Saturday, October 29, 2016


What is hell like?

This question has undoubtedly been asked countless time over the ages.

I don't presume to leap frog over each and every theologian and "common man" who has searched for the answer, with a shortcut, "Hell for Dummies," type answer. The Bible seems to give us some hints and clues but does not contain an exhaustive definitive description of hell.

We can glean some truths about hell from Jesus' familiar teaching about the afterlife of two men, one rich and the other a poor beggar.

First, we can learn that, when God establishes His kingdom, justice will prevail and many situations will be turned around!

Before Judgement

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luke 16:19-21 (emphasis added)

The rich man walked the earth in expensive clothing, and made himself merry with the luxuries of this world. Lazarus was so poor that he begged for mere crumbs from the rich man's table.

Post Judgment!

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luke 16:22-23 (emphasis added)

The circumstances of these two men certainly changed drastically!

Lazarus, previously a poor beggar is now living in comfort in "Abraham's Bosom." The rich man, who lived in luxury, is now living in the torments (plural) of hell.

Second, we learn that God's assessment of us is often far different from man's own assessment of himself!

No doubt, the rich man enjoyed the notoriety that often accompanies riches. Notice that now, in the afterlife, his name is not even mentioned, perhaps an indication of his complete lack of honor in the Kingdom of God.

Lazarus, on the other hand, is mentioned by name and is seen being held in Abraham's bosom. This is no insignificant detail. Abraham is the father of Jews and Christians! How well known is Lazarus now? He is personally attended to by one of the great saints of the Old Testament! I wonder if the rich man even knew Lazarus' name in his past life. Now he knows it well!

Third, we learn that the type of torments suffered by the rich man seem to be in direct correlation to his lifestyle - particularly his mistreatment of Lazarus!

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
Luke 16:24 (emphasis added)

Lazarus begged for even the crumbs from the rich man's table. Now the rich man is begging for Lazarus to come to him - for even the drips of water which fell from his hand!

25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
Luke 16:25 (emphasis added)

It frightens me to think that the judgment of God includes all of my own sins directed against me. That thought should frighten all of us!

The good news is that Jesus has already paid the price for those sins - and all we have to do to be pardoned is to turn from our sins, believe what Has done for us and follow Him!

It is as though Jesus' hand is extended to all of us, saying, "Come and follow me!"

What answer will you give when Jesus calls?




Sunday, September 25, 2016



There is a great deal of discourse in our day about "passion" or "purpose" - finding your passion, following your passion, etc. It almost seems that finding and fulfilling one's passion is the key to happiness.

This philosophy has even become a mainstay in many churches today, to the point where in some cases it is presented as the actual center of the gospel message - i.e. Christ died to help us find our passion.

But is this really what the Bible teaches?

Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus:

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Ephesians 2:1-3 (emphasis added)

Let us ask a three simple questions about what this verse teaches:

1. Why did Jesus die and rise again for us?
According to Paul's writing, Jesus came to make us alive? Why? Because we were dead in trespasses and sin!

2. Can sinners "find their passion?"
Verse three plain teaches us that while we were still lost, we...
  • Conducted ourselves in the flesh
  • Fulfilled the desires of the flesh and mind
  • Were by nature children of wrath
Mankind is fallen! Therefore his natural passions and purposes are also fallen!

Beloved, because we are all born as sinners, our very tendencies and passions are intuitively in conflict with God! It is only after we are reborn out of spiritual death through Jesus Christ that our passions and purposes can even begin to align with God!

Look at the facts. We hear people testify regularly  how they found happiness once they  "discovered their passion" in acting, singing, science, athletic pursuits, business acumen or thousands of other possibilities!

Yet so many of these, perhaps the vast majority, are confirmed atheists or nominal believers in God!

Therefore, isn't it obvious that finding your passion has nothing to do with being in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Or that it is very possible to find one's passion apart from any relationship with The Living God?

3. Are all passions good?
Hitler found his passion - to steal, kill and destroy. Serial killers find their passion - to kill. In fact, is not every evil act a matter of following one's passion?

