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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Can the State Ever Legislate the Gospel?

When Jesus sent out the disciples two by two to the different cities in Galilee, their work created enough of a stir that Herod wondered what was going on. Such religious ‘stirs’ will always come to the attention of the heads of state. Governments are suspicious of the emergence of new things over which they do not have complete authority. The state is defensive of its power and influence. It is reluctant to permit an independent authority to continue within its realm of power. Herod may have first heard of Jesus through his steward, Chuza. He was the husband of Joanna who ministered to Jesus (Luke 8:3). At this point in time, however, Herod didn’t need his steward to tell him anything. There was a bit of a commotion across a sizable portion of his realm. Herod desired to see Jesus (Luke 9:9), and probably not because he admired him (cp. Luke 13:31). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2009 in Religion, Religion & Politics

 

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Does God Exist?

I found this video on one of my facebook friend’s site. I thought it was really interesting. Perhaps you will like it as well. :-)

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This is basically an annulling of Epicurus’ dictum, which he used thinking to prove there is no God:

• Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
• Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
• Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
• Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

If darkness does not exist, in that it is not something that can be measured but is in reality the absence of light; and if cold also does not exist, according to the laws of physics, but what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat, then evil—like darkness and cold—does not exist. What we call evil is what happens when people act without the presence of God’s love in their hearts! Wow! I never thought of it that way. Did you?

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2009 in God, Religion

 

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The Authority of a Good Name

Jesus dispatched his disciples to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He sent them out two by two and gave them his authority (Luke 9:1-5), because he would not be physically with them. They would act in his name, confronting demons, healing diseases and speaking his word, i.e. the Gospel. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2009 in Kingdom Life, Religion

 

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So, What’s the Good News?

What is the Gospel or the Good News? According to Romans 10:9-10, a man must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that Jesus was both crucified for our sins and raised from the dead. This is the Gospel in a nutshell!

I’m working my way through Galatians at the present time, and I am considering what Paul says about perverting that Gospel. Notice:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-10 KJVR)

Paul had some trouble with folks coming after him and seeking to undo what he had done. During his first missionary journey, he had raised up several churches in Galatia. Not long after he left, however, some people came in to tell the new believers, they had to obey the Law of Moses. Paul wrote back to say, this whole idea is a perversion of the Gospel. Paul is saying that God has become flesh in order to deliver us from this world. We cannot be delivered from the world through law—any kind of law. Obedience to law can only make us better citizens of this world. Paul says that Jesus came to make us citizens of the Kingdom of God. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2009 in Gospel, Religion

 

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Jesus Gave Himself…

I was thinking today about what I might write in my blog. My thoughts went to the book of Galatians, perhaps because I am teaching on the book of Acts in my Sunday school class at this time. Presently, we are in Acts 13-14 where Paul was on his first missionary journey, when he and Barnabas raised up gentile churches in Galatia. It wasn’t very long afterward that men sought to undo Paul’s work there which prompted his writing the epistle to the Galatians. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Jesus, Religion

 

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Betrayed With a Kiss!

Leading the multitude to Gethsemane, Judas came near Jesus and kissed him (Luke 22:47; Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45). This kiss was the token signal to the Temple guard with him (Mark 14:44) that the man was indeed Jesus, whom they sought. The word for “kiss” is kataphileo (G2705). It is made up of two Greek words: kata (G2596) meaning “against,” and phileo (G5368) meaning “love” or “denoting the personal affection of a friend”). This second word was often used by Peter to express his friendship for Christ (cp. John 21:15-17). So, right up to the last, Judas acted out his subtlety, causing the other disciples to believe all was well for the moment, so advantage could be taken. Thus expressing his love for Christ, Judas could have easily told the others later that he had been deceived by the chief priests. He could have told them that he thought he was orchestrating a reconciliation between the chief priests and Christ, and the weapons of the Temple guard were to be at Christ’s service against Rome. The different excuses one could imagine to hide one’s sin are nearly endless. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2009 in Religion, Temptation

 

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Jesus Accused Judas of Slander!

Slandering JesusOn the evening he was betrayed and immediately after the evening meal, Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he announced that they were spiritually clean, except for one of them (John 13:10-11). Judas was unclean, spiritually. What does this mean? For a few days now I have been looking at Judas’ heart. His loyalty to Jesus was divided by his commitment to a cause, presumably a political cause, so Judas was probably a Zealot or a member of a similar political group.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2009 in Gospel of Luke

 

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Why Did Judas Betray Jesus?

