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The Chosen One's

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't Wast Your Life

There are a lot more related vidoes of the same guy- really great! Check them out.

-Scribe

Friday, April 18, 2008

Calvinism vs. Arminianism

Alright, I'll come out and say it- I'm a calvinist, pure and simple. Some of you might have guessed that from the links I've provided in the resources section. Anyway, here are two articles on clavinism and arminianism that I think will explain the points better than I can.
-Scribe.
Calvinism:http://spurgeon.org/~phil/dabney/5points.htm
Arminianism:http://www.apuritansmind.com/Arminianism/Arminianism.htm

Dont Wast Your Life

I found this series and website by reading the rebelution. I STRONGLY encourage everyone to go to this site and visit it, read, and grow.
-Scribe
http://https://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/ConferenceMessages/ByDate/2008/2700_The_Appearance_of_the_Unwasted_Life_Part_2/

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stop and Think

Stop and think about what it means to be Christian...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Defiance

May we never forget that some things are worth fighting for...and worth dying for.
-Scribe

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sermon

Hello everyone. I apologize for the my absence in the past few months. With this post I am going to go a little off course and post a sermon I gave last Sunday at my church. I hope you enjoy it. The text is the woman at the well.







Good morning. Now, even though this is the woman at the well, we are all, men and women, like this woman at the well. All right, let’s start out by with a little background on where this is taking place. This village is off the main highway that ran beside Samaria. It was odd that travelers would come this way, and it was especially odd that a Jew would come to this particular place. Now, Jesus is NOT a gentleman here.. He’s not even a “Nice” person to the woman at the well. Why? This woman is coming out at NOON to get water, which is the hottest time of the day. No one went to a well to get water at noon, so it is fairly safe to assume that this woman is on the fringes of society. She arrives at the well alone and here is this Jew, who is by definition not on friendly terms with Samaritans anyway. And what does he say? He says “Hi, I’m thirsty, give me a drink of water.” He doesn’t say” Why Ma’m, let me help you with that.” His attitude is “I’m thirsty.” Then she says “Look, you don’t have anything to draw water for yourself, why are you even at this well in the first place asking me for water, and how did you know that someone would be here to give you water?” Then he offers her eternal water, she doesn’t get it, he explains some more, and then he she sort of gets it and he says “Go and tell your husband.” She says I don’t have a husband, and then Jesus confronts her with the fact that the man she is living with is not her husband, and she is astounded because there is no way that Jesus, a stranger, could know that about her. She is shown the error of her ways, and accepts Jesus as lord and savior. Then, as if to show the fruits of the Holy Spirit within her, she goes and tell her family.
Please note that Jesus is not acting in a way that we would today call “modern” or “revolutionary” or even caring towards this woman’s feelings. He is acting like God. He isn’t going to help the woman with her water and then walk off, which is an act of kindness, yet still leaving her damned to hell, most definitely not an act of kindness. Jesus really doesn’t’ go in for the mercy ministry silent witness sort of thing. He confronts the woman with her sins, yet doesn’t leave her under the burden of those sins. He offers her salvation. Jesus, during his ministry, doesn’t go around proclaiming himself to be the messiah, he goes around saying and doing everything but that. Here though, he goes ahead and says “I am He.” This is one of the few times when Jesus really lays it out that he is the messiah. He gives her the water of everlasting life and suddenly she is changed; she becomes a Joyous conduit for the Holy Spirit. She is not happy, because who in their right mind goes and tells their family “Hey, guess what- I’m happy”? But she is JOYOUS? when we are joyous we tell people. She is filled with the joy of the holy Spirit and goes and tell her family and as a result many of the Samaritans were saved. This is a perfect example of our attitude as Christian: We have this joy of God within us and we want to tell others. As Christians, we are conduits for the Holy Spirit, through our words people receive knowledge of Jesus. It’s only through God’s word, the bible, spread by Christians, that people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We can be like the Peace Corp. and do good deeds until the cows come home, but people still won’t be saved. We have to be like Jesus, who taught people what to believe and told them God’s will in combination with good works. Good works are not the gospel, the words of Jesus are. Good works are something we do alongside the gospel, recognizing that until people are saved, we have only helped them out momentarily, but not in the long run. We have to awaken in people a thirst for the gospel.
In John 7: 37-38, it says, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” The great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote on this passage quote “Proclamation is made most freely, that every thirsty one is welcome. Whether it be the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited. The thirst may be bad in itself, and be no sign of grace, but rather a mark of inordinate sin longing to be gratified with deeper draughts of lust; but it is not goodness in the creature which brings him the invitation, the Lord Jesus sends it freely, and without respect of persons.”
Let me illustrate it like this. In the sport of swimming, the most common injury to happen to swimmers is dehydration. A study done found that the water regulated the swimmers body temperature enough to where they were unaware that they were thirsty, because they weren’t getting hot. Also, since they were already wet, the swimmers were unaware that they were even sweating. They had to get out of the pool and drink water before they realized their thirst. This is how we are as Christians. Originally, we are in the pool of the world, our spiritual body temperatures’ regulated by the water of Satan, so that we do not realize our thirst for God, and we continue on swimming. Then God comes along and brings us out of the water and we realize our thirst and drink from the fountain of eternal life- The Holy Spirit.
We must bring people out of the water of the world, of Satan, so that they thirst. When the disciples asked Jesus if he needed food, he said no, his sustenance came from the Holy Spirit. We want people to partake in our sustenance, which is the Holy Spirit flowing through us to other people as we do God’s work. We must be like the Samaritan woman, forsaking our earthly requirements. She left her pot that she needed to draw water and started serving God. She automatically goes out and tells her family. This is amazing. This is her pot, maybe with a rope on it so she can lower it into the well, that she uses every day. She needs this pot in order to survive, and here she just up and leaves it. This is one of the things in her life that are essential to existence. Why does she leave it? Because her thirst has been quenched. Most of us wouldn’t leave our car on the side of the road if we had a revelation from God, yet this woman leaves something that is more valuable to her than our cars are to most of us. She automatically steps into a role of serving Jesus as if it were natural and she had been doing it her entire life. Why? Because it is natural to her now. The moment she was saved serving God became the most natural thing for her. This is what it is like for us as Christians. Serving God is the most natural thing in the world for us because we are filled with the Holy Spirit, transforming our sinful, rebellious natures into those of conforming servants, ready and eager to do their masters bidding, spreading the gospel to the world. Now, for those of you wondering, “Well, what do I tell people?” Here is the beauty of all of this. In Malikii 3:6 God says, “I am the Lord and I do not change.” God isn’t going to be like neighbor Steve, who changes his football alliances depending on who’s winning the game. God doesn’t change, so we can be confident that what we tell people about God will be true tomorrow, the next day, and so on. Once we know the plan of salvation, and about Jesus Christ, and God’s law, then we already have the knowledge to witness to others.
We are spiritual water taps for the holy spirit, through our words and actions we tell and show people Jesus, and through us the Holy Spirit can work on peoples’ hearts. We have to serve God in a proactive manner in order for the Holy Spirit to be active in saving people. We must serve God as this Samaritan woman did, forsaking what she needed to forsake in order to bring those around her out of the water of the world so that they might realize their thirst
Our hymn of commitment is hymn #736 . For those of you who are unsaved, Do you realize you are thirsty and Do you want your thirst quenched? If so, come forward.
For those who want to make another decision, whether to join this church, or to rededicate your life to Christ, come forward as we sing hymn#736- Rescue the Perishing.



Thank you all for being faithful readers. -Scribe.

Let Truth Abide In You


Text: 1John 2:24-27

Translation: NKJV


Alright, so we read through this passage and we think to ourselves, hey, wait a minute, I don't need anyone to teach me how or what to believe, ergo, I don't have to go to church, because they tell me what to believe...etc. etc. There are many variations of this conclusion, but this seems to be the most prominent. Now first off we would be wrong, why? Well, Jesus TOLD people what to believe, he didn't just sit around and let them find stuff out for themselves by osmosis from his speaking in glib, shallow words. He told them what to do, how to pray, and what to believe. John and all the authors of the other books of the New Testament that come after the gospels are expounding upon what Jesus taught and said. Specifically, as John here has "written to you concerning those who try to deceive you." (v. 26) John and other New Testament authors are expounding upon the words of Jesus and adding according to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit "abides" in them and in us, guiding us. It is important to note here that even though these books are written by men, they are inspired by the Holy Spirit abiding in them. Any serious, and long study of scripture shows that instead of there being a mishmash of ideas and thought processes, there is in fact a congruent, logical, well thought out flow to scripture. This is because the Holy Spirit abided in John and others, and abides in us today, revealing the meaning of Scripture to us. R.C. Sproul once said, (and I paraphrase),"If , after studying the scripture, you find yourself interpreting it along the lines of universally recognized heretics, then your interpretation is most likely wrong and you need to seriously consider revising it."

The Bible is the infallible word of God, made even more glorious by the fact that the Holy Spirit abides in us, revealing to us through study its meaning. To God be the Glory.

Love that food? Where will your descendants eat it?


Text: 1 John 15-17

Trans.: NKJV


Okay, we all know the praise song that, granted is monotonous and not all that great, "Jesus, lover of my soul". Now, were not supposed to lover the world and not obey fleshly lusts.(say last two words like a Shakespearian actor & it sounds cool) How many of us consider ourselves "materialistic"? Not many, I know I don't. Then I look at my schedule. Tonight, I'm going to meet my friends at a coffee shop for fellowship and good times. Tommarrow, homework and a lot of other things. Now, this is my schedule to a great extent. I go out, do school, come home, repeat, lather and rinse. I am for all intents and purposes a very materialistic guy. Sure, I study the Bible, have a very indepth relationship with God and the rest, but I don't say "Hey, Gordo, maybe you should just relax and be with God instead of surffing the net, watching tennis, or Dr. Who" whatever it is. Then I look at what will come after I die. I like food, but I wonder where I will eat that food, and what my actions of my own will determine where others will eat there's. No one is going to remember that awesome prank I pulled on one of my friends on a youth retreat or what possesions I have ( if they do, they need a life bigtime). I should be more concerned about what I am leaving behind after I die on the passing world. What will my legacy be? Sure, the fellowship with my friends is important, I don't deny it, but at what cost are we as a society, especially those of us who claim to be Christian, paying to enjoy the now when we leave no legacy behind us. This is especially true for Christians today. Look at the bible, at all the geneologies that are in it. They say "Look where you have come from, what you are expected to uphold, and what you must pass on to the next generation." There is an excellent teaching dvd on the subject of legacy that can be found at Worldview Acad.'s website. It is called "The Next Name in the Toledoth". I encourage everyone of you to buy and watch it. Because really, if we don't leave a legacy of not being in love with this world then what reason is there to spread the gospel, go to church or believe in God himself? There comes a time to say, yes that trip with the youth would be fun to do, or yeah I'd like to really go do that, but that trip with the youth might be just another fun trip disguised as Christian fellowship and devotionals, or that trip by yourself could be your way of giving in to your flesh. Don't get caught up in satisfying what you want to do in the present and instead focus on what you will leave behind for the future when you are gone, whether it be death or you simply leave your current situation. If we can't give future generations of Christians something more than a fun outing or a trivial teaching on how Jesus loves kids then they won't have anything to run the race with and our descendants will truely dine in Hell.
There won't be any questions for this post, just this: Granted that man needs material things and stuff of the Flesh, ask God what things need trimming in your life.

Lies, Huh?


Text: 1 John 2: 18-23

Trans: NKJV


Alright, we know about the wolf in sheeps clothing thing. Beware those that claim to be Christians but really aren't and will lead us away from Christ. Now we here about the Antichrist. The person that will blatantly, and mostlikely pretty subtlely, lead the world away from Christ. What is an antichrist? Anyone who is against Christ, bluntly put. Yes, there is THE ANTICHRIST, the end-times guy, the big satan, etc., but there are also antichrists plural, lowercase, who are people NOT endtimes guy, yet are actively against Jesus Christ. How do we know them? They deny the Father and the Son and are therefore liars.

Christianity is based on the very fact of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and of the Father God Creator, and of the Holy Spirit, indweller. To deny this and yet claim to be a Christian is to be an antichrist. Jesus is both God and man, the two natures in one. This is to say that Jesus was perfectly God and perfectly man. The nature of man was perfect, pre-fall, therefore Jesus could and can be and is the second Adam.
How do we know this? We've got the Bible people! If a little light bulb of revelation just went off above your head, congrajulate yourself. The Bible is the truth by which we judge the world because it is the inerrant word of God. We judge our and others actions by it.

Also, if you here people who claim to have gone through church and are here to tell you about Jesus and they can't get off the fact that he is just a man, but seem uncomfortable with him being God as well, they most likely aren't Christian. Why? See what I just wrote above. To claim to be christian and to deny that Jesus is God and then "be a witness" to others "for God" is nothing but heresy.

Yes, I just used the "H" word. Everyone scream bloody murder. Want to know something else? These people should also be anathema. (or cursed and ostricised from our company). That, dear children, is what is known as the "A" word. Christian curse word class dismissed.

Closing: We should be wary of anyone uncomfortable with the fact that Jesus came to earth as both God and Man.

John: The Purpose and the Reason

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Text: 1John 2:12-14

Translation: NKJV


These verses are, on the surface, the reason that Paul has written this letter. However, there are some interesting phrases in this passage. Note that when Paul mentions a group of people and the reason that he is writting to them, the reason is actually their spiritual state. The letter is written to be helpful to these people due to there spiritual state, etc. etc.


Questions:

1)What is your own spiritual state as compared w/ the people in this passage?

2)Even though non-believers are not mentioned in this passage, can the book of 1 John still be useful in evangelizing?

3)If yes to #2, how?

Touchy- Feely sort of day.


Text: 1 John 2:3-11

Translation: NKJV



All right, so this might sound like beating a dead horse decides to defend itself but I would like to disagree. The first...well all 9 verses of this passage are very pertinent to the church today.

First off, if a person is committing sin time over and again, attends church, appears for all intents and purposes to not be repenting, then it is extremely possible that they are........*gasp* not a Christian. We as Christian are indwelt with the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sins. If we claim to be a Christian then we are saying (among other things) that we know we are sinners and are uncomfortable in our sin.

But what should fellow believers do about people that claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ and yet repeatedly sin in a public (or at least pretty blatant) manner? Confront them with their sin privately, one on one. Then is confession and repentance are not forthcoming, repeat what you just did, only with a friend. And if this doesn't work, then take them publically before the church, whether the congregation or in front of the elders or deacons.

Now, some of you might be saying, "Hey, Scribe, that isn't very loving! Shouldn't we just be kind and leave those people with God since we can't look into their hearts?"

WRONG,WRONG, WRONG! A) because, if that person is indeed a born again believer, they need to be told that they are sinning so that their walk w/ the Lord is not compromised, they are no longer a bad influence on other Christians within the Church, and that they are not an influence for evil to nonbelievers.

And B) because if they aren't born again believers, then they are simply lying to themselves that they are and this might be what wakes them up to the fact and actually gets them saved. Also, if it doesn't then at the very least one has gotten a wolf in sheep’s clothing out of the fold.

