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The writer of Hebrews exhorts you to do so. Listen to his words:
Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying gain the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God . . . (HCSB Hebrews 6:1)
In making his “Inspired Translation” of the Scriptures (never completed), Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, got to this verse and, misunderstanding it, inserted the word “not”: [“not leaving . . .” etc]. He, of course, was woefully wrong. The people to whom Hebrews was written were long-time Christians who had become dull, and could not appreciate strong teaching (see Ch. 5). Therefore, the import of this verse is that they needed to go beyond the first teachings of the faith to more meaty material, so that they could grow in the truth. They were still sucking on a bottle of milk (see 5:12-14)! He wanted them to mature.
Today, to the contrary, we are told that to mature in the faith, we must go back to the first principles (elements) of Christianity (“Preach the gospel to yourselves”) and concentrate on them. This strange idea—so contrary to...
You know, of course, how a boomerang works—you throw it out, it does its work, and then comes back to you. It was originally used as a weapon; now (in our society) has become a toy.
Listen to what else becomes a boomerang:
A merciful person benefits himself; but the cruel person hurts himself. Proverbs 11: 17 (CCNT/Proverbs)
What you throw at another returns! Of course, you shouldn’t show mercy in order to receive it. And, you certainly won’t be cruel in order to receive cruel treatment in return! But in God’s order of things, you can look for boomeranging events to happen!
“Why don’t people treat me better?”(you may wonder). How do you treat others? It’s an interesting concept—isn’t it? Think about it and start interpreting your life experiences in relationship to their boomeranging effects.
Here is what the Thessalonians had to say about Paul and his associates when they came to town:
These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Acts 17:6 (HCSB)
They were wrong, of course.
“Wrong? How so?”
They had it backwards; or, might I say, upside down?
“What are you talking about?”
Simply this: these preachers were not turning the world upside down; they were turning it right side up!
Ever since Adam, things have been upside down because of man’s sin. When the Gospel is preached, and people believe, for the first time they begin to live as they were intended by God to live. Of course, not perfectly so.
“No one is perfect; as Jesus was. Will believers ever become perfect?”
When He returns to earth and transforms us into the perfect creatures he intends us to become.
“When is that?”
It is the next thing on God’s given agenda.
No one knows the date. We are to be ready for it to come whenever it does.
“Do all of...
what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight (Luke 16: 15 HCSB).
Here’s the challenge—
Things had gotten worse than many realized. But God was about to let them know how bad they really were. He said:
My people are fools. They do not know Me. . . They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good (Jeremiah 4:22, HCSB).
As a result, God was about to send the Babylonians to invade and destroy the land, including Jerusalem and its temple. Then, they would awaken – but too late.
How about God’s church today? Are there fools squabbling over non-essentials, teaching all sorts of heresy, and drifting farther and farther away from the truth? How much evil living is there among those who purport to serve God—but actually do not? Have they become skilled at doing all of the wrong things . . . and have no idea how to do the right ones?
How does one acquire skill? By constant practice. Obviously continuation in the foolish ways in which modern Christians live is just such practice. Search your lives. In what are you skilled—good or evil?
If you are contributing to the breakdown of society by your foolish ways, repent and begin to do those things that please God! That is the skill...
There is a lot of talk about culture these days, but I’m convinced that most of the people who talk about it have never really given careful thought to what, exactly, culture is.
I have argued elsewhere that the parallel concept to “culture” in the New Testament is not terms related to race or ethnic identity, nor is it terms related to “the world.” Rather, the nearest concept to “culture” in the New Testament is the idea of behavior, conduct, and way of life. While both the terms related to ethnic identity and those related to “the world” demonstrate relationship to the contemporary notion of culture, they do not identify culture itself. Ethnic groups unite around common culture, and the sinful world-system affects unbelieving culture, but these terms are not the same as culture. Rather, behavior-related terms like anastrophē—which describe complete ways of life, conduct, and behavior—most closely identify “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, arts, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Tylor)...
Deity indwelling men! That, I say, is Christianity, and no man has experienced rightly the power of Christian belief until he has known this for himself as a living reality. – A.W. Tozer
God, who does all his pleasure, is never constrained to manifest his presence anywhere. When Israel’s idolatry reached a tipping point, God’s Shekinah glory departed from the Temple (Ezekiel 11:22-23). Conversely, God’s manifest presence has been a sign of his pleasure and loyalty to the people he chooses. Both the Tabernacle and the Temple were places where God chose to reveal himself.
