Daily Archives: April 19, 2019

April 19 An Image of Hope

Scripture Reading: Psalm 98:1–9

Key Verse: Psalm 98:2

The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.

How often do you see people wearing a pendant, charm, or ring in the shape of a cross? How many churches do you pass regularly that have a large cross perched atop the building or bell tower? Stained-glass windows, baptisteries, pulpits, choir robes—all of these things are commonly adorned with the image of a cross. We see this so often, perhaps we have begun to take the cross for granted.

From our modern-day perspective, we often fail to understand the utter shock value of the cross. If you were a citizen of first-century Rome, you would most likely live your entire life hoping never to see such an image. In that culture, the cross was the ultimate symbol of shame, horror, death, and curse. Crucifixion was so repulsive that the Romans would not allow any of their citizens to die by this method, regardless of the crime.

How did such a horrific symbol become an image of hope and mercy? By dying on the cross, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for mankind’s sinfulness. Every sin was nailed to the cross with Jesus, and it all died there with Him. When He rose from the grave, our sins did not. Therefore, sin and death were defeated once and for all. In Christ, all men and women have the opportunity to share in that salvation.

Praise God today for the gift of salvation, and thank Jesus for bearing the punishment for your sin.

Lord, when You accepted the cross, You accepted its humiliation. Let me never treat it as a vague symbol, but as a terrible place where You went to save me.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 114). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 19 Your Precious Passport

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 9:11–15

Key Verse: Psalm 85:2

You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin.

The message of the Cross goes far beyond the salvation of your soul. It is entwined in everything you do and all that you are.

Theologian Henry Thiessen writes,

Not only is the believer justified by [God’s] grace, but also by the blood of Christ. Paul wrote, “Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:9). The Bible further says, “According to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

This sets the ground of our justification. Because Christ has borne the punishment of our sins in his own body, God is able to remit the penalty and to restore us to His favor. In justification, sins are not excused but punished in the person of Christ, the substitute. The resurrection of Christ is one proof that His death on the cross has satisfied God’s claims against us (Romans 4:25; 1 John 2:2).

Christ’s death took away your sin. When God views your life, He sees the saving work of His Son. This is your precious passport into His throne room, where love and mercy flow everlasting. Jesus made a wondrous way for you to stand cleansed and forgiven before His altar. Let this be your song of praise today and forever more!

Father, thank You for the passport into Your throne room. How I praise You that I stand cleansed and forgiven in Your presence. This is my song of praise today and forever more![1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 114). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Report: It Is Finished — The Babylon Bee

WORLD—Multiple extremely reliable sources reported on Good Friday that “it is finished,” with your immeasurably great sin debt having been paid in full on the cross by the Son of God himself, Jesus Christ.

The unthinkable sacrifice to atone for your sin and guilt was reportedly accomplished some 2,000 years ago, once and for all, and is given as a gift to those who place their faith and trust in the Savior.

Sources were also able to confirm that the perfect righteousness of God the Son is freely imputed to those who repent and believe in him, based on his perfect obedience and finished work on the cross, rendering sin, death, and hell defeated forever.

Upon learning of the totally free gift of salvation, millions of people around the world reportedly repented of their sin and believed the gospel, becoming new creations that will glorify God forever.

via Report: It Is Finished — The Babylon Bee

Christian kids must slay wolves in sheep’s clothing, not pet them! — Christian Research Network

(Marsha West – Christian Research Network)  Here’s a sobering fact the Church must come to grips with: Even children who are “churched” are woefully unprepared to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3) This is a frontline issue, yet Church leaders and parents just don’t “get” how important it is to teach the younger generation to defend their faith.

The Apostle Paul faced this issue head on in the early church. In a letter to Timothy, he warned: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim 4:3-4) All the Apostles dealt with false teaching, Gnosticism in particular, and for this reason they wanted to insure correct doctrine was taught.

What exactly is Church doctrine? Doctrine establishes a set of core principles that must be upheld by followers of Jesus Christ. Doctrine describes and teaches God’s will for His people.

You ask, “Why should anyone care if churches teach doctrine these days? I mean, this is the 21st Century contemporary Church!” Churches that fail to get the Word of God firmly implanted in the minds of youngsters are doing them a great disservice.

Today many people claiming to be Christians out right reject the basic essentials of the faith. To the progressive mind agreeing with everything Jesus taught is unnecessary. They couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, taking this view is absolute nonsense.  Those who reject Christ’s teaching do not belong to Him, they’re counterfeit Christians. In 1 John, the Apostle lays out what will naturally come about once a person is saved. He explains the fruit that should spring forth in the life of a Christian.

My point is that “Progressive Christianity” is to be rejected. Why? Because progressivism encourages freedom from all restraint in both speech and action while Christianity does just the opposite. First John makes that clear. What John teaches is that believers must show restraint in both speech and action.  Liberalism’s self-centered worldview, its materialism, decadence, and moral depravity make it incompatible with historic, orthodox, biblical Christianity.

It is clear by what is going on in the visible Church that Christian parents are either ignorant of the Bible’s teaching on morality, or they know perfectly well what God says and they choose to allow their children to imitate ungodly behavior.  So it isn’t surprising that unbelievers label Christians hypocrites. Christians cannot profess a belief in Jesus Christ and live like the devil. Jesus had no use for hypocrites and called them out publicly: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27) Ouch!

Our government is in shambles.  The Church is a dead mess.  Parents are living for themselves, not for their children — and children are suffering because they lack parental guidance.  Many youngsters go it alone in their daily dealings with “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life.” (1 John 2:16) Proverbs 22:6 offers this message for parents: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Sadly, even kids who’ve been raised in a “Christian home,” that go to church on Sunday and attend Sunday school, don’t have both feet firmly planted in a biblical worldview. Instead their feet are planted in quicksand and they’re sinking fast!  The reason youngsters are sinking is primarily the fault of parents. The fact of the matter is, a lot of parents aren’t preparing their kids for a life of service to God. Some people feel that the lack of a biblical worldview in our youth is the fault of the Church, and that does play a part. But as I said, dad’s and moms can take most of the blame.

Youngsters attending government-run schools have no protection against liberal wolves, whose aim is to pound their secular worldview into student’s receptive minds. And yet these same parents wouldn’t allow their precious little ones to ride a bike without a helmet or jump on a skateboard without protective padding.  And they make darn sure their kids are buckled up before heading out on the road.

We’re not living in the 50’s. It would be nice if we could go back to when the family meant something, and people showed some moral restraint. But we can’t. If you pay attention to the news then you know that we’re living in a war zone, battling the world, the flesh and the devil.  Because of this, Christian families must be armed for the battle for the hearts and minds of America’s children!  (Ephesians 6:10-20) Not to be redundant, but I must reemphasize that Christian kids who attend public schools are at the mercy of agenda-driven liberal educators.  Youngster’s impressionable minds are being bombarded with virulent anti-Christian propaganda.  Facts are hard to ignore. Studies show that somewhere around 70 percent of college faculty admit that they’re liberal. So, it’s not surprising that two-thirds of “born again” Christians become committed liberals and leave the Church by the time they graduate from college.

Progressives have impacted society in ways no one who remembers the1950’s would have thought possible.  Their goal is to see America go the way of Western Europe. They want to remove any vestige of religion, especially the Christian religion, from the public square.  Progressives make no secret of their disdain for conservative values. They especially loathe biblical Christianity. In fact, they oppose everything Bible believing Christians stand for. Live and let live is not in a liberal’s vocabulary. Their goal is to completely shut down the opposition. Fairness has gone out the window. If you’re a registered Democrat, brethren, then you support the Democratic National Committee’s platform. What does the DNC promote? Abortion on demand, a radical LGBTQ+ agenda (which includes “gay Christianity” and men who pretend to be women using women’s restrooms), curbing of the First Amendment, abolishing the Second Amendment, redistribution of wealth, welfare state, open borders (lawbreaking and the destruction of America’s sovereignty), giving illegals the right to vote, euthanasia, drug legalization, squelching freedom of speech (especially on college campuses), and the right of Americans to worship God freely. Pretty much anything conservatives are for, Democrats oppose. And God help anyone who has the temerity to disagree with their godless worldview.

