Persecution Fridays – Iran

July 22, 2011 at 9:38 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Life in Prison

In March 2009, Christian roommates Maryam Rustampoor, 29, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 32, were charged by the Iranian state with being “anti-government activists.” They spent 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison before being released in November 2009.

In the first interview since their release, the two discussed their life in prison with Sam Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Iran…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Freedom

July 3, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Freedom
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

___________________________________________________________________

© Copyright 2001 by Tony Capoccia. This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as
long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold. All rights reserved.

Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION © 1978
by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

A copy of this sermon, Preached by Tony Capoccia, is available
on Audio Tape Cassette or Audio CD at www.gospelgems.com
___________________________________________________________________

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”–John 8:36

The subject before us today deserves our attention. It should ring in the ears of every person like the voice of a trumpet. We live in a land which is the very cradle of freedom. But are we ourselves free?

The question is one which demands special attention during the present state of public opinion. The minds of many are absorbed in politics. Yet there is a freedom, within the reach of all of us, which few, I am afraid, ever think of–a freedom independent of all political changes–a freedom which neither the prevailing government, nor the cleverest politician can bestow. This is the freedom about which I speak today. Do we know anything of it? Are we free? Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Freedom…

Genesis 12: 1-9

June 13, 2011 at 11:06 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev.

We have looked at the Creation of the world, how man fell from perfection and grace and ushered sin into the world, how the world grew to be filled with so much violence that God brought a global Flood to destroy all but one family of eight people, how the descendants of these people rebelled against God by building a tower and were scattered through the confusion of languages. We have followed the line of Adam/Noah from the beginning and have narrowed it down along the way to the descendants of Terah. Now, we will narrow it a little more to focus on Abram.

As we begin chapter 12 of Genesis, it is important to remember what has happened. Abram’s father Terah has moved from Ur of the Chaldeans with his family (except Haran who died in Ur) to the city of Haran (coincidence?). They were on their way to enter the land of Canaan, but Terah died in the city of Haran. At some time while Abram was in Haran, the Lord God spoke to Abram and told him to leave his country and his father’s house and go to the land that He would show him. He then makes a promise to Abram that He will make Abram a great nation, will bless him, and make his name great. God says that in Abram, all families of the earth will be blessed.

Immediately, we see that Abram obeyed God and went forth out of Haran toward Canaan; and Lot went with him. This will be a problem later. We then find out a little bit of information about Abram. He was seventy-five years old, had his wife Sarai and he nephew Lot and all their possessions (including slaves) and set out for the land of Canaan. He enters the land of Canaan and goes as far as Shechem and the oak of Moreh. As he rests in Shechem, God appears to him and reiterates the promise that He gave Abram in Haran. The land is promised to Abram’s descendants, which he doesn’t have at this point (75 years old).

Abram’s immediate response is to build an altar to the Lord that he doesn’t know intimately yet. He then leaves Shechem and goes toward Bethel where he rests again and pitches his tent. On his west is the city of Bethel. On his east is the city of Ai. As he pitches his tent, he builds another altar to the Lord and then calls on His name. I think that it is interesting that Abram calls on the name of the Lord. It makes me wonder what all went on with the Lord up to this point. Was part of this because Terah taught him to do this? Was it something passed on from Shem? We don’t know. The only other time that the phrase “call upon the name of the Lord” is used up to this point is when scripture talks about Seth and his descendants doing the same thing. For whatever reason, Abram reveres God to the point that he builds him an altar in a few places (a way of worship) and calls on the name of the Lord. After this, we end up with Abram journeying on from Bethel to the Negev. The Negev is a region in Southern Israel close to Egypt. It is here that we will leave Abram for this week.

As we continue our look at the life of the father of the Jews and a friend of God, we will find out things about God and ourselves as well! Please join us next week as we continue our look at Abram!

 

Sermon Sunday – Jonathan Edwards – Christian Cautions

June 12, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Christian Cautions

or

The Necessity of Self-Examination

by

 Jonathan Edwards
 (1703-1758)

Dated September 1733.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:23, 24


INTRODUCTION

Subject: Persons should be much concerned to know whether they do not live in some way of sin.

This psalm is a meditation on the omniscience of God, or upon his perfect view and knowledge of everything, which the psalmist represents by that perfect knowledge which God had of all his actions, his downsitting and his uprising; and of his thoughts, so that he knew his thoughts afar off; and of his words, “There is not a word in my tongue,” says the psalmist, “but thou knowest it altogether.” Then he represents it by the impossibility of fleeing from the divine presence, or of hiding from him. So that if he should go into heaven, or hide himself in hell, or fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, yet he would not be hid from God. Or if he should endeavor to hide himself in darkness, yet that would not cover him. But the darkness and light are both alike to him. Then he represents it by the knowledge which God had of him while in his mother’s womb, Psa. 139:15, 16, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret; thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written.” Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Jonathan Edwards – Christian Cautions…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion

May 22, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Authentic Religion
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

“Rejected silver” (Jeremiah 6:30)

“Nothing but leaves” (Mark 11:13)

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”
(1 John 3:18).

“You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1)

If we profess to have any religion at all, let us be careful that it is authentic.  I say it emphatically, and I repeat the saying: Let us be careful that our religion is authentic.

What do I mean when I use the word “authentic.”  I mean that which is genuine, and sincere, and honest, and thorough.  I mean that which is not inferior, and hollow, and formal, and false, and counterfeit, and sham, and nominal.  “Authentic” religion is not mere show, and pretense, and skin-deep feeling, and temporary profession, and works only on the outside.  It is something inward, solid, substantial, intrinsic, living, lasting.  We know the difference between counterfeit and authentic money–between solid gold and tinsel–between plated metal and silver–between authentic stone and plaster imitation.  Let us think of these things as we consider the subject of this paper.  What is the character of our religion?  Is it authentic?  It may be weak, and feeble, and mingled with many defects.  That is not the point before us today.  Is our religion authentic?  Is it true?

The times in which we live demand attention to this subject.  A want of authenticity is a striking feature of a vast amount of religion in the present day.  Poets have sometimes told us that the world has passed through four different states or conditions.  We have had a golden age, and a silver age, a brass age, and an iron age.  How far this is true, I do not stop to inquire.  But I fear there is little doubt as to the character of the age in which we live.  It is universally an age of cheap metal and alloy.  If we measure the religion of the age by its apparent quantity, there is much of it.  But if we measure it by its quality, there is indeed very little.  On every side we want MORE AUTHENTICITY. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion…

Genesis 9:18-29

April 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.” Noah lived three hundred and fifty years after the flood. So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died. Continue Reading Genesis 9:18-29…

Genesis 4:17-26

December 27, 2010 at 11:54 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. Now to Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech. Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

This week we finish looking at chapter 4 of Genesis. To recap, Adam and Eve have been commanded to leave the garden of Eden after they sinned against God. They moved east of Eden and settled down. They had two boys named Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel went to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Abel offered an animal from the flock while Cain offered the fruit of the ground. When God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s, Cain got angry at his brother. God warned Cain that sin was waiting to master him. In the end, sin won and Cain killed his brother. As punishment, God said that Cain would no longer be able to cultivate the ground and that he would be a wanderer. Cain feared that when someone heard of his deed they would kill him. To prevent this, God “appointed a sign” to Cain so that others would know who he was and that they should avoid him.

All of this happened in a short amount of time. In verse 17 we see the beginning of Cain’s legacy. Cain has relations with his wife and they have a son named Enoch. Right from the beginning we deal with a verse that has caused much controversy and many questions among those looking for a reason to doubt the Bible. The question is: “Where did Cain get his wife?” Many see this as a problem for the Bible because they see no way for Cain to get a wife. Others use this to point to the possibility of other people not descended from Adam. Both miss the plain reading of the Bible in their effort to push their bias and personal feelings onto the Bible. The Bible names Cain and Abel but doesn’t say that they are the first children that Adam and Eve had. Seth, the son who was born to replace Abel, was born when Adam was 130 years old (Genesis 5:3). In verse 4 it says that Adam lived 800 years after Seth and had other sons and daughters. Because Adam and Eve were the first human beings in existence, there is only one logical explanation for where Cain got his wife. It was either his sister or it was his niece.

I realize that in today’s day and time this thought is not very appealing, and it shouldn’t be. But, think about it for a minute. You’re the only man and woman on the planet. You have been told by God to be fruitful and multiply. How else is this supposed to happen? The problems that man would have today with close siblings having children would not have been problems then. Sin’s corrupting influence had just been introduced to man and the genetic material of mankind hadn’t been corrupted to the point it is today. It is also important to remember that God didn’t forbid this sort of relationship until the time of Moses. So while we don’t know who Cain took for a wife, we do know that it was a family member. The two had a son named Enoch and Cain built a city and named it after his son. We then begin to see the lineage of Cain and the legacy of Cain’s actions. One of the descendants of Cain was Lamech. Lamech had two wives (which does go against the marriage institution that God had developed in the beginning). From one wife, Adah, he had at least two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Jabal was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. Jubal was the father of those who play the pipes and the lyre. From his other wife, Zillah, he had Tubal-cain and Naamah. Tubal-cain was the father of those who forged implements of bronze and iron.

Here in a very short time, we see Cain’s family adapting to the curse of not being able to tend the ground. They began to forge metal and make musical instruments. They tended flocks and lived in tents. This didn’t take the millions/billions of years that evolutionists seem to claim that it did. If we were to use the 130 years that it took for Seth to be born as a general generation (even though it wasn’t because Cain and Abel had been born, as had Cain’s wife), this progression from the first man to men who were forging iron/bronze, building cities, and making musical instruments is about 780 years. It is obvious that Adam and his descendants were created with a vast amount of knowledge. The idea that man had to evolve over millions of years to the point we are today and that he was as dumb as a box of rocks at the beginning is both sad and prideful.

We also see that Cain’s pride and stubbornness has been passed down though. Lamech has killed a man for wounding him and a young boy for striking him. The sin of his ancestor echoes in his actions, but it is his bold claim that God will have vengeance on anyone that kills him seventy times over that is amazing. It is not made clear that God is involved in this proclamation nor that He gave a sign to Lamech like He did to Cain. Some say that Lamech’s killings were unintentional, but there is nothing that gives this connotation any credit. Outside of the little information about Lamech and his two wives, this ends Cain’s genealogy.

From here, we are brought back to Adam, Eve, and their new son Seth. As was mentioned above, Seth was expected to replace Abel. We then find out that Seth has a son and names him Enosh. The chapter ends with the statement, “Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD”. This seems to be an indication of a few things. First, Adam and Eve were still in God’s presence. This is noted by the fact that when Cain killed Abel, he left the presence of God (Genesis 4:16). It also points to the fact that Seth had been influenced by God’s presence and really did (to some degree) replace Abel. He and his descendants called on the name of the LORD.

It is here that we stop for this week, but it is a good place to stop. As with any time we study scripture, we must first observe, then understand, and then apply. While many may think that the first two are the hardest, I believe that it is the last. The application of scripture to our lives is what makes us grow in holiness. So let me ask, do you call on the name of the LORD? Do you spend time in His presence daily? Or are you like Cain and you’ve gone out from His presence? Would you rather hold on to your sin and give in than live holy? These things and more are things we can ask ourselves and we must be honest with the answers when they come. To hear the truth about ourselves and hide from it is to neglect God’s grace and mercy. Next week we will begin looking at chapter 5! Hope to see you here!

Genesis 4:8-16

December 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Continue Reading Genesis 4:8-16…

Genesis 3:14-19

November 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Continue Reading Genesis 3:14-19…

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