Thursday, August 31, 2006

Christ alone (part 5 - conclusion)

"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve." (John 6:71)

Most of the false disciples '...went back, and walked no more with Him' (v.66). While this is true, it did not necessarily apply to someone like Judas. Physically speaking he was with Christ and the others, but spiritually speaking he was an unregenerate man. Recently, some folks made a big to do with the finding of the 'gospel of Judas.' I heard on the radio some people actually trying to make a case that Judas was a victim, and that he was actually saved. We don't need any deep exegesis to know whether Judas was saved or not. Two verses about Judas is quite revealing enough. In Matthew 26:24 Jesus talks about how it would be better that he would not have been born at all. Also in John 17:12 Jesus spoke of his 'lost' condition in contrast to the others that He kept, He also calls him the 'son of perdition.' We don't even need to go to other verses at all since in out text Jesus describes him as 'a devil.'

What was significant about this is that Judas stayed with Jesus and yet he isn't saved. I believe a greater judgment awaits the one who, like Judas, hangs around the things of God, who outwardly conform to religious activities - and yet inwardly there really is no genuine saving repentant faith.

Jesus taught that Capernum will suffer greater judgment than that of Tyre and Sidon (see Luke 10:15). And why? because they have received so much revelation from God through Jesus Christ, that they will be held responsible for. Ironically, God's heaviest judgment does not fall on the overtly pagan, but rather on the false disciples. It is interesting also to mention that chapter 6 took place in Capernum (see verses 24, and 59).

The application for us is both serious and scary. It could very well be that the unregenerate man who weekly attends church, who have been exposed to Biblical truths, and have rejected the convicting element of the Holy Spirit to get saved, that he will indeed suffer the greater judgment of God. The same would certainly be true of the unsaved child who grew up in a Christian home who is negligent of Salvation. Perhaps an unsaved Bible College student, or this could also be said especially of an apostate evangelist or an unsaved Bible preacher (see also James 3:1). How ironic, but how true. Ultimately, you either have The Lord Jesus Christ as Savior or you don't.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Christ alone (part 4)

"From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." (John 6:66)

The distinguishing factor between true and false disciples is their relationship to Jesus Christ. In Jn. 6 we are presented with some bedrock Christological truths. We see Christ's pre-existance in verse 62b "...where he was before?" In verse 38 Jesus said: "For I came down from Heaven..." This speaks of His incarnation (see also verses 35, 41b). Verses 64, and 70 demonstrates and declares His omniscience. He also spoke of His ascension in verse 62. Jesus shares a special relationship with God the Father (as mentioned already in the previous post) in verses 32 and 65.

Peter declares other Christological truths in verses 68-69. "Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." Here we see Jesus as Lord, Christ, and the Son of the living God. Most modern translations exchange the latter part of verse 69 for a shorter reading "the Holy One of God." But I am thankful for the three titles which are providentially preserved in the TR/KJV.

1. Concerning His Lorship - Jesus is Lord! No man can make Him Lord, because this is who He is regardless of any man's spiritual condition (whether saved or unsaved). In fact everyone is subject to the Lordship of Christ, and in the end everyone will declare "Jesus is Lord" according to Philippians 2:10-11.

2. Jesus is the Christ - or the anointed one, the Messiah. He was sent from God to redeem us from sin. The rejecting Jews potentially saw Him as an illigitamate child. Some see Him as merely a good man. Yet others view Christ merely as a prophet. But the truth of the matter is He is the Messiah, He was the promise fullfilled.

3. Jesus is the Son of the living God - the term 'Son of God' means that whatever attributes and characteristics are true of God that they are true of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. No one else will ever share this special relationship.

True disciples, like Peter, affirm all of who Jesus Christ is and all of what Jesus has done.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Christ alone (part 3)

"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)

To whom shall we go? What a profound statement in question form. If not Christ, then what?...pagan philosophies, secular humanism, etc. If not Christ, then who? Mohammad, Buddha, Krishna? If Christ is not who He claims to be then we are, as Paul said, of all men most miserable (see also 1 Cor. 15:19). Fact is either everything about Christ in the Bible is true, or it is nothing but a fraud. No 'in-betweens;' it is Christ and the Bible or no Christ and no Bible.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Christ alone (part 2)

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)

What were the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples? We know that He corrects their misconception about the source of manna, they thought Moses brought bread down, Jesus says that is was God who brought bread down from Heaven (v.32). Moreover, Jesus called God 'my' Father instead of 'our' Father - here He asserts His unique relationship to God as His only begotten Son, He is saying in effect that He was God, indeed He is one with the Father anyway.

Jesus also told them that He came from Heaven, that He was that bread of life (v.35; 41; 48; 51). Not that He was a literal bread, nor what is commonly taught by the Romish church, as transubstantiation, for He certainly would not advocate cannibalism - but what He meant by this is that He is the source and sustinance that people need in order to have eternal life, that comming to Him or believing on Him, is to partake of His flesh and blood (look at vs.35).

This also means that through his sacrificial death and shedding of His blood, He can secure for any man eternal life (vss. 51-56). Interesting, through his death, we have life eternal.

