Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA

Scriptural or Non-Scriptural

by admin ~ May 18th, 2019

The list of possible non-scriptural issues is much, much bigger than the list of scriptural ones. In other words, we’ve got a lot of liberty. A lot. I could make up a list past the moon of non-scriptural actions. What kind of furniture polish do you use? Do you hang landscape art instead of portrait? What fruit variety do you add to your oatmeal? What is the thread count of your sheets? What type of allergy medication do you use? Where do you take a walk? What variety of pet do you own? What brand of car do you drive? Is your yard grass or turf? Do you like Target or Walmart more? You get what I’m talking about. However, when we either on purpose or incidentally veer into a scriptural issue, it must be what and how God says. We don’t have options there. We’ve got to do it. What has happened today is that scriptural issues have been shoved over into the non-scriptural category to give liberty to do what people want in scriptural issues. This is actually sinning. People are sinning, but they aren’t calling it sinning because they have shifted scriptural issues into non-scriptural ones. Sometimes people are ignorant. Other times they are rebellious. Some are vexed. They know it’s wrong, but they don’t want to change. Know and obey scripture.

Continuing

by admin ~ May 11th, 2019

John 8:31 says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Believers will continue. However, believers must continue. You know you’ll continue, but you also must continue, so let’s continue. Let’s do what it takes to continue. 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” God uses the means that believers are commanded to depend on. We pray. We look for encouragement from fellow believers. We add to our faith. We endure hardness as a good soldier. We live by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God, of course, is the One Who brings us through, but we do the continuing. Like Paul said, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me. We can help each other. Bear one another’s burden’s and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Salvation Is Of the Lord

by admin ~ May 4th, 2019

Jonah 2:9 says that salvation is of the Lord. God is the start, middle, and end of salvation. How is He the start? All of the following will be gleaned directly from scripture. First, God ordained salvation before the foundation of the world. He planned it, predetermined it, through the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. Those God foreknew, He chose in Christ through belief in the truth. He prepared the means by which it would occur, even as the Word of God was already settled in Heaven. Then, God revealed Himself to mankind. According to Romans 1, everyone already knows God, because God has revealed Himself to everyone through creation, conscience, and history or providence. Man doesn’t by nature seek God, but through this revelation, God enables men to seek and find Him. We love Him, because He first loved us. Those who keep responding by faith in what God revealed will finally hear God’s Word, the gospel, through preachers He has sent. By seeing Jesus Christ through His Word, He draws men to Himself. My point in writing this is to glorify God in salvation. The means through which people are saved are supernatural means. God has chosen to use the gospel, because through this means He also will be glorified.

Bodily Resurrection in the Old Testament

by admin ~ April 27th, 2019

Many passages in scripture talk about existence beyond death. Some passages though talk about resurrection, a bodily existence beyond death. This is even more common in the Old Testament than maybe people think. In Genesis 22, which is not very far into the Bible, Abraham almost sacrifices his son and then God himself provides the sacrifice in a ram. From Hebrews 11:17-19 we see that
the only way that Abraham could have believed that this instruction came from God to kill his own son, his firstborn son, the son in whom God himself had promised that the line would continue, is that he believed that God had the ability to raise his son Isaac from the dead. That has to be a bodily existence. It is not some sort of mystical or ethereal or non-corporeal new life. It has to be life from the dead, because Isaac would then have to pass on his genes to the next generation and the next generation and so on, or the promise would have been invalid. In other words, there was already some sort of notion of resurrection and its possibility under the mighty hand of God that was grasped by Abraham right at the beginning of the covenant promises to the Messianic people.

The Cross

by admin ~ April 20th, 2019

People wear crosses. They are a piece of decoration in the way of earrings and necklaces and pins. Sometimes they are featured on letterhead and logos. A cross was a mode of execution, an extreme, painful invention of the Romans. They meant both to torture and kill someone using this means. Why would anyone want to wear something that was used for killing? We know. Jesus died on the cross. People wear the cross, not to celebrate a Roman way of killing people. They wear the cross because of its place in the plan of salvation or the gospel. The English word “cross” occurs 28 times in the King James Version. Paul called the gospel, “the preaching of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18). In Galatians 6:14, Paul wrote, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Jesus did everything that needed to be done for salvation at the cross. Man deserves a penalty. The penalty is death. Jesus died for us on the cross. I sometimes use it as a conversation piece. People wear and see crosses. What do you think they mean? A lot of people died by Roman crucifixion, but the cross is talking about one of them. Jesus. Let’s talk about that.

