Salty Speech?

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6 ESV

Language is full of figures of speech, word pictures, and metaphors. I like to think of the Guardians of the Galaxy character Drax the Destroyer. He took everything literally. One character from the show told the main character that figures of speech “went over his head”. Drax responded by saying, “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.” You might not be as bad as Drax in picking up metaphors but sometimes figures of speech are “too fast for our reflexes”.

So what does Paul mean by salty speech? He obviously does not mean that we throw salt at people while talking. that would turn a lot of people off to your message. How does salt affect speech? The context of the phrase tells us how to better interpret the figure of speech.

Paul wanted his readers to speak wisely when talking to unbelievers. He also wanted the readers to be able to answer the outsiders well. So salt has something to do with speaking wisely and being able to answer people well.

Understanding the historical context of salt behind this phase is also valuable. Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient Roman world. So much so that soldiers were paid in salt and covenants were made in salt. [1] Salt was also used to preserve food so that it would not spoil as quickly. People did this until the invention of refrigerators. Salt is also used to make food taste better. The last image is probably what Paul has in mind.

When talking to people outside of the faith, we need to fill our conversations with wisdom, “seasoned with salt”, to better answer questions that are presented to us by outsiders of the Christian faith. Wisdom and truth makes the conversation interesting to unbelievers so that they will present to us opportunities to share the gospel. Paul doesn’t want us to use curse words or “salty language” like sailors.

We use wisdom, apologetics, and other salty topics like a hook so that we can share with the unbeliever that 1. God is good. 2. We are not. 3. God is going to judge the world for its sin. 4. God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die on a cross, and raise from the dead to pay the penalty for our sin. 5. They need to respond by repenting of their sin and putting their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at josiah.rob.nichols@gmail.com with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. the book series is designed to teach you biblical interpretation through demonstration. Lord bless you.

  1. https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170306

SECURITY OF SCRIPTURE

“Which he had promised afore by  his prophets in the holy scriptures” Romans 1:2 KJV

Intro: I want to talk to you today about my heart. All my emotions, thoughts, and conscience are bound to the Word of God. The Words of God revealed in the scriptures are my life blood. Cut that out of my life and I am a dry corpse. Scripture is attacked and has been attacked since the beginning when the serpent said that, “You shall not surely die.” What is most shocking is when the church attacks the scriptures. It boils my blood when a popular Bible teacher says that Christianity is a house of cards when we base it off the Bible. This so-called Bible teacher says that we have to “unhitch the Old Testament from the Christian faith” and “we need to stop saying ‘the Bible tells me so’” because evolution disproves the Bible. That drives me stark raving mad because the gospel is founded on the Old Testament. God says so, Jesus says so, and Paul says so. The gospel of God was promised beforehand From God through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures. If we abandon the OT scriptures, and the scriptures in general, we abandon the faith. You want proof of the gospel, look at the Old Testament Scriptures. You can trust the Bible Because:

Body:

God said so: Prophesies of Jesus

  1. Genesis 3:16
  2. Passover Exodus 12:21-28
  3. Sacrifices in Leviticus
  4. Office of the King
  5. Office of prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15
  6. Psalm 22
  7. Isaiah 53
  8. Over 300 more prophesies in the Bible just one being fulfilled by chance is 1 to 1017 that is a number that is greater than atoms in the universe. It is like taking Texas covered in 2ft of silver dollars marking one with an x, throwing it in the lot, mixing it up and Jesus finding it 1st time blindfolded. Jesus did that over 300 times. That is 10157 that is 10x greater that the number of impossibility.

Jesus Said So

  1. Matthew 5:17-20
  2. Matthew22:29
  3. Jesus used scripture to fight temptation
  4. Jesus used scripture to teach against divorce.
  5. John 10:35 Scripture cannot be broken.
  6. Jesus said that the scriptures pointed to Him. To the Pharisees and on the road to Emmaus Luke 24.

Paul and the other Apostles said So

  1. Romans 1:2 The scriptures come from God through the apostles thus making Holy scripture. God sovereignly used and orchestrated the lives of the prophets to write exactly what he wanted them to infallibly, and without error.
  2. Romans 15:4: Scripture was written for our instruction so that we might have hope. It is useful for daily living.
  3. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Scripture is God breathed and is Sufficient for Holy living.
  4. 2 Peter 1:19-21: Peter said Old Testament scripture was stronger evidence for Jesus being the Lord Christ than his eyewitness testimony for the prophets that wrote it were carried along by the Holy Spirit, not that the New Testament is any less inspired.

Conclusion

Instead of a house of cards, Christianity is a living temple built upon the bedrock of the prophets and the teaching of the apostles, aka the Bible. Christianity without the Bible is a house made on sand. Jesus said, ““Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Build your life on the scriptures.

Prayer:

Dear heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for your word. It is our rock. It reveals you, your character, your plan of salvation, and your wisdom. By it we are made wise unto salvation. We are prepared for eternity. We come to know your Son by it. Whom you sent to be the blood sacrifice that appeases your wrath against our sin. Your scriptures reveal that when He died on the cross and rose from the dead that he paid the penalty for our sin. You say in your Word that if we repent of our sin, and trust in Jesus you give us the right to become your children and give us eternal life. When we repent of our sin and trust in you, you seal us with the Holy Spirit who helps us understand and accept the Scriptures. Help us live according to the direction and promises of your Word. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

God Will Heal Our Land?

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

You hear this verse tons of times at patriotic Christian rallies by pastors or teachers that want God to turn our country away from moral decline. The premise is if we repent from our sins and pray, God will make this country moral or “great again”. Yet if we look at the context of this verse, this promise isn’t for us. We need to use a little hermeneutics to understand the text.

Here is the context:

  1. King Solomon had finished building the Jewish Temple. The temple symbolized God’s presence in Israel.
  2. The priests sacrificed in the temple to dedicate it to God and the LORD accepted their sacrifice by sending fire from heaven.
  3. King Solomon had just prayed for God to bless the temple in 1 Kings 8:12-54.
  4. God appeared to Solomon by night to tell him that He accepted his prayer.
  5. The words “my people” and “their land” refer the the people and nation of Israel.
  6. In the Old Testament God said in Deuteronomy that if his people sinned he would send them into exile. If they repented He would bring them back. This happened after the Babylonian captivity. They repented and then God brought them back into the land.

What are the principles of this passage?

  1. God is faithful to His covenant promises.
  2. God requires repentance and faith to be right with Him.

Did this passage mean that God would heal his people’s land if they repented? Yes, to the nation of Israel. We are not Israel and this is not the Old Testament. We live in the New Testament era. God is faithful to his covenant promises. the New Covenant promise is if we repent of our sin and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sin, we will be forgiven of all our sin, God will indwell in us with His Holy Spirit, we will be the new temple of God, and we will have eternal life with Him forever. That is a much better covenant promise we can take to heart. Still if we want God to bless America, let us pray for the lost and share the gospel.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at josiah.rob.nichols@gmail.com with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. the book series is designed to teach you biblical interpretation through demonstration. Lord bless you.

Assumptions & Authorial Intent

Exert from Chapter 1 of When My Ox Gores My Neighbor

Chapter 1: When My Ox Gores My Neighbor: Sinai Thunders

“Secure sinners must hear the thundering of Mount Sinai before we bring them to Mount Zion.” ~George Whitefield

What to Expect

What were you thinking? When you opened this book, you had a lot of expectations on what this book was going to be about. If you are from an agricultural background, you might have thought this book was going to be about oxen. You could be a literal person and might have picked it up and thought this is a book on what to do when an ox gores a neighbor. If you like to reads novels, you might pick up this book and think this is a story of when an ox gored someone’s neighbor and what they did to help their neighbor. If you picked up this book with these expectations, you were wrong. However, for the literal person if you come across a neighbor that has been gored by an ox, call 911. The more studious reader probably read the Title When My Ox Gores My Neighbor:  Using Hermeneutics to travel from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion then read the back to see what this book is all about. The studious reader left his expectations at the door so that he would not be seen as a fool and not be disappointed. This book is about two things. The first is how to study a particular passage in the Bible. The second is how to use what we studied and point it to the gospel.

Backgrounds are not bad. They in part make up who we are. We either started up rich or poor under a certain ethnicity in certain circumstances to different people. We all made choices that brought us to where we are today. If you are like me, those choices were most likely bad choices than good choices. We all have different beliefs that drive us to do different things. When we enter in to the book world, we come across someone completely different from us. They are writing down their thoughts, feelings, and research so that someone can understand the author. Today this world has lost sight of what the author is trying to say. The postmodern media’s message is it is all about the individual, the reader. They say, “I know you are writing this but I want it to mean something completely different.” This type of thinking is called the reader response method. If you decide to read this book this way, it will break my heart. This is not how to pass a test in math. The math textbook says two plus two equals four.  If a student were to read the textbook with the reader response method, they could decide that two plus two equals eight. Do that and you will get a big fat red F on your test. The right way to read any book is authorial intent. Authorial intent is a fancy term for saying read the book the way the writer of the book wanted you to read it.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at josiah.rob.nichols@gmail.com with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. the book series is designed to teach you biblical interpretation through demonstration. Lord bless you.

Sarah Uses Hermeneutics

Girl, English, Dictionary, Study, School

Everyone uses hermeneutics (the art and science of interpreting literature). From husbands reading their wife’s grocery lists to theologians reading John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. To illustrate this let’s look at the story of Sarah. Above here is Sarah. Sarah just got an assignment from her teacher. Her teacher just told her that she has to read a book and find ten words she doesn’t know in the dictionary.

Sarah decided that she was going to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Obviously she is a good Christian girl. She finds ten words she doesn’t know: “wardrobe”, “shaggy”, “muffler”, “faun”, “myth”, “indeed”, “hoax”, “complicated”, “spiteful”, and “vanishing”. Then she picks up her Compact Oxford English Dictionary and looks up the words. Afterwards, she writes down the words and their meanings on the paper. Then the next day she turns in her paper to the teacher.

Sarah just demonstrated that she knows how to do the process of hermeneutics.

  1. Observe the statement/text. She listened to her teacher. She read the book. She used a dictionary.
  2. Determine the audience. For the assignment she and her classmates were the audience. For the book children were the intended audience. People who want to know what words mean are the intended audience of the dictionary.
  3. Draw out principles. For the assignment the principles were to write down ten words she did not know, and look them up in the dictionary. For the book she pulled out the principles presented in the story. For the dictionary the principles were the meanings of the words.
  4. Determine if principles applied to her. The assignment directly applied to her. The story applied to children in general. The dictionary meanings applied to those words.
  5. Apply principles. She applied the principles of the assignment by doing what her teacher said and turning it in. She applied the principles of the story by recognizing we need to use correct logic and reasoning to see if something is true. She applied the principles of the dictionary be understanding the words she looked up.

She also demonstrated she knows three types of genres in hermeneutics.

  1. homework assignment genre.
  2. Narrative genre.
  3. Dictionary genre.

When someone asks what hermeneutics is and who does it? You can say hermeneutics is the science and art of interpreting literature and you do it everyday. Let us interpret the Bible using the principles that Sarah used on her homework assignment. Let us do what the Teacher says.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at josiah.rob.nichols@gmail.com with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. the book series is designed to teach you biblical interpretation through demonstration. Lord bless you.

Repent and be Baptized

Man, Baptism, Faith, Religion, Symbol

This is one of the most argued about doctrines in Christendom. Is Baptism immersion? Is it sprinkling? Can it be done to infants? Does it save you? I grew up in a movement that said baptism was only for believers and you had to do it to be saved. Their case and point verses are Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21. The main reason that there are so many arguments about baptism is the verses that talk about them are not as clear as one expects at first glance. They need to be looked at as a whole to get a better understanding of the doctrine of baptism.

This is called systematic theology. Hermeneutics plays a key role in gaining a well developed systematic theology. The verses that support the doctrine need to be understood in their grammatical and historical contexts.

So in the book of Acts, Luke wrote to Theophilus to show him what the Holy Spirit did through the apostles to make disciples starting in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the Earth. The surrounding context of the passage is a sermon from Peter to explain why people of different languages were hearing the gospel miraculously in their own languages. The people were cut to the heart that they had crucified their promised Messiah and that He had raised from the dead. They wanted to know what they had to do to be saved from His wrath. Then Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (ESV). Here are some important things to realize in this verse.

  1. The word repent means to turn/change one’s mind/heart that results in a change of living. It is in the aorist tense. So it is a one time act that has affects in the future
  2. Repent is in the aorist active imperative 2nd person and be baptized is in the passive tense. That means that the repentance was the action they needed to do. Be baptized is what they need to do in light of their repentance. So repentance is the primary action that is salvific, baptism is the secondary action it is not salvific. But baptism does need to be done by the repentant believer.
  3. The word “Eis” in the Greek can mean into, for, in, or because of. In this case it is translated “for”, but should be translated “because of”. They needed to repent and be baptized because Jesus has already given them forgiveness of sins on the cross.

To conclude this verse. What saves people is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Repentance is the primary action people must do in response to this. Baptism is the secondary response. Baptism flows from repentance. This makes sense in light of other passages that show we are saved by grace through faith. Repentance is the other side of the coin of faith. Baptism, the work, demonstrates that we have that faith/repentance. So yes people need to be baptized because of repentance, but, not to save them. It just shows that repentant believers are saved.

So what do we do with the 1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (ESV) Well this verse would make more sense if we translated “baptism” into “immersion”. We are immersed into the body of Christ when we have repentant faith in Jesus Christ. Peter says he is not talking about the washing ritual Christians do to show we are saved when he says, “not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience”.

Yes baptism means immersion. Yes believers should be baptized. No the physical baptism does not save us. Repentant faith in the LORD Jesus Christ is the primary response to salvation. We are saved by the Death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ when he atoned for our sin.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at josiah.rob.nichols@gmail.com with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. Lord bless you.

Message of Hope and Comfort

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 1:5-2:2

Hands, Open, Candle, Candlelight, Prayer

Sin. I hate that word. I hate that I am a sinner and that I sin. I battle and struggle against it every day. I am not the shining light that I think that I am. I fall and give into sin more than I know I do. Sometimes I wonder how God being the perfect shining light that He is, can love me even though I am a wretched sinner. I have broken His laws and I deserve the wrath of God. I know that left to myself I would do nothing but sin and revel in it. Oh, how I hate what my Lord hates. Sin often makes me cry. I often ask what can I do. Maybe you are like me. You hate that you are a sinner. Maybe you wonder that you are even saved.

The book of 1 John was written to answer your question if you are saved. 1 John is one of the three epistles written by John. An epistle is just a fancy word for a letter. The Holy Spirit moved John to write three letters to different churches to 1. Remind them of the gospel, 2. Encourage them in the faith, 3. to strengthen them against heresy, 4. to solve personal matters these specific churches were dealing with. When interpreting an epistle we need to remember:

  1. The author that is writing the epistle, John.
  2. The audience they are writing to, a church.
  3. The reason for writing, to assure believers of their salvation.

When we keep these things in mind, we will be able to interpret the letter clearly. We also need to look at the surrounding context of the passage we are studying before we dive in to the passage. John starts out the passage with his credibility as a witness of Jesus Christ and the eternal life that He brings. Then he says that he wrote those thigs to make the reader’s “joy complete”.

Then he transitions into proclaiming the Gospel message. First point is that God is perfect, “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1Jn 1:5). God is holy and without sin. Some of the best preachers I know say they start their gospel presentation with the terrifying bad news, “God is good and we are not.” If we want to have fellowship with Him, we must walk in the “light.” We must live in His goodness and revealed truth. If we do that through Jesus Christ, we are “cleansed from all sim”. That is awesome.

Since in Him there is no darkness at all. He cannot fellowship with darkness. Yet the passage also says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Here is where we came from in the beginning. We are horrible wretched sinners and we cannot get rid of our own sin. We cannot have fellowship with God on our own even with a little bit of Jesus help. We cannot work our way to heaven. Like George Whitefield said, “Works, Works, a man can get to heaven by works. I would sooner try to climb to the moon with a rope of sand.”

Here is the beauty of the passage, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The verb confess is in the present active subjunctive first person. It means to continually and presently confess our sin to God. This is repentance, we turn from saying we are not sinners, to agreeing we are sinners, and stop trying to live in sin, but live in the revealed truth of God and of Jesus Christ. That is a mouthful there and a big concept to get around but it is like walking. You get closer to your destination with every step you take.

You might ask yourself what if I screw up again. Well, you cannot work your way to heaven. If fact, if you try to do this without the grace of Jesus you will fail again often. What do you do if you fall of the horse? You get back on again. That is why he wrote this so that we do not sin. He continues on to say, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”(1 Jn. 2:1b). Jesus has our back. He will still hold us up. He will still cleanse us. He will always keep us in perfect relationship with God the Father. After all, we are helpless without him.

How does he do that? He has once for all paid the debt for all of our sin. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” Propitiation means a blood sacrifice that appeases wrath. He once for all, through his sacrifice on the cross, satisfied the righteous wrath of God for all of our sin. This is available to anyone in the world through repentance and faith.

Do you hate your sin? God hates it more. He hates your sin so much that you deserve to spend an eternity in Hell under the holy wrath of God. He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. He has provided you shelter from His wrath in Jesus propitiation on the cross. Walk in the shelter of His grace, love, and peace. Daily confess your sin, repent of your sin, and trust in Jesus. Then you will be a light to others in this dark horrible world. Jesus has covered your lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous heart by the blood sacrifice on the cross, and cleansed your every sin. Love and trust the savior.

I hope that this has blessed you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section. Please no cursing for pornography. Also feel free to share this post to your friends who need it, or like it. If you want to contact me, you can contact me at josiah.rob.nichols@gmail.com with any question you want. Also please feel free to look at the resource page to look at The Using Hermeneutics Series. Lord bless you.