Category Archives: Doctrine

IS GAMBLING A SIN?

People often try to justify their desire to gamble by saying, “after all, life itself is risky.”  Investing in the stock market, crossing the street, riding in an airplane, falling in love, getting married, even doing church work all carry with them an element of risk.  People also try to justify gambling by pointing to the element of chance that was involved in the Old Testament use of lots or the Urim and Thummim, and in the New Testament method of choosing Judas’ successor. However, there is no legitimate point of comparison between the type of chance involved in these Scriptural practices and the type of chance involved in gambling.  The Old Testament lots were specifically sanctioned and commanded by God (Lev. 1:8, Josh. 14:2, Ex. 28:30, Num. 27:21, Dt. 33:8).  Gamblers today cannot produce such commands of God for the lots they cast!  Likewise, in the choice of Matthias to succeed Judas no real risk was involved, Both candidates, Justus and Matthias, were fully qualified for the position, so the final choice was entrusted to the Lord in prayer.

The real crux of the problem of gambling is not the element of risk or chance, but the question of motivation. This is the real heart of the problem, for if the motivation involved is wrong, gambling is wrong even when the element of skill predominates over simple chance.

The basic purpose of most gambling is not to help and serve others, but to help ourselves at their expense. Luther observed: No one gambles with another in order to give away to the other what is his own (for he could do that without gambling), nor in order to lose what is his own, nor in order to seek the gain of the other man as though it were his own. This is why gambling is always contrary to love and is motivated by greed because a man seeks, to the harm of another, what does not belong to him.

The basic Christian objection to gambling is that it is an attempt to gain something from our neighbor without giving a fair service in return. If we really love our neighbor, will we wish to win at his expense? In gambling are we heeding the admonition of Scripture, Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.’  Christians must keep two facts in mind when seeking gain or profit from their activities. They must give fair labor in exchange for what they receive. They seek to earn for themselves, not from selfish motivation, but in order to be of service to others. Ephesians 4:28 “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

A Christian’s life is to be devoted to serving others, not to serving self. In most games of gambling, part of the enjoyment is taking advantage of someone else’s loss. Gambling is nonproductive, and can be justified only by arguing its entertainment value or the good use made of a portion of the revenue. Since the end never justifies the means, gambling cannot be justified on these grounds if greed is involved. The fact that dishonesty and selfish motivation can be practiced in any form of business cannot be used as an excuse to justify gambling, if gain at the expense of another is part of the very nature of gambling. The common consent involved in gambling does not excuse the stealing involved in gambling anymore than common consent excuses the murder involved in dueling.

The Bible does not specifically forbid gambling, but there are several biblical principles that should make Christians hesitate to participate:

  1. God presents work as the normal way to get the money we need (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:12).
  2. When a person cannot work, the second choice is prayer (Phil. 4:6, 19).

All my income belongs to God, not me (Psalms 24:1), and I am not free to use it as I wish. I am a steward, who should use it for God’s purposes. Christians are called on to meet the needs of their family (1 Tim. 5:8), and share with others, particularly Christians who have needs (2 Cor 8-9; Gal. 6:6-10; 3 John).

Does God want me to use His money to buy a lottery ticket?  God uses money to accomplish important purposes in my life:

  • Meet basic needs (Matt. 6:11; I Tim. 6:8).

  • Build character (Phil 4:10-13)

  • Give direction, by providing or withholding resources.

  • Helping others through me.

  • Show His power by providing miraculously.

Gambling does not accomplish any of these things.  In fact, it hinders these things being accomplished in my life.   So, a person must ask themselves, “Am I looking to God or to the lottery for my needs?”

The Bible says that it is required of a steward that a man be found faithful 1 Cor 4:3).  Since we are to be stewards of everything we have, (not just our money), and we are to live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7), gambling that which we have stewardship over is directly opposite of a life of faith.

Greed and covetousness are sin (Exo. 20:18; I Tim. 6:9; Heb. 13:5), and these are motives in most gambling. The book of Proverbs warns of disaster for people who want to get rich quickly (28:20, 22).  Not only that, wealth that comes easily goes just as easily (Pro. 13:11).  AND, if it is gained the wrong way it can even break up families (Pro. 15:27).

Study of the Book of Romans

Grace Bible Institute - Romans

The Book of Romans

The book of Romans is the first doctrinal book of the New Testament.  It sets the tone for understanding all of the following books that apply to the church age.

