Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say? Matthew 26:28

I stated more toward the beginning of this study that we would address the topic of Jesus Christ’s atonement for sin. I also wrote that what Scripture says concerning a subject should determine what the Christian thinks. The atonement of Christ is paramount in the theology and practical thinking of every considerate Christian; for without a proper understanding of the atonement one cannot believe the gospel that saves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say? James 2:17

#5: “Thus also faith by itself, if does not have works, is dead,” James 2:17.

At last we will consider perhaps the largest argument works salvationists can bring to bear when doctrinally pleading their case. Granted, there are other verses in the New Testament that can be lifted out of context and isolated to preach works and conditional security, but this is not the point of our study. Rather, our study is to contemplate the topic of works salvation in general, and some of the advocating verses in particular, to determine if this is really what the Bible teaches. James 2:14-26 is one of the strongest passages in Scripture for the misuse of works salvation, but is that what James is teaching?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say? Colossians 1:23

#4: “If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister,” Colossians 1:23.

Another verse that seemingly highlights the need for keeping the commandments or “keeping the faith” to retain one’s salvation, in either case the verse used in this light places the responsibility of the believer’s eternal life solely in their own hands. This is of itself flawed reasoning, since we read just before this statement: “For it pleased the Father that in Him [Jesus] all the fullness (of the Godhead, see 2:9) should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him [Jesus], whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of the cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight,” Colossians 1:19-22.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say? Romans 2:13

#3: “For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified,” Romans 2:13.

To consider this verse more thoughtfully, we must draw back as it were to contemplate the first 3 chapters of Romans in a very truncated synopsis. After Paul’s lengthy introduction (1:1-15) he emphasizes the saving nature of the gospel and who the gospel is intended for: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith,’” Romans 1:16-17; also Habakkuk 2:4.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say? Works Salvation Part 2

#2: “So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments,” Matthew 19:17.

This passage has likewise been utilized to teach that works are necessary for salvation, since it comes from the lips of our Lord. The one who approached Him was a wealthy young man, who seemed to have invested interest in the prosperity gospel; that is, the richer one is the more God is blessing him. Christ’s answer contained numerous points worth considering but the main thrust of the message devastated the rich young man. His riches were a hindrance that prevented him from entering God’s kingdom. Why? “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,” 1st Timothy 6:17-18.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say? Works Salvation Part 1

To clarify once more before we continue our topic, I am henceforth only going to concentrate on the Christian church and the heresies within it. This by definition disqualifies all non-Christian sects and cults. Any denomination that places the Bible as a secondary source of authority/revelation disqualifies itself from being considered part of the Christian pale. Examples would include Mormonism, which places the Book of Mormon, and other teachings by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young ahead of Scripture as far as authority is concerned. Likewise with Roman Catholicism, which places tradition and a host of extra-biblical writing on par (or ahead of) Scripture.

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Can I Make the Bible Say?

There is much amiss in the Christian church today. There are rampant doctrines within the church being passed off as biblical, yet they are anything but. Despite their unblibical (I would go so far as to say anti-biblical) doctrines such teachers employ the Bible to enforce their views. To that end I would like to explain my reason for an apologetic regarding this topic; you might say it’s an apologetic for my apologetic. Most false teachers, or teachers who errantly hold false doctrines, migrate toward a select count of Scriptures that favor their point of view. They tend to ignore context, both within the passage they lift the verse from as well as the overall theme regarding that particular topic as found throughout Scripture as a whole.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Holy Spirit in Ezekiel

We press on to the prophet Ezekiel. In Ezekiel chapter 1 we are introduced to the “spirit” in the wheels that directs both the wheels and the four mighty beings, apparently cherubim, that are revealed to the prophet by the riverside. The wheels were full of eyes, suggesting omnipresence, and the spirit dictating the direction of the cherubim likewise suggests God’s divine control over His creation, even the angelic order. We see this language again in Revelation 4:6-8, again in regards to the mighty cherubim surrounding God's very throne, that they are "full of eyes in front and in back...around and within." Their nearness to God and their ministry are both intriguing and mysterious.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Holy Spirit in Isaiah (Part 17)

We now presently resume our study of following the mentions and doctrine pertaining to the Holy Spirit throughout the Old Testament. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive study, but rather to highlight the reality of the orthodox position of the Christian church relating to the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, and how He is abundantly found in the OT. Likewise, as we shall later see (God willing) that the Holy Spirit’s activity and purpose in the OT is more clearly illuminated once we understand the revelation of His person from the NT.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 8

