“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you’re not saved yourself, be sure of that!”
To understand what the Bible teaches about genuine salvation we must also have a category in our minds for false conversion. Many who profess faith in Christ are not truly regenerated (born again).
The following is a transcript from an excerpt of a sermon by Dr. R. C. Sproul concerning Mark chapter 4 and the Parable of the Sower. Quoting the text Dr. Sproul says:
I originally posted this late last year, but we’ve had some many requests from people who are looking for a new church home that I’m re-posting to bump it higher:
If you are looking for a new church, you need to ask some very important questions of church leadership before you become a member. Here are 35 to get you started:
Make no mistake about it. Obama’s illegal amnesty will not just apply to 5 million individuals
Lie #1: Every President has Taken Executive Action on Immigration: No other president has ever issued an amnesty of anywhere near this scope, created it out of thin air, or built it upon a prior executive action instead of a statute. And in the case of President Eisenhower, his executive action was to deport 80,000 illegal immigrants.
Lie #2: Illegal Immigrant Crossings are Down: Actually, this is the third straight year that border crossings have gone up, not to mention the entirely new wave from Central America.
Lie #3: It does not grant citizenship or the right to stay here permanently: Under the royal edict, the work permits can be renewed every three years, and most likely, they will be renewed at the same 99.5% acceptance rate as DACA applications. And once they get Social Security cards, they are going nowhere. So yes, this is permanent. And yes, they will be able to get green cards, which puts them on an automatic path to citizenship: “we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards. Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available.”
Lie #4: Only 5 Million: Make no mistake about it. Obama’s illegal amnesty will not just apply to 5 million individuals. It will apply by default to all 12-20 million illegals in the country as well as the millions more who will now come here to enjoy the permanent cessation of borders and sovereignty. Given the numerous options for people to become eligible for amnesty, ICE and CPB will be restricted from enforcing the law against anyone because each individual has to be afforded the opportunity to present themselves and apply for status. There is no way those who were here for less than 5 years will be deported and there’s no way the new people rushing the border and overstaying their visas will be repatriated.
Lie #5: Deport Felons: Obama claims he is going to focus on deporting felons. Yet, he has done the opposite. 36,000 convicted criminal aliens were released last year, 80,000 criminal aliens encountered by ICE weren’t even placed into deportation proceedings, 167,000 criminal aliens who were ordered deported are still at large, 341,000 criminal aliens released by ICE without deportation orders are known to be free and at large in the US. Again, this is cessation of deportations for everyone. They are leaving no illegal behind.
Read the rest of the story on Conservative Review…
The post The Top 10 Lies From Obama’s Amnesty Speech Last Night appeared first on Now The End Begins.
Researchers from organizations like Pew Forum and Barna Research have come up with all sorts of names for our behavior and practices. We’ve heard of the “unchurched,” the “De-Churched,” and this past year we’ve heard the term, “the Nones,” the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion. Well now there’s a new term: The Dones. These are folks who are done with church as an institution. They’ve stopped going. Probably for good. We want to know why.
From 17 to 19 November 2014, Pope Francis hosted at the Vatican the Humanum conference, the focus of which was: An International Interreligious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman.
The event gathered faith leaders from around the globe, including America’s own prominent Southern Baptists, Russell Moore and Rick Warren. The OC Register reports on Warren’s talk, “The Biblical Meaning of Marriage”:
In recent years, many Christians have become increasingly familiar with Jonathan Edwards. As a result, many know that in addition to Edwards’ many theological masterpieces (like The End for Which God Created the World, The Freedom of the Will, and Original Sin), he also wrote what he called Miscellanies. These were reflections of various lengths on miscellaneous theological and practical topics. In other words, they were 18th-century Puritan blog posts.
Well, Edwards wasn’t the only one to do that. John Owen, perhaps the greatest theological mind of Puritanism, also penned these short, blog-post-like, reflections—though he called them “Discourses” instead of “Miscellanies.” A number of Owen’s Discourses are contained in Volume 9 of his Works, under the heading, “Several Practical Cases of Conscience Resolved.” There, he answers numerous practical questions within the span of 3 to 5 pages or so. Some examples include: “How does a Christian recover from neglect of the spiritual disciplines?” and “What does it mean for a sin to be ‘habitual’?” and “How are we to prepare for the coming of Christ?”
The tenth discourse in this collection answers the question: “What shall a person do who finds himself under the power of a prevailing corruption, sin, or temptation?” I don’t know about you, but I’d sure jump at the chance to read John Owen’s blog, and especially his answer on how to mortify a particular besetting sin. You’ll need to read it a bit more slowly and carefully than perhaps you would a contemporary blog post, but my experience with Owen’s writing has been that it’s worth the effort. Here’s John Owen, the blogger.
* * * * *
Question. What shall a person do who finds himself under the power of a prevailing corruption, sin, or temptation?
by John MacArthur
By God’s grace, not all believers face harsh legal or physical persecution for their faith. Many of us don’t live under the threat of being beaten or hauled into court for preaching the gospel. But there are many places around the globe right now where that is the daily reality for believers. And as the world grows more hostile to the truth of Scripture, we can expect those kinds of persecution to become more commonplace.
But one of the blessed byproducts of persecution is that it often spawns courtroom ministries and prison ministries. Opposition creates opportunities to boldly proclaim the truth to persecutors (Philippians 1:12-14).
That was the case for Peter and John in Acts 4. They were arrested for preaching the gospel and healing a man who had been crippled from birth. The next day they were hauled before the Sanhedrin. That elite group of priests, scribes, elders, and other dignitaries would have seen the apostles as nothing more than troublemakers—just a couple Galilean fisherman-turned-street evangelists who threatened their authority with stories of a resurrected Christ.
Perhaps that’s why the members of the Sanhedrin unwittingly gave Peter and John a perfect opportunity to confront them head-on with the truth of the gospel. In Acts 4:7, they demanded these uneducated men answer for their teaching: “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” That was all the invitation Peter needed.
Find Strength in the Holy Spirit
The next verse highlights another response believers need to have in the face of persecution: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them . . .” (Acts 4:8). Just as Peter did, persecuted Christians need to find their strength in the Holy Spirit.
Thanks to rampant false teaching and abuse of the third member of the Trinity, today there’s considerable confusion about what “filled with the Holy Spirit” means. But what happened to Peter in the midst of the Sanhedrin wasn’t an emotional experience or an ecstatic exhibition.
Instead, being filled with the Spirit is setting aside your will, your wisdom, your strength, and your expertise, and instead relying on God’s. It’s yielding to the power of God at work in you through the Spirit to use you as a vessel for His truth. It’s not a passive, trance-like experience—your mind is fully engaged; it’s surrendered to the Lord, not spinning on your own steam.
In the face of strong persecution, believers may likely feel underprepared, overwhelmed, and outmatched. But in those moments, we need to remember that God uses our weakness to display His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Boldly Proclaim the Gospel
What Peter said as he was filled with the Spirit is remarkable. Boldly answering the Sanhedrin, he declared:
Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:8-12)
In the face of harsh persecution, boldness may seem counterintuitive. Most people would be more likely to try to smooth things out with an apology or some overt contrition.
But not Peter. Filled with the Holy Spirit and aware of the gospel opportunity before him, Peter pokes a verbal finger into the chests of Christ’s condemners, highlighting their hypocrisy and spiritual blindness.
Beginning in verse nine, Peter turns the tables on his indicters.
If we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. (Acts 4:9-10)
He starts by acknowledging that they’ve been unjustly arrested for doing a good deed—healing a man crippled from birth (Acts 3:1-10). He then answers their question by declaring that it was accomplished through the power of Jesus Christ, whom they had just weeks earlier condemned to death.
Including the name “Christ” was a reference to Jesus’ role as the Messiah the Sanhedrin was supposedly looking for. This turned Peter’s explanation into a damning condemnation. While the Romans actually carried out Christ’s death sentence, Peter identifies the Sanhedrin as His true murderers.
In the face of severe persecution, Peter didn’t soften or tamp down the truth of the gospel. He remained bold and direct, in spite of the consequences. Why? Because for the gospel to take hold in a person’s life, sin must be exposed and confronted.
Some people will tell you that softening the harsh edges of the gospel—and particularly the truth about sin and hell—is a good way to make the truth more acceptable to the world. That it would make Christians less off-putting and more relatable if we just “love on people” instead of being so confrontational. But that approach only shows the world that we’re willing to compromise, and that the gospel isn’t so exclusive after all.
That was not Peter’s approach. In fact, he made sure to highlight the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11-12)
That’s a far cry from the claims of many contemporary preachers who foolishly say, “Who am I to say who will be accepted by God? That’s up to Him.”
Instead, with his life potentially on the line, Peter made abundantly clear the facts of the case. The Sanhedrin had conspired to murder Christ, whom they should have recognized as Messiah. Jesus wasn’t defeated by their plot or the grave–God raised Him from the dead. Only through faith in Him can anyone hope to find salvation.
Facing similar circumstances, would we have the same boldness? Regardless of our situation, we ought to be no less committed to faithfully and accurately preaching the truth of the gospel, particularly to those who are hostile to God’s Word.
Next time we’ll see how the Sanhedrin reacted to Peter’s explanation, and consider another aspect of responding biblically to persecution.
Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B141121
COPYRIGHT ©2014 Grace to You
Members of the EIT, a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders who have been advocating for immigration reform consistent with some of the same biblical values invoked by Obama Thursday, however, have expressed divided positions on how President Obama has decided to help the strangers living in the shadows.
In Agents of the Apocalypse, Dr. David Jeremiah, noted author and Bible teacher, takes a new approach to unpacking what is possibly one of the Bible’s most popular yet confusing books — and he recently shared his thoughts on why America seems absent from the Book of Revelation and other prophetic writings regarding the eschaton.
Revelation, the final book of the Christian Bible, has long served as a source of inspiration and speculation for pulpits, printing presses, and movie studios. The colorful apocalyptic work is credited in the text to Jesus Christ’s “servant John,” also described as a prophet. John, not to be mistaken with Jesus’ apostle, some scholars argue, tells of experiencing several visions, some of them related to future happenings, such as Jesus Christ’s Second Coming and God’s final judgment of the world.
Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not. As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal. According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million. And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table. Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum. The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year. But most Americans live in a very different world. The percentage of Americans that are employed is about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession, the quality of our jobs continues to go down, the rate of homeownership in America has fallen for seven years in a row, and the cost of living is rising much faster than paychecks are. As a result, the middle class is smaller this Thanksgiving than it was last Thanksgiving, and most Americans have seen their standards of living go down over the past year. (Read More….)
First Things, a conservative religious publication, has launched a movement encouraging pastors to refuse to perform marriages as representatives of the state. (Merritt, Religion News Service)
The on-line retailer Amazon recently revealed the most popular verse in the Bible for Americans. No, it’s not the ubiquitous John 3:16 displayed on posters at sporting events everywhere.
Instead, Americans are increasingly turning to Philippians 4:6-7 which the apostle Paul begins with these words: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
You’ve no doubt heard of “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving that features, along with countless sales, the more-than-occasional trampling of shoppers by their frenzied peers.
In many ways, “Black Friday” has become a bigger deal than Thanksgiving. So much so that many major retailers have announced that they are opening their doors on Thursday.
The hope is that the possibility of buying something you don’t really need for a little less than you would pay a few weeks later will help people work off the turkey and pumpkin pie and get down to some serious Christmas shopping.
The problem is that it isn’t Christmas yet—at least not for Christians.
The weeks leading up to Christmas day are properly called Advent in Western Christianity, from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.”[i]
As a reminder of where we’ve been thus far, it might be helpful to list the Ten Tenets again. The Ten Tenets are these:
1. The faith that we are defending must begin with, and necessarily include, the Triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — who, as God, condescends to create and to redeem.
2. God’s covenantal revelation is authoritative by virtue of what it is, and any Covenantal, Christian apologetic will necessarily stand on, and utilize, that authority in order to defend Christianity.
3. It is the truth of God’s revelation, together with the work of the Holy Spirit, that brings about a covenantal change from one who is in Adam to one who is in Christ.
4. Man (male and female) as image of God is in covenant with the Triune God, for eternity.
5. All people know the true God, and that knowledge entails covenantal obligations.
6. Those who are and remain in Adam suppress the truth that they know. Those who are in Christ, see that truth for what it is.
7. There is an absolute, covenantal antithesis between Christian theism and any other, opposing, position. Thus, Christianity is true and anything opposing it is false.
8. Suppression of the truth, like the depravity of sin, is total but not absolute. Thus, every unbelieving position will necessarily have within it ideas, concepts, notions, etc that it has taken and wrenched from its true, Christian context.
9. The true, covenantal, knowledge of God in man, together with God’s universal mercy, allows for persuasion in apologetics.
10. Every fact and experience is what it is by virtue of the covenantal all-controlling plan and purpose of God.
This month, we want to provide an explanation of Tenet 9.
“Fundamentally, Reformed theology is theology founded on and fashioned by God’s Word. For it is God’s Word that forms our theology, and it is we who are reformed by that theology as we constantly return to God’s Word every day and in every generation. At its core, this is what the sixteenth-century Reformation was all about, and it’s what being Reformed is all about—confessing and practicing what God’s Word teaches. God’s Word and God’s Spirit reform the church.”
There are three basic approaches or schools of what is called “apologetics.” This word comes directly from the Greek, which has to do with the idea of giving a defense. So what is being talked about is how one goes about trying to defend the truth of the Christian faith. That there are three approaches, however, does not mean that everyone fits neatly into one of them. People do borrow from each; and while a person might prefer one school over another, it is not uncommon for such a person to grant the value, and even, at times, the necessity, of the others.
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregiver Month. As the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s diseases continues to surge, our systems of care have struggled to meet the need. After the initial diagnosis, care often moves out of the doctor’s office and into the community—giving Christians and churches both the challenge and opportunity of responding to this question: How can I love my neighbor with dementia?
We can start by learning about Alzheimer’s disease and build upon that by living out the gospel in their care. Here are 10 things to remember about Alzheimer’s and caregiving.