Archive for the ‘Defending the Faith’ Category

LEARN TO LOOK FOR A BIBLICAL VIEW ON ISSUES – AND NOT JUST A TRADITIONAL VIEW

Titus 1:9 says “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Notice the verse says “by sound doctrinenot by tradition of men but by well thought out, researched, studied and reasoned teaching based on God’s Word and God’s Word alone.

We always need to be thinking toward a Biblical view and not just a traditional view. (Mark 7:8a & 13) To get a proper view on any subject we must take into account both God’s terrible holiness, and His gracious forgiveness in view of the sinfulness of man.   To find the Biblical position on issues, we must:

  • Approach the Scriptures open-mindedly. We all have the tendency to believe what we’ve always been taught, without looking at our views critically to see if they are consistent with Scripture. The person who desires to know God’s mind must always come to the Word with a pure heart and an open mind, leaving prejudices and preconceived ideas behind. What is most important is that we find out what God’s Word says not what our traditions or culture say.
  • Look at all of Scripture as a whole on a subject. We cannot just rely on those verses which support our cherished positions.  That is how we so often argue Scripture.  For a view to be Biblical, it must fit every Scriptural text into the view without denying or doing interpretive violence to any position.
  •  Look at each Scripture in its context. The context of a passage will never change the meaning of a verse, but it will clarify the meaning. Each text must be studied on its own, faithfully understanding it in context.  Then, we seek to put all the verses together into a unified and consistent whole.  If the Bible is God’s Word, then every verse’s clear meaning will fit just like a puzzle piece perfectly in the whole of His Word.
  • Dr. C.I. Scofield had a great thought on the proper interpretation of scripture ““Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use an if to contradict a verily.”

Seek Biblical answers not traditional answers, not good sounding answers, not even at first glance what would appear to be “Biblical” answers, but seek to actually examine the Scriptures for what they truly and actually say. Scripture cannot contradict Scripture and remember and keep at the forefront of your mind that our Lord strongly condemns placing mans traditions above His Word. Learn to always make sure the position you are taking or the stand you are making on an issue is based on God’s Word and not just mans tradition. (Mark 7:6-8a & 13 – He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.)

A FACTUAL & HISTORICAL FAITH

(Luke 2:1-5 & 3:1-2)

Luke 2:1-2 – “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)” & 3:1 “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,”

Notice the appeal of the writer to time, places, people, and events that actually existed, took place and are verifiable. Christians are commanded to be ready to give an answer (I Peter 3:15) and we can give an answer about an actual, factual and historically verifiable faith.

INTRODUCTION: I Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Christians are to be ready to make a defense of the hope that is within us. Now more that ever we need to be ready to make that defense of our faith. The word translated as “answer” in I Peter 3:15 has the meaning of a plea or a defense or making a speech in defense of an action or a truth. We as Christians have a factually based faith. Jesus did exist, He was born, He did die and He did rise again. There is an empty tomb. He did ascend up to heaven and He is sitting on the right hand of God. “Ready” in I Peter 3:15 means to be prepared and to be fit or knowledgeable. We are to be prepared to defend our faith. We therefore need to go about preparing ourselves and be willing and bold about the defending when the time comes.

OUR FAITH IS RATIONAL AND INTELLECTUALLY SOUNDThe Christian faith appeals to the mind as well as appeals to the heart. God wants and expects us to use our minds. It has been said by those who want to degrade and insult those that live by faith in Christ, that in order to do so one has to commit “Intellectual Suicide” – this statement could not be further from the truth! Jesus tells us and wants us to involve our minds in our faith. (Matthew 22:36-38 – Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. & John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)

Our hearts need to believe and our minds need to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior by faith. One cannot reject Christ in his mind and accept Him in His heart. Therefore, we need and are blessed with having a rational and intellectual faith we can rest in.

We need to have a strong faith; and having a strong faith requires both heart and mind. So it is important that we present reasons as to why we believe what we believe in an intelligent, logical and thought out manner. God is not the author of confusion and we should strive to not create confusion in our manner of defending of our faith and in how we share and witness of this faith with others. (I Corinthians 14:33a – For God is not the author of confusion, & I Corinthians 16:13 – Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.)

Christianity’s most powerful cognitive weapon in a pluralistic world —- (is) the factually attestable sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.” – John Warrick Montgomery

Do we have 100% proof? – No, but there is virtually nothing of which it can be said that there is 100% proof. We often make 100% commitments without being given 100% proof. Driving in a car for instance. We cannot have 100% proof we will make it to our objective or make it there safe, but by statistical evidence and personal experience of ourselves or perhaps someone else sharing a personal experience, we can be certain enough to make that 100% commitment to traveling in the car and expecting to arrive at our destination and arrive there safely.

We don’t have 100% proof but this is where faith comes in. We ultimately believe in and accept Christ by faith, not by proof. (Ephesians 2:8 -9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.)

OUR FAITH IS A HISTORICAL AND FACTUAL FAITH (I Corinthians 15:3-8) – This passage gives us a historical and factual account of the many witnesses of the resurrected Christ. We have a faith that is as historically verifiable as other historic events that historians take for granted as fact but then they go and doubt the resurrection accounts and other Biblical accounts with as much or more factual evidence to back them up as the historical accounts they take as fact.

Christianity is a historical faith that appeals to certain historical facts and events, not to man’s philosophical proclamations, not to myths, not to legends not to men who claimed a level of deity and are still in their graves; but to a historically provable risen Savior that died for the sins of all mankind.

“The facts backing the Christian claim are not a special kind of ‘religious’ fact.  They are the cognitive, informational facts upon which all historical, legal, and ordinary decisions are based.” – Charles Pinnock

The New Testament does not try to prove Christ or prove what it is saying. It definitively presents the Christian faith as a matter of concrete, cognitive truth. (John 14:11 – Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.)

OUR FAITH IS AN OBJECTIVE FAITHOur faith has an object; our faith is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Historical facts about Christ: He was born in Bethlehem; He was the earthly son of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was a carpenter so Jesus would have trained and worked as one too. He lived to the age of about 33 & 1/2. He died in Jerusalem by crucifixion. While hanging on the cross the sky turned dark at noon and stayed dark for three hours (Luke 23:44-48), the veil in the Temple ripped in two (this alone is a miracle the veil was made very thick there is no way it just rips in two on its own), there was an earthquake. All these facts are historically verifiable by the many accounts of them. (II Peter 1:16 – For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.)

We have faith in who Jesus of Nazareth is and what He did – The Son of God, the Christ, the Savior of all who would believe and accept what He has done for all by His death, burial and then resurrection the third day by faith. How He has paid the sin debt of all mankind and all we have to do is repent and accept this payment on our behalf by faith in His shed blood and death on the cross. (Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)

Just having faith is not the most important thing. Muslim’s have faith in Allah, Buddhists have faith, Atheists have faith in nothing (which is actually faith in a conclusion that faith is not necessary) Evolutionists have faith in their theory; faith in and of itself is not the important part but eternal life and death, joy and torment is based on what you place your faith in. Is your faith placed in the Solid Rock of Christ or a “cunningly devised”, by man, object of faith such as Muslims, Buddhists, Evolutionists, Atheists and others believe in? Jesus said in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”The object of our faith must be Jesus or we will die in our sins and face an eternal torment in hell.

OUR FAITH IS BASED ON TRUTH NOT FALSIFICATIONUnlike other faiths such as Mormonism and Jehovah’s witnesses, the Christian faith is open and honest, nothing is kept hidden and it is based on solid truth; it invites others to examine it and consider it. (Acts 26:24-26 – And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.)

The Christian faith invites examination of it. If you use the same criterion, the same processes, the same verifying “tools” historians use on other “facts”, you cannot come to any other conclusion accept that Christ did exist, He was born, He did perform many miracles, He was crucified and He did rise from the dead the third day. Christianity is not just a matter of feeling or even action, but it is a religion of factual belief (the Biblical accounts really happened) this factual belief, if tested with the same historical means as which other historical events are examined, would yield even better results than other historical facts already accepted as such.

Christianity in the New Testament is presented as the truth; belief in Christ is presented as the only means of redemption and eternal life in heaven. (John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.) Christ’s resurrection, for example, can be examined by non-Christians as well as by Christians. The factual character of it, when considered with the claims of One raised from the dead, does not point to a multiple of different possibilities to explain it; but points to a single “best” interpretation of the data available to lead any objective examiner of the facts to that Jesus really did die and really did rise from the grave the third day. (John 2:18-22 – Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.)

OUR FAITH IS OFTEN REJECTED OR DISMISSED BY OTHERS – WHY?Why do people reject Christ? It can often be broken down into 3 main areas, though there are other reasons.

Ignorance or a lack of information about Christ. This reason can be their own personal fault for not wanting to listen to information about Christ, it could be the fault of false religions or false so called “Christian teachers or teachings” or this could be the fault of Christians. It could be our fault for not going out and sharing the Gospel like we are commanded to do by Christ in Matthew 28:19-20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Pride. (John 12:42-43 – Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.) – They cared more about how they looked to their peers than where they would spend eternity. Pride can be stronger than common sense sometimes. Pride can also cause people to dismiss Christ entirely because they feel they have no need for Him because they feel they are superior in some way to Christ. Pride may cause someone to think they only need to rely on themselves and no one else, not even Christ.

Moral problems. (John 3:19-20 – And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.) – Some people reject Christ because that would mean they would have to give up their pet sins or leave their sinful lifestyle.

CONCLUSION: We have just seen how the Christian faith is a rational and intellectually sound faith. It is a faith that invites people to use their minds, to examine the Bible, to examine its teachings to examine its historicity and let the Spirit lead them into faith in Christ as their Savior. We’ve seen how the Christian faith is a factual faith. It is based on real people, real events, real places the accounts actually took place and our part of the history of the world. We have seen how the Christian faith is an objective faith. With the object of it being the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. How He is the Son of God, how He is the Savior of “whosoever will”. The Christian faith is based on truth not falsifications like other religions. It is based on truth not myths or made up stories; unlike how the world likes to sometimes paint the Christian faith as being. Yet despite all of this, the Christian faith is often rejected my men. It is rejected for many reasons including ignorance or a lack of knowledge of Christ (this reason may be partly the fault of Christians) they also reject the Christian faith because of their own pride and because of moral failings.

We as Christians need to rest assured that our faith is based on true historical accounts; many of which if held up to the same criterion and standards as other historical “facts” would come out looking stronger and more reliable than them. We as Christians need to understand we have a faith that we need to be ready to defend. We need to have at least a general understanding and knowledge of the pressing issues, questions and challenges to our faith today and how to give that Biblical stance to those issues, that Biblical answer to those questions and that Biblical defense to those challenges. We need to boldly stand for Biblical truth while doing so with a meek and humble spirit. (I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear)

Homosexuality: A Moral Issue Confronting Christians (Romans 1:24-27)

Romans 1:26-27 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Idolatry to immorality is just one short step. Take God out the equation and man can justify any sin or action. For God and His Word is the only absolute truth that exists in this world; if man no longer accepts that fact, or pretends that fact does not exist, then man has no ultimate moral guide or compass and can then do whatever is right in his own eyes. By exchanging the truth of God for a lie, man has removed God’s authority in his life and has made himself his own god. So man will naturally seek to please his new god, which is himself.

INTRODUCTION: Homosexuality and the acceptance of this lifestyle have become more prevalent in our society. So called “equal rights” are being granted to practice and promote this lifestyle. There are now, and I hate to even use this terminology, “gay churches”, and “gay priests and ministers” in some mainstream denominations. How they can reconcile those things and the Word of God together is beyond me. There are cities in our country and around the world that cater to this lifestyle. There are vacation resorts and a certain “magical kingdom” that have days set aside to cater to and celebrate this anti-God and anti-Bible lifestyle.

This is a moral issue that seems to be confronting churches and Christians today more and more. As Christians, we need to be educated and prepared concerning this issue (I Peter 3:15). Some Christians behave wrongly and hatefully to this lifestyle. Some even question if it is wrong, again this I do not understand, the Bible is very clear on its teachings on this issue. But as with any moral issue, we must look to the Word of God for our guidance and for the truth about this issue confronting so many Christians and churches today.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THIS ISSUE?

IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGE…

  • Homosexuality is what led to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18:20 – And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;) – The men of the city young and old were involved in this sin. They are later described in Jude verse seven as “giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
  • Some will question based on what Ezekiel 16:49 says as to why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. (Ezekiel 16:49 – Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.)
  • But this is an invalid and unresearched questioning of the destruction of Sodom. The Sodom referred to in this verse is Ammon and Moab, offshoots from Sodom.
  • It could not have been the original Sodom, for that Sodom had been destroyed by God about 1500 years earlier.
  • The sin of homosexuality was a grave sin in the days of the patriarchs and it was dealt with harshly by God.

IN THE MOSIAC AGE…

  • The Law of Moses made it a capital crime. It was an abomination listed together with bestiality. (Leviticus 18:22-23 – Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.)
  • This sin was a reason other nations were driven out of the land. (Leviticus 18:24-25)
  • It was a sin punishable by death. (Leviticus 20:13 – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.)
  • Some may say this is the law and when Jesus came he said nothing about homosexuality. But remember Jesus lived under the law; He was the fulfillment of the law. He is the only person that ever kept all the law. The law was enforce and did not end until His death on the cross (Colossians 2:14). While alive, Jesus taught strict observance of the law (Matthew 5:17-19). By this we can easily infer and clearly understand that Jesus approved of what the law taught about homosexuality. (Matthew 5:17-19Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.)

IN THE CHRISTIAN AGE…

  • We find in Romans 1:24-17, that Lesbianism and Homosexuality is described as “vile affections” and “against nature” and “unseemly”. Also is says “receiving in themselves that recompence of their error” – could this be a reference to AIDS or other diseases possibly?
  • The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church regarding this issue in I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The sin of homosexuality was included in a list of sins that could prevent one from inheriting the Kingdom of God.
  • The Apostle Paul wrote again of this sin to Timothy in I Timothy 1:9-11Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” This time the sin of homosexuality is included in a list of sins that are “contrary to sound doctrine.”
  • Homosexuality is indeed contrary to the sound doctrine of the Word of God. The Bible is clear on this subject over and over again. Yet, there are some that believe that God made them that way. Is this true? Would a righteous, sinless, perfect God make someone this way?

WHAT CAUSES HOMOSEXUALITY?

NATURE OR NURTURE? – Is homosexuality the result of one’s genetics, and were they born that way? There has been no definitive scientific study documenting or proving that homosexuality is genetic. There was one that came out in the 1990’s saying this, that it was genetic; but it later came out that the data in this study had been heavily faked and a lot of it just made up to fit a narrative. If God made someone a male or a female He made them that way on purpose. He also intended them to live out their life that way and also to be fruitful and multiply according to the way they were designed and made by Him and not contrary to that design.

  • There was a study conducted at Northwestern University by a Dr. Michael Bailey examining 110 sets of identical twins. He found no genetic link or cause of homosexuality. If it were genetic one would surmise that if one identical twin was homosexual the other would have to be also; but this study demonstrated that was not the case at all.
  • Note that identical twins are exactly alike genetically. If homosexuality were genetic then both would have the same sexual preference or desire. This study showed that was not the case and demonstrated no genetic linkage to homosexuality.

IF NOT NATURE, THEN NURTURE? – Nurture may not fully explain the issue either. Many believe nurture has an impact on this issue; but it is not the sole cause either. The consensus opinion is it is a combination of possibly nurture and possible exposure to sinful behavior of a sexual nature at a young age, but this opinion must be qualified by noting it is an opinion surmised from study’s trying to figure out what causes homosexuality. This opinion is not definitive or exclusive in nature.

  • Documented environmental factors that have been linked to the development of homosexual tendencies include:
  • A lack of healthy parental relationships.
  • A missing father.
  • An overbearing or smothering mother.
  • Early exposure to improper sexual activities.
  • Sexual abuse at a young age.
  • It must be noted that sinful behavior does not always have a simple explanation. There is no simple explanation to sin, especially once one becomes enslaved to that sin. (John 8:34 – Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.)
  • As Christians, we need to understand the power that sin can hold over someone; and in turn we need to have a sympathetic response to those that are currently enslaved to some sin in their life, whether that sin is homosexuality or something else. Our attitude towards those suffering in the bondage of sin needs to be one of sympathy; and desiring to help in some way and not one of judging and condemning or making fun of.

SO WHAT SHOULD A CHRISTIANS RESPONSE BE?

WE ARE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL OF TRUTH AND FREEDOM FROM SIN.

  • We must hold fast to the gospel of truth that is in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:20-24 – But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.)
  • We must continue to teach sound doctrine and truth to those affected by this sin. It may not be popular, it may not be well received sometimes, it definitely will not be politically correct; but we need to not compromise God’s truth, not compromise on what the Word of God says and we must continue to hold fast to the life changing, sin liberating truths and promises as found in the Word of God! (I Timothy 1:8-11 – But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.)

WE ARE TO DISPLAY THE LOVE OF THE GOSPEL TO THOSE AFFECTED BY THIS SIN.

  • We have a duty to speak the truth in love, notice not just speak the truth as many do; but we are to speak the truth in a loving way to those affected by this sin. (Ephesians 4:15 – But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:)
  • We must have the right kind of attitude when we seek to minister to those living in this sin. We must have a meek, patient, gentle, and loving attitude seeking to avoid the argument about the issue and instead seeking to minister to and share the gospel with. (II Timothy 2:24-26 – And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.) As the saying goes, and I have recently heard this saying criticized, but this saying falls in line with how Christ conducted Himself and with the teachings of the New Testament “You must hate the sin; but love the sinner”.

WE MUST OFFER THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL TO THOSE INVOLVED IN THIS SIN.

