"The key to understanding the Bible is to look for Jesus in the Bible. Jesus is the hero of the Bible. If you read the Bible and don't find Jesus, re-read it! The Bible has one hero, His name is Jesus; one villain, that is Satan; one problem, that is sin; one solution, that is salvation. That is what the Bible is all about." -Dr. Adrian Rogers

Monday, July 13, 2015

What It Really Means to Be Condemning

Do you remember the story of Jonah? I do. I remember learning about Jonah and the really large water-dwelling creature (whether it was a fish or a whale is beside the point) when I was no more than four or five years old in Sunday school. I remember learning about Jonah running from God, being swallowed by the fish, and then later being spat out to go and do what God had originally told him to do. However, I don’t remember being given the in-depth reasoning for why Jonah made the decisions that he made. Perhaps it was because a four-year-old isn’t capable of grasping the concept of being angry at the mercy and forgiveness of God. But whatever the reason, it is a story that is most certainly important for us to discuss today, especially in light of what is being taught in many a modern church in today’s world.

In the culture we live in today, it is becoming more and more difficult to call sin sin without being labeled as “condemning” and “judgmental,” and it has become evident to me that many within the church even have become greatly confused as to what these terms really mean. If we look at Scripture close enough, I think we’ll find that to call others to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is far from condemning. Therefore let’s look back at the life of Jonah to see what a truly condemning spirit looks like.

We find in the book of Jonah that God called Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and preach a message of repentance. However, instead of going to Nineveh as God had commanded him to do, Jonah fled to Tarshish because he knew that, if he went to Nineveh and preached repentance, the people there would repent and turn to God and find mercy and forgiveness. The problem was Jonah was angry with the people of Nineveh and didn’t want to see them repent and be forgiven. No. Jonah wanted nothing more than to see the people of Nineveh eradicated from the face of the earth forever. This, my friends, is a spirit of condemnation.

Indeed, many people will say to you, “What right do you have to condemn me”? However, in response, you can say, “I can’t condemn you anymore than you already are.” John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” If the person you’re talking to does not know Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life, you don’t have to condemn them because they’re condemned already. All you have to do is convince them of their sinfulness and then lead them to repentance and faith in Jesus. It’s as simple as that.

Perhaps you’re here today, and you’ve never acknowledged Jesus as the Lord of your life. If that’s you, let me invite you to come do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you die in your sin, you will spent eternity in Hell separated from God forever; however, if you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Thoughts on the Confederate Flag Issue

Okay. It’s time. I’ve made a few comments on facebook recently about this issue, but I thought I’d go into a little bit more depth here and try to explain my feelings on this issue. First of all, let me start out by asking you a question? Is it possible for one to be against the flag and yet, at the same time, feel that it should not be removed from the State House grounds? My answer is yes, I think it is possible to be both against the flag and against the decision to remove it, all at the same time. Please allow me to explain.

When discussing whether or not to remove the flag, you must understand that the flag is no longer flying on top the State House as it once was years ago. Up until yesterday morning, the flag could be seen flying above the Confederate Memorial on State House grounds, and it is my understanding that, although the flag has been removed, the memorial itself will remain in place. This is just something that, for the life of me, I cannot understand. If the Confederate flag is considered offensive to a multitude of people, wouldn’t you think that the Confederate Memorial that the flag was flying over would be considered just as offensive by the same people? That being said, what good is it going to do to remove one and leave the other? If they are indeed equally offensive, as I believe they should be, remove them both or leave them both. It is pointless to take one without the other.

On the same note, if we are going to remove the Confederate flag from the SC State House grounds due to its “racist” history, we’re going to have to remove a whole lot more than the flag. For example, our US capital is named after George Washington who, at the time of his death, had 316 slaves living at Mount Vernon. Of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence, forty-one owned slaves. Are we going to erase all their names from history too, or perhaps boycott the Declaration of Independence itself? Despite how we feel about the Confederate flag, I think the only sensible way to look at it is as a part of American history. If you don’t like the past that it represents, you can still look at it as reminder of the present that exists in spite of that past.

Lastly and most importantly, I believe we need to think long and hard about the message that the removal of the Confederate flag at this particular time is sending to our children and those around us. This flag was not removed as a result of a change of heart among the people of South Carolina. No. It was removed because some crazed lunatic who just happened to post a picture of himself holding the Confederate flag took the lives of nine innocent black Americans in the state of South Carolina. As a result, the suggestion was made to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds, and it was done. But did removing the flag bring those nine people back from the dead? No. Will the absence of that flag prevent another black-hearted murderer from committing the same act? The answer again is no. In fact, I personally believe the removal of the Confederate flag from the SC State House grounds will only help to fuel another attack, because anyone thinking of committing such a crime will now see that they will not be the only one blamed for whatever crime they are planning to commit.

If you hear nothing else I say today, hear this. Ronald Reagan once said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” I don’t care who you are, how you were raised, or what you have been through in your lifetime. If you commit a crime of any sort, it is no one’s fault but your own. The Confederate flag did not take the lives of nine innocent people who had gathered to worship at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. No. A cold-blooded murderer did that. It is time to start putting the blame where it really belongs and stop exploiting the killing of innocent people to further your political agenda.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life today, I invite you to come to do so before it is eternally too late for you. If you will turn from all sin and trust Christ alone to save you, He will save you today and keep you saved forever.