Are you a scoffer? I hope not. But whether you are or not the Lord Jesus will come back one of these days. When I was a young believer I truly thought He would return in my lifetime. Now I am an old (but still a) believer. I still have that hope in my heart that He will come before I die. But, one of these days He will come back for His church. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:37 "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry." Jesus is coming back, are you ready? I recently wrote to someone and made the preceding statement and asked if they were ready. The response I received was to keep my preaching for those who need it. I thought everyone needed it.

One of these days it will happen. The Lord Jesus Christ will return. He won't return as a suffering Saviour though. He will return, the Bible says in 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-10"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." No, not as a suffering Saviour but as the mighty God He will come, taking vengeance on a world that has rejected His mercy. One of these days it will happen. It won't matter what your name is or who your parents are in that day. It could be yet in my lifetime. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The New Testament, Written in Greek or Hebrew?

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary
Some folks insist on the Hebrew pronunciation of the name of the Jesus. My understanding is the New Testament was written in Koine Greek. In the Greek the name of Jesus, according to Strong's Hebrew Greek dictionary, would be "Ἰησοῦς (or) Iēsous (pronounced) ee-ay-sooce' Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: - Jesus." 
It is of Hebrew origin but it was not written in Hebrew, it was written in Greek as Ἰησοῦς and pronounced Iēsous. It is transliterated to the English as Jesus.

I heard many years ago that the Book of Matthew may have originally been written in Hebrew but was later translated into Greek. However that may be in the King James Version the name of our Lord is Jesus. I don't read either Hebrew or Greek, only English. Those who insist on the use of the Hebrew version of the name of Jesus remind me of those who think the KJV is more accurate than the original manuscripts. (Although my understanding is there are no original manuscripts in existence. All are copies of the originals) 

So for any out there who may think that pronouncing the name Jesus in Hebrew is more spiritual, think again. There were those who used to think that (in hymnals) shaped notes were more spiritual that round, but that was not so either. As Dr. Strong mentioned there were others in the Bible who were called Jesus but only one called Jesus Christ. It is His name that God has given to men for salvation because He alone is called Christ. (See Acts 4:12 and Matthew 1:16) And it is because of who He is.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Enslaved by Sin

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.  

The Bible says in Romans 3:23"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God..." Have you ever been enslaved by sin? I have! In our opening verse of scripture the Bible says that "all have sinned." That all includes you and I. What shall we do about it? In the Book of Acts 2:37b the Jewish hearers of Peter's message said. "...what shall we do?" They recognized that they had become guilty of the death of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. They were in a real dilemma because in Deuteronomy 18:15-16 Moses the Lawgiver had said, "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken..." The Israelites, because they heard the voice of God speaking directly to them had said, "...  Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not."

Deuteronomy 18:17-19 the Bible says, "And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."  They knew that Moses had spoken true and they were convicted in their hearts that they had crucified and slain the very one that God had sent to be their Messiah and Saviour.

Before I came to know the Saviour Jesus Christ, I knew I was a sinner. I was deceived into thinking that a holy God would not want a dirty sinner such as I was, in His holy heaven. I had never read the Bible and did not understand that God did not hate sinners. Rather the Bible says in 
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." God does hate sin, but He loves the sinner. No, God does not want sin in His holy heaven. In Ezekiel 33:10-11 God said, "Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" Peter's hearers had ask the right question when they said, "...what shall we do?"

It is still the right question! Listen to Peter's answer in 
Acts 2:38-39"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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." This is so much more than just getting wet. Apostle Peter said in 1st Peter 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ..."  Do you believe that the Lord Jesus died for sinners, was buried and rose from the dead? It was for you and I. Find someone to baptize you in the name of Jesus Christ to have your sins forgiven, and God has promised you the gift of the Holy Spirit. You need not ever be enslaved by sin again. (See also John 3:5 and Acts 4:12)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Ultimate Fellowship

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
In a post of September 23, 2013 entitled "Fellowship," I mentioned that the late Brother C. H. Yadon had said during Bible school days that fellowship was all the fellows in the same ship. And then on February 17 of this year, in the posting "Without Excuse," I spoke of having come across a passage of scripture that seemed to jump out at me, Isaiah 33:14. I have been thinking about fellowship recently and the question came to me, what is the ultimate fellowship? Thus this posting.

