Thinking on Scripture with Dr. Steven R. Cook

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4 days ago

Either one is a theist or an atheist. Choices have consequences, and which worldview we adopt has far reaching ramifications. The biblical worldview offers value, purpose, and hope. The atheistic worldview—when followed to its logical conclusion—leads to a meaningless and purposeless life that eventuates in despair. The complete article for this lesson can be found at: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2022/... The Bible as Divine Revelation: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2021/... YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/v_DuD4x5f0c 

6 days ago

This lesson is part of a series on knowing and doing the will of God. The study notes for this lecture can be found at: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2021/12/18/knowing-and-doing-the-will-of-god/ 

Saturday Jan 08, 2022

This lesson is part of a series on knowing and doing the will of God. The study notes for this lecture can be found at: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2021/12/18/knowing-and-doing-the-will-of-god/ 

Saturday Jan 01, 2022

This lesson is part of a series on knowing and doing the will of God. The study notes for this lecture can be found at: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2021/12/18/knowing-and-doing-the-will-of-god/ 

Wednesday Dec 29, 2021

While discussing eternal rewards in His Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1-2, 12, 46; 6:1-6, 16-18), Jesus taught there would be varying degrees of placement in the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 5:19, Jesus said, “whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” In this verse, Jesus talked about two kinds of saved people, both of which will be “in the kingdom of heaven.” This is plainly understood from what Jesus said. The first group will be believers who, after salvation, live a life of disobedience to God, rebelling against His Word, and teaching others to do the same. These disobedient-to-the-Word believers will forfeit eternal rewards and have a low status in heaven. Jesus calls them least, which translates the Greek word ἐλάχιστος elachistos, which refers to being “the lowest in status, least…being considered of very little importance, insignificant.”[1] The second group of believers will be those who live a life of obedience to God, learning and doing His Word, and teaching others to do the same. These obedient-to-the-Word believers will be rewarded by God and be blessed with a high status in heaven. Jesus calls these great, which translates the Greek word μέγας megas, which in this passage refers to being “great in dignity, distinguished, eminent, illustrious.”[2] This gradation of status in heaven is taught elsewhere by Jesus (Matt 11:11; 18:1-4; 20:20-28). To be clear, Jesus is not addressing salvation in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7); rather, He’s addressing the demands of discipleship and rewards. Click here for a complete set of notes: Great and Least in the Kingdom of Heaven - A Life of Discipleship.    Here is the video version.    [1] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 314. [2] William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 1207.

Sunday Dec 26, 2021

The central idea of Jeremiah 23:25-40 is that false prophets were giving false messages derived from depraved imaginations and their messages were confusing God’s people and leading them astray from His will. Here is a complete set of study notes: https://thinkingonscripture.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/jeremiah-23_25-40-true-and-false-prophets.pdf 

Monday Dec 06, 2021

     God’s Word reveals there’s a divine drama unfolding, and the actors consist of angels and people, both good and bad, who operate in interlocking realms that are invisible and visible, both affecting the other. Failure to grasp this biblical truth limits our ability to understand what is transpiring in the world and what role we play. God desires that we live in reality, and His revelation is the blessing that provides insights we could never know except that He has spoken. What we do with that revelation determines whether we’re a force for good or evil. When believers know and live in God’s Word, it affords them the opportunity to make good choices that can bring blessing to those near them. But the opposite is true, that believers living outside of God’s will can bring suffering to those in their periphery. This was true of Jonah who was in disobedience and others suffered because of it (Jonah 1:11-12). But when Jonah obeyed God, many with positive volition were blessed and God’s judgment upon a nation was stayed (Jonah 3:1-10). As Christians, we should play our part well, sharing the gospel of grace and communicating God’s Word as best we can. But we must always keep in mind we’re not the only actors, and that Satan and his forces are at work, trying to weaken individuals, groups and nations. It is the work of Satan in America that motivates the writing of this article. Full article is here: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2021/09/11/where-satan-is-attacking-in-america/ 

