Mar 25

Essential Theological Video and Audio

Video:

Michael Mize – Evidence for a World-wide Flood

Michael Heiser – Reversing Hermon: 1 Enoch, the NT, Watchers, Nephilim & Antichrist

Audio:

Brandon Braun – The One Who Restores (Luke 4:14-30)

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Mar 13

Michael Boling – Daily Washing Yourself in the Word

I am nearing completion of two and a half months of daily Bible reading. A commitment I made for 2017 was to read through the Bible chronologically. Each year, I seem to get off to a great start only to get bogged down at some point in the year, often resulting in my daily Bible plan taking an unfortunate hiatus.

As I have made my journey through Genesis, Job, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and currently part of Deuteronomy, I have been confronted with some concepts and principles I know I have clearly overlooked over the years. For those who wondered why Job was included between Genesis and Exodus, remember I am reading through Scripture chronologically. Some may ask themselves why the need to read Scripture on a consistent basis. After all, hasn’t everything been discovered already in Scripture? Can’t we just listen to a sermon series and not have to be bothered with Scripture reading? After all, that is so time consuming, right? So let me address why it is imperative for the people of God to wash themselves daily in Scripture, even if you have read through it once or a hundred times.

It is commanded of us in Scripture for starters and more importantly, if you are at all interested in growing in your relationship with God and understanding what it means to love God and to love others, it is an absolute requirement that you read God’s Word and hide it in your heart. While reading through the Bible chronologically and writing about what you have read each day may not be something you want to start off with, I exhort you to implement a regimented Bible reading plan. Even if that means you spend 5 minutes reading a Psalm as a place to start, by all means do something. We cannot claim to be a people who love God while at the same time ignoring His Word and His commands to us. That would be akin for those who are married to declaring to everyone you meet that you are married but in practice, you are ignoring your marriage vows.

Get yourself a good study Bible, concordance, and some paper and get to it. Wash yourselves daily in the Word of God. If you do, God has promised that His Word will penetrate to every nook and cranny of your life with the Holy Spirit scrubbing off the filth of the old man. Just as you cannot take a shower once a year or once a month and honestly claim to be physically clean, in the same manner you cannot wash yourself once a year or once a month in God’s Word and claim to be moving forward toward maturity in the faith to be through the power of the Holy Spirit a cleansed and spotless bride.

So get to washing yourself in God’s Word. Allow His word to permeate every fiber of your being. Walk in His ways in loving obedience in response to the grace He has bestowed upon us. Don’t just stick one finger or toe into the water. Stand under the waters of the Word so that all of you is impacted. Every single time I did into Scripture, the Holy Spirit reveals a new nugget of truth. So get into the habit of a consistent routine of reading Scripture. Trust me…you will not regret it!

If you are in search of a quality study Bible, might I recommend a new release from Zondervan, namely the NIV Faithlife Study Bible.

Click here to take a look at this valuable resource and to pick up a copy.

To view a sampler that includes the text of Genesis and Matthew, please visit www.nivfaithlifestudybible.com.

Mar 25

Charles Spurgeon – Advice for Seekers

1. Do Not Try to Save Yourself

If you think about it, God’s value of heaven and yours are very different things. His salvation, when He set a price upon it, was to be brought to men only through the death of his Son. But you think that your good works can win the heaven which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, procured at the cost of His own blood! Do you dare to put your miserable life in comparison with the life of God’s obedient Son, Who gave Himself even to death? Does it not strike you that you are insulting God? If there is a way to heaven by works, why did He put His dear Son to all that pain and grief? Why the scenes of Gethsemane? Why the tragedy on Golgotha, when the thing could be done so easily another way? You insult the wisdom of God and the love of God.

