Sunday, August 31, 2008

Revelation 4

(click to enlarge)

Good Advice


"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Revelation 3

"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

Friday, August 29, 2008

Revelation 2

(click to enlarge)

Learn To Fly


"Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

And I will give him the morning star.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Revelation Chapter 1

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

David and Goliath

First, check this out. This is scary. If you own a cell phone, you need to watch this! A good stunt!

Okay, now on to David and Goliath!

"Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.

A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. [Hebrew was six cubits and a span (about 3 meters)] He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels [That is, about 125 pounds (about 57 kilograms)]; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels [That is, about 15 pounds (about 7 kilograms)]. His shield bearer went ahead of him.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us." Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other." On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul's time he was old and well advanced in years. Jesse's three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul, but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father's sheep at Bethlehem.

For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

Now Jesse said to his son David, "Take this ephah [That is, probably about 3/5 bushel (about 22 liters)] of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines."

Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.

Now the Israelites had been saying, "Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father's family from taxes in Israel."

David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?"

They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, "This is what will be done for the man who kills him."

When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, "Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle."

"Now what have I done?" said David. "Can't I even speak?" He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."

Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth."

But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."

Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

"I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. "Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"

David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine's sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. David took the Philistine's head and brought it to Jerusalem, and he put the Philistine's weapons in his own tent.

As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, "Abner, whose son is that young man?"

Abner replied, "As surely as you live, O king, I don't know."

The king said, "Find out whose son this young man is."

As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine's head.

"Whose son are you, young man?" Saul asked him.
David said, "I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem."
(I Samuel 17, NIV)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Arminianism vs. Sovereign, Irresistible Grace

Act 11:18 And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted repentance unto life.

Act 13:48 And as the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
Joh 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Rom 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
Rom 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
Rom 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Rom 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
Rom 9:17 For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?
Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory

Also see My Posts on Election

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Matt. 8:11-12

Someone asked me a question the other day regarding a difficult Bible verse.

"I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 8:11-12, NIV)

Basically, the question he was implying was, 'Why would the children (as the translation he was using said) of the Kingdom of God be thrown into Hell?'
Here is what I answered:

Verses 5-13 deal with Jesus talking to the Centurion, and noting
the Centurion's great faith. In the middle of Jesus commending the
Centurion for his faith, Jesus mentions the "children of the kingdom"
being thrown into outer darkness (vs. 12). Since Jesus was talking to the Centurion
about his faith before and after this, Jesus must have been relating this statement
to His commendation of the Centurion's faith.

In fact, what Jesus was doing, was contrasting the Centurion's great faith with the lack of faith that the Jews had. Matt. 8:11-12 is actually similar to James 2, which says that "faith without works is dead," except that James is talking about people in
general, and Jesus is here focusing on the Jews only. Remember that the Jews prided themselves on being the "children of Abraham," but Jesus said He could make "children of Abraham" from stones. So, I believe that by "children of the kingdom," Jesus
meant the Jews, since they were the chosen people, and they thought they were all
in right standing with God, as opposed to the lost, 'pagan' Gentiles.

"...and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham."
(Matt. 3:9, NASB)

"Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham."
(Luke 3:8, NASB)

Jesus is saying that, to be a child of Abraham means that you are a spiritual child of Abraham, not merely a blood descendant; in other words, that you have the faith of Abraham. Another way of saying it is the circumcision of the heart. Today, the NT equivalent would be "born again." Although the Jews are still God's chosen people as a nation (and the Jews will accept Jesus as their Messiah in the Last Days), in another sense, the chosen people of God are those who have the faith of Abraham---faith in the Messiah. In the OT, people were saved by faith, just as we are (see Hebrews 11). The Law was only meant to be a mirror, to make us see our need for a Savior. In the OT, their faith looked forward to the coming Messiah.
Today, our faith is in the Messiah Who has come, and Who will come again.

Back to Matt. 8:12 (and note that the NIV says "subjects"):
"But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness,
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
This is saying something similar to what the verses immediately following Matt. 3:9 and Luke 3:8 say.

"The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire." (Matt. 3:10, NIV)

"Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Luke 3:9, NASB)

Just because a person was a physical descendant of Abraham did not mean they were in right standing with God. Faith (in the Messiah), not bloodline, is what saves a person from Hell.

Similarly, a person is not a Christian just because they claim they are.
A person could have been baptized, or could have gone to church their whole life, or could even be a deacon in a church, or sing in the choir, or maybe their dad was a Pastor. But, unless they have been regenerated (born again), they are not saved. Also, if they claim to be a Christian, but their works prove otherwise (i.e. they are always getting drunk, or they are always sleeping around, or they are a heroin addict, etc.), then their claim is obviously a false claim.

So, I believe that Matt. 8:11-12---applied to the Jews in Jesus' day---is saying something very similar to the following verses, which apply to both Jews and Gentiles (and especially cults and false religions):

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. "
(Matt. 7:21-23)

People say that we are all children of God, just as the Jews in Jesus' day said they were all children of Abraham. I could imagine that, if Jesus came down to earth today in American society, He might say, "But the children of God will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." In saying this, He could be responding to the idea that many people think we are all children of God, just as the Jews thought they were all the children of the kingdom of God, just because they had been born Jewish.
In actuality, we are all creations of God, but only those who are adopted into His family by faith in Christ are actually children of God.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Trinity

What is the Trinity?

The word "trinity" is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of the persons is distinct from the other, yet identical in essence. In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity. Each has a will, loves, and says "I", and "You" when speaking. The Father is not the same person as the Son who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit who is not the same person as the Father. Each is divine, yet there are not three gods, but one God. There are three individual subsistences, or persons. The word "subsistence" means something that has a real existence. The word "person" denotes individuality and self awareness. The Trinity is three of these, though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Included in the doctrine of the Trinity is a strict monotheism which is the teaching that there exists in all the universe a single being known as God who is self-existent and unchangeable (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8). Therefore, it is important to note that the doctrine of the trinity is not polytheistic as some of its critics proclaim. Trinitarianism is monotheistic by definition and those who claim it is polytheistic demonstrate a lack of understanding of what it really is.

* The Trinity
o God is three persons
o Each person is divine
o There is only one God.

Many theologians admit that the term "person" is not a perfect word to describe the three individual aspects/foci found in God. When we normally use the word person, we understand it to mean physical individuals who exist as separate beings from other individuals. But in God there are not three entities, nor three beings. God, is a trinity of persons consisting of one substance and one essence. God is numerically one. Yet, within the single divine essence are three individual subsistences that we call persons.

* Each of the three persons is completely divine in nature though each is not the totality of the Godhead.
* Each of the three persons is not the other two persons.
* Each of the three persons is related to the other two, but are distinct from them.

The word "trinity" is not found in the Bible. But this does not mean that the concept is not taught there. The word "bible" is not found in the Bible either, but we use it anyway. Likewise, the words "omniscience," which means "all knowing," "omnipotence," which means "all powerful," and "omnipresence," which means "present everywhere," are not found in the Bible either. But we use these words to describe the attributes of God. So, to say that the Trinity isn't true because the word isn't in the Bible is an invalid argument.

Is there subordination in the Trinity?

There is, apparently, a subordination within the Trinity in regard to order but not substance or essence. We can see that the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. The Father is not begotten, but the Son is (John 3:16). The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (John 5:26). The Father sent the Son (1 John 4:10). The Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). The Father creates (Isaiah 44:24), the Son redeems (Gal. 3:13), and the Holy Spirit sanctifies (Rom. 15:16).

This subordination of order does not mean that each of the members of the Godhead are not equal or divine. For example, we see that the Father sent the Son. But this does not mean that the Son is not equal to the Father in essence and divine nature. The Son is equal to the Father in his divinity, but inferior in his humanity. A wife is to be subject to her husband but this does not negate her humanity, essence, or equality. By further analogy, a king and his servant both share human nature. Yet, the king sends the servant to do his will. Jesus said, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38). Of course Jesus already is King, but the analogy shows that because someone is sent, it doesn't mean they are different than the one who sent him.

Critics of the Trinity will see this subordination as proof that the Trinity is false. They reason that if Jesus were truly God, then He would be completely equal to God the Father in all areas and would not, therefore, be subordinate to the Father in any way. But this objection is not logical. If we look at the analogy of the king and in the servant we certainly would not say that the servant was not human because he was sent. Being sent does not negate sameness in essence. Therefore, the fact that the Son is sent does not mean that He is not divine any more than when my wife sends me to get bread, I am not human.

Is this confusing?

Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp. But this does not necessitate an argument against its validity. On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth. The Bible is the self revelation of an infinite God. Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts which are difficult to understand -- especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times. So, when we view descriptions and attributes of God manifested in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we discover that a completely comprehensible and understandable explanation of God's essence and nature is not possible. What we have, however, done is derive from the Scripture the truths that we can grasp and combine them into the doctrine we call The Trinity. The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery. After all, we are dealing with God Himself.

It is the way of the cults to reduce biblical truth to make God comprehensible and understandable by their minds. To this end, they subject God's word to their own reasoning and end in error. The following verses are often used to demonstrate that in the doctrine of the Trinity is indeed biblical.

