Tag Archives: bible study

It’s Gap Time, So Step Up!

This morning I turned to the book of Ezekiel and came across a short outline I prepared years ago. That 5-point outline directed me across the page to a verse that has, in the past, been what you would call a “life verse.”

And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

Ezekiel 22:30

Upon leaving the church where I last pastored, I’ve been forced to do some self-examination. Being completely honest, there are still some things I need to improve. With humility and prayer, I will seek God’s help in those areas.

Regardless, now is not the time to accept defeat or wonder about my abilities – NOW is the time to step up and stand in the gap. That is true for all of us!

I will probably preach a sermon this coming Sunday based on this passage of Scripture, so I won’t go into much detail in this post. However, I feel it important to encourage you (and myself) to remember that God isn’t looking for the perfect soldiers; all He is asking for are WILLING ones.

Unfortunately, all it takes is for us to receive one discouraging comment or critical observation to make us abandon our posts and our weapons, thereby leaving just enough of a gap through which God’s judgment can enter and destroy the very ministries and individuals we supposedly love.

Do your own study of Ezekiel 22, particularly verse 30, and then see how you can use the following outline to create your own sermon.

5 Ways to Stand in the Gap

  1. Answer the Call
  2. Be a Warrior
  3. Look for Broken Places
  4. Pray for God’s Mercy
  5. Don’t Give Up

Lord willing, this coming Sunday on my YouTube channel I will address this subject and use this outline. Join me for the premiere at 11 a.m. Eastern.

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Church, Preaching

What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?

The following is a near word-for-word transcript of sermon I delivered this morning, June 12, 2022, at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Warthen, Georgia.


I am sure by now most of you have heard that I was going to preach on something controversial this morning. This week I asked for prayer on Facebook live, because the subject matter is so sensitive. And do you want to know why I did that? It’s because we live in a world that is full of darkness and deceit and there’s an enemy who is fighting tooth and nail, fang and claw, to keep the truth of God’s Word hidden, and he has plenty of willing accomplices. These are they who “hold (or suppress) the truth in unrighteousness,” as spoken of in Romans 1:18.

  • Romans 1:18 KJV – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [suppress] the truth in unrighteousness;

Over the years there have been multiple cases of companies, everything from auto makers to drug makers, who have been sued and even prosecuted for withholding critical information such as defects or dangers. Anyone remember the Ford Pinto? What about Fen Phen? A lot of people died, and a lot of people were permanently hurt because somebody didn’t want to tell the truth. Billions of dollars were paid out. Worse, thousands of lives were either lost or changed forever.

So, what does the Bible say about the Christian, the man of God, the preacher, who knows the Truth, yet, for whatever reason, suppresses it, hides it, or simply never talks about it? To what court will he or she have to answer? Let me tell you, he will stand before the Judge of the universe and give an account!

  • Jeremiah 48:10 KJV – Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the truth is being withheld today; why what I’m going to preach about today is rarely addressed in public, much less from the pulpit.

  1. A lack of understanding – we are not confident in our knowledge of the subject, so we stay quiet or avoid discussion.
  2. Fear and intimidation. The threats are real.
  3. A faulty understanding of Scripture – bad theology – that attributes sainthood to the sinner without repentance and seeks unity through compromise.
  4. Sin is in the camp.

Well, let me tell you about my thoughts on those 4 points…

  1. I’ve done my homework. But that didn’t take much. I mean, one really doesn’t have to look far for evidence that men are men and women are women and that each was made for a purpose the other one was not designed for. But I’ve also gone to the Bible for answers to the lunacy running rampant in this world. And guess what, the answers are in there, so I’m ready to talk about it any time you want to drop the hat.
  2. Fear and intimidation? As President Biden so eloquently puts it, “Come on!” Who are we to fear when we are doing the will of God? Who are we to fear when we are speaking the truth? Those people we read of in the Bible were not included for our entertainment, you know; they are there for our instruction. How can we, with a good conscience, tell our children and grandchildren to be like young David, Daniel, or Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego?
    • How can we tell them to stand up to giants when we cower before lawyers and people who can’t decide which bathroom to use?
    • How can we tell them to be a Daniel and pray, even when the King says not to, even if it means the lions’ den?
    • How can we in good conscience praise Daniel’s three Hebrew friends for not bowing before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue if we cower to every demand to affirm idolatry?
  3. As to the third reason why Truth is withheld – a faulty view of Scripture/bad theology and a desire to affirm every delusional definition of humanity, folks, all it takes is reading more than one verse, reading them in context, and avoiding the apologetic nonsense written by former Christians who’ve now found that the forbidden fruit isn’t that bad, after all. Most bad theology can be corrected by simply reading the Bible.
  4. And then, when it comes to sin in the camp, well, I have no idea if anyone here or watching from somewhere else is guilty.

    You may be like Achan in the Old Testament who took the forbidden treasure from Jericho and hid it under his tent. If so, that’s between you and God.

    What’s more likely, however, is that you know somebody with the bad theology and the hidden sin, and you’re more invested in it than you’d like to admit. As a matter of fact, you’ve even been wondering if God condemned that sin, or not? I mean, Achan was probably a great guy and loved his family, right? What was a little disobedience? Isn’t all sin the same? What would be wrong with simply letting him be who he is? Heck, think about all the church could do if he donated a little of that forbidden gold to the church!

Church, I do not want to be guilty of withholding the truth in order to keep the government happy, the activists happy, or even the church member happy. There may be a den of lions or a fiery furnace in our future, but I’d like to be remembered like Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednigo who said, “Even if our God does not deliver us from your hand, we will not bow.”

Now, before I say anything else, I want to remind you that we are to speak the truth in love. It is not my job to condemn anyone, only to love them as Christ loves them and gave His life for them. Therefore, when I say what I’m going to say, please understand that I don’t hate anyone. All I want to do is tell you the truth, even if it hurts, even if offends, even if it makes you mad. Because, when it’s all said and done, my job is to warn you the building is about to collapse – you have to decide get out before it’s too late.

Church, we are living in a day when the very creation of Holy God is under attack. We have so many people worrying about the climate and climate change, and maybe that’s a good thing, but God didn’t just create the world – he created man, “male and female created He them.”

In Genesis 1:26 we read that God said, “Let us make man in our own image…” Man, both male and female, was made in the image of God, yet today the very definition of Man is under attack. Let me tell you, when we think we are smarter than our Creator to the point of redefining and redesigning what was made in His image, we show that what we really hate is not ourselves, but God.

Folks, this is the month of June, the month that for so long was associated with beautiful brides. Now it’s a month dedicated to Pride. And sadly, too many church people have ditched the Bride of Christ at the altar and run of with the bride of Frankenstein. Churches and whole denominations that were once known for their piety and Bible study are now ordaining practicing homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders, and even those who can’t decide. The truth is no longer being taught and preached as the image of God becomes more distorted every day.

So, then, what does the Bible say about homosexuality? I’m not asking you what CNN says. I’m not asking you what a government agency says. I am not asking you what you read on the internet or saw on TV. What does the Bible say?

Well, because this is such a complicated topic and one that deserves a lot more discussion than what I’m able to cover today, I want to tell you what the Bible says based on 4 questions.

I. Is Homosexuality a Sin?

The first thing we need to do is clarify the question. As a matter of fact, it would be best if we break this single question down into two. The first one should be Is being tempted with same-sex attraction a sin? The second should be, “Is homosexual activity a sin?” This is a very important distinction, for being tempted to sin is not the same as committing the sin. If it was, we’d be in trouble.

  • Matthew 4:1 – Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (Jesus was tempted, but he didn’t sin.)

Satan has been tempting us since the beginning of time. And as it was in the beginning, temptation is not the sin; acting upon the temptation is. All of us are different in many ways, and what tempts you may not be a temptation to me. We are not all the same when it comes to what our flesh desires – some people like cottage cheese while I gag at the thought of it.

For whatever reason, though (sometimes biological, other times because of something traumatic that has happened, for reasons that are different from one person to the next), men and women, even boys and girls, sometimes find themselves attracted to others of the same sex. Frankly, this is how our culture is preying upon our youth – by capitalizing on their immaturity. But the fact is that the temptation is not the sin – acting upon it is.

So, the second part of that question should be “Is homosexual activity a sin?” If we are talking about two people of the same gender having sex, then yes, it is a sin.

Again, we are not talking about being tempted to do something; we’re talking about actually doing the thing. Some people may be born with a tendency toward violent behavior, but we don’t encourage them to go ahead and act upon those feelings because they were born that way, do we? No, the truth is pretty simple and not hard to find, IF WE ARE HONEST AND AREN’T TRYING TO HIDE THE TRUTH.

Let’s look at what Scripture says.

  • To begin with, there’s the story found in Genesis 19, the story of Sodom and the men of Sodom who wanted to rape the angels sent there to remove Lot and his family.
  • Leviticus 18:22 KJV – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
  • Leviticus 20:13 KJV – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (in other words, it’s nobody’s fault but theirs).

So, as you can see in just these few verses, having sex with someone of the same sex is wrong in God’s eyes.

But that leads me to another question people ask a lot. . .

II. “If homosexual activity is a sin, then why didn’t Jesus talk about it?”

All I can say it that those who use Jesus Christ as an excuse to sin are either simply ignorant, or they know a lot of Christians are. Often, when debating a practicing homosexual, the Christian will find himself backed into a corner with “gotcha” questions. In actuality the answers to these questions are not that difficult, but the Enemy knows how to twist the truth, AMEN?

The homosexual (or ally) will set up the Christian by asking, “Do you believe the Bible?” The answer, of course, will be “Yes.”

Then the homosexual activist will go back to Gen. 19 and Leviticus 20 and ask, “So, do you believe homosexuals should be put to death?” Many times, this is where they get tripped up. Most believers will say “No,” but then that will set them up for not believing the Bible. IF they say “yes,” then, besides other reactions, the activist can ask, “OK, well then why didn’t Jesus ever talk about homosexuality? Jesus taught us to love one another, not kill each other, right?

What is the answer? How would YOU respond? DID Jesus say homosexual activity was a sin, or not? He didn’t have to!

Look, Jesus never said it was a sin to drive 100 mph in a school zone, but He did tell us to obey the laws of the land (not to mention loving our neighbor, which it’s hard to love your neighbor and drive 100 through a school zone).

And Jesus never specifically mentioned homosexuality, either. But what He DID say had wide implications for all types of sexual activity outside of God’s design. And what is that design? God created male and female, nothing in between, nothing flexible or fluid, as complimentary to each other, as examples for theological truths yet to be revealed. Look at the following verses…

  • Matthew 19:4-6 KJV – And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
  • Matthew 5:27-28 KJV – Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Even though our culture wants to shame and intimidate, even scare us into “affirming” same-sex relationships, Jesus never did. All He ever affirmed was the example set in creation. All other sexual activity, whether gay or not, if outside the bond of marriage between a male and a female is either fornication or adultery, both of which are clearly sin.

Now, let’s ask another question…

III. Is it a sin to be PROUD of who I am?

Like I mentioned at the beginning, June is Gay Pride month. If you didn’t know, first “gay pride” parade was held in 1970, 52 years ago. The parade was a follow-up to the Stonewall riots that occurred a year earlier in Greenwich, New York, at the Stonewall Inn (which, incidentally, was declared a National Monument in 2016 by Barak Obama).

Essentially, the police raided a gay nightclub to arrest some drag queens (men who dress like women), because at that time in New York it was illegal. While the police had people locked up in the paddy wagon, somebody whipped up the watching crowd and started throwing stuff at the police. The riot lasted 5 days.

Every year since 1970 there have been parades and celebrations in the month of June. The purpose this these celebrations is to not only draw attention to the abuse of homosexuals (which, by the way, is wrong, too), but also to affirm every aspect of sexual perversion. What used to be shameful, people are proud of and want us to know it.

But, again, is it a sin to be proud of who I am? I’m proud to be an American, aren’t you? I will be attending a 4th of July celebration somewhere this year. But the difference between being proud of who you are and “Pride” month is as simple as the reason for celebrating: sexual perversion.

Besides sacrilegiously adopting the symbol of God’s mercy (the rainbow) as their emblem, people who celebrate unrepentant sin and demand the respect of others is a dangerous sign. As a matter of fact, when a culture has gone as far as ours has to celebrate a sin…one that Jesus died so that we might be forgiven, not affirmed…is evidence that God is already in the process of pouring out judgement upon a nation. Turn to Romans chapter 1 and read with me beginning at verse 26.

  • Romans 1:26-27 KJV – For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

When we see a culture so full of sin, this particular sin, and not just the act of homosexuality, but the promotion of its acceptance as normal, we should mourn, not celebrate! Such things are only evidence that we’ve already been turned over, that this is just the beginning of judgement to come.

And in case you’ve ever been told that the real sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was being inhospitable, nothing sexual, I submit to you Jude 1:7…

  • Jude 1:7 KJV – Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Sodom and Gomorrah are an example to us.

This leads me to one last question, even though there are many, many more that could be asked…

IV. Can a homosexual be saved and go to heaven?

First off, I don’t want to go any further without reminding each and every one of us that if it wasn’t for the grace and mercy of God, every one of us would be in hell right now.

  • Romans 3:23 KJV – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Sexual sin is no different than any other sin in this way – it takes the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But if you want to know (because you asked, right?), let’s turn to a few passages of scripture and read what they say.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 KJV – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Timothy 1:10 KJV – For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

What these verses are saying is that those who live in unrepentant sin are, in fact, likely unsaved and in danger of hell. Notice that the tense of the verses is continual, active, on-going. But this doesn’t have to stay that way. And, more importantly, it is NOT saying that those who regularly practice and affirm homosexuality can NEVER be saved!

  • 1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV – And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

So, what does the Bible say about homosexuality? It’s a sin, for sure, and one that is an affront to the very plan and nature of God. However, there is no sin that the blood of Jesus Christ, accepted by faith with a repentant heart, can’t cleanse and wash as white as snow!

Homosexual sin is like any other sin; it’s a heart issue

  • Matthew 15:19 – For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…

And let me go one step further…homosexual sin is like any other sin in that if you walk in the world, even as a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, without the armor of God you are just as vulnerable to temptations of the culture and the lies of Satan as any lost person.

  • Galatians 5:16 KJV – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
  • Ephesians 6:13 KJV – Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

INVITATION

Maybe you are struggling with sin in your life. Maybe it’s something other than sexual sin. Jesus offers forgiveness.

Maybe you or a friend or loved one is struggling with the grips of homosexual sin. And maybe, after all you’ve heard, you can’t see how God could understand what you’re going through.

Well, Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Thankfully, Jesus does understand how difficult temptations can be, but he is also the answer to those temptations.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

And even if you stumble after you’ve given your heart and life to Jesus Christ, does he cast you out? NO!

  • 1 John 2:1 KJV – My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Whatever your need, would you give it to God today?

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible, Bible Study, Culture Wars, Defining Marriage, Preaching

6 Arguments that Support the Doctrine of Eternal Security

My Outline

bibleThe following is an outline for a sermon I have preached a few times. It starts off with some arguments against the “once-saved-always-saved” position. The next part lists six basic arguments in favor of the eternal security of the believer.

Please keep something in mind as you consider the outline: evidence is cumulative. In the legal world it is called the “preponderance of evidence.” In other words, one bit of evidence might not convict, but the collection of evidence pointing in that direction, when overwhelming, leaves little other choice.

Of course, this is only an outline, not the sermon. However, take what I am giving you and print it off, do your own study, and then let me know your thoughts.

“Eternal Security” 

Arguments Against “Once Saved, Always Saved”

  1. Observational – How people live that believe it.
  2. Free Will – We are created with a will; we’re not slaves.
  3. Scriptural* (Hebrews 6; 1 John 3:9; 5:18) *These passages, when used against the doctrine of eternal security, are most often themselves misunderstood or taken out of context.

Arguments FOR “Eternal Security”

  1. Creational Argument: We are New Creations (2 Cor. 5:17)
    1. It took a supernatural act to change us
    2. We can’t act supernaturally to change us back
  2. New Birth Argument: We are Born Again (John 3:7,16)
    1. By the Spirit – Jn 3:6
    2. By the Word of God – 1 Peter 1:23
    3. We are not God, so we must remain “born again”
  3. Children of God Argument
    1. Born that way – 1 John 5:1; 1 Peter 1:23
    2. Adopted – Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5
    3. Abba – Gal. 4:1-7
  4. The Possession Argument – We belong to Christ
    1. Purchased – 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:23 (Bought with a Price)
    2. Given by the Father – Jn. 6:37-40; 10:28-30
    3. Will never be separated – Rom. 8:35-39
    4. Romans 14:8 – For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
    5. He can keep what is His – 2 Tim. 1:12 “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” See also: 2 Timothy 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve [me] unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.
  5. The Marriage Argument
    1. Ephesians 5:25-28, 31-32 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church…This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
    2. He is faithful, even when we are not.
      1. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 “…if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful…”
      2. He is God, not man! – Hosea 11:7-9
  6. It’s a Gift
    1. 2:8-9 Gift of God, by grace
    2. Romans 11:29 KJV – For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance (irrevocable)

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Filed under Bible Study, Preaching, salvation

Psalm 100 for Thanksgiving

As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I believe it would be very helpful to look at what God’s Word says. People can debate the story of the Pilgrims, their survival, and the relationship they had with the native people after that first deadly winter, but there should be no debate that God deserves ALL our praise, obedience, worship, and thanksgiving.

Therefore, I would ask you to take a few minutes to walk with me through a short Psalm of thanksgiving: Psalm 100.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he [is] God: [it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves; [we are] his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, [and] into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, [and] bless his name. For the LORD [is] good; his mercy [is] everlasting; and his truth [endureth] to all generations. – Psalm 100:1-5 KJV

The Divisions

When I break down Psalm 100, I see it divided into two distinct sets of 3, a middle, and a prelude consisting of three reasons for our thanksgiving, worship, and praise.

The prelude to which I refer is not at the beginning of the chapter, but at the end. It is verse 5 that gives us the reasons for why we should be thankful. However, when delivering this outline in sermon form, moving verse 5 to the beginning keeps us focused on God’s goodness, His mercy, and His immutability throughout the discourse.

Therefore, observe below how the entirety of Psalm 100 could be (and was) preached.

  • Because (“for”) the LORD is good
  • Because … His mercy is everlasting
  • Because … His truth endureth to all generations

            The Christian’s Invitation

            1.  Praise! “Make a joyful noise…”

            2.  Obey! “…serve the LORD with gladness…”

            3.  Worship! “…com before his presence with singing…”

                        A) Know the LORD he is God

                        B) [Know] it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves

                        C) [Know] we are His people and the sheep of His pasture

            The Stranger’s Invitation

            1.  Enter His gates with thanksgiving

            2.  Enter His courts with praise

            3.  Be thankful and bless His name

The Citizen’s Invitation

The reason I think we can divide the psalm into the described divisions is based on the context in which David wrote Psalm 100. The imagery is that of a king and his kingdom. In this case we are talking about the King of Kings who is Sovereign over all the Earth.

Therefore, when we look at verses 1 and 2, we can see actions implored of citizens, while verse 4 can be seen as an invitation to those “on the outside looking in.”

Because the LORD is good…because His mercy is everlasting…because His truth endureth to all generations, the citizens of His kingdom can and should praise, obey, and worship with a joy that only comes with the realization and wonder developed in relationship with the King.

The Middle

Like I mentioned at the first, there is a middle part. This is the part that separates the citizen’s invitation and the stranger’s invitation. It is found in verse 3.

  • Know the LORD he is God
  • [Know] it is he that hath made us, not we ourselves
  • [Know] we are his people, the sheep of his pasture

Proper theology, the biblical kind, is essential to not only knowing who God is, but knowing Him personally. The word translated “know” is the same word used in Genesis 3:7 which described how Adam and Eve felt upon realizing their nakedness – their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked. Until we open our eyes and see who God is, not a man-made version, then our worship will not only be incomplete, but it will be powerless.

(See Elohiym in Genesis 1:1. See also how Jesus describes the Triune God in Matthew 28:19.)

The Stranger’s Invitation

By “stranger” I mean the one on the outside looking in, the non-citizen. The invitation in verse 4 can be seen as calling out to the ones who long to be part of such a nation of people as the children of God. It is an invitation to “enter the gates.”

When you think of an old, biblical-type city, don’t you think of walled cities with gates? Well, when one was outside the gate, locked outside, entering in without an invitation would be called an invasion, right? That is why Jesus said that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Jesus IS the Door, the Gate. But, the invitation is there. “Enter with thanksgiving!”

Why enter with thanksgiving? Because you have heard the great noise of the shouts of praise! The joyful roo-ah’ that was the war cry of praise shouted out by the Israelites in Joshua 6:16 and 20 has been ringing in your ears. YOUR king isn’t good. Your king isn’t merciful. Your king is always changing his mind, always unpredictable. Enter? Why YES! Joyfully and thankfully!

Why enter His courts with praise? The stranger no longer has to worry about being brought into the throne room to be judged. The poor and needy, mourning over sin, needs not worry about his countenance when stepping into the presence of Majesty! No, the invitation is to “enter his courts with praise,” because this King is merciful beyond compare and “willing that none should perish!”

The invitation is there, so “be thankful and bless his name.”

And it can ONLY be done, both citizen and stranger, because the LORD is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Are You a “Nerd”?

In an effort to get a better understanding of the the word, I did what any self-respecting scholar would do: I “googled” it. Well, actually, that’s not correct, I “binged” it.

Anyway, I found several different definitions for nerd. Some of them, quite frankly, seemed a little harsh.

  • (Noun) a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.
  • (Verb) engage in or discuss a technical field obsessively or with great attention to detail.
  • A person, especially a man, who is not attractive and is awkward or socially embarrassing.
  • A person who is extremely interested in one subject, especially computers, and knows a lot of facts about it.

So, to sum it up, a “nerd” is not a good thing until you need one . . . or until one becomes a billionaire and his looks and social skills no longer matter.

On the other hand, being called a “nerd” could be sort of a compliment.

Called Black by the Pot

There’s an old saying about an iron pot and an iron kettle. If you have seen them you know what they look like – they’re both jet black. Well, when a black pot looks at a black kettle and with smug indignation points out said kettle’s blackness, what you have is either hypocrisy or irony.

I R O N y …. see what I did there? 😉

So, when just the other day I was told by gamers and Discord server owners that I was a nerd, well … this kettle had to laugh at the pots.

I’m on Discord!

By the way – and this is important – I am taking part in a brand new mission field!

If you are a gamer, then you are familiar with Discord. Believe it or not, this is one of the greatest mission fields we have seen in our lifetimes. No joke.

If you would like to check out what I’m doing, along with a list of growing content on our server, FaithChatt, then click the link below and join in! Currently I am doing a Bible study through the book of Ephesians every Friday morning at 9 a.m. (Eastern).

discord.gg/faithchatt

Back to the NERD Stuff

Anyway, last Friday morning while teaching in Ephesians on Discord, I began talking about my love for watches. The purpose was illustrate how that when we are really into something, we talk about it. We talk about what we know.

Photo by Matilda Wormwood on Pexels.com

It wasn’t long after I started with the analogy that I heard muffled laughter . . . snickers (not the candy kind) . . . and the hint of a conversation going on in the chat room. That’s when these guys, the ones who know all about “bots” and “bumps” and “boosts,” said, “You’re a nerd.”

Riiiiiight.

That’s when I really got to thinking …. am I a “nerd” about Jesus? Are you?

You see, when it comes to so many things we get excited about, we are quick to tell people all about it. Just a tiny opportunity is all we need.

Are we that way about Jesus?

Can we go on and on about who He is? Can we boast about His stats? Are we so familiar with Him that we can talk for hours about all the quests we’ve been on and the battles we’ve won?

And for all the watch lovers out there like me, you get so excited about those man-made jeweled movements that tell time, but what about the One who created time?

Are we nerds about Jesus?

Why not?

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A Mini Commentary, Pt. 16 (Ephesians 4:16)

Sorry for the delay, but here is the final instalment of the mini commentary on Ephesians 4:1-16. I pray the whole series has been informative and a blessing in some way.


