Friday, July 23, 2010


Modern technology has worked to make traveling by car both safer and easier. Remember the days when the only option available to lost drivers was to stop and ask for directions (Something a male driver would do reluctantly and only out of sheer desperation)? Now you can program your Auto GPS so that it might give to you audible and detailed directions to your ultimate destination. In large cities radio and television both give updates regarding traffic situations so that you can avoid traffic jams or hazards.

Traveling through life has its hazards too. Obstacles, breakdowns, and detours are all a part of the journey. The days in which we live are filled with perils. 2 Timothy 3:1, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come." We live in a day in which "everyone (does) what is right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). The well traveled "broad path" is deceivingly attractive (Matt. 7:13). Apart from God's intervention we are all prone to follow that route (Prov. 14:12).

How are we to find our way? Paul counseled Timothy regarding the journey. "Continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of" he said (2 Tim. 3:14). He was speaking of the "sacred writings" (2 Tim. 3:15) which Timothy had first learned as a child and then later through the Apostle Paul Himself. The truth of God's Word is able "to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15).

It is impossible to successfully find one's way through life apart from the truth that is found exclusively in God's Word. Despite this, warnings are frequently posted along the "broad path" regarding the Bible. One such warning was displayed recently in a Sacramento Public library where a painting depicted a large Bible with a label reading "Warning: May Impair Judgment." It is important to the enemy to keep "broad path" travelers on his route.

But through the ages the Scriptures have proven themselves to be the sole source of good judgment. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God's Word shows us the way, reproves us when we wander from it, corrects us that we might return to it, and works to keep us on it.

Distracted driving is dangerous. As travelers through life's journey we need to take care lest we be distracted--we need to pay attention to God's word. 2 Peter 1:18, "And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." This world is a dark place, so we need a spiritual lamp to guide us. God's word is that lamp (Psalm 119:105).

You can have an Auto GPS in your car, but it won't do any good if you don't turn it on or if you pay no attention to it. The Bible is profitable to us personally only inasmuch as we endeavor to hear it, read it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and obey it. Without it we can never hope to travel safely on the "narrow path" that leads to life. "It is," as the Gideon Bible flyleaf points out, "the traveler's map, the Pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass"..."read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy."

Pastor Jerry

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GOD, GOVERNMENT, AND THE GOSPEL, Part 2, "God is the Ruler Yet"


1. It is natural for us, as believers, to be grieved by injustice and immorality.

2. How are we to respond? Fear, worry, and/or grumbling are not the answer. To what extent should we concern ourselves with politics and/or engage in political activism?

3. What is needful is a Biblical perspective leading to a God-honoring response that enhances, and does not undermine, our witnessing efforts.


1. The four words, ”In God we trust,” are etched on US coins and printed on US bills.

2. To what extent do we, as believers, live by these four words?

3. What effect will an abiding trust in God’s sovereignty have on our thinking about, concern for, and involvement in political matters?


1. God is sovereign over all:

Ÿ “Why should nations say, ‘Where, now, is their God?’ But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psa. 115:3).

Ÿ “He works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).

2. God is sovereign over all the affairs of this world:

Ÿ He is sovereign over Satan and sin (Job 1:12; 2:5-6; Luke 22:31).

Ÿ Over governments and military powers (2 Chron. 20:6; Rom. 13:2).

Ÿ Over nature and natural disasters (Psa. 107:29; Nah. 1:3-6).

Ÿ Over sickness and disease (John 9:3; 11:4; Rev. 21:4).

Ÿ Over every human being (Acts 13:48; Rom. 9:17-18).

Ÿ Including, you and me (Prov. 16:9; 19:21; James 4:13-15).

3. God’s sovereignty does not negate human responsibility:

Ÿ Man is still responsible for his sin (Gen. 50:20; Acts 2:23).

Ÿ Believers are still exhorted to serve (Eph. 1:11 vs. Eph. 4:1f). Example: Nehemiah was confident of God’s purpose to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, but the people still had to do the work (Neh. 2:18).

4. In His sovereignty God appoints rulers:

Ÿ We have, in our country, the freedom to vote, but God is the one who ultimately appoints rulers (Dan. 2:21; 4:17). Note: Biblical Elders are appointed by men (Tit. 1:5), but ultimately are first made elders by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28).

Ÿ God providentially directs the affairs of nations (including ours) to accomplish His purpose (Dan. 2:36f; Jer. 27:5-6; Matt. 2:13-15).

Napoleon, at the height of his career, is reported to have given this cynical answer to someone who asked if God was on the side of France: “God is on the side that has the heaviest artillery.” Then came the battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon lost both the battle and his empire. Years later, in exile on the island of St. Helena, chastened and humbled, Napoleon is reported to have quoted the words of Thomas Kempis, “Man proposes, God disposes.”

5. The fact that God is in control should relieve us of anxiety and worry:

Ÿ Though we may not agree with our earthly leaders, we are still commanded to respect them (1 Pet. 2:17).

Ÿ They have no more power to do harm than that which is permitted to them by God (1 Pet. 2:13-17; 4:19).

Ÿ God is ultimately in control of the affairs of our lives (Matt. 5:25f; Phil. 4:6-7).

Margaret Clarkson, “The sovereignty of God is the one impregnable rock to which the suffering human heart must cling. The circumstances surrounding our lives are no accident: they may be the work of evil, but that evil is held firmly within the mighty hand of our sovereign God...All evil is subject to Him, and evil cannot touch His children unless He permits it. God is the Lord of human history and of the personal history of every member of His redeemed family.”


1. How are we to reconcile the apparent dichotomy that exists between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility?

A. W. Tozer (in referring to the analogy of a ship headed in a certain unchangeable course, but with passengers on board having the freedom to walk about the ship and make decisions): “Both freedom and sovereignty are present here and they do not contradict each other. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history. God moves undisturbed and unhindered toward the fulfillment of those eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

2. Define “fatalism.” Distinguish between “fatalism” and a proper response to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty?

3. Distinguish between God’s determined will (God’s decree) and God’s permissive will. Is it possible to thwart God’s determined will?

4. Is it possible to stop the degradation of society through political activism or legislation? Why or why not?

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams, October 11, 1798

5. To what extent is it appropriate (or profitable) for us to involve ourselves, as believers, in political affairs? Is that in keeping with our mandate? What is our mandate?

6. NEXT WEEK: Lesson Three, “What is this World Coming To?”: Differentiating between a postmillennial and premillennial approach.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



1. Presuppositions:

Ÿ America was founded by Christian men and on Christian principles.

Ÿ America, through its history, has been an unrivaled source for much good to its citizens and to the world.

Ÿ It is good and proper for a believer to be a good and active citizen--to be respectful of governing authorities, to obey the laws of the land, to be knowledgeable of political candidates and issues, to vote, etc.

Ÿ Many of us have served our country in the military (some have fought for our country).

Ÿ America, as a nation, is in decline. Immorality and injustice are increasingly . Much of what we witness and observe is contrary to the intent of our founding fathers, and more importantly, to God and to His Word. It is easy to believe that we will soon face a national crisis of some sort.

Ÿ The ever increasing immorality and injustice that exists in our nation grieves our hearts.

2. We should not be surprised by the immorality and injustice that exists in our world:

Ÿ Man is sinful by nature (Rom. 5:12; Rom. 5:6,8,10; Col. 1:21).

Ÿ “The days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).

Ÿ Scripture warned that these last days would be “difficult times” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

Ÿ We, as believers, exist in “the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” (Phil. 2:15; Cf. Acts 13:10; Isaiah 5:20).

3. It is natural (and beneficial) for us, as believers, to be grieved by injustice and immorality (wherever we find it):

Ÿ Habakkuk was grieved by the injustice he witnessed (Hab. 1:1-4).

Ÿ The Psalmist implored God to intervene (Psa. 94:1-7).

Ÿ Lot’s righteous soul was vexed by the lawless deeds of unprincipled men (2 Pet. 2:8).

Ÿ Paul was burdened by his own sin (Rom. 7:24).

4. The question is: “How do we direct our thoughts and activities in response?”

Ÿ Complaining is not the answer (Phil. 2:14; Col. 2:7).

Ÿ It will do us no good to worry (Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Pet. 5:6-7).

Ÿ We dare not take matters into our own hands (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

Ÿ Or make the lost our enemy (Matt. 5:44; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

5. How does God want for us to respond to the current state of affairs that we find ourselves in? We need to be careful not to allow ourselves to be driven by the dictates of our flesh or the opinions of others. We need to formulate a Biblical response (2 Tim. 2:13-14; 2 Pet. 1:19):

Ÿ That reflects our dispensational and premillenial viewpoint.

Ÿ That takes into account the true nature of lost humanity.

Ÿ That trusts sincerely in the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men.

Ÿ That focuses on God’s mandate for His church.

Ÿ That understands the true nature of the warfare we are engaged in.

Ÿ That is not deterred from the clear and faithful proclamation of the gospel.

Ÿ That fixes its hope on heaven as the ultimate goal and object of salvation.

Ÿ That does not diminish our witness or unnecessarily limit opportunities to share the gospel with others.


1. What bothers you the most about the current direction of our country?

2. How are you prone to respond to political decisions or issues that are contrary to your own ideas?

3. To what extent are your responses governed by: the flesh? the opinions of others? the Scriptures?

4. What steps can you take to help ensure that your responses will honor and please God?

5. How might political discussions with others lead to opportunities to share the gospel? What kinds of attitudes and actions work to limit or undermine your witnessing efforts?


Follow this link to a great article by Steve Cornell on 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and Paul's "thorn in the flesh" experience:

Pastor Jerry

Monday, July 5, 2010


From George Washington's proposed address to congress (April 1789):

"The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institutions may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest of purposes. Should, hereafter, those who are entrusted with the management of our government, incited by lust of power and prompted by the supineness or venality of their Constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity; it will only serve to show, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction and sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment, can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other." Sacred Fire, Peter A. Lillback; p. 1015.


I'm reading the book "Sacred Fire," by Peter A. Lillback. The book includes many wonderful stories from George Washington's life as it gives clear testimony to the abundant evidence regarding his personal faith in Jesus Christ.

I appreciated this particular exerpt, from a speech made regarding George Washington, on the bicentennial of his birth by Noel Porter, Arch Deacon of Califorinia:

Finally Washington manifested the spirit of the cross of Jesus Christ--the spirit of self-sacrifice and unselfish service. During the time Washington lived there was another great general in the person of Napoleon. Napoleon was a great military genius, but Washington was a greater man. France can never repay Napoleon for rescuing her from the hands of the despoilers; yet while he waded through the seas of blood he thought only of a crown and a bauble for his son. Washington waded through blood and hunger and privation for his country's sake and when it was done he asked no reward save to be left alone in his Virginia farm. Napoleon asked for a crown and received nothing; Washington asked for nothing and received a crown."

Matthew 23:12, "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."

Pastor Jerry

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Samuel Miller (1769–1850) was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in New York City in 1793 and eventually became pastor of the Wall Street congregation that later became the First Presbyterian Church. He preached a sermon, "A Sermon on the Anniversary of the Independence of America," on July 4th, 1793. The text of his sermon was 2 Corinthians 3:17, "And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Here is a link to the sermon:

Here is an excerpt from his sermon. Though spoken some 200 years ago, his thoughts hold special and timely relevance to the day in which we live...

"Let us unite, then, in offering our grateful acknowledgments, to the Sovereign Dispenser of all blessings, that, while many nations are covered with the mantle of darkness and superstition; and in consequence of this, are groaning under the yoke of servitude; the Sun of righteousness hath risen upon us, with healing in his wings; and hath taught us, in a political view, to know, and to maintain our proper character. Let us bless his holy name, that, under the influence of this light, we have been led to assert the dignity of human nature—to throw off the chains of oppression—to think and act for ourselves, and to acknowledge no other king than the King of the universe. Let us bless his name, that, under the guidance of the same light, we have been led to frame a constitution, which recognizes the natural and unalienable rights of men; which renounces all limits to human liberty, but those which necessity and wisdom prescribe; and whose great object is, the general good. O give thanks unto the Lord! for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the oppressor, and delivered from all their destructions. O that men would praise the Lord, for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Again; if it be a solemn truth, that the prevalence of Christianity, has a natural and immediate tendency to promote political freedom, then, those are the truest and the wisest patriots, who study to encrease its influence in society. Hence it becomes every American citizen to consider this as the great palladium of our liberty, demanding our first and highest care.

The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places, yea, we have a goodly heritage. We possess an extensive, noble country. Fertility and beauty vie with each other, in favor of our ease, accommodation, and delight. Every avenue to national importance, and the felicity of individuals, is opened wide. Let it, then, in addition to all these advantages, and to complete its glory, let it be Immanuel’s land. This will refine, and inconceivably appreciate your freedom. This will render you at once the pattern, and the wonder of the world.

To each of you, then, my fellow citizens, on this anniversary of our independence, be the solemn address made! Do you wish to stand fast in that liberty, wherewith the Governor of the universe hath made you free? Do you desire the encreasing prosperity of your country? Do you wish to see the law respected—good order preserved, and universal peace to prevail? Are you convinced, that purity of morals is necessary for these important purposes? Do you believe, that the Christian religion is the firmest basis of morality? Fix its credit, then, by adopting it yourselves, and spread its glory by the lustre of your example! And while you tell to your children, and to your children’s children, the wonderful works of the Lord, and the great deliverance which he hath wrought out for us, teach them to remember the Author of these blesssings, and they will know how to estimate their value. Teach them to acknowledge the God of heaven as their King, and they will despise submission to earthly despots. Teach them to be Christians, and they will ever be free!

And O, thou exalted Source of liberty! not only grant and secure to us political freedom; but may we all, by the effectual working of thy mighty power, and through the mediation of Christ Jesus, be brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; that when this world, and all that is therein, shall be burnt up, we may become citizens of a better country, that is an heavenly."