Saturday, July 4, 2009

Changes with Plain Bible Teaching

A few months ago, I moved the location of this blog. Now I have recently combined the main site and the blog so that Plain Bible Teaching is now being operated strictly as a blog site. You can read the new material, browse old material, and subscribe to receive updates at

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Blog has Moved

Please visit the new blog and update any bookmarks if necessary. Thanks.

The New Plain Bible Teaching Blog

(Updated 6/29/09)

Friday, January 16, 2009

American Individualism and Ecumenism in Religion

On January 14, The Christian Science Monitor posted an article about the growing trend in this country of those who claim to be Christians deciding on their own what they will believe, instead of relying on some church or denomination. Here is the link to the original article:

Most US Christians define own theology

The following paragraph does a fair job summarizing the main points in the article:

"A sizable majority of the country's faithful no longer hew closely to orthodox teachings, and look more to themselves than to churches or denominations to define their religious convictions, according to two recent surveys. More than half of all Christians also believe that some non-Christians can get into heaven."

For years, the spirit of ecumenism has grown stronger among the denominations. As people who claim to follow Christ, yet hold differing and contradictory doctrines and practices, ignore their differences for the sake of "unity," this was only a matter of time. The mess of ecumenism has led a significant number to believe that many who brazenly reject Christ can still be saved.

What do I mean by a significant number? According to the Pew survey cited in the article, 65% of American Christians believe that many different religions can lead to eternal life. In fact, the poll found that 42% of religious Americans believe that atheists can find eternal life.

How did we get here? It has been common for people in denominationalism to pick and choose what they want from the Bible. Now, according to these recent surveys, many of these people "go beyond the teachings of Christian denominations to embrace parts of other world religions." They have forgotten the words of Jesus, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).

However, there is potentially a bright side to this. People are increasingly less likely to look to denominations to determine their convictions. This is an important step. Of course, as this article points out, many are now looking to themselves. Neither oneself nor the churches of men are proper standards (Proverbs 14:12; 2 Corinthians 10:12).

But if we can find people who are willing to look past themselves and simply go back to the Bible as their standard of faith and practice, there is hope of converting these souls to Christ. Amidst the multitude of world religions, there are some who are rethinking what they've been taught, what they've always believed, and are sincerely seeking for the truth. The pure, uncorrupted word of God is the truth (John 17:17). Let us be prepared to share it with those who are looking.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Deity of Christ in Hebrews 1

Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 3:17). While He was on the earth, “all the fullness of Deity [dwelt] in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). Yet there are some who reject the Deity of Christ, saying that He surrendered His Deity when He came to earth.

The Hebrew writer appealed to his audience to not go back to the Old Law. He made several points about why the new way with Christ was better than the old way. He begins the book talking about Christ. In the first chapter alone, there are several statements that show us that Jesus is God.
  • His Son... through whom also He made the world” (v.2). Jesus is credited with a role in Creation. We know that the Creator is God (Genesis 1:1; see also John 1:1-3).
  • The exact representation of His nature” (v. 3). In Jesus, we see the Father (John 1:18). Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
  • You are My Son, today I have begotten you” (v. 5). The Jews understood the implications of Jesus' claim to being God's Son. If He was, He was equal with God (John 5:18).
  • Let all the angels of God worship Him” (v. 6). The only one deserving of worship is God (Revelation 22:8-9).
  • But of the Son He says, 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever'” (v. 8). The Son, Jesus, is called God.
  • You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands” (v. 10). Again, Jesus is given credit for the Creation.
  • You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end” (v. 12). Jesus is unchanging and eternal, two characteristics of God (Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 43:12-13).
There are many other passages we can use to show the Deity of Christ. But if you remember Hebrews 1, you will find several points in this chapter alone to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is God.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Three Tabernacles

Luke 9:28-36 records the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus had gone up on a mountain with Peter, James and John. The three disciples fell asleep and awoke to find Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah.

This would have been an incredible sight for the disciples -- Jesus, their Master, with two of the great figures of Jewish history. Peter reacted quickly to this scene. "'Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah' -- not realizing what he was saying" (Luke 9:33).

Peter's intentions were good. He simply wanted to honor these great men. But his initial response would not have pleased God. The Father answered, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" (Luke 9:35). The one left after this statement was Jesus (Luke 9:36). Moses and Elijah were great men who played important roles in Jewish history. But Jesus was the one they were to honor and listen to.

We need to learn from Peter's example here. We should not act without first knowing what God's will is. Peter intended to build these three tabernacles for good. But it would not have been good in God's eyes. We need to be careful not to carry out our good ideas before we know whether or not they are good works.

The proverb writer warns, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus spoke of some who would do things in His name, but would be guilty of lawlessness (Matthew 7:22-23). They thought their works were good, but Jesus classified them as iniquity, or sin.

We are to be "zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:14). But we must remember that good deeds are defined by God in His word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Peter had the voice of God from the cloud to correct Him. We do not have this today. But we do have the word of God. So before we act, let us be sure that the thing we intend to do is pleasing to God.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bible Reading Plan

Have you made a resolution to spend more time reading your Bible? Or would you just like to have a more structured plan in reading through the word of God?

Bible study is important. But sadly it's something that we often neglect as time goes on. Even with the work I do in preparing sermons and articles every week, I still always feel like I'm missing something. In all the study and preparation I do, the thing that becomes hard to keep up with is simply reading the Bible.

If you have a busy schedule too, you may well run into this problem as well - habitual reading and casual study of God's word.

I'm going to follow a different plan over the next few months than what I've tried in the past. Most Bible reading plans have you read through the Bible in a year. The plan I'll be following will focus just on the New Testament and will take 6 months to complete, reading about 2 chapters a day.

Interested in doing this too? Check out Edwin Crozier's website - Give Attention to Reading. He's the one who came up with the reading schedule. Plus, the site contains a blog where he will be posting short comments about each day's reading. You can subscribe and receive reminders and comments about the scheduled reading (to help keep you on track). You can even add your own comments if you'd like to do so.

Regardless of what plan or method you use to study the Bible, I encourage you to be diligent about it. We cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), and the only way we can get faith is through the word of God (Romans 10:17). Use whatever method of study will most help you "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord" (2 Peter 3:18).

If you want to read through the New Testament over the next 6 months, check out Give Attention to Reading. I have a link to it over in the right column as well.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Passing of Time

God is eternal, having existed before the creation of the universe (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 102:27). As such, He is not bound by time as we are. He created it as a framework for our lives.

We, naturally, tend to think of the passing of time as inevitable. But one day, time will be destroyed (done away with) along with all of God's creation (2 Peter 3:10).

This time of year, many people make resolutions and goals for the new year. There is certainly nothing wrong with this. But our repentance, growth, and work in God's service should not depend on a certain date turning up on the calendar. “Behold, now is 'the acceptable time,' behold, now is 'the day of salvation'” (2 Corinthians 6:2). These words are as true any day of the year as they are now.

In the same way, people like to plan things for the upcoming year. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. But remember your reliance upon God and that life is uncertain. We can make plans, but we ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that” (James 4:15).

So use this time commonly used to plan and to make resolutions to grow in the Lord and improve your service to Him. And if, in the future, you find something you need to change or improve, do not wait for some date on the calendar. Do it today. Throughout the year, continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
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