Walking Through Vanity Fair: the Christian and the World, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #33)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

TEXT: John 17:14-18

14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

Walking Through Vanity Fair: the Christian and the World, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #33)

Last week, we learned that while we are in the world, we are not of the world because we abstain from the evil that is in the world. As the Bible says, we do not allow ourselves to be overcome with evil. Today, I want us to look at how we are like Jesus in the world. Jesus describes His disciples, and us, with these words: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Continue reading “Walking Through Vanity Fair: the Christian and the World, Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #33)”

Walking Through Vanity Fair: the Christian and the World, Part 1 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #32)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

TEXT: John 17:14-18

14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

Walking Through Vanity Fair: the Christian and the World, Part 1 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #32)

“In the world, but not of the world,” is a common phrase among Christians, but what does it really mean? The answer to this question has important implications for how we live our lives every day. A famous depiction of Christians being in the world but not of it is found in the description of Vanity Fair in Pilgrim’s Progress. John Bunyan wrote:

Then I saw in my dream that when Christian and Faithful had come out of the Wilderness, they immediately saw ahead of them a Town which was named Vanity. Now at this Town, a fair is promoted there that is known as Vanity Fair. It is maintained all the year long and bears the name Vanity Fair because the Town where it is located is regarded as lighter than vanity; and also, because all that is sold there, as well as those who come to buy, is vanity [worthless]. As is the saying of the wise man, “All that this world promotes is vanity.”

This Fair is not some newly constructed business, but an enterprise going back into antiquity. Let me tell you about its origin. Almost five thousand years ago, even then there were pilgrims walking toward the Celestial City, just as these two honest persons are doing. So Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, along with their associates, noticing that the path along which pilgrims traveled toward the City passed through this Town of Vanity, they determined to construct a fair; it was to be a festive market in which there would be sold every sort of vanity, and it would be open all the year long.

Historians believe that the inspiration for Vanity Fair in Pilgrim’s Progress came from the annual fair that was held in a town called Sturbridge, a city near Cambridge in England, which John Bunyan would have been familiar with. In a biography of John Bunyan, this yearly event is described as follows: “When business was over it was succeeded by pleasure. Round the square, in the center of which rose the great maypole with its vane at the top, there were coffee-houses, taverns, music-halls, buildings for the exhibition of jesters, magicians and tricksters, itinerant charlatans, wild beasts, monsters, dwarfs, giants, rope-dancers, and the like… Year by year, the country populace for ten or twelve miles ­around came in with their sons and daughters for the diversions of the place.” Continue reading “Walking Through Vanity Fair: the Christian and the World, Part 1 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #32)”

Creation: In the Beginning, Part 3 (Onward Christian Soldiers #55)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers
[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/215519-creation-in-the-beginning-part-3-onward-christian-soldiers-55.mp3]

Genesis 1:1 & 26: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

During part 1 of this lesson, we learned about the creation of the universe. Contrary to what some would have us to believe, the Bible tells us quite clearly that God created the heaven and the earth and all that is in them. The vastness, order, and creativity of the universe is evidence of an almighty intelligent designer.

During part 2 of this lesson, we learned about the creation of the earth. God spoke the world into existence over a period of 6 days. On day 1, He said, “Let there be light,” and instantly there was light. On the second day God formed the sky and the clouds, which the Bible calls “the firmament.” On the third day, God separated the waters from the land and caused the earth to bring forth grass, herbs, and trees. On the fourth day, God made the sun and the moon to give light upon the earth by day and by night and to produce the different seasons. On the fifth day, God created the fish and the birds. On the sixth day, God created all the animals and reptiles of the earth. Last of all, He created man. Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Today, let’s take a closer look at the creation of man. In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” God’s most wonderful creation was man, because God created man in His own image and after His own likeness.

God named the first man Adam. God created a wife for Adam, and her name was Eve. Adam and Eve did not come up from lower forms of animal life by a process of evolution. They were created by God, and they were created in the image of God. The Bible says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” God was pleased with all that He had created, and He pronounced it “VERY GOOD.”

God the Creator is worthy of all worship. The universe, the earth, and the living creatures did not come into being by themselves. God created them! In Isaiah 45:12, God says, “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.”

Since God created all things, then to whom do all things belong? They belong to God! All things belong to the One Who created them.

Why did God create all things? He created them for His glory. In the creation of the universe, the earth and all living creatures, God has manifested His power, His glory, and His wisdom. The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Because God is the Creator of all things, He alone is the One who should receive all worship. Worship is the love, reverence, and obedience which are due God. We should never worship any man, angel, creature, or object. Matthew 4:10 says, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Why should God alone be worshipped? Because He is the Creator and because He alone is worthy of all worship. The Bible says in Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Creation: In the Beginning, Part 2 (Onward Christian Soldiers #54)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers

TEXT: Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

During part 1 of this lesson, we learned about the creation of the universe. Contrary to what some would have us to believe, the Bible tells us quite clearly that God created the heaven and the earth and all that is in them. The vastness, order, and creativity of the universe is evidence of an almighty intelligent designer.

Today, let’s look at the creation of the earth. No one knows when the earth was created. God has not revealed this to us. Genesis 1:1 simply says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

We do not know what the earth was like at this time, but everything in this verse points to God’s power, His wisdom and His perfection. The Bible says, “the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy” when God created the earth.

In Genesis 1:2 there is a different scene. The Bible says, “And the earth was (or became) without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” For some reason, in some way, and at some time, the earth became formless and empty. How long the earth may have remained in this condition we do not know. But over this dark scene the Spirit of God brooded.

Then God spoke. He said, “Let there be light,” and instantly there was light. God divided the light from the darkness. He called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” The Bible says, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

On the second day God formed the sky and the clouds, which the Bible calls “the firmament.” The water in the clouds was separated from the water upon the earth.

On the third day, God separated the waters from the land. He called the dry land “earth,” and He called the waters “the seas.” God caused the earth to bring forth grass and herbs and fruit trees.

On the fourth day, God made the sun and the moon to give light upon the earth by day and by night and to produce the different seasons.

On the fifth day, God created the fish and the birds. God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the fowl that may fly above the earth.”

On the sixth day, God created all the animals and reptiles of the earth. Last of all, He created man. Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Creation: In the Beginning, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldiers #53)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers

TEXT: Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Have you ever wondered why the first book in the Bible is called Genesis? Well, the word “genesis” means “beginning,” and the book of Genesis is the story of beginnings. It tells us of the beginning of the universe, the beginning of the earth, and the beginning of the human race. However, the book of Genesis does not tell us about the beginning of God. The reason for this is that God had no beginning.

GOD has always existed! God existed in all His power and glory before a single thing in the universe was created. The Bible says, “In the beginning God ….” Before the beginning of anything God was there. How long has God existed? He has always existed. How long will God continue to exist? He will always exist. The Bible says, “from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Continue reading “Creation: In the Beginning, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldiers #53)”

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 3)

Psalm 2

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Continue reading “God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 3)”

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 2)

plan-for-the-nations

TEXT: Psalm 2

During our last message, we asked the question, why is the world the way it is? The psalmist asks, “Why do the heathen rage? Why do the people imagine a vain thing?” The answer to that question is simply because the nations have rebelled against God. They have turned their backs on God’s goodness, His mercy, His grace, His law, and His justice. That is why we have war, poverty, disease, crime, violence, death, and despair in our world. That is why it seems as though people cannot get along with each other — because the nations have rebelled against God.

2. The second thing we want to know is what will man do about his condition? Continuing his speech, the Psalmist says, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed.” The nations are already in a state of rebellion against God. They recognize the desperate straits that they are in. What is their solution to their problem? Their solution is not to humble themselves and to repent before God. Their solution is to band together and stand in opposition to God. Not only have they turned their backs on God, but they seek to oppose God.

The Bible says the rulers of the nations “take counsel against the Lord and against his anointed.” The word Messiah simply means “the anointed one.” The kings of Israel were anointed with oil by prophets or priests before they began their rule. Thus, they were known as “anointed ones.” Historically speaking, the heathen nations that surrounded Israel were foolish for trying to oppose the kings of Israel who were also God’s anointed ones. However, prophetically speaking, the ultimate “anointed one” is Jesus Christ himself — who is the Messiah and the King of kings who will sit on the throne of David for a thousand years in Jerusalem.

Just as heathen nations opposed the Jewish kings, heathen nations (led by the antichrist) will oppose the return of the King of kings in the last days. Man’s desire to rebel against God has always led it to band together. Somehow, rebellious man thinks that if he unites against God he will eventually be able to defeat God. Remember the Tower of Babel: God told man to scatter across the face of the earth after the Flood, but man did not want to do that. So they banded together in defiance against God. They set out to build a tower that would reach to Heaven as a monument to their own strength. Perhaps they thought that they would be able to build a tower so tall that it would reach the throne of God and enable them to overthrow their Creator.

Just as man united against God at Babel, man will unite against God, led by Satan and the antichrist, at Armageddon. They will attempt once and for all to throw off the rule of God and prevent the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Look at what the heathen nations say to each other about God and His anointed one: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Instead of realizing that the laws which God has set up for us to live by are for our own good, rebellious man — like Eve in the Garden — thinks that God is trying to hold them back, that God is trying to keep them in bondage. And, so, they try to get out from under the authority of God.

That is what is happening in our world today with the increase in what has been called “militant atheism”. Charles Spurgeon said, “I am persuaded that men think there is no God because they wish there were none. They find it hard to believe in God, and to go on in sin, so they try to get an easy conscience by denying his existence.”

Based on Scripture and historical evidence, we see that man’s sin and rebellion against God is what has put the world in the condition it is in today. Sadly, we see that rebellious man will not turn to God for the solution to his problems. Instead, the nations will band together to oppose God and continue their opposition to His authority.

God’s Plan for the Nations (Part 1)

plan-for-the-nations

TEXT: Psalm 2:1-5

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”

Last week was one in which the world barely missed seeing history made. After a long period of campaigning and debate, the people of Scotland went to the polls to decide whether or not they would separate from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, shattering a union that has held for over 300 years since 1707. Well, despite a historic voter turnout — nearly 90% in some places — the vote was a resounding, ‘No, old chap!’ Scotland still belongs to the Queen.

In our study of the end times, we have seen that several nations feature prominently: Israel, Babylon, and the Roman Empire (which likely corresponds to the European Union of our day). However, the Bible reveals that just as God has a plan for the Jews, He also has a plan for all nations — the people of Earth spoken of in the Bible as Gentiles.

Many people today are concerned about the state of the world. Why is there so much turmoil? Why is there so much war? Why is there so much unrest, crime, and strife? People are dissatisfied with their governments and they are rising up, seeking to overthrow their rulers. It seems as though man is either incapable or unwilling to live in peace with his fellowman.

As we turn our attention to God’s dealings with the nations, we are going to look briefly at some background matter that will set us up to understand God’s future dealings with the world.

The first thing we want to know is why is the world the way it is? Almost in a tone of amazement or shock, the psalmist asks, “Why do the heathen rage? Why do the people imagine a vain thing?” The Hebrew word used for “heathen” simply means “nations” or “peoples”, — the gentiles.

Psalm 2 is classified as a “royal psalm,” and as such it was used by the kings of Israel during their coronations. This psalm is also well-known because of its messianic and millennial undertones. As we read this psalm, we cannot help but apply it to the coming of Jesus Christ and our modern context. We ask, why do the nations rage against God and against what God has commanded?

Today, more than ever, we see a flaunting of society turning its back on God and God’s laws — not just the laws laid down in the Bible, but the inner law which God has put in every man’s heart. Some of the things that are happening today would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

America has moved beyond the increase in atheism. We now have Satanists, loudly and publicly advocating their desire to worship the devil and satan. In Oklahoma City, Satanists held a Black Mass on government property, and there was seemingly nothing anybody could do to stop them. The Satanic Temple in New York City is opening a chapter in Detroit. Satanists are also pushing to have a statue of a demonic symbol erected at the Oklahoma State Capitol alongside a monument of the Ten Commandments. And the Satanic Temple has announced that it will be launching 15 more chapters across the United States in the coming weeks. The leader of the Detroit chapter said their group is not so much about worshipping Satan like Christians worship God and Jesus, but rather they embrace the “metaphorical, literary construct of Satan [because] he’s a symbol for rebellion, a symbol of human nature…”

We all know what Satan did. He rebelled against God. And that brings us back to our question: Why is the world the way it is? It is simply because the nations, the heathens, have raged against God. They have rebelled against God. They have turned their backs on God’s goodness, His mercy, His grace, His law, and His justice. That is why we have war, poverty, disease, crime, violence, death, and despair in our world. That is why it seems as though people cannot get along with each other — because the nations have rebelled against God.

That’s the Way of the World (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #2)

 

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #180

TEXT: Romans 8:5-8

Today, we return to the journey of Christian — the main character of Pilgrim’s Progress. When we last saw him, he was worried about the burden of sin in his life and looking for a way to be freed from it. He met a man named Evangelist who told him how to begin his journey to the cross where he would be freed of his burden of sin. Christian began that journey. As he left the city of Destruction, his wife, children, and neighbors begged for him to come back. Two of his friends, Obstinate and Pliable, said they would go with him, but as soon as they got stuck in the Slough of Despond, they abandoned him, and Christian went on alone.

Help comes along and gets Christian out of the Slough of Despond, and sets him on his way again. However, Christian meets with another traveler — Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

In our message last week, we explored the promise of salvation that Christian received from Evangelist. This salvation is only available through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of all mankind. It is through Jesus Christ that all people can get rid of their burden of sin. However, Mr. Worldly Wiseman tells Christian that there is another way he can get rid of his sin burden. Let’s explore this way and see what the Bible has to say about it.

1. Let’s look at the mindset of the world. Our passage for today vividly describes the mindset of the Worldly Wiseman. Verse 5 says, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh…” The Worldy Wiseman is a man who is “after the flesh.” He does not have his mind on spiritual matters. He has his mind on the here and now and how he can satisfy his fleshly desires.

2. Let’s look at the result of a worldly mindset. The Bible states, “For to be carnally minded is death…” Mr. Worldy Wiseman tells Christian a lot of good things about the flesh-focused lifestyle. He tells him that he will go to live in cities with names like Morality and Civility. It all sounds well and good. But, what Mr. Worldly Wiseman doesn’t mention is that it all will come to an end.

3. Let’s look at the alternative to a worldly mindset. Romans 8:5-6 says, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” God offers us something that is far better than the riches of this world. If we follow the wisdom of the world and pursue temporal things, in the end, we will find that it all comes crumbling down. But if we follow Jesus Christ — if we decide to be spiritually-minded — God will give us eternal life and peace.

The way of the world is the way of regret. It is the way of constantly saying, “I wish I had done this…” or “I should not have done that…” You may enjoy it for a while, but soon, you will be reminded of your burden. Your burden of sin, guilt, and an unpeaceful conscience. Nothing this world offers can free you of that burden.

But God can. He can free you of your burden and give you peace and eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ. As we close, I want to give you the opportunity to let Him give you what this world can’t. Yes, your burden of sin can be lifted today. Jesus Christ said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

MUSICAL SELECTION: “He’s Able” by the Mighty Clouds of Joy and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” by Selah

Freestyle Skier, David Wise, Wants to Show People that ‘God Created Us All With the Potential to Enjoy His World’ (Gospel Light Minute #138)

David Wise
David Wise

He is an American freestyle skier. He won the gold medal at the Winter X Games #16 in the SuperPipe in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He also won gold at the 2013 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships. Most recently, at 23-years-old, he went to the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and returned home with a gold medal in Men’s Halfpipe.

He became a Christian as a teenager and his faith is an important part of how he sees himself as a competitor and athlete. He said, “For me, if you’re going to go so far as to believe something, then it really should be a big part of whom you are. So, whenever I’m out there skiing, I try to be the same person as a skier as I am in church on Sundays. I try to be the same in everything that I do. I really feel blessed and fortunate to be a part of such a cool sport.” He added that his dream is to “take what I love to do and inspire other people…Show people that the world is beautiful. Yes, there’s ugliness mixed in, but God created us all with the potential of enjoying this place.”

He and his wife run the youth group at their church in Nevada and he said he could even see himself as “a pastor of a church at some point.” “If that’s the way it works out, or if that’s God’s plan for my life, then that’s something I’d be totally okay with, but if not, then I’ll do whatever else comes.” In the meantime, he runs a non-profit fund called the Clean Water Project, which aims to provide clean drinking water to people in Malawi.

His name is David Wise.