Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

Why Does God Require Faith to Please Him?

September 1, 2016

Have you ever contemplated why God requires faith to please Him?  We know from Hebrews 11:6 that it is not only a requirement, but that not having faith in Him makes it impossible to please Him!

Heb 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

That verse explains that God is also “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

In Dr. David Jeremiah’s current series, “Ten Questions Christians Are Asking,” this past Sunday’s broadcast on faith was one of the best!

Readers can view it at this link:

David Jeremiah.org: What Is Faith?

When I come across skeptics, (seekers and/or outright deniers of Jesus Christ included) they often cite humanistic reasons for not being able to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They use the same humanistic “wisdom” (minus the Wisdom of God in the Scriptures) to claim that any and all of their “reasons” for unbelief are valid. For them, the following verse either offers confusion or an excuse for their unbelief:

Heb 11:1

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

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains:

1. It is the substance of things hoped for. Faith and hope go together; and the same things that are the object of our hope are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation that God will perform all that he has promised to us in Christ; and this persuasion is so strong that it gives the soul a kind of possession and present fruition of those things, gives them a subsistence in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them: so that believers in the exercise of faith are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Christ dwells in the soul by faith, and the soul is filled with the fullness of God, as far as his present measure will admit; he experiences a substantial reality in the objects of faith.

  • 2. It is the evidence of things not seen. Faith demonstrates to the eye of the mind the reality of those things that cannot be discerned by the eye of the body. Faith is the firm assent of the soul to the divine revelation and every part of it, and sets to its seal that God is true. It is a full approbation of all that God has revealed as holy, just, and good; it helps the soul to make application of all to itself with suitable affections and endeavours; and so it is designed to serve the believer instead of sight, and to be to the soul all that the senses are to the body. That faith is but opinion or fancy which does not realize invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.

 

Christians would inevitably nod their heads in agreement with what Henry wrote in his commentary.  On the other hand, it is likely that nonbelievers might have the tendency to deem what he has written as “opinion or fancy.”

Why? 

Because he or she cannot (or refuses to learn) “the invisible things to the soul, and excite the soul to act agreeably to the nature and importance of them.”

Rejection of the Gospel truth in the Bible is often likely because of ignorance about the Scriptures and the Person in whom the Scriptures point to as Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.  But what about those who claim to have studied Scripture and yet do not believe?  Henry explained quite well why they might reach such a conclusion.

Another way of putting it is the fact that no Christian can MAKE someone believe in Jesus Christ.  All we are to do is to point the way towards the truth of the Gospel.  The knocking on the door of the heart of the hearer of the gospel message is done by the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus Christ to indwell believers.

Heb 11:2

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

Henry writes:

II. An account of the honour it reflects upon all those who have lived in the exercise of it (v. 2): By it the elders obtained a good report-the ancient believers, who lived in the first ages of the world. Observe,

  • 1. True faith is an old grace, and has the best plea to antiquity: it is not a new invention, a modern fancy; it is a grace that has been planted in the soul of man ever since the covenant of grace was published in the world; and it has been practiced from the beginning of the revelation; the eldest and best men that ever were in the world were believers.

  • 2. Their faith was their honour; it reflected honour upon them. They were an honour to their faith, and their faith was an honour to them. It put them upon doing the things that were of good report, and God has taken care that a record shall be kept and report made of the excellent things they did in the strength of this grace. The genuine actings of faith will bear to be reported, deserve to be reported, and will, when reported, redound to the honour of true believers.

Notice how Henry includes the word “true” when he describes believers.  This brings to mind the need to avoid those who have fallen into, ( and in today’s era, unfortunately preach),  the heretic and apostate beliefs as described in this Syncretism Stew post.

The book of Jude provides the warnings and signs about those who have “crept in unnoticed” and, “who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[fn] and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[fn] (1:4)

NU-Text omits God.

 

Heb 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Henry writes:

III. We have here one of the first acts and articles of faith, which has a great influence on all the rest, and which is common to all believers in every age and part of the world, namely, the creation of the worlds by the word of God, not out of pre-existent matter, but out of nothing, v. 3. The grace of faith has a retrospect as well as prospect; it looks not only forward to the end of the world, but back to the beginning of the world. By faith we understand much more of the formation of the world than ever could be understood by the naked eye of natural reason. Faith is not a force upon the understanding, but a friend and a help to it. Now what does faith give us to understand concerning the worlds, that is, the upper, middle, and lower regions of the universe?

  • 1. That these worlds were not eternal, nor did they produce themselves, but they were made by another.

  • 2. That the maker of the worlds is God; he is the maker of all things; and whoever is so must be God.

  • 3. That he made the world with great exactness; it was a framed work, in every thing duly adapted and disposed to answer its end, and to express the perfections of the Creator.

  • 4. That God made the world by his word, that is, by his essential wisdom and eternal Son, and by his active will, saying, Let it be done, and it was done, Ps. 33:9.

  • 5. That the world was thus framed out of nothing, out of no pre-existent matter, contrary to the received maxim, that “out of nothing,  nothing can be made,’ which, though true of created power, can have no place with God, who can call things that are not as if they were, and command them into being. These things we understand by faith. The Bible gives us the truest and most exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest or run down the scripture-account of the creation, because it does not suit with some fantastic hypotheses of our own, which has been in some learned but conceited men the first remarkable step towards infidelity, and has led them into many more.

    Hat tips to all links and graphics sites posted here.

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Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

February 18, 2016

Yesterday’s post is just one example of the difference between man’s human wisdom vs. “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:4)

When we read and study the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 2 we see and understand “the spirit of this world” vs. “the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (See 1 Corinthians 2:12)

The Bible teaches us to “speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy [fn] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:13)

Paul goes on to instruct us: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

This is why those who are spiritually discerned can think that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior (or any other type of sin). It appears to be “foolishness to him.” And, as the verse above states, “nor can he know them.”

Paul concludes the chapter with:

1Co 2:15

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

1Co 2:16

For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [fn] But we have the mind of Christ.

Having the “mind of Christ” means that the indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to discern good from evil. Even as Christians, we may not want to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit within on certain issues, but the guidance is there for us to behold and utilize if our free will allows it to sink in.

Years ago at my former blog I wrote a blog post entitled “Recognizing Spiritual Delusion.” It contains important information for every Christian believer who may be struggling with the secular tug-of-war between human wisdom vs. God’s wisdom in the Bible.

The essay discusses the rise of false prophets and the increase of spiritual delusion that will take place the closer we get to the end times.

Once born again in Jesus Christ,  it is ESSENTIAL for Christians to study God’s Word so that they will not fall into such spiritual delusion and thus be taken away into heresy and apostasy.

It is my hope and prayer that visitors here will take the time to read this essay!

In Christ’s service,

~ Christine

*******

Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

When it comes to studying and understanding the “shadow of coming events” predicted and prophesied in the Bible, no one does a better, more accurate job of communicating exactly what Scripture reveals than Dr. Ed Hindson. If you go to that website and read his impressive resume’, you will, without a doubt, see how knowledgeable he is regarding end times events, Scriptural truth, and biblical prophecy.

One chapter, in Dr. Hindson’s book Antichrist Rising, has stood out in my mind over the past few days. It is the chapter called, “Rise of False Prophets.” The Bible informs us that false prophets and teachers have always been with us. Knowing God’s Word is essential to being able to spot them. We are warned, however, that as the end times draw closer and closer, there will be a rise of false prophets in the world. So, how do we recognize them and most importantly, avoid being caught up in their deception?

According to the Old Testament (OT), we are told that true prophets of God must do three things in order to be considered genuine:

1. must speak in the name of the Lord, not some other god.

2. must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

3. must give predictions of future events that come true exactly as stated.

Ed Hindson writes:

One of the most scathing denunciations of false prophets in all of Scripture is delivered by the prophet Jeremiah. In his time, Jeremiah had to deal constantly with false prophets who opposed his ministry, contradicted his message, and even conspired to have him killed. They kept telling the leaders of Jerusalem that the people had nothing to fear from the Babylonian invaders, but Jeremiah knew differently. Jerusalem was on the verge of destruction, and the people were about to be taken into captivity for 70 years.

“My heart is broken within me,” Jeremiah confesses in his agony over these false prophets who “…follow an evil course and use their power unjustly” (Jeremiah 23:9,10). “Both prophet and priest are godless,” the Lord responds (23:11). Then He tells Jeremiah His opinion of these false prophets:

Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD (verse 16).

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied (verse 21).

I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? (verse 25)

Yes…I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues….Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams….Because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God (verses 31, 32, 36).

Jeremiah could not make his complaint any clearer or his case any stronger. God is against those false prophets whose spiritual delusion causes them to invent their own message apart from God’s truth. The Bible presents these people in seven categories…

Before I post those categories, I want to mention a few things that are crucial to this message.

In OT times, the Holy Spirit of God would “come, minister, and then depart from” the prophets of old. Any basic study of the Bible would bear this fact out. The fact that God is depicted as “being with a prophet or person,” but then “leaving that prophet or person” shows this to be true. He is often called, “The Spirit of God” for “The Spirit of the LORD.” For example:

Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Jdg 3:10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

Today, the Holy Spirit works both outside, in the world to influence the unsaved towards repentance and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior; as well as inside each saved believer. When a person is born-again (see John 3),  the Holy Spirit resides within the heart of each believer. According to the Bible, Jesus told us that on the day of Pentecost, He would send a Helper for the disciples (and for us today as well):

Luke 11:13   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Notice that Jesus mentions we must ask for the Holy Spirit to indwell us. After repentance of our sins, we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts and he resides there in the form of the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to Him as “another Comforter.”

