Category Archives: Culture

The Forgotten Sin

I get it. Nobody likes to talk about sin, but sometimes we need to. The turmoil of the 21st century has obscured our view of sin with the result that there is now The Forgotten Sin.

Some sins seem to reach out and grab us by the collar. The in-your-face wickedness makes us angry. But, in our rush to combat the assault of these wicked thoughts and ideas, we have created an unbiblical hierarchy of sins. We spend all of our time talking about the “bad sins” but fail to address the “lesser sins.”

Some years ago, a public health professional told me that the extraordinary emphasis on HIV-AIDS was hiding the serious nature of older sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea. In her words, we have lost control of syphilis and gonorrhea and will never get it under control again. I wonder if we’re in the same situation with sexual sin.

We know sin separates us from God. But, what sin? Aren’t some sins worse? In Proverbs 6:16-19, Solomon says “hands that shed innocent blood” are an abomination to God. In that very same list, he says that “haughty eyes and a lying tongue” are also abominations to the Lord and are things that the Lord hates. But surely lying isn’t as bad as murder, is it?

Any sinful behavior, no matter how trivial it appears to us, is deadly serious to God.

In our rush to oppose homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion, we have forgotten “routine” fornication and adultery. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul begins his list of sins with sexual immorality; it’s right there in the same list with idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness, and orgies. Paul says that people who do these things “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

What exactly is “sexual immorality?” The underlying word, porneia, is a very broad word in Greek. It speaks to any illicit sexual activity. Sexual intimacies not ordained by God are sinful. This word includes fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. Yet today, our world assumes that people in a dating relationship are, in fact, having sex. Culture’s greatest concern is whether the sex is consensual and whether the couple has used protection against disease or unwanted pregnancies. There is no concern for the sinfulness of such a relationship. The forgotten sin is sexual immorality.

Let me be clear: sex outside of a God-approved marriage is sinful. Hebrews 13:4 says it is the “marriage bed” that is undefiled. Paul calls us to “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Those words should speak to you, Christian. Let your life be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). Your Lord loves you more than you can ever imagine. He wants what is best for you. If we hear his words and abide in his teachings, our life now will be much better. Our lives in eternity will be indescribable.

The world is awash in every imaginable sexual sin. Let the Christian remain pure and holy before his maker.

Are People Good?

Are people good? Are they inherently virtuous? Why does it seem that some people are good and honorable while others are dishonorable and even evil? As expected, there is a Bible answer.


Humanity began in Eden. The Bible tells us that as part of God’s creation week, he created the human species. Most importantly, they were created in his divine image. They were image-bearers of the creator (Genesis 1:27). He told them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:26-31). It is evident that they obeyed this command, for in Genesis 4, two sons have been born to the first couple. A third son is born at the end of the chapter. By the end of Genesis 5, 10 generations from Adam and Eve are recorded.

On the 6th day of creation, as God prepared to rest from his work, he looked upon the totality of his creation. He declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). According to the biblical record, only two humans were alive when God declared the goodness of his creation. There is no evidence of any evil in the world, and there was certainly no sin. This is critical. Mankind was very good when created. Inasmuch as there was no evil in the world, we may conclude that the original couple was pure, sinless, and thus very good.

Unfortunately, something very bad was about to happen in the very good world.

Disaster Strikes

We do not know how long this sinless state continued in Eden, but by the time Adam was 130 years old, sin had entered the world with catastrophic consequences (Genesis 5:3).

A choice was given. Adam and Eve could obey God, or they could disobey. Their choice? Disobedience. God had placed two unique trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of life of which man could freely eat, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was this last tree that mankind was forbidden even to touch. The presence of those two trees provided a choice for Adam and Eve.

All was well in the garden until Satan entered in the form of a serpent (Genesis 3:1). He immediately questioned God’s authority and even called God a liar. He tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. She surrendered to the temptation, as did her husband, Adam (Genesis 3:6). We must emphasize that neither Adam nor Eve was compelled to eat the forbidden fruit. It was their choice. Because they chose to disobey, they suffered the consequences of their action.

