Posts Tagged With: faith

Sunday Morning Sermon for 5/12/13

We have audio for this week.  You can listen by clicking on the sermon entitled “Follow the Leader” in the player on the right or by following this link.  Note are available below or on the site with the audio as a PDF file.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

Follow the Leader

Philippians 2:1-11

Sermon notes 5/12/13

  1. Complete Joy

    1. Same mind

    2. Same love

    3. Same spirit

  2. Consider Jesus

    1. True Servant

    2. Total Humility

    3. Tested Obedience

  3. Confess Jesus

    1. With your lips – Romans 10:9-10

    2. With your life – Romans 12:1-2

    3. With your love – John 15:9-17

Categories: Disciples, Epistles, Philippians, Podcasts, Romans, Sermon | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Shrouded Thinking

I came across this news item last week regarding the Shroud of Turin.  As we were sitting in Sunday School class yesterday with the youth at our church, we talked about it for a few minutes.  Of course, I realized that they had no idea what the Shroud of Turin even is, but that was pretty easy to explain.

The debate is still going as to the authenticity of the Shroud.  I am not firmly in either camp.  If it is genuine, that is certainly interesting and amazing, but it won’t make my faith any more firm than it already is.  I am completely convinced that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the strength of evidence that has nothing to do with the Shroud.  If it is shown to be fake or fabricated long after the fact, it will have no effect on me for the same reason.  But I did see this cockamamie new theory from an academic who is convinced that the Shroud is genuine, but who has taken that conclusion to a bizarre place.

Art historian Thomas de Wesselow is convinced the Shroud is real and did touch Christ’s body.

But the Cambridge academic insists that the image on the cloth fooled the Apostles into believing Christ had come back to life, and the Resurrection was in fact an optical illusion.

Please note that we are talking about an “art historian” so I am left to conclude that his biblical knowledge and scholarship is likely to be lacking.  The idea that the early disciples would be so amazed by an image on a cloth that they would treat it as if the man they had walked with was “living in the image” or whatever he wants to call it, is insulting to the intelligence of first century believers for one thing and insulting to the testimony of Scripture for another.

His theory is based on the worst kind of Bible “scholarship” and I put it in quotes because it isn’t very scholarly at all.  He takes one verse (ONE) as proof for his theory and apparently ignores the rest of the story.  He tries to assert that Paul claimed that the resurrection is “not about flesh and blood” in 1 Corinthians 15(verse 50 according to the article).  I am not sure what translation he is working from but he draws completely the wrong conclusion about what Paul is saying.  At the beginning of that very chapter, Paul asserts that the risen Jesus was seen by Cephas (Peter) and then the rest of the disciples, and then at least 500 others, and then James and the rest of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:4-7).  These appearances are the parading of an image on a sheet.  These are appearances in person and in the flesh.  A different kind of flesh to be sure (he walked into locked and shut rooms), but flesh that ate and could be touched.  Read the Gospel accounts and picture a pair of disciples walking down the road when a giant bedsheet with a picture suddenly appears next to them and starts talking and you will see just how silly and ill read this “art historian” has to be.

Is the Shroud of Turin legitimate?  Maybe.  Is it possible that the disciples and the first century witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection were all looking at it and thinking that this was Jesus raised from the dead?  Not a chance.  Just picture one of them trying to give a piece of fish to a cloth and being fooled into thinking the sheet ate it.

 

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Misunderstandings, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, False Teachers, History, Messiah, Questions, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

TULIPY: The Acronym for Hyper-Calvinists (i.e. 6-pointers)

I have had a flash of inspiration.  Perhaps someone, somewhere has already done this before, but I can’t say that I have seen it elsewhere so I thought I would give it a whirl.  I run in some blog circles where people complain about hyper-Calvinists.  I have a dear brother in the Lord who was burned so bad by a group of extreme hyper-Calvinists (we referred to them as 6.5 pointers in humorous love) that he would nearly froth at the mouth at the mere mention of Calvinism at all.  This post should not be taken as a diatribe against Calvinism as a whole or even all that seriously.  It is meant in a spirit of levity to encourage potential discussion.  I love my brothers and sisters who are serious Calvinists and who are passionate for the Lord and the Gospel.

Please further note that I am not a 5-point Calvinist.  I am probably more like a 2-3 pointer if anything, but I will try to describe the points with some accuracy up through my own addition.  These descriptions will be intermingled with my observations as well.  With all that said, here is the acronym spelled out for posterity.

T – Total Depravity

Ok, we all pretty much get that and know what it means I would think.  Man is totally depraved.  Scripture makes this point repeatedly, and one episode of Jerry Springer will drive this point home to even the most reluctant of individuals I would think.  The other point behind this however is that man is completely helpless regarding his salvation.  We don’t even look for salvation on our own.

U – Unconditional Election

We can not earn God’s grace and cannot merit salvation.  There is nothing within us that makes God love us, He just does.  All our righteousness is filthy rags type of things are the general point of this point.  From my perspective, the idea behind this is generally right, but I hesitate to do much explaining about how God does these things.  Even Paul was eventually rendered speechless in this regard (see the end of Romans 11).

