Biblical truth standing on its spiritual head to get our eternal attention.
  • .: Welcome :. is devoted to the pursuit of truth, whether plain or paradoxical, whether simple or sublime, or simply absurd yet absolute.

    Our Lord came down from life to suffer death; the Bread came down, to hunger; the Way came down, on the way to weariness; the Fount came down, to thirst. —Augustine, Sermon 78
  • .: Book Reviews :.

    "It is refreshing to see the truth unfold from God's word about this most important subject."
  • Revelation 2 – “Left Your First Love” or “Fear of False Doctrine over Love for Lost Souls”

    Posted By on June 12, 2019

    “Left your first love.” That is more common way of translating this phrase. Others use a less enigmatic phrasing, “left the love you had at first.” “First love” can be a very specific type of love; while “the love you had at first” can be describing that the Ephesians had no love at all any more.
    If the late date is correct, then possibly a good parallel is Judg.2:7,10-11 where the third generation was not faithful like the first two. The 3-generation need for continual teaching is also found in Psalm 78. This is still needed.
    James Miller gives results of “first love” (J. Miller): 1) A new and wonderful experience; 2) Entered into with a whole heart; 3) Has the purest of motives; 4) Gives unselfishly of itself; 5) Lasts if it is nourished.
    Here are some ways the Ephesians previously showed love: 1) Acts 19:19-20 – burning of magical books; 2) Acts 20:36-38 – love shown for Paul in parting; 3) Eph.1:15 – love for all the saints.
    A good parallel could be made to the love of a newly married couple who go out of their way to help; not because of duty, but because of love. The Ephesians could have been doing many good works out of duty but without the love that should motivate them – compare v.2 with 1 Thess.1:3.
    Tradition holds that John, living in Ephesus and too feeble to walk, would be carried into the assembly saying, “Little children, love one another.” That is such a simple thing to say; but powerful if practiced. Here is a list of interesting quotes:
    • “(John) recognizes the appalling danger of a religion prompted more by hate than love” (Caird).
    • “Their religion had become a lifeless, mechanical, ritualistic thing, to be done out of a sense of cold duty rather than of glorious privilege, motivated more by fear than love” (J. Tolle).
    • “Where love for God wanes, love for man diminishes, and where love for man is soured, love for God degenerates into religious formalism” (G.R. Beasley-Murray).
    • The church in Ephesus was “doing” (outward), but not “being” (inward).
    A church needs more than “book, chapter and verse”; it needs the love that searches for the “book, chapter and verse” and the love which fulfills the “book, chapter and verse.” It needs a love for people because mercy triumphs over judgment. What the “first love” exactly is, no one knows. It is not even known if it refers to one particular type. A sound opinion is it refers to the zeal found in new converts to convert others. Regardless of what it was, remember this: Any congregation built solely on what it is against – and being against what God is against is godly – will die because it will never be reaching out to others since it is built on fear of false doctrine and not a love for lost souls.

    Time to Get Ridiculous!

    Posted By on June 11, 2019

    When someone is being unreasonable you can’t, by logic, reason with them; you have to be unreasonable back. That sounds equally ineffective but you are reduced to shocking them with your even greater unrealistic “reasoning”. If that sounds illogical, you are correct, but that is the logical response. In fact, that is exactly what Paul does several times in 1 & 2 Corinthians.
    * “I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me!” (CSB’17 2 Corinthians 11:1)
    * “Boasting is necessary. It is not…” (CSB’17 2 Corinthians 12:1)

    Here’s a comment from Ken Green on this: Proverbs 26:4: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” Proverb 26:5: “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.” Often listed as a contradiction by skeptics, the fact is it depends on the situation. I was told of a fellow who somehow figured out from Luke 2 that John the Baptist spoke when he was eight days old. This brother never tired bringing the point up in Bible classes. Robert Turner came for a meeting and taught the class on Sunday morning. About halfway through, the enlightened brother held up his hand and said, “Have you ever considered that John the Baptist spoke when he was eight days old?” Brother Turner replied, “That’s nothing. Job cursed the day he was born.”

    The point for us is, when people get ridiculous, it’s time for us to get ridiculous. Paul did, because the only way to get through to some is to show them you can be just as unreasonable as they are! You know, show them they are walking around with a plank in their eye – that’s ridiculous!

    Proverbs 31:10-31 – PerryPhrase

    Posted By on June 11, 2019

    10) Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels.

    10) I found you, a worthy wife who is more precious than jewels; so why do I need to buy you jewelry?

    11) The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good.

    11) The heart of her husband trusts that he will not lack banana pudding.

    12) She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life.

    12) See #11

    13) She selects wool and flax and works with willing hands.

    13) She will ask you right before you leave the house, “Are you wearing that?”

    14) She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from far away.

    14) What? Take out again?

    15) She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and portions for her female servants.

    15) Woohoo! Breakfast in bed!

    16) She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings.

    16) If she wants a garden let her have a garden and remind her she works the garden.

    17) She draws on her strength and reveals that her arms are strong.

    17) But no so strong she can beat her husband in arm-wrestling.

    18) She sees that her profits are good, and her lamp never goes out at night.

