July 5, 2009 Confronting American Pluralism [cont’d]

Confronting American Pluralism [cont’d]

 

Are you a ‘plunderer’? 

Are you a ‘battle axe and weapon of war’?  See Jeremiah 51.53 and 20. 

 

Remember the military recruiting poster showing Uncle Sam sternly looking at you and saying, ‘America wants you!’  Replace his words with ‘America wants Jesus in you’, and you understand why you were born in the United States of America at this time.  You are needed to overcome her enemies ‘by the blood of the Lamb and the word of [your] testimony’.  See Revelation 12.11.

 

The same enemy continues the cycles of weakening the nations that began in the Garden.

See Isaiah 14.12 and Genesis 3.1 and 5. 

 

satan has used his seductions to twist the hearts of leaders to do his nefarious works.  There are similarities between Israel (the northern kingdom of 10 tribes of Jacob) and America that are the topic of this lesson near the 233rd celebration of our independence. 

 

‘Sold out to do evil’ explains our Declaration of Independence.

1 Kings 21.25 describes King Ahab with this accusation, which is explained further in 1 Kings 16.30-33. 

 

He invited evil back into the Promised Land after God had driven its seven practicing nations out.

Such an accusation had led Puritans and Separatists from the Church of England, as Peter Marshall and David Manuel reveal in their book, The Light and the Glory, 1977, page 108.  “The church hierarchy had grown increasingly alarmed at the growth of two movements of ‘fanatics’.  The first and much larger group claimed to be dedicated to ‘purifying the Church from within’, which made them suspect from the start to the [House of] Bishops, who saw nothing which needed purifying.  These ‘Puritans’, as they were sarcastically dubbed (and which epithet they eventually took for their own) did, however, at least continue to acknowledge canonical authority.  Thus they could easily be kept from positions of responsibility, and otherwise ignored. There was another element, however, which the Bishops considered more dangerous.  These were radicals who held that the Church of England was already corrupted beyond any possibility of purification.  Moreover, they believed that the Church could only be under the headship of Jesus Christ, and hence no person, not even the Queen, could take the title ‘Head of the Church’.  They chose to separate themselves from the Church, and conduct their own worship.  And, given their way, these ‘Separatists’ would reduce worship to primitive preaching, teaching, singing, and free praying, which would do away with sixteen centuries of established liturgical tradition.” 

They came to America, and their progeny wrote our Declaration of Independence, which ‘represents both the genesis and heart of American liberty.  Our rights come from our Creator, not the government, sovereign, or King’ (Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, 2006, page 30).

“The Declaration of Independence contains four references to God:

as Lawmaker (‘the laws of nature and nature’s God’);

as Creator (‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights’);

as Supreme Judge (‘the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions’); and

as Protector (‘the protection of Divine Providence’)” (ibid).

Like Ahab, however, the leaders of America have, especially during the last 50 years, defiled our land with the demons which guided their philosophies – multiculturalism, diversity, homosexuality, perversion, and anti-Christianity.

 

Will the First Amendment to our United States Constitution be our undoing?

The introduction of philosophies by the election or appointment of their holders to public office or university professorships or broadcast celebrity caused the downfall of earlier societies and will cause our downfall, too. 

See Isaiah 14.12 and Isaiah 5.20-21 and Amos 2.4.

 

The ACLU cleverly twisted the meaning of the words to exclude God from government.  But, the framers of the Constitution only wrote that the government could not impose a specific system of belief.  “People came to America’s shores to be free to practice their religious beliefs.  It brought the Puritans with their desire to create a ‘city on a hill’ that would be a beacon of religious belief and piety.  The Pilgrims were another group that poured into the new colonies.  Quakers in Pennsylvania were another, Catholics in Maryland yet a fourth” (ibid, page 10).

God within our government was the framers’ desire, as is expressed by the following:

Thomas Jefferson: ‘God who gave us life gave us liberty.  Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?’ (ibid, page 42);

Samuel Adams: ‘Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.’ (ibid, page 19);

Benjamin Rush: ‘The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion.  Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.’ (ibid, page 20);

Benjamin Franklin: ‘God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?’ (ibid, page 26)

But, relativism is now promoted by governmental leaders.  Today, Eastern mysticism and Islam are the pet promotions of anti-Christian elitists who profane God and His Christ. 

Jeremiah 13.10,    Isaiah 2.6,    John 8.42,    Acts 17.21,

 

Romans 1.20-23, 2 Corinthians 4.3-4, Colossians 2.8

 

Further, the numbers of persons who claim ‘no religion’ has grown in all 50 states in the past 18 years; so wrote Saritha Parabhu, a Tennessean columnist, on May 29, 2009, in her opinion article titled, ‘Atheists, agnostics part of our individuality’.  She describes herself as a Hindu with agnostic tendencies.  The website of a San Francisco atheist group says they ‘want to live natural, religion-free lives…respect science and learning, knowing that only human thought, effort and courage will bring individual freedom and cultural progress’ (WorldNetDaily.com article, ‘Atheists stage festival for anti-religion films’, June 27, 2009).

 

Who will step forward and proclaim

Proverbs 14.34?

 

God has always wanted to be part of man’s activities – personal time, marriage, work, church, and government.  Because He is Spirit (John 4.24), He chose men before and after the time of Jesus Christ to be His spokesmen and workers of ‘signs and wonders’ (Exodus 34.10).  Join with the following.

 

Elijah was chosen by God to proclaim this truth to Ahab; see 1 Kings 17.1.  God proved His sincerity through an act of nature; He stopped the rain; a consequence of Ahab’s being ‘sold out to do evil’ (1 Kings 21.25; Hosea 4.1-2, 6a, 12b, Hosea 5.4; spirit of harlotry). 

The result of spiritual adultery is the absence of God’s blessings.  See Proverbs 11.11 and Proverbs 29.2.

 

Jonah was chosen by God to deliver His message to a wicked people.  God prepared the people to listen for certain words from Jonah that would prompt specific actions; connect Jonah 3.2, 4, 5, 10. 

He does the same each time we speak for Him (how does Matthew 10.19-20 explain this?). 

 

Note God’s description of the people of Nineveh in Jonah 4.11: they are so confused by satan        (2 Corinthians 4.3-4; Isaiah 44.19-20)

that they cannot discern between their right and left hands! 

 

How does Jonah 2.8 explain this?

 

Jeremiah was told by God that He had planned for him to be His ‘prophet to the nations’ (Jeremiah 1.4-10). 

 

So, are you a ‘plunderer’?  Are you a ‘battle axe and weapon of war’?  You are in the contexts of your life!  See Jeremiah 51.53 and 20.  You are needed to overcome America’s enemies ‘by the blood of the Lamb and the word of [your] testimony’. 

See Revelation 12.11.

 

Isaiah was convicted by God to go and proclaim warning and salvation to Judah (the southern kingdom of 2 tribes of Jacob), and he volunteered. 

See Isaiah 6.8. 

 

Who has God birthed at this time to be His prophet to America?  If you are not him, you should pray for God to bring him forth!

 

And, will you go into your contexts as a prophet to speak against the spirit of harlotry?  What steps will you take to prepare? 

How will you listen to the Holy Spirit as you speak and act?

June 28, 2009 Confronting American Pluralism

Confronting American Pluralism

 

Are you a ‘plunderer’? 

Are you a ‘battle axe and weapon of war’?  See Jeremiah 51.53 and 20. 

 

Remember the military recruiting poster showing Uncle Sam sternly looking at you and saying, ‘America wants you!’  Replace his words with ‘America wants Jesus in you’, and you understand why you were born in the United States of America at this time.  You are needed to overcome her enemies ‘by the blood of the Lamb and the word of [your] testimony’.  See Revelation 12.11.

 

The same enemy continues the cycles of weakening the nations that began in the Garden.

See Isaiah 14.12 and Genesis 3.1 and 5. 

 

satan has used his seductions to twist the hearts of leaders to do his nefarious works.  There are similarities between Israel (the northern kingdom of 10 tribes of Jacob) and America that are the topic of this lesson near the 233rd celebration of our independence. 

 

Will you be Elijah in God’s hand?

 

‘Sold out to do evil’ explains our Declaration of Independence.

 

1 Kings 21.25 describes King Ahab with this accusation, which is explained further in 1 Kings 16.30-33. 

 

He invited evil back into the Promised Land after God had driven its seven practicing nations out.

Such an accusation had led Puritans and Separatists from the Church of England, as Peter Marshall and David Manuel reveal in their book, The Light and the Glory, 1977, page 108.  “The church hierarchy had grown increasingly alarmed at the growth of two movements of ‘fanatics’.  The first and much larger group claimed to be dedicated to ‘purifying the Church from within’, which made them suspect from the start to the [House of] Bishops, who saw nothing which needed purifying.  These ‘Puritans’, as they were sarcastically dubbed (and which epithet they eventually took for their own) did, however, at least continue to acknowledge canonical authority.  Thus they could easily be kept from positions of responsibility, and otherwise ignored. There was another element, however, which the Bishops considered more dangerous.  These were radicals who held that the Church of England was already corrupted beyond any possibility of purification.  Moreover, they believed that the Church could only be under the headship of Jesus Christ, and hence no person, not even the Queen, could take the title ‘Head of the Church’.  They chose to separate themselves from the Church, and conduct their own worship.  And, given their way, these ‘Separatists’ would reduce worship to primitive preaching, teaching, singing, and free praying, which would do away with sixteen centuries of established liturgical tradition.” 

They came to America, and their progeny wrote our Declaration of Independence, which ‘represents both the genesis and heart of American liberty.  Our rights come from our Creator, not the government, sovereign, or King’ (Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich, 2006, page 30).

“The Declaration of Independence contains four references to God: as Lawmaker (‘the laws of nature and nature’s God’); as Creator (‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights’); as Supreme Judge (‘the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions’); and as Protector (‘the protection of Divine Providence’)” (ibid).

Like Ahab, however, the leaders of America have, especially during the last 50 years, defiled our land with the demons which guided their philosophies – multiculturalism, diversity, homosexuality, perversion, and anti-Christianity.

 

Will the First Amendment to our United States Constitution be our undoing?

The introduction of philosophies by the election or appointment of their holders to public office or university professorships or broadcast celebrity caused the downfall of earlier societies and will cause our downfall, too. 

See Isaiah 14.12 and Isaiah 5.20-21 and Amos 2.4.

 

The ACLU cleverly twisted the meaning of the words to exclude God from government.  But, the framers of the Constitution only wrote that the government could not impose a specific system of belief.  “People came to America’s shores to be free to practice their religious beliefs.  It brought the Puritans with their desire to create a ‘city on a hill’ that would be a beacon of religious belief and piety.  The Pilgrims were another group that poured into the new colonies.  Quakers in Pennsylvania were another, Catholics in Maryland yet a fourth” (ibid, page 10).

God within our government was the framers’ desire, as is expressed by the following:

Thomas Jefferson: ‘God who gave us life gave us liberty.  Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?’ (ibid, page 42);

Samuel Adams: ‘Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.’ (ibid, page 19);

Benjamin Rush: ‘The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion.  Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.’ (ibid, page 20);

Benjamin Franklin: ‘God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?’ (ibid, page 26)

But, relativism is now promoted by governmental leaders.  Today, Eastern mysticism and Islam are the pet promotions of anti-Christian elitists who profane God and His Christ. 

Jeremiah 13.10,    Isaiah 2.6,    John 8.42,    Acts 17.21,

 

Romans 1.20-23, 2 Corinthians 4.3-4, Colossians 2.8

 

Further, the numbers of persons who claim ‘no religion’ has grown in all 50 states in the past 18 years; so wrote Saritha Parabhu, a Tennessean columnist, on May 29, 2009, in her opinion article titled, ‘Atheists, agnostics part of our individuality’.  She describes herself as a Hindu with agnostic tendencies.  The website of a San Francisco atheist group says they ‘want to live natural, religion-free lives…respect science and learning, knowing that only human thought, effort and courage will bring individual freedom and cultural progress’ (WorldNetDaily.com article, ‘Atheists stage festival for anti-religion films’, June 27, 2009).

 

Who will step forward and proclaim Proverbs 14.34?

Elijah was chosen by God to proclaim this truth to Ahab. 

The God of ‘signs and wonders’ proved His sincerity through nature; see 1 Kings 17.1. 

The result of spiritual adultery is the absence of God’s blessings. 

          See Proverbs 11.11 and Proverbs 29.2.

 

Later, Isaiah was convicted by God to go and proclaim warning and salvation to Judah (the southern kingdom of 2 tribes of Jacob).  See Isaiah 6.8.

 

Jesus and His followers continued this. 

It is the subject of the New Testament.

 

So, are you a ‘plunderer’? 

Are you a ‘battle axe and weapon of war’?  See Jeremiah 51.53 and 20. 

 

You are needed to overcome America’s enemies ‘by the blood of the Lamb and the word of [your] testimony’.  See Revelation 12.11. 

 

Enlist today!

June 21, 2009 Beware, You, Too, May Fail

Beware, You, Too, May Fall!

 

The Apostle Paul reminds us to be diligent with every step we take. 

See 1 Corinthians 10.12  

 

It is interesting that times have not changed, for he was writing almost 2,000 years ago and about people who lived 2,000 years earlier.

Philosophies are insidious, like the iceberg that sank the Titanic.  We hear just enough, and innocent at that, to lure our interest and compassion from remembering our experience with hot surface that appeared just warm.  Too late, the skin of our protection is pierced and we capsize amidst our good intentions.  So, heed Paul’s words!

 

Jehoshaphat needed to know Paul.

2 Chronicles 19.1-2 was the unwelcomed news that Jehoshaphat should have anticipated. 

He had been listening to philosophies for some time, and God knew and was not happy.  Do we, too, believe that we can get away with our ‘secret sins’?  There are no secrets with God!  What part of omniscient do we not understand?

‘Helping the wicked’ and ‘loving those who hate God’ is the worse condemnation that a person can hear!  Are we guilty, too?

Jehoshaphat had helped a fellow king of Judah’s sister country with a conquest by force. 

Read the story in 2 Chronicles 18; notice the deception and philosophy that caused it.  

Remember, also, that force is one of satans five lures to gain control of our lives.  The others are greed, ambition, selfishness, and sexual pleasure.

Verse 1 of Chapter 18 tells us that Jehoshaphat had ‘allied himself with Ahab’.  Such alignments were usually sealed by marrying a daughter.  (He should have chosen better advisors, too.)  He would have done well to have read about his ancestor, Solomon’s troubles that began with such alignment. 

See 1 Kings 3.1 leading to 1 Kings 11.1-11

 

Why did he align himself with wickedness, in light of 2 Chronicles 17.10?  This was just another of the blessings of

 

God outlined in Verses 3-10. 

How does verse 3 remind you of Joshua 1.7-8 and

Proverbs 3.5-6?

 

Ahab was the type of person your mother used to warn you not to be with.  What philosophies do you count in 1 Kings 16.29-33 and 1Kings 21.25-26 that controlled him? 

 

How is 2 Chronicles 19.2 both a warning of movement toward and an explanation of

Jeremiah 13.10?

 

What would Paul have told him?

2 Corinthians 6.14, amplified in 1 Corinthians 5.9 and (Moses in) Deuteronomy 7.1-3 and Deuteronomy 22.10.

Romans 6.16, amplified in Galatians 4.3 , 9;  Hebrews 7.18-19.

Colossians 2.8-10, amplified in 1 John 2.15-17

1 Corinthians 13.11.

 

Would Jehoshaphat have listened?

  • What does 2 Chronicles 20.12 indicate?
  • Will you listen to Paul’s words? 
  • What will you do differently, so others will know?

Remember that the Bible gives God’s instructions for mankind and illustrations of people who failed by not following or who succeeded by keeping His word.  See 2 Chronicles 16.9.

June 14, 2009 The Beginning and End of Philosophy

The Beginning and End of Philosophy

 

Liberal theologian Paul Tillich observed: ‘Religion is the essence of culture, and culture is the dress of religion.’  Anyone old enough to remember several decades will confirm that American culture has changed and can give poignant illustrations.  If Tillich’s connection is true, what are we to deduce from our observations of change in religion?  We are in ‘the last days’, as the Apostle Paul described them to his protégé in 2 Timothy 3.1-9, ‘times of stress’.

 

Philosophy is destroying America and the world around us. 

Let’s consider the essence of philosophy.

 

Think of a teeter-totter on the playground, with two children alternatively lifting each other from low to high. 

Call one child ‘spirit’ and the other ‘body’ and the fulcrum ‘mind’. 

 1 Thessalonians 5.23

Your mind must decide when it will respond to the words of Jesus to your spirit and when it will respond to satan’s temptations of your body.  1 John 2.15-17. 

This is the struggle of daily life, and you must choose moment by moment!  Jeremiah 13.10 and John 16.33

 

The Beginning of Philosophy

It began with a lie.

Eve believed the serpent’s deception that she could be god.  Genesis 3.1-5.

It was an easy transition: opened eyes led to knowing evil and good led to deciding which was better led to rationalizing evil led to calling God a liar for not agreeing with her.

Life became ‘relative’ with the end being increasing degeneration/devolution.

Adam and Eve knew the perfection of good in the Garden – beauty, abundance, innocence, harmony, and walks with God Himself! 

Before the lie, their minds chose the spirit because that’s all they knew.  Philippians 4.8.

After the lie, their minds chose the body and the consequences of loss of ‘paradise’, struggle against satan for food, difficult birth of children, and sibling rivalry leading to murder and more lying. 

James 3.16.

satan constructed a philosophy through words of lie.  Eve bought into it.

Like the fish in the story, the lie grows with new variants of philosophy.  This is relativism. 

But it still is a lie.  Ephesians 4.14.

 

Characteristics of a Lie/Philosophy

Colossians 2.8 says that philosophy is ‘empty deception’. 

How are the items listed in Colossians 3.5-6 and 8-9 empty deceptions?

Colossians 2.8 says that philosophy is ‘tradition of men’. 

How is the groups listed in Colossians 3.11 the tradition of men?

Colossians 2.8 says that philosophy is ‘elementary principles of the world’. 

How is the items listed in Colossians 2.21 elementary principles of the world?

Philosophy weakens people, thereby nations, because it is comprised of satan’s weapons:

force,       greed,           ambition,       selfishness, and        sexual pleasure.  Isaiah 14.12. 

These satisfy the body! 

satan keeps them in our eyes and ears as constant deceptions.

In its end, philosophy calls God a liar! 

It represents man’s decision to choose evil over good.

 

Philosophy Ends When Truth Arrives

Colossians 2.8 contrasts each of lie’s characteristics against the clause ‘not according to Christ’. 

Colossians 3.10–4.6     Matthew 5.1-7.29     John 8.31-32.

 

Why ‘according to Christ’?  He is the ‘truth’ against which all words are to be measured. 

John 3.33       John 8.45-47          John17.17       John 18.37

 

Based upon this, how much more time will you commit to Bible study? 

2 Timothy 3.16-17                 2 Peter 3.17-18. 

 

How can you at least balance the evil messages you receive with those that are good?

 

Why ‘according to Christ’? 

 

He has won the victory over philosophy for us;

John 16.33                 Romans 10.17             1 John 5.4

 

How much faith do you need to overcome the philosophies that surround you? 

Which specific verses contain that faith for you? 

When will you memorize them? 

How often will you repeat them?

 

Why ‘according to Christ’?  John 14.6. 

His words will judge us; John 12.46-50. 

How does Deuteronomy 18.19 add importance to these verses?

 

Why choose truth?              Proverbs 14.12 and Proverbs 4.23

Contemplate the following illustrations of these verses:

free v slave;    strong v weak;      absolute v relative;    

truth v philosophy.

Now, what will you do?

May 31, 2009 Secularization Covers Shame

Secularization Covers Shame

 

Last week, we began to look at the contexts for Christian apologetics today.  The recent advertisement frames this adequately: ‘this is not your daddy’s Oldsmobile.’  But whereas technology has improved our standard of living, factors have converged to devolve the social fabric in which we live.  Understanding these factors is necessary before we can strategize and implement changes to bring America back to God.

 

Americans have lost their shame, their reason, and their meaning.  satan has used his weapons effectively, even among Christian families. 

Force, ambition, greed, selfishness, and sexual pleasure are the fare of news stories and of primetime television, influencing the behavior of young and old alike. 1 John 2.15-17

 

It began with ‘the lie’ and continues unabated.

          ‘Has God really said…’ was satan’s lure to appeal to Eve’s ambition, which led her, eventually, to call God a liar.  Note her downward spiral: eyes opened led to knowing good and evil led to making her own decision led to rationalization led to calling God a liar (because He did not agree with her; Genesis 3.1-6).

          Solomon believed the lie, too, and lost his salvation.  Consider the following sequence of events.  The lie led to making decisions without God, exploring evil, and acting ‘politically correct’.

            Scholars say Solomon was 18 when he ascended to David’s throne in 1015 BC.  He was the youngest of the sons born to David.  He ruled until 975 BC, 40 years. 

            He compiled the Proverbs in 1000 BC and wrote Ecclesiastes 23 years later, in 977 BC, two years before his death.  How could the wisdom of the 33 year-old king devolve into the pleasure-seeker of 56?  Some mid-life crisis!

            Scholars speculate that his first wife was Abishag, the most beautiful virgin in Israel, who had kept King David warm during the last days of his life.  She is the Shulemite (Shunemmite) of the Song of Solomon, written in 1014 BC.

            In total, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines! (1 Kings 11.3)  Why so many? 

1 Kings 3.1 explains that Solomon made a treaty with Egypt’s Pharaoh and sealed it by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter.  He did this with many other nations because Israel was a world power after David’s reign (blessed by God).

            Whether Solomon or other monarchs sought these treaties is not the question.  The question is why did Solomon disobey God’s law about marrying outside the faith?  See Exodus 34.15-16 and Deuteronomy 7.3-4.

            Not only so, but 1 Kings 3.2-4 tells us that Solomon and Israel had adopted the custom of the nations to worship on the highest point of the land, so their prayers would be closer to God.  See Deuteronomy 12.29-31.

            The irony of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple (in 1005 BC; 1 Kings 8.25; since he had begun marrying foreign wives and was worshipping at the ‘high places’) is the irony of us holding onto our pet sins while worshipping God each day.

            As He does with us, God tried to dissuade Solomon from the sins that were driving the wedge of separation between them.  In 1 Kings 9.1-9, God reminds Solomon of His righteous standard and warns him of the consequences of disobedience.  The year is 992 BC, and Solomon is probably in the midst of the explorations he describes in Ecclesiastes.  Note his wealth in 1 Kings 10.14-29.  Is verse 14 God’s commentary and like Paul’s equivalent 1Timothy 6.9-10?

            Despite God’s warning, probably repeated but unrecorded, Solomon ‘loved many foreign women’ (1 Kings 11.1-11) and nurtured the worship of their gods.

          Solomon’s heart turned away from God, and the nation suffered (1 Kings 11.14).  Solomon had been deceived by satan from the first rule of kings (and parents and all in leadership):

1 Kings 10.9: ‘maintain justice and righteousness’.  So, the nation was weakened (Isaiah 14.12) and divided (1 Kings 11.35-36), and Solomon died (verse 43).

          Through deception, satan was able to re-establish the gods that Israel had driven out of The Promised Land; 1Kings 11.5-8, 33. This was the legacy of Solomon: one leader undid the work of God through many of his predecessors. Pluralism continues it plague.

 

 

Truth exposes the lie!

          If only Solomon had remembered Proverbs 14.34!  It is explained in Hosea 14.9.  How does this help you to understand John 12.47-48?

          Solomon had forgotten to practice Deuteronomy 6.3-9.  He, even, forgot the song he had penned; Psalm 127.1.

          Solomon had listened to satan’s voice, within and/or through trusted advisors, to seek protection through alliances with satan, to rationalize this as necessary to protect the nation (thus doing a better job than God), and to enjoy the pleasures that satan provides.  Sound familiar?

          Sounds like ‘philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ’ ( Colossians 2.8).  Paul admonishes us to beware of the lie and to expose it by the light of the truth (verses 9-10, John 14.6).

          Solomon lost his shame with his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter.  His shameless behavior only increased, as revealed by his sexual appetite, his exploration of foreign gods

(Jeremiah 13.10), and his Ecclesiastes.

          Our secular society bids us follow their relative system (2 Timothy 3.1-6).  We dare not!!!  God has set an absolute standard that is best.  See John 8.31-32.    Remember the following: Deuteronomy 30.15; Joshua 24.15; 1 Kings 18.21.

 

Praise God!!!

May 24, 2009 Contexts for Christian Apologetics

Contexts for Christian Apologetics

What changed? The society in which I grew up is not the same society of today. Business no longer stops at noon on Wednesday so people can prepare for church that evening. In fact, businesses even now grub for every dollar on Sundays. Schools used to teach and measure reading, writing, and arithmetic. Now, more students must take remedial courses during their freshman year in college because their learning shifted in elementary and secondary education to tolerance and good feelings.

What will the world be like when my grand children are grown?

What has caused this change anyway?

Can it be reversed?

Where will it end?

People have been deceived out of some fundamentals of life: shame, reason, and meaning.

  • Listen to the Apostle Paul’s description of life in our day from 2 Timothy 3.1-9. What loss of shame, reason, and meaning do you identify?
  • Was Paul writing about his observations of society? Or, was he warning Timothy of things to come?
  • We can see these throughout history, illustrated in the following, beginning with Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3.5 shows clearly the steps of letting go of God’s hand in life.
    • ‘Your eyes will be opened’ resulted in their recognition of nudity (verse 7).
    • This led them know ‘good and evil’. Thus, they learned to question God’s pronouncements. Jeremiah 13.10 says such disdain leads to the pursuit of evil.
    • This led their children to tell God, ‘I can do it myself!’ Examine the consequences of one illustration; Joshua 9.14-15 resulted in 2 Samuel 21.1-14.
    • Without a compass, children interpret God’s word to rationalize their behavior. Notice how Eve added, in verse 3, to God’s instruction in Genesis 2.17. Examine Jeremiah 2.11-13, 17, 19; Jeremiah 4.18; and Isaiah 47.10.
    • Rationalizing behavior led the children to conclude that God is a liar because He does not agree with me. Eve and Adam believed the serpent’s lie to ‘be like God’ (Genesis 3.5).
    • Now, look at the mess we are in! No shame; no reason; no meaning!
  • You can read the same in Moses’ warning to the Hebrews in Deuteronomy 8.7-17, in Absalom’s rebellion against David in 2 Samuel 15.1-6, in Solomon’s lust for sex in 1 Kings 11.1-11, in the Pharisees’ lust for power in John 11.45-48, and in Paul’s encounter with seekers in Athens, Greece, in Acts 17.16-21.

So, how have people lost shame, reason, and meaning? By pursuing the philosophies and traditions of men, which are founded upon the basic principles of the world (Colossians 2.8). The present world-system is organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure (Scofield’s note to Revelation 20.10). In coming weeks, we will consider secularization, pluralization, and privatization as environments against Christianity.

How can we change the world for the better? Jesus! Colossians 2.9-10

May 10, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

 

What impact did Easter have on your week?  How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?  What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?  Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection. (See complete lesson notes at www.sozoclass.com.)

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

  • They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus.
  • They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles.
  • They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went.

 

  • They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out.
    • People follow leaders; for example, Oprah and Buffett and Choptra.  These present popular ideas that answer questions to guide thinking.  Consider these cautions, however: Matthew 15.11, Jeremiah 8.9 and Jeremiah 13.10, Hosea 4.6, and Romans 6.16.  Jesus contrasted truth from lie in Matthew 7.13-14 and John 14.6.
    • Our job is ‘search and rescue’.  Jesus called Paul to retrieve the deceived from satan’s kingdom (Acts 26.16-18 and Ephesians 4.17-24 and Colossians 2.8-9).  These instructions are for us, too.
    • Note what Jesus said in Matthew 28.19-20.  Making disciples, essentially, is ‘making’ people into the image of Christ, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 3.18.  A disciple follows a discipline established by the teacher or master, like is described in Matthew 10.7-8. Notice that the challenge is to make disciples of ‘all the nations’, as Jesus repeated in Acts 1.8.  Finally, God would achieve His goal of Exodus 19.6.  Paul restated this in 2 Corinthians 5.20-21.
    • The Holy Spirit crosses our paths with those He is seeking (Isaiah 55.5).  He did this dramatically with Peter and John in Acts 3.1-26.  Faith in the name ‘Jesus’ had healed the paralytic.  The sight of him now walking drew the curious with questions.  Peter answered as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.7-8.  See Acts 4.12 also.
    • Signs and wonders convince people of the superiority of Jesus over the demons they have followed. See Acts 2.43 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. 
    • Again, in Matthew 28.19, Jesus said to baptize the disciples ‘into’ the ‘name’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  One ‘name’ – Jesus (John 17.6, 11-12) – God’s name!  ‘Into’ is best described by Jesus in John 17.20-23; Jesus ‘in’ God and us ‘in’ Jesus; us in God and God in us!  (Light through us into the dark world.) 
    • Baptize is an interesting word, with a deeper meaning than the traditions of most Christian denominations.  ‘Baptizing’ is baptizo, not bapto (Greek); that is, soaking thoroughly, not just washing the outside.  To illustrate, you wash a cucumber to get the dirt off; it becomes a pickle only by being left in vinegar until permeated.  Acts 19.1-7 explains this by illustration. 
    • People would be ‘soaked’ ‘into’ the ‘name’ by being taught to ‘observe to do’ everything Jesus had taught the disciples to do and teach.  Read all of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds to understand what we are to teach by word and deed.  By such, the ‘sheep’ Jesus assigns to us are fed, do not fear, are not dismayed, and will not lack (Jeremiah 23.4).  Like us, they grow from being sheep to becoming shepherds of new sheep.  All of this by imitating Jesus; 2 Corinthians 3.16.
    • The inward change is seen in outward manifestations; see Acts 3.16 and Acts 4.12 and Acts 10.38.  Each generation of new Christians, thus, confirms the connection of Exodus 34.10 to John 15.24 to John 17.18.  And, God continues to be magnified!  See Colossians 3.16-17 and Ephesians 3.20-21.

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

How can I let Jesus live through me?  See John 5.19-20 and Colossians 2.6-10.

May 3, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week?

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

Exodus 34.10     John 15.24     Acts 2.22

Matthew 10.7-8  John 17.18     Acts 26.16-18

Acts 2.32-36       Acts 17.30-31

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus;

Luke 24.44-53        John 14.26

 

They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles;

John 20.30–John 21.25    Mark 1.16-18    John 21.22

2Corinthians 15.7                1Corinthians 13.11              Jeremiah 29.11

 

They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went;

Matthew 28.18, 20      Mark 16.20            1 Corinthians 2.4-5

Jeremiah 45.5          Acts 1.8                     Mark 16.17-18, 20

Acts 10.38                 Matthew 10.7-8       Luke 10.17

Luke 4.17-21            Isaiah 16.1-3            Ephesians 2.10

John 17.18                John 5.19-20 Acts 2.22

Philippians 2.11       1Corinthians 2.4-5

 

They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out;

Matthew 28.18-20      Acts 4.12          Acts 10.38

Mark 16.17-18          Exodus 34.10    John 15.24

2Corinthians 3.18        Exodus 19.6          2Corinthians 5.20

John 17.6, 11-12, 20-23                             Jeremiah 23.4

Acts 3.16                   Acts 4.12                   Acts 10.38

Ephesians 3.21         Colossians 3.16-17

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

Do I realize each of these things, as the disciples of Jesus did?

How can my faith be strengthened by the resurrection? 

Ephesians 1.19-21               Ephesians 3.20-21

 

How can I keep from charging off in my strength or following someone else?

Isaiah 26.3, 12                  Isaiah 64.4

 

What ‘signs’ accompany my words?

Colossians 3.16-17, 23-24      Jeremiah 32.27

 

How can I let Jesus live through me? 

Acts 2.22              John 5.19-20

April 26, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection (cont’d)

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week?

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities?

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were?

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

 

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

Exodus 34.10     John 15.24     Acts 2.22

Matthew 10.7-8  John 17.18     Acts 26.16-18

Acts 2.32-36       Acts 17.30-31

 

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus;

Luke 24.44-53        John 14.26

 

They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles;

John 20.30–John 21.25    Mark 1.16-18    John 21.22

 

They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went;

Matthew 28.18, 20      Mark 16.20    1 Corinthians 2.4-5

 

They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out;

Matthew 28.19-20      Acts 4.12          Acts 10.38

Mark 16.17-18          Exodus 34.10    John 15.24

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion:

Do I realize each of these things, as the disciples of Jesus did?

How can my faith be strengthened by the resurrection? 

Ephesians 1.19-21               Ephesians 3.20-21

 

Do I wait for the Lord or charge off in my strength or follow someone else?

Isaiah 26.3, 12                  Isaiah 64.4

 

What ‘signs’ accompany my words?

Colossians 3.16-17, 23-24      Jeremiah 32.27

 

How can I let Jesus live through me? 

Acts 2.22              John 5.19-20

April 19, 2009 Impact Of The Resurrection

Impact of the Resurrection

What impact did Easter have on your week? 

How did it change your perspectives of life and activities? 

What changes did Jesus’ death for your sin and His resurrection make in the environment where you were? 

Let’s look at how these events changed the disciples who followed Jesus on Earth and before Pentecost.

God’s miraculous sign in the resurrection

The disciples became more confident after Jesus’ resurrection.

  • They realized that every other word from God was true, for He had resurrected Jesus; see Luke 24.44-53.  Jesus ‘opened their understanding’ of the Scriptures; verse 45.  He encouraged them to await expectantly the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower them (and us) for service; verse 49 and John 14.26.
  • They realized that their lives had been forever changed and so must their lifestyles.
    • See John 20.30-21.25.  There is no uncertainty when God leads; walk with confidence!  Jesus’ dialogue with Peter reminded him of His original call; see Mark 1.16-18.  Jesus’ words to Peter about His task for John remind us to keep our eyes focused upon Him, to fulfill His purpose individually; see John 21.22.
    • Change means we cannot go back.  Illustrations in life include joining the military, getting married, and having children.  In 2 Corinthians 5.17, Paul proclaims that we are ‘new creations’ when we accept Jesus as Savior.  In 1 Corinthians 13.11, he infers that we must ‘put away childish things’ and make Jesus Lord.
    • Such iterations of life are working out God’s plan for our lives; see Jeremiah 29.11.
  • They realized that they would have Jesus’ power wherever they went.
    • What gives you confidence?  Money in the bank; knowledge of facts and truth; superior position; close walk with Jesus.
      • See Matthew 28.18 and 20.  Jesus said that He had been given all authority and that He would be with them until the end of time.  Authority trumps power every time.  ‘Authority’ is with us wherever we go.  See God’s promise to Baruch in Jeremiah 45.5 and be strengthened to fulfill Acts 1.8!
    • In Mark 16.20, John reminds us of this reality and ‘authority’ of Jesus with us until the end of the age.  Jesus, actually, does the ‘work’ of the ‘word’ (Jesus) that He commissioned in verses 17-18.  Jesus said this would be His work, in Luke 4.17-21 (see Isaiah 61.1-3).
    • Remember that these ‘good works’ (Ephesians 2.10) were done by Jesus (Acts 10.38) and the Apostles (Matthew 10.7-8; Luke 10.17) and given for us to do (John 17.18).  How do John 5.19-20 and Acts 2.22 add to your understanding of this?
    • Jesus’ power would do the work through them to confirm His name by ‘accompanying signs’.  Paul’s confidence in this is expressed in Philippians 2.11 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5.  This should be our declaration and lifestyle, too.  See Acts 3.6, 16, and Acts 4.12; 2 Kings 5.3 also.
  • They realized that they would be changing people from the inside out.
    • People follow leaders; for example, Oprah and Buffett and Choptra.  These present popular ideas that answer questions to guide thinking.  Consider these cautions, however: Matthew 15.11, Jeremiah 8.9 and Jeremiah 13.10, Hosea 4.6, and Romans 6.16.  Jesus contrasted truth from lie in Matthew 7.13-14 and John 14.6.
    • Our job is ‘search and rescue’.  Jesus called Paul to retrieve the deceived from satan’s kingdom (Acts 26.16-18 and Ephesians 4.17-24 and Colossians 2.8-9).  These instructions are for us, too.
    • Note what Jesus said in Matthew 28.19-20.  Making disciples, essentially, is ‘making’ people into the image of Christ, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 3.18.  A disciple follows a discipline established by the teacher or master, like is described in Matthew 10.7-8. Notice that the challenge is to make disciples of ‘all the nations’, as Jesus repeated in Acts 1.8.  Finally, God would achieve His goal of Exodus 19.6.  Paul restated this in 2 Corinthians 5.20-21.
    • The Holy Spirit crosses our paths with those He is seeking (Isaiah 55.5).  He did this dramatically with Peter and John in Acts 3.1-26.  Faith in the name ‘Jesus’ had healed the paralytic.  The sight of him now walking drew the curious with questions.  Peter answered as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.7-8.  See Acts 4.12 also.
    • Signs and wonders convince people of the superiority of Jesus over the demons they have followed. See Acts 2.43 and 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. 
    • Again, in Matthew 28.19, Jesus said to baptize the disciples ‘into’ the ‘name’ of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  One ‘name’ – Jesus (John 17.6, 11-12) – God’s name!  ‘Into’ is best described by Jesus in John 17.20-23; Jesus ‘in’ God and us ‘in’ Jesus; us in God and God in us!  (Light through us into the dark world.) 
    • Baptize is an interesting word, with a deeper meaning than the traditions of most Christian denominations.  Baptizing’ is baptizo, not bapto (Greek); that is, soaking thoroughly, not just washing the outside.  To illustrate, you wash a cucumber to get the dirt off; it becomes a pickle only by being left in vinegar until permeated.  Acts 19.1-7 explains this by illustration. 
    • People would be ‘soaked’ ‘into’ the ‘name’ by being taught to ‘observe to do’ everything Jesus had taught the disciples to do and teach.  Read all of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ words and deeds to understand what we are to teach by word and deed.  By such, the ‘sheep’ Jesus assigns to us are fed, do not fear, are not dismayed, and will not lack (Jeremiah 23.4).  Like us, they grow from being sheep to becoming shepherds of new sheep.  All of this by imitating Jesus; 2 Corinthians 3.16.
    • The inward change is seen in outward manifestations; see Acts 3.16 and Acts 4.12 and Acts 10.38.  Each generation of new Christians, thus, confirms the connection of Exodus 34.10 to John 15.24 to John 17.18.  And, God continues to be magnified!  See Colossians 3.16-17 and Ephesians 3.20-21.

 

Questions for contemplation and discussion: