Wednesday, May 30, 2012



“And now, Israel, listen carefully to these decrees and regulations that I am about to teach you. Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. Do not add to or subtract from these commands I am giving you. Just obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you” (Deuteronomy 4:1,2).

“So be careful to obey all the commands I give you. You must not add anything to them or subtract anything from them” (Deuteronomy 12:32).

“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection. Do not add to His words, or He may rebuke you and expose you as a liar” (Proverbs 30:5,6).

“And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person's share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18,19).

Sufficient. With an edge.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Bible's Definition of "Firstborn"

Psalm 89 is in today’s Psalm readings (29,59,89,149). I feel compelled to point something out every time we come to this Psalm, since the idea of “firstborn” is perverted by those who deny Christ is the eternal Son of God.

“I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; in the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness. I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations’...He will cry to Me, 'You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall be confirmed to him. So I will establish his descendants [“seed,” singular as in vs. 4] forever and his throne as the days of heaven” (Psalm 89:2-4,26-29).

Jesus Christ, “seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3), Who has “the throne of His father David...and [Whose] kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:32,33), is the eternal Son of God. He is the “firstborn” (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15,18; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:5). What does this mean for the eternal Son of God? Learn from Psalm 89:27 that the Bible’s definition of “firstborn” does not mean “created” or “did not exist before being begotten.” It is the language of enthronement: in the Father’s covenant with His Son, to be declared “firstborn” is to be proclaimed “highest of the kings of the earth.” Do not be led astray by those who rely on their own understanding to lower Christ by their own definition of “firstborn.”

The eternal Son of God, the Person of the Son in the Godhead Who has "neither beginning of days nor end of life" (Hebrews 7:3), is also the King of kings and Lord of lords according to the unchanging and unalterable promise of His Father. He rules and reigns, so obey and teach others to obey this timeless Sovereign!

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Southern Baptist Considers Memorial Day

“God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.”
- Baptist Faith & Message 2000, XVII

Memorial Day. Recognize that “a free church in a free state” is an ideal that is not free of cost, and remember those who gave themselves to defend this ideal with their lives, to the benefit of the Church here and in many other places around the world.

This principle is codified in the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
- 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Trinitarian Prayer Before the Sermon: Sunrise!

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with Whom I am well-pleased’ - and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:16-21).

The Bible: the Father’s Word about His Son given through the Holy Spirit.

Trinity, as we gather in Your Name today as Your Church, speak light to our hearts and minds and lives. Father, glorify Your beloved Son in the proclamation of Your Word. Jesus, manifest Your power and presence through our worship in the Word. Holy Spirit, move us to speak Your Word – may the “human will” in speakers and hearers be fully eclipsed by the beautiful and matchless glory of Your Word.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hatred of the Son of God

“But of the Son He says, ‘you have...hated LAWLESSNESS...’” (Hebrews 1:8,9, quoting Psalm 45:6,7).

“For by one offering He [the Son] has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them," He then says, ‘And their sins and THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I will remember no more’” (Hebrews 10:14-17, quoting Jeremiah 31:33,34).

Son of God, thank you for saving us from that which You hate – and saving us from Your hate!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Today's Ancient Sermon

Over 2,800 years old, & the Holy Spirit speaks it just as powerfully today through the pages of Scripture as He did through Isaiah then: “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God Who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), ‘I am the LORD, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek Me in a waste place”; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, declaring things that are upright. Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance [Philippians 2:10]. They will say of Me, “Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.” Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory’” (Isaiah 45:18-25).

He alone is God & is right.
Leave the gods of the works of your hands & come to Him in repentance.
Bow before His Son & confess Jesus as Lord (45:23//Philippians 2:10).
Enjoy His righteousness & glory forever.

The ancient Gospel is still Good News today!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trinity, Speak to Us!

“...we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God [the Father] predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory [the Son]; but just as it is written, ‘THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM [Isaiah 64:4].’ For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. Now we have received...the Spirit Who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:6-13).

