Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Defenseless Book???

In our day it's interesting to see that in all the cultural wars, and attacks brought against Christianity and the Bible, it seems that the Bible has an answer for every objection. It's as if the book itself was expecting attacks to come upon it. Could this be evidence of divine inspiration? In response I've decided to post a list of these attacks and objections along with Bible verses and passages that answer each. Here is a list of common ones:

"My sexual preferences are fixed and cannot change": 1 Corinthians 6-9-11

"Sex outside of marriage is fine": Hebrews 13:4

"My feelings determine my gender": Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:18; Genesis 2:23-24

"The Bible is corrupt and changed": Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:23-25

"The Bible is not the word of God": 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21

"Do whatever feels right as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else": Romans 14:12

"Racism will never go away": Ephesians 2:11-14

"All world religions and religious books have the same validity": Isaiah 41:21-23

"There were no eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ who write the Bible": 2 Peter 1:16

"There is no evidence for God's existence": Romans 1:19-20

"Christians are hateful, bigoted hypocrites": Matthew 7:15-23; 2 Peter 1:4-9

"Jesus Christ is a myth": 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1

"You can't quote the Bible to prove the Bible": Deuteronomy 18:21-22

The words of the 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon couldn't ring more true in a day and age of such criticism: 

"Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself".

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Who is like the God of the Bible???

"Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works." Psalm 86:8

This is part of a prayer of the great king David of ancient Israel who acknowledges the uniqueness of God and his works throughout human history. If these words spoken by king David were ever needed during a time of human history it is definitely during our time, though I suppose that these words were of great value during the time of David as well. In a time when the nations in the Middle East worshipped many gods, David's own nation was also exposed to these gods, so it would have been all too easy to count the God of Israel as one God among many and to consider his power equal to all the rest. Today a similar comparison is being made, but not so much among those who worship different gods but rather by those who don't believe in any god. Often times the God of the Bible is compared to the Norse gods, or the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian gods to conclude that he is no different or that he was made through someone's imagination. Some even foolishly say that they are God. These are false comparison being made. When we take David's thought and apply it to this type of thinking are there truly any God's like the God of the Bible? Are there any that are like him in character, or are there any who have done the exact same works as him? Do any of the gods have the same perfection, love, or justice as the God of the Bible himself? Are there any gods who are said to have created everything in existence? Are there any gods who can control nature, create life, and guide individuals and nations to accomplish his purposes? Which god can predict the future and tell mankind the events that are to come? Finally, which God took on the form of a human being to serve us, love us, and suffer for us when we were hostile toward him in our works? Is there any god who fits this criteria? None but the God revealed to us in the pages of the Bible.

Lets consider again the words of king David: "Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works".

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Miracle that we can see.

Have you ever found it difficult to accept the Bible as a supernatural book inspired by God, or found it difficult to believe the Bible's claims about miracles? Perhaps you say "I don't accept Jesus as the Son of God", "I don't believe that Moses parted the Red Sea", or "I cannot accept that Jesus walked on water". I assume that these are doubted because you haven't personally seen these types of miracles yourself or any miracle for that matter! However, I want to inform you that there are miracles that point to the fact that the Bible is a supernatural collections of books, that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God, that Moses parted the Red Sea, and yes, we can all see these miracles! So which miracles am I referring to?

See what the Apostle Peter wrote on the issue in 2 Peter 1:16-21:

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed,[a] which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,[b] 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God[c] spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Notice in verses 16 and 17 that Peter says he was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ and heard the voice of God when He said "This is my beloved Son". He then says in verse 18 that he was with Jesus on the holy mountain when he heard this voice. Here is where the miracle that we can all see comes in: In verse 19 he says "so we have the prophetic word confirmed", and concludes the passage in verse 21 by saying that prophecy never originated from man, but from the Holy Spirit who moved men to speak. So what is Peter saying here and what's so special about it? Peter is telling us that prophecies in the Bible didn't originate from man's imagination or guesswork, but from God himself. The Spirit of God through man spoke the words of the Bible and specifically the prophecies of the Bible (though all scripture comes from God), and these are "a light that shines in a dark place". Lights are meant to give guidance, they are meant to illuminate, allow us to see truth, and which path to take! The prophecies in the Bible are just that, a guide for us to discern truth and the work of the true God. So, how do we know that Bible has been inspired by God? By looking to its prophecies. When we "Heed" or follow these then we will be lead to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins according to prophecy in the Bible, and rose from the dead three days later. The Bible is true because it's a book from God, and it has proven itself to be a book from God.

