Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Trinity in Ephesians
December 26, 2010

"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus is surely one of the most profoundly doctrinal--yet intensely practical--books of the Bible, and it is not surprising that the doctrine of the tri-une God breaks into his message so frequently. For example, note Ephesians 2:18: "For through |Christ| we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."

More often, however, it appears not in a succinct formula like this, but rather in interconnected references to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, always implying that each is deity, but never that they are three different "gods." Paul prayed that "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17).

He also prayed "unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . That he would grant you, . . . to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Ephesians 3:14, 16-17). Thus the believer is "filled with all the fulness of God" (v. 19).

We are exhorted to "grieve not the holy Spirit of God, . . . even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:30, 32). And "be filled with the Spirit; . . . Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:18, 20).

There are others, but note especially our text, speaking of our unity in Him and His tri-unity in us. "There is . . . one Spirit . . . One Lord, . . . One God and Father of all, who is above all |i.e., the Father|, and through all |the Son|, and in you all |the Spirit|." All this is a magnificent mystery, but a wonderful reality! HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Science--True and False
December 19, 2010

"And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:9)

It is significant that the first reference to "science" in the Bible is in connection with the tree of the "science" of good and evil. The English word "science" comes from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge." In both Old and New Testaments, "science" and "knowledge" translate the same Greek and Hebrew words respectively. Science--properly speaking--is what we know, not naturalistic speculation (as in evolutionary "science"). Adam and Eve knew a great deal about God and His creation, and all of it was "very good" (Genesis 1:31); they did not need to have a knowledge of evil, and God warned them against it (2:17).

But they partook of the evil tree anyway, and therewith evil knowledge entered the hearts and minds of mankind. Throughout the long ages since, true science has been of great good in the world and false science has wrought great harm. The apostle Paul has warned us against it: "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20). In the context of the times, Paul was specifically warning against the evolutionary pantheism of the gnostic philosophers.

In contrast, the final climactic reference in the Bible to knowledge is Peter's exhortation to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), and in Jesus Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). Therefore, let us resolve to eschew the knowledge of evil and grow in the knowledge of Christ! HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Sermonette

Fringe Issues
December 18, 2010

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient." (2 Timothy 2:24)

One of the plagues of modern-day Christendom is that many take up side issues and deem them all-important--a point of separation between them and other Christians. Health foods, dress codes, and church constitutions are not unimportant, but Christians can hold different opinions and still be walking with God. Note the scriptural admonitions: "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace |i.e., primary issues|; not with meats |i.e., fringe issues|, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein" (Hebrews 13:9); "foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes" (2 Timothy 2:23).

On the other hand, there are many scriptural commands to hold "fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9); to "keep that which is committed to thy trust" (1 Timothy 6:20). Many of these points of "sound doctrine" (Titus 1:9) are absolutely essential, such as the deity of Christ, the authority of Scripture, salvation by grace, the resurrection of Christ, and many others clearly and specifically taught in Scripture. Perhaps the rule might be, if it's an essential doctrine, teach and defend it at all costs; if it's a secondary doctrine, teach it in "meekness" and love (2 Timothy 2:25). But if it's a fringe issue, avoid strife over it, allowing brothers to exercise their freedom.

Is creationism a fringe issue? No! Few doctrines are so clearly taught in Scripture. Is it crucial to salvation? No! But it is essential to adequately understand the great primary doctrines for it is foundational to them all. Furthermore, it is the subject of origins which the enemy has identified as a major battleground, vowing to destroy Christianity over this issue. Here we must stand, if we are to guard our faith. JDM

h/t: J D MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

How to Keep from Falling
December 12, 2010

"For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" (Psalm 56:13)

Once a person receives Christ as Savior, he must begin, then continue, in the Christian life. There will be many temptations along the way, however, as well as many pressures to recant, many sorrows, many difficulties. How is the "babe" in Christ to keep from stumbling and falling?

The answer, of course, is that we are kept by the same grace that saved us in the first place! The Lord Jesus died to save us from eternal death in hell; surely we can "be saved by his life" from falling while living (Romans 5:10). Our beautiful text verse anticipates this great New Testament truth. If the Lord can deliver my soul from death, surely He can keep my feet from falling! Other wonderful verses in the psalms give the same assurance. For example: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand" (Psalm 37:23-24).

It is important, of course, that each person professing faith in Christ be sure that his faith is real, founded on the true Jesus Christ as Creator, Redeemer, and Lord, not a sentimental faith in "another Jesus, . . . or another gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:4). As Peter urges: "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" (2 Peter 1:10).

And then, in the last words of the New Testament before the book of Revelation, we are directed again to Christ. "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen" (Jude 24-25). What a blessed assurance is this! HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Faithful Stewards
December 5, 2010

"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:2)

God's Word reminds us that "every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12), "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).

These and similar verses apply specifically to Christians and relate to rewards for faithful service, not to salvation. At this judgment, "the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is" (1 Corinthians 3:13). The test of our works is not one of quantity, but quality.

As stewards of Christ we have been entrusted not only with various material possessions, but also with time, talents, and opportunities, as well as all the blessings of His glorious gospel. We are in fact "the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1).

"Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?" asked the Lord. "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Luke 12:42-43). But He also warned: "If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" (Luke 16:12).

The Greek word for "faithful" means essentially "believable." Can our Christian profession be trusted? Are we true to our word? This is what will really count when the Lord comes "to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). The greatest reward, of course, will be simply to hear Him say: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Inspired Words
November 28, 2010

"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." (Luke 21:33)

The doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration, wrongly considered antiquated by many modern neo-evangelicals, is actually essential to the Christian faith. "All scripture |that is every word written down or inscribed| is given by inspiration |literally 'breathed in'| of God," not man! (2 Timothy 3:16).

We acknowledge, of course, that problems of transmission and translation exist, but these are relatively trivial in the entire context. We also acknowledge that the process of inspiration may have varied, but the end result is as if the entire Bible had been dictated and transcribed word by word.

This is the way Jesus Christ--the Creator, the Living Word, the Author of Scripture--viewed the Scriptures. "The scripture cannot be broken," He said (John 10:35). "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18). "Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: . . . And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:25, 27). The Bible therefore, every word of it, is divinely inspired, verbally without error, infallibly true, and of absolute authority in every area of our lives. The words of Christ who taught these truths are forever "settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89) and "shall not pass away."

It is mortally dangerous, therefore, "unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book" to "add unto these things" as the cultists do, or to "take away from the words of the book of this prophecy" as the liberals do (Revelation 22:18-19). Would it not be much better to say with the psalmist, "Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors" (Psalm 119:24)? HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Those Who Pass By
November 21, 2010

"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger." (Lamentations 1:12)

This heartbroken lament, uttered by Jeremiah, the "weeping prophet," personifies the devastated city of Jerusalem after the Babylonian invasion. She who had been "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, . . . the city of the great King" (Psalm 48:2), now lay in ruins, and neither the triumphant armies who had ravished her nor the careless peoples living around her cared at all that this was the city of God being chastised for her unfaithfulness.

