Friday, January 11, 2019

Trusting God

Every child of God knows that we honor our God when we trust him. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart is the desire of every healthy Christian. It sounds so simple. And yet we are challenged day by day with simply trusting.

When all is going well we can speak confidently of our trust in the living God. We quote Scripture, sing songs, and exhort others to trust in the LORD. But what do we mean when say we trust the LORD?

We believe Him. He is worthy of our confidence and so we believe what He says. We believe Him enough to live according to His revealed will.

We believe Him at all times. That is, we believe Him enough to do His will at all times no matter how we feel or the outcome of our obedience. We really do believe that He is right, that His will is best and that He will take care of us. If we do not see the desired result from our obedience, we continue to obey. After all, we trust Him!

We believe Him even when our way is dark, dreary, difficult and uncertain. We trust Him. We know His Word is true just like Himself, and therefore simply trust that His way is right no matter how we might perceive the outcome will be.

Are you simply trusting? It is possible to think you are trusting and yet your experience proves otherwise. If you are really trusting Him you will follow Him. You will not follow your own inclinations. You will not be satisfied simply with comfortable results from your own decisions. You will follow Him regardless of the results, simply trusting that He is worthy of full devotion and that His way is right.

Simply trusting is not always comfortable to our flesh, but perfect peace is promised to those who simply trust (Is. 26:3).

Friday, November 9, 2018

Salvation: Objective and Subjective Peace

The salvation of God in Jesus Christ has an objective and a subjective side that are inseparably linked and yet clearly distinguished. Not distinguishing between these aspects of salvation can lead to confusion and unnecessary emotional turmoil regarding one’s own testimony of faith in Christ.

Objectively, our justification before God depends completely upon the Lord Jesus Christ. This is clearly expressed in Romans 5:1, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The wrath of God against you and me (sinners), is removed because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. We are set free from the just condemnation of our sin on the basis of Jesus giving Himself a ransom for us on the cross.

Subjectively, we have the peace of God within us as we understand all that was accomplished for us and realize the relationship we now have with God in Christ. This is the peace of God, that passes all understanding that Paul refers to in Philippians 4:7.

Peace with God does not depend upon the peace of God. In other words, God's just condemnation against you the sinner is not removed by your sense of peace. Jesus Christ alone is the reason for peace with God. Faith in Him alone satisfies the sinner’s need for righteousness. This same faith in the same Christ leads the justified sinner to live in the grace of Christ and experience the peace and joy that comes through Him.

Peace of God is the experiential side of our salvation. Peace with God is the foundation of the peace of God. The first is conditioned on Christ alone. The latter is conditioned on our response to Him, including looking to and thinking upon Him.

This distinction is important lest your confidence before God be turned away from Jesus Christ unto yourself, which will surely disturb your peace. Keeping your mind fixed upon the all-sufficiency of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of sinners, will encourage your sense of peace in relation to God. But your sense of peace is not the determining factor of your peace with God. You must believe with the faith that is from God and placed in Jesus Christ. The sense of peace that follows this faith is the peace of God.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Resting in our Sovereign Christ

And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?  Mark 4:35-41

Here Jesus especially exhibits His sovereign rule.
       He was not shocked by the storm.
       He was not controlled by the storm.
       He was sovereign over that which seemed to be overwhelming and about to destroy.

The disciples exhibit fear in the face of uncontrollable circumstances. Jesus acted in a way that demonstrated to His disciples that He was more than a mere man. The very elements of nature were subject to His word, and still are!

Are you in the midst of a storm? Is your ship filling up? What will you do? What are you doing? Are you afraid? Jesus calls you to trust Him.
      He is not shaken by the events of your life.
      He is not shocked. He is not overpowered. He is not defeated.
      He is asleep – calm, resting, in full control!

There is no better sense in the soul than the sense of confidence that Jesus is present.
      Don’t you know that the latest wave filling your boat is under His rule? 
      Don’t you know that He is just as able to calm the sea as He is to stir it up? 
      Look to Him! Trust Him! Lay down on His pillow and rest!

