Monthly Archives: August 2017

August 31, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1643

The Presence of the Truth

“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (14:25–26)

Throughout His ministry, Jesus had been the source of truth for the disciples (cf. v. 6). “These things (the Father’s word; v. 24),” He reminded them, “I have spoken to you while abiding with you.” But just as He would not leave them without a source of comfort, so also He would not leave the disciples without a source of truth. He would send the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (v. 17), to guide and teach them. Apart from His revelation, there is no way to know spiritual truth. Since “the world through its wisdom did not come to know God” (1 Cor. 1:21), fallen mankind is “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). It is only when people are “saved [that they] come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).

Even the disciples, before Pentecost, found it difficult to understand all that Jesus taught them. According to John 2:22, it was not until after the resurrection that they understood His teaching in verse 19. Nor did they grasp the full significance of the triumphal entry until after Jesus had been glorified (John 12:16). Because of their obtuseness, Jesus told them, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (16:12). They needed instruction, so Jesus promised them, The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name (cf. Acts 2:33) He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you (cf. 16:13). The phrase, in My name, means “on My behalf,” as it also does in verse 13. Just as Jesus came in the Father’s name (5:43), so also will the Spirit come in Jesus’ name. As another Comforter like Jesus, the Spirit will always act in perfect harmony with Christ’s desires, purposes, and will. “He will glorify Me,” Jesus would later tell the disciples, “for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (16:14). In the divine plan, the Spirit’s ministry is to testify about Christ (15:26), not draw attention to Himself (cf. 16:13).

The Spirit is the believer’s resident truth teacher (1 John 2:20, 27); by illuminating God’s Word to their understanding, He thus grants Christians the knowledge of God that leads them to spiritual maturity.

But Christ’s promise that the Spirit would bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them was primarily a promise to the apostles of divine inspiration. The Holy Spirit’s supernatural guidance granted them an inerrant understanding of Jesus Christ’s person and teaching. The apostles (and their close associates) recorded that divinely inspired truth in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament.

Peter described the process of inspiration in 2 Peter 1:20–21: “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” The apostle Paul declared, “All Scripture is inspired by God” (lit., “God-breathed,” 2 Tim. 3:13). The Holy Spirit inspired the very words of Scripture, not merely the thoughts of the writers (1 Cor. 2:13). The Bible is therefore inerrant and authoritative, and thus the only infallible rule of faith and practice. It alone contains “the sacred writings which are able to give [one] the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). For the redeemed, the Bible is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) and is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

Armed with the truth and accompanied by the presence of God, the disciples and their contemporaries would soon be those who “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6 kjv). But in this moment of distress, just hours before the cross, the situation looked desperately hopeless. Aware of the disciples’ distress, Jesus pointed them to the ultimate and only sure source of hope—the triune God. In the same way that the promise of God’s presence heartened them two millennia ago, it should still bring confidence and courage to believers today, since it provides comfort both now (2 Cor. 1:3–4; cf. Pss. 23:4; 86:17; Matt. 5:4; Acts 9:31), and forever (Isa. 25:8; 2 Thess. 2:16; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).[1]


The Holy Spirit as Teacher

John 14:25–26

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

John 14:26 is the shortest of those sections of the final discourses dealing with the Holy Spirit, yet it is probably true that it gives us the fullest definition. The Holy Spirit is described as the “Counselor.” We have already seen what this means in our discussion of verses 16–18. He is described as being “holy”—the Holy Spirit. Finally, he is described as being a “teacher.” Here are three definitions: the Counselor, Holy One, and Teacher. Yet when the verse is looked at closely, it is undoubtedly the last of these, the fact that the Holy Spirit is a teacher, that is emphasized. The role of the Holy Spirit as Counselor is emphasized in the earlier verses. The matter of holiness is emphasized in 16:7–11. But here (as also at 15:26–27 and 16:12–15) the special ministry of the Spirit as teacher is brought forward.

When the Lord says that the Holy Spirit is to “teach you all things,” the reference is primarily to the apostles. These were those whom Jesus had chosen to be authoritative spokesmen for the truth he had revealed. They were to remember it and then record it in the pages of what has become the New Testament. Moreover, this teaching was to become normative for the church. This same idea is clear in that verse in which the Lord says, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all [the] truth.” Jesus did not mean that all that could possibly be known would be revealed to them. All things that can possibly be known are known only to God. But he did mean that the Holy Spirit would reveal to them the full truth of the gospel centered in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. And this he did. This was a unique ministry of the Holy Spirit to the apostles.

At the same time, however, there is a secondary sense in which these words apply to Christians who are living today. The Holy Spirit teaches us as well, and the Holy Spirit is the One who brings these things to our remembrance.

Need for Teaching

We need to look at the disciples first, however. Clearly, here were men who needed to be taught. They had been with the Lord Jesus Christ for three years. One might think that they would have understood the essence of his ministry and the gospel. He had spoken to them about these things. But the truth is that, although he had spoken to them about this, nevertheless they had not understood him. It is significant that verse 25 says, “All this I have spoken while still with you.” He had spoken to them, but that is not quite the same thing as saying that he had taught them. Obviously he had tried to teach the disciples, and had taught them many other things, but they had not yet really learned the great truths of the gospel. Actually, they were confused men who needed the Holy Spirit’s teaching.

They also had a particular problem with learning in this instance, for the Lord had announced his departure to them, and this had so seized upon their minds that they were not really hearing what he was saying. He had spoken about another Counselor, but they were not interested enough in the other Counselor even to learn about him. All they could grasp was that Jesus was to be taken from them.

So the Lord tells the disciples, “You need teaching; you really do. You have heard a lot, but you do not understand it. You need to be taught. I am going. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is coming, and one of his roles (a very important role) is to teach you.”

The second interesting thing about the teaching of the Holy Spirit is that God himself earnestly wanted to teach the disciples. We see this in the fact that the entire Trinity is mentioned in this verse: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you.” In other words, the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is sending the Holy Spirit to teach the disciples, so much is he interested in having them come to the knowledge of the truth concerning Jesus.

I suppose that if we had been the Lord Jesus Christ, we might have said at this point, “Oh, these dull, dull disciples!” We could even have boasted about the quality of our instruction. We could have said, “It is impossible to imagine a better teacher than they have just had. Furthermore, they have gone through an entire seminary course in three years and have combined formal teaching with on-the-field experience. They have had the advantage of a first-class example. So if they still do not get it, I will flunk them.” We might have said that. But this is not the attitude of God. The God who recognizes, on the one hand, that the disciples needed teaching, is the same God who, on the other hand, sends the Holy Spirit in order that they might be taught.

If we ask at that point, “Were they taught?” the answer is yes; of course they were. The proof of it is our Bible. Furthermore, once the Holy Spirit had come, they began to get it quickly, because on the day of Pentecost, Peter, who on an earlier occasion had said when the Lord announced his crucifixion, “Far be it, Lord, that such a thing should happen to you,” who did not understand Jesus at all, this same Peter stood up and announced with great understanding that what had occurred in Jerusalem six weeks before had been by the foreordination of God. In other words, the crucifixion of Christ had fallen out in accordance with God’s perfect plan and was the heart of redemption. Then Peter preached Christ to the very men who had crucified him, and the Holy Spirit blessed the message so that many came to faith on that occasion. The disciples did learn through the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the Holy Spirit guided them to write these things in the books that became our New Testament.

These books record what the Lord Jesus Christ said and did, explain it, and draw conclusions. In this sense the critics are right when they say that these books are not pure biography, that is, objective historical biography. They are biography with an interpretation attached. But the interpretation, as well as the biography, is that which the Holy Spirit gave.

Our Teacher Too

All this applies primarily to the disciples, but it also comes down to us in a much closer way. For we need to be taught also, and the Holy Spirit, who taught the disciples, is our teacher as well.

Paul writes about it to the Corinthians. He talks first of the fact that in ourselves we are unable to understand spiritual truth, even when it is recorded in the pages of Scripture. But he tells us in addition that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who inspired the Bible, speaks from its pages to bring us understanding. “As it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we many understand what God has freely given us. This is why we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spritiual truths in spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:9–13).

Here the ministry of the Holy Spirit as teacher is explained. It was exercised, in the first instance, when God revealed truth to the apostles and they recorded it in what would later become canonized as the pages of the New Testament. It is then exercised, in the second instance, when this same Holy Spirit teaches us from the truths that they have recorded.

Remembering

The first part of John 14:26 speaks of the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, but there is a second part that speaks of remembrance. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.” Why, if they were taught all things, does anything need to be brought back to mind? As we begin to reflect on this word, we see that a ministry of the Holy Spirit in helping us remember is necessary because of what we are like and because of the inability of our minds to retain important teachings. It is possible to be well taught, even brilliantly taught, and still forget; or, in the disciples’ case, to be taught the meaning of Christ’s ministry but forget that upon which it is based.

The Lord’s emphasis on remembering teaches us two separate truths. First, it teaches us that the wisdom of God is not a new thing. It is that which God has revealed in the past and that is the same because he is the same. We have a tendency, especially in America and in our age, always to be inventing theology. Churchmen speak about “process theology” today. It means “evolving” theology. But this is not the outlook of the Scriptures. Some of our contemporaries seem always to be searching the Bible in the light of newspapers and popular books in order to come up with something that no one has ever heard before. When they do and when they write a book about it, they get a hearing. This is the nature of The Passover Plot, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, and some other popular religious books. People buy them and say, “We never heard that before! Therefore, it must be true!” But it is not true, nor is it a product of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. The Holy Spirit does not give us new doctrines. Rather, he brings old truths to our remembrance.

So what we preach is not new doctrine but the old doctrine once and for all delivered to the saints. It is the doctrine of man’s total inability to help himself spiritually, God’s grace in Jesus Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit who takes these truths and brings them home to our hearts and minds so that we understand them, and God’s unfailing perseverance with his people. We preach that God does not abandon us, that God who has begun to save us in such a marvelous way, giving us a new spirit and creating a new soul, will persevere to the end, at which time he will give us a new body and make us like the Lord Jesus Christ forevermore. These are not new doctrines. They are old doctrines. They are the doctrines that the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance.

The second truth the word “remind” teaches is that we tend to forget these doctrines, even though we have heard them many times. The history of the church is the history of great blessing through the Holy Spirit, a time of reformation and revival, followed by a gradual forgetting of the message. This happens again and again; so one of the jobs of the minister is to remind the congregation of the old truths. One of the jobs of Christian people is to remind each other of them, and one of the jobs of the Christian church is to remind the world of these old doctrines, even though the world may reject them.

He Shall Testify of Me

This verse also says something else, and we do not want to miss that either. It says that the object of the teaching is Christ. This is true in this text: “He will remind you of everything I have said to you.” It is also true in the verses about the Holy Spirit in John 15 and 16: “When the Counselor comes, whom I well send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning” (15:26–27). “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you” (16:12–14).

We have a danger, even as evangelical people, of making the Scriptures an end in themselves. We study the Bible as we would a textbook. We memorize the data. But we are always in danger of forgetting that the purpose of the Scriptures is not to exist as an end in themselves, though they will endure forever—“heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will not pass away”—but to reveal Christ to the seeking heart and mind.

God’s Power

There is a final point that belongs with what we have been saying. The Holy Spirit is also the One who enables us to teach these truths to others. Teaching spiritual truths cannot be done in the power of the flesh. Paul writes about it in 1 Corinthians in the verses that come just before the ones cited earlier. “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. … My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (2:1–2, 4).

Three things are necessary if God’s truth is to be properly communicated. First, there must be the revelation of the truth to the apostles by the Holy Spirit. This has been done. Second, there must be the teaching of the Holy Spirit to our hearts, so that, as we read their words, we come face-to-face with the Lord Jesus Christ about whom they wrote. Third, there must be the continuing work of the Holy Spirit to take our testimony concerning this Word and carry it home to the hearts of those who have not yet heard or understood it. Three stages!

But there can be error in each. There are some who do not begin with the Scriptures. They consider the Bible to contain the words of men rather than the very words that the Holy Ghost taught to the apostles. Having thrown out the base, they have nothing on which to stand, and their theology becomes mere speculation. There are others who accept the Bible as the Word of God but who do not allow the Holy Spirit to teach them. They study the Bible in an academic way. Although they may have a high doctrine of Scripture, they do not strive to see the Lord Jesus Christ in its pages. Then there are those who accept the Bible as the Word of God and who do meet with Jesus Christ, but they testify in their own power in a way that brings glory to themselves, and few are won.

We do a farmer’s work. First, we prepare the soil. Then we take a seed and plant it. We water it, and we wait for it to grow. But we do not give life to the seed. The seed already has life in it. Moreover, we can scratch a furrow and put the seed in it, but the ground must have the nutrients that God has placed there. And even then the work of God is not finished, for the seed will not grow unless the sun shines upon it. The Holy Spirit must be the sun in our witnessing. We must be faithful in scratching the furrows, watering, even pulling out weeds. But we must look to God to give life.[2]


26 The instruction of the disciples, however, will not cease. The Father will send the Holy Spirit to remind them of all that Jesus has said and help them understand the full meaning of his teaching. Apart from this teaching role of the Spirit, there never could have been a reliable gospel or, for that matter, a NT at all. As Peter put it, “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pe 1:21).

The Counselor who is to be sent by the Father is the Holy Spirit. (Only here in John is the title in Greek given in its fullest form: to pneuma to hagion, GK 4460, 51). For the early Christians the title would emphasize the holiness of the Spirit rather than his might and power. In his vision of the exalted Lord, Isaiah saw the seraphs as they circled the throne and called out, “Holy, holy, holy [hagios, LXX] is the Lord Almighty” (Isa 6:3). As God is holy so also is his Spirit. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will be sent by the Father “in [his] name,” i.e., his task will be in accord with the character of Jesus.

If we take the last two clauses of v. 26 as synonymous parallelism (so Brown, 651), the teaching work of the Spirit will be to “remind” the disciples of all that Jesus taught. It will not consist of new revelations. The Spirit will take the words of Jesus and make them known (cf. 16:13–15). He will help the disciples grasp the full meaning of what Jesus was teaching while he was with them in person. It is one thing to understand a statement as being true; it is something quite different to grasp the full meaning and significance of that truth. The Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry belongs in the latter category.

Calvin, 2:88, calls the Spirit “the inward Teacher (interior magister)” and points out that God has two ways of teaching: first, the words that fall on our ears, and second, the inward action of the Spirit. It is still the case that biblical truth may be heard and understood without its more profound meaning laying hold of the mind and heart of the listener. Theology as an academic discipline is not the same as truth about God understood from the heart. Obviously, the “all things” taught by the Spirit does not include matters irrelevant to God’s purpose in sending Jesus to be our Savior.[3]


A revealing teacher who conveys the truth (vv. 25–26)

While most of the promises given to the disciples at this meal are applicable for all followers of Jesus Christ at all times, this particular promise was specific to the disciples who were there in that upper room. You can imagine their concerns—how are we going to remember everything he said to us? How can we tell others what he said? Jesus comforted them by telling them that one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit would be to remind them precisely and accurately of everything he had said. That accounts for the remarkable accuracy and consistency of the New Testament record. It was supernatural that various men could naturally and personally record the life and teaching of Jesus and at the same time be entirely consistent with one another.[4]


14:26 / Will remind you of everything I have said to you: Such language was used especially of warnings about trouble and persecution (cf. 13:18; 16:4; and perhaps 14:29), but memory also played an important part in the interpretation of Jesus’ deeds (cf. 2:17, 22; 12:16). The writer of this Gospel probably saw himself as one to whom the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, had given special insight and perspective, after the fact, on the words and deeds of Jesus as he wrote them down.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 119–120). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1147–1152). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 568–569). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Paterson, A. (2010). Opening Up John’s Gospel (p. 125). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2011). John (p. 269). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

August 30, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0403

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump’s plan to boost the economy with millions of jobs rebuilding roads, bridges and ports has a snag, the construction industry says: There aren’t nearly enough skilled workers to fill them.

China’s foreign minister said Wednesday he hopes India can “learn lessons” from a recently resolved border standoff and avoid such occurrences in the future, as the leaders of the two Asian giants prepare to meet next week for a summit in southeastern China.

Aviation regulators imposed a prohibition on hobbyist drones and other civilian aircraft flying in the area affected by Tropical Storm Harvey after concerns were raised about potential interference of rescue efforts.