The Faith of God’s Chosen People

by admin ~ April 12th, 2019

Why are so many Jewish people, who we agree from scripture are God’s chosen people, so very often secular, atheist, socialist, or leftists? Furthermore, Jewish people are very often the most antagonistic toward those who love them the most in the United States and probably the world, evangelical Christians, who take the Bible literally. There is a lot of history behind this, and I see two primary reasons, not in this order. First, Jews are and have been a persecuted minority with a desire to emancipate themselves from the hatred of society. If everyone is treated as equal, then they would be treated as equal. Fairness to everyone would be fairness to them, even if it requires redistribution of wealth, taking from them to give it to others. This is combined with a messianic tradition promising an ideal future that translates into utopian society. So, that’s one. Second, the state churches of Roman Catholicism and then Protestant Germany were virulently antisemitic because of their eschatology, seeing the state church as a replacement for Israel as the fulfillment of God’s kingdom. Jews have reacted to both of those, the first one to them as a positive and the second as a negative. Both are seriously wrong. The answer still, of course, is the gospel.

God’s Law

by admin ~ April 6th, 2019

There is an absolute basis for truth, law, morals, and right and wrong and that is the law of the eternally sovereign God. God laid down His absolute, eternal, abiding law and made it known to humanity. And as God’s own Son, Jesus declared unequivocally that He did not come to teach or practice anything contrary to that law even in the slightest way, but to uphold it entirely. He said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus had a high regard for the law at the same time as teaching completely contrary to the traditions. His teachings did not lower scriptural standards but upheld them in every way. He not only elevated God’s standard to the height it belonged, but also lived at that humanly impossible level. Jesus Christ came to accomplish every aspect and every dimension of the divinely authored Word. We know how hard it is for us to maintain holy attitudes and behaviors, so we can marvel at the Lord Jesus Christ, who endured every temptation to maintain His perfect purity on earth. As important as any consequence of what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 is that such supernatural righteousness has been imputed to us through justification.

Church: Assembly

by admin ~ March 23rd, 2019

The Greek ekklesia, translated “church,” is used 118 times in the New Testament. It was a word already in usage in the Greek language  before the New Testament, and it meant, “assembly.” A church is an “assembly.” Another term given to the church, that is a metaphor, by the Apostle Paul is “body.” “Body” and “assembly” are synonyms. Very often in government an assembly is a body and a body is an assembly, used interchangeably. The church is the “body of Christ.” The body is one, and by that, it doesn’t mean there is only one body, but that each body is unified like a human body, all the parts working together. It’s not a body if it is not one, which is part of what “body” itself means. For the body to function as one, all the parts need to be working together. The parts are “members,” and this where the concept of church membership comes from. The goal of the body is to manifest Christ, Who is the Head of the Body. No one person can do that alone. He must function as a complement to all the members. The key is obedience, which is to function in obedience to the Word of God within the church. The church accomplishes the will of God in the world in this age in which we live. You are a part of it in the church.

Male Leadership

by admin ~ March 16th, 2019

We need men. Things aren’t looking good out there – government, church, and family. Male leadership is the design of God, not a social construct. Social constructionism is “the idea that social institutions and knowledge are created by actors within the system, rather than having any inherent truth on their own.” The church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (2 Tim 3:15) and the “Word is truth” (John 17:17), which teaches patriarchy. The many problems are not because men are in charge. In general, men don’t take charge today. Corrupt male leadership and a lack of male leadership is the problem. The former is not a reason to desert the latter. Very often, they are afraid to lead. They don’t want to be judged. If we are in such desperate condition with male leadership that we need female leadership, then we are in the worst shape. Throughout the Old Testament, there was no woman with an ongoing prophetic ministry, a priest, and no queen ever ruled Israel. No woman wrote an Old Testament (or New Testament) book. Isaiah 3:12 indicates that God allowed women to rule as part of His judgment on the sinning nation. If men do bad, that doesn’t mean women will do better. We’ve got to solve male leadership.

Attacks on the Authority of Scripture

by admin ~ March 9th, 2019

One of the common attacks on Christianity by unbelievers of various stripes is a refrain with a couple of different related ideas. One, the Bible was only written by men. Two, we don’t know what was originally written – it’s been corrupted. Both of these intend to remove the authority of the Word of God. You don’t need to do what it says, because then it is not divine and it is uncertain. I have never heard proof for either error. People just say them, likely heard others say them. The Bible was written by men, because God’s Word came by inspiration, the means God used for revealing His Word. God can use whatever He wants, how He wants. The same people often say that mutations, time, and chance made everything on earth – no problem there for them. God said He would preserve scripture and He did preserve it. Over 5,800 complete or fragmented New Testament Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin, and 9,300 in other ancient languages like Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian of the New Testament are preserved, nine times more than any ancient book. They agree. They have been found in many, many places, and in those different locations, and they are the same. We have the Bible as given to us by God through men.