Logically right but spiritually wrong

“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).

Following Jesus’ baptism, God said: “This is my beloved son” (Matthew 3:17). Immediately afterward, Jesus was taken to the wilderness to fast and be tested 40 days.

Satan tempted him there. His temptations all began with, “If you are the son of God…” He began with something that seemed perfectly reasonable: make stones into bread and feed yourself.

Men easily err when they think of what is perfectly reasonable to them, but fail to consult God. Why not turn stones to bread? He had the power. He had the opportunity. Continue reading “Logically right but spiritually wrong”

“The Real McCoy”

Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew chapters five, six and seven is wholly original. Nothing like it had ever been preached before. While Pharisees and scribes almost always cited Old Testament references for their lesson points, Jesus used the Old Testament in a different way.

Six times in Matthew chapter five the phrases, “it was said,” and “but, I say to you,” were given by the Lord. Jesus was showing the truth of the Bible’s teachings in contrast to the narrow, limited and often mistaken applications of Jewish leaders. Continue reading ““The Real McCoy””

The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?

It is written” (Luke 4:12).

“The Bible means exactly what it says!” I’ve heard this a number of times, and in one sense, I agree. In another sense, that statement could inadvertently be more dangerous than it seems.

The Bible is not just a literal composition. Yes, it is a rule of thumb to understand any passage literally unless there is good reason or evidence to understand it otherwise. However, it should also be understood by all students of the Bible that there is plenty of reason to not take some passages literally. We will illustrate this in a moment. Continue reading “The Bible means what it says. Or, does it?”

Authority is given

“All power is given unto me” (Matthew 28:18)

Many of the sayings of Jesus are paradoxical in nature. In other words, they appear to contradict. Note: they do not actually contradict, but they appear to; that’s the nature of a paradox.

The statement above is one such paradox. If Jesus is divine as he claimed to be, how can he possibly receive authority from someone else? Continue reading “Authority is given”

Time, tapestry and God

We’re sitting in the auditorium in the congregation we attend. Facing the pulpit, we look at the walls to the right and the left and imagine a powerful string stretched from one to the other.

On that string, we see a beautiful, brightly colored tapestry. The tapestry begins on the right wall and ends on the left and it represents time as we know it.

On the right wall is creation (Genesis 1-2) and on the left wall is the return of Christ and judgment (John 14:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15). In the middle, we have the measurable days of the human existence. Continue reading “Time, tapestry and God”

The problem with idolatry

God warns us throughout Scripture about idolatry. Idols are repulsive to God and since he never does anything without a reason, we must be clear why they’re a danger.

With the Lord, everything is about authority and truth and he must always be the source of them. He says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3; cf. Hebrews 11:6). Continue reading “The problem with idolatry”