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Monday, September 5, 2016

Does the Thief on the Cross Prove Baptism is Not Essential?


Luke 23:39-43 - Jesus was crucified between two criminals (thieves). As the three of them were suspended, one thief ridiculed Jesus, but the other defended Him. Jesus promised this one would be in Paradise that day.

This saying of Jesus has become a center of controversy. Many believe Jesus saves people on the basis of "faith alone," so baptism is not essential to receive forgiveness of sins. When the subject is discussed, people commonly bring up the thief as someone who was saved without baptism. They conclude that if Jesus would save this man without baptism, He would also save us without baptism.

Let us consider further. What does this case teach us about the terms of forgiveness under the gospel?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Significance of Jesus' Resurrection

The resurrection was one of the most commonly mentioned themes in the preaching of the apostles.

It was preached as a major proof for Jesus' claims. But it was also used to teach many other important lessons.

If the resurrection was so important in the preaching of inspired men in the first century, surely it should be just as important in our preaching today.

The purpose of this study is to consider the significance of Jesus' resurrection. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Duration of Spiritual Gifts

Note: This is the conclusion of a series of studies about miracles, tongues, Holy Spirit baptism, healings, and spiritual gifts. To see the whole series, go to our Bible Instruction website at www.gospelway.com/instruct

Introduction:

Previous articles showed that the purposes of spiritual gifts pertained to the work of revealing and confirming God's will for man. And that work was completed during the lifetime of the original apostles.

Our purpose now will be to consider whether, when this work was completed, the gifts were to continue or did God cause them to cease?

Some people believe that miracles and direct revelation still occur today. Is this correct, or have the gifts ceased?

Monday, May 30, 2016

To Whom Do the Teachings of the New Testament Apply?


Introduction:

Sometimes people wonder whether all people are universally accountable to obey the teachings of the gospel, the New Testament, or is it only for members of the church? Are people free from the laws of God simply because they have never chosen to submit to those laws, or will God still hold them accountable in the Judgment for the fact they did not obey the Bible?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Are You "In Christ"?


Introduction:
John 15:1-6 -- To bear good fruit for the Lord and to avoid being cast off, we must abide in Christ. Surely this makes it essential for all who want eternal life to be "in Christ."

Many Scriptures talk about Christians being "in Christ." The purpose of this study is to examine those passages.

What does it mean to be in Christ? Why should a person want to be in Christ? How does a person come into Christ and abide in Him?

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Authority of Scriptural Reasoning


Introduction:

   Most Bible believers admit that God teaches directly by means of direct commands and direct statements. We sometimes say: "Commands constitute binding authority"; so, people are expected to obey, and those who do not obey in error.
   
    [Examples: Acts 10:48; Matthew 22:37-39; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25; 14:37; John 14:15,21-24; 15:14; 1 John 2:3,4; 5:3; Matthew 28:18-20]
   
    But besides direct, explicit statements, the Bible also teaches by indirect methods. These methods include examples and "necessary inferences" (or "logical conclusions"). Some people say we are obligated to follow only commands. They deny that example and necessary inference are valid, binding ways to determine God's will. They may even say that using such methods constitutes a man-made creed or a human tradition. (Some even have a name for this view. They call it a "new hermeneutic.")
   
    The purpose of this study is to examine whether or not "necessary inference" constitutes a Scriptural method to learn God's will.
    *****************************************************

Monday, February 1, 2016

What Is the Meaning of Life?


Introduction:

What is the meaning of life? Without doubt, this is one of the most challenging, and yet one of the most fundamental, questions the mind can consider.

People throughout history have pondered the purpose of life. Philosophers spin theories. Poets write songs. Young people drop out of society to "find out what it's all about." Older people may remain within the "establishment," but they still wonder.

Obviously life is real. No one can deny that the world exists and people exist. You live, eat, sleep, breathe, and move. But do you understand why you exist?

Please consider with me the challenging question of life. What is it really all about? To answer this question, we will look at three specific questions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Humanism and the Bible


Introduction:

Few people were aware of, or concerned about, the Humanist philosophy until recently. As it has become more influential, it has become better known. Yet still few people really understand it or realize the depth of its influence on society.

The purposes of this study are to acquaint people with the major doctrines of Humanism, to demonstrate the influence it is having in our society, and to compare its teachings to those of the Bible.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hatred, Hate Speech, and Hate Crimes

How many times have you heard people say things like the following?

"Hate has no place in our society."

"We need to learn to love, not hate."

When people speak out against some practice, they are accused of being full of hate or using hate speech or a hate crime.

People often act and speak as though love is always good and hate always bad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Astrology, Horoscopes, Signs of the Zodiac, and the Bible


Introduction:

Astrology is becoming increasingly popular.

In my youth, people almost never took the Occult, witchcraft, or astrology seriously. People considered them a joke or at most an oddity. Today all aspects of the occult are increasingly taken seriously. Evidence of this increasing popularity include:

* In the 1950's only 100-200 newspapers carried horoscope columns. Today, thousands of full-time professional astrologers cast horoscopes, most newspapers carry horoscopes, and millions of people read them with varying degrees of seriousness.

* In the 1970's the rock musical "Hair" popularized the hit song announcing "the dawning of the Age of Aquarius," one of the signs of the Zodiac.

* The popular New Age Movement promotes and justifies astrology along with many other aspects of the Occult.

