THE FIVE SOLAS 

THE FIVE SOLAS 
 
 The five solas are five Latin phrases popularized during the Protestant Reformation that emphasized the distinctions between the early Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church. The word sola is the Latin word for “only” and was used in relation to five key teachings that defined the biblical pleas of Protestants.
 
 
They are:

1. Sola scriptura: “Scripture alone”
2. Sola fide: “faith alone”
3. Sola gratia: “grace alone”
4. Solo Christo: “Christ alone”
5. Soli Deo gloria: “to the glory of God alone”

Each of these solas can be seen both as a corrective to the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church at the start of the Reformation and as a positive biblical declaration.

Sola scriptura emphasizes the Bible alone as the source of authority for Christians. By saying, “Scripture alone,” the Reformers rejected both the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Pope and confidence in sacred tradition. Only the Bible was “inspired by God” (2 Peter 1:20-21) and “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Anything taught by the Pope or in tradition that contradicted the Bible was to be rejected. Sola scriptura also fueled the translation of the Bible into German, French, English, and other languages, and prompted Bible teaching in the common languages of the day, rather than in Latin.

Sola fide emphasizes salvation as a free gift. The Roman Catholic Church of the time emphasized the use of indulgences (donating money) to buy status with God. Good works, including baptism, were seen as required for salvation. Sola fide stated that salvation is a free gift to all who accept it by faith (John 3:16). Salvation is not based on human effort or good deeds (Ephesians 2:9).

Sola gratia emphasizes grace as the reason for our salvation. In other words, salvation comes from what God has done rather than what we do. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Solo Christo (sometimes listed as Solus Christus, “through Christ alone”) emphasizes the role of Jesus in salvation. The Roman Catholic tradition had placed church leaders such as priests in the role of intercessor between the laity and God. Reformers emphasized Jesus’ role as our “high priest” who intercedes on our behalf before the Father. Hebrews 4:15 teaches, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus is the One who offers access to God, not a human spiritual leader. 

Soli Deo gloria emphasizes the glory of God as the goal of life. Rather than striving to please church leaders, keep a list of rules, or guard our own interests, our goal is to glorify the Lord. The idea of soli Deo gloria is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

The five solas of the Protestant Reformation offered a strong corrective to the faulty practices and beliefs of the time, and they remain relevant today. We are called to focus on Scripture, accept salvation by grace through faith, magnify Christ, and live for God’s glory.



10 Things You Should Know about the Reformation

10 Things You Should Know about the Reformation

1. The Pope started the Reformation.

The fourteenth century was a bad time for the papacy. For a period, there were two rival popes and the papacy was under pressure from the French monarchy. It wasn’t a good time for the city of Rome either—seven successive popes abandoned Rome in favor of Avignon in France. Rome was sidelined and Saint Peter’s Basilica fell into disrepair. The popes returned to Rome in 1377 and then sorted out their divisions in 1417.

A hundred years on, things were looking up: in 1505, Pope Julius II had decided to knock down the old St Peter’s and start again. He had big plans for his own tomb and wanted a basilica to match. It was time to make Rome magnificent once again. But that didn’t come cheap, so the church embarked on a fundraising campaign. It was this campaign that brought Johann Tetzel to Germany to sell indulgences, promises of time off purgatory in exchange for cash. And so it was that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his protest against indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

2. The Reformation was about sausages.

During Lent 1522, a group of students in Zurich held a sausage-themed party. Traditionally only vegetables and fish were eaten during Lent. But they wanted change and that meant hot dogs. The city council fined the host of the party, albeit only a nominal amount. A few days later, Huldrych Zwingli, the leader of the city’s church, produced a pamphlet in support of the students. The Bible, he argued, didn’t have much to say about sausages—there was certainly nothing about eating sausages during Lent.

The Council convened a debate to decide whether Zwingli’s views matched what was taught in the Bible. Zwingli won the day. But really, he’d won before it started because the terms of the discussion assumed the authority of Scripture. And that, rather than sausages, was the real issue—though it’s reassuring to know that bacon sandwiches get the thumbs up.

3. Luther’s marriage was a bit fishy.

Catholicism’s focus was on becoming right with God through the sacraments or monastic life, but the Reformers preached that being right with God is a gift. There’s no need to do works for God’s benefit. It’s already a done deal—achieved by Christ and received by faith. And that frees you up to serve your neighbour in love.

In 1523, a group of nuns contacted Luther. Convent life made no sense, so the nuns wanted Luther to help them escape their cloistered life. Luther enlisted a merchant who regularly delivered herring to the convent. On April 5, the nuns escaped by hiding among the empty fish barrels. Their families refused to take them back, perhaps because what had just happened was still a crime under Church law. So Luther set about marrying them off—no easy matter, perhaps, since they smelled of fish!

Gradually, he found husbands for them all—all except one. No husband could be found for the ringleader, Katharina von Bora. So, somewhat against his wishes, Luther himself married her. He was forty-one and she twenty-six. It turned out to be a good match.

