Another beautiful series of music videos by 20 Schemes Music that exalts the Saviour. The music comes from various talented individuals who fellowship as Gracemount Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Another beautiful series of music videos by 20 Schemes Music that exalts the Saviour. The music comes from various talented individuals who fellowship as Gracemount Community Church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
(Samuel Davies, “Evidences of the Lack of Love to God” April 14, 1756)
“If anyone does not love the Lord–that person is cursed!” 1 Corinthians 16:22
What a monstrous soul you have within you . . .
which cannot love God;
which cannot love supreme excellence and all perfect beauty;
which cannot love your divine Parent, the Author of your mortal frame;
which cannot love your prime Benefactor and gracious Redeemer;
which cannot love Him, “in whom you live, and move and have your being;”
which cannot love Him, who alone is the proper happiness for your immortal spirit;
who can love a parent, a child, a friend, with all their infirmities–but cannot love God;
who can love the world; who can love even sinful pleasures–and yet cannot love God;
who can love everything that is lovely–but God, who is infinitely lovely;
who can love wisdom, justice, veracity, goodness, clemency, in creatures, where they are attended with many imperfections–and yet cannot love God, where all center and shine in the highest perfection!
What a monster of a soul is this!
Must it not be a devil–to be capable of such unnatural horrendous wickedness?
Can you be easy, while you have such a soul within you?
What a load of guilt must lie upon you!
If love to God is the fulfilling of the whole law–then the lack of love must be the breach of the whole law. You break it all at one blow! Your life is but one continued, uniform, uninterrupted series of sinning! The lack of love to God diffuses a malignity through all you do!
Now, I appeal to you yourselves–is not this a very dangerous situation? While you are destitute of sincere love of God–can you flatter yourselves that you are fit for Heaven?
What! fit for the region of divine love?
What! fit to converse with a holy God, and live forever in His presence?
What! fit to spend an eternity in His holy service?
Can you be fit for these things–while you have no love to Him?
You must perceive yourselves to be fit for destruction–and fit for nothing else!
You are devilized already! Lack of love to God is the grand constituent of a devil, the worst ingredient in that infernal character. And must you not then be doomed to that everlasting fire–which is prepared and fit for the devil and his angels?
“If anyone does not love the Lord–that person is cursed!” 1 Corinthians 16:22
As true believers, we kneel before God alone. He alone is worthy of our worship, our honor, and the One we seek when we need to ask forgiveness.
The world can demand all they want, but our allegiance is to the King of Kings.
In case, you have forgotten today with all that is happening, then Behold Our God!
I have no intention of using this post to argue politically for what is going on right now across America.
But, here are some things that the world sees taking place and for Christians, it is time that we give due consideration to what is really happening. We also need to ask ourselves what we should be doing and how we can best respond to a terrible situation.
True Bible-believing Christians need to stop listening to the spin of the liberal media and the various movements that are only striving desperately to be involved in race-baiting.
Read these carefully:
1) The real issue is NOT about white privilege or black privilege.
2) The real issue is NOT about slavery.
3) The real issue is NOT about a black man who died at the hands of what appears to be corrupt policemen.
4) The real issue is NOT about corrupt policeman always picking on people who have a different color skin than themselves.
5) The real issue is NOT about the need for reparations for atrocities that took place 50-200 years ago.
6) The real issue is NOT about Republicans or Democrats.
7) The real issue is NOT about US citizens or illegal immigrants.
8) The real issue is NOT about the color of one’s skin.
9) The real issue is NOT about the freedom to protest.
10) The real issue is NOT about demanding white people get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness for things they never did.
Right now, riots and looting and mayhem and absolute carnage have caused millions and millions of dollars of damage across the US and even in England. Businesses will never rebuild because everything has been burned to the ground. While firefighters are tending fires, EMTs are tending to the injured police and protestors, and the police are trying to stand and protect, the general public are living scared. The general public is afraid that the riots may come to their town.
Some cities are now considering completely defunding police forces thus caving in to the demands of liberals. In those cities, the general public will live in fear from day to day when there is no longer a police presence to keep criminals at bay.
You may be asking, if these things are NOT the real issue, then what is the problem?
Are you ready for the truth?
The REAL ISSUE is sin. S-I-N!
The REAL ISSUE is pride, which is rooted in sin.
The REAL ISSUE is the total depravity of the heart of man. The Bible is clear that the heart of every single individual is corrupt and desperately wicked.
The REAL ISSUE is that some who call themselves Christian ministers are instructing their congregations with teaching that is contrary to the Scriptures.
The REAL ISSUE is that people hate God and they hate others. Blatant disregard for the two commands given by Christ is the reason why things like racism, prejudism, hatred, bitterness, animosity, riots, looting, murder, mayhem, etc. take place all across this world.
The REAL ISSUE is that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil.
The REAL ISSUE is that many churches no longer preach the truth. They want to preach a social gospel which only damns the souls of men and women.