Many Christians have, at times, felt alone and confused, longing for someone who would care, saying with the psalmist: "There was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4). But no one has ever been so alone or has suffered so intensely and so unjustly as the one who was the very "man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3). He was "smitten of God, and afflicted" in the day of God’s fierce anger, for "the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4, 6).

Just as there were those who passed by suffering Jerusalem, some gloating and others unconcerned, so there were those who passed by and viewed the suffering Savior as He hung on the cross. "And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads" (Matthew 27:39).

There are multitudes who still pass Him by today. Some revile Him; many ignore Him, altogether uncaring that He loved them and even died to save them. Soon, however, "every eye shall see him, . . . and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Revelation 1:7). Their indifference will be turned quickly into mourning in that day. "Is it nothing to you?" the Lord would ask. HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

This Grace Also
November 14, 2010

"Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." (2 Corinthians 8:7)

The "grace" of which Paul was writing in our text is the grace of giving! Many Christians may show diligence and love in their Christian life, but are still very reluctant to give sacrificially to the work of the Lord.

Many follow what they consider the "law of tithing" (most Christians don’t even do that!) and consider this to be meritorious. The fact is, however, that giving for the Christian is not a law to be obeyed, but a grace to be cultivated.

The motivation cited by Paul for abounding in this grace was not the Old Testament ordinance, but the New Testament example in the church at Philippi. Consider, he said, "the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality . . . beyond their power they were willing of themselves." And the real secret of their motivation was that they "first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Corinthians 8:1-3, 5). An even greater motive for abounding in this grace is the example of Christ: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Corinthian s 8:9).

This grace of giving is thus displayed when one gives liberally (even in times of affliction and poverty) out of wholehearted devotion to the Lord and for the spiritual enrichment of those who are spiritually impoverished.

"God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Biblical Sarcasm
November 7, 2010

"And Job answered and said, No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you." (Job 12:1-2)

It is remarkable that the Bible, with its great variety of literary forms and numerous personal conversations and discourses, contains very few examples of sarcasm or satire.

Nevertheless, the few examples of biblical irony are well worth noting, with one of the most notable being Job's response as above to the self-righteous platitudes of his three philosophizing "friends." In their intellectual and moral arrogance and with no real understanding of God's purposes, these critics were far out of line and well deserved Job's cutting sarcasm. Examples of such combined spiritual ignorance and intellectual arrogance are not hard to find today and, occasionally perhaps, a satirical commentary may be effective in changing them or preventing their effect.

One other well-known case of biblical sarcasm is Elijah's taunting monologue to the prophets of Baal: "Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked" (1 Kings 18:27). Jeremiah also had a word to say about the ineptitude of false gods and the foolishness of those who put their faith in them, and who were "saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: . . . But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble" (Jeremiah 2:27-28).

Much more foolish than those who believe that sticks and stones can generate living beings, however, are those modernday idolaters who worship "Mother Nature," believing that her "natural processes" can evolve hydrogen atoms, over billions of years, into human beings. The examples of Elijah and Jeremiah as well as Job may warrant an occasional touch of sarcasm when discussing such notions! HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Seducing Spirits
October 31, 2010

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (1 Timothy 4:1)

This very cogent warning by the Holy Spirit, spoken "expressly" (or "with special clarity") for those living in the latter days, predicts an unusual outbreak of seductive demonism--not just in pagan, idol-worshipping, or animistic cultures, but in "Christian" nations, where they can lead many to "depart from the faith" which their forefathers once professed. Christians, therefore, should not be taken by surprise at the vast eruption of witchcraft, New-Age mysticism, Eastern occultism, rock-music demonism, drug-induced fantasies, altered states of consciousness, and even overt Satan-worshipping cults that have suddenly proliferated in our supposedly scientific and naturalistic society. Behind it all are the "seducing spirits" and "the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Ephesians 6:12).

It should be obvious that Christians must completely avoid all such beliefs and practices. "I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils" (1 Corinthians 10:20). "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing" (2 Corinthians 6:17). Even "innocent" fun (Halloween parties, ouija boards, dungeons-and-dragons games, etc.) and well-intentioned (but many times superficial) exorcism of apparent demon-possession by Christian workers have often led to dangerous demonic influences in the lives of Christian people, as well as in Christians who have sought supernatural experiences or revelations. In anything that even touches on occultism or demonic influence, the advice of Peter is relevant. "Be sober, be vigilant; becau se your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS: INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Wisdom Mine
October 24, 2010

"Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?" (Job 28:20)

In one of his monologues, the patriarch Job compares his search for spiritual understanding to man's explorations for metals and precious stones. "There is a vein for the silver," he said, "and a place for gold. . . . Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone" (vv. 1-2).

These all are easier to find than true wisdom. "It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold" (vv. 16-19).

Neither have animals discovered it. "The fierce lion passed by it. . . it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air" (vv. 8, 21). "The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me" (v. 14).

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?" (v. 12). Job is driven to ask: "Where must one go to find and mine the vein of true wisdom?"

It is certainly "not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought" (1 Corinthians 2:6). The mine of evolutionary humanism which dominates modern education and scholarship will yield only the fool's gold of "science falsely so called" (1 Timothy 6:20).

Job found true wisdom only through God, and so must we, for only "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof . . . unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:23, 28). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the ever-productive mine, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Third Firmament
October 17, 2010

"And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above." (Ezekiel 1:22)

The English word "firmament" in the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew raqia, meaning "expanse." Its meaning is not "firm boundary" as biblical critics have alleged, but might be better paraphrased as "stretched-out thinness" or simply "space."

Its first occurrence in the Bible relates it to heaven: "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. . . . And God called the firmament Heaven" (Genesis 1:6, 8). This firmament obviously could not be a solid boundary above the sky, but is essentially the atmosphere, the "first heaven," the "space" where the birds were to "fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven" (Genesis 1:20).

There is also a second firmament, or second heaven, where God placed the sun, moon, and stars, stretching out into the infinite reaches of space. "And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth" (Genesis 1:17).

The firmament in our text, however, is beneath the very throne of God, and above the mighty cherubim (Ezekiel 1:23) who seem always in Scripture to indicate the near presence of God. This glorious firmament, brilliantly crystalline in appearance, must be "the third heaven" to which the apostle Paul was once "caught up" in a special manifestation of God's presence and power, to hear "unspeakable words" from God in "paradise" (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).

All three heavens "declare the glory of God" and all three firmaments "sheweth his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). Therefore, we should "praise God in his sanctuary" and also "praise him in the firmament of his power" (Psalm 150:1). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Deceitfulness of Riches
October 10, 2010

"And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." (Mark 4:18-19)

There is currently a widespread teaching among evangelicals that material prosperity is a right which accrues to the Christian who will do certain things. This "prosperity gospel," however, is merely a false front for the old-fashioned sin of "covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).

The Lord Jesus, in His parable of the sower, warned that this "deceitfulness of riches" along with "the cares of this world" and then "the lusts of other things" could soon choke out whatever place the Word of God might once have had in the believer's life. In no way does the Lord ever promise material wealth to a Christian, but the desire for money and its power has surely crushed the spiritual lives and testimonies of multitudes. "They that will [i.e., desire to] be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts. ... For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:9-10). If, by His grace, the Lord does enable a Christian to acquire wealth, it should be regarded as a divine stewardship and opportunity for ministry.