  1.  Hand write the entire book in English.  Write it in a notebook and turn it in for credit. This will be 25% of your total score.
  2. Keep a notebook of content taught in class or from watching the videos and turn it in for credit. This will be 25% of your total score.
  3. Take exam for the course, (Can use handwritten Romans notebook for reference). This will be 25% of your total score.
  4. Memorize verses: 3:10; 5:6; 5:7-8; 5:12; 6:10; 6:23; 8:28; 10:9-13; 12:1-2. Verses must be recited in person or over the phone by an authorized instructor.  Arrangement for time must accommodate the instructor. This will be 25% of your total score.
  5. Textbook: King James Bible.
  6. Assignments are due before credit will be given for the class.
Title WORK SHEET VIDEO
1. Chapter 1 Work Sheet 1 1:1-2; 3-7; 8-15; 16-20; 21-32.
2. Chapter 2 Work Sheet 2 2:1; 2-11; 12-24; 25-29.
3. Chapter 3 Work Sheet 3 3:1-8; 9-18; 19-25; 26-31.
4. Chapter 4 Work Sheet 4 4:1-3; 4-8; 9-13; 14-16; 17-21; 22-25.
5. Chapter 5 Work Sheet 5 5:1-2; 3-5; 6-11; 12-17; 18-21.
6. Chapter 6 Work Sheet 6 6:1-7; 8-11; 12-13; 14-17; 18-23.
7. Chapter 7 Work Sheet 7 7:1-3; 4-6; 7-13; 14-25.
8. Chapter 8 Work Sheet 8 8:1-9; 10-16; 17-25; 26-28; 29-30; 31-39.
9. Chapter 9 Work Sheet 9 9:1-5; 6-13; 14-24; 25-29; 30-33.
10. Chapter 10 Work Sheet 10 10:1-11; 12-21a; 12-21b.
11. Chapter 11 Work Sheet 11 11:1-6; 7-11.
12. Chapter 12 Work Sheet 12 12:1-3.
13. Chapter 13 Work Sheet 13 13.1
14. Chapter 14 Work Sheet 14 14.1
15. Chapter 15 Work Sheet 15 15.1
16. Chapter 16 Work Sheet 16 16.1

The Holy Spirit and Tongues

 

The modern “tongues” movement is primarily embraced  by the “Charismatic”.  This is not an English word.  It comes from the Greek word “charisma” which means gifted.  Therefore a person who claims to be “charismatic” (by the definition of the Word), claims to be gifted.  By insinuation, this indicates that there are some “Christians” who are not “gifted”.  This is wrong as the gift of the Christian is the Holy Spirit Himself.  Not only does the “Charismatic” claim (by the definition of the word) to be gifted, he (whether he admits it or not) claims to be more gifted than other Christians.  The Bible tells us what to think of those who brag on these gifts.  Proverbs 25:14 says, “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.  It also tells us what to think of people who profess to have apostolic gifts who don’t have them.  2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.  Revelation 2:2 says, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” 

The signs of the apostles (Mark 16:14-20)

  •   Cast out devils.

  •   Speak with NEW tongues.

  •   Take up serpents.

  •   Not be hurt by poison.

  •   Heal the sick

Since these are the “signs of an apostle”, only those who believed under the ministry of an apostle received these gifts (signs).  Therefore, anyone who wanted to counterfeit the apostolic succession must counterfeit the apostolic signs.  The Bible labels anyone who is counterfeiting an apostle as a FALSE APOSTLE  (2 Cor. 11:10-14).  NOTE: The anti-Christ is also Charismatic.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Unknown Tongues

One of the biggest lies that a Charismatic participates in is the perversion of Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14.  Acts 2 deals with the baptism of the Holy Ghost and 1 Corinthians 14 deals with the use of unknown tongues.  Anyone who can read can readily see that in Acts 2 there is no reference to speaking in an unknown tongue (Acts 2:6 says that “every man heard them speak in his own language”).  Likewise, there is no baptism of the Holy Ghost in 1 Corinthians 14.

     Baptism of the Holy Ghost

In regards to this, notice Acts 2:

  •   No one is kneeling or praying for any “baptism”.

  •   The “initial evidence” is NOT tongues.  It is the sound of a mighty rushing wind.

  •   Only 12 men speak in tongues (Acts 1:26; 2:1, 14).  Since 120 disciples were there (Acts 1:15), it is apparent that unknown tongues have nothing to do with Christians being baptized in the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV)

What is it then (1 Cor. 14)?

In chapter 14 we read that the important gift is prophecy.  This is because by prophecy, you can teach about something that has already been written in the Scriptures.  This is how Jesus taught (Matt. 21:42; Mark 7:6; John 12:14).

Unknown Tongues:  From the relationship of mankind in general, there is no such thing as an unknown tongue.  Some man on this earth knows the tongue that a person speaks.  Here in this passage, tongues is an existing language that was not previously learned.  Don’t let some man deceive you into thinking that it is a special heavenly prayer language.  This is NOT in the Bible.

  • Modern day teaching is that tongues is a sign that one is baptized in the Holy Ghost.  This is not Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12:13.

  • Spiritual gifts are not obtained.  They are GIFTS from the Holy Spirit, given as HE sees fit (1 Cor. 12:11).

  • If speaking in tongues is evidence of being baptized (immersed into) in the Holy Spirit, and therefore being placed into the body of Christ, why then does 1 Corinthians 12:18 teach us that God places us into his body as He sees fit?

  • Not everybody IN THE BODY OF CHRIST will speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30).

  • There is a more excellent way (1 Cor. 12:31).

  • God’s emphasis is that we should desire to prophecy as it edifies the church (1 Cor. 14:1-3, 12).

  • God’s desire is that people understand what is spoken (1 Cor. 14:9, 14).

  • Tongues are for a sign to them that believe not (1 Cor 14:22).

  • There is a difference between speaking with and in tongues (1 Cor. 14:39).

God’s Choice

All too often I am amazed at the so called “Christian Community” for their lack of understanding God.  In fact, it has been perplexing.  When I think of what God did in my life; how He saved me from the grip of death, cleansed me and set me in a noble place with Him, I feel like I owe Him my life.  I am sure that others feel the same, but their sacrifice to Him seems to be so misguided. 

When it came birthday time or Christmas, a time when I would be receiving gifts, I hoped I would get something I liked.  In fact, I went a little beyond hoping and dropped hints to Mom and Dad in order to give them good ideas.  I always loved it when they asked me, “What do you want for your birthday?” or “What do you want for Christmas?”  Sometimes I got it, and sometimes I didn’t.   But, I can tell you, when I got the thing that I wanted–the thing I asked for–I was happier than when I got something I didn’t ask for.  Now that I am older and can look back on that, I wonder why that is?  I think the answer lies in my present relationship with God.  You see, as a born again child of God, I know that He has asked me for certain things–there are certain things that He would like from me.  When He gets them, He is much happier than when He gets something He didn’t ask for.  God greatest request of me; The thing that is on the top of His list of things He would like, is that I love Him more than anything else and that I love others as I love myself (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).

So, how do I accomplish this one request which contains two aspects?  He told me how I could do that.  He told me that I should win souls.  This one activity encompasses loving God (Doing what He told me to do.) and loving others (showing them the way of life).  It is by no accident that I use the phrase “showing them the way of life” because if I used the phrase “preaching the gospel” people might get confused.  The phrase “preaching the gospel” has become so diluted that no one can really interpret it anymore.  This is where my perplexity begins.

The gospel that we are to preach; the gospel that pleases God; the one that is at the top of His “wish list,” is the one that results in another soul being saved.  If you have any merit as a Christian at all, then you know what I am speaking is true.  You know it because you were once unsaved and someone told you how to accept Christ as the atonement for your sins.  You know it!  You might have been saved for so long that you have forgotten it; or, you might have backslid from it, but you know it.  You know it because the Holy Spirit is in you and He is constantly urging you to tell someone about God’s substitute for their sins.  You know it!  You are either ignoring it or you are evading it, but you know it!

Some people think that “preaching the gospel” is:

  • Having a nice social where they all get together and have tea and cookies and bring a guest.
  • Sell Amway or other self-marketing items
  • Help people with their chores (i.e. wash their car; cut their grass; do their shopping; etc….).
  • Joining ecumenical “Christian” activities.
  • Letting their kids go to church while they stay home.
  • Singing in the choir.
  • Talking with the preacher.
  • Reading their Bible.
  • Praying.
  • Supporting para-church groups.
  • Helping others in their churches.
  • Being friendly to people of other churches.
  • Not offending anyone.
  • Living a good life.
  • Supporting the Red Cross.
  • Feeding the poor.

The list is practically endless.  If you think about it, many of these things are really good things to do.  In fact most of them are good things to do.  But, the gospel is not good things–It is good news of a certain kind.  It is the good news that Christ came and died and shed His blood so that you can be free from your punishment if you so choose to accept THAT THING HE DID FOR YOU!

There is another grossly misused phrase amongst the so called “Christian community”.  It is the phrase “accepted Christ” or “accepted Jesus.”  To be saved, a person does not need to accept Christ or Jesus as much as they need to accept what He did for them, and that He alone could do it because HE IS GOD!  To be saved, you must accept what He did, and who He is.  It is a little incomplete to ask someone, “Have you accepted Jesus?”  You must accept who He is, what He did and how He did it.

So, we have an army of so called “Christians” who have taken salvation freely, but after that, they could care less for the rest of the world.  They are saved.  They are living out their Christian life, getting along with others, being good church members, helping the elderly, etc… but they are not giving to God what He asked for.  At the top of His wish list is: souls to be saved.  That is what He wants.  But what He gets is a bunch of “good stuff”, but it is not what He asked for.  Just like I would feel a little rejected by getting clothes, a new lunch pail, shoes, toothpaste, or patches for my old jeans, the Lord God gets from us–GOOD WORKS, and feels a little unloved.

Can you imagine how God would feel if you brought to Him some souls that you worked hard to get saved.  Have you ever opened the gift and said, “WOW!  Just what I asked for!  Thank you so much!”?  Wouldn’t that be great if God could say the same thing over your life?  Or, do we keep giving to Him a bunch of good junk?  He wants us to love Him and love others.  How does Christian involvement in ecumenical groups do that?  Think about it!  You know!  You know what He wants First!  You know because He told you.  If you are not on track with that, then you are either ignoring Him or you don’t care.

Here We Go With The Atheist Again

Here we go with the Atheist again.  Recently they have taken out a huge billboard add proclaiming that Christianity is a myth.  In Times Square their add has Santa Claus on the top with the caption “Keep the Merry!”  A photo of Jesus on the cross at the bottom with the caption “Dump the myth!”  David Silverman, head of the American Atheist said a private donor paid more than $25,000 to post the billboard sign for one month.

They spend huge amounts of money trying to convince people that there is no God.  It simply is not enough that they don’t believe in God, they have to convince others to join their cause.  Why can they not let people believe as they wish?  Why do they attempt to steer people’s minds to their cause?

They are zealots.  They are not only non-believers in God, but they are fanatically against God.  They are haters of God and will not be satisfied unless others hate God as well.  I guess you could say they love their sin (Jer. 14:10; 2 Tim. 3:2).  They Love it so much that they don’t want to be accountable to anything that offends their love for it.

With that in mind, I am really quite amazed that their primary tactic in the war against God is to boldly proclaim that he is a fairy tale.  It’s amazing they are afraid of a fairy tale.  I mean really, if God and the Bible were really just a fairy tale, then why be afraid at all?  Why spend tremendous amounts of money just to make that statement.  It seems quite foolish to me and I wonder if there is a flaw in their thought process (1 Cor. 8:2).  After all, most of the leaders of their fastidious movement were educated in the finest universities our great nation had to offer.

Atheists would not be so bad if they didn’t try to so vehemently attack Biblical Christianity.  It doesn’t seem as if they are as much for the promotion of Atheism as they are for the undermining of Christianity.  They are negative people; haters of Christ.  That seems what they exist for as an organization.  I mean, why don’t you see more billboards explaining or promoting their belief as opposed to signs attacking Biblical Christianity?  Why do they turn so quickly to “hate speech”?  I think we see a patter to their actions.

One of the men who ordained me to the ministry, Dr. Ken Blue, recently wrote, “How come you never see atheist attacking the Muslim religion?”  I think this is a very good question indeed.  Why is it that you never see signs or T.V. adds attempting to defunct other religions?  Of course, as a Christian I know why, and I am sure you do as well.  They are filled with hatred for their creator and are in a total and organized rebellion from Him.  This explains why they are so quick to use “hate speech.”

Curious, I went to the website of the American Atheist to see what all the hub-bub was about.  I found that there was not one thing mentioned about any other religion than Biblical Christianity.  There were articles about how an atheist can deal with, and argue apologetically with, a Christian apologetically.  Most of their arguments revolved around two things: asking the Christian how he can prove what he believes and the pointing out “supposed” contradictions in the Bible.  The premise was: if you can get the Christian cornered to the point of saying “God said it!  I believe it! Case closed!” then they could dismiss Christianity as a simple “belief” and nothing of substance.  Of course, the first and foremost attack of their argument was the inconsistencies of various bibles.   Since there were so many different Bibles, and no one still living has ever seen the original manuscripts, then how could you even know you have God’s word at all?  Very tricky!  An attack on the word of God itself.  If the Christian would defend their position by saying God promised to preserve His word (Ps. 12:6-7), they were to immediately classify that as the “God said it!  I believe it! Case closed!” argument and dismiss your reply.

To them, this might seem very good indeed but they neglect to realize that God’s very creation bears witness to the truth of His word, and day and night validate His message.  For example: Creation is the only logical explanation for the existence of all things.  It is certainly not an illusion, nor is it evolution.  Any kind of “big bang” would not produce all of the order that is revealed before us.  So, the burden is really on them to explain how they can so confidently prove there is no God.  This they cannot do.  Any attempt to try requires them to abandon truth and rely upon what they believe, and when they do, it is similar to them stating: “I believe it!  Case closed!”

Suffice it to say that there is no logically functioning mind that could deny the existence of God.  Therefore, they have a problem with their minds.  They don’t think right.  They don’t know how to think properly and logically.  Most likely because they are blinded by their rebellious hatred for God.

Must Christians struggle against them?  Must we fight back?  This is an interesting question and I feel that there is no need to strive with an atheist.  We are to witness and never be ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they are truly acting like children throwing a fit to get attention.  The more you ignore them, the less they have to throw a fit about.  The more they keep getting put on the front page of news papers, the more they are encouraged in their ridiculous cause.  If people today could just leave God to His business and get busy doing what they were told to do, there would be less rebellion from God in the world.

God told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He did not tell us to wrestle with atheist over illogical premises.  If Christians had been doing, wholeheartedly, what they should have been doing, there would be more people saved and less atheists to deal with in the first place.

History and Participation in Halloween

An old proverb says, “When you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.” Presumably, NO genuine Christian would want to sup with the devil at all and yet many may be doing so in ignorance.

The origins of Halloween are Celtic in tradition and have to do with observing the end of summer sacrifices to gods in Druidic tradition. In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The waning of the sun and the approach of dark winter made the evil spirits rejoice and play nasty tricks. Believe it or not, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.

In the fourth century, Christians attempted to co-opt the holiday by celebrating the lives of faithful Christian saints the day before Halloween. This was a conscious attempt to provide an alternative and re-focus the day away from ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches and other “haunted” experiences. Since that time many Christians have decided to allow their children to dress in more “innocent” costumes of pumpkins, princesses, Superman or as a cowboy. Part of this is due to the simple reality that in today’s Western culture it is nearly impossible to “avoid” Halloween.

Halloween is a real, sacred day for those who follow Wicca. In fact, it is one of two high and holy days for them. The Celtic belief of spirits being released is current, along with the worship of Samhain (the lord of death) – both are promoted as something to embrace on that day.  Those who believe and follow the practices of witchcraft, Halloween represents an opportunity to embrace the evil, devilish, dark side of the spiritual world.

Halloween is still celebrated as an ancient pagan festival of the dead by witches all over the world. Unfortunately, just giving the date a “holy” name like All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve cannot change its grisly character. Halloween is an occasion when the ancient gods (actually demons) are worshiped with human sacrifice. The apostle Paul warns us: “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils” (1 Cor. 10:20).

During the 8th century in the diocese of Rome, Pope Gregory III moved All Saints Day to November 1, officially making October 31 “All Hallows Eve,” some say, as a way of claiming the celebration for Christians. However, this feast commemorating the martyrdom of the saints had already been celebrated by Christians for many centuries prior to this time. Pope Gregory IV broadened the feast to include the entire Church. Inevitably, some of the pagan practices associated with the season persisted and have been mixed into modern celebrations of Halloween.

It is astonishing just how many Christians let their kids celebrate Halloween. Some churches even sponsor “haunted houses” and similar events on what is the Number One satanic “helliday” of the year.  If you are a Christian parent, God has given you a precious responsibility in your children. Remember, their ability to resist spiritual wickedness is much less than yours. If you allow your children to participate in Trick or Treating, costume parties, etc., you are allowing them to play on “the devil’s turf,” and Satan will definitely press his home court advantage. You are opening up doorways into their young lives for evil by bringing them into a kind of “fellowship” with these ancient “gods.”

