“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
The Lord had called the prophet Amos to speak to the people so that they would come to their senses and repent, yet he seems not to have made very much of an impression on them, because most of them had failed to mend their ways. Israel was continuing to live under the delusion that because God had chosen and loved them, he would protect them to the end of their days—regardless of their behavior. God’s imminent judgment on Israel would not be a mere punitive blow to warn, but an almost total destruction. Following the conquest of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians in 721 BC the ten tribes were scattered throughout the Assyrians empire. Should America read Amos closely and turn from their national sin?
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18
14 And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.” Jeremiah 14:14-15
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” John 10:1-6
The practical remark has often been made that many of the things which now frighten Christians and fill them with anxiety would cease to frighten them if they would endeavor to see the Lord Jesus in all, ordering every providence and overruling everything so that not a hair falls to the ground without Him. They are happy who can hear His voice through the thickest clouds and darkness, and above the loudest winds and storms, saying, “It is I; do not be afraid.” R.C. Ryle – Notes on the Gospel of John
Remember how your fathers, in times gone by, defended God’s truth, and blush, ye cowards, who are afraid to maintain it! Remember that our Bible is a blood-stained book; the blood of martyrs is on the Bible, the blood of translators and confessors. The pool of holy baptism, in which many of you have been baptized, is a blood-stained pool: full many have had to die for the vindication of that baptism which is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Charles Spurgeon
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30:33
Securing salvation for His people was “finished” at the Cross, however His care for His redeemed people will never be finished. His care and His love for His people will never end and has no limits. All the power of the Father’s omnipotence is Christ’s, the all-knowing Omniscience of the Father is Christ’s, the ever-present Omnipresence of the Father is Christ’s. Christ is the exact essence of the Father. Like the Father He is all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. He is perfectly capable of hearing our prayers, discerning our needs and accomplishing the Father’s will in our life. He is our intercessor and our only intercessor with the Father.
“When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast made – What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” Ah, brethren in Christ, when you go out at night and view the wondrous heavens, and then think of your own utter insignificance; when you meditate upon the glory of God’s majesty and holiness; then think of your own exceeding sinfulness, and are bowed into the dust; remember, that by wondrous and sovereign grace, you have been not only predestined to be conformed to His image, but that you should, as a joint-heir with Him, share His inheritance.” Arthur W. Pink
“The Holy Ghost revealed much of precious truth and holy precept by the apostles, and to His teaching we would give earnest heed; but when men cite the authority of fathers, and councils, and bishops, we give place for subjection, no, not for an hour. They may quote Irenaeus or Cyprian, Augustine or Chrysostom; they may remind us of the dogmas of Luther or Calvin; they may find authority in Simeon, Wesley, or Gill—we will listen to the opinions of these great men with the respect which they deserve as men, but having done so, we deny that we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the church of God, for there nothing has any authority, but “Thus saith the Lord of hosts.” ” Charles Spurgeon
“Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:16-17)
“His delight is in the law of the Lord.” He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. “The law of the Lord” is the daily bread of the true believer.” Charles Spurgeon
“I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen him; and I am sure he chose me before I was born, or else he never would have chosen me afterwards; and he must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love” -Charles Spurgeon
Good Christians can disagree on the tax code, the Affordable Care Act, the size of the military and many other issues, however matters of faith, such as the sanctity of life, is a matter of Christian ethics clearly defined in Scripture. The sanctity of the life of the unborn child is intrinsically entwined in the value our God places on all life. Throughout Scripture, God affirms the value of every human life—from children in the womb to the elderly. Throughout Scripture God attests to His love for all mankind regardless of any of the caveats that we as fallen creatures have personally placed on that value.
Referred to in Jewish literature as “That Man”, so that they didn’t have to write out his name, or alternatively “Yeshu” (.י.ש.ו)- which stands for “May his name be forever erased and forgotten”, Jesus has been avoided in polite conversation among in Jewish communities for most of the last two millennia. Reviled as a traitor and heretic, and blamed for the bloody persecution and murder of Jews at the hands of the church for centuries, Yeshua was considered straight out dangerous.
