Snake, Roaring Lion, Dragon, Tempter, Accuser, Deceiver, and Liar – May 27, 2022

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 

Genesis 3:1-7

I saw Satan today….. on a YouTube video.  He was posing as a progressive pastor and is, apparently, quite popular with kids who grew up in church.  In this video he states, unapologetically, that God – in His Word – never says anything forbidding pre-marital sex, or sex with multiple partners while married, and He certainly never prohibited homosexual acts!  The heretic went on to say that all these prohibitions were imposed, not by the Bible, but by the Purity Movement who wanted to control our bodies and our most intimate thoughts.  Satan always twists God’s words!

The truth is, the sacredness of the marriage bed is proclaimed from Genesis 2 through John’s Revelation*.  God’s Word says, in 1 Corinthians 6, that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that sex outside of marriage causes the Holy Spirit to by engaged in that which is unholy.  In 1 Thessalonians 4, God says it’s His will for our sanctification that we abstain from pornea which is any sexual thought, word, or deed outside of marriage.   God, our Maker, knows that sex is the access point for the corruption of our walk with Him.  Satan, through this progressive preacher, is not trying to persuade young Christians to cheat in school or even to try drugs, he’s going right at the only sin that we can commit against our own body (1 Cor 6:17).

I don’t want to make the mistake that the purity writers made of holding virginity up as a “god” or as the surest route to happiness, but I don’t want to overlook the clear teaching of Scripture.  You want to have a close walk with God?  Put away ALL sexual immorality!  God’s plan hasn’t changed.  One man, one woman for as long as both are alive (Matt 19:3-9).  If your “felt” needs (temptations) are other than conformity to God’s standard then, my friend, you share something in common with ALL of humanity.  Jesus died to save us from sin, not that we should walk in it!

Pray for me, as I pray for you, and be on guard against the Roaring Lion!

Pastor Scott

*“because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.”

Revelation 19:2

Make Up Your Mind! – May 20, 2022

As I was reprocessing last Sunday’s sermon on 1 Peter 4:7-11 (Peter’s instructions to the church to pray, love, host, and serve because the last days are upon us), my mind was drawn to a verse from Daniel, Chapter 1.  Israel’s Cadet (future officers) Class was brought to Nebuchadnezzer’s palace and enrolled in a program to make them good servants of Babylon.  As part of the program they were to eat like the nobles, food that YHWH had forbidden.  It was undoubtedly a high pressure situation and a HUGE temptation to “go along.”  But verse 8 sets the course for Daniel and his friend’s lives.  “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”  My guess is that had Daniel waited to make that decision a year into his training, it might have been much harder to implement!

How does this apply to Peter’s “last days” pleas?  Here in the states life is still pretty chill.  Yes, we can see the writing on the wall, but it’s been up there since, at least, the 60’s and we’re doing fine.   A fiery trial, however, could easily be right around the corner.  “Purposing” to pray, love, host, and serve while our house is on fire may be too much for anyone.  Get in the habit now!  Individually, we need to choose now to each be the church we want around us in the fire!  

The following isn’t an end-of days (1 Peter 4:7) kind of illustration, but Schuller does tell a good story about the wrong time to make decisions!

I remember one winter my dad needed firewood, and he found a dead tree and sawed it down. In the spring, to his dismay, new shoots sprouted around the trunk. He said, “I thought sure it was dead. The leaves had all dropped in the wintertime. It was so cold that twigs snapped as if there were no life left in the old tree. But now I see that there was still life at the taproot.” He looked at me and said, “Bob, don’t forget this important lesson. Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst mood. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.” 

Robert H. Schuller, Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!, Thomas Nelson.

Blessings on you and yours,

Pastor Scott

Laying Isaac Down

In preparation for Communion on Mother’s day, I had planned to use Genesis 22 – the sacrifice of Isaac – and this was one of the articles I had tagged. It’s a great article but in posting it I am not carte blanche endorsing the Gospel Coalition – they write well, but think differently about some NT doctrines. Hope this one blesses you! ~Pastor Scott

‘Kill Me a Son’: The Beautiful Scandal of Abraham’s Sacrifice

As Abraham lifts the knife above Isaac, many Christians reach for the scissors, at least mentally. We want to pull a Thomas Jefferson and snip out the story from our Bibles.

In Genesis 22, God commands Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son. Many conclude that this, surely, is an embarrassment to modern sensibilities, an affront to our common humanity. It’s an unbridgeable barrier to faith for any right-minded enquirer, isn’t it?

Bob Dylan retells the story like this:

Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” (“Highway 61 Revisited“)

“What?” isn’t Abraham’s response in the Bible, but Dylan is putting words to our alarm: You must be puttin’ me on! Child sacrifice? In a holy book? What should we make of such a story?

I love Genesis 22. It is perhaps my favorite chapter in all the Bible. I don’t want to get out the scissors; I want to get out the magnifying glass. Because if we train our eyes to see what’s there, this chapter becomes not a barrier to faith but an almighty boost.

But we need to begin with some basics.

What Is the Bible?

Sometimes Christians are the worst at answering that question. Some will reply, “The Maker’s Instruction Manual,” or “God’s Road Map.” Creative types have even given us an acronym: BIBLE stands for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” Most often people, whether Christian or not, see it essentially as a moral guidebook.

But if we read Genesis 22 through that lens, we’re in for a shock. When God says, “Sacrifice your son,” how should we react? Go and do likewise? No. If we copied or endorsed each practice in the Bible, we’d be in a terrible mess (not to mention jail).

Genesis 22 should be read the way the whole Bible should be read. 


Genesis 22 should be read the way the whole Bible should be read. First and foremost it’s a biography—the Spirit’s testimony to the Son. And when we see it this way, the entirety of Scripture comes into focus.

Testimony to Jesus

The key to the passage is to ask this question: Who is Isaac? Answer: Abraham’s offspring. He’s the immediate fulfillment of the cosmic promises God has been making since Genesis 12. The offspring of Abraham will save and bless the world (Gen. 12:2–3, 7; 15:5; 17:4–8). In the meantime, the “offspring” of Abraham will be the nation of Israel. In the long run, the “offspring” is Christ (Gal. 3:16). But in the first instance—before the Abrahamic people and before their Messiah—we get Isaac.

Picture baby Isaac lying in Abraham’s arms. What do you have? You have the hope of the world. No Isaac, no Israel. No Israel, no Christ. No Christ, no salvation. So whatever you do, Abraham, don’t drop him!

And then we read Genesis 22: “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Everyone is shocked by this verse, but to the attentive reader it’s actually more shocking, not less, because we know who Isaac is. He’s the offspring of Abraham, the hope of the world! Through Isaac will come all God’s blessings to the nations. And now God wants him slain as a burnt offering (i.e., a sacrifice of atonement, Lev. 1:4). Apparently this is the way God will save the world—through the beloved son offered up on a mountain.

Notice that this mountain is in “the region of Moriah.” Mount Moriah will become temple mount in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 3:1). At some point the penny may just drop.

Getting It

I was once teaching this story to teenagers, sketching the picture layer by layer: “Isaac is the only beloved son, the hope of the world, the source of all blessing. He’s trudging up the hill with wood on his back (Gen. 22:6); remind you of anything? It’s a hill near Jerusalem; ring any bells?” Suddenly, it was as if someone electrocuted a girl in the front row. In a good way. She started thumping her friend next to her—really thumping her—with the kind of violence born of pure joy: “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. It’s Jesus! It’s Jesus! It’s totally Jesus!”

Instead of Genesis 22 being an insurmountable barrier to faith, with Jesus at the center it becomes an incredible boost to faith. 


That, essentially, is why the Bible was written. It was written to make us say, “It’s Jesus, it’s Jesus, it’s totally Jesus!” When we read the Scriptures like this, they start to make sense. Instead of Genesis 22 being an insurmountable barrier to faith, with Jesus at the center it becomes an incredible boost to faith. Remember that Genesis 22 records an event two millennia before Christ was crucified. But from the beginning, the Bible has always been testifying to history’s central event.

He Will Provide

Abraham’s faith shines through the chapter. He reassures Isaac, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering” (v. 8). Somehow a substitute will be provided. Somehow God will offer a lamb and everything will be okay. Abraham knows that Isaac is the promised one, the hope of the world. So whatever happens, Isaac will make it through—Abraham has this resurrection-shaped faith (Heb. 11:17–19).

On this occasion a ram is provided. Which means the “lamb” is yet future. So the whole episode concludes: “Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided” (Gen. 22:14).

Notice the future tense. God will provide. What will he provide? The Lamb of God, the Offspring of Abraham, the Beloved Son, the Hope of the World.

One day, on that very mountain, God would provide the ultimate atonement. And many knew it. For centuries afterward they would point to that hill and say: “The true sacrifice is coming, and that’s where he’ll be provided.”

What’s It All About?

God didn’t ask Abraham to go through with the sacrifice. But one dark Friday, God would provide. The beloved Son of the Father would walk willingly up that hill, carrying the wood on his back. And there he would be slain to save and bless the world.

If we attempt to read the Bible primarily as a rulebook, it crumbles between our fingers. With such a mindset, Genesis 22 is a scandal and a barrier to faith. Yet when Scripture is read as intended, we see it as a testimony to Christ. Suddenly we realize that all the Bible, and all believers in every age, are fixed on the one truth that towers above all others: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Editors’ note: 
This article is adapted from chapter 3 of Long Story Short: The Bible in 12 Phrases (Christian Focus, 2018)

Back to Basics  – May 6, 2022

Saw a headline that read, “Christians are getting their lunch handed to them!”  On the national stage every victory seems to lead to a string of setbacks.  So what do we do?  Well, when your team is getting beat.  When you’ve fallen into bad habits or even despair.  It’s time to return to “the basics.’  Consider David’s words in the first 6 verses of Psalm 37.  Meditate on these verses today and get your heart thinking with God’s heart – despite what your eyes may be seeing! Blessings, PS

A Psalm of David.

Do not fret because of evildoers,

Be not envious toward wrongdoers.

For they will wither quickly like the grass

And fade like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord and do good;

Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the Lord;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light

And your judgment as the noonday.