4. There were 97 theses before there were 95 theses.

Luther’s famous ninety-five theses were not his first stab at provoking a debate. A few weeks before, he’d posted ninety-seven theses. They included an attack on the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who’d made something of a comeback in the Medieval period. As it happens, no one took much notice of Luther’s ninety-seven theses. Yet they were much more central to the thought of the Reformation.

So, when Luther was summoned to account for his actions before his Augustinian order, it was to the themes in the ninety-seven theses that he returned. Aristotle said we become righteous by doing right acts—your identity is the result of your actions. It’s something you achieve. Luther said this gets things the wrong way around. In the gospel, our identity is a gift from God. It’s something you receive. And then our actions flow from our new identity. Unbelievers can be constrained by laws and peer pressure, but a life of wholehearted righteous living is only possible if God makes us new people.

5. The Reformation involved a rediscovery of the work of the Spirit.

In 1524, Desiderius Erasmus published an attack on Luther. Erasmus was Europe’s leading celebrity academic. Erasmus thought people already had enough power in themselves to do good. He defined free choice as “a power of the human will by which a man can apply himself to the things which lead to eternal salvation, or turn away from them.” Luther replied, “You do not realize how much you attribute to it by this pronoun ‘itself’—its very own self!—when you say it can ‘apply itself’; for this means that you completely exclude the Holy Spirit with all his power, as superfluous and unnecessary.”

The church is always being reformed by God’s Word.

As far as Erasmus was concerned, we just need to try harder. But Luther realized our problem was much more fundamental than that. Our problem is not that we’re lazy or ignorant, but that we’re sinners deep down to the very core of our being. So, if we’re ever going to please God, we need a radical inner transformation. And that’s what the Holy Spirit does.

6. The Reformation wasn’t about salvation by works—at least not quite.

There’s a version of the Reformation which says Catholics believed in salvation by works and the Reformers believed in salvation by faith, but it’s more subtle than that. In fact, Catholics talked a lot about faith and grace. They would happily say we’re saved by grace. They would happily say that righteousness comes by faith.

But grace for the Catholic Church is like a shot of adrenaline that boosts your spiritual performance. And righteousness is a God-given ability to live a righteous life—if you work at it at. Baptism gives you a kick start and the mass gives you a boost along the way, but it’s up to you to live a righteous life that will win God’s approval. So the net result is grace plus works and faith plus works.

Just to be clear, the Council of Trent says, “If anyone says, that by faith alone the ungodly are justified in such a way as to mean that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to receive the grace of Justification and that it is not necessary for a man to be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” (Canon IX)

The Council of Trent was the Catholic Church’s response to the Reformation, a response it has never repudiated. The reason this subtlety matters is that it brings the issues closer to home. Evangelicals all know we begin the Christian life by faith. But we all too easily slip into thinking we need to win God’s approval through our activities. We become more Roman Catholic than we realize.

7. The Reformation wasn’t about the authority of Scripture—at least not quite.

In his attack on Luther, Erasmus begins by talking about Scripture. “I confess it is right,” he says, “that the sole authority of Holy Scripture should outweigh all the votes of all mortal men.” So far so good. But he continues, “The authority of the Scripture is not here in dispute. . . . Our battle is about the meaning of Scripture.” He goes on to say we need the authority of the Church to determine the true meaning of Scripture.

In other words, everyone agreed with the authority of Scripture. But the Catholic Church placed Church tradition alongside Scripture and claimed the exclusive right to interpret the Bible. The Reformers, however, rejected the notion that the church establishes the authenticity of the gospel. It’s the other way round: the gospel establishes the authenticity of the church. They were happy to learn from church tradition, but when push came to shove, Scripture alone is our ultimate authority.

Again, this brings the issues closer to home. Today no evangelical rejects the authority of Scripture. But all too often we place our experience alongside Scripture or use experience to interpret Scripture—rather than the other way round.

8. The Reformation is not over.

Earlier this year I stood in Piazza Martin Lutero in Rome. Yes, they’ve named a square after Luther. In Rome. With the Pope’s blessing. Proof surely that the Reformation is over? Sadly not. It’s true that the rise of secularism means Protestants and Catholics often find themselves standing together on issues of morality and religious freedom. It’s also true that many Catholics and Protestants hold similar theological views.

But that’s because many Catholics no longer follow the official Catholic teaching and many Protestants have lost touch with their Reformation roots. But the fault lines of the Reformation have not gone away. “The Pope’s a Catholic” is the epitome of a non-news story. But, despite the PR coming out of the Vatican, in a 1985 lecture, Pope Francis claimed the Reformation underlies all the problems of Western civilization, from secularism to totalitarianism. He labeled Luther and Calvin “heretics.” Lutheranism is “a good idea gone foolish” while the “schismatic” Calvin tore apart humanity, society and the church.

Why the Reformation Still Matters

Why the Reformation Still Matters, Michael Reeves, Tim Chester

This accessible introduction to the Protestant Reformation answers eleven key questions raised by the Reformers, arguing that the Reformation remains vitally important for the church and is still relevant to our lives today.

