“Where Will You Spend Eternity?” September 16

 

Where Will You Spend Eternity? - We will all live forever. The question is ... where? Will it be in a place where Jesus said the fire that shall never be quenched and the worm does not die? Or will we spend eternity in the presence of God where he will wipe away every tear, where there will be no sorrow and no more pain?

We will all live forever. The question is … where? Will it be in a place of eternal punishment, where Jesus said there is fire that’s never quenched and the worm doesn’t die? Or will we spend eternity in the presence of God where He will wipe away every tear and where there will be no sorrow or pain?

 

Today’s Readings:
Isaiah 23 & 24
Psalm 107.10-22
Proverbs 25.17
2 Corinthians 8.1-24

 

Where Will You Spend Eternity?

 

Isaiah 23 & 24:

Judge of the Whole Earth

 

In chapter 24 of Isaiah, the pattern of the book changes. Instead of talking about God’s judgment on specific nations, the prophet begins speaking to the inhabitants of the earth. This prophecy is more general in nature.

It. certainly. had a near future meaning, possibly the devastation brought about by Sennacherib and his Assyrian army or by Nebuchadnezzar and his armies from Babylon.

But it also has a yet future application in the events of the Tribulation. The book of Revelation talks about the incredible destruction that will take place during those terrifying seven years.

The next few chapters of Isaiah will continue talking about God’s judgment on the world, but there is also comfort in these passages for those who belong to Him. Even in the worst of times, God cares for His own! And as for the Great Tribulation, I don’t believe those of us who have made a decision for Christ now will be around to see it. I believe it will be proceeded by the Rapture of the church:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4.16-17).

What about you? Do you know that you will “always be with the Lord”?

We will all live forever (1 Cor. 15.50-54). The question is … where? Will it be in a place separated from God, where Jesus said the fire is never quenched and the worm doesn’t die (Mk. 9.43-44), a place of eternal torment? Or will we spend eternity in the presence of God where he will wipe away every tear, where there will be no sorrow and no more pain (Rev. 21.4)?

Sadly, there will be those who attend church, do good things and think they’re OK with God, who will realize too late that they were not truly saved (Matt. 7.21-23).

What about you? Where will you spend eternity?

If you cannot say that there has been a time in your life where you recognized your need for a Savior, a time when you accepted Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross for you personally and surrendered your life to Him, cry out to God now and ask Him to save you.

 

Assurance of Salvation

 

Perhaps, you’ve prayed a prayer or had an emotional experience at some time in your life, but you still have doubts.  Continue reading

“Do Good Works Save You?” July 10

 

Do Good Works Save You? - What makes someone a Christian? Do Good Works Save us?

Is our salvation based on taking certain sacraments or belonging to the right church? Is it based on living a godly life or doing good deeds? Does God have a divine scale where He’s weighing our good deeds versus our bad ones? Or is salvation based on something else?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 15 & 16
Psalm 81.1-10
Proverbs 20.24-25
Acts 16.1-21

 

Do Good Works Save You?

 

Acts 16.1-21:

What Part Do “Good Deeds” Play?

 

Chapters 15 & 16 record two situations concerning circumcision. The Scripture makes it clear that there was no requirement to be circumcised. But here in chapter 16 Paul had Timothy circumcised, not because it was necessary for Timothy, but so it did not become a stumbling block and shut the door on ministry to the Jews they were trying to evangelize.

In another situation, there was a disagreement over eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul said that though there was no harm in doing it (it was just meat!), he would rather never eat meat again if it made his brother stumble (1 Cor. 8.13).

But in chapter 15, the Judaizers were adding something to the gospel. They were “unsettling” the faith of the gentile believers by telling them they couldn’t be saved if they didn’t meet the requirements of the law.

 

Works of Righteousness

 

There are no “works of righteousness” which can in any way contribute to salvation. Paul said in Ephesians:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2.8-9).

We are not saved through rituals, whether baptism or communion or any other sacrament. Neither are we saved through good works, religious service, or church attendance. Rather, we should have a desire to do those things because we are saved (Eph. 2.10). Good deeds are the fruit of repentance and genuine salvation, not the cause.