The apostle Paul, who died penniless in this world but with great treasures laid up in heaven, expressed it thus: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come" (1 Timothy 6:17-19). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Lovers of Self
October 3, 2010

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy." (2 Timothy 3:2)

One of the dangerous teachings of the "New Age" movement which has spilled over into modern evangelicalism is the notion of "self-love." Many psychologists--even Christian professional counselors--are attributing society's ills, especially among young people, to the supposed lack of a "positive self-image" or "self-esteem" on the part of those exhibiting anti-social behavior. What they need, we are told, is to learn to love themselves more, to appreciate their own self-worth. The problem with this idea is that it is both unscriptural and unrealistic. People do not hate themselves. The Bible says that "no man ever yet hated his own flesh" (Ephesians 5:29).

Instead of learning to esteem ourselves, the Scripture commands us each to "esteem other better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3). Even the apostle Paul, near the end of his life, considered himself so unworthy that he called himself the chief of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15).

We are told by some Christian leaders that the measure of our great value in the sight of God is the fact that Christ paid such a high price--His own death--to redeem us. The fact is, however, that His death is not the measure of our great value, but of our terrible sinfulness. "Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

In fact, as in our text, the rise of this self-love idea is itself a sign of the last days, when men shall be "lovers of their own selves." It is the main characteristic of "New Age" humanism which is based squarely upon evolutionary pantheism.

Christ died for our sins because He loved us, not because He needed us. We should live for Him in thanksgiving for the "amazing grace, that saved a wretch like me!" HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Be Patient
September 26, 2010

"Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 5:8)

Many of us have been looking for the return of the Lord Jesus for a long time. This writer has kept a simple little plaque on his office wall for over 50 years. It reads: "Perhaps today," and serves as a daily reminder that today might indeed be the day when He comes again. We do long for His appearing, and as things seem to grow worse in the world year by year, it is easy to become impatient--or perhaps even despondent--when He doesn't come.

Yet day by day "the coming of the Lord draweth nigh!" as our text teaches. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:36-37).

Even the first-century Christians had to learn patience as they also anxiously were awaiting Christ's return to deliver them out of their tribulations--tribulations which were so great they seemed to fit "end-time prophecies."

"Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:13) is His admonition to all who await His second coming. "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Luke 12:43). But rather than hoping the Lord will come quickly to free us from our tribulations, we should "count it all joy when fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of faith worketh patience" (James 1:2-3). We need patience, and "tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3). For God will render "to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" (Romans 2:7). We should "be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12). "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord" (James 5:7). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Adam and the Animals
September 19, 2010

"And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof." (Genesis 2:19)

This event occurred on the sixth day of creation week, between the formation of Adam’s body and that of Eve (note Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 22), and there is no reason not to take it literally. Nevertheless, modern theistic evolutionists, including many seminary professors, have found two imaginary problems which they argue prevent taking it literally.

The first quibble finds a "contradiction" with Genesis 1:21-25, which says the animals were all made before Adam--not afterward. This supposed problem vanishes when the text verse is translated as follows: "The LORD God had formed every beast of the field." This is a legitimate--in fact, preferable--translation of the Hebrew original.

The other alleged difficulty is the supposed inability of Adam to name all the animals in one day. But in reality, he only had to give names "to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field" (Genesis 2:20)--that is, those nearby birds, cattle, and other mammals that might be seen as potential candidates to be a "help meet" for Adam. No marine animals, reptiles, insects, or "beasts of the earth" (Genesis 1:24; i.e., living far away from Eden) were brought to him. Furthermore, he did not need to name every species, but only each relevant "kind"--possibly each "family" (i.e., dogs, horses, eagles, etc.).

Finally, his divinely created mental abilities were not yet limited by the disease of sin, so that he could appropriately name each kind much more rapidly than we could do. Thus, no sincere Bible student should be tempted to doubt Genesis by any such "difficulties" as these. HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS: INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good News Tuesday

Thou Shalt Be Saved!
September 15, 2010

"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31)

This was Paul's answer to the trembling jailer's question: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (v. 30). To our modern sophisticated ears, such terms as being "saved" may sound strange and oldfashioned, but there is no more accurate term than this to describe the miracle that happens when a person becomes a real Christian and is "born again."

Before being saved, he is under God's condemnation because of sin, destined for hell; but when he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he is "saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:9). Not only is he saved from eternal wrath, he is saved to eternal life. Christ is "able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

This great salvation is not achieved by good works of any kind or number, "for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).

Although being saved is God's gift to man, its cost was infinite to Christ. "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10).

The price of our salvation was the shed blood of Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and the greatest of all sins--the one for which there is no forgiveness--is that of rejecting Him. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). He is our great redeeming Savior, and only He can save! HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Understanding the Times
September 12, 2010

"And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment." (1 Chronicles 12:32)

This chapter lists the numbers of men from each of the tribes of Israel who cast their lot with David in his conflict with King Saul. All these numbers are given except those of Issachar, but of these it was said that all their brethren followed their 200 leaders in turning to David. The reason for their unanimity in this decision was that these leaders "had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." It was time to "turn the kingdom" to David, "according to the word of the LORD" (1 Chronicles 12:23). God had given them a Benjamite, Saul, as king for a time, but now David had been anointed, and it was the time to give "the sceptre" to Judah, according to the prophecy of their father, Jacob, given over 600 years before (Genesis 49:10).

How desperately we need leaders today who are spiritual "sons of Issachar," understanding these times! Christ told the apostles: "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons" (Acts 1:7); it was more urgent that they proceed to witness for Him "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (v. 8).

Nevertheless, He would return to the earth in some generation, and that generation should be expected (when they would see all these things) to "know that it is near, even at the doors" (Matthew 24:33). They could understand the signs, and even though they should never attempt to guess the date, they could "look up, . . . for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28), when they would see "these things begin to come to pass."

The signs are everywhere, yet few of our leaders--Christian politicians included--seem to understand the real meaning of these times. Christ is "even at the doors!" HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Father to Son to Grandson
September 5, 2010

"That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged." (Deuteronomy 6:2)

The Lord often has emphasized in His Word the vital importance of not only obeying His commands but also of diligently instructing our children therein--and so on from generation to generation. "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (v. 7).

These instructions were given originally to the children of Israel, but can surely be applied also in our day. To carry them out requires real dedication and discipline in their own lives on the part of fathers. "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget . . . but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons" (4:9).

The Israelites did forget all too often, but so do many Christian fathers today. Our specific command today is: "And, ye fathers . . . bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Our whole American culture once was structured on biblical principles, but no more. We can blame the schools and activist courts, but a more basic cause is parental (especially paternal) failure. We again need to remember and apply in our own homes God's testimony to ancient Israel.

"For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them . . . and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (Psalm 78:5-7). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

His Master's Crib
August 29, 2010

"The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." (Isaiah 1:3)

What an indictment this is--not only against the people of Israel, but against men and women everywhere. All were created and made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) for fellowship with Him, but even His own chosen people rejected Him, and most people everywhere all but ignore Him in their daily lives.

