Bible Study

Mar 2019
To Have and To Hold

In my day our country was rushing to teach sex education to teens. Schools were mandated to develop special classes. The church I was attending figured it best to counter and teach it too. Our church class was taught by an honorable couple. I was a kid of thirteen being taught things I didn’t care about. My feelings are this- we should not put those thoughts in children’s minds!

Parents were in an uproar. They were phoning the schools en masse and our priest had his ears full; based on things I overheard from my parents. This was a generational assault. Back in the day, you didn’t mention these things (I still believe that). The subject wasn’t dinner-table fare. When it came to babies and such, we were told the stork delivered them. That’s like the Santie Claus lie! I tried to envision a bird flying with a baby all my young childhood; until those classes ruined it! If you think about it, our land and the times were so much better off then. We are way too educated nowadays.

Ignorance is bliss is a popular adage, but not always so. I believe this subject needs instruction, but only through the Word of God and supported by godly parents. It’s not to be relegated to humanistic teachers. If the Church is to get involved it is only to teach what God says and not as descriptive as some may want. Parents should show their children what passages are important, have them study God’s Word and answer any questions. God’s plan is natural and better learned within the confines of holy matrimony.

Proverbs 5 should be taped to every young person’s mirror. This  chapter deals with young men. It’s true that men are the greatest offenders of fidelity in marriage, but women are picking up the pace. If children were taught to study this and choose to follow it, their lives will be blessed; and if not, read the dangers. “And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed” (vs.11). Contraction of social disease! “But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword” (vs. 4). 

The Bible is clear and the closer we follow its instruction, the more perfect our lives will be. God warns of the dangers, but outlines the blessings too. “Drink waters out of thine own cistern… Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind…and be thou ravished always with her love” (vs. 15, 17-19). If we, as adult men, model this in front of our young sons, we will help them fulfill Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…” 

Mar 2019
It's Not About You

Have you ever been around that person who makes everything about them? It seems they can twist any situation into a story that makes them feel relatable. Talking about military service? “Well I was thinking about becoming a marine, but…”  Talking about your last fishing trip with your grandfather before he passed away? “I went fishing this one time and…”
Unfortunately, that’s not the only way people twist reality to make it about themselves. Paul addressed that in Galatians 1. If anyone preaches to you a Gospel that isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ, don’t listen to them…EVEN IF IT’S ME! We must preach “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” It’s not about you. 
But the problem wasn’t a new one even in Paul’s day. In Exodus 26, God wanted there to be reminders everywhere that worship was to be about Him and Him alone. You can see elements of his character through the entire construction of the Tabernacle and later, the Temple: royalty, beauty, order, and strength just to name a few. In our society, we still are the tendency to make worship about what I like, want, or feel. It’s not about you! 
Even Jesus, when faced with accusations for healing on the Sabbath, turned the situation around. He said, “the Son can do nothing of himself.” Through the rest of His defense, he constantly points back to the work if God. Even Jesus, the only One who could actually say it was about him said that it’s about the Father. It’s not about you. 
And in all of Solomon’s instruction, in telling his son to pursue wisdom wanted to make sure his son would not get puffed up in wisdom and understanding. He said, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Even in pursuing God, some try to make it about their own knowledge. It’s not about you!
Whether in learning about God, worshipping God, or telling others about God, we must remember that it’s all about Him. If we forget or ignore that, everything we do is wasted. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

Mar 2019
What Kind of Influence?

Growing up in a Baptist church and it’s accompanying Christian school, I had the privilege of hearing hundreds if not thousands of messages in various church and chapel services.  That said, I distinctly remember hearing one message when I was in junior high that comes to mind every time I read this passage.  In Proverbs 1:10 we read, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”  Even to this day I remember hearing a pastor at another church in the area preaching a chapel message in our school on this verse.  I remember him yelling, “If sinners entice thee” and those of us in the chapel service would yell back, “Consent thou not!”.    What a great verse to stick with me all of these years!

