Archive for the ‘Th Cross of Christ’ Category

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

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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

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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?

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

Revisiting “The Unforgivable Sin.”

April 20, 2015

 

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

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

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

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

Outline:

WHAT IS THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN?

Matthew 12:30-32

Mat 12:30

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

Mat 12:31

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

Mat 12:32

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

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

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

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

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

What it is Not:

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

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

What it Seems to Be:

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

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

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

Hebrews 6:4-12

Heb 6:4

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

Heb 6:5

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

Heb 6:6

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

Heb 6:7

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

Heb 6:8

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

Heb 6:9

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

Heb 6:10

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

Heb 6:11

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

Heb 6:12

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

 

WHAT SHOULD CONCERN US?

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

There is no neutrality with Christ.

Jesus’ claims leave no room for that.

The cross demands a response.

2 Timothy 3:1-17

 

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A pause from the outline.

 

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

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

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

Contrast these two verses:

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

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

Note Proverbs 24:16 –

Pro 24:16

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

We are also told in Proverbs 24:17 –

Pro 24:17

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

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

Why?

Because we know the truth!

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

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

Very sobering!

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

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

That is the ultimate choice that we have!

Continuing with the outline:

HOW CAN WE FIND HOPE AND ASSURANCE?

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

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

Deep Sorrow Turns to Exuberant Joy – He Is Risen!

April 4, 2015

Mar 16:1

Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

Mar 16:2

Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

Mar 16:3

And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?”

Mar 16:4

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large.

Mar 16:5

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.

Mar 16:6

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

Mar 16:7

“But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

The exuberant joy part of the story!

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Previously written on this post:

Last evening, I attended the Good Friday service at Life Mission Church.  This is a newer, growing church that our son found through a Christian friend who is also in his growth group.  After the two services that I have attended so far,  I can see why attendees are so highly blessed!

Pastor Jobey interspersed Old Testament prophecy passages from the book of Isaiah, Psalms, and Zechariah and shared how they were fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament.

He described the events (and showed clips of the Passion of the Christ on the screen) leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Such prophecies were written approximately 450 years before the birth of Jesus!

In addition, the live worship band was terrific!  The songs were a great mix of deeply devotional lyrics combined with an almost “rock band” style of music.  I can see why younger people like the services.  However, the attendees were a mix of all generations.

I must admit, this was the best Good Friday service that I have ever experienced!  Congregants were encouraged to come forward near the end of the service and partake of not only the communion elements, but to take a bit of bitter herbs and dip them into the salt water – representing our sins that Jesus suffered and died for which are cleansed by His atonement on the cross that was accepted by God the Father for the remission of sin.  We then took a piece of bread, representing Jesus’ body which was given up for us, and dipped it into the wine which represents the blood He shed for the remission of sins.  Lastly, we had the opportunity to dip our finger into a dish of myrrh as anointing oil.

Biblical Archaeology.org describes the significance of what (and why) the Magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the child Jesus.

Excerpt:

Since the early days of Christianity, Biblical scholars and theologians have offered varying interpretations of the meaning and significance of the gold, frankincense and myrrh that the magi presented to Jesus, according to the Gospel of Matthew (2:11). These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense, and myrrh as anointing oil.

[…] In addition to the honor and status implied by the value of the gifts of the magi, scholars think that these three were chosen for their special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself—gold representing his kingship, frankincense a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming—an interpretation made popular in the well-known Christmas carol “We Three Kings.”

The myrrh had a sweet fragrance that lasted many hours on my hand.

Finally, the deep sorrow we feel for the pain, suffering, and ultimate death that Jesus endured for us on the cross, turns to exuberant joy because although It’s Friday, Sunday is coming!

If video does not play here, go to:

You Tube: It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming

Hat tip: Biblical Archaeology.org and all links and graphics.

Good Friday: Life Conquers Death

April 3, 2015

April 03, 2015 – Friday

Life Conquers Death

By FRC Senior Fellow Bob MorrisonThere is a tomb. Mary Magdalene approaches it. The others feared to go there. It is a place of death and it could mean death to be known as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, had ordered a heavy stone to be placed at the entrance to the tomb. Let the dead bury the dead.But the stone that sealed the tomb has been removed. She looks inside and is stunned to find the tomb is empty. Then she runs to tell Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved what she has seen. Or has not seen.

She runs. If she were filled with fear, would she run? By running, she will surely attract attention to herself. People will see. Someone may report her.

She is unafraid. She has news to share. Important news.

Mary thus becomes the first person in the world to be a witness to the fact that death has not overcome Jesus. He has overcome death.

In Mary Magdalene, we have a witness to the Risen Lord. No small part of the dignity that Christians have from that moment accorded to women comes from her breathless testimony. Jesus does not appear first to the disciples. He appears instead to faithful Mary.

Just three days earlier, on that fateful, fatal Friday, Jesus was stripped of his robes. The mob mocked him and spat upon him. They placed a crown of thorns on his head. Some king, this Jesus! Is this your King of the Jews?

Hauled before the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus fears not. Pilate is afraid. The mob that is screaming for Jesus’ blood may turn against Pilate. The leaders of the mob threaten Pilate. “Remember Caesar,” they tell him.

Pilate understands their threat; if he does not give them what they want, and if things get out of hand in Roman Palestine, it is he, Pilate, who will be blamed. He may be the one who pays with his life. He has reason to fear.

He orders Jesus to be scourged.  So severe was flogging in those times that many a victim died under the lash.

But not this Jesus. He survived to stagger His way to the place of the skull, called Golgotha. Today the road is known as the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Suffering.

There is a great outcry today for an easeful death. Lawmakers and advocates are promising to help us go gentle into that good night. They will give us death with dignity.

There could have been nothing of dignity in death on a cross. It was meant to be torture and humiliation. It was made terrible to instill fear.

That is why the Roman roads were lined with crosses, and with dying men nailed on those crosses. Oderint dum metuant was the Romans’ byword: Let them hate, so long as they fear.

Jesus was not afraid of them. He stood unflinching before Pontius Pilate. When Pilate reminds Jesus he holds the power of life and death, Jesus answers with the dignity of a King. “You would have no power over me unless it were given to you from above.” Even at the moment of His great peril, Jesus acknowledges first His Father in Heaven.

Warily, Pilate yields to the mob and orders the innocent One to be crucified. He writes on a placard that will be displayed on Jesus’ cross:

Jesus of Nazareth
King of the Jews

Not satisfied with Jesus’ blood, the leaders of the crowd demand that Pilate change what he has written. “NO! Write this man said he was King of the Jews.”

Wearily, Pilate waves them away. “What I have written, I have written.”

We have had in our own day much experience of governors fearing. Too often, they listen to the howling mobs. Too often, they remember Caesar and forget God.

At home we are supposed to fear losing jobs, advancement, retirement, investments. Abroad, we are taught to fear our airplane being hijacked and flown into a building, or maybe even a mountain.

Fear dominates the headlines; it must not dominate our heads. We are supposed to fear losing those, too. Those twenty-one Coptic Christians lost their heads but they did not lose their souls.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” Jesus said: “Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Powers and principalities may menace us. But the eternal message of Easter is of life prevailing over death. His perfect love casts out fear. He who conquered death promised us an abundant life. Let’s live it.

He is risen. He is risen, indeed!

Hat Tip: Family Research Council

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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…

How the Passover/Seder Reveals Jesus Christ

April 3, 2015

While the Christian Holy Week and Passover usually fall near each other, it is not often that Good Friday and the first night of the eight-day Jewish festival are celebrated on the same day. The rare convergence of the observances is a reminder of the historical links between the two religious holidays.

Jesus’ Last Supper is traditionally thought to have been a Passover Seder, highlighting the historical links between the Jewish holiday and the Christian Good Friday observance.

I found the following essay online this morning.  Once again, we see evidence of the eternal connection of Judeo-Christian beliefs that are outlined in the Bible.

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How the Passover / Seder Reveals Jesus Christ

The festival of the Passover has been celebrated by Jews for thousands of years. It is the retelling of the great story of how God redeemed the Jewish nation from enslavement in Egypt.1 The celebration itself was given to the Jews while they were still in Egypt.2 The original celebration centered around the Passover lamb, which was sacrificed and its blood put over the doorposts as a sign of faith, so that the Lord passed over the houses of the Jews during the last plague poured out on the Egyptians – the killing of every firstborn.3 To a large degree, the Passover lamb has been eliminated from the Passover festival (with the only remnant being the roasted lamb shank bone).4 The New Testament says that Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb.5 The Passover lamb was to be a “male without defect,”6 which is the same description given to Jesus.7 In addition, when the lamb was roasted and eaten, none of its bones were to be broken.8 This fact was also prophesized for the Messiah, whose bones were not to be broken.9 It was customary during crucifixion to break the leg bones of the person after a few hours in order to hasten their death. The only way a person could breathe when hanging on a cross was to push up with his legs, which was very exhausting. By breaking the legs, death followed soon by asphyxiation. However, in the case of Jesus, they broke the legs of the other two men, but did not break His, since He was already dead.10

Much of the symbolism of Jesus’ last Passover week is lost to us because we are unaware of the customs of the time. For example, Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem five days before the lamb was killed in the temple as the Passover sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel. Five days before the lamb was to be sacrificed, it was chosen. Therefore, Jesus entered Jerusalem on lamb selection day as the lamb of God.11 The people did not understand the significance of this, since they greeted Him with palm branches12 and hailed Him as King,13 shouting “Hosanna,”14 which means “save us.” However, they were not looking for a spiritual Savior, but a political savior. Palm branches were a symbol of freedom and defiance, since Simon Maccabeus had entered Jerusalem with that symbolism.15 Jesus’ reaction was to weep,16 since He realized that they did not understand the Messiah’s purpose in coming.

Good Friday was the day of the Passover celebration and the day that the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed. For the previous 1,200 years, the priest would blow the shophar (ram’s horn) at 3:00 p.m. – the moment the lamb was sacrificed, and all the people would pause to contemplate the sacrifice for sins on behalf of the people of Israel. On Good Friday at 3:00,17 when Jesus was being crucified, He said, “It is finished”18 – at the moment that the Passover lamb was sacrificed and the shophar was blown from the Temple. The sacrifice of the lamb of God was fulfilled at the hour that the symbolic animal sacrifice usually took place. At the same time, the veil of the Temple (a three-inch thick, several story high cloth that demarked the Holy of Holies19) tore from top to bottom20 – representing a removal of the separation between God and man. Fifty days later, on the anniversary of the giving of the law (Pentecost), God left the earthly temple to inhabit those who call on the name of Jesus through His Holy Spirit.21

The festival of unleavened bread began Friday evening (at sunset). As part of the festival, the Jews would take some of the grain – the “first fruits” of their harvest – to the Temple to offer as a sacrifice. In so doing, they were offering God all they had and trusting Him to provide the rest of the harvest. It was at this point that Jesus was buried – planted in the ground – as He said right before His death.22 Paul refers to Jesus as the first fruits of those raised from the dead in 1 Corinthians.23 As such, Jesus represents the fulfillment of God’s promise to provide the rest of the harvest – resurrection of those who follow the Messiah.

