June 24, 2012 Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences

This is the essence of life.  You are either living truth, or you will suffer the consequences.  How should you say this to an atheist, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or a Muslim?  That would be a redeeming confrontation that must be guided by the Holy Spirit, giving you words to say (Matthew 10.19-20) that He has subconsciously told the hearer to listen for.  His purpose is to draw non-Christians to the Truth (defined in John 14.6) because He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3.9; Ezekiel 33.11; Acts 26.15-18).  In this study, you will gain insight into how Jesus confronted the Pharisees in a redeeming way.

Lies, lies, and more lies!

  • John 8.12-59 tells the story of Jesus’ redeeming confrontation and its results.
  • Specifically, verse 44 is His frontal attack at the foundation of their beliefs.
  • How is Apostle Paul’s warning in Colossians 2.8-10 an illustration of Jesus’ point?  Why is it verity that Paul includes the belief systems above in his list?
  • If all of these are ‘traditions of men’, what two conditions do John 8.43 and 2 Corinthians 4.3-4 say these tradition-bound ‘men’ shared with their founders?  Name some followers of these men that you know from history and, then, some you know personally, revealed by the same conditions.
  • Do you agree with the conclusion that all of the named belief systems are lies told by founders who heard them whispered by satan?  Why or why not?

Lies cannot save!

  • This is Paul’s argument in Acts 17.26-28.  God expects people in every age to come to realize that any tradition of men they may follow (thought to be equal to Jesus’ atoning death and bodily resurrection; Hebrews 10.11-18) only leads them to perish.  See Jesus’ remarks about this in Matthew 7.13-14.
  • Paul drives this point to the heart in Acts 17.30-31.  Note Paul’s confronting word ‘ignorance’.  What does that make his hearer?
  • What is the consequence of such ‘ignorance’?  Consider the consequence that Jesus presented in John 3.17-21 and 8.34-36.  Paul comments on the condemnation of homosexuals, by illustration, in Romans 1.18-32.
  • Contrast this with Romans 8.1 and his explanation in verses 2-11.

Lies in the four aberrant views of god today.

  • Hindus believe in 320,000,000 gods and counting!  Their gods are finite and personal.  They teach a balanced life and reincarnation.
  • Buddhists believe in an impersonal force.  Thus, they focus on a place of worship.  They are reincarnated because of bad karma until they achieve harmony with all things.
  • Atheists do not believe there is a God.
  • Muslims believe in a god they think is infinite but not personal.  This jealous god tolerates no others and instructed his followers to subjugate or annihilate them.
  • These are in contrast to Christians and Jews who believe that God is infinite and personal.  He masters the expanding universe and, yet, made man in His image.  Contrary to the others’ disregard for the body, Jesus lives today with a redeemed one, and we will, too!  He thinks abstractly but communicates wisdom for the narrowest question.  He is unique and exists in Trinity!

Jesus’ appeal to the Pharisees instructs our redeeming confrontations.

  • In John 8.23-24, Jesus challenges their view of Him and states the consequence they should expect.  The Pharisees’ blindness kept them from connecting the obvious confirmation of Jesus as Messiah, as He states in John 15.24, which connects Him to Deuteronomy 18.18 and Exodus 34.10.
  • In John 8.31-32, Jesus declares freedom through His word for those whose hearts responded to the Holy Spirit’s voice.  But, others declared their freedom as children of Abraham.  It is humorous to note in verse 33 their statement ‘…never been in bondage to anyone’ when they were ruled at that time by Rome and satan.
  • In John 8.39-40 and 56-58, Jesus deflates their argument of heritage by contrasting their beliefs from Abraham’s.
  • Lastly, in John 8.41-47, Jesus defeats their assertion of progeny of God by noting their preference for lies in contrast to His words of truth.  Children follow the ways of their fathers.  Consequently, they follow the father of lies, satan, by preference.

What can we say, then: that all followers of belief systems that deny or modify John 14.6 are following satan down the broad way to Hell (Matthew 7.13-14)!  This includes any Christians in denominations that teach that the adherent must do something to complete the saving acts of Jesus’ atoning death and bodily resurrection (see Matthew 7.21-23, as illustrated in Galatians 5.1-4).  Lifestyles that express the changes brought on by the new birth (John 3.1-16) illustrate Christ but these good works do not save.

If you know someone who believes satan’s many lies, gently confront them with the truth before the time of opportunity ends when you are raptured!  See 2 Corinthians 6.2.

Praise God!!!

Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2012.  Visit www.sozoclass.com for more studies.

June 17, 2012 Is Christianity Metaphysical or Epistemological?

Is Christianity Metaphysical or Epistemological?

It is interesting that the Gospels about Jesus begin with either focus.  Matthew and Luke are epistemological (defined as how we know) by connecting Jesus to David and Abraham; see Luke 2.1-6 and Matthew 1.1-17.  Mark and John are metaphysical (defined as beyond the normal) by presenting Jesus as the fulfillment from Heaven of the message of John the Baptist; see Mark 1.1-11 and John 1.19-37.  After such beginnings, all four Gospels lead to the same metaphysical event: the atoning death of Jesus on the cross and His bodily resurrection from death and the grave.  This metaphysical event is the Holy Spirit’s proof of God’s power and of the coming judgment, as Peter discusses in Acts 2.22-36 and Paul discusses in Acts 17.22-31.

The following study answers the question why is this important to Christians today.

What John the Baptist knew metaphysically.

  • Although John was a cousin of Jesus and, therefore, a descendant of David and Abraham, he is best known as the prophet of God chosen to proclaim the message of Isaiah 40.3-5.  Notice that this message was to ‘comfort’ God’s people and to guarantee them ‘double’ rewards for their captivity by satan (verses 1-2).  Note, too, the certainty of John’s proclamation in verses 6-8.
  • John 1.19-28 reveals the unrecorded instruction by God to John the Baptist about his assigned task; he was to proclaim the message of Isaiah 40 to a rebellious but curious people!  The Pharisees’ were to carry out the message but, instead, resisted it to their ruin.
  • The same God Who instructed him in this task gave John the Baptist the privilege of identifying to the world the presence of God in human flesh (Isaiah 9.6-7)!  John 1.29-36 gives the criterion for identifying Jesus Christ.  What metaphysical event would set Jesus apart from all other people?

Why Abraham was both metaphysical and epistemological.

  • Just as with John the Baptist, God chose Abram for a unique task; see Genesis 12.1-3.
  • God gave him two unmistakable signs by which Abram could validate the truth that He had spoken.  Abram was to walk throughout the Promised Land and remember God’s promise every time he saw what?  See Genesis 13.14-18.  Likewise, to calm Abram’s fears, God told him to look for what at night to assure him of God’s promised blessing?  See Genesis 15.1-6.
  • Thus, God gave two epistemological signs by which Abram would be reassured daily.
  • However, the writer of Hebrews 11.9-10 notes that Abraham was metaphysical in that he was not satisfied by knowing God through His promised land and the evidence of dust and stars; rather, He longed for dwelling with God in His city!

Apostle Paul answers the study question.

  • Paul was proud of his Jewish heritage (Philippians 3.3-6) and Christian experience (2 Corinthians 11.22-12.6).  This was the epistemology by which he wanted to be known with high regard among his peers.
  • But, that changed when he met Jesus, explained in Acts 9.1-20 and 26.12-20.  This metaphysical experience changed what he thought and how he used his time, as he explains in Philippians 3.7-14.

Why is this important to Christians today?

  • Christianity is distinguished from all other world religions by one contrast: resurrection versus relics.
  • Psalm 115.1-11, written by Elijah or Elisha, contrasts the two distinctions.  Idols are a type of relic that has no life in it; note verse 8.  However, God is dynamic, in verse 3, and became the living sacrifice for sin (Genesis 22.8; Hebrews 10.11-14; Luke 24.1-8).
  • Even within Christianity, some hold onto relics more than resurrection – carnal Christians (illustrated by the practices of those who are my friends so long as I do the same; 1 Corinthians 3.1-23) and works salvation (Mormons, Church of Christ, Catholic – all believing they must do their part through rituals to finalize their salvation; Galatians 5.1-6).  Which are you?
  • Do you attend your church because of the speaker or the music or to see who comes or be seen by them?  Do the tenets of your fraternity, sorority, or civic club discourage or encourage your faith in the resurrection of Jesus?  Do you know or even want to know?  It matters a great deal, as in Ephesians 2.8-9!

Know all that you can about God through the epistemology that He gives you in the world around you, and know Him metaphysically through the eyes of your spirit.  Meditate upon Jeremiah 9.23-24.

Praise God!!!

Copyright © Maurice L. Painter, 2012.  See other studies at www.sozoclass.com.