Impunity

September 5, 2013

Impunity

Webster’s Dictionary defines impunity as “exemption, or freedom from punishment.” We see examples everyday of men acting with impunity:

News outlets that pick and choose what they report according to a particular political agenda, and that pick and choose and distort and twist the facts of what they report to fit within that agenda, and they do so with impunity, under the guise of “absence of malice.”

Politicians and government agencies that use the power and status of their office to act inappropriately, even criminally at times in both their political responsibilities and their personal lives, with impunity.

Theologians and ministers who rely on the ignorance of their congregants and students, and the image of their own position and intelligence to mishandle scripture, to deceitfully handle scripture, to illogically handle scripture, to water down and adulterate biblical truth, to, as Jesus Christ is quoted in Matthew 15:9, “teach for doctrines (right believing) the commandments of men.”

Sometimes this is due to their own ignorance, due to the education they received. A man can’t teach any more than he knows, and he can’t know any more than what he himself has been taught. I recently learned that at Fuller Theological Seminary, one of, if not the, largest theological seminary in the world, in the Master’s Degree program, in a class regarding the Four Gospels, the professors teach how the Gospel writers were really just copyists and plagiarizers, with one writer being the first, and the rest just copying from him, and adding random information, thereby denying that “all scripture God breathed” (II Timothy 3:16), and that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by holy spirit” (II Peter 1:21). And they do so with impunity.

Or how, at the same theological cemetery…..er….uh….I mean seminary, in a class regarding the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), the professors, the intelligencia, the “brains” as it were, teach how that the first five books of the Bible are really just a collection of parts and portions of myths that random Hebrew writers stole and collected from the Mesopotamian cultures that surrounded them. And they do so with impunity.

If what these “brains” are touting at Fuller, and similar theological institutions is true, then there was no original dominion of man, no fall of man and spiritual death, no need for a redeemer, no need for the Christ, no need for him to have suffered so horribly and die to meet the judicial requirements for the redemption of man (and, while I’m thinking about it, you can’t torture nor kill God). Therefore, in light of what they teach, there is no need for “Churchianity” …er….uh….I apologize, Christianity, other than to control men’s behavior and their wallets.

Men stand in the pulpits of Western culture and civilization with no knowledge of the Eastern roots of the Bible, its Eastern culture and society and peculiarities and language, and yet pound their fists on the lectern and cry “repent!”

They stand in the pulpit and deny biblical truth, deny the loving, free will sacrifice of a man, the “Son of God” (NOT God the Son), deny the “gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:15), deny the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). And they do so with impunity.

They preach repentance through fear and threat of hellfire denying that “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4). They enslave people under the bondage of the very Old Testament Laws that Jesus Christ came to set men and women free from, “for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4). They put men and women under the “yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1), denying that “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders” (Matthew 23:4). And they do so with impunity.

Just like the news outlets I mentioned above, they wretch verses out of their context, pick and choose what they like from divine revelation and discard the rest like refuse, thereby displaying their disrespect for the divine authorship of Scripture, their unbelief of the very words on the cover of the book, “Holy Bible.” They are of the “many, which corrupt the Word of God” (II Corinthians 2:17). Since Paul’s day and time they have walked “in craftiness…handling the Word of God deceitfully” (II Corinthians 4:2), even mocking those things in the Word of God they don’t like, understand, nor agree with. And they do so with impunity.

The truth of the matter is that the modern “Christian,” so called, church is really not so modern, nor many times, even Christian. It is like the children of Israel in the days of Jeremiah the Prophet, “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). The “modern,” Western (especially), post-Nicene “Christian” Church has hewed out for itself multiple cisterns, multiple systems of belief and practice all labeled differently but under the banner of “Christ.” In theological schools and universities today, like in Jeremiah’s day, they continue to hew out for themselves cisterns, ideologies, and theologies, and “refuse to hear” God’s words, and “walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them” (Jeremiah 13:10). And they do so with impunity. And God weeps.

But ours is an age of grace. It is “the administration of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). It is the day of “man’s judgment” (I Corinthians 4:3). The word “judgment” in the original text of that verse is actually the word “day.” This is man’s day, the day of man’s judgment. Today a man can curse God, deny God, spit in God’s face, handle His Word deceitfully, corrupt it, adulterate it, propound and promulgate error, preach legalism and enslave God’s people, and he does so with impunity. But there is a day coming when that impunity will be revoked and those who deny and mishandle His Word, and deny His Son, and deny His grace, and abuse their authority and enslave His people will give an answer.