The REAL ISSUE is that churches and pastors have failed to remember their calling is not about trying to make the world a better place, but their calling is to remember that this world is NOT our home and we are just passing through.
The REAL ISSUE is that we have failed to remember the Great Commission to go into ALL the world, preach the gospel to ALL people, and then to disciple ALL believers to become more like Jesus Christ.
The REAL ISSUE is that we have failed to remember that out of faith, hope, and love that the greatest of all of these is LOVE.
The REAL ISSUE is that the church has forgotten that people are lost and dying and on their way into eternity without Christ unless we tell them.
Now that you understand the REAL ISSUES, let’s talk about the matter of asking forgiveness. The Bible is clear in its teaching about seeking and extending forgiveness.
Christians, you will not find one Scripture that instructs us to get on our knees and ask the forgiveness of others for the things that our ancestors may or may not have done. The Bible tells us that we are responsible for our own sin. Every individual is responsible BEFORE God for our own sins, and not the sins of others.
Christians, you will not find one Bible verse that demands that white people get down on their knees and seek forgiveness for being white. God, the Creator of the Universe, made one human race. God alone is the creator of life and He alone creates us with different skin colors.
To demand something God does not require is to seek to make ourselves greater than God. To question who and how God made a person to be His image-bearer on earth is to say that we know better than God. Ultimately, to question God in the place we were born is to demand accountability from God toward His creation.
But God is sovereign. Ecclesiastes says that He has set eternity in the heart of man and Romans reminds us that even creation points to the majesty of God.
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. If you are tired of what you find in your heart and you realize that the only way to change is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone, then the Bible is clear.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Yes, my friend, there is hope but it is not found in politics or religion or culture or any aspect of society. The hope that racism, prejudism, and all the other ills of the world will end is only found in the knowledge that God made a way for a man or woman to be forgiven of his or her sin.
Christ became the sin-bearer of mankind so that fellowship could be restored between God and man. It cannot happen by good works or by trying to be a good, moral person for there is no such person.
In conclusion, your real issue and my real issue is not about somebody else. Our real issue is personal. Your real issue is about you. My real issue is about me. Our real issue is about our relationship with a holy and righteous God who cannot stand to look upon sin.
Plead to God for mercy if you have not done so already and before it is too late. Look to Him and seek forgiveness for the sin which separates you from His holiness. Stop blame-shifting and passing the buck for your own wickedness.
Come to Jesus and He will save you. The Bible says that all who come to Christ that He will not cast them away.
The love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell. It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
Forgiveness is only true found in Christ alone. He is our hope in life and death.
In this brief video, Dr. Steve Lawson shares how to awaken a dead and unregenerate church. Church leaders need to be fully assured that they indeed have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and then they need to give consideration to the message they declare to every person who enters their places of worship.
Steve Gallagher, founder of Pure Life Ministries, speaks candidly and Biblically about the dangers found in the church today. Western Christianity has enjoyed prosperity and no real tribulation for decades.
This prosperity has produced many ailments. Instead of being a place of refuge for the believer, many places that claim the name of Christ have become nothing more than a den of iniquity and a house of entertainment. Steve comments that the church has given itself every pleasure and we no longer take a stand for what is right.
Steve Gallagher is the founder of Pure Life Ministries which helps individuals deal with sexual addiction.
In this short video, he addresses the question of whether there is a hell or not. Too many in the emergent church (like heretic Rob Bell) are decrying the reality of the very place Jesus Christ warned against for those who have not placed their faith in Him alone.
One of our contributors, Sony Elise, recommends Steve’s Bible studies and carries four of them in her online bookstore. You can find these studies at Sony Elise Christian Books.
ALLEINE: O miserable man, what a deformed monster has sin made you! God made you “little lower than the angels”–but sin has made you little better than the devils!
BEART: There is a certain infiniteness in sin, because it is against an infinite God, which therefore brings a punishment of infinite duration, because it cannot be atoned for by finite creatures.
BROOKS: Did God leave us to act according to our sinful natures–we would all be incarnate devils, and this world would be an absolute Hell!
There is no little sin–because there is no little God to sin against.
EDWARDS: You contribute nothing to your salvation–but the sin which made it necessary!
Never did God so manifest His hatred of sin, as in the death and suffering of His only begotten Son.
FLAVEL: Christ is not sweet–until sin is made bitter to us!
If God should damn you to all eternity–your eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil that is in one vain thought! O the depth of the evil of sin!
HODGE: Original sin is the only rational solution of the undeniable fact of the deep, universal and early manifested sinfulness of men in all ages, of every class, and in every part of the world.
JAMES: The torments of the bottomless pit are not so dreadful a demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, as the agonies of the cross!
LOVE: Sin is worse than Hell, because sin made Hell to be Hell.
MANTON: Sin is sweet in commission, but bitter in its wages!