    18) A man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done that’s why I can biblically go to bed first.

    19) She extends her hands to the spinning staff, and her hands hold the spindle.

    19) “Honey, I need another button sewed on and can you fix my pants? For some reason they are tighter than they used to be.”

    20) Her hands reach out to the poor, and she extends her hands to the needy.

    20) When bringing home take out she says, “I gave your fries to a pan-handler.”

    21) She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all in her household are doubly clothed.

    21) If your mother says you need a sweater then put it on.

    22) She makes her own bed coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

    22) Woohoo! She makes the bed, not you.

    23) Her husband is known at the city gates, where he sits among the elders of the land.

    23) Her husband is known for sitting in she recliner.

    24) She makes and sells linen garments; she delivers belts to the merchants.

    24) “Honey, what happened to my favorite jeans, the ones with all the holes?”

    25) Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.

    25) She laughs at his jokes. Always. Every time. No matter how many times or bad.

    26) Her mouth speaks wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.

    26) When she gives you her opinion, you better listen!

    27) She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.

    27) You better not have a lock of your phone so she can see what you’re doing.

    28) Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her:

    28) You better compliment your wife and make sure your children respect her!

    29) “Many women have done noble deeds, but you surpass them all!”

    29) You better compliment your wife as something special beyond all others!

    30) Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

    30) When she asks, “Do you think she is prettier than me?” You answer, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.” And then you sleep on the couch.

    31) Give her the reward of her labor, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

    31) You better compliment your wife in front of others!

    Acts – Conviction before Conversion

    Posted By on June 7, 2019

    What do the Pentecost crowd (Acts 2) and the Philippian Jailer (Acts 16) have in common? Conviction before conversion. 
    Neither were preached to, told, or nagged into “baptism for the forgives of sins”, which is easier to parrot than experience. All knew they were lost: 
    1. The crowd knew because of Peter’s sermon accusing them of sin.
    2. The jailer trembled because of Paul and Silas’ singing and reaction to the earthquake, by them thinking more of him than their freedom. 
    Afterwards, each asked, begged, “What must I do (to be saved)?” Before being taught how to be saved they knew they were lost. 
    • There is no good news (i.e. the gospel) without bad news. 
    • A deep awareness includes our sinfulness and Jesus’s sacrifice because of our sin.
    • There must be guilt before relief.
    • All must be convicted before becomimg converted. 
    As servants using God’s gospel, we must convict before we convert. God is not impressed with how many we baptize, but how many hearts are turned. This includes our children. If we are the ones who keep mentioning baptism, we are trying the impossible – to convert without conviction.

    Reading Revelation 22 through Genesis 3

    Posted By on June 5, 2019

    Reading Revelation 22 through Genesis 3, and by “through” I mean “through the lens of ” is…revealing. 
    Genesis 3:
    • HEAR – God had spoken to Adam (Gen.2), and Eve had heard His words probably through Adam (Genesis 3).
    • ADD – Eve added to God’s  word, “Do not touch” (Genesis  3:3). The serpent added all the trees to God’s prohibition (Genesis 3:1). The serpent added motive to God’s words (Genesis 3:5).
    • TAKE AWAY – The serpent subtracted consequence from God’s words (Genesis 3:4).
    • CURSE – God added curses to the serpent, man, and woman.
    • DEATH – God removed the tree of life. 
    Revelation 22:18-19:
    • HEAR – “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: 
    • ADD – “If anyone adds to them, 
    • CURSE – “God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. 
    • TAKE AWAY – “And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, 
    • DEATH – “God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, which are written about in this book.”
    Revelation is the only book that begins with a blessing (1:3) and ends with a curse (22:18). This should not surprise us because the story from creation to the garden begins with a blessing (Genesis 1:28), and ends with a curse (Genesis 3). So in the end we have the beginning.

    Revelation 1 – Who Was Who Is Who Is To Come

    Posted By on June 4, 2019

    Our transcendent God is also immanent. His closeness is found in His interactions – interferences – with history. God calls Himself, “Who was, who is, and who is to come (Revelation 1:4,8)” These themselves are historical references of an eternal God. God never had a “was” in Himself because that is a description of time. And existence without time is beyond my ability to think!

    What is not beyond my ability to think is how He “who was, who is, and who is to come” ties in with my humanity. That reality comes in Revelation 1:19 – “Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this” (CSB). Did you notice the similarities between this world’s reality and the reality of God in this world? That’s because we worship a God that sovereignly creates history!

    He is not deistic and uncaring, although He has been interpreted as such; and that could be the concerns of the ones under the altar (6:9-11). “How long?” we all ask. The answer is, we worship a God who was, who is, and who is to come. We are not left alone. He is coming for us!