Judas - 5

from Google Images

Earlier I tried to show that Judas was devoted to Jesus,[1] but became increasingly drawn away to a **more important** objective.[2] I also claimed that Judas did not intend for Jesus to be killed. That was not part of his plan. He was evidently surprised with the outcome of the first trial and tried to get Jesus released. He visibly regretted what he had done, when he found he could no longer control the outcome, which he originally presumed he could.

Let’s recall a few events that had recently taken place and consider what may have been going on in Judas’ heart, and perhaps we can draw from this a lesson we can apply in our own lives. On the ninth day of the first month (cf. John 12:1) in 31 AD Jesus and his disciples arrived in Jerusalem. Judas was praising and glorifying God as he and the other disciples led Jesus through the eastern gate of the Temple (Matthew 21:9). This was the Messiah come to Jerusalem. Everything seemed to be falling into place and was now going according to Judas’ overall plan. Suddenly, however, something occurred that evening in Bethany that threatened Judas’ hopes.

Six days before the Passover Feast Day (John 12:1-3) Jesus and the disciples had dinner at Martha’s home. While Jesus sat, Mary washed Jesus’ feet, perhaps her usual task when he was their guest (cf. Luke 10:38-39). However, at this time she took expensive ointment and poured out all its contents upon Jesus’ feet! Judas protested (John 12:4-6), saying the ointment should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor, but actually he didn’t care for the poor, but for the political cause I mentioned in an earlier study.[3] Jesus defended Mary, but why did she pour the expensive ointment upon Jesus’ feet? Why did she choose this particular time and not earlier?

Jesus’ ministry had been financed in part by women of substance (Luke 8:1-3), and Mary, Martha’s sister, was one of those women.[4] It cannot be proved one way or the other, but we are looking for a reason why Judas behaved as he did, so we must consider the possibilities. One of those possibilities is Mary found out Judas was not using her love offerings properly, and what she intended for Jesus and his ministry was actually going for a Zealot uprising against Rome. This idea is accentuated in the fact that only days later this scene was repeated again in Bethany, and again Jesus defended the woman against the protests of his disciples (Matthew 26:6-13).

Perhaps Mary and several of the woman supporters complained to Judas and threatened to expose him. They would rather **waste** everything they had on Jesus alone than see what they gave out of love for him used in a Zealot cause. Judas found himself between a rock and a hard place. He had to think fast and act right away, if he were to make things right before the women exposed him. He may have even consulted one of his Zealot friends and decided to hand Jesus over to the chief priests to be held in custody (Matthew 26:14-16).

John the Baptist was held by Herod for nearly a year before he was beheaded, so Judas probably didn’t see any immediate danger to Jesus’ life. Meanwhile, Judas could gain more support for the Zealot cause and Jesus’ release, because Jesus was a very popular rabbi. Even the women who threatened to expose him would have to see him and the Zealot cause as their only hope of having Jesus returned to them. It all seemed to work out clearly in Judas’ mind, but it all too soon came apart before his very eyes.

So, is this what took place behind the scenes? We don’t know, but the Scriptures allow for such an occurrence. Judas betrayed Jesus but almost immediately regretted what he had done. Something hadn’t gone as he had anticipated. We don’t know what that was, but the above is a reasonable possibility. But, what does this mean for us today? First of all, it means that no matter what is done for or against Christ, God’s will or purpose will prevail in the end. Secondly, it makes better sense for us to **waste** our lives upon Jesus alone, than to divide our loyalties between Jesus and an attractive cause, which may be religious, political, moral or whatever.[5] At the end of the day, if any worldly loyalty causes us to act with subtly, in the end it will exposes Christ to open shame in the world’s eyes. No one who loves Jesus should be a part of doing that. Let Jesus be our only boast, as we preach his death and resurrection to a needy world.

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[1] See The Secret Life of Judas

[2]  See Why Did Judas Steal from Jesus?

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mary, Martha’s sister, was actually Mary Magdalene. See my study, Mary, the Mother of Mark.

[5] Remember, Judas probably believed serving Jesus and his political agenda were really the same cause in the end, but they were not.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2009 in Judas, Religion

 

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Why Did Judas Steal from Jesus?

Judas - 6

from Google Images

Less than a week before the crucifixion, Judas was openly indignant over the honor done to Christ by Mary, as she poured out her expensive ointment upon Jesus’ feet (John 12:4-5). Judas believed that something or someone else was more worthy of the valuable contents of Mary’s bottle (John 12:6). In an earlier post, which can be read HERE, we saw that Judas was one who had been devoted to Christ, but his heart began to change and became increasingly more committed to someone or something other than Jesus. His friendship and loyalty to the Lord was apparently overshadowed by something else that compelled him to steal and even covet the love offering of another poured out for Christ. He would rather have sold the contents of that bottle and used the money for something else. What changed Judas? What made him a thief? He was the treasurer of the group, but he stole from what was entrusted to him (John 12:6). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2009 in Religion, Temptation

 

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The Secret Life of Judas

Thirty Pieces of Silver - 1

from Google Images

I wonder: how many of us consider ourselves above betraying Jesus in the manner in which Judas did? I know I used to think I would never have done what Judas did, no matter what the circumstances. Nevertheless, I have come to realize how easy it is for many of us to ignorantly take part in similar betrayals of the one we love so much. I intend to write two or three articles in an effort to show how some of us, including myself, could and perhaps have been taken in by men who operate outside of the control or influence of the Spirit of God. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2009 in Religion, Temptation

 

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Why does God focus so much attention on Himself?

Why does God need or want to be worshiped – either by the angels or human beings?

Doesn’t this remind one of autocratic HUMAN rulers of the past like the Ptolemies, Caesars and the ancient monarchs of Syria that ruled over the Jews during the 2nd Temple period? And, what of the more modern rulers such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao? They demanded complete obedience, and their supporters worshiped them?

Why is worshiping God **NOT** like worshiping them? And, why is God’s demanding worship **NOT** like the demands of those same autocratic rulers?

From time to time, I have been asked questions like this by some irreverent people, but though their questions are irreverent, there is an underlying logic to their questions that demands an answer.

Recently, I came across this short video by The Gospel Coalition. In it John Piper offers what I believe to be a short and succinct but very profound answer to the question: Why does God focus so much attention on himself? I enjoyed playing the video, and I hope you are as pleased as I am with his reply.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2009 in Religion, Worship

 

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And I, if I be lifted up…

Red Cross

from Google Images

So much of Christianity today seems to be either contending with sin or counting the days before Christ’s return. The eyes of men tend to fix themselves upon either ourselves and our shortcomings or upon what some teacher who is willing to tell us what the future holds. Where are Jesus and the cross in any of this? Where is the Gospel of the love of God, for example, in all the talk about the coming of Christ for some believers but leaving behind a bunch of other believers? Is it logical to assume people would be drawn by the love of Christ, when so much fear is preached in his name (2Timothy 1:7; Hebrew 2:15; 1John 4:18)? I never hear about the when, where, or why of Christ’s death in such preaching. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2009 in Jesus, Religion

 

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The Prayer!

Jesus is the propitiation for our sins and also for the sins of the whole world according to 1John 2:2. It was for this reason that he came into the world, (John 3:16-17; 18:11).

Jesus is the express image of the Father (Colossians 1:15). If I want to know what the Father is like I am told to get to know Jesus (John 14:7-9). It would seem that Jesus loves us and mourns over our condition (John 11:35; Luke 13:34). It is evident that it is God’s will that all men should be saved (1Timothy 2:4), and he works out all things out according to his will (Ephesians 1:11). Knowing these things, therefore, it can hardly be said that universal salvation is not our Father’s will. Anything asked according to the will of God is a request that is heard (1John 5:14-15), and the one praying has the confidence that his desire is granted. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2009 in Christian Universalism, Religion

 

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All I Have Is Christ

I found this video on the “Already Not Yet” Blog. It blessed me so much that I had to add it here. I’ve been playing it often. The lyrics with the tune are very moving. I hope it blesses you as much as it has been blessing me.

God bless.

All I Have Is Christ

Lyrics:

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI), by Jordan Kauflin

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2009 in Grace, Religion

 

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The Ground Is Level at the Cross!

For well over a dozen posts I have been speaking about a question that has unsettled some. Two brothers in Christ have tried to get me to reconsider my position on this point. One is no longer speaking with me, because of the stand I have taken. The point is pretty basic really, and is summed up in two questions:

At the cross, whom did Christ save, and can that salvation ever be lost?

May all of God’s children, who love to see their Lord lifted up to be seen and praised by all, allow the words of Christ, and not those of men, end any controversy about this most fundamental subject of our faith. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2009 in Religion, salvation

 

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