The more affected we are with our sinful misery–the fitter we are for Christ’s marvelous mercy.
MASON: Sin digs graves for bodies, and kindles Hell for souls!
A man can never leave sin thoroughly, until he loathes it heartily.
Go to Golgotha and see what sin did there!
Christ did not die for sin, that we might live in sin.
The sins of the wicked anger Christ, the sins of His people grieve Him.
NEWTON: The more vile we are in our own eyes–the more precious Christ will be to us!
Sin cannot be hated for itself–until we have seen the malignity of it in Christ’s sufferings!
OWEN: The seed of every sin–is in every heart!
Christ’s blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls!
I do not understand how a man can be a true believer–in whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow and trouble!
PRICE: We drown our sins in the Red Sea of Christ’s blood!
RYLE: Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen.
SIBBES: The depths of our misery–can never fall below the depths of God’s mercy!
Sin is not so sweet in the committing of it–as it is bitter in the reckoning of it.
It is evident that our conversion is sound–when we loathe and hate sin from the heart.
SPURGEON: If Christ has died for me–then I cannot trifle with the sin which killed my best Friend!
What sin is worth being damned for?
If you have lived like the wicked–then you will die like the wicked, and be damned like the wicked!
Look to the cross, and hate your sin–for sin nailed your Well-Beloved to the cruel tree!
Sin is self-damnation!
As salt tinges every drop in the ocean–so does sin affect every atom of man’s nature!
There is no cure for the love of sin–like the blood of Christ!
WATSON: Sin has the devil for its father, shame for its companion, and death and damnation for its wages!
John MacArthur brings the truth of God’s judgment to the forefront. God Himself is the greatest threat to the life of any human being apart from the intercession of Jesus Christ.
I believe this post that I originally wrote three years ago is even more applicable today. I have edited a few parts. This Resurrection Sunday, I pray that all true believers will be encouraged.
What is society afraid of?
What is Christianity afraid of?
What are you afraid of?
Society is afraid of the truth. Christianity is afraid of being offensive. As for what you are afraid of, that is something only you can answer. My goal is that this post will have you thinking about why you do what you do.
Easter is a great time to bring this subject matter to light. Let me explain. For almost 40 days, many have been practicing the idea of “Lent.” They have no clue why they do it except that it is part of their religion. Many have not a single thought about God, but want to make sure that they cover all the bases just in case. They will live like the world every single day, except for a special day or two in the entire calendar so their “God” box will be checked. This leaves them feeling good about themselves so they can have a sense of being a “Christian.” Yet, the heart condemns those who think they can please God by pleasing themselves.
For years, I have worked with many people who can live, talk, and act like a minion of the evil one every single day. Yet, in one swift moment, as soon as they find out that you are a believer, they can and will proclaim, “Oh, I am a Christian.” The follow-up questions are quickly followed by silence until it grows awkward and the person soon finds something else with which to occupy their time. Or, in the better scenarios, you hear the response of, “Well, that is private and is just between me and the Man upstairs. Besides, who are you to judge me? The Bible says, “Don’t judge!”
What types of questions might we ask of any individual with whom we may meet? This could be another family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a work colleague.
“Where do you attend church? Where are you in fellowship each week with other believers seeking to remind the world that we are not of this world, but that we are just passing through?”
“What about your relationships? Are you married or just living in a way that goes contrary to the Word of God? Why would you want to be living with somebody who does not share your views, if you are a true believer?”
“Do your words and actions reflect that you are different, or do you strive to be just like those around you? Would your Sunday appearance give forth the reflection of a hypocrite, or a genuine believer longing to be more like Jesus Christ despite the difficulties of living a life of holiness?”
Despite the awkward silence or vocal calls about not judging, Easter and Christmas find more people claiming the name of Christ than any other time of the year. They are willing to give up things for Lent, but not for Christ. Far too many think that they are meriting favor or grace with God by giving up chocolate, meat, intimacy, or whatever.
When the forty days of Lent arrives, people flock to services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter Morning service never to be seen again til Christmas. Yet, for all the fasting or giving up of things, nothing has changed in their lives. They produce the same cursing, same vulgarity, same illicit relationships, and not one thing to indicate that they have actually spent time with Jesus Christ and are a new creation.
As for society, just look at our workplaces. Lies, deceit, and dishonesty rules the day. Few are willing to take a stand, and when something is said as a reminder, those speaking up are quickly removed. What does this have to do with Easter time? Simply this. These same practices and philosophies have moved from universally being accepted as part of the workplace to being fully accepted in the circles of so-called Christianity.
Let me be very blunt!
Easter is NOT about a bunny that lays eggs!
Easter is NOT about furry chicken that lays candy!
Easter is NOT about egg hunts, bouncy castles, lattes, and clowns on a Sunday.
