Friday, September 21, 2018

Christ Through the Bible- 1 & 2 Thessalonians

The Soon Coming King

In the 5th chapter of 1 Thessalonians Paul talks about the end times.  It is apparent from his writing that they were aware of the coming of the LORD.  It says that they know when the LORD comes it will be a surprise.  There will be those who talk about peace and safety, but they know that destruction is coming. 

He goes on to say that the true believer is not living in darkness and will not be surprised when the LORD returns.  The reason is we belong to the light.  We do not live in the night or darkness.  He tells us that we should not be sleeping but should be awake and have self-control.  Our protection is our faith and love in Jesus Christ and that our hope is in the helmet of our salvation.
Paul reminds us that we are not the object of God’s anger.  However, this does not mean we will not suffer tribulation and persecution.  It may even result in our death.  Paul says we are to encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith.
In his second letter Paul talks about the suffering they will be going through.  He gives the promise that God will do what is right.  God will punish those who persecute His children.  The time of this punishment will take place when the LORD comes from heaven with his powerful angels.  He will come with burning fire to punish those who don’t know God and those who refuse to accept the message of Jesus Christ.  This will happen on the day when the LORD comes to receive honor with His holy people.
I am sure that the Christians Paul is writing to have the same question we have been asking for year.  What is going to happen to us?
Paul starts by saying don’t let yourselves be easily upset or worried if you hear that the day of the LORD has already come.  There have been prophecies given from the time of Paul up to the present that the LORD will come on a specific day.  The same thing was happening in Paul’s time as it has happened in our time.  Paul said, don’t be fooled by these prophecies.  He then gives us some indicators of the end times.
1.     There will be a turning away from God.
2.     The Man of Evil appears the one who belongs to hell.
3.     He will oppose God
4.     He will sit in God’s Temple and claim that he is God
Paul tell them they know what is stopping the Man of Evil and that he will continue to stop it until he is taken out of the way.  Then the Man of Evil will appear.  This appearance will happen at the end time and the LORD will kill him with the breath from His mouth.  When the LORD comes everyone will see and that will be the end of the Man of Evil.
Paul tells us that when the Man of Evil comes, it will be the work of Satan.  He will come with great power and will do all kinds of false miracles, signs and wonders.  The Man of Evil will use every kind of evil to fool those who are lost.  They are lost because they refuse to accept the truth and be saved from their sins.  Because of their rejection of the LORD He will send them something powerful that will lead them away from the truth and believe a lie.  They will be condemned because they enjoy doing evil.
We are admonished to spread the LORD’s teachings and pray that people will honor His teachings.  The LORD has promised to give us strength and protect us from the Evil One.
The message of Paul to the Church at Thessalonica was the LORD is coming back and the time and day is not important.  What is important is that we are ready.
The indicators that we are in the end times is there is a turning away from God.
Scripture warns us that in the last days before second coming of Jesus Christ there will be wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines , food shortages, pestilences despite medical advances, old and new diseases will plague mankind, there will be increase in earthquakes and floods and natural disasters ,which are the beginning of sorrows.
Are we seeing these things today?  The world is in chaos.
Also, there would be increase of antichrist spirits, false Christ’s, false Prophets, false signs and wonders, tremendous increase in wickedness. Many people have deliberately turned away from God and have become Godless and some have heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 says “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth”.
Every year in America over 4000 churches close their doors.  According to researchers less than 10 per cent of the those who call themselves Christian attend church.
Many churches are filled with false teachers who are wolves in sheep’s clothing and their congregation is filled with carnal Christians or lukewarm Christians or compromise Christians and a type of Godliness (2 Timothy 3:5).
These churches have become man-centered and entertainment-style programs designed to lure kids and teens into church, baiting the hook with promises of excitement with spectacular worldly events like hip-hop and rock music, craft time, snack time, or game time. God’s intention is that the gospel should be enough to draw men into the church (John 12:32, 33, Romans 1:16), not food, fun, selling books, games or entertainment. The true church is not lead by man’s spirit, it is led by the Spirit of God.
We see nowadays days such churches are continually begging for more money, twisting the Scriptures to exploit people. With the church money, these false pastors and their families enjoy all luxury living. These people have turned the House of God into a place of greed, gluttony, merchandizing, fraud, and a den of thieves and robbers.
Jesus clearly explains that there will be one Last Day’s generation that will see the Biblical signs from the heavens and from the earth, unfold in a powerful way, like never before! “Jesus also teaches that when much of the church falls away from the faith, and all of the catastrophic signs begin to increase at the same time on a global scale, the true believer would know that the coming of our Lord is near. One thing is sure, all the signs of the times are not decreasing; they are increasing all around the world! “But you brothers are not in darkness so that this Day should surprise you like a thief” (1Thess 5:4). “But let us encourage one another, and all the more as you SEE the DAY APPROACHING” (Heb 10:25).
When you push God out of the picture, devastation increases. Jesus said in Luke 21:10-11, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. “There WILL BE great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Are the worldwide sicknesses and diseases getting better or worse? What about violence and terrorism? Should we be standing up behind the pulpit preaching health, wealth and prosperity? Or should we be preaching fire and brimstone, turn or burn, get right or get left behind (Luke 21:34-36, 1Thess 1:9-10, Rev 3:10-11)?
The Man of Sin, the Man of Evil or the Antichrist
There are those who teach the Man of Sin or the Man of Evil is the Antichrist.  In Christianity, antichrist is a term found solely in the First Epistle of John and Second Epistle of John, and often lowercased in Bible translations, in accordance with its introductory appearance: "Children, it is the last hour! As you heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come". The term antichrist is found in the New Testament in 1 John and 2 John, once in plural form and four times in the singular. The explanation of the word "antichrist" is given by the author shortly after, revealing how the name is chosen.  To have the spirit of antichrist one must:
1.     Deny that Jesus is the Messiah
2.     Deny the Father and the Son
3.     Deny the Jesus has come in the flesh
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 1John 1:22
 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2John 1:7
The word antichrist (in Greek: antichristos, an opponent of the Messiah:--antichrist.) That word appears only four places in Scripture.  Every verse is in 1st and 2nd John.
John is the only writer that write about the antichrist and it is mentioned nowhere else in the scriptures.  By the time that John is writing about the spirit of the antichrist there were many heresies in the early church.  John has been addressing these heresies from the time he first penned his Gospel of John, where he addresses Gnosticism and the deity of Christ.  In the book of Revelation, he addresses the Nicolaitans, worldliness and the Synagogue of Satan.  In the epistles he addresses false leaders and the antichrist.
 1 John 2:18  Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now.

