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Jesus told Mary at the tomb Do not Cling

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Sunday School, Trinity on December 19, 2013 at 5:37 am

John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

I cannot add any insight better written or better understood! In the resurrection the Triune God reveals His glory!

I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God; God was his Father, not by creation, as he is to angels, and the souls of men, and therefore is called the Father of spirits; nor by adoption, as he is to the saints; nor with respect to the incarnation of Christ, for, as man, he had no father; or with regard to his office as Mediator, for as such he was a servant, and not a Son; but he was his Father by nature, or with regard to his divine person, being begotten of him, and so his own proper Son, and he his own proper Father; which hold forth the natural and eternal sonship of Christ, his equality with him, and distinction from him: and God was the Father of his disciples by adopting grace, in virtue of the covenant of grace made with Christ, and through their spiritual relation to him, as the natural and eternal Son of God: God the Father is the God of Christ as man, who prepared, formed, anointed, supported, and glorified his human nature; and in which nature, he prayed to him as his God, believed in him, loved and obeyed him as such; wherefore the Jew (o) very wrongly infers from hence, that he is not God, because the God of Israel was his God; since this is spoken of him as he is man: and he was the God of his disciples, in and by the covenant of grace made with Christ, as their head and representative; so that their interest in God, as their covenant God and Father, was founded upon his being the God and Father of Christ, and their relation to, and concern with him; and which therefore must be firm and lasting, and will hold as long as God is the God and Father of Christ: this was good news to be brought to his disciples; which, as it carried the strongest marks of affection, and expressions of nearness of relation; and implied, that he was now risen from the dead; so it signified, that he should ascend to God, who stood in the same relation to them, as to him; when he should use all his interest and influence on their behalf, whilst they were on earth; and when the proper time was come for a remove, that they might be with him, and with his God and Father and theirs, where they would be to all eternity.

(o) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 58. p. 446.

I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God—words of incomparable glory! Jesus had called God habitually His Father, and on one occasion, in His darkest moment, His God. But both are here united, expressing that full-orbed relationship which embraces in its vast sweep at once Himself and His redeemed. Yet, note well, He says not, Our Father and our God. All the deepest of the Church fathers were wont to call attention to this, as expressly designed to distinguish between what God is to Him and to us—His Father essentially, ours not so: our God essentially, His not so: His God only in connection with us: our Father only in connection with Him.
Accordingly, either the words, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father,” had this meaning, that by this woman the Church of the Gentiles was symbolized, which did not believe on Christ till He had actually ascended to the Father, or that in this way Christ wished Himself to be believed on; in other words, to be touched spiritually, that He and the Father are one. For He has in a manner ascended to the Father, to the inward perception of him who has made such progress in the knowledge of Christ that he acknowledges Him as equal with the Father: in any other way He is not rightly touched, that is to say, in any other way He is not rightly believed on. But Mary might have still so believed as to account Him unequal with the Father, and this certainly is forbidden her by the words, “Touch me not;” that is, Believe not thus on me according to thy present notions; let not your thoughts stretch outwards to what I have been made in thy behalf, without passing beyond to that whereby thou hast thyself been made. For how could it be otherwise than carnally that she still believed on Him whom she was weeping over as a man? “For I am not yet ascended,” He says, “to my Father:” there shalt thou touch me, when thou believest me to be God, in no wise unequal with the Father. “But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father.” He saith not, Our Father: in one sense, therefore, is He mine, in another sense, yours; by nature mine, by grace yours. “And my God, and your God.” Nor did He say here, Our God: here, therefore, also is He in one sense mine, in another sense yours: my God, under whom I also am as man; your God, between whom and you I am mediator
One at the head, and the other at the foot. The fact that Matthew mentions only one angel does not contradict John’s story. Both angels did not speak to Mary at once; this was done by the one who was commissioned for it. There is not much to Augustine’s allegory that the position of these angels indicates the course of the future preaching of the gospel, from the place where the sun rises to the place where it goes under. In this place, it is more worth-while to notice the auspices under which Christ ushered in the glory of his Kingdom. When the angels honored Christ’s grave [with their presence], they exhibited his celestial majesty. But they did so without abolishing the ignominy of the cross.
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Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), Jn 20:17.
Augustine of Hippo, “Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel According to St. John,” in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series: St. Augustin: Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. John Gibb and James Innes, vol. 7 (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), 438.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. John 20:17.
This does not seem to agree with the account in Matthew (28:9): for he writes openly that the women embraced the feet of Christ. Now, since Christ allowed himself to be touched by his disciples, why did he forbid Mary? The answer is easy, if we only remember that Jesus did not repel them until they overdid their desire to touch him. When it was a matter of removing doubt, then surely he did not forbid them. But when he saw that they held on to his feet, he calmed their excessive zeal, and corrected it. They clung to his bodily presence, because they knew only an earthly way of enjoying him. The truth is that Jesus did not forbid them to touch him until he saw their stupid and excited desire to keep him here on earth. Let us note therefore the reason he gave for the prohibition: for I am not yet ascended to the Father. By these words, he commanded the women to control themselves until he was received into heavenly glory. Finally, in this way, he pointed out that the purpose of his resurrection was quite different from their fancy about it. He was come to life again not to triumph in the world, but rather to ascend to heaven and to take possession of the Kingdom which had been promised to him; to reign over the church at the right hand of God, by the power of his Spirit.…
I ascend unto my Father. With the word ascend, he confirms what I have said before. For certainly he rose from the dead not to linger awhile longer on earth, but so that, having entered the heavenly life, he might draw the faithful to him. In short, with this word the apostle forbids us merely to stop with resurrection. He bids us to go forward until we arrive at the spiritual Kingdom, at heavenly glory, at God himself. Therefore this word, ascend, is very emphatic; Christ stretches out his hand to his own, so that they may seek their happiness nowhere but in heaven. For where our treasure is, there also must our heart be (Matt. 6:21). Now, Christ declares that he is about to ascend on high; therefore, let us also rise with him, if we would not be separated from him. Furthermore, when he adds that he will ascend, he quickly dispels the sadness and anxiety of his disciples because he was to leave them behind. He wants them to know that by his divine power he will always be with them. Ascend indeed implies distant places; but even though Christ is absent bodily, because he is with God, his spiritual power, which works everywhere, shows clearly that he is present with us. Why indeed did he ascend to the Father, except, seated at his right hand, to reign in heaven and on earth? Finally, with this statement Jesus intended to commend the divine power of his reign, so that his bodily absence might not trouble his disciples.
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Rom. 1:4.
If you prefer, “designated” to be the Son, etc. (definitus). He means that the power of the resurrection, by which he was pronounced the Son of God, was as it were a decree; as in Ps. 2:7, I have this day begotten thee. “Begotten” in this verse means actually “made known.” Some find in this verse three evidences of the divinity of Christ: his power for working miracles, the witness of the Spirit, and his resurrection from the dead. I prefer to put the three together into one as follows: Christ was designated the Son of God when he rose from the dead, by an open exercise of true heavenly power, which was the power of the Spirit; but the knowledge of this power is sealed in our hearts by the same Spirit. The language of the apostle agrees well with this interpretation. The power with which he was declared, or the power which shone forth in Christ, that is, in his resurrection, was God’s own power; and this proves that he was God. The same point becomes clear in another place where Paul confesses that Christ’s death revealed him as subject to the infirmity of the flesh, and extols the power of the Spirit in his resurrection (2 Cor. 13:4). But this glorious work cannot be known by us unless the Spirit himself impresses it upon our hearts. The very fact that Paul calls the Spirit the Spirit of holiness, shows that in his mind the same wonderful efficacy of the Spirit revealed in the resurrection of Christ from the dead is to be seen in the witness which individual believers know in their hearts. He means that as the Spirit sanctifies, he shows and ratifies the power which he exercised once before in raising Christ from the dead. The various titles which Scripture gives to the Spirit fortify the present argument. For instance, our Lord calls him the Spirit of truth, because he effects truth in believers (John 14:17).
Besides, the power shown forth in Christ’s resurrection was his own as well as God’s; as is evident from the sayings: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (John 2:19); and, No one takes my life; of myself, etc. (John 10:18). For he did not beg his victory over death (to which he yielded by the infirmity of the flesh) from another, but achieved it by the working of his own Spirit.
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Joseph Haroutunian and Louise Pettibone Smith, Calvin: Commentaries (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 169–171.