A Washington state paper maker is asking the U.S. government to impose duties on Canadian imports of uncoated groundwood paper, used in everything from newsprint to book publishing. North Pacific Paper Co., or Norpac, alleges Canadian imports are subsidized and are increasingly taking market share from domestic producers

The University of Tampa has fired a visiting assistant professor who suggested in a tweet that Hurricane Harvey’s destruction is “instant karma” for Texas because it voted Republican.

U.S. second-quarter growth was revised upward to the fastest pace in two years on stronger household spending and a bigger gain in business investment, putting the economy on a stronger track. Gross domestic product rose at a 3% annualized rate from prior quarter (est. 2.7%); revised from initial estimate of 2.6%.

Southwest Airlines Co. quietly took delivery of its first Boeing Co. 737 Max jetliner, canceling an employee celebration in Dallas to mark the milestone because of the devastation in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey.

AP Top Stories The Trump administration has not decided whether it will accept aid from Mexico to help victims of the hurricane that has devastated swaths of Texas and overwhelmed emergency responders.

Rogue alligators have been cropping up in backyards and driveways around Texas due to the rising flood waters brought by Hurricane Harvey. But a greater gator problem may soon face the city of Beaumont if water levels continue to rise. A popular alligator theme park says that flood waters are dangerously close to exceeding the height of fences that are keeping hundreds of the reptiles inside their enclosures.

A multi-racial coalition of faith, student and community activists began a planned march on Monday from Charlottesville, Virginia, to the nation’s capital in response to what they called President Donald Trump’s failure to confront the white supremacy on display at a violent rally in the Virginia city earlier this month.

A vital dam in suburban Houston that protects the central city began overspilling on Tuesday, and officials said the rainfall from Harvey is so unprecedented they do not know what the impact on surrounding communities will be.

The U.S.-led coalition said Wednesday it is monitoring a convoy of IS militants that evacuated the Lebanon border headed toward eastern Syria under a controversial agreement brokered by Hezbollah and may strike at them.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says his country will “fully and completely” abide by U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions on North Korea. Wang told reporters Wednesday China would work with other members of the council on how best to react to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday. He says, “We will make a necessary response.”

North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan could increase pressure on Washington to consider shooting down future test launches, although there is no guarantee of success and U.S. officials are wary of a dangerous escalation with Pyongyang.

A suicide bombing in a busy commercial area in Kabul near a string of banks and not far from the U.S. Embassy killed at least five people on Tuesday, Afghan officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

A fast-moving wildfire destroyed several homes and forced the evacuation of residents in Northern California on Tuesday, local media and fire officials said. The fire burned 1,000 acres in Butte County.

More than 100 members of Muslim Youth USA, and 40 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, passed out food, water, and other supplies in Houston, according to organizers.

BBC

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that transgender people already in the military will continue to be allowed to serve pending a study on President Donald Trump’s proposed ban.

At least 60 children, including 31 infants, have died in the last three days at a hospital in northern India. It is the same hospital where more than 100 children died earlier in August amid allegations that the oxygen supply had been cut over unpaid bills. Officials said the latest deaths were due to diseases and not because of a shortage of oxygen.

Iraqi forces are facing fierce resistance in a small town where Islamic State militants who fled the city of Tal Afar have taken refuge.

WND

A statue of celebrated explorer Christopher Columbus was found beheaded in a Yonkers park.

Longtime televangelist Jim Bakker has created a furor by predicting a “civil war” in the United States if President Trump were to be impeached. Some Democrats are pursuing that goal, even though impeachment and conviction likely would require the party retaking the House and the Senate.


The Briefing 08-30-17

Evangelical coalition releases Nashville statement, a manifesto on biblical sexuality

Nowhere to hide: Church faces unavoidable questions on issues of sexuality

Why the human scale is the most important scale when it comes to Hurricane Harvey

The post The Briefing 08-30-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 8/30/2017

Time for Trump to Follow Footsteps of Cyrus the Great
Indeed, twice in the opening verses, Cyrus is quoted as referring to “Jerusalem, which is in Judah,” as if to stress that the most powerful man in the world at the time was recognizing to whom the city truly belonged. Even now, thousands of years later, the Persian king is still held in high regard in the annals of the Jewish people. With a stroke of his pen, Trump can add his name to the pantheon of Jewish heroes by conferring US recognition upon Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and moving its embassy accordingly.

Tropical Storm Harvey takes aim at New Orleans 12 years after Hurricane Katrina
Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall again early Wednesday, this time hitting Louisiana — and potentially putting New Orleans in the path of yet another devastating storm, just 12 years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city.

Minister Ariel: “All Israelis Should Visit Temple Mount”
All Israelis should visit the Temple Mount, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who served as the first head of the Beit El Regional Council during the 1980s, said Tuesday evening, following a “trial” earlier in the day during which police allowed sitting MKs to visit the holy site for the first time since 2015.

Berkeley Mayor Says Antifa Should Be Classified as a Gang
A day after far-left Antifa extremists violently attacked Trump supporters and conservatives in Berkeley, the mayor called for designating the group as a gang.

Abbas Tells Trump He Won’t Stop Giving American Money to Terrorists
The Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds reported that Abbas’ response was to “inform Kushner that he would never stop paying these salaries until his dying day, even if this cost him the presidency.”

Juncker’s mysterious sixth scenario for future of Europe after Brexit: ‘It will save EU’
In an apparent act of brinkmanship, he refused to disclose precisely what this sixth option was – seemingly in retaliation to David Davis and the UK Brexit team’s reluctance to “show its hand” in previous Brexit talks.

Guterres in Ramallah: We’ll do everything to realize two-state solution
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on his first visit to the Palestinian territories since taking office in January, embraced a two-state solution on Tuesday… “I want to express very strongly the total commitment of the United Nations [and] my personal total commitment to do everything for a two-state solution to materialize,” Guterres told a joint press conference in Ramallah, alongside Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

North Korea: ‘Japan missile was first step in Pacific operation’
North Korea says its firing of a missile over Japan was “the first step” of military operations in the Pacific, signalling plans for more launches. State media also repeated threats to the US Pacific island of Guam, which it called “an advanced base of invasion”. The missile launched on Tuesday crossed Japan’s northern Hokkaido island, triggering public alerts to take cover, before landing in the sea.

India floods: Toddlers killed in Mumbai rains
Monsoon rains have killed at least five people, including two toddlers, in Mumbai as India’s financial capital ground to a halt under flooding. Roads were hit by waist-deep flooding, flights cancelled and train services suspended, stranding tens of thousands. More rain is expected but the situation has improved for now, the BBC’s Suranjana Tewari says. The rains in Mumbai follow devastating floods across a swathe of South Asia, which have killed more than 1,200.

Houston floods: Night curfew bid to stop robbery and looting
The US city of Houston is under a night-time curfew as it battles the impact of Hurricane Harvey. The storm has dumped record rainfall, leaving large parts of the Texas city underwater, homes destroyed and more than 20 people reported dead. Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said the curfew was needed to head off looting.

US tests ‘most dangerous nuclear weapon ever produced’ amid North Korea row
THE United States has carried out a second test of a bomb, described as the most dangerous nuclear weapon ever produced, as tensions with North Korea escalate. US authorities confirmed the test was successful and the B61-12 gravity bomb is expected to go into production within three years. The B61-12 gravity bombs were ‘inert’ but they were dropped from F-15E fighter jets at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada on August 8, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.

Earthquake strikes Guam hours after Kim Jong-un promises to target a US military base on the island
A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has struck Guam just a day after Kim Jong-un promised to target a US military base on the island. The US Geological Survey says the earthquake hit at 8am on Wednesday and that the epicenter was 51.7 miles (83.4km) southeast of Inarajan Village, a community of about 2,300 people. The earthquake had a depth of 6 miles (10km) and comes amid a period of intense hostility on the Korean peninsula.

Nearly 3-mile wide asteroid to pass close by Earth Sept. 1
A large rock will fly past Earth on Sept. 1, 2017, at a distance of 4.4 million miles (7 million kilometers). Asteroid 3122 Florence, named after modern nursing founder Florence Nightingale, is the largest object to make a close-encounter since NASA began tracking near-Earth objects (NEO) in the 1990s.

Israel’s ambassador returns to Egypt after 8 months away
Israel’s ambassador to Egypt has returned to his post, eight months after he and his small staff returned home because of unspecified security threats. Cairo airport officials say the ambassador, David Govrin, flew back to Cairo on Tuesday with eight staff members. The ambassador and his staff are expected to resume work from the envoy’s suburban Cairo home.

Harvey makes landfall again, Texas death toll mounts from record floods
Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall again on Wednesday near the Texas-Louisiana border, adding more rain after a record downpour that has caused catastrophic flooding and paralyzed the city of Houston. The storm that first came ashore on Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years has killed at least 17 people and forced tens of thousands to leave their deluged homes.

Why Google Made The NSA
“The origins trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites…The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.”

Hurricane Harvey Likely To Destroy More Cars Than Katrina: “This Is Bad; Real Bad”
Hurricane Harvey’s historic flooding in Texas is set to wreak havoc on the auto industry and its insurers with analysts now predicting the storm could damage more vehicles than Hurricane Katrina.

Calfornia closer to allowing third gender on state IDs
California could become the U.S. state with the most fluid definition of gender on its official state IDs if a bill making its way through the legislature becomes law. The California Senate has already passed SB179, which would introduce a third gender option for state identification. Currently, driver’s licenses and other forms of official identification only contain options for male or female. The bill would allow a third option, which would likely be ‘X,’ according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

DNC Forced In Court To Admit that they Purposely Rigged the 2016 Primary Elect
Bernie Sanders supporters worst nightmare came true when the DNC had to admit in a court of law that they did rig the election and were shocked to find out they felt they had the right!

ACORN Sues California To Allow More Illegals To Vote
An ACORN offshoot and other left-wing pressure groups are suing California in federal court because the state hasn’t made it easy enough for Democrats to flood voter rolls with illegal aliens and foreign nationals who aren’t legally eligible to vote. Throughout the years Mickey Mouse, Mary Poppins, and celebrities living and dead were registered to vote because now-defunct ACORN and its allied groups were allowed to pollute the voter rolls.

Joel Osteen’s Houston Megachurch To House Displaced When ‘Shelters Reach Capacity’
After receiving heavy criticism for keeping its doors closed while thousands remained without shelter, Pastor Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch will open its doors on Tuesday to residents who have been displaced by the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Mid-Day Snapshot

Aug. 30, 2017

Ivy League Profs to Students: ‘Think for Yourself’

An open letter from 15 professors encourages students to refrain from “the vice of conformism.”

The Foundation

“For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men.” —Thomas Jefferson (1813)

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: August 30

  • Harvey Forces Thousands to Seek Shelter (Read More)
  • Damage From Harvey Rising by the Hour Amid ‘Apocalyptic’ Flooding (Read More)
  • Houston’s Economic Heft Gives City Means to Recover From Harvey (Read More)
  • Why Trump Didn’t Tweet About Latest North Korea Missile Launch (Read More)
  • Stocks Rebound as Korean Fears Abate; Gold Steady: Markets Wrap (Read More)
  • Value of Trump’s brand up in Middle East, his Gulf partner says (Read More)
  • From Stocks to Bonds, the Bear-Market Signals Are Multiplying (Read More)
  • Trump hits road to tout tax reform as helping workers (Read More)
  • Trump Pitches Business Tax Cut to Middle Class (Read More)
  • Trump’s Tax Pitch Will Be Populist, But Bill May Benefit Elites (Read More)
  • Message from North Korean missile over Japan ‘loud and clear’: Trump (Read More)
  • Businesses Struggle With Flawed Insurance as Floods Multiply (Read More)
  • White House downplays Charlottesville comments from Tillerson, Cohn (Read More)
  • 21st Century Fox Pulls Plug on Fox News in the U.K. (Read More)
  • This Freshman GOP Senator Could Defy Wall Street (Read More)
  • White House Won’t Require Firms to Report Pay by Gender, Race (Read More)
  • Dollar Rebound Threatens Euro’s Jackson Hole Breakout Level (Read More)
  • Abbott Releases New Software Updates for Pacemakers (Read More)
  • Apple App Store to Let Chinese Customers Pay Using WeChat Pay (Read More)

Featured Blogs


Top Headlines – 8/30/2017

UN Secretary-General Guterres reaffirms ‘total commitment’ to two-state solution – There is no plan B

Obama’s Israel Ambassador: The Two-State Solution Remains the Best Option, But We Need to Plan in Case It Fails

Palestinian Authority: US asked for 3-4 months to prepare its peace plan

French president plans Mideast trip to push peace process next spring

PM Netanyahu Tells UN’s Guterres to Stop Illegal UN Construction in Jerusalem

UN Chief Wrangles With Netanyahu Over Demolishing Settlements

Abbas spokesman says Netanyahu’s comments ‘hinder peace efforts’

White House unfazed by Netanyahu pledge not to evacuate settlements

Arab League chief condemns PM’s pledge to not evacuate settlements

Palestinians, NGOs file objection that could delay new settlement

Liberman slams illegal outposts as ‘sabotaging settlement movement’

‘The vision – one million residents in Judea and Samaria’

After Inciting Over Temple Mount, Erdogan Says Rising Tensions No Good for Israel, Palestinians

Jewish MKs make first Temple Mount visit since 2015

Jordan blasts MKs for visiting Temple Mount

UN chief said to meet families of Palestinian terrorists in Ramallah

Why Palestinian Payments to Convicted Militants Are Likely to Continue, No Matter What Congress Does

At Yad Vashem, UN Chief Vows to Fight Antisemitism ‘in All Its Expressions’

Hungarian monument to Jewish Holocaust victims smashed

Netanyahu ally denies Putin rejected request to shackle Iran

Iran dismisses US ‘dream’ of military site inspections

Head of Military Intelligence: Hezbollah is tightening grip on Lebanon

“Gates of Hell”: Iraqi army says fighting near Tal Afar worse than Mosul

Europe begins to appreciate the reality of Islamic terrorism

Kim Jong Un called missile launch ‘meaningful prelude’ to containing Guam, North Korea says

Trump: ‘All options on the table’ after North Korea missile launch

North Korean leader urges more missile launches targeting Pacific

North Korea’s antique airplane could be its most dangerous weapon yet

Dollar rebounds, Asia stocks gain as North Korea missile test fears recede

Gold Spike: When bad news is good news

Russia seeks to reassure over war games, denies invasion plans

Russia Says War Games Are ‘Purely Defensive’

How America Helped Make Vladimir Putin Dictator for Life

FBI shuts down request for files on Hillary Clinton by citing lack of public interest

A really big asteroid is about to pass Earth

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Namuac, Philippines

5.3 magnitude earthquake hits near Bristol Island, South Sandwich Islands

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 19,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 18,000ft

Poas volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 11,000ft

Harvey may be one of the costliest storms in U.S. history

“Unprecedented” Hurricane Harvey Is “One Of The Worst Disasters In US History”

Texas flood disaster: Harvey has unloaded 9 trillion gallons of water

As Harvey breaks rainfall record, Houston imposes a curfew and death toll climbs to 18

Catastrophic levee failure may occur in Texas amid Harvey’s relentless rain

Houston says bridges, roads starting to fail under stress of flooding

Crippled Houston watches dams, levees; forecast offers hope

‘We never thought this area would flood’: Neighbors race to evacuate as Houston reservoirs spill over

Pentagon says up to 30,000 National Guard troops prepared to assist in response to Harvey

Reporter slammed on social media for alerting the police to ‘looters’

Texas deploys entire National Guard ahead of Harvey’s third US landfall

Epic Floods – Not Just In Texas – Are A Challenge For Aid Groups

Chris Christie: Harvey aid should ‘not be held political hostage like Sandy aid’

Most of Houston Jewish community hard-hit by Harvey flooding

Bennett urges Israelis to help Jews in flood-hit Houston

Hurricane Harvey Likely To Destroy More Cars Than Katrina: “This Is Bad; Real Bad”

Harvey’s Effects on Fuel Network Hit U.S. Motorists as Gas Prices Rise

Harvey blamed on climate change despite drought from hurricane strikes

Ann Coulter: “I don’t believe Hurricane Harvey is God’s punishment for Houston electing a lesbian mayor. But that is more credible than ‘climate change.'”

Storm that almost became Irma soaks NYC; Harvey remnants arrive by Sunday

Six die in rains lashing India’s business hub, more downpours forecast

Italy drought: Rome forced to cut water pressure at night

Chile leader sends gay marriage bill to congress

Israel reverses opposition to same-sex couples adopting children

Australian Psychologists Push Teaching Gay Marriage Support, Gender Transition for Young Kids

People are outraged over this new Australian anti-marriage equality ad

Canada Minister Hussen announces major step forward in gender equality by making changes to passports and immigration documents

Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study

Anthony Wade – The Banal, Platitudinal Storm Known as Hurricane Osteen

Joel McDurmon – Franklin Graham, school prayer, and godless socialism

False Teacher Christian Harfouche – An Apostles Empire

Joel Osteen’s words versus Hurricane Harvey’s winds…

A Lesson From Korea About Gospel Power

University of Tampa professor fired for saying Texans deserve hurricane for voting Trump

Small Churches That Evangelize, Share the Gospel With Non-Believers Retain Most Converts: LifeWay

Jordanian Believers Providing Safe Haven for Refugees

Mike Ratliff – Scripture Twisting

Joel Osteen’s Houston Megachurch Blasted For Closing As Thousands Are Displaced

Former 700 Club producer: “I knew where the line was. But that didn’t stop us.”

Destiny Church co-leader Hannah Tamaki has once again splashed out on a new Mercedes-Benz – this time it’s a 577-horsepower twin-turbo V8 beast

Paramilitary Christian Sect Quietly Operated in New Mexico

The Vatican Still Upholds Over 100 Curses Against Those Who Fight Against Their False Teachings

Widow of Late Kentucky Pastor Found Murdered in Church’s Fellowship Hall

Egypt Closes Church Over Muslim Extremist Opposition, Blocks Worship at Another

“My church practices the ‘Sinner’s Prayer’”

Jen Hatmaker’s Revision of the Truth

Taizé Worship – Growing in Popularity, But Roots Are in Mystical Monasticism

Ex Members of Military Style Christian Sect Recall Beatings, Abuse

‘Churches’ Nationwide Host Viewing Parties for Mayweather v. McGregor Fight

California Could Start Jailing People Who Don’t Use Transgender Pronouns

US Pastor Andrew Brunson Faces New Charges of Attempting to Overthrow Turkish Gov’t

Iranian refugees turn to Christianity in the Netherlands

 


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.

CultureWatch: The Nashville Statement

Every so often a short, succinct and vigorously reasonable and readable public statement is needed to deal with some of the vital issues of the day. There have been a number of these of late. Here in Australia some of us put out the Canberra Declaration seven years ago to deal with the crucial issues of marriage and family, the sanctity of life, and religious freedom

Others important documents would include the Manhattan Declaration of 2009. These international statements help to clarify, reassert and reaffirm basic truths; offer a standard around which we can rally; and point a way forward as things grow darker and foggier in the surrounding culture.

A brand new declaration has just been released in the US, and it is well worth being aware of, signing and sharing. Put out by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, it reaffirms the biblical and biological case for two sexes, for God’s intentions for human sexuality, and for the purposes of marriage.

A number of America’s leading evangelicals have helped to put this together and promote it, and the timing could not be better, given the many fierce battles now raging on such matters. The 14-point document deals with the biblical understanding of sex and sexuality.

John Piper called it “a Christian manifesto concerning issues of human sexuality.” With all the confusion about sexuality – even in Christian circles – especially with the homosexual and transgender war on God’s design and purposes, such a statement is vitally needed.

Some of the initial signatories have included:

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
John MacArthur, Pastor, Grace Community Church; President, The Master’s Seminary & College
John Piper, Founder & Teacher, Desiring God; Chancellor, Bethlehem College & Seminary
James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family
Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
J. I. Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College
Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary
Sam Allberry, Speaker & Apologist, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
R. C. Sproul, Founder & Chairman, Ligonier Ministries
Francis Chan, Author & Pastor, We Are Church
Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World Magazine
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor & CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary
Christopher Yuan, Speaker & Author, Moody Bible Institute

But enough from me. Let me here offer the 14 points. Also worth reading (see the link below) is the preamble to the statement, along with other documents. Here then is the Nashville Statement:

ARTICLE 1
WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.
WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.

ARTICLE 2
WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.
WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

ARTICLE 3
WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.
WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.

ARTICLE 4
WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.
WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.

ARTICLE 5
WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.

ARTICLE 6
WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.
WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person’s biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.

ARTICLE 7
WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.

ARTICLE 8
WE AFFIRM that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.
WE DENY that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel.

ARTICLE 9
WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality — a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.
WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior.

ARTICLE 10
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

ARTICLE 11
WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.
WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his image-bearers as male and female.

ARTICLE 12
WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

ARTICLE 13
WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.
WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will.

ARTICLE 14
WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.
WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.

Overall this is a terrific restatement of some of the core biblical teachings on these issues, and it is well worth sharing far and wide. While it is of course not perfect, and other things might have been added, it is a very good start indeed. Many thanks to all those responsible for putting it together.

https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/

Source: The Nashville Statement

Joel Osteen’s words versus Hurricane Harvey’s winds…

Could Joel Osteen have prevented Hurricane Harvey?

Sadly Osteen is a heretic (a person who promotes anti-Christian teaching under the guise of a Christian minister). Although the backdrop of his Lakewood church is of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), he has pioneered shaping his movement independent of the NAR to that of a Word of Faith (WOF) and Health and Wealth (HAW) cult. The dominionist aspect of NAR teaching is still there in his false doctrine (“I am the head and I am not the tail”), but it is clearly trumped by his positive confession and unhealthy focus on wealth.

“Friend, if you’ll do your part and speak words of victory, God will pour out His favor in exciting, fresh ways in your life, and you will live the abundant life He has in store for you.”

If Joel sincerely believes these false teachings – where was he using…

View original post 1,085 more words

CultureWatch: There is No “Conservative” Case for Homosexual Marriage

Every now and then you will happen upon an article or talk made by someone claiming to be a conservative that seeks to argue that homosexual marriage is somehow a conservative value. Let me cut to the quick: no, it is not a conservative value, and the person trying to make that case is very likely not a real conservative.

They may well be a libertarian, but that is a far cry from a true conservative. But I have elsewhere sought to explain those major differences. See this piece for example: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/03/20/conservatism-versus-libertarianism-a-case-study/

While it may come as a surprise to some, conservatives actually seek to conserve and preserve; they do not want to destroy and distort. Thus they will do all they can to maintain and protect our most vital social institutions, including marriage and family.

Recently in the Australian newspaper we had yet another lame attempt to say that homosexual marriage is somehow something conservatives can rally around. In this case it was no less than the Liberal Party federal president Nick Greiner seeking to make the “conservative” case for homosexual marriage.

Sorry, but there is so such thing. All true conservatives know how important marriage is, and the only ones on the right seeking to argue for its redefinition, and thus its destruction, are radical libertarians. But libertarians on the right are often little different from anarchists on the left. In my books, a pox on both their houses.

Before offering some careful dissection of his rather shallow article, let me share a few words from Andrew Bolt about the ongoing implosion of the Liberal party:

Being made Liberal president has gone to Nick Greiner’s head. He’s again lecturing elected MPs on policy and making clear the party is ruled by the Left. . . . It is inappropriate, to say the least, for the president of the Liberals to lead a campaign by one group on Liberal MPs in conflict with another. He is supposed to be a figure of unity, not division. But Greiner seems determined to wage war on his party’s conservatives, demonstrating that maybe they should go to One Nation or the Australian Conservatives if they’re no longer wanted by the Liberals.

But back to his very shallow and unhelpful article. Greiner’s very first sentence could not be more wrong – no wonder his entire article is less than helpful. He claims, “Marriage is an institution that celebrates stability and commitment.” Um, no. If that was all that marriage is about, then a long-standing group of ardent bank-robbers should be the first in line to demand marriage rights.

He then quotes one writer who claims ‘significant relationships’ must be officially recognised by marriage. Wrong again. There are all sorts of significant relationships out there which the state has no compelling interest in, whether to recognise or legalise as a form of marriage. For example, two elderly sisters who live together, care for each other dearly, and enjoy a significant relationship are not in need of marriage rights.

This is true of all sorts of relationships. They may be significant, emotionally close, and even long-term, but they deserve no special government recognition. Societies have instead chosen to give special recognition to only one type of relationship: heterosexual marriage.

That is because genuine marriage has the natural ability to bring about the next generation. Therefore societies have taken a keen interest in it. Heterosexual marriage is good for children and good for society, which is why society has long given it preferential treatment if you will.

Even an atheist like philosopher Bertrand Russell saw this uniqueness: “It is through children alone that sexual relations become of importance to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution”. And marriage most certainly is all about children.

As American political scientist James Q. Wilson succinctly put it: “Marriage is a socially arranged solution for the problem of getting people to stay together and care for children that the mere desire for children, and the sex that makes children possible, does not solve.”

Natural marriage has always been a conservative value, and one despised by the left. No wonder the Spanish philosopher George Santayana once quipped that “the chief aim of liberalism seems to be to liberate men from their marriage vows.” Conservativism affirms and promotes marriage both as an institution and as a tremendous good for male-female couples. Liberalism does not.

Since Greiner rather disingenuously seeks to harness Edmund Burke for his case, let me quote him again. Burke argued that “religion is the basis of civil society,” and that includes “all our laws and institutions.” He certainly had the institution of heterosexual marriage in mind here, never faux marriage such as homosexual marriage.

Greiner goes on to make the quite reckless claim that nothing changes when homosexual marriage is legalised, and everyone’s religious freedoms will be just fine. Nice theory, but reality is against you. Wherever homosexual marriage has become law, there have been massive changes, including the heavy hand of the law brought to bear on all recalitrants.

For example, those who simply state on their private social media page that they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman can be – and are – at risk. In my book Dangerous Relations that I wrote on this a few years ago, I offered nearly 200 actual cases of those who had lost their jobs, were fined, or were even imprisoned for daring to go against the homosexual marriage narrative in countries where it had been legalised.

Be it the cake maker, the marriage celebrant, the florist, the priest, the pastor, the reception centre owner, the photographer, or anyone even remotely connected to the marriage industry, they have all faced the wrath of the activists once marriage was redefined.

And given all the harassment, bigotry, and bullying those opposed to homosexual marriage in Australia are already experiencing on a regular basis – and I too have often been on the receiving end of all this – just imagine how much worse it will become once our laws are so radically changed.

And it will not just be those of a religious persuasion who will experience the negative impact of all this. Anyone who dares to differ will potentially be subject to various forms of persecution, ostracisation and bigotry.

Greiner closes his piece by pretending that the radical redefinition, and thus end of marriage, is no big deal: “Together let’s celebrate the many achievements of this government and focus on the real challenges and opportunities our nation faces. Rather than tying ourselves in knots over whether same-sex couples can get married, let them tie the knot and we can move forward together.”

Um, it is the other side that is all in a lather about this. All that we true conservatives are doing is trying to conserve and preserve the most important social institution ever devised. We are not the ones all worked up – it is the activists on the other side and the clueless wonders who pretend they are conservatives that are.

Folks like Greiner try to make the case for homosexual marriage by somehow dragging a genuine conservative principle of small government into the debate. But this simply backfires on these fake conservatives. Whenever the state seeks to radically alter the institution of marriage, big government becomes bigger, and liberty is contracted even further.

One simply has to look at those places that already have legalised homosexual marriage. The state grows, freedom shrinks, and homosexual fascism is allowed to run its full course. More and more people are persecuted, jailed, fined and dismissed from their jobs when this happens – just how is that a conservative value?

As the American philosopher and free market advocate Jay Richards has rightly said about all this:

To claim seriously that government is and ought to be limited, you have to answer this question: What limits the state? The longstanding conservative answer: the rights and responsibilities of individuals and the institutions outside the state’s jurisdiction. And the institution that limits the state more than any other is the family, precisely because it pre-exists the state. The family is initiated by the marriage of a man and a woman. Ideally, human beings will be born, fed, raised and educated in a family, which will in turn be supported by the other institutions of civil society around it — neighborhoods, churches, voluntary associations and so forth, institutions the state should recognize and respect.
A limited government doesn’t try to redefine reality; it recognizes those pre-political realities outside its jurisdiction. The totalitarian, and Orwellian, governments of the twentieth century understood this perfectly well, and set about doing exactly the opposite. Lenin and other Marxists knew that to realize their vision, they had to destroy not just the idea of private property, but also religion and “this present form of marriage.”
What could possibly be less conservative than to decide, politically and legally, that marriage and family are mere social constructions that we’re free to change the moment the Supreme Court or a state legislature decides to do so? If a state can redefine marriage, then what can’t, what won’t, it redefine?

True conservatism, as mentioned, is about conserving, about valuing what works, about hanging on to what is vitally important. Sure, some small, incremental changes are necessary within that overall framework. But redefining marriage out of existence is no small change.

In his important 1953 volume The Conservative Mind, Russell Kirk, the father of modern American conservatism, listed six basic principles that characterise conservatism. His sixth point was that “change may not be salutary reform: hasty innovation may be a devouring conflagration, rather than a torch of progress.”

One can think of no more incendiary change than the radical redefinition of marriage, and all the social upheaval that naturally follows from it.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/marriage-for-all-surely-its-a-conservative-ideal/news-story/3e58633a1e0c4f9ec139be3896e38ac6?nk=d0061232d702c72ef890f1cf23487efd-1504058479
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/nick-greiner-confirms-the-left-runs-the-liberals-and-conservatives-are-not-welcome/news-story/54bd5e301518dded60a8215c54859479?nk=b7487bea3182e1e5012c894ca965cebd-1504001902
https://stream.org/7-reasons-same-sex-marriage-isnt-conservative-or-marriage/

Source: There is No “Conservative” Case for Homosexual Marriage

Joel Osteen: False Teacher Finally Exposed

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

Through the years I have written about false teachers and the “itching ear” crowd. Well, this past week in the midst of the devastation of Texas and its people by Hurricane Harvey, one of these so-called teachers showed the world his true colors.

He will answer for this.

Joel Osteen has never been a true pastor of the Gospel. He is a motivational speaker and the people who happily sit under his “Your best life now” speeches are deceived. But they really only have themselves to blame. 

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables”  (2 Timothy 4: 3-4).

If you are among those in Osteen’s congregation, and you are angry…

View original post 1,020 more words

Barna Update | How Teens Spend Their After-School Hours

Smartphones are changing the way an entire generation spends their time—and it’s dramatically altering their behavior. As part of the back-to-school series, this article explores how young people spend their time after school, illustrating the impact of technology on their lives

Read more

August 30, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1642

But thanks be to God, who always leads us (2:14a)

Recognizing the Lord’s sovereign leading is foundational to a pastor’s (or any believer’s) joy, and it is the undergirding strength of his ministry. Paul’s confident hope was that God … always leads believers, through every circumstance of life. No matter what trials or persecutions he endured in Corinth, Ephesus, or anywhere else he ministered, Paul rejoiced that God was in control.

The apostle never lost his sense of wonder at the privilege of belonging to the ranks of the sovereign Lord, of marching behind the Commander in Chief in His Triumph. To Timothy he wrote,

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:12–16)

Contemplating the marvelous privilege of being led by God instead of fretting over his circumstances contributed to turning Paul’s discouragement into joy.

paul was thankful for the privilege of promised victory in christ

in triumph in Christ, (2:14b)

In keeping with the imagery of the Roman Triumph, Paul proclaimed that God leads believers in triumph in Christ. They follow the all-conquering Commander in the victory parade, sharing in the triumph of His decisive victory over sin, death, and hell. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus spoke of His ultimate victory over Satan and the forces of hell: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” His followers share in His victory, as Paul declared in Romans 16:20: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” The writer of Hebrews also spoke of that victory: “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). In 1 John 3:8 the apostle John wrote, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Christ won that victory on the cross: “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (Col. 2:15). As Paul wrote to the Romans, “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Believers are not only coconquerors with Christ, but also “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17; cf. Gal. 3:29; Eph. 3:6; Titus 3:7; James 2:5). They follow behind their Commander in the Triumph, bringing the spoils of war—the souls of men and women “rescued … from the domain of darkness, and transferred … to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13; cf. Rom. 8:18–25, 28–30).

