BLOG

A Cup Full of Hell?

A Cup Full of Hell?

A Cup Full of Hell?

A Cup Full of Hell?

 
On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, we find Him in tremendous sorrow and greatly troubled about a cup. The thought of having to drink from this particular cup even had Him sweating drops of blood. 1
 
Notice how Matthew records the night and draws much attention to cup:
 
“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me. And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
 
Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matt. 26:38-39,42)
 
Even as Jesus is being arrested, He is still talking about the cup:
 
So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 17:11)
 
What was this cup that Jesus was so concerned about? Was it the fear of His imminent arrest, abandonment, beatings, torture, mockery, and execution that was now only hours away? 
 
As horrible as the anguish of crucifixion may have been, it does not appear to be the cup to which Jesus was referring. If it were, this would be contrary to His previous teaching.“
 
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:4-5)
 
Jesus told the disciples not to fear man, so we can safely assume that He did not either. Why? Because, torment and death, as horrific as it may be, is nothing compared to the eternal punishment that sinners face after death from the hand of God. 
 
From the passage, we begin to get a right understanding of Jesus’ anguish. He was fearful, not of mankind, but of the cup of wrath that He was about to receive; a cup of hell. 
 
To understand this analogy even better, it is good to see how the cup was used to describe God’s wrath even in the Old Testament. Take these examples for example:
 
Wake yourself, wake yourself, stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, who have drunk to the dregs the bowl, the cup of staggering. These two things have happened to you—who will console you? —devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you?  (Isaiah 51:17,19)
 
Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: ‘Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.’
So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to whom the Lord sent me drink it: Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, a hissing and a curse, as at this day…” (Jeremiah 25:15-18)
 
Though Isaiah and Jeremiah speak of the cup of God’s wrath that unrepentant Israel was to drink, it was only a foreshadowing of the supreme cup of wrath that the enemies of God will drink from for all eternity. For this, we look to John’s description of the cup found in the book of Revelation.
 
He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name (Rev. 14:10-11)
 
Just from a few passages we begin to see why Jesus was in agony over drinking from this cup. The cup was full of divine wrath that sinners deserved.
 
But why was Jesus, who had not sinned, going to receive this wrath? 
 
He was drinking from the cup that was poured for you and I. All sin deserves the full wrath of God. All sinners must drink of the cup of God’s wrath, or as we have seen, have Jesus drink of it for them. This is what Jesus does for all who trust in Him for salvation. Jesus saves us from the wrath of God, by becoming the object of God’s wrath in our place. What no human can ever drink of exhaustively, Jesus, while on the cross, drank every last drop of the wrath of God for all believers.  As Paul said, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2
 
As Jesus died on the cross, to fulfill prophecy, and to add one more exclamation point to what He had accomplished, He returns to the drinking analogy. As John records, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished’. With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”3 Jesus drank the cup of God’s Wrath for us. The cup is now empty, God’s wrath has been poured out fully. It is finished.
 

Comfort:

 
All people who trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation will never have to drink of the Wrath of God because the cup is empty! Every drop of judgment and wrath was received by Jesus Christ on the cross. We will not face the wrath of God. We will not drink of that cup. We will not experience hell or eternal punishment for our sin, because Jesus Christ drank of God’s wrath in our place
 

Warning:

 
If Jesus is not your Savior, then you will drink and continue to drink from the never-ending cup of God’s wrath for all eternity. Repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation today.
 
~ Trey Talley

Footnotes:

1. Luke 22:44
2. 2 Corinthians 5:21
3. John 19:30


"The Bible Says So!": A brief defense of our reliance on the Bible for ultimate truth.

“The Bible Says So!”

"The Bible Says So!": A brief defense of our reliance on the Bible for ultimate truth.

“The Bible Says So!”

A brief defense of our reliance on the Bible for ultimate truth.

 

Can the Bible be true, based on its own testimony?

How can we know for sure that the Bible is indeed God’s word and that what it says is true? We can know because the Bible says so!

You might say, “Wait just a minute! That is a circular argument! You are begging the question, and your statement is logically fallacious!”

On the surface, it certainly does seem that way. But can God reveal Himself to His people any way He sees fit? If so, could He not reveal Himself to believers through the Scriptures? The answer is, “Yes, He could, and He does.” 

