Archive for the ‘New Testament’ 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.

About “Self- Identity…”

June 1, 2016

Found an excellent post via Truth2Freedom’s blog entitled, What Is Your Self Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center. It will be posted in full below, but I wanted to first write that the Lord is SO GOOD to have led me to read and share the post here!

Secondly…

Recently, a new commenter came to this blog railing against me because of perceived “insults” that I made in a previous post.

I’m not sure that I want this “John” having complete access to commenting here at my blog, so I will re-post his comment here so that readers can see what he wrote:

John:

This is one of the most ridiculous rants I have read in quite a while. First of all, I know plenty of high school and college aged kids who do know the meaning and significance of Memorial Day. Apparently better than you do! It is not about God and the Bible, it’s about remembering our fallen soldiers. They are well educated, savvy young people who would have gotten edited out of Jesse Watters’ Fox propaganda video. And guess what? They all went to, or are going to public schools and universities. None of them have been dumbed down by “liberal, leftist, progressive, LGBTQ “leaders” of the maniacal asylums…”. And I’m sure they know exactly what The Greatest Generation did for America and the world!

I also wonder how many brave and noble LGBT veterans you’ve offended by this screed. I know gay veterans from the Vietnam war and from both Gulf Wars since WWII, and they served along side their straight brothers in arms without questioning or caring about their sexual orientation.

Additionally, John also wrote:

What I said was Memorial Day is not about God and the Bible! It’s about remembering our war dead! And no! I am not totally ignorant about God’s word.

I think that the following post answers John’s screed against me and other Christians, as well as it also addresses his claim that  “[he] is not totally ignorant about God’s Word”  better than I ever could.

Big hat tip:  Truth2Freedom blog!

[Note:  Graphics within post added by Christine.]

What Is Your Self-Identity? – Biblical Counseling Center

Self-identity: With all the talk of self identity and gender nowadays, you may think this article is about bathroom choice. It’s not. Guest writer Joshua Waulk of Baylight Counseling in Tampa, FL, zeroes in on the “I am” statements we Christians often make about ourselves and suggests a better self-identity. His article appeared first here and is used with permission.

BCC logoI am ADHD.

I am bipolar.

I am depressed.

I am an addict.

I am [fill in the blank].

Within the context of counseling, it’s common to hear people use these types of phrases to describe themselves. To be sure, there’s a sense in which they’re simply using a modern style of communication in order to say that they struggle, actively, with this thing or that thing.

Self-Identity: Do Your Words Describe or Define?

But, my concern is that, too often, embedded deep within the heart of the person, is this subtle notion that, in fact, the thing they’re describing defines who they are. In other words, my concern for some people I meet with in counseling is that their language is not merely descriptive, but is definitive.

My concern is even greater when working with followers of Jesus.

One of my favorite verses in all of the Bible is found in John 8:58. There, Jesus said to the religious rulers of the day, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am [emphasis added].” This statement enraged the men who were persecuting Him, because they understood that Jesus was hearkening back to God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14
 

Jesus wasn’t simply identifying himself with God, but was defining, or declaring himself to be God.

When we pause to listen to our own “I am” statements, and compare them with the words of Christ, might we reconsider how we use these seemingly self-defining statements? Do we mean to say, when we use them, that who we are is all that the thing, or the struggle, or the condition is? If not, then perhaps we ought to abandon our use of this language altogether.

How Does Jesus Define You?

The point is, in light of who we are in Christ, it would be helpful to temper our use of  “I am” statements, especially those used in connection with our particular sin or suffering. Too often, they simply do not square with our new identity in Christ according to Scripture, but find their roots in the disease models of secular psychology.

As Christians, as people who have died with Christ, and through whom Christ presently and  actively lives, we are no longer defined by the sins and struggles of this world alone, even though we continue to be affected by them.

If Paul’s words are true when he says in Galatians 2:20,

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And again in 2 Corinthians 5:17,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Then we should carefully inspect how we make use of descriptive language.
How we define and describe ourselves should always be in keeping with Scripture. Sometimes, there will be tension. For example, it would be true for me to say, “I am a sinner.” But, because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, I cannot leave the conversation there.

Because of Christ, I am no longer defined by my sin or suffering, but am defined by Him. I am a sinner, yes, but I am also eternally forgiven, justified, and redeemed (1 John 1:8-9).

I may struggle with this thing or that, but that struggle no longer defines me. Like all things of this world, they are passing away, and who God is making us to be will one day be revealed in Christ (1 John 2:17; Hebrews 10:14).

Join the Discussion

[Note:  Graphics added by Christine.]

  1. What is your self-identity?

2.  How have your own “I am” statements affected your understanding of who you are in Christ?

3.  Can you think of any adjustments you need to make to better reflect a biblical understanding of your identity in Christ?

 

The post What Is Your Self-Identity? appeared first on Biblical Counseling Center.

Hat tips to all links.

Trump and the Message of the Cross

January 19, 2016

Found the following blog article yesterday and it’s a really good read! Thought that visitors here might like to read it too.

Donald Trump and the Message of the Cross.

Excerpt:

The cross is everything.  The cross is what unites us.  That is where our spiritual journey begins.  The cross is the whole story.  To not begin repentant, convicted, aware of sin, in need of redemption, is to not even be aware of why one might need a Savior in the first place.  Faith without a Savior is not faith at all.  It is more like just free falling through the universe.

The NY Daily News reported that Trump “made up a verse” from the Bible. Read the article and judge for yourself. It sounded like a paraphrase but I thought it was funny how the reporters there jumped on him about it.

Also, the news commentators are claiming that Trump “misquoted Scripture” during his speech at Liberty University. He said “Two Corinthians” instead of Second Corinthians.” That’s not misquoting Scripture! It is merely saying the reference incorrectly! I have read elsewhere that they do say “Two Corinthians” in England.

The video doesn’t work at that link so readers can see it HERE.

I don’t particularly care for Trump as the next president, but I find that the media going apoplectic over his popularity is funny!   Plus, the establishment RINOS hate him, and he is getting Dem voters away from Hillary.

Trump is obviously a novice when it comes to Bible knowledge. Anyone can easily find a verse to fit ones’ audience.   But the fact that Trump stated that, “I’m Not Sure I Have Ever Asked God For Forgiveness” is troublesome.  Saying such a thing proves that he is so lost. Telling people that he “tries to be good” is sad because he probably thinks he can work his way to Heaven. When someone is so arrogant that they think they don’t need to ask for forgiveness then they are lost.

Even though I would take most anyone over Hitlery, from what I have seen, heard,  and read about Trump, if he wins we might, unfortunately, get stuck with another 0bama-in-disguise in 2016.

Concluding this post with Paul’s words seems appropriate:

1Co 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

1Co 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1Co 1:19

For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” [fn]

1Co 1:20

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1Co 1:21

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

1Co 1:22

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;

1Co 1:23

but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks [fn] foolishness,

1Co 1:24

but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1Co 1:25

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Co 1:26

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

1Co 1:27

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

1Co 1:28

and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,

1Co 1:29

that no flesh should glory in His presence.

1Co 1:30

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—

1Co 1:31

that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” [fn]

Hat tip: Insanity Bytes 2

Hat tips to all links.

To Make a Difference, Know the Difference

December 19, 2015

When it comes to the topic and truth of Biblical Christianity, it is important for believers in Jesus Christ to know and understand the various differences out there that are continually competing against the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, new cultic “churches” pop up every year, making the unsubstantiated claim that they are Christian.  The book of Jude warns us of this! Note this verse:

Jude 1:4

For certain men have crept in unnoticed, 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.

Just because such churches may have the term “Christian” in their name doesn’t always mean that their tenets agree with or adhere to the Bible.  So, how are we to determine the difference(s)?

Studying the Bible and attending a biblically based, Christ-centered church is the best way to determine truth from error.

I also recommend a newly updated and expanded edition of Fritz Ridenour’s book entitled, “So What’s The Difference?”  You can purchase the paperback on Amazon for under $14.00.  It makes a great stocking stuffer.  Use Amazon Prime for delivery by Dec. 21st.

Why do I recommend this book?  Several reasons.  There are so many lies floating around about what the Bible truly says and just who Jesus Christ is and why He came to this earth.  This book provides (in an easy-to-understand and non-judgmental way) the differences (some are very stark differences, other more subtle but still are lies) between Biblical Christianity, the major religions of the world, the major cults, new religions, and the occult.

One of the best benefits that I have found through reading this book is that you will learn why relative thinking–the idea that there is no objective, absolute truth–has become the predominant mindset in our culture.  This book will give you help in how to respond.

The back cover tells us that this bestselling guide will help you recognize the real differences between the Christian faith and other viewpoints.  It may make it easier for you to explain and share your faith with others.

I have had individuals ask me, “why do you believe what you believe?”  Have you ever had someone ask you that question?  Usually they want a short response.  I have found that they may cut me off when I start to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

My suggestion?

Give them this book!

They may read it right away or stick it on a shelf and read it later.  That’s OK, at least you are attempting to plant a seed in them to research their own beliefs about God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ.

The book contains many resources in the end notes that expand upon what is written in each chapter.  There is an appendix containing resources for further study and ministries for information on cults.  It is important that you should be aware of cults in order to avoid them!

Fellow believers, I pray that you will take the time to read The Peculiar Glory of the Incarnation. It will renew your joy in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Excerpt:

Dear Christian, does it still astonish you?

Can you slow down the holiday hustle and bustle long enough to let your mind ponder these astonishing truths? to let the eyes of your heart fix their gaze upon the glory of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ? My prayer for you this Christmas is that you would do just that. That you would take these truths and turn them over in your mind—like Mary, to treasure these things and ponder them in your heart (cf. Luke 2:19). And that your heart would be stirred to worship God in Christ for the peculiar glory of the incarnation. For then, and only then, are you truly celebrating Christmas.

Merry Christmas and God bless!

~ Christine

 

Rom 3:20

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Rom 3:21

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

Rom 3:22

even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all [fn] who believe. For there is no difference;

Rom 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Rom 3:24

being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Rom 3:25

whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed

Rom 3:26

to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

 

Hat tips to all links.

There’s One Way to Peace…

September 15, 2015

This morning, I ran across a worship song and music video that sounded vaguely familiar.  However, the lyrics were a bit different.

Then, I recalled that another longer version of the song was often sung at the church’s children’s AWANA program!  I was an AWANA leader for three years back when my now-adult daughter attended.   It has probably been over 20 years since I have heard this beautiful song!

If the music video does not play at this blog, please go to the Youtube link:

Youtube: His Banner Over Me is Love.

The children’s version contained the following additional lyrics:

The Lord is mine and I am His,
His banner over me is love.
The Lord is mine and I am His,
His banner over me is love.
The Lord is mine and I am His,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He brought me to His banqueting table,
His banner over me is love.
He brought me to His banqueting table,
His banner over me is love.
He brought me to His banqueting table,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He lifted me up into heavenly places,
His banner over me is love.
He lifted me up into heavenly places,
His banner over me is love.
He lifted me up into heavenly places,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

He is the vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
He is the vine and we are the branches,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

Jesus is the rock of my salvation,
His banner over me is love.
Jesus is the rock of my salvation,
His banner over me is love.
Jesus is the rock of my salvation,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

There’s one way to peace through the power of the cross,
His banner over me is love,
There’s one way to peace through the power of the cross,
His banner over me is love,
There’s one way to peace through the power of the cross,
His banner over me is love.
His banner over me is love!

*******

Yes!  There IS ONE WAY TO PEACE – and it is through Jesus Christ and the power of the Cross!

The text from the song comes from the Song of Solomon:

Sng 2:4

The Shulamite to the Daughters of Jerusalem
He brought me to the banqueting house,
And his banner over me was love.

The beautiful commentary HERE describes how this Scripture applies to Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom for eternity, and His Church – the Bride.

The banqueting table spoken of in the song can also be applied towards the future marriage supper of the Lamb as recorded and described in Revelation 19.
Rev 19:9

Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

 

Hat tips to all links.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” – Gandhi

July 7, 2015

Years ago, I ran across a post that contained a statement attributed to Gandhi at another blog:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Ouch!

At first glance it is a most sobering condemnation against those of the Christian faith. Granted, Christians make mistakes while trying to witness to others. Jesus chose his followers, imperfect human beings that we are, to be his representatives here on earth. We are to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.

We have a whole range of evangelists. A preacher like Billy Graham who has been an awesome representative for Christ and we have other preachers who may be hurting our cause. But God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The reason Billy Graham is loved by millions and rarely, if ever, condemned for his preaching is because he focuses on Jesus Christ and the Gospel message.

This, then, makes me wonder. Should Gandhi have been judging his personal decision regarding Jesus Christ only upon Christs’ followers (whom he disliked and condemned) or should he have made the judgment strictly upon Jesus Christ and who He is as revealed in the Scriptures?  Tim Challies has a great answer to that question.

Another popular argument of non-Christians is their claim that because there are so many denominations that conflict with each other, how is one to find the truth?

There are certain facts that tie and bind all true Christians.

1.  The first one is the fact that we have been born again in Christ. In order to be born again in Christ, we confess and repent of our sins and invite Jesus into our lives to guide us into all truth. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus taught and refers us to the Scriptures.

2.  The second fact is that we teach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

When the movie “The Passion of the Christ” came out, there were many different denominations in agreement on most aspects of that movie. You could name any Protestant, Evangelical, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, (can include many others too) branch of Christianity here and it is the one thing that they all agree upon.

Why is that?

Because at Pentecost, Jesus sent the Helper, that is, the Holy Spirit. He guides Christians into all truth. The side issues and traditions that may divide the denominations fall away.

It all comes down to this: the Gospel message is the uniter of all true Christians.

We must “beware the ‘cross-less’ Gospel.”* [See explanation at end of post.]

Those “churches” who do not teach the need for repentance for sin are guilty of heresy. Yes. There are some sects/cults that are “severed branches,” if you will. We are told in the book of Jude to avoid them because they lead people into heresy and apostasy. This is why you must be diligent and read the Scriptures so you can “rightly divide the Word of Truth!” If you are attending a church that teaches “the cross-less Gospel,” run! Find another church immediately!

I have met many born-again, Bible believing Christians via message boards and blogs. Genuine Christians whom I have never met personally, are in full agreement with the main message of the Scriptures. You see, there is a difference between those who would use exegesis, hermeneutics and Sola Scripture (which are tools to extract the original meaning of the writers in the Bible) vs. those who use “eisegesis,” (which means determining their own interpretations) of what Scripture is saying.

We see “eisegesis” being utilized very vividly in the homosexual behavior affirming churches. The only people who have been caught up in the sin of homosexuality (or any other sin, for that matter) and will make it into heaven with God are the repentant ones.

Even repentant murderers who confess and are born again after their crimes and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior avoid hell and will live for eternity in heaven with God.

In eyes of men, that may not seem “fair.” But the thoughts of God are infinitely higher and are certainly not limited to the thoughts of man.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

God affords grace and mercy to those who look upon Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death as the only substitutionary propitiation which is acceptable to God the Father for the forgiveness of their sins.

People who know Jesus and become children of God will avoid the penalty of death (the second death…an eternity away from God in hell).

The unsaved who refuse the quickening of the Holy Spirit, (who is urging them from outside their souls to make that decision for Christ) will die with their own sins on their souls. That is the choice for all of mankind. We either agree with God that we are sinners who are desperately in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, or we die in our sins and remain reprobate and separated from the God who is trying to save us…forever.

