Wednesday, 29 April 2009

I Need A Sign!

Pharisees Demand a Sign

Luke 11:24-26, 19-32

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

43 When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Mormonism

The information that follows was recorded from The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter R. Martin.

Historical Perspective

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is unique among all the religious cults and sects active in the United States. The Mormons, as they are most commonly referred to, are divided into two major groups. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Utah, and The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Missouri. In 1968, the Mormons number more than 2,600,000 adherents, own considerable stock in the agricultural and industrial wealth of America, and circle the earth in missionary activities, energetically rivaling evangelical Christianity. The first group makes its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and claims membership in excess of 2,000,000 as of January 1964. The Mormon Church has been characterized by thriftiness, zeal and an admirable missionary spirit, and even before the advent of World War II, it had more than 2,000 missionaries active on all mission fields of the world. The Mormons have have more than 15,000 "missionaries" active today, according to a statement published in 1964.
The Mormon Church practices to encourage its most promising young people, boys aged 20 and girls aged 23, to dedicate two years of their lives to missionary work on a self-supporting basis.
Membership in the Mormon Church now increases each year at an average rate of 25,000 "conversions"; and the Mormons have a birth rate of 36.6 per thousand, in contrast tot he average 24.9 birth rate of the United States. According to the teachings of the Mormon Church, Mormons are to preserve their bodies always in the best of health and are cautioned against the use of tobacco and alcohol, and even the drinking of tea, coffee, and Coca-Cola. Strongly insistent upon the Old Testament principle of tithing, the Mormon Church requires all members to meet the Biblical one-tenth, with the result that in 1960 the church budget exceeded $20,000,000, a tremendous figure for a comparatively small organization. With their heavy emphasis upon education (Brigham Young University alone boasts more than 10,000 students), the Mormons are moving ahead in their battle to out-evangelize evangelical Christianity.
Mormons are determined, zealous, missionary-minded people who have a practical religion of "good works" and tolerance. Each year they spend millions of dollars in the circulation of the teachings of their prophets, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young, while converting any and all listeners regardless of church affiliation. In addition to their regular tithing fund, the Mormon Church also encourages what it terms "fast offerings." The unusual practice involves the giving up of two meals on the first Sunday of each month, the price of which is turned over to the church as a voluntary contribution to support and feed the poor. This averages to about $700,000 a year as a charity supplement to the poor.


Leaders

Mormon leaders have become powerful in almost all branches of American government, headed by former Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, one of the Twelve Apostles who govern Mormon Church, U.S. Treasury Ivy Baker Priest, former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mariner S. Eccles, and Michigan Governor George Romney.
The Mormon Church also claims E. Lamar Buckner, President of Standard Oil of California. Far from being an organization with minor influence, the Mormons are indeed a potent force to be reckoned with, and few informed persons would be foolish enough to doubt this sphere of influence.


Church Organization

The organization and general administration of the Mormon Church is directed by the First Presidency, assisted by a Council of Twelve and a First Council of Seventy, consisting of seven men and presiding bishop with two counsellors. All authority resides in the Mormon "priesthood," established under the titles "Aaronic" (lesser) or "Melchizedek" (higher), to either one of which every male Mormon twelve years of age or over, belongs.
In their missionary program the Mormons continue to manifest great zeal. Missionaries are well trained in their dogmas and quote the Bible profusely. Thus it is that many true Christians have often unfortunately been literally quoted into silence by the clever disciples of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who flourish a pseudo-mastery of Scripture before the uninformed Christian's dazzled eyes and confuse him, sometimes beyond description.
Sad to say, however, the great majority of Mormons are in almost total ignorance of the shady historical and theological sources of their religion. They are openly shocked at times when the unglamourous and definitely unchristian background of the Mormon Church is revealed to them. This little known facet of Mormonism is "a side of the coin" which innumerable Mormon historians have for years either hidden from their people or glossed over in an attempt to suppress certain verifiable and damaging historical evidences.


Early Mormon History

The seeds of what was later to become the Mormon religion were incubated in the mind of one Joseph Smith, Jr., "The Prophet," better known to residents of Palmyra, New York, in 1816, as just plain "Joe Smith."
Joseph Smith, Dr., was a mystic, a man who spent most of his time digging for imaginary buried treasure (he was particularly addicted to Captain Kidd's legendary hoard!). Besides this failing he sometimes attempted to mint his own money, which at least once brought him into decided conflict with the local constabulary.
The mother, Lucy Smith, given as she was to extreme religious views and belief int he most trivial of superstitions, later in her life "authored" a book entitled Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and His Progenitors for Many Generations. When published by the Mormon Church in Liverpool, England, however, it incurred the enduring wrath of Brigham Young, the first successor to Smith, who brought about the suppression of the book on the grounds that "should it ever be deemed best to publish these sketches, it will not be done until they are carefully corrected."*
Mr.Smith, of course, was totally incapable of writing such a work, the "ghost writing" being done by a Mrs.Carey, who faithfully recorded what came to be known as "Mother Smith's History." Merely concerning Mrs.Smith's views of the prophet's home life, background and religious habits.
For Joseph Smith Jr. the year 1820 proved to be the real beginning of the prophet's call, for in that year he was allegedly the recipient of a marvelous vision in which God the Father and God the Son materialized and spoke to young Smith as he piously prayed in a neighbouring wood.
It is interesting to observe that Smith could not have been too much moved by the heavenly vision, for he shortly took up once again the habit of digging for treasure along with his father and brother, who were determined to unearth Captain Kidd's plunder by means of "peep stones," "divining rods," or just plain digging.
History informs us that the Smith clan never succeeded at these multitudinous attempts at treasure hunting.
In later years, the "prophet" greatly regretted these superstitious expeditions of his youth and even went on record as denying that he had ever been a money-digger. Said Prophet Smith on one such occasion: "In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal who lived in Chenango County in the State of New York. He has heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna County, State of Pennsylvania, and had, previous to my hiring with him, been digging in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him, he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, for which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking. Finally I prevailed with the old gentlemen to cease digging for it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money-digger."*
This eplanation may suffice to explain the prophet's treasure hunting fiascos to the faithful and tot he historically inept; but to those who have access to the facts, it is at once evident that Smith played recklessly, if no fast and loose, with the truth. In fact, it often appreared to be a perfect stranger to him. The main course for promoting skepticism where the veracity of the Prophet's explanation is concerned, however, is from no less an authority than Lucy Smith, his onw mother, who, in her account of the very same incident, wrote that "one, Mr. Stoal, came for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys by whcih he could discern things invisible to the natural eye" (Linn, The Story of the Mormons, page 16.)
Futher evidence, in addition to Mrs. Smith's statement, proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the prophet was a confirmed "Peek Stone" addict, that he took par in an personally supervised numerous treasure-digging expeditions, and further that he claimed supernatural powers which allegedly aided him in these searches.
It should be remembered that Joseph Smith, Sr., in an interview, later published in the Historical Magazine of May, 1870, clearly stated that the prophet had been a Peek Stone enthusiast and treasure-digger in his youth, and, further he had also told fortunes and located lost objects by means of a "Peek Stone" and the alleged supernatural powers therein. Substantiating Joseph's father's account of his rather odd activities is the testimony of the Reverend Dr. John A. Clark after "exhaustive research" in the Smith family's own neighbourhood.
"Long before the idea of a Golden Bible entered the Smith's minds, in their excursions for money-digging . . . Joe used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig" (Gleanings by the Way, page 225, 1842).

*Millenial Star, Vol. XIV, Supplement, page 6.


The Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1820, claimed a heavenly vision which, he said, singled him out as the Lord's anointed prophet for this dispensation, though it was not until 1823, with the appearance of the angel Moroni at the quaking Smith's bedside, that Joe began his relationship to the fabulous "golden plates," or what was to become the Book of Mormon.
The purpose of the Book of Mormon and its mission generally eludes Christian theologians, archeologists, and students of Anthropology because of the many difficulties which the book introduces in the light of already established facts.
A Mormon's explanation of the purpose of "the Book of Mormon is another witness to the same affect" of the Bible "for the truth," and "the Bible's historical dealings" and "providences of God with man upon the eastern continent."*
For the Mormons, the Bible predicts the Book of Mormon; the Book of Mormon interprets Old Testament prophecy and it claims to be part of the new covenant to Israel. It is also supposed to be "another witness" to the truth of the Christian Gospel. It is unfortunate for the Mormons that this witness is so often found in conflict with the Biblical revelation, as we shall see.

*The Book of Mormon by R. S. Salyards, Sr., page 13.


Acknowledgement: This should be efficient and enough for you to ever reject the Mormon faith. There are just too many errors, anachronisms, contradictions, plagiarisms (25,000 words from the King James Version), that in fact, have caused the Mormons no end of embarrassment for many years.
For anymore information about Mormonism, or Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watch Tower, Seventh-Day Adventism, Zen Buddhism, the Black Muslim Cult, Spritism, and many other cults of the world, go pick up the book The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter R. Martin. Also, find Martin's hermeneutics on "how to read the Bible, the right way."


Reference: The Kingdom of the Cults by Walter R. Martin

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bibliography by Moody

The information that follows was recorded from The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns.

Bibliography: Doctrine of The Bible

The English word bible is derived from the Greek word biblion, which means "book" or roll." The name comes from byblos, which denoted the papyrus plant that grew in marshes or river banks, primarily alone the Nile. Writing materials was made from the papyrus plant by cutting the pith of the plant in one foot strips and setting it in the sun to dry. The strips were then laid in a criss-cross fashion similar to the way plywood is constructed today. The horizontal rows were smoother and became the writing surface. Sections of these strips were glued together for form a scroll up to thirty feet in length.
Eventually, the plural form biblia was used by Latin-speaking Christians to denote all the books of the Old and New Testaments.

The word translated "Scripture" comes from the Greek word graphe, which simply means "writing." In the Old Testament this writing was recognized as carrying great authority (e.g. 2 Kings 14:6, 2 Chron. 23:18; Ezra 3:2; Neh. 10:34). The "writings" of the Old Testament were eventually collected into three groups called the Law, Prophets, and Writings (or Psalms), and Scriptures—were formally combined into the Old Testament canon.
In the New Testament the Greek verb grapho is used about ninety times in reference to the bible, while the noun form graphe is used about fifty-one times int he New Testament, almost exclusively of the Holy Scriptures. In the New Testament the designations vary: "the Scriptures," designating collectively all the parts of Scripture (e.g. Matt. 21:42; 22:29; 26:54; Luke 24:27, 32, 45; John 5:39; Rom. 14:4; 2 Peter 3:16) or individual parts of the Scriptures (Mark 12:10; 15:28; John 13:18; 19:24, 36; Acts 1:16; 8:35; Rom. 11:2; 2 Tim. 3:16); "the Scripture says," fairly synonymous with quoting God (e.g. Rom. 4:3; 9:17; 10:11; Gal. 4:30; 1 Tim. 5:18). They are also termed "Holy Scriptures" (Rom. 1:2) and the Sacred Writings" (Greek hiera grammata, 2 Tim. 3:15). The classic passage, 2 Timothy 3:16 stresses that these writings are not ordinary writings but at in fact "God-breathed," and as such they are authoritative and without error in all that they teach.


Divine Origin of The Bible

Claim of The Bible

There are many evidences that the Bible is an entirely unique book, quite unlike any other work. The unique claims within the Bible itself bear witness to tis unusual character. Some thirty-eight hundred times the Bible declares, "God said," or "Thus says the Lord" (e.g. Ex. 4:1; 20:1; Lev. 4:1; recognize that the things he was writing were the Lord's commandments (1 Cor. 14:37), and they were acknowledged as such by the believers (1 Thess. 2:13). Peter proclaimed the certainty of the Scriptures and the necessity of heeding the unalterable and certain Word of God (2 Pet. 1:16-21). John too recognized that his teaching was form God; to reject his teaching was to reject God (1 John 4:6).
In response to those who would reject the above-mentioned argument, it should be noted that the writers who made those claims for the Scripture were trustworthy men who defended the integrity of the Scripture at great personal sacrifice. Jeremiah received his message directly form the Lord (Jer. 11:1-3), even his family rejected him (Jer. 11:21); even his family rejected him (Jer. 12:6). Counterfeit prophets were readily recognized (Jer. 23:21, 32; 28:1-17). However, the Bible's claims should not be understood as arguing in a circle or by circular reasoning. The testimony of reliable witnesses—particularly of Jesus, but also of others such as Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, and Nehemiah in the Old Testament, and John and Paul in the New Testament—affirmed the authority and verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.


Continuity of The Bible

The divine origin of the Bible is further seen in considering the continuity of its teaching despite the unusual nature of its composition. It stands distinct from other religious writings. For example, the Islamic Koran was compiled by and individual, Zaid ibn Thabit, under the guidance of Mohammed's father-in-law, Abu Bekr. Additionally, in A.D. 650, a group of Arab scholars produced a unified version and destroyed all variant copies to preserve the unity of the Koran. By contrast, the Bible came from some forty different authors from diverse vocations in life. For instance, among the writers of Scripture were Moses, a political leader; Joshua, a military leader; David, a shepard; Solomon, a king; Amos, a herdsman and fruit pincher; Daniel, a prime minister; Matthew, a tax collector; Luke, a medical doctor; Paul, a rabbi; and Peter, a fisherman.
Moreover, the Bible was not only written by a diversity of authors, but also in different locations and under a variety of circumstances. In fact, it was written on three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. Paul wrote from a Roman prison was well as from the city of Corinth—both in Europe; Jeremiah (and perhaps Moses) wrote from Egypt in Africa; most of the other books were written in Asia. Moses probably wrote in the desert, David composed his Psalms in the countryside, Solomon contemplated the Proverbs in the royal courts, John wrote as a banished person on the island of Patmos, and Paul wrote five books from prison.
It is apparent that many of the writers did not know of the other writers of Scripture and were unfamiliar with the other writings, inasmuch as the writers wrote over a period of more than fifteen hundred years, yet the Bible is a marvellous, unified whole. There are no contradictions or inconsistencies within its pages. The Holy Spirit is the unifier of the sixty-six books, determining its harmonious consistency. In unity these books teach the triunity of God, the deity of Jesus Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the fall and depravity of man, as well as salvation by grace. It quickly becomes apparent that no human being(s) would have orchestrated the harmony of the teachings of the Scripture. The divine authorship of the Bible is the only answer.


Divine Revelation of The Bible

Definition of Revelation

The word revelation is derived form the Greek word apokalupsis, which means "disclosure" or "unveiling." Hence, revelation signifies God unveiling Himself to mankind. The fact that revelation has occurred renders theology possible; had God not revealed Himself there could be no accurate or propositional statements about God. Romans 16:25 and Luke 2:32 indicate that God has unveiled Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ. That is the epitome of God's revelation.


General Revelation

General revelation, although not adequate to procure salvation, is nonetheless an important antecedent to salvation. General revelation is God revealing certain truths and aspects about His nature to all humanity, which revelation is essential and preliminary to God's special revelation.
God's revelation in nature is perhaps the most prominent demonstration of general revelation. Pslam 19:1-6 affirms His revelation to the human race in the heavens as well as on earth.
Romans 1:18-21 further develops the concept of general revelation. The "invisible attributes," "eternal power," and "divine nature" of God have been "clearly seen" (v. 20). The human race is rendered guilty and without excuse through God's revelation of Himself in nature. This revelation gives mankind an awareness of God but is of itself inadequate to provide salvation (cf. also Job 12:7-9, Psalm 8:103, Isa. 40:12-14, Acts 14:15-17).
God has also revealed Himself to the human race through His providential control. It is through His providential goodness in supplying people sunshine and rain that enables them to live and function (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:15-17). Paul reminds the people at Lystra that God's providential goodness was a witness to them (Acts 14:17). God's providential control is evident in His dealing with the nations. He disciplined His disobedient people of Israel (Deut. 28:15-68) but will also restore them (Deut. 30:1-10); He judged Egypt for sinning against Israel (Ex. 7-11); He raised the nations to power and also caused their demise (Dan. 2:21a, 31-43).
Further, God has revealed Himself through conscience. Romans 2:14-15 indicates God has placed intuitional knowledge concerning Himself within the heart of man. "Man intuitively knows not only that God values goodness and abhors(loathes) evil but also that he is ultimately accountable to such a righteous Power."* While the Jews will be judged according to the written law, Gentiles, who do not have the written Law, will be judged according to an unwritten law, the law of conscience written on their hearts. Moreover, Paul says the conscience acts as a legal prosecutor (v. 15). "Conscience may be regarded as an inner monitor, or the voice of God in the soul, that passes judgment on man's response to the moral law within."*

*Bruce A. Demarest



Special Revelation

Special revelation involves a narrower focus than general revelation and is restricted to Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. Of course, all that is known of Christ is through the Scriptures; therefore, it can be said that special revelation is restricted to the Scriptures.
Special revelation has been necessitated because of man's sinful estate through the Fall. In order to restore fallen humanity to fellowship with Himself it was essential that God reveal the way of salvation and reconciliation, hence, the essence of special revelation centers on the Person of Jesus Christ. He is displayed as the One who has explained the Father (John 1:18). Although, in the past people have not seen God, "Jesus has now given a full account of the Father."* Jesus declared that both His words (John 6:63) and His works (John 5:36) demonstrated that He revealed the Father—and both His words and His works are accurately recorded in Scripture. Hebrews 1:3 indicates Christ is the "radiance of (God's) glory and the exact representation of His nature." The first phrase reveals that Christ is the precise reproduction of the Father. Jesus Christ has fully revealed the Father to a sinful humanity and through His redemption has enabled mankind to be restored to fellowship with God.
Because the Bible is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16) and written by men carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21), the Bible is entirely reliable and accurate in its portrayal of Jesus Christ.


Interpretation of The Bible

Several important principles are basic in the interpretation of Scripture.


Literal Interpretation

Literal interpretation means the words and sentences of Scripture are understood in their normal meaning—the ways that words are understood in normal communication. It is a literal or normal meaning of words that is the basis of communication. Biblically there is a precedence for interpreting the New Testament literally. Old Testament prophecies like Psalm 22, Isaiah 7:14; 53:1-12, Micah 5:2 have all been fulfilled literally.


Grammatical Relationships

Because we acknowledge the verbal (words) and plenary (full) inspiration of Scripture it is incumbent on us to pay attention to the words of Scripture. Grammatical relationships are important to study because words stand in relationship to each other; therefore, it is necessary to study verb tenses, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and laws of structure.


Historical Context

The historical context is important as a framework form which to interpret the Scriptures. Every book of Scripture was written in a historical context that should be understood in order to help interpret the book accurately.


Literal Context

Interpreting in context involves three main steps.
Study the immediate context. The immediate context should be carefully studied; several paragraphs preceding and following the passage should be studied.
Study the more remote context. The major segment of the book (usually 2-3 chaps.) in which the passage occurs should be studied.
Consider the context of the entire book. The emphasis of the entire book should be studied.
The subject of interpretation is a major subject in itself and vitally important to the correct understanding of Scripture.

*Leon Morris


Reference: The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns, Pages 154-159, 175-176.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Systematic Theology by Moody

The information that follows was recorded from The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns.

Systematic Theology

The term theology is derived from the Greek theos, meaning "God," and logos, meaning "word" or discourse"; hence, "discourse about God." The word systematic comes from the Greek verb sunistano, which means "to stand together" or "to organize"; hence, systematic theology emphasizes the systematization of theology. Lewis Sperry Chafer provides a suitable definition of systematic theology: "Systematic Theology may be defined as the collecting, scientifically arranging, comparing, exhibiting, and defending of all facts from any and every source concerning God and His works."
In an alternate definition, Charles Hodge defines theology as "the science of the facts of divine revelation so far as those facts concern the nature of God and our relation to Him, as His creatures, as sinners, and as the subjects of redemption. All these facts, as just remarked, are in the Bible."
Hodge restricts his definition about systematic theology to information gained from the Bible alone.
Millard Erickson provides a good comprehensive definition of theology as "that discipline which strives to give a coherent statement of the doctrines of the Christian faith, based primarily upon the Scriptures, placed in the context of culture in general, worded in a contemporary idiom, and related to issues of life."

As a result of systematic theology, beliefs of the Christian faith. The Bible was not written in a doctrinal outline; hence, it is important to systematize the parts of the Bible to understand the doctrinal emphasis of the entire Bible.


As an Apologetic for Christianity

Systematic theology enables Christians to defend their beliefs rationally against opponents and antagonists of faith. Early in the Christian church believers used their systematized beliefs to address opponents and unbelievers. This is perhaps even more important today with the emergence of humanism, Communism, cults, and Eastern religions. The systematized doctrines of the Christian faith must be researched, delineated, and presented as a defense of historic Christianity.


As a Means of Maturity for Christians

Systematic theology is an assertion of Christian truth; these same truths are essential to the maturity of believers (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Paul's writings make it clear that doctrine (theology) is foundational to Christian maturity, inasmuch as Paul normally builds a doctrinal foundation in his epistles (e.g. Eph. 1-3) before he exhorts believers to live correctly (e.g. Eph. 4-6). Also many Christians have faithfully attended church services for decades and yet have little understanding of the major doctrines of the Christian faith. Yet a knowledge of correct doctrine is important in Christian maturity; moreover, it protects the believer from error (cf. 1 John 4:1, 6; Jude 4).


Inspiration and Innerancy of Scripture

No adequate theology is possible without a belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. If this doctrine is abandoned, reason becomes the source of authority and reason sits in judgment upon the text of Scripture.


Application of Proper Hermeneutical Principles

The application of hermeneutical principles will reinforce objectivity, forcing the interpreter to set aside biases and extremes.


Scientific Approach

Theology should be scientific, in the sense of employing the general arts, culture, and biblical languages in drawing theological conclusions.


Objectivity

Theology must be based on inductive research and conclusions, not deductive reasoning. The theologian must approach the Scripture with a tabula rasa, an open mind, allowing the Scripture to speak for itself without forming prejudicial opinions about what the Scripture should say.


Progressive Revelation

Although both the Old and New Testaments are inspired, it is a canon of interpretation that revelation is progressive. Therefore, in formulating truths about God and His dealing with man, the New Testament has priority over the Old Testament.


Illumination

Even while applying proper hermeneutics and methodology, there is a divine element to understanding God's truth. The believer is aided by the Holy Spirit's ministry of illumination in guiding the believer to an understanding of divine truth (1 Cor. 2:11-13).
Illumination can be defines as "the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby He enlightens those who are in a right relationship with Him to comprehend the written Word of God."


Recognition of Human Limitations

While employing a proper methodology, the student must nonetheless recognize the limitations of finite beings. Man will never be able totally to comprehend God. He must be satisfied with limited knowledge.


Sources of Systematic Theology

Scriptures provide a primary source of theology in their revelation of God and man's relationship to Him. If God has revealed Himself (and He has), and if that self-revelation is accurately encoded in the sixty-six books of Scripture (and it is), then the Scriptures are the primary source of man's knowledge of God.
Nature is also a primary source of a knowledge of God (Ps. 19). Nature, in its harmonious revelation, is a constant witness concerning God's attributes, eternal power, and divine nature (Rom. 1:20).

Tradition, in spite of its fallibility, is important in understanding affirmations about the Christian faith. What individuals, churches, and denominations have taught is a necessary consideration in formulating theological statements.
Reason, as guided by the Holy Spirit, is also a source of theology. Reason, however, must submit to the supernatural, rather than attempting to define it.


Reference: The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul Enns, Pages 147-151.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

A Servant's Heart

Today I was helping my mother bring garbage to the dump, afterward she asked if I could move some firewood to the sauna from the shed. She said I can do it now or later. I was a little hesitant because I was planning on going into town do do my own errands. She asked, “Why not do it now? We have the trailer and the van, and you can use it now.” So I said, okay. As I finished my work, I had to ask myself, I know I don't like labour work, but if I were a servant of God, couldn't I serve others better, wouldn't that make me be a better worker? Is it just because I don't like labour work? How can I better serve others? I want to be a good servant, so why is it so hard?

The Heart of a Servant
Couldn't we serve God better by the way we serve others? How can we work better for our sovereign King? Ask the Lord how you can be a better servant. Ask Him to show you how to better serve others for His Kingdom.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

100th Post! Where Are The Men and Women of God?


John Piper - Where Are The Faithful Men & Women from LuMeL on Vimeo.

Sexual Impurity

Disobedience
Whether you're being naive, rebellious, or foolish and neglecting God's standards, mixing in your own standards leads to being ensnared in sin and leading to your destruction spiritually.

In Every Man's Battle, author Stephen Arterburn explains,
We're sometimes naive like Pinocchio, listening to a couple scoundrels who painted a wonderful picture of spending a day at a place called Adventure Island, a sort of amusement park just off-shore. They gave Pinocchio a free ticket on the ferry over, but he didn't know that at day's end all the boys would be turned into donkeys and be sold to pull carts in the coal mines for the res of their lives. Likewise, we can be naive and foolish regarding God's standard for sexual purity as we stumble blindly into wrong "because everyone else is doing it."
But sometimes we choose wrong sexual standards not because we're naive, but simply because we're rebellious. We're like Lampwick, a swaggering boy who takes lead in diverting Pinocchio to Adventure Island. Lampwick comes across as distasteful from the moment he appears on the screen with his macho posturing, spitting, and sneering little voice. You know he's fully aware of the evil he's doing. Whatever the aftermath, he richly deserves it.
Perhaps, with a rebelliousness like Lampwick's, you know sexual immorality is wrong but you do it anyway. You love your trips to Adventure Island, despite the hidden price you pay at the end of the day.

Or maybe you've considered God's standard too ridiculous to take seriously.
Mixture can destroy a people. When the Isrealites left Egypt and were led to the Promise Land, God told them to cross the Jordan Ricer and destroy every evil thing in their gods to powder. God warned them that if they failed to do this, their culture would "mix" with the pagans and they would adopt their depraved practices.
But the Isrealites were not careful to destroy everything. They found it easier and easier to stop short. In time, the things and people left undestroyed became a snare. The Isrealites became adulterous in their relationship to God and repeatedly turned their backs on Him.
As promised, He removed them form their land. But just before the destruction of Jerusalem and the final deportation of her inhabitants, God prophesied this about His people in their coming captivity:
Then in the nations where they have been captive, those who escape will remember me—how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. they will loathe themselves for the evil they have done. (Ezekiel 6:9)
When we entered the Promise Land of our salvation, we were told to eliminate every hint of sexual immorality in our lives. Since entering that land, have you failed to crush sexual sin? Every hint of it? If not, have you come to point of loathing yourself for that failure? If that's where you are, there's hope for you.

Are you Obedient, or are you striving for Excellence?

Author Fred Stoeker shares,
They can speak the Christian language, and they certainly sound excellent. But can they live Christian truth?

Like a businessman seeking the best business practices, Fred was asking himself, How far can I go and still be called a Christian? The question he should have been asking was, How holy can I be?

Sexual Temptation in Men

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.
Ephesians 5:3

When a Kiss Was Something Special
Remember how it used to feel when a kiss was something special? Has it gotten to the point where a kiss means nothing to you? Has it become a joyless prerequisite on the path to intercourse? Then something is deeply wrong.

Purity in the Body
We have countless churches filled with countless men encumbered by sexual sin, weakened by low-grade sexual fevers—men happy enough to go to Promise Keepers but too sickly to be promise keepers.
A spiritual battle for purity is going on in every heart and soul. The costs are real. Obedience is hard, requiring humility and meekness, very rare element indeed.

Foreplay of the Eyes

At times I had wished that God would make me blind. The images I've been exposed to have never left my mind and come back to tempt me.
For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay. Our eyes give men the means to sin broadly and at will. We don't need a date or mistress. We don't ever need to wait. We have our eyes and can draw sexual gratification through them at any time. We're turned on by female nudity in any way, shape, or form.
We aren't picky. It can come in a photograph of a nude stranger just as easily in a romantic interlude with a wife. We have a visual ignition switch when it comes to viewing the female anatomy.
Women seldom understand this because they aren't sexually stimulated int he same way. Their ignitions are tied to touch and relationship. They view this aspect of our sexuality as shallow and dirty, even detestable. Often, any effort from husbands to put a positive spin on this "vision factor" by suggesting their wives use it to advantage in the bedroom is met with disdainful scorn. Lisa, for instance, said, "So I suppose I have to buy one of those cheap teddies and prance around like some saloon girl!"
Visual sexual gratification is no laughing matter in your fight for sexual purity. Given what the sight of nudity does to the pelasure centres of our brain, and these days it's pretty easy to see many naked to near-naked women, it's no wonder our eyes and mind resist control.

God's Standard from the Bible

You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:27-28

Mark 7:21-23
Acts 15:29
Romans 13:12-13
1 Corinthians 5:11
1 Corinthians 6:13
1 Corinthians 6:18
2 Corinthians 12:21
Galatians 5:16,19
Ephesians 5:3-4
Colossians 3:5-6
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,7
Hebrews 12:16
Hebrews 13:4
1 Peter 4:3
Jude 7
Revelation 2:14
Revelation 2:20
Revelation 21:8
Romans 6:11-14,18

Masturbation
Oh yes, I'm digging into this subject and I'm not afraid!
Masturbation while fantasizing about another woman besides your wife of "fantasy intercourse" while dreaming is the same as doing it. Remember the standard Jesus set? "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).
What else is foreplay? Mutual stroking of the genitals is foreplay. Even stroking the top of the thigh can be foreplay. (Young men may not see it that way, but fathers do! If you saw a boy stroking your daughter's thigh, we would bet that you wouldn't just wink and turn away.) When a girl lays her head in the lap of a teenage boy, that's foreplay. A mild form, perhaps, but that'll get his motor running at levels too high for young motors. Slow dancing can be foreplay, if certain parts of the body are in close contact.
This isn't to say that young couples can't relate physically in ways that aren't foreplay, such as holding hands, walking arm in arm, or even a short kiss. But heavy kissing around the neck and chest leads naturally to stripping, which leands to mutual masturbation, which leads to intercourse.

Who Are You, Really?
Fred Stoeker shares,
Sexual impurity has become rampant in the church because we've ignored the costly work of obedience to God's standards as individuals, asking too often, "How far can I go and still be called a Christian?" We've crafted an image and may even seem sexually pure while permitting our eyes to play freely when on one is around, avoiding the hard work of being sexually pure.
Is there a secret dark side to your Christian image? Who are you really?
If we don't kill every hint of immorality, we'll be captured by our tendency as males to draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes. But we can't deal with our maleness until we first reject our right to mix standards. As we ask "How holy can I be?" we must pray and commit to a new relationship with God, fully aligned with His call to obedience.

Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the LORD.
2 Chronicles 34:27

Release For Singles
One reason singles can get tripped in their quest for purity is that they feel overmatched. That's why they're quick to say, "It's easy for you to talk about sexual purity—you're married!" But the question remains: What are you going to do with the sexual pressure you sometimes feel?
First of all, you have to take by faith that once you get your eyes and mind under control, the sexual pressure will drop off dramatically. You bring most of the sexual pressure onto yourself through visual sensual stimulation and mental fantasy.
Even so, there remains the male seventy-two-hour cycle of sperm production. Without the impurity of the eyes, the pressure generated by lust is gone, but there's still a natural physical pressure for release, though musch weaker. "What am I going to do about that?" you might ask. "How will I get release?"
God has supplied the way of release, something with twhich you're familiar. Clinically it's called "nocturnal emissions." But somewhere in a dank, smelly football locker room, some kid decided to call it a "wet dream," and that name stuck. The good news for singles is that nocturnal emissions can work for you in your quest for purity. (They also can work for married guys who aren't as sexually active as they would like to be.)
You may wonder how such dreams will work toward purity. After all, some of these dreams are pretty hot and heavy! but those hot and heavy aspects arise form what you're putting into your mind each day. The same pure eyes and mind that keep you from actively seeking release during the day will limit the impurity that your mind can use in dreams at night. Even these dreams will be dramatically purer in scope and content.

Habitual Impurity and Opposition
Sexual impurity is a habit, we have to train ourselves to change those bad habits when we look at a woman in a busty shirt or spandex shorts, by bouncing our eyes away. We can use habits for our advantage. Capture our sinful nature and use it as a double-edged sword against the enemy. Take hold of your bad habits and replace them with good ones. Once we set a habit in concrete, we can forget about it. The habit will take care of business with little conscious thought, enabling us to focus our attention on other things.
While there may not be spiritual oppression involved in your battle, there'll always be spiritual opposition. The enemy is constantly near your ear. He doesn't want you to win this fight, and he knows the lies that so often break men's confidence and their will to win. Expect to hear lies and plenty of them.

Accountability
The first issue is accountability. For men who are willing to fight for sexual purity, and important step is finding accountability support in a men's Bible study group, in a smaller group of one or two other men serving as accountability partners, or by going to into counseling.
For an accountability partner, enlist a male friend, perhaps, someone older and well respected in the church, to encourage you in the heat of battle. The men's ministry at your church can also help you find someone who can pray for you and ask you the tough questions.
Sometimes you need encouragement. Sometimes you need to be challenged to do what's right. Int he end, though, it comes down to whether Nathan has made a decision to win, a decision for purity. Accountability works only when coupled with a firm commitment to win.

The Heart of a Woman in Every Man's Battle
Male sexual impurity can be unsettling, even shocking, to women.
Deena, when asked for her reaction to this book's premise, replied, "This stuff is crazy. Women don't have that problem!"
Fawn decided men and women are so different in their sexual wiring that it defies understanding. "I was surprised to learn," she said, "that Christian men have this problem even after they're married. I found the intensity of the problem to be shocking."
Cathy said, "I did not know the depth that men would go and the risk they would take to satisfy their desires. I was unaware of how intense these temptations are and how much defense a man must muster to avoid stepping over God's boundaries."
Andrea said that from talking with her father and the different guys she dated, she knows men are easily attracted visually. But she never realized the major extent of this problem until she met her future husband. "At the time, he was my closest friend in the youth gruop, but we were not romantically inclined," Andrea said. "He did feel safe enough with me to share his problem with pornography. It was quite a battle for him, as he had first been exposed to it in third grade. I was a little amazed by it all because, although I was attracted to guys by their looks during my dating years, the physical attraction I felt was njothing compared to what a man feels when looking at a women."
Brenda, Fred's wife, also participated in the interviews. She summarized the typical female response: "I don't want to sound mean, but because women don't generally experience this problem, it seems to us that some men are uncontrolled perverts who don't think about anything but sex. It even affects my trust in men, knowing that pastors and deacons could have this problem. I don't like it when men lustfully take advantage of women in their thoughts, although I realize that women can be largely to blame because of what they wear. It's at least some comfort to know that many men have this problem. Since most men are affected, we really can't call you guys perverts."
(Gee, thanks Brenda. Actually you made an important point, and it brings up additional thoughts from a man's perspective. We men understand your shock. After all, we're often overwhelmed in the sexual area, and we loathe it ourselves. That's why we want mercy, although we know we don't deserve mercy. How much mercy can be found in a woman's heart when she looks upon this problem? Not surprisingly, it depends upon her husband's situation.)
There's a natural tug-of-war in the hearts of women between pity and disgust, between mercy and judgment.
Ellen said, "After hearing about this, I was surprised that married men would have so much trouble. I feel sorry for them. When I asked my own husband about it, he was honest with me that he had some struggles, and at first I was hurt. Then I just felt thankful that he would share with me. He hasn't had a major problem in this area, for which I'm thankful."
Cathy leans toward mercy as well. "My husband is regularly bombarded with sexy images, and I was pleased with his honesty regarding that," she said. "I want to know the temptations he faces. It will only help me be more sympathetic to his plight. I didn't feel betrayed because he's proven faithful in this battle. Other women are not so lucky."
What about those women whose husbands have been losing big in the battle?
"When my husband and I talked about this, he was honest," Deena conveyed, "and I was very angry with him. I was hurt. I felt deeply betrayed because I'd been dieting and working out to keep my weight down so that I would always look nice to him. I couldn't figure out why he still needed to look at other women."
Women told us that they struggle between pity and anger, and their feelings may ebb and flow with the tide of their husband's battle. Let us direct this advice to women reading this book: Though you know you should pray for him and fulfill him sexually, sometimes you won't want to. Talk to each other openly and honestly, then do the right thing.

Once your husband engages in the battle for sexual integrity, here are some things you can pray for him:
  1. Pray that God would keep him from wavering and stumbling. Ask God to put more light on his path and more courage in his step.
  2. Pray against spiritual opposition in the form of lies. As you know, Satan will lie to him to weaken his will to win. Pray that Satan's efforts to confuse him will be ineffective.
  3. Pray against possible spiritual oppression. Ask God to release power to break any spiritual oppression over your lives and your home that has resulted from his sexual sin.
Along with prayer, there are other ways you can help him win this battle. Once he tells you he's going cold turkey, be like a merciful vial of methadone for him. Increase your availability to him sexually, though this may be difficult for you since your husband might have told you some things that repulse you. Since your sex drive, as a woman, is tied to relationship, you may feel betrayed, just as if your husband had an actual affair.
It may help you to view this form a male's perspective, where "relationship" and "sex" do not have such a tight bond. Please don't misunderstand us. His lusting was definitely a moral betrayal, but it wasn't necessarily a betrayal of the heart. You may still be his one and only true love, the one he could never, ever leave. He has a fractional addiction to the chemical high, but don't assume his heart for you is untrue. Mercy is probably your best tack—with accountability, of course.
On another issue: Do you believe that God has given you, as a wife, a responsibility to be a role model of godliness and holiness to your husband? We received some interesting comments to this question.
Some women don't feel modeling godliness for their husbands is their role at all. Cathy said, "My responsibility is to love him, and that will manifest itself in godliness. But I feel the role model responsibility is primarily his, since he's the leader of our home."
We don't disagree with Cathy's statement, but we want to point out that since you're one flesh with your husband, you have a right, even a duty, to play such a role as well.
If a wife acts as a role model, how should it look in everyday life?
Heather said, "My first responsibility as a role model is to be pure and true sexually to my husband, as I expect him to be."
Wendy said, "I don't try to get Mark to do things that we both know are wrong, like watching sensual movies," she said. "I don't do things that would be a stumbling block to him, like leaving Victoria's Secret catalogs lying around open."
Many women feel that they care more about godliness than their husbands do. (As men, this is our shame.) Andrea said, "Lately, through the preaching of several men and worship conference a year ago, I met God in a new way and have changed more in the past year than ever before. God has given me a deep desire to purify my life and my home. It's been frustrating at times, though, because there have been many things I've wanted to change, but I've met resistance from my husband. He's a wonderful Christian, but in talking with my sister recently, we've concluded there's a tendency among men to brush off women's attempts to purify our homes. For example, I'm no longer comfortable with certain movies. I don't like to watch them, nor do I like my children to watch them. But rather than come across as a holier-than-thou person, God has helped me to keep my mouth shut after voicing my concerns and instead pray about the situation and to pray for my husband."
Cathy added, "I've never felt I cared more about holiness than my husband, but I think I pur more energy into it. Maybe it comes more easily to a woman; I don't know. If he seems to be struggling in a certain area, if I conform him or try to be a leader, it has much less effect than when I pray and fast for him."

Acknowledgment: I encourage ever man to read Every Man's Battle. There is so much I would like to share with you about the "problem" men have with sexual immorality. But I'd just recommend that every man read this book. Women also can read it, there are sections dedicated for women in almost every chapter, and also single men. Every Man's Battle will change your life, your relationship with God, your relationship with women, and even change your church.

Reference: Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker with Mike Yorkey.

Why Didn't God Make Us Perfect?

If we were made perfect we would be like God.
Thus cancelling out Jesus as the perfect man.

God is perfect. And through Jesus and the Ten Commandments we see God's requirement to be perfect in His eyes (Matt 5:48). Though we will never be able to be perfect, we were wretched since we were born because of Adam's sin. It is by the salvation through Jesus that we acknowledge him as our saviour that we are seen perfect by God.

God is my strength and power,
And He makes my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:33 (NKJV)

It is God who arms me with strength,
And makes my way perfect.
Psalm 18:32 (NKJV)

Your laws are perfect
and completely trustworthy.
Psalm 119:138 (NLT)

For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
“This is the new covenant I will make
with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”

Then he says,
“I will never again remember
their sins and lawless deeds.”

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
Hebrews 10:14-18 (NLT)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

Monthly Quotes - Have You No Faith in Your Prayers?

After God pulled me from the pit, I desired to move closer to Him. - John Piper

Monday, 6 April 2009

Are You Really A Christian?

Walking in the Spirit

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But athe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 5:16-26
If you've repented you would bear the fruits of the Spirit, the fruits of God:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. If not, then there is something you might want to think about. And that is repentance! Here are six steps to true repentance.

Biblical Repentance:

1. Feeling Godly sorrow (Agree with God)
- The first step of repentance is to recognize that you've committed a sin against God's commandments.
- Feel true sorrow for what you've done and for disobeying Heavenly Father.

2. Confess to God

- Pray to Heavenly Father and be honest with him.
- Tell him of your sin.

3. Ask for forgiveness
- Pray to God for his forgiveness
- Forgive others who have hurt you.
- Forgive yourself and know that God loves you, even though you've sinned.

4. Renounce your sin (Repent and forsake your sins)
- Make a promise to yourself and to God that you will never repeat the sin.
- Recommit yourself to obeying God's commandments.

5. Receive forgiveness
- The Lord will forgive you when you truly repent with a sincere heart.

6. Put your trust in Jesus Christ!


In a nutshell: Confess, Repent, and Trust in Jesus Christ as your Saviour.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Pure Grace

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?

11 No one, sir, she said.

Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. Go now and leave your life of sin.

John 8:1-11


Nothing is more humiliating than being caught in an act of disobedience! Whether it's a child with his hand in the cookie jar or an adult driving over the speed limit, we all know the sinking feeling of being caught. In John 8, a woman is caught in the act of adultery.

The Pharisees and scribes continued to press their point. They were not after this woman as much as they were after Jesus. They were saying this to "test" Jesus (v. 6). They wanted grounds for "accusing" Jesus. He is the one they are really after here.

This self-righteous, self-appointed group of Pharisees was acting as judge and jury and wanted to stone this woman; but don't mistake it, their ultimate goal was the death of Jesus. They were filled with self-righteous hatred toward Jesus. They kept stressing their point. "They persisted in asking Him." (v. 7a) They kept the pressure on Jesus. "Come on, tell us, teacher, what do You say? Will you kill the woman or kill the Law?"

As these religious leaders persisted in questioning him, Jesus stood up and invited any one among them who was sinless to throw the first stone. By this statement they could not possibly say Jesus rejected the law. Jesus specifically told them to throw the first stone. Go ahead, you are right, the Law says stone her. She is guilty. Now, you, who among you is sinless?

Please notice the last statement of Jesus: "Neither do I condemn you..." This is pure grace. The law required punishment and death of the woman caught in the act of adultery, but Jesus forgave her and gave her life. The woman did not make any excuses (v. 11). She was guilty. She knew it. She stood condemned. She didn't have to be convinced of that fact. She needed grace, but she did not deserve it. "The wages of sin is death." "The soul that sins will surely die." She couldn't earn it. She was a spiritual pauper in need of the riches of God's marvelous grace.

Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go your way; from now on sin no more" (v. 11). Let those words soak in. "Neither do I..." "Neither do I condemn you."

How could Jesus offer such a sinner "no condemnation?" He did it the same way He does for us. He knew He was going to the cross to die for her sins. "For while we were still helpless" sinners. That is the way all sinners are - helpless. A helpless sinner doesn't merit forgiveness. A helpless sinner doesn't earn forgiveness. "For while we were still helpless [sinners], at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6

Moreover, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (v. 8).

To every guilt-ridden sinner who puts his trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, the LORD God comes today and whispers in his ear "Neither do I condemn you." There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

But Jesus' statement of grace is immediately followed up by an admonition to "Go and sin no more." Theologians have made terms that describe what Jesus did here, and they are "justification" and "sanctification." Justification is: "Neither do I condemn you." Sanctification is: "Go and sin no more." And it is critical to see the order of Jesus' statements, for He did not say, "Go and sin no more, neither do I condemn you." Or, "Clean up your act and then I will forgive you." Jesus Christ here uses grace as the motive for pure living.

There is a place where adulterers can go to find pardon and forgiveness. It is in Jesus, who "justifies the wicked" (Romans 4:5). It is in Jesus, who was "pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities." And it is also in Jesus where we find grace to live differently, for it is the grace of God (not the law of God) that teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness (Titus 2:12). Pure grace; we need it; He has it.

In summary, a snare was set for this woman; she was in a strangle-knot with no way to break free. But Jesus cut the knot, by the knife of pure grace. He can do the same for us!

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
Isaiah 43:25

John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'" 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
John 1:15-17

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9


Resources: http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/

Friday, 3 April 2009

Change

One thing I learned about change in our Christian walk is that people should be able to see it. Do people noticed that you are different? Do people notice that you've changed since you've become a follower of Christ? Is there a change in your life? Have you turned away from temptation or sin and towards the Cross?

If you've truly repented, people should see it. Ask your siblings, parents, friends, co-workers, if they've noticed a change in you. Especially ask your friends if they think if you're growing in holiness. Are you giving a good witness to your friends? Do people love having you around? Can they say, "Now that's a Christian!"? Have you really changed?

Society can learn something from you too. The more people see the change in you, the more witness you bring to the world of what a perfect .

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Romans 12:1


Remember what Jesus said about not producing fruit? Are you producing fruit? If not, break off those branches that aren't and cast them away, they will only spread like a cancer and cost you your life!

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
John 15:4


Communicating Through Our Life

InTouch Magazine, April 2009 Issue, Page 43
Read | John 13:34-35

Did you realize that everyone's life makes a statement? Perhaps you've never looked at your routine as anything more than merely travelling back and forth to work and accomplishing daily tasks. If so, you might wonder what message this could possibly broadcast to the people around you.
The truth is that every one of us communicates to others through our character, actions, and words. The believer's life should be an expression of glory to God while conveying to onlookers the vital importance of divine truth. Wherever we are, Jesus' light should shine brightly through us that He is evident in a dark world. And remember, the strength of our life message is directly related to the depth of our relationship with God.
Of course, this does not mean that our lives responses should demonstrate that our heavenly Father is dependable, faithful, forgiving, and present. We are His ambassadors, representing the Saviour to the people we encounter each day. Our lives are opportunities for those around us to see the Lord in action as we serve others—or as we reveal peacefulness and trust, even during difficult times.

Early Light: Coworkers, family, neighbours, and friends are all witnesses to our daily conduct and conversation. Every encounter we have is an opportunity to reflect Jesus into somebody's life. Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith and your walk so that those observing you can't help but be drawn towards His light.


A City on a Hill
InTouch Magazine, April 2009 Issue, Page 43
Read | Matthew 15:13-16

Reality television has become popular in recent years. On this type of show, the world is invited to watch as people go about their daily lives while participating in staged situations. While we may not run into as much drama or glamour, our lives are similar, in that people are observing what we do.
Jesus likened believers' lives to a city on a hill, which cannot be hidden (Matt. 5:14). When others watch us, they ought to see reflections of Christ—which means we must let the Holy Spirit express His life through us.
First, we need to realize that God's goal is for us to become more like Him. Second, we are to read the scripture daily, because we get to know the Father better through His Word, and then our lives will more clearly reflect Him to others. Third, we should review how the Lord has worked in the past. Noting His faithfulness increases our trust and enables us to help others in similar situations.
The fourth step may seem unsettling, but it is wise advice: Be prepared and willing to suffer. God uses difficult times to draw His children close to Himself. So if you are facing painful circumstances, know that He has allowed them for your growth, His glory, and encouragement to others. Recognizing this will help you surrender your will and desires to His plan. As you do, He will build a beautiful message into your life.

Early Light: Think about both your public life and your private life. Are both glorifying to the Lord? Allow God's light to penetrate any "darkness" in your thoughts, words, or deeds. Then others may be drawn to the Father by what they notice in you (v.16).

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Sinner's Prayer

Lord, we see that we are wretched. We have broken your perfect Law. I pray that we will want to seek you Lord and know you Lord. We haven't been faithful to you Lord. And we want to accept that you sent your perfect and only begotten Son Jesus Christ to show us how to live for you. We accept that he died for our sins and rose three days later to prove that he was the Messiah. And we now see what wretches we've been and we renounce our sinful ways, ask for your forgiveness and your mercy, and turn to you Lord, in Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Happy National Atheist's Day!


I know this is a cheeky theist joke. But I doubt any atheist's are reading my blog.