Progressives have their fingers in every pie. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re bony digits have gotten control of public education, the “free press,” plus every aspect of recreation and entertainment — name 10 Republican Hollywood celebs. Even worse, if you place Christian before each of the following; media, colleges, seminaries and churches, you must know they are teaming with Progressive (Social Justice) “Christians” (SJC).

A Bible believing Christian’s worldview should not mirror the debauchery coming from Hollywood. On the contrary. The worldview of those who profess Christ should come from His Book. The Bible teaches those who claim to love Him how He expects us to live out our lives while on this planet. God has expectations!  His Word, the Bible, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  (Psalm 119:105) If it hasn’t been a lamp and a light for you, then you cannot possibly know what God’s will is for your life. Furthermore, you couldn’t possibly know what truth is.  Absolute moral truth does exist, brethren, and it’s clearly laid out in the pages of Scripture.

Before I move on, I must remind my brothers and sisters in Christ that your daily marching orders must come from your King, not from a pack of SJC wolves in sheep’s clothing – and certainly not from the morally bankrupt, unprincipled Hellywood elite who’d like nothing more than to completely obliterate biblical Christianity!  The number of people who say they believe in Jesus Christ but don’t bother to crack open a Bible and never darken the doorway of a church is stupefying. They couldn’t care less what the Lord Jesus taught about how His followers must conduct their lives. “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Who said that?  King Jesus! Your King commands obedience!

There should be a noticeable difference between a child raised in a Christian environment and a child raised in a secular environment.  But often there is no difference. Mainly because a lot of Christian parents think training a child in the way he should go is to be left to Sunday school teachers, youth pastors, even the child’s grandparents. Sadly, some parents simply take the path of the least resistance and adopt the “no backbone” approach to parenting.

Children have excellent minds, an enormous potential for learning, and they soak up information like a sponge.  Most of them really do want to learn new things! A lot of children want to learn what’s in the Bible – they love when adults read Bible stories to them.  Unfortunately, many parents are under the misconception that their kids aren’t interested in stories such as Jonah and the whale, Daniel in the lion’s den, even the best selling book The Pilgrim’s Progress. Which brings me to this question: if kids aren’t taught the Bible how will they know about God and His ways? Those who know little about the Bible have no understanding of who God is and no understanding of who they are. Moreover, they don’t have the slightest idea what it means to be a Christian, let alone what a Christian worldview is. I cannot stress enough that the Bible is the framework for how followers of Jesus are to live. The scriptures instruct God’s people how to please Him.

In closing, here’s another important consideration. How are believers to identify error when it rears its ugly head? Unfortunately, over my many years I have observed a large number of professing Christians who are unable to identify false teaching and the wolves who promote it. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are commanded to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Dads and moms, are you equipped to destroy arguments raised against the knowledge of God? Can you “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints?” because if you’re unable to give a defense of your faith and explain what you believe and why you believe it, your children won’t be able to either. Christian kids must slay wolves in sheep’s clothing, not pet them!

Copyright by Marsha West, 2019.  All rights reserved.

via Christian kids must slay wolves in sheep’s clothing, not pet them! — Christian Research Network

Why Is Good Friday Good? — Founders Ministries

“It is finished,” He cried. This work of Christ on the cross is called by theologians the doctrine of the atonement. The atonement is really at the heart of the gospel and the heart of Christianity itself, and I’d like to examine various aspects of the atonement, and show how each one is important for us in our Christian walk.

Expiation

A first aspect of the atonement is expiation. This is not a word we hear very often, but expiation refers to the removal of guilt. Because Christ endured the full curse of the law, he has born our guilt. We have had our guilty sentence removed. He has freed us from the burden that we had earned under the law.

Paul touches on this aspect in 2 Corinthians 5:21 when he says that Christ was made sin for us in order that we might be made the righteousness of God. That is, Christ was treated as sin, he was given what sin deserved, that is death, so that we might instead be given what righteousness deserved, which is life. Isaiah 53 also teaches this: “he has surely born our griefs and sorrows…upon him was laid the iniquity of us all.” Christ has taken our guilt from us; he has expiated us.

And this is crucial for us in our Christian life. Have you have ever lingered under a sense of looming guilt for your past sins? Have you had thoughts, deep down, that come up and tempt you to believe that God really doesn’t love you? Have you ever felt like God is punishing you for your foolishness, that there is an angry Father keeping you down, holding back his love, because you’re still a sinner–that because you’re still struggling with this sin or that sin, God is punishing you for your rebellion by holding back good things?

Well, the doctrine of expiation reminds us that our guilt has been removed. All of it. Christ has removed it completely by bearing it in his body on the cross. You’re not being punished again for sins that have already been removed, for guilt that has already been dealt with. You’re free in Christ.

God is not punishing you for something in your past. Indeed, if Christ has truly expiated our guilt on the cross, if he has truly removed our guilt and curse from sin, then God would be unjust to punish you again for something that has been removed. God cannot condemn you with the law once you have been declared not-guilty. Divine double jeopardy is impossible. Once the Son frees you from guilt, you are free indeed.

Remember your freedom from guilt the next time your feelings start to condemn you. Tell yourself again that you have been declared not guilty in Christ. Speak to yourself from Scripture, and ignore false feelings that try to put again upon you the yoke of the curse that was the result of the law. The doctrine of expiation ought to help us every day. It should help us to sleep at night. It should help us when our feelings condemn us. It should help us when the world would try to declare us guilty. Christ has cleared us from the sentence of guilt that we so rightfully earned.

Propitiation

Second, another aspect of the atonement is propitiation. Propitiation is another word that we don’t hear often these days. It is very much related to expiation; indeed, we might call it the other side of the same coin. If expiation was concerned with us and our guilt, then propitiation is concerned with God and his righteousness. Propitiation means the absorption or the appeasement of God’s wrath toward sin. Christ has taken the full weight of divine wrath that was earned by us because of our sin.

We see this idea throughout the Bible. For example, Isaiah 53 again says:

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

The apostle Paul does something similar in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, where he says Jesus “delivers us from the wrath to come.”

John uses the exact word “propitiation” in his first letter. 1 John 2 says that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 4:10 likewise says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Christ has taken the wrath that was earned by God’s people and absorbed it in his body. He felt the punishment that we deserved. He suffered that we might be free.

This is a doctrine that the world hates. They hate it because it assumes that there is an absolutely holy God who judges sin. They hate it because the doctrine assumes that they will be punished; indeed, they will feel wrath from God because of sin.

This doctrine is important for us to know because we can be tempted by Satan to believe that God is not happy with us. Our feelings and the lies of this world can lead us to believe that the bow of God’s wrath is still aimed at us, that we really have not been forgiven, and that can lead us to cower and fear. We can come to doubt our own salvation, and doubt the very goodness of God himself. But knowing that Christ has truly propitiated for the sins of his people means that we can rest in God’s goodness shown toward us. We must remind ourselves that God’s wrath is not aimed at us, even when we suffer or are afflicted. Even when times get tough, this is not the wrath of an angry God punishing you for sins, this is the tender guidance of a faithful Father who is seeking your good, even through the trials.

God does not fly off the handle. God does not hold grudges against you. God does not say that he forgives you and then pour out his judgement upon you. God is steady and unrelenting in his wrath against sin, but that wrath is not aimed at you because it has been assuaged by the work of the Son in your place. Trust that God is a good and loving Father to you, and that he has no hint of wrath stored up for you, only goodness and love.

