This is what he showed me:behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. Amos 7:7, ESV
In John Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, the characters’ names usually define their character. For instance there is Ignorance. He refuses to believe Christian and Hopeful when they tell him that unless he goes through the narrow gate to begin his pilgrimage, he will not be allowed into the gate of the Celestial City. Then there is Talkative who equates making a fuss about one’s sin with actual repentance. Early in Christian’s pilgrimage, he comes across two other pilgrims named Formalist and Hypocrisy who come from a country called Vain-Glory. They tell Christian that the shortcut that they took to the path, bypassing the narrow gate, was necessary because it was too far to travel from Vain-Glory to it. All were revealed to be counterfeit Pilgrims and none of them made it into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ save Christian, Hopeful and Faithful.
Καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας νεκροὺς τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ ταῖς ἁμαρτίαις ὑμῶν, ἐν αἷς ποτε περιεπατήσατε κατὰ τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, κατὰ τὸν ἄρχοντα τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ ἀέρος, τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ νῦν ἐνεργοῦντος ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας· Ephesians 2:1–2, NA28
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked according the world system of this age, according to ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2:1–2, translated from the NA28 Greek text
I was requested recently for input into a discussion between professing Christians that had begun about what is proper worship and what is not using some of the presentations from the recent Strange Fire conference, but had taken a “strange turn” between a few attacking the theology of those who held to the Sovereignty of God in all things, especially salvation and those who were defending it. By the time I got to the discussion the “back and forth” and become quite terse and there was one very intense person insisting that “Sovereignty” was not a Biblical word, but a man-made, theological word since it was not found her King James Bible. She was refuted quite well by several people so I didn’t get involved in it. However, I did send my friend an exegetical analysis of Ephesians 2:1-9 showing that those who insist on Salvation according to Free Will must be inconsistent with Ephesians 2:8,9. It was from that “experience” that I decided we should take a closer look at two words found throughout the New Testament, “trespasses” and “sins.”
A quick update of the ongoing trials affecting Apprising Ministries.
Apprising Ministries shares a short message of encouragement from Charles Spurgeon.
Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Living Principles (IBLP), has resigned amid abuse allegations. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, of the popular 19 Kids and Counting television show, adhere to the IBLP principles and are slated to speak at several upcoming IBLP conferences in 2014.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Pope Francis has hinted that the Catholic Church could recognise gay civil unions and called for women to have a greater role in the church in an interview that marks his first year as pontiff.
In a wide-ranging interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis reiterated that gay marriage could not be accepted by the Catholic Church.
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:3–4, ESV
Every professing Christian, whether he or she is trained theologian or not, has constructed some kind of Christology in their mind, in their heart. Sadly, with the dearth of clear and correct doctrine being taught in our churches, most seem to believe that whatever their own concept of Christ is it is okay. After all, to have correct doctrine isn’t that important…right? Some think that Jesus came to give His followers a “better life” here and now. This would include becoming prosperous and influential. Others see Jesus as mostly concerned about the environment and that He is the ultimate tree hugger. Still others see Jesus as primarily a teacher of ethics. This same Jesus is concerned with accepting all into His kingdom regardless of whether they have repented of their sins or not. Are any of these examples representative of the Jesus we meet in God’s Word?
In this new article Apprising Ministries shows you that with the questionable teachings of these three keynote speakers the SBC is opening up a door they will come to regret.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Galatians 6:14–17, ESV
The Apostle Paul did indeed bear the marks of persecution on his body. He had been found to be worthy to suffer shame for the name as had Peter and John (Acts 5:17–42). Paul had been stoned, beaten, imprisoned, run out of town, and would die as a martyr. Why were they persecuted so? They preached the truth. They preached against sin and works theology. They preached the Cross. They preached the exclusivity of the Gospel and against pluralism. They held that God’s truth was absolute. This is the message the natural, unregenerate person hates. This is the message the pseudo-Christians hate as well because the clear bright light of God’s truth reveals their compromises and false doctrines.
Apprising Minstries with more detail concerning the Breaking Out conference of T.D. Jakes, which begins tomorrow.
Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι, διώκω δὲ εἰ καὶ καταλάβω, ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ [Ἰησοῦ]. Philippians 3:12–13, NA28
Not that I have already received or have been completed, I press on that, if possible, to apprehend it because Christ Jesus has apprehended me. Philippians 3:12–13, translated from the NA28 Greek text
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12, ESV
Biblical scholars consider Philippians 3:12 to be a very challenging verse. Here is a word-for-word translation: “Not that already I received or already I have been completed, I pursue but if also I might apprehend on which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus.” What is Paul talking about?
Apprising Ministries walks you through why you needn’t be fooled by the pious sounding words of sinful ecumenicists like Beth Moore.
Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18–20, ESV
Those with discernment will have to admit that in these last days it appears the table is being set for one big religion as our dear brother Ken Silva shows us. Today I witnessed much discussion about Beth Moore’s “prophecies,” but mostly about her warning her followers about those troublemakers (those with discernment who point out the unbiblical nature of what she is saying) who doubt what she is saying. Much of the discussion has been directed toward this “big, persecuting church” in the last days in relation to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, let us not forget that there are many who claim to be “christian” who agree that those doing the discernment work are “interfering” and “over reacting.”
Have you ever run over a dead skunk in the road? I have, during a heat wave. The smell got into my tires and permeated our garage for days! I’ll go out on a limb and say that no one takes pleasure in the highly offensive smell of skunk spray, dead or alive. My point in telling you this is that to God the stench of sin is much worse than skunk. For an example of just how much the Lord hates sin, grab a cup of coffee and read First and Second Kings. Given our penchant for getting things fast, here’s an illustration of the way in which God dealt with Baasha, one of Israel’s most ruthless kings:
Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins, behold, I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 16:1–4)
God had already destroyed Jeroboam for his flagrant sins, yet Baasha repeated the same mistakes. God rebuked the Israelites for their sinful ways and vowed to punish them.
As you’ll see in this well-documented piece at Apprising Ministries there’s real reason to wonder how far phony unity is already stretching within mainstream evangelicalism.
The liberal L.A. Times would have us believe that there is a category called LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) evangelical Christian. Since the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin against God, this is a contradiction in terms. According to the writer, Kurt Streeter, instead of repenting (turning) from their sin and doing what’s right in God’s eyes, some in the LGBT community have made a choice to ignore the clear teaching of Scripture and to falsely claim they’re evangelicals.
Chelsea McInturff and Samantha Curley were eager for a public conversation about film, gay sexuality and Christian life, but they weren’t sure whether it was the right time — or the right place.
They stood nervously inside an auditorium at Pasadena’s evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary last spring, worried the drama they were about to screen –— about a teen coming out as lesbian — would end up offending an audience of students and professors who didn’t necessarily approve of its story line.
“Should we even do this?” they recently recalled wondering. “Maybe we should we just skip this one and move on.”
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24:3–8, ESV
With what seems as the demise of the Biblical/Christian Worldview, those of us who belong to the Lamb of God must stop assuming that our culture, our environment knows or grasps what we mean when we talk about sin and God being Holy, Righteous, and Just. In Romans 1, we see that the natural Man knows the truth in his or her heart of hearts, but they suppress it. In turn, God gives them over or gives them up to a debased or reprobate mind. This is spiritual blindness. These given over to their lusts and desires are no longer convicted of the evil of their sin. They see what they desire as good even though God says it is evil and what God says is good as evil. They lose their fear of God’s judgment. Over time, they become resentful and full of hate towards any who teach or preach the Gospel to them. This is why so many flock to seeker-sensitive “churches.” There they are stroked and made to feel good without having to deal with the real Jesus. Their religion, Christless Christianity, is friends of the world and eager to welcome those of other ‘religions’ except for those troublesome orthodox Christians who preach the Law and Gospel, which includes the truth about sin and total separation from God for the unredeemed along with the only way to be reconciled to Him.
Mainstream evangelicalism’s embrace of the Church Growth Movement is producing this tragic result. Apprising Ministries elaborates upon this theme and shares a sermon excerpt from Charles Spurgeon.
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.” John 18:33–38, ESV
In the passage I placed a the top of this post, we see where Jesus, as He was being questioned by Pilate, made the statement that He came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Then He made the following statement, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Of course Pilate made the following sarcastic response, “What is truth?”
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever. 1 Chronicles 17:13–14, ESV
God is Sovereign. He is at no one’s beck and call. He is not subject to anyone. Men may indeed insist that God must follow their ideas of who He is and what He will or won’t do, but these things come from flawed Human reason. Men are arrogant creatures who have been trying to usurp God’s place on His throne since the fall in Genesis 3. Most people do not correctly understand God’s revelation of Himself that we find in the Sacred Scripture, therefore, their doctrines are more man based than God centered.
One of the most important teachings about our Lord Jesus Christ that is missed by so many professing Christians and their leaders is that all of creation is really all about Him. He created it for Himself, that He would be glorified in it. After His resurrection, just prior to His ascension, He told His disciples and us something we would best not forget:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18, ESV
A few days ago the FDA participated in a summit that was held to consider radical biological procedures that would produce genetically modified human beings. Marcy Darnovsky. executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, wrote this article for the New York Times. Darnovsky believes these modification techniques are dangerous because of their medical risks and societal implications:
These techniques would change every cell in the bodies of children born as a result of their use, and these alterations would be passed down to future generations.
The F.D.A. calls them mitochondrial manipulation technologies. The procedures involve removing the nuclear material either from the egg or embryo of a woman with inheritable mitochondrial disease and inserting it into a healthy egg or embryo of a donor whose own nuclear material has been discarded. Any offspring would carry genetic material from three people – the nuclear DNA of the mother and father, and the mitochondrial DNA of the donor.