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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. Stars & Stripes Forever! Introduction Did you know that our “Stars & Stripes” wasn’t Washington’s official flag as he crossed the Delaware River (regardless of what artist Emanuel Leutze says!)? In fact, in 1776, the “typical” flag was 13 stripes - but the union was the British Union Jack! Or it may have been “Don’t Tread On Me” - a rattle snake on red and white stripes; or perhaps the snake was coiled up on a yellow background. Or it may have been something completely different. So, where does the “Stars & Stripes” come from? Well, have you ever heard of “The Great Seal”? wiki - On July 4, 1776, the same day that independence from Great Britain was declared by the thirteen states, the Continental Congress named the first committee to design a Great Seal, or national emblem, for the country. Similar to other nations, The United States of America needed an official symbol of sovereignty to formalize and seal (or sign) international treaties and transactions. It took six years, three committees, and the contributions of fourteen men before the Congress finally accepted a design (which included elements proposed by each of the three committees) in 1782. What’s interesting is that they didn’t commission a flag that day. You can see The American Great Seal on the back of the Dollar Bill! If you’ll take a look at the eagle’s shield, you’ll notice stripes (white and red, not red and white, by the way), a “chief” of blue with no stars - and 13 stars over the eagle’s head. It was this design that gave inspiration for the flag. I hope you don’t take me for an heretic; but did you know that the colors of the flag - technically speaking - are not symbolic? So then - what do the colors of the Flag mean? Sentimental writers and orators sometimes ascribe meanings to the colors in the flag. The practice is erroneous, as are statements on this subject attributed to George Washington and other founders of the country. The mission to design The Great Seal, designed to reflect the Founding Fathers' beliefs, values, and sovereignty of the new Nation, did not become a reality until June 20, 1782. In heraldic devices, such as seals, each element has a specific meaning. Even colors have specific meanings. The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777. However, the colors in the Great Seal did have specific meanings. Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated: "The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; * White: Signifies purity and innocence * Red: Signifies valor and bravery * Blue: Signifies Vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Also this from a book about the flag published in 1977 by the House of Representatives... "The star is a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun." Flags are allowed to have gold fringe - but they are usually only indoor flags. The quote below concerning gold fringe on the Flag is from the book "So Proudly We Hail, The History of the United States Flag" Smithsonian Institute Press 1981, by Wiliam R. Furlong and Byron McCandless. "The placing of a fringe on Our Flag is optional with the person of organization, and no Act of Congress or Executive Order either prohibits the practice, according to the Institute of Hearaldry. Fringe is used on indoor flags only, as fringe on flags on outdoor flags would deteriorate rapidly. The fringe on a Flag is considered an 'honorable enrichment only', and its official use by the US Army dates from 1895. A 1925 Attorney General's Opinion states: 'the fringe does not appear to be regarded as an integral part of the Flag, and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute. An external fringe is to be distinguished from letters, words, or emblematic designs printed or superimposed upon the body of the flag itself. Under law, such additions might be open to OBjection as unauthorized; but the same is not necessarily true of the fringe.'" Why stars and stripes? Stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun. I. Lessons From The Colors * White: Signifies purity and innocence - Christians should be holy & righteous! * Red: Signifies valor and bravery - Christians should be brave in their testimony! * Blue: Signifies Vigilance, perseverance, and justice. - we’re to be ever watchful, and always striving for justice. II. Lessons From The Stripes Did you know that the flag Francis Scott Key saw over Fort Baltimore had 15 stripes? When Kentucky & Vermont were admitted to The Union, two stars and two stripes were added to the flag. But in 1819, when Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, & Tennessee were added to the Union, it was decided that there would be too many stripes. The flag then reverted back from 15 to 13, in honor of the 13 original colonies. As we look at the flag, the stripes are a good reminder to keep first things first. We get so caught up in our schedule and the cares of the day, we often forget just what the Ephesian church forgot: Rev 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. III. Lessons From The Fringe Did you remember that phrase about the fringe - “honorable enrichment only.” Whoa! What a statement! The Bible isn’t against riches. In fact, Paul gave Timothy a message for the rich 1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 1Ti 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. Honorable Enrichment Indeed!! IV. Lessons From The Stars The stars remind us that men have a divine goal - to get to heaven! And the stripes remind us of light coming from the sun. Now how can we miss that kind of a lesson! You want to get to heaven? Then you need the stripes that give light from the Son!! Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Gospel presentation. Conclusion John Phillips Sousa’s most famous march is Star & Stripes Forever. It was made by act of Congress the National March of the United States of America. I hope as you hear it, you’ll think of The Stars & His Stripes and how they make you fit to live Forever - Stars & Stripes Forever!!
