Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Thought for Encouragement in 2009

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

Let me take it apart before you in the way my mind has been rolling over it for months.

“now we are children of God…”

NOW!!! We are!!! Children of God!!! If we are saved as John the writer of this epistle expressed.. we have eternal life. We have it now! That is exciting. We have the very life of God within us. The dynamo of the Holy Spirit – the same power that raised the Son of God from the grave is residing within our being. We are His.

“it has not yet been revealed what we shall be…” (But wait, there’s more!)

It has not yet been revealed. Oh, thank God!!! I am so glad that the way I am -the way WE ARE- is not the end product. Oh thank you Lord, Jesus. It has not yet been revealed. This down payment that we have on eternity, this waiting state of having eternal life yet being attached to the stinking corpse of the old man is not the be-all, end-all. It is nice to read that. “Sanctification” as good as it gets here is still not anywhere near a complete picture of how we are going to end up. As it says: it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.

“but… when He is revealed, we shall be like Him…”

I have a feeling we are going to be hard pressed to even recognize ourselves. Jesus – that perfect man – that holy and powerful man – that compassionate and wise, soul-piercing man… we are going to be like him. Why? How?

“for we shall see Him as He is.”

Well, hallelujah. Wow. You mean I haven’t seen Him as He is yet? Have you? We who think we know Him so well. We have never even seen Him as He was, as the apostle John had. John saw Him when He began His earthly ministry. John saw Him in His pre-cross glorified state on the Mount of Transfiguration between Moses and Elijah. He also saw Jesus after He had come out of the grave and saw Him ascend to heaven. But even John refers to a time when “WE” (all the church and himself=we) shall see Him as He is.

The larger portion of the greatness of life with God lies ahead, dear brother and sister in Christ. Don't let the way things are with yourself or with the brethren get you down. He who began a good work in us is going to COMPLETE it.

All our darkness will be dealt with and melted away and we shall be like Him and see Him as He is!!! What a wonder to look forward to.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Thoroughly LS Sermon

My brother, bless his heart, sent me a sermon via email. I listened to it, not knowing what it was going to be. I had not remembered hearing of Paul Washer.


I then had to make these remarks:

Faith is not enough to be saved? We must be a disciple to the fullest extent or else we have no sure destiny with God for all eternity?
We are threatened with the fear of hell if we have not surrendered fully?
What happened to our language? Do we have to have an hour-long sermon to explain a simple word: “BELIEVE”?

Here is just one quote from Mr. Washer talking about the meaning of “believing” in Jesus for salvation:

“[Believing] doesn't mean that if they said the right thing or that if they invited him into their lives that they were saved from hell...
Believeing in Him means to believe on the full orb of everything that Scruipture says about Him.

If that is required in order to receive Jesus Christ… then who can be saved? Who in humanity UNDERSTANDS the FULL ORB of scripture regarding Jesus?
Do we need to know the “full orb” of Scripture in order to receive Jesus? What ever happened to simple trust in Jesus and child-like faith?

I also understand that simply saying a prayer does not save anyone. BUT… the alternative is NOT to add all these stipulations to the word “believe” … to explain and EMBELLISH the word “believe.” Belieiving is simple … so simple that a child can understand it.

Totally repenting of one’s sins, having an “ongoing communion with Christ” is not the same as “believing” which is used in the gospel of John to explain the way people receive eternal life from Jesus the Messiah. All these things that Paul Washer is speaking of are called abiding in Christ, growing in Christ and following Him. These are not simple, but take work for the believer and are a life-long process in the life of a maturing, growing Christian. Discipleship and growth are important but they are not what saves someone... or even what proves salvation. The fact that Christ came out of the grave proves that those who believe in Him are saved. This is simple.

Categories are being mixed up in this teaching … what is under the discipleship column is being moved into the conversion column.
What is necessary to be a disciple is not necessary to receive eternal life. Christ won this life and is giving it away freely! How sad to hear someone put a price on it for men to pay.

What man-centered assurance is presented here.

Paul Washer asks how can people know that they have “believed” in the correct and “saving” sense? His answer is to give a complicated explanation about being a true disciple. If you are sure that you are a true disciple then you can be sure that Jesus has saved you. Huh? How can anyone ever be sure that they are thoroughly a true disciple? What if you’re a fake? What if you’re just making yourself live right to prove that you’re a disciple but you really don’t believe in the true sense of REAL and AUTHENETIC faith? Has anyone touched on that complication in these types of sermons? You might have the fruit but not the root! What about when you fail? Everytime you fail you know you aren’t measuring up.

You have to look to Christ because He is the only one who has measured up. According to the teaching presented in this video, you have to continue repenting, continue following or you can’t be sure that Christ has saved you.

The solution to this conundrum is simple:

People need to stop talking people into looking to themselves for proof of salvation... the quality of their faith, the sincerity of their prayer, the trueness of their discipleship etc…
They need to be told that Jesus is suffficient to save!!! His incredible Person and Work is what we look to to see that we can be saved. This anthropocentric introspection is not God glorifying and not what the apostles meant to convey regarding the reception of eternal life. Evangelistic preaching needs to be about Jesus Christ and what He has done and that is how people will know salvation, not pointing to their own performance or quality of discipleship. Believers should be encouraged on in growth and discipleship, but not with the threat of “If you don’t behave thusly then you were never saved to begin with.” What “Christian” sect teaches that our behavior or works bear on our hope of salvation? I left that church.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Naughty Governor of Illinois

Trying to sell a senate seat to the highest bidder?! For shame. The seat was barely warmed up, is not even vacated yet, and was on the auction block.

This scandal makes me truly cynical because I know that for every time you actually HEAR or LEARN of something like this coming out into the open, there are 100 times that it goes undiscovered.

The Chicago way. Well, we know a little bit about that around here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Reasonable Blogger!!!

I have found another recipient for my Reasonable Blogger Award.

I have been watching this lady and I want to say that she goes BEYOND REASONABLE.
She is so patient and kind and always looking for the best in others. She inspires me.

Michele's unmatched patience and kindness.

When I see some of her comments around blogdom, I am reminded of the passage that says "love hopes all things, bears all things, believes all things." She serves up a hearty portion of love and patience at times when I would surely be utterly exasperated (and indeed I have, just reading these things non-particpatory).

Some might say she's wasting her time in these efforts, but the Lord loves her heart and will reward her richly for even these small internet efforts. In her non-internet life, she probably does this in an even more fervent manner, I imagine. Her endeavors will be recognized... whether those she works to win respond relationally... or not.

Take a look at her blog.
Sanc's blog

Psalm 78

What a Psalm! It speaks of God's dealings with the nation of Israel. It is grand and sweeping.

BibleGateway.com Psalm 78 (opens in a new window)

I noticed something that really stood up to me and challenged my view on the sovereignty of God. What is your take on the phrase "they limited the Holy One of Israel"? How does one limit God???

40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,
And grieved Him in the desert!

41 Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel.

42 They did not remember His power:
The day when He redeemed them from the enemy...

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Gospel

I have had this posted in my sidebar as ***GOOD NEWS*** for over two years and I still believe it this same way.

Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? Did you ever think about what God would say if He could tell you what He thinks of you and how He sees you? I used to think about this a lot and I figured that God would understand everything about me and would see me as “OK” because He knew what made me tick and would know that I was a result of
“input --> output”
garbage in --> garbage out
Later, I learned this is only partly true. God does know what makes us tick. He knows everything about us. He has said this about the human race:

There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one (Romans 3:10-12)

Wow, that is pretty serious. He is not making excuses for our failing to be good people. We are all doing our own thing, fulfilling our selfish “needs” and desires. If we are honest with ourselves, we know this. This goes for all people. Even people who are kind and seem selfless are not pure in motive all of the time … none of us can be pure all the time! Therefore, according to God, none of us is good enough.

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

So there you have it – who can measure up? This “standard” is dictated by the nature of the One setting the standard. It is as though God is a consuming fire … and sin … is like a dry piece of kindling. The kindling cannot be in the presence of the fire without being burned … they are incompatible. And so it is with those of us who have sin within us.
We are incompatible with God.

