Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Settle Out of Court

 

“Too many hypocrites in the church!” 

One of the chief arguments people make for rejecting Christ is that there are too many hypocrites in the church. I’m not saying that there are no hypocrites in the church; for if we are trying to appear more spiritual in church than we are at home, we are hypocritical. But in the full sense of the word,  a Christian is not a hypocrite.  He may be weak and carnal, but he’s not a hypocrite.  A genuine Christian has confessed he is a sinner, lost and unable to save himself.  He has put his trust in Christ alone for salvation.  He may be a pathetic Christian who brings shame to the cause of Christ and be chastened in this life by His loving Heavenly Father;  but by the grace of God he will one day be in Heaven, sanctified, glorified and sinless. 

A hypocrite, on the other hand, is not a Christian.  His “Christianity” is simply an act.  He has learned the language of a Christian, but underneath his disguise is a proud, self-righteous, wicked heart.  

Saul of Tarsus was such a man.  Though he did not claim to be a Christian; he claimed to be a good Jew, despising Christ and  hating and persecuting Christians.  In  Philippians 3 Paul shares his testimony. In verses 4-6  he tells us of his proud, self-righteous, hypocritical life before he met Christ.  Then in verses 7-14 he glories in Christ and in the wonderful salvation Christ has given to him.   Prior to Saul’s conversion,  he was a Jewish Pharisee and Jesus had labeled them all as hypocrites in Matthew 23.  

Unbeliever, you are the hypocrite! 

If you will compare Matthew 24:51 with Luke 12:46 you will find that in God’s eyes, unbelievers are hypocrites.   If you are an unbeliever, quit looking at the weak, stumbling Christians within the church and look at your own wicked, unbelieving heart.  Your whole life is a sham.  You are the hypocrite.   Jesus’ message of Luke 12:54-59 is addressed to you. This is basically what He is saying to you in this passage. 

You are able to look at weather conditions,  predict a storm and take precautions before the storm, but you do nothing to prepare to face the coming storm of God’s wrath when He judges you for your sins.    When you have done damage to someone or to their property, you are wise enough to see you are going to face a law suit and an expensive trial. So you take steps in advance by attempting to settle out of court.    

So you should be wise enough and honest enough to admit you are a guilty sinner who will one day face God and be condemned to hell.  That’s the condition of all of us  for all have sinned and come short of God’s glory and His holy standards.  Romans 3:23.  

Judgment Day is coming! 

If you continue through life rejecting the salvation God offers you through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus,  you will ultimately face His fury and be condemned to eternal hell.  Read the terrifying account of God’s Judgment that awaits every unbeliever. Revelation 20:11-15.  

Warnings of God’s Judgment abound throughout the New Testament. 

The Bible is clear that we are all sinners and that sinners are going to face God’s judgment.   

John the Baptist warned of it in Matthew 3:7-12   

Peter warned of it whenever he preached.  Acts 2:22-41  3:13-21  II Peter 2:4-6  3:3-12 

Stephen warned of it in Acts 7:51-52.  For such preaching he was stoned to death. 

James warned of judgment.  James 5:7-9 

The writer of Hebrews warned of it in Hebrews 9:27 

Jude wrote about the Old Testament prophet Enoch and his message in Jude 14-15 

The Apostle John gives us the most solemn warning in Revelation 20:11-15 

Jesus, who took our judgment and condemnation  on  the cross, warned us to trust Him and thus escape that Great White Throne Judgment, over which He will one day preside. See John 3:16-18, 36  5:24 

The Apostle Paul had the most to say about the judgment. In Acts 17:30-31 Paul preached to the Athenians about the certainty of a coming judgment in which The Lord Jesus Christ would be the Judge.  

In Romans Paul writes much about the coming judgment. In Romans 2 he teaches that this judgment will be according to four principles. 

1. It will be according to TRUTH. Romans 2:2  Today human courts often fail to discover the truth because of the lack of full knowledge of the case, or because of prejudice.  Jesus’ judgment will be according to truth because He knows each heart and he knows the secret things that men  fail to grasp. 

2. Jesus’ judgment will be according to the deeds of the body.  Romans 2:6 and 3:23  We’re all guilty.  Our deeds are recorded in God’s Books.  See Revelation 20:11-15 again. 

3. Jesus  judges the secret things, including our motives and our thoughts. See Romans 2:16   According to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7  one who has  lustful thoughts is an adulterer. One who hates his brother is a murderer. 

4. Finally, Jesus’ judgment will be absolutely impartial. Romans 2:11  He is not impressed with those who are rich and famous and powerful.  All men, great and small, will one day stand before Him to give an account of their lives;  Jews as well as Gentiles. Romans 2:9,12. 

In the light of that judgment, the sinner stands inexcusable and inescapable. 

First, you will stand inexcusable.  According to Romans 1:20  2:1 and  3:19 you will be silenced.  On that Judgment Day, your mouth will be silenced. You will be  guilty as charged before God. 

Secondly, you cannot escape this judgment.  Romans 2:3   In this world today, guilty criminals  often escape conviction and sentencing through lies, crooked lawyers and money.  Today people plead the 5th Amendment, they post bail, they have connections.Law abiding citizens as well as the victims of their crimes are sickened and disillusioned by mis-trials and crooked juries and judges who allow criminals to go free.  

Judgment Day is circled on God’s calendar. See Acts 17:31.  No one will escape that day when they stand before Christ whom they despised and rejected.  Years ago when I pastored  among the ranchers in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, I sometimes visited with the ranchers when they were corralling cattle to walk up the chute into trucks to go to market. Often the cattle would run back and forth trying to escape being herded into the truck, but the sovereign rancher who directed the whole thing was persistent until every last steer he had chosen for market was forced into the truck.  So it will be for sinners on Judgment Day. No one will escape.    

Why not settle out of court now? 

