Daily Archives: January 11, 2019

S&P bulls hope Trump rally doesn’t end here, says Joe Friday — Kimble Charting Solutions

Could Presidents Trump’s election rally be in trouble? We could find out very soon, says Joe Friday

This chart looks at the S&P 500 and the VIX index over the past few years. We applied Fibonacci to the price when President Trump was elected and the 2018 highs. The decline from the September highs hit the 61% retracement level, where a reversal and a quick 10% rally has unfolded.

The rally has the S&P testing the underside of its 2018 trading range, it’s 38% retracement level, and falling resistance at (1). While this is taking place the VIX index is testing rising support at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts– S&P 500 bulls want to see it break resistance at (1) and the VIX break support at (2). If it does break out at (1); it would send a positive message to the Trump rally. 

If the S&P peaks at (1) and turns lower, this would be frustrating news to S&P 500 bulls!

via S&P bulls hope Trump rally doesn’t end here, says Joe Friday — Kimble Charting Solutions

Fake News CNN Refused To Air Story On Effectiveness Of Border Wall From Local San Diego Television Station KUSI — Now The End Begins

A San Diego television station KUSI on Thursday said that CNN had asked for a “local view” and then “declined to hear from us” after past reports from the station showed that a border wall was effective.

So why do we call CNN fake news? Because this. CNN reached out to a local border state looking for a story that would make President Trump and his demand for building the wall look bad. That’s what CNN lives for, mocking the president and trying to take him down. But when they reached out to local San Diego station KUSI, they didn’t like what they were told.

CNN was told that having a border wall lowers crime, reduces drug traffic, makes people safer and lowers illegal immigration. Translation? KUSI told CNN the truth about the benefits of having a strong border wall. CNN dropped the story idea like a hot potato, not interested in anything that reflects positively on our president or tells the truth about border security. And that’s why we call them fake news CNN.

San Diego TV station: CNN declined our ‘local view’ because of reports on wall effectiveness

FROM THE HILL: Immigration, the partial government shutdown and President Trump‘s proposed border wall have all been topics dominating the cable news landscape since the shutdown began three weeks ago.

“Thursday morning, CNN called the KUSI Newsroom asking if one of our reporters could give them a local view of the debate surrounding the border wall and government shutdown,” a report by KUSI, an independent station in San Diego that began airing in 1982, begins.

“KUSI offered our own Dan Plante, who has reported dozens of times on the border, including one story from 2016 that was retweeted by former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and posted on DrudgeReport.com,” it continues while linking to a border fence tour report.

“We believe CNN declined a report from KUSI because we informed them that most Border Patrol Agents we have spoken to told us the barrier does in fact work,” it concludes. “We have continuously been told by Border Patrol Agents that the barrier along the Southern border helps prevent illegal entries, drugs, and weapons from entering the United States, and the numbers prove it.”

The Hill has reached out to CNN for comment.

The partial government shutdown over funding for the wall reached its 21st day on Friday. Trump has demanded $5 billion for the wall while Democrats have offered $1.3 billion for border security measures.

Trump is said to be strongly considering a national emergency declaration as it appears a funding bill getting through Congress with his demands is unlikely. Some legal scholars and Democrats have argued the president does not have the authority to make such a declaration. READ MORE

Jim Acosta Accidentally Shows Why Border Wall Works

Watch as fake news CNN’s Jim Acosta starts accidentally bragging on how peaceful and calm the border is where the wall is. Hmm, how did this one slip past the censors at the Clinton News Network? Even when you are fake news, sometimes true news gets in by mistake. Thanks, Jim, for proving why the president is right!

via Fake News CNN Refused To Air Story On Effectiveness Of Border Wall From Local San Diego Television Station KUSI — Now The End Begins

United Methodist University Presidents Call for Policies to Include “Sacred Worth” of LBGTQ ‘Christians’ — Pulpit & Pen

(RNS) — Ahead of next month’s special session on sexuality intended to resolve an issue that has dogged the United Methodist Church for decades, a group of affiliated college and university presidents issued a strong call for full inclusion of LGBTQ Christians.

The group, which represents presidents of 93 United Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities, urged the denomination to amend its policies and practices to recognize the “sacred worth” of people regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

The three-paragraph statement won unanimous approval in a vote taken Friday (Jan. 4) by the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church.

“We call upon the leaders of the United Methodist Church at this 2019 Called General Conference to honor the past and current practices of inclusion by amending their policies and practices to affirm full inclusion in the life and ministry of the United Methodist Church of all persons regardless of their race, ethnicity, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression or sexual orientation,” the statement reads.

The 93 affiliated schools serve more than 260,000 students across the United States. They include large institutions such as American University, Boston University, Duke University and Emory University, as well as dozens of smaller schools such as Randolph College, Otterbein University and Greensboro College.

At issue is the denomination’s rulebook, the Book of Discipline, which bars “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained as ministers and forbids pastors from marrying them in the church.

The special session called for Feb. 23-26 in St. Louis is intended to resolve once and for all an issue that has divided the United Methodist Church despite repeated attempts to resolve it going back to the 1970s.

Last year, the denomination’s Council of Bishops endorsed a plan that would allow regional decision-making bodies called annual conferences to determine whether to ordain LGBTQ clergy and allow individual churches to vote whether to perform same-sex marriages in their buildings.

While the university presidents did not formally endorse that plan, they made it clear they want the language on homosexuality in the Book of Discipline stricken.

“The presidents are really firm about full inclusion,” said Scott D. Miller, president of Virginia Wesleyan University and a board member of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of The United Methodist Church.

“It is my disappointment and the feeling of many of my colleagues that this has been one of the reasons contributing to a decline in membership and attendance,” Miller said. “The church has not stayed current with the people it serves.”

The statement on sexuality issued by the university presidents is their fourth in the past 13 years. In 2006, 2011 and 2013 the presidents drafted similar statements calling on the church to offer LGBTQ people full inclusion.

Sexuality was so divisive a topic during the denomination’s 2016 conference that 56 different legislative petitions were submitted to try to resolve it. Instead, delegates voted to defer all proposals to a special Commission on a Way Forward.

Last year, that commission concluded its work and put forth three proposals. The Council of Bishops endorsed the so-called One Church Plan, which would allow the most flexibility while keeping the denomination’s various factions together.

Lacking any resolution, the denomination has been plunged into chaos.