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
John 20:19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
John 20:20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

20:22 “He breathed on them” This is a word play on the term “breathed.” The Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma can mean “breathe,” “wind,” or “spirit.” It was used in the OT of God’s creative activity in Gen. 2:7 and the revitalization of Israel in Ezek. 37:5, 9. The pronoun “them” refers to a wider group than just the Apostles (cf. Luke 24:33).
© “Receive the Holy Spirit” This is an AORIST ACTIVE IMPERATIVE. How this relates to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is uncertain. Jesus fulfilled everything that He promised the disciples at this first appearance. It is related to Jesus’ equipping them for their new ministry assignment as the Spirit equipped Him at His baptism.
This verse was used in the early church’s fight over the question of the Spirit proceeding from the Father or from the Father and the Son. In reality all three persons of the Trinity are involved in all the acts of redemption.
In A Theology of the New Testament, George Ladd summarizes the possible interpretations of this passage:
“This passage raises difficulties in the light of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, which may be solved in one of three ways. Either John did not know about Pentecost and substitutes this story so that it becomes in effect the Johannine Pentecost; or there were actually two gifts of the Spirit; or Jesus’ breathing on the disciples was an acted parable promissory and anticipatory to the actual coming of the Spirit at Pentecost” (p. 289).
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Robert James Utley, The Beloved Disciple’s Memoirs and Letters: The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John, vol. Volume 4, Study Guide Commentary Series (Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International, 1999), 179.

John 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any” These are two THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCES with an which is usually used with SECOND CLASS CONDITIONAL SENTENCES, not ean. This mixed condition heightens the contingency which relates both to those who share the Gospel and to those who respond by faith. Someone with the gospel knowledge chooses to share it and someone hears it and chooses to receive it. Both aspects are required. This verse does not give arbitrary authority to clergy, but wonderful life-giving power to believing witnesses! This authority was evidenced in the mission trip of the seventy during Jesus’ life.
© “their sins have been forgiven them” This grammatical construction is a PERFECT PASSIVE INDICATIVE. The PASSIVE VOICE implies God’s forgiveness, available completely through gospel proclamation. Believers have the keys of the kingdom (cf. Matt. 16:19) if they will only use them. This promise is to the Church, not individuals. This is theologically similar to “the bound and unbound” of Matt. 18:18.
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Robert James Utley, The Beloved Disciple’s Memoirs and Letters: The Gospel of John, I, II, and III John, vol. Volume 4, Study Guide Commentary Series (Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International, 1999), 179.
The resurrection of Jesus reveals to not only the disciples but to us as his followers what our mission is. This small section of Scripture contains so much in regards to our hope and our own resurrection to be with the Father because of the Son. Jesus introduces how the Holy Spirit will be joined to our lives. There is a lot of speculation concerning Jesus breathing on the disciples and the coming Pentecost 50 days later. This action suited the Father’s plan as the Son accomplishes the sending of the Spirit and gives us the application of the role of the Spirit. What hope! What victory! If we truly have received the Holy Spirit our only recourse is eternal gratitude by sharing with others this gift given us by our Heavenly Father. Our mission is to glorify the Father through the Son by the Spirit! The Spirit teaches us to glorify the Son because that is his role as well. Because of the gift of God his eternal Son whose death and resurrection honored the Father we join with the Spirit in giving glory to the Son. Praise! Glory! Honor! Hallelujah! Amen.

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What ?? too many questions maybe you can answer too!

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on July 4, 2011 at 9:53 am

What do I have now that I haven’t had before? How was I blind for so long and now see truth in such a different light than just a few years ago? Why does the Personal God who is there bother with someone as rebellious as an indifferent as me? Just how useful can I be for the kingdom now? Does God through Christ by the Spirit really make an impact in my life every day? The questions keep coming and God in his infinite wisdom has granted answers on some and has me digging deeper on others? Francis Shaffer philosopher and author had a great quote:

To eat, to breathe to beget Is this all there is Chance configuration of atom against atom of god against god I cannot believe it. Come, Christian Triune God who lives, Here am I Shake the world again. [i]

The “Christian Triune God who lives” did answer that prayer and shook the world through Schaeffer’s ministry.

The Holy Spirit indwelling the individual Christian is not only the agent of Christ, but he is also the agent of the Father. Consequently, when I accept Christ as my Savior, my guilt is gone, I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and I am in communication with the Father and the Son, as well as of the Holy Spirit—the entire Trinity. Thus now, in the present life, if I am justified, I am in a personal relationship with each of the members of the Trinity. God the Father is my Father; I am in union with the Son; and I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This is not just meant to be doctrine; it is what I have now.[ii]

This is in line with the personal God who is there and is on the high order of the Trinity. Since beginning a deeper richer study of the Trinity it has completely changed my faith making it strong and at the same time more difficult to tolerate me! The more I see the Trinity and the way God exists, the Trinity has taken over my thinking I am acutely aware of the sin in my own life. Understanding the Father desires relationship and sent his Son to pay my sin debt while the Spirit indwells me teaching me the truth of the cost I am overwhelmed.

The Old Testament teaches, and the New Testament reaffirms, that there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; James 2:19). “The Bible also teaches that this one God exists in three distinct persons.” The first line of evidence for this claim is the divine plurals used in the language of the Old Testament: “Who will go for us?” (Isa. 6:8); “Let us make man in our image” (Gen. 1:26); “Let us go down there and confuse their language” (Gen. 11:7). “In this verse, as in 1:26, the persons of the Trinity are in communication with each other.” These Old Testament plurals would not be enough to prove the triunity of the one God all alone. They are odd enough to require some explanation: Why would a consistently monotheistic revelation use words like we, us, and ours? The solid proof of this doctrine has to wait till Christ appears in human history and takes on flesh. Ours is a progressive revelation, From Adam, to Abraham, to David, to Jesus claiming to be God in flesh and the Son of the personal God who is there.

Now man has a new relationship with the creator, and the creator can now abide within us. The mystery I can’t reconcile is why the personal God who is there wants to have relationship with a dreadful, awful, terrible sinner like me. The law (10 commandments) illustrates the sinfulness of my sin! I can’t even keep one commandment for more than a day, and yet when I come to grips with the awful truth of my wretchedness and the hopelessness of my failure the Holy Spirit sent by the Father accompanied by the Son forgives me. Stated in Ephesians 2:18: “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Christian prayer, as a subset of Christian communion with God, is an approach to God the Father, through God the Son, in the Holy Spirit. John Owen called this passage “a heavenly directory,” and Horatius Bonar teased out a theology of worship from it:

The whole Trinity has to do with our return and reception. The Father throws open His presence chamber, the Holy of Holies where He dwells; the Son provides the way for our restoration, by answering in His death all the ends that could have been served by our exclusion; and the Holy Spirit conducts us into the Father’s presence along the new and living way.

Now as new creature in Christ as applied by the Holy Spirit from the direction of the Father I am an adopted son, a brother to Christ, sealed by the Spirit. How is this supposed to affect us? Am I conforming to the image of his Son?

(Romans 8:29 HCSB)  For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

(Romans 8:14-17 HCSB)  All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ–seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

When John Bunyan defined true prayer, he built his definition around this Trinitarian structure from Ephesians 2.

