For God So Loved the World


by Mike Ratliff

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ᾽ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (John 3:16 NA27)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that everyone believing in Him should not perish but have life eternal. (a personal translation of John 3:16 from the NA27 Greek text)

The first verse I memorized in Sunday School as a child was John 3:16 from the King James Bible. This must have been sometime around 1956-1957 since I did not learn to read until the 1st grade. My mother even had a plaque made with that verse on it and put it on the wall over my bed. I still have the little white New Testament I got for memorizing the most verses in my class that year. So what? When I look back on my life from that point to the time God had mercy on me in 1986, I am truly amazed that He did at all. Since the time I came to know Christ, I have known much of both of the tender mercies of our Lord as well as His flail of tribulation. My brethren, the school of the cross is the school of light, it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light. With that, let us look at John 3:16-21.  Continue reading

A Documented Case of Persecution


This is actually a continuation of yesterday’s post Therefore Do Not Be Afraid. As I was about to set up a linking post to it over at Christian Research Network I found that the site was down as was Apprising.Org. I contacted Ken Silva. He emailed me back saying he had contacted his ISP. This morning he let me know that whoever had attacked his sites used a Denial of Service Attack so large that it took down the entire server that not only his two sites were on, but many unrelated sites. Such are the self-righteous actions of evil men. If all you can do in the face of documented truth is resort to underhanded violence of some kind then you are indeed pitiful. Praise the Lord that both sites are back online now.

On the other hand, the content of this post will be the actual word for word account by our brother John Bunyan of his arrest and trial and appeal process and how he and his family were treated by those in authority. I pray you take the time to read the entire article for it is heart rending as Bunyan left a wife at home with several children, one of them blind and no one in authority would offer any mercy even though there was no evidence whatsoever that his sentence was just. He remained in prison for 12 years. – Mike Ratliff

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Therefore Do Not Be Afraid


by Mike Ratliff

καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. (Matthew 10:28 NA27)

And do not be afraid of those killing the body, but are unable to kill the soul, but fear instead the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (a personal translation of Matthew 10:28 from the NA27 Greek text)

I had intended to write another piece contrasting the prevalent false teaching (heresies) in the visible church in our time with the proper handling of God’s Word, His doctrines, and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through good preaching. This rightly dividing of God’s Word  is used by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s Will in the hearts of men. Some believe and are saved. Others, through their unbelief do not believe and never will. In both cases, to accomplish His will, He uses the preaching of His Word. Some are His others are not. Some are given the gifts that God uses to do this.  Continue reading

Unless You Are Born Again You Are Not Able To See The Kingdom Of God


by Mike Ratliff

ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω σοι, ἐὰν μή τις γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν, οὐ δύναται ἰδεῖν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ. (John 3:3 NA27)

Jesus answered and said to Him, “Amen, amen I say to you, unless one is born again, he is not able to see the Kingdom of God.” (a personal translation of John 3:3 from the NA27 Greek text)

What causes corruption of the Gospel message? As we have gone back to the source, the root, which is the Word of God, as we exegeted from the Greek, John’s account of our Lord’s contention with the Jewish religious leaders during His earthly ministry, wasn’t it apparent to all that Jesus came to Israel to reveal the Father to them proving that He, the Son, was deity, to live a perfect, sinless life and then lay His life down voluntarily to purchase those who were chosen before the foundation of the world with the price of His blood? His perfect sacrifice was their propitiation. We learn these things and so much more by going to the Word and learning from the Holy Spirit as He transforms our minds as we submit to it. Studies into the Word like these are sorely needed in the Body of Christ. I would hate to be a Pastor whose time has come to stand before our Lord to give an account that had sold out and ministered in a way that simply tickled itching ears.  Continue reading

Joy in the Midst of Suffering


My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. (Psalm 84:2 ESV)

I am in the process of rereading John Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. I need the perspective change at times so that I quit listening to the wrangling nature of my flesh and, instead, crucify it, take up my own cross and follow my Lord. That means, I follow His example (1 Peter 2:18-23) instead.  Continue reading

A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus


by Mike Ratliff

Συγκακοπάθησον ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. (2 Timothy 2:3 NA27)

Take your part in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (a personal translation of 2 Timothy 2:3 from the NA27 Greek text)

My son and daughter gave me a Kindle for my birthday. Yes, I know my birthday is not until October, but since we are scattered all over this country, we are preparing to celebrate my wife’s birthday, which was in June, my son’s birthday, which is in August, and my birthday, which is in October this up coming weekend. One of the first books I downloaded onto it and have been reading ever since is the biography of John Bunyan. I have been sorely tempted lately by our enemy into despairing of this ministry. Why? This happens as my focus goes inward and with that always comes a sense of my sinfulness and unworthiness to even be called a Christian. I look at those whom God uses to feed me spiritually and I see how small I am. How can God use one such as I? Two things have helped me through this. As I read of Bunyan’s early Christian walk, it soon became apparent that there were some parallels with how God is using not only me, but many others like me in these dark times. The well educated and those with large ministries are more often then not the ones who are on the road to apostasy just as in Bunyan’s day. Bunyan was barely educated and his only education in theology was from the Word of God and sitting at the feet of his pastor. God raised him up to do a mighty work in the Church, but it was one that involved much suffering. The second came as I watched this video. Continue reading

The Righteous Shall Live By Faith


by Mike Ratliff

Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι. δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς γέγραπται· ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται. (Romans 1:16-17 NA27)

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone believing, both to Jew first and to Greek. For the righteousness of God is revealed in it from faith to faith as it has been written, “But the righteous man will live by faith.” (a personal translation of Romans 1:16-17 from the NA27 Greek text)

After Saul the Pharisee was knocked off his horse on his way to persecute Christians, blinded by the power of God, and saved becoming the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-9), a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ in Damascus named Ananias was sent to lay hands on a “man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying” (Acts 9:11). When Ananias expressed fear and doubt, knowing whom Saul was, our Lord said, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel. For I will show hm how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:15-16).  Continue reading

What About John 1:1?


by Mike Ratliff

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος (John 1:1 Textus Receptus)

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος (John 1:1 Tischendorf New Testament)

εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος  (John 1:1 Wescott and Hort New Testament)

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος (John 1:1 Nestle-Aland 27 Edition)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God , and God was the Word. (a personal, word for word translation of John 1:1 from the NA27 Greek text)

In yesterday’s post, Why It is Vital that We Become Mature in Christ, I used the example of the hypocrisy and dishonesty of those responsible for The New World Translation Bible, which is the Jehovah Witness “bible”  in their deliberate mistranslation of John 1:1 saying, “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God and the Word was a god.” When confronted with the overwhelming textual evidence that there is no “article a” in v1 in any of the valid texts, their response was that the translation was from the “oldest manuscripts,” which cannot be proven. The facts are that this translation came from the German by Johannes Greber in 1937. He was a former Catholic priest turned spiritist who claimed the translation came from God’s spirits. These are objective, provable facts whereas their claims are easily proven false. However, I did receive a comment today from a Jehovah Witness apologist about this example.  Continue reading

Why It is Vital that We Become Mature in Christ


by Mike Ratliff

Καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους, πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι, κλυδωνιζόμενοι καὶ περιφερόμενοι παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης (Ephesians 4:11-14 NA27)

And He gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some shepherds and teachers for the equipping of the saints to the work of ministry to the building up of the Body of Christ until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the fuller knowledge of the Son of God, to complete maturity, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we should not longer be infants tossed by waves and carried around by every wind of doctrine by the cunning of men with craftiness leading to the scheming of deception. (a personal translation of Ephesians 4:11-14 from the NA27 Greek text)

In 1887, Robert Shindler, a fellow pastor and close friend of Charles Spurgeon, wrote in Spurgeon’s publication, The Sword and the Trowel: “It is all too plainly apparent men are willing to forego the old for the sake of the new. But commonly it is found in theology that that which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true.” If we think deeply and honestly on those searing words with all humility and willingness to repent of what God shows us about ourselves, I am certain that each of us must repent of falling for the fallacy of seeking that which is new or different in our theology. If we are honestly seeking the will of God that is both good and right, but if we are looking to have itching ears tickled or are pursuing the subjective or experiential as the means of fulfillment then all we are really doing is falling for some lie and are revealing that we are indeed just infants in the Lord who are being tossed by waves and carried around by every wind of doctrine by the cunning of men with craftiness leading to the scheming of deception. I doubt if any one reading this really wants that.  Continue reading

Hold Fast


J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

Hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

There are few things in religion which men are so ready to forget as the duty of “contending earnestly for the faith,” and holding fast the truth.

Controversy is seldom popular. Most men like a quiet life in religion. They dislike anything like strife, trouble, contest, and exertion. They will give up much for the specious pretext of securing peace. They are apt to forget that peace procured at the expense of truth is not worth having. In short, they need reminding of St. Paul’s golden words: “Hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 1:21). Continue reading

The Doctrines of Demons


by Mike Ratliff

Τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει ὅτι ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως προσέχοντες πνεύμασιν πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων (1 Timothy 4:1 NA27)

Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to the deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons; (a personal translation of 1 Timothy 4:1 from the NA27 Greek text)

The growing apostasy of the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) is being made tragically more obvious to those with discernment as many in its leadership are now openly endorsing the teachings of Roman Catholic mystics as part of a package of “drawing closer to God” or “responding to a hunger or thirst for God.” These are not baseless charges my brethren nor are we throwing stones simply to draw people to read posts and boost our ratings. Forget that… Continue reading

Unity At All Costs?


by Mike Ratliff

Οὐ περὶ τούτων δὲ ἐρωτῶ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων διὰ τοῦ λόγου αὐτῶν εἰς ἐμέ, ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν, καθὼς σύ, πάτερ, ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν σοί, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν, ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύῃ ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας. (John 17:20-21 NA27)

“I do not pray concerning these only, but also concerning those who will believe in Me through their word, that all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be in us that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (a personal translation of John 17:20-21 from the NA27 Greek text)

In yesterday’s post, Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, we looked at John 17 and our Lord’s prayer that transitioned Him from His earthly ministry to the beginning of His intercessory ministry for all believers. In the third section of the prayer, which is for the entire Church, I excerpted the section I placed at the top of this post. From that I exposited the following paragraph:

How often do we hear of the lack of unity in the visible church in our time? It is lamented as if we should compromise and come together at all costs. However, that is unbiblical. The basis of true Christian unity centers in adherence to the revelation the Father mediated to our Lord’s first disciples through Him. Believers are also to be united in the common belief of the truth that was received in the Word of God (Philippians 2:2). This became a reality when the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:13). True Christian unity is not based on fleshly, temporal, or experiential things. No! It is based upon the common eternal life shared by all who believe the truth. These come together in the Body of Christ all sharing His life.

Last weekend my wife and I were involved in some discussions with other believers about these very things. I did not say much about the rank apostasy we discuss here from time to time, but I was absolutely taken aback by the ignorance expressed by some in that room of the darkness that is rampant in the visible church in our time. Again, there were only a few there who knew who I was and knew about this ministry and I was not there to take over the conversation. However, the few who were there who did know about me and what I do were watching carefully when these topics came up. I held my peace. On the other hand, no outright support any apostate teacher was expressed by anyone either or I might have reneged on my promise to be quiet.   Continue reading

Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer


by Mike Ratliff

Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἶπεν· πάτερ, ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα· δόξασόν σου τὸν υἱόν, ἵνα ὁ υἱὸς δοξάσῃ σέ, καθὼς ἔδωκας αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκός, ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ δώσῃ αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (John 17:1-2 NA27)

Jesus said these things and having lifted up His eyes to Heaven said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify You, as You gave Him authority over all flesh that all You have given Him, He may give them eternal life.” (a personal translation of John 17:1-2 from the NA27 Greek text)

In John 17, we have the transition marking the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for all believers (Hebrews 7:25). This has been called “The High Priestly Prayer,” however; it does summarize John’s entire Gospel. For instance, its principal themes include Jesus’ obedience to His Father, the glorification of His Father through His death and exaltation, the revelation of God in Jesus Christ, the choosing of the disciples out of the world, their unity modeled on the unity of the Father and the Son, and the believers final destiny in the presence of the Father and Son. There are three main sections to this prayer. In vv1-5, we have Jesus’ prayer for Himself. In vv 6-19, we have Jesus’ prayer for the apostles. In vv20-26 we have Jesus’ prayer for all New Testament believers who will form the Church.  Continue reading

Jesus Has Overcome the World


by Mike Ratliff

ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ εἰρήνην ἔχητε. ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ θλῖψιν ἔχετε· ἀλλὰ θαρσεῖτε, ἐγὼ νενίκηκα τὸν κόσμον. (John 16:33 NA27)

These things I have spoken to you that in Me you have peace. In the world you have affliction, but be cheerful, I have overcome the world. (a personal translation of John 16:33 from the NA27 Greek text)

God is Sovereign and Jesus Christ, the son of man, is the Son of God. If you have learned nothing more than that from our studies in the exegesis in the book of John then you have learned much. Our Lord came to reveal the Father and through His perfect life become the propitiation for those He came to save. Through His death, as He willingly laid His life down, He purchased a people for Himself who are all those who believe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are justified by grace through faith alone as a gift from God. These are given to the Son by God the Father. Those of us who remain alive in this world who are part of His Church often wonder why we were left here in this evil place. Sadly, many professing Christians are quite at home here.  Continue reading