We are told, "Follow your heart."

Consider what Jesus said about what can come from "following the heart":

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Matthew 15:19 (emphasis added)

Being right with God, then, is not a matter of finding one's passion or following one's heart.

It is a matter of aligning our dreams, passions, purposes,will and mind and heart with God's!

Jesus did not come to help us find our passion or purpose.

Jesus came to help us to turn from and to die to our own selfish, human passions - and to allow God to plant the dreams, passions and purposes of His own heart into ours! 




Wednesday, September 14, 2016


14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Most Christians know that we are to be the light of the world. But let us consider what that really means.

In a general sense, we can bring "light" to a situation. Carrying another's load, meeting a need or simply lending a shoulder to cry on are all examples of binging light to darkness to varying degrees.

A person's burden may be shared or immediate needs met. Yet that person may remain in darkness. A drug dealer can meet the immediate need of an addict by giving him a free dose of the drug he craves. To those abiding in the dark world of drug addiction, this may even seem like an act of kindness. The dealer may appear to temporarily bring "light" to an addict. Yet, when the addict's "fix" wears off, he will awaken to find that he is still in darkness.

The drug addict may feel that his greatest need is his next dose. In reality, his greatest need is to be delivered from this vicious cycle of torment and temporary relief.

Does not the modern church, in many ways, do the same thing?

Churches are known for meeting the temporary needs of the world such as food, clothing, employment and housing.

Yet, in truth, is not the greatest need of each and every person, a genuine, supernatural relationship with Jesus Christ?


Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 8:12

If we as a church impart only the "felt needs" of the world, without imparting Jesus Christ, are we not exactly like the drug dealer? Are we not meeting temporal needs while neglecting the far greater eternal need? As a result, is not the world left in darkness?

 Jesus claimed to be the light of the world. Surely there were times before Jesus came in the flesh that physical needs were met. What light, then, did Jesus bring to the world?

It was the light of God Himself!

3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
John 1:3-4

It is the light of Christ, then, that we are to shine to the world, not merely the light of good works. Good works may be done in Christ or apart from Christ. Atheists may do many good works. Yet they are unable to impart Christ to anyone - the greatest need of mankind!

Of course the church will always be called to meet physical and temporal needs. But we err greatly if that is the sum of what we can impart to the lost dying world.

It goes without saying that we can only impart light when it is emanating from us! Therefore, the modern church has further erred by diminishing or completely discarding the need for its members to strive for fullness of God, personally and corporately - since He is the source of all true light!

Instead, we have adapted a theology of good works above godliness!

In short, true godliness always leads to good works - but good works may certainly be done apart from godliness!




Saturday, June 18, 2016


God judges people or nations according to our actions, attitudes and our innermost thoughts!

He judges our actions and thoughts using two criteria - toward others - and toward God!

Most of us get the first part. Anyone with the slightest inclination toward God is aware that God will deal with us according to how we treat others. 

Yet Jesus expressed an amazing truth that seems to have been lost on modern man:

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'"
Matthew 22:37-39 (emphasis added)

Notice that the first and great commandment is to LOVE GOD!

The second is to love your neighbor!

This truth has huge implications in the world today. Even atheists embrace the golden rule and applaud good works toward our fellow man.

Yet GOD demands that we must love Him first, last and above ALL!

Jesus did not command us to, "Be religious" or "Repeat many prayers." He commanded us to LOVE GOD! "Which God?" one might ask. "After all, there are many "gods" and many religions in the world." Many would have us to believe that God will be pleased by our worship of any "god" we choose - as long as we worship some "god." But this is as far as possible from the truth. We are only to worship the one true God - not choose a god from many choices!

Is this not, in fact, the first of the ten commandments?

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me."

Exodus 20:2-3

Would our spouses be pleased if we took this approach? Can you imagine a husband being thrilled that his wife was giving her love to another man? Or sleeping with another man? Or a husband telling his wife, "I don't really care which man you love or cherish as long as it's some man?"