Jhn 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jhn 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Jhn 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

When Jesus was here, physically on earth during his 3 year ministry, he could only be present in one place at a time. After defeating evil, sin and death on the cross for the sins of the world, and His subsequent resurrection to life, he ascended to the Father and now resides at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Comforter (Holy Spirit) can be in all places at all times and thus indwells each believer in Christ.
We are then promised that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Hbr 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

This is why, no matter what happens to us on this earth, we can have the peace that surpasses all understanding precisely because we belong to Jesus! We can have absolute faith in Him! He’s such an awesome Savior and Lord!

Now, back to the topic of this post.

I left off just before sharing the seven categories that false prophets and teachers can fall into:

Hindson:

1. Self-deceived. Some false teachers may be sincere, but they are still wrong. They have deceived themselves into believing their messages are true. As Jeremiah points out, their messages come psychologically from within their own minds and are not from God.

This is why I have stressed the point that the Holy Spirit of God will not lead you into thinking that contradicts Scripture! The “messages” may come “psychologically” from within one’s own mind, (or, even worse from demons), but they are not from God if it contradicts God’s Word!

Hindson:

2. Liars. Some false prophets are deliberate liars who have no intention of telling the truth. The apostle John says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anti-christ – he denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).

Now, admittedly, deliberate liars are easier to spot. However, sometimes the lie is so subtle, that even Christians can be fooled if they don’t have a firm foundation in the truth of the Bible. Notice in Ed Hindson’s second definition of a true prophet, he states:

2. [A true prophet] must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

God’s revealed truth in Scripture is the operative phrase. Anyone can read, study and even teach from the Bible. But if their ideology does not match up with God’s revealed truth in the Scriptures, then beware! You may be led astray from a false teacher!

Hindson:

3. Heretics. These are those who preach heresy (false doctrine) and divide the church. Of them John said, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us” (1 John 2:19). The apostle Peter said, “There will be false teachers among you. they will secretly introduce destructive heresies….These men blaspheme in matters they do not understand” (2 Peter 2:1, 12).

The phrase, “blaspheme in matters they do not understand” could refer to those under delusion and/or deception. We can all recall several examples of blatantly obvious heretical movements. The Jim Jones cult, the Heaven’s Gate group, and David Koresh. However, there are more subtle groups that would qualify as being called “heretical.”

Hindson:

4. Blasphemers. Those who speak evil of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the people of God, the kingdom of God, and the attributes of God are called blasphemers. Jude calls them godless men who “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand….They are clouds without rain…trees, without fruit….They are wild waves of the sea…wandering stars” (Jude 10,12,13).

We even have a recent example of these types of people! Look no further than This debate between the “Rational Response Squad” and two Christian evangelists.

However, some examples of “blasphemers” are not always as obvious as the atheists who participated in that debate. The ability to subtly “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.” can apply to false converts, as well. They are often referred to as “sheep in wolves clothing.”

Hindson:

6. Seducers. Jesus warned that some false prophets will appear with miraculous signs and wonders to seduce or deceive the very elect, “if that were possible” (Mark 13:22). Our Lord’s implication is that spiritual seduction is a very real threat even to believers. This would account for the fact that a few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults.

Did you catch that? It bears repeating:

A few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults!

Now, I am often accused by gay theology proponents of “being judgmental,” or “displaying hate,” or “not being willing to discuss our differences,” or “not living in harmony with,” or “not being willing to accept that which they are preaching,” or “not being willing to compromise,” etc. I could go on and on, (as one well-known blog is named).

But now, we have an example of someone in the gay christian movement who demonstrates, through his own words, his unwillingness to compromise. Besides, it is not written in the Bible anywhere that we should compromise on any issue regarding the Gospel of Christ!

Here’s Mel White’s “gospel”:

“I will sit down with anyone who comes to the table with certain basic positive assumptions about us: that we are here, millions of us, and have the right to be; that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride; that on average we live productive and responsible lives; that we are perfectly capable of loving, committed relationships and are as equipped as heterosexuals to have families of our own; that uncounted millions of us are people of faith who serve our faith communities with creativity and commitment and patriotic Americans who serve our nation with courage and with honor; that we don’t seek “special rights” just the rights and protections guaranteed all Americans by the Constitution. Our dignity, our integrity, our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.”

Gcmwatch quote:

(Our bold.) What is there to discuss, when he demands 100% concession from us?

Can you see, now, why groups like the “Equality Riders” cannot possibly reconcile with Bible-based Christian believers? Their leader unequivocally states that in order for us to do so, it would require 100% concession (a.k.a. compromise) to his ideology.

It ain’t gonna happen…people.

Why? Because there will always be a remnant of the faithful who will never compromise God’s Word! That’s why!

Hindson:

7. Reprobates. This term means “disapproved,” “depraved,” or “rejected.” Paul refers to those who have rejected the truth of God and turned to spiritual darkness. Consequently, God has given them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28 KJV). They have so deliberately rejected God that they have become “filled with every kind of wickedness” (verse 29). As a result, they are “God-haters” (verse 30), whose behavior is “senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (verse 31). These people are so far gone spiritually that they know it and don’t care. In Jesus’ own prophetic message, the Olivet Discourse, He warned, “Watch out that no one deceives you….Many will turn away from the faith….And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people….For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles” (Matthew 24:4, 10, 11,24). Our Lord warned His disciples of the possibility of spiritual seduction by false prophets.

There are different levels of reprobation going on out there. From the most severe kinds of reprobation to the more subtle, and perceived “harmless” type like Mel White’s Equality Riders.

Hindson writes:

The Bible describes Satan as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and pictures him as the ultimate deceiver. His name means “accuser,” and he is depicted as the accuser of God and His people (Revelation 12:10). he is opposed to God and seeks to alienate people from the truth. He misled the fallen angels (Revelation 12:3,4). He tempts men and women to sin against God’s laws (Genesis 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 6:9). He denies and rejects the truth of God and deceives those who perish without God (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Ultimately, he inspires the false prophets and the very spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:18-23).

The Bible clearly warns us that in the last days people will “abandon the faith and follow deceiving [‘seducing,’ KJV] spirits and things [‘doctrine,’ KJV] taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). These false teachings will come through hypocritical liars whose minds have been captured by Satan’s lies (1 Timothy 4:2).

Thus, the process of spiritual deception is clearly outlined in Scripture:

1. Satan – Father of lies
2. Demons – Doctrines of Devils
3. False Teachers – Messengers of Deceit

The term angel (Greek angelos) means “messenger.” God’s angels are His divine messengers (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1), and His true prophets and preachers are called the angels of the churches (Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). By contrast, Satan is pictured as a fallen angel, the leader of other fallen angels, who deceives the world (Revelation 12:9). He is revealed as the ultimate power behind the Antichrist and the False Prophet who deceives mankind with false religion (Revelation 13:14, 15). Thus, the messengers (angels) of deceit are Satan-inspired false prophets and teachers whose messages are the very spirit of Antichrist.

A century ago, A.T. Pierson, the Bible teacher who often spoke for Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, wrote,

“Evil spirits acquire their greatest power from their subtlety. They are masters of the art of deception, and aim to counterfeit that which is good rather than suggest what is obviously and wholly evil.

A Christian friend once wrote something that was quite simple, but extremely profound (paraphrased below)!

“The greatest deception is not believing that we can be deceived.”

So, as Christian believers, how can we be guaranteed not to fall into deception?

1. The first step, of course, is through repentance for all sin and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior over our lives.

2. The second step is to read and study Scripture; but the most important point in this second step is what Dr. Hindson stated, “we must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.”

3. This leads to the third step. It is knowing and recognizing the seven categories (discussed above) and the types of people who could lead one into spiritual deception and delusion.

Hindson shares why we must be spiritually discerning:

The lure of false doctrine is that it presents itself as the truth. It appears as a corrective measure to established doctrine. It is propagated by those who are certain they have discovered some new revelation of truth or a better interpretation of old, established truth. Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong.

This is Satan’s oldest trick. He appeals to our self-conceit and leads us into self-deceit. When he first approached Eve, Satan questioned the integrity of God’s command and appealed to her selfish desire to be like God – the same desire that led to his own fall. And there is something selfish enough in all of us to want to believe that we can know what no one else knows. C.S. Lewis said,

“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods.”…Out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we can call human history…the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Today, the seduction is even more subtle than Hindson states here (IMHO). We could take one line from above and add to it:

“Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is “intolerant,” or “hateful,” or “uncompromising,” or “out of harmony with,” or, as Mel White stated above regarding his non-biblical view that ‘that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride,’ and ‘our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.’ “

In the second post on this topic, I will cover warnings that once spiritual deception sets in, it leads, ultimately, to spiritual darkness.

Some thoughts to preview:

1. Pride and arrogance are the sins that lead a person to become spiritually deceived.

2. Satan tempts us with our own self-centeredness and lures us into spiritual darkness with the bait of our own pride. The Bible calls this the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16 KJV).
3. Having been hooked by our arrogance, we are reeled in by our ignorance.

I know. All of this is so devastating and heart-breaking to read. However, there is hope!! It is found in none other than Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible. Anyone can come out of spiritual deception and darkness! It’s happening every single day!!

I sincerely believe that some people just don’t even realize that they are being deceived. Others, however, know it full well. But for those who may be currently studying under any number of ‘sincere’ preachers who have gotten off the theological track because they don’t know enough theology to realize their errors, you can give them a “test” to see if they are worthy to be in the mission of preaching the Gospel message of Christ.

