Monday, December 7, 2015


For many people Christmas is just another day. For some it is not just another day because they get to see friends and family. Maybe they don’t usually see them but once a year at Christmas time. There are many other things we do at Christmas like visiting friends and family members, making special dishes not served at other times, going to church, making and delivering food to the needy, or voluntarily substituting for a caretaker so that person can be with their own family. Now there certainly is nothing wrong with doing any of these things mentioned above and many more during the Christmas season. But we must not forget the Word “Christ” in the word “Christmas.”

    Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Christmas as “a holiday on December 25 celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.” That certainly is an accurate and brief definition of Christmas. It is a special day of the year to celebrate Christ’s coming into the world to provide salvation for all mankind.

    That provision, however, must be accepted by faith. Someone has described this salvation that Christ offers for all with the following words: “Salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” That’s what Christmas is all about.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What About Hell?

Surely not one single, solitary person is hoping to go to the hell described in God’s Word. But it is rather common for everyone who experiences the death of a loved one, a family member, a close friend, husband or wife, son or daughter to believe the one who died has gone to heaven. But according to Scripture that simply is not true.

    There is only one way to heaven and that is through the finished work of Christ. The Bible tells us that all who have been born physically have inherited a sin nature. We “… have all sinned and come short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). Those outside of Christ will be “… thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone … there they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

    The same Bible tells us clearly that Christ died in the sinner’s place. He paid the sinner’s debt. Christ is the sinner’s Substitute. Before any of us can be sure of heaven, each one of us must acknowledge that we are hopelessly lost and cannot earn our way to heaven. We must all acknowledge our lost and hopeless state and accept Christ as the Son of God who died in our place, paid our debt completely, and we accept that payment by faith. Salvation according to God’s Word is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That acceptance brings us eternal life. Christ paid our debt completely and when we accept Him as our Savior, He gives us eternal life. Salvation is by God’s marvelous grace and through faith apart from works. Salvation cannot be earned. It is God’s gift to all who receive it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

How To Be Sure of Going to Heaven

    The gospel is the good news about how one can be sure of going to heaven. Believers are called upon by God to share the gospel with the lost, those who are not born again. Scripture is very clear that all who are outside of Christ need to be born again. It also tells us that sin entered the world through one man. That man was Adam (Romans 5:12). When Adam sinned, all mankind sinned. The race of mankind was not just represented by Adam; the race was in Adam. Therefore, all sinned when Adam sinned, and as a result death spread to all mankind because all sinned. Since all sinned in Adam, all are therefore in need of the only Savior who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The gospel message we as believers are called upon to share includes three essentials. First to be sure of heaven, one must acknowledge he/she is lost and in desperate need of God’s grace through Christ. He is the One who paid the sinner’s debt. That is, He died in the sinner’s stead. Second, Christ is the One who paid the sinner’s debt. Therefore, Christ alone can save sinners so they can be sure of heaven. The third essential in the gospel is that Christ alone can save. Therefore, He must be received, accepted as Savior.

    The “gospel” message is not “have faith in God,” “turn your life over to God,” “repent of your sin,” “are you prepared to make Him the Lord of your life?” “draw close to God.” These examples are not false truths, but they are not what results in salvation. To become a child of God, one must acknowledge his/her sinful state, acknowledge and accept Christ’s payment for sin (Acts 4:12).

Monday, September 7, 2015

Death’s Door

    Have you ever been there? I have! At the time I didn’t know I was there, of course. But there is no doubt about it, I was there not long ago. My family told me all about it after I survived. The doctors who cared for me in the hospital told my wife and daughters they didn’t think I would survive. When the doctors tell you that, you sit up and take notice, I assure you.

    I was ready to meet my Savior, but He decided He had more for me to do for His glory here on planet earth. I experienced Congestive Heart Failure recently and that of course affected the function of several of my other major organs. God marvelously and wonderfully used the doctors and nurses who cared for me to bring healing, a miracle. I want Him to get all the glory.

    Will you be ready to meet the Lord when you face death? The Bible does teach us that it is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Are you ready to meet Him? Believers and unbelievers all need to realize that we all face the certainty of death. To die without having trusted Christ as Savior means to spend eternity in hell. Believers will die and enter heaven, the very eternal presence of God. But they will first also stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give account of how they have lived the Christian life on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Christian’s Worst Enemy

I believe the worst enemy every child of God has is the same one who is the archenemy of God as well. But who is this enemy? The Bible assigns nine major different names for this wicked angel. Each of these names is, of course, character revealing and describes how fierce a foe believers have.

