mid-week apologetics booster (3-25-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:

Let us strive to live like men who believe in a resurrection and a life to come – and desire to be always ready for the eternal world. So living, we shall look forward to death with calmness.  – J.C. Ryle

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. The Great Commission Must Be Our Guide in These Polarizing Times. During these polarizing times where battles for political power or division from cultural struggles are crippling the influence of the Christian church, we need to refocus our attention and commitment to fulfilling the great commission. – Life in the Gospel: https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/the-great-commission-must-be-our-guide-in-these-polarizing-times/
  2. How to share the gospel to Hindus effectively | carm.org: https://carm.org/hinduism/how-to-share-the-gospel-to-hindus/
  3. Sharing Your Faith 101 – Maybe you’re afraid to share your faith because you don’t know what to say. Or maybe you’re sharing the Gospel but nothing is happening; people aren’t committing their lives to Christ. Are you doing something wrong?: https://billygraham.org/story/sharing-your-faith-101/
  4. Talking With Non-Christian Friends: https://castingnetsministries.com/resources/articles/41-talking-with-non-christian-friends-by-dr-j-budziszewski
  5. Human High-Altitude Habitation Reveals Adaptive Design | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/human-high-altitude-habitation-adaptive-design/
  6. How do I respond more effectively when someone questions my faith? Westminster: https://westminsterpc.ca/how-do-i-respond-more-effectively-when-someone-questions-my-faith/
  7. Jeff Hester Debates William Lane Craig On The Topic Is Belief In God Rational In A Scientific Age?: https://crossexamined.org/jeff-hester-debates-william-lane-craig-on-the-topic-is-belief-in-god-rational-in-a-scientific-age/
  8. How Was Jesus God Incarnate?: https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/how-was-jesus-god-incarnate.html
  9. Crushing the Myth that Christianity Crushes Diversity Think Divinely: https://thinkdivinely.com/crushing-the-myth-that-christianity-crushes-diversity/
  10. Ancient Man. the original Ark must have been an amazing structure. How could Noah, who lived thousands of years ago, build such a complex vessel that survived the Genesis Flood? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/thinking-outside-the-box/ancient-man/
  11. New Discoveries in the Dead Sea Wilderness from Dr. Craig Evans: https://christianthinkerssociety.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/d/E817F31064B381702540EF23F30FEDED/38F8D14E3E6CF359C5EC08CADFFC107B
  12. What Objections Have Been Made to the Resurrection?: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1351.cfm
  13. De-conversion Is Not as Countercultural as You Think: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/deconversion-not-countercultural/
  14. Have We Lost the Message of the New Testament? | Mikel Del Rosario | Your Apologetics Guy: http://apologeticsguy.com/2015/01/new-testament-texual-variants/
  15. The Fact the Other Side Can Make a Case Doesn’t Mean Its True | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/the-fact-the-other-side-can-make-a-case-doesnt-mean-its-true/
  16. HOW SKEPTICS TURNED G.K. CHESTERTON TO CHRIST: http://2besure.blogspot.com/2019/09/how-skeptics-turned-gk-chesterton-to.html
  17. Religious Pluralism: What About Those That Have Never Heard the Gospel? | Is Christianity True?: https://ischristianitytrue.wordpress.com/2021/03/18/religious-pluralism-what-about-those-that-have-never-heard-the-gospel/
  18. Should Christians Use the Argument from Martyrdom? A Reply to Bart Ehrman: https://crossexamined.org/should-christians-use-the-argument-from-martyrdom-a-reply-to-bart-ehrman/
  19. The Hidden Consequences of Sexual Sin – As with all sexual sin, there is absolutely no excuse, no rationalization, and no justification for it. In Ravi’s case, there are hundreds of women who are victims of his unwanted and inappropriate advances. Ravi abused his influence, his power, and his reputation as a man of God in order to abuse these women. None of these cases were simply two consenting adults engaging in a relationship. When there is a power imbalance like this, the relationship is never consenting. These were like an employer/employee relationship, one that is never fully consensual as a true loving relationship. One party is always holding power over the other in some form or fashion. Sadly, these women aren’t even the only victims here. He has betrayed his wife and the vows he made to her before family, friends, and God to love and cherish her until death separates them.: https://www.defendthefaithministry.com/2021/02/the-hidden-consequences-of-sexual-sin/
  20. 6 Reasons Why (Church) Membership Matters – I like this quote: Many bowling leagues require more of their members than our churches. Where this is true, the church is a sad reflection of its culture.: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/6-reasons-why-membership-matters/
  21. Counting the Stars | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/counting-the-stars/
  22. The Universe Confirms the Bible | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-universe-confirms-the-bible/
  23. Does Knowledge Require Certainty? | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/does-knowledge-require-certainty
  24. How to Read More Books Every Year – Sarah Geringer: https://www.sarahgeringer.com/read-more-books/
  25. A Historian Explains the Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (Dr. Gary Habermas): https://youtu.be/kWSG5okmUr8
  26. Lament as Apologetic for Christianity – Modern Reformation: https://modernreformation.org/resource-library/web-exclusive-articles/lament-as-apologetic-for-christianity/
  27. Ex-New Ager Melissa Dougherty joins me to discuss certain New Age ideas that are being marketed to the church as “Christian.” What are the buzzwords, catch phrases, and teachings that are coming to a church near you? Alisa Childers I Blog: https://www.alisachilders.com/blog/is-your-church-teaching-new-age-ideas-with-melissa-dougherty-the-alisa-childers-podcast-87
  28. No, The Growth of Progressive Christian Politicians is Not a Good Thing for America [A Response to the New York Times Opinion Piece by Nicholas Kristof]: https://natashacrain.com/no-the-growth-of-progressive-christian-politicians-is-not-a-good-thing-for-america-a-response-to-the-new-york-times-opinion-piece-by-nicholas-kristof/