The believer can say with the utmost confidence “because the Bible says so” for the following reasons: the Bible is unique among all other books, it is self-authenticating, it is breathed out by God, God alone has ultimate Authority, and He alone is the ultimate Source of truth.
 

What makes the Bible so special?

There is no other book like the Bible. It is made up of 66 books, written in three different languages by more than forty authors from all walks of life and from three different continents. It took over 1400 years to write, and yet it maintains a perfect consistency of message from cover to cover. The Bible has accurately predicted future events hundreds of years in advance. This along with other such signs indicate its uniqueness. 

These facts alone separate it entirely from any other book ever written. But I do not claim to be able to prove that it is the word of God. I don’t have to. 
 

The Bible is self-authenticating.

The Holy Spirit (who is God) testifies supernaturally to the claims of the Bible, and the Bible bears evidence within itself of its own divine origins (1 John 5:6-8, John 17:17).

You might reply by saying “This is a deduction based on Scripture itself; therefore, it is unacceptable to anyone who does not already agree with the accuracy of the Bible.” 

Scripture is for believers (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  The word of the cross is the power of God for us who are being saved, but at the same time, it is utter folly to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Although the natural person knows God exists, he suppresses the truth about this fact (Romans 1:18, 20). He does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). Yet, faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:18). Although the natural man rejects the word of God, God uses it to bring him to saving faith. 

Just because unbelievers do not agree with the accuracy of Scripture does not mean it is inaccurate. In order for them to understand Scripture and know God in a saving way, God Himself will have to give them ears to hear and a heart to understand. 
Those who truly follow God will recognize these truths to be self-evident. For those of us who believe, no other evidence is necessary; to those who will not believe, no evidence would ever be acceptable.
 

God, the Source of all truth, inspired the Bible.

The Bible being self-authenticating is not an arbitrary claim because it is “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Think about it. 

God alone is the Source of all truth (Isaiah 65:16), and the Bible is inspired by Him (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Since all truth originates from God, there is no higher source from which to get truth. This type of circularity is entirely justifiable because it circles back to the original Source of all truth.
 

God is the ultimate Authority.

If a mathematician writes a math book, he is an authority and has the right to write a math book. Although he is an authority, he is not the ultimate authority. He is still subject to the laws of mathematics. However, even the laws of mathematics are not the ultimate authority because they exist within the created order. 

The laws of mathematics are not self-existent or self-created. They, along with everything else, were brought into existence by God the ultimate source of everything (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3).  He alone is eternal (without beginning or end (Psalm 90:2)), all-knowing (Psalm 147:5), all-powerful (Daniel 4:35), and everywhere (Jeremiah 23:23-24). He brought time, space, matter and energy into existence along with all the invisible laws that govern the universe, including mathematics (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-5, Romans 1:20, Proverbs 3:19-20). 

Even though an accountant can count, he cannot account for counting without God. Although unbelievers use laws of mathematics and logic, if they are to be consistent, they cannot justify the existence of these things apart from God.
 

Conclusion

The Bible is true because the God who made everything also made it, and He says it is true. The Bible is completely unique, it is self-authenticating, it is breathed out by God who alone is the ultimate Authority and the ultimate Source of all truth. Everyone knows God exists and yet, they suppress this truth. They reject the Scriptures not because they are not true, but because they are spiritually discerned. 

However, it is through the word of Christ (the Gospel) that spiritually dead people are made alive and enemies of God are reconciled to Him. Once this happens, they too will treasure the truth of God’s Word, because His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27). 

If anyone ever tells you that they don’t believe in the God of the Bible or that the Bible is not true, then you can simply ask “where do you get truth without God?”

Apart from God, unbelievers are left with an illogical, infinite regress. Without an absolute ultimate eternal Source of truth, all that remains is meaningless, subjective relativism. 

How can you know this is true? Because the Bible says so!
 
~ Jeff Patton


Family Worship 101

Family Worship 101

Family Worship 101

Family Worship 101

How will your children learn to pray? How will your children learn about the Bible? How will your children learn about salvation?

“Well, the church of course! … Right?”

