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.

Apparently, Job was successful in this covenant if you look at the way v9-11 of chapter 31 are worded:

Job 31:9-11

If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, then may my wife grind another man’s grain, and may other men sleep with her. For that would have been shameful, a sin to be judged.

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.

JC Ryle – The Great Separation!

What a powerful piece this is…

The Great Separation!

J.C. Ryle, 1878

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor. He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!” Matthew 3:12

Wheat or chaff? You see my question — for whom do you think it is meant? Is it for corn merchants and farmers only, and for none else? If you think so, then you are much mistaken. It is meant for every man, woman, and child in the world. And among others, it is meant for you.

The question is drawn from the verse of Scripture which is now before your eyes. The words of that verse were spoken by John the Baptist. They are a prophecy about our Lord Jesus Christ, and a prophecy which has not yet been fulfilled. They are a prophecy which we shall all see fulfilled one day, and God alone knows how soon.

Reader, I invite you this day to consider the great truths which this verse contains. I invite you to listen to me, while I unfold them and set them before you in order. Who knows but this text may prove a word in season to your soul! Who knows but my question may help to make this day the happiest day in your life! Listen, before you begin once more your appointed path of duty. Listen, before you start once more on some round of business. Listen, before you plunge once more into some course of useless idleness and folly. Listen to one who loves your soul, and would sincerely help to save it, or draw it nearer to Christ. Who knows what a day may bring forth! Who can tell whether you will live to see tomorrow! Be still, and listen to me a few minutes, while I show you something out of the Word of God.

I. Let me show you in the first place, the two great classes into which the world may be divided.

There are only two classes of people in the world, in the sight of God — and both are mentioned in the text which begins this tract. There are those who are called the wheat — and there are those who are called the chaff.

Viewed with the eye of man, the earth contains many different sorts of inhabitants. Viewed with the eye of God, it only contains two. Man’s eye looks at the outward appearance — this is all he thinks of. The eye of God looks at the heart — this is the only part of which He takes any account. And tried by the state of their hearts, there are but two classes into which people can be divided — either they are wheat, or they are chaff.

Reader, who are the WHEAT in the world? Listen to me, and I will tell you.

The wheat means all men and women who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ — all who are led by the Holy Spirit — all who have felt themselves sinners, and fled for refuge to the salvation offered in the Gospel — all who love the Lord Jesus, and live to the Lord Jesus, and serve the Lord Jesus — all who have taken Christ for their only confidence, and the Bible for their only guide, and regard sin as their deadliest enemy, and look to Heaven as their only home. All such, of every church, name, nation, people, and tongue — of every rank, station, condition, and degree — all such are God’s wheat!

Show me men of this kind of people anywhere, and I know what they are. I know that they and I may not agree in all particulars — but I see in them the handiwork of the King of kings, and I ask no more. I know not whence they came, and where they found their religion — but I know where they are going, and that is enough for me. They are the children of my Father in Heaven. They are part of His wheat.

All such, though sinful, and vile, and unworthy in their own eyes — are the precious part of mankind. They are the sons and daughters of God the Father. They are the delight of God the Son. They are the habitation of God the Spirit. The Father beholds no iniquity in them — they are the members of His dear Son’s body — in Him He sees them — and is well pleased. The Lord Jesus discerns in them, the fruit of His own travail and work upon the cross — and is well satisfied. The Holy Spirit regards them as spiritual temples which He Himself has raised — and rejoices over them. In a word, they are the wheat of the earth — God’s wheat.

Reader, who are the CHAFF in the world? Listen to me once more, and I will tell you this also.

The chaff means all men and women who have no saving faith in Christ, and no sanctification of the Spirit — whoever they may be. Some of them perhaps are infidels — and some are formal Christians. Some are sneering Sadducees — and some self-righteous Pharisees. Some of them make a point of keeping up a kind of ‘Sunday religion’ — and others are utterly careless of everything except their own pleasure and the world. But all alike, who have the two great marks already mentioned — no faith and no sanctification — all such are chaff. From the atheists Paine and Voltaire — to the formal churchman who can think of nothing but outward ceremonies — to the unconverted admirer of sermons in the present day — all, all are standing in one rank before God all, all are chaff!

They bring no glory to God the Father. They honor not the Son, and so do not honor the Father who sent Him. They neglect that mighty salvation, which countless millions of angels admire. They disobey that Word which was graciously written for their learning. They listen not to the voice of Him who condescended to leave Heaven and die for their sins. They pay no tribute of service and affection to Him who gave them life, and breath, and all things. And therefore God takes no pleasure in them. He pities them — but He reckons them no better than chaff!

