He is returning!

It is reported that in the so-called western world more and more people are failing to become Christians. No doubt there is a range of reasons for this. Some will be personal, and others more to do with the nature of the society we live in. It cannot be truly said that people are less religious. There are religions that are growing in numbers. Also, many people do not realize that they are putting blind faith in what they think are scientific answers, even though what they believe is highly improbable, impossible to verify, and requires more faith than trusting in what the Bible says. For a more detailed review of that aspect you could read “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”, by Dr Norman Geisler and Dr Frank Turek. But in this post, the issue is different.

Why are fewer people responding to “the Gospel”, the good news that Jesus, God’s Son, has been punished once-for-all by God for all our wrongdoing, so that God is now acting justly and in love when He offers to free us from the punishment we deserve – if we accept that Jesus has instead suffered for us. That is the start of the good news. And alongside the relief it brings is the assurance of God’s related promise that if we accept His offer of being saved from punishment, we shall also receive spiritual life that extends forever beyond the grave. So the good news continues. And all of the injustices we face here on earth, the eternal God will deal with when everyone appears for judgment. All that is good news (for those who are pardoned), but extremely scary for those who refuse God’s offer of freedom from punishment, and must therefore face the existing forever penalty they deserve from a righteous God whose love has been spurned. So why aren’t people believing the good news? The simple point we are making here is that they haven’t realized they need to.

It used to be commonly known that Christians believed Jesus Christ is going to return to Earth in glory. Not only so, it was understood there is no event that must occur before He does so; it could happen at any moment. And when He returns the first thing He will do is remove all true Christians from Earth, and take them to be forever with Himself. Everybody else will be left behind. And there is another paradigm shift. When that happens, the offer of a free pardon from God will have been tragically missed, and the unthankful remaining population of Earth will begin to experience awful conditions as God’s enemy, Satan, is allowed to show his violent nature as he influences those who rule here. It will make any of today’s scary movies seem like fairy tales.

These previously well-understood facts have in the past caused many, many people to take a serious interest in the Gospel. They did not want to be left behind, which is a very sensible concern. Driven by that concern, they looked into the Bible truth of the Gospel, and they had good reason to put their faith in Jesus, their Saviour. Jesus Himself illustrated the urgency of mankind’s need by picturing the circumstances of a break-in. If we knew the thief was going to attempt it, we’d make sure we were ready! Christians today are surrounded by millions who are in danger of being left behind when Jesus returns. If they knew it, and researched it properly, would they not joyfully join the ranks of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour? Then concerns about the future would be replaced with confidence. What a contrast with the false gospel people are expected to believe, when they are told to trust in themselves, and that their lives are merely accidents, and that there is no way unfairness here on Earth can ever be corrected. No wonder the incidence of self-harm and suicide is growing at faster rates where that is what people are told to believe. Fake news indeed! What people need to know are Bible facts, and not least that Jesus is returning – soon!

Just contact us if you would like Bible references supporting the above post.

Food & Friendship

Welcome to Food and Friendship, a free soup and bagel lunch in the lovely basement room at the Mount Forest Library on the second Tuesday each month. Our next lunch is arranged for TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH

Join us at 12noon-1:00pm, and bring a friend.

It’s Fall and already some days feel like wintertime, so it’s good to be able to meet in a warm room, check out the book stand, listen to the music and enjoy a good meal.  Share your faith.  Show Christian love to one another.  Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  He loved us enough to die for us; will we love enough to live for Him?

It means the same thing, doesn’t it?

If you have noticed in your Bible reading that in some places Christians are described as being “in Christ” and in other places as being “in the Lord”, it may have occurred to you that these are perhaps describing different realities. If so, you’ll be interested to read more on that subject here

Three Aspects of Salvation

You may have heard it referred to as “threefold salvation”, or the “Three P’s”, standing for Penalty, Power and Presence.

Here is an analysis of New Testament references to being “saved” showing which emphasis is seen in each text.

If you have worried that God expects good deeds from you before He will release you from the punishment your bad deeds deserve, read this! Or if you have concerns that God might save you one day, but you might lose that salvation later, again: read this!

Food for Thought

Each Monday evening a bunch of us get together to study the Bible. We have been through several New Testament books and by popular choice we are now turning to the Old Testament. We intend to compare and contrast the Books of Ruth and Esther.

The first thing to do was to get a general background, and we have turned to Ruth first. Below are the questions we posed to ourselves (you’ll have to attend the studies if you want the real time answers, though we would respond to requests if you contacted us via this website):

The Book of Ruth

Study 1: Background

If possible, read the whole book before we start studying it together.

Questions:

  1. What is the setting of the Book in Israel’s history? Where on the following timeline does it fit? (Ruth 1:1; 4:18-22)
    Patriarchs or Exodus or Days of the Judges or Time of the Kings
  2. What do we know about the country and people of Moab? (e.g. Num.21,22,25; Deut.23:2-6)
  3. What can we learn from the New Testament reference to Ruth? (Matt.1:5)
  4. How can we explain so few generations mentioned between Salmon and David in Ruth 4 and Matt.1, if it covers (as historians propose) a period of around 400 years? See chronology below.
  5. Why would there be a famine in Israel, the promised land “flowing with milk and honey”? (Ex.3:8; Josh.24:13-20; 2 Sam.21:1)
  6. Why would the inheritor of Mahlon’s land have to marry Ruth? (see Deut.25:5-10)

Study 2: Ruth Chapter 1

  1. What does it tell us about the conditions in Moab and Naomi’s circumstances after three men in her life had died?
  2. In verses 6 – 7 Naomi set off to return to Judah for a revival, what other revival years later also came from Judah that we celebrate today?
  3. Based on verse 8, what type of wives were Naomi’s daughters-in-law?
  4. What relationship qualities did Naomi have for her daughters-in-law based on verse 9?
  5. What types of relationships did Orpah and Ruth have with Naomi looking at verses 10 – 17?
  6. What qualities do we see from Ruth that show compassion to her mother-in-law’s distress?
  7. What do we learn about the community of Bethlehem from the arrival of Naomi and Ruth?
  8. What did Naomi mean in her comment in verse 13 that “the Lord’s hand has gone out against me” and what do we learn about Naomi’s mental and spiritual condition looking at verses 20 – 21?
  9. What do we learn about the blessings of the Lord’s timing from the last verse and how does this encourage us today?

Study 3: Ruth Chapter 2

  1. What do the names “Elimelech” and “Boaz” mean? (see also 1 Kings 7:21)
  2. What is involved in gleaning?  Why is that term sometimes used to describe Bible reading?
  3. When it says in verse 3 that Ruth “happened” to work in the field of Boaz, does that mean it was purely by chance?  Does anything really happen by chance?
  4. What can we learn from the way Boaz greeted his workers?
  5. What do we learn of Ruth’s work ethic from verse 7?
  6. How does verse 10 apply as an illustration of us (non-Jews) becoming Christians?
  7. Why did Boaz do such detailed enquiry into Ruth’s background (verses 5,11)?
  8. How does the reference to taking refuge under God’s wings apply to us (verse 12)?
  9. How do verses 14-16 compare to Matthew 11:28-30?
  10. What did Naomi mean in verse 20 about not forsaking the dead?
  11. Why is the fact about Ruth being a Moabite re-introduced and emphasized in verse 21?
  12. What do you think Naomi had been praying about while Ruth had been away working (see verses 19 & 22)?
  13. How long a time is covered from the beginning of the barley harvest to the end of the wheat harvest?  Is this an indicator of wise development of a relationship?

Study 4: Ruth Chapter 3

  1. What aspects of Naomi’s plan (verses 1-5) reflect godly wisdom, and what, if any, reflect inappropriate behaviour?
  2. Ruth’s words in verse 9 may reflect her understanding of Naomi’s earlier statements, and the blessing from Boaz (chapter 2, verse 12), but how important were her appealing words about Boaz being a “redeemer”? Was that a marriage proposal?
  3. How does verse 10 indicate an age difference between Boaz and Ruth? What problems or blessings may be involved for couples of significantly different ages?
  4. Why did Boaz tell Ruth to stay until the morning? What were the risks involved?
  5. What is meant by Boaz saying a woman coming to the threshing floor should not be known? Whose reputations(s) were at stake?
  6. How did Boaz display a generous heart towards Ruth and Naomi?
  7. How difficult would it be for Ruth to comply with Naomi’s instruction in verse 18?

Study 5: Ruth Chapter 4

  1. What is the significance of Boaz going to the city gate? (Compare Job 29:7-16)
  2. Why do you think we are not given the name of the closer redeemer? Compare with verses 11 and 14.
  3. What were the benefits in Israel attributable to the operation of government by elders? Is there a present day application for this?
  4. Who was selling the property? Naomi? Elimelech? Mahlon? Chilion? Ruth? Or…? See Numbers 27 verse 9. How would its value be calculated? See Leviticus 25, verse 15.
  5. Why was there a custom of removing a shoe to confirm a property transaction (verse 7)?
  6. See Deuteronomy 25, verse 5 & 6. Why was it important to continue a family name?
  7. There is specific mention of Perez and Tamar in the blessing of verse 12; what is the significance of them being in the line that produced David, and eventually the Messiah?
  8. Is it true that conception is in every case a gift from God (verse 13)
  9. Verse 15-17 suggests Naomi’s bereavement of her sons was not to be compared to the blessing associated with the birth of her grandson. What is the basis for this statement?
  10. How do verses 18-22 explain why the book of Ruth was written?

Personal Witnessing: How to do it…

We have a useful item in the Podcasts/Resources section of our site.  It is helpful material on how to approach personal witnessing.  Here is an extract:

“Speak to convince the mind first. Paul “entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8): reasoning, as to the mind; persuading, as to the heart. It is of no use urging persons to believe unless they are clear in their minds what they must believe.   When the mind agrees, then we can look for the word to be received into the heart. A careful reading of Jn 3 indicates that the Lord Jesus worked this way with Nicodemus. In verses 1 to 3, they are speaking face to face; verses 3 to 8, mind to mind; from verse 9 onwards heart to heart.”

You can read the whole thing here.

What to do when things go wrong…

This is a brief comment on things worth considering when life seems to be presenting too many challenges, when things are going wrong and you need to stop and consider: why?  And think about the best way forward.

These are only notes; contact us if you need any point to be developed in more detail.  Likewise, if you’d prefer to listen to a talk on this subject, we can provide a link to a recording.

First, what NOT to do…read on here

Why have church prayer meetings?

Most Christians appreciate how important it is to pray.  And they know that praying in secret, not to show off, is commendable.  But when a church comprised of Christians is formed can it rely on the private prayers of each individual in the church, or does God expect the church as a whole to meet to pray to Him?  Our answer would be yes!  We should meet together to pray prayers of worship, praise, thanksgiving and sincere requests.  The content of our prayers as a church is a big subject in itself.  These notes are just about the need to meet together to do it!

As usual, the expectations God has in this matter are disclosed in the Bible, so here are some passages that apply.  First we look at how God instructed His people in the Old Testament, then noting that precedent we look at how people living in the New Testament era are guided in this matter. Read on here

The Church of God in action