While the church should play an important role in a child’s spiritual development, it is certainly not supposed to be the only place, or even the primary place, where children learn about the Lord. Would you be surprised to hear that you, the parent, are actually to be their primary Bible teachers and that your home is where they should primarily learn about the things of God? Sadly, the vast majority of Christian parents have relinquished this role to the local church. In the process, they have neglected their God-ordained personal responsibility to teach their children about God. For example, look at the commandment by God to the Israelite parents:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)

As you can see, the parents were clearly assigned, by God, the responsibility of daily teaching the Word of God to their children. Such lessons were not reserved for only one day per week, and certainly not relegated over to someone else to do. The task of teaching the next generation about God was the responsibility of the parents. 

As I have shared before, I thought I was fulfilling my role as a Christian father pretty well, by saying a prayer with the kids at night, reading a verse, and making sure that they were in church every week. However, while on the campus of Ligonier Academy, in Sanford Florida, I was shaken to the core as Sinclair Ferguson pointed out how the next generation is being lost due to parental neglect. 

Long story short, after sulking for a moment, I realized that he was right and I began to immediately implement a more thorough plan to teach and equip my children with God’s Word.

There is quite a bit of liberty in how and when you would like to do this with your family, but I am going to go over how I accomplish family worship in our house. Feel free to use all of it, some of it, or create your own plan.

Our Morning Routine:

7:45-or 8:00 A.M. Breakfast

Eat breakfast with the family at one table while listening to lyrically sound worship music. 

8:00-8:15 A.M. Family Worship

As breakfast ends, I choose one of the options below. The entire time of family worship takes about 15-20 minutes.

  1. Bible Reading

Pick a book of the Bible and read through it. I will usually read about half of a chapter, and then discuss it. A good Study Bible is a valuable tool personal and family Bible study. I recommend the ESV Study Bible or the Reformation Study Bible. 

  1. Sermon Review

On this day, we go over the Sunday sermon together. This encourages everyone to pay attention, and perhaps to even take notes. Odds are, your pastor might send you his notes, if asked.

  1. Catechism

A catechism is a method of education that involves learning in a question and answer format. It was teaching that was used by the reformers to get sound theology to the masses. 

Martin Luther spent many mornings teaching his children and the neighborhood kids the Bible, but soon realized that if he wanted to reach more families, then he needed to equip the parents all across Germany. This he did by writing a catechism. 

In our home, we spent about three years learning and memorizing a catechism that has 140 questions. We would do this by learning a new one question and answer set each week or so, reviewing the prior questions and answers, and sometimes reading ahead to make them familiar with the upcoming information. Feel free to stop and elaborate on a question, to make sure that they are understanding what they are memorizing.

  1. Scripture Memory

Each week, we work on memorizing one new scripture. I choose a passage, read it, and teach on it for a moment. We then take turns trying to say the verse from memory. We also use this time take turns going over our list of previously memorized verses. You may also want to use this time to memorize the books of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Apostle’s Creed.

  1. Church History

There are lots of lessons that need to be learned from the Christians that came before us. Unfortunately, such information is not regularly taught accept on the seminary level. Depending on the ages of your family members, you may want to spend a few minutes reading from a Church History book designed for kids or summarize an event or great Christian of the past from a church history book. 

  1. Christian Theology

I highly recommend a systematic theology book in every Christian home. Such books are wonderful resources which will give you lots of theological points of interest to cover with your family.

  1. Bible Art

Many times, sometimes even for months on end, the kids will be assigned the task of drawing a visual aid to help them with the Bible lesson that day. Creating these visual aids is another way for the lesson to be repeated in their mind. When I come home in the afternoon, the kids are excited to show me their art.

8:15-8:20 A.M. Prayer Time

I pray, you pray, we all pray. You are teaching your children how to pray, so don’t expect too much at first. Eventually, let them contribute in small ways and let it grow from there. Have them think of something to thank God for or someone to pray to God about. Sometimes we like to end by allowing everyone to contribute a sentence or two of prayer. 

Basics of Family Worship

When: Choose a time that is most conducive with your family. For some, this is in the morning. However, if that time is too hectic, then maybe after supper could be a good alternative. 

