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Posts Tagged ‘Lord Jesus Christ’

It’s Christmas Eve 2014 and as the years have rolled by since the birth of the Baby who was to become the Saviour of the world, it seems more and more people no longer believe it ever happened, let alone understand the actual meaning of it all.

But the fact is that the Christmas Story is really the Gospel Story and the two are intertwined because the unique purpose of Jesus, God’s Son, coming here to be born as a baby, was to DIE – specifically because the human race is bound by the curse of sin and death.

The message from the Angel of the Lord to the shepherds was an announcement of good tidings and peace on earth because the special Baby was born. That peace on earth was not to be a patched- up truce between conflicting sides in our  war-torn world though. It was an offering of peace and reconciliation from God Himself to to His sinful and rebellious creation. We all die because every one of us is born in the condemnation of God’s judgement on sin.

Christmas time reminds us what it cost God, in His mercy, to send His Son into this world as a man, to ‘taste death for every man’, to release us from the power of sin and death by His own death and resurrection.

Because Jesus lives – we will too if we believe Him. He requires a response from each individual to His offer. In John 3:16-18 we read :

For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it , but to save the world through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is already condemned because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.

In John3:36 we read:

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: he who doesn’t believe the Son will not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.

He is more willing to give than we are to receive, but may the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shine in your heart this Christmas.  Many blessings,   Eileene

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Since my original post I thought I needed to add and clarify something that I’d taken for granted every Christian would do. That is that they would be grounded in the basic, historic and traditional doctrines of the Faith, once delivered to the saints [Jude 1:3]  The Apostle Paul especially tells us that we should follow his teaching and example – what he wrote he had received directly from the Lord.

Every Christian should know what the Gospel is of course. When I was born again I knew that I was saved, but a complete theological understanding of what that meant came gradually with study of the scriptures. I knew God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in a truly personal way, but understanding of how the Trinity doctrine was formed, again came with study. I was fortunate enough after moving from London to Crawley, to join a newly formed Elim church where the emphasis was on the Bible and not on our ‘experiences’ – except that of our salvation. The choruses and hymns for the most part were doctrinal too. It was while there the Pastor loaned me a book called ‘In Understanding be Men’ which set out all the historic Bible doctrines. [As a sad little note – Elim as a denomination has now strayed far – and imagine my shock and sadness to see that my old Elim church has been rebuilt into a Mosque!! If we could have seen into the future, we wouldn’t have believed it…]

I was brought to the Lord in a high Anglican church so my initial grounding in the faith, fortunately, was in the repeating of the Apostles’ Creed every sunday. However, although I believed it, there were many there who didn’t – it was simply just trotted out as a ‘tradition’. More attention seem to be paid to the Book of Common Prayer than to the Bible. The sermon was usually based on explaining away Jesus’ miracles eg. the feeding of the five thousand was simply that Jesus had made those in the crowd who had brought food with them, feel guilty so they shared their sandwiches with everyone else!!

Anyway – the point is that we really need to know what the great Christian Doctrines are to be able to refute the teachings of Cults eg – their favourite is to attack the Trinity doctrine, so we need to know exactly how the scriptures describe the Godhead. Yes – the cults may well use the names Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but their meaning is totally different to ours.  I think I may have taken that grounding for granted, when I advocated that believers should always check out what they hear from their Leaders – especially their latest revelations and prophecies and what they all claim God has ‘laid on their heart’ or has outright ‘told’ them. Time was when I naive enough to believe them and give them the benefit of the doubt if I had any.

If we don’t know really what Bible truth is, then how can we tell truth from error? We will be ripe for deception because we are impressed with man and his ‘ministries’.  The worst deception of course is when we think the Leader/Preacher must be so close to the Lord that he/she couldn’t possibly lead us astray. Being Christian believers, we are loathe to criticise or ‘judge’ anyone [ a misapplied term if ever there was one] , let alone a respected Leader – so the false is allowed to fester along with the true … and that is precisely why things have got so bad in the Church today.

Because Doctrine is considered dry and almost a dirty word now, it gives the green light to relative truth … the teaching that if something works for you then that is your ‘truth’ – mine may be different to yours but all truths are valid. So if there are good testimonies coming out of certain questionable ministries, then God must be in it, and if it’s good enough for God it should be good enough for us too. How dare we question God’s anointed? We should just eat the meat and spit out the bones [ a saying I find really horrible]. I’m not saying that in His sovereign grace, God doesn’t ‘work’ in an individual heart and circumstance – but that doesn’t mean His overall approval of what is going on.

Anyway – enough of all this seeming negative stuff. You can only discern and stand your ground if you are confident in your own scriptural foundation. There is plenty of help out there if you look in the right places. A google search for the historic, traditional doctrines of the Christian faith [ not Roman Catholicism] will be profitable I’m sure. Of course – it goes without saying that we first and always look to God for help. It is He who guides us and if we feel we lack incentive and desire to to study His word, He will instill a love for His word in us if we but ask Him.  It is our food after all and He doesn’t give us a stone instead of bread.We need the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment as we read and we should ask for wisdom in our reading and application. In 2 Tim 2:15  Paul’s advice to Timothy was ‘Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  See also 2 Tim 3:13-17

Never doubt God’s words – always doubt man’s if they are bringing ‘new’ revelations and teachings – search the scriptures.

till next time, Maranatha!     Eileen

 

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“But speak  the things which become sound doctrine” Titus 2:1

“Holding fast the faithful word, as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers – for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers ….” Titus 1:9,10

In my previous post I mentioned my belief that so much deception has been allowed to invade the church because of a lack of trust in and obedience to the Word of God. Of course, I recognise that church Leaders would not agree with that suggestion because they all , without exception, say they use and take their authority from the Bible  –  but the question is – which one?

I think, as a result of all the many different versions [and paraphrases] now in use, the green light has been given for preachers and teachers to make the Word of God mean just about anything they want it to mean. Who’s to say anything is truly right or wrong when what it all comes down to is a simple matter of man’s interpretation?

I write this as a lay person with no authority or qualifications – it is just my humble opinion, drawn from my own observations, experience and research. My contention being that we need to have the utmost confidence that the Bible we read is indeed the infallible, inerrant Word of God, preserved and protected by Him and not a hit and miss exercise of translation and interpretation.

If we don’t have that confidence, it inevitably de-stabilises our firm foundation, so that we then turn to other sources for our spiritual security. Our ‘leadings’, experiences and trust in personal prophecies become on a par with and even supersede Scripture in our daily walk…..   it’s miraculous, it feels right – so it must be right.  The danger is that we can then be led by seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. 1Timothy 4:1

I was first alerted to a ‘problem’ with the Bible when I began to hear preachers throwing out casual comments that a certain word or passage in the KJB was a ‘mistake’  – it either was translated wrong or it shouldn’t be there at all.  It bothered me then and it bothers me now that the reliable Word of God wasn’t so reliable after all!

So, gradually, the KJB has fallen out of favour, not simply because its language is now considered [wrongly I believe] archaic and hard for people to understand, but because its accuracy has been discredited [ironic when you consider the errors and cumbersome language in the other versions].  So -it’s goodbye King James – welcome The Message ! [For a Defense of the King James Bible see my Blog archive.]

Add to this the sentimental/mystical RC inspired tv series ‘The Bible’ and the latest portrayal of Christ in the film Son of God [not to mention The Passion of Christ] and the vain imaginations of man are complete. Naive and gullible Christians fall for it hook,line and sinker!

Anyway – I digress …..    To illustrate what I mean by preachers making the Bible say what they want it to say, I will give just three examples of what I came across, almost incidentally, while looking up other things.   I have named the last one as he is so well known.

The first was a sermon on Healing by a young visiting preacher on an Australian AoG church web site.  He claims the Holy Spirit is his friend and quoting from the Message Bible, apparently when Jesus returned to Heaven after his resurrection ‘ the Holy Spirit greets Him with ‘Great job!’ and Jesus replies ‘Now it’s your turn’ and gives Him a ‘high five’![my summary]

He relates [correctly] how in a certain place Jesus could do no miraculous works because of their unbelief, but then goes on to advocate prayer and taking authority over that unbelief to ‘break’ it. But where did Jesus ever do that?

Regarding Jesus telling some people he healed not to tell anyone, he seems to impute manipulation on the Lord’s part by likening it to when God said to Eve – ‘Don’t eat that’ – she went ahead and ate !  In other words – Jesus knew what people are like and that they would do the exact opposite to what He told them, so He could be certain of  their publicity ….   How much of that idea this young preacher got from The Message , I don’t know, not having read it myself. Maybe I should enlighten myself ….

Anyway – as I see it in John 2: 23-25  the reason the Lord told people not to publicise their healings was because he knew men’s hearts and that they were just seeking after ‘signs’ and not commitment to Him.

My next example happens to be another AoG preacher – this time a young woman. Her sermon was titled ‘The Great Involvement’  – immediately changing the commission for the church to preach the gospel of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ into ” go to hurting humanity” – a Humanist Social Gospel.

She relates the story of Paul and Silas [Acts 16] , quoting from The Message Bible and using the ‘visual aid’ of a young lady from the audience and wrapping a rope around her.  She says Paul ‘bumped into’ the slave girl but chose to ignore her. So ” this chick says, ‘ok – you’re gonna ignore me, so I’ll follow you. Not only that  – in her messed up state she yells out: ‘ He knows the way’ –  I’d like him to help me find my way – but – he knows the way!”

She goes on to say – ” This went on for several days. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that. Paul – do you not see that this girl is troubled, she is possessed, she’s messed up, she needs someone to involve with her? But Paul went about his way”

She continues – ” after following them around for several days – finally- fed up with her [ruining his nice, polished sermon] – I love it – it wasn’t even spiritual!  The fact is – God doesn’t care how you get there – just get there! He doesn’t care.

After saying a few words about us getting involved in other people’s lives, she refers to ” a few verses earlier, when Paul came across a woman called Lydia, who asked him if he’d stop, get involved and come to her house, Paul said ‘yes’ to Lydia, but ‘no’ to the slave girl. Lydia was a wealthy woman and didn’t look as messy as the girl. She had a nice home and food she could give to Paul- she had benefits attached. Sometimes we have selective involvement. If I involve with you there’s a benefit here for me. There was no benefit with the slave girl”

Well, I hope you are as appalled as I am at this imputed partiality of the Apostle Paul – what a hypocrite she makes him out to be!! She also appears to rejoice at his supposed lack of ‘spirituality’!  Her complete lack of understanding is aided and abetted by her use of The Message.

My last example is notorious Mark Driscoll. He claims his ‘Resurgence’ movement is anchored by a theological foundation of

1.  Jesus -centred  Theology  2. Jesus – modelled Leadership  3. Jesus – empowered living  4: Jesus’ Mission

Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Till you hear his preaching…..  I won’t go into detail here but would direct anyone  interested in his treatment of the Scriptures to visit http://www.driscollcontroversy.com  where you can read his take on Gideon and Noah. Talk about turning the truth into a lie!!

must sign off now – please – if you see any mistakes, inaccuracies , untruths , I would welcome your correction. If you simply want to comment or add anything else relevant – feel free to do so.  God bless …. Maranatha!

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