Sunday Nov 21, 2021

     This pericope opens with a directive from the Lord (Thus says the LORD) to Jeremiah who instructed him, saying, “Go and buy a potter’s earthenware jar, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests” (Jer 19:1). God called His prophet to make a trip to the local potter’s shop in order to purchase a pot. Jeremiah bought a specific kind of jar (בַּקְבֻּק baqbuq) that had a narrow neck and was used for pouring liquid. It’s likely the name of the jar was an onomatopoeia, where the name sounded like the kind of noise it made as the liquid was being poured out. Apparently, Jeremiah’s message was for the leadership of the city, as he was instructed to take some elders and senior priests along with him.      The Lord instructed Jeremiah, saying, “Then go out to the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you” (Jer 19:2). After visiting the potter’s shop, the Lord instructed Jeremiah to head to the valley of Ben-hinnom, which is just south of Jerusalem. It’s likely the potsherd gate was near the potter’s shop and was known as the place where the potter would discard broken vessels that were no longer useful and could not be repaired.      The content of Jeremiah’s message was then given by the Lord who instructed His prophet, saying, “Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle.’” Hear the word of the Lord was the common phrase spoken by a prophet who spoke for the Lord. This reveals that the message was not from the prophet himself, but was actually God’s Word to the people. The plural reference to the “kings of Judah” likely includes the current leadership as well as the prior dynasty of kings responsible for the deplorable state of affairs in Jeremiah’s day. Jeremiah used God’s proper name, YHWH (יהוה), eight times in this chapter. YHWH (יהוה) was God’s covenant name with Israel and would have reminded the people of their relationship with Him. Jeremiah also used one of God’s titles, referring to Him as “the LORD of hosts”—literally, the LORD of the armies—who was also identified as “the God of Israel.” It should be remembered that Israel was a theocracy and God was their Judge, Lawgiver, and King (see Isa 33:22). They were in a binding contract with Him which included blessings and cursings depending on whether they obeyed or disobeyed (Deut 11:26-28; 28:1-68). Because of Israel’s long history of idolatry and rebellion, they had chosen the path of cursing. Because God has integrity and keeps His Word, He was about to fulfill His promise to judge them based on the agreement of the Mosaic Covenant. God was about to unleash a calamity (רָעָה raah – evil, misery, distress, injury, calamity) upon Judah and Jerusalem, and the result was that “the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle.” Here was a sensation that one could feel all the way up to one’s ears as the news of terrible calamity was about to be unleashed on the nation. God then explains why this was going to happen. He said: "Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent 5 and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind." (Jer 19:4-5)      Jeremiah mentions three reasons for God’s judgment: 1) They had forsaken the Lord, which meant the covenant relationship had been abandoned. Once they had forsaken the Lord and His righteous directives, all forms of evil followed. 2) They had made Jerusalem an alien place where sacrifices were made to idols. 3) Their pagan sacrifices had degenerated to the place where they sacrificed their innocent children to Baal.      Idolatry had permeated Judahite culture to such an extent that they’d lost their identity as God’s people and were no longer distinct from the pagan cultures around them. Forsaking Yahweh did not lead to atheism, but idolatry, which is a form of thievery, as it gives worship to manmade objects instead of the Lord. Biblically, there is only one God (Isa 45:5-6), and to worship someone or something in His place is to steal the glory due Him (Isa 42:8). Furthermore, idolatry subverts the Lord’s authority and eventuates in social and judicial perversions. Being only a block of wood or stone, idols cannot provide, protect, or guide those who worship them, but neither do they make demands contrary to the proclivity of the fallen human heart. And when there is no check on the human heart to restrain its sinful inclinations, the result is a breakdown in morality that weakens society and leads to harmful behavior, especially toward the righteous, vulnerable, and innocent within a community. Sadly, many churches in America have become superficial and useless, reflecting more the values of our declining culture rather than the holiness God expects of those who are His children and possess His Word.      According to the Mosaic Law, human sacrifice was regarded as murder (Lev 18:21; Deut 12:31; 18:10), and God prescribed death for those who practiced it (Lev 20:1-2). We know from Scripture that by the end of his life King Solomon turned away from the Lord and worshipped idols, even building places of worship for them (1 Ki 11:4-8). These pagan worship sites were later used by Israelites to sacrifice their children (Jer 32:31-35). It is recorded that two of Israel’s kings, Ahaz and Manasseh, caused their sons to be burned alive to pagan gods (2 Ki 16:1-3; 21:1-6). Apparently, other Israelites were also sacrificing their sons and daughters to idols (Psa 106:34-38; Jer 7:30-31; 19:4-5; 32:31-35; Ezek 16:20-21). Paul tells us that such sacrifices are actually offered to demons (1 Cor 10:20), so it’s no surprise that such sacrifices are hellish. Because Israel became corrupt, God destroyed and expelled them from the land by means of military defeat from their enemies. Child sacrifice is mentioned in the list of sins that brought the nation to destruction (2 Ki 17:6-23).      When it comes to sacrificing their children, the United States of America outdoes all previous cultures. As of 2021, more than 62 million babies have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade.[1] Most children are sacrificed for the parent’s self-interest. Of unintended pregnancies in the USA, four in 10 are aborted, which amounts to roughly 3,000 per day.[2] And girls are more likely to be aborted than boys, which translates to a form of gendercide.[3] The killing of innocent human life is a violation of the sixth commandment, which states, “You shall not murder” (Deut 5:17). Today, we don’t have idol centers located in temples or fields where children are sacrificed to a pagan deity; rather, we have clinical offices with well-educated and well-paid hitmen who use their surgical tools and vacuums to murder the innocent. Our government not only legalizes such activity, but uses tax dollars to fund it. We are a nation guilty before a just and holy God, and one wonders how long such evil can continue before the Lord’s judgment falls and renders to us what we deserve? It’s unimaginable to serve a God who cannot or will not judge us if we continue our current course of spiritual and moral decline. Of course, forgiveness is available to those who humble themselves and turn to Christ as their Savior. This is true for any sin, however heinous, even murder.      We know Judah was unrepentant and that God’s judgment was coming upon them. Jeremiah continued His message from the Lord, saying, “therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter” (Jer 19:6). God would change the name of this valley to fit the crime that was committed there; namely, the slaughter of innocent children. In this way it was to serve as a memorial that recalled Judah’s unfaithfulness to God and the evil that fell upon the children of the nation.      The leaders of Judah had other plans, but God would overrule them and bring about His judgment. The Lord said, “I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth” (Jer 19:7). God’s judgment would be terrible and swift. And the punishment would fit the crime, as they would be put to death by the Babylonians whom God would raise up as a weapon against them, and their dead bodies He would give as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the fields. Such language is employed of Jesus at His Second Coming when He puts down rebellion before establishing His kingdom on earth (Rev 19:11-18).      The city of Jerusalem would be destroyed in such a way that others would see and be amazed. God said, “I will also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will be astonished and hiss because of all its disasters” (Jer 19:8). God would intentionally make Jerusalem an object lesson for others to see; no doubt, that others might learn to fear the Lord.      God revealed further judgment in which He would create a distressing situation that would result in Israelites engaging in cannibalism. God said, “I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another’s flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them” (Jer 19:9). God knows the wickedness of the human heart and the perversities that materialize when there is no restraint on sin. One day these Judahites were sacrificing their children to Baal and Molech, and in a short time they would resort to eating them! God had warned of this judgment upon the nation if they turned away from Him and lived sinful lives (Deut 28:53-57; cf. Jer 11:1-8). Later, Jeremiah wrote about how this came to pass during the Babylonian siege (Lam 2:20; 4:10).      God instructed Jeremiah, saying, “Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you” (Jer 19:10). Here, Jeremiah’s act was itself a Word from the Lord, as it communicated in visual form the mind of God toward Judah and Jerusalem. And after breaking the jar, Jeremiah gave a message, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place for burial” (Jer 19:11). Just as Jeremiah easily broke the jar, so God would break His people and Jerusalem for their sins. And just as the potter’s jar could not be repaired, and would be thrown into a trash heap, so the Israelites, who were guilty of horrible sins, would be killed and buried in Topheth because there is no other place for their corpses. The Lord continued, saying, “This is how I will treat this place and its inhabitants,” declares the LORD, “so as to make this city like Topheth” (Jer 19:12).      Jeremiah offered no call to repentance. Rather, the picture is one of judgment that is sudden and final. The clay jar is broken and that’s it. God’s judgment was upon that generation to whom Jeremiah spoke, but His judgment did not render His former promises to the nation obsolete, as future generations could know God’s grace and blessing. Walter Kaiser states: "The fact that this sin-sickness cannot be “cured” does not mean that there are no future possibilities for a restoration to God’s favor again. This word of judgment is for the present generation; there will be no reversals for those who have failed to respond so frequently to the message currently being delivered, but the promises of God made to the patriarchs and others about his choice of the nation, his gift of the seed that will bring salvation, his gift of the land, and especially his gift of the gospel (that is, that in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed), are all irrevocable (Rom 11:29)."[4]      Speaking about the destruction of the city, Jeremiah continued, saying, “The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods” (Jer 19:13). The reason for God’s judgment is clear. His people had turned away from Him and been worshiping openly on rooftops, offering sacrifices and drink offerings to astral deities and other gods. Because of their unfaithfulness to the covenant, God would destroy Judah, and Jerusalem would burn (Jer 7:16-20; 32:29-30).      After giving his object lesson with the clay pot, we learn, “Then Jeremiah came from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy; and he stood in the court of the LORD’S house and said to all the people” (Jer 19:14). Once in the temple courtyard, Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to bring on this city and all its towns the entire calamity that I have declared against it, because they have stiffened their necks so as not to heed My words’” (Jer 19:15).      Because Israel was in a special relationship with God, they were to live righteous lives and not in conformity with the fallen world around them. In this way, they were to have a right attitude and a humble heart that was willing to do God’s will. Instead, the leadership and people stiffened their necks and defied God’s Word and lived sinfully by worshipping idols and sacrificing the innocent. Judah’s prolonged sinfulness had blinded them to their depraved spiritual condition and they were beyond repair by preaching (Jer 25:3) or by prayer (Jer 7:16). Judgment was coming.      Jeremiah’s message fell on hard hearts and was not received kindly. The next chapter reveals the resistance and hostility Jeremiah received for speaking God’s Word, with the result that he was beaten and placed in stocks by Pashhur, a priest and chief officer in Jerusalem (Jer 20:1-2).   [1] Sam Dorman, “An estimated 62 million abortions have occurred since Roe v. Wade decision in 1973”, (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/abortions-since-roe-v-wade). [2] Worldometer, https://www.worldometers.info/abortions/ [3] Abortion in numbers, (https://thelifeinstitute.net/learning-centre/abortion-facts/issues/the-numbers). [4] Walter C. Kaiser Jr. and Tiberius Rata, Walking the Ancient Paths: A Commentary on Jeremiah (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019), 245.

Sunday Nov 07, 2021

     God’s Word reveals there’s a divine drama unfolding, and the actors consist of angels and people, both good and bad, who operate in interlocking realms that are invisible and visible, both affecting the other. Failure to grasp this biblical truth limits our ability to understand what is transpiring in the world and what role we play. God desires that we live in reality, and His revelation is the blessing that provides insights we could never know except that He has spoken. What we do with that revelation determines whether we’re a force for good or evil. When believers know and live in God’s Word, it affords them the opportunity to make good choices that can bring blessing to those near them. But the opposite is true, that believers living outside of God’s will can bring suffering to those in their periphery. This was true of Jonah who was in disobedience and others suffered because of it (Jonah 1:11-12). But when Jonah obeyed God, many with positive volition were blessed and God’s judgment upon a nation was stayed (Jonah 3:1-10). As Christians, we should play our part well, sharing the gospel of grace and communicating God’s Word as best we can. But we must always keep in mind we’re not the only actors, and that Satan and his forces are at work, trying to weaken individuals, groups and nations. It is the work of Satan in America that motivates the writing of this article. Full article is here: https://thinkingonscripture.com/2021/09/11/where-satan-is-attacking-in-america/ 

Saturday Oct 23, 2021

Complete set of notes here. The History and Meaning of Death      Death was introduced into God’s creation when the first human, Adam, sinned against God. Adam’s sin immediately brought spiritual death (Gen 2:15-17; 3:1-7), and later, physical death (Gen 5:5). Though Adam was made spiritually alive again (Gen 3:21), his single sin introduced death, in every form, into the world (Rom 5:12-14; 1 Cor 15:21-22). Death means separation. Three major kinds of death are mentioned in Scripture, and these include: 1) spiritual death, which is separation from God in time (Gen 2:16-17; 3:1-7; Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:22; Eph 2:1-2; Col 2:13-14), 2) physical death, which is the separation of the soul from the body (Eccl 12:7; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23-24; 2 Tim 4:6), and 3) eternal death (aka the “second death”), which is the perpetuation of physical and spiritual separation from God for all eternity (Rev 20:11-15).      God has granted that some would not experience death, and these include Enoch (Gen 5:21-24), Elijah (2 Ki 2:11), and those Christians at the rapture (1 Cor 15:51-52; 1 Th 4:13-18). However, there have been others who died and were resuscitated, only to die a second time. These include the son of the widow in Zarephath (1 Ki 17:17-24), the Shunamite’s son (2 Ki 4:32-34; 8:1), the son of the widow in Nain (Luke 7:11-15), Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-42, 49-55), Lazarus (John 11:43-44), various saints in Jerusalem (Matt 27:50-53), Tabitha (Acts 9:36-40), and Eutychus (Acts 20:7-10). But for most, there is an appointed time to die (Eccl 3:2; 8:8; cf. Deut 31:14; 1 Ki 2:1), and afterwards, to meet God for judgment (Heb 9:27). For believers, this is a time of reward (1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10), but for unbelievers, it is a time of judgment as they face the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:11-15). Though death is inevitable; where we spend eternity is optional. God loves us and sent His Son into the world to provide eternal life for us (John 3:16-17; 10:28).      There are three major kinds of life mentioned in Scripture: 1) regenerate life, which is the new life God gives at the moment of salvation (John 3:3; 1 Pet 1:3, 23), 2) resurrection life, which is the new and perfect body we receive when the Lord calls us to heaven (John 11:25-26; 1 Cor 15:42-44), and 3) eternal life, which is perpetual life given at the moment of salvation and extends into heaven and eternity (John 3:16; 6:40; 10:28; Rom 6:23; 1 John 5:11-13). The Eternal State      What is our eternal future? Scripture reveals every person will spend eternity either in heaven with God (Dan 12:1-2; 1 Cor 15:51–53; 1 Th 4:14–17; Rev 20:4-6), or the Lake of Fire away from Him (Rev 20:11-15). Heaven is the place where God dwells, and Jesus promised we’ll be there with Him (John 14:1-3). Heaven is a place of worship (Rev 19:1-3), service (Rev 22:3), and free from tears, pain, or death (Rev 21:3-4). God loves us and desires to have a relationship with us in time and eternity (John 3:16-17; 10:28; 14:1-3). However, our sin separates us from God (Isa 59:2; John 8:24; Rom 5:12). But God, who is merciful (Eph 2:3-5; Tit 3:5), dealt with our sin once and for all when He sent Jesus as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sins (Isa 53:1-12; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor 5:21; Heb 10:10-14; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:18). At the cross, God satisfied all His righteous demands toward our sin (1 John 2:2; 4:10). Those who believe in Jesus as their Savior receive forgiveness (Eph 1:7; Col 2:13-14), the gifts of eternal life and righteousness (John 3:16; 10:28; Rom 5:17; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9), and will spend eternity in heaven (John 14:1-3; 2 Cor 5:1-5; Phil 3:20-21). Those who reject Jesus as their Savior have no future hope and will spend eternity away from God in eternal punishment (John 3:18, 36; Rev 20:14-15). When we turn to Christ as our Savior, we have a bright eternal destiny assured for us in heaven (1 Pet 1:3-4).       All believers anticipate a future time of resurrection in which God will reunite the soul with the body. Job said, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27). The body we have is perishable, but our resurrection body is imperishable. Paul compared our body to a seed that is sown into the ground that God will one day bring to life. Paul wrote, “It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:42-44). Of course, Jesus makes this possible, as He told Mary, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25). To trust in Christ as Savior guarantees us eternal life right now, and the promise of a new body that will live forever, free from sin and decay. By God’s goodness and grace, heaven is open, and the free gift of eternal life is given to those who trust completely in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our salvation is made possible by Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross. He paid our sin-debt and gives us eternal life at the moment we trust in Him.      All believers go straight to heaven when we die, and there we will live forever. God will let us in. He does not have a choice in the matter. The Lord has integrity, and He promised that whoever believes in Jesus as Savior will be forgiven all their sins (Eph 1:7) and have eternal life (John 3:16; 10:28). He made the provision for salvation, and He will honor His Word. In fact, God is bound to His Word, for “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb 6:18; cf. Tit 1:2). By faith, we trust Him when He promises to do something, and we know that faith pleases Him (Heb 10:38; 11:6).       When the Christian leaves this world for heaven, her last breath here is her first breath there, and what a breath that must be! Scripture reveals, “to be absent from the body” is “to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). Though it is a sad time for us, it is an improvement for the believer, as Scripture states, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). The advantage is that the believer gets to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, face to face, in heaven; and this joyous relationship is forever!      At physical death, all of life’s decisions are fixed for eternity, and what we do with Christ determines our eternal destiny (John 3:16-18; 1 Cor 15:3-4; Eph 2:8-9). It has been said that procrastination is the thief of time and opportunity, and when one procrastinates about the gospel, it becomes the thief of souls. Please don’t delay. Trust Christ as Savior today and receive eternal life, believing the gospel that He “died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). And, like the thief on the cross who trusted in Jesus, you can be assured your soul will immediately go into the presence of God at death (Luke 23:43). Don’t wait another day. The Lord will forgive you all your sins and grant you eternal life. He promised, and He’ll keep His word. He has integrity and cannot do otherwise.

