Articles written by editor to challenge non-Christians and help those in the faith.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Sting of Apathy

Racism, as you would know, is something a person learns, usually from their parents, from a very young age.

I will demonstrate that Apathy - A-Pathos (without feeling) is learnt the same way, especially in the church. I will ONLY use examples from personal experience with fellow Christians.


Example 1:

Ever since being old enough to discuss the subject of Evangelism, over forty years now, the first thing I would hear back then is how it is more important to "live the life than preach or talk about it". (Note also the Aussie saying - Never talk about religion or politics.) Nowadays people respond with fable that "Francis of Assisi said: 'preach the Gospel and if necessary use words.'" Is that what Jesus taught? Of course not, not even to the demonised lunatic (who had BIG ISSUES!) that ran naked among the rocks! He was sent straight home to the TEN cities to tell of what Jesus had done. He had not even had a discipleship training class.

The main point here - we change scripture to suit our temperament and nullify the command we are to follow. Apathetic to doing what God tells us to do. (see Acts 10:42)


Example 2:

Let's take a look at Mark's gospel ch 6 Vs 7-13. (Mark 6:7-13)
Vs 7 says "And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits."
Vs 8 "Take nothing for the journey." (This ensures they will rely on vs 7!)
Vs 12 So they went out and preached that people should repent.
Now how did they know to do that? Well they preached what Jesus had taught …
"Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." Note what the Gospel is at this point in time - the Kingdom of God is at hand. At this point Jesus had not been to the cross, and the disciples had no appetite for it (the cross).

Think about this definition for Repent:
Change your view and opinion about God with a view to changing your purposes and actions.

In verse 13 we see the demonstration of their message … "And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them." WHAT RESULTS!
When verses 7 and 13 do not fit with the theology we have been brought up with or our experience, we erase them by not speaking of such things. In fact there are quite a few subjects in that are taboo nowadays (Heaven, Hell, Holiness). Such is the onslaught of satan's lies amongst the dignified ranks of Christendom.

So we go paralysed to do the works of God, left to struggle in our meagre human resources, when "the weapons of warfare are mighty to pulling down strongholds" etc. and the bound STAY BOUND, the sick SUFFER and/or DIE because we refuse to accept scripture and hide it. Because it is hidden, we are apathetic to redeeming power in the gospel and leave the work God gave US to do, undone.


Example 3:

Let's talk about "spiritual Warfare". The way we Christian Westerners live, you wouldn't think there was such a thing, but I let me remind you, Satan and his horde are still here and active. Jesus has not yet expelled him and the evidence is loud (listen to the music) and clear (so much on display nowadays) besides all the abuses going on in our towns, cities and so forth.

Imagine Winston Churchill in the war room with his Generals during the war. What would they be doing? If you mention "Germany" or "Hitler" would the room go silent as if someone had cursed? I think not! However, we don't mention words like Hell, Demon in church nowadays because they upset the hearers. No, we don't want to give satan glory, but how do you win a war if you do not understand your opponent. How do you preach salvation if you leave out sin and its wages?

Meanwhile, the most commonly heard phrase today regarding spiritual warfare is "Satan was defeated at the Cross". This is true, however the context used is generally false and leads us to concluding there is nothing more to be done. The same way satan used scripture to tempt Jesus, he uses it on us, only we seem to lap it up.

The WAR IS NOT OVER. We must continue to battle for souls until Jesus' return. Unfortunately, misplaced scripture anaesthetises us, and apathy rules again.


Conclusion:

As you can see, these are all learned situations. We look to our pastors, teachers, read our sweet books, sing our emotional songs only to find that we must heed the voice of Jesus, who said "beware the leaven of the Pharisees" and later passages warning of human philosophy and doctrines of devils and demons.

May we return to fullness of the Word of God, so we can get back to proclaiming the Gospel, demonstrating the Kingdom of God is near, even upon us - in power, and find the perishing turning to Him who loved us from the beginning and poured His life out for ALL who would be saved.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?



Amen

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jesus Just a Prophet?

This article has been written in the hope giving Moslems answers to faith in God, which they so desperately need.

Those of the Islam religion, Moslems, want to tell us that the Jesus they call “a prophet of Islam” is the same Jesus that Christians worship. Do they know what the Jesus of the Christians said, do they have any knowledge of what he did? Let’s have a look.

In an article written in “The Sydney Morning Herald” (SMH) on May 28 2011, Diaa Mohamed says Jesus was a prophet of Islam who was to come before Muhammad. “The only difference is we say he is a prophet of God, and they say he is God.”

Muhammad was born circa 570 AD and founded the religion of Islam. (Find more here). Moslems consider him to be (among other things) the last law-bearer and the last prophet of God.

The last law-bearer


The first (and only) law bearer I am aware of is Moses. To him was given ten commandments:

The Decalogue (10 Commandments)

God spoke all these words:
I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.
  • You shall have no other gods before me.
  • You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is on the earth beneath or that is in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children to the third and fourth generations of those who reject me, and showing covenant faithfulness to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  • You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain.
  • Remember the Sabbath day to set it apart as holy. For six days you may labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner who is in your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
  • Honour your father and your mother, that you may live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving to you.
  • You shall not murder.
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
  • You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
All the people were seeing the thundering and the lightning, and heard the sound of the horn, and saw the mountain smoking – and when the people saw it they trembled with fear and kept their distance. They said to Moses, "You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak with us, lest we die." Exodus 20


Moses was also given a bunch of other rules to supply more detailed  outworking of these fundamental laws which form the basis of most Western societies laws.

Can you find fault in these laws?

I have yet to find a man find fault in these laws (apart from atheists who would have trouble with the first four). Taking the last six laws, one would have to seriously question what kind of man condones the opposite behaviour, (most end up in prison eventually), while every one of us has to admit we fall short of this perfect law at some point in our lives, especially if we take the whole. see Psalm 14


The law (10 commandments) was given to the Jews, whom Moslems want to destroy (along with other infidels’ like me!). This law is described throughout the bible as being perfect, holy and good. (eg. Psalm 19:7, Romans 7:12) Why would God introduce another law? The true and living God is not the author of confusion. see Exodus 12:4, Exodus 24:12

"For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. Deuteronomy 30:11-14

What advantage does the Jew have, or what is the value of circumcision? Actually, there are many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. see Romans 2:17-3:8


Christianity and the Law


Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness. Romans 3:19

There is no need for a new law, the law given to Moses was sufficient in every way. It can be condensed into two simple phrases: “Love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind and strength, and love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Unfortunately, though he law is perfect, it cannot make us perfect as we can see by Israel's track record. The shedding of blood the of animals was also given to demonstrate the need of a redeemer to take away sin once and for all. The Israelite prophets saw this and spoke of a new covenant, one of relationship with God:
“But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land,” says the Lord. “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people.”
“People will no longer need to teach their neighbours and relatives to know me. For all of them, from the least important to the most important, will know me,” says the Lord. “For I will forgive their sin and will no longer call to mind the wrong they have done.” Jeremiah 31:31-34

The expectation of Israel was for a saviour. Like all peoples, they looked for one to redeem them from earthly troubles, but God, through Israel, teaches us we need a change of heart. Not by being forced into a new religion, or catching onto some fancy philosophy, or bowing and scraping our way to God, but a transformation occurring from within the heart. The prophet Ezekiel went on to say God would give us a new, tender heart. (Ezekiel 11:19, Ezekiel 36:26)

God new that to bring about a change of heart, He would have to send someone, a perfect man, perfect in every way, to first of take the just punishment sin deserves, and in so doing claim mercy for those who have transgressed and seek forgiveness. Christians know that man had to be God in person; his name is Jesus and he is the one and only Son of God.

The last prophet


That is, in a line of prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus. Interesting how a bunch of names from the Torah appear, yet none of the noteworthy men of Israel to whom the title “prophet” was given. (In Christianity Jesus bears titles “Christ, Messiah, Saviour, King of Kings” and is recognised as the one whom the prophets testified about in relation to his coming – Even though he prophesied, he is not attributed with the title of prophet).

If it is necessary to have a succession of prophets and laws, what makes it end with Muhammad and Islam. Surely the Bahá'í faith is one we should be the flavour of the month, since they claim some more recent “progression” in the knowledge of God having the more recent messengers in their camp!