Easter is supposedly to revolve around the holy Person of Jesus Christ. The reminder of the week prior to the Sunday should be a solemn reminder of the price that was carried on the cross. The wrath of God the Father was poured upon His only begotten Son because of the sins of mankind. It pleased the Father to bruise and crush His own Son because of the cursing, the vulgarity, the illicit relationships, and all sin that separates us from a holy God.
Christianity has allowed society to tell us that Easter has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. We are not allowed to speak of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary, but we can speak the religion of secularism and commercialism all day long. Nobody has one single problem with that. The world and the church have now merged in such a way that it is almost impossible in most circles to know where one starts and one ends.
If you are a true believer and have placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, then this next section is a solemn reminder and exhortation to you and your family.
This Sunday, we have the privilege of celebrating the most glorious event that has ever transpired in all of human history. Nothing can top what took place almost 2000 years ago. Let me summarize what this Sunday SHOULD mean to you.
1. He laid aside His glory as the all-powerful majestic King of all Creation and came down to this sin-cursed earth.
2. He was born in a lowly stable showing the stark opposite of what He had enjoyed for all of eternity past.
3. He was welcomed by magi as well as lowly shepherds who guarded the lambs that would be sacrificed each Passover.
4. He grew in wisdom and stature and lived in obedience to the commands of both His earthly parents and the will of His heavenly Father.
5. He spent 3 ½ years walking the dusty roads of Galilee, Judea, and Samaria preaching the kingdom of heaven.
6. He was betrayed and abandoned by every one of His disciples.
7. He, the King of all Creation, was beaten, mocked, scourged into a bloody mess, and then hung between earth and heaven.
8. He bore upon Himself our sins and was ultimately forsaken even by His own Father in heaven because God the Father could not stand to look upon sin.
9. He became sin on our behalf and became clothed with our filth so that we would be clothed in His righteousness.
10. He died and was buried like a common criminal in a borrowed tomb.
But Sunday was coming!
There should be no doubt that the disciples had contacted the local businesses to ensure that bouncy castles were set up outside the tomb to celebrate what was going to happen. There should be no doubt that the apostle Peter, having just denied the Lord three times earlier that week, was the instigator in setting up an Easter Egg hunt in order to entice the children of the murderous hordes to come to their service so that they would have greater numbers. There should be no doubt, based on what we see in modern Christianity, that the early New Testament church was prepared with the latest jokes and frivolity after having just seen the King of all Creation die and be buried.
Dear brothers and sisters, do you see the hypocrisy in the above statements? If it does not bother you to see the entertainment on any given Sunday in church, then it is time to examine your heart to see whether you are truly of the faith. If the only thing you can think of is, “Well, what you say may be true, but the Bible says not to judge,” then you have failed miserably to comprehend the solemnness and the seriousness of what this Sunday is all about. If you think that Easter is about the bunny and candy eggs, then your pastor and church have failed in their responsibility to teach you the truth of the gospel.
Easter is NOT about you and your perceived needs!
Easter is about the conclusion of the worst week in the history of mankind!
Easter is about the reality of the sacrifice that Christ made on Calvary!
Easter is about the truth Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief!
Easter is about the defeat of sin, hell, Satan, and the grave!
Easter is about Resurrection Sunday!
Easter is about Jesus Christ coming back to life victoriously!
Easter is about Jesus Christ one day coming for all who believe on Him!
Easter is about change and becoming a new creation in Christ!
Today, you have a choice. You can choose to continue replacing Easter with the world, or you can stop setting your affections on the things of this world, and setting your affections on the things of heaven.
My purpose is not to judge the world with my words. My thoughts are to be a beacon in the wilderness shining a light that points others to Jesus Christ alone. My desire is to be a gentle reminder that true believers are called to be different, not the same as the world.
We are NOT replacing Easter in our home, but we will joyfully, reverently, and humbly celebrate –
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Blessed be the name of the Lord! And can it be that He died, was buried, and rose again for me!
Before you read any further, stop and take note of the time.
Write it down if you have to in order to remember. It is important because the next week is going to change the lives of millions.
This is the approximate number of people who will die from something worse than Covid-19. The coronavirus has nothing on this disease. There is no human cure or government intervention that can change what is going to happen. Not one single medical mega-corporation will ever find a cure to this deadly disease.
In fact, the number above is a close representation of the number of people who died since this exact time last week and the week before.
The Spanish Flu took the lives of approximately 50 million people in the three years between January 1918 and December 1920.
This disease I speak of is even worse.
The Black Plague or Bubonic Plague that ravaged the world from 1347-1351 took the estimated lives of 25-200 million.
But the disease I speak of is even worse.
If you had paid close attention to the news, you would still have missed the reality that in the last eight weeks, almost 10 MILLION people have died around the world. This is more than the population of New York City, New York. It is more than the population of Mexico City, Mexico. Actually, the approximate number of people who have died from this disease is the same as the population of Seoul, South Korea.
From March 17, 2020 until March 17, 2021, approximately 63 MILLION people will die from this ancient disease.
That is the combined population of: Tokyo, Japan; Jakarta, Indonesia; Beijing, China; New York City, New York; and Sao Paulo, Brazil!
Here is the worst news anybody in the world could ever read. Forget all of the statistics. This disease has a 100% mortality rate to anybody who contracts it. The news channels, magazines, government organizations, and not even the United Nations wants to talk about this because it is so scary.
Tragically, the news DOES get worse.
Everybody in the world has the disease and there is NOTHING that can be done about it from a human perspective. My friend, you have the disease in your body and you may not even know it. However, it is not a respecter of persons. I have it on perfect authority that you and I WILL die from this disease, although we do not know when death will visit us.
The symptoms are horrible and at the heart of each symptom is the brutal reality that the underlying issues are too blatant, gross, and vulgar to even print. The symptoms of this disease grow worse with each passing day, but are so subtle at times that the overwhelming majority of the world will never stop to think about what is happening in their body.
The disease I am speaking of is SIN.
Sin is a curse that has come upon all of mankind through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Regardless of what modern psychology, humanistic philosophies, or even government mandates may try to dictate, they cannot stop the 100% mortality rate from taking place.
The effects of sin are evident all around for those with eyes to see. What seems like tragedies, illnesses, terrorist activities, natural disasters, and rampant disease are all the result of sin entering the world.
Further, because the disease of sin has entered the world, there is an even greater problem. Man has been separated from a holy God. God cannot bear to look upon sin and yet, man thinks he can become like God. This is the lie that has been the longest in existence and it comes from Satan.
Satan blinds the eyes of men, women, and children around the world. He does not want them to see the wonder of who God is. He does not want them to hear the good news that there is but one escape from this dreadful disease that has killed more people than all the wars and plagues to ever befall mankind.
Satan wants people to think that they can believe what they want, do what they want, live how they want, and then eventually die with no fear of eternity.
The Bible is clear though that there is a time that is appointed for ALL to die, and after death will come the judgment.
YOU CANNOT ESCAPE! The ravages of this death stare at you every day in your bathroom mirror, but you are ignoring them. Yet, they will not go away. Your flesh will decay until your body becomes dust in the grave.
But, there is a beacon of hope. It does not require hoarding toilet paper or food supplies. It does not require that you self-quarantine yourself in your home and hope for a better day.
The ONLY beacon of hope that you can escape is found in Jesus Christ ALONE. The Bible says ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Further, it proclaims that the wages of your sin is death.
Tired of the bad news, then hearken to the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Do you realize what this means?
For those who place their faith in Christ alone and plead to God for mercy, He will not reject them. He will grant forgiveness to those who ask for their sins to be forgiven. His love will and does extend to all who realize that Christ is the only escape.
John 3:16, 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
The ravages and effects of your sin will still end your life one day. It may not be this month, this year, or even this decade. But death is still coming and it comes to all.
However, for those who become true believers in Jesus Christ have the promise that there is NOTHING to fear when death comes. We will pass from this life into eternity where we will forever be with the Lord.
If your name has been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, then rejoice in this truth.
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Today is the day of salvation though. Tomorrow may be too late. Over the next week, another 1,209,600 people will pass from this life into eternity and you may be one of that number. The results for those without Christ will be far worse than Covid-19, the black plague, or anything found in a chemical warfare lab.
Come to Christ while there is still time. Do not worry about the effects of Covid-19 if you have a right relationship with God.
If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, then rejoice and lift up your eyes for our redemption draws near. Our Lord is, has been, and always will be sovereign and in control of this world. If we get sick, or grow old, or die in an accident, death has been swallowed up in victory because Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again so that we too can have the eternal hope that we will be raised to newness of life when this life is over.
Every true believer fights against what remains of the human nature. Just because we have been given a new heart by God does not mean that we can be sinless as some teach. Until we are glorified and forever with the Lord, we will battle daily against the things that plague us.
John MacArthur’s new series should prove to be a great encouragement to us. It is our intention to post the next parts over the weeks to come.
MUR’DER, noun [Latin mors.]
1. The act of unlawfully killing a human being with premeditated malice, by a person of sound mind. To constitute murder in law, the person killing another must be of sound mind or in possession of his reason, and the act must be done with malice prepense, aforethought or premeditated; but malice may be implied, as well as express.
1828 Webster’s Dictionary
Yes, I understand it’s legal to murder your child who seeks love, nourishment, and protection in your womb, but it was legal to kill Jews in Nazi Germany and it was legal to kill negros just a few years ago. Just because a rebellious government who does everything it can to erase God from society declares something is legal, doesn’t make it right. Would we clap our hands in agreement if the Chinese authorities decided to kill off those who were infected with the coronavirus? I would hope not.
I have many brothers and sisters in Christ who stand courageously outside of abortion clinics and witness for Christ’s glory. Some listen, most don’t.