 

Christian symbolism in the Passover occurs early in the Seder (the Passover dinner). Three matzahs are put together (representing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The middle matzah is broken,24 wrapped in a white cloth, and hidden, representing the death and burial of Jesus.25 The matzah itself is designed to represent Jesus, since it is striped and pierced, which was prophesized by Isaiah, 26 David,27 and Zechariah.28 Following the Seder meal, the “buried” matzah is “resurrected,” which was foretold in the prophecies of David.29

It was during a Passover seder30 that Jesus proclaimed that the meal represented Himself and that He was instituting the New Covenant, which was foretold by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah.31 The celebration of this covenant has become the ordinance of communion in the Christian Church. At the end of the meal, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it, and said that it represented His body.32 Then He took the cup of wine, which would have been the third cup of the Seder – the cup of redemption. He said that it was the new covenant in His blood “poured out for you.”33 It is through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are declared clean before God, allowing those of us who choose to accept the pardon, to commune with Him – both now and forevermore through the eternal life He offers.

 

References

  1. The entire story can be read in the book of Exodus
  2. See Exodus chapter 12.
  3. Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. (Exodus 12:21-23)
  4. The Passover lamb was still sacrificed in the first century, as indicated in the New testament – Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. (Luke 22:7)
  5. Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
    The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
    When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36)
    For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
    I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)
    “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. (Revelation 12:11)
  6. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. (Exodus 12:5)
  7. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
  8. “It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. (Exodus 12:46)
  9. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. (Psalms 34:20)
  10. The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;… For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” (John 19:32, 33, 36)
  11. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
  12. On the next day the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and began to cry out, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” (John 12:12-13)
    And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road. (Matthew 21:8)
  13. saying, “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38)
    And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
  14. And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
    And those who went before, and those who followed after, were crying out, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)
  15. Simon Maccabeus entered the Akra at Jerusalem after its capture, �with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs: because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel� (1 Maccabees 13:51) (see also 2 Maccabees 10:7).
  16. And when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, (Luke 19:41)
  17. And about the ninth hour [3:00 p.m.] Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?”… And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. (Matthew 27:46, 50) (see also Mark 15:34-37, Luke 23:44-46)
  18. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)
  19. And behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, (Hebrews 9:3)
  20. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, (Matthew 27:51)
    And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38)
    the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. (Luke 23:45)
  21. Acts chapter 2.
  22. And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:23-24)
  23. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20)
  24. And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
  25. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:40)
  26. But he was pierced through for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
  27. For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. (Psalms 22:16)
  28. “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. (Zechariah 12:10)
  29. For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay. (Psalms 16:10)
    O LORD, Thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol; Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. (Psalms 30:3)
    But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He will receive me. Selah. (Psalms 49:15)
    I shall not die, but live, And tell of the works of the LORD. (Psalms 118:17)
  30. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; (Luke 22:15)
  31. “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
    “And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
    “I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, (Isaiah 42:6)
  32. While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)
  33. In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20)

 

Hat tip: Son Server.com

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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…

For It Is Written…

March 18, 2015

H/T for graphic:  Biblepic.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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


Mat 4:5

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

Mat 4:6

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

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

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

Mat 4:7

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

Mat 4:8

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

Mat 4:9

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

Mat 4:10

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

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

NKJV Footnotes

(4:4)

Deuteronomy 8:3

(4:6)

Psalm 91:11, 12

(4:7)

Deuteronomy 6:16

(4:10)

M-Text reads Get behind Me.

(4:10)

Deuteronomy 6:13

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

Mat 4:11

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

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

Devotional:

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

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

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

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

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

Jhn 14:15

If you love Me, keepfn My commandments.

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

The devotional concludes:

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

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

We can absolutely trust Jesus!

Jhn 8:42

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

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Hat tips to all links.

*******

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

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

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

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

Spiritual Drought

March 6, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

The author at that blog, Mike Ratcliff, writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Hat tip:  “Possessing the Treasure.”

*******

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

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

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

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

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

February 25, 2015

H/T for graphic:  biblicalproof.files.wordpress

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

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

To view the program online, click here:

 

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

 

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

2Ti 2:15

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

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

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

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

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

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

H/T for graphic:  sounddoctrine.org

 

How do we discern proper and sound doctrine?

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

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

Tit 1:9

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

Hat tip: Jack Van Impe Ministries


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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. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT...

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