If you would like to contact us or support the work of the Bible Study Group, our email address is fellowship@biblestudygroup.org (you can use that same email address to donate via PayPal, or contact us to provide you with a postal address).

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The Quest

January 3, 2011

The search for truth and self-purpose is perhaps the greatest of all human quests. The yearning for truth, the yearning to understand the reason for being, has been the inspiration of great poetic lyric. It has been the subject of masterpieces of artistic expression. It has been the driving force behind epic adventures. “Who am I in the grand scheme of the universe? Why am I here? What is my purpose for being? Is there a God, an Almighty Creator? Is there an intelligence and purpose behind the schemes of the universe? Or, is all of this that we see, that which surrounds us, the product of mere chance and happenstance, the result of unintelligible and random acts of mutation.” The reason for man’s yearning is set forth in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

The Word of God declares that He “hath set the world in their heart.” The word “world” in that verse is the Hebrew word ‘olam,’ which means ‘forever,’ ‘eternity,’ ‘of old,’ ‘antiquity,’ ‘everlasting,’ and this is its usage throughout the Bible. God has set eternity in the heart of mankind. Every human individual knows deep within themselves that there has to be something more, some greater purpose and meaning to life than just that which they experience and see around them.

It is like a void, a vacuum, in the depth of the soul of a person that they live with throughout their lifetime, endeavoring to fill it with temporary pleasures and carnal remedies, until they come to the knowledge of God, and humble themselves before the understanding of man’s purpose as declared in the scriptures, again in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 12:13
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

The word “duty” is italicized in the King James Bible because it was added by the translators, and as such may be deleted without affecting the truth of God. The word “fear,” as it is used throughout the Bible in this context, means a healthy and deserved reverence, awe, and respect. It is not used in the sense of terror or dread. We are not terrified or in dread of our God. We stand in awe of Him, and have a healthy and well deserved reverence and respect for our Creator. This is the whole of a man or woman, to reverence God and keep His commandments (His Word). This is the conclusion of the whole matter. The only heart satisfying reason for being. Anything less is a mere empty and painful existence.

Proverbs 1:7
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The ships that sail in the quest for truth and self-purpose must first be laden with awe and reverence and respect for the true God, or they will return with empty holds, or holds filled with worthless and counterfeit trinkets.

Nehemiah 8:8
“So they read in the book in law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

In this great epic adventure of the quest for truth, man’s first port of call must be the accuracy of God’s Word, the scriptures – rightly divided and handled logically, simply, and lovingly. The first cargo secured must be the knowledge of God, not the religious traditions of men, theological speculations, or the mutterings of the intelligencia and the critics. Not the ‘testimonies’ of the devout, or the academic world’s opinion or analysis of the scriptures, but the scriptures themselves, understood in light of every word of God. This is how a man or woman truly lives.

Matthew 4:4
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Yet, throughout history, the great cargo of the treasures of God’s Word have continuously been thrown overboard as just so much worthless ballast, despised and rejected, even by God’s own people at times.

Jeremiah 2:13
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold not water.”

Hosea 4:6a
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.”

The truth of God’s Word has been cut up by the pen knife of a king of antiquity, as recorded in Jeremiah 36, even as it is cut up by the pens of modern theologians, to the end of being so muddied and confused that hardly anybody can understand it, or believes it, or can even read it today without the commentaries, study aids, or opinions of men.

II Corinthians 2:17a
“For we are not as many, which corrupt (adulterate, water down) the word of God.”

II Corinthians 4:2a
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully.”

The accurate knowledge of God’s Word, His Holy Scriptures, which the world, and religion, and sense-knowledge, pseudo-intelligent man treats with such disdain, is the first, and most valuable treasure we must fill our cargo holds with in our quest for truth and self-purpose.

Psalm 19:10
“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Proverbs 4:20-22
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

In man’s quest for truth and self-purpose, when his ships of discovery are laden first and foremost with a healthy and well deserved respect and reverence for the Creator God, and his first port of call is the accurate knowledge of God’s rightly divided Word, then his cargo holds will be filled with the genuine treasures of the knowledge of God, and he will understand his purpose and reason for being, and be satisfied and blessed all his days.