Of course not - and neither is God pleased when we worship any other God but Him!

God's Judgment

God judges by these two criteria - the SPIRITUAL and the SOCIALWe are keenly aware of the social aspect of God's judgements - but seem blinded to the spiritual aspect! FIRST - we are to love God! Second - love our neighbor! Reversing them has caused a world of trouble!

Here's why...

1. When we put people first, we are only capable of love according to our own personal concepts of love!
- It is in first loving God that we learn to love the way God loves.

2. When we put God before people, we do them the most good!
- God designed the world to work as He planned.
- We cannot possibly love others more by rejecting God's design or prioritizing people above God!

3. Social needs are temporary!
- Of course, we should meet the social needs of those around us, whenever possible.
- Yet it is possible to meet the social needs of a person while leaving that person spiritually empty!

4. Man is eternal!
- Man's greatest need is to be in right relationship with God!
- Failing to meet spiritual needs has eternal consequences!
- If we are not first full of God and His Holy Spirit  - how will we meet the spiritual needs of the world?

All of the unity in the world, strength of community and social programs cannot meet the deepest needs of man!

These can only be met by God Himself! And we will never be equipped to impart the way to God unless we first love God above man!



Saturday, May 28, 2016


Most Christians are familiar with the verse in 1st John which speaks of the love of God:

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1 John 4:8 (emphasis added)

This does not merely tell us that God "is loving" or that "God loves" but that God IS love!

Theses verses certainly tell us that God is the very definition of love, and that love is of great importance in the sight of God.

There are also some false conclusions we can jump to concerning the principle that "God is love!"

1. God is ONLY love
Love is one of the attributes of God. These attributes are ALL part of God's very nature. For example, the Bible tells us also that "Our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29) The Holy Spirit is an equal part of the trinity and is called "The Spirit of Truth." (John 16:13)

Therefore God is not only love. He also is also an all-consuming fire and truth

We err when we try to separate God's attribute of love from His many other attributes!

2. Misguided Definitions of "love."
Is it wrong to love? Of course not! But attempting to love may be more problematic than we think!

The world is full of false ideas of what it means to love. We all have our own code that we live by concerning love. Yet God's thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Jesus taught that if we love only those who love us, we will not be rewarded by God and that "even the tax collectors do that." (Matthew 5:46)

Paul taught that we may even give all we have to feed the poor and give our bodies to be burned - and yet do so completely apart from love! (1 Corinthians 13:3)

3. Failing to Reverse the Truths Found in 1 John 4:8

If God is love - then it is equally true that "Love is God!"

This is not meant in the sense of that old Beatle song, "All you need is love," or that love is supreme above all, or all that love is all that matters to God. The sense is that genuine love must be defined by who God is. It cannot be defined on its own - as though we all had some common understanding of what love really is - because we do not!

Love is not what we humans say it is. Of course, we can agree on some of the most obvious elements of love. For example, if I walk up to someone, and knock them on the head with a baseball bat and/or steal their money - most would agree that would not be a loving act.

Yet even in such a presumably obvious example, things can become cloudy. For example, if a man is shooting innocent victims, we may need to hit him on the head with a baseball bat. In that case, stopping him would be an act of love toward future victims.

We do not all live by the same codes. Stealing from a wealthy corporation might seem acceptable to some. To others beating a person of a certain race might seem justified - because, after all, "all those people are the same."

Whether the Bible states that God is love or the reverse - that love is God, it means the same thing - that love can only be defined by who God is - by His Holy definitions and standards. The morals and standards of culture change regularly - almost daily it seems in our day. What was considered unacceptable and immoral  many years ago is now, not only acceptable - but considered moral!

Therefore, when we attempt to love, we cannot be successful unless we learn how God loves - and it is very different from the ways  that man loves. God hates certain sins. If we ignore or even, encourage those sins - we are in direct conflict with God's justice and therefore - with God's kind of love! Instead, we are living out our own personal definitions of love - which fall woefully short.

