Daily Archives: August 27, 2019

August 27 Peace with Yourself

Scripture Reading: Colossians 1:12–18

Key Verses: Colossians 1:13–14

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Have you ever wondered who your staunchest critic is? Who is always present for your biggest blunders? Who remembers the intimate details of your past mistakes with pristine clarity?

The answer, most often, is you. Yours are the hands that toil the fields of sin and rebellion. Yours are the lips that often bring pain upon others. For many, this leads to a tormenting sense of unrest and guilt. Christians often have difficulty accepting God’s forgiveness because they are the ones who know for sure how much they do not deserve it.

Even believers who have accepted Christ’s atoning sacrifice fall into unhealthy behaviors. The primary example of this trend may be someone asking forgiveness for the same past sin every day for weeks, months, or even years.

This is a trap that we must avoid. Christ did not provide a partial salvation. There is no in-between; the event of His death and resurrection either triumphed over sin or it did not. The answer from Scripture is clear—it did.

Pray today for God’s help in setting old burdens to rest and taking up the peace that Christ has so firmly provided.

Father, I want to set old burdens to rest and embrace the peace that You have provided through Jesus Christ. Please help me.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 250). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 27 Abiding in Christ

Scripture Reading: John 15:9–17

Key Verse: John 15:17

These things I command you, that you love one another.

In John 15, Jesus instructed us to abide in Him. The visual picture is one of a branch abiding in a vine. Christ taught that God is the Vinedresser, pruning and shaping the branches so that they will bear much fruit. Abiding means “remaining and continuing.” It is an active word, even though from a worldly perspective we often view it as a word of passivity. However, nothing is farther from the truth. When we abide in Christ, we are in a process of growth unlike anything we have known before.

Notice how the young tender shoots of the grapevine appear in the spring and begin running along the arbor. God tenderly watches over His branches and with the greatest of care and skill cultivates the vine so that it produces a maximum harvest.

The sole purpose of the branches is to bear fruit. They are not destined to live on their own apart from the vine, nor are they allowed to grow wild. They maintain, they continue, and they rest in the vine.

We live under the grace of God and are given full access to His infinite peace as we abide in Him. When turmoil comes, we can go to a place of refuge. It is a place of abiding contentment in the inner chamber of our hearts. You need never fear when you are abiding in Christ. His peace and rest are yours.

Precious heavenly Father, thank You that I have a place of refuge in times of turmoil. Peace and rest are mine when I abide in You.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 250). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

August 27 The Victory Is Won

Scripture reading: John 3:1–17

Key verse: John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

One of the truly rewarding pursuits of Bible study is the exegesis, or detailed examination, of a word or a verse. Tracing biblical words to their original language can shed useful insight on the exact truth God wishes to share with us.

For example, the word gospel in its original Greek means “good news.” But further examination of the word reveals another important truth. The Greek word for gospel is evangelion, from which we also get the word evangelize. But evangelion, before its New Testament rendering, was used most often as a reference to good news from the battlefield. A victory had been won when this word was used.

Guess what? The victory has been won! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man, overcame temptation, died as an unblemished Lamb for your sins, rose from the dead on the third day, and ascended to heaven to make intercession for you with God the Father. The most famous Bible verse—John 3:16—is the gospel in a nutshell. It is one beautiful sentence revealing that victory is yours for the asking.

If you already are a child of God but have slipped or are in bondage to sin or a certain attitude, remember the good news from Luke and the other Gospels. Christ Himself emerged from the battlefield the absolute, undeniable, complete Victor!

You are the Victor, Lord, who makes it possible for me to live in victory. I reject the bondage of sin and embrace the truth of Your freedom.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 250). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Doctrinally Unsound Christian Music Warning ⚠️

“If you don’t already know that you and your church shouldn’t be using Hillsong, Bethel Music, Jesus Culture, Elevation Worship music or music by anybody else who’s doctrinally unsound, let me just take this opportunity to say, don’t.” — Michelle Lesley

August 27, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

4:24 put on the new man As in v. 22, Paul uses the imagery of changing one’s clothes to describe believers’ responsibility to actively participate in Christ’s transformative work in their lives (compare Col 3:9–10; 2 Cor 5:17).[1]


4:24 put on the new self (lit., “man”; see note on v. 22). Paul focuses on the individual aspect of the corporate “new man” as described in 2:15. Believers are created anew in Christ (see also 2:10). Created after the likeness of God further shows the connection with the original creation in Genesis, where “God created man in his own image” (Gen. 1:27; cf. 1 Cor. 15:49).[2]


4:24 put on the new self. The renewal of the mind in salvation brings not simply a renovation of character, but transformation of the old to the new self (cf. 2Co 5:17). in the likeness of God has been created. In Christ, the old self no longer exists as it had in the past; the new self is created in the very likeness of God (cf. Gal 2:20). in righteousness and holiness. Righteousness relates to the Christian’s moral responsibility to his fellow men reflecting the second table of the law (Ex 20:12–17), while holiness refers to his responsibilities to God, reflecting the first table (Ex 20:3–11). There is still sin in the believer’s unredeemed human flesh (see notes on Ro 7:17, 18, 20, 23, 25; 8:23).[3] †


4:24 — … put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

When Paul tells us to “put on” the new man, he means that we have to make a conscious, moment-by-moment choice to depend upon the Spirit’s power to transform us into the likeness of Christ.[4]


4:24. Mind renewal makes it possible to put on the new man. The Church is a new man. The Ephesian believers were to live as the new people they were in Christ. This new man was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Believers are placed into the Church to live a righteous and holy lifestyle as new persons.

Paul then gives specific instructions on how Christians are to live in their relationships with others.[5]


4:24 The third lesson is that they had put on the new man once for all. The new man is what a believer is in Christ. It is the new creation, in which old things have passed away and all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). This new kind of man is according to God, that is, created in His likeness. And it manifests itself in true righteousness and holiness. Righteousness means right conduct toward others. Holiness is “piety towards God, which puts Him in His place,” as F. W. Grant defines it.[6]


4:24. Finally, we are to put on the new self. This means, we are to allow the new self to govern our activities. We are to begin living the lifestyle that corresponds to who we have become in Christ. This new holy self shows we are maturing, growing in unity with the body, and doing our part of the body’s work.[7]


Ver. 24.—And put on the new man. As the fruit of inward renewal, let there be outward renovation. A new object is clean, fresh, tidy; let your life have something of the same aspect—let your principles, aims, habits, be new, in the sense of being conformed to Christ, who is your life. Which after God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. “After God,” equivalent to “after the image of him that created him” (Col. 3:10). Some think “the new man” equivalent to “Christ” (Rom. 13:14), constituted the Head of renewed humanity, as Adam of depraved. But this would not correspond with the exhortation to put off the old man, nor should we be exhorted to put on Christ after being exhorted to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. In what sense, then, has the “new man” been created? The idea presented itself to the apostle in the abstract—there has been a creation of a new man; but concretely, we have to conform to the Divine creation, in respect of righteousness and holiness; righteousness denoting personal uprightness and fidelity to all social duties; holiness, the state of the spirit toward God. The last words, “of truth,” denote the relation of righteousness and holiness to the truth. The words are opposed to “of deceit” in ver. 22. Lust is bred of deceit, but righteousness and holiness of truth. They never deceive, never disappoint, are solid to the end.[8]


24. put on the new man—Opposed to “the old man,” which is to be “put off” (Eph 4:22). The Greek here (kainon) is different from that for “re-new-ed” (Eph 4:23). Put on not merely a renovated nature, but a new, that is, altogether different nature, a changed nature (compare Note,, see on Col 3:10).

after God, &c.—Translate, “Which hath been created (once for all: so the Greek aorist means: in Christ, Eph 2:10; so that in each believer it has not to be created again, but to be put on) after (the image of) God” (Ge 1:27; Col 3:10; 1 Pe 1:15), &c. God’s image in which the first Adam was originally created, is restored, to us far more gloriously in the second Adam, the image of the invisible God (2 Co 4:4; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3).

in righteousness—“in” it as the element of the renewed man.

true holiness—rather, as the Greek, “holiness of the truth”; holiness flowing from sincere following of “the truth of God” (Ro 1:25; 3:7; 15:8): opposed to “the lusts of deceit” (Greek, Eph 4:22); compare also Eph 4:21, “truth is in Jesus.” “Righteousness” is in relation to our fellow men, the second table of the law; “Holiness,” in relation to God, the first table; the religious observance of offices of piety (compare Lu 1:75). In the parallel (Col 3:10) it is, “renewed in knowledge after the image,” &c. As at Colosse the danger was from false pretenders to knowledge, the true “knowledge” which flows from renewal of the heart is dwelt on; so at Ephesus, the danger being from the corrupt morals prevalent around, the renewal in “holiness,” contrasted with the Gentile “uncleanness” (Eph 4:19), and “righteousness,” in contrast to “greediness,” is made prominent.[9]


