Monthly Archives: June 2017

WSJ: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

The odds of life existing on another planet grow ever longer. Intelligent design, anyone?

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 27 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researchers have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

There’s more. The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator . . . gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.

Mr. Metaxas is the author, most recently, of “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” ( Dutton Adult, 2014).

Correction

An earlier version understated the number of zeroes in an octillion and a septillion.

Source: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

The Official Beginning Of the One World Religion (Short Video)

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

As a Christian, the reader will notice immediately which “religion” is missing.   Well, it’s not a religion at all. We are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But you will not see a presentative from the Evangelical Church – not in this line up of the new One World Religion.

Brethren – do NOT be alarmed! As our Lord has told us in His Holy Word “Let not your hearts be troubled.”

The events we have been witnessing in the last months are unprecedented in world history.  We are SO close to our Blessed Hope!!

Share the Gospel with the lost! If there is someone in your life for whom you have a burden on your heart – pray for them and then share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

These are exciting times for the Body of Christ!

 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth…

View original post 17 more words

Barna Update | 2017 Bible-Minded Cities

We live in an age when the Bible is read and understood very differently in cities across the country. So how exactly do Americans from each region interact with the Bible? In the annual Bible-Minded Cities report, in partnership with American Bible Society, Barna explores how Bible engagement plays out regionally in the United States. Where does your city rank?

Read more

June 23, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1363

The True Audience: God

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (6:6)

The basic definition of prayer is “communion with God,” and if He is not involved there is only the pretense of prayer. Not only must He be involved, but centrally involved. Prayer is God’s provision; it is God’s idea, not man’s. There could be no prayer if God did not condescend to speak with us, and we could not know how to pray had He not chosen to instruct us.

Jesus’ teaching here is simple, in contrast to the complicated and difficult traditions. The phrase when you pray implies great latitude. No prescribed time or occasion is given by the Lord. The tameion (inner room) could be any sort of small room or chamber, even a storage closet. Such rooms were often secret and used to store valued possessions for protection. The idea is that of going to the most private place available.

As already mentioned, Jesus does not forbid or condemn public prayer as such (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1–4). His purpose here seems to have been to make as great a contrast as possible to the practices of the scribes, Pharisees, and other hypocritical religionists. The primary point Jesus makes does not have to do with location but with attitude. If necessary, Jesus says, go to the most secluded, private place you can find so you will not be tempted to show off. Go there and shut the door. Shut out everything else so that you can concentrate on God and pray to your Father. Do whatever you have to do to get your attention away from yourself and others and on Him and Him alone.

Much of our prayer life should be literally in secret. Jesus regularly went away from His disciples to pray entirely alone. Our family members or friends may know that we are praying, but what we say is not meant for them to hear. Chrysostom commented that in his day (the fourth century a.d.) many Christians prayed so loud in their rooms that everyone down the hall heard what they said. If people sometimes happen to overhear our private prayers, it should not be by our intention. (Cf. John A. Broadus, Matthew [Valley Forge, Pa.: Judson, 1886], p. 140.)

But the Father being in secret does not mean He is not present when we pray in public, or with our families or other small groups of believers. He is very much present whenever and wherever His children call on Him. Jesus’ point has to do with the singleness of intention. True prayer is always intimate. Even prayer in public, if the heart is right and concentrated on God, will in a real and profound way shut one up alone in the presence of God.

In the pattern of prayer Jesus taught His disciples, He begins with “Our Father” (Matt. 6:9), indicating that other believers may be present and that the prayer is corporate. But even when prayer represents the feelings and needs of others who are present, the supreme attention is to be on God. In that sense, even the most public prayer is in secret. Even if the whole world hears what we say, there is an intimacy and focus on God in that communion that is unaffected.

God also sees in secret in the sense that He never betrays a confidence. Many things we share with God in our private prayers are for Him alone to know. Confidences we share even with our dearest loved ones or closest friends may sometimes be betrayed. But we can be sure our secrets with God will forever be just that, and that one believer praying in secret with a pure heart has the full attention of the Father.

Furthermore, when our prayer is as it should be, our Father who sees in secret will repayus. The most important secret He sees is not the words we say in the privacy of our room, but the thoughts we have in the privacy of our heart. Those are the secrets about which He is supremely concerned, and about which only He can know with certainty (cf. 1 Cor. 4:3–5). Those secrets sometimes are hidden even from ourselves, because it is so easy to be deceived about our own motives.

When God is genuinely the audience of our prayer, we will have the reward only He can give. Jesus gives no idea in this passage as to what God’s reward, or repayment, will be. The important truth is that God will faithfully and unfailingly bless those who come to Him in sincerity. Without question, the Lord will repay. Those who pray insincerely and hypocritically will receive the world’s reward, and those who pray sincerely and humbly will receive God’s.

MacArthur New Testament Commentary

June 22, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1361

The Preaching of the Mystery

of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; (3:7–9)

The gospel is spread by men whom God calls to proclaim it, and it is the gospel of which Paul was made a minister. “How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?” Paul asks in Romans. “And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). Although they had heard God’s truth, many Israelites did not “heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ ” (v. 16)—just as many who hear the gospel do not heed it. But it must be heard before it can be heeded, and Paul’s calling, like the calling of every preacher, was to proclaim God’s good news as a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace. In a similar line of thought in 1 Corinthians, Paul emphasizes this calling of grace: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with Me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

Minister is from diakonos, the basic meaning of which is servant, in particular a servant who waits on tables. It later came to refer to servants in general. By definition, a servant is one who acts on the commands of others, who recognizes and submits to a higher power. His primary responsibility is to do what he is told to do. Paul’s single responsibility was to faithfully be a servant, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to [him] according to the working of His power. “What then is Apollos?” Paul asked the factious Corinthians. “And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one” (1 Cor. 3:5). The Lord is the power behind the servant. To the Colossians the apostle said, “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:29).

Paul emphasizes the fact that he did not make himself a minister but that he was made a minister (cf. Col. 1:23, 25). The calling, the message, the work, and the empowering were all God’s. When he was first saved on the Damascus Road, and while he was still blinded from the great light, Paul was given his commission by Jesus. “Arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness” (Acts 26:16). It was not Paul’s education, natural abilities, experience, power, personality, influence, or any other such thing that qualified him to be a minister of Jesus Christ. He was made an apostle, a preacher, and a servant by the will and power of His Lord He felt unworthy of any reward, as if he had sought sacrificially to serve in this way. The choice was not his at all, so he deserved no commendation (1 Cor. 9:16–18). He did not want accolades but prayers, because he was in serious trouble if he failed to fulfill a calling he had not even chosen!

Any person in the ministry of the church whom God has not appointed is a usurper. No matter how seemingly good his intentions, he can do nothing but harm to the work of the Lord and to the Lord’s people. Jeremiah speaks to this matter when he writes the Lord’s word: “I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. … I did not send them or command them” (Jer. 23:21, 32). No man should enter the ministry unless he is absolutely certain of the Lord’s calling.

The key for present knowledge of a divine call is given in 1 Timothy 3, where Paul speaks of the pastor or spiritual overseer as a man who “aspires to the office” and who is verified and approved by those who know him as one who is “above reproach” (vv. 3–7). The present call, then, is bound up in a man’s strong desire and affirmation as to a godly life. God calls through desire and church verification.

Then or now, the man who is genuinely called by God is in constant danger of losing his effectiveness by coming to think of himself as more than a servant. When he loses his sense of servanthood, at that same time he loses his spiritual power and usefulness. When he exalts himself and begins to work in his own human power and according to his own plans, he competes with God and forfeits his spiritual power. To lose dependence is to lose everything, because everything that is of any value in our lives, including power for effective service, comes only from the Lord. Among the greatest dangers to the ministry, and to all faithful Christian living, are things that in the world’s eyes are of supreme value—personal ambition, prestige, recognition, honor, reputation, and success. God not only chooses weak and foolish people to save (1 Cor. 1:26–29), but weak and foolish preachers through whom to save them (2 Cor. 11:30; 12:7–10). For those not willing to pay that price, their seeking the position is illegitimate.

Unholiness is also a disqualification, prompting Paul to say, “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).

Paul’s calling to the ministry of the gospel, like everything else he received from the Lord, was the gift of God’s grace. To me, the very least of all the saints, he goes on to say, this grace was given. Though an apostle and a specially chosen minister of the mysteries of the gospel, Paul considered himself the very least of all the saints. The term very least is a comparative, indicating less than the least. That was not mock humility but his honest assessment of himself. Because he had such an unusually clear comprehension of God’s righteousness, he also had an unusually clear understanding of how far short he himself fell of that righteousness. Paul claimed no second work of grace by which he was perfected in holiness, love, or anything else. To the end of his life he considered himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) and was overwhelmed by his sense of unworthiness. That attitude does not limit a man’s service but rather is the key to his usefulness (cf. Gideon in Judges 6:15–16 and Isaiah in Isa. 6:1–9).

The unfathomable riches of Christ include all His truths and all His blessings, all that He is and has. The purpose of every preacher is to declare those riches, to tell believers how rich they are in Christ. That is why it is so important for Christians to understand the greatness of their position in the Lord. The obedient, productive, and happy Christian life cannot be lived apart from understanding that glorious position. Before we can do what the Lord wants us to do for Him, we must understand what He already has done for us. We have riches beyond measure in the One of whom it was said, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3) and in the One in whom we have “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

Among the unfathomable riches with which Christ has blessed us are “His kindness and forbearance and patience” (Rom. 2:4), His “wisdom and knowledge” (11:33), His mercy and great love (Eph. 2:4), “His glory” (3:16), His supplying us with “all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17), His assurance (Col. 2:2), His word (3:16), and even our being reproached for His sake (Heb. 11:26). Little wonder that Paul triumphantly reminds us that “in Him you have been made complete” (Col. 2:10).

Simply knowing about the riches of Christ is not enough, however. When we fall into sin and disobedience we forfeit the present blessing of those riches, just as did the fleshly, disobedient Corinthian believers. “You are already filled,” Paul told them sarcastically. “You have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and I would indeed that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you” (1 Cor. 4:8). Like the Laodiceans, they thought they were rich and in need of nothing, not realizing that they were really “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

Paul’s ministry was also to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things. Administration is from the same Greek word (oikonomia) as “stewardship” in verse 2. Paul is saying, in effect, “I am not only called in the vertical area to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ, but in the horizontal area to teach about the administration, the stewardship or dispensation, of the mystery of the church age.” The first area deals with our relationship to God and the second with our daily living and our ministry to each other as fellow believers.

Paul’s mission was to bring to light, or reveal, the full expression of the operation of this great truth of Gentile and Jews being one, a truth hidden for so long in the mind of God the Creator.[1]


The Meaning and End of History

Ephesians 3:7–13

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

Not many people are as forthright in their evaluation of history as Henry Ford, the inventor and industrialist, but there is a feeling in many secular minds that Ford may have been right. In 1919 during his libel suit against the Chicago Tribune, Ford said, “History is bunk.” On another occasion, when he was asked about history’s meaning, Ford said, “History is the succession of one damned thing after another.”2

Secular Views of History

Many resist Henry Ford’s view, of course, because to live in a world without meaning is to live a life without meaning. One who resisted it strongly was Karl Marx. He had no room for God; he was an atheist. But he took Hegel’s historical dialectic, coupled it to Feuerbach’s materialism, and produced his own vision of a history that had purpose and was going somewhere. Feuerbach had taught, with a German pun, that “der Mench ist was er isst” (“man is what he eats”), that material factors are everything. Marx accepted this, but added that material forces would produce a class struggle, revolution, and eventually a classless society.

Until relatively recent times most people living in Western societies held a similar, though not necessarily atheistic, view. It was known as a belief in progress. I have always associated that belief with those popular cinematic newsreels produced by the Time/Life company before, during, and for a time after World War II. They were called The March of Time. There was stirring “martial” music, the voice of an assured announcer, and a sequence of scenes from around the world that sometimes left the viewer dazzled with all that seemed to be happening in this fast-paced, modern age.

What a vision! How inevitable the perfection of all things seemed! Yet it is increasingly difficult to maintain this optimism in the face of two world wars, numerous lesser wars, and epidemics of senseless death and violence that sweep over our planet with increasing frequency.

The two most distinguished modern historians, Germany’s Oswald Spengler and England’s Arnold Toynbee, both concluded that the overall pattern of history was a recurring cycle of birth, growth, decay, and death—the same pattern the Greeks discerned thousands of years earlier. Spengler and Toynbee do not analyze national and historical movements in the same way. They are not equally pessimistic. But fundamental to their approaches is the shared conviction that nothing is permanent, that all is relative, and that even the best civilizations are destined to pass away. Spengler wrote this conviction into the title of his work, calling it The Decline of the West.

The Turning Point

What is history about? Historians study kings, queens, presidents, generals, inventors, nations, wars, battles, peace treaties, and geography—as they struggle to bring meaning to a chaos of events. But in writing to the Ephesians the apostle Paul, who was himself no mean historian, turns to the church as the focal point of world history. This is the point upon which God’s purpose is focused, he says. “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10–11).

Paul’s view of the historical significance of the church could not be more in conflict with prevailing secular opinions. John Stott expresses it like this: “Secular history concentrates its attention on kings, queens, and presidents, on politicians and generals, in fact on ‘VIPs.’ The Bible concentrates rather on a group it calls ‘the saints,’ often little people, insignificant people, unimportant people, who are however at the same time God’s people—and for that reason are both ‘unknown (to the world) and yet well-known to God.’

“Secular history concentrates on wars, battles and peace-treaties, followed by yet more wars, battles and peace-treaties. The Bible concentrates rather on the war between good and evil, on the decisive victory won by Jesus Christ over the powers of darkness, on the peace-treaty ratified by his blood, and on the sovereign proclamation of an amnesty for all rebels who will repent and believe.

“Again, secular history concentrates on the changing map of the world, as one nation defeats another and annexes its territory, and on the rise and fall of empires. The Bible concentrates rather on a multi-national community called ‘the church,’ which has no territorial frontiers, which claims nothing less than the whole world for Christ, and whose empire will never come to an end.”

This is the great reality Paul holds before our gaze as he makes known “the administration of [the] mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God” but is now revealed (v. 9).

What is God Doing?

It is not only we, the members of the church, who are directed to look at this mystery. “The rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” are also said to be looking at the church as the place where God’s manifold wisdom is made known (v. 10). What is that “manifold wisdom” these heavenly authorities are to see? What is the purpose of God made known in the worldwide community of God’s people? The passage suggests three things.

  1. The bringing together of otherwise divided individuals in Christ. This point has already been made in the verses that concluded the second chapter of Ephesians and began the third, and it is undoubtedly the chief thing Paul is thinking about. He is writing to Gentiles, who before the coming of Christ and the founding of his church were cut off from Israel’s spiritual blessings and were despised by the covenant people, and he is telling them that the period of alienation is now over and that the dividing wall of hostility has been broken down. Gentiles are now one with Jews within the fellowship of Christ’s church.

But there is more in this uniting of people described in the middle portion of the chapter. Earlier Paul had focused on the historical change that took place as the result of Christ’s death, in which Jews and Gentiles were brought together. Here he is looking to the distant past and forward to the distant future and is suggesting, I believe, a far greater harmonization.

I say this because of Paul’s reference to God as the creator of all things (v. 9). The mere mention of creation makes us think back to those pristine days of earth’s history in which the originally perfect world was marred by man’s sin. Before the Fall, the harmony between the first man and first woman was analogous to the harmony within the Godhead. It was a unity of mind, purpose, goals, and will. After sin entered, that unity was broken. The man and woman hid, thereby attempting to escape God’s presence. It was a dramatization of their rupture with God. But immediately after this, when God called them forth to meet him and answer questions concerning their conduct, they began to excuse themselves and blame others, thereby disclosing their corresponding alienation on the human level. God asked Adam, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Gen. 3:11).

Adam replied, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (v. 12). In these words Adam blamed both the woman (“she gave me some fruit”) and God (“the woman you gave me”), and thus displayed that wretched self-righteousness which is a persistent and devastating fact of human history.

In the church God is bringing these otherwise alienated and mutually accusing entities together on a basis that excludes any real cause for alienation. The church is a community of sinners redeemed by Christ and forgiven by God. If salvation were of works, as we might like and even the watching angels might have supposed it would be, the alienation would not have been removed. One person would still feel superior to another, and boasting of moral or spiritual merit would fracture the church and eventually sully heaven. But salvation is not achieved by works. God has achieved it and made it available to us by grace alone. Thus boasting is excluded, and men and women of all races and nations meet as forgiven sinners within the church’s fellowship.

This is something the angels might well look upon and marvel at. It is an achievement in which even we may see the goal of human history.

  1. The displaying of Christ by Christian people in the world. Up to now I have been talking about the church as the focus of world history, the point where its meaning can be found. But it is equally right to speak of Jesus Christ as the focal point which, of course, is precisely what Paul does. Ephesians 3:9–10 uses the word “mystery” of the church. But an earlier reference is to “the mystery of Christ” (v. 4), and the remaining references are to the “gospel” which is centered in him and has for its object the salvation of the church which is his body.

It is this idea, the idea of the church as Christ’s body, which holds the two foci of Paul’s thought together. For in Paul’s view, the church is the focal point of history only because it is the focal point of Christ’s work.

At the beginning of his influential and much discussed book Christ and Time, Oscar Cullmann of the University of Basel called attention to the fact that in the Western world we do not reckon time in a continuous forward-moving series that begins at a fixed initial point, but from a center from which time is reckoned both forward and backward. The Jewish calendar begins from what it regards as the date of the creation of the world and moves on from that point. But we begin with the birth of Jesus of Nazareth—fixed within the space of a few years—and then number in two directions: forward, in an increasing succession of years which we identify as a.d. (anno Domini “in the year of [our] Lord”), and backward, in a regression of years which we identify as b.c. (“before Christ”).

A secular historian might judge that the coming of Jesus was pivotal because of Jesus’ obvious influence on later history. But the Christian conviction, symbolized by the division of time, goes beyond this. As Cullmann says, “The modern historian may when pressed find a historically confirmed meaning in the fact that the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth is regarded as a decisive turning point of history. But the theological affirmation which lies at the basis of the Christian chronology goes far beyond the confirmation that Christianity brought with it weighty historical changes. It asserts rather that from this mid-point all history is to be understood and judged.”

Christianity affirms that apart from Christ there is no way of determining what history as a whole is all about, nor can we legitimately weigh historical events so that one may be pronounced better or more significant than another. With Christ both these essentials for a true historical outlook are provided.

Moreover, it is in the church alone that this can be seen. When we are talking about Christ we are not talking about some vague historical idea or some abstract principle for measuring the meaning of life. We are talking about a person who lives in us and can be known to others as we model him before a watching world. It is not a dead Jesus whom Christians serve, but a living one. Where can people see him except in the church, which gives, as it were, hands and feet, nerves and sinews to his life?

  1. Proof of the principle that suffering for truth and righteousness is the way to glory and the secret of true happiness. I add this point because the way of Jesus is the way of suffering—he said, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. … If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:19–20)—and because Paul quite naturally alludes to his own sufferings at the close of this section.

Is the meaning of history some promise of Jesus to make you blissfully happy and solve all your problems, to make you materially prosperous, successful, esteemed, and healthy? Hardly! Here in a nutshell is what I think the purpose of history is, as demonstrated in the lives of those who have been saved from sin by Jesus.

When Satan rebelled against God and carried the host of fallen angels, now demons, with him into eternal ruin, God could have crushed the rebellion and annihilated Satan and his hosts forever. That would have been just and reasonable. It might even have been merciful; for if God had gone on to create Adam and Eve, as he had no doubt determined to do beforehand, Satan would not have been there to tempt them, the pair would not have fallen, and sin and death would not have passed upon the race.

But this would not have shown God’s “manifold wisdom.” It would have shown his power and perhaps even his mercy. But it would not have shown that God’s way, the way of truth and righteousness, is the only really good way and the only sure path to happiness.

So instead of annihilating Satan, God took an entirely different path: “I have already determined to create a race called man, and I know in advance, because I know all things, that Satan will seduce him from my righteousness and plunge him into misery. Satan will think he has won. But while Satan is doing that—turning the human race against me and setting individual human beings against one another and even against themselves—I will begin to create a new people who will glory in doing what is right, even when it is not popular, and who will delight in pleasing me, even when they suffer for it. Satan will say, ‘Your people serve you only because you protect them, only because you provide for them materially.’ But here and there in a great variety of ways I will allow them to be greatly abused and persecuted, and I will show by their reactions that not only will they continue to praise me in their suffering, and thus bring glory to my name, but that they will even be happier in their sufferings than Satan’s people will be with their maximum share of human prestige and possessions.”

So God let history unfold like a great drama upon a cosmic stage. The angels are the audience. We are the actors. Satan is there to do everything he can to resist and thwart God’s purposes. This drama unfolds across the centuries as Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the other dramatis personae of Christian history, both the great persons and the minor persons, are brought on stage to play the part God has assigned them and speak words that come from hearts that love him. Adam proved that God’s way is the best way, and he repented of his sin and trusted in the coming of Jesus. So did Eve and Noah and all the others. All these endured as seeing by faith him who is invisible, and they looked beyond the distresses of this life for their reward.

Now you and I are the players in this drama. Satan is attacking, and the angels are straining forward to look on. Are they seeing the “manifold wisdom” of God in you as you go through your part and speak your lines? They must see it, for it can be seen in you alone. It is there—where you work and play and think and speak—that the meaning and end of history is found.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 93–95). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1988). Ephesians: an expositional commentary (pp. 101–106). Grand Rapids, MI: Ministry Resources Library.

June 21, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_1362

Jun. 21, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Donald Trump’s office properties aren’t bringing in as much cash as banks that loaned him money had expected. That’s the biggest finding in an updated assessment of the president’s net worth, which has slipped to $2.9 billion.

The abrupt shake-up that made Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman heir to his father’s throne gives the 31-year-old extraordinary powers to push through his vision to wean the economy off oil and exert his influence in regional conflicts.

Republican Karen Handel defeated a well-funded opponent in a special election for a U.S. House seat in Georgia, a setback for Democrats who hoped President Donald Trump’s low approval ratings would help them win congressional races.

At this time of year, demand for gasoline in the U.S. is normally rising as people head out for summer vacations in a country that has millions more vehicles than any other. But that’s not happening in 2017, and one contributing factor could be that undocumented immigrants are driving less.

Romania’s governing coalition toppled its own prime minister after he clashed with the leader of the ruling party, paving the way for a new cabinet just six months after elections.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s veteran finance minister, urged the U.S. to limit Russian and Chinese influence or risk bringing about “the end of our liberal world order.”

France has lived under emergency law for 20 months now, and human-rights groups are warning that President Emmanuel Macron is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse to make the special powers permanent. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has confirmed he wants to give police enhanced powers to order searches and house arrests, arguing the terror threat isn’t about to fade any time soon.

America leads the world when it comes to access to higher education. But when it comes to health, environmental protection, and fighting discrimination, it trails many other developed countries, according to the Social Progress Imperative, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

AP Top Stories

Philippine Airlines will buy seven planes from Canada’s Bombardier as part of an effort to regain its dominance of the growing air travel market, the carrier said Tuesday.

In a late night protest, Senate Democrats decried efforts by top Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act behind closed doors, pledging to disrupt proceedings in the chamber over the matter.

Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that Americans who are “stupid” enough to still want to travel to North Korea should be required to sign a waiver absolving the U.S. government of any blame should they be harmed while there.

Venezuelans are bracing for a further escalation of violence after a 17-year-old protester was shot dead by the National Guard, and the supreme court announced charges against the country’s attorney general – one of the most senior officials to speak out against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

A notorious Chinese dog meat festival opened on Wednesday with sellers torching the hair off carcasses, butchers chopping slabs of canines and cooks frying up dishes, dispelling rumours that authorities would ban sales this year.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologised Tuesday for a military offensive that has left the nation’s main Muslim city in ruins, but said it was needed to crush militants linked to the Islamic State group.

In a blistering reproach on Tuesday, Arizona Sen. John McCain threatened to block the approval of Pat Shanahan as deputy defense secretary. McCain was unhappy with the Boeing executive’s written answer on providing the Ukrainians with lethal defense weaponry.

US forces in southern Syria have shot down an Iranian-made armed drone in the second such incident in 12 days, in a further sign that Washington and Tehran’s agendas are colliding along the Syrian-Iraqi desert frontier.

Four conservative cardinals who publicly questioned Pope Francis’ opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics are pressing their case and arguing that the issue is dividing the Catholic Church.

BBC

A Russian jet flew within 5ft (1.5m) of a US reconnaissance plane’s wing tip over the Baltic Sea on Monday, US officials say.

Teachers are being trained to carry guns in classrooms in Colorado in order to protect children as part of a scheme motivated by a school massacre in 2012. The three-day course, which consists of firearms and medical training, was launched on Tuesday in Weld County. Seventeen members of staff who “would like to be considered armed first responders” have so far taken part. The pilot program will allow volunteers to enter schools with guns under US “concealed carry” laws.

Authorities in Argentina have released images of a major trove of Nazi artefacts seized during a raid on a home in Buenos Aires. The crafted objects, which include a bust of Adolf Hitler and an eagle of the Third Reich, were found in two shops and a home in the north of the country’s capital.

If you’ve been chatting about politics on social media recently, there’s a good chance you’ve been part of a conversation that was manipulated by bots, researchers say. The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) has studied such discussions related to nine places – US, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Canada, China, Taiwan, Brazil and Poland – on platforms including Twitter and Facebook. It claims that in all the elections, political crises and national security-related discussions it looked at, there was not one instance where social media opinion had not been manipulated.

WND

Anxiety levels of Americans over matters such as war, terrorism, hacking and identity theft have spiked in recent years, leaving the nation near average in a global barometer of perceptions of security, a survey released Tuesday said.


The Briefing 06-21-17

London terror attack targeting Muslim community center exposes challenges Islam faces in the West

What is the role of government? The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 79

The question of legacy after Bill Cosby’s sexual assault accusations and mistrial

The post The Briefing 06-21-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 6/21/2017

Europe okays project to seek alien life
Europe has approved the launch of a deep-space observatory to sniff out habitable planets in other star systems, along with any life forms they may host. The multi-million-euro undertaking “could eventually even lead to the detection of extra-terrestrial life,” it added.

Thousands of Witches Will Gather Tonight to Curse Trump. Is Satanism Behind It?
At the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, some 13,000 people will connect via internet in yet another attempt to cast a curse on President Donald Trump, this time on the summer solstice. Though spell-casting may seem too absurd to be taken seriously, a rabbinic authority maintains that the ‘witches’ are tapping into Satanism, a disturbing theology making a strong comeback today in the guise of atheism.

Knesset takes one more step toward de facto annexation of West Bank
The Knesset on Wednesday took one more step toward the de facto annexation of the West Bank by approving the preliminary reading of a bill that would apply a 17-year old law to Israelis living in Judea and Samaria. This is “one more step toward the normalization of the settlements in Judea and Samaria that we set as our goal at the start of this government’s term,” said the bill’s author, MK Bezalel Smotrich, in advance of the 48-39 vote.

UN envoy: Israel is defying UNSC by accelerating settler construction
Israel has failed to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which calls for a halt to settlement building and has instead accelerated such activity, UN…Nickolay Mladenov reported…“Since the 24th of March there has been a substantial increase in settlement-related announcements as compared with the previous reporting period, with plans for nearly 4,000 housing units moving forward and 2,000 tenders issued,” Mladenov told the UNSC in New York…

Syria conflict: US jet ‘downs Iranian-made drone’
A US jet has shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by forces backing the Syrian government in the south of the country, American officials say. The drone was thought to be armed and threatening US-led coalition troops on the ground, officials said. But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the action amounted to “complicity with terrorism”.

US spy satellites detect activity at North Korean nuclear test site
US spy satellites have detected new activity at North Korea’s underground nuclear test site for the first time in several weeks, two US officials told CNN. The activity appears to involve some modifications around one of the tunnel entrances to an underground test area. The officials said it is not yet clear if the activity indicates a sixth nuclear test is imminent…

Illinois careens into financial meltdown – and not even the lottery is safe
Illinois is grappling with a full-fledged financial crisis and not even the lottery is safe – with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner warning the state is entering “banana republic” territory. Facing billions in unpaid bills and pension obligations, the state is hitting a cash crunch that is rare even by Illinois standards.

Armed Russian jet comes within 5 feet of US recon jet
An armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea on Monday, two U.S. officials told Fox News. The Russian Su-27 jet had air-to-air missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet “rapidly,” coming within 5 feet of the American aircraft, the officials said. Once alongside, the Russian jet was “provocative” in its flight maneuvers and flying “erratically,” according to another official.

After weeks of secrecy, U.S. Senate to unveil healthcare bill
U.S. Senate Republicans plan to unveil the text of their draft healthcare bill on Thursday as senators struggle over issues such as the future of the Medicaid program for the poor and bringing down insurance costs. Republicans in the chamber have been working for weeks behind closed doors on legislation aimed at repealing and replacing major portions of the Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, popularly known as Obamacare.

