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Evangelist, Baptist, Husband, Father, Mid-30's.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Favorite Bible Passage

The following is a responce to Brian McLaren's favorite Bible passage, the Sermon on the Mount (namely the pieces that agree with him).

I am always weary of the chapter/verse break-ups in Scripture, as they are not God-ordained and in several occurences quite poorly placed. For example, see the breakups between Hebrews 4,5,6 and especially the breakup between Genesis 1,2. Certain verses seem like they can stand on their own, like John 3:16, but we have seen a cult grow out of that beautiful verse because it has been taken without context.

So it is difficult for me to choose a few verses or even a passage to call my favorite. When I think of one, such as the passage of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16), I realize that it needs the context of the rest Bible in order for me to exposit on it.

While Ephesians 2:8-9 are a succint summation of soteriology, without the accompanying chapter 2 and the entire letter to the Ephesians, it is hard to know if you can understand the intended meaning.

Paul beautifully gives a brief summation of the Gospel in the beginning of Galatians, but as Paul is wont to do, he backs up the beginning with the rest of the letter.

I could go on and on, Acts 12, Luke 18, Genesis 3, Genesis 1, Genesis 6, Job 40...insert also the other 1183 chapters of the Bible.

There is one passage that I feel is a beautiful command, it does not contain the full Gospel or strong basis for theology, but it is written to the saints and is one of the most powerful verses in scripture. It is found at the end of Chapter 2 in the 2nd letter to a Pastor named Timothy, Paul's last Epistle.

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

This passage could consume the mind for days if not weeks if not months. The theological themes written into it are as deep or as shallow as you look. I will do my best to summarize it in a pithy article without losing too much.

The beginning is not particularly important to unbelievers, but lays out a lifetime of growth for the child of God. The most important phrase in this verse for unbelievers is "oppose themselves".

This is similar to when Christ asked Saul of Tarsus why he kicked against the prods, symbolizing Saul as a beast of burden prodded forward but being stubborn. Saul's Rabbinical teaching and his knowledge of God's Law should have driven him towards repentance and the Messiah, but his pride kept him opposing himself and his knowledge.

These Law's are still in place today, they were written in stone and are unchanging. Ask yourself if you kick against the prods,
-Have you ever told a lie? If so, then God sees you as a Liar.
-Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you? If so, then God sees you as a thief.
-Have you ever taken God's name in vain? If so, then you are a blasphemer and God will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain.
-Have you ever committed adultery? Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "Whosoever looks with lust has committed adultery already in their heart."
-Have you ever looked with lust? God sees this as adultery of the heart. He is concerned with the intentions of the heart, not just the actions.
-Have you ever killed anyone? Similarly Jesus said that if you are angry at someone, you are in danger of just as much judgment as if you had murdered them.

These are just five of the 10 Immutable Commandments. If you have broken them then the Bible says that your punishment is Hell. To quote one verse, Revelation 21:8 relegates lawbreakers to the fire, ending in "all liars will have their place in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone."

It is the God's servants' duty to attempt to show you the truth of this impending judgment; that there is none good but God, that whoever says they have no sin is a liar, and does not have the Truth abiding in them.

The Bible is adamant that if you have not been purchased into the family of God, then you are a child of the devil, a child of wrath. A popular colloquialism is "I would sell my soul to the devil for..." But this verse in 2nd Timothy informs us that our soul is not ours to sell, that it has been freely given to the devil through transgression. Not only so, but in our unbelief and acquiescing from the truth, we do the will of the devil, which is to keep souls from being redeemed to God.

The beauty of this passage lays in the middle. "That God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth." There is a way to life, even after all of the damage we have done to God's creation and kingdom with our transgressions and pride.

Paul tells us that there is a repentance that leads to life. If you'll approach God with sorrow for transgressing His laws, confess every sin you can remember, and cry out to Him for mercy, He will forgive you, because He can, because He will lead you to a knowledge of the Truth.

The Truth being that God became manifest in the flesh, as the man Jesus Christ, He was born of a virgin and lived a perfect, sinless life. He was tempted but He didn't succumb, He was beaten but He didn't break. He offered Himself up on a false charge to be the propitiation for our sins. He hadn't earned a single lash of the whip, but took your punishment upon Himself. He was hung on a cross outside of Jerusalem, a punishment so heinous that it was soon outlawed. Upon that cross He suffered not only earthly pain, but the pain of being abandoned by His Father in Heaven. His death paid the debt that our sins had amassed.

Pray to God that He grant you repentance leading to the knowledge that in Christ's death you are absolved, you are redeemed, you are forgiven.

And it will be so.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Save the Babies

I really got mad at a pro-death article tonight, so I'm venting and hoping that somehow this blog serves to save at least one life. This is the greatest apologetic I've ever heard against abortion...and I don't know who to attribute it to, whoever wrote it probably won't mind if you and I use it:

Women have rights. You will rarely find someone to disagree with you, and people that support abortion often flee to the rights of women. These are the very same rights as men. As Mr. Jefferson put it so well, the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of property and happiness.

But the question is, when do those rights come to fruition? I believe it is when a woman becomes a woman.

I believe a woman becomes a woman and earns all of the same rights as a man at the age of 18.

No, I'm kidding. Actually it's younger, 13.

You probably still don't agree; I am still being coy.

She has the same rights as a man the moment she becomes a woman.

When is that? Conception; two X chromosomes get together and she earns the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of property and happiness.

If you want to deprive this precious little girl of any of her rights, well then thats between you and God.

When I heard that the first time, I was amazed at how clear and persuasive this argument is. People that really hate God will still be able to find a way around it, but it is aimed at the tenderhearted.

But I can't leave it at that. If you have had an abortion, God will forgive you, Jesus has washed our entire past, and God the Comforter will grant you peace. In almost all occasions, sanctification is the greatest news, but not necessarily so in this case, if you'll read 2 Samuel 12:16-24, we have hope that this wonderful baby will be awaiting your arrival in Heaven. As David put it, "I shall go to him," and you will be reunited, but even more beautiful, Jesus called the little ones, "angels that always see the face of my Father in Heaven." (Matt 18:10)

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Purpose of this Blog

When my friend and brother in Christ, David Wheaton, suggested I start a blog, my first reaction was...what would I write in it? At the time I was (still am) internet preaching at the Washington Post, leeching off of their readership of unregenerate wrong(left)-wingers in hopes that one or all of them come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

It was during one of these preaching events that I realized I needed an archive to fall back on for common questions that came up. Such as the sinfulness of sin, the religion of evolution, the Garden of Eden, works righteousness, total depravity, and lately I've been using this blog to record various open-air and rough-drafts of church sermons.

I am not very interesting, and I have no agenda seperate than saving souls. I wish this blog could be more loving, but it is not geared towards my brethren (brothers and sisters) in Christianity, but rather towards the unregenerate. As some of my church-family have begun to read this blog, as well as believing friends and those from Adventures in Christianity (adventuresinchristianity.com), I've been debating turning this blog more towards believers...but I have scrapped this idea because while edification of the saints is important, this is an outreach blog and not for edification. This is my personality, while I love to fellowship as well as comforting believers, my calling is seeking and saving the lost, the Lazarus' of the world (See Luke 16).

Even still, I don't want to abandon my Sanctified readers, so in the upcoming weeks I am going to write a few entries on sharing your faith. Sharing your faith is not a gift, there is no such thing as the gift of evangelism, and if there were, I wouldn't have it. Rather there is a COMMAND for evangelism, and God has given us the secret weapon, called the conscience, and most Christians don't know how to use it.

It is my hope that I can share the operating parameters of this weapon and still maintain an evangelon blog.

Thanks for reading, I never expected to have a recurring readership, I expected heathens either seeking living water or trampling pearls.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pop Quiz, Hotshot

1. I have kept the Lord 1st in my heart.
2. I have not worshipped money, nature, or idols.
3. I have never used the Lord's name in vain.
4. I have always honored the Sabbath Day.
5. I listen to my parents without fail.
6. I have never felt hatred in my heart.
7. I have only pure thoughts about beautiful people.
8. I have never stolen anything, even music.
9. I am truthful in every statement I make.
10. I have never craved the possessions of others.

Count the "True" statements, each "True" gets 1 point;
Print your points below:

Score __/10

Now convert your score to a percentage:

100% is a Pass
90% or less is a Fail

If you failed, it won't keep you from graduating to the next grade, or from earning your degree; this is the acceptance exam for Heaven, a failing grade is your condemnation to Hell. These questions are based on the 10 Commandments, the foundation of God’s judgment of righteousness.

Your fate is written in the Bible when it says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Extra Credit Question
11. God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for my sins, so that I might be forgiven. What is asked of me to receive this forgiveness is to Repent of (turn from) my sins, and Trust in Jesus Christ to wash my sins away and deliver me into Heaven.

Repent and Trust, and the following verse will be true for you:
"but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
-1 Corinthians 6:11