Yes — you may have rare intellectual gifts, and high mental attainments — you may sway kingdoms by your counsel, move millions by your pen, or keep crowds in breathless attention by your tongue — but if you have never submitted yourself to the yoke of Christ, and never honored His Gospel by heartfelt reception of it — then you are nothing but chaff in His sight. Natural gifts without saving grace, are like a row of ciphers without an unit before them; they look big — but they are of no value. The vilest insect that crawls in the filth — is a nobler being than you are! It fills its place in creation, and glorifies its Maker with all its power — and you do not. You do not honor God with heart, and will, and intellect, and members, which are all His. You invert His order and arrangement, and live as if time was of more importance than eternity, and body better than soul. You dare to neglect God’s greatest gift — His own incarnate Son. You are cold about that subject which fills all Heaven with hallelujahs. And so long as this is the case, you belong to the worthless part of mankind. You are the chaff of the earth.

Reader, let this thought be deeply engraved in your mind, whatever else you forget in this volume. Remember there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are wheat — and there are chaff.

There are many nations in Europe. Each differs from the rest. Each has its own language, its own laws, its own peculiar customs. But God’s eye divides Europe into two great parties — the wheat and the chaff.

There are many classes in England. There are nobles and commoners — farmers and shopkeepers — masters and servants — rich and poor. But God’s eye only takes account of two orders — the wheat and the chaff.

There are many and various minds in every congregation that meets for religious worship. There are some who attend for a mere form — and some who really desire to meet Christ; some who come there to please others — and some who come to please God; some who bring their hearts with them, and are not soon tired — and some who leave their hearts behind them, and reckon the whole service as weary work. But the eye of Jesus only sees two divisions in the congregation — the wheat and the chaff.

There were millions of visitors to the Great Exhibition of 1851. From Europe, Asia, Africa, and America — from North, and South, and East, and West — crowds came together to see what human skill and industry could do. Children of our first father Adam’s family, who had never seen each other before, for once met face to face under one roof. But the eye of the Lord only saw two companies thronging that large palace of glass — the wheat and the chaff.

Reader, I know well the world dislikes this way of dividing professing Christians. The world tries hard to fancy there are three sorts of people, and not two. To be very godly and very strict does not suit the world — they cannot, will not be holy. To have no religion at all does not suit the world — as that would not be respectable. “Thank God,” they will say, “we are not so bad as that!” But to have religion enough to be respectable — and yet not go into extremes, to be sufficiently good — and yet not be peculiar — to have a quiet, easy-going, moderate kind of Christianity, and go comfortably to Heaven after all — this is the world’s favorite idea! There is a third class, a safe middle class — the world imagines; and in this middle class — the majority of men persuade themselves they will be found.

Reader, I denounce this notion of a middle class as an immense and soul-ruining delusion! I warn you strongly not to be carried away by it. It is as vain an invention as the Pope’s purgatory. It is a refuge of lies, a castle in the air, a Russian ice-palace, a vast unreality, an empty dream! This middle class is a class of Christians no where spoken of in the Bible!

There were two classes in the day of Noah’s flood; those who were inside the ark — and those who were outside. There were two classes in the parable of the Gospel net; those who are called the good fish — and those who are called the bad. There were two classes in the parable of the ten virgins; those who are described as wise — and those who are described as foolish. There were two classes in the account of the judgment day; the sheep — and the goats. There were two sides of the throne; the right hand — and the left. There were two abodes when the last sentence has been passed; Heaven — and Hell.

And just so, there are only two classes in the world:
those who are in the state of nature — and those who are in the state of grace;
those who are in the narrow way — and those who are in the broad;
those who have faith — and those who have no faith;
those who have been converted — and those who have not been converted;
those who are with Christ — and those who are against Him;
those who gather with Him — and those who scatter abroad;
those who are wheat — and those who are chaff.
Into these two classes, the whole world may be divided. Beside these two classes, there is none.

Reader, dear reader, see now what cause there is for self-inquiry! Are you among the wheat — or among the chaff? Neutrality is impossible. Either you are in one class — or in the other. Which is it, of the two?