 

9. The Reformation still matters and not just when we’re talking to Catholics.

The Reformation was always intended to be an ongoing project. One of its slogans was semper reformanda. It’s usually translated as “always reforming,” but a better translation is “always being reformed.” The church is always being reformed by God’s Word. It doesn’t describe a movement forward to some uncharted horizon, but a continual movement back to God’s Word. On justification, Scripture, preaching, grace, the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, and everyday life, evangelicals have important lessons to learn from the Reformation.

10. The Reformation makes us small and Christ big.

Why was the Reformation controversial in the sixteenth century? Why does it remain controversial today? The answer, I believe, is that the Reformation (or rather the biblical gospel it rediscovered) makes us small and Christ big. At the heart of the Reformation was the realization that:

  • We are more helpless than we realize.
  • Christ is more sufficient than we realize.
  • God is more gracious than we realize.

This is what’s meant by soli Deo gloria, “to the glory of God alone.” There’s no room in Reformation theology for human boasting. No one can claim their salvation or their knowledge of God is down to their intellect, morality, or religion. It’s all of God from start and finish. That’s our great hope and confidence. Our salvation is founded on the certain promises of God and the finished work of Christ. And if it’s all of God from start to finish, then the glory goes to him alone.

 




Correct Ways to Correct: Addressing Sin in the Church

Here is a great, short article from Clint Archer at the Cripplegate.

Posted: 25 Sep 2017 01:01 AM PDT

Some believe he was the greatest tennis player of all time. He finished as the world’s top-seeded player four years in a row and spent a total of 170 weeks in that top spot. He won Wimbledon three times and the US Open four times, and finished his career with 77 singles titles and 78 doubles titles, which remains the highest men’s combined total of the Open Era.

But most of us probably don’t remember him for those stats.

We know him for his harsh words fired mercilessly at umpires in fits of outrage and unbridled temper tantrums. Who else could I be referring to other than John McEnroe?

McEnroe became notorious for questioning umpires with vociferous protestations and unrelenting verbal abuse, which garnered him thousands of dollars in fines.

His favorite phrase, which is now part of English vernacular, was: “You cannot be serious!”

In response to his behavior a rule was created that if a player exceeded $7,500 in fines in a season, he would be suspended for 21 days.

That trap was sprung at the Swedish Open in 1984.

A linesman called a serve as long, and McEnroe approached the chair umpire, Leif Nilsson, glared at him with his trademark scowl, and asked: “

Are all Swedish umpires as good as you?…No mistakes so far in this match, right? You haven’t overruled anything. No mistakes whatsoever! Answer my question! The question, jerk!” The stoic Nilsson replied with a deadpan, “Second serve please

.”

Nilsson had already issued McEnroe a warning in the second game of the match for firing a ball in anger at a spectator, so this second outburst cost him a point penalty. He stormed over to the sideline and smashed several glasses of ice water with a backhand drenching a spectator in the front row who just happened to be… the King of Sweden.

McEnroe got a $2,100 fine for his efforts, which exceeded the fine cap and thus resulted in an immediate 21-day suspension.

It should be noted that it is not against the rules of tennis to challenge a linesman’s call, but there are correct ways to address the umpire and there are rules about smacking glasses of water at the King of Sweden.

Three aspects of the correct way to correct people in the church…

1. The need for correction

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

There are two commands here: do not rebuke – literally do not batter with blows – but rather encourage.

Timothy’s response to sin in the church could either be incorrect (rebuking) or correct (encouraging), but there is no option to ignore the sin.

Although the log must be removed from your own eye first….the speck in your brother’s eye must still be removed (Luke

6:42

).

But you might be asking: Why do Christians need to address sin, why can’t we just ignore it, like normal people do? It’s no wonder people say we are judgmental—we keep noticing each other’s sin and pointing it out to each other. Why?

2. The goal of correction

If the goal of correcting a person was just to point out their sin or to make the person feel bad, then it wouldn’t matter how we addressed the issue, as long as we did address it.

When a tennis player’s serve is out of bounds the linesman yells “Out!” He doesn’t say, “Hey brother may I have a quiet word with you in private? Let’s open in prayer. Now I just wanted to point out that the ball was an inch shy of the line…” No, he just shouts “Out!” in front of everyone—the umpire, the crowd, the opponent. Why? Because the goal is simply to make everyone aware that the ball was out.

But here Paul tells Timothy how to correctly point out sin (encourage) because pointing out the sin isn’t the goal…the goal is to restore the sinner.

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. …

The goal is to put the person back to where they were before – to help them to be right with God and in fellowship with God’s people.

So how do we do this?

3. The method of correction

The method of your correction needs to reflect your love and respect for the person you are correcting. Paul describes believers as family – fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters.

If your dad’s hearing is going and you notice he’s talking a bit too loudly in a restaurant, you don’t yell “Hey old man quit your yelling, you’re a disgrace, keep it down!”

No, you lean over and gently say, “Hey Dad, you’re talking a bit loudly.”

In the church we love each other, we respect each other. And we sin against each other, but we are all on the same team.

If you notice a teammate is always getting close to the line and committing a foot fault, you pull them aside and say “Hey buddy, take a step back before you serve so you don’t cross that line, or you are going to lose a point.”

