The 500 Year Old Question!

 

Arminianism vs Calvinism…

  Cut to the chase!

Calvinists say Its God’s choice and I can live with it.

Arminians say Its my choice and I can’t live without it.

Either God IS all-Powerful or He is not.  If my choice over-rules His it is obvious He is not!

Where does Scripture say we have free will?  Indeed it says we are captives to sin until the Lord sets us free and those whom He sets free are free indeed!

The Peril We Face!

The Peril We Face!

25 … Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

29 … how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Please think about this long and hard:

What these verses mean to America.

Verse 25 says to every AMERICAN, not something-American, but AMERICAN that if we allow ourselves to be divided against each other by those lawmakers, instigators, community organizers, globalists, communists, HATERS ALL, who would put personal interests of the moment and the quest for personal power, above the eternal principles of morality and personal responsibility upon which this nation was founded, we will be brought to desolation!!  The Government of We the People is NOT centered in Washington D.C. It is centered in the reason  and conscience of each and every one of US!

Verse 29 reveals the plan they are using against us!  We, the strong man within his own house, has freely allowed those inside who hate him and will do their best to destroy him and spoil his goods.  They are inside his walls, inside his doors, inside his defenses and are using that position of free access to bind him by claiming their right to do as they please inside his walls.  As if their very presence gives them the same rights of ownership as he.  Rights to tear down walls, enslave his children, rape and murder his family, sell or destroy his property, do whatever THEY see FIT! All because HE recognizes that man has inalienable rights and has come to the mistaken belief  that all men are basically good.  Consider Jer. 17:9 and Mark 7:18-23

Jeremiah  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Mark quoting the words of Jesus

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Lastly Verse 30

We are at a crossroads in our history.  We have not been so divided since the Civil War. The barbarians are not just at the gates they are inside the walls in greater numbers by the day. There are homegrown haters being produced all the time.  America is a land which was founded on the principles of personal freedom and individual responsibility.  Those who are not willing to support and defend those principles, and live up to them in their own lives, are part of the group trying to destroy all that the rest of us hold dear.  We are a nation of laws. We must stand for the enforcement of those laws or we will be destroyed by those who hate.  Those who are not with us are against us.  We operate on the principle of ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’  They operate on the principle of ‘my way or else’.

Americans need to stand for what America was founded to protect. We must not let ourselves be bound mentally or physically so the spoilers can have their way. Wake up America.

What IS the Question?

“The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” – Dietrich Bonheoffer
OR is it:
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it teaches its children to cherish and pass on to their children!
Bohheoffer was correct in so far as he went. The greatest generation did what they could to leave us a free country but they didn’t demand enough of us. They didn’t demand that we understand how valuable freedom is. They didn’t demand that we cherish it as much as they did. It takes a very deep love of an idea to be willing to sacrifice your life to preserve that idea. But it looks like it takes an even greater love to indoctrinate your children with the reasons for that love and be willing to accept nothing less of them than that they grow to show as much love for what our Founding Fathers bought for us as they had and that the greatest generation tried to preserve.

What is the question?  The question is, do we love and cherish the truth of what the Founders gave us: the self-evident truths that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

No nation before or since has recognized these truths enough to set the foundations of its government upon them. We the People are to govern.  If we cannot govern ourselves as individual citizens of a nation founded upon the recognition of these truths, if we allow people to live within our sovereign borders to deny these truths to others, we have lost what the Founders handed down.

Any person or group that cannot or will not live under the laws necessary to protect  the inalienable rights of the individual that our governmental structure was erected to protect is a lawbreaker, a criminal.  This in no way is meant to imply that there is no room for honest dissent.

At this moment we have in our midst a growing religion/political ideology/theocracy, that doesn’t recognize these truths.  In fact under their economy, truth is a convenience to be bent, twisted, denied or used to further their goal of domination.

Their goal is to obliterate from the face of the earth any and all other beliefs. These people are willing to use our very belief in individual freedom to create a condition within our borders that would force people to give up essential liberty for safety. Our Founders knew and were familiar with such seditious methods.  In fact, Benjamin Franklin said,  “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

What is the question?   Sharia and the Constitution cannot coexist within the same borders as rule of law.  The one denies the other. They are polar opposites  concerning the rights of the individual.  Are we willing to send those who profess and practice, and demand to live under Sharia, back to nations where that is the norm?  Can one claim citizenship in a place where he denies the authority of the government to enforce the law of the land and at the same time reserves to himself the right to enforce his own laws upon others?   No nation can survive that allows that to go on unopposed. Examples of failed states and states near failing are plentiful in the world today.  Must we fail as a state to show how tolerant we are?

Reason says they must either change to live under our Constitution and rule of law or we must demand that they leave, move to a place that welcomes their rule of law.

What IS the Answer?

What is the answer? Our Constitution guarantees the right to freely practice your religion. Until the turn of the millennium, there were few issues with that. Then Islam began to use that right to claim they could live under Sharia in the USA. That continued and escalating demand  MUST FORCE us to look at the truth of what our Constitution IS actually protecting via the First Amendment.
The first question is this: Was the intent of the First Amendment to authorize ANY RELIGIOUS practice that overrules the right to Life, Liberty, and Property that the duly elected authorities are in place to protect?
The obvious answer that anyone with two brain cells to rub together is a resounding NO!
Therefore, Sharia, which encourages the absolute authority of the man over the woman, honor killing of disobedient children, the stoning or caning of the wife who displeases the husband, female genital mutilation, the chopping off of hands or other appendages for theft and other crimes, etc., etc, etc, simply CANNOT be considered to be protected under the First Amendment.
Some punishment for breaking any religious law that does NOT also break CIVIL law simply MUST not be allowed to deprive ANYONE of Life, Liberty, or Property. If a particular religion has laws that call for the death of the lawbreaker for blasphemy (for instance), shunning (being considered dead to the other adherents of that religion) is permissible but killing them IS NOT!
The First Amendment Rights do NOT trump the INALIENABLE rights of the individual! How hard is that to understand? And why must it be such a crisis of conscience for Americans to stand up an say so?

Comment on the Hypostatic Union

There is a premise that I took up fairly early on.  It is that Holy Scripture is God’s revelation to His people.  Jesus taught in parables so that seeing they would not perceive and hearing they would not understand.  Who is ‘they’?  I believe that ‘they’ includes everyone who is either chosen but too lazy to really work to understand what He is telling us, or not chosen and thus completely blind to Him.  Harsh maybe, but to me that is what reason dictates.

I abhor mystery in what is supposed to be a revelation!  If God reveals all we can know about Jesus Christ, which I believe he does, then His nature as our Redeemer must be understandable to those willing to accept what is revealed about it.  Is the nature of Jesus Christ any more of a mystery than the nature of any other man, really?  Or do we make it that way in some effort at artificial humility?

In the sin of Adam all are fallen. Therefore in God’s economy, the moral ability and holiness of the child is inherited of the father.

The Father of Jesus Christ is God.  His moral ability and holiness is inherited of the Father.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and [a]dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of [b]the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Is it necessary to shoehorn two distinct natures in the same person to explain Him?  I grant that those who came before us and passed on their best understanding to us should be respected but not blindly followed to the end of their journey and no farther!  The KISS principle applies.

God created Adam, but the only Begotten of the Father IS the Son, Jesus Christ!

So do we really need the mystery of the hyostatic union when a simpler and far easier to understand (to me) explanation is at hand?  Or am I a heretic for having the temerity to even think about such a deep and holy topic?

The Whole Armor of God

 

Good Morning. Thank you for having us back! Last Sunday I ended by saying that in order for us to be Salt and Light in a world that loves the DARK, we needed to put on the WHOLE ARMOR of God and STAND before a culture that hates us more every day! A Culture that has LOST its fear of a SOVEREIGN, ALL POWERFUL, GOD surrounds us.

How can we do that? How can we, who really just want to be free to worship as we see fit and NOT HURT ANYONE, need Spiritual ARMOR just to speak the TRUTH? In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was With God and the WORD WAS GOD! In HIM was LIFE. And the Light shines in the darkness and the darkness COMPREHENDS IT NOT.