Though they may suffer setbacks and discouragement, believers’ ultimate triumph is certain. They will march victoriously in the Lord Jesus Christ’s Triumph on that glorious day when the heavenly choir cries out, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Believers will forever reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3–5).

paul was thankful for the privilege of having influence for christ

and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (2:14c)

The sweet aroma of the Triumph arose from the incense-filled censers carried by the priests in the parade and from the garlands of flowers that were thrown into the streets. The fragrance speaks of influence; Paul’s point is that God, in wonderful condescending grace and mercy, manifests through believers the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ in every place. He uses human preachers to give off the sweet aroma of the gospel, to influence people with the saving knowledge of Christ. To the Romans Paul wrote, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things’!” (Rom. 10:14–15).

It is not that believers deserve such a high privilege of being influences for the eternal gospel. Paul was keenly aware of his unworthiness for such service to God. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 he wrote, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” To the Ephesians he added, “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” (Eph. 3:7–8). As previously noted, he expressed to Timothy his wonder that Christ chose him, a persecutor of the church, to preach the gospel:

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Tim. 1:12–16)

No preacher should take lightly his inestimable privilege of proclaiming the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether or not preachers are successful, achieve popularity, or fulfill their ambitions is immaterial. The satisfaction of having an eternal influence for Jesus Christ should be sufficient. The issue is not results, but privilege. The disheartened preacher is disheartened because he focuses on circumstances; the joyful preacher is joyful because he focuses on the eternal worth of his service to God. The disheartened preacher considers his difficulties; the joyful preacher considers his privilege.[1]


14 Paul likens the irresistible advance of the gospel, in spite of temporary frustration, to a Roman triumphus (“triumph”) in which the victorious general, along with his proud soldiers, used to “lead in triumphal procession” (thriambeuō, GK 2581; see Notes) the wretched prisoners of war, who were thus exposed to public ridicule. Paul sees himself and his fellow apostles not as exultant soldiers who share in their general’s victory pageant but as willing, joyful captives who count it a privilege to be part of God’s “triumph” and as vocal witnesses to the General’s victorious strength. Paul’s implied prior “defeat” will be his Damascus encounter when he surrendered to God or Christ (Php 3:12). In this context, “in Christ” will mean “through our union with Christ” or “in the cause of Christ,” though it may possibly mean “in Christ’s triumphal procession” (NEB, REB). The only other NT use of the verb thriambeuō is in Colossians 2:15, where the despoiled powers and authorities are seen as unwilling, sullen captives driven before the triumphal chariot of God, silent witnesses to the General’s power and majesty.

In the reference to the diffusion of “fragrance,” Paul may simply be developing the imagery, for perfumes were sometimes sprinkled or incense burned along the processional route. Through the apostles God was spreading far and wide the fragrant knowledge of Christ (Php 3:8, 10).[2]


2:14 / Paul’s defense commences with a thanksgiving to God for his apostolic ministry as revelatory mediator. We note here again Paul’s use of the so-called apostolic/literary plural (us) with reference to himself, since Paul’s apostleship is the main issue in this section. This verse is so pivotal to Paul’s argument and yet so difficult to interpret that we will need to give it special attention.

The main problem is the interpretation of thriambeuein, which is correctly translated leads in triumphal procession. For some interpreters, this usage of the term conjures up an image of the apostle that seems quite unlikely, coming as it does as part of a thanksgiving at the very beginning of his defense for the legitimacy for his apostolic ministry. Further, Paul would thus seem to be portraying himself as a complete disgrace, a prisoner of war who is led by the conquering general (God!) in a triumphal procession that culminates in the apostle’s death. Many scholars have sought to avoid this interpretation either by proposing an idiosyncratic usage of thriambeuein (e.g., “make known” [G. Dautzenberg]) or by assuming the use of a rhetorical strategy whereby the meaning of verse 14 is ultimately positive. More recently, however, the trend has been to recognize the unequivocal usage of thriambeuein, with its negative implications for Paul, and then to correlate the passage with Paul’s apostolic self-conception as expressed elsewhere, particularly in his admissions of personal weakness and suffering in the Corinthian correspondence (cf. 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 4:10–11).

Whereas most interpretations of 2 Corinthians 2:14 consider the metaphor of triumphal procession only with respect to Paul, no interpretation so far has examined the metaphor with respect to God as the acting subject. In order to grasp this we will first recall a basic motif of the Roman triumphal procession, with its focus on the triumphant general and his chariot. Then we will investigate how Paul uses this imagery metaphorically in our text.

The Roman triumphal procession was originally led by the victorious general appearing symbolically as the living image of Jupiter. By the time of the empire, however, the procession was celebrated to honor the gods in thanksgiving for the victory. The Roman magistrates, the Senate, people carrying booty from the campaign, the priests leading the bulls for sacrifice, and enemy captives (who were executed at the end of the ceremony) entered the city, followed by the victorious general on a chariot leading his army. Normally, the chariot was a quadriga, that is, a two-wheeled chariot drawn by four horses harnessed abreast, although four elephants were sometimes used instead (cf. Plutarch, Pompeius, 14.4; Pliny, Natural History 8.4). Since Roman imperial coins frequently included images of the emperor in a triumphal chariot, the concept of triumphal procession was familiar throughout the Roman Empire. What do these findings imply for our text? If, by using thriambeuein, Paul portrays himself as being led by God in a Roman triumphal procession, then the image is one of God riding in a quadriga.

The metaphor in 2 Corinthians 2:14, as with all metaphors, presents us with two thoughts of different things—tenor and vehicle—active together and supported by a single word or phrase, whose meaning is a result of their interaction (“two ideas for one”). The “tenor” is the underlying subject of the metaphor, and the “vehicle” is the means by which the tenor is presented. In our passage, the vehicle is the idea of a Roman triumphal procession in which a conquering general rides a quadriga. However, the underlying subject is different. Paul merely uses the idea of the Roman triumphal procession in order to convey another set of associations—the thought that God on his throne-chariot leads the apostle captive.

The divine throne-chariot is found in both the ot and Jewish tradition. Quite commonly, the “chariotry/chariot of God” in Psalm 68:17–18 is taken to refer to the merkabah in which God descended to Mount Sinai. Ezekiel’s prophetic call-vision by the river Chebar (Ezek. 1:4–28; cf. 10:1–22; 43:1–4) gives us a cryptic picture of what later came to be known as the throne-chariot of God. In Jewish tradition, Ezekiel’s vision is interpreted as a reference to a merkabah or “chariot,” drawn by the four living creatures/beasts. This comes out most explicitly in a midrash (Exod. Rab. 43:8) focusing on the golden calf incident, which refers to the chariot of God as a “four-mule chariot.” Also, in Habakkuk 3:8 Yahweh is said to drive a horse-drawn merkabah (cf. M. Haran).

In sum, we have seen that by using thriambeuein, Paul evoked the image of a triumphal procession in which the triumphant leader rode in a four-horse chariot. This, in turn, suggested the familiar idea of the merkabah, which was commonly viewed as a chariot drawn by the four living creatures/beasts of Ezekiel 1. We should not be surprised that Paul would use Roman imagery to suggest an ot idea. Paul, who does not like to discuss his visions and does so only under compulsion (cf. 2 Cor. 12:1ff.), uses a metaphor in order make his point without being overly explicit about ineffable matters.

Furthermore, it is possible that in 2 Corinthians 2:14 Paul is alluding specifically to Psalm 68:17–18. According the lxx version of this psalm, when God in his chariot ascended from Sinai into his holy sanctuary on high, he led captivity captive and received gifts among humanity. Ephesians 4:8 actually applies Psalm 68:18 [lxx 67:19] to the ascension of Christ and the spiritual gifts, including apostles (v. 11), which he gave to the church (cf. G. B. Caird). This kind of interpretation of the psalm would, of course, be very congenial at the beginning of Paul’s defense of his apostolic office in 2 Corinthians 2:14–7:4. The use of Psalm 68:18–19 in Jewish tradition provides further evidence that Paul may have had this passage in mind when he wrote 2 Corinthians 2:14.

In Jewish tradition Psalm 68:18 refers not to God’s ascent on high, corresponding to his merkabah descent to Mount Sinai in verse 18, but to the ascent of Moses, who took captive the Torah and gave the gift of Torah to humanity. Thus, for example, the Targum interprets Psalm 68:18 as a reference to Moses, who ascended into heaven, received the Torah there, and brought the Torah to the people (cf. Exod. Rab. 28:1). According to Midr.Ps. 68:18, Moses ascended to the divine beings and there received the Torah as a “gift” for Israel. In the Jewish tradition, therefore, Psalm 68:17–18 refers to Moses’ merkabah encounter with God on Sinai and the revelation that he mediated to humanity.

Paul might be making the same connection between merkabah encounter and revelation in 2 Corinthians 2:14, for here also God both leads him in triumphal procession and “reveals” (phanerounti, spreads) through him the fragrance of the knowledge of God. In other words, Paul is presenting himself here as a mediator of divine revelation on par with Moses, summarizing the whole basis for his apostleship in this one verse. Hence, if metaphor is speaking about one thing in terms suggestive of another, then by speaking of a Roman triumphal procession in connection with divine revelation, Paul evidently suggests the throne-chariot of God and the powerfully complex tradition of Psalm 68:17–18. According to this tradition, God descended to Sinai in his merkabah and revealed himself to Moses and all Israel. Moses, in turn, ascended on high, took the Torah captive, and gave it as a gift to humanity. Although Paul’s image turns this tradition on its head by making the apostle a captive rather than the triumphant one (cf. 2 Cor. 11:30; 12:5), it nevertheless preserves the idea that an encounter with the merkabah effects a revelation to humanity through a mediator. Paul’s claim is especially crucial in the situation at Corinth, where his opponents evidently claim to have numerous visions and revelations (cf. 12:1).

Paul’s thanksgiving in 2:14 (But thanks be to God) fits well in the context of merkabah tradition. The visionary often observed and sometimes participated in the angelic hymns before the throne of God, the praises of the heavenly beings being viewed as the model and example for heavenly worship (cf. 1 En. 71:11–12; Apoc. Ab. 17:4–18:1; K. Grözinger). How much more, then, is Paul’s praise warranted and justified, since his encounter with the merkabah rivals even that of Moses.

If God is said to be leading the apostle in triumphal procession in Christ, then we will do well to recall Martin Hengel’s idea of the conjoint activity between the Father and the Son. As a result of being seated at the right hand of God at the resurrection, the Son now sits in the divine throne-chariot with the Father, and both together, occupying the same throne, now carry out activities together (cf. Mark 14:62). Hence, just as “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19), so also here God “in Christ” leads the apostle in triumphal procession.

Once we recognize the traditional background of our text, it is not difficult to suggest why Paul would refer to his revelation as the fragrance of the knowledge of God. Jewish tradition associates wonderful aromas with the merkabah vision. For example, in the third heaven (= Paradise), where Paul encountered the merkabah (cf. 2 Cor. 12:2–4), the fruit trees are said to be ripe and fragrant, abundant crops give off a sweet smell, and the tree of life itself is indescribable for pleasantness and fine fragrance (2 En. 8:1–3). In sum, 2 Corinthians 2:14 presents God as revealing the knowledge of himself to the world through Paul. In connection with his ongoing encounter with the merkabah, Paul, as minister of the new covenant (cf. 3:6), becomes a revelatory mediator who infuses the world with an aromatic, Torah-like knowledge of God through the Spirit.[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 70–72). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 455–456). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 60–64). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Why I Love the Church (John MacArthur)

Original Post Date: March 24, 2015


I love the church.

I am an inveterate and incurable lover of the church. It thrills me beyond expression to serve the church. Although I am also involved in some para-church ministries, I would not trade my ministry in the church for all of them combined. The church takes first place in my ministry priorities, and all the para-church ministries I serve are subordinate to, and grow out of, my ministry in the church.

In fact, my whole life has been lived in the church. My father was a pastor, as were my grandfathers for three more generations before him. So a deep love for the church practically runs in my blood.

In a short series of upcoming posts, I’m going to outline some biblical reasons I love the church. Let’s start with the first one today:

1. The Church Is Being Built by the Lord Himself

The church is the New Testament counterpart of the Old Testament Temple. I’m not referring to a church building, but the body of all true believers.

It is a spiritual building (1 Pet. 2:5), the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16), the place where God’s glory is most clearly manifest on earth, and the proper nucleus and focal point of spiritual life and worship for the community of the redeemed.

God Himself is the architect and builder of this temple. In Ephesians 2:19–22, Paul writes:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of the church in the eternal plan of God. The church is His building (1 Cor. 3:9). Moreover, He is the immutable, sovereign, omnipotent Lord of heaven. His Word cannot return void but always accomplishes what He says (Isa. 55:11). He is always faithful and cannot deny Himself (2 Tim. 2:13). His sovereign purposes always comes to pass, and His will is always ultimately fulfilled (Isa. 46:10). His plan is invincible and unshakable, and He will bring to pass all that He has spoken (v. 11). And he has spoken about building the church in the most triumphant words.

For example, in Matthew 16:18 Christ said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” He who knows His sheep by name (John 10:3)—He who wrote their names down before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)—He personally guarantees that the gates of Hades will not prevail against the church He is building.

“The gates of Hades” was a Jewish expression for death. Hades is the place of the dead, and the gates of Hades represent the portal into that place—death itself. Hades is also the domain of the devil. Hebrews 2:14 refers to Satan as the one “who had the power of death,” and verse 15 says he used that power to keep people in fear and bondage all their lives. But now Christ has broken that power, and liberated His people from Satan’s dominion—in essence, he has broken down the gates of Hades. And therefore even the power of death—the strongest weapon Satan wields—cannot prevent the ultimate triumph of the church He is building.

There is still more significance to the imagery of “the gates of Hades.” Gates are a walled city’s most vital defensive safeguards. Christ’s words therefore portray the church militant, storming the very gates of hell, victoriously delivering people from the power of death. Thus Christ assures the triumph of the church’s evangelistic mission. He is building the church, and the work will not be thwarted.

Christ’s promise in this passage should not be misconstrued. He does not suggest that any particular church will be infallible. He does not teach that any of the bishops of the church will be error-free. He does not guarantee that this or that individual church will not apostatize. He does not promise success and prosperity to every congregation. But He does pledge that the church—that universal body of believers under Christ’s headship—will have a visible being and a testimony in this world as long as the world itself lasts. And that all the enemies of truth combined shall never secure the defeat or destruction of the church.

Notice also that the church is a work in progress. Christ is still building His church. We are still being joined together (Eph. 2:21). The church is still under construction (v. 22). God is not finished yet. The imperfections and blemishes in the visible church are still being refined by the Master Builder.

And here’s something remarkable: The plan for the finished product is a blueprint that was drawn in eternity past.

Click here to read Part 2.

The post Why I Love the Church appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

‘My church practices the “Sinner’s Prayer”‘

According to Amy Spreeman of Berean Research “Telling someone that he or she is saved by reciting a prayer is a lie from the pit of Hell.” Amy backs up this claim with Scripture. She writes:

Several readers have asked us, “What should I do if I am attending a church that practices the Sinner’s Prayer?”

If you’ve ever been to an evangelical church service or ministry outreach, you know the drill: Head down, no looking around, just you and God, sappy background music, and just slip your hand up if you want to invite Jesus into your heart. I see that hand in the second row. Thank you. Anyone else?

I can certainly understand why many people feel uncomfortable. There are some elements of it that are good, like confessing our belief in Jesus, admitting we are sinners and saying “I’m sorry,” but the most dangerous part of the practice comes at the end, when the minister declares, “If you prayed that prayer with me, congratulations and welcome into the kingdom of God!”  Telling someone that he or she is saved by reciting a prayer is a lie from the pit of Hell.

View article →

Source: ‘My church practices the “Sinner’s Prayer”‘

Hillsong’s Brian Houston Says He Believes in Biblical Marriage, But Christians Shouldn’t ‘Dismiss’ Homosexuals’ ‘Desire to Pursue Happiness’

From Berean Research:

Hillsong’s Brian & Bobbie Houston

Two years ago Amy Spreeman posted a piece by Churchwatch Central entitled “Brian Houston admits he can offer “no great answer” on gay stance.”  She began by letting us know that “No one has a better handle on what’s going on with Hillsong’s background with the homosexual issue than Churchwatch Central, based in Australia. If you read and follow these well-researched sources, AND WATCH THE VIDEOS EMBEDDED (very important!), you will begin to understand an issue that has a lot of moving parts.”

