Eternally Secure! – April 26, 2019

Can-you-jump-out_-600x503I love preaching and teaching; I even love doing a weekly blog.  But unlike preaching and teaching, I don’t always remember to do the weekly blog… until I’m at a meeting, in this case about Japanese Sign Language, and  get the Church’s email newsletter on my phone with last week’s newsletter still attached.  Of course God had me covered, because this little gem from GES was right next to it! ~ Pastor Scott

Can You Jump Out? (John 10:28-29)

By Shawn Lazar on Apr 26, 2019 09:00 am


Most of our pastors say a believer can jump out of God’s hand, based on John 10:28. How can I refute such a claim? 


I’m sorry to say your pastors are wrong (or, actually, I’m happy to say they’re wrong): 

1.) John 10:28-29 does not say anyone can jump out of the Father and Jesus’ hands. That is not taken from the words or the context of those verses. 

2.) John 10:28-29 says no one is able to snatch them out, which would include the believer himself. 

3.) John 10:28-29 says the Father is greater than all, including the believer. 

4.) John 10:28-29 promises that believers shall never perish. If you could lose salvation by jumping out” or by any other way, you could perish, and Jesus’s promise would be false. 

5.) John 10:28-29 promises that believers have “eternal” life. If you could lose it, it wouldn’t be eternal. 


He Is Not Here – April 19, 2019

On Easter we are going to concentrate on the effect the resurrection has on our lives (spirit/heart); so it seemed only fitting that my pre-Easter blog deals more with matters of the mind.  The list below is one that was first published in 2017 under the heading “Ten Fascinating Reasons to Accept the Historicity of the Resurrection.” I think it’s worth the read.


