Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Roman Catholicism: Introduction

Since I cannot read hearts, I am in no position to judge who is a true Christian and who is not.  However, I am sure that one who believes he is a Christian simply  because he belongs to a particular church, whether it’s my church or The Roman Catholic Church, or any other church, is deceiving himself and is still lost in his sins.

Though I am in no position to judge hearts and determine who is saved and who is not;  I do have the ability and responsibility to discern what is biblical and what is not biblical.  Christ charges preachers in his Word with the responsibility of preaching the truth and  exposing error.  Romans 16:17-18 I Timothy 4.  II Timothy 3-4. Paul. in Romans 12:9,  teaches us to be discerning “Let love be without dissimulation or hypocrisy.  Abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good.”  That is, we are to  love the Truth and  hate that which is false.

One thing is certain.  One who is saved and on his way to Heaven; though not perfect, hates sin and turns from it.  Paul wrote in II Timothy 2:19 ” Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal.  The Lord knoweth them that are His. Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart  from iniquity.”

In the first century  false religion was infecting the Church and Paul warned of it, charging pastors of the early churches to deal with it by exposing it and by building up the people in God’s Word so they would recognize the Truth from the counterfeit .  Even Jesus had warned of coming false teachers in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7.

I encourage you to read and study my series on DECEPTION on this web site.

In the following messages in this series I want to deal with some of the major tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, exposing  them to the light of God’s Word.  Though I love Catholic people, counting them my friends,  I am charged by God’s Word to expose and warn of error.

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April 30, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism: Introduction

Roman Catholicism #1: The True Church?

   

 Is the Roman Catholic Church the one true church founded by Christ on the Rock, Simon Peter?

The True Church actually  is the spiritual Body of Christ, composed of people of all races, nationalities and denominations, who have received Christ as Saviour and have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into His Body. 

We accept the Bible, both Old and New Testament, to be the only inspired, infallible Word of God.

We believe that Jesus is Jehovah God, our Creator and Sustainer of life, who, born of the Virgin Mary, came to earth as the sinless, holy Son of God in a human body to die and shed His blood as the full and perfect atonement for our sins. He rose again from the dead, proving His deity;  so that we who trust Him have His righteousness imputed to us and  are made fit to dwell with Him in Heaven. Read John 1  Romans 1:1-4,   Colossians 1  Hebrews 1  Revelation 1 for clear statements concerning the deity of Jesus.

Though members of the true Church differ widely in many area of Biblical interpretation,  we are united on the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible and on the doctrine of Christ  and  His blood atonement.  Because we are but mere men and not God,  none of us has a corner on the truth.   We all have a veiled understanding of Scripture and that veil will not be removed until we stand glorified in His presence.

How arrogant of us to claim we have a complete, accurate understanding of Scripture and claim we alone have the correct view of doctrine and church polity, and that those who disagree with us are wrong. 

The Corinthian church evidenced this attitude and Paul in his first epistle to them shamed them for their spiritual immaturity, pride and divisiveness. Beware of any church that claims that it alone is the true church having the correct understanding of Scripture and that all other churches are false.  Not only is that an arrogant claim,  but it  is a primary  distinguishing mark of a false cult.

The unity of believers, regardless of denominational differences, is an organic unity;  just as a human body, composed of many members, is one organic body.

The Church of Anti-Christ is that Satanic counterfeit of the true church  whose unity is merely one of organization. Members of this false church are  found in all religions and denominations and cults who are trusting in their works or in what they believe their churches can do for them.  Such  are lost and hell bound.They lack that spiritual, organic unity that comes by being baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ, the baptism that Paul writes about in I Corinthians 12:13.  In place of that spiritual unity, they try to achieve an ecumenical unity of organization between denominations.  

This united church of Anti-christ is described in Revelation 17.  In that chapter we learn of the fall and destruction of this church. In Revelation 18:1-4  we are warned to separate ourselves from that church to avoid the plagues God will send on her.

How do you find the right church?

It is essential that we seek God’s will concerning our church home and that we study and become grounded in the Bible so that we, as the Berean Christians in Acts 17:11,  are able to recognize and differentiate truth from error. 

Though we will never find a perfect church in this world,  we can seek a church that helps us know God’s Word and grow in our knowledge of Christ.

As spiritual darkness descends upon our world, and the masses lose an appetite for God’s Word and churches give people the fluff and the fast food, and the positive sound-bites they want to hear; solid Bible preaching churches are becoming rare.  Amos prophesied of it in Amos 8:11-13   “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.” God bless you, God bless
America and God bless our world with His Word and with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ and with faithful men who will courageously preach it.

April 29, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #1: The True Church?

Prayer series: Introduction

God created us for His glory and for His pleasure. He delights to commune with us and share His heart with us and He has done that by giving us His holy, inspired, infallible Word, the Bible. He has also given us His Holy Spirit to live in every true believer. Romans 8:9 "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." He also delights in hearing from us. He invites us to share our hearts with Him in prayer.

Psalm 65:2 "O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come."

Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not."

Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken heart: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise."

Matthew 7:7-11 "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone, or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good thing to them that ask Him?"

Philippians 4:6-7 "Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Prayer can be as short and simple as a cry for help or a thank you to God. As we grow in Christian maturity, we share the burdens of others in intercessory prayer. An example is given to us of intercessory prayer in Colossians 4:12. "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God."

From time to time we will add further thoughts from God's Word on prayer.

What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Joseph Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus; all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptation? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He'll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.

April 29, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series: Introduction

Roman Catholicism # 2: Upon This Rock

UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH 

What is this rock upon which Jesus is building His church? Some say it is Peter. Let’s take a closer look.   The story is told in Matthew 16:13-23.  Jesus is speaking to His disciples.  He asks them to give Him some feedback from the people.  “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”    They answered that some thought Jesus was a reincarnation of  John the Baptist who had just been beheaded by Herod.  Other thought He was one of the Old Testament prophets.  

Then Jesus asked  His disciples who they thought He was.  Peter, blurted out,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” 

Jesus responded to Peter, whose original name was Simon, son of Jona.  

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven. And I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the  Kingdom of  Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” 

Peter did not come to understand this  through human reasoning.  God Himself had revealed this great truth to Peter.  Nor will you or I ever understand who Jesus is until the Spirit of God enlightens our minds.  To the world the name of Jesus is just used in profanity.  The world mocks and hates Jesus and those who belong to Him.  But one who is born again by the Spirit of God,  loves Jesus.  He is precious to the believer. 

Upon Peter’s confession of Christ,  Jesus explained to His disciples and to us the foundation upon which His Church would be built.  The key to understanding this is found in two Greek words. Petros– meaning a stone  and  Petra– meaning bed rock.

  Let me paraphrase. He said to Simon.Barjona,  “Simon, from now on I am calling you Peter. You are a rock.  But the confession you have just made that I am the Christ, the Son of the living God is the bed rock upon which I am going to build my church.”   Jesus,  not Peter, is the bedrock foundation of His Church.   

Paul in Ephesians 2:20 declares that Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the church and that His Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. 

What does he mean by that? It’s not that the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church, but the doctrine prophesied by the Old Testament prophets and the teachings and doctrine  Jesus gave to the Apostles is the doctrine upon which the Church is established. In Acts 2:42 we learn that the early church continued steadfastly in the Apostle’s Doctrine. This doctrine, basically the doctrine of Christ that Peter confessed,  is the foundational doctrine upon which the church is built.  It is so essential that it remain pure that if anyone tampers with it and tries to change it, Paul says they are to be recognized as cursed by God.  Galatians 1:6-9.   

The doctrine of Christ is so essential to the Christian Faith that if someone perverts it, we are warned by John in II John 7-11  to have no Christian fellowship with the false teacher. With such a person there is no common ground on which we can work together in doing God’s work. Paul gives the same warning to us in Romans 16:17-18.   “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them (identify them) which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” 

Then in I Corinthians  3:9-11 Paul declares that Jesus is the foundation of the Church. 

Thank God that Peter, nor any other sinful human being,  is the foundation of Christ’s Church.  