Did you ever walk into a room, the door shuts behind you, and you find yourself in utter Darkness? You can’t see ANYTHING not the floor, not the walls, not your hand in front of your face? You snap the switch on your flashlight or turn on the light and everything is FINE again? What happens when you turn out the light? Is the darkness defeated? Does it remain banished to the corners and shadows? NOT HARDLY! In the sixties, the “silent majority” of Christians in this nation allowed the light to be turned off. God was banished from schools, His truth was removed from the public square, and we became a post-Christian nation. In a closed room the result of turning out the light is instantaneous. In a nation, the results are generational. The darkness slowly engulfs our thought processes, our reasoning becomes more and more self oriented, until anyone who looks different or is of a different opinion, is an enemy and the truth is what each of us SAYS IT IS! My opinion is BETTER than yours! Ladies and gentlemen that is where we are now. That is the culture we live in. Thing is: TRUTH is NOT just an OPINION! Opinion MUST yield to IT! Ever rubbed salt in an open wound? (Holding up the Bible) We call the Bible the Word of God. Rightly understood and RIGHTEOUSLY APPLIED, that IS what it is. But that is RARELY the CASE in the world in which we live!

Please Open your Bibles to the Gospel of John Chapter Three beginning at verse 1. When you have it please stand out of respect for God’s Holy and Inerrant Word. Before we get to the Whole Armor of God there is some groundwork that must be laid. If we try to be soul winners (I really have a problem with that term) the very first thing we have to recognize is what we are up against. Gospel of John chapter 3.

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

May God bless the reading of His Word.

The world wants NO PART of the TRUTH that IS Jesus Christ! The unregenerate heart is the open wound and the TRUTH OF our Lord Jesus Christ IS the SALT! Unregenerate is how we are BORN into this world, and that is the state in which we EXIST until, by the GRACE of God ALONE HE CALLS us TO HIM! Sola Gratia: By GRACE ALONE. Not our pipe dream wishes of shared Glory, Not the bitter cry of broken hearted anguish, not even the anguish of compassion for another’s loss, it is NOT the worldly circumstances of our lives that turn us to Christ! I’m sure God uses circumstances in the process of renewing our minds but only the Holy Spirit moves to REMOVE our heart of stone and give us a heart of FLESH; A heart that CAN be moved and molded by the TRUTH that IS our Lord Jesus Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

God uses the physical world to give us examples of, and to teach us, spiritual truth. Probably the most familiar example is the parable of the sewer and the 4 types of ground.

Christians like to think of the day they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior as the Day they were born again! In my experience, they see their salvation as some sort of a cooperative effort. God offered His Son Jesus Christ for the propitiation of our sins and we either accept and get saved or reject and go to hell: SIMPLE! Easy to understand. I do not challenge anyone’s bona fides as a born again Christian. I WOULD like you to consider this and in doing so consider how GRACIOUS the mercy of our God and how SELFLESS the sacrifice of our LORD are, and remember we learn SPIRITUAL TRUTH by physical world example:

Did you choose to be born? Did you choose the day and hour? Did you choose your parents or the economic condition into which you were born? The Nation? The State? The County? The City? Your health or infirmity? Your SEX! In short, just what condition did YOU set concerning your physical birth? Did you choose to be born DEAD in trespass and sin? We can thank Adam, the Federal Head of the human race for that. That is what God tells us in His Word. He reveals to us Who He is AND He reveals to us who WE are, standing before HIM!

God has a plan and it includes every thing and every one around us. His plan started in Eternity Past and will come to fruition in Eternity Future. I use the terms past and future in this reference to God, BUT past, present and future are an open book and all of time is accessible to Him. That sort of defines Omnipresence doesn’t it? I digress.

Whether you admit or NOT, you know you COULD NOT set any condition concerning your birth into this world, including being born dead in trespass and sin; and you know that the PHYSICALLY dead have NO VOICE in the disposition of their affairs, meaning that the dead have no voice and are TOTALLY at the mercy of the living. The question becomes WHO HAS THE POWER OF LIFE to decide your Condition and Position in this world? But the dead cannot even ASK THAT QUESTION! Because our unregenerate condition is a bit more complicated than that of an INERT CORPSE, There is this to consider also! God told Adam that he was NOT to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil for if he did, on that day he would surely DIE! We know that Adam and Eve ATE and hid themselves from the voice of God when He asked where they were. They did not get it that their SPIRITUAL bond with God ended. They killed it by their disobedience. God ALONE could reanimate that life! God ALONE has the POWER of LIFE and LIFE ETERNAL!

Scripture says that Eve was deceived but Adam was NOT! Adam Rebelled against God. That rebellion Lives in every one of his natural born offspring. That rebellion is the desire to sit on the throne ourselves! There is no room on the throne of the unregenerate heart for Christ. Scripture refers to it several different ways but mainly as a heart of stone. It would rather DIE than yield. That is the TRUTH that Jesus expressed in Mark 7:

17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Many when faced with this passage say OH He was talking about food sacrificed to Idols! I would ask you to examine it more closely. You will see that His explanation to His disciples only began with food. They understood that food was the basis for the PARABLE concerning the condition of the unregenerate heart. Our Lord unpacks Jeremiah 17:9 which says: 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

What Jeremiah says here is that the human heart is deceitful ABOVE anything else in the created realm. It is DESPERATELY wicked. In the Hebrew, Jeremiah is telling us that the heart CASTS ABOUT for ways to cast GOD OUT of its DOMAIN!! It is pretty easy to lie to ourselves, isn’t it? We sure don’t want to spend eternity in Hell. And when we hear about the “FREE” offer of salvation, many really want some of that. We see people doing good things and assume they are GOOD PEOPLE! And when we look around us today, is it always easy to SEE THE TRUTH in what the prophets REVEALED TO US through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

Do we really and TRULY WANT TO? Where is this going? If we don’t have any input in when, where, how, and by whom we were born into this world, What makes you think you could OR DID CHOOSE WHEN OR IF the GOD of HEAVEN and EARTH, the CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS, will at your beck and call bestow the most precious gift we can’t even imagine: LIFE. The TRUTH is we would absolutely REFUSE if it were OUR CHOICE! We want NOTHING from God. The gift of ETERNAL LIFE is not something that a being who ABHORS life is dying to HAVE! In a nutshell, The Holy Spirit goes where it will, when it will and we don’t even know its BEEN until we find within us the DESIRE for LIFE and LOVE and LIGHT. Babies are born totally dependent knowing only that they are hungry and uncomfortable. It takes years for us to become capable of taking care of ourselves. How long does it take for the new heart within us to gain enough strength, knowledge and understanding to stand against the hate and darkness and self-absorption we were first born with ourselves, and how much longer to stand against the peer pressure and cultural immersion we encounter every day?

It is the job of every parent and grandparent to speak truth into the lives of our children wherever and whenever possible IN SPITE of the eye rolling and negative feedback from those who LOVE THE LIE! ! We must make some effort to speak against the cultural darkness that is overwhelming US as well as the following generations. What can we do? Prepare ourselves to follow the Great Commission. The first of the armor of God is to ‘girt our Loins about with the TRUTH!’ The physical process of ‘girting the loins’ was to pull the robe or tunic up between the legs and secure it with a heavy belt, allowing the legs freedom of movement and keeping the loose cloth from becoming entangled in or caught up on anything should one find it necessary to move quickly. The TRUTH is what keeps us from becoming entangled in the sophistry and convoluted “logic” of those who would deceive us and try to steer us away from the doctrine of Christ that we are to abide in continually.

With that, is to put on the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS. The breastplate protects the heart and other vital organs from harm. True righteousness is doing what is right in the eyes of God. There is more than one way to BE righteous but the only proper way is with compassion and humbleness of heart knowing that “there but for the grace of God go I”. Knowing you are doing the right thing for the right reason with the right attitude in whatever circumstance, is the breastplate that protects you from the weapons that aim for the heart: guilt, shame, regret, fear, revenge, lust, wrath, and pride.

We’re to have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.

Isaiah 52:7 says ‘How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”‘

We carry the best news the world has ever heard. We KNOW that Jesus Christ took the wrath of GOD upon Himself so that we who BELIEVE would not have to suffer it when the JUSTICE of a RIGHTEOUS GOD is meted out upon a dark and unbelieving and violent world.

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. We are saved by Grace THROUGH FAITH and THAT not of yourselves lest any man BOAST! Sola Fide, through FAITH ALONE. The very faith that we have in Jesus Christ is ITSELF a gift of God. Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. Faith, the unwavering belief that Jesus Christ did ALL that He promised, CAN QUENCH the fiery darts of the wicked. Those fiery darts are accusations of all our sins and shortcomings! And THEY are UNDER THE BLOOD! If I had to make it to God’s Grace on MY record I’d spend eternity in HELL. Thank God it is not MY record but the record and sacrifice of Christ Jesus that allows the unmerited favor of God’s Grace to clothe me in His righteousness.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The helmet protects the head from serious injury. The head is the seat of knowledge. The knowledge of our salvation protects us from being knocked out by doubt and fear. And the sword of the Spirit is our only offensive weapon. Paul says ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may PROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ Feelings LIE! That is why we are to PROVE through the right use of a RENEWED MIND what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God, NOT rely on just feeling like we are doing or saying the right thing! We are supposed to have GOOD REASON for our actions and our words.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We must MAKE a STAND beginning TODAY. Whether History will remember anything we do or say there is ONE Who SURELY Will! I would call your attention to this April issue of The Pathway. It says 900 SBC churches close their doors each year. They are advertising a speech and seminar in STL in June. They are promoting another program to help stop the bleeding of churches across America. I’m sorry to say Olney and Dover are examples of slowly fading small SBC churches. They NOW have a program to bring them back from the brink! Consider this: God has a PROGRAM ALSO: 2nd Chronicles 7:14 says ‘If MY people, which are called by MY name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek MY face, and turn from their wicked ways; THEN will I hear from heaven, and will FORGIVE their sin, and will HEAL their land.’ It starts with EVERY ONE of US.

As we prepare for our time of invitation with every eye closed and head bowed, we MUST examine ourselves whether we be IN the Faith, and consider, is that how we worship the ONLY TRUE GOD and His Son Jesus Christ! (Hymn of invitation) Micah 6:8 tells us ‘He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly WITH thy God? Sharing the Truth of God this week IS sharing His Love! Closing prayer Thanks again for having us here today. We hope to see you again soon. May God Bless!

The Whole Armor of God

Scripture References

John 1:1, 4a, 5b

John 3:1-7

Mark 7:17-23

Jeremiah 17:9

Ephesians 6:11-17

Romans 12:2

2nd Chronicles 7:14

Micah 6:8

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Chapter One

What if your understanding of Christianity was somewhat in error?  Would you do anything at all to correct it?  Or would you hide behind the dogmatism of the establishment instead of creating your own very personal relationship with the Lord?  Of course, that is what we are told must be done if we are to be or become a child of God, isn’t it?

What if Adam was pronounced ‘good’ because he was created to fulfil a specific purpose;  a purpose The Creator ordained would come to pass in the fullness of time?

The question we are faced with is was Adam pronounced ‘good’ because of his moral purity, innocence, and personal relationship with God, or was he pronounced ‘good’ because he would accomplish the ultimate purpose of God in creating him?  Can it be both?  I think not!  And here’s why:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

In unpacking this primary statement of creation, there are several things to consider.

First, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  So how is it possible that darkness is upon the face of the deep in the newly minted creation?  The definition of holy is ‘separate’.  God created heaven and earth to be apart from Him.  His light is not an integral part of it.  Why would God create something He wanted to be separate from?  He did so to fulfil His ultimate purpose for it.

One of the primary directives Holy Scripture gives us is to “be ye holy as I am holy”.  God sees the end from the beginning, not through clairvoyance, but through planning.  His plan is detailed to the subatomic level.  For the children of God to ultimately join Him in eternity, we must be holy as He is holy.

He does not have to be the author of sin for His plan to be detailed.  He created us with a carnal nature.  Scripture says that the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, indeed it cannot be!

Okay, is it jumping to a conclusion that we (in Adam) were created with a carnal nature?  Oh, but this is getting ahead of the story!

Returning to holiness, we have to go back to creation before the beginning.  God is eternally holy. God is light and life.  So what is He eternally separate from?  All that is antithetical to life and light!  That is what He wants His children to be.  Now we have to ask ourselves, is this the best of all possible worlds for God to accomplish His ultimate goal; if indeed that goal is to bring the fruit of His creation (mankind) into eternity with Him; giving us eternal life with Christ as co-heirs.  We, of course do not know what we will be in eternity, but we know that we will be like Him! 

Do God’s ends Justify God’s Means?