Just ask them if they are willing to be checked, according to the absolute truth of God’s Word, on the accuracy of a certain doctrine, point, sermon or message that they have preached.

As my pastor has told us several times, he is only human and can make mistakes. That is why our “plumb line” to stay on track when it comes to sharing the gospel and God’s Word, is to stay true to it (utilizing the proper apologetics tools of exegesis, hermeneutics, Sola Scriptura, and Scripture interprets Scripture), to the best of our ability.

If a preacher or leader says that they are not willing to do this, (and/or are also not willing to back up what they have said with Scripture) that could be a good indication that they may be in danger of being off of the proper theological track.

Bottom line? My faith has to be anchored in the truth if it is going to do me, and others, any good. The same is true for you!

In the next section, Hindson mentions that “once theological error falls into ‘ecclesiastical cement’ it is virtually impossible to eliminate it.”

Once a false doctrine is accepted, it can be organized and perpetuated by a religious body, then perpetrated by a false defense (apologetic) which is based upon a false premise. It is then when we see such groups fall down that slippery slope as they accept false doctrine [no matter how much biblical Scriptural truth has been shown to them and has exposed their error(s)] as their “new truth.” They can organize it, categorize it, debate it, systemize it, teach it, and/or demand it; but that doesn’t make it true!!

When it comes to false teachers, the real problem is that the love of their own, skewed, erroneous teaching may drive them to the point where they will refuse to repent of it, even when their error is exposed!

The Bible says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18).

Quotations Source: Antichrist Rising by Ed Hindson Copyright 2003 Ed Hindson; Published by 21st Century Press, Springfield, Missouri U.S.A. pp. 40-48 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever or stored in any database or retrieval system without written permission except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews.

 

The Unsanctified Heart is the Devil’s Palace

October 10, 2015

Luke 11 is a chapter that informs us of what Jesus taught during His ministry on earth.  But of course there were non-believers who tried to  twist his good work and make the false claims that his miracles were of the devil.  This chapter also demonstrates what the world is like today.  There are several parts that can be discussed, so here is a brief comment about what is contained within the chapter:

In this chapter,

  • I. Christ teaches his disciples to pray, and quickens and encourages them to be frequent, instant, and urgent in prayer (v. 1-13).
  • II. He fully answers the blasphemous imputation of the Pharisees, who charged him with casting out devils by virtue of a compact and confederacy with Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, and shows the absurdity and wickedness of it (v. 14-26).
  • III. He shows the honor of obedient disciples to be greater than that of his own mother (v. 27, 28).
  • IV. He upbraids the men of that generation for their infidelity and obstinacy, notwithstanding all the means of conviction offered to them (v. 29-36).
  • V. He severely reproves the Pharisees and consciences of those that submitted to them, and their hating and persecuting those that witnessed against their wickedness (v. 37-54).

That last one where Jesus ‘severely reproves the Pharisees and the consciences of those that followed the ways of that group, leads them to hate and persecute those that witnessed against their wickedness’ is a portrait of what had happened then, and what is also happening even today in the current culture wars.

Let’s see how we can apply this towards today’s culture.

1. The wickedness of death to babies in the womb is turned (by the far leftists) into a hatred and persecution against Christians who value life and speak up in protest that murdering an unborn child in the womb is an egregious sin and breaks the commandment, “Thou shalt not murder.” Yet, the proponents of abortion spout twisted lies about “a woman’s right to choose” and “the right for a woman to rule her own body” as excuses to condone such evil practice. My choice in this? Choose life – your mother did!

2. The wickedness of sexual sin, in all of its lustful forms and manifestations, including adultery, porn, pedophilia, pederasty, rape, homosexuality and trans-genderism. God made us male and female. He created marriage as the union of one man and one woman. All of the re-defining that evil people want to embrace does not change God’s mind on this issue! Therefore, the Christians who stand by their convictions on moral matters are attacked with hatred and persecution. Why? Because we witness against their wickedness.

3. The wickedness of lies, greed, political totalitarianism and persecutions (in all its forms and “isms”)  – I could go on and on – all fall under the same category of hatred and persecution being spewed against Christians because of their steadfast faith. Why? Because we witness against their wickedness.

Jesus encourages his listeners when he says:

Luk 11:9

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Luk 11:10

“For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

But in Luke 11:13 he tells us that we are all evil!

Luk 11:13

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

That is true!

Before conversion through Christ’s saving grace at the cross, we then, being evil still know how to give good gifts to our children. But the more important point to realize is “how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

There we have it!

Conversion through Christ is the ONLY WAY to escape the coming judgment that we all would deserve!  If it were not for Jesus’ death on the cross for our sakes in order to gain the forgiveness of our sins and be reconciled back unto God, we would be unable to enter into the kingdom of heaven!

 

I really enjoy reading the commentaries of the masters via the Blue Letter Bible website. Matthew Henry has a long commentary on Luke 11, but the following encapsulation is the pertinent portion that I would like to include and apply within this post.

We are looking at Luke 11:14-28.

Matthew Henry writes:

But, when Christ cast out devils, he needed not do it by any compact with them, for he was stronger than they, and could do it by force, and did it so as to ruin Satan’s power and blast his great design by that doctrine and that grace which break the power of sin, and so rout Satan’s main body, take from him all his armour, and divide his spoils, which no one devil ever did to another or ever will. Now this is applicable to Christ’s victories over Satan both in the world and in the hearts of particular persons, by that power which went along with the preaching of his gospel, and does still. And so we may observe here,

(1.) The miserable condition of an unconverted sinner. In his heart, which was fitted to be a habitation of God, the devil has his palace; and all the powers and the faculties of the soul, being employed by him in the service of sin, are his goods.

Note, [1.] The heart of every unconverted sinner is the devil’s palace, where he resides and where he rules; he works in the children of disobedience. The heart is a palace, a noble dwelling; but the unsanctified heart is the devil’s palace. His will is obeyed, his interests are served, and the militia is in his hands; he usurps the throne in the soul.
[2.] The devil, as a strong man armed, keeps this palace, does all he can to secure it to himself, and to fortify it against Christ. All the prejudices with which he hardens men’s hearts against truth and holiness are the strong-holds which he erects for the keeping of his palace; this palace is his garrison.
[3.] There is a kind of peace in the palace of an unconverted soul, while the devil, as a strong man armed, keeps it. The sinner has a good opinion of himself, is very secure and merry, has no doubt concerning the goodness of his state nor any dread of the judgment to come; he flatters himself in his own eyes, and cries peace to himself. Before Christ appeared, all was quiet, because all went one way; but the preaching of the gospel disturbed the peace of the devil’s palace.

(2.) The wonderful change that is made in conversion, which is Christ’s victory over this usurper. Satan is a strong man armed; but our Lord Jesus is stronger than he, as God, as Mediator. If we speak of strength, he is strong: more are with us than against us. Observe,

[1.] The manner of this victory: He comes upon him by surprise, when his goods are in peace and the devil thinks it is all his own for ever, and overcomes him. Note, The conversion of a soul to God is Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and dominion over it.
[2.] The evidences of this victory. First, He takes from him all his armour wherein he trusted. The devil is a confident adversary; he trusts to his armour, as Pharaoh to his rivers (Eze. 29:3): but Christ disarms him. When the power of sin and corruption in the soul is broken, when the mistakes are rectified, the eyes opened, the heart humbled and changed, and made serious and spiritual, then Satan’s armour is taken away.
Secondly, He divides the spoils; he takes possession of them for himself. All the endowments of mind and body, the estate, power, interest, which before were made use of in the service of sin and Satan, are now converted to Christ’s service and employed for him; yet this is not all; he makes a distribution of them among his followers, and, and having conquered Satan, gives to all believers the benefit of that victory. Hence Christ infers that, since the whole drift of his doctrine and miracles was to break the power of the devil, that great enemy of mankind, it was the duty of all to join with him and to follow his guidance, to receive his gospel and come heartily into the interests of it; for otherwise they would justly be reckoned as siding with the enemy (v. 23): He that is not with me is against me. Those therefore who rejected the doctrine of Christ, and slighted his miracles, were looked upon as adversaries to him, and in the devil’s interest.

One of the most important paragraphs to remember in the above quoted commentary, is this piece of Godly wisdom:

Note, The conversion of a soul to God is Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and dominion over it.

Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul is the entire purpose of salvation!

It’s about restoring the soul of individuals to its liberty!

It’s about each individual agreeing to have God recover His own interest in it (our souls) and dominion over it (each of our individual souls)!

We have learned how great the battle is between the forces of good and evil in this world. One only needs to listen to the news for just one day to see how those under Satan’s control are raging!

Only Christ provides the means by which we can gain forgiveness of our sins, and thus reconciliation of each sinful man back unto our Holy and Righteous God!

Satan will continue to rage against the plan of salvation. As Matthew Henry chillingly stated in his commentary:

[1.] The heart of every unconverted sinner is the devil’s palace, where he resides and where he rules; he works in the children of disobedience. The heart is a palace, a noble dwelling; but the unsanctified heart is the devil’s palace. His will is obeyed, his interests are served, and the militia is in his hands; he usurps the throne in the soul.

All the endowments of mind and body, the estate, power, interest, which before were made use of in the service of sin and Satan, are now converted to Christ’s service and employed for him; yet this is not all; he makes a distribution of them among his followers, and, and having conquered Satan, gives to all believers the benefit of that victory. Hence Christ infers that, since the whole drift of his doctrine and miracles was to break the power of the devil, that great enemy of mankind, it was the duty of all to join with him and to follow his guidance, to receive his gospel and come heartily into the interests of it; for otherwise they would justly be reckoned as siding with the enemy (v. 23): He that is not with me is against me. Those therefore who rejected the doctrine of Christ, and slighted his miracles, were looked upon as adversaries to him, and in the devil’s interest.

