Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Genesis Chapter One

I have thought it fitting to begin a personal journey through the Bible together, to see what we may glean through our studies, beginning with the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Before we open our Bibles and begin to study and apply the word of God I feel compelled to add this in: that I do not have all the answers. In reality, I have precious few answers for the deep mysteries of the word of God, and His plan for mankind and the universe. I understand salvation, and that the universe will eventually be reconciled back to God through Christ, and that all will be made new, eternal, and sinless. I do not know, nor will I pretend to know, why God chose this exact way of redeeming men and women; what I mean is why did He make earth thus, populate it with our race, and allow sin it’s entrance, and to run its course as it largely has. I will dispel the illusion or delusion that sin surprised God. No, He fully knew that Adam and Eve would sin, just as He knew Satan would sin, but created him nonetheless. Why? God has His reasons, and His reasons and wisdom are perfect, so I am obliged simply to agree that God is wiser than I am, and He knows what He is doing. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever,” Deuteronomy 29:29. To fully know the mind of God one would have to be God, even if He deigned to explain Himself to mortal man, whose frame is dust, Psalm 103:14. Therefore cease striving to understand all His ways. “Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33. See also Job 11:7; 15:8; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 55:8-9 for further examples of our inability to understand God and His works.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas and the Messiah

Greetings again. I am posting one of my wife's letters which she has invested time and love into writing, to edify her family about Christmas's origins and Jesus' unique role as Messiah. I want to share what she wrote for them, so please recall the context it is written in if it seems to be personally addressed (it is).

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Miracle of the New Birth

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” Matthew 16:24.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God,” John 3:5.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new,” 2nd Corinthians 5:17.
The essence of the new birth, and becoming a new man in Christ Jesus are not merely mystical statements muttered by Christians. This is what I presently desire to consider, and delve into. But a disclaimer before I continue: the new birth and spiritual regeneration are entirely the work of the Holy Spirit within a man. He implants a new life within those who have accepted Christ by faith. It is an eternal life, a spiritual life, begotten by the Spirit and interested and desirous of the things of God. We are truly and literally born again. Our old life, with its condemnation and sin, is nailed to the cross, and our sins are no longer counted against us, but imputed to the One who died for them on the tree. To this end the work, and the glory, belong solely to God. He holds the breath of life, and breathes it into us.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Allegory and the Truth

Let us say you are arrested and brought into the court on serious charges; charges that meant your death if you were found guilty. Suppose further that the evidence is so overwhelming concerning your crime that there is no doubt, and you are without hope. The court turns in the verdict: guilty, sentenced to die to satisfy the court’s justice. Suppose further now that there was a clause which could save you. An animal, a lamb as it were, was brought into the courtroom and stood between you and the judge who condemned you. While you are pondering what this meant, the judge explained.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The God of Glory

Moses once beseeched God that he might see God’s glory, and God indeed revealed His glory by passing by His servant on the mountainside. Such was the power and radiance of the Lord that Moses’ face shone with the splendor of that encounter with the living God, and the children of Israel were actually afraid to approach him afterward. When the tabernacle of the wilderness and the temple of Solomon were complete God’s shekinah glory filled both, so that the result was no man could approach to sacrifice or worship. Jesus, in the prayer mold He taught to believers, ascribed the kingdom, power and glory to God alone, as was befitting Him. The natural world declares the glory of God, the psalmist explains, and the universe in all its tremendous complexity declares His amazing power, creative ability, and utter genius that surpasses all human industry or understanding. The Old Testament prophets called the salvation of God glorious. God’s revealed arm and will were glorious to His children, who looked for naught but death, and instead found eternal life and present consolation. The appearance of Jesus Christ revealed God’s glory, and the ministry of Christ is indeed the ministry of glory, as Paul told the Colossian believers of his day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What about Sin?

Greetings. I was hoping to pursue the topic of sin in today's world, and seek what our Lord has to say concerning the subject.
Strong’s Concordance defines sin as an offence and its penalty, to miss (the mark); hence to sin, or forfeit or lack. The word sin is first employed in Genesis 4:7, though it is obviously implied earlier. God is speaking with Cain, and tells him that if he does well he will be accepted, otherwise if not, sin lies at the door, and its desire is for him. One would imagine this meant to rule over him, but God tells Cain that he should rule instead over sin, that is, his sin nature. Likewise God told Eve that her desire would be for her husband, but that he would rule over her. As the wife should be ruled by her husband and not allowed to dominate the marriage because it is not God’s will, sin should not so overcome us that we allow it to direct the course of our lives. God describes it to Cain as lying at the door, that is when you leave God’s presence it will pounce on you and have you, and there is no escape. But if you do well, that is if you hear God’s words and apply them in faith, you will be accepted. Abel was accepted and his gifts bore witness to it. Why? He brought the offering God told him to. He acted in faith, he heard what God said, believed it, and responded in humble faith without adding or subtracting from the word. I have heard a wonderful saying by a man named John Stott which said, “The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God; the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is Truth? (John 18:38)

I would like to pursue the question posed above, and how it may be answered through the Bible. According to Oxford’s dictionary fourth edition, the word ‘truth’ is defined as, “#1 the state of being true; #2 (also the truth) that which is true; true facts. #3 a fact or belief that is accepted as true.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Having the Mind of Christ

“But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ,” 1st Corinthians 2:15-16.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God,” 1st Peter 4:1-2.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Ten Commandments

Let me pose a hypothetical question. If I were to murder someone, would the fault be mine or God’s? What I mean is, should God allow this to happen? Should He intercede and keep me from committing harm to a fellow human being, putting me to death before I have had a chance to do good or evil?