L – Limited Atonement

Since not everyone is saved based on the words of Jesus, it follows that Jesus’ death must not be effective for all people in the end of all things.  This particular point is generally arrived at through logical means in my experience.  Both those who support it and those who argue against it can cite John 3:16 as it becomes a discussion/argument of who is covered by whosoever.

I – Irresistible Grace

This is the teaching that God’s grace is irresistible to those who are elected to salvation and they will respond to the call of God through the Spirit.  This is also a hotly debatable topic, mostly because simple observation yields plenty of examples of people who hear the clear Gospel message and don’t respond to it.  Frankly, I think it is more amazing that anyone can reject God at all.  This doctrine reflects that in some means, but I think any attempt to explain why some reject God’s call by placing them in a category of “unelected” or whatever is not correct.

P – Perseverance of the Saints

This doctrine simply states that those who are called, elected and chosen will remain in the faith without fail as God is capable of keeping them.  This sentiment is perfectly biblical and true as far as it goes.  I think the main problem in applying it stems from the fact that we never can know who is who from our limited perspective.  In fact, many of the problems of Calvinist theology and much of the rest of theology is our extremely limited understanding and perspective.

Y – You’re Irrelevant

This one is all mine, but you may have seen it coming.  Given all of the above as absolutely true, many have moved on to another very logical point.  It doesn’t matter what we do, since God has planned it all ahead of time.  This comes out in various ways.  I have seen a church that did no external evangelism.  They preached the Gospel in Sunday morning service and expected God to draw those who were called to their building.  I have seen others who assume that because everything is up to God, it absolutely doesn’t matter what you do about anything.  Ultimately you are either chosen or not chosen, so just live your life and trust God(I mean why not do it anyway right) and He will do everything.

Let me say it once again.  I love my Calvinist brothers and sisters.  I will work alongside you all day long to share the Gospel and make disciples for Jesus Christ.  I just wanted to write a post that points out the all too real end of taking this theology to its logical conclusions (I have seen it far too often for my liking).  The only thing that can keep us from going there is the reminder that while all of these points may be true from God’s perspective; we are not God and they don’t work from our limited perspective.

Categories: Apologetics, Christianity, church, Discipleship, Faith, Fun, Gospel, Grace, Humor, Questions, Salvation, Southern Baptist, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Truly Firm Foundation

Those who read here much will know that I have a fondness for highlighting things that affirm the biblical narrative or history of Scripture.  There are so many things out there that I would never dream of including them all, but I stumbled across this lecture about the accuracy of the historical details in the Gospels that was simply fascinating to me (hat tip: Rosh Pina Project).  This is great stuff and the guy giving the information is entertaining and engaging.  It is a little under and well worth the time.

I am reminded of Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:16-21:

16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Categories: Apologetics, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Discipleship, Faith, Gospel, Questions, theology, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radical Together by David Platt – A Review

I received my copy of Radical Together yesterday, and I am already finished reading it.  This was a book that was hard to put down.  It is challenging and engaging at the same time.  I confess that I haven’t yet read David’s first book, Radical, but I plan to do so in the near future thanks to this book.

I am encouraged to see that so many are choosing to engage in a life of faith that goes beyond the culture we are accustomed to here in the western world.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a call to comfort or ease or wealth or prosperity; it is a call to sacrifice, suffering and possible loss in the midst of joy in the journey.  David captures the mind and the spirit and is careful to point his readers back to Scripture itself; directing his readers to see for themselves the basis for his assertions.

This isn’t a comfortable book.  If you elect to read this, prepare to be challenged and possibly changed.  Your view of God and His work and plan in the world may get turned upside down.  This book will challenge you to look beyond the good things to grasp the great things of God, as David uses a technique from our Master’s toolkit and works with phrases that seem almost contradictory at first glance but prove to be true in practical terms.

You can get a taste of this by checking out the first chapter online, in which David asserts that “one of the worst enemies of Christians is good things in the church.”  The other chapter statements offer similarly “backwards” concepts that have to be chewed on which you can see on the title page at the link above, but I have to say something about the final chapter.

The statement for the final chapter is, “we are selfless followers of a self-centered God.”  This one stood out to me the moment I hit the table of contents, but I resisted the urge to read the last chapter first and I recommend you do as well.  I won’t give it all away here, but it has to do with the fact that God doesn’t need you or I to accomplish His plan, yet He includes us in His plan because He loves us.

This isn’t an exercise in theory either.  David and his congregation are living the same journey he is inviting others to discover.  I highly encourage you to read Radical Together, it is a fantastic view of the work of God in His people.

One final thing, in order to be faithfully transparent, I must also mention that  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

If you have found this review helpful, visit WaterBrook Multnomah and rank my review at their site. Thanks.
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/bloggingforbooks/reviews/ranking/5256

Categories: Book Reviews, Christianity, church, Culture, devotional, Discipleship, Faith, Giving, Gospel, Grace, Growth, Kingdom, Love, Messiah, ministry, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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