Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Why does man reverse God's order on love?

It has been customary to say "You must first love yourself before you can love another". On the surface this seems to have much wisdom, but is it true?

The Lord Jesus said;

Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Matthew 22.37-39.

The biblical way then, if you would find life is to love God in Christ first, then secondly your neighbour, and likewise yourself. Incorporated within "neighbour" would be your husband, wife, sons, daughters, family members, friends, and whomever else. Once we learn that all true wisdom is from above, then we learn that true love can only come from thence.

What shall we say to the secular proverb quoted above? We quote from the wisdom of Solomon;

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
But the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 14.12.

I may add that the two commandments quoted by the Saviour above are the Ten Commandments paraphrased into the Two Commandments. The first four commandments are between God and man, the second six are between man and man.

And there are those that tell us we are "not under law"!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Today's BBC World News Headlines!

On BBC World News today the two leading headlines were "World Condemns Trump's Announcement" (on his plan to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv) and "Australia Approves Same-Sex Marriage" (MPs overwhelmingly vote to legalise same-sex marriage, setting off immediate celebrations).

If this world were sane, it would read;

"World Condemns Australia's Legalisation of Same-Sex Marriage" and "World Approves Trump's Relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem".

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The wisdom of Oswald Chambers.

God can make simple, guileless people out of cunning, crafty people; that is the marvel of the grace of God.

p 206 Biblical Psychology.

How true this is!
Once upon a time I was always trying to pull "the fast one"! not any more.

Praise God in Christ.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Evangelism, what exactly is it?

Is it by gently telling people about Jesus, sharing your faith (whatever this means?), or screaming loudly at them that they must repent or face eternal damnation?
Some think that it is by the charm of a preacher that does the converting. If that be so, then another man with more charm could come along and unconvert! Not so with God the Holy Spirit, when He does the converting, there will be no unconverting. So how much 'work' must we do when witnessing to the lost? Is there a "silver bullet"? no, of course not! Nevertheless, as a 'young' believer I reasoned that if I could 'persuade' by the route that I came to the Faith, then that should do the trick. But I very soon learned this was not the case! There is not a "one size fits all" formula. It is a fact that Arminian preachers/church men always boast about those who "raised their hands" at an altar call meeting. They do this as if it were by their efforts that souls were saved! A fleeting glance at the "wheat and tares" parable in Matthew 13 should dispel this nonsense once and forever.

There is also this stupid notion that some will "want what you've got!" In other words because you are such an exemplary loving Christian character, they will want to be just like youso the reasoning goes! They are supposed to 'see' Jesus in you coruscating outwards! Certainly the Scriptures admonish us to "walk ye in Him" Colossians 2.6 and we ought indeed to "walk, even as He walked" 1 John 2.6. But this is after we believe, it is not meant as an evangelising tool! (read the contexts). If it were by our 'shining example' of holy living, that we could convert people, then by this measure Jesus failed most miserably!

The Scripture says "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" Romans 10.17. This is true, but how many verses does it take to do it? one, seven, three hundred, or more? As said above, there is no formula. In the gospel accounts we see that Jesus just said "follow Me" and Matthew instantaneously dropped what he was doing and obediently and meekly followed Him, Matthew 9.9! But then, He was the living Word; He was "the Word made flesh" John 1.14!

So how much Scripture must we preach to convict a sinner that he is hell-bound unless he repents and believes? God's written word is described as a "hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces" Jeremiah 23.29; in other words it will do the job it was sent to do! Those names that were in eternity past written in "the Lamb's book of life" Revelation 21.27 will  believe, for they will repent and believe, for their names are "written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Revelation 13.8. But is not this pre-destination and election? undeniably it is. Charles Spurgeon that great evangelical preacher of the 19th century said of this doctrine "Men and women are more scared of pre-destination/election than if they were to come face to face with a lion"! But why is this? didn't Peter deny his Lord? yet Jesus was faithful to him, even unto death on the cross! Peter subsequently learnt this lesson, for he wrote; "..give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" 2 Peter 1.10. (my emphasis). For myself, as with many others, I find the doctrine of election to be most humbling; why did God chose a wretch like me? why shine the gospel light on an undeserving criminal such as me? It makes absolutely no sense! But, by His grace alone He did shine it upon me! I heard, for "My sheep hear My voice" John 10.27!
"...make your calling and election sure" (my emphasis). God supplies those names He put into His "book of life" with His saving grace; "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2.8, "who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." 2 Timothy 1.9.

As a child I experienced poverty, and at times there was very little money about, and it seemed to me at school that all my classmates had everything, and I had nothing. Every Monday morning at registration the children would be called up one by one to pay for the weeks school meals, but not me; I qualified for free school meals. This made me feel inferior, I felt really ashamed, also being brought up in a single parent household (my mother). They had brand new bicycles/mopeds/motorcycles, I had none.
To cut a very long story short, After leaving school and finding employment for a short time, I 'fell' into my business (second hand cars) and by the time I was in my mid twenties I'd earned enough money to buy two houses outright in an expensive Cotswold town. I wasn't wanting for anything and could buy any car I wanted. But by the time I was in my early thirties I felt really hollow, I remember just thinking "what's life all about? you live, eat and die!" I started to think about eternity.

How did I come to believe in Jesus as Saviour? Well, one thing I do know, is that it was certainly not instantaneous! It wasn't until I was about 42 that I believed, and then it was a gargantuan struggle until I really believed! There was no one verse or three hundred verses! no "altar call" that did it, but just a continued 'search', though I do remember something happening to me on one occasion, that I hadn't experienced before or since. No signs and wonders, angelic visitations or a sight of Jesus that many claim, no, just a feeling of being completely overwhelmed; like being run over by a bus, but without any physical damage! I then realised for the first time that the cross was no "cunningly designed fable" 2 Peter 1.16!
I had heard that Jesus could save, but now I really believed it. Nevertheless life goes on.

Back in the latter part of the 19th century there was a very contentious debate raging in Scotland between two reformed Calvinist Church ministers by the names of Dr's Horatius Bonar and John Kennedy. It came to be because Bonar's younger brother Andrew (also a reformed Calvinist minister in Scotland's Free Church) invited the famous American Arminian preacher D.L.Moody to preach in Edinburgh/Glasgow. Moody was also heavily influenced by J.N.Darby's dispensational pre-tribulation rapture teaching. Both Bonar's were pre-millennial, as Moody indeed was, but not pre-trib like the American! Kennedy, being post millennial, was no doubt very perplexed by the Bonar's pre-millennialism!
This brought the wrath of Kennedy upon the Bonar's, for he abhorred the Arminian gospel!
I have read the book "Evangelism A Reformed Debate" which narrates this rather unfortunate episode in the history of Christ's Church in Scotland, and though the Bonar's and Dr Kennedy were all staunch Calvinists (as I am!); how can we object to an Arminian preacher who preaches salvation by God's grace alone? Is this not also Christian/Calvinistic doctrine?  Arminianism is thoroughly unbiblical, but nevertheless, those who hold to it's teachings seem to have a far greater and fervent desire for the lost to be saved from "the wrath to come" Matthew 3.7!

My verdict on this "debate".
I hate Arminian 'theology' with every bent of my body, for it relegates God to the whims of man, and 'theologically' it can be proven to be utterly unscriptural, nevertheless let us not despise those in times past, or today who are prepared to preach salvation by God's grace alone.
I believe Dr Kennedy's theology to be 100% Bible based to a fault! (post millennialism apart). Likewise the Bonar's!
But when it comes to preaching God's Word (Christ) we should develop the Arminian 'way' as it were!

The gospel of Christ should be given "free course" 2 Thessalonians 3.1.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The Water Cycle

Most people, including I would think the vast majority of professing Christians believe that rain is caused by the evaporation of the seas, rivers and streams which then rise back up to the clouds to cause it to rain. The 'scientists' have a much more in-depth 'explanation' for this process known as the "water cycle".

What does God say about this false science?

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth NOT thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater" 

Isaiah 55.10. (My emphasis).

Or, in modern English my paraphrase would be; 
"When the snow and rain comes down from the clouds, and doesn't return there, it waters the earth making it bud so that we have seeds to plant, that we may eat."

There is a big 'water tank' above our clouds, in fact it is above the firmament, for Genesis 1.7 says that there are also "waters which were above the firmament". The earth didn't see any rain until the time of Noah's flood, when "the windows of heaven were opened." Genesis 6.1. It was then that I believe clouds came to be. Clouds are not mentioned in the Bible until we get to Genesis 9.13 when God made a covenant with Noah by setting "My bow in the cloud".

Monday, 13 November 2017

By Whose will are we saved?

By Whose will are we saved?

John 1.12-13: 
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Now, I believe if you were to ask a twelve year old child of average intelligence to read the above Scripture and ask "by whose will are we saved?" the answer would be "God's".

Why then do so many struggle to believe that it is God that makes the difference? Or as Paul asked "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" 1 Corinthians 4.7 a.

As Luther so rightly said regarding man's 'free-will', "free-will is a name for nothing". Yet we make 'choices' from our 'free-wills' every day! We can chose to be downright disobedient if we want to, yet our sovereign and wise Creator will overrule our wills so His "will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6.10! This last verse is part of the "Lord's prayer" recited by countless people the world over, yet just how many have really believed it?

There are many accounts in the Bible that demonstrate the fact that it is God who is in control. The account of Haman and Mordecai in the book of Esther so clearly reveal this. It was Haman's will to have Morecai hanged on gallows specially constructed for the occasion, yet it was God's will that Haman would be hanged thereon!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Deity of Jesus Christ

1 Timothy 3.16 KJV 1611 (AV):

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.


Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

The name which most clearly establishes the deity of Christ is the name 'God' as applied to Him. By the removal of only two letters from the original Greek of this text one of the clearest proof-texts for Christ's deity is rendered useless. It could be said of every man who comes into the world that 'he appeared in a body'. C. H. Spurgeon commented on this text:

Does it tell us that a man was manifest in the flesh? Assuredly that cannot be its teaching, for every man is manifest in the flesh, and there is no sense in making such a statement concerning  any mere man, and then calling it a mystery. Was it an angel then? But what angel was ever manifest in the flesh? And if he were, would it be at all a mystery that he should be 'seen of angels'? Can it be that the devil was manifest in the flesh? If so he has been 'received up into glory', which, let us hope, is not the case. Well, if it was neither a man, nor an angel, nor a devil, who was manifest in the flesh, surely he must have been God; and so if the word be not there, the sense must be there, or else nonsense.

The above was copied from page 18 from an excellent little booklet; "Which Bible Version: Does It Really Matter?" By David Blunt.

The real reason why this alteration is found in the modern text is understood from the history of the Revised Version of 1881. This project was originally sanctioned by the Church of England and intended as a limited revision of the Authorized Version. The final product however was based on the new Greek text of Westcott and Hort begun three decades earlier. The presence of Dr. G. Vance Smith, a Unitarian minister, on the revising committee provoked a row, with several thousand Anglican clergymen signing a protest, but Westcott and Hort defended his presence and he remained. The altered reading of 1 Timothy 3.16 was of course quite suitable to Dr. Smith, who wrote:

The old reading has been pronounced untenable by the Revisers, as it has long been known to be by all careful students of the New Testament...It is another example of the facility with which ancient copiers could introduce the word 'God' into their manuscripts-a reading which was the natural result of the growing tendency in early Christian times to look upon the humble Teacher as the Incarnate Word, and therefore as 'God manifested in the flesh'.

Here is a mischievous idea. It is suggested that early Christians altered the text of the New Testament to make it 'more orthodox' than it originally was, and that by removing the word 'God' from this verse and other similar amendments  the compilers of the Revised Version and subsequent versions have returned the text of the Bible to a purer state. The consequence of course is that one of the clearest statements of Christ's divinity is removed from the Bible, and that after multitudes of believers have for centuries derived instruction and encouragement from it. What sort of view of providential preservation is this?

By substituting the equivocal 'He' for the explicit 'God' the textualcriticsand the NIV translators have destroyed the value of this verse as a proof-text for the Incarnation, the essence of which, as seen in the Westminster Confession of Faith  chapter VIII. ii, is 'that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion'.

Other divine names applied to Christ are omitted in the modern versions. In the NIV New Testament the name 'Lord' is omitted from the text 35 times, the name 'Jesus' 38 times. Particularly serious is the way in which the name 'Lord' or 'Christ' has been separated from the name 'Jesus'at critical places.

CHECK OUT YOUR BIBLE! If such a downgraded rendering is in your Bible of choice (forget the footnotes) I say CHUCK IT OUT!