Archive for the ‘apologetics’ Category

Do You Not Judge What is Right?

May 26, 2015

There are individuals and groups that believe, “if you love me (us), then you will accept me (us) just as I (we) am (are).”  In the emotional sense of the word “love,” this is possible.  We can love people, although they sin.  We can forgive the wrongs that are done against us, because through His Son, Jesus Christ, God forgives us. God has loved us although, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

How do we gain forgiveness?

John the Baptist paved the way, and Jesus also told us what is needed.

John the Baptist:

Mat 3:1

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,

Mat 3:2

and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Mat 3:3

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make His paths straight.’ ” [fn]

Jesus:

Mat 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

What is genuine love?

Jhn 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

The Bible tells us what it is not.

In the spiritual sense of the word (and I am referring to Christian spiritual sense of the word and the meaning of the agape love of God) accepting someone’s sinful acts in a permanent way and not telling them the truth about their need for repentance of those sins will destine them towards separation from God forever.

This reiterates the points in John 7 where Jesus stated:

Jhn 7:7

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

When we agree with Jesus on this statement, and point out the acts of evil that have been done since the moment that the knowledge of good and evil came to be, the world will hate us.

Jhn 15:18

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

Jhn 15:19

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

1Jo 3:13

Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.

This is why, for example, those who point out sins like abortion or homosexuality are hated. Those who stay silent on such controversial issues or those who embrace such issues (e.g. leftist Christians) are not hated. They are called “loving,” “accepting,” “tolerant,” “unbiased;” whereas the Bible based Christians who take the words of Christ and the Scriptures seriously, are called the exact opposite!

So, we can see why Jesus gave us those warnings about being hated. Those who speak out against such sins and are not of the attitudes of this world (because the world would love its own) are hated.

Why?

Because the worldly people hated Him first.

Why?

Jhn 7:7

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

What’s more:

Act 10:42

“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

Thus, why would they not hate us as well?

My question.  Is it truly loving to not warn them about these facts?

There are many verses in the Bible describing the act of judging. Many leftists (even Christian leftists) hold onto the verses that state, “Do not judge.” But when you place those words into a search at Blue Letter Bible, you will find that this is not a blanket statement requiring Christians to never judge anything or anyone; but is in actuality an admonition to judge rightly!

Luk 12:57

“Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?

Think about it! If we never judged anything, wouldn’t this world be in total and absolute chaos? As it is, those who do not judge rightly do cause much chaos around the world.

There are also those who may think that they judge rightly, when in actuality, they could just be guilty of misconstruing the intent of what is really being shared.

Allow me share a recent example.

Let’s Just Say a Couple’s Memorial Day Wedding Photo Didn’t Sit Well With Some People…

If you read through the comments, there are people judging this photo and having differing opinions about it.  That is certainly their right to do that, but even the title of the post is incorrect!  In the first place, the photo was shared on social media by the photographer – not the couple!  There are those who may think this photo of the couple praying together before their vows (while also desiring to keep from seeing each other before walking down the aisle to share their vows before God, family, and friends – which is a tradition followed by many couples) is somehow “distasteful” because they got married over the Memorial Day weekend.  Please note that they did not get married on Monday, the actual date of Memorial Day!

Of course, people can have their own opinions.  They can make judgments and they have their right to free speech about it.

So…is this an example of “right judging”?

Some readers may view this as a minor thing – and they are correct!  Will the opinions and judgments of the 800+ commenters on this particular subject matter throughout all eternity?

Let’s get back to what will matter throughout all eternity.

Within a commentary from Matthew Henry, we read:

But a wise man’s heart discerns time and judgment; such was the wisdom of the men of Issachar, who had understanding of the times, 1 Chr. 12:32. He adds, “Yea, and why even of yourselves, though ye had not these loud alarms given you, judge ye not what is right? v. 57.


[Christianity] has reason and natural conscience on its side; and, if men would allow themselves the liberty of judging what is right, they would soon find that all Christ’s precepts concerning all things are right, and that there is nothing more equitable in itself, nor better becoming us, than to submit to them and be ruled by them.

II. Let them hasten to make their peace with God in time, before it be too late, v. 58, 59. This we had upon another occasion, Mt. 5:25, 26.

1. We reckon it our wisdom in our temporal affairs to compound with those with whom we cannot contend, to agree with our adversary upon the best terms we can, before the equity be foreclosed, and we be left to the rigour of the law: “When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, to whom the appeal is made, and knowest that he has an advantage against thee, and thou art in danger of being cast, thou knowest it is the most prudent course to make the matter up between yourselves; as thou art in the way, give diligence to be delivered from him, to get a discharge, lest judgment be given, and execution awarded according to law.’ Wise men will not let their quarrels go to an extremity, but accommodate them in time.

2. Let us do thus in the affairs of our souls. We have by sin made God our adversary, have provoked his displeasure against us, and he has both right and might on his side; so that it is to no purpose to think of carrying on the controversy with him either at bar or in battle. Christ, to whom all judgment is committed, is the magistrate before whom we are hastening to appear: if we stand a trial before him, and insist upon our own justification, the cause will certainly go against us, the Judge will deliver us to the officer, the ministers of his justice, and we shall be cast into the prison of hell, and the debt will be exacted to the utmost; though we cannot make a full satisfaction for it, it will be continually demanded, till the last mite be paid, which will not be to all eternity.

Christ’s sufferings were short, yet the value of them made them fully satisfactory. In the sufferings of damned sinners what is wanting in value must be made up in an endless duration. Now, in consideration of this, let us give diligence to be delivered out of the hands of God as an adversary, into his hands as a Father, and this as we are in the way, which has the chief stress laid upon it here.

While we are alive, we are in the way; and now is our time, by repentance and faith through Christ (who is the Mediator as well as the magistrate), to get the quarrel made up, while it may be done, before it be too late.

Thus was God in Christ reconciling the world to himself, beseeching us to be reconciled. Let us take hold on the arm of the Lord stretched out in this gracious offer, that we may make peace, and we shall make peace (Isa. 27:4, 5), for we cannot walk together till we be agreed.

Be wiseThe Lord, Wise Women, Wisemen, Jesus, Keep Calm Posters, Christmas Printables, Christmas Quotes, Wise Men, Wise Words

 

A blogging friend from Oil For Your Lamp blog wrote a great quote that I have placed in my sidebar:

A quote to remember!

“We are to be obedient to God and that means we are to fight against sin. Talking about not judging and loving each other does not absolve us from our duty to correct and — if necessary — censure those who refuse to obey God’s laws. If this were the case, then God would have had no reason to even give us a law; He would have just said do not judge, just love and left it at that — but He did not do this. Instead, He told us to obey, and then gave us at least ten commands. If we love each other — Biblical love — then we will do everything we can to help each other keep those commands, not make it easier to break them. After all, how can we claim to love someone if we are in the process of making their path to hell easier to travel?”
~ Black3Actual from Oil For Your Lamp blog

Hat tips to all links.

