Are You Registered to Vote?

Christians don’t vote according to political parties; instead, they should vote according to their biblical convictions and worldview. Neither of the two major political parties have all the answers. Both parties have issues in their platforms. Neither party is the Christian party. Each party has candidates worthy of your vote and candidates you should not vote for. And I think whenever you are given a chance to vote for an authenticate Christian man or woman seeking to serve others through the government you should do what you can to help elect true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The anti-God progressive leftists in America want to silence the preachers of America. They want to threaten with the loss of tax exempt status and do everything possible to keep from mobilizing evangelical Christians in a united way to make a difference in Washington. Christians who are registered as Democrats and Christians who are registered as Republicans and Christians whose registration is unaffiliated should be unified in a desire that our elected and appointed leaders (the President, governors, congressmen and women, judges, secretaries, council men and women, sheriffs, etc.) glorify the one true God in their words, decisions and actions. When confronted with a choice between two politicians who both claim to be believers the next question that must be asked is: which of these two politicians will bring more glory to God based on what I know about each one? This is a judgment call. You are having to make a choice and you are having to judge between two individuals. Your judgment call is based on the information you have available to you at the present time. You and I are not omniscient. Any perceived endorsement or support of any candidate is conditional based on the information presently available—which could always change. As more information becomes available an endorsement or support may have to be withdrawn. Something as simple as pulling up a yard sign and throwing in the trash might have to happen if more information become available to you that calls into question whether you would vote for such a person. But I don’t’ think the potential fear of this happening should keep us from getting behind authenticate Christian candidates in full force. Nor do I think the church should remain silent as the world goes to hell.  Are you registered to vote?

Why are Young Fundamentalists Leaving Fundamentalism

Why are young fundamentalists leaving fundamentalism? Dr. Jeff Amsbaugh wants this trend to change and writes about it on his personal blog. Dr. Amsbaugh has some very valid points @

But in the end he misses the real issues that are driving the young and restless out of fundamentalism and into reformed Bible preaching churches where the gospel is central; Christ is the focus and God is in charge!

Listen to the pastors of Berean discuss the article and Dr. Amsbaugh's perspective.

10 Points of Focus for Every New Testament Church

From Acts 2 this is what I see for Berean and every other NT church. I see 10 points of application that should guide our churches. Here they are:

1. Spirit-Filled Proclamation of the Word (Christ & the Gospel)
2. Repentance toward God (faith in Christ is implied)
3. Obedience to Believer’s Baptism
4. Devotion to the Apostle’s Teaching
5. Participation in the Lord’s Supper
6. Prayer
7. Über Generosity in the Church
8. Daily Attendance
9. House to House Fellowship
10. Praise toward God

Are these contrived or do you see them too in Acts 2?

The Ten Most Important Chapters in the Bible

Have you ever considered what the most important chapters in the Bible are? Certainly any attempt to list chapters as more important than others might inadvertently suggest that one chapter is inferior to another, but that is not the purpose of this list. Since I can’t be familiar with all 1,189 chapters in the Old and New Testaments, it seems quite reasonable to ask: “What are the chapters I should be the most familiar with?” Twelve chapters would be the top 1% of chapters, so this list is actually less than the top 1 percent! On November 26, 2013 the pastors of Berean Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC assembled to create such a list. The discussion that ensued to construct the list was recorded and uploaded to (Click Here to Listen) for the purpose of educating the listener as to why each chapter was selected. The list below presents the top ten along with bullet comments below each chapter in an attempt to explain why each chapter made the list.

#1 Genesis 1

·       God the Creator: Six Days of Creation
·       Man Was Made in the Image of God
·       Man is Mandated to Be Fruitful, Multiply, and Have Dominion Over the Earth

#2 II Timothy 3
·       The Last Days Will be Perilous
·       All Scripture is Given By Inspiration of God

#3 Genesis 3
·       Fall of Man
·       Promise of Redemption Through the Seed of a Woman

#4 Exodus 20
·       Ten Commandments

#5 John 1
·       Incarnation of Christ and His Preexistence
·       John the Baptist the Forerunner of Christ

#6 Isaiah 53
·       Christ, the “Suffering Servant”
·       Prophetic description of the life and death of Christ
·       Penal Substitutionary Atonement

#7 Acts 2
·       Pentecost: Great Manifestation of the Holy Spirit
·       The Church Begins in Earnest

#8 Romans 3
·       All Have Sinned and Come Short of the Glory of God
·       The Righteousness of God is a Gift Received Through Faith in Christ

#9 1 Corinthians 15
·       The Gospel
·       The Resurrection of Dead
·       Death through the First Adam versus Life through the Last Adam

#10 Matthew 28
·       Resurrection of Christ
·       Great Commission to the Church

In addition to these chapters there are many more that should be considered: Genesis 2 (Creation, Part 2), Genesis 6-8 (The Flood), Genesis 12/17 (The Abrahamic Covenant), 2 Samuel 7 (The Davidic Covenant), Psalm 23, (The Lord Our Shepherd), Psalm 51 (David’s Great Confession of Sin), Psalm 119 (176 Verses of Truth), Jeremiah 31 (The Promise of a New Covenant),Matthew 3 (Christ’s Baptism), Matthew 5-7 (The Sermon on the Mount), Matthew 6 (The Model Prayer), Matthew 24-25, (The Olivet Discourse), John 3 (Nicodemus’ Encounter with Christ), John 14 (The Promise of the Holy Spirit), John 17 (Christ’s Prayer for Future Disciples), John 19 (The Death of Christ), Acts 1 (The Ascension of Christ), Acts 7 (Stephen’s Amazing Sermon), Acts 9 (Saul’s Conversion), Acts 10 (Cornelius the Gentile’s Salvation), Acts 15 (The Jerusalem Council), Romans 12 (Marks of a True Christian),1 Corinthians 13 (Love Is the Greatest Gift), Philippians 2 (Christ’s Example of Humility), 1 Thessalonians 4 (The Rapture of the Church), 1 Timothy 3 (The Qualifications of a Bishop), and Revelation 21-22 (New Heaven and New Earth).

Calvinism & Evangelism

Someone might reasonably ask the question, “why preach the gospel and witness to unbelievers if God has chosen all those who will be saved before the foundation of the world as described fairly clearly in Ephesians 1:4ff?” The verse says: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; it then goes on to say: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (v. 5). Based on these two verses (and others), some have concluded that the elect will be saved without regard to human actions; therefore, evangelism is unnecessary. The people who adopt this perspective are known as ‘hyper-Calvinists.’ I intentionally added the word ‘hyper’ because I am not aware of any leading Calvinists who don’t believe in the importance of evangelism. Interestingly enough, we do have Baptists who are hyper-Calvinists; they are ‘Primitive Baptists’ or ‘Hard Shell’ Baptists. Now, while I do agree with the ‘hyper-Calvinists’ that God doesn’t need us to do anything to bring about someone’s salvation, I cannot agree that evangelism is unnecessary. Let me define evangelism as the efforts of an individual (the evangelist) to bring someone to a point of conversion by a declaration of the gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ. You see evangelism is the means that God has ordained to bring the elect to salvation. If you knew that God had predestined that your house would not burn to the ground, but instead, it would be saved from destruction, yet you saw it on fire, would you do nothing? Or would you do everything in your power to extinguish it? Evangelism is sort of like spraying water on the fire; it is the means that God has ordained that the house be saved from destruction. (Granted, this is not a perfect illustration because it is Christ alone who saves us from destruction.) The Apostle Paul is a great example of what I am talking about. According to Acts 9:15, Paul was a chosen vessel of God to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Yet, Paul still needs to be converted, and the means whereby God brought him to a point of conversion was evangelism—that is to say, the LORD Jesus appeared to Paul and confronted him with his sin and his need to repent and believe that Jesus was the resurrected Son of God who died for his sins. So, not only did God choose and predestine that Paul to be an apostle, God (the son of God) also served as the evangelist to bring Paul to Himself. At this point, we can look at Paul’s life and writings and see that his takeaway from this personal encounter with the Lord was not that God would continue to serve as the sole evangelist to bring whomever He predestined to be saved to salvation. No. Paul reaches just the opposite conclusion, as he now sees himself as the evangelist. The same Paul who wrote Ephesians 1:3-11 which has some of the strongest language about predestination in the Bible was the church planting, gospel preaching apostle and evangelist who helped spread the good news all over the known world. For Paul, the fact that God had elected souls to salvation before the foundation of the world was the very fuel for his evangelism. It is what drove him to preach from city to city. Paul knew that God had elected all kinds of people to Himself, and the means that God had/has established to bring about conversion was intentional evangelism. Paul wrote that faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10), so he told anyone who would listen about Jesus and what He had done on their behalf. And clearly, Paul never caveated what he said to people with the disclaimer that the gospel only applies to the elect. The same Paul who wrote Ephesians 1 is the same Paul who wrote 1 Timothy 2:4, which states that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The Greek word for ‘will’ in this verse is rendered ‘desires and desirous’ 16 times in other verses in the KJV. So, if we insert that rendering into the text instead, the message seems to be even clearer: God desires that all men be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth. The Sovereign God of the Universe desires that all men be saved, and it is the evangelist who brings them the truth (Jesus—the Truth). And it is to this desire that we appeal to God to save their souls, and it is with the knowledge that there are still elect souls on this planet that we continue to evangelize. When was the last time you were an evangelist?

Fighting for a Wife: Lessons from Othniel

Working through the middle of the book of Joshua is challenging. Huge sections of the book are dedicated to the names of the cities given to the tribes of Israel and the boundaries of the allotment of land for each tribe.  But right in the middle of chapter 16 which describes the land Judah received we find an interesting story.

Caleb offers his daughter in marriage to the man that will capture and destroy the city Debir. From this story I see a man willing to ‘Fight for a Wife’ and today I believe that is absolutely missing in our American culture.

And I know the numbers support my premise. More people are waiting to get married and fewer people are getting married period. And I would strongly contend that that isn’t God plan. In fact. long before God gave the church the ‘Great Commission’ God gave the family a ‘mission.’ And that mission is found in Genesis 1:28 where human are told to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Then in Genesis 2 we see God uniting Adam and Eve in a union for life. This union was designed to produce children and this union was between a male and a female especially and specifically designed by God as a helper for Adam.

Yet, today it seems more than ever this very idea and plan is being challenged and the church is walking away from the mission given to the family by God.

In this Sunday morning sermon, I challenge men and women with six lessons from the Word of God concerning marriage and I conclude with four signs of a healthy church.

See if you agree with me about my four signs of a healthy church:

  1. Men are Fighting to Win the Hearts of Future Wives
  2. Serious Sanctified Courtship is Happening
  3. Couples are Frequently Getting Married Under God and Before the Church
  4. Children are being Born and Adopted
Listen or watch the sermon to see what to Fight For and what to Fight Against in Fighting for a Wife: Lessons from Othniel.

Two Second Comings in 1 Letter--Could It Be That Way?

As I was studying for my Sunday night sermon I again noticed that Paul makes another reference to the coming (parousia) of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 5.23. This is the 4th time Paul has specifically identified the parousia in this letter. Since I was at the end of the 1st letter I went on to read the 2nd letter to the church at Thessalonica and I noticed that Paul immediately goes into describing the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in chapter 1. In verse 1:7, Paul speaks of the Lord Jesus being revealed from heaven with his might angles in flaming fire inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God.

Now at this point I want to know has Paul made a 7 year jump in time and events. If I assume that the reference to the parousia in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is a pre-tribulation rapture I must now ask: Is Paul now talking about something completely different? Is this the same “coming” as in v. 23 of the last chapter in the previous letter written by the same man and to the same church? Or is it a different event?

So what happens if I keep reading? When I get to chapter 2 v. 1, I see that Paul is talking about the coming (parousia) of the Lord Jesus again. Only in this verse he specifically mentions ‘our being gathered together to him.’ So I wonder has Paul made another shift in comings. Is Paul going back and forth with another jump back in time? Is our gathering different from the rapture? Certainly not! But in the context of the chapter it would certainly need to be. It seems that the gathering is closely associated with the parousia.  

Is Paul going back and forth between the pre-tribulation rapture and the post-tribulation Second Coming? Is this what is happening? I know for sure that the coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2 is NOT a pre-tribulation coming because Paul specifically identifies the revelation of the Beast, the man of sin or lawlessness—the Antichrist as happening before Christ comes. So our gathering together to him must not be the pre-tribulation rapture or we are gathered in him twice.

Perhaps the rapture gathers us the first time from the earth but then after 7 years in heaven we need to be gathered again to go back to the earth. Is this what is being described? If the answer is ‘yes’ I want to know how would I know this from what the Bible says. In other words what in the scripture alerts me to the transition back and forth from one chapter to another since Paul doesn’t switch words? 

Why don't you study it out for yourself and make a list of the 7 reference and write rapture or 2nd Coming next to each of the references to the parousia and then ask how did I make my decision?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Jesus Christ kills the Antichrist with the “breathe of his mouth and brings to nothing at the appearance of his coming (parousia).”

So what am I to make of all these references to the parousia? There are a total of 7 of them between both letters. Will I actually have a standard of interpretation that says Paul is using the same word to describe two different events separated by 7 years when he specifically identifies things that give a time marker with the parousia in 2 Thessalonians 2?

How inconsistent should I be? If I am going to inconsistently interpret the text should I not have a reason for doing that?

Wouldn’t I need some text to tell me that the same word is used in a different way for two different events one that happens before the tribulation and one after?

Why don’t you read it for yourself from chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians to the end of 2 Thessalonians and see if you don’t agree with me that Paul is in all probability describing the same event which occurs at the end of the tribulation and includes our gathering together to him (the rapture)?

The more I study the Bible, the more convinced I am that I have previously let a particular system of eschatology--pretribulational dispensationalism determine how I read and interpret the scriptures.  

Have you?