24  In the parallel text in Col. 3:10, it is the “new man” himself who is “being renewed after his Creator’s image.” Here the injunction to be “renewed in the spirit of the mind” is repeated in different terms by the injunction to “put on the new man.” Again, the imperative replaces the indicative of Col. 3:10; but such a use of the imperative is no innovation in Pauline usage, even when established Christians are being addressed: the ethical paraenesis of Rom. 12:1–13:14 is summed up in the injunction: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” For the “new man” is essentially the Lord Jesus Christ—or at least the Lord Jesus Christ as his life is lived out in his people, who by the new creation have been incorporated into that new humanity of which he is the head. It is this new creation that is referred to when the “new man” is said to have been “created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.” The phrase “according to God” means “in the image of God”; so, in Col. 3:10, the “new man” is “renewed after his Creator’s image so as to attain true knowledge.” Christ, the Son of God, is the uncreated one; but the reproduction of his likeness in his people is an act of divine creation. If, in Colossians, the goal of this divine renewal is said to be the attainment of “true knowledge,” here the qualities manifested in the new creation are “righteousness and true holiness” (or “true righteousness and holiness”). The knowledge of God is never divorced from walking in his ways: to know him is to be like him, righteous as he is righteous, holy as he is holy.[10]


24 Now comes the contrast: “put on the new self.” The shift back to the aorist tense, as in “put off” (v. 22), points to believers’ need to take this next decisive step. God works in the process of renewing, but believers must act to put off and put on. This new “self” or “person” (anthrōpos, GK 476) is a divine creation designed with specific traits and different from the “old self.” This “self” has both individual and corporate aspects (cf. 2:15). Believers must act like the new body they are (e.g., characterized by unity, 4:3, 13)—a step that requires each individual believer to actualize his or her new identity in Christ, as Paul will spell out more fully in what follows. Foremost, the new self is created in conformity with or in similarity to God (Gk. preposition kata; see BDAG, 513, 5, b, a). The new self Christians put on is a creation (cf. 2:10) in which the effects of the fall are reversed; God renews his image in them, so they become more “like God.” The divine traits of “righteousness” and “holiness” characterize this “self.” To “holiness” Paul appends the genitive “of truth.” Is this a descriptive genitive that modifies both nouns, as in “true righteousness and holiness” (cf. most versions)? Or might the genitive be one of origin or source, such that these traits derive from the truth (and the One who is truth and the truth of the gospel, 1:13)? In view of the prominence of truthfulness in v. 25, the second probably captures better Paul’s intent. O’Brien, 333, agrees, though Best, 438, does not—seeing it as “an adjectival qualification of the other two nouns.” In either case, whereas the desires that inhabited the old person stemmed from deceit (v. 22), truth characterizes the new self that God is producing, a self that lives in righteousness and holiness.

In combination, then, Paul appeals for believers to take the necessary steps to become who they are in Christ. If this language seems strange, it is Paul’s doing! Paul insists that the old self was taken off at conversion, and yet it is still very much “on.” Likewise, though the new self was put on at conversion, it must continually be “put on” in the Christians’ ways of life. Put another way, what was taken off does not stay off; elsewhere Paul speaks of dying daily (1 Co 15:31; 2 Co 4:10–12; cf. Ro 6:2, 6, 8; Gal 2:19–20). And what was put on needs to be put on again and again. Paul lives with this paradoxical description of Christian reality. He does not envision actual “entities” being put off or on but uses such metaphorical language to highlight believers’ new status and capacities in Christ—ones that enable them, through the power of the Spirit (5:18), to live lives that please God. The gospel shouts that believers are no longer prisoners to what they once were. It also reminds them they must engage the process of becoming renewed in Christ. In theological terms, sanctification is not automatic but requires believers’ willful participation, as the next sections will make abundantly clear.[11]


24 καὶ ἐνδύσασθαι τὸν καινὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ὁσιότητι τῆς ἀληθείας, “and that you should put on the new person who is created in God’s likeness in the righteousness and holiness which come from the truth.” For this writer, the notion of “the new person” has both corporate and individual connotations. The corporate aspect of the new humanity has been seen in 2:15, where the one new person replaces the two separate entities of Jews and Gentiles. But this new humanity also comes to expression individually. Just as the old person is the person under the dominion of this present age, so the new person is the person under the dominion of the new creation and its life. On the basis of what God has accomplished in Christ, this new identity must be appropriated—“put on”—in such a way that its ethical dimensions become apparent. The notion of the new creation is explicit in the description of the new person as “created in God’s likeness.” τὸν κατὰ θεὸν κτισθέντα, lit. “created like God,” is Ephesians’ version of Col 3:10, κατʼ εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν, “according to the image of the one who created it,” with its allusion to the language of Gen 1:26. The reference in Ephesians also shares these connotations of the motif of the new Adam in whom the image of God is restored, but as the following phrase, which is an addition to Colossians, shows, its focus is more on the new creation as involving a life which is patterned after God’s (cf. also 5:1), an existence in conformity to the divine will. The goal of conduct could be formulated as living κατὰ θεόν in Josephus, Ant. 4.6.10, 143 (cf. also Sentences of Sextus 201, 216, 399; Wild, “ ‘Be Imitators’ ”135). The believer is already in principle, and is becoming in practice, part of God’s new creation (cf. 2:10, 15; cf. also 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15). Here, the language reflects a perspective in which there is a combination of God’s gracious initiative and human responsibility, as it is made clear that the new person is created by God but must be put on by the believer.

The new humanity has been created by God to be like him “in the righteousness and holiness which come from the truth.” This latter phrase in the Greek text immediately follows the adjectival participle κτισθέντα, “created,” and this makes it highly likely that the writer intended the virtues he mentions to be thought of primarily as God’s creation (cf. also Schnackenburg, 205). The thought recalls his earlier formulation in 2:10, where believers are said to be “created for good works which God prepared beforehand.” At the same time, as we have already seen, the mention of the virtues here in 4:24 is in an overall paraenetical context, in which it is made clear that believers must appropriate the new humanity and its ethical qualities. The choice of righteousness and holiness as the ethical qualities that are specified underlines the point that the new humanity has been recreated to be like God, because both are characteristics of God in LXX Ps 144:17 and Deut 32:4 (cf. also Rev 16:5). As the new creation in God’s likeness, believers are to be righteous as he is righteous and holy as he is holy. ὁσιότης, “holiness,” occurs elsewhere in the NT only in Luke 1:75 where it is again in conjunction with δικαιοσύνη, “righteousness.” The latter term denotes in Ephesians not God’s putting humanity in a right relationship with himself nor that right relationship itself, the characteristic Pauline usages, but an ethical virtue (cf. also 5:9; 6:14). Schlier (221–22) opts for the distinction already found in Plato, Gorgias 507B, and Philo, De Abr. 208, whereby righteousness is doing right in relation to humanity, while holiness is being right in relation to God. Such a distinction is an overdrawn one for NT usage where each term has both moral and religious connotations. It is probably best to see the two terms used together as “a summary of human virtue” (cf. Abbott, 139), as in Wis 9:3 and Luke 1:75 (cf. also the use of the cognate adverbs in 1 Thess 2:10 and adjectives in Titus 1:8). Further support is lent to this interpretation by the fact that most frequently in Plato (Apology 35D; Crito 54B; Theatetus 172B, 176B) and in Philo (De Sacr. 57; De Spec. Leg. 1.304; 2.180; De Virt. 50) both the adjectival and nominal forms of the two terms are employed together to denote virtuous living in general. It is also significant that in Plato’s Theatetus 176B and its citation in Philo, De Fug. 63, this paired expression explains what it means to become like God. Here too in Ephesians, the new humanity displays these qualities that belong to God, because it has been recreated to be like God (cf. Wild, “ ‘Be Imitators,’ ”134–35).

The evil desires which characterized the old person sprang from deceit (v 22). Now, by contrast, the virtues which characterize the new person can be said to come from the truth. This truth is ultimately divine reality which has been disclosed in the gospel and the apostolic tradition (cf. 1:13; 4:21). By its very nature it gives rise to such virtues as righteousness and holiness. In the Qumran literature, truth is frequently contrasted with deceit or falsehood (e.g., 1QS 5.10; 1QH 1.26, 27, 30), and in 1QS 4.2–26 this contrast forms part of the discussion of the two spirits and their two ways, as it does in T. Jud. 20.1–3 (cf. also T. Jud. 14.1). Also in the Qumran material, the lives of the “sons of truth” can be said to be characterized by ways of righteousness of truth (1QS 4.2; cf. also Murphy-O’Connor, “Truth: Paul and Qumran,” 208–10). Here in 4:24, the portrait of the new person as created in God’s likeness in the righteousness and holiness which come from the truth functions as a challenge to the readers to enter into and to live out that which through their baptism they already know themselves to be. In this way, it is made clear to them that God has not accomplished some instant or total transformation but has made it possible for them to participate in the truth and thereby produce those ethical qualities appropriate to being like God.

