Darkness and Weeping
Meditation on the horror of hell
When we come to the subject of hell we come to a horror that is beyond any human imagination. The thought of an eternal existence of darkness and sorrow, without the opportunity of escape, is so repulsive to our natural way of thinking that no one would ever hold this doctrine as true if it were not on the pages of the Bible. And the strongest argument for hell is made when we study the words of Jesus Himself. The most forceful statements about hell come, not from the pen of Paul or Peter or Matthew, but from the mouth of our Savior. It is for this reason we must not only read what He said, but consider it enough that the reality of hell sinks into our hearts and affects our thinking. If we do not think of hell as real, the truth presented about hell in the Bible, with all its implications, will never sink in.
A recent Harris poll revealed that only 58% of Americans believe in a real devil and a real hell. That is still a majority, but the number is declining, as is the number of people who believe there is a God and people who believe in heaven and life after death. What is curious to me is that we rarely hear of any mention of hell in our churches these days. We still believe that hell is real, but the subject has almost completely disappeared from our lessons and our discussions. This is unfortunate because the Biblical writers talk about the wrath of God on a regular basis.
Missions Update: March 2017
Stephen and Ginger Jordan
New Tribes Mission
P.O. Box 261
5300 Puerto Princesa City
Praise and Prayer Requests
- Praise the Lord that the Agutaynen believers have chosen a piece of land in the village for their future church home. The long process of purchasing this land has begun. Please pray with us that this will be completed soon and that the transfer will take place by the end of March.
- Please pray with us and the team from Michigan which will be coming over to help with our Sports Bible Camp in April. May they shine for Jesus and be an encouragement to our church family here in the Philippines.
- We are already making preparations for our Home Assignment. We have purchased our plane tickets and, Lord willing, we will be returning the States at the beginning of May.
- With joy (and a little sadness) we are excited to see Rebekah moving closer to graduation from High School. She has been accepted to and is planning on attending University in August. Ginger and Rebekah are now filling out paperwork for scholarships. We appreciate your prayers for Rebekah as she transitions to her home country, which is in many ways unfamiliar and full of surprises.
Joe Teisan: March 2017
HOW DOES THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE ADD TO OUR ENJOYMENT OF READING GOD’S WORD?
In 1900, archaeologists digging in the hot, dry sands of Egypt discovered thousands of Greek papyri (papers). They were written in the everyday common Greek language of the people. This Greek was the marketplace, the everyday language of the Roman Empire, not the classical language of Greek literature. Up until this discovery, the New Testament was the only book written in common Greek, and Bible scholars wondered why. It was God’s plan to put His Holy Word in the language of all the people. Common or Koine Greek was the standard language of the Roman Empire. Now we can understand various shades of the original as scholars compare the Biblical text with the papyri. The Amplified Bible, using the results of these new discoveries makes the New Testament glow with rich new meaning.
Compare your own Bible with the Amplified Bible as you read. The Amplified brings out the richness of the original key words. For example, the original Greek for the word “believe” has many meanings. To believe in Christ is, “to adhere to, cleave to, to trust in, to have faith in, to rely on, to depend on.” How will knowing these 6 synonyms for “believe” help you clarify the way of salvation to others? In John 11:25, “Jesus said to her I am (Myself) the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live.” The creative use of amplification helps us to better understand God’s Inspired Word. All quotations are from the Amplified Bible, published by Zondervan in 1987.
Odds & Ends: March 2017
Wonder of wonders
The world is filled with wonders, writes Nathaniel Olson. Consider chemistry: Salt is formed by two poisonous substances (sodium and chlorine). The alnico magnet, the world’s strongest, contains three nonmagnetic substances (aluminum, nickel and cobalt). And water consists of oxygen (which is flammable) and hydrogen (which burns easily); yet water puts out fires!
That pales in comparison to the wonder of salvation through Jesus. Every day, Olson writes, Jesus transforms filthy, hopeless sinners into new, forgiven creations. “On the skid rows of our cities, in wealthy and poor homes, in jungles … whenever any soul wants Christ, the wonder of the new birth is taking place.”
Our God is the true Wonder of wonders. “None can compare” (Psalm 40:5).
The key of the day
Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. — George Herbert
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who served as pastor of London’s Westminster Chapel for almost 30 years, couldn’t speak at the end of his life. Days before dying, he wrote, “Do not pray for my healing. Do not hold me back from the glory.”
The Apostle Paul was torn between staying on earth and going to heaven: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. … I am hard pressed between the two” (Philippians 1:21, 23).
Neither of these men feared death; nor should any Christian. As Haddon Robinson said, “For those who trust Jesus Christ, death is not a sheriff dragging us off to court but a servant ushering us into the presence of a loving Lord.”
THE COURAGE OF JOHN G. PATON
a study in communion with God
Our annual North American Baptist Missions Conference will take place in several NAB area churches February 24-26. It is a special time every year to hear of the work of the Spirit of God in distant places. The life of John Paton is particularly stirring in fanning the flame of our love for the spread of the gospel. In our church library there are two books giving the account of the life of John Paton, missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the late 1800's. One book is Paton's autobiography entitled John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides. A second book contains short biographies of Paton, William Tyndale, and Adoniram Judson entitled Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations, by John Piper.
John G. Paton (1824-1907) was a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific. The New Hebrides, a chain of some 80 islands, gained independence from Britain and France in 1980 and today is known as Vanuatu, with a population of about 190,000. The life of John Paton is a study in courage.