Saturday, May 24, 2008



“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”
(I Corinthians 1:18-21).

God gave us some rain the last couple of days, for which we are thankful. I know of one church in Calhoun, GA that is meeting regularly to pray for rain. There are a number of others, some meeting several hours a day, but this one made the local TV news. More of us should be meeting to pray for rain, for we still need it desperately. Areas around Atlanta are 12 inches blow normal, and some places in Alabama are worse of than that. In my recent article titled Rain, I compared what was happening in the days of Elijah, and asked “How would you like to be without rain for Three years and six months?” Sobering isn’t it?

In California things are so bad that the fires and Santa Ana winds are spawning “fire tornadoes” in some areas. It is awesome. It sorta looks like what I imagine hell to be. Scary! Especially if you consider the origin of the name Santa Ana. Some folks claim that the name comes from the actual Santa Ana Mountains, while others believe that the name derives from the Santa Ana River. What I have long known may be the most plausible origin for these wicked winds. Many Indians and those of Spanish descent claim that the original form of the phrase is Santana winds, coming from the Spanish vientos de Sanatanas, which means “winds of Satan” (Sanatanas being a rarer form of Satanás). Besides their discomforting heat and dryness, the Santa Ana winds are strongly associated with high fire danger, particularly in the chaparral brush growing on the Southern California mountain slopes. For this reason they are often called devil winds or devil's breath. (Since I originally wrote this article, about one year ago, some of these things have changed. Now storms and "regular" tornadoes have hit not only Georgia and California, but Colorado, Wisconsin,Minnesota and other places where they usually do not hit. We have also had floods in various places recently).

During this time of drought here in the Southeast and the fires in Southern California, weather forecasters and reporters always have their little cute comments. I heard one today on ABC say “Things are improving, and we have to credit Mother Nature and the brave firefighters.” Now, the firefighters are brave, perhaps no one will deny that, just as they were brave on September 11, 2001, and as they, and our police officers, generally always are. Yet, this is a great example of a foolish statement by a man of this world, to ascribe to a non-existent, fictional personage Mother Nature that dominion which alone belongs to Jehovah God. He controls the weather. He controls the orbits of the planets, the positions of the stars in our galaxy and countless more galaxies. Actually He is in control of everything that exists.

You might reply “You can’t prove or see this God you speak of any more than we can prove Mother Nature” Wrong! Jehovah-Jesus is nature’s God, and He set up the laws of nature as the Declaration of Independence nicely states. He set nature into action and He controls it. There would be no nature if there were no God. Jehovah God has a revealed ancient history, and has often overruled the laws of nature which He set up originally. After all He is the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9). He exists, as much of history proves. I am using His Hebrew name Jehovah by which He revealed Himself to Moses and the children of Israel so as to fully distinguish Him from the false gods of this world such as Buddha, Krishna, the Allah of Mohammedism, the Shinto gods, etc… He alone is the unique God, the Almighty God (El Shaddai), the Elohim, Adonai and Jehovah. Some scholars prefer Yahweh, and that is acceptable, for no one really knew how to pronounce Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton (which means the four Hebrew letters usually transliterated YHWH or JHVH that form a biblical proper name of God). Perhaps we don’t really know the pronunciation today! The King James Version translates as JEHOVAH five times including the one time it is shortened to JAH (Psalm 68:4).

Not only has both secular and Biblical history given proof to Him, but He has spoken in these last days through His son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1,2). Some believe because He walked this earth 2000 years ago that it is too far in the past, or simply mythology. My friend, 2000 years is nothing to Jehovah God “The high and lofty one which inhabiteth eternity whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Peter 3:8). Competent historians do not deny Christ’s existence, they do not dare! Too many ancient sources prove He was here, and that He was crucified. Of course, they will deny His resurrection, but there are many infallible proofs of that. Yet here in I Corinthians, the Bible declares that preaching the cross would be foolish to men. It is like the days of Noah when all scoffed at this crazy man building an ark. It is as Peter said it would be so in the last days “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (II Peter 3:3,4).

Just as in the days of Noah evil is more prevalent as men and women walk after their own lusts, and denying that God will ever judge the land, or themselves as individuals. For those with an eye on the spiritual, who can deny that America and much of the western world is under judgment right now. It’s not coming -- it’s already here!

In Jeremiah’s day Judah and Israel were under judgment. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, cried aloud to the people, but few heard him and he was persecuted. One of the prevalent signs that the land was under judgment was drought. Read and heed!
“The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought: ‘Judah mourns, and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up. Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are ashamed and confounded and cover their heads. Because of the ground that is dismayed {parched}, since there is no rain on the land, the farmers are ashamed; they cover their heads. Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn because there is no grass”’
(Jeremiah 14:1-6, ESV).