Israel would go ‘all-out’ if war breaks out again with Lebanon: air force chief
Israel would use all its strength from the start in any new war with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, the chief of the Israeli air force said on Wednesday, sending a firm warning a decade after their last conflict…Major-General Amir Eshel said qualitative and quantitative improvements in the air force since the 2006 Lebanon war meant it could carry out in just two or three days the same number of bombings it mounted in those 34 days of fighting.

Senators want Congress to OK military action in Syria
U.S. senators called on Congress on Tuesday to take back its authority to determine whether the country goes to war, saying recent U.S. strikes in Syria were not covered by existing authorizations for the use of military force. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has begun considering legislation that would cover military action in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and Yemen against the Islamic State, al Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups.

Russia, Iran sanctions bill hits roadblock in U.S. House
Legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and Iran that passed the U.S. Senate nearly unanimously last week has run into a procedural problem that could prevent a quick vote in the House of Representatives, lawmakers said on Tuesday. The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, which also includes new sanctions against Russia, passed the Senate 98-2 last week, an overwhelming vote that looked like it might complicate President Donald Trump’s desire for warmer relations with Moscow.

Ground-Breaking Held for First New Judea and Samaria Settlement in 25 Years
In the community of Amichai, 100 new homes will be built for the evicted residents of Amona, a settlement outpost housing 42 families that Israel razed in February due to Palestinian land ownership claims.

Saudi king upends royal succession, names son as 1st heir
The Saudi monarch, who holds near absolute powers, quickly awarded his son expansive powers to the surprise of many within the royal family who are more senior and more experienced than Mohammed bin Salman, also known by his initials MBS.

FBI To Announce Findings In GOP Baseball Shooting Investigation
The FBI is holding a press conference Wednesday morning to announce the results of its investigation into last week’s attempted mass assassination of Republican lawmakers and staffers, the agency announced on Tuesday. FBI officials discovered a list of Republican lawmakers in James T. Hodgkinson’s possession when he opened fire at a congressional baseball practice, wounding four people including Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise. All six lawmakers on the list were members of the House Freedom Caucus — the most conservative members in the lower chamber.

There Are ‘Literally’ No Real Men in the White House Who Can Stop Trump
Ever since the election season began, the left has been going ‘literally’ apeshit over Trump’s usage of Twitter. In recent month’s they’ve been autistically screeching over it — demanding that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, ban him. They’ve trotted out GOP deep state shills, neocons, professors, think tankfags — all trying to dissuade the President from using a platform that communicates directly to the people.

Earthquake swarm rumbles Yellowstone
An ongoing series of earthquakes measurably moving the ground east of Hebgen Lake are likely aftershocks from a devastating quake that struck the region 58 years ago. As of Monday the current swarm had shaken the west edge of Yellowstone for a week, over which time it had delivered 464 temblors ranging up to magnitude 4.4.

Conway Thanks Those Who ‘Snarkily’ Called Georgia Race a ‘Referendum’ on Trump
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway spiked the football Tuesday over the Republican victory in the Georgia sixth district special election, saying those who “snarkily” called it a “referendum” on President Donald Trump were right.

ISIS Setting Up Support Networks to Move Terrorists to Europe, Asia
“ISIS has several facilitators in place that assist the flow of fighters to Europe,” said one official who noted the group is exploiting travel networks used for large-scale human trafficking in the region. The networks include an organizational structure that has been discovered by U.S. and allied intelligence agencies to be using specific groups to help terrorists reach European soil. ISIS has assigned support personnel to the networks to facilitate the process.

North Korea threat: EU seeking role in ending regime’s nuclear program
The European Union is in discussions with South Korea and China about taking a potential role as a broker for negotiations with North Korea on ending its nuclear program, according to EU officials involved in the effort. The discussions reflect concern in Brussels, Seoul and Beijing that sanctions alone won’t persuade Pyongyang to halt its nuclear program and that negotiations are needed to avoid military conflict.

The United Nations should ditch its anti-Israel bias
This week marks six months since the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which classifies Israeli settlements beyond the 1967 line, including in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, as illegal. Visiting Jerusalem last month, the distance between the pronouncements of Turtle Bay and the realities of the Old City appeared as stark as ever. For starters, everyone knows that Israel will absorb the major settlement blocs near the ’67 line as part of any peace agreement. And no Israel government will ever surrender its access to Jerusalem.

The Russians Do It Again: Democrats Get Crushed In Georgia Election Despite 7x Spending Advantage
Despite a 7-to-1 spending advantage, Democrats just got crushed in the Georgia special election.

Christian School Told They Can’t Teach ‘Offensive’ Scripture
Evangelical Christians are under fire as an Alberta school board is demanding a Christian school stop teaching “offensive” scripture that indicts homosexuality as a sin, the National Post reports.

The “Extremism Experts” Who Used To Fear The Right, Are Now Worried About The Left
“As leftist rhetoric and actions become more violent, and as the police in urban areas fail to rein in leftist counter-protesters time and time again, it won’t be long before right-wing protesters begin to retaliate…”

Israeli Researchers Invent World’s First Anti Date Rape Straw
Two Israeli inventors want to take on a phenomena that is growing in prevalence every year. To protect women in the place they are most likely to be sexually assaulted, the Israelis have invented the Date Rape Straw, a device which allows a woman to test her drink to see if someone put some of the most common date rape drugs inside.

Texas the Latest State to Ban Sharia, Foreign Laws from Domestic Courts
With passage of a law protecting American families from imposition of foreign-law doctrines in state courts, Texas this week became the 11th state to ensure that only American laws will apply in American domestic courts.


69 Percent Of Americans Do Not Have An Adequate Emergency Fund

Do you have an emergency fund?  If you even have one penny in emergency savings, you are already ahead of about one-fourth of the country.  I write about this stuff all the time, but it always astounds me how many Americans are literally living on the edge financially.  Back in 2008 when the economy tanked and millions of people lost their jobs, large numbers of Americans suddenly couldn’t pay their bills because they were living paycheck to paycheck.  Now the stage is set for it to happen again.  Another major recession is going to happen at some point, and when it does millions of people are going to get blindsided by it. (Read More…)


No, We Don’t Want Barbie to Date a Ken with a Man Bun

Mattel has introduced a new “dolled-up toy collection with feminized figurines.” Just imagine what the toy maker has planned for kids next.  LifeZette has the story:

After introducing a new batch of Barbie dolls last year, Mattel is rebooting the Ken doll. And the most surprising version of the new male counterparts to Barbie is the one with a man bun.

Other new versions of Ken dolls include the “slim” and the “broad” variety. New hairstyles include the previously mentioned man bun — as well as cornrows. There are also six skin tones available for these dolls.

View article →


Oregon Becomes First State to Allow Residents to Be Neither Male or Female on Driver’s License

Christian News reports:

Oregon has become the first state to allow residents to identify as neither male or female on their driver’s license and identification card.

Beginning on July 1, residents can select an “X” for their gender instead of “M” or “F.” The new policy was unanimously agreed upon by the Oregon Transportation Commission.

According to Reuters, the concept was considered after Multnomah County Judge Amy Holmes Hehn last June granted a man’s request to identify on his driver’s license as “non-binary.”

As previously reported, Jamie Shupe (pictured) was born male, served in the military and married a woman. But in 2013, as he found himself struggling with his gender identity, Shupe decided to seek treatments that would make him look and feel feminine.

View article →


Mattis under pressure to reverse Obama administration’s approval of transgender troops

1d ago

Should the U.S. Department of Defense [taxpayers] undertake the cost of hormone treatments, surgery, and post-operative care to facilitate “gender transitioning.”?  No, say social conservatives.  According to Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times, conservatives have mounted a campaign to persuade General Mattis to suspend the Obama administration’s “transgender directive with the ultimate goal of recalling it and all of the associated manuals.” Scarborough writes:

Photo courtesy US Defense Watch (usdefensewatch.com)

Defense Secretary James Mattis is facing his first significant decision in the military’s sexual revolution legacy left by the last commander in chief, Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, issued a directive last year permitting transgender troops to remain in the military and undergo sex reassignment procedures instead of facing automatic discharge.

The next step in the transgender agenda is due July 1, according to Mr. Carter’s timeline. Mr. Mattis is to decide whether the armed forces will allow transgender people to join the military.

View article →


Dr. Tim Ball Crushes Climate Change: The Biggest Deception In History

“With a 50-year academic career focusing on Historical Climatology, Dr. Tim Ball is uniquely qualified to address man-made climate change, and he demonstrates that it is a flat-out hoax. Thinking people everywhere should get multiple copies of this book and hand them out to everyone they know.” 

In a piece over at Technocracy News, Dr. Tim Ballx informs us that:

President Trump was correct to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. He could have explained that the science was premeditated and deliberately orchestrated to demonize CO2 for a political agenda. Wisely, he simply explained that it was a bad deal for the United States because it gave a competitive economic edge to other nations, especially China. A majority of Americans think he was wrong, but more would disagree if he got lost in the complexities of the science. I speak from experience having taught a Science credit course for 25 years for the student population that mirrors society with 80 percent of them being Arts students. Promoters of what is called anthropogenic global warming (AGW) knew most people do not understand the science and exploited it.

View article →


June 19, 2017

WES VERNON — If you’re a conservative, a Republican, a Trump supporter, a dissenter from the edicts enunciated by the Marxist-tolerating establishment, you may be targeted sooner or later by the haters in the left…. (more)


June 19, 2017
ALAN KEYES — As its original Latin root literally suggests, a congressional subpoena demands compliance “subject to the penalties of law.” Nonetheless, the Constitution says plainly that the president “shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,” even including high treason…. (more)

June 19, 2017
INDEPENDENT — Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces are also present as “targets” amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet…. (more)

June 19, 2017
PALM BEACH POST — President Donald Trump on Friday issued a proclamation declaring Sunday to be Father’s Day. Presidents historically issue proclamations for holidays, noting the importance of the day and making remarks on the holiday’s significance…. (more)

June 19, 2017
PJ MEDIA — It’s hard to determine whether some liberals are tone deaf or just downright mean. MSNBC hostess Joy-Ann Reid almost certainly falls into the latter category. Reid was on with NAACP board member Rev. William J. Barber II when the conversation turned to Rep. Steve Scalise, who was lying in a hospital bed in critical condition at the time…. (more)

June 19, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Defense Secretary James Mattis is facing his first significant decision in the military’s sexual revolution legacy left by the last commander in chief, Barack Obama. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, issued a directive last year permitting transgender troops to remain in the military and undergo sex reassignment procedures instead of facing automatic discharge…. (more)

June 19, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — In the name of fighting terrorism financing, a new U.S. Senate bill threatens to force private corporations to monitor your financial activity and empowers government to seize all your assets if you fail to comply with the new law…. (more)

June 19, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump has a higher approval rating than virtually every other leader in Washington, a little reported fact that emerged in a new survey of the nation’s political officials…. (more)

June 19, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — President Donald Trump’s missteps have intensified the scandal that is consuming his administration. One is tempted to put scandal in scare quotes. Trump is somehow enmeshed in a scandal based on actions that a president is fully entitled to take – – such as dismissing the FBI director and weighing in on the merits of continuing an investigation of his former national-security adviser…. (more)

June 19, 2017

NEWSMAX — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is in serious condition after undergoing another surgery Saturday following last week’s shooting at the Congressional baseball practice where a man who was reportedly distraught over President Trump’s election shot Scalise and three others…. (more)


June 18, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A Jesuit scholar with expertise in Islam is explaining why Muslims are terroristic and is warning members of his faith not to be taken in by the “liberal-left ideology” that advocates “tolerance” and “concessions.”… (more)

June 18, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — A refugee from the Muslim Middle East thinks he has discovered Islam’s 20-point plan for conquering the United States by 2020 – – a plan revealed in the latest issue of Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin…. (more)

June 17, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — I am amazed by the conspiracy of silence, on the right and the left, about former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s bungling of the anthrax case. “In his years as FBI director and as a Justice Department official, Mueller gained a reputation for honesty, integrity, and being a ‘straight-shooter,'” writes Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard…. (more)

June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Special counsel Robert Mueller could have a tough time making an obstruction of justice case stick against President Trump, according to legal analysts, who said he will have to overcome a number of “unique hurdles” – – not the least of which is a decades-old Justice Department ruling that a sitting president can’t be charged…. (more)


June 17, 2017

ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — On March 30, 2017, by his own account, then-FBI director James Comey told President Donald Trump that Trump himself was not under investigation – – the third time he had given him that assurance. In fact, Comey told Trump that he had just assured members of Congress that Trump was not a suspect under investigation…. (more)


June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — An op-ed posted June 11 by Huffington Post contributor Jason Fuller was pulled by the website after Wednesday’s attack on congressional Republicans…. (more)


June 17, 2017

ALICIA POWE — CNN, the network famously dubbed “fake news” by President Trump, misreported an emotional moment before the Congressional Baseball Game Thursday, tweeting that it was only Democrats who knelt for prayer on the field…. (more)


June 17, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — This is a time in the history of our nation when an honest group or congressional panel with integrity could name and ostracize extremists on both the right and left. Unfortunately, the media have crowned the misnamed Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the arbiter of what’s good and right in America today. Ironically, it was the SPLC that inspired an act of terrorism on American soil, when a gay militant opened fire on the Washington office of the Family Research Council. He saw the group listed on an SPLC “hate map.”… (more)

June 17, 2017
DAILY CALLER — James T. Hodgkinson, the shooter who opened fire on dozens of Republican congressmen and staffers at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, had a list of Republican names in his pocket that was recovered by the FBI, The Daily Caller has learned…. (more)

June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump announced a dramatic reversal Friday of the Obama administration’s Cuba policy, restoring restrictions on U.S. travel to the island and new prohibitions on financial transactions that benefit the communist regime’s military…. (more)


June 17, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly officially revoked President Obama’s 2014 attempt to broaden his previous deportation amnesty for Dreamers, which had been held up by federal courts for more than two years. The decision leaves in place the 2012 temporary amnesty for more than 780,000 Dreamers but officially ends immigrant rights groups’ hopes of expanding that policy to as many as 4 million more illegal immigrants…. (more)

June 15, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — Former FBI Director James Comey has finally admitted publicly that President Donald Trump has not been under investigation, after months of deliberately leaving the impression that he was. Now the issue becomes whether Trump somehow obstructed justice in trying to save one of his subordinates, a decorated military veteran who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), from a frivolous prosecution…. (more)

June 15, 2017
LINDA GOUDSMIT — Only a left-wing liberal living in subjective reality could promote the hijab, the quintessential symbol of feminine oppression, as fashion. The idea is so spectacularly stupid that it defies description. This is yet another salvo in the attempt to Islamicize the West by making the unacceptable dictates of sharia law acceptable…. (more)

June 15, 2017
SUSAN FERRECHIO — Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday were left pondering whether and how to increase their own security in the wake of a gunman’s shocking attack against GOP lawmakers at a baseball practice, and it is already prompting some to start pushing for police protection at their homes and group events outside the Capitol…. (more)

June 15, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — One Republican lawmaker believes that concealed carry reciprocity for members of Congress should be considered as part of possible security upgrades after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot at practice for the congressional charity baseball game early Wednesday morning…. (more)

Mid-Day Snapshot

June 21, 2017

Georgia ‘Deplorables’ Tossoff Ossoff

Republican Handel won the most expensive House race in history. Democrats still can’t figure out why they’re losing.

The Foundation

“It behooves you, therefore, to think and act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors.” —Thomas Jefferson (1775)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: June 21

  • Republican Handel Wins Georgia House Seat, Dashing Democrats’ Hopes (Read More)
  • Uber CEO Kalanick Quits as Investors Revolt (Read More)
  • Saudi King’s Surprise Shakeup Clears Son’s Path to the Throne (Read More)
  • After weeks of secrecy, U.S. Senate to unveil healthcare bill (Read More)
  • Latest Election-Hacking Hearings to Focus on State-Level Events (Read More)
  • Trump’s Net Worth Slips to $2.9 Billion as Towers Underperform (Read More)
  • Oil Returns to Bear Market (Read More)
  • Brexit Dominates May’s Program as Some Manifesto Pledges Ditched (Read More)
  • Wal-Mart to Vendors: Get Off Amazon’s Cloud (Read More)
  • China shares get MSCI nod in landmark moment for Beijing (Read More)
  • China Firms Might Need to Shape Up After Index Lays Out Red Carpet (Read More)
  • America Is Now a ‘Second Tier’ Country (Read More)
  • Insurance Startup Oscar Raises Its Bet on Affordable Care Act (Read More)
  • Death of U.S. student held by North Korea shocks fellow ex-detainees (Read More)
  • The Future of Drone Delivery Hinges on Predicting the Weather Block by Block (Read More)
  • Tokyo Takes Lead in Toshiba Chip-Unit Sale Over China Fears (Read More)
  • A daily conundrum in convulsed Venezuela: will my kids make it to school? (Read More)
  • Germany Warns U.S. Against Ceding Lead Role to China, Russia (Read More)
  • Take a Look at the States Sending the Most Carbon Into the Air (Read More)
  • Theranos, Walgreens Reach Deal to Settle Lawsuit (Read More)

Top Headlines – 6/21/2017

Trump Administration Pressuring Israel to Move Ahead With Peace Deal, Senior Israeli Minister Says

Trump Envoy Greenblatt Meets With Netanyahu in Jerusalem, as US Seeks Renewal of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

Jared Kushner is heading to Israel for peace negotiations

Ahead of Jared Kushner’s visit to help broker peace, Israel touts new settlement

PA slams new settlement as effort to thwart Trump’s peace drive

UN: Israel did not comply with UN call to stop settlements

Haley seeks UN resolution to punish states backing Hamas

Haley: Time to say ‘enough is enough’ to Hamas

Turning Gaza’s lights back on, Abbas’s rival Dahlan makes dramatic return to center stage

At Security Council, diplomat cites Gazan who likened Strip to ‘concentration camp’

Hamas calls for ‘day of rage’ Friday over ‘holy sites,’ Gaza siege

Plan for mixed-gender prayer at Western Wall sparks new friction

IDF: Knife-wielding Palestinian attacks Israeli troops, is shot dead

Israeli Dies as Palestinian Attackers Stage Assaults in Jerusalem

Macron meets Jordan’s king, condemns deadly Jerusalem attack

Mother of Damascus Gate assailant arrested for calls to attack Jews

Israel disputes success of Iran missile strike

IDF chief: Iran’s strike on ISIS not as impressive as they claimed

US ‘mystified’ by Gulf states’ refusal to justify Qatar boycott

Israel, Saudi Arabia reportedly discuss establishing economic ties

State Department issues unusual public warning to Saudi Arabia and UAE over Qatar rift

US rebukes Saudi Arabia over Qatar embargo in reversal after Trump comments

Saudi king ousts nephew to name son as first in line to throne

Saudi king names son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, removing counterterror czar and upending royal succession

Egyptian court blocks transfer of islands to Saudi Arabia, despite parliament’s decision

Egypt kills 12 militants in North Sinai air strike

US shoots down second Iran-made armed drone over Syria in 12 days

US signals involvement in Syria could escalate

U.N. chief hopes U.S., Russia calm tensions over Syria

Syria war: Polio paralyses 17 children in Mayadin and Raqqa

Pro-ISIS rebels storm school in Philippines, students held hostage

Explosion at Brussels train station, suspect shot

Brussels train station blast being treated as terror attack

Belgium avoided serious attack in station blast: interior minister

Car bomb in Somalia capital kills at least 15

Catholic Church: Fighting kills more than 3,000 in Congo’s Kasai region

UN: Congo-backed militia mutilates toddlers, burns villages

Armed Russian jet comes within 5 feet of US recon jet

Trump meets Ukraine’s president, U.S. adds to Russia sanctions

US sanctions to stay until Russia quits eastern Ukraine

Trump says China NKorea pressure hasn’t worked

US sends supersonic bombers in show of force against N.Korea

US spy satellites detect activity at North Korean nuclear test site

South Korea confirms drone discovered in June was from North Korea

After student’s death, US weighs travel ban on North Korea

US State Department presses N. Korea to release detained Americans

Venezuela dares US to ‘send in the Marines’

UN chief: US will be replaced if it disengages from world

Anti-Trump Website Calls for ‘Physical Violence’ Against Conservatives

Study supports Trump: 5.7 million noncitizens may have cast illegal votes

Message from Georgia: Hating Trump is not a platform

Dems Suddenly Worry Trump Impeachment Could Backfire

State Department probes Clinton handling of government emails, could pull her security clearance

Pass the valium: U.S. anxiety levels climb faster than rest of the world

Soros says Britain nearing tipping point, may reverse Brexit

Illinois careens into financial meltdown – and not even the lottery is safe

Personal details of nearly 200 million US citizens exposed

The End of Car Ownership – Ride sharing and self-driving vehicles will redefine our relationship with cars

L.A. Fire Department could soon seek federal permission to fly drones

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Visokoi Island, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Bengkulu, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Tobelo, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Saumlaki, Indonesia

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Saiki, Japan

Yellowstone Supervolcano Hit by a Swarm of More Than 400 Earthquakes in One Week

Sharp earthquake activity in Katla volcano

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 24,000ft

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

Poas volano in Costa Rica erupts to 11,000ft

Decades-old camera reveals forgotten images of Mount St. Helens eruption

Bret becomes earliest named storm so far south in the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Cindy may bring ‘life-threatening’ flooding across Gulf Coast

Israel’s summer start dampened by freak rainfall

Tornadoes Touch Down In Delaware And Pennsylvania

The Latest: Las Vegas ties record high of 117 degrees

Portugal fire: Firefighters battle deadly blaze as temperatures soar

Highly contagious citrus disease now in Alabama

More U.S. counties are finding Zika-carrying mosquitoes

Family of teen who died from brain-eating amoeba sues water park

Cholesterol Lowering Vaccine May Help Prevent Heart Attacks

Ex-NFL Player Comes Out as Gay, Says He Considered Suicide

New York threesome gone wrong: Murder suspect arrested

Christian School Told They Can’t Teach ‘Offensive’ Scripture

The Summer Solstice Brings Out the Pagan in All of Us – and Some Christian Leaders Don’t Like It

Summer solstice 2017: Stonehenge crowds as sun rises

Michael Hall – The Untouchables

Anthony Wade – The Anatomy of a False Teaching and the Dangers Within

Noemi Breaks Free of Beth Moore

Former New Age Follower Shares Vital Information With Her Pastors and Church Leaders

Pastor Henry Lyons ousted again amid fraud accusations – previously served prison time for fraud

DEVELOPING: Explosion in tick related diseases spreading across Northeast…

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 06:14 AM PDT

Tick numbers are on the rise across New England, raising the prospect of an increase in Lyme and other diseases associated with the bloodsuckers. Much of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Two-month countdown begins to total solar eclipse across U.S.

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 06:03 AM PDT

Two months before the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in a century, NASA on Wednesday is expected to detail its…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

If The U.S. Continues To Creep Toward World War 3, Eventually It Is Going To Happen

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 05:58 AM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) After a bit of a lull for the past couple of months, the march toward war appears to be accelerating once…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Black Eyed Peas Star Fergie Seen Attending Church in Recent Weeks

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 05:54 AM PDT

In an emotional 2012 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Grammy-winning recording artist Fergie opened about her struggle with drug addiction and how turning to her Christian…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

These 3 Hebrew Feasts Depict Christ’s Second Coming

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 05:48 AM PDT

(By Ron Allen) June 21, the summer begins on the summer solstice.  Astronomically, the summer solstice is the day when the sun reaches its highest…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

69 Percent Of Americans Do Not Have An Adequate Emergency Fund

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 05:41 AM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Do you have an emergency fund?  If you even have one penny in emergency savings, you are already ahead of about…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UPDATE: Swarm of 460 earthquakes in Yellowstone begins to spark concerns

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 05:38 AM PDT

The earthquake swarm affecting the western edge of Yellowstone National Park has included more than 460 quakes so far. The University of Utah, whose seismograph…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ken doll gets a makeover!

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 05:49 PM PDT

He’s been overshadowed by Barbie for decades, but now Ken is finally getting some attention.  Mattel is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Europe on High Alert in Wake of Paris, London Attacks

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 05:39 PM PDT

The terror threat level remains elevated in France after another attack. An Islamic terrorist set off a fiery blast in Paris Monday when he drove…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Phoenix heatwave generates record energy demand…

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 05:34 PM PDT

Phoenix-area residents are setting a record demand for energy as scorching temperatures roll though the valley during the week’s punishing heat wave.  Salt River Project…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Top Fashion Mag Encourages Women to Awaken Their Inner Witch

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 05:26 PM PDT

Whether the #MagicalResistance or The Handmaid’s Tale, the age of the witch is upon us, top fashion magazine Vogue proclaims.  “Women across the globe are actively using the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Teachers Union Demands Mandatory LGBT Education for Children

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 05:18 PM PDT

Scotland’s largest teaching union has voted for children across the country to be taught about same-sex families and LGBT history.  At its annual general meeting…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Thousands of Witches Gathering To More Cast Spells Against Trump Tonight

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 05:16 PM PDT

Thousands of witches will gather at midnight tonight to cast spells on President Donald Trump as part of a summer solstice ritual. “My thought from…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Soldiers ‘neutralize’ suspect after small blast at Brussels Central Station

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 01:11 PM PDT

Belgian police have “neutralized” a person reportedly wearing an explosive belt at Brussels Central Station. The news comes after the station was evacuated following reports…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christians, We Must Wake Up to the Blinding Effects of Sin

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 12:01 PM PDT

(By Shane Idleman) “The church is physically alive, but spiritually dead.”  I recently referred to a true story. A young girl, devastated by the choice…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

After More Than 20 Years as Conservative Leader, Paul Williams Comes Out as Transwoman

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 11:54 AM PDT

Paul Williams, who led the conservative church planting organization Orchard Group for 20 years, has publicly come out as a transgender woman named Paula Stone Williams.  Williams began…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

CA Teacher Who Voiced Christian Views on Sexuality Resigns After Backlash, Death Threats

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 11:46 AM PDT

A California high school teacher has willingly resigned after receiving intense backlash over his Christian views on sexuality. Michael Stack taught special education at San…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: Is End Times Prophecy Unfolding Before Our Eyes in Syria?

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 11:40 AM PDT

The Syrian conflict continues to escalate, with the U.S. government shooting down a Syrian jet over the weekend. It was an act that sparked a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Katy Perry: ‘Grace of God’ Brought Me Through Suicidal Depression

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 11:36 AM PDT

Pop star Katy Perry gave audiences an intimate look into her struggle with faith during a live stream therapy session with her psychiatrist last week….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Australia halts air strikes in Syria after Russia-US tensions over downed Damascus jet

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 11:31 AM PDT

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has suspended flights over Syria after Russia said it halted sky incident prevention interactions with the US as of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Kenya Bans 6 Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon Shows for ‘Glorifying Gay Behavior’

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 11:27 AM PDT

Kenya’s government has banned six animated shows airing on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network to battle what it described as attempts to “glorify homosexual behavior” and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

The seven fatal flaws of moral relativism

WINTERY KNIGHT

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Moral relativism is the view that moral values and moral duties do not exist in reality, but only exist as opinions in people’s minds. When you ask a moral relativist where the belief that stealing is wrong comes from, he may tell you that it is his opinion, or that it is the opinion of most people in his society. But he cannot tell you that stealing is wrong independent of what people think, because morality (on moral relativism) is just personal preference.

So what’s wrong with it?

I found this list of the seven flaws of moral relativism at the Salvo magazine web site.

Here’s the summary:

  1. Moral relativists can’t accuse others of wrongdoing.
  2. Relativists can’t complain about the problem of evil.
  3. Relativists can’t place blame or accept praise.
  4. Relativists can’t make charges of unfairness or injustice.
  5. Relativists can’t…

View original post 517 more words

June 21, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1359

The Urgency of Rest

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (4:11–13)

The need for God’s rest is urgent. A person should diligently, with intense purpose and concern, secure it. It is not that he can work his way to salvation, but that he should diligently seek to enter God’s rest by faith—lest he, like the Israelites in the wilderness, lose the opportunity.

God cannot be trifled with. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, … and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. In the immediate context this verse means that the readers who are hesitating in trusting Christ, who are even considering falling back into Judaism, had better be urgent and diligent in seeking to enter God’s rest, because the Word of God is alive. It is not static, but active—constantly active. It can pierce right down into the innermost part of the heart to see if belief is real or not.

So the Word of God is not only saving and comforting and nourishing and healing, it is also a tool of judgment and execution. In the day of the great judgment His Word is going to penetrate and lay bare all hearts who have not trusted in Him. The sham and hypocrisy will be revealed and no profession of faith, no matter how orthodox, and no list of good works, no matter how sacrificial, will count for anything before Him. Only the thoughts and intentions of the heart will count. God’s Word is the perfect discerner, the perfect kritikos (from which we get “critic”). It not only analyzes all the facts perfectly, but all motives, and intentions, and beliefs as well, which even the wisest of human judges or critics cannot do. The sword of His Word will make no mistakes in judgment or execution. All disguises will be ripped off and only the real person will be seen.

The word translated open had two distinct uses in ancient times. It was used of a wrestler taking his opponent by the throat. In this position the two men were unavoidably face to face. The other use was in regard to a criminal trial. A sharp dagger would be bound to the neck of the accused, with the point just below his chin, so that he could not bow his head, but had to face the court. Both uses had to do with grave face-to-face situations. When an unbeliever comes under the scrutiny of God’s Word, he will be unavoidably face-to-face with the perfect truth about God and about himself.