You attend church perhaps. You go to the Lord’s table. You like good people. You can distinguish between good preaching and bad. You think Popery false, and oppose it firmly. You think Protestantism true, and support it cordially. You subscribe to religious societies. You attend religious meetings. You sometimes read religious books. It is well — it is all very well. It is good — it is all very good. It is more than can be said of many. But still, this is not a straightforward answer to my question: Are you wheat — or are you chaff?

Have you been born again? Are you a new creature? Have you put off the old man, and put on the new? Have you ever felt your sins, and repented of them? Are you looking only to Christ for pardon and eternal life? Do you love Christ? Do you serve Christ? Do you loathe heart-sins, and fight against them? Do you long for perfect holiness, and follow hard after it? Have you come out from the world? Do you delight in the Bible? Do you wrestle in prayer? Do you love Christ’s people? Do you try to do good to the world? Are you vile in your own eyes, and willing to take the lowest place? Are you a Christian in business, and on week days, and by your own fireside? Oh, think, think, think on these things — and then perhaps you will be better able to tell the state of your soul!

Reader, I beseech you not to turn away from my question, however unpleasant it may be. Answer it, though it may prick your conscience, and cut you to the heart. Answer it, though it may prove you in the wrong, and expose your fearful danger. Rest not, rest not, until you know how it is between you and God! Better a thousand times find out that you are in an evil case, and repent in time — than live on in uncertainty, and be lost eternally!

Reader, remember my question. Begin to meditate on it this very day. Are you wheat — or chaff?

To read the rest, go to http://gracegems.org/Ryle/great_separation.htm

mid-week apologetics booster (6-11-2020)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1600) from Nuggets:

“That you may be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:8) This must be the dominating motive and object. God’s Word is to be appropriated and masticated–fed and meditated upon–not for the purpose of understanding its prophecies, or obtaining an insight into its mysteries–but in order to learn God’s will for myself, and having learned it–to conform thereunto. God’s Word is given to us chiefly–not to gratify curiosity or to entertain our imagination–but as “a lamp to our feet–and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105) in this dark world. It is a Rule for us to walk by–it is a heavenly standard for the regulation of all our conduct. It points out the things to be avoided–the things which would harm us. It tells of the things to be followed and practiced–the things which are for our good and our peace. It contains not only good advice–but is clothed with Divine authority, commanding implicit and unqualified obedience. – Arthur Pink

To view more of these quotes, visit:

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

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. New Resurrection Book: Dr. Andrew Loke: Investigating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A New Transdisciplinary Approach (Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies).  At the present time, this book is FREE on Kindle. THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/new-resurrection-book-dr-andrew-loke-called-investigating-the-resurrection-of-jesus-christ-a-new-transdisciplinary-approach-routledge-new-critical-thinking-in-religion-theology-and-biblical/
  2. The Problem of the Unevangelized Once More | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-problem-of-the-unevangelized-once-more/
  3. Your Students Are Willing to Delay Gratification, If You Are | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/your-students-are-willing-to-delay-gratification-if-you-are/
  4. Is It Reasonable to Believe in Minds Even If We Can’t Explain How They Interact with Brains? | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/is-it-reasonable-to-believe-in-minds-even-if-we-cant-explain-how-they-interact-with-brains/
  5. How Can You Trust Christianity Is True When There Are So Many Unanswered Questions? | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/how-can-you-trust-christianity-is-true-when-there-are-so-many-unanswered-questions/
  6. Human Zoos How Science Fueled the Racial Fire | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2020/06/human-zoos-how-science-fueled-the-racial-fire/
  7. A Brief Defense of the Pro-Life Position: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2020/03/a-brief-defense-of-pro-life-position.html?m=1
  8. How to Be ‘Salt of the Earth’ Kind of People: https://brandonacox.com/salt/
  9. Why is the human brain so efficient? Over the past decades, engineers have taken inspiration from the brain to improve computer design.: http://nautil.us/issue/86/energy/why-is-the-human-brain-so-efficient-rp
  10. Can we believe in God in the scientific age? | Is there a God?: https://www.is-there-a-god.info/blog/6reasons/can-we-believe-in-god-in-the-scientific-age/

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. Ecclesiastes 7:10

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 5/13/2018

What’s Down with Hell – James MacDonald

On Sunday in our Apologetics class, I plan to depart a bit from the Apologetics theme and show a sermon on the topic of Hell.  I believe that this is an important topic and that we don’t talk enough about this in the church.  This is one of my favorite preachers of the Word of God, James MacDonald

 

Here is the note-taking form (with discussion questions) that goes with the video:

