Christianity, religion, Sermons, Truth

Strange Ideas In The Church!

In these days when all kinds of strange ideas are being heralded as helping the Church accomplish her task, it may be necessary to remind ourselves that:

The purpose of Christ’s Church is not to promote the Church (or worse A Church), but rather the LORD of the Church.

The goal of Christians is certainly not to exalt “Christianity” but to extol Christ.
Gospel preaching is not meant to magnify the skill of the preacher, but to proclaim the glory, wisdom and mercy of the Saviour.

And the ONLY seed available that grows into eternal life is the word of God, as found within the pages of the Bible.

Much error results with confusion on these issues; for if we misinterpret our role or our goal; pragmatism, proselytism and professionalism and will dull the sword of our evangelism.

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Was Jesus Created, If He Is Called The “Only Begotten Son”?

Originally posted on The Isaiah 53:5 Project!

Q: Was Jesus Created, If He Is Called The “Only Begotten Son”?

The term “only begotten Son” appears multiple times in scripture and on the surface it looks as if Jesus was actually created by God the Father. Let’s take a quick look at this phrase to see what scripture reveals about it, as well as what it would have meant to the original hearers.

Begotten

The phrase “only begotten” comes from the Greek word “monogenes [μονογενής]. This word is variously translated into English as “only,” “one and only,” and “only begotten.” The word “monogenes” refers to a one-of-a-kind, so to speak, mono –one, and genes – kind. The word is more closely related to uniqueness than being created.

Passages the word is used:

John 1:14John 1:18John 3:16,John3:18Hebrews 11:171 John 4:9

The scriptures do not use the word begotten in a way that would depict birth or coming into being, rather it is used to refer to uniqueness when pertaining to Christ.

Son

Now, some will say that the word “Son” implies His creation. Conceivably, God the Father existed eternally but Jesus appears to be created a finite time ago when He is mentioned as the son or offspring of God. Consider, Psalm 2:7

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.”

That sure sounds convincing, and many cults have used this verse as an argument for their assault on the Deity of Jesus. But let’s keep reading, perhaps the New Testament can shed some light on this passage. Let’s look in Acts 13 to see how Luke refers to this Psalm.  Acts 13:30-31,

But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

(Notice that this is describing the Resurrection account of Jesus. Now let’s read the very next verse for the proverbial punch-line). Acts 13: 32-33

32 We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

“You are my son; today I have become your father”.

Here we can clearly see that Luke is referencing the Resurrection as the day Jesus became the “Son” of God.

The phrase “only begotten Son of God” refers to the uniqueness and resurrection of Christ, thus, it simply has no purchase on undermining the Deity of Christ when it in fact honors Him. The beginning of John is a prime example and understanding the word “begotten” and “father” (implies son), exemplifies the depth of meaning and continuity of theme, in this passage.

John 1:1-3, 14  [NASB]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. […]14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Conclusion

The phrase “only begotten Son” therefore, does not imply that Jesus was created by God, it actually speaks to the uniqueness and resurrection of Christ as accepted by classical Christian doctrine. Allowing the bible to interpret itself is paramount, in order to understand the content of any passage. Though we might be familiar with a certain passage, it’s important that we do not neglect the content based solely on a superficial familiarity with our most commonly recited passages.

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A blessing !

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My Bible doesn’t say blessed are those who are home owners, blessed are those who are college graduates, blessed are those who are famous and blessed are those with money. It says blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger & thirst after righteousness. I’m not knocking any of those things BUT we give people a false assurance and make them think they’re “blessed” by God and in right standing with Him because they have stuff!

When we stand before God.. He won’t be impressed by our prestigious title, how many degrees we have, how many records we sold or how big our house was.. He will only be concerned with what did we do for Him and His kingdom!

Christianity, Disciple, religion, Truth

The Death of Muhammad Ali And How Being The “Greatest” Still Isn’t Good Enough.

Article by Darrell B. Harrison

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Few things in this world give us insight into the theology of individuals who profess to be Christian than the death of a well-known celebrity.

In advance of a celebrity’s earthly demise, most Christians are staunch particularists, ardently dogmatic that salvation is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). Yet, once his or her earthly life is over we become ardent universalists, equally immovable in our belief that the doctrine we believed just the day before no longer applies.

Self-Sanctification: No Atonement Required

Though the Bible is unambiguous in its proclamation that saving faith in Christ is the only means by which anyone will experience eternity with God (John 14:6;Romans 10:9), many Christians treat it as optional when it comes to the death of the celebrities they revere. This mindset represents a theological duality that was widely expressed by Christians when Prince, who was aJehovah’s Witness, died several weeks ago, and again in the aftermath of the death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, himself a devout practitioner ofIslam.

That both Prince and Muhammad Ali subscribed to worldviews that deny the deity of Jesus, is apparently of no consequence to many Christians today. The only thing that really matters is that they appear to have lived a “good life”, employing their talents, gifts, and resources to bring happiness to countless millions of people all over the world. After all, isn’t that why we’re here – to live a moral life by doing good to one another and treating each other with respect? What in the world does the deity of Jesus have to do with anything? Besides, we are all God’s children, aren’t we?

Are we?

“We are not living in a world where all roads are radii of a circle and where all, if followed long enough, will therefore draw gradually nearer and finally meet at the center: rather in a world where every road, after a few miles, forks into two, and each of those into two again, and at each fork, you must make a decision.” – C.S. Lewis

What is so disheartening about this banal mindset, is that it renders moot the necessity that our sins be atoned for.

That our sin, which the Bible says has separated us from God (Romans 3:23), can be atoned for by God (Romans 5:8), is what distinguishes Christianity from all other religious worldviews. But, if my “good behavior” is ultimately the primary factor in determining my eternal destiny, the question then becomes: why did Jesus have to die at all?

Certainly there must have been good works being performed by people long before Jesus came into the world? If that’s the case, then, why did Christ have to come to earth to begin with, let alone die a humiliating death on a cross for someone like me? Wouldn’t it have been much easier for Him to just remain in heaven and then, when I die, simply weigh my good deeds against my bad to see if I “made it in”?

A Theology of Likability 

For professing Christians to so easily set aside what is undoubtedly thefundamental tenet of Christianity, namely, the deity of Jesus (John 8:58;Colossians 1:152:9), in exchange for a theology rooted in the belief that our works are somehow determinant of our eternal destiny, as opposed to faith alone in the atoning work of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16), is, sadly, a testament to the reality that many Christians today have no genuine conviction about what they profess to believe (if in fact they even know what they believe to begin with).

“Secular people still believe there’s sin, judgment, and punishment. But secularism defies any universal standard established by God, much less moral culpability before this God. Of course, people make mistakes and hurt each other. But if people are held guilty, the punishment, of course, has to be in this world, not the next. Secular people don’t burn in hell, they burn in the court of public opinion.” –Barry Kosmin (as quoted in the book Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church by Michael Horton)

When a celebrity dies who possessed the level of worldly acclaim and notoriety as Muhammad Ali – and few there are today who have attained to such rarefied air – it is interesting, to say the least, to observe how quickly we who profess to be Christian will go on the defensive about where the soul of that person is spending eternity.

It is an attitude borne not out of a desire to defend the veracity of what the Bible objectively teaches about death and eternity, mind you, but to promote their own subjective determination about where the person they so ardently admired must certainly be at this present time. Invariably, the conclusion drawn by such argumentative Christians is alwaysthat their beloved idol is in heaven.

They never are in hell.

Never.

Hell Is For Hitler

Most Christians today would profess to believe in the existence of hell. But since God judges us solely on the “Santa Claus Principle”, that is, on whether we’ve been bad or good, a person would pretty much have to live a life resembling that of an Adolf Hitler to actually go to hell when they die.

It is this works-based perspective of salvation which, on the one hand, makes Christians comfortable with the idea that such heinously violent individual would be viewed as the “poster child” for people we personally deem deserving of hell, while at the same time wrestling with the unfathomable notion that someone as likable and accomplished as Muhammad Ali could actually spend eternity apart from God given that, in our human estimation, he was such a “good person”.

“Do you believe in divine judgment? By which I mean, do you believe in a God who acts as Judge? Many, it seems, do not. Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weakness and folly and sin, and their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge and they frown and shake their heads. Their minds recoil from such an idea. They find it repellent and unworthy.” – J.I. Packer, Knowing God

If we were honest, we would have to admit that the real issue here is that we love our celebrities more than we love our God.

In fact, our adoration of these individuals runs so deep that we are willing to build an entire theology around our fondness for them. As was the case with Prince, so it is with Muhammad Ali. What we believe about the eternal destiny of these individuals is shaped not by what the Word of God says, but how highly we esteem them for the life they lived and the legacy they left behind (which is idolatry).

To continue in this mindset is to demonstrate how superficial our theology of God truly is. Rather than stand on what Christ – who is God – has declared about the eternal destiny that awaits those who refuse to believe in Him (John 3:36), we would much rather engage one another in emotion-fueled arguments about whether the person we idolize, who died without having confessed Christ as Lord or whose life did not bear the fruit of a regenerated heart (Matthew 3:8), is actually with God in heaven when the truth is Jesus has already settled the issue – and definitively so (Romans 3:20281 John 5:11-12).

“The Bible’s bad news is not to be glossed over, hidden away, or avoided. Without the Bible’s bad news, its good news will have no meaning. The center of biblical theology is nonnegotiable for evangelism precisely because God saves people through judgment for His glory. If a man does not perceive that God is holy, righteous, just and personally offended by transgressions, he will see no need for Jesus. God is holy, righteous, just, and personally offended by the sins we commit, and the more clearly we see this, the more deeply we will feel our desperate need for Jesus. God’s wrath make His mercy beautiful. Without His wrath, His mercy has no meaning and no one has any need for it.” – James H. Hamilton, Jr., God’s Glory In Salvation Through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, p. 566

Examine Yourself

You will get no argument from me that Muhammad Ali was without a doubt one of the most admired and well-respected human beings to ever live. He will be remembered for centuries to come for exhibiting many admirable moral and ethical attributes, not the least of which is the courage of his personal convictions while enduring years of targeted racial and religious discrimination.

No one likes to think of anyone dying and spending eternity in hell, not even God Himself (Ezekiel 18:23). Nevertheless, as Christians, the death of Muhammad Ali invites us to ponder an unavoidable question: do we truly believe salvation is through the substitutionary atonement of Christ alone or do we see our own morality as salvific?

The gospel leaves no room for a “hybrid salvation” (part Jesus and part good works). It is one or the other. Either faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven or it is not.

It cannot be both.

Humbly in Christ,

Darrell

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Speak the TRUTH in love!

The Bible commands Christians to “Speak the truth in love”. Ephesians 4:14

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It does NOT say speak wishy washy, ecumenical, new age-y, Osteen-ian, undiscerning, sin-enabling, Warren-esqueian, compromizing, latte sipping, crowd pleasing, Biblically ignorant nonsense in a whiny voice.

It also does not say to claim the high moral ground of “love” while declaring it with anti Scriptural lies.

Empowering, enabling and encouraging people in rebellion against the Creator to continue to sin, is in itself sin. More so when done by professing Christians. And EVEN more so when done by “Church leaders”.

And attacking Christians because their faithful proclamation of truth may make sinners feel guilty is not Christian…in fact it has its roots in another source.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.
Rant over, carry on! 😀

Glenn Christopherson

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True Repentance Brings Changes

Originally posted on “Morning Meds”!

31 Jesus answered, “So now you believe?

— John 16:31

 

If Jesus asked us that question today, could we truthfully answer “Yes, Lord, I truly believe.”?  The disciples had spent the better part of three years with Jesus. They walked with Him, talked with Him, ate with Him and yet, it is only now that they confess that they believe that Jesus came from God. We might think this to be very strange.  Yet, how many times did we hear the story of Jesus from people that we believed and respected, yet we did not accept Him as our Savior?  In my teenage years, I went to the altar and had a very real emotional experience while I was kneeling there.  Yet, when I left that building, my thought patterns and lifestyle were unchanged.   Looking back at that experience years later, I realized that I had not truly accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord.  It would be years later before I truly repented and turned to Jesus with all my heart.  True repentance will make a change in our thinking and in our lifestyle.  Will it keep us from ever sinning again?  No, the flesh will win some battles, but our reponse to the conviction of the Holy Spirit  will always be to turn back to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness.  And He will always be there with open arms, waiting to forgive us and restore to our salvation and His peace and joy.  

Post 06-03-2016

Shared by Mugisha R Charles

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LOVE!

Matthew 5:46-47 KJV

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others ? do not even the publicans so?

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M Charles

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Thabani thoughts!

Thabani on “Why is Christianity the right religion?”

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The reason I choose Christianity and believe it is the authentic religion is because of this, in other religions things are based on our own merits, when I fail to do something then there is punishment awaiting or something like that, but in Christianity we based our merits on what Jesus Christ already did for us, He is the only Saviour that has loved His people so much as to come and actually accomplish the hard parts of the mission for them, where else have you heard of a Saviour who died on behalf of His creation? Definitely not in any other religion.

The God of the Bible is not created, He is the creator, He exists outside of time, space and matter, thereby making Him more than able to deal with anything because He is not limited by being in things but is limitless because He exists outside of them, without them and they are a result of Him, unlike gods which are created by hand and carved out of stone, wood etc, they break, they don’t move, and they can be shaped according to our desires and specifications, whereas our God is unchangeable.

All religions are all about seeking the light and the way, it’s a forever quest for peace, enlightenment, light and all, especially the Taoists and most Asian religions, but then Christianity is about being the light, and the Savior being that enlightenment, the way and life, in Christianity we have found what in other religions they are still seeking.

When you look at other religions, they acknowledge and have proof of the undeniable existence of Jesus Christ, even though they then deny Him being the Saviour, but Christianity doesn’t acknowledge the existence of these other funny gods, neither does it make mention of them, besides the Baals we read of, this shows that the other religions know about our God, making Him more authentic as He is even recognized by other religions and not just us alone.

Thabani M. Jr