Valiant for the Truth

October 19, 2010

The record of history shows that wherever and whenever men and women have taken a stand for God and the inherent and inerrant accuracy of the truth of His Word, it has always kindled the fires of religious fervor. Such was especially the case during the period in history known as The Reformation. Those in the positions of religious power and authority expended themselves to fan the flames and consume anyone who stood in their way, because the truth of God’s Word (that sets men and women free) threatened the stranglehold and control that the religious order held over people (and their money), and this they could not tolerate.

The truth of the matter is that the truth of God’s Word always sets men and women free, in every category of their life.

John 8:31, 32
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

The accurate knowledge of God’s Word (not the knowledge of denominational theology) sets men and women free in mind and body. It brings healing to the physical body, and restores sanity to the human mind. It will set men and women free in their finances, in their marriage, in their parenting, in their relationships with others, in their businesses. There is no category or segment of human existence that the accurate knowledge of God’s Word does not address and bring deliverance!

II Peter 1:3
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:”

The truth of the matter is that throughout history God has spoken in a variety of ways. One of these many ways was by His prophets – His messengers.

Hebrews 1:1
“God, who at sundry (various) times and in divers (many) manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.”

These individuals received the revelation of God directly from the source, and then delivered the message to those to whom they were sent. They were God’s spokesmen, God’s mouthpiece, His messengers. They used their vocabulary, but what they spoke was God’s Word. That is why the written Word of God (the revelation of God in writing) is of no private interpretation, because it did not come by the will of man, but these holy men of God spake as they were directed by God. They spoke (and wrote) what God wanted them to declare.

II Peter 1:20, 21
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

The record of God’s Word shows time and again how God’s prophets, those who spoke for God, were received and treated by the people.

II Chronicles 36:14-16
“Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”

Jeremiah was such a man. Jeremiah was a prophet of God, a messenger of God. He spoke for God and delivered “the word of the Lord” that God gave him verbatim to God’s people. Of all the prophets in Old Testament, none was ever treated any more cruelly than was Jeremiah. Yet, he remained valiant for the truth.

One time during his life and ministry Jeremiah was put in the stocks at the gate of the city, by the religious leader of the community (the “chief governor of the house of the Lord”), so everyone could laugh at and ridicule him, because the religious leader of the community didn’t like the Word of God that Jeremiah had been speaking.

Jeremiah 20:1, 2
“Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.”

Sincerity and religious piety is no guarantee for truth. Just because a man is religious, just because he is sincere, just because he has the right degrees from the right theological seminary or is intellectually eminently qualified, doesn’t make him right or in line with the truth of God’s Word. Pashur was religious! He was sincere! He was at the top wrung of the religious ladder – “the chief governor in the house of the Lord.” He was top echelon of the denomination. What makes a man right is whether or not what he speaks is in line with the truth of God’s Word (rightly-divided), not whether or not it is in line with accepted theological thought or religious teaching.

After Pashur released Jeremiah from the stocks and had summoned him to see whether or not Jeremiah would like to change his mind about what he had said, Jeremiah gave him the Word of God again, and then some. Jeremiah hit Pashur ‘right between the eyes’ with the truth of God, with absolutely no concern whether Pashur would like or appreciate what he had to say. With no concern whether or not he would be ostracized or ridiculed or imprisoned or even killed.

Later in his life and ministry the political heads of the society didn’t like the Word of God that Jeremiah spoke, so they lowered him into an abandoned cistern that was used as a holding tank for human excrement.

Jeremiah 38:6
“Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.”

They lowered this wonderful man of God, God’s spokesman, God’s prophet, His messenger, into a septic tank filled with human waste – sewage! This is as heartbreaking as it is incredible! This was the value society placed on the truth of God by the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet. They considered him, and the Word of God he spoke – sewage! We see this today in our modern society where the Word of God is unwelcome in so many places. It is unwelcome in our schools. It is unwelcome in our legislative bodies (how dare we open a legislative session with a prayer beseeching God for His blessing and guidance on the proceedings). It is unwelcome in our businesses (lest a lawsuit be filed for religious harassment). It is unwelcome at our sporting events (lest the unbelievers be offended). It is even unwelcome in many of our churches (if what the Scripture declares contradicts the theology of the church). This was true in Jeremiah’s day and time as well, and he spoke to it.

Jeremiah 23:1, 11
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!

For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.”