A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. Mark 15:21

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-18-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:

We possess this unfortunate tendency to downplay our own negative attributes, while putting others’ under a magnifying glass. – The Love Dare

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Is the Bible Reliable? Ratio Christi Event Saturday March 27th at Life in Christ Lutheran Church near Peoria, AZ: https://fb.me/e/1fJSUtqf5
  2. Jesus: Mankind’s Only Savior: https://alwaysbeready.com/jesus-mankinds-only-savior/
  3. Do the Unpersuaded Have Enough Proof? | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/do-the-unpersuaded-have-enough-proof/
  4. 8 Ways You’re Doing Apologetics Wrong | Grounds4Faith: https://grounds4faith.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/8-ways-youre-doing-apologetics-wrong/
  5. Our Most Destructive Assumption About Heaven | Desiring God: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/our-most-destructive-assumption-about-heaven
  6. Why the Claims About Jesus Are Not the Same as the Claims About Peter Pan | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/why-the-claims-about-jesus-are-not-the-same-as-the-claims-about-peter-pan/
  7. Destruction of Plants Fits Flood Narrative | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/destruction-of-plants-fits-flood-narrative/
  8. What Does the Church Most Need Today?: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-church-most-need-today/
  9. Atheist atrocities fallacy? – creation.com: https://creation.com/atheist-atrocities-fallacy
  10. Is There Any Evidence for Jesus Outside the Bible? | Cold Case Christianity – Is There Any Evidence For Jesus Outside The Bible?: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/
  11. The Fallacy of Begging the Question – This fallacy is committed when a person merely assumes what he is attempting to prove, or when the premise of an argument actually depends upon its conclusion.: https://answersingenesis.org/logic/the-fallacy-of-begging-the-question/
  12. Book Excerpt: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek: https://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2009/05/book-excerpt-i-dont-have-enough-faith.html
  13. The Beehive and Irreducible Complexity: http://mannsword.blogspot.com/2020/11/the-beehive-and-irreducible-complexity.html
  14. In the Evolution Debate, How Truth Can Prevail | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2020/11/in-the-evolution-debate-how-truth-can-prevail/
  15. Misotheists Dehumanizing Christians and Creationists: https://www.piltdownsuperman.com/2020/11/misotheists-dehumanizing-christians-and-creationists.html
  16. Is God Real? Evidence from the Laws of Logic | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-god-real-evidence-from-the-laws-of-logic/
  17. Progressive Ideology and the Hijacking of the Christian Faith: https://crossexamined.org/progressive-ideology-and-the-hijacking-of-the-christian-faith/
  18. Limited Genetic Code Proof God Not Required? | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/genetics/dna-structure/limited-genetic-code-proof-god-not-required/
  19. Here’s Why Christians Should Avoid the Teachings of Richard Rohr – Alisa Childers I Blog: https://www.alisachilders.com/blog/heres-why-christians-should-avoid-the-teachings-of-richard-rohr
  20. If Conversion Therapy is Banned, it is the Bible that will be Silenced TheWeeFlea.com: https://theweeflea.com/2021/03/16/if-conversion-therapy-is-banned-it-is-the-bible-that-will-be-silenced/
  21. CNN news anchor Don Lemon says God doesn’t judge people | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2021/03/16/cnn-news-anchor-don-lemon-says-god-doesnt-judge-people/
  22. Quick Challenge Answer: Does The Multiverse Explain Fine Tuning?  https://tentmakingchristianity.com/does-the-multiverse-explain-fine-tuning-2/
  23. Israel finds new Dead Sea Scrolls, first such discovery in 60 years – Archaeology – Haaretz.com: https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-israel-finds-new-dead-sea-scroll-first-such-discovery-in-60-years-1.9621317
  24. Population Growth Matches Bible and DNA Clock | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/population-growth-matches-bible-dna/

Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. Psalms 149:2-3

Blessings to you all

Bible Teaching on Luke 5:1-16

This coming Tuesday, I plan to give the following teaching to a group of about 15 men. The first part of it draws heavily on concepts and content from the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” (chapters 8 & 9)

Luke 5:1-16

1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; 2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.

4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” 6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.

8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.

11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him. 12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. NASB

The Plausibility of Miracles

Luke 5:1-16 gives the account of 2 miraculous signs performed by Jesus in the presence of His disciples and many other witnesses.  The miraculous catch of fish (v4-10) and the healing of the leper (v12-15). 

