Important reading for all Canadians.
There are times the NT quotes the OT directly, and to give just one example: John 6:45 quoting Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:33-34. We should get into the habit of asking for a Bible verse, but we also must keep in mind that the Scriptures sometimes don’t quote directly when referring to the other parts of Scriptures. For example, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:34, “Let your women keep silent in the churches… as the law also says.” Which law? Where in the OT can we find this teaching? You won’t find a single passage that teaches this in the OT. Reason? The OT [taken as a whole] teaches this. This is why sometimes it’s not possible to give a single reference. Apostle John understood this when he writes 1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, [that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all].” What John is doing here is summing up the essence of Christ’s message that they all have heard. If we take everything that Christ taught and summarize it into one short sentence, it would be 1 John 1:5! God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If God is light, then we are darkness because we’re not God, which means we are sinful. And if there’s no darkness in Him, not even a small hint of it, then sinful men can never be near this God, and on and on it goes.
I can give plenty more examples, but let me get to the point: It’s not enough to just ask for a biblical passage (even though we should) because anyone can do that, even a fool and lunatic. We need to know our Bible, and this comes by daily reading, meditation and studying.
When we approach the Scriptures, we must keep in mind the reality of our sinful flesh. We must be fully aware that the Scriptures is not the problem, but us and that we are quick to forget and slow to understand (Luke 24:25). The heart is the problem, that’s why Jesus says to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures… But you are not willing to come to Me… I know..that you do [not have the love of God in you].” (John 5:39-42). That’s why Peter exhorts us to deal with our hearts, “laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,” and then, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word…” (1 Peter 2:1-3). James says the same, “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive [with meekness] the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (1:21). The author of Hebrews agrees, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.” (12:1-2).
When our hearts bend in the wrong direction, it will toss us to and fro and be carried by every wind of doctrine that is out there. Why will some depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2)? Paul tells us, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,” that’s why “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-7). Remember the Pharisees in John 5:39-42—they didn’t have the love of God in them? Loving money leads a person away from the truth (1 Timothy 6:10), because one can not serve both money and God. Paul makes all this clear in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “but according to [their own desires], because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth…”
We’re dictated by our hearts, for better or for worse: “they have walked [according to the dictates of their own hearts] and after the Baals…” (Jeremiah 9:14). “Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but [followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts], and went backward and not forward…” (Jeremiah 7:21-27). “each one [follows the dictates of his own evil heart], so that no one listens to Me.” (Jeremiah 16:12). “This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, [who follow the dictates of their hearts]” (Jeremiah 13:10). “So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one [obey the dictates of his evil heart].” (Jeremiah 18:12).
So God will send a strong delusion, and those without the love of God in their hearts will follow the dictate of their wicked hearts. Let us be fully aware that our hearts is the problem when we approach the Scriptures, knowing that we are dependent on God for clarity, we cry out, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law… Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to covetousness.” (Psalms 119:18,36), “Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,” (Psalms 141:3-4).
I have been praying on and off for many months now (since late of last year), for God to grant His churches and people wisdom and understanding. And the way He answered that prayer is by directing my attention to James Coates and his sermon on Romans 13:1-4 recently! Check it out. I have sensed earlier on that something isn’t right with the way churches here in the West are handling the pandemic. Now it’s a lot clearer.
As a single man, the two topics that don’t really concern me that much are head coverings and divorce-remarriage. I just didn’t want to waste time studying a topic that doesn’t really affect me that much, so I didn’t really bother. I took the default position: “You can wear it if you want to, but it’s not a big deal. No need to fight or divide over it.” This is usually the position people take by default when they don’t know much about a particular topic.
Have you ever wondered and asked yourself why the Jehovah Witnesses don’t like the Cross? They say Jesus died on a Stake. Or in exorcism, demon(s) scream when you put a Cross in front of them? Is there magic or power in the Cross? Should we use religious item(s) to scare them away? Read on and find out.
Thomas Brooks once said, “Christ, the Scripture, your own hearts, and Satan’s devices, are the four prime things that should be first and most studied and searched. If any cast off the study of these, they cannot be safe here, nor happy hereafter.” And I wholeheartedly agree!