For examples please see: Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 110, Deuteronomy 18:15, Zechariah 12:10.

Compare these with the life of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Also read the Books of Isaiah and Jeremiah to see how Biblical prophecy unfolded in history.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Atonement and the Abrahamic Faiths.

If you've been intentional about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others then chances are you have come across individuals who are of the Jewish faith or Islamic faith which are called the Abrahamic faiths. You've proceeded to tell them that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead, and that they can have complete forgiveness for their sins by trusting in Him. You tell them that they can be reconciled to God because their sins have separated them from Him. But they respond with the idea that they don't need someone to die for their sins because they receive forgiveness by praying to God directly, by fasting, doing good deeds, or by God arbitrarily forgiving them because He is merciful. No doubt if you've spoken with someone of the Jewish faith or Islamic faith then you've heard one of these objections thrown out to you so as to exempt them from their need of the gospel! It's also quite possible that you didn't know what to say at all when you had the opportunity for conversation.

However, we know from the Bible that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12), and that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). So, how do we as Christians respond when an objection like this comes out from a Jewish person or a Muslim? One effective way is to look for some common ground between you and your Jewish and Muslim friend. One of those common ground areas is Moses the prophet. Both Jewish and Muslim people believe that Moses was a prophet, and they both believe his words and consider them as words from God. When an objection like this comes up it might be good to say, "You believe in Moses as a prophet, right? Do you know what He said about how to be forgiven for your sins?" And proceed to show the person you're talking with the following verse:

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for the souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul." Leviticus 17:11

These words were spoken by God through the prophet Moses, and they inform us that God has designated a means of atonement for the soul or life of a human being. In this context he is speaking to the nation of Israel, but this theme appears all through out the Old and New Testaments, and was practiced and affirmed by various writers and individuals in the Bible. God says that it is the blood that makes atonement, payment, or reparation for the soul, meaning that it is a direct transaction for any offense that a person commits toward God. It is meant to cleanse and cover ones sins. This was an integral part of Moses' revelation that he spoke to the people about how one receives atonement in the eyes of God. Yet, today Muslims and many Jewish people hope to atone for themselves by living a righteous life. Remember however, that followers of both faiths revere Moses and believe that he spoke the very words of God. When you show the person whom you are speaking with this verse, hold them to this point and then tell them about Jesus Christ who is the one who shed his blood for the world!

"For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:13-14

If you are reading this and are a follower of the Jewish or Islamic faith, where is your atonement?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keys to Unlocking The Cage of Fear and Hesitation.

When I go to the mall to do evangelism by myself it can be a very intimidating experience! There are thoughts that run through my head such as, "This person on the bench is going to think it's strange if I approach them", "They aren't going to want to talk about religion", or "They'll be frightened off if I approach them with my question about eternity!" Many times these types of thoughts prevent me from approaching anyone at all about the gospel, and I end up walking around in circles (Silly, I know!) battling fear, intimidation, and hesitation. Perhaps these fears could actually happen, and indeed I have seen responses from some people that were perfectly in line with these fears. However,these are not the typical responses that I get when I approach a random stranger to talk about eternity. More than half of the people I approach are intrigued and want to speak further on the matter, or they are appreciative that someone showed an interest in their spiritual state. Even still, these types of thoughts almost run constantly through my head when I make a deliberate attempt to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. There are some keys that I've found that help me to get over these fears almost instantly, and I would like to share those keys.

Key # 1 : Initiate Immediately.

As soon as you have it in your mind to speak with someone about the gospel of Jesus Christ, do it and don't hesitate! The longer you hesitate and stall on trying to decide who you approach, the more opportunity your fears, intimidation, and hesitation have to hold you back. Don't let them. Proverbs tells us that the fear of man is a snare. As soon as you make that first approach it will kill or alleviate your fears, and help you to become bolder.

Key # 2 : Initiate Indiscriminately.

Don't judge a person's receptiveness to the gospel based on their age, sex, skin color, clothing or body art. It is easy for me to think that older men who are in their 40's or 50's will not be receptive to the gospel at all, but it turns out that I have had some of my best conversations with older men. In the parable about the farmer Jesus failed to tell us that the farmer inspected all of the soil before scattering the seed!! Just go for it! The gospel message is for everyone. Let God work on the growth and receptiveness!

Key # 3 : Trust The Message's Impact.

The gospel is not a message that needs to be made palatable, acceptable or believable before anyone will embrace it folks! It's also not our responsibility to make someone accept and believe its claims (I know that's a temptation in our context). That is God's Job! It is written somewhere that "to those who are called..... it [the gospel] is the power of God and the wisdom of God". The message is powerful in of itself, and all we have to do is communicate it clearly, deliberately, and with conviction. God will do the rest!

Key # 4 : Rejoice In Rejection.

Lets face it. Rejection will come when we attempt to share the gospel with strangers, and even family and friends for that matter. Remember that rejection can encourage us to persevere in spreading the message and challenges us to trust God more in our efforts. Not to mention, that Jesus also tells us that we are rewarded in heaven when we are rejected for his name. This should give us plenty of reason to be happy when we experience rejection. It comes with the territory of those who follow Jesus. You also will find that rejection oftentimes doesn't hurt as bad as you think it will. Be happy when rejected and keep going!

We of course cannot forget prayer which is one of greatest keys in breaking through our fears, but I thought it was best to emphasize some of the other practical things we can do get past our fears.

Until Next Time!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scripted or Unscripted? Yes!

How do we communicate the gospel clearly and effectively? How do we communicate it in such a way as to reach the person whom we are speaking with? Afterall, no two people who are alike, right? There are all sorts of people with different mindsets, worldviews, beliefs, objections, convictions, and education levels, so how can we speak the gospel of Jesus Christ so as to reach people from many different backgrounds? I recently listened to a series of messages on evangelism from a Pastor in the U.K. who said that we shouldn't use a set method of evangelism or a "one size fits all" approach to evangelism because the people with whom we speak are all different. We must be pliable and ask a series of questions in order to make a clear diagnosis on the person we are speaking with. Only then can we address the individual where they are at and meet their current need. This makes sense. I'm not going to talk to an atheist like I would talk to someone who is eager to know how to have eternal life am I? I wouldn't address a Hindu in the same way I would address a Muslim right? No, I dont think so. Does this mean that we can't run every single person with whom we speak through the same memorized script of the gospel? It would seem so, BUT in my experience I've found that it is helpful to be scripted and unscripted in my verbal presentation of the gospel. You might ask, "what do you mean by that?" Allow me to explain.

If you don't at least have some type of memorized script or outline you can run the risk of getting lost in a conversation, forgetting your point, getting caught in an argument, or not making something clear as you present the gospel to someone. If you have a script then you will know where to begin, where to go, and where to get back to if your conversation gets off track. Plus, it gives you a logical flow and consistency so that the listener can better understand the gospel message. For example, one of my favorite evangelism scripts is from a ministry called "The Way Of The Master" in which the acronym W.D.J.D. is used when speaking with every person you're seeking to share the gospel with. "W" stands for "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?", "D" stands for "Do you think you've kept the Ten Commandments?", "J (Judgment)" is "If God judges you by that standard would you be innocent or guilty?", and finally "D (Destination)" stands for "Would you go to heaven or hell?". Through a series of questions the person is lead to admit that he or she has sinned against God and is headed for hell if they are not a Christian. Once the person admits this, then it is your que to share the goods news that Jesus has died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the dead. You always ask those questions, it keeps you on track, and it provides a logical consistency to the presentation. The presenter feels equipped and always know where to go in the conversation.

With that being said, it is also helpful and necessary from experience to be unscripted and pliable as well in our conversations because individuals have different difficulties and objections that keep them from believing the gospel. For example, when talking to a Muslim I'm going to emphasize different facts than I would with an Atheist. With a Muslim I would emphasize the fact that the prophets of the bible which they claim to believe in spoke about Jesus in the Old Testament and told us that he would suffer for our sins and rise from the dead. I would use the same script as above, but I would mention that God revealed the Ten Commandments to the prophet Moses, and then ask them if they've kept the Ten Commandments because Muslims believe that Moses was indeed a prophet of God. I take my script and make it pliable and maybe even use terminology that is familiar to them if I can. I would talk indepth about the justice of God against sin because ultimately in Muslim thinking one is forgiven based on God's choice and one's good works. Sin can be completely ignored by God. However, with an Atheist right off the bat I would ask how the individual knows that God doesn't exist, and I would show them the evidence that the bible provides for the existence of God (creation, conscience, prophecy, changed lives, etc.). I would also take them through the Ten Commandments but also refer to it as "God's standard of right and wrong", and emphasize that God has also revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

Basically, I challenge and provided answers for the objections that come up with the person I speak with. This is the UNSCRIPTED part of the conversation. When I swing to the acronym W.D.J.D. mentioned above, THAT is the SCRIPTED part of the conversation. I will also try to use terminology that will connect with the hearer if I can and I will emphasize areas of the gospel that speak to what the other person's worldview lacks. I take the SCRIPT and MAKE IT PLIABLE! If you are new to sharing the gospel don't worry because this will come with practice. As you encounter many different ideas and kinds of people your knowledge will deepen and so will your PLIABLITY! So, as of now I have concluded that it is helpful to be both SCRIPTED and UNSCRIPTED in your message!

Until Next Time!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The problem with believing that Jesus was just a created being.

There are certain groups today who would say that the Jesus Christ of the Bible is not God in the Flesh. They assert that He is merely a created being whom God used to create the entire world. Texts such as "He is the firstborn over all creation" and "The Father is greater than I" are used to support this view. Dare not anyone say that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh or that He is Yahweh or Jehovah! Why this would be disservice and a dishonor to the one true God Almighty! Besides, how can The Father be the Son and the Son be the Father?! This doesn't make sense....It's not logical!

For many this is indeed a stumbling block to the Christian faith, but this is such an important issue to figure out because an entire religion holds this view as a major doctrinal point. Jesus was just a great prophet of God, but by no means was He an angel or God himself this religion says. Another group says that Jesus was the Archangel Michael, one of God's prime creations, but not God Himself. Yet another group asserts that Jesus was a spirit child of God his Father and the brother of Satan. While many people who say that Jesus Christ was just a created being use logic, certain verses in the Bible, or their own religious text I submit the idea that these views are not consistent with the complete revelation of God as found in the Bible. Thus I write this blog today to help set the record straight because there are many out there who hold the view that Jesus was merely a created being, a prophet or an angel, but the problem with these views is that the Bible simply doesn't teach them. Now before I proceed I must say one thing. We must submit our logic to scripture, not scripture to our logic. This is where many people get themselves into trouble and error. God's Word goes first, then my logic second, for who can fully know the mind of God?

There are certain parts of the New Testament that quote verses from the Old Testament describing God creating the world. Now what's interesting about the verses is that they are used to describe the activity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Why are the writers of the New Testament using verses that describe God's hands creating world, His eternal existence, and title being used in the New Testament to describe Jesus? Lets take a close look.

12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob,
And Israel, My called:
I am He, I am the First,
I am also the Last.
13 Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth,
And My right hand has stretched out the heavens;
When I call to them,
They stand up together. Isaiah 48:12-13 (NKJV)


8 "But to the Son He says......" Hebrews 1:8a (NKJV):

10 “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands...." Hebrews 1:10 (NKJV)

Notice that in the passage in Isaiah it says that God laid the foundation of the earth and stretched out the heavens with his right hand, while the writer of Hebrews takes the same idea and applies it to the Son of God, Jesus. Now I didn't include the full contexts of both, but a clear reading of the passages will show that Isaiah is referring to God and Hebrews referring to Jesus (Also calling Him God). This strongly shows that Jesus is the creator God, He is God in the Flesh. I agree wholeheartedly as well as the scriptures when Paul says this about Jesus:

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. Philippians 2:5-6 (NKJV)

and again,

9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2: 9 (NKJV)

So, believing that he was just a created being or a Prophet is erroneous even just based on these verses. There are many more verses that teach that Jesus is God in the Flesh. So if you say that Jesus was just a created being how do you explain the previous verses? They clearly teach that he is much more.