Question: Should we do this every day? 

Answer: Our general rule that we operate by is that we may miss one day now and then, but we strive never to miss two in a row. 

Summary:

As a parent, you have a million things on your plate to accomplish. But I want to encourage you to move this one to a daily top priority. Don’t get overwhelmed by the task. Most importantly just start. Anything is better than nothing. Before you know it, family worship will become an as normal part of your family’s day as eating breakfast. 

Don’t think of this as a sprint, but a long journey of slowly but surely teaching your children about God. 
 
~ Trey Talley


Noah’s ark and the flood points not to cute and cuddly animals, but to sin, judgment, wrath, and God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Noah’s Ark: Cute and Cuddly, or Wrath and Fury?

Noah’s ark and the flood points not to cute and cuddly animals, but to sin, judgment, wrath, and God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Noah’s Ark: Cute and Cuddly, or Wrath and Fury?

What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of Noah’s Ark?

Is it cute bunnies, giraffes, and kangaroos; or is it the death and destruction of sinners at the hand of God?

If you are like most, your mind immediately goes to the various childhood images of a lot of cute animals on a large boat. However, despite its overemphasis, the preservation of animals is not the primary lesson to be learned from the story of Noah’s Ark.

Both Jesus Christ and the Apostle Peter taught about the flood, yet neither of them even mentioned the animals. Instead, they used the flood account to teach on more serious matters such as sin, judgment, and salvation. 

Let’s look at what Jesus and Peter said about the flood to discover what they found to be of most importance. 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him (1 Peter 3:18-22).

  1. God’s people were, and are, in the minority.

Peter’s audience of believers were the minority in their society, yet God was with them. Peter used the ark account to remind his audience that counting heads is not the way to determine who is right and who is wrong. The most important factor is to be right with God; even if that does put you in the minority view. 

Think about it. Only eight people in the entire world were following God in the days of Noah. As it was in the days of Noah and Peter, the same goes for us today. Christians may not be in the majority, but we are right with God. 

  1. God’s method of salvation was, and is, exclusive.

Out of His mercy and grace, God provided the Ark. No matter what other ways people thought they could be saved by, in the end, they were proved wrong. 

Perhaps some of them did not believe that God would judge their sin like He said He would. Perhaps others trusted that they were good enough to escape God’s judgment. And still, others may have thought that if God is good and loving, then surely He will not really bring destruction. However, God provided only one way for people to be saved: the ark. 

So it was with Peter’s audience, and so it is for us today. The exclusivity of salvation by God’s ark points to the exclusivity of ultimate salvation from sin, judgment, and wrath through Jesus Christ. As Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father accept through me” (John 14:6). 

  1. God’s method of salvation was, and is, 100% effective.

God put Noah and his family on the ark and sealed them the door. The rest of the world received God’s wrath, but those on the ark were safe. The ark floated perfectly through the storms, and by the hand of God, all of its inhabitants arrived safely. Its passengers had weathered the storms, were spared God’s wrath, and were saved just as God said they would be. 

Peter reveals that the ark was a type, or shadow, of the ultimate Ark of salvation, Jesus Christ, who will succeed in preserving, protecting, and bringing all of His elect safely home to God the Father. 

Peter reminds his audience that Jesus suffered God’s wrath for their sins to bring them safely to God. We can also fully rest in God’s method of salvation. As he clarified earlier by writing,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

  1. God did, and will, punish sinners.

Sinners hope that God will not judge them for their sins. However, the global flood and consummate death reveals that God does not wink at sin. He wiped out all people on the earth, except for eight, due to their sinfulness. It was a catastrophic event brought about by the anger, wrath, and judgment of God against sinners. 

Both Peter and Jesus Christ use the story of the ark to reiterate that the Day of Judgment is coming for all sinners. And as bad as dying in a flood was, it will be nothing compared to the coming final judgment of God. 

Jesus said, 

“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:37-39).

Summary:

Jesus, God in the flesh, and the Apostle Peter clearly taught that God really did judge sinners by causing a global flood. They also taught that a greater judgment and punishment is coming for all sinners. 

The good news is that God has provided the ultimate Ark of salvation, Jesus Christ.  Ultimately, the entire event of Noah’s ark and the flood points not to cute and cuddly animals, but to sin, judgment, wrath, and God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ. 
~ Trey Talley


Six Ways to Grow Closer to Other Christians

Six Ways to Grow Closer to Other Christians

Many professing Christians will walk into church this Sunday, smile at a few people, shake a hand or two, talk about the weather a bit, listen to a sermon, sing a few songs, and walk away believing that they have just fulfilled what it means to live in Christian community. Is this all there is, or should we be looking for more? 

The Apostle Peter addressed the Christians of his day, and us, to go far beyond merely being in the same room as one another for one hour per week. He calls believers to be deeply involved in one another’s lives. 

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9).

In this passage, Peter gives six back-to-back instructions that we all should be striving to possesses personally, and as a local church.

  1. Unity of mind: Sometimes translated, “harmony.” It has been said, that people can only live in harmony by themselves.
    Put any two people in a room for a long enough time, and very soon they will not be in harmony. For Christians, this should not be. We must always let our unity in Christ supersede our differences. The world is a hostile place full of people who are dividing, and fighting, over all kinds of issues. Believers are to strive to live in unity, peace, and harmony with one another. As Paul writes, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
  2. Sympathy: To sympathize with another Christian is not to just be aware of other’s needs, but a deep desire that also results in taking action to help. As believers, we should make sure that no Christian is suffering alone.
    Look at the high level of sympathy which Paul exhorts the Corinthians to express, “but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
    If you are the one suffering, let others know about it. If people don’t know, then they cannot help. 
  3. Brotherly love: While we are to honor all people, there is extra special love that we are to have with those who are in the family of God. We are commanded by God to love one another. Other Christians need the love that only other Christians can provide, and loving others is a vital part of fulfilling your purpose in life. Brotherly love cannot, and should not be confined to a building referred to as a “church.” It is a love that should be active all week long.
  4. Tender-hearted: Be sensitive to the needs of others. This is the opposite of having a hard, calloused heart. There is a dire need among Christians to open our hearts and to be sensitive towards one another.
    Is your heart tender towards Christians in your local church? Do you seek to know them and understand their hurts, pains, trials, and sufferings? As a Christian living in community with other Christians, be on the lookout for those who are needing sympathy. Those who hurt the most often hide it the best.
  5. Humble mind: Humility is considering others more important than yourself. This is the polar opposite to the way the unsaved world thinks. They put themselves first; however, you are commanded to put others first.
    Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).
  6. Do not repay evil for evil: Sadly, it appears that this command was given to those within the church. Is it possible for Christians to say bad things about a fellow Christian? Of course, and anyone reading this knows that such a thing can and does happen, but how are you to respond? Peter is very clear. We are not to repay them with evil. He had just instructed the believers to not repay non-believers with evil, and how much more forgiving, patient, and long-suffering should we be with our fellow Christians. 

Summary:

These exhortations by Peter are a punch in the gut to modern Christianity, and maybe even to you personally. Are you striving to live in Christian community with unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, a humble mind, and not returning evil for evil? 

If you have been thinking that attending church is the extent of your involvement with your fellow believers, repent and start incorporating Peter’s instructions immediately. 

Do you want to have a stronger, heathier, more intimate church? Well, it starts with you. 
~ Trey Talley


No one looks forward to suffering, especially unjust suffering, yet, if it does come your way, you need to know that how you handle it matters.

How do you handle suffering?

No one looks forward to suffering, especially unjust suffering, yet, if it does come your way, you need to know that how you handle it matters.

How do you handle suffering?

 
The challenge of Christian suffering, especially the recipient of unjust or perceived unjust suffering, has the potential to wreak havoc in our minds. No one looks forward to suffering, especially unjust suffering, yet, if it does come your way, you need to know that how you handle it matters. In fact, enduring suffering, even unjust suffering, “is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”
 
It is common for Christians to assume that if they live a righteous life they will not have to suffer in this life. However, this is simply not true.
 
What if you truly were the most righteous person on earth, would you still have to suffer? Well, this is precisely the scene that we see taking place in the opening of the book of Job.
 
And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. (Job 1:8-12) 
 
In the following passages, we read that Job suddenly had all of his wealth removed, his servants were killed, and even his children were killed. How does Job respond? We find that he remains the most blameless and upright man on the earth. Even in the face of unimaginable suffering, Job remained faithful. Some time goes by, and it happens again.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:1-10)
 
Job had lost everything and gained pain, sorrow, and suffering. His possessions, family, and health were gone. Yet he still held fast to his integrity and would not curse God.
 
The majority of the remaining chapters of Job have to do with him asking God why he is suffering and his so-called friends wrongly assuming that they knew the cause of Job’s suffering.
 
After many chapters of conversations of these four humans attempting to probe the mind of God, God answers Job. He never directly answered the question of why Job was suffering, but instead, responded by asking Job questions; questions that Job could not answer. However, every question that God asked, caused Job to see that God is sovereign and has a plan for everything, including Job’s suffering.
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
     I will question you, and you make it known to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
     Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!” (Job 38:1-5a)
 
Job wanted to know, “God, what did I do to deserve all of this suffering?” God answers by revealing that He is omniscient, He is omnipotent, He is in control of all things, and He did so by asking Job question after question. Every unanswerable question that God asked Job caused Job’s eyes to become more aware of the infinite gap between his mind and the mind of God.
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“I know that you can do all things,
     and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
     things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
     I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
     but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
     and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)

Recap:

Job suffered immensely, yet he never learned why. He didn’t get to read the first two chapters of the book that bears his name. However, we get to see the earthly struggles of Job and through the window into the supernatural realm, we get to hear the conversation between God and Satan. As we peer into the window of heaven revealed for us in those opening chapters, let us always remember that God is sovereign even during trials, persecutions, and suffering.
 
In the end, Job’s suffering lead to him having a better understanding of God, a better understanding of himself, an even deeper faith in God, and Satan losing. May the same be said of us of us!


Should You Choose a Church Based Upon Your Race?

Should you choose a church based upon your race?

The Apostle Peter, writing to a racially diverse group of people from different regions, cultures, ancestries, said of them, “But you are a chosen race…” (1 Peter 2:9). Why was Peter calling people of many races “a” race?

Race, or ethnicity, has to do with common ancestry. For instance, the Jewish leaders relied heavily on their ancestry lineage to Abraham. They believed the genetic link to Abraham made them right with God. However, Jesus infuriated the Pharisees by letting them know that, even though Abraham was their genetic father, Satan was their spiritual father.

They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.You are doing the works your father did.”They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (John 8:39-44)

These particular Jews were related to Abraham by blood, but not by belief. As the New Testament progresses, we see a new race of people becoming increasingly revealed that transcends earthly ancestry and traditional views of race. The new race is created by God Himself. And it is a race that is not made up of one particular skin tone. In fact, this new race of people cannot be determined by outward appearance. It is a race of people who look incredibly diverse, yet have all been born-again into thesame family of God.

In the book of Acts, we see that salvation come first to thousands of Jews (a people racially connected to Abraham)1 . Later, the same gospel that saved the Jews on Pentecost was proclaimed to the Samaritans (a racially mixed group of people, part Jew and part other)2 .If this wasn’t shocking enough, Peter was commanded to go and preach the gospel to even the Gentiles (a people with absolutely no ancestral affiliation to Abraham)3 . As Peter was preaching the gospel to them, a whole household of Gentiles is saved. This was so shocking to the Jewish leadership that Peter was called back to Jerusalem to give an account for what he had done. After Peter’s eyewitness account, the Christian Jewish leaders finally realized that salvation through Christ was for people of all races. “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’” (Acts 11:18).

It took years to convince the Jews, and even the Apostles, that all races were saved in exactly the same way and that unity in Christ was far more important than unity in a race. As Christians, they now had ancestry that superseded any other. God was their Father, Christ their Savior, and the Holy Spirit indwelt all of them. Racial reconciliation was more and more realized as the Christians understood mankind’s universal need to be reconciled to God by Jesus Christ.

The new race of people was utterly mixed from the human perspective: Jew, Ethiopian, Samaritan, Gentile, Roman, Asian, and etc.…  All different shades of skin, but one shade of soul; forgiven by the same sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. These believers had different blood, but the same belief in Jesus Christ. They had different earthly fathers, but one Heavenly Father.

