Posts Tagged ‘ Jesus ’

Versed: John 3:18

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:18, ESV

Denying Christ leaves you under God’s wrath. Only through faith in Christ, the Son of the living God who took on the Father’s wrath in our place, are we freed from that condemnation.

Now and always.

VerseD: Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20, ESV

Have you been crucified with Christ? Is your life all about the One who loved you and gave His life for you?

As a Christian, we are called to show and share that love and sacrifice with this world. (Not just pastors!)

VerseD: Romans 10:9

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9, ESV

There is no other way to God but through Jesus.

You must believe in Him. Barring a few exceptions, you must confess this truth. Without these, you are still in your sins and separated from Him.

VerseD: Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23, ESV

We all have sinned and deserve God’s wrath and separation from Him.

Thanks to Jesus, we are shown grace and forgiveness to eternal life.

The Church: What is it?

“I do not need a church. I can worship on my own.”

So, say … many people. But what is the Church? 

There does seem to be some confusion about what church is. Whether we feel like we do not need to attend a church (because we are each the temple of the Holy Spirit of God – which is true) or that the church should be meeting our needs (which, to a point is true) or that we have been wronged by the Church (read the two letters to the Corinthians as well as Galatians. Paul understands!), there are many grievances people have about the Church. 

However, these come from misunderstandings about the Church.  

Likewise, some people assume the Church should be making all the calls about society. While this is technically true, we have plenty of historical evidence to show how this should not be done. (Look at much of the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to see how the Roman Catholic Church and other church-led states messed that up.) Yet, people still think the Church should simply lead government. The US was built on seeing how governments led by religion can mess up societies and religions. Hence the separation of Church and State (to be discussed in greater detail another time!) 

This is a good time to address the other issue: that religion/the Church only made things worse. Again, these are largely based on misunderstandings. 

So, what does the Bible say the Church is? (This will not be an exhaustive survey!)

Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 16:16-18, ESV

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20, ESV

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Ephesians 3:1-12, ESV

These explain pointedly that the Church is to spread the truth of Christ.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 18:15-20, ESV (as well as much of 1 Corinthians, especially chs. 5-6 (5:12-6:11))

The Church is meant to rout sin and hold each other accountable; that we judge each other within the Church based on God’s Word, and lovingly call each other to account and uphold justice. Why?

1 Corinthians 3 tells us we are individually and collectively the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells. Not a building, per se. And as Hebrews 10:19-25 reminds us, we meet together to ensure we remain strong in the faith, we have the true gospel, and can encourage each other through troubles and into good works. Such that …

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

James 5:12-20, ESV

The Church is for confession, prayer, and anointing – the calling of sinners to repentance, praying for healing and repentance, and anointing for healing and ministry. 

Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 2:10, 6:9-10

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27

The Church is to take care of the poor, widows, and orphans. First within the Church, so world may see how we care for family, then in the world, so they may see we love all people.

In summary: 

The Church is the temple of God – the people – who spread the Gospel, encourage each other through teachings, rebukes, confessions, prayer, and good works, and do good things for each other and the world. 

Nowhere in there does it say the Church is for making us feel good or giving us all that we desire in this life. (In fact, 2 Timothy says that these teachings are a sign of the End!) Instead, Philippians 2 reminds us to look to meeting others’ needs before our own, to share the same love Christ shared through the Cross. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think I should have mentioned something else? Comment below (or at the video) or e-mail us at Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

VerseD: Hebrews 12:2

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2, ESV

What is faith? Jesus is the source. Without the cross and resurrection, we have no basis for faith.

Christ’s faithfulness gives us faith.

Frosty Video Responses

A few weeks ago I uploaded the video and blog post about God proving His existence. Over on the YouTubes, I got my first internet troll!

Okay. Maybe he does not think he is a troll but actually doing some good atheist works by confronting us Christians.

Regardless, after a short dialogue, he made such a long response that I decided to respond here. I will put the entire discourse here so that perhaps we all could learn something and engage in meaningful dialogue.

This will be long …

frosted1030:
We don’t define evidence as you do. Or, in layman terms, your weak assertions don’t meet the standard quality of evidence required.


Response:

Firstly, thanks for commenting!

Secondly, I guess it really does matter how “evidence” is defined. I do wonder how you would define evidence. I agree that complexity does not necessarily lead to the conclusion of “creator”. An explosion certainly leads to complexity! I can concede order does not necessarily conclude intelligence. I have seen a river lay a neat pile of sticks and reeds all facing the same way and looking like a pile someone built.

But perhaps we are not considering historical evidence as real evidence? If so, that is a major fallacy. Without historical evidence, even the scientific method falls apart, because we have to rely on what we and others have recorded as evidence. Likewise, the field of archaeology is pointless, because we could never truly know what happened in the past. Why trust what others have written? Yet we do this all the time. We accept historical sources as evidence. Likewise, we have documents from people who claim to have interacted with someone who claimed He was the Creator God and said He would prove it by being killed and rise again. That in and of itself is not enough (look at all of the “faith healers” today who are really tricksters … we certainly agree on that, I am sure), but the Gospels meet the expectations of historical documentation and then far exceed them in many cases (largely in volume of manuscripts and consistency in content among the manuscripts. There is a video on the channel that briefly covers this.)

Maybe I misunderstood your assertion (for which I apologize if true), but some of your videos as well as your comment on this particular video lead me to that conclusion (and also assuming you watched the entire video.) Otherwise, is there evidence that could convince you? (Luke 16:29-31 serves as a reminder to us, though, that, no, no evidence will. But I and others are willing to have the dialogue!) Again, thanks for “stopping by!” I like a good discussion!

And now for the big response-o-rama:

frosty1030:
@a simple man of God “I guess it really does matter how “evidence” is defined. I do wonder how you would define evidence.” We define evidence, in this context, to be fact that supports or does not support a predictive model based on a specific definition. In this regard, the theist’s perpetual last ditch resort fallacy is removed (goalpost moving). This is why you will never see a specific definition for a deity with any quality. “

I guess, then, we have to discount the numerous prophecies made throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that said a specific person was coming and would do certain things. Further, Jesus made several predictions that He would be arrested, beaten, crucified, and rise again. This certainly qualifies as predictive and setting a specific definition. The facts that support this would be Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. That looks like what you asked for. No goalposts being moved, and throughout the Bible God gives us definitions of deity [there is only one (Exodus 20:2-3, Isaiah 37:16, 1 Timothy 1:17), creates and controls everything (Genesis 1, Colossians 1:16-17), knows everything (Isaiah 40:26, Jeremiah 17:10, Hebrews 4:12-13), source of morality (10 Commandments)]. But, having already read your entire response, I know this will not be good enough for you. I will get back to it …

An explosion certainly leads to complexity!” Careful with that strawman. We shall not be discussing cosmology without context.

Carefeul there! You are putting words in my mouth and creating the strawman. My only point is that any explosion causes anything that is ordered to become very complex by being spread out and made into a mess.

But perhaps we are not considering historical evidence as real evidence?” We do not consider fables (no matter how apparently accurate in small bits) as they fail to meet the base qualifications. This is an old apologist argument, pretending that you don’t understand that one inconsistency, fallacy, or inaccuracy is enough to demonstrate a fiction, not the other way around. If you doubt this methodology, do ask how many scientists have been put on the project of finding Neverland as there are fewer inconsistencies and more facts in Peter Pan then there are in your fables.

What is your evidence that the biblical stories are fables? The Bible has vast archaealogical evidence supporting much of the history it shares. In the past 20 years alone we have found evidence of David and Solomon and several of the kings who followed after them. Many people groups and settlements mentioned in the Bible were found specifically by following the Bible’s descriptions. Jesus is mentioned by several people outside of the Bible and Christianity.

As for the inconsistencies and facts, to which do you refer? I keep seeing and hearing the same tired examples that have been refuted time and again through the centuries. If you refuse to interact with those answers, that does not prove your point nor contradict our arguments. So, please offer examples rather resorting to the very things you accuse me of doing.

Likewise, the field of archaeology is pointless, because we could never truly know what happened in the past. Why trust what others have written?” A track record of consistency, and changing conclusions when the facts reveal better more verbose detail pointing to a different conclusion. Something theism can not do due to presuppositional fallacy.

Firstly, and again, where has the Christian message (as a whole, not merely some of us who have made mistakes or have gone off the rails in their attempts to defend the faith, such as people like Westboro Baptist Church or those who resort to overly-simplistic arguments) been inconsistent? I concede there have been people who have abused the name, and sometimes we make mistakes. We are sinful people. It is why we show grace to others, including atheists. (And I am sorry people attempt to lump all atheists together so that those like Lenin, who killed millions by his decrees, laws, and actions, are made the defacto representation of atheism.)

Secondly, I feel like you misunderstand presuppositionalism. Yes, some misrepresent it. However, how is saying “People think wrongly about foundational things, so it is helpful to reveal those wrong thoughts and fill in possible gaps” a fallacy? What is the point of education if not to correct incomplete and wrong knowledge?

Likewise, we have documents from people who claim to have interacted with someone who claimed He was the Creator God and said He would prove it by being killed and rise again.” First off, you sound like the guy standing there holding her purse full of bricks outside the women’s bathroom at a restaurant, six days later. The only difference is that you have been holding that purse for over two-thousand years. Face it, she ditched you.

The simple answer here is Jesus’ words from Luke 16:31: “If they do not hear Moses and Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

I am pretty sure that we all agree with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile …” He also said in that book that our faith and the gospel are foolishness to this world, which is why we need our minds corrected (regenerated) to be able to believe. We wait, but we were not given a purse with bricks but a command (Matthew 28:18-20) to share the news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and hope for the future glory.

Secondly, we have much earlier stories that say the same thing, yet you discount them, even though they were written in a time of illiteracy, when most stories were passed down “word of mouth.” Ever play telephone? Let’s look at one: Horus was born to Isis-Meri (became Mary), Foster father: Seb (called Jo-Seph) from royal ancestry, Birth date Dec 21/25, Birth announcement by angels, witness to birth 3 solar deities (wisemen), Death threat during infancy, no info between ages 12-30, raised the dead, traveled with 12 disciples, baptized at 30, baptizer beheaded, betrayed, crucified, dead for 3 days, resurrected . Seem familiar? That story was written over three-thousand years before the events in your fables were said to take place. What about Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra? All predating your fables, all very very similar (though nit-pickers will find all the differences) and all passed down the same way. Did you really think your fables were unique?

I am only slightly surprised you pulled out this tired trope. (I am surprised people as intelligent as Bill Maher still believe this stuff.) For my reply, I refer to Lutheran Satire’s fun response:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0-EgjUhRqA

In short, this argument is incredibly easily refuted, and there is absolutely no evidence to back up the claim that the Christ-myth predates the Gospel.

is there evidence that could convince you?” Sure. Bring your deity to a press conference, let it stand trial for crimes against humanity, allow it to answer any and all questions put to it including detailed questions by scholars, and scientists. If you can’t or won’t, ask yourself why you bother insisting upon fantasy through fallacy.

My first question in response to this is, “but would even submit to God were He to come (again) and answer your questions?” (And I refer you back to Luke 16, the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man that ends with the quote in verse 31 seen above.) We also need to know what precisely is meant by crimes against humanity, especially seeing as the Christian argument is that all of humanity has commited crimes against a holy God and each other. Does God not have the right to do with His creation as He sees fit? If He is guilty of anything, it is relenting in completely wiping us out at the first sin. Instead, He lets us deal with the results of our own sinful behavior, but He offered a way out through Jesus if we are willing to turn and believe. He will return one day to remove those who have hated Him and renew all of Creation. Perhaps I will make a video responding to the penalty of sin to answer your inevitable questions about Hell and judgment …

Whew! That got wordy!

What are your thoughts? How would you respond to either of us? Would you have changed any of our arguments?