HUSBANDS AND WIVES

October 16, 2018

Well, this is really part three with some stuff in between. After the topic of tithing, this seems to be the next most volatile sermon I can preach. I’ve never got death threats from this topic, but I do get some interesting comments from husbands and especially the wives. The fact that it’s biblical doesn’t seem to matter to some folks, “I’m still messing with their marriage”.

Submission is valid for all times and cultures because it is fitting in the Lord.

In God’s original creation, the man and woman together were to reflect God’s image which, in part, involves the voluntary submission of the Son to the Father in order to carry out the divine plan of salvation. Though the Son is co-eternal and co-equal with the Father, Jesus submitted Himself to the cross so that Satan’s dominion would be broken. The husband and wife are to relate to one another as the Father and Son relate to each other. The wife, though equal with her husband, submits to him to reflect God’s image and His relation with Christ the Son and our relation to Christ our Savior.

Paul develops this theme in Ephesians 5 where he states that Christian marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so wives ought to be to their husbands (Eph. 5:24). Why? Because through Christ and the church, which Paul calls the new man, created in God’s image (Eph. 2:15; 4:24; Col. 3:10), God is recovering what was lost in the fall of the first creation. Christian marriage, as the unit of the church, is to reflect God’s image through the sacrificial love of the husband for his wife and the voluntary submission of the wife to her husband in a context of equality as they exercise dominion over God’s enemy.

One way that an enemy can defeat its foe is to instill discontent and insurrection among the ranks. If you can get the enlisted men complaining about their lot, fighting against the officers, and trying to grab authority, you’ve just about won the war. That’s why Satan first approached Eve, not Adam, and got her to usurp his authority. Today his strategy is the same: to promise greater happiness to wives if they will get out from under their husbands’ authority. Many Christian wives do not realize that we are engaged in combat against the unseen forces of darkness in heavenly places and that Christian marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church. So they cast off the idea of authority in marriage—and play right into Satan’s hand!

So the principle of the headship of the husband and the submission of the wife is not cultural. In creation God’s order was to create the man first and then to create Eve as his helper. At the fall, the authority of the husband, which the wife had usurped, was specifically decreed (Gen. 3:16). Paul’s analogy of Christ and the church is the basis of his appeal for the proper order in marriage. Thus it is fitting in the Lord for the wife to submit herself to her husband to uphold God’s purpose for creating human beings, namely, to reflect His image and to crush Satan’s dominion. It’s not up for grabs if a culture believes differently.

Beyond the theological reasons, I believe there are other reasons to follow the biblically ordained roles for husbands and wives. God has made us as male and female with distinctive strengths, weaknesses, and needs. When each partner dies to his or her pursuit for self-fulfillment and lives in obedience to God to fulfill the needs of his or her mate, both partners are fulfilled. A godly, loving husband provides protection and support, both financially and emotionally, for his wife, which she lacks if she is independent of him.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Richard C, 91 years old, he came to Jesus late in life. (60’s) because of a Gideon bible in his hotel room. Doesn’t go to church (never has) he feels that reading his bible 2 hours a day is more than enough. We finally got him enrolled in a online bible study and I’m hoping as he “chats” online he will feel the need for personal fellowship. Although at his age he’s pretty set in his ways.

Pray for Betty K, she will bury her husband of 56 years this Wednesday, no kids and a very small circle of friends. She also is sporadic in church attendance, I’m hoping we can help fill the void.

Pray for Kyle, a church worship leader that does coke, I don’t even know where to begin with this prayer request. His pastor won’t make him step down because Kyle is semi famous. So pray for the pastor, the church and Kyle.

NIV, for better or worse?

October 14, 2018

The NIV has totally omitted seventeen verses. In it, you no longer read Matthew

17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44,46; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36; 23:17; John

5:4; Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; Romans 16:24; or I John 5:7. These verses deal with doctrines of great importance: the doctrine of the Trinity (I John 5:7); the

doctrine of hell (Mark 9:44,46); the doctrine of salvation (Matthew 18:11; Mark

15:28; Acts 8:37); the doctrine of prayer (Matthew 17:21). Other passages remain in the NIV, but the marginal notes discredit them. These notes reveal that the NIV translators would have preferred to leave out Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11.