Atheism / Naturalism

The atheistic worldview asserts that only the natural, material world exists. According to atheists, miracles are impossible because there is no supernatural realm. According to them, to believe otherwise is to believe in fairy tales.  However, if God exists and created the universe (inferred from many lines of evidence), it is reasonable to believe that He can intervene in the natural world He created. With regard to the Bible, if Genesis 1:1 is true – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (we have good evidence to believe it is) – then every other miracle in the Bible is easy to believe. Can a God who created the entire universe out of nothing part the Red Sea? Bring fire down from heaven? Keep a man safe in a great fish for three days? Accurately predict future events? Turn water into wine? Heal diseases instantaneously? Raise the dead? Of course. All of those miraculous events are simple tasks for an infinitely powerful Being who created the universe in the first place.

As C. S. Lewis put it, “If we admit God, must we admit Miracle? Indeed, indeed, you have no security against it. That is the bargain.”

David Hume’s Argument against Miracles

David Hume was a famous and influential skeptic who lived in the 1700s.  His argument against miracles is one of the pillars of the so-called Enlightenment. Here is Hume’s argument against miracles:

  • Premise 1: Natural law is by definition a description of a regular occurrence.
  • Premise 2: A miracle is by definition a rare occurrence.
  • Premise 3: The evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare.
  • Premise 4: A wise man always bases his belief on the greater evidence.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, a wise man should never believe in miracles.

If those four premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily follows – the wise man should never believe in miracles. Unfortunately for Hume, the argument has a false premise—premise 3 is not necessarily true. The evidence for the “regular” is not always greater than that for the “rare”.  Here are some examples:

  1. A hole-in-one: A hole-in-one is a rare event, but when we witness one we have no trouble believing it.  We don’t say to the golfer, “Since the evidence for the regular is always greater than that for the rare, I’m not going to believe your shot unless you can tee it up and do it five times in a row!
  2. Winning the Lottery: A winning lottery ticket provides evidence that a certain person (improbably) won the lottery no matter how regularly that person had failed to win in the past.
  3. The birth of every person: Each person is only born once (physically), which is a rare occurrence.

So, the 3rd premise of Hume’s argument against miracles must be disregarded.  If Hume really believed in that premise, he would not have believed in his own birth! Hume rules out belief in miracles in advance because he believes there is uniform experience against them.

C.S. Lewis again is insightful here as he comments on Hume:

Now of course we must agree with Hume that if there is absolutely ‘uniform experience’ against miracles, if in other words they have never happened, why then they never have. Unfortunately we know the experience against them to be uniform only if we know that all the reports of them are false. And we can know all the reports to be false only if we know already that miracles have never occurred. In fact, we are arguing in a circle.” from Miracles (1972), pg. 105

So, Hume is committing the fallacy of begging the question – assuming what he’s trying to prove.

Thomas Jefferson

In 1820, Thomas Jefferson used a razor and glue to cut and paste (literally) selected verses from a 1794 bilingual Latin/Greek version of the Bible.  He called it “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”.  Jesus’s miracles and most supernatural events are not included in Jefferson’s heavily edited compilation.

Categories of unusual events

As we consider Luke 5:1-16, let’s keep in mind the different types of unusual events that can occur:

Take note that there is a difference between the last 2: Providence and Miracles.  An example of providence may’ve been the fog at Normandy during the Allied invasion June 6th 1944 (D-Day): 

It could be an example of providence because it helped conceal the Allied attack against the evil Nazi regime. It was not necessarily a miracle, because it could be explained by natural laws, however God may’ve providentially acted through weather conditions to accomplish His will (similar to Jesus’s death – see Acts 2:22-24). By contrast, a miracle would be something like bullets bouncing off the chests of soldiers as they assaulted the beach, which could not be explained by any natural laws (of physics).

Objection: No Miracles Happening Today?

Some people object, “If there are no public miracles happening today, then why should we think they happened in the past?”  There’s a common misconception behind this question. It’s the belief that the Bible is filled with miracles that occur continually throughout biblical history. That’s only partially true. It is true that the Bible is filled with miracles (about 250 occasions of them). But many of those miracles occur during the lifetimes of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and the apostles. Why then? Because those were the times when God was confirming new truth (revelation) and new messengers with that truth.  This is not to say that God cannot do miracles today, or that He never does. As the sovereign Creator and sustainer of the universe, He can do a miracle anytime He wants.  In fact, there is a 2 volume book “Miracles” by Craig Keener that documents numerous modern reports of miracles.

Q: As you share your faith with those around you, does the “implausibility” of miracles ever come up?

Verse 1

1 Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret

As happened many times in the early ministry of Jesus crowds were around him, and the Word of God was being preached to these crowds.

Verses 2-3

2 and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. 3 And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat.

Simon was a fisherman and owned a boat, which Christ used to separate Himself from the crowd so that He could teach them.  Christ undoubtedly was a wise teacher and many religions acknowledge that (e.g. Judaism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Bahá’í, Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age Movement).  However, only Biblical Christianity understands Christ in His true nature.  He was and is:

  1. Uncreated (John 1:1-3; 8:58; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 1:8)
  2. God in human flesh (John 1:14; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:16)
  3. King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16)
  4. Lamb of God (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; 1:36; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5-7; 12-15; 17; 19; 21; 22)
  5. The Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5)
  6. The Messiah/the Christ (John 4:25-26; 17:3; Mark 14:61-62; Luke 24:13-27)
  7. The one and only Son of God (Matt. 16:16; 26:63-64)
  8. The Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14; Mark 14:62; Luke 9:26)
  9. Highly exalted and worthy of worship (Philippians 2:9; Revelation 1:12-18; 5:12)
  10. 2nd Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19; John 14:26; Mark 1:9-11)
  11. Will return a 2nd time and judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1)
  12. The Creator (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:1-3)
  13. The Savior (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; 2 Timothy 1:10)
  14. Fully human (John 1:14; 4:6; 11:35; 20:25-27; 1 John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:20)
  15. Teacher/rabbi (Matt 23:10; 26:18; John 1:38; 3:2)
  16. Miracle worker (John 3:2; Acts 2:22)
  17. Exorcist and healer (Matt 4:24; 8:16; Luke 11:14-20)
  18. Died on a Roman cross for our sins, was buried and rose bodily after 3 days and appeared to witnesses (1 Cor. 15:3-8; Colossians 1:20; Acts 2:23-24)
  19. Ascended to heaven (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9)
  20. Is at the right hand of the Father (Mark 14:62; Acts 7:55; Hebrews 1:3)

See article from J. Warner Wallace in resources for a list of extra-biblical references to Jesus.  In the book “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” (the section in chapter 9 – THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO NON-CHRISTIANS), extra biblical references of Jesus paint the following picture of Him:

Verses 4-5

4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.5 Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”

Jesus asked Simon, an experienced fisherman, to do something that seemed nonsensical – after failing to catch anything in an all-night fishing expedition, and Jesus said to do it again.  Simon could’ve told Him to “pound sand” – that He doesn’t know what He’s talking about…  But he obeyed Jesus – he did what Jesus said, despite it not making sense to him.

In another Gospel, it is recorded:

John 8:31-32 – To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Again, later in Luke, He says:

Luke 6:46-49 – ” Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?  Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.  But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.

It has been said that the Jews believed that you “do first, understand later”.  This is based on the phrase recorded in the Exodus 24:7: “We will do and hear everything the Lord has said.”

Q: Is there any area of your life where you’ve not obeyed Jesus because it didn’t make sense to you?

Verses 6-10a

6 When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; 7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Jesus enables a miraculous catch of fish here.  We don’t know whether it was providential (Jesus, in His omniscience, simply knew where the fish were [i.e. in the “deep water”]) or a miracle of creation, where He produced (or multiplied) the fish “on demand” (like in the feeding of the 5,000).  In either case, Peter, an experienced fisherman, realized a miraculous sign had been performed by Jesus.  Take note that Simon Peter’s first reaction was to worship Jesus, knowing he was in the presence of deity, and confess his own sinfulness. 

J.C. Ryle says – “When men are brought close contact with God, the sight of divine greatness and holiness should make them feel strongly their own littleness and sinfulness. Like Adam after the fall – his first thought is to hide himself. Like Israel at Sinai, ‘Do not let God speak with us, lest we die.’ (Exodus 20:19).

There are other places in Scripture, where encounters with the miraculous or divine lead to similar actions – here’s one:

Isaiah 6:1-5 – In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”  And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.  So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”

Verses 10b-11

10 And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”  11 When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

After reassuring Simon (“do not fear”), Jesus reveals to him what the rest of his life will be about – evangelizing the world.  He says “you will be catching men”.  Simon, being a fisherman, was familiar with catching fish.  In order to catch the fish, you couldn’t just wait for them to come to you, you had to go to where they were. After being filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Peter’s post-conversation life would be testifying of Jesus, his Master, to the world.  Peter travelled throughout Israel:

Acts 9:32 – Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda

History records that he went as far as Rome, where he was crucified (legend has it “upside down”) for holding to his confession.    Let’s read an incident in the early church describing Peter “fishing for men”:

Acts 2:14-36 – Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: … ” Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a Man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know. This Man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him. … God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. … Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Q: In what ways have you been able to interact with non-believers and do some “fishing” for men?

Verses 12-16

12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14 And He ordered him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This was clearly a miracle rather than providence.  If you remember back to our table on page 3, a miracle never fails and is immediate, whereas providence has a natural explanation.

People diagnosed with or suspected of leprosy were excluded from the community (Lev 13:45–46, Num 5:2–3). Contact with lepers had to be avoided and lepers had to warn others not to come close to them:

Leviticus 13:45-46 – “As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’  He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”

What a horrible life for the leper…  Therefore this makes Jesus’ touching of the man (v13) significant.

J.C. Ryle says “We have in this wonderful history – a lively emblem of Christ’s power to heal our souls. What are we all, but spiritual lepers in the sight of God? Sin is the deadly leprosy by which we are all affected. It has eaten into our vitals. It has infected all our faculties…We are in one sense dead – long before we are laid in the grave. Our bodies may be healthy and active – but our souls are by nature dead in trespasses and sins! Who shall deliver us from this body of death? Let us thank God that Jesus Christ can! He is that divine Physician, who can make old things pass away, and all things become new. In Him is life. He can wash us thoroughly in His own blood – from all the defilement of sin. Let this truth sink down deeply into our hearts. There is only one medicine to heal our sin-sick souls … However corrupt our hearts, and however wicked our past lives – there is hope for us in the Gospel. There is no case of spiritual leprosy too hard for Christ!”  Hallelujah!