O’ for a Jeremiah in our day and time! O’ for men of God who will speak for Him. Men who are willing to boldly and courageously declare the truth of the accuracy of God’s Word in the face of religious opposition. Men who are valiant for the truth!

© 2010 The Bible Study Group, Inc.

For questions, fellowships, or to support the work of the Bible Study Group, contact – fellowship@biblestudygroup.org, or write us at The Bible Study Group, 11605 Meridian Market View, Peyton, CO 80831

There a number of things that many people would like to tell us come with age – wisdom, tolerance, and beauty, being among them. (In my case I don’t know about the “beauty” part.) I’d like to throw a couple in the mix – loving honesty and fearless boldness. As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate these, in myself as well as others. Earthly life is so fleeting. As I have gotten older I have come to realize how fleeting it is. When I started in the ministry I was twenty years old (though my study of Scripture began many years before that) and thought I was invincible, that I’d live forever. Now, more than thirty-three years later the invincibility factor has gone down a notch or two.

As the years have gone on I have developed a serious appreciation for loving honesty and fearless boldness. Tell me what you think. Cut to the chase. Spit it out damn it! Don’t beat around the bush, please! I haven’t time. If you think I’m a no-good, four-flushing, double-talking, two-faced, bottom-feeder…..tell me. I’m good with it! I have a thick hide! I don’t go wee-wee in my pants because somebody tells me what’s on their mind. I promise I won’t take my toys and go home because you tell me what you’re thinking. I won’t think any less of you either. As a matter of fact, I will think more highly of you and have more respect for you. I so appreciate honesty and boldness in men and women as I have gotten older.

The truth of the matter is that loving honesty gets to the bottom of things, and fearless boldness is required to be lovingly honest most times. I have always told my wife, my sons, and others that I have counseled over the years that “light makes manifest.” This is true throughout the Word of God. Sooner or later, as the truth is spoken with love and honesty and boldness, as principle is stood upon, the facts of the case become evident and the truth of the situation becomes crystal clear. A person doesn’t always need to jump up and down in their defense. “Light makes manifest!”

When someone is young I think they spend a lot of time worrying about how not to offend people, how to be diplomatic, how to hide what they’re really thinking, how not to hurt people’s feelings. Now, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating being unkind, unloving, rude, or crass. I have dealt with people like that too; People who have a ‘running off of the mouth,’ that are loud and rude and unkind in their speech under the guise of (pseudo-) honesty.

James 3:3-8
“Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

This is not what I’m talking about – being loud, and rude, and obnoxious, and hurtful. I’m talking about loving honesty and fearless boldness to introduce ‘light’ and truth into situations, which always “makes manifest.” I have watched businesses, organizations, and ministries go down the proverbial toilet because men and women were not willing, or were afraid to have the boldness to speak up, afraid to be honest, or have others be honest with them. We are not to be obnoxious and hurtful in our honesty, but bold and at the same time, loving. Those who have the Word of God hidden in their heart ought to have a word to speak at the right time and in the right way.

Proverbs 25:11
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Galatians 6:1
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Matthew 10:16b
“Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Fear and hesitancy to ‘speak up’ and be honest many times might seem to be justifiable. People in positions of perceived power and authority and leadership are often very proud of what they have achieved, and they oftentimes don’t want to hear, and aren’t interested in the opinions of others. Unsolicited opinions and reproofs are often met with dire consequences, especially in government and religion. Many is the resignation of a leader that has been asked for; many are those that have been told their services were no longer needed, for ‘speaking up.’

John 9:22
“These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”

I have a few people in my life, my wife being the primary one, who keep me ‘grounded,’ who I trust, who I rely on for counsel and wisdom and honesty. I may not always like what they have to say at the moment, but after the sting goes away, and I put my ego away, I always take what they say and search my heart and go to my Heavenly Father in prayer and to the Word of God because I know that they love me. Some of these are men and women who I have had the honor and privilege of teaching the Word of God for many years; men and women who are ‘workmen’ of the Word, who are faithful, who are seasoned in the Word of God and spiritually mature, who have proved their mettle, and who walk with the power of God in their life. What would it say about my ability as a minister, or as a teacher if I were to dismiss the counsel of those individuals? In the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul did just that when he decided to go to Jerusalem against the will of God, ignoring wise counsel and reproof, and it cost him dearly, landing him in prison, and severely curtailing his ministry and the outreach of the Word of God for the rest of his life.

