MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Light out of Darkness – The Gospel of John is Not About John

June 29th, 2018 Viewed 533 times

The Gospel of John is not about John

Each of the four gospels is geared toward a specific audience.

  1. Matthew – Christ as King
  2. Mark – Christ as Servant
  3. Luke – Christ as Man

Written between 85 and 95 AD, John’s book is the most theological of the bunch, written to teach us that Jesus is God. The focus of the book is not on the author. He’s an eyewitness and the beloved disciple.

photo by: Kevin M. Gill

Are You Innocent?

June 1st, 2018 Viewed 301 times

In Acts 20:26 Paul declared himself to be innocent of the blood of all men in Ephesus (cf. comments on Acts 18:6). He preached to “all men” (cf. “all the Jews and Greeks … in the province of Asia,” 19:10). And the content of His preaching was all of God’s will (boulēn, “purpose, plan”; cf. 2:23; 4:28; 13:36; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17).

Can the same be said of us? Are we innocent?

Paul didn’t discriminate among who he witnessed and proclaimed the message. Do we?

This was a reference to Ezekiel 33:9. God compared a watchman for the children of Israel with Ezekiel himself. He told Ezekiel that it was his duty to tell Israel what he was told, and that if he did, then he would be innocent of the blood of the people, but if he did not, he would be guilty.

How about us?

We know the truth of the fact that people are dying and going to Hell today. Are we innocent of the blood of our family? Are we innocent of the blood of our friends? Coworkers? Are we innocent of the blood of those people that we see on a regular basis?

Conclusion

I’ve gone through a lot of requests that haven’t been made of us that are more severe than what has been requested of us.

We know what God requires of us.  We know what it takes to be innocent.  What are we willing to do about it?

The Biggest Problem Facing America Today

August 16th, 2016 Viewed 1596 times

America is a country in crisis.  Not a week goes by that we do not hear about some atrocity committed in different places within our borders.  People are dying from acts of nature and acts of other individuals, and one wonders how much more this nation can take.

But this country’s biggest problem isn’t the character of the individuals running for office, immigration, or any of the other issues of the day.  The biggest problem is that its people need a Savior.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most powerful thing in the world.  Stronger than any man, more powerful than any nuclear device.  The power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power available to the believer.  It’s the power that is available to every believe, and it is a transformational power.

It is this power that changed Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus from a persecutor of the church to one of its greatest proclaimers.  It allowed many men and women to endure fierce persecution, more brutal than anything that ISIS has done, and one day it will be triumphant over the whole world.

It is the duty of every believer not to force Christianity upon a nation or people, but to proclaim the Gospel.  That is part of what makes Christianity so different.  It is a free gift– something that’s offered but should not be forced– though some down the years have tried.  There’s never a command for a believer to kill those that do not believe, only to walk away– sometimes knocking the dust off their feet to let God decide what to do with that place.

This is something that we should do, regardless of who is in the government or who is running for government.  If we would do that, and the Spirit would work, we would see serious change in this nation.  Without, we seem destined for fracture.

German Protestant Church Decides It’s No Longer Christian

November 3rd, 2015 Viewed 1765 times

Country-Church.jpgWhen a Christian church decides that it no longer needs to spread the Gospel, isn’t that a sign that it’s no longer Christian?

One of Germany’s largest Protestant regional churches has come under fire from other Christians for speaking out against efforts to convert Muslims just as tens of thousands of refugees from the Islamic world are streaming into the country. 

Read more at German Protestant church’s scandalous idea rocks evangelical community [hat tip German Protestant church’s scandalous idea rocks evangelical community]

Reaching these people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be the only reason to be for bringing these people into your nation.


Image from FreeImages.com used under General Restrictions.

Hell is for Real

April 3rd, 2015 Viewed 2009 times

One of the phrases that has stuck with me since my time at Bob Jones University is one that was sort of a question and answer phrase:

Speaker: The most sobering reality in the world today is that…

Response: People are dying and going to Hell today.

Some in modern Christendom have decided that Hell is not real, that all make it to Heaven.  They are shrinking from this reality because this reality is inconvenient and, frankly, difficult to accept.  How can a loving God send people to a place of eternal torment?  The answer is that in order to be good, He must be just.  That justice does not allow for sin to be excused without a substitute.

On this Good Friday, as we remember what Jesus has done by shedding His blood on the cross and taking the punishment of our sin on Himself, let us remember that there is a punishment for sin– death and Hell.  Let us remember the call, that there people that are dying and going to Hell today, and that we are tasked with the mission to reach them with the Good News of redemption.

So What’s There to Talk About?

July 9th, 2014 Viewed 1888 times
737353: The Complete Husband
The Complete Husband
By Lou Priolo

In this chapter, the author stars out with a personal account of a moving incident in his life where a music minister made the following comment to him:

If we Christians are in any business at all, it’s the communication business.

And he’s right.  Whether it’s preaching the gospel, teaching others to make disciples or admonishing a brother we’re communicating.  In fact, Priolo stats that there are over forty communication commands in the New Testament epistles!

The point that he’s trying to make is that we have to be communicating with one another if we’re going to be able to experience the level of intimacy that is called for in marriage.  The degree to which we are willing to reveal ourselves to each other will have a direct impact on how close we can get to one another.  That’s why the questions that he had us guys ask our wives in the last section cut so close to the heart.  We have to be willing to be vulnerable if we want to learn our wife’s heart.

So, practically, this means that we, as husbands, need to be talking to our wives.  If you need a handful of suggestions about what to talk about, he provides a few:

  1. Bible Doctrine – Does your wife feel comfortable talking with you about what the Bible says?  Asking you questions?
  2. Your home – It’s the “base of operations” for your wife’s ministry.  “The condition and appearance of your home is probably more important to her than you realize.”
  3. The children – Dad, your the manager in the home, and you’re the one ultimately responsible.  You should be talking about your children.
  4. Your job – Since she’s your helper she may be able to help you better if she knows what’s gone on during your day– no matter how much you don’t want to talk about it.
  5. Her family (your in-laws) – There have been many Biblical conflicts that had inlaws at the center of them.  You need to have Biblical conversations about her family and their influence.
  6. Her friends – Do you care about who she chooses as friends?  They can influence her for good or evil.  You have an outside view in, you should be giving her the benefit of your perspective.
  7. Her ministries (inside and outside of the home) – “Life is a ministry.”  Are you encouraging her to minister outside the home?  Are you helping her discover her gifts for service?
  8. Her goals for the future – Personal goals, goals of mutual interest, and other goals she has should be exciting for us as well.
  9. Specific ways you can be a better husband and father – Again with the humility.  But then again, she is a helper, and has a perspective that we don’t.  “When was the last time you asked you wife for her evaluation of how you’re doing in these areas?”
  10. Things you do which bother her – This topic is guaranteed to provide you hours of interesting discussion.

Whew– and that’s only to get your started!


By now you know, the link is to where you can pick up the book. This post is all mine.

But Did I Share the Gospel?

July 5th, 2014 Viewed 1158 times

This post starts out like a cute story we as parents are all too familiar with…

Just yesterday, I asked my son to clean his room. As most ten year olds do, he bantered back and forth with me, “Maaaaaa, it’s summmmmer”, and “Maaaa, I cleaned my room yesterday!” Finally, when I mentioned the upcoming consequence, he begrudgingly ran upstairs, shut the door, and from my knowledge did what he was supposed to do.

About an hour later, I heard him running down the stairs and in all excitement, approached me with his hand outstretched and a smile on his face… “Mom, look at what I made for you!”

Lo and behold there it was- a marvelously handmade “Starburst ” rainbow loom bracelet that he had been trying to master for weeks. First, I told him how beautiful it was and thanked him, then I walked up the stairs, opened up his door, and peered into a room that hadn’t been cleaned.

I yelled down to my son, and asked him to come upstairs. I questioned him why he didn’t clean up his room, like I had asked. He replied, “Mom, I was too busy making you a bracelet.” I looked at him and said, “Grant, I love that you made me this bracelet, but you weren’t obedient to what I wanted you to do. You served me the way you wanted to serve me, rather than doing what I asked.”

Then I stopped dead in my tracks.

What was her revelation?  Find out at But Did I Share the Gospel?

Jesus Calls Us to Follow Him

July 4th, 2014 Viewed 1410 times

The-Modern-Christian.jpg

Jesus cuts through all of the noise of the modern culture and calls us to see things from His perspective.  In Matthew 8:18-27, we see that Jesus has just wrapped up a sermon and is preparing to leave for a different place.  At this point a variety of men show up to ask to follow him, which has some pretty interesting results.

Wherever You Go

The first individual, a scribe, comes up to Jesus and asks to follow Jesus wherever He goes.  He probably figured that Jesus would be quite impressed that a religious scribe was going to join him, and figured hearing some kind of encouraging words.  Instead he heard:

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Jesus tells the man that he will not have the comforts that he’s used to.  Now, we don’t know if this was enough to turn the man around so that he didn’t follow Jesus, but we know that Jesus was stressing that this would cost him his comfort.

The world today tells us that there are certain things that we must have, certain expectations to have a good life.  The world would call us insane if we gave up that which we could have to follow Christ, and yet God wants all of us, not just a part.

Can I Bury My Dad?

A second man comes up to Jesus and wants to follow him; however, he needs to go and bury his dad first.  Jesus responds:

And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

Basically, Jesus is saying “let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead.”  Tough words.  Now, we’re not sure whether the man’s dad was already dead or on death’s doorstep, so we don’t know how long the wait was, but Jesus was again making the man choose the culture or radical abandonment to Christ. Regardless, the culture told him that it was right to go bury his father, Jesus was saying that it was more important to follow Him than the cultural practice.

The question for us is, do we let the culture dictate our obedience to the Word of God?  Whether it’s what we allow to entertain us, where we eat, or how we dress, whom do we let dictate how we will behave or what we think about?

If what God says and what the culture says are two different things, whom should we follow?  Whom do we follow?

Can I at Least Say Goodbye?

In Luke 9, the last of our gang of three approaches Christ and wants to follow after him, but only after he bids his family farewell.  Jesus responds:

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus startles us by saying that whomever starts to do the work and then looks back is unworthy of the work.  This harkens over to one of the most difficult passages of Scripture (for me anyways) where Jesus says that there are some that have done things in Jesus’ name and yet He still tells them to depart, for He never knew them.

It also seems to echo what Jesus said in Luke 14:26-27 where Jesus tells those following that it they don’t hate their family and don’t take up our cross daily, we’re not worthy of Him.  Matthew Henry has the following to say:

They must be willing to quit that which was very dear, and therefore must come to him thoroughly weaned from all their creature-comforts, and dead to them, so as cheerfully to part with them rather than quit their interest in Christ, v. 26. A man cannot be Christ’s disciple but he must hate father, and mother, and his own life. He is not sincere, he will be constant and persevering, unless he love Christ better than any thing in this world, and be willing to part with that which he may and must leave, either as a sacrifice, when Christ may be glorified by our parting with it (so the martyrs, who loved not their lives to death), or as a temptation, when by our parting with it we are put into a better capacity of serving Christ.1

Jesus is not Asking Us to be Good Versions of the World

It’s easy as believers to get caught up in thinking that we need to be good.  We refrain from behaviors on which society frowns.  We also like to have people look at us as individuals that are “good” and that are admirable.  However, this is the antithesis of what it means to be a follower of Christ.

I’m not saying that we should not be growing closer to God in our daily walk.  I am saying that the closer that we get to God, the greater our awareness of how far we fall short should be.  In Isaiah 6, when Isaiah got close to God his response was to realize that he was undone.  Paul, as he got closer to God, went from being in sin to the Chief of Sinners.

Whenever a believer stops seeing the great debt that he owes God that was paid by Jesus’ blood, and starts to believe that he is good because of his righteous living, he is falling into the same trap Even fell into– pride.

Jesus calls us to set aside what we could be under the world’s power to be what we can be under His.  He wants us to reach the lost, and understand that we  will struggle with sin.  He wants us to take His Word wherever we go– but not just to tell someone what they need to know to pray a prayer, but to disciple them so tha tthey may grow in Him.

Above all, He wants us to give Him glory.  The Bible, this world, our lives– it’s all about Him.  Our salvation is all about Him.  We give Him glory when we are so attuned to Him that we instinctively do what He wants.

How can we do that if we’re concerned about what Modern society thinks?


Image by Indigo6811 used under Standard Restrictions

  1. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (1876). Peabody: Hendrickson. []

The Most Sobering Reality in the World Today is that

July 3rd, 2014 Viewed 870 times

People are dying and going to Hell today.

Would You Rather Be Run Over By Death, Or It’s Shadow?

November 14th, 2012 Viewed 1453 times

Alone amongst the deadA famous Bible teacher that lost his wife to cancer while she was in their thirties explains salvation and its relation to death to his daughter:

Barnhouse nodded and said, “Did you know that the truck of death ran over the Lord Jesus in order that only its shadow might run over us? Your mother has not been overrun by death, but by the shadow of death. That is nothing to fear.”


Image from Stock Exchange used under the Standard Restrictions explained at the link.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.