Category: Uncategorized

Verses of Hope

Verses of Hope

Often in times of struggle, we ask the natural question, “Does God care?” Not only does He care, He also gives us messages of hope in the Bible (The following verses are from the Christian Standard Bible)

  • And at the end he will stand on the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see him myself; my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me. –Job 19:25-27

  • For the needy will not always be forgotten; the hope of the oppressed will not perish forever. Psalm 9:18

  • The Lord will send his faithful love by day; his song will be with me in the night—a prayer to the God of my life. . . . Why, my soul, are you so dejected? Why are you in such turmoil? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise him, my Savior and my God. –Psalm 42:8,11

  • Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. –Psalm 62:5-6

  • “For I know the plans I have for you”— this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11

  • For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. –Romans 8:20-22

  • Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

  • I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints. –Ephesians 1:18

  • . . . while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. –Titus 2:13

  • . . . so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:18-19

  • Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23

  • He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. –1 Peter 1:20-21

Good Friday Prayer and Fasting

Good Friday Prayer and Fasting

This is a guest post from Doug Warwick (Pastor Matt’s Mentor)


In isolation and practicing social distancing during this pestilence, we are in Holy Week, the final week of Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection.

I submit for your consideration a God-fearing way to commemorate Good Friday in your place of isolation:  a day of fasting and prayer.

Fasting to deny the flesh (Rom 7:18), redeeming the time because the days are evil.  Fast to the extent you are medically able from before sunrise to sunset.

  • before sunrise, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tried illegally
  • after sunrise, Jesus was beaten, scourged, had His beard ripped out, spit on, and mocked
  • at 9am,. Jesus was crucified
  • at noon, darkness covered the land
  • at 3pm, “It is finished!” and Jesus gave up the ghost (John 10:17-18)
  • before sunset, Jesus was buried

Prayer to look not at the things seen but at the things not sees (2 Cor 4:18) and to commune with the Living God.

  • confess our sins and the sins of this nation, praying like Jeremiah, Daniel, and Isaiah
  • repent of our sin
  • plead with God to give this nation the gift of repentance (2 Tim 2:25-26)
  • we and this nation would reject Life-less idols worshipped  (Joshua 24:14-15)
  • boldly seek the mercy and grace we need in this time (Heb 4:16)
  • surrender to being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29)
  • pour out our heart to be accounted worthy to escape the things coming upon the world to to stand before Jesus  (Luke 21:36)
  • that our faith be increased  (Mark 9:23-24, Luke 17:5)
  • protection for our families and Church family from this pestilence
  • have understanding of the times (Days of Noah and Days of Lot) that we would know what to do (1 Chron 12:32)

Separated yet one, let us see what the LORD will do!

Behold He Comes in glory (Revelation 1:7)

Behold He Comes in glory (Revelation 1:7)

The 2nd Coming is the climactic event of Redemptive History. Calvary set the events in motion which culminate in the final return of Jesus Christ in absolute power and unassailable majesty.

Bookending Revelation

Our text this morning and chapter 19 bookend Revelation, so to speak. The central event is the Glorious Appearing, at the end of the Tribulation, when Jesus finally returns and is at last coronated as King of All the Earth complete with 1000 year reign in perfect righteousness.


Christ Promises to Return

John 14:1-3


I go to prepare a place…

If I go to prepare a place, I will come again


The Angels, On Behalf of the Father, promise Jesus will return

Acts 1:1


The Davidic Covenant: The Guarantee of Christ’s Return


The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises to David through Nathan the prophet and is found in 2 Samuel 7 and later summarized in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14 and 2 Chronicles 6:16. This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.



There are several prophecies of the continuation of the Kingdom of David and of Messiah’s Rule. In this lesson, we will post a prophecy and the associated passage of Scripture, followed by the New Testament Fulfillment Passage.  (This lesson, is the precursor to the lesson The King Who’s Coming.

David’s royal line will be perpetual

  • 2 Samuel 7:16
  • Psalm 78:67-70

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Luke 1:33,2:11   John 7:42  Romans 1:3

The Scepter will not depart from Judah

  • Genesis 49:9-10

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Hebrews 7:14Revelation 5:5

The Branch of Jesse (David’s father) is to rule

  • Isaiah 11:1-5
  • Zechariah 12:8

New Testament fulfillment

  • Luke 3:23,4:18   Romans 11:26 Revelation 22:16

God promises David a kingdom

  • Psalm 89:2-4
  • Psalm 132:11

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Luke 1:32

An assurance of government from David’s Throne

  • Isaiah 9:6-7
  • Jeremiah 23:5

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Luke 1:33

Messiah to be born in Bethlehem

  • Micah 5:2-4

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Matthew 2:1-6


The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing


Differences Between Our Blessed Hope (the Rapture) and the Glorious Appearing (2nd Coming)


Before we look at some differences between the Rapture and the 2ndComing, we need to look at 2 terms that the Bible uses for the event we call the Rapture of the Church.


The first is paralambano: Dr. Mounce provides some excellent information for us



Greek transliteration:


Simplified transliteration:


Principal Parts:

παραλήμψομαι, παρέλαβον, -, -, παρελήμφθην


Strong’s number:


GK Number:



to take with; take charge of; to receive, accept


pr. to take to one’s side; to take, receive to one’s self, Mt. 1:20Jn. 14:3; to take with one’s self, Mt. 2:131420214:58; to receive in charge or possession, Col. 4:17Heb. 12:28; to receive as a matter of instruction, Mk. 7:41 Cor. 11:2315:3; to receive, admit, acknowledge, Jn. 1:111 Cor. 15:1Col. 2:6; pass. to be carried off, Mt. 24:4041Lk. 17:343536


The 2nd is harpazo. Again learning from Dr. Bill Mounce:



Greek transliteration:


Simplified transliteration:


Principal Parts:

ἁρπάσω, ἥρπασα, -, ἤρπακμαι, ἡρπάσθην ορ ἡρπάγην


Strong’s number:


GK Number:



to catch, steal, carry off


to seize, as a wild beast, Jn. 10:12; take away by force, snatch away, Mt. 13:19Jn. 10:2829Acts 23:10Jude 23; met. to seize on with avidity, eagerly, appropriate, Mt. 11:12; to convey away suddenly, transport hastily, Jn. 6:15

I would add 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. We will be harpazo (caught away to meet the Lord in the air.)


Objections to the Rapture:

A very common objection is that the word Rapture is not in the NT. That isn’t accurate. Rapture is the anglicization of the Latin, rapturus which is the translation of harpazo from Greek to Latin. If you look to the notes above, there are at least 7 instances of harpazo in the NT. 

Another objection is that Dispensationalist teach an “escapist rapture.” No kidding. Exactly where is the “blessed hope” for a believer who is going to go through the tribulation. Of course Christians will escape the time of wrath. (1Th. 1:10;  1Th. 5:9). Let us not forget that the tribulation is “even the time of Jacob’s trouble but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7)”

Rapture Second Coming
Christ comes for His own (John 14:31Th. 5:282Th. 2:1). Christ comes with His own (1Th. 3:13Jude 1:14; Rev. Rev. 19:14+).1
Christ comes in the air (1Th. 4:17). Christ comes to the earth (Zec. 14:4Acts 1:11).2
Christ claims His bride (1Th. 4:16-17). Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:6-14+).3
Removal of believers (1Th. 4:17). Manifestation of Christ (Mal. 4:2).4
Only His own see Him (1Th. 4:13-18). Every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7+).5
Tribulation begins (2Th. 1:6-9). Millennial Kingdom begins (Rev. 20:1-7+).6
Saved are delivered from wrath (1Th. 1:10;  1Th. 5:9). Unsaved experience the wrath of God (Rev. 6:12-17+).7
No signs precede rapture (1Th. 5:1-3). Signs precede Second Coming (Luke 21:11Luke 21:15).8
Focus is Lord and Church (1Th. 4:13-18). Focus is Israel and kingdom (Mat. 24:14).9
World is deceived (2Th. 2:3-12). Satan is bound so he cannot deceive (Rev. 20:1-2+).10
Believers depart the earth (1Th. 4:15-17).11 Unbelievers are taken away from the earth (Mat. 24:37-41).12
Unbelievers remain on earth. Believers remain on earth (Mat. 25:34).13
No mention of establishing Christ’s Kingdom on earth. Christ has come to set up His Kingdom on earth (Mat. 25:31Mat. 25:34).14
Christians taken to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3). Resurrected saints do not see the Father’s house (Rev. 20:4+).15
Imminent—could happen at any moment.  Cannot occur for at least 7 years.16
Precedes the career of the man of sin. (2Th. 2:1-3). Terminates the career of the man of sin (Rev. 19:20+).




In Christian eschatology, the post-tribulation rapture doctrine is the belief in a combined resurrection and rapture of all believers coming after the Great Tribulation. This position is fundamentally flawed and, in my estimation, does not fit with the Bible.


  1. The Great Tribulation is a time of judgment and the true Church was judged at Calvary

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:12-13

One sacrifice for sin for all time…If your sin was paid for at the cross, it in manifestly unjust to pay for it again in the tribulation.

  1. The Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and Israel (Jacob) is not the Church

‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

Jeremiah 30:7

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “In the previous verses of Jeremiah 30, we find that the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah the prophet about Judah and Israel (30:3-4). In verse 3, the Lord promises that one day in the future, He will bring both Judah and Israel back to the land that He had promised their forefathers. Verse 5 describes a time of great fear and trembling. Verse 6 describes this time in a way that pictures men going through the pains of childbirth, again indicating a time of agony. But there is hope for Judah and Israel, for though this is called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (NASB), the Lord promises He will save Jacob (referring to Judah and Israel) out of this time of great trouble (verse 7).”

The Tribulation is a time of purification for Israel during which the obstinately unbelieving will be destroyed leaving the faithful remnant to enter the Kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:21,22 Zephaniah 3:19,20 Romans 11:26,27

  1. The Church is not mentioned from Revelation 4-19

            There is not really much extrapolation needed here. If the Tribulation were, in fact, something the Church were expected to endure, surely the Holy Spirit would have warned us. I would go so far as to say that it requires a dismissal of logical inference to presume the Church will go through the Tribulation.

  1. Revelation 3:10and tereso oras peirasmou

Tereso oras peirasmou (I will keep you from the hour of testing.) The hour of testing being referred to, here, is the Tribulation and it is Christ Himself who says that He will keep from the hour of testing.

  1. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Where, exactly, is the comfort in facing the Tribulation?

  1. The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23 Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52

  1. There will be a final judgment but the Tribulation is not it

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works but this is not the tribulation period. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Matthew 25:46 Mark 9:43-48 Revelation 19:20 Revelation 20:11-15  Revelation 21:8

  1. Lastly, the final judgment for believers is the Bema Seat not the Tribulation. 

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “Romans 14:10–12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In context, it is clear that both passages refer to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ.

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-272 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-272 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:52 Timothy 4:8James 1:121 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”


Having a Take This Bible Program

Having a Take This Bible Program

The new NASB offering from Zondervan, the NASB Pew and Worship Bible and the NASB Preacher’s Bible, prompted me to think about churches offering a Take This Bible Program. Since pew Bibles are fairly inexpensive,  I would like to suggest a couple options. (It is essential that churches are doing all they can to get the word of God into the hands of people.)


1. Allow members to sponsor a Bible for a visitor or new believer to take home.

2. Have a stack of Bibles in the welcome center with a box for a contribution. Do not suggest an amount. Instead, leave it open so that those with limited means can have their own Bible without cost concerns.

3. The church can simply offer the Bibles from the pulpit. You could say something like, “If you do not own your own copy of the Bible, please take home the one that you find on your pew. We encourage you to mark in this Bible and make it your own. Remember to bring it with you every week so that we can all learn the Bible together.”

4. Lastly, your chuch can simply sell copies of the Pew Bible. I do not advise any kind of mark up. Be transparent about costs with your membership and sell the Bible at the church’s cost.

Truth & Love: A Final Summary of 2nd John

Truth & Love: A Final Summary of 2nd John

  1. Truth and Love Must Be Proclaimed (1–3)

Truth and love belong together. That is the message of the apostle John. Remember that we said “the Elect Lady” was very likely a real person but she could also be a personification of the Church. Dr. Guzik suggests this personification is the likely scenario and I tend to agree. Given the time in which the epistle was written, I suspect that the Elect Lady is both, the Church in Ephesus over which John was Elder and a prominent lady in that congregation. In either case, John had a special love for this lady and her children (13); he is not just the Elder of her church but he demonstrates a fatherly concern for the well-being of the lady and her children. Assuming she is a specific person, she belonged to a faithful Christian family that evidently was very active in the local church and hers was a dedicated Christian home in the midst of an ungodly, pagan society.

We are rapidly heading into a culture very similar to that which John faced, maybe even worse. Our society is not only post truth but is rapidly becoming anti-truth. It has become considered, by many, to be the new “hate speech.)

In verses 1–3, John used the word truth four times bracketed on both ends by “love.” Truth is the foundation of our faith. Jesus said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). In addition, truth is the basis of love. It gives love teeth, making love real and possible. The bottom line is that a wrong understanding of love can lead a person away from truth.

Additionally, John said that truth “abides” in the believer (2 John 2). The Greek verb is meno, which means “to remain” or “to stay” According to John, truth abides in the believer; its residence is the believer’s mind and heart. But only as truth is tempered by love—for God and for others (see Matt. 22:37–40).

Recall our earlier lesson, we said two important things about truth:

  1. Truth is an objective proposition which defines reality.
  2. The Lord Jesus IS THE objective proposition which defines all reality


  1. Walking in Truth is Commanded (4–6)

John moves from proclaiming love and truth together to practicing love and truth together (2 John 4–6). He explains how this happens. First, Christians do it by continuing to love God. The Bible often uses the image of “walking” (4) to gauge the healthiness of one’s faith. For example, the apostle Paul exhorted newly baptized believers to get busy walking (Rom. 6:4). Paul further instructed that believers do not walk in “craftiness” (2 Cor. 4:2) but by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). Finally, Christians are to “walk in the Spirit” so that they will not fulfill the “lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). As a prisoner of the Lord, Paul concluded that all believers must “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Eph. 4:1). Walking expresses the love believers have for their Savior as well as the lifestyle they pursue as each new day unfolds.

In fact, our “walking” according to the commandments of the Lord implies a full devoted love for one another (2 John 5). Love is the greatest commandment upon which Jesus insisted, the hinge upon which the entire law hangs (Matt. 22:37–40). That believers must be encouraged to love one another is strange. Yet the Lord Jesus used love for one another as the world’s yardstick by which they judge the church’s authentic faith (John 13:35). Christ made love for one another the measure the world could use to determine that we are His followers.

This leads to John’s second way Christians practice truth and love together—by continuing to obey God. “This is love,” John says (2 John 6). If Jesus demonstrated anything to us, He demonstrated that love is no illusion. Love may be perverted, twisted, misguided, and erroneous. But love is real (Rom. 5:8). In fact, if love is not real, neither is God, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). And, according to John, our love is expressed for God in our obedience to Him, obeying His commandments (1 John 5:3).

III. Truth and Love May Be Perverted (7–13)

We suggested earlier that truth and love hang together on a single hinge. And both are in jeopardy of perversion apart from their foundational rootedness in Scripture (2 John 7–9).

If you have a pastor who is not teaching through the Bible, they do not have the truth. I would go so far as to say that pastor hates you. There is nothing more hateful a person can do than to refuse to bring the Word of God, and I mean the whole thing, both testaments, to bear on sinners and warn them of what God thinks of sin and what He plans to do about it. If you claim to love someone, you had best be willing to tell them some uncomfortable truths.

John speaks openly about “many deceivers” who have entered into the world (7). Open rebuke is necessary when the eternal soul of another is at stake. Specifically, John is warning against docetists who denied Jesus had come in human flesh. For them, He was no more than a ghostly apparition. Deceivers attempted to lead faithful, but sometimes weak or gullible, Christians astray. While a believer cannot become an unbeliever, a weak believer may get sucked into a deceptive vacuum void of sound doctrine. Consequently, those who do will ultimately regret that they fell for the deception—either in this life or when standing before God.

Note John’s term transgresses (9). It means “to go beyond,” carrying the idea of violating legitimate boundaries. It is very similar to hunters who come upon a sign in the forest that says specifically, “No Trespassing!” but ignoring the warning, crossing the boundary, and proceeding to hunt nonetheless. How do the deceivers operate? John tells us (10, 11). They made their rounds perhaps when the church was gathered for worship. Weak believers often make a habit of avoiding the assembling of the saints together (Heb. 10:25). Hence, weak believers would invite the false teachers into their homes, listening to their smooth presentations, and opening themselves up for probable deception. To this John flatly says, “Do not receive him into your house nor greet him” (10). While this may seem harsh, it is not. John was not telling Christians to be unkind but warning them not to be exploited by deceivers. The false teachers did not show up because they were hungry. Instead they showed up for a single purpose: to deceive.

Doctrine of Scripture

Doctrine of Scripture


The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

  • 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 2 Peter 1:21

Matt Slick: “Verbal plenary inspiration means that every word found in the Bible is given to us by God(verbal), everything in the Bible is authoritative (plenary), and every word is also divinely directed (inspired). But, this does not mean that everything referenced in the Bible is also morally proper. For example, the Bible might record someone’s lie or a murder even though lying and murder are not approved of in Scripture. But the recording of the events is under the direction of God and is accurate.

The verbal plenary inspiration applies to the original manuscripts, also known as the autographs. It was the originals that were penned by the prophets and apostles that were given by God, authoritative, and  divinely directed. Presently we have copies of the original manuscripts but the copies are not perfect, though close to it. So, we have copies of inspired documents and for all intents and purposes the copies are inspired.

  • “The older phrase “plenary inspiration” meant that all the words of Scripture are God’s words (the word plenary means “full”), a fact that I affirm in this chapter without using the phrase.”
  • “Inspiration, plenary The “full” (plenary) inspiration of the Scriptures, in the sense that the whole Bible is inspired, not simply portions of it.
  • “inspiration, verbal theory of The view that God through the Holy Spirit directly guided the exact words recorded by the biblical writers as they wrote the Scriptures.”

Verbal plenary inspiration stands in opposition to partial inspiration which limits the inspired quality of the Bible in various ways whether it be restricting inspiration to doctrinal matters, or one author was inspired where another was not, or there are mistakes in historical events and geographical locations but the main thoughts are correct.”



If all Scripture is breathed out by God (theopneustos) then as a logical consequence, it must also be inerrant. Since God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), He would cease to be God if He breathed out errors and contradictions, even in the smallest part. So long as we give theopneustos its real meaning, we shall not find it hard to understand the full inerrancy of the Bible.