(Ephesians 2:18 HCSB)  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

 Bunyan’s complete definition runs: Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God.

How does the Trinity make our prayer life more effective, and when we acknowledge how God exists does it complete us? If we don’t understand the Trinity or worse because we don’t understand try to find another mode of existence for God undermine the message of salvation? If the Trinity is salvation and salvation is the Trinity economically expressed why would we limit God’s existence to our understanding? If God is truly sovereign and has created all there is why couldn’t He be expressed in Trinity? Don’t we limit the limitless, build a box that has no room for its content; redefine in our terms the indefinable? Denying the Trinity is like gazing at the sun you can’t without severe consequences, ignoring the obvious to justify our inability to describe God. To use a saying my Dad used to use “I can’t see the forest for the trees.”


[i] Sanders, Fred (2010). The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything (p. 178). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

[ii] Sanders, Fred (2010).  (p.214)

 

 

The Dance of the low-sloping foreheads and Redefining Marriage

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on June 30, 2011 at 7:10 am

Many New Yorkers feel their city is more than just the (self-proclaimed) capital of the world. They think it actually is most of the world, the rest of the planet merely being the unavoidable orchard in which their Big Apple grows

New York Times columnist David Carr responds to Bill Maher implying Alabama and Kansas are not the “smart states.”

David Carr: “If it’s Kansas, Missouri, no big deal. You know, that’s the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right? [pause] Did I just say that aloud?”

CNN’s Jack Cafferty has advice for the GOP: Park your morality at the door.

On June 14, Mr. Cafferty expressed surprise that, in the previous night’s presidential debate, “social issues—like abortion, gay marriage, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’—still manage to work their way into the conversation. And that may prove to be a problem for Republicans. . . . These are not the issues that middle America is worried about. They would like to be able to find a job.”
What Cafferty doesn’t understand is that every issue is a moral issue. The current bad economy didn’t just happen. It was the direct result of immoral choices made by our leaders.
The national debt, national security, taxation, the welfare state, border security—there’s not a single issue that doesn’t have a moral component. The government has a moral obligation to live within its means, to protect its citizens, to encourage industriousness and discourage indolence, and to secure our borders against terrorists and drug cartels.
When voters consider a candidate for public office, they should not just ask, “Can this person manage the economy?” They need to know, “Does this person have the values and character to hold public office?”
A candidate who doesn’t value innocent life shouldn’t be president. In 2002, Barack Obama voted to oppose the Induced Birth Infant Liability Act, outlawing infanticide of babies who survive late-term abortions. Mr. Obama didn’t merely vote in favor of abortion, but in favor of killing babies outside the womb. A man whose moral compass is this defective cannot make moral decisions.
He promised an end to earmarks, a secure border, no lobbyists in his administration, no recess appointments, airing the healthcare debate on C-SPAN, elimination of failed programs—and he didn’t keep even one of those promises. Candidate Obama opposed “same-sex marriage,” but as president he nullified the Defense of Marriage Act. A record of broken promises does not equal moral leadership.
GAY MARRIAGE is no longer a theoretical issue. Canada has it. Massachusetts is expected to get it any day. The Goodridge decision there could set off a legal, political, and cultural battle in the courts of 50 states and in the U.S. Congress. Every politician, every judge, every citizen has to decide:
Does same-sex marriage matter?
If so, how and why?
The timing could not be worse. Marriage is in crisis, as everyone knows: High rates of divorce and illegitimacy have eroded marriage norms and created millions of fatherless children, whole neighborhoods where lifelong marriage is no longer customary, driving up poverty, crime, teen pregnancy, welfare dependency, drug abuse, and mental and physical health problems. And yet, amid the broader negative trends, recent signs point to a modest but significant recovery.
Divorce rates appear to have declined a little from historic highs; illegitimacy rates, after doubling every decade from 1960 to 1990, appear to have leveled off, albeit at a high level (33 percent of American births are to unmarried women); teen pregnancy and sexual activity are down; the proportion of homemaking mothers is up; marital fertility appears to be on the rise. Research suggests that married adults are more committed to marital permanence than they were twenty years ago. A new generation of children of divorce appears on the brink of making a commitment to lifelong marriage. In 1977, 55 percent of American teenagers thought a divorce should be harder to get; in 2001, 75 percent did.
Cafferty says that middle America doesn’t care about “same-sex marriage.” But polls shows Americans overwhelmingly oppose it—not because they hate or feel morally superior to homosexual people. They simply want to preserve God’s plan for marriage. Marriage should remain what it has been throughout recorded history—a covenantal union between a man and a woman. Here are three reasons why Americans object to redefining marriage:
1. The best environment for children is a traditional family—one mom, one dad. Children from stable two-parent homes are significantly less prone to depression, addiction, and suicide than children from non-traditional families. A moral society should encourage the family structure that best nurtures children.
2. Marriage ideally brings together two people, one male, one female, who complement each other. Mothers are generally protective and nurturing while fathers tend to challenge children to confront risks and embrace opportunities. Children need both influences. Two “mothers” can’t teach boys to become men; two “fathers” can’t teach girls to become women.
3. Children need to feel connected to their biological origins whenever possible. Yale psychiatrist Kyle Pruett found that children “hunger for an abiding paternal presence.” They struggle with questions about their biological origins and identity.
Same-sex marriage, too, interferes with the core elements of wedlock in order to advance an unrelated goal — the dignity and equality of gays and lesbians. The fact that many decent people ardently embrace that goal doesn’t change reality: The essential, public purpose of marriage is to unite male and female — to bind men and women to each other and to the children that their sexual behavior may produce. It is rooted in the conviction that every child needs a mother and a father. Gay marriage, whether enacted by lawmakers or imposed by judges, disconnects marriage from its most basic idea. Ultimately, that isn’t tenable either.
Marriage — male-female marriage — is indispensable to human welfare. That is why it has existed in virtually every known human society. And why it cannot, and will not, be permanently redefined.
The scholarly consensus on the importance of marriage has broadened and deepened; it is now the conventional wisdom among child welfare organizations. As a Child Trends research brief summed up: “Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. . . . There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents.”
The state has no basic benefit in marriage outside the traditional definition of the nuclear family. It is the most affordable, least costly way to have an ordered, society capable of earning revenue that it can tax. A properly functioning nuclear family reduces violence, provides protection, nurturing and feeding of its young without any monetary expenditure from the state. Beyond this it requires more than 2 to reproduce (not economically feasible) and as experience is teaching us more expense to the state to provide those necessities of protection, housing and food. Outside of its own self-interest why would the state regard marriage of any type? Marriage is typically promoted and supported in the religious community and for the life of me I can’t understand why a pluralistic society bent on self-aggrandizements and gentile fulfillment cares one way or the other!
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, which among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. — That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”
This declaration acknowledges that God grants individual people their human rights. People then loan power to our government. The government holds only as much power as we, the people, are willing to yield.
These “self-evident” truths seem simple, but are powerful. First, all men are created equal. We all have equal value at birth. It does not say that, regardless of whether people work, they shall end up equal. We are created equal and given equal rights by our Creator: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not a guarantee of happiness. Happiness is up to every individual, not guaranteed by the government. We are a nation of believers in God. This provides us with optimism, a belief in the future, and solace and strength in times of crisis.

What Changed about Him

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on June 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

(John 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:14) The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

First the question should give a sense of seeing not so much what changed as what didn’t change. The biggest thought that screams from scripture is “His divine nature didn’t change”! God remained God he didn’t stop being God besides being unbiblical, this would make Him a lesser God changing from divine nature to human nature. The scripture clearly states that God remained God and the Word remained God when He became flesh. Either this statement is nonsense or God has two natures? Neither! The possibility of seeing God as one being with two what’s, materializes and the best word we can find to describe this moment are persons.
A closer look at the word “became” needs to be addressed. In the incarnation (birth) became cannot mean “transformed into” or “underwent a change in which he stopped being one thing and turned into another thing”. At the incarnation the Word became flesh he took human nature as his own, he added human existence to his already existing eternal self (person).
Now to the heart of the secret that the prophets and gospel hid in plain sight: when the Word became flesh the Son was still Son the second person of the Trinity. He did not change either. Fred Sanders describes this in his book “The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity changes everything, page 152: It was the eternal Son, whose personal characteristic is to belong to the Father and receive his identity from the Father, who took on human nature and dwelled among us. His life as a human being was a new event in history, but he lived out his human life in the exact same son-ship that makes him who he is from all eternity as the second person of the Trinity. So as Jesus lived out his life on earth he behaved like the Son of God, he never changed who He was only how he existed. The only new thing here is taking up the flesh, not being the Son of God. Only the Son of God could accomplish the will of God set forth from all eternity.
(Rev 13:8) and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

The story of His Glory the Gospel that God “sent His Son” to be His Son. When Jesus was in the flesh walking on this earth he behaved like the Son of God, the same way He has always been from eternity past. Quoting Austin Farrer (1904-1968) an Anglican theologian the gospels do not portray Jesus acting and behaving like God. Instead they portray him walking around and behaving like the Son of God. “We cannot understand Jesus as simply the God-who-was-man. We have left out an essential factor, the son-ship.” When we leave out that son-ship, we may think we are affirming the deity of Christ more clearly (“he is God” is a simpler statement to teach and defend than “he is the Son of God”), but in fact we are obscuring the Trinitarian revelation. The loss is too great; we will miss so much that is right there in Scripture. “What was expressed here below was not bare deity; it was divine son-ship,” said Farrer. The gospels clearly show Jesus was the Son: he lived, taught, acted, died, and rose again as the Son of God. The temptation to move past the son-ship to affirm His deity is ever present, but the scriptures clearly do the opposite acknowledging His deity in order to dwell on His Son-Ship! The early believers who saw, touched and ate with Jesus saw “the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” They know Him as the one who was “with the Father and was made manifest” 1 John 1:1-2. We must resist the temptation the rush past Jesus as the Son in order to express the fact He was God. “God” describes what Jesus is but the “Son” describes who He is!
If we understand the son ship of Jesus Christ it becomes foundational to the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ. The risk we take in trying to make Jesus change or become something that he was not in heaven is making him the creature and not the creator. If we allow the idea that Jesus changed from something, or became something it actually reduces his deity instead of promoting it. In Scripture, we are taught The Father sent his son and unto us a child was given. We see by his behavior on earth Jesus always acknowledge he was about His Father’s business, he surrendered to doing the Fathers will, in his language and actions he confirms his son ship.
As Farrer said, is impossible to imagine how God would act if God were a creature. When we ask ourselves this particular question it forces us into a constant unresolved paradox. In looking at the miracles Jesus performed through the context of this question was he acting as the incarnate creator or a creature? Only in the context as the son of God the second person of the Trinity could these actions make sense. When reading the gospels the writers are very intent on expressing the son ship of Jesus Christ, he lived and died as the Son. At the heart of the Trinity is the son ship of Jesus.
If we are too quick to rush past Christ’s relationship to the Father, we miss what God has revealed about himself and we are settling for less than the full counsel of God. Quoting from Fred Sanders book “The deep things of God. How the Trinity changes everything:”
What is so wonderfully clear with regard to the Son-that he is himself here with us, just as he has eternally been himself in the happy land of the Trinity-it is also true of the Holy Spirit.

10 Signs a Church is in Trouble

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity, Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 at 4:55 am

By Thom S. Rainer
May 9, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Prior to my present place of ministry, I spent more than 20 years consulting with churches across America. I have also had the wonderful opportunity to research churches primarily in the United States. Over time I began to notice certain patterns or signs that would indicate a congregation might be headed for trouble.

After reviewing my consultation notes and research, I found 10 warning signs for churches. If a church had four or more of these signs present, I would let the leadership know that remedial efforts were in order. If six or more signs were present, I was concerned that the congregation was in immediate trouble.

The warning signs below are not listed in any particular order. Nor are they the result of a scientifically accurate study. Though the information is both experiential and anecdotal, I found it immensely helpful in diagnosing the health of a church.

Church leaders should be concerned …

— If the pastor does not have adequate time to be in the Word or if he chooses not to do so.

— If the members are spending time arguing about how money should be spent.

— If none or only a few of the key leaders are actively sharing their faith.

— If there is no clear process of discipleship in place, just a plethora of programs and activities.

— If corporate prayer is not a major emphasis in the church.

— If church members are arguing about worship style or worship times.

— If church members expect the paid staff to do most of the ministry, instead of the staff equipping the members to do the work of ministry (“Why didn’t he visit me in the hospital?”)

— If there are ongoing disagreements about matters of the church facilities.

— If the church has more meetings than new disciples.

— If the leadership of the church does not have a coherent plan for what is taught in small groups and Sunday School classes.

There is a common pattern for most of the warning signs. Church members are more concerned about their preferences and desires. They are inwardly focused. They ask what the church can do for them, instead of asking how God can use them sacrificially and radically through the ministries of the local church.

True Christianity is a faith that always seeks to put others first. Sadly, in many of the churches across our land, members are more concerned about getting their own personal needs and preferences met.

I would love to hear from you about any of these signs in your church. I particularly would like to hear from some people how their churches address these matters positively and pro-actively.

Do some of the items on the warning list take place in your church? Are there others not on the list?

What is your story?

Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. This column first appeared at his website, ThomRainer.com.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press
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fourth week in a row, a Chinese “illegal” church refused Sunday to follow government orders not to meet, and this time at least 31 of its members were arrested.

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity, Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 at 6:55 am

BEIJING (BP)–For the fourth week in a row, a Chinese “illegal” church refused Sunday to follow government orders not to meet, and this time at least 31 of its members were arrested.

Once again, reporters were blocked from the site.

The arrests of the members of Beijing’s Shouwang Church in a public square came after church leaders made clear in the preceding days that they would not buckle to pressure from the Communist Party. More than 160 were arrested the first week they tried to meet outdoors, about 50 were arrested the second week and approximately 40 on the third week, Easter Sunday. The declining number of arrests likely is due to the government placing so many other members under house arrest, which prevents them from even leaving their homes. On Easter Sunday, more than 500 church members — including every church staff member, lay leader and choir member — were under house arrest.

The church is attempting to meet outdoors because the government has blocked all attempts by the church to rent or purchase a building. Members say failing to come together and worship would be an abandonment of biblical commands.

The May 1 Shouwang Church order of worship — given to church members and printed online at ChinaAid.org — was intended to include congregational singing of “Amazing Grace,” “Because He Lives” and “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” But the members were arrested before the services started. It is possible that smaller groups — particularly families — followed the order in worshipping in their homes.

Although a BBC camera crew recorded the arrests during the first week, the government has since tried to block media access, briefly detaining a CNN crew on Easter and preventing three Al-Jazeera reporters from accessing the site on May 1, Asia News reported.

The CNN crew was, though, able to set up an interview with one unidentified female church member away from the site, although the crew had to work to find a spot in the city where police would not interfere. At one point, authorities were following the CNN crew’s car.

“I am really afraid of torture … and I’ve heard many stories of that,” the woman told CNN, her face unseen.

CNN’s Stan Grant concluded his segment by saying, “In this spiritual war, the Communist Party has drawn its own battle lines, determined that the only worship here will be to the state.”

Churches in China must register with the government, and those that don’t are considered illegal. But registering brings restrictions on growth and evangelism — part of the reason the underground church movement has flourished in recent decades. The arrests of Shouwang members — closely watched worldwide — are part of a larger crackdown on what the government views as dissent. Communist Party members are apparently wanting to prevent an uprising in China similar to what has taken place in Egypt and elsewhere, and they see house churches as a threat.

Each week, the church has released a statement, explaining why it has chosen to confront the government. It has chosen to try to meet at the same location in the city each week.

“Some brothers and sisters have suggested that we might want to move our services to a new location so that we could gather together,” the church said in an April 29 statement. “However, at this stage of the development of the incident, it seems unlikely that we can gather together at all. Regardless of which location we choose, the result will be the same. What the relevant government agency is concerned about is not where we gather, but whether we are going to gather or not.”

Church members say they are being obedient to Christ. Some have lost their jobs and been evicted from their homes because of their stance, with the government pressuring employees and landlords.

“The Bible tells us, as Christians, we must not give up meeting together; furthermore, as the church of Jesus Christ, we should not change our mode of Sunday worship just because someone or some entity decides that we may or may not use a particular gathering place,” the church said in a statement Easter week. “Our attitude before God should be the same as Daniel’s, that is, despite the pressure and difficulties our circumstance presents, we should behave as we normally would, coming before our God weekly to worship Him and offer up our thanksgiving, praises and petitions.”
–30–
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. Visit http://www.bpnews.net. BP News — witness the difference! Covering the critical issues that shape your life, work and ministry. BP News is a ministry of Baptist Press, the daily news service of Southern Baptists.

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Just who is the Son of God?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on March 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm

 

 

Are there just 3 somebody’s in the Trinity is this some kind of mystic math? Isn’t loving Jesus enough why bother with all this 1st person 2nd person stuff? I mean really I just want to love Jesus and sing!

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

 

Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

 

(Heb 6:1-2 HCSB)  Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

 

Seeing God’s glory in the flesh witnessing how the Son existed with the Father and His revealing His true nature calls for some major rethinking and deeper investigating. The incarnation of the Son made a distinction and revealed more than a God that no one had ever seen. Language fails, minds fall short for explanation, disbelief tempts us, doubt and misunderstanding overtake our thinking, and then it becomes apparent God is one and more than one at the same time! HOW can this be? God introduced us to the Son and the Spirit and put them in human history. This was the mystery revealed from the prophets, they saw in the distance. This was the secret that was kept till the right time and place in history. We saw hints in the older testament of the preincarnate Christ and the best definition we have are theophanies but that is nothing to the revelation that happened in Bethlehem. Finally God allowed an encounter with how He truly is, how He really exists: as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We will never have the understanding it takes to grasp this, but what we do know goes all through eternity to who God is internally, eternally, and essentially. Remember the words we use fall short of accurate but are generally the only way we can express this marvelous revelation who knew that there are relationships of origin in the life of the Trinity.

One of the best examples of this is in the revelation of who the Son is. For Trinitarian reasons the second person of the Trinity is eternally the Son of the Father. The differences that make the word son expand from its earthly meaning and apply to a Son that is essential and eternal.

1st. First he cannot be younger than his father.

2nd. Second He is alone the son of the Living God because this exhausts the totality of essential son-ship in himself.

3rd. Third because of his eternal position He could not have a mother.

After we remove these particular temporal aspects of a son we are left with something that requires definition. The Son cannot be a different kind of being than his Father, which leaves someone from His very being. This allows for the Son to be co-equal with the Father not a lower being but on the same level as God. Next the Son exists in that relationship of originating from the Father- He comes from the Father. We define that relationship of origin with the word begetting, so the language we use to say that the Father begets the Son.  We could also say that the Father, fathers the Son. Different attempts to define this existence used expressions like the Father sires the Son this old fashioned word now has more to do with animal discussions than with eternal understandings. Beget is another word from the Queen’s English or the King James Bible type of speaking that is no longer used in modernity. For better clarity and to prevent misunderstandings we could express it as eternal begetting or eternal generation. The Bible is very clear regarding any language “that once upon a time the Son was begotten by the Father, never having existed before” being incorrect in understanding and language. There was never a time when the Son wasn’t the Son, the Father wasn’t the Father, and the Spirit was the Spirit. The Son always stands in this relationship of from-ness or eternal begottenness.

John 17:24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.

What we are describing after the addition of the Spirit is the ontological Trinity or the immanent Trinity which includes these eternal relations of origin. This is the classic way of describing the eternal life of the triune God in him. This has been the understanding from the very beginning of the primitive church. The early fathers of the church with the acceptance of the community of believers saw the single/plurality of God “the three oneness or one three-ness” of God. Until the sending of the Son then the giving of the Holy Spirit people could only catch glimpses and shadows of the Tri-unity of God. When the God who is here, through the Son that was given, Immanuel, Jesus the Christ, the Son of Man, Jehovah cried “tetelestai” it is finished, the veil was torn in half in the Holy of Holies and for the first time since the fall God would be able to commune with His creatures personally.

Matthew 13:35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

 

We need to be extremely careful how we handle the truth of the Trinity and explain it in a particularly careful way. More than anything we should never describe the Trinity in a way that goes in any direction beyond what God has revealed. God claims the things that are secret. Be careful of anything that over clarifies or defines something as infinite as the Triune God of this universe. The same concept applies to the dual nature of the Son. Nothing can completely describe the man God Jesus the Christ, how can we describe 100 percent God and 100 percent man? If we can explain the dual nature of Christ the Trinity is easy by comparison.  Information concerning the Trinity is most precious and we should not be found missing what God has revealed about himself to us. Those things revealed belong to us and the family of God for eternity. The Trinity keeps our understanding of relationships of origin and sonship in proper perspective. The Son and the Holy Spirit have always come from the Father.

 

The Trinity is the background of the gospel of salvation and redemption as provided by God. God for us only makes sense if there is a God in himself reconciling us to himself through the Son. The language of redemption only makes sense in this setting. The prayers that Jesus the Christ the Son of Man offered only make sense if they are spoken to some other in eternity. The prayer of Christ spoken in John is understandable only if there is more than one in the Godhead. If God the Father is sending the Son then the giving and receiving make sense otherwise why would this prayer would be spoken and described in Holy Scripture?

 

John 17:1-11 HCSB Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You,  for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent–Jesus Christ. I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed. I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they know that all things You have given to Me are from You, because the words that You gave Me, I have given them. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from You. They have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours. All My things are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one.

 

The concept of the Trinity has to be revealed since the Son was revealed in human history otherwise it would still be a secret yet to be discovered as the Son was prior to the incarnation. The language of Trinity comes from scripture and forces us to deal with how God is. Then the giving of the helper the Holy Spirit requires proper thinking and describing. Once the Son began His purpose of atonement that begins the process of describing how God exists. Jesus claimed to be God and the Son of God from all eternity at the same time. Obviously the Jews understood His claim because they wanted to stone Him for blasphemy and claiming equality with God was a crime unless you really were equal. That is when we were shown the proper meaning of the fatherhood of God the Father. At the same time the defining of the relationship of the eternal Son that has always existed with the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has been proceeding from the Father since eternity past. Remember the eternal life of God in himself is something “even better than the good news of the gospel” and we have the responsibility to handle this with reverence. This better explained that God’s eternal life as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a way of existing in eternal blessedness and perfection. God is the core of the gospel of repentance and salvation.  God in himself is perfectly happy; being perfect he cannot improve anything about himself. Susannah Wesley is quoted as saying that God is “perfect eternal blessedness” a being “that cannot receive any accession (attaining more of) of perfection or happiness from his creatures” He provides to us what he already has happiness and blessedness. Our vision of God with no unmet needs is how God exists already “in other words the good news starts far outside of us, in the life of the blessed Trinity which is complete in itself and suffers from no lack” quoted from The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity changes everything Fred Sanders author. What a wonderful and exciting moment when we realize that grace has a double portion when the Trinity is complete in itself and God still chose to redeem us! That is truly grace being unneeded, ungrateful, selfish, fallen evil creatures that rejected Him, he still choose in His completeness to seek and save us from our torment and sin.

 

Col 1:15-20 HCSB  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation; because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.  He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross–whether things on earth or things in heaven.

 

Amen and Amen

Can’t we all just get along?

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on April 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

This seems to be the modern-day mantra especially when we challenge those around us about truth claims. This week we will cover 4 major areas that seem to paint Christianity and its truth claims in the corner while we meekly slip out of the room.

(John 8:31-32 ESV)  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  1. So many people disagree relativism must be true,
  2. You’re just using western logic
  3. Who are you to judge others
  4. Christians are intolerant of other viewpoints

So many people disagree relativism must be true, because sometimes truth can be elusive in some areas of our life we can fall victim to “true for you but not for me”. Sometimes it’s much easier to coalesce because of disagreements on so many things we lose sight of the truth. Other times truth is very difficult to discern and hold so we give up, and give in. Especially in the post modernistic area of political correctness (cultural Marxism) vital areas like religion, morality, politics and philosophy can cause us to think we are being rash rude or even arrogant if we say someone is wrong. Supposedly to avoid conflict or to be seen as sensible we conclude relativism must be true. After all life can’t be black and white it is gray! We are as Christians to be salt and light in an otherwise dark and flavorless world that wants to go along to get along. Somehow, people move from what is the case (the descriptive) to what they think should be the case (the prescriptive). We have made science the modern-day absolute authority supposedly because it can describe what is based on some methodology of facts versus the slippery person-relative, subjective, unprovable “values” of morality, religion, and philosophy.

One of the modern areas that cause disagreement is underlying philosophical assumptions. When we try to include every view-point from every person and allow that are views are true we offer a prescription for failure. These views range from a paneverythingism (New Age) to a Wiccan view many gods, divinity is as much within you as without. There is no such thing as sin; we need to be more tolerant of other views except those that are morally absolute. The world wants enlightenment not redemption. From the Christian worldview we acknowledge sin and its consequent separation from a personal God who is there as the source of the human condition. We need more than being illumined; we need forgiveness! The-true-for-some-but-not-for-others line is an intellectual cop-out, a refusal to go beyond superficial thought. Truth or falsehood doesn’t mean anything to the relativist reality is what we decide it is. Relativism turns out to be a shallow refusal to think hard about things. The Bible speaks very plainly to us:

(2Co 13:5-8 ESV)  Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong–not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.

You’re just using western logic is an argument that really started taking shape in the 60’s due to the eastern mysticism influence of the hippie culture. One of several counter-culture writers was Alan Watts (1915-1973) raised Anglican and renounced his faith to a form of Zen Buddhism. To justify his choice Watts proposed that logic cannot “bind” or govern reality. True knowledge according to Watts, which cannot be explained or described, is nonrational. Another influential figure for relativism is Wilfred Cantrell Smith (1916-2000) claimed that “in all ultimate matters, truth lies not in an either-or (either this is true or its not) but in a both-and (both concepts can be correct and wrong at the same time). Watts dismissed the “rationality of Christianity” as useless “Western logic”. To make such a bold assertive assumption is to use the very logic he repudiated.

The rejection of moral and basic logical laws, results in one huge philosophical train wreck. Logic like the moral law wasn’t invented by anyone it was discovered. The moral law was given and it is a part of God’s character it doesn’t stand behind Him. One of the major laws of logic the law of non-contradiction (A is not non-A”): a statement and its opposite can’t both be true in the same manner or relationship. “There is no truth” (A) stands opposed to “It’s true there is no truth” (non A). The law of he excluded middle (either something is A or non A) or just because 1 thing has 2 things in common it doesn’t have everything in common. Christianity and Buddhism can’t both be true just because they are religions. This is the very reason there can’t be many paths to God because while Buddhism is a religion there is no God. This illustrates the law of excluded middle. The pluralist’s idea that all paths lead to God can’t be taken seriously because of the radically different understandings about God. The divinity of Jesus is blasphemous to the Muslim, seen to be ascribing a partner to Allah. Christianity is fundamentally false if Jesus’ body rotted in a grave; the Hindu though, stresses that Jesus’ teachings are true whether or not he rose from the dead.

We also deal with those who attack the language and the basis for communication. People like John Paul Sartre who made such claims that if we destroy the language we destroy God. The fact is we can’t function as language users and communicators without accepting some underlying logic to make distinctions. Even these skeptics must assume two things: (1) their minds are working well, and (2) logical laws are inescapable and undeniable. Just as disorder presupposes order, blindness presupposes sight, error presupposes truth’s existence. When the skeptic points out falsehoods, he presumes to speak and know the truth-even if he works from the negative to the positive. (Paul Copan). The Bible has several things to say about truth, we are to:

Get truth: (Pro 23:23 ESV) Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

Love truth: (Zec 8:19 ESV) … Therefore love truth and peace.

Execute judgment with truth: (Zec 8:19 ESV)  “Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.

The fruit of the Spirit is in truth: (Eph 5:8-9 ESV) for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),

The delight of God: (Pro 12:22 ESV) Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Truth is purifying: (1Pe 1:22 ESV) Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

Truth abides continually with saints: (2Jn 1:2 ESV) because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Jesus is: (Joh 14:6 ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Have we heard from those around us “who are you to judge others? You know the Bible says we are not judge others…this has become the most often quoted scripture surpassing John 3:16. Really is this the meaning? As we unpack this maybe allowing the Bible to speak for itself is the best place to start.

(Mat 7:1-5 HCSB)  “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Who is Jesus talking too and what is the context and genre of this passage? The first thing to realize Jesus is confronting the Pharisees, they had extremely nasty habit of condemning others based on their perceived goodness of observing the ceremonial laws. Jesus is confronting them for taking the place of God, usurping his prerogative, as if they knew the hearts and states of men. Jesus is not implying that we don’t make any judgments but avoid judgmentalism and puffing up with pride at our supposed moral superiority. A common accusation, however, is that when Christians make any moral judgments they are “judging” or “pontificating about moral values.”  Using Matthew 7:1 is in most cases a manifestation of moral laziness-a refusal to be morally discerning. Jesus calls us to make correct judgments: (Joh 7:24 AMP) Be honest in your judgment and do not decide at a glance (superficially and by appearances); but judge fairly and righteously. The context of Matthew also speaks of specks and logs the point becomes very obvious to even the most biblically illiterate. If we are helping others especially with moral concerns, we need to examine ourselves first by removing the log in our eye so we can help remove a very small spec in a brother’s eye. We do this by recognizing we too are in need of God’s grace and only in humility can we help at all. By differentiating right moral judgments from judgmentalism we might cast a better light on the subject. An inappropriate sense of moral superiority over another for any reason, including that person’s moral failures could be used as a definition of judgmentalism. If we are truly saved by His unmerited favor there is no place for superiority or arrogance toward others. It seems a curious assumption the relativist consider those who hold to absolute truth are absolutely arrogant. There is no intrinsic contradiction between (A) holding firmly to convictions and (B) treating with love and dignity those who disagree; living harmoniously with people who hold radically different views is a hallmark of maturity. Martin Marty a noted observer of religion stated the problem of modernity is that the people “who are being civil often lack the strong convictions, and the people who have the strong convictions often lack the civility.” Unfortunately many professing Christians seem to believe that firmness of conviction entitles them to belligerence, hostility, and closed mindedness-not to mention a lack of intellectual responsibility. On the other hand behind a mask of supposed sensitivity and compassion can hide a moral spinelessness. I would suggest that civility then is the remedy for arrogance and conviction the correction for lack of courage. We know now why the relativist should get upset after al his view is “true for him but not for others. He thinks he is right and others are wrong; he’s convinced he processes a virtue that others lack. (Paul Copan)

The world has accused Christians of being intolerant of other viewpoints and unfortunately intolerance has been associated with religion. From the crusades being justified on Luke’s use of compel them to come in (Luke 14:23 KJV) this misuse and abuse of scripture was used to justify a conquest theology. The Crusades, the Inquisition, and other abuses certainly are a blot on Christendom’s history. It’s true there is a lot of intolerance and violence on the religious landscape today. What about secular ideologies that pose a major threat to tolerance? Atheistic communism alone has in the modern era resulted in the Holocaust, the Cultural Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Soviet revolutions and other such atrocities accounting for millions of deaths. It has been said don’t judge a theology on its abuses bit on its truth claims. How do we promote genuine tolerance not the current abuse of the term being batted about in society today? Actually tolerance implies a close relationship to truth. Contrary to pop culture “putting up with error” not “accepting all views” is the proper meaning of tolerance. By definition we tolerate what we don’t approve of or what we believe to be false. Tolerance does not celebrate or embrace or accept as legitimate all perspectives. Actually we exercise some degree of restraint toward those who think differently. The Christian is not obligated to consider all religious views as equal.

We begin not by assuming all is alike in faith but by regarding the equality of persons sometimes called the Imago Dei. Christians can interact with others of differing faiths and learn from them while still believing on rational grounds that they are mistaken on core beliefs. True tolerance grant people the right to dissent. This allows Christians the ability to interact with the relativist while still holding to absolute truth. One of relativisms ironies is that it exalts a phony view of tolerance to absolute status. A belief is “true for you” as long as it doesn’t interfere with what’s “true for me.” Tolerance exercised in the church should never allow sin to be overlooked we can’t condone what God disapproves. The relativist would have certain “absolutes” just as long as you’re tolerant…as long as you don’t hurt anyone…or so long as it’s between two consenting adults the result everything is relative. Despite the relativist claim to a moral superiority they are actually conviction less and really a menace to society. With the lack of moral absolutes the real morality is exposed making personal power-grabbing and end in itself. Without truth the only game left is power.  Our response as believers and followers of Jesus Christ to live out our convictions, be willing to be trite, and be the brunt of accusations about the truth that as they are we once were and with the grace of God they can be as we are…redeemed.

(Rom 5:2-5 ESV)  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Truth Absolutely Relative I Think

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sunday School, Trinity on April 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Overcoming Objections to our Faith

Absolutely Relative

  • Christianity is true for you, but not for me
  • That’s just your perspective
  • Who are you to judge that person
  • You can’t legislate morality
  • You can do whatever you want just as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody
  • Christianity is just one path among many to God
  • Belief in Jesus as the only way to God is totally intolerant

 

(Job 34:12 ESV)  Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice.

(Psa 5:9 ESV)  For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.

Cultural relativism is the latter sort of openness. Primary education has dedicated itself to showing that this relativism is necessary for openness. However, “the point is not correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right all.”  

“There is one thing a professor can be sure of almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative”  (Alan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind)

Relativism is knowledge –denying claim: that truth claims are really just opinions or culturally shaped perspectives. Many of these and other maxims tend to be conversation stoppers; we can actually turn them into opportunities to connect with those who typically use them to put off discussing vitally important spiritual issues. With patience, practice, prayer, and God’s grace, believers can offer thoughtful responses to faith –challenges. We as believers can engage a culture that has accepted these aphorisms as truth for their lives, and clearly point out the fallacy while presenting the truth of God’s word.

(Psa 25:5 ESV)  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

To quote the author of “True for you But not For Me” Paul Copan will use a progressive theme to interconnect our responses following these questions:

  1. Do truth and morality exist or are these matters of opinion/ perspective?
  2. If there is truth, can we say that one particular religion offers saving truth? Are all faiths equally able to save or liberate us?
  3. If one faith can be savingly true in contrast to the others, do the unique claims of Jesus point to the way of salvation?
  4. If Jesus is the only way of salvation, what about those who have never heard of the gospel?

Much of relativism and pluralism is in fact absolute or exclusive. After all, the relativist believes absolutists are wrong, the religious pluralist believes the exclusivist views of Christianity are wrong. Something of interest has developed in this line of thinking the relativists believe they are “tolerant and “broad minded” against those who claim the truth about God and the meaning of life. God created us to be truth –seekers and truth finders- not truth deniers we can’t escape the deep seated desire God implanted in us. People want to be in charge of their own lives, the philosopher John Searle offers his opinion for the deeper reason of relativisms appeal:”it satisfies a basic urge to power. It just seems too revolting, somehow, that we should have to be at the mercy of the “real world”. If you read the fall of man in Genesis we see where the seed of pride and rebellion was first planted. We have an opportunity to contrast God’s desire and blessing versus our desire to turn relationships, material resources, and sex into ultimate things and an end unto themselves. Once we have positioned them in this light then they become obsessions and lead to resentment, envy, and worry. The Bible describes this as idolatry.

(Deu 4:40 HCSB)  Keep His statutes and commands, which I am giving you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time.”

(Deu 6:24 HCSB)  The LORD commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the LORD our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today.

 (Deu 10:13 ESV)  and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?

(Psa 119:43 ESV)  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for my hope is in your rules.

(Psa 119:160 ESV)  The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

 The law has two faces if you are being condemned by the law it can be a burdensome taskmaster, exposing our disobedience and rejection of God’s sovereignty and the price that it brings not only in this life but the life too come. Christians are perceived as hypocritical and judgmental, too focused on getting converts rather hateful towards homosexuals, sheltered, simplistic, overly political, and negative. Believers frequently have a reputation of being holier than thou, rather than one of winsomeness and grace. As a foundational evidence of faith living authentic lives and the building of genuine relationships will help to reveal the beauty of a Christ-centered, well lived life even as it exposes the hollowness of living against God rather than for him. We as believers should be real in acknowledging our limitations and our finitude, remembering that wretches like you and me have only been saved by His amazing grace.

(Joh 13:35 ESV)  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As believers given the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 ESV Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

This is not some arbitrary request  if we have time and we feel like it we should kinda sorta you know talk about religion.  The imperative is go the command is make..in the going and making we need a strategic plan. Given the plight of our society today we have to pre evangelize before we can evangelize. This would take a form something like this:

  1. Pre evangelize help people to see their type of thinking
  2. Truth level: Truth is inescapable  
  3. Worldview level: Theism offers clearer answers than naturalism or pantheism/monism.
  4. Theistic level: Christianity is more plausible than Judaism or Islam.

 

Step one exposes where people are in their thinking and thought process. Most likely today either in the church or the world we need to establish a clear definition of truth.

Encarta defines truth as correspondence to fact or reality.

Webster defines Truth, n. 1. Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies. Recapping these meanings we have a belief, a description, or story that matches up with the way things really are.

(Psa 25:5 ESV)  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Based on the list below do we take truth for granted? Do we embrace certain views-presumably because we think they’re true-and we reject others? Because there are differing perspectives doesn’t keep us from knowing the truth as it really is.  

  1. Despite our biases and limitations, objectivity is possible. That is, lots of things are true, regardless of our perspective.
  2. Something can be true even if no one knows it.
  3. Something can be true even if no one admits it.
  4. Something can be true even if no one agrees what it is.
  5. Something can be true even if no one follows it.
  6. Something can be true even if no one but God grasps it fully.

 

We serve a God of hope and some of our best opportunities for sharing the Gospel come in times of despair, moral decline and an ever changing society. If we keep our proper citizenship not of this world but of the Kingdom we can be salt and light in a spiritually flavorless and darkened culture. Our culture war between truth and relativism isn’t new. The belief that universal objective truth does not exist (alethic Skepticism relating to the philosophical concepts of truth and possibility and especially to the branch of logic that formalizes them) or cannot be known (epistemological skepticism the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, in particular its foundations, scope, and validity) can be seen in the sophist Protagoras. In 500 BC he maintained that the human community is the standard of truth. Plato cited him as saying “Man is the measure of all things” As such any given thing “is to me as it appears to me, and is to you such as it appears to you.” This sounds very familiar in our culture today. Relativism is a knowledge denying enterprise.

Objective relativism tells us no truth is universally, objectively true or false. My truth and your truth can conflict and still be valid.

Religious relativism holds that one religion can be true for one person or culture while untrue for another. Who is to say one person’s perspective on God or salvation is preferable to another’s? The argument holds that no single religious belief can be universally or objectively true.

Moral relativism rejects any abiding moral values for all, maintaining that there is no objective ethical right and wrong and that morality is an individual or cultural matter, none more binding than the other. So nothing morally exists by which we can praise some and condemn others.

Art and beauty, aesthetic relativism assumes that one person’s trash might be another person’s art- the standard for art each one holds are equally valid. Jacques Barsun (b1907) argued in From Dawn to Decadence , human creative energies have turned from the fixed realities of the created and moral order, first to frivolity and then to self-destruction. Postmodern artists shun such standards as technical excellence, creativity, and the capturing of universal truths and enduring human experience.

If this is the definition of relativism what are its implications?  

(Isa 59:12-14 ESV)  For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.

(Jer 9:2-6 ESV)  Oh that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a company of treacherous men.  They bend their tongue like a bow; falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the LORD.  Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity. Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the LORD.

From the religious perspective persuasion is prohibited. Trying to tell the good news about Jesus to people gets some upset. Our belief implies that our news is true and people should change their present way of life. To be exclusivist is to be arrogant. With so many religions claiming to know something others don’t is wrongheaded and erroneous. In one sense the world has a good reason to be critical of us when we claim loudly that other views contain no truth at all. All truth is God’s truth, just because a Hindu believes he should love his wife and stay faithful doesn’t make the truth of monogamy invalid because he learned it from the Vedas. Moral truths are found outside the Bible in mathematics, history, and science. When we as Christians discerningly affirm and learn from non-Christians when they rightly appropriate God’s general revelation even we disagree with their view of God and His redemptive offer. Tolerance is a cardinal value posited by the relativist when it means being open to all ideas towards those who agree with their arguments. When disputes over truth arise it can seem like a war, because without the possibility of truth, power rules the day. Nietzsche (1844-1900) wrote that “God is dead” the standard for truth and morality and this will usher in the age of nihilism, the rejection of all objective meaning and value. All that is left is will to power, by which only the fittest survive. Truth is manipulated by those in charge. Hitler was a major follower of this philosophy. The critique of “tolerance” the doctrine from relativism in its current understanding will reveal just how incoherent and self-contradictory a philosophy it is. The dogmatic follower of the new “tolerance” is actually more dogmatic than most in the Christian faith they criticize a faith that actually serves as the basis for true tolerance, respect, and compassion.

(Tit 1:12 ESV)  One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

We see in the scriptures Paul is helping young Timothy by quoting Epimenidies (6th century BC) by showing the fallacy of a Cretan calling all Cretans liars can he really be trusted. In his statement Epimenidies tells the truth about himself calling himself a lair saying that someone’s truth is some else’s falsehood and contradicts itself by claiming nothing is true. This folds into relativism and we see the battle has been with us from the very beginning of the church. The selectivity of the relative position works for them like fixed facts that don’t really affect one’s life gravity, rain, etc. But when we deal in areas that are personal like the existence of God, a moral standard and so on all of a sudden facts are relative. All of us implicitly trust that certain things are true. We will deal with the other steps in future lessons.

(Dan 9:13 ESV)  As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.

(Joh 1:17 ESV)  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

(Joh 14:6 ESV)  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Desolation The Enemy wants to separate us and get us far from God!

In Apologetics, Chrisitian, Christ, Christian, Christianity, Prayer, Satan, Saved, Sin, Sunday School, Trinity on March 20, 2010 at 10:35 am

(Dan 11:27-32 ESV)  And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed. And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land. “At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery,

 We see a picture of the enemies plan in Daniel 11 he uses Antiochus IV Epiphanes to separate the children of Israel from the daily worship of the sacrifice and even went as far as to make the temple an abomination.

 We learn through the Apocrypha (those different books in some Bibles in the middle) some history:

 (1Ma 1:10-15 KJVA)  And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen: Whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen: And made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.  

(1Ma 1:20-25 KJVA)  And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off. He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found. And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were;

 (1Ma 1:30-33 KJVA)  And spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel. And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side. But the women and children took they captive, and possessed the cattle. Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and with mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them.

 First Maccabees gives us a summary of what happened after the people were flattered and manipulated into stopping the daily sacrifice. You see the enemy always misspeaks with ½ truths that are whole lies. In the Garden “Hath God said?” “He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you.” How does this apply to us today?  Satan is trying to get us to cease sacrificial living through self realization, self actualization, and the study of self and self esteem. The doctrine of the post modern age it’s better to care and make aware than to just commit your time, and your resources for the long haul. After all you have a life and it has its own demands. We are told we can take shortcuts to everything why not a sacrificial life. Have you bought in? If it’s uncomfortable do you really need to do it? Give from excess not need after all wanting to give and meaning to give are just as important. If the cost is too great shouldn’t you hesitate, maybe wait don’t be too quick about committing to much of anything especially yourself. Are we being seduced by the enemy to only see thing through how much something coats us instead of being a living sacrifice? Are we weighing selfishness vs. sacrifice?

 The scriptures show us a different story as Beth Moore said in the study” If we miss the sacrificial life we miss our life’s calling or purpose.”

 (Rom 12:1 ESV)  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

 (Luk 9:23-25 ESV)  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

 How do we get fooled?  The enemy uses flattery or manipulation as we see in the 32 verse of Daniel 11.

 (Dan 11:32 ESV)  He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.

 Flattery

 1. False praise; commendation bestowed for the purpose of gaining favor and influence, or to accomplish some purpose. Direct flattery consists in praising a person himself; indirect flattery consists in praising a person through his works or his connections. Simple pride for flattery makes demands. Just praise is only a debt, but flattery is a present. 2. Adulation; obsequiousness; wheedling. 3. Just commendation which gratifies self-love.  We become hypocrites when used in the Bible means straying away from the right path.

 (Tit 1:16 ESV)  They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

 (Jas 1:8 HCSB)  An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.

 (Jas 1:21-22 HCSB)  Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

 Hypocrite

 1. One who feigns to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion. And the hypocrite’s hope shall perish. Job 8.

2. A dissembler; one who assumes a false appearance. Fair hypocrite, you seek to cheat in vain.

 After hypocrisy takes root we start compromising everything in our lives, negotiating with sin trying to maintain outward appearances while we are crumbling inside. Usually with the final stages resulting in half apologies like “I never meant for it to go this far!” – Satan did and so much further. The enemy when he can’t stop us from becoming believers starts working on trying to make us hypocrites. Remember everything we think we do in secret is waiting to be revealed. No one gets away with secrets and deceptions on either side of eternity. The truth is our calling will found on the other side of selfishness. WE can’t have it all!! WE can’t do all!! Trying to have it all will cost us our calling and I can personally testify to miss your calling and settle for anything else lacks any satisfaction or peace in the longer term of your life.

 (2Co 4:2 AMP)  We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience.

 We have a purpose and destiny a reason for being here. More than the acquiring of things we are made to glorify God with our lives every day. This is done when we come to the understanding His calling our conversion will cost us everything. Unless it costs us it won’t be priceless. And if it isn’t priceless irreplaceable captivating then we have to question have we really repented unto salvation or have we tried to resolve our guilty conscience to rid ourselves of bad feelings.

 (Jas 4:8 HCSB)  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!

 (2Pe 1:3 HCSB)  For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness,  godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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