Daily Archives: January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Jan. 9, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met Sunday in Houston with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, potentially adding to tensions with China after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol by speaking on the phone with her.

President Obama, following the intelligence report describing Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. election campaign, said he’s surprised by the extent to which false information has been able to influence the nation’s democratic processes.

A marathon of Senate confirmation hearings starting this week will give Democrats the chance to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees on trial even though they have little chance of actually blocking any of them.

Low taxes, low wages and low overheads are driving the Paraguayan government’s ambition to become the “China of South America”: a low-cost manufacturing hub that attracts investment from across the region. As Brazil struggles through its worst recession on record, dozens of businesses have set up operations across the border, creating thousands of jobs. Broadly welcomed by the Brazilian government at first, the migration of investment is now facing increasing scrutiny as unemployment rises to unprecedented levels.

Volkswagen unveiled a battery-powered version of its iconic hippie-era Microbus as the carmaker overhauls its U.S. lineup to move beyond its emissions-cheating scandal.

AP Top Stories

Singapore’s defense minister on Monday said the nine armoured vehicles seized in Hong Kong could not be detained or confiscated, but that he welcomed Hong Kong’s pledge for the dispute to be handled in line with its laws.

Deaths from cancer in the United States have dropped 25 percent since hitting a peak in 1991, a new report finds. The drop means that 2.1 million fewer people died from cancer between 1991 and 2014 than would have died if cancer death rates had remained at their 1991 level.

A U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels after they closed in at a high rate of speed near the Strait of Hormuz.

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Sunday after being taken to a local hospital to be treated for a heart condition, according to media reports. Rafsanjani, 82, enjoyed wide influence in Iran as a supporter of President Hassan Rouhani and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

China’s top anti-corruption watchdog has tightened supervision of its 500,000-plus corruption investigators, after some of its own staff were caught in graft probes. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement on its website late on Sunday that a new regulation would be applied to procedures such as evidence collection and case reviews, without providing further details.

The 115th Congress has nearly the same percentage of Christians as the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962), which is the earliest for which comparable data is available, research by Pew Research Center showed. Among members of the 115th Congress, 91 percent described themselves as Christians, not far from the 95 percent Christians in the 87th Congress.

Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country’s long-range missile program which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt.

The U.S. military on Sunday vowed to increase the scope and complexity of its European training exercises to deter Russian aggression, as more U.S. tanks, trucks and other equipment arrived in Germany for a big buildup on NATO’s eastern flank.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday an agreement had been reached with Turkey over an Iraqi demand that Turkish forces withdraw from the Bashiqa camp near Mosul in the north of the country, Iraqi state TV reported.

The Philippines is finalizing a security deal with Russia allowing the two countries’ leaders to exchange visits and observe military drills, a minister said on Monday, at the same time assuring the United States that ties with Moscow will not affect its alliance with its traditional ally.

They were proposed almost exactly 100 years ago by Albert Einstein, based on his theory of general relativity, but it was only in February 2016 that scientists proved the existence of gravitational waves. And now, China is starting work on the world’s highest altitude telescope that can detect them.

BBC

The governor of Amazonas, the state in northern Brazil where at least 64 inmates have been killed in prison riots since 1 January, has asked the federal government for help.

Venezuela’s government has announced a 50% increase in the minimum wage and pensions amid runaway inflation.

Pope Francis has condemned as “homicidal madness” recent deadly “fundamentalist-inspired” attacks around the world. In a speech to the Vatican diplomatic corps, the pontiff called on religious leaders to reaffirm that “one can never kill in God’s name”.

BMW has told the BBC that it is “absolutely” committed to a new plant in Mexico despite Donald Trump’s hostility to imported cars.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said the bombing of eastern Aleppo, which his forces recaptured from rebels last month, was justified.

WND

A Rastafarian prophet, a former Taliban captive and thousands of minor drug traffickers have one thing in common: Their names have been submitted to President Barack Obama for clemency before he leaves office in two weeks.

The Israeli commissioner of police, Roni Alsheikh, stated at a recent Jewish celebration that his department is preparing for the arrival of the Messiah. “When the Messiah comes, everyone will want to [approach] him so it will get very crowded,” Alsheikh was quoted as saying in Breaking Israel News. “That will be a time when we will have to be very strong in respecting our fellow.”


Top News – 1/9/2017

U.S. Navy destroyer fires warning shots at Iranian vessels: U.S. officials
A U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots towards four of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels on Sunday after they closed in at a high rate of speed in the Strait of Hormuz, two U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Monday.

COLD FUSION: Wendelstein 7X star-machine PROVES the dream of limitless FREE energy
A COLD fusion machine aimed at creating limitless supplies of energy from a few litres of seawater has been fired-up and is working exactly as the designers hoped.

Has America lost its soul?
Under the Obama years domestic crime may not be better or worse than times before, but the atmosphere he created is poisonous. Hatred is in the air – thanks to him and his race baiting and his cop-hating and his white trashing. I have never seen it this bad. The picture…this picture of a white disabled youth being brutalized and tortured by four African American teenagers has outraged the nation, but it symbolizes Obama’s entire wrathful presidency.

Clinton won’t run for NYC mayor
Recent reports claimed former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton may run for New York City mayor. However, former Clinton aide and Center for American Progress had Neera Tanden said, “I don’t expect her to run for this… I don’t expect her to ever run for any elected office again.”

‘This isn’t about occupation – it’s a clash of civilizations’
Likud MK Amir Ohana says free world must set aside differences, form united front in ‘clash of civilizations’ against radical Islam.

Navy, Trump planning biggest fleet expansion to deter Russian, Chinese threats
With President-elect Donald Trump demanding more ships, the Navy is proposing the biggest shipbuilding boom since the end of the Cold War to meet threats from a resurgent Russia and saber-rattling China.

God’s Favor: 2017 & Beyond
(Evangelist Rev. Franklin Graham hinted at this in a Facebook post: “In watching the news after the election, the secular media kept asking ‘How did this happen?’ ‘What went wrong?’ ‘How did we miss this?’ Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor.”)

Mike Huckabee: Israel Will Not Give Up Land, No Two-State Solution Read more at https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/81673/mike-huckabee-israel-will-not
An outspoken pro-Israel Christian politician, Mike Huckabee is ‘incredibly optimistic’ about Israel under the Trump Administration, vowing that the two-state solution is at an end and Israel will become stronger than ever.

Rare Magnitude 5.8 quake rattles Canada’s far north
A Magnitude 5.8 earthquake was detected Sunday night in Canada’s far north. The tremor struck at a relatively shallow depth of about 19 km, in the Barrow Strait between Somerset Island, Devon Island and Cornwallis Island.

North Korea says can test-launch ICBM at any time: official news agency
North Korea declared on Sunday it could test-launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at any time from any location set by leader Kim Jong Un, saying a hostile U.S. policy was to blame for its arms development. Kim said on Jan. 1 that his nuclear-capable country was close to test-launching an ICBM.

Navy, Trump planning biggest fleet expansion since Cold War
With President-elect Donald Trump demanding more ships, the Navy is proposing the biggest shipbuilding boom since the end of the Cold War… The Navy’s 355-ship proposal released last month is even larger than what the Republican Trump had promoted… providing a potential boost to shipyards that have struggled because budget caps that have limited money funding for ships.

Venezuela minimum wage to rise by 50% ‘to combat inflation’
Venezuela’s government has announced a 50% increase in the minimum wage and pensions amid runaway inflation. President Nicolas Maduro says the move will protect jobs and incomes. Critics say it may worsen the crisis. The opposition accuses Mr Maduro of mismanaging oil-rich Venezuela’s crumbling economy. But he says he faces an economic war by political foes and hostile businessmen.

East Timor axes Australia border treaty over oil reserves
East Timor says it wants to tear up a controversial 2006 maritime border treaty with Australia which has soured relations between the two countries. The treaty dealt with how oil and gas beneath the Timor Sea should be shared, but has been disputed ever since. East Timor, one of Asia’s poorest nations, argues the way territory has been divided was not fair.

Black Nazarene procession draws 1.5 million to Manila
Around 1.5 million devotees have turned out for a huge annual Roman Catholic procession which is taking place in Manila. Each year, a centuries-old wooden statue of Jesus Christ, called The Black Nazarene, is paraded through the Philippine capital. This year, police and foreign embassies have advised attendees to be on alert for possible terror attacks.

Iran to expand military spending, develop missiles
Iranian lawmakers approved plans on Monday to expand military spending to five percent of the budget, including developing the country’s long-range missile program which US President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to halt. The vote is a boost to Iran’s military establishment – the regular army, the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and defense ministry – which was allocated almost 2 percent of the 2015-16 budget.

ISIS Shows Preschooler Killing Victim Tied to Carnival Ball Pit
After an end-of-the-year video showing pre-teens hunt down and kill bound prisoners in an abandoned building, the Islamic State today released an even more gory follow-up with children as young as preschool age murdering prisoners tied to broken carnival rides.

Someone is trying to take down the Drudge Report — and it’s a mystery who’s behind it
The Drudge Report, the highly trafficked conservative news website, has been knocked offline for extended periods of time over the course of the last two weeks, succumbing to large distributed denial of service attacks, according to its founder, Matt Drudge.