 Although Peter later under the control of the Holy Spirit became a powerful preacher and although he was given  the privilege of using the Keys of the Kingdom, to  preach the Gospel and open the door of salvation to the Jews  in Acts 2,  to the Samaritans in Acts 8  and to the Gentiles in Acts 10; Peter by nature was a weak, cowardly, hypocritical,  vacillating person.  

Jesus called him a Rock as He looked ahead to what He was going to make of him. But Peter, by nature, was anything but a rock.  Three times he shamefully showed his cowardice at Jesus trial by denying that he even knew Christ.    

Later as a preacher he manifested cowardice and hypocrisy when under pressure.  Paul writes about it in Galatians 2:11-18.  Peter had been eating and having fellowship with Gentile believers in Antioch, as a good Christian should.  But when Jewish believers came from Jerusalem,  Peter immediately distanced himself from the Gentile believers because he feared what the Jewish believers would think of him. 

Paul immediately took action.  He confronted Peter concerning his duplicity and hypocrisy and taught him that Gentile believers were just as much a part of the church as Jewish believers. You can read the entire conversation in Galatians 2.  

How would you feel if some preacher, such as Paul,  approached you this way in front of all the others?  Would you grow  bitter and resentful?  Thank God, Peter accepted Paul’s correction humbly.   Later on  in II Peter 3:15  Peter refers to Paul as his beloved brother.  Thank God that Peter did not hold a grudge.  He was growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christ  and in verse 18 of that chapter he urges all of us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord  and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

April 28, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism # 2: Upon This Rock

Prayer series #1: Privilege of Prayer

What a privilege is ours to be able to enter into the very presence of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe! What a privilege to know Him intimately as our own personal Heavenly Father. What a privilege to be able to pour out our hearts to Him, knowing that He hears and answers us! It would be great to have an audience with the President of the United States, but to think of having an audience with God is infinitely more awesome. And to think, we can approach Him through our relationship with Jesus anytime and anywhere!

In the first stanza of that well known hymn, What a Friend we Have In Jesus, Joseph Scriven describes prayer as an amazing privilege. Most of us really don't recognize it as a privilege. Witness the low attendance in prayer meeting in most churches. Oh, I know we are all busy or we are tired from a day of hard work and that if we could find the time and energy, and desire, we would be there. I know how you feel, for I often feel the same way.

But I don't feel like praying!
Prayer is not something we feel like doing; at least we don't feel like it- UNLESS we are facing a crisis! Then we are glad for the privilege.

I'm too busy or too tired to pray!
I am one for getting to a task right now. It is my nature to be impatient and to get started immediately. But no sooner do I get started, when my work comes to a grinding halt. Burdens and concerns are crowding in to fill my mind with confusion. I lack clarity of thought. I sense my need of dependence on God and breathe a prayer of HELP to Him. Sometimes we have to make a big mess of things and fall flat on our faces before we become aware of our need to pray.

God helps us in our weakness.
Thank God for His faithfulness. Though we are unfaithful, He is always faithful to us. II Timothy 2:13 Our resurrected Saviour, the Lord Jesus, sits in Heaven making intercession to the Father for us. Hebrews 7:25-27 He invites us to draw near to Him with a true heart in full assurance of faith, for He is faithful who promised. Hebrews 4:14-16 and 10:11-23

His Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of every believer and He is there to help us pray. Sometimes we are speechless with grief or confusion but as we attempt to pray to God, the Holy Spirit takes our feeble groanings, reads our hearts and makes our prayers intelligible to God. See Romans 8:26-27

In the midst of our busyness, let us draw near to God in hushed silence and praise to Him. One reason we don't pray as we should is because our minds and our lives are too noisy and cluttered. They are too cluttered with our self-importance, our self-righteousness, our self-interests. Yes, we are often too self-centered to pray. So when we do actually pray, our prayers are selfish. Listen to the Psalmist as he invites us to be still and approach God in praise and prayer. Psalm 65:1-4 Psalm 4:4 Are you facing some turmoil or fear in your life? Dear brother or sister, read Psalm 46 and calm down.

What right do we have to approach Almighty God?
We Americans think we have the right to approach God as our "good buddy". After all, we are a "Christian nation". right? We sing God Bless America, especially after a national crisis such as the 9/11 catastrophe. But then we go right back to living our own lives, doing our own thing and ignoring God and His Word.

Dear Friend, in your sins, you cannot approach God. He will not hear you. He is your enemy and you are His enemy. You want nothing to do with Him. You want nothing to do with the Bible. In your sins you are lost and bound for Hell when you die.

But I have good news for you who are willing to admit you are sinners. God loves you and He showed it by sending His Son, Jesus, to be your Saviour. Romans 5:8 Jesus, God in human flesh, went to the cross two thousands years ago and died to pay the full penalty for all your sins, past, present and future. Trust Jesus as your Saviour. God will cancel your sin debt and declare you perfect in Christ. God did it for Old Testament saints such as Abraham and David who looked forward to the promise of the coming Saviour, the Lord Jesus. Read carefully Romans 3 and 4. God will save you the same way as you look back to what Jesus did for you on Calvary. Trust His sacrifice for you. Romans 4:23-25

But I'm not perfect.
I know that. Neither am I. In fact, if we thought we were perfect, we would be deceiving ourselves and calling God a liar. See I John 1. But God declares me perfect through my faith in the sacrifice of His Son. That's called justification. Furthermore, God is perfecting those who are saved through the work of His indwelling Holy Spirit. That's called Sanctification. As the Spirit of God convicts you of sin, confess it as sin and turn from it. When unconfessed sin is not hindering, God will hear and answer our prayers. Psalm 66:18

April 28, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #1: Privilege of Prayer

Roman Catholicism #3: Bishop of Rome

Peter is not the Rock upon which Jesus built His Church, nor was he the first Bishop of Rome.  There is no historical record of Peter ever being in Rome, nor is there any Scriptural record.

 

 

In Romans 16 Paul greets by name a list of  Christians in Rome  and Peter is not found in the list. In Acts  28  Paul tells of his arrival in Rome,  and Peter is not mentioned. Rather, Peter writes to the scattered Christians  from Babylon. I Peter 1:1  and 5:13.

 

 

Peter never claimed any authority over the Apostles nor over Christ’s Church.

 

According to Acts 15 the Apostle James was the leading pastor over the first Church in Jerusalem. He made decisions after discussing and praying with the other Apostles.  In I Peter 5:1-4 Peter refers to himself as an elder or a pastor in the church. In that passage, as one of the twelve Apostles of Christ and as one of the elder/pastors, he instructs us to feed the flock God has entrusted to us.  He makes a special point of warning us not to lord it over our churches, but we are to be examples to them of the truths we teach.

 

Peter never accepted the worship and homage of people.

 

In Acts 3 we have an account of Peter and John going to the temple to pray. At the gate was a lame man asking alms,  who had never walked from birth. Peter announced healing in the name of Jesus Christ and instantly the man was able to stand up, walk and leap.  When the crowds attempted to give homage and glory to Peter and John,  they  rejected it and turned the people’s attention to Jesus, preaching the Gospel to them.  On the other hand,  King Herod in Acts 12 accepted the worship of the people who claimed he was a god and not a man.   Almighty God immediately caused him to be eaten up of worms and die.

 

In Acts 10:25-26  when Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter,  Peter rejected the worship and commanded Cornelius, “Stand up!  I myself am a man!” 

 

In Acts 14 there is an interesting story of Paul and Barnabas being used of God to heal a crippled man. When the people attempted to worship them as gods, they rejected the worship and proclaimed to them the true God. . 

 

As for Apostolic Succession, it is not taught in the Bible. 

 

There were twelve Apostles.  Paul also was a special Apostle to the Gentiles.  These men were hand picked by Christ and called to the special work of passing on the teachings of Christ and the Gospel message to the church.  These teachings are found throughout the New Testament  and they are in harmony with the teaching of the Old Testament prophets. As Ephesians 2:20 teaches, these Prophets and Apostles laid down the doctrinal foundation of the Church.   Once the Bible was written,  the work of the Apostles was finished and they died. 