Explanation

This passage, as a piece of direct exhortation about both what is inappropriate and what is appropriate to the believer’s calling, continues the address to the readers begun in 4:1–3. God’s calling of these particular readers has taken them out of their previous situation as Gentiles, with all the negative connotations the writer has attached to that identification, into a new creation in which ethnic differences are no longer the significant factor, into a body which transcends the Jew-Gentile divide (cf. chap. 2). Now they must walk worthily of such a calling by no longer living as they did before the call took effect, by no longer living as Gentiles. The positive side of the writer’s exhortation to appropriate conduct appeals to the tradition of teaching the readers have received, and particularly those aspects of the tradition that have ethical implications. This concern has been prepared for in the preceding passage, not only through the notion of living worthily of the calling but also through the importance attached to those ministers whose task is to pass on the apostolic tradition and thereby enable the Church to grow into maturity.

The form the exhortation takes, with its denunciation of the readers’ former way of life, which is at the same time a denunciation of the present way of life of outsiders to the Church, and its continue contrasts between such conduct and that which should characterize those who have been taught the Christian tradition, has certain parallels with both Jewish and Hellenistic ethical material. The content of the exhortation owes something to early Christian baptismal catechesis, but more immediately is dependent on Col 3:5–11. Whereas in Colossians the ethical appeal supported the contrast between heavenly and earthly life and the comparison with the readers’ former lifestyle was secondary (cf. 3:7, 8), in Ephesians it is the latter contrast which gives the writer’s adaptation of the material its distinctive shape and force.

So he begins in vv 17–19 with the strong insistence that his readers are not to fall back into the patterns of thinking and resultant behavior which characterize the surrounding Gentile world. In line with traditional Jewish apologetic, he draws a drastic contrast between such thinking and living and that which God intended. What Gentile Christians should have left behind is an existence in which intellectual perception is totally distorted and, having lost its grip on reality, has become permeated by folly and futility. In such a state, in which the addressees’ surrounding society still finds itself, people’s thinking has become darkened so that they are blind to the true purpose of life and incapable of apprehending truth. Their relationship to the source of life, God himself, has become broken. This is on account of their culpable ignorance, their hardening of themselves to the sense of God available to them. Accompanying this lack of basic insight is a moral bankruptcy, since dullness of ethical sensitivity has in turn led to general debauchery and unrestrained sexual behaviour, to the active pursuit of all kinds of immorality, and to an insatiable greed which disregards the welfare of others.

The transition from this general denunciation of Gentile conduct to what is expected of Christian believers comes in vv 20, 21, as the readers are told in a striking turn of phrase that all this type of behavior certainly has nothing to do with how they “learned Christ.” Between them and their former Gentile lifestyle stands the teaching which can be summed up in Christ, the instruction in the tradition through which the risen Christ shapes the character and lives of believers. The writer is assured that they have not been instructed falsely in such a way as would reproduce the Gentile pattern of life but according to the truth in Jesus, the norm which should call forth the desired quality of life. Three fundamental aspects of that life are set out in vv 22–24. First, it involves stripping off the rotting garment of the old humanity. The old person is in a process of decay which will lead to final ruin, a process brought about through the evil desires generated by deceit, by an ultimately illusory view of life. Believers must live out the significance of what has already taken place through baptism and abandon the old person that they no longer are. Second, since they are not yet completely new, they must allow themselves to be continuely renewed in the inner person, particularly in the mind. Third, this restoration to right thinking will result in right conduct, because the readers are to put on the fresh clean clothing of the new humanity with its just and holy living. The new identity, already achieved for believers, has to be appropriated so that its distinctive ethical qualities will become evident. The new person is created to be like God, and this likeness is exhibited in the righteousness and holiness that epitomize a life in a right relationship to God and humanity and also recall characteristics of this God himself. The existence of the new person is ultimately related to the truth of the gospel and of the apostolic tradition, a moral truth able to give rise to the virtues of righteousness and holiness in those who receive it.

Naturally, because of both the form and content of the passage as an ethical exhortation, believers and their lives are the focus of the writer’s attention. In both their previous and their present state it is their relationship to God that is emphasized—separated from the life of God in the former case and created in God’s likeness in the latter. In the writer’s discussion of the existence of the new person, divine initiative and human responsibility go hand in hand. The decisive transference from the old humanity to the new has already been accomplished by God’s action, but believers must appropriate this for themselves by abandoning the old person, taking on the new and its activities, and allowing themselves to be renewed. A Christological element is not absent from this section, since it is through Christ or, more precisely, through the catechetical tradition which can be summed up in Christ or in Jesus that the pattern of life of the new creation is passed on.

There are a number of other significant aspects of the thought of this passage. Outsiders to the Gentile Christian membership of the Church are designated Gentiles, which reinforces the impression already gained from earlier in the letter, and particularly from 2:11–22, that the writer himself is a Jewish Christian. This Jewish Christian is impressed by the way in which thinking leads to doing in both negative and positive contexts, by the power of ignorance of God in producing moral corruption, and by the power of a mind renewed in the truth in generating virtue. He also places great importance on the role of Christian tradition and of instruction in that tradition in effecting appropriate Christian conduct. Clearest of all is his conviction that being a Christian means having undergone a radical change—from the old person to the new, from futility of mind to renewal of mind, from the service of deceit to the service of truth, from a process of corruption to one of renewal, from a life of unrestrained passions to one of righteousness and holiness. This stress on the change of identity from the old to the new person is in line with Colossians and with earlier Pauline thought but may well introduce a variation. Here only is the tension between indicative and imperative extended to the terminology of the old and new persons, so that believers can be exhorted to put off the old person that they no longer are and to put on the new person that they already are.

Obviously, hortatory material is intended to effect a particular pattern of life in those to whom it is addressed. Here, the denunciation of Gentile lifestyle, the appeal to Christian catechetical tradition, and the antithetical formulations which characterize the passage are all meant to reinforce the new identity of believers, which is foundational to their new lifestyle, and to guard against their becoming conformed to the ethos of the surrounding society. The use of traditional material means that instruction about the distinctive ethical implications of the new identity can take place by way of reminder of what the readers should already know. This passage lays the essential groundwork on which the more detailed and specific ethical exhortations that follow in the next section, 4:25–5:2, depend. Only from these will it become clear how far and in what ways the conduct advocated by this writer really is new and distinctive in relation to ethical attitudes and behavior in the surrounding society.[12]


24. And that ye put on the new man. All that is meant is, “Be renewed in the spirit, or, be renewed within or completely,—beginning with the mind, which appears to be the part most free from all taint of sin.” What is added about the creation, may refer either to the first creation of man, or to the second creation, which is effected by the grace of Christ. Both expositions will be true. Adam was at first created after the image of God, and reflected, as in a mirror, the Divine righteousness; but that image, having been defaced by sin, must now be restored in Christ. The regeneration of the godly is indeed—as we have formerly explained—nothing else than the formation anew of the image of God in them. There is, no doubt, a far more rich and powerful manifestation of Divine grace in this second creation than in the first; but our highest perfection is uniformly represented in Scripture as consisting in our conformity and resemblance to God. Adam lost the image which he had originally received, and therefore it becomes necessary that it shall be restored to us by Christ. The design contemplated by regeneration is to recall us from our wanderings to that end for which we were created.

In righteousness. If righteousness be taken as a general term for uprightness, holiness will be something higher, or that purity which lies in being devoted to the service of God. I am rather inclined to consider holiness as referring to the first table, and righteousness to the second table, of the law, as in the song of Zacharias, “That we may serve him in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:74, 75.) Plato lays down the distinction correctly, that holiness (ὁσιότης) lies in the worship of God, and that the other part, righteousness, (δικαιοσύνη,) bears a reference to men. The genitive, of truth, (τῆς αληθείας,) is put in the place of an adjective, and refers to both terms; so that, while it literally runs, in righteousness and holiness of truth, the meaning is, in true righteousness and holiness. He warns us that both ought to be sincere; because we have to do with God, whom it is impossible to deceive.[13]


[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Eph 4:24). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2269). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eph 4:24). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Eph 4:24). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.

[5] Bond, J. B. (2010). The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (p. 880). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[6] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1938). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 155). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Ephesians (p. 152). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 351–352). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[10] Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (pp. 358–359). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[11] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 126–127). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[12] Lincoln, A. T. (1990). Ephesians (Vol. 42, pp. 287–291). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

[13] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (pp. 295–296). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Barna Update: What Will it Take to Disciple the Next Generation?

Over the last decade and a half, one of Barna’s primary missions has been to understand emerging generations—specifically Gen Z and Millennials in the United States—and discover how to best equip them to grow and share their faith. In the process, Barna has interviewed nearly 100,000 teens and young adults to learn more about their worldview, especially surrounding Christianity, religion and culture.

As Barna deepens our understanding of the next generation and what they’re bringing with them into adulthood, we are also reflecting on some of the many conversations we’ve had with faith leaders about the bigger questions surrounding Gen Z and Millennials. This article includes commentary from experts John A. Murray, Michelle Jones, Jason Broge and Darrell Hall.

Read more: https://www.barna.com/research/disciple-next-generation/

New poll: few Millennials describe belief in God as “very important” — WINTERY KNIGHT

I saw a very interesting article that compared the attitudes of young people about things like patriotism, religion, freedom, etc. The numbers are very discouraging.

So, here’s the article from the Washington Examiner:

The importance of patriotism, faith in God, and having children is significantly lower among millennials and Generation Z, compared to previous generations.

In a new poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, nearly 80% of people aged 55-91 said being patriotic is important to them, while only 42% of millennials and Generation Z, or those aged 18-38, said the same. Thirty percent of millennials and Generation Z said religion was important, compared to the over 75% of baby boomers, with just over 30% of millennials and Generation Z saying it was important to have children.

Areas where the younger generations had placed higher importance compared to boomers were tolerance for others and self-fulfillment, with financial security being almost tied between the two age groups.

I’m sure that everyone has seen other polls showing the decline of Christianity, especially in mainline and Catholic churches. Evangelicals are declining less, but they are still declining.

The reason I linked to this post is because I’ve noticed that some Christians don’t really think that there is anything to be concerned about. Everything is working fine, they say. Whatever we’re doing right now must be working, because there is no decline. We’re winning, and if you think otherwise, then you’re just complaining.

Well, I don’t really know why there is this decline, all I can do is speak from my experiences. I’ve met people through my blog who did lose their faith in college, and I’ve met ex-Christians in my office, too. I asked them what the problem was, and it seems to be that when they were growing up, they often bullied into behaving like a Christian without being able to ask any questions about whether it was true. And then as soon as they got to college away from their parents and pastors, they just dumped the whole thing.

I remember listening to an amazing lecture a while back by Dr. Scott Waller. I think it was a lecture he gave for the Stand to Reason “Masters Series in Christian Thought” in 2003. The lecture was about Postmodernism in the University. Postmodernism is the view that there are no true or false views, especially with “soft” issues like religion and morality. In the lecture, he talked about how a father had sent his devout Christian son to university, and the son had returned an atheist after one semester. I remember Dr. Waller quoting the son telling his parents “I have come to think of my time growing up in this house as the dark period of my life”. The father was very upset. So Dr. Waller told him what to do. He said, you’re going to need to read a few books on the most common questions that your son has, and then work through the answers with him. And he made a little pile of books about common questions that college students ask, and pushed the pile across the table to the father. And the father pushed the books back across the table to Dr. Waller, and said “well, I don’t have time for reading so many books… but could you just talk to him instead?”

Another think that seems to cause a lot of young people to  leave the faith in college is sex. Now if I were trying to convince someone to be responsible about sex, I’d try to show them studies and statistics to explain why there really are best practices to relationships and marriage. For example, I’d might show them that the number of premarital sex partners increases marital instability, or that sliding into cohabitation early tends to make marriages less stable. But this takes a bit of work, and you have to work through it with the young people. I just don’t know if parents really reason with their kids like this. But in churches, I’ve noticed that trying to make an argument using evidence isn’t very popular. To me, if I were trying to be convincing to someone about something, I would use evidence. It’s just natural to me to make a case if I’m trying to be persuasive. But making a case just hasn’t been a really big priority in the churches I’ve attended.

So, I guess if I had to give any advice to parents of children, or pastors in churches, it would be that Christianity is in decline, and we need to do more than just order people to memorize Bible verses and creeds, go to church, etc. It’s hard for me to know what’s really going on in everyone’s home, and in everyone’s church. But I don’t think that whatever we’re doing in our homes and churches is working to convince young people that belief in God is very important.

via New poll: few Millennials describe belief in God as “very important” — WINTERY KNIGHT

Seduced By Bethel Redding — Christian Research Network

Some go to Bethel to “see God move.” Bethel’s “encounter” theology has propelled them into experiential mysticism and demonic manifestations purported to be the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon people. Bethel’s “glory cloud” and other manifestations have deceived those looking for signs and wonders to validate their beliefs, and experience some sort of touch from God. This obsession with signs and wonders has become an indispensable aspect of Bethel’s evangelism.

(Rick Becker – Famine In The Land) Jacob had his dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven at a city called Luz, which he renamed “Bethel”- meaning “house of God.” At a later stage in Israel’s history Jeroboam (first king of the northern kingdom) went off the map by ignoring God’s commands regarding worship. Jeroboam appointed his own priests, set up a golden calf at Bethel and seduced his people into idolatry….

Hosea and Amos later referred to Bethel as “Beth-aven” which means “house of idols” or “vanity.” Today, another kind of “Beth-aven” exists in the form of Bethel church Redding. It’s supposedly a place of dreams, angels, and open heavens. But like Jeroboam, Bethel church has found scripture too restrictive, and created it’s own “golden calf.” The lure has worked, but all that glitters is not gold, and Bethel’s seductive ladder does not lead to heaven. In this post, I examine what I believe are some of the reasons people are seduced by Bethel. These points also serve to describe the characteristics and teachings of churches that are caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation.

1. SCRIPTURE IS RELEGATED

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The relegation of scripture is the root cause of the errors in the points that follow. Those who defend Bethel will argue that Johnson & Co quote, and base their teachings on scripture. The problem is that the principles of biblical interpretation are ignored, and their error is compounded by their use of the Passion translation – a perversion of scripture. The result is the New Apostolic Reformation’s man centered theology. These man centered doctrines are a lure for itching ears and people eager to serve their passions (2 Tim 4:3)

Like any false teacher, Johnson will say the right thing at times. He is however a master at creating a false dilemma, one that places scripture at the mercy of some kind of experience or encounter. Johnson believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and that any new revelation does not carry the “same authoritative weight as Scripture” and that “everything we hear must be consistent with what He has spoken to us in His Word” 1 But Johnson’s duplicity is easy to identify. How can we be sure everything is consistent with scripture when we rely on a “presence” to take us beyond scripture?

“Following the leading of the Holy Spirit can present us with the same dilemma. While he never contradicts His Word, He is very comfortable contradicting our understanding of it.Those who feel safe because of their intellectual grasp of Scriptures enjoy a false sense of security. None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map—to go beyond what we know. To do so successfully we must recognize His presence above all.”  (bold emphasis mine throughout this article)

Studying, examining, and meditating on the word of God is biblical, pursuing experiences is not. Johnson promotes a mystical and subjective means for spiritual guidance and growth

“An encounter with God is often a power encounter. Such encounters vary from person to person according to God’s design. And it’s the lack of power encounters that lead to a misunderstanding of God and his wordExperience is necessary in building a true knowledge of the word. Many fear experience because it might lead away from scripture. The mistakes of some have have led many to fear experiential pursuit”  One would think that incorrectly dividing the word of truth leads to a misunderstanding of God and his word. When context becomes irrelevant, so does scripture, as  presuppositions replace truth. When the Holy Spirit illuminates scripture to us, the meaning does not change, but Johnson pits experience against exegesis:

“FROM STUDY TO EXPERIENCE –  The study of Scriptures must take us beyond the historical setting, beyond language studies in the Hebrew and Greek, and at times beyond the context and intent of the human authors of Scripture. It’s time to hear from God afresh—that His Word would once again become the living Word in our experience.” 

Did God not inspire the context and intent of scripture when he moved upon human authors? “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 Lay aside every commentary on the bible that has been produced during the past two thousand years, lay aside all scholarship and studies in the original languages, Bill Johnson believes we need a different view:

“A NEW VIEW  – We have gone as far as we can go with what we presently know. Not only are we in need of the Spirit of God to teach us, we are in need of a different view of the Bible.” 

And if this is not confusing, I don’t know what is:

“Jesus is the Word of God. It’s hard for Him to not have something to say. Occasionally, we go through times when we feel God is not speaking to us. While that may be so, most of the time He has simply changed His language, and He expects us to adjust with Him.” 6

Now for a vague statement that allows for gold dust, gemstones, oily palms, feathers, road runners etc to become a means of communication from God instead of scripture:

It is vital to learn how God speaks. His first language is not English. In fact, it would be safe to say it’s not Hebrew either. While He uses the languages of men to communicate with us, He is more inclined to speak through a myriad of other methods.” 

Finally, Johnson plants the seed in the minds of his followers to blindly accept God’s additions:

“There are pillar truths in the gospel that form the most basic foundation of the structure. Once you have these in place, God delightfully adds to them, as a decorator decorates a house after the foundation and walls are secure. A man of understanding accepts God’s additions and doesn’t question them. He is not double-minded about them. That’s how a person of understanding attracts greater understanding. You treasure something that God says, and that builds a foundation for greater revelation.” 8

Conveniently, he does not specify what these additions are, or what they look like in practice. What we do know is that  Bethel’s culture of “risk taking” had led them into mysticism, vain imaginations, and doctrines of demons. While Johnson acknowledges some form of foundational truth, it bears little relevance as Bethel’s theological foundation is flawed.

Bethel logic – there’s a law of attraction that rewards people who don’t ask questions.

It’s clear that Johnson’s position is scripture plus…plus an encounter, plus a new view, plus signs, plus other methods. By relegating scripture and exalting experiences, Johnson has created an attractive environment without boundaries that elevates experiences and leads to mysticism. View article →

Research

Bill Johnson

Bethel Redding

New Apostolic Reformation

via Seduced By Bethel Redding — Christian Research Network

August 27, 2019 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

REUTERS

President Donald Trump, responding to a question about climate change after
skipping a G7 session on the issue, said on Monday that American wealth is
based on energy and he will not jeopardize that for dreams and windmills.

