Author Archives: William Cody Bateman

Praying for the Lost

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“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Intercessory prayer in church must not be for other believers only, but also for unbelievers. Many attendees mistakenly consider themselves true Christians, and others are merely curious. Both are doomed for a Christless and hopeless eternity. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

There is still an opportunity to reach them, as the hymn “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” reminds us.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumb‘ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.

George Askins, “We Have Met to Worship”

Our hearts should especially be broken for loved ones who face eternity without Christ as Savior. What can be done? Pray. God answers the prayer of His children. We are assured that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

What would this serving of manna be worth to you to see a wayward family member or neighbor repent of their sin and come back to fellowship with God? To see your fractured church healed of the disunity caused by wolves disguised as sheep? Surely this manna would be sweet indeed. Surely it is worth an hour of intercessory prayer. JDM

God’s Provision for His People

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“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Psalm 136 gives three key examples of God’s sovereign provision. He protects and shelters during our times in the “wilderness.” He makes possible victories over great “enemies.” And he gives “food to all flesh.” God’s detailed provision and the many examples thereof in the Scriptures are inexhaustible. Yet, in these three areas, we may find hope for any situation “in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Our “wanderings” are compared to hard-hearted Israel (1 Corinthians 10) and the many physical and spiritual sins of a people in rebellion to God’s control in their lives. Jesus warned that the “cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things” would “choke the word” and make us unfruitful (Mark 4:19). Yet, even though we may be like the younger son in the story of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-32) and would waste our “substance in riotous living,” God was still the Provider of the inheritance that was wasted. God was still waiting for the son to “come to himself” and return home.

God still has compassion, and He forgives and restores to fellowship all who come home.

And were it not for the promises of deliverance from our enemies that are so replete throughout the Scriptures, were it not for the hope that we would see deliverance “in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13), and were it not for the confident knowledge that “evildoers shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:9), we would be in constant fear and torment.

God promises to bring us victory! We are told that He will fight for us, and that we are not left to our own devices!

Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. . . . and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20). HMM III

Jesus Purges His Father’s House

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“For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” (Psalm 69:9)

After spending a few days at Capernaum, Jesus, His family, and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem to observe the Passover (John 2:12-13). The huge temple complex, rebuilt by Herod, had been turned into something akin to a religious shopping mall, with stalls and booths surrounding the outer court with vendors who “sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting” (John 2:14).

Ostensibly, these vendors were there to facilitate the thousands of visitors who had come to observe the Passover and offer sacrifices and contribute payment for certain vows and “redemption” fees identified by the Old Testament laws (Leviticus 27). However, the system had been corrupted by “heavy burdens” of usurious temple fees levied by the priesthood (Matthew 23:4).

Jesus became incensed by the open corruption and flagrant violation of God’s instructions, and making “a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:15-16).

What a sight this must have been! Just a small taste of the “zeal of thine house” (John 2:17) turned this one man into a flurry of power that stunned a host of vendors, priests, and temple guards. One day, “the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 15:7) will be unleashed on Earth. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). HMM III

Featured Audio: What God Says About Gossip

Dr. David Hocking, Hope for Today Ministries

🎓 The church is facing an epidemic of biblical proportion; The practice of gossip. It is not surprising then, that God names the practice of gossip as a sin that He hates. This teaching will expose the reasons we gossip and how we can stop it.

The Miracle at Cana

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“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” (John 2:11)

Right after His baptism and the time of spiritual intensity in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee and attended a wedding celebration at Cana, some nine miles north of Nazareth, with Mary and some of His disciples.

During the course of the multi-day feast, the host family ran out of wine to provide for their guests. Apparently, Mary was embarrassed for the hosts and expected Jesus to fix the problem.

Within the compound were “six waterpots of stone . . . containing two or three firkins apiece” (John 2:6). A firkin was about 10 gallons. Each stone pot would hold about 25 gallons, therefore the six vessels would contain about 125 gallons total. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim” (John 2:7).

Once that was done, the servants were directed to fill a pitcher and serve the “governor of the feast” (John 2:8). The unsuspecting governor tasted the miraculous beverage and declared, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10).

What actually happened? The water (H2O), a simple molecular compound, was instantly changed into extremely complex, multifaceted molecular compounds. It was a creation event, overriding the scientific axioms of stasis and entropy. New matter was created—instantly—just by the private thought of the Creator Himself!

This first miracle defies those who would insist that God must use natural processes over long ages to create. HMM III

Fulfilled Prophecy: The Virgin Birth of Messiah

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“The LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.” (Jeremiah 31:22)

The entire gospel authority rests on the fact of the sinless life of the Lord Jesus—beginning with His conception.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). An ‘owth (the Hebrew word for “the token” or “the miracle”) would prove that the child born, the son given, would be none other than the “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

When Matthew and Luke speak of the virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27), they use the Greek word parthenos, which is only used of an actual virgin. Yet, even as clear as the words may be, the reason for the virgin birth is more important still.

The Lamb of God (John 1:29) must be “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). Resting on the centuries of the example of the perfect sacrifice with the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:5), “even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthains 5:7).

This “last Adam,” created to be the “quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45), was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). This virgin-born Immanuel was “made flesh” (John 1:14) “to take away our sins” (1 John 3:5) “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This all began (in real time) with the sinless, virgin-born conception of the Messiah “which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). HMM III

Watering Down the Word of God

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“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:19)

It is a very serious error to try to add some new revelation to God’s written Word, as many cults and false religions do. This is the warning of verse 18 (see also Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6).

It is even more dangerous, as shown in the above text (the third from the last verse of the Bible), to delete (or even dilute) any of the words of the Bible. Note that the warning emphasizes the words, not just the thoughts.

The sad fact is that a great many liberal theologians, especially in the past hundred years or so, have been doing just that, thinking thereby to make Christianity more compatible with modern science and philosophy. But they are literally playing with fire—this same book had just warned that any whose names do not remain in the book of life will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Tragically, many of the sections they seek to “take away” are the references to hell.

God has promised to guard His Word against any such deletions. “The words of the LORD are pure words: . . . Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:6-7).

There are also many who would not try to take away any of the words from the text, but who then dilute their intended meaning in order to attract unbelieving intellectuals. This also is dangerous.

Peter warns against those who would “wrest, . . . scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). We must never forget the words of the Bible are “pure words,” meaning just what they say. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is profitable . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16). HMM

How to Spot a False Prophet and Teacher

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Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18).

The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine.

Charles Ryrie

For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the doctrine of the Triune God. Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.

Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:

1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”

2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).

3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet.

Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.

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