In light of such certain and perfect judgment and of such beautiful and wonderful rest, why will any person harden his heart to God?[1]


12 The exposition of Psalm 95:7–11 is complete, but before moving on with his argument the author pauses to reflect in vv. 12–13 on the power of “the word of God,” and the “for” shows this reflection is not a self-contained comment but a colorful and rhetorically powerful underlining of what has just been taught from the psalm. The psalm has focused on God’s speaking, both in the “voice” that the people are exhorted to heed (95:7) and in the declaration on oath that sealed the fate of those who refused to listen (vv. 10–11). This could be all that our author refers to when he speaks of “the word of God,” but he has also made it clear that he regards the whole message of the psalm as coming from the Holy Spirit (3:7) and from God (4:7), not just from David, so that vv. 12–13 are more likely to be understood in that wider sense. The whole text he has just been expounding is “the word of God” and as such cannot lightly be dismissed. To go further and find in these two verses a description of the whole of the OT goes beyond what the context requires but would be consonant with the authority our author clearly attributes to a wide variety of OT passages. Quite likely he also has in mind the “word of God” as it now comes through Christian preachers, of whom surely he himself was one (cf. 13:7, where the same phrase is used).

God’s word, like its author (3:12), is “living” (TNIV, “alive”). It is also “at work” (energēs, “active, effective, powerful,” GK 1921); the thought is close to that of Isaiah 55:11, where God’s word goes out from his mouth and accomplishes the purpose for which he sent it (cf. Ps 147:15, 18). Jeremiah conveyed this dynamic idea of God’s word by describing it as like a fire and like a hammer smashing the rock (Jer 23:29). Our author goes for a different metaphor, that of a double-edged sword (one designed for stabbing rather than slashing like a cutlass), which conveys not so much its sheer power as its ability to cut through our human resistance. This dynamic understanding of the word of God is vividly symbolized in the picture of a “sharp, two-edged sword” coming out of the mouth of the risen Lord in Revelation 1:16 (cf. 19:15). In the context of his discussion of Psalm 95, our author may be thinking of Numbers 14:43, where even after God’s oath some Israelites nonetheless tried to enter Canaan directly, only to be cut down by the sword of the Amalekites and Canaanites; God’s word is sharper even than that.

The metaphor continues in the following description of the sword (literally) “going right through to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow.” The latter pair, “joints and marrow,” refers to the literal body of flesh and bones, though it is not easy to see how joints can be “divided” from marrow; we may feel the effect of the metaphor without needing to inquire too closely how it might be envisaged physically. But with the former pair, “soul and spirit,” we seem already to be moving beyond the literal picture of what a sword can do. Words such as “soul” (psychē [GK 6034], sometimes better translated “life”) and “spirit” (pneuma [GK 4460], used for angels [1:7] and for the Holy Spirit as well as for people alive after death [12:23]) are notoriously slippery, and our author’s use of the two words elsewhere does not suggest he thought of them as two separate “parts” of a person. As with joints and marrow, we probably do better to feel the force of the metaphor than to press pedantically for a literal explanation. Both terms denote our “real, innermost selves,” and at that level, too, we are still open to the penetrative power of God’s word.

The final description of the word of God as “judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” has left the metaphor of the sword behind. The unusual adjective kritikos, “judging” or “discerning” (GK 3217), denotes its ability to break through pretense and confusion to expose the reality of our inmost being.[2]


4:12. This vivid expression of the power of God’s message provides the explanation for the strong warning of verse 11. Because God’s message is alive, active, sharp, and discerning, those who listen to God’s message can enter his rest. Two questions are important in this verse. First, what is the word of God? Second, what does this passage say about it?

Although the Bible sometimes refers to Christ as God’s Word (John 1:14), the reference here is not speaking of Jesus Christ. Here we have a general reference to God’s message to human beings. In the past God had spoken to human beings through dreams, angelic appearances, and miracles. He still can use those methods today, but our primary contact with God is through his written Word, the Bible. God’s Word will include any method God uses to communicate with human beings.

This verse contains four statements about God’s Word. First, it is living. God is a living God (Heb. 3:12). His message is dynamic and productive. It causes things to happen. It drives home warnings to the disobedient and promises to the believer. Second, God’s Word is active, an emphasis virtually identical in meaning with the term living. God’s Word is not something you passively hear and then ignore. It actively works in our lives, changes us, and sends us into action for God.

Third, God’s Word penetrates the soul and spirit. To the Hebrew people, the body was a unity. We should not think of dividing the soul from the spirit. God’s message is capable of penetrating the impenetrable. It can divide what is indivisible. Fourth, God’s message is discerning. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. It passes judgment on our feelings and our thoughts. What we regard as secret and hidden, God brought out for inspection by the discerning power of his Word.

In 1995, Johnny Oates was managing the Texas Rangers baseball team when God spoke to him through the illness of his wife Gloria. Oates had become a Christian in 1983; but until the crisis in 1995, he had always lived as if baseball were his god. His wife was traveling to the spring training camp for the Rangers when she became ill in Savannah, Georgia. His daughter summoned him to Georgia with a phone call. Oates arrived to find his wife in a motel, despairing and defeated.

Oates said, “God got my attention and said, ‘Johnny, it’s not going to work this way.’ ” In the grief of the moment, Oates told God that he was ready to listen to anything he wanted to say. The next day Oates checked his wife out of the motel and headed for their home in Virginia. There he and his wife both participated in a Christian counseling program and learned how to communicate with one another. He learned that what he had worshiped was not God or his family, but the game of baseball. Both Oates and his wife moved closer, and Oates said, “As we get closer to God, … we get closer to each other.”

God got his attention. Fortunately Oates listened. God’s message to this baseball manager was life changing. It was also marriage saving.[3]


12a. The word of God is living and active.

The writer reminds the reader that God’s Word cannot be taken lightly; for if the reader does not wish to listen, he faces no one less than God himself (see Heb. 10:31; 12:29). The Bible is not a collection of religious writings from the ancient past, but a book that speaks to all people everywhere in nearly all the languages of the world. The Bible demands a response, because God does not tolerate indifference and disobedience.

In their interpretation of verse 12a, some scholars assert that the phrase Word of God is a reference to Jesus. This view is difficult to maintain, even though such a reference exists in Revelation 19:13 (where the rider on the white horse is called the Word of God). The phrase Word of God occurs at least thirty-nine times in the New Testament and almost exclusively is the designation for the spoken or written Word of God rather than the Son of God. In the introductory verses of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the writer clearly states that God spoke to the forefathers in the past, and in the present he spoke to us in his Son (Heb. 1:1–2). In Hebrews Jesus is called the Son of God, but never the Word of God.

In the original Greek, the participle living stands first in the sentence and therefore receives all the emphasis. This participle describes the first characteristic of God’s spoken and written Word: that Word is alive! For example, Stephen, reciting Israel’s history in the desert, says that Moses at Mount Sinai “received living words” (Acts 7:38), and Peter tells the recipients of his first epistle that they “have been born again … through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

A second characteristic is that the Word of God is active. That is, it is effective and powerful. (The original Greek uses a word from which we have derived the term energy.) God’s Word, then, is energizing in its effect. No one can escape that living and active Word. Just as God’s spoken Word brought forth his beautiful creation, so his Word recreates man dead in transgressions and sins (Eph. 2:1–5). As in the wilderness some Israelites refused to listen to God’s Word while others showed obedience, so today we see that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

The Bible is not a dead letter, comparable to a law that is no longer enforced. Those people who choose to ignore the message of Scripture will experience not merely the power of God’s Word but its keen edge as well.

12b. Sharper than any double-edged sword.

In the ancient world, the double-edged sword was the sharpest weapon available in any arsenal. And in verse 12b, the author of Hebrews likens the Word of God to this weapon. (In a similar passage [Rev. 1:16] we read about the “sharp double-edged sword” coming out of the mouth of Jesus as John saw him on the island of Patmos. Whether this means that the tongue resembles a dagger is an open question.) The symbolism conveys the message that God’s judgment is stern, righteous, and awful. God has the ultimate power over his creatures; those who refuse to listen to his Word face judgment and death, while those who obey enter God’s rest and have life eternal. Let no one take the spoken and written Word for granted; let no one ignore it; let no one willfully oppose it. That Word cuts and divides, much as the scalpel of a surgeon uncovers the most delicate nerves of the human body.

However, the Word of God also provides protection. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians equates the Word with the sword of the Spirit—that is, part of the Christian’s spiritual armor (6:17).

12c. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

I do not think that the writer of Hebrews is teaching the doctrine that man consists of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Of course, we can make a distinction between soul and spirit by saying that the soul relates to man’s physical existence; and the spirit, to God. But the author does not make distinctions in this verse. He speaks in terms of that which is not done and in a sense cannot be done.

Who is able to divide soul and spirit or joints and marrow? And what judge can know the thoughts and attitudes of the heart? The author uses symbolism to say that what man ordinarily does not divide, God’s Word separates thoroughly. Nothing remains untouched by Scripture, for it addresses every aspect of man’s life. The Word continues to divide the spiritual existence of man and even his physical being. All the recesses of body and soul—including the thoughts and attitudes—face the sharp edge of God’s dividing sword. Whereas man’s thoughts remain hidden from his neighbor’s probing eye, God’s Word uncovers them.

God’s Word is called a discerner of man’s thoughts and intentions. In the Psalter David says:

O Lord, you have searched me

and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;

you perceive my thoughts from afar.

You discern my going out and my lying down;

you are familiar with all my ways. [Ps. 139:1–3]

And Jesus utters these words:

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. [John 12:47–48]

The Lord with his Word exposes the motives hidden in a man’s heart. In his epistle the author stresses the act of God’s speaking to man. For instance, the introductory verses (Heb. 1:1–2) illustrate this fact clearly. And repeatedly, when quoting the Old Testament Scriptures, the writer uses this formula: God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit says (consult the many quotations, for example, in the first four chapters). The Word is not a written document of past centuries. It is alive and current; it is powerful and effective; and it is undivided and unchanged. Written in times and cultures from which we are far removed, the Word of God nevertheless touches man today. God addresses man in the totality of his existence, and man is unable to escape the impact of God’s Word.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 104–105). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 67–68). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 71–72). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 115–118). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

June 20, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_1360

Jun. 20, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

China has invited President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law to visit later this year, according to people familiar with the matter, in the latest sign of the first family’s growing influence over foreign affairs.

Ukraine’s leader will meet President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington, a visit that could reveal more about the level of U.S. backing for the former Soviet republic and its efforts to repel a Russian-backed insurgency in its east.

The White House has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to jump into Texas’s battle to force its cities and elected local officials to comply with the state’s tough sanctuary-city ban, which makes it a crime to shelter some undocumented immigrants from deportation. At the same time, California was taking steps to thwart Trump’s stance, with the Legislature considering a bill that would formally declare the most populous state a sanctuary, barring local law enforcement from using resources to help federal authorities target immigrants for deportation.

Saudi Arabia said its navy captured three members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard aboard a small boat laden with explosives as it headed toward an oil platform in the Gulf.

President Donald Trump on Monday denounced the death of Otto Warmbier, saying the University of Virginia student who spent more than a year imprisoned in North Korea suffered at the hands of a “brutal regime.”

Ford Motor Co. is canceling controversial plans to build the Focus small car in Mexico, saving $1 billion by ending North American production entirely and importing the model mostly from China after next year.

A wave of coders writing self-teaching algorithms has descended on the financial world, and it doesn’t look good for most of the money managers who’ve long been envied for their multimillion-­dollar bonuses.

Iran said it fired missiles at Islamic State targets in Syria in retaliation for the jihadists’ deadly attacks in Tehran last week, a rare strike signaling Iran’s willingness to escalate its use of military power in the region’s conflicts.

AP Top Stories

Jihadis attacked a hotel resort Sunday in Mali’s capital, taking hostages at a spot popular with foreigners on the weekends. More than 30 people managed to escape, though at least two people were killed, authorities said.

Syrian troops and allied militias met up with Iraqi forces at one crossing point along their shared border Sunday for the first time in years, in a step described as a major achievement by the Syrian military in their fight against the Islamic State group.

Russia gave a warning to the U.S. after a Syrian warplane was downed by the U.S. military. The Russian Defense Ministry threatened it will treat U.S.-led coalition planes over Syria as targets.

Israel revoked on Sunday the permits of 200,000 Palestinians to enter Israel that were approved for the holy month of Ramadan following two near simultaneous Palestinian attacks on police that killed a young female officer near Jerusalem’s Old City.

NASA’s planet-hunting telescope has found 10 new planets outside our solar system that are likely the right size and temperature to potentially have life on them, broadly hinting that we are probably not alone.

A raging forest fire in central Portugal sent flames sweeping over roads, killing at least 63 people, many of them trapped in their cars as they tried to flee, officials said Sunday.

Deadly heat waves like the one now broiling the American West are bigger killers than previously thought and they are going to grow more frequent, according to a new comprehensive study of fatal heat conditions. Still, those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them.

BBC

As temperatures climb in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 40 flights have been cancelled – because it is too hot for the planes to fly. The weather forecast for the US city suggests temperatures could reach 120F on Tuesday. That is higher than the operating temperature of some planes.

Russia’s “gay propaganda” law is discriminatory and encourages homophobia, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. The law “reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia”, the ruling said.

About 1,300 US children under the age of 17 die from gun-related injuries per year, a government study has found.

Several prominent journalists and activists in Mexico have filed a complaint accusing the government of spying on them by hacking their phones.

More than 3,300 people have been killed in the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region since last October, the Catholic Church said.

A court in Algeria has sentenced a man to two years in prison for dangling his baby out of a window in order to attract “likes” on Facebook. The father posted a picture of himself holding the baby out of a window in a high-rise building with the caption: “1,000 likes or I will drop him.”

WND

“Activity levels at the end of adolescence were alarmingly low, and by age 19, they were comparable to 60-year-olds,” says the study’s senior author, Vadim Zipunnikov.

Boeing sees the day coming when you board a plane in New York and land two hours later in Shanghai, China. Boeing expects hypersonic jets, flying at up to Mach 5, or 3,800 mph, could serve a small but important market of travelers willing to pay a premium to reach far-flung destinations in a fraction of the time it usually takes.

New Jersey is now the only state in the U.S. where people can’t sell home-baked goods after a Wisconsin court this month invalidated that state’s ban.


The Briefing 06-20-17

Did Christians start the wedding wars? It isn’t Christianity whose definition of marriage changed.

Digital age parenting: Do we really have to be told Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ doesn’t make a good parent?

The New Yorker discovers St. Augustine: Sex and the priority of theology in Augustine’s thought

The post The Briefing 06-20-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 6/20/2017

What This Supreme Court Ruling Means for the Washington Redskins, Other Brands Deemed ‘Offensive’
Should “offensive” brand names be allowed to get a federal patent? The Supreme Court answered “yes” on Monday, handing a decisive win to Simon Tam and his band, The Slants.

Greenblatt, Kushner begin push for peace talks
Special Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt, Jared Kushner pressure Israel, Palestinian Authority to reboot negotiations, make concessions.

‘European army is inevitable’ – German defense commissioner
Speaking to the German Press Agency on Monday, Hans-Peter Bartels, the Germany Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, called on the 28-nation bloc’s militaries to unite into a single armed force.

Lieberman pushes for security cabinet polygraph test to plug leaks
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and MK Robert Ilatov of Yisrael Beytenu push for legislation requiring security cabinet members to take mandatory, annual polygraph tests to prevent leaks.

Israel, Saudi Arabia reportedly discuss establishing economic ties
According to the report, the historic move, if implemented, could be the first step toward normalizing relations and would begin with Israeli businesses being allowed to operate in the Persian Gulf. The newspaper gave as one example the possibility of Israeli airline El Al being allowed to fly over Saudi airspace.

Kim Jong Un lives in fear of assassination by western ‘decapitation’ team, says report
The 33-year-old, third-generation ruler is “extremely nervous” about a clandestine plot to take him out, according to a key South Korean lawmaker who spoke to The Korea Herald.

Christian “Awakening” to Holiness of Temple Mount Draws Islamic Fury
Until now, the bloody battle for the Temple Mount has been fought between Muslims and Jews, but a new awakening among some Christians to its significance is creating a shifting pre-Messianic reality at the already volatile site. The developing status of Christians on the Temple Mount played out a few weeks ago in a Muslim-Christian confrontation that nearly ended in violence.

Iran missile struck ISIS but is also aimed at US, Saudis, Israel
That Iran would verbally threaten ISIS, Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel is not new. That it would launch six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles more than 600 kilometers into another country is. Although Iran’s ballistic missiles hit ISIS in Syria on Sunday, the audience for the strike explicitly included the US and Saudi Arabia and, implicitly, Israel.

Macron meets Jordan’s king, condemns deadly Jerusalem attack
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Jordan’s King Abdullah in Paris on Monday. Macron and King Abdullah discussed Israel and the Palestinian territories, and the French president condemned an attack on Friday by three Palestinians who killed an Israeli policewoman as well as “continuing settlement expansion.”

Syria conflict: Australia suspends military air operations
Australia says it is temporarily suspending its military air operations over Syria, after a warning from Russia that it would treat aircraft from the US-led coalition as potential targets. The pause was a “precautionary measure”, the government said, without giving details. Moscow’s warning came after the US shot down a Syrian military plane.

Portugal fire: Soaring temperatures threaten firefighting effort
Soaring temperatures threaten efforts to bring a raging forest fire in Portugal under control, officials say. The week’s highest temperatures of around 38C (100F) are expected on Tuesday and together with windy conditions could reignite fires already quelled. Civil protection officials say although 70% of the fire is under control, what remains is a source “of great concern”.

Syria conflict: Russia issues warning after US coalition downs jet
Russia has warned the US-led coalition fighting in Syria that it will view its aircraft as targets, after the US shot down a Syrian military plane on Sunday. The coalition said the Syrian Su-22 had bombed US-backed fighters battling so-called Islamic State in Raqqa province. Russia, the Syrian government’s main ally, also said it was halting communications with the US aimed at preventing such incidents.

Personal details of nearly 200 million US citizens exposed
Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee. The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population. The data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server.

It’s so hot in Phoenix, they can’t fly planes
The extreme heat forecast for Phoenix on Tuesday has caused the cancellation of 20 American Airlines flights out of Sky Harbor International Airport. According to a statement from American Airlines, the American Eagle regional flights use the Bombardier CRJ aircraft, which has a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees. Tuesday’s forecast for Phoenix included a high of 120 degrees…

Iranian official on Syrian attack: ‘Israel understood the message, it should be worried’
An advisor to Iran’s foreign minister said…the Islamic republic’s missiles attack against ISIS in Syria also served as a message to Israel, adding “I think (Israel) understood the message… it now has to worry” about its actions…Sheikh Hussein al-Islam…adding Tehran “will not allow terrorism to determine the future of the region.” Showing his disdain…al-Islam determined “the presence of Americans in the region is illegal; the US should leave Syria sooner or later.”

EXCLUSIVE: Soros, Clinton-Linked Teneo Among Donors to McCain Institute
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2012 turned over nearly $9 million in unspent funds from his failed 2008 presidential campaign to a new foundation bearing his name, the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Otto Warmbier Has Died, Family Blames “North Korea’s Torturous Mistreatment”
Just days after North Korea released Otto Warmbier after holding him hostage for 17 months, his family has just reported the sad news of his passing.

There Have Been 296 Earthquakes In The Vicinity Of The Yellowstone Supervolcano Within The Last 7 Days
Democrats gearing up for a new round of battles against Republican efforts to do away with Barack Obama’s signature health care law are condemning a US Senate replacement bill being crafted by Republicans behind closed doors.

Hillary Clinton Told FBI’s Mueller To Deliver Uranium To Russians In 2009 “Secret Plane-Side Tarmac Meeting”
New Clinton-Mueller Russian uranium ties surface in the latest Wikileaks release… “We require that the transfer of this material be conducted at the airport, on the tarmac near by the plane, upon arrival of the Director’s aircraft.”

FOIA Request On Susan Rice’s Unmaskings Rejected Because “Records Were Moved To Obama Library”
“Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  You may send your request to the Obama Library.  However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.”

Free Beacon Barred From Covering Jon Ossoff Campaign Event
The Washington Free Beacon was told by Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s campaign that it was not welcome to cover remarks that he was scheduled to deliver to supporters on the night before Tuesday’s special election.


Anti-Trump Resistance Rhetoric Fueling ‘Raging Fever’ in Unbalanced People

Democratic strategist and public opinion pollster Pat Caddell talked with Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.  According to Marlow:

Unhinged

Caddell said, “I think they are united in a narrative. And that narrative is, somebody did something wrong. It was Donald Trump and therefore, at the end of the day, he must not be president.”

“They’re still fighting the campaign that they lost,” he added, meaning the media.

“They will not put out things that disagree with their narrative,” said Caddell. “That’s when they stop being a press. They’ve become propagandists and this is really dangerous stuff. It is really scary because for many voters, they don’t know where to turn, necessarily, to get a view that gives them both sides.”

View article →


Cities Across America Creating Rainbow Crosswalks to Celebrate ‘LGBTQ Pride’

What if tax payers don’t want their hard earned money spent on rainbow crosswalks that celebrate “diversity”? What about the citizens who find the crosswalk offensive for the reason that the rainbow has been hijacked by the LGBTQ community and some folks don’t approve of their lifestyle choices? Well, too bad for them. Christian News has the story.

Several American cities recently approved the creation of rainbow crosswalks to celebrate “LGBTQ pride,” and homosexual advocacy groups are circulating petitions to request that more cities paint their crosswalks with the “diversity” stripes.

Houston, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C. created rainbow crosswalks to coincide with their June homosexual pride events. In Atlanta, the display will be permanent.

“I believe that symbols of unity matter,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. “In recognition of the outstanding and ongoing contributions of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community to our city, I am pleased to announce today that the city will install the rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and 10th Street year-round.”

View article →


Attorney for Bernie Donor Class Action Calls DNC ‘The Ultimate Ponzi Scheme’

According to Breitbart:

Backers of Bernie Sanders are suing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for fraud based on last summer’s hacks revealing systemic bias for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary campaign.

The class-action lawsuit, Wilding v. DNC Services Corp., is underway in federal court in Florida, where it is awaiting a ruling on the DNC’s motion to dismiss heard in April. The plaintiff class, Bernie donors who also gave money to the DNC under the assumption of its impartiality in the 2016 primary contest between Clinton and Sanders. The suit alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and a consumer protection violation.

The claims are based on the celebrated leaked emails and memos from the “Guccifer 2.0” hacks last June. The leaks appear to show direct assistance of Secretary Clinton to the detriment of Senator Sanders. The novel legal theory is based on the donors having been duped by the DNC’s claims of impartiality.

View article →


June 19, 2017

WES VERNON — If you’re a conservative, a Republican, a Trump supporter, a dissenter from the edicts enunciated by the Marxist-tolerating establishment, you may be targeted sooner or later by the haters in the left…. (more)


June 19, 2017
ALAN KEYES — As its original Latin root literally suggests, a congressional subpoena demands compliance “subject to the penalties of law.” Nonetheless, the Constitution says plainly that the president “shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States,” even including high treason…. (more)

June 19, 2017
INDEPENDENT — Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces are also present as “targets” amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet…. (more)

June 19, 2017
PALM BEACH POST — President Donald Trump on Friday issued a proclamation declaring Sunday to be Father’s Day. Presidents historically issue proclamations for holidays, noting the importance of the day and making remarks on the holiday’s significance…. (more)

June 19, 2017
PJ MEDIA — It’s hard to determine whether some liberals are tone deaf or just downright mean. MSNBC hostess Joy-Ann Reid almost certainly falls into the latter category. Reid was on with NAACP board member Rev. William J. Barber II when the conversation turned to Rep. Steve Scalise, who was lying in a hospital bed in critical condition at the time…. (more)

June 19, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Defense Secretary James Mattis is facing his first significant decision in the military’s sexual revolution legacy left by the last commander in chief, Barack Obama. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton Carter, issued a directive last year permitting transgender troops to remain in the military and undergo sex reassignment procedures instead of facing automatic discharge…. (more)

June 19, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — In the name of fighting terrorism financing, a new U.S. Senate bill threatens to force private corporations to monitor your financial activity and empowers government to seize all your assets if you fail to comply with the new law…. (more)

June 19, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — President Trump has a higher approval rating than virtually every other leader in Washington, a little reported fact that emerged in a new survey of the nation’s political officials…. (more)

June 19, 2017
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — President Donald Trump’s missteps have intensified the scandal that is consuming his administration. One is tempted to put scandal in scare quotes. Trump is somehow enmeshed in a scandal based on actions that a president is fully entitled to take – – such as dismissing the FBI director and weighing in on the merits of continuing an investigation of his former national-security adviser…. (more)

June 19, 2017

NEWSMAX — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is in serious condition after undergoing another surgery Saturday following last week’s shooting at the Congressional baseball practice where a man who was reportedly distraught over President Trump’s election shot Scalise and three others…. (more)


June 18, 2017
BOB UNRUH — A Jesuit scholar with expertise in Islam is explaining why Muslims are terroristic and is warning members of his faith not to be taken in by the “liberal-left ideology” that advocates “tolerance” and “concessions.”… (more)

June 18, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — A refugee from the Muslim Middle East thinks he has discovered Islam’s 20-point plan for conquering the United States by 2020 – – a plan revealed in the latest issue of Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin…. (more)

June 17, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — I am amazed by the conspiracy of silence, on the right and the left, about former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s bungling of the anthrax case. “In his years as FBI director and as a Justice Department official, Mueller gained a reputation for honesty, integrity, and being a ‘straight-shooter,'” writes Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard…. (more)

June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Special counsel Robert Mueller could have a tough time making an obstruction of justice case stick against President Trump, according to legal analysts, who said he will have to overcome a number of “unique hurdles” – – not the least of which is a decades-old Justice Department ruling that a sitting president can’t be charged…. (more)


June 17, 2017

ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — On March 30, 2017, by his own account, then-FBI director James Comey told President Donald Trump that Trump himself was not under investigation – – the third time he had given him that assurance. In fact, Comey told Trump that he had just assured members of Congress that Trump was not a suspect under investigation…. (more)


June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — An op-ed posted June 11 by Huffington Post contributor Jason Fuller was pulled by the website after Wednesday’s attack on congressional Republicans…. (more)


June 17, 2017

ALICIA POWE — CNN, the network famously dubbed “fake news” by President Trump, misreported an emotional moment before the Congressional Baseball Game Thursday, tweeting that it was only Democrats who knelt for prayer on the field…. (more)


June 17, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — This is a time in the history of our nation when an honest group or congressional panel with integrity could name and ostracize extremists on both the right and left. Unfortunately, the media have crowned the misnamed Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the arbiter of what’s good and right in America today. Ironically, it was the SPLC that inspired an act of terrorism on American soil, when a gay militant opened fire on the Washington office of the Family Research Council. He saw the group listed on an SPLC “hate map.”… (more)

June 17, 2017
DAILY CALLER — James T. Hodgkinson, the shooter who opened fire on dozens of Republican congressmen and staffers at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday, had a list of Republican names in his pocket that was recovered by the FBI, The Daily Caller has learned…. (more)

June 17, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump announced a dramatic reversal Friday of the Obama administration’s Cuba policy, restoring restrictions on U.S. travel to the island and new prohibitions on financial transactions that benefit the communist regime’s military…. (more)


June 17, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly officially revoked President Obama’s 2014 attempt to broaden his previous deportation amnesty for Dreamers, which had been held up by federal courts for more than two years. The decision leaves in place the 2012 temporary amnesty for more than 780,000 Dreamers but officially ends immigrant rights groups’ hopes of expanding that policy to as many as 4 million more illegal immigrants…. (more)

June 15, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — Former FBI Director James Comey has finally admitted publicly that President Donald Trump has not been under investigation, after months of deliberately leaving the impression that he was. Now the issue becomes whether Trump somehow obstructed justice in trying to save one of his subordinates, a decorated military veteran who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), from a frivolous prosecution…. (more)

June 15, 2017
LINDA GOUDSMIT — Only a left-wing liberal living in subjective reality could promote the hijab, the quintessential symbol of feminine oppression, as fashion. The idea is so spectacularly stupid that it defies description. This is yet another salvo in the attempt to Islamicize the West by making the unacceptable dictates of sharia law acceptable…. (more)

June 15, 2017
SUSAN FERRECHIO — Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday were left pondering whether and how to increase their own security in the wake of a gunman’s shocking attack against GOP lawmakers at a baseball practice, and it is already prompting some to start pushing for police protection at their homes and group events outside the Capitol…. (more)

June 15, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — One Republican lawmaker believes that concealed carry reciprocity for members of Congress should be considered as part of possible security upgrades after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot at practice for the congressional charity baseball game early Wednesday morning…. (more)

Mid-Day Snapshot

June 20, 2017

Impartial Investigators or Hit Squad?

Special investigator Robert Mueller has assembled a team with some hard core Democrats and Clinton connections.