Reconciliation

A third aspect of the atonement is reconciliation. This is a word that is much more familiar to us. On the cross, Christ has brought reconciliation between us and God. He has brought former enemies together and made them friends. This is really what the word atonement means. Atonement comes from an old English word that literally meant to be made “at one,” to be united, to be reconciled. We were at war with God. We were hated enemies, seditious traitors, having no hope of even coming into his presence to talk about peace. We were outside of the realm of his grace, and branded as enemies of the state. But Christ on the cross has made a way for us to be reunited with our God.

Romans 5:10-11 speaks of this reconciliation: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Similarly, Colossians 1:19-20 speaks of this work of reconciliation: For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

God has made a way for us to have peace with God through the work of Christ on the cross. If you believe, you are no longer God’s enemy, but God’s friend. He no longer has ill-will toward you, but only blessings. He no longer feels hostility toward you, but only feels charity. No more enmity, only amity.

Believer, rest in the reconciliation that Christ has provided for you. Consider the great blessing this is for us; that we have been brought near to God. We’ve been made friends with him, and friends don’t mistreat one another. Friends look out for each other’s best interests. Friends defend one another. Friends provide for each other’s needs. This is what God does for us. He doesn’t mistreat us. He looks out for our best interests. He defends us. And he provides for our needs. Praise God and thank him for the reconciliation that he has provided for us in Christ.

Satisfaction

A fourth aspect of the atonement is satisfaction. When we hear that word now we usually think of something like happiness, or gratification. Like, “he smiled with satisfaction when he was finished mowing the grass.” But the word has a much stronger meaning. It usually refers to the payment of a debt. Indeed, the Greek word used here for “it is finished” is actually a transactional term. In that day, when you’d finish paying off a debt, they’d give you something like a receipt that said tetelestai across the top of it: “It is finished.” The debt has been paid in full.

That’s what Christ has done for us. In our sinful rebellion, we had robbed God of what was due to him. The service and obedience, the allegiance and faithfulness that should have been given to him, was taken away and given to another, the God of this world, Satan. We robbed God of the glory that ought to have been given to him. And that made us debtors to him. We owed him a debt we could never repay. But Christ on the cross made up for the debt that we owed. He makes the payment of his very own life to pay our debt in full.

Colossians 2:13-14 says: “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.” Christ has canceled our record of debt. He has removed our file from the divine claims department, and stamped “paid in full” across our records. We don’t owe a single penny. You’ve been vouched for, you’ve been covered. Christ has completely removed our debt.

Believer, have you considered the debt that Christ has paid on your behalf? Do you praise the Son for his willingness to take on your foolish balances? Meditate on what the Son has removed from you. Contemplate the gift of the Son and his sacrifice. Thank God that the debt has been removed, because none of us could ever have removed it on our own. None of us had the means to pay for it. Indeed, the Bible says that none of us even had the inclination to remove the debt, if it weren’t for the work of the Holy Spirit. We were, prior to Christ, sprinting down the path toward hell, running up an even higher tab with each sin, sinking ourselves deeper and deeper into divine debt. But God, being rich in mercy, because he loved us, showed us the great debt that we owed him. He pulled us out of the mire of sinful debt, he nailed our invoice for sins on the cross, and he placed us back on a right standing at the cost of his very own Son.

That is the love of the Father. Not merely that he would be willing to buy his own enemies out of a debtor’s prison, but that he would do it even at the great cost of his very own Son’s life. Believer, don’t take for granted the great work of God on your behalf. Don’t neglect so great a salvation and spoil it on the sinful temptations of this world. Don’t rack up again a debt of foolishness that will bring nothing but suffering to you and dishonor to the Father. Walk in the path of faithfulness, and honor the One to whom we owe a debt that we could never afford. Rest in the work of satisfaction that the son has done on our behalf.

Substitution

A fifth aspect of the atonement is substitution. This aspect has been woven through all the other points thus far, and is really the most marvelous of the aspects of the atonement. Christ stands as a Substitute for those he came to save. The Bible speaks of this in many places. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us that God made him who had no sin to be sin for us. 1 Peter 2 says that he himself bore our sins in his body on our behalf. Even at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “this is my body which is broken for you.”

Christ’s work was done in our place. He was willing to give up everything and become nothing so that we might be saved. He stood in our place, even while we were sinners. He was the final Passover lamb that was slain, his blood spreading over his people so that their lives would be protected from the angel of death. He was the scapegoat that was cursed and sent outside the gate so that we might have our sins forgiven. He is our Substitute, that we might be treated not as we deserve, but as he deserved. Praise God for his inconceivable substitution.

Redemption

A sixth aspect of the atonement is redemption. To redeem something means to buy it back, usually from slavery of some kind. God has worked to free his people from bondage. Christ is our great Emancipator, our great Liberator, who has freed us from the chains of slavery to sin, slavery to the God of this world, and slavery to the cares of this world.

The Bible speaks of this great ransom price that Christ paid on behalf of his people. Matthew 20:28 says that Christ came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. That is, his life was the cost needed to buy back his captured people. Ephesians 1:7 says that we have redemption through his blood. And 1 Peter 1:18-19 says that “you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” Christ redeemed us, bought us out of slavery, paid the ransom needed for our freedom because he loved us. And the cost of that redemption was his very own life. His blood was the redemption ticket. His pain and suffering was our emancipation proclamation. His life was the cost of our emancipation, and his perfection was the cost of our liberation.

Believer, when you are tempted to sin, remember that that you have been freed from slavery. When the temptation comes and it feels so strong–that sin you’ve struggled with for so long, that you feel powerless to overcome, that feels like it has its tail wrapped around your neck–remind yourself that you have been freed. You’ve been bought out of slavery to that sin. It is no longer your master. Remember that Christ’s work on the cross has liberated you from the power of sin. You don’t have to give in. You don’t have to succumb to the temptation. You’re freed from sin’s dominion. And you’ve been given the Holy Spirit to help you fight. You’re no longer trapped by your flesh; you can battle against it. You’ve been redeemed from the power of sin, and you’ve been liberated from slavery to it. Praise God that he is a redeeming God! Thank him for the redemption we have through Christ Jesus.

Victory

A final aspect of Christ’s work on the cross victory. Christ is victorious.

This part of the atonement has been called Christus Victor throughout church history, especially in the early church, and it refers to Christ as the conquering King. Christ has defeated his enemies, subdued the cosmic foes, and succeeded in accomplishing his mission. Christ’s people–indeed all of creation–were under the power of the Evil One. But, because of Christ’s victory, Satan and his powers have been dealt the fatal blow, and it was done in the very way that seemed to be his defeat. The world looked on and saw Jesus hanging and dying on the cross, but the moment of his apparent defeat, was only the beginning of his coronation. His path to the grave was the first step in his victory march to Glory.

Colossians 2 tells us that God has “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in Christ.” Christ is the victorious King that has defeated the Villain and saved the hostages.” He is the valiant Knight that slew the Dragon and saved his Bride, the Church. He is the rescuing God that saves a people for himself.

Believer, when you are doing battle against Satan and his temptations, remember these aspects of Christ’s work. Remember that you have been liberated by a victorious King, that you’ve been freed from slavery to sin, that you’ve been forgiven of all your debts, washed of your guilt, and have no wrath looming over you anymore. Preach these truths to yourself when you are weary from battle and tempted to give in to sin. Don’t let the lies of the Evil One distract you by taking away some part of Christ’s atoning work.

via Why Is Good Friday Good? — Founders Ministries

The Innermost Meaning of the Cross — Denny Burk

“But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”
-Isaiah 53:10

“God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation in His blood through faith, in order to demonstrate His righteousness.”
-Romans 3:25

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”
-Galatians 3:13

“It is those who cannot come to terms with any concept of the wrath of God who repudiate any concept of propitiation… It is God himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating and God himself who in the person of his Son died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus God took his own loving initiative to appease his own righteous anger by bearing it his own self in his own Son when he took our place and died for us.”
-John Stott, The Cross of Christ, p. 167, 172

“God dealt with him as if he had been exceedingly angry with him, and as though he had been the object of his dreadful wrath. This made all the sufferings of Christ the more terrible to him, because they were from the hand of his Father, whom he infinitely loved… It was an effect of God’s wrath, that he forsook Christ. This caused Christ to cry out once and again, ‘My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?’”
–Jonathan Edwards, “Of Satisfaction for Sin” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2, p. 575

“Can you now think what a vast aggregate of misery there would have been in the sufferings of all God’s people, if they had been punished through all eternity? And recollect that Christ had to suffer an equivalent for all the hells of all His redeemed. I can never express that thought better than by using those oft-repeated words: it seemed as if Hell were put into His cup; He seized it, and, ‘At one tremendous draught of love, He drank damnation dry.’ So that there was nothing left of all the pangs and miseries of Hell for His people ever to endure. I say not that He suffered the same, but He did endure an equivalent for all this, and gave God the satisfaction for all the sins of all His people, and consequently gave Him an equivalent for all their punishment. Now can ye dream, can ye guess the great redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ?”
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Particular Redemption”

“Jesus Christ our Lord, moved by a love that was determined to do everything necessary to save us, endured and exhausted the destructive divine judgment for which we were otherwise inescapably destined, and so won us forgiveness, adoption and glory. To affirm penal substitution is to say that believers are in debt to Christ specifically for this, and that this is the mainspring of all their joy, peace and praise both now and for eternity.”
-J. I. Packer, “What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution,” Tyndale Bulletin 25 (1974): 25.

“The words of [Romans 3:25-26] afford an insight into the innermost meaning of the cross as Paul understands it… It involves nothing less than God’s bearing the intolerable burden of that evil Himself in the person of His own dear Son, the disclosure of the fullness of God’s hatred of man’s evil at the same time as it is its real and complete forgiveness.”
-C. E. B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1:213-214

“The cross is the pinnacle of God’s love for sinners, not because it demonstrates the value of sinners, but because it vindicates the value of God for sinners to enjoy. God’s love for man does not consist in making man central, but in making himself central for man. The cross does not direct man’s attention to his own vindicated worth, but to God’s vindicated righteousness.”
-John Piper, “Did Christ Die for Us or for God?” (January 1, 1995)

via The Innermost Meaning of the Cross — Denny Burk

From the Garden to the Grave Back to Glory: Isaiah 53 — David Fiorazo

Our main text is Isaiah 53. Verse 4-5 are key prophecies; (Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… and by His stripes we are healed.) More on these in a minute.

Matthew 8:16-17 is one of many Scriptures confirming Jesus as Messiah.

16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”

We tend to forget how many Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled and how miraculous this is in itself. For a quick refresher, here are some of them:

  • The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem of a virgin; He will be called Immanuel and live in Nazareth (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:23).
  • He will be a prophet like Moses, enter Jerusalem triumphantly, riding on a donkey (Deuteronomy 18:15; Zechariah 9:9; John 12:12-19).
  • He will be rejected by His own people and betrayed by one of His followers for thirty pieces of silver (Isaiah 53:1-3; John 1:11; Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16).
  • The Messiah will be mocked, taunted, spit upon, severely beaten, and flogged (Psalm 22:7-8; Isaiah 50:6; 53:5).
  • He will be tried and condemned to die by crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-16; John 19:15-16).
  • His hands and side will be pierced; His garments will be divided by casting lots, but His bones will not be broken (Zechariah 12:10a; Psalm 22:16-18; 34:20; John 19:36).
  • The Messiah will bear the sins of many and pray for those who kill Him (Isaiah 53:12b).
  • He will suffer with sinners, die with criminals, and He will be buried with/by a rich man (Isaiah 53:12a; Matthew 27:38, 57-60).
  • The Messiah will be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 1 Corinthians 15:4-8).
  • He will make His enemies a footstool for His feet; He will be exalted and will sit at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 12:2; Acts 2:32-36; Hebrews 10:12-13).

But before the exaltation, Jesus had to endure the humiliation. After that last supper, Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane knowing what was ahead of Him. And yet, He had one last meal with His closest friends, sang a few Psalms, and led the disciples out on that historic night.

Hebrews 12:2 encourages believers to look to Jesus:

 “…the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Just a little longer on earth and the glory He had with the Father before time began (John 17:5) would be His once again. If He would just endure the anguish of his soul and horrors of the cross, He would soon be resurrected, glorified, and highly exalted.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns that we might wear a crown of life. It was in that Garden, praying, that His matchless obedience won the victory. He went through with it for our sake.

Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me’” (Matthew 26:38).

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:42-44)

This is a legitimate medical condition. A person can die from the weight of such heavy sorrow. The magnitude of Jesus’ grief apparently caused the blood capillaries under His skin to burst from the extreme emotional pressures He endured, and blood escaped through His pores. It was an outward result of what our Lord felt as He who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21).

In a matter of minutes, in the quiet of the night, just after praying for God’s will to be done, a mob would arrive in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Led by the chief priests and carrying torches, they sought the Light of the World. A detachment of soldiers carrying weapons came to arrest the Prince of Peace.

Jesus passed the test that night, but His disciples did not. They were weary, confused, unprepared, and they fled, leaving Jesus alone. As believers, we will face times of severe testing and trial; times when only direct communion with God will give us the strength to prevail. Jesus became a High Priest who can fully “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15).

In Isaiah’s gospel, ch. 52-53, The Servant of the LORD brings salvation to many!

This prophecy about Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was written over 600 years before He came to this earth, and is a detailed and accurate prediction of the brutal suffering and death the Messiah would undergo.

Isaiah writes about the humiliation and exaltation of the Servant of the LORD, like the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5-11.

For context, this messianic prophecy starts here with the last three verses in Isaiah 52. Jews tend to avoid these passages today because they clearly point to Jesus Christ. But historically, the ancient Jews understood it of the Messiah.

13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you; So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. Isaiah 52:13-15

Vs. 13 – The NKJ rightly capitalizes My Servant because the context indicates this is a clear reference to Jesus Christ. Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1-5, declaring it to be a prophecy fulfilled in Jesus.

Take a look. Matthew 12:16-21 states:

He [Jesus] warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. 19 He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; 21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

Back to ISAIAH 52:13b – He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high: The first words of the LORD in this section regarding His suffering Servant declare His victory. The point is clear: the Messiah will triumph.

Before His suffering is announced, His glorious victory is assured.

14 – many were astonished, His visage was marred more than any man: This speaks of the cruel and vicious beating Jesus endured at the hands of his enemies. Jesus was beaten so badly, bloody and swollen on His face and body that He hardly looked like a man. The result was so shocking people were astonished when they saw Jesus.

15 – So shall He sprinkle many nations: Sprinkling is often associated with cleansing from sin in the Old Testament; but the Messiah and His saving, atoning work extends beyond Israel to many people and nations.

15b Kings will shut their mouths… When they spoke against Him before, it was in blindness, but now what had not been told them they shall see.

Nowhere in the Old Testament is it so plainly and fully prophesied that Christ ought to suffer and then enter into His glory, than in this prophecy.

Isaiah 53 contains incontrovertible proof that God is the author of Scripture and Jesus is the fulfillment of messianic prophecy. These details are so specific, no human could have predicted them by accident and no imposter could have fulfilled a fraction of them by scheming.

Another New Testament confirmation is in Acts, chapter 8, where an angel of the Lord tells Philip to take a certain road from Jerusalem to Gaza. He comes across a man from Ethiopia who happens to be reading – Isaiah 53.

Look at Acts 8:27-37

27…a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in Scripture which he read was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”

So the eunuch answered Philip, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” 37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

In modern times, few discern or acknowledge Jesus because the road is narrow. The Jews in those days had formed wrong ideas about how the Messiah would arrive on the scene, thinking it would be in pomp, power, and glory.

Now in ISAIAH 53:

Vs. 1 – To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed: the strength, power, and might of God will be expressed in the suffering Servant;

  • Isaiah 52:10 says, “The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the sight of the nations that all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.”