President Trump’s administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to
lift a court order preventing the government from fully enforcing a new
rule that would curtail asylum applications by immigrants at the
U.S.-Mexico border.

Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who built a national reputation as a
staunch foe of illegal immigration, announced on Sunday – the anniversary
of his pardon by President Donald Trump – that he will see re-election to
his old job next year.

Attorneys general for 19 states and the District of Columbia sued President
Donald Trump’s administration on Monday to block a sweeping new rule to
indefinitely detain migrant families seeking to settle in the United
States.

A federal judge was expected to decide on Tuesday whether to block a
Missouri law banning abortion after eight weeks except in cases of medical
emergency, according to court documents.

The U.S. government plans to launch a program in roughly one month that
narrowly focuses on protecting voter registration databases and systems
ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton flew into Kiev on Tuesday for
talks to gauge Ukraine’s new authorities and touted a possible meeting
between comic-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.S. President
Donald Trump.

About 40 people are feared dead or missing after the latest wreck of a boat
carrying migrants bound for Europe off the coast of Libya, while about 60
people may have been rescued, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.

Italy’s Interior Minister Salvini has signed a decree to ban a migrant
rescue ship operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline from accessing
Italian waters, sources at the ministry said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said he urged Iran to abide by a 2015
nuclear deal during a meeting on Tuesday with his Iranian counterpart,
Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Opposition parties said they would try to pass a law which would force
Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a delay to Britain’s departure from
the European Union and prevent a potentially chaotic no-deal exit at the
end of October.

U.S. house prices rose solidly in June, but the pace of appreciation is
slowing, which together with declining mortgage rates could boost the
struggling housing market.

AP Top Stories

The National Hurricane Center also said Dorian is expected to become a
Category 1 hurricane as it moves near and passes Puerto Rico on Wednesday
and eastern Hispaniola after that.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that she had met with a group of
young people about the pro-democracy protests gripping the city, but she
showed no sign of budging in a continuing stalemate over the movement’s
demands.

Islamic clerics in Sri Lanka asked Muslim women on Tuesday to continue to
avoid wearing face veils until the government clarifies whether they are
once again allowed now that emergency rule has ended four months after a
string of suicide bomb attacks.

The head of Hezbollah on Sunday threatened Israel after a “drone attack” on
the Lebanese Shiite movement’s Beirut stronghold, vowing to “do everything”
to thwart future attacks.

An Australian pro-democracy academic held for seven months in China has
been formally arrested for spying, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said
Tuesday as she demanded Beijing uphold “basic standards” of justice.

Iran on Monday announced that the 2.1 million barrels of crude aboard an
Iranian oil tanker pursued by the U.S. has been sold to an unnamed buyer as
the ship, at the center of a crisis roiling the region, continued its
voyage in the Mediterranean Sea.

Clashes between anti-government fighters and regime forces killed 51
combatants on both sides in northwestern Syria Tuesday, a war monitor said.

An unmanned spacecraft carrying Russia’s first humanoid robot to be sent
into orbit successfully docked at the International Space Station on
Tuesday, following a failed attempt over the weekend, Moscow’s space agency
said.

Foreign buyers, particularly the Chinese, have pulled back sharply from the
U.S. real estate market.

Bangladesh’s top court has ruled that women need no longer declare if they
are virgins on marriage certificates after a five-year legal battle by
women’s rights groups trying to protect women’s privacy and potential
humiliation.

BBC

KFC is to trial meatless “chicken” nuggets made from plants as it tries to
further take advantage of the growing popularity of meat substitutes.

Researchers are trying to learn to “speak mosquito” so they can lure them
away from populated areas or design devices to catch and kill them –
helping to reduce malaria and yellow fever.

Kenya has exported its first batch of oil as President Uhuru Kenyatta
flagged off the crude shipment from the port of Mombasa on Monday morning.


Mid-Day Snapshot · Aug. 27, 2019

The Foundation

“The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of its political cares.” —Alexander Hamilton (1787)

Opioid Ruling Won’t Solve the Addiction Crisis

Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million over its role in the epidemic.


Trump’s Rope-a-Dope Negotiation Strategy

He invites his opponents to come at him, and in so doing they find themselves exposed.


Japan’s Naval Counterweight to China

Building up Japan’s navy gives the U.S. an ally that can project power in the region.


Actor Gary Sinise Celebrates 25 Years of Veterans Advocacy

“[He] played a role and then adopted it as part of [his] personal life.”


Video: Is College Worth It?

Is college a good investment? It’s getting harder and harder to make that case.


Video: This Is Why Bernie Is Wrong on Climate Change

Ben Shapiro dissects 2020 Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders climate-change plans.



Today’s Opinion

Cal Thomas
They’ve Lost Their Minds in San Francisco
Stephen Moore
Democrats Rooting for Recession
Rich Lowry
The New York Times Should Stop Whining
Gary Bauer
Trump Strong at Summit
Dennis Prager
My Response to Harvey Spevak, Executive Chairman of Equinox
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

Tuesday Top News Executive Summary

Pivotal opioid verdict, blue-state obstruction, Iran olive branch, Dem polling, FEC resignation, and more.


Tuesday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Will Rogers, Beto O’Rourke, James Clapper, Don Lemon, and more.



Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Headlines – 8/27/2019

Trump may reveal peace plan before Israeli elections, thinks deal ‘will happen’

Trump: The Money I Cut Off to PA Will Help Move Peace Plan

Hamas calls Israel’s decision to cut fuel transfer to Gaza in half ‘collective punishment’

As war fears skyrocket, Netanyahu orders rare security briefing for rival Gantz

Netanyahu calls for int’l community to act as tensions near boiling point

‘Armies of Drones’ Are Being Set Up All Over the World – and Israel Isn’t Prepared for This Threat

Hezbollah says explosives found in drone that crashed in Beirut

Israel Appears to Attack Four Countries in Two Days, Bombing Iran’s Allies Across Middle East

Israel Strikes Palestinian Base on Lebanese-Syrian Border, State News Claims

UN calls for ‘maximum restraint’ after alleged Israeli strike in Lebanon

Israel Believes Nasrallah’s Threats Over Lebanon Strikes, Braces for Retaliation

Lebanese president says alleged Israeli strikes a ‘declaration of war’

Iraqi political bloc calls alleged Israeli strikes ‘a declaration of war’

Iraqi bloc calls for US troops withdrawal after Israeli air raids

Israel will defend itself ‘by any means,’ PM says amid fears of border skirmish

Pence speaks with Netanyahu, backs Israel’s right to defend itself

Iran says Israel ‘will pay a heavy price’ for its actions

Trump says he doesn’t want regime change in Iran, but ‘too soon’ to meet Zarif

Trump says open to meeting Iran’s Rouhani, a ‘great negotiator,’ in coming weeks

Israel alarmed by possible Trump-Rouhani talks, fears he’ll let Iran off hook

Barak calls potential Trump-Rouhani talks a ‘red light’ for all of Israel

At G7 summit Merkel hails ‘big step forward’ in Iran talks

‘Sorry, it’s the way I negotiate’: Trump confounds the world at wild G-7

SE Cupp: If it feels like the world is on fire … it is

New details on Russia’s mysterious missile disaster suggest a nuclear reactor blew up

Hong Kong’s calm broken with tear gas on 12th weekend of consecutive protests

China announces it seeks ‘calm’ end to trade war, as markets tank and currency hits 11-year flatline

China lets yuan sink, Trump says serious talks to start

Mohamed El-Erian warns a cease-fire is the ‘best we could hope’ for in the US-China trade war

Trump-Abe Trade Deal Helps U.S. Farmers, Staves Off Auto Tariffs

Insiders are selling stock like it’s 2007

When the U.S. Economy Coughs, Israel Catches the Flu

The Next Recession Will Destroy Millennials

Boris Johnson insists the Irish backstop must be removed to avoid no-deal Brexit at G7 summit

X-37B Military Space Plane Breaks Record on Latest Mystery Mission

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Isangel, Vanuatu

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 27,000ft

Ubinas volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 22,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 14,000ft

Sangeang Api volcano in Indonesia erupts to 10,000ft

Tropical Storm Dorian Slicing through Windward Islands; Future Intensity a Big Question

South Florida now inside Dorian forecast cone. Tropical Storm watch issued for Puerto Rico

Trump Fires Back Against ‘Ridiculous’ Report That He Wanted To Use Nuclear Weapons To Stop Hurricanes

Trump, on climate, says he won’t jeopardize U.S. wealth on ‘dreams’

US banana imports on alert after disease makes long-dreaded arrival in Colombia

Florida man loses 25% of skin to flesh-eating bacteria, family says

Johnson & Johnson must pay over $572 million for its role in Oklahoma opioid crisis, judge rules

Long-Running Christian Program Airs Gay Wedding

Government Cannot Force Christian Filmmakers to Video Gay Weddings, Appeal Court Rules


Apostasy Watch Daily News

Big Christianism, or the Christianism-Industrial-Complex vs. Christianity

Rick Joyner Admits He Knew Todd Bentley Practiced Sexual Immorality

Michael Brown is An Apologist for the Devil

Former Los Angeles church chairman charged with stealing over $11 million in church funds