Much of this chapter focuses on the consequences of their sin. Adam must now work harder, Eve will suffer pain in childbearing, the serpent is cursed to crawl upon the ground and eat dust, and Satan will be crushed by one who is yet unborn (Genesis 3:15). But the greatest consequence is not revealed until the end of the chapter. God banished man from the presence of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24). On that dark day in the long-ago, man’s spirit died when he was separated from God, and the process of physical death began as well. Because man could no longer eat from the tree of life, his body began to age and break down, leading to physical death.

The horrible aftermath of the sin in Eden is seen in Genesis 4. The very next generation, the son of Adam and Eve, Cain, worships improperly, then rises up against his brother Abel and kills him. Even more deadly violence is recorded in verses 23 and 24. The horrific picture of murderous rage is painted in the boldest of colors immediately after the sin in Eden.

What happened?

There was only one way to sin in the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve found it. All the joys and pleasures of a perfect world lay before them. But they threw it all away by succumbing to temptation.

Here is the problem for the modern world: Sin was once contained at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But once touched and consumed, sin was set loose in humanity. The very name of the tree explains its dangerous contagion. It opened their eyes and gave them knowledge of sin, thus making them guilty and subject to punishment (Genesis 3:7). The first parents would then spread the influence of sin to their children, who would spread it to their children, and so forth. Sin spreads when we are influenced to choose wrongly.

Sin is not in our DNA. We are not sinful because some ancient ancestor sinned (Ezekiel 18:20). We are sinful because of our choices. Now the upshot of this argument is that people are inherently good. We become evil when we surrender to evil influence.

The real man, the authentic man, is made in the image of God and is, therefore, very good. When we sully the image of God that we each bear, we become evil. Our goal, achieved through Jesus Christ alone, is to find and reclaim the holiness that once defined God’s creation.

Authenticity calls for a return to the original condition seen in Eden. It is not defined by what our corrupted hearts and minds tell us it is. The dark ruler of this world wants you to find pseudo authenticity in anything but the image of God.

We are like a people swimming in a putrid river of sewage. Our world and our culture are corrupt. Sin is everywhere. We are influenced to sin through others, the media, and especially social media. Like those swimming in the festering river, we must not grow weary and must press to reach the other side. To stop swimming means certain death. To surrender to evil temptation means certain death.

Do not give up but continue to search for the inherently good spirit God has placed in each of us. Yet, none of us are strong enough to reach the other side of that river without God’s help. God’s grace empowers us to reach the other side of the river and to return to the authenticity of an image-bearer of God

Yes, people are good.


Forgiveness is a hard trait for anyone to master. It is most difficult when we try to forgive ourselves. Those who live in Christ must learn to forgive. Hear the words of Jesus:

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14, 15)

Jesus says that if I do not forgive others who have offended me, I will not be forgiven of my trespasses. A parallel verse is in James 2:13, “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Personally, I crave both forgiveness and mercy. I need copious amounts of both; I suspect you do too.

If anyone in the Bible had a reason to hold a grudge, it would have been Jesus. The purest one ever born had come to earth for one reason: “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). But despite his sole purpose of helping humanity, Jesus became the target of their wrath. He was arrested, maltreated, and crucified on an old rugged cross. Yet, as he hung on that cross, he uttered this immortal statement, “father forgive them (Luke 23:34).” As the ultimate example of a holy life, Jesus teaches us to forgive.

Christians don’t always live up to the master’s example. Christians can be just as petty and unforgiving as non-Christians. But our failure to exemplify Christ does not lessen the imperative of forgiveness.

Those outside of Christ are often amazed when they see acts of true forgiveness. For example, Georgia Congressman John Lewis’ public forgiveness of Alabama Gov. George Wallace. Or the beautiful image of Botham Jean’s brother embracing and forgiving convicted murderer Amber Guyger as she was being sentenced for the murder of his brother. True forgiveness is so rare in our world that it always turns heads when it happens.

Forgiveness and Hypocrisy

People occasionally blur the line between forgiveness and hypocrisy. They see or hear of a Christian doing something sinful. They immediately cry, “hypocrisy!” But what they overlook is that the Christian is struggling to overcome sin. Along the way, he stumbles. But God has forgiven him. 1 John 1:5-10 is enlightening. We know first the necessity of “walking in the light.” Second, even while walking in the light, the Christian needs forgiveness. And three, forgiveness is forthcoming from a loving God.