 “You have heard” is the significant phrase here. John isn’t saying that antichrist is coming, only that you have heard that he is.   Then he goes on to debunk the idea by saying, “even NOW many antichrists have arisen.”   John then describes what antichrist is really like as we have already stated.
 1 John 2:22  Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
 So, anyone who “denies that Jesus IS the Christ” is antichrist.
 2 John 1:7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This IS a deceiver and an antichrist.
So there was going to be a many antichrists. John also tells us what antichrist really is.

 1 John 4:3   And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that SPIRIT of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that IT should come; and even NOW already is IT in the world.
John does not identify the antichrist as a man but rather an IT and IT was already in the world.  They did not have to wait until it was revealed to them.  IT was already working in the world during John’s day. So, biblically, antichrist is any evil spirit who denies that Jesus is the Christ.
 Now the above quotes are EVERY verse in Scripture that mentions antichrist!

So, do you see some super-duper Satan-inspired human being called "The Antichrist" in those verses? One who is going to appear at the end of the Christian Era and rule the world from Jerusalem for seven years?
No?  Those are all the verses in the Bible that mention antichrist. Everything else we believe about antichrist is pure conjecture. If that seems impossible, see if you can find other verses in your own concordance.
Some 19th century theologians concluded that “the man of sin” of 2 Thessalonians 2 just had to be “THE” antichrist. So, lets, look at "the man of sin."
 2 Thess 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall NOT come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
 Now what temple do you suppose the Lord was speaking of in that verse? 
 In Old Testament times, God’s temple was in Jerusalem, but this epistle is to the Thessalonian church which began after the Paul preached there.   And where is the temple of God during this Christian Era? 
 1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
 2Co 6:16  for ye are the temple of the living God.
 Because of the location of 2Thess in the Bible, it is sound theology to conclude that the temple spoken of in the above verses is the human heart. So, I quote again:
 “ he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
2Th 2:4 “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship”:  
Let me bring you into the 21st Century.   Secular humanists state that man is a god, their manifesto declaring: “Man made God in His own image.” By these declarations they exalt themselves above every god. 
 v.4 (cont.) “so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God”: 
 That phrase, all by itself, shows us that the “man of sin” is not a human being, but a spirit! Only a spirit being can take his seat in the human heart.

 Our bodies are still the New Testament temple of the Holy Spirit. I know there are some that will disagree with what I have said, but hear what Transhumanist Richard Seed has to say:
“We are going to become Gods, period […] but if you are going to interfere with me becoming a God, you’re going to have trouble. There’ll be warfare.”

Let me ask you this where does this anti-God spirit come from?  It existed in Old Testament and it exists today in the 21st Century.  There are many in the world today who are seeking to become “as a god.”
Seed’s words are not intended in any biblical sense but to declare that we too will become as God – that we can be our own gods. A week later Seed elaborated in an interview on CNN: “Man will develop the technology and the science and the capability to have an indefinite life span.” Eleven years later he would make an even more radical statement; whereas the first was to become like God, his latter statement was for man to become a god.
We are going to become Gods, period. If you do not like it, get off. You do not have to contribute, you do not have to participate but if you are going to interfere with me becoming a God, you’re going to have trouble. There’ll be warfare.
Seed’s words are not just isolated radical ideas, but part of the much larger and well-funded movement known as transhumanism (or posthumanism). While probably most in it would not proclaim that they want to become “gods,” the goal is the same. They are playing with the human source code in ways that are extremely dangerous. Biblical and transhumanism researcher Dr. John P. McTernan puts it this way: “Evolution also detaches man from his Creator and being created in God’s image and likeness. Man is now a free agent to tamper with his DNA under the guise of advancing evolution.” Therefore, man sees himself as the captain of his own destiny. He is going to overcome death, disease and human “limitations”. Rather than live with the image of God that he has and receive the cure for his fallen state, man would rather pretend that God does not exist and attempt his own cure. Even the difference in the sexes is no longer considered to be God-given.
The Man of Sin or the Man of Evil has been revealed and it is man himself.  The spirit of antichrist has filled the hearts of those who deny Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Those who claim Jesus is not the Messiah are antichrist in spirit and nature. 

Let not sin therefore reign (sitting on the throne of your heart) in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Rom. 6:12-13
 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Rom. 6:16
We are in the last days and Jesus Christ is coming soon.  The message today is preparing for His coming.  If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior, if you do not believe He is the Son of God and that He came in the flesh to provide us with salvation you have the spirit of antichrist in your heart and the Man of Sin sits on the throne where God should be sitting.  You have the choice to change that condition by allowing the Holy Spirit to cleanse you from the sin that has condemned your soul to everlasting punishment by coming to Jesus Christ and accepting His gift of salvation.  Today is the day of salvation.  Now, is the accepted time.  Jesus is coming soon are you ready?

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Coming Transhuman War

There is a spiritual war taking place that is being ignored by many within the Church.  Going back to the Garden of Eden Satan offered Eve the opportunity to become as a god.  Today, Satan is using the same lie to entice mankind into becoming his own god.  There was a time when secular humanist pushed the theory of evolution as the means of humanity becoming a god.  The reality is there is no natural evolution of the species.  However, all over the world, there are those who see through the process of transhumanism, technology can reach the level of superhuman power, radically extend lifespans, and increase the IQ of mankind and become as a god.

Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations utilizing science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values.  This does not sound all that threatening when we talk about improving the intelligent or doing away with the human limitations that hold us back from doing the things we want to do.  Most people are on board with using technology to improve our intelligent or doing away with things like Parkinson’s disease, all cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes and old age. There are a growing number of Christians who do not see the dangers posed by the transhumanist movement.  All they can see is becoming smarter and living longer without the fear of the devastating diseases that are taking the lives of so many people.

Transhuman literally means beyond human. Transhumanists consist of life extensionists, techno-optimists, Singularitarians, biohackers, roboticists, AI proponents, and futurists who embrace radical science and technology to improve the human condition. The most essential aim of many transhumanists is to overcome human mortality, a goal some believe is achievable by 2045.

Transhumanism has been around for nearly 30 years and was first heavily influenced by science fiction. Today, transhumanism is increasingly being influenced by actual science and technological innovation, much of it being created by people under the age of 40. It’s also become a very international movement, with many formal groups in dozens of countries.

One leader in the transhuman movement is Maria Konovalenko, a 29-year-old Russian molecular biophysicist whose public demonstrations supporting radical life extension have made international news, is a prime example.

“We must do more for transhumanism and life extension,” says Konovalenko, who serves as vice president of Moscow-based Science for Life Extension Foundation. “This is our lives and our futures we’re talking about. To sit back and just watch the 21st Century roll by will not accomplish our goals. We must take our message to the people in the streets and strive to make real change.”

A primary goal of many transhumanists is to convince the public that embracing radical technology and science is in the species’ best interest. Looking at this from a religious point of view several issues come to mind. First, death is a part of the human condition this is a result of sin.  Man was not created to be mortal but rather an immortal being living for eternity with the Creator.  The whole plan of salvation is to give man eternal life.  Transhumanists want to help humans live much longer, and they also want to increase the quality of those lives dramatically.  Ultimately, most transhumanists are fully convinced that they will be able to defeat death altogether. This is a circumventing of the God’s plan of salvation.  The idea of salvation is a spiritual means of defeating death.

The question of what it means to be human is not based only on the DNA structure but the spiritual as well.  When God breathed into man he became a LIVING SOUL.  Man may classify as being human by their sociological or psychological behavior, but God looks at His Creation as a spiritual being.

One of the core concepts in transhumanist thinking is life extension: Through genetic engineering, nanotech, cloning, and other emerging technologies, eternal life may soon be possible. Likewise, transhumanists are interested in the ever-increasing number of technologies that can boost our physical, intellectual, and psychological capabilities beyond what humans are naturally capable of (thus the term transhuman). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), for example, which speeds up reaction times and learning speed by running a very weak electric current through your brain, has already been used by the US military to train snipers. On the more extreme side, transhumanism deals with the concepts of mind uploading (to a computer), and what happens when we finally craft a computer with greater-than-human intelligence (the technological singularity).

So, would you like to live forever armed with superhuman powers?  That is the same question Satan posed to Eve in the Garden of Eden- ye shall be as gods.  During the last event in which Satan tried to change humanity by corrupting the DNA of man with that of fallen angels, it ended up with only eight humans escaping the judgment of God.  Since God locked the DNA of all species from being able to crossbreed, Satan has given man the knowledge to circumvent the physical laws of God through the use of technology.

There are those who believe that a crucial turning point will be reached around the year 2030, when information technology achieves ‘genuine’ intelligence, at the same time as biotechnology enables a seamless union between us and this super-smart new technological environment. Ultimately the human-machine mind will become free to roam a universe of its own creation, uploading itself at will on to a “suitably powerful computational substrate.” We will become essentially god-like in our powers.

Does that sound good to you, or does it sound frightening?

The transhuman movement has the goal of defeating death and circumventing God’s plan of redemption of mankind.  It is the goal of Satan to make men “as gods” and destroy what God has put in place for the redemption of man. Satan has deceived mankind in becoming as gods by transforming their own image for their own delight and not that of God’s.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, are we willing to circumvent the plan of salvation for enteral life?  If we become no more than a machine have we sacrificed our humanity to become something less than human?

As you can see, things get complicated quickly when discussing transhumanist ideas — and life extension and augmented intelligence and strength are just the tip of the iceberg! This philosophical and ethical complexity stems from the fact that transhumanism is all about fusing humans with technology — and technology is advancing, improving, and breaking new ground quickly. Humans have always used technology, of course — our ability to use tools and grasp concepts such as science and physics are what set us apart from other animals — but never has society been so intrinsically linked and underpinned by it. As we have seen in just the last few years, with the advent of the smartphone and pervasive high-speed mobile networks, only a handful of new technologies now have the power to completely change how we interact with the world and people around us.

Humans, on the other hand, and the civilizations that they build, move relatively slowly. Up until the last century or so, we doubled the human lifespan, but neurology and physiology were impenetrable black boxes. In just the last 100 years, we’ve doubled our lifespan again, created bionic eyes and powered exoskeletons, begun to understand how the human brain works and started to make serious headway with boosting intellectual and physical prowess. We’ve already mentioned how tDCS is being used to boost cranial capacity, and as we’ve seen in recent years, sportspeople have shown the efficacy of physical doping.

 Do you think that your grandparents weren’t wigged out by the first television sets? Before it garnered the name “television,” one of its inventors gave it the rather spooky name of “distant electric vision.” Can you imagine the wariness in which passengers approached the first steam trains? Vast mechanical beasts that could pull hundreds of tons and moved far faster than the humble — but state-of-the-art — horse and carriage.

Looking at the obvious benefits of no more disease, eternal life, superhuman strength, and an unbelievable IQ are some dangers and ethical pitfalls of human enhancement

In the case of eternal life, if every human on Earth suddenly stopped dying, where would that put humans down the road with population limitations. Unless we ended giving birth to babies, of course, but that merely rips open another can of worms: Without birth and death, would society and humanity continue to grow, or would it stagnate, suffocated by the accumulated ego of intellectuals and demagogues who just will not die? Likewise, if only the rich have access to intelligence- and strength-boosting drugs and technologies, what would happen to society? Should everyone have the right to boost their intellect? Would society still operate smoothly?  Where does God fit into all this?  Will the soul of man no longer exist?  Will humanity no longer be human?

I am sure there are Christians who will say that the LORD will take them out of this corrupt and polluted world before this can happen.  What happens if by 2030 the technology is available to make this a reality and you are still here?  As Christians, we need to be addressing the issue of the day and stop putting our heads in the sand and say this will not happen in my time.

The spiritual welfare of your children and grandchildren are at stake.  As Christians, we need to address this issue and tell the world that this is another scheme of Satan to destroy humanity.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The US Government Should Stay Out of Syria

I have written in the past about my concern about the war in Syria.  Some have asked what my fears about the war in Syria are?  Some Christian brothers and sisters are paying the ultimate cost for the actions of the US government.  Our government has destroyed the communities where these Christians live.  I have a responsibility to speak out against the violence brought on my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  It matters not if it is in Syria, Iran, Russia or China that my government is bringing violence and destruction, I have the moral responsibility to voice my objections.

Am I entirely against war?  No! I believe that a nation has the right to defend itself from the aggression of another country.  I think a strong military as a deterrent to war.  I do not believe in aggressive action against a sovereign nation because they do not believe in our world agenda.   There is the theory that war is justified if the cause is just.  This is referred to as the just-war-theory.

This theory is based on the idea that a person or country must at times confront the forces of evil that seek to destroy the peace of the nation.  Making peace may require acts of self-defense, which may result in taking the life of an unjust aggressor.  I understand this concept and support it.  To be able to justify an act of aggression against a person or nation the are some criteria for this justification. 

Just-war theory provides the moral principles for the declaration and waging of war, but some moralities must be followed.

War must confront the clear danger to a nation or restore what was unjustly seized.  In the case of Syria, the United States has not been attacked nor is our national interests at risk. A country does not have the right to interfere at will in the internal matters of another country, especially to remove a legitimate leader or government, even though it is a dictatorship, and especially when the opposing forces are a collection of rebel groups that seek only to overthrow the government.  The US government’s record of supporting rebel causes has not gone well for America or the country being defeated.

The legitimate authority must declare the war and must be acting on behalf of WE THE PEOPLE. For the United States, only Congress has the power to declare war, and the War Powers Act limits the president’s use of military intervention on his own initiative. The declaration of war or the use of the War Powers Act should only be used when the United States has been attacked.  Where are the Syrian soldiers attacking us?

The reasons for declaring the war must be based on just objectives and not a masking of ulterior goals, like taking over the banking and oil production of a nation.

My question is the intention of the United States pure in acting to help the Syrian people knowing that Islamist terrorist groups from other countries have infiltrated with the intent of establishing an Islamic state?  How can war against Syria be just when the rebels wanting to overthrow Assad is from the same Islamic nation that attacked our own country?  Have we forgotten 9/11?  That was an attack on America.  However, our government went to war with the wrong country.  It was Saudi Arabia the 19 terrorists came from not Iraq or Afghanistan.  Strange how these two countries were blamed for an act committed by the Saudi’s.

All reasonable, peaceful alternatives must have been exhausted or have been deemed impractical or ineffective. Many have called for diplomacy and negotiation, before resorting to military action in Syria which has been ignored by the Washington gunslingers.  Why did we rush into this conflict?  This was a domestic problem within the nation of Syria and not the United States.  Don’t tell me it is to protect Israel.  Israel is the only nation in the region with nuclear weapons.  They don’t need our protection.  If push comes to shove Israel can defend their nation.  Current estimates put the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal at between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads, and the country is believed to possess the ability to deliver them in a variety of methods including aircraft; submarine-launched cruise missiles; and the Jericho series of intermediate to intercontinental range ballistic missiles. 

What good is it to wage war if it leaves the country in total devastation with no one really being the “winner?”  Considering our success of removing dictators what we have accomplished?  The US government has a record of leaving a country at the hands of terrorist organizations, like al-Qaida, and the Islamic State of Iraq.  The US government has only brought destabilization to the area.

The final criteria for a just war are the achievement of the war’s purpose must have a reasonable chance of success.  To my knowledge, we have not declared war on the nations we have removed their elected leaders.  Our government has been involved in a conflict that has cost the lives of many young American men and women.  The US government has spent TRILLIONS of dollars without any success of winning the “war” in Afghanistan.  Are we going to become involved in Syria to the point we pay the price with the lives of our sons and daughters without the vision of winning this war? 

When will we take care of our own domestic issues?  Our government may not use chemical weapons against the American people, but the inaction of our government to take care of problems like Flint, Michigan’s drinking water, or the chemicals being dumped into our water supply from ground runoff is killing Americans with a slow death.
The American people need to ask what the agenda of those who want to push us into war with Syria, Iran, and Russia is?  What do they have to gain from a war with these countries?  I have heard if you want to find out the why, follow the money. 

America needs to get out of Syria and deal with our own domestic issues.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Christ Through the Bible- Colossians

Text: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Col. 2:6-7

There was an old farmer and his wife who had turned in for the night and were just about to fall off to sleep when they heard the clock in the hallway begin to chime. They heard it chime nine o’clock, ten o’clock, eleven o’clock, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. Finally, the wife turned to her husband and said, "Just what time is it anyway?" The old farmer replied, "I don’t know, but it’s later than it’s ever been before."
I don’t know about you, but in the last decade with terrorism and war continuing that, perhaps all of us have that sense, realizing that no one knows precisely what time it is, but we are certainly closer to the Lord’s coming than we have ever been before.
Paul is telling them to have certainty in there walk with Christ. When you see people, who lack certainty their entire spiritual life is filled with confusion, doubt, perplexity, unreliability, and wavering in their resolve to follow Christ.
Certainty defined:Certainty is a perfect knowledge that has total security from error, or the mental state of being without doubt. Objectively defined, certainty is total continuity and validity of all foundational inquiry, to the highest degree of precision. Something is certain only if no skepticism can occur.
Paul was concerned that there were those who would make up their own rules about being a Christian.  In plain English, this is what he says in chapter 2:16
So, don’t let anyone make rules for you about eating and drinking or about Jewish customs (festivals, New Moon celebrations, or Sabbath days).  
There will be people who will tell you not to eat meat.  There will be those who will tell you what you can and cannot drink.  There will be those who will tell you when you can worship and on what day.
Maybe in the past, these things were needed.  They were like a shadow that showed what was coming. But the new things now are found in Christ. 
You will meet people who act like they are so spiritual they even worship angels.  They have their own angel.  They talk about their visions or “the LORD told me…”  Please don’t tell me the LORD told you to tell me what He wants me to do.   
Don’t listen to them when they say you are wrong because you don’t do these things. It is so foolish for them to feel such pride because it is all based on their own human ideas. They don’t keep themselves under the control of the head. Christ is the head, and the whole body depends on him. Because of Christ all the parts of the body care for each other and help each other. So, the body is made stronger and held together as God causes it to grow.
You died with Christ and were made free from the powers that influence this world. So why do you act as if you still belong to the world? I mean, why do you follow the rules like these:  “Don’t eat this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t touch that”?  These rules are talking about earthly things that are gone after they are used. They are only human commands and teachings. These rules may seem to be wise as part of a made-up religion in which people pretend to be humble and punish their bodies. But they don’t help people stop doing the evil that the sinful self-wants to do.
Most churches have a higher standard to join their church than the LORD to get into heaven.  They have a list of rules you must follow or rituals you must go through before you can be a member.  The LORD requires that we seek forgiveness of our sins, commit our lives to Christ and reasonably serve Him.
Look, if you are saved by Jesus Christ then act like it.  Stop letting people question your salvation.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.   You were once a sinner estranged from God, but now your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Remember this if you are in Christ then when He returns you will be with Him in glory.
There is a certainty in salvation that, His spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
There is a story in the Gospel of John that answers the question of certainty.  In chapter 3 there was a man who came to Jesus wanting to know about his own salvation.
Nicodemus was a man who, for almost all his entire life, thought that he knew for sure that he was going to go to heaven when he died ... until Jesus arrived on the scene. We don’t know how Nicodemus came to know Jesus.  What we do know was there was uncertainty in his personal salvation.
John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."  Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Did John leave out something Nicodemus said?
"Jesus answered..." Jesus is replying to a question that Nicodemus never asked, but because Jesus knows the hearts of all, He knew the question that was on Nicodemus’ heart.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."   Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?"   Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  "Do not be amazed that I said to you, ’You must be born again.’
With those five little words ("You must be born again."), Jesus crushed every single religious idea upon which Nicodemus had been leaning his entire life. So then, Nicodemus was left to wonder.  There is that uncertainty in his mind now about his salvation.
Nicodemus, as a Pharisee for his entire life, had been trusting on two different things to get him to heaven. First, he had been counting on his religious heritage.
My twelfth great grandfather was the first Quaker in our family.  He even entertained George Fox is his home.  He was a leading spirit among the Quakers. I have a birthright to go to heaven. You think that will matter on the day of Judgment?  I don’t think so.
Nicodemus was a son of Abraham. He was a Jew of all Jews. He was one of God’s chosen people. By his religious heritage, he was going to enter the kingdom of God. He was going to enter into heaven.
Second, he was also banking upon his religious rule-keeping. The Pharisees were the self-appointed guardians of the law. They were the rule-keepers of all rule-keepers. In fact, they added many rules onto that original law of Moses, some six hundred different rules, that Nicodemus kept. Jesus called it "straining at a gnat." They strained to obey those rules. Nicodemus was the chief of all rule-keepers, even a ruler of the Sanhedrin.
Nicodemus was banking on his religious heritage and his religious rule-keeping. Then Jesus just jerks this religious rug right out from underneath him and says, "No, Nicodemus! You must be born again." "You must be born from above" is another translation of that phrase. You must be born of God’s Spirit.
Right Destination, Wrong Ticket
Nicodemus didn’t know how to handle it. He didn’t know how to respond. If I could compare it to a modern-day analogy, let’s put it like this. It’s as though Jesus was saying to Nicodemus that he was like a man who would go to a ticket counter to purchase a ticket on Life’s Railway to heaven.  He bought a discount ticket.
Then he goes to the train station and finds the proper train. He sits confidently, holding onto what he thinks is a real ticket. The train pulls into the station.
He walks to the train. He’s about to get on board, and the conductor checks his ticket and says, "Sir, I’m sorry. This ticket that you’re holding is a fake ticket." So the man is shocked as the train pulls out of the station, leaving him behind. All that while, he was holding onto what he thought was a real ticket that turns out to be a fake one.
May I ask you, is it possible that you may be holding onto a fake ticket? Or are you holding onto the real thing? Let me ask another question to stimulate your thinking a little bit further. This is purely hypothetical. I don’t believe it’s going to happen this way at all. Let’s say, suppose, you were going to die today and stand at the gate of heaven, and God speaks to you, "Why should I let you into My heaven?"
What would you say?
Well, let’s bring Nicodemus up to modern times even further. Imagine for a few minutes what Nicodemus might say if he were living today, mainly if he was living in here in central Indiana. What do you think he would say?
Nicodemus would probably say, "I think that You ought to open up the gate of heaven and let me in because I have led a moral life." Jesus would have to say, "No, Nicodemus. I’m sorry, but that’s a fake ticket." He might even argue, "I’ve led a good life, a moral life!" Again, he was the rule-keeper of all rule-keepers. Some of the rules even bordered on the absurd. They could drink a cup of vinegar on the Sabbath, yet they couldn’t tilt their heads back gently and gargle that vinegar on the Sabbath. The Pharisees said that you could eat the egg of a chicken that was laid on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was from sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday, but only as long as you killed the chicken the next day. All this time, you’ve wondered where the tradition of chicken on Sunday came from!
He kept the rules to the absolute limit. He was the moral man of all moral men.
Jesus would have to say, "No, Nicodemus. That’s a fake ticket." I cannot remember all the times at a funeral someone has said, “He was a good man or she was a good woman.  They worked hard, they paid their bills on time, they loved their family, they helped their neighbors.  They were always there when you needed a friend.
I could say that I am a very good moral personal I don’t drink, smoke, chew or cuss. The love my family, I care for my community, I help the needy, I have sacrificed much for other people.  But if you put me up against Jesus, I will come short on being the perfect man.
God’s standard is absolute perfection. God is a holy and just God. Jesus was saying, "No, Nic. I’m sorry. That’s a fake ticket."
A second thing Nicodemus might try is: "I’ve attended church every Sunday."
In fact, as a Pharisee, he would not only have been there every Sabbath, but he went to church every day.
Listen, you can go to every sporting event played, but that will never make you an athletic. You can attend every session of the Senate, and that won’t make you a Senator. You can go to the hospital every day that will not make you a doctor or nurse.  You can live in a garage, but they won’t make you a car.
"Nicodemus, I’m sorry. Attending church doesn’t make you a Christian. That’s a fake ticket."
But "I believe in God. That’s why you should let me in." Amazingly enough, researchers tell us that ninety-four percent of Americans say that they believe in God. Jesus would say, "That’s great. You must believe in God."
Then I think He would quote James 2:19 where James writes, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that ... and tremble!"
Jesus would say, "Nick, I’m sorry. That’s good, but that’s not the right ticket."
The how can I know I am going to heaven.  You must be born again.
"Oh, I remember one time when I was in the synagogue, I had this most wonderful awesome feeling that comes over me! It was such a touchy-feely kind of feeling. I just got all warm on the inside. Is that it?"
I have talked with people who base their salvation on feelings.  Or there are those who will tell you I almost died.  There was this bright light. I saw these piercing blue eyes and felt warm all over." Jesus would say, "Both are wonderful experiences, but that’s a fake ticket."
Then there are those individuals whose life is falling apart, and they go to the minister who prays for them, and they are crying their hearts out, feeling sorry for themselves and go away saying, I feel so much better.  People having a good cry will make you feel better, but that does not change your life.
Jesus would say, "That’s a fake ticket."
So here he is. "How can this be? How can a man be born again? How can you be born from above? How can you be born of the Spirit?"
Let Jesus answer the question. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
So, it is with a great sense of urgency that I ask you this question: Have you come to the place in your own spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die tonight, that you would go to heaven?
Are you under the conviction of God’s Holy Spirit and realize that you’ve been holding the wrong ticket? Do you know that you’ve been trusting in something or someone else ... your heritage, your rule-keeping. Have you been believing in anything else except simply in Jesus Christ, our Lord? Would you receive Him as your Savior today?
I’d like to lead you in prayer if that’s the desire of your heart pray with me:
God, I recognize the fact that I am a sinner, that I’m separated from You because of my sin in this life. God, I ask You to forgive me of my sin, all of it.  I thank You for forgiving me through Jesus Christ, for giving Him to die too on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. Lord, I invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart. I receive Him and transfer my trust and faith to Him and Him alone for my eternal life. Thank You for saving me.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Christ Through The Bible- Philippians

Text: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Paul visited Philippi on his second missionary journey.
On that visit, he led to Christ, several people who formed the church there. Some of these were Lydia and her family, the Philippian jailer and his family, and the girl possessed by a demon (Acts 16:14-34).
The city of Philippi was a Roman colony. It was a miniature Rome. It mimicked Rome in every way. It was strategically located on an important trade route between Europe and Asia. It was to the church at Philippi that Paul was writing this letter from his jail in Rome.
There were two reasons Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians it was a thank you note from a missionary to a supporting church.  The second reason was due to a conflict between two women. He mentioned them by name in 4:1-2.   Unlike other epistles, there was no extended doctrine to discuss, no error to refute, no wrong to correct.
Looking at our text, every knee should bow, and every tongue confess.  Where did Paul it this idea?  It is lifted directly from the prophet Isaiah: By myself, I have sworn: from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: To me, every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance- every tongue shall confess to God Isa, 45:23
What God was speaking through the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Every knee will one day bow before me, says God.  Every tongue will confess to Him.  None of us will be standing in line looking at those rejected the LORD and say, “I told you this would happen.”  Because we will be on our faces before Almighty God.  Yet, in this life, some stiff knees refuse to bow before God now.
We live in a day where man has put “self: in place of God.  Truth is no longer what God has said, but what we want to believe.  There is no such thing as absolute truth, its truth as I see it, or what is right for me.  Right and wrong are no longer defined by what God has said, but what is right for me.  Here is the attitude of many today summed up in a poem written by William Ernest Henley in 1875
Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeoning's of chance
      My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.
People quote the last part of this poem, I am master of my fate, I am captain of my soul, thinking that is virtuous, but it is no more than blasphemy.  You are not the captain of your soul.  It is either God or Satan who is your captain.  This is the spirit of the day we live in.  Too proud to bend the stiff knees of self to God.  But every knee will one day bow.
Those who have rebelled against God all their life will one day bow before Him.  That includes those in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  In heaven refers to the angels, “under the earth” refers to the dark world of evil spirits.  There are those evil spirits that have remained the enemy of God from the time they were cast out of heaven.  They will one day bow as defeated rebels, what we can gather from this passage is there will be some people on earth just like them.  The stiff knees of pride will be the downfall of many people. 
God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write about­­­ these people: “to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him Ish. 45:24. Have you noticed that the world is increasingly angry with Jesus Christ?  The most hated religion in the world today is Christianity.  Why? Because it bears the name of Jesus Christ.  These are the people who go through life angry with God.  They have set themselves against God and are driven by a strong passion of hate of God and His Son Jesus Christ.  There is coming a time when these same people will be ashamed of how they acted.  They had no place for the LORD in their lives, and they see no place for Him in their world.  They will find themselves swept away from the presence of LORD to a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 24:50
To be angry with God through life only to bow before Him as a defeated rebel cast into a place of punishment with all those who have rebelled against God will be a sad day.
Those who are indifferent to God that will one day realize they must bow before a God they ignored all their life.  They know what they should do but don’t.
Webster defines indifference as Want or lack of interest or concern. Apathy. Without significance. Spiritual indifference or spiritual apathy is the detrimental spiritual quality of knowing what to do, or what is necessary, but being unwilling to take the required steps in that direction. There are several incidences of this kind of indifference in scripture, but none is quite as blatant as these few verses in 2 Kings 20. Hezekiah has entertained the political leaders of Babylon, and in the process has openly, and with pride of heart, shown them all that he possesses, and what he has accomplished. After they have gone, he is confronted by the prophet Isaiah with a scalding rebuke by the Lord for his pride and arrogance.
2 Ki 20:19 “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”
It is his reply to this criticism and prophetic warning that shows his indifference and apathy to it all.  2 Kings 20:19  “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”
What audacity. The Babylonia’s are going to come back to take the Kingdom of Israel into captivity, your own sons will be made eunuchs, and all you have to say is, “It won’t happen during my lifetime—I’ll enjoy peace and security as long as I live.” The patterns of spiritual indifference and apathy that creeps into our lives may not seem as bad as this example of Hezekiah, but they can become just as costly if left unchecked. 
We are rapidly approaching a time in history when you had better be more concerned about what your children and grandchildren are going to face in the next few years and not get caught in the attitude it will not happen in my lifetime.
The judgment of God is coming sooner than most realize.  I cannot impress upon you how important it is to make sure your family is ready for what is coming.  If you don’t care for your own spiritual condition, then think about your children and grandchildren.
Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess.  Do it before you are forced to bow and confess.  Make sure that your salvation is secured before the Day of Judgment.