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Jesus of History Part 3

We will conclude our study of Matthew’s gospel beginning with chapter 21: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. When Jesus approached Jerusalem He told His disciples to find Him a colt to ride upon, and where to find the animal. They did so, and brought it to Him to fulfill a prophecy spoken by Zechariah around 500 B.C. which said, “Tell the daughter of Zion (Jerusalem), behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey,” Matthew 21:5; Zechariah 9:9. Jesus, who would not quench smoking flax or break the bruised reed, enters Jerusalem on the most unseemly vehicle imaginable: a beast of burden. But the Son of Man had come to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. The verse following this in Zechariah’s prophecy speaks of Messiah dismantling arms and armies, and bringing genuine peace to the nations under His reign when He comes in glory. Which nations? We read in 9:10 of Zechariah that Messiah’s dominion is from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” All this shall yet be with our Lord’s second coming, but Jesus came first in humility and they rejected Him.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Jesus of History Part 2

Before continuing this discourse, I think it would beneficial and edifying to learn what the purpose and plan of prophecy is. Prophecy (and prophetic fulfillment) are the hallmarks of the Bible, unique to it’s character, making it to stand utterly alone as a religious writing of any type. I have heard some Christians say that as much as 30% of the Bible is prophecy, so it serves us well, both as Christians doing the will of God, and as unbelievers seeking truth, to pay careful heed to the words God has been gracious enough beforehand to reveal, as He promised to reveal through the mouths of His prophets, Amos 3:7.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Jesus of History Part 1

While this title may be misleading, I chose it to define by virtue of God’s written, inspired record in the Bible, the only Jesus Christ this world will ever truly and knowingly be acquainted with. I know there are those (such as the “Jesus Seminar”) who say the Christ presented in Scripture is distorted so as to be unreal, yet they speak such things out of their own unlearned and ignorant opinion, basing it upon nothing more than an utter disbelief that God exists, that He has revealed Himself in the Person of our Savior, and left for us the written account of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Granted, Jesus name is mentioned in the annals of ancient writers such as Josephus. But very little is spoken of Him. The Talmud, written by the Hebrew Rabbis, considered Jesus an Egyptian sorcerer, for example. But as Jesus Himself declared, wisdom is vindicated by her children, Luke 7:35.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

To Them That Have Ears, Part 2

You don't even know what questions to ask, because a created being has decided to redefine truth (to suit a preference, or impose an uncertainty on souls that happen to be seeking for reassurance).
Man always wants the last word but is happy to change the words as his "reason" allows, as cultures shift, as seasons change, etc...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To Them That Have Ears, Part 1

I humbly bring you another letter from my mother, friend, and elder Christian, who is duly concerned with the impoverished and undiscerning state of today's church and professing Christians. She was provoked to grief, and compelled by the Holy Spirit to write what was in her heart to say: and I present it to those who would be considerate enough to pause and listen.

Defending the Faith

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints," Jude 1:3.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Christian Liberty

There are few topics more misunderstood in our profession today than Christian liberty. I myself have stumbled over the freedom that we have in Christ, and err toward legalism more than I ought. Others I know who confess Christ tend to stray into license, or using the name of Christ to do whatever they wish, either since they are saved and do not fear wrath, or do not understand what they are doing. Through ignorance or deliberation much damage has been done to the idea and reality of Christian liberty.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Christmas in July

Greetings again. This particular testimony is from my beloved mother, who is a devout, fundamental believer in Jesus Christ, and a wonderful woman. She wrote this to her family last Christmas, to make clear her beliefs on Jesus Christ and God's plan of salvation, and to edify her family. I am pleased now to share her words with anyone who has ears to hear.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Risen Christ

My heart was elevated today as I contemplated the majesty of Jesus' triumph over sin and death upon the cross, and what it means to be born again. To be born again as the Bible explains it, has nothing to do with church affiliation or water baptism, but instead is by grace through faith, which we place in Jesus Christ when we confess and believe on Him as our Lord and Savior. When He agonized on the cross, it was not the pierced hands and the taunting jeers that caused Him so much hurt, but the undiluted wrath of the Father poured out on Him for our sakes, to punish the totality of our sins in Christ's person.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Will of Man

A common query today may be posed to Christians: If God is perfect, and intended His world to be perfect, why did He permit Lucifer and then humanity to turn from Him? Did He lack power to restrain this occurrence, or does He not care? Many people use the argument of this world's imperfection to "prove" that God does not exist. Else, why bother with making a fallen world, and only taking a select few (the elect) to a better one, while the rest go on to punishment?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Who Put Jesus on the Cross?

Greetings again. This was an old question posed in a book written by A. W. Tozer decades ago. It was the name of the book, and the motivating message that was threaded through its pages. I'm not looking at the technical aspects of the crucifixion; we know that the Romans nailed our Lord to the cross, and the Jewish people handed Him over to them, to have it done. Both of these are the historical answers to the question, but I don't want to peek into the historicity of the the cross. Rather, let's look deeper as to what happened, and why.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Is Salvation Exclusive?

I would like to take this time to discuss salvation, which is the essence of the Christian faith. Truth be told, it is the essence of ancient and modern religions alike. Salvation, the act of redeeming mankind from their sins, is why Jesus Christ came to this world to begin with. There is a great gulf between the world's religions and fundamental Christianity (I use the word "fundamental" because much that was Christianity has drifted into a liberalism that has defiled and corrupted Christ's teachings).
All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.