Eternity is a long, long….time!

Dear reader, what is your decision?

I pray that you change your heart towards God!  If you are currently of the mindset that leads you to “hate Christians,” I plead with you not to let Satan use your obvious dislike and hatred for many Christian believers as an excuse to reject Jesus. Knowingly or unknowingly, Satan is influencing you to focus on the behavior of other Christians and not on Whom you should be focusing on…Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only Perfect Man who ever lived. You won’t find perfection in anyone else…including Christian believers.

Once born again, a Christian does not have his/her free will taken away. We still live in a fallen world and have that fallen nature. The huge difference is, he/she has the added influence of the Holy Spirit indwelling within the soul to guide us into all truth. Our love for Jesus compels us to live righteously for Him because He alone is Holy. If you would focus on what is being shared about Christ, and not judge the person who is sharing it, then you will not let a Christian’s imperfect nature affect you so negatively.

My daughter once gave me a license plate frame for my car which poignantly reads: “Christians are not perfect;  just forgiven by a God who is.

*******

*Beware the Cross-less Gospel

by Roger Chilvers

I watched a television program that featured interviews with a number of people at a well-known evangelical church. One person after the another gave testimony about how their lives had been changed: “I came to this church and was thrilled about what I saw. God changed my life.” Someone else said, “I was a drug addict, and God dealt with that.” Every testimony mentioned God, but in that whole program Jesus was mentioned only once. What Christ did on the cross was not mentioned at all.

In preaching today, generally speaking, the cross hardly features – sometimes Jesus doesn’t even feature. We have a duty to make the cross of Christ central in our evangelism. The Bible says that the cross is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Corinthians 1:23). The Jews thought, “How could anyone preach about the Messiah DYING ON A CROSS? Don’t the Scriptures say that anyone who dies on a cross is cursed by God?” As for Gentiles – who didn’t have or care about the Old Testament Scriptures – the whole idea was complete foolishness. The verse uses the Greek word moros, from which we get “moron.” You have to be a moron to preach and believe in a dying Savior. Can you see the temptation to put the cross off to the side?

Sometimes you hear people say, quite rightly, “Jesus will give you a purpose for living.” Without a doubt he does, but that is not why He came. Others say that He came as a good example to follow. He is the greatest example to follow, but again, that is not at the heart of why He came, “Jesus came to give us joy in a world of unhappiness and misery,” some say. But that was not why He came either. And great though His peace is, He didn’t come to give us peace.

John tells us why Jesus came: “He appeared so that he might take away our sins” (1 John 3:5, NIV). We need reminding of this. Otherwise, in our evangelism we may say, “Have some peace, have some joy, have some happiness, have a purpose for living, have an example to follow.” Although Jesus does give these things, they are not the central point. We may find these things apart from Jesus, but apart from Him we will never find forgiveness of sins.

We can understand the centrality of the cross from three different perspectives: What does it mean to God? to us? to Satan?

THE CROSS FROM GOD’S PERSPECTIVE

The Bible says, “We have an advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2, KJV). Propitiation is the means by which God’s anger is assuaged; His anger is dealt with, and God is made favorable toward us.

Some have said it is barbaric to think that God’s anger needs to be assuaged by blood. They say, “How can a sacrifice that makes an angry God favorable be given by the God who is angry in the first place? And what about God’s love?”

But it is precisely because God loves us that He had to deal with our sin – and it is on the basis of this that we are accepted. Jesus could die a thousand deaths and yet not achieve salvation for us unless God were satisfied with the sacrifice. Yet the question remains: How can God be both the One who provides the sacrifice that makes Him propitious and be the One who receives the sacrifice?

The simple answer is that God’s holiness demands propitiation.

God is blisteringly angry about our every single sin. You can see the awfulness of sin only by seeing what it did to His one and only lovely Son. If God looked at a sin and said, “Well, I’m not too bothered about that one,” there would be injustice in His character. God retains His honor by giving His Son.

God unfolded a plan that both showed His unbelievably strong anger at sin and His infinitely strong love for us. He sent His Son and punished Him on our behalf. “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14, NIV). No other message beside the cross is able to deal with the root problem of man’s sin in relation to the justice and holiness of God.

 

THE CROSS FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE

The heart of the Gospel is that through Jesus – and His work as our Substitute – God did for us what we could never do for ourselves. The punishment for our sin was dealt with by a substitute: Namely, Jesus. The Bible says, “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV). The Greek word translated “for” means “on behalf of.” The word is used repeatedly concerning Jesus: “While we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV).

In our evangelism it is so important that we grasp this because it tells us that when Jesus died on the cross He died on behalf of someone. There is no greater news than the glorious news that Jesus took our place on the cross. We are sinners by nature, but “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV). What a breathtaking verse!

THE CROSS FROM SATAN’S PERSPECTIVE

The Bible calls Satan “the accuser” in Revelation 12:10. He whispers, “You cannot possibly expect God to accept you. You have a disgusting imagination. Look at those things you’ve done – your deceitfulness, your hatred and bitterness. You call yourself a child of God? ” And to God, Satan says, in effect, “If You are just at all, You cannot possibly forgive his/her sins and accept him/her. Your justice demands that he/she be punished.”

But John tells us how such accusations are dealt with: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1, KJV). Generally, an advocate will stand up before a judge and plead on behalf of the accused something like this, “My lord, yes, he is not perfect – he has failed- but he is now a kind and helpful citizen, and I am bringing witnesses to testify to his good character.” In so doing, the advocate pleads for the judge to be lenient.

Jesus, as our Advocate, doesn’t work that way. When Satan accuses, Jesus says to His Father, “Everything You said about him is true. He is wicked; he is sinful. There is not one good thing about him. But, Father, You cannot punish him because the punishment already has been paid – by Me.”

The Father looks to the sacrifice of the Son to see that the punishment was paid in full. Atonement made, acceptance guaranteed – and we are free. This is what is meant by Jesus being our Substitute.

“Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just, is satisfied,
To look on Him and pardon me.” **

Jesus provided for our greatest need – the forgiveness of sin. Apart from Him it could never happen. That is why the cross must be at the heart of our evangelism.

** From “Before the Throne of God Above,” by Charitie Lee Bancroft

Hat tips to all links.

Having Their Conscience Seared

June 17, 2015

Over the past 15 + years of blogging, it has been my experience  that liberal, non-Christian people who occasionally post comments here basically reveal that they object to what I write because they hate what they see as “my viewpoint.”

What I share here comes via God’s Word. Jesus did tell us that I [we Christians] would be hated because they [non-believers] hated Him first.

Jhn 15:18

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

Jesus’ first words when he began his ministry on earth were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Mat 4:17

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

Repentance is not a popular word in today’s world of increasing immorality and decay.  The acceptance of moral relativism is the way that modern man knowingly, or unwittingly, “gives heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.”

Jesus also stated that he didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. (In case you are not familiar, this includes the law and prophets of the Old Testament.)

Mat 5:17

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Without confession and repentance [means turning away from sin], through the shed blood of Jesus Christ at the cross, there is no remission of sin.

Surmising that certain sexual behaviors (which secular man now accepts and embraces) are all acceptable even to God, such groups and individuals go about mocking or condemning Christians who know  (through Scripture) that God never has, and never will accept such behaviors!   Those who turn a blind eye to this fact and insist that “there’s nothing wrong with it” and wholeheartedly accept and/or participate in aberrant sexual sin,  do so as the result of one’s conscience being “seared” in such sin.

1Ti 4:1

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

1Ti 4:2

speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

Thus, embracing, accepting and/or celebrating sexual sin is an act of turning away from God and listening to the enemy of our souls.

Having one’s “conscience seared with a hot iron” is an analogy used to describe giving in to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

In a commentary written by A.W. Faussett, he writes:

 giving heed— ( 1Ti 1:4 Tts 1:14 ).
seducing spirits–working in the heretical teachers. 1Jo 4:2, 3, 6, “the spirit of error,” opposed to “the spirit of truth,” “the Spirit” which “speaketh” in the true prophets against them.
doctrines of devils–literally “teachings of (that is suggested by) demons.” Jam 3:15, “wisdom. . . devilish”; 2Cr 11:15, “Satan’s ministers.”

      2. Rather translate, “Through (literally, ‘in‘; the element in which the apostasy has place) the hypocrisy of lying speakers”; this expresses the means through which “some shall (be led to) depart from the faith,” namely, the reigned sanctity of the seducers (compare “deceivers,” Tts 1:10 ).
having their conscience searedGreek, “having their own conscience,” &c., that is, not only “speaking lies” to others, but also having their own conscience seared. Professing to lead others to holiness, their own conscience is all the while defiled. Bad consciences always have recourse to hypocrisy. As faith and a good conscience are joined ( 1Ti 1:5 ); so hypocrisy (that is, unbelief, Mat 24:5, 51; compare Luk 12:46 ) and a bad conscience here. THEODORET explains like English Version, “seared,” as implying their extreme insensibility; the effect of cauterizing being to deaden sensation. The Greek, however, primarily means “branded” with the consciousness of crimes committed against their better knowledge and conscience, like so many scars burnt in by a branding iron: Compare Tts 1:15 3:11, “condemned of himself.” They are conscious of the brand within, and yet with a hypocritical show of sanctity, they strive to seduce others. As “a seal” is used in a good sense ( 2Ti 2:19 ), so “a brand” in a bad sense. The image is taken from the branding of criminals.

We now understand the seriousness of having one’s conscience “seared with a hot iron.”

Jesus also said:

Jhn 14:15

“If you love Me, keep [fn] My commandments.

Jhn 15:10

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

We are all in need of forgiveness through repentance from sin. Jesus is the only way. Read John 3.

Scripture speaks of “veiled eyes” to “those who are perishing.”

If non-Christians want to think that warning people who are spiritually lost and under the snare of demonic deception is somehow “funny” or not a good thing…then that is their opinion. But through God’s written word, Jesus calls me to contend for the faith, share the truth and share God’s Word with people so that they will see the way out of their slavery to sin and deception.

A new book on Spiritual Warfare, written by Dr. Karl I. Payne reveals that demonic deception is increasing, even within the Christian church (meaning, the liberal kind of churches that accept all sorts of heresy and apostasy; including the deception of sexual deviancy as “normal”), and the book of Jude warns us that the worst of these types of deceptions are still to come.