If you are a wise person, you will humble yourself before God NOW and admit you are a guilty sinner.  You will cast yourself on His mercy, receiving His gracious salvation through Jesus.  In so doing, you have settled out of court.  You will never face that White Throne Judgment.  Read God’s repeated promises concerning this.  John 3:16-18, 36 John 5:24  Romans 8:1  

If you continue to reject Christ,  your heart will only grow harder and your judgment will only grow more severe.  Romans 2:5 

Don’t wait to face Christ at The Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11-15.  In this age of grace,  trust Christ now who died to pay the full penalty for your sins. Read II Corinthians 5:20-21 and ask Christ to save you right now and discover the peace and joy of sins forgiven and the assurance of eternal life.  Read John 5:24   and Romans 8:1.  As Jesus pleaded with the hypocrites in Luke 12:58-59, settle out of court right now by admitting your guilt before a holy God and trusting the provision of His beloved Son, Jesus.   If you do not trust Him now, you WILL face Him one day and be condemned to eternity in Hell.  You cannot be neutral about Jesus.  You must  either receive Him now as your Saviour and begin learning how to be His disciple (follower); or else  you have rejected Him and will one day face Him as your Judge. 

 

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Salvation | Comments Off on Settle Out of Court

Worship series #2: Doxology

In the Matthew 6 account of the Lord’s Prayer, we conclude with a doxology to God, “For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever, Amen.”  We  pray to God who alone has wisdom and power and authority to answer our prayers in such a way that our needs are met and He is glorified.

Having laid our requests before God, we cease focusing on our needs and concerns and turn our attention to God Himself.   Let us not deceive ourselves. As long as we are concentrating on our needs and our concerns, it is impossible to truly worship Christ. It’s only when we have laid our burdens on Christ that  we are free to praise and worship Him. We cast our burdens on Jesus and He gives us rest. There is no further need for worry or fretting.

In this prayer we learn that worship and praising God are always fitting when making requests of Him.  We see this truth  as we study the prayers of Old Testament saints.  The Psalms are filled with prayers of praise to God.  In the New Testament   Paul’s  prayers  echo this praise to God. A good example is his prayer for Christians found in Ephesians 3:14-21. Read this prayer and note how he bursts forth into a doxology of praise to God.  Jude concludes his brief epistle with a doxology to Christ.  “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

Worship is essentially our praise and gratitude to God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  We exalt Him for who He is and for what He has done for us.  Worship involves more than praising Him with our lips.  It involves the surrender of ourselves to Him and it results in the enjoyment of intimacy with Him.

Dr Harry Ironside, a well known Bible teacher I heard as a child, tells this story, “My wife and I stood one day looking down on Niagara Falls. How our hearts were stirred as we watched that mighty cataract pouring its tremendous volume of water over the great cliff unceasingly. Soon we noticed that from below a mist rose up that actually reached the point where we stood on the ledge above the Falls. 

I said to my wife, ‘This is like worship- God’s mighty love and grace pouring down upon us; then our love and praise rising up and ascending back to Him, the source of all our blessings.”As we receive God’s spiritual and material blessings from day to day, it is as natural as the mist rising from the Falls for our worship, adoration, thanksgiving and praise to rise to Him.

We bless God by surrendering our lives to Christ, who is our Lord and King and submitting to His authority, “for Thine is the Kingdom.”

We bless God by coming to Him in our weakness and confidently depending on His strength. “for Thine is the power.”

We bless God by coming to Him in humility as we live our lives for His glory and by ascribing to Him all the glory for what He is doing in our lives.  “for Thine is the glory.”

In Heaven we will worship God perfectly, even as we desire to worship Him perfectly now on earth.  Revelation 4:11 and 5:12 describe that Heavenly worship of the saints.

Only as  we  magnify Christ and give Him the preeminence in our lives do  we truly worship Christ.  All else is empty emotionalism and vanity.  Revelation 22:13 teaches us that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega   (the A to Z ) of our lives. 

Any experience we have is less than worship if it does not result in our total surrender to Him. He is our Saviour through faith in the sacrifice of His shed blood.

He is our life, our purpose in living. Colossians 3:3-4 Life is mere existence and has no purpose apart from our relationship with Christ.

He is our King and we bow before Him.The more we read and study His Word, the more we to come to know Him.The better we know God, the   more effective our prayer life and the more genuine our worship and the more we are blessed.

True worship is  grounded on knowing God through His Word. The more genuine our praise and worship, the more He blesses us.  

When are we blessed?  Psalm 67:5-7 answers that question.  When people praise and worship God THEN God blesses.  When God’s people are blessed,  then we impact the world for Christ.Because He is Almighty, He has the power and the ability to do whatever He pleases. 

There is nothing too hard for Him.  We recognize and bow to His power and authority to do whatever He pleases through us. What encouragement for us to pray!

As our Heavenly Father, He loves us and cares for us.

As our Almighty King He is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all we could ever ask or think, according the power that works in us.”

In contrast to the earthly kingdoms that have risen and fallen throughout time; consider the perpetuity of Christ’s Kingdom which  goes on forever.  Psalm 89:2  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

Amen indicates our faith in God and our fervent desire for the fulfillment of these requests.  May God take the things we have learned from the Lord’s Prayer and make them so precious to us that we pray this prayer with joy and understanding. May we never again mumble the Lord’s Prayer as a thoughtless, meaningless ritual.

-Taken from my series of messages on The Lord’s Prayer. You can find the entire series under PRAYER on this site.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Worship Series | Comments Off on Worship series #2: Doxology

Deception series #1: False Prophets

At the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7,  Jesus gave the warning to beware of false prophets. As genuine currency is studied in order to recognize counterfeit bills, so in the spiritual realm we need to identify a true prophet in order to recognize a false prophet.

The Terrifying Voice of God

When  Moses went up into Mount Sinai to receive  the Ten Commandments from God,  it was an awesome, fearful occasion. Exodus 19:10-25 records the warning God gave to Moses for the people.  It was a terrifying time in Israel’s life.  Exodus 20:18-19 describes their fear. “And all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed and stood far away.  And they said unto Moses, “Speak thou with us and we will hear; but let not God speak with us  lest we die.”

Prophets speak to men for God

In Deuteronomy 18:15-22 we have God’s response to fearful Israel.  In this passage God assures the people that He understands their fear and he announces that He will raise up prophets and put His words in their mouths and expect the people to listen and obey just as if He were speaking to them directly.  He also warns of false prophets who would presume to speak for God.  He warns that He will hold them accountable for their  presumption.  God also explains to the people how they can recognize the true prophet.  Everything he says will come to pass just as he prophesied.  Listen to him and fear God.  As for the false prophet, ignore and have no fear of him.

True Prophets

Some of the true prophets include Moses, Samuel,  Elijah, Elisha, Michaiah, as well as the major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel  and the  12 minor prophets listed at the end of the Old Testament. God spoke to them in dreams and visions.  However, in Numbers 12:1-8  we have an account in the life of Moses that shows us that God spoke to him directly mouth to mouth.  Moses was in a separate category from the rest of the prophets.

False Prophets

Balaam was an unusual false prophet.  He spoke the truth, but he used his influence to lead Israel astray by encouraging them to fellowship with and eventually intermarry the heathen.  His story is told in Numbers 23, 24,  25:1-3  and 31:16.  God’s judgment on Balaam is found in. II Peter 2:14-15, Jude 11, and Revelation 2:14. Balaam is a sober warning to  evangelists and pastors today who  preach the truth; but in their  efforts to reach the lost, invite unbelievers to join them in sponsoring  crusades and being involved in the follow up of new converts..  Paul warns against this in  II Corinthians 6:14-18.  See Unequal Yoke article in SEPARATION series

There were other false prophets in Old Testament times, including the prophets of Baal  whom the Prophet Elijah defeated in  a great contest.  Read the exciting story in I Kings 18. 

Jeremiah exposed  Hananiah, a false prophet in Judah.  Jeremiah  faced a lonely, dangerous life because of his faithfulness to God in preaching the truth and exposing false prophets.

Why False Prophets are so Popular

False prophets are popular because people in their spiritual blindness love to hear their inoffensive preaching.  In Jeremiah 5:30-31 we read that  people follow them because they  love to  hear them. Protestant churches that are now led by liberal preachers were once solid, Bible teaching churches. There came a time in the history of the church when people rebelled against the faithful preachers and replaced  them with the preachers who gave them what they wanted to hear. Isaiah 30:8-10 speaks about people who refuse to listen to God’s prophets.  They say to them, “Prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits.”   Can you imagine people asking their preachers to give them what they want to hear?  That’s as foolish as telling your doctor who has just examined you to avoid telling you any bad news and telling him to give you only good news,  even if it is a lie.

False Prophets Increasing

Matthew 23:13-15,   24:3-5 and  II Timothy 3:1-7 warn that in the last days, false prophets will increase in number and in their ability to deceive people.  They will creep into homes through radio and  television and by boldly coming to your front door with their false literature. They also infiltrate churches, Christian colleges and seminaries,. influencing  a new generation  to adopt  their false doctrine.  They are more prolific and dangerous today than at any time in human history.  They not only destroy themselves, but they destroy those who listen to them, keeping them from the “the narrow way.”  They are destined for destruction. Galations 1:8-9,  II Peter 2 and  Jude 1

God’s Rules for Prophets in the early Church.

I Corinthians 14  lists rules for the exercise of  the prophet’s gifts in the time of the early church.. 

1. Only two or three were to speak publicly and in order in a church service. 14:29

2. They spoke freshly, revealed truths and they also taught what other prophets had revealed. 14:30

3. The other prophets were to judge and discern if truth had been spoken. 14:29

4. The prophets were subject to one another.  They were in unity and did not contradict one another. 14:32

Why There Are No True Prophets Today

There were some true prophets who ministered to the Church in the beginning of the church age 2000 years ago.  These were men who had the gift of prophecy who spoke God’s Word before the Bible was completed. Ephesians 2:20 tells us the Apostles and Prophets were foundational to the church.  Once the canon of Scripture was complete, the office of  Prophet ceased.  With the Scriptures complete, there was no further need for this office. I Corinthians 13:8-10 There are now no true prophets today who have visions and hear from God apart from studying  His Word.

The Role of Pastor/Teachers Today- Feed the Flock

The pastor and teacher has replaced the office of prophet.  He no longer hears from God through visions and  dreams..  Rather he studies the Bible and brings God’s message directly from God’s Word. God’s Word teaches that women are not to teach in the public church service.  This does not belittle women. They can be just as godly as any man.  Godly women, including single women, have had the most influence on me through my childhood and teen years.  I can think of at least a dozen women who have helped shape me into the preacher I am today.  I thank God for faithful, Godly women. Though Godly women can teach  children,  young people and other women and thus influence the next generation for God; women should not be pastoring churches. That’s not my opinion, nor is it politically correct.   It’s God’s clear instruction..  See I Corinthians 14:34-35.  I Timothy 3:1-13  Titus 1:5-9

Protect the Flock

In II Timothy 4:1-4  Paul charges Pastor Timothy to  “preach the Word; be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”  In Acts 20:28-35  Paul warns the pastors in Ephesus to beware of false prophets and others who would attempt to infiltrate the church and divide it.  A true pastor is a shepherd who leads his flock to the green pastures of Scripture.  He is also on guard continually for wolves in sheep’s clothing who would come and destroy the flock.

Isaiah 56:10-11 also describes a faithful prophet/pastor as a barking dog who alerts his congregation to false teachers. A barking dog is noisy and awakens sleepers.  If there is no danger, then the barking is irritating.  If there is danger, the barking is comforting

What Should You Do?