By the time Peter writes 1 Peter, we see that he has fully realized that the body of Christ is a beautiful gathering of people from all different ancestries into one new race in Jesus Christ.

So, should you choose a church based upon your race?

Of course not! To do so is a radical slip backward in our understanding of the work of God in redemption to create a new race. To emphasize our skin tones or genetic differences is to return to the racial discrimination that Jesus abolished. Such ethnic emphasis divides and disregards the unity that we all have in Jesus Christ.

Remember, the Apostle Peter was writing to a racially diverse group of people, yet he did not emphasize their differences at all. Instead, the first two chapters were spent emphasizing their sameness, same: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, mercy, grace, regeneration, inheritance, etc.

So, as you look for a local gathering of believers to be a part of, don’t look for a group that represents your skin tone the best, look for a group of people that reflect God’s glory the best.
 
~ Trey Talley

References

1. Acts 2:22, 41

2. Acts 8:4-12

3. Acts 13:34-48



Hypocrisy was a way to describe a person in the theater who wore a mask to conceal their real identity. Can Christians be hypocritical as well?

Can a Christian Be a Hypocrite?

Hypocrisy was a way to describe a person in the theater who wore a mask to conceal their real identity. Can Christians be hypocritical as well?

Can a Christian Be a Hypocrite?

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1).

Peter had just told these Christians to love one another earnestly as they are now all born into the family of God. But even in a family that is supposed to be loving, there are enemies of love that must be fought against. Even in a local gathering of believers, like the church, the community can be negatively impacted by individuals who are not putting away their sinfulness. 

Peter listed several individual sins that can affect a person’s ability to love one another as they should. These behaviors decrease love for one another rather than increasing it.

For now, we are going to just focus on “hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy was a way to describe a person in the theater who wore a mask to conceal their real identity. It had to do with a person pretending to be something that he or she was not. Jesus spoke much about hypocrisy. The Pharisees were notorious for pretending to be holy yet they were inwardly wicked to the core. One such example is this passage in Matthew:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:25-28)

These scribes and Pharisees were only interested in looking good on the outside. Their purpose was to pretend to be holy for their audience. However, Jesus could see straight to their soul. He knew every sin that they had ever committed. He could see that they cared more about people’s view of them than God’s. 

What about Christians? Can we be hypocritical as well?

Most of the time, we see hypocrisy in reference to non-believers, the unsaved. However, Peter is writing specifically to believers in this passage.

Yes, even a Christian can wear a mask of holiness. Christians are often guilty of washing the outside but ignoring the sin within. A Christian’s hypocrisy cannot be to the extent of a non-believer’s hypocrisy, as in the case of the Pharisees. However, a Christian may desire to be seen as someone they are not. Perhaps they want to be seen more holy and less sinful than they are in real life. These types of masks are worn often, even among fellow Christians. 

Such hypocrisy is a sin, and it is an enemy of growing love among a community of believers. Such a person cannot genuinely love others because they are consumed with pretending and keeping up his or her fake persona. At the same time, other believers cannot love such a person as needed, because all they see is the pretend person. They end up loving the actor, not the person. They end up not meeting any needs of the actor because the person underneath the mask is not transparent with his or her needs before the Christian community.

Thousands attend church each Sunday with fresh haircuts, makeup, smelling good, looking good, a smile on their faces, and Bible in hand; yet, their insides are polluted with unconfessed and unrepentant sin. They attend church with their mask, pretending that everything is perfect; but God sees right through to their heart. They look good for all to see, pretend that they need nothing, then they leave church, return to their homes, remove their masks, and return to their sins. This should not be, this cannot be, God commands us not to pretend to be holy, but “Be holy as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

God knows every detail about you. If you have sin in your life, confess it to God, and turn from it. If you need help doing so, seek help from those around you. Draw on them for support and accountability. Be genuine so that you can love others in need and so that people can see your need and love you, as well. 

~ Trey Talley

 
For more information on this, see Pastor Trey Talley’s sermon here: https://www.thechurchatpecancreek.com/sermons/1-peter-2_9-10-part-a/


A daily Bible reading plan is a great way to feed on the Word of God. You should be able to complete the entire Bible in one year by reading about 15 minutes per day!