There is no way to love as God loves unless we sacrifice all of our preconceived ideas of love on the altar and allow God to burn them up!

If we humble ourselves in this way, He will teach us His new, infinitely greater and infinitely transcendent love!





Sunday, May 22, 2016


Years ago, a pastor preached a message that he called, "Error by Overemphasis."

The crux of the message that theology can be in error if we do not preach the whole truth of God's Word - in its appropriate context and in perfect balance - never adding to, or subtracting from God's original intentions.

For example, Jesus taught us to remember Him through the Lord's supper. The vast majority of churches honor Jesus through communion. However if a church peaches nothing but messages about communion, they are in error - not because they are not preaching truth - but because they are overemphasizing one truth above its rightful place in God's Word!

Churches also fail when they preach only a part of the message - while holding back the rest. We certainly can't cover every aspect of the bible in every sermon. But if one particular truth is taught over and over to the neglect of complementary aspects of biblical truth - that truth becomes error. We may have heard the expression, "A half-truth is a whole lie!

One example is a phrase that I have seen on billboards and church signs or banners, it says, "God is not mad at you." One church near my home added, "He's madly in love with you."

This is a good example of a half-truth. Yes, there is some truth in what these churches are saying. In one sense, God's wrath was poured out on Jesus when He suffered and died on the cross. But the whole truth is that Jesus substitutionary death only applies to those who have been born again!

To be perfectly frank, telling all people that "God is not mad at them," without qualifying that kind of statement, amounts to a lie!

I do not judge the churches who promote such things because I do not know their hearts and motives. I do know that a person or group can be sincerely wrong! Their motives may be right but what they are teaching can still be in error.

My intention is not to point out some insignificant error - similar to a person who points out to to that someone, "missed a spot." Telling the world that "God is not mad at them" can be an error with eternal consequences.

Why? Because it is simply not true! Psalm 7, verse 11 is just one verse which declares the opposite:

God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalms 7:11 (emphasis added)

Both the Old and New Testaments warn of the coming wrath of God on sinners. Yet many boldly declare the opposite!

Yes, God is loving and willing to forgive - IF, AND ONLY IF, WE REPENT! We cannot continue in sin and believe that God will not judge us!

Love vs. Relationship
Certainly God loves each and every person in the world. Yet the Bible makes it clear that all are not right with God. In fact, Jesus made it even more clear, when He taught about the path which leads to life:

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:14 (emphasis added)

Notice the three words which Jesus used to describe the path to life:
1. Narrow
2. Difficult
3. Few

In contrast, He used three different words to describe the path to destruction:
1. Wide
2. Broad
3. Many

As harsh as it may sound, it is clear that the majority of people in the world will not be saved. They are headed toward destruction by default and must repent if they are to be saved!*
* (Please do not reject this truth - look into it. Many are angry at God because they do not understand Him. It is of vital importance that we all turn to God if we are to be saved!)

Can you see how important it is to preach the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

We can be loved by someone and not be in right relationship with them!

For example, we may need to imprison a violent person or he may have to be drugged to stop him from hurting innocent people. We may genuinely love that man - i.e. have warm feelings toward him, wish him the best, pray for him or try to help him. Yet he cannot be in right relationship with society (free to hurt again) until a way is found to control him or change him!

A mother may love her child and a woman love her husband. Yet often, they know that they must separate from them for a variety of reasons! In a similar way, God can love someone - and yet send them to hell. What? Quite true!

Of course, He does not want us to go there. He strongly desires ALL to repent:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

We often preach only half of this verse - that God does not will [want] anyone to perish. But we leave out the second part - that God wants us to come to repentance!  

In other words, God loves us and wants us to be saved - but He cannot save us unless we repent! It is as though He were cheering us on saying, "Come on [insert your name]; please repent so I can save you; I do not want you to perish!" but I cannot help you unless you use your free will to repent.

We cannot truly help those who reject our help. God has given each of us such power to choose that we can even reject His help if we so desire! God gives us a choice - but He even goes a step further and tells us which choice to make!

This is evidenced by God's plea to Israel in the book of Deuteronomy:

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, that both you and your descendants may live.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (emphasis added)

We should not try to reason this through. Our thinking is too limited to understand the thoughts and ways of God. His thoughts and ways are as high above us as the heavens are above the earth! (See Isaiah 55:8-9)

What a tragedy when God offers salvation and eternal life to us as a free gift to us - and we choose, instead, to reject His help and refuse to repent!

With such high eternal stakes, should we not preach the whole truth to this lost and dying world of people?




Thursday, April 28, 2016


Breaking News: The Great Tribulation Will Commence at 9:37 am Tomorrow!

OK - I just said that to get your attention!

We have all heard of the seemingly, unending predictions that the rapture, or the great tribulation, will begin on a certain date, usually on Rosh Hashanah. 

Most of us react as we should - with great skepticism!

Many immediately quote Jesus' words in Matthew 24:36, that no man or angel knows the day nor the hour when the day of the Lord will come. After all, It is just another quack "prophesying" about a certain "exact date."

There is a danger though, of becoming too lax - not taking the threat of a coming tribulation period seriously at all.

Great or Regular?
One thing to consider is that tribulation is pretty awful - whether it is literally the "great" tribulation the Bible warns us about - or just the "regular" everyday variety.

As we speak, Christians all over the world are being persecuted to varying degrees. Some are being harassed, others tortured, still other are killed, simply because they believe in Jesus Christ!

We might assume that the "great" tribulation is still far away. Yet "regular" tribulation may indeed be close at hand.

The Evil Day!
The Bible tells us that we are to prepare now for "the evil day!"

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

What is this evil day?

It is any day when we come under attack! It may come in the form of persecution, natural disaster or in some other form. Our nation may come under such an attack at any time. Even if it does not, you or I might come under such an attack individually!

The point is that it will be too late to prepare when that day arrives - if we have not already been engaged in that process. We must prepare now. If we do experience such an attack, one thing is certain: Shallow Christianity will not get the job done!

If we draw close to God, and no such attack comes, I promise - you will not suffer any ill side effects from such a relationship! However, if we lightly dismiss the existence of this evil day, and do not prepare ourselves spiritually, that day will run us over like a freight train!

If our churches have to go underground, if Christians and pastors are imprisoned, tortured or killed, will it matter in the least, if we are not literally experiencing the "great tribulation?" 

Regardless of how we label such a tribulation as "great" or not , it will be an extremely grievous time for all who are experiencing it! 

I cannot speak of when the literal, "Great Tribulation" will begin - but I do know that great persecution may come at any time - in the "evil day!"

And I also know that we should all prepare ourselves as though that "evil day" will come upon us at any moment!




Saturday, April 2, 2016


The world seems ablaze almost daily with news about terrorism, wars and recently renewed nuclear threats. The current president has been chided for his philosophy that global warming is the biggest threat to our nation.

I do not wish to weigh in on either side of that particular issue. I mention it merely to point out that there is a much bigger threat to our nation. This particular threat far outweighs the dangers of global warming, terrorism, war, violence or any other disastrous events we can imagine, whether natural or man-made!

I am referring to spiritual warfare! 

Paul made reference to this in his second letter to the church in Corinth:

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (English Standard Version)

We are all have a list in our minds, if not on paper, of the many things we are concerned about in our daily lives. Some of these things may bring us fear or apprehension. But if the spiritual war going on around us is not at the top of our list of our concerns, we are walking in blindness. We will eventually find that we are walking straight into an assault of cataclysmic proportions!

Many live in this state of oblivion. They verbally, sometimes physically, fight for that which seems of greatest importance - issues that, in their own minds, simply "must" be changed. All the while, they do not realize that spiritual battles are taking place around them, and spiritual strategies being devised by the enemy of our souls that will make an all out nuclear war seem like a tiny firecracker!