  • The Bible teaches that cleansing, sanctification and justification is available to all that will receive it. (I Corinthians 6:9-11 – Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.)
  • No matter what form the perversions of sin take, the Gospel of Christ is the solution to them. The Gospel is the provider of deliverance from them. The Gospel of Christ is the source of hope to work through them on the way to victory from them. Faith in Christ and His Word is the source of victory in our life! Faith is the victory! (I John 5:4 – For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.)

IN CONCLUSION: Homosexuality is a volatile issue today. It is a very politically charged issue today. Having opposition to it is often depicted as being hateful, narrow minded and, a new word that has become part of our vernacular, homophobic. But let me remind you being true to God’s Word, standing on your convictions based on the Word of God, speaking the truth of God’s Word to a lost and sinful world is never any of those words just mentioned above. Using a much used comparison, if a man walked by someone’s house and saw it on fire, he would not encourage the man to stay in the fire and say how supportive he is of the man for following his heart and staying in the fire. No! The man walking by would do everything he could to save the man in the fire and do everything he could to warn others, whose homes were nearby, to stand guard lest the fire spreads to their houses too!

And so should we as Christians not back down or shy away from sounding the alarm and spreading the Truth of the Gospel about this issue to those affected by it and to the world in general. We as Christians must, and I repeat must, remain faithful to the Scriptures on this subject; but we must also be faithful to the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, in how He reached out to all sinners with love and promises of forgiveness and hope of transformation. (Mark 2:15-17 – And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.)

Are you preparing your heart to seek the Lord? We have a responsibility, as the people of God, to seek out the Lord, to seek to serve Him; to be continually preparing our heart to seek the Lord. Notice in the verse below: what was the evil that was done?

II Chronicles 12:14 “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

How did he do evil? – “because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

How about you? Are you daily preparing your heart to seek the Lord that day? What are some ways we could do this preparing on a daily basis? Psalm 5:3 helps us with the answer “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”  – We need to start off everyday with prayer and Bible reading. This is a key way in which we prepare to seek the Lord out each day.

Ezra 7:10 is the antidote to II Chronicles 12:14. We need to take Ezra 7:10 as a  verse we seek to live out every day. Don’t let II Chronicles 12:14 be able to be spoken about your life; instead seek to be an Ezra 7:10 Christian every day!

Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it,…” – Every morning of every day prepare your heart for that day to seek the Lord out and His will. Be a prepared Christian everyday. Be prepared because your  enemy is always prepared to bring you down and ruin your testimony. Prepare your heart every morning to seek the Lord every day.

 

WHY BE BAPTIZED? (Acts 8:36-38)

Acts 8:37 – “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

INTRODUCTION: Christ gave the church doctrines and ordinances. Doctrines are beliefs and teachings. Ordinances are the things Christ said to observe. The only two ordinances are Baptism and the Lords Supper. (Acts 2:38, 41 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.)Baptism is only for believers. You must be saved to get baptized. (Acts 2:41 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.)  

So in this lesson, in order to answer the question “Why be baptized”, we are first going to answer several other questions. We are going to answer in this lesson the following questions then we will conclude with “Why be baptized”?

1.) What is baptism?

2.) What does baptism represent?

3.) What does baptism do?

4.) What does baptism not do?

5.) And then we will answer “Why be baptized?

FIRST, WHAT IS BAPTISM?  Baptism is the total immersion in water. Not just sprinkling, not just the pouring of water on someone’s head; but the total immersion in water.  Our great example, of Whom we are instructed in the Bible to emulate His example in all ways possible to us, was Himself fully immersed in water when He was baptized. (Matthew 3:14 – Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.) Jesus set the example for us; He was totally immersed in the Jordan River. The word “baptized” in Matthew 3:14 means to “immerse, submerge, to make fully wet” that does not sound like sprinkling or pouring to me.

Five things the Bible says about baptism with water by immersion:

  • They must go to water. (Acts 8:36 – They came unto a certain water.)
  • Requires much water. (John 3:23 – Because there was much water there.)
  • Must go down into the water. (Acts 8:38 – They went down into the water.)
  • Must baptize in water. (Matthew 3:6 – Were baptized of him in Jordan.)
  • Must come up and out. (Acts 8:39 – When they were come up out of the water.)

Also, the figures of speech used by the Apostle Paul in his writings align only with full immersion in water.  Baptism is referred to as being “buried with him” in Romans 6:4 and in Colossians 2:12. The testimony of early church also followed this teaching of Paul and the example given by our Savior in that they practiced baptism as total immersion in water by the believer.

