Weekly Newsletter – November 28, 2018
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR JACK VAN IMPE
Ten Suggestions or Commandments?
Multitudes are convinced that they possess salvation. However, the reasons they give for being saved are erroneous. They talk about their efforts to please God and gain heaven. They mention baptism, confirmation, the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Ten Commandments as means of salvation. How sad! While it is true that God gave us many of these wonderful ordinances, rules, and commands, it is equally true that none of them were ever presented to mankind as a means of obtaining eternal life. God gave us something greater— He gave us His own Son.
John 3:16, the gospel in a nutshell, states, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This Christ is the only way. All of man’s meritorious efforts fall flat, because salvation is through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:12). In the light of this introduction, let us investigate God’s purpose in presenting to the world His glorious Ten Commandments.
The law’s purpose
Contrary to most modern thinking, the Commandments were never given to save men’s souls. For the law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19). Therefore, one must find another reason for Sinai’s demands. It is found in Romans 3:20 which declares, By the law is the knowledge of sin.
Again, James tells us in chapters 1 and 2 that God’s law is like a mirror. It reflects one’s image, reveals the dirt, and drives the soiled sinner to Christ for cleansing. The mirror cannot change the condition, only reveal the situation. It is Christ who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5).
This is the clear meaning of Galatians 2:21 which states, If righteousness come by the law [Ten Commandments], then Christ is dead in vain. How useless Christ’s death is if man can produce his own salvation by following a code of ethics or a series of commands. Because this is an impossibility, God sent His Son to shed His sinless blood for hopeless transgressors. By doing this, He said once, for all, and forever, This is the way, walk ye in it (Isaiah 30:21).
So, we see that the Law was never intended to save, but rather to reflect one’s sinful condition and then to condemn and to destroy the sinner. That is why Romans 4:15 states, The law worketh wrath and 2 Corinthians 3:6 declares, The letter killeth. This is its purpose—not salvation. For by the works of the law [Ten Commandments] shall no flesh be justified (Galatians 2:16). With this explanatory background, let us look in the mirror and see if we have sinful faces.
The Ten Commandments
God’s Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20:3,4,7,8,12-17. They are as follows:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD Thy God in vain.
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honour thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
- Thou shalt not covet [desire] thy neighbour’s house…wife, nor…any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Millions simply cry, "I have never broken any of the laws of God.” Even the rich young ruler audaciously uttered such nonsense. What folly! A simple probe into the New Testament’s interpretations of the Commandments silences the arrogant forever.
God gave His laws that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19). Yes, He gave these standards to shut the mouths of self-righteous humans who constantly boast about their morality, works, and goodness. Friend, there is none righteous (Romans 3:10). Let’s prove this statement as each commandment speaks for itself. Hear God!
The Commandments interpreted
1. Thou shall have no other gods before me. One may think that because he is not a Buddhist, Mohammedan, or a Moonite he automatically is absolved from all guilt concerning this first commandment, but Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). When one places material values before spiritual blessings, he automatically bows at the wrong shrine. He worships another god. That god may be one’s home, car, family, or money.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, No man can serve two masters [two gods]: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Imagine, Christ called money another god, and millions worship filthy lucre today. That is why they cheat, lie, and even rob God of His tithes (see Malachi 3:8).
2. Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them. God hates idolatry. Three times in Romans 1, we find the words God gave them up. God was appalled at the abominable practices of the people and gave them over to their vile desires.
One of the sins that grieved Jehovah God was they changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man (Romans 1:23). Idolatry is so loathed by God that Revelation 21:8 says, Idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Is it any wonder that God cries, Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21)?
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. This commandment is broken millions of times daily. God is used to damn everyone and everything in this age of blasphemy. Ladies have become hardened in their usage of gutter language. Scores, even among the socially elite, sound like tramps. Romans 3:14,18 truly pictures today’s society. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, and there is no fear of God before their eyes.
Rexella and I were seated near a group of cursing women in a restaurant. Their language was fit only for a brothel. When I heard one of them curse my God, I walked to their table and said, “I wonder if you women would watch your language, because I have a lady at the next table!” These liberated sinners could have gnashed me to death with their false teeth after that shocking episode! Wow!
If this bothered them, think of their fate when they meet God at the Judgment Day, for the Lord will not hold him [or her] guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
At this point, may I caution many of you who use euphemisms that are equally blasphemous. A number of dictionaries mention the following terms as profane shortcuts in cursing God: Gee, Gee-whiz, Gees, Oh, my God, Gosh, Golly, and a slew of others. The Bible states, Holy and reverend is his name (Psalm 111:9). Let’s praise His matchless name!
4. Which day is the Sabbath? Is it Saturday? On which day should a Christian worship? I believe it is Sunday. The Saturday Sabbath was given to Israel. Ezekiel 20:12,20 states: I gave them [Israel] my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD and also hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you [Israel]. This was the first covenant to Israel.
Christians have a new covenant, Jesus made a surety of a better testament (Hebrews 7:22). He [Christ] is the mediator of a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6). He [Christ] is the mediator of the new testament [or new agreement] (Hebrews 9:15).
Because of His death and this new agreement, we are no longer under ceremonial laws involving days. Moral laws are in effect in believer’s hearts, but not the ceremonial laws. Proof? God says in Colossians 2:14,16 that Christ [blotted] out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross…. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or [Get it!] of the sabbath days.
We are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). God’s moral law is written within and upon the hearts of believers, but ceremonial laws involving days have been nailed to the cross. We honor the Saviour of the new covenant on a new day—the day of His resurrection, which is Sunday, the first day of the week. This we do out of love, not servitude, not through law, but through grace.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother. This commandment is being flung to the winds by many young people who claim to love God. However, if one really loves God, he will love the words of God. Jehovah says, Honour your parents. Christ repeats the command in Matthew 19:19, and Paul says in Ephesians 6:1-3, Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Did you notice that God pronounces a special blessing upon those who love and honour their parents, the blessing of a long life? It is so important that neglect along these lines should be confessed immediately.
6. Thou shall not kill. I will not waste time expounding this particular commandment. In fact, thousands of “murderers” may be reading this study this very moment. Why are you murderers? Because you hate your mother-in-law or your daughter-in-law. You would like to throw your son-in-law out the window—head first! Some are ready to smash the face of a neighbor and let him have it the second time as he turns his cheek.
Some hate the preacher and his family. Others malign the deacons or church members or anyone who disagrees with them one iota. Guess what? That’s murder, for, whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15). Be sure you are saved for, He that loveth not knoweth not God (1 John 4:8).
7. Thou shah not commit adultery. Are you blameless along this line? You say, “Yes, sir. I have always been faithful to the little lady.” Wait a minute. Jesus said, Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28).
You say, “Not guilty! I have never had an impure thought in my life.” I will get you when we hit the ninth commandment, Thou shalt not lie! But first, let’s look at number eight.
8. Thou shalt not steal. Paul said, Let him that stole steal no more (Ephesians 4:28). If you do not put in your full eight hours daily, you are a thief robbing your employer in a very dishonest way. If you copy another’s paper at school or cheat on an exam, you are dishonest, stealing a grade in a deceitful way.
Every ball-point pen and rubber band removed from the office is thievery. This sin must be confessed—soon! Some of you have half of the factory or office stored in the cellar or attic. After death, you will have to transport it to hell, because no thief enters heaven (see 1 Corinthians 6:10).
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a LYING TONGUE, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that DEVISETH WICKED IMAGINATIONS, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19, emphasis mine).
The entire listing has to do with the sins of lying and gossip. Is an eternity of separation from God worth the practice of these abominations? That is the final outcome, for outside of heaven are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie (Revelation 22:15). Oh, turn from this wickedness to Christ who is the truth (John 14:6).