When it’s the opponent, you just yell “Hey ump, that was a foot fault!” Because you want them to lose the point.

As believers we aren’t opponents, we are on the same team, we are family, so being corrected needs to be done sensitively and gently.

Sometimes we may need to be firmer:

1 Thess 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle [unruly NASB]. And sometimes correction is not even necessary— 1 Pet 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

McEnroe’s autobiography was titled: You cannot be serious!

That outburst of his, correcting the umpire, is what, by his own admission, characterized his whole career.

Christians are not to be characterized by their outbursts against sin. Rather we are to be characterized by love.

That is the correct way to correct.



Bearing Burdens

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Those who walk by the Spirit will lovingly bear one another’s burdens.

The Lord Jesus presents love for God and love for our neighbor as the great summary of the entire Law (Matt. 22:37-40).

It only makes sense, then, that love will characterize the life of any Christian who is walking by the Spirit. Love will also be an integral part of any Spirit-assisted ministry to others. Paul tells us in today’s verse that when we help other believers hold up their particular burdens, we are obeying “the law of Christ” or the law of love, which James calls “the royal law” (James 2:8).

But what exactly does Galatians 6:2 mean when it commands us to “bear one another’s burdens”? Commentator William Hendriksen gives us this general but helpful observation: “This does not merely mean ‘Tolerate each other,’ or ‘Put up with each other.’ It means: ‘Jointly shoulder each member’s burdens.’”

The actual word burden calls to mind a variety of possible sins, difficulties, and responsibilities; but Paul was using the Greek term that refers to an extremely heavy and unbearable load. It’s a load that one person alone can’t carry, which underscores again that Christians need each other. The Holy Spirit wants each member of the church involved in a ministry of mutual support.

The essence of burden-bearing is spiritual accountability and responsibility. One of the most practical ways we can bear someone else’s burden is to talk and pray regularly with him or her about spiritual issues and measure that person’s progress in overcoming a certain sin or temptation.

Bearing the burdens of another believer is a wonderful, reciprocal learning process in which both individuals can benefit from God’s truth and understand more about His will for their lives (see Gal. 6:6). As we become more sensitive and obedient to Him, the Holy Spirit orchestrates this ministry and gives us the privilege of instructing and upholding others as we continue to walk in Him day by day.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that His Spirit is powerful enough to help us bear the heaviest burdens of fellow believers.

For Further Study

Read the Epistle to Philemon.

  • What things did Paul probably do to bear Onesimus’s burdens?
  • How was the entire letter a form of burden-bearing by Paul for Philemon?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com

.

 



Why do we speak of God in masculine terms?

Here is a good, quick overview of this important topic. In today’s politically correct, everything-is-ok-except-true-chritianity-world in which we live, this is a real hot topic. The author, Jason Carlson, is the son of the late, Dr. Ron Carlson.

Why do we speak of God in masculine terms?
  • The Bible teaches that God is spirit (John 4:24). Thus, He is not male or female in a physical sense. However, that doesn’t mean we should think of God in gender neutral terms.
  • The Bible, inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), always refers to God using masculine pronouns (i.e. He, Him, His); and the imagery it uses in reference to God is also predominantly masculine (e.g. King, Father, Priest, Husband).
  • Jesus, the “Son” of God, taught us that God is our Heavenly “Father” (Matthew 6:9; Luke 10:22; John 17:1-5). Jesus also referred to the Holy Spirit as “He” (John 15:26). Thus, in the Trinitarian Godhead masculine imagery is intrinsic to God’s being.
  • The Church is referred to as the “bride” of Christ (Revelation 19:7-9; Ephesians 5:22-33; 2 Corinthians 11:2). The marriage relationship is always viewed in Scripture as the union of a woman to a man (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6).
  • While God most consistently reveals Himself to us in masculine terms, we must also remember that both men and women are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Thus, it is no surprise the Bible also occasionally uses feminine imagery in conveying God’s nature (Isaiah 49:15; 66:13; Matthew 23:27).
  • So, why do we speak of God in masculine terms? Because this is how God has revealed Himself. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God existing eternally in three persons. One God who loves us with an unfathomable, unstoppable, unbreakable, and unconditional love (John 3:16; Romans 8:35-39; 1 John 4:7-10). 

For more information on the nature and character of God please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, “What Is God Like?” available in CD or MP3 in our online store.

Follow CMI on Twitter at @jasoncarlsoncmi.



God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth

The following is an excerpt from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on John 4.

 

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (4:24)
 
The phrase God is spirit is the classic biblical definition of the nature of God. Despite the heretical teaching of false cults, God is not an exalted man (Num. 23:19), “for a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). He is “the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; cf. 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27), who “dwells in unapproachable light [cf. Ps. 104:2], whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16; cf. Ex. 33:20; John 1:18; 6:46). Had He not revealed Himself in Scripture and in Jesus Christ, God would be utterly incomprehensible.
 
Because God is spirit, those who would truly worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. True worship does not consist of mere outward conformity to religious standards and duties (Isa. 29:13; 48:1; Jer. 12:1–2; Matt. 15:7–9), but emanates from the inner spirit. It must also be consistent with the truth God has revealed about Himself in His Word. The extremes of dead orthodoxy (truth and no spirit) and zealous heterodoxy (spirit and no truth) must be avoided.


Who Does God Say We Are?

Who Does God Say We Are?
The New Testament describes the new identity of a disciple using a variety of word pictures. Here are a few…
Which of these new identities suits you best and why?
Disciples called / likened to:  

Scripture

 

Meaning

Fishers of men Matthew 4:19 We are called to “fish for people” with the net of the gospel.
Salt Matthew 5:13 We are to live in a way that makes people thirsty to know God; we are to act as a preservative in a corrupt society.
Light Matthew 5:14–16 In a dark world, we reflect God’s nature and shine for him.
Branches John 15:5 As branches connected to the Vine, Jesus, we bring his blessing/fruitfulness to the world.
Stewards/ Servants 1 Corinthians 4:1–2 We are managers of God’s good news, gifts, resources, and blessings—ultimately responsible and accountable to him.
Ambassadors 2 Corinthians 5:20 We are representatives of Christ’s kingdom to the lost people of this world.
Saints/Holy people Ephesians 1:1 We are God’s holy ones—by virtue of what Christ has done for us.
Citizens of heaven Philippians 3:20 Our allegiance is to God and his kingdom—not this world.
Soldiers 2 Timothy 2:3–4 We are engaged in a battle—not against people—but the spiritual forces of evil.
Athletes 2 Timothy 2:5 We are to live self-controlled lives and train ourselves to be godly.
Farmers 2 Timothy 2:6 We sow God’s word faithfully in order to reap an eternal harvest.
Living stones, a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5 We are God’s dwelling place; his modern-day temple.
A priesthood 1 Peter 2:9–10 We may draw near to God—& we have the privilege of helping others do so.
Foreigners, exiles 1 Peter 2:11 This world is not our home. We are only passing through.


A Decreasing Frequency of Sin

A Decreasing Frequency of Sin

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).

A decreasing pattern of sin in a believer’s life means his faith is genuine.

A sinful life pattern is incompatible with salvation. If you could continue in the same sinful pattern after being saved from sin, that would mean salvation is ineffective. Therefore, 1 John 3 deals with the saving work of Christ and reveals just how effective it is.


Read more...

Study: Only 12% of Young People View the Bible as “the Actual Word of God”

Study: Only 12% of Young People View the Bible as “the Actual Word of God”

by Ken Ham on July 8, 2017

 

The serious effects of teaching generations that they can reinterpret God’s Word—particularly in Genesis—or totally reject it are painfully evident in Americans’ views of the Bible. We’ve been saying for years that one consequence of this compromise will be an increasing rejection of the Bible as the literal Word of God and as our authority. And this is exactly what a new Gallup poll shows.

Only 24% of Americans (including older Americans) believe the Bible is “the actual Word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word” compared with 26% who view the Bible as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.” Another 47% of Americans view the Bible as “the inspired Word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.”

According to Gallup, this is the first time in 40 years that the number of those who are skeptical about the Bible has surpassed those who believe it should be taken literally.

Only 12% of Young People

What I found particularly striking about these results is the numbers when it came to young people. In 40 years, the number of young people who believe the Bible as written has fallen from 32% to a mere 12%. That’s a massive drop!

IN 40 YEARS, THE NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THE BIBLE AS WRITTEN HAS FALLEN FROM 32% TO A MERE 12%.

That number represents generations of young people who have not been taught to stand boldly on the Word of God, defend what they believe, and allow God’s Word to be the authority in their lives. Most of them have been indoctrinated in the increasingly atheistic public education system. Frankly, I believe their parents and churches are partly to blame. Sadly, I wonder how many of those young people were told it didn’t matter what they believed about Genesis, as long as they trusted in Jesus? When you open the door to reinterpreting the Bible in Genesis, where do you stop? If we can be the authority over the clear words of Scripture in Genesis why not be the authority in other places too?

Parents, pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, Christian teachers—are you actively working to instill a belief in the inerrancy, inspiration, and authority of the Scriptures in the young people under your influence? Are you simply assuming they view the Bible in this way? Are you actively undermining this belief by allowing for compromise regarding the history recorded in God’s Word?

As believers we need to be diligent about teaching young people the correct view of the Bible because the world is trying very hard to convince them that God’s Word can’t be trusted and that man is the authority, not God. I encourage you to arm yourself with resources (such as our newly updated and expanded Answers Bible Curriculum) and dedicate yourself to training up a generation of young people in the way they should go.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.



Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked

by Mike Riccardi

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”
2 Corinthians 6:14, ESV

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been considering whom the faithful Christian minister may properly partner with in ministry. Two weeks ago we briefly surveyed the history of the ecumenical movement in order to vividly illustrate the terrible consequence of disobedience to Scripture on this matter. Last week we oriented ourselves to the key text I’m focusing on, 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, considering the context in which it comes. I won’t rehash all of that here, so if you’ve missed it please click over to read those two introductory posts.

