Posts Tagged ‘ Vain ’

Message series: Malachi 1:6-14

[This is a little late. We did some remodeling and cleaning, and I forgot to upload on Saturday night! We have more storage area in our garage and a green bathroom, now, though! And this explains why I look tired in this video. I had worked hard all day!]

It is about time for a short message series.

Over the next couple of months, I will upload short messages based on the book of Malachi. It will probably be eight total and based on the section divisions in the English Standard Version of the Bible.

No special titles. Just taking a quick look at what was said.

So read along with me, and let us study what Malachi said to his people about 2,400 years ago.

Malachi 1:6-14

Remember that Malachi literally means “my messenger”, so he is God’s messenger, as all the Prophets were.

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor?

God is our heavenly Father, and today we see evidence that He is not given the honor that is due. But Paul reminded us what the times before Christ’s return would be like in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

This certainly describes much of our world today, even within the Church. But especially seeing as, as a world, we barely acknowledge our heavenly Father, let alone give much honor to our earthly parents. We are too busy seeking our own pleasure and thinking we are right about everything.

But back to Malachi:

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.

God was talking to the priests of ancient Israel. But we see polluted offerings today.

We see it in the Prosperity gospel or the so-called New Apostolic Reformation with all of these new apostles and prophets and such who say we should be living our best life now and be healthy, wealthy, and happy. If you are not healthy and wealthy and happy, you have weak faith. It is your own fault for not trusting God enough.

It is these people making claims that “thus saith the Lord” when He has not spoken.

Like what?

Like these preachers and prophets who said the C-19 pandemic (at the time of this message) was going to end by Passover. Here I am two weeks after Passover having seen that it not only is not over but hit its worst days AFTER Passover (in the US, at least, which is what most of these people were talking about).

It is people trying to declare the weather act a certain way, such as Kenneth Copeland declaring a heatwave to kill the virus … and a cold snap hitting the very next day. Nationwide.

These are people claiming to be speaking for God, when they make false prophecies and have no actual power. This is blasphemy and taking the Lord’s Name in vain.

It can also be seen in a too-close, buddying up with politics.

It is saying “Our party is the Christian party” or “the Republican party is the party of Christianity.” It is saying that God is not only okay with such-and-such a thing but endorses it, such as saying abortion and gay marriage are godly acts.

I just stepped on the toes of Republicans and Democrats, but they are far from alone in this.

When we let our politics influence our faith, instead of the other way around, we put forth an offering polluted by the world. [Our religion should influence our politics, though!]

Back to Malachi:

And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. 10 Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12 But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. 14 Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.

Costi Hinn – Benny Hinn’s nephew – worked for his uncle’s ministry. However, he “shut the doors” by walking away from that ministry. Today, he is a pastor – in the Reformed tradition – and speaks out against his uncle’s ministry and other Prosperity Gospel, the NAR, and other hyper-charismatic ministries.

Both in ancient Israel and today, we have horrible sacrifices and offerings.

Today we see churches offering Mountain Dew and Doritos or beer and chips as “communion” so that their congregants can partake of the elements no matter what they have around. Or they change who the communion is done toward while using skittles and iced tea.

Churches say “gay marriage” is okay, when the Bible forbids it.

Churches say “No matter what you believe or how you live, why don’t you lead this bible study or lead this ministry … or become ordained and lead a church.” No repentance nor confirmation of beliefs.

God was not happy with sacrifices and offerings when Israelites offered lame and sick sacrifices.

God is not happy when we offer teachings and leaders that are contrary to His Word.

But there is good news! (And you probably know where this is going …)

God offered the ultimate sacrifice in our place when He offered His own Son, Jesus Christ for the atonement of our sins.

Jesus was the perfect, unblemished sacrifice.

He endured violence, but it was to redeem our violent nature by being beaten and killed on our behalf. He suffered death at our own hands to redeem our actions and make us holy as He is holy by washing us in His blood.

Our sacrifices and offerings have never been good enough. So He offered Himself.

And all we have to do is believe that and let the Holy Spirit change us to be more like the Son.

And this is the good news that will spread His fame throughout the nations, a pure offering of praise made by His redeemed, as we make His Name known.

And one day, Jesus is returning to renew the world. And all who live on this planet will worship Him.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Next week, we get into chapter 2!

Spirit: Denied

I have started a short series! I am going to take you 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!)

Now, what is our first passage? (Maybe you already have a good idea based on the title.)

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Matthew 12:22-32, ESV

In 2007, I saw a televised debate between two atheists and Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. I was not too surprised by much of the debate, to be honest, and feel like both sides could have done a better job.

However, the atheists mentioned a website they created where people could upload a video of themselves saying “I deny the Holy Spirit” to show they were not concerned with ever being saved.

Is this really what denying the Holy Spirit is, though?

You probably know that the answer to this leading question is “No.”

But what is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

There are two parts:

  1. As implied by this passage, it is ascribing things of God to … actually … anything or anyone else. Or, as Isaiah wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    Conversely, this means it can also be saying something evil is of God. (We could get into what a lot of people today call good and of God, but that list is very long. Just know that many politicians and churches do this pretty much daily.)
  2. Secondly, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is denying the specific work of the Holy Spirit.

What is this work of the Holy Spirit that is unpardonable (unforgivable)?

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:29, 44

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
John 16:7-15

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit
Titus 3:4-5

Denying the work of the Holy Spirit – blaspheming His name – is saying that Jesus the Christ is a) not the son of God, b) did not die for our sins, and c) is not needed for our salvation.

Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is to say we do not need Jesus, to claim we are sinless.

This also hearkens back to the Third Commandment: “Do not use the Lord’s name in vain.”