It is always important to remember that true God does not allow us to feel good in our sin, ergo all believers should not feel good in their sin. This is not to say that if a believer falls into a pattern of sin he will not become complacent, because it does and this has happened to me before. The discernment to see sin for what it is comes from the Holy Spirit, and the discernment to confront people about their sin comes from the Holy Spirit. Also, since there is a standard of living expected of Christians, i.e.- 10 commandments, what Jesus commanded the disciples, great commission etc., we as Christian should realize that it is NOT love to let someone continue on in sin and stand by humming in the storm thinking nothing will come of it. (See points A and B above)

We aren't called to be touchy, feely, goody two shoes wimps who cover our eyes hoping that the evil in the world and the evil that from time to time enters the church will go away because we can't see it. We need to realize that because we are Christians we hold ourselves to a higher authority than ourselves and that we hold the rest of the world up to that standard as well. We should confront our brothers and sister with the speck in their eye (AFTER WE HAVE DEALT WITH THE LOG IN OUR OWN---EMPHASIS ON AFTER), so that they will no longer be a stumbling block to others or themselves. At the same time, this is an effective way to remove wolves in sheep’s clothing. We as a church have focused so much on the personal side of our walk w/ God that we have forgotten that there is also a communal side as well, which can easily be destroyed be someone being allowed continuance in sin.

1 John #2

1 John 2: 1-2
Translation: NKJV

This will be a short post. When we sin, we have and advocate with God(Jesus) and also, we are suppossed to read the Bible more since the things in it (at least this book) were written that we might not sin. Talk about a really good reason to be literate in what the Bible says as well as basic Christian doctrine and theology.

1 John #1

Text: 1 John 1:1-10
Translation: NKJV

In this passage, Johns’ original readers are having some difficulty accepting the fact that Jesus lived in the flesh. Through out verses 1-4 John uses such phrases as "we have heard", "we have looked upon", etc. to emphasize the fact that Jesus was and is real and walked the earth in a human body. Now, this brings up an important question: Is it important for those that believe to have first hand knowledge of Jesus (i.e.- actually seen him, etc.)? Of course not. In the gospels, Jesus says to the apostles that they are blessed because they have seen him and believed, but even more blessed are those that have not seen Jesus and have still believed. Think about it. We as Christians today are more blessed than the apostles because we have believed in Jesus as lord without seeing him. This is pretty awesome stuff.
Another question that arises is this: Christ being flesh and blood, did he die on the cross and rise on the third day for the sins of the elect; and is this important to Christianity?
The answer is an emphatic YES!!! The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is one of the historical claims of the Bible and without it there is no salvation. Christ’s death on the cross assures the elect of remission of sins because he was the last and perfect sacrifice. His resurrection assures the elect of eternal life because Christ conquered death. To not believe in these two major historical claims, in my opinion, greatly weakens the faith of those claim to be Christian and yet do not believe in these two things.
Now, in verses 5-6, John is saying that the message of the gospel they have heard from Jesus and declare to the people, and that if the have (or claim to have) fellowship with God, and yet walk in evil ways, then they should be considered liars. But if they walk in light they are telling the truth. We as Christians need to be careful of our actions. There is a lot of talk in the church today about how we need to focus more on our "Silent witness" and less on the gospel. Well, if you are focusing on our silent witness then maybe we should take a step back and look out how we dress ,act and speak. Are we guilty of not living up to the so-called "silent witness" that we promote. (Just a confession: this is one sin I know I am pretty guilty of).

Verses 8-10 bring up an issue that needs to be addressed. We as Christian do NOT claim to be perfect. What we do claim is that our set of moral standards are right, and we strive to hold ourselves to these standards even though we know that we fail miserably all the time.

Questions: 1)What are some of the disadvantages of having just a silent witness?
2) What are some of the disadvantages of having simply a verbal witness?
3) Can the two be combined?

Phil. #14

This will be the last post on Philippians. The passage is Phill. 4:8-23. Agreed that it is a long passage, however, I feel that these last verses of Paul’s are self- explanatory, even more so than the last passage I covered. Therefore, if you have any thoughts on the passage, please post them in the forums or comments. I am planning on doing first John as my next study. If you have a particular book of the bible you would like me to post on please let me know. Thank you all for being loyal readers.
Gordon F.

Phil. #13

Today's Text: Phil. 4:1-7
Translation: NKJV

Okay, this passage is pretty strait forward, so there won't be any commentary on it.

Phil. #12

Text: Phill. 3:17-21, 4:1
Translation: NKJV

Alright, back to business. This is pretty much along the lines of discernment- Paul is essentially telling the Philippians that there are those who walk in the ways of the Lord and those that walk in the paths of the wicked, and to use Paul and other strong Christians as examples of how to walk and not those who aren't Christians.
Let's be blatantly rude to some of the practices of modern Christians. We are NOT supposed to use non-Christians as examples in our teaching, instructing, or how we base our values and where we get our examples of how we are supposed to live our lives. I am not saying that we cannot learn something from these people, what I am saying is that for the Christian to put the words of non-believers on par with that of the Bible is, at best, grave error and deadly mistake, and at worst heresy. Christianity claims and is the one true religion in the world; and besides that, is very specific in that ones personal worth and good deeds do not save you. Literally every other religion in the world says that one can save one's self. Also, In 3:19 Paul basically says that if you are not a Christian you are going to hell. This is yet another obvious reason to avoid using non-Christians as examples to us. Again, I am not saying that we can't learn anything from Non-Christians ( math, science, historians, etc. have proved this), what I am cautioning against is the use of non-Christians as on par with the Bible and other strong Christians. If we do, we are setting ourselves up to dilute the scripture, our witness, and our relationship with God.