Many regional United Methodist bodies have made their own decisions regarding ordination and marriage of LGBTQ people.

In 2016, the Mountain Sky Conference elected Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian, as the denomination’s first openly LGBTQ bishop, and dozens of individual pastors have publicly or secretly celebrated same-sex weddings. Some have been summoned to church trials and stripped of their preaching credentials.

But while the United Methodists’ 7 million U.S. adherents might be inclined to change the rules regarding gays and lesbians, the denomination is a worldwide body active in 136 countries. Many of its African churches oppose any steps toward LGBTQ inclusion.

Regardless, some university presidents said they would disaffiliate rather than back down, though that was not mentioned in the statement.

“Some institutions that feel very strongly about inclusiveness could very well say we no longer wish to be affiliated with a denomination that, in their view, discriminates against the LGBTQ people,” said Miller.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Yonat Shimron and originally published at Religious News Service]

via United Methodist University Presidents Call for Policies to Include “Sacred Worth” of LBGTQ ‘Christians’ — Pulpit & Pen

Is the Bible’s definition of faith opposed to logic and evidence?

WINTERY KNIGHT

Bible study that hits the spot Theology that hits the spot

Probably the biggest misconception that I encounter when defending the faith is the mistaken notion of what faith is. Today we are going to get to the bottom of what the Bible says faith is, once and for all. This post will be useful to Christians and atheists, alike.

What is faith according to the Bible?

I am going to reference this article from apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason in my explanation.

Koukl cites three Biblical examples to support the idea that faith is not blind leap-of-faith wishing, but is based on evidence.

  1. Moses went out into the wilderness and he had that first encounter with the burning bush, and God gave him the directive to go back to Egypt and let his people go. Moses said, Yeah, right. What’s going to happen when they say, why should we believe you, Moses?God said, See…

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WOW! CNN Defends Decision to Exclude Local Station’s Report on Benefits of a Border Wall from Their Channel! — The Gateway Pundit

San Diego’s KUSI News just DESTROYED CNN’s last bit of remaining credibility on Thurrsday!

CNN asked local San Diego KUSI newsroom for the community’s view on the border wall with Mexico.

KUSI reporter Dan Plante told them it’s not an issue in the community and the current barrier does in fact work!

So CNN buried the story.
They refused to air the report!

On Thursday night KUSI called them out!

On Friday morning CNN defended their decision to nix the truth from their reports.
Wow!

Arthur Schwartz says it best:
“Think about the arrogance it must take to lecture another news outlet about what is and isn’t news.”

via WOW! CNN Defends Decision to Exclude Local Station’s Report on Benefits of a Border Wall from Their Channel! — The Gateway Pundit

Watch Tucker Carlson Absolutely Destroy Jim Acosta Over His Self-Own at the Border — The Gateway Pundit

 

Fox News host Tucker Carlson gloriously roasted CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta over his series of self-owning tweets from the southern border on Thursday.

Acosta, while attempting to make a case against the wall, accidentally proved the president’s point by showing how peaceful it is in areas that have a barrier.

Carlson had a field day with a deeply sarcastic monologue mocking the blunder, as his chyron displayed “CNN Killed the Wall.”

“In fact, this debate is over. We’re not getting a barrier along our southern border. We can’t, not now, not ever. That possibility was permanently destroyed today by a fact-seeking missile of truth launched by one of our country’s premier cable news outlets in a single devastating act of journalism, CNN killed the wall. Took their biggest guns to do it.” Carlson explained.

After playing one of Acosta’s videos from Texas, Carlson added, “You see that? Take that, you nativist bigot freaks, you creepy wall obsessives. Jim Acosta just spanked you. He was there, not in some cushy, air-conditioned studio in Washington with the rest of the talking heads.”

Carlson played Acosta’s video in which he stood next to a barrier and explained that there is no “imminent danger” or “migrants attempting to run towards the fence.” He even called the area “tranquil.”

“Not a single illegal alien was anywhere near that wall. There was no tent city. There were no predatory gang members or coyotes. MS-13? Not there. There was no sad suffering caravan. Everything was just fine or as Jim Acosta so memorably put it, the area around that steel barrier was pretty tranquil,” Carlson added.

Eventually, Carlson dropped the sarcasm and explained, “see, that’s what you get when you build walls, America, tranquility. And that’s the last thing we need more of in this country more peaceful scenes like that. Wait, that couldn’t have been CNN’s point, could it? Now it’s getting confusing. We’ll have to call Jim Acosta once he gets back from latest mission and clear this up. In the meantime, though, we just want to give you some idea how stupid and buffoonish the wall coverage has been recently in case you missed it.”

via Watch Tucker Carlson Absolutely Destroy Jim Acosta Over His Self-Own at the Border — The Gateway Pundit

China Continues Christian Persecution, Demanding ‘Church-Free Zones’ Near Schools — Faithwire

The Chinese government is continuing its crackdown on Christianity by reportedly demanding “church-free zones” near schools and requiring places of worship to hand over names of their youth members.

Christians ‘Standing in the Way’ of China’s Xi Jinping’s Totalitarian Rule

https://www.faithwire.com/2018/12/18/christians-standing-in-the-way-of-chinas-xi-jinpings-totalitarian-rule/embed/#?secret=sCQaFOrLts

According to Bitter Winter, an online magazine covering religious freedom and human rights in China, the discriminatory document — “Implementation Plan on the Special Governance of Private Christian Gathering Sites” — was issued by the Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs in a city in the Shanxi Province.

A similar document was sent out in the Henan Province. It states:

All private Christian gathering sites around universities and colleges, as well as on-campus activity sites, are to be shut down in accordance with the law. Criticism and [re]education of participating teachers and students is to be carried out by the school authorities.

Interestingly, the government-approved Three-Self Church, a national Protestant denomination beholden to Chinese control and oversight, is also included in the new regulation. Government officials behind the anti-Christian policy said there “will be no reversal of the decision in the future.”

As for the requirement that churches submit the names of their youth attendees, many young believers are reportedly concerned the Chinese government could use that information to affect their employment opportunities in the future.

This latest religious crackdown comes just weeks after the Chinese government detained a prominent Christian pastor, Wang Yi, who helms a church in Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan.

Prior to his arrest, Wang penned a powerful letter about civil disobedience. The lengthy memo was released just days after he was arrested by Chinese authorities. In it, the minister said he “respect[s] the authorities God has established in China” and “submit[s] to the historical and institutional arrangements of God in China.”