As Christians you and I are placed in this world to be a light in a world of darkness. There is no lasting benefit to ignore a holiday that exists around us, but it also does harm to celebrate Halloween as it has originated and grown over the centuries. My suggestion? Christians should be teaching their children (age appropriately) that: there is a spiritual world filled with goodness from God and evil from Satan (Eph. 2:1-10); life with Christ has power over darkness (I John 4:4); and those who celebrate Halloween either are unaware of its roots, or are intentionally promoting a world where evil is lauded and viewed as an ultimate power.

To counter the evil influence of Halloween, we need to join together and celebrate the reality of the heroic efforts of Christian saints over the evil in their day. Many leaders in the past — and present — have fulfilled the mandate of destroying the works of the devil through their sacrificial commitment to Christ and His Kingdom.

Too, rather than “hide” in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a “teachable moment” to celebrate God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.

We are commanded not to become involved with the unfruitful works of darkness (And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Eph. 5:11).  There have been far too many examples of how breaking this command works out in lives. Remember, while we have God’s promise of protection for ourselves and our children, that promise may be negated if we allow our children to celebrate this dark holiday. Case after case has been revealed of children in rebellion. In many of these families, the problem can be traced back to the children being exposed to parental compromise with the world at a young age. It is hard enough to raise children these days in a Godly way without exposing them to Satan’s realm.

Are some Christians trying to remove themselves from the world? Ignoring Halloween or celebrating it wth believers only is not exactly an evangelical approach. Aren’t we supposed to “become all things to all men so that by all possible means” we might save some? (1 Corinthians 9:22)

As Christians, why are we here in this world? Are we here to live in a safe and protected environment, guarded against the evils in the world, or are we called to reach out into a world filled with dangers and be the light of Christ? Halloween brings people of the world to our door step. Halloween brings our neighbors out into the streets. I can think of various creative ways to seize this opportunity for developing new relationships and sharing my faith.

Is it possible that our negativity toward Halloween only alienates the people we seek to reach? Can we be in the world, but not of the world?

Ultimately, Christians must decide for themselves and follow their own convictions regarding the observance of Halloween. Christian perspectives on the observance of Halloween are strongly divided. Some believers feel complete freedom to observe the holiday, others run and hide from it, many boycott or ignore it, a number celebrate it through more positive and imaginative observances or Christian alternatives to Halloween, and still others choose to take advantage of Halloween’s evangelistic opportunities.  Many Christians believe that participating in Halloween is a form of involvement in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness. However, many consider the modern-day Halloween activities of most to be harmless fun.

Give serious thought to the appropriateness of judging another Christian for observing or not observing Halloween. We do not know why another person participates in the holiday or why they do not. We cannot accurately judge the motivations and intentions of another person’s heart.  Study the matter for yourself and follow the convictions of your own heart. Let others do the same without condemnation from you.

Heaven ought to be wonderful

 

Heaven ought to be a very wonderful place.  In fact, so wonderful, that we cannot even imagine how wonderful it will be.  It should be a place that not only overwhelms our senses, but out intellect as well.  When I read the Book of the Revelation of John, I try to imagine all of the things that John must have been seeing that moved him to write so.  When I read it, I cannot even imagine, even a little bit, what it will be like.  I’m not talking about the Tribulation parts, but the description of heaven.  How could anyone imagine streets made of gold (Rev. 21:21)?  Where did all of that gold come from and why make streets out of it?  Is it to remind us of its “stumbling block” qualities to the world (Eze. 7:19)?  How can I imagine gold that is so pure it is like clear glass (Rev. 21:18)?  It’s all just too wonderful for my finite mind to comprehend.

Yes, heaven ought to be a wonderful place.  The smells should be too wonderful to describe.  I have tried to imagine smells so wonderful and pure that my senses are so captivated that I actually want to study them; catalogue them; meditate upon them.  How can they be so intense as to remove from my soul the lust for more (Rev. 18:13)?  Do the smells, remind me of the prayers of the Saints, and become to me a sweet smelling savor as well (Rev. 5:8)?  And, how can prayers smell good to me like they do to God?  I am soon to find out what heaven smells like.  I am sure that it will use the sense of smell that I am given in such a way that I have never imagined.

God has given me a wonderful sense of hearing.  I love to be able to hear.  I cannot imagine being deaf and I have tried, but it is just something I could never do.  Similarly, I cannot imagine the sounds of heaven.  I know that the sounds will be different.  It won’t be like any church service I have even attended.  The sounds of praise for the Lord will be the greatest that have even been uttered (Rev. 19:6), and I will be there to hear it.  Perhaps it is not the sound at all, but the message that will overwhelm my senses.  When that “great voice” makes it’s soothing proclamation about God being with us (Rev. 21:3), I am sure I will be overcome with joy.  Such will be the joy, that I will not be able to forsake the production of tears of emotional joy (Rev. 21:4).

