Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Wine In Old Wineskins

Tonight I asked Robb a question. "why do we love bondage.. we hold on to sin... we hold on to Law... we hold on to ourselves.. why is it so hard to throw all of that away and behold our precious savior?? why?"

Here was his response -

"...wineskins were used as containers for liquid. If filled with new wine, old skins lost elasticity and burst when the wine fermented. The point is that the new teaching of the grace of Christ cannot be contained within the old forms of the law (John 1:17)."—Ryrie Study Notes

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

No Feathers For You Sinosauropteryx

AiG's News To Note this week has this item

That birds evolved from dinosaurs has been nearly universally accepted in most evolutionist circles since the discovery of Archaeopteryx. But this week, a key fossil said to uphold that dino-to-bird link is under attack.

Now, however, a team led by South African researcher Theagarten
Lingham-Soliar is disputing the “primitive feathers” of Sinosauropteryx:

“The fibres show a striking similarity to the structure and
levels of organisation of dermal collagen,” the kind of tough
elastic strands found on the skin of sharks and reptiles today,
the investigators say.

In other words, the “feathers” are not feathers at all. And while
the team “do[es] not take issue with the [dinos-to-birds] theory
itself,” this is a powerful reminder that the evidence evolutionists
offer today can easily be retracted tomorrow.

Two other passages in the article reveal other interesting facts. First, the article makes a note about Archaeopteryx:

What is missing are the links between Archaeopteryx and other
species that would show how it evolved. But [the] fossil record is
frustratingly small and incomplete and this is why debate has
been so fierce. [Emphases added]

We’d say this quotation speaks for itself! The second passage of
interest describes how scientists originally concluded that
Sinosauropteryx had proto-feathers:

[Lingham-Soliar’s team is] dismayed by what they see as a
reckless leap to the conclusion that Sinosauropteryx had the
all-important “protofeathers,” even though this dinosaur
was phylogenetically far removed from Archaeopteryx.

The evidence in support of the primitive feathers lacked serious
investigation, Lingham-Soliar says.

“There is not a single close-up representation of the integumental
structure alleged to be a protofeather,” Lingham-Soliar says

It seems that in their irrational exuberance over the find and their
zeal for evolutionary theory, the original scientists leapt without
basis to the proto-feather conclusion. How many other similar
discoveries that “prove” evolution are the result of eager
evolutionists who have thrown true science out the window?

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Friday, May 25, 2007

What IS Repentance?

UPDATE 2: I have recently recorded an exhaustive video on the subject of Repentance which examines all usages of any word translated as any form of repent in both the Old and New Testaments. See the article Repentance Unto Life here.

UPDATE: I have a VERY short definition which may be helpful to read before you see this more complete argument.

When we teach about the Gospel it's important that we admit, and agree with the Bible that Salvation is by Grace through Faith alone. Eph 2:8-9 That means that Salvation comes by putting your faith in Christ and that's it. So what about Repentance then? Well it's linked to deliverance and eternal salvation in the Bible. This leaves us with the fundamental question – What IS Repentance? We must be very careful because the answer can destroy the essential doctrine of “by Faith alone” and turn the Gospel into a false gospel of salvation by works.

Let's see if we can figure it out.

We're going to start all the way back at the beginning. Well ok a few days after the beginning anyway. In Genesis 2:17 God declares that sin will result in death. The struggle between truth and falsehood begins in Gen 3:4 where the Devil says that God was lying. This will become very important later as we get to the Gospel. We read that the “Wages of Sin” is death in Romans 6:23. But really God said this in Gen 2:17 so it's nothing new.

Sin requires death. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Heb 9:22

We get to Cain and Abel in Gen 4. Where we seen an example of how we can't approach God on our own terms – only on His. Abel took God at His Word and obeyed Him. Cain on the other hand, choose to give God something he thought was valuable. It was a sacrifice, but it was not what God required. God declares that sin requires death and so sinful man can not approach God without the shedding of blood. Abel brought a blood offering, Cain brought vegetables.

Cain was a sinner and so had the seed of disobedience in him – just as all we descendants of Adam do. I'm sure Cain intended to please God, but because he refused to do so in accordance with what God asked God was not pleased at all.