"Crib" is the same as "manger," and when God became man, His human parents "laid him in a manger" (Luke 2:7), as there was no room for Him anywhere else. The animals knew Him, and so did the angels, but His people were unconcerned. "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not" (John 1:10).

When He came into Jerusalem offering Himself as King of Israel, He rode on an unbroken colt, "whereon yet never man sat," and the little "foal of an ass" (Luke 19:30; Zechariah 9:9) willingly submitted, knowing his divine Master and Maker. But the people of Jerusalem as a whole joined in clamoring for His crucifixion just a few days later.

The indictment against Israel could be lodged with even greater justification against America today. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: . . . I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me" (Isaiah 1:2). The morals of our people seem to have been turned upside down, and God would say to us also: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (Isaiah 5:20).

Yet--in modern America, as well as in ancient Israel--"as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Sunday Sermonette

His Master's Crib
August 29, 2010

"The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." (Isaiah 1:3)

What an indictment this is--not only against the people of Israel, but against men and women everywhere. All were created and made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) for fellowship with Him, but even His own chosen people rejected Him, and most people everywhere all but ignore Him in their daily lives.

"Crib" is the same as "manger," and when God became man, His human parents "laid him in a manger" (Luke 2:7), as there was no room for Him anywhere else. The animals knew Him, and so did the angels, but His people were unconcerned. "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not" (John 1:10).

When He came into Jerusalem offering Himself as King of Israel, He rode on an unbroken colt, "whereon yet never man sat," and the little "foal of an ass" (Luke 19:30; Zechariah 9:9) willingly submitted, knowing his divine Master and Maker. But the people of Jerusalem as a whole joined in clamoring for His crucifixion just a few days later.

The indictment against Israel could be lodged with even greater justification against America today. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: . . . I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me" (Isaiah 1:2). The morals of our people seem to have been turned upside down, and God would say to us also: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (Isaiah 5:20).

Yet--in modern America, as well as in ancient Israel--"as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). HMM

h/t: HENRY M MORRIS, INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

To The Looking Glass
August 22, 2010

"For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:23-25)

The Word of God is not a magic mirror, but if we seek real truths concerning ourselves, the biblical looking glass can bring great blessing. He who reads or hears the word, but does not believe or obey it, is "a forgetful hearer" (v. 25) who is deceiving himself. It is these who merely "behold" themselves in the Word. The Greek word used here for "beholding" and "beholdeth" means "looking from a distance"--standing erect, as it were, while posing before the mirror. The man who "looketh into" the Word, on the other hand, "and continueth therein," being an obedient doer of its work, is the one who receives eternal blessing. The Greek word here for "looketh" conveys the idea of intense scrutiny, requiring the one who is looking actually to stoop down in order to see. In fact, it is often translated "stoop down."

As we allow the mirror of God's Word to evaluate and correct our lives, "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Yet this is only a token of what we can experience in the future. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). Now we can see ourselves in the written Word. When we see the living Word, "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Scattering Hammer
August 15, 2010

"Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" (Jeremiah 23:29)

One of the most picturesque of the figures used to describe the Holy Scriptures is that of the hammer striking and shattering a rock. In this text, however, the "rock" is literally a mighty rock mountain.

Furthermore, the effect of the hammer is to "break in pieces." This phrase actually is a single Hebrew word which normally means "disperse," or "scatter abroad," usually used in describing the worldwide dispersion of the children of Israel. It was used even earlier for the first dispersion at Babel: "So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth" (Genesis 11:8). Perhaps most significantly of all, it is used in the prophecy of Zechariah 13:7: "Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered."

This verse was quoted by the Lord Jesus just after the last supper and applied to Himself: "All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad" (Matthew 26:31). Combining all these themes, our text really seems to be saying: "Is not my word like a mighty hammer from heaven that shatters the great mountain and scatters it abroad?"

Our text is inserted in the midst of a stinging rebuke by Jeremiah of Israel's false prophets, contrasting their lies with the mighty power of God's true Word. Perhaps it is also a parable of the living Word, who is also the great Rock of ages, as well as the loving Shepherd. When the Rock was shattered, the living stones were ejected from the Rock. The sheep that were thus scattered from the Shepherd became the spreading fire of the written Word, and "they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

A Nail in a Sure Place
by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
"And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house." (Isaiah 22:22-23)

This prophecy was originally applied to Eliakim, the keeper of the treasuries in the reign of King Hezekiah. The wearing of the key to the treasuries on his shoulder was symbolic of authority. Isaiah, in fact, had used this same symbol in his great prophecy of the coming Messiah, saying that "unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6).

Eliakim thus became a type of Christ in his capacity to open and shut doors with his special key. The Lord Jesus quoted from this passage in His promise to the church at Philadelphia: "These things saith . . . he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name" (Revelation 3:7-8). This strong assurance has been a great bulwark to many who were trying to maintain a true witness during times of opposition and suffering.

But Eliakim was also called "a nail in a sure place," and in this also he becomes a wonderful type of Christ. Eliakim was trustworthy in his office, and so is Christ. The nail in a sure place speaks of stability in time of trouble, as Ezra later said: "Now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, . . . to give us a nail in his holy place" (Ezra 9:8). Eventually, of course, Eliakim’s nail had to be removed (Isaiah 22:25), but never that of Christ, for He is "an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast" (Hebrews 6:19) who will never fail. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Those Whom God Calls Fools
August 1, 2010

"Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?" (Deuteronomy 32:6)

This rebuke was by Moses, as he warned the people of God just before their entrance into the Promised Land. It contains the first use of the Hebrew nabal (translated "fool" or "foolish") in the Bible. Here it is applied to God's chosen people after they had been redeemed out of Egyptian slavery by God. This implies that the most foolish of all people are those who have known about God and His great salvation and yet have turned away from His Word.

Paul writes in similar scathing terms of those who had known of God's great deliverance of their fathers from the evil world before the Flood, and yet then abandoned Him for idolatry. "When they knew God, . . . their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

David used the same word about those who decide they can explain things without God, just as do so many intellectuals in modern America. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. . . . Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God" (Psalm 53:1, 4).

Even prophets and preachers can become fools if they follow their own wisdom instead of God's Word. "Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!" (Ezekiel 13:3).

Jesus similarly rebuked even those He dearly loved, because they were surprised and discouraged when He was crucified. "O fools," He said, because they had been "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25). God help us to maintain believing hearts, not foolish hearts, as we serve Him! HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

With the Rich in His Death
July 25, 2010

"And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." (Isaiah 53:9)

It is generally recognized that the amazing 53rd chapter of Isaiah, written over 500 years earlier, is the most explicit and complete exposition of the substitutionary suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Bible, including even the New Testament accounts. And this prophecy that His death and burial would be with both the "wicked, and with the rich" is surely one of the most remarkable. How could such a prediction possibly come to pass?

Yet it did! Unjustly condemned, not for any violent or deceitful acts, but only for telling the truth, Jesus was crucified between two wicked criminals, yet He was buried in a garden tomb lovingly built by a rich member of the council that had condemned Him to death.

