Dead and Dying: Adam and Eve

Just over 10 years ago, I preached a series of lessons on “The Dead and Dying.” I don’t recall much of it (probably the whole series has been lost in the digital world), but I found what was probably the first outline in the series, on Adam and Eve. The main points:

  1. The condition of death: disobedience, Gn 2.16. The first time the verb “command” is used in Bible (though not the first imperative, Gn 1.28).
  2. The certainty of death, Gn 2.17. (Hebrew: “dying you will die”, construction emphasizes certainty of the fact.)
  3. The companion of death: Not by chance that the creation of woman, Gn 2.18-25, follows immediately the command. Here, the woman was first in disobedience.

Might be a good series to preach around Halloween or All Souls’ Day, in cultures that celebrate such nonsense.

Oh, I did find this on Hezekiah, from the series.

The more we are jarred and shaken

Last night, before our 10 pm study at the gym, the owner (also our neighbor) shook his phone as he made a comment and his light (for unlocking doors and such I guess) came on. Made me think that the more we are jarred and shaken in this broken world, the more we will shine.

No Bible in Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Perhaps I should study its history for clues, but it seems incredible that the so-called Apostle’s Creed never mentions the Bible. How can you say what you believe without mentioning where you got your information? Has the creed (which is why I put it in this category) already moved to a stance on the part of the writers that because we say it you should believe it?

Church business

We do ourselves a huge disservice when we treat the church like the business world. It is the utmost folly to appoint business men who have little spiritual content in their life to the eldership or the deaconate. Don’t get me wrong; a spiritually minded man, who is also a businessman, may do well in the eldership, or as a deacon, but many times we look at a man’s business acumen and fail to discern his spiritual qualities, or lack thereof. The church is not a business, and it should not be. What happens when the eldership and the deaconate become filled with unspiritual business men? We become results oriented. We measure things by the bottom line.

I’m not thinking just about money. The bottom line does not always have to be money. It can be completion of tasks or projects. It can be building repairs and improvements. It can be the implementation and management of programs. It can be an unhealthy focus upon works. It can be whether we deem our mission works “successful.” It can be our efforts at evangelism, counting bible studies or bodies baptized. It can be counting daily Bible readers, or counting the number of people who visited or whom we visited, or any number of other things wherein we can demonstrate “success” with a number. This is the heart of what it means to be results oriented. —Kevin Cauley

A white handkerchief

It is told of General Gordon, that each morning, during his journey in the Soudan country, for half an hour there lay outside his tent a white handkerchief. The whole camp knew well what it meant, and looked upon the little signal with the utmost respect; no foot dared cross the threshold of that tent while the little guard lay there. No message, however pressing, was to be delivered. Matters of life and death must wait until the white signal was taken away. Everybody in the camp knew that God and Gordon were communing together.

J.R. Miller

In the sight of God

A devotional using Lk 1.6 as base, says in part:

One of the old artists was chiselling with great pains on the back part of his marble. “Why do you carve so carefully the tresses on the head of your statue?” asked one; “it will stand high in its niche against the wall, and no one will ever see its back.” “The gods will see it,” was the reply.

We should learn a lesson from the old heathen artist. We should do our work just as honestly where it will be covered up and never seen by human eyes, as where it is to be open to the scrutiny of the world. For God will see it. We should live just as purely and beautifully in secret as in the glare of the world’s noon. There really is no such thing as secrecy in this world.

Focus question: Do I live and act for God to see, or for man to approve?

Be at peace

A devotional by F.B. Meyer, in bold what caught my eye:

A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven – John 3:27

After six months of marvellous ministry, in which the Baptist had seen the whole land at his feet, had gathered a band of disciples, and introduced the Messiah to the Jewish people, he found the crowds dwindling. His disciples viewed with feelings of chagrin the transference of popular interest from their master to Him of whom he had borne witness.

What John the Baptist meant by it. – He realized that the crowds, the hushed attention, the swift response, the power of speech, the message, the deep repentance, the office of morning star heralding the Dayspring from on high, had been the gift of God. He had nothing which he had not received; he would have received nothing, except God had given it to him. Whether these things went or came was a matter altogether beyond his control. His part was to receive and use what God gave; and then return to Him, at His bidding, the saved talent. This forbade alike pride and despondency.

What we may learn by it. – Humility and peace. Humility. Is this the time of your prosperity? Crowds wait on your words; mighty movements circle around you; glorious results follow on your plans! Do not be puffed up. Boast not yourself. “Who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” Peace. If it is not due to your lethargy or sloth that the crowds have ebbed away, and that the tide of conversions has dropped below its former level, be at peace. These are things which the Holy Spirit worketh, dividing to each one severally even as He will.

Originally published here.