Blog/Devo

Is Your house Clean?

Our study in the Gospel of John has already proven to be challenging and enriching. Remember John’s purpose in writing this book:

He declares, “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

The primary purposes, therefore, are two-fold: evangelistic and apologetic.1

John wants us to believe in Jesus. He has chosen seven signs (out of countless others Jesus performed, John 20:30) to support His thesis that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. These past two weeks we witnessed the start of Jesus’s signs in John chapter 2. John began with a miracle of 

conversion (changing water into wine in John 2:1-12). Next, John shows Jesus with a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple in John 2:12-17). This is always how Jesus works in His people: conversion, then cleansing. You and I cannot possibly be clean enough to come to Jesus! We desperately need the intervention of God’s Holy Spirit to change us first.

 
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1–7)

 

What can dead people do? NOTHING!! We need Jesus to bring us to life. We need to be born again from on high (John 3:3). We need to be converted first. Conversion is that act of God whereby God enables sinners to experience His calling and drawing away from sin and toward Himself. Although conversion can be seen as a human act or decision, Scripture stresses that the work of God lies behind this human decision, guiding and motivating it.2 (See Acts 15:3; 26:18).

 It is only after this rebirth, or Conversion, does the cleansing come into play.

As Hebrews 12:6 reminds us,

“For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” He adds (12:11), “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” And so we should not regard His discipline lightly or faint when we are reproved by Him, but rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live(12:5, 9).

You see, just as Jesus was moved to a righteous anger (John 2:12-17) because of the offense of the Jews in the temple, He also is angered over the offense of our sin. The Jews in the first century had set up shop in the Temple courts. Specifically, they were in the Courtyard of the Gentiles. This grieved, even angered our Lord because in doing so, the Jews had become a stumbling block to the Gentiles. The selling & buying of animals inside the court of the Gentiles had made it nearly impossible for the Gentiles to worship the Lord in the Temple for Passover, as they were instructed to do so in the Law.

The Jews were therefore sending a not-so-subtle message to the Gentiles that they were not welcome in God’s House nor among God’s people. This angered Jesus because His plan included the Jews and the Gentiles. Provision had been made for the Gentiles in the out courts, but the Jews were hindering their worship of the Lord.

Thank God that His plan includes us as well. Thank God that, “

… now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:13–16)

Today, we do not have to go to the temple, or even a temple to worship God. We ARE the temple!
 
In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul writes, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” The context indicates that Paul is speaking of Christians, of the church.

Considering His choosing of us to be His temple, it is good that we examine ourselves to make sure that our temple is clean… that we’re in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Here are a few questions to consider as we examine our “temples”:

  • Have I lost my first love for Christ (Rev. 2:4)?
  • Do I spend time with Him often in His Word (Psalm 119) and in prayer (1 Thess. 5:17)?
  • Am I actively seeking to grow in grace & in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18; Phil 3:8-10)?
  • Do I seek to please Him with my thoughts, words, and deeds?
  • How are my relationships with others, especially with those whom I live (Matt. 22:39)?
  • Am I fervent in my love for others (1 Pet. 4:8)?
  • Do I deny myself and seek to build up others in love (Mark 8:34; 1 Cor. 8:1)?
  • Do I love gathering with His church (Heb. 10:25)?
  • Do I spend my time seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33)?
  • Am I a conscientious steward of the resources that He has entrusted to me (Luke 16:10-13)?
  • Do I view myself as the Lord’s servant, seeking opportunities to be used by Him (Luke 17:10)?
  • Are there any hidden or open sins that I need to confess and forsake (1 John 1:9)?

Clean house, my friends! Do not procrastinate! Do it now! You are, after all, a new creature in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

For His Glory,

Pastor Kevin



9 Actions to Consider This Sunday

Here are nine servant actions for you to consider.
  1. Pray as you enter the property. Pray for the guests. Pray for the services. Pray for the pastor and the sermon.
  2. Park at the most distant spot available. Save the closer parking places for guests.
  3. Greet people. They may be guests. They may be members. It’s okay to introduce yourself to either.
  4. Look for people to help. You know the place well. Many others will not. Be a guide. Help someone who looks like he or she needs help.
  5. Sit as close as possible to the front of the worship center. Save the back rows for guests and late entrants, so they don’t have to walk past so many people.
  6. Sit in the middle. Don’t claim that aisle seat where people have to walk over you or past you.
  7. Sit closely. Your worship center may be packed. If so, be willing to sit cheek to cheek.
  8. Volunteer to serve. As the number of attendees increase, so does the need for volunteers. parking lot help, & the church greeter ministry are a few of the areas that will need more volunteers to help serve and minister to members and guests.
  9. Pray as you leave. The Holy Spirit is likely working in many persons who attended. Pray for His continual work of conviction and comfort.