There is no attribute of God which self-righteousness does not impugn. It debases the eternal perfections which the blessed Saviour magnified, in order to exalt the pretensions of the creature which the Almighty spurns as vain and worthless. The trader may barter his gold for your trinkets and glass beads, but if you give all that you have to God it would be utterly rejected. He will bestow the milk and the honey of His mercy without money
and without price, but if you come to Him trying to bargain for it, it is all over for you; God will not give you choice provisions of His love that you do not know how to appreciate.

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Mar 25

Joel Beeke – John Bunyan: The Faithful Tinker

Young John Bunyan (1628–1688) hardly seemed fit for preaching. He was a coarse person with little education and a mouth full of foul language. He had lost his mother and sister to death and was exposed to the evils of military service before his seventeenth birthday. As a young man, he worked with his hands as a tinker or worker in soft metals. His soul was probably much like his body after carrying his sixty-pound portable anvil: outwardly tough and calloused, though inwardly bruised and burdened. Marriage to a church-going woman brought some moral improvement and produced much self-righteousness, but it was not until Bunyan overheard a few poor women talking about the new birth and the grace of God in Christ for sinners that he realized his greatest need.

The faithful pastor of those women, John Gifford, taught Bunyan about the grace of God. Bunyan read Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians and learned how Jesus Christ made satisfaction to divine justice for our sins by His death. Bunyan was transformed, and others soon called upon him to speak in meetings for evangelism and exhortation. Feeling very unworthy, he nevertheless was able to speak from his experience of the truth: “I preached what I felt, what I smartingly did feel, even that under which my poor soul did groan and tremble to astonishment.” He was not a fire-and-brimstone preacher who looked down on unbelievers, but one who lived with a “fire in mine own conscience.”

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Mar 24

Andy McIntosh – The Intricacies of Flight in the Natural World

Examples of complexity in the natural world are not hard to come by. Living creatures all are examples of irreducible complexity. This phenomenon is well known in design engineering and refers to the fact that there are mechanisms which only work when everything works together. This is certainly true in the natural world as many mechanisms right down to the molecular world show that this is the case. The cell will not work without all the DNA machinery being in place, as very ably demonstrated by Behe. One of the best examples of complexity which defies a series of “gradual” changes is flight. Dawkins sought to try to justify such an idea of gradually producing flight, but showed very little understanding of the fundamental engineering principles involved in aerodynamics and control. He even suggested there may be wingless ancestors that, living in water, raised their gills to make primitive sails which then evolved into the flapping wings of insects as they got lifted by the wind.3 Insect flight and flapping motion is far more than having appendages to the body, and all engineers know this.

For controlled, heavier-than-air flight, there are four fundamental requirements: (1) A correct wing shape to give a lower air pressure on the upper surface; (2) a large enough wing area to support the weight; (3) some means of propulsion or gliding; and (4) extra surfaces, or a means of altering the main surfaces, in order to change direction and speed.

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Mar 24

Michael Oard – Evidence Some Woolly Mammoths Asphyxiated from Dust

Occasionally, observational data provides confirmation of creationist predictions. An example is the prediction by Humphreys of the magnetic fields of the solar system planets. Another is the prediction that some woolly mammoths in the permafrost of Siberia, Alaska, and the Yukon Territory of Canada died of asphyxiation while breathing blowing dust.

The prediction of death by breathing blowing dust

The top of the thick permafrost found in Siberia, Alaska, and the northwest Yukon Territory of Canada is frozen loess. Loess is mostly composed of silt from blowing dust but has a small proportion of clay and sand. Woolly mammoths are predominantly interred in loess in the lowlands in these areas. It is interesting to note that during the Ice Age these lowlands were never glaciated. It is difficult for climate models to produce glaciation, but some models, if tweaked enough, will produce glaciation, even over Alaska and Siberia, both mountains and lowlands.

