Archive for September, 2022


September 24, 2022

“There are many truths which swim in the brain, which do not sink into the heart, and those do us no good. Chew the cud!” –Thomas Watson

Our Sunday School Cornerstone Class is going to be chewing the cud on the 6 verses pictured for 2 weeks beginning this Sunday. These verses in the Gospel of John contain six things certain and unshakable that can change your life. They are six sayings for the ages, six profound revelations of God’s truth from the Son of God’s Own lips. They comprise the most important thought that can enter the mind of man–God’s gracious plan of salvation for sinners. An old fool for Christ who wrote a book on these verses is going to lead our discussion.

“God’s grace is the most incredible and insurmountable truth ever to be revealed to the human heart.” — John Bunyan

Please join us at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church, 12060 Lebanon Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45241, Room #104, at 9:30 a.m.

See you in church.


September 19, 2022

JDW and best-selling author (God is my Copilot) and Double Ace Bob Scott before his P-40 Warhawk in the Georgia Air Museum in 1998. Note the 13 Japanese flags on the fuselage of his airplane, his scorecard back in his Flying Tiger days in World War II. 19 years later in a different part of the Museum, JDW and grandson Erik express their gratitude to F-100 Super Sabre #995 which brought Grandpa safely home a number of times in the Vietnam War. Bob Scott would agree you’re pretty ancient when your stuff starts showing up in museums… but, Oh Lord, it’s been a glorious flight!

” … even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:4).AN


September 18, 2022

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5–6).

So how’s your faith? We are saved by grace alone through faith alone so it’s a vitally important question. Moved any mulberry trees lately? A mustard seed is an exceedingly small thing– close to nothing–but Jesus is not here talking about our degree of faith.

Leon Morris explains the point of this passage, “It is not necessary to have great faith; even a small faith is enough, as long as it is faith in the great God.”

That’s a comforting thought, isn’t it? But notice the caveat: “as long as it is faith in the great God.”

Is your faith in the One True God as he reveals himself in the Bible, no more and no less? Or is your god a customized version that fits your sinful proclivities or political view, malleable as needed. Is church a social construct for you or are you driven there by the overwhelming conviction there is no place else to go? Is God your co-pilot or is he your pilot?

Around the turn of the century I met Robert Scott, WW II ace and author of the best-selling book and movie of the same name–God is My Co-pilot. I spoke at a fundraiser in his honor at the Georgia Air Museum and he gave me a personal tour to include a walk-around of his P-40 Warhawk, and we swapped autographed books. What a charming, gracious old fighter pilot he was! I did not have the nerve to ask him if he realized it, but I’m sure he knows now that his book title was bad theology. God was and is his Pilot.

What say you, my friend? Is God at the controls of your fragile craft with you obediently riding along, doing as he commands? Or do you go where you want to go and expect him to come along in silence until called upon?

Is Jesus Lord of your life … or Vice Lord? Vice Lord is a perilous supposition.

“As a matter of objective reality, God who made heaven and earth has made Christ the Lord of the universe” (RC Sproul).

“I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6).

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourself…” ( 2 Corinthians 13:5).

See you in church.


September 11, 2022

For 1500 years after Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, Israel repeatedly tried and failed to keep them. In due time the Son of God incarnate came along with his Sermon on the Mount and Israel discovered the bar was even higher–much higher–than they thought. “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law [Ten Commandments] or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them … For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17, 20). Then he proceeded to show them just how woefully lacking they were in righteousness.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment …” (Matthew 5:21–22). 

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (5:27–28).

How many men have you murdered in the last month? How chaste are your eyes? How are you on the eight ways Jesus says you are blessed (Matthew 5:3-11)? Could you by any stretch call your heart pure?

If every hearer (and every reader of these words since), honestly examined himself, the Sermon on the Mount would destroy all illusions of his self-righteousness. It is pride destroying and humbling by God’s design. John MacArthur declared, “Jesus made the required standard of righteousness impossibly high for all who would seek to earn God’s favor on their own.” As Paul told the Romans (3:23), “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” But Jesus also pointed to the solution earlier in his sermon when he said that he came to “fulfill the Law and the Prophets.” In the following three years they would see just exactly how he would do that, living a sinless life, performing spectacular miracles, and culminating with his sacrifice of himself on the cross and his resurrection from death in the place of all his fallen chosen–the Gospel story. Christ’s atonement for sinners on the cross is like divine bail money that sets the prisoners free. Bible translator William Tyndale said it more eloquently: “The Law and the Gospel are two keys. The Law is the key that shutteth up all men under condemnation, and the Gospel is the key which opens the door and lets them out.”

So give up your self-righteousness. You must. Self-righteousness is self-delusion. Job said, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins” (7:20). Jesus’ told his Parable of the Publican’s Prayer to those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (Luke 18:9-14). He said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner,” delivered from a contrite heart, is the prayer that makes one right with God. If you think your works make you good enough for heaven, there is no better proof that you are not. All you contribute to your salvation is the sin that killed Christ. It is Christ’s perfect righteousness accounted to you that saves your soul. John Calvin said it this way: “We shall never be clothed with the righteousness of Christ except we first know assuredly that we have no righteousness of our own [repentance].” You must have faith in Christ’s righteousness on your behalf, and that faith is also a gift from God. Paul told the Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (2:8-9).

The words of an old friend, a brilliant medical professional, 20 years ago, haunt me to this day. At my invitation to come to church with me, he replied, “No thanks, but I’m good enough to get into heaven.” His very own words condemn him to eternal damnation.