There is no hypocrisy. There is only a real struggle to overcome sin in daily life.

This is not to say that hypocrisy never occurs; it does. And sometimes, Christians deliberately act contrary to God’s holiness. In that case, they are hypocrites. But to assert that every stumble or error is an act of hypocrisy is just wrong. Certainly, you and I would not want to be judged that way.

Hiding behind Hypocrisy

Occasionally a person will use the perceived hypocrisy of someone else to justify their own misdeeds. Maybe they’re not really trying to justify themselves as much is there trying to raise their stature among other people. They point out the weaknesses in failings and other people and then conclude that their sin is no worse than the others. It is true that any sin separates a person from God. But it is also true that another person’s sin has no bearing on your standing before God. Another person’s sin does not justify you. We will be judged individually (Romans 14:12).

Hiding behind hypocrisy evidences an unwillingness to confront one’s own sins. It also suggests a desperation to be seen as righteous but without a penitent heart. If you are outside God’s kingdom and judging it by its citizens, you are missing the most important part. We are not and will not claim perfection. We rely on God’s promise of forgiveness as we strive to know Him and pattern our lives after Him each day.

In the beginning, we said forgiveness was a hard trait to master. It’s also a hard act to understand. No matter the depth or depravity of your sin, you can be cleansed and stand righteous before the Lord. After a laundry list of common sins, Paul said: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Come now for the healing and forgiveness found only in Jesus!

There's Got to be a Better Way

There’s Got to be a Better Way

There's Got to be a Better Way

I was sitting on a stone wall in front of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. I watched the world pass by. Young, old, infants and grandparents, moms and dads. I watched people from Europe, Africa, Central and South America, and, of course, the US. Men and women in high-dollar suits raced between meetings trying to turn one more deal before the month ended. There’s got to be a better way!

You could have been in that crowd.

Solomon said,

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3

What do we gain? We live, and then we die. There’s got to be a better way. Culture has no answers.

Groucho Marx quipped from his deathbed, “This is no way to live!” He was right. Like mice on a running wheel inside a small cage, we say, this is no way to live.

There’s Got to be a Better Way: The Problem.

1.      Everything is Temporary

We live in a briefly appearing world. We are born, and if extraordinarily fortunate, we will live for a hundred years and then vanish into an unseen world. Within those 100 years, we have maybe 50 years of real productivity. Our total contribution to the world is less than a century. We take our last breath, but the clock keeps on ticking.

James described our life as “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). From my experience, and probably yours, that is a spot-on observation. There is no permanence to our lives. It’s just a run from one meeting to the next, go home and sleep, and then start again the next day.

Solomon, an extraordinarily wise Israelite king, remarked, “I hated all my toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool” (Ecclesiastes 2:18, 19). Why do we work so hard for things so temporary?

2.    The Future is Dark

As the news drones on and on, we are bombarded with dismal prophecies of failure. Crime is rising, and politicians are powerless to stop it. Test scores are dropping, and educators have no answers. If the experts are clueless, what are we to do?

The Bible tells us that things will get worse. Paul said that “evil people and impostors will go from bad to worse” (2 Timothy 3:13).

If you’re like me, you are afraid to read the headlines. What’s next? Supervillains and Superbugs rule the day! It’s not surprising that people are anxious and afraid. Is this as good as it gets?

3.   There is no satisfaction

Do you like your job? Really, do you get up every day excited about your work? What about your relationships? Do they satisfy? Does the other person “complete” you? Are your children a blessing or a chore?

Lockdowns stopped many of our friendships, and even now, we’ve not found the time to refresh them. We get up, go to work, come home, and crash. We eventually drag our tired bodies to bed, sleep a few hours, then start again. Satisfaction is fleeting. We run like the little hamster on the wheel inside his cage but get nowhere.

There’s Got to be a Better Way: There Is!

1.   Find Real Peace

In a letter to the Philippians (4:7), Paul speaks of a peace that “surpasses all understanding.” When was the last time you enjoyed a few minutes of real peace?  In Jesus, you can have peace that comes from a realignment of your priorities and a changing of your trust model.

The first priority is Jesus and his work. Jesus spoke of worrying about what we acquire and consume in life. His advice is simple and straightforward: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). But, if you make that change in your priorities but do not also change who and what you place your trust in, you will be more anxious than ever!

Trust must be placed in something trustworthy. If we’ve learned anything we have learned that we cannot trust anything. Our leaders shade the truth and often lie to us. Our financial accounts rise and then fall just as quickly. Like a flailing sailor tossed violently in the waves, we need something to cling to. We need something that will not sink in stormy weather. We need someone who is trustworthy. Jesus said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30)

Would you know the peace that comes from Jesus? Come, learn of him, trust him, and give him your heart. You will not be disappointed.

2.   Untangle the Knot

Have you ever stopped to think about how entangled we are? We cannot say “no” at work because we want to be seen as a team player. We volunteer for projects at our child’s school because we want to be seen as good parents. Our front yard must be pristine because we fear a note from the neighborhood association. And, somewhere along the way, we need to find time for our spouses. There’s just too much going on!

God’s faithful have always struggled. Hear the writers description of some great figures in the Bible:

who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:33-38).

They bore up under struggles and managed to find what was better. The two verses tell us that something better was waiting for them – just like it is waiting for you.

Trust in Jesus will not untie the knot, but it will give you a fresh perspective on the truly important things in life.

Look, there is something better. Life can be better. You can be a part of something that is bigger than yourself but also profoundly meaningful to people around you.

3. Think Outside the Box

Look, I get it. Spiritual things are not viewed well today. The decline of culture and the decline of the reputation of the church mirror one another. I’m not sure which came first. I do know that much of what has passed for “church” is little more than a traveling medicine show. It’s about entertainment – not worship. It’s about pop-level psychology – not holiness. You can almost feel the disconnect between churches and Jesus.

There is no disconnect between Jesus and the church he established and died for. It’s still here and you can be a part of it regardless of your past.

    Culture has failed

    Culture Has Failed. Now What?

    culture has failed this man

    Culture promised so much but delivered nothing. We were told that happiness comes from faster internet, more entertainment options, the sexual revolution, changing pronouns, legalized drugs, more alcohol, more credit, less work, and so on. But despite the promises, we’re still stressed and bubbling with anxiety. Happiness is elusive and, when found, so brief. Like an endless train of zombies stumbling into a dark tunnel, we wander, hoping that fulfillment and satisfaction are just ahead. They’re not. Culture has failed. What now?

    There is a better way.

    1. Don’t trust what doesn’t deliver.

    Promises from cultural, political, and societal leaders haven’t delivered. Your station in life has changed little from where you stood ten years ago. Would you keep the same internet provider if they couldn’t meet their promises? Would you change your cell phone provider if you experienced spotty coverage despite their lovely blue and purple maps?

    Culture is saying that religion is bad, that there is no God, and it’s all a scam. Maybe their thoughts on faith are as useless as a pretty blue map with only a rare gap. It’s time to reconsider.

    2. Consider Jesus.

    Now, wait. Before you click away, read just a little further. The next 60 seconds could be life-changing.

    Jesus is the greatest teacher who ever walked. Initially, I am only asking that you consider his words. For the moment, let’s forget his miracles and his divine claims. Just focus on what he taught.

    In a single lesson (Matthew 5, 6, and 7), Jesus declared the “Golden Rule,” “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them… (Matthew 7:12). He declared the uselessness of worry and anxiety (Matthew 6:25-29) while reminding us to focus on the day, not tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). Jesus declared that we should not only love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39) but even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-47).

    By any measure, these teachings are world-changing! Culture has failed. Try something new.

    3. Focus on Jesus, not His disciples.

    You’ve seen hypocrites. Preachers who are greedy cheaters. Church leaders who are sexual abusers. Double-talking Christians who would embarrass a crusty old sailor. Hypocrites are real, and they are found in the church.

    There is a difference between Jesus and broken Christians.

    Peter, who struggled with his own set of sins, always pointed to Jesus and not to himself.

    “…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”

    1 Peter 1:15, 16

    Should you take up the mantle of faith, you will follow Jesus and no one else. And, you will stumble.

    4. Expect from Jesus what culture has failed to deliver.

    Jesus changes our outlook and our thinking. He transforms our minds through his message (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We come to know real and abiding peace. We think less about this world and focus on eternity. Your boss, bank, and neighbor become less irritating as you grow deeper in Christ.

    Despite what some money-grubbing preachers will tell you, prosperity is never assured. But that’s ok because our view of money is downgraded. It is no longer a goal but a tool to help others. You will not suddenly become rich. You won’t find “$56,000 in the mail.” But you will find peace and a release from the anxiety vexing you. It’s not instant, but it is real.

    I have one goal with this message. I hope you will turn to Jesus to find what culture failed to deliver.

    If this post was helpful to you, please consider subscribing to our site. We’ll never sell or distribute your information…never…I promise.

    morality is dead

    What is Evil?


    Evil is ubiquitous. It is in every corner of the world and in the heart of every person. Evil is the reason the world is the way it is today. Marked by chaos and division, the world suffers from the effects of evil. We should know as much as we can about this malevolent power.

    The word occurs frequently in the Bible. The English Standard Version reports 531 results or an average of 8 time per book in the Bible. Jeremiah has the most occurrences but tiny 3rd John has the most per words in the book. Solomon used it often in his review of life and happiness in Ecclesiastes where it occurs roughly 4 times per thousand words. The effects of evil are clearly seen in every Bible book.

    Philosophers have tried to define evil apart from the Bible and have been quite unsuccessful. They have gone so far as to use the real existence of evil as evidence against the existence of the God of the Bible.

    What the Bible says about evil

    Let the Bible Speak

    Inasmuch as evil is a spiritual concept, we should allow the Bible to reveal it’s dimensions and define it’s horrors. The Bible is truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17).

    Evil is personal.

    The Bible does not view evil as an ambiguous, vague force. Evil surrounds and defines Satan. Jesus perfectly describes Satan while rebuking the religious leaders of his day.

    You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    John 8:44

    In Genesis, it was Satan who lied to the first couple. He directly, and personally, contradicted God – in essence calling God a liar – concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    The outcome of Satan’s meddling teaches us much about evil. The outcomes are never good. In the Genesis 3 account, the outcome was a severing of the relationship between God and humanity. Man can only serve one master (Matthew 6:24). There has never been a throne big enough for two!

    Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

    Romans 6:16

    Evil Usurps

    Once God was driven from their lives Satan enjoyed freedom to corrupt and destroy. Their family was shattered when their eldest son murdered their youngest son. Cain killed Abel because God was displeased with Cain’s sacrifice. He couldn’t strike out at God but his brother was an easy target. This story is made even more tragic when we realize that God tried to guide Cain. He tried to guide him into a better place.

    The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

    Genesis 4:6, 7

    Cain rejected God’s guidance because his heart was blinded by sin. The evil one had taken the place of God in his life and led him to assault and murder his own brother. This is the nature of evil. It forces God off the throne and takes his place with a lawless rule.

    Evil is the enemy

    Notice the last sentence: “It’s desire is contrary to you…” Despite Satanic protestations to the contrary, sin lies in strong opposition to our God given souls. The NIV translates the passage this way: “it desires to have you…” Sin is the product of evil and actively seeks victims. Peter wrote that “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). An adversary is an opponent. The psalmist often prayed that God would defeat his adversaries. But here, in 1 Peter, the adversary is clearly the devil. The apostles says he is looking for someone he can devour.

    Satan is not merely interested in troubling you or causing you inconvenience. He uses evil to consume your life. Like a potent toxin, the devil slowly but completely takes the life of his victim. Yet, we are often unable, or unwilling, to see the danger our adversary contains. He presents himself as a friend, a confidant, or a wizened guide.He may even present himself as a man of faith. He may appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) or he may come quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1 – 11). Remember, he presented himself to Eve, disguised, as one who would help her reach her greatest potential (Genesis 3:1-6).

    To us, Satan presents himself with the face of our best friend. Perhaps he looks like our wife or our husband. He may appear with the authority of an employer or a government official. He could even appear as a nerdy, bullied, misunderstood teenager who just needs to let off a little harmless steam.

    Satan is a liar. However he appears, whatever form he takes, will be false. Like a secret agent in wartime he disguises himself as a friendly when he is really an enemy.

    What the Bible says about defeating evil

    Evil looses

    No matter how it may appear, the devil looses. In December of 1944 German forces fully encircled the Allied troops. The German commander promised to annihilate the US forces if they did not accept the surrender terms. The American commander refused.Four days later the reinforcements arrived. The refreshed troops attacked and drove the Germans back to where the battle began. Sometimes, in the moment, defeat may seem certain. Yet, for the one who perseveres, victory comes.

    Jesus said:

    and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

    Matthew 10:22

    James wrote:

    Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

    James 1:12

    And Jesus said again:

    Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

    Revelation 2:10

    The Lord told Satan that he would loose. Speaking while the forbidden fruit was still fresh in their bellies God said:

    I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

    Genesis 3:15

    John says our faith is based upon our faith (1 John 5:4). Paul laughs in the face of defeat and asks “O death, where is your victory” (1 Corinthians 15:55). In the next verse he declares that God has given us the victory through “our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 56).

    Satan looses.

    So, what is evil? Evil is a real, but false force that seems to encompass us on all sides. It is always bad and never seeks good for mankind. It is our enemy and will be destroyed when the Lord returns. For us, we stand strong against every appearance of evil and await the glory that comes from our Lord. There is victory and it is coming.

    Being salt in a sugary world

    Being Salt in a Sugary World

    Being salt in a sugary world

    I like sweet stuff, don’t you? Given a choice, I’ll choose a candy bar over a bag of potato chips any day. Most people seem to like sugary snacks. That’s what keeps dentists in business. To be sure, most Americans get plenty of salt in their diet. Just this week, an FDA committee suggested that Americans get too much salt. The government also thinks that we take in too much sugar. Rampant obesity among people in industrialized nations seems to confirm that fact. I’m going to suggest that we need more salt in the world.

    “You are the salt of the earth…” so says Jesus in the sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:13. Jesus is speaking to his disciples with that statement. That means that you and I need to be salt in the world. But what does that look like in daily life? What should a disciple do to honor Jesus’ statement?

    The world likes sugar. Be salt.

    Salt and sugar stand in contrast to one another. The world consumes sugared philosophies. For example, the world teaches us to be tolerant of everyone else even when their pattern of life is grossly sinful. LGBTQ+ is the touchstone of tolerance. The world tells us that greed and pride are good things and that we should pursue both. Marriage is no longer honored in the sight of the world because today, marriage is simply a temporary state until one or both parties become tired of the relationship. Not only must we tolerate these sugary philosophies, but we must also actively approve of them. The world is awash in sugar.

    But you, Christian, must be the counter to sugar. You are the salt.

    When John the Baptist told King Herod that he had no right to his brother’s wife, he was being salt. He was applying biblical teaching in a corrupt culture. He did the right thing, but it cost him his life (Matthew 14:1-12).

    Jesus publicly taught that the Jews should pay taxes to Rome even though the Jews despised the Roman government (Luke 20:19-26). Even among Jesus’ own apostles, there were violent opponents of Rome. Yet, Jesus spoke truth. He was salt. Of course, we know that Jesus was crucified because of his teachings.

    A careful study of 1 Corinthians will demonstrate that Paul frequently spoke against the culture. He was especially troubled by how the culture of the day had seeped into the church in Corinth. Paul was salt.

    While the world likes to be comfortable with its sugary ideas, the responsibility of a follower of Jesus is to apply salt wherever and whenever possible. Be warned: culture will oppose you.

    Apply salt carefully.

    Have you ever gotten a bite of something that was too salty? Maybe the cook got a little carried away with the salt shaker and major food inedible. We must be very careful and very deliberate in how we apply salt to our world.

    1. Remember who you represent — you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Paul described us as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Therefore, we represent Jesus to the world.
    2. Speak the truth, but do it in love — for someone not accustomed to biblical truth, the things you say may be difficult for them to hear. Our message must be thoroughly saturated in love (Ephesians 4:15).
    3. Forget about self; forget about winning arguments – we are not called to win arguments. In fact, we are not even called to be argumentative. Our task is to sow truth (Matthew 13:1 – 9; 18 – 23).
    4. If you become angry, pause and take a breath — otherwise, you may say something you regret. There are some people with whom it is impossible to have a civil discussion. They are not interested in finding truth; instead, they seek to provoke and to make themselves look superior.
    5. Make sure that you are truly speaking truth — otherwise, your words will come back to haunt you. Always consider the source of any information you find. Remember, media outlets have an agenda that is likely reflected in their reporting. If you are going to enter the fray, make sure you are well equipped.

    God’s word gives you an unlimited supply of salt. Spread it liberally and deliberately. Make sure that in all cases, you uplift Christ to the world. Jesus is called us to be His representatives on the earth. Let us do a worthy job.

    Enemies of truth

    4 Enemies of Truth

    Enemies of truth

    “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”

    John 8:32

    relating to or existing in an environment in which facts are viewed as irrelevant, or less important than personal beliefs and opinions, and emotional appeals are used to influence public opinion:

    definition of “post-truth” from

    Truth is not what it once was. We do not think of truth as we once did. Truth does not change. My understanding may change, but the underlying truth is the same. A lack of truth may be inconvenient as when an airline promises a seat after knowingly overbooking. But becomes catastrophic when eternal life is at stake. We offer 4 enemies of truth for your consideration.

    Sadly, truth struggles today. Enemies of truth abound and endanger our future. We know who those enemies are, and we can fight back.

    Enemies of Truth: Apathy

    Years ago, a friend remarked that although he had studied a Biblical topic and knew what the Bible said, he just didn’t care. He didn’t think it made any difference. That approach to truth is apathy. It’s common today. Truth may exist, but so what?

    Jesus said that we can know truth (John 8:32). But he also described the extent to which one may go to pursue truth. From the God of Truth (John 17:17), the Kingdom of Heaven is worth extraordinary effort to find and acquire.

    “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44,45).

    What would you do; how hard would you work to save a loved one from death? There is no room for apathy in the pursuit of truth.

    Enemies of Truth: Compromise

    Compromise is a necessary part of life. We bargain and eventually compromise when buying a car. In business, a contract is the result of negotiation and compromise. A man who does not compromise will have little success in life.

    But compromising truth is different.

    To compromise truth is to attempt to change the unchangeable. King Saul thought to compromise truth when he chose not to complete God’s mission against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15).

    For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23).

    Truth cannot be changed. To attempt to do so is a fool’s errand.

    Enemies of Truth: Fear

    It takes real courage to change, even in the face of truth. Because such change will result in new loyalties (to Jesus) and new alliances (the church), we can expect vociferous opposition to those that currently see us as mirrors of themselves. Still, truth must be chosen over comfort.

    King Herod knew that John the Baptist was a prophet, and he knew the people so-honored him. He wanted to hear the words of this great man. But because of his public promise to Salome, he feared the scorn of his associates if he did not give her as he had promised. Her request was the head of John. Herod ordered him to be beheaded (Matthew 20:14 – 2)

    You know the truth. Perhaps you operate with an out-of-sight-out-of-mind philosophy. It could be that your career, social standing, or family standing is threatened. Carefully thinking about the eternal outcomes is always appropriate.

    Enemies of Truth: Sloth

    Study is hard work. Solomon said study wearies the body (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Jesus used examples of hard work when he described searching for truth (Matthew 13:44 – 45; searching for treasure). While a Bible is easy to find, its truths require study, thought, and deep personal resolve. A slothful man rarely finds success, and when he does, he quickly loses it.

    Jesus told a parable of three servants entrusted with a rich man’s wealth. Two of the servants worked and produced a return for their master. But the third man was lazy and afraid.

    But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:26 – 30)

    Observe that the master did not accept the excuse of fear, and he says the servant was slothful. Did you see the outcome? The slothful one was cast away into “outer darkness.”

    Laziness and fear are terrible enemies of the truth. Let neither be named in your life. As Paul encouraged Timothy, be a “worker who never needs to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15).

    Have we Confused Antichrist and the Man of Sin?

    Part six of the Come Lord Jesus series on the final return of Christ at the end of time. Today, Have We Confused Antichrist and the Man of Sin?

    It is common to equate antichrist of John’s writings with Paul’s man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians. Some writers bounce back and forth between the two as if antichrist was a pronoun for the man of sin.  It seems to me to be an error that contributes to confusion concerning the return of Jesus and the end of time. Have we Confused Antichrist and the Man of Sin?

    Let us first consider a portion of the single text concerning the man of lawlessness:

    Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

    (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4).

    People in Thessalonica were convinced that Jesus had already returned. Obviously, they feared that they had missed out on His glory. They were shaken and alarmed by this conclusion, which, it turns out, was errant. The reason for their error was straightforward: The man of lawlessness had to appear first. Only then would Jesus return. Paul had already discussed the man of lawlessness with the Thessalonians, as evidenced by his comment in verse 5. They had forgotten his words and had been deceived.

    Many commentators, dating back at least as far as Chrysostom on the fourth century, held that this person, the man of sin or man of lawlessness, was the antichrist. But their conclusions overlook certain critical points of difference.

    Man of Sin: One or Many?

    Paul points to a single individual as the man of lawlessness while John’s antichrist is many. Paul speaks of an evil personage described as “the man,” who is “the son,” who “exalts himself,” and takes “his seat,” and proclaims “himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4). But John says of the antichrist that “many antichrists have come” (1 John 2:18). He speaks of them in a plural way (1 John 2:19). Not so with the man of lawlessness. He is presented as a single being or construct.

    There is a single “spirit of the antichrist” in 1 John 4:3, but that spirit exists in many different liars (c.f. vs. 22). The single, individual man of lawlessness does not fit neatly with the idea of many antichrists.

    Man of Sin: The Mission

    The desire of the man of lawlessness is for his personal aggrandizement. He exalts himself. The antichrists are busy denying Christ. They wish to dethrone the Savior, but John says nothing about them elevating themselves. The spirit of antichrist is a belief system that denies that Jesus is from God and is the divine Son of God.

    Man of Sin: The Timing

    The man of lawlessness arises with a great apostasy or falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Scholars believe, and the Bible supports the idea, that 2 Thessalonians was written in the early second half of the first century (maybe 52 -55 AD). In the mind of most scholars, the Johannine epistles were written in the last decade of the first century, but some would place the writing as early as the ’60s. What great apostasy occurred during this time? The timing is critical. The man of lawlessness is linked to a great falling away, yet none is reported Biblically or in secular writings during this period. He cannot be antichrist.

    Consider this outline from the West Walker church of Christ.

    Antichrist Is Not What You Think

    Part five of the Come Lord Jesus series on the final return of Christ at the end of time. Today we examine antichrist.

    Social media has much to say about antichrist. He is just around the corner and will soon arise. He brings welcomed order to our troubled world and will be a heroic figure destined to save humanity. In truth, he is demonic and a destroyer of all that is good.

    As we did when discussing the Rapture, let us ask what the Bible says.

    Antichrist in Scripture

    “Antichrist” is a biblical term. The word occurs five times in 4 verses. Only John uses the word.

    “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.”

    (1 John 2:18)

    “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.”

    ( 1 John 2:22)

    “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”

    (1 John 4:3)

    “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”              

    (2 John 7)

    Therefore, the question is not whether it appears in Scripture, it does. But, how is the term defined and used by John? Of equal importance, how are people using the word antichrist today?

    The Second Coming

    The antichrist is not associated with the return of Jesus and is never used in connection with the end of time. Observe each of the occasions where John used the word. Not once is John speaking of the end of time. His words are always directed toward the very day and time in which he was writing.

    More so, John, in all four verses, declares that the antichrist was already present in his first-century world! The antichrist was a specific kind of false teacher: one who “denies that Jesus is the Christ,” and one who does not confess that Jesus is from God” (1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3).

    Also 1 John 2:18 and 2 John 7 assert that there were many antichrists in the first-century. The antichrist of the Bible is not a single powerful ruler or influencer. We must reject false teaching on this subject. It is not relevant to say someone has good intentions. The only thing that matters here is the truth.

    For more reading, visit this article from the late Wayne Jackson at Christian Courier.