Woman at the well
Did you know that we can get so busy doing what we think God wants us to do, that it is extremely easy to miss what He actually wants us to do? Stick around and we’ll talk about it, here on 5 minutes of truth. Most of us, if not all of us, are very familiar with one of the […]
1 Nov 2018
God told Hosea to marry…who?
God once ordered a man to marry a woman who would become a harlot and engage regularly in adultery all to illustrate His love and longsuffering for us? Stick around and we’ll talk about it here on 5 minutes of truth. The Old Testament is filled with amazing stories taking place with amazing people under amazing circumstances. Whether it is a Sea that parted, an axe-head that floated, bones that resurrected, or a donkey that talked, the Old Testament includes a huge number of unusual and often difficult to understand events to show God’s love for His people. One of the most interesting of these stories is often one that is overlooked because of the near anonymity of the person involved. Yes, he was a prophet, but he was a minor prophet. Yes, he’s in the Bible, but he’s kind of stuck in the middle there with a bunch of other prophets most people have never heard of. His name? Hosea. His claim to fame? God ordered him to marry an unfaithful wife who may have even been a prostitute. The big question is: Why would God do this? First, let’s look at the story. Hosea was a prophet called by God to minister between 755-710 BC. Other than that. We know very little about him with the exception of who he married and how his marriage unfolded. At the beginning of the book, God commands Hosea to, “go, take a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:1-2). The Bible then tells us that Hosea does exactly that by marrying a woman named Gomer who would be exactly what God said she would be. Many scholars think that Gomer was not yet a harlot at the time they married but that God was telling Hosea what would happen as a result of their union. Also, by calling the children she had “children of harlotry” it is strongly suspected that the children named in chapter one are not Hosea’s children, but Gomer’s via her many episodes of unfaithfulness. To say that this was a difficult marriage would be an understatement. But that leads us back to the original question we had. Why would God tell a man (a prophet, no less…a holy man) to marry a woman whom God knew would be unfaithful? Well, in part God gives us the answer in the original command. He states the reason is because, “the land has committed harlotry by departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2b). In other words, Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was to be an illustration of God’s relationship with His people. How could this possibly be? We can better understand that by understanding that relationship a bit better. In Genesis, God began His relationship with His people by establishing an everlasting covenant with them through Abraham. God told Abraham, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great” (Genesis 12:2). Later He also states, “look now towards heaven and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be” (Genesis 15:5). God was establishing an everlasting covenant with people that from that time on would be His people. But that relationship would sour. Embedded in a single comment, would be the disease that would plague the relationship between God and His people. At the end of Judges we read, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). That became the problem. God’s people would regularly and continuously ignore and reject God’s truth and His teachings by following after false gods. In other words, they were committing spiritual adultery on God. The very first of the Ten Commandments states, “you shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). There is a reason He put that one first. Just as Gomer broke the sacred covenant of marriage and turned her back on her husband, so had God’s people broken the sacred covenant with God and turned their back on their God. Gomer’s marital adultery was a picture of Israel’s (and our) spiritual adultery. And if God had left the picture like this, it would have amounted to little more than God pointing out their infidelity. But He didn’t end it there. After Gomer left Hosea, God instructed him to do something interesting. He tells Hosea, “go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery” (Hosea 3:1a). After Hosea is rid of his cheating bride, God tells him to go after her even though she is actively engaged with committing adultery and she has not changed her ways. How far had she fallen? Hosea states, “so I bought her for myself for 15 shekels of silver” and said to Gomer, “you shall stay with me many days” (Hosea 3:2-3). His wife’s harlotry had led her to slavery, and her jilted, betrayed husband actually paid to get her back. Why? “Afterwards the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:5). God told Hosea to remain faithful to Gomer no matter what, because He will remain faithful to us no matter what. The covenant is His, not ours. We try to break it with our sin and disobedience, but He cannot and will not break the covenant He made with us. There may be temporal consequences for our sin, but ultimately, He will separate our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. He will toss them into the sea of forgetfulness and remember them no more. He paid a price for our freedom on the Cross and secured the victory via the empty tomb…despite our unfaithfulness to Him. How cool is that? On behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us here at Growth Project, keep reading God’s Word.
11 Feb 2019
Jesus Calms a Storm
When Jesus calmed the dangerous storm on the Sea of Galilee, that He not only was protecting His disciples but also explaining salvation to us? Stick around and we’ll talk about it, here on five minutes of truth. Most of us are probably familiar with one of the most famous of all of Jesus’ miracles…the calming of a storm that […]
12 Nov 2018
The Armor of God (Growth Project Radio)
Growth Project Radio Preview. This episode is a snippet from Dr. Purvis’ other podcast Growth Project Radio. Its broadcast Live at 8pm EDT on our Facebook page. You can also find it on all podcast providers or visit www.growthproject.org for more information. www.growthproject.org/radio
27 Sep 2018
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To rapture or not to rapture
To rapture or not to rapture Did you know that Jesus’ most famous statements about the rapture were actually not about the rapture at all? Stick around and we’ll talk about it. Here on 5 minutes of truth. In the 70s it was Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth”. In the mid-90s into the 2000s it was the “Left Behind” books and movies. Both focused on one of the more interesting aspects of theology known officially as eschatology. In layman’s terms? The study of end times. Here is what you may not know. That though there are many references to eschatology in the Bible, there may not be as much information there as you might think. And it is not often as clear as you might think. That would explain why likeminded Believers could hold positions on eschatology that are in direct opposition to each other and yet both claim they emanate from Scripture. If it were crystal clear, there would be much more of a consensus. One of the more interesting aspects of eschatology that spurs on a lot of debate is the concept of the rapture. The rapture is a leading theological construct among most evangelicals that suggests Believers (both dead and alive) will be taken by Christ “into the air” either before, during or after the great tribulation. If you’ve seen movie representations of this event, it is usually portrayed as a huge mass of people simply disappearing without a trace and with no explanation. The results of these disappearances include planes crashing because of the loss of pilots, cars crashing due to lack of drivers, and frantic families due to the loss of loved ones. The question is: Is this how the Bible says it will be? That is the question we always have to ask ourselves. Just because something seems to be believed by a large number of people, does that make it correct? It’s a good question to ask. What does the Bible say about the rapture? Very little to be honest. The most often cited passage is, of course, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. I this passage, Paul clearly states this about the rapture: “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven…with the trumpet of God…the dead in Christ will rise first…then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”. This passage is clear that there will be some event that seems to be related to our idea of the rapture. What we don’t know from this description could fill a wheelbarrow. There is no mention of the tribulation here as it relates to the rapture. Some believe it is, some believe that this event is for Believers to join Christ at His Second Coming. One of the most important questions we can ask is: What did Jesus say about the rapture? It is a good question. As I grew up theologically once I became a Believer, I was given an answer to that question. I was told by many people and heard it referenced by many more, that Jesus did, in fact, mention the rapture and His words are found in Matthew 24:40-44. Here in part is what Jesus says in this passage: “Two men will be in the field: one will be taken, the other left…two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken, the other left…watch for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming…for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”. What do you think? Sure sounds like the rapture to me. One person will be taken and one person will be left behind. Just like one person in a car, one pilot on a plane, one loved-one in a family. For years I was told and heard others told that this was Jesus talking about the rapture. I was being told wrongly. That is not what Jesus is talking about here. In fact, this is an opposite analogy in relation to how it has been misrepresented. Context is key. Instead of starting at verse 40 in this 24th chapter of Matthew’s gospel, we need to read the beginning of the pericope which starts at verse 36. Jesus starts this analogy by referring back to, of all people, Noah and the events of the worldwide flood. If you remember, God used the flood to punish the rampant sin that had infected the entire earth. He chose to spare just 8 people: Noah and his wife along with Noah’s three sons and their wives. Using this event to make His point changes the meaning of the passage. Jesus says: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will be the coming of the Lord”. So He is saying that we must look at His analogy in the same way that we looked at what happened during the flood. He talks about how unaware the people were who were about to be destroyed by the flood and compared that to the day of the Lord. They were so unaware that “they did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:39). And then Jesus launches into the analogy by saying that one will be taken and the other left…again…just like the flood. So, the ones taken away, in Jesus’ analogy, are the ones who were being punished while the ones left behind were the ones that belonged to Him. Just as Noah and his family were left behind because they belonged to Him. The opposite of what so many people teach about this passage. It’s easy for me to get mad at the people who taught me incorrectly all those years. But the fact is, I should have been looking in a mirror. Our theology can never dictate our exegesis. Our exegesis must dictate our theology. It was up to me to read God’s Word and discover His truth. Which is what I am telling you. Don’t take my word for any of this, simply invest in the exploration of God’s Word so that you can clearly see His truth. On behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us here at Growth Project, keep reading God’s Word.
1 Mar 2019
The Bible and Suicide
A very important episode of Five Minutes of Truth. Please consider sharing this episode with someone who needs to hear it. Even though the Bible had 40 authors, mentioned about 1,300 people by name, covers a time period of thousands of years where there were hundreds of millions of people, that there are only three recorded suicides in all of Scripture? And of those three, only one of them fits the paradigm we are most familiar with today. Stick around, and we’ll talk about it here on 5 minutes of truth. The scope of the Bible is immense. It begins with the creation of the universe and ends near 100 AD when the last book of the Bible was probably written. In these pages we see a myriad of events unique to humans played out on the pages under a variety of circumstances. Nearly every single happy, sad or in between thing that can happen to a person is seen in the Scriptures over and over again. Interestingly enough, however, one tragedy that is played out all too often in the world today is only mentioned three times in the entire Bible: suicide. The one is probably most familiar to us because of its being linked to the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The other two, however, are probably forgotten by most folks familiar with the Bible. That’s because the reason for those suicides does not really resonate with us today due to its unusual circumstances. Who were the only three people recorded as having taken their life in the Bible? Judas Iscariot; Saul, the first king of Israel; and Saul’s armorbearer. Be honest…did you remember that King Saul had taken his own life? You probably didn’t. But I believe that has more to do with the reasons for that suicide than as a testimony of our Bible knowledge. Saul’s death is recorded in 2 Chronicles 10:1-7. Israel was at war with the Philistines and at the culmination of the final battle, when all was lost, Saul ordered his armorbearer to kill him, “lest these uncircumcised men come and abuse me” (2 Chronicles 10:4a). Unable to follow through on his King’s command. The Bible relates that, “Saul took a sword and fell on it” (2 Chronicles 10:4c). Immediately afterward, the armorbearer also threw himself on his sword rather than be taken captive by the Philistines. See what I mean about the impact this suicide may have had on us personally? Saul took his life in battle to avoid torture and humiliation at the hands of his enemies. In the long list of reasons people take their lives today, that one does not resonate with the average person considering suicide. As a result, we have a tendency to forget about that one. Judas is another case. After Judas Iscariot realized that he had indeed betrayed “innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4a) when He orchestrated Jesus’ arrest which would lead to His crucifixion, Judas, overwhelmed by his actions, “threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). This suicide has a ring of familiarity to us, doesn’t it? Tremendous regret over a decision or series of decisions that led to tragedy. Tremendous guilt for the actions and the results of those actions. Tremendous emotional isolation as a result of the choices made. Tremendous hopelessness that nothing will get better, and only death will ease the pain. These are the reasons we are most familiar with an act that will, on average, take the lives of about 45,000 Americans every year and 1 million lives worldwide each year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US each year. But these numbers lack perspective. Let’s see if we can provide some. There are on average 17,000 homicides in the US each year. That is less than half the number of suicides. Yet when have you ever heard a politician say: We have to do something about the suicide rate in this country. I have never heard that. Compare that with how often you hear a politician say something about curbing the rate of homicides each year. That is a staple political position despite the fact that more than twice as many people will die from suicide as homicide. There is a stigma and discomfort level with suicide that we have to get past if we are going to put a dent in these numbers. There is one silver lining in the numbers, however. There are, on average, about a million suicide attempts in the US each year which tells me most people who do this do not want to die, they just want the pain to stop. They think suicide is the only way that happens. They are wrong. While the Apostle Peter did not arrange for Jesus to be arrested, he did abandon Jesus when He needed Peter the most. Then when confronted by the crowd, Peter cursed and said he didn’t even know who Jesus was. This too was a betrayal of Jesus. We know this because the Scripture tells us Peter, after realizing his failure, “went outside and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). He was experiencing what Judas was experiencing. He was hopeless. But Jesus, gave him hope. Jesus had told Peter before he ever sinned that this was going to happen and He also told Peter that Peter would return to Jesus. We see this precious return at the end of John’s Gospel when Jesus not only forgave Peter, but also reiterated to him that he was still useful in God’s work. That’s the point. Judas wrongly thought there was no hope even in the midst of the worse thing he could have possibly imagined doing. Peter understood that even when we do terrible things with terrible consequences, there is hope in Jesus. When no one else cares, Jesus cares. When all is lost, Jesus will save us. And when we think we want to die, Jesus will help us live. He will never leave us nor forsake us…and He is with us always even until the ends of the age. How cool is that? On behalf of myself, Robert Houghton and all of us here at Growth Project, keep reading God’s Word.
4 Feb 2019
Jesus and the serpent
Did you know that Jesus once compared His crucifixion to a brass statue of a serpent attached to a metal pole in the middle of the desert? Stick around and we’ll talk about it…here on 5 minutes of truth. One of the most interesting elements of the four Gospels is how each Gospel is unique in its own way. Though […]
13 Sep 2018
Moses and Water From a Rock
Did you know that God did not allow Moses to cross over into the Promised Land because Moses wouldn’t talk to a rock? Well…there’s a lot more to it than that. Stick around and we’ll talk about it, here on 5 minutes of truth. There are a lot of people in the Bible that we have a tendency to feel […]
20 Sep 2018
A Miracle to hide Jesus?
You probably know that while on this planet, Jesus performed many miracles designed to show people Who He really was. But did you know that one time He performed a miracle to hide His identity? Stick around and we’ll talk about it. Here on five minutes of truth. There are a myriad of reasons why Jesus performed miracles while He […]
15 Oct 2018
Jesus is related to who?
Did you know that Jesus family tree actually includes a Gentile prostitute? Find out more in this episode of Five Minutes of Truth. Family is a funny thing. These are the people we care about the most, but who can also drive us completely insane at times. But one of the most interesting aspects about family is how those who […]
21 Nov 2018