* TV ads promote astrology, psychics, and the Occult generally. Movies and TV programs discuss it, promote it, and present it as a serious phenomenon.

* Many recent book fads, such as the Harry Potter books, deeply involve many aspects of the Occult. A search of occult books on Amazon.com yields a list of nearly 800 titles in the children's section alone! The point is not that all of these are harmful - many actually oppose the Occult. But the sheer number shows the popularity of the subject.

The fact is that many people, especially young people, are fascinated by all aspects of the Occult. You and your friends, your children and their friends, will all have contact with Occult influences, including astrology. You need to know what the Bible says.

The purpose of this study is to examine what the Bible says about astrology.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Religious Emotionalism

Introduction:

Human emotions play important roles in our lives. This is natural and may be quite wholesome. But we all realize that sometimes emotions cloud people's thinking, so they do things they should not. Emotions can be confusing, uncertain, even dangerous.

The purpose of this study is to consider the role emotions have in religion and to consider some ways that emotions cloud people's thinking in religion.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Effects of Same-Sex Marriage


Numerous countries and states have granted the privilege of marriage to people of the same sex. Others are considering doing so.

This has followed after years of progressive moral decline: no-fault divorce, legalized abortion, trial marriages and the sexual revolution, and the gay rights movement. Granting marital status to homosexuals is one of the greatest downward leaps in this long progression.

The purpose of this study is to consider what view decent moral people ought to take, not just about homosexuality in general, but specifically about homosexual marriage. What effects will result if homosexuals are granted the right to marry?

What about people who do not practice homosexuality? How can this affect us?

Consider the following areas of concern:

Monday, June 1, 2015

What Must We Believe?

Introduction:

Many Scriptures teach that we are saved by faith.

But does it follow, just because a person claims to have "faith," that he will be saved? Is it possible to have a faith that does not save?

[Hebrews 10:39; 11:1,4-8,17,30; Romans 1:16; 4:19-21; 5:1,2; 10:9,10,13-17; Galatians 5:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7; James 2:14-26; John 1:12; 3:15-18; 8:24; 20:30,31; Mark 16:15,16]

There are different kinds of faith.
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Many people think they are saved because they "believe," with little restrictions on what they believe. This is especially confusing with those who claim we are saved by "faith alone."

* Some think its enough to "believe in god": some concept of a Supreme Being or some "force" that operates the universe.

* Others claim Hindus and Buddhists will be saved because they "believe in god": many gods, worshiped by images, etc.

* Others claim Jews and Muslims will be saved because "they believe in the same God you do."

* Many liberal, modernists don't believe in Jesus' miracles or Deity or resurrection, yet claim they "believe in Jesus": He existed and was a great teacher, maybe even a prophet.

* Many denominationalists disbelieve much of what Jesus taught yet think they will be saved because they believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who died to save them from their sins.

The purpose of this study is to consider what the Bible says we must believe to be saved.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Premillennialism and Jesus' Second Coming

(Note: This study is part of a series of studies relating to the premillennial view of the kingdom. Frequently this study will refer to other of the studies in the series. To understand the whole picture, and especially to see the other articles that we refer to from time to time, please go to www.gospelway.com/instruct and see the section about Man and His Future.)

Introduction:

Premillennialism is dangerous for many reasons. My main objections are that it (perhaps unintentionally) belittles the authority of Christ, the death of Christ, and the significance of the church and the gospel, while at the same time exalting materialistic goals, Jewish nationalism (respect of persons), and Mosaic practices. These problems affect our present service to God. [For details about these points, see the link above for our other articles on premillennialism.]

Yet premillennialism also contradicts clear gospel teachings about the second coming of Jesus. The purpose of this lesson is to examine these contradictions.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Claims of Scripture

Introduction:

Years ago I heard a public discussion between a gospel preacher and a denominational preacher in which the denominational preacher claimed he could write letters like those in the New Testament. He was not claiming to be directly guided by the Holy Spirit to write divine commandments. He meant that, because of his spiritual maturity and wisdom, he could be "inspired" to write helpful spiritual lessons like poets are "inspired" to write poetry.

This illustrates the view that many people today take of Scripture.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Authority of the Teaching of the Apostles

Introduction:

Many people think the teachings presented by apostles or prophets, especially Paul, are somehow less authoritative than what Jesus Himself personally spoke.

* A "philosophy major," when I quoted Acts 2:38, said that was just Peter expressing his opinion.

* A feminist said I based all my beliefs on the teaching of "that old reprobate, the apostle Paul."

* A Muslim leader (El Dareer) in debate claimed that Paul's teaching differed from that of Jesus. Other people have claimed that Paul's teaching disagreed with that of Peter.

* A defender of homosexuality said that "Jesus said nothing about gays" - meaning that He personally said nothing, so we can disregard clear teachings in the epistles regarding homosexuality.

* Others have said that the apostles, especially Paul, did not show as good an attitude as Jesus in teaching: they expressed less love and tolerance but were more condemning of other people's views.

* For these reasons, some follow only the "Red Letters" as being necessary to salvation.

To such people, what Jesus said may be worth considering, but other teaching in the New Testament is optional. They feel free to reject the teaching of some apostle or prophet, especially Paul, if they don't like it.

The purpose of this study is to consider the teachings of the apostles and prophets, especially Paul, and compare their authority to that of Jesus' teachings.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Raising Godly Children - Motivation

Parents would prefer that their children simply obey them without chastisement. But in practice this does not always happen. Often the child's will conflicts with that of the parent. Then, if the child is to learn respect for authority and do what we believe to be best for him, we must still get them to obey us. How can we lead a child to obey when he would rather not?