Isaiah 53:2As a root out of dry ground:  Jesus grew up in Galilee… [“Nazareth?!”] God can bring the most wonderful things out of humble beginnings and dry ground.

He has no form or comeliness… no beauty that we should desire Him: Jesus was not a man of remarkable beauty or physical attractiveness. God did not use good looks to His advantage.

Author and evangelist, Alan Redpath put it this way:

“These days it appears that we must dress up the gospel to make it attractive. We have to use the methods of technique which must be smart, well-presented, streamlined. There must be something about the presentation of the gospel that will appeal to people… to what is called ‘the modern mind.’ I wonder if we stop to think that in our efforts to make the gospel message ‘attractive’ we are drawing a curtain across the face of Jesus in His humiliation? The only one who can make Him attractive is the Holy Spirit.”

Vs. 3 a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: He knew sorrow and grief so intimately that He could be called a Man of sorrows. And His sorrow was for others.

And we hid our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him:  This again shows that men value physical beauty and charisma far more than God does, and when we don’t see beyond it, we can reject the ones God accepts or sends!

Vs 4Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted: Mankind saw the suffering Jesus – but didn’t understand the reasons why.

Isaiah now explains why – it was for us!

Vs. 5 – He was wounded for our transgressions… for our iniquities. It was in our place that the Messiah suffered. (Wounded is literally “pierced through.”)

…And by His stripes we are healed: Here, the prophet sees through the centuries to know that the Messiah would be beaten with many stripes; Isaiah announces that provision for healing is found in the suffering of Jesus, so by His stripes we were healed.

*Past, present & future healing! (Insert “saved,” or “delivered.”) As in 2 Corinthians 1:10,

“…who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us;”

God’s ultimate healing for us is called “glorification” or our bodily resurrection.

Vs. 6 – All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way: Sheep are stupid, headstrong animals. We have turned – against God’s way, every one;

6b – And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all: Here we see the partnership between the Father and the Son in the work on the cross.

Next, verses 7-9 deal with the suffering and death of the Servant of the LORD.

Vs. 7 – He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter… Isiah’s point is that Jesus chose to be silent, but He was not helpless.

John 10:18 reveals again that Jesus purposely laid down His life:

No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again…

And in John 19:30, after Jesus said “It is finished,” He bowed His head and He gave up His spirit.

Isaiah 53:8,”For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken,” –

  • Some argue Isaiah 53 is about Israel who suffered through the centuries.
  • The fact the Suffering Servant would die demonstrates this prophecy cannot be about Israel; she has never been “cut off from the land of the living.” She was dispersed, yes; dead, no.

Vs. 9 – And they made His grave with the wicked: Jesus died in the company of the wicked

But with the rich at His death; buried in the tomb of the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.

because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth; Jesus had the power to retaliate, but did not. And despite all the pain and humiliation, the Messiah did not sin by word or in His actions.

In verses 10-11, we get a glimpse of victory, but look closely at what it says. The suffering was ordained by God:

10 – Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: this was God’s plan, prophesied by Isaiah hundreds of years before it happened. This was God’s victory, not Satan’s – or man’s triumph (meaning the Jews or Romans).

Even as Jesus was punished as if He were a sinner, He was performing the most holy service ever offered to God. Offering Himself as the final sacrifice [once for all] for sin, He accomplished the work of reconciling the world to Himself.

The idea of a substitutionary atonement for sin cannot be more specifically stated!

He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand: He lives on! He lives to see His seed, His spiritual descendants.

Vs. 11 – He shall be see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied: The Messiah will look upon His work and in the end, He shall be satisfied. No regrets. Every bit of the suffering and agony was worth it, and brought about a satisfactory result.

By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities: In understanding who the Messiah is and what He accomplished, we are justified, declared righteous before God.

Jesus is now our Advocate before the Judge. Now, when the sinner is brought to the courtroom bench, Jesus stands in to answer the accusations. He points to His head, His side, His hands, His feet, He pleads His blood, and pleads so triumphantly that the Judge proclaims, “Let them go, deliver them from the pit, for Jesus has provided a ransom.”

Finally, we wrap up Isaiah 53.

Verse 12Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; with the image of dividing the spoil after a victorious battle, we see the Messiah ultimately triumphs. He divides the spoil with those who are strong in Him.

In Philippians 2:10-11, Paul described this ultimate triumph that followed His humiliation: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  What a reward!

If there had been no sinners, there could not have been a Savior.

53:12 – He poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors.  This speaks of the totality of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Being poured out means that it was all gone. There was nothing left;

Our Lord Jesus was numbered with sinners; Who can be afraid of one whose name appears on the same list with us? All our condition of unrighteousness and sin Jesus has taken; and all that Jesus has comes to us. Immediate justification by faith.

Psalm 22 is another messianic prophecy which describes crucifixion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. Psalm 22:14

Pastor Allistair Begg commented on this, saying:

“Did earth or heaven ever witness a sadder spectacle than this? In soul and body, our Lord felt Himself to be weak as water poured upon the ground. The placing of the cross in its socket had shaken Him with great violence, had strained all the ligaments, pained every nerve, and more or less dislocated all His bones. Burdened by His own weight, the impressive sufferer felt the strain increasing every moment of those six long hours.

Sensations that our Lord endured, we could not have faced, and unconsciousness would have had to come to our rescue. But He drained the cup and tasted every drop. As we kneel before our ascended Savior’s throne, let us carefully remember the way by which He prepared it as a throne of grace for us; let us in spirit drink of His cup, that we may be strengthened for our hour of heaviness whenever it may come.”

Back to Isaiah 53:12 for the final points:

He was numbered with the transgressors: We would be shocked if a godly woman looked at a list of prostitutes and said, “Put my name down among them.” Or what if a godly man looked at a list of murderers and said, “Number me among them.” But that is what Jesus did for us, only to a much greater degree.

He bore the sin of many: Over and over again, the prophet emphasizes the fact the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah, suffers on behalf of and in the place of guilty sinners.

And made intercession for the transgressors: Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him, and He now has a ministry of intercession. (Heb. 7:25 – this intercession is for the saints)

As we close, Hebrews 9:27-28 reminds us:

“…And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation…”

END

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23

via From the Garden to the Grave Back to Glory: Isaiah 53 — David Fiorazo

William Lane Craig explains the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement

WINTERY KNIGHT

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

Probably one of the most common questions that you hear from people who don’t fully understand Christianity is this question: “why did Jesus have to die?”. The answer that most Christians seem to hold to is that 1) humans are rebelling against God, 2) Humans deserve punishment for their rebellion, 3) Humans cannot escape the punishment for their rebellion on their own, 4) Jesus was punished in the place of the rebellious humans, 5) Those who accept this sacrifice are forgiven for their rebelling.

Are humans rebellious?

Some people think that humans are not really rebellious at all, but it’s actually easy to see. You can see it just by looking at how people spend their time. Some of us have no time for God at all, and instead try to fill our lives with material possessions and experiences in…

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The 8 Things You Need To Know About The Mueller Report — Christian Research Network

“The Steele dossier – the intelligence mishmash funneled to Obama intelligence agencies via Fusion GPS – barely comes up in the Mueller report. Yet it was used repeatedly as the basis for a FISA warrant against Carter Page, and was presented directly to President Trump by former FBI director James Comey, then reported on broadly in the press.” 

(Ben Shapiro – Daily Wire)  On Thursday, the long-awaited Mueller report finally dropped, like manna from the heavens to the starved mass media. The media quickly swiveled from their years-long contention that President Trump and his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to the contention that Trump obstructed justice in order to cover his non-collusion with Russia. That will be the talking point moving forward: that the cover-up was worse than the non-crime.