Wang has not yet been released.

via China Continues Christian Persecution, Demanding ‘Church-Free Zones’ Near Schools — Faithwire

January 11 Setting Your Goals

scripture reading: Colossians 2:20–23
key verse: 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

The Olympic Games are a masterpiece of athletes seeking to achieve enduring goals. Many accomplish their objectives, but some medal winners have been disqualified following their performances because of their illegal drug use. Their goals were reasonable, but their methods were tragically flawed—only reflecting the rationale that the end justifies the means.

That line of thinking runs against the scriptural grain in every way. God is just as interested in how you achieve a goal as He is in the goal itself.

First, you must establish the primary motivation that God desires you to use in setting your goals. The Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Whatever your goal may be—financial, physical, spiritual, familymust ask yourself this question: Is my goal’s supreme purpose to glorify God?

Since that is the purpose for which you were created, it follows that your goals must reflect that basic purpose. Sift your goals through prayer, common sense, and biblical wisdom to see if your objective’s chief purpose is to honor God.

Help me set goals that please You, dear Lord. In all I do—both in this day and in the coming year—let my chief purpose be to glorify You. Help me set my goals, then live by faith.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

11 january (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The war of truth

“And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.” Exodus 17:9

suggested further reading: 2 Timothy 2:1–7

There are many things that should make you valiant for God and for his truth. The first thing I will bring to your remembrance is the fact, that this warfare in which you are engaged is an hereditary warfare; it is not one which you began, but it is one which has been handed to you from the moment when the blood of Abel cried aloud for vengeance. Each martyr that has died has passed the blood-red flag to the next, and he in his turn has passed it on to another. Every confessor who has been nailed to the stake to burn, has lit his candle, and handed it to another, and said, “Take care of that!” And now here is the old “sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Remember what hands have handled the hilt; remember what arms have wielded it; remember how often it has “pierced to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow.” Will you disgrace it? There is the great banner: it has waved in many a breeze; long ere the flag of this our land was made, this flag of Christ was borne aloft. Will you stain it? Will you not hand it to your children, still unsullied, and say, “Go on, go on; we leave you the heritage of war; go on, and conquer. What your fathers did, do you again, still keep up the war, till time shall end.” I love my Bible because it is a Bible baptized with blood; I love it all the better, because it has the blood of Tyndale on it; I love it, because it has on it the blood of John Bradford, and Rowland Taylor, and Hooper; I love it, because it is stained with blood.

for meditation: The Christian faith does not change with the course of time; we are still to contend for the truth (Jude 3). The church today has no right to insult the memory of the martyrs by making friends with unbiblical teaching which they bravely opposed with their lives.

sermon no. 112[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 18). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

11 JANUARY 365 Days with Calvin

Humility

And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. Genesis 47:3

suggested further reading: Matthew 23

This passage teaches us how much better it is to possess a remote corner in the courts of the Lord than to dwell in the midst of ungodly palaces. The design of God was to keep the sons of Jacob in a degraded position until he would restore them to the land of Canaan. His purpose was to preserve them in unity till the promised deliverance should take place; therefore, they did not conceal the fact that they were shepherds.

We must beware lest the desire of empty honor should elate us when the Lord reveals no other way of salvation than of bringing us under discipline. Let us willingly be without honor for a time so that hereafter angels may receive us to participate in their eternal glory. By this example of Jacob’s sons, those who are asked to do humble work are taught that they have no need to be ashamed of their lot. It ought to be enough, and more than enough, for them that the mode of living that they pursue is lawful and acceptable to God.

The remaining confession of the brethren that they were shepherds (verse 4) was not unattended with a sense of shame; they said they had come to sojourn in Egypt because of hunger. The advantage that arose because of their circumstances was not to be despised. For they came to Egypt few in number and perishing with hunger and were so branded with infamy that scarcely anyone would deign to speak with them. The glory of God that afterward shone upon them was ever so much more illustrious when, in the third century from that time, God wonderfully led them forth out of Egypt as a mighty nation.

for meditation: It is a constant temptation to present ourselves as more important than we really are. This reveals both pride on our part and dissatisfaction with the lot God has chosen for us. We would do well to speak the truth as Joseph’s brothers did.[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 29). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

6 Ways Your Credibility is Crushed When You Defend a False Teacher

Michelle Lesley

It’s so predictable it would be almost comical if it weren’t so wearisome and worrisome. Every time I write an article about a false teacher or mention on social media that someone is a false teacher, her disciples come out of the woodwork to defend her.

And every time, their arguments and defenses are formulaic. In fact, I wrote my article Answering the Opposition- Responses to the Most Frequently Raised Discernment Objections primarily because I was getting the same comments again and again and it was getting cumbersome to keep repeating the same answers again and again.

Not only are the same arguments raised repeatedly, but they’re raised in the same ways, ways which leave the person who’s making the argument without a shred of credibility. And if you want your argument to be believed, the first thing you’ve got to be is credible.

Lawyers know this. That’s…

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Brannon Howse: January 10, 2019 | Worldview Weekend

The Systematic Steps for Brainwashing Americans. (Part #2) Topic: During the Korean War the Communists realized they needed to separate about 5 percent of certain American POWs from the other American POWs. Why? Because they realized that these 5 percent were leaders who would resist their communist brainwashing and would as well as break up the group consensus that Communists were seeking around their worldview or paradigm. Then Brannon reads from the 6 steps toward global transformation as called for by Aldous Huxley. He explains the connection between these six steps and the brainwashing techniques that were used to brainwash American POWs during the Korean War without using any torture or drugs. Brannon explains how informed conservative leaders who will not go along with the global paradigm are being marginalized, characterized, censured, shadow banned or blocked on social media or cancelled from actual media. Topic: How are leaders eliminated by our educational system from ever becoming conservative leaders? Topic: We take your calls.     

Download File Here

— Read on www.worldviewweekend.com/radio/audio/brannon-howse-january-10-2019

Don’t Adjust Your Conscience to Fit the Culture — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Most of us are familiar with Martin Luther’s heroic statement at the Diet of Worms when he was called upon to recant. “Unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture, or by evident reason, I cannot recant, for my conscience is held captive by the Word of God, and to act against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.”