Fellow believers – be encouraged by the words of Jesus:

Luk 11:33

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.

Luk 11:34

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

Luk 11:35

“Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

Luk 11:36

“If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”

Natural Man is Blinded to Spiritual Things

June 28, 2015

 

I found an enlightening article that goes into more detail regarding what Jesus meant, (as well as what the terms commonly meant to first century Jews) when He told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that he must be “born again” in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Christine

*******

 

“Born Again”

Though some people regard the phrase, “born again,” as modern lingo denoting enthusiastic Christians, Jesus Himself used the expression to describe those who have experienced genuine salvation. However, the idiom didn’t originate at His encounter with Nicodemus in John 3.

To the first century Jew, “born again” was a commonly understood term for certain rites of passage in a man’s life. Six different events were so labeled in Rabbinic Judaism. The first was the bar mitzvah (literally, “son of the commandment”), a confirmation ritual whereby 13-year-old boys entered manhood and shared the moral and religious responsibilities of the adult community. A man was said to be “born again” a second time when he married, and the expression was also used if he was ordained as a rabbi. Becoming the head of a rabbinic academy—a position open only to rabbis who were married—was a fourth time the term applied. The final two usages of “born again” were a Gentile’s conversion to Judaism and a man being crowned king.

In light of this, the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3:1-21 becomes more understandable. Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council known as the Sanhedrin, is identified as a “ruler of the Jews” and “the teacher of Israel” (vv. 1,10). As such, he was obviously considered “born again” in the first four ways listed, namely, he was bar mitzvahed, married, ordained, and a rabbi in leadership.

So when Jesus said to him, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3), Nicodemus was naturally confused—he had already been “born again” in all of the four ways available to him. Notice his response: “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (v. 4) He was thinking that the only way to go through any of those rites of passage would be to start physical life over as a baby.

The Lord met Nicodemus where he was and then broadened his understanding to include the spiritual: “…Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (vv. 5-6). Though his comprehension was incomplete that night, Nicodemus later showed evidence he understood another way to be born again. (John 7:50; 19:39)

This article is based on the manuscript Nicodemus—A Rabbi’s Quest by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. For more information, visit http://www.ariel.org/.

With that in mind, let’s look at reasons why people who do not understand Christian faith often ridicule, denigrate, and even hate Jesus Christ, hate the Word of God – the Bible,  as well as hate those of us who wholeheartedly believe in God’s Living Word – Jesus Christ, and God’s written Word – the Bible.

First of all, it is a fact that natural man is blinded to spiritual things.  How do I know this?  Because I have been there.

Non-believers, skeptics, agnostics and atheists often attempt to use logical reasoning to explain away humanity’s need for redemption. In their prideful hearts and minds, Jesus Christ dying on the cross for man’s sins is a ridiculous notion.

In my discussions with several people who reject Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection to life, I have often found similarity in the reasons they hold for such rejection. When I share, explain and exhort the Gospel message they not only out rightly reject that message, they also cannot comprehend God’s truths as revealed in the Bible.

Why?

The Bible calls such incomprehension as beingspiritually discerned.”

1 Corinthians 2:14 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

In Pastor Chuck Smith’s commentary, he simply states:

v. 14 The natural man is blinded to spiritual things.

In Pastor Chuck Smith’s sermon notes, he goes into great detail about what is the natural man? He also shares many Scripture links which describe why natural man is indeed “blinded” to spiritual things.

In this post, I’d like to particularly focus on the following sermon notes:

B. What does Paul have to say about the natural man?

1 “He receives not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him.”

a. You try to talk to him about spiritual things and you may as well be talking to a Barbie Doll.

b. There is absolutely no comprehension.

c. Sometimes they will listen patiently if they are cultured, and others will just get angry and scream at you.

Been there; experienced that!

Pastor Smith goes on to explain:

a. They are spiritually discerned.

b. So he lacks the faculties by which they are known and understood, (i.e. the spiritual nature).

c. You might say with equal logic, the blind man cannot appreciate the beauty of a sunset.

d. The deaf man cannot know the glories of the symphony.

e. They lack the faculties by which these things are known.

Many of the people who reject the Gospel of Christ are intelligent; often extremely intelligent.

So what is the problem?

Why can’t they grasp what born-again believers in Christ are sharing?

Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that logical reasoning is not an absolute law that governs the universe, nor is it a set of rules that govern behavior.

One must decide whether logic is the right “tool” for the job. There are other ways to communicate, discuss and debate.

Jesus tells us in John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Just two verses down in John 3:5, Jesus says it again – Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

And then again in John 3:7 – Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Must be extremely important because Jesus mentions it three times within 5 sentences (verses)!!

