Showing posts from June, 2009

Sowell on Health Care

Thomas Sowell has some good thoughts here on the current debate over health care.

What About Playing the Lottery?

What is the Scriptural basis for some Christians believing that the lottery is sinful? And, is it in fact a sin to play the lottery and gamble? The subject of gambling is not specifically addressed in Scripture, so we can’t turn to a verse in the Bible that says, “Thou shalt not gamble,” or “Blessed are those who bet”! But there are many passages in the Bible that give us general principles of righteous behavior that shed light on the subject. For instance, there are quite a number of passages that speak of our duty to be responsible stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. The parable of the Prodigal Son comes to mind here (Luke 15:11-32). The prodigal son is condemned precisely because of his prodigality (i.e., reckless wastefulness). The Bible says he “squandered his estate with loose living.” When he “came to his senses,” he confessed to his father, “I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight.” His wastefulness was a sin. This certainly discourages gambli

The Seventh Commandment

Sunday, June 28, 2009 Let us examine ourselves this morning in light of the seventh commandment, which is: “You shall not commit adultery.” Adultery is a violation of the covenant of marriage, either one’s own, or someone else’s, or both. It is one of several different kinds of sexual sin, and its prohibition in the Ten Commandments ought to be understood as a prohibition of every kind of sexual sin: not only adultery, but fornication (which is pre-marital sex), and homosexuality, and every other kind of intimate relation other than between a lawful husband and wife. But the commandment goes further than simply forbidding illicit sexual acts. It forbids everything that leads to or accompanies them. It forbids all immodesty in talk, dress, and behavior. It forbids flirting with anyone other than one’s spouse. It forbids forming emotional attachments with anyone other than one’s own spouse. It forbids fantasizing about being with someone other than one’s own spouse. It forbids lus

The Sixth Commandment

Sunday, June 21, 2009 Let us examine ourselves today in light of the sixth commandment. The sixth commandment is, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). It sounds simple enough, and we are all, I’m sure, quite satisfied that we have never violated it. But the Psalmist says that God’s commandments are “exceedingly broad” (Ps. 119:96). That is, they have a very wide application. Jesus shows us how wide in the Sermon on the Mount when he says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the fire of hell” (Matt. 5:21-22). He shows us what we should have already known. The commandments not only deal with the behavior of the body but with the behavior of the heart as well. The sixth commandment not only deals with the act of

Do Real Christians Ever Sin?

In 1 John 3:6, the Bible says, “No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” Explain how this verse can be true when all of us who are Christians do continue to sin after becoming Christians. It’s important, especially for tender consciences, to understand that the apostle. John is not saying that a true Christian never sins, and that if someone does sin it’s proof that he is not a Christian. What he is saying is that those who have been born of God have, in principle, broken away from their old sinful ways and have begun a new life of righteousness. There is a change in their relationship to sin. Those in whom such a change is not evident show that they have not been born of God. They continue in sin the same as ever. In verse six, the verb “sins” in both instances is in the present tense. The same is true of “commits sin” in verse 9. The idea is that those who have been regenerated (i.e., born again) by the power of the Holy Spirit do not, and ind

Is Obama the Antichrist?

Do you think Barack Obama is the Antichrist? The short answer is, “No.” The more detailed answer involves examining the assumptions behind the question. The question assumes a particular eschatology, that is to say, a particular view of Bible prophecy and the end times—a view which I think is fundamentally in error. The common view, popularized by men like Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye (in his Left Behind series) is that there is coming a world ruler who will be a kind of counterfeit Christ. They take the prefix anti to mean “in the place of,” so that the antichrist is a pseudo-Christ, a false Christ, a counterfeit Christ. They teach that he will be the leader of a revived Roman Empire, or at least over a confederation of nations that currently take up the territory of the old Roman Empire. Supposedly this figure will suffer a mortal wound but will miraculously recover; or that he will die and be resurrected, mimicking the resurrection of Christ. He will have the power to perform si

The Fourth Commandment

Sunday, June 7, 2009 Let us examine ourselves this morning in light of what God commands us in the Fourth Commandment: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy (Ex. 20:8-11, NASB). God requires us to set aside the Lord’s Day. This is what it means to keep the day holy. The basic meaning of the word “holy” is “set apart.” The Sabbath—or in the Christian era, the Lord’s Day—is to be set apart from all other days. It is to be treated differently than other days. How so? By what we do on the day. There are two things, specifically, that are required of

Ask the Pastor Questions

How was the earth populated after Adam and Eve had their kids? Who did they mate with? Did God create other people? This is a question that frequently comes up. Usually it’s framed something like this, “Where did Cain get his wife.” In Genesis 4 the Bible tells us about the birth of Cain and Abel. And it tells us about how Cain murdered his brother, and how God banished Cain, who went and settled in the land of Nod . And then—seemingly out of nowhere—it says, “Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch” (Gen. 4:17). And people think, “Whoa! Wait a minute! Where did she come from?” There is no prior mention of any other woman besides Eve. Critics of the faith often say this is a contradiction that disproves the Bible. Christians have sometimes wondered if maybe God had created some other people besides Adam and Eve. But the Bible is very clear (and speaks about this in one way or another in several places) that Adam was the first man and Eve the f

The Third Commandment

Sunday, May 31, 2009 Let us examine ourselves this morning in light of the Third Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes his name in vain (Exodus 20:7). The commandment has to do with using the Lord’s name in an oath or vow; not that doing so is sinful in itself. There are occasions when swearing an oath or taking a vow in the name of the Lord is appropriate and necessary (marriage vows, oath of office, giving testimony in a court of law, etc.). What the commandment forbids is using his name in this way in vain—meaning using his name to deceive, that is, using his name when swearing an oath or taking a vow in order to give credibility to your statements, when in fact you have no intention of following through. The breaking of any vow is a very serious matter. All the more so when the vow was made in the name of God. But the implications of the commandment are very far reaching and extend far beyond

What's Wrong with Socialism?

Why are so many Christians opposed to socialism if socialism is designed to help the poor? Aren’t Christians supposed to care for the poor? Public policy ought to be evaluated not on the basis of intentions, but on the basis of effects. The intention of socialism is a noble one, but its effects are disastrous. There are at least three reasons why we ought to oppose socialism. First, it’s unconstitutional. Second, it’s immoral. And third it ends up hurting the very people it’s supposed to help. First, socialism is unconstitutional. There’s nothing in the Constitution that grants the federal government the authority to take wealth from one segment of the population and give it to another. And if the Constitution doesn’t authorize an activity the federal government is not to be engaged in it. This is Constitutional law 101. And if this one basic principle were observed, then the size, scope, and activity of the federal government would be greatly reduced, resulting in greater nationa