What’s Down with Hell (James MacDonald) – 5/13/2018

  1. The story of the R________ M_______ and L_____________ – Luke 16:19-31
  2. What is Hell? That question cannot be answered as normal questions can be answered – there’s no reference point (except the word of God).
  3. Charles Hodge – Princeton Theological Seminary – said regarding hell, “It is a doctrine which revolts the heart. It is a doctrine which the heart struggles against and to which the heart submits only under the stress of authority.  The church believes the doctrine of hell because it must believe it or renounce faith in the Bible and give up all the hopes founded upon its promises”.
  4. Definition: Hell is a place of e________ t___________ for the impenitent (unrepentant people).
  5. This is not a church full of righteous people, this is a church full of forgiven people, who have the righteousness of Christ, and by His grace are being changed.
  6. Have you repented?
  7. It is not a word we should use flippantly – hell is not a laughing matter…
  8. Hell is so awful, that if you conceived even a fraction of it, you would not wish it on your worst enemy.
  9. Purpose: Hell is a place for G______ w____________ to be poured out on the impenitent.
  10. Wrath is God’s righteous response to sin.
  11. God has made Himself known in the universe in 3 ways (Titus 2:11):
    1. In C___________ (Ps. 19:1-3; Rom. 1:18-20)
    2. In C___________ (Rom. 2:14-15)
    3. In the G____________ of Jesus Christ
  12. Not “want to know and don’t hear”, but “don’t w__________ to know”.
  13. Terms describing the place:
    1. Sheol – describing the state of d______________
    2. Gehena – used 12 times in the New Testament. It is like a dump – put their garbage there and burned it (diseased animals, etc).
    3. Hades – Luke 16:23 – used 10 times in the New Testament. It is the t_______________ abode of the u______________ (impenitent) d__________, until the final judgement.  No one is technically in “hell” yet.
    4. Hell – Matthew 5:22, 29-30. Used 14 times in the New Testament. Summary term describing the final place of eternal torment for the impenitent.
    5. Second Death – a spiritual death (Rev. 20:14; 21:8). If you’re born o__________, you die t______, if you’re born t_____, you die o________.  What dies at the second death?
      1. O____________ dies (Hebrews 9:27)
      2. G____________ dies – God’s not reaching out to people in hell and trying to reform them.
      3. V____________ dies (Matt. 11:28-30; John 7:17)
    6. The Lake of Fire – Revelation 20:10,14-15. Hell will be fire from “shore to shore”.  “The safest road to hell is the gradual one…” – C.S. Lewis.  There is life after death, and if I don’t know where I’m going it is not s________ to d______.
  14. Jesus talked more about h________, by far, than He talked about h_____________.
  15. Terms describing the punishment:
    1. F___________ – 27 times in the scripture. Is the fire in hell a literal fire?  “I see no reason to regard the fire as more literal than the worm” – Charles Hodge.  So many times flames are referenced – it’s the most common picture of hell.
    2. W__________ and g____________ of teeth (Matthew 8:11 and following) – describes the wicked and their vitriolic, violent hatred toward the righteous. If we picture people in hell as being repentant or regretful, that’s what the Scripture teaches.  The people in hell are not wishing they were in heaven, they’re shaking their fists at it.
    3. O_________ D___________ – intended to convey horror beyond imagination. Hell was originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt 25:41).  No one is together in hell – everyone is completely isolated and alone in hell.  Daniel 12:2 describes it as “the shame of everlasting contempt”.
    4. D____________ – 18 times. (e.g. Matt. 7:13-14, 2 Thess. 1:9)  Every person born into this world has the Imago Dei (the image of God) – Genesis 1:26-27.  This separates us from the animals (mind, emotion and will).  In hell, the soul is abandoned by God to its own destruction.  Some wrongly teach “Anni______________sm” (the belief that hell is a place where you’re punished for a period of time, then you cease to exist).  Destruction does not mean “cease to exist” – a better word is “ruined”.  Example of fruit thrown off building.
  16. Modern objections to hell. Man has an amazing capacity to distort Scripture in the things that he wishes were not true:
    1. E_____________ – too long, therefore God is not just. How can a finite life of sin deserve infinite punishment?  Answer: The misnomer there is that people stop sinning in hell, which is not true.  Sin actually accelerates in hell.  People are not just punished in hell for the sins they’ve committed.  They’re also punished for the sinful nature that was not eradicated by the Gospel.  Example of a rabid dog – Pitbull.  This dog needs to be “put down”, hasn’t done anything wrong, but it will – its nature is corrupted.
    2. T_____________ – it’s too severe, therefore God is not merciful. Answer: God’s statement about the severity of sin is that 2,000 years ago, He sent His own Son and poured out His wrath upon Christ.  On Him, almighty judgment fell that would’ve sunk the world to Hell.
  17. Implications of hell:
    1. I must be s_________ of my salvation. If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?  Admit that you’re a sinner, deserving of hell and expressing faith in the payment of Christ for your sin and for your forgiveness.
    2. I must be t____________ for my salvation.
    3. I must be at peace with i__________________.
    4. I must be b_________ in my w______________. This is not a day for subtlety, or silence.  We need to be loving, we need to be sensitive, but we need to be clear.  I need to have “the conversation”.  On this subject, I cannot be silent, but not obnoxious.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you struggled with hell?
  2. Do you have any unanswered questions about hell?
  3. I would recommend a small book that has been very helpful to me: “23 Questions About Hell

