Tag Archives: preaching

There Will Be No Literal 1000 Year Reign of Christ

“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.” Revelation 20:4

The doctrine of a literal 1000 year millennial kingdom is not controversial, it is simply false doctrine. In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John says not one word about a literal 1000 year reign OF CHRIST, literally or figuratively. What he says is “I saw thrones and THEY sat on them.” The reigning that is in focus here is not the ruling activity of Jesus Christ, but of those seated on the thrones. There are dozens of passages in Scripture which speak of the eternal kingdom of Christ, but not one single passage in all of Scripture speaks or even hints at a kingdom of Christ that will last a mere thousand years.

Do not be deceived, brethren. We must commit ourselves to the written Word of God, not the inventions of men or the Devil, and dispensationalism is both of them.

The teaching of a 1000 year reign of Christ has its origin in Hell and coming from the father of lies, the Devil. Remember, beloved, Satan has always been set on leading men away from the written Word of God (“Has God truly said…?”) and the one who also rejects it outright (“You surely shall not die!”).

The only Christian position we may take then, given the clear teaching of God’s Word on this matter, is that those who teach a future reign of Christ for a mere 1000 years are being deceived and deceiving, the blind leading the blind.

The Burial of Jesus Christ Essential to the Gospel

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” – I Corinthians 15:1-5

In our thoughts and presentations of the Gospel, much attention is given to the death and resurrection of our Lord, and rightly so. But there is often times a tendency to go from “He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30) to “Now on the first day of the week…” (John 20:1), as if there are no blessings nor comfort to be had between those events. But there are. Let’s not overlook them.

PAUL VIEWED THE BURIAL AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THE GOSPEL

First, a few preliminaries. In the passage quoted above we have one of the most concise summaries of the Gospel in Scripture. In verse 1, Paul says, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you”. Immediately following he clarifies the precise points of that Gospel.

He was crucified…buried…raised on the third day… He appeared.

Paul clearly regarded the burial of Christ Jesus as an essential element of the Gospel, and you will note that in Paul’s presentation in Scripture, he does not fail to include it.

JESUS INCLUDED HIS BURIAL AS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THE GOSPEL

In Matthew 26 and parallel passages, we see Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive ointment, wiping it with her hair (see John 12:7). Note in the passage in Matthew, Jesus says,

“Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”(26:13).

How many times will it be said this coming Sunday, “We have met this morning to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” Brethren, don’t forget the burial!

Our Lord’s burial is far more than a historical footnote, something that so obviously takes place when you have a dead body.

In our main passage quoted above, Paul twice says these elements of the Gospel were “in accordance with the Scriptures.” In other words, these things have occurred as a fulfillment of prophecy and are essential ingredients of the Gospel message to be taken to the world.

One of those prophecies is found in Isaiah 53. Note verse 9.

“And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9).

A note from JFB on this passage is instructive:

Rather, “His grave was appointed,” or “they appointed Him His grave” [Hengstenberg]; that is, they intended (by crucifying Him with two thieves, Mat_27:38) that He should have His grave “with the wicked.” Compare Joh_19:31, the denial of honorable burial being accounted a great ignominy (see on Isa_14:19; Jer_26:23). and with … rich — rather, “but He was with a rich man,” etc. Gesenius, for the parallelism to “the wicked,” translates “ungodly” (the effect of riches being to make one ungodly); but the Hebrew everywhere means “rich,” never by itself ungodly; the parallelism, too, is one of contrast; namely, between their design and the fact, as it was ordered by God (Mat_27:57; Mar_15:43-46; Joh_19:39, Joh_19:40); two rich men honored Him at His death, Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus.

Remember Joseph of Arimathea? A rich man indeed!

“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.” – Matthew 27:57-60

The details of the burial of our Lord are covered in all 4 gospels. Yet is it not true, that often times we focus more on the death and resurrection of Jesus and pass right by His burial? I think so.

So what about the blessings of His burial? We know He died, we know He rose again, we know He ascended to the right hand of the Father where He reigns forever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

HIS BURIAL GIVES BELIEVERS A HOPE THE WORLD DOES NOT HAVE

Were it not for the mercy and grace of God, had He not intervened at a point in time to show us our wickedness and need for the Savior, we would be hopeless like the rest of mankind outside of Christ.

The world outside of Christ fears death. It is the end of hope for them, yet for the believer, what are we told?

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15.

It pleased the Lord to crush His only Son (Isaiah 53:10), yet the Father did not abandon His Son forever in His burial! Nor will He abandon His true children! Not even in the grave!

Beloved, the world does not have this comfort, yet those who truly are children of God have this blessed hope of not being forsaken in the grave! That’s a blessing! That is the Father looking in our direction, and being pleased because we were redeemed by His Son!

Jesus Christ has transformed even death, sanctified it, set it apart, so that even death is viewed by His children differently than by the world. If we truly believe, we need not fear death nor the grave.

Just as the Father did not forsake His Son in burial, neither will He forsake us. Just as Christ Jesus has risen from the dead, so shall we. God’s Word is true, take comfort!

Understanding Romans 7:24

gollum

According to many Christians these days, Christians are wicked. Now, it is one thing to describe the Christian as being able to fall into sin, but according to Scripture, the wicked are sin, they live there, they are enemies of God and they will not spend eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ in the new heaven and earth.

Many well known conference speakers and preachers teach what can easily be labeled the doctrine of the total depravity of the saints. It is a doctrine not found in Scripture. It certainly is not the position of historical Christianity:

Jonathan Edwards on the wicked:

The design of heaven is unsuitable to them. The design of God in making heaven was, that it might be a place of holy habitation, for the reward of the righteous, and not an habitation for wicked men. It would greatly reflect on the wisdom of God to dispose of wicked men there; for it would be the greatest confusion. But God is not the author of confusion, I Corinthians xiv. 33. It would be contrary to the holiness of God, to take wicked men so near to himself into his glorious presence, to dwell forever in that part of the creation which is, as it were, his own palace, and to sit at his table. We read in Psalm v. 4. “Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee.” Therefore it would doubtless be impossible that the end of the existence of wicked men should be in any wise answered by the placing of them in heaven.

It may be objected that in Romans 7:24, the Apostle Paul calls himself ‘wretched’ and indeed he does – Wretched man that I am!

However, ‘wretched’ is not ‘wicked’. The word for wretched in Romans 7:24 is talaipōros, which is one who is enduring trials, afflicted. It comes from two base words meaning enduring or under weight, bearing a test. Apostle Paul in that passage, is not a ‘wicked’ man, he is a mature believer in Christ who is persevering! The inescapable point is that the wicked, if they perish in their sins, will not dwell in heaven.

William Hendriksen says it well in his NTC commentary on Romans 7:24: The writer genuinely deplores the fact that due to the law of sin still operating in him, he is unable to serve God as completely and whole-heartedly as he desires. The poignant grief here expressed is definitely that of a believer. No unbeliever would ever be able to be so filled with sorrow because of his sins! The author of the outcry is Paul, speaking for every child of God. The cry he utters is one of distress, but not of despair, as verse Rom_7:25 proves. Paul suffers agony, to be sure, the wretchedness brought about by strenuous exertion; that is, by trying hard, but never satisfactorily succeeding, to live in complete harmony with God’s will but failing again and again. He is looking forward eagerly to the time when this struggle will have ended.

On the other hand, ‘wicked’ in the New Testament is an entirely different matter altogether. Take John 3:20 for example:

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

Here, the word is phaulos, “foul”, evil, ethically bad. In Scripture, the saint is never described as wicked, for the wicked are dead in their sins and they hate the light.

It’s an important distinction, and with many young Christians these days, often boasting in their ‘vileness’ and ‘wickedness’, a distinction that needs clarifying.

In Scripture, the wicked are not the children of God. They are not the saints. In fact, they are compared to:

Abominable branches
Isa_14:19;

Ashes under the feet
Mal_4:3;

Bad fishes
Mat_13:48;

Beasts
Psa_49:12; 2Pe_2:12;

Blind, The
Zep_1:17; Mat_15:14;

Brass and iron
Jer_6:28; Eze_22:18;

Briars and thorns
Isa_55:13; Eze_2:6;

Bulls of Bashan
Psa_22:12;

Carcasses trodden under feet
Isa_14:19;

Chaff
Job_21:18; Psa_1:4; Mat_3:12;

Clouds without water
Jud_1:12;

Corn blasted
2Ki_19:26;

Corrupt trees
Luk_6:43;

Deaf adders
Psa_58:4;

Dogs
Pro_26:11; Mat_7:6; 2Pe_2:22;

Dross
Psa_119:119; Eze_22:18; Eze_22:19;

Early dew that passes away
Hos_13:3;

Evil figs
Jer_24:8;

Fading oaks
Isa_1:30;

Fiery oven
Psa_21:9; Hos_7:4;

Fire of thorns
Psa_118:12;

Fools building upon sand
Mat_7:26;

Fuel of fire
Isa_9:19;

Garden without water
Isa_1:30;

Goats
Mat_25:32;

Grass
Psa_37:2; Psa_92:7;

Grass on the housetop
2Ki_19:26;

Green bay-trees
Psa_37:35;

Green herbs
Psa_37:2;

Heath in the desert
Jer_17:6;

Horses rushing into the battle
Jer_8:6;

Idols
Psa_115:8;

Lions greedy of prey
Psa_17:12;

Melting wax
Psa_68:2;

Morning-clouds
Hos_13:3;

Moth-eaten garments
Isa_50:9; Isa_51:8;

Passing whirlwinds
Pro_10:25;

Potsherds
Pro_26:23;

Raging waves of the sea
Jud_1:13;

Reprobate silver
Jer_6:30;

Scorpions
Eze_2:6;

Serpents
Psa_58:4; Mat_23:33;

Smoke
Hos_13:3;

Stony ground
Mat_13:5;

Stubble
Job_21:18; Mal_4:1;

Swine
Mat_7:6; 2Pe_2:22;

Tares
Mat_13:38;

Troubled sea
Isa_57:20;

Visions of the night
Job_20:8;

Wandering stars
Jud_1:13;

Wayward children
Mat_11:16;

Wells without water
2Pe_2:17;

Wheels
Psa_83:13;

Whited sepulchres
Mat_23:27;

Wild ass’s colt
Job_11:12

[Torey]

Does that describe you, reader? The bottom line is clear in Scripture; either we are a new creation in Christ, or we are not. If we are, our lives will evidence good fruit, not wickedness as a way of life.

God loves sinners, yes, if they were given to the Son by the Father, before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4

Words mean things. If ‘wicked’ does describe you, repent and believe in the Gospel and be saved.

Why Did Paul Remind the Corinthians of the Gospel?

korinth-tempel-octavia

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. – I Corinthians 15:1-5

The Apostle Paul had once preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Corinthians. Now he is reminding them of it.

Why?

Is it because the same Gospel that saves us also sanctifies us? Is it because the Christians at Corinth needed to preach the Gospel to themselves every day? No, that is not found in this, or any other passage of Scripture. That would be eisogesis, or better, ‘lack-o-gesis’ at its finest. It is the error of New Calvinism, and it leads to antinomian thinking, ignoring the imperatives of Scripture to be obeyed in exchange for the freedom of lawlessness so enjoyed by myriads of young people today.

The reason Paul is making known the Gospel to the Corinthians once again is found in the Scripture itself, and in fact, in the same chapter; specifically, verses 12 and 13.

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

The Apostle Paul is reminding them of the Gospel teaching, not because it sanctifies them by ‘going deeper’ and by contemplating more deeply the finished work of Christ, oh no. He is addressing the fact that some in Corinth who had professed Christ and professed to believe the Gospel, are now rejecting  or objecting to the doctrine of the resurrection. They are believing that God raises the soul, but not the body.

That is why Paul is once again reminding them of the Gospel. Not to stress the necessity of the Gospel for the purpose of sanctification, but for doctrinal correction.

If any preacher tells you that the Gospel sanctifies you apart from obedience, that man needs to be marked for division according to Scripture.

The Only Gospel Command to Be Obeyed

the-gospel

For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? I Peter 4:17 (NASB)

In Scripture, there are many biblical commands or imperatives to be obeyed yet they are not direct ‘gospel commands’.

Mark 1:1 declares the beginning of Jesus’ gospel, and in Mark 1:15, Jesus said,

“”The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Regeneration and saving faith both being gifts from God, only the elect unto salvation will believe, of course, yet the imperative to believe in the Gospel is there.

Again, through the Apostle Peter, specifically in the quoted passage above, there is only one ‘Gospel imperative’, that is, one Gospel command specifically regarding the Gospel, and it is not for Christians to preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday. It is simply to believe its good news. The Gospel is good news to be believed, not good news to be therapeutically repeated daily.

In the latter portion of I Peter 4:17, the Apostle asked the question:

“what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

What does he mean by ‘obey the Gospel? The answer lies in the text itself. The Greek  word for obey here is ἀπειθούντων—note the present active tense of this participle (derived from ἀπειθέω (I refuse to believe and obey)).

Peter is asking in essence “If judgment begins with the house of God, what will become of those who are willfully, intentionally disbelieving and refuse to comply with the command to believe the Gospel?”

It is that simple my brethren. To obey the Gospel is to believe it.

The Scriptures, that is, the whole counsel of God, teaches us how to make progress in holiness and press on to maturity in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, Who is our Helper!

Let us be biblical by sticking to the Bible and not the latest fads of ‘spiritual disciplines’ and the error of so-called ‘gospel-sanctification.’

The Whole Counsel of God

Bible

for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. – Acts 20:27

In this passage, the word shrink ( hupostellō ) means to withhold under (out of sight); conceal, hold back. Declaring (anaggellō) is to announce (in detail). The word whole (pas) means each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything; counsel ( boulē ) is volition, decision, intention, purpose.

In other words, we might translate the verse this way:

For I did not withhold out of sight from you; I did not conceal nor hold back anything from you, announcing in detail everything God has purposed, decided and intended for you.

Brethren, this is speaking of the complete revelation God has given us in his Son Jesus Christ, and there is more than the Gospel being spoken of here.

There is the sermon on the mount, for one, describing not specifically only things to be believed, but rather to be done, to be lived out, the very character of a Christian by which the world will know to whom they belong. There is much of the New Testament devoted to instructions of righteousness – living rightly, honorably, in such a way as to be pleasing to both God and man.

There are among us these days those who limit the scope of their instruction to the Church to the Gospel alone. Every sermon, every text, every message a message of the Gospel. That is not the whole counsel of God. Such are holding back, concealing (if they know at all) the full revelation of God in His Son Jesus Christ as revealed in the written Word. If they’ve a firm grasp of the Gospel according to Scripture, I commend them to the evangelistic field, but let us deny admittance of those to the office of pastor-teacher, for if the gospel is all they have to instruct the Church, they will keep the congregations in spiritual diapers, stunt their spiritual growth, effectively hindering any progress in their Christian maturity and their participation in the Great Commission to which they have been assigned.

Many Christians across America remain in the aforesaid spiritual diapers because they have been deceived into believing that the Gospel alone was going to MAKE them holy. Being set apart to be holy by way of regeneration or the new birth is one thing; the hard warfare of becoming holy, righteous by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, that is, ethical sanctification, is a whole other matter in itself.

Some no doubt will object: “What else is there other than the scandalous Gospel?”

The rest of God’s whole counsel to you, that’s what.

Jesus said:

If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. – John 7:17

Amen.