* Matt. 28:18, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
* 1 Cor. 12:4-6, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.
* 2 Cor. 13:14, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
* Eph. 4:4-7, There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
* 1 Pet. 1:2, "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure."
* Jude 20-21, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life."



*Baker's Dictionary of Theology, Everett Harrison, ed. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960.
*Berkhoff's Systematic Theology, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1988.
*Grudem, Wayne, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1994.
*Hodge's Systematic Theology, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981.

from CARM

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Limited Atonement

1 JOHN 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

Here is an article that gives a good explanation concerning that verse:
I John 2:2 and Limited Atonement

Here is an excellent resource on the subject by John Piper

Here is another article on Limited Atonement:
Gospel Outreach

Also see my other posts concerning this issue:
My Past Posts on Election and the Sovereignty of God

Here is another article:
A Puritan's Mind

Also this:
Limited Atonement: Is is Biblical?

Here is a definition of Limited Atonement on Wikipedia

And here is an article on Limited Atonement by Loraine Boettmer

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

OK...Just For Fun...

What Old People Do For Fun

Crane Accident

Dancing Chimps

Superhero Movies Spoof

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Building Character

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Although I have never experienced physical persecution, as many Christians in other countries do, I know that even the minor irritations I sometimes experience can be used by God to build character in me.

At work, my boss is the Design & Graphics Editor for the city newspaper, and I am a Contract Graphic Artist there (he and I are the only ones who do the artwork for the newspaper). He is a strict perfectionist who constantly criticizes me and my artwork.

The following are some illustrations I did in Adobe Illustrator CS2, which my boss said were not good enough to publish (or else he just didn't like them). Basically, he gave me an assignment to draw something, then, after I drew it, he said it wasn't good enough. This happens often. The bottom one is a scan of a sketch I did, which he also rejected. A few times he has said that my work was very good, and obviously, many times my artwork has been published (or else I would have been fired long ago), but very often, he says that what I drew is not going to work, or that its not good enough, or that he just doesn't like it. In the case of the illustration of the City Manager below, even though he rejected my illustration, he used a couple pieces of it in his own artwork, and he signed only his name to it. Many times he will have me draw a few items, which he will add to the artwork that he has done, but he will sign only his name to it, and take all the credit. Ah, well, he's my boss, after all, and I am getting paid to do it, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Plus, as I said, I have already had many things published under my name. After a while, the initial rush from having your work published starts to wear off and become old, anyway. Fame is not all that its cracked up to be.

Art is a very personal thing, and having your artwork rejected, especially on a constant basis, is frustrating. Nevertheless, I am trying to keep my eyes on eternal things, and not on the things of this world. This job is only a temporary thing, after all. Less than 60 years from now (maybe far less), I will be in Heaven, and these minor frustrations will be forgotten.

Some of my rejected artwork:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Filling and the Anointing

The definition of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit is something that is, sadly, controversial among Christians today. Yet, the Bible commands the Christian to be filled with the Holy Spirit. However, from my experience with people that I have talked to, it seems that many Christians have an incorrect idea about what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It seems that Satan has been successful in confusing many Christians in this area, because Satan knows that being filled with the Holy Spirit is where the power is at. Satan knows that a Christian, while they are filled with the Holy Spirit, is in complete obedience to God, has their thoughts completely on God, is not sinning ("So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature," Gal. 5:16), and is fulfilling God's will. Therefore, it makes sense that Satan should do everything he can to confuse Christians in this area.

I'm not going to speak from some doctrinal standpoint here, or from something I read. I'm going to speak from my own personal experience. I have been filled with the Holy Spirit a number of times in my life (though, ideally, I should have been filled with His Spirit on a consistent, regular basis). From experience, I know that becoming filled with the Holy Spirit (the Third Person of the Trinity) does not come by praying for it or by asking for it. It comes by spending intimate, personal time with God---spending time in God's Word, in prayer, and/or praising Him. There is no exact 'formula' for becoming filled with the Holy Spirit, other than spending time with Him. I have spent periods of time reading and/or studying God's Word, and was not filled with His Holy Spirit. At other times, I spent time reading the Bible, or studying the Bible, or praying, or singing the Psalms, or praising Him, or a combination of those---and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. Every time that I was filled with the Holy Spirit, it was accompanied by joy and by a feeling of peace, along with a feeling that I was acting in accordance with God's will. If I remember correctly, the times that I was filled with the Holy Spirit were times of trouble or distress---in other words, in time of need. That's probably because those were the times I sought after God the hardest and the most sincerely and deeply. I also know, from personal experience, that the very second that you sin, you quench the Holy Spirit, and you are no longer filled with the Holy Spirit. Every time that happened, I could feel it immediately, and very obviously. I could feel that I was no longer filled with the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes when I was filled with the Holy Spirit, I became so ecstatic that I would lift up my arms in praise, and just verbally praise His Name. Other times, I would yell out in excitement. These were merely outward ways of expressing how I felt. At such times, the joy that filled me was beyond any earthly happiness or contentment or excitement or fun that I have ever felt. A couple of times, I have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the midst of hurtful tragedy. At such times, although I was almost overwhelmed by problems and conflict and others coming against me, I felt a deep contentment and had strong inner confirmation that I was doing the right thing in God's eyes. When a Christian is filled with the Holy Spirit, they are in perfect communion with God, and perfect fellowship with Him. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, nothing matters to them except God. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, they have the mind and attitude of Christ ("Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus," Phil. 2:5).

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not something that just happens once. It has to be continually sought after. Every time that person sins, they are no longer filled with the Holy Spirit, and they have to seek after it again, by spending time with God again. It is a continuous appropriation from a continuous supply from God. The Bible tells us to be constantly controlled by the Spirit. And the only way to obey God perfectly is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, they will only speak the truth, and their words will have power. The filling by the Holy Spirit is God's enabling that person to obey Him and serve Him.

A very imperfect and flawed comparison or analogy can be made by thinking about eating. When you are completely full and satisfied, you might think of that as being something like being filled with the Holy Spirit. However, as soon as you sin, you quench the Holy Spirit and are no longer filled by Him. Therefore, you might compare (please pardon the graphic description) throwing up to sinning, in that respect. As soon as you throw up, you are no longer full, because your stomach has been emptied.

The Holy Spirit never leaves the born-again believer (because God has promised that He never will), but when that believer sins, the Holy Spirit, though He still abides (lives) within that believer, He doesn't fill that believer. A cup, for example, may have water in it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the cup is completely full of water. As another example, you may have some jewelry that is 10k gold, 14kgold, 18k gold, or 22k gold. But none of those are pure gold. Karat grade is used to express the proportion of gold in an alloy or the quality of a gold alloy. Fine gold (pure) is 24 karat. Pure gold will not rust, tarnish or corrode. Being filled with the Holy Spirit might be compared to something being pure gold, as opposed to the Holy Spirit merely indwelling the believer, which might be compared to 10, 14, 18 or 22 karat gold. Of course, unlike being filled with the Holy Spirit, karat grade does not change in jewelry, so the analogy is an imperfect one.

Every born-again Christian has God the Holy Spirit dwelling inside that person, and, because of that, the person's body is God's temple. The Holy Spirit can only abide in that person because they have been made holy by the blood of Christ. God will not dwell in a corrupted body that has not been redeemed. Being filled with the Holy Spirit simply means that you are completely filled with Him, and you are being completely controlled by Him. The evil counterpart is a person who is possessed by a demon. With the Christian, the person spends so much time with the Lord, feeding on God's thoughts, and surrendering himself/herself to God's will, that the indwelling Holy Spirit fills every part of that person, and every word, every thought, and every deed done by that person is controlled by the Holy Spirit. That person is completely under the control and influence of the Holy Spirit. They are of the same mind with God, and are humble but yet bold. They pray with the heart and vision of a righteous man. Their thoughts, ambition, behavior, and words are occupied completely with Jesus Christ.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit does not happen automatically. We have to spend time with Him. And being filled with the Holy Spirit is the greatest need, and the greatest resource, for the born-again Christian. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, they will always glorify Jesus Christ, and God will be exalted in their speech and in their behavior. If a Christian is sinning, they are not, at that time, filled with the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely impossible to sin and be filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time; just as impossible as it is for God to sin.

Another misunderstanding among Christians is what the 'anointing' is. Actually, it's really simple. When a person accepts Christ and becomes born again, they are anointed by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit then lives in them, and the Bible promises that He will never leave them. Simply said, a person is anointed if the Holy Spirit lives inside them.

"Christ" means 'the Anointed One.' An unsaved person is without the Anointed One, and is therefore without the anointing. But a born-again believer is in the anointing of the 'Anointed One.'

The Bible compares the Holy Spirit to an engagement ring, which is God's promise that believers will be united with Him in Heaven for eternity. The Bible compares the Church to a bride, and Jesus to a groom.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galations 5:22-23)

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Although this is changing the subject, please note that the Son of God is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Son of God. The Second Person of the Trinity is not the Third Person of the Trinity. The Father did not die on the cross. Neither did the Holy Spirit die on the cross. However, neither are they three Gods, as Muslims often falsely accuse Christians of believing. They are not a council of Gods. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct Persons, making up one Being, Who is God. With people, three persons equals three beings. But with God, three Persons equals one Being. God is not like man in this respect.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Sovereignty of God

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

God elects some in order to insure that they go to Heaven.