The answer is that parents must motivate the child to obey. Whatever reasons they have for not obeying, we must give them stronger reasons to obey! This is done by rewards and punishments. When the child obeys, we make him glad by giving him a pleasant experience. When he disobeys, we make him sorry by giving an unpleasant experience. He eventually learns it is to his advantage to obey. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What Is the Church?

Introduction:

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus promised He would build His church. All serious Bible students agree that He did build His church in the first century. At that time, there was only one church belonging to Jesus and all saved people were in that one church. You can read about that church on nearly every page of your New Testament.

The purpose of this study is to consider what the church is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Abortion and the Bible


Introduction:

In all the wars fought by the USA, a total of over 1.2 million soldiers have died. This study is about the people who have died in a different war: the war on the unborn. Since the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that unborn babies could legally be killed, between 1 and 1.5 million unborn babies have been legally killed in this country every year. The yellow pages of any phone book list several nearby clinics where women can "terminate a pregnancy."

But no human legislature and no human court has final authority over what is morally right or wrong. Nazi law and Communist law allowed the killing of millions of adults. Was that moral? God is the final authority in determining what is morally right or wrong, regardless of what any man may say (Isa. 55:8,9; Luke 16:15; 1 Cor. 1:18-25). We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

The purpose of this study is to consider exactly what the Bible teaches about abortion. The Bible is the perfect standard of right and wrong (2 Tim. 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 14:37; John 12:48). Too much has been said about abortion without adequately considering the Bible teaching.

Monday, September 1, 2014

How Can You Be Sure Jesus Has Forgiven Your Sins?

To receive eternal life according to the gospel of Christ, a person must be forgiven of sins by Jesus' blood (Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 26:28; 1 Peter 2:24). But many people are unsure about whether or not they have been forgiven. Others may think that they have been forgiven, but would be surprised to learn that Jesus does not agree.

Matthew 7:21-23 -- Many people, who believe in the Lord, will expect Jesus to accept them at the judgment. Instead He will reject them because they have not done the will of the Father.

Acts 23:1; 26:9 -- Saul was a Jew who opposed Jesus in all good conscience, doing what he sincerely believed he should do. Yet he was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:12-15). Clearly he had been misled.

What about you and me? Is it possible we have been misled like these people? Surely this matter deserves your careful investigation.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mormonism, Latter Day Saints, and the Bible


Introduction:

Many Scriptures instruct us that, to determine what is true, we should compare doctrines and practices to the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16,17 - The Scriptures are inspired by God, instruct us in righteousness, and provide us to every good work. [2 Tim. 2:15; 1 John 2:3-5]

1 John 4:1,6 - However, there are many false prophets, so we must put them to the test. We do this by comparing their teachings to the teachings we know are from God. [Cf. 1 Cor. 1:13]

Galatians 1:8,9 - Any man, even an angel, must teach the same gospel taught by inspired men. Any who teach different gospels are accursed. See 2 John 9-11.

Acts 17:11,12 - The Bereans were able to determine what was or was not true by searching the Scriptures daily.

God intends for us to determine the validity of any doctrine we hear by comparing it to what we know to be His revelation. If it does not agree, then it cannot be from God, and those who teach it are not pleasing to God.

True teachers will encourage listeners to compare their teaching to Scripture. If teachers belittle Scripture and object when people compare their teachings to Scripture, you can know those teachers are not from God.

The purpose of this study is to examine some particular teachings and compare them to Scripture, as the above passages teach.
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The doctrines we will examine are those taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). Mormons claim to agree that the Bible is from God (Article of Faith #8). We do not accept their claim that their Mormon "Scriptures" are from God, but we agree that the Bible is from God. Since Mormons and we agree that the Bible is from God, then we can determine the truth of Mormon teaching by comparing it to the Bible.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Does Jesus' Kingdom Now Exist?


Premillennialism claims that the kingdom of Jesus Christ does not yet exist. The premillennial view is that Jesus came to earth to establish His kingdom but could not because the Jews rejected Him. So they say, when He comes again, the Messiah must establish and rule 1000 years on the throne of David over an earthly, civil kingdom. Does the kingdom now exist or will Jesus reign for a thousand years on earth (the millennium) when He returns?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Modernism, Miracles, and the Bible

Introduction:

The purpose of this study is to examine the teaching of modernism about miracles and to consider how Christians should respond.

I. A Description of Modernism
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A. A Definition of Modernism
==================

Modernism, as a religious philosophy, is believed to some extent by many (probably most) denominational preachers who claim to be Christians. Its adherents may differ widely in viewpoint, but we define its major concepts as follows:

Modernism is the belief that the Bible is not infallible but may contain errors or inaccuracies. It generally begins by claiming the Bible contains inaccuracies in history, geography, or science; then it expresses doubt about Bible accounts of miracles and prophetic predictions; then it ends by denying or questioning fundamental doctrines such as the Deity of Jesus, the sacrificial death of Jesus, the nature of God, etc.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Responsibility, Honesty, and Self-Control in Marriage


(This is part of a ten-part series about marriage preparation and improvement. This article should be studied in context of the whole series of articles. To start at the beginning of the series, please go to our web site at www.gospelway.com/instruct and see the section about the Family.)

