Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quote by Dr. Adrian Rogers

With the recent passing of the stimulus bill by the house, I am absolutely amazed at the direction this country is taking. The ignorance on the part of the masses is staggering. I write this from Washington, D.C. where I just toured Mt. Vernon, the home of our first president, George Washington. This is not the America that he lived and died for. Dr. Adrian Rogers once said, "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Children of Promise

For the last two weeks, we ventured off the path to take a look at the two sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac was the child of Abraham through Sara while Ishmael was his child through Hagar. Today, we get back to Galatians 4:24-25 which says, “Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar (Hagar). For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” Now he says that these two relationships of Abraham can be compared to the Law and Grace. The Law was the covenant of the Old Testament and Grace was the covenant of the New Testament. The Law was given at Mount Sinai and it gave birth to bondage. Grace was first taught on the day of Pentecost and gave birth to freedom. So, Jerusalem had been under the bondage of the Law up until Jesus came and offered them freedom.

Notice v.26, “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” The Jerusalem above represents heaven or Sara. The promise was that the Seed would come through Sara (Genesis 12). The “Seed” was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who was a descendant of Isaac (Genesis 3:15). So, Sara represents Grace as that through her womb literally came Grace through Christ.

Notice v.27, “For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.” This is actually a promise to the Gentiles that because of Jesus Christ, they too will be given the opportunity to enter into the very same salvation that was offered to the Jews. We must remember that the Jews had some real issues with Jesus and his teaching about the Gentiles being able to receive the same salvation that they were offered. As a matter of fact, this verse, which is a quote from Isaiah 54:1, promises that at least initially, more Gentiles would come to Christ than Jews.

Notice v.28, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” We are the children of promise in that we have received the promises that were made about Jesus Christ and the salvation that He offers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Tale of Two Brothers, Part 2

Last week, we left off talking about two brothers: Isaac and Ishmael. The descendants of Ishmael are the Arabic people (Muslims) and the descendants of Isaac are the Jews. They despise each to this very day. The entire Middle East is in constant turmoil because of these two brothers! It’s all over the nightly news every evening.

When the Bible speaks of Ishmael, it says, “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Another way of saying that verse is, “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers" (Genesis 16:12). Doesn’t that sound exactly like what is happening in the Middle East right now?

Notice, “…and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” That is a prophecy that the descendants of Ishmael will always be in the midst or dwell in the presence of their brethren, the children of Isaac. And so it is today. Down through the years the children of Isaac and Ishmael have dwelt together. But, they have never gotten along. The Jews and the Arabs have never gotten along together and that is a matter of proven historical fact.

Genesis 25:18 says of Ishmael, “His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt… And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers.” (NIV). The NAS translates that last part of the verse, “he settled in defiance of all his relatives.” Again, you need only watch the evening news tonight to see that this is true.

On another note, as a result of this, the Bible says in Zechariah 12:2, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about….” This verse is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Any man who has difficulty believing the Bible should not have to look any further than the Jew. The Jew and his homeland of Jerusalem has already become the “cup of trembling” to the nations. The whole world thinks that if they could just bring peace to Jerusalem, the world be a better place. Biblically speaking, that is not going to happen until King Jesus returns.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Tale of Two Brothers, Part 1

Let’s pick up our study in Galatians 4:19-20 where it says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.” Paul is once again expressing doubt as to their salvation.

He goes on to say in v.21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Now Paul begins to make a comparison of Law and Grace yet again. Why so much comparison? Because they didn’t get it! Even today, many still don’t get it. They tell you that they are not trusting in their good works to take them to Heaven, but then you turn around and their doing something that they think will better their chances of getting there!

In v.22, “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.” Now Paul is going to compare Law and Grace with Hagar and Sara. He is going to compare Hagar to the Law (the bondmaid) and Sara to Grace (the freewoman).

He goes on and says in v.23, “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.” This is a comparison between Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born to Hagar and was a child of the flesh. Why? – Because Abraham’s faith had lapsed. God had told him and Sara that He would indeed give them a child in their old age. However, after waiting for awhile, they decided to take matters into their own hands and Abraham went in to Hagar (Sara’s handmaid) to have this promised son. That was the wrong answer because later Sara did conceive as promised, and had Isaac, the promised son. Thus, Ishmael is compared to the flesh and Isaac to the promise.

Many do not realize today the gravity of this mistake that Abraham and Sara made. The descendants of Ishmael are the Arabic people (Muslims) and the descendants of Isaac are the Jews. They despise each other. As a matter of fact, the entire Middle East is in constant turmoil because of these two brothers! Have you watched the nightly news lately?

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Bible Study

I just uploaded Revelation 12:7-13:10 from tonight's class. God bless each of you. Remember that we will not be meeting for the next two weeks. Next week will be the start of the revival and the week after, I will be in Washington.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Am I Now Your Enemy?

Today, we pick up our study in Galatians 4:16 where the Apostle Paul says, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” He had just questioned their salvation in the proceeding verse and most likely felt compelled to do so because of their apparent eagerness to place themselves back under the Law of Moses after they had been freed from it through faith in Christ. Now, in this verse, he assumes that he had angered some of them and says, “Am I your enemy because I’m telling you the truth?”

After eighteen years in ministry, I am still absolutely amazed how quickly people can turn on you when you confront them with the truth. Years of friendship can be dismissed over one little incident. It seems like the more you’ve done for them, the faster and angrier they turn (2 Corinthians 12:15). I’ve always said, “You can pat them on the back 99 times and correct them once and they’ll hate you forever.” How sadly true. What an arrogant society in which we live in which no one can humble themselves to accept correction. The Bible says in Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

It reminds me of that movie with Tom Cruise and Jack Nicklaus called a “Few Good Men”. In it, Cruise, as a young Navel officer, asks a seasoned old Marine played by Nicklaus for the truth. Nicklaus responds, “You can’t handle the truth!” Unfortunately, that is true for most people. One pastor friend told me once, “If you’re going to give them the truth, do it small doses.”

He goes on to say in v.17, “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.” What he is trying to say is, “The legalists are making an impression on you but they don’t want you to make an impression on them. In other words, their arguments are one sided.

Then he says in v.18, “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.” It’s not a bad thing to be “affected” by others, but just make sure that it is in something good and not what these guys (the legalists) are trying peddle off on you.