Jesus Said…

Jesus Said…

Jun 23, 2017

I will show you the one to fear. Fear the one who has the power to kill you and also to throw you into hell. Yes, this is the one you should fear. — Luke 12:5 (NCV) But I tell you, if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be judged. If you say bad things to a brother or sister, you will be judged by the council. And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell. — Matthew 5:22 (NCV) Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is wide and the road is wide that leads to hell, and many people enter through that gate. — Matthew 7:13 (NCV) Don’t be afraid of people, who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the one who can destroy the soul and the body in hell. — Matthew 10:28 (NCV) 40Just as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all who cause sin and all who do evil. 42The angels will throw them into the blazing furnace, where the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain. 43Then the good people will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. — Matthew 13:40-43 (NCV) 49It will be this way at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the evil people from the good people. 50The angels will throw the evil people into the blazing furnace, where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.” — Matthew 13:49-50 (NCV) If your hand or your foot gets in the way of God, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owners of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty...

Well, … “HELL!”

Well, … “HELL!”

Jun 23, 2017

by Pastor Darwin W. Steele       Many years ago, I had a difficult discussion with a friend that involved the reality of “hell” as a place and as a condition. His point was that hell was here and now — after all, the atrocities of the Vietnam War could not have happened if hell did not exist right here and right now. He did not believe that there was a coming eternity — but then, he was not a Christian either. Nowadays, one can easily get caught in the “annihilationism” debates or fall into the “universalism” camp (even some Evangelicals slip here). Yet hell remains a real and possible future for people who have not yet joined the Kingdom of God. What do we know about hell? Is it just a cuss word? The Gospels certainly do not show this; Matthew 25:30 mentions eternal darkness, verse 41 is everlasting destruction (fire), 3:12 says it is an “unquenchable fire” and 23:33 says it is a “fiery furnace.” That’s just in Matthew. Jesus certainly thought hell was real, so why do we downplay it so much? Are we, too, slipping into the universalist camp because it pains us to talk about an eternal punishment? I hope not. I have heard hell described as the logical consequence of love as dispensed in Godly justice when the Love of God has been violated by denial of Godly sovereignty. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 mentions this, “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 NASB) This speaks to justice — the word for “retribution” is ”ekdikēsis” meaning a vindication, retribution, or justice served. If Scripture is so sure that hell is real, then we need to understand and deal with it, like any other part of the Word of God. Failure to do so leaves us vulnerable to those who preach a universal salvation for all.   Hell is the “second death” as Revelation 21: 8 shows: “But for...

When Christians Live In Hell

When Christians Live In Hell

Jun 23, 2017

by Daniel Lovelace     Hell. It’s a very real and significant place that the Word speaks about, our culture laughs about, preachers preach about, and many people don’t really think about. We, the Church, even have all kinds of ideas and opinions about hell. For the sake of focus, I’ll set my definition of hell as basically being a place which is separated from God, and cut off from His life and goodness. I want to make the case that to some degree, I believe that it’s common for Christians to live in another type of hell. Now what do I mean when I say that Christians might live in hell? I mean that to the degree that believers come to a place of not resting in the work of Christ is the degree that they pull themselves away from receiving and living from the goodness and graciousness of God towards them. I had grown up my whole life in the church, and had seen it done and heard it explained as early as I can remember. Yet even so, it was only a little over a year ago that I realized how little I really understood and valued the sacrament of our Lord’s Supper, Communion. I decided to take 31 days to have communion personally in my devotional time, and each time study a passage that dealt with an aspect of Communion. I quickly ran out of the traditional passages to read on the topic, but gradually I realized something. Everything in our life relates to what Christ has done for us to reconcile us to God. As such, Communion — a remembrance of what Jesus has done — ties into every aspect of our lives, and thus all areas of Scripture. Communion is a celebration of the Gospel, that without Christ, we are cut off from the life, righteousness, and blessing of God. Within Christ, we are fully brought into those things, once and for all! So coming back to hell. I believe that many Christians — looking to my own life experience first — commonly fall away from resting in the Truth of Communion. We fall away from looking to...

Love Sweet Love

Love Sweet Love

Jun 23, 2017

by Seth Osborn SDB Church of Boulder, CO Have you loved recently? I don’t mean the loves we usually think of: loving God, loving our family, loving a romantic interest… I mean the kind of love that’s hard. Not that those types are always easy, but this kind of love is even harder. This is the hardest love of all of them. It can only be done by deliberate choice: loving those who hate you. In Luke 10, starting in verse 30, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. I know, I know. We have all heard this one before. Just bear with me for a bit. A man is attacked by robbers and of the three men who saw him, only one helped. Neither the priest nor the Levite showed any mercy — though they were men of God, they walked by and left this poor man for dead. No, it was the Samaritan who helped him. The Samaritans and the Jews were hostile towards each other. You could easily (and rightfully) call them enemies. But Jesus says that this is the man who was a neighbor — this is the man who showed love and in doing so obeyed God’s will. I know this story has become hackneyed through many, many years of Christian teachings. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you rolled your eyes when you saw that this was the topic of my article. As someone who was raised in the church from birth, I understand all too well how many times you can hear this story in Sabbath School, VBS, Awana, and other child-focused ministries. I mean, that’s the easy stuff! We’ve had this drilled into our heads over and over again. Love everyone, even your enemies. Why do we need to focus on something we already know forwards and backwards? My answer to that is simply to examine yourself. Think about your recent thoughts and behavior. Are you behaving as Jesus instructed? It could even be something as small as a heated argument on Facebook. Have you been treating the people on the other side as your neighbors? Or have you slung hateful words at them?...

The Lord’s Prayer:  On Earth as in Heaven…

The Lord’s Prayer:  On Earth as in Heaven…

Jun 23, 2017

Sixth in a series by Assistant Pastor Phil Lawton at the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Shiloh, NJ. Check out Phil’s blog at contemplatingkenosis.blogspot.com   The last two entries in this series have been about the Kingdom and Will of God. You read about what the Kingdom of God looks like and you read that to truly live in that Kingdom you need to submit to the Will of God. This month’s entry is one that many commentaries lump in with Will. But I think that is a mistake. There is a problem with the view of many Christians today…you are under the impression that the world we live in will be destroyed. You think that when judgment day happens Jesus is going to come and blow up the earth and some incorporeal part of you is going to live with Him in Heaven with halos and wings and golden gates. I could say that this comes from the writings of Plato, but that would mean little to most of you. I think a more relatable reality is that we have believed all those movies with Kirk Cameron. I hate to tell you, but that’s just not what I see in Scripture. But what about all those passages about fire and destruction? you ask. What about 2 Peter 3? Or Isaiah 24? Well first, the passage in Isaiah 24 talks about people being left — so it can’t be a complete destruction. As for the passage in 2 Peter…did we forget 1 Peter 1:7 where it tells us that fire refines gold? Or that 2 Peter 3 mentions the flood (in which the righteous were left ON THE EARTH)? Or that Peter talks about being holy so that we can survive? Klingon Ethics I love Star Trek. I love everything about it — but what I really love are Klingons. For those that don’t know, Kilingons are a race of warrior aliens. Their whole society is centered around honor. They are to die in glorious battle. To die an old man is to be shamed. When they go into battle they are known for saying, “Today is a good day to die.” This focus...