In 1 Thessalonians 2.3, a section of the letter where he defends himself against accusations of disinterest or self-interest, Paul described his evangelistic work among the Thessalonians as “our exhortation.”
For the appeal we make does not come from error or impurity or with deceit, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts.
The quotation above, from the NET Bible, translates “our exhortation” as “the appeal we make.” An exhortation is an urgent appeal for someone to take a course of action. An exhortation tells someone, “You ought to do this.” Continue reading “Scripture foils attempts to reduce gospel by calling it ‘exhortation’”
Researchers think they’ve discovered a strange phenomenon in the area of persuasion. The more a person believes strongly in a future, the more likely he thinks that others will eventually come around to his belief. But there’s more.
“… partisans believe they are so correct that others will eventually come to see the obviousness of their correctness,” says behavioral scientist Todd Rogers of the Harvard Kennedy School, lead author on the research. “Ironically, our findings indicate that this belief in a favorable future may diminish the likelihood that people will take action to ensure that the favorable future becomes reality.
Continue reading “Taking action so that others will believe in our ‘favorable future’”
This is an excerpt from Randal’s upcoming book, tentatively entitled “Total Transformation.”
In God’s eyes, holiness is the goal. Without it, we are nothing and can go nowhere, spiritually. “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord” Heb 12.14. Holiness is the basic condition for seeing the Lord. It arises out of Christ’s sacrifice for us, so it is not strange to read this statement in the book of Hebrews. The Lord makes the effort effective. But without the effort there is no change and no chance of a future with him. Continue reading “Holiness is a big deal”
Behind sin works a living, personal, spiritual force called Satan. He opposes God and he considers mankind his battlefield. We know little about his origin, but we have learned much about his tactics and objectives. These should be studied carefully.
When we speak of sin, therefore, we are actually speaking of the work of Satan against God’s special creation of mankind.
It cannot be controlled. It is the lion crouching just outside the door ready to pounce and kill, Genesis 4.7; 1 Peter 5.8. It is the kudzu that will not stop growing until it has covered every good intent and smothered all good works. There is no dabbling in sin, no setting limits for sin, no negotiating with sin. Continue reading “Five hideous truths about sin—and one great truth of hope”
Thirty years ago, counsellor Alan McGinnis wrote a book about confidence, offering 12 rules to build self-confidence, change one’s self-concept, and “succeed at being yourself.” The book contains excellent ideas to abandon useless and hurtful concepts about our identity as human beings.
Continue reading “Who am I? How can I change? How to believe in myself?”
Facebook’s creator and sovereign Mark Zuckerberg said that his product can replace the church. He should really get out more.
He should also read the Bible more.
Unless he considers himself the Savior of All Mankind, Mr. Zuckerberg can never replace the Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who was sent by the Father to redeem people from sin. It was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that created the church. The church is not a social club, but rather God’s assembly to spread out, united, across the world with a saving message. Continue reading “Can Facebook replace the church?”
Probably not a few Israelites wandering for 40 years in the desert wondered how it was they got there. Maybe even Moses was asking how he had got himself into the long trek to nowhere. None of them could have been a happy camper. The majority were circling the desert until they died off. The generation under 20 years of age had to pass the best years of their lives in a waiting game.
How did the chosen people of Israel come to a full stop? More importantly, what did the 40-year-pause mean for the plan of God? And how might the young generation remember they were God’s special people in the midst of the nations? Perhaps to that end Moses writes. Continue reading “How did we get here? Start from the beginning.”
Humans were created to seek their worth in God. When man cut himself off from God, he began to seek his worth in other things. No longer did he have God’s measure for himself and his existence. He lacked any objective, spiritual ruler for himself.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks of man’s casting about for worth as glorying. To glory in something is man’s attempt to raise himself up and value himself. Having rejected God’s measure, he winds up comparing himself to others. The weeping prophet must have cried when he wrote: Continue reading “Our glory, to know God”
The young couple came to the truth because, as he said, they quit looking for a church that would please them both—since they were from different branches of Christendom—to search for a church that pleased God.
A coworker had told him to look for a church that “met in the name of Jesus.”
Before that, he’d begun reading his Bible. He noticed the differences between what Scripture said and what his church taught. When he asked a religious authority in his church about such differences, the answer was not convincing. Continue reading “The church that pleases God”
In the life of his saints, problems large and small do not go unnoticed by the Lord. Continue reading When your car quits in front of the tow truck