  • Satan.” This enemy is the believer’s adversary and deceiver.
  • Devil.” This word comes from a verb meaning “to throw” and refers to his hurling accusations and slanders.
  • Serpent” refers to his craftiness and subtlety. He is like a snake in his actions.
  • Beelzebub” is the term the Pharisees used to describe Jesus’ power to cast out demons. They said He was demonic.
  • Ruler, Prince.” When Satan fell because of his sin, he instituted a counter kingdom along with the other angelic beings who then became demons.
  • “The god of this world” heads up an anti-God philosophy. He has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to the gospel of Christ.
  • The tempter.” This is how the apostle Paul described Satan. This name describes his evil work among believers and unbelievers.
  • The dragon.” This name describes Satan’s power and strength.
  • The evil one.” He is totally corrupt and carries out his anti-Christ work.

Every born-again believer is equipped by God to be victorious over this evil one. Christ gives each of His children power to say “no” to Satan and “yes” to the Savior and the Holy Spirit of God.

Monday, July 6, 2015

What Did Jesus Say About Hell?”

 Of course, those who do not believe in the total inerrancy of Scripture have no problem disregarding what Jesus said about hell and a lot of other things in the Bible as well. Those of us who do believe the original New Testament Scriptures tell us what Jesus said about hell and consider it all very important in its entirety.

    Here are passages which tell us clearly what Jesus said about the reality and eternality of the punishment in hell for those who rejected Christ as their Savior, their Sin-bearer.

    Matthew 18:8. In this passage Jesus spoke of the “eternal fire” of hell for all who rejected Him.

    Mark 9:43. Jesus described the eternal abode of those outside of Christ as a place where the fire is “unquenchable” meaning of course that the fire will never go out. In reference to this same place Jesus repeated what He said in verse 43 and added that hell was “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (vv. 47-48). When He said this, He was clearly referring to Isaiah 66:24 where the prophet wrote, “Their worm  shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched.” The prophet Daniel wrote of the same thing: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

    Jesus referred often to the destiny of the lost but in the above texts He certainly made it clear that hell is a place of the eternal punishment of the unsaved.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Eternal Punishment in Hell?

Early in church history it was believed and preached that based on Scripture, hell was a real place of eternal punishment. This was true for all who rejected Jesus Christ’s payment for their sin on the cross. Augustine, a famous church father who was a stalwart for the faith argued strongly against those who did not believe the torments of hell were truly eternal.

Actually, Origen, another church father, argued strongly against those who held the traditional and biblical view of hell. He believed in what came to be called a form of universalism. God’s victory, he insisted, would not be complete until everyone and all things would be returned to union with God.
The issue continued to be debated from the time of Augustine and Origen to the present. It has been said that the 17th century marked the beginning of theological opposition to the traditional and biblical doctrine of hell, the 18th century marked the explosion of intellectual skepticism which certainly rejected any idea of an eternal punishment for the nonchristians (cf. Hell Under Fire by Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson, Zondervan, p. 20).

What about more recent times? The debate over hell continues and unfortunately includes some evangelicals who do not hold to hell as an eternal place of punishment. Some of the more vocal among these include John Wenham, a well-known evangelical in Britain; John Stott, an evangelical leader throughout the world; and Clark Pinnock in America, perhaps the most vocal of them all.

In the next article I will deal with the Bible’s answer to the question asked in this “Thought for the Day.”

Monday, May 4, 2015

Abiding in Christ

    In His Upper Room Discourse (John 14–16) Jesus called upon His disciples to abide in Him (John 15:4). When the apostle Paul was commissioned by Christ to serve Him, he was given this reminder, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Every born-again child of God is “in Christ.” He told His disciples to “abide” in Him. There is a difference between being “in Christ” and “abiding” in Him. Just what is the difference then between these two?

    The Bible teaches that to be “in Christ” means to be rightly related to Him, to be a child of God. To “Abide in Him” is a command to remain close to Christ the Savior by communing with Him in prayer, growing in understanding, and applying God’s Word personally. Another way of describing “abiding in Christ” is to grow in one’s faith and becoming more Christ-like. “Abiding in Christ” is a command from God to every child of God.

    To illustrate how important it is to be “in Christ”  and to abide in Him, Jesus used the illustration of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-8). He made it very clear that He was the true Vine and like the vine and branches in a grape arbor which frequently needs trimming, the disciples needed to be frequently trimmed so they could bear more fruit. True disciples of Christ are already in Him but they also need to “abide” in Christ. All those who are in Christ need to abide in Him so that we can all be more productive for Him. Everyone who is in Him is born again and needs to abide in Him, make Him the Lord of his life.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Christian Responsibilities

   I have decided to talk to you through the written page in the upcoming articles about several of the responsibilities God has given to His children. In the forthcoming articles I will not be writing about how to become a Christian but rather about how to live as a Christian in obedience to God’s Word.

