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DoctorDaveT

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  1. According to the following OT verses translating the Hebrew word sheol, sheol is not just the place for the departed wicked, but the righteous will also be there. Sheol, then, is the place for all of the departed dead. Jacob went to sheol - Gen 37:35 -- And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave (sheol) unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. Sons of Korah (the godly ones whom God used to give us Ps 49) went to sheol - Ps 49:15 -- But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave (sheol) for he shall receive me. Selah. Jonah in type, inside the belly of the great fish, went to sheol - Jon 2:2 -- And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell (sheol) cried I, and thou heardest my voice. [NOTE: this reference is important because it has typological implications for the Lord Jesus.] King David would go to sheol - Ps 16:10 -- For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Since sheol is the place for all of the departed dead, it can be said that both Lazarus and the Rich man were there [NOTE: hades, translated "hell" in Luke 16:23, is the NT Greek equivalent of the OT Hebrew sheol]. Luke 16 describes the place large enough that they were "afar off" from one another, that the Rich man had to shout ("cry") to be heard, that Abraham would have to "send" Lazarus to get to the Rich man, and that there was a "great gulf fixed" between them. While one might infer that they are in two separate places because of the distance between them, the OT teaching of sheol suggests otherwise. With this understanding, the conclusion can be drawn that there are two parts (compartments, rooms, areas, etc.) to sheol: a place for the departed wicked, and a place for the departed righteous. Immediately following His crucifixion, Jesus took the righteous out of sheol and lead them to heaven [Eph 4:8-10 (while neither the words "hell" nor "hades" are mentioned in Eph 4:8-10, since Jesus "ascended up far above all heavens," He must have "descended..." for below the opposite of heaven: hell/hades/sheol)]. The only people now in sheol are the departed wicked.
  2. Pastor Markle, Thanks for the good post. I have recently preached from Luke's version of this account. Like most Christians I know, prophecy is a favorite topic of mine. May I quibble with one point? Matt 24:15 mentions The Abomination of Desolation. According to Premillennial eschatology, that takes place in the middle of the Tribulation period (near to exactly, depending on which measurement of time you reckon by). That means that everything that occurs prior to v15 is "pre-Middle of the Tribulation" and not "pre-Tribulation." What I find so interesting about that is this: in this passage, Jesus doesn't give a time stamp as to when the Tribulation begins. His time stamp starts with the mid-point of the Tribulation. So the events before hand could be first half trib, or events leading up to and into the first half of the trib - which is how I see it. Like you probably (can't quote you on this yet), but I believe we're in the last days of the last days. The political and social events that describe the Tribulation aren't going to start like a flipped light switch in a dark room. Rather, they are going to simply be a continued increase in darkness; but so much more when the salt and light of the church are removed. From a practical standpoint, I give a hearty "amen" to your sermon notes. Thanks much for the encouragement to stand and to continue with our responsibility of living out our faith. Times are about to get hard.
  3. This question requires a discussion of sheol/hades and what happened following the crucifixion. [Sorry of this post seems long; trust me, I'm condensing to get to this....] Prior to the crucifixion, sheol (Heb word from OT)/hades (Greek word, equivalent to sheol from NT) was the place of the departed. Jesus describes this place with a great gulf fixed between the righteous ("Paradise") and wicked side ("Hell") in the story of Lazarus in Luke 16. Immediately following the crucifixion, Jesus went into sheol and "lead captivity captive" (Eph 4:8-10). This is when Jesus took "Paradise" out of sheol and all of the righteous were taken to Heaven, God's abode. Sheol is now only the place of the departed damned. Someday, sheol will be emptied out, never to be repopulated. At that day, all of those inhabitants will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment, and will be cast eternally into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:11-15). With that in mind, did Jesus burn in Hell? Was His death on the cross enough to purchase eternal redemption? Heb 9 says "yes." Did He have to burn in hell for our redemption? Heb 9 suggests "no." Was He in hell, preaching to spirits in prison? IPe 3:19 says "yes" (if "prison" means "hell") But with the above understanding of hell/sheol, preaching in hell/sheol doesn't require fire. While I recognize we may not all agree with this answer, No, Jesus didn't (nor did He have to) burn in Hell. Leading captivity captive, He went to Paradise.
  4. That phrase "repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ" is actually a partial quote right out of Acts 20:21. It is used to sum up the scope of Paul's preaching and teaching. If you want to know what Hutson taught on repentance, he actually has a chapter about repentance you could read in his book, "Salvation Crystal Clear." It's been so long since I've read it, I couldn't begin to come close to any quotations, but I think I'm accurate in that he did not believe that repentance was a work separated from faith in Christ.
  5. John 3:3-4 -- Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus' Teaching on Justification in Soteriology Nicodemus did not understand "conversion." He thought conversion was some kind of external change, that by embracing the teachings of Jesus, one would become a follower of Jesus. After all, Nicodemus considered himself a master teacher. Jesus' statement was clear: following Jesus' teaching could never be sufficient; in order to see God's kingdom, a second birth, a new birth, a birth "from above" (anothen, the Greek word translated "again" in John 3:3 has the idea of "above") is necessary. "Conversion" is not external, it is internal. Jesus' Teaching on Eternal Security in Soteriology The very same concept debunks the possibility of losing one's salvation. It is not possible to become "unborn." An external conversion can be renounced (I can stop being a member of my church, my club, my credit union, etc.), but I can never stop being a child of my Mom and Dad. Don't miss this - I can change my name, move away, cut all ties, even enter the witness relocation program: but no matter what I do, I can't change the fact that Vera and Ron are my Mom and Dad. The only way I could do that is if they weren't my parents to begin with. A Child of God is always going to have God as his Father. Conversion is internal, and cannot be undone. A Necessary Conclusion Truth: many professing Christians walk away from their Christianity. With the above doctrinal understanding, we can come to two conclusions: 1. They were never born again to begin with - which is probably the majority of cases; 2. They are so mad at God, they don't want to admit any association with Him. So, is it possible to renounce salvation? Externally, yes. Internally, intrinsically? No. No. No.
  6. Dr. Rebekah "Beka" Horton died Saturday, June 27. Here is the link to her obituary. While not known as a Baptist, there are few Americans who have influenced the Baptist movement as much as Dr. Beka Horton. She was part of the duo that helped to put Christian schools on the map in America with the A Beka Book Christian School curriculum, and later, Home school curriculum. She, with her husband, started Pensacola Christian School, eventually becoming Pensacola Chrisitian Academy, Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola Theological Seminary, Rejoice radio, and several other ministries, besides the largest Christian textbook ministry in America (A Beka Book). Her funeral will be held on the campus of Pensacola Christian College Wednesday, July 1, at 10:30 Central Time. If you are interested in viewing the livestream, you can visit this link for more information.