Christian friend,  I encourage you to make sure you are in a church pastored by one who faithfully gives you the Word of God.  I trust that, like the Berean Christians in Acts 17:11,  you will check what you hear by the Scriptures and make sure you are hearing the truth.  I Thessalonians 5:1  charges you to “Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.”   May God help you to stay in the Word and test everything you hear by God’s Word and may you be faithful to Him in rejecting false teachers and supporting God’s faithful servants. 

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Deception Series | Comments Off on Deception series #1: False Prophets

Separation series #2: Liberalism

 
 
 

The great divide in America is not red states vs blue states.  It is not between Democrats and Republicans. Basically it is a conflict between liberal philosophy and conservative philosophy

 

The conflict between Liberals and Conservatives is more of a spiritual issue than a political issue, although it certainly has political repercussions.  Liberals and Conservatives are found in both major political parties. The word  liberal is a good word.  The word means generous and broadminded.  Proverbs 11:25 states, “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered himself.”  However, the name liberal has been applied in the religious arena to those who deny the  inspiration and infallibility of the Bible and  the doctrine of Christ. A more accurate name for such would be heretic.

 

Liberals Worship Their Minds

 

Liberals consider themselves intellectually superior to Conservatives and they look down on those who believe the Bible to be the inspired, infallible Word  of God  as ignorant, simplistic and inferior. Instead of allowing God’s Word to judge their minds,  they judge the Bible by their own minds.  They determine their own moral standards which are directly opposite from the moral standards of the Bible.   That’s why when it comes to moral issues,  Liberals and Conservatives are diametrically opposed to one another. 

 

 What Do Liberals Believe?

 

Liberals believe  that the Old Testament writers had a warped  understanding of God. They believe these ancient writers saw God as a capricious, vengeful, cruel despot.  Liberals  deny that the writers of both the Old and New Testaments were inspired of God.  They believe that the erroneous thinking of the writers flawed their documents which became part of the Bible.  

Liberals reject the deity of Christ,  but they see Jesus as  a good man who had a more enlightened view of God then the Old Testament writers.  Liberals declare  that because of His teachings, Jesus  was rightfully  called the Son of God.   They deny that Jesus is  the virgin born Son of God who lived a sinless life in a human body, then shed His blood on the cross as the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. Instead, they affirm that Jesus died as a martyr for the things He believed and taught.

 

 

The Liberal sees God as being so kind and loving that He  overlooks sin.  Liberals reject that God would ever consign anyone to eternal hell.  They teach that everyone is a child of God  and that eventually everyone will be in Heaven.   They say  that it does not matter what you believe;  all roads lead to Heaven.

 

The religious Liberal picks and chooses what he wants to accept in the Bible.  If something speaks to him it becomes the Word of God to him.  If it seems contrary to human reasoning and science, then he rejects it as myth.  Most Liberals would reject a  universal flood in Noah’s day.  They would reject the miracles of the Bible, including the virgin birth of Christ and His bodily resurrection; concluding that His corpse lies as dust in some tomb.

 

When Liberals speak of believing in the resurrection of Christ they mean only that Jesus’ spirit rose in the lives of His followers. It’s true that every Christian is indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. The Bible teaches that the slain body of Jesus literally rose again from the dead three days later in a glorified state and is in Heaven today. Jesus is returning in that body to raise us from the dead, to judge His enemies and  bring in His  everlasting Kingdom of righteousness and peace.  All of this is rejected by Liberals.

 

Liberals reject the creation of man and choose to accept  the evolutionary theory.  They see man as an animal that has evolved to a higher level.  As an animal, they reject the idea of a  human being having a conscience that enables him  to recognize God’s moral standards and know when he has done right or wrong. 

 

Because  Liberals declare there are no absolute moral standards,  but every man has freedom to do whatever he desires;  they welcome the theory of evolution as reason to ignore Almighty God, The Creator;  and reject the moral standards of the Bible.  They reject the fact that all of Adam’s race is born with a sinful nature. They teach that if we just fan the spark  of divine goodness in every man and woman, mankind will continue to evolve and become God-like.  Because of this false premise, it colors their thinking about everything in life.

 

Whereas the Christian’s view of tolerance is to accept others without agreeing with or sharing their beliefs or lifestyle choices; the liberal’s view of tolerance is to accept the beliefs, values, lifestyles and the truth claims of all as of equal value.

 

Whereas the Christian’ source of truth, Christ and His Word, the Bible,  are accepted as absolute and final; the liberal’s view of truth is relative. They tell us that truth is “whatever is right for you.”

 

Whereas the  Christian’s understanding of  right and wrong are determined by the Bible;  the liberal claims that no one has the right to judge another’s views or behaviour as being right or wrong.  Many Christians today have swallowed the liberal’s philosophy that Christians who so judge others are “judgmental”.

C.S. Lewis has this to say about such rubbish,  “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

 

How Their Liberal Beliefs Affect Their Positions

 

Because  Liberals consider the Old Testament  too harsh,  they are generally opposed to the death penalty for capital  offenses.  They are also basically in favor of showing leniency for those who commit crimes.  They are  for lighter sentences.   They argue that the criminal is not at fault alone.  Rather, they blame society for the criminal’s behavior. To Liberals, criminals are not the problem; guns are the problem. They declare that if we remove guns from the people, that crime will decrease.

 

Because  Liberals are convinced  that man is basically good,  they see no need for a strong military defense.  Instead, they conclude man can bring about world peace through diplomacy alone.

 

Though most Conservatives care about the environment,  Liberals are more incensed by environmental pollution than by  moral pollution.  Interestingly, the same Liberal who is opposed to the death penalty for murderers is usually for killing unwanted babies by abortion.

 

How do Liberals Operate?

 

The Liberal Intelligentsia  promote class warfare. They try to convince the poor and middle class that they are victims of the rich. They see their calling in life to be Robin Hoods; stealing from the rich through excessive taxation to provide government programs for the poor. Instead of solving economic problems, they create  more dependence on government. Many dependants  see themselves as victims of societies inequities and gladly choose those political saviours who offer them the most money and the most security, even it if means less freedom.

 

Liberals  promote their agenda and increase their power by teaching their religion of humanism and socialism in the public schools and secular universities where they are welcomed with open arms. Through their so called “progressive education” they have brought about the dumbing down of America in the past fifty years. Liberals desperately need  to operate among naive, dependant people who will look to them as saviours. 

 

Basically the difference in strategy between  Conservatives and  Liberals is that  Conservatives use facts and appeal to the intellect, while Liberals appeal to emotions to make their points.

 

The Fairness Doctrine

 

The extreme Liberals are Socialists at heart, they are rabid in their desire and efforts to silence all opposition to their views.  When popular conservative talk shows spring up, they are enraged  and attack them furiously with what they call a “Fairness Doctrine”  which is actually an attempt to stifle and control free speech.

 

By this so-called “Fairness Doctrine” for every hour of Conservative talk on the radio and television, they want equal time to let Liberals give their side.   The foolishness about this is that they already have the freedom and opportunity to use the media as much as they wish.  Who is stopping them from presenting their own side?  Their problem is that few Americans want to listen to their drivel and few businesses want to support them. 

 

Whose talking about fairness?  The Liberals already have control of the public educational system from PreSchool through college. They already control the major new media.  What more can they want but the silencing of Conservatism?  

 

How did they gain that power and control? Through the spiritual blindness of Christians who allowed theological liberalism to take control of  their churches over the past two centuries.  Again, I assert that theological liberalism leads to political liberalism.

 

What is the Answer to Liberalism?

 

The only answer to the malaise of Liberalism is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When one finds salvation in Christ, and starts growing in his Christian faith, he is filled with hope and self-confidence as he learns to put his confidence in God.   He no longer sees himself a victim, but as a victor over his circumstances. He develops a work ethic. He loves the Bible and  rejoices in God’s holy standards and in his freedom in Christ.  Because he has found new life and God’s solution to his problems,  he desires to share the Good News with others.

 

If anyone ever had reason to be a liberal, I did.  I was born into a poor missionary family.  My father died when I was four.  My mother could have taught me how poor we were and how dependent we were on others.   If there had been government relief when I was a child, my mother could have opted for that relief.  Instead of thinking myself a victim and looking for relief from others,  I was taught the value of work and free-enterprise from childhood.

 

Come to think of it, I never even knew I was poor as a child.  I knew nothing of scholarships or government grants. I worked my way through a Christian high school and Christian college, earning my tuition, room and board.  I say all of this; not to boast, but to encourage you who have had it difficult in life.  By the grace of God,  I came to know Jesus from  early childhood. He has given me the confidence and the enthusiasm to tackle the difficulties of life. 

 

I thank God that Jesus is my Saviour,  my Shepherd, my Provider,  my Lord and my God.  I thank God for the Bible, God’s Word  that shows me how to live.  I thank God for the high privilege of being an American citizen and for the freedom I  have enjoyed all my life.  I thank God for our police officers,  fire fighters, and servicemen and women who are defending and protecting  America with their lives. May God bless and protect them.  May God continue to bless America with the freedom that comes from Him alone  and may we Christians in America see our responsibility to take the Gospel of Christ to those around us and to those in other lands who are bound by  Satan and his lies.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Separation Series | Comments Off on Separation series #2: Liberalism

Crucifixion of Jesus

Years ago I came across the following vivid account by a medical doctor of Christ’s crucifixion. I still cannot read this without shedding tears for what Jesus went through for me. 

CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST 

by C. Truman David, M.D., M.S.

In this paper, I shall discuss some of the physical aspects of the Passion, or suffering of Jesus Christ.  We shall follow Him from
Gethsemane, through His trial, His scourging, His journey to the cross,  to His last dying hours on the cross. 

I  became interested in this about a year ago when I read an account of the Crucifixion in Jim Bishop’s book, The Day Christ Died. I suddenly realized that I had taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted all these years; that I had grown callous to its horror by a too easy familiarity with the grim details and that, as a physician, I didn’t even know the actual cause of death.  The Gospel writers don’t help us very much on this point because crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetime and that they undoubtedly considered a detailed description totally superfluous.  So we have the concise words of the Evangelists, “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified; and they crucified Him.” 

I am indebted to many who have studied this subject in the past, and especially to a contemporary colleague, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who has done exhaustive historical and experimental research and has written extensively on the subject. 

The infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the incarnate God in  atonement for the sins of fallen man I have no competence to discuss.  However, the physical and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s Passion we can examine in some detail.  What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture? 

This led me first to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself.  Crucifixion is a torture and execution of a person by fixation to a cross.  Apparently the first known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians.  Alexander and his generals brought it back to the Mediterranean world; to
Egypt and to
Carthage. The Romans learned the practice from the Carthagenians and (as with most everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill to carry it out.  A number of Roman authors (Liby, Cicero, Tacitus) comment on it.  Several innovations and modifications are described in the ancient literature.  I’ll only mention a few which may have some bearing here. 

The upright portion of the cross could have the cross-arm two or three feet below its top.  This si what we commonly think of today as the classical form of the cross (The one which we have later named the Latin cross.)  However, the common form used in our Lord’s day was the Tau cross (shaped like the Greek letter Tau or like our  “T”). In this cross, the cross-arm was placed in a notch at the top of the upright.  There is fairly overwhelming archeological evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucified. 

The upright post was generally permanently fixed in the ground at the site of execution and the condemned man was forced to carry the cross-arm, apparently weighing about 100 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution.  Without any historical or Biblical proof, Medieval and Renaissance painters have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross.   Many of these painters and most of the sculptors of the crucifixion today show the nails through the palms.  Roman historical accounts and experimental work have shown that the nails were driven through the wrists and not the palms.  Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when they support the weight of a human body.  The misconception may have come through a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Observe my hands.”  Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrists as part of the hand. 

A titulus, or small sign, stating the victim’s crime was usually carried at the front of the procession and later nailed to the cross above his head.  This sign with its staff nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the characteristic form of the Latin cross. 

The physical passion of Christ begins at
Gethsemane.  Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, I shall discuss only one of  physiological interest; the bloody sweat.  It is interesting that the physician of the group, Luke, is the only one to mention this.  He says, “And being in agony He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”  Luke 22:42 

Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this phrase, apparently under the mistaken impression that it just doesn’t happen.  A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting medical literature.  Though very rare, the phenomenon of hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional strain tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat.  This process alone could have produced marked weakness and shock. (The problem here is not with the physical possibility, but with the textual evidence in Luke.) 

We shall move rapidly through the betrayal and arrest.  I must stress again that important portions of the Passion study are missing from this account.   This may be frustrating to you, but, in order to adhere to our purpose of discussing only the purely physical aspects of the Passion, this is necessary. 

After the arrest in the middle of the night Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphas. The palace guard then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they were passing by to spit on Him and strike Him in the face. 

In the early morning Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated and exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken to
Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the fortress Antonia, the seat of the government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course, familiar with Pilate’s attempt to pass the responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea.  Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate.  It was then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.  There is much disagreement among authorities about scourging as a prelude to crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two. Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as His full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who claimed to be King of the Jews. 

Preparation for the scourging are carried out.  The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied above His head to a post. It is doubtful whether the Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of scourging.  The Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes.  The Pharisees, always making sure that the Law was strictly kept, insisted that only thirty-nine be given. ( In the case of a miscount they were sure of remaining in the Law.) The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand.  This is a whip consisting of several heavy leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the end.  The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.  At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only.  Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the underlying tissues producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally arterial bleeding from the vessels in the underlying muscles.  The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.  Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.   When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death the beating is finally stopped. 

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet in His own blood.  The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king.  They throw a robe across His shoulders and place  a stick in His hand for a scepter.  They still need a crown to make their travesty complete.  A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns are shaped into a cross and this is pressed into His scalp.  Again there is large amounts of bleeding. (The scalp is one of the most vascular areas of the body.) After mocking Him and striking Him across the face the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head driving the thorns deeper into His scalp.  Finally they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back  This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds and its removal, just as a careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain- almost as though He were again being whipped- and the wounds again begin to bleed. 

In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments.  The heavy cross-arm of the cross is tied to His shoulders and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and execution detail of Roman soldiers, headed by the centurion, begins its slow journey to
Calvary. In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam together with the shock produced by the copious blood loss is too much.  He stumbles and falls.  The rough wooden beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulder.  He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.  The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross.  Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock.  The 650 yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to
Golgotha is finally completed.  The prisoner is stripped of His clothing except for a loin cloth which is allowed the Jews. 

The crucifixion begins.  Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture.  He refuses to drink.  Simon is ordered to place the cross-arm on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood.  The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrists.  He drives a heavy square wrought iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.  Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action being careful not to pull the arm too tightly, to allow for some flexation and movement. The cross-arm is then lifted to its place at the top of the upright and the titulus reading, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed into place. 

The left foot is then placed backwards against the right foot and with both feet extended  toes down, a nail is driven through His feet into the cross. Excruciating  fiery pain shoots down along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the middle nerve. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid the torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. 

At this point another phenomenon occurs.  As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.  With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward.  Hanging by His arms the chest (pectoral) muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act (these help expiration). Air can be drawn into the lungs but cannot be exhaled.  Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.  Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside.  Spasmodically He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life giving oxygen.   It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sayings which are recorded. 

At first, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Luke 23:34 

Second, to the penitent thief, “Today thou shalt be with Me in
Paradise.”  Luke 23:43 

The third, looking down at the terrified, grief stricken, adolescent John (the beloved apostle), He said, “Behold thy mother.”  And looking to Mary, His mother, “Woman, behold thy son.”  John 19:26-27 

The fourth cry is from Psalm 22,  “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken me?  Mark 15:34 

Hours of limitless pain pass, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation (suffocation), searing pain as torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium (the sac around the heart) slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. Let us again remember the 22nd Psalm, verse 14, “I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted  in the midst of my bowels.” 

It is almost over now.  The loss of tissue fluid has reached a critical level and the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick sluggish blood into tissues. The tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp small gulps of air.  The markedly dehydrated tissue send their flood of stimuli to the brain.  Jesus gasps His fifth cry,  “I thirst”  John 19:28   A sponge soaked in Posca, a cheap sour wine which is a staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, is lifted to His lips.  He apparently doesn’t take any of the liquid.  

 The body of Jesus is now in extremis and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues.  This realization brings out the sixth word, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished!” John 19:30  His mission of atonement has been completed. Finally He can allow His body to die.  With one last surge of strength He once again presses His  torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His last cry, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.”  Luke 23:45 

The rest you know.  In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses.  The common method of ending crucifixion was by  curifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs.  This prevented the victim from pushing upward, the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest and rapid suffocation occurred.  The legs of the two thieves were broken but when they came to Jesus they saw this was unnecessary. 

Apparently to make doubly sure of death the legionnaire drove the lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward, through the pericardium and into the heart. John 19:34   “And immediately there came out blood and water.”  Thus there was an escape of the watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart.   We, therefore, have rather conclusive postmortem evidence that our Lord died; not from the crucifixion  death by suffocation,  but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluids in the pericardium. 

Thus we have seen the epitome of evil which man can exhibit toward man and toward God.  This is not a pretty sight and is apt to leave us despondent and depressed.  How grateful  we can be that we have a sequel: a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God towards man, the miracle of the atonement and the expectation of Easter morning.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Jesus | Comments Off on Crucifixion of Jesus

Christmas series #2: Who is the Christmas Child?

Who is the Christmas child?  Doesn’t everyone know? Isn’t He the Son of God born in Bethlehem?  Isn’t His name “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6?

 

Isn’t His name “Emmanuel, meaning God with us,” as explained to Joseph by the angel Gabriel in Matthew 1:23?  Yes! Yes! Yes! to all those questions.

 

God named Him Jesus.  That was God’s instruction to Mary by the angel Gabriel.  Luke 1:26:33   The same instruction was given to Joseph in Matthew 1:18-21. There was no question or argument as to what His name would be.  The names means “for He shall save His people from their sins.

 

Who Is Jesus?

The full form of that name was translated from  the Old Testament name, Je-hoshua  or Joshua, meaning Jehovah will save.  Wow!  Did you hear that?   JEHOVAH will save!   The JEHOVAH of the Old Testament has come as a man  to dwell with men on this earth in order to be their Saviour.

 

Two Names of God:  Elohim and Jehovah

Elohim is the name of God that speak of His power and His preeminence.

Jehovah is the name of God that speaks of His relationship with His own;   with Israel in the Old Testament and with His Church in the New Testament.

 

YHWH (Yah-weh)

Jehovah is the English rendering of the Hebrew tetragram,  YHWH.  It’s original pronunciation was unknown.  The Jews took seriously the third commandment to avoid taking God’s name in vain.  So to keep from speaking that holy name carelessly,  in the 3rd century BC,  they started using the name Adonai, or Lord,  to refer to God.  In the King James Version, Lord is used instead of Jehovah, whereas in the American Standard Version,  Jehovah is used.

 

I AM

The sacred name Jehovah is derived from  the verb  to be, implying that God is eternal.  Jesus claimed in John 8:58  that He is I AM.  When He made that claim the Pharisees were furious with Him and tried to stone Him.  Jesus was claiming that He has always existed and always will exist.  He was never created.

 

Ten names are linked with Jehovah in the O.T.

These linked names teach us more about Jehovah.

Jehovah-rophe  Jehovah heals.  Exodus 15:26

Jehovah-meqeddesh  Jehovah sanctifies. Exodus 31:13

Jehovah-tsabaoth   Lord of Hosts   I Samuel 1:3

Jehovah-elyon  Jehovah Most High  Psalm 7:17

(Here’s one you will recognize!)

Jehovah-rohi  The Lord is my Shepherd   Psalm 23:1

Jehovah-jireh  The Lord will provide Genesis 22:14

Jehovah-Shalom  The Lord my Peace  Judges 6:24

Jehovah-Shammah  The Lord is there  Ezekiel 48:35

Jehovah-Tsidkenu  The Lord our righteousness.  Jeremiah 33:6

 

Who is our Shepherd, Provider, Righteousness and all the things above?  JESUS.  Jehovah was the pre-incarnate name of Jesus.  Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

 

John made a blanket statement in John 1:18 when he declared that “No man has seen God as any time.  The only begotten Son has revealed Him.”  Jesus revealed the Father.  Do you want to know what God the Father is like?  Look at Jesus and you will see a perfect reflection of the Father.

 

So whenever Jehovah appeared or spoke to anyone in the Old Testament, it was the pre-incarnate Jesus.  This is the WONDER of Christmas.   That baby in the manger was Jehovah of the Old Testament now a tiny, human helpless baby boy, dependent on His mother to feed Him and change His diapers.  Isn’t that amazing!  

 

Many years ago, Dr. James Grey, one of the early presidents of Moody Bible Institute was sitting in Lincoln Park in Chicago reading his Bible.  As he read it suddenly dawned on Him that Jesus was the Jehovah of the Old Testament.  He stood to his feet in silent, reverent worship. He was not aware of the time he stood there  until suddenly he noticed that people were staring at him.

 

Are you sitting there at your computer in silent worship?  Has this glorious truth dawned on you.  The Christmas baby is the Jehovah of the Old Testament.  He is the Creator God who has no beginning or ending.  He is the great I AM.  If you have put your trust in Him,  He is your Saviour, your Lord and your God, as Thomas exclaimed at Jesus’ resurrection, as recorded in John 20:28

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Christmas series #2: Who is the Christmas Child?

Covenant series #1: Old Covenant

 The Abrahamic Covenant

Four thousand years ago God reached into Ur of the Chaldees, now known as Iraq, and in His wisdom, sovereignty and grace chose Abram (later called Abraham) for a very special purpose. He called him to leave his country and go to a place He would show him. Separated from the culture of his birthplace, God established a new nation and a new culture totally separate from the rest of the world. God led him to and gave him the land of Palestine. He promised to bless him and make his progeny a blessing to the world. The promise God gave to Abraham is called the Abrahamic Covenant and it is found in Genesis chapters 12 and 17.

Abrahamic Covenant continues through Isaac, Jacob and Judah

Time passed and Abraham and his wife Sarah grew old. Though promised descendents as vast as the stars in number, they still had no children. His wife was well past the age of bearing children. In their impatience with God, Abraham, at the suggestion of Sarah, had a son, Ishmael, by Sarah’s handmaid, Hagar. Ishmael became father of the Arabs. Finally when Abraham was 100 years old it is recorded in Genesis 22 that God gave Abraham and Sarah their promised son, Isaac, through whom the Abrahamic Covenant continued. Later, Isaac was married to Rebecca and they had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. In Genesis 28 it is recorded that God in His sovereignty continued His Covenant through Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Jacob had twelve sons, and from those sons, Genesis 49 records that God chose Judah through whom the Abrahamic Covenant should continue and through whom the Messiah would come.

The rest of the Old Testament story is the record of how God directed and protected the Tribe of Judah through whom came our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ we who have trusted Him have been blessed, and through Him one day the whole world will be blessed.

Joseph protects his brothers, including Judah, in famine

Later because of famine in Israel, the twelve sons of Jacob went down to Egypt to find food. Interestingly, years earlier eleven of these sons, had grown jealous of their brother Joseph and sold him to some traders going down to Egypt. God was with Joseph and eventually he became the prime minister of Egypt under Pharaoh. God used the wisdom of Joseph to prepare for famine and the twelve sons were reunited in Egypt and settled there in a special place called Goshen. There the twelve tribes of Israel prospered and grew until a new Pharaoh came along who did not know or appreciate Joseph. For the next four hundred years, Israel suffered in slavery in Egypt.

Moses leads the Exodus of Israel from Egypt to their Promised Land

At the end of the four hundred years of slavery in Egypt, God raised up a new leader from the tribe of Levi, whose name was Moses. You can read the exciting story in the early chapters of Exodus. God prepared and used Moses to lead Israel, now millions strong, to go back to the land God had promised them in the Abrahamic Covenant. In their journey back to Canaan, they traveled through the Sinai desert. There in the Sinai desert God gave to Moses to give to the people, His Laws: including His moral law, His civil law and His ceremonial law.

The moral law, summed up in the Ten Commandments, showed Israel God’s moral standards for them. The people promised to keep His law, but like all of us as sinners, they failed miserably.

The ceremonial law provided a way for sinful people to approach a holy God. It was a system of intricate details concerning the building of a tabernacle. It included a system of approaching God through the sacrifice of animals. All of these animal sacrifices were a picture and a type of the Lord Jesus Christ who as the Lamb of God, would one day be the complete and final sacrifice for sin. If Jesus had not come and died for sin, then all of the ceremonial system of worship with its sacrifices, feasts, Sabbaths and holy days would have been in vain.

The Abrahamic Covenant continues through King David and King Solomon

Later David of the Tribe of Judah was born and eventually became king of Israel. While king God gave him what is known as the Davidic Covenant. You can read it in II Samuel 7:8-17. In that covenant he refers to David’s son, Solomon, who would follow him on the throne. God also promised David that his throne would be eternal. Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour was promised who would reign forever on David’s throne over the whole earth. Read more about that reign in Isaiah 11 and 35 and in the Minor Prophet, Zechariah 11-13. Read also the prophetic fulfillment that is yet to come as it is described in Revelation 19:11-16 and Revelation 20:4.

The New Covenant Prophesied

Several hundred years later the Prophet Jeremiah appeared on the scene and in Jeremiah 31:31-37 he announced a New Covenant that would one day replace the Old Covenant. In a later article I will say more about this New Covenant.

The Old Covenant Ceases

When the Lord Jesus Christ came and died on a cross for the sins of the world the ceremonial system came to an abrupt end. The moment Jesus died, Matthew 27:50-51 tells us that the heavy veil in the temple was torn supernaturally from top to bottom, thus showing that the way to approach God through the Old Covenant had come to an end forever. At that moment salvation would come to sinful man through the New Covenant.

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Covenant Series | Comments Off on Covenant series #1: Old Covenant

Family series #2: Dedication

We continue our comments  from Deuteronomy 22:8 about our responsibility of building  battlements or walls of protection around  our homes to protect our children.  This spiritual, as well as physical  responsibility, starts with the father; but a wise mother works in harmony with her husband to protect her family. Let’s consider those  walls of protection.

 

Foundation

 

Before we consider those walls, we need to make sure our home has a firm, solid foundation. In I Corinthians  3:9-15  Paul speaks of Christ as that foundation.  To have a Christian home, both husband and wife need to make sure they are both trusting in Christ alone for salvation and that both are submitted to the Lordship of Christ. . A Christian home must be built on Christian  principles.

 

The first wall of protection is dedication.

 

Dedicate yourself

 

If ours is to be a Christian home, both husband and wife must each have dedicated their lives to Christ. Paul writes to every Christians in Romans 12:1-2 ” I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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.”  Success as parents starts with both parents yielded fully to God, ready to do whatever His Word says. Whether you are a young couple anticipating marriage or whether you have been married for several years, I urge you to get involved in a church where Christ is magnified and where the Bible is clearly taught and applied to life.  Some of the preaching may go against your grain and irritate you, but if you are wise you will honestly face God’s Word and test everything you hear by what the Bible says.  Dedicate yourself to God to read His Word together daily and spend time talking to Him together.  Unless you are both dedicated to God, one of the important walls of protection is lacking in your home and your children will suffer for it.

 

Dedicate your children

 

As dedicated Christian parents I would urge you to publicly dedicate your children to God in a church service.  It can be a blessing to you, to your children and to the rest of the congregation.  In a dedication service you are publicly acknowledging that your child is a gift of God and that you recognize He has entrusted your child  to you for about 18 years to train for His glory.  You recognize your lack of wisdom to take on this sobering responsibility and your total dependence on God and His Word for that wisdom. Your trust is in God for success.  Your  desire for your children is that they each come to know Christ as Saviour and Lord and that they surrender their wills to Him.

 

Two examples of infant dedication are given in Scripture. 

 

Hannah brought her infant son, Samuel, to the temple and presented him to the Lord. She said,  “For this child I prayed and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of Him: therefore also have I lent him to the Lord, as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord. And she worshipped the Lord there.”  I Samuel 1:27-28

 

In the New Testament we read of Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus to the temple to present Him to the Lord. You can read the story in Luke 2:21-22.  We must not mistake infant dedication with baptism.  Jesus was dedicated to the Lord as an infant  and He was baptized in the Jordan River when He was about 30 years old.   Luke 3:21-23

 

There are other walls that we will be discussing, but there can be no success in any other area of parenting until this wall of dedication has been built.

 

May 29, 2006 Posted by | Family Series | Comments Off on Family series #2: Dedication