Saturday, April 28, 2012


There are some things I am NOT thankful for, and these are things we who love God MUST hate.  We are not better than the martyrs of the past, and I pray that God will give us the grace to stand firm for truth, even if persecuted for Christ's sake! 

"Hate evil, you who love the LORD" (Psalm 97:10).  "Therefore I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:104).
 Christians are truly thankful people!   The glory of Christ has been revealed to us; we understand and know the majestic sovereignty of our holy God over all things, including evil.  Romans 8:28, Ephesians 5:20, and I Thessalonians 5:18 are all precious Scriptures which we are "thankful" for.   Yet, the Word of God is balanced, where we also read, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess" (Ephesians 5:18), and "See that none render evil for evil unto any man" (I Thessalonians 5:15).  Even our Lord Jesus Christ (in righteous indignation) "made a scourge of small cords," driving out the money changers from the Temple, and overturning their tables.  Yet, though physical violence, this caused no riots or political uproars in Jerusalem.  The disciples quoted Christ's actions as fulfilling Psalm 69:9, "Zeal for Your house has consumed Me" (John 2:13-17).

We are commanded to be joyful Christians, ever giving thanks and singing to the LORD in all circumstances of life (Psalm 97:12; Psalm 98:1), yet the same Bible tells us we are to "hate evil" if we love Jehovah.  "Every false way" is not something to be thankful for abstractly and passively, but actually hated, and never tolerated.  Remember, if this passive attitude toward sin was according to the holiness of God, there would have never been the agonies of the cross.  Sin was certainly not tolerated at Calvary.

We are absolutely eaten up with "toleration of evil" in America, and nobody wants to be guilty of being accused of bigotry or being narrow-minded.  (In our day the words "toleration" and "intoleration" have taken on new meanings.)  But, note carefully this great slogan someone has put on a T-shirt: "Truth Is Hate To Those Who Hate Truth."  Clearly, it is NOT wrong to hate!  We must never hate people, but indeed we MUST hate all evil.  Even the wicked "hate truth," so we as God-fearers must "hate evil."

Here are ten things I am NOT thankful for, and for which we must continually strive against, hating with all our power (the list is purposely short):

* WAR.

"Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy" (Psalm 99:9).  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


                                                                                                                                                                Occasionally I have enjoyed reading a mystery novel. I have read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and greatly enjoyed the late Jeremy Brett in the role when PBS aired most of them in a TV series a number of years ago.  I now have them all on tape so I can view them whenever I like. I also liked some of the Alfred Hitchcock movies, especially the ones with James Stewart. My wife still likes Diagnosis Murder and Murder She Wrote. There is something about a mystery.  A good one is intriguing and stimulating to me.

The Bible has much to say regarding mysteries. The word “mystery” is strictly a New Testament word, and  is found 22 times in the KJV, and “mysteries” is found 5 times. It is from the Greek word mustērion of which Strong says “to shut the mouth; a secret or mystery.” Young’s Concordance says “What is known only to the initiated.” Vine’s Dictionary says “primarily that which is known to the initiated (Greek= mustēs).” The word “secret” is used a number of times in the OT, with several Hebrew words and shades of meaning. Most notably for this study is “The secret (Heb. sathar), things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed (Heb.galah) belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Here secret means hidden, or concealed. But “revealed” here means exposed, denuded, disclosed or discovered. Many things were disclosed to God’s children in the OT to encourage them to follow the Lord and obey His law. But many things were not yet revealed in that OT dispensation. In the NT the mysteries are revealed, or will be, to the true Christians. I am sure that many mysteries will remain mysteries until we arrive in heaven, but there are also many that we can explore on this side of the fence (so to speak).

In the NT there are many different mysteries that are discussed. I have tried to categorize some of the most obvious verses as follows:
1. The kingdom mysteries mentioned by Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; and Luke       8:10; Matthew and Mark say kingdom of heaven, Luke says kingdom of God).
2. The parousia, or second coming mystery (1 Corinthians 15:51).
3. The charisma, or spiritual gifts mystery (1 Corinthians 14:2).
4. The God’s will mystery (I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:9).
5. The body of Christ mystery (Ephesians 3:1-9; 6:19).
6. The Christ and the church mystery (Ephesians 5: 32).
7. The Christ is God mystery (Colossians 2:2; 4:3; 1Timothy 3:16; Romans 16:25).
8. The Christian faith mystery (1Timothy 3:9).
9. The mystery of iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
10.The apocalypse mysteries: the mystery of the seven stars (Revelation 1:20); the mystery of God (10:7); the mystery of Babylon (17:5); the mystery of the woman (17:7).

W.E. Vine tells us in his Expository Dictionary of NT Words the following information:
“The word "mystery" in the New Testament does not denote that which is mysterious (as with the English word), but it denotes that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit. In the ordinary sense a mystery implies knowledge withheld; its scriptural significance is truth revealed”.

In other words these mysteries are mysteries to the uninitiated, i.e., those who have not had the supernatural, divine revelation. In today’s modern churches, so often everything is by program, by rote, and by repetition. Nothing unusual ever happens. There is no expectation for God to do anything. The service could well go on without God.  Yet the Bible warns us that true salvation must come by supernatural revelation by the Holy Spirit. “Knowing brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you by word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance...” (1Thessalonians 1:4, 5). This is the sinner’s “initiation” into the mysteries of God. It requires the new birth, which only God can give (see John 3:3).

The way of salvation, yes, all the ways of God are a mystery to those who are outside, to those who have not been supernaturally called. There are some mysteries that remain for the redeemed child of God because God reveals many things by progressive revelation, not all at once. For instance, we that have been saved for many years do not know all the mysteries of the Return of Christ. There is much in scripture (especially Daniel and Revelation), that remains locked. Remember Daniel was told “Shut up the words, and seal the book even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). John the Apostle was told “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Revelation 4:1b), but it wasn’t all totally clear in the book he wrote. It still has many symbols, types and shadows of which we don’t have all the keys yet, though some say they have it “all figured out.” We are told “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy” (Revelation 1:3), so we do need to study this challenging book, as difficult as it may often be.

In future issues of Word of Truth, I hope to look into some of the individual mysteries listed here, beginning with the mystery of the NT church which indeed was “hidden” until Christ shed His blood at Calvary. There was, of course, the Old Testament assembly, or congregation; even called the “church in the wilderness” by Stephen in Acts 7:38. But in that form it was a figure, a type which could not be completed without the sacrifice of Christ. He implied this when He said Upon this rock (Greek=petra), I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The rock was not Peter (petros; a piece of stone), but the petra, i.e., the huge foundation stone; Christ Himself, which was the revelation of the mystery that Peter supernaturally received “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” If this revelation is not first received, I do not care how many professions you have made, how many times you have been baptized, how many times you have received communion, if you saw an angel, a ball of fire, or a premonition of death. It doesn’t matter how elect you think you are, how much you do or do not believe in predestination, or any other doctrine, if you have not had Christ revealed to you supernaturally -- you are lost!

In our day many people are interested in these mysteries. Some are interested for the wrong reasons. This is why Hollywood is obsessed with movies about the supernatural. The major problem with that is that Hollywood’s view of the supernatural is warped and untrue. But this does not disprove the supernatural. It confuses it, but does not remove it. We need the supernatural revelation of Almighty God. The devil does his best to obscure and twist this to keep people from seeing the truth. The truth has been revealed. It was revealed when Jesus Christ came to earth; when He was born; when He lived; when He worked miracles; when He clashed with religious leaders of His time; when He was crucified; when He died; when He rose again.

Yes, that is your answer, Jesus Christ. Without Him, all the mysteries are still sealed; still locked up. With Him, all is, or shall be revealed. How do we know this? Because He told us. He told His disciples and us: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:1-6)  My friends, these words unravel a mystery. Believe it with all your heart!