Santelli ‘Meets The Press’: “You Picked Sides… On Election Night, I’ve Never Seen You So Unhappy”
“What’s going on here is really so politically driven… where was all this uproar in June when the DNC emails were hacked…this wasn’t made an issue because it would have put the emails in Hillary’s server right in the thick of it… that’s why this went under the radar – this is all tied together” The shocked looks on the faces on Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, and David Brooks was only bettered by their repeated efforts to refocus the narrative on Putin “as the devil and journalist-murderer” and Trump “as a puppet” but Santelli was not done with them…

Christian Clergy Welcomes Islam in Church, Then Bows to It
The Pope embraced religious relativism when it comes with Islam. Church of England Bishop Harries suggested that Prince Charles’s coronation service should be opened with a Koran reading. In the US, more than 50 churches, including the Washington National Cathedral, hold Koran readings. Is there any reading of the Christian liturgy in mosques?

Teh birth of half-human, half animal chimeras
“These things become more interesting, scientifically and medically, the more human they are,” says Newman. “So you might say now that ‘I would never make something mostly human’, but there is an impulse to do it… There’s a kind of momentum to the whole enterprise that makes you want to go further and further.”

Is civilisation heading for a COLLAPSE? Mathematical historian predicts political turmoil will peak in the 2020s
Professor Peter Turchin uses mathematical models to predict political events He says his models predicted a rise of political turmoil starting three years ago This is expected to reach a peak some time in the 2020s, according to his theory This includes decline of living standards and declining health of the state

Donald Trump Asking Congress to Fund the Wall
As for Republicans, they may be willing to at least make an attempt. Rep. Steve Scalise said Thursday that his party was committed to helping President Trump build the wall. “We’re in talks with him on the details of it as they’re still putting together their team,” Scalise said. “We still got a few months before there’s another funding bill that’s going to move. We’re going to work with him to make sure we can get it done.


The Briefing 01-09-17

Fort Lauderdale shooting raises questions of moral responsibility, sin, and the rationality of evil

Are we now at the point where abortion has become ordinary to the American conscience?

Lena Dunham and the rise of expressive abortion: “I wish I have had an abortion”

The post The Briefing 01-09-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


It’s A Retail Apocalypse: Sears, Macy’s And The Limited Are All Closing Stores

retail-apocalypse-public-domainIt has only been two weeks since Christmas, and already we are witnessing a stunning bloodbath of store closings.  Macy’s shocked the retail industry by announcing that they will be closing about 100 stores.  The downward spiral of Sears hit another landmark when it was announced that another 150 Sears and Kmart stores would be shutting down.  And we have just learned that The Limited is immediately closing all stores nationwide.  If the U.S. economy is doing just fine, then why are we experiencing such a retail apocalypse?  All over America, vast shopping malls that were once buzzing with eager consumers now resemble mausoleums.  We have never seen anything quite like this in our entire history, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next. (Read More…)


Top Headlines – 1/9/2017

  • European shares dip, sterling falls on Brexit comments (Read More)
  • Pound Falls to 10-Week Low as May Hints at Single-Market Exit (Read More)
  • Offshore Yuan Falls for Second Day as Bears Reload After Squeeze (Read More)
  • Trump’s choices for top Cabinet posts face big tests this week (Read More)
  • Nine Trump Nominees Who’ll Face Extreme Vetting by Democrats (Read More)
  • Meet the Mercers: New Power Brokers in Trump’s Washington (Read More)
  • Why the China Manipulator Label Looks Increasingly Appealing to Trump (Read More)
  • Turkish Lira Extends Losses as Rate Speculation Mounts (Read More)
  • Auto Makers in Hot Seat as Political Pressure Rises (Read More)
  • GM Won’t Move Small-Car Production From Mexico (Read More)
  • ‘La La Land’ Sets Golden Globes Record With Seven Statuettes (Read More)
  • Big China bitcoin exchange says no government pressure on outflows (Read More)
  • Brazil Worries the ‘China of South America’ Is Eating Its Lunch (Read More)
  • McDonald’s Aims to Flip China Results by Ceding Control (Read More)
  • UnitedHealth to buy Surgical Care Affiliates in $2.3 billion deal (Read More)
  • German Industrial Output Rises in Sign of Economic Strength (Read More)
  • Navy, Trump planning biggest fleet expansion since Cold War (Read More)
  • Kansas Offers Cautionary Tale for Trump’s Tax Ambition (Read More)
  • Police arrest 16 in France over Kardashian robbery (Read More)
  • Trump’s Canceled Overseas Projects Only Brought in $323,150 (Read More)
  • China Is Planning a New, Relaxed Approach to Growth (Read More)
  • Your Favorite Food Can Tell You About What Your Money’s Worth (Read More)
  • Florida airport shooting suspect to appear in federal court (Read More)

As Paris peace summit nears, Israel makes ‘big efforts’ to prevent another UN resolution

4 killed, 15 wounded as truck rams into Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem

Jerusalem terrorist’s sister says family ‘thankful’ for his ‘martyrdom’

Terrorist’s sister: ‘It’s the most beautiful martyrdom’

Sunday most deadly Jerusalem attack since wave of terror began

US, EU lead international condemnation of Jerusalem attack

Netanyahu: Signs indicate Jerusalem terrorist inspired by ISIS

ISIS calls on recruits to copy arson terror method used in Israel

ISIS Shows Preschooler Killing Victim Tied to Carnival Ball Pit

ISIS claims 2 suicide bombings in Baghdad; 16 people killed

Iraqi forces reach Tigris in Mosul as suicide bombs hit Baghdad

Death of Iran’s Rafsanjani Removes Influential Voice Against Hard-liners

UN chief concerned Iran may have violated arms embargo

Through studying the Holocaust, Cambodians deal with own genocide

Former US envoy: Defunding UN would put China in control

North Korea says can test-launch ICBM at any time: official news agency

After Fort Lauderdale Shooting, Rumor of Second Gunman Created Chaos

Travelers lose 25,000 items after Florida airport rampage

British police officers asked if they want to carry guns in wake of terror attacks

France blocks 24,000 cyber attacks amid fears that Russia may try to influence French presidential election

Obama admits underestimating impact of Russian hacking

Priebus says Democrats to blame for email hack, thinks Trump accepts intel findings

U.S. military vows more complex training in Europe to deter Russia

Navy, Trump planning biggest fleet expansion since Cold War

Franklin Graham: God Had A Hand In Trump’s Election

Trump election: US presidency is not a family business, says Obama

Health-Law Taxes Complicate GOP’s Repeal Strategy

What are conservatives doing voting to increase debt by $9 trillion?

Venezuela’s Maduro hikes minimum wage for fifth time in a year

Google’s new self-driving minivans will be hitting the road at the end of January 2017

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits near Resolute, Canada

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near the Macquarie Island region

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Farallon de Pajaros, Northern Mariana Islands

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Ndoi Island, Fiji

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 24,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 18,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 14,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 13,000ft

Semeru volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Magma inflow results in earthquake activity in Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland

From Istanbul to Moscow, cold snap wreaks havoc across Europe

Deep freeze grips Europe, threatens homeless, migrants

Snow and Ice Covered the Ground in 49 of 50 States This Weekend

Ice turns interstate in Alabama into dangerous bumper cars

Troopers respond to 750 traffic incidents in 36 hours in Oregon

West Coast storms cause dangerous flooding in California

Deadly storm cuts power to more than 40,000 near San Francisco

Thailand floods: 12 dead as record rainfall persists

Dreaded ‘stomach flu’ wreaks havoc on families – and it’s only going to get worse

The birth of half-human, half-animal chimeras

In Tampa, Food Not Bombs activists arrested for feeding the homeless – again

DA says teen killed as part of mom’s ‘rape-murder fantasy’ with boyfriend

ISIS Singles Out Dallas Megachurch in Call for Arson Jihad

Arson Fire Seriously Damages Fort Worth Church

Passion Conference: A Pastor’s Perspective on The Importance Of Truth and Standing Against Apostasy

Leah Remini’s Scientology ’20/20′ Recap: Six Biggest Revelations

My Life Inside ‘The Family’ Cult

Faith Healing – Minnesota Couple Allegedly Let 7-Year-Old Son Die of Sepsis Rather Than Bring Him to Doctor

Canadian Judge Rules Pro-Life Group’s Bus Ad ‘Likely to Cause Psychological Harm’ to Abortive Mothers

American Warship Fires Warning Shots At Iranian Vessels

Posted: 09 Jan 2017 07:29 AM PST

A U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels after they closed in at a high rate of speed near the…

Superintendent Claims Homeschooling inferior to public schools

Posted: 09 Jan 2017 06:04 AM PST

Despite standardized testing indicating otherwise, a top public school official in Arkansas impressed to homeschool parents that public schools provide a “more rigorous curriculum” for…

91% of new Congress members are Christian

Posted: 09 Jan 2017 06:00 AM PST

A recent survey found that approximately nine in 10 members in the incoming United States Congress proclaim themselves to be Christian.  According to the latest…
Mystery booms increasing again in January 2017 and nobody knows why!