Who comes to Christ?:
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

Man, being sinful, always tries to add something that they did, to save them. But Scripture says it is 100% God that draws a person to Christ and saves them. Even the choice is of God.

People are very resistant to relinquishing control - that's why people have such a hard time accepting the doctrine of Election, which Paul (and others) defended so strongly.

He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Ephesians 1:5)

Unless God elects and intervenes in the human soul first, no man would ever want to taste of God's saving grace.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will...(Ephesians 1:11)

God not only creates the salvation, but He also creates the desire and the ability to serve Him once we are saved.

For he says to Moses,
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. (Romans 9:15-16)

God, throughout history, has consistently chosen some out of a people who only deserve Hell.

God chose Moses. God did not choose Pharaoh. But neither Pharaoh nor Moses received injustice. Only one of them, however, received God's mercy. Did either Moses or Pharaoh deserve God's mercy? No. Both were sinners. Both murdered people. But Moses received special, super grace. That is election.

Saul, who became Paul, was a wicked man. He was wicked, just as Pontius Pilate was wicked. Yet Christ came down and knocked Saul off his horse with a blinding light, and conversed with Saul - before Saul had any faith or good motive of any kind. Saul was, in fact, running around and killing Christians. And what about Pilate? When Jesus stood before Pilate, Jesus said virtually nothing to Pilate. Jesus did not tell Pilate how to gain eternal life. Pilate was allowed to harden his heart. God did not specially intervene on Pilate's part, as He did with Saul.

Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year." When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him. (Genesis 17:19-22)

God does bless Ishmael outwardly, because Abraham asked Him to. But God rejects Ishmael as the one through whom His promise would come, and says that Isaac will be that one. This is election.

Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." (Romans 9:10-13)

God chose Jacob and rejected Esau, even before they were born. God decided in advance. This is election and predestination.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)

God loves all, but He loves the Elect with a special, distinguishing love.

What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened...(Romans 11:7)

Does God treat people unfairly? No. Does God treat people unequally? Yes.

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:
"I will call them 'my people' who are not my people;
and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one...(Romans 9:14-25)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic City in Midst of Revival?

By George Thomas
CBN News
August 8, 2008 - BEIJING - Seven days a week, the machines at the Nanjing Amity Printing Company churn out copies of what some claim is one of China's best-selling books - the Bible.

Forty-three million Bibles have been printed legally in Communist China since 1987. Once a banned book, today some 3 million copies are printed and distributed each year across the country.

And this year, Chinese Christian leaders are hoping to print a special edition of the Bible to make available to the hundreds of thousands of athletes and visitors expected to attend next year's Olympic Games.

Dr. Cao Shengjie of China Christian council oversees the printing of Bibles in China. He said, "And so for this very important occasion, we hope we can print a special edition, maybe the four Gospels in English and Chinese, bilingual."

Lui Bainian, a top leader of China's officially sanctioned Catholic organization, wants to take it a step further and place these Bibles in some of the major hotels in Beijing.

"I want our visitors to know that we have religious freedom here and this is a small step to meet their religious needs during the Olympic," Bainian said.

The Chinese capital has hundreds of hotels. One of the biggest in town, the Minzu hotel, is entertaining the idea of making the Bibles available to Olympic guests.

"We are doing our preparations and once we know where our guests are coming from, we will be ready to meet their spiritual needs," Minzu Hotel General Manager Chen Guoyao said.

The Beijing Olympic Committee is also getting religious. It plans to provide Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim services.

"I think the needs of various religious groups will be taken into consideration and as a matter of fact, for example, inside the Olympic Village, we are going to set up a religious service center," Sun Weide, deputy director of communications for the Beijing Olympic committee said.

Shengjie says it is important for people outside of China, especially Christians, to know the real situation of Christianity in China.

"I think the Olympics is a good opportunity because so many people will come from all over the world. And so they can come and see with their own eyes," he said.

And what they will see is a China that's experiencing unprecedented religious fervor. When athletes and visitors arrive in Beijing next year for the Olympic Games, they will find a city and a nation in the middle of what some are calling a spiritual awakening.

Despite the government's official doctrine of atheism, millions of Chinese are turning to religion.

And as Pat Robertson says, "It's not China our enemy, it's China our friend." Watch the video above for the complete report followed by Robertson's prayer for China.

"People now feel more freer, more open to express their religious convictions," said Tong Shijun, professor of philosophy at East China Normal University.

Tong Shijun teaches at a prominent university in Shanghai. He's just completed the first major survey on religious beliefs in China. And according to his findings, 31.4 percent of those surveyed said they were religious - putting the number of believers in China at about 300 million.