These are the words He spoke, and it is no wonder that they are spirtual and life-giving. Jesus Christ alone is sufficient to meet man's need. Nothing else could satisfy our soul's hunger and thirst BUT Christ alone.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Christ alone

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6:63)

"The flesh profiteth nothing." When Jesus spoke about partaking of his flesh and blood, he obviously did not intend it to be done in a literal way. In contrast to the flesh, we have the spirit. In this verse it is the spirit that quickeneth (or makes alive). The words that Jesus speaks is necessary for our spiritual life. This simply means that Christ is sufficient to meet our needs. There is a familiar chorus entitled: "Christ is all I need." I like that chorus because it affirms what I believe about the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Seemingly today people want everything BUT Christ. Not that 'trying' Christ is any better. In this passage Jesus did not give into the demands of many of his 'disciples' to be a mob ruler. As a result many of his followers defected (in vs.66). They have exchanged light for darkness, and spiritual bread from Heaven for spiritual starvation and eventually death. Why would they do that? Didn't Christ make it plain enough? And what can be said to folks today who desire the "nicities" of Christianity, perhaps even the 'form of godliness' - well, "the flesh profiteth nothing."

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Whole Armor of God and Prayer

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" (Ephesians 6:18)

Having put on the whole armor of God, it is only proper to fight the spiritual battle with prayer. What better way to prove to God and to ourselves that we totally depend on the Lord, we do this when we pray. Remember each peice of the panoply of God is equally important. It must be viewed as a whole. It is indeed God's armor meaning He furnished all of it for us. If we are to win (and we will) we must be strong in the Lord, taking up the whole armor that God has provided. Ultimately, if a Christian is living a defeated life it is because they choose to disobey the Lord in refusing to put on the whole armor of God. This study makes me want to sing "Victory In Jesus" and certainly our victory is with Him. Praise be to God!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Whole Armor of God - GOD'S HOLY WORD

"...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" (Ephesians 6:17)

The Bible has so many promises one can claim and principles to apply. One of the reasons I like listening to good preaching is that it helps me understand the Bible clearer so that I can take the sword of the Spirit and defend sound doctrine, or attack false doctrine. Jesus gave us His example in fighting and defeating Satan's temptations by using Bible verses (Matt. 4). It is for this reason that Bible study is a serious matter. Whether it is a private and personal study, or even a Sunday School lesson, such an endeavor demands our utmost attention and careful consideration.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Whole Armor of God - SALVATION

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" (Ephesians 6:17)

Our salvation is a sure defense against our spiritual enemies (the world, the flesh, and the Devil). The old hymn goes: "He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free..." I believe in that kind of salvation. A Biblical salvation is one that produces change. Yet today there is such a denial that salvation could change anyone or anything about anyone. There are those who actually reduce Salvation to a mere intellectual change, or just a change of belief. Here are some Bible verses that seem to make it clear, that salvation changes everything about a repentant sinner, and to believe otherwise is really bad doctrine.

1. When we get saved, we are no longer classified in the Bible as 'sinners' but rather as 'saints.' (see 1 Cor. 6:11 "and such were some of you...'; Paul wrote to 'saints' in his epistles, these were living born again believers, unlike Roman Catholic Beatified (sp?) saints). Not that we are perfectly sinless but that we certainly do not practice sin, at the very least we have an attitude which is against sin (1 John 5:18). Salvation produces sanctification.

2. Salvation changes us from being a slave to sin into a slave to Jesus Christ and righteousness (see Romans 6:16-18). We have a new master, a gracious one, who bought us with His precious blood. He will never mistreat us, He sets us free to serve Him. What a wonderful Savior! Salvation produces service.

3. We became 'new' creatures in Christ, (that means at the point of Salvation) - Old things are passed away and all things are become new (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a simple and straight forward verse that clearly teaches that Salvation produces change. It used to be that we were dead in sin, but now we are alive unto God (Ephesians 2:1). Once dead, now alive, that is a change. It used to be that we did not have the Holy Spirit, but now He dwells in us (John 14:16-17), that speaks of a change also.

We do not need to surrender to sin (or to spiritual defeat), in fact, our salvation makes it possible to persevere in this world of sin. No true genuine Christian will ever live a life resigned to sin and not experience God's chastening hand (Heb. 12:5-6) or a loss of rewards in one day in Heaven (1 Corinthians 3:15). One day we who are saved will be like Christ (1 John 3:2) and just like Christ abhors sin, we too will abhor sin.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Whole Armor of God - FAITH

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." (Ephesians 6:16)

God has furnished for us a faith that can withstand every fiery dart of Satan. Our faith in this verse is viewed as a shield. When temptation attacks the truth of God's Word, we can with God's help, put up the shield of faith and stand for God's Word despite modernism. Maybe we would be attacked in the area of righteousness; let's say the Devil may be tempting us to give into sins which would damage our testimony, we can with the help of God, lift up our shield of faith, and believe what the Bible says about sowing and reaping, and it would help us maintain exacting righteousness. Perhaps (and this happens to me often) you are tempted not to share your testimony or give a gospel witness, when you know you ought to. You can with, by God's grace, lift up your shield of faith, and trust that God is in control and that He desires to see all come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are various Satanic attacks in regards to the panoply of God, but with faith we can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Not that we don't get attacked, but when we do get attacked, the result is not fatal, our faith in the Lord still flourishes.