That’s an additional 24 verses. Why would someone want to remove these passages? Who would want to remove Matthew 18:11 which states, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost”? In spite of these and even more disturbing alterations, the advocates of the new versions declare that no doctrines are changed in the new bibles.

Words Omitted

Something else is disappearing from the NIV. There are many biblically significant words that are simply no longer there. By this, I mean that these words are not mentioned even one time in the NIV. Words conspicuously absent from the NIV

include all of the following words enclosed in quotation marks. There is no longer

a “Godhead.” There is no “Jehovah” or “blessed and only potentate.” There is no

“Holy Ghost” and He is not the “Comforter.” God is no longer “immutable” or

“omnipotent” – there goes Handel’s Messiah!

Christ is no longer the “only begotten” or the “first begotten.” We no longer need to worry about “devils” or “Lucifer” or “damnation” or “brimstone” or the “bottomless pit.” Hell, which is mentioned 54 times in the KJV, is mentioned only fourteen times in the NIV and is entirely removed from the Old Testament. But why worry about hell or damnation? In the NIV, there are no “trucebreakers” or “winebibbers.” No one is ever accused of being “carnal,” “slothful,” or “unthankful.” In the NIV, there is no “backbiting,” “vanity,” “lasciviousness,” “fornication,” or “whoredom.” In fact, no one is “effeminate” and there are no “sodomites.” No wonder liberals so readily accept this bible.

It is a good thing that there is not much to be saved from in the NIV, since it is harder to get saved as well. No longer is Christ crucified on “Calvary.” He is not the “testator” who brings us the New Testament or the “daysman” who stands between God and us. He has not sprinkled His blood on the “mercy seat.” He was not placed in the “sepulchre” and His resurrection is no longer established by many “infallible” proofs. It only makes sense then that we are no longer “quickened” and there is no more “propitiation” or “remission” or “regeneration” in the NIV. Did you get that? No “Calvary;” no “propitiation;” no “regeneration.”

So what are our choices, I am not a King James Version only kind of guy, the HCSB

(Holman Christian standard bible) is great, the New American Standard Bible, and the New King James Version suit me fine.

I like the ESV, The New Living Translation, the NIV, but I always check them against the kjv, or NASV. Versions like the good news, CEV, these are all good for reading but are more the ‘flesh’ than the bones of the Word of God. Like reading

‘The Message’, great for story telling but you are eating bubble gum and not meat. I’ve read the beginning of all the ‘versions’ and why we did this and I understand that as a race of humans we are getting more stupid and every thing has to be dumbed down. It has to look like a regular book in order to be easier to read, and I get it.

If you notice probably 95% all bible quotes I use are from the NIV, that’s for its readability. But I’ve said before, check the other versions to get a sense of it all.

It’s really a matter of being spoon fed or cutting your own steak. A version that is harder to read will slow you down and make you think more and it helps with bible memorization because it is quirkier than modern English. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Read whatever helps you read, just understand the difference when it comes to using the bible for theology, doctrine and defense.

There’s reading and there’s fight’n.

Email us at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Roger S, still dealing with depression, help him to remember it may be a life long battle and take his medicine

Pray for Caroline T, the same, plus she fights daily battles with thoughts of suicide.

Praise from Olivia, this is a young lady that doctors said she would never live very long, never get better, spend most of her days bedridden. Well they were wrong on everything, and they said she would never get pregnant, well they were wrong there too. This is a great young adult, pray that she proves the doctor wrong again.

Nada, Zip, Nothing, Zero

October 12, 2018

  To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

New International Version (NIV)

Rom 4:5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

  There is no work involved in our receiving the Lord Jesus for life, and there should certainly be no self-effort involved in the manifestation of His life in and through us. The principle is the same, from re-birth to maturity.

 ‘Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 15:57). That is grace. That is the test of the real or the counterfeit. Just remember this: any victory over the power of any sin whatsoever that you have to get by working for it is counterfeit. Any victory that you have to get by trying for it is false. If you have to work for your freedom, it is not the real thing, it is not that which the Father offers you in His Son.

The effortless life is not the will-less life. We use our will to believe, or receive, but not to exert effort in trying to accomplish what only the Father has done. Our hope for freedom from the power of sin is not ‘Christ plus my efforts,’ but ‘Christ plus my receiving.’ To receive victory from Him is to believe His Word that solely by grace He is, this moment, freeing us from the dominion of sin. And to believe on Him in this way is to recognize that He is doing for us what we can never do for ourselves.

 The Father has left us as much dependent on the Lord Jesus’ work for our deliverance as for our forgiveness. It is wholly because we died with Him on the Cross, but unto sin and unto the whole legal principle, that sin’s power for those in Him is broken.

  “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt” (Rom. 4:4).

GOD BLESS FROM SCUMLIKEUSCHURCH@GMAIL.COM

Thanks for all our prayer warriors, we get many thanks from the people we pray for. God bless

Pray for Barbara D and her continued battle with cancer

Pray for Crissy and her struggle with acting out.

HEY, STUD

October 9, 2018

A bishop who had just had a cup of tea with a parishioner commented, “I’m glad to see in what a comfortable way you are living.” The churchgoer replied, “Oh, bishop, if you want to know how we really live, you need to come when you’re not here.” (Reader’s Digest [3/84], p. 16)

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians live that way, keeping up a good front to impress others with their spirituality. But if you knew how they really live, you’d find that they are faking it. They don’t live as authentic Christians. We all value authenticity, especially when it comes to our faith. But how can we know if our faith is genuine? What are the marks of authentic Christianity?

Many of the Colossian Christians had been unsettled by some false teachers who had arisen in their midst. They were telling these relatively new believers that they needed to observe designated holy days, avoid certain foods, and keep certain rules in order to be spiritual. They implied that the gospel which Epaphras had taught the Colossians was not complete or accurate. They needed to add the insights and rules of the false teachers to be genuine believers.

Paul wrote to the church to assure them that the gospel they previously received through Epaphras was the genuine item. It proved its authenticity by the fruit that it had produced in them and was producing in others everywhere it went. In so doing, Paul emphasized, as he often did, three virtues that are essentials of authentic Christianity: faith in Jesus Christ, love for other believers, and the hope of heaven. Also, in Paul’s opening comments, he reflects the authentic Christian virtues of thankfulness and prayer. Putting it together, we learn that …

Authentic Christians are marked by thankfulness and prayer, faith in Christ, love for the saints, and the hope of heaven.

It’s obvious that the Colossians were very different after they heard and believed the gospel which Epaphras preached. If people have not changed, we can assume that either the true gospel was not preached or that it was not believed. Belief in the true gospel results in the changes that Paul himself embodied and that he mentions here.

In many Pentecostal churches you will find more women in the congregation than men. My church therefore is an anomaly, we have more men than women (55%). It’s not a huge difference but it is different.

What always interests me is how my men test me to see if I’m genuine. When our church went interdenominational, we received even more men. I think we have more than our fair share of cops, FBI, a secret something and a homeland security. Maybe one attracts the other. With my military and government background it’s maybe not so surprising.

And since I hunt, reload, and shoot often we get a lot of shooters in church. So our men’s prayer Saturday is usually prayer, breakfast and then shooting. We trade knives, stories and once a quarter we have a saints and sinner dinner. We encourage the guys to invite someone that has never been to church. We grill steaks, have a little bourbon (one glass limit) and a cigar and then bible study, we call it “the holy smokes bible study”.

We have guys that won’t come to church but they will come to bible study and the dinners.

What interests me the most is how they watch the Christian men like a hawk, just waiting for them to slip up. I tell them we do have a few rules always in play, you can’t take the Lord’s name in vain, no dope, don’t show up drunk or high, no jokes about sex, no wife bashing, and you don’t have to hold hands when you pray. That last one draws a big sigh of relief.