Major marriage problems often are caused by irresponsible conduct, especially regarding honesty, financial matters, and uncontrolled temper.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

God’s Explanation about Job’s Suffering


(The following is the conclusion of our Commentary on the Book of Job. To learn more about our commentaries and books, go to www.lighttomypath.net/sales.)

One wonders, as the story of the book of Job concludes, at the fact that God never did explain to Job the real reason for his suffering. We were told the reason in the very beginning of the book, yet the record nowhere states that God ever told Job. Over and over Job and his friends disputed the reason why Job was suffering. This one issue was the major theme of the book till God spoke. Yet the book ends without Job or his friends ever learning the answer! This used to really frustrate me. It almost appears that God missed the point of the discussion – that He never even discussed the real issue. But of course, we must never think God makes a mistake – that would be similar to the error Job committed. So why did God not answer Job’s questions?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Jesus' Transfiguration

Jesus' transfiguration is recorded in three accounts of His life (Luke 9:28-36; Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13) . Consider some lessons we can learn from this Bible event.
 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Watch Your Language!

Introduction:

The use of profane and obscene speech is an increasing problem.

I once received a newspaper column in which a woman discussed whether parents should allow little children to use swear words. She cited a woman "theologian" who said the Bible nowhere condemns swearing. She concluded there is really nothing wrong with it, unless your children use such language around people who would be offended.

Some people have long used profanity and obscenity privately when they are angry, disgusted, or excited. Some use it for emphasis. Some enjoy suggestive or off-color jokes. With others the practice is just a habit. Unfortunately, this is even true of some professing Christians.

More recently, such speech has become common, not just in private, but also in public and in the mass media. Finding a TV show, movie, or novel that does not use it is nearly impossible, even in so-called "family entertainment." Social media have gone so far as to give such expressions code abbreviations, so people can use profanity without having to type it out! Some professing Christians carelessly copy and distribute on their pages messages that include it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Jesus Deserves the Worship and Glory That Are Uniquely God's


Just as only God deserves to wear certain unique names, possesses certain unique characteristics, and do certain unique works, so there are certain unique forms of worship and honor that belong only to God. Because God created and rules the whole creation, it follows that all created things must honor and worship Him. No man or other created being may rightly receive such worship. To give such honor to men or created beings constitutes blasphemy or idolatry.

In this study we consider the Bible evidence about the worship and honor Jesus deserves to receive.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Separation of Religion and ... Everything!

Introduction:
***********

We often hear people speak of "separation of church and state."
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Many people think this proves that somehow government should never support or encourage anything religious. More recently, this idea is being used to claim that people's religious views should have no influence on the government.

We can easily document that this was never what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the Constitution, but what does God think?

The purpose of this lesson is to consider how religious belief is being systematically excluded from daily life.
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The End of Darwinism Part II


The End of Darwinism Part II

by David A. Noebel

Following are the last of 14 arguments posited favoring Darwin's theory of evolution followed by the scientific evidence against each one. The beginning of this article can been found in the August issue at www.schwarzreport.org.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Raising Godly Children - Consistency

(Note: This material is a chapter from our book about marriage and child raising. To learn more, go to www.lighttomypath.net/sales.)

Consistency is defined as "steadfast adherence to the same principles."

Note some specific areas in which consistency is needed but is often lacking in raising children:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Was Noah's Flood Worldwide or Local?

Some people doubt or deny that the flood was worldwide. But consider the evidence from the Bible account:

The End of Darwinism - part 1

The End of Darwinism (Part 1)

by David A. Noebel

"The LORD’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them."--Psalm 111:2

"Last week in Nice, France, I was privileged to participate, along with 30 scholars, mostly scientists and mathematicians, in a conference on the question of whether the universe was designed, or at least fine-tuned, to make life, especially intelligent life. . . . It appears the universe is designed for biogenesis and human life" (Dennis Prager, The Washington Times, June 24, 2013, p.30).

The following 13 arguments posited favoring Darwin’s theory of evolution are then followed by the scientific evidence against each one. A finely tuned universe that includes human life is totally contrary to Darwin’s theory of chance, natural selection, and mutation. Dennis Prager is correct--"The evidence for design is so compelling that the only way around it is to suggest that our universe is only one of an infinite number of universes." Only atheists who insist on "science and reason" could accept such an unscientific and irrational view.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In God We Trust

Quotations from the Founding Fathers about Religion
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
(Hobby Lobby Ad - 7/4/2013)

[Editorial Note: These quotations document the views of many founding fathers and others showing their respect for religion and morality. We quote it mainly to show that our country was established by men who generally believed that government should respect and encourage morality, decency, religion, and Bible teaching. They would be shocked to observe modern attempts to limit religious freedom or to exclude God or Biblical morality from influencing our laws and officials. (This is the text of an ad placed by Hobby Lobby in many newspapers across the country on the weekend of July 4, 2013. It apparently appeared in various forms. We have attempted to quote it as it appeared in our local paper.) – DP]

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Homosexuality, Gay Liberation, and the Bible

Note carefully: No teaching anywhere on this web site is intended or should ever be construed to justify or to in any way incite or encourage personal vengeance or physical violence against any person.

Introduction:

Homosexuality is as modern as today's newspaper and as old as ancient history. Many ancient Greek leaders, including Socrates and Plato, were apparently homosexuals, as were many Roman emperors. It has been especially common in certain societies. What about our own society?