If you claim to be a Christian while denying Jesus’ divinity or claiming you are without sin …

If you claim to be “spiritual but not religious” without a need for God/Jesus …

If you claim you do not need to do anything, because “I’m good with Christ” yet never show any growth in Him …

… you are taking His name in vain and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

In other words, believe the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, and that you need forgiveness for sin found in the blood of Christ.

Then go out and share the gospel and help those in need.

Give Me 5: Is the Bible Reliable?

People ask if the the Bible is reliable, that it can be trusted as authentic and historical. (See the video on YouTube by clicking this sentence.)

There are a few items that prove the historicity and reliability of the Bible.

To begin with, in the last 20 years alone, several archaeological discoveries have been made confirming the existence of Kings David and Solomon, as well as much of ancient Israel from Biblical times, including NT times.

One of the greatest discoveries was the Dead Sea Scrolls, collections of biblical manuscripts dating from before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and even before the time of Christ. These scrolls contained much of the Hebrew Bible, confirming that existed it before Jesus’ time. This is important, because it means the prophecies of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection existed prior.

What about the New Testament?

First, if we want to discuss numbers of manuscripts, as a whole there are about 24,000 of the New Testament, and the four Gospels alone have nearly 6,000 copies from early on, possibly as early as late first century or early second century. This is within 100 years of Jesus’ and the Apostles’ lives. Even further, we know the majority of the gospels were written before 70 due to Paul – who was killed by 64 – quoted Luke 10:7 in 1 Timothy 5:18. By contrast, the next closest ancient document is Homer’s “The Iliad” with 643 manuscripts from over 500 years after Homer lived.

This should be enough to convince anyone, but just in case, the ultimate proof is that Jesus corroborated much of the OT and said His testimony is true. His proof was that He predicted His own death and resurrection (See Luke 20-22), adding validity to His claims by being crucified and rising again.

Therefore, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (vv. 16-20)

In other words, the resurrection proves the Bible is true (by backing up Jesus’ claims). (See also the series beginning with this post.)

Wanna debate, challenge, or question what was said here? Leave a comment below or send us an e-mail at Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

Give Me 5: The Law

Welcome back, my little chickadees! Or something… And as a reminder, this is late due to technical issues. Hopefully later this week another one is coming!

This is the first of a new series of videos I will be making called Give Me 5. The premise is that in about five minutes (hopefully less, and not necessarily including the intro and a few other extras – like my little outtakes I sometimes put in) an apologetics approach (apologetics, again, coming from 1 Peter 3:15, in which we are told to always be ready to give a reasoned defense, Greek apologia, for our faith) will be used to answer some biblical/theological questions/challenges.

This first one is about The Law

Specifically, I am dealing with the question of what it means that Christians are not under the Law while also looking at the challenge from atheists and the irreligious that the Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, are useless and/or stupid.

Not Under the Law?

It is first helpful to realize that we are freed from the ceremonial or Levitical law. We no longer need to perform certain regulations and sacrifices to be made clean before God. He did that for us by sacrificing Christ on the cross.

Jesus summarized the Moral Law by quoting the two greatest Commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18, ESV

Loving God can summarize the first three and a half Commandments, while loving people can summarize the second six and a half.

Why?

Non-controversial Commandments

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, He tells us in verse two that “I am the Lord your God,” which tells is that all morality is based on who God is. Apart from God, there is no valid reason for morals. Obviously, atheists and the irreligious disagree with this.

God begins with the First Commandment (v. 3) that we should have no other gods. He created everything ever, so no one could be as powerful as He is. There simply are no other gods. Period. (This rules out other religions.) There is a God.

This leads to the Second Commandment (v. 4) that we are not to make idols. This is anything we create or is a part of God’s Creation that we give worship to. And before anyone argues that this does not happen: many people, such as astrophysicist Niel DeGrasse Tyson, argue that all of the elements were created in stars which blew up, spreading that stuff all over, so that we are mad up of this star stuff, therefore we should literally thank the stars that we are alive.

That is idolatry.

Which relates to Commandment Three (v. 7), that we do not use the Lord’s name in vain. This does mean not saying “G.D.” or “omg” and stuff like that, but more importantly it is claiming to be a follower of God (i.e. Christian) and do the very things Je says not to do (i.e. cuss people out, sleep around, lie, mistreat others, etc.)

Now it shifts to the halfsies Commandment, number four (v. 8): Observe the Sabbath. Atheists and the irreligious disregard this (and the first three Commandments) because it is all about the God they do not believe in, because it says that He spent six days creating and then rested, so we should, too.

However, they should not object to the idea of taking a day off every week! It is about rest! (Again, why this is not exactly reiterated in the New Testament is for another time, but essentially we have rest for our souls now with the hope of eternal Sabbath after Christ’s return.)

The other six Commandments should be what we all agree on(at least to some extent.

The For-Some-Reason-Controversial Commandments

  • Fifth: Honor your parents (v. 12)
  • Sixth: Do not murder (v. 13)
  • Seventh: Do not commit adultery (v. 14)
  • Eighth: Do not steal (v. 15)
  • Ninth: Do not lie (v. 16)
  • Tenth: Do not covet (v. 17)

What is there to disagree with?

God says to show respect to people (especially parents, which has become weird in the past few decades), do not murder, take a spouse from or stuff from, lie to or about, or desire to have the possessions and loved ones of other people.

Sure, our society now says that parents are largely irrelevant and that it is okay to want others’ stuff, including spouses. Even murder is seen as okay (i.e. abortion and assisted suicide).

But we do all agree that resting, showing respect to others, and not taking other people’s things, loved ones, or life are all good.

We also need to remember that God is the reason these are good, that we are even here to experience it all, and deserves all honor and worship.

If you want to debate, challenge, or question any of this, comment below or on the video, or even send an e-mail over to Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

God loves you!

Daniel