The Gospel is the only solution to fallen man’s greatest dilemma. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Are you among the “whosoever”? If you are, who made you to differ from those who are not? It is the Holy Spirit that made you to differ. It’s the Gospel that the Apostle Paul taught tirelessly in his immensely successful ministry. He told the Philippians (2:13), “…it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” and in 3:9, “… not having a righteousness of my own that comes from [perfectly obeying] the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Theologians call that alien righteousness. It is the Gospel–the good news–that allowed him to say, as his death approached, “…now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day…” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). It was not a reward for his extraordinary list of good works in his lifetime, it was his alien righteousness–Christ’s righteousness credited to him through his God-given gift of faith. Paul continues, we are “… justified [made right with God] by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:24-5). Grace–an unmerited gift! Ain’t that just amazing? The Apostle Paul speaks for me: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! (11:33)

“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’” (Luke 17:5)

Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (Luke 16:24b).

See you in church.


September 4, 2022

If you were a stranger in the crowd walking a dusty road into the first century city of Jerusalem on Passover, on what came to be known as Good Friday, you would come upon the most hopeless looking scene imaginable. On a barren, reeking, rocky knoll beside the road, you would have seen three crosses with naked men, writhing piteously, nailed to them. The blood covered, mutilated-beyond-recognition man on the middle cross was clearly breathing his last. Without hesitation you would have thought the man’s case was hopeless, as did the multitude of witnesses gathered round.

The truth of the matter is that hopeless looking person on the cross was The Messiah, the hope of the world, and you would be witnessing the most important victory in the history of humankind. How so?

Your lifetime on Earth is but a cosmic millisecond, but your soul is eternal, so where it spends the rest of eternity should be of utmost importance to you. There are only two possibilities– heaven or hell. You can achieve the latter by living your own definition of the best life now with no regard for the God who created you or for what comes later. You can gain the former if you can meet heaven’s standards for perfection. The catch there is that perfection– keeping the Ten Commandments perfectly as expounded in The Sermon on the Mount–is not possible in the human realm, even though God expects you to spend your life striving for it. In the Providence of God they serve to point out your sin and the hopelessness of your situation and your desperate need for a savior. Adam and Eve were the culprits in their colossal rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden. An infinitely Holy God condemned them and their progeny, all of mankind, for that egregious treason. That is what infinite wrath looks like, an indication of just how much God hates sin. Every newborn human who draws a breath since then is born in bondage to sin. So where is our hope for eternal heaven?

Our hope lies directly with that hopeless looking scene on Golgotha, when the sinless Son of God, in a staggering manifestation of his infinite love, took on himself the punishment due us for our sins and died a horrible death. Three days later he rose miraculously from the grave, victorious over death. God in his providence planned this atoning sacrifice before the world began. Peter told the assembled crowd on Pentecost, “…Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God…” (Acts 2:23). On that cross God’s infinite wrath towards sin was assuaged by God’s infinite love for his chosen in voluntarily dying in their stead, a perfect sacrifice on their behalf that met heaven’s requirement for perfection. In what might be called the ultimate human irony, God saves sinners from God. All that is left for us to do is to believe this Gospel story and eternal salvation is ours. In John 3:16 Jesus said, “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.” Belief is the operative word. The gospel message really is that simple, but there is yet another catch. A born sinner cannot and will not believe in God because his will is in bondage to that sin (Romans 3:10-12). His will is not free to choose God–there is no such thing as free will as a solution for depravity. He cannot even see the things of God unless, and only unless God works in him a spiritual rebirth and gives him a new spirit and eyes to see truth. And our Sovereign God takes care of that, too. Just a few sentences before Jesus spoke the words of John 3:16 to Nicodemus, he told him that no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3). Spiritual rebirth, like his initial birth, is not something man is capable of doing for himself, but God can. He promised through the prophet, Ezekiel (36:26–27), “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you… ” He told the Philippians (2:13) through the apostle Paul, “…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure,” and that is to turn from your unbelieving sinful ways–repent–and believe in God and what he’s done for you. In other words, you will repent and believe the Gospel story because God the Holy Spirit in your spiritual rebirth inclined your will to that end–he gave you the want to choose him. The Son’s life for yours on the cross is a gift. Your spiritual rebirth is a gift. The indwelling Holy Spirit that instills repentance and faith in him is the supreme gift. Amazing grace! Are you among that number?

Salvation is all of God. His sovereign hand guides every detail of our sanctifying walk through this life. That is our certain hope, not the pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by hope of the secular vernacular. Scripture makes plain that a believer’s hope is certain. The author of Hebrews calls hope “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (6:18-19). “Christ Jesus [is] our hope” (1 Tim. 1:1). God himself is called the “God of hope” who  fills us with “all joy and peace in believing…” (Romans 15:13).

So do not despair over the scene of gloom in America today, pilgrim. Remember Golgotha. There is security amid the chaos for the children of God. No matter how hopeless your personal situation may seem, no matter how hopelessly broken our God-mocking, sin-ravaged society appears, no matter how hopeless a federal government drowning in debt appears, no matter how hopeless our very freedom may appear, our God is still “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Normal may not be coming back, but Jesus is, and he will gather his remnant that he has preserved throughout the ages. “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…” (Edw. Mote). He is our great hope, and that is a statement, not a wish, so “…be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24). Lay your head on that soft pillow tonight and rest in the peace that passes all understanding.

  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

See you in church.

%d bloggers like this: