SLIGHTING SIGNIFICANT SIGNS

In John chapter 6, Jesus fed five thousand people with only five barley loaves and two small fish……  He then walked on water and translocated the boat to the other side of the sea…… but when He tells the same people that He fed the day before, to believe on Him (verse 29)….  they want a sign in order to believe.

These are the same people who witnessed His miracle with the food and are perplexed by how He mysteriously crossed the sea without a boat…… but they want more signs before believing ?….. don’t you find that incredible ?

In John chapter 8 and verse 58, Jesus claims to be Almighty God…. and it is clear that the people understood that that was what He was claiming because they took up stones to stone Him….. however He demonstrates His power by simply walking right thru the midst of them.

He then heals a blind man and the Pharisees refuse to believe…. therefore confirming their sin (verse 41 of chapter 9)

The final straw for those (who thinks that Jesus is a good man or a prophet) was when He accepted the worship of the formerly blind man……. no ‘good man’ or angel has ever accepted worship from humans….. we are told to worship God alone….

The conclusion is either Jesus IS God …. or he is one of the most evil deceivers ever to have walked the planet and this simply does not fit with the facts…

Similarly people today will do anything but accept the facts….. they argue over perceived ‘inconsistencies’ in the Bible…. they reason that there must be other paths to God for Eastern religions and other people who know not the Savior (because the practitioners are perceived to be ‘good people’)

There is nothing that will convince people like this to believe….. they have simply chosen not to believe and will maintain that position in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

This is why we should preach and NOT argue…… it may sound arrogant or one-sided…. but it is pointless to ‘discuss’ certain things with certain people…… unless God works a work in the soul and the person is truly seeking do not waste your time and energy on unprofitable and vain arguments (Titus 3:9)….. there are many questions that Jesus was asked that He simply did not answer…. either He changed the subject or He simply moved on to other things.

 

 

DISCIPLESHIP DISCIPLINE

One of the hardest things for Christians to maintain is DISCIPLESHIP…. Christians have a tendency to separate their lives into “time for God” and “time for me”…. even Christians who have made Jesus Lord over their lives stray away from such “Lordship” (sometimes without even realizing it) because the pull of the flesh and the “me” is so strong.

Lordship…. the Greek talks about “bond slaves” to Christ… implies no rights whatsoever….. it must ALL be about Christ and not about “me”…. you can have your plans and “serve” God in the machinery of the Church (or by personal witnessing) “when convenient” but that is NOT discipleship.

But you say that is incredible ! …. you mean to tell me, I must be serving day and night doing the work of God and nothing else ? ….. what about “work”, “family” and “recreation” ….. I have to work…. I have family responsibilities…. and I need recreation…. how unreasonable can God be ?

Aaah, my friend, therein lies the real challenge to the ‘self’…… don’t you not think that God knows you need these things ?…… even bond slaves have ‘off time’ to sleep rest and recover ? …… did not Christ call His disciples to come away and rest a while (Mark 6:31) ?

and yet…. and yet…  it is SOO easy …. after having a God sanctioned ‘rest period’ to PROLONG the fleshly indulgence….. a little MORE rest….. a little MORE recreation… a few MORE things that I want or need to do….. more…. money, work, family time, recreation time…. whatever….

Friends…. the ONLY way …. to keep the “living sacrifice” on the altar is to bind it with cords (Psalm 118:27, Romans 12:1)…. in real life this is achieved by the DISCIPLINE of prayer and Bible study (NOT reading a short passage and rattling of a few items of prayer)…. but by spending quality time with God ….. why is this ‘discipline’ ?…. I mean don’t you love God and want to spend time with Him ? ….. believe me, it’s discipline, when a packed schedule of ‘important’ activities awaits…..  as God blesses a Christian their schedule can easily become so ‘incredibly packed with stuff to do’ that whatever time they used to spend with God gets compromised….. and gradually all their ‘good resolutions’ to get deeper with God begin to fade….. the cords stretch and pop and the ‘living’ sacrifice is off the alter again and galloping off somewhere else.

A good test of our condition is this …. are we aware of God’s involvement at all times… in our business…. in our recreation…. in our ‘day to day’ activities…… are we listening for Him to tell us…. ‘enough now, I want you to do this or that’….. this may seem a bit ‘robotic’ to some….. but if God is sharing our day-to-day lives (a constant companion with whom we interact continually…. which is what it actually means , by ‘living in God’s presence’)… AND He is also our Lord and Master….. then we need to take the cue from Him….. and the problem with humans is that either they get a little too cozy with ‘friend’ concept or they get a little too cozy with the Master concept….. meaning they don’t recognize His cue to get back to work OR they don’t recognize His cue to stop working and relax respectively…

In the first case the sacrifice gallops off…. and in the second case the sacrifice dies (victim of self-imposed (rather than God ordained) asceticism…. but the fact is ruining your mental or physical health thinking you are doing ‘God’s will’ serves no beneficial purpose whatsoever unless God has specifically instructed you to do this and He will give you an extra portion of Grace if such is the case…… God NEVER tells people to do what He does not equip them for…..

So if you are dedicated to God …. be wary of being too ‘comfortable’ or of being ‘too overworked’ ….. how do you know if you are overworked ?….. here are the signs that God has NOT called you to ‘overwork’….. you are irritable and miserable…. you think that others don’t work hard enough and you have to do all the work….. you think that your hard work and self-sacrifice entitles you to something (you must be somebody special to God more than all “those happy, lazy Christians who do very little and are always enjoying themselves”)…..  check yourself …. these are clear signs that God has NOT told you to work so hard….. God may have “overworked” the Apostle Paul BUT He gave Him GRACE for it….. meaning, Paul’s spiritual character was not compromised but was enhanced….. Paul may have been stressed emotionally, physically and mentally but He had joy, peace, love and humility…… God gave Him all He needed for the task…. today there are so many examples of ‘stressed’ people who purport to be ‘fully dedicated to God and overworked in His service’….. and yet they have little tolerance for others who do not think like them…. little or no love for the ‘hardened sinners’ they are trying to ‘convert’….. it’s a sure sign that God is not the originator of that ‘overwork’….. they may think they are doing it for God….. they may even think that He ‘called’ them to do it…. but the evidence (personal spiritual character) suggests otherwise.

It is very wise to heed and to read  Matthew 20:10 – 13 ….. and contemplate this parable in the light of your own feelings about other people…. about God…. about other churches… etc.

Beware of ‘exclusivity’ and ‘narrow Biblical interpretations’ ….. God’s free gift of salvation to the human race through Jesus Christ ….. is not limited to particular ‘doctrines’ and ‘viewpoints’……  God is far from satisfied with people who may have the ‘correct’ doctrine but do not manifest ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22 – 23) in their interaction with others of different ideas….

If you have totally surrendered to Jesus Christ may this document guide you as you seek to work in the Lord’s harvest.

 

MORE MILLENNIAL MATTERS

Happy New Year to all my readers !

As a new year starts it is fitting that we consider prophecy, one of the most misunderstood topics in the Bible.

Today we are considering Isaiah 61: 5 – 6, “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord ; men shall call you the Ministers of our God; ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.”

This passage is a real problem for those who do not believe in a future Millennium or for those who believe that we are currently in the Millennium at this time.

The passage clearly delineates between Israel and Gentiles….. those who do not believe in a future earthly millennial reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem also believe that (1) the church has replaced the nation of Israel and (2) all passages that speak to future events of universal peace and knowledge of God are fulfilled in the ‘eternal state’ (these tenets are basic to the Amillennialist interpretation).

The reason why this passage is such a problem for Amillennialists is that  (1) it has never been fulfilled and (2) it cannot possibly refer to the ‘eternal state’.

In the eternal state EVERYBODY is on an equal plane…. all ‘saved’.. all ‘sanctified’…. all ‘holy’….. the sinners, the heathen, the God haters have all been removed from the scene…. but this passage makes a distinction between Israel and Gentiles (or Christians and non-Christians for those who believe that Christians are ‘Israel’) so this passage CANNOT be fulfilled in the ‘eternal state’.

The only other possible options are:

(1) The passage refers to a future time on this present World (the ‘premil’ viewpoint)

(2) The passage has been abrogated and the prophecy will never be fulfilled…. it was a Jewish blessing that has been forfeited (however if you choose to take that view I will be able to bring some other scripture your way which IRREFUTABLY shows that the nation of Israel has NOT been ‘swallowed up’ by the church and in the future the nation will accept their Messiah (a time of national repentance)…. in any case the context in which the passage occurs gives NO support to the idea that this passage has been forfeited because of sin but rather supports the idea that inspite of their great sin, God has taken them back and forgiven them and healed them…. the book of Isaiah both predicts judgement on sin and comforts the contrite  with promises of forgiveness, cleansing and national restoration.

(3) The prophecy has already been fulfilled (for those who take to that idea I have many other passages in the same Isaiah that show the impossibility of such a notion…. passages that have never, ever been fulfilled on this earth and cannot possibly fit with the ‘eternal state’

People need to understand that the idea of a Millennial Kingdom of Christ upon this Earth….. is NOT ‘some made up story by heretics’…..  it is written there in the scripture in such plain English and in so many of the Prophets that one has to ‘make up creative stories’ to get around the reality of it.

TOTAL TRUTH

As we read and study the Word of God….. we encounter passages that may be hard to understand…. and while seeking for answers, we discuss the word with others…. or do some research online… and it’s not long before we encounter all sorts of doctrines that others have formulated to ‘explain’ the issues we are mulling over.

And so it was with me….. trained in Physics from a young age and with a father who was an avid Astronomer …… I had to reconcile my Bible with scientific facts….. and it seemed to me that what is called the ‘Gap theory’ was a plausible solution….. I was particularly influenced at that time by the book, ‘The Invisible War’ by Donald Grey Barnhouse.

So for many years this was what I believed and taught….. then I encountered some New Earth Creationists and thought they were nuts (scientifically speaking of course)…. but as I did further research  it became clear that if I accepted that DEATH was a result of SIN (and I really knew this to be true) then the fossil record could not possibly be as old as the scientific community believe it to be…… after meeting Dr.  Russell Humphreys in person (he actually has a solution to the ‘distant starlight’ problem) and  finding him to be a man of academic integrity as well as a devoted and humble man of God….. I changed my beliefs on the origins of the material Universe (much to the dismay of some of my scientific colleagues)…… so what is the point of my story….. simply this….

Many humans are far too DOGMATIC about stuff that is, at best, speculative…… it is only PRIDE that would cause one to believe that ‘they have all the answers’ for stuff that, in reality, no human could know for sure.

So ….. if we are genuine seekers after TRUTH….. not only must we be willing to abandon some of our ‘pet theories’ along the way…… but we must also have the WISDOM to realize that we CANNOT know everything…… it is not good for us to know everything…. and we must earnestly ask God that He would give us the TRUTH that He knows we need….. which is a far cry from knowing the ‘total truth’ about EVERYTHING under the sun.