These are simple acts. They are acts of service. And if you survive doing these acts of kindness and service on Easter, you just might be able to do them on other days of worship as well.



WHO CRUSHES THE SERPENT’S HEAD IN GENESIS 3:15?

                                                                                                                                                           WHO CRUSHES THE SERPENT’S HEAD IN GENESIS 3:15 ?
 
                                                                                                                                                                   by John Fallahee, Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry

 

INTRODUCTION:

The first prophecy in the Bible regarding Christ is in 
Genesis 3:15. It is an amazing text. Not only is the text ancient but it foretells Christ ending the power of Satan. Scholars call this the “protoevangelium” or “the first mention of the Gospel.”

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. (Genesis 3:15)

BACKGROUND: 

The context of this passage begins in Genesis 3:14 and ends in Genesis 3:19. In Genesis 3:14-15, God rebukes the Serpent. God declares there will be hostility between the woman and her offspring, culminating in the defeat of Satan. Adam’s sin and Eve’s deception brought sin into the world, and this resulted in God’s removal of our first parents from the Garden; God’s hedge of protection. And so began the long war between Satan and humanity. The first battle, was Cain killing Abel in Genesis 4. The last battle will be Revelation 20:7-10 when Satan is released from his 1,000-year imprisonment to fight one more battle. Satan will then deceive the nations one final time, and attempt a failed attack on the camp of the saints living and serving Christ in the beloved city, Jerusalem.

KEY PHRASE:

Let’s take a closer look at the third phrase in Genesis 3:15 “He shall bruise you on the head” (NASB95). This passage begins with a pronoun “He.”  However, if you look at various English translations, you will see there are quite a few variations on this first pronoun. Below I have included several early English translations for you to see firsthand the variety.

Genesis 3:15 (Wycliffe 1382-1395)** — 15 Y schal sette enemytees bitwixe thee and the womman, and bitwixe thi seed and hir seed; sche schal breke thin heed, and thou schalt sette aspies to hir heele. 

**Translated from the Latin Vulgate, not from the original Hebrew.

Genesis 3:15 (Tyndale 1526-1534) — 15 the on the heed ad thou shalt tread hit on the hele. that seed shall tread

 Morover I will put hatred betwene the and the woman and betwene thy seed and hyr seed. And Genesis 3:15 (Coverdale Bible 1535)** And I wyll put enemyte betwene the and the woman, and betwene thy sede and hir sede. The same shal treade downe thy heade, and thou shalt treade him on the hele. 

**Translated from German and Latin

Genesis 3:15 (Matthews Bible / John Roger 1537) Moreover I will put hatred betwene the and the woman and betwene thy seed and hir sede. And that seed shall tread the on thy head, and thou shalt treade him on the hele. 

Genesis 3:15 (Great Bible / 1539-1540) I will also put thy head, and thou shalt treade upon hys hele.the same shall treade downe enemytie between the and the woman, between thy sede and hys sede, Genesis 3:15 (Geneva Bible / 1560) thine head, & thou shalt bruise his heele.He shal breake 15 I wil also put enmitie betwene thee and the womã, & betwene thy sede & her sede. 

Genesis 3:15 (Bishop’s Bible / 1568) I wyll also put enmitie betweene thee and the woman, betweene thy seede and her seede: and it shall treade downe thy head, and thou shalt treade vpon his heele.

Genesis 3:15 (Douay-Rheims / 1582-1609)** I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

**Translated from the Latin

Genesis 3:15 (KJV / 1611) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  

ANALYSIS:

I have bolded the key phrases so you can see the pattern. If the translator had access to the original Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, they could easily see that the pronoun was 3rd person, singular, and masculine. In Hebrew and Greek, gender is grammatical and does not reference male or female, unlike English. Thus in Hebrew as well as Greek, the pronoun looks to its antecedent which is ‘seed’ and therefore, could never be translated as “she.” The Septuagint (300-132 BCE) which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew text, reflected this in their language by using a 3rd person, masculine, singular pronoun. The apparent problem arose with the Latin texts. In case you are curious, the difference between the ‘he’ and ‘she’ in Latin is the last letter. ‘Ipsa’ for ‘she’ and ‘ipse’ for ‘he.’ In the 4-5th century, we can find Latin translations using ‘ipsa’ rather than ‘ipse.’  Augustine (354–430) preferred this interpretation as well. Jerome completed His Latin translation of the OT around 405 AD. However, before we lay blame on Jerome for this error, evidence suggests that Jerome’s original translation followed the Hebrew text correctly. His other writings corroborate this fact (See Saint Jerome’s Hebrew Questions on Genesis). Therefore, this error must be a copyist’s error supported by the Catholic Church.

IMPLICATIONS:

Having an incorrect interpretation is deadly for the one who believes the lie, but this can be remedied with proper study. However, having the Biblical text wrong is doubly dangerous for anyone reading the Biblical text will accept the error and because the text is corrupt, the Scripture’s integrity is undermined. This error in the translation “She shall crush thy head” introduced and embraced by the Catholic Church and their followers, has resulted in several false and damning beliefs. First, it places Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the Savior for Man rather than Jesus. To soften this implication, the Catholic subordinates her under Christ as a unique creation, but still cooperating in the salvation of humanity. Placing Mary in this role will unravel, confuse, and corrupt all the messianic prophecies predicting the God-Man Savior. Furthermore, there is the glaring problem that Jesus alone died on the cross for sin and not Mary. The New Testament exclusively points to the person and work of Christ for the salvation of man. Second, this error results in new false doctrines. For example, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception (CCC 490-493) claims that Mary was sinless from her birth to her death. Additionally, there is the false doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary (CCC 499-501). Even more disturbing is the false teaching that Mary brings gifts of eternal salvation and receives the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix (CCC 967-970). There are certainly other Marian doctrines that could be explored to further this point.

RCC CURRENT BELIEF

Today the Douay-Rheims Bible and Jerome’s Latin Vulgate are still being reprinted with this error. The Catholic Church has at least corrected this issue in their current authorized Latin edition Nova Vulgata. However, the Catholic Church defends both Jerome’s translation and their messianic-marianic interpretation of 

Genesis 3:15

 for their doctrines regarding Mary.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

No doubt there is more to explore, but hopefully, this will serve as a helpful primer should you wish to study the topic further. As you know so well, contending for the faith is not just proclaiming the truth but defending against error as well. When it comes to the salvation of man, there is one mediator between God and Men, the man Christ Jesus (

1 Timothy 2:5). There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

original article found here.


For Lent , Give up Lent

For Lent , Give up Lent

February 27, 2017
 

A friend of mine was recently asked by a local youth pastor, “What’d you give up for Lent?” My friend quipped, “Lent.”

I can’t help but notice a growth in evangelicals who want to celebrate Lent by “giving something up.” I’ve heard of Christians giving up sugar, soda, Angry Birds, and Netflix (ok, I made up the last one—I’ve never heard of anyone giving up Netflix). For some evangelicals, apparently Lent is the new New Year’s. Those old resolutions were dropped by Feb 10, so time to dust them off and start over on March 1.

That is a bad idea. Here are a three reasons you should give up Lent for Lent: 

History—the idea of giving up something for Lent comes from a few factors—the growth of infant baptism, the increase of Roman Catholic traditions, and ever-changing Catholic approach to meat.

Allowing for some oversimplification, for the first few hundred years of church history baptism was generally practiced on what we now call Easter Sunday. Candidates for baptism would spend a period of preparation where they would fast, not shave, and in some cases not even bathe. While the exact length of this time varied (some say it was a few days, while other sources say 40 days), it would end at baptism, when the believer would be baptized, thus ending his fast.

In some churches, the entire congregation would join the fast (but not the no bathing part), as a form of spiritual preparation for baptism Sunday. With the legalization of Christianity and the Council of Nicaea, churches began to formalize their practices. What the Council requested is that church leaders fast for 40 days (calculated backwards from the Monday before Easter), to prepare to lead the church for Holy Week.

By the rise of Catholicism in the 400’s, infant baptism had replaced believer’s baptism, and the period that was now known as Lent lost its connection to baptism, and became focused on “fulfilling your fast” (Pope Leo’s phrase). This fast was allegedly modeled by the Apostles.

Once Lent became about fasting rather than baptism, the rules grew and changed. Finding spiritual significance to the number 40, Lent became 40 days, not counting Sundays. As the fast spread from church leaders to the laity, it was narrowed, and by the 600’s it was simply abstaining from meat, milk, and cheese for those 40 days (except on Sundays). By the Dark Ages, it had morphed into a fast of meat, but allowing one meal in the middle of the day to fall outside the exception (similar to how Muslims fast today). And, of course, by the modern era that exception went away, but fish was allowed.

This leads to the arbitrary nature of the Catholic approach to meat. The Catholic Church had developed a simultaneous tradition of fasting from meat on every Friday. Until the 1900’s it was even a mortal sin to eat meat on a Friday. But fish was exempted from this restriction.

Other exemptions popped up around the world—here is a story about Venezuelans eating capybara, for example. Canadians were allowed beaver (they lived in water, therefore a fish!), and no, I’m not making that up.