4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together

            Here is where the metaphor of the body can get a little tricky, at least compared to the way things naturally work. When a human is conceived, his DNA is already present, passed from both the mother and the father. The “blueprint of life” dictates how a child will look, how big he will be, his color of skin, etc. But Jesus, the Head of the Body, is the one who oversees the construction and placement of body parts. The mind, the Person of God, is eternal; the Body – both when He walked the earth and when He left and sent His Spirit – came into being by the will of God. There is no accidental deformity withing the Body of Christ! There are no mutations, missing parts, or inadequate ones! The WHOLE body is FITLY joined together! Hallelujah!

            Are you intimidated, discouraged, or feel out of place in the Body of Christ? Don’t feel that way! You were designed and created to fit exactly where the Head wants you. You have a purpose for which no other part in the body can fill. You are unique and designed by God.

and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,

             Here we see that not only is every person who is part of the Body a specially designed member created for a particular purpose in the overall growth of the Body, but each has a part in the unifying of the Body into a cohesive whole.[1] Paul implied this same thought in his letter to the Colossians: “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ” (Colossians 2:2).

according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,

            Now, despite the lofty example of Jesus, God “knows our frame,” that we are nothing but dust (Psalm 103:14). Therefore, notice that Paul says, “…the measure of every part.” The measure of one part of the Body, one Christian, is not going to be the same measure of another one. Too often we find ourselves comparing our spirituality to that of other more “godly” believers. In doing so we often find ourselves discouraged from not measuring up to their likeness. Look, we are all dust, and the most that we can ever be is only because of God’s grace.

            But the encouraging hope is this: what we have and all that we are, yielded to the will of the Head of the Body, is guaranteed to be effective toward the purpose for which we have been designed.

maketh increase of the body

            Simply put, a healthy member of the body, no matter the importance, will, if effectually being used, make increase to the Body. Does that mean that one must lead others to Christ in order to “make increase”? Possibly, but whatever the purpose, if doing what it’s designed to do, will contribute to the other members’ edification.

unto the edifying of itself in love.

            Herein lies the overall purpose of the gifts God gives in Christ through the Spirit: the edifying of the Church – the building up into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, there are many within the Body of Christ who think the edification of the individual member takes precedent over the body as a whole. This can be seen in the doctrine that promotes “prayer language,” or private times of prayer that consist of ecstatic speech, unknown tongues, or what is technically referred to as glossolalia. Yet, Paul addressed this very topic in 1 Corinthians 14:14-19.

            Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:14: “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.” He did not argue that it could never happen; he just said that if he did pray in such a way, he would not understand what was being said. Furthermore, in verses 15 and 16 he states that he would rather speak and sing in an understandable language so that everyone could benefit, especially those who “understandeth not” (v. 16). But it is in verse 17 where the letter to the Ephesians and the letter to the Corinthians cross paths: speaking in a prayer language might encourage the one praying, but “the other is not edified.” He gave (v. 11) … for (v. 12) … till (v. 13) … that (v. 14) … may (v.15) … edify (v. 16).


[1] Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 1675.

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A Mini Commentary, Pt. 15 (Ephesians 4:15)

Well, we are getting down to the end of this mini commentary. I do hope that it has been not only beneficial, but also a blessing in some way.

I will be posting today and tomorrow, but that will be all in the commentary on Ephesians. Next week I may take a few days to share another commentary I did, that being on Romans chapter 1. Considering I just started a new series through the book of Romans on Sunday nights, that might not be a bad idea 😉

Should you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.


4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

But speaking the truth in love,

            Here is where so many go astray: they speak truth, but not in love. We can only wonder how many good Christians have been wounded, crushed, or shipwrecked by loveless truth, that being judgmental, self-righteous legalism. Correction without love is no better than vengeance or sadism. Advice and instruction without love is more likely to imbed bitterness than wisdom.

            But let us notice the progression of the Apostle Paul’s thought, beginning from verse 11 until now.

He (Jesus) gave [gifts] (v. 11) … for the perfecting of the saints (v. 12) … for the work of the ministry (v. 12) … for the edifying of the Body of Christ (v. 12) … till we (both individually and corporately) attain maturity and stature, Christ being the Standard measurement (v. 13) … that we be no longer children (v. 14) … but may grow up [to be like Christ in all things] (v. 15).

            Notice that it is only after all that precedes in verses eleven through fourteen that we can come to the place where we know what and whom Truth even is, much less be able to speak it in love. We speak the truth in love when we are taught the truth about who we are and what it took for Jesus to spare us from the wrath of God. We speak the truth in love when we know who Love is and have a relationship with Him! We speak the truth in love after having been around the One who loved us when we were unlovable. We speak the truth in love because our hearts have been softened and conformed to the heart of Christ. We speak the truth in love as parents or guardians would warn their little ones of strangers.

Those who don’t speak the truth in love haven’t spent time with the Lover of their souls.

may grow up into him in all things,

            Here the sense is that of gradually growing stronger, gradually growing in size, or gradually increasing in likeness. In another sense it could be said that we are meant to grow into, by gradually adding and reproducing, the frame of the body pre-ordained by the Spirit-imparted blueprint found in the DNA of Christ’s blood!  

which is the head, [even] Christ:

            In both a metaphorical sense and a literal sense, the Church is the body of Christ. But make no mistake, as with us, the body is not the person. The Church is the Body of Christ; His hands and feet in this world. Yet, the body is only the tool of the brain, and that brain is in the head. Take away the head, and the body, mature or not, will die and rot.  In the same way, without our Head, the Church at most is a dead body flopping around as the nerves sense the last electrical impulses of life.

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 14 (Ephesians 4:14)

4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

That we [henceforth]

            Henceforth is not a word we use very often these days, and it was not a word used by the Apostle Paul; it was added by the translators for clarification. But the truth expressed in the above three words is that staying the same in the Christian walk is not an option. And, glory be to God, Jesus is the One who can change even the vilest sinner into a saint! God gives us those who can preach and teach His Word so that we can grow spiritually, mature in the Faith, and effective parts of the Body (v. 16). It doesn’t matter from where we come; Jesus can change us!

be no more children,

            To the child, being childish is natural. To the adult, being childish is the sign of immaturity. There is nothing wrong or unnatural for a baby to want milk, but it is entirely unnatural and a sign of severe growth problems for one who is physically or apparently an adult to shun meat and vegetables. Unfortunately, many believers have never even felt the sensation of chewing!

tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine,

            The metaphor is that of a ship on the sea, taken up by one wave and crashed down by another, driven by the shifts of the wind rather than a solid rudder.  Without sound instruction, immature children (babes) in the Faith will be like little sail boats on the sea without any tools with which to navigate. They will bounce from theology to theology, doctrine to doctrine, movement to movement, without every really knowing where they are supposed to go.

            If all one cares to do is float about aimlessly for his entire life, then a rudderless boat will do just that. However, if a watercraft was built for a purpose, owned by One who sends ships across the treacherous seas rather than set them assail to drift, then a rudder, a guide, a means to navigate is critical! There must be rations, supplies, tools to mend torn sails, fuel for the engines (if applicable to this metaphor), and a weighty Anchor when we are told to “be still and know that I am God.”  Thank God for the gifts He has given to equip us! Thank God for the “fulness” of Jesus Christ!

            But this metaphor also applies to those who might be agitated, distraught, confused, torn, and about to sink. Many a soul is troubled from false teaching, bruised from the tossing back and forth, even the tossing through the night as worry and doubt deprive the poor one from sleep. Why would anyone shun the gifts to the Church? Why would anyone choose to be rudderless and without conviction on the tumultuous sea of relativism?

by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

            We have the “gifts” (v. 11) for our “perfecting” (v. 12), till we all come into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God (v. 13). We have them because we do not want to be tossed about and carried away with every knew (or old) wind that comes out of the mouths of deceivers. The waves and the winds are the metaphor, but what are the realities?

  • Sleight of men

            It might be difficult to deduce it from the King James rendering of the original Greek, but the Greek word translated “sleight” is the word κυβεία (kybeia G2940), pronounced koo-bi’-ah. Its meaning has to do with dice (cube) playing, rolling the dice, playing with “loaded dice” to cheat. It means craftiness and/or trickery, and implies anything that is meant to take advantage of another.

  • Cunning craftiness

            Craftiness, cunning, but also a specious wisdom (superficially plausible, but actually wrong; misleadingly attractive in appearance).[1] It cannot be said enough that what may sound good to itching ears may actually be a lie.

  • Lying in wait

            The rendering here is totally adequate to describe the above who both knowingly and without concern preach or teach false doctrine. Like predators; like snakes in the tall grass; like sharks just under the surface; like spiders in their webs; these thieves, abusers, and murderers of hope, peace, joy, and truth wait for those who are weak, unsuspecting, and most of all, unlearned and naïve. Satan, the father of lies, has bred and trained them to take down even the strongest prey, but how much more those who disregard or malign the gifts of God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit to the Church!


[1] Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 13 (Ephesians 4:13, cont.)

Both the previous post and this one deal with the same verse. However, the last one was more of an outline of how we got to where we are.

This time we will look specifically at verse thirteen.


4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Words mean things, especially God’s words. Therefore, when He says that He gives a gift “for” a reason, we should take note: God’s gifts to the Church are not arbitrary. Beginning with verse 12 and all the way through verse 16, there are multiple prepositional phrases which detail both the progressive working of the Spirit in the Body and the overall purpose, that being to “grow up into [Christ]” and “increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (vs. 15 & 16).

Till we all come

            There is a reason it is called “the road of life.” Life is more than simply stepping over the threshold; it is a path with ups and downs, twists and turns, and many, many lessons to learn. It is also a journey where we are nourished and instructed along the way. The spiritual life is no different, as the meaning of the word translated “come” (καταντάω; katantaō) so adequately affirms: “to attain or arrive at a particular state.”[1] The believer is always growing (at least he SHOULD be) every day, more and more conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29; 12:2; 13:14).

in the unity of the faith,      

            Unity is a dangerous word, much like the word love. To strive for unity without a deeper understanding of what one is to by unified with is terribly misguided. Yet, many of the religious and spiritual people of the day say we need to come together and set aside our differences for the sake of peace. However, it was Jesus who said that He did not come to give peace on earth (contrary to the majority of Christmas wishes), “but rather division” (Luke 12:51).

Unity of faiths is not the same thing as the unity of “the faith.” Paul wanted the Ephesians to grow together, united together for the same purpose as cells in the human body would be. The “faith” that he is talking about here is not the simple act of placing one’s trust in something or believing for the sake of believing, but faith in Jesus Christ. This unity is nothing that happens overnight, either.

and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

            It is one thing to know about something, but it is a totally different thing to experientially know something. The word Paul used in this case is ἐπίγνωσις (epignōsis G1922),the same word he used in Romans 12:2 where he describes those who had a zeal for God, but “not according to knowledge.” It is also the same word he used in Ephesians 1:17 where he prayed that the Ephesians would have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge (emphasis added) of him.” God’s Word is not there for us to simply be informed, but to come to know Jesus in a deeper and more personal, experiential way.

unto a perfect man,

            Many people read this and think that to be a Christian one must be “perfect.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. To be perfect is to be complete, perfect, whole, full-grown, mature.[2] Keeping with the metaphor of a human body, the gifts the Church is given (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, teachers) are necessary until it is all that measures up to the image of Christ.

unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

            We will break this prepositional phrase down into its separate parts, but before we do that, let us pause and meditate on the wonder, the majesty, the glory, and the absolute impossibility for any man or woman to attain such a high and magnificent standard! In the Greek, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ; in reality, only by the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the gifts of grace through Jesus Christ himself.

            What is the “measure”? It is that of the “stature of the fulness of Christ.” What measure! What stature! What fulness! It is this measure to which the gifts are to be applied in instruction, example, discipline, and correction. It is the measure that is the “perfection of the saints for the work of the ministry.” To be like Christ, and no other!

  • Measure

            Μέτρον (metron): that by which anything is measured.[3]To what or whom do we measure ourselves? The preacher, teacher, actor, singer? Is our measure of morality our parents, spouse, or some ancient philosopher? The measure, the meter, the ruler, the yard stick, the flawless and perfect example is Jesus.

  • Stature

            At first glance, this word may generate mental images of tall statues, like that of a great historical figure in a museum or national monument. However, the meaning of ἡλικία (hēlikia G2244) is broader than that. It can refer to the lifespan of someone (Matthew 6:27); the height of something (Luke 19:3); the social recognition, qualifications, or maturity of someone (Luke 2:52; John 9:21); or the physical abilities of a person comparable to his age (Hebrews 11:11).

  • Fulness

            Once again, the depth of a word in relationship to Jesus Christ is worthy of pondering! The Greek word from which we get “fulness” is the same root word from which we get the word “plethora.” The word πλήρωμα (plērōma G4138) can mean a full measure, a full number (as in a full compliment of ships), the sum total of something, a piece inserted to fill up, or as one Greek lexicon described it, “the satiety of the feast.”[4] Any preacher worth his salt should be able to come up with a fantastic sermon outline using only the definition of “fulness”! How sufficient is Christ! Jesus is truly all we need!


[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 150.

[2] Barclay M. Newman Jr., A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies, 1993), 180.

[3] Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 1123.

[4] H.G. Liddell, A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996), 647.

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A Mini Commentary, Pt 11 (Ephesians 4:12)

In order to better understand the context of the content of this post, make sure you go back and read the previous post on Ephesians 4:11.

4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Notice how that there are three (3) times the word “for” is used in verse 12. Notice how that each one precedes something that the above gifts from Christ to the church were to accomplish. Christ gave unto the Church, and not all at the same time, “some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors” (v. 11). It was the giving of the gifts and the working out of those gifts that the three objectives would be accomplished, including in the order in which they are mentioned. Let us now examine the following three prepositional phrases.

  1. For the perfecting of the saints
    Before the work of the ministry and the edifying of the body of Christ can reach its potential, the saints (saved believers) must be “perfected.” This does not mean that Christians must be perfect before God can use them. No, when Paul wrote about the perfecting of the saints, he used the Greek word καταρτισμός (katartismos G2677) which means to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something, or completely equipped for a particular good work.[1]
    The gifts given by Christ – Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets, Pastors, and Teachers – equip us, train us, and encourage us.
  2. For the work of the ministry
    Once the saints (the Christians) are fully equipped for the work of the ministry, it is then necessary that they exercise their own gifts and demonstrate with good works the effectiveness of their equipping. Unfortunately, too many Christians have been taught and equipped, given everything need for good works, and yet have never done one thing outside of self-edification. But that is not the purpose for their equipping! The purpose for their equipping is to edify the Body, not one lone member.
  3. For the edifying of the body of Christ
    Edifying is the act of building something up. As the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers equip us, we are to use what we have been given to encourage, teach, and generally contribute to the overall health of the Church.

[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 679.

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