The Foundation

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson (1822)

A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity

Back in 2010 when I wrote this article my aim was to inform professing Christians, who had convinced themselves that it’s okay to practice “Christian yoga,” that it is not okay at all.  At that point yoga, which has it’s roots in Hinduism, had taken the Christian community by storm.  As you will see in […]

The post A subtle and dangerous shift in Christianity appeared first on Berean Research.


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: June 20

  • Central bank caution beefs up stock gains (Read More)
  • Pound Drops as BOE’s Carney Says Not Yet Time to Raise Rates (Read More)
  • Oil Just Hit Its Lowest Level of the Year (Read More)
  • Britain charges Barclays, ex-bosses over ‘unlawful’ Qatari deal (Read More)
  • Senate GOP Sets Ambitious Deadline on Health-Care Vote (Read More)
  • Both Parties Have a Lot to Lose in Georgia and S.C. Special Elections (Read More)
  • House speaker vows to complete tax reform in 2017 (Read More)
  • The New Face of Trump’s Legal Team Is the Christian Right’s Pitbull (Read More)
  • Russia probe focuses on role of Flynn partner (Read More)
  • Among the iPhone’s Biggest Transformations: Apple Itself (Read More)
  • Democrats protest Senate Republican healthcare secrecy (Read More)
  • Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Profit (Read More)
  • Whole Foods CEO hints at another brand under Amazon (Read More)
  • Robots Are Eating Money Managers’ Lunch (Read More)
  • Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review (Read More)
  • Peak Banking Globalization Hasn’t Come and Gone, BIS Says (Read More)
  • Soros Says U.K. Is Approaching ‘Tipping Point’ as Brexit Bites (Read More)
  • Supreme Court to hear major case on political boundaries (Read More)
  • Ex-BlackRock Exec’s Gas Bet Pays Off With $6.7 Billion Takeover Deal (Read More)
  • Millennials Are Helping America Save More Money (Read More)
  • Tesla driver in fatal ‘Autopilot’ crash got numerous warnings: U.S. government (Read More)
  • Boeing lifts 20-year industry demand forecast to $6 trillion (Read More)
  • Virginia police probe Muslim girl’s killing as ‘road rage’ incident (Read More)

Top Headlines – 6/20/2017

Ground broken for first new West Bank settlement in 25 years

Jerusalem building freeze halting plans for 6,000 housing units

Beit El settlers slam Netanyahu: ‘He’s acting like Erdogan, lying to us’

Netanyahu assails Abbas in tweetstorm on eve of new US peace bid

Against the odds, Trump renews push on Middle East peace

Kushner heading to Mideast for peace talks

Egypt said to ease Gaza power crisis with emergency fuel supply

Can Israeli water technology save the world?

Commentary: It’s Time for Zionists to Stop Celebrating the Balfour Declaration – Israel was reclaimed as the Jewish homeland in spite of it, not because of it

Huge hidden trove of Nazi artifacts found in Argentina

The Internet Is Ruining Hebrew – The language of the Bible just got stupider, courtesy of Facebook commenters (and the Academy of the Hebrew Language)

Health Minister Litzman threatens to leave the coalition over Shabbat desecration

IDF: Dozens of soldiers lied about contracting skin disease

‘Attacks on Israel prove UNHRC’s entrenched political bias’

UNHRC holds special session on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Hamas: War with Israel unlikely, relations with Egypt improving

Experts warn ISIS could come to Israel

US experts warn Israel to take Islamic State seriously

Iran missile struck ISIS but is also aimed at US, Saudis, Israel

After Iran fires missiles at IS in Syria, Netanyahu warns it not to threaten Israel

Netanyahu to Iran: We’re watching your every move

The USS George H.W. Bush will dock at Haifa for the first time in 17 years as the ship takes part in air operations against ISIS

Evangelical Groups to Trump: Don’t Deport Iraqi Christians

Muslims face rising violence in wake of IS-claimed attacks

The UN helps Assad rebuild, as he continues the carnage

Australia suspends air strikes in Syria

US and Moscow in Delicate Talks on Syria Tensions

Russia warns US its fighter jets are now potential target in Syria

White House says retains the right to self defense in Syria

EU considers Iraq security mission after Mosul falls

Iranian and Chinese destroyers hold joint drill in Persian Gulf

Iran and Saudi Arabia offer clashing accounts of offshore confrontation

Saudis Say They Seized 3 Iranians Planning ‘Terrorist Act’ at Sea

Iran denies Saudi captured three Revolutionary Guards, says they are fishermen

Commentary: America will regret helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen

Qatar says it will not negotiate unless neighbours lift ‘blockade’

Turkey troops arrive in Qatar for long-planned drills

After Spat With Turkey, Germany Moves anti-ISIS Planes to Jordan

Afghan official: Gunmen killed 8 Afghan guards of a US base

Gunmen kill 2 navy men, wound 3 in Pakistan

Philippines launches offensive in Marawi, aims to end battle by weekend

Al-Qaida-linked militants staged Mali resort attack; 5 dead

Suicide bombers kill 12 in Nigeria’s Borno state

‘Half’ Nigeria food aid for Boko Haram victims not delivered

London attack: ‘Aggressive’ and ‘strange’ suspect vowed to ‘do some damage’

Finsbury Park Mosque attack latest: Theresa May vows hatred and evil will never succeed as Labour warns of rise in Islamophobia

Jewish groups express solidarity with UK Muslims after attack

Car rams police van on Champs-Elysees, armed suspect dead

Paris attack: Champs-Elysees driver had explosives and rifle, was flagged for extremism

French minister: Attack threat still very high

Some 126 migrants die in shipwreck off Libya

Kim Jong Un lives in fear of assassination by western ‘decapitation’ team, says report

Otto Warmbier dead: Trump condemns ‘brutal’ North Korea regime

China tour agency will stop taking Americans to North Korea

Venezuela Death Toll Climbs as Teenager is Shot Dead in Venezuela Anti-Government Protests

Cartel Wives: Women whose husbands worked for, then brought down El Chapo tell their story

Southwest border cities to use IRIS scanning technology to identify inmates, illegal immigrants

Mexico accused of spying on journalists and activists using cellphone malware

Michael Flynn Worked With Foreign Cyberweapons Group That Sold Spyware Used Against Political Dissidents

Jeff Sessions Defends Sentencing Memo: Violent Crime Increased Under Obama’s Policies

Judicial Watch announces major lawsuit against DOJ – and it involves James Comey

Special prosecutor to meet Senate committee leaders

Mueller team lawyer brings witness-flipping expertise to Trump probes

Bossie: Mainstream Media Trying to ‘Nullify an Election for the First Time’

Trump should give up Twitter, President Reagan’s son says

Poll: Americans say U.S. political debate is increasingly uncivil

Sanders: Act in “Unprecedented” Ways, Fight Back in Every Way That You Can

Soros, Clinton-Linked Teneo Among Donors to McCain Institute

Market Volatility Has Vanished Around the World

Dow and S&P 500 close at records as tech stocks surge

Dollar hits three-week high on Fed rate hike bets

Oil prices near seven-month lows on global oversupply

Fire at French nuclear reactor, safety body says no sign of radiation concerns

Tsunami hits Greenland after 4.0 earthquake, reportedly killing four

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Tropical Storm Bret becomes earliest named storm so far south in the Atlantic

Fierce storm in Chile kills four, wreaks havoc

Britain wakes up to another scorching morning as country on course for longest heatwave in 20 years

The Southwest US Is About to Get Torched by a Brutal Heat Wave

California residents to lose power during extreme heat

Phoenix and Tucson tie heat records for the date

Phoenix flights cancelled because it’s too hot for planes

Violent turbulence injures 26 on China Eastern Airlines flight

Israeli company is developing a universal flu vaccination

Air Force: As many as 135 patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis at Al Udeid clinic

Delaware Legalizes Abortion through all Nine Months

Sao Paulo Gay Pride draws huge crowd and call to protect rights

Canada takes major step in criminalizing discrimination of transgender people

Women-Only Spa Accused Of Being Transphobic For ‘No Male Genitals’ Policy

Supreme Court strikes down law banning use of Facebook by registered sex offenders

Bethel Church & Bill Johnson — Become a Prophet in One Week for Only $395!

Prophetess Patricia King Approves of Eliphaz and God Does Not Approve

Messianic Jewish Publisher Sparks Ultra-Orthodox Anger at Israeli Book Week

Pastor dies in search for famous hidden treasure

Pope Francis: Property is theft and Socialism is the answer…

The Man Who Secretly Taped Planned Parenthood Could Be Going To Prison

Cross in Pensacola park must come down, violates Constitution federal judge rules

BREAKING NEWS: US shoots down another pro-regime drone in Syria

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 07:22 AM PDT

A US F-15E fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone near At Tanf, Syria, on Monday, two US officials told CNN, the third downing…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Church of England Official Suggests Transgender Christians Can Be ‘Re-Christened’ After Undergoing Sex Change

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:54 AM PDT

An official of the Church of England suggested that it may allow transgender Christians to be “re-christened” under their new names following a sex change….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

St. Louis Cardinals Refuse to Bow to LGBT Demands to Punish Christians

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:39 AM PDT

The St. Louis Cardinals have sponsored “Christian Day” for 30 years, but recently gay activists have begun to pressure the Major League Baseball team to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Disturbing Satanic Messages Appear at Four Churches in New York

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:33 AM PDT

Four churches in Suffolk, New York, have been tagged with Satanic graffiti, setting police on a quest to find those responsible.  The latest house of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Ezekiel’s Prophesied Promise Coming to Pass in Israel in Vivid Way

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:29 AM PDT

Until I moved to Israel, the closest I got to farming was knowing where to get good produce at a farmers market. Since living in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Syria Conflict Could Escalate Quickly!

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:21 AM PDT

The United States is inching closer to involvement in the Syrian civil war after U.S. forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet on Sunday.  The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

ON EDGE: Armed Russian jet comes within 5 feet of US recon jet…

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:17 AM PDT

An armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea on Monday, two U.S. officials told Fox News. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Amazon may replace Whole Foods workers with Robots

Posted: 20 Jun 2017 06:10 AM PDT

Amazon is feared to be planning a bloodbath at Whole Foods.  The Seattle-based web giant, which recently bought the upscale grocer for £11 billion, could…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

German Defense Commissioner Claims ‘European Army is Inevitable’

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:20 PM PDT

Germany’s parliamentary defense commissioner, Hans-Peter Bartels, has renewed calls for a joint EU army amid concerns about the reliability of the NATO alliance and disorganization…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

WNBA Team to Fundraise for Abortion Giant Planned Parenthood

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:12 PM PDT

A chapter of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has decided to partner with the abortion and contraception giant Planned Parenthood by hosting a pre-game rally and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Cities Across America Creating Rainbow Crosswalks to Celebrate ‘LGBTQ Pride’

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:09 PM PDT

Several American cities recently approved the creation of rainbow crosswalks to celebrate “LGBTQ pride,” and homosexual advocacy groups are circulating petitions to request that more cities paint their…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

NASA unveils 10 new worlds humans could one day call home

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:06 PM PDT

NASA’s Kepler space telescope team have identified 219 new planet candidates, ten of which could prove to be humanity’s next great hopes of life among…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: LGBT Groups Say Conservative Christians ‘Have No Place in Government’

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 06:53 PM PDT

LGBT activist groups are outraged that the Trump administration’s Department of Education invited speakers from two prominent conservative Christian family organizations to participate in a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Expert Sets Out to Historically Prove Life and Miracles of Moses

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 06:47 PM PDT

“Patterns of Evidence” expert Tim Mahoney believes the Bible is losing its authority so he is setting out for a new discovery to historically prove…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Despicable people are taking selfies at the site of the deadly London fire!

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 06:42 PM PDT

Residents who live near Grenfell Tower in London have expressed heartbreak and outrage after spotting visitors taking selfies at the site of last week’s deadly…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Supreme Court strikes down law banning use of Facebook by registered sex offenders

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 06:35 PM PDT

The Supreme Court unanimously struck down a North Carolina law that bars the use of commercial social networking sites, including Facebook, by registered sex offenders….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Federal Judge Rules Cross Violates Law and Must Be Removed

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 06:32 PM PDT

Atheists across the fruited plain are rejoicing after a federal judge declared that a cross erected in a Florida park violated the law and must…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sinners must be Re-Born while Believers must be Transformed!

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 11:21 AM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment, we will discuss how the sinners and unbelievers must be Re-Born in the Spirit to discern and perceive the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Trump Hires Prominent Christian Lawyer Jay Sekulow For Russia ‘Witch Hunt’

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 11:16 AM PDT

President Donald Trump added Christian activist and lawyer Jay Sekulow to his legal defense team to assist in the Russia “witch hunt.”  According to his…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

AWAKENING? Nearly 300 Earthquakes Have Rattled Yellowstone in the Last 7 Days

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 11:11 AM PDT

Is it possible that the Yellowstone supervolcano is gearing up for a major eruption? If you follow my work on a regular basis, you already know that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Homosexual Teacher Posing in White House Photo With Trump Stirs Controversy

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 11:06 AM PDT

When Rhode Island’s teacher of the year took his turn in front of the camera with President Trump, he struck a pose some took as an…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Absolutely Terrifying History Behind the Ouija Board

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 11:01 AM PDT

For more than a century, the Ouija board has both entertained and terrified millions of people across the globe. And the board game — which…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Responds to Russian Threat! “We will not hesitate to Defend Ourselves”!

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 10:52 AM PDT

U.S. pilots operating over Syria won’t hesitate to defend themselves from Russian threats, a Pentagon spokesperson said Monday in the latest escalation between the two…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

June 20, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1358

Their Position

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (6:17–18)

First the apostle gives thanks … to God that his believing readers were no longer subject to the slavery that leads to death. He does not thank or praise them for their own wisdom or intelligence or moral and spiritual determination, because none of those things had a part in their salvation. “No one can come to Me,” Jesus said, “unless the Father who sent Me draws him, … [and] unless it has been granted him from the Father” (John 6:44, 65). Our thanks for salvation should always be to God alone, because it is God alone “who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

Believers are saved solely by the grace and power of God. And by His grace, habitual disobedience to Him is in the past tense. Formerly, Paul says, you were slaves of sin, but no more. Were translates an imperfect Greek tense, signifying an ongoing reality In other words, the unregenerate person is under the continual, unbroken slavery of sin. That is the universal position of the natural man, with no exceptions. No matter how outwardly moral, upright, or benevolent an unsaved person’s life may be, all that he thinks, says, and does emanates from a proud, sinful, ungodly heart. Quoting from Psalm 14, Paul had already made that truth clear. “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one’ ” (Rom. 3:10–12).

That Paul is not speaking about merely outward righteousness is made clear from his declaration that you became obedient from the heart. God works His salvation in a persons innermost being. Through the grace provided by His Son, God changes men’s very natures when they trust in Him. A person whose heart has not been changed has not been saved. Righteous living that issues from an obedient … heart is habitual. And just as God’s grace operates only through a trusting heart, His righteousness operates only through an obedient heart.

Faith and obedience are inescapably related. There is no saving faith in God apart from obedience to God, and there can be no godly obedience without godly faith. As the beautiful and popular hymn admonishes, “Trust and obey, there’s no other way.” Our Lord “gave Himself for us,” Paul says, not only to save us from hell and take us to heaven but to “redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).

Salvation comes “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit,” Peter wrote to persecuted believers throughout the Roman world, in order that those who believe may “obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood” (a symbol referring to a covenant of obedience, see Ex. 24:1–8). Later in the epistle he admonished: “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet. 1:2, 22–23; emphasis added). Obedience to Jesus Christ and obedience to His truth are totally synonymous, and His truth is “the living and abiding word of God.”

Obedience neither produces nor maintains salvation, but it is an inevitable characteristic of those who are saved. Belief itself is an act of obedience, made possible and prompted by God’s sovereign grace, yet always involving the uncoerced will of the believer. A person is not transported passively from slavery in Satan’s kingdom of darkness to slavery in God’s kingdom of light. Salvation does not occur apart from an act of commitment on the believer’s part. The life-changing work of salvation is by God’s power alone, but it does not work apart from man’s will. God has no unwilling children in His family, no unwilling citizens in His kingdom.

Genuine faith not only is in God’s Son but in God’s truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). Paul had confidence in the salvation of his readers in the church at Rome because they obeyed to that form of teaching to which [they] were committed. No believer, of course, comprehends all of God’s truth. Even the most mature and faithful Christian only begins to fathom the riches of God’s Word in this present life. But the desire to know and obey God’s truth is one of the surest marks of genuine salvation. From its inception, the early church was characterized by its devotion “to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). And Jesus made it clear that those who obeyed His word were the true believers (see John 8:31; 14:21, 23, 24; 15:10; etc.).

Form translates tupos, which was used of the molds into which molten metal for castings was poured. Committed translates the aorist passive of paradidōmi, which carries the basic meaning of deliver over to. And because eis (to) can also be translated into, it seems that a more precise rendering of this phrase is “that form of teaching into which you were delivered.” It is true, of course, that, through its reading and preaching, God’s Word is delivered to believers. But Paul’s point here seems to be that the true believer is also delivered into God’s Word, His divine teaching. The idea is that when God makes a new spiritual creation of a believer, He casts him into the mold of divine truth. The J. B. Phillips rendering of Romans 12:1 uses the same figure: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.” In other words, “Do not let Satan’s forces try to fit you back into the old sinful mold from which God delivered you. Let God continue to fashion you into the perfect image of His Son.”

Throughout his epistles, Paul emphasizes the crucial relationship of God’s truth to faithful Christian living. In his second letter to Timothy, he advised his young protégé in ministry to “retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:13). He later warned him that “the time will come when [men] will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (4:3). The apostle maintained that an overseer, or elder, in the church should hold “fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9). Later in the same letter he admonished Titus to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (2:1). The Christian who faithfully obeys God’s Word becomes conformed to the truth of that Word, a living model of the gospel. The divine teaching to which a believer submits himself in Jesus Christ stamps him with the authentic image of his Savior and Lord.

A person does not become a Christian by claiming the name of Christ and then believing and doing whatever he himself wants. You cannot become a Christian by merely saying or doing certain things, even the godly things extolled in Scripture. But after genuine salvation a person will have the innate, Spirit-led desire to know and to obey God’s truth.

After a businessmen’s luncheon at which I spoke, a man said to me, “I’ve been in this group for a long time, and I’ll tell you how I think you can get to God. You see, there is this long stairway, and at the top there is a door and behind it is this guy Jesus. What you really want to do is try to make it up the stairs and get through the door and then hope Jesus lets you in. As you’re on your way up the stairs, you’ve got all these preachers and movements cheering you on, but you just continue going up the stairs your own way. I call it the stairway of hope. That’s what I think the gospel is.” With a heavy heart I replied, “Sir, you cannot be a Christian. What you just said has nothing to do with the gospel, and your stairway to heaven is hopeless. You need to depend on Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. You have no idea of what it means to be saved, and you cannot be on your way to heaven.”

A person cannot invent his own way to God, no matter how sincere his efforts might be. God has established the only way to come to Him, and that is the way of faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. And saving faith in Jesus Christ is built on God’s revelation about Him, not on men’s ideas about Him. There is divinely-revealed content to the gospel, and the person who rejects or circumvents that content gives unmistakable evidence that he is not truly seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

Witness Lee, founder of the Local Church movement, wrote a book entitled Christ Versus Doctrine, the main thesis of which is that it is a personal relationship to Christ that matters and that doctrine actually interferes with that relationship. The book not only is unbiblical but, as one might guess from the title, is also self-contradictory. Doctrine is simply another word for teaching, and the purpose of Lee’s book, of course, was to teach his own doctrine.[1]


Whose Slave are You?

Romans 6:15–18

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

The point of this next study is difficult for most people to accept, so I want to state it simply at the beginning and allow the rest of the chapter to expound and defend it. The point is this: There is no such thing as absolute freedom for anyone. No human is free to do everything he or she may want to do. There is one being in the universe who is totally free, of course. That is God. But all others are limited by or enslaved by someone or something. As a result, the only meaningful question in this area is: Who or what are you serving?

Ray C. Stedman, pastor of the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California, tells of walking down the street in Los Angeles one day and seeing a man coming toward him with a sign hung over his shoulders. The sign read: “I am a slave for Christ.” After the man had passed him, Stedman turned around to look after this rather eccentric individual and saw that on his back there was another sign that said: “Whose slave are you?”

That is exactly the point of this passage. Since you and I are human beings and not God, we can never be autonomous. We must either be slaves to sin or slaves of Jesus Christ.

But here is the wonderful and very striking thing: To be a slave of Jesus Christ is true freedom.

The Chapter’s Second Half

All this flows from our study of Romans 6, but we need to back up a bit to find our place in Paul’s argument.

The verses we are considering here are verses 15–18, the start of a longer section that extends to the end of the chapter. A glance at this section shows that it is parallel to the first half of the chapter, that is, to verses 1–14. Each section deals with a nearly identical question. The first verse of section one asks, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” The first verse of section two raises the same issue: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” (v. 15).

These questions are followed by identical responses: “By no means!” (vv. 2, 15). From this point on, the two sections follow parallel tracks as Paul explains why it is impossible for the believer in Christ to continue in sin and why, by contrast, Christians must yield the parts of their bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. These arguments are so close to one another that it is possible to lift terms from one section and transfer them to the other without any real change in meaning.

Yet the two halves of Romans 6 are not identical. They have the same objective—to show that the believer in Christ cannot go on sinning. But they make this important point in different, though complementary, ways.

The first section comes out of the discussion in chapter 5, in which Paul argued that the Christian is not under law but is under grace and that grace will triumph. He shows that grace does not lead to sin, the reason being that we have been joined to Christ. If we have been joined to Christ, the past is behind and there is no place for us to go in life but forward in righteous conduct. The second section comes out of the discussion in Romans 6:1–14, particularly verse 14, in which Paul rejects law as a vehicle of righteousness. He argues that freedom from law does not lead to sin either. The reason he gives is that we have been freed from law, not to become autonomous creatures (which we cannot be on any account), but to be slaves of God. We must be slaves to righteousness.

Two Errors

Paul was answering objections to the doctrine of salvation by grace that were coming from two sides, just as they come to us today.

On one side were Jewish traditionalists with a commitment to the law of Moses. They argued that if law is rejected as a way of salvation, which Paul obviously was doing, immorality and all other vices inevitably follow. Paul shows that it does not work that way. In fact, he shows the opposite. He shows:

  1. The law does not lead to righteousness, for the simple reason that it is unable to produce righteousness in anyone. The law can only condemn.
  2. Paradoxically, it is only by being delivered from the law and its condemnation, through union with Jesus Christ, that we are empowered to do what the law requires.

The other objection came not from Jewish legalists, but from people we call Antinomians, those who reject the law not only as a way of salvation but even as an expression of proper conduct. Antinomianism says, “Since we are free from law, we can do anything we please. We are free to go on sinning. In fact, we can wallow in it.”

Paul answers both of these errors in this chapter of Romans.

Five Sound Reasons

“Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” The answer, as we already know by now, is: “By no means!”

“Why not?” we ask.

In this section Paul gives five sound reasons.

  1. Sin is slavery. The first reason Christians must not sin, even though they are not under law but under grace, is that sin is actually slavery, and it would be folly to be delivered from slavery only to return to it again. The difficulty here is that sin is rarely seen by us in this way, that is, in its true colors. Instead of being presented as slavery, it is usually described as the very essence of freedom. This was what the devil told Eve in the Garden of Eden when he argued, “Don’t be bound by God’s word. Be free. Eat of the tree and become as God, knowing good and evil.”

Years ago, before the current thaw in Sino-American relations, some Christians in Hong Kong had an interview with an eighty-two-year-old woman who had come out of China just a short while before. She was a believer in Christ, but her vocabulary was filled with the terminology of communism, which was all she had been hearing for decades. One of her favorite expressions was “the liberation.”

The interviewers asked her, “When you were back in China, were you free to gather together with other Christians to worship?”

“Oh, no,” she answered. “Since the liberation, no one is permitted to gather together for Christian services.”

“But surely you were able to get together in small groups to discuss the Christian faith,” they continued.

“No,” she said. “We were not. Since the liberation, all such meetings are forbidden.”

“Were you free to read your Bible?”

“Since the liberation, no one is free to read the Bible.”

The conversation shows that “freedom” is not in the word but in the reality. Remember that, the next time someone suggests that you have to sin to be free. Merely attaching the word freedom to sin does not make sin a way of liberation. The truth is that sin is bondage. It enslaves us so that we are unable to escape its grasp later, even if we want to. If you give way to sensual passions, you will become a slave to those passions. If you give way to greed, you will become a slave to greed. So also for every other vice and wrongdoing.

  1. Sin leads to death. The second reason we must not sin, even though we are not under law but under grace, is that sin leads to death. Paul says this several times in these verses: “sin, which leads to death” (v. 16), “Those things result in death!” (v. 21), and “For the wages of sin is death” (v. 23).

Again, this is not what we are usually told. It is not what the devil told Eve either. God had said, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The devil countered, “You will not surely die. … For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4–5).

Here was a true crisis for the woman. God said, “You will die.” The devil said, “You will not surely die.” Who was right? Who was she to believe?

The woman decided to resolve the dilemma for herself. She examined the tree and saw that it was “good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom” (Gen. 3:6). She concluded, “How can it be wrong when it feels so right?” So she took some of the fruit, ate it, and then gave some to Adam, who also ate of it.

What happened? They died! They died in their spirits instantly, for the fellowship they had enjoyed with God up to this point was broken, which they showed by hiding from God when he came to them later in the garden. Their personalities began to decay, for they started to lie and shift the blame to one another. At last their bodies also died, as God said: “… dust you are and to dust you will return” (Gen. 3:19).

The only bright spot was that God also graciously promised a Redeemer who would save them from their sin.

Do not listen to those who tell you that sin is harmless. Above all, do not trust your own judgment in these matters. You are not able to judge in such situations. You must trust God, who tells you that to sin is to die. In fact, being a sinner, you are already dying. Your moral life is decaying. Your body is inclining to the grave. One day you will experience the second death, which is to be separated from God in hell forever—unless God saves you first. The only sensible reaction to sin is to turn from it and seek salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Christians have been delivered from sin’s slavery. The third reason Christians are not to continue in sin, even though they are not under law but under grace, is that they have been delivered by Jesus from sin’s tyranny if they truly are Christians. This is so wonderful that Paul actually breaks into a doxology or “praise to God” at this point, saying, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin … you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (vv. 17–18).

This is the meaning of what former Princeton Seminary professor B. B. Warfield called the most “precious” terms in the Christian’s vocabulary: “Redeemer” and “redemption.” Redemption means to buy out of slavery to sin. This was accomplished for us by Jesus, who is our Redeemer. We were slaves to sin, that cruel taskmaster. But Jesus paid the price of our redemption by his death. He purchased us with his blood: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19).

This is the very purpose of the atonement. How, then, can those who have been redeemed return to sinful living? To do so would be to repudiate Christ, to turn from everything he stands for. It would be apostasy. No true Christian can do it.

  1. The same work that has delivered Christians from sin’s slavery has also made them slaves of God, which is true freedom. The fourth of Paul’s arguments for why Christians cannot continue in sin, even though they are not under law but under grace, is that the same act of Christ that has delivered us from sin has also made us “slaves of God” (v. 22). By his act of redemption, Jesus has purchased men and women for himself, that is, to serve him.

“Ah,” says someone. “What gain is that? What advantage is it to be freed from one master if all it means is that we become slaves of another?”

Well, it would be a significant gain even if we were slaves in a physical sense and were set free from a cruel master to become a slave to one who was kind and had our best interests at heart. That would be a welcome change, and it is part of the picture, for God is as good, kind, and loving a master as sin is cruel and harmful. But there is more to it than that. The Bible teaches that this “slavery” actually brings freedom.

What is this freedom? It is not autonomy, a license to do absolutely anything at all. True freedom is “the ability to fulfill one’s destiny, to function in terms of one’s ultimate goal.”

Real freedom means doing what is right.

Do you remember the conversation the Lord Jesus Christ had with the Jewish religious leaders of his day, as recorded in John’s Gospel? Jesus had been speaking about the source of his teachings, and some of the Jews had believed on him in a rudimentary way. So he encouraged them to remain with him and continue to learn from him, saying, “If you hold to my teaching [that is, continue in it], you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).

This infuriated some of his listeners, presumably those who were not true believers, because they did not like the suggestion that they were not free—just as many resent any similar suggestion today. They replied, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (v. 33). This was a ridiculous answer, of course. The Jews had been slaves to the Egyptians for many years prior to the exodus. During the period of the judges there were at least seven occasions when the nation came under the rule of foreigners. There was also the seventy-year-long Babylonian captivity. In fact, even while they were talking to Jesus they were being watched over by occupying Roman soldiers, and they were carrying coins in their pockets that testified to Rome’s domination of their economy. It was this latter fact that probably made them so sensitive to the suggestion that they were not truly free.

But instead of reminding them of these obvious facts, Jesus answered on a spiritual level, saying, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (vv. 34, 36).

What kind of freedom was Jesus talking about? True freedom, of course, the only real freedom there is. It is not liberty to do just anything at all. If we choose sin, the result is bondage. True freedom comes through knowing the gospel and being committed to the Lord Jesus Christ in his service.