So keep this in mind as you read the Christian News (CN) report we’re posting.  The story includes Word of Faith prosperity preacher Brian Houston’s latest statement explaining what he believes the Bible teaches on homosexuality. Pay attention to how he carefully crafts his words to avoid offending the LGBTQ community. As Churchwatch Central (CWC) makes clear in their above piece, Brian Houston is deliberately vague on controversial issues such as the sin of homosexuality. According to CWC, Houston tries to give the impression he’s “tight-rope walking the issue [when] he has in fact made up his mind where he stands and simply [lies] about Hillsong’s position.” Lie is a strong word; however, in their reporting on the Hillsong empire over the years, CWC has demonstrated how Hillsong’s leadership has hidden the truth from its fans. And according to CWC, they’ve been grooming their followers to change their stance on homosexuality. As Amy rightly says, those who take the time to research all the Hillsong issues–there are a number of them–will discover that there are a lot of moving parts.

Again, keep what we’ve just told you in mind as you read CN’s report:

As Australians are soon set to participate in a postal plebiscite on the issue of same-sex “marriage,” Hillsong leader Brian Houston has issued a statement outlining that he believes the Bible clearly states that God created marriage to be between a man and woman, but also said that Christians shouldn’t condemn homosexuals and “dismiss their desire to pursue happiness.”

“For Christians, the issue is also a matter of faith and biblical teaching, something that should never be mocked or downplayed by those with opposing views,” Houston wrote. “I believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. The writings of the apostle Paul in Scripture on the subject of homosexuality are also clear, as I have mentioned in previous public statements.”

View article →

Source: Hillsong’s Brian Houston Says He Believes in Biblical Marriage, But Christians Shouldn’t ‘Dismiss’ Homosexuals’ ‘Desire to Pursue Happiness’

The Christian’s new walk

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. Ephesians 4:17-19 (NASB) 

The vast majority of professing Christians in the United States and in other countries, whose churches are patterned after American churches, are enslaved to their flesh. Why? The trend that I have witnessed in our churches for at least the last 25 years or so is a de-emphasis of discipleship. Evangelism or outreach has crowded out in-reach and Bible study. Why? Church growth has become the golden calf…

View original post 1,396 more words

Basic Training: Obedience: 8 Ways To Stop Making Excuses and Start Obeying Scripture

Michelle Lesley

For more in the Basic Training series, click here.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17

Excuses, excuses.

We’ve all got them. We’ve all used them.

“The dog ate my homework.”

“I was going to, but…”

“I’d can’t, because…”

Sometimes there are legitimate reasons we can’t take part in certain earthly activities. Time conflicts: If a birthday party and a wedding are scheduled for the same date and time, you obviously can’t be in two places at once. Financial constraints: Maybe you’d really like to attend that conference, but there’s no money in the budget. Prioritized responsibilities and loyalties- you’d like to travel as much as you did when you were single, but now that you have a family, taking care of them comes first.

Those aren’t really excuses, though, they’re reasons – totally understandable ones – that…

View original post 1,822 more words

August 29, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1641

Confidence in the plan of God

whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (1:20b–21)

Paul was not certain what God’s plan was for him, whether he would continue to serve and exalt Him through his life and ministry or through the final exaltation of death. Either way, the Lord’s will would be done; His plan would be fully accomplished.

To the elders from Ephesus, who met him on the beach near Miletus, Paul declared unequivocally, “I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). A short while later he said to the believers in Caesarea who were distressed by Agabus’s prophecy of Paul’s impending arrest: “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). He reminded the believers in Rome that “not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Rom. 14:7–9). Whether he lived or died, the apostle could say now as he would to Timothy a few years later: “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:6–7). Either way, he would be victorious and Christ would be exalted.

The Greek phrase rendered to live is Christ and to die is gain contains no verb. It literally reads “to live Christ, to die gain.” Paul knew that living is Christ, because he would continue to serve Him while he lived. He also knew that dying would be gain because then he would be in God’s presence, able to worship and serve Him in holy perfection (cf. v. 23). Paul fully understood that wealth, power, influence, possessions, prestige, social standing, good health, business or professional success, and all other such things are transitory. Many acknowledge that truth, but not many live as if it is true. Few can say with Paul’s utter sincerity to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

The apostle’s very being was wrapped up in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He trusted, loved, served, witnessed for, and in every way was devoted to and dependent on Him. His only hope, his only purpose, his only reason to live was Christ. He traveled for Christ, preached for Christ, and was persecuted and imprisoned for Christ. Ultimately, he would die for Christ. But even death, by God’s marvelous grace, was ultimately for Paul’s eternal gain.[1]


What is Christianity?

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21 is a text that cuts like a surgeon’s scalpel to the heart of Christianity. What is Christianity? This question is a puzzle to non-Christian historians, sociologists, psychologists, and others. It also puzzles the person on the street, the homemaker, the college student.

What is Christianity? The answer to that question is not unknown to the believing child of God. Christianity is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. All that is rightly associated with Christianity finds its center of gravity in him. John R. W. Stott has written correctly, “The person and work of Christ are the foundation rock upon which the Christian religion is built. … Take Christ from Christianity, and you disembowel it; there is practically nothing left. Christ is the centre of Christianity; all else is circumference.”

Stopping Short

Many people do not realize this. They see only the paraphernalia of Christianity. Consequently, they form false conclusions about its essence and reject it on these grounds. In October of 1967, the Soviet Union launched a space probe designed to crash upon the surface of Venus and send back vital statistics about its surface temperature and atmospheric pressure. The space probe ceased transmitting 3,774 miles from the center of the planet, presumably because it had struck the surface. The information the probe gathered about the temperature and atmospheric pressure seemed unquestionable, and it suggested there could be life on Venus. Now, however, scientists have determined that the radius of Venus is only 3,759 miles, meaning that the Russian space probe ceased transmitting when it was still fifteen miles above the planet’s surface. Consequently, all of its figures were misleading. It gave the temperature fifteen miles above the planet’s surface, but it did not provide the information that the scientists most wanted to know.

In the same way thousands of well-meaning people stop receiving data when they are miles from the heart of Christianity. For many people a knowledge of Christianity stops at contact with those who claim to be Christians. They identify Christianity with so-called Christian character, and since many believers are far from what God intends them to be, this data gives a false impression. Other people actually get into the atmosphere, perhaps as far as the organization, and then conclude that Christianity is the visible church. This is like identifying life with a test tube full of chemicals, and this impression is misleading also. Other people get as far as the ceremonies of the church and often pass for Christians because they participate properly. The fact that so many congregations are filled with people who have gone no farther than this is one reason for the weakness of the Christian church today. Some people actually come as close as the creeds. They can recite them. Unfortunately, this too is less than Christianity, important as the creeds may be.

Christianity is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing about Christianity will be rightly understood until there is faith in Christ and a personal relationship with him.

Christ and Paul

This truth was well known to the apostle Paul, and our text is a great expression of it. Paul writes: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (v. 21). This verse should be taken together with Galatians 2:20, which is Paul’s definitive commentary on it: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” These two verses, one from the early days of Paul’s ministry and the other from the end, summarize the living essence of Paul’s faith. Put the two together, and you have a great expression of what was undoubtedly the heartthrob of Paul’s life and Christian ministry.

One Christmas when I was a child I was given a kaleidoscope. I shall never forget how amazed I was to pick it up for the first time and to see the brilliant arrangement of colors as the bits of tinted glass were refracted many times by mirrors. I was even more amazed to find that the beauty increased infinitely as the kaleidoscope was turned. Our text from Philippians is like that. It is beautiful in itself, but it is even more beautiful as it is turned about and seen from new perspectives. What does it mean to say that Christianity is Christ or that the Christian life is Christ? As we turn the text about we can see that Christianity is faith in Christ; it is fellowship with Christ; and it is following after Christ. These are various aspects of the heart of Christianity.

Faith in Christ

When you say Christianity is Christ, you say, in the first place, that Christianity is faith in Christ. It is the acknowledgment that you can do nothing to save yourself, that you deserve hell from God rather than heaven, and that Christ has provided salvation for you by dying in your place. Moreover, it is a receiving of Jesus Christ as your Savior and as the Lord of your life. This is the message of the Book of Galatians and the central thrust of Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20.

To understand this verse properly, we must look at the historical background of the letter to the Galatians. The churches of Galatia were among the first Paul had founded, and they were particularly close to his heart. As Paul traveled through the Roman province of Galatia in what is now central Turkey, he endured real hardships as a result of preaching the gospel. We read in Galatians 4:13 that Paul had first preached “because of an illness,” and we are told in Acts that he had been stoned at Lystra. Such labors were hard, but they bore fruit, and everywhere Paul went he established congregations of believers. How Paul loved these people. He visited them on his second missionary journey and again on the third. He had put forth much energy on their behalf. He had lived with them and prayed with them. They were grounded in the gospel and trusted Christ and Christ alone for their salvation.

Then Paul went on to found churches elsewhere, and in his wake, like crows following behind a farmer as he plows a field, nonbelievers came trying to profit from Paul’s ministry. They came with a great show of authority and much human wisdom, teaching that salvation depended, at least in part, on human goodness. They reminded the Galatian Christians of the Jewish traditions and claimed a special relationship to the Jerusalem apostles. They even cast doubt on the validity of Paul’s apostleship. It is not enough, they said, to have faith in Christ to have salvation. It is necessary to become a Jew first. There must be circumcision, a keeping of the Jewish holy days, and many other things. To these legalizers salvation was not by faith alone.

The news reached Paul, and he was filled with righteous anger. These men were threatening to undo everything that he had accomplished among the Galatian people. Paul wrote back, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal. 1:6–9). For Paul, salvation was by faith in Christ alone, and he expressed this conviction vividly.

Are you trusting in Christ for your salvation? Earlier I mentioned those who reject true Christianity by stopping short at human character, the creeds, or Christian ceremonies. Unfortunately, many of these persons also trust these things to save them. Do you have faith in relics, in proper phrases, in the sacraments of your church, or in things you can do to improve your human character? These things will not save you and have no value in reconciling you to God. You must let God strip them away like worn out clothing. Christianity is faith in Christ, and in Christ alone.

Fellowship with Christ

Another aspect of the truth that Christianity is Christ is that Christianity is fellowship with Christ. This fact is a necessary complement to the truth that Christianity is faith in Christ, for Christians often tend to think of faith impersonally. Christianity is belief in Christ, but it is also communion or fellowship with him, and fellowship must be cultivated. The great evangelist and Bible teacher, A. W. Tozer, has written, “The modern scientist has lost God amid the wonders of His world; we Christians are in real danger of losing God amid the wonders of his Word. We have almost forgotten that God is a Person and, as such, can be cultivated as any person can.”

The fact that Christianity is a life to be cultivated is quite apparent in the early verses of 1 John. The writer of these verses is interested in the facts concerning the life of Jesus Christ. But his testimony does not stop with facts, nor is it given only to lead his readers to have orthodox opinions. John writes, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Doctrine must lead to fellowship and fellowship to the riches of the Christian life. The next verse adds, “We write this to make our joy complete” (v. 4).

How unfortunate it is that many Christians go through life with somber faces! They know the facts of Christian faith and they trust Christ for their salvation, but there is no joy. There is nothing that gives evidence of God’s presence in the midst of life or in its tribulations. This should not be so. The presence of our Lord brings joy. And if there is no joy (or peace, or longsuffering, or patience, or any other Christian virtue for that matter), the cause may well be a lack of fellowship with Jesus.

If you lack Christian joy, it may be that things are keeping you from him. If so, you need to set them aside a while and spend time in Christ’s presence.

It may be that activities are keeping you from him. In that case it is far better that these be set aside. Mary and Martha were both friends of Jesus, and both were quite orthodox. In fact, it was Martha who ran to meet Jesus when he returned to Bethany following the death of Lazarus. It was she who expressed faith in the final resurrection (John 11:24) and revealed her personal faith in Jesus: “Lord, … if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). But when Jesus was in the home of Mary and Martha, it was Mary who sat at his feet while Martha served. And Jesus said, “Martha, Martha … you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41–42). One thing is needed! How often we reverse the two. We think our service is needed and fellowship dispensable. We need to learn that nothing can be a substitute for the cultivation of the presence of God.

Following After Christ

To these truths we must also add that Christianity means following Christ. The Christ in whom we believe is a Christ on the move, and the fellowship we enjoy is not so much the fellowship of the living room as it is the fellowship of the soldier marching under the eye of his commander. In its simplest form Christ’s call was always the call, “Follow me.” It was the call to Matthew. It was the call to the rich young ruler. It was the call to the multitudes who came to hear him. Jesus always invited others to follow him and to unite their efforts with his cause. He invites you to follow him today.

You cannot follow Christ unless you have forsaken all that keeps you from him. Peter and Andrew left their nets. James and John left Zebedee. Matthew left his money tables. You must leave your sin, your personal sinful aspirations, your own conception of yourself. Moreover, you must continue to do so throughout your Christian life.

For this to be possible Paul says that there must be a crucifixion. It is true that he says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20). He says again, “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). This is victory in the Christian life. But before he can say any of these things, Paul must be able to say that he is crucified with Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (v. 20). There must be the tearing of the flesh, the breaking of the bones, the shedding of blood before the spirit of the disciple is set free. Christianity is no easy thing. It is the walk of the disciple who must bear his own cross.

In Judea in the first Christian century there were certain customs that surrounded the relationship between a rabbi and those whom he chose to be disciples. One of these customs was that when the master moved from place to place the disciples literally followed behind him. We must imagine this being true many times of Christ and his disciples. He led them literally, as well as figuratively, and they followed where he led. During the days of Christ’s ministry there were hours spent in pleasant places—at a wedding or by the Sea of Galilee. At other times there were steps through angry crowds and steps before the faces of Christ’s enemies. All the time they followed. At last the steps of Christ led up the steep ascent to Jerusalem and stopped at the foot of the cross. The disciples were stunned. The work of three years appeared to have been undertaken in vain. But instead the work was finished; atonement was made; the veil was rent in two. Christ had provided access for all believers into God’s presence.

In the same way our following of Christ must lead to crucifixion and beyond the cross to glory. Neither you nor I must linger in the pleasant places. We must cast these behind and follow Jesus. Have you followed him through hostile crowds and dangers and yielded yourself to crucifixion?

In one of our hymns we sing:

Jesus, keep me near the cross;

There a precious fountain,

Free to all—a healing stream—

Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

The hymn embodies a great truth, but the truth we have been studying should be taken with it. We could also sing:

Jesus, keep me on the cross;

Let me wander never;

Then a twice-born child of God,

I’ll rise and live forever.

No one can crucify himself or herself. But God will crucify the Christian. He will place you on the cross, knowing that through death to self lies resurrection power and the removing of the veil.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2001). Philippians (pp. 76–77). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2000). Philippians: an expositional commentary (pp. 74–79). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

August 28, 2017: Verse of the day

img_1633

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. (5:8)

Often the best, and sometimes the only, way to learn sympathy is by suffering ourselves what another is suffering. Suffering is a very skilled teacher. We can read about and hear about the pain of being burned. We can even see people being burned. But until we have been burned ourselves, we cannot completely sympathize with a burn victim. I had read about, and even seen, many automobile accidents; but only after I was involved in one that almost took my life did I realize how horrible they can be.

Jesus had to learn certain things by suffering. He was given no exemption from hardship and pain. Even though He was God’s Son, God in human flesh, He was called to suffer. He learned the full meaning of the cost of obedience, all the way to death, from the things which He suffered, and God therefore affirmed Him as a perfect High Priest.

That is the kind of high priest we need—one who knows and understands what we are going through. When we go to the Lord in prayer and fall on our knees before Him and say, “God, this problem, this loss, this pain is breaking my heart,” how wonderful to feel His arms around us and to sense in our hearts that He is saying, “I know. I know.”[1]


8 The Greek sentence continues without a break to the end of v. 10. Verse 7 consists of two participial clauses (“having offered up … and having been heard”), which are now followed by an “although” clause before we reach the first main clause, “he learned …” The learning of obedience is therefore directly linked with, and is the outcome of, the experience of prayer (and especially the prayer of Gethsemane). Jesus prayed to be spared if possible, but it was his reverent acceptance of God’s will rather than his own that was heard, and thus he “learned obedience” through the suffering to which he then willingly submitted. It is important to understand this sequence of thought in order to avoid the misunderstanding to which the words of this verse alone might give rise, namely, that a previously disobedient Jesus had to be compelled to obey against his will by being made to suffer. In this context to “learn obedience” means, not to become obedient after having been disobedient, but to discover in personal experience what obedience—and obedience that involves suffering—really means; only by coming to share our human condition could the Son of God know this experience. Cf. the argument of 2:10–18 and the comments on being “made perfect through suffering” in 2:10.