Holy Trinity, one God in three Persons, meet with us in the proclamation of Your Word today! Father, Who predestines the revelation of His wisdom to us through the Spirit, Who prepares and super-abundantly gives eternal blessing for those who love Him...the Son, mediator of God’s glory to us, the crucified-yet-ever-living Offense Who is dividing line between humanity...the Spirit, God’s present Wisdom Who teaches us to speak to each other in words far beyond us!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trinity, Build Your House!

“Then he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts’” (Zechariah 4:6).

The Father (“the LORD of hosts”), through the Son (“the Word of the LORD”), promises the Spirit.

“What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” Also the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. For who has despised the day of small things?’” (4:7-10). Almighty Trinity, matchless one God in three Persons, build Your house – and we will “praise the glory of Your grace” (Ephesians 1:6,12,14).

Friday, May 18, 2012

Daily Bread

Triune Promise:
“According to the Word [the Son]
that I [the Father] covenanted with you, when ye came out of Egypt:
so my [Holy] Spirit shall remain among you, fear ye not.”
- Haggai 2:6, Geneva Bible

Triune Praise:
“Praise God the Father Who’s the Source;
Praise God the Son Who is the Course;
Praise God the Spirit Who is the Flow;
Praise God, our Portion here below!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”
- Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Question of Pants

I received a question from a Filipina sister in Christ concerning the appropriateness of women wearing pants:
I was asked this question some 7 years ago when the Church where I am now serving was interviewing me. There was a congregation in our city where the pastor was telling women what they could where. I joked that I don't pick my own clothes (my wife does), so the women of the congregation definitely didn't want me picking their clothes! 
Seriously, I think this is a very cultural thing. I was happy to notice in my visit to Mindanao that Filipinas are more modest in their clothing than American women. Very good. BUT the Bible (especially the New Testament) does not give us clear teaching about exactly what to wear, for the Bible is true in every age and clothing styles change with different cultures and times. 
The most important thing is a desire to be modest in the heart. I have known women who wore skirts but did not have a modest attitude. I know many women who wear pants who have a modest spirit and attitude and are very godly. It is "the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:4). 
Also, I believe that the Christian husband is the one who should be the ultimate guide for his Christian wife's clothing. The desire of the husband is to please his wife, and the desire of the wife is to please her husband (1 Corinthians 7:33,34). I don't see the pastor or church having the authority to tell a Christian woman what to wear as long as she is modest in spirit and is in loving subjection to her husband. 
We have to be very careful about making our cultural preferences or opinions equal in authority to the Word of God. Jesus Himself probably wore a robe and sandals - does that mean all men today should? If your husband (or father if you were single) approves of your clothing and your desire in your clothing is to be pleasing to him alone, and your clothes are an expression of love to him alone, then I would say you are honoring him and displaying the type of relationship the Church has to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-24). Also, the Church as the Bride of Christ is clothed with righteous deeds (Revelation 19:7,8), which reflect His character (Revelation 15:4), not their preferences or opinions. Similarly, the wife should dress in a way acceptable, pleasing, and honoring to her husband above all other opinions. In this way the Christian wife models what the Church's attitude toward the Church should be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Motivation for Benediction

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word” (2:15-17). Paul prays this benediction of “comfort” and strength in the context of the Church’s obedience to the teaching of the apostle.

* * * * * * *

“We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command” (2 Thessalonians 3:4).

“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ” (3:5). Notice that this benediction concerning “the love of God” and the “steadfastness of Christ” is surrounded by 3:4,6 – a reminder that the Church obey the commands the apostle gives in the name of the Lord.

“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (3:6).

* * * * * * *

Lord, our desire is to read, hear, teach, and obey Your Word to Your glory – move our hearts to desire Your comfort, strength, and love to further this “Word-living” and not for our own selfish motivations.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Morning Proverb & Prayer

“...a faithful envoy brings healing” (Proverbs 13:17 – see also 4:22; 12:18; 15:4; 16:24).

“Jesus answered them, ‘To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.” But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it’” (Matthew 13:11-17).

“A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy [מרפא, “healing”] (29:1 – see also 2 Chronicles 36:15,16).

Father, speak today through Your messengers to Your people in the name of the Son, by the power of the Spirit. Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand, so that we will turn to You and be healed. Heal eternally today through the proclamation of Your Word in the gathering of the Church.