Church discipline visibly demonstrates the seriousness of sin as well as both the holiness and love Christ calls His church to live (Matthew 18:15-20). When church discipline is first implemented, the immediate fallout may appear to be all negative.
However, in time the church will benefit by having honored God with obedience, and the credibility of the church and her message will experience a renaissance. The fellowship in the church body will be more reflective of our Lord Jesus Christ in both love and holiness.
This is not to say that everyone will then believe our message, but whether they believe it or not, they will be evidentially convinced that we do. That is the kind of assurance that is often lacking today.
Christians can feel free to cry at a funeral. While we do rejoice that our loved ones who know Christ as Savior go to be with Jesus, death is still a sorrowful time. Jesus did weep at the death of Lazarus (John 11:35). We are not like those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13), but as humans, we do feel deeply the absence of a loved one. Maybe we do more because we know God did not create man to die, but to live (Genesis 1-2). Continue reading →
How does it happen? A path all to often followed over an extended period of time might look something like this.
The nefarious process begins with a subtle loss of desire for holiness, then an equally slight emphasis on something else that is spiritual, which seems to balance the scales from the injustice of selectively ignoring sections of the Word of God. In time, this is followed by faintly and implicitly equating holiness with extremism or legalism, and moderate libertarianism with grace; then comes the openly disparaging remarks concerning church discipline. Eventually the world’s wisdom and ways of selfishness and relativism are no longer resisted, but rather they are welcomed, and the world eventually lays her death grip on every aspect of the church.
By this time, the church no longer wants to be radically different from the world because she sees this as a threat to the lost receiving the church and her message, or possibly thinks the lost would view the church as anachronistic—the cardinal sin to the church of modernity and postmodernity. The result is that the church becomes half-church and half-world, for which neither God nor the world has much use. Tragically, the church is the last to understand this final fate awaiting all churches that dine at the table of the kosmos—world. This is all done of course by basting the delectables of the world with sanctified Christian clichés until they appear scrumptious, but the end is the same as the world’s, only with greater deception.
“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16).
Homosexual thoughts, inclinations, and acts are sin and must be confessed and forgiven by faith in Jesus Christ just like any other sin or sinner must be. Society is constantly pushing for the normalization of homosexuality, but the Christian must remain true to the Scripture. (for a fuller discussion of the topic, see my other article entitled Loving the homosexual to Healing with Truth.) The following list highlights some of the biblical truths regarding homosexuality. Continue reading →
The Scripture clearly teaches that while all sin is sin, some sins are more sinful than others. Matthew 12:30-32 speaks of the unpardonable sin, in contrast to every other sin which can be forgiven by faith in Christ; Matthew 23:23 speaks of the “weightier provisions of the law;” John 19:11 says that in comparison to Pontius Pilate, Judas has the “greater sin” (see also 2 Peter 2:20-21); James 1:14-15 distinguishes between temptation, lust, conceiving, and sin. Sin can refer to full mental indulgence or the physical carrying out of that which is conceived. While the mental envisioning of say, adultery, is sin, the carrying out of the physical act worsens such sin. To wit the thought of murdering someone is sin, but the greater sin is to carry such thought to its fullness and commit the physical act of murder, for then, one has sinned in both thought and act. Continue reading →
To be a consistent Calvinist, a person must believe that the Bible teaches God limits His redemptive love toward His creation and that limited love is more reflective of God being the sum of perfect love than God extending His salvational love to all of His creation.
Of course, the perennial problem with the Calvinist’s perspective is the explicit claims of Scripture to the contrary. The encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus provides an example of God’s universal salvational love and sets the context for probably the most well-known and beloved verse in the Scripture, which explicitly declares God’s universal redemptive love for all of His creation (John 3:16).
I intend to set the context by briefly summarizing vss. 1-13. Then I will note some observations drawn from vss. 14-15. The illustration of vss. 14-15 serves a twofold purpose; first, it provides illumination for properly understanding some of the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus in vss. 1-13; second, it serves as Jesus’s chosen introductory and illuminative illustration for vss. 16-21. Continue reading →
It appears that most are aware of the dangerously low level of biblical competency of the average Christian. The following summarizes the seriousness of such by a series of comparisons. Continue reading →
“Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction” (Romans 3:22).
Romans chapter three is crystal clear in declaring the universal sinfulness of man. Although the Jews have advantages compared to the Greeks, such as having the oracles of God (vs. 1-2), they do not have preferential treatment with regard to salvation. Vs. 9 makes this very clear, “Jews and Greeks are all under sin.” “All” clearly means that every Jew and every Greek (every person) is under sin. Consequently, both the groups and “all” the individuals that make up the groups are included rather than some in each group comprising the “all.” There are no exceptions. Continue reading →
In the Los Angeles Times article “Self-Help’s Big Lie” Steve Salerno explains, “Self-esteem-based education presupposed that a healthy ego would help students achieve greatness, even if the mechanisms necessary to instill self-esteem undercut scholarship. Over time, it became clear that what such policies promote is not academic greatness but a bizarre disconnect between perceived self-worth and provable skill.” Continue reading →