SECOND, WHAT DOES BAPTISM REPRESENT? – It represents Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. As the water crosses our body it represents Christ’s death on the cross, His burial, and as we are coming out of water His resurrection. Sprinkling could not do this. (Romans 6:3-5 – Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:)

  • In Romans 6:3-5 notice the expressions – “baptized into Jesus Christ” and “buried with him by baptism”. Our soul and spirit is brought into His family through our salvation and trust in Him as our Savior. What a great word picture represented here and demonstrated outwardly by our physical baptism.
  • Baptism is our outward testimony of our inward assurance of our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
  • If the meaning of baptism could be boiled down to one word, that word would be identification. Baptism speaks primarily of a personal, public identification with Jesus
  • So what does baptism represent?
  • It represents how we have turned from the old life of sin to a new life in Christ.
  • It represents our public identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
  • It represents our openly joining the ranks of those who believe in Christ and in most cases joining in membership with a local assembly of believers.

THIRD, WHAT DOES BAPTISTM DO? BESIDES GET YOU WET? – When you are baptized, you are in fact visually preaching the gospel. As you stand in the water waiting to be baptized, you symbolize Jesus dying on the cross. As you are lowered into the water, you symbolize Jesus buried in the tomb. As you are raised from the water, you symbolize Jesus rising from the dead. (Romans 6:3-5)

  • And since you personally are being baptized, you are also saying symbolical way, “I died with Jesus Christ, I was buried with Him and now I am raised with Christ in newness of life.”
  • In short, in your baptism you are preaching a sermon without using any words at all. And your sermon in your baptism can be more effective with your friends than any sermon the pastor preaches on Sunday morning— it can be more effective because it comes directly from you.
  • The Greek word translated “baptize” is the verb baptizo. It’s primary meaning is “to immerse, submerge, to make fully wet” The secondary meaning is to “bring under the influence.” By being baptized publically you are, by your personal testimony in identifying in Christ, bringing all those that witness your baptism under the influence, at that moment, of Jesus Christ. Baptism is as important for you to do for yourself as it is for you to do to bring all those that witness it under the convicting influence of Christ.

FOURTH, WHAT DOES BAPTISM NOT DO? – The humbling of oneself that is needed in the act of repentance is not easy. Faith in an unseen God can also not be easy for some people. Submission to the teachings of Christ, the Bible and the working of the Holy Spirit within us goes against mans natural disposition. The transforming and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our life can also be uncomfortable and difficult.

Satan’s great lie he has planted in many hearts is salvation would be so much easier, inviting and enticing to our natural human hearts if it didn’t require humility, repentance and faith. If it could only be attained in some way by us, by some act we do; if salvation could only be the product of a onetime action on our part.

  • For those looking to bypass the difficulty and discomfort of salvation, I Peter 3:21 along with a select few other verses taken out of context and not fully interpreted correctly according to their setting in scripture or not interpreted correctly according to the meaning and verb usage and placement of the original language they were written in, and taken then out of the context of scripture as a whole can lead people who are willing to accept it to think that baptism saves you and not faith alone in Christ. (I Peter 3:20-21 – Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:)
  • What is taking place in these two verses is a comparison of Noah and his family in the ark in the great flood and believers being baptized in water. The water did not save Noah and his family. It was the act of faith Noah had when he built the ark, when he entered the ark and it had not ever even rained, when he trusted God and His plan to save him. That is what saved Noah, not the water. Just as what saves us is our repentance of our sin and faith by grace in Christ. The flood of water proved or demonstrated Noah’s salvation just as our baptism demonstrates and testifies of our salvation.

There are also many that view baptism as a necessary element—in addition to repentance and faith—that completes the work of salvation – these too are misguided and wrong in their belief. As a proof text they point to Acts 2:28 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” So what should we make of this verse? — Was Peter the first proponent of baptismal regeneration? And does that mean that no one is truly saved until they’ve been baptized?