Resources Used in Preparing this Teaching

  1. Who Is Jesus, According to Other Religions? By J. Warner Wallace: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/who-is-jesus-according-to-other-religions/
  2. The Fallacy of Begging the Question: https://answersingenesis.org/logic/the-fallacy-of-begging-the-question/
  3. J.C. Ryle’s Commentary on Luke 5: https://gracegems.org/Ryle/l05.htm
  4. Do First, Understand Later: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/do-first-understand-later/
  5. We will do and we will hear (Mishpatim 5780), by Rabbi Sacks: https://rabbisacks.org/mishpatim-5780/
  6. https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/
  7. The Commitment of the Apostles Confirms the Truth of the Resurrection, by J. Warner Wallace: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/the-commitment-of-the-apostles-confirms-the-truth-of-the-resurrection/
  8. Jesus healing the leper and the Purity Law in the Gospel of Matthew: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269974647_Jesus_healing_the_leper_and_the_Purity_Law_in_the_Gospel_of_Matthew
  9. https://evidenceforchristianity.org/what-is-the-evidence-that-peter-was-crucified-upside-down-in-rome/  
  10. WAS PETER CRUCIFIED UPSIDE DOWN? By Sean McDowell: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/was-peter-crucified-upside-down
  11. How did the Apostle Peter die? https://www.gotquestions.org/apostle-Peter-die.html
  12. Jefferson Bible: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible
  13. Foxe’s Christian Martyrs of the World (pg. 9)
  14. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (by Dr. Norman L. Geisler and Dr. Frank Turek)

mid-week apologetics booster (3-11-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:

The belief that all religions are harmful to society because some are is akin to believing that I shouldn’t eat any fruits because some are poisonous. – Forest Antemesaris

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. How to Engage in Spiritual Conversations | Mikel Del Rosario | Your Apologetics Guy: http://apologeticsguy.com/2020/08/spiritual-conversations/
  2. Christians Must Care Less about Our Cultural Reputation| Natasha Crain: https://natashacrain.com/christians-must-care-less-about-our-cultural-reputation/
  3. Reasonable Faith – Who Really Cares? Dr. Craig examines an atheist’s contention that Christians act irresponsibly due to their view of end times.: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/end-times-paralysis/
  4. Claims of an Indian Guru | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/claims-of-an-indian-guru
  5. What is the evidence that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome? Evidence for Christianity: https://evidenceforchristianity.org/what-is-the-evidence-that-peter-was-crucified-upside-down-in-rome/
  6. Was Peter Crucified Upside Down? | Sean McDowell : https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/was-peter-crucified-upside-down
  7. William Lane Craig explains how Christianity explains evil and suffering | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2021/03/07/william-lane-craig-explains-how-christianity-explains-evil-and-suffering-4/
  8. When God Abandons a Nation (Romans 1:18-32) – video sermon by John MacArthur in 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz8AA_Oa0EU
  9. Resolving 40 Bible Contradictions from Jesus Final Week to His Ascension | The Domain for Truth: https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/resolving-40-bible-contradictions-from-jesus-final-week-to-his-ascension/
  10. If It’s a Human at a Crime Scene, It’s a Human in the Womb | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/if-its-a-human-at-a-crime-scene-its-a-human-in-the-womb/
  11. Quick Challenge Answer: Did Paul Hallucinate The Risen Jesus? –: https://tentmakingchristianity.com/did-paul-hallucinate-the-risen-jesus-2/
  12. The War on Christianity Returns as the House Passes The Equality Act | Kingsjester’s Blog – The wide-reaching Equality Act championed by Democrats would put the hiring practices of faith-based organizations in jeopardy and will create additional religious freedom concerns for Christian schools, churches and ministries, a prominent legal nonprofit argues: https://kingsjester.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/the-war-on-christianity-returns-as-the-house-passes-the-equality-act/
  13. A Singularly Christian View of the Transgender Problem – Daily Citizen: https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/a-singularly-christian-view-of-the-transgender-problem/

Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-4-2021)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1900) from Nuggets:

David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? – Charles Spurgeon

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Christian woman finds a way to discuss her faith with non-Christians | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2020/11/08/christian-woman-finds-a-way-to-discuss-her-faith-with-non-christians-2/
  2. Why It’s Important to Inoculate (Rather Than Isolate) Our Young People | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/why-its-important-to-inoculate-rather-than-isolate-our-young-people/
  3. If You Want Your Apologetics to be Effective, Don’t Skip this Step!: https://wisedisciple.org/blogs/if-you-want-your-apologetics-to-be-effective-dont-skip-this-step
  4. A Brief Overview of the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/a-brief-overview-of-the-jehovahs-witness-worldview/
  5. Why Jesus? Video by Cliffle Knechtle Give Me An Answer: https://givemeananswer.org/?p=3329
  6. Thinking About Evolution with Fuz Rana | Apologetics315: https://apologetics315.com/2021/02/apologetics-315-podcast-008-thinking-about-evolution-with-fuz-rana/
  7. Back to School – For Parents – A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them – 124 page PDF book from Focus on the Family: https://dailycitizen.focusonthefamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Back-To-School-For-Parents_Edition1.pdf
  8. The Commitment of the Apostles Confirms the Truth of the Resurrection | Cold Case Christianity – Martyrdom doesn’t confirm the truth, especially when the martyrs don’t have first-hand access to the claim for which there dying. But this wasn’t the case for the disciples of Jesus. They were in a unique position: they knew if the claims about Jesus were true. They were present for the life, ministry, death and alleged resurrection of Jesus. If the claims about Jesus were a lie, the disciples would have known it (in fact they would have been the source of the lie). That’s why their commitment to their testimony was (and is) so compelling.: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/the-commitment-of-the-apostles-confirms-the-truth-of-the-resurrection/
  9. The Deity of Jesus is Not a Late Legend | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/the-deity-of-jesus-is-not-a-late-legend/
  10. What Ancestry DNA Kits Reveal About God, Our Past, and the Way Forward | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/what-ancestry-dna-kits-reveal-about-god-our-past-and-the-way-forward/
  11. There Are Good Reasons to Believe the Gospels Are True, Even if the Eyewitnesses Waited Years to Write Them | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/there-are-good-reasons-to-believe-the-gospels-are-true-even-if-the-eyewitnesses-waited-years-to-write-them/
  12. As Science Frauds Go, Haeckel Beats Piltdown Man | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2020/11/as-science-frauds-go-haeckel-beats-piltdown-man/
  13. Christians forced to eat pages of the Bible during horrific knife attack – I have not independently verified this, but it is a shocking story of persecution if true: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/christians.forced.to.eat.pages.of.the.bible.during.horrific.knife.attack/136438.htm
  14. Big Faith Questions conference (Local AZ) | Compass Christian Church – How can we ever know what religious beliefs are actually true? Well, it turns out there are ways to test religious claims. Join us to get equipped with the tools for testing any religious claims: https://compassaz.church/event/big-faith-questions-3/
  15. The Christian Atheist: When You Believe in God But Not His Church – Cyber Penance: https://cyberpenance.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/the-christian-atheist-when-you-believe-in-god-but-not-his-church/amp/

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30

Blessings to you all

Verses to memorize for sexual temptation

It is a fact of life that most men (and many women) battle against sexual temptation.

God has prescribed the way that He wants His children to live. He tests each of our hearts (not just what is on the outside). Here is what He expects to find:

1 Chronicles 29:17a

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity

Not only is He pleased with integrity, but Jesus even said several times in the Scriptures, that He expects anyone who follows Him (Christians) to deny themselves, rather than to “give-in” to themselves:

Luke 9:23

Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

He wants us to put Him first, not our own evil desires. We need to have the attitude of John the Baptist:

John 3:30

He must become greater; I must become less.

So, to help us along in our quest for holiness, I have listed some verses for you to memorize to help you resist sexual temptation. The Psalmist stated the benefits of memorizing Scripture:

Psalms 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

The benefit is clear: “that I might not sin againstGod.

I have memorized each of these passages myself and have found them to be of great benefit

Let’s start off the list with one that states God’s mandate very clearly and directly:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

This passage tells me that I am not my own. I can’t just do whatever I want with my body. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He is living in me and sees everything I do. Which leads me to the next verse:

Hebrews 4:13

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

He sees all and we will have to give account for all He sees. As Ray Comfort commented, “What happens in Vegas stays in God’s mind until Judgment Day.”

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Romans 14:12

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Am I saying that you’ll be thrown into hell for committing an act of sexual immorality? No. When you were saved, you were justified. All sins, past, present and future were paid for by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. Yet, we as believers are expected to behave in a way that is “worthy of our calling” (Eph. 4:1). Sexual immorality is definitely not worthy of our calling!

God takes sexual immorality – especially the physical act of adultery – very seriously. So seriously, in fact in the Old Covenant with Israel, the penalty was the death sentence for both involved parties:

Deuteronomy 22:22

If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.

However, sexual immorality is not an external, behavioral issue only (such as adultery). This sin starts in the mind with our own evil desires (James 1:13-14). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the standard of purity so that no one can escape the charge of guilt in this matter:

Matthew 5:27-28
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus is seeking obedience from those that call Him Lord:

Luke 6:46

Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Don’t be a hypocrite, one day calling Jesus Lord and then another day, committing sexual sin.

Job was a godly man and was certainly aware of this standard as he strove to avoid lust in this way:

Job 31:1

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.

Daniel was also a godly man, living in exile, in the midst of a vile, wicked, depraved and idolatrous culture. In the beginning of the account, we see his resolution:

Daniel 1:8-9

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel

Have you resolved not to defile yourself by what your eyes consume? Daniel’s strong resolution here ought to challenge and inspire us to do the same. By resolving, he had made up his mind what he was going to do when he was put in that situation. Don’t just wait until that moment of temptation comes to decide what you’re going to do. If that is your approach, you will fail. Rather resolve ahead of time what steps you’re going to take to avoid defiling yourself in sexual sin.

David, a man after God’s own heart, a man acquainted with moral failure (see 2 Samuel 11), resolved not to let sin come through his eyes:

Psalms 101:3

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all crooked dealings; I will have nothing to do with them.

We need our minds renewed by Scripture so that we no longer conform to the pattern of this world, which is so full of sexual temptation:

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is –his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Many of these passages can be summed up in this wise counsel from the Apostle Paul:

Romans 13:14

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

What have you done to “make no provision” for your flesh? There are many practices and safeguards that one can implement, but the one thing we should all be doing is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ daily – that is the number one strategy in this battle. Don’t make it is easy for your flesh to gratify its evil desires!

