Posts Tagged ‘ YouTube ’

The Church: What isn’t it?

Is the Church full of hypocrites or only for perfect people?

First, we should deal with something the Church does that kind of refutes what many are fighting for in our culture.

The Social Justice Movement is horribly flawed in one major way: they are demanding the government take care of everyone on the most basic levels. But the government is not meant to do this.

Romans 13:1-7 – The government is for giving out justice … to wrongdoers. It is not the government’s job to meet all of the needs of the people.

The Church is meant to help people. We are the ones who should be helping the widows, orphans, and poor. It is supposed to come from a grateful, loving, and generous heart, not compulsion, which is what taxing people to take care of others is.

The Church is not the government. It is the Body of Christ, separate from the government (but can and should influence the government), serving the lost and hurting.

Which leads to the main point:

Is the Church full of hypocrites or perfect people?

Matthew 9:9-13 and Mark 2:13-17 tell the way Jesus called Matthew/Levi to follow Him. “Why does He eat with sinners and tax collectors?” “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but the sick. . . . learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

What this tells us is that Jesus expects to find people in His Church who are able to admit they are not perfect, that they need help. (No one is perfect. All people need God’s help!)

Firstly, this means we have to deal with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is telling people to do something and not applying that to yourself. Does this mean we find hypocrites in the Church? Absolutely! That is one of many reasons we need God’s grace and supernatural help to truly repent (change our thinking and behavior)! But this also leads to the second part of imperfect people being in our churches.

This means that you should not wait to come to church until you have “everything together and figured out.” The Church is supposed to help guide you through your troubles, problems, and imperfections. Only God can truly help you.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:1-7, ESV

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:12-14, ESV

So … what isn’t the Church?

It is not for perfect, flawless people.

It is a spiritual hospital – a place for hurt, broken, messed up people who can admit that they need help, to trust God to help them … to trust other hurt, broken, messed up (even hypocritical) people. Flaws and all.

And we should help each other turn to God and to get through this life.

What are your thoughts? Comment. E-mail us. (Together@asimplemanofgod.com)

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.

Give Me Five: What Is Faith?

I did not do the silly high five at the end of this video! Am I a horrible person? (Theologically speaking, technically yes … apart from Christ …)

But it is addressing that tantalizing question: What is faith?

Give Me 5: What Is Faith?

Many people do not really understand faith.

In a recent book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, philosopher Peter Boghossian defined faith as belief without evidence, pretending to know things you don’t really know.

But is this right?

In a word: no.

How does the Bible explain faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

Another way of explaining faith is putting your beliefs into action. If you believe something to be true, prove it! Prove you are faithful to those beliefs by acting on them.

The most used example of what faith is is a chair. You can say you believe a chair will hold you up, but faith is proving it by sitting on the chair. Typically, you are acting on evidence. (In this case, you have been told chairs are for sitting on, and you may have seen other people sit in chairs.)

As Christians, we do not have a blind faith. The Bible is our evidence for God and Jesus.

The Bible has several prophecies about the coming Messiah who would take away our sins, and Jesus claimed He was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He made many claims to His deity, as well, and He said that He would prove it all by dying and rising again.

The Apostles and early disciples did not just write about things they heard. They claimed to have heard these things and seen the crucified and risen Jesus with their own eyes.

And the Bible is the most reliable ancient set of documents we have from antiquity, by far. Few experts contest this. (Maybe the actual events, but not that at least the New Testament is reliably from people from the First Century.)

Who lives with and uses faith?

Everyone.

It is not only Christians and the overtly religious. My evidence for this?

How about evolutionary theory: How is it claimed life began? Several chemicals somehow combined in the right amounts at the right time to create the building blocks for RNA and DNA, creating the first living cells.

How do we know it happened this way?

We don’t. No one was there to see it, and no one as recreated it in the lab to test this hypothesis. People simply believe it is true.

This is more like blind faith than Christianity!

As said before, everyone lives by some form of faith in someone or something throughout their days and lives. Faith is putting beliefs into action.

What do you think? Am I way too far off the mark? (I think most others are.)

How about we talk about, either in the comments (on this blog post or on the YouTube channel) or through the e-mail: Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even at the Facebook page: a simple man of God.

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

SNOW! And a welcome blessing

I finally got back into making some videos! Hopefully, this is for a while.

This time around, this is a “Hey! How’s it going? It’s been a while!” type of video, with a reminder that through the good times and the bad, God is good.

Snow can be a reminder that God has said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

It is a reminder that His grace has covered all our sins and troubles. Our troubles will not be removed until Christ’s return, but until then we have the promise that He is watching over us.

Therefore, as I have done many times before, I offer the comfort of the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26:

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

 

 

Happy New Year 2018

2017 was another full year.

I taught 7th Grade Math.

We changed local churches.

God finally helped to revive my teaching and apologetics ministries, most notably through the creation of the a simple man of God YouTube channel.

I survived the closing of my favorite coffee shop, where I was a customer, a barista, and finally the manager.

This all leads to the extremely likely possibility of new Adventures. (Yes, this is a veiled hint as to what is coming next.)

In all things, God is good. All the time.

Fall on the promises of God, this year and always.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24‭-‬26 ESV

In His Love,

Daniel