Do you see the preaching of the old rugged cross as foolish, my friend? Our original text says it would be foolish “to them that perish”. All of us have to die someday, except for those who are alive at Christ’s return. All of us do not have to perish. You would think that anyone seeing the fire tornadoes would be reminded of hell, where the unregenerate will go. But how can they be reminded when most preachers and Bible teachers do not preach on hell. Most modern Christian books rarely, if ever, mention it. In most theological circles hell is passé. But hell is real -- Jesus said so. He preached far more about hell than He did heaven. Check it out for yourself.

I preach to you the cross as the only answer. I preach to you Christ crucified as the only answer. When He died on that cross He bore the sins of everyone who would come to Him in faith. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Do you regard the message of a dying Savior as foolish? Then you are too wise for your own good. God said He will destroy the wisdom of the wise. He is not going to save everyone, yet many will hear His voice. “Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” Hebrews 4:7b). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish-” ( John 10: 27,28).The Spirit of God must draw you (see John 6:44)). The goodness of God must lead you to repentance (see Romans 2:4). Don’t be wise in your own conceit. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Hear carefully, my friend. You cannot find God by your own wisdom. You cannot be righteous enough, good enough, do penance enough, be kind enough, be well liked enough, be old enough, be young enough, be pretty enough, be handsome enough, be intellectual enough, be ignorant enough, be rich enough, be poor enough; you can’t even be desperate enough -- without the conviction of the Holy Ghost. I don’t care how elect you think yourself to be, how much assurance you think you have, if you have seen a ball of fire, spoke in unknown tongues, were slain in the spirit, think you found Jesus in the mass, or through a religious movie, or at Christmas time because your heart was moved, or you prayed through, or whatever you have done to think you can merit heaven -- unless you bow at the foot of the Cross of Christ in repentance and receive what He has done in His finished work by His blood, you will not be saved! Isn’t this a foolish message? Be careful! Foolish to whom? To them that perish.

The remedy for salvation from sin is always the ransom paid at the cross. The remedy for the judgment of God is always repentance and faith. In Jeremiah’s day this was the cry:
“We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us. Are there any among the vanities {false gods} of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things”(Jeremiah 14:20-22).

Did you catch that? Only Jehovah can send rain, not false gods (idols). For the spiritual rain (revival), we need in the churches of our land we must cry unto Him from our hearts, and He will graciously visit, or else it may be all over for the USA. Repent and pray!

Friday, May 16, 2008


"Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince" (Proverbs 17:7). "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient [becoming], but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:4).

How our everyday language has degenerated in our culture! Where there once was some degree of "reverence" for holy, sacred things, that seems to be relegated to the past. Besides common lying, listen to all our modern expletives, heard in all kinds of public venues, all the way to our private homes, where families engage in coarse, vulgar talk through the influence of television, movies, music, and radio. If you think you are exempt from this onslaught of evil speech, you better think again. A big dosage of foul language, sensuality, and semi-nudity is thrown at all of us on a daily basis. And the "Christian world" is so fast asleep and at ease, if anyone says anything about it, the cry is immediately made, "You're just being legalistic." "Being legalistic" often is a nice, cute little catch-phrase for hiding behind, "Leave us alone; what we say and think is nobody's business." Not even God's?

But what about "excellent speech" (Proverbs 17:7) and "pleasant words" (Proverbs 15:26; 16:24), which can only be spoken by "the pure," not the foolish? I realize this is not "speaking" politically correct to even think someone else might be "a fool" or have "foolish" ways, but if we believe Scripture is authoritative, forget about political correctness. "Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you perceive not in him the lips of knowledge," and "Fools make a mock at sin" (Proverbs 14:7,9). "Go from the presence of a foolish man"? Surely not, we say, that would be extreme. Read it again. The mockery and blasphemy being poured forth in our God-hating country today is unbelievable. From the new curse phrase, "O my God," to all the four-letter words that once were only used in back alleys and gutters, we hear our God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and all things sacred, ridiculed and denigrated daily (some even from religious people and preachers).
What about your speech, beloved? Now, let's just be honest here. Hasn't even the speech of Christians changed? We hear many Christian people using phrases like, "O my God," "I was lucky," "Gosh," "O Lordy," "Jesus," and other bad things that we will not repeat here. Is this speech becoming a follower of the lovely Saviour, who spoke "gracious words" (Luke 4:22)? It was said of our holy Lord, "Never man spake like this man" (John 7:46). Should not His followers' speech be different also? Yes, for according to Paul, "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:6). Sadly, our "answers" to others are not always with "excellent speech."