  9. Hey, Bro Matt, OK, I've submitted the site. Thanks for the invitation. Dave
  10. Hey, OBF, First, let me thank whoever is responsible for such a fine place. This is really a Cadillac of user sites, isn't it? Second, I found you folks through FundamentalTop500 just in the last week - my site was just picked up there. Third, a little about myself: I'm an Independent Baptist Pastor in Sunny Central Florida. However, as you can tell from my avatar, I'm not a native Floridian! I'm in a relatively small town way off the coastline; it's more like "South Georgia" or "South Alabama" really than Florida. There's nothing "touristy" about where I live - and we're 30 minutes from the Ocean. (In Florida, if you leave 30 minutes from the ocean/gulf, you might as well be a Georgian!) I'm married to an awesome woman; and we have 3 great boys (9, 7, 6). I love being a Dad! I love being a Husband! I love being a Baptist Pastor! I love the Lord Jesus! I'm an avid eSword user. eSword is free Bible software. I think it is the best free Bible software available. For the past year, I've been involved with taking public domain resources and formatting them for use with eSword. Public domain, you ask? Yes - folks like G. Campbell Morgan, H.A. Ironside, Guy King, John R. Rice, Louis Sperry Chafer, and a whole lot more. As of today (July 3, 2010), my small group of module builders has made more than 100 modules for eSword - and they're all free. (Yep - you read that right; they're all free.) In the middle of May, 2010, my website went online. Right after we went live, our group decided to convert all of our eSword modules and make them also available for The Word - a different (but still free) Bible software program. Stop by and give us a look! So, I imagine you'll be "seeing" me around some. Don't be a stranger! Dave
  11. Hey, All, I'm interested in seeing what other Fundamental Baptists are using for their primary computer Bible studies. I have a definite preference (which I'll not reveal here...). One of my ministries is formatting public domain resources for Bible students. If I can do so in the most popular Baptist programs, then I can increase my ministry. So, what do you use as your primary study program(s)? (I utilize two of them, but one is my "main" resource.) Please don't select all that you've tried; just mark the ones that you use every day (or perhaps every week). Dave
  12. I have available several great study resources on The Tabernacle and Jesus Christ from a conservative, Bible believing doctrinal standpoint. They are formatted for eSword and The Word. They include: Louis Talbot - Christ in The Tabernacle John W. Lawrence - Five Warnings of Hebrews Henry Soltau - The Tabernacle, The Priesthood, and The Offerings H.C.G. Moule - Hebrews Harry Ironside - Lectures on the Levitical Offerings (Lev 1-7) (this module will be ready prior to August, 2010) Adolph Saphir - The Epistle to the Hebrews, Vol 1 (this module will be ready prior to August, 2010) to download these excellent Bible study modules formatted for eSword v9x and The Word v3x, visit DoctorDaveT.com Dave
  13. Hey, Y'All, I should have mentioned that there is no magic, nor any magicians in it. No wizards, nor spells. There are some giants, giant creatures, and even dragons. However, no magic. The main character is a young man named Josiah who is saved early in the first volume. Josiah struggles through the rest of the volumes as he learns to serve King Emanuel. We've sheltered our boys from "wizards, magicians, Harry Potter" etc., so there are absolutely no doorway issues here. Those doorway issues won't come from Dunlop; they'll come from somewhere else. Ed Dunlop is a published author through the Sword of the Lord publishers in Murfreesboro, TN. If you folks are familiar with the Sword, you'll have a real good idea of what is in (and what is not in) these books. Dave
  14. Hey, Y'All, Baptist missionaries to Tanzania (who happen to be childhood friends with my wife) put us on to this series. They have 4 girls, and loved it. So it came highly recommended to my family (3 boys - no girls). Well, we started into it, and the boys never wanted us to put it down. We've read almost a chapter every night for the last 6 months (7 volumes, each volume just under 200 pages). The stories themselves are quite riveting; but the allegorical truth is what is so exciting and refreshing. Ed Dunlop is a fundamental Baptist, and you can tell while reading this "children's" series. If our adults would read it for themselves, our churches could be changed! I highly recommend this for your kids, from age 6 to 16. Better for adults! The Terrestria Chronicles - 7 Volumes is available from www.talesofcastles.com. (I get no financial remuneration, in case you're wondering!) A study guide can be purchased, which would make an ideal supplement for homeschooling book reports and studies. Dave www.DoctorDaveT.com
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