Can I put this sharply? The only real freedom you are ever going to know, either in this life or in the live to come, is the freedom of serving Jesus Christ. And this means a life of righteousness. Anything else is really slavery, regardless of what the world may promise you through its lies and false teaching.

  1. The end of this second, desirable slavery is righteousness. This leads to Paul’s last point, the fifth reason why Christians must not continue in sin, even though they have been freed from law and are under grace. It is that the end of this second, desirable slavery to God and Jesus Christ is righteousness. True Christianity can never lead to license, the accusation refuted by Paul in this passage. Since it is liberation from sin in order to become a servant of God and of Jesus Christ, Christianity must inevitably lead to what God desires, which is righteousness.

The Obedience of Faith

I close this study by asking you to look at one more word: obedience. It occurs in verse 16 in the phrase “slaves … to obedience,” and it is amplified by the verb obey, which occurs three times more in these verses (once in verse 16, and twice in verse 17). This is an important idea.

It is puzzling, too, at least at first glance.

Why? Because in verse 16 it occurs as the opposite of sin (“slaves to sin … or to obedience”), which does not seem exactly right to us. Instead of “obedience” we would expect the word righteousness. Then, in verse 17, it occurs where we would normally expect the idea of “faith” (“you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted”). We would more naturally say, “You wholeheartedly believed the gospel.”

One reason why Paul uses the word obedience is that it carries through the image he has been developing, namely that of being a slave either to sin or of Jesus Christ. It is the function of a slave to obey his or her master. But the use of the term goes beyond this, since obedience is an essential requirement of all who would follow Christ. And not just afterward, as if we are called first to believe and then to obey. Obedience is the very essence of believing. It is what belief is all about.

When I am teaching about faith I usually say that faith has three elements: (1) an intellectual element (we must believe in something; this is the gospel); (2) an emotional element (the content of that gospel must touch us personally); and (3) commitment (we must give ourselves to Jesus in personal and often costly discipleship). It is in this last area that obedience is so critical. For, if obedience is not present, we have not committed ourselves to Christ, even though we may believe in him in some sense. And without that commitment we are not saved; we are not true Christians.

Have you ever considered how important obedience is in the Bible’s treatment of its chief characters? I will cite two examples.

The first is Joshua. Obedience was the chief characteristic of this very great man’s life, for at the beginning of his story he was challenged to obey God in all things—“Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Josh. 1:7b)—and this is precisely what he did, to the very end. His whole life was marked by obedience.

The other example is Abraham, who was such a giant of faith that he is praised for his faith four times in Hebrews 11. His faith was so great that when God promised him a son in his old age, though he was past the age of engendering a child and his wife Sarah was past the age of conceiving one, Abraham “did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:20–21).

But even this was not the highest achievement of Abraham’s faith. It is not the act for which he is chiefly praised in Hebrews.

The high point of Abraham’s long life of faith was reached when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. Abraham showed an incredible faith here, believing that if God told him to sacrifice his son and if his son had not yet had the children God had promised he would have, then God would have to raise Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill his promise (cf. Heb. 11:19). But, in Genesis, where the story is told, the quality for which Abraham is praised by God is not faith but obedience: “Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Gen. 22:15–18, emphasis added).

There is no escaping it! Either we obey sin, which leads to death, and are enslaved by it, or we have been freed from sin to serve God. If we have been freed from sin, we will serve God. There is just no other option.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (pp. 346–349). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (1991–). Romans: The Reign of Grace (Vol. 2, pp. 689–696). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

June 19, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0295

Jun. 19, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, will travel to the Middle East this week to push for a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, according to a White House official.

U.K. police launched their fourth major terrorism investigation in three months after a van plowed into a crowd gathered near a mosque in one of the capital’s northern neighborhoods. One man was killed and 10 others injured all of them Muslims.

Russia warned that it may treat U.S.-led coalition aircraft over Syria as targets following the shooting down of a Syrian government warplane, in an escalation of rhetoric between the two rivals in the Middle East conflict.

The U.S. Navy has found $500 million to buy a second Littoral Combat Ship in next year’s budget after scrounging that was required because the vessel was left out of the Trump administration’s proposed budget sent to Congress last month.

Executives from many of the world’s largest technology companies will gather at the White House on Monday to meet with President Donald Trump and his senior advisers during a summit aimed at modernizing the federal government.

U.S.-backed Iraqi troops pushed into the last Islamic State stronghold in Mosul on Sunday, launching a major battle for the Old City where some 150,000 civilians are believed to be trapped and risk being used as human shields by the extremists.

Russia on Sunday accused the U.S. of returning to “almost forgotten Cold War rhetoric,” after President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate some sanctions on Cuba. It could have dropped “forgotten.”

Oil traded near $45 a barrel following a fourth weekly loss as U.S. drillers continued to add rigs and Libya boosted output, blunting OPEC-led efforts to rebalance an oversupplied market.

Argentina is planning to sell its first 100-year bond a year after returning to global capital markets, as it grapples with a soaring budget deficit.

Iran said it fired missiles at Islamic State targets in Syria in retaliation for the jihadists’ deadly attacks in Tehran last week, a rare strike signaling Iran’s willingness to escalate its use of military power in the region’s conflicts.

Boeing Co. is set to receive orders and commitments worth roughly $30 billion for the stretched Max 10 upgrade of the 737 workhorse, as its first new jet in almost four years counters Airbus SE’s headstart at the largest end of the single-aisle airliner market.

AP Top Stories

The bodies of seven U.S. sailors missing after a Navy destroyer collided with a container ship off Japan were found in flooded berthing compartments, a defense official said.

After three years at sea, the hokule’a – canoe powered by wind and waves – is returning to Hawaii after a voyage that has spanned 23 countries and territories. The crew, like its ancestors, doesn’t use any modern navigational tool: no GPS or compass.

American tourists have come in droves since Pres. Obama normalized U.S.-Cuba ties and have been a boon to the Cuban tourism industry. Some Cuban entrepreneurs told NBC News they fear the progress could be reversed under Trump’s new policy.

Seven American troops were wounded Saturday in an insider attack by an Afghan soldier at a military base, as the US appears set to boost its troop presence in the country.

American governors and mayors are stepping up to fill a leadership void on climate change after Donald Trump announced that the US will pull out of the Paris climate change accord.

Palestinian militants disputed an Islamic State claim Saturday that it was behind a deadly attack against Israel, saying it was their people who killed a female police officer on duty near Jerusalem’s Old City. Family members of the attackers said they were deeply religious men who acted on their own.

German-Turkish women’s rights activist Seyran Ates has pulled off an almost impossible task of opening the first LGBT-friendly “liberal” mosque in Berlin, Germany. Muslim men and women, irrespective of their castes, creeds, nationalities and sexual orientations, can attend the mosque to pray together.

North Korea claimed Sunday that U.S. officials forcibly seized a diplomatic package from one of their delegations at John F. Kennedy Airport, calling it an “illegal and heinous act of provocation.”

A 12-year-old girl who came out as a lesbian in front of her Mormon church congregation in Utah was told to sit down halfway through a speech in which she said she was not a “horrible sinner”.

BBC

Sao Paulo Gay Pride draws huge crowd and call to protect rights. The parade drew three million, organizers say, with the motto: “Whatever our beliefs, no religion is law.”

Up to half the food aid meant for people who have fled Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency has reportedly not been delivered, the government says.

WND

In the name of fighting terrorism financing, a new U.S. Senate bill threatens to force private corporations to monitor your financial activity and empowers government to seize all your assets if you fail to comply with the new law.

Security at mosques across the UK will be reviewed in the wake of the Finsbury Park terror attack, the Prime Minister has said.

Wheat harvests around the world are falling dangerously short, raising the possibility that the end-of-days famine prophesied in the Book of Amos as preceding the Messiah has arrived. Israel, the tiny nation that has made its deserts bloom, is poised to be a guiding light in this developing crisis, helping the world grow crops while bringing them closer to redemption.

Judicial Watch announces major lawsuit against DOJ — and it involves James Comey
In a statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton called it a “scandal” that his organization has to sue the government in order to secure the release of the memo. “That we have to sue in federal court to get a document that was read to a reporter at The New York Times is a scandal,” Fitton said. “This Comey memo should be released forthwith and, frankly, the president can and should order its immediate release.”

Islamic Extremist Numbers Swell To Thousands In Sweden
“We have never seen anything like it before,” said Anders Thornberg, chief of SAPO, Sweden’s security force. “We would say that it has gone from hundreds to thousands now.”

Earthquake & tsunami cause major flooding in Greenland
Video. Earthquake & tsunami cause major flooding in Greenland. The western coast of Greenland has been struck with a 4.0 magnitude earthquake, triggering a tsunami.

Marine Le Pen elected to French parliament for the first time on her FIFTH attempt
MARINE Le Pen has been elected to the French parliament for the first time as Emmanuel Macron’s party looks set to sweep to victory.

HANDSHAKE THAT STARTS BREXIT: Davis tells EU ‘there’s more that unites us than divides us’
BREXIT finally got under way in Brussels this morning with a handshake and warm words of reconciliation between Britain and its European allies.

Report: Jerusalem building freeze halting plans for 6,000 housing units
The government has ordered a de facto construction freeze for 6,000 housing units in the capital, including in the contested neighborhoods of Gilo, Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev…According to the report, 2,200 units will be halted in Gilo, several thousand Har Homa, and hundreds more Pisgat Zeev. Gallant’s announcement…followed US President Donald Trump’s February request to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington to “hold back on settlements.”

Jewish groups condemn London mosque attack, express solidarity with UK Muslims
Several Jewish groups extended their condolences and issued condemnations on Monday after a van plowed into a group of worshippers leaving a London mosque in the early hours of the day. At least 10 people were injured in the incident that British authorities were treating as a potential terrorist attack. If confirmed would make it the fourth since March in Britain and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.

UNHRC holds special session on Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The United Nations Human Rights Counsel is holding its annual discussion on Agenda Item 7, which is the mandated debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that the UNHRC must hold at every session. The UNHRC meets three times a year and is now holding its 35th session.

‘Half’ Nigeria food aid for Boko Haram victims not delivered
Up to half the food aid meant for people who have fled Nigeria’s Islamist insurgency has reportedly not been delivered, the government says. It described it as a “diversion of relief materials”, which correspondents say is a euphemism for theft. A statement from the acting president’s office added that security was being beefed up to protect the deliveries.

Mali attack: Two dead as gunmen storm tourist resort
Gunmen have stormed a tourist resort in Mali popular with Westerners and two people are dead, the country’s security minister has said. “It is a jihadist attack. Malian special forces intervened and hostages have been released,” Salif Traore told AFP news agency. “Unfortunately for the moment there are two dead, including a Franco-Gabonese.”

France polls: Macron’s party wins clear parliamentary majority
French President Emmanuel Macron’s party has won a clear parliamentary majority, results show, weeks after his own presidential victory. With nearly all votes counted, his La République en Marche, alongside its MoDem allies, won more than 300 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly. The winning margin is lower than some expected, with turnout down from 2012.

Finsbury Park attack: Theresa May condemns ‘sickening’ terror attack
Prime Minister Theresa May says the terror attack near a north London mosque is “every bit as sickening” as recent attacks to hit the UK. She was speaking after a man died and 10 people were injured when a man drove a van into worshippers near a north London mosque. Eight people were taken to hospital after the attack outside the Muslim Welfare House.

Sao Paulo Gay Pride draws huge crowd and call to protect rights
The parade drew three million, organisers say, with the motto: “Whatever our beliefs, no religion is law.” Huge crowds have taken part in this year’s Gay Pride parade in Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo.

Democrats fume over ‘secret’ Republican healthcare bill
Democrats gearing up for a new round of battles against Republican efforts to do away with Barack Obama’s signature health care law are condemning a US Senate replacement bill being crafted by Republicans behind closed doors. Senator Bernie Sanders urged Democrats on Sunday to do “everything they can” to oppose a Republican bill that for weeks has been drafted by party leaders in secret.

Saudi Arabia says it disrupts attack on offshore oil field
Saudi Arabia says it has disrupted an attack on a major offshore oilfield. A military statement published Monday on the state-run Saudi Press Agency said three boats “bearing red and white flags” raced toward its Marjan offshore oil field. The military said sailors fired warning shots and captured one of the boats while two others escaped in the assault Friday. It said the captured boat “was loaded with weapons for (a) subversive purpose.”

Report: Israel actively supporting Syrian rebels
Israel has reportedly been regularly supplying Syrian rebels near the border for years with money, food, fuel and medical equipment, according to the New York Times. According to the report published on Sunday, the goal of the covert involvement is to create a buffer zone between the two countries populated by friendly forces.

Jared Kushner Traveling to Israel to ‘Discuss’ ‘Possibility’ of Reviving Peace Talks
Senior advisers to US President Donald Trump will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah this week to revive peace talks, a White House official confirmed on Monday. Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt is expected to arrive on Monday, followed by Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday.

Israel, Greece, Cyprus Plan Massive Underwater Gas Pipeline
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said plans would be expedited to develop a pipeline to carry natural gas from Israeli and Cypriot reserves in the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

‘An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions’
“We condemn this attack and its attempt to escalate tensions in the UK and we stand firmly besides our Muslim brothers and sisters in the aftermath of this attack.

Report: Turkey troops arrive in Qatar for long-planned drills
Turkish troops have arrived in Qatar for long-planned joint military exercises, Al Jazeera reported on Monday, a deployment made possible by legislation fast-tracked by Turkey following a diplomatic rift between Doha and four other Arab states.

Pope Francis names two rabbis to Pontifical Academy of Life in historic first
Two rabbis, one from Israel and one from Argentina, were appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Academy of Life, the first time rabbis have been invited to be members. Pope Francis appointed 45 new ordinary members and five honorary members to the advisory body of the academy, the Vatican announced last week.

Trump Attorney: The President Is Not Under Investigation
Jay Sekulow, one of the attorneys representing President Donald Trump, told several Sunday morning news shows that Trump “is not under investigation.”

Israel Hayom | New bill aims to make it harder to divide Jerusalem
Habayit Hayehudi initiative aims to ensure that only an 80-MK majority can approve changes to Jerusalem’s status, especially potential division as part of a peace deal • Party says bill aims to stand against concessions made to the Palestinians.

Jews and Christians are guests as taboo-breaking liberal mosque opens in Berlin
With a mission to spread a liberal form of Islam, a mosque where men and women pray side by side has opened its doors in Berlin, complete with female imams.

U.S-Led Coalition Shoots Down Syrian Warplane
“…The General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces, warning of the serious consequences of this blatant attack on counterterrorism efforts,… and exposes the malicious intentions of the United States of America in the management and investment of terrorism to achieve its objectives in passing the American Zionist project in the region.

Van Slams Into Pedestrians Near London Mosque Leaving “Number Of Casualties”, Driver Arrested
A van plowed into pedestrians on Seven Sisters road in the Finsbury Park area in north London just after 12:20am London Time, in what the police has described a “major incident.” There are “a number of casualties being worked on at the scene,” London police said in a statement, with many injured according to initial press reports.

Deep Throat 2! It Was NOT Once! Comey Was a Serial Leaker!
President Trump’s legal team is prepared to show a long trail of leaks to the New York Times by former FBI Director James Comey, dating back to at least March.

It Was Obama’s DOJ, Not The Russians Who Tried To Influence Presidential Election
…The real evidence that has been exposed over and over again points to the scandal of Obama’s OWN administration spying on American citizens. Jeff Sessions should NOT have testified in front of Congress.  The media and Congress continue to ignore the scandals and wrongdoings of Obama’s administration, which clearly shows it was Obama’s DOJ that interfered with the election.


The Worst Financial Nightmare In Illinois History Erupts As State Comptroller Declares ‘We Are In Massive Crisis Mode’

Margaret Thatcher once said that the big problem with socialist governments is that “they always run out of other people’s money”, and unfortunately we are witnessing this play out in a major way in the state of Illinois right now.  At this point, the Illinois state government has more than 15 billion dollars of unpaid bills.  Yes, you read that correctly.  They are already 15 billion dollars behind on their bills, and they are on pace to take in 6 billion dollars less than they are scheduled to spend in 2017.  It is the worst financial crisis in the history of Illinois, and State Comptroller Susana Mendoza sounds like she is about ready to tear her hair out in frustration(Read More…)


There Have Been 296 Earthquakes In The Vicinity Of The Yellowstone Supervolcano Within The Last 7 Days

Is it possible that the Yellowstone supervolcano is gearing up for a major eruption? If you follow my work on a regular basis, then you already know that I spend a lot of time documenting how the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable. Most of this shaking is taking place far away from the continental United States, and so most Americans are not too concerned about it. But we should be concerned about it, because a major seismic event could change all of our lives in a single instant. For instance, a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would have the potential of being an E.L.E. (extinction level event). That is why it is so alarming that there have been 296 earthquakes in the vicinity of the Yellowstone supervolcano within the last 7 days. Scientists are trying to convince us that everything is going to be okay, but there are others that are not so sure. (Read More…)


Violent Words Have Turned To Violent Deeds: The Rise Of The Radical Left

From violent campus protests to the shooting of a congressman, the violent, radical left is rising. But this should not surprise us at all. The handwriting has been on the wall for years.

What else do you expect when those who believe a child should have a mother and a father are likened to the KKK, Nazis, the Taliban, and ISIS? What else do you expect when Christian conservatives have been branded dangerous enemies?

View Article


Bloodshed is Coming to America

Let us explain.

In 1963, a book written by Cleon Skousen titled “The Naked Communist” was presented to Congress by Rep A.S. Herlong Jr. of Florida. In his remarks, he submitted the book’s list of goals, which revealed how revolutionaries intended to turn our nation from constitutionalism to communism without firing a single bullet. And the schoolroom provided the perfect staging ground. The full list of goals can be found in the Congressional Record – Appendix, Pages A34-A35, Jan. 10, 1963.

Here are just a few:

View Article


Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter Right: America on Verge of Chaos and Civil Unrest

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: June 19

  • UK PM May says attack on Muslims near mosque is ‘sickening’ (Read More)
  • Macron Under Pressure to Deliver as French Turnout Plummets (Read More)
  • Market Volatility Has Vanished Around the World (Read More)
  • Real victory will be in 5 years, says Macron camp after election win (Read More)
  • Brexit Talks Kick Off in Brussels as May Urged to Soften Stance (Read More)
  • As Brexit Talks Begin, EU’s Chief Negotiator Wants to Remove Uncertainties (Read More)
  • U.S., Japan Probe Deadly Ship Collision That Left Seven Dead (Read More)
  • With Whole Foods in the Cart, Amazon Now Faces the Hard Part (Read More)
  • Kushner Plans Trip to Middle East (Read More)
  • Boeing launches new jet as Macron opens Paris show (Read More)
  • Top Tech Executives Head to White House (Read More)
  • Vote for Goldman: Bankers Try to Ride an Anti-Trump Wave (Read More)
  • Who Can Challenge the Google-Facebook ‘Duopoly’? (Read More)
  • Moody’s Cuts Ratings on Australia’s Banks on Housing Concern (Read More)
  • Activist Investor Takes 4.3% Stake in Hudson’s Bay (Read More)
  • In Hamptons House, a Link to Manafort and Jared Kushner’s Dad (Read More)
  • Less Stressful Tests Could Boost U.S. Bank Payouts $30 Billion (Read More)
  • White House Intends to Tap GOP Staffer for FDIC Chair (Read More)
  • U.S. Drillers Are Hammering OPEC’s Plans (Read More)
  • Oil’s Gloomy Summer Triggers Hedge Fund Doubts on Gasoline (Read More)
  • Why Some Cyberattacks in Health Care Go Unreported (Read More)
  • Funds With $14 Trillion Have More Room for Emerging Bonds (Read More)
  • Media Companies Are Getting Sick of Facebook (Read More)

Featured Blogs


Top Headlines – 6/19/2017

Kushner, Greenblatt to visit Israel this week in pursuit of a peace deal

Bennett submits bill to make it ‘impossible’ to divide Jerusalem

PM’s office insists mystery Qalqilya plan was approved, amid ministers’ denials

Hezbollah supporters call for Israel’s annihilation at London rally

Finsbury Park ‘terrorist attack’: One killed, eight injured as van hits worshippers at London mosque

Israel goodwill Ramadan efforts cut after Palestinian attack

Hamas: War with Israel unlikely and relations with Egypt improving

Roadside explosion in Cairo kills Egyptian policeman

More People Were Forcibly Displaced in 2016 Than Ever Before

Israel provides steady flow of cash, aid to Syrian rebels

Pentagon: US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

US plane shoots down Syrian aircraft that attacked US-backed fighters

Russian ForMin calls on US to respect Syria’s integrity

Iran launches missile strike into Syria in response to Tehran attacks

Iran targets ‘terrorists’ in missile strike on Isis-held Syrian town

Two dead as suspected jihadists attack Mali tourist resort

Saudi Arabia says it disrupts attack on offshore oil field

Maldives, Tourist Haven, Casts Wary Eye on Growing Islamic Radicalism

Sharp Rise in Violent Islamist Extremists in Sweden After Migrant Influx

Google Says It Will Do More to Suppress Terrorist Propaganda

Most lethal drones ever designed will be touted at Paris Air Show

North Korea says US ‘mugged’ its diplomats in New York

Russia says Trump is using ‘Cold War rhetoric’ on Cuba

Russia criticizes U.S. for ‘anti-Cuban’ approach, says it sides with Cuba

Trump lawyer Sekulow: President has no knowledge of being investigated

Nunes: No collusion between Trump and Russians – “stop chasing Russian ghosts around the closet”

People mad about the Trump-like ‘Julius Caesar’ are sending death threats to the wrong theater

Macron party wins massive majority in French parliament

With a weakened leader and reeling from crisis, Britain hurtles into the Brexit unknown

Illinois State Official: “We Are In Massive Crisis Mode, This Is Not A False Alarm”

China sets new record for quantum entanglement en route to build new communication network

China To Send 4 More Probes Into Space Before Year 2021

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Amahai, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Raoul Island, New Zealand

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 40,000ft

Bezymianny volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 22,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 20,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 11,000ft

Scientists tracking earthquake swarm in northern Yellowstone Park

Earthquake swarm in Katla volcano

Hurricane center says storm ‘likely’ to develop in Gulf while another storm brews to the east

Portugal Forest Fires: 61 Dead; PM Calls Disaster a ‘Tragedy’

Portugal forest fire turns route 236 into road of hell

Oroville Dam repair is huge, but so is residents’ mistrust

Trump raises alarm on ObamaCare ‘death spiral’ as insurers flee

Democrats fume over ‘secret’ Republican healthcare bill

Modern family: More courts allowing 3 parents of 1 child

Canadians to Face Hate Crimes Charges, Prison for Anti-Transgender Speech

The Vatican is looking into a group of exorcists who apparently made a pact with Satan on climate change and the death of Pope Francis

Girl’s exorcism leads to mom’s arrest on attempted murder charge

Explosion in Tattooing, Piercing Tests State Regulators

Does Your Pastor Know That Yoga and Christianity are Incompatible?

Carbonated Favor from God – Apostle Melvin Thompson III

Faith and Family, in Transition – An evangelical minister reassesses his ministry when his minister father comes out as transgender woman

Plymouth Brethren – What life is like in the mysterious and powerful religious sect founded in Plymouth

Christian Family Band Member is Gunman in Murder Suicide

Christian Lesbian Rock Star Vicky Beeching Given Award by Archbishop of Canterbury

Pro-Choice Actress: Christianity and Abortion Go Together

Church of England chief backs ‘re-christenings’ after sex changes

United Arab Emirates renames mosque ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus’

Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels

Christian Families in India Forced into Hindu Ritual, Denied Water

Conservative Christians Deny That New Southern Baptist Bible Translation Is ‘Gender Neutral’

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:44 AM PDT

Conservative Christian groups and intellectuals are rejecting a recent claim that the latest version of the Christian Standard Bible has been edited to be more…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Women’s Clothes Are now the new trend for Men

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:36 AM PDT

The trend of feminine and ultra-casual clothing for men has several theologians observing the influence of the “gender cult” and the decline of masculine dress,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Public Schools Must Identify Transgender Students With “Proper Pronoun” Or Else…..

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:32 AM PDT

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has issued an internal memo explaining that refusal by public schools or teachers to refer to a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Woman Turns From Abortion, Trusts Christ and Marries the Father of Her Child—All in One Week

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:16 AM PDT

A North Carolina woman changed her mind about obtaining an abortion last week and instead turned to Christ, quickly becoming convicted in her new life…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Iran warns ISIS of more missile strikes

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 07:09 AM PDT

Tehran has warned ISIS militants that any future attacks on the country will result in powerful strikes against the group. It comes after Iran launched…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russia Vows To Shoot Down ALL ‘Flying Objects’ Over Syria Including US Aircraft!

Posted: 19 Jun 2017 06:59 AM PDT

Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces are present as “targets” amid a diplomatic row caused…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New Senate bill empowers feds to seize everything you own

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 07:05 PM PDT

In the name of fighting terrorism financing, a new U.S. Senate bill threatens to force private corporations to monitor your financial activity and empowers the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The Worst Financial Nightmare In Illinois History Erupts As State Comptroller Declares ‘We Are In Massive Crisis Mode’

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:54 PM PDT

(By Michael Snyder) Margaret Thatcher once said that the big problem with socialist governments is that “they always run out of other people’s money”, and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: More courts allowing 3 parents of 1 child

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:45 PM PDT

Sixteen-year-old Madison’s family clustered for a photo in a California courtroom, commemorating the day it finally became official that she has three parents.  The adults…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nuclear lab shutdown endangers US arsenal

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:41 PM PDT

An extended shutdown of the nation’s only scientific laboratory for producing and testing the plutonium cores for its nuclear weapons has taken a toll on…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: At least 61 killed in Portugal forest fires

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:37 PM PDT

A raging wildfire has ripped through central Portugal, killing 61 people and injuring dozens more in what officials there describe as the “greatest wildfire tragedy…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Earthquake & tsunami cause major flooding in Greenland

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:30 PM PDT

The western coast of Greenland has been struck with a 4.0 magnitude earthquake, triggering a tsunami that swept away several houses in coastal villages. At…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheist Activist Group Takes Issue With Alabama Police Department’s Mix of God With Government

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:21 PM PDT

A prominent professing atheist group recently sent a letter to officials with a city in Alabama to assert that its police department’s mixture of God with…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Van mows down pedestrians in London, police dealing with ‘major incident’

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:14 PM PDT

Multiple casualties are reported in London’s Finsbury Park, where a vehicle drove into pedestrians, many of whom are believed to be Muslims coming out of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

US Military Shoots Down Syrian Warplane For the First Time!

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 06:07 PM PDT

US warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Dangerous heat wave to scorch southwestern US through midweek

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:34 PM PDT

The dangerous heat baking the southwestern United States will not relent its grip on the region through much of the week. This heat wave will…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Scholar Warns of Texas judge pushing U.S. toward ‘sanctuary nation,’

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:27 PM PDT

Are sanctuary cities becoming the law of the land in America? At least one analyst thinks so after a federal judge in Texas ruled that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

LGBT Flag adds more colors to recognize individuals of other colors

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:23 PM PDT

When the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal nationwide two years ago, the White House was illuminated with rainbow lights reminiscent of the pride flag…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iranian and Chinese destroyers hold joint drill in Persian Gulf

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:17 PM PDT

Iran and China began a joint naval exercise in the Gulf on Sunday, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. The military drill comes at…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

BREAKING NEWS: Iran fires missiles at militant groups in eastern Syria

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:12 PM PDT

Iran fired missiles on Sunday into eastern Syria, aiming at the bases of militant groups it holds responsible for attacks in Tehran which left 18…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Secret Catholic Exorcist Cult Making a Deal with the Devil Against Pope

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:05 PM PDT

Plinio Correa de Oliveira is almost as peculiar in death as he was in life. Dr. Plinio, as he is still known by his devout…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Growing Wheat Famine Sparks “End of Days” Fears

Posted: 18 Jun 2017 01:01 PM PDT

Wheat harvests around the world are falling dangerously short, raising the possibility that the end-of-days famine prophesied in the Book of Amos as preceding the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Inciting Violence and Looking the Other Way

Eradicate: Blotting Out God in America

America is in critical condition. Even casual observers can see a pattern of increasing hateful rhetoric toward conservatives, Republicans, and Christians in America. The media, outspoken Hollywood liberals, and leading Democrats have been stoking the flames of vulgarity for years now, and those who are not inciting the words and actions of the left sure aren’t speaking out against them.

News broke of an attack Wednesday against Republicans as a man who had volunteered for Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign shot and wounded Rep. Steve Scalise and four others in Alexandria, VA. Most-likely feeding off the poison in public rhetoric, Democrat James Hodgkinson, an anti-Trump activist was shot dead by Capitol Hill police as GOP members were practicing for an annual charity baseball game.

One congressman stated, “By the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back.” With many of the men trapped in…

View original post 1,043 more words

Subjectivity and the Will of God

Code: B170619

If you rely on internal, subjective messages and promptings from the Lord, what prevents you from imagining the input you want from Him? Moreover, what reliable, objective mechanism exists to keep you from misinterpreting your own imagination as divine instruction?