* Some popular studies claim ten per cent of Americans are homosexual. However, this figure was inflated. A brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by 31 pro-homosexual activist groups in the case of Lawrence v. Texas states: "2.8 percent of the male, and 1.4% of the female, population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual." (Culture Facts, April 4, 2003)

Animal Rights: Distinction between Men and Animals

Introduction:

Note: This article is part of a series of studies about animal liberation and the Bible. We encourage you to go to see the other articles at

If men and animals are fundamentally the same in nature, then we would expect animals to have the same rights as men. But if men are fundamentally different from animals, then we should expect different rules to apply.

Sexual Morality & God's Plan for the Family

(This article is a sequel to our article on God's Plan for the Family. Please read that article before proceeding.)

Having a basic understanding of the marriage covenant, let us consider various specific forms of sexual immorality. This will increase our understanding and appreciation of that law and will show us how sexual immorality relates to the marriage law.

God's Plan for the Family

Introduction

Who can possibly doubt that sexual immorality is increasingly practiced and accepted in our society?

All you need to do is turn on your TV or read your paper and you know our society faces an epidemic of sexual immorality. Consider how this affects God's plan for the family.

George Washington, the Bible, Respect for God, and Religious Freedom

George Washington served eight years as the first President of the United States. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and chairman of the Constitutional Convention that composed the Constitution. He is often called the "Father of our country." Surely of all men he would have understood the views of the founding fathers about the relationship between government and the Bible and faith in God.

Founding Fathers, the Continental Congress, the Bible, Respect for God, and Religious Freedom

The Continental Congress served as the chief legislative body for the original American colonies throughout the Revolutionary War until the adoption of the Constitution. This spanned essentially from 1774 into 1789. If any group of men could be considered the "founding fathers" of our country, it would be this group. Many of them participated in writing the Constitution. If any men could ever have possessed a clear understanding of how the founding fathers viewed the Bible and respect for God, it would have been these men.

Consider the facts we here document about this Congress. When a person knows the truth about the views of the founding fathers of this country, who can seriously defend the view that they intended to write the Constitution in such a way as to remove the teachings of the Bible and the praise of God from all governmental and educational institutions?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Marxism-Leninism (Communism) Compared to the Bible

Introduction:

If we had lived before WWII, what should Christians have done about Nazism?
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Assume we knew or could have known basically what Nazism was like.

Should we have kept quiet and overlooked it because:

* It involved political and economic issues and we are concerned about religion?

* It controlled governments and Christians should not criticize rulers?

* Speaking out might lead to persecution?

* It was mainly a problem in foreign nations, not here (we didn't know any Nazis)?

Or, should we have spoken out to express opposition because:

* It was based on fundamental religious errors (evolution, racism, atheism)?

* It rejected Christianity and denied Jesus?

* It sought world domination by war and military conquest (subjugating millions by war)?

* It used violence and force to eliminate unwanted citizens (millions in the holocaust)?

2 Timothy 4:2-4; Ephesians 5:11; Revelation 3:19 - God's word instructs us to oppose the forces of evil. Surely we all agree that we ought to have reproved and rebuked a belief based on religious error that forcibly subjugated millions of people and murdered millions more.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Does the End Justify the Means?

Introduction
 
Romans 3:8 - Paul had been falsely accused of teaching, "let us do evil that good may come."
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Paul here denied believing this doctrine, but many people today do believe it, or they reason as though they do. The idea is that we evaluate the goal or end result that we hope to achieve, and if the goal seems honorable or upright, then we conclude that whatever means or methods we might use to achieve that goal would also be honorable or upright.

The idea has several names: "Situation Ethics," "Moral Relativity," "end justifies the means," "practicality," and other terms. One man called it "using the devil's tools to do God's work."

The purpose of this study is to consider what the Bible says about the idea that the end justifies the means.

Lying and Deceit

Introduction
 
Our son Tim's company gave him two free tickets to a Cubs game, so he and I went. A professional photographer asked if we would like to have our picture taken for free. When we agreed, he gave us a card telling us how to access our picture online. But the site required us to pay $20 to get any useable picture. He "took the picture" for free, but he knew people would think they would get a picture for free. He deceived us.

Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven things that are an abomination to God, and two of them involve lying: "a lying tongue," and "a false witness that tells lies." God hates a lying tongue!

Women's Role in Preaching and Church Leadership

Introduction:

Consider some changes that have occurred in church leadership roles in recent years.

* Some believe that women should be allowed to preach or lead prayer or singing in public worship assemblies.

* Some claim that women should be allowed to serve as elders/bishops or deacons.

* Some claim that women should be allowed to attend and speak in church business or decision-making meetings. Some claim women should have equal voice with men in such meetings.

* Some claim that churches must have "congregational meetings" in which all members, including women, discuss and make decisions. Some claim that such meetings must ratify or reject decisions made by the elders or men.

The purpose of this study is to examine the teaching of the New Testament about the role of women in such activities of church leadership and decision making.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Judgment Day

Introduction:

Romans 2:16 refers to "the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ."
Many passages teach there will be a day when Jesus comes again, and all who have ever lived will stand before Him to give account for their lives. The Judge on that day will be Jesus Himself, and He will reward each person according to how he has lived his life.

[See Matthew 25:31-46; John 12:48; Acts 1:9-11; 10:42; 17:30,31; Romans 2:4-11; 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:27; 10:26-31; Revelation 20:11-15; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14.]

The purpose of this lesson is to study the judgment day as revealed in Romans 2.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Glory of Mary

Introduction:

Perhaps no other woman in history played such an important role in God's plan as did Mary.

By the grace of God she was greatly honored to be chosen as Jesus' mother. Surly, all people should appreciate Mary and imitate her good qualities.

Nevertheless, there is disagreement regarding the role or status of Mary. This issue remains one of the main differences between the Roman Catholic Church and other churches.

The purpose of this study is to examine the view held by the Roman Catholic Church regarding Mary and compare it to the teaching of the Bible.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Days of Creation: Literal Days or Long Ages?

Should we view the "days" of Genesis 1 as long periods to harmonize with evolutionary "science," or are they literal, consecutive days? To weaken the doctrine about the days of creation is to weaken the doctrine of creation itself, which in turn undermines faith in God and the Bible as God's word. (Note that "day" must have the same meaning for each of the "days" of creation.) Here is a brief summary of the evidence in the Bible.

Transubstantiation, the Mass, and Holy Eucharist

Introduction: 

Suppose I show you a picture of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, then I say, "This is Abraham Lincoln, President of the USA." How would you react?

Most would understand that I meant this is a statue of Abraham Lincoln that serves as a memorial that reminds us of him. But suppose someone responds, "You said, 'This is Abraham Lincoln.' You mean Abraham Lincoln is a statue? How can you say our president is made of stone?"

That illustrates the issue in this study.

This study considers whether or not the elements of communion literally and physically become Jesus' body and blood.

The Nature Of The Holy Spirit

Introduction:

The purpose of this study is to consider the nature of the Holy Spirit and especially whether or not the Holy Spirit is a Diving Being who possesses Deity as part of the Godhead, like God the Father and God the Son.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Original Sin & Total Inherited Depravity

Introduction:

"Original sin" refers to the first sin committed by Adam and Eve, and the consequences of that sin to future generations. All Bible students agree that serious consequences came to mankind from that sin. But the term generally refers to a particular doctrinal concept about sin as taught by most Protestant and Catholic churches.

The purpose of this study is to examine the doctrine of "original sin" and the related doctrine of "total inherited depravity," and compare them to the Bible.
 

Should Christians Vote and Express Their Views to Rulers?

Surely local churches should not endorse candidates, nor sponsor or finance their campaigns. And individual Christians should not become so involved in politics that they neglect other God-given duties. But should Christians refuse all involvement in any issues that surround modern politics and elections?
 

Solving Marriage Conflict

Introduction:

Every family has disagreements. Someone once told about a couple celebrating many years of marriage. The man said, "I'm pleased to be able to say that we've never had a fight." The wife responded, "Well, it helps to get old and develop a poor memory!"

The couple that never has conflicts does not exist. Unfortunately, conflicts can lead to bad fights. A bad fight is one that seriously alienates husband and wife but never resolves the cause of the problem. As a result couples build up bitterness, quarreling, uncontrolled anger, hatred, and often divorce.

What many couples lack is the skill to discuss disagreements and resolve them. Specifically, they need the ability to discuss serious problems, reach a plan to resolve them, and then put that plan into action. I emphasize that this is a skill that many people simply never have learned, but which can be learned.

The purpose of this study is to learn what the Bible says about how to resolve conflict in marriage.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Flood: Myth or Historical Event?

Many people view the flood as merely a myth or legend, but Genesis presents it as simple historic fact. Here are some of the evidences that this record is intended to be viewed as history:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are You Really "Born Again"?

Introduction:

One of the most common expressions used by some sincere religious people is "born again": "born-again Christians," "born-again believers," etc. The way the expression is used sometimes makes one wonder whether folks really understand the Bible meaning of the term.

In this study, let us consider exactly how a person is "born again"

How does a person know whether he has been born again? Is it possible to think we have been born again when we really have not been? Some will reply that, to be born again you must accept Jesus as your personal Savior. But how does this happen? What does the Bible say?

Jesus' Second Coming: Fact and Fiction

2 Peter 3:10 - "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night."

Many fictions exist about the second coming of Jesus.

People who don't claim to be Christians hold many fictions about Jesus' return.

Many doubt that Jesus will return at all or that He will punish people for sin.

People who do claim to be Christians also hold many fictions about Jesus' return.

Speculations abound regarding when He will come and what will happen when He comes. Many of these fictions are popularized by people who hold various premillennial theories.

The purpose of this study is to examine fictions about that day and compare them to the facts of the Scriptures.

Religious Confusion and Disagreement

Religious confusion and disagreement abound. Religious people are divided into hundreds of different groups, wearing different names, worshiping in different ways, and teaching different doctrines.

In this study we want to consider why there is so much confusion, disagreement, and division. Does God approve of it or disapprove?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Should You Attend Church Meetings?

Introduction:

Many New Testament passages describe local congregations of God's people conducting regular meetings to worship God and study His word (Acts 20:7; 11:26; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; chap. 14; Hebrews 10:25). These meetings are intended to provide blessings and opportunities that benefit those who attend.

The purpose of this study is to discuss why each Christian should urgently determine to attend whenever the local church meets.

Is One Interpretation of the Bible as Good as Another?

Introduction:

Many people believe the idea that truth is subjective, especially in religion. So some think that whatever you believe to be true, to you it is true. But what another person believes to be true, that is true for him. So, everybody has his own "truth," even if it flatly contradicts other people's "truths."