“And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. “So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. “I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt,...
Last year we published a new daily devotional for the Christmas season by Pastor Taigen Joos that was very well-received. This devotional is perfect for both families and individuals to use as they prepare to worship Christ during the Christmas season. Each daily reading is a rich, yet brief meditation on an event or characteristic of Christ, including questions for personal meditation or family discussion and (my favorite feature) a suggested hymn to sing along with each meditation (including the full score of each hymns!) You’ll find details about the book below, and you can order copies at the bottom of the post.
Several churches purchased the book in bulk for their people last year, and that discount option is available this year as well.Rejoicing in Christ, the Newborn King: 25 Meditations for Family Worship During the Christmas Season BY TAIGEN JOOS
Purchase this book below.
Christmas is one of the most popular holidays in the world. However, it has been glamorized so much that the true significance of the holiday is overshadowed by the materialistic influences of our day. Even in Christian...
The wording of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 forces the reader to certain conclusions about biblical inspiration. First, the writings and not the writers are inspired. Second, the words and not merely the ideas of Scripture are inspired. Third, inspiration is about a result and not about the process by means of which the Scriptures were produced.
Scripture does, however, speak to that process, if only briefly. The key text is 2 Peter 1:20-21. While Peter did not supply all the details in this text, he did give enough information to imply that the production of Scripture involved both divine and human agency.
In these two verses, Peter was discussing “every prophecy of Scripture.” Technically, the verses only apply to those portions of the Bible that were originally received from God through direct revelation (that is the definition of prophecy). The verses, however, are not...
Dear Fellow Servant of Jesus Christ:
It seems like every day brings more bad news in this crazy, sin-cursed world. And it seems, at least sometimes, like God’s people are dropping into defense-mode as the world becomes increasingly hostile toward Christianity. While all of this may be new to us, it is not different from the landscape that the churches in the New Testament faced. The Philippians, for example, were “granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29).
The darkness of our day should make us more urgent about obedience to Christ’s commission, not less so. To that end, the theme for our fall conference this year, based on Philippians 1:27, is “Striving Together for the Faith of the Gospel.” By God’s grace, we’ll gather for two days, October 16-17, to focus our attention on biblical truth about building greater unity within and between our assemblies for the sake of the gospel. Incredible gospel opportunities are all around us. We need to sharpen our focus on biblical truths that...
Michigan Cherry Coffee
Sure, you can order it online. But only Michigan coffeehouses serve freshly brewed coffee made from cherries grown just a few hours to our north. If you like coffee but haven’t tried Michigan Cherry coffee, you need to. And if you don’t like coffee, you should probably see a doctor.
While visiting a church a few weeks back I heard something I’ve not heard in many years: a sermon on predictive prophecy. Not a general sermon on the Second Coming, the final judgment, or the joys of heaven, but a sermon on the grind-it-out details of eschatology from the book of Zechariah.
I grew up with a steady diet of biblical prophecy. The books of Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation were perennial favorites. The late 1970s and early 1980s, as I remember them, were troubled times, and as Stan Gundry aptly pointed out back then, this kind of climate had a tendency to make believers long for a day when God will bring this troubled world to its conclusion and flex the muscles of his sovereignty to set things straight. So we got a lot of preaching on prophecy when I was a youth.
Now, it seems, we are paying penance for the excesses of previous generations, with the result that preaching on prophecy has all but disappeared. Part of this neglect is due to our aversion to controversy and speculation, both of which featured fairly prominently in the glory days of the...
I’m working up a paper on ‘The Story of Israel in Hebrews 11’ and one of the preliminary matters I’m trying to get a handle on is the point of the chapter. That is, before I can say anything about how Hebrews tells Israel’s story, I need to figure out what the author’s trying to do with his ‘catalogue of heroes.’ I was doing a bit of reading in Gary Cockerill’s (magnificent) new commentary and came across an article he’d published about this very issue. In it, he suggests that Hebrews 11 is about encouraging ‘resurrection faith,’ based on its references to resurrection in vv. 17–19 and v. 35. To prove his point, Cockerill argues for the centrality of these two references in the chapter’s structure. Here I’d simply like to summarize his argument and pass it along for consideration.
The centrality of vv. 17–19. Cockerill suggests...