10. The final commandment is, Thou shall not covet thy neighbour’s house…wife, nor …any thing that is thy neighbour’s. The word covet means “to desire,” and the world is full of desire. It is so bad, they even made a movie entitled A Streetcar Named Desire. Ha!
Certainly all of us have coveted at one time or another saying, “Oh, look at his big Colonial house and I have this dinky bungalow. If only I had his home.” Or, “Look at the big Cadillac he is driving and I have this Volkswagen. If only we could swap!” Or, “Look at his wife—whew! and then look at mine—ugh! If only we could switch!”
Have you ever desired anyone else’s possessions? Then you have broken God’s commandment. Someone resounds, “If that be true, we have all sinned.” Exactly! That is why Isaiah 53:6 declares, All we like sheep have gone astray and Galatians 3:22 proclaims, But the scripture hath concluded all under sin.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Is There Room in Your Heart for Him?
What a special time of the year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are more precious to me than any other holidays, and they so beautifully go hand in hand.
More and more, Dr. Van Impe and I realize the importance of being grateful for the true essence of Christmas – that God became flesh. He came as a baby, humbling himself to a manger, and, one day, to Calvary’s tree for you and me. Oh, what love!
I wonder if we can really understand the emotion in heaven and the joy here on earth as Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem just prior to the birth of Christ.
Can you see them as they wearily make their way through the narrow streets of Bethlehem? Mary, tired from the long journey, sits on the little donkey as Joseph leads it along.
Their journey is almost over, and none too soon. They stop in front of one of the inns in Bethlehem. With a tender word, Joseph comforts his wife and then strides quickly toward the inn door.
Have you ever wondered what Mary was thinking as Joseph knocked at the innkeeper’s door? Perhaps she was remembering what her cousin Elizabeth had said to her some time before. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance [fulfillment] of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:42-45).
Mary knew how blessed she was, for out of all the women in the world, God had chosen her to give the world this baby; He was the Son of God, produced by the Holy Spirit, waiting to be born in Bethlehem (see Luke 1:35 and Hebrews 10:5).
Mary knew about the promise that foretold: But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2).
Mary’s mind didn’t dare leap ahead to contemplate the rest of those words. It was enough for her to know that she was, at this very moment, in Bethlehem (ancestral home of King David, Joseph’s forefather) and that her time to give birth was at hand.
Mary looked at Joseph, footsore and fatigued from walking alongside the donkey all the way so that she could ride. She knew how blessed she was to have this good and just man as her husband. He had handled the situation so well. He had shown her nothing but love and concern. More than once he had told her, “I know, beloved wife, that this child has been conceived in a special way. The angel laid all my fears to rest.”
Joseph had learned of Mary’s pregnancy after she returned from visiting Elizabeth. For six months, they had marveled at the conversations they each had with the angel. It must have been awesome for them, realizing that the Holy Ghost had visited Mary and that the child she carried was a divine original.
“Oh, Joseph,” I can hear Mary saying, “He is to be called ‘the Son of God’.”
“Yes, Mary,” Joseph responded, “and His name is to be called JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
Did they recall the words of Isaiah? Did they repeat those names? Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel … For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6).
Perhaps Mary remembered those conversations as her husband knocked at the innkeeper’s door. She was so tired. The journey had been long and hard. But now, at last, they had arrived in Bethlehem.
For us, today, a journey to Bethlehem is still not easy. In the hustle and bustle of the season, there are many things to deter us. We’ve all heard that we should keep Christ in Christmas, but let’s be sure that we keep ourselves in Christmas, as well! If we are not careful, we can become so busy with Yuletide activities that we are exhausted before we get to Bethlehem – and miss the real Christmas altogether.
Knock … knock … knock!
Joseph knocks at the innkeeper’s door. A Baby is about to be born – the most important Baby ever to be born on this earth. “Let us in … let Him in … out of the cold and darkness of the night .” But the Bible tells us there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:7).
No room! Those are heart-rending words. Would we have said that? Yet, isn’t it being said every day? We are all innkeepers, with room for many things, but do we have room for Him? In our lives – shabby stables that they are – He may be cradled, but we must give Him room.
Joseph, the rugged carpenter of Nazareth, a just man whose faith transcended his misgivings, enfolded Mary’s helplessness in his strong arms as he lifted her off the back of the little donkey. Someone had tapped him on his sagging shoulders and said, “There is a place, if your wife won’t mind. I know I can fix it and make it clean. It will be quiet there … and warm.”
Joseph had ministered to Mary’s needs in that weary pilgrimage to Bethlehem; but his husbandly duties had not yet ended. Mary in a stable? The Son of God born in a barn? How his mind must have reeled. Remember, he was very human.
Husband, would you like for your wife to give birth to her firstborn in a stable? What lowly circumstances! The Lord of all heaven and earth was about to make His human presence known in the world – but in a barn? This was not the birthplace Joseph had imagined for JESUS.
Barns smell, not just of clean hay, but of animals. Barns are not always sanitary. Oh, the lovely Nativity scenes we see at Christmas do not begin to portray what Joseph and Mary must have experienced in those pre-birth moments, as they contemplated their plight.
Humanly speaking, one wishes we could push back the pages of time and make it different – but it happened just as God ordained it before the beginning of time. And so it was, that … she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6,7).
As we recall this short synopsis of the most beautiful story ever given from God, may your heart be reminded of the importance of remembering, not just the gifts that are to come, the families we are to see, and the loved ones we shall enjoy, but remembering the true message of Christmas – God’s love for us. And may we not get so distracted by the many activities of the holiday season that we never even reach Bethlehem.
Dr. Van Impe and I are grateful for the opportunity to share the saving message of God’s love for the world in these closing days of time. Thank you for your prayers and support.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I recently ordered your book “Alcohol, The Beloved Enemy”. It is an outstanding work! It was recommended to me by your staff when I submitted a Question of the Week regarding the history of prohibition in the church. I have never been a heavy drinker, but this has convinced me to stay away from alcohol altogether. It had always seemed like a social obligation at gatherings and now I feel as if a burden has been lifted. I gave it to a friend to read and he loved it so much that he is planning on buying some copies as Christmas gifts.
I’ve been saved since 1977 I’m a honorably discharged veteran and I’ve been a paramedic for 30 years I appreciate the fact that you speak with the boldness so many of our fellow ministers have failed to display I’ve been ordained for 20 years I myself find wondering where our lions are I’m glad that we still have men of God willing to speak the truth regardless of consequence God bless you Jack and Rexella And keep the message going
Love in Jesus’ name
Your Brother in Christ
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Sir Arnold Toynbee, British historian and the educator, identified alcohol as a major factor in the destruction of nineteen civilizations predating our own.
William Shakespeare worded it this way, “Oh! That men should put an enemy into their mouths to steal away their brains! O God, that we should have joy, pleasure, revel, and applause transform us into beasts!”
Did Toynbee exaggerate? Was Shakespeare an alarmist?
The personal and social implications of problem drinking are vividly described in this biblically relevant and practical analysis of Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy
Recognized as one of America’s foremost Bible authorities, Dr. Jack Van Impe carefully weighs the pros and cons of social drinking for today’s Christians.
Rev. Roger Campbell collaborated with Dr. Van Impe in the writing of this book.
Prepare for shocking revelations in this phenomenal teaching from prophecy experts Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe! This fast-paced and user-friendly video is perfect for sharing with anyone, Christian or non-Christian – and it answers critically important questions such as:
- How soon will Jesus return?
- Why is deception such a danger in these latter days?
- What does the Bible really mean when it talks of ‘wars and rumors of wars’?
- What does Matthew 24 mean when it talks about pestilences, earthquakes, natural disasters, and famine? How does this scriptural passage relate to today’s headlines?
- How will Jesus establish the New Jerusalem? What will it be like?
- How long will it take us to get to heaven in the Rapture?
- And many more!