What is that makes this spiritual attack so incredibly devastating? Why does it seem so unreal and distant to us?

The main reason is that the spirit realm is hidden from our spiritual eyes. It seems that when man fell, his spirit died, while he remained alive physically and mentally. The dead spirits of men are made alive again in Christ. When that happens are eyes are opened.The eyes of born-again Christians  are opened at the lowest level, which the Bible describes as spiritual infancy.

When a child in naturally born, his or her eyes are opened to this world. The child has become alive, in a sense, to this world. Yet, he or she is not instantly full of wisdom or knowledge, prepared to become a productive adult in the natural world, but has merely crossed over from the womb to the world outside the womb.

The outside world was hidden from the child as long as he or she remained in the womb. Recent medical breakthroughs have demonstrated that a child in the womb can react very early on to stimuli from the outside world.Yet the child could not even begin to truly grasp what it was really like!

2 Kings 6:8-23 tells us of an encounter between  Elisha and his servant, and the Syrian army. 

God had been revealing to Elisha the plans that the King of Syria made in private. So Elisha was able to warn the King of Israel and stay one step ahead. When the King of Syria found out, he sent "horses, chariots and a great army" to attack Elisha.

When Elisha's servant told Elisha of the coming disaster, Elisha said to his servant, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see."
(2 Kings 6:16-17)

When the servant's eyes were opened, he saw the mountains full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Just as Elisha said, there were more with them than those against them!

Those horses and chariots of fire were always there. Elisha saw them because he was a prophet and God had already opened his eyes. But the servant could not see them. They were hidden from his eyes until Elijah prayed.

Likewise, this spiritual world is all around us. It will seem unreal to us if our eyes are not opened through the new birth!  (See John 3:3) The Bible teaches clearly that the natural man (one who has never been born again) cannot see or know the things of God. In fact, the things of God seem like foolishness to him! (See 1 Corinthians 2:14).

Even Christians cannot fully comprehend the things of God unless we grow spiritually!

Paul criticized the Corinthians because they were not able to receive the solid food of the Word of God. Paul had no choice but to feed them with spiritual "milk" - because they had remained babies much longer than they should have.

A newborn or shallow Christian cannot grasp the deeper things of God. He or she cannot see the spiritual realities and spiritual warfare going on all around them. Like Elisha's servant, our eyes need to be further opened!

Without a doubt, the eyes of every truly born-again Christian have been opened. Their hearts have been changed and they see that Jesus Christ is the only way, life and truth. But, in the beginning, we only have the capacity to see and understand God as babes in Christ - just as a naturally born child sees and understands the natural world.

When we grow in personal, intimate knowledge of God, when His Word and His ways are ingrafted into our hearts and burning in our spirits, our spiritual eyes are further opened!

It is only then, that we will begin to see and understand the deeper things of God!




Friday, March 25, 2016


To become a physician in America, one must must receive a valid license to practice medicine!

Getting to this point requires years of pre-med, then medical school, then further training in a residency program and finally, testing to receive board certification and licensure.

When two or more physicians discuss a case or communicate about certain issues, they understand each other. Why? Because their training has equipped them to comprehend what they are discussing even in the details and nuances!

The average person may understand the less complicated aspects of how medicine works but he would not be able to walk into an operating room and hand the surgeon the right instruments for a surgery - let alone perform that surgery. He also would not be able to correctly advise a patient in the more complex cases, recommend a treatment or prescribe the proper medications for that patient.

If we transfer the principle to Christianity, there are similarities that should be obvious, yet seem to be absent from many - perhaps even the majority - of the modernized churches that exist in America today!

Christians today seem to completely discard the principle that training equips and prepares us to know and understand God, His ways and His Word! 

It is true that training is different in our walk with God than it is in other fields. Completing a man-made training program alone, such as Bible college, is not enough to equip us to know or understand God! Of course, if it is godly and biblically accurate training, it can be a wonderful tool! Yet, on its own, it can never take the place of God's trying program!

