Guilty or Sham?

Guilty or Sham?

They knew they were going to find Him guilty of something. They just needed to come together and agree on what He was guilty of. Sound familiar? Was Representative Adam Schiff fair in the impeachment proceedings? Did Jerry Nadler follow proper procedures as chairman of the rules committee? As votes are counted for the House Impeachment, the nation will remain divided on whether this trial proved President Trump was guilty or whether the entire process was a sham. But if the proceedings seem a little familiar, maybe it is because of another trial that was rushed—a trial where a man was determined guilty before He ever opened His mouth.

Guilty Innocent

As far as evil is concerned, innocence is irrelevant to the chosen outcome.

Two thousand years ago there was a trial that took place in the middle of the night. As everyone clamors about the impeachment trial, I hope you will give a few minutes to examine what really took place when Jesus was the one on trial. Instead of joining in the political fray, why not share the facts around a trial that forever changed the world.

After His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was tried before Caiaphas the Jewish High Priest and the political Sanhedrin (with the Pharisees and Sadducees). Having predetermined his guilt they found Jesus guilty of blasphemy (Matthew 27:1; Luke 22:66-71). Jewish law demanded two witnesses agreeing in their testimony, and yet, we never read of two witnesses coming forward with collaborating stories that would permit the death sentence to be meted out to Christ.

Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin were bound by Jewish law, which plainly stated: “Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.” (Deuteronomy 17:6). The law went on to state: ““One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” (Deuteronomy 19:15). In Mark’s account of what happened that fateful night he wrote, “For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies [k]did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” But not even then did their testimony agree. (Mark 14:56-59).

They knew they were going to find him guilty of something. They just had to figure out exactly what it was. They finally settled on blasphemy and sent him off to Pilate to be crucified. But before we leave that Jewish trial I want to spend just a few minutes really examining what transpired. A study of Jewish law reveals that a number of those laws were broken the night Jesus was arrested and convicted (Bucklin, 1970).

  • Arrests could not be made at night.
  • The time and date of the trial were illegal because it took place at night on the eve of the Sabbath—a time that precluded any opportunity for a required adjournment to the next day in the event of a conviction.
  • The Sanhedrin was without authority to instigate charges. It was only supposed to investigate charges that had been brought before it, but in Jesus’ trial, the court itself formulated the charges.
  • As noted earlier, the stringent requirement of two witnesses testifying in agreement to merit the death penalty had not been met.
  • The court did not meet in the regular meeting place of the Sanhedrin, as required by Jewish law.
  • Christ was not permitted a defense. Under existing Jewish law, an exhaustive search into the facts presented by the witnesses should have occurred—but did not.
  • The Sanhedrin itself pronounced the death sentence. During Roman captivity, however, the Sanhedrin was not allowed to impose the death sentence (John 18:31). As the Roman historian Tacitus recorded, “…the Romans reserved to themselves the right of the sword.”

Yes, our nation will debate the impeachment proceedings for years to come. But there was a trial that took place two thousand years ago in which we were all found guilty. And thankfully the only innocent man to ever walk this earth was willing to go through it all—all the way to the cross—so that you and I can have eternal life.

You want to talk about a sham of a trial? Tell someone about the trial of Jesus!

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What Won’t You Boycott?

What Won’t You Boycott?

Should Christians boycott businesses which promote sins like homosexuality?

Conscientous Christians are always concerned about their affiliations and the causes they support (Prov. 4:14-15; 1 Thess. 5:22; etc.)  We all want to avoid giving evil the upper hand.  In our society, this means we are often faced with questions of which businesses we ought to support as consumers.


Where does boycotting stop?

First of all, it must be said that we must never do anything to violate our own consciences (Rom. 14:23).  Yet, it must also be pointed out that God authorized Christians to do business in markets which sold meat that was offered to idols, even though eating meat offered to idols is sinful (1 Cor. 10:25-31; cf. Acts 15:28-29).  Thus, God allows us to purchase products or services from a business that sells things which contribute to the sins of others.

God also commands us not to research everyone through whom we purchase products or services to determine if they’re good (1 Cor. 10:25, 27).  This is because of another fact we must no longer overlook.  Boycotting breeds inconsistent hypocrisy, something God wishes Christians to overcome (Rom. 2:1, 17-24).

In recent years Disney, Ford Motor Company, McDonald’s, Sears, Wal-Mart, NBC, IBM, Subaru of America, Volvo, Chase Bank, Baby Magazine, Procter & Gamble, and more have all to some degree sponsored or promoted pro-homosexual organizations or causes.

If you boycott them all, what about businesses which hire and support liars, alcoholics, and the unscripturally divorced?  What about the businesses which sell alcohol and immodest clothing?  What about utility companies which serve businesses that sell or offer sinful services and products?

Every gas station I’ve ever seen sells alcohol, porn, lottery tickets, and tobacco products…so don’t worry about boycotting Ford, Volvo, or Subaru for supporting homosexual causes, because you won’t be able to buy a car to begin with!

If you boycott Procter & Gamble because they sponsor homosexual causes, forget about buying Duracell batteries, Febreze, Charmin, Ivory, Olay, Zest, Cover Girl, Max Factor, Crest, Scope, Gillette, Folgers, Always, Pringles, and a host of other products which they produce.

Friends, can you name even one business which is completely free from some association with sin?  Are we going to boycott them all for consistencies’ sake?  It can’t be done.

This is why we who hate to think we’re supporting sin need to remember how the New Testament says that purchasing a product or service which is innocent in itself is not a vote for that company or business’s immoral policies.

Don’t violate your conscience if it demands you boycott a business (Rom. 14:23), but also follow Romans 14:22 by not advertising your boycotting to others.  By doing so you will avoid advertising your inconsistency also.

Instead, let’s boycott sin itself!

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Beautiful Feet

Beautiful Feet

“I will never forget the first time I saw him. It was love at first sight. He had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen, and then when I looked into his eyes—they were beyond beautiful.” Words like this are sometimes part of conversations in our land, but one thing you will never hear. “He had the most beautiful feet I have ever seen. I was captivated by their beauty.” Now as strange as it might seem, the Bible does talk about beautiful feet.

beautiful feet

Do your feet bring joy wherever they go?

God’s plan was for His people to take His message to a lost world. How did He look at it? “How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things’” (Rom. 10:14-15)! There it is. Those who bring the gospel to the lost have beautiful feet.

What makes their feet beautiful? It begins long before they walk to conduct their study with a lost person. When God described the armor Christian soldiers must put on, He did not forget their feet (Eph. 6:13-18). He has on his head a helmet of salvation. His upper body has a breastplate of righteousness. His midsection is wrapped with the truth of God. His hand has that shield of faith to withstand every fiery projectile thrown at him by Satan. He also holds the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. However, there is one other item he must have. He must enclose his feet with “the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

That gospel of peace was completely prepared by God as He established the church, but we must ensure that we place it on our feet. Teaching others demands hours of preparing ourselves. It demands prayer and long periods of study of God’s word. However, God expects all of us to feed on the milk of the word, then go on to feasting on the meat of the word and then to become teachers of others (Heb. 5:12-14).

Having done this, we take that “gospel of peace” to a troubled world. It brings peace between those who were captivated by sin, enemies of God, and makes them children of God. It brings to their hearts a peace which passes all understanding.

It also brings “glad tidings of good things.” Is this not the definition of the gospel? The Greek word for gospel literally means good news. We take this good news to them, and it brings gladness to their souls. It brings gladness to your soul for there is no joy greater that bringing a lost person to Him.

So, take time to look at your feet. They may appear hideous to you, but the heart of that lost one will say, “How beautiful are the feet of those brought me the gospel of peace, glad tidings of good things!”

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Building an Eternal Home

Building an Eternal Home

Just as a man might build a house in which he and his family can live, so too, each one of us is building a life. In fact, the Bible uses the analogy of a house in order to help each one of us better understand how we might build a life that we can be proud of, and one which will weather storms of trial and even the eternal judgment.

Jesus famously used the analogy in His parable of the wise and foolish builders. The foolish individual listened to the words of Jesus and then promptly ignored them. He is likened to a man who built his house on a foundation of sand. The wise individual listened to the words of Jesus and put them into practice. He is likened to a man who built his house on a foundation of rock.

eternal home

Are you building a life which will withstand eternal storms?

When building a life, like when building a house, it is important to have a good foundation. A house built on a shaky foundation might stand for a while, but given time, it collapses. A house with a solid foundation will endure a good, long while. So too, a life built on vain philosophies, empty goals, and harmful practices might seem good for a while; but eventually time catches up and things collapse in that life. Meanwhile, Jesus is teaching, a life built on faithful obedience to His precepts will endure through every storm, coming out on the other side still standing. (cf. Matthew

Elsewhere, the Scriptures point out that what is true of an individual life, is also true when building a strong church. The apostle Paul wrote, “According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-11; NKJV).” A church built on the firm foundation of Christ has an eternal foundation. All others will prove faulty.

What is true of the foundation, is also, the Bible says, true of the rest of the manner in which we build our lives. As he was saying his goodbyes to some dear friends, the apostle Paul is recorded as having told them, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32; NKJV)

We understand in building structures, there are often building codes which must be followed. These codes, devised by men, are intended to make houses safer and more secure. In the same way, one might say that God has given us certain building codes for life. These plans, devised by the wisdom of God, are intended to make our lives better, and more secure. An individual who builds his life according to his own whims is very likely going to find, so to speak, the plumbing leaks, the wiring is faulty, and the whole mess is going to end up burning to the ground. The individual who, having selected a good foundation, goes on to build according to God’s plan, is going to find all things work together as they should, and the soundness of what has been built has not just a lifetime guarantee, but an eternal guarantee.

Jesus makes one other point about life, using the analogy of a house. He likened the condition of some people to a man who, having gotten rid of an unwanted guest, an evil spirit, cleans out his house, but never fills it up with good things. Eventually the evil spirit returns and brings his brothers, and fills up the house for the man (cf. Matthew 12:43-45). When building a house, it is good to purposefully furnish it with good things, and good company. Likewise, with life. You need to actively fill your life with good habits, good ideas, and worthwhile companions. If you do not, you will find that others fill your life for you. You will wake up one day to discover you have nothing but bad habits, unhappy thoughts and friends you don’t really want. All of which make your life a lot more unpleasant to actually live in.

Unlike houses, wherein if the one you are residing in proves unsatisfactory, you can always move and find another one – with your life, you only get the one chance to build it right. Fortunately, God makes it possible, when we mess up, to tear parts out (so to speak) and build them right. He offers us not only the right blueprints for life, and a catalog of blessings and practices with which to furnish our lives; He also offers us forgiveness and patience when we put our work into His hands.

With God’s help, we can build a life that is eternally good.


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Total Acceptance of All Ideas

The Folly of Total Acceptance of All Ideas Equally

The watchword in our society that permeates so many aspects of life is acceptance. The values of any single member of society is equal to the values of any other single individual. There is no single answer to any question that is actually right, so every person defines “truth” based on their own experiences.

As an illustration of this, look at our world’s definition of marriage and sexual activities. For so many, there is no difference in living together without marriage and living together inside a marriage. Comments like, “We have been together for fifteen years, but just got married two years ago” illustrate this so well. Our society, based on the idea of total acceptance, forbids anyone to make any judgment about these situations.

acceptance truth

How does a view of accepting all things as equal fit with the teachings of the Bible?

You see the same when terms like “my significant other” or “my partner” are given the same values as those who say, “my husband” or “my wife.” The idea of total acceptance censors those who say there is a difference between any of these words.

The end result is the same. Anyone who accepts anything never can fully embrace anything! Since all ideas are equal in value, there is no way total acceptance of everything could ever allow anyone to fully accept anything. There is nothing absolutely true. We have no compass to guide us!

Now take this principle of accepting everything into the church and look at the results. Is worship totally subjective and consequently any meaningful way any one person chooses to worship has the same value as the way any other chooses to worship? How would such impact the Lord’s supper? There is no boundary as to what elements are found in the Lord Supper. There is no boundary as to when one eats the Lord’s Supper. There is no boundary as to whether one ever has the Lord’s Supper. One is told, “Judge not that you be not judged,” and such misuse of scripture results in a complete inability to find truth that is absolute. We have no compass to guide us. Never forget that anyone who accepts everything can never embrace anything. The Lord’s Supper can never have structure of any form if one accepts everything.

Take this view of tolerance and the acceptance of all ideas being equal and look at how it changes views toward sin. Look at how it changes the understanding of salvation and our view of someday standing before the Lord to be judged. There is truth. There is absolute truth. There is eternal truth. Jesus is absolutely the Messiah. He truly died and literally rose on the third day. He is coming again, and each person will be judged by the eternal truth. You can embrace this!

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