In these last days, what we need is not more information, but [discernment]. Satan is the great Deceiver and he works through the sons of disobedient, unbelievers (Ephesians 2:2). Pause for a moment and really think about the ramification of that. Really think about it. We do not war against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but against spirits and ideologies. In other words, doctrines of demons (2 Timothy 4:1). This is why we need to have the mind of Christ. This is why we need to bathe ourselves in the Scripture of Truth. Satan will tell us a lot of truth through his servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15), with a bit of poison injected into it. And it is the little poison that will lead us astray. That’s why Spurgeon rightly said, “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”
These four things must be diligently studied:
- Christ (Ephesians 4:13; 2 Peter 3:18),
- the Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15),
- your own hearts (Psalms 139:23-24),
- and Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8)
And with that last one, I highly recommend this short book by Warren W. Wiersbe: The Strategy of Satan. In another post (God willing), I’ll talk briefly how I use this book.
“There’s another Nobel Prize winner out there, his name is Sir John Eccles. He also received a Nobel Prize for his research on the brain. And he describes the brain as ‘a machine that a ghost can operate.’ What he means by that is in a normal state of consciousness, you are operating your brain. But in an altered state of consciousness, the normal connection between you and your brain is loosened. That allows another entity to interpose itself and begin to tick off the neurons in your brain and create an entire universe of illusion. And … it leads down a particular path that ultimately denies the basic teaching of the Word of God. And I’m very concerned about who these entities are. And they are not solving the problem of sin and guilt in the human heart.” —Dave Hunthttps://youtu.be/sKHY9TSFdUQ?t=3647 || Transcript
Educate yourself and stay informed. Of Planet Earth, and only Planet Earth, God said, “Who formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). Of the stars, He said, “God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:17-18). The vastness of the Universe is there to declare His glory and to show His handiwork (Psalms 19). They exist to point us to Him, the Creator, not to demonic spirits pretending to be Aliens. Be not deceived by what’s coming.
- Gary Bates at Liberty University (30 mins)
- Not Against Flesh & Blood: The Rulers Over Roswell (1:47 hour, Guy Malone)
- Unholy Communion: Entertaining Aliens Unaware (2 hours, Joseph Jordan)
- The Unwanted Piece of the UFO Puzzle (1:07 hour, Joseph Jordan)
- Aliens and Demonology: A Study Throughout History and Scripture (56 mins, Bill Alnor)
- E.T. Spiritual Views In Their Own Words (1:14 hour, Bill Alnor)
- Christian View UFO encounters (1 hour, Walter Martin)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” Jesus said (Matt. 28:18). The winds and sea recognized that (Mark 4:39). So did disease, death, the demonic, and heaven itself. It took the disciples far longer to understand. It still does. Our default belief is that God is involved in the brilliant but is far from the tragic. There is more than a little whiff of paganism about that, isn’t there? And if we give that conviction any ground, we will be anxious and discouraged preachers. —Lewis Allen (The Preacher’s Catechism)
We’re all wired differently. Some people like to write out their thoughts nicely on paper, but for me I can’t seem to do that. Also, I find the process to be slow and tedious (on paper), not to mention that my writing isn’t that neat. It would also slow me down (if I’m listening to a sermon) because Scriptures fly through my mind and pops up out of nowhere very often. If I’m busy writing I might miss the opportunity or forget to capture them because connections vanish from my mind if I don’t record them down. So I’m more interested in seeing how Scriptures connect, how they’re linked and related, and I record that instead. I can give an example of this in another post.
Proverbs 18:17 ESV
The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). When it comes to truth or spiritual matters (not just things we hear on the news) it is always a good idea to get a second opinion or view by consulting other men of truth (Exodus 18:21; Acts 6:3, 8:30-31) because all of us have blindspots and are biased. False teachers can be very convincing in what they say until someone who is more skilled in the word comes along and examines them. Each and everyone of us should heed the warning given in Proverbs 18:1, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” When teaching the word we need to make sure that it’s rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15) and is agreeable by many witnesses (Acts 15:15) who are also skilled in the word: “And the things that you have heard from me [among many witnesses], commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is to avoid private interpretation of any kind (2 Peter 1:20). So consider what they say (2 Timothy 2:7) but remember to always wait on the Lord (John 4:25 [cf. Proverbs 3:5-7; James 1:5; Psalms 139:23-24]).