Within this sequence of very human experiences, the opening clause of v. 8, “Son though he was” (TNIV), reminds us of the other side of the truth about Jesus. This concessive clause relates primarily to the main clause that follows—even though he was the Son of God, he had to undergo this new experience of obedient suffering. But it also contrasts with the preceding mention of Jesus’ “reverent submission,” thus underlining the paradox that the one who as Son has all authority needed nonetheless to submit.[2]


5:8. It would not be unusual for a son to learn obedience by suffering, but Jesus was no ordinary son. He was a perfect Son, and we could wonder why he needed to learn obedience. Certainly, he did not need to learn obedience in the sense that he learned the unpleasant consequences of disobedience. Jesus never disobeyed.

The connection of Jesus as subject of a verb involving learning raises a theological issue we must explore. Jesus shared in God’s omniscience, that is, the ability to know everything. Why would the Omniscient One need to learn anything?

Luke explored a similar idea about Jesus in his youth: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Again we must ask, Why would the Omniscient One need to grow in wisdom? This question of how we could understand development, change, and learning in an omniscient deity has long troubled theologians.

One effort to deal with this issue has followed a special interpretation of Philippians 2:7, saying Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” (nasb). These theologians, emphasizing the kenosis or self-emptying of Christ, have said that during his time on earth Jesus surrendered his attributes of omniscience, omnipotence (all power), and omnipresence (being everywhere at once). Opposing this interpretation is the recognition that if Jesus gave up the attributes of deity, he would cease to be God. Others have suggested that Jesus did not surrender the possession of the attributes, but he surrendered the right to use them independently. This feature of interpretation would explain why at times Jesus indicated that he did not know some things (Mark 13:32) but at other times claimed a knowledge which reflects omniscience (John 6:64). Jesus used his attribute of omniscience only when it was the Father’s will for him to do so.

We should probably recognize that a divine mystery is involved in Jesus’ learning obedience in Hebrews 5:8. It is difficult to understand why the divine Son would need to learn. It is understandable that one who was the God-man might grow in wisdom, understanding, and in a grasp of the importance of obedience. In a sense that we cannot fully comprehend, the incarnate son of God acquired knowledge through suffering that allowed him to learn the value of obedience.

Jesus always possessed the attitude of obedience, but by practicing obedience he learned the value and importance of obeying. By making a response of obedience to his testing, he acquired the experimental knowledge of obedience. He learned what was involved in following obedience. Learning this trait equipped him to understand better the struggles and weaknesses of human beings. It added to Jesus’ skills in showing sympathy with wandering sinners.

This is the sole New Testament verse in which Jesus is the subject of the verb learn. Jesus came with a commitment to obey, but in obeying he learned a new level of experience in obedience. His example and experience encouraged both the readers of Hebrews and today’s readers to persevere. We cannot experience a hardship in which he fails to identify with us.

Jerry Bedsole served for twenty-five years as a missionary veterinarian in Ethiopia. During his time in this famine-ravaged, politically unstable country, Bedsole saw loving Christians develop from former atheists. He saw God use a communist government to build his church. He watched in amazement as a Christian response to a famine in Ethiopia opened opportunities for spreading the gospel.

Bedsole saw an entire church, parents and children, imprisoned on one occasion for several weeks. That imprisoned church grew in love, fellowship, and eagerness to learn the Bible. He saw believers disowned by families, and persecuted by their friends and families, but they remained solid in their commitment. Bedsole said, “Their families may have turned their backs on them, but they never turned their backs on Jesus.” These Christians learned the value of obeying God by their exposure to suffering. The encouragement from other believers and the strength of God taught them the importance of commitment. Jesus learned in the same way.[3]


5:8 Now once again we come face to face with that profound mystery of the incarnation—how God could become Man in order to die for men.

Though He was a Son, or better, Son though He was—He was not a Son, that is, one of many, but He was the only begotten Son of God. In spite of this tremendous fact, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. His entrance into this world as a Man involved Him in experiences which He would never have known had He remained in heaven. Each morning His ear was open to receive instructions from His Father for that day (Isa. 50:4). He learned obedience experimentally as the Son who was always subject to His Father’s will.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 124–125). 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. 76–77). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 92–94). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2171). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

August 26-27, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0402

Top News

Abbas to meet Erdogan in Ankara Tuesday
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss Palestinian reconciliation, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced. Fatah, Abbas’s party, and Hamas have been at loggerheads since 2007 when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a coup d’etat and ousted the Fatah-dominated PA from the territory.

UN gives Gaza $2.5m. in humanitarian aid for water and fuel crisis
The United Nations has provided the Gaza Strip with $2.5 million in humanitarian aid to help with its water, electricity and fuel crisis. The funds come as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatens to gradually cut funding to Gaza if Hamas does not allow Fatah to return to the Strip.

Top US congressman: Time to think beyond two-state solution
Some basic assumptions that have governed Middle East diplomacy over the last quarter century — such as the need for a Palestinian state in the West Bank — are being questioned by more and more people in Congress…“My view is that some of the assumptions that we have all operated under for a long time – that there has to be a two-state solution…those assumptions are now being questioned,” said [Rep. Mac] Thornberry [(R-Texas)].

King of Spain joins Barcelona march of defiance against terrorism
Hundreds of thousands of people in Barcelona have marched against militant Islamists who left 15 people dead in and around the city last week. King Felipe VI joined the demonstrators, alongside Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The king is the first Spanish sovereign to join a march since the monarchy was re-established in the 1970s.

Ceasefire with ‘Islamic State’ on Syria-Lebanon border
A ceasefire has been declared in offensives against so-called Islamic State on the Syria-Lebanon border. The militants have been fighting the Lebanese army on one front, and Hezbollah with the Syrian army on the other. Lebanon’s army said the pause in operations would enable talks over the fate of kidnapped soldiers.

Harvey: Fears grow over severe flooding risk
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has warned that severe flooding is his main worry as the rains from Tropical Storm Harvey continue to lash the state. Mr Abbott said the cities of Houston and Corpus Christi had already received as much as 20in (50cm) of rain. He said another 40in of rain could be due before the storm subsides midweek.

Venezuela to stage war games in warning to Trump
Venezuela kicks off two days of military drills on Saturday in response to US President Donald Trump’s threat of military action and newly announced sanctions on the crisis-stricken nation. Trump warned on August 11 that the United States was mulling a range of options against Venezuela, “including a possible military option if necessary.”

As Britain cracks down on weapons, criminals turn to acid attacks
Jabed Hussain said he was really lucky. The delivery driver was one of the latest victims in an alarming surge of acid attacks in Britain. He was still trembling when he said, “But they didn’t get my face. They didn’t ruin me.” Attacks by people throwing acid at their victims has tripled in the past three years in Britain, stoking fears that almost anyone can be the victim…

Purchase finalized for 17 more F-35 stealth fighter jets
This past weekend saw the completion of a deal to purchase 17 more F-35 (“Adir”) jets for the Israeli Air Force, bringing Israel’s total to 50 F-35s set to enter into service in two squadrons. The Ministry of Defense’s acquisition team signed the agreement in the United States with director of the US government’s JSF program, making use of the option to purchase 17 more jets…

Storm Pakhar hits Hong Kong and Macau days after deadly Hato
Tropical storm Pakhar brought strong winds and heavy rain to Hong Kong and Macau on Sunday, just four days after one of the strongest typhoons on record, Hato, caused serious flooding and damage in the territories and killed at least 10 people in the gaming hub. The two cities lowered their typhoon signal to No.3 in the early afternoon, after Pakhar brushed passed and landed in the southern Chinese city of Taishan in the morning.

Hundreds of Russians protest tighter internet controls
About 1,000 Russians braved pouring rain in Moscow on Saturday to demonstrate against the government’s moves to tighten controls on internet use, with police arresting about a dozen protesters.

Buckingham Palace knifeman had 4ft sword and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, police reveal
The man arrested outside Buckingham Palace drove at police before lunging for a 4ft sword and repeatedly shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The 26-year-old man from Luton was wrestled to the ground by unarmed police who had to use CS gas to incapacitate him.

Congress Quietly Passed A Bill Allowing Warrantless Searches of Homes – Only 1% Opposed It
One of the most important things to remember about this legislation is that it was ignored by the media, and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.

Catholic school removes Jesus statues to be ‘more inclusive’
Parents of students at a Catholic school in the San Francisco Bay area are protesting the board’s decision to remove and relocate more than 160 statues of Jesus, Mary and historic church figures from the campus in an effort to make the school more “inclusive.”

Germany Bans ‘Extremist AntiFa’ Website For “Legitimizing Violence Against Cops”
“…the site tried to legitimize violence against police officers …in an expression of an attitude that tramples human dignity…. This is absolutelyunacceptable and incompatible with our liberal democratic order…”

IT’S ON: Christian Group Sues SPLC and Amazon Over ‘Hate Group’ Designation
On Tuesday, D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM) filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the charity navigation organization GuideStar, and Amazon, for defamation, religious discrimination, and trafficking in falsehood. The SPLC listed DJKM as a “hate group,” while GuideStar also categorized it in those terms, and Amazon kept the ministry off of its charity donation program, Amazon Smile.

IDF maintains readiness as soldiers drill for urban combat in Gaza
As Israel’s enemies continue to build up their arsenals, hundreds of Golani soldiers participated in a large scale exercise on Wednesday simulating urban combat in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Soldiers from Golani’s 12th battalion began the two-day drill with an overnight march from the northern city of Meitav to their destination of Harish some 30 kilometers away late Tuesday night.

Haley demands UNIFIL changes, levels harsh criticism against commander
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley leveled harsh criticism on Friday at Irish Major General Michael Beary, the commander of United Nations forces in Lebanon, accusing him of turning a blind eye to Iran’s covert arming of the Hezbollah militant group. “General Beary says there are no Hezbollah weapons,” she said. “That’s an embarrassing lack of understanding on what’s going on around him.”

North Korea fires three missiles into sea
North Korea has fired three short-range ballistic missiles, the US military says. They were launched from a site in the North Korean province of Gangwon and flew for about 250km (150 miles), officials in South Korea said. Since firing an intercontinental ballistic weapon last month, Pyongyang has threatened to aim missiles at the US Pacific territory of Guam.

Brussels attack: Man shot after stabbing soldier
A man has been shot dead after attacking soldiers with a machete in Brussels, in what prosecutors are treating as a terror attack. The Somali attacker, aged 30, died in hospital. One of the soldiers suffered a hand injury. Photographs show the street cordoned off with police and troops in the area.

Venezuela says US sanctions will lead to halt in oil exports
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has said that a preliminary analysis shows that new financial sanctions imposed by the United States will lead to a halt in oil exports to the US. President Trump’s order bans trade in Venezuelan debt and blocks its state oil firm from selling bonds in the US. Mr Maduro went on national television to denounce the US sanctions as an illegal act of aggression.

Hurricane Harvey’s high winds make landfall in Texas
Hurricane Harvey has slammed into Texas with winds of up to 130mph (215 km/h) battering coastal areas. The storm, which has even stronger gusts, is the most powerful to hit the US mainland for 12 years. Up to 40in (1m) of rain is expected to fall. President Donald Trump has signed a disaster proclamation for the state, which will free up federal aid for the worst-affected areas.

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster issues executive order cutting off state, local money from abortion clinics
Triggering praise, criticism and some confusion, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Friday cutting off all public funding to health care providers affiliated with abortion clinics in South Carolina. In the order, he also directed the South Carolina Medicaid agency to seek permission from the federal government to exclude abortion clinics from the state’s Medicaid provider network.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Gets $27 Million to Build Brain Computers
Neuralink Corp., the startup co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has taken steps to sell as much as $100 million in stock to fund the development of technology that connects human brains with computers. The San Francisco-based company has already gotten $27 million in funding…Musk said via Twitter on Friday that Neuralink isn’t seeking outside investors. A spokesman didn’t respond to questions about the source of the funds.

Iran’s new army chief says Israel won’t exist in 25 Years
Iranian news agenct Tasnim reported on Friday that new Iranian Army Chief, Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi said that State of Israel will no longer exist in 25 years’ time, and that if a military offensive breaks out against Iran, Iran will be the one to decide how it will end.

Israeli envoy to Egypt visits Cairo for first time in months
Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin paid a visit to Cairo Wednesday, along with eight other members of the Israeli delegation, for the first time since the end of 2016 when he was forced to leave the country amid security warnings, according to Egyptian media reports. The reports claim that Govrin’s rapid visit lasted just one day, after which he returned to Israel.

In Furious Attack, Poland Slams “Arrogant” Macron, Says “You Won’t Rule Europe”
Even as recent European outcast Poland is demanding World War II reparations from Germany, causing a rift between Warsaw and Berlin, it has engaged in another diplomatic feud, this time with French president Macron, who as we learned overnight spends $10,000 each month on make up.

North Korea Is So Worried About Kim Jong Un Being Assassinated That It’s Asking KGB Agents for Help
Kim Jong Un has taken his personal protection to a new level. Japanese media reported Friday that the North Korean dictator, who already only travels at night out of fear of attack, has linked up with 10 former KGB agents to avoid assassination.

Trump Pardons Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio confirmed his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.

Donald Trump Formally Erases Obama’s Pro-Transgender Military Rules 
President Donald Trump has erased former President Barack Obama’s late-term imposition of the transgender ideology on the U.S. military.

WELL, WELL, WELL: Look What Happened As Soon As Colorado Gave Trump Vote Fraud Info
…A particularly suspicious event happened in July after Trump’s team requested personal information on voters from all states to verify their ability to legally vote, according to The Washington Examiner. Colorado agreed to turn over the information only to have hundreds of people in each district withdraw their registrations.

Mugabe Says Zimbabwe “Will Not Prosecute Killers Of White Farmers”
“Yes, we have those who were killed when they resisted. We will never prosecute those who killed them. I ask, why should we arrest them?”

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net

Abortionist Who Declared ‘Love’ for Killing Babies While Wielding Surgical Scissors Surrenders Medical License   Aug 23, 2017 12:37 pm

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A California abortionist who was the subject of a viral video last year in which he was captured wielding surgical scissors while declaring his love for killing babies has agreed to surrender his medical license after being formally accused by the state medical board of unprofessional conduct, as well as other violations surrounding the medical…

Continue reading the story

Parents Feel ‘Betrayed’ After Teacher Reads Transgender-Themed Books to Kindergarten Class   Aug 22, 2017 05:23 pm

ROCKLIN, Calif. — A number of parents in Rocklin, California say that they feel betrayed after a kindergarten teacher recently read two transgender-themed books to students without their prior knowledge. “My daughter came home crying and shaking, so afraid she could turn into a boy,” one parent stated during a packed board meeting for Rocklin Academy on…

Continue reading the story

University Professor Carries Out Plot to Murder Boyfriend, Makes Donation to ‘LGBT Health Center’ While on Run   Aug 23, 2017 06:59 pm

CHICAGO — A university professor and his accomplice are facing first degree murder charges after carrying out a plot to kill the “distinguished microbiologist’s” boyfriend, and then making a charitable donation to an “LGBT health center” in the murdered man’s name while on the run. Wyndham Lathem, 43, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at…

Continue reading the story

Pregnant Mother With Aggressive Brain Cancer Refuses Abortion, Forgoes Treatment Instead to Save Baby   Aug 21, 2017 03:27 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A pregnant mother with an aggressive form of brain cancer has refused recommendations that she abort her unborn child and has instead decided to forgo treatment in order to save her baby. Carrie DeKlyen, a mother of five, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme in April and and was accepted for a clinic trial at the University of…

Continue reading the story

Atheist Group Calls Bible a ‘Violent, Racist Book’ in Scolding Gov. for Lamenting Bible’s Removal From Schools   Aug 24, 2017 03:38 pm

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A prominent professing atheist organization characterized the Bible as a “violent, racist book” in scolding the governor of Kentucky over his recent remarks lamenting the ramifications of removing the Bible from public schools. Gov. Matt Bevin appeared on the Tom Roten Morning Show on Aug. 15, where he discussed the public unrest in…

Continue reading the story

New Mexico Public School Paints Over Scripture Mural Following Complaint   Aug 21, 2017 12:21 pm

CLOVIS, N.M. — Officials with a public school in New Mexico quickly agreed to paint over a mural featuring a Scripture citation after receiving a letter from a prominent atheist-led church-state separation group last week. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to the Clovis Municipal School District after receiving a…

Continue reading the story

Hubei Christians Attacked With Fireworks, Mud   Aug 20, 2017 12:45 am

EZHOU, Hubei (China Aid) — After a raid chased a house church from its building out into the open on Jan. 10, authorities in China’s central Hubei province have been weekly attacking church services, firing fireworks at the Christians and drenching them with mud. For the past eight months, officials have arrived weekly at the outdoor services of a church and…

Continue reading the story

Michigan Man Who Preaches Outside Abortion Facilities Sues to Stop Threats of Arrest   Aug 20, 2017 06:07 pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Michigan man who preaches outside of abortion facilities and other locations on a regular basis has filed a federal lawsuit as he says that he has been threatened numerous times with arrest by police. Stephen Nylen of New City Fellowship is challenging Grand Rapids’ noise ordinance, which prohibits “any noise of any kind,” but does not…

Continue reading the story

Appeals Court Rules Against High School Football Coach Who Lost Job for Praying on Field   Aug 24, 2017 11:13 am

BREMERTON, Wash. — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against a Washington football coach who was put out of a job in 2015 as school district officials decided not to renew his contract in the midst of a battle over his desire to pray at the 50-yard line. “While we ‘recognize the important role that public worship plays in many communities, as well as…

Continue reading the story

23 States, 24 Members of Congress Join Supreme Court Briefs in Support of Ten Commandments Monument   Aug 22, 2017 11:55 am

WASHINGTON — Attorneys general and governors from 23 states, as well as 24 members of Congress, have filed briefs asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving a Ten Commandments monument in New Mexico that is the subject of a lawsuit filed by two Wiccan women who took offense at the display. “ertiorari is warranted here to clarify the Establishment…

Continue reading the story


Atheist Group Calls Bible a ‘Violent, Racist Book’ in Scolding Gov. for Lamenting Bible’s Removal From Schools

Christian News reports:

A prominent professing atheist organization characterized the Bible as a “violent, racist book” in scolding the governor of Kentucky over his recent remarks lamenting the ramifications of removing the Bible from public schools.

Gov. Matt Bevin appeared on the Tom Roten Morning Show on Aug. 15, where he discussed the public unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as a recent bill he signed dubbed as the “Bible Literacy Bill.”

“When you go back a couple of hundred years, in most instances the only textbooks that were in our public schools were the Bible,” he said. “And so to that end to pretend, again, to scrub history and pretend that that wasn’t reality, I think is a dangerous precedent.”

“And it’s interesting, the more we’ve removed any sense of spiritual obligation or moral higher authority or absolute right and wrong, the more we’ve removed things that are biblically taught from society, the more we’ve seen the kind of mayhem that we were just discussing,” Bevin stated.

View article →


Sebastian Gorka Compares Battle Against Globalist Cabal

The “West Wing Democrats,” as they are colloquially known, include people like the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his wife the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, National Security Adviser three-star Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, new White House chief of staff retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Habib Powell.

View Article


Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming

HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley see mounting evidence that global markets are in the last stage of their rallies before a downturn in the business cycle.

View Article

The latest week of outflows marks the 10th straight week of withdrawals, the longest in more than a decade, and internal positioning changes also indicate investors are becoming more defensive, the report says.

The outflows occurred despite the S&P 500’s nearly 1 percent gain this quarter and a record high on Aug. 8.

Investors are fleeing U.S. stocks in a way they haven’t since 2004.

For 10 straight weeks a total of $30 billion has left U.S. stocks, marking the longest streak of outflows since 2004, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a Thursday report, citing EPFR Global data.

Investors turned instead to emerging markets and European and Japanese stocks, which saw $36 billion in inflows over the last 10 weeks, the report said.


August 24, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — Judge Roy Moore appears to be steamrolling his way to the U.S. Senate, having finished No. 1 among several candidates for the Republican nomination, beating President Trump’s endorsed candidate Luther Strange who he will face in a Sept. 26 runoff…. (more)

August 24, 2017
BREITBART — Palin’s endorsement of Moore – -the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court – -ahead of the Sept. 26 runoff is a huge momentum booster for the conservative candidate as he extends his commanding lead in the polls over Strange…. (more)

August 24, 2017
THE HILL — Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has taken a commanding 18-point lead in Alabama’s Republican Senate primary runoff, according to a poll released Wednesday…. (more)

August 24, 2017
WESLEY PRUDEN — The daily newspaper was not so long ago the king of the mountain, only to become in many places a pale, wrinkled princeling with tired blood, run over by not-so-great entertainers and pipsqueak purveyors of the shallow and the silly – – and sometimes the fake – – on the internet. As the president might say, “sad.”… (more)

August 24, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — An elite charter school in California has been rocked by scandal since the end of the last school year, when a kindergarten teacher read her class a pair of books advocating transgender ideology, and a male kindergartener was reintroduced to the class as a girl…. (more)

August 24, 2017

THE HILL — Former Obama advisor David Axelrod on Wednesday cautioned against talk that President Trump is unfit for office, saying it opens the door to a potentially “dangerous road.” “The inference was that somehow there should be some effort to remove him, or at least that’s how some people would have heard it,” Axelrod told CNN’s “The Situation Room.”… (more)


August 24, 2017

CNN — By trying to avoid an embarrassing ordeal, ESPN has embarrassed itself. On Tuesday night, the network confirmed that its management moved an Asian-American announcer, Robert Lee, off the University of Virginia’s home opener football game “simply because of the coincidence of his name.”… (more)


August 24, 2017

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON — Much of the country has demanded the elimination of references to, and images of, people of the past – – from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee – – who do not meet our evolving standards of probity…. (more)


August 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — Newt Gingrich, who was a history professor before he entered politics, does not have encouraging words for people hoping America’s fractured society can kiss and make up. Appearing Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the former House speaker compared the current divide to the Civil War era…. (more)

August 24, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump has pinned the blame for his stalled agenda on Congress, chastising lawmakers of both parties who stand in his way and urging the Republican-run Senate to abolish filibuster rules in order to ram though bills for a border wall, tax cuts and a replacement of Obamacare…. (more)

August 24, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — A conservative Christian media group has slapped the Southern Poverty Law Center with a defamation lawsuit after being listed alongside neo-Nazis and white supremacists on its “hate map.”… (more)

August 24, 2017
GARTH KANT — The venerated journalistic institution the Washington Post, which recently adopted the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” published a column Wednesday by a spokesman for the “Prince of Darkness” who blamed Christianity for slavery and white supremacism…. (more)

August 24, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — “Anti-fascism” is all the rage (literally) in America today. Some media outlets excused the violent actions of the “Antifa,” or “anti-fascists” in Charlottesville, Virginia, because they opposed white supremacists and neo-Nazis…. (more)

August 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — The White House is expected to send guidance to the Pentagon in coming days on how to implement a new administration ban on transgender people in the military, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Under the policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis can consider a service member’s ability to deploy as the primary legal test for deciding whether to discharge them from the military…. (more)

August 24, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Trump’s willingness to brave a government shutdown in order to get funding for his border wall roiled Capitol Hill, where Democrats on Wednesday called him reckless and redoubled their promise to resist anymore money for the president’s immigration crackdown plans…. (more)

August 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump – – who has already hinted he is ready to pardon controversial ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio – – will do so “at the appropriate time,” according to his press secretary…. (more)

August 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, complimented President Donald Trump on Wednesday for his speech in Arizona Tuesday night, saying it shows the qualities that got him elected…. (more)

August 24, 2017
NEWSMAX — The Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker early Wednesday sent out emails criticizing his staff over “commentary dressed up as news reporting” over the coverage of President Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix, according to emails reviewed by The New York Times…. (more)

August 24, 2017

WORLDNETDAILY — A Muslim who was born and raised in the Middle East is comparing the Associated Press Stylebook, a guide for American journalists on spelling and word usage, to the Quran, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin…. (more)


August 24, 2017
LIAM CLANCY — The United States is under threat from shadowy jihadi groups, and the government is turning a blind eye. That’s the belief of Chris Gaubatz, a man who went undercover as a Muslim convert to gather intelligence on Muslim organizations in the United States…. (more)

August 23, 2017
WASHINGTON TIMES — President Bill Clinton’s decision in 1996 to create the sprawling Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah was so incredibly controversial that he couldn’t even set foot in the state to make the announcement, instead holding a photo-op at the Grand Canyon in neighboring Arizona…. (more)

August 23, 2017

LAS VEGAS SUN — A federal jury in Las Vegas refused Tuesday to convict four defendants who were retried on accusations that they threatened and assaulted federal agents by wielding assault weapons in a 2014 confrontation to stop a cattle roundup near the Nevada ranch of states’ rights figure Cliven Bundy…. (more)


August 22, 2017
WES VERNON — “Is Truth Dead?” That headline was blazed across the cover of Time magazine in April by a headline writer who stumbled onto what is actually going on. This column has been warning for so long now that years of threats, infiltration, and sellouts are making the United States ripe for a takeover by its enemies, longstanding as well as relatively “new.” This column has been warning for so long now that years of threats, infiltration, and sellouts are making the United States ripe for a takeover by its enemies, longstanding as well as relatively “new.”… (more)

August 21, 2017
We need to forgive repentant historical figures like Gen. Lee
ALAN KEYES — Then came Peter to him, and said, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?” Jesus says unto him, “I say not unto you, Until seven times, but until seventy time seven.” (Matthew 18: 21-22)… (more)

August 21, 2017
WORLDNETDAILY — More than 200,000 Americans have signed a petition calling on the Trump administration to “recognize Antifa as a terrorist organization” – surpassing the threshold of 100,000 signatures required for a formal White House response…. (more)

Weekly Watchman for 08/25/2017

Your Questions and Comments

Today we read as many of your questions and comments as we can from the past week. Some of the topics we will address today include:

Lordship Salvation, The Eternal Security of the believer, The Word of Faith/prosperity Movement, The fever pitch anger in our nation, Being Married to an unbeliever, and What to do when your teenager decides they no longer want to go to church with you.

We also have our weekly Media Watch Segment with David Fiorazo. Several ways you can connect with us including texting “truth” to 797979; email us, comments@standupforthetruth.com, or call us 1-800-979-9010.

Islam, World Events, & More Liberal Hypocrisy

This is telling: a teacher in California promotes transgender propaganda to her students without parental permission; a parent complains, and the school system says the teacher has the right to share her personal views. But a High School football coach kneels by himself to pray after a game, some players join him, and the liberal 9th Circus Court of Appeals says he acted unconstitutionally by “imposing” his private views on the students who attended the game. So public employees can freely express their anti-biblical views if they are liberal and a Christian public employee cannot privately express his beliefs. Is there not a glaring double standard here?

In our first segment, we are joined by Elijah Abraham, a former Muslim and now born-again believer who travels the world equipping Christians to share the gospel with Muslims. We ask him about Replacement international terrorism, Replacement theology, and why Islam is generally seen as a darling religion of the left when the Quran calls for imprisonment or death to homosexuals and infidels, and condones the mistreatment of women.

Quick Biblical Answers & Political Correctness Unhinged

PODCAST: Just when you think political correctness couldn’t get any more absurd, the left takes it to another level of insanity. ESPN has relieved a college football announcer of his assignment to call a game, not because of his private or controversial views, but because of his name. They are worried that his name given to him at birth might make some of their audience “uncomfortable”.

Also, what percentage of Americans actually view themselves as sinners? Well the answer might surprise you.

In our first segment, we check in with author, Bryan Osborne, whose new book Quick Answers to Tough Questions can help Christians be prepared to share the reason for our eternal hope from God’s Word when the world asks difficult questions.

Sharing the Gospel in Africa

PODCAST: In spite of political roadblocks and intense persecution the gospel of salvation is being shared with every tribe and tongue throughout God’s world. And while most of the attention regarading persecution comes from countries in the Middle East, missionaries in Africa are diligently working to spread the good news. This morning we visit with Dave Bell who has been a missionary in Kenya for a decade. How is God’s Word being received in a nation that is poor and surrounded by radical Islam?

We also continue our discussion on racism in America and how many on the left continue to live in hypocrisy by crying out against racism while supporting organizations like Planned Parenthood and promoting Marxist worldviews that are anything but tolerant or accepting.

Tearing Down American History

PODCAST: The ugly protests and riots in Virginia last week have stirred deep emotion in the hearts of many. One of the pillars of American freedom is the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly; but the necessary downside to that freedom is that hateful, bigoted organizations like the KKK are able to assemble and spew their message of hatred.

The violence that was sparked has led to a call for a tearing down of statues and monuments of historical importance to our nation. But is this a wise and prudent thing? And if we start tearing down these monuments where does it lead and end? Should anything that offends us now be torn down? What about holocaust museums and displays? What about the money we use which has America’s founders and past presidents faces on them? We’ll discuss this in our second segment.

In our first segment we are joined by William Murray of The Religious Freedom Coalition. As our nation’s media obsesses with the racial issue and the dysfunction of the Trump Administration it is easy to forget that thousands are dying as a result of violence in the Middle East, and that Christians around the world are being imprisoned and tortured for their faith.


This ‘n’ That (25 August 2017)

  • Well, at least some people are finally admitting it.
  • Let’s clean up our language.
  • I’m eager to listen to this.
  • Hey, art and beauty are in the eye of the beholder, right?
  • The National Day of Prayer continues to make me cringe.
  • “While it is true that Scripture never mingles grace and works as grounds for justification, it is not the case that grace rules out law altogether, or vice versa.” The inimitable Phil Johnson offers a helpful primer on antinomianism.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • You keep using that word, “Christian.” I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • I did not know this and I find it hilarious (thanks, Janeen!). What a creative God we serve!
  • Here are some of the best videos of Monday’s total solar eclipse.
  • Kevin DeYoung follows up with more thoughts on Game of Thrones.
  • Mr. Magoo-type theology…now, there’s an interesting concept.
  • Classic John MacArthur:

Source: This ‘n’ That


Top Headlines

Top US congressman: Time to think beyond two-state solution

US: No reason to freeze building in Judea, Samaria

US denies Kushner’s team told Abbas a settlement freeze would topple Netanyahu

IDF maintains readiness as soldiers drill for urban combat in Gaza

Jordan: Ties with Syria regime headed in ‘right direction’

Lebanon’s army declares pause in fighting against Islamic State

Lebanon trying to stop construction of Iranian arms factory in its territory

France pledges support to stabilize post-Islamic State Iraq

Pope Francis, Christianity threatened in ISIS propaganda video that Vatican aide calls worrying

Islamic State claims Brussels stabbing attack

Buckingham Palace knifeman had 4ft sword and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, police reveal

Shocking security flaws at UK Parliament revealed after officers staged mock terror attack which could have killed 100 MPs

Thousands in Barcelona march shouting “I’m not afraid!”

Turkey opposition chief hosts ‘justice congress’ in challenge to Erdogan

Venezuelan army, civil militias hold exercises after Trump threat

Venezuela says US sanctions will lead to halt in oil exports

Hundreds of Russians protest tighter internet controls

North Korea Is So Worried About Kim Jong Un Being Assassinated That It’s Asking KGB Agents for Help

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Lorengau, Papua New Guinea

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Ngulung Wetan, Indonesia

5.4 magnitude earthquake hits near North of Macquarie Island

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Kitaibaraki, Japan

Bogoslof volcano in the Aleutian Islands erupts to 27,000ft

sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 14,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 14,000ft

At Least 2 Killed While Tropical Storm Harvey Lingers Over Texas

Harvey spins deeper inland; full scope of damage is unknown

Hurricane Harvey: Fears of flash floods as 40 inches of rain hit Texas

Flooding disaster to continue in Texas as Harvey lingers for days

As waters rise in Harvey’s wake, many Texans lack flood coverage

Reports: Nearly 300,000 without power as Harvey rages over Texas

About 25 percent of U.S. Gulf oil output offline due to Harvey

Storm Pakhar hits Hong Kong and Macau days after deadly Hato

As Mexico’s drug cartels fracture, violence and travel warnings soar

Kushner chases Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ in Middle East

Kushner meets with Netanyahu, Abbas as confusion lingers over US peace efforts

Abbas on Trump Mideast Peace Push: ‘Nothing is Impossible’

For U.S.’s Mideast Negotiators, Keeping the Palestinians Involved Is a Victory.

Could this be a game-changer for Middle East peace?

