“See to it that no one misleads you!”

Mark 13:5


I read it and groaned. Some poor soul, in anticipation of Christ’s return on May 21, withdrew his entire life savings and poured it into signage warning his neighbors of Judgment Day and the end of the world. Thankfully, he will live to regret it. God willing, he will live to learn from it, as well.

Why do so many saints fall for this kind of thing? You will reply, “Because they don’t take seriously Christ’s admonition that no one knows the day or the hour of his return”  (Mark 13:32). 

True enough. But actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. That’s because for nearly a hundred years much of the Evangelical world has taken its eschatological cues from Dispensationalism, a system of theology that teaches that Christ will return not once, but three times: first, at the secret Rapture, when he removes his Church to heaven; second, at his Coming in visible glory seven years later, at the end of the Tribulation; and third, at the end of the Millennium, where he arises to the Last Judgment. (If your head is already spinning, learn from it: Does Jesus really want sheep with spinning heads?)

Now, please pay close attention. Dispensationalists say, “Yes, Christ and the apostles gave us lots of signs, signs by which the Tribulation saints can know that his Coming is near. But there are no signs to indicate the Rapture. It is ‘imminent.’ It could happen at any moment, without warning. For again, Christ gave us no signs by which to discern the nearness of the Rapture, only to discern the nearness of his Coming.”

Do you see how this plays into the hands of the date-setters? People get to thinking, “Yes, we cannot know the day or hour of Christ’s Coming, but maybe God has tucked away a secret code in the Bible, a code that some anointed end-time prophetic expert will crack, and so grace us with the knowledge of the day and hour of the Rapture.”

What I am saying is that the Dispensational eschatology is a fertile soil for deception; that it makes the saints vulnerable to every wind of eschatological doctrine, thereby exposing them—and the reputation of the Church—to serious loss.

But what if the classical Catholic and Protestant eschatology is true? What if the Bible teaches that Christ is going to come again ONCE at the end of the present evil age, to raise the dead, transform the living, judge the world in righteousness, and create new heavens and a new earth, the eternal home of the redeemed?

And what if Christ and his apostles have graciously given us a number of clear signs by which we can know, with absolute certainty, not the day or hour of his Coming, but that his coming is indeed at hand, even at the door? What a boon that would be! Then we could keep our eschatological cool right up to end of the world!

Well, check out 2 Thessalonians 2. The Thessalonians were going through precisely the same thing Mr. Camping’s followers are today. With regard to the Coming of Christ they had been quickly shaken from their composure, whether by a (demonic) spirit, a (prophetic) message, or a (phony) letter as if from the apostles, to the effect that the Day of the Lord had come (2:2).

So what was Paul’s antidote to the poison working its way through the Thessalonian system? In a word: SIGNS! He reminded them again of certain signs that HAD to occur before Christ would come; signs that would signal that his Coming really was near. And please note: In all this he did nothing more or less than what his Master done, carefully teaching the flock about the signs of the end, so that when things in the world got rough or spooky or tricky or hysterical, they would be well able to keep their cool (Mt. 24).

How I wish that the dear brother who cashed out his life savings had given me a call first. I would have said, “Dude, COMPOSE yourself! The Lord told us that he is coming back ONCE, and that before he does, certain key things HAVE to happen: The gospel must be preached to all nations (Mt. 24); the great mass of Jews must repent and turn in faith to their Messiah (Romans 11); a personal Antichrist must arise, and lead the entire world-system in a final battle against the Church (2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 11, 19, 20). Have all those things happened? If not, put your money back in the bank. Better yet, dedicate a chunk of it to world missions.”

Saints of God, we have a good Shepherd. He leads his sheep beside still waters. He teaches them carefully, so that they will be calm, cool, and composed, even amidst the terrible tumults of the end times.

So then, in these last of the last days shall we not follow him?

For more, click here and here.


 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

(Mt. 24:47)

When we say that someone’s got the goods, we mean that he can actually deliver. He is not, as they say in Texas, all hat and no cattle. Instead, he is a man of true substance. He has tangible resources at his command, usually in great abundance. Therefore, what he promises, he performs. Moreover, when there’s a pressing need, he’s on everyone’s short list as the go-to guy who can get the job done. He really can help, because his wealth—whether material or spiritual—is really real.

All Christians know that in a world utterly riddled with fakeness, the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE “has the goods.” True forgiveness, true life, true strength, wisdom, protection, and material supply . . . all are his in abundance. He is the treasure, in which all treasures are found.

But here is a related question to ponder: Which of Christ’s many treasures do you think he values most? What, in all this wide world, constitutes the “goodest” of all his goods?

Our text contains the answer. And if you will consider it carefully, you will find—to your great amazement—that it is YOU: his God-given, blood-bought, spiritually re-born, believing, loving, hoping, stumbling, ever-being-picked-up, and sure-to-enter-heaven child.

Now before delving into this further, we do well to remember an unsettling but important preliminary: Once—prior to your new birth—you were Satan’s goods. And there was no possession on earth he valued more. Why? Because in and through you he could accomplish every one of his most cherished objectives: usurping God, dishonoring God, and wounding God by deceiving, manipulating, and hopefully destroying the creatures nearest to God’s nature and dearest to God’s heart.

As our Lord himself put it, “How can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Mt. 12:29).

There you have it in a nutshell: Previously, the saints were Satan’s goods.  But now God has sent his Son into the world, so that—through the whole mighty apparatus of his redemptive work—he might “plunder” Satan’s goods, making them his own.

In passing, let me also say that for many of us there was a time when we were not only Satan’s goods, but also the goods of Satan’s people.

