Daily Archives: June 22, 2013

Some Good Thoughts from Spurgeon

Zwinglius Redivivus

We have many things in our possession at the present moment which can be shaken, and it ill becomes a Christian man to set much store by them, for there is nothing stable beneath these rolling skies; change is written upon all things. Yet, we have certain “things which cannot be shaken,” and I invite you this evening to think of them, that if the things which can be shaken should all be taken away, you may derive real comfort from the things that cannot be shaken, which will remain. Whatever your losses have been, or may be, you enjoy present salvation. You are standing at the foot of his cross, trusting alone in the merit of Jesus’ precious blood, and no rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation in him; no breaking of banks, no failures and bankruptcies can touch that. Then you are a…

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Jesus among other gods

I once had the privilege of preaching the gospel in a Church in Kerala, India. The name of the Church was the “Church of Mor Thoma” which means “Church of Thomas” and by all historical accounts, was founded by the Apostle Thomas. “Doubting Thomas” as he is often called, was the first man to take the gospel to India and died as a martyr for his faith in the resurrected Christ.

While I have visited India numerous times, Dr. Ravi Zacharias was actually born and raised there, home to Hinduism with its more than 330 million gods. Here he speaks in Australia on the uniqueness of Christ among other religions. – JS

Questions about Angels and Demons: Are demons fallen angels?

When exactly God created angels is open for debate, but what is known for sure is that God created everything good because God, in His holiness, cannot create something sinful. So when Satan, who was once the angel Lucifer, rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28), one third of the angelic host joined his insurrection (Revelation 12:3–4, 9). There is no doubt these fallen angels are now known as the demons.

We know that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, according to Matthew 25:41: “Then He will say to those on His left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ ” Jesus, by using the possessive word his makes it clear that these angels belong to Satan. Revelation 12:7–9 describes an end-times angelic battle between Michael and “his angels” and the devil and “his angels.” From these and similar verses, it is clear that demons and fallen angels are synonymous.

Some reject the idea that the demons are the fallen angels due to the fact that Jude verse 6 declares the angels who sinned to be “bound with everlasting chains.” However, it is clear that not all of the angels who sinned are “bound,” as Satan is still free (1 Peter 5:8). Why would God imprison the rest of the fallen angels, but allow the leader of the rebellion to remain free? It seems that Jude verse 6 is referring to God confining the fallen angels who rebelled in an additional way, likely the “sons of God” incident in Genesis chapter 6.

The most common alternate explanation for the origin of the demons is that when the Nephilim of Genesis 6 were destroyed in the Flood, their disembodied souls became the demons. While the Bible does not specifically say what happened to the souls of the Nephilim when they were killed, it is unlikely that God would destroy the Nephilim in the Flood only to allow their souls to cause even greater evil as the demons. The most biblically consistent explanation for the origin of the demons is that they are the fallen angels, the angels who rebelled against God with Satan.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about False Doctrine: Is the ‘Conversations with God’ series Biblically sound?

The book that started it all, Conversations with God, Book 1: An Uncommon Dialogue, spent over two and a half years on the New York Times Best Sellers List, and in 2006 a movie based on the book was released. “Conversations with God,” or “CwG,” is the brainchild of Neale Donald Walsch. In 1995, Walsch released the first book in the series, followed by eight more books, all written as dialogues between Walsch and “God.” The basic premise of the series is that God is “speaking” to everyone all the time and that Walsch began listening. He wrote Book 1 while struggling with thoughts of suicide and questions over the meaning of life.

Walsch claims divine inspiration for his books, saying that God literally spoke to him (“over my right shoulder”), and he wrote down what he heard as if taking dictation. However, in an April 7, 2000, interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” Walsch admitted that he couldn’t be sure that it was God speaking and that the books could have been the product of his own subconscious.

In his books, Walsch says the voice told him that God is everything and everything is God. Therefore, we humans are “God.” Everyone around you is simply “you” in a different form, and we are all “God.” Here, Walsch is repeating one of Satan’s original lies, “You will be as God” (Genesis 3:5).