He Is Not Here


  1.   The First Eyewitnesses were Women. The first eyewitnesses of the resurrection were women. All the Gospels note that the first individuals to discover the tomb empty were women. Matthew notes that “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb… The angel told the women, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:1, 5-6). [1] Women were not held in high esteem. In Greco-Roman culture, a woman’s testimony was not admissible in court. In Jewish circles, it took the testimony of two women to equate that of one man. If one were to invent a story, the last people one would place as the first witnesses would have been women, unless it were otherwise true.
  2.   Minimal Facts Concerning the Resurrection. Gary Habermas has popularized the so-called minimal facts argument for the resurrection. The minimal facts are those things that are accepted by nearly all New Testament scholars. The minimal facts are “1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 2. Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them. 3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. 4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed. 5. The tomb was empty.” [2] These facts are nearly universally accepted by New Testament scholars, including liberals.
  3.   Transformation of the Early Disciples. As noted in the minimal facts, James, the brother of Jesus, was changed from a skeptic to a believer because of the resurrection. James along with his brothers did not believe in Jesus during Jesus’ early ministry (see John 7:5). However, Jesus appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:3-9), who then became a leader in the early Jerusalem church. His death is recorded by Josephus. [3] Paul is another example of one who was completely transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. Paul had been a persecutor of the church. After witnessing the risen Jesus, Paul became a proclaimer for the church.
  4.   Embarrassing Details of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, embarrassing details add veracity to a historical claim. The fact that women were the first witnesses, that a member of the Sanhedrin (the same Sanhedrin that executed Jesus) had to give Jesus a proper burial, and that the disciples were fearful and fled all serve as embarrassing factors for the resurrection account.
  5.   Willingness to Die for What Was Known. Many people will die for what they believe to be true. But no one will die for something they erroneously invented. The disciples knew if they were telling the truth. Yet, one finds that the disciples were willing to die for what they knew to be true. Stephen died by stoning (Acts 7:54-60), James of Zebedee died by the sword at the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2), James the brother of Jesus died, [4] and Peter and Paul died at the hands of Nero. [5]
  6.   Documentary Evidence. The documentary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is quite good. The historian seeks to find how many primary and secondary sources [6] can be gathered for an event to determine the event’s historicity. Concerning primary sources, the resurrection has Matthew’s account, John’s account, and Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 15, including the additional references by James (if one accepts that James wrote the letter attributed to him) and Jude. The following are secondary sources for the resurrection: Luke, Mark, Clement of Rome, and, to a lesser degree, Ignatius and Irenaeus.
  7.   Circumstantial Evidence. Douglas Groothius notes that circumstantial evidence for the historicity of the resurrection is “namely, the practice of the early church in observing baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Sunday worship.” [7] Baptism is based upon the analogy of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial death. In addition, it is quite odd that faithful Jews would move their worship from a Friday evening into Saturday to a Sunday morning unless something major had occurred on a Sunday morning. The major Sunday morning event was Jesus’ resurrection.
  8.   The Missing Motive. J. Warner Wallace has noted in his lectures and books that when a conspiracy is formed, three motivating factors are behind such a move—power, greed, and/or lust. [8] The disciples would hold no power behind claiming the resurrection as history. They were running around while often being threatened by the Jewish and Roman authorities. As far as greed, they taught that one should not desire earthly possessions, but spiritual ones. Lust was not a factor, either. They taught celibacy before marriage and marital fidelity after marriage. In fact, N.T. Wright notes in his classic book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, that the disciples had no theological motivation behind claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead as they were anticipating a military hero and a final resurrection at the end of time. What motivating factors existed for these disciples to invent such a story? None! The only reason the disciples taught the resurrection of Jesus was because Jesus’ resurrection had occurred.
  9.   Enemy Attestation of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, if one holds enemy attestation to an event, then the event is strengthened. When one considers the claims of the authorities that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15), the testimony of the resurrection is strengthened. The early belief that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus is refuted by the discovery of the Nazareth Inscription that orders capital punishment for anyone who steals a body from a tomb. [9] In addition, several refences to Jesus and his resurrection include citations from Josephus, [10] Tacitus, [11] and Suetonius [12] among others (including the Babylonian Talmud).
  10.   Multiple Post-Resurrection Eyewitnesses. Finally, there are multiple eyewitness testimonies pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. Several people had seen Jesus alive for a period of 40 days. The eyewitnesses include Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), the women at the tomb accompanying Mary (Matthew 28:1-10), the Roman guards (Matthew 28:4), the Eleven disciples (John 21), the two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), an indeterminate number of disciples (Matthew 28:16-20); over five hundred disciples (1 Corinthians 15:6), James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). I am certain that there were many other witnesses who are unnamed.


Many other evidences could be given for the resurrection of Jesus. Thinking about the methods of history, one must understand that there is a reason why Americans accept the first President of the United States as George Washington and not Spongebob Squarepants. History backs up the claim that Washington was the first President. In like manner, history backs up the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Now the question is this: what will you do with such information? Some will try to ignore the event. Some will try to dismiss it. Others will acknowledge the factual nature of the event and worship Jesus as the risen Lord. It is my prayer that you will do the latter.


[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

[2] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 48-50, 64-69.

[3] Josephus, Antiquities XX.200.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Eusebius, Church History XXV.5.

[6] Primary sources are documents written by eyewitnesses. Secondary sources are documents written by individuals who know eyewitnesses. For instance, my grandfather was an eyewitness to the biggest naval battle in World War II history. From the information my dad gathered from him, he would be a secondary source, whereas my grandfather would have been a primary source.

[7] Douglas Groothius, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 553-554.

[8] See J. Warner Wallace, “Rapid Response: I Think the Disciples Lied About the Resurrection,” Cold-case 17, 2016), retrieved April 11, 2017,

[9] See

[10] Josephus, Antiquities XX.9.1.

[11] Tacitus, Annals XV.

[12] Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Claudius 25 and Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Nero 16.

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Better than not doing it! – April 12, 2019


D. L. Moody was once criticized for his methods of reaching people with the gospel. His reply was “I agree with you, I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me how do you do it?”  The woman who had criticized replied “I don’t do it.”  To which Moody responded “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”

Sometimes, Satan uses a critical spirit to keep me side-lined.  I can easily see that a flyer, handout, or suggested method for sharing my faith (or even inviting a co-worker to church on Easter :-)) is old-fashioned, or new-fangled, or too off-putting…..  but then this little recollection of Moody’s runs through my head.  Yes, Scott, it’s less than ideal, you can certainly find things to criticize – but it’s undoubtedly better than letting the opportunity pass altogether!  Amen?

Just a thought,

Pastor Scott

Abigail; Hero or Rat? – April 1, 2019

On Sunday March 31, I preached on 1 Samuel 25; the story of David vs Nabal; wherein Abigail, Nabal’s wife, does an end run around her husband to save him, their household, and David.  I called an audible Sunday morning and elected to answer the four questions here, in writing, rather than off the cuff – largely because one of them was new to me and needed a little research.

Q&A 1: Like Paul in Acts says that we are to honor God over man- Acts 5:29- is that what a wife needs to do to honor God over her husband in order to protect her husband if he is unwilling to protect himself and his family?

First, and I may be a little naïve, but it seems to me that if we live a quiet life, mind our own business and work with our own hands (1 Thess 4:11); there will be few times in our lives where our spouse will have to protect one of us from death by armed, angry men.  Second, narrative is not normative.  Meaning, we can glean principles not precepts from these narrative passages.  With those caveats. The simple answer is “yes.”  New Testament submission = “arranging oneself under” and there may come a time when like Nabal a husband is so caught up in foolishness, or, more commonly, a time nearing the end when he’s no longer thinking right, that his wife, in order to protect him and honor God, must step around him.  But, like with all justifications, be very careful of motive.  God wants our obedience more than He wants our sacrifice!

Q&A 2: What happened to Nabel’s kingdom and servants after he died and Abigail left? Did they all join David?

This is the one that stymied me.  My first reaction was to say, the Bible is silent on this note; but given that David’s story extends into 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles, I couldn’t say definitively.  I can now; the Chroniclers of Samuel apparently did not deem property rights important in this case.  That said.  We do know, in fact, the only one of David’s first 4 sons who did not cause great trouble for him was Abigail’s son. He is called by two different names: Kileab in 2 Samuel 3:3, and Daniel in 1 Chronicles 3:1. He was born in Hebron and he was David’s second son. After the death of his oldest brother, Amnon, people would normally expect Kileab to become king after David. However, God chose Solomon to rule after David. Unlike Kileab’s younger brothers, Absalom and Adonijah, Kileab did not fight to try to become king. Perhaps Nabal’s lands were Kileab’s inheritance?

Q&A 3: Because Nabal’s character seems to indicate he was a fool (the literal meaning of his name), and he was a Calebite (with the word meaning dog), was what Abigail did wrong or out of compassion for Nabal by not telling him?

Clearly, Abigail’s motives were pure.  She did what she did to save her husband’s life, despite the fact that he was a fool.  I didn’t mean to suggest that what she did was wrong, but rather to say in a marriage all of our actions need to complement the union, rather than just the individual.  In cases where information is withheld like that, or “end-runs” are made NOT to protect the family, but rather to get away with something, the marriage union can only suffer.

Q&A 4/Comment: Talking about Abigail telling a lie for God’s timing. Similar to when Abraham lied about not being married (to Sarah) for God to further Abraham’s richness and stature. Other times in the old testament that happens too.

This is true.  And hard to swallow.  And doesn’t erase the fact that lying underlies two of the seven abominations God hates in Proverbs 6 and violates a key principle of the New Testament Community.

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.  (Proverbs 6:16-19 – Emphasis mine)

“Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.”  (Ephesians 4:25)

I think the “heroic” lies in the OT narratives tend to always be protective and rightly motivated.  I mentioned Corrie ten Boom recently as a modern example of this.  Nevertheless, we should always keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking lies (unless Pharaoh kidnaps our spouse or 600 armed men are marching toward our estate because our spouse won’t share breakfast).

Pastor Scott