Don’t Be Fooled

A recent program on “The History Channel” highlighted something people ought to remember. Human beings are easily deceived.

The program illustrated its point by showing a few pictures. One of those was of a picture that at first glance appeared to be a picture of former Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton side-by-side. It wasn’t what it appeared to be. Instead, it was two pictures of President Clinton, one with black hair.

The human mind is easily fooled because it basically accepts what it is given without question. Our brains are somewhat lazy. This is how magicians can easily fool audiences with their tricks. On closer examination, the pictures show how the mouths, chins and face shapes are the same. The pictures are of the same man, not of two different men.

The same thing is true in religion. A good example of this is the escape of the prisoners in Acts 16. The Bible tells us how the prisoners were freed and how the jailer was about to kill himself. Paul called out to the jailer and told him to stop. The jailer then asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). In the following verse, Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household,” (Acts 16:31 NKJV).

Many denominational preachers say, “See, that’s all you have to do is to be saved: only believe.”

But a closer examination of the entire text shows baptism is necessary as well (Acts 16:32-34). According to the remainder of the passage, it is clear the jailer and his house repented of their sins, hence the washing of the apostles’ wounds. And, they were baptized.

 A continued closer examination of the New Testament teaches faith is necessary to please God (Hebrews 13:3), repentance is necessary along with confession (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9-10). And baptism is included in every example of conversion given (e.g. Acts 10:48).

Closer examination leads us to confirm the truth. If you haven’t closely examined the scriptures, why not start today by taking your Bible and start reading and studying it? Don’t be fooled by the pretense and sleight of hand being used by the religious world. Study God’s word and find out what you need to do to be saved by yourself.


#bible, #fooled, #study

Different Way of Looking at Job

In the future, I plan on teaching Job in a different way. I’ve taught the book twice using a verse-by-verse study and enjoyed it both times. The book is a towering masterpiece full of deep thoughts to meditate upon. However, I just wonder if you can lose sight of some of the over-arching themes in the book with such a study.

I have thought that another way to examine the book would be to look at the introductory passages and then look at each speech as a whole to extract the main points and lessons from each of them. Finally, we would look at the conclusion to tie it all up.

I hope to embark on this study some day. I think it would be an edifying and fulfilling time

Have you ever studied the book this way?



#job, #study

Organizing my Books

I sit in my office working and I realize I need a certain book from my shelves. However, I cannot find it.

I mutter to myself, “I must get this office straightened up and organized!”

I answer back. “Yes, absolutely.”

Then I sigh and think,  “Yeah, I’ll do that on a day when I have nothing else to do.”

After a moment, I laughed uproariously and return to my work.

Tomorrow isn’t the only thing that never comes. Preachers never get through with their work. They just stop at a certain point, leaving countless other things undone. It is the nature of the profession.

When would that day come when we have nothing else to do? That would be the day we have forgotten what the ministry is all about.

#books, #ministry, #preaching, #study

Posts on Grace

I appreciate all the good thoughts on grace! Thanks for taking up my question and making application.

I have always liked the following: We cannot live in such a way to put God in our debt. Therefore, we will always be lost without His generous gift of grace. We are completely at His mercy until given an opportunity to serve. Even then, we will still require grace to enter heaven. Once again, God will never be in our debt.

There are so many nuances that exist in the doctrine and emotion NEVER understands nuance. That is why we must remain sober-minded and focused so we can grasp the real meaning of Scripture.

We have to tune out Satan’s doctrines found in those who teach error and not spend all of our time chasing them. That is part of Satan’s plan. We cannot always be teaching against something. We need to be proactive in showing the world and the brethren what Scripture DOES teach on grace and salvation.


#ephesians, #grace, #romans, #salvation, #study

Clever Way to Handle Revelation

I am currently teaching Revelation on Wednesday night. We finished our last lesson midway through chapter 16. The study is challenging but empowering as we see the clear gospel and the power of God.

One of our men found an old Adult Bible Quarterly from 2000 on Revelation. We recently spent a good bit of time working through chapter 13 because it is such a difficult chapter. He was curious to see what this book said about that chapter.

He soon discovered that this Quarterly had a clever way of handling Revelation — you skip all the hard chapters. Chapter 13 wasn’t even covered. They also skipped chapters 16-18 and 20-21. hmmm

This may make it easier on the writer but it doesn’t do anything for the teacher or the student. While these chapters are difficult to understand, they are also very powerful testaments to the glory and plan of God.

Ignoring them is an insult to the Holy Spirit’s efforts to give them to us and leaves us without the full message of judgment. How can that benefit anyone?

#bible-class, #challenging, #revelation, #study

Revelation 9

Reading the commentaries on Revelation chapter 9 will make you dizzy. They all feel compelled to find historical figures to plug into this chapter. Since they all have different ones, the reader finds it hopeless. I tend to think that the visions are more timeless than specific. The spiritual war with Satan and his forces will always be with us.

The book showers comfort on the Saints of John’s day and the Christians, Jews and Romans are backdrops. Yet, the overall theme is much larger, encompassing the entire spectrum of spiritual existence. We must be careful not to become lost in the morass of imagination when we study Revelation.

The locusts are the power of Satan and those who do his will. They bring havoc to the world but they are limited in their power and scope. Thank the Lord that He is always with us (Hebrews 13:5) and has prepared an eternal place of comfort for us (John 14:1-6)!

#heaven, #persecution, #revelation, #study

Learn the Scriptures and the People

One can be a devoted student of Scripture and yet not understand the people to whom they minister. We must not be cloistered in our hole, failing to interact with others. The Bible student who is not also a student of human nature, misses the other half of the equation.

The ultimate goal of  Bible study is two-fold.  First, we desire heaven as our own future destination. Secondly, we want to inspire others to take the same path. How do we do the latter if we know nothing of our subjects?

We need to be very attentive to the ways and motivations of human beings. We must study how they think and react to certain ideas. Study the culture and know what turns people’s heads. In so doing, we become better armed when we reach out to people.

There is danger in this method, of course. Nietzsche is credited with saying, “When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you.” If we will learn the culture, we must not let it drag us into its web of deceit.

Continue reading

#evangelism, #humans, #study, #teaching, #wisdom, #word