The same hopeless labyrinth of error arrives if one carries this conclusion into 1st Corinthians chapter 15. Here is the “nutshell gospel” as I like to call it. This is how Paul began this chapter in his systematic defense of the reality of bodily resurrection, ultimately linking his argument again to the contrast between the first and second Adam. The resurrection was necessary, Paul argues that the natural body of a man with the sin nature is sown and the spiritual body is raised from it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 7

Paul clearly indicates (Romans 5:12-21) that many died in Adam (all men) and the sins of many have been dealt with in Christ (all men). That is why Paul wrote that Jesus is the Savior of “all men” especially of those who believe, 1st Timothy 4:10. The issue is what think ye of Jesus? Not whether or not sin has been dealt with. Sin has been dealt with once for all at the cross of Christ.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 6

In fact, Paul plainly hints that it is through these oncoming tribulations that Christian character is developed; in other words our faith and the fruit of the Spirit which God’s Holy Spirit produces in us become stronger and more defined as we walk with God through said tribulations, Romans 5:3-4. Finally, this building of character crowns with hope that does not disappoint. Here we must not become confused; Paul is not referring to hope in the sense that we use this term in our culture and time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 5

Are we to confront and combat this type of teaching as it infiltrates our church and infects many Christians whose faith is shaken when compromise is affirmed by potentially trusted teachers? The answer is certainly in the affirmative. 1st Timothy chapter one begins with just this mentality. Paul opens by telling young Timothy “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia –remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith,” 1st Timothy 1:3-4.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 4

Verse 25 tells us that just as God proposed, He did. When God looked back on the created order of animals and plants peopling His earth He declared that “it was good.” But He was not yet finished. Verse 26 commences with mankind’s introduction into this universe.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 3

Verse 14 of Genesis chapter one displays the creation of the heavenly bodies. “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.” We are told that such lights are “for signs, and seasons, and for days and years.” Again this language strongly suggests a literal acceptance of interpreting Genesis. We have a day-night cycle of 24 hours established, and now we have celestial bodies including (as we shall shortly see) the sun and moon to determine “seasons, and days and years.” Though God created light three days prior to the advent of the sun and moon, now He created rotating bodies to circle the earth to provide a clock by which people can gauge time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 2

Returning more directly to the matter at hand, let’s refer back to the language of Genesis chapter one. It would serve as a great learning experience to slow down and consider how the writer of Genesis constructs the account of creation, and how the Holy Spirit moved this man to pen what we now know was God’s chosen method of developing our world and universe of time, space, and matter.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Creation: A Christian's Bedrock

Have you, as a Christian, ever paused to consider what the significance of having a proper worldview is? Consider this: how many Christians today believe in a literal, six-day creation? How many think that this is a true account of Biblical creation, or if they do, that it has any real relevance concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ? I would like to take a thoughtful look at the creation account as the Bible puts it forth, and to see what kind of significance God places on a correct view of creation.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 16

Isaiah 59:19 states: “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” This chapter details Israel’s sin, and that it has caused them to err and separate them from God’s blessing and protection. They have so grossly erred and sinned that God looked down with astonishment on His own people, grieved that everyone went his own way.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 15

Moving ahead only a little we find the Spirit of the Lord mentioned again in Isaiah chapter 34. Chapter 34 describes a terrible war between the nations and the Lord, the year of the Lord’s vengeance, Isaiah 34:2, 8. Their conflict? Recompense for Israel. The content reflects not only the final battle at Megiddo (see Revelation chapter 19) but the eternal consequences of making oneself an inveterate enemy of God, Mark 9:42-48; Revelation 14:10-11; 19:19-21.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Gospel Audio Message

My first audio message from New Hope Bible Church is available on their site; if you want to listen to the message I delivered regarding the Gospel, please click the link here to do so. It was exciting and humbling to be used of God to provide teaching for others, and I pray the Lord that I have opportunity again in the near future, once time permits. God bless.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Bible: Genuine Article or Cunning Fraud?

The Bible has been seriously tampered with by person or persons with various agendas. Much of what was originally in it has been removed; conversely much that was not in it to begin with has been added long after the fact. This is the contention of modern skepticism and liberal academia. I find it difficult to believe that anyone still thinks there is any legitimacy to this opinion. And that is simply what the beginning assertion is: opinion. Worse than that: it is slanderous opinion in spite of, not because of, voluminous evidence to the contrary.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Fifth Year in Review

Has it been five years?
Five years and hundreds of posts later, much has changed. This year is no different.