As we saw last time, many good souls and even some heroes of our faith fall into that same error, mistaking imagination for revelation. Many—perhaps most—Christians believe God uses subjective promptings to guide believers in making major decisions. A thorough search of church history would undoubtedly confirm that most believers who lean heavily on immediate “revelations” or subjective impressions ostensibly from God end up embarrassed, confused, disappointed, and frustrated.

Nothing in Scripture even suggests that we should seek either the will of God or the Word of God (personal guidance or fresh prophecy) by listening to subjective impressions. So how are we supposed to determine the divine will?

Virtually every Christian grapples with the question of how to know God’s will in any individual instance. We particularly struggle when faced with the major decisions of adolescence—what occupation or profession we will pursue, whom we will marry, whether and where we will go to college, and so on. Most of us fear that wrong decisions at these points will result in a lifetime of disaster.

Unfortunately, many of the books and pamphlets on discerning God’s will are filled with mystical mumbo-jumbo about seeking a sense of peace, listening for a divine “call,” putting out a “fleece,” and other subjective signposts pointing the way to God’s will.

That kind of “discernment” is not at all what Scripture calls for. If we examine everything the Bible has to say about knowing God’s will, what we discover is that everywhere Scripture expressly mentions the subject, it sets forth objective guidelines. If we put those guidelines together, we get a fairly comprehensive picture of the will of God for every Christian. We can summarize them like this:

  • It is God’s will that we be saved. “The Lord is . . . not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “God our Savior . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3–4).
  • It is God’s will that we be Spirit-filled. “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. . . . Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17–18).
  • It is God’s will that we be sanctified. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
  • It is God’s will that we be submissive. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:13–15).
  • It is God’s will that we suffer. “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1 Peter 4:19). “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29). “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

If all those objective aspects of God’s will are realities in your life, you needn’t fret over the other decisions you must make. As long as the options you face do not involve issues directly forbidden or commanded in Scripture, you are free to do whatever you choose.

Whatever you choose? Yes, within the limits expressly set forth in God’s Word. If those five objective principles are consistently true in your life—if you are saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, and suffering for righteousness’ sake—you are completely free to choose whatever you desire.

In fact, God providentially governs your choice by molding your desires. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” That doesn’t mean merely that He grants the desires of your heart; it suggests that He puts the desires there. So even when we choose freely, His sovereign providence guides the free choices we make! What confidence that should give us as we live our lives before God!

This is not to suggest that we should attempt to try to decipher God’s will through what we can observe of His providence. That would thrust us right back into the realm of determining truth subjectively. But we can be confident as we make choices that God will providentially work all things together in accord with His perfect will (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11). We needn’t be paralyzed with fear that a wrong decision might ruin our lives forever.

There are some caveats that need to be stressed here: Obviously if your desires are sinful, selfish, or wrongly motivated, then you are not really Spirit-filled, or else you are not pursuing sanctification the way you should. Your first responsibility is to set those areas of your life in order. In other words, if you are pursuing self-will and fleshly desire, you have stepped out of God’s will with regard to one or more of the major objective principles. You need to come into line with the objective, revealed will of God before you can make whatever decision you may be contemplating.

And again, our freedom to choose extends only to issues not specifically addressed in Scripture. Obviously, no one who is truly saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, and suffering for Christ would willfully disobey the Word of God. No Christian has the freedom, for example, to violate 2 Corinthians 6:14 by marrying an unbeliever.

Above all, we must use biblical wisdom in the choices we make. We are to apply wisdom to all our decisions. Look again at the beginning of Ephesians 5:17: “Do not be foolish.” To be Spirit-filled is to be wise—to be discerning (see Exodus 35:31; Deuteronomy 34:9; also see Ephesians 5:18 with Colossians 3:16). The biblical wisdom that is the hallmark of the Spirit-filled person is the platform on which all right decision making must be based. We are to consider our options in this light and pursue the choices that seem most wise—not merely what feels best (Proverbs 2:1–6).

This means that if we contemplate God’s will biblically, we will remain in the realm of objective truth. The Bible never encourages us to try to determine God’s will by subjective impressions, “promptings” from the Holy Spirit, the “still, small voice” of God, or miraculous signs like Gideon’s fleece (Judges 6:36–40). If we seek to be led in subjective ways like those—especially if we neglect objective truth and biblical wisdom—we will surely run into trouble. Making decisions based on subjective criteria is a subtle form of reckless faith.

One of the significant contributions of Garry Friesen’s landmark book, Decision Making and the Will of God, is a chapter that explores the pitfalls of attempting to discern the will of God through subjective impressions. “Impressions Are Impressions” is the title of the chapter. [1] “If the source of one’s knowledge is subjective,” Friesen writes, “then the knowledge will also be subjective—and hence, uncertain.” [2]

At one point Friesen raises the question, “how can I tell whether these impressions are from God or from some other source?” He writes,

This is a critical question. For impressions could be produced by any number of sources: God, Satan, an angel, a demon, human emotions (such as fear or ecstasy), hormonal imbalance, insomnia, medication, or an upset stomach. Sinful impressions (temptations) may be exposed for what they are by the Spirit-sensitized conscience and the Word of God. But beyond that, one encounters a subjective quagmire of uncertainty. For in nonmoral areas, Scripture gives no guidelines for distinguishing the voice of the Spirit from the voice of the self—or any other potential “voice.” And experience offers no reliable means of identification either (which is why the question comes up in the first place). . . . Tremendous frustration has been experienced by sincere Christians who have earnestly but fruitlessly sought to decipher the code of the inward witness. [3]

Even more significant than that is the fact that Scripture never commands us to tune into any inner voice. We’re commanded to study and meditate on Scripture (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1–2). We’re instructed to cultivate wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 4:5–8). We’re told to walk wisely and make the most of our time (Ephesians 5:15–16). We’re ordered to be obedient to God’s commands (Deuteronomy 28:1–2; John 15:14). But we are never encouraged to listen for inner promptings.

On the contrary, we are warned that our hearts are so deceitful and desperately wicked that we cannot understand them (Jeremiah 17:9). Surely this should make us very reluctant to heed promptings and messages that arise from within ourselves.

This, by the way, is one of the critical deficiencies of Wayne Grudem’s position on prophecy. While defining revelation as “something God brings to mind,” Grudem never explores the critical issue of how to determine whether an impression in the mind really comes from God. Yet this would seem to be the most pressing question of all for someone who is about to declare a mental impression a prophecy from the Lord.

By contrast, Friesen writes, “Inner impressions are not a form of revelation. So the Bible does not invest inner impressions with authority to function as indicators of divine guidance. . . . Impressions are not authoritative. Impressions are impressions.” [4] Surely this is the true path of biblical wisdom.

Haddon Robinson goes one step further: “When we lift our inner impressions to the level of divine revelation, we are flirting with divination.” [5] In other words, those who treat subjective impressions as revelatory prophecy are actually practicing a form of fortune-telling. Those willing to heed inner voices and mental impressions may be listening to the lies of a deceitful heart, the fantasies of an overactive imagination, or even the voice of a demon. Once objective criteria are cast aside, there is no way to know the difference between truth and falsehood. Those who follow subjective impressions are by definition undiscerning. Mysticism and discernment simply do not mix.

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170619
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/about#copyright).

June 19, 2017: Verse of the day

img_0294

Jesus reigns supreme over the visible world, the unseen world, and the church. Paul sums up his argument in verse 19: For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him. Plērōma (fulness) was a term used by the later Gnostics to refer to the divine powers and attributes, which they believed were divided among the various emanations. That is likely the sense in which the Colossian errorists used the term. Paul counters that false teaching by stating that all the fulness of deity is not spread out in small doses to a group of spirits, but fully dwell-s in Christ alone (cf. 2:9). The commentator J. B. Lightfoot wrote about Paul’s use of plērōma,

On the one hand, in relation to Deity, He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is not only the chief manifestation of the Divine nature: He exhausts the godhead manifested. In Him resides the totality of the Divine powers and attributes. For this totality Gnostic teachers had a technical term, the pleroma or plenitude.… In contrast to their doc-trine, [Paul] asserts and repeats the assertion, that the pleroma abides absolutely and wholly in Christ as the Word of God. The entire light is concentrated in Him. (St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon [1879; reprint, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959], p. 102)

Paul tells the Colossians they do not need angels to help them get saved. Rather in Christ, and Him alone, they are complete (2:10). Christians share in His fulness: “For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16). All the fulness of Christ becomes available to believers.

What should the response be to the glorious truths about Christ in this passage? The Puritan John Owen astutely wrote,

The revelation made of Christ in the blessed gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, more filled with rays of divine wisdom and goodness than the whole creation, and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or afford. Without this knowledge, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion.

This therefore deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our future blessedness shall consist in living where He is, and beholding of His glory, what better preparation can there be for it than a constant previous contemplation of that glory as revealed in the gospel, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory? (John Owen, The Glory of Christ [reprint, Chicago: Moody, 1949], pp. 25–26)

Reconciled to God

and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (1:20–23)

The word reconcile is one of the most significant and descriptive terms in all of Scripture. It is one of five key words used in the New Testament to describe the richness of salvation in Christ, along with justification, redemption, forgiveness, and adoption.

In justification, the sinner stands before God guilty and condemned, but is declared righteous (Rom. 8:33). In redemption, the sinner stands before God as a slave, but is granted his freedom (Rom. 6:18–22). In forgiveness, the sinner stands before God as a debtor, but  the debt is paid and forgotten (Eph. 1:7). In reconciliation, the sinner stands before God as an enemy, but becomes His friend (2 Cor. 5:18–20). In adoption, the sinner stands before God as a stranger, but is made a son (Eph. 1:5). A complete understanding of the doctrine of salvation would involve a detailed study of each of those terms. In Colossians 1:20–23, Paul gives a concise look at reconciliation.

The verb katallassō (to reconcile) means “to change” or “exchange.” Its New Testament usage speaks of a change in a relationship. In 1 Corinthians 7:11 it refers to a woman being reconciled to her husband. In its other two New Testament usages, Romans 5:10, and 2 Corinthians 5:18–20, it speaks of God and man being reconciled. When people change from being at enmity with each other to being at peace, they are said to be reconciled. When the Bible speaks of reconciliation, then, it refers to the restoration of a right relationship between God and man.

There is another term for reconcile that is used in Colossians 1:20, 22—apokatallassō. It is a compound word, made up of the basic word for reconcile, katallassō, with a preposition added to intensify the meaning. It means thoroughly, completely, or totally reconciled. Paul no doubt used this stronger term in Colossians as a counterattack against the false teachers. Because they held that Christ was merely another spirit being emanating from God, they also denied the possibility of man’s being reconciled to God by Christ alone. In refuting that denial, Paul emphasizes that there is total, complete, and full reconciliation through the Lord Jesus. Inasmuch as He possesses all the fullness of deity (1:19; 2:9), Jesus is able to fully reconcile sinful men and women to God (1:20).

Paul defends Christ’s sufficiency to reconcile men to God by discussing four aspects of reconciliation: the plan of reconciliation, the means of reconciliation, the aim of reconciliation, and the evidence of reconciliation.

The Plan of Reconciliation

and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (1:20–21)

God’s ultimate plan for the universe is to reconcile all things to Himself through Jesus Christ. When His work of creation was finished, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good”  (Gen. 1:31). God’s good creation, however, was soon marred by man’s sin. The Fall resulted not only in fatal and damning tragedy for the human race, but also affected the entire creation. Sin destroyed the perfect harmony between creatures, and between all creation and the Creator. The creation was “subjected to futility” (Rom. 8:20) and “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8:22). One evidence of that is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which indicates that the universe is losing its usable energy. If God did not intervene, the universe would eventually suffer a heat death—all available energy would be used up, and the universe would become uniformly cold and dark.

We live on a cursed earth in a cursed universe. Both are under the baleful influence of Satan, who is both “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). The devastating effects of the curse and satanic influence will reach a terrifying climax in the events of the Tribulation. Some of the various bowl, trumpet, and seal judgments are demonic, others represent natural phenomena gone wild as God lets loose His wrath. At the culmination of that time of destruction and chaos, Christ returns and sets up His kingdom. During His millennial reign, the effects of the curse will begin to be reversed. The Bible gives us a glimpse of what the restored creation will be like.

There will be dramatic changes in the animal world. In Isaiah we learn that

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; their young will lie down together; and the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain. (Isa. 11:6–9)

“The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord. (Isa. 65:25)

The changes in the animal world will be paralleled by changes in the earth and the solar system:

Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders. (Isa. 24:23)

The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. (Isa. 30:26)

No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. Your sun will set no more, neither will your moon wane; for you will have the Lord for an everlasting light. (Isa. 60:19–20)

Tremendous, dramatic changes will mark the reconciliation of the world to God. Paul writes, “The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption” (Rom. 8:21). God and the creation will be reconciled; the curse of Genesis 3 will be removed. We might say that God will make friends with the universe again. The universe will be restored to a proper relationship with its Creator. Finally, after the millennial kingdom, there will indeed be a new heaven and a new earth, as both Peter and John indicate:

According to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwell-s. (2 Pet. 3:13)

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away. (Rev. 21:1)

The Lord will make everything new.

Paul again takes direct aim at the false philosophical dualism of the Colossian heretics. They taught that all matter was evil and spirit was good. In their scheme, God did not create the physical universe, and He certainly would not wish to be reconciled to it. Paul declares that God will indeed reconcile the material world to Himself, and further, that He will do it through His Son, Jesus Christ. Far from being a spirit emanation unconcerned with evil matter, Jesus is the agent through which God will accomplish the reconciliation of the universe. The German theologian Erich Sauer comments,

The offering on Golgotha extends its influence into universal history. The salvation of mankind is only one part of the world-embracing counsels of God.… The “heavenly things” also will be cleansed through Christ’s sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:23). A “cleansing” of the heavenly places is required if on no other ground than that they have been the dwelling of fallen spirits (Eph. 6:12; 2:2), and because Satan,  their chief, has for ages had access to the highest regions of the heavenly world… the other side becomes this side; eternity transfigures time and this earth, the chief scene of the redemption, becomes the Residence of the universal kingdom of God (The Triumph of the Crucified [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960], pp. 179, 180 [italics in original]).

Some have imagined all things to include fallen men and fallen angels, and on that basis have argued for universalism, the ultimate salvation of everyone. By so doing they overlook a fundamental rule of interpretation, the analogia Scriptura. That principle teaches that no passage of Scripture, properly interpreted, will contradict any other passage. When we let Scripture interpret Scripture, it is clear that by all things Paul means all things for whom reconciliation is possible. That fallen angels and unregenerate men will spend eternity in hell is the emphatic teaching of Scripture. Our Lord will one day say to unbelievers, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels,” and they “will go away into eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:41, 46). In Revelation 20:10–15, the apostle John writes,

The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

On the other hand, there is a sense in which even fallen angels and unredeemed men will be reconciled to God for judgment—but only in the sense of submitting to Him for final sentencing. Their relationship to Him will change from that of enemies to that of the judged. They will be sentenced to hell, unable any longer to pollute God’s creation. They will be stripped of their power and forced to bow in submission to God. Paul writes in Colossians 2:15 that after Christ “disarmed the rulers and authorities [fallen angels], He made a public display of them, having  triumphed over them.” Because of Christ’s victory, “the God of peace will-soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:20). And “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10). God has elevated Christ to a position above all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God “raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet” (Eph. 1:21–22).

Though in the sacrifice of Christ, God made provision for the world (cf. John 3:16; 1 John 2:2), all persons will not be reconciled to God in the saving sense of being redeemed. The benefits of Christ’s atonement are applied only to the elect, who alone come to saving faith in Him.

From God’s general plan to reconcile all things to Himself, Paul turns to the specific reconciliation of believers like the Colossians. That they had been reconciled was evidence enough that Christ was sufficient to reconcile men and women to God. Their reconciliation foreshadowed the ultimate reconciliation of the universe.

To impress on them Christ’s power to reconcile men to God, Paul reminds the Colossians of what they were like before their reconciliation. They were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds. Apallotrioō (alienated) means “estranged,” “cut off,” or “separated.” Before their reconciliation, the Colossians were completely estranged from God. In a similar passage, Paul writes, “You were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:12–13). NonChristians are detached from God because of sin; there is no such thing as an “innocent heathen.” All unbelievers suffer separation from God unless they receive the reconciliation provided in Jesus Christ.

The Colossians had also been hostile in mind. Echthros (hostile) could also be translated “hateful.” Unbelievers are not only alienated from God by condition, but also hateful of God by attitude. They hate Him and resent His holy standards and commands because they are engaged in evil deeds. Scripture teaches that unbelievers “loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19–20). Their problem is not ignorance, but willful love of sin.

Even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. (Rom. 1:21–24)

Although “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Rom. 1:19), they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). As Isaiah wrote to wayward Israel, “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Sin is the root cause of man’s alienation from God. Because God cannot fellowship with sin (cf. Hab. 1:13; 1 John 1:6), it is sin that needs to be dealt with before God and man can be reconciled.

The question arises as to whether man is reconciled to God, or God to man. There is a sense in which both occur. Since “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God” (Rom. 8:7), and “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8), reconciliation cannot take place until man is transformed. “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17–18).

There is also God’s side to reconciliation. From His holy perspective, His just wrath against sin must be appeased. Far from being the harmless, tolerant grandfather that many today imagine Him to be, God “takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies” (Nah. 1:2). “At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation” (Jer. 10:10). The one who refuses to obey the Son will find that “the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). Because of their sin, “the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6). Man and God could never be reconciled unless God’s wrath was appeased. The provision for that took place through Christ’s sacrifice. “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Rom. 5:9). It is “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). He bore the full fury of God’s wrath against our sins (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24). After all, “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).

Christ’s death on the cross reconciled us to God (Eph. 2:16), something we could never have done on our own. In Romans 5:6–10, Paul gives four reasons for that. First, lack of strength: “we were still  helpless” (v. 6). Second, lack of merit: we were “the ungodly” (v. 6). Third, lack of righteousness: “we were yet sinners” (v. 8). Finally, lack of peace with God: “we were enemies” (v. 10). It is only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ that anyone can receive reconciliation (v. 11).

The Means of Reconciliation

having made peace through the blood of His cross… He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death (1:20b, 1:22a)

Those two phrases sum up the specific means whereby Christ effected our reconciliation with God. Paul says first that Christ made peace between God and man through the blood of His cross. Blood speaks metaphorically of His atonement. It connects Christ’s death with the Old Testament sacrificial system (cf. 1 Pet. 1:18–19). It is also a term that graphically notes violent death, such as that suffered by the sacrificial animals. The countless thousands of animals sacrificed under the Old Covenant pointed ahead to the violent, blood-shedding death the final sacrificial Lamb would suffer. The writer of Hebrews informs us that “the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate (Heb. 13:11–12).

The reference to Christ’s blood again stresses the link between His violent death and the violent deaths of the animals sacrificed under the Old Covenant. Unlike many of them, however, Jesus did not bleed to death (cf. John 19:34). No man took His life. He was not a helpless victim, but willingly offered up His life to God.

For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, 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 10:17–18)

Jesus chose the moment of His death: “When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).

There is nothing mystical, however, about the blood of Christ. It saves us only in the sense that His death was the sacrificial death of the final Lamb. It was that death that reconciled us to God (Rom. 5:10).

Proper biblical teaching on the blood of Christ simply is that His physical blood has no magical or mystical saving power. It is not some supernaturally preserved form of the actual blood of Christ that literally washes believers of their sin. The blood of Christ is applied to the believer in a symbolic sense, by faith, in the same way that we “see” Christ by faith, and we are seated with Him in the heavenlies—not in a physical sense.

How could the red and white corpuscles be literally applied to believers in salvation? To our physical bodies? Could it be otherwise with literal blood? Where is that literal, tangible blood kept? How much of it is applied, and why is it not used up? To one degree or another, we must acknowledge that there is symbolism in what Scripture says about the blood. Otherwise we will wind up with an obviously unbiblical doctrine like transubstantiation to explain how literal blood can be applied to all believers for salvation. (I have recently heard that some believe the blood of Jesus is kept in a bottle in heaven to be literally used in some way to apply to the soul!)

A strictly physical interpretation of what Scripture says about the blood of Christ cannot adequately deal with such passages as John 6:53–54: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

It would be equally hard to explain how physical blood is meant in Matthew 23:30–35 (“We would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets”); 27:24–25 (“His blood be on us, and on our children”); Acts 5:28 (“[you] intend to bring this man’s blood upon us”); 18:6 (“Your blood be upon your own heads”); 20:26, 28 (“I am pure from the blood of all men”); and 1 Corinthians 10:16 (“The cup of blessing… is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?”).

The literal blood of Christ ran into the dirt and dust, and nothing in Scripture hints that it now exists in any tangible or visible form. Communion wine does not change into blood. There is no way the actual blood of Christ could be applied to all of us. We must acknowledge at some point that the sprinkling with blood under the New Covenant is symbolic.

“Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). I affirm that truth and have never denied it. But the “shedding of blood” in Scripture is an expression that means much more than just bleeding. It refers to violent sacrificial death. If just bleeding could buy salvation, why did not Jesus simply bleed without dying? Of course, He had to die to be the perfect sacrifice, and without His death our redemption could not have been purchased by His blood.

The meaning of Scripture in this matter is not all that difficult to understand. Romans 5:9–10 clarifies the point; those two verses side by side show that to be “justified by His blood” (v. 9) is the same as being “reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (v. 10). The critical element in salvation is the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf. The shedding of His blood was the visible manifestation of His life being poured out in sacrifice, and Scripture consistently uses the term “shedding of blood” as a metonym for atoning death. (A metonym is a figure of speech in which the part is used to represent or designate the whole.)

Bloodshed was God’s design for all Old Testament sacrifices. They were bled to death rather than clubbed or burnt. God designed that sacrificial death was to occur with blood loss as a vivid manifestation of life being poured out (“the life of the flesh is in the blood”). Nevertheless, those who were too poor to bring animals for sacrifices were allowed to bring one-tenth of an ephah (About two quarts) of fine flour instead (Lev. 5:11). Their sins were covered just as surely as the sins of those who could afford to offer a lamb, goat, turtledove, or pigeon (Lev. 5:6–7). Christ’s blood was precious—but as precious as it was, only when it was poured out in death could the penalty of sin be paid.

Thus, if Christ had bled without dying, salvation would not have been purchased. In that sense, it is not His blood but His death that saves us. And when Scripture talks about the shedding of blood, the point is not mere bleeding, but dying by violence as a sacrifice. That is not heresy, and nothing in Protestant church history would support the notion that it is. The only major group to insist that the application of the blood is literal is the Roman Catholic Church.

Christ died not only as a sacrifice, but also as our substitute. He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death. In Romans 8:3, Paul tells us that God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.” He took the place of sinners, dying a substitutionary death that paid the full penalty for the sin of all who believe. This death satisfied God’s wrath. Once again Paul hammers away at the false teaching of the Colossian heretics that Christ was a mere spirit being. On the contrary, Paul insists, He died as a man for men. Were that not true, there could be no reconciliation for any person.[1]


19 Were one to ask on what grounds the resurrected Christ should reign supreme, an answer would be forthcoming in vv. 19–20. First of all, he should have first place in all things because it pleased God “to have all the fullness dwell in him.” One might ask, however, the fullness of what or whom? If one may appeal to 2:9 (and there is no convincing reason not to), then the answer is clear enough—the fullness of deity, i.e., of God himself (note NIV’s, “his fullness”). “Fullness” (plērōma, GK 4445) functions here as a “circumlocution for God” (Garland, 93). It was God’s pleasure to dwell fully and completely in Christ. Although articulating it differently, John 1:14 expresses a similar idea: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us …, full of grace and truth.” In Christ a wedding between deity and humanity occurs. He is the incarnate image of God (cf. again v. 15). If the Philippians “hymn” highlights Jesus’ humanity (see esp. Php 2:6–8; cf. 2 Co 8:9), this “poem” emphasizes his divinity.

20 Lest a person be tempted to forget, however, this verse reminds that “the Lord of glory” (1 Co 2:8) was subjected to tremendous agony on the cross (2 Co 13:4). Christ’s ministry of reconciliation was costly indeed. Why should God’s Son have first place in all things (v. 18)? It is not only because of his resurrection (v. 18) or incarnation (v. 19), but it is also because of his crucifixion (v. 20). It would be difficult to exaggerate the centrality of the cross in Paul’s theology (cf. Ro 3:23–25; 5:8–9; 14:7–9; 1 Co 1:18–25; 2:1–2; 15:3–4; 2 Co 5:14–15, 21; Gal 2:20–21; 5:11; 6:12; Eph 2:13–16; Php 2:6–8; 1 Th 4:14; 5:9–10). The cross will feature again in this letter in 1:22 and 2:11–15. For Paul, the cross graphically and persuasively demonstrates the depth of God’s love; the humble, radical obedience of Christ to the Father on behalf of humanity; and the seriousness of sin and the fallen human condition.

It pleased God, the “hymn” contends, to reconcile (i.e., to restore or restitute) all things to himself through Christ (cf. 1:22; Eph 2:16). That there existed a need for restitution between the Creator and the created presupposes a schism and a resulting chasm between the two. Paul believed that this division was due (in large part) to human rebellion against God and the good (see esp. 2:13–14, as well as 1:13, 21; 3:7; cf. Ro 3:23; 6:23; Eph 2:1, 5). The divine solution to the human predicament, Paul propounded, was to turn an instrument of execution (i.e., a Roman cross) into an implement of peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6; Eph 2:14), has effected peace between God and humanity through his bloody (i.e., sacrificial) death on the cross. As 1 Timothy 2:5–6 puts it, Christ Jesus, the One who “gave himself as a ransom for all people” (cf. Mk 10:45), is the “mediator between God and human beings” (TNIV). Where spiritual disconnect and disquiet exist, he comes to bring peace and reign in peace (3:15; cf. Ro 5:1; Eph 2:13–17).

Despite claims to the contrary, the scope of God’s reconciling work in Christ is universal. Be that as it may, reconciliation with God through Christ is not a foregone conclusion. The proclamation and reception of the gospel are the means through which people are reunited with God (cf. 1:5, 23). Those who embrace God’s grace through Christ in the word of the gospel are reconciled to God; those who choose not to do so remain estranged from God and stand outside the realm of his salvific rule (see 1:13, 21; 4:5).[2]


1:19–20. Jesus has supremacy over all things because all of God’s fullness resides in Jesus: He is the full embodiment of God’s attributes and saving grace. Through Jesus, God is able to reconcile to himself all things. Reconciliation is the removal of hostility and the restoring of friendly relations to parties who have been at war. Paul also calls reconciliation making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. What God has done is to move toward us to restore harmony, patch things up, cease hostilities, bury the hatchet, smoke the peace pipe, and heal the breach.[3]


19. Note, however, the words, “that he might have.” These words show that this high honor possessed by the Son was a matter of design, the Father’s good pleasure. Hence, the text continues, For in him he [God] was pleased to have all the fulness dwell.

This delight of the Father in the Son was evident even during the old dispensation, yes, even before the world was founded (Ps. 2:7, 8; John 17:5; Eph. 1:9). During the period of Christ’s sojourn on earth it manifested itself again and again (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28). It was indeed God’s good pleasure that in his Son all the fulness should dwell. The powers and attributes of Deity were not to be distributed among a multitude of angels. The divine supremacy or sovereignty, either as a whole or in part, was not to be surrendered to them. On the contrary, in accordance with God’s good pleasure, from all eternity the plenitude of the Godhead, the fulness of God’s essence and glory, which fulness is the source of grace and glory for believers, resides in the Son of his love, in him alone, not in him and the angels. It dwells in him whom we now serve as our exalted Mediator, and it manifests itself both in Creation and Redemption.

Explanatory passages are:

John 1:16, “For out of his fulness we have received grace upon grace.”

Col. 2:3, “in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored up.”

Col. 2:9, “For in him all the fulness of the godhead dwells bodily.”

20. Now both in Col. 2:9, 10 and here in 1:19, 20 the fulness which dwells in Christ is mentioned with a practical purpose. It is a source of blessing. Thus here in Col. 1:19, 20 we are told that it was the good pleasure or delight of God the Father that in the Son of his love all the fulness should dwell and through him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens. Not only were all things created “through him,” that is, through the Son of God’s love (verse 16), but all things are also (in a sense to be explained) reconciled “through him” (verse 20). In both cases all things has the same meaning: all creatures without any exception whatever:

“There rustles a Name O so dear ’long the clouds,

That Name heaven and earth in grand harmony shrouds.”

This is the nearly literal translation of the first lines of a Dutch hymn:

“Daar ruist langs de wolken een lieflijke naam,

Die hemel en aarde verenigt te zaam.”

Some have objected to the lines for theological reasons.