Yes!  I can see.  I have the wonderful gift of sight that God has so freely given me.  Some have it not, and I have tried to imagine what life would be like to live in the absence of sight, but I cannot.  Even though I have this wonderful gift, and there are many beautiful and magnificent things to behold in this life, I have never used this gift to it’s fullest.  There is coming that day though.  Like John, I will see the things that the Lord has for me in the future.  Until that day, I like many others, wonder what it will be like to behold all things new (Rev. 21:5).  I have seen “new things” before, but I have never seen “all things new.”  What will it be like to see “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:9)?  I cannot grasp this thought even, let alone envision it.  I am sure it will be the greatest wedding ever.  And, how can the great city, the holy Jerusalem be in heaven, descending?  I cannot imagine it.  But that is okay because, after all, who can imagine a city descending out of heaven?  I am sure that my eyes will be overworked on that day.

The senses feed information to the brain for thoughts to be processed.  With all of the new sights, sounds and smells, I wonder if I will have a headache trying to process it all.  But, that leads me to a silly thought, what will a holy headache feel like?  Or, will I have a greater capacity to process information than I even did before?  I suspect that my brain will be more active, but with no greater effort; my thoughts will be clearer, more focused, more precise.  How could the brain that I have now begin to embrace the information that will flood it?

Yes!  Heaven must be a wonderful place.  In fact, too wonderful, for a sinful saint like myself to even imagine it.  I don’t think that anyone can.  Not because I don’t have that ability, but because God wrote of it in His word.  Because He did so, clearly tells me that He is describing what is waiting for us.  When He describes it to us, there are no uses of similes to help us to identify it.  So, the most wonderful part about heaven is the use of parts of the mind and the senses that we never knew existed.  He we learn just how fearful and wonderfully made we actually are.

See you there.

God’s Answer to Sexual Desires


He who created sexual desires and who redeemed them from being only powerful lusts of the flesh is also gracious in providing us a way of escape from the guilt and tyranny of lust. There is hope for those who have already violated God’s pure gift of virginity. There is hope for those who desire to maintain the gift of purity which God gave them. There is hope for those who feel that the power of sex is out of control in their lives.

This comforting hope of Divine healing is not for all. It is only for those with heartfelt sorrow and for those with an earnest desire to do God’s will.

First, God’s healing is the power of His sovereign grace to remove the guilt of sin. Grace is the power which delivers from the filth of our sinful flesh. We may not be able to get our virginity back (even as we cannot remove a hole after pulling out the nail), but we receive God’s gracious forgiveness. Immorality is not a sin which cannot be forgiven. Sexual sins and temptations are to be treated as all other sins and temptations – they are to be confessed, repented of, and forsaken. The prayer for God’s forgiveness and for God’s grace to walk in holiness must be lifted up to Him. Then there may be the assurance of His gracious forgiveness. And He forgives completely. When He forgives, the sin is gone forever, never again to be brought against the sinner. As ugly as the sin is, forgiveness is more beautiful, and grace makes us beautiful before God.

We cannot retrieve our virginity, but we can retrieve our chastity and our purity before God. When God forgives, then He gives us a perfect righteousness. It is as if we had never sinned. It is as if we only did every thing right. Therefore we hide ourselves under the wings of the righteousness and holiness which Jesus earned for us and which God imputes and imparts to us. Then we may be sure that we stand before God in pure, white robes, and we are called “Holy unto the Lord.” Virginity is a precious gift, but an even more precious gift is forgiveness.

Secondly, the Spirit of Christ brings, with complete forgiveness and perfect righteousness, the healing power of deliverance from sin’s power along with the spiritual gift of self-control (called “temperance” in Galatians 5:23). Sexual energies and desires, no matter how strong, are controllable. As powerful as they may be, they can be controlled, for the power that is for us is greater than the power that is against us. The Bible teaches that we are not helpless before these lusts. It is Christ, to whom is given power over heaven and earth, who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). It is the divine Spirit whose fruit is self-control. We can therefore break with sinful self-indulgence.

We are called not simply to maintain but also to develop Spirit-filled self-control. Jesus spoke of those who were eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake (Mt. 19:12). He spoke of self-control and self-denial for the sake of God’s glory. And He declared that any man who would follow Him must practice self-denial (Mt. 16:24), just like the Master, whose supreme Self-denial brought about the salvation of sinners.

There are sins against which believers are commanded to stand and fight. But the only way the Bible says we are to fight sexual sin and temptation is to “flee” it (1 Cor. 6:18). Consider how Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:7-12). This temptation is the kind that cannot be faced head-on. Will-power and resolutions do not stand a chance before this sin in particular. It is too strong. To think that we can be “brave” and stand up to this sin, is to be the fool. The only way to be faithful to God in regard to this sin is to flee it. The admonition to “flee fornication” has the clear implication that we must not over-estimate our self-control or our spirituality. That is why we are admonished to “make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14). To control sexual desires, we must realize the importance of avoiding situations where we know we will be tempted by the wiles of the devil. To control sexual desires one needs more wisdom than Solomon, for Solomon fell often to this temptation.

One way not to make provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts while dating is to “be alone with others, never all alone.” Date along with others who are also walking close to the Lord. Also stay away from every form of pornography – it is not “harmless.”

Another way to fight the temptation of this sin is by making a commitment, before we date, to be pure. This means that you must draw the line as to how far you will go. You need to draw a line before you date, because of how powerful the Bible tells us physical attraction is. We cannot have developing romantic love without having increasing desire for consummation. We are fools to deny this. It is abnormal to become more and more intimate mentally and emotionally and not want to become more and more intimate physically and sexually. You are playing with fire if you keep getting closer and closer together when you are not ready to marry. We need to draw the line before we date, because wavering at the beginning often results in our falling in the end.

