10 Days to Passover – The Last Day Before Passover

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 It’s the last day before Passover, which begins at sundown tonight. In His day, Jesus, knowing that His hour had come, and that He would be delivered into the hands of the Romans to be killed, gave His disciples the lasting, unforgettable ceremony of the New Covenant Passover. The whole story of what happened during the supper He had with His disciples goes from John 13-18, but the first sentence of John 13 is what we will focus on: Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that…

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Confess Your Sins to Be Free – James 5:16

Good Morning! I hope this post finds you smack in the middle on God’s pathway to wholeness in your life! The desire of my heart is to see each person walking in freedom… and to be as whole as possible this side of heaven. (Read this post on Wholeness – A Biblical Perspective) Janice, my wife, recently purchased a new devotional book – Sparkling Gems from the Greek, by Rick Renner. Renner takes a verse and explores the Greek meaning of key words and then writes about its application.  Today…

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Did God Put Us Here to Have Fun?

I write these words on the eve of the traditional Jewish New Year—a time of introspection, soul-searching and repentance for Jews around the world, a time when even secular Jews seek to make things right with God. At a time like this, it’s especially important to ask the question: Why did God create us and put us here on the earth?According to a young lady named Angel, seen on a recent interview from the Charlotte pride event and self-identified as a straight Christian, “God put us on this earth to…

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The Good News About Sin

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus Christ came into this world to die for our sins? But it seems that in our society today the word “sin” has disappeared from our vocabulary, hasn’t it? Nobody knows what sin is. We think it’s a bad word. People have got enough trouble without making them sinful on top of it! But being aware of our sins is one of the most important lessons we can learn if we want to experience peace. And that’s actually pretty good news, because sin is easily dealt…

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Humanity and Sin

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( According to a new study from PEW research center, 33% of Americans don’t believe in evolution. And 24% of those who do, still believe that a “supreme being” guided the process. The decision to believe in either creationism/evolution is strongly linked to race, religion, gender, and political affiliations.) God created man and woman in His image. Humans are distinct from all other forms of creation, having spiritual as well as physical characteristics. Physically, each person has a body made from the elements of earth — a body that grows,…

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A Heart Trained in Covetous Practices

A topic that has been on my heart lately is covetousness, or probably as we would call it today, comparison without contentment. Marcus Aurelius once said, “How much time he gains who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks, but only at what he does himself, to make it just and holy.” I’ve been thinking a lot about how often I do this, how it affects my attitude and how it ultimately affects my intimacy with God. The first thing I realized was how…

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The Seven Deadly Sins

What are The Seven Deadly Sins? The Seven Deadly Sins in Christian belief are a list of seven rebellious tendencies that afflict fallen and sinful humanity, so classified by traditional orthodox Christianity, especially the Catholic Church.What are the seven sins? In no particular order the seven deadly sins are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.How does the Catholic church classify the seven sins? The seven deadly sins are cardinal sins (i.e. mortal wrongdoing), as opposed to venial sins (i.e. minor wrongdoing).Do Protestant denominations and churches utilize the list?…

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The Fruit of Rebellion

The Fruit of Rebellion:Kay Ripley was an attractive woman, well poised, a good conversationalist. Yet she wanted to know why she was a social failure.“I’m afraid to even go out anymore,” she confided. “I never know what faux pas I may commit next.”Her husband had left the pastorate to become a traveling representative for a Christian school. She hadn’t wanted him to make the change, but he did. Now he was away four weeks, home one. She was in a strange city, stuck at home with two children, and of…

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The Many Shades of Temptation

Recently, I read about the many shades of temptation in my devotional time.I read in One Year Alone With God by Ava Pennington that,…despite impeccable leadership, non-Christians would still not recognize true purity because their minds are defiled. They preferred stereotypes, because the alternative leads to truth, which leads to Christ. They would rather deny Him than bow to Him.”The gray area Have you ever heard of the gray area? I have. It’s when a situation or a person is no longer considered black and white. Sin will easily tell you…

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Why Satan Is Left on Earth

Why Satan Is Left on Earth:Part of the problem of evil is the problem of why Satan is given so much freedom to harm the world, when God has the right and power to throw him in the pit. God will one day do away with Satan altogether (Revelation 20:3, 10). That will be no injustice to Satan. Nor would it be unjust for God to do it today. So why doesn’t He, in view of how much misery Satan causes?Satan roams like a devouring lion to destroy faith (1…

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When Satan Hurts Christ’s People

When Satan Hurts Christ’s People:When huge pain comes into your life—like divorce, or the loss of a precious family member, or the dream of wholeness shattered—it is good to have a few things settled with God ahead of time. The reason for this is not because it makes grieving easy, but because it gives focus and boundaries for the pain.Being confident in God does not make the pain less deep, but less broad. If some things are settled with God, there are boundaries around the field of pain. In fact,…

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Satan Bible Knowledge, satan in Bible. satan story,satan life

I believe there is a Satan precisely because I believe in Jesus. If Satan is our mythological holdover from a pre-scientific age, then the life-long struggle of our Lord Jesus was mere shadow-boxing. Take Satan and his forces out of the Gospels, and Jesus is left like a fool punching the air. From the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 4:1-11) to the end (Luke 22:3), Jesus was in conflict with the powers of darkness. And it is the clear teaching of the apostles, Peter (1 Peter 5:8), James (James 4:7),…

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Satan, World, Providence, Christ

The World in the Power of Devil Not until recently had I ever felt the weight of the fact that those outside Christ have no defense against the devil. God can restrain the devil from doing his maximum worst. But the world cannot. They are helpless before Satan’s supernatural power. They are utterly in his sway, except for God’s restraining providence.This should make us tremble for the hopelessness of the world and marvel at the magnitude of God’s power and grace to keep the world from being ten thousand times…

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Discerning Idolatry in Desire

Most of us realize that enjoying anything other than God, from the best gift to the basest pleasure, can become idolatry. Paul says in Colossians 3:5, “Covetousness is idolatry.”“Covetousness” means desiring something other than God in the wrong way. But what does that mean—“in the wrong way”?The reason this matters is both vertical and horizontal. Idolatry will destroy our relationship with God. And it will destroy our relationships with people.All human relational problems—from marriage and family to friendship to neighbors to classmates to colleagues—all of them are rooted in various…

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Consequences of Forgiven Sin

I was again overcome by the story of David’s sin against Uriah (murder) and Bathsheba (adultery) and God’s response in 2 Samuel 11-12. David acknowledges that the one who has done such a thing deserves to die (12:5). But in the end Nathan says, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die” (12:13).But though the sin is taken away and the death sentence removed, Nathan says, “Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die”…

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Rethinking the “Carnal Christian”

On Sunday, February 21, I preached on 1 Corinthians 3:1-4 where Paul says that the Corinthians are “carnal.” This does not mean they are not saved. Paul calls the unsaved person “natural” (1 Corinthians 2:14). But it does mean they are not “spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:14). So there are three categories of people in 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:4. Natural, carnal and spiritual. How are we to understand them?The Natural PersonThe natural person is an unbeliever. He is without Christ and without the Holy Spirit. He is committed to having the self-reliant…

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What? Me Hostile to God?

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet he has now reconciled you in his fleshly body through death, in order to present you before him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.The best news in all the world is that our alienation from God is ended and we are reconciled to the Judge of the universe. God is no longer against us but for us. Having omnipotent Love on our side mightily steels the soul. Life becomes utterly free and daring when the…

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Practical Steps to Kill Sin

Relief: All true believers have sin remaining in them in this life. Romans 7:23 – “I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.”Therefore we are commanded to constantly kill this sin (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5).How Is This to Be Done?1) Take heart from the truth that the old sinful you is decisively already dead (Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:3; Galatians 5:24). This means three things:the mortal blow to our “old…

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O Cross of Christ, My Liberty and Power!

I could not go on without the cross. Why? Because periodically I discover surprising sinfulness in me that I did not know anything about. Without the cross to cover all that, I would despair because I am sure that in the folds of my heart there remains unknown corruption.For example, on a Monday afternoon about two months ago I considered making a crucial visit to one of our members. It would be a hard visit, but I knew that I should probably do it. I had to write a lecture…

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Why is the doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin important?

