Friday, July 31, 2015
By John MacArthur

The whole advertising industry thrives by tapping into the pervasive discontentment—a discontentment they also helped create—of western culture. It’s almost impossible to go for a drive without having our senses assaulted by billboards reminding us of the material things we lack. Even those who are content with their lot in life struggle to emerge unscathed from the barrage.

For the Christian, personal contentment—being satisfied with what God has given us—is a vital aspect of personal holiness and integrity. In that vein, the author of Hebrews gives us this simple exhortation: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). Contentment is fundamental to integrity because a man who is content is far less vulnerable to the worldly enticements and distractions that Satan throws at him.

But our contentment can be undermined and assaulted by the sin of covetousness. It is one of the chief ways discontentment manifests itself. Covetousness is an attitude, a longing to acquire things. It means we set nearly all our attention and thought on gaining more money or having new possessions, whether we ever obtain them or not.

An encounter early in the career of wealthy oil executive John D. Rockefeller (1839–1937) illustrates this attitude. A friend reportedly asked the young Rockefeller how much money he wanted. “A million dollars,” he answered. After Rockefeller earned his first million dollars, his friend asked him how much more money he wanted. “Another million dollars,” Rockefeller replied.

Rockefeller’s desires further illustrate a law of diminishing returns with regard to covetousness: The more we get the more we want, and the more we want the less satisfied we are. The Preacher (probably Solomon, one who would understand this principle very well) wrote, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

According to Scripture, loving money is one of the most common ways we display covetousness. Money can be used to purchase almost anything we desire, and thus it is synonymous with lusting after material riches. Obviously, we should seek to be free from any craving for material wealth. Such a desire indicates we are trusting in riches rather than in the living God.

Paul told Timothy how he was to deal with this matter, and his command is especially applicable to Christians living in affluent Western cultures: “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

The Lord Jesus, in perhaps His most sobering parable, gives us a strong warning about the serious pitfalls related to covetousness and materialism:

“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15–21)

The love of money and material possessions is evidenced in a variety of ways. For some people, it remains just an attitude—they never actually acquire anything. But others do acquire wealth, and for them the thrill is in adding to what they have. They love to increase their bank accounts, build up their stock and investment portfolios, or become involved in new business ventures.

Some people love money just for its own sake and find satisfaction simply in hoarding what they have. Still others are conspicuous consumers who love to buy newer, more expensive things—nicer clothes, fancier gadgets, more luxurious cars, bigger vacation homes—so they can flaunt their wealth. No matter how the love of materialism shows itself, it displeases God. We are all tempted—some of us more times than others—to compromise our testimonies and forget our integrity for the sake of material gain. But God wants us to be content.

Keys to Contentment

Scripture contains a number of practical guidelines by which we can enjoy the attitude of contentment. First, we must realize God’s goodness and believe that as our Father, He will take care of us. The apostle Paul reminds us that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Second, we must grasp and treasure the truth that God is omniscient. He knows our needs long before we ask Him to supply them. Jesus told the disciples, “Your Father knows that you need these things” (Luke 12:30).

The third vital ingredient for genuine contentment is that we consider what we deserve. We often have an inflated, self-important view of what we desire, and even more of what we need. But in reality, by the Lord’s sovereign design, the smallest good thing we have is far more than we deserve. Like Jacob, we are “unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown” (Genesis 32:10).

Fourth, God’s Word exhorts us to recognize His sovereign supremacy. We will not be completely content until we see that His plan is not the same for all His children. What the Father lovingly gives to one believer, He just as lovingly withholds from another (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:4–11). Hannah, Samuel’s mother, spoke wisely and to the point concerning material blessings: “The Lord makes poor and rich” (1 Samuel 2:7). We might not be comfortable with the first part of that statement, but God knows that being rich is not necessarily the best plan for us. It could even be spiritually harmful for us (as it was for the rich man in Luke 12). The Lord provides us with just what we need and nothing less.

Finally, we must keep on reminding ourselves that worldly wealth and possessions are not the true riches. Our real treasure is in heaven. So Paul calls on us to set our minds “on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). Ultimately, therefore, genuine contentment results from our communion with God the Father and with His Son. Material riches fade into insignificance when we draw near to Christ and are overwhelmed by the spiritual riches we have in Him.

(Adapted from The Power of Integrity.)


Jerusalem is declared the eternal capital of Israel by the prime minister and confirmed by the Israel Knesset

Jerusalem is declared the eternal capital of Israel by the prime minister and confirmed by the Israel Knesset

July 21, 2015

The headline for this report is correct – howbeit, it is a headline from Israel dating back over 60 years to the time when on December 13, 1949, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, declared to the members of the Israeli government meeting in Tel Aviv, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel and the Israeli legislative body, the Knesset, approved the declaration. The Israeli government action followed the United Nations declaration that Jerusalem must be internationalized to which David Ben-Gurion responded that Jerusalem is an intrical part of Israel, its eternal capital, and no United Nations resolution can change such an historic fact.

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

Though the world doesn’t recognize the historic prophetic fact that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel as so declared by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, the Bible confirms this fact and says it is absolute.

In December of 1949 the then prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, made the unilateral declaration that Jerusalem was the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel and that no United Nations resolution could change that fact. Ben-Gurion added that Jerusalem was made the capital of the Jewish people some 3000 years ago, a declaration made by the second king of Israel, King David. The counter-declaration by Ben-Gurion that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, was a political declaration that is in perfect harmony with many passages in the Bible.

In the Davidic Covenant found in II Samuel 7, the Lord promised the Jewish people that He will give them a place to dwell and that they will move no more (II Samuel 7:10). The Davidic Covenant also confirms that the Jewish Messiah will rule a kingdom from a temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and do that forever. In fact, God has committed to dwelling among the Jewish people in Jerusalem forever (Psalm 132:13-14). Even on the new earth called for in Isaiah 65 and 66 and in Revelation 21, the earthly city of Jerusalem will be the center of all spiritual activities (Micah 4:1-3, Isaiah 2).

David Ben-Gurion’s declaration over 60 years ago that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel is absolute. Bible prophecy will be fulfilled. 

There has been a historic agreement between Iran and world powers as it relates to the Iranian nuclear program

There has been a historic agreement between Iran and world powers as it relates to the Iranian nuclear program

July 15, 2015

World powers have reached a deal with Iran on limiting Iranian nuclear activity in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions. Iranian President Rouhani said that it opened a new chapter in Iran’s relations with the world.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Netanyahu says it is a stunning historic mistake. Netanyahu says that Iran wants to control the world.

David Dolan, long time journalist in the Middle East agrees, I asked David, does indeed Iran want to control the world:

DAVE DOLAN: “They do and you know that we forget sometimes that with the scope of modern weaponry, i.e.: weapons of mass destruction which can travel across the globe in just minutes. We should be worried, this is a country that states it’s goal is world domination. Now Hitler did the same thing, he was going to establish the 4th Reich over all the earth, the 3rd Reich would be in Europe and then it would spread to the whole world but lets face it he didn’t have the wherewithal to do that, but today all Iran needs is a couple dozen nuclear weapons that can travel on ballistic missiles and they could literally wipe the major cities of the United States and Europe and other places out and effectively begin their march to total world domination.

It is indeed a possibility today that such a thing could occur; so we better take their warnings, their statements, their repeated blusterings on this seriously. I think that is what is being said to John Kerry, the security of state, by many Senators here in America and others around the world; certainly by Prime Minister Netanyahu that a bad deal is worse then any deal. Anything that allows Iran any sort of nuclear capability is bad for the world and I think that is definitely the case.”

David Dolan, on the Iranian nuclear deal. I report this story because it is setting the stage for Bible Prophecy to be fulfilled.

Jimmy’s Prophetic Prospective on the News

With the nuclear deal, Iran is now a major danger to the entire world. Psalm 83:4 says there will be a call for Israel to be destroyed and Iran on a continual basis repeats that statement, they will wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Ezekiel 38:5 finds Ezekiel the prophet saying Iran, mentioned in that passage as Persia, that Iran will be a major player in the end times.

These prophetic passages will indeed be fulfilled. The Iranian nuclear deal is simply setting the stage for the fulfillment of God’s prophetic Word.

thumbs down: Simply Good News, Why the Gospel Is News and What Makes It Good by N. T. Wright

Simply Good News, Why the Gospel Is News and What Makes It  by N. T. Wright
(New York: Harper Collins, 2015) 189 pp, Hard $24.99

Christianity Today proclaims N. T. Wright to be the most prolific biblical scholar in a generation. Some say he is the most important apologist since C. S. Lewis (on the dust cover). If so, then whether you agree with him or not, what Wright says carries considerable weight. In Simply Good News Wright is defining the gospel and working out its implications. He repeatedly, and correctly, states that the gospel is not good advice; it is a good news message about an event that has changed everything (pp. 4, 16). But Wright’s understanding about this event (which includes the cross and the resurrection) is not what many would assume. He agrees the message that Jesus died for our sins and took our punishment so that we could be saved and go to heaven is true, but it is a distorted message, which does not go far enough and in some ways is a message which the Western church (a constant theme within the book, pp. 5, 23, 65, 77, 79, 82, 83, 85, 86, 90, 94, 114, 124, 130, 138, 163) has simply got wrong (pp. 5, 23, 65). How so? First, getting people to heaven and keeping them out of hell was never God’s plan (pp. 6, 98, 107, 148). God’s plan was about His kingdom in which heaven comes to earth (p. 7). Wright is confused about the new heaven and earth, seeing them as virtually synonymous (pp. 91, 163), but technically he is correct that believers will spend eternity on the new earth. However, I find it interesting that Wright and his ilk pay little attention to what happens until the new heaven and earth are created. That millions of believers have spent perhaps thousands of years in heaven seems to go unnoticed. But Wright’s message is that “the good news is not about how to escape [the world]. It [is] about how the one true God [is] changing it, radically and forever” (p. 13).

Wright habitually depreciates certain aspects of the biblical gospel, claiming it is not the message of Jesus and the apostles, then immediately turns around and says that none of those things is totally wrong (pp. 19, 25, 65, 69, 70, 73, 81, 97, 102, 154, 162). In effect this would minimize any criticism of Wright’s views. For example:

In particular, the church has latched onto a way of speaking about the gospel that goes like this: You are a sinner, deserving death; Jesus died in your place; therefore believe in Him, and you’ll go to heaven after all. This can be shortened even further to something like, Jesus took my punishment…Just to be clear, this theme (Jesus dying in my place) is indeed prominent in the Bible (p. 65).

In particular, Wright wants to distance the Christian faith from the concept of a God of wrath and replace Him with a God of pure love (pp. 68, 69). This creates an unbalanced view of the Lord who in the Bible is a God of infinite love but who is also holy and rightly judges sin. He even neatly sidesteps the clear message of God’s wrath in Romans 1:18ff and manages to reduce, through carefully selected verses, the wrath of God to rescuing love (pp. 70-72) and the restoration and transformation of all creation (p. 72). Of course, if one can virtually eliminate the wrath of God they can also eliminate hell. He is able to do so by framing traditional views of hell as medieval distortions of God still clung to by the Western church (p. 98).

What exactly is Wright’s gospel then? It is not human beings rescued by God through Jesus—we imagined this (p. 97) – nor that we need to be reconciled to God—we imagined that, too (p. 97) although he strangely admits that these things are true (p. 97). But the full or whole gospel, according to Wright, is that because of what Christ has done a whole new universe is coming. And this is good news for the whole of creation (apparently all humanity as well) and not just for “a few humans who get the magic password that lets them off the hook and into heaven after all” (p. 97). What a sad distortion of the biblical depiction of saving grace received by faith (Eph 2:8-9). The gospel according to Wright is the restoration of God’s original intention for the planet. He writes, “God made humans so that he could look after his world through this particular creature. His intention was to bring his creation forward from its beginnings to be the glorious place he always intended and to do so through this human family” (pp. 97-98). The gospel is God reclaiming the earth so that “the world would be healed, transformed, rescued and renewed” (p. 36). And “what was holding back the kingdom was the dark power, the force of evil itself. On the cross, that power was defeated” (p. 46). At that point Christ’s kingdom was re-established on earth and our task is to help bring the kingdom to its ultimate glory (pp. 54-55):

The good news is that the one true God has now taken charge of the world, in and through Jesus and his death and resurrection…The ancient sickness that had crippled the whole world, and humans with it, has been cured at last, so that new life can rise up in its place…That one day it will happen, completely and utterly, to all creation; and that we humans, every single one of us, whoever we are, can be caught up in that transformation here and now. This is the Christian gospel. Do not allow yourself to be fobbed off with anything less (p. 55).

With this kind of gospel it is a short step to making the mission of the believer that of “working to make the world” a better place (p. 77). Since, according to Wright, the idea of Jesus taking us to heaven is seriously misleading (pp. 90, 93), and the idea of Jesus returning is complex, all that matters is creating the new heavens and earth, which are the same place (p. 91). The complete gospel includes restoring this earth (pp. 98-100, 158). We must work with God to bring about this change on the planet (pp. 118-120).

Wright concludes Simply Good News by saying that we can become good news people only through prayer (p. 153). He then presses the Lord’s Prayer into service to explain the gospel. It should be noted that the Lord’s Prayer never mentions the gospel but it fits Wright’s agenda that the gospel is basically the kingdom of God (p. 158):

The good news is that the living God is indeed establishing his kingdom on earth as in heaven, through the finished work of Jesus, and is inviting people of all sorts to share not only in the benefits of this kingdom but also in the work through which it will come to its ultimate completion (p. 164).

“It is time for God to become king—here and now” (p. 161) and it is time for us to “become transformed people who are then transforming the world” (p. 169).

Wright’s gospel is the familiar “already/not yet” view which teaches that the kingdom is now (but even more is coming) concept. The biblical gospel of reconciliation is given a nod but the “whole” gospel is working with the Lord to transform this planet and return it to its original glory. The full gospel then becomes not only the biblical gospel but is also combined with the social gospel of the world’s transformation through the instrumentality of believers prior to the return of Christ. It should be noted that Wright does not really engage with the important biblical texts dealing with the gospel. Simply Good News is not an exegesis of Scripture. It is an understanding of the purposes of God through the lens of a particular amillennial/postmillennial understanding of the kingdom of God. This is a dangerous book.

Respectable Elders


by Jeremiah Johnson

We’ve recently witnessed some changes in the cultural landscape that understandably cause believers great concern. Is society turning its back on the church? Is this the beginning of a new era of persecution and political pressure for the church? And how should we respond to a world that is increasingly hostile to God’s Word and His people?

At times like these, it is vital that believers not give in to panic and frantic overreaction. Instead, we need to fall back on eternal truth, and rest confidently in the palm of God’s sovereign hand. These recent changes are merely cosmetic—the world has always hated God’s Word and His design. It will stop at nothing to silence the preaching of the gospel and the testimony of its power to transform lives.

How we respond to this hostility is vital. We’re not called to lives of compromise and capitulation, nor were we saved and transformed for the sake of mounting political counterattacks and redeeming the culture. Like Lazarus, we’ve been called out of the grave of our sin, bestowed with new life, and set apart as examples of God’s redeeming, transforming power. And in the white-hot light of persecution, the testimony of our faith and the quality of our godliness is perpetually under scrutiny.

In his letter to Titus and the churches of Crete, the apostle Paul makes that very point. “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 3:8). In his commentary on the epistle, John MacArthur explains Paul’s point.

When Christians exalt the Word of God and demonstrate God’s power to transform lives, “these things are good and profitable for men”—for the believers themselves and, even more significantly . . . for the unsaved sinners around them who are drawn to Christ by the exemplary lives of those He has graciously transformed. [1]

What does that profitable behavior look like? How should our lives adorn the gospel in the midst of a world bent on antagonism to the truth? Earlier in his letter, Paul gave some specific instructions for holy living to his readers. Regarding those instructions, John notes:

They often have been unpopular and controversial, even in the church. At no time have they been more unpopular and controversial than in many churches today, where personal opinion and cultural standards take precedence over God’s truth and self-fulfillment is more important than holy living. [2]

All the more reason, then, to pay close attention to Paul’s teaching, and biblically discipline ourselves for godliness and kingdom use.

Paul addresses his instructions to specific groups within his audience—the first is the older men. “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance” (Titus 2:2).

The fact that Paul began by addressing his older readers—or that he paid them any attention at all—flies in the face of our modern emphasis on always appealing to younger, hipper audiences. In recent years, as the church has chased and mimicked every conceivable trend and popular subculture, older saints have been routinely ignored or cast aside. In fact, one of the most consistent flaws in churches today is the utter lack of the spiritual maturity and godly examples of seasoned believers.

As John MacArthur explains, Scripture does not share the modern, dismissive perspective regarding older saints.

Moses was 80 years old when God called him to lead Israel out of bondage in Egypt and to the land of promise. But, like his poor speaking ability (Exodus 4:10–12), advanced age did not excuse him from the Lord’s work.

At the age of 83—after having traveled some 250,000 miles on horseback, preached more than 40,000 sermons, and produced some 200 books and pamphlets—John Wesley regretted that he was unable to read and write for more than 15 hours a day without his eyes becoming too tired to work. After his 86th birthday, he admitted to an increasing tendency to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning!

Godly older saints who bring strength, stability, and wisdom to a church should be cherished. Ancient Israel was told by the Lord, “You shall rise up before the gray-headed, and honor the aged” (Leviticus 19:32; cf. Proverbs 16:31). The godly are assured that they “will still yield fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:14) and that “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day” (Proverbs 4:18). [3]

That’s not to say that age alone makes one a godly example or a spiritual leader. Paul’s instructions to older men make it clear that even they require spiritual discipline.

Specifically, he charges them to be temperate, dignified, and sensible. It’s a call to avoid extravagance and overindulgence, and to be sober minded (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:34; 1 Peter 1:13;4:7) and discerning.

In his commentary, John explains the spiritual maturity Paul is recommending.

The “temperate” older man is able to discern more clearly which things are of the greatest importance and value. He uses his time, his money, and his energy more carefully and selectively than when he was younger and less mature. His priorities are in the right order, and he is satisfied with fewer and simpler things. . . .

The “dignified” person is never frivolous, trivial, or superficial. He never laughs at immorality, vulgarity, or anything else that is sinful and ungodly. Nor does he laugh at that which is tragic or at the expense of others.

Older believers have lived long enough to see many people, including good friends and close family members, experience serious misfortune, suffer great pain, and perhaps die at an early age. They may have seen a spouse or a child suffer leukemia or some other form of cancer or debilitating disease. They have learned the value of time and opportunity. They better accept and comprehend their own mortality, the imperfections of this present world, and the inability of material things to give lasting, deep satisfaction. They have seen utopian ideas fail and have learned how short-lived and disappointing euphoric emotional experiences can be, even those—or perhaps especially those—that purport to be of a higher spiritual order. . . .

They should have the discernment, discretion, and judgment that comes from walking with God for many years. They control their physical passions and they reject worldly standards and resist worldly attractions. [4]

Paul underscores those important character qualities with the call to be “sound in faith, in love, [and] in perseverance.” As John explains,

First of all, older men who have been through 50, 60, 70, or more years of life are to be “sound in faith,” having learned that God indeed can be trusted in every way. They do not question His wisdom or power or love, and they do not lose trust in His goodness and grace or lose confidence in His divine plan and divine wisdom. They do not doubt the truth or sufficiency of His Word or waver in their divinely assured hope that His sovereign plan will be fulfilled.

Second, older men are to be “sound . . . in love”—toward God, toward His people, and toward those who do not yet know Him. They love by bearing one another’s burdens and thereby fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). They have learned to love when their love is not deserved and to continue loving when it is rejected and even when they suffer because of it. They lovingly forgive and they lovingly serve. . . .

Third, older men are to be “sound . . . in perseverance.” They are to exhibit the ability to endure hardship, to accept disappointment and failure, to be satisfied despite thwarted personal desires and plans. They have learned to graciously live with such difficulties as physical weakness, loneliness, and being misunderstood and unappreciated. They do not lose heart when things do not turn out the way they had hoped and expected, but have the perfect confidence “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). [5]

While Paul directed his exhortation specifically to the older men in the Cretan churches, all believers ought to strive for the kind of spiritual maturity he describes. Not only is that maturity a great benefit to the Body of Christ, but it adorns the gospel of Jesus Christ and confirms the testimony of His people to the hostile, watching world.

True Shepherds Protect The Flock!

True Shepherds PROTECT the Flock

Because true shepherds must put the flock first, and view heretics and schismatics as nothing less than wolves who seek to devour the sheep in Christ’s “little flock,” they must expose and oppose [false teachers] for what they are. That note of deep concern for the sheep is what is missing in so many churches today. The feeble note struck instead is, “Let us all learn to live in peace with one another even though we differ;” or “I don’t say you’re wrong; it’s just that we differ.” . . . True shepherds will never allow the sheep to be attacked without attempting to protect them.

Jay E. Adams, The Use of the Rod & the Staff: A Neglected Aspect of Shepherding, p.27, 28

Sanctification and Judgment

Sanctification and Judgment

Sanctification is that inward spiritual work which Jesus Christ
works in a man by the Holy Spirit, when He calls him to be a true
believer, separates him from his natural love of sin and the world,
puts a new principle in his heart, and makes him practically
godly in life.

Sanctification will be necessary as a witness to our character in
the great day of judgment. It will be useless to plead we believed
in Christ unless our faith had some sanctifying effect in our lives.
Evidence will be the one thing wanted when the Great White
Throne is set, when the books are opened, and the dead are
arraigned before the bar of God. Without some evidence that our
faith in Christ was genuine, we shall only rise again to be
condemned. The question will not be what we professed but how
we lived and what we did.

He that supposes works are of no importance, because they
cannot justify us, is a very ignorant Christian. Unless he opens
his eyes, he will find that if he comes to the bar of God without
some evidence of grace, he had better never have been born.
Sanctification is also necessary to prepare us for heaven. Most
men hope to go to heaven when they die. Few consider whether
they would enjoy heaven if they got there. To be happy in heaven,
we must somehow be made ready while we are on earth.
What could an un-sanctified man do in heaven, if by chance he
got there? Let that question be fairly contemplated and answered.
No man can possibly be happy in a place where he is not in his
element. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when an owl is
happy in the blaze of noonday sun, when a fish is happy on the
dry land, then, and not till then, will I admit that the
unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.
Only those with sanctified desires on earth should think they are
being prepared for heaven.

~ J. C. Ryle