mid-week apologetics booster (6-29-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. How can I overcome sin in my Christian life?: https://www.gotquestions.org/victory-over-sin.html
  2. Tips for Studying the Bible – Cross Examined: http://crossexamined.org/tips-studying-bible/
  3. The Scary World of Truth | Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2015/07/the-scary-world-of-truth.html
  4. Why You Should Listen to Millennials in Your Church: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-you-should-listen-to-millennials-in-your-church
  5. Do Your Kids Know Why They Should WANT God to Exist?: http://christianmomthoughts.com/do-your-kids-know-why-they-should-want-god-to-exist/
  6. Revealing the One True God to the Polytheistic Shinto Culture | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/revealing-one-true-god-to-polytheistic-shinto-culture/
  7. Where did Cain find his wife? – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lucbO0AYH0k&feature=youtu.be
  8. Nabeel Qureshi update – Vlog 35 – Bravery, Love, and Faith – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-asmXx0OfA
  9. True Islam (by William Federer) – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALQI1ljlqk8
  10. So Many Religions–What Do We Do? – Tim Barnett – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSb2ae_mPaE
  11. Believing the Gospels Is Different Than Trusting the Gospel | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/believing-the-gospels-is-different-than-trusting-the-gospel/
  12. Why Does Anyone Become a Christian? Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/why-does-anyone-become-a-christian/
  13. The Attitude of Apologetics: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/attitude-apologetics/
  14. Elizabeth Warren – Pro-Life Just Means You Hate Women: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/06/23/elizabeth-warren-pro-life-just-means-you-hate-women/
  15. Is the probability of getting a universe that supports complex life 100%? | WINTERY KNIGHT: https://winteryknight.com/2015/06/16/is-the-probability-of-getting-a-universe-that-supports-complex-life-100/
  16. The Birth of Jesus – Why was Jesus sent into the world as a baby? Today, R.C. Sproul considers the birth of Jesus as he continues his study of the New Testament: http://renewingyourmind.org/2017/06/26/the-birth-of-jesus
  17. The Big Bang Is Broken | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/the-big-bang-is-broken
  18. The Challenge of Islam: Does Early Testimony Matter to Muslims? THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/the-challenge-of-islam-does-early-testimony-matter-to-muslims-2/

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Hebrews 11:35

Blessings to you all

Great Scriptures to Pray

There are some great verses of Scripture that you can use directly in your prayers.  Of course, the ability to use these in your prayers is greatly enhanced if you have them memorized, so I give you the suggestion to not only use these in prayers, but to first memorize them.  Here are the ones that are most effective in opening my heart to God and my conscience to the conviction of the Holy Spirit:

  1. Psalms 141:3-4 – Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 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.
  2. Psalms 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
  3. Psalms 119:36-37 – Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.
  4. 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.
  5. James 1:5-7 – If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord
  6. 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.

This last one (Matt. 23:24-28) is most effective for me as a Christian Teacher and Ministry Leader.  Whenever I become aware of a hypocritical attitude or a sinful pattern of thought that I cannot seem to get rid of, I will hear Jesus saying this to me.  I’m not a Pharisee, but I am a teacher and I really do want the inside of my cup to be as clean as the outside.  I don’t want to be like a white-washed tomb, appearing to people as righteous on the outside, but on this inside full of hypocrisy, wickedness, greed and self-indulgence.  Thank you Lord for these words of Jesus which are so convicting to me!  Praise His Holy Name!

mid-week apologetics booster (11-17-2016)

Good morning friends,

Here are some links to help you to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and encourage you to “be prepared” (1 Peter 3:15):

  1. Yes, You Do Have Time to Learn Apologetics | CrossExamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/yes-time-learn-apologetics/
  2. What Christian Parents Should Tell Their Kids About the Election: http://christianmomthoughts.com/what-christian-parents-should-tell-their-kids-about-the-election/
  3. Why Do So Many People Misunderstand the Word “Faith” – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/why-do-so-many-people-misunderstand-the-word-faith-2/
  4. A Christian view of economics: http://mbcpathway.com/2016/11/10/a-christian-view-of-economics/
  5. Why did Jesus tell people to “go and sin no more” if sinlessness is impossible? https://www.gotquestions.org/go-and-sin-no-more.html
  6. J.P. Moreland on Why God Won’t Force People Into Heaven: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/08/jp-moreland-on-why-god-wont-force.html
  7. OS Guinness, where is America headed: https://boxcast.tv/view/os-guinness-where-is-america-headed-274210
  8. How Did Christianity Prevail in Ancient Rome and What Can We Learn from It? http://crossexamined.org/christianity-prevail-ancient-rome-can-learn/
  9. Make Religious Freedom Great Again | Public Discourse: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/11/18221/
  10. Why we need to let Trump have a fresh start: http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Why-we-need-to-let-Trump-have-a-fresh-start
  11. Why I Voted for Donald Trump: https://1peter41216.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/why-i-voted-for-donald-trump/
  12. 5 Misconceptions about the Bible | Sean McDowell Ph.D.: http://crossexamined.org/5-misconceptions-about-the-bible/
  13. 4 Reasons We Know Humans Have a Soul – Jonathan Morrow: http://www.jonathanmorrow.org/4-reasons-know-humans-soul/
  14. 3 Facts in Genesis 1 which confirms the Biblical Creation: https://samzlogic.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/3-facts-in-genesis-1-which-confirms-the-biblical-creation/
  15. Why are the Gnostic Gospels non- Canonical ? https://samzlogic.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/why-are-the-gnostic-gospels-non-canonical/
  16. Truth Is Narrow and Exclusive for Everybody. This is a fun little video from Impact 360 on relativism, tolerance, and Christianity’s claim to be objectively true: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt8bJyiUAhY
  17. Five Apologetics Questions You Need to Think Through: http://www.str.org/blog/five-apologetics-questions-you-need-think-through
  18. Deceit and Lies We Have Been Told on Homosexuality – REALity – scientific evidence not supportive of homosexual myths: http://www.realwomenofcanada.ca/deceit-and-lies-we-have-been-told-on-homosexuality-reality/
  19. 7 Things You Should Know About Temptation ($0.99 on Kindle) – this is a REALLY good little book, filled with Scripture and practical advice: https://www.amazon.com/Things-Should-Know-About-Temptation-ebook/dp/B01FY45DVC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479312971&sr=8-1

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.  Romans 10:1-3

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (11-10-2016)

Good morning friends,

Considering the week we’ve had (and continue to have), here is a survey of verses from all over the Bible that speak about governments and nations:

  1. But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain –and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  Exodus 18:21
  2. For dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. Ps. 22:28
  3. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. Ps. 33:12
  4. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. Ps. 47:8
  5. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.  It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.  Ps. 118:8-9
  6. The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. Ps. 21:1
  7. Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?  Prov. 24:21-22
  8. By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.  Prov. 29:4
  9. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6
  10. For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.  Isaiah 33:22
  11. “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.” Daniel 2:20-21a
  12. the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men. Daniel 4:17b
  13. “Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:19-21
  14. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” John 19:10-11
  15. On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ” ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘ Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.  Acts 4:23-28
  16. Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!” Acts 5:27-29
  17. Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Romans 13:1-4
  18. I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  1 Timothy 2:1-2
  19. Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good  Titus 3:1
  20. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy  James 4:12a
  21. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  1 Peter 2:13-14
  22. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17

Now, for your links:

  1. What Trumps Trump and Clinton? What are the issues that should be important to Christians in the election? Democrats vision for America: In their own words. Republicans vision for America: In their own words. Why you are not voting for one person but thousands of people.  This is a great Frank Turek podcast (48 min) that gives a Christian perspective on the issues that were facing us in this election.  Even though the election is passed, I still think it would be a worthwhile listen for everyone.  If you have the Cross-Examined App, you can listen to it there as well: http://player.subsplash.com/80aae55
  2. “Apologetics and RC Kept Me from Leaving Christianity” | Ratio Christi: http://ratiochristi.org/blog/post/apologetics-and-rc-kept-me-from-leaving-christianity/5080?tab=all_blogs_tab#.WBwE7MtlDqC
  3. Was Jesus a Socialist? – The Revolutionary Act: http://therevolutionaryact.com/was-jesus-a-socialist/
  4. Jen Hatmaker: Hermeneutics, Hurt, and Human Affection Part II | Joe Dallas Online: http://joedallas.com/blog/index.php/2016/11/04/jen-hatmaker-hermeneutics-hurt-and-human-affection-part-ii/
  5. Are There Forgeries in the New Testament? (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/forgeries-new-testament-ephesians-colossians-thessalonians/
  6. Q&A – God, Alien Life, Kepler-452b, & a Fictional Jesus? | James Bishop’s Theology & Apologetics.: https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/qa-god-alien-life-kepler-452b-a-fictional-jesus/
  7. A Brief Meditation for Election Week – White Horse Inn: https://www.whitehorseinn.org/2016/10/a-brief-meditation-for-election-week/

Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.  Proverbs 10:14

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (9-22-2016)

Good morning friends,

Another week has gone by, and we all need to ask ourselves, have we done anything this week to advance the kingdom of God and the Gospel?  The Apostle Paul said

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Philippians 1:12-14)

I suspect that you were not actually physically in chains for Christ this week, but there are other ways that you may’ve been advancing the Gospel.  Maybe you were at AWANA last night advancing the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.  May you gave money to a faithful ministry that is advancing the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.  Maybe you made a meal for brothers and sisters at Church, or did some cleaning or maintenance at the Church.  Maybe you served the homeless in our community at one of the many relief organizations.  Maybe you spoke up in a personal conversation, communicating and defending you faith in Christ.  I know of one of my brothers who led someone to Christ this week in a faraway land over the phone and internet (WeChat).  She prayed to receive Christ and her life was changed forever!  Praise the Lord.  This brother of mine was a faithful witness over several months of weekly calls, teaching and preaching the Word of God to her (after the business talk was finished).  He was advancing the Gospel into a country where she may not’ve heard it otherwise.

God has placed us where we are with our circle of influence.  Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.  This is our chance in this lifetime to make a difference for the Kingdom of God in a dark and hurting world!  I like how Pastor James MacDonald phrases it – “we need to be shouldering weekly Kingdom responsibility”.  He stresses the fact that every born again, Bible believing, follower of Christ should be striving to:

  1. Walk with Christ
  2. Worship Christ
  3. Work for Christ

I pray that you would all make a difference for Christ this week!

Here are you weekly links:

  1. Watch “Catch The Light for Intelligent Design Audio Play – 8th Clip” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/CAgobUvih5Q
  2. Why Abortion Is Unjust Discrimination – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/2015/12/11/why-abortion-is-unjust-discrimination/
  3. The Complete Series: Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize – Canon Fodder: http://michaeljkruger.com/the-complete-series-ten-basic-facts-about-the-nt-canon-that-every-christian-should-memorize/
  4. Tom Gilson talks about how to have critical conversations about difficult topics with teens | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/node/42138
  5. Watch “The Kalam Cosmological Argument” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6CulBuMCLg0
  6. Open Biola: Free Educational Content Created & Curated by Biola University | Open Biola: http://open.biola.edu/
  7. Watch “Are Beliefs the Result of Where One Is Born?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/VjHRqToHhCU
  8. Watch “Understanding and Sharing Truth in our Culture” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5ODX5r3d_2I
  9. New Video Destroys the False Claim That Abortion is Just 3% of What Planned Parenthood Does | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/14/new-video-destroys-the-false-claim-that-abortion-is-just-3-of-what-planned-parenthood-does/
  10. Watch “29. Hasn’t Christianity done more harm than good?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0bOyoAjhUc8
  11. Watch “Was the New Testament Written Early?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/pBxoNiTyfHw
  12. Arguing, Quarreling, and Questioning | Think on These Things: https://jaredrabbot.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/arguing-quarreling-and-questioning/
  13. What Is Postmodernism? | NAMB: https://www.namb.net/apologetics/what-is-postmodernism
  14. Faith Actually: Definitions Matter: http://faithactually.blogspot.com/2016/07/definitions-matter.html?m=1
  15. Pastor Andy Stanley says the Bible is too hard to defend – Evangelical pastor preaches that the Bible isn’t the foundation for the Christian faith: http://creation.com/andy-stanley-rebuttal
  16. Cosmologist Luke Barnes answers 11 objections to the fine-tuning argument: https://winteryknight.com/2016/09/11/cosmologist-luke-barnes-answers-11-objections-to-the-fine-tuning-argument-4/

Blessings to you all!

