the blessed and only Sovereign

Sovereign defined … greatest in status, authority, power … not controlled by outside forces.

Consider these words in Paul’s letter to Timothy regarding the blessed and only Sovereign

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:13-16 (ESV)

Now from my perspective, it would seem that Sovereign has three primary characteristics …

  • Omniscience – having infinite knowledge … all-knowing
  • Omnipresence – the state of being everywhere at once … across all time and eternity
  • Omnipotence – having unlimited power … over all things

IMHO there is no better passage of Scripture explaining those characteristics of the only Sovereign than Psalm 139 … consider as you read …

1        O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2        You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3        You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4        Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5        You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6        Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
————————————————————————————————–
7        Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8        If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9        If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10      even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
————————————————————————————————–
11      If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
12      even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13      For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14      I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15      My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16     Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:1-16 (ESV)

So did you see the characteristics of omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence reflected in the verses above from Psalm 139?

OK, here’s what I see in Psalm 139 … and the embrace of this really needs to move from my head to my heart.

  • Omniscience … verses 1-6
  • Omnipresence … verses 7-10
  • Omnipotent … verses 11-16

I don’t imagine I will get much argument about the verses for omniscience or omnipresence. But Bernie, how do you figure omnipotence for the last five verses?

Let me begin with Genesis 2:7 …

The LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Now let’s look at those last two verses again …

15      My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16     Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Maybe I have a vivid imagination … maybe I have been given a spiritual glimpse … but in my mind, when the LORD God formed Adam of dust from the ground (Genesis 2:7) … in Adam all of mankind … each and every unique individual … was also being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth … the dust (Psalm 139:15). If then, before any child was knitted together in their mother’s womb, every one of the days for those children were written by the only Sovereign in His book … and despite the activities of the children, the enemy and sin those days were fulfilled … across thousands of years and billions of lives … that my friend is indeed omnipotence.

I don’t know about you but that seems like some serious spiritual food to chew on and digest …

Bernie

Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

out of control

Do I ever feel like some situations in my life are just out of control?

(OK, before we get too far in this post … I am writing this post to myself and sharing it with you. Maybe you will relate … maybe you won’t … but my response to the above question needs evaluation and more surrender …)

Let me be the first to confess … I do. There are certain aspects of my life that seem totally out of control … some so much so that I am consumed with worry and fear and paralyzed with either total procrastination or inaction. After all, procrastinate long enough and the issue goes away, right?

OK, but my opening question really isn’t worded right …

Do I ever feel like some situations in my life are just out of MY control?

That one little two letter work begins to bring things into focus … and goes a long way in explaining any anxiety, fear and worry I am experiencing. But as a follower of Jesus Christ, shouldn’t I be asking an even different question …

Do I ever feel like some situations in my life are just out of GOD’S control?

The answer to that question can be a faith dissecting one revealing things about my faith I have not fully confessed or dealt with … after all, are anxiety, fear and worry characteristics of a strong faith … I think not.

Do I ever truly control all the situations in my life?

Quite thankfully … I must say ‘No’. The belief that I do is simply the result of a ruse of the enemy, my flesh and my pride … a ruse to keep me from repenting and trusting in the One who is truly in control of ALL the situations in my life … Christ Jesus. And I must confess I am NOT a reluctant victim to that ruse … at times I truly embrace it.

So quite frankly I have a faith issue … and that issue encompasses what I currently see as three issues …

  • First, I want to control my life
  • Second, as such, I think I am the author of my faith
  • Third, I either doubt God’s ability in the midst of my situations –or- I’m not exactly embracing the outcomes of His sovereignty … I am discontent in the midst of His control

So I need a few reminders … some of these verses I know we have looked at recently. First, if a passage ever signified the loss of ‘my’ control to be experienced by a born-again believer, this is it …

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:7-8 (ESV)

Now while that does reveal I am no longer in control, it does reveal that God is fully in control!