A person may be intelligent enough to grasp all of the "head knowledge" that he or she is presented with. Yet there can be very little, if any, accompanying work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of that person!

We must be trained by God! Yes, He will use man. Yes Bible colleges and seminaries can play a large part in God's training program. But they are completely useless if a man or woman does not enter into a close personal walk in his or her heart with the Great Master and Teacher!

While Christianity is completely compatible with higher education and intellectual pursuit, the work of God primarily take place in the heart! Thus some who have little "education" according to the world's standards, can be much mightier in the Spirit than others who are considered "highly educated!"

Great Christian leaders, past and present, have had much to communicate about church mediocrity and lukewarmness!

The modern church seems to have moved away from discussing any need to hunger and  thirst for excellence in Christ. This desire to walk with God has been taught and strongly emphasized through the millenniums since Jesus' first came as a man!

Today, "God accepts you as you are," has been downgraded to "God wants you to stay as you are!"

Avoiding offending people seems to be of much greater importance than pleasing God! Making everyone feeling "loved" takes precedence over being conformed to the image of the Son of God and holy living! We are no longer challenged to "grow up" in our walk with God. in fact we are encouraged to avoid that topic for the sake of making all feel content with the status quo of our own comfort zone - regardless of how mediocre and lukewarm that comfort zone may be!

How does our illustration of medical training being necessary to equip physicians relate to Christians today?

By their own estimation, many Christians today only occasionally read the Bible, let alone study its contents. They pray very little and only attend church when it is convenient. Their ministry consists only of outward works without the proclamation of the gospel God commands His Word!

No one would accept our personal opinion if we merely "read a medical book occasionally?" The great majority of us would never be arrogant enough to assume they could give medical advice or preform surgeries under those circumstances.

Yet in the church, we value the opinions of all equally, even if they are new converts. Even the highly speculative opinions of unbelievers are often valued as though they were theological certainties! What degree of arrogance is required for Christians, who do not study the Bible, pray or attend church to advise others or to form our own personal theologies?

Yet that is exactly what a great many Christians presume to do today!

They admittedly don't have a close walk with God - yet make theological statements about God, such as, "God doesn't care about that." Or, "That's not a sin."

Based on what? We have no basis to form, let alone promote opinions about God if we are not seeking to develop a close walk with Him! We cannot know what pleases God unless we are students of His Word! We cannot sense His call on our lives unless we are seeking Him in prayer! We cannot know if our pastor, or the church we are attending are biblically accurate - unless we have been trained to  rightly discern the truth through a deep, intimate knowledge of God and His Word!

As a "lay person" in the medical field, we can only tell people to "Eat chicken soup for a cold." Or "Get some rest." not presume to go much farther - freely admitting to themselves that they are not qualified to comprehend medicine at the level of a trained physician or give medical advice.

Yet as Christians we presume to speak and promote theological points of view that are far beyond our shallow knowledge of God!

Paul spoke of his message as a mystery that only the mature could understand:

6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.

1 Corinthians 2:6-7 (emphasis added)

There are many levels of maturity. So, like me, you need not fear that only some elite, "super Christians" can understand God. A better way to think of it is as a ladder. The higher we climb the more we will understand.

The more we humbly and diligently seek God, the closer our walk with Him will be! The more we are willing to lay down our preconceived ideologies, and accept His ways in their place, the more enlightenment will come to us!

When we cling to a shallow, lower view of God, it is impossible to see Him as He really is!

I don't know about you but I want to see Him more clearly. The more clearly we see, the smaller our problems and the less we will value or esteem the things of this world. An object  may be very difficult to see if it is at the top of a mountain while we are standing on the ground. But the higher we climb, the more the object in our vision comes into focus!

If we remain on the ground, we can only speculate about what that which is at the top seems to be. These thoughts will be out of focus at best and mistaken and erroneous at their worst!

Every one of us is called to strive to climb the ladder - drawing ever closer to Him as the days of our lives go by!

God has promised that the reward will be great for those who diligently seek Him:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6