What must happen before being born again? One must have faith in who Jesus is!!

Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Faith is daring the soul to believe what the eyes cannot see.

Logical irreverence dictates, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” whereas faithful devotion enables one to “believe it, then I’ll see it.”

Intellectual pride, rationalizations and excuses all keep people from God. The Gospel seems foolish to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding.

What happens to those who are not born again in the Spirit through Jesus Christ?

Romans 8:9 – But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

We don’t belong to Christ until we are born again of the Spirit!! All the church going, tithing, chorus singing, good deed doing, works of the flesh etc. will not make you one of His!

When Jesus ask us, “Who do you say that I am?” what is your response??

Matthew 16:16 – And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

John 6:69 – And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus emphasizes the importance of faith:

“Because you have seen me, you have believed, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

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…

In the Midst of Darkness, We Continue In What God Has Called Us to Do!

April 22, 2015

Sadly, I have seen several Christian bloggers choose to discontinue posting at their blogs.  I can certainly understand why.  The evil, sin, hatred towards Christians and Jews and awful deaths done by the radical Islamic terrorists in the world has increased exponentially over the past 6+ years!  Such things can be difficult to deal with on a daily basis.  Most of us would rather shut our T.V.’s off and also ignore the bad news given every day via the internet.  After all, it’s more fun just to play video games, post on social media, and text to our friends on our iPhones!

One of the most recent blog shut-downs that I have noticed is Muddy Streams: When the Crickets Stop Singing…

All that the author wrote was this:

After being a cricket chirping in the reeds for years, this is the 1,000th chirp from the Muddy Streams swampland, and quite possibly the last. We could write and read and talk about the muddy streams of spiritual convergence all day, but there are more important things to do. Can you hear the winds of change blowing in the reeds? A storm is coming, it’s time to get ready.

Get Right With God . . .

There are two videos there. The second one entitled, “The Only Hope in the Coming Storm” is quite sobering…to say the least! However, it ends with a powerful message for the Church of Jesus Christ in what can seem to be alerting us and reminding us that we are closer to the end times with each passing day.  I read comment sections where people fear that the U.S. might be approaching its final hour.

However, we are told in Scripture that we do not know the day nor hour when Christ will come for His own and whisk us away from this fallen world. We know that Christ’s kingdom is NOT OF THIS WORLD. He has specifically told us this in the Bible.

Jhn 8:23

And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

Jhn 18:36

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

However, He has given all of us “assignments” – if you will – in this world; and we are to remain faithful until He brings all to the completion that we so desire!

Jesus provides many Scriptures of comfort for us. Among them are:

Jhn 11:9

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. [italics mine]

Jhn 11:10

“But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

He gives us Scriptures of warning:

1Jo 4:3

and every spirit that does not confess that [fn] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

Rom 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

And, He gives us Scriptures of encouragement and blessing, like those in 1 John 4!

Below are just a few of the verses from that chapter, but the entire chapter (link above) describes God’s love towards us perfectly and how we are to continue our work until the day of redemption.

1Jo 4:2

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

1Jo 4:4

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1Jo 4:6

We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1Jo 4:9

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

1Jo 4:10

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1Jo 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

My comment over at Muddy Streams is still awaiting moderation, but wanted to share it here.

on April 21, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Reply christinewjc
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I hope that you will change your mind and continue your excellent blogging!

I know it can be taxing – especially when so much evil, sin, and death is happening at such a higher rate than ever before! Sometimes it helps to take a week off (like I recently did) and come back refreshed to continue posting the TRUTH.

People NEED to hear and read the TRUTH of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they need to be reminded of what God’s Word – the Bible says!

As bloggers, we have no idea how many people may have been blessed by our online work for the Lord. Perhaps we will learn of this in the future in heaven?

I, for one, truly appreciate the work you do here at this blog!

In Christ,
Christine

https://talkwisdom.wordpress.com/

Any Readers Watching the Series, “A.D. – The Bible Continues?”

April 21, 2015

I have watched all three episodes of the epic series, ” A.D. The Bible Continues” which have been broadcast over the last three Sunday nights on NBC.  The stats for viewership are good and the series is getting a high rating from faith driven consumers for biblical accuracy.

Contrary to what secular leftists might claim, the Bible is still very important and being sought out and read by millions across the U.S. as well as around the world!

If you didn’t see Sunday’s episode, you can view it at the link above.

A.D. The Revolution that Changed the World

In addition to this great series, Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point Ministries is doing sermons each Sunday morning which shares the Scripture behind the story of the NBC 12 week series!

You can view all sermons presented so far at the new website, A.D. – The Revolution that Changed the World.

Please feel free to share your opinions and thoughts on both the NBC series and Dr. Jeremiah’s sermons on the Scripture behind the story in the comment section.

Thanks and God bless!

~ Christine

“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

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Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. 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