Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Hope at Christmas

Some of us get depressed at Christmas. Perhaps we are missing friends and family, or we could be thinking of those who have passed on. Maybe that very un-Jewish manger scene gets you down. There are other circumstances that can get us down. However, Christians can remember the hope that we have.

Some of us get depresses around Christmas. We need to remember the hope that we have in Jesus.
Credit: Unsplash / Tim Mossholder
Step up on the hill and get a bigger picture. We have all sinned (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23) against the holy and righteous God, yet he has mercy on us. God the Son is the Creator (Col. 1:16, John 1:1-3), who humbled himself and took on human form (Phil 2:6-11) and died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). He bodily rose from the dead (Luke 24:6-7, Acts 2:32) and we are adopted as children of God (John 1:12-13, Rom. 8:15-17).

Yes, we have our down times, worse for some than others. We need to lift our focus off ourselves and our circumstances and remember what God has told us. We do have hope. Not only at Christmas, but always.
Even though some of us may feel lonely or isolated during the Christmas holidays, it’s important for us to remember the hope that Jesus brings. The Incarnation, God becoming a man, is the very reason why we have hope. Without Jesus, we have no hope and only death to look forward to (1 Thessalonians 4:13–14). But for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, we are no longer hopeless! Scripture says, “"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"” (1 Peter 1:3). This living hope is the hope and promise of eternal life (Titus 1:2) through Jesus Christ, “"our hope"” (1 Timothy 1:1). We have hope because Jesus came as a man, lived, died, and rose again.
To read the entire article (it's not very long, I know y'all are busy), click on "Jesus, the Hope of Christmas".

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Making Scripture Insufficient

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

This is one of those times when what appears to be a coincidence may be providential instead. Many of the past few posts have been about the authority of Scripture and how the Bible is under attack in one way or another. A short time later, I came across a two-part message on the sufficiency of Scripture that not only works with the other posts, but it is excellent by itself.

Although the Bible is sufficient for wisdom and Christian living, some people think they need to add philosophies of science and other strange teachings.
Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos / Matt Banks
The messages that prompted this article are by Dr. John MacArthur. They were preached in 1985 and by my reckoning are more important today than they were all those years ago.

Christians need to read their Bibles. Although that is said frequently, many who profess faith in Christ are dismally lacking in knowledge and understanding of what Scripture says. God puts a strong emphasis on reading and meditating on the Bible because it not only helps us grow spiritually, but it imparts wisdom. Also, having the Word in your spirit gives wisdom for the things we need and decisions we make (Psalm 119:130). It helps keep us from deception as well.

There is a problem when people get the notion that the Bible is incomplete or insufficient, so they decide to add philosophies to clarify it. These can be "additional" testaments, the traditions of religious teachings, sign gifts and false miracles, mixing in Eastern religious beliefs, secular science, and more. While receiving good solid teaching is very important (after all, Paul wrote entire epistles to instruct pastors), biblical teachers trust and believe the Word of God so they can impart its wisdom to believers.

Although Dr. MacArthur did not emphasize science philosophies, there is a growing problem for Christians today of putting atheistic interpretations of man-made science ideas in the magisterial position over the Bible. If "science says" something (which "science" may "say" something different next year), well, the Bible is considered wrong. 

Similarly, many climate scientists base their spurious research on political agendas, emotionalism, and especially atheistic presuppositions. Important facts are ignored or suppressed. There are Christians as well as hysterical climate change cultists who fall into these traps. If God exists, they assume, he is not in control, does not have a plan, and it is up to us to save the world (cue superhero music). Strangely, some tinhorns try to twist the Bible and use it against us by saying that the Bible doesn't mention global warming, so let people who reject Scripture deal with it. That is galactically stupid reasoning. The Bible is sufficient and gives wisdom. Christians are constantly using scriptural principles for not only daily living, but true science and stewardship of the planet. And everything in between.

Things that are supposedly factual in science philosophies have a tendency to change, especially when doing so is expedient for the agendas of secularists. Likewise, "revelations" to false teachers are known to change. Look up Mormonism and others of this nature.

The Bible is the written Word of God, and it provides what Christians need. It is insulting and even blasphemous to add to the Bible or interpret it through the opinions of humans or trends. Now I would like to strongly urge you to listen to or download Dr. MacArthur's two sermons, "The Sufficiency of Scripture. You can download them here, but if you want to read the transcripts, just click on each title listed on that page and you can commence to reading.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Christian Instruction Hindered by Evolutionism

A word that is common among Bible-believing teachers is edify. (This word has the same root as edifice.)These days, it generally means to instruct and build up people spiritually; a major part of The Question Evolution Project is to edify Christians, for example. Evolutionism hinders the edification of Christians.

Evolutionism is detrimental to Christian life and theology. We need to realize how Christian growth is hindered by this.
Credit: Pixabay / WikimediaImages
Climb up on yonder hill for a bigger perspective. Modern science was built on biblical principles, but Christians ceded science over to secularists when Darwin and Lyell came on the scene. In a comparatively short time, it was unfashionable to believe the Bible and to understand it properly. People didn't want to look ignorant, so they tried to mix the Bible and current trends of atheistic science views. Bad idea.

Today, people are confused and do not realize that they are damaging the core of the gospel message, and that compromising on the truth of creation is ridiculous because the evidence for recent creation is on the side of the creationists. 

A spell back, I asked a local pastor what his church's views were on creation. He essentially waved it off and it seemed like he rolled the dice and it landed on the foolish "Framework Hypothesis". While he apparently rejected evolution, his reaction told me that the pastor was uninformed about the importance of Genesis and that he was lacking in hermeneutics. This is just one example of how evolutionism and belief in long ages is harmful to Christian edification.
Can evolutionary theory be reconciled with the church’s basic functions of worship, evangelism, and the edification (building up) of believers? . . . How does it affect a believer’s growth in the Lord?
To read it all, click on "Evolutionism Maligns Christian Edification". 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Temptations of Jesus: It is Written

Christians who use their Bibles for more than just decorations and actually read them are familiar with the narratives concerning the temptations of Jesus by Satan. When tempted, Jesus replied with, "It is written". The Bible should be the foundation for our lives and conduct, and "It is written" should be second nature to us under many circumstances.

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he responded with Scripture. We need to know and believe the Bibles as well as sound doctrine.
Satan Tried To Tempt Jesus by James Tissot
Jesus is an example to us. Even though he was God the Son, he knew Scripture. So did other people in the Bible. Someone may object that they were special and inspired by God, but we are to know the Bible which gives us life and guidance.

When I was a child, I was told that Satan could not enter a room that contained a Bible, which doesn't hold up when we see apostate churches loaded up with them in the pew racks. Also, Satan was able to step up his game by quoting Scripture as well, but took verses out of context as well as misquoted — just like he did in Eden (Gen. 3:1). Jesus knew what Scripture said, and responded to Satan with the corrected contexts. Note that Jesus also quoted from the books of Moses, which are under attack today; if they were incorrect, he certainly would have told us. We need to know and believe the Bible from the very first verse, as well as solid doctrine, then stand firm.
As well as showing Jesus’ total submission to the will of His Father, the Father was getting His Son ready for His Messianic ministry. Hebrews 2:18 tells us that “because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” Thus, it needed to be manifest that Jesus was able to conquer Satan and all Satan’s temptations. Note that when God the Son took on human form in the Incarnation (Philippians 2:6–8), He was able to experience many things that were not possible of God in His divine essence, including being tempted, as the Gospels describe.
To read the rest, click on "The Jesus defence: 'It is written'".