Years ago, I deduced that some Ice Age woolly mammoths and other animals were most likely asphyxiated by breathing blowing dust, before the animals froze. At the time, there was no evidence that some of the animals died by suffocation. At the end of the Ice Age, dry, windy storms blew vast amounts of dust over huge areas of the world and deposited the dust in thick layers. The dust storms would have been generated by a combination of factors, including increased sea ice. The sea ice would have cooled the air and reduced oceanic evaporation, resulting in cold, dry air in the mid and high latitudes. The effect would have caused colder winters than today with little additional snowfall, but summers would have been warmer with more sunshine, resulting in net melting of the ice sheets.

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Mar 23

George Guthrie – How Word Studies Go Bad: A (Slightly Funny) Example

A few weeks ago, as I was preparing to teach the book of Philippians in Israel, I was translating the fourth chapter. Phil. 4:2-3 reads like this:

“I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to align their perspectives in the Lord! Indeed, I also ask you, true companion, help these women (literally, “them”) who have labored alongside me, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow-workers whose names are in the book of life!” (Phil. 4:2-3)

Paul exhorted these two women, Euodia and Sytyche, who obviously were valued as playing significant roles in the ministry of the church. Yet, it seems that these women had a broken relationship. For Paul to have called each of them by name, exhorting each of them individually in a public letter, indicates that their spat was serious and was having a real impact on the unity of the church. Paul in effect tells them, “Get it together, ladies!!” He further asks his “true companion” to help these women. This “true companion” is an unnamed co-worker who may have been Epaphroditus; or, in another interpretation, the second of the Greek words here, σύζυγε (suzuge), may have been a proper name.

Crazy Translations of a Word

Now, the word I have translated as “help” is συλλαμβάνω (sullambanō) — that clearly is the right translation — but I was struck by the fact that a word study on this term could turn out to be anything from horrible to hilarious if handled poorly. As we consider the various possible meanings for the word in the ancient world, we find the following.

συλλαμβάνω could mean “arrest” or “take into custody.” So an enthusiastic student of Scripture could seize on that meaning and translate the passage, “I also ask you, true companion, arrest these women!” Well, that would be one way of cutting down on disunity in the church! Reconciliation through incarceration.

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Mar 23

Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell – Resolving Human Evolutionary Dating Dilemmas

Discrepancies plague the human evolutionary timeline.

If you listen closely to newscasters, schoolteachers, and evolutionary experts when they talk about our evolutionary history, you will notice discrepancies in the numbers they quote. Do those discrepancies bother you? Or do you, like many people, simply hear another really big number and move on with your day? Well, those discrepancies are pretty big, and they bother scientists who are concerned about the accuracy of their claims.

Now keep in mind that evolutionary scientists are not in the habit of questioning whether or not apelike-creature-to-human evolution occurred. Nor are they in the habit of attributing the sorts of differences that distinguish us modern humans from Neanderthals to a cause any different from that which makes us different from our supposed ape cousins. But, with complete confidence that we are the products of millions of years of evolution, they would like to know when the key events in our evolutionary history happened.

To that end, the Guardian recently published an in-depth article summarizing the human-dating dilemma and announcing its imminent resolution. The publication titled this celebration of an apparent evolutionary victory “Why We’re Closer Than Ever to a Timeline for Human Evolution.”

Let’s have a look at the molecular clock credited with resolving the timeline and see if, as the Guardian proclaims, we really are “closer than ever to a timeline for human evolution.” Are we, as the Guardian claims, nearly ready to salute a chimp and know “the correct number of ‘greats’” between his great-great-so-many-greats grandpappy and ours?

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Mar 22

Tim Challies – Deadly Doctrines: Facing Evil Like Snakes and Doves

Since its earliest days, the church has been plagued by false teachers and deadly doctrine. Never has there been a period of rest, a time when Christians could relax their guard. Satan has opposed the church since the day of its founding, and he will continue to oppose her until the day of his destruction.