I tell them anything I say in front of them I would say in the pulpit.

They are looking for a very real, genuine walk, and they want to see forgiveness in action. We do confess our sins to each other, either to the group or you’ll see some guys on one of the hiking trails or on the gun range having a serious come to Jesus conversation.

The one side effect I never saw coming was the wives saying thank you. My response is always “it’s not the goal of the church to neuter your husband” you can be a man and a good Christian.

Well that’s it for now, God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ronnie S, life has been very hard for him and he needs a financial miracle.

THAT I MAY KNOW HIM

October 6, 2018

  “That l may know Him” (Phil. 3:10).

  It takes us years of trial and error to finally realize that nothing outside the Lord Jesus Christ can fully satisfy and rejoice our hearts. Joy in Him includes ‘the fellowship of His sufferings.’ So, ‘rejoice, in as much as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings’ (1 Pet. 4:13).

We sometimes have the idea that if we were going on rightly, things would be much smoother here for us. Hardly. There is a discipline to correct us and a discipline to develop us. If you are in a wrong path, as you seek the Lord, you will be corrected; but on the other hand, the more you are set for Him here, the more you will find that there is nothing for you here, though at the same time you are daily finding more in Him. ‘We which live are always delivered unto death.’ The more you enjoy the Lord Jesus who has been refused here, the more you are practically severed from all here.

It is a solemn moment when one who has been going on for years with a flourishing profession wakes up to the fact that his heart is entirely unsatisfied. I believe we have very little idea how natural feelings may be mixed up with what we think is our spiritual joy. Many go on happily because their surroundings are happy, and they have no opposition to speak of—perhaps in a Christian family, or in a happy Christian fellowship. They are carried along by the stream of compatible things around them.

But anything that outwardly contributes to our joy will sooner or later fail us. Our Father loves us too well to allow us to rest in anything or anyone short of Himself—not even Christian fellowship, or what people call ‘the means of grace.’ He wants to be so known by us that He becomes the deep eternal spring of satisfaction and joy for our hearts.

  “Give your mind to the things above” (Col. 3:2).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please pray for Virginia M, 80+ years, blind since a young teen, a Christian for more than 65 years. She is struggling in her faith that the end of life is one of great suffering and prolonged. She is wondering why the Lord hasn’t taken her home.

Pray for Cindy M, her husband is a truck driver, long haul, he is a Christian as well, but she is always nagged by doubt about his fidelity on the road. And when he gets home her questions always lead to an argument. Pray for their mutual trust in each other.

ONLY IN HIM

October 5, 2018

ONLY IN HIM

There is probably nothing more important for the believer to become mature than the understanding of knowing our position in Christ.

  “In [this] freedom Christ has made us free—completely liberated us; stand fast then” (Gal. 5:1, Amp.).

  We are never going to be able to stand before our Father in prayer and fellowship because we are fit in ourselves. We finally come to see that we are in His presence because of our position in His Son.

  “The ground upon which our Father deals with us is grace. Every blessing we receive of Him as His children is undeserved. In all of our spiritual existence we are debtors to the rich, free, sovereign grace of our Father. And what is it we are privileged to enjoy on that ground, when we enter ‘into this grace wherein we stand’? We then have a new position, and that position is the glorified Lord Jesus Christ.

We are not only pardoned, but justified—made righteous; and this is not merely by that which He has done, or by what He has procured or bestows—but in what He is. ‘As He is, so are we in this world’ (1 John 4:17). The believer must never lose sight of this fundamental truth: that the basis of his fellowship with the Father is not his own personal holiness, or what the Lord Jesus is in him, but his judicial position before the Father, or what the Lord Jesus is for him. He, ‘the Lord our righteousness,’ is the foundation and source of everything—of walk as well as of position.

Most look to get victory in order to get peace, but it is peace already made by the Lord Jesus’ work and risen life that is ours. Conflict we shall find, but we know that the Father is for us, and that makes all the difference.

  “Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us. . . righteousness” (1 Cor. 1:30).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Sharon who is having severe allergy problems

Pray for Sammie; she is 29, dealing with depression

Pray for Stacy, back problems

ALL SERVE

October 4, 2018

  “Put on the whole armor of God “ (Eph. 6:11a).

  My sovereign Father gives me a subservient Satan.

Walter Wink, professor of Theology at Union Seminary, a liberal seminary, was the first author and professor that I’ve read that had a chapter on the servanthood of Satan. He can do nothing unless allowed by God, one of the first teachings of Job, which chronologically is the first book of the Bible. So probably a good concept to remember

 Our Father has better thoughts for us than a portion here. He is educating us for a blessed and eternal rest, free from evil and all that could cause it, and He is bent on the blessing of His children; and moreover He is bound by His holiness to purge us suitably (though most graciously) for the place He has called us to. How often He lets Satan do this painful work, and try to sift us as Job! But the Father’s hand and will are behind it all. He gives His saints up to Satan’s hand to a certain point, but only so far as to bring the heart fully to a bearing before Himself.

  “It is a wonderful thing to see the way in which through the overruling power of the Father, the efforts of Satan against His people only bring them out the more distinctly in their own place of blessing.” GW

We cannot judge God’s ways without judging God: we may love Him in His ways, but the moment we judge or question that which He has revealed, we get above God, we make ourselves gods, and we put Him in the place of the creature as subject to us. This brings our souls under the power of everyone that is more clever than ourselves: we are in their hands, and they can do what they please with us.

Now the devil is more clever than we are. Therefore we ought to keep God ever in His place of God in our souls, lest Satan should make gods of us, and set us judging God Himself. If God be displaced, we get into the place of those who are irresponsible, and as creatures the prey of any more cunning than ourselves.

  “That ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11b).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Had a few interesting comments on me talking about “bad girls” in our church. The bible has several “bad girls”. I’m blessed as a pastor that our church is loving and caring enough that we get a wide range of people that are in different walks in their journey of faith. Just as we get some that are unsaved but curious as to why they see “different” folks come out of our church. When I had a radio show it attracted a lot of curious people to church. Now it’s “different people” drawing curious people. One fellow last Sunday told me that he was in a bar and heard one of the patrons talking about his pastor. And he wondered how the two fit together; a heavy drinker and a pastor, hopefully we’ll see him again this Sunday.

So to those who are curious, seeking, wandering, wondering, pondering, stay with us here at scumlikeuschurch.

Pray for Chris, kidney stones

Pray for Doreen, hard times

Pray for Nadine, abandoned by her husband, left with a huge mortgage and car payments, two kids and a husband that seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

OUR LIFE LIST

September 29, 2018

Quote; “Years ago I encountered a word of wisdom: “At the end of our lives, what we will regret is far more about what we didn’t do, than what we did.” And then recently, in a conversation about what “youngers” want to learn from “olders,” a colleague said he wanted to know what we regret so he can learn from our lessons the wiser way (observation) instead of the hard way (personal experience)” end of quote.

Like a previous post I don’t know the author of this quote, only that personally I disagree. I regret far more some of the things I did and their far reaching, lasting consequences versus the one thing I didn’t do and have regrets.

So for you what is it, things you didn’t do or things you did?

There’s a big difference, for the things I did do I need to repent and practice accepting the divine forgiveness of God. For the things I didn’t do, unless it was something the Lord asked me to do and I didn’t, I have only one regret in that column.

It doesn’t mean anything if your column doesn’t match mine. We are all unique and a we will all will be judged for our motives of everything we did.

The important thing is live your life. Practice being godly, holy, not only reckoning by faith but also by practice. The “put on” or “put off” category that the Holy Spirit calls us to do.

And this isn’t about your “bucket list” ( I hate that phrase) it’s about choices you make especially regarding relationships. Do what you’re supposed to do before it’s to late. Fix the things that will have consequences, even the hard ones, when you come under conviction from the Lord. It’s better to fix them the first time He asks.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Another phrase I’m not found of but it fits; “get it done” or get r dun. Whatever, do what you have to do. Peace of mind is a valuable commodity.

Pray for Dave H, good mental health.

Pray for Christina, tough decisions.

Praise report, my doctor called me today, no cancer.

Pray for Matthew W, very sick after being stung over a dozen time by red wasps. These are the giant, big as your thumb wasps.

HIS WAY NOT OURS

September 27, 2018

Here is a thought to chew on about who gets saved and who does not and why.

Historic Reformed theology takes the biblical doctrine of divine election seriously. Because of it, Calvinists believe that God had a plan from all eternity to redeem a people for Himself. That plan encompassed only a portion of the human race; it was never God’s intention to save everybody. Remember, given our sin and His justice, God was under no obligation to save anyone. Indeed, He would have been perfectly just if He had consigned all people to eternal damnation, but in His mercy, He chose to save some. If it had been God’s intention to save everybody, then everybody would be saved, but God’s purpose in redemption was to save a remnant of the human race from the wrath they had earned for themselves and justly deserved. These people will receive God’s mercy; all others will receive His justice.

We know that not everyone is going to get saved, what’s hard for our human mind to grasp is that God from the beginning of time knows who will be saved and who will reject His Son.

You hear this all the time when witnessing to non believers, “how could a loving caring God send any body to hell, I just don’t believe in that kind of God.”

Simple answer really, they are not talking about the God of the bible, but a god of their own creation. God doesn’t send anybody to hell, they choose that for themselves. They reject the very plan we rejoice in and celebrate in the life and death of our Savior.

So next time you are talking to an unbeliever, be sure to point out they always have a choice even if it’s the wrong one. There is no universal salvation; there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Please don’t forget that and be bold to speak out to those who believe in their own version of god. ( hey I think I smell smoke, might the best answer to those following their own god).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Praise report, Barbara D, her cancer is in remission.

Dave I, prostate cancer in remission

Karla, (awhile back) has new job and found a new church

Prayer works

ATOMIC ROOSTER

September 26, 2018

Voted the number one rock song on an album by leading Rock and Roll Experts, not based on fame, or money, but solely of the merits of what a rock song should be; Death Walks Behind You, by Atomic Rooster. I wish I still had the album.

this is a long devotion so print it out or set aside some time. I found these notes in one of my older bibles, probably when i was in Seminary. I don’t remember the source or where I found the quotes. But it is topic that no person can avoid.

The valley of the shadow of death is the longest valley in the world. It began with Adam and has continued through six thousand years of human history. Men like to postpone that dreadful moment when they must pass through the dark valley, but death underscores each life and refuses to accept the person of any man. Death does not take into account whether we have been profitable or detrimental to society. Every step that we take brings us nearer to the grave, and it is but a matter of time until we must bid farewell to every earthly tie. With all of the wisdom of the medical profession and the use of scientific discoveries, we must agree with the wise preacher of old who said; “For the living know that they shall die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

The Bible contains much warning about death, speaking as frequently on this subject as it does about any other. In the garden of Eden where death had never entered, Adam and Eve were instructed by God to refrain from the forbidden fruit with the accompanying warning:

In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:17).

We know that they did eat; and at the very moment the judgment of God passed upon them, their bodies commenced the process of death and decay. “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” (Genesis 5:5).

On one page of our Bible we have the genealogy from Adam to Noah and with only one exception, Enoch, the man who walked with God and was translated, the refrain is repeated– “and he died.”

The Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles did not hesitate to declare that death is certain. Noah preached righteousness and the judgment of God. He warned men that if they would not repent, the Lord would destroy them from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:7). Men only mocked at the old preacher’s sermon, and then God struck the whole earth with death and destruction. The divine record has it that the waters prevailed for forty days on the earth until every hill was covered. And then we read:

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man (Genesis 7:21).

Abraham faced the grim reality of death when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. Though Isaac was spared, a ram died in his stead. Then we read: “And Sarah died” (Genesis 23:2). “And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die” (Deuteronomy 31:14).

Isaiah said to Hezekiah: “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1).

Jeremiah warned Hananiah: “This year thou shalt die” (Jeremiah 28:16).

Ezekiel preached the Word of the Lord: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “That wicked man shall die in his iniquity” (Ezekiel 33:8).

When Jesus told the story of the rich man and Lazarus, He said: “The beggar died . . . The rich man also died” (Luke 16:22).

When Christ was brought before the multitude, the Jews said: “We have a law, and by our law He ought to die” (John 19:7).

Of Dorcas, Luke writes: “She was sick, and died” (Acts 9:37).

How full the Bible is of the subject of death! We cannot study the life of any Bible character, save Enoch and Elijah, without being reminded that they all died. Life insurance companies become rich simply by pointing out that all men must die, and the agents have little difficulty in selling a policy by merely saying that death may come suddenly and unexpectedly. Any undertaker who conducts a respectable business is assured of a comfortable living with those values that money can buy. Even architects and builders take death into account when they plan a structure. Dr. John Rice tells that when his congregation in Dallas was preparing plans for a new church building the architect insisted on discussing the stairways, for, said he: “One rule we architects try to remember is that every stairway and every bedroom door must be large enough to admit a coffin!”

The Bible speaks of: “The law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

The Apostle Paul says: “We had the sentence of death in ourselves” (2 Corinthians 1:9). “So then death worketh in us” (2 Corinthians 4:12).

The Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of men “Who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:15).

There is no escaping death. Try as hard as we can, the rider on the pale horse will pay his visit to each of us. He is blind to all tears and deaf to all prayers and pleadings. He must come to us, for he is sent by appointment. “It is appointed unto men once to die.” It is the judgment of the Almighty, it is by divine appointment. The death-bed, the crepe, the funeral, the grave, and the broken-hearted sighs and tears of the bereaved all tell us that “man dieth.”

The first time that the subject of death is mentioned in the Bible is given as a warning to our first parents. There man in his primitive state was enjoying blissful communion with God:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17).

Adam knew that he was alive, but he was a stranger to the subject of death until he heard this word from the Lord. Now he is on his own. He has a knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. He knows that to obey God will mean continuous and unending life and to disobey will bring the sentence of death. The power of choice and the right to decide is now left with man. However, Satan would not allow the situation to go unchallenged. Though he taunted and tempted Eve he could not force her to eat the fruit. Both she and her husband partook of it by their own choice, and in so doing they incurred the displeasure of the Lord. The warning He gave was plain: “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Being holy and righteous in all of His judgments, God could do nothing other than pass the sentence of death. Hence Adam listened to what the consequences of his own wrong-doing had brought upon himself:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Genesis 3:19).

God never acts in judgment nor does He allow anything to come to pass unless there is a just cause. So when He pronounced death upon the human race it was because Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and turned from the truth. Though the warning of the Lord had come in soundness and simplicity man chose to sin, knowing all the while that it meant death. Man cannot plead innocency on the ground of the sovereignty of God. He is appointed to die because he has transgressed the Law of God, and the Lord’s justice in the sentence of death is so undeniable that every mouth is stopped and all the world is guilty before Him. Man can offer no legitimate reason why the death sentence should not have been passed, for:

The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12).

So then death worketh in us (2 Corinthians 4:12).

For all have sinned (Romans 3:23).

Every time that death strikes and a loved one is suddenly taken away, it is as if we hear the cachinnation of sin and Satan. Sin plays with man for a time just as a cat plays with a mouse. Sin will allow us to run here and there, to pursue happiness, worldly pleasure and power; but the game of life is brief. In the end sin has tracked down each of us, and each pays with his life. Inasmuch as “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), we search in vain in our efforts to discover the secret of victory over death, for “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?” (Psalm 89:48).

Death is still in our midst holding the whole world in fear and subjection. The reason men shrink from it is because “the sting of death is sin” (1 Corinthians 15:56). Because our nature is sinful and our hearts wicked, death continues to prick us and drive us toward the grave as the goad drives an ox to slaughter. Jesus said that ours is a wicked and an adulterous age. Until Christ comes back with His Church to rule the earth, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Even to the end of the millennium death will hold within its grasp all the wicked dead. Until Satan and all unbelievers are cast into the lake of fire, death will have a vise-like grip upon sinners. But how comforting and consoling for the Christian when he looks for Him, even our blessed Lord Jesus who, when He comes the second time with His own, will subdue all things, even the power of death!

Death does not affect all men in the same way simply because it does not lead all men in the same direction. We realize that here we are assuming that death is not the consummation of all existence. Furthermore we are aware of the fact that there are a great many people in the world today who do not believe in an existing consciousness after death. Only recently I talked with a gentleman who believes that death is the cessation of man’s existence. He compared the death of a man to a leaf falling from a tree in October. Disregarding the positive proof of immortality, we will content ourselves with a brief consideration of one of two courses that death must take.

In one hospital ward two patients may die at exactly the same moment. While the root cause of these deaths may be the same in each case, the dying of one can be something altogether different from the dying of the other. We have seen how that death was the only real satisfaction for sin. It was the only punishment for sin that could satisfy the righteous demands of God. Since all men, who were at one time in the loins of Adam, possess Adam’s fallen nature, it stands that all must die the physical death of the body. However as Abraham Kuyper has said: “In the valley of the shadow of death, the great highway on which people walk divides itself, and continues on one side upward unto eternal life, and on the other with a declining path downward into eternal death.”

We can understand this only as we know something of the true purpose of the death of Jesus Christ. Since sin must be punished by death, Jesus went to the cross and died as the punishment for sin and thus at the same time offered Himself as the satisfaction for sin. Peter declares that “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh” (1 Peter 3:18). Here we are told that Christ was put to death for sins “that He might bring us to God.” Those who fall asleep in the Lord take the upward course to Heaven and to God. Having accepted Jesus Christ as their Sin-Bearer and Savior from sin they are brought to God by virtue of His sacrificial and vicarious death. Believers are able to say: “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). As Jesus hung dying upon the Cross, He was the true sin-offering for His people. We were, by nature, on the downward course, doomed to be separated from God; but Jesus, by virtue of His death, provided a new destiny. Dr. Harry Rimmer has said, “When Jesus died to change the trend of human thought, He also died to change the road of human history. Through a false philosophy, mankind was pursuing a fatal destiny. The impact of the cross bent human history out of the course in which it was flowing, and directed mankind toward God.” Whenever a true believer dies he is said to have fallen “asleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13, 15; 1 Corinthians 15:6), and immediately his soul takes the upward course to be with the Lord.

But what course does death pursue in the case of an unbeliever? We have already stated that the only other course remaining is the declining path into eternal death. Once again we must make an assumption, that of belief in a literal place of endless torment for all who reject the atoning work of Christ when He died on Calvary’s Cross.

Since the death of Christ paid for the believer the punishment of sin, and death to him is a pleasant ascension into the Father’s presence, it follows that the death of the unbeliever is an unpleasant descent away from the presence of God. When the unbeliever gives up the ghost, breathing his last breath, he passes from this world into a spiritual and eternal death and Hell. Both are conscious, but death was forced to pursue a different course for each. Both the rich man and Lazarus died in the story told by our Lord. Lazarus was carried into Abraham’s bosom while the rich man was sent to Hell (Luke 16:19-24).

Dear Reader, where are you? Yes, you are still alive in this world; but remember, death is slowly but surely overtaking you. Soon you must say farewell to every earthly tie and enter into an endless eternity. Since Christ died to bring you to God, it is self-evident that you are far from God, and unprepared and unfit for Heaven. Will you trust the Saviour now? “He that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Terri, as she is facing a momentous decision

Pray for Randy H, heart issues

Pray for Steve C, 66 years old raised in church and won’t go into one for anything. Pray for his salvation.