But today we come to consider the actual prohibition that Paul gives. It comes in 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Now, this term “to be unequally yoked with,” is a translation of the compound word heterozugeo, which is made up of the familiar term heteros—“different”—and the word zugos, which is the word for “yoke.” This is an agricultural image. A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that a farmer would fasten over the necks of animals, which is then attached to a plow or a cart that animal would pull. There’s a double yoke, which sits on the necks of two animals as they plow side by side in the same direction. And the idea is: “Don’t get into a yoke with an animal that requires a different kind of yoke than you do,” or, “Don’t yoke together two different animals who are going to be pulling in two different directions.”

And the imagery that Paul draws from comes from the Old Testament. The only other time Scripture uses the term heterozugeo is as an adjective in the Greek translation of Leviticus 19:19, where God commands Israel: “You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” When set alongside the prohibitions to not mix seeds or mix fabrics, this command is seen clearly to prohibit the cross-breeding of animals of different kinds. If you translate the Septuagint literally into English, it says, “You shall not breed your cattle with an animal that uses another yoke.” The same concept is repeated in Deuteronomy 22:10: “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” In other words, don’t put an ox and a donkey in the same yoke and expect them to pull that plow in a harmonious, cooperative way. They have different levels of strength, different manners of walking, and very different constitutions—the donkey, of course, being much more stubborn than the ox! These two different kinds of animals are a mismatched pair, and it would be impossible for them to plow together in an effective manner.

By using this imagery, Paul is saying the same thing about partnership between believers and unbelievers. Just as yoking together two fundamentally different kinds of animals will result in incongruity and discord, so also are believers and unbelievers two fundamentally different “breeds”—fundamentally different kinds of people. Any intimate association or spiritual partnership between them will eventually only result in dissonance and difficulty. Believers and unbelievers are moving in different directions; we live in two different worlds; we’re energized by different powers, and motivated by different passions. To partner them together and expect them to plow in the same direction is ludicrous, and will only end in spiritual disaster.


Not a Call to Isolation

Now, it’s important to state clearly what this call to separation from unbelievers does not mean. It does not mean isolationism. It does not mean that Christians are to cut off all contact between ourselves and the world, and retreat into monasticism and live as hermits in caves. It doesn’t mean that we withdraw from society into our little Christian bubble, where we live in a housing development or an apartment complex populated only by Christians, in a house that we bought from a Christian real estate agent, and drive a car that we bought from a Christian car dealer, a car that’s insured by a Christian insurance agent, a car in which we drive our kids to and from their Christian school, and only shop at a Christian grocery store, and on and on it goes. Not being unequally yoked with unbelievers doesn’t mean retreating into a Christian commune where you’re cut off from the world.

It can’t mean that, because the same Paul who wrote 2 Corinthians 6:14 wrote 1 Corinthians 5:9–11, where he anticipates this sort of misunderstanding. He says there, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous,” et cetera. More than anyone who’s ever lived, Paul has modeled the exact opposite kind of lifestyle. Paul was no monk! He traveled the known world, marching right into the middle of pagan society and depraved human culture, in order to preach the Gospel to every creature in obedience to the commission of Christ. This is the one who became all things to all men, so that he may by all means save some (1 Cor 9:22). The Lord Jesus taught us that we are the light of the world, Matthew 5:14, and no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. We are to let our light shine before men so that they glorify God who is at work within us.

And besides the obvious necessity of evangelism—engaging in the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors for Christ—in 1 Corinthians 10:25, Paul assumes the Corinthians will shop in the marketplace where the rest of the unbelieving city shopped. And in 1 Corinthians 10:27he encourages believers to accept an unbeliever’s invitation to his home for dinner. So there is no sense in which the call to separation in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is a call to monasticism or isolation from the world.

What Does It Mean to Be “Yoked” Together?

So what is it then? Well, it’s not a geographical or spatial separation, but a spiritual and moral separation.

The most common application of this text is that Christians should not marry non-Christians. And while Paul isn’t thinking about marriage in this text, certainly the principle would apply to marriage. What more intimate of a spiritual partnership is there than marriage? If believers and unbelievers can’t do ministry together, certainly it’s asking for trouble to bear the common yoke of marriage together. That doesn’t mean Christians ought to divorce their unsaved spouse (1 Cor 7:12–14), but it does mean that no Christian can enter into marriage unless his spouse is “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39).

So, while this call to separation applies to marriage, its most primary application is to partnership in worship and ministry. No Christian is to take up common spiritual cause with a non-Christian—even a non-Christian who calls themselves a Christian, but who denies their profession by their life or their doctrine.

There can be no commingling of worship or of ministry among genuine regenerate Christians and false converts. Believers cannot take part in a worship service of an apostate church—such as a Kingdom Hall meeting, or a Roman Catholic mass, or an Eastern Orthodox liturgy. A true believer cannot stand together with an unbeliever in any form of evangelistic ministry. And they certainly cannot pray together. This is the primary application of this command.

John MacArthur comments,

“[Satan] does not want to fight the church; He wants to join it. When he comes againstthe church, it grows stronger: ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’ When he joins the church, it grows weaker. And undiscerning believers think that’s an evangelistic strategy and embrace it. What folly. It’s not an evangelistic strategy, it’s slow suicide.