Naturally, then, Paul was seriously concerned about false teachers and deadly doctrine, warning of them in almost every one of his letters. As he comes to the end of his letter to the Romans, he reminds the church to be on guard, since false teachers are skilled at using flattery and smooth words to deceive even believers. Paul loves this church and wants them to be aware of the challenges they will face from predatory teachers. But his solution may strike us as surprising. He tells these Christians “to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil” (Romans 16:19b).

Paul seems to be echoing Jesus here. In the book of Matthew, we read of Jesus sending out his disciples and warning them of impending persecution from enemies of the gospel. He tells them how to behave in the midst of such trials: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Jesus and Paul both call for wisdom and innocence. Let’s see how these two passages instruct us on protecting ourselves and our churches from false teachers and their deadly doctrine.

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Mar 22

Paul James-Griffiths – Creation Days and Orthodox Jewish Tradition

After years of agonizing over the literal days of creation in Genesis, I decided to spend time researching this problem at the London School of Jewish Studies in Hendon, England. After all, I thought, why shouldn’t I go to the natural Jewish vine for some answers? (Of course, one should be cautious to distinguish between real exegesis of the Word of God, which must always overrule the ‘traditions of men’ [Mark 7:13], and we’ll see some examples. Although not covered here, it applies especially to modern Judaic revisionism of the Messianic passages after the rise of Christianity.1)

On my arrival, a Yeshiva (religious study group) was in process among the Orthodox students. But I was shown to the library where a bearded Rabbi pulled out the best conservative commentaries on the days of creation, along with the Talmud. This is the code of Jewish oral tradition interpreting the Torah or the Law of Moses, completed in the 5th century AD.

Eager to study, I took notes from these learned works, which had been compiled by some of the most eminent scholars in Judaism. It was a strange experience being surrounded by Orthodox Jews meticulously scrutinizing ancient books. After days of careful study of the conservative Rabbinical scholars, I had my answer: the days of Genesis were literal.

I turned to Rabbi Abraham Ben Meir Ibn Ezra’s commentary on Genesis. This scholar (c. 1089–1167) from medieval Spain is highly regarded in traditional Rabbinical circles, and his commentary was highly commended by Maimonides (1135–1204). Maimonides (a.k.a. Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, or the acronym Rambam) has been considered the key figure in Judaism since the Temple was destroyed in AD 70.

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Mar 21

Michael Boling – Rejoice in the Lord Always: Dealing with Anxiety

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

I remember back in school study feverishly for a math test. After nights of studying and despite having at least a slight bit of confidence that I knew the material and was thus read for the exam, nevertheless, that wave of test anxiety seemed more often than not to come crashing down upon me. As a result, my brain seemed to empty itself of all that I had crammed into it.

Who hasn’t had a case of the anxieties at some point in their life? I would submit we all fall prey to this pernicious enemy more than we realize. We may try to frame our anxiety as nothing more than being excited or nervous, but the reality is we are still all knotted up inside about something in the future, something seemingly beyond our control or ability to fully know the outcome of what will transpire.

Is being anxious about something always wrong given that Philippians 4:6 clearly calls believers to not be anxious for anything? Furthermore, how do we differentiate between excitement and anxiety? How do we tackle the urge to live in fear of the future or things we feel are out of our control? The answer to these questions I believe can be found in the Apostle Paul’s salient words to us in Philippians 4:4-7. In these four verses we can find the answers to dealing with anxiety, fear, and worry.

Ed Welch, in his excellent book Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest notes that the topic of fear is mentioned over three hundred times in Scripture with God repeatedly commanding His people “Do not fear.” This means that anxiety is nothing new for the human race. The people of Israel quite often had much to fear. Think about what it must have been like to have been set free from bondage in Egypt only to be taken to an entirely new land. Notice how quickly the Israelites forgot about the miraculous things God had done for them in delivering them from the hands of the Egyptians. God had turned a river into blood, placed the land under complete darkness, and had split the waters for the people to cross through just to name a few of the miracles He performed on their behalf. Why then were they anxious? It was the fear of the unknown, the proclivity of humanity to forget the God they serve is the almighty Creator of the universe, the sovereign God who knows what He is doing. Just like the Israelites, when trouble comes our way or we encounter something difficult in life, we forget that God is always faithful to His people. There is nothing we will face in life that surprises God or is out of His sovereign control.