  • John MacArthur offers the following commentary on this verse Baptismal regeneration] ignores the immediate context of the passage. As already noted, baptism would be a dramatic step for Peter’s hearers. By publicly identifying themselves as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, they risked becoming outcasts in their society (cf. John 9:22). Peter calls upon them to prove the genuineness of their repentance by submitting to public baptism. In much the same way, our Lord called upon the rich young ruler to prove the genuineness of his repentance by parting with his wealth (Luke 18:18-27). Surely, however, no one would argue from the latter passage that giving away one’s possessions is necessary for salvation. Salvation is not a matter of either water or economics. True repentance, however, will inevitably manifest itself in total submission to the Lord’s will.
  • By implying or assuming that baptism is a necessary step to our salvation they are not true to the facts or spirit of Scripture as a whole. All through the book of Acts, forgiveness is linked to repentance, not baptism (Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; & 5:31). The Bible also records that some who were baptized were not saved (Acts 8:13, 21-23 – Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.), while still others were saved with no mention of them ever being baptized (Luke 7:37-50; Matthew 9:2; Luke 18:13-14). (Luke 23:39-43)
  • The account of the conversion of Cornelius and his friends very clearly shows the relationship of baptism to salvation. It was only after they were saved, as shown by their receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46), that they were baptized (Acts 10:47-48). It was because they had received the Spirit (and hence were saved) that Peter ordered them to be baptized (v. 47). That passage clearly shows that baptism follows salvation; it does not cause it.
  • So why do Peter’s words in Acts 2:38 seem to read as an endorsement of baptism being part of salvation? The confusion comes from understanding with our modern knowledge of the English language the way the Greek preposition eis is translated. While it is often translated “for the purpose of,” it can also mean “because of”—that is the sense it conveys in Matthew 12:41, as Jesus described how the people of Ninevah repented after hearing Jonah’s preaching. That’s the same sense it should be consider as in Acts 2:38—Peter exhorted the people to be baptized because of the forgiveness of their sins not for the forgiveness of their sins. The same Greek word is used in both verses and unless you dig a little deeper you might get a little confused; but even so that is why you interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture and in the immediate context it is found in. If that simple rule is followed no confusion or misunderstanding would result. (Matthew 12:41 – The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. & Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.) – Same Greek word is boxed in each of the two preceding verses for comparison. Reread each verse and say “because of” instead of the boxed word and you will get the proper meaning of each.

So to be clear, baptism does not save you period, full stop. The order is clear. Repentance is for forgiveness. Baptism follows that forgiveness; it does not cause it, nor is it a necessary element to it (cf. Acts 8:12, 34-39;  10:34-48; 16:31-33). Baptism is the public sign or symbol of what has taken place on the inside. Baptism is a public testimony of our salvation and not part of our salvation. It is however an important step of obedience for all believers, and should closely follow our salvation. Salvation has nothing to do with any work or any act, such as baptism, that we could do. (Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.) – Baptism would be considered a work on our part if it was something we needed to do to get saved or considered a necessary element to that salvation.

  • The heresy and confusion over what baptism does or does not do, could be solved if one would use and apply the Golden Rule of Scripture interpretation as given to us by Dr. C.I. Scofield “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use a ‘if’ to contradict a ‘verily’”.

SO IN CONCLUSION, WHY BE BAPTIZED? – It should be one of the first acts of obedience by the new believer as commanded by Christ and taught in the Epistles.  The observance or nonobservance of ordinances has nothing to do with salvation. Once you are saved (trusted in Jesus to save you and take you to Heaven) you are always saved. (Hebrews 7:25 – Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.) “Uttermost” means – completely and permanently. Baptism is obedience to Christ. (Matthew 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.) Baptism is a public proclamation of putting off the old man (or old nature) and putting on Christ (new nature). (Galatians 3:27 – … baptized into Christ have put on Christ.)

Let’s review … why do we get baptized?  Jesus commands us to after we are saved. (Matthew 28:19-20). In order to be baptized we have to be saved first. (Acts 2:41, Acts 8:36-38)

So let’s review how do we get saved?  First you have to realize that God loves you. (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) Then you need to know that:

  • All people are sinners. (Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 3:18 – He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. )
  • Sins must be paid for. (Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)
  • Christ paid for our sins. (Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.)
  • We must ask by faith for Christ to save us. (Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.)

There are no shortcuts or religious rituals that can achieve salvation—in fact, it’s not a product of human works at all, including baptism. God provides salvation because a sinner, by faith, accepts Jesus Christ into his heart as his own personal Savior. Salvation does not occur by means of any rite or work, including water baptism, salvation only occurs by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

***This is part 5 of a 6 part blog series on Racism, the World & the Bible***

THE BIBLE & RACE EXAMINED

THE OLD TESTAMENT AND RACE – The children of Israel would encounter different peoples and ethnicity’s with different customs and beliefs. The Israelite’s were to avoid making treaties or covenants with foreign people. They were forbidden to go into a marriage with non-Jewish people. (Deuteronomy 7:2-3 – And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.) – People will try to make a blanket statement about this and say “see the Bible is racist because it is against interracial marriages” – Well that is not exactly what this passage is saying, and that would be taking this verse out of it’s immediate context. The reason why God commanded them not to intermarry with the people of the land is found in the next verse Deuteronomy 7:4For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” – God commanded the Israelite’s not to enter into marriages with non-Jews to protect them from idolatry and to keep them from the influence of pagan beliefs. Basically it was a command to not marry an unbeliever. We have this same command today in the New Testament and in no way is this command racist.  (II Corinthians 6:14 – Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?) – There is a danger in picking one verse and trying to interpret it outside of its contextual basis. This is how false beliefs and cults get their beginning. When reading, studying and interpreting what the Bible says, always look at verses in their context and use other scripture to help interpret scripture. Dr. C.I. Scofield had this to say about Scriptures and context “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one; and never use an (if) to contradict a (verily).”