Sometimes we persecute each other, condemning one another to hell for not agreeing with us just like Paul went around destroying Christians prior to his conversion (Acts 22:3-4; Galatians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:6). This happens when we don’t know God (John 16:2-3 cf. 1 Peter 1:14) as we ought and are lacking in the fruit of the Spirit.
On this side of heaven, we will never agree with one another on every single issue because we all have blindspots (1 Corinthians 8:7,13:12) and stumble in many ways (James 3:2). However, this does not mean that the person we’re disagreeing with does not have the Spirit of God—It just means that we have not all arrived fully (Hebrews 5:12; Romans 14:1 cf. John 17:17; Acts 18:26). A good and perfect example of this is the marriage union: Husband and wife are one flesh in a godly union brought about by God, and yet they don’t always agree on everything, do they? Even the Apostles didn’t: Paul rebuking Peter and Barnabas (Galatians 2:11-13), disagreement between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41), and who can forget Jesus rebuking Peter (Matthew 16:22-23)?
I came across a video yesterday of one Christian publicly rebuking another Christian, on two topics. Eternal Security being one, and it was a bit cringey to watch. It is wise not to publicly rebuke others on topics you haven’t carefully mapped it out. Scriptures need to be read, studied and meditated upon so that the Spirit can do His work of illumination (2 Timothy 2:7).
“The Bible doesn’t say a Christian can’t lose his salvation.” But the Bible also doesn’t say that a Christian will, either. “But it has many warnings!” But the Bible also has many “promises” and how God will keep His people. See where this is going? We have to know our Bible. Not just quoting it. Anyone can quote the Bible. But not everyone who quotes the Bible actually know the Bible and how it’s all connected. Consider these points:
- If you don’t have the Spirit of Christ, then you don’t belong to Him.
- Post-Pentecost, the indwelling of the Spirit is permanent.
- Those leaving the faith proves that they didn’t have the Spirit to begin with.
- There’s not one clear and explicit case of a true child of God leaving the faith in all of Scriptures.
It will take some time to really see how all these four points are interconnected. These four facts need to be dealt with. Quoting Scriptures that you think (in your own mind) refutes Eternal Security will get you nowhere unless you really address these four points biblically.
This is a good question, and if asked in humility it can open a door for a great discussion. However, this can only happen if we’re willing to give ears to a fuller explanation of God’s ways. A lot of times, we ask that question in pride and to end the discussion right there on the spot, simply because we’re not willing to listen to a fuller explanation; ones that take in the whole counsel of God and requires the use of our sanctified reasoning.
“It is a profound political reality that Christ now occupies the supreme seat of cosmic authority. The kings of this world and all secular governments may ignore this reality, but they cannot undo it. The universe is no democracy. It is a monarchy. God himself has appointed his beloved Son as the preeminent King. Jesus does not rule by referendum, but by divine right. In the future every knee will bow before him, either willingly or unwillingly. Those who refuse to do so will have their knees broken with a rod of iron.” ―R.C. Sproul [1939-2017]
God reveals His truth to us—His sheep—through the word by His Spirit that He has given us (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). There are deeper things of God that we won’t be able to figure it out on our own (Acts 8:30-31), and God will be delighted to reveal them to us in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:1; Luke 8:9-10) through whatever means He sees fit, and that can include commentaries and other studies. In the meantime, let God prepare your heart, and let Him sanctify you through His word (John 17:17). The hardest and most difficult part of the Bible is not the part that we don’t understand, but the ones that we do. The texts that we do understand are always a challenge, for it bids us to lay down our pride and to walk in humility before God and men (Acts 24:16). The commands we find throughout the Scriptures are there not to exalt self but to crucify it.
There are many ways to memorize the Scriptures. Here are five ways that I can think of.
- The Entire Book (James, Ephesians, Romans etc…):
This is a lot of work, and it’s translation-dependent. If you decided to change your mind later and switch to another translation then it will be a problem. And if you have already memorized a book, then it will certainly discourage you to switch to another translation. Choose wisely.
Not everyone who claims to be a “Christian” is truly a Christian in a biblical sense (Matthew 7:21-23). Back in 2016, I came up with this short list for why a person might identifies him or herself as a “Christian.”