Finally, in the 1900’s, the fasts merged. Catholics (between 14-60 years old) are forbidden to eat meat on any Friday, but different parts of the world are allowed to replace that with other restrictions, and in the United States, that restriction has become Lent. So in the US, you can eat meat on Fridays year-round, as long as you give up meat for Lent.

It even gets more confusing than that. In the United States, Catholics can exchange the meat fast for something else. It becomes like a three-way NBA trade—in exchange for eating meat on Fridays year-round, you give up meat for Lent; so that you can eat meat for Lent, you give up (to chose an example a Catholic Priest actually said) your cell phone for Lent.

The result: giving up your cell phone for Lent fulfills both the Lenten requirement, and the Friday fasting requirements. Although I suppose that’s better than eating beaver.

It can also work negatively. Because one function of Lent is “penance,” in place of a fast you can force yourself to eat something you don’t like. If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, eating them during Lent is a form of Lenten penance. Instead of giving up Netflix for Lent, you could force yourself to watch Downton Abby—voila, a form of penance.

Practicality—By practicality, I don’t mean “fasting is hard, so don’t do it.” I mean, “if your goal is spiritual preparation for Easter, giving up something is not going to get the job done.”

Look, I appreciate Advent. My family celebrates it every night for the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’m not opposed to the liturgical calendar. And I do think we should look forward to Easter in the same way we look forward to Christmas. I’m in favor of talking more about the resurrection, not less.

But the idea of “spiritual preparation” for Holy Week is anachronistic. The early church preparation was for baptism, not for a liturgical day. And the notion that giving up texting, or sugar, or meat, will make you spiritually prepared is bogus.

Self-control is important. Self-discipline is a mark of a believer. Your body works for you, you don’t work for your body. If you find that order reversed, then get serious about self-control and tell your body no. Do that now. Don’t wait until March 1.

Fasting is a spiritual discipline, because it reminds your body who works for whom. But to tie it to a liturgical calendar is misguided. If you are really excited about preparation for Easter, then do a Bible Study on resurrections for a month. Be disciplined in prayer, and be contrite about your sin. But don’t think that spiritual preparation is found in “fulfilling your fast.”

Remember that the Pharisees turned Jesus over to be crucified, but they did so without setting foot into the Governor’s house, so that they would not be defiled for their Passover. Ironic that the Catholic Church celebrates Lent to “spiritually prepare” for Easter, wherein they will celebrate a Mass in which Christ is re-sacrificed!

Biblically—The Catholic Church misses the mark big time in assuming the authority to tell people what they can/cannot eat, and when they can and cannot eat it. Real sanctification is seen in what comes out of a person’s heart, not what goes into a person’s mouth (Matthew 15:11).

When Jesus declared that, the disciples interrupted him and said, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” (vs 12).

As it should be! Religious leaders of works-based systems get offended when it’s pointed out to them that controlling what people eat—as if it had any bearing on sanctification at all—is a sign of false religion, not truth.

The Pharisees wanted to know why Jesus’ disciples didn’t do the ceremonial washings, and Jesus said, “you hypocrites!” He went on:

This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men… You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! (Mark 7:6-9).

This is why for the rest of the New Testament, connecting spiritual growth to abstaining from foods corresponds to the spiritually immature, not to the mature (and certainly not to the “apostolic model” as the Catholic Church claims). “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do” (1 Corinthians 8:8). If your conscience is defiled by food, then it is a sure-fire sign that it is spiritually “weak” (1 Corinthians 8:7).

If you give up something for Lent as some form of spiritual perpetration for Easter, let me give you this challenge. Read this passage:

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations– “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”  (referring to things that all perish as they are used)–according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:20-23).

Now, ask yourself, in light of this passage, does giving up sugar (or whatever) for Lent highlight your connection to Christ, or to “self-made religion”? Either you are giving up something significant, or something minor. If it is a significant fast, then it is “severity to the body,” which is something Paul particularly says “has no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” If it is something minor, then there is little reward, and only a latent connection to the sacerdotal system of Rome.

A reminder: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled (Titus 1:15).