One great problem that faces every Christian is truly believing and resting in our sovereign Christ. We are more interested in selective sovereignty: Christ doing our will for what we consider our greatest comfort and best interest. We want His sovereign rule to be at our beckoned command.

When we embrace by faith the absolute sovereignty of Christ we demonstrate our greatest concern to be His interest and glory. Living by faith, we really do trust Him and really do believe that He will do what is best, and we are satisfied.

Be clear on this: Christ never presents His sovereignty in order to excuse our irresponsibility. But, as we fulfill His revealed will and make choices in life that demonstrate submission to Him, He calls us to find comfort and encouragement in His sovereignty. What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him? With Him in our midst and on our side, what have we to fear?

So, fill up the ship with the waves of life’s trials, discouragements, unexplained or explained difficulties…so long as He is with us, we can be assured that the ship will not sink! He knows how much our ship can take, and will not permit one wave more than we can bear!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Honor God With Tithes


Tithing is simply a tangible way in which God’s people are able to express worship. God has given us all that we have. We respond by returning a portion (Deut. 16:17; 2 Cor. 9:6,7). I recently heard a message from 1 Corinthians 16:2, that developed three points that were helpful.

1. Giving should be regular (first day of the week),
2. There is no exception (every [each] one of you)
3. Give proportionately (as God has prospered)

Paul could have issued an exception clause, but he didn’t. Surely there are exceptions, right? Well, not according to God’s Word. Tithing is not restricted to any particular economic class. It is expected from every class. It is interesting that several times in Scripture God chooses to illustrate giving by way of the poorest of His people: the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17), the widow in the gospels (Mark 12:42,43), and the poor churches in Macedonia (2Cor. 8:1,2). If the poorest can give with the expectation of God continuing to provide, there is really no good excuse for any.

I don’t think a child of God needs to be convinced that it is honoring to the Lord to give proportionately and consistently from all that God enables him to gain. This is not a form of bargaining with God by which we expect big returns on each dollar given. We give to honor the One who has first given to us. We give to participate in the work He has ordained for our generation. We give that we might fellowship with others in providing for gospel laborers and needs of others.

While those who make more are generally able to give more, assuming they order their finances well and keep their lusts in check, every believer is expected to lay aside regularly a portion from that with which God blesses them. To not do so is to ignore a primary way in which honor can be tangibly shown to Jehovah-jireh. One must ask: if you ignore the Lord in this area of your life, what about other areas? Where your treasure is, there your heart will be found. Where is your heart?   

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Second Coming of Jesus


Is it true, as someone recently indicated to me, that John wrote Revelation, including 22:20, before 70 a.d., having in mind the coming of Jesus to destroy Jerusalem? After all, Jesus said, Surely I come quickly. And wasn’t the Apostle Paul expecting the same when he wrote to churches encouraging them with the hope of the Lord’s coming? And isn’t it most natural to understand Jesus’ words in the gospels (ex. Matthew 24), watch...for you know not the hour, to be primarily referring to His coming in the generation to whom He was addressing?

The point of this short article is not to answer all the questions relating to Jesus’ prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem and how the statements of His coming fit in. The point here is simply to respond to the proposition that when Jesus or the Apostles spoke of the coming of Christ they were thinking of His coming in their generation to destroy Jerusalem and the temple. Those who think this way tend to read most, if not all, references to the coming of Christ in the Epistles and Revelation as history.  And if not all history, they certainly do not think references to the future coming of Christ to be intended for us.

