"Word to the Wise" posts by Pastor Walter Olsen

What is one of the greatest challenges we have in living the Christian life?

A Word to the Wise

Dr. Walter Olsen

What is one of the greatest challenges we have in living the Christian life? There are many, but one that is a constant challenge for many is the use of the tongue. King David urged, "Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile" (Psa. 34:13). The writer of Proverbs said, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21). Indeed, the tongue is very powerful either for good or for evil. A careful and godly usage of the tongue is a matter of walking in the Spirit. Where there is no ministry of the Spirit in one’s life, there often is little control of the tongue. The Apostle James said, "For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect [mature] man, and able also to bridle the whole body" (James 3:2). Thus, we can use our tongue to encourage and bless others or we can use our tongue to bring great harm to others. It is our relationship to God that makes the difference. If we have misused our tongue, we should acknowledge it and seek a closer walk with God.

 

First Baptist Church of Woodville

Dennis

A Word to the Wise

Dr. Walter Olsen

Do we have any good counsel as how to live in times of distress and anxiety?

A Word to the Wise

Dr. Walter Olsen

Do we have any good counsel as how to live in times of distress and anxiety? Yes, God’s word gives us much good counsel. It is counsel that will both honor God and bless those who believe. King David could say, “...The Lord will hear when I call to Him” (Psa. 4:3). It is so good to know that God hears and answers the prayers of all who believe in His Son. David continues as he says, “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord” (Psa. 4:5). When we seek to live righteously according to God ‘s word we can know the blessing of His presence and guidance. We can know the hope that, even in times of distress, only God can give. It is then that we can face the future with confidence, even with joy and peace because we know that God is in control of all things. He always blesses those who live righteously even if there are times of hardship. Like Moses, believers can look beyond the present anxiety. Again, David said in his prayer to God, “...For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psa. 4:8).Yes, there is good and helpful counsel for those who will seek it from God!

First Baptist Church of Woodville

Dennis Tapp, Pastor 715-698-2624

Is there a good Biblical definition of those who do not believe in God?

Is there a good Biblical definition of those who do not believe in God? In the midst of a lengthy description, the Apostle Paul described such as, “Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:16-18). These three things characterize those who do not believe in God. They turn from God’s standard of righteousness and despise the truth of Christ and salvation. They do not really know the peace of God, though many  may assume they do.

If people live unrighteous lives, any peace they have is really a poor substitute for the real peace of God. God does not give His peace to those who do not accept His Son as Savior and turn from their sins. Sin must be defined by the Bible and His righteousness must be sought. Further, there is no fear of God before their eyes. They are a law unto themselves and the god they worship is a god of human invention. Yes, there is a good description of those who reject the Savior in the Bible. The good news is that one may trust Christ as Savior and have his life defined by the truth of God’s word!

 

 

Dennis Tapp, Pastor 714-698-2624

 

How significant is the birth of Jesus Christ?

Dr. Walter Olsen

How significant is the birth of Jesus Christ? It is significant beyond what men are able to comprehend! It means the difference between eternal life and death for those who will repent of their sins and believe. Isaiah said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: Those who dwelt in the land and shadow of death, upon  them a great light has dawned” (Isa. 9:2).

Because of the birth of Jesus Christ, men now have a hope for a glorious future in spite of the conditions of the world we live in. This world can only give temporary hope an comfort. In Christ, there is the forgiveness of sin and deliverance from a life of futility. Further, there is the wonderful promise of the Lord’s return to establish His kingdom in righteousness. Thus we read, “Of the increase of His government there will be no end, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice forever...” (Isa. 9:7). Yes, the birth of Jesus Christ is significant beyond comprehension. We can rejoice in what the Bible faithfully tells us.

Can we discern the times we live in?

Dr. Walter Olsen

Can we discern the times we live in? This is so important because of the plan God has  revealed in the Bible. We don’t have to be ignorant considering what is going on in the world about us or of the Lord’s return. We don’t know dates, but we can know something of God’s overall plan for the ages.

Jesus said, “...when ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There shall be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:54-56).

If one does not know the Lord and the truth of the Bible, he is left to human reasoning as to what is going on around him. He is also left to human reasoning as to how to prepare for the future. Those who believe the Lord know that the violence and corruption of the world about them is something the Lord had predicted long ago. The Lord, through the Apostle Paul, warned of the dangerous times to come. The Lord has also given ample truth regarding His return. It remains for us to believe and trust Him for our future. Believers can rest in the fact that their citizenship is in heaven. Through faith and the truth of the Bible, we can discern much of the times we live in.

Does one's character make a difference in the outcome of his life?

Dr. Walter Olsen

Does one’s character make a difference in the outcome of his life? Yes! Character determines destiny. King Solomon said, “As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death” (Prov. 11:19). It must be seen that Godly character comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. One does not have or produce Godly character on his own. Of course, many people are basically good people in that they live socially acceptable lives. They love their families,  are helpful to others, and keep the laws of the land. But that is not the same as righteous character given by God when one trusts Christ as Savior.

The righteousness given by God is that which is pleasing to Him and is a great blessing to others as well. It is the righteousness that is needed to go to heaven and thus it is the imputed righteousness given to the believer. Thus, the Apostle Paul said he wanted to, “... be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Rom. 3:9). Yes, character matters both for time and eternity.

Does the Christian have any special advantage in the time of trouble and turmoil?

Dr. Walter Olsen

Does the Christian have any special advantage in the time of trouble and turmoil? Yes! In speaking of difficult times, the Apostle Paul said, “But let us, who are the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (I Thess. 5:8-10). Life can be very difficult, but the believer always has the presence and promises of God to sustain him. This is true both for time and eternity.

No matter what happens, the believer can look forward to God’s sustaining grace. The great promise is that, even when we die, we will live together with Him for eternity. Fortunately, nothing can separate the believer from the love of God. It is this truth of His presence and promise that makes even the very difficult times to be filled with hope. Yes, the believer does have a very special advantage in times of trouble and turmoil.

Does the Bible predict violence and moral decay we see today?

Dr. Walter Olsen

Does the Bible predict the violence, deception, and moral decay that we see in the world about us today? Yes, it does. Several passages speak of the departure from God and thus the break down of society. Consider the Apostle Paul’s warning, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful,  unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...” (II Tim. 3:1-5).

Then Paul concludes by  saying, they are,  “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7). So, the condition of the world today is no surprise to believers who know their Bible. There is good news, though, in that we know that the Lord Jesus Christ has come to die for sinners, and that when we trust Him, we have a glorious future. This world will get worse and worse, but the prospects of heaven are ever brighter!

Will all people have to give an account to God for their deeds, actions and decisions?

Dr. Walter Olsen

Will all people have to give an account to God for their deeds, actions, and decisions during their life time? The Bible says they will. The writer of Hebrews said, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). Of course, people may choose not to believe or ignore this truth, but the consequences are the same.

Unbelief does not change or thwart the plans of God. The good news for those who believe is that there is no fear of facing an eternal holy God because his sins have all been forgiven by the sacrifice made by the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The unbeliever faces the judgment of God from which there is no escape except that he repents of his sin and accepts for himself the sacrifice of love in the Person of the Lord Jesus. We must remember, “...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Thankfully, “...The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Yes, God is a just God, but He is also a loving God!

Does the Believer Have Any Special Comfort in the Time of Tribulation and Hardship?

Dr. Walter Olsen

Does the believer have any special comfort in the time of tribulation and hardship? Yes he does, even in times when there seems no way out of a most difficult, hopeless situation. The answer is not found in himself or the wisdom and provision of the world about him. The answer is found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the promises of His word. In speaking of His return for believers, Paul reminds us, “Then we which  are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:17).

The return of the Lord for believers is the great hope of all believers. All that is in this world will one day be destroyed. Even in good times, the return of the Lord is the great hope of all who have trusted the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior from sin. Following the promise given, Paul exhorts, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:18). Yes, there are times of great adversity, but not such as we need to lose all hope! Our hope is in the One who died for our sins and was raised again from the dead. Because He lives, we shall also live with Him! Our hope is a Person, Jesus Christ the Lord.