Proverbs 11:14
“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

Proverbs 27:6a
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend;”

Along with serving and coordinating the Bible Study Group, I have also enjoyed teaching martial arts for many years. I tell my students that when they ‘pull their punches’ or intentionally execute a technique ‘offline’ or ‘half-heartedly’ that it is disrespectful to their training partner. It shows they don’t think their partner is capable of handling the situation, which is going to be detrimental to their partner if they find themselves in a real life self-defense situation.

When I train with my students I want them to hit me, to execute their attack straight-forward, direct and at the target. I expect, and appreciate the same thing from my wife, my sons, and my friends. Don’t pull the punch; don’t throw it offline, or beat around the bush. Give it to me straight! Spit it out damn-it! Tell it to me like it is! Tell me what’s on your mind! Please don’t disrespect me by not telling me the truth! It is disrespectful to not tell someone the truth who needs to hear it. Likewise, it is disrespectful to dismiss out of hand the counsel of the faithful. What someone does with the truth from your lips is their problem, not yours. Sometimes they may be so offended, become so enraged, that they will consider you an enemy. That is between them and God, and you have nothing of which to feel guilty.

Galatians 4:16
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

I have two wonderful friends that come to mind as I write this. I consider each a trusted confidant and wise counselor. Each has a unique approach in their loving honesty and fearless boldness toward me. One will sit with me, quietly tell me what’s in his heart, what he thinks about a situation, or if he thinks I could handle a situation better. The other will tell me in no uncertain terms exactly how he feels about a situation, exactly what he is thinking, and if he thinks I need to relocate my head to a different part of my anatomy. God how I love and respect them both! I thank God for ‘long-suits’ and the ministries in the Body of Christ, without which all would be left to their own devices. Every believer should be blessed and consider it an honor to have friends and counselors like that. People with the courage to be lovingly honest and fearlessly bold! We’d have fewer problems and failures in governments, in families, in businesses, in churches and ministries.

Ephesians 4:11-15
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

Proverbs 19:21
“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”

Loving honesty and fearless boldness ought not to be feared, but sought after and appreciated.

For questions, information regarding fellowship, or to support the work of The Bible Study Group, contact fellowship@biblestudygroup.org

I had sort of an ‘epiphany’ this morning while my wife and I were out running errands. This is always a great time of fellowship for us. We’re able to discuss family matters, business matters, and things concerning the fellowship in our home, uninterrupted. We started talking about a few records in the Word of God when I realized that we didn’t have a Bible in the car with us. (I felt naked. I keep a Bible everywhere). So, I stopped at WalMart and ran inside to buy an inexpensive Bible (large print of course these days). I paid $9.97 for it (plus tax), and as I was walking out of the store it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I just paid $9.97 for a copy of God’s scriptures, in my own language!

We have a mind-set and a system of values in the Occident that places great worth on the tangibles of life, the things a person possesses (or thinks they possess). We see bumper stickers that read, “He who dies with the most toys wins!” That man or woman may die with the most toys, but they are still going to be dead, and one thing is absolutely certain, the toys aren’t going with them to the next life. The lust for ownership and control of things in our society goes all the way back to the dawn of civilization. The first city was built by Cain (who was the first man to be born of the seed of the Serpent) in his quest to martial and control the finite resources.

Hardly anybody ever thinks about the intangibles of life until they are threatened with, or notice their loss. What is the love of a friend worth? What is the love of a spouse or a child worth? What price tag can be placed on a good night’s sleep? What valuation can be assessed to a sound mind? What monetary estimation can be made of eternal life, or answered prayer, or the knowledge of scripture, or a vital relationship with God – a relationship where He walks with us and talks with us, and the reality of that is more than just musical or poetic lyric?

What a sick person wouldn’t give to have health. What a lonely person wouldn’t give to have companionship, or a trusted friend. What an insane person wouldn’t give if they could experience sanity. What a paranoid person wouldn’t give to have peace of mind. What a destitute person wouldn’t give to have food, clothing, and shelter. What a person who is dieing wouldn’t give that they might live longer. What a man or woman who is spiritually dead (and recognizes it) wouldn’t give to have spirit, and to be reconciled to God. Maybe, just maybe, the best things in life ARE free. Well, sort of.

The truth of the matter is that most of the “best things in life” were paid for, and obtained for you, at great cost to someone else, on your behalf.

II Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A sound mind and freedom from fear is available to any man or woman who accepts what has been done for them, on their behalf, by Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 3:24
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Psalm 91:5-7
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

We are surrounded on every hand by negative and disturbing information and issues. Listen to media advertising, or the national and local news. I’ll wager more than half of what you see and hear is negative and full of potential dread. What is a good night’s sleep worth? What is it worth to be able to go to sleep free from sickness, worry, anxiety, doubts, or the fear of death? Only the knowledge of God and His Son, Jesus Christ (and his complete and finished work on your behalf) makes this available.

Sanity, soundness of mind, freedom from fear and paranoia, and mental peace was paid for by Jesus Christ in the mental suffering he endured during his more than 40 hours of torture, suffering, and abuse.

Isaiah 53:4, 5
Surely he hath borne our griefs (pains), and carried our sorrows (sicknesses): yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Amen!!!

The prophet Isaiah, looking forward to the finished work of Jesus Christ said, “the chastisement of our peace was upon him.” It was upon him! He paid for it! He accomplished it for us! We have peace! What value do you place on knowing that? What price tag do you put on that?

The knowledge of God’s Word that makes known the complete and finished work of Jesus Christ that makes physical healing and mental wholeness, and so much more, (including eternal life, reconciliation to God, justification, sanctification, righteousness, and redemption) available to us, is not something we in any way earned or deserved. It is an unmerited privilege.

Society and the world in which we live has a mentality of entitlement. I came to the realization many years ago, that the knowledge of God via an understanding of the Scriptures is not an inalienable right to us as His sons and daughters. It is a privilege that is extended to all of us by the time and energy and sacrifice of those who are called of God to teach and to serve His Word to us on a silver platter.

I was cognizant and thankful of the sacrifice of men like William Tyndale, who for the terrible crime of translating the Bible into English so the common man could read it in their own language, was tied to a stake and strangled to death by an executioner, then had his body burned. Also, men like John Wesley, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther and so many others, who gave their life in service to God, many times at their peril. I became overwhelmingly thankful for my mentors through the years, who gave their lives in service and teaching and personal sacrifice to make the knowledge of God so readily available to me as a young man, without charge. And for more than thirty years I have dedicated my life to being a tribute to my teachers and have continued to make that same knowledge of God available to others.

Those who hear the call of God to serve His Word and minister to His people most clearly, be it to their personal harm or not, make no apology, and have the least difficulty in accepting or explaining the sacrifice required to heed the call of God in their lives.

As I walked out of WalMart with that Bible I was nearly brought to tears as I thought of the opportunity of not just being able to walk into a WalMart (of all places) and purchase a copy of the book itself (for ten dollars), but the privilege of having a knowledge of God’s Word, His truth and will, accurately, not without the commitment, dedication, and service of others. Yet, how little value is placed on this most valuable of all things. It is true that the best things in life are free, to us, but not without cost to others.

For responses, information regarding fellowships, or to support the work of the Bible Study Group, contact – fellowship@biblestudygroup.org

Search the Scriptures

March 31, 2010

There is a significant difference between facts and truth. Facts are time relative. Facts, like theories, may change. What is factual today may not be factual tomorrow. Truth however is eternal. Truth is unchanging. Truth is etched in stone, so to speak. What is truth today will be truth tomorrow. The theories of men, no matter how intellectual the man or the theory, are by definition, theoretical. Theories are subject to criticism, correction, and change. Truth is truth. It is unchanging, unalterable, and not subject to criticism or correction. Men may, out of their own ego or ulterior motives, attempt to revise or alter truth but their attempts are foolish and only shine light on their ego and fractured logic.

Two parts of hydrogen, mixed with one part of oxygen will give you water. Why? Because it is truth. It will give you water today. It will give you water tomorrow. It will still give you water a thousand years from now. There has been no attempt that I am aware of to revise or alter the multiplication table. Two times two equals four. It equals four today. It will equal four tomorrow, it will equal four in ten thousand years because it is truth. One plus one plus one equals three. It equals three today, it will equal three tomorrow, it will equal three in ten thousand years, that is of course except in the case of post-fourth century Christian (so-called) thinking.