I am glad for the fellowship of the United Pentecostal Church. It is the only church organization I have ever belonged to. But that being said, I recognize that not everyone with whom I fellowship in this world are necessarily saved. Some may suppose that if they have been baptized in Jesus name and received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, that that is all that is necessary to make heaven their home. That is a shame. The Lord Jesus said in 
Matthew 7:21-23,  "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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  It is true that Jesus did every thing that was necessary to save us on the cross. He completed what has been called the Finished Work of Calvary. But what of the unfinished work of Calvary? That is, you and I!

I believe that the name of Jesus is the only name under heaven given among men that will ultimately save us. (See 
Acts 4:12) We accomplish this by being baptized in Jesus name. I also believe that without being born of the Spirit of God we will not be ready to meet the Lord in peace. (See John 3:3-5) The Bible does say in Romans 8:9,  "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." So if we have been baptized in water (in Jesus name) and by the Holy Ghost, (with the evidence of speaking in tongues) we should live a new life, one in which old things have passed away. (See 2nd Corinthians 5:17

So what is the ultimate fellowship? The Bible says in  
Hebrews 12:22-24,  "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." That sounds an awful lot like heaven to me. But we aren't there yet! I asked the church in Tigard, Oregon when I was their pastor, how did they expect to get to heaven? Then I answered the question, that only the Lord Jesus was going to get them out of this world and to heaven!

It's not your good looks, not who your mother or father were, not your church affiliation, not even how you were baptized, only the Lord Jesus will get you and I out of here. It will take the ultimate miracle of God to get us to heaven. We aren't there yet. As I said in the posting, "Without Excuse,"  I for one don't want to be a hypocrite and be surprised at judgment. Have you been baptized in the only name that can save you? Have you received the baptism of the Holy Ghost as they did on the Day of Pentecost? If you haven't you should. But don't think that alone will get you to heaven. You need to trust the Lord Jesus and do only those things that please Him. If you will do so, you have God's promise that you will walk on streets of gold one day. You will be a partaker in the ultimate fellowship.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Make Me What I Ought To Be

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
We are not saved by music. The Bible tells us in 1st Corinthians 1:18-21 what saves us,  "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." So God has made known to us what saves us, "...the foolishness of preaching..."  the cross. But music can be a wonderful confirmation to the preaching of the cross.

The title of this posting is part of an old chorus we sang in church when I first turned to God. It goes like this:
     Make me what I ought to be,
     Help me to be more like Thee,
     Bid me come up higher till Thy face I see,
     Make me what I ought to be.
It was a beautiful chorus with a beautiful message. I remember singing that chorus many times during church services. I still sing it on occasion as a heartfelt prayer to the Lord Jesus. No matter how hard you or I may try, we can't serve God alone. Jesus said in  John 15:5b, "...He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." I was unaware of those words of the Lord when I gave my heart to Him and I told Him that with His help I would serve Him from that day till the day I died. I still try daily to tell the Lord Jesus that. I love the song entitled "I Can't Even Walk (Without You Holding My Hand)." Part of the lyrics are the same as the title, "I can't even walk without You holding my hand." How true!

No, music can't save us but it can usher us into the very presence of God. I love the newer songs that offer praise to the Lord Jesus. He is truly worthy of all my praise. But there is something about many of the older songs and choruses that touch a deep place in my heart. We, both you and I will never be worthy of what Jesus did for us at Calvary, except for the fact that He has counted us worthy if we will believe. I truly want to give Him thanks for His, "so great salvation." (See Hebrews 2:3) There is a plethora of older songs and choruses that are not sung in many of our churches anymore. More's the pity. My hope and prayer for all is that we will come to realize the cost of our salvation.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Read Your Bible Pray Every Day

