Sunday, January 31, 2010

Roe vs. Wade? Good news if it happens!

Sunday Sermonette

Formed to Be Inhabited
January 31, 2010

"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:18)

This verse is the key proof-text for the "gap theory," which attempts to accommodate the evolutionary "ages" of geology by placing them in a hypothetical gap between the first two verses of Genesis. Genesis 1:2 states: "The earth was without form" (Hebrew, tohu), but Isaiah says, "he created it not in vain" (same word, tohu). Thus, it is argued that the earth became "tohu" long after the primeval creation, as a result of Satan's rebellion in heaven supposedly allowing the geological ages to be inserted between these two events.

Actually, the meaning of tohu is very flexible; it occurs 20 times and is translated 10 different ways, depending on context. In our text above, Isaiah was not writing about the initial state of the creation, but the purpose of the creation, that purpose being to provide a beautiful and appropriate home for mankind.

The translation "in vain" was required by Isaiah's context, just as "without form" best fits the context in Genesis 1:2. There is no conflict, since the two passages are dealing with two different subjects, and Isaiah's message simply extols God's ultimate and certain goal for His creation.

When God first created the space/time universe, only the basic elements of the earth (Genesis 1:1) were created, with neither structure nor inhabitant, but that was not its full purpose. God had merely "created" the heavens according to this verse. But then, with great care, He formed the earth, made the earth, and established the earth, and all this was done to make it ready to be inhabited by men and women who would share His image and know His love. HMM

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Where Is Wisdom?
January 24, 2010

"But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?" (Job 28:12)

Men have been searching for this most valuable of all treasures since time began. Eve first fell into sin as she was led by Satan to believe that the forbidden fruit would make her wise. Even before Abram left Ur of the Chaldees, the patriarch Job was asking this ancient question of his three critical friends, but they could not answer.

In this chapter, Job notes that while valuable metals can be dug from the rocks of the earth (Job 28:1-2), wisdom cannot be mined by hard searching and labor. Neither can it be purchased like some commodity (vv. 13-19). In terms of modern categories, wisdom is not acquired through college degrees or philosophical meditation, or any variety of human experience or study.

It can only be found in God Himself, for "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof" (Job 28:23). "The fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:28).

True wisdom is to be found in the Lord Jesus, "who of God is made unto us wisdom" (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Him alone "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).

Then, of course, since the Holy Scriptures constitute His written Word, we find wisdom there. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Colossians 3:16).

If one desires wisdom--real wisdom--he must find it in the fear of the Lord, a departure from all evil, receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and sovereign Lord, and in diligence to learn and obey His Word. "For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly" (Proverbs 2:6-7). HMM

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Lively Hope
January 17, 2010

"LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." (Psalm 90:1)

These are the tremendous opening words of the oldest psalm in the book of Psalms called, in its superscript, the "prayer of Moses the man of God." Moses must have written it shortly before his death as he looked out over the promised land and realized that he himself would never live there (Deuteronomy 34:4-5). It did not really matter though, for he had lived in many places and none of them were really his home. As a baby he had lived for a brief while in a basket on the river, then in a queen's palace, then forty years in Midian, and forty more years wandering in the wilderness.

Furthermore, he had been meditating on the men of God of previous generations (after all, he had compiled all their ancient records in the book of Genesis) and had found that they, too, like the apostle Paul 1,500 years later, had "no certain dwellingplace" (1 Corinthians 4:11). Adam had been expelled from his Garden; Noah lived for a year in an Ark on a worldwide sea, then the rest of his life in a devastated earth; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived in tents in Canaan, and their descendants lived as slaves in Egypt.

Yet wherever they were, the Lord was with them. He had been their dwelling place, and this was Moses' first thought as he composed his great prayer. He also had written down "the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death" (Deuteronomy 33:1). Its climax was this great assurance: "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (v. 27). The "refuge" of this promise is the same Hebrew word as "dwelling place" in our text.

We, like they, are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13), but "underneath are the everlasting arms." Where the Lord is--there home is! HMM

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Seeing and Believing
January 10, 2010

"Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

Jesus was willing to give doubting Thomas the visible evidence he wanted before he would believe. However, He did give His disciple a mild rebuke.

There is an important principle here. Thomas was willing to believe, but only when the visible evidence was too strong to question. Neither the promise of Christ that He would rise from the dead nor the testimony of His chosen apostles that the promise had been fulfilled was sufficient to convince him, and the Lord was disappointed.

When God has spoken plainly in His Word, that ought to be sufficient for those who really believe Him. Yet again and again Christians allow their faith to be shaken by some new cosmic theory, or age estimate, or something else. No matter how strong the biblical case for the worldwide Flood may be, for example, many Christians will not believe it until all the geological questions can be resolved. Even though the Bible unequivocally teaches that all things were created in six literal days (see Exodus 20:11), many Christians won't accept this until they can see overwhelming scientific evidence of a young earth. In fact, some will never believe in either recent creation or a worldwide Flood until all the secular scientists accept them first.

God has allowed many visible evidences of the truth of His word to be revealed. There is a strong scientific case for biblical creation, and we are justified in believing God's Word, even where we don't yet see any visible evidence. As Peter said concerning those who believe implicitly in Christ and His Word: "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). HMM

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

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

A Good Soldier of Jesus
January 3, 2010

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2 Timothy 2:3-4)

One of the familiar biblical figures for the Christian life is that we are like soldiers in an army. The weapons and armor are spiritual, but the demands and the discipline are very real. Like military soldiers, we cannot let ourselves get tangled up with the affairs of civilian life. Our obedience must be directed solely to our commanding officer, "the captain of |our| salvation" (Hebrews 2:10), the Lord Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, we must be willing to "endure hardness." This is one word in the Greek, used almost exclusively in the New Testament here in this final letter from the apostle Paul before his own martyrdom. He referred to his own situation with the same word, indicating it aided the gospel. "Wherein I suffer trouble |same word|, as an evil doer, even unto bonds" (2 Timothy 2:9). Paul had been taken a prisoner of war, being sentenced to die as one fighting the state, simply because he was preaching the truth. He even had identified himself as "his prisoner," bound by "my chain . . . ready to be offered" and to give his life for Christ (2 Timothy 1:8, 16; 4:6).

And what he was willing to do, he urged young Timothy also to be willing to do. "Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions |same word|, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5). Paul would urge us today, as he urged Timothy, to be willing to endure such things for Christ, who suffered for us and has chosen us to be with Him. The motivation for such willing endurance of hardship is not the prospect of conquest or reward (though these will indeed become realities one day), but simply that we "may please him who hath chosen us." And for those who truly love Him, that is more than enough! HMM

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

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! May God bless our land with the freedom our fathers and founders fought and gave thier lives to secure; and give our leaders wisdom.