Furthermore, that elaborate tomb had almost certainly been personally designed and built ahead of time by Joseph in specific anticipation of using it to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. That wealthy owner of the tomb lived in Arimathea and would never have built a tomb for himself or his family near Calvary, the place of crucifixion. But he and a friend on the council (Nicodemus) had somehow come to believe in Jesus and His gospel and decided they were the ones that should render this service.

Perhaps, as they looked up at the body of the Lord on the cross just before removing it for burial, they remembered His words to Nicodemus three years earlier, when He had said: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). They had indeed believed, no doubt suffering severe loss, but they had done what they could for Christ. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Pure Word
July 18, 2010

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." (Proverbs 30:5)

When the inspired writer of Proverbs testified here that God’s Word was "pure," he did not use the usual word for, say, moral purity or metallic purity. Instead, he asserted in effect that every Word of God had been refined and purified, as it were in a spiritual furnace, so that any and all contaminants had been purged out, leaving only the pure element.

The same truth is found in the great psalm of the Scriptures (Psalm 119). "Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it" (Psalm 119:140). David used the same word in another psalm, where it is translated "tried" in the sense of "tested for purity." "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him" (Psalm 18:30). The word for "buckler" in this verse is the same as for "shield" in our text. Thus God equips with a perfect shield against the weapons of any foe, because "His way is perfect" and "every word" in Scripture has been made "pure" before the Spirit of God approved its use by the human writer.

This surely tells us that the human writer of Scripture (that is, Moses or David or John or whomever), with all his human proneness to mistakes or other inadequacies, was so controlled by the Holy Spirit that whatever he actually wrote had been purged of any such deficiencies. Thus his final written text had been made perfectly "pure," free from any defects. This control applies to "every word," so that we can legitimately refer to the Scriptures as verbally inspired and inerrant throughout.

As the apostle Paul stressed, our spiritual armor in the battle against evil is "the shield of faith" and "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:16-17). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Shame of Entropy
July 11, 2010

"I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?" (1 Corinthians 6:5)

The word for "shame" in this verse is the Greek entrope, meaning "turning inward" or "inversion." It is used only one other time, in 1 Corinthians 15:34: "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." Evidently this special variety of shame is associated with taking controversies between Christian brethren to ungodly judges and also with failing to witness to the non-Christian community. Instead of bringing the true wisdom of God to the ungodly, such "entropic Christians" were turning to worldly wisdom to resolve their own spiritual problems. This inverted behavior was nothing less than spiritual confusion!

The modern scientific term "entropy" is essentially this same Greek word. In science, entropy is a measure of disorder in any given system. The universal law of increasing entropy states that every system tends to disintegrate into disorder, or confusion, if left to itself. This tendency can only be reversed if ordering energy is applied to it effectively from a source outside the system.

This universal scientific law has a striking parallel in the spiritual realm. A person turning inward to draw on his own bank of power, or seeking power from an ineffective outside source, will inevitably deteriorate eventually into utter spiritual confusion and death. But when Christ enters the life, that person becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Scriptures, "his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). The law of spiritual entropy is transformed into the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Sermonette-Independence Day

The Law of Liberty
July 4, 2010

"So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." (James 2:12)

On Independence Day, Americans should give thanks to the Author of liberty that we have been privileged to live in this "sweet land of liberty," where we can worship God freely, in accord with His Word. Liberty is not license, however, and the essence of the American system is liberty under law. Fundamentally, that law is "the law of nature and of nature's God"--the natural laws of God's world and the revealed laws of God's Word. Within that framework we do have liberty--but not liberty to defy either the physical law of gravity or the spiritual "law of liberty." The latter is formulated in Scripture and has been applied over the centuries, in the English common law and later in our system of constitutional law, both of which are based on Scripture.

Some today, seeking license rather than liberty, might recoil at the very idea of "the law of liberty," calling it an "oxymoron," or contradiction in terms. But Jesus said that only "the truth shall make you free!" (John 8:32). "Sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4), and "sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15), not freedom!

No one can be saved by the law, but those who are saved--by grace through faith in Christ--will love God's law, for it is "holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12). We should say with the psalmist: "So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts" (Psalm 119:44-45).

There is, indeed, a law of liberty, and whoever will walk in real liberty will find it only in God's law of life, through His revealed Word. For "whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Two Ways
June 27, 2010

"For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." (Psalm 1:6)

This verse outlines the inescapable truth that there are only two roads and two destinations to which they lead in eternity. The word "way" (Hebrew, derek) means "road." There is only one way leading to heaven--the way of the righteous; and one way leading to hell--the way of the ungodly.

This is a very common word in Scripture, but it is significant that its first occurrence is in Genesis 3:24, referring to "the way of the tree of life." Once expelled from the garden of Eden because of their rebellion, Adam and Eve no longer could travel that "way" of life, and began to die.

The equivalent Greek word in the New Testament is hodos, also meaning "road," and it, too, occurs quite frequently. Its literal meaning--that of an actual roadway--lends itself very easily to the figure of a style of life whose practice leads inevitably to a certain destiny. Since there are only two basic ways of looking at life--the God-centered viewpoint and the man-centered viewpoint--there are only two ways of life, the way of the godly and the way of the ungodly. The one leads to life; the other to death. There is no other way.

The Lord Jesus taught: "Enter ye in at the strait |i.e., 'narrow'| gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). But what is the way of the righteous, that leads to life? "I am the way," said the Lord Jesus: "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). "This is the way, walk ye in it" (Isaiah 30:21). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Sermonette-Happy Father's Day

Love of the Father for the Son
June 20, 2010

"The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." (John 3:35)

The Gospel of John, in a special sense, emphasizes the love in the divine Trinity of the heavenly Father for the Son. The words "love" and "Father" and "Son" occur more in this book than in any other book of the Bible, and there are at least eight references to this love in John’s Gospel.

The first is in our text above, revealing that the Father has entrusted the care of the whole creation to the Son whom He loves. He has also shown Him everything in creation: "For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth" (John 5:20).

The Father also loved the Son because of His willingness to die for lost sinners. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again" (John 10:17).

Then in the upper room, as Christ prayed to His Father, it was revealed that this divine love had existed in eternity, and therefore must be both the root and the measure of all forms of true love ever since. "Father . . . thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). Parental love, marital love, filial love, love of country--all types of genuine love--are derived ultimately from this eternal love of the Father for the Son.

And it is this love that can also be in us, if we will have it. "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. . . . If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:9-10).

It was thus He prayed (and still prays) for us: "That the world may know that thou . . . hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. . . . And . . . that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:23, 26). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Adam and Mrs. Adam
June 13, 2010

"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." (Genesis 5:2)
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In these days of sensitivity concerning sexism, it is important to focus on God's own evaluation of the two sexes and their respective roles in the divine plan. As Creator of both, He alone can speak authoritatively about this matter.

Both man and woman were created in God's image (Genesis 1:27), and thus, in the categories of salvation, rewards, and eternal fellowship with their Creator, both are surely equal. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. . . . There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26-28).

At the same time, when God created them, He named them both "Adam," as our text notes. This is actually the same word as "man," as in Genesis 2:7 ("the LORD God formed man"), etc. Thus it is biblical to use the word "man" generically, when referring to the human race in general. When the woman was formed out of Adam's side, Adam said, "She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" (Genesis 2:23). Here a different Hebrew word is used for "man" (ish), and "woman" is isha.

Adam also gave his new bride a personal name. "Adam called his wife's name Eve |'life-giver'|; because she was the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20).

There is, therefore, nothing demeaning in using "man" as a generic term for both men and women, for this usage is sanctioned by God Himself. Nevertheless, each individual has his or her own distinctive personal name, and God deals with each of us individually on that basis. Our obedience and faithfulness to the divinely ordained role each of us is called by Him to fill, is God's criterion by which He measures us for eternity. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tea Party Member Stuns Crowd

Sunday Sermonette

The Thoughts of God
June 6, 2010

"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:17)

The motivating inspiration for the greatest scientists of the past (Newton, Kepler, Maxwell, etc.) was often expressed by them as seeking to "think God's thoughts after Him." The great achievements of these God-fearing men of science have enabled us to understand just a little portion of God's infinitely great and complex creation, but never can any group of men ever manage to think all His thoughts after Him. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 55:8). "How great is the sum of them," our text says. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it" (Psalm 139:6).

Yet it is surely right to try, for God has commanded man to "have dominion" over the earth (Genesis 1:26), and this implies understanding its processes and systems. We are to seek also to incorporate His thought patterns into ours, for He said to "let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).

In fact, our whole mission, in one sense as summed up in 2 Corinthians 10:5, is to be "casting down imaginations |or 'reasonings'|, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." We should, indeed, strive to think God's thoughts after Him, not only in our scientific research, but in every area of our lives.

There is one thing certain, of course. God's thoughts will never contradict His revealed Word, so this is the place to start. God surely "understandest my thought afar off" (Psalm 139:2), and He desires our thoughts to conform to His. For if we are truly Christians, "we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Eternal Cosmos
May 30, 2010

"He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass." (Psalm 148:6)

In this central psalm of the last five psalms comprising the "Hallelujah" epilogue to the book of Psalms, the entire physical creation is exhorted to praise the Lord, as all the universe is restored to its primeval perfection. All the people of the earth, all the angels, even all the animals, will praise the Lord.

Furthermore, in some way which can only be understood by faith, the entire inorganic creation--sun, moon, stars, mountains, winds, everything--will be able to praise Him. Even the primeval waters above the heavens (Genesis 1:7-9) will have been restored, and they will praise the Lord (Psalm 148:4-5).

And all of this will continue forever and ever! The new heavens and new earth--that is, the renewed heavens and earth, with the curse removed (Revelation 22:3)--the sun and moon and stars, with the eternal throne of the Lord Jesus established on the earth in the New Jerusalem, in the midst of all the redeemed men and women of all the ages--all of these will forever be a praise to God.

God is not capricious, and He does not fail. He will not "uncreate" what He has created. "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever" (Ecclesiastes 3:14). The earth must yet be purged by fire (2 Peter 3:10), but it will be renewed in righteousness (v. 13) and without any evidences of the former regime of decay and death.

And then it will last forever. "And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever" (Psalm 78:69). "|God| laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever" (Psalm 104:5). "And they that turn many to righteousness |shall shine| as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Created and Made
May 23, 2010

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." (Genesis 2:4)

There are two accounts of creation in Genesis, with the above text marking the dividing point. In the first (Genesis 1-2:4), the name used for the Creator is "God" (Hebrew Elohim), and its termination is the summarizing "signature," as it were: "These are the generations (Hebrew toledoth) of the heavens and the earth when they were created."

The second account (Genesis 2:4-5:1) normally uses the name "LORD God" (Jehovah Elohim) in chapters 2 and 3 (except where the serpent and Eve used Elohim when she was being tempted) and then simply "LORD" (Hebrew Jehovah) in chapter 4. This second creation account ends with Adam’s signature: "This is the book of the generations |i.e., toledoth| of Adam."

Critics claim that the two accounts are contradictory. Actually they are complementary, the second merely giving more details of the events of the fifth and sixth days of creation week. The Lord Jesus (who was there as the Creator!) used them both, quoting from each (Matthew 19:4-6) at the same time in the same context.

Note also that "create" (Hebrew bara) is used seven times in Genesis 1, never in Genesis 2-4. In that second account, "made" and "formed" (Hebrew asah, yatsar) are the words used. Genesis 2:3 stresses the fact that "create" and "make" are different, when it tells us that God rested "from all His work which God created and made." Evidently the verb "create," which always has the Creator as its subject, refers to His work in calling entities into existence; "make" refers to systems constructed (by either God or men) out of previously created entities. The heavens and the earth were both "created" and "made" (see our text). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Ascending Vapors
May 16, 2010

"He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries." (Psalm 135:7)

This striking verse is practically identical with Jeremiah 10:13 and Jeremiah 51:16, suggesting the possibility that the prophet Jeremiah may have written the otherwise anonymous Psalm 135. The two Jeremiah passages do preface this statement with the note that there is "a multitude of waters in the heavens" in connection with the processes described in the verse.

In any case, this thrice-mentioned mechanism beautifully summarized what we now call the hydrologic cycle, and it did so over 2,000 years before the cycle began to be understood by modern scientists. In order to provide rain to water the earth, there must be vapors ascending all over the earth (that is, evaporation from the world's great oceans), winds then blowing from God's unseen treasury (actually the global atmospheric circulation), and, finally, lightnings for (or "with") the rain (electrical discharges associated with the condensation and coalescence of the particles of water vapor in the atmosphere). All of this repeatedly transports purified waters from the ocean back over the lands to fall as rain and snow, there finally to run off back to the oceans after performing their life-sustaining ministries on the lands. "Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" (Ecclesiastes 1:7).

Not only does this hydrologic cycle sustain physical life on earth, but it also is a type of the spreading of God's Word, giving spiritual life. "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, . . . So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please" (Isaiah 55:10-11). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Faith of Our Mothers
May 9, 2010

"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." (2 Timothy 1:5)

The "dearly beloved son" (v. 2) of the apostle Paul was a young disciple whose strong and sincere Christian faith was due, more than anything else, to the lives and teachings of a godly mother and grandmother. As Paul wrote to Timothy in his last letter, "from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).

Timothy's mother was a Christian Jew (Acts 16:1), but his father was a Greek who evidently was not a believer. In the ideal Christian home, the father is to assume spiritual leadership (Ephesians 5:22, 25; 6:4), but countless fathers, for some reason, are either unable or unwilling to do this. Many have been the homes where a mother or grandmother, usually by default, has had to assume this all-important responsibility, and the Christian world owes these godly women a great debt of gratitude. The writer himself was raised in such a home, and much of his own concern for the Word of God is due to the concerned dedication of a Christian mother and two Christian grandmothers.

It is significant that the fifth of God's Ten Commandments requires children to honor their parents, and it is the only one of the ten which carries a special promise: "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:2-3). Every godly parent is worthy of real honor, every day--not just once each year. And when a Christian mother, like Timothy's mother, must assume all the responsibility for leading her children in the ways of God, she deserves very special praise. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Wondrous Things in the Word
May 2, 2010

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Psalm 119:18)

The word "law" (Hebrew torah), as used in the psalms, actually refers to all the revealed Scriptures. We may well understand it today to mean the entire Bible. And we can indeed behold wondrous things in the Word if we have eyes to see and hearts to believe by the grace of God.

The adjective "wondrous" is often used to describe God's mighty miracles in Egypt and elsewhere (e.g., Psalm 106:22 "Wondrous works in the land of Ham"). This would indicate that there are many evidences of divine origin that can be gleaned from the Scriptures, if our spiritual eyes are open to discern them as we search.

This 119th Psalm itself illustrates this truth. It has 22 stanzas (keyed in turn to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet), each with eight verses (the number eight representing new life, since eight suggests a new beginning after the "completeness" represented by the number seven). In each stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter--aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, in the first stanza, beth in the second stanza, etc.--and the 176 verses (i.e., 8 times 22) of the psalm (the longest chapter in the Bible) have 176 references to the Holy Scriptures.

The great theme of the psalm is, therefore, the wonder and power of the life-giving, written Word of God. As the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead on the "eighth day," and as there are eight other instances of the dead being restored to life in the Bible, there are eight different Hebrew words used for the Scriptures in the psalm.

Life through the Word! This is also the testimony of the gospel of Christ, revealed in "the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Flesh and the Spirit
April 25, 2010

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

The conflict between flesh and spirit is a frequent theme in Scripture, beginning way back in the antediluvian period: "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh" (Genesis 6:3). The "flesh," of course, refers to the physical body with all its feelings and appetites, while man's "spirit" refers especially to his spiritual nature with its ability to understand and communicate in terms of spiritual and moral values, along with its potential ability to have fellowship with God.

Because of sin, however, the natural man is spiritually "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1), and "they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8). When the flesh dominates, even the apostle Paul would have to say, "I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). This aspect of human nature became so dominant in the antediluvian world that "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth" (Genesis 6:12), and God had to wash the world clean with the Flood.

Now, however, the substitutionary death of Christ brings salvation and spiritual life to all who receive Him by the Holy Spirit. "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Romans 8:10-11). By the Lord Jesus Christ, the human spirit is made alive right now, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the body's resurrection is promised when Christ returns.

"They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh." The daily challenge to the believer is this: "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:24-25). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Headstone of the Corner

"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." (Psalm 118:22)
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That this enigmatic verse is really a Messianic prophecy is evident from the fact that Christ Himself applied it thus. "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?" (Matthew 21:42). The Jewish leaders had refused Him as their Messiah, but the day would come when they would have to confess their sad mistake.

Later, addressing them concerning "Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead," the apostle Peter said: "This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner" (Acts 4:10-11).

This analogy evidently refers back to the building of Solomon's great temple a thousand years earlier. At that time, each of the great stones for its beautiful walls was "made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building" (1 Kings 6:7). According to tradition, there was one stone which didn't fit with the others, so the builders moved it out of the way. At last, when the temple tower was almost complete, they found they were missing the pinnacle stone which would cap all the rest. Finally they realized that the stone they had rejected had been shaped to be the head stone at the topmost corner of the tower.

Peter referred to it again in his epistle: "Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: . . . Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient" (1 Peter 2:6-8). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Praising the Lord
April 11, 2010

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul." (Psalm 146:1)

Each of the last five psalms (146-150) begins and ends with: "Praise ye the LORD"--i.e., "Hallelujah." They comprise a sort of "Hallelujah Chorus": a grand epilogue to the five books which make up the complete book of Psalms.

Each of these five books also ends in a doxology. Note:

Book 1: "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen" (Psalm 41:13).

Book 2: "And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen" (Psalm 72:19).

Book 3: "Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen" (Psalm 89:52).

Book 4: "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalm 106:48).

Book 5: "My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever" (Psalm 145:21).

It is interesting, even if coincidental, that these five final praise psalms--all thanking God for past deliverances and the promise of an eternal future--contain a total of 153 verses. This is the same as the number of great fishes caught in a strong net by the disciples after Christ’s resurrection, symbolizing their going forth to fish for men in all nations, bringing them safe to the eternal shores of glory (John 21:10).

Then come the last five songs with their ten cries of "Hallelujah!" In the New Testament, "Hallelujah" (or "Alleluia") occurs only in the setting of the victorious marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-6). This suggests that these "Hallelujah Psalms" may be sung by the redeemed multitudes as they gather at His throne in heaven. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Resurrection Day sermonette

I Will Ever Be True
April 4, 2010

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

The concluding verse of our song, "The Old Rugged Cross," contains a commitment to follow Christ in this life and looks forward to life with Him in eternity.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.

When coupled with the preceding scriptural verse, our text mirrors these thoughts: "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (v. 1). In this life, we have both the victorious examples of many that have gone before (Hebrews 11), and Christ Himself. Both He and they have suffered joyfully, and so can we: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, . . . But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye" (1 Peter 4:12-14).

Once Christ fully "endured the cross," He rose from the dead in victory over death to take His rightful place "at the right hand of the throne of God." He now calls us to be "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20), "in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7). He'll call us some day to Himself, where we shall "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6), "and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). So I'll cherish the old rugged cross. JDM

h/t: J D Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Mindful of the Words
March 28, 2010

"That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour." (2 Peter 3:2)

There has long been a tendency for certain Bible teachers to water down the doctrine of verbal inspiration by arguing that it is the "thoughts" of Scripture that count--not the precise words. They forget that the transmission of specific thoughts requires precise words. Ambiguous language is bound to produce fuzzy thinking and uncertain response.

Thus the apostle Peter, in his last chapter, urged his followers to heed the words written by the Old Testament prophets. And Paul--in his final epistle--stressed that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16). That is, all the writings are "God-breathed." The "Scripture," of course, means the writings, the actual words written down--they are "God-inspired," not just the concepts.

Similarly John, in his last chapter, warned of the grave danger incurred by anyone who would either "add to" or "take away from," not just the ideas, but "the words of the book of this prophecy" (Revelation 22:18-19). Actually, "he which testifieth these things" was not just John but the glorified Jesus Himself (see Revelation 22:16, 20).

In fact, Jesus frequently quoted passages from the Old Testament, sometimes basing His entire thrust on a single word (e.g., John 10:34, 37; arguing on the basis of the word "gods" in Psalm 82:6). In that connection, He stressed that "the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35), referring to the actual words written by Moses and the prophets.

Near the end of His earthly ministry, He made a startling promise: "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away" (Mark 13:31). Thus the actual words of the Bible have come ultimately from God, and we do well to learn them and make them a part of our lives. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Aceldama
March 21, 2010

"And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood." (Acts 1:19)

Never was a tract of land more fittingly named than Aceldama, an Aramaic word meaning "field of blood," for it had been purchased with blood money, "the price of blood" (Matthew 27:6). The purchaser had been Judas (through the "executors" of his estate, as it were, following his suicide), but the blood he sold, to acquire the price of the field, he had deemed "innocent blood."

