We are in the midst of a presidential race that seems to percolate in the background of all the activity of the nation. Many people make a living through comment and analysis on what the president does every day or on a regular basis. People try to explain why people like or support a certain candidate. You might hear that women want to break through “the glass ceiling.” Someone might say that the people’s incomes are diminishing and the middle class is disappearing. Very often the country is reduced to various special interests, each of which has a few issues important to the group and with votes for the candidate that says to or promises it. In so many cases, the issues revolve around what people want. Almost everything relates to one’s own personal well being. On the other hand, some say they want a president who will defend the Constitution of the United States, someone who will not function according to special interest, but according to the law. Whatever it is that people may say they want in a president, the process opens us up to the condition of the people of the nation and what they think is important. It reminds us that the kingdoms of this world fall, but the kingdom of our Lord will never end. We will always be fine if we submit to God and live for eternity. For believers, our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.
Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA
God invented motherhood. Let’s explore it for a moment from His perspective. There’s mothering and then there’s mothering. The former is having babies. The latter is having them and raising them according to God’s Word. God designed mothering and mothering. God created the woman with the ability and role to bear children. He also created the woman with the ability and role to raise them. I’m not advocating in other words, Mr. Mom — only Mrs. Mom. There is no, really, Mr. Mom. That’s a perversion of what God created. God created women, equipped them, with the unique nurturing ability to the point where mothering is uniquely female. If men are doing it, they are acting like a woman, because it takes a woman to do it. You can say, based on God’s Word, that there is nothing more important than mothering. Speaking of “the woman,” that is, every woman generically or institutionally, 1 Timothy 2:15 says “she shall be saved in childbearing.” Even though she was deceived, Eve sinned in the garden, and by doing so plunged mankind into destruction. However, the woman has as much to do with bringing mankind back as anyone. Her role is equal to that of the man’s, if she will fulfill it. The woman does her part in bringing mankind back to its original purpose through childbearing. There are a lot of great examples in God’s Word.
What you know is important. Scripture again and again speaks of the importance of knowledge. More than one thing to know, the knowledge of God is the most important. Jesus prayed in His intercessory prayer in John 17, John recording in verse 3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” You have to know this in order to have eternal life. Without this knowledge is the exact opposite, eternal death. Someone might question whether that could be known and Paul answers this in Romans 1:18-19 (but you should read the whole rest of the chapter), “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” Men are without excuse as it relates to the knowledge that could save them, because God has revealed the necessary knowledge to them. You just have to believe that. I believe that. You can’t prove it wrong. My experience tells me that it is true. I’ve talked to a lot of people who didn’t know enough, and they are required to care, and they don’t care. They are not open to listen or get what they need to hear, and they need to. In v. 18 above, it says it is a rebellion problem. They “hold the truth in unrighteousness.”
God alone saves. God saves alone. Not only does God do the saving alone, but He does it His way. He doesn’t save our way. He saves in a way that brings Him glory. God deserves glory. He above all things deserves the highest value, especially from His creation, and even more so from His children. God saves in a way that He will receive the glory. God must receive the glory for the salvation of a lost soul. Those working for God should desire for Him to receive the glory. It’s not just that God saved apart from our works, because we could receive the glory if salvation were by works, but also that He saves in a way that no one but God could receive the credit. If we could get the credit from it, then we are doing something wrong, contradictory to the Word of God. We know from Romans 1 that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We know from 1 Corinthians chapters one through three that God does the salvation work by means of preaching. God saves through the preaching of the gospel. We can’t add anything to that particular methodology and that is the threshold through which God works to the saving of men’s souls. It’s foolishness to men, but it is the plan of God. It’s how God wants it done. We should do it that way. Are you participating? Is preaching the gospel a priority in your life? Do you see it as the worship of God it should be?
All of humanity divides up into two parts. I understand that people don’t want it that way. They are looking for more nuance. For instance, the world would like some historically great people to be included as a special category and perhaps some really evil, historically bad people to be another category, in addition to a few other categories. Some might say land owners and non-land owners. Some could divide it by race. Reality is everyone is a sinner, but some are saved sinners who are saved from their sin and others are still lost in their sins. Again reality is that you can’t please God in your sins. You must get rid of the sin and that’s only through Jesus. Jesus is the Savior of the world. He’s the only way to heaven, the only way into His kingdom, the only sacrifice to wash away your sins. That’s God’s plan. If you just ignore that, and turn it into something temporal, then you might judge people in a different way, where they were really great if they were good speakers, could get people to follow them, helped people get rich, got rich themselves, owned a lot of property, or just went through completely tolerant of all behavior—whatever the standard you want to make for greatness. However, if it’s all about pleasing God and getting into eternity with God and on His side, which it is, then it comes down to two categories, saved or lost. You can be saved, so be saved.