These heroes sacrifice their time, comfort and even freedom to perhaps save one little baby. Is it worth it? Yes! This atrocity needs to stop and men and women need to take responsibility for their actions and do the right thing and accept the baby they produced.
The words of this hymn always stir my mind and heart. It is one of the hymns that I chose a long time ago to have played at my funeral when it comes for me to enter into eternity. While I will no longer care about this mortal flesh, this hymn of praise is my testimony.
Amazing love, how can it be?
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me!
No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
In my reading through the Scriptures in a year, today I read Ezekiel 5-9. I realize that Ezekiel was written by the prophet Ezekiel to the people of Judah and Israel. Yet, my mind struggled with what was prophesied would happen to Jerusalem.
V. 3 tells us the glory of God had departed! This is itself is tragic, but read on.
Vv. 4-6 give a solemn declaration of judgment pronounced against those who were God’s chosen people. These verses read like this in the ESV,
4 And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” 5 And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. 6 Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the elders who were before the house. — (Emphasis added)
Dear brothers and sisters, how often do we read through the pages of Scripture and fail to understand what is happening?
We can often overlook the principles found in the Scriptures and do not comprehend how it can apply to our own lives over 2 1/2 millennium after Ezekiel wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Under the judgment of God, the ONLY people who would be protected from the wrath of the Almighty were those who sighed and groaned over all the abominations.
There would be no pity shown, and nobody was exempt. Sadly, the nation had become so corrupt that the messengers who would be placing the mark upon the foreheads were told to start with the elders. These were the men charged with the religious and governmental affairs of the nation.
In other words, there were people from the top of the religious and social stratum who were NOT sighing and groaning over the abominations. These abominations were so vulgar and grotesque that Ezekiel only alludes to some of what these might have been.
The scenario we find in the 21st century is much different. The world faces even greater abominations. Abortion is now acceptable. The family is being destroyed. LGBTQ issues cloud every aspect of culture and society. What transpires behind closed doors is now openly flaunted and accepted.
In fact, our own governments willingly and deliberately strip financial aid from countries that refuse to allow for abortion at will and who refuse to legitimize ALL aspects of the LGBTQ movement.
What is NOT different is that many “elders” who are to stand in the gap and proclaim thus saith the Lord refuse to stand anymore. Even evangelical churches are becoming more open and accepting of contemporary issues of the day.
Instead of being like Martin Luther and stating, “Here I stand, I can do no other”, elders and churches are allowing for more and more abominations to come into the places where God’s people are to worship. Entertainment drives the masses and the goats feel happy while the sheep starve for lack of the bread of life from pulpits.
In this life, we are not worried about the enemy brazenly storming across our land. We do not go to sleep worrying whether our women will be violated, our children openly sold as slaves, and whether we will even have enough to eat for tomorrow.
Sadly — nay, tragically, the abominations that surround us are compounded by the reality that very few sigh and groan. Instead, we laugh when it flickers across our screens. At times, we can become so hardened in our hearts that there is only a twinge of guilt that we have mocked the God we claim as our Father.
My challenge to you — go and read Ezekiel 9. See the state of Israel and Judah. Ask yourself whether you are laughing and enjoying the fruit of the world and its abomination.
If we truly desire revival, we need to begin learning once again how to sigh and groan over the abominations. We need to seek forgiveness for our own areas where we fail to meet the perfect, holy standard that is Jesus Christ. We must hold ourselves accountable and strive to become more like the Master.
May you and I who truly know Jesus Christ as our Savior remember that like Israel of old, we are called to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5). Unlike the abominable offerings that God refused to accept from Israel, we MUST offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Take the world, BUT GIVE ME JESUS!
The Man in Romans 7
In order to rightly understand what Paul taught in the latter part of Romans 7, we need to understand how he described two groups of people earlier in this epistle.
In Rom 3 & 4, Paul is teaching his kinsmen of the flesh why being Jewish is not enough, how children of promise are true Jews. In Rom 5:1-5 he is teaching – again – how those Jewish Christians were reconciled to God: righteous in faith, rejoicing in Christ and our afflictions, grounded in love, and possessed by the Holy Spirit.
In what follows in chapter 5 is an ongoing contrast between unconverted Jews and converted Jews, with an abbreviated history of sin – contrasting the first and last Adams. Throughout this chapter, the redeemed are described as righteous, justified, full of grace, saved from wrath, reconciled to God, having eternal life. The unconverted are described as helpless, ungodly, enemies of God, dead in sin, under judgment, condemned. Quite a difference – worth noting.
Chapter 6 is a continuation of Paul’s argument from the previous chapters, where he encourages the redeemed Jews (this is still his primary audience) are exhorted to walk in grace, not sin. These people are called dead to sin, joined with Christ, crucified with Christ, free from sin, alive to God, under grace, slaves of obedience and righteousness. He tells them – and us – not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies, for, he says, “sin will not rule over you because you are not under law but under grace.” (vs 14) We have new fruit resulting in sanctification and eternal life; we have a new master, grace – no longer slaves to master sin.