It would seem, then, that because of how perfect God is, the standard for goodness is such that only He can reach it … and wow... He became one of us. Jesus Christ is God as a man. He is the one man that ever fulfilled all “righteousness.” He was really the best man that ever walked the earth. He knew no sin. He had nothing within him or about him that was incompatible with God … which is no surprise … since He was God in the flesh. The Bible teaches that because of this perfect nature, He was the only “lamb of God” who could take away the failings (sin) of all others.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

You see, an ordinary person cannot take away the sin of others … or take any consequence of others’ sins … because He is so weighed down with his own sins. This man, Jesus was altogether different! He had no sin of His own. This Jesus came here with a specific purpose relative to all mankind.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)

He took every sin of every person who has ever lived upon His shoulders when He suffered and died upon the cross. He died with that sin upon Him. Then, because He has the very life of God within Him and was without any of this sin problem of His own, He was able to rise from the dead … truly!

The resurrection proved that sin has no more ultimate power to burn us up as a piece of dry kindling, because our sin has “passed through the fire” so to speak. Christ’s death and resurrection has paved the way for you … if you will but take hold of Jesus and His gift of salvation. You will be saved from the consequence of sin which is death, if you but trust Him for this work that He has done to bring you life forever with God. It is a gift you must receive, as any gift. Instead of consequence now, God is doling out life to whoever will receive this Jesus. This goes for all people!

This message is for you, whoever you are.
This is all that God asks – that you look to Jesus Christ in simple faith, believing that He has done this for you. Receive His generous offer of a life that never ends – His own life within you. God is very aware of you, He is watching you … and if you receive Christ as He has planned, He will no longer see you as someone who has missed the mark, but He will look upon you as His very own child. This change makes you compatible with God!

Of course, your body will still die, but your eternal being will not have to burn and die forever, because you will have life instead of the death caused by sin. You can be God’s very own “son”! This is the best gift ever. (And it comes with a new and improved body too, just in case you were thinking that floating aorund in a nebulous eternity sounds scary.)

… as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name … (John 1:12)

… this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

He has done all this for you; receive Him today. He wants to give you this great blessing, this wonderful gift.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Nestorianism - an heresy

Nestorianism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nestorianism is the doctrine that Christ exists as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as two natures (True God and True Man) of one divine person. The doctrine is identified with Nestorius (c. 386–c. 451), Archbishop of Constantinople. This view of Christ was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and the conflict over this view led to the Nestorian schism, separating the Assyrian Church of the East from the Byzantine Church.

Nestorianism originated in the Church in the 5th century out of an attempt to rationally explain and understand the incarnation of the divine Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as Jesus Christ. Nestorianism taught that the human and divine essences of Christ are separate and that there are two natures, the man Jesus and the divine Logos, united in Christ. In consequence, Nestorians rejected such terminology as "God suffered" or "God was crucified", because the humanity of Christ which suffered is separate from his divinity. Likewise, they rejected the term Theotokos (Giver of birth to God/Mother of God) as a title of the Virgin Mary, suggesting instead the title Khristotokos (Giver of birth to Christ/Mother of Christ), because in their view he took only his human nature from his mother, while the divine Logos was pre-existent and external, so calling Mary "Mother of God" was misleading and potentially wrong.
The Assyrian Church of the East refused to drop support for Nestorius or to denounce him as a heretic. That church has continued to be called "Nestorian" in the West, to distinguish it from other ancient Eastern churches. However, the Church of the East does not regard its doctrine as truly Nestorian: it teaches the view of Babai the Great - Christ has two qnome (essences) that are unmingled and eternally united in one parsopa (personality). According to some interpretations, the origin of this belief is mostly historical and linguistic: for example, the Greeks had two words for 'person', which translated poorly into Syriac, and the meanings of these terms were not even quite settled during Nestorius's lifetime.

There are about 170,000 Nestorians today, mostly living in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Parchment and Pen » Zane Hodges (1933–2008)

Parchment and Pen » Zane Hodges (1933–2008)

Am great man of God, Zane Hodges, went to be with the Lord last week. I watched his funeral on the internet today. The people that lined up to pay respect to him were a great testament to his unquestionable character. The funeral was a blessing to watch and hear.

I found this tribute to him written by someone who said he disagreed with nearly every position of the man. I think this post is a great example of grace and love amidst theological disagreement.

I can't wait till we get to be with the Lord and all see Him face to face.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Clarion Call of the New Evangelical?

No... just the instruction of the apostle Paul. What's wrong with us?

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 4:29-5:229)


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