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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

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"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

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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

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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

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