Monday, April 09, 2012


(The following are some items I have previously published, but now with some revision. Talking of Christ and all He accomplished is always a good thing. Our lives are short, and eternity is long. We need to be ready for eternity. Christ is the only option. Many claim to know Him, but it is doubtful. Do YOU know Him? It is my prayer that these items speak with God's blessing. Charles Woodruff)

                                                   ONE SOLITARY LIFE                                             

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...
While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.- Original author unknown
The above well-known little morsel states of Christ that He never had a family, i.e., He never married. By now you probably know that James Cameron, best known as director of the movie Titanic in 1997, is behind a “documentary” that aired on the Discovery Channel recently, trying to prove that the graves of Jesus and “His family” have been found. Their flimsy “proof” largely depends on the names on the graves “Jesus” and “Miriam” (Hebrew for Mary).Then there is “Joseph” “Judas” and “Matthew” (supposedly the children of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene). You can see they are buying into some more Da Vinci Code theories and nonsense. With Easter coming in April, it is not unusual to see assaults on Christianity like this in the name of science. 
Jim Fleming, director of The Museum of Biblical Life in La Grange, GA said in an interview for the Newnan Times-Herald that in  the Jerusalem area at that time (around 30 A.D), there were about 60,000 named Mary, 15,000 named Judas, 13,000 named Jesus, 7,500 named Matthew. We know from other sources that these were very common names. So there may be many graves with these names. An occupied grave for Jesus has never been found, and never will be.
                                              PRESENT DAY CHRISTIANITY

Present day Christianity has largely rejected the teaching of God's grace in its biblical fullness. Instead, we have on all sides a largely man-centered religion. "Media Event Christianity" is the norm in so many churches. The manipulation of souls and "decisionism" has given us a watered-down gospel that couldn't save a flea. It has been taught that God can only do what man "lets" Him do! But this is a far cry from the God of the Bible. He is the Sovereign of the universe! He does not need our help, we need His!

Naturally, to declare God as God Almighty is going to ruffle some feathers. The Baptists of today forget the London Confession, the Philadelphia Confession, and the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, which all contain clear and strong statements regarding the Sovereign God. The Baptists are not alone in forgetting. The Presbyterians of today often fail to take note of the old landmark Westminster Confession of Faith (which differs from the Philadelphia Confession very little). The heritage of the church is largely discarded today, and the “emerging church”, “wealth and health gospel” along with “new evangelicalism”, and most of today's fundamentalism cannot shape up when compared to the faith of our fathers. Truth has fallen in the streets! (I originally wrote the majority of these words in 1983. Some things have changed for the better, but it is evident that many things are worse). We desperately need revival. I pray for it. I believe that reformation must come before true revival will come (By the Editor; cw).
                                       SOME ADDITIONAL NUGGETS                                       

John Newton’s autobiography introduced me to a new word: concatenation. It means a series of events (providentially) linked together. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). (The title is Out of the Depths, Moody Press, Chicago, 1972 A.D. edition. The 2003 Kregel edition is revised and may not even have this word). Anyway, it is recommended reading in either edition. John Newton was truly one of God’s remarkable men. I dearly love him.

God found John Newton in a strange place, as we have pointed out before. A slave trader and blasphemer saved by grace. As Arthur W. Pink said:The high favorites of Heaven are sometimes to be located in queer and unexpected places. Joseph in prison, the descendants of Abraham laboring in the brick-kilns of Egypt, Daniel in the lions’ den, Jonah in the great fish’s belly, Paul clinging to a spar in the sea, forcibly illustrate this principle. Then let us not murmur because we do not now live in as fine a house as do some of the ungodly; our "mansions" are in Heaven!” (The Life of David, Reiner Publications, Swengel, PA, 1969 A.D. edition, page 79.)

David was a type of Christ in many ways including: David was a prophet as well as a king; so was our Lord. David was anointed about the 30th year of his life; so Christ, the son of David, was baptized and anointed at 30. David in his wars had many poor men follow him such as were in debt; so Jesus Christ had many poor men who followed Him, and became His disciples, who were heavy laden under the burden of sin, called a debt.

(Adapted from Preaching from Types and Metaphors by Benjamin Keach, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972 A.D. edition. Benjamin Keach was a Baptist Preacher in London who lived from 1640- 1704.This work was originally called Tropologia.)
                                     A WORD FROM STEPHEN CHARNOCK

“The devil directs his fiercest batteries against those doctrines in the word, and those graces in the heart, which most exalt God, debase man, and bring men to their lowest subjection to their creator. Such is the doctrine and grace of justifying faith.” Stephen Charnock (1628-1680), The Existence and Attributes of God, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1971 A.D. edition, page 106. An amazing book! Read some of his works- free. Click on link:

Published by Charles Woodruff- email