When I was a boy and used any foul language, my precious mother would say to me, "You need your mouth washed out with soap." And often I got more than that -- whipping with a hickory stick! How times have changed. Today, the whole family often talks bad, parents and children alike, and the foul-mouthed women of our day have learned much from foul-mouthed men. We let movie stars teach us how to talk, and we seem to be eager to learn the newest fad in cursing. This may not be something you like to read, but it is something you NEED to read. We need wholesale "mouth washing" in our country, but it is really "heart cleansing" that is needed, for Christ had it right: "All these evil things come from WITHIN, and defile the man" (Mark 7:23). Repentance is sorely needed in the modern church regarding our speech, and only a sovereign-sent REVIVAL from heaven is going to get the job done. It will take more than my little feeble rantings and warnings. "Rend your HEART, and not your garments, and TURN UNTO the Lord your God" (Joel 2:13). The trumpet has been blown; who is going to the battle?

We are all fellow-strugglers in this battle, no Straight-A Christians here, none better than the other. We can only have pure speech by the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus. May our speech not betray us, as it did Simon Peter (Matthew 26:73).

Monday, May 05, 2008



“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Timothy

Paul the apostle, whose conversion was a classic example, a pattern, as he said himself in verse 16; was shaken to the very core of his being, and changed from being Saul, a persecutor of the church, a hater of Christ, to the greatest advocate of the Christian faith. His pattern was remarkable, and is clear in the word of God, repeated several times in the book of Acts for all to see. Yet, I have heard preachers and teachers say “God doesn’t force anyone to be saved. He won’t violate their will”. Well, it sure looks like to me that God used a bit of force to save Saul of Tarsus! There was a will involved all right, but primarily it was God’s. Read the account in Acts 9 for yourself, and you’ll see that Saul was “made willing” after being blinded, and knocked down to the earth and hearing a voice saying Saul, Saul Why persecutest thou me?(Acts 9:4). He then said “Who art thou Lord?” (Acts 9:5) When he heard “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5), Saul said “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?”(Acts 9: 5, 6).

I can use more modern words, one of the new translations, if you like, but it is really not necessary. You understand all right! It is crystal clear! Jesus Christ, whom Saul was persecuting, now was revealed as his Lord. Because Saul was persecuting His church, and in doing so, he persecuted Jesus Christ Himself. Paul later said that Christ was revealed in him. If you are ever saved Christ must be in you.

Note: one quick observation, my friends; when you have a controversy with men, even good men, you may win. But as Saul learned, when you have a controversy with God, YOU LOSE! But in losing, he won!


This man Saul, who became an apostle better known as Paul, wrote more of the New Testament than anyone. He wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, much that is profound, and that is now the foundation of our doctrinal beliefs. He gave the church most of its teaching on Ecclesiology, on Pnematology, on Soteriology, etc,. but perhaps more important, much of its Christology. But here he uses a simple phrase that captures the essence of the gospel, i.e., the gospel in a nutshell, perhaps more here than anywhere else in the Bible.

Paul’s statement is not to be denied. It is to be accepted as complete. Many in this world refuse to hear it, but that does not make it untrue. Everyone from the highest to the lowest must accept this statement, or pay the price. The saying is faithful. This is the first of five times he uses “This is a faithful saying”. He uses it here in I Timothy 1:15, and also in I Timothy 3:1; 4:9; Titus 3:8; II Timothy 2:11. The word faithful (Gr. = pistos), according to Strong’s means trustworthy. It has the reliability of the word of God, spoken by an apostle. He said it is worthy of all acceptance. It is the truth. The statement is worthy (Gr. = axios), or deserving, to be accepted, though all will not accept it. Paul would have never accepted it without God overwhelming him with truth, and then he was never the same. You’ll never be the same either, my friend, after the Holy Ghost overtakes you and arrests you.


It is very interesting that Paul teaches us so many profound doctrinal things such as election, predestination, justification, sanctification, church order, the calling of preachers and deacons, heaven, hell, prophecy, spiritual gifts, prayer and even evangelism. Yet he speaks of Christ being the primary objective of his teaching. Actually Jesus Christ is the primary objective of the Bible itself, for not only Paul, but Peter, James, and John all center more on Christ than anything else.

A word to preachers: go ahead, Preach election -- it’s in the Bible. Preach on the fullness of the Spirit -- it’s in the Bible. Preach on Biblical inspiration -- the Bible interprets itself and is clearly inspired. Preach and teach on many things, but you had better major on Christ Jesus! When you enter college you have to pick a subject to major in. The major subject of the Bible is Christ. Everything else is a minor, i.e. in second place, or third place, etc... For too long we have “majored on the minors”. Preach Christ, brothers, its all Christ! Remember Mr. Spurgeon told us of Dr. Hawker who found Christ in every verse of the Bible. If that is a fault, it is a good one to have. Preach Christ, Christ and more Christ!

Quoting Spurgeon: “Gentlemen, if you want something full of marrow and fatness, cheering to your own hearts by way of comment, and likely to help you in giving to your hearers rich expositions, buy DR. HAWKER'S POOR MAN'S COMMENTARY.[18] Dr. Hawker was the very least of commentators in the matter of criticism; he had no critical capacity, and no ability whatever
as an interpreter of the letter; but he sees Jesus, and that is a sacred gift which is most precious whether the owner be a critic or no. It is to be confessed that he occasionally sees Jesus where Jesus is not legitimately to be seen. He allows his reason to be mastered by his affections, which, vice as it is, is not the worst fault in the world.

There is always such a savour of the Lord Jesus Christ in Dr. Hawker that you cannot read him without profit. He has the peculiar idea that Christ is in every Psalm, and this often leads him totally astray, because he attributes expressions to the Saviour which really shock the holy mind to imagine our Lord's using. However, not as a substantial dish, but as a condiment, place the Plymouth vicar's work on the table. His writing is all sugar, and you will know how to use it, not devouring it in lumps, but using it to flavour other things”. Commenting and Commentaries, Online edition, Lecture One: A Chat about Commentaries. First published in 1876.

Why in our text and in several other places is He called “Christ Jesus”- not “Jesus Christ”? Why not simply “Jesus”- or “Christ”? Jesus was his human name. There were many named Jesus in Judea during our lord’s lifetime. According to Origen, the first name of Barabbas was Jesus. Barabbas (son of the father or son of the rabbi), was his surname. This would make Pilate’s question more striking: Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas or Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17). In other words, which Jesus? But this is an entirely unique “Jesus” we are speaking of- this is Christ Jesus- Messiah Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. “A common name, but so exquisitely rare now that the Saviour bore it” (from Guy King; A Leader Led, Christian Literature Crusade edition, 1983).


The word is ‘that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- the whole gospel in a sentence -- and, indeed, but a slightly modified form of the original announcement made to Joseph, ‘Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:21; from Patrick Fairbairn, in Pastoral Epistles, 1874)

He came into this world. He is not of this world. He was rich, but for our sakes became poor. He said of His disciples whom He chose in His great high priestly prayer “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). Yet “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).


He came into the world to do just this-- save sinners. He did not come to make it possible to save sinners, but to save sinners. As in Matthew where he says “He shall save”, here it says He came to save. Not that He might save, or will probably save, but He completed the work. No doubt the mission was accomplished when at the cross He cried “It is finished” (John 19:30).

“Jesus did all that is included in the great word "save." He did not come to induce us to save ourselves, or to help us to save ourselves, or to enable us to save ourselves. He came to save us. And it is therefore that His name was called Jesus -- because He should save His people from their sins. The glory of our Lord, surpassing all His other glories to usward, is just that He is our actual and complete Saviour; our Saviour to the uttermost” (B.B. Warfield; The Person and Work of Christ).

What kind of sinners did he come to save? All kinds. Since Paul sincerely said he was the chief of sinners, Christ surely has completed the work for lesser sinners. The word “chief” here means “the worst”. If Christ’s sacrifice covered this blasphemer, this persecutor, this self righteous Pharisee, surely He has no problem saving anyone else. But, you may say to me “haven’t you preached that Christ only atoned for the elect and none else?” That’s correct. I believe scripture teaches that. Then you may say “how can I be sure I am elect, and that Christ died for me?” My friend, do you sense that you are a hell deserving sinner? Do you feel the weight of conviction for your sins? Is there a desire in your heart to be forgiven? Are you willing to repent of your sins and trust only in Jesus Christ?

If all this is true of you, election and predestination are not problems for you. Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. Are you as a sinner able to take Him at His word? He says “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). So what is important is your coming to Christ. Not to an altar, not to shake a preacher’s hand, not trusting in your works, baptism, keeping the law; but trusting Jesus Christ. Then if He has made you willing to come to Him by His Holy Spirit, His will is not to cast you out, but to save you. That is why He came. Trust Him now with all your being. He is the only Saviour of sinners, and He only saves sinners.