What was God Doing in the Christmas Story? (Part 2)

13 12 2019

The place of His youth. (Matthew 2:23)

“And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Now this is an interesting verse. It’s often used by enemies of Christ to prove the Bible is wrong. The reason is that there is no verse in the Old Testament that predicts the Messiah will be a Nazarene. Let me tell you what I believe this means.

The town of Nazareth comes from the word netser which means branch or sprout. Now follow me on this. Matthew didn’t say it was spoken by the prophet singular, but the prophets plural. The other prophecies were by a single prophet but this one was by more than one prophet.

Where is it spoken that the Messiah would be a netserene or a branch or sprout. It was spoken by several prophets, plural.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1)

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

“In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:15)

“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.” (Zechariah 3:8)

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” (Zechariah 6:12)

He is a yes to the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.

The trip to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-15)

“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.”

Herod hears from the wise men that the King of the Jews had been born. Fearful for the loss of power he tries to destroy the child. He kills all the male children 2 years old and under. Joseph is warned to go to Egypt until the king dies and it’s safe to return.

Why Egypt? The reason is that it was prophesied by the prophet Hosea.

“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1)

This was based on a historical event that served as a type of the coming Christ. Everything in the Old Testament points to the coming Messiah even the Exodus from Egypt. We also see God using normal means to accomplish prophecy.

Just like He used a tax to bring them to Bethlehem, God uses the evil desire of the King as a means to take them to Egypt so that He can call them back out.

Also note that Egypt had once been a place of death for Israelite males but now it serves as a place of refuge for the holy child Jesus. God can make a river in the desert and bring calm in the midst of a storm.

He is a yes to the prophet Hosea.

The Rage of the King. (Matthew 2:16-18)

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”

The King orders the murder of all males 2 years old and under. This fulfills a prophecy about Rachel weeping for her children. Rachel here the mother of Israel weeping for her children. This refers back to Jeremiah 31.

Jeremiah is writing about the carrying away of Israel into captivity by the Babylonians.

“Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

As the captives marched past the tomb of Rachel she is said to be weeping over them but not just about the captivity. Many of them would return this was looking forward to this event when the children of Rachel would be slaughtered.

In that same chapter Jeremiah talks about the new covenant that God would make with His people and here we have not only the fulfillment of this prophecy about Rachel weeping but it’s at the birth of the Messiah who would initiate this new covenant with His on blood.

He is the yes to the prophet Jeremiah.

I could go on and on. At the death of Jesus and throughout the ministry of Jesus we see many more fulfilled prophecies. We have many examples of the yes that Jesus is to all of God’s promises.

What God was doing in the Christmas story was showing that His word was trustworthy and that He could be trusted to fulfill His promises. He kept His word about the coming of Messiah so they could trust Him about the sacrifice of Messiah.

We can look back and see that He kept His promises about the death of Christ and trust that all He promised us in Christ He will likewise fulfill.





One Walks Among Us

5 01 2018

This was a message I preached on a Wednesday night at McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Ca.

 





A Brief Encounter

17 01 2014

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13-15)

 

I was reading this in my personal worship the other day and was struck by some interesting lessons in these short few verses that apply to us today. When Joshua looked he saw a man standing with a drawn sword in his hand. The man obviously is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus this is evident by the fact that Joshua bowed and worshipped and the man did not refuse the worship. Angels, that is elect angels always refuse worship as we see in Revelation 22:8-9, “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” Let’s look at a few lessons we can learn from these verses.

1. God is for God:

Joshua at first didn’t understand who he was seeing and he asked the man if He were for the children of Israel or for their enemies. The man gave an interesting answer He said, “Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” This is our first lesson from this passage. We often get into a crusade and then assume God is for us. If we fail then we sometimes attribute it to His being against us. We need to realize that God is not necessarily for us or for our enemies. God is for God. His own glory and satisfaction is His ultimate end. The burden is not for God to be on our side but for us to be on God’s side. God wasn’t for the children of Israel in this passage any more then He was against them in chapter 7 against AI.

God was for Himself in both instances, the only difference is that the children of Israel were only on His side in one instance. We see here the children of Israel ready for battle as well as the unseen angelic host that fought for them as well. We see then Jesus as captain and leader of both. He was there to fulfill God’s divine plan. We need to stop waging our own battles and then asking whether God is with us or our “perceived enemy.” We need to ask are we in His battle? Are we fulfilling His will or our own?

2. The mystery of conviction:

At this point Joshua realizes the man he is talking to is divine and not mere man. We are not told what gives him this realization which gives us an apt comparison to our own realization of who Christ is. I don’t know what it is that convinces people of their sinfulness or of Chrit’s divine nature simply by proclaiming the Gospel. We often can’t explain such moving of God. Jesus told Nicodemus, ” The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Just as we can’t see the wind but only it’s effects, so it is with the realization of God’s nature and person. We cannot see how God saves, changes, or convinces people but we see the effects of this just as we do with Joshua.

This is our second lesson from these verses. We need to stop trying to convince people in our own strength of the truth of God. We are to boldly and without compromise proclaim the truth of salvation by faith alone and allow God’s Spirit to work as He will in the hearts of the hearers. Joshua became convinced of the divine nature of the captain of the host. We often spend needless hours i debate and argument when its all unnecessary. God needs no defense from us. He will convince men of His nature if only we are faithful to our place in the battle.

3. Worship is on God’s terms:

When Joshua realized in whose presence he was standing the Bible says he fell down and worshiped. We might look at this reaction and say, “well good for him. That’s the right reaction.” I agree worship is the right reaction to a personal encounter with the divine One but look at what the Lord says, “And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”  We live in a day in Christianity when we say that anything goes. Worship as you want, do what feels good. We are being taught that any worship is fine and all that God cares about is that we are worshiping but we see a very different perspective in this encounter.

The Lord actually corrects Joshua in the midst of his worship. He reminds him that His presence was holy and that Joshua could not simply stand in His presence with the filth of his shoes on his feet. One thing is for sure the presence of God is holy. The holiness of God is not stressed fully in churches today because we want to uplift man and tell ourselves that we are not really that bad. People often try to worship the Lord with unconfessed sin in their hearts. With bitterness, and unforgiveness. These are not acceptable ways to worship God. We must remove the filth of our sinfulness to stand in the presence of a holy God. This is why I believe personal worship is so important. If we worship alone with God daily we can keep our selves cleansed and enter public worship in good conscience.

When it comes to the worship of the one true and holy God we must reject the idea that anything goes as long as you worship. Here Joshua was corrected in his worship. We must worship on His terms, and in His ways. We must have a reverence for God that would move us to take off the filth of our sins daily, and worship in His presence. Sin must never be tolerated in the life of the church or in the life of the believer. We must also reject worship simply because it’s more comfortable for us. It was probably more comfortable for Joshua to keep his shoes on but God calls us to worship Him on His terms whether or not those terms are the most comfortable for us.

 





I’m Not Interested

24 11 2013

Our ministry this week was both encouraging at times and yet heartbreaking at other times. We hope all who read this have been able to find a place of ministry this week and that you took time to witness to someone. We took Tuesday away from our usual outreach and traveled to Los Angeles to pick up a dear elderly widow from our church who was flying back from a trip to see her family. It’s always a blessing to be a help and a blessing to someone else and that in itself is ministry. Often I think we are tempted to say “sorry I can’t help you because I’m on my way to minister for the Lord” when that may be the ministry He has brought your way.

On Wednesday we took the Gospel door to door with our youth group and encountered many people home unfortunately many of them were Spanish speaking and it made witnessing difficult. We did have Spanish language tracts with us and were able to leave them all with a Gospel witness and a church that ministers in their language. In all we gave the Gospel to around 60 homes that day. On Saturday a group of about 8 of us went door knocking again and knocked around 120 doors. All received tracts and we spoke to several interested in coming to church. My partner was able to speak to a catholic man who had a whole shrine outside his door but no assurance all his works would save him. We took him through the Scriptures and showed him what the Bible says about salvation and the gift of God through Jesus Christ. I was able to speak to 1 person about their eternity as well.

My heart broke when I went to the last house of the night and spoke to a man who was not interested in the things of eternity. I asked if we could come back and talk to him another time but he said, “maybe my parents would want to talk but I’m just not that interested.” He told me that he didn’t know where he was going when he died. I said, “your telling me that you don’t know where you will spend eternity and God sent me to your house with the way of salvation and your just not interested in hearing it.” He said no he wasn’t and that was it. He took a tracts and was polite but very hard hearted. I pray the Lord uses the tract mightily in his life.

This week we expanded distribution of my newest book in ebook format by adding it to LULU.com, Nook, and the IBookstore. It is still available on Kindle and in paperback and those can be obtained on our website under the Our Books tab. Another blessing is that a local bookstore here in Bakersfield Russo’s Books will be selling my books in their store as well. Each book has in it a Gospel presentation so please pray that many sell and God uses it in a mighty way. I was already able to find out that a family member read my first book and it led to forgiveness of a grudge lasting over 30 years. God can use anything to minister to people and that is the primary purpose of writing. God Bless!





The Mass Vs. The Lord’s Supper

20 11 2013

The following is a sermon preached by H.A. Ironside concerning the nature of the Lord’s Supper as taught in the Bible as opposed to the mass as taught by Rome. Dr. Ironside is thorough and Biblical in both his teaching of the Lord’s Supper and his condemnation of the heretical doctrine of the mass in which the Lord Jesus is sacrificed over and over again.

The Pastor learned late in the previous week of the possibility of holding a great Protestant Rally in the Moody Church, with Mr. H.A. Ironside as speaker, on the Sunday following the Eucharistic Congress held in Chicago. The time was much too short for extensive advertising, but through announcement in the Saturday papers, and the co-operation of a large number of city ministers, many of whom were present at the Rally, the effort became known to a great many. Pastor John O’Hair and Pastor James Gray, very kindly mentioned the meeting to their radio audiences. The former presided at the Rally. More than 3,500 people attended.

It is possible, as I speak to you to-day, that I may use the word “Catholic” as opposed to “Protestant.” If I do, it is simply a slip of the tongue, for I maintain that every true Protestant is a real Catholic, that every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is a member of the one Holy Catholic Church, purchased by the precious blood of the Son of God. But I distinguish between a Catholic and a Romanist. When I was speaking, on one occasion, to a Roman Catholic priest whom I met in a train in California, he asked me what my profession was and I said, “I am a Catholic priest.”

He looked at my collar and said, “You are surely jesting with me.”

I said, “No, I never was more serious in my life. I am a priest in the Holy Catholic Church. I mean that I am a member of that holy and royal priesthood composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and together forming the Holy Catholic Church.” So if I use the word “Catholic” when I mean “Romanist” you will understand me.

I am not here to say anything unkind against the Roman church. As my friend, Brother O’Hair, has reminded you, our Government guarantees to every man the right to full liberty of conscience in regard to religious privileges. As we wish to enjoy that liberty ourselves, we are glad to accord it to others. But I simply desire to examine some of the teachings of the Church of Rome and compare them with the teaching of the Word of God, particularly on the great central doctrine of that church, which is called the Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist, or the Sacrament of the Mass.

THE CRUX OF THE MATTER

Every Roman Catholic priest will tell you that all the claims of the Church of Rome stand or fall with the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Mass. If the bread and wine used in the Sacrament of the Mass, when consecrated by the priest, are changed in some mysterious way into the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ so that the communicant receiving the bread actually takes into his mouth and eats and digests the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ-if this is true, then the Church of Rome is the true church of Christ and every one of us should be members of it. But if it is false, if it is absolutely opposed to the teaching of the Word of God, then the Church of Rome is an apostate church and every faithful believer should come out of her in order that he might not be held accountable for her sins.

It was because the great reformers of the sixteenth century saw this clearly and were assured in their own hearts that the doctrine of the Church of Rome in regard to the Eucharist or the Mass was absolutely opposed to the Word of God and was not only blasphemous but idolatrous, that they came out in protest against that apostate system and they won for us at tremendous cost of Christian blood the liberty that we now possess. And yet we, unworthy children of such worthy sires, are frittering away our liberty and we are allowing our children to be ensnared again by this evil system from which our fathers escaped with such tremendous effort.

BASIC TRUTH

I want to call your attention first of all to a passage in the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews which may not seem at first sight to have any reference to the subject in question, but I think we shall see that it not only has reference to it but presents the basic truth in regard to it. The 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, beginning with verse 11:

And every priest (the Apostle is referring to the Levitical priesthood) standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man (that is, the Lord Jesus Christ who as to the mystery of His person is both God and man in one blessed, glorious person never to be divided), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God: from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

Now here is the crucial text that I want you to get:

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

CHRIST’S FINISHED WORK

In the Epistle to the Hebrews the apostolic writer contrasts the ritual system of the Old Testament dispensation with the glorious work achieved by Jesus Christ when He offered Himself on Calvary’s cross for our redemption. He draws our attention to the fact that under the old economy the priest’s work was never done because the sin question was never settled. No sacrifice had been found that was of sufficient value to atone for the sins of the world and so whenever men sinned afresh they had to come with a new sacrifice. One offering followed another constantly, therefore there was not even provision made for the priest to sit down in the tabernacle or in the temple of the Lord. The priest’s work was never done for sin was never put away. But he goes on to say that in those sacrifices there was an acknowledgment again made of sin from year to year. That is, the worshiper under the Old Testament dispensation came to God in faith, confessing his sin, and brought his animal sacrifice, whether a bullock from the herd, a sheep from the flock, or two birds. He confessed his sin and these sacrifices were offered for him. They did not cancel his guilt. They did not cleanse his heart. They were rather in the nature of a note that a man gives to his creditor for a debt. A man is owing a certain sum of money. He makes out a note for that sum. He is unable to pay when it is due, so he makes out another note, and in those notes there is an acknowledgment again made of the debt from year to year. So in the sacrifices of old there was simply an acknowledgment of sin made year after year. Sometimes when a man must give a note for a debt he has a wealthy friend who is good enough to endorse that note for him. By endorsing that note his friend says, “If you are not able to pay when the note becomes due, I pledge myself to pay for you.”

THE SIN QUESTION SETTLED

When these people of old gave their notes to God by bringing their sacrifices again and again, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son still ex-carnate, endorsed every note and He said,

Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.”

In the fulness of time He came, made of a woman, made under the law, and He went to Calvary’s cross and there, may I say, gathered up and settled for all those notes of the past, and undertook the full responsibility for every believer to the end of time and offered Himself a sacrifice for the sins of men. By that one all-sufficient offering of Himself upon the cross, He has settled the sin question to God’s satisfaction so that now God can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.

The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ had both a backward and a forward aspect. It put away all the sins of the past that had only been covered by the blood of the sacrifices and made ample provision to put away all the sins of the future for every one who would believe on Him. The means by which needy sinners avail themselves of an interest in the finished work of Christ is very simple. The sinner has to take his place before God as a lost. guilty man, owning his iniquity and putting his trust in the Man who died on the cross; for

By Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by Moses’ law.”

In this New Testament economy Christ is the only sacrificing priest. He is the one all-sufficient victim. Christ having made atonement for sins, rose from the dead and God has manifested His righteous satisfaction in the work of the cross by seating Him in heaven at His own right hand.

A FEAST OF LOVE

Our Lord Jesus before He went away, foreseeing all this, gave to His disciples that feast of love which we commonly call “The Lord’s Supper.” In the Lord’s Supper this mystery of redemption is wonderfully and beautifully pictured. I want to read to you the various scriptures in the New Testament that refer to it. I am going to read each passage that speaks of this feast of love in order that you, hearing them, may compare them in your own mind with the celebration — the idolatrous celebration — which you have either seen or of which you have been reading during recent days, and I ask you to put the questions to yourself: Is there anything here that is remotely connected with this ceremony that myriads have been so occupied with during this past week? Is there in this a sin offering? Is there a sacrificing priest? Is there any provision here for incense, any provision for worshipping the Virgin Mary, any provision for a great hierarchy with their brilliant garments? I read the other day that $200,000.00 worth of priestly garments were ruined by the rain during the celebration at Mundelein. You could put all the apostles, and the 500 who saw the Lord after His resurrection, and all the Christians in the early days, out in the rain and hail and they would not ruin $10.00 worth of priestly vestments! Is there anything that compares with the ceremony that has been enacted in this city and its environs in the last few days and which is supposed to be the continuation of that of which our Lord speaks here?

In the 26th chapter of Matthew-our Lord had just eaten the Passover with His disciples — we read, beginning at verse 26:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat: this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn they went out into the mount of Olives.”

How beautiful in its simplicity is this first celebration of the Lord Supper! How different to this mysterious ceremony which is the very center of the Roman Catholic system!

OTHER VERSIONS

Now turn to the Gospel of Mark and get his account of the same Supper. See if there is anything which Matthew left out which he has inserted which might give some ground, some basis, for the doctrines that have gathered round the so-called Sacrament of the Mass. St.Mark 14:22:

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”

“And as they did eat.” I would draw your attention to that. Every Roman Catholic is instructed to take the Sacrament of the Mass fasting. Have you read that after “they did eat, Jesus took bread.” They were just concluding the Passover meal. And “Jesus took bread.” Mark you, not some special cake marked with the mystic letters “I.H.S.” which are supposed to mean “Iesus Hominum Salvator”, but that might just as wall mean the Egyptian deities “Isis”, “Horus”, “Seb”, as they did ages ago in a similar ceremony.

Now I turn you to the account given by our brother Luke, Doctor Luke, the beloved physician. Luke’s Gospel 22:19:

And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

PAUL SPEAKS

The Apostle John does not give us any account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, but after Christ’s ascension and after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus when he became the Apostle Paul, a special revelation was given to him, and in the 11th chapter of 1st Corinthians we get the full account of it. Read from verse 20:

When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What! have ye not houses to eat and drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord (the risen, ascended, glorified Lord) that which also I delivered unto yen, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed (the night in which He was to know experimentally the untrustworthiness of the human heart) took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.”

Observe how this feast links together the two great facts of Christianity, the death of Christ and His second coming. The Lord’s Supper is taken in remembrance of One who died, but as we take it we look forward and wait for His coming again.

TILL HE COME


A friend of mine, giving some lectures at a church not long ago, spoke of the second coming of the Lord and the pastor came up to him after the service and said, “I am sorry that you touched that subject. We don’t believe here in the second coming of Christ.”
“Oh, you don’t?”
“No.”
“What is that table that you have down there in front of the pulpit?”
“That is the Lord’s Table.”
“What do you do with it?”
“We use it when we take the Lord’s Supper.”
“What do you take the Lord’s Supper for?”
“Because the Word of God tell us to.”
“How long are you going to take it?”
“As long as we are here, I suppose.”
“What does the Bible say?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
” ‘As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.’ If you don’t believe He is coming again you’d better cut that out. It is a witness that the Christ who died is coming again. He says, While you are waiting for Me, do this in remembrance of Me.”

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shah be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

Then in the 10th chapter of the same Epistle we read in verse 16:

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” Verse 21: “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”

THE TEACHING IS CLEAR

I have read all these passages because they give you every verse in the New Testament that definitely refers to the Lord’s Supper. You can see just what they teach. Our blessed Lord was going out to die and before He left His disciples He gave them this memorial feast. There is a striking passage in the book of the prophet Jeremiah in which he is predicting dire judgments coming upon Israel and he says that so many people will die that there will be none left to break bread for them (that is the marginal reading), nor to give them the cup of consolation. It evidently referred to an old custom that when somebody died loving friends gathered together with those who were left and they sat down and ate and drank in memory of the loved one, probably talked of his virtues and tried to comfort his loved ones.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ has come to the end of His thirty-three wonderful years here upon earth. He is about to go out to die. He came for that purpose. He said, “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Now He has His little company of disciples gathered about Him. They have kept the Pascal feast, the last Passover that God ever recognized. Actually, they kept the Passover and Christ died on the same day, because the Jewish day began in the evening and went on until the next evening. So the Lord ate the Passover with His disciples on the first evening and before the next evening — between the two evenings — He died on the cross, Christ, our Passover, sacrificed for us.

A MEMORIAL FEAST

Our Lord, with all this before Him, takes a piece of bread — just common bread, the bread they were using at the Passover — probably unleavened bread, although there is no scripture that definitely indicates that it must be that. I don’t find that the Word of God has been careful to legislate whether the bread should be leavened or unleavened, whether the wine should be fermented or unfermented. I think we may see the wisdom of God in it, for there are circumstances under which, if there were such a rule, many of God’s children could not partake. But He took bread and held that bread in His hand and said to the disciples, “This is my body which is given for you,” Observe: There He sat at the table. He is not indicating that any change takes place in the bread. He is there in His perfectly human body and He holds this bread in His hand and He says, “This is my body.” Surely any one must be blind who cannot see what He is telling them is this: This bread, I want you to understand, is to bring before you the truth that my body is to be sacrificed for sin. He had not yet been sacrificed and yet He speaks as though it had already taken place. “This do in remembrance of Me.” And He passes the bread around to them. There is no mysterious priesthood; there are no costly vestments; there are no candles burning in a ceremonial manner; no smoking incense ascending. They have partaken of one meal and then He gives them this beautiful memorial feast. He does not even appoint a clergyman to preside there. He addresses them as brethren and He saps, “This do in remembrance of Me.”

SIMPLE AND BEAUTIFUL

I think, my brethren, the simpler we can be in our thoughts of the Lord’s Supper the better. I read some time ago of a Hindu who was living in a village when a missionary came for the first time and they said to him, “Come. You must see So-and-So.”

The missionary went to this man’s house. When he saw a white man coming with a Bible he rose to greet him and bowed at his feet. The missionary said, “Stand up. I am just a man like yourself.”

“Oh,” said the Hindu, “you have come with the Book. I have waited for it for twenty years.”

“How is that?”

“Well, twenty years ago I took a long journey. I heard a man in the market place (he looked like you) read from a book. He told the story of the Great God of Love who sent His Son to die for sinners. I bought a book.” He produced a copy of Matthew’s Gospel all worn so that hardly a leaf was whole. “I took it home. I have eaten that book. I have read it over and over. I have read it to all the people in the village. I have been praying that God would send somebody to tell me more.”

He asked him to eat with him. Now the host was a little embarrassed. He had a bowl of rice and he turned to the other man and said, “Before we eat, I always do as Jesus said.”

The missionary did not understand. But he said, “Go ahead. Don’t let me interfere.”

The Hindu closed his eyes, thanked God that Christ had died for him, and then he said, “I eat this rice because the body of my Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross for me.” Then he took the common drink of the land and said, “I drink of this because my Lord Jesus died for me,” and he gave some to the missionary, as he had given the rice, and they ate and drank together.

The missionary said, “How long have you been doing this?”

“For twenty years.”

“And how often!”

“Every time I eat a meal.”

He saw nothing in the Book that would tell him how often. So I repeat, the simpler we can be the better. It is a memorial– that is all.

WHAT DOES “EUCHARIST” MEAN?

You ask, Do you not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Some may not know the meaning of the term Eucharist. It is “thanksgiving.” Oh yes, dear friends, every instructed Christian believes in the real presence in the Eucharist, but He does not believe that the bread ceases to be anything but bread and he does not believe that the wine ceases to be anything but wine. He does not believe in a strange, mysterious transformation of cereal bread and of wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. But he believes this: “Where two or three are gathered together in My name (as Jesus said) there am I in the midst.” Some of the sweetest moments of my life have been spent at the Table of the Lord, communing with the Blessed One who of old said, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” and faith’s eye could discern Him there standing in the midst, showing His wounds and spreading His hands.

A Roman Catholic layman in St.Louis who does much to put Protestants to shame because of his zeal in advertising his religion, recently put out an advertisement like this: “Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist; Protestants believe in the real absence.” But that is false. Protestants do not believe that the bread and wine undergo any mystic change, but they do believe that as you eat and drink in remembrance of Christ, Christ is present in His sweet and wonderful way, manifesting Himself to the hearts of His beloved people so that by faith they are enabled to feed upon Him. We feed upon Him in remembrance. We look back and think of the sorrows He bore. We contemplate His cross and bitter passion, and as we do, we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, and as we feast on Christ we find our love for those things for which Christ died upon the cross becoming less, and our love for those blessed things into which He would lead us through the new and living way, through the veil into the holiest, becoming greater, for we become like that upon which we feed.

NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN CHRISTIANS

In this feast Christ gives the bread and then He gives the wine. He did not separate believers into a clergy and a laity and say to the clergy, “The wine is for you: the bread is simply for the laity.” There is no such distinction made in the Bible. For two centuries and a half after Christ’s gospel began to be preached in this world you will search reputable church history in vain to find such a distinction. There were officials in the church; there were elders and there were deacons; elders who had a special oversight, but no such distinction as the dividing of Christians into the laity and the clergy, the clergy having special access to God and special authority in dispensing divine mysteries. This was unknown in the early days of Christianity, and in those early days the Lord’s Supper was observed in simplicity. We have distinct records of it.

If you care to look it up you will find that the Younger Pliny, when Governor of Bythinia, wrote to the Emperor Trajan asking what offense the Christians had committed for which they should be exterminated. He said in substance, “I have been trying to get all the information I could regarding them. I have even hired spies to profess to be Christians and become baptized in order that they might get into the Christian services without suspicion. Contrary to what I had supposed, I find that the Christians meet at dead of night or at early morn, that they sing a hymn to Christ as God, that they read from their own sacred writings and partake of a very simple meal consisting of bread and wine and water (the water added to the wine to dilute it in order that there might be enough for all). This is all that I can find out, except that they exhort each other to be subject to the Government, and pray for all men.”

Pliny could not understand why they should be persecuted. He knew nothing of a gorgeous altar, of a sacrificing priest, nothing of a special cake upon the altar which the faithful were to fall down and worship as the Incarnate God, but his spies found Christians partaking together of a very simple meal of bread and wine and water.

Justin Martyr, who wrote about the same time, gives us a very clear account of the way in which the Lord’s Supper was observed. He knew of no priesthood, no altar, no mystic change. He certainly knew of no prayers to the Virgin Mary. He knew nothing of ascending incense or anything of the kind, but he describes just such an observance of the Lord’s Supper as you would find in any evangelical company of Christians to-day. He speaks of one of the elders presiding, of the people singing together, of giving thanks for the bread and wine, of distributing these elements among the faithful and sending portions to any who were not present because of illness-beautiful in its simplicity, as is the account given in the gospel.

WHEN THE CHANCE OCCURRED

But you go down through the Christian era a few centuries and you find everything is changed. You enter a Christian church. The Lord’s table is conspicuous by its absence. Instead of a table you have an altar. An altar in a Christian church! The altar belonged to Judaism. But the altar is typical of Christ Himself whose glorious person sanctifies the offering He gives, and second, it typifies the cross upon which He was uplifted. The Christian’s altar is the cross of Christ, but in these churches of the centuries after Constantine we find an altar again and, serving there, is a priest with special vestments, not such as were used by the Jewish priesthood, but vestments which were identical with those worn by the priests of Babylon centuries before. What had brought about the change? Simply this: As long as Christianity was persecuted, as long as the Christian company was under the ban of the Roman Government, simplicity and reality prevailed. But the day came when the state become the patron of Christianity and an effort was made to unite the ancient heathen religion and the Roman Empire with the new Christianity. The result was that little by little pagan forms and ceremonies were brought in and displaced the early Christian forms which were so simple, so beautiful and so scriptural. The altar was not even taken from Judaism, for no such altar as the altars of Judaism was ever found in so-called Christian churches.

HEATHENISM

A few years ago I had a company of Indian youths in Oakland, California, that I was educating. I was teaching these young men church history, and one day, to give them a practical lesson, I took them to San Francisco through three Chinese temples and then I took them through two Roman Catholic churches. After our visits I said to these youths, “Now tell me what you saw in each place,” And they wrote it all out. They said, “In each building we found holy water at the door. Each building had an altar. Each building had priests in costly vestments bowing below the altar. Each building had candles and incense. In each building a bell rang when the worshipers were to kneel down.” The Romanist and pagan temples were practically alike.

Any one who familiarizes himself with the history of the ancient heathen cults can see where all these forms and ceremonies came in that are now linked up with what is called the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The identical customs were practised by Babylonish priests over 500 years before Christ. There was in the Babylon temples and on the altars an image of a woman with a child in her arms. This woman was said to be the Queen of Heaven. Her child was called the Seed, which was evidently Satan’s imitation of the truth involved in the words, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” To this woman was sacrificed a bloodless offering consisting of round moon-shaped cakes, and these being presented to her were put upon the altar and the faithful bowed down in reverence before them.

In the 44th chapter of Jeremiah the people had read of the same cult transferred to Palestine and observed afterwards among the dispersed Jews in Egypt:

Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.”

In the 44th chapter of Jeremiah the people had turned from their idolatry, but they declare that they are going back to it. In verse 15 we read:

Then all the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee: but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

COMPROMISE

This ancient custom of offering these round cakes was taken up by the apostate church. They said,

“The best way is to get all the different religions into one and we can take this heathen rite and turn it into a Christian ceremony. This round cake we will call the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ.” That is what is called the host. It must be absolutely round. It is taken into the church and the priest blesses it. If it has a piece broken off of it, anybody can eat it; it is just bread.

The Roman Catholic church will tell you that this is taught by our Lord when He said, “This is my body which is given for you.” But as He said that He was there with them. No part of it was broken for them. He handed them this bread and they partook of it, clearly giving us to understand that the bread was God’s wonderful way of illustrating the value of feeding upon Christ. We feed upon bread and we get physical strength. We feed upon Christ and we get spiritual strength.

But now they tell us that the bread is changed when the priest blesses it. We charge that to fall down and worship that piece of bread is an act of idolatry. The Roman Catholic church says that bread is actually Christ. We say, “Do you mean us to understand that – that bread is literally the body of Christ, literally the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ?”

“No, not literally, but mystically it becomes such.”

It is a well-know fact that Roman priests have been poisoned at the altar drinking wine that had been blessed and was supposed to be turned into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, when some enemy had poured poison into it. It has been known that the host has been poisoned. They understand that no such change as they declare, actually takes place. But they say that at the moment of consecration Christ comes and enters it.

Here is a man making images. You say, “Are these images actually gods?”

“No, not yet.”

“When will they become gods?”

“When the priest takes them and blesses them and consecrates them to the deity they represent. Then the deity will come and dwell within them so that when the worshiper bows down he is not worshipping the image but the soul of the divinity that dwells within.”

BLASPHEMY AGAINST CHRIST’S SACRIFICE

Is there any difference between that and the Romish doctrine? None whatever. The bread was bread until the priest blessed it, and then in some mystical way Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity became identified with it. Worship in the New Testament is only given to God the Father and God the Son in the energy of the Holy Ghost. Then the Roman church tells us that this host is a continual unbloody sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead. Christ died once on the cross, but Christ is offered daily upon the altars of the Roman church. This, we maintain, is a denial of the all-sufficiency of the one offering of our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as sacrifice had not been found that could put away sin, it was necessary for one offering to follow another, but when Christ came into the world and offered Himself without spot unto God, then the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, thus signifying that the way into the holies is made manifest and every believer is entitled to enter into the very presence of God, washed from every sin and justified from all things through the infinite value of the atoning work of the Son of God. Now, to talk of any man on earth offering a continual sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead is not only blasphemy against the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, but if is absolute nonsense, for the Word of God says, “Without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins.” It is worthless because being bloodless it has no value to atone for sin and because it isn’t needed to atone for sin for Jesus’ atonement has already been made.

PROTESTANTS NEED REVIVAL

Therefore, I say, there is a tremendous chasm between the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass and the Bible doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial feast. Christians, members of the body of Christ, come together to remember the One who died for them and who put away their sins, and do this because their sins have been put away. No instructed Christian would approach the Lord’s Table to get forgiveness. I come because my sins have been forever put away by the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus and I desire gratefully to remember the One who offered that mighty sacrifice and so fitted me for the presence of a holy God.

There can be no compromise between the two systems. While Protestant churches have been sleeping Rome has been stealing the fruits of the Reformation. While they have been quarreling about the most trifling things Rome has been getting a great many week Protestants who have looked in vain for spiritual help because they have not been hearing the precious gospel of the grace of God.

But let there be a revival of doctrinal preaching; of the proclamation of the great truths of the Reformation; of the universal priesthood of all believers, doing away with anything like a special priesthood; of the membership in the body of Christ of all who have been washed in the blood of Jesus, justified from all things, by faith in the one offering that has forever settled the sin question; of the Lord’s Supper not as a sacrament but a memorial feast. Let these great truths be re-emphasized and wherever the Word is preached in faith and dependence upon the Holy Ghost God will use it to bring joy and peace and gladness to souls as in Reformation days.

LUTHER LIT THE TORCH

Let me just remind you of Luther. When he was still a monk of the Augustinian order he went to Rome to transact business for his Order. He was delighted to go. A restless, unhappy man, having tried everything the church had to offer and yet without peace with God, he said, “If I go to Rome, the holy city, I will find all I want.” So he went, earnestly counting on meeting God. Giving his testimony afterwards he says, “Rome living would have made me an infidel, but Rome dead kept me a Christian.”

When he arrived there and saw the simony of the priests and the corruption of the church his soul was filled with horror. He said, “In Rome they sell everything for money, forgiveness, the right to commit sin– everything. In Rome they would sell the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost!”

Then at last, as he wended his way through the city, he came to the church of St.John Lateran and he learned that in it there was supposed to be the very staircase down which Christ walked from Pilate’s judgment hall. It was said that if one would go up that staircase on his hands and knees he would get great spiritual blessing by the time he reached the top. So earnest was this German monk that he was ready to do anything that might give peace, and he started up that staircase, until suddenly in the midst of it all a passage of scripture came rushing down into the depths of his soul: “The just shall live by faith.”

He sprang to his feet and said, “What a fool I am. If ‘the just shall live by faith’ what am I doing climbing this staircase?”

He went back to Germany to light that torch which for hundreds of years has been the light of all our Protestant lands and which it is Rome’s persistent and determined effort to put out if it possibly can. Rome wants religious liberty and we gladly accord the liberty we want ourselves, but let Rome become supreme again in this country or any other Protestant country and we will no longer have an open Bible, or a public school, or any of the institutions that we have learned to value. God wake us up that we may not leave to our posterity a land of bondage out of which God mercifully delivered our forefathers.





Is Hell Really Eternal?

16 10 2013

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7

 

Question: Does this verse teach that hell is not eternal? After all the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha are not burning today.

Answer: The answer to that is no this verse does not teach that hell is temporary. The context spoken here is not the physical cities but the people in those cities. For example it says they gave themselves over to fornication and strange flesh. Does that mean the city streets and buildings did those things? No of course not the people of the city did.

The people of the city did those things and they are today suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. So this verse actually proves the eternality of hell. Look at what we see in 2 Peter 2:6, “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” This passage is clearly talking about the physical city while the other is clearly talking about the people. Both are correct the people are suffering eternal fire and the city itself was turned to ashes.

The eternality of hell is clearly established in the Scriptures just by the words eternal and everlasting. The Bible says we will have eternal life in Heaven the Bible also uses the term everlasting life. If hell is temporary then life in Heaven must also be temporary. The Scriptures in several places make the eternal state of hell very clear to us.

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:10-11)

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:46)

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:43-44)

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

 

 





Concerning Atheism

15 10 2013

When I speak to professing atheists I am always amazed at the amount of faith they need in order to maintain their religion. I say religion because there is no evidence at all for things that atheism holds to and there is too much evidence against their beliefs that I must conclude it takes leaps of blind faith to be an atheist.

Let me start by saying there is no such thing as an atheist. If you profess to be one then I’m sorry but it’s quite impossible to be an atheist. If you’re reading this and you call yourself an atheist then ask and answer a few questions within yourself. Do you know everything? By this I mean do you possess all possible knowledge in the universe?

The answer you have to give of course is no. The next question is simply has there ever been a time that you didn’t know something and then one day you discovered that knowledge? The answer there must of course be yes. Next question is simply, is it possible and I mean logically possible that in all of the knowledge in the universe that you do not yet possess that there is ample evidence for God?

The answer if you’re honest will of course be yes it is possible. This means one of two things either you’re not an atheist but an agnostic because an agnostic admits there may be proof somewhere of God but they have not found it so they are not sure if God exists. The other option is to admit that your atheism is a belief or religion and that you have faith that God does not exist but there is no proof that He does not.

Another problem with atheism is that it violates reason and logic. That’s right it violates reason and logic. The atheist has to look at the world around them and conclude that everything we see came from nothing. Even if you go back to the big bang where matter supposedly exploded how do you account for the matter?

It is illogical to assume something came from nothing or that nothing can create anything. The only explanation I hear from atheists is that they don’t know where everything came from but that goes back to my last point if you don’t know then there is a possibility of God in that bit of knowledge you lack.

There is also the question of order. How can chaos create order? Well the logical answer is that it cannot. Therefore all of the evolutionary theories of origin or unreasonable and illogical and can only be accepted by faith. Where did the laws of nature come from? Laws cannot organize and write themselves and if they happened by mere chance why are they absolute. Absolute and random cannot coexist.

The order in seasons, day and night, birth in females only, birth to our own kind, the extremely complex workings of the human body none of this could have happened by random chance and without a Creator it is impossible to explain.

Most atheists would consider themselves scientific and yet the very definition of science is something that can be recreated in a lab. The problem is evolution cannot be recreated in a lab nor can their many theories of origin. There is nothing scientific about evolution. Even evolutionists don’t believe in evolution.

Most of the save the whales people are supposed evolutionists and yet evolution teaches the survival of the fittest. It is completely contrary to evolution to save a species from extinction in fact by the logic of evolution to save a weak species would be to corrupt nature not assist it.

Where do morals come from to an atheist? This is one I have never had an atheist answer because if they say they are learned by parents or society then can one really be punished for murder when that was taught to be okay or accepted by society? Can we really call slavery wrong or evil? It was after all accepted and encouraged by society.

Even atheists have to admit the presence of a moral law they just deny the lawgiver which is illogical. Why does Christianity make atheists so angry? I know Santa Claus does not exist and therefore seeing him at Christmas time does not make me angry. I know there is no tooth fairy so I have no anger towards those who teach their kids that one exists.

To be quite honest the only reason they would be angry is that deep in their hearts they know He exists. They know that their worldview cannot explain origins, order, moral or natural laws, or anything else.  This makes them angry because they want to love their sins. They know if there is a lawgiver then there will be a time to give account for themselves.

We are told they deny the knowledge of God in order love their law breaking, “ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold(suppress) the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Romans 1:18-22)

Denying the existence of God will not make Him unexist. IT will not keep us from giving account one day to Jesus Christ, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Don’t be a fool, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1) The fact is there is a Creator who has revealed Himself to mankind not only in nature, not only in the Bible but in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

Not only has God revealed Himself to us but His laws as well in the ten commandments. He has also condemned us all as lawbreakers, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19) He as a holy, just and righteous being has every right to condemn all of humanity to endless torment in hell for violating His laws but instead of doing this He Himself paid the penalty of our crimes, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Having punished Jesus for our sins on the cross God can now pardon us and still be just. In return for having paid the penalty of sin for humanity God simply calls on us to repent of our sins which means to change our mind about our sin. To see it as something that condemns us before God and to put our faith in Jesus Christ. This means to claim for ourselves the payment He made on the cross.

We are told to, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31) To believe on Him means more than just believe that He was historically real, or that He was indeed God in the flesh. To believe on Him means trust that what He did on the cross was for you and to trust in that alone for salvation.

God has promised if we do that He will give us a new heart with new desires and we will never perish. The promise is for you and your children if only you will receive it, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Won’t you trust Him today?





Why Judgement?

14 07 2011

One question many ask is “if we are saved by faith why are we judged by our works at the judgment?” The first thing about the judgment that we need to consider is the fact that not all judgment is the same, and each must be considered in their own context. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone with no mixture of our good works. Salvation is 100% Jesus and none of us, this is the clear teaching of Scripture. To say that our good works are mixed with Christ’s suffering to bring about complete salvation is utter satanic blasphemy. So what about the judgments? Well let’s look at the 3 judgments individually.

1. The Judgement Seat of Christ- 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

The christian life is often pictured as a race or in comparison with the Greek olympic games. The Greek word used for the judgement of the christian is “Bema” In the ancient olympic games the contestant would stand before the “Bema seat” to be judged as to whether he played by the rules, and won. Paul alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Paul said that while the heathen run to obtain a corruptible earthly crown, we believers run the race of the christian life for an eternal heavenly crown. The word “castaway” is also related to the games in that it doesn’t mean we can finally lose our salvation but rather it means to be disqualified. This means that we can someday lose the crown or reward we strove so hard to obtain. Back in 1 Corinthians 3 Paul says in verse 11, that Christ is the foundation which means our salvation comes from Him alone. Our works are found in verse 12. Good works are seen as gold, silver and precious stones. Our bad or empty works are seen as wood hay and stubble.

In verse 13 we see that God will try our works by fire. Fire is a purifier, and our works will be tested by what we did, and why we did it. He will not simply test our actions but our heart in those actions. In verse 14 we see that any works that stand the test will recieve a reward, but in verse 15 we see that empty or bad works will be burned up and recieve no reward. We notice in verse 15 that those whose works are destroyed will themselves still be saved but oh the shame on that day when before all believers of all time to be called before the judgement seat and to see that your life accounted for nothing. I do want to point out that in this judgement NO unbelievers are present. I see this not as an oversight of the writer but because they will not be in this “Bema” judgement.

2. The Great White Throne Judgement- Revelation 20:11-15

This judgement takes place after the final rebellion of Satan and his followers. We see Christ seated on His throne as the Judge of all the earth. In verse 12 we see the “dead.” This speaks not of physical death for there will undoubtedly be some at the final judgement who were alive at the end of time. The dead is is almost universally accepted as the spiritual dead. In the last judgement I pointed out that no unbelievers are present and in this judgement we see that NO believers are present. The dead are having their moment before the Judge. Think about it…billions of lost souls given a momentary reprieve from the torments of hell only to be cast into a worse prison. Why judge them by their works if they are saved by grace? Let’s answer that question.

In verse 12 we see books(plural) being opened, and we see another book(singular) which we are told is the Lamb’s book of life. We are told they are judged out of the books(plural) according to their works. Some think these books are the 66 books of the Bible. I tend to be in the camp that believes these are books that contain our works, everything every individual does is recorded, I believe this makes up the books spoken of here. We are told that death and hell deliver up all of the spiritual dead they contain. All are judged by their works. Is it for salvation? No, because all here are dead and on their way to hell.

I believe they are judged by their works to decide the degree of their punishment in the lake of fire. This is backed up by Paul’s statement in Romans 2:5-6, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” The judgement at the great white throne is not to determine if they are going to hell, that is an established fact, the judgement is to determine the degree of their punishment based on their works and how much wrath is stored up for them.  We see in verse 15 “whosoever was not found written in the book of life.” This is why they are going to hell, they never rpented and trusted Christ for salvation. The believer is judged on his works to determine reward or loss, the heatthen to determine punishment but both are going to Heaven or Hell based on one fact…is their name in the book of life.

 

3. The Sheep and Goats Judgement. Matthew 25:31-46

This judgement is not to be confused with the judgement of the great white throne. The amillenialist who believes in one general judgement will say it is the same but context and description seem to say otherwise. First the description.

1. This judgement takes place on earth, the other in heaven.

2. This judgement is of living persons, the other is of dead persons.

3. This judgement has both sheep and goats, the other is just unbelievers.

4. This judgement mentions no book of life, the other finds that book as the basis for eternity.

We must also consider the context. Matthew 24 begins the “Olivet Discourse” which continues on through chapter 25. The topic of that discourse is the tribulation. Chapter 25 gives us a series of parables about the kingdon of heaven. I am a pre,illenialist so I am going to approach this from that point of view, outside of that viewpoint I can find no other way to interpret this judgement since it is so radically different from the others. I believe this is a judgement at the return of Christ to estabablish His kingdom on earth.

For a momoent let me venture into sheer conjecture because I cannot prove Scripturally my theory on this nor can anyone disprove it. The three spring  feasts of Israel pointed to Christ’s first coming and all three were fulfilled on the day of the feast…Christ died on Passover, rose from the dead on first fruits, and the Spirit came on Pentecost. The three fall feasts all point to His second coming and I don’t see a ned for Him to change His pattern so I expect them fulfilled on the feast. The rapture on the feast of trumpets, at which time every eye will see Him and those who pierced Him(the Jews) will mourn because of Him. I believe this will throw national Israel into revival, where they will repent and turn to the Messiah(Romans 11:25-27). This will be a time when believers are snatched away from the earth. As the heathen grow angry at Christ, theybegin to torment the only physical thing left that represents Jesus Christ….the Jews. This I believe will drive the battle of Armageddon but Jews everywhere will be hunted down. Ten days after trumpets is the Day of Atonement which represents Israels repentance. I believe this day could be the day of Armageddon when just as Jerusalem is to be destroyed Jesus returns with His saints to destroy the armies.

If all I suspect to be true is true then this judgement fits perfectly. He is judging those left after Armageddon based on how they treated the Jewish people(His brehtren) during this time and the tribulation time before it. Those who treated them well will be ushered into Christ’s kingdom of 1,000 years of righteous rule. Those who did not treat them well will be ushered into hell to await final judgement. Of course this judgement is not based on works alone for those who believe will do the good works and those who are unregenerate will not, so the basis of the judgement at it’s core is not good works but their heart is revealed in their works.

No matter which end timesview you take the point is clear, we go to heaven or hell based entirely on our relationship with Christ and whether or not we have repented and trusted Him alone for salvation. Those who trust in their works for salvation will in the end be damned, and those who belive but live only nominal lives may find there is only shame and regret waiting for them at judgement.





Rome’s Scriptural Defiance

20 05 2011

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:14-16

     There are many teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church that I disagree with. In this blog I want to deal with a few that I not only disagree with in principle but are the exact opposite of what Scripture says to do.

1. Repetitous prayers: Roman catholocism relies heavily on printed prayers. Prayers to Mary, to saints, to God, and to angels. They seldom pray words of their own from their own hearts. The rosary is the most common, as well as what they call an “Our Father” prayer. This prayer is found in Matthew 6:9-13, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

     They call this “The Lord’s Prayer.” No place does Scripture refer to it in this manner. Most christians acknowledge it for what it is, a model prayer. The context in which it was given was the request by the disciples to be taught how to pray(Luke 11:1). Jesus even told them just before He taught them how to pray, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them…”(Matthew 6:7-8a) Their prayers are printed and they repeat them over and over sometimes as many as 20 or 30 times. This is in direct defiance of the commands of Christ.

     One of the catholic prayers reads as follows, “HAIL, HOLY QUEEN,Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!” Not only are they praying to a person and not to God even though we are told to pray to God(Matthew 6:9) but they also point out that they are crying to Mary, not to God. All through Scripture God’s children prayed to Him, He heard and answered their petitions. Why would that change now? Jesus said anything we ask the Father in His name He would do it.(John 14:13) He never instructed us to pray to anyone but Himself.

Why would we need to seek pity from someone besides Christ? Scripture declares, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16) It tells us that because Christ understands and can sympathize with our needs we are to come boldly before the throne, we don’t have to sheepishly seek help and pity from another. Rome has degraded Christ and exalted Mary.

     They call Mary their “advocate” Scripture says the opposite, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”(1 John 2:1) They also pray that she would show Jesus to them. It is absurd to think we need her to do such a thing. Jesus declared He would draw all men unto Himself( John 12:32). Paul declares in Acts 17:27, that He was not far from each one of us.

2. Earthly Father’s: They commonly refer to a priest as “father” meaning spiritual father. The Bishop of Rome is known as the “Holy Father.” These practices are in direct violation of the command of Jesus in Matthew 23:9, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” The catholic will claim that this is not to be taken literally, but then should Christ’s command to “abstain from fornication”(1 Corinthians 6:18) not be taken literally? How about the command to “love one another as I have loved you?”(John 13:34).

3. Worship of idols: I know, I know the catholic would refute this by saying that they don’t worship the things they bow down to. God told the children of Israel, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”(Exodus 20:4-5a) In this passage He tells them not to make graven images, especially noting not to make images of things in heaven, and then He goes on to skip worship and forbids them from even bowing down to them. Bowing and worship are always closely related in the Scriptures. The two always go together, it is hard to seperate them and say I am worshipping God while bowing to saint Peter.

4. Continuous Sacrifice: Papal salvation is incomplete, it cannot offer an assurance of salvation. Rome offers a works based salvation which offers it’s followers only the hope of being good enough for heaven but never knowing for sure if their good deeds out weigh their bad ones. The mass is nothing more than the continual offering of Jesus for sins, it is the re-sacrifice of Christ. The Council of Trent declared, “the victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of the priests, who then offered himself on the cross.” Every time a priest stands at Rome’s altars he is denying the finished work of Christ. Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished.” This statement is untrue if the mass is necessary and if the mass in not necessary then it is blasphemous because it claims a continual sacrifice is needed.

     What does Scripture say about the sacrifice of Christ? “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”(Hebrews 9:12) “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:25-26) “So Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28) “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for all.”(Hebrews 10:10) “But this man, after he had offered ONE sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”(10:12) “For by ONE offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (10:14) “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”(10:18) “For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”(1 Peter 3:18a)

     If God throughout history forbid the making of idols, the bowing down to idols, and prayers to anyone but Himself why would that suddenly change in this New Covenant? The answer is it would not. These practices are just as pagan as they were back in days of old. If Jesus told His disciples not to pray in repetition why would that change now? The answer is it would not. These practices are just as disobedient now as they were then. If God would not share His glory with another back then why would He do it now with Mary, if Paul claimed Christ alone was mediator between God and men why would that change now? I’m sure you guessed my conclusion…it has not changed. Roman catholocism is Old Testament paganism under new names. Heathenism was slowly introduced into the church until it swallowed up all but a remnant. Rome “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH,” and her teachings are an abomination.

Written By: Rick Garland








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