Jesus, the Christ, coming prophesied


There are hundreds of verses in the bible which testify to the what where and why of Christ’s coming. A few can be found here. Why has God drawn so much attention to His son, yet none to the coming of other prophets except when Jesus warns of false prophets who would come:
Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will mislead many. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These are but the beginning of birth pains.
“You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over to councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. … You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Mark 13:3-13

For Christians prophecy ends with the book of Revelations, a book of words and visions given to John (a disciple of Jesus) by Jesus Christ himself many years after his ascension into heaven. Prophecies given in the old testament such as the re-establishment of the nation of Israel are being fulfilled in this day and age.
Have you heard about wars, famines, earthquakes, floods lately. They are prophesied by Jesus. The book of revelations is full of woe and the persecution of Christians is alive and well in many countries, especially among Moslem countries. All the revelation we need pertaining to life, relationship with God, relationship with one another, the problem and solution of sin, and what will happen is well and truly documented. Having studied it I ask; what more do we need?

Why are Moslem’s claiming the same Jesus when they clearly hate Christianity, knowing nothing of what Jesus actually said? Could it have something to do with the Shahadah?

Whom should we worship?


Shahadah: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God"

To show ones commitment to Islam is earnest, several essential criteria have been developed. One of those is as follows:
To love him (Muhammad) more than you love yourself, your family and anything else in this world. wikipeda

This, I must say, is an oxymoron. Love the messenger. He’s dead! How will you love him? Furthermore, is not God creator, and being so, should not our delight be in Him? How does Islam include Moses (the law giver) as a prophet and so blatantly ignore the law that was given through him? Can this be because there is no relationship with the Almighty? I call my God “Father” because I know I was born anew into His kingdom. I love Jesus Christ, His son, because of the mercy he poured out for me when he died for my sins. How has Muhammad shown mercy? Indeed, who can possibly die for another man's sin and claim that substitution  valid before the Judge of all the earth?

Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Mark 12:28-34

If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And the commandment we have from him is this that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God, and everyone who loves the father loves the child fathered by him. By this we know that we love the children of God whenever we love God and obey his commandments. 1 John 4:20-5:2

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that – and tremble with fear.  James 2:14-19


The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him. John 3:31-36

Who needs a prophet when we have the Son!


Introduction: God Has Spoken Fully and Finally in His Son
After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word, and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Thus he became so far better than the angels as he has inherited a name superior to theirs. Hebrews 1:1-4

I must conclude here that any man, woman or child that would think to enter the realm of God (Creator, Almighty) by any means apart from the blood of Christ shed on their behalf, they will not, indeed cannot find God's blessing. God's Son is His ultimate gift and ultimate act of mercy for the people of this world. How can anyone who would diminish this gift expect to find blessing from Him. If you doubt this "The Gates Are Open" might be a good starting place for you to learn more.

Scripture references taken from Net Bible

Monday, May 16, 2011

Keys to understanding the book of Revelation

Before we can understand anything written in the bible we need to honest with ourselves and what is in our own heart. What is there will taint and skew our perception of everything around us including God and His love as shown in Christ, and anything written in the Bible. The fact that we are not perfect is why there are so many opinions regarding everything in this life. The following verses show how and why:

You prove to be loyal to one who is faithful;
you prove to be trustworthy to one who is innocent.
You prove to be reliable to one who is blameless,
but you prove to be deceptive to one who is perverse.
Psalm 18:25,26

The word of the LORD came to me: 12:2 “Son of man, you are living in the midst of a rebellious house. They have eyes to see, but do not see, and ears to hear, but do not hear, because they are a rebellious house.
Ezekiel 12:1

For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:21

I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:17

I show special favour to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say.
Isaiah 66:2

Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”


Interpretation Guidelines

interpret(2) Make sense of; assign a meaning to 
interpret(1)
noun  verb (interprets, interpreting, interpreted)
  1. explain the meaning of (words, actions, etc.). Translate orally the words of a person speaking a different language.
  2. perform (a creative work) in a way that conveys one's understanding of the creator's ideas. Understand as having a particular meaning or significance.

The following well known guidelines for interpretation are recommended. Those who apply them will find that they result in a remarkable degree of unity in understanding of the truth, independent of denominational background.

  • The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible and He reveals the truth to us. We should therefore always pray for and trust Him for illumination and guidance.
  • Each passage should be considered in its context.The meaning of each passage is in harmony with that of all others. We should therefore compare scripture with scripture, and reject any interpretation which does not meet this criteria. Cross-referencing is very important.
  • Do not form a doctrine on the basis of one verse only.
  • Do not form a doctrine on an emotional basis only. First establish it carefully from the scripture.
  • It is most important to have truth in the heart as well as in the head.
When we read the Bible, our understanding of certain passage may be immediate, while others, such as ‘Revelations’, will take a great deal of effort in cross referencing to understand. It is important to draw understanding from the parallels within the book itself and related scriptures in other books of the Bible and not to read our own ideas into what is there. One of the most difficult problems occurs from our own preconceptions and what others have told us, or movies we seen. It is important to examine what others say in the light of what was actually written.

prophecy(1) noun (plural prophecies) a prediction. The faculty or practice of prophesying.
revelation(1) noun
  1. a surprising disclosure. The revealing of something previously unknown. A surprising or remarkable thing.
  2. a divine or supernatural disclosure to humans. (Revelation or informal Revelations) (in full the Revelation of St John the Divine) the last book of the New Testament, recounting a divine revelation of the future to St John.
"Apocalypse" is a Greek word meaning "revelation"; signifies literally, a revelation, or discovery of what was concealed or hidden.

Apocalyptic literature - comparison to prophecy

(see wikipedia for the complete article)

Message

Some may distinguish between the messages of the prophets and the messages of proto-apocalyptic and apocalyptic literature by saying that the message of the prophets was primarily a preaching of repentance and righteousness if the nation would escape judgment; the message of the apocalyptic writers was of patience and trust for that deliverance and reward were sure to come. Neither the prophets nor the apocalyptic authors are without conflict between their messages, however, and there are significant similarities between prophecy and apocalyptic writings.

Apocalyptic literature shares with prophecy revelation through visions and dreams, and these often combine reality and fantasy. In both cases, a heavenly interpreter is often provided to the receiver so that he may understand the many complexities of what he has seen. Looking at the oracles in Amos, Hosea, First Isaiah, and Jeremiah gives a clear sense of how messages of imminent punishment develop into the later proto-apocalyptic literature, and eventually into the thoroughly apocalyptic literature of Daniel 7-12. The fully apocalyptic visions in Daniel 7-12, as well as those in the New Testament’s Revelation, can trace their roots to the pre-exilic latter biblical prophets; the sixth century BCE prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah 40-55 and 56-66, Haggai 2, and Zechariah 1-8 show a transition phase between prophecy and apocalyptic literature.(3) 
see also Revelation, Apocalyptic Writing and the Old Testament
 

Christ learned obedience through suffering (Heb 5:8)

The subject of obedience is an inescapable thread running through the Bible. We see it first in the garden of Eden where learn that man betrays his creator. Later in Exodus we see Pharaoh score perfect zero (0/10) for his efforts, and later as the children of Israel enter the promised land they get a 2/5,000,000 as only Joshua and Caleb are the only of their generation to enter. Only one has ever fully satisfied God’s perfectly in character and action. That is His son, and he was obedient all the way to the cross. Many others have since followed in His footsteps, not all so willing, yet, hopefully the reader of Revelation will discover that this book is indeed the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”; His mission, His purpose, His hope, His judgments (or wrath) and the Salvation of His people. What are you hoping to discover?


Rev 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!
Rev 22:7 (Look! I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy expressed in this book.)



Let the book show you

There are many wonderful things to be learned from Revelations. Many pictures have been shown to us using words alone. I am sure Jesus could have chosen someone who could draw pictures, but that would clearly have detracted from the meaning of things, as do any attempts to make films of this book. To understand many of the pictures (eg. 'the tree of life'), it is necessary to look at all the references to them going right back to Genesis and slowly discover their significance. The word of God often opens up to us as a flower in season. With prophetic writing we can see specific events that have occurred in fulfilment, while we also see other events are yet to happen. Apocalyptic writing, you will see, is quite different.

I am certain some verses can be taken at face value (if you can accept them) while others need a careful and extended study of earlier scriptures. How much do you need to know? Well let the words inspire you where it catches your attention, whether to prayer for the trials and pain the world and the church must endure, or for the comfort and assurance that God is working out His plan for this world and the saints.

The hungry souls of this world need answers, they need what they do not know, a saviour, not just for the now, but for eternity. So keep it simple, and may God’s Holy Spirit shine His light upon your heart as you read this wonderful book.

 

Bibliography

  1. Oxford English Dictionary
  2. WordWeb Dictionary
  3. Coogan p354