Verse of the Day

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The following is a guest post by permission from the author, Pastor Mark LaCour, Grace Bible Fellowship (Baton Rouge, LA). More by this author may be found on Sermon Audio at [accessed 25 MAY 2011].

by Mark LaCour

"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (2 Thess. 2:1-2).

Harold Camping isn't the first preacher to be a "victim" of bad math. Jonah had the number of days to judgment correct, but God mercifully extended the deadline. Hananiah shortened the number of years of judgment, and it cost him his life (Jer. 28). But bad "accounting" methods don't produce false prophets -- arrogance does. While Harold Camping and his faulty "math" has exposed him for who he is, don’t think for a second God hasn't used him. Notice a few ways:

First, God has used him to show the world how foolish it is to date the future. It's one thing to "look for the blessed appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior" (Titus 2:13), it's another to circle a date on a calendar and hour on a clock. The former emphasizes our desire to be with Christ, the latter our desire to be seen as someone important with inside knowledge from God.

Second, God has used him to harden people in their arrogance. More than one atheist has patted himself on the back that he's more "enlightened." While he correctly assizes Camping as foolish, he mistakenly generalizes from that foolishness there is no return of Christ at all (2 Pet. 3:3ff.) And God uses Camping's foolishness to harden the atheist with that effect (2 Thess. 2:9-10). Laughing at the "fool on the hill" doesn’t equate to every Christian being a fool. We’re just not on the hill.

Third, God has used him to discipline well-meaning but gullible Christians to always test the prophetic. Rarely is naivete built on immaturity alone, but pride. People giving up jobs, spending their retirement, working/preaching long hours to get the message out is disheartening, but the rebuke should be evident -- humble yourself and listen to others outside your own circle. "The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps" (Prov. 14:15) -- a consideration that requires being teachable from others (Prov. 9:4, 16).

If Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5), had concentrated his preaching on the 120 years God was to put up with mankind before the flood (Gen. 6:3) the unbelievers wouldn't have been caught off-guard when the flood came (Lk. 17:26-27); and two, he could have "dragged his feet" in building the ark, knowing he had 120 years. He did neither. He left the calendar -- and the math to God. So should we. There’s too much building yet to be done.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sola Gratia

Sola Gratia is one of the five doctrinal “solas” associated with the Reformation: sola Scriptura, sola fide, solo Christo, sola gratia, and soli Deo Gloria. These five “solas” distinguished this historic revival of Biblical Christianity from the Romish errors that had dominated “Christendom” from the 3rd to the 16th centuries A.D. In each of these it is the “sola” that is the necessary criterion for distinguishing the true doctrine from the false. Unfortunately, in the soteriological teachings of many professedly evangelical Protestant churches, schools, and groups, the sola in sola gratia is denied either implicitly or explicitly. This is done by some inconsistently while still maintaining confessional allegiance to sola gratia, or while explicitly professing assent to it.

1. Grace is Alone by Definition - Sola Gratia is Redundant!

There is a sense in which sola gratia is redundant! If grace is not "alone" it is not grace! "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (Romans 11:6) The grace of God by definition will not admit of any admixture of debt! "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." (Romans 4:4)

2. Grace is Alone as Sovereign - God Will Not Share His Glory with Another!

If grace is not sovereign it is not grace, because God will not share His glory with another! "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." (Isaiah 42:8) "For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another." (Isaiah 48:11) Grace is depicted in Scripture as reigning as a sovereign: “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21) The God of grace is the giver of every good and perfect gift, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas. 1:17) He actually reigns as the absolute Sovereign, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15) “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14) “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:16) The nature of His grace is determined by His nature. The grace of a sovereign is sovereign grace, and the grace of God is absolute in its sovereign nature. It cannot be otherwise. Therefore, it is also redundant to describe God's grace by the modifiers "sovereign" or "free". If God's grace is not sovereign, then it is not grace at all. If it is not free, then it is not grace, and it most certainly is not God's grace.

3. Grace is Alone as Glorious - Pure Unmixed Grace, Sovereign Non-Contingent Grace is Praised by the Redeemed!

It is only such non-contingent, unmixed, sovereign grace of God that elicits the praise of His people: "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence" (Eph. 1:6-8)

Sola Gratia, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. “Jack” Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, Pennsylvania

Of That Day And Hour Knoweth No Man

It Is Not For You To Know The Times Or The Seasons

I. The Truth of Scripture Regarding Human Knowledge Concerning the Time of the Second Advent of Christ

A. The Doctrine of Jesus Christ in the Gospels:

Matthew 24:36 - But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

[Parallel Passage: Mark 13:32 - But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.]

Matthew 24:42 - Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Matthew 24:44 - Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 24:50 - The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

Matthew 25:13 - Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

B. The Teaching of the Prophet Zechariah:

Zechariah 14:7 - But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

C. The Teachings of the Angels and the Apostles in the New Testament:

Acts 1:7 - And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 – [1] But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. [2] For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

2 Peter 3:10 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  

II. The Biblical Condemnation of False Prophets and False Teachers

A. In the Pauline Epistles:

The Teaching of Error Regarding the Fulfillment of Prophecy is to be Shunned, and False Teachers are to be Delivered to Satan to Learn not to Blaspheme

2 Timothy 2:14-19 – [14] Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. [15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. [19] Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

1 Timothy 1:19-20 – [19] Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: [20] Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

B. In the Mosaic Law:

False Prophecy is Condemned and False Prophets are to be Punished with the Death Penalty According to the Law of Moses

Deut. 13:1-5 – [1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

Deut. 18:20-22 – [20] But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. [21] And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? [22] When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

III. Scriptural Conclusions Concerning the Proper Response of Christians to False Prophets and False Teachers

The setting of dates and other false teachings regarding the fulfillment of prophecy is no light matter. It is a very serious error. This is not something to be taken lightly. It is not interesting, it is fatal.

False prophets and false teachers are to be shunned. Do no listen to them.

There is nothing to debate. There is nothing to discuss. There is no debate or discussion about adultery or drunkenness, and none should be entertained about false prophets and false teachers.

Shun them. Shut them off. Never listen to them again. Under Old Testament Law they would be put to death. Consider them as dead, as delivered up to Satan for blasphemous pronouncements in the Name of God.

Those who have been taken in by their deception may be appealed to that they may repent and be delivered from the false teaching. However, if and when they attempt to propagate or disseminate the false teaching they themselves come under the same indictment as the false teacher or false prophet, and must be shunned as well.

This includes, for example, but is not limited to the following: Harold Camping, Jack Van Impe, and their promoters.

Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. “Jack” Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, Pennsylvania

May 23, 2011