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:16-18).
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14).
We see God’s proclamation – His promise to His people of a Redeemer, the Promised One. We are told that this Messiah will be born to a virgin and will be called Immanuel. We then see the fulfillment of this promise in the New Testament.
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.”
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:16
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10
Supersessionism, also called replacement theology or fulfillment theology, is a theological doctrine held by some on the current status of the church in relation to the Jewish people and Judaism. It holds that the Christian Church has succeeded the Israelites as the definitive people of God or that the New Covenant has replaced or superseded the Mosaic covenant. Paul clearly contradicts this when in Romans 11 he writes “Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.”
“As the waters overtook the matron martyr the younger woman was implored by her friends to give in to her persecutors, yet she continued to pray and recited verses from the 25th Psalm. Her executioners continued to try to break her and she was “Dragged half-dead from the waters, [and] urged again ‘to pray for the king’…. She had already been overwhelmed in the horrors of death; the black devouring floods were hissing at her feet, as if greedy for their prey; life, and the sweets of life, inviting her one way; death, in one of his most wild and horrific forms, yawning to swallow her up the other way.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40).
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture.”
To understand that Jesus is the manifestation of the Father, that He is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, we need look no further than His own words. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” He is, therefore, God in human flesh. Paul tells us that “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:19). The ESV translates Hebrews 1:3 as Jesus having “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Other translations read that Jesus “expresses the very character of God” (New Living Translation)….
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7).
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:24).
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Martin Luther King quoted from Amos 5:24
“Since He has at His command all the power in the universe, the Lord God omnipotent can do anything as easily as anything else. All His acts are done without effort. He expends no energy that must be replenished. His self-sufficiency makes it unnecessary for Him to look outside of Himself for a renewal of strength. All the power required to do all that He wills to do lies in undiminished fullness in His own infinite being.” – A.W. Tozer
The righteousness of God is one of the most prominent attributes of God in the Scriptures, and, as with all attributes it is intertwined and complementary with all His others. God’s righteousness complements His holiness, His goodness, His justice, His love, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His wisdom. His righteousness is perfected through His omniscience, His omnipotence and His sovereignty. His righteousness, therefore, is the standard of righteousness that distinguishes Him from all other beings.
“The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.”
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).
Knowing God is understanding God. The God that we worship, the author of our salvation, the God of creation, has always desired that we know of Him and understand Him. The many attributes of God that are revealed in His Word define His character. These attributes are many and they are the defining measure of all good things. They are the standard of perfection that we as Christians are called on to aspire to.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9
As we struggle through life it is important that we remember where our help comes from. The Lord has promised many times in His Word that His steadfast love for us “will endure forever”. (Psalm 136). This enduring love is assured to us by His ever presence in our lives because it is written “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:8-11).
Christ’s kingdom is spiritually active in the world today in the hearts and in the lives of His people. God has promised and assured us that one day Christ will return to physically reign on this earth over His Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 11:15; 20:6). We need to take hold of this hope and believe what He has promised us, that one day He will reign as a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. With the chaos of this world we need to take hope knowing that the Millennial Kingdom will be one of peace without end and ruled by our Lord with justice and with righteousness. Take heart, because in this Kingdom we are told that “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.” (2 Timothy 2:11-12).
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1) Romans Chapter 13:1 can be a very difficult passage for many Christians. It is very straightforward in its meaning but possibly hard to understand when […]
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
At the very heart of the issue is the method of interpreting Scripture. The issue is quite clearly the very Word of God and not some “third tier” issue.
False teachers pose a constant danger to the church. Jesus had warned His Church of false teachers and the Ephesian Church was discerning enough to understand. Jesus had warned. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15).
The most significant of all God’s trustworthy promises was the promise that He would send His Son, the Messiah and Savior, into the world. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, Paul wrote, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12).
“Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9). “This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. Blessed are the peacemakers. Observe the connection. The Scripture links these two together, pureness of heart and peaceableness of spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable (James 3:17). Follow peace and holiness (Hebrews 12:14). And here Christ joins them together pure in heart, and peacemakers, as if there could be no purity where there is not a study of peace. That religion is suspicious which is full of faction and discord.” The Beatitudes by A.W. Pink, The Seventh Beatitude
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). That’s a very high standard indeed. God’s absolute purity is God’s standard for the heart!
Mercy, therefore is a fruit of the born again Christian’s character. Because mercy is reflected in the essence of Christ’s character we therefore must show mercy in our lives. His life and substitutional death was the ultimate act of mercy for an undeserving people – namely us. God was not required to show mercy on us but having done so we can do no less. Having been the recipients of His wondrous mercy, we cannot help but now act mercifully toward others.
“He has no stately form or majesty… He was despised and forsaken of men… He was oppressed and He was afflicted… like a lamb that is led to slaughter … that He was cut off out of the land of the living,” and “His grave was assigned with wicked men” (Isaiah 53:2-3, 7-9)
Charles Spurgeon sums up a great point as we study the Beatitudes. The ordering of them by our Lord was not by random. Spurgeon writes “Not only do the Beatitudes rise, one above another, but they spring out of each other, as if each one depended upon all that went before. Each growth, feeds a higher growth….”
Mourning is hateful and irksome to poor human nature. From suffering and sadness our spirits instinctively shrink. By nature we seek the society of the cheerful and joyous. Our text presents an anomaly to the unregenerate, yet it is sweet music to the ears of God’s elect. If “blessed,” why do they “mourn”? If they “mourn,” how can they be “blessed”? Arthur Pink, The Beatitudes, Page 6, Kindle Edition.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” What is poverty of spirit? It is the opposite of that haughty, self-assertive, and self-sufficient disposition that the world so much admires and praises. It is the very reverse of that independent and defiant attitude that refuses to bow to God, that determines to brave things out, and that says with Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” (Ex. 5:2). To be poor in spirit is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things.”
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” Isaiah 9:6-7
In Christ we are heirs of the Father, adopted into His family. In Christ we need to fully understand our position in that family. Scripture clearly attests to our metamorphosis from darkness into the light. Scripture clearly define how exactly we are a new creation.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Romans 12:9-14
“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against ation,neither shall they learn war anymore.” Isaiah 2:4
Please pray for the estimated 60 million Christian believers in China as the government cracks down on religion. The government has begun to remove crosses from church buildings and recently held a “religious affairs work conference” to rein in religious groups across the country.
“Nothing whatever is left obscure or ambiguous; but all things that are in the Scriptures, are by the Word brought forth into the clearest light, and proclaimed to the whole world.” (Martin Luther Bondage of the Will, 25-29)
The clarity of Scripture was a cornerstone of the Reformation and established an important principle: That the Word of God was revealed in an understandable way, that its central message is clear, and that because it is clear all men are fully accountable to its message.
“A unifying hope of the Tanakh is the coming of Mashiach and the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d among humanity. One purpose of this book is to review with an open mind and discuss the contents of these prophecies about Mashiach. Let’s start with a quote from a passage about Mashiach in the Tanakh book of Malachi 3: 1-6
“Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.” Jan Hus
“And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” (Luke 4:42-44)
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
What Exactly is Progressive Parallelism? The short answer is that it is the cornerstone of the amillennialist position and without it they have no basis to contend we are currently in the millennial kingdom. I hope that I can make clear their contentions and reveal the theological gymnastics that must be accepted to give credence at all to this view of eschatology. Please examine the following Scriptures from Revelation.
The consequences of institutionalized slavery bringing Divine judgment was not lost on many Americans and was a major theme of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address. Lincoln knew that God had “His own purposes” in bringing the Civil War to the American people. God brings “woe unto the world because of offenses… (and) if we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses,” then “He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”