Posted: 09 Jan 2017 05:54 AM PST

Since the beginning of 2017, hundreds of people have already reported loud vibrating noises around the world. Here a small compilation and the most mysterious…

Retail Apocalypse Continues as Sears, Macy’s And The Limited Are All Closing Stores

Posted: 09 Jan 2017 05:44 AM PST

(Reported By Michael Snyder) It has only been two weeks since Christmas, and already we are witnessing a stunning bloodbath of store closings. Macy’s shocked…

Mystery Continues Of Attempt To Take Down Drudge Report

Posted: 09 Jan 2017 05:39 AM PST

The Drudge Report, the highly trafficked conservative news website, has been knocked offline for extended periods of time over the course of the last two…
Police in Israel actively preparing for Messiah’s arrival

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:55 PM PST

No one knows the day or the hour, but the Israeli police seem to believe the Messiah is coming soon. The Israeli commissioner of police,…
Zombie Virus Would Bring Human Extinction In Less Than 6 Months

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:50 PM PST

The zombie virus would spread through the human population at a rate faster than the black death, according to a study from UK scientists.  …
DAYS OF NOAH: Animals With Human Organs Now Becoming Reality.

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:42 PM PST

In H. G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, the shipwrecked hero Edward Pendrick is walking through a forest glade when he chances upon a…
Mystery grows over 100-ton granite boxes in Egypt

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:37 PM PST

Millennia-old black stone boxes uncovered in Egypt are raising a new round a questions in the media, with speculation that the 100-ton pieces of Aswan…
Tennessee Congresswoman Introduces Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:30 PM PST

A Congresswoman in Tennessee has introduced a bill to federally defund the abortion and contraceptive giant Planned Parenthood. Rep. Diane Black announced the ‘‘Defund Planned…
Winter Storm Ira on the Move, Follows Helena as Next Weather Threat

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:25 PM PST

Winter Storm Helena brought up to two feet of snow as it made its way into New England. Forecasters now warn that Winter Storm Ira…
US Navy and Trump Planning Largest Fleet Expansion Since Cold War

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:18 PM PST

With President-elect Donald Trump demanding more ships, the Navy is proposing the biggest shipbuilding boom since the end of the Cold War to meet threats…
From Istanbul to Moscow, cold snap wreaks havoc across Europe

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:12 PM PST

Bone-freezing cold, heavy snowstorms, and floods have been plaguing the European continent this week, causing power outages, traffic jams, cancelled flights, and even a stream…
Snow and Ice Covered the Ground in 49 of 50 States This Weekend

Posted: 08 Jan 2017 03:08 PM PST

Snow and ice covered the ground in 49 of 50 states this weekend in the wake of Winter Storm Helena. An analysis of snow cover…

Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.


Do You Know Him?


What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.


The Gospel In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


What Is the Gospel?

This post is adapted from the tract “What Is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert.


A Message from God

What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the “gospel of Jesus Christ”? Since the word “gospel” means “good news,” when Christians talk about the gospel, they’re simply telling the good news about Jesus! It’s a message from God saying, “Good news! Here is how you can be saved from my judgment!” That’s an announcement you can’t afford to ignore.

Why Is the Gospel Good News?

So, what is the good news about Jesus Christ?

Since the earliest Christians announced the good news about Jesus, it has been organized around these questions:

  1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
  2. What is our problem?
  3. What is God’s solution to our problem?
  4. How can I be included in his solution?

Christians through the centuries since Christ have answered those questions with the same truth from the Bible.

  1. We are accountable to God.
  2. Our problem is our sin against him.
  3. God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ.
  4. We come to be included in that salvation by faith and repentance.

Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.

God

The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!

Mankind

When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.

It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin is the rejection of God himself and his authority over those to whom he gives life.

Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”

But . . .

Jesus Christ

The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!

When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!

But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. Jesus’s rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”

Our Response

What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.

To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.

Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.


Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel


This is the Gospel:

Friend, God is holy. There is a God in heaven who has created you and me, and He is the authority over both of us. He is perfectly holy. “In Him is Light, and there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). And the problem with that is that if we want to have fellowship with God, we have to be light and no darkness at all. And yet here’s the problem: we are darkness. We are sinful. We’ve all broken His law. We’ve all lied, stolen, we’ve all looked with lust, we’ve all been angry with our brothers in our hearts. We’ve all fallen short of the glorious standard of perfection that God requires (Rom 3:23). And there’s nothing we can do about it. No amount of works, no amount of contrition, no amount of bad feelings, no amount of church attendance, no amount of Bible reading, no amount of evangelism can earn forgiveness of our sins and the righteousness which God requires (Titus 3:5; cf. Isa 64:6).

And yet God is gracious, and He loves us, and as His creatures He wants to display His glory in us by rescuing us from that. And so He sent His Son—God in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ—to be born as a helpless little baby (John 1:14; 3:16; Col 2:9). God of the universe, Sustainer of the universe, Himself being sustained in the womb of a teenage Hebrew girl, and upholding the world by the word of His power (Heb 1:3) while He is upheld by the nutrients from her own body! Unspeakable! And in great humility, He grows up with the growing pains of life in a fallen world, though He Himself never being with any sin—without sin entirely (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26). And He lives a perfectly righteous life. The way that you and I have failed to live before God—the way that we have failed in thought, word, and deed, and fallen short of God’s glory—Christ never did. Not even a thought. He loved God, His Father, perfectly. He always walked in perfect righteousness. He lived the life that you were commanded to live, that I was commanded to live, that we failed to live. He lived that perfect life that God is worthy of.

And not only did He live for us, He died for us. He went to the cross. Our sin demanded death. Our sin demanded eternal punishment. Our sin demanded wrath—just wrath exercised on us for eternity (Rom 6:23). But because of the infinite worth of Christ’s person, He was on that cross. And on that cross, God exercised upon Him the full fury of His own anger (Rom 3:24–26; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14), that was rightly due to me and rightly due to you, and that you will experience if you don’t turn from your sin and trust in this Messiah. Christ was born, lived, died, and was raised (1 Cor 15:3–4). And He rose from the grave after being dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death.

And now God promises that if you turn from your sin, if you repudiate all that you are and all that you were and all that you love, and you turn away from a life of pursuing sin—and if you repudiate not only your bad works but your good works, if you turn from trying to earn your salvation by all the good deeds that you might want to do as a moral person—if you turn away from all of that (Acts 17:30–31), and you trust in Christ alone for righteousness (Phil 3:7–8; cf. Rom 3:28; 10:4), God promises that He will forgive you. He will have treated Christ on the cross as if Christ lived your life. And He will then treat you, justly and legally and righteously, as if you lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And you can be saved to know the God you were created to love and enjoy. You can have the fullness of joy, the eternal pleasures that are at the Father’s right hand in heaven (Ps 16:11), and begin even now, because eternal life is to know God (John 17:3).

Friend, would you repent? Would you turn from your sin and trust in this perfect Savior to avail for you before God, to pay for your sin and to provide your righteousness?


A Gospel Presentation

God is Holy

The Bible teaches that the entire universe was created by God. And that God who has created everything has spoken to humanity in the Bible. And the Bible tells us that a fundamental characteristic of God is that He is holy. 1 John 1:5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” That’s a way of saying that He’s entirely pure. God’s character is one of perfect moral uprightness. He is the essence of all that is good—so much so that, as the verse says, He can have absolutely no fellowship with “darkness”—no fellowship with that which is not perfectly holy, righteous, and pure.

God’s righteous character was expressed in the law He gave to Moses and the Israelites. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments. They summarized the perfection of God’s character. These laws were directives for how people who were in a proper relationship with God must act.

We are Sinful

The problem is: all of us are sinful. We have all broken God’s law. All humanity has “gone astray like sheep, and each one of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve tried to live our lives without God, according to our own standards, in our own ways. Whether we’re drug addicts and murderers, or white collar, well-to-do, upstanding citizens, we do what we do because we want to do it, with no consideration for God and what He would have us to do. The Bible calls that sin. It is the missing of the mark, the falling short of God’s standard of righteousness.

And in your heart of hearts you know you’re a sinner. I don’t know anyone who would say that they are perfect, even by their own standards. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” And if God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all, then in order to have fellowship with Him, we’d need to be perfectly holy like Him. But we’re not. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are stained by the “darkness” of our sin. And this is a problem, because if darkness can’t dwell with light, and we’re darkness and God is light, we’re cut off from a relationship with Him. We become absolutely incapable of doing the very thing we were created and designed to do: to enjoy a relationship with our Creator.

There is a Penalty for Sin

But it’s not just that we and God can’t be friends. There’s a penalty to be paid for sin. The Bible tells us that that penalty is death, Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” But the death that Paul talks about there isn’t just physical death. It’s not like we pay for our sins by going out of existence. The death talked about in that verse is a spiritual death. This is hell: eternal conscious torment. Jesus Himself calls it “a furnace of fire,” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50).

The idea of hell grates against the sensibilities of modern people, because nobody thinks they’re really bad enough to deserve something like eternal torment. They might admit that they’re not the greatest of people, but surely they don’t deserve that. But their reasoning is skewed. The punishment for sin isn’t merely measured by the sin itself. In other words, while there are qualitative differences in the experience of divine punishment, murder, lust, and lying all receive the sentence of an eternity in hell. That’s because punishment for sin is measured by the One sinned against. All sin is fundamentally a sin against God, and He is infinitely holy. Therefore, sin against an infinitely holy God demands an infinite punishment. That’s why the punishment is so serious: because God is actually that righteous.

And so the bad news is that we’re sinful, separated from God, and doomed to spend eternity in hell. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t simply tell God we’re sorry and we won’t do it again. What would you say about a judge who let a guilty, convicted criminal go free because he was sorry and said he wouldn’t do it again? You’d call him an unjust judge. But God is a perfectly just, perfectly righteous Judge. God’s justice demands that sin be punished, and the only payment is eternal spiritual death.

God Became Man

But the Good News is: God saw the miserable condition of humanity, and took pity on us. He knew that there was no way we could ever earn our way back to Him. We could never pay for our sins. But just when man was absolutely hopeless, when we were all doomed to spend eternity in hell with no way to pay our penalty, God the Father sent His Son to the earth on a mission. He was miraculously born to a virgin. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit miraculously conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was God. And being born to a human being, He was human. This is the greatest mystery in the universe. As finite human beings, we can’t entirely wrap our minds around this, but it’s true: Jesus was fully God and fully man.

He lived for 33 years on the earth. He grew up just like every other child. He became a carpenter like Joseph, His earthly father. The great difference, though, between Jesus and every other human being, was that He never sinned. Never once did He ever break God’s law. He always loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength in everything He did. He never sought satisfaction outside of the Father Himself. He never disobeyed His parents, He was never selfish, He never spoke sinful words. In a word, He lived the life that you and I should have lived, but failed to live. He lived a life totally worthy of God, a life that was purely “Light,” like we said before, with no darkness at all.

Jesus Paid the Penalty

And because He was perfectly righteous, He was fit to be the substitute for sinners. The Bible records for us that the Jews plotted to kill Jesus because He preached a message that was very different to the religious establishment of His day. It was against the Jewish law to put people to death, so they sought help from the Romans, who were the governing body in Israel. Because the governor, Pontius Pilate, feared that the people would riot if he didn’t give them what they wanted, he agreed to crucify Jesus.

At the same time, Scripture also tells us that God sent His Son to die this way. It was all part of God’s plan. God used the sinful desires of the Jews and the Romans to accomplish something for His own good purpose. On the cross, Jesus suffered for sins. But He didn’t suffer for His own sins. He had no sins. He lived an entirely perfect life. No, on the cross, God “caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

The verse right before that, Isaiah 53:5, says, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” What was happening on the cross was: God was carrying out the punishment against my sins—i.e., the pouring out of His wrath—on His innocent Son. Jesus voluntarily laid down His life in order to pay the penalty for sins. On the cross, God treated Jesus if He lived my life. And because I believe in Him, He treats me as if I lived Jesus’ life. See, because God is perfectly righteous, the only way to get to heaven is to be perfectly righteous. But because Jesus was perfectly righteous, and traded places with me on the cross, the perfect righteousness I need to go to heaven is His righteousness applied to my account.

After Jesus died, God miraculously raised Him from the dead three days later in order to show that He was satisfied with His sacrifice. Jesus was dead, but then He came back to life! It was a miracle. The Bible says God did this to “furnish proof to all men” that this message is true (Acts 17:30-31).


Law or Gospel — Which comes first?

Sometimes in life, the question is posed to us, “Which do you want first — the bad news or the good news?”

In response to this question, some choose to hear the good news first. It appears they desire to be thoroughly overwhelmed with the positive before getting their dose of the negative.

Others choose differently. They would rather hear the bad news first, get it out of the way, and put behind them their wonder and worry. Then, after processing the ramifications of the bad news, they hope to soothe the pain an end the conversation on a good note with positive vibes.

Well, Scripture does not offer us options. The Bible makes the choice for us, and it chooses to present the negative before the positive. The Bible declares bad news before declaring good news. It first presents the holy, wise, beneficial and condemning Law, then it publishes the “good tidings of great joy” or the Gospel. (Is. 60:1-2)

Understanding God’s Law

God’s Law was first presented in the opening chapters of Genesis. Some of it was stated; all of it was written upon man’s heart. Adam and Eve were to be entirely holy and obedient. They were to worship God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, all the time. Whether they ate, or drank, or whatsoever they did, they were do to it all for the glory of God. As image-bearers, they were to keep up God’s image. As men and women created in his likeness, they were to be like God. Vocationally, they were to enjoy and steward the garden and all God’s creatures. Relationally, they were to love one another and populate the planet. Ceremonially, they were to enjoy and glorify the Lord by walking with him in the cool of the day and never eating from the forbidden tree. These were some of their obligations, and as long as they performed perfectly they were guaranteed life in the family and kingdom of God.

However, things soon went from glorious to ghastly. Outside of them, they experienced the testing of God and the temptation of Satan. Within them they chose to question God’s truth, wisdom, and affection. Then, drawn away by their own lusts and enticed, they followed their internal sinful inclinations and externally ate of the forbidden fruit. Therefore, the holy, wise, and beneficial Law became a harsh taskmaster. It showed them the standard, showed them their guilt, and plagued their consciences. It encouraged them to hide, fear, and religiously self-medicate. It declared them wicked, separated from God, at enmity with God, and deserving of death, and it promised this for both them and their children. Yes, the Law of God promised to give them that which they deserved. It promised to pay them based upon performance, and this proved to be very, very bad news.

Understanding God’s Gospel

God, through the Law declared to Adam and Eve who they were, what they had done, and what they had justly earned — condemnation. Then God mercifully, graciously, and lovingly went to work. He performed on their behalf and promised them an eternity of undeserved blessings:

He predetermined to love his enemies.
He sought out his enemies while they hid from him in fear.
He called to the man and woman who vainly had self-medicated themselves.
He promised to rescue them and their children; they would be removed from Satan’s family.
He promised to do so by means of a special Son – one to come who would be fiercely bitten yet ultimately victorious.
He promised to damn the Evil One.
He then covered or clothed Adam and Eve by means of his ceremonial sacrifice.
He perfectly performed for and made promises to them who had performed so wickedly for him.
Friends, are we seeing the difference? The Law presents our duty to perfectly perform, and it only results in bad news. For there is none who keep all the Law, all the time, both internally and externally. However, the Gospel is not like the Law. The Gospel presents not our duty to perform for God, but it presents God’s performance and promise for us. Through the Law we lose our credentials to be a part of God’s family and enjoy his kingdom. Through the Gospel we gain credentials that cannot be earned or lost.

A Great Illustration

Perhaps nowhere is the distinction better seen between Law and Gospel than on Calvary’s cross. On that day, the Law had placed a criminal beside Jesus. There he was guilty, vile, dying, hopeless, and still hurling insults at the Son of God. He was getting that which he earned and deserved. He was being treated justly and fairly. His payment was based upon his performance, and he had hell to pay. The Law had nothing good to say to the thief on the cross. But then God went to work; Jesus granted the Law-breaking criminal complete pardon, intimate communion, and never-ending paradise. These blessings were not based upon any labors of his own, but only based upon the performance and promise of God. These blessings were not earned; they were a gift. A divine swap occurred. Jesus (The Law Keeping Man) received that which he did not deserve so that the thief (The Law Breaking Man) might also receive that which he did not deserve. And this is a fantastic picture of the Gospel. Communion with God that was lost by man seeking to keep the Law, was granted to man as a gift of God.

Responding to the Gospel

Therefore, how should we respond to the Gospel? While believing in divine sovereignty, what is our human responsibility?

Let us make the Gospel our Gospel. Along with the Apostle Paul let us call it “mine.” The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit offer this gift to you. They command you to receive it and enjoy it. If you find yourself with faith, willing to repent and receive, call out to Jesus in prayer right now. Call Jesus, “My Jesus.” Call Jesus’ righteousness, “My Righteousness.” Call Jesus’ Gospel, “My Gospel.” (Rom. 2:16; 2 Tim. 2:8) Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. As a matter of fact, if you draw near to God, it is only because he has already been drawing nearer to you.

Let us not water down the Gospel. This is always our tendency, to add human works to the sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Friends, re-read the letter to the Galatians. If we must perform, it is not Gospel. If we must labor, it is not Gospel. If it involves our works, it is not Gospel. If it is conditioned upon us in anyway, it is not Gospel. If it is a contract, it is not Gospel. If it can be lost, it is not Gospel. The Gospel represents the unilateral work of God on behalf of men. The Law ought never be divorced from the Gospel, but it must never be confused either.

Let us celebrate the Gospel. William Tyndall wrote of the Gospel, “It makes a man’s heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” It is the best of news. It means we can sabbath. It means we can boldly approach the throne of grace with confidence. It means we are seen as Christlike image-bearers. Give God the celebratory praise he deserves. He has labored perfectly on your behalf, give him reverent and radical praise and worship.

Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. (Rom.1:16) Paul wrote, “Woe if I do not preach the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16) He wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who spread the Good News.” Friends, just as Adam and Eve were to physically reproduce, we are to spiritually reproduce around the world. This is our mission. This is our great mission. This is our Great Commission. Let us be humble, for we cannot make someone believe. Let us be zealous, for God has a tendency to honor those who labor hard. And let us become flexibly relevant in order to better spread the Gospel. (1 Cor. 9:22-23) As Gospel-lovers and Gospel-beneficiants, let us do that which is Lawful and bring in the Gospel-harvest.

Then, let us live Lawfully in accordance with the Gospel. Now that we have been saved from having to perform, let us perform. Yes, with Gospel-eyes, let us look at the Law and enjoy practicing that which is holy, wise, beneficial, and worshipful. Living in the power of the Gospel, let us enjoy becoming more and more like Jesus — the Author and Finisher of our Faith. And when we look at the Law, let us not get frustrated and despondent. Instead, let us glory in the Law, for there is the description of who we are in Christ today, and it also shows us all we will be in glory tomorrow when our old flesh is finally exterminated.

Bottom line, the Law shows us how to perform for God, but the Gospel shows us how God performs for us. This is radical. This is crazy. This is beautiful. This is truth.


Our Response

And now, God promises that…

  • if you acknowledge that you are a sinner—that you have broken His law,
  • and if you admit that there is no way that you could earn His favor and His forgiveness,
  • and if you purpose to turn away from your life of sin and commit your life to Him,
  • and if you trust in Jesus’ righteousness alone for your acceptance before this holy God,

…then He will have treated Jesus as if He lived your life, and will treat you as if you lived Jesus’ life. You will be saved from the penalty of your sin, and will be able to enjoy fellowship with God forever in heaven, and even fellowship with Him starting now.

In other words, if you believe that you’re a sinner and deserve God’s punishment because of your sin, but you also believe that God sent Jesus to endure that punishment in your place, and that His sacrifice is the only way you can be forgiven, then God promises that He will forgive you and you will be saved. You’ll know the God who created you.

Don’t Waste Your Life

God designed your soul. And He designed you so that, just as a car engine is designed to run on gasoline, you’re designed to run on Him. He is what life is about. All of the disappointments, discouragements, and uncertainties of your life find their resolution in Him. And all of the satisfactions, fun experiences, and joys of life find their consummation in Him. Everything good in our lives is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us to the feast of God Himself. And everything bad in our lives is a reminder that life lived apart from knowing God in Christ is not the way it was meant to be.

And I also don’t want to see you waste your life. God created us for the purpose of rightly knowing and worshiping Him. That’s the meaning of life. That’s where true happiness and satisfaction are found. When you don’t live your life for that purpose, you waste it. So many people go through life seeking that happiness, but never find it because they don’t know what life is really about. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want you to suffer God’s wrath eternally for your sin. I want to spend eternity in heaven worshiping God with you, praising Him for how gracious He was to forgive our sins because of Christ’s sacrifice.

Receive Forgiveness

So would you receive Christ? Would you acknowledge your sinfulness before God and admit you can’t do a thing about it? Would you turn from your sin, and seek to live your life in submission to Jesus Christ? Would you trust in Jesus alone for your righteousness before God? Would you join me in worshiping the God we were created to know?

Source


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Resource Links

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).

The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


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The Humility of Love

John 13:1-17

Code: B170109
by John MacArthur

We live in an egotistical, narcissistic generation. Our culture is obsessed with self-esteem, self-love, self-fulfillment, and every conceivable kind of selfish pursuit. People relentlessly promote themselves, praise themselves, and put themselves first.

The current gauge of self-worth is the number of followers you have on your Facebook page or your Twitter feed, and no detail of life is too mundane or too trivial to be shared with the world via these ubiquitous Internet social media. Obsession with self is not only deemed acceptable nowadays, it is considered normal behavior. Our culture has made pride a virtue and humility a weakness.

This preoccupation with self and self-promotion is unspeakably destructive. When people are committed first of all to self, relationships disintegrate. Human society cannot survive long without healthy, lasting relationships. Indeed, right now we are watching the crumbling of the very foundations upon which society is built, as friendships, marriages, and families fall apart. Human pride is the evil root that underlies so many failed relationships. And yet our culture stubbornly and deliberately fosters pride as though it were something noble.

Sadly, a shameless preoccupation with self has found its way into the church, too. I recall reading and reviewing a best-selling book by a famous pastor more than three decades ago, in which he argued that humanity’s real problem is not sin at all, but a tragic lack of self-esteem. People don’t think highly enough of themselves, he said (against a galaxy of evidence to the contrary). He was convinced that if pastors would begin to preach whole sermons encouraging self-esteem and work to build up everyone’s self-image, it would reform the church, redeem the world, and spark a revolution that would rival the Protestant Reformation.

That struck me as incredibly far-fetched when I first read it, but over the years that kind of thinking has gained a frightening degree of acceptance among professing Christians. Self‑esteem, self‑image, self-fulfillment, self-confidence, self-help and other expressions of selfism have become dominant themes in many supposedly evangelical communities. Of course, most of them aren’t true churches at all but cults of self‑centeredness, self-aggrandizement, arrogance, or worldliness. The selfism they are spreading is a whole different religion, diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ.

Scripture is clear: Pride and self-centeredness are hostile to true, Christlike godliness. Jesus repeatedly and emphatically condemned pride. Both His life and His teaching constantly exalted the virtue of humility.

Nowhere is that more clear than in John 13.

Chapter 13 marks a transition in John’s gospel and a key turning point in the ministry of Jesus Christ. His public ministry to the people of Israel had run its course and ended in their complete and final rejection of Him as Messiah. On the first day of the week, Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph to the enthusiastic shouts of the people. Yet they never truly understood His ministry and His message. The Passover season had arrived, and by Friday He would be utterly rejected and publicly condemned to die. God, however, would turn His execution into the great and final sacrifice for sin, and Jesus would die as the true Passover Lamb.

He had come to “His own”—His chosen nation, Israel—but “His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). So He turned away from public ministry to the intimate fellowship of His most committed disciples.

Now it was the day before Jesus’ death. In less than twenty-four hours He would suffer ruthlessly at the hands of cruel men and be nailed to a cross. He would further be subjected to the full measure of God’s wrath against humanity’s sin. That was the terrible cup He would be given to drink.

Fully knowing all that was coming, Jesus was nevertheless preoccupied with others’ needs. We know what filled His mind and heart that evening, because it is reflected in what He spent those hours in the upper room talking about. Specifically, He immersed Himself in personal ministry to twelve men. He was consumed with the task of strengthening, reassuring, and preparing them for the trial they would soon endure—and a lifetime of ministry that would follow. And one of the twelve was a traitor.

This shows the personal, self-sacrificial, gracious nature of Jesus’ love. These were literally the last hours before He would die, and Jesus knew full well “all the things that were coming upon Him” (John 18:4). But His heart was fixed on these men—His disciples—and everything He did that night demonstrated His love for them, beginning with their entry into the upper room. John records this graphic account of what happened:

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

Peter said to Him, “Never shall you wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”

Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:1-17)

In the days ahead, we’re going to look in detail at Christ’s interaction with His disciples in the upper room, and the powerful example He lived out for them—and for us—in His humble service. We’re going to see a distinct contrast between the Lord and His friends, and the inherent humility of love.

(Adapted from The Upper Room.)


Available online at: http://www.gty.org/resources/Blog/B170109
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to You

Passion Conference: A Pastor’s Perspective on The Importance Of Truth and Standing Against Apostasy

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In January 2013 I was informed of a conference that simply everyone who’s anyone was going to. I was even invited to bring our youth along with a local church to the conference. My own children were informed by their friends that all the local church youth groups were going to this conference. We have several large churches very close to us and the best way to describe these churches would be what Pastor Jeff Noblit of Grace life Church Muscle Shoals calls “Six Flags Over Jesus,” I just call it “Circus Church.”

These churches have huge youth groups that appeal to the experiential desires of the local community, and so their selling points are carnal. “We have an X-Box in every room.” One has a giant playroom that would give Chuck-E-Cheese a run for their money, and one even has circus animals to attract the kids. So when my children came to me and told me that they were invited to attend this wonderful, exciting and life changing conference, free of charge, I decided to look into the conference and into the speakers that were teaching at this conference.

It didn’t take long to see huge doctrinal, theological and Biblical problems. After just a few minutes on the website of the “Passion Conference,” as I looked at the biography of the teachers, I realized that this was an ecumenical affiliation of some of the worst heretics and false teachers who have ever been associated with the body of Christ. But, what broke my heart is that a historically aberrant and fringe group of false teachers, like the New Apostolic Reformation, health, wealth and prosperity, and other Hyper-Charismatics are now accepted and honored as mainstream Biblical Christianity. And our churches who are sorely lacking in discernment are gladly promoting these false teachers and sending children to the slaughter.

The main promoter of the conference, Louie Giglio, reportedly gave every person at the conference a brand new study Bible which he produced called “The Jesus Bible.” When introducing it, he tells the audience that “the Holy Spirit helped him and his team write it!”  You can watch the video and hear him say this at the 6:12 mark, HERE.

For those who don’t know, the Holy Spirit only inspired the words of the original Scriptures according to 2 Peter 1:20-21: “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
”  This is not a minor issue and I am not trying to nit pick, but what Scripture teaches directly refutes Louie’s statement that the Holy Spirit helped his team (including Giglio, Max Lucado, John Piper, Randy Alcorn, and Ravi Zacharias) write their own interpretation of Scripture.

To be clear about this 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in the KJV says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
 Every word of Holy Scripture is given to us by God and the very words were Divinely inspired. That is why the historical position of the entire church has always been that we believe in the doctrine of the Divine Inspiration of Scripture in the Originals, not in the copies.  This is very important and a denial of it is heretical for, without adherence to this evident Biblical truth, anything that anyone writes could theoretically be added to Scripture just as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormon cults try to do.

Names like Lecrae (who has recently become completely apostate) were mingling in spiritual harmony with Jesus Culture. Francis Chan was standing beside Beth Moore and David Crowder. Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman were all standing there in unity and harmony with false teachers and I was in shock. Then you look into the absolutely unbiblical things these children are being taught in breakout sessions about what true Christianity is supposed to be, according to the vain opinions of these false teachers, and is it any wonder that the professing church has become so spiritually anemic.

More and more churches are being led into emotionalism and not Biblical Truth, and, as a result, these congregations have no spiritual power of discernment.  They are willing to compromise Biblical truth for emotionalism and experience as they are taught to seek after a god who is not the God of the Bible.  The icing on the cake is that this massive celebration of wickedness was and still is promoted and supported and attended by Reformed mega-celebrity John Piper.

Fast forward 4 years and the heresies and abhorrent teachings and teachers are even worse. Pulpit and Pen contributors have been seeking to warn all who might otherwise be tempted into following into this unbiblical nonsense, because of the false gospel and false doctrines which are being taught and held to by the speakers. For articles from Pulpit and Pen warning about these false teaching go HERE , HERE, and HERE.

Increasingly we are seeing ecstatic charismatic blasphemies, such as Toking the Spirit and Raising the Dead promoted by John Crowder, who is not to be confused with David Crowder, another false teaching musician associated with the Passion conference and Bethel church and the entire Hyper-Charismatic movement. David Crowder is a Spiritual Formation adherent who teaches Contemplative Spirituality, as well as “Lectio’ Divina in his music and in his book Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi (Experiencing God).

And, of course, there is also the teaching of Beth Moore and Jesus Culture. These false teachers are teaching prayer labyrinth’s, spiritual surgery, channeling or contemplative prayers, fire tunnels and the personal manifestation of Jesus as He is said to audibly speak to the those who are truly faithful. For information about John Crowder and Jesus Culture and those who are their spiritual mentors go HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Possibly the worst of all of these so-called “blessings” is that those who are true believers can be enabled to spiritually travel to heaven and personally speak with Jesus Himself as He reveals deeper truth to all who are faithful.  This illicit notion is being taught by a whole host of false teachers at and around the Passion Conference.  For more information and videos addressing the many false teachings of those associated with the Passion Conference and Word Faith/NAR go HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Louie Giglio even closed one of the conferences by asking the crowd “did you hear Jesus speak to you?” As everyone was encouraged to cultivate the unbiblical idea of hearing God’s audible voice, because Scripture is not enough, we need the power and presence and experience of God.

I spoke to several pastors about the conference and the speakers and I was rebuked by several of them because they said I would be wrong to say anything against someone with the celebrity status of John Piper. After a lot of prayer and searching of Scripture, (1 Timothy 4: ‎6; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 6:14–17) I knew that I could not remain silent.
As you will hear in the message below, I was very emotional at the thought that so many young teens were being led astray by these celebrity wolves who are devouring the sheep, and those who are supposed to shepherd the sheep of God, who are more concerned with fame and fortune than the souls of these children.

The Scriptures warn us that false teachers will come and they will have ungodly passions. (Jude 18–23) These are the false teachers we want to expose because we love Christ and His Body and it simply breaks our hearts that so many are being lead into false worship, through false preaching, about a false Jesus.

Beloved do not be led astray by these false teachers, stand fast for the faith that was once delivered for all time. (Jude 3) If someone tells you that there is a special impartation of the Spirit of God for the faithful at this place or that conference, please remember these words of Jesus in Luke 17: 22-23:  “And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.”

We are calling for discernment in our local churches and praying for you to be Bereans. (Acts 17:11) Fight the good fight of Faith and Study to Show yourself approved unto God as you rightly understand and interpret the Word of Truth! (2 Timothy 2:15)

Listen to Justin’s Message, “The Importance of Truth And Standing Against Apostasy.”

2013.01.06.A-Standing-Against-Apostasy-Justin-Pierce-1813138223.mp3

Source: Passion Conference: A Pastor’s Perspective on The Importance Of Truth and Standing Against Apostasy

2016: The Year Truth Was 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. Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sums it up as the mindset that…..

On Recovering the Reality of Sin

There was a time when everyone pretty much knew they were dirty rotten scoundrels. Of course back then most people had at least a vague belief in God as well. Today in the West we tend not to believe in either. We tend to believe that we are pretty decent folks, and that there is no God – at least no God who would make any moral demands on us, or hold us to any lofty standards.

We have either jettisoned God altogether, or remade him into our own image. That non-Christians would think and act this way is of course not surprising. What is surprising – and fully unacceptable – is that so many Christians now think and act this way.

sin-7And it is coming right out of our pulpits as well. Indeed, one can almost make this formulation: the larger and more popular a church is, the less likely you will hear about sin (and all the corollary teachings, such as wrath, judgment, hell, the need of repentance, etc) from the pulpit.

The sad truth is, some of the biggest churches in the West are those where you will least be likely to hear anything about sin. You will hear a lot about how terrific you are and how you are entitled to have your best life now. You will be promised all the goodies of life: fame, fortune, health and wealth, but you will hear next to nothing about the basic biblical truth that you are a sinner on the way to a lost eternity unless you repent and turn from your wicked ways.

The disappearance of the vocabulary of sin and related biblical truths is resulting in millions of people – all good church goers – likely heading to hell. Putting it quite simply, a church in which sin and repentance are not preached is not a true church of Jesus Christ.

But this is not a problem particular to the 21st century. It has been a huge worry for quite some time now. In fact, many decades ago it was being warned against by various Christian leaders. One of them was C. S. Lewis who discussed this very matter in various places.

Let me draw your attention to two of his main writings on this. The first is an essay he penned back in 1948 called “Difficulties in Presenting the Christian Faith to Modern Unbelievers”. We know it today as “God in the Dock” from a collection of his essays with the same title.

Says Lewis:

The greatest barrier I have met is the almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin. This has struck me more forcibly when I spoke to the R.A.F. than when I spoke to students: whether (as I believe) the Proletariat is more self-righteous than other classes, or whether educated people are cleverer at concealing their pride, this creates for us a new situation. The early Christian preachers could assume in their hearers whether Jews, Metuentes or Pagans, a sense of guilt. (That this was common among Pagans is shown by the fact that both Epicureanism and the Mystery Religions both claimed, though in different ways, to assuage it.) Thus the Christian message was in those days unmistakably the Evangelium, the Good News. It promised healing to those who knew they were sick. We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy.

He continues:

The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that Man is on the Bench and God in the Dock.

Lewis dealt with this same topic some years earlier in his hugely important work, The Problem of Pain, which first appeared in 1940. In it he has a chapter on “Human Wickedness”. He begins by noting how hard it is to present this core biblical truth to modern men:

When the apostles preached, they could assume even in their Pagan hearers a real consciousness of deserving the Divine anger. The Pagan mysteries existed to allay this consciousness, and the Epicurean philosophy claimed to deliver men from the fear of eternal punishment. It was against this background that the Gospel appeared as good news. It brought good news of possible healing to men who knew that they were mortally ill. But all this has changed. Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis—in itself very bad news—before it can win the hearing for the cure.

He looks at various causes of this and then goes on to say:

A recovery of the old sense of sin is essential to Christianity. Christ takes it for granted that men are bad. Until we really feel this assumption of His to be true, though we are part of the world He came to save, we are not part of the audience to whom His words are addressed. We lack the first condition for understanding what He is talking about. And when men attempt to be Christians without this preliminary consciousness of sin, the result is almost bound to be a certain resentment against God as to one always inexplicably angry….

When we merely say that we are bad, the “wrath” of God seems a barbarous doctrine; as soon as we perceive our badness, it appears inevitable, a mere corollary from God’s goodness. To keep ever before us the insight derived from such a moment as I have been describing, to learn to detect the same real inexcusable corruption under more and more of its complex disguises, is therefore indispensable to a real understanding of the Christian faith. This is not, of course, a new doctrine. I am attempting nothing very splendid in this chapter. I am merely trying to get my reader (and, still more, myself) over a pons asinorum – to take the first step out of fools’ paradise and utter illusion.

He finishes the chapter with these words:

I have been trying to make the reader believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God, as it is, when we really see it, a horror to ourselves. This I believe to be a fact: and I notice that the holier a man is, the more fully he is aware of that fact. Perhaps you have imagined that this humility in the saints is a pious illusion at which God smiles. That is a most dangerous error. It is theoretically dangerous, because it makes you identify a virtue (i.e., a perfection) with an illusion (i.e., an imperfection), which must be nonsense. It is practically dangerous because it encourages a man to mistake his first insights into his own corruption for the first beginnings of a halo round his own silly head. No, depend upon it; when the saints say that they – even they – are vile, they are recording truth with scientific accuracy.

Yes exactly. As Chesterton once quipped in his terrific volume, Orthodoxy: “Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.” The Christian gospel makes zero sense if it does not begin with the doctrine of sin and human depravity.

Until men recognise that they are lost sinners under the wrath of God headed to a place of everlasting torment, the good news of the gospel will mean nothing to them. So it is high time we rediscover and reclaim the vital biblical truth about sin and the fallen human condition.

And that must fully be part of the message we proclaim. All the great saints have known this. Let me conclude with just a few of them as they remind us that there can be no good news until we first proclaim the bad news:

“The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God’s Law and show the nature of sin.” Martin Luther

“The man who does not know the nature of the law cannot know the nature of sin. And he who does not know the nature of sin cannot know the nature of the Saviour.” John Bunyan

“Before I preach love, mercy, and grace, I must preach sin, law, and judgment.” John Wesley

“Never does a person see any beauty in Christ as a Savior, until they discover that they are a lost and ruined sinner.” J.C. Ryle

“Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen. We must know the depth and malignity of our disease, in order to appreciate the great Physician.” J.C. Ryle

“The effort of liberal and borderline modernists to woo men to God by presenting the soft side of religion in an unqualified evil because it ignores the very reason for our alienation from God in the first place. Until a man had gotten into trouble with his heart he is not likely to get out of trouble with God.” A. W. Tozer

“We cannot come to Christ to be justified until we have first been to Moses, to be condemned.” John Stott

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A big, untold story: online videos of Jews explaining why they believe Jesus is the Messiah have been viewed more than 23 million times. Here’s the latest. (Update)

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

yeshua-videos“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” — the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:16)

With so much bad news in the U.S., Israel, Russia and around the world these days, I thought it might be good to kick off 2017 with some very good news.

Here, then, is an update to a column I published on September 22, 2015 about “a big, untold story” that “the media isn’t reporting” but is very much “worth examining.”

“Millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah,” I wrote at the time, based on conversations with key Messianic Jewish ministry leaders in the U.S. and Israel. “For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning life and death and God and atonement and eternity, in…

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Am I a Sinful Saint or a Saintly Sinner?

Unfathomable Grace

On the sixth when man was first created, he became a sinless saint.

He was perfectly made in God’s own image and likeness and was thoroughly holy in all his affections, thoughts, words, and deeds. Adam brought great glory to God, and with pride the Father looked at his first human creation and said, “He is very good.” Then, for some time to follow, God and man greatly enjoyed the presence of one another. God and man dwelt in perfect union in the Garden of Eden.

On the sad day when man rebelled, he became a sinful non-saint.

Adam and Ever were tempted and they switched teams. The seed of sin began inside; it grew and soon manifested itself in outward decisions and actions. Their failure to worship internally led to their failure to worship externally, and the results were catastrophic. As man switched allegiances and joined the family of Lucifer, together they considered God their enemy. God…

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January 9, 2017: Verse of the day

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Step Five
Being found in appearance as a man, (2:8a)

The descent continued with Jesus being found in appearance as a man, advancing the truth that He was “made in the likeness of men.” Having been made a true human being by divine power through the virgin conception, Christ was found, or recognized, as a man by those who saw and observed Him during His incarnation. Schēma (appearance) is the source of the English word “scheme.” Unlike morphē (“form,” vv. 6–7) and homoiōma (“likeness,” v. 7), which refer to essence and basic nature, schēma refers to outward shape or form; not to actuality but to appearance. Jesus suffered, and still suffers, the added humiliation of being considered a mere man. Paul used the word in speaking of “the form (schēma) of this world [which] is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:31). Both Paul and Peter used a compound negative form (suschēmatizō) in warning believers to “not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2) and to “not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).

As Isaiah had predicted some seven hundred years earlier, the Messiah “was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him” (Isa. 53:3). And as John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:10–11). They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” (John 6:42). Sadly, “not even His brothers were believing in Him” (John 7:5). Some of the religious but unbelieving Jews declared: “We know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from” (John 7:27), and “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God” (John 10:33). Still others accused Him of having a demon (John 7:20; 8:48).

Step Six
He humbled Himself (2:8b)

Continuing this profound description of Christ’s descent, Paul says that Jesus humbled Himself. The emphasis here moves from Jesus’ nature and form to that of His personal attitude. He was not merely humiliated by the nature and circumstances of His incarnation. Humbled Himself translates tapeinoō, which has the idea of lying low. Jesus lowered Himself not only relative to God, but also to other men.

The most dramatic and poignant time of Jesus’ self-abasement was during His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He was mocked, falsely accused, spat upon, beaten with fists, scourged, and had part of His beard painfully plucked out. Yet He was never defensive, never bitter, never demanding, never accusing. He refused to assert His rights as God or even as a human being.

Seeing the ethical implications of this humbling, Paul Rees perceptively wrote:

Look at Him—this amazing Jesus! He is helping Joseph make a yoke in that little carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. This is the One who, apart from His self-emptying, could far more easily make a solar system or a galaxy of systems.
Look at Him again! Dressed like a slave, with towel and basin for His menial equipment, He is bathing the feet of some friends of His who, but for their quarrelsomeness, should have been washing His feet ….
“ ‘He humbled himself!’ “Don’t forget this,” cries Paul to these dear friends of his at Philippi. “Don’t forget this when the slightest impulse arises to become self-assertive and self-seeking, and so to break the bond of your fellowship with one another!” (The Adequate Man: Paul in Philippians [Westwood, N.J.: Revell, 1954], 45–46)

Step Seven
by becoming obedient to the point of death, (2:8c)

In His stepping downward, Jesus was willing to suffer humiliation and degradation even to becoming obedient to the point of death. His obedience and its impact on redemption is the theme of Romans 5:12–19, where the key thought is “through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous” (v.19). Ralph Martin insightfully observes that

His obedience is a sure token of His deity and authority, for … only a divine being can accept death as obedience; for ordinary men it is a necessity. He alone as the obedient Son of His Father could choose death as His destiny; and He did so because of His love, a love which was directed both to His Father’s redeeming purpose and equally to the world into which He came. “I come to do thy will” (Heb. 10:7f.) was the motto-text of His entire life. (The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975], 102. Italics in original.)

One would think that somewhere short of that ultimate sacrifice He would have said, “It is enough!” But His perfect submission took Him all the way to death, because that was the Father’s will. Even in agony, as He implored God in the garden, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me,” He acknowledged that avoiding crucifixion was not possible within His Father’s will as He continued to pray, “yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). Commitment to God’s will was His will.

Speaking of that heart-wrenching time, the writer of Hebrews says of the Lord: “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.” Yet, as he goes on to explain, “although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:7–9; cf. 10:7).

Long before His arrest Jesus had declared, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again” (John 10:17). Peter vehemently objected to Jesus’ clear prediction of His impending and necessary death and was strongly rebuked: “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s’ ” (Matt. 16:22–23). Because Jesus’ mind was set entirely on God’s interests, not man’s or His own, He willingly and gladly became obedient to the point of death. “While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).

The Father did not force death upon the Son. It was the Father’s will, but it was the Son’s will always to perfectly obey the Father. He had a free choice. Had He not had a choice, He could not have been obedient. “No one has taken [My life] away from Me,” He said, “but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father” (John 10:18). He was commanded by the Father, but not compelled. As love incarnate, He became the perfect example of the truth He Himself had declared: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Step Eight
even death on a cross. (2:8d)

In the final feature of His descent and degradation, Jesus submitted even [to] death on a cross. There were many ways by which He could have been killed. He could have been beheaded, such as John the Baptist was, or stoned or hanged. But He was destined not for just any kind of death but for death on a cross.

Crucifixion is perhaps the most cruel, excruciatingly painful, and shameful form of execution ever conceived. It was originally devised by the ancient Persians or Phoenicians and later perfected by the Romans. It was reserved for slaves, the lowest of criminals, and enemies of the state. No Roman citizen could be crucified, no matter how egregious his crime. In his book The Life of Christ, Frederick Farrar describes crucifixion as follows:

A death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and ghastly—dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, shame, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of intended wounds—all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness.… The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish. (Vol. 2 [New York: E. P. Dutton, 1877], 403–4)

The Jews considered crucifixion to be a form of hanging, and those who were hung to be cursed by God. The law demanded that a man’s “corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance” (Deut. 21:23). For that reason, the idea of a crucified Messiah was an insurmountable stumbling block to unbelieving Jews (1 Cor. 1:23). Like Peter, they could not even conceive of the Messiah being put to death, much less being put to death by an ignominious, horrifying, humiliating, and accursed death on a cross. The curse of Deuteronomy 21:23 meant being outside God’s covenant, banned from His people and His blessing. But Jesus bore the curse for believers to bring them to God and to glory.

But in God’s perfect plan, the crucifixion of His Son not only was acceptable but mandatory. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law,” Paul explains, “having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ ” (Gal. 3:13). As Peter declares, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). In God’s infinite wisdom, death on a cross was the only way of redemption for fallen, sinful, and condemned mankind. Crucifixion was bloody, as were the Old Testament sacrifices that prefigured it. Priests in the service of the temple were butchers, blood-splattered in their duty. The Lamb of God would also die a bloody death.

After reflecting on the divine plan of salvation for the first eleven chapters of Romans, Paul declared in awe and wonder: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Rom. 11:33).

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

January 9, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

January 9

Our Consistent Gospel

He promised [the gospel] before through His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures.

Romans 1:2

Did you know that the Old Testament is completely consistent with the New? That’s because the good news is old, not new. The Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, or anywhere in between, is all about the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said that the Scriptures give testimony about Him (John 6:39). In speaking to men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus said, “ ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25–27).

