Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy

Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy

The problem about the so called making of lazy Christians does not lay in the “Grace” but in what many Christians do want to believe about the sanctification and about the allowance to enter the Kingdom of God.

Grace coming over all people doe snot mean that all people will enter the Kingdom of God, but also does not mean that once a person is saved he will be saved for ever. People should look carefully in the Bible and come to see that people have to continue to work at themselves and have to show works of faith, because otherwise their faith is dead.

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To remember:

  • fruit of assurance was not laziness but creativity, charity, and fun.
  • The unconditional love of God gives you wings => inspires to take risks and be generous with your life.
  • frolicking in the grace of God =work feels like fun.
  • duty to serve the Lord.
  • responsibility + duty = cattle-prods of performance-based Christianity.
  • obligation => debt-conscious <= rather than grace-conscious.
  • Jesus didn’t suffer and die to put you in his debt.
  • idea that you are obliged to repay him for his priceless sacrifice = ludicrous.
  • nothing to give him in consideration for his grace
  • instant you give him anything = it ceases to be grace.
  • salvation itself, justification is non-meritorious and unearned = It is a gift (Romans 3:24), but when you receive a gift that does not mean you do not have to do any thing after it.
  • according to the many stories in the bible we can see it is not sufficient just to have a only “duty” to say, “Thank you, Jesus!”. No! We do have to take on a certain conduct.
  • THG_sidefeel the pressure to perform and live up to the expectations
  • walk under pure grace ==> find no pressure ==> only freedom not to be who God made you to be, but whom you try to become under God’s commandments
  • It is not like the writer of the article thinks that “Manmade religion will tell you that you have a responsibility to deliver results for the Lord”, It si clearly indicated in the Holy Scriptures that we do have to do something:
    1. chosing for God,
    2. accepting Jesus, the son of God,
    3. repent,
    4.become baptised,
    5. continuously read and study the Word of God,
    6. go out and preach the Gospel of the Good News of the coming Kingdom,
    7. live according the Will of God and not according the will of the world = without works Faith is dead (James 1:3; 2:5,14,17-26; 5:15; Exodus 5:13; Proverbs 16:26; 28:19; John 6:28; 7:18; Romans 4:2,4,6; 9:12,32; ; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 1:12,17; Philippians 1:25,27, Colossians 1:23; 2:5;)
  • responsibility is to shine as a dearly-loved child of God.
  • we have to bear the fruits

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Additional reading:

  1. How do I know what God’s will is
  2. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  3. Heroes and saints
  4. Old age
  5. Glory of God appearing in our character
  6. What Is Sanctification?
  7. All Souls’ Day
  8. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  9. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2

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  • The Mustard Seed by The Church of Christ, Sangotedo (slideshare.net)
    In the Bible, the mustard seed is used by Jesus in the parable of the Mustard Seed as a model for the kingdom of God which initially starts small but grows to be the biggest of all garden plants. Faith is also spoken about in the context of a mustard seed
  • Called From Your Mother’s Womb (christianmotivations.weebly.com)
    If Paul, a terrorist to the early church, could be touched by Christ to become an apostle of grace, what about today’s terrorists who blow up people in the name of their god? For all you know, if they receive Christ, they might just become trailblazers in the kingdom of God!
    Now, don’t think that your calling has to do with your qualifications, abilities, achievements or even your walk with God. You were called from your mother’s womb by His grace. As a fetus in your mother’s womb, there was not much you could do—good or bad. That is why your calling is all by His grace. And since He has given you a calling, ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern the desires that He has placed in your heart, the passions that drive you in life, and fulfill your calling and destiny in Christ!
  • The Man That Resurrected (dailytwocents.com)
    His earthly father was a carpenter. Like any obedient child, he worked with his father helping him. The bible has not recorded his youth life, although it says that he endured all temptations yet he was without sin.
    Read more at http://dailytwocents.com/man-resurrected/#qXkLULb8dj1X0DeL.99
  • A Dispensational View of the Spiritual Life, or Homage to He That Is Spiritual, part 2 (randomtheoloblog.wordpress.com)
    The state of every man prior to the moment of salvation is said to be that of spiritual death.
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    unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
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    Christ makes the distinction between the natural man of the flesh and the spiritual man who is born of the Holy Spirit.
    Like salvation itself, justification is non-meritorious and unearned. It is a gift (Rom. 3:24).
  • Growth in Grace 4 – Effort Is Necessary! Practical Conclusions (reformedontheweb.wordpress.com)
    God does not just command men in general or Christians to do these things in order to show us our inability. He commands us to do these things, because we can as redeemed men and women, and because if we do not, the process of ongoing sanctification will not take place. The religion which dislikes all human activity and thinks of all human activity as of the flesh, as dutyism, as legalism, or as Arminianism is not the religion of the Bible.
  • If You Can’t Be Thankful For The Past Or Present, Be Thankful For The Future (rohmbible.wordpress.com)
    while I am thankful, there are a lot of people in this world who haven’t received the blessings I have received. So thanking God for my blessings, somehow sounds to me like “thank you, God, for all the good things you gave me, while millions of other people have gone hungry, homeless, and generally live in severe poverty, due to no fault of their own.”
  • Thursday (December 11): Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God? (shechina.wordpress.com)
    Jesus praised John the Baptist as the greatest person born. Who can top that as a compliment? But in the same breath Jesus says that the least in the kingdom of God is even greater than John! That sounds like a contradiction, right? Unless you understand that what Jesus was about to accomplish for our sake would supercede all that the prophets had done and foreseen.
  • I will follow you… (betsybeadhead.com)
    Jesus said to him “Anyone who turns aside from the work I plan for him to do is not fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
  • Israel and the Kingdom of God! (fggam.org)
    The Gospels are rich with the many parables of Jesus and his inspiring teachings on the coming Kingdom of God. Many of his sermons begin with the words, “the Kingdom of God is like unto…” He also told his disciples that the Kingdom was breaking out around them. And for many Christians down through the centuries, this was considered a new message about a soon-arriving Kingdom of God that was being introduced only in the New Testament. Yet the truth is that the Kingdom was already there in the Old Testament in the form of the nation of Israel. But it was being transformed and placed into the hands of the Jewish followers of Jesus who would finally bear its fruits.
  • Putting the author in authority (kingdom777.wordpress.com)
    When Jesus was on earth, He taught with authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Escape to Reality

Lazy-Homer“Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians,” say the critics. “Grace promotes passivity and laziness.” It does? I guess somebody forgot to tell Paul:

By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Cor. 15:10)

This is not a Grammy speech. This is Paul giving us the secret to his success.

Paul was a tough-as-nails church planter. He wrote letters that would shape the world for 2,000 years. How’d he do it? “I didn’t make this happen,” said Paul. “God and I did it together.”

Grace doesn’t make people lazy; it makes them supernaturally fruitful. In contrast with the law that provides no aid to those who trust it, grace makes us soar. A 300-year-old poem from John Bunyan expresses…

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God’s wrath and sanctification

Intro: Salvation and sanctification

In “How do I know what God’s will is“, “Does God stands behind all evil on earth” and in “What Is Sanctification?” we looked at the creation its inhabitants which from the start of creation choose a way contrary to the Will of the Creator.

The choices made in the Garden of Eden determined the coarse of history. We still bear the consequences of the choices made by the first man (man: 1° Adam) and mannin (woman: Eve).

Throughout Christendom many Torah teachings were put aside for human teachings. One such got varying adherents. Namely lots of people want to believe:

Once saved, always saved.

Calvinist thought about believers and salvation

Edwin H. Palmer in “The Five Points of Calvinism” (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972, p 68) does find it:

It is one of the grandest thoughts in the Bible

According to him and many Calvinists

once you believe, you can never be lost, you can never go to hell.

First of all, everybody goes to hell, like Jesus also went to hell (for three days). Nearly all people shall have to face their end of their life. The only exception shall be those few at the end of the Big Battle, World War III, the Armageddon, who would be able to survive that.

Secondly not all who believe at one point shall keep the faith and shall consider Christ as their Messiah. So for those who lose their faith in Christ and in God, Jesus shall not always be their Saviour.

Secure key to eternal destiny and perseverance of saints

Contrary to what the author for his Calvinist followers writes it shall not be possible to get your eternal destiny (or eternal life) settled once for all so that you never have to worry about it

It is nice that the person has so much confidence in humankind that he thinks that  those who have been baptised shall persevere in trusting in Christ as their Saviour. Strange that when this pastor wrote that book he was already 50 years old (or young) and than you would consider that he would have already had several experiences in life, having seen people leaving his church or worse having already seen pastors who lost faith and became atheists.*

Edwin H. Palmer, referring to the fifth point of Calvinism, said the following:

This is strictly a Reformed doctrine and hangs or falls together with the other four points that we have been discussing. There are, however, Christians today who hold to the perseverance of the saints while at the same time rejecting the other four points. We believe, however, and will try to show later on, that this is an inconsistency in their thinking. (The Five Points of Calvinism, Moelker Printing Co. [Grand Rapids, Michigan], 1954 ed, p. 59.)

Doctrine of limited atonement

In keeping with his expert opinion of this theology, Edwin H. Palmer went on to write about the perseverance of the saints:

This doctrine also naturally follows from the doctrine of the limited atonement … (ibid., p. 61).

In other words, if the doctrine of limited atonement is true, then so is the perseverance of the saints. But then on the other hand, if limited atonement is untrue, so is eternal security. The above two quotes from Edwin H. Palmer are valuable to Christians who know all five points of Calvinism are not from God and especially desire to help free some Calvinists from the theological snare they are trapped in. Calvin shared with Luther belief in the absolute authority of the bible and in justification by faith alone, and as such many came to believe that their faith in Jesus Christ was enough to have them justified to enter the heaven, though if they would have looked closer into the Holy Scriptures they would have found that the Kingdom of God will be for most here on earth and that faith without works is dead, and as such would not bring salvation to any person. We do know the envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like shall not inherit the kingdom of God; but often still can be found by people who are baptised or who call themselves “new born Christians”. Even when they do know that the law is good they still have to try to keep it. If a man uses it lawfully there does not seem a problem, but when they stay kneeling in front of statues, worshipping more than one god, not obeying the Only One True God, doing unholy and profane things, murdering, killing or hurting by manslaughter,  or fornicating, doing homosexual acts, slave trading, but also being liars, perjurers,encountering a road to success dotted with many tempting parking places, they should know that if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, they should know they will not be able to enter the small gate of the Kingdom of God. It is just called a small gate and being it more difficult for a camel to enter the eye of the needle, because God demands full recognition and keeping to His commandments. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to the trust of the apostle Paul he has been enabled by Christ Jesus, that he counted him faithful, putting him into the ministry. He was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and insolent, but he obtained mercy, because he did it ignorantly in unbelief.  Though afterwards when he got the call of Jeshua, when the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus, he got on the right track and changed his life.  If we do not change our way of life, our calling shall not result in saving ourselves. It really is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, but if the sinners do not repent, the blood of Christ, which also was shed for them, shall have no use for them because there is no reason for whitewashing for them. We can only obtain mercy, that in us first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for an example to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting, when we do come but also stay in the faith of Jesus Christ.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, (Galatians 5:19-20 NHEBJE)But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully,  (9)  as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  (10)  for the sexually immoral, for men who practice sexual relations with men, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;  (11)  according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.  (12)  And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service;  (13)  although I was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent. However, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  (14)  The grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  (15)  The saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  (16)  However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might display all his patience, for an example of those who were going to believe in him for eternal life.  (17)  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1Timothy 1:8-17 NHEBJE)

Legitimate ones to receive Grace

In 1980, the year of Edwin H. Palmer’s death, an enlarged edition of this same book was released. In this more recent edition the words were slightly changed from the previous quote, while retaining its essence:

All five points of Calvinism hang or fall together (The Five Points of Calvinism, Baker Books [Grand Rapids, Michigan], 1980 enlarged edition, p. 69).Dear reader, if you know that any of the five points of Calvinism are unscriptural, then the rest are as well. All a Christian has to do, therefore, is to refute any of the five points of Calvinism and by doing so he has destroyed all five points, according to Dr. Edwin H. Palmer himself. But dear Christian, please be assured that people who embrace Calvinism’s beloved fifth point won’t surrender it easily. They often feel just like Palmer did as reflected in his following statement:The teaching of “once saved, always saved is one of the grandest of Biblical teachings (ibid., p. 79).