January of this year was extremely taxing to many families in our church. I am so thankful to the Lord for this Scripture, that I can share this in order to be an encouragement to them and to others (as well as myself) - - Keep praying to the Lord for the strength in hard times to lift up the shield of faith. It is impregnable against every Satanic attack. With God's grace (along with the shield of faith) we can say with the Apostle Paul:
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" ( 2 Cor. 4:8-9)

Friend, do you even have faith? I cannot even begin to imagine the misery one has to go through life without faith. It pains me to no end, when I think of such great sorrow someone has to experience when they see the death of a loved one - WHEN the one left behind has no faith rooted in the Word of God, and so to them, the death of a loved one is a horrible sting they may never fully recover from. BUT if you have the faith, you can see the Lord even in the worse situations, and know the God is working out His best for you. It is my desire that you place your trust completely on the Lord Jesus Christ, that you would repent of your sin and selfish way, and realize that your need to trust in Christ alone. I pray you do find the faith.

And other friends, perhaps you are a born again believer. How is your faith? I realize that there are some who actually struggle with their faith. I pray that you would come to see that the Lord is sufficient. He has furnished for you and me a faith that can quench all of life's trials and pressures, every Satanic attack is quenched through the shield of faith. Please don't take for granted this wonderful gift of faith that the Lord has so blessed us with. Lift it up, or be ready to lift it up, sooner or later (and it always comes sooner) you will need such a faith to believe God at His Word.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Whole Armor of God - The Gospel of Peace

"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;" (Eph. 6:15)

Roman soldiers wore 'sandals' used in battle called 'caliga.' These were heavy sandals whose sole was studded with hobnails. Football cleats are similar in purpose, a sure footing, as it digs in the greens. The Gospel is a message that we can surely stand on. We must always be ready to share this glorious gospel of peace. Actually sharing the gospel gained me quite the reputation at work (looking back at my college days). To some degree it actually saved me from a lot of unnecessary grief, my co-workers actually held their tongue when they would have rather cursed. When serious problems came up in the lives of my co-workers they knew they could come to me and talk, and they also knew that somehow they would hear a Bible verse or some truth from the Scripture that could meet their need. From the moment I had gotten saved (at age 15) I was ready to share the gospel. That readiness has prepared me to take on a lot of spiritual battles. What are you prepared for? Are you ready to share the gospel? I am not advocating evangelism indiscriminately during 'work time' (I assume you understand what I mean). Some people are ready for self-promotion, or for anything else but evangelism. In the end, after you have shared your testimony or have given your witness, do people know more about you or about the Savior?

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

An Excellent Article - "Purity in the Pulpit Produces Piety in the Pew"

Click here and take some time to read a thought provoking article. In summary (at least what I got out of it) obedience beats sentiments.

Monday, August 7, 2006

The Whole Armor of God - RIGHTEOUSNESS

"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;" (Eph. 6:14)

The only righteousness we posses is that which is imputed unto us through the Lord Jesus Christ (see Romans 4:22-24 and 1 Cor. 1:30). Every born again believer has been made righteous by God's grace (see also 1 John 2:29). We can and should therefore demonstrate or reflect this truth in our every day lives. Righteousness ought to be in the forefront of our hearts, minds, and demonstrated in our actions, words, motives, etc. Since God has given us this virtue as part of the whole armor we are responsible primarily to God in making sure that we demonstrate this excellent virtue. How many Christians damage their testimony (and effectiveness for service) because they are not careful to maintain righteousness in actions and or words. It is as if they have let their guard down and so Satan does great damage to others, as well as to the Christian himself. Doing what is right sometimes may not be easy but it is a sure way of victory in the spiritual battle.

Saturday, August 5, 2006

The Whole Armor of God - TRUTH

"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;" (Eph. 6:14)

The idea of girded loins suggests readiness for service or endevour (ISBE). In this case, we are to be ready to serve the Lord with truth. People need to hear the truth about their soul's condition. We should be ready at all times to share the truth about God's Word, and to do it truthfully. Not only is truth something we ought to give away or share, but it is also something that must remain close to us. Two words: "Conspiracy Theory." Just type in 9/11 conspiracy on a search engine and you will see the hundreds of articles, videos, etc. dedicated to such untruths about the September 11 terror attacks. How easy it is for Christians to get entagled by so many untruths. It is amazing the amount of time that is wasted by Christians who do not gird their loins with truth.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Our Spiritual Battle (part 8)
The Panoply of God

"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" (Ephesians 4:14-18)

Truth, rightheousness, evangelism, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer makes up the whole armor of God. It is an easy temptation to neglect these items on the account of our familiarity with them. The list is not enumerated in the order of importance, but rather every aspect of the panoply of God is of equal importance. Although each of them are clearly distinct terms with their own individual meaning they must be viewed by Christians as a whole. In all reality we either put it all on or we don't have it at all.