Why is that important for you today? So you can be confident that the Scripture holds God’s promise of good news in Christ.[1]


January 9 The Importance of Humility

“Walk … with all humility”

Ephesians 4:2

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Humility is fundamental to spiritual growth and blessing.

It’s no secret that family problems are on the rise. Husbands and wives can’t get along. Children rebel against their parents. Unfortunately, most of the proposed solutions deal only with the peripheral issues instead of the central issue, which is pride. There will never be unity or happiness in a family without humility.

Humility is not only essential in families; it is also a basic ingredient for all spiritual blessing. The book of Proverbs is rich with such teaching. “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom” (11:2). “Before honor comes humility” (15:33). “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life” (22:4). James tells us, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). Too often we forget how important humility is.

Did you know that pride was the first sin ever committed? An angel named Lucifer tried to exalt himself above God: “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa. 14:13–14). He said “I will” five times, and God said, “No, you won’t” and cast him out of Heaven. Lucifer, “son of the morning,” became Satan, “the accuser.”

Every sin—whatever it is—has pride at its root, because all sin is defiance of God. What could be more prideful than saying, “I won’t follow God’s standard”? So in trying to overcome sin, we must also deal with our pride.

It is impossible to be saved without humility. God isn’t impressed with credentials; you must come to God and say, “I am a sinner, and I realize I am worthy of nothing.” There’s no other way into God’s family and no other way to walk once you’re there.

Though you may have read your Bible, prayed, gone to church all your life, or even founded churches, if you aren’t walking in humility, you aren’t walking a worthy walk. The worthy walk begins with “all humility.”

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Suggestions for Prayer: Consider how pride manifests itself in some areas of your life, confess those to God, and ask His forgiveness.

For Further Study: Read Luke 18:9–14. Compare the attitudes of the tax collector and the Pharisee. Which one pleased God and why?[2]


JANUARY 9

SEEKING FOR MORE OF GOD

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

–Exodus 33:18

When Moses saw the glory of God he begged that he might see more. When God revealed to him that he had found grace, he wanted more grace. Remember this: The man that has the most of God is the man who is seeking the most ardently for more of God….

I have been greatly and deeply concerned that you and I do something more than listen, that we dare to go to God like the Lady Julian and dare to ask Him to give us a faithful, fatherly wound—maybe three of them, if you please: to wound us with a sense of our own sinful unworthiness that we’ll never quite get over; to wound us with the sufferings of the world and the sorrows of the Church; and then to wound us with the longing after God, a thirst, a sacred thirst and longing that will carry us on toward perfection….

Almost every day of my life I am praying that “a jubilant pining and longing for God” might come back on the evangelical churches. We don’t need to have our doctrine straightened out; we’re as orthodox as the Pharisees of old. But this longing for God that brings spiritual torrents and whirlwinds of seeking and self-denial—this is almost gone from our midst. MDP116-117

Lord, I pray that You will bring about a renewed, intense longing for You in my heart. Begin the work in my own heart, and let it spread also to all of Your Church! Amen. [3]


January 9

Preparation for Testing

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.—Matt. 4:1

One of life’s important truisms is that strong temptation tends to follow every major personal triumph. The apostle Paul warns, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). In the aftermath of significant successes, we are often tempted to think the accomplishment came solely by our own strength and ingenuity. But just when we think success is here to stay, we become vulnerable to pride—and failure. Even Christ in His incarnation was not exempt from testing, such as what came on the heels of His God-affirming baptism.

In a parallel passage, Mark says, “Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). Mark’s use of “impelled” denotes the necessity of the Lord’s temptation, or testing. Although the testings would come from Satan, it was God’s will that Jesus undergo them in advance of His earthly ministry and redemptive work.

So after His ministry and Person had been validated by the Father and the Spirit at the scene of His baptism, Jesus confronted the first great challenge to His mission. Our Savior was not intimidated by the prospect of temptation but fully conscious of His divine mission and strengthened in His humanity by the abiding presence and power of God. That is what Satan sought to forever undermine and destroy.

ASK YOURSELF
What specific temptations often awaken in your own heart following times of encouragement or accomplishment? How do you deal with them and defeat them? May God be seen as your continual supply, even at times when you’re tempted to think you can manage on your own.[4]

JANUARY 9

GOD’S GRACIOUS ACT

The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

John 1:14

We do well to remember that mankind is only one order of God’s beings or creatures. So we wonder: How could the Infinite ever become finite? And: How could the Limitless One deliberately impose limitations upon Himself?

In the book of Hebrews, we learn to our amazement that God took not upon Him the nature of angels, but He took upon Him the seed of Abraham.

We would suppose that God in stepping down would step down just as little as possible. But instead He came down to the lowest order and took upon Himself the nature of Abraham—the seed of Abraham.

I like what John Wesley said concerning this mysterious act of God in stooping down to tabernacle with us: We should be sure to distinguish the act from the method by which the act is performed. Do not reject a fact because we do not know how it was done, Wesley advised.

With the saints of all ages, we do well just to throw up our hands and confess: “Oh Lord, Thou knowest!”

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for leaving the heights of heaven and stooping down to our lowly level. We didn’t deserve this amazing visitation from above, but we are so grateful.[5]


January 9 Living Out Your Royal Heritage

“In love [God] predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:4–5).

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Because God loves you, He adopted you as His child and grants you all the rights and privileges of family membership.

Moses told Israel that God didn’t choose them because of their great numbers or any inherent goodness on their part, but as an expression of God’s sovereign will and sacrificial love (Deut. 7:7–8). That’s true of you as well if you’re a Christian.

The Greek word translated “love” in Ephesians 1:4 speaks not of emotional or sentimental love but of love that seeks God’s best for others at any cost. It is marked by sacrifice rather than selfishness—giving rather than receiving. It seeks to forgive rather than condemn—to dismiss offenses rather than count them.

Such love is epitomized in God Himself, who loved you so much that He sacrificed His Son on your behalf as He willingly laid down His own life for you (John 3:16; 15:13).

While false gods are worshiped out of fear and ignorance, the true God—your Heavenly Father—has eliminated all fear so that you can confidently enter into His presence (Heb. 10:19; 1 John 4:18). You have “received a spirit of adoption” and can address Him as “Abba! Father!” (Rom. 8:15), Abba being the Aramaic equivalent of “Daddy” or “Papa.”

Your Heavenly Father delights in your praise and glories in your obedience. Be a faithful child. Make this day count for Him. Live out your royal heritage. Seek His wisdom in all you do. Go to His Word, and follow its counsel. Demonstrate His love to others in practical ways.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for granting you the privilege of being a member of His family. ✧ Thank Him for the many manifestations of His love that you enjoy each day. ✧ Ask Him to lead you to someone to whom you can demonstrate His love in a practical and sacrificial way.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 13. ✧ List the characteristics of godly love. ✧ How does the quality of your love for others compare to God’s standard? What steps can you take today to bring your love into greater conformity to His?[6]


JANUARY 9

BELIEVE THE RIGHT THING ABOUT THE RIGHT PERSON

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

ROMANS 15:13

There is a nebulous idea accepted by many in our day that faith is an almighty power flowing through the universe which anyone may plug into at will! It is conceived vaguely as a subrational creative pulsation streaming down from somewhere Up There, ready at any time to enter our hearts and change our whole mental and moral constitution as well as our total outlook on man, God and the cosmos.

When it comes in, supposedly out go pessimism, fear, defeat and failure; in come optimism, confidence, personal mastery and unfailing success in war, love, sports, business and politics.

All of this is, of course, a gossamer of self-deception woven of the unsubstantial threads of fancy spun out of minds of tenderhearted persons who want to believe it! What is overlooked in all this is that faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy.

For it is not enough that we believe; we must believe in the right thing about the right One!

To believe in God is more than to believe that He exists. To a right faith knowledge is necessary. We must know at least something of what God is like and what His will is for His human creatures. To know less than this is to be thrown back upon the necessity of accepting the affirmations of the soul and substituting “Thus saith my soul” for the biblical “Thus saith the Lord,” and no man has any right to pick and choose among revealed truths.[7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 20). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 17). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

Dear Church, it’s time to break up with Emo Jesus.

We understand that the Jesus Hillsong, C3, Bethel, and other prominent churches promote promises you wealth and prosperity. They teach that their Jesus has Joel Osteen’s shiny teeth, Rick Warren’s purpose driven life, Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis’ private jets, Steven Furtick’s $1.7 million dollar home, and he offers all these things to you and more if you would just decree and declare them into existence in his name and tithe 10% of your income to your local megachurch.

God is love, as Rob Bell would say, and love is blind. Therefore, this Jesus doesn’t judge you for your sins, they’re just “oopsies” and “poor choices” that you didn’t really mean to make anyway. In fact, there’s no need to mention them at all. Instead, their Jesus’ emphasis is on you earning the gifts of the Spirit so you can speak in tongues, heal, and walk on water in his name! How cool…

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Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

4 We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. Psalms 78:4 (NASB) 

God is good. He is beyond our comprehension in His magnificence and the depths of His mercy. He is Holy, Righteous, and Just. He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Immutable. Oh, let us praise Him from grateful hearts. 

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