The Truth About Mortality by Josh Creel
C.S. Lewis related the following in his classic work, Mere Christianity: “There is a story about a schoolboy who was asked what he thought God was like. He replied that, as far as he could make out, God was ‘The sort of person who is always snooping round to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it.’ And I am afraid that is the sort of idea that the word Morality raises in a good many people’s minds: something that interferes, something that stops you having a good time.” Unfortunately, the same thinking is shared by many believers, both young and old. Yes, we dutifully live as morally as we can, but often begrudgingly and all the while wondering why God has to be so picky.
However, if we will consider the following truths revealed in the Scriptures, we can come to a better understanding of why God prescribes such a rigorous moral code. First, we must appreciate that God is righteous (Psalm 89.14) and that His judgements are righteous (Psalm 96.13). He is moral by definition! Second, we must remember that man is created in the very image of God (Genesis 1.26). So, it should not come as a surprise that His word is given to us with the intent to instruct us in righteousness (2Tim. 3.16-17) and that by adhering to His word we will be righteous, therefore making us just like Him (Matt. 5.48; Eph. 4.17-24).
Peter exhorted his audience to, “not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1Peter 1.14-16). God has sanctified the believer by the blood of His Son, but it is only through adherence to His moral code that we can remain holy like Him. God is not arbitrary, nor is He trying to prevent us from having a good time. He is looking to perfect us, to make us as He is.
The Complete Work of Christ by Steve Patton
God… in these last days has spoken to us by his Son. –Heb. 1:1,2
I think the familiarity of the story of our Savior may cause us to take for granted what a magnanimous and incomparable work was the clothing of Deity in flesh and blood. According to Hebrews 1 He was “appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world…” He is… the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” This awesome Savior is pictured in the Hebrew letter as the best possible messenger the Creator God could send to us. What Heaven had to be willing to do to save us is first revealed in the birth that occurred 2000 years ago in a stable outside the lowly village of Bethlehem.
The first great emphasis of the Hebrew letter is the superiority of Jesus as the final and greatest messenger of God. His revelation is the last from God. There will be no more. What His Spirit guided apostles taught was what Jesus taught them during His earthly ministry and what He would further reveal to them during their apostolic ministries (John 14:26; 16:14). Thus, He was the Final Messenger.
We need to fully appreciate that the sacrifice of our Savior began, not with his arrest but with his leaving Heaven to take on earthly form (Philip. 2:5-8). We must also appreciate that He fully and completely revealed the Father to all humankind (John 12:44,45; 14:9-11). The twofold work of Jesus on our behalf is expressed in Hebrews 3:1 where Jesus is called both our apostle and high priest. Tonight we will look at this dual role so that we might more deeply appreciate the full work of Jesus in our redemption.
From the desk of Josh Creel
When I was a kid Thursday nights were an event. My mom would make sure that my sister and I finished our homework before supper, my dad would get home from work, we would eat and then we would grab our favorite places in front of the TV. The Cosby Show was coming on at 7:00 (central time). I loved that show, I still love that show. Sitcoms today pale in comparison to The Cosby Show. First, they are not as funny and second, they are moral cesspools. My parents could let us watch Cosby and KNOW that the show would support their values, whereas I wouldn't dare let my children watch a prime-time sitcom (not even the ones on Disney). The Cosby Show stood for something, and we all thought that was because Bill Cosby stood for something.
Was it just an act? The series of recent sexual assault allegations against Mr. Cosby has me wondering just that. The news makes me sad, it makes me grieve. I don't know if the allegations are true (I hope they aren't), but if they are then not only were terrible crimes committed, but a cherished childhood memory will be ruined for me and for many others. What we thought were real values being shown on our TVs will have been nothing but an act... played by very good actors.
This morning we are going to focus on 1John 4.7-21. Pay attention to vs. 7: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." We are going to talk about how love is who we are suppose to be, because we are children of God and He is love (vs. 8). Love is suppose to be who we are, not a few things that do we some of the time. Love cannot be an act and we must not be actors. Love is who we are all the time, because God is love all the time.
From the desk of Steve Patton
I have been teaching on Evidences this quarter and, recently, on the Creation/Evolution controversy. This has always been a special interest of mine and this recent class has given me an opportunity to restudy the topic and examine any new arguments out there today. After spending over forty years following the topic it interests me how little the debate has changed.
Forty years ago evolutionists were confident that the missing transitional fossils showing the development between major species would eventually be found in abundance. Their absence had been the greatest challenge for paleontologists and their explanation of the fossil record. However, in my lifetime, not a single clear transitional fossil has been found. Not one. They still claim one in the ancient bird archaeopteryx (the same one they were claiming forty years ago) but archaeopteryx is a bird plain and simple. Where are the millions of transitional forms necessary for evolution to be true? They are still missing from the fossil record. Evolutionist Dr. S. M. Stanley once wrote, “It is doubtful whether, in the absence of fossils, the idea of evolution would represent anything more than an outrageous hypothesis… The fossil record, and only the fossil record, provides direct evidence of major sequential changes in the Earth’s biota.” (Johns Hopkins Univ., The Evolutionary Timetable, p. 72). If that is true then evolution fails miserably.
My study has only reconfirmed my faith in the biblical creation/flood account. The Bible account fits the facts of geology and science much better than evolutionary theory. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Grace Isn't Cheap... Or Soft by Josh Creel
Today we will conclude a short series I've titled, "Grace Isn't Cheap." I hope that once today's lesson is completed we will all have a renewed appreciation for exactly what God has done for us in Christ. I hope we will be humbled by how much our salvation cost God. And I hope we will soberly contemplate what it means to believe in Jesus, the cost of receiving God's grace. Grace isn't cheap.
And grace isn't soft. I have a preaching friend who preaches about grace a lot. He's begun to hear remarks that he's soft. He's heard false accusations saying that by preaching grace he's telling people they can be saved without obeying God (he's not). It makes me sad. It makes me angry. When did proclaiming the grace of God make one soft?
I understand that many have a distorted notion of God's grace, mistakingly thinking that a gracious God doesn't care if we pay much attention to following Him. We know that's not true because the Bible says it's not true (Matthew 7.24-27; 28.20; etc.). But the Bible also emphatically declares that we can only be justified through the grace of God (Romans 3.23-24), that salvation is a matter of God being gracious to us and that we cannot save ourselves.
Grace isn't soft, it's Biblical. Grace properly places the credit for our salvation with God. Grace should move us to put our full faith and trust in God (Ephesians. 2.8-9). Grace should teach us to live holy lives, lives devoted to pleasing our gracious Father (Titus 2.11-12). Be humbled by grace. Thank your gracious Father, praise your gracious God, live for your gracious Savior.