It is a grave error of interpretation to teach that references to Christ’s coming again primarily refer to 70 a.d.. Such teaching should be rejected. Here are three reasons, among others, that may help dispel this error:

1. Quickly refers to suddenness, not time frame. It fits Paul’s description (and Jesus) of Jesus’ coming as a thief in the night (1Thess. 5:2).
2. Peter concurs with Paul regarding the nature of His coming, as a thief in the night (2Pet. 3:10). Peter is answering the objection of those who see the delay in the promise of His coming to be an indicator that He is not coming. Peter dispels that notion and concludes that we look for new heavens and a new earth, following fiery renovation of the present, which happens at His coming. His “delay” is intentional so that all those He does not intend to perish will come to repentance.
3. Finally, John’s reference to Christ’s coming and appearing in 1 John 2:28 and 3:2,3, are intended for all of the sons of God in these last days following the resurrection of Christ. This is OUR hope, not merely those present at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 a.d..

Any teaching that distracts our faith and hope from the coming Christ and that would discourage us from praying, Even so, come, Lord Jesus, must be rejected.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Please Bring Your Bible


At the risk of sounding legalistic, I am going to suggest that you consider bringing an actual bound Bible to the meeting house on Sunday. It is more and more common for preachers to use iPads and other electronic devices in the place of the bound paper Bible. I’m not sure if they are following the trend in the congregations or the congregations are following their lead. Nevertheless, it is more and more common to see folk looking at their phone during the preaching.

What difference does it make so long as the participant is looking at Scripture? Maybe none, if that’s all that is being viewed. Smart phones are used for many things other than a Bible. It doesn’t only represent that in which the word of God is found, it represents everything else in one’s life and in this world. There is at least a subconscious connection to your busy life when you are handling the nerve center of communication in your life. Isn’t that distracting? Do you really tune all else out and focus upon the word of God and the gathered worship when you are holding your smart phone? Be honest.

Oh, and what about the vibration or pop up message that comes in the middle of a pressing point in the message, or even prayer? Can you honestly say that you are not distracted? Isn’t it easy, and tempting, to quickly check a message, and even send one when a thought enters your mind? It can’t wait, can it? That’s one of the problems with bringing a phone into a church meeting. It really can be a distraction.

Hold a Bible instead of a phone in the assembly, if for no other reason, to aid you in staying focused. We are gathered for the important purpose of collectively praising our God, praying, reading Scripture, and being taught and exhorted from God’s Word. Handling a phone in a service can be spiritually distracting: “don’t text and worship.”

Friday, October 20, 2017


Ps 42:5, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Ps 42:11, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Ps 43:5, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Ps 71:5, For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.

We often encourage ourselves or others when facing a major trial in which we desire a certain outcome, by saying, hope in God. By which we mean hope in God for a particular outcome. If that desired outcome doesn’t come, or is delayed, we are negatively affected: emotionally and practically.

We are saved by hope (Rom. 8:24); we have a lively hope, which includes an inheritance assured by the resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 1:3); God has determined an expected end (Jer. 29:11) for His people. There is certainly nothing out of line with hoping for that which has been promised.

But are we hoping in God when something else beyond God is that for which we really hope?
Hope in God is not a means to an end, so that the thing beyond God takes precedence over HIM. God is not a means to an end – He is the highest good and the chief end!
Hope in God is not a step to something else, but the end…the resting place.

When we come to this conclusion in the exercise of our faith, it has a profound impact upon us.  

Hope in God:
·         Affects our emotions…He never changes. When we know by the witness of His Spirit in us that we are His and He is ours, then knowing Him in Whom we hope is emotionally stabilizing. Peace, joy, confidence, contentment, and rest are all effects of hope in God.
Psa 146:5, Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
·         Affects our expectations…knowing that His will is perfect, hope in God keeps us expecting no more or less than what He determines is best for our lives.
Ro 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Produces a spirit of thankfulness, in everything: Inevery thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thess 5:18
·         Affects our exertion…knowing that His way is best, hope in God keeps our will submissive to Him and our lives committed to do His revealed will. Produces motivation to serve Him.
Titus 2:12-14, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
·         Affects everything, every day…life can get really difficult and challenging. Jeremiah experienced this and was ultimately encouraged with hope by meditations upon God:
Lam 3:21-26, This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.