The Christian (so-called) intelligencia, since the fall of the Church in the late first century, as recorded in II Timothy 4:4, those who ‘turned their ears from the truth and were turned unto fables’, have been attempting to revise the multiplication table, postulating that three times one do not really equal three, it actually equals one. They finally solidified their erroneous arithmetic in the mid-fourth century at the Council of Nicea, and promulgated and forced it upon the world at the point of the Roman sword. Can you imagine what would happen if these same individuals stood before the ‘academic’ world today and proclaimed that one plus one plus one did not really equal three, it actually equaled one. They would be laughed out of the room, but somehow or other when it comes to men’s religious beliefs, logic and science and truth can allowably be set aside, and replaced with metaphysicals and the gobbledy gook and verbiage of theological speculation.

The Christian (so-called) intelligencia for centuries have been developing (making-up) and promulgating all kinds of terms, and vocabulary, and theories to justify their continued acceptance of, adherence to, and promulgation of paganistic doctrine – terms such as “incarnation,” “deification,” and (my favorite) “hypostatic union,” which means that somehow Jesus was fully man and fully God….huh? They’re way too smart for me. They actually have been making-up words to justify and prove their error. It has always fascinated me how seemingly intelligent men can set aside all logic and science and clear biblical evidence to justify their religious beliefs and metaphysical postulations.

As hard as I’ve tried. As thoroughly and as intensely as I (and many others) have read through the Bible. As many of the biblical reference materials (concordances, lexicons, biblical dictionaries, NOT theological commentary), as I have scoured through, I have never been able to find the terms “incarnation,” “deification,” ‘trinity,” or “hypostatic union” in any of these reference sources, never mind that none of these terms are found in the scriptures themselves. Yet, the truth of the matter is that Jesus Christ himself said, as recorded in John 5:39, to “search the scriptures,” and that the scriptures are “they which testify of me.” It is the scriptures that testify of him. Yet the ‘brains’ of Christendom can’t show any of the terms that they use (and made-up) to justify their erroneous, illogical fallacies (they’re not even ‘logical’ fallacies) in the scriptures, only in their own writings and theories, or in those of fellow ‘intelligent ones.’

Jesus Christ said that the scriptures testify of him. After his resurrection from the dead (according to scripture he was fully man and FULLY DEAD) while walking with two men on the road to Emmaus he began with the books of “Moses and all the prophets,” and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures, the things concerning himself.” Where then are the terms “incarnation,” “deification,” “trinity,” and “hypostatic union” in the books of Moses, and all the prophets? And why, given such ample opportunity, did not Jesus Christ himself set forth these ideas and expound them from the scripture. Better question yet, why did not God Himself include these ideas and theories and terms in the scriptures? I guess He needed help from the intelligencia to explain to us simpletons who His “Son” REALLY was. I suppose God’s declaration of who His Son was in His Word isn’t good enough. God needed help from theologians to explain what He really meant to say. How arrogant!

Jesus Christ said that the scriptures testify of him. PERIOD! That ought to be good enough, but evidently is not. It seems that the scriptures, and the truth of God they contain, have been so long illogically and/or deceitfully mishandled by those in the pulpit that the masses have no choice but to TRUST their spiritual leaders and advisors (because, after all, it is all just so difficult to understand). People haven’t been taught how to follow their lord and savior’s instruction to “search the scriptures” for themselves. The masses have given up on the quest for spiritual truth and are content to eat the regurgitated food of antiquated and erroneous theology.

Now, I’m not a scholar, but I’m pretty sure that the deification of a man, or any other created thing is idolatry according to scripture (Romans 1:18-25). To those who believe and promulgate the deification of the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5), and the new, revised, modern math that one plus one plus one equals one, please expound on the following, trying to use only scripture to try and prove that God and His Son are actually one and the same (this ought to be good) –

I Corinthians 15:28
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him (God), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (God) that put all things under him (Christ), that God may be all in all.”

How is the Son also himself going to be subject unto God if they are one and the same?

I Corinthians 11:3
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

How can God be “the head of Christ” if they are one and the same?

I Timothy 2:5
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

How can Christ be the mediator between the “one” God and men, if they are one and the same?

Luke 23:46
“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

Who was he talking to when he said “Father,” and to whom did he commend his spirit to if they are one and the same?

Hebrews 9:14
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

How can Jesus Christ offer himself without spot to God if they are supposedly one and the same?

John 20:17
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

Jesus Christ stated that Mary’s God was also his God. How can they possibly then be one and the same?

These are just a handful of the hundreds of scriptures (which Jesus Christ himself said testify of him) that clearly show the FULL distinction of identity between God and His wonderful Son. The theoretical religious postulations of the Christian (so-called) intelligencia make a mockery of the beautiful simplicity of God’s Word and the identity of His wonderful Son. You can call all the post-fourth century doctrines and theories of men “Christian” all you want, But as I learned from a mentor many years ago, you can a label a jar “applesauce” on the outside but it doesn’t change the “sauerkraut” on the inside!

The Quest

March 6, 2010

The search for truth and self-purpose is perhaps the greatest of all human quests. The yearning for truth, the yearning to understand the reason for being, has been the inspiration of great poetic lyric. It has been the subject of masterpieces of artistic expression. It has been the driving force behind epic adventures. “Who am I in the grand scheme of the universe? Why am I here? What is my purpose for being? Is there a God, an Almighty Creator? Is there an intelligence and purpose behind the schemes of the universe? Or, is all of this that we see, that which surrounds us, the product of mere chance and happenstance, the result of unintelligible and random acts of mutation.” The reason for man’s yearning is set forth in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

The Word of God declares that He “hath set the world in their heart.” The word “world” in that verse is the Hebrew word ‘olam,’ which means ‘forever,’ ‘eternity,’ ‘of old,’ ‘antiquity,’ ‘everlasting,’ and this is its usage throughout the Bible. God has set eternity in the heart of mankind. Every human individual knows deep within themselves that there has to be something more, some greater purpose and meaning to life than just that which they experience and see around them.

It is like a void, a vacuum, in the depth of the soul of a person that they live with throughout their lifetime, endeavoring to fill it with temporary pleasures and carnal remedies, until they come to the knowledge of God, and humble themselves before the understanding of man’s purpose as declared in the scriptures, again in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 12:13
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

The word “duty” is italicized in the King James Bible because it was added by the translators, and as such may be deleted without affecting the truth of God. The word “fear,” as it is used throughout the Bible in this context, means a healthy and deserved reverence, awe, and respect. It is not used in the sense of terror or dread. We are not terrified or in dread of our God. We stand in awe of Him, and have a healthy and well deserved reverence and respect for our Creator. This is the whole of a man or woman, to reverence God and keep His commandments (His Word). This is the conclusion of the whole matter. The only heart satisfying reason for being. Anything less is a mere empty and painful existence.

Proverbs 1:7
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The ships that sail in the quest for truth and self-purpose must first be laden with awe and reverence and respect for the true God, or they will return with empty holds, or holds filled with worthless and counterfeit trinkets.

Nehemiah 8:8
“So they read in the book in law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

In this great epic adventure of the quest for truth, man’s first port of call must be the accuracy of God’s Word, the scriptures – rightly divided and handled logically, simply, and lovingly. The first cargo secured must be the knowledge of God, not the religious traditions of men, theological speculations, or the mutterings of the intelligencia and the critics. Not the ‘testimonies’ of the devout, or the academic world’s opinion or analysis of the scriptures, but the scriptures themselves, understood in light of every word of God. This is how a man or woman truly lives.

Matthew 4:4
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Yet, throughout history, the great cargo of the treasures of God’s Word have continuously been thrown overboard as just so much worthless ballast, despised and rejected, even by God’s own people at times.

Jeremiah 2:13
“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold not water.”

Hosea 4:6a
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.”

The truth of God’s Word has been cut up by the pen knife of a king of antiquity, as recorded in Jeremiah 36, even as it is cut up by the pens of modern theologians, to the end of being so muddied and confused that hardly anybody can understand it, or believes it, or can even read it today without the commentaries, study aids, or opinions of men.

II Corinthians 2:17a
“For we are not as many, which corrupt (adulterate, water down) the word of God.”

II Corinthians 4:2a
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully.”

The accurate knowledge of God’s Word, His Holy Scriptures, which the world, and religion, and sense-knowledge, pseudo-intelligent man treats with such disdain, is the first, and most valuable treasure we must fill our cargo holds with in our quest for truth and self-purpose.

Psalm 19:10
“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

Proverbs 4:20-22
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

In man’s quest for truth and self-purpose, when his ships of discovery are laden first and foremost with a healthy and well deserved respect and reverence for the Creator God, and his first port of call is the accurate knowledge of God’s rightly divided Word, then his cargo holds will be filled with the genuine treasures of the knowledge of God, and he will understand his purpose and reason for being, and be satisfied and blessed all his days.