I am busier. That is something of an understatement. Between a loving wife, three growing children, a series of novels, my Bible studies, this blog, and a full time job managing a new store, I have been busy. God has been gracious on so many levels that I hardly know how to even recount them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 14

In Isaiah 32:15 we read “Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.” To focus on the verse in particular we must pan back and view the context of the passage. Reading Isaiah chapter 31 we find the prophet rebuking Israel for trusting in idols such as Egypt for aid. He tells revolting Israel that He will personally come and fight for them; the result is that as God defends it, it shall be delivered, and when He passes over it, it shall be preserved, Isaiah 31:5.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 13

The final direct mention of the Holy Spirit in the book of Psalms is in Psalm 143. We read “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good, lead me in the land of uprightness,” Psalm 143:10. Like Psalm 25 or 119, the psalmist asks God to teach him to do His will. Now this is not some subjective, intuitive sense the psalmist is pining for. Rather, it is an objective understanding of God’s person revealed in the Old Testament, as much of it as had been written by that point.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 12

We find in a historical account regarding Moses: “They angered Him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses on account of them; because they rebelled against His Spirit, so that he spoke rashly with his lips,” Psalm 106:32-33. Here we find the reason things went ill with Moses. God commanded Moses to speak to the rock before the people, and that water would come forth. Instead, Israel’s human leader struck the rock and stole some of God’s glory by proclaiming “Hear now you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Numbers 20:10.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 11

Moving along, we enter the book of Psalms. We come to the writing of David and find this passage. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me,” Psalm 51:10-11. This is the first mention of the Holy Spirit by the name we know Him from the New Testament. In what context is it used? David is pleading regarding his double sin of adultery and murder. He asks God to create a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit in him. He wants the guilt of his sin cleansed, and to walk in a steadfast faith once more, obeying the voice of his Lord. He had seen in his youth what had come of Saul, the king he succeeded.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Love with Expectations, Part 4

The final commandments fall in line after this. We shall not murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness (lie), or covet. If we practiced love as the Bible defines it, then we would refrain from all of these, because our concern for others, and our willful desire to promote their good before our own would prevent it. Love’s expectation then is that we are intended to behave like God originally designed us to.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Love with Expectations, Part 3

The Bible is replete with the word “no”. There are more no’s than yes’s in the Bible. This also occurs with the idea of love. Let us turn to the Ten Commandments and consider them momentarily, Exodus 20. What have they to do with love, you may wonder? The first several commandments define the parameters of the relationship between men and God. The first is that humanity should have no other god before Yahweh.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ode to Mother

On this, the fourth day of the fourth month in 2014, I am writing my 400th post. I just felt desirous to note this due to the overwhelming presence of 4's involved. That being said, I would like to dedicate this milestone post (for me) to my mother, whose birthday it is today.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Love with Expectations, Part 2

Love is not provoked, or easily angered. Someone behaving in love does not “retaliate.” “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing,” 1st Peter 3:8-9. “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all,” 1st Thessalonians 5:15.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 10

The final mention of the Spirit of the Lord by name in 2nd Chronicles occurs in 24:20. We read “Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people and said to them, ‘Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you.’’”

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 9

The result was that Asa heard and took the message to heart. He felt encouraged to dismantle the systems of false worship that had sprung up like weeds in the garden of his God. Isreal was a tree that was meant to bear fruit to God, fruit that would be shared with the nations for their healing and reconciliation with Israel’s God. In time the corruption of pagan influences, ruled by demonic principalities, had infiltrated Israel’s worship and they had turned to polytheism, pantheism, or even animism and astrology. Asa caused a restoration of true worship, calling back people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon as well as provoking Benjamin and Judah back to proper worship when they witnessed that God was with him, 2nd Chronicles 15:9.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Love with Expectations, Part 1

What is love? And what does it mean to love? These are questions that have been attempted to be answered by poets, philosophers, intellectuals, religious people and the average person for millennia. As it happens, most everyone tends to have a different definition of what love entails, or what love looks like. But what about love’s obligations? Once love enters a relationship, any relationship, are not certain expectations aroused that must be upheld by both parties?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 8