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Have you ever sung that song? You might say you did in a child's Sunday school class. I was recently thinking about the song, Read Your Bible, Pray Every Day. I really did not know the words by heart. Is it really a child's Sunday school song? I was not privileged to be brought up in church. But after almost 53 years of serving the Lord Jesus, I find the need greater now to read my Bible and pray every day. I don't want to grow physically, but I do still want to grow spiritually. My wife and I try to make time in our lives to read the Bible on a daily basis. We also try to pray every day, Sometimes we miss our prayer time, that is on our knees, but I can't tell you the last time I failed to read the Bible. Apostle Paul said in 1st Thessalonians 5:17  to, "Pray without ceasing." I guess that answers the need because the Lord Jesus is always in my thoughts and I do try my best to be in a spirit of prayer all the time.
But back to the song that the title of this posting is about. Do you read your Bible and pray everyday? If we will collectively do so, we will grow spiritually. We will be on the edge of our seats looking for the soon return of the Lord. The Bible says in Acts 1:11. "...this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Some would say it has been 2,000 years or so and the Lord has not returned. Apostle Peter said there would be scoffers in the last days, "...saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (See 2nd Peter 3:4) It is in this beautiful  chapter that Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost said, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (See 2nd Peter 3:9) It was Paul's statement in Romans 2:4 that he said, "...that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" 
It was God's forbearance of our sins that brought the Lord Jesus into the world. It was God's forbearance of our sins that took Him to a cruel cross to suffer and die. It was God's forbearance of our sins that made us His children, His children? Maybe that song ought to be mentioned again. Maybe we should learn the words and sing it for ourselves. If you don't know the words they are easy:
     Read your Bible, pray every day
     Pray every day, pray every day
     Read your Bible, pray every day
     And you'll grow, grow, grow,
     And you'll grow, grow, grow,
     And you'll grow, grow, grow,
     Read your Bible, pray every day
     And you'll grow, grow, grow.
If you neglect to heed the words to this children's song the second stanza applies to you. You might be so taken up with the cares of the world that you will miss the coming of the Lord. I don't want to miss that greatest of all events, do you?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Two-Faced Christians

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary
Have you ever told a lie? I have! Oh, I don't mean so-called Christians who tell lies all the time. I am talking about you and I! The Bible says in Revelation 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." (Emphasis is mine) And all liars? Yes all liars. The Bible says,  "...and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone..." I don't want to be found a liar in the day of Judgment!

But are there two faced Christians? I think there are. One type is mentioned in Acts 5:1-11 which talks about Ananias and Sapphira his wife. The apostle Peter said to Ananias when he brought his offering to lay at the apostles feet, "why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." There is an old saying, "you can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you can't fool all the people all the time." But the Bible says in Hebrews 4:13, "...all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." You can't fool God at any time!

This is called presumptuous sin. One meaning of presumptuous  found in Dr. Strong's Hebrew-Greek dictionary  is arrogance. The Bible says in Psalm 19:13  "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." What Ananias and Sapphira did is called presumptuous sin! They conspired together to keep back a part of the proceeds from the sale of their property while letting on that they were bringing all and laying it at the apostles feet. That makes me think of giving my all, not holding back any part. The Bible says in Romans 3:23-24, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..." Thank God we have been justified by the grace of the Lord Jesus. I remember the adult Bible teacher when I first turned to God saying that the word justified meant or could mean just (as) if I'd never sinned. I don't think he was far off the track.
Many times I have felt totally unworthy of the grace of God, to the point that I could have just given up. But God didn't want me to give up serving Him (and neither did I) nor does He want you to. He didn't bring us out to lose us. We sometimes used to sing the chorus, "Oh To Be Like Thee." The words are as follows:
    Oh! to be like Thee, oh! to be like Thee,
    Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
    Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
    Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
This is truly my hearts desire, is it yours? It can be! You can be to God in Christ just as if you'd never sinned. Just as if you had never told a lie. Justified by the Lord Jesus through your faith in Him. You can be a sweet smelling savor to God if you will put your trust in the Lord Jesus today.