The unconverted man in Romans 6 has everything in common with his counterpart in chapter 5; he is in bondage and domination of sin, a slave to sin, ruled by death, obedient to sin, unrighteous, and ruled by sin; under law. This man is obedient to sin, under law not grace, a slave to sin – leading to death, weak in the flesh, morally impure, lawless, producing the fruit of death. Sin is his master, not grace.
The contrast between the unconverted sinner and the redeemed sinner is striking and it’s consistent: the one man is fleshly and full of sin, under the law and breaking the law; the other man is full of the Holy Spirit, rejoicing in all things, dead to sin and the law, producing good fruit unto eternal life.
A couple of observations: contextually, Paul has been describing his kinsmen of the flesh. The man in Romans 7 is a Jew, even though all people can identify with the spiritual struggle portrayed. The pious Jew would see God’s law, instructions, Scriptures as good and holy even while he would be unable to comply with them.
When we then read about the man in Romans 7:13-24, who does he sound like? Let’s look at a list:
vs 13: dead, sinful
vs 14: of flesh, sold into sin’s power
vs 15 & 16: double minded
vs 17: full of sin
vs 18: no ability to do good
vs 19 -21: captive to evil
vs 22: he agrees, he knows the law of God is good
vs 23: he is a prisoner of sin
vs 24: he is a wretched man
While you and I see some of our Christian life in what Paul wrote about in this passage, it’s clear that this man has nothing in common with the redeemed man Paul described in chapter 5 & 6; but he has everything in common with the unconverted man in those chapters. The context of the epistle indicates Paul is describing a Jew, not a Gentile, and a Jew that is struggling under a law he knows is good but without the ability to obey from the heart and produce good fruit unto eternal life. The man in Romans 7 does not have the Holy Spirit, but he is of the flesh, captive to evil, a slave to sin, producing fruit unto death.
The change to present tense does not mandate the view that Paul has changed course and began talking about himself as a Christian. It may very well be nothing more than a literary device to make the plight of the man all the more gripping. He is in a very dangerous condition! Present tense does not mandate the view that this man is Paul as a Christian. The description of the man and the larger context of the epistle provide a more sure guide to interpret this passage.
As with all Scripture, we learn from this passage. But we have no more reason to insert ourselves into this passage than we do with Jeremiah 29:11.
This was a truly timely message for me (from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and, I trust, for many of you as well.
Paul says the problems we face now can’t compare to the eternal glory we’re promised in Christ. He says we get this truth when we focus not on what we can see but on what we can’t see. But how do we compare what we can see to what we can’t see?
Listen to the sermon, Beyond Comparison here.
Dennis Hof is dead. Many people do not know the man, but his life of vulgarity and degradation have destroyed many homes for many years. You see, Dennis Hof ran several houses of prostitution in the state of Nevada. One of the many stunts that the man offered was for veterans returning from war to give him a call. He would extend the red carpet to anybody who wanted to come to one of his businesses and treat them royalty.
In this life, we never know whose life we will touch and almost seven years to the month, this man and I met in September 2011. I was a funeral director working in Carson City, Nevada. I also served as the chaplain for anybody who did not have a minister.
One day, we received a call to collect the remains of a man who had worked on the staff of one of Mr. Hof’s houses of prostitution. The wife came to the funeral home to make the arrangements. In the process, she asked if I knew somebody who could preach the man’s funeral and I told her that I would be willing to do so.
She asked what kind of message I would preach and how I conducted funerals. I told her that I pulled no punches. I said, “Ma’am, I am a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ first. Second, I will not allow anybody to dictate to me what I should or should not preach, even at a funeral. Third, I do not preach anybody into heaven or hell for I do not the condition of their heart. However, I will preach the truth and I always give a gospel message.”
We completed the arrangements and she stood to leave. I could tell something was bothering her and asked if there was anything else I could do.Before she left, she turned to me and said, “I am so glad I came here. There are not many who would be willing to preach my husband’s funeral, and if they would be willing, then they would not preach the truth.”
I thanked her for her time and she left the building. In just a minute though, she came back in.
“Mark, there is something else you need to know. I do not know all that my husband did at Mr. Hof’s business, but you need to know that he and several of his ladies will be at the funeral.”
At the time, I had no clue who Mr. Hof was and it did not matter to me whether he was connected to the prostitution business or not. I told this man’s wife that I would still teach the truth. She thanked me and then left. I would not see her before the funeral.
The owner of the funeral home received a few phone calls and a couple of individuals who came to inform the staff that “Mr. Dennis Hof will be attending the funeral.” The police even came to ensure us that they would be providing additional security.
The day of the funeral arrived and the funeral home chapel was packed. There were people lining every aisle and even into the side rooms listening in. The only exception to the seats being full were six or seven seats across one side at the very front and two very imposing men stood with very dark sunglasses keeping people from taking the seats.