And, yes, this is absolutely a battle! It is not a battle against flesh and blood, but at the core it is a spiritual battle:

Ephesians 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

And since it is a spiritual battle, it needs to be fought with spiritual weapons from God:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are human, but we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.

Have you ever considered that when we are committing sexual sin, at that moment, we don’t fear God? Think about that… Even one of the thieves on the cross next to Jesus asked the other thief if he feared God, because it was evident by the way he was talking that he didn’t:

Luke 23:40

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

Unknowingly, the first thief was affirming a great truth of Scripture, often repeated:

Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

And:

Isaiah 8:13

Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else.

Jesus told His disciples to fear God because of His ability to throw them into hell:

Luke 12:4-5

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.

So, yes, the fear of God is a healthy attitude to have and can keep us from committing sexual sin!

Scripture also states that sin will hinder your prayers:

Psalms 66:18

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

Do you stumble into sin? Or do you cherish sin? Our goal should be to avoid both, but worse by far is the one who cherishes (or relishes) sin.

Isaiah echoes the same sentiment about our sin causing separation from God. In the context of the following passage, God was speaking to His “people and to the house of Jacob” (Isaiah 58:1):

Isaiah 59:1-2

Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem — your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

But God gave us the solution for having our prayers heard again:

2 Chronicles 7:14

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

The essence of that phrase “seek My face and turn from their wicked ways” is the concept of repentance! There is no change and no transformation without repentance – and God commands it!

Acts 17:30

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

By the way, after reading this blog, you can no longer claim ignorance.

In the midst of admonishing believers not to argue over foolish and stupid things, the apostle Paul talked about people who are held captive by the devil to do his will:

2 Timothy 2:26

and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

As believers, we ought not be held captive by anyone or anything except Jesus Christ (since we are His slaves). We are told specifically:

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Additionally, we as believers ought to be discerning enough and acquainted enough with our own depravity to know what situations, places and people put us into temptation, and that we need to avoid those:

Proverbs 4:26

Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.

We ought to be able to see the danger ahead and take refuge:

Proverbs 27:12

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.

In addition to pondering where you go and what situations you put yourself into, you need to be intentional about your thoughts:

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

And:

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Sexual temptation requires much more than casual action, it requires drastic action on our parts! Though we may be “pondering the path of our feet” and thinking about “whatever is pure”, we are still “in the world” (John 17:14-16) and therefore it is possible, with the best of intentions, that we may find ourselves in a tempting situation. The following verse tells me what to do when I encounter anything that stimulates lust – RUN!!!

2 Timothy 2:22

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts

It is also encouraging me who to hang out with – that’s really important too.

As usual, Jesus ratchets up the response even more with His teaching on how to deal with sin:

Matthew 18:8-9
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

The eye and the hand are are certainly used to commit much sexual sin… Jesus is not advocating self mutilation here, but this is to be understood as instructing us to take whatever actions are necessary to limit our access to those people, places, situations and technologies that give us opportunities to sin.

Another passage that is terrifying when you consider what is being said in it is this:

Hebrews 10:26-27

Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.

Does that mean that if we continue to sin at all after having been saved, there we will experience the wrath of God? Well, it depends. One who is truly saved will not continue in an unrepentant pattern of sin for an extended period of time. I consider this a warning for us as believers to examine ourselves:

2 Corinthians 13:5a

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.

This should be a regular practice of all believers, to examine your life critically and see if it represents the life of a true born again Bible believing Christian.

The following passage is one of the key passages when it comes to sexual immorality:

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God

Not many places in Scripture tell you explicitly what God’s will is – the above passage is one of them. This passage tells me that I need to learn to control my own body. That tells me that it is not “natural” to control my body. I have to go against what feels natural and control my body. Likewise, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 9:27

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Yes, this requires discipline. It is a spiritual battle and therefore demands your daily and even hourly attention so that you do not get caught off guard! In fact elsewhere Paul reminds us to be on our guard:

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.

The Scriptures contain many other such warnings. For example, the apostle Peter warns us to be on our guard, using different words:

1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself even strongly admonished His disciples to keep alert, but added prayer as a way to gain victory over temptation:

Matthew 26:41
Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!

So, how much sexual immorality is acceptable for the child of God?

Ephesians 5:3-6

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person–such a man is an idolater –has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

The above passage even speaks of God’s wrath as a consequence of these type of behaviors. You don’t want to go there…

The passage below has really helped me. It tells me that as a regenerated follower of Jesus Christ, I do in fact have the power and ability to not let sin reign in my body or to obey my body’s evil desires. What an encouragement that is!

Romans 6:12-14

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

The above passage raises the question about who you’re letting reign, in other words, who are you serving? Jesus told us you can’t serve two masters:

Luke 16:13

No servant can serve two masters ; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

While the above verse is about money, the same principle applies to your illicit sexual desires.

You know that if you ask some people about why they continue to fall into sexual temptation, they’ll claim that that’s just the way God made them. They have these desires and they were meant to be fulfilled. That is human logic – that’s the way of thinking that “seems right”:

Proverbs 14:12 (&16:25)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

But that way of thinking really leads to death.

Here’s a good one from Proverbs

Proverbs 14:2

He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.

This directly ties “upright” behavior to fearing the LORD and “perverse” behavior to despising Him.

Next are some words from Jesus that hit me like a ton of bricks:

John 3:19-20
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

These words are powerful because, in this passage the “light” which has come into the world IS JESUS. So, when it says “everyone who does evil hates the light”, its saying that everyone who does evil hates Jesus! Wow.

Here is a good one from Paul:

Titus 2:11-13

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

This one tells us that God’s grace actually teaches us to “just say no!” to “ungodliness and worldly passions” – that would certainly include lust and sexual sin. But it doesn’t only tell us what to say no to, but it also tells us how to live: “self-controlled, upright and godly lives”. That is a picture of holy living. Notice the phrase “self-controlled”. According to this passage, you have the ability to control your participation in these forms of behavior.

Then, there is the most concentrated teaching on worldliness in all of God’s word:

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Notice – this passage talks about 2 things that are directly related to lust and sexual sin: “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes”. If anyone “loves” this kind of stuff, the love of the Father is not in him. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, we need to distance ourselves and reject these kind of worldly affections!

John MacArthur, in his excellent sermon on Romans 7:14-25 says that one of the categories of sin is the “sin of remembrance”. Sometimes, the mind of the believer will wander back to ponder some past sin. We must not allow ourselves to fall into that trap. Peter admonishes us:

1 Peter 1:14

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.

Later on in the same letter, he encourages with the example of Christ Jesus’ suffering:

1 Peter 4:1-5

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Notice, that we are not to live the rest of our earthly lives for “evil human desires” – this includes many things. He goes on to list some of those evil human desires: “debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry“. He ends up the passage by indicating that those who live like this will “have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead“. If these behaviors are the impenitent, pattern of your life, it indicates you are not saved.

Then, this one from the author of 1 Kings regarding the prophet Elijah’s challenge to the people to “get off the fence“!

1 Kings 18:21

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

How is this applicable to illicit sexual desire? Just replace the phrase “if Baal is God, follow him” with “if [your sexual desire] is God, follow [it]”. That is what we’re doing when we’re giving in to sexual sin – we’re making it our God. Don’t do that!

Did you know that whenever you’re tempted to sin sexually, God will show you a way out? This is an iron-clad promise – you can take it to the bank. The following passage tells us not to be over confident when you’re in a season of strong obedience, but that we should be careful. Then it explains that we’re in the same boat with others:

1 Corinthians 10:12-13

If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

Praise the Lord that He is faithful, and that He will not let the temptation become too strong!

Jesus was once asked what was the essential or most important teaching in the old testament:

Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Notice that He summed up all the expectations of the believer into 2 concepts – Love God and Love others. We cannot do those 2 things while committing sexual sin!

The following verse may not seem to be related to sexual temptation:

Romans 1:25

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.

But if you think about it. Your sexual desire is a created thing. If you worship and serve it (especially in an illicit manner), you are exchanging the truth of God for a lie…

Sometimes, you’ve gotta follow Jesus’ example and just tell Satan to “get lost” if you’re being harassed:

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

But notice – we not only should be telling Satan to get lost, but we need to be worshiping the Lord our God and serving Him only!

There is a favorite verse of many people that says:

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Again, what does this have to do with sexual immorality and sexual temptation? Well, if you think of it, you’ll realize that your behavior in the world affects God’s reputation in the world, either positively or negatively. But your behavior does not change whether He exists or whether He is glorious or good. So, if you are behaving in an immoral way you are bringing God into disrepute. Then it can be said of you, as in Romans 2:24 – “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Serious stuff! Don’t do it – you love God too much for that!

Finally, the passage that has been most helpful to me in battling sexual temptation is:

Matthew 23:24-28
You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

The reason this passage is so powerful for me is that, as a Christian leader and teacher, I receive those words from Jesus as directly applying to me. Especially the finishing line which says “on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”. That one cuts to the heart. Jesus knows what’s “on the inside” – no one else does. I may be able to fool other people, but I can never fool Jesus. Jesus hated hypocrisy with a holy hatred – probably more than anything else. This chapter records the greatest rebuke he ever delivered regarding sin – the sin of hypocrisy. And sexual sin in the life of a believer makes that person a hypocrite, professing one thing with your lips, but thinking and behaving in opposition to that. So, when I hear Jesus’s rebuke directed at me, my unrighteous desires immediately melt away – its like pouring cold water over me. Paul gives us some very good counsel about how we should be viewing our Christian walk:

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

Notice that we already have these promises (that he’d been talking about in the prior chapters – especially chapter 5). So, we are not avoiding sexual sin in order to get saved, but rather, now that we are saved (we have these promises), we are to live in a holy manner. Why? “Out of reverence for God”.

Brothers and sisters, I pray that you are convicted and cut to the heart like I am and that you would memorize each one of these passages so that you might be led away from sin when you’re at the moment of temptation. Remember God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13) if we are willing to take it. He is faithful and will protect you from the evil one:

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

Appendix

Additional Verses

Psalms 119:9

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

Psalms 141:4

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.

Psalms 86:11

Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

Psalms 119:37

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Psalms 23:3

he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalms 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Titus 1:15-16

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Galatians 5:19-21

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Revelation 21:8

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars –their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Titus 3:3-7

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

John 8:31-32

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Acts 3:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Romans 7:18-19, 7:24-25a,

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doingWretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.