    In this present article let me explain how one becomes a child of God before I begin with the responsibilities we have as Christians. In other words, How can one be sure of heaven? The Bible tells us that all mankind is in need of salvation because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they sinned and were in need of a Savior. And all who would ever be born also are in need of a Savior.

    To be sure of going to heaven, one needs to (1) acknowledge his/her lost and hopeless condition (Romans. 3:23) and (2) affirm acceptance of Christ’s death as payment for his/her sin (John 3:16). When this is done, the one accepting Christ becomes a child of God and is guaranteed entrance into heaven (John 3:15; Romans 5:1).

    So, according to the Bible, one cannot be sure of heaven just because he/she believes God exists. Only those who have accepted God’s Son as personal Savior, as the One who paid his/her debt of sin, can be sure of heaven.

    In the upcoming series I will be dealing with such responsibilities for the believer as: abiding in Christ, walking in the Spirit, running the race, loving others, worship of God, prayer, and rejoicing in Christ.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Angel Called Satan

    Have you seen the bumper sticker which says, “THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT”? To be sure, that is an attention-getter. I suppose this statement is intended to get whoever sees it off the hook, so-to-speak, because whatever is done that violates God’s or man’s laws is because Satan made them do it.

    Paul the apostle described Satan as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians. 11:14). There is no getting around it, Satan is for real. The Bible is full of references to Satan and he is also called by many other names. Where did this wicked angelic creature come from? God did not create him evil. He did create all the angels holy and sinless. And Satan is as much a person as God is.

    Satan’s evil desires led him to oppose God and His plan (Isaiah 14:12-17). Satan tempted Adam and Eve and Christ. In fact, he is still involved in tempting people–believers and unbelievers–to sin. Two major passages of Scripture are used to describe Satan’s original condition before he sinned in rebellion against God and his subsequent sin (Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-19). Students of Scripture do not all agree that Satan is in view in these passages of Scripture which tell us how to have victory over this evil foe (2 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Angel Called God

    One does not need to read far in the Scriptures before he/she realizes all the angels were created by God except one. That one is the Angel of the LORD (or the Angel of Yahweh/Jehovah). This One is clearly distinguished from all the angelic beings in a number of ways, yet He is called an “Angel.” Sometimes He is distinguished from God and at other times He is to be identified with God.

    Besides being called “the Angel of the LORD” (Gen. 16:7, He is also referred to as “My Presence” (Exodus 33:14), the “Captain of the host of the LORD (Joshua 9:14), the “Messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1), and the “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). The question is, Who is this most unusual Angel?

    Here is a summary of some of  the ministries of the Angel of the LORD. These make it clear that the Angel of the LORD is none other than the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. This Angel of the LORD ministered to Hagar (Genesis 16:1-7), to Abraham (Genesis 22:12-17), to Jacob (Genesis 31:11-28), to Moses (Exodus 3:2-10), to the Israelites (Judges 2:1-5), to Gideon (Judges 6:1-16). Just Who was this Angel of the LORD? I believe He is the Second Person of the Godhead, the eternal Son of God and He appeared before He was born of Mary. This Angel of the LORD is in fact called God in Scripture (Genesis 16:13; 22:15-16; 48:15-16). This Angel of the LORD is a Member of the Trinity.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Does God Ever Change His Mind?

    Can you ever imagine the God of the Bible, the true and living God, failing to keep His Word? Does the Bible say anything about the nation of Israel’s existence and its future? For anyone familiar at all with the Bible, the answer must be a resounding “Yes, there is much in the divine record about Israel’s past, present, and future.” The issue is not, Does the Bible address the issue? But rather, Is what the Bible says about it to be understood literally or figuratively?

    The belief that because Jewish leaders led the nation established in 1948 to reject Jesus as Israel’s Messiah, God has in fact permanently rejected Israel and has replaced it with the church, has come to be called “Replacement Theology.” Let it be said clearly and forcefully; there is nowhere in the Bible that this view finds any support. In fact, Scripture has much to say about Israel’s future. God has not replaced Israel with the church. Both the nation Israel and the church are alive and well on planet earth and will be until God fulfills all His promises to both.

    Here are some of the many passages which when understood literally strongly and clearly tell us the true and living God has not and will not forsake His people. He never changes His mind or in any way fails to do all He promises to do. These verses assure us that God has not set aside His promises to the nation: Genesis 12:1-3; Deuteronomy 30:1-10; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 43; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 14:1-9; and Romans 9–11.