Today, we rarely hear any reference to the conscience. Yet throughout church history, the best Christian thinkers spoke about the conscience regularly. Thomas Aquinas said the conscience is the God-given inner voice that either accuses or excuses us in terms of what we do. John Calvin spoke of the “divine sense” that God puts into every person, and part of that divine sense is the conscience. And when we turn to Scripture, we find that our consciences are an aspect of God’s revelation to us.

When we talk about God’s revelation, we make a distinction between general revelation and special revelation. Special revelation refers to that information given to us in the Word of God. Not everyone in the world possesses this information. Those who have heard it have had the benefit of hearing specific information about God and His plan of redemption.

General revelation refers to the revelation that God gives to every human being on earth. It’s general in the sense that it’s not limited to any specific group of people. It’s global, and it extends to every human being. The audience is general, and the information given is general as well. It doesn’t have the same level of detail that sacred Scripture does.

We must make a further distinction within the context of general revelation between mediate general revelation and immediate general revelation. Mediate general revelation refers to the revelation that God gives through an external medium. The medium is creation, wherein God reveals something about who He is. Paul labors the point particularly in Romans 1 that the general revelation mediated through creation is so clear that every single person knows God exists and, therefore, is without excuse.

Immediate general revelation is revelation that is transmitted to every human being without an external medium. It’s internal, not external. It’s the revelation God plants in the soul of every person. God reveals His law in the mind of every human being by planting a conscience within each of us.

However, we face a problem: the conscience is fluid. It’s not fixed. Almost all people adjust their consciences between childhood and adulthood, and the adjustment is almost always downward. That is, we learn how to turn the volume of our conscience down, and we make the necessary adjustments so that our ethics align with how we want to live and not how God tells us we should live.

This is not to suggest that children are sinless. Even little babies have sinful minds, but the Bible recognizes that the degree of evil found in small children is characteristically different from the degree of evil manifested in adults. Thus, Paul says, “Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Cor. 14:20). He recognized that a baby’s sins are not as heinous as those of people who are mature in age. Somewhere in our development, the gravity of our sins increases. Our consciences are seared as we begin to accept those things that as children we thought were unacceptable.

Almost fifty years ago, a bestselling book with a strange title was published—The Happy Hooker, written by Xaviera Hollander, a prostitute. Hollander sought to silence the people who believe that no prostitute in America could find joy in what she was doing. In her book, Hollander celebrates the joy that she experienced in her profession, saying that she never felt guilty about what she was doing. To be sure, Hollander said, the first time she involved herself in prostitution, she felt pangs of guilt. But over time, she got to the point where she felt guilty only when she heard the ringing of church bells. Suddenly, her conscience was disturbed because she was reminded that what she was doing was under the condemnation of Almighty God. Even this hardened professional prostitute could not totally destroy the conscience God had placed within her.

Here is the supreme irony and tragedy of sin: the more we repeat our sins, the greater the guilt we incur, but the less sensitive we become to the pangs of guilt in our consciences. Paul says that people store up wrath for themselves on the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5). That’s objective guilt—they are guilty because they have broken God’s law. But some people have so destroyed their consciences that they believe it really doesn’t matter what they do as long as it is consensual and causes no harm. Their subjective guilt—the sense of guilt that accompanies wrongdoing—diminishes.

We find new ways to view sinful behavior as acceptable, both as individuals and as a culture. We have now killed sixty million babies, tearing them limb from limb. People use social media to boast of this reality, saying how proud they are that they have maintained the freedom of a woman to abort her child. We now boast about marriage between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, without shame. There is not much of a collective conscience left in this country.

Paul tells us in Romans 1 that people know the righteous judgment of God, and this knowledge of judgment comes through immediate general revelation. What is the nadir of the list of sins in Romans 1? Paul says, “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (v. 32). The worst part of Paul’s indictment is not that people practice such things despite knowing the righteous judgment of God, but that they approve of those who practice them as well. When people destroy their own consciences, they do everything in their power to destroy the consciences of their neighbors. To quiet their consciences, people will seek allies and will make proclamations such as, “We’re only crusading for liberty here, for the freedom of choice.” What a strategy. “I’m not pro-murder; I’m pro-choice.” That’s what the Godfather would say. “I’m pro-choice. I choose to murder my enemies.”

However, our purpose in discussing these things is not to lament how bad the world is, but rather how bad we are in that we Christians do the same thing. We, too, adjust our consciences to fit the culture. We try everything in our power to excuse our sin. That’s why developing a conscience sensitive to the Word of God is so important. At the Diet of Worms, Luther did not say, “My conscience is held captive by my contemporary culture, by the latest Gallup poll, and by the latest survey that describes what everybody else is doing.” He did not say, “My conscience is influenced by the Word of God.” In essence, he said, “I am in captivity to the Word of God. That is why I cannot recant.” Had his conscience not been captive to God’s Word, he would have recanted immediately. So, he said, “To act against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

We don’t want to hear the judgment of conscience; we want to destroy the judgment of conscience. That’s our nature. The only antidote is knowing the mind of Christ. We need men and women whose consciences have been captured by the Word of God. Thank God for His Word. It exposes the lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better. We aren’t going to be judged on the last day on whether we feel guilty, but on whether we are guilty. Still, if you feel guilty, thank God for that. The feeling of guilt is the signal that there’s probably something wrong. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, and with that conviction comes a certain tender mercy that leads us to repentance and forgiveness so that we might walk in His presence.

This post was originally published on DesiringGod.org.

Don’t Adjust Your Conscience to Fit the Culture — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Is God Real? Examining Atheistic Explanations for the Laws of Logic as “Brute Realities” — Cold Case Christianity

All rational discussions (even those related to the existence or non-existence of God) require the prior foundation of logical absolutes. Only theism, however, can adequately account for the existence of the transcendent Laws of Logic. If God exists, He is the absolute, objective, transcendent standard of truth; the Laws of Logic are simply a reflection of His nature. God did not create these laws. They exist as an extension of His rational thinking, and for this reason, they are as eternal as God Himself. Is God real? Without God as a source for the transcendent Laws of Logic, this question (and any logical journey toward the answer) would be impossible to examine.

As an atheist, I rejected the existence of God and offered a number of objections and alternative explanations in an effort to account for the Laws of Logic. In yesterday’s post we outlined the theistic explanation for these laws. Today and tomorrow we’ll examine several naturalistic objections to see if any of them might offer a viable alternative. We’ll begin with efforts to describe the Laws of Logic as “brute realities” of the universe:

Objection:
Aren’t the Laws of Logic simply the “brute” characteristics of reality? Both material and immaterial things must abide by boundaries of existence in order to exist in the first place. The “Laws of Logic” are simply a part of these boundaries. They are not transcendent laws from a Transcendent Mind; they are simply among the natural boundaries of existence.