"The increase of the number and the increase of the percentage was quiet large," Shijun said. "Quite dramatic."

Christianity is also growing fast. Twelve percent, or 40 million people, described themselves in the poll as followers of Christianity, much higher than official figures given by the Chinese government.

What is fueling these conversions? Chinese experts say that a growing number of people are turning to religion to better cope with the country's rapid social and economic changes.

Molly Fung works in Beijing's financial district. She recently started going to church. She said she wanted God to give her strength to deal with the pressures of life.

"I think that when I am stronger, I can help others, my friends and my family and tell them how to deal with the pressures," she said.

He Hong is an economics student in Shanghai who recently spent an afternoon at a local Christian bookstore.

"Today in our country, more and more people, especially the young people have a yearning for spirituality" Hong, a Shanghai university student, explained. "So many of my friends feel empty in their hearts. We feel so much pressure to get a job, have a better education."

According to Shengjie, so many of them are turning up at church looking for answers.

"People can easily think that to have a better living and to earn more money is the goal of life but the church, we will tell people that the man does not live by bread alone, we need the Word of God," Shengjie said.

Buddhism, Taoism, and other religions are also experiencing growth. Shijun believes that the government is starting to recognize the role religion could play in society.

"In the last couple of decades the situation is that religious life is recognized to have a positive role in society, generally speaking, as long as these religious groups abide by the national and local laws," he said.

Strict limitations on religion remain, however. For example, China only recognizes government registered churches and considers unregistered house churches illegal.

Still Chinese Christian leaders hope next year's Olympic Games will be an opportunity to showcase China's diverse and growing religious tapestry.

"Our expectation is to have more friendship and fellowship," Shengjie said.

*Original broadcast August 18, 2007.
from: CBN News

Also see: China Publishing Bibles

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jesus came to save us from our sin

Matthew 1:21 -- "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

John 1:29 -- The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 3:17 -- For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Hebrews 7:27 -- ...He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

I John 1:7 -- But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

I John 3:5 -- But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jesus is God the Son

Psalm 2:7 -- I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father (Also Hebrews 1:5).

Matthew 1:18 -- This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

John 3:16 -- "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 14:28 --...If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Matthew 3:17 -- And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Matt 26:63-64 -- But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

Romans 1:4 -- ...and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jesus is the image of the invisible God

Hebrews 1:3 -- The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:4 -- The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Colossians 1:15 -- He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

According to John 4:24, "God is spirit." Luke 24:39 tells us "a spirit has no flesh or bone." All scripture confirms that God, in the Old Testament, was invisible. "No man has seen God" (John 1:18); but Jesus is described as the "exact representation of God, the image of God, and the image of the invisible God." The spirit of God that never permanently occupied a body or form before, took on the form of a man by becoming the person of Jesus Christ. He was no longer invisible, untouchable, without form, now he dwelt among us. Both God Almighty and man: born in Bethlehem as Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who is Jesus Christ?

When this question is personalized, it becomes the most important question one will ever be asked or answer. Who is Jesus Christ to YOU? Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10, NKJV). In 1 John 5:11-13 we are told that if we have the Son in our life we can KNOW that we have eternal life. Jesus is the only way for us to live an abundant life here on earth, or receive eternal life in fellowship with God. Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins so that we could be sinless in the eyes of God. If we do not receive the free gift of eternal life by experiencing the forgiveness achieved by Jesus, then we will receive the punishment we so justly deserve. Jesus must become the Lord of our lives. Imagine your life as an automobile—Jesus must be behind the wheel of your life. The verses below show the attributes of Jesus, but if he has not forgiven your sins, been invited into your life and involved in a personal relationship with you, there is little purpose in reading on. You can change your life at this very moment. Admit your sin, repent of it before God (abhor and hate your sin, and turn away from it, confessing it to God, and surrendering it to Him, asking Him for help to overcome your sin). Believe in the atonement of Jesus on the cross and receive the gift of eternal life which Jesus died to freely give you. Invite Jesus into your life to live through you and thank him for doing so.

If you made this decision, please contact the original author of this article at - - they would like to hear from you.

(All verses taken from the New International Version unless noted otherwise.)

He is God Almighty

Isaiah 9:6 -- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 7:14 -- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Prophecy).

Matthew 1:23 -- "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-- which means, "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14 prophecy fulfilled).

Isaiah 9:6 -- For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 7:14 -- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Prophecy).

Matthew 1:23 -- "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-- which means, "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14 prophecy fulfilled).

Jesus was declared to be the Mighty God and Everlasting Father long before he was ever conceived in the womb of Mary. God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, became the child and son born in the manger. Therefore Jesus truly is Immanuel, God with us. Jesus is Almighty God become a man.

