April 17, 2011
Monday officially starts the Passover, but seeing this is Sunday and I need to blog now and then I thought I would get an early start. 😉 Christians should really celebrate the Lord’s resurrection on Passover, not Easter. After all, it was the Passover meal He was eating that we call the Last Supper or rather the Last Passover. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper/Table/Communion we are commemorating that meal so it really could be called the Lord’s Passover and maybe should be. He is the Passover lamb as Scripture clearly teaches.
1 Cor 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: KJV
So how did this Easter thing get started in the first place? There are many beliefs concerning this and really none of the variations really matter. Whether it was tied to pagan holidays or trying to find a common date for the sake of unity is irrelevant. Many councils could decide on a date, but the truth is Christ died as the Passover lamb and that is that. So why should you celebrate the death and Resurrection of the Passover lamb at any other time than on the Passover?
There was a lot of hoopla when it was decided to make Veterans Day a three day weekend and celebrated on the Monday closest to Nov 11th instead of on Nov 11th the actual date of the signing of the Armistice ending WWI. It was a monumental day and to be historically correct it should be celebrated on that day. I can remember being in school and pausing at 11:11 on Nov 11th to commemorate that history. I think it adds more meaning.
My wife and I were married on December 24th compliments of the military. Since most everything is either closed or in chaos that day we often have our anniversary meal out on another day. It is wonderful to celebrate, especially after forty years, but it would be better if we could celebrate on the actual day.
Emperor Constantine and others have misinterpreted Scripture thinking that we could not share anything that was Jewish and it was our duty not to do so because they murdered Christ. First of all, all men crucified Christ for He died for the sins of mankind, not just the Jews. Besides, the Jews could not have done it without the collaboration of the Roman/Gentile Pontius Pilate since the Jews had no authority under Roman rule to execute an person. Thus it is a grave injustice and anti-Semitic to call the Jews Christ killers. Mankind’s sins are the Christ killers.
Since He said that He laid down His life and no man could take it from Him both sides only did what they were allowed to do. He forgave them on the Cross so neither the Jews or Pilate would be accountable for the sins committed related to His crucifixion. That doesn’t mean they did not have to account for any other sins but those related to the crucifixion were forgiven so if they did not have to account for them we have no right to point fingers at either side. Look in the mirror and you will see who sent Christ to the Cross.
Secondly, while we are no longer under the Law that does not mean that we cannot celebrate the Resurrection in the proper historical context. We Gentiles/Goyim do not fully understand the Old Testament/Covenant as do the Jews because we were never a part of that culture and teaching. We can study it and the rituals and feasts but they do not mean as much to us as to a devout Jew. It is history to us and we are thrilled that we are under the New Testament/Covenant. Still, all Scripture was written for us.
2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: KJV
Since the Resurrection is tied to the Passover, it would seem fitting that we would delve into all that is related to it and practice it in truth and righteouness under grace not as something demanded by the Law. Messianic Jews see much in the Passover about Christ. Christ In The Passover Seder I believe they are correct and we should follow their lead.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: KJV
He was not celebrating Easter. He was celebrating the Passover. Too often we Gentiles forget that the Gospel is a Jewish Gospel.
John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. KJV
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. KJV
Jesus came as a Jew so it makes sense for us to really know Him intimately we should know more about the Passover and celebrate it as He did. Not only would it be more meaningful, but it may also be a witnessing tool to the Jews. Rather than castigating them we could show them grace, love and provoke them to jealousy as God planned that they may come to Christ. Just as Christ was concealed in the Old Testament but revealed in the New so also may we reveal the Gospel concealed in the Passover.
Rom 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. KJV
One day we shall live for a thousand years in a Jewish kingdom where Jesus reigns and David also sits on a throne. Should we not at least show up having practiced something correctly rather than making up a holiday where chocolate bunnies and colored eggs get more attention than Christ? I am sure of it.
Happy Passover, my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Some day in Jerusalem!
April 9, 2011
As Passover approaches many will mock the resurrection of Christ and put forth some crazy theories to prove that He did not rise. Answers In Genesis has done a fine job in putting forth the facts and refuting such nonsense. The Passover Lamb did arise and we who have appropriated His gift given by His sacrifice have a sure and glorious salvation. The early Christians greeted one another with “He is risen!” The other would respond, “He is risen, indeed!” Do you know this resurrected Savior? If not, contact me and let me introduce you to Him for He is risen! Alleluia, He is risen, indeed!
April 8, 2011
I have found many people who call themselves Christians that really do not seem to know why they are Christians or what it really means to be a Christian. They are whatever denomination that they are because of their culture, they were born into it or some friends invited them to their church.
My wife and I are examples of this. I was raised a Methodist, but had no idea who John Wesley was or what the creeds really meant. I sang in the choir, went to MYF (where the babes were) and loved the spaghetti suppers. If you would have asked me if I were a Christian, I would have told you yes because I was a Methodist. Wesley would have differed since I had once believed that we might be alien offspring long before the Intelligent Design movement started. I guess I was ID when ID wasn’t cool. Indeed, Christ might have been an alien if you asked me back in those days. Yet, when confronted with the Gospel in 1975, I found that I really did believe in the basics of Christianity whereas my alien stuff was mere intellectual titillation.
My wife went regularly with her aunt to a Lutheran church, but she did not know who Martin Luther was or ever heard of sola fide, sola gratis. sola scriptura, solis Christus, and soli Deo gloria. She figured as long as she was baptized as a baby she was in.
Both of us learned a lot about our faith while I attended Bible College. Once I started studying the Bible, I found where both our previous groups were right and also where they were wrong. It took me a long time to be baptized because after all, I was baptized already or so I thought. Many things I held as truth before were challenged by the Bible and I had to choose between the Bible or my conceptions and traditions.
Do you know that what you believe is true? Have you ever challenged or researched your faith? I challenge you to read through the New Testament slowly with a heart open to God and a willingness to admit if you or your particular group believes and practices something different than what is in the Bible.
I am fairly convinced that many groups would lose a host of members if people were like the Bereans of old and studied to see if what was being told to them was true. Does that mean they will all become Baptists? No, because not all Baptists hold to the Book either though they would say that it is their standard. The hope is that they would become true Christians, if they were not, or strong, mature Christians if they were already born-again.
Truth can be challenged, so take a walk on the wild side and see what the Word of God has to say about your faith? Better to challenge your beliefs now with an opportunity to change than to die and find out you were wrong. If nothing else, it will at least make you more knowledgeable of the Bible and that can never hurt.
Take the NT plunge and be refreshed! Maranatha!
April 3, 2011
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April 3, 2011
Truth spoken in a whisper often offends more than a lie screamed into a bullhorn depending on whether the ears receiving the message prefer truth or lies.
April 3, 2011
Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?
by Charles Spurgeon
An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!
The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’.
No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.
Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.
Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’
No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!
In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are’.
No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church.
Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!
The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!
And all God’s people said, “Amen and Amen!” If Spurgeon were alive, he would most likely burst an artery as he preached against today’s group of entertainers. He could not have known that what he was seeing was merely the first sprinkles of the storm that would eventually become the deluge of 21st Century Christianity. It is truly a circus arena and not a call to death of the flesh and walking in the Spirit. Many carnival acts are performed on Sunday, but very few prophets or biblical pastors are left in the pulpit. It is a numbers racket where money and attendance are higher on the list than repentance or holiness. God help us!
April 2, 2011
The holiness of God is the attribute that is sorely neglected in our day. One man said that the glory of God is His intrinsic holiness. If this be true then it is to our advantage to understand and make sure that we communicate this to our people.
The word we use as holiness is tied to the concept of separation. God is separated from sin and “in Him is no darkness…”. When He told His people to be to be holy as He is holy you could exchange holy for separation. “Come out from among them and be ye separate” is a call to holiness. Amazing, is it not, that if you take a strong stand on separation you are quickly labeled a legalist and yet it is the very essence of God to be separated? We use the term Holy Bible, and we are right on target because the Bible is the Word of God and separate from all other literature as it is the very Word of God inspired in its fulness. It is a book of holiness since “God hath spoken in His holiness.” (Psalm 60:6) What comfort we can take when we realize that He promises using His holiness as surety. (Psalm 89:35) And yet, we should fear Him because of His holiness and strive to follow His will. (I Samuel 6:20)
God desires to make Himself known and will make Himself known through His holiness. (Ezekiel 39:7) The very condemnation of the Pharisees was that they did not know the holiness of God or else they would have known who Jesus was by His holiness. (John 7:28) The holiness of God will be the very reason for the judgment of the earth during the Tribulation. (Revelation 6:10)
The very fact of the holiness of God provided our perfect sacrifice. That fact that Jesus was God in the flesh meant that He could not fail because He could not sin. The testing of Christ was for our benefit to see if He could sin. A test has no real effect on the object itself. If we fire a bullet at a sheet of glass to see if it is bullet proof we do nothing to the glass itself. It is already bulletproof from the time of its manufacture or else it is not. The test is for us so that we will know whether it is or not. We do not invalidate the test by aiming a bullet at bulletproof glass. A bullet is a bullet and a valid test of a material. The fact that the material is intrinsically resistant to our test does not invalidate the test since it is we who are ignorant and can only obtain knowledge by the test. Therefore the temptation of Christ did nothing to Him since He was immutable by virtue of His Holiness. (James 1:13) He was bulletproof. The temptation is valid because it would have made a human fall because man is not temptation resistant by nature. We, as humans, needed to have the knowledge of His holiness, immutability and impeccability, thus the test was for our benefit.
What about the human nature of Christ? Could it not have sinned? No. Man did not fall when Eve sinned, but when Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. Thus the sin nature passes from the man though the woman possesses it as well but does not pass it on. The seed planted in Mary was from God the Father who has no sin nature to pass on. Just as we carry various genes and yet only the dominant genes express themselves so also was the human nature under control of the naturally dominant Divine nature. The gene for blue eyes may always seek to express itself but it cannot as long as the dominant brown gene is present. Therefore, even if the human nature would have desired to sin and express it outwardly the dominant Divine nature would have suppressed it! Born again Christians have the Divine nature implanted in them and if they walk in the Spirit they will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh or Adamic nature. (Galatians 5:16) Why? Because the Divine nature will keep the Adamic nature suppressed even though it still wars and lusts continually. (Galatians 5:17) If it is possible for us in whom the Divine nature is implanted, how much more so in Him who is Divine and the very giver of the nature to us?
Am I saying that believers are sinlessly perfect? No. Just as Christ had a will of His own and yet submitted that will to the Father (Matthew 26:39), so also we have a free will that may choose to walk in the flesh or the Spirit. (I John 2:1; Ephesians 5:18; 6:11-18) We must remember that we being the children of Adam were wicked from our birth and have practiced evil in our hearts from the beginning. Therefore we have the warfare of the flesh strongly entrenched. (Romans 7:14-24) Jesus had the distinct advantage over us by being God from everlasting and put on a tent to visit us and redeem us. (John 1:14; dwelt being understood as tabernacled or tented.)
Do we then have an excuse to sin? No, since the dominating power of the Divine nature is released or caged by our will we are then without excuse! I believe that an individual completely submitted to the will of God and empowered by the Spirit thus allowing the control of the divine nature could live without sin for an extended period of time and verily until death. God has given us the potential to fulfil the command to be holy. Indeed, since it is the very Holy Spirit of God that empowers us we cannot help to be like God if we submit to the power within us! John writing so that we will not sin would just be wishful thinking if the possibility did not exist. However, in the same breath he spoke of the Advocate. Submission takes much practice and sacrifice. If there were no cure for failure there would be no use in starting. However, the grace given for failure should not be justification for failure, but rather the impetus for striving for perfection! This is why there is so little power because we feel that constant holiness is an unattainable idea. We are so afraid of being deceived into thinking that we have eradicated the sin nature that we have deceived ourselves into thinking that subjugation of the sin nature is impossible. Oh, that we could be as fearful of sin as we are of holiness! What a change in our lives and the Church there would be!
The holiness of God is the very essence of God! How can we then think that the holiness of sons and daughters is not essential? May our prayer be, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness [holiness]: I shall be satisfied, when I awake with Thy likeness. (Psalm 17:15) That likeness is holiness. Maranatha!!