Personally, I see no reason for rejecting the idea expressed in this poem. One might as well reject Col. 1:20! It is all a matter of interpretation. Thus, it is true, indeed that heaven and earth are not now united, and are not going to be united, in the sense that all rational beings in the entire universe are now with gladness of heart submitting themselves, or will at some future date joyfully submit themselves, to the rule of God in Christ. This universalistic interpretation of Col. 1:20 is contrary to Scripture (Ps. 1; Dan. 12:2; Matt. 7:13, 14; 25:46; John 5:28, 29; Phil. 3:18–21; 2 Thess. 1:3–10; and a host of other passages). It was Origen who was probably the first Christian universalist. In his youthful work De Principiis he suggested this thought of universal, final restoration for all. In his later writings he seems to imply it here and there, but obscures it somewhat by the suggestion of a constant succession of fall and restoration. He has, however, had many followers, and among them some have expressed themselves far more bluntly. Some time ago a minister told his audience, “In the end everybody is going to be saved. I have hope even for the devil.”

The real meaning of Col. 1:20 is probably as follows: Sin ruined the universe. It destroyed the harmony between one creature and the other, also between all creatures and their God. Through the blood of the cross (cf. Eph. 2:11–18), however, sin, in principle, has been conquered. The demand of the law has been satisfied, its curse born (Rom. 3:25; Gal. 3:13). Harmony, accordingly, has been restored. Peace was made. Through Christ and his cross the universe is brought back or restored to its proper relationship to God in the sense that as a just reward for his obedience Christ was exalted to the Father’s right hand, from which position of authority and power he rules the entire universe in the interest of the church and to the glory of God. This interpretation brings the present passage in harmony with the related ones written during this same imprisonment. Note the expression “the things on the earth or the things in the heavens” (or something very similar) not only here in Col. 1:20 but also in Eph. 1:10 and Phil. 2:10.

There is, of course, a difference in the manner in which various creatures submit to Christ’s rule and are “reconciled to God.” Those who are and remain evil, whether men or angels, submit ruefully, unwillingly. In their case peace, harmony, is imposed, not welcomed. But not only are their evil designs constantly being over-ruled for good, but these evil beings themselves have been, in principle, stripped of their power (Col. 2:15). They are brought into subjection (1 Cor. 15:24–28; cf. Eph. 1:21, 22), and “the God of peace (!) will bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20). The good angels, on the other hand, submit joyfully, eagerly. So do also the redeemed among men. This group includes the members of the Colossian church as far as they are true believers, a thought to which Paul gives expression in the following verses.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (pp. 48–63). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 293–294). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 284). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 78–82). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

June 18, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1357

11 Isaiah (Isa 66:15–16) utilizes the figure of fire and chariots like a whirlwind to depict God’s coming in judicial anger against sinful humanity. Much of that imagery was probably drawn from texts portraying God as present in intense thunderstorms (e.g., Pss 18:9–15; 29:3–9).[1]


2:10–12a Elijah said that it was not in his power to grant the request, then added a condition that was also beyond his control: If Elisha would see him depart, then his request would be granted. As they walked on and talked, they were separated by a chariot of fire … with horses of fire. Then a whirlwind caught Elijah … up … into heaven in full view of Elisha. Elisha … cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” This may indicate that Elijah was the strongest weapon of God’s power and the best defense of Israel.[2]


2:11 chariot of fire and horses of fire. The horse-drawn chariot was the fastest means of transport and the mightiest means of warfare in that day. Thus, the chariot and horses symbolized God’s powerful protection, which was the true safety of Israel (v. 12). As earthly kingdoms are dependent for their defense on such military force as represented by horses and chariots, one single prophet had done more by God’s power to preserve his nation than all their military preparations.[3]


2:11 Elijah’s ascent prefigures the triumph of Christ over death and his ascension (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9).[4]


2:11 a fiery chariot with horses of fire Fire in the ot is associated with God’s presence (compare 2 Kgs 1:10, 12). The chariots and horses belong to Yahweh (Hab 3:8).[5]


2:11 chariots of fire and horses of fire. God’s heavenly attendants escort Elijah to heaven “by a whirlwind.” Fire appears several times in Elijah’s ministry as a sign of God’s all-consuming power (1:10, 12, 14; 1 Kin. 18:38; cf. 1 Kin. 19:12).[6]


[1] Patterson, R. D., & Austel, H. J. (2009). 1, 2 Kings. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 814). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 392). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (2 Ki 2:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 648). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Ki 2:11). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 516). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

June 17, 2017: Verse of the day

img_0290

Desperate Plea (9:20–24)

The boy’s father was about to get what he so desperately wanted, while the demon would get what he desperately did not want. In response to the Lord’s command, they brought the boy to Him. While he was still approaching Jesus (Luke 9:42), when he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a final, violent convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.

While this dangerous display of vile demonic power was going on, Jesus calmly asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” The Lord was not asking, of course, for information that He did not already possess, since He is omniscient. He wanted to bear the father’s pain; to have the man tell Him the heartbreaking story of his son’s demonic oppression. The father was not coming to an impersonal force but to a person. The healing miracles Christ performed reveal the compassion of God and that He cares about human pain and suffering. Jesus allowed this suffering man to unfold his heart to the sympathetic and merciful Lord.

His reply, “From childhood,” indicates that his son had been in this terrible state all his life. It was not due to any sin on the part of either the father or the son but for the glory of God (cf. John 9:1–3). And though the demon had repeatedly tried to kill the boy by throwing him both into the fire (commonly used for heating and cooking) and into the water (such as wells and pools) to destroy him, God preserved him for this moment to bring His Son glory. The father’s desperate struggle to keep the demon from killing his son was about to be ended permanently.

Encouraged by the Lord’s sympathetic concern for his beleaguered, battered son, the man asked Him pleadingly, “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” Boētheō (help) literally means, “to run to the aid of one who cries for help.” His faith was weak and incomplete; he correctly perceived that Jesus was willing to deliver his son, but he was not sure that He had the power to help him. But he was desperate.

Jesus’ reply, “If You can?” was not a question but an exclamation of surprise. In light of His widespread ministry of healing the sick and casting out demons, how could His ability to cast this one out be in question? His further declaration, “All things are possible to him who believes,” is the lesson Jesus intended to teach. This was not the first time He had spoken of the importance of faith (cf. Mark 5:34–36; 6:5–6), nor would it be the last (cf. Mark 10:27; 11:22–24). The lesson that faith is essential to access the power of God applied to all the unbelieving crowd, the father, who was struggling to believe, as well as to the disciples, whose faith was weak and wavering. The disciples especially needed to learn this lesson, since after Christ’s death, they would need to access divine power through believing prayer (Matt. 7:7–8; 21:22; Luke 11:9–10; John 14:13–14; 15:7; 16:24; 1 John 3:22; 5:14–15).

Overcome with emotion, immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” He was honest enough to admit that though he believed in Jesus’ power, he struggled with doubt. Just as he pleaded in desperation for Jesus to deliver his son from the demon, so also did he plead for Jesus to help him be delivered from his unbelief. The Lord is not limited by imperfect faith; even the strongest faith is always mixed with a measure of doubt.[1]


23–24 Jesus immediately fixes on the first part of the father’s statement by repeating his words, “If you can?” Some interpreters take these words as elliptical, meaning something like, “As to your ‘if you can’ …” (so Cranfield, 302). But they are better read either as a question with the sense, “What do you mean ‘if I can’?” (so NLT), or as an exclamation, “ ‘If you can’ indeed!” (so France, 367). In both renderings, Jesus is pointing out that it is not a question of whether he has the power to heal the boy—he certainly does!—but whether the father has faith to believe that Jesus can. “Everything is possible for one who believes” (TNIV). Anything—even moving mountains (Mt 17:20)—is possible when faith is placed in an all-powerful God. This is because what is impossible for human beings is possible for God (Mk 10:27).

Jesus’ statement, which is really a promise, elicited faith from the father. “I do believe,” he exclaimed; but he recognized that his faith was far from perfect (v. 24). It was still mixed with unbelief. So in a beautiful display of honesty, he asked Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief. Calvin, 2:325, comments, “He declares that he believes and yet acknowledges himself to have unbelief. These two statements may appear to contradict each other but there is none of us that does not experience both of them in himself” (emphasis his).[2]


9:23–24. Jesus declared that he had the power to heal his son if the man had the faith. If you can?… Everything is possible for him who believes, he declared. Jesus did not mean that miracles depend on the strength of a person’s faith. We must pray always with God’s will in mind. The father confessed his belief immediately. It sprang from his heart. But he was aware that he was an imperfect human being; his recent lack of faith proved it. Therefore, he asked Jesus to heal him—the father—first. “Whatever is in me, Lord, that does not believe or want to believe, heal that first.” Like removing the log from our own eye, this request was not only appropriate but life-giving.[3]


24. Immediately the boy’s father cried out, I do believe, help my unbelief. Very striking is this answer in which the tempest-tossed father pours out his very heart. He was certain of two things: a. that he did indeed have the kind of faith Jesus demanded; and b. that this faith was imperfect, beset by fears and doubts. Only five words (in the original), but these five comprised a. a sincere profession of faith: “I do believe,” and b. an earnest, moving petition, “Help my unbelief,” meaning, “Continue moment by moment and day by day to come to my aid, so that I may overcome my unbelief.”[4]


9:24 The father expressed the paradox of faith and unbelief experienced by God’s people in all ages. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” We want to believe, yet find ourselves filled with doubt. We hate this inward, unreasonable contradiction, yet seem to fight it in vain.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2015). Mark 9–16 (pp. 27–28). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Wessel, W. W., & Strauss, M. L. (2010). Mark. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition) (Vol. 9, p. 845). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Cooper, R. L. (2000). Mark (Vol. 2, p. 149). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark (Vol. 10, p. 349). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[5] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1343). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

June 16, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0289

Jun. 16, 2017 |

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump has another growing headache on Capitol Hill: a bipartisan Senate Judiciary Committee probe of his firing of FBI Director James Comey that Democrats say should look into possible obstruction of justice.

Thirty-six hours after a gunman’s attack on Republican lawmakers at their baseball practice, GOP and Democratic teams played their annual charity game Thursday night, determined to show unity. Members of the Republican congressional baseball team say a prayer prior to the 56th Annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity at the National Park in Washington, D.C., on June 15.

While global inequality is simply accelerating, in America it’s gone into overdrive. The share of income going to the top 1 percent in the U.S. has more than doubled in the last 35 years, after dropping in the decades after World War II (when the rich were taxed at high double-digit rates).

Crypto coins’ gyrations require nerves of steel, but to an increasing number of Venezuelans, they’re the safest currency they can own.

President Donald Trump will announce a ban on Americans and U.S. companies doing business with Cuba’s military on Friday in a rollback of the Obama administration’s plan to thaw relations with the island.

The U.S. Navy has yet to figure out how to fix oxygen deprivation and cabin pressure loss in its Boeing Co. F-18 aircraft — a problem the service called “elusive” in a report released Thursday.

Qatari authorities have prosecuted five people accused by the U.S. and the United Nations of financing terrorists — and who were also named by Saudi Arabia and its allies as part of the bloc’s justification for isolating the tiny Gulf nation since last week.

Amazon.com Inc. will acquire Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, a bombshell of a deal that catapults the e-commerce giant into the supermarket business with hundreds of stores across the U.S.

An American college student who emerged from prison in North Korea in a coma has severe brain damage, but doctors don’t know what caused it, a medical team treating him in Ohio said.

Nestlé’s new chief executive officer is putting the world’s biggest food company on a diet, moving to shed its U.S. confectionery business as he seeks growth from healthier and more profitable businesses.

AP Top Stories

The Qatar crisis has expanded to include Libya and now involves Glencore, one of the world’s largest traders of natural resources, in a conflict over export sales of crude oil.

Iraqis are being swept up in immigration raids across the US and targeted for deportation by the Trump administration, in a crackdown attorneys and advocates described as a “death sentence” for members of Iraq’s Christian minority.

Russia said Friday it was verifying whether it had killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an airstrike targeting a meeting of IS leaders just outside the group’s de facto capital in Syria, dealing a potentially severe blow to the extremist group as it fights to hang on to its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

The US Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed tough sanctions on Russia and Iran, sending the House of Representatives a bill that would prevent President Donald Trump from unilaterally easing penalties against Moscow.

Scientists studying climate change say they have had to cancel part of their research because of global warming.

The United States has deployed mobile artillery rocket launchers in southern Syria, aiming to defend its At-Tanaf base where it trains anti-Islamic State forces, Pentagon officials confirmed.

Russia on Thursday accused the US-led coalition of deploying missiles against Syrian troops at a garrison in the east of the country, where rebels battling the Islamic State group are being trained.

Islamic State fighters have captured Tora Bora, a mountain cave complex in eastern Afghanistan that was once the hideout of Osama bin Laden, officials said Thursday, despite pressure on the jihadists from US-led forces.

BBC

Vice-President Mike Pence has hired an outside lawyer to handle his response to inquiries into possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The United Nations Mission in Colombia says it has received 40% of the weapons registered by the Farc rebel group, a figure which falls short of the 60% they should have received by now. The deadline for the handover of all the 7,000 registered weapons is Tuesday.

Australia is bringing in its first national gun amnesty since 1996 because of the growing terrorism threat and an influx of illegal arms in the country. During the three-month amnesty running from 1 July, people can hand in unregistered weapons without the fear of prosecution, the government says. Those caught outside that period face fines of up to $212,730or up to 14 years in prison. It is estimated that there are as many as 260,000 illicit guns in Australia.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said India needs to cease “arbitrary restrictions” on internet and phone services. The organization said state governments had imposed 20 temporary internet shutdowns in 2017. Authorities say they shut internet and telecommunications services to stop rumors during times of unrest.

The president of Serbia has nominated a gay woman to be his prime minister in a double first for the deeply conservative Balkan state.

WND

A new report says that in California, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,608 and to afford this level of rent and utilities – without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing – a household must earn $5,359 monthly or $64,311 annually. Assuming a 40-hour workweek, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly “housing wage” of $30.92 an hour.


The Briefing 06-16-17

Will the Alexandria shooting change the revolutionary rhetoric on both political sides?

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism and the role of parents & churches in America’s teenage spiritual crisis

Worldview Book Recommendation: ‘Closing of the American Mind’ by Allan Bloom

The post The Briefing 06-16-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 6/16/2017

15,000 plus sign petition against anti-Israel rally in London
An online petition calling for a ban of the upcoming “Al-Quds Day” march in London had garnered over 15,000 signatures as of Thursday, due to concerns that the rally promotes antisemitism and terrorism. The annual event, which has previously attracted controversy due to the waving of flags of terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, is scheduled to be held in the British capital on Sunday.

Palestinians to claim Tomb of Patriarchs on UN World Heritage List
The World Heritage Committee is set to debate inscribing the Old City of Hebron – including its Tomb of the Patriarchs – to the “State of Palestine” when it meets from July 2 to 12 in Krakow, Poland. “This is a new front in the war over the holy places that the Palestinians are trying to ignite as part of their propaganda campaign against Israel and the history of the Jewish people,” Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama HaCohen told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Five Palestinians cities to expand into Area C
Israel notified the Palestinian Authority that five Palestinian cities – Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarem, Jenin and Kalkilya – would be allowed to expand from Area A into Area C, MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) told Army Radio on Thursday night. Tibi spoke prior to the anticipated return of US envoy Jason Greenblatt to the region, who was last here two weeks ago to speak with Israelis and Palestinians about US President Donald Trump’s peace efforts.

Niger floods: Nine children killed as homes collapse
At least nine children are reported to have died as houses in Niger’s capital, Niamey, collapsed following heavy rain. The rain has caused floods and extensive damage, including to one of the main markets in the city centre. Homes collapsed in several parts of the city, trapping or killing those inside, AFP reported Zourkaleini Maiga, secretary general of the local authority, as saying.

Islamic State leader Baghdadi ‘may have been killed by Russia’
Russia’s defence ministry is investigating whether one of its air strikes in Syria killed the leader of the Islamic State militant group (IS). The ministry said an air strike may have killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and up to 330 other fighters on 28 May. It said the raid had targeted a meeting of the IS military council in the group’s de-facto capital of Raqqa, in northern Syria.

Russia questions US Himars missile deployment in Syria
The Russian defence ministry has raised concerns about US multiple-rocket launchers being deployed at a base in eastern Syria. It said it was not impossible the two Himars launchers being set up in al-Tanf would be used against troops fighting so-called Islamic State. The launchers were reportedly brought in from Jordan to Tanf, which is used by rebels and Western special forces.

China’s quantum satellite in big leap
The term “spy satellite” has taken on a new meaning with the successful test of a novel Chinese spacecraft. The mission can provide unbreakable secret communications channels, in principle, using the laws of quantum science. Called Micius, the satellite is the first of its kind and was launched from the Gobi desert last August.

U.S. Senate votes near unanimously for Russia, Iran sanctions
The U.S. Senate voted nearly unanimously on Thursday for legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and force President Donald Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions on Russia. In a move that could complicate U.S. President Donald Trump’s desire for warmer relations with Moscow, the Senate backed the measure by 98-2.

What’s Triggering The Left Now? Soon You Won’t Be Allowed To Say “Patriot”
“There was a time when liberals and conservatives both agreed on one thing. They both used to love their country. Though they differed on what values and policies would be best for their homeland, they still had that shred of common ground. That’s clearly no longer the case.”

TSA begins testing biometric fingerprint screening at 2 airports 
Forget fumbling for your photo ID and boarding pass at the airport. Soon, certain passengers will be free to move through the airport and check into their flights using only their fingerprints, thanks to the TSA’s latest, more intrusive, innovation.

BOMBSHELL: Fox News EXPOSES Obama for RIGGING Election With 4 MILLION Fraudulent Votes
“Dead people are voting and it’s something [the Obama] administration does not want to do anything about. They must like it. They must like who they are voting for,” J. Christian Adams told Fox News. “Now we have four million, four million Steve, ineligible and dead voters on American voter rolls according to the Pew Charitable Trust,” he added. So THAT’S how Obama got elected twice!

Afghanistan Situation is Obama’s Fault, Says Mattis
Secretary of Defense James Mattis blamed former President Barack Obama for the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan when speaking to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday. Mattis argued that the Obama administration’s decision to pull support for Afghan forces allowed the Taliban to rebuild and refocus their efforts.

The UN Just Accused The US Of Killing 300 Civilians Since Last Week In Raqqa
“…the intensification of air strikes, which have paved the ground for an SDF advance in Raqqa, has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced…”

Black Lives Matter Activist Tries to Make Scalise Shooting About Race
It took less than a day for a top Black Lives Matter activist, Shaun King, to make the shooting in Alexandria, Va., about race—complaining that the media is going too easy on the shooter, and claiming that white men should be “banned” to reduce mass shootings.

Furious Trump Lashes Out In Afternoon Tweetstorm
“Why is that Hillary Clintons family and Dems dealings with Russia are not looked at, but my non-dealings are?” “Crooked H destroyed phones w/ hammer, ‘bleached’ emails, & had husband meet w/AG days before she was cleared- & they talk about obstruction?”


Rush Limbaugh And Ann Coulter Are Right – America Is On The Verge Of Widespread Chaos And Civil Unrest

Things will never be the same in America from this moment forward. When 66-year-old James Hodgkinson attempted to gun down as many Republican members of Congress as possible at a baseball field in Virginia, he permanently shattered the notion that we could go back to the way that things used to be in this country. At one time, Republicans and Democrats may have strongly disagreed with one another over the issues, but there was always a certain code of civility that everyone understood and respected. But now that is long gone, and if our politicians and the big media outlets continue to fuel the rising hatred in this country, it won’t be too long before we are dealing with widespread chaos and civil unrest from coast to coast. (Read More…)

A Broken Culture

Liking Facebook posts replaced sitting around a table sharing a meal. The coffee conversation at the local diner got replaced with the real time Twitter feed where everyone complained about the same thing, the same way, and all targeted the same group to blame. God made the real world and we see Him reflected in it. Man made his own world and we see his reflection in it. The former is beautiful. Not so much the latter.

View Article


America teetering on the brink of political anarchy – Todd Starnes

What I’m about to say is politically incorrect, but it needs to be said.

Our great nation is teetering on the brink of political anarchy. And the blame lies with Hollywood and public universities and left-wing activists.

View Article


We Are Getting Very Close To An Inverted Yield Curve – And If That Happens A Recession Is Essentially Guaranteed

If something happens seven times in a row, do you think that there is a pretty good chance that it will happen the eighth time too?  Immediately prior to the last seven recessions, we have seen an inverted yield curve, and it looks like it is about to happen again for the very first time since the last financial crisis.  For those of you that are not familiar with this terminology, when we are talking about a yield curve we are typically talking about the spread between two-year and ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yields.  Normally, long-term rates are higher than short-term rates, but when investors get spooked about the economy this can reverse.  Just before every single recession since 1960 the yield curve has “inverted”, and now we are getting dangerously close to it happening again for the first time in a decade. (Read More…)


THE SWAMP FIGHTS BACK: Special Counsel Robert Mueller Hires Lawyers With Deep Ties To DNC To Investigate Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought 13 lawyers on board to handle the Russia investigation, with plans to hire more, according to his spokesman Peter Carr.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The amount of evidence showing collusion between President Trump and the Russians to influence the election stands firmly at zero. There is none anywhere. Illegal leaks at the highest levels in Washington is at an all-time high. So if you had to pick one thing to investigate, what would it be? Well, if you are a denizen of The Swamp, you ignore the actual law breakers doing the leaking, because that would only incriminate Liberals and that’s a no-no in The Swamp. What you do decide to do is investigate the President, and use a team of Liberal Democrats to do it. The Swamp is just getting started.

Robert Mueller has assembled a high-powered team of top investigators and leading experts, including seasoned attorneys who’ve represented major American companies in court and who have worked on cases ranging from Watergate to the Enron fraud scandal.

Among them are James Quarles and Jeannie Rhee, both of whom Mueller brought over from his old firm, WilmerHale. He’s also hired Andrew Weissmann, who led the Enron investigation.

“That is a great, great team of complete professionals, so let’s let him do his job,” former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, told ABC News.

While only five attorneys have been identified, concerns have come up over the political leanings of Quarles, Rhee and Weissmann. They have donated overwhelmingly to Democrats, totaling more than $53,000 since 1988, according to a CNN analysis of Federal Election Commission records.

The special counsel’s investigators are looking into questions of Russian interference in last year’s election, and plan to speak to senior intelligence officials, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

Mueller is also investigating whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The Post reported that the interviews represent a widening of the probe to include looking into whether the President obstructed justice in suggesting to his former FBI Director James Comey that Comey drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, as well as for his firing of Comey.

Mueller’s investigators have asked for information and will talk to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, according to a source, who said they have also sought information from recently retired NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett. Coats and Rogers have testified that they were not pressured by the Trump administration.

I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017

The interviews are some of the first indications of the efforts of Mueller’s newly assembled team. Ultimately, it would be up to Mueller to decide whether there is enough evidence to recommend pursuing charges on any part of the investigation.

Law enforcement sources tell CNN that the special counsel is gathering information and considering whether there is evidence to launch a full-scale obstruction investigation.

Trump, however, referred to the Post’s reporting as a “phony” story in a tweet Thursday.

“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice,” the President tweeted. In another tweet, Trump called it “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history — led by some very bad and conflicted people!”

A spokesman for the office of the special counsel declined to comment, and so did a representative for the director of National Intelligence. In a statement, the National Security Agency said it “will fully cooperate with the special counsel,” but declined to comment further.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump’s outside attorney, Marc Kasowitz, slammed the Post’s reporting. “The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” he said. source


June 15, 2017
CLIFF KINCAID — Former FBI Director James Comey has finally admitted publicly that President Donald Trump has not been under investigation, after months of deliberately leaving the impression that he was. Now the issue becomes whether Trump somehow obstructed justice in trying to save one of his subordinates, a decorated military veteran who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), from a frivolous prosecution…. (more)

June 15, 2017
LINDA GOUDSMIT — Only a left-wing liberal living in subjective reality could promote the hijab, the quintessential symbol of feminine oppression, as fashion. The idea is so spectacularly stupid that it defies description. This is yet another salvo in the attempt to Islamicize the West by making the unacceptable dictates of sharia law acceptable…. (more)

June 15, 2017
SUSAN FERRECHIO — Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday were left pondering whether and how to increase their own security in the wake of a gunman’s shocking attack against GOP lawmakers at a baseball practice, and it is already prompting some to start pushing for police protection at their homes and group events outside the Capitol…. (more)

June 15, 2017

WASHINGTON EXAMINER — One Republican lawmaker believes that concealed carry reciprocity for members of Congress should be considered as part of possible security upgrades after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot at practice for the congressional charity baseball game early Wednesday morning…. (more)


June 15, 2017
NEWSMAX — America must heal its sharp divide and end the divisiveness that led to Wednesday’s bloodbath in which a President Donald Trump-hating gunman opened fire and critically wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, former House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, told Newsmax TV…. (more)

June 15, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — Renowned feminist Camille Paglia says the Democratic Party’s leaders are in “a nationwide orgy of rage and spite” that prevents them from connecting with millions of potential voters…. (more)


June 15, 2017
NEWSMAX — The WannaCry computer worm, a ransomware attack that infected more than 300,000 people in about 150 countries just weeks ago, is being blamed on North Korea. The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency has “moderate confidence” that North Korea is responsible for WannaCry, citing alleged hackers that have the sponsorship of North Korea’s spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau…. (more)

June 15, 2017
NEWSMAX — A rising number of American billionaires reportedly are stockpiling land as “apocalypse insurance,” in the event of an apocalyptic event, be it a viral epidemic, nuclear war, or cataclysmic pole shift…. (more)

June 15, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — Longtime safety advocate Ralph Nader blasted auto companies and Silicon Valley on Wednesday, accusing them of lacking legal, ethical and policy frameworks for the testing and future deployment of driverless vehicles…. (more)

June 15, 2017
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — MedStar Washington Hospital Center said House Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains in critical condition Wednesday night as the result of a gunshot wound to the hip and will require more surgery…. (more)

June 14, 2017

NBC NEWS — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was among five people wounded Wednesday morning when a rifle-wielding gunman opened fire during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia…. (more)


June 14, 2017

NEWSMAX — James T. Hodgkinson, 66, identified by law enforcement officials as the deceased gunman who opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a Virginia baseball field, was “living out of his gym bag” in Alexandria, The Washington Post reported…. (more)


June 14, 2017

WASHINGTON TIMES — The rifle shots came from the fence over the third base line, shattering the June morning, wounding one congressman and several staffers, and terrifying the two dozen lawmakers and staffers who were also on the field. Then came gunshots from the other side of the field…. (more)


June 14, 2017

PAUL BREMMER — This week brought a chilling reminder of the devastating effects of leftist rage in America. A group of Republican congressmen practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game found themselves dodging a hail of bullets from a would-be assassin’s gun Wednesday…. (more)


June 14, 2017

LEO HOHMANN — The shooter at the GOP congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning was identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, a 66-year-old supporter and campaign volunteer of Bernie Sanders with far-left political views…. (more)


June 14, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — There is no doubt that politics in the United States now include a level of violence not seen in recent memory. It comes as factions of the Democratic Party have proven unable to accept the fact their candidate for president, now twice-failed Hillary Clinton, lost a decisive election to the GOP candidate, Donald Trump, in 2016…. (more)

June 14, 2017
JOSEPH FARAH — Imagine a candidate for the U.S. Senate who is more anti-establishment than Trump and has been proving it for more than 20 years as a judge and even chief justice of his state’s Supreme Court…. (more)

June 14, 2017

ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — I have argued that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the so-called Russia investigation was a mistake. The attorney general’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon bolstered this conclusion…. (more)


June 14, 2017
BOB UNRUH — Washington certainly didn’t need another reason for citizens to doubt its integrity, but this one strikes at the very heart of the government’s ability to investigate and remove corruption: the Department of Justice’s appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the allegations of “collusion” by Trump team members with the Russian government…. (more)

June 14, 2017
NATIONAL REVIEW — Over the weekend the arts community stepped a little too close to the flame of their hatred for President Trump. They got singed, and by Sunday night they were backing away, looking confused and hurt…. (more)

June 12, 2017
POLIZETTE — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparked a mini-meltdown in the media Monday with a tweet challenging the fairness of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election…. (more)

June 12, 2017
WESLEY PRUDEN — The liberals and the left have been flirting with the fantasy of an assassination of Donald Trump since the early hours of last Nov. 9. If all the rants and diatribes, which make up the conversation where snowflakes, “intellectuals” and the morally elite gather to chat and chew, can’t accomplish the elimination of the president by peaceable means, then why not by “any means necessary?”… (more)

June 12, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — The Trump administration is poised to nip the Bears Ears National Monument, beginning a rollback of one of President Obama’s most aggressive environmental moves. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued an interim report Monday saying the 1.35-million-acre Utah monument that Mr. Obama established on his way out of office is far too big and needs to be carved up and cut down to size…. (more)

June 12, 2017
ALAN KEYES — We have now completed a survey of the structure and powers of the executive department…which combines, as far as republican principles will admit, all the requisites to energy. The remaining inquiry is: Does it also combine the requisites to safety, in a republican sense – – a due dependence on the people, a due responsibility?…… (more)

June 12, 2017

CLIFF KINCAID — The Russia-gate scandal means big ratings for the media. For the American people, it means the likelihood of more terrorist attacks. It stands to reason that all of the money, resources and personnel that are being used to investigate President Donald Trump could be used elsewhere, such as rooting out the corruption in the intelligence community that has prevented the United States from identifying and defeating the Islamic terrorist threat…. (more)


What is the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement?