Aren’t our own individual sins enough to condemn us? Why, then, does it matter whether we believe that Adam’s sin is imputed to us as the ultimate basis of our condemnation? John Piper writes:Now someone might say, why does this matter? Doesn’t Romans teach in 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” individually? And doesn’t Romans 6:23 teach that the “wages of sin is death”? And so if our judgment and condemnation are what the sins we do every day deserve, why does it…

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What is the difference between original sin and imputed sin?

The terms “original sin” and “imputed sin” refer to the two main effects that Adam’s sin had on the human race.First, as a result of Adam’s sin we all enter the world with a fallen nature. This is original sin–the sinful tendencies, desires, and dispositions in our hearts with which we are all born. Thus, original sin is something inherent in us–it is a morally ruined character. The original sin that we are all born with manifests itself throughout our lives in actual sins–the actions, thoughts, and feelings we have…

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What is the biblical evidence for original sin?

There are several lines of biblical evidence for the historic Christian doctrine that we are all born into the world with sinful natures, due to the sin of Adam.Scripture says that we are born sinners and that we are by nature sinners Psalm 51:5 states that we all come into the world as sinners: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Ephesians 2:2 says that all people who are not in Christ are “sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:3 also establishes this, saying that…

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What is the biblical evidence for the imputation of Adam’s Sin?

The doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin means that when Adam first sinned, that sin (and its blame) was rightly regarded by God to be our sin as well. John Piper writes:The problem with the human race is not most deeply that everybody does various kinds of sins—those sins are real, they are huge and they are enough to condemn us. Paul is very concerned about them. But the deepest problem is that behind all our depravity and all our guilt and all our sinning, there is a deep…

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The Fierce Fruit of Self-Control

As the Hebrews were promised the land, but had to take it by force, one town at a time, so we are promised the gift of self-control, yet we also must take it by force.*The very concept of “self-control” implies a battle between a divided self. It implies that our “self” produces desires we should not satisfy but instead “control.” We should “deny ourselves” and “take up our cross daily,” Jesus says, and follow him (Luke 9:23). Daily our “self” produces desires that should be “denied” or “controlled.”That path that…

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Fighting Covetousness by Looking at Others

This is overflow from a pastoral staff discussion on how to be free from covetousness. Fred Johnson had drawn our attention to Achan’s stealing and lying in Joshua 7:11. Jericho had fallen before Israel. The riches of the city were not to be taken. But Achan took garments and silver and gold. He hid them and tried to deceive the leaders.Why did he do this? When he was caught, Achan gives the answer: “I coveted them and took them” (Joshua 7:21). Covetousness. He desired the silver, gold, and garments more…

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Watch Your Mouth

It is humbling to remember that as Christians we are still vulnerable to Satan’s deception. One moment we can speak glorious truth and the next moment destructive, satanic words. We must be on our guard—something Peter learned the hard way. 1Why Jesus had led his disciples up to Caesarea Philippi, they weren’t sure. At the foot of Mount Hermon in the far north of Palestine, the population was mostly Pagan. Legend told that the Greek god, Pan, had been born in a nearby cave housing a great spring of water.…

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A Death of Biblical Preaching

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by appearing and kingdom, preach the word (2 Timothy 4:1-2).Eschewing his privileged religious pedigree – having been circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is found in the Law, found blameless – Saul of Tarsus was wonderfully arrested…

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Secret Sins

If you lift a stone in the garden you find all sorts of creepy crawlies underneath. Sin is a little like that.What are secret sins?Psalm 19:12 – Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. It is not entirely clear what these hidden faults or secret sins are. Secret sins are the subject of the first part of a book by Obadiah Sedgwick (c1600-1658), an exposition of verses in Psalm 19, first published in 1660. He says that such sins are

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God is Present to help in Times of Temptation

The Bible has many verses about the nature of temptation and how it can be overcome. Many of these verses are good to be familiar with and even memorize, so they are easily remembered and then used  as a guide during these difficult times.1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of these verses. This scripture not only explains how common temptation is for everyone, but it also has a promise that God will make a way to escape the temptation. This verse explains that God is ultimately in control of the temptations…

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Truths That Help When Facing Temptation

Life offers many good things. However, in the midst of this wonderful life we are confronted with the problem of temptation. From the beginning, God allowed the devil to put temptations in the paths of men. I am sure this is for our good or God would not have allowed it. Actually trials and temptations bring out the best in us when we react to such as we ought (Jas. 1:2-4).

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