Walsch also claims that all life is eternal. Death is “the great illusion.” There is no judgment, no punishment, and no hell, for there is no reason for any of that—there is no sin. After death, a person goes to a different level of existence in order to “continue the evolution of the human soul.” This teaching is in direct conflict with Hebrews 9:27 and many other passages of scripture that teach the reality of judgment after death.

Walsch’s defense of Hitler’s actions are in line with his teaching of relativism: Hitler might be called “evil,” but only “within the context of our human experience.” And Hitler was commissioned by God “to show humanity to itself for the purpose of lifting humanity above what it had become and what it had sunk to” (Larry King interview, op. cit.). Therefore, in Walsch’s world, Hitler was just another thread of the tapestry and was necessary to help us move forward.

According to Walsch, there is no right way to live or one way to come to God. There are many ways, and all of them are equally valid. All the gods of various religions are really the same “God.” Of course, the One True God disagrees with Walsch: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

Walsch insists in Book 1 that words cannot communicate truth. Instead, truth comes as each individual consults his or her own feelings. Everyone is right, and no one is wrong; contradictory “truths” are not a problem in Walsch’s faulty logic. It’s interesting for a man who has given the world nearly 3,000 pages of words to state that words cannot communicate truth. What, then, is he communicating?[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Family / Parenting: Does God expect all of us to have children?

It’s really not a matter of whether God “expects” us to have children, since He is sovereign and omniscient and knows who will and who won’t have children. The question is really one of whether or not having children is a requirement for Christians and whether or not we can have a fulfilled, obedient life in Christ without children.

The Bible does tell us that children are a blessing from God. Psalm 127:3–5 says, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” God blesses parents with years of enjoyment with their children that can hardly be compared to anything else. God declares that children are a blessing. But this does not mean that God withholds blessings from those without children. It simply means children are to be looked upon as a blessing, not an inconvenience.

There are times when God deliberately keeps someone from having children, no matter how desperately she wants them. Hannah longed for a child, but the Lord had “closed her womb” until such time as He saw fit to allow her to conceive Samuel, the Lord’s prophet (1 Samuel 1:1–2:21). Sarah, too, was forced to wait many years (she was 90!) before God blessed her with Isaac (Genesis 15:15–17; 21:1–7). From these and many other examples, we can see that God is in sovereign control of all circumstances of life, including the birth of children.

Even though God has declared children to be a blessing from Him, there is nothing in the Bible that states every married couple must have children. Perhaps the best course of action for those who don’t want children, at least at the moment, is for the couple to examine their motives for their decision. Only the couple can say for sure whether their motives and attitudes are unacceptable in God’s sight. Selfish motives, for example, would certainly not be pleasing to Him. Neither would putting careers and the pursuit of worldly gain ahead of having a family be pleasing. The only way we can really displease God with our decision about children is by an ungodly attitude—not trusting him to take care of our situation. We must place our faith in Him and rely on Him to guide us through all situations and decisions that arise in life.

If the question is whether or not to have children because of career dreams, the biblical answer is to put the family (including having children) before careers. A woman’s priority should be her home and family, although working outside the home is certainly acceptable, as long as home and family take precedence over outside pursuits. The Proverbs 31 woman certainly had outside interests, including real estate and agriculture (vs. 16). But her home and family were always cared for in an exemplary fashion. She rose early, stayed up late and did whatever was necessary to see they were well-fed and well-clothed. She was a woman whose children and husband praised her. Taking her example, women are not to forgo having children merely to pursue a career.

In the end, the decision to have or not have children rests with the couple and God and is one that should be carefully and prayerfully considered, especially before a couple takes any irreversible steps to permanently prevent childbearing. There is no biblical injunction that requires anyone to have children, so although children are a gift from God, He can and does bless those who walk with Him by faith, whether or not they are parents.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.