This sobering truth is highlighted in Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers. When the heavenly Landowner saw that his vicious hirelings refused to heed his prophetic servants, he decided to send his son, saying “Surely they will respect him!”

But what did the wicked vinedressers say? “This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance” (Mt. 21:38)!

Now there’s a passage to send ice through your veins. It warns us all that the world is full of smooth religious operators who want US as their goods, US as their inheritance! And so it has been for many of God’s elect, who were desperately deceived by the charismatic “strength” of wicked religious men, until One stronger than the strong man—opening prison doors (and blind eyes as well)—plundered his goods!

All of which brings me to our text. It too comes from a Holy Week parable, the Parable of the Talents. The words are those of the returning Christ, spoken to his faithful ministers, granting them servant-leadership among the flock of God in the days of the consummated Kingdom.

But my interest here lies not in the saint’s reward, but in the saints identity. Who are they? They are Christ’s “goods.” They are his special treasure. They are the only things in all the universe valuable enough, and divinely owned enough, to have passed safely through the fires of judgment, so that they might remain forever at his side—forever in his keeping—in the great treasury of the Kingdom of God.

But why, in that happy Day, WILL Christ have the goods? It is because, even now, he HAS the goods! They are absolutely his. God absolutely gave them to him before the foundation of the world. Christ absolutely bought them with his precious blood. And the Spirit absolutely calls them and keeps them, so that nothing can snatch them out of his hand.

Yes, for time and eternity, our gracious, loving, and almighty Lord Jesus Christ has the goods.

And the Spirit and the Bride delight to say, “How good it is!”



You are the light of the world.

(Mt. 5:14)


This post comes fresh on the heels of a little victory: After submitting it on five separate occasions (twice in hard copy)—and personally calling the Editor three times—I finally prevailed on the staff of our (quite liberal) local newspaper, the Press Democrat, to publish a letter on a subject close to my heart: the sanctity of marriage.

In a moment, I will share it with you.

But first, an exhortation: Would you please give some prayerful consideration to becoming a habitual letter writer for Jesus?

The rewards are many.

It will deepen your grasp of the biblical worldview, forcing you to discern the proper application of biblical truth to the great issues of our time.

It will sharpen your skills as a researcher, thinker, and writer.

If your letters are published (and good ones usually are), it will give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to teach, convict, and encourage your non-christian neighbors.

God willing, it will nudge public opinion and the surrounding culture towards God and his truth, thus improving the quality of life in our community and nation.

It will encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ: As they see other believers thoughtfully, courteously, and fearlessly speaking up for the truth, they will not only be gladdened, but also emboldened to do the same.

And above all, it will bring pleasure and honor to the Lord.

Read More


“Come, let us reason together . . . ” says the LORD.

(Isaiah 1:8)

Like the sun, like the seasons, like love, birth, life, and death . . . tragedy comes around again and again.

When it does, people ask the same questions again and again.

And when they do, Christians, in fear and trembling, must offer the same God-given answers again and again.

Here is an essay I wrote several years back, in which I attempted to set forth those answers concisely and comfortingly.

As we prepare to walk for a longish season beneath the shadow of the recent tsunami in Japan, my hope is that this writing will be helpful to you and to any of your friends who might be asking the age-old question: “What kind of God would allow such a thing to happen?”

To read the essay, please click here.



For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched, and that burned with fire; nor to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, such that those who heard begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.

(Hebrews 12:18-19)


Let every gospel preacher take note: Some words are unbearable, and in the secret places of their hearts, the people beg you to speak them no more.

Such was the case at Mt. Sinai, when, amidst a great show of darkness, smoke, fire, and cosmic trembling, God unveiled his Law. But it was not the special effects that terrified the people. No, it was the words themselves.

The people heard them audibly, or at least they started to. Rolling down the mountain like a flood, clapping like thunder, echoing all across the wilderness, these words struck terror in their hearts: “Thou shalt, thou shalt not; thou shalt, thou shalt not.” That was all they heard, and that was precisely what they could not bear.

Why? Because they spoke a death sentence over them. Instantaneously, the dreadful truth registered in their consciousness: they had to obey them, they could not obey them, they must die for disobeying them.

“Through the Law comes the knowledge of sin,” wrote the apostle—and also of man’s condemnation before a holy, sovereign, and altogether just God. The people could not bear to hear the Law because it brought them no hope, no life, and no joy—only a consciousness of a death, hinted at in the fire, tempest, and thick darkness of Sinai.

What, then, did the people do? They did what all sinners do: They rushed to a mediator. “You go and speak to him for us,” said the Israelites, pleading with Moses. “Perhaps he will send you back to us with words we can bear.”

And Moses, prefiguring him who was yet to come, did that very thing.

As Christians, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ is Moses’ anti-type, the true Mediator between God and men. Having lived and died for his people, he has reconciled them to God and his Law. Therefore, as he comes down from Mt. Zion with unveiled face, radiant with joy, he brings us good news.

He speaks bearable words to his people: words about God’s gift of grace; words that fill their heart with hope, life, and gladness.

“The words I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63). This is why Jesus’ people can bear them, and this is why they beg to hear them over and over again.

I close as I began: Let every gospel preacher take note. Do you want the people to bear your words? Do you want them to beg you to speak them again and again?

Then let your words—even the hard ones you know you must speak from time to time—be filled with grace, filled with Christ, filled with the glorious good news that “It is finished;” that through simple faith in our Mediator we are now accepted—and infinitely loved—in the Beloved.

Said Peter to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life?”

Man of God, if you will speak the bearable word of grace, so shall the people speak to you.