Sunday Oct 17, 2021

Complete notes on Matthew 24:32-51. 

Saturday Oct 16, 2021

God creates life. He created angelic life (Psa 148:2, 5; cf. Col 1:16), animal life (Gen 1:24-25), and human life (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7). People reproduce biological life, but God continues to impart soul life (Psa 100:3; Eccl 12:7; Zec 12:1), and this occurs at conception (Psa 139:13; Isa 44:2, 24). Furthermore, God has decreed the time and place of our birth (Acts 17:26), as well as the length of our days (Psa 139:16). He knows each of us personally (Jer 1:5; Gal 1:15), and is intimately familiar with us (Psa 56:8; 139:1-4; Matt 10:30). He is always present (Psa 139:7-10), is aware of our needs (Matt 6:8; 31-34), and asks us to trust Him as we journey through life (Pro 3:5-6; Heb 10:38; 11:6).   God knows how frail we are, “He is mindful that we are but dust” (Psa 103:14). David courageously asked the Lord, “Make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am. Behold, You have made my days short in length, and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; surely every man at his best is a mere breath” (Psa 39:4-5). Job too perceived the brevity of his life and declared, “I will not live forever…for my days are but a breath” (Job 7:16), and James wrote, “you are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (Jam 4:14b). And the Lord is caring concerning the death of His people, as the psalmist wrote, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psa 116:15).   What we do in life is what matters to God and others. Every moment of every day is our opportunity to walk with God who gives meaning and purpose to life. And such a life is marked by truth, prayer, humility, love, kindness, gentleness, goodness, selflessness, and those golden qualities that flow through the heart of one who knows the Lord and represents Him to a fallen world. Furthermore, those who love God are naturally concerned with touching the lives of others, especially as they approach the end of life. As Moses was nearing death (Deut 4:22-23; 31:14; 32:48-50), he gave a farewell address to the nation of Israel. Deuteronomy was his farewell message to the Israelites who were about to enter the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Moses left them what was important, what would guide and sustain and bring them blessing, if they would accept it (Deut 11:26-28). He left them the Word of God. David too thought this way; for as “his time to die drew near” (1 Ki 2:1), he gave a charge to his son, Solomon, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn” (1 Ki 2:2-3). Our Lord Jesus, on the night before His death, spent His final hours offering divine instruction to His disciples (John 13:1—16:33). Jesus’ message was motivated by love, as John tells us, “Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Jesus opened His instruction with a foot-washing-lesson on humility and serving each other (John 13:3-17). Here, the King of kings and Lord of lords became the Servant of servants when He laid aside His garments and washed the disciples’ feet. Jesus’ display of humility was followed by a command to love, saying, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). He then comforted His friends, directing them to live by faith, and to look forward to His promise of heaven. Jesus said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Jesus went on to offer additional instruction on how to know the Father, to love, pray, what to expect in the future, and how to live godly in a fallen world (John 14:4—16:33). He then prayed for them (John 17:1-26). Afterwards, Jesus went to the cross and died for them. He died for their sins, that they might have forgiveness and eternal life. What a loving Savior we serve!

Copyright 2013 Steven Cook. All rights reserved.

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