The Mueller report is interesting in a variety of ways. Here are some of the biggest takeaways:

1. The Trump-Russia Collusion Claims Were Farcically Overblown. While there were certainly members of the Trump team who acted suspiciously – including Trump, who continued to lie to the American public that no work was occurring on the Trump Tower Moscow deal during the 2016 campaign – the claims that Trump was a nefarious Russian agent were comically exaggerated. The Mueller report itself makes this clear:

Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

The report makes similar statements repeatedly. There was no there there.  View article →

via The 8 Things You Need To Know About The Mueller Report — Christian Research Network

Weekly Watchman for 04/19/2019

Where is the Church Headed? in America

The only thing that never changes is God; everything else is in a constant flux of change:  sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The professing Christian Church in America has gone through a gradual change over the past several decades as secular culture has slowly infiltrated and influenced it.  As secular culture, public education, media, and an increasingly powerful government put pressure on the church to approve of a godless agenda, we will see many churches start to buckle to the pressure and conform to the world. Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project and Elijah Abraham of Living Oasis Ministries travel around the nation and the world sharing the gospel and equipping churches to remain anchored to the truth of God’s Word in a world that is pressuring them to conform to the ways and values of this fallen, sinful world.  They both join us in studio for a frank discussion on the condition of the church and professing Christians in America.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Biblical Christianity in the Crosshairs

Americans have been historically blessed with a Constitution that guarantees us the right to religious beliefs and expression of those beliefs.  But slowly and surely those freedoms are under attack by secular humanists, public education, media and an out of control government.  At some point we will reach a breaking point in our nation where the Bible is viewed as hate speech and where every person who trusts in it as the Word of God will be seen as dangerous.Joining Mike and David today is Pastor and best-selling author Carl Gallups.  Carl is a student of biblical prophecy and has studied the trends in Europe where Christianity has all but been eliminated from society.  Is America next – and what will be the consequences?

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more


Hatred of the Gospel

Jesus warned us that in the last days, the gospel would be rejected and His followers would be hated.  Though unreported by secular media, we are seeing staggering increases in the persecution of Christians and the destruction of Christian Churches worldwide.  This morning Mike and David discuss the real story behind the headlines of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris, and an internationally known Christian Rugby player threatened because of his Christian beliefs.And on this Holy Week leading up to our celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the gospel is under attack around the world. Taking a cue from Europe, many American Christians are looking to please the world and compromising the truth of Scripture all around us.  Pastor Mike Abendroth of No Compromise Radio joins us to take a look at what we so often take for granted: what Jesus accomplished almost 2,000 years ago through the cross and the empty tomb.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Trust, Confidence and Fear

The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ can be complex at times.  The Bible tells us we should trust God in all matters.  It says we can approach the throne of God in confidence with our petitions.  And yet it also says to fear God.  Trust, confidence and fear:  Not always easy to reconcile all three of those, yet this is the life we are called to as believers, particularly in a world that increasingly hates God and we who are disciples of Jesus.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more


Debunking Fallacies and Doubts about the Bible

Two facts are indisputable these days. First, the world is growing more evil. Darkness is increasing and God’s Word is being openly mocked and ridiculed. The second fact is too many believers, people who profess to be Christians, are ignorant of the truth of God’s Word. This leads to being ineffective in bearing fruit, living the Christian life and sharing the gospel of salvation with others.  This not only opens the door for confusion, chaos, or crisis in society – but also in the church.Our guest today, Carl Kerby of Reasons for Hope Ministries, is tackling these problems head on, speaking, traveling, and by producing a video series called “deBUNKED,” answering key questions and refuting statements of skeptics. Carl is teaching Christians how to be effective in sharing the gospel and be better apologists for God.

Daily podcast, relevant articles on issues pertaining to Christians and more can be found on Stand Up For The Truth.

Read more

RenewAmerica Newsletter for April 19, 2019

April 19, 2019
Fighting for injured workers’ rights
RENEWAMERICA STAFF — In Utah, unethical “insurance medical examiners” hired to deprive injured workers of guaranteed Workers Compensation medical and other benefits are protected by “state policy” from any liability for harm resulting from their fraudulent examinations…. (more)


April 19, 2019
IAMTV — Join Dr. Alan Keyes and IAMtv for an evening of Truth and Entertainment. Special Concert with Grammy Award and 13 Time Dove Award Winner… Michael English will be performing his hits!… (more)

April 18, 2019
WES VERNON — The United States is arguably the most anti-Marxist nation on the planet, though to be sure, we do have our own home-grown variety of hard leftists. The Democrat Party is making moves in that direction. Adding political fuel to that fire is the Marxist family background of a serious Democrat candidate for President of the United States…. (more)

April 18, 2019
JERRY NEWCOMBE — One often hears dire reports in the media about the impending doom of the Christian church. But Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family recently wrote an article in the Federalist that showed such reports may be premature…. (more)

April 18, 2019
PETER LEMISKA — It was only a matter of time. Even President Trump’s most bitter critics have to admit that he has a unique ability to express, usually with unvarnished candor, the innermost thoughts and concerns weighing on the minds of middle-class Americans. His recent suggestion to send the masses of illegal immigrants flooding across our borders to sanctuary cities isn’t new…. (more)


April 18, 2019
Trump, Pence endorse Barr’s announced review

April 18, 2019
FOX NEWS — Many questions have been raised about the political leanings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s staff and their freedom to write whatever they want, former independent counsel Ken Starr says…. (more)

April 18, 2019
Ex-Brit intel officer also funded by Hillary Clinton to create Trump ‘dossier’
WORLDNETDAILY — Washington watchdog Judicial Watch believes the FBI still is covering up information related to the origin of the claim that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia. In Senate testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr upset Democrats when he disclosed he believes the Obama administration spied on the 2016 Trump campaign. Barr said he plans to review the matter along with the origins of counter-intelligence probe…. (more)


April 18, 2019
Argue DOJ no longer has excuse of Mueller investigation
WORLDNETDAILY — On the eve of the release of the Mueller report, the Republican chairmen of three Senate committees are asking U.S. Attorney General William Barr to release “highly classified information” the FBI declined to examine as part of the Hillary Clinton email investigation…. (more)

April 17, 2019
NEWSMAX — Outspoken actor James Woods says firebrand freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is a “blessing in disguise” for conservatives in 2020. In a tweet, Woods responded to conservative commentator Mark Levin’s declaration he “won’t be silenced from criticizing America-hating anti-Semite Omar.”… (more)

April 16, 2019
Online company ‘only one to now completely separate itself’
WORLDNETDAILY — Reacting to Twitter distancing itself from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the founder of a religious-rights organization that has been targeted by SPLC for holding biblical positions on marriage, homosexuality and life said it’s about time…. (more)


April 16, 2019
REUTERS — Four-hundred-year-old paintings hung high inside Notre Dame were damaged by the immense fire that engulfed the Paris cathedral, but emergency workers formed a human chain to whisk gem-studded chalices and other priceless artefacts out of harm’s way…. (more)

April 16, 2019
WOSU — The world watched in horror as the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral burned yesterday. Musicians began asking, but what about the organ? The organ is the largest in France, with five keyboards, 115 stops and more than 8,000 pipes, of which 900 are considered historic…. (more)


April 16, 2019
‘Let’s take you on a guided tour, but first let’s take a look at how this cathedral was built’
YOUTUBE — In this week’s edition, we’re at one of the most visited places in the French capital: Notre Dame de Paris. We show you around this magnificent Gothic cathedral and tell you about its history, which dates back to the 12th century. We also find out about some of the structural problems hidden behind its immaculate facade and tell you about the repair work under way…. (more)

April 16, 2019
MOSCOW TIMES — Russian condolences poured in after a fire tore through the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris late on Monday, but some commentators in the country said the inferno symbolized the decline of Europe. Firefighters doused the smoldering ruins of the eight-centuries-old Gothic cathedral with water on Tuesday as investigators tried to establish what started the fire, Reuters reported. The blaze consumed the roof and caused the cathedral’s spire to collapse before firefighters brought the flames under control in eight hours, saving its bell towers and outer walls…. (more)

April 16, 2019
MOSCOW TIMES — A record 70 percent of Russians approve of Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s role in Russian history, according to a poll published by the independent Levada Center pollster on Tuesday. Stalin’s image has been gradually rehabilitated in the 2000s from that of a bloody autocrat to an “outstanding leader.” President Vladimir Putin has revived the Soviet anthem, Soviet-style military parades and a Soviet-era medal for labor during his presidency…. (more)

April 16, 2019
WARNER TODD HUSTON — On the heels of the burning of Paris’ famed Notre Dame Cathedral, a report says that about 875 Christian churches have been vandalized by radicals in France since 2018. Churches across France have been torched, spray-painted, had feces smeared on doors and walls, and had windows broken by radical secularists and Muslims, the Sun wrote…. (more)


April 16, 2019
REUTERS — A community of Syrians who converted to Christianity from Islam is growing in Kobani, a town besieged by Islamic State for months, and where the tide turned against the militants four years ago…. (more)


April 16, 2019
WES VERNON — When you go to the polls and cast your ballot, you are theoretically exercising your right to keep your vote secret if that is your desire. Now it appears the Democrats are making it their business to force you to disclose your political activities beyond what the law already mandates…. (more)

April 16, 2019
ALAN KEYES — Though all members of Congress are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, it’s hard to believe that the Democrats among them have any intention of honoring that oath. In their bid to establish dictatorial, totalitarian, socialist rule in the United States, Democrats all over the country are pushing a plainly anti-constitutional scheme to erase the constitutional method for electing the president of the United States…. (more)

April 16, 2019
If Buttigieg’s lifestyle is moral, Christianity got it wrong for 20 centuries
PATRICK J. BUCHANAN — “(T)here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said Hamlet, who thereby raised some crucial questions: Is moral truth subjective? Does it change with changing times and changing attitudes? Or is there a higher law, a permanent law, God’s law, immutable and eternal, to which man’s law should conform?… (more)


April 16, 2019
DAILY MAIL — French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame with help from the international community after a devastating fire gutted the famous Catholic cathedral last night. Speaking just hours after the roof of the 850-year-old building caved in, Macron said a national fundraising campaign to restore the historic building would be launched today, and he called on the world’s ‘greatest talents’ to help…. (more)


April 16, 2019
INVESTMENT WATCH — The entire world was absolutely shocked by the massive fire that engulfed the Notre Dame cathedral on Monday. We are being told that the structure of the cathedral has been saved, but according to CNN the “entire wooden interior of Notre Dame Cathedral has been lost”. Now that the initial shock of the fire has subsided, the Internet is buzzing with speculation about the origin of the fire. In the end, there are only two options. Either this was an accident, or someone intentionally started the fire. And if the fire was intentionally started, obviously someone had a motive for doing so…. (more)


April 16, 2019
DAILIY SIGNAL — Actions by Justice Department officials in spying on a Donald Trump campaign adviser in 2016 could be a crime or merely an administrative offense, legal experts say. Crimes could include perjury or misleading a court, they say, while disciplinary action for an administrative offense could mean being fired or losing a law license…. (more)

April 16, 2019
NATIONAL REVIEW — President Trump’s reelection campaign reported over the weekend that it had raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, beating the combined fundraising hauls of the two top candidates for the Democratic nomination to face him in next year’s general election…. (more)

 

State of the Bible 2019: Trends in Engagement

Each year, Barna examines behaviors and beliefs related to the Bible among American adults, a study conducted in partnership with American Bible Society. In the 2019 “State of the Bible” report, we find encouraging boosts in Bible engagement and that, despite continued skepticism, scripture still impacts the daily lives and beliefs of many Americans.

See some of the previous State of the Bible reports: 2018, 2017, 2016

Does Bible engagement have any real affect on behaviors? This report also explores how one’s relationship to scripture might influence their connection to God, their giving habits and their concern for others.

Read more

April 19 Your Greatest Need

Scripture reading: John 3:1–17

Key verse: John 3:17

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Throughout the Bible, we see God reaching out to His creation in an effort to save and restore. Of course, nowhere is this more evident than in the New Testament, especially in the Gospels through the life of His Son.

Jesus came to earth to seek and save those who were spiritually lost and bound by sin. By His own profession, He made that clear when He told His disciples that He did not come to judge mankind, but to save the lost from an eternal death (John 3:17).

We may be tempted to think that God is too caught up in the details of the universe to be concerned about our problems. But this is not true. Jesus was and still is totally interested in our lives.

Even after His crucifixion, His intimate concern was for those He loved. One example was His compassion for Mary as she searched for Him at the empty tomb. Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father. He witnessed Mary’s deep sorrow and was moved with compassion. “Mary!” Jesus called out to her.

“Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”) was her reply (John 20:16). When she saw the Lord, she knew her prayers had been answered. Jesus was alive! That was her greatest need—to know that what He had promised was true.

What is your greatest need? Call out to the Savior, and He will meet that need.

Lord, I bring to You my greatest need today. I know Your promises are true. I wait expectantly for fulfillment.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 114). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

April 19, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The New Services

And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (9:12)

How does Christ minister in His heavenly sanctuary? What does He do as our eternal High Priest? He does three things, primarily. First, His service is in His own blood, not that of sacrificial animals. The Sacrificer was the Sacrifice. Second, He made His sacrifice only once, and that once was sufficient for all people of all time. Third, He obtained permanent, eternal redemption. He cleansed past, present, and future sins all in one act of redemption.[1]


12. Neither by the blood of goats, &c. All these things tend to shew that the things of Christ so far excel the shadows of the Law, that they justly reduce them all to nothing. For what is the value of Christ’s blood, if it be deemed no better than the blood of beasts? What sort of expiation was made by his death, if the purgations according to the Law be still retained? As soon then as Christ came forth with the efficacious influence of his death, all the typical observances must necessarily have ceased.[2]


12 The second dia clause is a double one, stating both negatively (“not by means of”) and positively (“but by”) the nature of the sacrifice that enabled Christ to enter the inner sanctuary. The ritual of Leviticus 16 required the OT high priest to take with him into the inner sanctuary the blood of a bull and of a goat he had slaughtered, but the blood that authorized Jesus’ entry was his own, shed in his death on the cross. (Note that the author does not speak of Christ as presenting his blood as an offering.) The brief mention in 7:27 that he “offered himself” (cf. also 9:14) is now filled out by the specific mention of Christ’s blood, by which he “obtained eternal redemption,” and “blood” will remain a key term throughout this chapter. Lytrōsis, “redemption” (GK 3391), and its variant apolytrōsis (GK 667; translated “a ransom to set them free” in v. 15) feature significantly in NT explanations of Christ’s death, drawing on his own statement that he was to give his life as a “ransom” (lytron, GK 3389) for many (Mk 10:45). The root idea is that of liberation at a price, and the price is the blood (death) of Jesus. When the OT speaks of God as “redeeming” his people, the focus of the metaphor is on the freedom won rather than the means by which it is achieved, but the NT linkage of this language with the sacrifice of a life gives it greater depth. Why Christ’s redemption is “eternal” in contrast with that provided annually under the old covenant will be explained in the following verses. What he has done can never be repeated, and there is no more to be done. For “once for all,” see on 7:27.[3]


9:12 / The tabernacle referred to in the preceding verse, however, is not something through which Christ passed to get to the Holy of Holies (as, for example, he passed “through the heavens,” 4:14). It is itself the heavenly reality, not made by hands, the place of “God’s presence” (9:24). Thus Christ entered the Most Holy Place not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood. But as F. F Bruce notes, the author refrains from actually saying that Christ took his blood into the Holy of Holies. This would be to press the analogy too far, with the result that the atonement is made to depend upon something subsequent to the cross, that is, the appearance of Christ and the offering of his blood in the heavenly sanctuary. The text of the original says simply that it was “through his own blood” that Christ entered once and for all into the Holy of Holies. The necessity for the offering of blood is underlined in verses 18 and 22. So superior is the offering of his own blood that it procured eternal redemption, by which language the author intends a sharp contrast to the provisional character of what was accomplished by the offering of the blood of animals. Stress on the salvation accomplished by Christ as eternal is also found in 5:9 (cf. 13:20). Since his work is once for all, its consequence is an eternal redemption. The superiority of Christ’s accomplishment is thus both qualitative (intrinsic) and temporal (time-transcending).[4]


9:12. Jesus’ redemptive work consisted of offering his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves. Jesus had given himself. The blood of Jesus our High Priest was far more precious than the blood of animals. His was a once for all offering that never needed repeating. Christ’s offering required no daily or even annual repetition. A single offering was eternally effective.

Some interpreters emphasize the idea that Christ took his blood into heaven as if our redemption depended on something which Jesus did after the cross. The statement that Jesus had obtained eternal redemption suggests that Jesus has accomplished redemption at the cross. It was by the blood shed at the cross that he entered heaven. All of Jesus’ work for our salvation occurred at the cross, not subsequent to it.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (p. 229). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (p. 203). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 117). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 136). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 168). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

US intelligence agencies show ‘unprecedented’ leftward slant & anti-Trump bias – former CIA analyst — RT USA News

The political Left increasingly dominates US intelligence agencies and that “bias may have crept into CIA analyses,” a former analyst in the agency claims, calling out former colleagues for their increasingly illiberal liberalism.

A considerable body of evidence… indicates that many CIA people have left-leaning political preferences,” John Gentry, a professor who spent 12 years as an analyst with the agency, recently wrote in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, warning that the “institutionally embedded, partisan bias” could skew the agency’s work and damage its credibility. 

Also on rt.com

The agency’s pervasive liberalism jeopardizes its ability to provide “objective intelligence analysis,” and internal agency machinations are thoroughly tainted with political motives, Gentry claims. He slams former CIA directors John Brennan, Michael Hayden and Michael Morell, as well as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and other senior intel vets – many of whom have landed cable news gigs as anti-Trump talking heads and/or published jeremiads lamenting America’s decline since their retirement – for their criticism of then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election, which he calls “unprecedented for intelligence officers in [its] substance, tone, and volume.

Critics went far beyond trying to correct Trump’s misstatements about US intelligence; they attacked him as a human being.

Gentry blames the relative youth of politicized agents – and affirmative action – for the leftward drift. Racial and diversity programs, he says, led to “demographic, not intellectual, diversity becoming a dominant focus of IC [Intelligence Community] leaders.” Compounding the problem, former President Barack Obama mandated “hiring from demographic groups known to be generally pro-Democratic [party].”

The result? “An ideologically center-left ‘deep state,’ built in part upon policies like Obama’s as a check on Trump.” The president’s strained relationship with his intelligence agencies, whom he recently called “passive and naïve” for their insufficiently-militant take on Iran, is only to be expected, given the rhetoric of ex-directors like Brennan, who told CIA agents they were obliged to “refuse to carry out” the president’s orders in the event that “unstable” Trump fired special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and like Morell, who penned an editorial begging voters to line up behind Clinton in 2016.

Also on rt.com

Perhaps the CIA has just fomented so many coups in other countries it was inevitable that a group would someday try it at home? Gentry is hardly the first ex-CIA analyst to point out the American intelligence community’s leftward migration, and Attorney General William Barr is currently conducting a probe into anti-Trump bias at the FBI during the early days of the ‘Russiagate’ probe in 2016. Former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis called the agency’s politicization “a threat to the republic,” while fellow ex-officer Brad Johnson lamented that talk of “how best to ‘resist’” was commonplace hallway chatter at the CIA.

But how to fix it? Gentry says introducing “intellectual diversity” is paramount – that the solution “may be to reform how analysts think, not just how they act.” Fortunately, the CIA has a lot of experience reforming how people think.

— Read on www.rt.com/usa/456970-intelligence-agencies-skew-left-cia/

April 19 Repentance: Complete or Incomplete?

scripture reading: 2 Timothy 2:24–26
key verses: Acts 26:19–20

Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

Sometimes repentance can seem a little like commercials in that there is no end. We come before God, confess our sins, express our desire for repentance—and find ourselves in exactly the same condition the next time we approach our Father.

Biblical repentance means forsaking sin, not simply confessing it. To forsake is to leave behind, to abandon. We repent not just with our hearts but with our actions.

“Oh,” you say, “I wish it were that simple. How can I quit gossiping when I seem addicted to it?”

To repent biblically, you must ask God to give you His hatred of evil, to give you repentance. God still hates sin—even in your life. Sin is not just a mistake or a shortcoming or a fault; sin is rebellion against God for which Christ died.

You possess power in the person of the Holy Spirit to conquer your sin. You can effectively repent of sin because sin’s slayer, Jesus Christ, empowers you. You are not left to your own devices, your own willpower.

Is there a nagging area of disobedience in your life that you are unable to conquer? Face it as sin, count on God’s unequaled power each day, and persevere as Christ frees you moment by moment from its grip.

My sin is not a mistake. It is not a shortcoming or a fault. It is rebellion. Forgive me, Lord. Liberate me from its grip.[1]


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

Calvinism U | No Compromise Radio Podcast


 This episode of NoCo brings Tuesday Guy to the studio. Listen in as Pastor Mike and Pastor Steve continue to look at the Doctrines of Grace and Calvinism. What is TULIP? What is Unconditional Election? This episodes serves as a good overview of the Doctrines of Grace.

storage.googleapis.com/noco-main-bucket/radio/2019/04_April/live_2019_04_19_calvinism_u.mp3

19 april (1857) 365 Days with Spurgeon

The uses of the law

“Wherefore then serveth the law?” Galatians 3:19

suggested further reading: Proverbs 26:12–16

I find that the proudest and most self-righteous people are those who do nothing at all, and have no shadow of pretence for any opinion of their own goodness. The old truth in the book of Job is true now. You know in the beginning of the book of Job it is said, “The oxen were ploughing, and the asses were feeding beside them.” That is generally the way in this world. The oxen are ploughing in the church—we have some who are labouring hard for Christ—and the asses are feeding beside them, on the finest livings and the fattest of the land. These are the people who have so much to say about self-righteousness. What do they do? They do not do enough to earn a living, and yet they think they are going to earn heaven. They sit down and fold their hands, and yet they are so reverently righteous, because they sometimes dole out a little in charity. They do nothing, and yet boast of self-righteousness. And with Christian people it is the same. If God makes you laborious, and keeps you constantly engaged in his service, you are less likely to be proud of your self-righteousness than you are if you do nothing. But at all times there is a natural tendency to it. Therefore, God has written the law, that when we read it we may see our faults; that when we look into it, as into a looking-glass, we may see the impurities in our flesh, and have reason to abhor ourselves in sackcloth and ashes, and still cry to Jesus for mercy. Use the law in this fashion, and in no other.

for meditation: The more we learn, the more we realise how little we know; the more we do, the more we realise how little we do; the holier we become, the more we realise how unholy we are. Being sluggish is most unsuitable for the Christian (Hebrews 6:10–12).

sermon no. 128[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 116). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Albert Mohler: The Promise Of Easter – TownhallReview.com

This Sunday is Easter, a great celebration day for Christians. The Church bears a mandate to proclaim the truth that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrected Lord gave the Church a sacred commission to take the gospel—the message of Christ’s victory over sin and death—throughout the world.

So, as the Church gathers to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians look back in thankfulness to that empty tomb and forward to the fulfillment of Christ’s purposes in us. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the promise of our resurrection from the dead, and of Christ’s total victory over sin and death.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the very center of the Christian gospel. The empty tomb is full of power.

Happy Easter to all. May the joy of the resurrection be yours.

https://omny.fm/shows/townhall-review-conservative-commentary-on-todays/albert-mohler-the-promise-of-easter-1

— Read on townhallreview.com/2019/04/albert-mohler-the-promise-of-easter-2/