For years people used this idea to justify disagreements and contradictions between denominations. They say: "One person sees the Bible one way, and others see it differently. One interpretation is as good as another." In effect, this means that people cannot understand the Bible alike; so whatever it means to you is right for you, even if it contradicts the way other people see it. As long as you practice what you honestly believe the Bible says, God will be pleased.

As a result, some people will not even seriously listen to views that differ from their own. They think it does not matter anyway, so why discuss it?

The purpose of this study is to examine the idea that one belief or interpretation of the Bible is as good as another.

"MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART"

INTRODUCTION:

Purpose of this study:

If we seek to be happy, to be led by the Spirit, to avoid destruction, to be like great people such as Moses and Jesus, we should want to know what meekness and humility are and how we can have them in our lives. It is the purpose of this lesson to study these qualities, what they are, and how they will affect our lives. Specifically, we will frequently note the examples and teaching of Moses and of Jesus regarding meekness and humility. 

Observance of Religious Holy Days

INTRODUCTION:

Modern denominations, that claim to be Christian, observe various holy days in celebration of religious events. These days have been developed and designated by men over the centuries since the New Testament was written. While you may read in the Bible about the events these days are supposed to memorialize, you do not find that the Bible tells us to observe these holy days in memory of these events.

The purpose of this study is to examine these holy days and see what the Bible says about them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Bible Knowledge Is Important to You

Are you seeking spiritual direction in your life? Do you need answers to serious spiritual questions such as: Does God really exist? What is the purpose and meaning of life? Where did the world come from? Can we receive eternal life after death? How can we be forgiven of our sins and receive the favor and blessings of God.

We urge you to consider this study about spiritual direction based on belief in Christian teaching found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Preservation of the Bible

Introduction:

People sometimes wonder whether the Bible, as we have received it, is an accurate record of God's will.

The Bible claims to be a message that tells how God wants us to live. Many people appeal to the Bible as the standard of right and wrong in morals and religion. But can we be sure we have Bibles that accurately record God's word?

Critics often claim that "hundreds of errors" have crept into the Scriptures over the years. As a result, some say they do not need to obey the Bible at all. Others say we need new revelation so we can know God's will today.

In this study we will consider the preservation of the Bible to see if it has been accurately transmitted to us over the centuries.

Origin of Jesus' Church and of Denominations

Introduction:

Ephesians 3:10,11 - The church that Jesus built in the first century was part of the eternal purpose of God. That church was so important that Jesus died for it and He adds all saved people to it (Acts 20:28; 2:47).

But today we have hundreds of different denominations, differing from one another in name, worship, organization, and plan of salvation.

The purpose of this lesson is to consider the origin of these churches.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Sabbath or the First Day of the Week?

Introduction:

Does the Bible teach Christians today to observe the 7th-day Sabbath, or is the first day of the week the special day for Christians?

Modern Sabbath keepers distinguish parts of the old law. They say only the "ceremonial law" or "Law of Moses" was removed, not the "moral law" or "Law of God," the 10 Commands. The Sabbath was in the 10 Commands, so it is still binding.

What does the Bible really teach?

How Can We Benefit from Jesus' Blood?

Introduction:

My mother loved to tell about a little boy (whom I will not name) whom she once told to take a bath. So he filled the bathtub with water; but when she checked, he was sitting on the side of the tub dangling his feet in the water. She informed him that, to receive any good from a bath, you have to get into the water!

He wanted the benefit of a bath without doing what you have to do to take a bath! That was silly. But unfortunately, many people make a similar mistake about Jesus' death.

Tell Me the Story of Jesus

Introduction:

Two of our best-loved hymns talk about "telling the story" of Jesus. One is entitled "Tell Me the Story of Jesus." The other is "I Love to Tell the Story." Both of them emphasize the fact that everyone needs to know the story of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He teaches.

1 Corinthians 15:1-5 says that the truth about Jesus is the foundation of the gospel. And Jesus is the central theme of the Bible. So everyone needs to hear the story of Jesus.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kinds of Thieves

Introduction:

When I was about 6 years old, my family visited a neighbor down the street. I saw lying on the floor a toy Mickey Mouse watch - it didn't really even tell time, but it looked like a wristwatch. I wanted it, so I picked it up, put it in my pocket, and took it home. Of course, I felt terrible, because I knew better. Besides, I couldn't wear it without my parents asking me where it came from. Next time we visited that neighbor, I took it back and put it where I had found it. I never told anybody, and nobody ever said anything about it, but I learned my lesson.

Most people do not want to think of themselves as thieves, because they know stealing is wrong.

Stealing is wrong for a number of reasons:

Gospel of Physical Health and Wealth

Introduction:

Consider the following quote:

"Rev. Terry [Terry Cole-Whittaker] is telling [people] that they have every right, and the power, to get anything they want out of life ... She believes we can have it all, everything we want ... her bumper sticker [says] 'Prosperity is your divine right'..." - Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel (1/19/85).

This doctrine is becoming increasingly popular among believers in the "Charismatic Movement," Pentecostalism, and faith healers. Preachers teach that God will reward faithful service with good physical health and material abundance: people have a right to expect this, and God will even do miracles to accomplish it. Many call this "the gospel of physical health and wealth."

The purpose of this study is to examine this doctrine.