Police: Man shoots worshipper during church service robbery


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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

RenewAmerica Newsletter for August 27, 2019


August 26, 2019
NEWSMAX — Iran’s foreign minister paid a visit to a G7 summit in France on Sunday as a guest to French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, a move that blindsided White House officials and some U.S. lawmakers condemned…. (more)

August 26, 2019
DAILY CALLER — South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said Americans have to be ready to tighten their belts in order to make China’s government change its trade practices. “I’m glad American companies are in China doing business because there’s a lot of customers. What I don’t like is they close off markets to the American business community in China,” Graham said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “They’re required to have a Chinese business partner when you do business in China, and they steal all of your stuff.”… (more)

August 26, 2019
DAILY WIRE — President Donald Trump’s latest trade war escalation against China appears to have had an immediate effect on Asian markets and the Chinese yuan, sending both tumbling early on Monday morning. “China’s yuan currency fell to 7.1487 to the dollar, its weakest level since early 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis,” AFP reported. “On equity markets, Hong Kong led losses, slumping more than three percent, with investors also spooked by fresh violent protests in the city that saw police use water cannon for the first time. Shanghai lost 1.3 percent and Tokyo ended the morning more than two percent off.”… (more)

August 26, 2019
NEWSMAX — Amid a roller-coaster trade war, President Donald Trump’s upping the ante last Friday got China to blink, according to Far East foreign affairs expert Gordon Chang on Newsmax TV…. (more)

August 26, 2019
DAILY CALLER — Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar mocked Republican Rep. Mo Brooks Friday after he said that more Muslims in office is leading to more anti-Semitism. “Oh it’s fine, it’s just a Republican who says something bigoted!” the Minnesota congresswoman tweeted…. (more)


August 26, 2019
DAILY CALLER — CNN’s Brian Stelter speculated Sunday on President Donald Trump’s mental health and called for more media coverage of the issue. “So something is wrong,” Stelter said in the opening monologue of his show, “Reliable Sources.”… (more)


August 25, 2019
DAILY CALLER — At least two former staffers and one friend to New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand say it is time for the lawmaker to quit the race for the Democratic presidential nomination…. (more)


August 25, 2019
Appeals court says they have the right to choose what they will say
BOB UNRUH — Courts base their decisions on U.S. law and the Constitution, right? So it should be no surprise that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited the Constitution in its decision to reinstate a lawsuit by two filmmakers in Minnesota who had sued the state for trying to coerce them into saying something they didn’t want to say…. (more)

August 25, 2019
WORLDNETDAILY — A “conscience rights” rule implemented by the Trump administration that exempts physicians from providing “treatments” that violate religious faith such as abortion has been challenged by lawsuits in New York and California…. (more)

August 25, 2019
Criticize ‘hollow report devoid of substantive policy proposals’
WORLDNETDAILY — A report authorized by Facebook concluded the company has taken “some steps” to address the censorship concerns of conservatives. But it fell short of even beginning to address the real problem. That’s according to a new statement released by nearly two dozen conservative leaders…. (more)

August 25, 2019
NEWSMAX — Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed a three-week course of radiation therapy to treat a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, a court spokeswoman said on Friday. The 86-year old justice tolerated the therapy well and no further treatment is required, spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement…. (more)

August 23, 2019
Refuses to watch from the sidelines as ‘our state, country, and way of life continue to come under blistering attack from radical politicians like Ilhan Omar [D-Minn.]’
NEWSMAX — Former U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn., announced that he will challenge U.S. Sen. Tina Smith in 2020, the Star Tribune is reporting. “Let the battle begin,” he said on Thursday. The newspaper reported he called the Senate “the last firewall for freedom” in the face of liberals like U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and the other three members of what is called the progressive “squad” of House Democrats…. (more)

August 23, 2019
JOAN SWIRSKY — “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13). “…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Remember good ole boy Johnny Edwards – – actually North Carolina Democrat Senator John Edwards (1998-2012), VP candidate in 2004 and presidential candidate in 2008? Edwards is hard to forget because he burst upon the national stage as the golden-tongued lawyer who was famous for defending the rights of the unborn…. (more)

August 23, 2019
BRYAN FISCHER — The New York Times, through what it is calling “The 1619 Project,” has decided to rewrite American history by identifying the date of our “true founding” as August 20, 1619, 400 years ago today. The Times has picked that date because that’s the day when “20. and odd Negroes” (sic) were off-loaded from a Dutch man-of-war in Jamestown, Virginia, and slavery first came ashore in what became the United States…. (more)

August 23, 2019
JERRY NEWCOMBE — I recently preached a sermon on the subject of stealing in our church’s series on the Ten Commandments. And one of the points I made is that socialism is a form of theft. I mentioned the slogan going around during the 1960s – – ” property is theft.” But the Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Implied in that commandment is the sanctity of private property – – I’m not allowed to simply take it because someone else owns it. And the Bible does not say, “Thou shalt not steal, unless thou art the government.”… (more)

August 23, 2019
NATIONAL REVIEW — President Trump said Wednesday that he is “seriously” considering issuing an executive order to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump argued that it is “frankly ridiculous” that the U.S. affords citizenship to babies born to immigrants who entered the country illegally…. (more)


August 22, 2019
JOSEPH FARAH — Donald Trump had a question for the prime minister of Denmark. “How much do you want for Greenland?” he asked Mette Fredericksen. He didn’t have a trace of embarrassment about publicly asking her the question, nor was he embarrassed about canceling his trip when he got her negative response…. (more)

August 22, 2019
ANN COULTER — Even before The New York Times launched its “All Slavery, All the Time” project, no one could accuse that paper of skimping on its race coverage, particularly stories about black males killed by white(ish) police officers…. (more)

August 22, 2019
‘Faithless’ electors can vote for whomever they like, irrespective of public
WORLDNETDAILY — The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that Colorado’s Electoral College electors aren’t required to cast their vote for the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in their state. The case began in 2016 when three of Colorado’s nine electors, the “faithless” electors, voted for John Kasich instead of Hillary Clinton in an attempt to undermine Trump’s election…. (more)


August 22, 2019
Romney the private choice of many ‘Never Trumpers’
GREENWICH TIME — Joe Walsh, a pugnacious former congressman, is preparing a Republican primary challenge to President Trump that he previewed as a daily “bar fight” with the incumbent over his morality and competency. Mark Sanford, a former South Carolina governor and congressman, said he is inching closer to a bid of his own by sounding out activists in New Hampshire and other early-voting states about an insurgency focused on the ballooning deficit…. (more)


August 22, 2019
Fight over climate debate expected to continue Saturday
MERCURY NEWS — A Democratic National Committee meeting erupted into a bitter battle Thursday morning over the question of holding a climate-specific presidential debate, with party officials stamping down a resolution calling for a such an event in the face of raucous opposition from activists…. (more)

August 22, 2019
‘It’s a shame that anyone would even consider its opinion’
WORLDNETDAILY — Evangelist Franklin Graham warns anyone who would consider the advice of the Southern Poverty Law Center that the organization is a “sham.” While it once focused on fighting the KKK, SPLC now routinely slaps the “hate” label on Christians and Christian organizations because of their religious beliefs…. (more)

August 21, 2019
BYRON YORK — There will be much to learn in Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s upcoming report on the Trump-Russia investigation, but most of it will likely boil down to just two questions. One, how much did the Obama Justice Department spy on the Trump campaign? And two, was it justified?… (more)


August 19, 2019
NEWSMAX — President Donald Trump is insisting the U.S. already has “very, very strong background checks” for gun purchases and is noting many of his supporters “are strong believers in the Second Amendment,” in another sign he is backing away from supporting expanded checks…. (more)

 

August 27 The Fruit of the Spirit

scripture reading: Ephesians 5:8–14
key verses: Ephesians 5:9–10

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

What kinds of sounds do you hear in a grape arbor or other fruit orchard? You can probably hear birds chirping, the wind rustling through leaves, and many other usual outdoor sounds.

What you do not hear is the sound of the vines or trees groaning and straining. The plants are not laboring to produce their fruit; the fruit comes out of their branches naturally as a part of the growing process. The vine does not have to concentrate on producing grapes. When the vine is healthy and has all the water and nutrients it needs, the grapes come forth.

Jesus compared your life to the branches on a grapevine. He said: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 nasb).

The secret to fruit producing is as basic for you as it is for a real grapevine: stay planted in the Vine, and focus all of your energy and attention on being there, or abiding, in Christ. Worship Him, praise Him, meditate on His words, seek solitude in Him, and let yourself be absorbed into His purposes.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, who bears testimony that you are planted into the Vine, your “grapes” will grow. Your fruit is a direct reflection of the quality of your relationship with Christ.

Make me a healthy spiritual vine, dear Lord. Let the fruit of my life reflect the quality of my relationship with You. Teach me to abide.[1]


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

27 Aug 2019 – Rapture Ready News

Silicon Valley In California Is Building A Chinese-Style ‘Social Credit System’ That Grows Larger And Stronger With Every App You Download And Use
We all gasped in shock and horror when we learned last year about China’s dystopian and chilling social credit system that looked and sounded a whole lot like the George Orwell novel ‘1984‘. But guess what? A very similar system is rising up here in America, not run by our government like the Chinese system is, but created by each and every one of us who download apps and use the “like” and commenting features. All this activity has created a system that is beginning to rate people and allow them access to the system, or to lock them out of it.

EFCA Now Considers Premillennialism a Non-Essential……
The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) changed its position on end times theology, voting this summer to drop the word “premillennial” from the denomination’s statement of faith.

Drag Queen Story Hour ‘greatest grooming program ever devised,’ counselor says
A clinical counselor who has worked with over 4,000 serial predators is urging parents to be vigilant after a Texas library hosted a Drag Queen Story Hour for kids featuring a reader who has a criminal record.

Back To School: Mutant Super Lice Found In 42 States, Including Florida
Scientists discovered that lice populations in at least 42 states have mutated to develop a resistance to over-the-counter treatments still widely recommended by doctors and schools.

Over 30,000 scientists say ‘Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming’ is a complete hoax and science lie
The highly-politicized climate change debate rages on as we approach the crucial 2016 U.S. presidential election, despite an ever-growing body of evidence revealing the fact that “catastrophic man-made global warming” is nothing more than an elaborate hoax.

Communist Chinese Soldiers Infiltrate Hong Kong Police-VIOLENCE IS ESCALATING!!!
As I predicted 2 weeks ago, the Hong Kong police have been infiltrated by CCP soldiers. Subsequently the violence level is dramatically escalating.  Here comes Hong Kong Square.   And pay close attention American, if the Democrats win in 2020, this will be happening in a city near you.

Major Fentanyl Shipment from China Seized in Mexico
The Secretariat of the Navy of Mexico (La Secretaría de Marina–SEMAR) has reported a major fentanyl seizure believed to be of multi-ton in the Mexican port city of Lázaro Cárdenas in the state of Michoacán.

US Imam says the Muslims absolutely have the right to take the property of filthy Jews and Christians Yasir Hadhi, a prominent American Imam and college professor at Rhodes College, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was described in a 2011 New York Times Magazine essay as “one of the most influential conservative clerics in American Islam.” Just recently, Hadhi publicly said that Christians and Jews are the “filthy,” “impure,”and basically no different than “feces” and “urine.”

Long-Running Christian Program Airs Gay Wedding
“…the show’s reformating is meant to represent the Christian faith of today and all its different looks and appearances.” Well, God’s Word hasn’t changed! What God clearly states about marriage being an institution He ordained in Genesis—one man and one woman—hasn’t changed. God’s Word calling homosexual behavior a sin hasn’t changed.

— Read on www.raptureready.com/2019/08/27/27-aug-2019/

27 august (preached 26 august 1860) 365 Days with Spurgeon

Reigning grace

“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21

suggested further reading: Romans 5:12–17

An awful contemplation is that of the reign of sin. Permitted to come into this world as a usurper—having mounted its throne upon the heart of man by flattering blandishments, and crafty pleasantries, it was not long before it fully developed itself. Its first act was to smite Eden with blast and mildew by its breath; its next act was to slay the second child of man and that by the hand of the eldest born. Since then, its reign has been scarlet with blood, black with iniquity, and fraught with everything that can make the heart of man sad and wretched. Oh sin, thou tyrant monster, all the demons that ever sat upon the throne of Rome, were never such as thou art; and all the men, who from the wild north, have come forth as the scourges of man, the destroying angels of our race, though they have waded up to their knees in the blood of mortals, have never been so terrible as thou art. Thou hast reigned unto death, and that a death eternal—a death from which there shall be no resurrection—a death which casts souls into an eternal grave—a grave of fire. Our apostle now changes the subject, and represents man under the gracious state, as rejoicing in another government, ruled by another king. Just as sin has reigned, and with despotic and irresistible power has ground his subjects in the very dust, and then cast them into the flames, so does grace with irresistible goodness, constrain the chosen multitude to yield obedience, and thus prepares them for eternal bliss. See, it lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, and makes him to sit among princes. Mark its shining course, and behold it blessing the sons of man wherever it stretches out its silver sceptre, chasing away the misery of night, and giving the joy of gospel day.

for meditation: Refugees from the dominion of darkness are accepted as citizens of the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13) and they will never be sent back to their former home.

sermon no. 330[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H., & Crosby, T. P. (1998). 365 Days with Spurgeon (Volume 1) (p. 246). Leominster, UK: Day One Publications.

Tuesday Briefing August 27, 2019 – AlbertMohler.com

PART I

 Less Patriotism, Less God, Fewer Babies: New Poll Reveals that Americans Value Patriotism, Religion, and Having Children Less Than Previous Generations

PART II

 Why Did California’s Black Market for Marijuana Grow Last Year Despite Legalization in the State?

PART III

 Markets and Morality: When Government Preys on the People. The Inevitable Outcome of Reliance on Tax Revenue from Gambling.

DOWNLOAD MP3


DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING

PART I

PART II

PART III

— Read on albertmohler.com/2019/08/27/briefing-8-27-19

27 AUGUST 365 Days with Calvin

Being Gentle in Correction

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Galatians 6:1

suggested further reading: Jeremiah 30:1–17

We are taught here to correct the faults of others in a mild manner, considering no rebuke to have a religious and Christian character that does not breathe the spirit of meekness. To this end, Paul explains the goal of pious reproof, which is to restore a person who has fallen and to place him back in his former condition. That goal will never be accomplished by violence, by a disposition to accuse, or by fierceness of manner or language. Consequently, we must display a gentle and meek spirit if we are to heal a fellow believer. Lest any one should satisfy himself by simply assuming the outward form of meekness, the apostle demands the spirit of meekness, for no person is prepared to chastise a brother till he has succeeded in acquiring a gentle spirit.

Another argument for gentleness in correcting others is the expression if a man be overtaken in a fault. If a person has been carried away through want of consideration or through the cunning art of a deceiver, it would be cruel to treat such a person with harshness. We know that the devil is always lying in wait and has a thousand ways of leading us astray. When we perceive that a believer has transgressed, let us consider that he has fallen into the snares of Satan. Let us then be moved with compassion and prepare our minds to exercise forgiveness.

Offenses and falls of this description must undoubtedly be distinguished from deep-seated crimes that are accompanied by deliberate and obstinate disregard of the authority of God. Such displays of wicked and perverse disobedience to God must be treated with greater severity, for what advantage would be gained by gentle treatment? The word also implies that not only the weak who have been tempted but also those who have yielded to temptation shall be treated with forbearance.

for meditation: It can be difficult to react with gentleness and meekness to the faults we find in others. If we ourselves do not particularly struggle with the same sin, how easily we condemn their behavior and deeply wound them in the process. We should keep in mind that only God’s grace keeps us from easily falling into the same temptation.[1]


[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 258). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

August 27 – divine sojourners — Reformed Perspective

“So the children of Israel gave to the Levites from their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their common-lands.” – Joshua 21:3

Scripture reading: Joshua 21:1-42

As the land was being divided in chapters 13 through 19, it was often mentioned that the tribe of Levi would receive no specific place because “their portion was the LORD.” They were God’s special servants with no earthly home. As such, the Levites foreshadow our life as God’s people on earth. This world is not our home, but we still have worldly needs. The Levites were set aside by God for special ministry, but they still needed to eat. So they come to Joshua in chapter 21 and ask for “cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for our livestock” (vs. 2); essentially, they needed a roof over their heads and a pasture for their animals.

This tells us that we are to pursue the things of God with all our heart, but we also need to pay our bills! Our Heavenly Father knows this. He supplies all of our eternal and earthly needs. He calls us to be faithful in our service to Him wherever He has us sojourn in this world.

Notice too how the Lord provides for the earthly needs of the Levites through the glad giving of the different tribes. Forty-eight cities are given for the Levites out of the inheritance that God has just given to the twelve tribes. This is their “tithe” given out of what God has just given to them. May we as God’s people hold loosely to earthly things. May we give gladly to God from the riches He has given to us.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord for all His rich gifts given to you, both eternal and earthly. Ask Him to supply you with an eternal perspective which views earthly things in a way that honours Him. Thank Him for supplying all of our needs in the riches of Christ Jesus, our Lord.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ed Marcusse is the pastor of the Oak Glen United Reformed Church of Lansing, Illinois.

via August 27 – divine sojourners — Reformed Perspective

August 27, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

90:12 The psalmist asked the Lord to teach us to take advantage of our short lives on earth in order to nurture a heart directed by wisdom (1Kg 3:12; Pr 16:23; Ec 8:5; 10:2).[1]


90:12 To number our days is to measure the time left in life and make every day count. It is based on the recognition that life is short and God’s anger swift. Thus, the goal of such numbering is a heart of wisdom. Conscious of life’s brevity, we learn to make choices through which God can establish the work of our hands (v. 17), producing something valuable to those that follow us (v. 16) and honoring to God.[2]


90:12 The emphasis here is upon the frugal use of years and not upon the number of years. Usefulness surpasses longevity. The psalmist pleads for discernment in ordering his days.[3]


90:12 teach us to number our days A response to God’s power and wrath—emphasizing that people should pay attention to God’s ways each day and appreciate the life given to them.

a heart of wisdom Wisdom starts with being properly oriented to God.[4]


90:12 teach us to number our days. In view of the theme of the psalm, this refers especially to the ability to make the most of one’s days, since they are so few. The heart of wisdom would enable the faithful to live by the right priorities (cf. the “fear” of God, v. 11).[5]


90:12 number our days. Evaluate the use of time in light of the brevity of life. heart of wisdom. Wisdom repudiates autonomy and focuses on the Lord’s sovereignty and revelation.[6]


12. “So teach us to number our days.” Instruct us to set store by time, mourning for that time past wherein we have wrought the will of the flesh, using diligently the time present, which is the accepted hour and the day of salvation, and reckoning the time which lieth in the future to be too uncertain to allow us safely to delay any gracious work or prayer. Numeration is a child’s exercise in arithmetic, but in order to number their days aright the best of men need the Lord’s teaching. We are more anxious to count the stars than our days, and yet the latter is by far more practical. “That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Men are led by reflections upon the brevity of time to give their earnest attention to eternal things; they become humble as they look into the grave which is so soon to be their bed, their passions cool in the presence of mortality, and they yield themselves up to the dictates of unerring wisdom; but this is only the case when the Lord himself is the teacher; he alone can teach to real and lasting profit. Thus Moses prayed that the dispensations of justice might be sanctified in mercy. “The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ,” when the Lord himself speaks by the law. It is most meet that the heart which will so soon cease to beat should while it moves be regulated by wisdom’s hand. A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour. Neither art we sure of enough of life to justify us in procrastinating for a moment. If we were wise in heart we should see this, but mere head wisdom will not guide us aright.[7]


Ver. 12.—So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. “Teach us,” that is, “so to reflect on the brevity of life, that we may get to ourselves a heart of wisdom,” or a heart that is wise and understanding.[8]


12. Teach us so to number our days. Some translate to the number of our days, which gives the same sense. As Moses perceived that what he had hitherto taught is not comprehended by the understandings of men until God shine upon them by his Spirit, he now sets himself to prayer. It indeed seems at first sight absurd to pray that we may know the number of our years. What? since even the strongest scarcely reach the age of fourscore years, is there any difficulty in reckoning up so small a sum? Children learn numbers as soon as they begin to prattle; and we do not need a teacher in arithmetic to enable us to count the length of a hundred upon our fingers. So much the fouler and more shameful is our stupidity in never comprehending the short term of our life. Even he who is most skilful in arithmetic, and who can precisely and accurately understand and investigate millions of millions, is nevertheless unable to count fourscore years in his own life. It is surely a monstrous thing that men can measure all distances without themselves, that they know how many feet the moon is distant from the centre of the earth, what space there is between the different planets; and, in short, that they can measure all the dimensions both of heaven and earth; while yet they cannot number threescore and ten years in their own case. It is therefore evident that Moses had good reason to beseech God for ability to perform what requires a wisdom which is very rare among mankind. The last clause of the verse is also worthy of special notice. By it he teaches us that we then truly apply our hearts to wisdom when we comprehend the shortness of human life. What can be a greater proof of madness than to ramble about without proposing to one’s self any end? True believers alone, who know the difference between this transitory state and a blessed eternity, for which they were created, know what ought to be the aim of their life. No man then can regulate his life with a settled mind, but he who, knowing the end of it, that is to say death itself, is led to consider the great purpose of man’s existence in this world, that he may aspire after the prize of the heavenly calling.[9]


[1] Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 898). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Noble, S., & Ross, A. P. (2017). Psalms. In S. McDowell (Ed.), The Apologetics Study Bible for Students (p. 705). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[3] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ps 90:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 90:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1053). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 90:12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[7] Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 88-110 (Vol. 4, pp. 64–65). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Psalms (Vol. 2, p. 255). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] Calvin, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Commentary on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 3, pp. 473–474). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Do Extraordinary Claims (Like the Existence of God) Require Extraordinary Evidence? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

J. Warner Wallace was interviewed by Stelman Smith of the Unapologetic Apologists and addressed the case for Christianity. How can we make the case for God? What kind of evidence is appropriate? Does the case require extraordinary evidence?

via Do Extraordinary Claims (Like the Existence of God) Require Extraordinary Evidence? (Video) — Cold Case Christianity

Core Christianity | Should We Worship and Pray to the Holy Spirit?

Christians can sometimes struggle with relating to the Holy Spirit. This is understandable. The names Father and Son are familiar and ordinary however Holy Spirit conjures up something mystical, something outside of and beyond our ordinary experience. A spirit is intangible and ethereal. This can make our interactions with the Holy Spirit confusing or unclear: should we worship the Spirit? Should we address him directly in prayer? We can deepen and strengthen our relationship with the Spirit by thinking through each of these questions. 

Should we worship the Holy Spirit?

The answer to this question is simple: yes we should worship the Spirit. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is God. I could stop here, but the truth is that this question requires deeper examination. While on the surface it can be quickly answered, the question gets at a more complex issue: how do we worship a God who is triune? There is a tension here. God is one essence and our worship should be directed towards him alone. Yet, at the same time God is three persons and each person, since they are divine, ought to be worshiped. On the one hand we do not want to worship God as an essence or abstract being, we want to worship him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the other hand, we don’t want to so separate the persons in our worship that they effectively become three distinct gods. 

The key to navigating these extremes is twofold. First, we must know God as he has revealed himself (Deuteronomy 29:29). If we don’t study and meditate on the things God teaches us about himself in the Bible, we won’t know how to approach him in worship. Second, as we worship we must be thoughtful and aware of how we are thinking about God. The Triune nature of God should be ever present at the forefront of our minds when we worship. This state of mind was described well by the fourth century Byzantine theologian Gregory of Nazianzus when he said: “I cannot think on the one without quickly being encircled by the splendor of the three; or can I discern the three without being straightway carried back to the one.”[1]Christian worship does not think of and address God as either one or three. Christian worship always praises God as both one essence and three persons. 

We can see practically how this works by returning to the original question: should we worship the Holy Spirit? Because God is triune, it is impossible to truly worship him without worshiping the Holy Spirit. Real worship ascribes glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The important caution to make, is that we must never elevate or isolate the Holy Spirit in such a way that we worship him as his own deity, not as a person of the godhead, coequal to the Father and Son. If we find that our worship focuses on the Holy Spirit to the exclusion of the Father or Son, then our worship is not directed towards the one true, triune God. 

Should we pray to the Holy Spirit? 

Our first question dealt broadly with the way we relate to and worship the Holy Spirit. This question looks more specifically at whether or not we should address the Holy Spirit when we pray. To begin it would be helpful to take a brief look at some of the things the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit and prayer. 

First, consider what Jesus said about the Holy Spirit: 

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:13-14). 

After Christ’s ascension the Holy Spirit is sent to us with a purpose. The Holy Spirit doesn’t come for his own fame but to glorify Christ. It isn’t as if the Old Testament was the Father’s time, the New Testament the Son’s, and now the Holy Spirit gets his moment in the spotlight. The Holy Spirit comes to direct attention and worship to Christ. It is through Christ that we can come before the Father with our prayers. Seventeenth century theologian John Owen summed up the Spirit’s role in prayer well: “By keeping our hearts and minds close to Christ as Mediator the Holy Spirit refreshes our souls and makes our approaches to God in prayer not burdensome but delightful.”[2] The Holy Spirit is not about soaking up all the worship he can get for himself, he is about directing our worship to Jesus. 

Second, as we consider whether or not we should pray to the Holy Spirit, it is important to understand that we cannot pray without the Spirit. In fact, Paul tells us that, 

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).

When Christians pray, the Holy Spirit assists us stepping in when we don’t know what to pray for or how to pray about something. This reality is a great encouragement when we struggle with prayer. As long as we do it, the Holy Spirit will help. Indeed, the key to prayer is that we do it in connection with the Holy Spirit. Paul exhorts Christians to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer is a supernatural event. Christians do not merely speak words into the air or have thoughts that float into nothingness when they pray. If we pray in the Holy Spirit, our words go directly to the throne room of God. 

At this point the answer to our question should be a bit clearer. Should we pray to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is God and can be addressed directly in prayer. There is nothing sinful or wrong about doing that, nor does the Bible forbid it. However, as we study the Holy Spirit’s role in prayer it becomes clear that addressing the Holy Spirit directly is not the primary way the Bible teaches us to pray. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in his name (Matthew 6:9 John 14:13; 16:24). Those prayers are aided and made effectual by the Holy Spirit. Christian prayer, therefore, is to a triune God. The way we pray is molded by the triune nature of God. We pray to the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can pray to the Holy Spirit directly and there may be times that are appropriate, but if we follow the New Testament teaching and model it will not be the predominant way we pray. 

Notes

  1. ^ Gregory of Nazianzus, On Holy Baptism, oration xl. 41 (MPG 36. 418; tr. NPNF 2 ser. VII. 375). Qtd. in John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion Volume 1,ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Westminster John Knox Press, London, 1960), 141. 
  2. ^ John Owen, The Spirit and the Church(The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 112.