Thursday, May 31, 2012

Many churches make all their decisions on the basis of who is there now. Be sure and make your decisions on the basis of who is not there yet!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, May 28, 2012

The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ are the twin towers of the gospel message. This is clearly seen in I Cor. 15:1-8. A close examination of this passage shows that the crucifixion and resurrection provide the good news about what God has done for man’s two problems: sin and death.
At the cross God paid for and put away sin. In the resurrection He conquered death and changes life. What a message!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Bible has several kinds of literature. There is narrative, poetry, epistolary, prophecy, apocalyptic, etc. to be found in the Bible.
In interpreting a passage of Scripture, it is absolutely vital to remember what kind of literature is the context of your passage. For instance, when you are studying a poetical passage, keep in mind that it uses a great deal of figures of speech. “The Lord is my shepherd” in Psa. 23:1 is clearly intended to draw lessons from the image of the shepherd to indicate characteristics of our Lord.
The shepherd guards his sheep; the Lord guards us. The shepherd guides his sheep; the Lord guides us. The shepherd feeds his sheep; the Lord feeds us.
Keeping this in mind will help you to avoid some misinterpretation.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

When studying a Bible passage don’t overlook the prepositions. Those little words are often filled with important meaning.
Take, for instance, the prepositions in Philippians. 4 of them could be called the “Prepositions of the Christian Life.”—1. “IN Christ”(1:1)(our new POSITION); 2. “FOR Christ”(3:7)(our new PURPOSE); 3. “THROUGH Christ”(4:13)(our new POWER); 4. “WITH Christ”(1:23)(our new PROSPECT). Don’t neglect the prepositions!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yesterday I mentioned the passage on the temptation of Christ. As I worked through Matthew 4:1-11 I was reminded again of the importance of doing parallel work in the Gospels. Several additional statements from Mark and Luke give further insights.
For instance, Matthew says Jesus was led of the Holy Spirit into the wilderness temptation. Mark is even stronger. He says Jesus was “driven” by the Holy Spirit. This gives us the definite impression that God Himself was behind the temptation experience. Think about all that might mean.
Also, Matthew says, after the temptation the devil left Jesus. That might give the impression there were no more encounters between Jesus and the devil. But, Luke adds that the devil left Jesus “for a season.” Changes your understanding, doesn’t it?
Be sure to check parallel passages when you are reading from the Gospels.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Since we believe that every word of Scripture is inspired and inerrant, we must not overlook a word.
In studying again the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4:1-11, I noticed that the passage begins with the word, “Then.” It is actually a continuing conjunction. This indicates to us that Matthew’s account is chronological, in contrast to Luke’s which gives the temptations in a different order.
“Then” also indicates that a comparison is being made between the temptation and what has gone before. Before Jesus was tempted, He was baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon Him. This suggests that often the times of greatest temptation and testing come after times of highest spiritual experience.
After the baptism, the battle; after the dove, the devil; after the ecstasy, the agony! Don’t overlook the words in the Word!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It is always helpful to get some keys to understanding a book of the Bible. Yesterday I mentioned the 2 key phrases to Judges: “there was no king in Israel,” and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
Other Bible writers give keys to understanding their books. In the New Testament John gives keys for his books. His Gospel key is found in John 20:31. The key to I John is scattered throughout the book(“These are written…”). The key to Revelation is found in 1:19. Look for the keys to open the door of a Bible book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The book of Judges is probably the best book to understand what is going on with the church in today’s modern culture.
There are two keys to the book: 1. “there was no king in Israel.” (occurring 4 times); 2. “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”(occurring 2 times). There you have the keys to the secularization of the American church—No authority; no absolutes.
However, the Bible makes it very clear we do have an authority—Jesus, the Son of God! We do have absolutes—the Bible, the Word of God!

Monday, May 21, 2012

This year at Levy Baptist, I’ve been preaching through the letters of Paul, book by book. I have been struck again by the sold biblical foundation for book by book preaching.

Of course, neither Jesus nor the apostles were pastors. But, it is easy to see the foundation for preaching through books of the Bible in their preaching ministries.

Our Lord’s message to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) indicates a consecutive, Christ-centered approach to preaching. Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica (Acts 17) gives evidence of a systematic, consecutive presentation of Old Testament truth.

For people to say you shouldn’t do book-by-book preaching because neither Jesus nor the apostles did is just ill-informed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

There are a number of strong words in the Bible to indicate the importance of biblical, expository preaching. Just a few from the ministry of Paul are in Acts 17:2-3. We are told Paul, “reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.”

Three words are very instructive: The Greek word for “reasoned” literally means, “To speak through.” It carries the idea of a logical presentation of Scripture. The Greek word for “opening” means to open thoroughly. It means to open or explain the sense of the Scriptures. The Greek word for “alleging” means to place alongside. The thought is applying the Scriptures to daily life.

There is a solid biblical basis for expository preaching.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prophecy students used to believe the coalition of nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38-39 represented the Soviet Union and other communist nations. When the Soviet Union fell, there was quite a bit of scrambling to reassess those passages.

It is not always easy to identify current nations, events, etc. in prophecy. But, it may be that the coalition of nations will not be a political one. Perhaps it will be a religion that will unite them.

When you look at the nations that will gather together to attack Israel in the last times, all of them are dominated by Islam. Perhaps Ezekiel is predicting the final destruction of Islam in the events leading up to Armageddon.

We can’t be dogmatic. But, such a view should give us renewed confidence in the providence and superintendence of God.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It is interesting to me that the last chapter of the Bible has 7 uses of the word, “come.” 3 times the Lord Jesus says, “I come”(Rev. 22:7, 12, 20). 3 times the appeal is made to humanity, (you) come”(Rev. 22:17). Jesus is saying, “You come to me before I come for you.”

But there is one more.

In verse 20 John says, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” When we answer the Lord’s invitation to come, then we are ready for His coming and can join John in the victorious shout, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Repetitions in the Bible are important!! Give the Word a careful, close look. You’ll miss some blessings if you don’t!
All Scripture is God-breathed. A perfect God did not inspire an imperfect book.
Today, dear Lord, help me to be deeply spiritual, but perfectly normal.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In your Bible study, I can’t stress enough the importance of tracing words in a Bible concordance.

If you are studying a certain word, just trace it all through the Bible. For instance, study the word, grace. You will find it occurs approximately 100 times in the Bible. When you have looked up all the times the word is mentioned and placed them in categories (ex. God is a God of grace; grace is a gift; etc.), you will have a better grasp of the meaning of grace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When studying your Bible look for the beautiful pictures. Often comparisons and contrasts in pictures illuminate Bible truth.

Think of the pictures used to illustrate the value and power of God’s Word.

The Word is compared to a song (Psa. 119:54). God’s Word gives the lyric, melody, harmony and rhythm to life.

The Bible is also compared to a seed (Luke 8:11). The seed of the Word, planted in the human heart, can transform it from a wilderness of weeds to a beautiful garden of blessing.

And, the Word of God is compared to a sword (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). Our spiritual sword is sharper than a physical sword. A physical sword is dead and lifeless; our spiritual sword pulsates with life. A physical sword cuts from the outside in; our spiritual sword cuts from the inside out. A physical sword stabs living people and leaves them dead; our spiritual sword stabs dead people and leaves them alive!

Look for the pictures!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

“God marks across some of our days, “Will explain later.”

- Vance Havner

Many of our days bring experiences, trials and heartaches we do not understand. On those days, we just have to trust that one day, He “will explain.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall  they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"   II Timothy 4:3
Exegesis: drawing out of Scripture what it says. Eisegesis: Reading into Scripture what you want it to say. There's a whole lot of eisegesis going on!