Looking into 2nd Kings, we find that Elijah finally enjoyed the kind fate that Obadiah was afraid would overcome the prophet in his day: “Then they (the prophets) said to him (Elisha), ‘Look now, there are fifty strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master, lest perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has taken him up and cast him upon some mountain or into some valley,’” 2nd Kings 2:16. We know that God made His angels to be flames of fire and spirits, Psalm 104:4. They were likely the chariots of fire that separated Elijah from his protégé.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 7

Moving on to 1st Kings, we find mention of the Spirit of the Lord yet again. Elijah has finally been commanded to reveal himself to Israel’s idolatrous king, Ahab. Obadiah, a God fearing servant of Ahab’s had found him and Elijah commanded Obadiah to fetch Ahab for him. Part of Obadiah’s response to the prophet was this: “And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me,” 1st Kings 18:12. The Holy Spirit often led men of God, either directly or indirectly, throughout Scripture. He moved upon Samson early in that judge’s career, Judges 13:25. The Holy Spirit literally moved Ezekiel the prophet about to reveal certain things to him, Ezekiel 3:12, 14, etc. The Holy Spirit “led up” (Matthew 4:1) or even “drove” (Mark 1:12) Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 6

Turning back to the topic at hand, we find the Holy Spirit in 1st Samuel 19. A vengeful and demonically possessed Saul is seeking David to kill him. He has servants track David to Naioth in Ramah. The servants come upon a group of prophets led by an elderly Samuel, only to have the Holy Spirit come upon them and they prophesy rather than catch David, 1st Samuel 19:20.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 5

Moving ahead, we reach the book of 1st Samuel. Samuel is an old man, and his sons turned out to be wicked. Because of this, and due to their constant disobedience toward God, the people demanded a human king to be their leader, rejecting God. God chose Saul, son of Kish to be Israel’s first king, and we find the Holy Spirit’s activity in the lives of His saints at the onset of Saul’s career as king. “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you (Saul), and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man,” 1st Samuel 10:6. And that was exactly how it happened; Samuel’s prophetic word to Saul was quickly fulfilled.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 4

Finally our trip through Judges brings us to the person of Samson. Samson’s supernatural strength had nothing to do with the fitness of his body, but with his Nazarite vows and his faith in God. Of the latter, we know that Samson did indeed have a strong trust in the Lord despite the carnality of his lifestyle, Hebrews 11:32. Samson had the Holy Spirit come upon him “mightily” for exploits of heroism that defy human explanation, and are thusly ridiculed by humanistic, atheistic commentators.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 3

2nd Timothy 3:16 is an excellent verse to pause and consider for a moment. Paul writes that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” The phrase “given by inspiration of God” happens to be one Greek word: “theopneustos” meaning “God-breathed.” It is the stamp of the Holy Spirit’s authority on everything we find in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. God testifies through His servant that every jot and tittle is accurate and correct on all subjects it touches on. For a professing Christian to reject some portion of the Bible in favor of human reasoning is a demonstration of rank unbelief; we fall into the trap of accepting finite rationalizations from men over divine revelation.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 2

We shall now attempt to establish a pattern of activity for the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, as already touched upon in both Genesis and Exodus. So, the first question relating to the Holy Spirit that we shall attempt to answer in any exhaustive manner is whether or not He can be found in the Old Testament and in a manner consistent with New Testament teachings. This we shall do, God willing.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Faith, Part 2

But faith is not a power or energy, or leverage to get God to do what we wish. Faith does not demand of God; instead, faith rather waits for God’s demands, as it were. A “faith” that seeks its own improvement above others, a faith focused only on our personal gain at any avenue is also not Biblical faith. We are to esteem others as better than ourselves, and we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His glory, Matthew 6:33.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Faith, Part 1

Have you ever stopped to consider what it means to have faith? Perhaps more to the point: have you ever paused to contemplate what faith is? I know there are various definitions of the word, especially by today’s standards. But the word “faith” suffers from a blanket definition so broad that it has become vacuous. We hear the phrases all the time encouraging us to believe in ourselves, to have faith in ourselves, or simply to have faith. But what does this mean, exactly? It brings us back to the one simple question of definition; what is faith?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Holy Spirit, Part 1

We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost, Acts 19:2

These words seem to comprise the modern mentality of a number of pseudo-Christian cults and sects that deny the person and power of the Holy Spirit. Who or what is the Holy Spirit? Is this a strictly New Testament doctrinal addition? Is He a person? An energy source? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in Scripture, and in a believer’s life both as they are born into the household of God, and afterward? God allowing, we shall explore these questions and more as we contemplate the nature and reality of the Holy Spirit from Scripture.
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.