  7. Critical Truths About The Scriptures Everyone Should Know Introduction This message is entitled "Critical Truths About the Scriptures Everyone Should Know." These critical truths will be taught through an historical drama told from the Old Testament. The main characters of our historical drama are little known or not known at all. Allow me to introduce them to you. First, there is the prophet Jeremiah. He is sometimes called “the weeping prophet” because of his tears that he shed over the city of Jerusalem and its citizens. As a prophet of God, Jeremiah experienced very little in worldly success. He had few followers. He was rarely heeded. He was certainly no Billy Graham! Another character in this drama is Jeremiah's faithful assistant and scribe, a man named Baruch. I will have a little more to say about him in the coming pages. A third character is King Jehoiakim. He was an evil king of Jerusalem, but a son of good and godly king Josiah. He reigned as king over Jerusalem for about 11 years. Our drama takes place over the course of 9-23 months (Jer 36:1, 9), from 605-604 BC. Finally, there is Michaiah, the son of Gemariah. He is a good man from a good family who is well known and respected amongst the leaders of Jerusalem. While there are also several minor characters, it is the interaction between the four main characters that provide us the great truths of the story. But alas! There is One more main character, who cannot be left out: God Himself! As this history plays out, what comes to the forefront are Critical Truths About the Scriptures That Everyone Should Know. Our drama takes place in Jeremiah 36. Jer 36:1-4 -- And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. Let’s notice first The Critical Truth of Its Composition Jer 36:1-4 Method The opening verses in this passage importantly illustrate the method God used to compose the Bible for us. The Bible teaches that It is inspired and that Its inspiration is verbal and plenary. Let's take a closer look at those three important words (verbal, plenary inspiration). Inspiration The word “inspiration” comes from a Greek word that means “God breathed.” While a poet like Shakespeare may claim inspiration for his works that come from an active imagination or a powerful set of experiences, the Bible teaches of Itself that Its inspiration comes from God, and not any of the earthly writers that God used to give us His word. The classic text in the Bible about its own inspiration is found in the New Testament. 2Tim 3:16 -- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Inspiration. God-breathed. All scripture is breathed out by God. Notice these phrases from Jer 36:1-4: “this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD,” “I have spoken unto thee,” “I spake unto thee,” “the words of the LORD, which he had spoken.” Jeremiah is careful to point out that these words were inspired by God. Verbal Inspiration It is also important to note that the Bible teaches that the very words themselves are from God, and not just the concepts, topics, or doctrines. God did not just have Jeremiah write any old sentiment about these events: He actually told him what words to use. The very words of the Bible are God’s words. “Verbal Inspiration” refers to the very words themselves being inspired by God. Plenary Inspiration Verse two mentions “all the words.” That is important, because the Bible also teaches plenary inspiration. The word plenary means “full” or “complete.” Jeremiah held nothing back, nor did he add to any of God’s words. He said “...all the words...” and implying “only the words” that God had said. Verbal, plenary inspiration. All three of those words are important. They describe the type of inspiration the Bible assigns to Itself. Verbal - referring to the words, not just the topics Plenary - all of it Inspiration - God-breathed, and not from any imagination of man An Illustration of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration in this Story Notice verse 4. How did Baruch write the words of Jeremiah? Jeremiah spoke, Baruch wrote! Baruch wrote what Jeremiah said. He wrote all of what Jeremiah said. He wrote only what Jeremiah said! That is the perfect illustration of verbal, plenary inspiration! What Baruch did for Jeremiah is exactly what all of the human writers of Scripture did for God Himself! How did Jeremiah get his words from God? Sometimes God spoke audibly so that Jeremiah could hear. Other times, God spoke to his mind, so he knew exactly what God wanted. Yet still other times, God superintended that the vocabulary, experiences and memories of Jeremiah (and the rest of His penmen) were such that the exact words chosen by Jeremiah (and the rest of His penmen) were exactly the words that God wanted written. Whatever method God chose to use, every word and all the words of our Bible are God’s words. Purpose The Purpose of Coming Judgment Jeremiah was ministering in dark days