Passion for Truth and Hatred for Lies

                                                                                                                                                 Passion for Truth and Hatred for Lies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              by Mike Genderon, Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry
 
Religious institutions that deceive people about their eternal destiny are to be exposed as enemies of God and agents of the devil. The Bible reveals there is only one answer to the question: “What must I do to be saved from the wrath of a Holy and Righteous God who must punish sin?” To give the wrong answer to this sobering question is to propagate the most lethal and deadly lie anyone could ever speak. To point people to the wide road that leads to destruction is the most despicable departure from the truth and a devilish abomination to God (Prov. 12:22). Those who twist the Word of God are doing it to their own destruction (2 Pet. 3:16). God will destroy those who speak falsehood because He abhors the man of deceit (Psalm 5:6). 
There is an important distinction between the institution that deceives people and the misguided souls who are victims of its deceit. As Christians, we are to love those who are victims of deception but hate the evil institutions that deceive them. Some may ask if our hatred is justified. According to God’s inspired Word, it is. The Psalmist wrote: “Hate evil, you who love the Lord” (Psalm 97:10). We are to hate every false way and despise falsehood (119:128,163). Therefore, let us all love the Catholic people, but hate the religion that deceives them with a false and fatal gospel. It is not love if we allow them to march proudly towards hell’s gate without warning them with God’s Word. Those who have been deceived will never know it until they are lovingly confronted with the truth. We must use the truth of God’s Word to expose and destroy the lies of the devil. May our passion for the truth cause us to have a greater compassion for those who are perishing! And may our hatred for lies cause us to contend more earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).
 


In Case You Still Aren’t Sure About The Shack…Updated For The Movie

Sadly, there is still need to address the serious theologically heretical issues presented in William Paul Young’s book, The Shack, because now it has made it to the big screen. The Shack will be released as early as tomorrow in many markets and is being promoted by many within evangelicalism.
 
There have been numerous articles written concerning the errors & dangers of the book and movie. Here are a few to study and share (Please share as Christians today repeatedly demonstrate a serious lack of discernment in spiritual matters):
 
 
 
 
 
 by Tim Challies
 
by Matt Slick at CARM
 
 

Here are a few observations in concise form:

Concerning Punishment…
 

THE SHACK GOD – “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it…” (p. 120).

CONTRAST THE BIBLE’S GOD – “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11).

 
Concerning the Garden of Eden…
 

THE SHACK GOD – “There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).

CONTRAST THE BIBLE’S GOD – “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
 
 
Concerning Heaven…
 

THE SHACK GOD – “Our final destiny is not the picture of Heaven that you have stuck in your head–you know, the image of pearly gates and streets of gold” (p. 177).

CONTRAST THE BIBLE’S GOD – “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21).
 
 
Concerning the Bible’s truthfulness…
 
THE GOD OF THE SHACK –  
“There are lots of people who think it [Eden] was only a myth. Well, their mistake isn’t fatal. Rumors of glory are often hidden inside of what many consider myths and tales” (p. 134).

THE GOD OF THE BIBLE –  “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

 
Concerning  the Exclusivity of Christianity…
 

THE SHACK GOD – “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. … I have no desire to make them Christian” (p. 182).

CONTRAST THE BIBLE’S GOD – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds” (Acts 26:28-29).

 
Concerning the Sinner’s Reconciliation to God…
 

THE SHACK GOD – “Through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world … The whole world. … In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me … When Jesus forgave those who nailed him to the cross they were no longer in his debt, nor mine” (pp. 192, 225).

CONTRAST THE BIBLE’S GOD – “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
 
Much more can be gleaned from the articles above. Suffice it to say that 
The Shack
is not harmless. It is heresy.
 
 
Below is the post we originally shared concerning the book. 

Read more...

Ways to Pray for Your Church Family…

13. That members would share the gospel this week—and see more conversions!

14. That members would be prepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors.

15. That hopes for political change would be outstretched by the hope of heaven.

16. That giving would be faithul, as well as joyful, consistent, and sacrificial. 

17. That more members would use their careers to take the gospel to places it’s never been.

18. That members would be good and do good in their workplaces this week.



Ways to Pray for Your Church Family…

7. That elders would remain above reproach, kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness.

8. That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.

9. That the church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility. 

10. That adult members would work to disciple teenagers and not just leave it to programming. 

11. That the church’s primary teachers grow in dedication to God’s Word even when no one’s watching. 

12. That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.

 
 


Ways to Pray for Your Church Family…

1. That we would have unity amid diversity
—loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the gospel. 

2. That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.

3. That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.

4. That a hunger for studying the gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.

5. That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal and remaining anonymous strange.

6. The preaching of God’s Word—that it would be biblically careful and Holy Spirit imbued.



Our Response to God’s Power

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength…. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40:31

✧✧✧

Relying on God’s power gives us confidence to live as Christians.

What should be our response to God’s power? First, we should worship Him. Our response should follow what God told Israel: “The Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice” (2 Kings 17:36).
Understanding God’s power should also give us confidence: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil.

4:13). Because of His strength, we can live the Christian life each day with confidence. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).

Our eternal hope rests on the power of God. His power saved us and will “raise [us] up on the last day” (John 6:40). That day should be the great hope of the Christian, because whatever troubles we have on earth, our heavenly destiny is still secure.

When I’m tempted to worry, I’m comforted to remember that God’s power is greater than any problem I have. The psalmist says, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2). The God who made everything can certainly handle our troubles!

God’s power also gives us spiritual victory. Paul instructs us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). When the adversary comes and you’re on guard, you don’t fight him; you go tell the commander, and he leads the battle. God will bring about the victory because “greater is He who is in [us] than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Satan may be powerful, but he’s no match for God.

Finally, understanding God’s power gives us humility. Peter exhorts us, “Humble yourselves … under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). Apart from God’s gracious power we are nothing and can do nothing (John 15:5).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer

: Thank God for each of these ways He uses His power for our benefit.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 121. In what ways does God demonstrate His power to us?[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today

. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


Evidences of God’s Power

 

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know … what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”Ephesians 1:18–19

✧✧✧

God’s power is seen in creation, preservation, redemption, and resurrection.

Think of all the energy we get from the sun, and multiply that by the innumerable stars in space. But God by His great power created all the stars with no effort whatsoever: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (Ps. 33:6). He just spoke, and they were made.

God’s power also preserves the universe. Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), and “in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Chaos would result unless His sustaining hands were directing the orderliness of creation (Ps. 104; Jer. 31:35–36).
God’s power was beautifully demonstrated at the cross. Satan was subdued, death was conquered, and the penalty for our sins was paid. The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes” (Rom. 1:16). When we were saved, God made each of us “a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). Not only that, but “He who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God’s power saved us and gives us strength to live lives pleasing to Him.
The power of God is also made evident in resurrection. Did you know that someday God is going to resurrect every human being who ever lived? The righteous will be raised to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal damnation (John

5:28–29; Rev. 20:11–15). Billions of people, long dead, will be resurrected. What tremendous power!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer

: Praise God for the power He has shown in His beautiful creation. ✧ Thank God that by His power He made you into a new creation and will someday raise you to eternal life.

For Further Study: Psalm 33 is a song of praise to God for His power and sovereignty. Examine what it teaches about God’s power, and read it as your own prayer of praise.[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today

. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


God has Unlimited Power

“Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O Lord, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.”

1 Chronicles 29:11

✧✧✧

God has unlimited power and ultimate control over everything.

There is no limit to God’s power. Revelation 19:6 says, “The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” In fact, one Hebrew name for God is El Shaddai (El means “God”; Shaddaimeans “almighty”). Another word for “almighty” is “omnipotent.”

God can do anything effortlessly. It is no more difficult for Him to create a universe than it is for Him to make a butterfly. We get tired when we work, but God’s infinite power never lessens: “The creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired” (Isa. 40:28).

Not only does God have unlimited power but also the authority to use it. “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3). But God’s power, authority, and will are in harmony with His nature. He cannot sin, neither can He accept impenitent sinners. Such actions would contradict His holiness.

People often question what God does because they don’t understand that He can do anything He wants. They ask, “Why did God do that?” I’ve often replied, “Because He wanted to.” He showed His sovereignty—His ultimate control of everything—in showing mercy to some like Isaac and Jacob, while hardening the hearts of others like Pharaoh (Rom. 9:6–21). To those who object to God’s right to control such things, Paul said, “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay … ?” (vv. 20–21).

Never question God’s use of His power. He is in control, and “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds” (Ps. 145:17). We can trust that whatever He does, it’s for the best.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer

: Praise God for His infinite power and sovereignty.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 40:21–31. How has God demonstrated His power? ✧ How has He demonstrated His sovereignty? ✧ What comfort should that bring to you?[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today

. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
  ****


The Incarnation: Did Jesus Give Up His Divine Attributes?

The Incarnation…

Did Jesus Give Up His Divine Attributes?

A casual reading of Philippians 2:6-8 may lead the reader to assume that Jesus gave up His divine attributes in the Incarnation. This is a complete misunderstanding. Upon closer examination we see that Jesus did not give up any of His divine attributes when He, the Word, “became flesh”. What then did Paul mean when he writes that Christ, “emptied Himself” or “made Himself nothing”?

First, Christ veiled the glory that was His from all eternity as God. This was necessary in order for Him to take the appearance of a man. Christ never surrendered His glory. Remember the transfiguration? On the Mount of Transfiguration the Glory of the Lord Jesus was on full, magnificent display (Matthew 17). Jesus had to veil His glory in order to dwell among mortal humanity (see Isaiah 6:5; John 12:41; revelation 1:17).

Second, Christ “emptied Himself”, or “made Himself nothing”, by voluntarily laying aside some of His divine attributes. Jesus willingly refrained from exercising His rightful, divine prerogatives. His chose to do this in order that He might accomplish His objectives. It is important to understand that Jesus could never have actually surrendered any of His attributes or else He would have ceased to be God. Can God cease to be God? Of course not! What we find in the Scripture is the voluntary laying aside of certain attributes during His tabernacle with us. A prime example of this can be seen in Matthew 24:36. Here, we see that Jesus, in His humanity, temporarily laid aside His omniscience. As Jesus dwelt with us in the Incarnation, He willingly set aside the knowledge of His second coming. It would be illogical to believe that Jesus, being God of very God, does not know have this knowledge.

Third, we see that Christ “emptied Himself”, or “made Himself nothing” by taking on the appearance of a man and the very nature of a bond-servant. Christ was thus truly human. This humanity then would have been subject to temptation, distress, weakness, pain, sorrow, and limitation. It is amazing to think that Jesus “made Himself nothing” as reported in Philippians 2:7. The greek word for this is “kenosis”. Kenosis is the doctrine of Christ’s self-emptying in His incarnation. MacArthur states, “This was a self-renunciation, not an emptying Himself of deity nor an exchange of deity for humanity.” 

He continues, “Jesus did, however, renounce or set aside His privileges in several areas: 

1) heavenly glory—while on earth He gave up the glory of a face-to-face relationship with God and the continuous outward display and personal enjoyment of that glory (cf. Jn 17:5); 

2) independent authority—during His incarnation Christ completely submitted Himself to the will of His Father (cf. Mt 26:39; Jn 5:30; Heb 5:8); 

3) divine prerogatives—He set aside the voluntary display of His divine attributes and submitted Himself to the Spirit’s direction (cf. Mt 24:36; Jn 1:45–49); 

4) eternal riches—while on earth Christ was poor and owned very little (cf. 2Co 8:9); and 

5) a favorable relationship with God—He felt the Father’s wrath for human sin while on the cross (cf. Mt 27:46;
2Co 5:21).1
 
What grace! From heaven to earth, from glory to shame, from Master to servant, from life to death, “even the death of the cross!”2 In the Old Testament Age, Christ had visited earth on occasion for some special ministry (Gen. 18 is a case in point), but these visits were temporary. When Christ was born at Bethlehem, He entered into a permanent union with humanity from which there could be no escape. He willingly humbled Himself that He might lift us up!

 

 

  1. J MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Php 2:7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 75). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


Jesus is our Tabernacle

Jesus is our Tabernacle

John 1:14

The Greek word for “dwelt” is the Greek word skaynay. Skaynay is the Greek word for tabernacle. In other words, Jesus came and “tabernacled, or “pitched His tent”, among us. This is a clear reference to the tabernacle of the Old Testament. 

Just as God’s shekinah glory came down and tabernacled with His people, Jesus Christ, the Word of God who took on flesh, tabernacled with us when He came to earth. Friends, the tabernacle of the Old Testament is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who took on flesh and dwelt among us. 

What was once a shadowy picture of God dwelling with His people became a brilliant colorful reminder that Jesus came and dwelt, tabernacled among His creation.



The Pronouns of the Gospel

The Pronouns of the Gospel

Article from 9marks

02.02.2017

As our society has come to view gender as a less-than-static social construct, there has been some wrestling over what to do about our personal pronouns. On the face of it, it might seem simple. A man who begins to identify as a woman simply becomes “she.”

But how do you refer to them when you are discussing something in their pre-transition past? Do you look at a picture of a young boy who grew up to identify as a woman and say, “She loved that family trip to Disney World”?

center-for-the-arts-1903588_1280The answer, according to the Civilities column in The Washington Post, is “yes.” To refer to someone in the past using their old name and/or gendered pronoun is called “dead naming” and is to be avoided. When you see a picture of the 1976 Olympic Decathalon champion, you ought to say “Caitlin Jenner was the winner. She went on to be on a Wheaties box.”


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Christians Who Accept Millions of Years Undermine God’s Word

Christians Who Accept Millions of Years Undermine God’s Word
 
by Ken Ham  on January 16, 2017
 
Can Christians believe in millions of years? Yes, inconsistently. Christians who believe in molecules-to-man evolution and millions of years are undermining biblical authority and thus are undermining the Word of God. Of course, salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ alone, so you can be a Christian without holding to a young earth. But an old earth undermines God’s Word!
 
For those Christians who add evolution to the Bible:
 
But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2)

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Athanasius against the World

 
Athanasius (A.D. 298–373) was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and would eventually become bishop of that city. In 313, Christianity was declared fully legal by the emperor Constantine. Nevertheless, Athanasius still faced persecution for his defense of the full deity of Christ. At the Council of Nicaea (in modern-day Turkey) in 325, Athanasius was instrumental in bringing about condemnation of the heresy of Arianism. Arius taught that the Father created the Son, who thus was only of similar substance (homoiousios) with the Father. Athanasius led the way in rejecting this unbiblical notion by stressing the Son’s being of the same essence (homoousious) as the Father. Leaving out the i in this important word meant all the difference, as Athanasius insisted that the Son had no beginning but rather was fully divine. Even though he was exiled five times for his courageous stance, Athanasius faithfully defended the biblical teaching of Christ. Hence, at his death, friends provided this epitaph: “Athanasius against the World.”


The Gap Theory—an Idea with Holes

Here is a little more for those of you following our Sunday Night Bible Study through the Book of Genesis.

The Gap Theory—an Idea with Holes?

by Dr. Henry M. Morris on December 1, 1987
Originally published in Creation 10, no 1 (December 1987): 35-37.

Many people assume there is a great gap in time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1).
‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ (Genesis 1:2).

Many people assume there is a great gap in time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. Most of these do this to accommodate the geological age system of billions of years of supposed earth history in the Genesis record of creation. The idea is something like this:


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Genesis is a book of “Firsts”

Genesis is a book of “Firsts”

 

In Genesis we find the first:

Blessing (Gen. 1:28)
Marriage (Gen. 2:21- 24) 
Lie (Gen. 3:4) 
Sin (Gen. 3:6) 
Divine curse (Gen. 3:14-19) 
Messianic prophecy (Gen. 3:15) 
Pain of childbirth (Gen. 3:16) 
Labor (Gen. 3:17) 

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8 Tips for Studying God’s Word

8 Tips for Studying God’s Word

 

A Prayer before You Begin

Father, help me to approach your Word not most ultimately as a textbook or instruction manual. Enable me to approach it for what it is—your unique revelation of your own joy-inspiring glory. May what I come to understand intellectually move me quickly to worship, obedience, and sharing with others. So please open my eyes now, that I may see wonderful things in your Word. 

1. Get the right writing materials.


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Different Views of God

    Different Views of God
    Within religious and philosophical thinking there are a number of different concepts of God found in our world today. Some of the most common are these.
  • Atheism says there is no God.
  • Agnosticism says there may be a God, but we can’t know for sure.
  • Deism says there is a God who started the universe, but this God is now distant and unknowable. 
  • Theism says there is a single God who is knowable, either personally or through revelation. 
  • Pantheism says that everything is God and God is an impersonal force. 
  • Panentheism says there is a God who is distinct from the universe, but the universe exists within God or as an extension of God. 
  • Polytheism says there are many finite gods. 
  • Animism says there are many finite gods who spiritually indwell the natural world.
 
One of those things is not like the other…know which one it is?


What should a believer’s relationship be to the Word of God ?

1-4-17

What should a believer’s relationship be to the Word of God?

In Colossians 3.16, Paul says to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” This is Scripture, the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, the word of revelation He brought into the world. “Dwell” means “to live in” or “to be at home,” and “richly” may be more fully rendered “abundantly or extravagantly rich.” Scripture should permeate every aspect of the believer’s life and control every thought, word, and deed (Ps. 119.11; Matt. 13.9; Phil. 2.16; 2 Tim.2.15).

This concept is parallel to being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5.18 since the results of each are the same. In Ephesians 5.18, the power and motivation for all the effects is the filling of the Holy Spirit; here it is the word richly dwelling. Those two realities are really one. The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. This emphasizes that the filling of the Spirit is not some ecstatic or emotional experience, but a steady controlling of the life by obedience to the truth of God’s Word.

“Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (v. 17). The early church sang the Psalms. Old Testament psalms put to music, primarily, but the term was used also of vocal music in general. “Hymns”—perhaps songs of praise distinguished from the Psalms which exalted God, in that they focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. “Spiritual songs”—probably songs of personal testimony expressing truths of the grace of salvation in Christ. “With grace in your hearts to the Lord”—not just public, but private.

The Lord Himself is both the source and the object of the believer’s song-filled heart. That such music pleases God can be seen in the account of the temple dedication, when the singing so honored the Lord that His glory came down (2 Chr. 5.12, 14). John MacArthur



The Religion of Sinners!

 

church-people-icon

The Religion of Sinners

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

We must beware of deceiving ourselves in denying or excusing our sins. The more we see them–the more we shall esteem and value the remedy.

The Christian religion is the religion of sinners–of such as have sinned, and in whom sin in some measure still dwells.

The Christian life is a life of . . .
continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin,
continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and
hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquitted, and sin abolished forever!

“He will save His people from their sins!” Matthew 1:21

(adapted from Matthew Henry)
 


The Messiah Has Come!

 

The Messiah Has Come!

 

 How do we respond to the coming of the Messiah? Luke 1:41 – Luke 2:38
Pastor Kevin Inman 12-25-16