The miserable thirty shekels of silver which consummated this transaction was the price of a slave in ancient Israel (Exodus 21:32), but this slave was none other than God incarnate, so the thirty pieces of silver--the price set by the religious leaders of Israel--was the price for the sale of God.

The prophet Zechariah, more than 500 years before, had acted out a prophecy of these strange events: "So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver . . . a goodly price that I was prised at of them" (Zechariah 11:12-13). Next, according to both prophecy and fulfillment, this blood money was cast down in the temple and then used to buy the potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:5, 7-8).

These and many other such details in these accounts constitute a remarkable type and fulfillment of prophecy, and thus a testimony of both divine inspiration and divine foreordination. But, more than that, it is a striking picture of the price of our salvation, for the "field of blood" typifies that great field is the world (Matthew 13:38) and Christ is the man who, searching for "treasure hid in a field . . . selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field" (Matthew 13:44). All that He had--the very blood of His life--was willingly shed that we, dead in sins and hidden in the world, might be "purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Settled in Heaven
March 14, 2010

"For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89)

There are yet quite a number of unsettled controversies among Bible scholars as to the original text of certain passages in both Old and New Testaments. In fact, a frequent objection raised to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is that, since all the original "autographs" have been lost, we can never really be sure of any passage.

It is interesting to speculate on what happened to those manuscripts directly inspired by God and penned by Moses, John, Paul, and the others. It is strange that they all simply disappeared, with not a hint as to their history. If they had been preserved in a church or monastery somewhere, they would soon have become idolatrous objects of worship, so it is probably best they are gone.

But where did they go? The famous "ark of the covenant" similarly vanished at the time of the Babylonian invasion, and many fruitless searches have been conducted for it even in modern times. In this case, however, we do have a remarkable revelation. "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament" (Revelation 11:19). Evidently, the ark has been translated into heaven! We must realize that heaven is a real place in this eternal physical cosmos. Enoch and Elijah were translated there in their earthly bodies, and Christ is there in His physical resurrection body.

If, perhaps, angels somehow carried the original manuscripts of God’s Word to heaven after enough copies had been made to assure its faithful transmission on earth, placing them there in the ark, like the tablets of the law when it was still on the earth, this would surely give added meaning to our wonderful text verse: "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven!" HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Duty of Rejoicing
March 7, 2010

"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee." (Psalm 5:11)

It may seem strange to think of rejoicing as a Christian duty, but the Scriptures do contain many commands to rejoice, and many of these are given in circumstances of grief or danger, as is the case of our beautiful text verse.

"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4), Paul wrote from a Roman dungeon. In the upper room the night before He was to die on a cross, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples: "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). And then He said: "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service" (John 16:2). But then He said again: "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).

If David could rejoice while fleeing from murderous enemies, if Paul could rejoice while chained unjustly in a Roman prison, if the disciples could experience fullness of joy while facing martyrdom, and if the Lord Himself "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2), then our Christian duty of rejoicing in all circumstances may not be such an unseemly command after all.

We can rejoice, as our text reminds us, "because thou defendest them." Furthermore, He Himself provides the joy, for "the fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy" (Galatians 5:22). It is not that the Christian will never know sorrow, for Christ Himself was "a man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3). But He also was a man of joy and, in Him, we can be like Him--"as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing" (2 Corinthians 6:10). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Justified from All Things
February 28, 2010

"And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:39)

Many Christians today tend to the doctrine of justification as something too "theological" to deal with. But it simply means "declaring to be righteous" a person who had actually been guilty of some offense. It is the prerogative of the judge trying his case to pronounce innocence or guilt as based on the evidence. In the case of sin against a divine law, "it is God that justifieth" (Romans 8:33), for He is the Judge.

But how can God both "be just, and the justifier" of one who is obviously guilty--as, indeed, we all are, since "all have sinned" (Romans 3:26, 23)? The answer is that we are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins." (Romans 3:24-25).

Christ has credited His perfect righteousness to our account and paid the death penalty for all our sins. We are told in the Scripture above cited (Romans 3:24) that we are justified by His grace. Then Romans 5:1 says we are "justified by faith" and Romans 5:9 says we are "justified by his blood." Finally, we are justified by the Holy Spirit. "Ye are washed, . . . sanctified, . . . justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11).

And all of this is absolutely guaranteed by Christ's victory over death. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). As our text assures us, "all that believe are justified from all things" in the eyes of God. In the eyes of men, however, "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The God of the Gourd
February 21, 2010

"And the LORD GOD prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd." (Jonah 4:6)

In the brief story of Jonah, the Lord has given us a striking insight into His providential ways with His people. He "prepared" four special instruments for revealing His will and His great concern for the people God wanted to help. Each involved a very ordinary thing, functioning in an extraordinary way (providential miracles, as it were).

First, "the LORD had prepared a great fish" (Jonah 1:17), both to save Jonah from drowning and to enable God to convince him of the urgent necessity of fulfilling the ministry to which He had called him. Then, after he had preached in Nineveh and God had spared the city, Jonah became angry and wanted to die, so "the LORD God prepared a gourd . . . that it might be a shadow over his head" (4:6). Jonah was thankful for this providential shade from the heat, but he was still not thankful for the sparing of Nineveh. Therefore, "God prepared a worm," and by the next day, "it smote the gourd that it withered" (4:7). Furthermore, "God prepared a vehement east wind" (4:8), and the blasting heat angered Jonah more than ever, so that he again wanted to die.

Finally Jonah was able to hear what God was really saying to him in all these circumstances, and he realized the tremendous scope of God’s mercy and compassion for the lost.

As with Jonah, God speaks to us through ordinary things in providential circumstances. Whether by a marvelous deliverance or a comforting provision, a sudden loss or a mighty storm, God leads us into His will and transforms our lives and hearts to conform to His love. "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Love Is Obedience
February 14, 2010

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (1 John 5:3)

The disciple John is known as that disciple who had a special love for Jesus and vice versa. He was identified as that disciple "whom Jesus loved" (John 20:2). His writings give a clear picture of the love that God has for us, as well as the kind of love we should have in response to Him. John does not identify this type of love as an emotional or sentimental feeling. It is more than affection; it is total obedience to Him, as noted in the following sampling of verses. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him" (1 John 2:5). "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments" (2 John 6). Such a view of love may come as a surprise to some, but it reflects total submission to His kingship. This is the proof of our love for God as seen in our text and elsewhere.

The other side of love is love toward men, and John has much to say of this matter as well. "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 John 4:21). He elsewhere writes "that we love one another" (2 John 5); and "these things I command you, that ye love one another" (John 15:17). Paul even picks up the theme: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:9-10). In summary, love to man is a principle that works no ill towards one's neighbor, but, in contrast, seeks his greater good. Christ's human half-brother calle d it "the royal law" (James 2:8). Love to God yields obedience to all His commandments. Both kinds of love are mandated by God. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:40). JDM

h/t: J D Morris, Institute For Creation Research