You can stop what you are doing. If what has been written in this pamphlet pricks your conscience, then realize that you can stop what you are doing by putting the relationship in submission to God. Do not think that God wants to deprive you of something that is good for you. Real love will say, “No! I will not go further!” Real love restrains and controls sexual desires until God says, “Yes.”

When was Jesus Crucified and when was the Resurrection?

I believe there is great Biblical justification for Thursday being the day of the crucifixion. It is the fifth day of the week (a number often associated with death in the Bible). It would satisfy Sunday being called “the third day since these things were done” (as in Luke 24:21). It would also allow for three days and three nights, although not necessarily 72 hours (something not necessarily is required by the statement in Matthew 12:40). The nights would be a partial day on Thursday, then all day Friday and Saturday. The nights would be Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. I think Thursday would  satisfy the statements of all the scriptures involved.

There are those who argue that Jesus was crucified on Friday by citing that the Jews were determined that Jesus be buried before the Sabbath that followed the day of preparation (Luke 23:53-54; Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; John 19:31). Since the Sabbath is on Saturday, then He must have been crucified on Friday. However, two things need to be carefully noted. First, this Sabbath was after the day of preparation. This linked it to the annual feast of the Passover. The fourteenth day of the first month at even was the Lord’s Passover (Leviticus 23:5) and was a day of preparation. The next day, the fifteenth day, was the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. It was an annual Sabbath. It was called an high day–“for that Sabbath day was an high day” (John 19:31). It was not a normal Sabbath; it was one of the annual Sabbaths.

Most Bible teachers make this annual Sabbath also the weekly Sabbath, but this is not necessary. A weekly Sabbath was always on Saturday. However, an annual Sabbath could be on any day of the week. This was because an annual Sabbath was connected to a date of the year. And, just as anyone’s birthday is not always on the same day of the week, so these annual Sabbaths occurred on different days.

Where do we get the concept of annual Sabbaths? We get it from Leviticus 23, the chapter that gives the original feast days for Israel, we see some special days being called Sabbaths. “In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:24). Leviticus 23:39 says of the first and last days of the feast of tabernacles: “Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.” Therefore, the feast of trumpets and the first and last days of the eight-day feast of tabernacles are all called Sabbaths. However, these days are connected to calendar days of the year. Therefore, they will vary as to what day of the week they occur. So, they are annual and not necessarily weekly Sabbaths.

The requirement for an annual Sabbath seems to be that it is called an holy convocation and no work (“servile work”) is to be done on this days (just like the weekly Sabbath). This brings us back to the day of Passover (the 14th) and the first day of firstfruits (the 15th). The fourteenth day of the first month is not called a holy convocation. Therefore, work can be done on that day (we suppose work like crucifixion). However, though the fifteenth day of the first month is not specifically called a Sabbath, it meets the qualifications and therefore is an annual Sabbath. Of this first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the law says, “In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein” (Leviticus 23:7). No doubt, this is the Sabbath that so troubled the Jews concerning the burial of Jesus. This leaves the door open for the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbath to be on different days. And, since there is no possible way to get Jesus in the grave for three days and three nights between Friday and Sunday, that is clearly the correct answer.

Judge Not that ye be not Judged?

 

Matthew 7:1-2 Judge not, that ye be not judged.  2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

 

This passage has probably been more misused and misunderstood by Liberals and Christians alike than any other passage in the Bible, other than the so-called “Lord’s prayer.”  Many Christians misunderstand this passage because they take it completely out of context.  They believe that this passage teaches that we should not judge other people.  In many cases it is not their fault that they believe so; they have been TAUGHT wrongly.  Pastors, teachers, and even friends have explained it erroneously.  Or, they have read it in a corrupted bible that has been passed off to be God’s word, when it is not.

 

They are not alone in their error. If the world doesn’t know anything at all about the Bible, it certainly know this passage.  This is testament to the fact that it is one of Satan’s favorite passages, along with Acts 2:38. He has used these passages to “trip up” thousands upon thousands of Christians.

 

By constant repetition of the passage, False teachers have intimidated Christians into not speaking out against anything or anybody doing wickedly.  These same false teachers have even gone so far as to use these verses to teach that you can’t tell whether anyone is saved or not.  That way you have no business dealing with them personally about their soul’s salvation.  Now that’s pretty bad!  That’s not the only result of their false teaching though; they use these verses to teach Christians they must be tolerant of others beliefs and accept all forms of sin, especially if it can fall into any “lifestyle” category.  But, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Christians are commanded by God to: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment”(John 7:24). Christians are commanded to judge things and people, but when they do, they are commanded to judge “righteous judgment.”  I know this may be a shock to you, especially if you have been taught otherwise, but just open the Bible and read it.  If you are of the world, then this just goes to show how ignorant you are of Christianity; probably because your only exposure to it has been the news media.

 

The vital command in Matthew 7:1 to “Judge not” has to be reconciled with:

 

  • “He that is spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Cor. 2:15),
  • “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57),
  • “We shall judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:3).

 

Of course, if you are a Bible reader and believer you know the Liberal overlooks these texts.  Every time that someone uses “Judge not that ye be not judged” to try to make you feel “un-Christian” about not tolerating their sin, in your mind you know they are just ignorant.  Or, like the Devil, they are using bits and pieces of God’s word to justify themselves.