Both theists and atheists agree the Laws of Logic are brute somethings. Atheists might claim Logic is a brute, innate fact of existence, while theists might argue Logic is a brute, innate reflection of the nature and thinking of God. In either case, these laws would have to be eternal, uncaused and necessary. Nothing can exist without the simultaneous existence of these laws. But let’s now look at how both sides account for their existence:

On Atheism
The brute Laws of Logic simply exist. They are eternal and uncaused. Nothing can exist without them. That’s just the way it is.

On Theism
God is eternal, uncaused, omniscient and omnipotent. He is the all-knowing and all-powerful Creator; the necessary, uncaused first cause of all matter, space and time. He has thoughts and possesses a particular character, essence and nature. Because He is all-powerful and all-knowing, these attributes are perfected (an all-powerful and all-knowing God has the power to eliminate imperfection). The Laws of Logic are simply an attribute and reflection of God’s perfect existence; God does not create these laws, they are an innate and immutable aspect of His nature. As God is necessary for all else to exist, so are the Laws of Logic. They are merely a reflection of His Being, and they permeate all of His creation.

Both the atheist and the theist agree something is eternal, uncaused and necessary. But when the atheist says the Laws of Logic “simply exist”, he’s begging the question; he’s not providing an explanation for the eternal, uncaused and necessary existence of the laws (saying they exist does not provide us with an explanation for their existence). Theists, on the other hand, can make a case for God’s existence from a number of evidential lines, providing a reasonable foundation from which logical absolutes can then be elucidated. In addition, atheism fails to explain how the Laws of Logic can be eternal and uncaused and what role they play in causing all other contingent realities. Theism, on the other hand, accounts for the existence of the Laws of Logic by pointing to the existence of an omniscient and omnipotent uncaused, first cause possessing perfect rationality (by virtue of His limitless power) who also acts as the first cause of all other dependent (contingent) creations.

Objection:
Aren’t the “Laws of Logic” simply the result of observations we make of the world in which we live? We discovered the Laws of Physics from our observations of the natural world; can’t we discover the Laws of Logic in a similar way?

The Laws of Logic are conceptual. They only exist in the mind. They don’t describe physical behaviors or actions of matter, but instead describe conceptual truths. Logical axioms are statements dealing with conceptual patterns and processes of thought. Consider the analogy to physics as a point of contrast. Newton’s three Laws of Motion (for example) may be conceptual as statements, but they describe actual physical behaviors we can observe. This is an important difference relative to the Laws of Logic. Logical absolutes cannot be observed and do not describe the behavior or actions of material objects.

Now let’s consider an example atheism might present as proof we learn the Laws of Logic from our observations of the natural world. Someone might argue our careful observations of a sea shell, for example, reveal Laws of Logic. Recognizing the shell exists only as a shell (it is not a fish – nor does it ever become a fish) we might then posit and formulate the Law of Identity or the Law of Non-Contradiction. From this simple example, an atheist might claim the Laws of Logic can be discovered from observations of material objects.

But let’s think carefully about this. Yes, the shell does not change. And yes, we can observe this physical reality. But we then do something very interesting; we assign a logical absolute to the observation we just made. We assign something conceptual to our observation of matter. The mere fact we made an observation and then assigned a logical absolute to the observation does not then account for the existence of all logical absolutes in the first place. Our observations may support the pre-existence of logical absolutes, but this does not mean our observations established the Laws of Logic. See the difference? We don’t form the Laws of Logic from the observations; we instead confirm the pre-existing logical truths withour observations.


The Laws of Logic pre-exist our arrival in the universe. We discover them, and in so doing, discover something about the nature of the universe’s Creator.
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The Laws of Logic pre-exist our arrival in the universe. We discover them, and in so doing, discover something about the nature of the universe’s Creator. Is God real? Only theism can adequately explain the existence of the very Laws of Logic we use to answer this question. Learn more about the scientific and philosophical evidence pointing to a Divine Creator in God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Apologetics at Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

Is God Real? Examining Atheistic Explanations for the Laws of Logic as “Brute Realities” — Cold Case Christianity

January 11, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

Perfect Love and the Christian’s Claim of Faith

No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (4:12–16)

In verse 12 John makes the simple point that if no one has seen God the Father at any time (cf. John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16), and Jesus is no longer visibly present to manifest Him, people will not see God’s love unless believers love one another. If they love one another, God will be on display, testifying that He abides in [them], and His love is perfected in [them] (cf. John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:24). The unseen God thus reveals Himself through the visible love of believers; the love that originated in God and was manifested in His Son is now demonstrated in His people.

In this section the apostle John also sets forth a key sequence of evidences to remind readers once again that they can know they are saved. Assurance begins with the work of the Holy Spirit (2:20, 27; Rom. 8:9, 14–16; 1 Cor. 6:19–20; Eph. 1:13–14). Bruce Milne summarizes it for believers this way:

The heart of Christian experience of the Holy Spirit lies in his bringing us into a living relationship to Jesus Christ so that we share in his redemption and all its blessings. All Christian experience can be focused in this one gift of God to us through his Spirit, our union with Christ. (Know the Truth [Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1982], 182)

Therefore John assures his believing readers they can know that [they] abide in God and He in [them], because He has given [them] of His Spirit.

Having already focused on the Father and the Son within his discussion on perfect love, John now emphasizes the role of the Spirit. By noting the work of each member of the Trinity, the apostle underscores the Trinitarian origins of perfect love. Such love, which is accomplished through the work of each member of the Trinity and subsequently manifested in the lives of believers, finds its source in the triune God, who from eternity past enjoyed perfect fellowship as Father, Son, and Spirit. As those who abide in God, believers will reflect His love, because God abides in them and His Spirit is at work in their hearts.

Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to the wind (John 3:8) and said people can see only the Spirit’s effects; there are no visible, physical signs that guarantee that someone is filled with the Spirit. But the reality of their faith enables believers to know they have the indwelling Spirit, as John reminds his readers: We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. Belief in the gospel (the doctrinal test) provides evidence of the Spirit’s ministry and presence (cf. 1 Cor. 12:3). Because sinners are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1, 5), they cannot come to God on their own (cf. Matt. 12:35; John 1:12–13). Saving faith is possible only because God grants it (Eph. 2:8). In John’s case, his own experience of seeing and being with Jesus verified his faith (1 John 1:1–3). He bore witness that the Father has sent the Son to be Savior of the world, but he would not have believed had the Father not chosen him (John 6:44; 15:16, 19) and the Spirit opened his eyes to the truth.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, knows that God abides in him, and he in God. The true believer has discerned the presence of the Holy Spirit, and has come to know and [has] believed the love which God has for us. Such persons understand the eternal love of God, who is love, for all believers. They can rest confidently in the assurance that the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. They will further demonstrate the genuineness of their salvation by loving the Father and the Son, loving righteousness and fellow believers rather than the world’s system, and even loving their enemies. In summary, they will increasingly love the way God loves (cf. Matt. 5:48; 22:37–40; 2 Cor. 3:18).[1]


Love and Sound Doctrine (vv. 13–16)

In the last verse of the preceding section, John has concluded that if we love one another, two things may be said to follow: first, that God abides in us, and second, that God’s love is perfected in us. These two conclusions give the outline for the next two sections of this chapter. In the first section (vv. 13–16) God’s indwelling of the Christian is discussed in greater detail; in the second (vv. 17–21) the perfection of love is analyzed. That the indwelling of the Christian by God is the theme of the first section is evident from the threefold repetition of the idea: once in verse 13 (“we live in him and he in us”), once in verse 15 (“God lives in him and he in God”), and once in verse 16 (“whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him”).

It is not easy to give a simple outline to this section of the chapter, however, as it was, for instance, for verses 7–12 on the basis of the threefold repetition of the phrase “love one another.” Still, the major ideas are obvious. First, we know that we dwell in God and God in us because of the Spirit, whom he has given to us (v. 13). Then, second, we know that he has given us the Spirit because we have come to believe in Christ and love the brethren (vv. 14–16).

The Gift of God’s Spirit

John’s first point is that believers know that they dwell in God and God in them because of the Holy Spirit whom God has given to them. By this John emphasizes that God is always first in spiritual things and that apart from his gracious activity by the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes to perceive the truth and move rebellious wills to turn from sin to the Savior, no one would believe in Christ or love the brethren. In the next few verses John is going to talk of belief in Christ and love of the brethren, but we must not think, as some commentators have, that these are conditions by which we are enabled to dwell in God or remain in him. To believe in Christ and to love the brethren are not conditions by which we may dwell in God but rather are evidences of the fact that God has already taken possession of our lives to make this possible.

The Holy Spirit’s Gifts

This leads directly to John’s next point, for, having said that it is always God who is first in spiritual things, the question with which he next wants to deal is this: Is God thus at work spiritually in me? In answer to this question he therefore now argues that if God is at work, the evidences for it will be seen in a combination of love and sound doctrine. In other words, we may know that we have the Spirit because we have come to confess Christ and dwell in love.

The confession of Christ is mentioned first because it is at the point of confession that the Christian life may properly be said to begin. “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God” (vv. 14–15). Once again, as in numerous spots throughout the letter, John phrases his confession of Christ in words that would be especially challenging to those faced with the Gnostic heresies. He emphasizes that God the Father sent the eternal Son to be the Savior and that the historical Jesus is that eternal Son.

This should not obscure the fact that there are additional theological riches in the verses, however. For one thing, there is the doctrine of a lost world that needs a Savior. This “world,” as was pointed out in the earlier discussion of 2:15–17, means the world of men as it is in rebellion against God. A second doctrine is the full deity of Jesus Christ. A third is the focal point of his mission, which was to be the “Savior of the world.” It was for this that God “sent” him, says John. A fourth is the matter of God’s own motivation in the work of salvation, which is “the love God has for us” (v. 16).

The second evidence of the Spirit’s activity is love for God and one another, for John concludes by saying, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” In other words, the love to which Christians were exhorted in verses 7–12 is now said not only to be a most solemn duty but also to be a striking evidence of the Spirit’s activity.

Here certainly, in a combination of the ideas of the internal work of the Holy Spirit, belief in Christ as the Son of God and Savior, and the supreme point of Christian ethics which is a two-pronged love both for God and man, is a high point of the epistle. John is dealing with the subject of assurance (as he has been throughout) and has expressed it under several aspects. There is a subjective side, but it is without those unreliable, so-called spiritual experiences on which so many depend: tongues, miracles, feelings, and so forth. There is also an objective side, but this is not without those tender expressions of love that temper mere orthodoxy and validate it. Dodd writes of these verses:

This closely knit statement therefore places the reality of the Christian experience of God beyond question, guarding against the dangers of subjectivism on the one hand, and of mere traditionalism on the other; placing equal and co-ordinate stress on love to God, which is the heart of religion, and love to man, which is the foundation of morality, without allowing religion to sink to the level of mere moralism, or morality to be dissolved in mysticism. The passage is the high-water mark of the thought of the epistle.[2]


14. And we have seen. He now explains the other part of the knowledge of God, which we have referred to, that he communicates himself to us in his Son, and offers himself to be enjoyed in him. It hence follows, that he is by faith received by us. For the design of the Apostle is to shew, that God is so united to us by faith and love, that he really dwells in us and renders himself in a manner visible by the effect of his power, who otherwise could not be seen by us.

When the Apostle says, We have seen and do testify, he refers to himself and others. And by seeing, he does not mean any sort of seeing, but what belongs to faith, by which they recognised the glory of God in Christ, according to what follows, that he was sent to be the Saviour of the world; and this knowledge flows from the illumination of the Spirit.[3]


14 John has just asserted that “no one has seen God”; now he emphasizes what he himself has “seen” and “witnessed.” The plural forms of “see” and “witness” probably refer to the total group of people who had physical contact with Jesus, of which John claims to be a member (most scholars believe that “we” here refers to the general “witness” of the community rather than the group of living witnesses to Jesus [so Dodd, 115; Marshall, 220; Brown, 522–23, 557–58; Culpepper, 90–91]; see comment at 1:3). What John has seen has led him to the conclusion summarized by the creedal statement here, which closely parallels John 3:17: “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” Marshall, 220, notes that the term “Savior” is a logical extension of “atoning sacrifice” at v. 10, for “it is through being the [sacrifice] that Jesus can be the [Savior].” While no one has ever seen God, John has seen the Son in the form of Jesus. Refusal to accept this witness leaves one with no means of salvation, for Jesus is also the Savior.[4]


4:14 / Another reason to be confident is the historical fact that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. It is as if the Elder were saying, “Remember the incarnation! Remember John 3:16!” The verbs seen and testify are meant to ground the community’s assurance in the historical tradition of the Johannine community and of its eyewitness, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:24). Our faith is based on an actual event, personally experienced (“heard,” seen, “looked at,” “touched,” “appeared to us”; 1 John 1:1–3), not on wishful thinking or on projected hopes. When the writer says, we … testify, he is standing with his mentor, the beloved disciple, and with the other elders and apostles, who witnessed “the Christ event.”

What they claim to have seen and the burden of their testimony is that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Two elements are present here: (a) the relationship between Jesus and his “Abba,” and (b) the Son’s mission of universal salvation. That Jesus was uniquely conscious of his special relationship of Sonship with the Father is witnessed to by the Synoptic Gospels (e.g., Matt. 11:27) and throughout the Gospel of John (e.g., 5:17–23; 6:43–46; 8:28–29, 42, 54–55; 10:29–38; 11:41–42; and most of chaps. 14 and 17). The disciples of Jesus saw, remembered this, and told others about it, so that it came to be recorded in the Gospel tradition. The Son’s message was the coming of the kingdom of God, entered into by allegiance to Jesus (Synoptics), or eternal life through believing in Jesus (John). In either case, in whatever language, the Son came to be the Savior of the world (cf. John 3:16–17). The Elder had already said that he was the “atoning sacrifice” “for the sins of the world” (2:2) and that the Son was sent “into the world that we might live through him” (4:9). The Son is the world’s Savior, in that he is the means by which its sins are forgiven, and he gives it eternal life.[5]


We have the apostolic testimony (verse 14)

Linked to the witness of the Holy Spirit is the witness of the apostles. The one empowered the other, yet both were needed. The Lord Jesus himself taught his disciples this, bringing both strands of testimony together. ‘When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me; but you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning’ (Jn. 15:26–27). The we in this verse clearly refers to the apostolic company, as it did at the start of the letter. It was their unique privilege and responsibility to witness to what they saw and heard. Indeed, it is widely accepted that to have seen and been commissioned by the risen Lord was the ultimate test of New Testament apostleship. Others might be specially ‘sent ones’ (apostoloi), commissioned to specific tasks in the Christian community, as missionaries for example, but the original eleven with the addition of Matthias (Acts 1:26), James the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19) and Paul stand in a class apart. Interestingly, when Paul is defending his own authenticity as a true apostle of Christ he adduces as evidence the fact that he has ‘seen Jesus our Lord’ (1 Cor. 9:1). Our assurance therefore finds root in their testimony. We have not seen the Lord Jesus, but they did. They saw the eternal Word made flesh, in time and space in Jesus. As Peter confirms, ‘We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty’ (2 Pet. 1:16).

Note again how John compresses so much of what we have already learned into one short sentence. Resolutely he hammers the nails into the coffin of gnosticism, again and again. The pre-existent Son was sent by the Father into the world. He came to be its Saviour by his real human death on the cross. These are the facts of the matter. The witness of the Spirit and the apostolic testimony belong together, for there can be no separation between the Spirit and the Word. The one who wrote the Word, inspiring its human authors, uses his specially designed tool to bring us to life and to build us up in the faith. The vindication of the reality of the Spirit’s work in our lives is seen in commitment to the revelation of God, in the Scriptures.[6]


4:14–16. John’s readers probably never saw Jesus in the flesh. False teachers, however, claimed to have made heavenly journeys during which they saw God in heaven. This is impossible. God cannot be seen. How do you deny the claims of these teachers and still say, we have seen? How, if your readers have never seen Jesus, can they testify that God sent his Son to be our Savior? First, John and his fellow apostles saw Jesus in the flesh, but the majority of those who saw Jesus did not join in the testimony. They cried for his crucifixion.

Second, such testimony is based on more than eyewitness. It comes through eyes of faith. Only after the resurrection did this testimony become real for the apostles. They testified to the church. Then the church accepted and repeated their testimony. We do the same.

Third, you do not have to see the earthly Jesus to testify about what God has done through him. You need only hear and believe in the testimony to him from Scripture and from faithful followers. Such testimony is both verbal testimony and God’s love exercised through our lives. The impact God has made in other Christians—this is what we have seen. Based on the manifestation of Jesus in the lives of Christians, those who have witnessed it can testify that the Father sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. That is, God sent Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins so we do not have to suffer the wages sin pays, namely, death.

Testimony about Jesus tells more than what Jesus did—save from sin. It also tells who he is—the Son of God. Again, all this goes against false teachers. They apparently claimed Jesus could not be human, thus could not die on the cross. On the other hand, Scripture claims that anyone who acknowledges this Savior they have seen is a true Christian, living in union with God.

This section concludes by repeating an affirmation made earlier—that God is love and that the person who lives in love lives in God, and God in him. This is the test of true Christianity in the letters of John. We must recognize the basic character of God, rooted in love. We must experience that love in our own relationship with God. Others must experience this God kind of love in their relationships with us. That’s why God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.[7]


13. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

  • The New International Version has “we know.” But the Greek actually says, “By this we know.” The words by this refer to the preceding context where John tells us that if we love one another, God lives in us. John’s discussion of the subject love, therefore, is the backdrop for the confidence John expresses in God. What is this confidence? John says, “We know that we live in him and he in us.” That is, from experiencing the presence of God in our lives we know that God lives in us and we in God.
  • How do we know that we dwell in God and he in us? “Because he has given us of his Spirit.” Even though John uses many of the same words he wrote in 3:24, he makes a slightly different point. There he says, “We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” Here in verse 13 he writes, “He has given us of his Spirit.” In 3:24 he states that divine blessings flow to us through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit pours out God’s love to us (Rom. 5:5) and reveals that God is living within us. But in verse 13, we read that the Holy Spirit himself is God’s gift to us and we are the recipients.
  • The Spirit does not work alone. With the Father and the Son he takes part in the work of salvation. In verses 13 and 14, therefore, John mentions the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the Trinity.
  • Together with the other apostles John is able to testify to the truth of the gospel. He writes, “We have seen and testify” (compare John 1:14, 15). Perhaps he is thinking of the scene of Jesus’ baptism. At the Jordan, the Spirit descended in the form of a dove and the Father declared: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17; Luke 3:22). The disciples were eyewitnesses not only of the baptism of Jesus, but also of his entire life. They saw, heard, and with their hands touched Jesus (1:1). After the ascension, they proclaimed the truthfulness of Jesus’ message.
  • John gives a brief summary of the gospel: “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” This is a most profound statement! God the Father commissioned his Son to assume the task of saving the world. And God initiated this mission of the Son because of his love for this sinful world.

Jesus proclaimed the message of salvation most effectively. When he visited Sychar, the Samaritans said, “We know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). In the early church, the apostles preached that Jesus is Savior. They said, “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel” (Acts 5:31; also see 13:23).

The early church called attention to Jesus, who was appointed as Savior and given authority as Lord to save not only the Jews but also the Gentiles. The work of salvation, then, is worldwide in scope (John 3:16).[8]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2007). 1, 2, 3 John (pp. 168–170). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] Boice, J. M. (2004). The Epistles of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 117–119). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (p. 243). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Thatcher, T. (2006). 1 John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 481). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[5] Johnson, T. F. (2011). 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 110). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[6] Jackman, D. (1988). The message of John’s letters: living in the love of God (pp. 126–127). Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[7] Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 210–211). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 335–336). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Living Faith” — Grace to You Blog

Demons—in spite of their relentless hostility to God—are essentially sound in key aspects of Christian theology. Scripture reveals a demonic horde well-versed in Christology, eschatology (Matthew 8:29), and ecclesiastical authority (Acts 19:15). James exclaims, “Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19, NKJV).

When James points out that reality, he is warning his readers not to embrace the same kind of doomed demonic orthodoxy—faith that bears no righteous fruit. He makes that point explicit in the following verse, declaring that “faith without works is useless” (James 2:20).

This is a subject that concerns John MacArthur deeply—as it should all of us—because of the many false professions of faith he has witnessed first-hand during five decades of ministry.

That’s a very frightening thing, because you have to ask yourself the question, how many more people do I know like that, and how many more people are there who will ultimately demonstrate in this life the deadness of their faith? And beyond that, how many people are there who will never know their faith is dead until they face their Maker, only to find out in horror that that which they assume to be saving faith is nothing more than damning faith.

I’m not into the “hit and count heads” kind of evangelism. When you’re in the church for a long period of time, you don’t just have people parade through, make an indication of salvation, write them down on your list, and then leave town. You stick around long enough to find out whether the faith is real. And the way you know the faith is real is by what you see in their life.

John MacArthur’s sermon “Living Faith” focuses on James 2:21–26 to explain the biblical distinction between true saving faith and the dead faith described in James 2:19–20. He also takes great care to reconcile how saving faith is “not a result of works” (Ephesians 2:9, ESV) and yet never apart from works.

“Living Faith” may be a message that is more than thirty years old, but it speaks timelessly to the epidemic of easy-believism still rampant in churches today. Moreover, John’s sermon speaks personally to the authenticity of our own belief in Christ—that it might be examined and found to be true living faith.

Click here to listen to “Living Faith.”

Friday’s Featured Sermon: “Living Faith” — Grace to You Blog

NEWSFLASH: Data Shows Illegal Aliens Kill More People Each Year In the U.S. Than AR-15s — These Christian Times

Picture this: according to the numbers, illegal immigration is far more deadly to Americans than AR-15s. Which is ironic, considering which of these Democrats love to rant against, and which one they so desperately want to protect.

via NEWSFLASH: Data Shows Illegal Aliens Kill More People Each Year In the U.S. Than AR-15s — These Christian Times

President Trump Interview From the Southern Border… — The Last Refuge

Speaking from the southern U.S. border in Texas, Rio Grande sector, President Trump discusses the border security challenges with Fox host Sean Hannity.

President Trump outlines how the border wall issue is simply a matter of “common sense.” Recent polling would indicate the majority of Americans agree with President Trump:

79% of Americans agree there is a crisis at the border.

.

(link to Morning Consult Here)

President Trump Interview From the Southern Border… — The Last Refuge

January 11 For the love of God (Vol. 2)

Genesis 12; Matthew 11; Nehemiah 1; Acts 11

 

in the complex history of the postexilic community in Judah, Nehemiah plays a singular role. He was not part of the original party that returned to Judah, but before long he was sent there by the emperor himself. In two separate expeditions, Nehemiah served as de facto governor of the remnant community and was largely responsible for rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, not to mention other reforms. His work overlapped that of Ezra.

The book of Nehemiah is often treated as a manual on godly leadership. I wonder if this does justice to the book. Did Nehemiah intend to write a manual on leadership? Is the book included in the canon for that purpose—as if we turn, say, to Acts to discover the history of the early church and to Nehemiah to discover the principles of leadership?

This is not to say that there is nothing about leadership to be learned from Nehemiah—or, for that matter, from Moses, David, Peter, and Paul. Yet a reading of this book that focuses on the theme of leadership is bound to be skewed; it is in line neither with authorial intent nor with canonical priorities.

Nehemiah is a book about God’s faithfulness and about the agents God used in reestablishing his covenant people in the Promised Land at the end of the exile—about the first steps taken to secure their protection and identity as God’s people and to assure their covenantal faithfulness. Canonically, this part of the Bible’s story-line establishes chunks of postexilic history that take us on to the Lord Jesus himself.

But perhaps we can profitably focus on one or two elements of Nehemiah 1, trailing on to Nehemiah 2.

Early reports of the sorry condition of the returned remnant community in Judah (1:3) elicit from Nehemiah profound grief and fervent intercession (1:4). The substance of his prayer occupies most of the first chapter (1:5–11). Nehemiah addresses the “great and awesome God” in terms of the covenant. God had promised to send his people into exile if they were persistent in their disobedience; but he had also promised, if they repented and returned to him, to gather them again to the place he had chosen as a dwelling for his name (1:8–9; see Deut. 30:4–5). Yet Nehemiah is not praying for others while avoiding any role for himself. He prays that he might find favor in the eyes of the emperor, whom he serves as cupbearer (1:11), when he approaches him about this great burden. Even Nehemiah’s “bullet prayer” in the next chapter (2:4) is the outcropping of sustained intercessory prayer in secret.[1]


[1] Carson, D. A. (1998). For the love of God: a daily companion for discovering the riches of God’s Word. (Vol. 2, p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.