Phil. #11


Today's Text: Phill. 3: 12-16
Translation: NKJV

Alright, this is one of the easier passages to understand (at least for me). Paul is basically saying that we should not dwell on the past but keep our eyes on the prize, which is the calling to be Christians. To this end, we should walk together in unity of faith, belief and thought. Let us be mindful everyday that we are Christians serving God, called by Christ out of our sin, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul says in v.15 Paul says that there might be those who think differently then us, but God will reveal this to them. The way I see this ( and if you disagree with me, please say so on the forum) is that we are to have a conformity of thought in doctrinal teaching and theology, and that for those that differ from this will be shown by God that this is true biblical teaching, if He so chooses.
This is an extremely important point. If we don't have a conformity of belief, then our witness to non-Christians is tainted. Granted, there are many denominations with varying beliefs, but what I am talking about is a conformity of belief INSIDE ones own church. If a person were to hear a Christian from a church say that all you need is love and God will love you just the way you are and then from another member of the Church that God chooses those whom he saves, and gives us, the elect, the gift of faith and belief; then that person will come away with the impression that either the church is a bunch of mindless people who don't know what they believe, or that interpretation of the bible if up to the individual and their personal inclinations, both of which are dangerous. I cannot emphasize enough the need to have unity in belief, and to keep our eyes on the prize, that we are called to be God's people.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Phi. # 10- Rabid dogs, and iminent victories

Today's Text: Phill. 3:1-11
Translation: NKJV

Ok, so your walking down the street and that mad rabid dog that the neighbors keep starts barking up a storm and jumping up and down trying to get at you. Most of us would freak and run or move to the other side of the street. Well, what if that mad, rabid dog IS your neighbor? Then What? Most of us would think our neighbor needed to go to Broughton or some other mental institution, right? Well, life isn't always that easy. We are surrounded by non- Christians, some who are very much against Christianity and will do anything in there power to bring us down, those that don't really care just as long as we leave them alone, and those who smile to our face then backstab us every chance that comes along (obviously, these aren't all the different types of non-Christians, but for now they will have to do). Paul is telling us to beware of people who are not Christians in case they really are trying to bring us down.
However, there is reason to rejoice! We are in Christ, circumcised, and have no confidence in the flesh (our own power).Paul then goes on the talk about how he was a devout Jew, obeyed all the laws, and had every right to have confidence in his flesh. However, as stated elsewhere in the Pauline letters, the law merely shows us God's commands and our fallen sinful state. Paul himself has confidence in Christ, who gives righteousness through faith and the Holy Spirit, which is where we as Christians should have our confidence as well. We are all in Christ(those who are saved) and in response, Christ has given us the gift of faith and eternal life and resurrection of the Body along with sending us the Holy Spirit to guide us. These are the reasons that we should have confidence in Jesus Christ.
To God be the glory, great things He has done.



Note: The video is just a tongue in cheek deal that I did when I was bored. PLEASE don't take it too seriously!
video

Phil. #9- Role Models

Today's Text: Phill. 2:25-30
Translation: NKJV


Alright, so you've read this and your most likely wondering "Gordon, why don't you just say the same thing that you did with Phil. #8 and get it over with? I know the basic jist of this anyway." Well, I beg to disagree. Epaphroditus is indeed a very good role model- Paul just said to hold such men in esteem, but do we? Epaphroditus was sick unto death and still desired to do God's work by helping Paul. How many people, let alone people in our age bracket ("adolescents" to be PC) are willing to sacrifice their time and health to serve the Lord? Not many Christians, and sometimes I fall here, aren't willing to things like this. Most of the time, we go in, do the good deeds and flee like the wind. We are loath to spread to spoken word of the Gospel to others, saying that by our deeds people will see we are Christians and be saved. WRONG< WRONG< WRONG!!!! When people see our good deeds, they see our good deeds. Unless they have had a background in church, they will not know that we are doing such things because Christ commanded us to. Example: Epaphroditus. His good deed(s) was helping Paul, yet it was with the intention of spreading the gospel. Why do I draw this conclusion? Well, because that was what Paul was doing! Spreading the gospel. When we go out, we need to be careful who our role models are. We are told "Look up to these great Christians of the Bible and be like them", but when afforded the opportunity to be like them, we flee. Please note, I am not saying that good works are wrong and we shouldn't do them. We should. However, good works without the word of God are nothing more than good works and do not separate us from secular organizations that go out and help people. Also, I'm not saying this as a condescending thing of "I'm holier than thou art." I'm in this boat too; there have been many opportunities to witness that I have passed up in my own life.
On the role models part, find people, whether in church, community, youth group, whatever- that are strong Christians and embody the Christian ideals. In my youth group, we are going through a series called H.A.B.I.T.S. Hang time with God, Accountability, Bible Study, etc., etc.
For those of you who are looking for role models and don't know where to find them, look in the bible for people like Epaphroditus, who are commended to us as role models.
God Bless.

Phil. #8- The No Duh Passage

Today's Passage: Phill. 2:19-24
Translation: NKJV

I will not be doing any commentary on this passage- not because it is unimportant; to the contrary- but because I feel that is pretty much self-explanitory. However, I would like to note taht Timothy is definately a role model for us, besides being a strong Chirstian.
Question for the comments page: Do you think that strong Christians should be termed "radicals" or not? Explain.

The Humility Kicks IN!


Today's Text: 2:5-11

Translation: NKJV


I have heard this passage labled the epitemy of humility, and the why of this is pretty obvious. Vs's. 5-8 talk that Christ didn't consider being equal with God something to be grasped, but humbled himself by taking human form, and humbled himself in obedience even to the point of death. Let's get one thing strait- Christ didn't have to consider himself on par with God because he already was, is and always will be equal with God the Father because he IS God. Christ is the 2nd part of the triune God, 3-in-one. Now, this makes salvation even more mystical. Christ humbled himself to OUR status as a created being in order that we might be saved. How cool is that? He didn't have to do that and who could justifiably blame him if he didn't? Man is a fallen, rebellious creation, dexerving of eternal damnation and what does Christ do? He humbles himself, takes on the flesh of man, and all its foibles, dies on the cross and is raised from the dead on the 3rd day.


In Vs's. 9-11, Paul says that God has exalted Him and Given a name that when the world hears it, every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. We must remember that it is the NAME of JESUS CHRIST that will cause the nations to bow. Christ is the Son's title, Jesus is his name, and that name is above all names.


As we go into the last couple of weeks of Lent, let us remember exactly what Christ did for us. He humbled himself to our level, a fallen and rebellious creation, died unconditionally for the sins of us, his elect, and put His favor on us such that we cannot resist it or truly fall away from our salvation. To God be the glory.

Commentary on People Who Have Lost Their Faith


This is the promised commentary on the article from the last post. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE ARTICLE WHOSE LINK IS IN THE LAST POST PLEASE DO SO BEFORE CONTINUING ON.



First, I would like to point out that Mr. Ehrman is considered an authority on the christian faith and has written several books on it. Now, Mr. Ehrman says that he lost his faith due to his studies of the Chritian faith. He was once of the view that the Bible is inerrant historically and geographically. His scholarship as a student led him to the view that these views are wrong. He says that these views shifted him from being an "Evangelical" to being a "mainline liberal Protestan Christian". For those of you who know me personally, and go to church w/ me, you will know that several (more than likely most) of the members hold a view similar to this- that the bible is not innerant in any way and that it is riddled with descrepancies. Mr. Ehrman lost his faith from coming to realize that there couldn't possibly be a God that intervenes in the world given its present state.

Now, to give a fair view of the article for those who haven't read it, all of those interviewed said they do not believe in the inerrancy of scripture.

To move on to the Baptist minister-Mr. Strange- he says that he sees no connection between his faith and any scholary research. This is interesting. He sees faith and reason as to seperate things- that faith is something that comes from God and therefore cannot be touched by reason. Here I'm going to interject something that's coming from me and my experience. We as Christians cannot seperate our faith from our reason. God made us as creatures who can think and reason things out. To seperate ourselves from reason in our faith in God is DANGEROUS. We can say that it is based on our experience- like Mr. Strange- but there is a reason that comes from being saved where the Bible comes together as a whole for the first time in our lives. This is part of the gift of Faith- the ability to see the Bible as resonalble.

Also, Mr. Strange says that his faith is not based on propositional truth- that is, truth that can be tested and found to be true no matter what. For him faith cannot be tested and found to be true, therefore it is to him just another part of his existence. He also says that having a relationship with God is like being in love- when your in love you are overwhelmed and incapable of uttering propositions. He says that his scholarship has had no effect on his faith.

Now we switch back to Ehrman- he says that his scholarship led him to question the historical claims of Christianity. I.E.- the resurection ,etc. He sees Christianity as rooted in faith and that to deny any of those claims is to invalidate ones faith(my wording). Strange on the other hand sees the resurection as a metaphor and is not to be taken literally. To do this is to invalidate the 2nd coming of Christ, as well as the experience of those who witnessed Christ's resurection. Now, most of the article goes on to interview Lawrence H. Schiffman and William G. Dever. Here is the link to the article so that you can read the rest of it.http://www.bib-arch.org/bswb_BAR/bswbba3302f3.html . The article continues on in much the same way. An interesting note- what these gentlemen base their faith or lack thereof is their experience. They are saying that our experience trumps the experience of those who wrote the Bible. This is to say- I didn't experience it therefore there is always the possibility that it didn't happen. Well duh- there are hundreds of things that I didn't experience- the Gaulic wars, Socrates and Plato's dialogues etc. and yet there is more to evidence to say that Jesus existed and was(and is) the son of God than these things happened the way they are taught. Either Jesus was who he said he was and not some crack pot fool or he was a crack pot fool. You can't have both- either you accept the Bible as fact or not.

I will give Mr. Ehrman this- He has Intelectual Integrity, that is to say that he sees what Christianity is founded on and does not believe in it. He is striving to be consistent in his worldview.


Debate Q's for the comments page:

Who, if any, in this group is saved? Give evidence(gut feelings are acceptable).

Do you agree and disagree with anything (or nothing) that these men have put forward.

Phil. #6


Passage: Pill. 2:1-3

This is a pretty short passage, so I'll keep it short and sweet. If you think of any other point, post them in the comments section.
The first verse Paul is asking some basic rhetorical questions that if something is like this - "Consolation in Christ"- then something else flows from it-"being likeminded". Now, the obvious question that arises is if Paul’s joy arises out of the Phillipian Church's being of one mind, then how can we as Christians today be of one mind? Well, the first thing to do might be to agree on how to interpret the Bible- i.e. is it the true, inerrant, inspired word of God, or is it fallible. Then move on from there to agreeing on major points of doctrine and theology- i.e. the virgin birth, Jesus' resurrection, along with views on church discipline, the palagian controversy, etc. If you don't have at least a small amount of like-mindedness in your thinking and interpretation of scripture then you are most likely going to wind up with some problems among your fellow believers.

The 3rd verse is pretty self explanatory- don't do anything to puff you up, but do as much as possible in meekness and humility. Now as Christians we know that everything we do is tainted by our sin nature, even though we are saved.
We can only strive thro9ugh the aid of the Holy Spirit to have meekness and humility (This is part of sanctification and the Westminster Larger Catechism- see Q's about 70-79. This text does a much better job of expounding upon this major doctrine of the faith than I can here).

Phil. #5


V. 27. Paul is saying that we are to conduct ourselves in such a way as to be worthy of the name CHRIST-ians, to call ourselves adopted sons & daughters of the Creator God. Also, we are to conduct ourselves with one mind, and one spirit in unity-so that when our peers in the faith hear of our affairs, they know that we are donducting oursleves as we ought.
Note: Unity with no agreement on specific terms, doctrines, and theology is NOT Christian faith. It is unity for the sake of unity with no substance at all.
V. 28-30. Being Christians, we see our suffering as proof of our salvation, for it has been granted to us to believe, and also to suffer. Not many people seem to get it, but suffering is a big part of being a Christian. We are supposed to live like Christ, and yet, when push comes to shove, most people feel that whatever hardships come to them are unfair and God should remove them imediently. Bluntly put- this is a bunch of hooey. God does send troubles our way for many different reasons. I wont elaborate on them here. Suffering is similar to pain, it is a mechanism that lets us know we are under affliction, whether from outside sources or from inner struggles. It lets us know something is wrong. Without it, we could go blissfully through life not knowing that something is the matter. This is not to say that praying for God to remove suffering is wrong- Paul, Jesus and many others did- but they left it up to God to remove the sufferings. Unless it is obviously within our power to remove them, their is most likely a pretty good reason for God letting us continue on in our situation.
This does NOT mean that we should sit around moaning that we can't do anything about our situation, therefore we should capitulate to the circumstances. We should always be striving to do God's work and to be excellent people. Moaning and groaning doesn't help.

How do YOU live?

: Today's Text: Phill. 1: 20- 26
In today's passage, Paul is talking about his persecution and suffering. He staits that to live is Christ, yet it is better to die, for that is gain. He then acknowledges that his staying here on earth is to the betterment of the Christians at Phillipi. I'm not going to do any more commentary on this passage. I would like to generate some discussion on the comments part of this post about what Paul is saying.
Questions:
1) If dying is gain for Christians- why don't we all just commit suicide? and- Is suicide justifiable in this case , if ever?

2) How should Christians approach sufferings and hardships in this life, in view of this passage?
3) Should we even rejoice when sufferings come our way?
4)How can we justify suffering ( or fleeing from suffering) when Christ suffered so much on our behalf? Isn't it better just to remain complacent to what comes our way, and not rejoice-or rejoice?
5) IF there is suffering, how can we say that God is a loving God? What do you mean by love? Is this backed up by your experience with studying scripture?

Phil. #3

: Today's Text: Phill. 1: 12-19

Are you having a bad day? Ever had one of those times when everything goes wrong? If yes, have you wallowed in self pity or have you tried to make the best out of the situation?
Paul is in prison. He is not in what we would consider a prime posistion to spread God's word. Yet he recognizes that everything that has happened to him has happened for the betterment of the kingdom, and that it actually allows him access to places where his witness would otherwise have been unheard.
Please note that I said "unheard". As Christians we are judged by those around us, always having people critique what we are doing. The only thing is this is not a silent sermon. Most people who I talk to, even those with christian friends, don't understand why Christians do good deeds and such. Unless the gospel is preached our good deeds are no better than those of the non - Christian.
Now, in verses 14-19, Paul discusses the way Christ is preached. Some are preaching a Christ of Strife and contention, hoping to add to Pauls sufferings in prison. Others are preaching a Christ of love and caring. What does Paul say to this? That as long as Chist is being preached he will rejoice. ANd so should we, even when we disagree with specific doctrines of people, at least they are preaching Christ and the gospel. Very few churches today can claim that.
So, are you having a bad day now? Remember that God is in control of our lives and that there is a purpose for everything.

Questions:
1) Does preaching a Christ of Love include preaching a Christ of tolerance?
2) WHen people preach something that is doctrinally unsound and erroneous, should we conform to what they are teaching just because they are preaching, and also to not confuse those they are witnessing to? If not, what should we do?
3) What are ways in which people lessen and also strengthen the preaching of the Gospel?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Phillipians Study 1

Hello everyone, this is the first in a series of studies on the book of Philippians. I will not be including the text for time reasons, but any quotes I use will be taken either from the KJV or the NKJV. Also, I am using the H.A.B.T.S. study series and most of my commontary will be taken fr. there.
Today's text: Phil. 1:1-8
Study: Paul opens this epistle with the usual apostolic greeting stating he is a servant of Christ, and extending a blessing of Grace to the readers of the letter. This is odd in today's terms, why would any of us call ourselves servents of Christ? Well, maybe because we as Christians are just that, commanded to serve Christ in our everyday lives (see the last 10 verses or so of Matt.). Paul might be calling himself this for much the same reason. In everything that he does he is the servant of Christ, whether in his preaching, writing of epistiles, or just his everyday life. This is also an example of how we as Christians should see ourselves: servants of Christ not really in control of our own lives, going about our lives striving to do God's will for our lives. (finding God's will for your life takes up a whole other study- for now, though, let me just put it in a nut shell- read your Bible and spend time in prayer)
Another thing paul says is "Grace be unto you...". Grace as I understand it is the unconditional election God has for his elect, and the saving power therin. It is His favor that we do not deserve. This verse is Paul's blessing to the Church at Philippi.
In the next few verses (3-6) paul expresses his thanks to God for every time he remembers the church at Philippi, and also his assurance that the work that God has begun in them will continue on. God doesn't simply start something and then let it take its own course. To say such limits God to being a diety who is not all powerful and is not in complete control of our lives. God has control over ourlives and is completing his work in us "until the day of Jesus Christ"(v. 7).
Questions for the comments page:
How is it that the Philippians are partakers of Paul's grace? Explain.
What is the difference between the defence of the Gospel and the confirmation of the Gospel?

Note: I will usually answer these Q.'s on the comments page, unless I feel like dedicating a post to them.

Phil. #2- Hard Times

Today's Text: Phil. 1:9-11 (NKJV)

In today's passage Paul states that he prays that the philipian church's love, discernment and and knowledge may abound, and that they may be filled with the fruits of righteousness. Why is this important for the phillipians and for believer's today?
One answer is that as our love in Christ and eachother grows we can be a better overall witness for Christ to those around us who are not belivers. However, this does not imply that we are to become some sort of sappy, meet-less group who accept people as they are and tolerate anything and every thing. This is where the "discernment" comes in. As Christians we ARE supposed to love our neighbors as our selves. I am not saying that we should turn away everyone who is not like us. What I am saying is that we should be wary so that we don't invite wolves in sheeps clothing into our midst. An example of this is not letting unsaved persons our people who claim to be believers but are living in sin into church office. Also, quietly confronting fellow believers of sin so as not to let them stray. Please note that I said "quietly". This means to pull the person asside and tell them your concerns about what they are doing and hear what they have to say. This does not mean to interupt the pastor's sermon and charge them with grevious sin infront of the entire chirch. There might be a time for talking to the pastor about that person, but that is another topic for another day.
Also, there is discerning what the Holy Spirit's will is for either the church or one's self personally. This is done by spending time in prayer and bible study., as well as fellowship with other believers. Discernment is something that comes with time as one matures in one's relationship with Christ and I will be the first to admit that it is a trait I am still working on.
Then Paul mentions Knowledge and the grouth of it. This is generally accomplished throught bible study (both personal and in a group), Sunday school, sunday sermons, and fellowshiping with other believers. There are obviously more ways to gain knowledge but I won't mention them here. What does this accumulation of knowledge serve? Well for one, it serves to strengthen our faith in Christ. The more we know of the Bible and of God the more assured we become of our faith. Also, the more we know, the more we can withness to others about Christ. This is fairly self-explanitory.
Next, Paul prays that the church may "approve the things that are excellent,..". This means that in their descisions, no matter how small or trivial, that the church should strive to do the right thing, and the best thing. In today's terms, this means upholding right doctrine, right teaching, choosing the best church leaders, even choosing the place where the youth group goes on a mission trip (if at all). Discernment is intertwined with this.
Then Paul pray "that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,...". Meaning, having a strong faith and witness that is unwavering and not doing evil things until the End Days. Pretty big stuff. This is very hard to do. It means that as a church and as an individual believer we are to strive to have as consistent a walk and witness as possible and to strive to not sin or do anyting that weakens the witness of Christ through us. As christians, this is impossible because of our sin nature; however, with the help of the Holy Spirit it is possible.
This passage ends with Paul praying that the church at Phillipi would be filled with the fruits of righteousness to the glory of God. These fruits are by Jesus Christ, meaning that as Christians these fruits of the spirit- conviction of sin, striving to do Gods will, knudgeings of the Holy Spirit, etc., are what is there to prove that we are Christians. This is the proof we offer to our brothers and to the world of our salvation. I am not saying that everyone who pays lip service to these fruits is saved, but it is a pretty good bet. This is where you have to leave people with God.
Questions:
What are specific ways to increase (or "abound") the traits mentioned in V. 9?
When is discernment nessecery?
What are excellent things (for the Chrisian)?
How do we go about striving for them?