Churchwatch Central has put together a summary of New Apostolic Reformation pioneers Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber.

NAR false teachers “Apostle” Bill Johnson & “Prophet” Mike Bickle

We’ve already provided a simplistic overview of the Shepherding/Discipleship Movement (SDM) in the 1970s. This time we would like to turn your attention to the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement (PAM). 

Mike Bickle has done the body of Christ a massive favor by advertising the historical foundations of his iHOP movement through these sessions and resources. In the attached resources you will hear:

  1. Their experiences with the ‘Dominus’ Jesus and the ‘Don’ Jesus,
  2. How they helped pioneer the APM, with leaders such as John Wimber,
  3. How the Apostles of the Vineyard Movement worked with the Prophets of the Kansas City Prophetic Movement to further establish their governance over the visible church,
  4. Countless bizarre prophecies and experiences from Mike Bickle, Bob Jones and other false prophets and leaders.

Although Wimber and Wagner played a significant role in developing the Apostolic Movement through the Vineyard Movement (US) and New Wine Movement (UK) in the 1980s, our focus will be more on the Prophetic Movement in Kansas City, led by Bickle and Jones.

This article exists so people can hear. for themselves, Bob Jones and Mike Bickle talk about iHOP’s creepy beginnings. Back in the early 1980s, it was known as the Kansas City Fellowship (KCF). It later became the Kansas City Prophets (KCP) prophetic movement which helped bring into fruition other movements, mainly the iHOP movement. We will also include an important work of a man who helped exposed the dangers of this dangerous part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

View article →


Dangerous Rhetoric… Dangerous Events

The tragic shooting this week in Virginia of Republican Congressmen and staffers is a sad effect of the careless, hateful rhetoric that spews out of Washington politicians and our divided nation as a whole over the past two decades. Mentally unstable people get caught up in the media sensationalism and decide that violence is the logical answer. Is our nation on the brink of a social meltdown and political anarchy fueled by careless politicians and a reckless media? I think you know the answer. We will cover this story and others in our Media watch segment this morning. We also answer your questions from this week’s shows.

Read more


When Political Correctness Runs Rampant

This just a week after struggling comedienne, Kathy Griffin held up a severed head of President Donald Trump, days after a New York City Public Theater production of Shakespeare in the Park stabs a ‘Trump’ lookalike (Caesar) to death in a performance of ‘Julius Caesar,’ and days after Senator Bernie Sanders, in anger, suggested Christians that believe the Bible and work for public office.

Today’s guest is Elijah Abraham, is the founder and executive director of Living Oasis Ministries. Elijah’s story began in Baghdad in 1965 when he was born to an Iraqi Shi’ite Muslim family. Elijah joins us to discuss current events in light of Bible prophecy as well as the political correctness running rampant in America.

Read more


The ‘Resistance’ Inciting Violence, Looking the Other Way

I miss the old days when disagreement and political opposition did not mean you hated the other person or party. This is now a time of sustained hostility most of us believe will not get much better in a nation that has embraced moral relativism and abandoned God.

The only thing that will alter the course we’re on is if people turn back to God because only He can change the hate-filled, hardened hearts of sinners. This is why sharing the gospel is so important. All around us, people are without hope and hurting, and incident’s like today’s is a glaring reminder of how bad it has gotten.

Abraham Lincoln was right when he called for national fasting, prayer, and repentance because the people had forgotten God. That was 1863. Healing won’t come from Washington or Hollywood; it has to start with us.

As we approach the Fourth of July and celebrate our national independence, remember our blessings and freedoms, yes, but let’s acknowledge the fact America desperately needs revival. In all the chaos and noise, people are more in need of the healing touch and salvation of Jesus Christ than ever in our history.

Read more


A Warning Shot to Christians in Government

Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders, who could have been elected President, said some very disturbing things when questioning the President’s nominee for Deputy Director of Management and Budget. Sanders did not question Russel Vought’s financial or management qualifications when grilling him; he questioned if he should be allowed to work in the government because of Vought’s Christian beliefs. Apparently, it all stemmed from a personal statement Vought made on his personal facebook page: “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.”

According to God’s Word, Vought is correct and that seemed to drive Sanders crazy. Also today in our Rightly Handling the Word segment we discuss “Seed Faith Offering” statements that television preachers often use to get people to give to their organizations. Just what does God actually promise when we give generously, compared to what is promised by these televangelists?

Read more


Sanitized Socialism & Communist Goals

Socialism is a deception. If you look at every major area of importance in America where Christianity was once prominent and had influence, history shows truth has been replaced by lies. We will be able to raise more awareness and fight more effectively once we realize the fact that the United States of America is […]

Read more


Doubt, Skepticism and Confusion

Satan’s bag of tricks are not all that extensive. He usually sticks to the same tactic because it works. He placed doubt about God into Eve’s mind, and the result was sin and death entering the world. These days the tactic remains the same: Get people to doubt God and His Word, and convince them that we know better than God who we are and what is good. But today Satan has a variety of institutions to reinforce the doubt he wants to spread including media, public education, Hollywood, and even sometimes naive professing Christians.

Pastor Randy White joins us to discuss the growing skepticism about God in society and within the church, and how we combat it with sound theology and method.

Read more

Mid-Day Snapshot

June 16, 2017

NYT Recycles Fake News to Blame the Right

After a crazed leftist attacked Republicans, the Times still seeks to blame politically motivated violence on conservatives.

The Foundation

“There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: June 16

  • Russia may have killed ISIS leader Baghdadi (Read More)
  • About 4,000 more US troops to go to Afghanistan (Read More)
  • Insurers Look to Ramp Up Premiums in Health Law Exchanges (Read More)
  • U.N. envoy urges North Korea to explain why freed U.S. man is in coma (Read More)
  • Wal-Mart Offers a Refuge for Sellers Tired of Amazon  (Read More)
  • Trump to limit Cuba travel, restrict business deals with military: U.S. officials (Read More)
  • Private-Equity Firms Stand to Benefit From Court’s Curb on SEC (Read More)
  • The $31 Billion Hole in GE’s Balance Sheet That Keeps Growing (Read More)
  • Facebook Boosts A.I. to Block Terrorist Propaganda (Read More)
  • Whole Foods CEO Calls Activist Investor ‘Greedy Bastards’ (Read More)
  • Kroger Rattles Nerves in Grocery Section (Read More)
  • U.S. Exports to Mexico Fall as Uncertainty Over Nafta Lingers (Read More)
  • Funds pull back from Permian as U.S. shale oil firms go into overdrive (Read More)
  • The World’s Richest Nation Has Rarely Looked Weaker  (Read More)
  • 30 confirmed dead in London high-rise fire (Read More)
  • Big Oil Firms Are Exploring a New Frontier in Shale: Profits (Read More)
  • Facing criticism, British PM to visit London fire victims (Read More)
  • Pimco’s New Bond King Is Nothing Like Bill Gross (Read More)
  • U.S. accuses Chinese company of money-laundering for North Korea (Read More)

Featured Blogs


This ‘n’ That

  • On the great exchanges found in Romans (hey, that reminds me of this!).
  • This is enough to make you nauseous. How long, Lord?
  • No, your subjective, personal impressions are not divine revelation.
  • Beware the perils along the road to success.
  • Did John Calvin care about missions?
  • I must keep reminding myself that I don’t need this.
  • Let’s be praying for Kevin DeYoung as he begins this new chapter of ministry.
  • This is so sweet! Okay, all together now…”Awwww!”
  • As far as I’m concerned, Adam West is the only Batman there will ever be.
  • Abler Chou on the need for Christian intellectual engagement:

Top Headlines – 6/16/2017

Marking 50 years of rule, Rivlin calls on world to recognize Golan as Israel

Rivlin: The Golan is essential to our existence

Ministers slam Israeli plan to double size of West Bank’s Qalqilya

Israel and Hamas court catastrophe in high-stakes game of chicken

US ‘concerned’ about Gaza crisis but says Hamas responsible

Russian Ambassador to Israel – Hamas, Hezbollah not terrorists at all

Palestinians to claim Tomb of Patriarchs on UN World Heritage List

US threatens to replace UN human rights body over anti-Israel stance

Israel expects change in UN voting patterns, Netanyahu says after Africa trip

Vatican, Israel closer to resolving property, tax issues – Historic accord would define relations, establish juridical rights of the Catholic Church in Israel

Iraqi Christians targeted for deportation face ‘death sentence’ in Iraq, lawyers say

London fire: First victim named as Mohammed Alhajali, a Syrian refugee

UN slams ‘staggering loss of civilian life’ in US-backed Syria airstrikes

Russia claims it has killed Islamic State leader

About 4,000 more US troops to be sent to Afghanistan

US shifts to reassure Qatar with arms sale, joint exercise

US signs deal to supply F-15 jets to Qatar after Trump terror claims

Unicef Steps In to Pay Yemen’s Doctors as War and Cholera Rage

From Tehran to Beirut: Shia militias aim to firm up Iran’s arc of influence

Senate passes Iran ‘non-nuclear’ sanctions bill

UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons may be adopted soon

Their life disrupted, South Korean grannies vow to fight THAAD till the end

Kim Jong-un nervous about assassination: NIS

Fred Warmbier: No excuse for North Korea ‘brutalizing’ our son

Doctors say US student freed by North Korea has severe brain damage

Rodman gives Trump’s ‘The Art of the Deal’ as gift for North Korea’s Kim

Some of China’s richest and most powerful men have mysteriously vanished

Deadly blast hits students, parents at gates of kindergarten in China

Trump scraps Obama policy that protected immigrant parents from deportation

Nearly $50 million in the California state budget will go to expanded legal services for immigrants

Putin Offers Political Asylum To James Comey, Citing Potential Prosecution In U.S.

Jared Kushner’s business dealings come under scrutiny in Russia probe

Trump, facing deepening probes, revives attacks on Clinton

Trump to announce plan to stop cash flow to Cuban military

Pence hires his own lawyer for Russia probes

News Corp. CEO: The Almighty Algorithm – “fake news” and other consequences of Google, Amazon and Facebook’s relentless focus on quantity over quality

Rage Is All the Rage, and It’s Dangerous

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes Defends Public Theater’s ‘Julius Caesar,’ CNN at Shareholders Meeting

Several shots fired at truck flying ‘Make America Great Again’ flag on I-465

Varney: Left Won’t Acknowledge ‘Climate of Violence’ They Helped Create

Talk of unity wanes as Republicans, Democrats blame each other for shooting

Democrats and Republicans show unity on baseball field to honor wounded colleague

Dems ask themselves: Has their rhetoric gone too far?

Steve Scalise shooting: Political ‘intensity’ at town halls and beyond rising for months

GOP Lawmaker Wants to Let Members of Congress Carry Guns

Terror fears prompt first Australia gun amnesty in 20 years

How a Conspiracy Theorist’s Call About a Dirty Bomb Shut Down Part of a Port

Facebook seeks to become ‘hostile place’ for terrorists

Opposing Trump, conservative bloc demands reforms to internet spy law

Trump Orders Government to Stop Work on Y2K Bug, 17 Years Later

Trump to clamp down on Cuba travel, trade, curbing Obama’s detente

Eurogroup agrees 8.5 billion euro bailout distribution to Greece to cover its current needs

OPEC Took Aim at US Oil Producers, but Hurt Itself, Too

Sweet! Rare Strawberry ‘Minimoon’ Makes for Stunning Photos

5.8 magnitude earthquake hits the Southern East Pacific Rise

Bezymianny volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 40,000ft

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 27,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 23,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 18,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Deadly London Tower Fire Fueled By ‘Green Energy’ Rules

A Few Genetic Tweaks To Chinese Bird Flu Virus Could Fuel A Human Pandemic

Secrecy surrounding Senate health bill raises alarms in both parties

Rule gives Oregonians non-gender option on driver’s license

Serbia’s president formally nominates country’s first openly gay prime minister

Catholic Church Says Sexual Abuse by Clergy Still Unresolved With 25 New Cases: Annual Report

Denny Burk – “The Gospel according to Glennon”: What gospel?

What is the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement (PAM)? (A Summary of Jones, Bickle, Wagner and Wimber)

Bridgeport Pastor Forged Documents, Sold Church To Himself For $1

Jilted bishop launched scandal campaign against gospel artist after romance was spurned: lawsuit

Pastor Wants Revival Service for ‘Side Chicks,’ Says ‘Pray for Women Who Have No Value’

R.C. Sproul Jr. Accepts Plea Agreement for Drunk Driving With Children in Vehicle, Sentenced to Probation

Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake Strikes Yellowstone followed 5 aftershocks

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 06:06 AM PDT

A Magnitude 4.5 earthquake and 5 aftershocks larger than M2.5 struck Yellowstone on June 16, 2017, while NASA is flying the world’s largest airborne observatory…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pray These Powerful Decrees Over Your Unsaved Loved Ones

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 06:01 AM PDT

(By Dutch Sheets) Jesus came to restore things on earth to God’s plan. He talked about this in Matthew 16 where he said, “I will build my…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Radical Islam Growing In Sweden

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:45 AM PDT

The Swedish security service SAPO says the number of people in Sweden with extremist views has grown to several thousands, mainly among people with sympathies…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Drag becomes front and center of American Entertainment!

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:36 AM PDT

Drag has been around since the days of Dionysus, but no ancient Greek ever sashayed nearly as statuesquely as RuPaul Charles. The world’s most famous…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: Serbia’s president formally nominates country’s first openly gay prime minister

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:32 AM PDT

Serbia’s president on Thursday nominated the highly conservative country’s first openly gay prime minister, a move likely to infuriate both the Christian Orthodox church and…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Illinois may be first state to file for bankruptcy

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:28 AM PDT

Illinois residents may feel some solidarity with the likes of Puerto Rico and Detroit. A financial crunch is spiraling into a serious problem for Illinois…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

U.S. sending 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:23 AM PDT

An additional 4,000 American troops are headed for Afghanistan, a Trump administration official told The Associated Press on Thursday. The forces will join nearly 10,000…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Oregon becomes first state to add third option to driver’s licenses

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:17 AM PDT

Oregon on Thursday became the first U.S. state to allow residents to identify as neither male nor female on state driver’s licenses, a decision that…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

ISIS leader al-Baghdadi reportedly killed in Russia-led airstrike

Posted: 16 Jun 2017 05:11 AM PDT

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday it is checking on information indicating that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly killed in a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is America Is On The Verge Of Widespread Chaos And Civil Unrest?

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 06:37 PM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) Things will never be the same in America from this moment forward. When 66-year-old James Hodgkinson attempted to gun down as…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Famous scientist’s research confirmed belief in God

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 06:31 PM PDT

The “Father of Modern Space Flight” was Wernher von Braun. He acknowledged his debt to the “Father of Modern Rocketry,” American scientist Robert H. Goddard…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Shots fired at truck flying ‘Make America Great Again’ flag…

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 06:22 PM PDT

Indiana State Police say shots were fired at a truck carrying a “Make America Great Again” flag and an American flag on eastbound I-465 Tuesday….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

The one thing we cannot afford to lose!

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 02:28 PM PDT

(By Ricky Scaparo) In this segment we will show you how the enemy is attempting to make believers in this hour become hard and their…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

PROPHECY WATCH: Convergence Of Signs Preparing The Way For “Third Temple”

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 12:13 PM PDT

For millennia, it was a scene that would have been unimaginable. Soldiers of the Jewish state, under the banner of the Star of David, crying…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Biometric Hand Scanner Violated Coal Miner’s ‘Mark of the Beast’ Belief

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 12:08 PM PDT

An appeals court ruled Monday that a West Virginia coal mining company interfered with a worker’s religious beliefs after the evangelical Christian likened the company’s…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Worm grows strange mutation after space visit

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 12:01 PM PDT

There are lots of strange things to discover in space, but flatworms sent to the International Space Station saved the really weird stuff for when…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Massive Revival in Syria Keeps Getting Stronger

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:50 AM PDT

A pastor in Syria is speaking out to note that, despite the tragic mass exodus of Christians in the Middle East, there’s a sizable number of Muslims…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tim Allen’s ‘Last Man Standing’ May Have Just Found a New Home

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:40 AM PDT

ABC caused a bit of an uproar recently when it made the surprise announcement in May that it would no longer carry Tim Allen’s popular…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Rep. Bill Johnson Claims Shooter’s Aim Being Off Was an ‘Act of God’

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:31 AM PDT

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) is calling it an “act of God” that the shooter who opened fire at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning in…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pastor Wants Revival Service for ‘Side Chicks,’

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:25 AM PDT

In a crusade against women who sleep with men in committed relationships, known in popular culture as “side chicks,” a pastor in Dallas, Texas, has…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christian School Fears Bible Verses Will Be Banned Under Canada’s New Human Rights Code

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:15 AM PDT

Administrators at a Christian school located southeast of Edmonton, Alberta, are concerned that parts of the Bible, specifically those that deal with sexual ethics, could…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Government Leader Demands Christians Must Convert, Pay Taxes or Be Killed

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:10 AM PDT

A video showing a call for jihad from a senior Iraqi Shi’ite cleric has caused anger among Iraqi Christians. The undated footage shows Sheikh Alaa Al-Mousawi, head…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Tensions rise as Hawaii removes scores from homeless camps…

Posted: 15 Jun 2017 11:00 AM PDT

After years of complaints, city crews dismantled two of the most volatile homeless camps on Oahu on Tuesday. Business owners in Kapalama and Iwilei say…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

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:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking”

Code: B170616

The terminology we use to describe God’s work in salvation is almost exclusively positive. We talk about the new birth, the new life, transformation and regeneration. But we also have to recognize that salvation requires death—specifically, the death of our old, sinful selves. We have to die if we’re going to be saved.

And throughout the rest of our earthly lives, we will carry around the remnants of that spiritual death. Like Lazarus, we still bear the grave clothes of our former selves, unable to fully discard the unredeemed flesh. On this side of heaven, we will never be free of that dead, old self.

In his sermon, “Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking,” John MacArthur explains why believers can’t stop sinning altogether—why claims of “entire sanctification” are empty lies. Dealing with the biblical facts about the nature of sin and salvation, John paints an encouraging portrait of the believer’s struggle against the flesh. He exposes the battle every Christian must face. And he helps listeners consider the glorious truths of their new birth in Christ.

You want to know something very interesting? The greatest transformation in your life has already taken place if you’re a Christian. It will be far greater than at your death. Your death will be a subtraction experience. You will just lose your unredeemed humanness. Your salvation was a transformation. You have already been created fit for heaven. And God did not do this miraculous work of regeneration, new birth, and creation, and have in it some components of sin because God can’t create sin. Therefore Paul understands that the new I is not sinning, it is sin that is still there. This new life is pure and ready for heaven and has holy aspirations and holy longings and loves the Law of God. So this new life is the full expression of that life which will fit heaven.

So why do we go on sinning? Because we still possess the corpse. Paul says it again, verse 18, “I know that nothing good dwells in me;” that is in my flesh. He puts it, he calls this old man, the remnants of this dead corpse, flesh. . . . Verse 20, “If I’m doing the very thing I do not wish, I’m no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” . . . It’s like a holy seed in an unholy shell, incarcerated and infected with the flesh. Or even a better illustration, the dead corpse is still attached to him.

Moreover, John encourages listeners to break the sinful habits of our old self and stifle the influence of our flesh.

So what do we do? We kill every expression of that corpse, put it to death. How do you do that? Oh, that’s another study, but you do that by applying the means of grace, abstaining from sin, avoiding temptation, making no provision for the flesh, fixing on Jesus, walking in the Spirit, meditating on Scripture, praying fervently, all the means of grace. It’s a lifelong battle. But you’ve got to take it seriously. If you want victory, if you want growth and progress, don’t wait for some epiphany experience, don’t expect some second work of grace, don’t expect to have some euphoric response to the teaching of the Bible that will catapult you to another level. It’s a slow, steady climb and all the way you’re gazing at the glory of Christ, being caught up in the wonder of who He is, walking in the Spirit, obeying Scripture and being changed into His image and killing the remaining sin every time it shows itself, using all the means of grace to do that.

“Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking” is a tremendous help when it comes to understanding the believer’s position in Christ, and the constant struggle against sin. It’s a great encouragement for the battle all Christians must daily wage against sin and temptation. And it provides powerful theological insight against the false teaching that promises an easier path to sanctification.

To watch or listen to “Spiritually Living, Yet Still Stinking,” click here.

 


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170616
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to You

You may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/about#copyright).

What is the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement (PAM)? (A Summary of Bob, Bickle, Wagner and Wimber)

NOTE TO MIKE BICKLE: WE HAVE DOWNLOADED ALL RESOURCES BELOW AND OTHER RELEVANT MATERIALS FROM MIKEBICKLE.COM. PULLING THEM NOW WILL ONLY LOOK AS IF YOU ARE HIDING THE TRUTH. WE WILL SIMPLY UPLOAD WHAT YOU HAVE PULLED DOWN.

We’ve already provided a simplistic overview of the Shepherding/Discipleship Movement (SDM) in the 1970s. This time we would like to turn your attention to the Prophetic-Apostolic Movement (PAM). 

Mike Bickle has done the body of Christ a massive favor by advertising the historical foundations of his iHOP movement through these sessions and resources. In the attached resources you will hear:

  1. Their experiences with the ‘Dominus’ Jesus and the ‘Don’ Jesus,
  2. How they helped pioneer the APM, with leaders such as John Wimber,
  3. How the Apostles of the Vineyard Movement worked with the Prophets of the Kansas City Prophetic Movement to further establish their governance over the visible church,

View original post 1,837 more words

June 16, 2017: Verse of the day

img_0286

A Contented Person Is Independent from Circumstances

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. (4:12)

Paul expands on what he alluded to in the previous verse. The twice-repeated phrase I know how … I also know how reveals that he had learned by experience and spiritual maturity to live above his circumstances and not to let them affect his contentment. That is an important lesson for believers to learn, for it is the difficult circumstances in life that most frequently steal our contentment.

Paul’s statement I know how to get along with humble means, to be hungry, and to suffer need indicates that he had had his share of poverty. He knew what it was to get by with meager material things. He also knew how to live in prosperity, to be filled, and to have an abundance when God graciously granted him more than he needed. All six of those terms refer to the material, earthly needs of this life, not to spiritual needs.

Paul was no ivory tower theologian; he had lived and ministered in the trenches. His life was not exactly a testimonial for the prosperity gospel. The apostle’s trials began at Damascus shortly after his conversion. Enraged that Paul

kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ, … the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to [Paul]. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. (Acts 9:22–25)

At Lystra on his first missionary journey, hostile “Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead” (Acts 14:19). Many of the Philippian believers no doubt remembered what happened to Paul and his fellow preacher Silas in Philippi:

The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. (Acts 16:22–24)

Things did not get much better for the apostle in Thessalonica, where

the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them. The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. (Acts 17:5–10)

Trouble, in the form of hostile, unbelieving Jews, followed Paul from Thessalonica to Berea: “But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds” (Acts 17:13). Forced to flee Berea, Paul went to Athens, where he was mocked and ridiculed by the skeptical Greek philosophers gathered on Mars Hill (Acts 17:18–34). From Athens the apostle went to Corinth where, “while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat” (Acts 18:12). After ministering for three months in Greece, “a plot [to kill Paul] was formed against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria” (Acts 20:3). When he got to Jerusalem, Paul was attacked and savagely beaten after Jews from Asia Minor recognized him in the temple (Acts 21:26–30). Rescued from certain death by the quick action of a Roman officer (Acts 21:31–35), Paul began his long stay in Roman custody. Two years later, after hearings before the Sanhedrin and the Roman governor failed to resolve the situation, Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar. After a harrowing sea voyage, which included a terrifying, two-week-long storm that ended in a shipwreck (Acts 27), Paul finally arrived in Rome (Acts 28). As he penned this letter to the Philippians, Paul was again a prisoner in Rome.

Summing up his arduous, difficult, painful life Paul wrote,

Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands. (2 Cor. 11:23–33)

In all Paul’s unique and constant sufferings, he had learned the secret of rising above them. In the midst of all his trials, he kept his focus on heavenly realities (cf. Col. 3:1–2). In 2 Corinthians 4:17, the apostle wrote, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” With that perspective, is it any wonder that no amount of pain, suffering, or disappointment could affect his contentment?[1]


12 “I know what it is to be in need” translates tapeinousthai (GK 5427) as in the passive voice (“to be humbled”), which assumes that Paul’s lowly state is thrust on him. “To live in plenty” (or in prosperity) is relative and may simply refer to the times when he was not experiencing the hardships he cataloged in 2 Corinthians 11:24–27. He had learned the secret of trusting God to provide his daily bread, even when on half rations or starving. How to live is the issue, and Paul continues to present himself as an example for the Philippians to follow (4:9).[2]

4:12–13. Paul spoke from experience. He had been through the extremes: surplus and poverty. He knew how to weather the dangers of both. This was his secret. Greek and Roman religions had secret initiation rites. Some religions and philosophies prided themselves on secret knowledge. Paul had a different kind of secret. His secret was his reliance on Christ, a reliance gained through his Christian experience. Stoics relied on personal will to gain contentment. Paul did not claim such personal inner strength. His strength came from Jesus living in him. Paul was in Christ and thus content no matter what his circumstances.

J. Vernon McGee writes:

Whatever Christ has for you to do, He will supply the power. Whatever gift He gives you, He will give the power to exercise that gift. A gift is a manifestation of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer. As long as you function in Christ, you will have power. He certainly does not mean that he is putting into your hand unlimited power to do anything you want to do. Rather, He will give you the enablement to do all things in the context of His will for you (McGee, Thru the Bible, V:327–8).

The Christian life is not only difficult; it is also impossible unless we acquire the power to live it through Christ. To be sure, this truth does not come naturally to us but must be learned.[3]


12. It is to be noted that this contentment or soul-sufficiency (see on 1 Tim. 6:6) is derived not from any resources which the soul has in itself. Paul is no vain boaster who exclaims, “I am the Captain of my soul.” He is no Stoic who, trusting in his own resources, and supposedly unmoved by either joy or grief, endeavors with all his might to submit without complaining to unavoidable necessity. The apostle is no statue. He is a man of flesh and blood. He knows both joys and sorrows, yet is content. But his contentment has its cause in One other than himself. The real Source or Fountain of Paul’s soul-sufficiency is mentioned in verse 13. And that Fountain never runs dry, no matter what may be the circumstances. With reference to the latter Paul continues, I know what it means to live in straitened circumstances, and I also know what it means to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret, both to be filled and to be hungry, both to have plenty and to be in want.

Paul has learned the secret (a verb used only here in the New Testament and related to mystery). He has been thoroughly initiated into it by the experiences of life applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. To those who fear him God reveals this mystery (Ps. 25:14). Those who reject Christ cannot understand how it is possible for a Christian to remain calm in adversity, humble in prosperity.

The words in the present passage which require some elucidation are the following:

  • to live in straitened circumstances

Again and again Paul had been “brought low,” same verb as used with reference to Christ in Phil. 2:8, the Christ who humbled himself. That the apostle indeed knew what it meant to be reduced to such straitened circumstances is clear from the following passages: Acts 14:19; 16:22–25; 17:13; 18:12; 20:3; Chapters 21–27; 2 Cor. 4:11; 6:4, 5; 11:27, 33. He knew what was meant by hunger, thirst, fasting, cold, nakedness, physical suffering, mental torture, persecution, etc.

  • to be hungry

Hunger and thirst are often mentioned together (Rom. 12:20; 1 Cor. 4:11; 2 Cor. 11:27; and cf. for spiritual yearning, Matt. 5:6). In glory there will be neither hunger nor thirst (Rev. 7:16), and this because of Christ’s submission to these afflictions for his own children (Luke 4:2).

  • to be in want

The apostle had often fallen behind. He had suffered from lack of such comforts as many other people would have considered necessities. He had come short. Yet, none of these things had deprived him of his contentment.

Over against the expressions indicating poverty and affliction are those referring to riches and glory:

  • to have plenty

Before his conversion Paul has been a prominent Pharisee. The future looked bright and promising. Paul had had plenty, and this in more ways than one. Yet, he had lacked the greatest boon of all: Christ-centered peace of soul. But even after his conversion there had been moments of refreshment when even physically he had experienced what it meant, in a sense, to have plenty (Acts 16:15, 40; 16:33, 34; 20:11; 28:2; Phil. 4:15, 16, 18), and now no longer apart from but in connection with peace of soul. Now, to carry oneself properly in the midst of plenty is no easy matter (Prov. 30:8; Mark 10:23–25). As the adage has it, “In order to carry a full cup one must have a steady hand,” Paul, however, by the grace of the Holy Spirit had been schooled to abundance as well as to want.

  • to be filled

This word, though used at first with respect to the feeding and fattening of animals (of which meaning there is an echo in the clause: “all the birds gorged themselves with their flesh,” Rev. 19:21), and applied to men chiefly by the Comic poets, was gradually losing its depreciatory sense and is here simply used as a synonym for to have plenty.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). Philippians (pp. 300–302). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Garland, D. E. (2006). Philippians. In T. Longman III (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 258). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, pp. 263–264). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Philippians (Vol. 5, pp. 204–206). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.