Daily Archives: June 28, 2013

4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

The Orthodox Church remembers the apostles Peter and Paul each year on June 29, commemorating not only their divinely inspired writings in the New Testament but also their efforts as apostles of Christ.

Here are a few interesting facts about their lives and ministry:

Peter and Paul both ended their ministry as apostles in Rome. The Gospel had reached Rome before their arrival, but they both saw it necessary to journey to Rome and bring apostolic leadership to the church there. Since Peter is not mentioned by name in Romans 16, he arrived in Rome at some point afterwards, perhaps in the late ’50s or early ’60s.
Paul was called to be an apostle on the street called Straight. Acts chapter 9 tells the story of Paul’s mystical encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. As a Pharisee, he was committed to the persecution of those following “the Way” (Acts 9:2), but was now being confronted by the Lord for his actions. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). In persecuting the Church, Paul was persecuting Christ himself, for the Church is his Body. Interestingly enough, this street called Straight exists to this day in Damascus, and is the headquarters of the Church of Antioch.

The apostles were at first divided over the treatment of Gentile Christians. This controversy came to a head in Antioch, where Paul opposed Peter “to his face, because he stood condemned” (Gal. 2:11). Much of the New Testament is devoted to the issue of whether one must become a Jew before one can be a true Christian, and it was a great controversy in the early decades of the Church. Paul was resolute: we are justified through our faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of one’s adherence to Jewish law (Gal. 2:15–16).
Both apostles died as martyrs in Rome. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, it seems that he was given the more “merciful” death of beheading in the mid-’60s, during the reign of Nero (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, II, XXV). St. Ignatius of Antioch is an early witness to Paul’s martyrdom (ca. AD 98–110), as he writes to the Ephesians (XII):
“Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall attain to God; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.”

Peter was to be crucified, and he requested that he be hung upside down, feeling unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ.

4 Interesting Facts about Saints Peter and Paul

Nothing Safe About Secret Sin – John MacArthur

Jesus’ exposition of the law is a devastating blow against the lie that image is everything.

Our Lord taught repeatedly that sin bottled up on the inside, concealed from everyone else’s view, carries the very same guilt as sin that manifests itself in the worst forms of ungodly behavior. Those who hate others are as guilty as those who act out their hatred; and those who indulge in private lusts are as culpable as wanton adulterers (Matt. 5:21-30).

So Christians are not to think of secret sins as somehow less serious and more respectable than the sins everyone sees. Here are three reasons secret sin is especially abhorrent:

1. Because God sees the heart.

Scripture tells us “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). No sin–not even a whispered curse or a fleeting evil thought–is hidden from the view of God. In fact, if we realized that God himself is the only audience for such secret sins, we might be less inclined to write them off so lightly.

The Bible declares that God will one day judge the secrets of every heart (Rom. 2:16). He “will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14).

Not only that, secret sins will not remain secret. “The Lord [will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness” (1 Cor. 4:5). Jesus said, “There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3). Those who think they can evade shame by sinning in secret will discover one day that open disclosure of their secrets before the very throne of God is the worst shame of all.

It is folly to think we can mitigate our sin by keeping it secret. It is double folly to tell ourselves that we are better than others because we sin in private rather than in public. And it is the very height of folly to convince ourselves that we can get away with sin by covering it up. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper” (Prov. 28:13).

All sin is an assault against our holy God, whether it is done in public or in secret. And God, who beholds even the innermost secrets of the heart, sees our sin clearly, no matter how well we think we have covered it.

2. Because sin in the mind is a fruit of the same moral defect that produces deeds of sin.

When Jesus said hatred carries the same kind of guilt as murder, and lust is the very essence of adultery, He was not suggesting that there is no difference in degree between sin that takes place in the mind and sin that is acted out. Scripture does not teach that all sins are of equal enormity.

That some sins are worse than others is both patently obvious and thoroughly biblical. Scripture plainly teaches this, for example, when it tells us the sin of Judas was greater than the sin of Pilate (John 19:11).

But in His Sermon on the Mount Jesus was pointing out that anger arises from the same moral defect as murder; and the one who lusts suffers from the same character flaw as the adulterer. Furthermore, those who engage in thought-sins are guilty of violating the same moral precepts as those who commit acts of murder and adultery.

In other words, secret sins of the heart are morally tantamount to the worst kind of evil deeds–even if they are sins of a lesser degree. The lustful person has no right to feel morally superior to a wanton fornicator. The fact that she indulges in lust is proof she is capable of immoral acts as well. The fact that he hates his brother shows that he has murder lurking in his heart.

Christ was teaching us to view our own secret sins with the same moral revulsion we feel for wanton acts of public sin.

3. Because hidden sin involves the compounding sin of hypocrisy.

Those who sin secretly actually intensify their guilt, because they add the sin of hypocrisy to their offense. Hypocrisy is a grave sin in its own right. It also produces an especially debilitating kind of guilt, because by definition hypocrisy entails the concealing of sin. And the only remedy for any kind of sin involves uncovering our guilt through sincere confession.

Hypocrisy therefore permeates the soul with a predisposition against genuine repentance. That is why Jesus referred to hypocrisy as “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Luke 12:1).

Hypocrisy also works directly against the conscience. There’s no way to be hypocritical without searing the conscience. So hypocrisy inevitably makes way for the most vile, soul-coloring, character-damaging secret sins. Thus hypocrisy compounds itself, just like leaven.

Beware that sort of leaven.

No matter who suggests to you that appearances are everything, don’t buy that lie.

As a matter of fact, your secret life is the real litmus test of your character: “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). Do you want to know who you really are? Take a hard look at your private life–especially your innermost thoughts. Gaze into the mirror of God’s Word, and allow it to disclose and correct the real thoughts and motives of your heart.

Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A214
COPYRIGHT ©2013 Grace to You

Three current elders resigned from the board at Harvest Bible Chapel.

Earlier today, 22 June 2013, an emergency meeting of the Harvest Elders was called. This meeting was necessary to address a new crisis that had emerged from within their own ranks, threatening the unparalleled unity of Harvest.

Read More Here:
Three HBC elders, Marquardt, Phelps and Slabaugh, have resigned from the Elder board, and HBC releases a statement.

James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel blaming former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis?

Over the past several months, numerous reports have circulated back to The Elephant’s Debt alleging that James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel were blaming the former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis that has threatened to overwhelm the church. But unfortunately, in most cases, these alleged remarks were not being offered in front of the church congregation as a whole; and thus there was little that we could report.

But now, as of last Sunday (16 June 2013), the situation seems to have changed. In his sermon entitled Who Needs a Resurrection?, James MacDonald has offered the following remarks, which can be found at the 22:10 mark.

Read More Here: http://theelephantsdebt.com/2013/06/19/recent-developments-19-june-2013/

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That 28 June 2013

I tuned in briefly last night to IHOP’s (that’s International House of Prayer, not pancakes—pancakes would be better) 24/7 “prayer and worship” live stream. When I finally awoke from my mind-numbingly-repetitive-music-induced trance early this morning, I had two thoughts. The first was, “Wow, I hope that’s not what music is like in Heaven, because if it is, count me out.” The second was, “Wow, the Great Deceiver surely is good at what he does.”

By the grace of God, I see and hear what is sung and taught at IHOP and it never even crosses my mind to entertain it as viable, true, biblical worship and teaching. Yet, there are many who are involved in IHOP or movements like it or those who if not involved directly, at the very least acknowledge it as a legitimate expression of Christianity. The key words then in that first sentence are “by the grace of God.” By the grace of God, I’ve not been deceived by the wacky, unbiblical teachings of IHOP. By the grace of God I, as an unregenerate, false convert college freshman, found myself repulsed by one professor’s required reading of Richard Foster’s Streams of Living Water when many of my classmates were enraptured by the same book. By the grace of God I later was saved out of the seeker-driven mindset that I could look and act like the world, love and treasure my sin and still call myself a Christian. By the grace of God.

By that same grace of God, then, there will be those who will be saved out of the dangerous, deceptive IHOP movement. You see, the Great Deceiver may be good at what he does, but the Savior is greater. Satan knows his time is running short, and there will soon come a day when he will never again deceive a human soul. Until that time, let us Christians be about proclaiming the gospel of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ. Let us do all we can to pull men from the fire of these devilish deceptions.

If you’ve never “visited” the IHOP prayer room, take a few minutes to hop on over there (no pun intended) sometime. But, please wait until you’re done with your This ‘n’ That. I’d hate for you to lapse into a trance before you’ve had a chance to get all the way through your week in review (kind of):

Read More Here: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/06/this-n-that_28.html