In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul begins by commanding us to rejoice in the Lord always. He follows that command with “again I say rejoice” just in case we missed the initial exhortation. Now rejoicing is not just limited to putting on a smiley face in an attempt to ward off anxiety. Neither is it some sort of mask we put on to try and convince ourselves that if we think we can we can do it. The Greek word used for rejoice is chairō, a verb that connotes the idea of rejoicing exceedingly, a pervasive attitude of celebration and utter joy.

This of course begs the question as to why we should rejoice. Paul wastes no time in explaining why we can rejoice – “The Lord is near.” Some translations say “The Lord is at hand” which I think better captures the reality of God’s faithfulness. He is always there, even when we feel as if we are going at it all alone and nobody, let alone God, is concerned with what we are dealing with in life. This nearness is a positional term declaring that God is right there by our side every minute of every single day. There is not ever a time when God is preoccupied with something else and is not concerned with what we are dealing with in our lives.

Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, this noting of the Lord’s nearness carries with it an eschatological element, namely the reality that one day Christ will return to fix this mess of a world in which we live. Homer Kent rightly comments “His (Paul’s) reference is to the Parousia (not just Christ’s continuing presence with believers). This seems clear from the context of the letter, where 3:20, 21 focused attention on the glorious prospect in view for believers at Christ’s return…The statement is a reminder that at his arrival the Judge will settle all differences and will bring the consummation that will make most of our human differences seem trifling.”[2] Thus Paul is reminding believers to set our minds not on the issues of the moment, but on the reality that redemption and restoration draws nigh.

Based on that eternal mindset, we can set worry, anxiety, and fear aside, knowing that God is both near and that Christ will indeed return. When the temptation to worry or to be anxious calls our name and it most certainly will, we can deal with those urges by going to God in prayer. In I Peter 5:7 we are commanded to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” This casting of anxiety on him is accomplished through prayer.

John Calvin once said this about the practice of prayer:

“The necessity and utility of this exercise of prayer no words can sufficiently express. Assuredly it is not without cause our heavenly Father declares that our only safety is in calling upon his name, since by it we invoke the presence of his providence to watch over our interests, of his power to sustain us when weak and almost fainting, of his goodness to receive us into favour, though miserably loaded with sin; in fine, call upon him to manifest himself to us in all his perfections.”[3]

When we rejoice in the Lord always, acknowledging that He is always walking right beside us, and when we cast all our anxieties to Him in prayer and thanksgiving, the result is God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. What a wonderful promise! God’s peace is beyond our understanding meaning “God’s peace accomplishes far more than any human forethought or plan might devise.”[4] We can take comfort that when we hit the proverbial brick wall or when there comes a time in our life when all seems lost; God is firmly in control of the situation. When we come to Him in prayer, His peace will rain down on our lives, dispersing the muck and mire of anxiety, fear, and worry replacing it with hope and faith in the goodness and faithfulness of God.

Let us look to the author and finisher of our faith, the sovereign God who is completely in control of every fabric of the universe, a God who cares for our every need. If you are suffering from anxiety today, cast that anxiety and worry at the feet of almighty God for He cares for you. Find rest in the promises He has provided in His word and set your eyes not on the worries of the moment, but on the reality that one day He will come again and the problems of this world will be no more.

References:

[1] Edward Welch, Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest (Greensboro: New Growth Press, 2008), 59.
[2] Homer A. Kent, Jr. “Commentary on Philippians” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol.11: Ephesians through Philemon. Edited by Frank Gaebelein. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 151.
[3] http://www.prayermeetings.org/files/P_Of_Prayer_John_Calvin.pdf
[4] Kent, 152.

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