indeed! The mighty army of the empire of Babylon was either on its way to lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, or perhaps the Babylonian army was already there. [Historical Note: this would be the attack on Jerusalem that eventually sent Daniel and his three Hebrew friends to Babylon.] Either way, the certainty of God’s judgment upon the nation of Judah was obvious for all who would look. The Bible is no different today, for it has a message of certain judgment for all who would hear its words. The Bible says that Rom 3:23 -- For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. There is no uncertainty nor ambiguity there. Or how about John 3:18 -- He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Frightful words indeed are these: “condemned already.” Condemnation is not just a future certainty, it is a present certainty for those who do not believe “in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” In Jeremiah's day, there was a group composed of many religious leaders who did not believe that God's judgment was coming. They completely rejected His message of coming judgment, and were declaring no coming judgment for God’s people even while Nebuchadnezzar was leading his troops into the hills of Judea. Coming judgment was certain and evident, but ignored. God’s coming judgment is just as certain today as it was in Jeremiah’s day. But how do people respond? “I don’t believe that.” “I have plenty of time.” “Not today: maybe later.” There are a lot of ways people ignore the truth of coming judgment. But any of these reactions are simply a rejection of this truth: one of the purposes of God’s inspired words is to warn us of coming judgment. The Purpose of Possible Forgiveness But while God’s judgment is certain, God’s purpose of an inspired word is also to show us the possibility of forgiveness. Notice again that possibility found in verse 3, “that they may return every man from his evil way” and “forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Those who would respond in repentance and faith would find spiritual forgiveness for their sins. John 3:16 is sometimes described as "The Gospel in a Nutshell." John 3:16 -- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Is it the most famous verse in the Bible? Probably. Is it the most important verse in the Bible? Again, probably. No other verse so succinctly captures the glory of the gospel in so few words! The righteous Old Testament person would look forward to the coming of Jesus on the cross to pay for his sin. The righteous New Testament person is saved the same way, except that we look backward to the coming of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sin. It is faith in Christ's finished work on the cross that allows God's grace of forgiveness to go to work on our behalf. And whosoever exercises faith in Christ has everlasting life. The method of God's inspiration of the Bible is inspiration. The purpose of God's inspiration of the Bible is salvation. It is critical for us to grasp this composition of God's word. The Critical Truth of Its Proclamation Jer 36:5-10 One Denied Jeremiah was not a coward. Throughout his book, he is portrayed as a faithful spokesman for God. He is never popular; he is never accepted; he is never heeded; he is frequently maligned; yet he is faithful to proclaim all of God's truth of the impending judgment. So when we are told in v5 that he is unable to go to the house of the Lord to proclaim this particular message, we have to be content with not knowing the reason. We should not guess cowardice! He was simply denied by God to go. One Sent Jeremiah sent Baruch to proclaim the new message of God. He did so faithfully and accurately. Take note that he simply read Jeremiah's (God's!) message to the people. That way he would not make any mistakes. One Sent Again Nearly a year passes from v8 to v9 (again, compare Jer 36:1 with Jer 36:9). It would appear Jeremiah is still unable to present this message publicly. Now an official fast has been declared (probably because of the Babylonian troops just outside the walls of Jerusalem, laying siege to the City of God), and Baruch is still Jeremiah's spokesman to deliver this message. Baruch again reads the words, accurately proclaiming God's message to these people. The Babylonian army has surrounded Jerusalem, and cut off all of her supplies from the outside world. It would be a dark time indeed; and a time when it would have been absolutely critical for God's words to be faithfully proclaimed. One Still Sent In the New Testament era, God raised up a very small group of men to be His apostles. These men fulfilled a specific set of requirements (that we are unable to fulfill today), were called by God, and sent as His representatives to carry the message of the Bible to others. I remember hearing a sermon where the preacher held up a penny and said something to the effect that "this penny represents the New Testament apostles then and us today. It is one cent. They were each one sent. And today, each of us are one sent to represent Christ." While the specific office of New Testament apostle has closed (because we cannot meet all of the requirements to become an apostle), truly we are all "one still sent" by the Savior to proclaim these critical truths of the Bible to a lost and dying world. The Critical Truth of Its Reception Jer 36:11-18 We Are Personally Responsible to Accept God’s Word by Faith Baruch read Jeremiah's message in the Temple (v10). He read it "in the ears of all the people." That suggests a crowd. And in this crowd, a man named Michaiah (v11) is singled out in the story. Why? He believed what Baruch read from Jeremiah. Michaiah reminds us that even in a crowd, individual hearers are called to be responsible for the message of God. While God's message can be proclaimed universally, it must be received personally. We Are Personally Responsible for the Truth that We Hear I love this. Michaiah hears God's words, and he immediately acts upon them. He gathers a small group of what I have referred to as "minor characters" to hear what Baruch was reading from Jeremiah. They have gathered in "the scribe's chamber" of "the king's house." While the group is small, they are obviously influential men. Based on other sections of Jeremiah, those in spiritual leadership of the people in Jerusalem were telling the citizenry not to fear the Babylonian army outside of its city walls. They were telling the people that God was about to grant a miraculous deliverance. They were telling the people that they were all fine. They were telling the people that God was not angry with them over their sin; that, in fact, they were not sinners! Michaiah has heard the truth that judgment was coming unless God's people repented of their sins (v2-3, 7). He has believed the truth and recognizes it must be acted upon. He gathers a small group of "movers and shakers" that must hear this word. He has become personally responsible for the truth that he has heard. He is acting on it! In the New Testament, James likens the Bible to a mirror. James 1:22-25 -- But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. Truth learned should be truth acted upon. Just like you wash the smudges off of your face once you see them, you act on God's truths once you hear them. Micahaiah did, and so should we. We Are Personally Responsible to Pass On What We Know After this group has heard from Michaiah, they call for Baruch (v14) and he comes and verifies the message (v15). And now they all decide that the king needs to hear these words. Did you see the flow of information? Jeremiah receives the words from God. Baruch faithfully records them, and delivers the message publicly. Micahaiah hears these words and passes them on to his small but influential group of friends. And now, after having confirmation from Baruch, this group decides that Jehoiakim the king needs to hear the message. Consider 1 Peter 3:15 -- But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Or 2Tim 2:2 -- And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Christians are personally responsible to pass on what we know to be true. The Critical Truths of Its Rejection Jer 36:19-26 At this point in our drama, Michaiah's small group of influencers tell Baruch (and Jeremiah) to hide (v19). The reason becomes clear. King Jehoiakim is about to reject this word from God. Michaiah's group fears for the lives of Baruch and Jeremiah. It turns out they were right (v26). The king is convinced to read the message from Baruch. He does so in his winterhouse (v22). What a cozy picture is presented for the reader! The king is in his easy chair, sitting by the fire, listening as one of his attendants (Jehudi - v21, ff.) reads to him from Jeremiah's writings. Jehudi would read a little bit of the message to the king, and then pass the written message itself to him for personal examination. And then the unthinkable happened. There in that fabulously cozy scene, Jehoiakim unsheathed his small penknife, and literally cut Jeremiah's message into itty-bitty little pieces. Those pieces were then tossed right into the fire. Two of Michaiah's influencers (minor characters Elnathan and Delaiah - v25) try to stop the king from this sacrilegious action. But the king will have none of that. He was rejecting God's words, and wanted to make it quite evident by destroying God's words. You and I may not go to the same extreme in rejecting God's word in our life as taking our Bible and tossing it into the fire. But do we reject it? Four Ways we can reject the Word of God We can reject its divine authorship, placing it simply on the level with the finest literature of history. You see, I do not have to agree with the philosophy of Shakespeare or Hawthorne! If I reject God's authorship of the Bible, it can be fine moral teachings, but not necessarily fine moral