Living Together Without Marriage

Introduction:

Increasingly, couples in our society are living together without marriage. Some say marriage is "just a piece of paper," a legal formality. Others have a "trial marriage," saying they want to know if they are compatible before they make a commitment. Others justify sexual relations for those who are just dating as long as they care for one another and have a "meaningful relationship." Still others get married but then have a lover on the side.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Biblical Unity & Biblical Division

Introduction:

Most people would agree that religious unity is important. Many plans have been proposed to unite people religiously, yet the religious world remains tragically divided. World religions are divided from one another. So-called Christian denomination are divided. The Lord's church has suffered major divisions in the first century and since.

The purpose of this lesson is to study the Bible teaching about unity and division.


Slander, Gossip, and Evil Speaking

Introduction:

Speech is one of the most difficult aspects of life to control.

James 3:2 - If we can control our speech, we can control all areas of our lives.
Titus 3:1,2 - Christians are told to "speak evil of no one."
1 Peter 2:1 - "Lay aside ... all evil speaking."

Most people are aware that the Bible gives guidelines about speech, and specifically about how we should speak about others. The Bible deals with "slander," "backbiting," etc.

Most are also aware that this is common problem.


Was Peter the First Pope?

Introduction:

Several religious groups teach as fundamental doctrine that Peter was the first earthly head and Chief Shepherd (pastor) of the church, and modern church leaders are his successors. Others claim that the Papacy is the foundation of the church. Consider this quotation:

"The Pope ... is the bishop of Rome and the Vicar of Christ on earth. He is the visible head of the whole Catholic Church ... Who was the first Pope? St. Peter, who was made Pope by Jesus Christ Himself ... Did Peter's authority die with him? No, it was handed down to a man named Linus, and after he died, it was handed down to another, and so on, during the past 2000 years ... Does Jesus require us to follow the Pope in matters of religion? Yes, because obedience and loyalty to the Pope are among the chief requirements of the Lord's plan for unity in His church" (A Catechism for Adults, by William Cogan, 1975 ed., pp. 55,56).

In this study we want to see what the Bible says about this doctrine. If it is true, as important as it is, we will surely find it in the Bible.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Are You a Pharisee?

Introduction:

Just as there are various denominations today among those who claim to be Christians, so there were various sects among Jews in Jesus' day. Studying what the Bible says about these groups may help us learn lessons useful in our service to God.

The purpose of this study is to consider some lessons from the Pharisees.

The Pharisees were a prominent sect. They correctly believed in spirits and in the resurrection of the dead, whereas Sadducees did not (Acts 23:8).

However, they also possessed many characteristics that Christians should avoid. Their errors, combined with their zeal and influence, often led them into conflict with Jesus and His disciples.

People today who believe in strict obedience to God's word are often accused of being "Pharisees."


Creation vs. Evolution

Note: We accept the Bible, even when it contradicts unproved "scientific" hypotheses, because of the evidence that the Bible is true. These proofs include eyewitness testimony of miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and Jesus' resurrection. For a discussion of these evidences, see the articles on our web site.

The following points are a summary of evidence that evolution can never be harmonized with the Bible.

Buddhism and Christianity

Introduction:

Our purpose is to examine the doctrines of Buddhism and compare them to the Bible.

The History of Buddhism
***********************

Buddhism is an offspring of Hinduism, similar to Hinduism in many ways. It began in India in about the 6th century B.C., and from there it spread throughout Asia. Today it is found mainly in Japan, China, and the Far East. Relatively few people in India itself are Buddhists today.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Importance of Active Involvement in a Local Church

Introduction:

Many principles teach the importance of the church in general. People often fail to appreciate the importance of the church. But consider:

The church was purposed by God from eternity - Ephesians 3:10,11.
The church was built by Jesus - Matthew 16:18.
The church was purchased by Jesus' blood - Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:23,25.
The church is the household/family over which God is the Father - Ephesians 2:16,19; 1 Timothy 3:15.
The church is the body over which Christ is head - Ephesians 1:22,23. [Colossians 1:18,24]
The church is the kingdom over which Christ rules - Matthew 16:18,19; Colossians 1:13.
All saved people are added by Jesus to the church - Acts 2:47; Colossians 1:13,14. It follows that church membership is essential to salvation.

The Children's Liberation Movement

Introduction:

In recent decades our society has seen the rise of various "liberation" movements, including Women's Liberation, Animal Liberation, etc.

The purpose of this study is to examine the Children's Liberation movement.

This movement is generally promoted by "child advocates" working through various child welfare and social service agencies. These especially include official government agencies, such as child and family services agencies. In particular, a leading force in promoting the movement has been the United Nations, which sponsored the "International Year of the Child" (IYC). (This occurred some time ago, but we will see that the UN is still implementing its goals.)

The Doctrine of Baptisms

Introduction:

Hebrews 6:1,2 - The elementary principles of God's word include "the doctrine of baptisms."

The Bible mentions several different baptisms. Some that are mentioned several times are: John's baptism, water baptism of the gospel, Holy Spirit baptism. Others are mentioned, but only very rarely.

The purpose of this lesson is to study the three major baptisms of the Bible and determine which of them we should practice today.

How to Determine Whether the Bible Is True

Introduction:

What is the proper method to determine the validity of the Bible?

Over the years I have observed various ways people have tried to use to prove that the Bible - or some other religious standard - is or is not true. Some of these methods are valid and can lead to a proper conviction of truth; others are invalid and lead people to improper conclusions.

The purpose of this study is to compare methods sometimes used to determine whether or not a revelation is from God, and then determine what is the proper approach.