Grace and Repentance…What Wonderful Blessings!

How is the Christian who darkens the church assembly doors every Sunday, sits in the pews, says “Amen” at the appropriate times, sings the hymns, partakes of communion, and gives a weekly offering “deceiving (himself)” if he is one who does much hearing of the pulpit’s message but little applying of it to his life throughout the week?  Answer: there is little to no actual repentance of his sins in this man’s life…and yet he, if asked, would sincerely answer that he is a faithful disciple of Christ because, after all, “I go to church all the time.”  James would say this man is deceiving himself.  David would agree, saying that there is much “deceit” in his “spirit,” specifically deceit aimed at himself. … Read More Grace and Repentance…What Wonderful Blessings!

Zechariah: “Living Waters Will Flow Out From Jerusalem”

The ”living waters” which “will flow out of Jerusalem” (v. 8) clearly refer to the gospel (John 4:10-11).  The good news was first preached at Jerusalem (Lk. 24:47-49; Acts 1:5-8; 2:1ff).  It continued to spread to the whole world (Matt. 24:14; Col. 1:5-6, 23), the likely meaning behind the living waters flowing both “toward the eastern” and “western sea.”  Evangelism throughout the world would continually take place, “in summer as well as in winter.”                                              … Read More Zechariah: “Living Waters Will Flow Out From Jerusalem”

1 Peter: Christians Are Guarded By The Power of God

The apostle now informs his Christian readers that the power of God guards us (1:5a).  This term, also rendered “kept” in some English translations, comes from the Greek term phroureo and is a military term; it refers to being under military guard.  During biblical times, soldiers at the gates of a city would stand at post to either keep the hostile invaders from entering the city or keep the citizens within that city from leaving the protection of its walls and falling into enemy hands.  Our heavenly Father does the same for us through His awesome power.  The gospel is the power God uses to save us (Rom. 1:16), and this same power is used to guard us from Satan. … Read More 1 Peter: Christians Are Guarded By The Power of God

The Parable of the Sower: The Path

How does Satan have the power to “take away the word from their hearts”?  Answer: they give it to him.  We can do this too.  The devil does not have the ability to force any of us to do wrong (1 Cor. 10:13).  However, each of us has the ability to choose whether or not to serve God (Josh. 24:15).  Many of us choose to follow our own desires, which Satan uses to successfully tempt us to sin (James 1:13-15; cf. Gen. 3:4-6).… Read More The Parable of the Sower: The Path

1 Peter: What God The Father Has Done For Us

As Peter brings out, God the Father “has caused us to be born again” (1:3b; cf. 1:23).  Jesus spoke of being born again to Nicodemus, explaining that this rebirth was being “born of water and the Spirit” and necessary to “enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5).  This is a clear reference to being baptized into Christ, which culminates in our salvation and forgiveness of sins (Gal. 3:26-27; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16).… Read More 1 Peter: What God The Father Has Done For Us

Zechariah: “The Spoil Taken From You Will Be Divided In Your Midst”

Some such as Bob Winton in his commentary on the Minor Prophets view this as a prophecy about Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Others such as Homer Hailey cite as a “more probable explanation” that God through Zechariah is “pointing to the spiritual Jerusalem as the capital of His spiritual kingdom (cf. Heb. 12:22; Gal. 4:26)” – i.e., the church – “and of the assault upon it by the world.” … Read More Zechariah: “The Spoil Taken From You Will Be Divided In Your Midst”

Bible Q&A: A Question About Fellowship in the Digital Age

I have some thought questions about fellowship in the digital age. We usually see fellowship being withdrawn from only those within a local congregation.  But today Christians across the globe can have a close, personal, instant relationship via text, email, phone, social media, etc. In that sense, can fellowship be had between faithful members of… Read More Bible Q&A: A Question About Fellowship in the Digital Age

Zechariah: “Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Be Scattered”

Zechariah continues his prophecies about the Messiah and His church as chapter 13 ends.  We know the shepherd points to Jesus himself because Christ cited it as being fulfilled when his disciples – “the sheep” – would desert him upon his arrest (Matt. 26:31; Mk. 14:27; cf. John 10:11ff).  The sword being awakened against the shepherd and striking him is a clear reference to the crucifixion.… Read More Zechariah: “Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Be Scattered”