While the admonition still applies to us as adults to not be swayed to sin by the peer pressure of others, another passage in our reading today talks about the opposite kind of influence we can have on others.  In John 4 we read the familiar story of Jesus at the well, a passage that Bro. Harris preached on last week.  After Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan women, we see her going back to her city and telling the men in vs 29, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”   We further read in verse 39 that, ” And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman.”   So while our reading in Proverbs 1 reminds us not to listen to negative peer pressure (or be that wrong influence ourselves), we read about the Samaritan women being the exact opposite- that of a positive witness and influence so as help lead many to come to Christ.  So the question today is what kind of influence are we?   Does our words and way of life point others to Christ?  When our lives are over, how many people will be able to give testimony of the positive influence that we were?

Mar 2019
The Great Deceiver

Contrary to Hollywood’s representation of the Devil holding a pitchfork and dressed in a red suit, the Bible describes him as one that masquerades himself as an “angel of light.” It is essential for Christians to understand the nature and work of our enemy- Satan. Great military commanders have understood the importance of studying their enemy’s tactics before engaging in battle. We as Christians are engaged in a battle against our “adversary the devil” (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore, we must understand his tactics in order to outmaneuver his evil ploy. 

Many Christians fall prey to the tactics of Satan because they are looking for him in the wrong places. Many remember that he is a “roaring lion” with an insatiable appetite for the souls of man. He seeks to devour all people, but he is smarter than we often realize. Satan is the master con-artist. He is the master-deceiver. He is the father of lies. And he uses his deceptive tactics to keep lost men from coming to the truth but to also keep Christians from growing in their faith. 

Satan minions are not relegated to the bar, the nightclub, or the casino. Satan’s dominion already reigns in those places. Rather, Satan moves beyond the regions of spiritual darkness and advances his tactics into the kingdom of light. Christians forget that Satan has his own churches, ministers, seminaries, denominations, and authors. This is what we see in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15- “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness…” Vance Havner once said, “Satan does far more harm as an angel of light than as a roaring lion.” He said, “Satan is not fighting churches; he is joining them. He does more harm by sowing tares than by pulling up wheat. He accomplishes more by imitation than by outright opposition.” 

“All that glitters is not gold” in the sphere of Christian profession. Christians need to be on guard. This comes by knowing the way Satan works against God’s program. It is becoming apparent that we are living in the times when men “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Satan is using the medium of “Christian” bookstores, “Christian” radio, and “Christian” television to spread his lies that are robed in “truth.” That is why we must be like the Bereans who “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Anchoring ourselves to the truth of Scripture will keep us from being carried away with “every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14) that Satan uses to oppose God’s work and God’s people. 

Mar 2019
Prayer Knows No Party

“Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people” (Ex. 22:28). Not everyone is satisfied with the results of an election. When Ronald Reagan became our 40th president, I felt the world had ended. I knew little of politics, but was old enough to realize nothing good comes from Hollywood. Was I ever wrong. He went on to become one of our greatest leaders. If there were room, he should be added to Mt. Rushmore.

Now there have been presidents since, that I have not cared for. A few that made me want to move to another country, but where could I go? No land is like our land! Although I felt a deep disdain for some of our presidents, I still had to pray for them. The Bible tells us to do so. “Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” (Ac. 23:5). Although Paul was being treated harshly, he admitted his wrong.

God tells us multiple times to respect and honor our appointed leaders. He has given them to us for a reason (good and bad). We, as Christians, must pray for them and honor their office. However, this in no way means we accept everything they say or every rule they establish if it compromises God’s Word. God is not happy with many of our officials, but He has allowed them there. Sometimes it is to teach us a lesson.  

Granted, as our nation becomes more humanistic and demonic, our elected officials will not all be godly folk. As a matter of fact, most of them probably don’t give a hoot for God. So what shall we pray? First we should beg God to place godly candidates in office. If they are not, we are to ask God to save them through His Gospel. Then once in office, we are to pray they make godly decisions and follow God’s example of righteous law. “…An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Mat. 5:38). And finally, we are to pray for their protection and that of the land God has given us. If any of our lawmakers want to know what is right or wrong, they have but to go to Scripture for in it are the guidelines to a successful government. Several decades ago, Is.58:2 described our country in general. “Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” If Biblical guidelines were again followed, we could walk the streets at night unmolested. Our lawmakers need our prayers and God’s protection, but most of all they need a dose of that old-time religion!