Do Not Wait For The Kingdom

Posted by Mark Lindley on 6 May 2015

A few weeks ago a couple of nice gentlemen associated with a religious denomination knocked at my door. After introducing themselves, they got to the point they wanted to discuss: the kingdom of Christ. They insisted that the kingdom would soon be established. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning, and I had plans for the day. Nevertheless, I invited the men in and asked them if they would be willing to listen as I shared biblical information about the kingdom. I then set forth the following thoughts:

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Posted by on 26 April 2015

I recently heard a preacher on the radio say that a certain verse was “troubling” for some. The verse he referred to is Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The preacher said that this verse is troubling because it “seems to say that baptism is for the remission of sins.” His understanding was correct. This verse not only “seems” to say, but it actually “does” say that “baptism is for the remission of sins.”
    But why would that thought be troubling for some? The preacher explained that he did not believe baptism was necessary for salvation. He said that Acts 2:38 seems to teach that baptism “is” necessary for salvation. Therefore, he said this verse was “troubling.”
    However, there is no reason for any person to be troubled by the teaching of this verse. The solution is to accept what it teaches, and then there will be no reason for a person to feel disturbed by Peter’s statement.     
    Nevertheless, instead of accepting the clear teaching of the verse, some attempt to interpret the verse so that it fits with their view that baptism is not necessary for salvation. One such attempt is made by saying that the word “for” in Acts 2:38 actually means “because of.” If this is true, then the verse actually teaches that one should repent and be baptized “because one’s sins have been forgiven.”
    But this interpretation will not stand. The word “for” in this text does not mean “because of”; rather, “for” means “in order to obtain” the forgiveness of sins. Consider the following: Jesus said that He would shed His blood “for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). “For the remission of sins” in Matthew 26:28 is identical, in Greek and English, to “for the remission of sins” in Acts 2:38. If “for” means “because of,” then Jesus shed His blood “because of” the remission of sins? But that cannot be true. Jesus shed His blood “in order” for sinners to receive the remission of sins (cf. Hebrews 9:22).
    In addition, after Peter instructed his audience to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, he then urged them: “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). However, if the people were saved already, then there would have been no reason for Peter to urge them to be saved.  This shows that the people needed to be saved, and, therefore, “for the remission of sins” means “in order to be forgiven.”
    Let us resolve that Acts 2:38 will not trouble us. Rather, let us “gladly receive” the Word (Acts 2:41)!

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Posted by Mark Lindley on 12 April 2015

The words above are recorded in I Thessalonians 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” The word prove means “to test, examine, prove, scrutinize, to see whether a thing is genuine or not” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). In matters of doctrine, then, God has placed the obligation upon all Christians to prove their beliefs and practices. This verse sets forth two vital points:
    First, the command to “prove all things” implies that there is a standard by which things can be proved. The standard is God’s Word. Observe Acts 17:11: “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Note that the people “searched the scriptures.” Why? The answer is stated in the verse: to see “whether those things were so.” They realized that religious doctrines and practices should not be “verified” by family tradition, opinions, what “the preacher said,” or feelings, but by God’s Word, the Scriptures.
    Second, the command to “prove all things” implies that doctrines can be proved to be right or wrong. There is the popular notion today that two people may hold conflicting, opposing views; yet, both views are correct. “After all,” some say, “you have your interpretation and I have mine.” Though the notion that “everyone has the right to his own interpretation” is popular, it will not stand in light of what the Bible teaches. The command to “prove all things” suggests that in matters of doctrine, one may “prove” a doctrine to be right or wrong. Therefore, Truth is not determined by one’s personal, subjective interpretation. One’s interpretation of a verse (or verses) may be wrong.
    Friend, when it comes to religious beliefs and practices, can you “prove” yours by the Bible? Since the apostle Paul instructed Christians to “prove all things,” we cannot afford to do otherwise. Don’t rely on what fallible men may say. Prove all things by God’s Word.

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"I Feel Saved"

Posted by Mark Lindley on 25 February 2015

The Bible teaches that God wants His children to feel saved. David pled, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalm 51:12). Paul admonished: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Christians should have inner joy and peace, and should “feel” saved.

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Standing For What Is Right

Posted by Mark Lindley on 11 February 2015

Most people are taught from a young age to stand up for what is right. In dealing with various issues and problems, there is often a side that is right and a side that is wrong. To stand for what is right is not always easy. One who stands for what is right must have inner strength, true character, and integrity. The one who stands up for what is right will need these virtues because he may have to stand against others and resist the temptation to please them. The pressure to please others and compromise one’s convictions can be strong.

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Baptized Again

Posted by Mark Lindley on 28 January 2015

Does anyone ever need to be baptized again? On the occasion of Acts chapter 19, there were some who were baptized again. The following is the account of what happened: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:1-5).

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"God With Us"

Posted by Mark Lindley on 17 December 2014

During the holiday season many reflect on the birth of Christ. Biblically, there is no precedent to celebrate December 25 as the birth of Christ because the Scriptures are silent about Jesus’ date of birth. Nevertheless, the Scriptures are not silent regarding His birth, and Christians should rejoice always that a Savior was born.

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God Looks On The Heart

Posted by Mark Lindley on 3 December 2014

It was time to appoint a new king. Because of his disobedience, King Saul was dethroned and Samuel was instructed to appoint a new king. In Bethlehem, there was a man named Jesse who had sons. Samuel went to examine Jesse’s sons to see if any of them was fit to be the new king. One of the sons was named Eliab. When Samuel saw him he believed that he was a perfect fit for the king’s throne. However, God said: “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). It was not Eliab who became the new king, but David. God knew that David had the right kind of heart and that he would do His will (cf. Acts 13:22).
    From I Samuel 16:7 we learn that people have a tendency to judge others by their outward appearance. Even Samuel, prophet of God, judged Eliab based on outward appearance. Our judgments are often based on things such as beauty, clothing, money, occupation, educational background or race. We may see a very attractive, articulate woman and conclude that she must be confident and happy, or we may see a man who has a prestigious educational background and is paid a six-figure salary and judge that he is a great person, someone who would make a good friend. But these judgments based on outward appearance may be very wrong. A woman who is striking in appearance may have low self-esteem; a man who is “successful” may be dishonest and immoral and therefore would not make a good friend.
    The text also teaches that in contrast to our judgments based on external things, God looks on the heart. The “heart” is the inner man, the soul, the real person. God does not care about a person’s job, looks, skin color or education. Rather, God is looking at who we are on the inside. We can all put on a clever disguise and hide from others who we are in heart, but God has full and complete knowledge of every heart. No amount of make-up, money, earthly possessions or accomplishments can hide from God who we are in our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).
    Since God knows our hearts, it logically follows that we should keep our hearts. Solomon wrote, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). To “keep” the heart is to keep it pure from all things which would corrupt it—evil thoughts and desires, deceit, improper motives, jealousy and envy. In view of these things, determine to keep your heart with all diligence . . . God is looking at it!

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How To Have Good Days?

Posted by Mark Lindley on 25 November 2014

There are plenty of books on the market which reveal the “secrets” to having a good life. Many of the ideas presented in such books are beneficial, and will improve one’s quality of life. It is interesting that when one finds a “secret” that works, it is almost certain that the helpful hint discovered has been in the Bible all along.
    The apostle Peter wrote a statement that is specifically designed to help one have good days: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Peter 3:10-11). Following this inspired exhortation will certainly improve one’s life and lead to “good days.”
    Here are the ideas which lead to good days: (1) In order to have good days, one must “refrain his tongue from evil.” In order to avoid using one’s tongue for evil, one must not slander others, gossip, or spread falsehood. Using the tongue for these purposes will surely cause one problems. The one who uses his tongue to tear down others is often responsible for breaking up friendships, causing hurt feelings, and stirring up trouble and strife. Surely, one who is responsible for such things will not have good days. Using the tongue for evil should cause one to feel guilt, regret, and shame. However, the one who uses his tongue to build up others will have a clean conscience, feel good about his conduct and have good days. (2) In order to have good days, one must “eschew evil and do good.” Doing things which are evil never makes life better. Satan is a liar (John 8:44), and he presents temptation in a very deceptive way, causing people to believe that sin holds the key to a more satisfying life. However, partaking of “forbidden fruit” is the way to heartache and brokenness. On the other hand, doing good leads to an enhanced self-esteem, makes the world a better place, and has the approval of God. (3) In order to have good days, “seek peace and ensue it.” Those who make peace do not delight in causing strife and division. The peace-maker creates a better life for himself. He will have fewer enemies and more friends. Who likes to hang around with one who delights in causing trouble and strife? Jesus said that peace makers “shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
    These simple principles applied to life will certainly lead to good days. The greatest Book ever written to improve one’s life is the Bible. Believe and obey it to have good days!

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When To Observe The Lord's Supper?

Posted by Mark Lindley on 25 November 2014

How often should Christians partake of the Lord’s Supper? If this question were presented to preachers of different churches today, it is certain that answers would vary. In denominationalism, there are different views concerning how often the Lord’s Supper should be observed.
    Nevertheless, the Bible is the objective standard of authority that should be consulted for answers. What does the Bible say about the frequency with which the Lord’s Supper is to be observed? Consider an example from the New Testament that shows when early Christians partook of this memorial feast: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7). Notice three key ideas of this verse: (1) The disciples “came together”; (2) The disciples came together “upon the first day of the week”; (3) The disciples came together upon the first day of the week “to break bread.” Also, consider that Paul, an inspired apostle, was present. He sanctioned observing the Lord’s Supper “upon the first day of the week.” If Paul had wanted these early disciples to partake of the Lord’s Supper at some other time, then surely he would have told them. One can safely conclude, therefore, that the time for partaking of the Lord’s Supper is the first day of every week.
    However, some object saying that if we partake of the bread and fruit of the vine every week, this memorial loses its significance. Therefore, some do not observe the Lord’s Supper weekly, but observe it monthly, quarterly, twice a year, or at other scheduled times.
    A rational and Biblical response to this objection is that the Bible also teaches that early Christians gave of their means “upon the first day of the week” (I Corinthians 16:1-2). If partaking of the Lord’s Supper weekly causes it to lose its significance, then why does giving each week not cause giving to lose its significance? The Bible that teaches Christians to give “upon the first day of the week” is the same Bible that teaches Christians to partake of the Lord’s Supper “upon the first day of the week.”
    Further, all agree that Christians “can” partake of this memorial feast each week. On the other hand, not everyone agrees that Christians can observe it monthly, quarterly, or at other varying times. Therefore, why not do that with which all agree and partake of the Lord’s Supper weekly, instead of causing division by observing communion at unscriptural times? If I were a member of a Church that did not partake of the Lord’s Supper each week, I would want to know why. Why not open the Bible to see whether these things are so?

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