 

At times you will hear from the uninformed Christian that this passage in Matthew concerns judging wether someone is going to hell or not.  There is no mention of “Hell,” in the passage at all.  Think for a moment!  If the issue is judging a man to be lost, no one has to judge that, for the man is already judged and condemned.  Consider the following verses:

 

  • 1 Corinthians 5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
  • John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

This “righteous judgment” has something to do with the way we suffer for Christ in this life, and for the rewards we will receive in the Kingdom.  2 Thessalonians 1:5 says: “Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:”  It means to judge in a manner that keeps man’s relationship with God right.  Therefore, A Christian who is tolerant of sin when exposed to it, is affecting their relationship with Christ.

 

A Christians motive for judging should never be based on what judgment will be placed on him/her later along life’s pathway.  The correct motive for judging should always be based on how to please God and NOT how to please self or how to be tolerant of sin.  If a Christians motive and focus is truly on how to please God, then the Christian will naturally be doing right by others as would expected.

 

Here are some examples of misguided judgment as a result of not interpreting Matthew 7:1-6 properly:

 

  • I should not tell anyone about Jesus because I don’t want them to tell me about their religion.
  • I should not condemn sin because I don’t want anyone to condemn my sin.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • If I do good to others then others will do good to me.
  • I’ll give money to the church so that God will give money to me, (maybe I’ll win the lottery).
  • I’ll help someone, (be their friend), so that in the future they can help me.

 

On the other hand, a Christian does not have some special “duty” to seek out people to judge.  What other people do is their business.  But if the things they are doing somehow affect a Christian so that the Christian has to make a decision or judgment, then the Christian is to judge righteously in a manner that will be pleasing to God, regardless of how it will affect self or others.  Some Christians feel that they have a free license to stick their nose into other people’s business because the Bible teaches them that they are to judge the righteous judgment.  This is not true and they are confused because they neglect to realize that God told them what kind of judgment they are to judge by;  They are to judge a “righteous” judgment.  This is the judgment that pleases God.  It does not please God when Christians go around looking for something to judge, but when a Christian is faced with a judgment to make and judges righteously so as to please God it does this very thing: pleases God!

 

Why then does Jesus mention this matter of judgment?

 

Because He is speaking to them about how things will be in the kingdom of heaven (or, the Millinium).  During that dispensation (time period), the judgment that He will impart to a person will be based on how they judged other people.  Therefore, He encourages them to make sure that their own relationship and life is right before they make any decisions or judgment upon others.  He teaches them to examine themselves first before they make any decisions so that they won’t be hypocrite’s.  He encourages them to do right, but their motive for doing right is concerning obedience to their Jewish king, otherwise they will suffer the consequences and be judged in the same manner that they judged others.  So, the rule for judgment in Matthew is a general rule concerning rules of conduct between Jewish saints, with a direct reference to the Kingdom-age.

 

For the Christian, the judgment that God imparts to us is primarily our acceptance of His Son: Jesus Christ.  We are encouraged to: judging righteously and consider our relationship with God and what pleases Him.  Therefore, our motive for judgment is not so much one of obedience, but of love; a love that expresses thankfulness to God for the grace that we received from Him.  The Christian does not judge in order to receive something or to give something.  The Christian judges righteously in order to demonstrate his love toward God so that God will be pleased.

 

Unlike the idea of those who say, “Christians should not to preach against anything or anyone, and be tolerant of everything,” Christians are to  judge and discern.  The Bible clearly teaches that Christians should:

 

  1. Judge things in their own life and the lives of others

 

  • 1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
  • 1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
  • 1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  • 1 Corinthians 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

 

  1. Not judge a brother as unsaved if that brother disagrees with him on MINOR doctrinal points of practice.

 

  • Romans 14:1-10 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
  • Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

 

  1. Not judge anything hastily, when not required, unmercifully or from an unscriptural standpoint.
  2. Identify and avoid preachers and teachers who do not believe the word of God, or who profess to believe it but, practically, deny it by their preaching and teaching.

 

  • Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
  • Philippians 3:18-19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
  • Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

 

  1. Judge the “fruit” quickly and accurately by the standard of absolute truth.

 

  • John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

The Liberal teaching that we are not to judge whether or not a doctrine is true is nothing but a Satanic snare for those who are too lazy to “search the scriptures.”  The problem is that it works in many cases.  Christians buy the world’s teaching over the Bible all too often.  This is why they stick with this tactic.  This is why apostate “Christians” are given a hearing over Bible believing Christians any day, but when one person crosses a Bible believer and begins to hear the truth’s of God’s word, they are refreshed and curious.  The Devil just has to get Bible believers to keep quiet.

 

Practical Lessons

 

There are a lot of practical things however, that we can learn from this passage of Scripture to help us Christians.  It is good for us to consider ourselves before making a judgment of righteousness so that we can identify with a person.  If we do so we will often see an avenue for dispensing mercy.  “Mercy” is when a person does not receive something that they rightly deserve.  “Grace” is when a person receives something that they do not rightly deserve.  If a Christian considers and examines his own life first he will certainly be reminded that he has received not only mercy from God but grace also.  This can only influence the Christian to judge righteously in a manner that God would judge using mercy and grace rightly.  Otherwise the Christian runs the danger of judging in a corrupt manner that would please self or some other man.  It is also very practical for the Christian to remember that he too is a sinner and that he deserves the harsh judgment of God for his sin, and if he judges the sin of others without remembering this he is a hypocrite.  When the Christian acts in a hypocritical manner it does nothing more than to push people away from Jesus Christ.