State Dep’t Says UN’s Anti-Israel ‘Settlement’ Blacklist Does Not Facilitate Peace

PA Chairman: I’ll pay terrorists’ salaries until my dying day

EU demands Israel rebuild illegal Palestinian school structures

US Muslims want to increase mosque security, are turning to Jews for help

Iranian commander: Israel won’t exist in 25 years

Nuclear inspectors should have access to Iran military bases: Haley

In the Persian Gulf, Iran’s drones pose rising threat to US

US says UN Lebanon commander ‘blind’ to Hezbollah arms

Syrian opposition told to come to terms with Assad’s survival

At least 20 people killed in mosque attack in Afghan capital

Brussels knifeman shot after ‘terrorist’ attack on soldiers

Counterterrorism police investigate knifeman outside Buckingham Palace

Navy Navigation Errors May Have Killed More Troops Than Afghanistan So Far in 2017

North Korea launches three missiles into sea, heightening tensions

U.S. says North Korea missiles failed in flight, exploded on launch

Trump administration imposes sweeping sanctions on Venezuela

Wall Street Banks Are Sending Warning Signals

Investors pull billions from US stocks in longest outflow streak since 2004

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Gets $27 Million to Build Brain Computers

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Punta de Burica, Panama

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Sola, Vanuatu

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 28,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

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

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Hurricane Harvey slams into Texas as Category 4 cyclone

Hurricane Harvey Makes Landfall Near Corpus Christi, Tex.

Harvey makes landfall, could hit Texas twice, with ‘catastrophic results’

Hurricane Harvey Makes Landfall in Texas, Risk of ‘Catastrophic’ Floods

Five Reasons Houston Is Especially Vulnerable to Flooding

Worst case scenario looms for Texas with Hurricane Harvey

Trump declares Harvey disaster in Texas

Mayor tells those not evacuating for hurricane to put Social Security numbers on arms

ACLU asks Border Patrol to stop enforcement during Texas hurricane

‘You will remember this storm for the rest of your life’

Some on Texas coast stock up for Hurricane Harvey parties

Hurricane Harvey could trigger PTSD in Katrina survivors

New Orleans mayor says ‘no reason to panic’ yet

Hurricane Harvey: Refineries shut down, shale oilfields at risk

Extreme weather slashes French wine output by a fifth

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster issues executive order cutting off state, local money from abortion clinics

Aetna Mailer Accidentally Reveals HIV Status Of Up To 12,000 Customers

Trump signs memo banning transgender troops

Trump Gives Mattis Wide Discretion Over Transgender Ban

Transgender troops call ban step backward for civil rights

Canada approves sexual identity ‘X’ passports for ‘unspecified’ category

Iconic San Francisco synagogue is no longer ‘just’ for LGBT Jews

Christian Photographer Can’t Be Forced to Work Gay Weddings, Wis. Court Rules

Deadly protests in India after “godman” convicted of rape

The False Charismatic Authority Paradigm

Testimony: JD Hall’s Recent Visit to Heretic Jim Bakker’s Studio

With the Help of “Christian” Feminists, the Blurring of Gender Identity and Gender Roles Continues On

Ten Questions for Those Who Claim the “Supreme Beings” of the Nations are the True God

Leaving the NAR Church: Grant’s story

4 more religious sect members arrested in New Mexico – Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps

Pastor G’s appeal of child sex abuse convictions denied by Texas court

D. James Kennedy Ministries Sues SPLC over Hate Map

Atheist Group Calls Bible a ‘Violent, Racist Book’ in Scolding Gov. for Lamenting Bible’s Removal From Schools

Canadian Prime Minister Claims Abortion Is a ‘Fundamental Human Right’


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.

Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Richard Foster – Are We Wrong in Calling Them Emergent/Contemplative?

CRN agrees with Lighthouse Trails (LHT) that there is no question that these men are Emergent/Contemplatives who are known for engaging in a set of disciplines known as Spiritual Formation. Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries spent a great deal of his time blogging on the late Dallas Willard and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, whom he dubbed “spiritual twins.” In this piece over at LHT, the editors reveal their reasons for voicing their opinion that Willard, Foster and Ortberg are Emergent/Contemplative:

Recently, we were asked to give an account as to why Dallas Willard (d. 2013), Richard Foster, and John Ortberg were listed in Roger Oakland’s booklet How to Know When the Emerging Church Shows Signs of Emerging Into Your Church as part of the emerging church. 

We would first like to say that it is understandable how someone could take offense to these men being named in a booklet on the emerging church. All three have stated that they love Jesus and have often used Scriptures in their writings and lectures. So why say they are part of the emerging church?

View article →

Source: Dallas Willard, John Ortberg, Richard Foster – Are We Wrong in Calling Them Emergent/Contemplative?

20 Practical Ways To Kill Sin Every Day

Sin perplexes us. We love it, and we hate it. We embrace it, and we war against it. We act on it, yet we don’t always understand why. Sin is alluring and confusing, pleasurable anddestructive. The redeemed heart has been set free from sin’s power, yet still wars with sin’s presence—and sin distances us from the God who willingly came to rescue us from it.

When I asked friends, “What are some sins and areas of temptation we must fight every day?” the response was overwhelming: jealousy, laziness, discontentment, control, discouragement, pride, a sharp tongue, vanity, slander, inadequacy, anxiety, fear, selfish gain, impatience, anger, disobedience, lust, fear of man, and critical judgment of other Christians.

Which of these resonate with you? Do others come to your mind?

20 Practical Ways to Kill Sin Every Day

No Christian is exempt from the battle with sin, and it’s wise to consider what and how we’re actively fighting each day. But we do not fight alone:

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:9-11)

Believer in Christ Jesus, you are dead to sin and alive to God – and your calling is to “consider yourself” in this way. So what does it look like to fight sin on a daily basis, when temptation is all around you and spiritual death is sin’s goal (James 1:15)?

Ponder these 20 practical ways to “consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God” by killing sin today:

1. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s conviction and help.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)

2. Practice regular confession.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

3. Remove the temptation.

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. (Mark 9:43)

4. Tell a friend.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

5. Memorize Scripture.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil….take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… (Ephesians 6:11, 17)

6. Meditate on the cross.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

7. Deal quickly with offense.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

8. Discern your desires.

…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and…put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22, 24)

9. Help someone in need.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

10. Praise and thank God.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:5, 16).

11. Watch your words.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

12. Forgive the repentant.

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)

13. Know yourself.

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)

14. Heed your conscience.

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

15. Flee sexual sin.

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

16. Preach the truth to doubt, fear, and unbelief.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… (2 Corinthians 10:5)

17. Deal with your anger.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)

18. Aim to please Christ.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)

19. Remember God’s work to save you.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?…And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 11)

20. Follow Jesus.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

RELATED POSTS:

The post 20 Practical Ways To Kill Sin Every Day appeared first on Unlocking the Bible.

August 27, 2017: Verse of the day

img_0396

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.


3–5 Verse 3 is often taken to mean that God created light before he created the sun, since here he says, “Let there be light,” but only in v. 16 does the narrative speak of God as making the sun. It should be noted, however, that the sun, moon, and stars are included in the meaning of the Hebrew expression in v. 1, “heavens and the earth” (haššāmayim wehāʾāreṣ). The expression is used in the Bible in a general way for the universe as we know it today. According to this account the sun, moon, and stars were created in v. 1.

Verse 3 does not describe the creation of the sun but the appearance of the sunlight in the darkness of the night, which precedes the dawning of the first day of this momentous week (cf. the sunrise as described in 44:3; Ex 10:23; Ne 8:3). The Hebrew word for “light” (ʾôr) in each of those passages refers to the sunlight, which is the word’s most likely sense in Genesis 1:3 as well. The narrative does not explain the cause of the darkness in v. 2, just as it does not explain the cause of the darkness in the land of Egypt in Exodus 10:22. It is probably to be understood as the darkness of night. The week thus begins with the sunrise in v. 3, “and there was light.” The absence of an explicit explanation of the darkness is insufficient ground for assuming the sun had not yet been created (see further on 1:14–18).

According to Wenham, 19, “There can be little doubt that here ‘day’ has its basic sense of a 24-hour period. The mention of morning and evening, the enumeration of the days, and the divine rest on the seventh show that a week of divine activity is being described here.” Such a natural explanation of this text finds ready support in the notice of a division between “the day” and “the night” already in v. 4. This leaves little room for an interpretation of the “light” in v. 3 as anything other than sunlight.

In light of the frequent repetition of the phrase, “And God saw that it was good” (vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31), we may assume that this is an element the narrative intends to emphasize. In view of such an emphasis at the beginning of the book, it is hardly accidental that throughout Genesis and the Pentateuch, the activity of “seeing” is continually put at the center of the author’s conception of God. The first name given to God within the book is that of Hagar’s: “El Roi” (ʾēl roʾî), “the seeing God” (16:13). The psalmist, in reflecting on these texts, recognizes God’s “seeing” as one of the essential attributes distinguishing him from all false idols, “which do not see” (Ps 115:5).

Also, in Genesis 22:1–19, a central chapter dealing with the identity of God in Genesis, the narrative concludes on the theme that God is the one who “sees.” Thus the place where the Lord appeared to Abraham is called, “The Lord will see” (22:14). (Though the early versions often translate the verb “to see” in this passage as “to provide,” as it should be, the Hebrew word rʾh [“to see”] only comes to mean “to provide” secondarily [cf. TWOT, 823].)

This close connection between “seeing” and “providing” likely plays an important role in the sense of the verb “to see” in ch. 1. In a tragic reversal of the portrayal of God’s “seeing” the “good” in creation, the author subsequently returns to the notion of God’s “seeing” at the opening of the account of the flood. Here too the biblical God is the God who “sees”; but at that point in the narrative, after the fall, God no longer “saw” the “good” (ṭôb), but he “saw how great man’s wickedness [rāʿâ] on the earth had become” (6:5). The verbal parallels suggest that the two narratives are to be read as a contrast of the state of humanity before and after the fall (O. Eissfeldt, “Die kleinste literarische Einheit in den Erzählungsbuchern des Alten Testaments,” in Kleine Schrîten, vol. 1 [Tübingen: Mohr, 1962], 144).

The “good” the author has in view has a specific range of meaning in ch. 1—the “good” is that which is beneficial for humanity. Notice, for example, that in the description of the work of the second day (vv. 6–8), the narrative does not say, “God saw that it was good.” The reason for the omission is that on day two there was nothing created or made that was, as yet, “good”—that is, beneficial to humanity. The heavens were made and the waters divided, but the land, where humankind was to dwell, remains hidden under the “deep.” The land is still tōhû; it is not yet a place where humankind can live. Only when, on the third day, the sea is parted and the dry land appears does the text inform us, “God saw it was good” (v. 10). Only when the land is prepared for humankind can God call it good.

Throughout this opening chapter God is depicted as the one who both knows what is “good” for humankind and is intent on providing the good for humanity. In this way the author has prepared the reader for the tragedy that awaits in ch. 3. It is in the light of an understanding of God as the one who discerns “good” (ṭôb) from “evil” (raʿ), and who is intent on providing humanity with the good, that humankind’s rebellious attempt to gain the knowledge of “good and evil” for themselves can be seen clearly for the folly that it is. The author seems intent on portraying the “fall” not merely as sin but also as the work of fools.

When we read the portrayal of God in ch. 1 as the Provider of all that is good and beneficial (wayyarʾ ʾelōhîm kî-ṭôb, “And God saw that it was good”), we cannot help but see in this an anticipation of the author’s depiction of the hollowness of that first rebellious thought: “The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good [ṭôb] … and also desirable for gaining wisdom” (3:6). Here again the verbal parallels between God’s “seeing [of] the good” in ch. 1 and the woman’s “seeing [of] the good” in ch. 3 can hardly be unintended in the text. In drawing a parallel between the woman’s “seeing” and God’s “seeing,” the author submits a graphic picture of the limits of human wisdom and, by doing so, highlights the tragic irony of the fall.[1]


1:3–5 / The words God said mark off the stages of creation, conveying that God created by the word. God’s words were not empty, for the Spirit, who was present over the waters, empowered God’s words, bringing into being what God had spoken (A. Kapelrud, “Die Theologie der Schöpfung im Alten Testament,” ZAW 91 [1979], pp. 165–66). The wording of Psalm 33:6, 9 supports this claim: “By the word of Yahweh were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth … For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” The parallel in this psalm between “word” and “breath” (v. 6) communicates that God’s Spirit was the energy empowering God’s word.

God began the process of creation with the command, Let there be light, and light came into being, pushing back the primordial darkness. From the context we can discern two reasons God created light first: to limit the primordial darkness, and to begin the flow of time as measured in days. From our knowledge of the world another reason can be added; light was the energy necessary to support the life forms that God was going to create.

God saw that the light was good, thereby making a qualitative judgment about what he had created (also vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). While usually a word carries only one nuance in any given occurrence, “good” in this account is a loaded term. It carries four implications: (a) What came into being functioned precisely as God had purposed. (b) That which had just been created contributed to the well-being of the created order. (c) The new creation had aesthetic qualities—that is, it was pleasing and beautiful—and (d) it had moral force, advancing righteousness on earth (Job 38:12–13).

God went on and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night.” By naming these elements God defined their function in respect to their essence. God did not eliminate the darkness that was already present; rather he established his authority over it, assigning it a specific role and restricting its influence.[2]


1:3–5 On the first day God commanded light to shine out of darkness and established the Day and Night cycle. This act is not to be confused with the establishment of the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 the Apostle Paul draws a parallel between the original separation of light from darkness and the conversion of a sinner.[3]


1:3–5 And God said. In ch. 1 the absolute power of God is conveyed by the fact that he merely speaks and things are created. Each new section of the chapter is introduced by God’s speaking. This is the first of the 10 words of creation in ch. 1. Let there be light. Light is the first of God’s creative works, which God speaks into existence. the light was good (v. 4). Everything that God brings into being is good. This becomes an important refrain throughout the chapter (see vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). God called the light Day (v. 5). The focus in v. 5 is on how God has ordered time on a weekly cycle; thus, “let there be light” may indicate the dawning of a new day. God is pictured working for six days and resting on the Sabbath, which is a model for human activity. Day 4 develops this idea further: the lights are placed in the heavens for signs and seasons, for the purpose of marking days and years and the seasons of the great festivals such as Passover. This sense of time being structured is further emphasized throughout the chapter as each stage of God’s ordering and filling is separated by evening and morning into specific days. there was evening and there was morning, the first day. The order—evening, then morning—helps the reader to follow the flow of the passage: after the workday (vv. 3–5a) there is an evening, and then a morning, implying that there is a nighttime (the worker’s daily rest) in between. Thus the reader is prepared for the next workday to dawn. Similar phrases divide ch. 1 into six distinctive workdays, while 2:1–3 make a seventh day, God’s Sabbath. On the first three days God creates the environment that the creatures of days 4–6 will inhabit; thus, sea and sky (day 2) are occupied by fish and birds created on day 5 (see chart). By a simple reading of Genesis, these days must be described as days in the life of God, but how his days relate to human days is more difficult to determine (cf. Ps. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8). See further Introduction: Genesis and Science.[4]


1:4 good God calls His handiwork good seven times in ch. 1 (vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). The Hebrew word used here, tov, has a broad range of meaning but generally describes what is desirable, beautiful, or right. In essence, God affirms creation as right and in right relationship with Him immediately after He creates it. The material world is good as created by God.

caused there to be a separation between the light and between the darkness The division of time into day and night represents one of God’s first acts in the ordering of creation.[5]


1:4 light. God is the ultimate source of the daylight that alternates with darkness; the sun is later introduced as the immediate cause (vv. 14–18; v. 5 and note). Light symbolizes life and blessing (Ps. 4:7; 56:13; Is. 9:2; John 1:4, 5).

good. Brought within God’s constraints, even the darkness and watery deep (vv. 2, 10) are now “good,” serving God’s benevolent purposes (Ps. 104:19–26). The creation bears witness to God’s handiwork (Ps. 19:1–6).

separated. The Hebrew here is also translated “set apart.” Separation is fundamental both to creation and to Israel’s existence (3:15; 4:1–17; 12:1; Lev. 20:24, 25; Num. 8:14).[6]


[1] Sailhamer, J. H. (2008). Genesis. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, pp. 56–57). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Hartley, J. E. (2012). Genesis. (W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston, Eds.) (p. 44). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 32–33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 50). 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 (Ge 1:4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 7). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.