Now while I may be provided some very, very limited editorial responsibility in the walk of faith, let me not be confused as to Who the true author of faith is … because to do so, as the passage reveals, will indeed cause me to grow weary and lose heart.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)

If I will truly embrace that truth, then Jesus will indeed perfect my faith … and that faith will trust in his guiding hand in ALL circumstances …

And we know that God causes all things to be good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (Webb)

OOPS! Had a little typo there … perhaps my mind is revealing something to me … but quite frankly, isn’t that how we oftentimes interpret that verse? OK, let’s see if we can get it right this time …

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (ESV)

OK, this is easily explained. In the midst of his arrest, beatings, mock trial and crucifixion, do you think Jesus was thinking God causes all things to be good? I don’t think so … remember in the garden he sought to have His Father remove the cup He was about to drink … and as the crucifixion drew to a close He asked His Father why He had forsaken Him? These are not the words of a man who believes God causes all things to be good.

That said … there is absolutely NO doubt Jesus believed and embraced the truth that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Sneak another peak at the Hebrews 12 passage above … who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. Even in the midst of the difficult things, Jesus saw and trusted how they would be working together with everything else FOR GOOD … not only for His good … but for my good … for our good I long to embrace such a visionary faith.

Which brings me to one of the real problems I am struggling with … in the midst of the difficult things I practice discontent instead of faith …

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)

Interesting … I don’t embrace contentment for my sake … I embrace contentment for the sake of Christ Jesus. This seems very paradoxical … I will embrace contentment in the midst of my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities … where are the things that naturally provoke contentment?

I think that’s enough self-talk for today … Lord, I have much to pray and meditate upon.

Bernie

Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

am I a missionary or an imposter?

“If Jesus is precious to you (as he is to the Spirit), you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself; you will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of his sweet love … It cannot be that there is high appreciation of Jesus and a totally silent tongue about him …”

“If you really know Christ, you are like one who has found honey; you will call others to taste of its sweetness, you are like the beggar who has discovered an endless supply of food: you must go tell the hungry crowd that you have found Jesus, and you are anxious that they should find him too.”

“Every Christian here is either a missionary or an imposter. You either try to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love him at all.”

–Charles Spurgeon–

Convicting, piercing words that are challenging me …

How about you?

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides IN him, and he IN God. 1 John 4:15 (ESV)

Bernie

Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

hedge of protection … no laughing please

Our family loves to watch and laugh with comedian Tim Hawkins. He has a very funny short he does regarding our prayers for a hedge of protection that makes you laugh and wonder where in the world that phrase came from and will have you second guessing yourself every time you think to insert it in a prayer (A Google search on Tim Hawkins hedge of protection will bring up the YouTube video as your first search result).

Well, it ceased to be just a laughing matter to me as I came across the biblical origin of the phrase … and I had to share it with my wife and grandson. And now you as well …

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:6-12 (ESV)

Here’s what I see in the above encounter …

  • Satan knew that Job and all he had was beyond his touch because of God’s hedge of protection.
  • Satan knew that God’s blessing and increase were a result of God’s hedge of protection.
  • Satan knew that Job’s faith and righteousness would never be shaken as long as he was surrounded by God’s hedge of protection.
  • Satan knew that within the hedge of protection Job feared God and was protected from evil
  • Satan knew that the only way to test Job was for God to remove the hedge of protection

So what exactly is a hedge?

Merriam- Webster defines a hedge as a fence or boundary formed by a dense row, a means of protection or defense.

Despite Tim Hawkin’s hilarious claim that Satan has an aversion to shrubbery … I doubt that is what composes God’s hedge of protection. But you can’t help but wonder what does …

Take a moment to consider this account from Billy Graham’s 1975 Angels: God’s Secret Agents

The Reverend John G. Paton, pioneer missionary in the New Hebrides Islands, told a thrilling story involving the protective care of angels. Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see that, unaccountably, the attackers had left. They thanked God for delivering them.

A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Jesus Christ, and Mr. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” The missionary answered, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard – hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent His angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation. Could it be that God had sent a legion of angels to protect His servants, whose lives were being endangered?