Payne writes:

If God allows demonic activity to increase until His return, I believe He will also train up and equip a growing number of His children to faithfully and effectively contend with the power of darkness who oppose His plans and people. Too many North American churches are well on their way to becoming the same spiritually dead museums as Western European churches.”

As born-again Christians, we are to combat against the battles of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Throughout Scripture we are told to put on the whole armor of God to become better equipped for the unseen warfare that hinders Christians from living the life Jesus has called us to live.

Jesus said:

Jhn 12:46

“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

We are to speak out on such issues in order to help people overcome the darkness of sin in their lives and be saved through repentance and faith at the foot of the cross of Christ.

To be honest, I cannot really care what the naysayers think of me.   It is more important what God thinks of me, and sharing the truth as it is written in Scripture and most importantly, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is light-years more important than clamoring for the acceptance of unredeemed man.

2 Corinthians 4

Why Liberalism and Bible-based Christian Beliefs Cannot be Reconciled

June 16, 2015

There are many secular reasons why liberalism and Bible-based Christian beliefs cannot be reconciled.  In my last post, I included the links found at Conservapedia which demonstrate exactly why conservative thought rejects liberalism.

In this post, I will attempt to demonstrate some reasons why God’s written Word in the Bible and God’s Living Word, Jesus Christ, cannot be reconciled with many (not all, of course, but MANY) liberal views and causes that they tend to champion.

This post may well turn out to be a work in progress. I may need extra time to cover the many examples that I’d like to share. Let’s just say that this is part 1 of perhaps several posts on the topic.

1. Marriage issue and many “genders” fallacy.

Mar 10:6

“But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ [fn]

Mar 10:7

‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

Mar 10:8

‘and the two shall become one flesh’; [fn] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Mar 10:9

“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

NKJV Footnotes

(10:6)

Genesis 1:27; 5:2

Jesus is speaking here and his saying “let not man separate” tells us many things. It informs us that adultery is wrong (for it can lead to separation of the married couple), fornication with another is wrong, homosexual behavior is wrong, bestiality is wrong, rape is wrong etc. Jesus clearly upheld the commandments of God, and even stated that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it!

Mat 5:17

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

All of the humanistic ideologies that would lead to such sins (as well as ignoring the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament) are not to be done according to the “let not man separate” statement.

Since I have covered this topic in detail in other posts at this blog, you can read those posts via this link:

Talk Wisdom: Marriage

*******

2. The transgender issue.

Gen 1:27

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Liberals like to embrace the humanistic secular ideology that a man can (and should) become a woman if that is what he desires, or a woman can (and should) become a man if that is what she desires. Transgenderism has, heretofore, always been considered a disorder of the mind. But now, because certain individuals have “made it so,” people of the liberal mindset have declared that it’s now “the new normal.”

Well, that one verse in Genesis 1:27 tells us that such beliefs reject the image of God the He created. The verse specifically states that He created man (the generic term for all of humanity) as male and female.

Now, why is this important? There are many reasons that can be derived from Scripture, but I will just share one.

Jesus Christ was conceived via the power of the Holy Spirit who came upon Mary and was created in her womb via God’s power. We learn elsewhere that Jesus came from “the seed of the woman.” We know that women do not have “the seed” that is necessary from the man (in ordinary sexual procreation), so where did that seed actually come from? The answer: God Himself. Jesus was placed in the womb of a virgin, in order to not carry the original sin of Adam and Eve. He was born sinless, lived a sinless life and died on the cross for the remission of the sins of us all. He rose again on the third day to demonstrate exactly Who He Is, and all who confess and repent of their sins and invite the indwelling Holy Spirit into their hearts will be saved from eternal death.

For more detail on this, please see:

CRU.org: Would You Like to Know God Personally?

*******

3.  Socialism.

I have read that liberals (especially liberal Christians) twist Scripture in order to claim that Jesus and his disciples supported the concept of socialism.  Not true, and I covered that in my post entitled, Good Samaritan’s Random Act of Kindness.

In that post, Dr. David Jeremiah explains:

In the early church, “all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need” (Acts 2:44-45). The fledgling church experienced severe persecution, leaving members displaced and destitute. They formed a close-knit community to take care of one another, sharing their food, clothing, and money to meet people’s needs.

Over the years, some people have pointed to this passage to make the claim that the early church practiced Communism or socialism, but such was not the case. Communism is a compulsory sharing of goods because no one is thought to have the right to own anything. Socialism acknowledges the right of private property, but it requires individuals to give a certain percentage of what they earn to others in order to narrow the gap between socioeconomic classes.

The early church, however, shared their goods because they were generous and committed to one another. Scripture doesn’t say that the entire church sold all they had and gave everything up for the community’s welfare. It simply says that people voluntarily sold their possessions as financial concerns arose and gave the proceeds to those in need.

Today, almost every church takes care to meet the needs of members lacking food, shelter, help, or clothing. Some churches have food banks or centers offering furniture and clothing. The authentic church is a caring and generous community.

This is why our Founding Fathers chose our form of government here in the United States to be a Constitutional Republic. The freedoms spelled out in the Amendments were placed there so that the government would not force its hand against the citizens; and the citizens would have the redress opportunities to change a reprobate government (like the one we unfortunately have now) that becomes overbearing and oppressive.

Ben Franklin famously said to a woman who asked the question, “what kind of government have you given us?”

“A Republic…if you can keep it.”

*******

4. Abortion.

Liberals are the champions of killing babies in the womb. Their mindset is so strong on this issue that they hate and ridicule pro-life advocates. There is much to read about the horrors of abortion, and Conservapedia provides a lot of counter arguments against the sinful death-to-babies-in-the-womb ideology.

About “little ones” Jesus had this to say:

Luk 17:2

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

(Also see Mar 9:42, Matt 18:6).

Killing children in the womb would also qualify as an offense to “one of these little ones.”

Psa 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Isa 44:24

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;

Psa 139:13

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; [fn]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

*******

5. Moral Relativism.

 

Conservapedia covers this topic quite well.

Excerpts:

Moral relativism is the theory that moral standards vary from society to society, and from time to time in history. Under this theory, ethical principles are not universal and are instead social products. This theory argues that there is no objective moral order or absolute truth.

[Moral] relativity is a philosophy that states there is no absolute Right or Wrong, and that anyone can freely use his own conscience to decide what is moral. A moral relativist will not say that theft or murder is wrong, because he believes it is up to the murderer or thief to decide whether his behavior is justified. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Moral relativity and related foolish thinking is what allows liberals to support abortion, gay rights, and drug abuse. Moral relativity erodes principled self-defense and thereby leads to misguided demands for gun control as well as psychiatric problems resulting from a lack of mental self-defense.

The first four liberal ideologies on this list could also be categorized under moral relativism errors. So much that is “celebrated” within the liberal mindset leads to evil, sin and death.

Jesus warned:

Mat 7:21

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Mat 7:22

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’

Mat 7:23

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

 

Despite Paul the Apostle’s  past as a persecutor, hater, and murderer of Christians,  Scripture reveals how he repented and became one of the greatest missionaries for Christ.  Paul’s writings share how to be reconciled back unto God:

1Ti 1:5

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

1Ti 1:6

from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

1Ti 1:7

desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

1Ti 1:8

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

1Ti 1:9

knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1Ti 1:10

for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

1Ti 1:11

according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

1Ti 1:12

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,

1Ti 1:13

although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

1Ti 1:14

And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

1Ti 1:15

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

Hat tips to all links.

Good Samaritan’s Random Act of Kindness

June 6, 2015

There was a story on Fox and Friends this morning where  a stranger buys a struggling mother a car.

Watch the video at the link above for the complete story.

The stranger wanted to remain anonymous. Apparently, he had the money and was able to share it with someone who was in desperate need. The Fox website labeled this as “Good Samaritan’s random act of kindness.”

The video reveals that the woman is a Christian and that she had been praying to God for an answer to her dilemma.

I think that it was wise for the man who bought the car for her to remain anonymous. Perhaps he, himself, is also a Christian and was heeding what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

Mat 6:1

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Mat 6:2

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Mat 6:3

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

Mat 6:4

“that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly

David Guzik writes:

A. Doing good to please God.

1. (1) Jesus’ warning against doing good to be seen by others.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

a. Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men: Charitable deeds is actually the word righteousness. Jesus tells us to not do righteous things for the sake of display or image (to be seen by them).

i. Jesus has just clearly shown God’s righteous standard; perhaps He anticipated the thought “Wouldn’t everybody be impressed if I was like that?” So here Jesus addressed the danger of cultivating an image of righteousness. It is almost impossible to do spiritual things in front of others without thinking what their opinion is of us as we do those things, and how they are thinking better or worse of us as we do what we do.

ii. This does not contradict His previous command to let your light so shine before men (Matthew 5:16). Although the followers of Jesus are to be seen doing good works, they must not do good works simply to be seen.

b. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven: The idea is when we do righteous deeds for the attention and applause of men, their attention and applause is our reward. It is much better to receive a reward from your Father in heaven.

I have been reading Dr. David Jeremiah’s book “A.D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution That Changed The World.” In chapter 3, (which describes and expands upon the Day of Pentecost and the spectacular birth of the Christian church) we read about the church opening its hands to those in need.

In the early church, “all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need” (Acts 2:44-45). The fledgling church experienced severe persecution, leaving members displaced and destitute. They formed a close-knit community to take care of one another, sharing their food, clothing, and money to meet people’s needs.

Over the years, some people have pointed to this passage to make the claim that the early church practiced Communism or socialism, but such was not the case. Communism is a compulsory sharing of goods because no one is thought to have the right to own anything. Socialism acknowledges the right of private property, but it requires individuals to give a certain percentage of what they earn to others in order to narrow the gap between socioeconomic classes.

The early church, however, shared their goods because they were generous and committed to one another. Scripture doesn’t say that the entire church sold all they had and gave everything up for the community’s welfare. It simply says that people voluntarily sold their possessions as financial concerns arose and gave the proceeds to those in need.

Today, almost every church takes care to meet the needs of members lacking food, shelter, help, or clothing. Some churches have food banks or centers offering furniture and clothing. The authentic church is a caring and generous community.

Notice that serving those in need was done by the early church without the “help” (more accurately, the interference) of the Roman government which was hell-bent on destroying these “annoying” followers of Jesus.   Both the Roman Empire and the Sanhedrin Jewish leaders thought that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary would stop the “rabble-rousers” and finally put an end to this religious movement once and for all.

However, when Jesus rose from the dead, walked the earth (again) in his resurrected body for 40 days and appeared to over 400 people over that time span, the Jesus Christ revolution had only just begun!

In the TV series of the same name, we are seeing that there was an enormous political and religious upheaval that led to the formation of the early church. Despite the brutality being done against the people of The Way (what it was called back then), the depiction of the Day of Pentecost was quite riveting!

Dr. Jeremiah shares extra information regarding the Old Testament history of that day and what it meant to believers in the New Testament.

The Feast of Pentecost
The word Pentecost is the Greek name for the Jewish festival Shavuot. Pentecost celebrated two coinciding events, one ancient and the other ongoing. The first marked the occasion of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, which had occurred seven weeks after the original Passover in Egypt.

The second event was the culmination of the Feast of Weeks. This feast derived its name from the seven-seek harvest of wheat and barley, which began at Passover. The day after this seven-week harvest was designated as a time of celebration and thanks to God, which the Jews expressed by bringing an offering of the first crops from their harvests to the Temple.

Since that was the fiftieth day after Passover, it was called Pentecost, meaning “fifty days.”

Recall that the risen Jesus remained on earth for forty days, and then he ascended into heaven ten days before the Jewish observance of Pentecost (Shavuot). On the morning of Pentecost, 120 disciples and the 12 apostles (Judas had been replaced by Matthias) were in the upper room, still waiting for the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit.

Then it happened!

There was a deafening roar that startled everyone and it was like the sound of a rushing wind. It filled not only the house they were in but people heading to the Temple to celebrate Shavuot were shocked by it too! Scripture describes what the disciples experienced. There were bright streaks of light resembling flaming tongues that flashed above them as the Holy Spirit entered into them! At that moment, the power that Jesus promised them had arrived, and they were able to speak in tongues so that the hearers could hear their own languages! This was a miracle! (see Acts 2:1-6).

These men were changed forever! And Peter gave the sermon that birthed the church (Acts 2). The disciples and apostles were no longer confused about their mission. They finally realized that the kind of Kingdom Jesus was establishing was not merely to save Israel from the Romans, but to save the world from Satan.

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

He (Jesus) was not merely the Messiah to the Jews; he was the Messiah to people in all nations around the globe. He was the rightful King not of just the Jews but of the whole world, which since the time of Adam and Eve had been “enemy-occupied territory.” The task of these disciples was to lead people out from under the tyranny of a demonic usurper and rally them around the flag of a resistance movement led by Jesus Christ, their true King.

The power Jesus had promised was infinitely better than anything they could have anticipated. It filled them with more joy and love and courage than they had ever imagined possible.

In today’s world, the persecution of Christians has increased exponentially. The Bible tells us that the closer we get to the end times, this will be the case. Therefore, we need to speak out boldly, as we should, and share the gospel of Christ!

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.

Hat tips:
Fox News

Dr. Jeremiah.org

 

Jesus – Our Forever Cornerstone, the Bible – Our Forever Guide

May 18, 2015

Recently, there was a report out that made the claim that Christians are abandoning their churches.  While this might be true regarding certain denominations, we still have the promises of God intact; no matter what is going on here in America and around the world.  In fact, Christians who have studied end times prophecy and are able to recognize the signs of the times (as Jesus told us it would be – as in the days of Noah and as in the days of Lot) are not surprised by all that is being done to undermine the church (the context here is not meant to be a building or certain denomination, but meant as all followers) of Jesus Christ!

This morning I found a blog that has a very encouraging post! Romans 122life: 4 Reasons I Have Immense Hope for American Christianity.

The entire essay is great, but I loved this portion:

God’s Will Cannot be Thwarted:

God has promised to build His church. We see this in Matthew 16 when Jesus says, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” No matter what our government may try to do, even it is under God’s authority. Christianity is still spreading in places like China and North Korea. While our culture and government may try to change the church, the true church will survive and thrive. Denominations may die. Church attendance may drop, but the true church will go on and grow. It cannot be stopped. Now that is hope.

My comment there (may still be in moderation):

Wow! I’m so glad that I found your blog and read this uplifting, truth-filled and genuinely hope-filled post! With all the recent rancor about Christianity being demoralized, criticized, and accused of bigotry and hatred; it is important to understand that Jesus warned us of such things happening at an even greater pace the closer we get to the end times.

Churches are led by pastors, and pastors can sometimes be led astray for various reasons. That is why we must always be on guard to recognize heresy or apostasy creeping into certain denominations. We are to remain in the true gospel of Jesus Christ and continue to follow what is written in the Bible. Jesus is our forever Cornerstone, and God’s Word is our forever Guide unto all truth – no matter what this fallen world (which includes aberrant churches and/or groups) tries to throw at us in order to lead us away through sin, error, immorality, false gods or any other type of evil that ultimately brings spiritual death.

1Pe 2:4

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,

1Pe 2:5

you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ

1Pe 2:6

Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” [fn]

1Pe 2:7

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, [fn]

“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,” [fn]

1Pe 2:8

and

“A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.” [fn]
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

1Pe 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1Pe 2:10

who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Hat tip: Romans 122life


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