 

Throughout the Church Age these past 2000 years  the work of the church has been carried on under the leadership of God-called,  God-ordained pastors and teachers.  It’s true that we pass on to the next generation the truths of Scripture that were passed down to us.  That is God’s way of continuing the ongoing ministry  from generation to generation.  II Timothy 2:2   And it’s true that when men are ordained to the ministry, hands are laid on them.  I Timothy 4:14   But this is in no way Apostolic Succession.   It is simply men confirming God-called men who have been examined for doctrinal purity to the ministry.

 

Preachers are not infallible and the books they write are not infallible.

 

I read books and listen to preachers, but I do not swallow everything I hear or read.  I test everything by the standards of God’s Holy Word. If it does not square with God’s Word, I reject it as spurious. So should you as you read my articles and as you read books and listen to preachers.  

 

Only God’s Word, the Bible is infallible.  The church is not infallible.  Through the centuries  Satan has raised up false prophets and false movements that often appear genuine.   We are warned to test by the Bible everything that claims to be true.  Matthew 7:13-23;  Matthew 24:4-5,:23-24;  Acts 20:27-32; Romans 16:17-19;   II Corinthians 6:14-18;  Galatians 1:6-9;  Ephesians 5:1-12; Philippians 3:2; Philippians 3:17-19;   Colossians 2:8-18;   I Thessalonians 1:9-10;   II Thessalonians 2; I Timothy 1; 4,  

II Timothy 2,3  Titus 1;   II Peter 2,3;  I John 4:1-3;  II John 7-11;  Jude, Revelations 2:14-15.  These are just some of the warnings to beware of false doctrine..

 

Peter is not the Chief Shepherd, but Jesus is. 

 

Peter makes this clear in I Peter 5:4-5.  When Jesus returns for us  He will reward  His faithful servants with unfading crowns of glory.  But in this age,  no Christian has any business wearing a religious crown  or accepting the homage of others.  Verse 5 teaches all of us to submit ourselves in humility  to one another.  In Christ’s church there are to be no “big shots” who run the church.  Sadly, that is not the case in many churches where the glory of God has departed.  The Apostle John wrote in his third Epistle about  Diotrephes who sought preeminence and control in the church.

 

One more thing we must note before we leave this topic. 

 

The whole idea that  priests and preachers should not marry is a false doctrine. 

 

Peter was married.  Matthew 8:14.  It is a sin and unwise  for God’s servants to be denied the privilege and blessing of being married. I Timothy 4:1-5;  I Corinthians 7.  In  I Corinthians 9  Paul teaches that preachers have the right to be married if God leads. In Paul’s case, as an itinerant preacher who faced tremendous persecution and difficulties throughout his ministry,  he felt it best not to be married so he could devote himself fully to his special calling.  Though not in every case,  generally it is best that a pastor be married.  See the qualifications for pastors (bishops), elders and deacons.  I Timothy 3:1-13  Titus 1:4-9.

 

I encourage you to be like the Berean Christians in Acts 17:10-11 who received the preaching of God’s Word with open minds and hearts, but then tested what they heard by searching the Scriptures.

April 27, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #3: Bishop of Rome

Prayer series #2: Our Obligation

Not only are we privileged to approach God and spend time with Him in prayer, but we have an obligation to do so. I encourage you to read Psalm 65 and learn reasons for this obligation.

As a father gives gifts to his child, and waits for expressions of gratitude and delight, so God, our Heavenly Father, waits for us to respond in appreciation to Him for His gifts to us.

Why should we praise and thank Him?

1. We should praise and thank Him because He has saved us. Though we are born, helpless defiled sinners unworthy to stand in God's presence; Psalm 65:3-4 teaches us that He has provided salvation, including forgiveness and cleansing from sin, through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. Those who trust Jesus have the right to approach the Father in praise and prayer and worship. Through salvation we are privileged to dwell in His courts; that is, to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. But more than a privilege, we have an obligation to spend time in His presence and get to know Him. We can best do that by spending much time in His Word and by faithfully attending a church where the Bible is faithfully preached.

By reading the articles on this web site with your Bible, you will get a good idea of what to look for in a church and be warned of false teaching that could harm you spiritually.

2. We have an obligation to approach God, because He is sanctifying us if we are Christians. Psalm 65:4-5 Salvation begins the moment we trust Christ as our Saviour. We are instantly justified and declared righteous and fit for Heaven through the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. See Romans 3 & 4 and II Corinthians 5:21

Having justified us, He immediately begins a life-long process of sanctifying us. That is, we grow in holiness and become like Jesus. That process will never be perfected until we arrive in Heaven and are free of our sin-cursed body with its fleshly appetites.

God sanctifies us through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit as we spend time reading and meditating on His Word, the Bible. John 17:17 The Holy Spirit teaches us and convicts us of sin as we read God's Word. As we confess that sin, we are cleansed and drawn into closer fellowship with Christ. II Corinthians 3:18

God sometimes has to allow us to suffer in order to get our attention and to draw us to a closer walk with Him. Psalm 65:5 I Peter 1:5-8 and 5:10. Read Psalm 119: 67, 75 and learn that suffering brings blessing to those who seek to know God.

3. We have an obligation to draw near to God because of what He does in the world around us. Psalm 65:7 He stills not only the storms of life, but also the tumult of His enemies. Civilization owes its stability to the power of God.

4. Finally, we have an obligation to draw near to God because of His material blessings. They are beautifully summarized in Psalm 65:9-13.

Can you not see your obligation to draw near to God in prayer and through reading His Word? Again, it is not only a privilege, but an obligation.

April 27, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #2: Our Obligation

Roman Catholicism #4: One Sacrifice Forever

 Dear Roman Catholic friend,  let me take you for a walk through the tenth chapter of Hebrews.   First, I recommend you read it alone, without my comments.  Now  having read it, let's take a closer look. 

vs 1. The writer of Hebrews speaks of the Old Testament ceremonial law with its Levitical priesthood, as  a shadow or type of good things to come. 

vs. 2-3 The ceremonial law with its animal sacrifices did not make the worshippers perfect, or it never would have been discontinued.  We would still be offering the blood of animals for our sins today. 

vs. 4  Though the blood of animal sacrifices temporarily atoned for the sins of the worshippers,  it was not possible for those animal sacrifices to change hearts and solve the sin problem.  The sinful worshipper went on sinning and continued offering the same sacrifices repeatedly.  His heart was not changed. 

vs. 5-6 This verse reminds us of a prophecy concerning Jesus back in Psalm 40:6-8 that explains how God the Creator, was given a human body through the womb of the virgin Mary.  This body was not normally conceived by sexual relations with a man.  God the Holy Spirit brought about the conception. See Luke 1:35.   Hebrews 10:5 tells us that the reason for the coming of Jesus was to do for us what no animal sacrifice could ever do. Jesus had to die for our sins because animals sacrifices were not accomplishing the heart change in our lives.  

vs. 7-9 In these verses we read of the glad response of Jesus to do His Father's will by coming as the perfect and complete  sacrifice for our sins.Read again Psalm 40:6-8. 

vs. 10-14  As you read this passage note the repeated reference to the ONE sacrifice for sin forever.  Christ offered His Body  ONCE on Calvary's cross two thousand years ago.  Three days later He rose from the dead. The cross  is empty.  Jesus no longer hangs there.  The sacrifice is NEVER to be repeated.  Yet in the Roman Catholic Church the sacrifice is repeated constantly in every MASS. 

Note the contrast in verses 11-12.  The Levitical priest could not take away sin with their animal sacrifices.  On the other hand,  Jesus' sacrifice of His own body took care of sins forever. Jesus cried out on the cross, "IT IS FINISHED!"  Because the sacrifice is complete,  Jesus presently sits on the right hand of the Father in Heaven.  

Again in verses 14 and 18 we are reminded that Jesus' one offering of Himself is all that is needed.  The sacrifice is complete.  There is no need for any more offerings for sins. There is no need for the offering of The MASS.  

In verse 16 and 17 we read of the New Covenant that was sealed with the blood of Christ.  The Christian has God's Law written in his heart. Because, we have put our trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross, our sins and iniquities are remembered no more.  God has blotted them out. Isaiah 44:22   They are buried in the depths of the Sea. Micah 7:19 

The rest of the 10th chapter of Hebrews invites us to enter into the presence of God, forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Christ.  Even our evil conscience  has been cleansed by His blood.  

Friend, read I Timothy 2:5-6. When you have Jesus as your Mediator and Saviour from sin, you need no other mediator; you need no other rites or sacrifices to come boldly before the throne of God.  Jesus is your Saviour.  He is your Life. Rejoice and worship Him today. 

April 26, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #4: One Sacrifice Forever

Prayer series #3: Qualifications for Prayer

Since God is holy, He cannot look on sin. He cannot and will not listen to those who despise His Word and reject His Son.  He will not listen to the prayers of those who harbor grudges and malice towards others in their hearts.  He will not listen to anyone who has hidden, unconfessed sin.  Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 1:24-23; 28:9;  James 4:3  He will not listen to the prayers of married couples who are not living together in love and harmony. I Peter 3:7 

These are the prayers God hears and answers.

 God hears and answers the prayers of anyone who honestly seeks to know God and know the Truth. The problem is  no one seeks after God.  Romans 3:10-19.  In our natural condition we are all enemies of God and reject His salvation in Christ. Ephesians 2:11-18  God seeks after us.  We must seek Him while He may be found.  Isaiah 55:6-7  Those who desperately want the Truth will find it.  Cornelius, a Roman centurion did.  Read the amazing story in Acts 10 of how his prayer was answered.  Read in Acts 8:26-40 the story of how an Ethiopian eunuch who was seriously seeking for truth from God’s Word, came to know Christ    

1. God hears and answers the prayers of a  repentant sinner who asks God to save him and who puts his trust in Christ. John 1:12 

2. God hears and answers the prayers of a Christian who confesses his sins to God and who asks for forgiveness and cleansing.  I John 1:9;  Proverbs 28:13 

3. God hears the prayers of any Christian at any time and about any concern if that Christian is surrendered to the will of God and controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Matthew 18:19-20;   John 15:16;   John 16:23-24;   Romans 8:26-28 

When God says NO to the request of a surrendered Christian, it is because God in His great  wisdom and love has something better for him. II Corinthians 12:7-10 

It is dangerous to insist on having your own way.  God may allow you to have your desire, but you will be sorry the rest of your life. Psalm 106:14-15  On the other hand, when one delights himself in God, God rewards him with the desires of his heart.  Psalm 37:4 

Prayer can be in private.  Matthew 6:5-6  and it can also be in public.  It is a great encouragement to others as we join together in united prayer.  Acts 12:12   That’s the main reason for our midweek prayer meeting.  It is often the most blessed service of the church and it is the source of power for ministry to others. . 

Let us always remember that God does not hear us because of our righteousness.

We have no right to approach God except through the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.  That’s why we come to God through Christ and in His name.  John 14:14 

My prayer for you, dear reader, is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church. I encourage you to read Ephesians 3:14-21  Take time to read this prayer  and  pray it for yourself and then for others.

April 26, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #3: Qualifications for Prayer

Roman Catholicism #5: Justification

Salvation has three tenses: past, present and future. 

 

II Corinthians 1:10 outlines these three tenses.

Past “Who delivered us from so great a death,

Present and doth deliver us,

Future in whom we trust He will yet deliver us.” 

In this and the following articles on salvation we will emphasize these three tenses as we consider the three major doctrines of salvation: Justification,  Sanctification and Glorification. 

First,  consider Justification.  

Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is the best place to find a clear explanation of justification..   The theme of Romans is the Righteousness of God. 

Our Desperate Need of God’s Righteousness

In Romans 1:18 through 3:20 we have the first truth that needs to be understood  and that is our desperate need of God’s righteousness.  Without it, no one can live in God’s presence. The problem is that no one is good enough or righteous enough to live in God’s presence in Heaven.  We are all born sinners,  hopeless and helpless to do right.  Romans 5:6,12-19,  3:23  Ephesians 2:12.  In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He demands in Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”  If that does not strike despair and hopelessness to your heart, I don’t know what will. We desperately need God’s righteousness.

God Counts Us Righteous

The second section of Romans deals with how God counts us righteous and fit for Heaven through His gracious act of justification. That’s the theme of Romans 3:21 through  5:21   Justification is God’s gracious work of counting me righteous  through the merits of the death and resurrection of  Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the full penalty of all my sins.  When I put my faith in Christ, God puts His righteousness to my account and makes me fit for Heaven.  I do not go to Heaven because I am good enough or because I live a righteous life.  No one lives the Christian life perfectly.  I go to Heaven because Jesus is my righteousness.  I Corinthians 1:30  Philippians 3:7-9 

As a wealthy man deposits a million dollars in the account of a poor man and makes him rich,  so God deposits Jesus’ righteousness to my account and makes me fit to dwell in His presence. II Corinthians 5:21 makes it so clear, Read the verse and let’s go through it together.  “He (God) hath made  Him, (Jesus) to be sin for us ( He bore my sins on the cross even though He was totally sinless) that we (sinners)  might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus). If you are still unsure of your salvation, I urge you to keep reading this verse and ask God to open your spiritual eyesight to understand it.  When you understand it and receive Jesus as your only righteousness, you will be born again and fit to dwell with God in Heaven. It’s not a difficult verse to understand. As a nine year old boy I was confronted with this truth and put my faith in Christ.  My life was changed from that moment on.  

Do you see it,  Friend?  When I admit I am a sinner and understand I am deserving of Hell and  I turn to Jesus to save me;  He takes my sins and gives me His righteousness as a free gift. Justification has nothing to do with my works.  It has nothing to do with what the church can do for me. It has nothing to do with my faithfulness as a Christian. It is all the work of God’s grace and it is received by my simple faith alone. 

Isn’t that good news?    That is why it is called The Gospel.  That is  the meaning of Justification.   When I see myself as a sinner and deserving of Hell and cry to God for His mercy and put my faith in Jesus who died and rose again for my sins; God takes my sins and puts them to Jesus’ account.  He takes the perfect righteousness of Jesus and put it to my account, making me fit to live with Him in Heaven. 

When Jesus died on the cross it became dark and God the Father turned His back on His Son.  Jesus cried out  “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” God gave Him no answer nor comfort..  He totally forsook Him in His death for our sins for, you see, He was bearing the sins of the world. He was bearing the full penalty for my sins. 

Thank God that because of His great sacrifice for me, I am now a child of God through  faith alone in Christ as my own personal Saviour from sin. Not the church, not baptism, not sacraments,  but Christ alone saves. Through faith in Him alone, I am  brought into fellowship with God and will dwell forever in His presence. 

If you see yourself as a sinner, will you right now bow before God and admit to Him that you are a sinner and unworthy of  being in His presence and that you are helpless to save yourself?  Will you look by faith to Jesus who died on the cross some 2000 years ago and rose again the third day to be your Saviour?  Will you ask Him to be your Saviour?  He will save you now.  Romans 10:9-11  He will justify you from all your sins and count you as righteous as Christ Himself.  The perfection demanded in Matthew 5:48 is the righteousness of Christ Himself, imputed to your account. 

Now continue in this study and discover what it is to be a saint.  Learn what God has started to do in your life if you are a believer  and what He is going to continue to do until you arrive in Heaven.  

April 25, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #5: Justification

Roman Catholicism series #6: Who is a saint?

The Roman Catholic Church canonizes decesased men and women they consider worthy of sainthood. As saints, because of their holiness, they are said to have special access to God.  In times of special need, Catholics pray to the saints as mediators.

What does the Bible say about saints? Lots!  The New Testament is full of information about saints.  

Who are the saints?

Every sinner who puts his trust in Christ is saved and born again as a  child of God and is a saint. Saints are holy, set apart people of God.  All of the New Testament Epistles were written to born again members of local churches and they are all addressed as saints.  For a small sampling of this truth read some of Paul’s salutations to the churches. Romans 1:7  I Corinthians 1:2  II Corinthians 1:1  Ephesians 1:1  Philippians 1:1   Colossians 1:2 

Are saints always saintly? 

None of us are very saintly.  Learning to live as a saint is a life long process.  The son of a king is born a prince, but he seldom acts like a prince.  He has much to learn.  Tutors and governesses are used to train him to live as a prince. 

So we who put our trust in Christ are born again into God’s family as saints.  However, it takes a lifetime of being in God’s Word and being surrendered to the indwelling Holy Spirit for us to learn to BECOME Godly saints.  

In Ephesians 4:1 Paul beseeches the saints in
Ephesus to walk worthy of their calling as saints. That process is known as SANCTIFICATION.   Read more about that in my next article in this series on the topic.
 

Are you a saint?

If you are the typical failing Christian you may cower in shame and humility and say, “I’m no saint!”   But the fact of the matter is, if you are a Christian, you ARE a saint. In Heaven you will rejoice in the perfection Christ has given you. See the song of the saints in Revelation 5:8-10 

 Now if you are a Christian, get into the Word and start learning how to live as the saint, which you are.  

April 25, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism series #6: Who is a saint?

Prayer series #4: Lord, Teach Us To Pray

THE LORD’S PRAYER
Matthew 6:9-13 Luke 11:1-4
We want God to help us in times of crises, but do we know Him as our Heavenly Father and have we developed a daily walk with Him that keeps us in right relationship with Him to receive His help? We’re not ready to face the crises that come to each of us, unless we are walking in an intimate relationship with Christ.

Establishing a personal relationship with God
A right relationship with God can only be established through saving faith in Christ. Do you know God as your own loving Heavenly Father? Do you know His Son Jesus as your own personal Saviour? If not or if you are uncertain of this, please settle this matter before you proceed any further in this series on prayer. Go to the SALVATION link and discover the peace and joy of knowing your sins are covered and that you approach God clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Now as a Christian you can begin your walk with God. You can begin to discover the joy of daily intimate fellowship with Him as you spend time reading and meditating on His Word, the Bible. If you are married and your spouse is a Christian also, spend time together in prayer each day and share your hearts with God and with one another.

If you have children at home, find a time to gather together for at least a short time of reading and discussing God’s Word together and sharing together in a time of family prayer. Make sure you keep this time geared to the age level and attention span of your children.

Expand your relationship with other Christians.
With your Bible, read the articles on this web site together and discuss them. Find a church in your community where the Bible is recognized and preached as the inspired, infallible Word of God and where Jesus is recognized as God in human flesh and that we are saved from our sins and given the gift of eternal life through faith in His shed blood.

If there is no such church within driving distance of your home, ask God to help you establish one by gathering friends and neighbors together for regular home Bible studies. Devote time to praying with your family and friends as part of your Bible study. Ask God to use you to lead others to Christ and to help them get established in God’s Word. When you have several families who share your burden for planting a church, contact a trustworthy organization or Christian school to help you find a faithful, trained pastor. There are several good, trustworthy sources I could recommend. These would be at the top of my list.
Bob Jones University and Seminary http://www.bju.edu
Independent Fundamental Churches of America http://www.ifca.org

Heavenly resources for prayer
Understand that if you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit of God lives within you to help you understand spiritual truths, to comfort you, to convict you of sin, to empower you to do God’s will and to help you in prayer. He does not pray instead of you. but He prays with you and through you as you pray. Romans 8:26-27

We learn to pray as we observe Jesus in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. As you read these accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus, take note of how he prepared Himself for ministry by spending much time in prayer with His Heavenly Father. Remember, He is your Father also if you are a Christian.

Note in the following references that prayer was a regular part of Jesus’ day. He prayed early in the morning, Mark 1:35 at His baptism, Luke 3:21 sometimes all night, Luke 6:12. Listen to Him pray for us in John 17. Listen to Him pray in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross. Luke 22:39-46

We also learn to pray by observing the Apostles praying. As you have time, make a study of the following passages. Acts 1:13-14, 24, 2:42, 3:1, 4:31-33, 6:4-6, 9:40, 10:9, 12:5, 12-16, 13:2-3, 14:22 16:16,25, 20:36, 21:5 28:8 Romans 12:12 I Corinthians 7:5 II Corinthians 1:11, 10:3-4 Eph. 3:14-21, 6:18, Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2-3, I Thessalonians 5:17, II Thessalonians 3:1, I Timothy 2:1,8, 5:5, Hebrews 13:18, I Peter 4:7 Jude 20

Though we can learn from the Apostles, we do not approach God through the Apostles or through Mary or through any saint. Rather, we approach God directly through Jesus our only Mediator. I Timothy 2:5-6

These are just some of the passages in God’s Word that teach us about prayer. Certainly reading the Psalms is a wonderful way to learn to pray. It covers the gamut of all our emotions from anger and discouragement to praise and thanksgiving.

What does prayer do for us?
It allows God to transform our goals, desires and passions, making us men and women after God’s own heart. II Corinthians 3:18 We make ourselves available for God to use.

Learn to pray.
Prayer involves a learning experience. That’s why the disciples asked to learn to pray. Basically, we need to learn to pray as children. Pray simply as a child to his father.

Talk normally to God. Forget the so-called holy tones when you pray.

Don’t pray long prayers in public. In private, spend as much time as you desire.

Don’t recite memorized prayers consisting of vain repetition and fingering prayer beads as the heathen do. Matthew 6:7

Speak clearly to God. Don’t use trite meaningless phrases that ask God for nothing.

Ask Him for the things you need.

Be direct and to the point.

Ask in faith, trusting God to hear and answer. Matthew 7:7-11, 18:19-20, 21:22, Mark 11:24 John 14:3

Deal with sin immediately as the Holy Spirit convicts you, confessing sin as sin, and not merely a weakness or mistake.

Surrender to His Lordship, allowing nothing to come before Him.

Learn the habit of praying without ceasing as you drive (but keep your eyes open) or as you are washing the dishes or taking a walk or as you are lying in your bed at night, unable to sleep.

Above all, learn to conform your life to the will of God instead of asking God to conform to your will.

April 25, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #4: Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Roman Catholicism #7: Sanctification

God does not save us  simply to give us  a free ticket to Heaven.  It’s true, salvation is free.  It’s a gift of God’s grace; Ephesians 2:8-9  Titus 3:5-6  but God’s purpose in saving us  is to make us  like Jesus. This brings glory to God.  This doctrine is called Sanctification and it is   God’s ongoing  purpose and  work to make us Saints.   

Declared Saints

No church can declare or make us saints. We are declared Saints the moment we are born again just as an infant son born to the king and queen is born a prince.  But the little prince needs to be trained to live and act as the prince that he is. So God works in us to make us saintly.  Most of the New Testament Epistles are given to us for that express purpose; to teach us to be saintly.  Ephesians 1:11-14;  2:10; II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:15-16;   I Peter 2:9-10. Note that the Epistles are addressed to saints and  even the unsaintly, carnal Corinthians are referred to as saints.  Thank God for His faithfulness to us in this great undertaking.  I Corinthians 1:9 

Made Saints

How does God take a redeemed sinner and make Him a saint?  First, understand that we are qualified to be saints only  through faith in Christ’s blood sacrifice for us. Hebrews 10:10;  13:12  What then are the tools God uses to make us saintly? 

1.  God begins His work of sanctification in us through the use of His Word, the Bible.  The more we read it, study it and submit ourselves to it; the more saintly we become.  II Timothy 3:16-17;  John 15:3    God gives pastors and teachers to help perfect  saints through the preaching of His Word. Ephesians 4:11-15   Because there are many voices that claim to be preaching the Word, it is important that we follow the example of the Bereans in Acts 17:10-11 who searched the Scriptures  to determine whether they were hearing the truth. 

2. God also gives His Holy Spirit to come and live in our hearts.  The Holy Sprit is the third Person of the Trinity.  When Jesus left this earth to return to Heaven, He promised He would send His Holy Spirit to live in us. John 14:16-17.  The Holy Spirit has a part in our sanctification as He convicts us of sin.  He guides us into all truth. John 16:13-14  He indwells the believer. I Corinthians 3:16-17  II Corinthians 6:14-18.  If  the Spirit of God is not living in us, then according to  Romans 8:9 we are not Christians.  

Every Christian is commanded to be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18  When we are filled with the Spirit, we do not lose self control. Galatians 5:22-25  Rather the Holy Spirit so controls us that we have self control.  He puts a song in our hearts. Ephesians 5:19   He enables us to be thankful in every situation. Ephesians 5:20   He enables us to submit ourselves to others Ephesians 5:21.  We don’t insist on having our own way; rather we live and work in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  A Church business meeting where all the saints are controlled by the Spirit is a thing of beauty to behold.   Christ also beautifies marriages when  husbands and wives are living under the control of the Spirit. Ephesians 5:21-33. 

3. God uses the trials and difficulties of life  to sanctify us and make us more saintly. I Peter 5:10  Job is a prime example of one of God’s children who became more saintly through the sufferings God allowed.  It is interesting as we look at the life of Job  to see that God even uses Satan  to help sanctify Job.  Of course, Satan intended to cause Job to dishonor God,  but God turned it around and brought glory to His name through the victory that He gave Job. 

God is at work in every believer’s life to bring us to spiritual maturity as His saints.  Praise God, that whatever He begins, He completes.  Philippians 1:6   Let me caution you.  Don’t ever think that you have arrived and  have attained perfection in this life.  If you do, you are deceiving yourself.  I John 1:8,10   Paul in Philippians 3 gives his testimony.  In verses 10-15 he makes it clear that he has not arrived at perfection, but  he longs to know Christ intimately and live in consistent victory over sin. This is the thinking of a mature saint.  He knows he has not achieved perfection, but he desires it.   If you claim you are saved because you put your trust in Christ, but you have no hatred of sin and no love for Christ and no desire to live a holy life,  you are deceiving yourself.  James 2.   Examine yourself and make sure you are genuinely saved.  II Corinthians 13:5  Only as Christ is doing His sanctifying work in your life can you be sure that He has already Justified you.

April 24, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #7: Sanctification

Prayer series #5: Our Father

 Our Father who art in Heaven 

Though God created one human race, one human family, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and fell from their perfect estate; there have been two families on earth: God's family and Satan's family. The key verse to the whole Bible is Genesis 3:15. God is speaking to Satan "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her Seed. He shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise His heel"

In that one verse God summarizes human history. He is saying, "Satan, because you led the human race into sin and rebellion against Me, I am declaring war on you and those who follow you as their spiritual father. A virgin woman will one day bear My Son, Jesus. You will hate Him and My family and do much damage to them, but eventually I will destroy you and your family forever."

Ever since that fateful day there have been two and only two spiritual families on this earth: those who follow Satan as their spiritual father and those who have been born again into God's spiritual family. There has always been tension and even enmity between these two families. Satan's family has caused much pain and suffering to God's family, even to the point of killing Jesus, the Seed of the Woman.

However, God supernaturally raised His Son from the dead three days later and because of that, Jesus and those who belong to God's family through faith in Jesus are going to be victorious. Christ will eventually crush Satan's head. Satan and those who follow him will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire. That is a summary of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.

Read the story in Romans 5:12-19 of two key men: Adam and Jesus. Note that through only one man, Adam, the entire human race fell into sin and was cursed. Perhaps you are thinking, "That just isn't fair that I should be counted a sinner just because of one man's disobedience thousands of years ago." Alright, hold that argument. I'll agree with you that until you hear the full story, that sounds as though God is unfair. Now let's go a step further.

As one man, Adam, led the entire human race into sin and death, so one Man, Jesus, through His death and resurrection, leads all those who trust Him into eternal life. That is the simple, wonderful explanation of God's grace in this Romans 5 passage.

You see, the question is not how good or how deserving are you to go to Heaven. None of us are. We are all cursed sons and daughters of Adam. In our natural state we would all follow Satan and spend eternity with him in the Lake of Fire.

But God, in His love, has intervened. He has provided salvation to anyone who will trust His Son, Jesus, who died for our sins.

The question is not, are you a Catholic or a Protestant? Are you a Jew or a Muslim? Are you a religious person or an irreligious person? The ultimate question is are you still in Adam's cursed family, or are you in God's blessed family through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus for your sins? John 1:12 says, "As many as received Him,(Jesus) to them gave He the power to become the Sons of God, even to them who believe on His name." Jesus said to those religionists who rejected Him, "Ye are of your father, the devil." John 8:44

If you have never put your trust in Jesus, your spiritual father is still Satan.
If you have put your trust in Christ, God is your spiritual Father.

If God is your Heavenly Father, Ephesians 2:18 teaches you have access to Him in prayer. You and I can gratefully approach the Father in prayer through our relationship with His Son, Jesus. John 14:6 Hebrews 4:14-16

April 24, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #5: Our Father

Roman Catholicism #8: Glorification

Salvation begins in our lives, when God justifies us  by His  grace  through faith in Christ.  Salvation continues  through our lives as God uses His Word and His indwelling Holy Spirit and the testings and sufferings of life to bring us to maturity as His saints. 

But there is more!

Thank God that He does not stop with what He does for us in this life.  God will not be satisfied and we will not be satisfied until we are in His very presence, sinlessly perfect.  David, the Psalmist, even back in Old Testament times understood something about this.  He speaks of His longing for perfection in the presence of God  in Psalms 17:15. 

Paul in Philippians 3:20-21 wrote of that wonderful moment when we  meet Christ and are changed into His perfect image.  He also spoke of that wonderful day in I Corinthians 15:50-58  and I Thessalonians 4:13-18. 

In  I John 3:1-3 the Apostle John wrote of all three phases of our salvation, as we  discuss them in a  mini-series under the category SALVATION.   In verse 1 he rejoices in God’s love in saving him and making him a Son of God.  In verse 2  John looks forward to the time when he will be glorified and sinless just like Jesus.  In verse 3, in the light of this glorious truth concerning our futures, he speaks of our responsibility to surrender daily to the  Holy Spirit’s present, sanctifying work in our lives. 

We can know for sure!

Dear Friend,   Have you been saved ? Do you know it for sure?   I John 5:11-13 tells us we can know for sure.  If  you have been saved, are you allowing God to conform you to the image of His Son?  Are you experiencing daily victory over sin?   God saved you to live in sinless glory with Him throughout eternity.

Don’t you think it’s about time you got started living the life you are going to enjoy with Him in eternity? 

April 23, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #8: Glorification

Prayer series #6: Hallowed Be Thy Name

“Hallowed be Thy Name” is the first of seven petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. The first three petitions concern our Heavenly Father and the last four concern our own needs. This teaches us that when we pray we are to always put God’s concerns before our own. That is, we should consider God’s will and desires over our own will and desires. When we pray this request, we are recognizing that the glory of God is the ultimate purpose and goal in life. All other requests must be subordinate to this one. We cannot pray right unless the glory of God is dominant in our desires. We must not ask God for anything that would contradict His holiness and His revealed will in His Word.

What is the Meaning of the word Hallowed?
The word Hallowed means sanctified or set apart for sacred use. “Hallowed be Thy Name” is a command of God to us as well as a desire on our part as Christians to hallow His name.

We are instructed in Exodus 20:7 in the Ten Commandments that God’s name is never to be taken in vain. Certainly it is never to be used as a curse word, nor is it to ever be used casually or carelessly as a joke. Christians are never to bear His name thoughtlessly. There are people who call themselves Christians, but they bear His name with a “so what” attitude. They have no interest in the Bible, nor in faithful church attendance or Christian fellowship.

Many Christians enjoy an exciting “worship experience” and love to sing about Jesus, but do not have any interest in studying and obeying His Word. Such Christians fail to understand that according to Psalm 138:2, God’s Word is to be magnified over Jesus’ name. The person who does not love God’s Word doesn’t really have much love for Jesus.

What is the Meaning of God’s Name?
If I am to Hallow His Name, I had better know His Name. God has many names and we learn those names and the meaning of them as we study the Bible. Psalm 5:11 “Let them also that love Thy Name be joyful in Thee.” Psalm 20:1 “The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee.” Proverbs 18:10 “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and are safe.”

Exodus 34 gives an account of Moses going up into Mount Sinai to meet God. Starting with verse 5 we read, “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the Name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children’s children unto the third and to the fourth generation.” The next verse tells us how Moses responded to the knowledge of God by bowing to the earth and worshipping Him.

When we say we would like to know someone, what we mean is, I would really like to know his character and personality. I would like to know what he stands for. I would like to know him intimately as a friend. The name is synonymous with the person. The names of God found in the Bible are a study in themselves. Let me list some of those names.
1. Elohim – Almighty God, Creator.
2. Jehovah – The God who reveals Himself to us.
3. El-Shaddai – God blesses us.
4. Adonai – He is our owner and master
5. Jehovah-Jireh He is our provider
6. Jehovah-Rophe – He is our healer
7. Jehovah-Nissi – Our banner in warfare
8. Jehovah M’Kaddesh – Who sanctifies us
9. Jehovah- Shalom – Our peace
10. Jehovah-Tsidkenu – Our righteousness
11. Jehovah-Rohi – My Shepherd
12. Jehovah- Shammah – Is there with us.
13. Immanuel – God with us.
14. The Lord Jesus Christ – God in flesh to save us.

As we pray “Hallowed be Thy Name” we are praying that God will hallow and sanctify His Name, His character and His reputation before the world as people observe and get to know those of us who belong to Him. We are praying that we will do nothing to dishonor or disgrace His name.

Towards the end of Israel’s Old Testament history, the prophet Malachi showed the people that they had despised God’s name. Malachi 1:6- 2:2

John the Baptist teaches us how to magnify God when he says, “He must increase, I must decrease.” John 3:30 The more genuinely humble we are as Christians, the greater Christ is magnified in our lives.

That’s why Christ raised up His Church; that regenerated Jews and Gentiles together might bring glory to God’s Name. That is the purpose of the Church. Acts 15:14 Read Jesus’ prayer in the Upper Room just before He went to the cross John 17.

How many Christians live a horrid testimony and bring shame and disgrace to the name of Christ! Remember, if you are a Christian, you bear Christ’s name everywhere you go and in whatever you do or say. Colossians 3:17

Can we really hallow God’s Name?
Not really. His name is already hallowed. A child cannot make his father’s name honorable if it is not already honorable by the father’s own character. But if his name is already honorable, the child can magnify and enhance that name and reputation by his own attitude and conduct as it reflects on his father. Or a child can bring shame to his father by his own rebellion and misconduct.

So when we pray “Hallowed by Thy Name” we are asking God to help us to live our lives so that we bring honor and glory to God.

We are not just praying to God. We are preaching to ourselves and warning ourselves to live our lives in such a way that we bring honor to God.

To hallow God’s name is to give God the supreme place in our thoughts, affections and in the way we live our lives.

Our desire is just the opposite of the builders of the Tower of Babel recorded in Genesis 11:4 “Let us make a name for ourselves.”

“Hallowed be Thy Name” is not just my request. It is the requests of all true Christians everywhere.

Why is this request first in the Lord’s Prayer?
It is so basic and so important that until it is settled, there is no reason to continue praying to God. If God’s honor is not important to you, don’t waste your time praying for your own requests. Your requests don’t matter. God is not interested in you and will not listen to you.  Isaiah 1:11-20

You honor God first with your life and He will see to it that all your needs are met, Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Let us not just honor Him with our lips. Let us make sure our life backs up what we say.

April 23, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #6: Hallowed Be Thy Name

Roman Catholicism #9: Idols

 “Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the Heavens. He hath done whatsoever He hath  pleased.  Their idols are silver and gold,  the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not. They have ears, but they hear not.  Noses have they but they smell not. They have hands, but they handle not.  Feet have they but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat.  They that make them are like unto them  and so is everyone that trusteth in them.”Psalm 115:2-8 

What does the Bible say about idols and idolatry?

Take a Bible concordance and look up the words idol, idols, idolater, idolatry, image, images.  You’ll find almost 200 references to them in the Bible.  God has nothing good to say about idolatry. Rather He condemns those who worship idols and images. Here are a few examples.

The first of the ten commandments says, “I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.  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: for I  the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep my commandments.”   Exodus 20:2-6

“Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods:  I am the Lord your God.”  Leviticus 19:4

“Then said I unto them,  Cast away every man the abominations of his eyes,  and defile not yourself with the idols of
Egypt.  I am the Lord your God.”    Ezekiel 20:7

“Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: and the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.  And the idols He shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty when He arises to shake terribly the earth.  In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks,  and into the tops of the ragged rocks,  for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”  Isaiah 2:8-9,  17-21   Read more about this coming event in Revelation 6:12-17

Should we trust the presence of idols in our homes and in our cars to keep us safe?

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker of it hath graven it; the molten image, the  teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein to make dumb idols? Woe unto them that saith to the wood, ‘Awake’;  to the dumb stone, ‘Arise, it shall teach!’  Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver,  and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.”  Habakkuk 2:18-20

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and there is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods,  whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father,  of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.”  I Corinthians 8:4-6

“Little children,  keep yourself from idols.”  I John 5:21

Certainly, idolatry is not limited to bowing down to idols of wood, stone,  plastic, silver and gold.  We are idolatrous when we put any person before God.  We are guilty of idolatry when we put money, our work, sports, hobbies, or any other  interest or passion before God.

Worshipping creatures;  including the sun, moon, stars, mountains, or anything else God has created  rather than the Creator is heathenism and God will judge it. Romans 1:20-25 God must be first in our lives. We make Him first by spending time in His Word and by praying to Him and seeking to please Him in all that we do.

Anything that distracts or hinders  us from our worship of  God  is idolatry.

How can we  worship the invisible God without the aid of visible idols?

Do you need help in focusing your attention on God?  Turn from idolatry and spend time reading and meditating on God’s Word. There you will  discover who Jesus is.   In Colossians 1:15 Paul speaks of Jesus as “the image of the invisible God”.   In  I Timothy 2:5 we read that Jesus is the one and only mediator we need to know and worship God. 

When you know  the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, God’s Spirit will come to live within you and  He will teach you spiritual truth and draw you into fellowship with Christ Himself. Christ will become more real and precious to you than anything tangible that you could hold in your hands or see with your eyes.

Read what Paul told the  idolatrous Athenians in Acts 17:22-31. If you are serious about seeking the truth about idolatry,  DON’T MISS READING THIS PASSAGE!  May God enable you this day to  repent of your idolatry and turn to Christ Himself.  Then as you read the Psalms and other Scriptures, you will be enabled to worship God in Spirit and in Truth without the aid or distraction  of idols and images that are so abominable to Him.   

April 22, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism #9: Idols

Roman Catholicism series #10: The Virgin Mary

Mary is without question the most blessed of all women.  Of all the women on the face of the earth, God chose this pure young virgin of the little town of Nazereth  to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  We honor her as a wonderful role model, especially to young ladies.  

Her amazing story it told in Luke 1:26-56. Betrothed to her beloved husband, Joseph; the announcement of the angel Gabriel that she would have a baby who would be conceived by the Holy Ghost  was  difficult and frightening news for her to comprehend; but in humility and obedience to God, she gave her permission.  She replied, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to Thy Word.”  

In Matthew 1:18-25 the story picks up with Joseph discovering she is pregnant.  How devastated he must have been!   Then the angel explained how she had become pregnant by the Holy Ghost and Joseph was comforted  and submissive to God’s plan. 

Going back again to Luke 1:46-55  Mary breaks forth into her Magnificat,  a song of praise to God for what He was accomplishing through her life.  She understood that she, as a child of Adam, was a sinner like everyone else.  She rejoiced in God her Saviour. In Luke 2 we have the wonderful Christmas story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  You can read more about this in my CHRISTMAS series on this web site, as well as the vital doctrine of  the VIRGIN BIRTH. 

INTERRUPTIONS 

In Luke 11:27-28  and in Matthew 12:46-50 there are  parallel stories of Mary and some of her other sons  (No, Mary was not a perpetual virgin.)  coming on the scene and interrupting Jesus while He was teaching. A woman, noting Mary’s arrival,  drew the attention of the people from Jesus to Mary by announcing, “Blessed is the womb that bare Thee and the paps which Thou hast sucked.”  Jesus corrects this interruption by countering, “Yea, rather,  blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.” 

In the Matthew 12 account, Mary and some of Jesus’ brothers interrupted Jesus as He was teaching, desiring to talk to Him. Jesus took the occasion to teach another lesson.  He asked the question,  “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?”  Then He stretched out His hands to those listening to Him and said, “Behold my mother and my brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother.” What He is saying here is that as close as blood ties are, there are even closer ties in the family of God.  

THE WARNING 

There is also a warning for us in this story.  The woman who spoke  in Luke 11:27 was actually distracting the people from Jesus’ message by turning their  attention to Mary.  Be warned that whenever we turn our attention from Jesus to someone or something else, that is sinful. As blessed as Mary is,  when we turn our attention from God’s Word and from Jesus to her or to anyone else, that becomes a sinful distraction.  Whenever we claim we are magnifying Jesus AND someone else,  the someone else gradually becomes more important than Jesus.  Don’t allow anyone or anything to distract you from Jesus and His Word  

April 22, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism series #10: The Virgin Mary

Prayer series #7: Thy Kingdom Come

Whenever we repeat the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for Christ’s Kingdom to come and for Christ’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Is that really our heart’s request or do we just mutter those words thoughtlessly?

We will desire His Kingdom to come only if God is truly our Father through trusting the merits of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. We will desire His Kingdom only if we truly hallow and reverence His name. We will desire His kingdom only if we are living today in the light of eternity.

His present Kingdom and the Future Kingdom
When we pray “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done” we are praying about two aspects of His Kingdom. His present Kingdom in our hearts and His future Kingdom over the whole earth.

His present Kingdom in our hearts
In Luke 17:21 Jesus explained the internal nature of His Kingdom. He reminds us we do not seek for an external political kingdom; rather He explains, “The Kingdom of God is within us.” Christ reigns in our hearts. Paul in Romans 14:17 teaches us that Christianity is synonymous with Christ’s Kingdom. This Kingdom begins the moment we receive Christ as our Saviour from sin and surrender to Him as our Lord. When we trust Christ as our Saviour, God our Father “delivers us from the Kingdom of darkness and translates us into the Kingdom of His dear Son.” Colossians 1:13 If you are a Christian, God has already translated you into the Kingdom of Christ.

Christian, don’t fight Christ’s Lordship!
For you to insist on having your own way and doing your own thing and ignoring God’s will for your life will insure a life of misery and failure for you. If you are a Christian and living in Christ’s Kingdom, the right thing to do is to surrender to His Lordship and to seek first His Kingdom. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus promises us that God will see to your happiness and fulfillment and to the supply of all your needs. That’s His business. Our business is to live only for His purpose and glory.

What are the practical implications of living in His Kingdom?
Peter explains in I Peter 2:9 the purpose of living in Christ’s Kingdom. “We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession that we should show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Beginning with verse 11 of this same chapter, Peter reminds us that as we live in the midst of Satan’s Kingdom of darkness on this earth, we are pilgrims and strangers. As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, we are to be personally pure and submitted to the laws of our nation, for we have a dual citizenship. Verse 16 reminds us that as Christians we are free, but we must not misuse our freedom, presuming on the patience and grace of God by continuing to live in sin.

First things first
The truths of prophecy, including Christ’s coming Millenial Kingdom, are secondary in importance. If you go to my  series of studies in prophecy you will learn prophetic truths concerning Christ’s Millennial Kingdom that will bless you; but first and foremost, make sure Christ is your King right now. According to II Timothy 2:12, your surrender to His Lordship now will determine your position in the Millenial Kingdom.

The Kingdom Truths of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount are not only for Jews during the Millennium. They are, I believe, even more pertinent to Christians today as we live under the dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ. To learn more about Christ’s present Kingdom on earth, go to the BEATITUDES link.

Matthew 6:33 teaches Christians to seek first the establishing of Christ’s Kingdom in our hearts and in our conduct, then God will provide all that we need for this life. Christ’s Kingdom concerns must become our concerns. That’s why we pray, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done.”

April 22, 2006 Posted by | Prayer Series | Comments Off on Prayer series #7: Thy Kingdom Come

Roman Catholicism # 11: The Whore Rides the Beast

   The true Church of Jesus Christ is made up of sinners who have put their trust in Christ and are pictured as the pure, spotless Bride of Christ. The righteousness of Christ  has been imputed to us through faith in His shed blood. It is being imparted to us by His Holy Spirit as we live in obedience to His Word.  One day in Heaven, we will be glorified with His perfection. See  CHURCH link for more on the true church. On the other hand Revelation 17 describes false religion by giving us a very interesting picture of a whore riding on a ferocious, ugly beast. Who is the beast? Who is the  whore?  What is going on here? Let’s seek answers to these questions by letting Scripture speak for itself.  

Who is the Beast?

In an article in our Prophetic series on this web site, “The Times of the Gentiles”, we outlined the history of four world powers: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, that have had a profound impact on the nation, Israel. 

In Daniel 2 is recorded King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great image made of gold, silver, brass and iron, picturing these four world empires.    In Daniel 7   Daniel also has a dream of these four world empires.  His dream is of four wild animals representing these world powers.  
Babylon is pictured as a lion, 
Persia as a bear, 
Greece as a leopard  and
Rome as a ferocious ugly beast with iron teeth and ten horns.
 
All four of these empires have lain dead in the dust for centuries.  However, this fourth beast is going to rise again to world power and from this revived Roman Empire will come the Anti-Christ who will rule the world for seven years during the Tribulation.  This Beast is described in Revelation 13. In Revelation 17  we see this beast being ridden or controlled by a whore.   In Revelation 19:11-21 you can read about the final destruction of the Anti-christ by King Jesus Himself.  

Who is the Whore?

Let’s examine her in Revelation 17.  In verse 1  we are told she sits on many waters.  Verse 15  identifies the waters as the nations of the world.  

In verse 2 we learn that the nations of the world have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  This fornication is described as her political alliances with the nations of the world.   

In verse 3  we see the whore riding and controlling  the Beast, the revived
Roman Empire  led by the Anti-christ.  In verse 4 the harlot is identified by the purple and scarlet  robes she wears, by the gold chalice in her hand,  by her immense wealth and by her immorality.
 

In verse 5 her name is given,  Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.   

In verse 6  we learn that she is drunken with the blood of those who have been martyred for Christ down through the centuries. 

In verse 9 we learn that this harlot is associated with a city that sits on seven hills, the city of  Rome.  

Christ’s true Church is composed of sinners who have put their trust in Christ and have been declared saints and who are becoming saintly in character through God’s Word and through surrender to Christ.    

The harlot church is a false ecumenical church of the end times, which will eventually be made up of all the world’s religions and headquartered in Rome.  

What is the future for the Harlot Church?

In verses 16 -18  we see how this Harlot Church will be destroyed.  The Anti-christ will suddenly at the end of the Tribulation, hate the whore and turn on her and destroy her.  Yes, false religion, under the sovereignty of God will suddenly and finally be destroyed by the Anti-christ.  Why will he do that?  II Thessalonians 2:4 answers that question.  He destroys all religion on the face of the earth so that he can reign supreme over the earth as God.  

Those who love Christ are warned in Revelation 18:1-5  to flee from  this false ecumenical religious system lest we receive of the plagues that are going to fall on her.   For more on the need and urgency  to separate from false religion, go to the link  SEPARATION  on this web site.

April 21, 2006 Posted by | Roman Catholicism | Comments Off on Roman Catholicism # 11: The Whore Rides the Beast