Success In Life

A thought occurred to me before I went to bed last night… It occurred as I was thinking about my quest to lose weight. I realized that in order to have the long-term success that I was seeking, I needed to forego momentary pleasures of eating whatever delicious food I desired. This is the concept of “delayed gratification”. Then I began to think of just how many things in life require the same discipline. Here is s short list I thought of:

  1. Weight loss (Prov. 23:1-3; 20-21)
  2. Getting a college degree (Prov. 1:5, Prov. 9:9, Prov. 18:2, Prov. 4:7, Daniel 1:1-21)
  3. Staying out of debt (Prov. 22:7)
  4. Staying sexually pure (1 Corinthians 6:18-21)
  5. Learning a skill such as a programming language, golf or a musical instrument (Prov. 22:29)
  6. Scripture knowledge and memorization (Ps. 119:11)
  7. Being well-read (having read many good books) and the knowledge and benefits that come from that. (Daniel 1:17)
  8. After staying with a company a long time, achieving a high level of vacation benefits
  9. Saving for retirement (Prov. 13:11)
  10. Persevering under trials rather than just quitting (James 1:12)

I’m sure there are many more examples that could be given. “Delayed gratification” is a message young people need to hear and understand today. It is a great skill to be learned in life, and it is a proficiency you should master in order to be successful in life.

“Delayed gratification” is even pivotal in the greatest and most important pursuit in life, the pursuit of the Christ. Jesus said:

If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23

The Christian life is a life of self-denial – not as “a work” that will make you acceptable to God, but has a recognition that He is your Lord and Master. As Paul said:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

If you’re not born-again, this is impossible. If you are born-again, this becomes possible and should be a natural inclination for you. Delay your gratification for something better later in this life, and ultimately in the life to come!

Difficult Situation

Last weekend, I found myself in a difficult social situation.  I was in situation where I had to attend.  There was a lot of partying and worldliness going on.  But I decided to just accept it and make the best out of it.  I don’t drink and continued in the same pattern that Saturday night.  Many of the people at the event know that I’m a Christian.  So, I socially participated fully with the people around me as they continued to get more and more inebriated throughout the night.  I will tell you that it was very difficult – one of the more difficult social situations I’ve ever been in.  The following morning, after 4 1/2 hours of sleep (my body just woke up at 5:30 am 🙂 ), I was contemplating what had happened the night before, the Holy Spirit brought several Scriptures to my mind which gave me great comfort and peace about the situation.  I would like to share these with you, my readers, hoping that as you face similar situations, you may be similarly comforted:

John 17:14-16 “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13a What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.

1 Corinthians 13:2-3 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

Job 1:4-5 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

I thank God that He answered my prayer and showed me that I was faithful to Him at that event.  The Holy Spirit was able to use Scripture I had memorized to comfort me greatly.  As Jesus says in John 14:26:

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Praise His holy name!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  Ephesians 1:3-8

Amen!

Profound Sequence in John 8:31-32

One of the things I love about Scripture memorization is the practice time, when I can meditate deeply on the meaning of the passage I’m practicing. One such passage is:

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.” John 8:31-32

During a recent time when I was practicing this passage, something struck me that I’d never considered before. If you pay close attention to this passage, Jesus is communicating a profound sequence that takes place with his followers:

  1. Faith – to the Jews who had believed in Him. This is not just a generic “gotta have faith” pep talk. This is belief in the Son of the Living God!
  2. Obedience – “If you hold to My teaching”. Holding to His teaching rather than ignoring His teaching is obedience. Jesus wants obedience. He says “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Likewise, the half-brother of the Lord says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
  3. Discipleship – “you are really My disciples.” True disciples follow and obey.
  4. Knowledge – “Then you will know the truth”. Obedience to Jesus and His teaching result in the disciple knowing it is true.
  5. Freedom – “the truth will set you free”. Following and obeying Jesus does not result in bondage, but rather in freedom. Jesus said “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18b). That is freedom from bondage to sin. Romans 6:14 says “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace”.

It is a journey that begins with faith, continues in obedience and the end result is freedom! Praise God!