We run into the very same issue today when we are told to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. To so many preachers and ordinary people Repentance means to feel sorrow and pledge to change your ways. Now godly sorrow does work repentance, a la 2 Cor 7:10, but sorrow is not a requirement nor an ingredient of Repentance. Nor is changing your behavior or even declaring that you will or want to change your behavior a part of Repentance. Although these things DO often happen in one's life after they have repented a la Acts 26:20. How do I know these are not part of Repentance? The Bible never says they are part of it. Only that they can be results of, or even things that lead up to Repentance – but not always. Further we constantly see Paul preaching about holy living to Christians who are already saved – thus having already repented.

So now we know what Repentance isn't.. that's helpful.. what IS it?

Well the Greek word that is translated into the English word “Repent” is metanoeĊ and it carries the meaning “to change your mind.” This is a word that gets used to mean anything from changing your mind about a decision you had made to changing your opinion about something. Many people add to the word as it is used in Scripture. When you read it in Scripture try just replacing the word Repent with the phrase “change your mind” or “a change of mind” So when God says to repent of sins what does that mean. Well let's say “change your mind about sins” That still doesn't clear it up all the way. But it does get rid of the “stop sinning so you can be saved” sort of repentance that get preached so often.

Let's see how the mind of the unsaved person works for a moment. Prov 20:6 tells us that men proclaim their goodness. People esteem themselves as good but God says none are good except Him. Matt 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19. Our very thinking nature is against God. Rom 8:7.

Part of the Gospel says that Jesus Christ died for our sins. I Cor 15:3. In order for a man to believe that someone died for his sins, he must realize that he has sins that are terrible enough to deserve death. This is repentance. This is the change of mind. I'll break it down.

No one asks for medical treatment for cancer unless they believe they have cancer.

Before the man thought he was good. Now he knows he is a sinner deserving of death.
Before his thinking was against God. He didn't even think sin was sinful. Now he agrees with God that sin deserves death.

Repentance alone is not enough to save a person. Repentance unto life includes not only the change of mind about self, and the right alignment of our thinking to agree with God but also the putting our faith in Christ Jesus. Who died for our sins, because death was deserved and required, and that it was enough as in accordance with what God said He needed in Scripture, that He was sinless and the Christ (which includes the meaning that He is God) and that He rose again in the flesh. I Cor 15:1-8.

So if you believe this, that it applies to you and your sins, and that it does save then you have repented unto life. You have changed your mind and put your faith in Christ Jesus. Rom 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

When we want to change our ways to be more acceptable to God it's an honest and good emotion. Just like Cain's wanting to please God by offering Him the fruit of his labor in the fields. But just as Cain learned so must we, no man can approach God except the way that God has said. Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. John 16:6 We can want to change our ways and that is a good thing. That is the fruit of Repentance. But if we think, or worse preach that a man must do this, even want to do this in order to be saved then we are declaring that works are required for Salvation and it's not “by Faith alone.” God says it's by grace we saved through faith and that not of ourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8-9. If we do this we preach another gospel which isn't a gospel at all. Gal 1:6-7

We can not approach God on the basis that we want to make ourselves better, or that we will. We can only approach God by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That all of our sin was paid for. If we believe, or preach, that we need to make ourselves even the slightest bit better in order to be saved then we are making Grace of no effect. Gal 5:4

This is not to say that Christians should not strive to live holy lives, that is an entirely different subject. Today I am writing about about repentance that leads to salvation, not discipleship.
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Reforming The World

I was listening to someone speak yesterday about giving guidance to the unsaved on how to live. What a silly notion. Can a slave disobey his master? Can a blind man be ordered to not bump into your coffee table?

The unsaved are blind and slaves to the world. There is one thing they need to know - the Gospel. Why would we want to teach them to act like Christians ought to act? So they can be deceived into thinking they are good enough to get into Heaven without Christ?

Christians stop waving signs at the World as though it could do better.. or even if it could that it would make a difference. The World is dying, it has been judged and will be destroyed and remade. The solution for the people you love, and the people you SHOULD be loving is to give them the Gospel.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Thoughts on the Judgment Seat of Christ

Without getting into the implications in a big way here are some thoughts on the Judgment Seat of Christ.

God will judge every man, woman and child.
Rev. 22:12
Hebrews 9:27

Christians are not excused from Judgment, but we are excused from Condemnation. Rom 8:1

So what then is Judgment without Condemnation? It is the giving of
reward, or not. When a High School student passes in an exam that they
have surely passed their performance is still "judged". The student can
be given reward up to the highest mark, but will suffer loss of
potential marks for poor performance and gain marks for good

This is not at all what the Judgment of non-believers will be like.
So that can spur us on to the subject that Avery wanted me to discuss.

Non-Believers will be judged at the Great White Throne Rev. 20:11-15

But Christians will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ 2 Cor. 5:10

It's very important for the Believer to understand that there will be
no judgment of sin at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Our sin WAS judged
at the Cross, the punishment was paid at the Cross. John 15, Gal 5, Rom 6:3-11
our flesh, our Adamic Nature, is Crucified with Christ. It HAS been
judged and found guilty, sentenced to death & banishment.

The Judgment Seat will happen as Paul describes in 1 Cor 3:11-14

2 Cor 5 contains a great work on the fact that we have been judged according to
sin but will next be judged according to performance or fruit.

This is the same point that James is making in James 2. Sin has been dealt with, now we must perform in the knowledge that our faithful works WILL be judged. Here are some of my thoughts on James 2.

We see this idea of personal fear of the Lord, and personal
accountability carried on in other places as well. It becomes clear
that we are to be concerned primarily with how we will be judged - not
with judging our peers. Because WE ourselves have stewardship over our
lives and will be judged. (this is not a treatise on not judging each
other which IS needed for other purposes)

Rom 14:10-12

1 Cor 9:24-27

Corporately Christ speaks to the 7 assemblies in Rev 2-3 telling
them to do the will of God so that they might receive their reward.

As Christians we will be judged for our performance. Not for "how good
we do" but for what foundation supports what we do. You'll notice that
Paul sought to speak with weakness (though he clearly had great words
in him, and an incredible mind) so as to not rob the power from the
Cross. He made the work of the Cross to be the foundation of what he
did. So that when he stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ he will
hear the words "Well done My good and faithful servant." The things
Paul did pointed to Christ, were dependent on the Holy Spirit and were
submissive to the will of God.

This is how we will be judged. Not by how we have screwed up, or sinned
or anything like that. But when we preach did we do so by the power of
the Holy Spirit. When we feed did we do so as led by God and by His
provision? When we abstained did we do it to glorify Him and be gentle
to our brother?

Wife Attains Her Personal Best 10K Race

My wife ran the 10K race at the Bluenose International Marathon today. She got her personal best race time, 2 minutes faster than she ran last year's and she got her actual personal best time ever by 2 seconds. :)

Here's a before and after.. she's sucking wind at the end of it! Don't tell her I said that!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When God Says No

God does say “no” sometimes, and it can feel terrible. How to deal with that answer is a tough question. The big picture is that God has promised us good, and our judgement of what that is, isn't always as clear as God's is. The Apostle Paul had to deal with the answer no from the God he loved, and Whom loved him. We are never told what exactly he was asking about but he describes it as a thorn in his side. It was something so important to Paul that he went to the Lord three times about it even though he knew why it was allowed to continue in his life. We can read about it in 2 Cor 12:7-10, and how Paul ended up responding to the answer “no”.

Paul records that God answered with “My grace suffices thee; for [my] power is perfected in weakness.” And Paul tells us that now, after having asked three times that he learned what God was teaching him and put it into practice. “Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of the Christ may dwell upon me.

These are big words, from a man who was tried by the fires or persecution in the world. By studying the writings of Paul we learn that God was working on him throughout his life. He goes from being unsaved to writing of joy while he was in Roman prisons, when he was shipwrecked, even when facing death.

We can see a similar progression in Peter's faith. Peter who we lovingly pick on for being so prone to messing up actually slept so soundly in jail that the Angel of the Lord had to poke him in the side to wake him up! What a change from the younger Peter who questioned everything.

God had allowed things in these men's lives so that they would come to trust and rely on Him. That's how Paul was able to react the way he did in 2 Cor 12:7-10. It's important to know that this is a process, even the Apostle Paul asked three times before he learned to rest.

How do you deal with the answer no? Focus on the Truth that our victory, in all things, is Christ alone. Trust that He has all things in hand. Paul speaks of being hindered from visiting the Saints at Thessalonica by Satan, but that his joy was still that nothing could hinder them from being together at the moment of the Lord's coming. Paul talks of this as our blessed hope. God can grow your faith. Even to the point that the answer “no” makes you feel safe and assured He's protecting you.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Can Faith Without Works Save You?

UPDATE: For a full examination of James 2 please see my latest on the subject called "James 2 From The Text."

James 2:14 is an often misunderstood and more often abused verse. I've looked at James 2 before in a post called "Faith and Works", and to be honest I missed the boat. I had some things correct, but I missed the actual "point" of the Chapter. Thanks to Danny for pointing me in the right direction!

I think I went wrong because I was so focused on the area I was concerned about that I didn't even consider that my division of the chapter into two teachings might be wrong. As it turns out the whole chapter is one single teaching.

Here's the whole of James 2 for you to read.

And this is the structure I'm using to study it myself.

James 2:14 is talking about the Believer being saved from loss of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Believers will receive reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ dependent on how our works stand up to the test of fire. Did we do them in our strength, for our glory or in His for His Glory? Verse 14 is asking what the profit is for faith without works, if we have shown no mercy then we'll suffer loss - and faith wont' save us from that loss.

James 2:1-7 shows the behavior being dealt with.

James 2:8-11 talks about what it's like to be under the Royal Law (Mosaic Law - typified by the Ten Commandments)

James 2:12-14 is about the Law of Liberty - by which we will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. James uses how judgment works under the Royal Law to explain how judgment will work under the Law of Liberty (Law of Christ - Love God, Love Each other & Law of the Spirit - promptings of the Spirit).

Then James 2:15-26 shows us how this plays out - it's the application message.. or the demonstrations of it.

Of course God's will is that we be conformed to the image of Christ so we are worked by the Holy Spirit (Heb 12) to "perfect" our faith through trials and works

For more info on the Judgment Seat of Christ judgment check this post.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Full Gospel Of Christ Explained

My purpose for writing this will be to give the full council of the Gospel of Christ as presented by the Apostle Paul, that you might be saved. And with God's grace, I pray that I may. Things I'd like you to know after this study are; Where you stand without Christ. What He did about it. And, where you could stand with Him if you end up believing. This would be something you can not earn, do not deserve, but that He freely gives. I will be using the New King James Version translation for your ease of reading.

This is called the Gospel or "Good News" or "Good Tidings" because even though we are all in a terrible and hopeless position before we believe it, He has done all that needs to be done to save us if we do believe.

Let's start with where you are. I can trust that you will see it because God says that we have a conscience written in our heart. So I will simply ask questions for you to answer in your heart and your conscience will tell you the truth. The questions I ask will be based on the Law, because the Law is the “Tutor, guide or protector” which brings us to Christ so that we can be saved by faith.

No matter what your reason for doing so was, have you ever told a lie?
No matter what your reason was or the value have you ever taken something you did not own or buy, have you ever stolen?
Have you ever looked at someone and lusted for them?
Have you ever hated someone, or been angry at them without cause?

These are just four of the Ten Commandments which reveal the very nature of God, and the standard by which humanity is judged. If you're like everyone else on the planet you're in big trouble based on those questions. Because God says the price, or wages of sin is death. I trust the Holy Spirit has given you proof of this in your heart. I need not convince or accuse you of anything. You now know where you stand without Christ.

So let's look at what He did about it. First I will let you read the full thing and then I will take it verse by verse and show you some of what the Apostle Paul was explaining.

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

See Jesus died for the very sins that the Spirit just revealed to you when you answered the above questions. He died to pay the price that had to be paid. If you receive, or believe this Truth for your salvation, that He died for your sins, and rose again three days later, then you are saved from Hell then He has saved you.

Now let's go verse by verse.

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,
Paul is saying he's about to write the Gospel he had previously preached to them, that they had “received” and now “stand” in. To receive here means to “to take to, to take with one's self, to join to one's self” and to stand in means “to make firm, fix establish” with the further implication of “to stand, be kept intact (of family, a kingdom), to escape in safety” It is something to be received, and held to without adding to it for your safety.

2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
By which also you are saved means that this is the thing that saves you. Eternally

UPDATE: I had previously defined a "vain belief" in a way that was false. Their belief could only have been in vain if what they were believing in was not true. They were not "holding fast" to what they had received because some were saying there is no resurrection. In which case the Gospel would be false and their belief would be in vain.  This is explained in 1Cor 15:12-19 and if our belief is in vain then we are of all men the most to be pitied!

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

Paul says here that he had preached to them the “all” that he had also received. And as per verse 1, he is writing what he had preached to them. Thus we conclude that this is the Gospel, the full complete Gospel. There is nothing more to the Gospel than Paul presents here. This is what saves. There is nothing else one needs to know and believe in order to be saved. And then he starts to deal out the details of the Gospel.

That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. This is a packed verse. Christ is the title here and means that Jesus is God, and Messiah, the Sacrifice for sins. And he goes on to detail that He died for our sins according to or just as the Scriptures (the Old Testament) said He would.

Here are some of the Scriptures that said He would do this.
Isa 53:5 wounded for our transgressions Rom 4:25
Isa 53:8 Died for our sins I Cor 15:3
Isa 53:10 Was an offering for sin I Cor 15:3, Hebrews 10:12-14
Isa 53:11 Would justify many Acts 13:38-39, Romans 5:17-19
Psalm 22:16 His hands and feet pierced John 20:20, 25
Zech 12:10 His side would be pierced John 19:34-37
Psalm 31:5 Would commit His spirit to God when He died Luke 23:46
Psalm 40:6-8 That He would come, and die as a sacrifice willingly John 18:4-11

4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Jesus was buried after He died and rose again on the third day. Here are some of the Scriptures Paul was writing about.

Isa 53:9 His grave was assigned to be with the wicked but ended up in the rich Matt 27:57-60
Jonah 1:17 Jesus would be dead for three days and nights Matt 12:40 Matt 27:63 Acts 10:40 Matt 28:1-10

5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.
6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.
7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
In verses 5-8 Paul details all the men who saw Christ Resurrected. He details the men, but here is a list of all the people (men & women) who saw Him alive again after His death, in chronological order.

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary - Matt 28:1-10
Peter (Cephas) - 1 Cor 15:5
Two Disciples - Luke 24:13-35
Eleven Apostles - John 20:24-31
Seven Apostles - John 21
500 Brethren - 1 Cor 15:6
James - 1 Cor 15:7
All Apostles - Acts 1:4-8
Paul - Acts 9:1-9

It's very interesting to note that Paul says that most of the 500 people who saw Him alive after He was resurrected from the death He suffered on the Cross were still alive at the time of his writing that letter.

A Jailer once asked the Apostle Paul what He must do to be saved, Paul answered “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Similarly some people once found Jesus and asked Him what they should do that they would do the work of God and Jesus told them to believe in Him.
While considering your response to this, you should check out my post called What IS Repentance?
There you have it. Paul was clear that this is the full Gospel. If you believe this, trust that Christ did this for you because of your sins and you will be saved. This means you will be "baptized into the death of Christ" thereby the payment for your sins will be made and you'll be dead to sin, and the Law of Moses (basically the Ten Commandments). Since the payment will have been made for your sin debt you will be free and able to enter Heaven. See, that IS Good News!

Now read the Bible daily, grow in the Truth it reveals to you and obey it.

Applying Our Thoughts or His

I always like it when I stumble across someone who is willing to look past what men say about it, to what the Bible is really saying. I can't tell you how often I've been shown something that is true, but have it be shown to me using something that doesn't say what the "teacher" is trying to teach at all.

I've made this mistake so many times myself... oh my... just check the history of this Blog... I'm on a walk towards Truth.

Today I came across a post at Unashamed of Grace that not only made me smile, it really encouraged me to know that there are other people out there who are more interested in what the Bible really says than what men say it says.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back to Bass

Last week I had the chance to play bass with the City Heights worship band, it was just for practice but it was a blast to play with a band after so long a dry spell. I'm going to be helping them with their practices for the next little while anyway. The drummer, also named Kevin, is easy to play with and has a great attitude so it seems good all around.

Tonight I get to play some really pretty stuff and even a funky tune as well! I'm going to try to get them to play "Trading My Sorrows" because I just learned the bass line for it.. I know everyone else already knows it.. I'm just slow.

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