3 Things Inerrancy does not mean (from Answers in Genesis)

  • Inerrancy doesn’t mean everything in the Bible is true. We have the record of men lying (e.g., Joshua 9) and even the words of the devil himself. But we can be sure these are accurate records of what took place.
  • Inerrancy doesn’t mean apparent contradictions are not in the text, but these can be resolved. At times different words may be used in recounting what appears to be the same incident. For example, Matthew 3:11refers to John the Baptist carrying the sandals of the Messiah, whereas John 1:27 refers to him untying John preached over a period of time, and he would repeat himself; like any preacher he would use different ways of expressing the same thing.
  • Inerrancy doesn’t mean every extant copy is inerrant. It is important to understand that the doctrine of inerrancy only applies to the original manuscripts.




The Bible and only the Bible is our all sufficient rule of faith and practice. Sola Scriptura simply means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture. It is not a claim that all truth of every kind is found in Scripture.


“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” —Westminster Confession of Faith



Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for allowing their traditions to have equal weight to the TaNaKh


Mark 7:6-9 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Jesus told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites in Scripture: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans. “You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions.” He added, “You have no trouble rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep your own traditions!


Paul commends the Bereans for testing all teachings against the Scriptures


Acts 17:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.


Paul directs the church in Corinth not to go beyond what is written


1 Corinthians 4:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.





Tota Scriptura emphasizes that the Bible is to be taken as a whole. The complete canonis God’s Word, and we cannot pick and choose what parts of it to accept and what parts to reject. In Paul’s farewell speech to the Ephesian believers, he said, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26–27, ESV). Note that Paul had discharged his duty before God by preaching the “whole counsel of God”; in other words, Paul preached tota Scriptura.


Some false teachers suggest that only the “red-letter words” (those spoken directly by Jesus Himself) are truly inspired. Others reject Paul’s epistles or throw out the book of Revelation or ignore the Old Testament. Still others divide the passages that deal with matters of faith from those that deal with matters of history or science—the Bible is accurate, they say, when it speaks of faith, but in matters of history or science it cannot be trusted. The problem with all of these views, besides the fact that they contradict the principle of tota Scriptura, is they set up man as the judge of God’s Word. Who exactly gets to decide what parts of the Bible are right or wrong? If we move away from tota Scriptura, we can all take scissors to the Bible and come up with our own text, relying on our own wisdom (or feelings or intuition or whatever).


Circling back to Inerrancy for a moment…


Inerrancy Governs Our Confidence in the Truth of the Gospel

If the Scripture is unreliable, can we offer the world a reliable gospel? How can we be sure of truth on any issue if we are suspicious of errors anywhere in the Bible? A pilot will ground his aircraft even on suspicion of the most minor fault, because he is aware that one fault destroys confidence in the complete machine. If the history contained in the Bible is wrong, how can we be sure the doctrine or moral teaching is correct?

The heart of the Christian message is history. The Incarnation (God becoming a man) was demonstrated by the Virgin Birth of Christ. Redemption (the price paid for our rebellion) was obtained by the death of Christ on the Cross. Reconciliation (the privilege of the sinner becoming a friend of God) was gained through the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. If these recorded events are not true, how do we know the theology behind them is true?

Inerrancy Governs Our Faith in the Value of Christ

We cannot have a reliable Savior without a reliable Scripture. If, as many suggest, the stories in the Gospels are not historically true and the recorded words of Christ are only occasionally His, how do we know what we can trust about Christ? Must we rely upon the conflicting interpretations of a host of critical scholars before we know what Christ was like or what He taught? If the Gospel stories are merely the result of the wishful thinking of the church in the second or third centuries, or even the personal views of the Gospel writers, then our faith no longer rests upon Jesus but upon the opinions of men. Who would trust an unreliable Savior for their eternal salvation?

Inerrancy Governs Our Response to the Conclusions of Science

If we believe the Bible contains errors, then we will be quick to accept scientific theories that appear to prove the Bible wrong. In other words, we will allow the conclusions of science to dictate the accuracy of the Word of God. When we doubt the Bible’s inerrancy, we have to invent new principles for interpreting Scripture that for convenience turn history into poetry and facts into myths. This means people must ask how reliable a given passage is when they turn to it. Only then will they be able to decide what to make of it. On the other hand, if we believe in inerrancy, we will test by Scripture the hasty theories that often come to us in the name of science.

Inerrancy Governs Our Attitude to the Preaching of Scripture

A denial of biblical inerrancy always leads to a loss of confidence in Scripture both in the pulpit and in the pew. It was not the growth of education and science that emptied churches, nor was it the result of two world wars. Instead, it was the cold deadness of theological liberalism. If the Bible’s history is doubtful and its words are open to dispute, then people understandably lose confidence in it. People want authority. They want to know what God has said.