So to me it seems that the hedge of protection is quite likely a hedge of God’s angels … Consider this passage from Psalms …

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:9-11 (ESV)

And if Jesus has not embraced His journey to the cross, He too could have called out His hedge of protection

While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” Matthew 26:47-53 (ESV)

A legion in the Roman army consisted of 3,000 to 6,000 infantrymen and 100 to 200 cavalry troops. So if you do the math, Jesus could have asked His Father to send 36,000 to 72,000 angels with another possible 1200 to 2400 angels on horseback … sounds like a pretty good hedge to me.

And our good news … our hedge of protection is …

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but HE WHO WAS BORN OF GOD PROTECTS HIM, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:18-20 (ESV)

You know … I’m still going to watch, enjoy and laugh at Tim Hawkin’s shtick regarding the hedge of protection.

But I am going to pray for that hedge of protection around those I love and care for a bit more than I used to …

In fact, may God place His hedge of protection around you my friends!

Bernie

Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Humor, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the battle to define ekklesia

At a very young age, we begin to shape our children’s understanding of the word church. Perhaps you are familiar with this children’s finger rhyme …

Here is the church and
This is the steeple
Open the doors and
See all the people.

The expectation we set in the little one’s heart is that the church is a place … an institution.

In yesterday’s post, I shared this paragraph from Jesus, Continued by J.D. Greear …

“… a young theological student name William Tyndale, devoted much of his life to translating the Bible into English. Every time Tyndale came to the word ekklesia in the Greek New Testament he translated it ‘congregation’ instead of ‘church’ because he wanted to RECLAIM the idea that the church was not a place to go but a movement to join.”

Just prior to this passage the author revealed the origins of the word church

“Interestingly, our English word ‘church’ comes from the German kirche, which means literally ‘a sacred place,’ rather than ekklesia. By the time we English speakers conceptualized ‘church’, we were already thinking of it as a place, not a movement.”

A few pages later the author continued sharing his insights on the topic of ekklesia

“In every age, the church faces the danger of degrading itself from a movement to a place, from a conduit of God’s mighty, rushing wind to a sacred place where we seek serene, spiritual moments; from a rescue station to a spiritual country club. This is certainly true in our day. I’ve heard the average church described like a football game: twenty-two people in desperate need of rest surrounded by 22,000 in desperate need of exercise.”

“The Spirit is a mighty, rushing wind, however, and those filled with the Spirit move. They move to those within their community in need of the gospel, to those outside of their communities who are broken and in need of hope, and to the ends of the earth in places that do not share their language or culture. Movements (by definition) move, and that means if you’re not moving, then you’re really not part of the movement. Where there is no movement, there is no spirit.”

Powerful words indeed … as usual, a few supporting words of Scripture might be helpful …

In His conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:7-8, Jesus said …

“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

I have never really stopped to consider how those words were fulfilled beginning at Pentecost …

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:1-4 (NASB)

And beyond …

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:4-8 (NASB)

And while Greear has yet to reference this passage in his book, it is nevertheless pertinent to the battle over the word ekklesia … Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well …

“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:20-24 (NASB)

Under the new covenant, the sacred place has been replaced by the sacred people …

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NASB)

And together as the church … the ekklesia

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5 (NASB)

Perhaps … just maybe … our children would be better served with a new finger rhyme …

This is the building
Where a cross perches
Open the doors and
See who the church is.

That is … if churches still had steeples and/or crosses …

Bernie

Posted in Bible Study, Books, Faith, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

neglecting church history

The vast majority of church-goers today understand very little about biblical history much less church history … that is the history of the church recorded since the New Testament through the present day. Many people read the New Testament and fail to realize the good, the bad and the ugly that has occurred since the first century and the impact that history has had on what we have come to know as ‘church’ today.

In Romans 15:4, Paul writes, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” Of course in this case he was specifically speaking of the Old Testament … Scripture. And yet, I am also a firm believer that all that has been recorded re: church history over the last two millennia is also for our instruction … we have as much to learn from our Christian forefathers as we do our Jewish forefathers.

This is not a new sentiment for me … but it is one that has been recently rekindled by the sermon series BRAND: New we are watching by Andy Stanley at North Point online … specifically Part 3 ‘Recycled’ on www.brandnewseries.org … A reference to William Tyndale in that message prompted me to also pick up and start reading the new book by Dr. Steven Lawson … The Daring Mission of William Tyndale from the series A Long Line of Godly Men Profiles.

And then today as I continued reading Jesus, Continued by J.D. Greear I once again ran into a short but insightful passage on William Tyndale (1494-1536) … I share it here hoping that it might spark a little bit of interest into delving deeper into church history …

“… a young theological student name William Tyndale, devoted much of his life to translating the Bible into English. Every time Tyndale came to the word ekklesia in the Greek New Testament he translated it ‘congregation’ instead of ‘church’ because he wanted to reclaim the idea that the church was not a place to go but a movement to join.”

“This infuriated the authorities, because in so doing Tyndale had undercut their power, controlling the ‘places’ of worship meant controlling the people, and so when Tyndale downplayed the ‘place,’ he diminished their control. Places you could control; movements you cannot. They tried Tyndale as a heretic.”

“During his trial, Tyndale said to one church leader, ‘If God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the Scriptures than you do.’ As he was burning at the stake, Tyndale’s last words were ‘Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.’ (If you have a copy of the King James Bible (1611), you can see that God answered that prayer!)”

FYI … this little blurb, while very insightful, does very little to truly reveal what Tyndale’s lifetime devotion to translating the Bible really encompassed … you would not believe the risks and great lengths he had to go to translate, print and distribute the Bible to his English countrymen … his life story reads more like an espionage tale than Christian history.

Note: He was burned at the stake by Christians … let that soak in a minute. The authorities that were so infuriated were primarily from the Church of England but also from the Catholic Church as well.

Don’t underestimate the price paid by believers like John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale and others that you might have and hold your own personal and readable English copy of the Bible. Too much blood has been shed to grant you and I such a privilege for our Bibles to sit dust covered and unopened in our closets and on our bookshelves.

A little bit of trivia and we’ll call it a post: I once read that the highest literacy rate ever experienced in the United States occurred while Thomas Jefferson was President. Why? One of the main reasons was that people wanted to be able to read their cherished personal Bibles (sorry, don’t have the reference for this bit of trivia … just the memory. But here is a link to an article about that high literacy rate).

Hope this peaks your interest a bit in chasing the history of the church and Christianity …

Bernie

Posted in Books, Faith, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

did Jesus promote easy believism?

I ended yesterday’s post with the question, ‘How’s this for a new church sign?’

MAY THE FATHER, SON AND SPIRIT MAKE THEIR HOME IN YOU

You may say, “But Bernie, that is too mysterious and bizarre … that will scare people off.”

Yes, that is indeed true … but …

Did anything Jesus teach scare people off?

Consider the following …

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides IN Me, and I IN him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this MANY of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. John 6:51-66 (NASB)

The end result of this encounter with Jesus … MANY of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore … not one or two … not a few … MANY. Why? Because a difficult teaching revealed who was of the flesh and who was of the Spirit …

Jesus knew that some of the disciples did not believe … did that mean there was some kind of failure on God’s part? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Note the points that Jesus made regarding the disciples who did not believe

  • No one can come to Jesus unless it has granted him from the Father … a problem then and now
  • The flesh profits nothing … some ‘disciples’ are of the flesh alone … a problem then and now
  • It is the Spirit who gives life … the words He spoke to the people were spirit and life … and the flesh cannot understand spiritual things … a problem then and now

In regard to my new church sign message above, please consider this verse from the passage above …

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides IN Me, and I IN him.

Maybe God’s will would be better served, if a church sign displayed the above verbatim … what do you think?

IMHO …

Church growth apart from the will of God, apart from belief IN Jesus, apart from the truth of Scripture and apart from the work of the Holy Spirit … is no growth at all.

Did Jesus promote easy believism?

I just have a hard time seeing the cross of Jesus as a symbol of easy believism …

And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.” But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:18-24 (NASB)

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NASB)

IN remembrance of Jesus … IN remembrance …

Bernie

Posted in Bible Study, Faith, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments