Archive for the ‘ Apologetics ’ Category

VerseD: 2 Corinthians 10:5

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

All we have against God are lame excuses and our own ideas. Therefore, we conform our thoughts and base our reasoning on the Word of God.

Topical message: The God Who … Slays?

If you are unable to attend a church at this time, may this short message help get you through. Obviously, it is preferable to get together to sing praises, pray, read Scripture, and hear the Word preached.

Regardless, may this message be a blessing to you in some way.

Topical Message: The God Who … Slays?

I guess we can consider this part two of the C-19 response series.

Last time we looked at whether the church staying apart during something like a pandemic is biblically okay. (Basically, yes, though far from ideal.)

This time, I am going to tackle one of those difficult questions: Does God send various calamities – such as C-19, locusts, earthquakes, and famines – against people, nations, and various groups?

There are two passages to consider.

The first is found in Luke 13:1-5:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The other passage is Amos 4:6-10:

“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord. “I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

“I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord. “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

So, what do these two passages tell us?

  1. Sometimes people really deserve what they get! But they do not always get what they deserve, at least in this life;
  2. And sometimes God does send war, famine, pestilence, and pain as judgment.

We should talk about this.

Let’s start with that second point: God sending these things. We see through Amos and the other Old Testament accounts that God sent the plagues on Egypt (Amos 4:10), and we know long before that He sent the flood waters in the time of Noah. Further, we get to the Revelation at the end of the Bible, and we see that God’s wrath is literally poured out on the entire Earth because they have rejected God.

And of course, we see the highlight of the whole Bible, when God’s wrath was poured out on the Man on the cross. This points back to the first point: people do not always get what they deserve. As Christians, we appreciate this, because we know that humanity deserves God’s wrath and judgment. Yet, we do not get what we deserve thanks to God’s grace poured out to us through the cross.

But what about the rest of the world?

In the Luke passage, we see that Pontius Pilate deserved punishment from God by mixing the blood of Galileans in with the sacrifices. Yet, he lived much of his life in relative comfort. Conversely, those Galileans and the eighteen killed by the tower falling did not necessarily do anything wrong.

This brings up two other quick points:

  1. Is it so bad to die? If we are true followers of Christ, no! As Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10:
    For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
    So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

    So, for those apart from Christ, it is bad to die, because they still face judgment and wrath. But we Christians await judgment and glory with Christ.

    And, we must also recognize, God is our Creator. As Romans 9 reminds us, who are we to question the Potter? Just as we may create something – say, a bowl – and then throw it away later, why can’t our Creator do the same? Compared to God, we are nothing: clay. Yet, He still chooses to save us or let us reject Him. Which leads to …
  2. The other point is that God may not directly send these things, but He does allow them.

Make no mistake. God is still in complete control. He lets natural processes play out. And we may ask why, because, if He is all-powerful (omnipotent), then He can stop these things from happening.

But as I have said numerous times, if people keep saying they want nothing to do with God, that they push Him away and call Him evil, why should He stop these things or protect them from these things? We know God can control illnesses (Plagues in Egypt, Exodus 7-12), the movements of the Earth (see Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16) and the weather (Noah’s flood in Genesis 6-9 and Elijah’s praying for rain in 1 Kings 17-18), and even the Sun’s motion (Joshua 10). He can stop these things from happening or getting worse, but the majority of the world’s population says, “We don’t need you!” Then they blame Him for those things!

So, now that we know God does send some things and allows others, how do we respond?

We can blame God for all the problems in this world and fear what will happen to us in this life. And then the life to come.

Or we can remember that we live in a rebellious world, fallen into chaos because of our own (collective) sin, and that God is still in control. It is not pleasant to suffer, and I will not judge anyone for fearing that suffering. But we can rest in the hope that the One who suffered for our sins on the cross has promised He is coming again, and we will be with Him in comfort and joy for all eternity.

Therefore, believe that Jesus was the perfect man and Son of God, who saw us in our sin and rebellion but came to offer us grace and forgiveness by dying on the cross for our forgiveness of sin, that He rose again to life, and that He now sits at the right hand of the Father until He comes again. Then, you can know you will escape the final judgment of the Earth.

VerseD: 2 Corinthians 10:5

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV

The world tries to argue against God, but their arguments tend to be contradictory, circular, or ignorant.
This is why we must know what we believe, based on Scripture and what the evidence truly points to, helped by the Holy Spirit.

Video Lesson: What About Those Who've Never Heard?

Especially when hard times hit – such as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – people begin asking difficult questions about God, the Church, and our world.

Here are some questions to ask ourselves:

Has anyone ever ignored me? How did it feel?

What if I had something very important to say, but they still would not listen?

Am I patient enough to keep trying, or do I figure “They don’t want to listen anyway, so why bother?”

Now, to the big question of the day:

Why would God send people to Hell who have never heard the gospel? What happens to those who have never heard?

“The heavens declare the glory of God …” – Psalm 19:1

The rest of Psalm 19 speaks to all of Creation crying out “There is a God! He is powerful! Seek Him!”

Likewise, Paul tells us in Romans that:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:18-21, ESV

People are without excuse. All of Creation declares there is a God who exists, but people choose to ignore Him.

But still, not all people have heard the Gospel, so what about them?

Well, we see from passages such as Acts 10, when Cornelius has a dream to go talk to Peter, and Peter himself has a vision from God. The two talk, and Cornelius comes to salvation in Christ.

Likewise, Mary and Joseph had visions and dreams, as did the Patriarchs (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) as well as so many others throughout our Old Testament. Even today we hear reports of people around the world who had dreams of Jesus saying “Go talk to this person” or “You will meet someone who will tell of you me.” I have even met some of them, during my time in Morocco in 2005!

It also seems that some people flat out reject God. Look at Joshua 2:9-11, when Rahab tells the Israelite spies that the people in the land know what their God did to the Egyptian army and how He parted the Red Sea, and they were terrified. Yet, they did not choose to believe in this God, rather they wanted to get rid of Israel and ignore their God!

We know God is omniscient. He knows our hearts and our minds. He knows how we will react in any and every circumstance. Including how we will respond to His message of the cross.

If you were ignored, you probably would not want to talk too much with those people.

If God knows people will reject Him regardless of the evidence, the call, and the need, why should He call out to them by sending His Church to share the Gospel message?

And yet, we live in the age of the internet, printed Bibles, and apps that can connect us like never before to God’s truth.

They are without excuse.

So what happens to those who have never heard the Gospel?

They have already rejected God in their hearts.

Therefore, do not turn from God, but make sure you have received the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Do your part to tell others the good news of His live, death, and resurrection for their redemption, as well.

Will you share the gospel with those who may not have heard?

Too Edgy

I am doing a short series! We are going through some of the sayings of Jesus that can be … confusing … difficult … misapplied … whatever!

What does this mean? I will look at passages that I have personally heard misapplied, misunderstood, or simply confusion expressed over what Jesus meant.

Three weeks we looked at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Two weeks ago we looked at Jesus saying Christians should be perfect.

One of these appeared on The Domain for Truth to help out SlimJim with some coverage of his blog while he travels. (No judging me, now. I shared it here on this blog!)

Now, what is our next passage? (Maybe you already have an idea based on the title.)

Two swords? What about peace?

And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”
Luke 22:35-38, ESV

Okay. What’s up here? Was it not Jesus who said we should avoid violence, turning the other cheek and whatnot?

Perhaps now you see why some people struggle with understanding the Bible. Maybe you are one of those people.

What was Mr. Peace-Nick Godman getting at?

Firstly, let us remember Jesus’ own words:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:34

It would be very easy to take this out of context, so how about we take a look at that context to understand better what Jesus meant about bringing a sword:

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:32-39, ESV

So, we know that Jesus will divide families, friends, and communities, but this is definitely a figurative sword. We are to love God so much that it is as of we hate our family and friends in comparison. (But we love them all the more through God’s love!)

Perhaps we need to keep in mind that we are to defend the weak and defenseless. This is perhaps the most applicable literal sense of having a sword. Sure, self-defense may be a part of it, too, but probably defending others is more accurate.

We also need to consider the other meaning Jesus may have had:

and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Ephesians 6:17

We know that the Word of God is often referenced as a sword (Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16, 2:12, 19:15), so this definitely far from being outside of the realm of possibility.

However, we also must remember what He said in Luke 22:37 above, that the scripture must be fulfilled that He was numbered with the transgressors.

Obviously, this points to being hung on a cross between two criminals, but I offer one other possibility (from Jesus’ arrest):

And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant[h] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Luke 22:49-53, ESV

You can probably imagine the Apostles’ thoughts: “He said have swords, so now that He is about to be arrested, is this the time He finally overthrows the leaders and takes control?”

But Jesus also hints that at this moment it appears He is already being considered counted among transgressors, as a conquering king raising an insurrection. It is made more likely an assertion with Peter striking Malchus’ ear off. (See John 18:10)

I would even argue that all of these are the reasons Jesus said to get a sword to the Twelve (well … Eleven).

Jesus must be numbered as one guilty of raising a rebellion.

But for us …

Defend the weak and powerless.

Be prepared to share the Word of God.

Be prepared to be numbered with Jesus.

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Essene and Heard


I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 7: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
    • Sadducees – The compromised
    • Essenes – The Preservation of Scripture
      • Mainly felt like they had to separate from corrupt society.
        • Essentially lived in communes (Yeah, kinda like hippies, but also very little like hippies.)
        • Not completely absent: Still had people living in town
          • Could help with supply runs, news of events, keep tabs on society.
        • Their main goal was the preservation of the Torah, other important writings, and godliness.
          • Think of Qumran, the place of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were those people!
      • Messiah – Oh, he was coming soon!
        • Probably understood better than most what the Messiah was going to be like, expecting more of a great religious leader.
          • Most closely associated with Pre-Millennialism today.
          • Most likely played a large role in creating copies of the gospels and letters of the New Testament.
          • Probably disappeared as a sect because most believed their Messiah had come and obeyed the Great Commission
      • See Mark 14:12-16: Was this man possibly an Essene disciple that Jesus planned with to avoid confrontation with the Pharisees and Sadducees? (Also, people living in Jerusalem were required to share space with pilgrims during the Passover, so it could just be some “random guy” and Jesus used foreknowledge to tell Peter and John what to look for.)
      • Modern comparisons:
        • Obviously Monks, much of the Catholic priesthood and nuns
        • Many evangelical churches/denominations obviously fit this description of being largely separated from though still amongst society.
        • Some mainline denominations match up, especially those that have split over compromises with society
          • i.e. Anglican Church North America splitting from the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada (the breaking straw being the ordination of practicing homosexuals and allowing for gay marriage)
        • Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches and the like
          • Obviously more extreme, being King James Only-ists: all other translations/versions are satanic and lead to corruption.
          • The most extreme examples of this would be Westboro Baptist Church (basically the Phelps family) and its spiritual successor Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ (pastored by Steven Anderson)
        • For a different extreme:
        • New Apostolic Reformation and other ultra-/super-charismatic churches and movements
          • Yes, they are under this list, too. Stay tuned for more!
          • They definitely separate themselves out as different.
            • The Seven Mountain Mandate demands they work toward “reclaiming” the seven major areas of society until the whole world is under Christ’s authority. So, separate but only in how they do things.
          • Also copy scripture, but typically by making drastic changes.
            • The most recent example is probably The Passion Translation. It is not really a translation, more of an untrustworthy paraphrase that makes some drastic changes. (Still in progress: only has the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, and the New Testament.)
        • Most cults that separate and add to Scripture
          • These are the crazy people who obviously get brainwashed/do the brainwashing and often lead to dangerous and even deadly practices.



Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Sad Realities

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 6: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
    • Sadducees – The compromised
      • Basically only used the Torah/Five Books of Moses
      • Messiah – Essentially, did not care
        • Maybe it was a real person, maybe it was Israel, maybe it was whoever was in charge.
          • The government could handle everything.
          • As long as they were in charge, more or less, of what the people believed, they were okay.
      • Resurrection?
        • Not a thing. This life is basically it.
        • Essentially, they were Deists
      • See Mark 12:18-27
      • Modern comparisons:
        • Much of this will come back up with Gnosticism
        • Functionally, atheists and agnostics, which leads to …
        • Science-ism – The belief that we can know/learn everything about the physical universe from science. No god needed.
        • Union Theological Seminary (ultra-left in every way)
        • Liberal denominations/churches – Spectrum, may be any to all of the following:
          • Inerrancy – Ideas/thoughts in the Bible are inerrant, if that
          • Lifestyle: Nothing inherently wrong with homosexuality, transgenderism, or most other ways of living (usually in committed, monogamous relationships … usually …)
          • Believe good people go to heaven. (For rebuttal, see Romans 3:23 and John 6:44-66 & 14:6)
          • God, if he or she exists, is all about love and freedom. Sin is at worst done away with, at best not real.
          • Science and the government are in essence more compelling than scripture, because our understanding has evolved over time. (Just like us)
        • New Apostolic Reformation and other ultra-/super-charismatic churches and movements
          • Yes, they are under this list, too. Watch the next two lists for Essenes and Zealots, as well!
          • We know more things from special revelation through modern apostles and prophets, even those who occasionally get it wrong.
            • Yes, even things that contradict Scripture.
          • Redeeming the things of the world and the occult for Christ.
            • Yes, even the things Scripture specifically calls wicked/evil/abominations
        • Many who attend church, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, or whatever. (So-called “Carnal Christians” and “Chreasters”, those who only attend on the holidays)
          • The people who attend church to be good, get that checkmark, or for family/friends, but they are just like anyone else who does not attend church.

Don’t Fear the Reaper

I am doing a short series! We are going through some of the sayings of Jesus that can be … confusing … difficult … misapplied … whatever!

What does this mean? I will look at passages that I have personally heard misapplied, misunderstood, or simply confusion expressed over what Jesus meant.

Also, one of these should be appearing on The Domain for Truth later this month to help out SlimJim with some coverage of his blog while he travels. (No worries. I will share it here on this blog when it happens!)

Two weeks we looked at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Last week we looked at Jesus saying Christians should be perfect.

Now, what is our next passage? (Maybe you already have an idea based on the title.)

Fear the One Who Gives a Damn

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:24-28, ESV

Firstly, thank you in advance for your forgiveness for my play on words, but it is appropriate. Because we are discussing the one who literally damns people to Hell.

Secondly, if you search the simple man of God posts, you will find strong evidence that I am a big fan of – not so much Blue Oyster Cult who sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, though I do appreciate their talent – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. That is the source of my quote for the title of this post.

Why do I like those movies?

I am a huge sci-fi nerd, and I also like making connections with the gospel. And, if you click on the titles of the movies up above you will see how I did that with these movies.

The connection today, though, is that our society has a tendency to misconstrue our fear of death.

Whether it is the personification of Death as the Grim Reaper or some other source, we are often told to have a fear of what is to come after this life if we are apart from Christ.

And the biggest source of fear that even many churches have preached?

Satan.

The Devil.

Lucifer.

Beelzebub.

Choose your name/title.

Perhaps you have heard people speaking of watching out that the Devil could drag you to Hell, or maybe that (like in Bogus Journey) the Grim Reaper will lead you either to Heaven or Hell.

Well, guess what. Neither of those are true in the least.

Firstly, we have two concepts of Hell that we need to deal with:

  1. The idea we have of a malevolent being taking us to a fiery (or frigid) place to be tormented comes largely from Norse mythology. We got a slight glimpse of this from Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok a couple of years ago, when Thor’s half-sister Hela appeared. This was a twisting of the original mythology, because Hel was really the one who was half dead/half alive (look it up, if you can stomach it) who was a trickster and liked to torment people in a place of rivers and fire.
  2. Christianity does have something that we expect to see that is similar yet also quite different:

    2 Peter 2:4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
    Jude 1:6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.

    When Peter said “hell” it was the Greek word “Hades”. The Hebrew equivalent is “Sheol”. So the current place we think of as Hell is a prison for fallen angels. (Think back to Genesis 6, those few verses before Noah is mentioned.)

    And secondly: Revelation 20:7-15 discusses that Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, Death, and Hades are all thrown into the Lake of Fire, the place of eternal torment. Oh, and it finishes with all those who are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life being thrown in, as well.

What does this mean?

Notice, the Devil is not dragging people into Hell. He, and many others, are thrown in. Either they are in chains now, or they are in the burning lake of fire in eternity.

Who does the throwing?

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10:29-33

The Lord Himself casts those who rebel against Him into eternal torment.

Therefore, when Proverbs says repeatedly something along the lines of “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge,” it is very literal.

We should begin with a fear (yes, a dread) of God, because we are sinners in need of forgiveness.

Then, our fear can turn to that respect and awe when we realize the Christ was sacrificed so that we could have that needed forgiveness. All we must do is repent (change our entire way of thinking) and believe. (And the Holy Spirit helps with these, too!)

Don’t fear the reaper. Or the Devil. Or anyone else.

Only fear God.

And I pray that fear leads to the knowledge of the Son of God and His work on the cross for your salvation.

Perfect Christian

I a doing a short series! We. are going through some of the sayings of Jesus that can be … confusing … difficult … misapplied … whatever!

What does this mean? I will look at passages that I have personally heard misapplied, misunderstood, or simply confusion expressed over what Jesus meant.

Also, one of these should be appearing on The Domain for Truth later this month to help out SlimJim with some coverage of his blog while he travels. (No worries. I will share it here on this blog when it happens!)

Last week we looked at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Now, what is our next passage? (Maybe you already have an idea based on the title.)

Being Perfect

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43‭-‬48, ESV

Okay. Be perfect as God is perfect.

That sounds impossible.

And, in essence, it is. We will never be completely perfect in this life.

We fail at loving our enemies.

In fact, we start out as enemies of God through our sin and rebellion.

But God knows what He is saying and doing.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14‭-‬21, ESV

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6, ESV

Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, transfers His perfection to us. We are weak and imperfect, but Christ’s perfection fills and replaces our weakness and imperfection so that we can be like our Father.

In other words, it Christ in us that is perfect.

We are being made perfect, to be fully realized at the resurrection, throughthis sanctification process of life in Christ as we continually seek Him.

So, how are we to be perfect as our heavenly Farher is perfect?

Love others as He loved us by allowing the Holy Spirit to work His love in us.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
1 Peter 1:14‭-‬19, ESV

Nothing New: The Church’s Foundation: Part 4: Legalists

I am currently the Youth Pastor for The Church Next Door in Prescott Valley, AZ. On Sunday, August 11, 2019, I took over teaching the adult Sunday School class (the foundation of why we learn from history) before the regular service. (If you find yourself in North Central Arizona, specifically the Prescott Valley area, come join in from 8:45 to 9:45 AM, and then stay for the singing and sermon at 10!)

The second and third lessons were combined in the post two weeks ago, with a look at when the Church was founded and the various forms of leadership Jesus dealt with. Previous was a look at how he rebuked those in leadership.

Again, here are my notes:

Nothing New: The Importance of Church History

Lesson 5: Christ and the Church’s Foundation – Modern Comparisons

The leadership in the time of Jesus included the entirely secular yet pagan Roman Empire, the hyper-religious Pharisees, the super-compromised Sadducees, the fastidious Essenes, and the rebellious Zealots.

Briefly, how do we see nothing new in our leadership?

Modern comparisons:

  • The Divided leadership (remember that there can be bleed-over from group to group):
    • Pharisees – Got a lot right, but added a lot.
      • Legalism – Follow our rules our way, or you are a heathen
        • Matthew 15:1-9 (quoting Isaiah 29:13)
        • Colossians 2:4-10
      • Expected a Messiah to come, but they were willing to work with the government.
        • Many expected two messiahs: conquering king and reforming high priest
          • Think Ezra and Nehemiah as precursors
      • Very similar to Post-millennial Christians and wanting the religious leadership in charge.
      • Modern equivalents: Roman Catholic, some Lutheran, believers in “Federal Vision” (the Church runs the government), New Apostolic Reformation and their 7 Hills/Mountains