Bethel Baptist Church

"For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:36

The Beacon

On the 17 acre farm where I grew up, we had a large yard with acres of grass to be mowed, and well over a hundred trees to mow around, not to mention a creek running through it! I’ve mentioned here before that it took six hours for two riding mowers to mow it, and then Dad, Todd, and I started trimming with push mowers, gas trimmers, and hand whips. About the time we finished, we needed to start with the riding mowers again. Of the various types of trees present in the yard, we had a number of large, beautiful beech trees. Beech are known for their root system that is quite immense, both below and above ground. This left us having to steer clear of large swaths of grass because of roots, only to have more to push mow or trim.

Now to him who is able to keep you from
stumbling  and to present you blameless
before the presence of his glory with great joy, 
to the only God, our Savior,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, 
be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority,
 before all time and now and forever. 

This is one of the most wonderful doxologies in the Bible and it comes at the end of one of the shortest books in the Bible, Jude. The book of Jude is a call to believers to contend earnestly for the truth which the Lord has given to them. The reason this was so urgent in the first century was that there were false teachers who had infiltrated the church and people were being deceived by them. Jude has been relevant for every age, including our own, because there have always been false teachers and today they are everywhere and their voices are broadcast everyday all over the world. Jude's warning is stern and terrifying . . . God will not spare false teachers from His everlasting wrath nor will He spare all who follow their teaching.

During a question and answer session at a recent speaking engagement, a university student asked me, "Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?" Now this is a very interesting question; and probably one of the most important questions any Christian could ask themselves. What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of God?

In the near future, I will make a change in the Bible I preach from.  For many years I have preached from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), first published in 1971.  I considered it to be the best word-for-word translation we have in English.  The main criticism of the NASB has always been that, in an effort to maintain a literal word-for-word translation, the result has been a text that lacks fluidity and is sometimes difficult to read.  This is probably the main reason why the NASB never gained more popularity.  In addition to that, the King James Version was always more beautiful than the NASB and the New International Version, first published in 1978, was more readable.  I have always liked the NASB because the translation was more contemporary than the King James and more literal than the NIV.

In Sunday School with the Youth  Group we have been studying the Book of Revelation and the events of the End  Times, lately the first of the judgments, the Seal judgments, against a sinful  world by a Holy God. One of the aspects that have caught my attention is the  persecution the world heaps upon Believers and the utter hatred the world has  against Believers in Jesus Christ.