Everyone who hates

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15, ESV).

When readers of the Bible begin to consider sin, and to classify those which are most serious and harmful, they almost invariably think of sins of physical action which have the most harmful or offensive results. Murder, rape, child molestation and others of such nature are almost always considered to be the “worst” sins, those for which forgiveness must be most difficult to obtain.

It does not take long however to discover that God’s list of “worst” sins is not necessarily the same as ours. In particular, he is much more concerned with the impact on one’s spirit or heart than on the consequences of sin to our flesh. No statement is more emphatic than the text cited at the beginning of this article — 1 John 3:15. Continue reading “Everyone who hates”

Hating Jesus

Jesus is hard to love.

Perhaps that is shocking to some. Many people believe they love Jesus. How hard can it be to love Jesus? He is perfect and he loves us perfectly. He is our creator and desires to be our savior. Yet I tell you in truth, Jesus is hard to love. Continue reading “Hating Jesus”

End the practice of sin

One of my preaching mentors was Jack Reed who preached in Manchester, Tennessee for several years. He and his wife, Sue, had a nice bit of banter before arriving at a worship service or a revival. She would say, “What will you preach on?” He would answer, “Sin.” She would ask, “For it, or against it?” He’d always answer, “Against it!” Continue reading “End the practice of sin”

Is evil universal?

There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one. Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips, their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18, NET).

During decades of travel in many parts of the world, I have frequently been shocked at the amount and intensity of corruption and violence which prevails in places I have visited. I have been tempted to rate locations as to which was most corrupt, or most dangerous. However I have come to the realization that those qualities exist everywhere I have been, and am now convinced that they are truly universal. Wherever people live there are bad people with evil intent. Continue reading “Is evil universal?”

He left the scars

Each Lord’s day Christians have the privilege and the duty of remembering our Lord’s death. We take our minds back to his sacrificial suffering. In observing the memorial feast which reminds us of his body and his blood we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

Perhaps you feel compelled to limit your thoughts to the suffering and sorrow of the cross during this sacred time. If so, when was the last time you contemplated our Lord’s scars? Have you thought about the link between our sin and his scars? Have you reflected upon what Jesus’ scars mean for your own? Continue reading “He left the scars”

Birth is a beginning

I was privileged to be present for the birth of all three of my boys. Each experience was wonderfully unique. The first is the most memorable. As second-year preaching school students we lived in a small two bedroom apartment. Our midwife was over an hour away. She didn’t make it. Armed with a three-page emergency list entitled “What To Do If Your Midwife Is Not Present,” we welcomed our little boy into our arms. I’d never held a newborn before, not like that. It was life-changing.

The anticipation is realized happiness. The anxiousness is replaced with relief. The pain melts into pride. This is our boy. Continue reading “Birth is a beginning”

A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon

When Jesus was invited to a meal, the whole neighborhood might come. The common people wanted to see and hear Jesus, a rabbi who was often in conflict with the Pharisees. When Jesus was invited to dine with a Pharisee, it was one part evening entertainment and one part religious instruction.

When Jesus came to dine at Simon’s house (Luke 7:36-50), word spread. A woman who is identified as “a sinner” comes to see Jesus. But she is not content with standing on the periphery, or peering in to get a fleeting glimpse. She moves through the crowd to the feet of the Savior. Weeping, she wipes the tears off his feet with her hair, kisses his feet, and pours over them expensive ointment.

The reaction by Simon was one of disgust and rejection. He rejects Jesus as a prophet because he certainly doesn’t know who is touching him for she is a sinner (Luke 7:39). Continue reading “A Sinner, the Savior, and Simon”

The Ruler of this world

When man sinned in the garden, Satan won a significant victory. Sin entered the world. Man was separated from his God. The world, fashioned by the Creator, was spoiled. The struggle for men’s hearts became apparent.

Yes, Satan won a victory, but it would not be lasting. The God who declares the end from the beginning showed us the ending, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

God would be victorious over sin, over sin’s effects, and over sin’s greatest proponent. But that victory would not always be evident. At times, in the struggle with sin, Satan would appear to have the upper hand. Continue reading “The Ruler of this world”

Passing judgment

One of the problems Paul addressed in his letter to the Christians in Rome was the relationship between Jewish and Gentile Christians. Some scholars have suggested that this could have been a problem amongst the Christians at Rome. In the first three chapter Paul shows that not only were Gentiles guilty of sin, but the Jews were as well. In fact, all sin and fall short of God’s standard. Although the second chapter deals with the Jews also being guilty of sin, there are practical lessons for Christians as we seek to live for Jesus.

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4 NIV)

Continue reading “Passing judgment”

Rebuilt lives

On our last road trip we saw four accidents complete with emergency vehicles, highway patrolmen, and rubberneckers. In at least two of those incidents it appeared to this rubbernecker that the vehicles involved were likely to be totaled. They soon would be branded with a salvaged title.

These salvaged vehicles can occasionally be repaired. In the hands of a capable mechanic and body shop these cars can be salvaged. After a thorough inspection, these vehicles can receive a rebuilt title. They can be driven and sold, yet with a perpetual branded title. A vehicle that was ruined is given a new life. Continue reading “Rebuilt lives”