In the Christian set of beliefs that is based on the teachings of John Calvin and that stresses God’s power and the moral weakness of human beings a strong emphasis is placed on the sovereignty of God, the depravity of humankind, and the doctrine of predestination. For Calvin, God gives himself to be known, and that revelation is about who God is, not an explanation of how God is three and a unity, nor a revelation that human reason could reach on its own.

In the Bible, God’s Word, there is given a distinction between the God of Abraham and the Jewish man, not a god-man, but a human, a man from God, who worshipped that God of Moses and only wanted to do God His Will and not his own will, and as such giving his body as a Lamb for God and becoming the Christ.

We do believe everybody received the grace of salvation, but that does not make it that everybody is saved for ever. Those who do not want to accept God in their life shall when they die, when staying with their mind not willing to know about a Divine Creator, shall not be legitimate to receive the Grace, provided by the blood of Christ. Those who at a certain point in their life came to accept Christ Jesus as their saviour, got baptised, but then continue or come back to a way of life not in accordance to the Law of God, shall miss the salvation also.

Under or not under a Law and righteousness

Now we know that whatsoever things the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. We do have the Holy Scriptures for us to witness and to take the words of it into our heart.

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, which means shall not be onto those who do not believe. The Grace of God and the salvation by the Lamb of God comes over all the same way, for there is no difference, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We all may be happy that we can be justified freely by Jehovah God His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  It is that Jewish Nazarene man of flesh and blood, who gave his life, Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

We shall not be justified on the account of the Law nor just works, but by the law of faith and the works of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God.  (20)  Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.  (21)  But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the Law and the Prophets;  (22)  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all those who believe. For there is no distinction,  (23)  for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;  (24)  being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;  (25)  whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance;  (26)  to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.  (27)  Where then is the boasting? It is excluded. By what manner of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.  (28)  We maintain therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.  (29)  Or is God the God of Jews only? Is not he the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,  (30)  since indeed there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith.  (31)  Do we then nullify the law through faith? May it never be! No, we establish the law. (Romans 3:19-31 NHEBJE)Therefore, we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord;  (7)  for we walk by faith, not by sight.  (8)  We are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord.  (9)  Therefore also we make it our aim, whether at home or absent, to be well pleasing to him. (2 Corinthians 5:6-9 NHEBJE)So then, those who are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.  (10)  For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that are written on the book of the law, to do them.”  (11)  Now that no man is justified by the law before God is evident, for, “The righteous will live by faith.”  (12)  The law is not of faith, but, “The man who does them will live by them.”  (13)  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,”  (14)  that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:9-14 NHEBJE)

Living according to the true faith required by God

Snowy Grand Rapids, MI 12-23-08

Not all who are whitewashed by baptism somewhere in their life on this earth shall be able to enter the gates of the Kingdom of God. – Snowy Grand Rapids, MI 12-23-08 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every Christian should know that those who do not live according to the true faith required by God shall have judgement without mercy. Without changing his or her attitude, the Christian shall  not be different than the one who does not believe in Christ. Did the Calvinist preacher does not wonder what does it profit when those many people who say they have faith (in what?) but did not show they are real followers of Christ living according his teachings and according to the Will of God? The many people we can encounter daily who say they are a “Christian” but do not really have faith, or those who have faith but not show any works; can faith save them?

It is easy to say you believe in Christ or in God, perhaps you might find other people around you who also believe there are many gods and Jehovah is one of them, or they even might consider Jesus to be one of the many gods. And what is the real difference between the Jew, Christian, Muslim, the ones believing in the God of Abraham, and the ones who do good works, live decently, but do not believe in the One True God, Divine Creator of heaven and earth? Many atheists do live very well and do many good deeds? Many who say they are believers in Jesus Christ do lesser good deeds than those non-believers. Christ also died also for them, for all sinners, believers and non-believers. Would that mean they all come in the Kingdom of God?

Not all people shall come into the Kingdom of God.

Jesus has told enough parables which make it clear how people do not only have to have faith and have to honour God. His stories also make it clear how we can loose the right of entrance or the right of salvation.
Scripture tells us also that a man may say, “You have faith, and I have works” or “you believe that there is one God; you do well: the demons also believe, and tremble”.  The Bible warns us not to be vain and to be aware that faith without works is dead. We should be very careful by our idea that our baptism would be well enough. We can be very mistaken by thinking and by being assured that everything what we do after our baptism would be all right, because it does not matter any more because we are saved by Christ. When we do not mind doing things against the Will of God we might be very surprised at the End-times, standing in front of Jesus Christ, being rejected by him and not able to enter that gate to eternal life. Like Abraham believed God we too should have it imputed unto us for righteousness and being a real Friend of God. Looking at Abraham we should see how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.  (14)  What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?  (15)  And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food,  (16)  and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you did not give them the things the body needs, what good is it?  (17)  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.  (18)  Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.  (19)  You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder.  (20)  But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is dead?  (21)  Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  (22)  You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;  (23)  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness;” and he was called the friend of God.  (24)  You see then that by works, a man is justified, and not only by faith.(James 2:13-24 NHEBJE)

Doubters and the ones mulled back and forth

The one who are pulled back and forth, shall also not find God turning on and then turn off their life chance. Contrary to what the Calvinist writers wants us to believe they will not continue believing forever and they will not be saved for ever. History has know many cases of people who “came to the lord” but later left him. History has also seen people who were supposed to be “men of God”, became religious people, became priest, bishop and even pope, but who misused boys and girls, fornicated, did homosexual and other acts with man or with animals. According to us those shall not be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

To blame God for having them going astray is, according to me a sort of blasphemy. It is too easy to blame God for the wrongdoings of man like the pastor does when he writes;

Thus they will always be saved…It is possible, however, to use another term to describe this fact, namely, the perseverance of God. For really the perseverance of the saints depends on the perseverance of God. It is because God perseveres in His love toward His church that the church perseveres in its love toward Him. (Edwin H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972, p 68).

Having said that, he wants citizens to believe that clergy or holy men, who want to oppress the people in their church and demands things of them which they themselves do not keep, persevere their love for God or do that because that God has given up His love for them.

It is also easy to say

if someone appears to be obeying God but then turns to rebellion, it only means they were never actually elect by God’s grace to begin with. Or if they really are God’s elect, God will bring them back to obedience at some later time before death. {How to Rely on God’s Grace without Becoming a Calvinist-Perservance}

A puller and a decider and the elected

God is the One Who pulls the people towards Him, but it are the people themselves who have to make their own free will choice: coming close to God and accepting Him as the Divine Creator, Sovereign Master over heaven and earth, and presenting themselves as Children of Him, to behave as children of God.

The latter believe that a moment of faith brings the grace of God into the lives of the elect and their later behaviour has no bearing on their salvation because Christ’s atonement covered all their sins, past, present, and future. Be aware that the former position is that of Calvin; the Stanley position is a corruption of true Calvinism (at least so it seems to me).

says Edwin Crozier, who calls himself a disciple, husband, father, preacher and author who is convinced God’s way works and would love to discuss it.

Calvinism has taught that election is unconditional. Man does absolutely nothing as a determining factor of whether or not he is elect. Additionally, the true offer of atonement is only made to the elect. But more than that, when that true inward call is given, the elect cannot resist it. They will be effectively drawn by it. That, of necessity, means the elect will persevere in God’s grace. There is simply no alternative for them. Since they can’t resist it, they will, of necessity, continue in it until it ultimately saves them in the end. {How to Rely on God’s Grace without Becoming a Calvinist-Perservance}

How can it be than that so called elect have gone up and down like a yoyo, and several at the end of their life also obstinately refused to believe any more in Christ or in God? How did it come that they were not “effectively drawn” by the inner call which came unto them at a certain point in their life?

Is it also not too easy to say you just rely on the calling of God? Is it also not too easy to you are going

“to be through relying on God’s power to carry me through”.

Arminianism, God’s sovereignty and Predestination

Also Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams recognize the role of grace in the opposing view of salvation but show how Calvinists part company with Arminians by affirming that God’s grace is efficacious, particular, and irresistible. As compatibilists, they present God’s sovereignty as the ultimate cause of things, while “human freedom, although not ultimate, is significant and considerable” (Why I Am Not an Arminian. By Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004, 224 pp., p. 64). Prevenient grace gets special attention as universal opportunity and conditional election require biblical justification.  Predestination is buttressed by data from every major section of Scripture; the authors prefer an asymmetrical election to salvation. The bottom line for Peterson and Williams in this debate:

“Divine sovereignty and human responsibility cannot be pitted against one another” so that libertarian free will is unnecessary (Why I Am Not an Arminian, p. 151).”the human will is free and the divine is not” (Why I Am Not an Arminian, p. 140).

They sometimes exaggerate the Arminian view of saving faith as if it were meritorious:

“Rather than affirm a boot-strap doctrine of merit, the Calvinist insists upon the effectiveness of divine grace” (Why I Am Not an Arminian)

All requested by god to believe in Him and His Word

Each human being may hear some call by the Most High but is left totally free by the Creator how to cope with his freedom how to use his will. “Elect” and “non-elect”, are requested by God to believe the gospel. Before a person came to God he might have been foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  When the person came to see and understand what it was that after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we had, have done, or still would be going to do, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;  whom he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. The apostle tells us that being justified by Jesus his willingness to offer himself, doing the Will of God, and not his own will, giving us his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

This is a faithful saying, and these things we should desire that everybody in our congregation would affirm ‘constantly’, that they who have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. (Titus 3:8)

These things are good and profitable unto men.  (9)  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  (10)  A man that is divisive after the first and second admonition reject;  (11)  Knowing that he that is such is perverted, and sins, being condemned of himself.  (12)  When I shall send Artemas unto you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.  (13)  Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be lacking unto them.  (14)  And let our own also learn to maintain good works for urgent needs, that they not be unfruitful.  (15)  All that are with me greet you. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Getting to know God and consequences

We can hear the call of God and answer to it. We can going to be by relying on the grace of God poured out on us through His Holy Spirit. We can come to proclaim God’s command to repent and believe to all men. But are going out to tell others about god should not be so much because for our fear for missing sanctification, but our of our love for God. Knowing the reality of God’s wrath, the sin of man, believing implicitly the promise of God that anyone who turns in faith to Christ will be saved, we will ave others to be saved also.

that God will assuredly bestow life and salvation upon all believers (The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, John Owen)

misses out on the point of the Biblical teaching that we should prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God.

True believers should faithfully warn the unsaved, to show wherein their sins consists (enmity against God), and they should also warn the believers that it is very important to keep the good faith and to make sure we obey because the gospel is a command.

Now you know what is restraining him, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season.  (7)  For the mystery of lawlessness already works. Only there is one who restrains now, until he is taken out of the way.  (8)  Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and destroy by the manifestation of his coming;  (9)  even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  (10)  and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 NHEBJE)Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold, or silver, or stone, engraved by art and design of man.  (30)  The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent,  (31)  because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.” (Acts of the apostles 17:29-31 NHEBJE)

The times of ignorance God overlooked has gone. Man is being asked everywhere to change. The change is what God wants to see and shall take account of.

John MacArthur says:

When you share the gospel, you command people to believe. You command people to repent so that it is crystal clear that what they have done is obey or disobey. That’s why I say invitation is not a word that is consistent with commanding. Better to finish your sermon with a command than an invitation.” (“Two Paths, One Way”, John MacArthur)

Condemnation from old

There are many people who may believe in God, gods, Satan, wrong doing and good doing. Many shall have heard the Voice of God in their life, but it shall depend on how they reacted if they shall be justified to enter the gates of the Kingdom. Whoever believes in the ‘Son of God‘ Jesus is not condemned, but whoever does not live according to that believe shall have to face the consequences of his acts. Like the false prophets and false teachers who also arose among the people, who will craftily bring in deadly heresies, even disowning the Lord who bought them and bringing on themselves quick ruin. And the many who will follow their shameless ways and by these the path of truth will be profanely spoken of. In covetousness they will make gain out of many by their cunning words. But their condemnation from of old shall not not be inactive. They should really be fully aware that also for them, though they may call themselves believers, their destruction has not been sleeping.  For if God did not spare angels that had sinned, but thrust them down to Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness to be kept for judgement, and did not spare the ancient world, but guarded Noah, a herald of righteousness, and seven others, when he brought the flood on the world of the ungodly;  and if reducing to ashes the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah he condemned them to destruction, making them an example for the godless of what would come upon them,  and rescued righteous Lot worn out by the indecent lives of the lawless, —  for that righteous man living among them was tortured day and night in his righteous soul by the sight and hearing of their lawless deeds, —   the Lord knows how to rescue the pious from trial and how to keep the wicked under punishment for the day of judgement,  especially those who go after flesh in polluting passions, and despise lordship. They are daring, self-willed; they do not tremble to speak insultingly of glorious beings, whereas angels who are greater in might and power, do not bring against them a railing accusation before the Lord.

But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction.  (2)  Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned.  (3)  In covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old does not linger, and their destruction is not asleep.  (4)  For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to the lower parts of hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;  (5)  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a proclaimer of righteousness, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly;  (6)  and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly;  (7)  and delivered righteous Lot, who was very distressed by the lustful life of the wicked  (8)  (for that righteous man dwelling among them, was tormented in his righteous soul from day to day with seeing and hearing lawless deeds):  (9)  the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment;  (10)  but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries;  (11)  whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord. (2 Peter 2:1-11 NHEBJE)

Also for those so called reborns if they have eyes full of adultery and unceasing sin; ensnaring unstable souls; having a heart practised in greediness; an execrable race; having forsaken the right road they have gone quite astray, they should know that for them there shall also not be a salvation at the end. They by the lusts of the flesh, by acts of lasciviousness, shall miss the boat. For if alter fleeing from the pollutions of the world by an acknowledgement of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, any are again entangled and overcome by them, the last state of such persons is worse than the first. They also should be well aware that they even could be worse off than a person who was never been baptised. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.

But these, as unreasoning creatures, born natural animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed,  (13)  suffering the penalty as the wages of evil; people who count it pleasure to revel in the daytime, spots and blemishes, reveling in their deceit while they feast with you;  (14)  having eyes full of adultery, and who cannot cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing;  (15)  forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrongdoing;  (16)  but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet.  (17)  These are wells without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved.  (18)  For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who barely escape from those who live in error;  (19)  promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for a man is brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him.  (20)  For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  (21)  For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.  (22)  It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog turns to his own vomit again,” and “the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:12-22 NHEBJE)

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* Note Edwin H. Palmer (1922-80) was born, grew up and went to school in Quincy, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard College (A.B.) in 1944, following which he served as first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps 1944-1946, service which included operations in the Pacific theatre and involvement in the fighting around Okinawa.
In 1949 he received his Th.B. degree from Westminster Theological Seminary and furthered his education at The Free University of Amsterdam, receiving his doctorate (Th.D.) there in 1953. His accomplishments and contributions were so respected by the Christian academic community that, in 1977, Houghton College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

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Additional literature:

  1. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  2. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  3. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  4. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  5. Doubting the reality, genuineness and effectiveness of God’s love
  6. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  7. Do you believe in One god
  8. Does there have to be a Holy Trinity Mystery
  9. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  10. Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Believing in God the rewarder
  13. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  14. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  15. Bible basic intro
  16. Bible power to change
  17. Bible word of God,inspired and infallible
  18. Bible Word from God
  19. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  20. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  21. God’s forgotten Word 1 Introduction
  22. Eternal Word that tells everything
  23. Missional hermeneutics 3/5
  24. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  25. Belief of the things that God has promised
  26. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  27. God wants to be gracious to you
  28. Heed of the Saviour
  29. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  30. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  31. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  32. A Living Faith #12 The Love for Jesus
  33. Faith
  34. Faith Requires a Basis
  35. Faith and works
  36. Faith moving mountains
  37. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  38. What Should I Preach ?
  39. Understanding what we read
  40. Counterfeit Gospels
  41. A promise given in the Garden of Eden
  42. Old language to confirm the promises
  43. God’s Special Gift
  44. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  45. A remaining name
  46. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  47. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  48. An unblemished and spotless lamb foreknown
  49. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  50. Love and forgive this friday
  51. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  52. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  53. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  54. Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2
  55. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  56. Seven days of Passover
  57. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  58. Bread and Wine
  59. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  60. Ransom for all
  61. No Other Name (But Jesus)
  62. Faithful to the listening ear
  63. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  64. It is not try but trust
  65. How Many were Bought
  66. We are redeemed; we are “bought with a price”
  67. Joining for a new year in the assurance to be bought with a price
  68. It is Today
  69. Self-preservation is the highest law of nature
  70. Commit your self to the trustworthy Creator
  71. Man’s plans prevailed by God’s purpose
  72. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  73. Ask Grace to go forward
  74. Dying or not
  75. Not to speak is to speak
  76. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  77. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell
  78. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  79. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  80. We are ourselves responsible
  81. Reasons why they cannot do what they want to
  82. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  83. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places
  84. Choices
  85. Never making mistakes because never doing anything
  86. Let not sin reign in your mortal body
  87. Self inflicted misery #3 A man given to suffer for us
  88. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  89. Let me keep to “first importance” things
  90. Wishing to do the will of God
  91. Get Your Wonderful Disease-proof Human Body
  92. Give your worries to God
  93. Atonement And Fellowship 1/8
  94. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  95. Atonement And Fellowship 7/8
  96. Atonement And Fellowship 8/8
  97. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  98. Divine service (16-10-2013): “The way to salvation/ Die weg na verlossing”
  99. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  100. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  101. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  102. Deliverance and establishment of a theocracy
  103. End of the Bottom Line
  104. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  105. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  106. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  107. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  108. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  109. Being of good courage running the race
  110. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  111. Bearing fruit
  112. Together tasting a great promise

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Further Additional literature:

  1. Calvinism
  2. Calvin: A Biography
  3. Calvin in Context
  4. Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety
  5. Calvin for Armchair Theologians
  6. Calvin as Biblical Interpreter among the Ancient Philosophers
  7. Calvin and the English Episcopate, 1580-1610
  8. Calvin and the Beasts: Animals in John Calvin’s Theological Discourse
  9. Calvin, Classical Trinitarianism, and the Aseity of the Son
  10. Calvin and Praying for “All People Who Dwell on Earth”
  11. Lincoln’s Calvinist Transformation: Emancipation and War
  12. Calvinist Pilgrimages and Popish Encounters: Religious Identity and Sacred…
  13. Why I Am Not a Calvinist/Why I Am Not an Arminian
  14. Greatest single cause of atheism
  15. Shapers of English Calvinism, 1660-1714: Variety, Persistence, and…
  16. Dutch Neo-Calvinism and the Roots for Transformation: An Introductory Essay
  17. Ethnic Persistence among Dutch-Canadian Catholics and Calvinists
  18. The Influence of Calvinism on Seventeenth-Century English Baptists:…
  19. Traditional Baptists and Calvinism: If We Are Not Calvinists, What Shall We…Calvin, John

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  • Calvinism vs. Arminianism: Should We Tell Unbelievers That God Loves Them? (thegraceapparatus.wordpress.com)
    God does not love the reprobate (those who ultimately reject him) in the same way he loves his children. His children are chosen from before time to be his children, and nothing will ever change that. It doesn’t matter whether you have a covenantal theology, only those who are the elect will be regenerated, given faith and persevere until the end. The reprobate have no chance whatsoever.
    One obvious problem with this line of thinking is that not all children who grow up in a Christian home become Christians. If they ultimately die and go to hell, then telling your children that God loves them was a big fat lie (in the Calvinist way of thinking about God’s love). And if these children prove to be reprobate, then they are no different than any other unbelievers. This is a double standard where you tell some unbelievers that God loves them (your children) but not others (strangers).
  • Did God really say “Prevenient” Grace (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    The problem is that “grace” for the Arminian and the Calvinist is as different as “faith plus works” and “faith alone” in justification. In Arminianism, grace (“prevenient” grace, which is not in the Bible) possibly saves, whereas in Calvinism, grace does nothing else but save. Yet both Arminians and Calvinists believe that grace is glorious and love singing “Amazing grace.”
  • Southern Baptist Pastor, Randy White, Rebukes Evangelicals for Promoting Racial Justice as a Gospel Demand (blackchristiannews.com)
    “Seems to me that racial reconciliation is a good thing and is a social issue, not a doctrinal or theological issue, and certainly not a “gospel demand.” If there is something Biblical that expresses racial reconciliation as a gospel demand, I’ve missed it.”

    To this, McKissic says, “WOW! That is an incredible, reprehensible, biblically incorrect and racially offensive statement.”

    In citing this statement, McKissic fails to note that I am responding to Matthew Hall, who says, “all Christians should be mindful of the gospel’s demands for racial reconciliation and justice.”

  • Limited Atonement and the Divine Command to Believe Falsehood (arminianperspectives.wordpress.com)
    Many times, an incorrect belief by itself isn’t particularly harmful, but if taken to its inevitable conclusions, tends to produce great inconsistencies. Limited atonement, if taken in conjunction with the common Calvinist beliefs about the gospel call, inevitably leads to the conclusion that God commands people to believe falsehood. I’ll start by postulating and defending the necessary premises.
    +
    Christians since the beginning have understood that believing in Christ is more than just assent that He died and rose (as James also notes, even the demons believe that). True and living faith in Christ requires that we trust in His work on the cross, and in Him as our Savior. Herein lies the second part of the premise: that the aforementioned command requires that they believe that Christ can save them. I don’t think any tenable objection can be raised to this point. One cannot trust Christ as his Savior without believing that He has power to save him.
    +
    Many Calvinists don’t like language that Christ cannot save certain people, but that is an inescapable ramification of limited atonement. Christ either can save one through His sacrificial death, or He cannot. Christ cannot save people for whom He did not die to save. The sacrifice has already been offered, there’s no going back and changing who it was for; there is no other sacrifice, and there is no other way. If the non-elect were excluded, that decision has already been made, and cannot be abrogated. It matters not how many sins the sacrifice was sufficient to cover, if its power to save is not applicable to a person, then Christ cannot save that person.Thus to believe that Christ can save one of the non-elect, if limited atonement be true, would be a falsehood -often called a ‘lie’ when speaking in an objective sense.
  • Spurgeon’s Calvinism (baldreformer.wordpress.com)
    In Spurgeon’s Calvinism, the Prince of Preachers walks readers through the five points that were formulated at Dort.  Readers familiar with his style will be drawn to his passion for Scripture and his ability to relate the doctrines in a unified whole.  While Spurgeon’s treatment of the doctrines of grace prove to be unshakeable in the final analysis, the real highlight of the book is its ability to draw worshippers to the throne of God.  Spurgeon’s Calvinism is a fitting introduction to this biblical way of viewing God’s purposes in redemptive history.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    Atheism, as we know it, came out of a Judaeo-Christian context. But I would slightly re-phrase Garfinkle’s question. The dichotomy is not western/non-Western. It is Abrahamic/non-Abrahamic. It is a rebellion against the monotheistic faiths that originated in the Middle East–Judaism, Christianity, Islam. It makes much less sense in a non-monotheistic environment.
    The rebellion is triggered by an agonizing problem: How can God, believed to be both all-powerful and morally perfect, permit the suffering and the evil afflicting humanity? This is the problem called theodicy, which literally means the “justice of God”; in the spirit of the rebellion it is also a demand that God has to justify himself. The most eloquent expression of this atheist rebellion in literature is by Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamazov rejecting God, because he allowed the cruel murder of one child.
  • I was wrong – but I am right – Calvinists preach a false gospel. (craigbenno1.wordpress.com)
    Basically the doctrine of Divine Impassibility is one which states that God is not effected by his emotions. He suffers no pain and cannot suffer pain. Certainly within the framework of the Godhead, God isn’t affected by sinful emotions. Nor does God suffer tiredness, broken limbs and old age.

 

Writers needed to preach to non-believers

Growing Islamisation

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the oldest mosque in Brussels. It is located in the Cinquantenaire Park. It is also the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

It may be said that Christians seem to fail there where Muslims succeed. In Belgium we could see the Muslim community grow enormously in the last decade. Though we do not see so many preachers on the streets. In certain quarters the Islamic preachers are very actively on the street or in the parks, but in others you can’t see them. It seems a lot of youngsters do find their Islamic teaching on the net but do not find it countered by Christian teachers. Those who do have an idea that there could possibly be one God to be worshipped mostly can find Catholic and evangelical groups teaching trinitarian doctrine. Jehovah Witnesses go from door to door but most people are so much afraid of the groups and of the name Jehovah they really do not want to listen to them or to take some study material from them.

English: took it myself to illustrate open-air...

Open-air preaching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people in several western countries stopped listening to the pastors, priests, bishops and those who say they are ‘men of God’ because they saw what happened in the many churches were priest and nuns used young children to please themselves. Lots of people saw that many preachers who did use lots of words to frighten the people, did not bother to do those things they told their flock not to de because they would end up in hell, a place of torment and eternal suffering. In many denomination the pastors or priests make use of the comparatively easiness to convince a man of his sin and then to frighten him for the consequences of that sin.

Guilt is a majority of our spiritual make up.  And it is the substance that leaks out into our fleshly day. {The necessity of the Gospel}

No good answers by clergymen for searching people

No Preaching sign in Australia

No Preaching sign in Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having a guilty conscience many became bewildered, looking for real justifying answers. But the priests or pastors could not deliver them. By that “awakening” of getting conscious he had to do something against his sins, man becomes aware of a need to cleanse himself.  Some might than think

by that means, it is also comparatively easy to convince a man that Jesus is a necessary aspect of this cleansing.

but it does not seem to be so easy and it can not be brought over by staying in the church-walls. The preacher has to get out of those walls and come into the open to tell others what for possibilities there are and how Jesus can be found and is there for all of those who are willing to accept his ransom offer.

We read and hear of people saying that they need the Lord all day long.  Just a cursory look into the Christian announcement by His people will provide a rather overwhelming view of our sense of need.  And how can that be a fault?  All men know of their guilt.  It is a natural outcome that others should hear us speaking of our need for the Lord’s blood in decimating our sins. {The necessity of the Gospel}

Though people want to feel that they are helped and guided. The clerical people demanding from the ordinary human person to become holy, having to keep to all sorts of difficult things, therefore got lots of people stopping to listen to the men of their church because they know they cannot, or are not willing to, reach to the greatest of Christianity.

Need of human example

In The Swinging Doors is written:

Often, in a man’s frightful plight, he needs a human example.  As the little boy was reported to have said to his mother, “Sometimes I need a Jesus with skin on”. {The Swinging Doors}

Many churches made Jesus into their god and did not want to accept it was a man of flesh and blood who really died for the sins of many. They taught their believers that no man is capable to follow all through God’s commandments; So why bother many say. Many people also came to see that such teaching of a man who was not a man but was a spirit, who in one place says he cannot be tempted and in another place in Scriptures it says he was been tempted by the devil, could not be a real good teaching but only a misleading teaching.  Lots lost faith in their church of the misleading doctrines and found more clarity in the Islam teaching. The big problem is they did never tried to look at other Christian religions who do keep to the biblical Truth. Not many took time to look at the different non-trinitarian groups, because they thought all Christians are the same and do think the same. They also got frightened to look at the other denominations because they were made frightened by their own church who always told them it were heretics and not Christians.

No one willing to come down

Those who left the dogmatic Christian groups, Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, did not encounter on their path to other non-doctrinal Christians people who were confessing they only believed in Only One God. None of those non-trintiarians thought it necessary to come to them. Most of them who say they have the truth and are not a Jehovah Witness do not go away from their position in their church or ecclesia.

None will venture to ascend their hill.

They remain in their known group and are willing to give exhortations in their ecclesia, but to go out on the streets or to go to teach and preach somewhere else, not many wanted to do. so, those looking for God did not encounter people who wanted to tell them that in Christianity there may be found answers and may be found people willing to help to come closer to God.

In many of those non-trinitarian and trinitarian churches they are saying “God calls the people” which is true, but does not give you the right to sit on your ass and do nothing. Jesus was clear to his disciples and wanted all his followers to go out in the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God. But in many churches the people in charge say we do have to be patient and the right people just shall come up to us. Is that so? Shall people be able to find you?

Given task

We should be prepared to bring honourable service and give ourselves into the Hands of God, offering ourselves as servants of Christ and servants of God. Faith without works is dead and true faith demands dedication to God’s sovereignty.
Preaching should be done across the entire world, every day and night regarding this subject, by those who believe in the things which are grounded in their heart. That what did not have enough opportunity to grow in the heart can not be shared. There has to be a willingness to hear others and to come to them to talk and share ideas with them. Ears have to be opened to the Word of God, but so few hear it.  So few accept it.  So few do it.   Why?

Because salvation from guilt and sin is a natural desire of the human mind.

says the writer of Words From There.

But the walk of Jesus comes from the Holy Spirit.  As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves compelled to agree with the Father in Heaven. {The necessity of the Gospel}

this should bring people united under Christ in the understanding of  the necessity to live as the Lord Jesus lived.

Servants for God

 He became a servant, though He is the Son of God.  We too are called to become servants, though we are sons of the same God.

The big question is: How many do want to become a humble servant in the hands of God? How many are willing to follow up the task Jesus has given his disciples?

Understanding the true nature of God by observing phenomena on earth is like exclusively studying shadows to examine the Sun.  The resultant assumptions would most certainly fall short. {Thoughts from Isolation}While some people ponder the very existence of a God, His people ponder His promises. {Thoughts from Isolation}

Short time to stand at the side

There are too many questions to be answered, and time on earth is too short to get all the answers right. When we do have to find out everything on our own it (perhaps) will take a long time, but when we can find help in what others can show us from the Bible we can grow with each other and come to a better understanding sooner. It is easy to say

Why is there not even a hint of concern in the majority of people?

and do nothing. Standing at the side, staying in the close environment, the safe surrounding of the own ecclesia or church is easy. It is high time to come out of the ‘building’ and to go out in the  ‘wild nature’.

Messengers with wrong motives

Soon after Jesus his death it happened already that people made use of his name and his popularity. The apostle Paul noted already that there were some that preached Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. (Philippians 1:15-18) Many centuries later not much has changed. We still can find people who are more interested in their own good and their own name, instead of sharing the gospel with many for the matter of  Jesus his name. We shamefully notice that everywhere we can find people who preach Christ out of selfish ambition. But perhaps this should not bother us so much because whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this we should rejoice.

Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org, Author of Making Sense of the Bible wrote

What security in the gospel! Even if the messenger has wrong motives, the message remains unstoppable. This means that God has built into the gospel a self-correcting power for every abuse of the gospel at the hands of men. Men misused the Bible to promote slavery in Africa and America, yet the abolitionist movement came out of the church.

All of us should be thankful we are good in something. We all have been given a gift of God’s grace for the good of His people. As the least of the Lord’s people, Paul knew that these graces were not given based upon any personal merit, so stop disqualifying yourself to use the gift of grace that God has given you. God has created all things, including you and your capacity, and God wants us to focus upon him and use what he has freely given us. And each person who comes in Christ should also as a member of the body of Christ use his or her gifts to let that body grow.

Poisoned and mislead

Arthur W. Pink was aware that we should use the gifts we received more to proclaim the Word of God

those whose whole time and energies are to be devoted to seeking the spiritual and eternal welfare of souls, and the better equipping of themselves for that most blessed, solemn, and important work. Their principal tasks are to proclaim God’s Truth and to exemplify and commend their message by diligently endeavoring to practice what they preach, setting before their hearers a personal example of practical godliness. Since it be the Truth they are to preach, no pains must be spared in seeing to it that no error be intermingled therewith, that it is the pure milk of the Word they are giving forth. To preach error instead of Truth is not only grievously to dishonor God and His Word, but will mislead and poison the minds of the hearers or readers. {Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures}

Many people felt dishonoured and mislead by their common church. The Muslims seemed to honestly keep closer to the Word of God and kept more to their holy Scriptures, doing what was requested by them.

Governing bodies have taken over the Pauline churches which at early Christendom were free communities.

It is true that the early apostles held a council in order to examine more closely certain issues. Upon holding this council a letter was drawn up and sent to the Gentile churches. This letter gave basic rules of how to conduct oneself as a Christian. Paul later went back and wrote too many of these Gentile Christians and gave them a fuller explanation on what it meant to be a Christian and how to live as a Christian.  {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3}The reason men like Harold Camping can gather disciples around him are because people have remained silent. They fear persecution and do not want to live a life of being shunned or spoken evil against. I am not going to be unloving when I examine other ministers’ doctrines, but I also will not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I will not shun being persecuted by remaining silent concerning the truth of God’s word. Therefore I will not be silent concerning the doctrines of the ‘Teacher’ nor Otis Graves.

writes a a Reformed Baptist, from a Covenantal, Amillennial perspective in Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2. This while too many keep silent and do not dare to step on toes. But no congregation is free of the silent ones or of those who do not want to go out to those who do not belong to the community. This made that many in the city or at the countryside did not find it interesting enough to go to hear in the church-building what the preacher had to say. those who stayed at home and did their normal daily business did not find somebody on their path to work or to the shops who tried to convince them of the beauty of Jesus his ransom.

Unlearned men

‘Church’ wanted people to believe they could not understand the Bible, because they did not follow special university courses. In the past they had also told Luther that if the scriptures were translated into the common language of the people that a flood gate of sin would come out of it.

They told him that the church would begin to split and splinter into all kinds of different denominations. This is because that unlearned men will not take and interpret scripture according to the tradition of the Church. Luther responded by saying that he knew that if he put the scriptures in the hands of ignorant and unlearned men, that it would open a flood gate of iniquity, but nevertheless every person ought to have the scriptures to read for themselves. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

We may not forget that in the first century of this common era, like in the centuries before people did not get a university degree to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. The disciples of Christ got their training first hand from the master teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ). They continued the same practice as Jesus to educate others in the teachings of Christ Jesus. They wrote down what they had learned so that others in places far away could use the writings as edifying material. We too have that educational material at hand in our own language. We can use the many Bible translations to receive the Biblical Wisdom. We should use it.

Right to read and to interpret

So the Reformation opened the door for private interpretation. But just because we have the right to interpret scripture privately does not mean that we have the right to distort scripture. The Reformers taught what is known as the perspicuity of scripture or that the scriptures are so plain that even a child could understand it. This doctrine does not teach that scripture is plain in every place, but it teaches that the doctrines that are essential to salvation are so clear that even a child could find his was to Christ by reading them. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

People need help in their interpretation and it are the elders and scholars who can and should help. In time the church has developed a science of interpretation known as ‘hermeneutics.’ This science and art of interpretation is our key which can keep us from falling into much error when we interpret scripture. Not everybody is been given the art of hermeneutics but those that have received it should use it and help others to come to a better understanding of what is written in the Bible.

While the Bible is filled with many types of literature it also uses many forms of speech within that literature. The Bible uses hyperbole, simile, symbolic, irony, sarcasm, metaphor, parallelism, synonymous parallelism, metonymy, personification, anthropomorphisms, anthropopathisms, and many more. The Bible also uses types and shadows to convey its message. So without a properly working hermeneutic we all would misinterpret scripture all the time. {Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2.}

But it are the communities and those in charge of the ‘churches’ who should take care their flock is trained to come to good Bible reading and good Bible interpretation. Every person in the ecclesia should try to come to a good Bible knowledge and should help others in reading and interpreting the Bible.

Not staying in own cocoon

As we go on, after we have been baptised, and grow in our faith, we do have to carry it with us and should share it with others. We cannot keep our faith to our own. We also may not stay in our little cocoon just staying safe with those we do know and with those whom we love. Out of love for the others, we should go out to reach them and to show them the Way.

Thomas Manton asked

“What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? {So much Preaching and so Little Practice – Thomas Manton}

but we wonder where all that preaching is. We can not see many Christians on the streets, in parks, in public buildings or in public transport, teaching the Word of God. It seems to stay in between closed doors.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville.jpg

One of the great inspirers for many Christians and strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition: Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon

We do need constant thoughts which are operative so that musing makes the fire burn. {Thomas Manton} The British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers,”  Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon in his lifetime preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons are reprinted many times and are still going strong. He knew very well the importance to go out on the streets and to take sure educating thoughts would be spread amongst many. We should remember him who said

Preaching! Man’s Privilege and God’s Power!

A Privilege to be taken seriously

Jonathan Edwards, A.W. Tozer, A.W. Pink, John Owen, Oswald Chambers, Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, Mary, Thomas and their son Octavius Winslow, John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. and many more understood the need of reaching to the people, covering topics on many aspects of the Christian life. We should take them as an example and not limit ourselves to our own community, staying only at our own ecclesia.

For sure it might be easier just to preach for people who believe the same as we do. It is easier not be confronted with people who have other ideas and want to ask questions. It is easier to avoid such questions and keeping to a close group where one is sure they all believe the same and/or do not dare to question.

Like Aiden Tozer’s passion for a deeper knowledge of God led him to study the great devotional writers of the past, we should not hesitate to look at such works from the past but always should see them in the light of the Holy Scriptures, which constantly should be the main guide.

People wanting to know God

The move of many churchgoers to become mosque goers proves that there are enough people wanting to get to know God. You can wonder how they can get to know God when nobody wants to come to them and tell about God.

Prayer and worship were the hallmarks of many previous Bible teachers  their life. but they did not stay in their own little environment, their safe surrounding of their church. They stood up and went to those who did not yet belong to their church or even did not believe in a god or the God. Like them we should come forward and present our thoughts and our writings to people who are looking for God and perhaps not belong to any church, or did not find the Truth.

A W Tozer.jpg

Aiden Wilson Tozer

Our preaching as well as our writings should simply become an extension of our faith and prayer life.

In modern evangelicalism, contended Tozer, we work, we have our agendas–in fact, we have almost everything except the spirit of true worship. He defined worship as a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe, astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of the unspeakable Majesty. He reminded the pastors, “We’re here to be worshippers first and workers only second; Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring souls God does His work. The work done by a worshipper will have eternity in it.” {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Tozer called the doctrine of the Holy Spirit “buried dynamite”. Yet he always insisted that the Spirit and the Word operate in harmony. He exhorted the overzealous to a warm heart and a cool head:

“The history of revivals in the Church reveals how harmful the hot head can be….These are days of great religious turmoil. Let love burn on with increasing fervour, but bring every act to the quiet test of wisdom. Keep the fire in the furnace where it belongs. An overheated chimney will create more excitement than a well-controlled furnace, but it is likely to burn the house down. Let the rule be: a hot furnace but a cool chimney.”

– Walter Unger {A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines}

Simply taking up the task given by Christ

We should not aim for great fame and popularity as a preacher, but we should be well aware that we do have to come together, read and study the Bible with others, preach the gospel and make new believers.

In many church services other than those of the Christadelphians not much time is given or spend at the Word of God. God’s Word in Scripture, if ever used at all, comes in sporadic bursts of verses here and there, and in evangelical churches they are just parts of phrases being shouted out repetitive whilst most of the time entertaining songs sweep up the public. Very often bible texts are stripped of their intended meaning, stifling the work of the Spirit in His sacramental function of quickening the Word, and robbing the people of blessing. At other places the sermon or the exhortation has not much to do with the Bible fragments read.

Though time has to be spend to go deeper into the reading and to give some examples of how the Bible text relates to our daily life. That we need much more, so that people can see how the stories of the Bible still have relevance today. Further we also need more stories of influences of the Bible and faith to people in our society. The Lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters would love to bring such Bible and Faith related stories. But we need more people who can bring such stories and show people what it can do to have the Christian Faith.

You to can play your role

It is high time there shall come forward more Christian believers to proof to others they are not children of the bond-woman but of the free (Galatians 4:31) and to show the world which blessings come over those who are willing to accept Christ in their life.

When the early church went out into the world, armed with the truth through which alone true unity could be effected, they, as well as Paul, met with opposition. The had to conquer their fear for speaking in public. It took time but with the aid of the Holy Spirit and with their trust in God they managed to spread the faith very well. We better take up their courage and start evangelizing like they did in the early days.

You too can do your share. For sure you too have something to tell; something that changed your life; something you feel inside, something you notice in the world; let it be known to others. We are willing to give you a platform where you can let your voice be heard so that your voice can put an other cobblestone on the big road to be made.

As time went on, however, the church no longer loved God enough to see, feel and talk about the wonders of the Divine Creator. Let those Works of God be better known. Open people their eyes and ears so that they can see and hear the beauty of nature, the Hand of God in our world. Show the world where there can be growth of true worship in the face of daunting challenges so that it can be faith-strengthening and inspiring to God’s people everywhere. Let the sun never sets on the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. Remember the prophet Zechariah his words

 “who has despised the day of small things?” (Zecharia 4:10)

and do not hesitate to join the small group of enthusiast preachers.

Declaring Good News

Let us “declare good news” like Jesus demanded from his followers. Each of us can “bear news; announce; act as a news bearer.” (1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Samuel 1:20; 1 Chronicles 16:23)

Jesus recognized that his divine commission called for a preaching work, and he carried it on publicly, in cities and villages, in the temple area, synagogues, marketplaces and streets, as well as in the countryside. (Marcus 1:39; 6:56; Luke 8:1; 13:26; John 18:20)
Do you want to go wherever you can entering into villages or cities or countryside or bring  your texts on the internet so that it can come in the homes of many people?

Jesus had stressed that he was ‘sent by God’ (Luke 9:48; John 5:36, 37; 6:38; 8:18, 26, 42), who gave him “a commandment as to what to tell and what to speak.” (John 12:49). The apostles who followed the directions of Christ knew that they publicly had to declare that Jesus is Lord, and that we have to exercise faith in our heart that God raised him up from the dead, so that we will be saved.

For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation. (Romans 10:9, 10)

Like John the Baptist Jesus did more than preach. His teaching receives even greater emphasis than his preaching. Teaching (di·da′sko) differs from preaching in that the teacher does more than proclaim; he instructs, explains, shows things by argument, and offers proofs. The work of Jesus’ disciples, both before and after his death, was thus to be a combination of preaching and teaching.(Matthew 4:23; 11:1; 28:18-20).

The writings which we present as such shall have to bring preachings and teachings, sermons and exhortations, bringing examples that show how God is at work also today and is still calling everybody who is willing to hear His Voice.

We have to share our heartfelt feeling for Christ and for each other. We have to share like Christ did, our love for the Only One God and our love for brothers and sisters in Christ, but also our love for the whole creation (man, animals and plants). As this in the old times was shared by all disciples, men and women, we too should till “the conclusion of the system of things” proclaim the Good News and share our faith with others, bringing a call to the world to join us and to become a member of the Body of Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-49; Acts of the apostles 2:17; compare Acts 18:26; 21:9; Romans 16:3.)

18 And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority*+ has been given me in heaven and on the earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples*+ of people of all the nations,+ baptizing+ them in* the name of the Father+ and of the Son+ and of the holy spirit,+20 teaching+ them to observe+ all the things I have commanded YOU.+ And, look! I am with YOU+ all the days until the conclusion* of the system of things.”*+ {Matthew 28:18-20 Reference Bible}

Let us make sure that on the basis of Jesus his name, repentance for forgiveness of sins will be preached in all the nations and that you with us may be a witness of these things. Jesus was sending forth upon us that which is promised by his heavenly Father. We, though, have to follow the decree given by Jesus to be a pupil but also a teacher, a follower and a leader, always a servant, one for the people and one for God.

coming closer to the Last days we should be fully aware that Jesus said

‘“And in the last days,” God says, “I shall pour out some of my spirit*+ upon every sort of flesh,* and YOUR sons and YOUR daughters will prophesy and YOUR young men will see visions and YOUR old men* will dream dreams;+ 18 and even upon my men slaves and upon my women slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. {Acts of the apostles 2:17 Reference Bbile}

Sharing and blessings for all

All sorts of men and women shall go out in those days, but we do not have to wait to the last moment be part of them. Today you can stand up and show your alertness and your vivid will to be part of that community which want to show others the way to God. You can start to speak boldly in your own surroundings and share your voice on this platform and on From Guestwriters. You can let people hear and see that they too can find a place where blessing are shared with love with all who want to come along and with all who want to celebrate the greatest love a person has ever given.

We have to show others that it is not sufficient just to take the posture of politely and respectfully listening, not doing much of anything else. Jesus wanted active followers, doers of the Word. Those who come to church or enter the ecclesia perhaps would (all) agree that they are there to learn and be challenged in the Word, but in actuality, they are very inactive in the learning process, very passive in the spiritual discipline, and very unengaged while the preacher is preaching. We have to show them that is not what is wanted form a member of Christianity, a follower of Christ. we have to stimulate them that they also get up and start showing the works of faith. doing our work not forgetting how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

All believers are still hold to the task of challenging the wider Church which is asking, struggling, journeying about how we, those who are called to be “Preachers”, “Teachers”, “Leaders” can create sacred spaces so that those outside our community feel as welcomed and share with us too, how the Good News impacts, revitalises, renews, re-forms their and others lives, and how they impart their own wisdom empowered by the Holy Spirit to encourage who we have been called to be.

All human beings, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status,every human being has sinned and falls short of the glory of God.”

Let us take many into our company, showing the blessing we receive on daily basis, and expound the way of God more correctly to them.

May your time spent here be blessed.

Isn’t this what we are called to do?  We are to ascend to our place near the Lord.  From there we are commanded to proclaim regardless the response.  Can you count the number of us who have gone into the city?  How many of those tiny houses contain artifacts of man?   How did they get there?   The Lord did not put them there, nor did He have them delivered. {The Swinging Doors}

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Find to read:

  1. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  2. Christians fail there where Muslims succeed
  3. Trying to get the youth inspired
  4. When discouraged facing opposition
  5. Christianity without the Trinity
  6. Bible in the first place #2/3
  7. Bible for you and for life
  8. Dedication and Preaching Effort 400 years after the first King James Version
  9. The Most Reliable English Bible
  10. The Bible and names in it: Proclaiming the Name of The One and Only Who Is and has Ever Been
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  13. Reasons to come together
  14. Not many coming out with their community name
  15. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  16. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  17. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  18. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  19. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  20. Not all ability to preach
  21. Breathing to teach
  22. Church sent into the world
  23. Blogging in the world for Jesus and his Father
  24. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  25. Our openness to being approachable
  26. Words to push and pull
  27. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  28. How should we preach?
  29. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  30. Good or bad preacher
  31. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Holland Week of billing
  34. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  35. It is Today
  36. Belonging to or being judged by
  37. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  38. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  39. A Society pleading poverty
  40. Dealing with worries in our lives
  41. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  42. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  43. Risen With Him
  44. Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Thoughts from Isolation
  2. To the stump
  3. Your Post
  4. The necessity of the Gospel
  5. Jehovah’s Message
  6. Following Jesus’ Footsteps
  7. The Good News of God’s Kingdom
  8. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 2
  9. Does an Independent Minister have a right to preach what he so desires? Pt 3
  10. A. W. Tozer Sermon – The Unpopularity of Jesus and His Doctrines
  11. Rev. Duncan Campbell Sermon – Action and Obedience
  12. Puritan Thomas Watson – Christian Joy!
  13. Thoughts concerning the preacher
  14. What if Jesus Preached What Modern Preachers are Preaching?
  15. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  16. Preaching the Gospel in the Power of Signs and Wonders
  17. On Preaching “To the Men”
  18. The Primacy of Preaching
  19. Expository preaching – friend or foe?
  20. How to Spread the Gospel
  21. 4 Principles for Collaborative Preaching
  22. 6 Ways to Your Teacher’s Heart
  23. Preaching is a two-way street
  24. What do you think about preaching someone else’s sermon?
  25. Sex, murder, and preaching: How much is too much for Sunday morning?
  26. Redemptive-Historical Preaching Vs. Moralistic Preaching in Sanctification
  27. How to Get More Out of the Preached Word of God
  28. Four Reasons You Should Go Easy On Yourself After Failure, Divorce or Abuse
  29. Preach It, Sister!
  30. What do you need…?
  31. The Mystery of Being In Christ: A Review of Paul and Union with Christ
  32. Community Houses are Better than Church Buildings
  33. Proclaim Christ Thru Service to Others
  34. Cavite Hosts I-Proclaim! 3 on National Bible Week 2012
  35. Proclaim Jubilee: A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century
  36. How to Proclaim Restoration

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  • Jehovah’s Witnesses descend on Melbourne in pictures (theguardian.com)
    A large sign across the turf at Etihad Stadium reads: ‘Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom’
  • Taking the plunge at Etihad Stadium into a life of faith serving Jehovah (smh.com.au)
    Cameron Dobber’s nerves had mostly settled by the time he took his place in the middle of Etihad Stadium in front of more than 65,000 people.The 27-year-old forklift driver from Sunshine had been preparing for this moment for more than four years.After months of Bible studies and a three-hour interview with church elders, it was finally his turn to step into the baptismal pool and become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Suppository preaching (onedaringjew.wordpress.com)
    A Christian is called. To do what? “Follow me.” And the crucial part of this calling by Jesus is getting nailed – as Paris Reidhead once said – to the back of the cross; the “purpose-driven” crowd’s worst nightmare.+

  • 19. Daily Bible Verse (12160.info)
    It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
  • Watch: ’19 Kids & Preaching’ Video Highlights Duggar Family’s Christian Faith (blackchristiannews.com)
    A new video called 19 Kids and Preaching shows that the Duggar family members are passionate about their Christian faith. While they often pray and talk about God on their TV program, this video shows them getting out of their comfort zone to share their faith with others.
  • Preaching What God’s Word Says about the World (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    [T]he principle that the Christian minister is to preach only the Word of God most certainly does not forbid him to apply the teaching of Holy Writ to the specific needs of his hearers and the peculiar conditions of his day. Application, as well as explanation, is of the essence of preaching.
  • 970) Whether I know what preaching is! Taught by Srila Prabhupada! (pmdasa.wordpress.com)
    A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That is, means preaching.
  • The Active Power of Faith (codybateman.org)
  • “Coming Up Short”; Jeffrey Sartain’s sermon, Oct. 26 (plymouthspirit.wordpress.com)
    Acts of generosity draw goodness and blessing toward us. When we give, we receive blessings far greater than what we have given.
  • “The way I finish a sermon” by Charles Spurgeon (tollelege.wordpress.com)
    I have preached this Gospel for many years, and I do not think I ever finished a sermon except in one way—by trying to explain what is meant by this simple trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

Me neither. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to suffer everlasting torment, however bad they were in life, and I don’t like the idea of a god would want that either. The idea of unending pain is not only intolerably cruel but to pretend that in any sense someone could deserve that fate so unjust as to be positively wicked. Regardless of how bad someone behaved, regardless of how many crimes they committed, no-one could do enough evil to justify an infinite punishment. Even worse is the suggestion that anyone who misses out on salvation will end up with the same punishment; petty crook and genocidal dictator alike, they all must endure an eternity of pain and suffering. A god who behaved in this way could not be described as “merciful“, could not even be described as “just”. Such a god could only be described as wicked. But the God I believe in is both merciful and just, so I can’t believe that He would send anyone to hell.

There is another reason why I can’t believe it – the idea isn’t even biblical. Look at what Jesus says about hell:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28)

Leave aside for a moment what Jesus meant by “soul” and “hell”, it is clear that Jesus did not think of hell as many Christians do. For Jesus, hell is not a place where the soul suffers eternal conscious torment. Instead hell is a place where the soul is killed, destroyed, finished, done.

Look at what Jesus promises to anyone who will accept it:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them (John 3:36)

Jesus promises eternal life. The opposite of eternal life is not eternal conscious torment but eternal death. Jesus makes this clear in the words considered above. Whoever rejects the offer will “not see life”. They don’t go on living in torment and agony for all eternity. They just stay dead. That’s the fate of the wicked, that’s the fate of those who reject Jesus’ offer of life, they stay dead.

The question then is why do so many Christians believe in hell, given that is a horrible idea and not what Jesus taught? For some people, though they call themselves “Christian”, just use the doctrine of hell as a stick to beat their neighbours. There also probably some truth in the claim that the historic church used the threat of hell as a way of controlling its followers. But there are also many sincere and well-intentioned Christians who still believe in hell. This is because they are used to reading the Bible a certain way and have never been shown that it was written differently.

Many Christians believe that the soul is immortal, that it not only survives death but can never die. This is not what Jesus or the early Christians taught, but if you believe that the soul cannot die then you must believe it goes somewhere after death. You wouldn’t want to belief that wicked people end up in a good place (a lot of Christians believe they go to heaven when they die), so there must be a bad place for the bad people to go to. Once you’ve got this idea in your mind then you read the Bible to fit that idea. For example, whilst Jesus never talks about eternal conscious torment, he does talk about “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46). If you already believe that bad souls go to a bad place when they die, it is convenient to read “eternal punishment” as though it said “eternal conscious torment”. That’s not what Jesus said, but that’s what many Christians think.

English: Ge-Hinnom, c. 1900.

Ge-Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom, c. 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also does not help that Christians today have forgotten what Jesus meant when he used the word “hell”. When Jesus talks about hell he is usually using the word gehenna, which literally means “Valley of Hinnom“. This was a place in ancient Israel where the worshippers of the pagan god Molech would perform human sacrifices, including burning children (e.g. 2 Kings 23:10). This practice is condemned by God through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:35). Jeremiah uses the imagery of being burnt in the Valley of Hinnom to portray the fitting punishment for those who practiced such evil (Jeremiah 7:31-32). This is the background to the word gehenna in the New Testament where it represents the fate of the wicked. When Jesus talks about the ‘fire of hell‘ (Matthew 5:22) he is using the word gehenna, using this imagery for the destruction of death. The other word used by Jesus for hell is hades. Though in greek mythology hades was both the abode of the dead and the god of the dead, in the New Testament hades simply refers to the grave. In either case Jesus was not referring to a place of eternal conscious torment for the wicked, as many people now think about hell.

As you can see from this overview I do not think that Christians should believe in hell and as such I do not think that hell provides any obstacle to believing in God. Jesus does not teach that the wicked go to hell and I do not know of any other part of the bible that teaches this idea. Wherever people got the notion of hell from it was not from God and not part of his message to mankind. I can understand that you would not want to believe in a god that condemned people to hell, though your personal dislike would not determine whether or not such a god existed. But the notion of hell is inconsistent with everything we know about the God who does exist; inconsistent with his goodness and inconsistent with his message to mankind.

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Additional reading:

  1. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  2. Sheol, Sheool, Sjeool, Hades, Hell, Grave, Tomb, Sepulchre
  3. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  4. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  5. Jesus three days in hell
  6. Hellfire
  7. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  8. The soul
  9. Dying or not
  10. Is there an Immortal soul
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  13. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  14. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  15. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  16. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  17. We are ourselves responsible
  18. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  19. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Bad things no punishment from God
  21. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  22. Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists
  23. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  24. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  25. Edward Wightman
  26. Fear and protection
  27. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  28. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  29. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower

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  • Biblical Hell (focusedandfree.com)
    Because of the symbolic nature of the language, some people question whether hell consists of actual fire. Such reasoning should bring no comfort to the lost. The reality is greater than the symbol. The Bible exhausts human language in describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious, and the latter more terrible, than language can express.
    +
    In Christian tradition it is usually associated with the notion of eternal punishment, especially by fire. This idea appears in Isaiah. 66:24, but it is not clearly associated with a place. Jewish writings from the third century B.C. onward, speak of places of punishment by fire for evil spirits and the wicked dead (1 Enoch 18:11-16108:3-7152 Esdras 7:36-38). The book of Revelation describes a lake that burns with fire and brimstone in which the wicked will be eternally punished (Revelation 19:2020:14-1521:8).
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of the great controversy about hell, and about Bell’s thesis, is the meaning of the word Gehenna in the New Testament. Most English translations contribute to the confusion by replacing the word Gehenna with hell, instead of leaving it untranslated, as it should be, since it is the name of a specific geographical place on earth.
  • Is Gehenna the same as the lake of fire? (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    Arthur W. Pink compared Gehenna with the lake of fire in Revelation 20 in his article on Eternal Punishment. He thought these two things were identical. But Pink may have been mistaken about this, as he was about the doctrine of dispensationalism. He eventually realized dispensationalism was false, and wrote a series of articles against that theory, which he previously supported.In his discussion of Gehenna, Pink compared things said of it with the information that is provided about the lake of fire. His comparison is summarized
  • Is Literal Hellfire Torment A Bible Teaching? (debatepolitics.com)
    The teaching of literal hellfire torment is commonplace in Christendom and non-Christian religions. This teaching defames the Creator and portrays him as a sadist who tortures people in flames of fire for all eternity—as punishment for wrongdoing committed during the relatively brief human lifespan. The hellfire dogma was brought into Christianity by the Roman Catholics who copied it from pagan religions. (Pagans are those who do not worship the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible.)
    +
    The scriptures indicate that hell is nothing more than mankind’s common grave. Proof of this is provided by a verse of scripture in the Bible, which no hellfire-believing Christian can explain away. I’m referring to the scripture that says Jesus Christ–the epitome of a perfect, sinless, and obedient man–died and went to hell.
  • What and Where is Hell Anyway? (robertjrgraham.com)
    When most people think of hell, they think of Satan in that red suit with two horns and a pitchfork somewhere in the depths of the Earth where souls are tormented day and night on some kind of giant char broiler. Do something wrong in life and you’re condemned to an eternal damnation of flames. None of this could be further from the truth, and we should know better, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11).The English word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon hel, or in the genitive case helle, which means a “hidden place”, from the Anglo-Saxon word helan, meaning “to hide”.
    +
    Whether it’s the word sheol in the Old Testament, or gehenna or hades in the New Testament, they all mean either the grave or the state of death.
  • Is Hell eternal or do those who do not choose Christ just cease to exist? (askthepastors.wordpress.com)
    There are four words used in the Bible for the place of the dead, Sheol, the Hebrew term for the grave and also for the place of departed spirits, Hades, the Greek version of Sheol, the Abyss (used for the place of the dead in Romans 10:7, but usually reserved for place of judgment for demons, Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1,2, 20:1) and Gehenna, the term taken from the Valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem where trash was perpetually burned. This last word refers specifically to the final place of torment, most properly translated “hell” (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9, etc.)
  • Comments on Walter Balfour’s interpretation of Gehenna (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    In their disputes about the meaning of Gehenna, both men overlooked the significance of Gehenna as a topographical feature in the land of promise, and one of the valleys which Isaiah said will be filled, as John the Baptist proclaimed. [Luke 3:5]From Gehenna, one views Jerusalem as an outsider; the teachings of Jesus encourage us to get into the kingdom of God, and obtain life.
    +The sayings of Jesus about Gehenna also apply to the present age. Gehenna is a judgment. [Mat. 5:22, 23:33] Jesus referred to it as something we should avoid at any cost, even if it means loss of our right eye, or our right hand, or our right foot. [Mat. 5:29, 30] Jesus said God is able to destroy “both soul and body” in Gehenna, and that we should fear him. [Mat. 10:28, Luke 12:5] This suggests that the warnings about Gehenna apply to our present lives; being cast into it represents the spiritual condition, of being outside the holy city.Being cast into Gehenna contrasts with entering into life. [Mat. 18:9] Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites are called “children of Gehenna.” [Mat. 23:15] Balfour correctly pointed out “no Gentile is ever threatened with Gehenna punishment,” as that threat applies especially to those in Jerusalem. One must be in the holy city, in order to be cast out of it. While the threat of “the damnation of Gehenna” applies only to Jews, the heirs of salvation, who are “in Christ,” are called Jews, and “the circumcision,” in a spiritual sense; Jesus used the threat of Gehenna figuratively and metaphorically to warn the saints who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem.
  • Is Punishment Eternal? (pilgrimpassing.com)
    Thus, sheol and hades were the same place and must have been occupied by the redeemed since the Messiah was there while His body lay in the grave. That the lost were also there, but in a separate area, is clear from Christ’s statement that when the rich man died, “in hades he lift up his eyes, being in torment….” That in his torment he could see Lazarus and Abraham in comfort (Luke 16:19-31) further indicates that the redeemed were also in hades yet distinct from the damned. That part of hades, which Christ referred to as “Abraham’s bosom,” must have been the “paradise” in which Jesus promised to meet the believing thief on the cross that very day (Luke 23:43).
    +
    If God is so loving why doesn’t He universally forgive everyone? Love is only part of God’s character. He is also infinitely and perfectly just. How can God forgive someone who admits no guilt? How can He forgive those who insist that there is nothing for which He needs to forgive them? And would it not be the utmost folly to do so? If in His mercy and grace God simply passed over human rebellion, would that not be condoning evil and even encouraging it? Would that not in itself undermine God’s control of His universe?
  • Walter Balfour’s discussion of Gehenna
  • Hope in Gehenna?
  • John Calvin on Gehenna
  • Gehenna applies to the church, not the world
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy
  • To Hell with Hell
  • Philosophy – What Is Hell?
  • Jason Erb critically analyzes biblical doctrines on Truth Hertz with Charles Giuliani, January 1, 2013
  • Lost Soul in Hell
  • The Amazing Race of God
  • God versus Satan
  • A Full Documentary About the Signs of Apocalypse
  • Reality of Hell…
  • To Hell with HellIs Punishment Eternal?
  • There Is No Hell, Look It Up

Understanding what we read

“Do you understand what you are reading?”

(April 30)

Rubens apostel philippus.jpg

Philip the Apostle and Evangelist – by Peter Paul Rubens, from his Twelve Apostles series (c. 1611), at the Museo del Prado, Madrid

This was the question the Ethiopian Eunuch asked Philip; he was one of the seven appointed to assist the 12 disciples (Acts 6:2,4); Stephen who was killed was also one of them.

“An angel of the Lord” (8:26) caused Philip to go up and meet with this Ethiopian as he was returning from worshipping in Jerusalem” (verse 28) which shows he was a genuine God fearing man – and as he travelled, he was reading God’s word and puzzling over a person he was reading about in the book of Isaiah who was “like a lamb before its shearer is silent … in his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth” (verses 32,33).

He asks Philip,

“Does the prophet say this about himself or about someone else?” (verse 34).

Philip explains,

beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus”.

The whole world has now been given the whole of the word of God – all 66 books of it, in just about every language. Remember what Jesus said:

“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).

People in the ancient world were challenged by the faith of Noah in the huge ark he and his sons built over many years! Does the word of God really challenge us? It did when it was first printed! Let us read some of it every day – and our understanding will grow and – like the Eunuch, we will start to think and to ask,

“What prevents me from being baptised?” (verse 37).

And if we are already baptised and have experienced the feeling he did after his baptism in “going on his way rejoicing” (verse 39) we will find less and less to rejoice about in much of what we do in this world.

We will relate to words in Peter’s 1st letter. He said that genuine believers

“by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last to time. In this you rejoice, though now, for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith … may be found to result in praise and honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:5-7).

The baptism of the eunuch by Rembrandt, 1626, ...

The baptism of the eunuch by Rembrandt, 1626, depicting Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. the only way of a true baptism is by full immersion, which is not shown on this portrait.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Find additionally:

  1. Faith
  2. Belief of the things that God has promised
  3. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  4. June’s Survey – Baptism by immersion: Necessary for salvation?
  5. Why baptism really matters – e-book
  6. United people under Christ

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  • God Wants to Use You! Are You Ready? (todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com)
    Do you believe God wants to use you? Do you believe the Holy Spirit would prompt you to help someone know Jesus?
    +
    This Ethiopian was a very influential man. He experienced this personal touch from God and it changed the entire course of his life. Because of this man’s influence as treasurer under the queen, his life most likely then touched the lives of countless others. This story is the demonstration of the power and intimate effort on God’s part to use someone who knows Him (like you or I) to help another get to know Him. God loved this man so much that He spoke to Philip to go out to this desert place. Would God help you be used like this in some way?
  • The Commemoration of Philip, Deacon and Evangelist, 11 October (concordiakoinonia.com)
     Philip, also called the evangelist (Acts 21:8), was one of the seven men appointed to assist in the work of the twelve apostles and of the rapidly growing early Church by overseeing the distribution of food to the poor (Acts 6:1-6). Following the martyrdom of Stephen, Philip proclaimed the Gospel in Samaria and led Simon the sorcerer to become a believer in Christ (Acts 8:4-13). He was also instrumental in bringing about the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-39), through whom Philip became indirectly responsible for bringing the Good News of Jesus to the people on the continent of Africa. In the town of Caesarea, he was host for several days to the apostle Paul, who stopped there on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 21:8-15). (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, cph.org)
    +
     Word, then Sacrament, specifically the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. The court official asks what is to prevent Baptism. Indeed!  The Greek verb for “prevent”  or “hinder”  is the same one Jesus used when the disciples rebuked the parents from bringing their children to Him for a blessing, (Mark 10:14).  This high court official of Queen Candace received the kingdom, freely given, in Baptism as a child.  Indeed, all baptisms are baptisms of children and infants, even for an adult. The man went away “rejoicing”. This old song illustrates the eunuch’s rejoicing:   “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little ones to Him belong, they are weak and He is strong. Yes!  Jesus loves me. Yes! Jesus loves me! Yes!  Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.
  • The Ethiopian Eunuch – Philip Preaches to a Stranger on a Lonely Road (brakeman1.com)
    The story of Jesus was new to the Ethiopian.  He listened eagerly, and believed every word of this strange preacher who rode beside him in the chariot.  He knew now that his long journey to Jerusalem had not been made in vain, for he was learning the very thing he had longed to understand.
  • A Eunuch’s Legacy (gobeyondblog.com)
    There are over sixty references to this East African nation in the Bible. Christianity there dates back to the days of Philip in Acts 8. The stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, ignited the expansion of the church beyond Jerusalem. A believer named Philip, later known as Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8), ventured to Samaria and unwittingly became the first missionary in Acts — the first to carry the good news to unreached peoples.
    +
    If we will listen carefully, like Philip, we too will hear the sound of chariot wheels that signal an approaching opportunity to talk with others about Jesus. Don’t let those chariots pass you by. Take the initiative to share Jesus with someone seeking the right path. You never know how many generations you might impact by sharing the good news with one person.
  • What Barriers? Reflections on Acts 8:26-40 (bobcornwall.com)
    I appreciate a word given by Barbara Brown Taylor found in today’s reading found in the Daily Feast: Meditations from Feasting on the Word, Year B(WJK Press, 2011).
    She writes:

    This story is think with the presence of the Holy Spirit, which raises interesting questions about how that Spirit works.  If God is the Law-maker, then God is also the Law-bender, or at least the Law-transcender, who both places limits on the faithful and inspires them to challenge those limits when right relationships with God and neighbor are at state.  This dynamic shows up in both testaments, not just one.  When Philip follows the Spirit’s leading to go to the Ethiopian eunuch, he follows in the footsteps of his ancestor Elijah, who was led by the Lord to a widow of Zarephath (1 kings. 17:9).  When Philip comes up with nothing that might prevent the Ethiopian from being baptized, he acts on the eschatalogical prophecy of of Isaiah 56:4-5.

    As Barbara Brown Taylor notes, it’s not that there aren’t limits, but God can and will transcend them, when it is appropriate and fruitful for the furtherance of our relationships with God and neighbor.

     

  • Reading in Ethiopia …Acts 8 (inmyanguish.wordpress.com)
  • We Will Not Walk on the Same Road Twice (levelupgeneration.wordpress.com)
    Philip was called by The Lord to go South and preach the gospel to the Ethiopian Eunuch but after he baptized him, he was snatched away by the Spirit of The Lord to the North then he start walking until he reached Caesarea. But two things I learned from this passage, first when God called to do something we must do it immediately without procrastination. Because we only have one shot, one opportunity, on the timing that is set by the Lord for us to do what He has called to do. Remember in Ecclesiastes it says that there is right time for everything? Secondly, we will pass by in this road of life only once, so take every opportunity to do our best to give glory to God and serve our purpose in this life that God has appointed us.
  • Religious gatekeepers would not like Philip the evangelist (patheos.com)
    Philip was an affirmative-action hire by the early church in Jerusalem — before that word “church” had even begun to be used. The early Christians shared all their possessions — “everything they owned was held in common” and “there was not a needy person among them.” Part of what that meant was a kind of Meals on Wheels program that took care of widows. But the community was growing fast and, “the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.”
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Shabbat Pesach service reading 2/2

The Intermediate Sabbath—Losing Heart in the Wilderness
English: panorama of a wadi in the negev deser...

Panorama of a wadi in the negev desert, israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, they came through areas of wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.

Even though the Israelites entered into a covenant with God in the wilderness, and came to understand their identity as God’s treasured possession there, sometimes they responded to hardship and barrenness of the wilderness with discouragement.
In the wilderness, they also lost heart, lost hope, longed for Egypt, and grumbled, murmured and complained.
For that reason, all perished but two—Joshua and Caleb—who followed the Lord wholeheartedly and kept the faith.  The bodies of the other Israelites lay scattered across that vast wilderness.

 

Jeshua is Tempted in the Wilderness, by James Tissot

 

Even Jeshua spent time in the wilderness—perhaps the Judean or Negev Desert.  The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) led him there to be tempted by the devil, the adversary of God.  (Matthew 4:1–11)
The Negev is not an easy place to live—even with air conditioning!
It is a land of snakes and scorpions; a place of great danger.  And yet, the wilderness is not a punishment, but a necessary stage in our spiritual journey.
It is often God who leads us into our wilderness experiences to humble us, to test us, to refine our faith, and to teach us perseverance and endurance.
If we come out of it alive, we do so “leaning on our beloved” instead of relying on our own strength or limited sufficiency.  (Song of Solomon 8:5)
The wilderness can be our spiritual university where we learn to trust in and depend upon the Lord, and only God knows how long that lesson will take.

 

Holding up the Torah for all to see at Jerusalem’s Western (Wailing) Wall.


For Believers, in the vast space between salvation and the resurrection lies the wilderness, a dry and thirsty land where water is scarce.  That is where we are sanctified.
Because it is so easy to lose heart in the wilderness—our sanctification process—our response to the trials and challenges will determine how well we make it through to the resurrection.
Discouragement during our wilderness is an especially powerful weapon of the enemy because of its enfeebling, demoralizing effect.  Hatred, jealousy, fear, and other negative states may cause us to act foolishly, to fight, or to run.  But at least we act.
Discouragement on the other hand, hurts us more than any of these.  It ultimately saps the energy right out of us, causing us to sit down, pity ourselves and do nothing.
Discouragement causes us to give in to the temptation of the enemy who whispers, “Just give up.”
Hopelessness is a very dangerous state of being.  In fact, Scripture tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  (Proverbs 13:12)

 

Jewish men sort through a table full of prayer books at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.


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Additional reading:

  1. Israel God’s people
  2. Commemorating the escape from slavery
  3. On the first day for matzah
  4. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  5. High Holidays not only for Israel
  6. Suffering produces perseverance
  7. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  8. The redemption of man by Christ Jesus
  9. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  10. In what way were sacrifices “shadows”?
  11. The meek one riding on an ass
  12. A Messiah to die
  13. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  14. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  15. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  16. Getting out of the dark corners of this world

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Wadi in Nahal Paran, Negev, Israel.

Wadi in Nahal Paran, Negev, Israel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • The Message of First Importance: “Gosh” (lifeconnectionscounseling.org)
    Some people over the centuries have called this day “Good Friday” remembering when the best human that ever lived on this earth was murdered by humankind.
  • Holy Week, Passover, and Boldly Entering Jerusalem (thewidowsmiteyblog.wordpress.com)
    This time of year can be a bit busy for pastors, and I consider myself to be both Jewish and Unitarian Universalist, so this being both Passover and Holy Week, it’s been very busy.Of course, according to the Gospels, it was both Passover and Holy Week. Well, they weren’t calling it Holy Week back then. I mean, there was no Christianity yet – Jesus was an upstart Jewish leader who was making trouble. He had a bunch of followers, and they were all Jewish, too. But the events of Holy Week chronicle what they were doing around Passover. They were pretty busy, too. And Jesus was also tired.
  • The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sin of the World! (drmitchglaser.wordpress.com)
    Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.This Messenger would purify the priests so they might once again offer sacrifices on behalf of the Jewish people.  As the prophet writes, Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.(Malachi 3:3)
    +

    The Lamb in Exodus 12 is a prophetic portrait of the One who would come and shed His blood for the sins of the world.

    The Lamb of Isaiah 53

    The prophet Isaiah develops the significance of the lamb as an atoning sacrifice.

    There are two key passages in Isaiah 53 which conjoin the idea of the Messiah with the Passover lamb…

  • Out Of The Wilderness-Shoshannah (christinmesite.wordpress.com)
    The wilderness experience is a time when you are hungry and thirsty for more of the Lord, you become dissatisfied with what the traditions and doctrines of men offer in the church, and you set out on a journey to seek the Lord and receive more of Him. You seek the solitude of Him alone.
    If your church and Pastor is hungry for more of the Lord, and He is actively seeking Him and being taught of Him, and preaching as the spirit gives utterance then you are in a good church, but there still should be a time of seeking Him alone.
  • Living in the Wilderness (bradfriedlein.wordpress.com)
    While part of a Rabbinical studies group last year, the Rabbi was talking about the Israelites and their relationship to the wilderness. And how the wilderness has greater meaning – like most things in the Jewish culture, than just being a place where they wondered for 40 years. For the Israelites, the wilderness is this place that symbolizes that time when you know where you’ve come from but you don’t know where you’re going. And it is in that place where you encounter God. It’s that place where God comes to you and reveals Himself to you in new ways.
  • A Wilderness Experience: Loving Prodigals, Release, & Rest
  • In the Wilderness: Words of Encouragement and Admonition
  • When Faith Falters: Relearning Rest
  • Sustenance for the Wilderness Journey
  • A Jew and an Atheist Host a Seder (opineseason.com)
    This past Monday evening, I had the honor of joining a good friend and his wife as they celebrated Pesach with their four year-old son. For those who don’t know, Pesach (Passover) is a holiday which celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery and their exodus from Egypt. The Seder is the ritual feast that marks the beginning of the seven day holiday.

    For this year’s Seder, my friends invited a living room full of mostly Gentiles (non-Jews) to share in their feast.

 

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Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2

Because this Shabbat (Sabbath) falls during Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), a special reading is inserted into the regular Torah reading cycle.
This special portion will be read in synagogues around the world during the Shabbat Pesach (Saturday Passover) service.
On this weekend as many believers are also celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah, it is fitting to recall the physical redemption of the Jewish People from Egypt.  We know you will be blessed as you discover the Jewish roots of your faith in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach (The Intermediate Sabbath of Passover)
Exodus 33:12–34:26; Numbers 28:16–25; Ezekiel 37:1–14; Luke 24
Handmade shmura matzo used at the Passover Sed...

Handmade shmura matzo used at the Passover Seder especially for the mitzvot of eating matzo and afikoman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Chag HaMatzot].  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread [matzah], as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Aviv, for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.”  (Exodus 34:18)

An Orthodox Jewish boy eats a piece of matzah during Passover.

The Parsha (Scripture portion) for this Shabbat, which occurs in the middle of the Passover week, begins by describing the holy days of Pesach (Passover) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) which last seven days.
These two special events are most often blended into one and just called Passover, but there is a crucial difference between the two, which we will explore in today’s study.
During the Passover time frame, there are three distinct events that represent three unique spiritual states or conditions of the soul:
  1. Passover represents salvation: we are saved from the wrath of God by faith in the blood of the Passover Lamb.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  (John 1:29)
Jeshua (Jesus) was slain on Passover as the perfect fulfilment of the lamb that saved the Israelites on the very first Passover:
“And when I see the blood I will pass over you.”  (Exodus 12:13)
  1. Unleavened bread, also called matzah or the bread of affliction, represents sanctification.
Matzah is flat because it is devoid of yeast (chametz), which represents wickedness, pride and that which causes us to be puffed up or to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
“Your boasting is not good.  Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.  For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”  (1 Corinthians 5:6–7)

The matzah and wine of the ritual Pesach meal called a Seder (order).

Chametz is closely related to the Hebrew word chamutz, which means sour.  Yeast is a souring agent.  Likewise, sin causes bitterness in our soul.
“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread [matzah] of sincerity and truth.”  (1 Corinthians 5:8)
 The week of unleavened bread, therefore, represents sanctification accomplished through affliction, trials and testing, and the purging of pride in order to teach us humility and obedience by the things we suffer in our wilderness experiences.
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”  (Deuteronomy 8:2)

A tour group takes shelter from the sun under a lone acacia tree in Israel’s desert.

  1. First Fruits, also called Bikkurim in Hebrew, which occurs the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread (although there is some disagreement as to the timing), represents resurrection.Just as the barley is offered up to the Lord as the first crop after winter, so Jeshua was also raised from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits.
“But now the Messiah is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  (1 Corinthians 15:20)
 From these distinct elements within Passover, we can understand that between the events of salvation and resurrection is a process of sanctification.

 

Passover Unleavened Bread First Fruits
SalvationSanctificationResurrection

A crop of barley in Israel

 

  • The Beauty of Pesach (Passover) (guardmyheart423.wordpress.com)
    Most people, if you know the Bible, know that Passover comes from the account of the Children of Israel’s deliverance from slavery in ancient Egypt. Over 400 years of tears and sweat and blood and agony…Finally, HaShem sends a deliverer – Moshe. Speaks to him through a bush on fire that was not consumed and sends 10 plagues upon the land until Pharoah finally lets up and sends them away, practically.
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    Our striped, bruised, pierced, and broken matzah (Yeshua) was raised from the dead, conquering death and hasatan (the deceiver) for good!
    We patiently await His return and follow in His footsteps and keep the Feast in all diligence and in His memory. (1 Cor.5:6-8; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor.11:24-25)
  • Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach : חַג כָשֵׁר וְשָׂמֵחַ (jewsdownunder.wordpress.com)
    the lessons derived from the Egyptian slavery and the resulting redemption provide a powerful base for Jewish faith and ethics. The journey initiated during Pesach, that of a nation of slaves racing towards freedom, reaches its climax with the festival of Shavuot, without a rendezvous with God at Mt. Sinai. Here the Jews’ new-found freedom finds its purpose.
  • G-dfearers Participation In Shabbat, And Pesach According To Toby Janicki (paradoxparables.justparadox.com)
    Here are some quotes from Toby Janicki author if the book Godfearers and staff writer for First Fruits if Zion regarding Gentile observance of Shabbat and Pesach in the Apostolic Community.
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    “Our Master Yeshua chose the wine and the matzah of a Passover Seder to represent his body and blood. More than just learning about and celebrating the concept of freedom from oppression and exile, for disciples of Messiah, the seder celebrates Yeshua’s atoning death and resurrection while remaining firmly grounded and centered on God’s deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt.” Toby Janicki
  • Let my people go! – Pesach (Passover)/ The Feast of Unleavened Bread (chandlerozconsultants.wordpress.com) >Let my people go, that they may serve me
    ‘Pesach’, usually called ‘The Passover’ in English, is the greatest of the Judaic festivals and the oldest in the Jewish calendar. Like the Christian Easter, it varies in date from year to year, occurring in the Spring and lasting for seven or eight days, not all of which are taken as holidays.
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    The festival remains essentially a family gathering for remembrance and rejoicing in freedom. In Jewish tradition the festival is known as ‘The Season of Release’, the central theme of which can be interpreted on three levels.
  • Passover 2014: the Jewish festival explained (independent.co.uk)
    As sundown on Monday evening marks the beginning of Passover, we answer some frequently asked questions on one of the most important festivals in the Jewish year.
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    To commence a week of complex dietary restrictions, family and friends gather for the Seder meal served on a special ceremonial dish. Eaten in a symbolic, the dinner includes a lamb bone, a roasted egg, a green vegetable to dip in salt water, bitter herbs made from horseradish and a paste made of chopped apples, walnuts and wine called Charoset.
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    Moshiach’s Feast, beginning before sunset and continuing until after nightfall, concludes the festival. The meal anticipates the arrival of the Messiah, stared on the first day of Passover when a glass of wine is left out for Elijah.
  • A Symbolic look at Pesach (Passover) (bibleanswergirl.wordpress.com)
    Many people read the Old Testament (Tanakh) and do not read the New Testament (B’rit Hadashah). Conversely, there are a large number of people who read the New Testament and neglect to read the Old Testament. In order to properly understand God’s Holy Scriptures we must read and study both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
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    The Matzah is symbolic of the manna the Israelites ate in the wilderness. It also symbolizes Jesus.

    John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

    Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread and He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  • Unleavened bread (propheticsteps.com)
    The feasts of the Lord are of great significance. Their historical importance for the Jewish people and the church should not be overlooked. The most discussed and well-known are the feasts of Passover and Pentecost, for good reason. The other feasts are just as important.
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    The difference between bread and crackers, really, is leaven, yeast, hot air. Are we puffed up by our leaven? Has our sin transformed us into something we were never meant to be? That is what sin does, it turns us into something far different from what God would have us be.
  • Donut Versus Matzah: A Passover Lesson On Arrogance (kissmymezuza.wordpress.com)
    On Passover we don’t eat chametz (leavened bread products). They symbolize arrogance. Arrogance is something that doesn’t last. For example, if we left a donut (chametz) around for a couple of months it would grow mold and rot.

    Chocolate donut

    Chocolate donut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Matzah represents humility. Humility is a lasting trait. If we leave matzah around for a couple of months, it’s still good. A humble person endures.

  • Passover 2014: Date, History, Traditions (latinopost.com)
    Jewish people everywhere are saying goodbye to bread, because Passover begins tonight, Monday, April 14, at sundown. The eight-day holiday, which is one of the biggest holidays in the Jewish calendar, ends on Tuesday, April 22.The holiday is always celebrated in early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew months of Nissan. The holiday commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and celebrates the freedom that the Jewish people now enjoy.
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    Seders are only held on the first two nights of Passover. During the rest of the holiday, chametz, or leavened products, are not eaten until the holiday comes to an end.
  • Timely Growth (belgianbiblestudents.wordpress.com)
    Serious lovers of God and Biblestudents do want to live according to the Law of God and are grateful that they may remember one of the most important happenings in the history of Israel, the People of God, and the liberation of the whole world by the instalment of the New Covenant.
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