If you’re not sure about your salvation, I have a number of posts on the subject, but I would also be happy to answer your questions. Just add them to the comments section below. If you would prefer that I answer by email and not publish your questions (they don’t show up until I approve them), just let me know. If you have made a profession of faith in Christ, but struggle with that assurance, you might read this post.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

2 Chronicles 15 & 16:

The Only Time We Seek Him

 

As we saw yesterday God had done wondrous things through Asa as he worshiped and trusted in Him. After a great military victory over the Ethiopians, God sent the prophet Azariah to encourage him. His prophecy ended with these words, “… be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (2 Chron. 15.7).  Continue reading

“Should Christians Drink Alcohol?” June 29

 

Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what's right?Should Christians drink alcohol? What does the Bible say? How do you decide what’s right?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 21 & 22
Psalm 78.34-39
Proverbs 20.1-2
Acts 9.1-21

 

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

 

To Drink or Not to Drink?

Proverbs 20.1-2:

 

Verse 1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

I’m frequently asked what the Bible says about drinking. I usually explain that the Bible does not condemn all drinking, but it does condemn drunkenness, specifically. And it gives us other passages to guide our decisions in this area. Here are 3 from Paul’s epistles:

“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10.23).

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6.12).

“It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Rom. 14.21).

 

Discerning God’s Will

 

So we need to ask ourselves several questions as we consider whether or not we should drink:

Is it edifying, not just to me, but to those around me? My children or others?

Could I be brought under its power, either temporarily or in the long term? Temporarily, will my behavior be influenced by it? Long term, could I become addicted to it?

Is it the loving thing to do? Are there others around me who struggle in this area and who could be wrongly influenced or tempted?

What about the unbelievers that God has placed in my life? Perhaps even strangers who are watching from a distance? One of the excuses unsaved people use to keep God at arm’s length is that believers are hypocrites. Is my freedom worth being a stumbling block to someone? That’s what Paul was referring to in Romans 14.21.  Continue reading

“When to Help and When to Get Out of the Way” March 27

 

When to Help & When to Get Out of the Way - It happens to us all. Maybe he's standing on the street corner with a cardboard sign. Maybe it's a friend or a co-worker. Maybe it's a grown son or daughter. They need a loan. Or another loan. Or just a little help. Maybe it doesn't seem right, but there's the guilt. You wonder ... what is the right thing to do?It happens to us all. Maybe he’s standing on the street corner with a cardboard sign. Maybe it’s a friend or a co-worker. Maybe it’s a grown son or daughter. They need a loan. Or another loan. Or just a little help. Maybe it doesn’t seem right, but there’s the guilt. You wonder … what is the right thing to do?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 15 & Deuteronomy 16
Psalm 37.30-36
Proverbs 12.17-19
Luke 3.1-38

 

When to Help and When to Get Out of the Way

 

Deuteronomy 15 & Deuteronomy 16:

Giving, Lending, Welfare & the Church

 

In today’s reading we see a great picture of God’s attitude toward giving and caring for one another. God commanded the nation of Israel “open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need (v. 15.8). Then every seven years there was to be a release of debts and a release of servants from their bondage.

One definition of biblical love is “a sacrificial action for the benefit of another and the glory of God without expecting anything in return.” That’s the kind of love we’re to have for one another—not a love based on feelings, but a love that is active and rooted in our love for God.

 

Does that Mean Believers Should Always Lend or Give to Anyone Who Asks?

 

I believe one of the greatest tragedies of our nation’s system of welfare and all the other programs we offer is that these things are not in the hands of the church. That’s partly because the church has not done what she should have. By the church, I mean us—you and me. Imagine what churches could do if everyone tithed and gave to the work of God! Instead, only a fraction of God’s people give faithfully.

God intended for us to care for one another in the context of the church family. That requires knowing one another, knowing the issues, knowing the struggles, knowing the circumstances, knowing what is really needed, knowing when to help and when NOT to help.

Because programs are not administered by people who know the one seeking help, our system has left room for fraud and abuse and often does more harm than good.

 

When to Help and When to Get Out of the Way

 

There are times when we can get in the way of what God is doing by constantly bailing others out of their difficulties. This is especially true with our own children!  Continue reading