Inerrancy Governs Our Belief in the Trustworthy Character of God

Almost all theologians agree Scripture is in some measure God’s revelation to the human race. But to allow that it contains error implies God has mishandled inspiration and has allowed His people to be deceived for centuries until modern scholars disentangled the confusion. In short, the Maker muddled the instructions.


Knowing the Doctrine of Christ and Guarding Against Antichrist Deceivers

Knowing the Doctrine of Christ and Guarding Against Antichrist Deceivers

2 John 7-10

What is an antichrist?

Two definitions:

A person who is opposed to Christ

A person who tries to put himself in the place of Christ


John mentions a specific heresy but there are others with which we need to be concerned about today. One of the oldest heresies which the church has needed to contend is Docetism. Docetism teaches that Christ did not really come in the flesh.  We are not going to spend a lot of time on Docetism, in particular, during this lesson but I do want to point out that it was condemned as heretical by the 1st Council at Nicaea.

I have said before, and need to repeat: it is not enough to simply believe in a Jesus, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists all believe in a Jesus but he isn’t the Jesus who can save from sin. Even scarier, most of what passes for Christianity does not even believe in the right Jesus- they believe in a Jesus who is a life coach or some kind of genie, not the Sovereign God of the Universe.  You must believe in the right Jesus and in the right manner if you are to have any hope of being saved from your sin.

Look at verse 9, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.”

John could not make it more clear, if you do not abide in the doctrine Christ, you do not have God. As a direct consequence, if you do not have God, you do not have any hope of salvation from sin and its consequences.

Some of the most well-known “Bible teachers” today are teaching aberrations of the Doctrine of Christ. I promised to name names and here we go: Kenneth Copeland, Steven Furtick, Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, Priscilla Shirer, Joel Osteen, Jesse Duplantis, TD Jakes, Jen Hatmaker, Christine Caine, Kenneth Hagin and a host of others are NOT teaching the Biblical Gospel of Jesus. If you are trusting in what you are being taught by them for your Christian life, your soul is in real danger.

Before we get into the Doctrine of Christ, I want us to look at some signs of an antichrist and deceiver.

Signs of an Antichrist

  • He denies the apostolic teaching of Jesus as having coming in the flesh (1John 4:2, 2 John 7)
  • He is someone who has gone out from us i.e. he has deviated from orthodoxy (1 John 2:19) and leads many astray
  • His teaching makes it impossible to remain in God forever
  • They crept in unawares (Jude 4) which is to say that they look and even sound like Christians
  • Many are in it for riches (Jude 11)
  • They turn grace into license (Jude 4)
  • They will eventually be destroyed (Jude 5)


The Doctrine of Christ

I am going to layout a basic Christology in this lesson but I want you to know, the foundation of our Christology is the Doctrine of the Incarnation.

A Christology in brief

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead; that He was eternally one with the Father; that He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhead and manhood, are thus united in one Person very God and very man, the God-man.

We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He truly arose from the dead and took again His body, together with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us.

(Matthew 1:20-25; 16:15-16; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1-18; Acts 2:22-36; Romans 8:3, 32-34; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:12-22; 1 Timothy 6:14-16; Hebrews 1:1-5; 7:22-28; 9:24-28; 1 John 1:1-3; 4:2-3, 15) 


  • The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:
  • He was born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31, Luke 1:35)
  • He lived a completely sinless life (Hebrews 7:26, 1 Peter 2:22)  
  • His Christhood was attested by miracles (Acts 2:22, Acts 10:38)
  • His penal, substitutionary death on the cross providing a vicarious atonement (1 Corinthians 15:3, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Jesus had a literal physical body that was resurrected from the dead (Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:39, 1 Corinthians 15:4 )
  • Jesus has been exalted to the Right Hand of Majesty on High (Acts 1:9, Acts 1:11, Acts 2:33, Philippians 2:9-11, Hebrews 1:3)


This is critical…The Godhood of Jesus the Christ mandates Him being worshipped as both sovereign and absolute Lord.

Let’s conclude with the Ligonier Statement on Christology

We confess the mystery and wonder of God made flesh and rejoice in our great salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Son created all things, sustains all things, and makes all things new.

Truly God, He became truly man, two natures in one person. He was born of the Virgin Mary and lived among us.

Crucified, dead, and buried, He rose on the third day, ascended to heaven, and will come again in glory and judgment.

For us, He kept the Law, atoned for sin, and satisfied God’s wrath. He took our filthy rags and gave us His righteous robe.

He is our Prophet, Priest, and King, building His church, interceding for us, and reigning over all things.

Jesus Christ is Lord; we praise His holy Name forever.




Walking in Obedience

Walking in Obedience

John is joyed that the children of the Elect Lady are walking in the truth then he takes a turn back to the commandment…

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.

Not as though I wrote a new commandment: John knew this was nothing new to his readers (he repeated the theme all through 1 John and his gospel). Yet because it was so essential, it had to be repeated and used as a reminder- the truth of our salvation is demonstrated in our love for one another (John 14:15) and our obedience to Christ’s commands to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength as well as to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Unfortunately, some Christians take this command to an extreme and unscriptural level and turn love into some sort of social gospel.

That we love one another: The integrity of our Christian life can be measured by our love for one another (as in John 13:35 and 1 John 4:20-21).

John recalls Jesus’ teaching on the two Greatest Commandments and reminds the Elect Lady of the commandment to love one another. This is not a new teaching in Judaism or Christianity. Hillel the Elder famously summed up this commandment saying, “ That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the whole law; all the rest is commentary.”

Jesus gives the ultimate illustration of this principle in the Parable of the Good Samaritan

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

If we love God, we will obey His commandments. We do this not because we think His commandments are heavy burdens, but because we see that they are best for us. They are guides and gifts to us from God.

In his Life Principles Series, Dr. Stanley reminds us that obedience brings blessing (Said blessing is a more intimate relationship with God.) and exhorts us to obey God and leave the consequences to him.

Walk according to His commandments: Real love will walk this way. Perhaps John warned against those who thought the only important thing in the Christian life was a vague love that had no heart for obedience.

The True Measure of Christian Love is Obedience to Christ and His Commands

There will not be enough time to give a complete treatment of the issue called Lordship Salvation but…

True love and true salvation lead to obedience. This fact was declared by none other than Jesus Himself. (John 14:15)

In Luke 6:46 Jesus asks, “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say.


8 Reasons Why Obedience to God Is Important

1. Jesus Calls Us to Obedience 

In Jesus Christ we find the perfect model of obedience. As his disciples, we follow Christ’s example as well as his commands. Our motivation for obedience is love:

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15, )


2. Obedience Is an Act of Worship 

While the Bible places strong emphasis on obedience, it’s critical to remember that believers are not justified (made righteous) by our obedience. Salvation is a free gift of God, and we can do nothing to merit it. True Christian obedience flows from a heart of gratitude for the grace we have received from the Lord:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Romans 12:1, NLT)

3. God Rewards Obedience 

Over and over again we read in the Bible that God blesses and rewards obedience:

“And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:18, NLT)
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. (Exodus 19:5, NLT)

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28, NLT)

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22–25, NLT)

4. Obedience to God Proves Our Love 

The books of 1 John and 2 John clearly explain that obedience to God demonstrates love for God. Loving God implies following his commands:

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. (1 John 5:2–3, ESV)
Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. (2 John 6, NLT)

5. Obedience to God Demonstrates Our Faith 

When we obey God, we show our trust and faith in him:

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3–6, NLT)

6. Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice 

The phrase “obedience is better than sacrifice,” has often perplexed Christians. It can only be understood from an Old Testament perspective. The law required the Israelite people to offer sacrifices to God, but those sacrifices and offerings were never intended to take the place of obedience.

But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:22–23, NLT)

7. Disobedience Leads to Sin and Death 

The disobedience of Adam brought sin and death into the world. This is the basis of the term “original sin.” But Christ’s perfect obedience restores fellowship with God for everyone who believes in him:

For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Christ’s] obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19, ESV)
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22, ESV)

8. Through Obedience, We Experience the Blessings of Holy Living 

Only Jesus Christ is perfect, therefore, only he could walk in sinless, perfect obedience. But as we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us from within, we grow in holiness. This is known as the process of sanctification, which can also be described as spiritual growth. The more we read God’s Word, spend time with Jesus, and allow the Holy Spirit to change us from within, the more we grow in obedience and holiness as Christians:

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! (Psalm 119:1–8, NLT)
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sands along the seashore—too many to count! There would have been no need for your destruction, or for cutting off your family name.” (Isaiah 48:17–19, NLT)
Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. (2 Corinthians 7:1, NLT)





The Elder, The Elect Lady, and the Truth (2 John 1-3)

The Elder, The Elect Lady, and the Truth (2 John 1-3)

2 John 1-3

The Elder

         2 Possibilities 1 of which is certain: Option one (the certainty) John writes as an Elder of the Church. Since this letter dates to the 80’s AD, John would have been an Elder of the Church in Ephesus. Given the definitive article, he most probably occupied a prominent position among the Elders. Following the custom laid out in the Old Testament, John would also have held an honored place in society.

2nd Option (possible but difficult to determine validity): In the Roman world, fathers and sons who shared the same first name were commonly referred to as the Elder and the Younger as in the case of the father and son philosophers Seneca the Elder and the Younger. It is a possibility that John had a son who was also named John making him John the Elder.

As Adam Clarke points out  “John the apostle, who was now a very old man, generally supposed to be about ninety, and therefore uses the term presbyter or elder, not as the name of an office, but as designating his advanced age. He is allowed to have been the oldest of all the apostles, and to have been the only one who died a natural death.”

The Elect Lady

         While the idea that this refers to a church is certainly plausible and valid there is nothing in the text to indicate that we are not dealing with an actual woman instead of simply a metaphor for the church. Likely, the Elect Lady was either a member of a very important family of the Church in Ephesus or perhaps even the woman in whose house the church gathered for worship.

John probably did not name himself, the elect lady or her children by name because this was written during a time of persecution, specifically the same persecution under Domitian that resulted in John’s exile to Patmos. It is extremely likely that John didn’t want to implicate anyone by name in a written letter since if the letter was intercepted and the authorities knew who it was written to by name, it might mean death for those persons.

Whom I love in the truth

John loving this lady in the truth brings us face to face with Pilate’s question (John 18:38). We will spend some time considering answers to that very question, what is truth?

Truth is an objective proposition that defines reality

Examples: The layer of Ozone in the sky is what causes it to be blue. Trees breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen.  Objective propositions do not change based on whim, cultural values etc; they do not change at all.

God makes the ultimate objective proposition in Exodus 3:14 when He declares “I Am Who I Am.” The Godhead is the first objective reality in existence and, since all other reality stems from Him, He defines all other objective realities.

Since God is both a person and the source of all objective realities,  truth is, therefore, also a person.

John 14:6- Jesus declared Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

What, then, is the truth about Jesus

The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Matthew 11:28). Who is lost? Everyone. “There is no one who does righteousness, not one
(Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:10-12)

All have sinned and all deserve death. (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).

All those believing will be saved. (John 3:16)

Not everyone will be saved. There is a condition; you must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:9-10)

But what about 2 Peter 3:9? It says the Lord is not willing that any should perish. True it does say that. There are a lot of theological fine points that we could get into here but for the sake of time, we will leave it at one…

Jesus does not take any delight in the death of the wicked. He must allow it to satisfy the Justice and Holiness within the Godhead but He does not enjoy it. By calling all to repent (Acts 17:30), Jesus opens the door of salvation and calls all to come in. Not everyone will come, though, and that is why there is a hell. Man, who will not yield to the Lordship of His Creator now, will spend eternity understanding why that was a colossal mistake. There is much more to say on election, the depravity of man, and salvation but that sermon is for another day.

Don’t all roads lead to God? Don’t all religions teach the same thing? Those questions drip with defiance. There are two ways and only two. One, the Narrow Way, leads to the Cross, to humble submission and to the Judgment seat of Christ and the Judgment of Rewards. The other, the Broad Way, is the path of all other religions and it leads to the Great White Throne Judgment, the final “Court of Appeal” so to speak but there is no hope for those who arrive there. So, yes, in a sense, all roads lead to God; the question is at which venue you will appear before Him and what the end result of that appearance will be.

The 3 Gifts at the 1st Advent

The 3 Gifts at the 1st Advent

We all know the hymn, We Three Kings, and, even though there were actually more then three “wise men,” I would like us to look at the significance of each gift. (I will introduce each with the lyrics to the song.)

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain. Gold I bring to crown Him again. King forever, ceasing never, over us all to reign.

Why gold? Culturally, these visitors were paying tribute, literally. A vassal (lesser/dependent) king would pay tribute to his Suzerain (greater king). This tribute was paid for protection, the administration of justice, and provision of needs. The magi, who were emissaries of gentile kings were, in the Spirit, giving tribute to the Ultimate, the Definitive Suzerain King for in the wee Christ child was Heaven’s Crown Prince, Him who would ascend not just to the right hand of Majesty on high but also to be that majesty. He CAME as Redeemer. He will COME again as King and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.

Frankincense to offer have I Incense owns a Deity nigh Prayer and praising, all men raising Worship Him, God most high

In the Old Testament, incense was offered to God as a thanksgiving. In the visit of the Wise Men, it is the same. Many of have said that Jesus never claimed to be God, which is patently untrue but even if He had not made the declaration of His Deity, it is declared in the 2nd gift of the Wise Men. The offering OF incense is an act of worship. Frankincense is offered in pure woship, thanking God for being with you and redeeming you to Himself.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume Breathes of life of gathering gloom Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying Sealed in the stone-cold tomb 

The shadow of the cross looms large over the manger, miss that and you miss the point of Christmas. The wise men knew and gave, peophetically, because Messiah had to die, and then rise. Messiah is Redeemer and Messiah is King.

This is the message of Advent: God the Son, Heaven’s great prince came to save a people to Himself. He will come again as Heaven’s King and will reign forever.