So Great is His Love for Those Who Fear Him

April 27, 2015

This is one of the most loved Bible verses from the Old Testament.  I see it all the time on the blogs of Christian writers.

Skeptics might view that verse in a totally different way from how believers in Christ see it.  They may think, “why would anyone think that the God of the Bible is a God of love because we are to “fear” Him?”  It is a good question, actually, and one that I will attempt to answer in this post.

When you look up the term “fear” as it is used in Psalm 103:11, we learn that the root Hebrew word [yare’]means both “to frighten – affright, be (make) afraid, dread” as well as “fear (be had) in reverence.”

When we look up the term “reverence” in the dictionary and view the word origin and history, we find:

Word Origin and History for rev-er-ence

n.

late 13c., from Old French reverence “respect, awe,” from Latin reverentia “awe, respect,” from revereri “to stand in awe of, respect, honor, fear, be afraid of; revere,” from re-, intensive prefix (see re- ), + vereri “stand in awe of, fear,” from PIE *wer- “to be or become aware of, perceive, watch out for” (cf. Old English wær “aware, cautious;” see wary ).
v.

late 14c., “treat with respect, honor; venerate, pay pious homage to; esteem, value; bow to (someone); do honor to,” from reverence (n.). Related: Reverenced ; reverencing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid (or, at least tried to hide) themselves from God because they now feared Him (the “frightened,” “dreaded” kind of fear).

Prior to The Fall, the relationship between God and the first man and woman was one of “treat with respect, honor; venerate, pay pious homage to; esteem, value; bow to (someone); do honor to,” from reverence.”

Today, we have the free-will choice to either remain “afraid of God,” or to “treat [Him] with respect, honor; venerate, pay pious homage to; esteem, value; bow to (someone); do honor to,” from reverence.”

God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the bridge between sinful man and Holy God.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and proceeded to indwell the apostles.

Recall that most of them ran away (except John, Mary M. and Mary the mother of Jesus)  out of fear for their earthly lives  when Christ was crucified!  Thomas doubted that Christ had been risen and wanted proof by seeing Him, and putting his fingers into the nail scars on Jesus’ hands and at his side.

So what changed them so drastically that they feared no more and steadfastly spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to 3,000 in one day?

Answer:  The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit – promised by Jesus Christ!

Read the account about the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Dreaded fear became the more positive reverent fear in the name of Jesus Christ!

And this happens to this very day when we repent of our sins and accept Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives; thus inviting Him into our hearts through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit!

Where do YOU stand with God?

In Christ’s service,

Christine

*******

How To Know God Personally [Click on link to discover the principles!]

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

Revisiting “The Unforgivable Sin.”

April 20, 2015

 

Yesterday my husband, son and I attended a wonderful service at Life Mission Church.  The topic was “The Unforgivable Sin,” also known as “The Sin Unto Death.”

Previously, I brought over a post on this topic from my former blog and posted it here on 2/3/15.  A good discussion began in that comment thread!

My goal here today is to share a brief opinion about the approach to this topic, share Pastor Jobey’s outline and some of my own notes, and Scriptures related to the topic.  I welcome comments, questions, and even challenges from each of  you, dear readers,  regarding what is written.

What I liked about Pastor Jobey’s initial discussion was his humbleness in saying that this topic – the unforgiveable sin – is very difficult.  We are taught in Christian faith that all sin can be forgiven through belief and repentance of sin via Christ’s death on the cross at Calvary.  However, the passage in Matthew 12:30-32 describes that there is an unforgivable sin.

Outline:

WHAT IS THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN?

Matthew 12:30-32

Mat 12:30

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Mat 12:31

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

Mat 12:32

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Jesus says there is a sin that is unforgiveable, but what is it?  Let’s first get some context to help us see what He is speaking about.

This was during another confrontation with the Pharisees.  What are they doing?

Before:  The Pharisees were knowingly and willfully hardening their hearts, not simply toward the miracles, but toward Him, denying the very facts that were plain before their eyes.  They are “denying His power.”

After:  Jesus then continues to talk about recognizing true believers from those who claim to be believers.

What it is Not:

*  Not simply a Christian’s momentary denial (like Peter).

*  Nor is it even a guarantee that a non-believer who is totally opposed to Jesus is beyond salvation (like Saul of Tarsus).

What it Seems to Be:

*  A sin that an unbeliever commits, not just once but perpetually until death.

*  An ongoing and persistent rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit, when someone is willfully and adamantly denying, as the Pharisees were, the true nature of who Christ is, they stand in a troubling position of potentially blaspheming the Holy Spirit’s work.

*  When someone who is plainly and clearly admitting, to some depth, who Jesus is (the Pharisees admitted Jesus was a miracle worker, Judas followed Jesus as the Son of Man, etc.), but still, in the end, reject Him by hardening their hearts towards the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 6:4-12

Heb 6:4

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,

Heb 6:5

and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

Heb 6:6

if they fall away, [fn] to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Heb 6:7

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God;

Heb 6:8

but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Heb 6:9

But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

Heb 6:10

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of [fn] love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Heb 6:11

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

Heb 6:12

that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

 

WHAT SHOULD CONCERN US?

For both those who don’t believe in Christ, and for those who do call themselves a Christian, Jesus’ words, “whoever is not with me is against me,” are sobering ones.

There is no neutrality with Christ.

Jesus’ claims leave no room for that.

The cross demands a response.

2 Timothy 3:1-17

 

*******

A pause from the outline.

 

There are weeks worth of study in 2 Timothy 3:1-17!  However, just reading it through once gets a clear message across regarding in Whom we need to trust vs. those who would appear to be “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” We are warned, “And from such people turn away!”

The rest of the verses describe exactly HOW we can avoid error, heresy, and apostasy – which the book of Jude also warns us about!

Pastor Jobey mentioned that “people are not saved through cultural Christianity.” It is NOT just “head” knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It requires something much deeper…namely the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the heart to bring us to remembrance of all that Jesus has said in the Scriptures as well as all that is written within the Bible in its entirety.

Contrast these two verses:

Jhn 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Note Proverbs 24:16 –

Pro 24:16

For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

We are also told in Proverbs 24:17 –

Pro 24:17

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles

Jesus desires that ALL people come to repentance! However, after sharing the Gospel with those who refuse to believe, there are times when we must “shake the dust from our sandals” and go on to the next person. Not all will desire to know the truth – which COULD set them free. But we do our job when we share; despite the rejection of some. The celebration when just one person comes to Christ is big in heaven! We rejoice as well!

Why?

Because we know the truth!

There is NOTHING that can separate us from the love of God once born-again through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and once the Holy Spirit indwells the heart!

However, defiance of knowing what is true – which is a willful, wicked rejection of Christ and the Holy Spirit leads to “whoever is not with me is against me” mentality!

Very sobering!

Perpetually denying who Christ is, what He accomplished for us via the cross, and rejecting the gift of the Holy Spirit indwelling the heart leads each individual to the “sin unto death.”

As the end of the verse in Romans 6:16 says, “OR of obedience unto righteousness.”

That is the ultimate choice that we have!

Continuing with the outline:

HOW CAN WE FIND HOPE AND ASSURANCE?

For those who don’t believe, or for those who say they believe but their lives don’t look like it, you are invited to cry out for God’s grace and forgiveness toward you. He tells us that is we “confess with our mouth and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9,10). This Jesus is real. He really walked this earth, He really died so that you could live.

The ultimate purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to bring a message of mercy, grace, forgiveness and love! We all must answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”

“A Better Weight Than Wisdom a Traveler Cannot Carry.” – Viking Proverb

April 17, 2015

I saw that “Viking Proverb” statement written out across the Direct TV screen in front of me as I was flying back home on an airplane.  I had been visiting with family in Virginia for 10 days.

It is a great statement to ponder; and I wondered which type of “wisdom” the Vikings were referring to?

 

For me, the ultimate wisdom comes from God through His Written Word – the Bible, and His Living Word – Jesus Christ.

 

Evidence abounds these days that many are ignorant about God’s Word.  The sad part is, many who call themselves Christian fall into this unfortunate category.  I think it is really a terrible state of affairs to realize that even Christian college students (e.g. BIOLA U.) are being found to be biblically illiterate!  There should be no excuse for them, in particular, to be guilty of such a flaw.

Recently, I received an email link to Muddy Streams blog that mentioned an interesting article that compared, contrasted, and explained the differences between religion and spirituality. The entire article can be read at Got Questions.

Excerpt:

Question: “What is Christian spirituality?”

Answer: When we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit who seals us for the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us “into all truth” (John 16:13). Part of that truth is taking the things of God and applying them to our lives. When that application is made, the believer then makes a choice to allow the Holy Spirit to control him/her. True Christian spirituality is based upon the extent to which a born-again believer allows the Holy Spirit to lead and control his or her life.

Read it all at the link above. The details and Scripture references are all important regarding the type of “spirituality” that a Christian should follow and adhere to.

The new NBC TV series – A.D. The Bible Continues – had its second episode broadcasted this past Sunday evening (4/12/15). The disciples are now only starting to grasp the true meaning and significance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. They see Him, in the physical sense, as He appears various times to them (i.e. in the Upper Room, in front of Mary who was weeping inside the tomb wondering “where have they taken my Lord). In the case of Mary, she asked such a question of someone whom she perceived as a “stranger” that appeared to her outside the tomb. It was only when He said her name, “Mary” that she recognized Jesus – her Risen Lord and Savior!

Jesus also appeared on the shore of Galilee where the disciples were fishing, but experiencing another bad day because they were not netting any fish. Jesus called out to them and said, “throw the nets on the right side of the boat.” When they listened and obeyed His directive, their catch was abundant!

Jesus also had a discussion with Peter where he asked his wayward and denying disciple if he loved Him. The Lord asked three times, and Peter replied affirmatively three times. This was a way of restoration for Peter’s previous denials as Jesus was being led to the cross.

Love is sacrifice.
Love is mercy and grace.
Love is forgiveness of sins.
Love is listening and obeying.

Love is worship.

But it ultimately matters in whom one worships!  Does the Messiah have worth-ship in order to lead us towards truth?

For our part, we need to believe in Jesus and repent of our sins, allowing the Holy Spirit to enter into our hearts in order to guide us into all truth.

All of this has been gained by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross!

During my Virginia visit, I made what is likely construed by most as a typical observation regarding all of the violence, hatred, evil, sin and death going on in the world today. Jesus did tell us in Scripture that the “signs of the times” pointing towards His return would be “as in the days of Noah and Lot.”

In the case of Noah, there was so much violence, evil, sin and death that it grieved the Lord God immensely. The only “righteous ones” found were within Noah’s own family! All the others mocked, scorned, laughed at and ignored Noah for his “eccentric behavior” for building an Ark on dry land. The people went on to continue in their sinful lifestyles and evil, deadly ways.

In the case of Lot, the whole place (Sodom and Gomorrah) would have been spared if 50, then 20, then just 10  righteous people could be found in the cities.  We know that only Lot, his wife and children made it out (practically dragged out by the angels!); but even then, Lot’s wife looked back longingly (ignoring the angels warnings not to!) and she turned into a pillar of salt.

I always thought that it was interesting that we never knew her name, but Jesus’ admonition to “remember Lot’s wife” was a New Testament and as well as modern-day warning not to go back to our former lives of sin.

Back to my observation.

I mentioned to my brother that the ways of man without the wisdom of God being followed result in all forms of evil…and eventually lead to death.  Why wouldn’t God, knowing this then allow a brutal beating, scourging, crucifixion and death of His “Holy One” in order to get through to all that need to be re-born and saved?  Doesn’t it make sense to counter what the sinful mindsets of men do throughout the centuries in order to get our attention with the goal of discovering THE WAY out of our predicament?

In the economy of the Godhead – from eternity passed to eternity future – this agreement was made between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so that mankind could be reconciled back unto a Holy and Righteous God!  While we were yet sinners…Christ died for us!

The Bible tells us that there is no greater love than for a Man to lay His life down for His friends.  But the God-Man Jesus Christ followed through to prove who he is and for this reason he was born to save his people from their sins.

So, what are we to do?  Accept it…and believe!

Thomas wanted proof that Jesus was actually resurrected from the dead.  He stated that he would not believe until he saw Jesus alive again.  What’s more, he needed to put his finger into the nail scars in Jesus’ hands and His side.

Jesus said, “Thomas, you believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who have not seen me yet believe.”

That is FAITH!

Faith is the evidence of things not seen.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The next episode of “A.D. The Bible Continues” will show what happens to the disciples when they receive the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Can’t wait for that! These men will be transformed forever – and will carry on through the Book of Acts in the Bible spreading The Way of salvation through Jesus Christ and reiterating man’s need to be born again through the Holy Spirit.

Another excerpt from Got Questions:

Therefore, Christian spirituality involves a choice we make to “know and grow” in our daily relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ by submitting to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This means that, as believers, we make a choice to keep our communication with the Spirit clear through confession (1 John 1:9). When we grieve the Spirit by sin (Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 1:5-8), we erect a barrier between ourselves and God. When we submit to the Spirit’s ministry, our relationship is not interrupted (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Christian spirituality is a consciousness of fellowship with the Spirit of Christ, uninterrupted by carnality and sin. Christian spirituality develops when a born-again believer makes a consistent and ongoing choice to surrender to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

It matters greatly which kind of “spirit” one follows. You don’t want to be trapped under the influence of deceiving spirits! So, how do you know whether or not you are being deceived?

1. Read and study God’s Word – the Bible.
2. Follow God’s Living Word – Jesus Christ

That’s it!

We are told both in the beginning and the end of the book of Revelation that those of us who read and study it – will be blessed!

Yet, many churches and pastors these days ignore that book. Why? Why would they want their congregations to miss out on such blessings?

It must have something to do with knowing (or ignoring) the truth.

In Zechariah’s prophecy where he describes the King “riding on a donkey,” he also states:

Zec 9:11

“As for you also,
Because of the blood of your covenant,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

 

No one likes the term “slave.” But the meaning here is a positive one.

Rom 6:18

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Rom 6:22

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

Being set free from sin is the greatest achievement of all time! Jesus Christ accomplished this for us on the cross because without the shedding of blood, there is no remission from sin.

Jhn 8:32

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Three things that matter within our trust in Jesus and in our desire to be with God:

Jhn 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

P.S. The Vikings Proverb was included in a very long Land Rover commercial via Direct TV.   In addition to that saying, the following quote appeared:

“Fifty percent of people in Iceland believe in elves.”

Wow. What does believing in elves get you in this lifetime or in eternity?

Nothing.

I think that staking my life on the historical, spiritual, and biblical proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is light-years more sensible!

~ Christine

Hat tips to all links.

For It Is Written…

March 18, 2015

H/T for graphic:  Biblepic.com

Sunday evening I had the chance to watch The Bible:  In The Beginning which was made way back in 1966.   It had been decades since I last saw this film so it was enjoyable to see it again. I really appreciated the fact that the movie held to what is written in Scripture!   Rather than taking the usual “license” that today’s filmmakers (i.e. the movies “Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings”) often do while making false advertising claims that they are “biblically sound” versions of events in the Bible, director John Huston made the good decision to stick to what is written in God’s Word.

One of the 46 reviews of the epic classic states that, “The Film Deserves Better Recognition.”

The movie started with Adam and Eve, and ended after Abraham took Isaac up the mountain to be sacrificed, but the ram caught in the thicket was the substitute; so that the promise of Abraham’s descendants through Isaac would be fulfilled.  Abraham’s obedience, despite the anguish he went through, was rewarded because of his willingness to carry out God’s command.  This was a foreshadowing of the sacrificial death that the coming Messiah would fulfill.

In my previous post, a comment made by GMPilot stated:

“Of course we all fail the so-called The Good Test. The questions are rigged, and we are set up to fail. Jesus himself probably couldn’t have passed it.”

There are excellent comments made in that thread by Steve of Cry and Howl and Ciria which both counter GMPilot’s assertions.

Here, I’d like to share how Jesus did pass the test.  First, we need to briefly review how sin entered into the world.

When we go back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we see that they failed to obey God when they both chose to eat of fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In Tuesday’s Daily Light on the Daily Path Devotional, we read:

When the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food (the lust of the flesh), and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Despite the fact that Adam and Eve could eat of all the other trees in the garden, they chose to disobey God’s command to not eat of that certain tree.

Why?

Well, Eve blamed it on the serpent who “beguiled” her, Adam blamed it on Eve who brought to fruit to him, and the serpent stated, “you surely shall not die;” which was a twisted lie against God’s original admonition to Adam and Eve.

So, how can we get right with God?  Fast forward to the New Testament.

The devotional goes on, describing Jesus’ encounter with the devil in the desert during his forty days and nights fasting:

When the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread (the lust of the flesh). But he answered,…it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.–the devil sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them (the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life). Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan.

Here are the verses in Matthew that describe the three times that Jesus was tempted:


Mat 4:5

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,

Mat 4:6

and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” [fn]

Mat 4:7

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ” [fn]

Mat 4:8

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Mat 4:9

And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Mat 4:10

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, [fn] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” [fn]

Notice that Jesus used Scripture from the book of Deuteronomy to counter the devil’s temptations!  Even the devil’s attempt to use the exact terms “it is written” were countered by Jesus when he stated, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ “

NKJV Footnotes

(4:4)

Deuteronomy 8:3

(4:6)

Psalm 91:11, 12

(4:7)

Deuteronomy 6:16

(4:10)

M-Text reads Get behind Me.

(4:10)

Deuteronomy 6:13

What’s more, when Jesus used the Scriptures and stated, “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve,” the devil left Him!

Mat 4:11

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

The point is that Jesus was tempted like us [we are, yet] without sin.

Devotional:

We were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. –Who his own self bare* our sins in his own body on the tree.

Therefore, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

It is interesting to note what the term “bare” means here:

*Word Origin and History for bare [From Dictionary.com]
adj.
Old English bær “naked, uncovered, unclothed,” from Proto-Germanic *bazaz (cf. German bar, Old Norse berr, Dutch baar), from PIE *bhosos (cf. Armenian bok “naked;” Old Church Slavonic bosu, Lithuanian basas “barefoot”). Meaning “sheer, absolute” (c.1200) is from the notion of “complete in itself.”

Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

Jhn 14:15

If you love Me, keepfn My commandments.

Keeping the commandments doesn’t save us – Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins does.   But the effort we make to keep the commandments  shows that we believe and trust in Him and His promises given to us at the moment of our salvation!

The devotional concludes:

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.

[Le 1:4; 1Pe 1:18,19, 2:24; Eph 1:6; 1 Pe 2:5; Ro 12:1; Jude 1:24,25]

We can absolutely trust Jesus!

Jhn 8:42

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

*******

Hat tips to all links.

*******

How To Know God Personally [Click on link to discover the principles!]

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

The Question of Goodness

March 16, 2015

As a Christian, have you ever been confronted with questions regarding the goodness of people?  I have.  Many times I’ve heard, “well, I think that most people are good, don’t you?”  It can be difficult to quickly answer such a question.  If I had replied, “yes, most people are good” then I would be rejecting the truth of Christian doctrine.  If I had replied, “no, most people (or all people) are not good” then the non-Christian who asked such a question would most likely get upset and call me names – if not to my face then silently within his or her mind.

One of the Bible verses that can be bothersome to non-Christians is:


Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?”

That verse certainly doesn’t fit the narrative that “most people are good.”

When a guest that we brought to our church stated that it was offensive for the pastor to make the claim that “all people are bad” (because the pastor quoted that verse), I tried to ease the situation by sharing the very next verse:

Jer 17:10

I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

Jesus Christ reiterated this truth about goodness while answering the rich man’s question.

Mat 19:16

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good [fn] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

(19:17)

NU-Text reads Why do you ask Me about what is good?

(19:17)

NU-Text reads There is One who is good.

Mat 19:17

So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? [fn] No one is good but One, that is, God. [fn] But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Mar 10:18

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

Luk 18:19

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.

It helps to read the entire account in Matthew 19. We find out that the rich man claimed to “keep the commandments” that Jesus listed. [Notice, “do not lie” wasn’t in the examples]. So the rich man asked, “what do I lack?”

Jesus challenged him even further, knowing that this young rich man was relying on his riches and possessions.

Mat 19:22

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Mat 19:23

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 19:24

“And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

You see, we can’t be perfect, as only God is perfect. The Sermon of the Mount challenges us to be perfect, but if we are honest with ourselves, we all fail The Good Test. This is the entire reason why Jesus Christ had to come to this earth to die for our sins, rise from the dead, and tell us our need to be spiritually born again. The Gospel needs to be shared all around the world for the salvation of men.

Back to the goodness question.

I would like to share an essay written back in 2010 at my former blog.  It may help explain the goodness question.

~  Christine

*******

[Originally written October 1, 2010 and updated]

Now, this post will not be an extensive expose’ on “the question of goodness.” That would take many pages. However, what I want to share here may help explain why what man regards as “goodness” within himself, may not be in line with what God describes as Good in His Word.

I realize that non-believers who make the claim of people being good may be thinking in more of a socially acceptable, politically correct motivated type of  reasoning;  which is meant which is meant for the purpose of  bringing people together in a positive way.  I mean, people DO good things in this life.  We all like praise for our good deeds.  We have our good actions and  instances in life.  However, don’t we all need to admit that we also have our bad instances and choices in this life too?  No matter how good someone claims to be (or how good a person acts in front of the public eye),  can any of us match up to the holy and righteous goodness of God?  The Bible says something very different about our “goodness.”

Please see The Good Test at NeedGod.com in order to understand the details about our spiritual condition without Christ.

This week, I started reading Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God written by Francis Chan. I have only completed reading chapter one, but the message fits with this post.

Chan encourages us to stop talking at God for a while and instead, take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word.

I read that section on Wednesday night. By Thursday evening, I was on my way, in traffic and in the rain, to pick up something that I would much rather have picked up on another day. The situation was such that I was told that I must get these items today. [Grrr….!]

During the drive, I said to myself, “If the person asks me ‘how are you today?’ I thought about saying, ‘Do you want a typical response of fine or the truth about how I’m really feeling?'” I had a complete diatribe ready to be unleashed towards the unfortunate person who would be handing me the items that I really didn’t want to pick up in the first place.

My trip already started out bad. First, the road to the freeway was jammed and backed up. Who leaves their house at 5:00 p.m. during rush hour traffic and expects not to hit traffic? Then, it started to rain again on the way there. Next, the sun started to break through the clouds and the glare into the car and on the wet pavement as I was driving west on a side road made it difficult to see. I proceeded to turn left again and traveled the speed limit of 25 mph around a park playground area. My final turn approached and I headed up the hill to my destination. I had just about completed what I was going to say in my mind, but became absolutely awestruck when I witnessed one of the most beautiful (and complete!) rainbows I have ever seen! I chuckled to myself. My heart melted my pride, anger, and annoyance that had built up over the 35 minute ride to my destination. I got out of my car and tried to take a picture of the rainbow with my old and crappy cell phone camera (small voice: complaining again, Chris?) Of course, I could not capture the beauty in a photograph that I was witnessing! A man approached and was saying how awesome the rainbow looked! He asked me my name and went inside to get the items that I came to pick up.

When he and an assistant came back out to the car to put the items in my trunk, he asked, “so how are you today?” “How is your family?” My planned diatribe turned into a confession that some individuals in my family were experiencing difficulty, but God is so good! Look at that rainbow! It is a symbol of His eternal promises for us.”

GodHe’s something isn’t He??? He keeps teaching me every single day. That rainbow was a gentle reminder that I am slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry.

Francis Chan writes:

The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him. It may seem a hopeless endeavor, to gaze at the invisible God. But Romans 1:20 tells us that through creation, we see His “invisible qualities” and “divine nature.”

I realize that how a rainbow forms can be explained scientifically. But can its beauty be explained? Or, is it a representation of God’s “invisible qualities” and “divine nature?”

Chan goes on to describe how God is holy, God is eternal, God is all-knowing, God is all-powerful and God is fair and just. He quotes Colossians 1:16 – which tells us that everything was created for God: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”

Chan asks:

Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?

Wow. That gives each of us a verbal whoopin’ – doesn’t it?!

But the Bible takes it even further:

All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” – Daniel 4:35

Chan asks:

Do you really believe that compared to God, “all the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing,” including you?

These are hard sayings. But some might wonder, can it get any worse?

Answer: yes. Just take a look at Chan’s section about God is fair and just:

One definition of justice is “reward and/or penalty as deserved.” If what we truly deserved were up to us, we would end up with as many different answers as people who responded. But it isn’t up to us, mostly because none of us are good.

Let’s hold up here for just a moment.  Chan disagrees with the typical claim that “most people are good.” Again, it is possible that when anyone uses the term “good,”  it is a political term and not in the moral or spiritual sense. We all want to perceive ourselves as good, but compared to Holy God, we are not good.

Chan:

God is the only Being who is good, and the standards are set by Him. Because God hates sin, He has to punish those guilty of sin. Maybe that’s not an appealing standard. But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards. When we disagree, let’s not assume it’s His reasoning that needs correction.

It takes a lot for us to comprehend God’s total hatred for sin. We make excuses like, “Yes, I am prideful at times, but everyone struggles with pride.” However, God says in Proverbs 8:13, “I hate pride and arrogance.” You and I are not allowed to tell Him how much He can hate it. He can hate and punish it as severely as His justice demands.

God never excuses sin. And He is always consistent with that ethic. Whenever we start to question whether God really hates sin, we have only to think of the cross, where His Son was tortured, mocked, and beaten because of sin. Our sin.

No question about it: God hates and must punish sin. And He is totally just and fair in doing so.

In the final segment of Chapter One, Chan describes the reactions of both John in the book of Revelation and Isaiah who saw God on His throne. We learn that there are many facets of God that expand beyond our comprehension. God cannot be contained in this world, explained by our vocabulary, or grasped by our understanding.

I would imagine that each and every one of us will be speechless at first – admiring the King of the Universe with awestruck silence when we see Him! Both John and Isaiah found it difficult to describe seeing God in mere words. They tried to describe Him and the experience in ways that they, and we, could relate to and understand. For example – in Revelation, John describes the One seated on the throne with two gems, “jasper and carnelian,” and the area around the throne as a rainbow that looked like an emerald.

Isaiah describes the seraphim appearing above and said they called out to one another saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Yes! It certainly is! And we only get just a glimpse of His glory in all that He has created!

Recall that Isaiah’s reaction was, “Woe is me…I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Isaiah didn’t feel worthy. But as the Scriptures report, one of the seraphim touches Isaiah’s mouth with a hot coal and tells him that his guilt is taken away.

Mercy is God withholding what you (we, I) deserve.
Grace is God giving you (us, me) what you don’t deserve.

As Isaiah believed in God the Father and was waiting expectantly for the Savior of the world, he reminds us of what our only response to God’s provision for our salvation – Jesus Christ – should be!
*******

How To Know God Personally [Click on link to discover the principles!]

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

Spiritual Drought

March 6, 2015

In a previous post, I linked to a blog called “Possessing the Treasure.” The excellent essay over there discusses 3 of the 7 different churches from the book of Revelation, and reveals the apostate church of Laodicea and how it compares to the apostate church(es) in our time. After reading it again today, I thought that it deserved a post all of its own.

The author shared what the book of Revelation stated regarding three different churches. Briefly, the church at Sardis (Revelation 3:1-2 NASB)- is called “the dead church”, Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-12 NASB) – had no condemnation because they were “not compromising with the pressures of apostasy, but are overcoming or conquering in their obedience and faithfulness”, and Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-21 NASB) – “They claim they are the ones doing Christianity the right way, but are blind or deceived into not seeing the truth of their spiritual bankruptcy, which is that they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

He also shared a letter written by his great aunt to his grandfather, sometime in the 1940’s – 50’s.

Within that letter, his great aunt writes about the spiritual drought happening at that time, yet a good preacher who stands with God and upon God’s Word and doesn’t stray into apostasy can “strengthen the faith and bring joy into their hearts knowing that He (Christ) is coming soon.”

Each generation needs to be strengthened in this way because we do not know the day or hour of Christ’s return.

The author at that blog, Mike Ratcliff, writes:

The apostasy that my grandfather and his sister were discussing had to do with a temporal focus within churches. People were simply being religious. There was little evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in the people’s lives while at the same time there were counterfeits and charlatans running amok with their false, man-focused “gospels” of “health, wealth, and prosperity” confusing many. In the midst of all this, in genuine churches the transforming work of Sanctification (Romans 12:1-2) was not in evidence. Churches may have been stable in growth or even growing, but the focus within was on religiosity rather than the Cross of Christ and preaching the Gospel and the spiritual growth of believers.

There are an alarming number of churches where the pastors refuse to present, study, or even mention what is written in the book of Revelation. A friend of mine is concerned that her adult daughter is in one of them, and thus she is missing a key portion of God’s Word in her life.

Why would a church purposely keep the information from its congregation – especially when that particular book of the Bible that states that “you will be blessed” by reading it…both at the beginning and also at the end of the book? Dr. David Jeremiah states that it’s one of satan’s ploys that (apparently) has captured the minds of some pastors and preachers, so that they deem the book “too hard” to preach about or to even teach to their own congregations. Of course we know that satan wants lost souls to stay that way.  In fact the devil wants to keep all away from the Bible in its entirety.   But why would this book be even more hated by God’s adversary? Probably because we learn of satan’s doom in that book!

The letter written by Mike’s great aunt was truly accurate and prophetic. The apostasy is much worse in our time, but she noticed that it was growing way back in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

I was born in 1954, and have seen the exponential deterioration of so-called “Christian” churches over the course of my own lifetime. Churches that I once attended in the past unfortunately turned away from the truth and went the seeker-sensitive, prosperity route.  They noticeably lost their way and lost many attendees because of it.

The cross-less gospel is popular in a lot of leftist churches that excuse the sin of Sodom (among several other sins like abortion) and ignore the judgment that is to come due to un-repentance.

One church that I used to attend even went so far as to remove the huge name of Jesus (which was formerly displayed across the center front of the sanctuary behind the pastor’s podium), and replaced it with a big screen!

 

What was very odd and shocking (to me) about this move is that there were existing big screens placed years ago on the wall at either side behind the podium!  I discovered this “change” last year on Good Friday and it bothered me immensely then, as it still does now! Who in their right mind ( minds which were supposedly guided by the Holy Spirit?) would do such a thing!? I cannot, in good conscience, ever go back to that church! The convenience of attending their once per year Good Friday service won’t bring me back. I’d rather drive an hour down to the Rock Church for their evening Good Friday service this year!

We need to remain diligent in this time of heresy and apostasy, and point out what the true church should be like and doing (e.g. the church of Philadelphia in Revelation).   We need to continue to speak out against those “churches” and “preachers” who would turn people away from truth of the Gospel of Christ and God’s Word, the Bible,  towards the evil of error, heresy and apostasy.

Hat tip:  “Possessing the Treasure.”

*******

How To Know God Personally [Click on link to discover the principles!]

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

Spiritual Apostasy Leads to Moral Awfulness and Political Anarchy

February 26, 2015

H/T for graphic:  prophecynewsandviews

As a Christian, do you feel that this particular generation is highly deceived and living in an era of spiritual apostasy?

I certainly do!

People are so upset and angry; feeling like there is nothing that they can do to stem the tide of moral awfulness and political anarchy happening today.  It is so disheartening that many are blinded by evil and just refuse to see what is coming.

We are told ahead of time that the falling away (apostasy) will happen the closer we get to the end times.  It helps to know this, because then we can still be secure in Jesus Christ no matter what happens.

As Christians, we were once lost, confused, unclear, perplexed, disoriented, and bewildered.  But now, we have the Gospel of Christ to share with those who are still searching for truth in an age of lies.

It is like the path to salvation.  First, we must face the “bad” – which is the fact of our sin.  Then we must repent, and turn back to the LORD GOD through His Son, Jesus Christ.  That is the GOOD NEWS that we can rest in despite all the turmoil going on in the world.

In facing what is happening today – scary as they are – (the spiritual apostasy, moral awfulness, and political anarchy going on all around us) we still have access to the solution.  There is hopeThe real kind of hope that we get from God’s Word!

One of the greatest realizations in Christian faith,  commentary, and apologetics is the fact that a Bible teacher, writer, and commentator who once shared Thru the Bible Radio broadcasts forty years ago, turns out to share content that is even more true and relevant today.

J. Vernon McGee was such a writer.  That is why I was excited to find one of his books entitled “Thru the Bible Commentary Series:  The Prophets – Isaiah Chapters 1-35” in a used book store.  I have often quoted the prophecies of Isaiah [e.g. Isaiah 53] regarding the coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ – but I instinctively knew that there was so much more to glean from Isaiah’s writings.

Today, I will share a few pages of Bible verses along with J. Vernon McGee’s commentary about them.  Perhaps you will notice how very relevant the grace and praise, as well as the admonitions and warnings which were given in Scripture regarding Israel in Isaiah’s day, also apply towards America and should be heeded by us. Dr. McGee shared the ultimate Solution for us to avoid captivity; and to once again be restored, blessed and preserved as a nation.

~ Christine

*******

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters:  they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward [Isaiah 1:4]

[Israel] is described as “a people laden with iniquity.”  This phrase throws a world of light upon the personal invitation that the Lord Jesus Gave in the New Testament.  He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”  [Matthew 11:28].  Now we know what He meant –“laden with iniquity.”  The people of Israel were laden with sin.  Today His invitation goes out to those who are laden with sin to bring that burden and load to Him and find rest, the rest of redemption.

In this verse God spells out Israel’s condition.  They are backslidden, they have turned away from God, and they are a people laden with iniquity.  Now He is going to spell out in detail the charge that He has made against them.

This brings to mind the philosophy of human government upon which God operates.  This system is presented to us in the Book of Judges, and you see this cycle of the history of human government working itself out in the nation.  In the Book of Judges we saw Israel serving God, being blessed of God, and prospering.  They began, in their prosperity, to turn away from God, and they finally turned to idolatry.  They were in rebellion against God; in fact, they forgot Him.  Then God delivered them into the hands of the enemy.

Doesn’t it seem like we are being delivered into the hands of the enemy today?

Continuing:

In a short time they began to cry out to God for deliverance. When they turned to God, He delivered them from their enemies and put them back in the place of blessing. This picture follows all the way through Scripture, and history corroborates the fact that there are three steps in the downfall of any nation. There is religious apostasy, then moral awfulness, and finally political anarchy. Many people don’t pay any attention to the cycle until the stage of political anarchy is reached, then they cry out that the government should be changed and a new system adopted. Well, the problem is not in the government. The problem with Jerusalem was not in the palace, but the problem was within the temple. The trouble begins when there is spiritual apostasy.

[Suggested additional reading: Isaiah 1:5-17.]

These three things listed – starting with spiritual apostasy – are why America is now also suffering under moral awfulness and political anarchy!

Dr. McGee:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:  though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; through they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).

God is saying to Judah, “Do not force Me to render sentence. Settle your case out of court.” In Matthew 5:25 the Lord Jesus said, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him…” –don’t wait until he takes you to court. God says that He has a secret formula, a divine alchemy, a potent prescription, a powerful potion, a heavenly elixir that will take out sin. It is not a secret formula like the newest bomb, but it is more potent. You will find it in Isaiah 53 as the One who was more marred, who suffered more, who died differently, who was wounded for our transgressions. Because He paid the penalty, the Judge is able now to extend mercy to us. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, keeps on cleansing from all sin.

This is God’s charge against His people, and this is the basis on which they may turn to Him. If they will turn to Him, He will preserve the nation–He will give them almost one hundred years–then if they don’t turn to Him and change their ways, He will send them into captivity.

We see an application of this to our own country. In my beloved country I see political anarchy. It is obvious to most of us that men cannot solve the problems of this nation, and certainly not of the world.

The historian, Gibbon, gives five reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire in his book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  As the first step towards decline, he lists the undermining of the dignity and the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.  The second step includes higher and higher taxes and the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace.  The third was the mad craze for pleasure and sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, and more immoral.  The fourth step was the building of great armaments when the real enemy was within:  the decay of individual responsibility.  The fifth was the decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and losing power to guide the people.

You see, a nation’s decline begins with spiritual apostasy, which is followed by moral awfulness, and results in political anarchy.

Is there spiritual apostasy in this land of ours?  Every informed Christian is aware that modernism [Christine adds the new term of “progressivism” which is even worse!] has taken over most of the great denominations of America today; and, in this dire day, modernism, by its own confession, has failed.  Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, one of the mouthpieces of liberalism, is quoted as saying that liberal Protestantism has been inclined to sacrifice every characteristic Christian insight if only it could thereby prove itself intellectually respectable, but that liberalism finds itself unable to cope with the tragic experiences of our day.

[America’s] problem is the same today; it is a spiritual problem.

Let’s stop there for a moment. I could easily insert links of articles and blog posts that cover many of the points that Dr. McGee was making within his commentary above. I would like to invite readers here to share any links that they think would apply in the comment section, and I will add them into the commentary. Some of my own will be forthcoming, as well.

Dr. McGee continues:

There is a way out for America, and there is a way out for you and for me. Someone has stated it this way:

Philosophy says: Think your way out.
Indulgence says: Drink your way out.
Politics says: Spend your way out.
Science says: Invent your way out.
Industry says: Work your way out.
Communism says: Strike your way out.
Fascism says: Bluff your way out.
Militarism says: Fight your way out.
The Bible says: Pray your way out, but
Jesus Christ says: “I am the way (out)…”

After the Lord brings His charges against Judah and offers them salvation and a way out of their trouble, He continues gently with a warning.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it [Isaiah 1:19-20].

The government of God and the grace of God are two aspects emphasized in the Book of Isaiah. During the remainder of chapter 1 God is attempting to move Judah back to Himself. He is giving the people a warning.

Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:

And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:

And I will restore they judges as at the first, and they counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The sity of righteousness, the faithful city [Isaiah 1:24-26].

Judah’s destiny depends upon the people’s response to God’s offer of forgiving grace. If they are willing to turn from their sin and obey God, He will bestow His favor upon them materially and spiritually and protect them from their enemies.

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.

For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen [Isaiah 1:27-29].

I had to catch my breath after reading those verses and the next sentence that explained what the “oaks” and the “gardens” meant…that they had chosen!

Dr. McGee:

This has to do with idolatry because the idols were placed under the oak tress, and a garden was planted around them.

For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.

And the strong shall be as tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them [Isaiah 1:30-31].

Wow!  Powerful insight here in the book of Isaiah!  Such verses can be applied during the time of Isaiah, and also during our current era!

Dr. McGee:

God has been misrepresented in the sense that He has been pictured as losing His temper and breaking forth in judgment.  That is never a true picture of God.  The fact is that our sin is like a wick, and when we play with the spark of sin, the fire will follow.  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked:  for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” [Galatians 6:7]

Reference Source:

J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary Series:  The Prophets – Isaiah Chapters 1-35,  Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1991 reprint, originally published 1975.  pp. 22-31

Hat tips to all links.

The Importance of “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.”

February 25, 2015

H/T for graphic:  biblicalproof.files.wordpress

My television DVR is set to record the Jack Van Impe program on the Daystar network.  Last night, I had the time to view the Saturday, February 21, 2015 episode and it was one of the best I’ve ever seen!

Each program from this ministry is generally very enlightening and educational.  I don’t think that there is anyone in ministry today who has the ability to discern the signs of the times and relate today’s news to the warnings in the Bible (and Bible prophecy) better than Dr. Van Impe. He always backs up his claims with Scripture! THAT is THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of Christian Apologetics and  teaching!

To view the program online, click here:

 

Jack Van Impe Ministries: 2/21/15 Episode.

 

SOUND DOCTRINE is so IMPORTANT these days because there are many who are GUILTY of preaching a false gospel; and thus are drifting away (and taking others with them!)  from the true faith and gospel of Jesus Christ! Dr. Van Impe isn’t talking to non-believers here, he is talking to Christians! At least he is using the admonition to “rightly divide the Word of truth.”

2Ti 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Notice that verse in 2 Timothy says to be a WORKER who does not need to be ashamed! And WORKERS for Christ are born-again, Bible-based believers! As WORKERS, we are to “rightly divide the word of truth!” Those who do not – are guilty of heresy and apostasy!

You will notice that Dr. Van Impe talks to EVERY denomination of Christianity – including Catholics! In past videos, he has shown much admiration for Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict. However, he has doubts about the Jesuit priest who became Pope Francis, and he points out this pope’s errors in this video!

Dr. Van Impe also calls out the evangelicals who are not “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

If you are a Christian – of any denomination – please do yourself a favor and view the video at the JVM Ministries link!

There are many verses that instruct us to be diligent, discerning, biblically accurate, rightly dividing the word of truth and to preach proper and sound DOCTRINE!

H/T for graphic:  sounddoctrine.org

 

How do we discern proper and sound doctrine?

By reading, studying, discerning, following, and sharing the truth – according to God’s Word, the Bible, and The Living Word and Son of God – Jesus Christ!

We are called to exhort, and convict, as Titus 1:9 tells us here:

Tit 1:9

holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

Hat tip: Jack Van Impe Ministries

Speak the Things Which We Have Seen and Heard

February 21, 2015

 

The title of this post comes from a verse in Acts 4.  With the upcoming TV series about the Book of Acts and Dr. David Jeremiah’s 12 week Turning Point Ministry sharing the Scripture behind the story, I began thinking about how the Apostles in the Book of Acts were received during their missionary journeys.  They encountered both joy from those who believed, and threats to shut them up from the establishment authorities who wanted to shut down the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before I post the verses leading up to that particular Bible verse in Acts 4, I wanted to first share some quotes regarding religious liberty from the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy truly knew what our Founders meant regarding the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  He knew how vitally important the free exercise of religion was to our Founders, and how such rights would be threatened and attacked in our day.

Does the First Amendment declare the “separation of church and state”?  Probably 99 percent of the people in America today have been brainwashed into saying “yes.”  But it does not!  We must understand what the First Amendment says, because the relationship between these two “kingdoms” – church and state – has been long and difficult.  The founding fathers resolved that question in a marvelous way, but their solution is being completely disregarded in our time–and most people are not aware of it.

The First Amendment states:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  What does this say about what the church can or cannot do?  What does it say about what a Christian citizen should or should not do?  Absolutely nothing!  It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The First Amendment forbids the federal government from restricting religion in any manner.  The Establishment Clause was only intended to stop the formation of a national church; and so it must be seen as merely a further limitation on government from restricting people from freely exercising their faith.

– Dr. D. James Kennedy

The founders of our nation wanted to avoid what was happening in Britain – the imposition of a national church upon the people. But the First Amendment and Establishment Clause were NOT meant to squelch the speech, worship, and associations of people and various denominations of churches from having the ability to freely exercise their faith.

Today, government is setting down a strong hand in order to restrict people from freely exercising their faith.  Most often these restrictions are being pushed upon those who hold to the Christian faith. Please read some of the previous posts here at Talk Wisdom for evidence of this fact!

As Christians, we know that God has called us to preach the Gospel of Christ – “in season as well as out of season.”  In today’s vernacular, we might say “when it’s popular as well as when it isn’t popular” to do so.

2Ti 4:2

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

However, being an honest book, the Bible has already told us that there would be those who would fight hard against the spread of Christianity!  Such goals were evident when the Apostles started preaching about Christ in the book of Acts.

Note these verses:

Act 4:15

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

Act 4:16

saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

Act 4:17

“But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

Act 4:18

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

Act 4:19

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

Act 4:20

“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Why did the council not want the miracle that was done through the Apostles and the teachings of Jesus Christ to spread? Because it interfered with their authority. They could not have this Jesus spoken of as the crucified, risen Savior of the world! It would threaten their religious authority.

Today, the name of Jesus Christ is often blocked from graduation speeches, but it’s OK to use His name as a curse word in any movie or TV show.

Read the previous verses to understand what they were objecting to:

Act 4:1

Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

Act 4:2

being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Act 4:3

And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Act 4:4

However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Act 4:5

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

Act 4:6

as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

Act 4:7

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Act 4:8

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

Act 4:9

“If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

Act 4:10

“let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Act 4:11

“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ [fn]

Act 4:12

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Act 4:13

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Act 4:14

And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Note that the people who realized that Peter and John had “been with Jesus” and saw the man who was healed standing right in front of them – they could not say anything against it! But those Sadducee leaders saw it as a threat against their power, so they wanted this preaching to “spread no further among the people.” Thus they can up with a plan to “let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

Today, those who disagree with or blatantly hate the name of Jesus Christ continue to try to “command them [us] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

But the Apostles were not hindered by their threats:

Act 4:21

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

Act 4:22

For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

Act 4:23

And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

Act 4:24

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

Act 4:25

“who by the mouth of Your servant David [fn] have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

Act 4:26

The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ [fn]

Act 4:27

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

Act 4:28

“to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Act 4:29

“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

Act 4:30

“by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

Act 4:31

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Neither should we, my dear fellow Christian brothers and sisters, be shaken or hindered from speaking with all boldness the Word of God and His Christ – Jesus!

Paul reiterates that we should put on the armor of God, despite those who would want our speech and even our lives “to be in chains” in Ephesians 6; and thus “speak boldly, as I [we] ought to speak.”

Eph 6:20

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


Talk Wisdom

Talk Wisdom's goal is to defend the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We defend our Constitutional Republic and Charters of Freedom, especially when speaking out against destructive social and political issues. As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.

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