Benefits of a Daily Bible Reading Plan

A daily Bible reading plan is a great way to feed on the Word of God. You should be able to complete the entire Bible in one year by reading about 15 minutes per day!

Benefits of a Daily Bible Reading Plan

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

Scripture is the Christian’s spiritual food and we all need daily nourishment. No healthy person needs to be reminded to eat daily meals (breakfast lunch, dinner) because they hunger for food. May our hunger for God and His Word exceed even our appetite for physical food!

A daily Bible reading plan is a great way to feed on the Word of God. You should be able to complete the entire Bible in one year by reading about 15 minutes per day!

Reading straight through the Bible is fine. But let’s say you want to read through the Bible in one year; if you start Genesis in January, it would be around September before you get to the New Testament! That’s OK, but it’s probably not a good idea to be completely deprived of the New Testament for eight months. A daily Bible reading plan allows you to get a good mix of both Old and New Testaments on a daily basis.

It has been said that if you do anything for more than 30 days you will have developed a habit. Reading the Bible daily is a habit to be desired by all believers. It will change your life and deepen your relationship with your Lord. By sticking to a daily Bible reading plan, it is possible to read through the entire Bible several times!

According to Peter, the apostle inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This cannot be accomplished if we are not regularly studying the Bible. Reading the Bible, however, we must understand is merely a means and not an end. If we are not careful, we can miss Christ and turn a Bible reading plan into a ritualistic religious activity or a check the box, task-driven endeavor. Christ and the glory of God should be our goal. Our time in the Word should be a time of sweet communion and fellowship between our Savior and us.

Paul, the apostle, wrote in his letter to the Colossians:

”Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:2-3)

If Christ is truly “our life” then He alone must be our greatest priority. This means we should be making time for Him daily, just Him and us. Daily Bible reading is one means, in which we can spend time hearing directly from our Lord.

Here are a variety of bible reading plans put together by Ligonier ministries. My personal favorite is Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System!

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/

  Jeff Patton



When you think of your salvation what comes to mind? A walk, a prayer, baptism, or maybe a hand raised? The truth of the matter is that such activities are no guarantee of salvation. 

The Key Issue of Salvation

When you think of your salvation what comes to mind? A walk, a prayer, baptism, or maybe a hand raised? The truth of the matter is that such activities are no guarantee of salvation. 

When you think of your salvation what comes to mind?

The Key Issue of Salvation A walk, a prayer, baptism, or maybe a hand raised?

When professing Christians are asked about their salvation, their mind often goes to a time when they walked an aisle at church, raised a hand, made a decision, said the “Sinner’s Prayer,” were baptized, or joined a church. While such activities are often relied upon as proof of salvation, the truth of the matter is that such activities are no guarantee of salvation. 

For instance, is it absolutely possible that a person could walk an aisle at church, raise a hand, make a decision, say the “Sinner’s Prayer,” be baptized, join a church and still be just as unsaved as a person who had done none of these things? Is it possible for someone to think he or she is on their way to heaven even though his or her destination is hell? 

The answer is, “Yes.” 

So, if these things do not provide surety of salvation then what does?

This leads to some very important questions, such as “How can a person be saved?”, “How do you know if you are actually saved?”, and “How do I check on the salvation of others?”.

Salvation, according to the Apostle Paul, is directly related to the belief in the gospel. Instead of relying on reciting a prayer, raising a hand, or walking aisle, He simply writes, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). 

As you can see, Paul links salvation to the gospel; and in order to be saved, one is required to believe in the gospel. In other words, belief in the gospel is essential for a person to be saved. 

The key issue is belief.

Whether a person has walked an aisle, filled out a card, raised a hand, said the sinner’s prayer, asked Jesus into their heart, or even whether or not he or she was baptized, is not the key to determine if one is truly saved. The key issue is belief, and the key belief must be the gospel. This means that belief in the gospel is not a secondary or tertiary matter when it comes to determining one’s salvation, it is of utmost importance.




 

SaveSave

The Church At Pecan Creek
1811 Shady Oaks Blvd.
Suite 105
Denton, Texas 76205
CONNECT WITH US