Look to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the complete answer of God for the problem and need of mankind. Our problem is not ignorance, which education will solve. Our problem is not poverty, which more robust social programs will eradicate. Our problem is sin. It’s consequence, eternal and spiritual, is separation from God, Isaiah 5.1-2; Colossians 1.21. We cannot now imagine the despair and suffering caused by our rejection of God. No human action will repair that damage. So God sent his Son to pay the price for our sins, 1 Corinthians 6.20. Our Lord declared time and again that he came to save us from ourselves, Luke 19.10. This is the great act of grace on his part, Titus 3.4-7. Continue reading “Look to Jesus Christ”

Have we surrendered?

By Johnny O. Trail — The book of Judges offers some interesting history about the Israelites and the relationship they had with the Philistines. Samson had humiliated the Philistines by destroying their standing crops with fire. Since Dagon was a god of grain, this was a direct challenge to their deity. The biblical text says in Judges 15.4-5,

“And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks, and also the standing corn, with the vineyards and olives.”

This outrage was swiftly answered by the Philistines. They sought out Samson at Etim and asked the Israelites where he might be found: Continue reading “Have we surrendered?”

26 Biblical points on sex and marriage

To accompany a recent sermon on sexual immorality, I wrote the following summary points on sex and marriage, focusing especially on the former. They have been translated from Portuguese.

These are basically bullet points designed for people who are coming to know God’s will. They’re designed to be starting points for further study. Continue reading “26 Biblical points on sex and marriage”

The Rise and fall of the Levitical priesthood

In a previous article, we introduced the importance of studying the priesthood. The priesthood is a story of us, sin, forgiveness, and service. Here we wish to lay a bit of groundwork about the priesthood, and examine why something far greater was necessary.

While the Patriarchs functioned in a priestly fashion (see Genesis 8:17-20; 12:1-9; 14:18-20; Job 1:5; 42:1-9), it is Aaron and his lineage that devoted their lives to the priestly service. Continue reading “The Rise and fall of the Levitical priesthood”

The Purpose and Power of the Priesthood

Have you given much thought to the priesthood? Some may see it as a waste of time. But I want to suggest to you that a study of the priesthood will enhance your appreciation for God. The story of the priesthood is really a story of us, of sin, of forgiveness, and of service.

The Story of Us

So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and precious in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-6 NET).

Continue reading “The Purpose and Power of the Priesthood”

What separates us from God?

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2, NKJV).

Few activities are more common to mankind than what we often call “the blame game.” Whatever problem I may face, it is never my fault. My difficulties are either caused by or should have been prevented by someone else. If “the devil did not make me do it” then “the government should do something about it.” Rarely do we hear, “I guess I need to make some changes.”

In ancient Israel many Jews were apparently blaming God for their sinful condition. Perhaps they were making the same claim we sometimes hear today: “If God was really a loving God he would not let this kind of thing happen.” Continue reading “What separates us from God?”

Further consequences of David’s sin

“As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over!” (2 Samuel 12:5-6 NET). So said King David when Nathan told the story to convict David of his sin with Bathsheba. I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is exactly the price David paid: he lost four of his children.

The first child to die was the one who had been conceived the night he spent with Bathsheba. God struck him with an illness and a week later the child died (2 Samuel 12:15-18). Continue reading “Further consequences of David’s sin”

Sin has consequences

In Acts 13, as Paul was speaking at the Jewish synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, he made this statement about King David: “God raised up David their king. He testified about him: ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my heart, who will accomplish everything I want him to do.’” (Acts 13:22 NET). What higher praise could anyone have than for God to describe them as someone who is “after my heart.”

Yet David was far from perfect. We read in 2 Samuel 11 about his affair with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his inner circle of warriors (he was one of the thirty listed in 2 Samuel 23). But that wasn’t the end of the story. Bathsheba became pregnant and when David couldn’t get Uriah to sleep with his wife to cover up the pregnancy, he set it up so that Uriah would be killed in battle, in reality committing murder. He then sent for and married Bathsheba who, in due course, gave birth to a son. Continue reading “Sin has consequences”

Like the Lord, despise the shame

Some people have no shame, when they ought to show it. “The righteous person hates anything false, but the wicked person acts in shameful disgrace” Proverbs 13.5. Are there any more wicked than religious figures preaching false doctrines, creating their own kingdoms, living in dissolution, and loving the attention, power, titles and diplomas?

Then there is that sinner who is so overcome by his shame that he fails to come forward and confess his sin. Instead of drawing closer to God, he allows shame to drive him away from the Lord. Jeremiah has it right on this one: “Let us acknowledge our shame. Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve. For we have sinned against the Lord our God …” Jeremiah 3.25. Continue reading “Like the Lord, despise the shame”

Offensive

“But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23,24).

The word Paul uses in Greek for “stumbling block,” is skandalon – a “scandal,” or an “offense.” First century people did not feel warm and fuzzy emotions when they thought about crucifixions; they felt fear and revulsion. Continue reading “Offensive”