This planet, the entire universe operates according to uniform laws. Why is that? Where did those come from? They got here. Why are they here? Everything looks designed and orderly, like we would think something would look if it were designed and orderly. Normally we give credit for something that looks made that it was made. Things that were not made, but came about by accident – those look obvious too. There can’t be an eternal regression of causes. There must be a first cause. Things can be so complicated that something or someone had to make them or design them. They could not have occurred by accident, because several of the parts are components, which had to exist and be working together for the entire organism to exist. By what we see, that doesn’t happen. It can’t happen. The Bible gives a very complicated, very detailed, very consistent explanation. It’s really the only explanation. You can’t see anything else. Then the Bible itself sets itself up for failure if there were any possibility it could fail. The author of the Bible is obviously God and knows He is God. He makes predictions. People don’t make the kind of predictions God makes. They can’t. God does because He knows what will happen and He can cause to happen what He want. The Bible reports what we see happen: the history, how creation looks and operates, and then it nails humanity.
April Fools Day seems to have reached proportions of almost a national holiday. “Holiday” comes from “holy day,” which means that it is a sanctified, set apart kind of day, not common. The concept of holiday has been through history something of an actual sacred day. What I’m saying is that holidays meant something. They had a sacred meaning, I’m saying. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter. Even Independence Day. God came into holidays, giving them the sense of holiness. At a certain point in time, nothing is sacred anymore. You’ve heard that, nothing being sacred anymore. When holidays aren’t holy any more, April Fools Day is as holy as any other holiday. Between family members, at the office, on the team or in school, the pranks and practical jokes and schemes for April Fool’s Day have become as celebratory sometimes as actual holidays. I’m not making some big point about April Fool’s Day itself. Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” Holidays can turn into a sort of fool’s day when people behave on or with them as if God doesn’t exist. When nothing is sacred, holidays aren’t any more, and they may as be a sort of fool’s day, because the holiday has been emptied of its real meaning. Thanksgiving can be a holy day if someone can be and is thankful to God. Christmas can be holy if it is about God the Son. You know what I’m saying. A holiday that doesn’t have a mention of God, like Halloween, takes on more importance in a culture that doesn’t regard God any more as even existent if not important. On the other hand, if you’re a believer, every day is holy to you.
As you read through scripture, you see the various institutions God has ordained and the regulations and principles by which they are to function at their best. There are three: one, family, two, government, and, three, the church. You see in the world and even in this culture the failure of each of these God-ordained institutions. Each comes with the authority of God. The authority for every human institution is hierarchical, which means the authority is ultimately God. For instance, if government violates God’s authority, one obeys God’s authority. Government receives its authority from God, but not to function against God. Even with family, if dad or mom or husband solicits or requires disobedience to God, God again is obeyed. How does the church fit in as one of these institutions? The church is most important of the three, because through the church God rules directly. A church though isn’t a church if the Lord isn’t in charge of it. God uses government out of His sovereignty. The family is still the most fundamental institution of the three, but families are still families, even if they are almost entirely disobedient to God. The church is only the church when Jesus is the Head. Someone isn’t in line with God if He isn’t submitting within the church, which will move into His kingdom.
People need to change. People are not fine just like they are. Everyone starts out in sin. They can’t and they don’t want to do what God wants. Psalm 51:5 says man is born in sin and Romans 3 says that everyone sins. Because men are sinners does not mean that they will do the worst they could do. But what holds them back? God gets the credit here too, because we know at least three factors explain why things are not as bad as they could be. One, men are made in God’s image, so there is the image of God in man. This gives men God’s law written in their hearts and their consciences. Two, the goodness of God is all around. God’s grace is evident every where so that men will experience God’s goodness. Three, the Holy Spirit, God Himself, indwells believers so that they are salt and light. The existence of true believers, their influence, holds back the unbelievers from being as bad as they can be. This is another way that the Holy Spirit restrains a wicked world. Men know in their hearts what is right and what is wrong and out of the working of God will do what’s right. However, they should not mistake that for their own righteousness or goodness to the extent that they don’t need to be changed. All of us still need the imputed righteousness of God, His justification, because we are lost without it.
Only Jesus healed blind people in the history of the world, because He can create new eyes for someone. Only God as well can relieve spiritual blindness. I want us to think about it, because the Bible says that men are blinded. That explains what it happening. One of these is 2 Corinthians 4:4, which says, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The god of this world is Satan and Satan uses the world system and the flesh to blind people’s eyes. We also know that men get harder and blinder the more they reject the light. Scripture is replete with that teaching, but the classic location is Matthew 13 where Jesus says in v. 15, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” When you consider why more don’t hear or receive the truth, understand that this is what scripture says will occur, and it is because of blindness. It’s not surprising for a blind person not to see something. The message of the gospel is a great message, but few receive it because there is a lot going against people toward receiving it.