    Jesus on Trial

    Posted By on June 4, 2019

    If Jesus were on trial, hostile witnesses such as Tacitus (a Roman) and Josephus (a Jew) would admit His historical reality. What remains is the verdict: Lord, Liar, or Lunatic? 
    Reading Tacitus, 4 pieces of evidence could be entered in for the defense:
    1. Christus, used by Tacitus to refer to Jesus, was one distinctive way by which some referred to him. Our English Bibles use the term “Christ.”
    2. Christus was associated with the beginning of the movement of Christians, hence their name.
    3. Christus was executed by the Roman governor of Judea, Pilate. 
    4. Christus death during Pontius Pilate’s was during the reign of Tiberius. 
    These witnesses prove His life and death. What happened next proves whether He is Lord, Liar, or Lunatic. If Jesus stayed dead, then the last two are the options. If He didn’t, then….
    One question based upon these secular historians is that, 
    • If Christians existed because Jesus existed, then why would Christians continue to believe although it resulted in them being hated, persecuted, and killed? 
    Why relive the life of Jesus if He was not Lord? It did them no good whatsoever in this world. Apparently they believed, leading even to their own demise, it was worth it. What would cause that kind of loyalty? There’s only one “beyond a reasonable doubt” reason why.
    We’ve heard from hostile witnesses about this Christusand His followers; what about “witnesses for the defense”? To disallow their testimony because they are “biased” is not how a trial functions. Those witnesses must also be heard and evaluated. Do they have the same convictions of those Tacitus hated? If so, what would cause such loyalty? One such witness recorded the words of Jesus whom he believed to be alive again:
    • Revelation 1:17-18: “… Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look — I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
    Because Jesus was resurrected from the dead, His followers were not afraid of facing His reality. The witnesses for the defense were living proof they believed Jesus was Lord.

    Genesis 3:15 and the Gospel

    Posted By on June 3, 2019

    Genesis 3:15: “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
    Notice 3 Gospel Predictions:
    1. Hatred – “hostility, animosity, or ill will. It is used to signify acrimony, as between the woman and the serpent (Gen 3:15); malice that leads to violent acts against another (Num 35:21); and the lingering hatred between mortal enemies (Eze 25:15; Eze 35:5). (Complete Word Study). Satan hated Jesus.
    2. Family – Sin began in one generation and continues. We hear the phrase, “generational sin” to refer to various atrocities, whether societal or familial. It began here.
    3. Violence – Figuratively this means to overwhelm. That fits the baptism of suffering by Jesus, when Satan was crushed by Jesus’s heel which was crushed by Satan’s nail. Glory to God in the highest when the greater suffering came upon Satan in Jesus’s resurrection!
    On Pentecost, after a different garden scene, “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38 CSB).
    1. Our repentance is based upon us choosing to be the seed of the serpent through sin. We are changing family allegiance by accepting Jesus as king, God’s Son, and Lord and Messiah (2:36). 
    2. Our confession in baptism “in Jesus’s name” goes back to this promise – Jesus is the promised seed that crushes our partner who crushed Jesus through crucifixion.
    3. Our baptism is participating in the crushing of Satan, because baptism is overcoming the overwhelming through a resurrection. 
    Everyone is living Genesis 3:15. What is your gospel response?


    1 Peter 3:1ff – You Can’t Use That For This

    Posted By on May 31, 2019

    The woman is a believer, but her husband is not – or else is not a faithful believer (1 Peter 3:1ff). And what example does Peter give for the woman to pattern her behavior after? Sarah and Abraham – A power couple of the covenant of faith!
    Sarah and Abraham? Wasn’t he a believer? Isn’t his example of faithfulness used in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and James? I’m sorry, but Peter shouldn’t have used Sarah and Abraham to help a believing wife deal with an unbelieving husband. It doesn’t fit.
    And yet he did, and Peter was inspired. So…what lessons can we learn?
    1. A Biblical text doesn’t have to be a one-to-one parallel to be used.
    2. A Biblical text can be used if the principle applies even if the particulars don’t. 
    3. Every Biblical text can be excluded from application if we want to nit-pick details and ignore the comparative point. That’s because no text is a perfect match from one culture, one time, one covenant, one person, to another. 
    4. Therefore let us all look to see how the Biblical text applies to us. Just because it was not written to us, does not mean it wasn’t written for us.

    Hebrews 13:17 – Elders Lead to that Eternal City

    Posted By on May 31, 2019

    A congregation can get a lot done organizationally without elders. Ironically that encourages groups to think, “We’re doing fine without elders.” Sadly too many – including elders – see their job as simply organizing. Having been an elder, organizing is often best handled by delegating most of that to deacons and other servants. As one elder regrettably observed, “What’s wrong here is the preacher is pastoring, the elders are doing the deacons’s work, and the deacons are doing nothing.”
    Many have forgotten two valuable Bible principles: 
    1) Elders, while overseeing the congregation, are more about overseeing individuals than things.
    2) If having elders is God’s plan, then “We’re doing fine without elders” is rebellious in thought; and functioning more on human works than God’s blessings. 
    Notice Hebrews 13:14-17 (CSB):
    1. GOAL – “For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come. 
    2. SACRIFICES THROUGH WORDS – Therefore (i.e. going back to previous thoughts), through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 
    3. SACRIFICES THROUGH WORKS – Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. 
    4. GOAL THROUGH PERSUASION AND SUBMISSION – Obey (i.e. means be persuaded to obey) your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    God’s shepherds help us in worshiping through words and works as they oversee by shepherding. May we seek God’s blessings by prayers and attitudes.