Isaiah 40:3 -- A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God (Prophecy).

John 1:23 --John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord'" (Isaiah 40:3 prophecy fulfilled).

Isaiah 45:23 -- Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear (Prophecy).

Philippians 2:9-11 -- Prophecy fulfilled: Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Isaiah 45:23 prophecy referring to Jesus).

Isaiah 45:23 quotes God to say that "every knee will bow...every tongue will swear." In the previous verses God stated: "...there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me...there is no other." In Philippians, Paul, a Pharisee, uses this same language to refer to Jesus. He understood Scripture's description of God as a solitary spirit, a lone Sovereign. He also knew that applying this scripture to Jesus was the same as calling Him the only true God. In essence, Paul was saying that Jesus was the only God and Savior, become a man.

Isaiah 44:6 -- Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 48:12 -- Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

Revelation 22:13, 16 -- I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

God declared through Isaiah that he was the "first and the last," but Jesus went further with his declaration by claiming to be the "Alpha and Omega, first and last, beginning and end." How many "firsts and lasts" are there? The only accurate explanation is found in the fact that Jesus is Almighty God incarnate.

Who is Jesus? Why It’s Important to Know!
Who is Jesus, and why is it important for us to know? We live in an age of religious pluralism and moral relativism. The popular spiritual philosophy, especially after the events of September 11th, is that all religious belief systems, as long as heart-felt, are equal. Pick one and follow it sincerely, and you’ll get to Heaven. That’s what the world believes, but Jesus teaches otherwise. Therefore, we need to examine who Jesus is by looking at some of the questions people frequently ask about Him. The answers are found in the Bible, the historical evidence people have trusted for over 2000 years.

Who is Jesus? He Was 100% Man

According to John 1:14, Jesus became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Why is His humanity so important? In Hebrews 4:15, Jesus was tempted in every way, just as we are. As such, Jesus can sympathize with our weakness as humans. What can we learn from the way Jesus handled temptation? According to 1 John 3:5, Jesus came to earth in human form so that He could die a physical death and take away our sins. How would we all be affected, if we had no potential for escape from our sins?

Jesus is the key to membership in God’s family. When He stooped to our level by becoming a man, He made it possible for us to relate to Him and for God to relate to us through Him.

Who is Jesus? He Was 100% God
Who is Jesus, and how was it possible that Christ’s human body held the whole deity and glory of God?

According to John 1:1-3, Jesus existed from the beginning. From the beginning, Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Here, the Bible establishes the inseparable nature of Jesus and the God of the Universe. The following verses provide further evidence that Jesus is 100% God:

Highlights of Christ's Time on Earth & the verses:
· Miracles: Luke 7:22
· Eyewitnesses to His perfect life: Matthew 16:13-17
· Fulfillment of Prophecy: Matthew 13:14, Luke 24:44
· Jesus' own identification/claim: John 10:30-38, Matthew 16:13-
17, Mark 14:61-64
· Claims of Christ's followers: Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:16, John
12:40 (quoting Isaiah 6:1-10)
· Resurrection: Luke 24:39, Mark 8:31, Acts 17:32

Jesus is the key to membership in God’s family. When He established His deity by rising from the grave, He made it possible for us to have forgiveness from sin and a renewed relationship with God.

Who is Jesus? He is the Way to Heaven
Who is Jesus, and why is He the only path to salvation?

In John 14:6, Jesus declares: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Why is it important to know that NO other religious leaders throughout history have ever made these claims? According to Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” How does this contrast with other world religions which are based on “works” versus faith in Jesus and the resurrection? If we can’t build a relationship with God by doing good deeds or repeating rituals, what must we do? Acts 4:12 is clear, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?

Answer: This is perhaps the most important question in all of Christian theology. This question is the cause of the Reformation - the split between the Protestant church and Catholic church. This question is a key difference between Biblical Christianity and most of the "Christian" cults. Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works? Am I saved just by believing in Jesus, or do I have to believe in Jesus and do certain things?

The question of faith alone or faith plus works is made difficult by some hard-to-reconcile Bible passages. Compare Romans 3:28, 5:1 and Galatians 3:24 with James 2:24. Some see a difference between Paul (salvation is by faith alone) and James (salvation is by faith plus works). In reality, Paul and James did not disagree at all. The only point of disagreement some people claim is over the relationship between faith and works. Paul dogmatically says that justification is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) while James appears to be saying that justification is by faith plus works. This apparent problem is answered by examining what exactly James is talking about. James is refuting the belief that a person can have faith without producing any good works (James 2:17-18). James is emphasizing the point that genuine faith in Christ will produce a changed life and good works (James 2:20-26). James is not saying that justification is by faith plus works, but rather that a person who is truly justified by faith will have good works in his life. If a person claims to be a believer, but has no good works in his life – then he likely does not have genuine faith in Christ (James 2:14, 17, 20, 26).

Paul says the same thing in his writings. The good fruit believers should have in their lives is listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Immediately after telling us that we are saved by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), Paul informs us that we were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). Paul expects just as much of a changed life as James does, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)! James and Paul do not disagree on their teaching on salvation. They approach the same subject from different perspectives. Paul simply emphasized that justification is by faith alone while James put emphasis on the fact that faith in Christ produces good works.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008


One of the tasks of apologetics - the branch of theology concerned with the intelligent presentation and defense of the historical Christian faith - is to counter heresy (the opposite of orthodoxy) with sound doctrine.

Heresy is:

doctrine which is erroneous in such a way that Christians must divide themselves as a church from all who teach or accept it; those adhering to heresy are assumed to be lost, although Christians are unable to make definitive judgments on this matter. The opposite of orthodoxy. Adj.: “heretical.”

- Source: A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy, Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, by Robert M. Bowman.

The entry addresses heresy from a Christian perspective. However, the term is used in other religions as well.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary says ‘heresy’ is derived from…

…a Greek word signifying (1) a choice, (2) the opinion chosen, and (3) the sect holding the opinion. In the Acts of the Apostles (5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5) it denotes a sect, without reference to its character.

Elsewhere, however, in the New Testament it has a different meaning attached to it. Paul ranks “heresies” with crimes and seditions (Gal. 5:20). This word also denotes divisions or schisms in the church (1 Cor. 11:19).

In Titus 3:10 a “heretical person” is one who follows his own self-willed “questions,” and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God (2 Pet. 2:1).
- Source: Heresy , Easton Bible Dictionary

A person who teaches heresy is called a heretic. A church, movement or organization that claims to be Christian, but which nevertheless teaches heresy, is a cult of Christianity. Christians who have not learned discernment easily fall prey to such groups.

Heresy vs. the Essential Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Charges of heresy are most serious where they involve deviation from - or denial of - the central, essential doctrines of Christianity:

a. "Central doctrines" of the Christian faith are those doctrines that make the Christian faith Christian and not something else.

1. The meaning of the expression "Christian faith" is not like a wax nose, which can be twisted to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

2. The Christian faith is a definite system of beliefs with definite content (Jude 3)

3. Certain Christian doctrines constitute the core of the faith. Central doctrines include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and salvation by grace through faith. These doctrines so comprise the essence of the Christian faith that to remove any of them is to make the belief system non-Christian.

4. Scripture teaches that the beliefs mentioned above are of central importance (e.g., Matt. 28:19; John 8:24; 1 Cor. 15; Eph. 2:8-10).

5. Because these central doctrines define the character of Christianity, one cannot be saved and deny these.

6. Central doctrines should not be confused with peripheral issues, about which Christians may legitimately disagree.
Peripheral (i.e. non-essential) doctrines include such issues as the timing of the tribulation, the method of baptism, or the structure of church government. For example, one can be wrong about the identity of "the spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:19) or about the timing of the rapture and still go to heaven, but one cannot deny salvation by grace or the deity of Christ (John 8:24) and be saved.

7. Christian denominations — whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant — agree on the essential core. The relatively minor disagreements between genuinely Christian denominations, then, cannot be used to argue that there is no objectively recognized core of fundamental doctrine, which constitutes the Christian faith.
- Source: Alan Gomes, Unmasking the Cults

Unpopular Subject

In todays “that’s true for you, but not for me” society identifying heresy - a process that necessarily involves discernment and judgment - is unpopular, and yet necessary:

Within late twentieth-century North American Christianity, heresy has become an unpopular word. Can’t we all just get along and live together in peace? Unfortunately the answer is no. Peace cannot be purchased at the expense of truth. In 1 Timothy, Paul writes that we are to pay close attention to ourselves and the doctrine and to continue in it, for in doing so we shall save both ourselves and those who hear us (1 Tim. 4:16). There is an inviolable core to the Christian faith. Harsh as it sounds, to violate that core is to place ourselves outside the Christian tradition. This is the essence of heresy, and heresy remains a valid category for today. This is not to endorse a McCarthyism that finds heretics under every rock. Nor is it to end the action of God’s grace in anyone’s life. But it is to own up to the fact that truth is never supplemental but always fundamental to Christian community.

- Source: William A. Dembski, The Task of Apologetics, in Unapologetic Apologetics, edited by William A. Dembski and Jay Wesley Richards, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 2001. Page 43.