“Truth and error cannot go together.  They are opposite in nature; they are pulling in opposite directions; they are headed toward opposite goals; they are motivated by opposite desires, and they’re controlled by enemy leaders. We have to separate from non-Christians in every activity that has anything to do with the advancement of the gospel.  They can have no part, except to be on the receiving end of our evangelism.

“Undiscerning believers who join in a common spiritual cause with unbiblical forms of Christianity or other false religions open the door wide to satanic infiltration and forfeit the blessing of God. Further, embracing those heretical systems falsely reassures their followers that all is well between them and God, when actually they are headed for eternal damnation.”

And he’s absolutely right. The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29 that coming to Him in saving faith is to take His yoke upon us,” as He is our Master. But those who bear Christ’s yoke cannot share it with those who, in unbelief, refuse to take His yoke upon themselves. As one commentator put it, “Those who harness themselves together with unbelievers will soon find themselves plowing Satan’s fields” (Garland, 331). And we’ve seen that very thing take place throughout the history of the ecumenical movement.

But are Christians really that much different than non-Christians? Are we really two different breeds unable to bear the same yoke? After all, aren’t we both made in the image of God? Don’t we share a common human nature? Stay tuned. We’ll examine this issue next week.
 
Original post found here.


Dinosaur Fossils Found in Marine Rock…Again!

Another spectacular dinosaur fossil discovery baffled paleontologists who deny the historical accuracy of the book of Genesis. 
New Scientist recently reported the identification of a T. rex-like dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous system rocks in North Africa. What confounded the scientists were the phosphate-rich rocks in which the bones were found-rocks indicative of deposition in an open ocean.
 
The new species was dubbed Chenanisaurus barbaricus by its discoverer Nick Longrich of the University of Bath, UK…..He added, “This find is unusual because it’s a dinosaur from marine rocks-it’s a bit like hunting for fossil whales and finding a fossil lion. It’s an incredibly rare find-almost like winning the lottery.” But the discovery of a dinosaur in marine rocks should be no surprise to Longrich and his colleagues, as a group of paleontologists had concluded earlier that nearly allCretaceous dinosaurs across Europe were buried in marine rocks.
 
In their 2015 report, Zoltan Csiki-Sava and his co-authors reported just that-nearly all Late Cretaceous dinosaurs were found in marine sedimentary rocks, including chalk and limestone beds.Researchers made similar discoveries of ankylosaurian and hadrosaurian dinosaur fossils in marine sedimentary rocks along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, and all the way north to Alaska.
 
With all these finds, it’s now clear that the discovery of dinosaurs in marine rocks and/or mixed with marine fossils is the norm, not the exception. Why do secular paleontologists continue to be surprised by what they pull out of the ground? It’s likely because they have no other viable explanation outside of deep time and evolution for what they observe. If one rejects the possibility of a global Flood event, as described in Genesis, one is left with no other recourse.
 
However, creation scientists are not surprised that so many dinosaurs are mixed with marine fossils and are commonly found in marine sediments. Dinosaurs were rapidly buried by the salty Flood waters as they engulfed the continents, mixing the sediments, the ocean creatures and the terrestrial animals together. The evidence for the global Flood is found in the phosphate mines in Morocco and all over the world.
 
1. New Scientist staff. African T.Rex was one of last dinosaurs alive before extinction. New Scientist.Posted on newscientist.com May 7, 2017, accessed May 5, 2017.
2. Dinosaurs in Marine Sediments: A Worldwide Phenomenon. Acts & Facts. 44 (6): 16.Csiki-Sava, Z. et al. 2015.
3. Island life in the Cretaceous-faunal composition, biogeography, evolution, and extinction of land-living vertebrates on the Late Cretaceous European archipelago. ZooKeys. 469: 1-161.
4. Geggel, L. Huge Dinosaur Thighbone Found on Washington Beach. LiveScience. Posted on livescience
.com May 20, 2015, accessed online May 28, 2015.
 
 


A platform for porn and a dialogue with the devil

A platform for porn and a dialogue with the devil

A few years ago my wife and I were invited to what was being called “The Great Porn Debate.” A Christian man who was anti-porn was going around the country with a famous porn actor and they were debating the question: Is porn harmful or helpful? They were debating this on college campuses, but the meeting we were invited to was in a church—a large church in San Diego where thousands of Christians would be exposed to a man who was going to try to convince the crowd that porn can be good for you and your marriage.

Needless to say, we declined — a decision for which I was subject to ridicule. I was called a Pharisee, and also I was mocked for being “afraid” to hear inappropriate language.

It did make me wonder, though: Should Christians allow debates like these to occur in our churches? Should we expose our congregations to worldly thinking and allow people to come in and attempt to convince our loved ones that the Bible is wrong, or that God is hateful and is holding back good things from us?

As I thought about that day, I’ve concluded that it’s never wise to allow false religions and worldly thinking onto our stages. And I have at least four reasons for saying that.

Truth shouldn’t be put on trial

Many of these so-called debates are supposed to be evangelistic, but my apologetic objects because God should never be put on trial. I don’t care if you are talking to an atheist, an imam, or a Buddhist monk: the God of the Bible does not need us to defend His existence. He is the I Am who has declared Himself in His Word and in every heart of man. The reason why non-believers neglect Him or replace Him with other religions is because they love their sin. Most of the time these dialogues and debates are done in order to defend God and to convince the other people of His existence through reasoning. But a God I can reason to is not a God worth worshiping.

Your congregation is weaker than you think

People need to be shepherded carefully. Of course we know that God is going to complete the work He started in each of his children (Phil 1:6). Of course we are told to contend for the faith. But we are also told protect the sheep from wolves.

Wolves bite and sheep tend to get bitten. I don’t care if you’re the greatest Christian on earth, the devil is strong and is able to attract your sheep. The lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life lures even the strongest Christians in our churches, and we must stand on guard. We need to keep the wolves out; we should never let them in because we think we can control these evil creatures whose sole purpose is to devour our sheep.

I am weaker than I think

As a shepherd, I am not as strong as I think I am. I am prone to question, to get discouraged, and to sin. I get angry and I am not as smart as I suppose myself to be.

I used to go alone to do evangelism but I do so less frequently now. I need the encouragement of others as I talk to unbelievers mainly because I am prone to get discouraged and doubt as much as anyone else in my church. Any debator or pastor must not be so prideful as to think, “I can expose my people to these wolves, because I’m able to argue in such a way that will be able to keep my sheep safe.” This is the height of arrogance and something we should repent of.

People don’t get saved through dialogues

Over the course of church history many people have compromised in order to win skeptics. From seminary scholars who compromise on the miracles in the Bible or the dating of books, to the various coalitions between Roman Catholics and evangelicals, compromise has often beguiled the church. Today it looks like friendly dialogues between Islamic leaders and Christians, but remember: none of these dialogues bring about what we want.

Complimenting wolves in sheep’s clothing on how great their clothes look is not being winsome. It’s being unwise. We must remember that salvation comes through hearing and hearing through God’s word, therefore we must defend it and declare it without holding back or compromising it at all. We mustn’t let the wolves in, and we must expose them for what they are.

Of course, it must be said that those who do choose to expose their people to these men and women don’t become apostates upon doing so. If a pastor held a dialogue with a Muslim leader at his church, I wouldn’t question his salvation or his motives (unless he has proven himself to be a false teacher over time). It is possible to be a faithful man of God and faithful evangelist and choose to do the opposite of what is said in this blog post, remembering that one day we will all stand before God and give an account of what we’ve done.

But with that said, the longer I am in the ministry, the more I am convinced that hosting dialogues with porn producers or local imams are not only counterproductive, but potentially spiritually dangerous.



Four Marks of Fruit-Bearing Christianity

 

The Christianity which I call fruit-bearing, that which shows its Divine origin by its blessed effects on mankind – the Christianity which you may safely defy unbelievers to explain away – that Christianity is a very different thing. Let me show you some of its leading marks and features.

(1) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told people that God’s Word written is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word, and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, a person’s mind, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Old Book is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.


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The Basis for the New Birth (John 3:14-21)

Christ had to die (vv. 14–17).

Christ again refers Nicodemus to the OT, this time Num. 21, the account of the brazen serpent. The serpents were biting the Jews and killing them, and the strange solution to the problem was found when Moses made a serpent of brass! Looking to the serpentin faith brought healing. In like manner, Christ was made sin for us, for it was sin that was killing us. As we look to Christ by faith, we are saved.
 
Did all this happen for judgment and condemnation? No. That was never God’s purpose. 
Notice how central Jesus is to the passage. Verse 15 emphasizes the words “in him” and they appear again in verses 16–18, while verse 17 talks about God’s saving the world through him. 

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The Great Gospel in One Verse

JOHN 3:16…

For…
GOD – the greatest Lover
SO LOVED – the greatest degree
THE WORLD – the greatest number
THAT HE GAVE – the greatest act
HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON – the greatest Gift
THAT WHOSOEVER – the greatest invitation
BELIEVETH – the greatest simplicity
IN HIM – the greatest Person
SHOULD NOT PERISH – the greatest deliverance
BUT – the greatest difference
HAVE – the greatest certainty
EVERLASTING LIFE – the greatest possession


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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An Open Letter to Those Frustrated by Their Progress in Sanctification

 
We all love it when life leaps into forward gear and we make all kinds of progress. Problems just seem to fall away. Perhaps in your life you’ve had a season like that, a season when your life seemed to shine and flourish. Maybe it was when you first became a believer or during some period when you were very well nurtured by good community and wise input.

Then there are those seasons where things go very slowly. You wonder, “Is this all there is? Why do I keep struggling with the same old things? I keep losing my temper, or feeling anxious, or being clumsy in relationships . . . ” What vision does God give us for what our lives are supposed to look like, especially when we’re dealing with the long, hard struggle part of being a Christian? Let me say two things.


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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?

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)


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For Lent , Give up Lent

by Jesse Johnson

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.


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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).

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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):
 
 

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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.