teachings for me. We can reject the Word of God by ignoring it in our life. Just like those famous three monkeys, we can choose to "see no truth, hear no truth, speak no truth"!! We can reject it by never using it, even if we say that we love it. How much better is a person with a brand new copy of a Bible that is 25 years old, then a man who has never owned a copy? We can reject it by “amen”ing the preacher on Sunday but living like the devil the rest of the week! May we never be guilty of passively cutting the Bible up and then tossing it out of our lives! The Critical Truth of Its Preservation Jer 36:27-32 Jehoiakim has cut up and burned God's Word. Now it is gone, never to return; or is it? Is it that easy to rid the world of the Word of God? God Promised To Preserve the Book of Jeremiah As it turns out, while Jehoiakim destroyed the original and only manuscript of Jeremiah's message, God saw to it to reproduce it. God told Jeremiah to Jer 36:28 -- Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. So Jer 36:32 -- Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words. The process was exactly the same. God told Jeremiah the words. Jeremiah spoke them to Baruch. Baruch wrote them down in the scroll. All of them. Every single one of them. So that when Jeremiah and Baruch were finished, they had completed an exact replica of the original message. Except God was not yet finished with the Book of Jeremiah. As you can tell by casually flipping through a few more pages of your Bible, Jeremiah's book does not end at chapter 36. There are still 16 more chapters to go! So not only did Jehoiakim not destroy Jeremiah's past work, he could not stop Jeremiah's future work. God preserved the Book of Jeremiah. God Has Promised To Preserve The Entire Bible It is not just the Book of Jeremiah that God has preserved. He has preserved the entire Bible. I know that because He has promised to preserve the entire Bible. Note these key verses: Psalms 12:6-7 -- The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Isaiah 40:8 -- The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Psalms 119:89-90 -- For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. Matthew 5:18 -- For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 24:35 -- Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 1 Peter 1:25 -- But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. You may ask, "Does God really preserve His word miraculously?" Have I got a story to tell you! In 1526, William Tyndale produced the first English translation of the Bible to be printed on a printing press. This new version was hated by the Roman Catholic Church and in particularly by the Bishop of London. The Bishop wanted to kill Tyndale and destroy his Bible. A man named John Packington, who knew the Bishop and his hatred of the Tyndale translation, but who was also secretly a friend of Tyndale, went to the Bishop of London and told him he knew how to get all of Tyndale’s Bibles. The Bishop told him to get them and that he would gladly pay whatever they cost. The Bishop of London promised to buy them with the intention of burning them at Paul’s Cross Cathedral in London. Packington then went to Tyndale and told him of the deal he had made with the Bishop. Tyndale responded by saying that he knew the Bishop would burn his Bibles. However, printing the Bibles had left Tyndale deeply indebted. He desperately needed money. Tyndale decided to sell the Bibles to the Bishop of London. He saw this as a blessing from God. Why? First, he would have the opportunity to correct translation errors before these faulty texts were delivered to the public. In other words, it was part of the process of God preserving His words, and letting the devil pay to erase a poor translation. Secondly, when the people of England saw the Bishop of London burning the Word of God they would become enraged. That would further ingratiate Tyndale to the people of England. Finally, Tyndale could use the money to not only pay his way out of debt, but also fund the printing of a larger production run of Bibles. In fact, Tyndale would print three times more Bibles than he sold to the Bishop! Some time later, when some of Tyndale’s associates were arrested and asked where they received the money to print their Bibles, they answered that the money came from the Bishop of London. Talk about the providence and preservation of God! Conclusion The Bible is God's Word. As such, it is critical that we understand these truths about it. Never forget these critical truths about the Bible: Its Composition: It is Inspired by God; It is His words, not man's words. Its Proclamation: It is to be proclaimed by His people. Its Reception: It should be heard, believed, and acted upon. Its Rejection: Some will not believe it, and seek to do away with it in their lives. Its Preservation: God has promised to preserve His written word forever. What will you do with these truths?
  8. Causes of A National Fall of Greatness A Look At Deuteronomy 4 Deut 4:1-9 Introduction In addition to the rise and fall of many civilizations historically addressed by the Holy Bible, two writers conducted research on the history of Rome and Athens Greece, in attempts to discover if there is a general or specific cause for their fall. It is interesting to compare the findings of these two authors on these TWO different civilizations. I. THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. One of the most widely read books of all time is "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire". Written in 1788 by Edward Gibbon it sets forth five basic reasons why that great civilization withered and died. These were: 1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the family, which is the basis for human society. 2. Higher and higher taxes; the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace. 3. The mad craze for pleasure; sports every year becoming more exciting, more brutal, more immoral. 4. The building of great armaments when the real enemy was within - the decay of individual responsibility. 5. The decay of religion; faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people. II. THE DECLINE AND FALL OF ATHENS. Twelve years later, in 1801, another great man by the name of Professor Alexander Fraser Tytler, in a famous statement on "The Cycle of Democracy", predicted the tendency of one-man, one-vote democracy (as opposed to a Republic) to be destroyed by the elective power of the majority to demand benefits to which they are not entitled. Tytler (1742-1813) was a Scottish jurist and historian, and was professor of Universal History at Edinburgh University in the late 18th century. He studied various civilizations, and wrote "The Demise and Fall of Athens". The quotation below is from the 1801 collection of his lectures: "A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. Nations have historically progressed through THIS sequence: 1. From bondage to spiritual faith; 2. From spiritual faith to great courage; 3. From great courage to liberty; 4. From liberty to abundance; 5. From abundance to selfishness; 6. From selfishness to complacency; 7. From complacency to apathy; 8. From apathy to dependence; 9. From dependence back again to bondage." What Tytler postulated, and what is rapidly coming to pass, is that a democracy bears within itself the seeds of its own destruction; that excellence of any sort is rare and tends to be overwhelmed by the politically achievable of the ordinary, less-than-excellent, masses. Not only is fiscal compensation distorted, but excellence is actively discouraged. Scripture - Dt 4:1-9 I. Refusing To Take Heed to the Word of the Lord - v1-2 A. By Rejecting Its Proclamation “Hearken” is not just to hear the sound; but to pay attention, listen intently, with the purpose of OBedience! ▸ the rejection of content - hearing but not accepting ▸ the rejection of broadcast - unwilling to tolerate the very hearing of it B. By Accepting Its Perversion ▸ unintentional perversion - “well, God didn’t really mean THAT!” ▸ intentional perversion - updated translations II. Refusing To Take Heed to the Way of the Lord - v3-4 Num 25 must have been shortly before the Deut 4. We must learn the lessons history has for us. Consider the lessons of American history: ▸ Washington’s miraculous escape from New York in 1776 ▸ the psychological healing of our nation following the Civil War ▸ America’s victory over the Japanese in WW2 Now consider what we’re dealing with: ▸ The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina ▸ 9-11 and the prolonged War on Terror Knowing the truth of 2Chron 7:13-14 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Knowing that truth: what might God be doing? ▸ what might God be doing with muslims having nuclear capability? ▸ what might God be doing with oil at $145.29 barrel? ▸ what might God be doing with Russia and China building friendly relationships? III. Refusing to Take Heed to the Wisdom of the Lord - v5-8 A. God’s Wisdom Expressed In Commandments “wisdom” = hokma - skill. It is in knowing what is right, and the ability to be able to do it! Following God’s commandments IS wise because those commandments give us the best possibility of eternal happiness, blessedness, bliss and joy! B. God’s Wisdom OBserved In OBedience Do you want to be wise? OBey God! Do you want to be thought of as wise? OBey God! C. God’s Wisdom Experienced by Choice Israel’s greatness in the days of David and Solomon rank them with the great world empires of her day. Like Israel, many have believed that God’s special hand was on the founding of our country, too. Providence - the Colonial American’s preferred name for God! John Adams - {Independence Day}, “1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” John Quincy Adams, on 7/4/1821 - “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” John Jay - “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Ben Franklin, in 1787, while working on what would become the Constitution - “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God Governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it prOBable that an empire can rise without His aid? ¶ We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest. ¶ I therefore beg leave to move--that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.” As we move further and further away from acknowledging God’s founding of our country, we move closer and closer to trouble. IV. Refusing to Take Heed to the Walk With the Lord - v9 A. Personal B. Family Conclusion Where do we start? Personal righteousness, extending into all of your relationships. It starts with Jesus Christ.
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