A few minutes after the funeral was supposed to start, I had still not been given the ok to start and the front seats were still empty. A ripple of words began to filter through the assembled crowds and somebody whispered to the man’s wife. She stood and walked up to me. Leaning down she whispered, “Mr. Hof has arrived.”
I nodded that I understood and waited. In a couple of minutes, the main doors opened and 4 or 5 women dressed extremely provacatively pranced down the center of the chapel and found their seats. They were followed by a woman dressed all in black and a large man that I knew must be Mr. Hof. Coming down the center aisle, he stopped to greet several people, shook several hands, and finally took a seat right on the front row.
Looking over at me, he said, “Hey preacher-man, you can get started now.”
Several people chuckled and I knew that the service was not going to get any easier. A tradition in Nevada that is not found everywhere is allowing people to stand and offer their condolences or to share an anecdote of the person’s life. This was scheduled to take place at the very end of the service.
Praying for wisdom, I started the service. The family had selected some songs and one of the man’s daughters read a brief eulogy. When I stood to deliver the message, I knew that what I had to say needed to be said last, so I asked for friends and family to share any thoughts.
Several things that were shared are not printable and perfectly described the debauched life that the deceased must have lived. The brothel madam (Mr. Hof’s other half) stood and gave a raunchy anecdote about the man and then Mr. Hof stood to speak. He wasted no time trying to make everybody laugh and more than a few grew extremely embarrassed at what was shared.
He finally wound down and looked at me with a smirk. “I guess it is time to hear the preacher-man with the few minutes we have left.” Sitting down, he crossed his arms and stared at me.
Standing to my feet, I began.
“Thank you for your attendance today and despite the length of time that has been taken, the wife of the deceased asked me to preach a message. I will share this in its entirety.”
If looks could kill, the entire front row would have been in attendance at a second funeral.
“The Bible tells us clearly in Hebrews 9 that once a person passes away, there is a judgment which will follow.”
Over the next 30 minutes, I followed the pattern of the apostle Paul in preaching to Agrippa in the Book of Acts. God gave me the strength to preach sin, righteousness, and the coming judgment.
On the front row and possibly for the first and only time in his life, Mr. Hof and his ladies heard the truth. They heard that judgment was real and that everyone will face it at the moment of death. However, they also heard that God is merciful to those who call upon Him and repent and turn away from their sins. As I closed, I appealed to each person who was in attendance.
I looked each one of those women and Mr. Hof in the eyes as I scanned the room. In my concluding remarks, I told them that I stood ready to answer any questions they may have, but that they could not walk away and think they could make a mockery of God because ONLY the fool says in his or her heart that there is no God.
As I did in every funeral I preached (a total of 271 over 8 years), I said something like this.
“I do not know where the deceased stood before God. However, if they could return for just one more minute of life, they would implore you to make things right with God. They would tell you that heaven and hell are real. They would tell you to not put off the reality of eternity for all of us will face it the moment we cross from death into the life after.”
Mr. Hof was furious and I honestly wondered if he was going to say anything else or come to the front and accost me in some way.
I gave a final prayer and dismissed everybody. Most ignored me on the way out including most of the women from Mr. Hof’s ranch. However, one of the women stopped as if she was going to say something. Her face was a wreck from tears that ran freely down her face. She turned to walk away as Mr. Hof walked up behind her.
“Ma’am, is there anything I can do for you?”
She turned back and said with sobs, “I heard you speak the truth today, but I am not sure that I can change now. Please pray for me!”
I put out my hand and shook Mr. Hof’s hand. I told him that I would be praying that he would know the truth that I preached. He only glared at me and didn’t say another word to me. He turned on his heel and left just as the wife of the deceased walked up to me and gave me a hug.
“I know Mr. Hof is very angry right now, but I want to tell you that I am so glad you were the one preaching. Thank you for sharing the gospel. My husband was not a believer and things were not good for us the last few years after he took the job. However, I can say that all of these people needed to hear what you said.”
I told her again that I would be praying for them and with that everybody was gone. I have never forgotten the events of that day, nor have I forgotten each person that I personally interacted with that day. A man had gone into eternity and I had been granted the privilege of preaching as a dying man to dying men.
From all the news reports today, Mr. Hof died in the midst of enjoying his sin and his debauched life. Now, he faces the God of all creation and I could not help but wonder if he has ever remembered the words that I preached that day back in 2011.
Sin brings judgment and now he faces judgment alone without any of the women he sought to keep entrapped in a life of destruction. I do not rejoice in the death of this man, but pity those he left behind. I have sorrow for those he has destroyed.
Tomorrow, his family and friends will be making final arrangements for the earthly remains of Mr. Dennis Hof, but eternity has already started for his man.
Here now the Word of the Lord God –
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” – Ezekiel 18:32
This is still the only message to be preached to unbelievers. TURN AND LIVE!