412 - Leaving Your First Love

August 3, 2017

The first of Jesus' seven letters to the churches in the Revelation reveal more about each of us than we often care to admit.  The letter to Ephesus has this chilling assessment from the Lord:

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love" (Revelation 2:4).

Ouch.  In spite of this church standing firm against heresy and faithfully persevering under great trials, the Lord holds something against them.  He is hurt, angry, almost unforgiving.  He must feel rejected and forgotten.  Why?  Because the church in Ephesus, the early church, the church that still had members that knew the Lord personally had left and forsaken the very one they claimed to love.  He said, "Nevertheless I have this against you, (what) that you have left your first love."  And that first love was Jesus.

Do you remember what it was like when you first came to Christ?   Do you remember the joy, the exuberance, the passion and full commitment you felt towards Him?  Do you remember the promises you made in sheer gratitude for what He had done for you?  Do you remember any of this?

Now look at your life.  Are you still as passionate?  Are you still giddy in love with Him?  Are you closer to the Lord today than in any other time in your life?  If not, you've done more than simply plateaued.  You've left and forsaken your first love.  And in doing so, the Lord now has something "against" you.

If I were you, I'd not rest until I made this right with Him.  Do you know how?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Jesus' letter to the church at Ephesus, Revelation 2:1-7.

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411 - We Will Not Be Equal in the Kingdom of God

July 10, 2017

We will not all be equal in heaven.  Now we're not talking about salvation, but of rewards.  All of us are equal in regards to salvation because it is a gift given freely to those who believe.  In this, there is no question.  But what we do with our salvation is another matter.  And we will be rewarded for our faithfulness to Him in this life.  Consider the following:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with (1) gold, silver, precious stones, (2) wood, hay, straw, each one’s (personal) work will become clear; (how) for the Day will declare it, (how) because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s (personal) work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures (gold, silver, precious stones), he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned (wood, hay, straw), he will suffer loss (of reward); but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Charles Stanley also spoke of this in his book, Eternal Security.  He said, “Some believers will be entrusted with certain privileges; others will not. Some will reign with Christ; others will not (2 Timothy 2:12). Some will be rich in the kingdom of God; others will be poor (Luke 12:21, 33).  Some will be given true riches; others will not.  Some will be given heavenly treasures of their own; others will not.  Some will rule and reign with Christ; others will not.  Privilege in the kingdom of God is determined by one’s faithfulness in this life.  It is true that there will be equality in terms of our inclusion in the kingdom of God, but not in our rank and privilege.”

Does this sound troubling to you?  Maybe confusing?  If so, keep listening to learn more.

The following is a study on the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Ceremony of the Lamb.

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410 - Standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ

July 2, 2017

The Judgement Seat of Christ is the first of seven great judgments that will occur.  And for the believer, it's the most important.  Why?  Because at this judgment all church-age believers will appear before Christ to give an account of their lives for reward.  Or, in the case of many, no reward.  Consider the following:

2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we (Paul includes himself) must (not optional) all appear before the judgment seat (bḗma) of Christ, (why) that each one (personal and individual) may receive (review and reward) the things done in the body, (review) according to what he has done, (reward) whether good or bad.

These are some of the main areas that will be examined when we stand before the Lord:

  1. How we treat other believers (Matthew 10:41-42; Hebrews 6:10)
  2. How we employ our God-given talents and abilities (Matthew 25:14-29; Luke 19:11-26; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 7; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4:10)
  3. How we use our money (Matthew 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)
  4. How well we endure personal injustice and being mistreated (Matthew 5:11-12; Mark 10:29-30; Luke 6:27-28, 35; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 4:12-13)
  5. How we endure suffering and trials (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10)
  6. How we spend our time (Psalm 90:9-12; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5; 1 Peter 1:17)
  7. How we run the particular race God has given us (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 2:16; 3:12-14; Hebrews 12:1)
  8. How effectively we control our fleshly appetites (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
  9. How many souls we witness to and win for Christ (Daniel 12:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
  10. How much the Rapture means to us and shapes our lives (2 Timothy 4:8)
  11. How faithful we are to God’s Word and God’s people (Acts 20:26-28; 2 Timothy 4:1-2; Hebrews 13:17; James 3:1; 1 Peter 5:1-2; 2 John 1:7-8)
  12. How hospitable we are to strangers (Matthew 25:35-36; Luke 14:12-14)
  13. How faithful we are in our vocations (Colossians 3:22-24)
  14. How we support others in ministry (Matthew 10:40-42)
  15. How we use our tongues (Matthew 12:36; James 3:1-12)

Are you ready to stand before the Lord and have your life judged by His standards?  Because it will happen. There is no escape.  And if not, what are you prepared to do about it?  What changes are you willing to make in this life to be rewarded for in the next?  But be warned, time is running out.

If you want to find out more about how to prepare yourself to face the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ, then keep listening.

The following is a study on the Judgment Seat of Christ.

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409 - Why Do We Study Prophecy

June 26, 2017

One of the major reasons we study prophecy is called the Law of Proportions.  This law states the more ink the Lord uses in His Word to communicate a message, the more important that message must be.  Consider the following regarding the Old Testament:

Number of Verses in the Bible:  31,124 Number of Predictions in the Old Testament:  1,239 Number of Old Testament Verses that Contain Predictions:  6,641 out of 23,210 Percent of the Old Testament that is Prophecy:  28.5%

What about the New Testament? Number of Predictions in the New Testament:  578 Number of New Testament Verses that Contain Predictions:  1,711 out of 7,914 Percent of the New Testament that is Prophecy:  21.5% And the Bible as a whole?

Percent of the Whole Bible that is Prophecy:  27% Number of Separate Prophetic Topics in the Bible:  737

Just a few more facts:

Of the 333 prophecies concerning Christ, only 109 were fulfilled by His first coming, leaving 224 yet to be fulfilled in the Second Coming. There are over 300 references to the Lord’s coming in the 260 chapters of the New Testament— one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books mention the Lord’s coming. Jesus refers to His second coming at least twenty-one times. There are 1,527 Old Testament passages that refer to the Second Coming. For every time the Bible mentions the first coming, the Second Coming is mentioned eight times. People are exhorted to be ready for the return of Jesus Christ over fifty times.

Need we say more?  If you're interested in the study of prophecy, then keep listening.

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408 - The Next Event on God’s Prophetic Calendar

June 16, 2017

Jesus said, "When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’  Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times" (Matt. 16:1-2).  In essence, He was paraphrasing an ancient maritime proverb that went something like this: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight.  Red sky at morning, sailor's warning."

But the point of HIs words was to shame those of us who fail to see the signs of the times of His coming— even as they are portrayed right before our eyes.

Open Your Eyes

Take a look around.  Read your Bible.  Look at the nation of Israel.  Do they mean nothing to you regarding the soon coming of our Lord?  "Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times" (Matt. 16:2). The study of the end times, that discipline known as eschatology, is a minefield of confusion and disagreement.  And because it's so divisive and  controversial many shy away from it.  But not so with us.  We are going to take a look at the Lord's prophetic calendar to see exactly what the Scriptures tell us is right around the corner.

Are you ready?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on the End Times.

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350 - What is the Kingdom of Heaven?

June 5, 2016
Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).  And a few verses later He adds, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:10).

Which raises a few questions:

What is the "kingdom of heaven"?  
Is it the same as the "kingdom of God"?  
And, if not, how is it different?
Why is Matthew the only Gospel writer that uses this phrase?
And how does this all apply to me today?

You will find the answer to these questions will change the way you live your life from this day forward.  It will have a profound impact on your future and your eternity.

Are you intrigued?  Interested?  Maybe a little curious?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:3,10 about the Kingdom of Heaven.

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342 - Understanding the Times in Which We Live

April 4, 2016
Twice in the Proverbs we find the following warning:

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 22:3.

And again,

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 27:12.

But what does this mean?  And does this warning still apply to us today?  Absolutely— and even more so than when it was written so many thousands of years ago.  In fact, it's a vital warning to the church today.

Want to know more? Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 2 Timothy 4:1-4.

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274 - Answering the Rapture Question

December 1, 2014
Many of those who deny the doctrine of the Rapture of the church smugly say the word rapture doesn't even appear in the Bible.  And, to a degree, this is true.  Unless you have a Latin Bible, and then everything changes.  You see, the Greek word translated rapture in Latin is harpazo and means:  "to seize upon, to snatch away, to draw away, to carry off, to catch up, to receive, to pluck out, to rescue, to forcefully take away."

Rapture is the Latin form of harpazo and is found in the Vulgate which was translated by Jerome in the late 4th century and in the 16th century became the official Bible of the Catholic church.

Do you have questions about the coming rapture (harpazo) of the church?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on the rapture of the church.

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268 - Two Questions, One Life, One Choice

October 26, 2014
The book of Malachi ends with the description of two groups of people that will respond differently when the day of the Lord comes.  One, those who fear the Lord and long for His appearing, will see the "Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings" (Mal. 3:2).  The other group, those who do not know or love the Lord, that Day will be a day of "burning like an oven" (Mal. 4:1).

Question for us is this:  Which group are you in?  And what are you prepared to do about it?

To find the answer to these eternal questions, keep listening.

The following is a study on Malachi 4:1-6.

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263 - Hey God, I’ve Got a Problem with You

September 28, 2014
Often we find ourselves, like the people in Malachi's day, lodging a complaint against God.  Why?  Because He didn't do things the way we thought He should.  Because we don't like the situation we are in.  Because we want more than what He has sovereignly given us.  Because He didn't meet our expectations.

Just like spoiled, selfish children.

But the granddaddy of all complaints is found in Malachi 2:17 where the people accuse God of blessing evil and ignoring good:  "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them."  Or, "Where is the God of justice?"

Want to see how God responds?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Malachi 2:17-3:5.

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