THE NEW TESTAMENT AND RACE (Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.) – The Great Commission clearly teaches what the New Testament and Christ is trying to convey, and that is all peoples of the earth are equally valued by God, equally loved by God and equally died for by Jesus on the cross.

Pentecost in Acts 2 shows us the worldwide, multi-ethnically, multi-cultural scope of the gospel of Christ. It is equally for all tribes and nations of the world. Peter in Acts 10 with his vision to go to the Gentiles with the Gospel, shows that God was making no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Jesus wanted all to believe on Him and accept His payment of their sin with His shed blood so they could go to Heaven one day. (Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins). Phillip preached to the Samaritans and opened the Scriptures with a man from Ethiopia (Acts 8:27a And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia…). Paul in I Corinthians 12 describes a very diverse first century church. While Jesus wants all peoples from all cultures to be saved. One must recognize if there are things in ones culture that are unbiblical, and then to get those aspects of your culture out of your life. We need to go by what God says and use His word as our supreme authority in our life; other cultural concerns should be secondary to Biblical truths and teachings. To God and the Bible all races, all ethnicity’s, all cultures, all colors, and all lives matter equally.

Related Links:

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part-1

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part-2: DARWIN & RACISM

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part-3: Racism & Abortion

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part 4: One Race

***This is part 3 of a 6 part blog series on Racism, the World & the Bible***

RACISM & ABORTION

Psalm 100:3a – “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;” & Ephesians 1:4a – “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,)”. God is the Author and Creator of life. God created us and the Bible says He knew us even before the “foundation of the world.” We need to respect life; we need to respect the life of the innocent unborn children especially.

One cannot over emphasize the seriousness of the subject of abortion today; and one, more than ever needs to be able to defend what the Bible says on this subject and defend the unborn’s right to life. Since Roe v. Wade over 55 million boys and girls have been barbarically slaughtered in America. That figure dwarfs the number of people killed by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin combined. The very moral foundations of our society have been crumbling for some time. One of the biggest evidences of this is the erosion of the concept of the sanctity of human life.

LET’S TAKE A BRIEF LOOK AT ONE OF THE MAIN FOUNDING PROPONENTS FOR LEGALIZED ABORTION IN AMERICA – The Founder of Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger was a proponent of an effort to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit according to “People & Events: Eugenics and Birth Control” PBS. Retrieved August 6, 2015. Sanger also was for the compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded“(Sanger’s words not mine) source “The Sanger-Hitler Equation, Margaret Sanger Papers Project Newsletter, #32, Winter 2002/3 New York University Department of History. Some more of her infamous quotes are below:

On immigrants and the poor:
…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”  Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization

On the purpose of birth control:
The purpose in promoting birth control was “to create a race of thoroughbreds,” she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921 (p. 2)

On the extermination of blacks:
We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon

As you can see the founder of Planned Parenthood had some serious issues regarding minorities, immigrants and the value of human life. She had very non-biblical and evil views on these issues. She unfortunately has a strong influence on the society we now live in today. We need to be studied in the Word of God and be ready to give a Biblical and logical answer when the question of abortion and the sanctity of human life come up. We need to be ready to defend our faith in this issue. (I Peter 3:15)

The main motivation of Margaret Sanger was racist in its very core. She had a deep disdain for minorities and immigrants. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America. 78% of their clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but 35% of the abortions in America. Sanger espoused the thinking of eugenicists — similar to Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” — but related the concept to human society, saying the genetic makeup of the poor, and minorities, for example, was inferior. Pivot of Civilization, by Margaret Sanger, 1922, p. 80.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said this about Margaret Sanger “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision, I am really in awe of her, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life” Secretary Clinton was the 2009 Margaret Sanger award winner.

NOW LET’S LOOK AT WHO CREATED HUMAN LIFE(Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.) The Bible says He is our God even before we are born. (Psalm 22:10 – I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.) God is our maker. He formed us. He designed us. (Isaiah 44:2a – Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb,).

God is the Author and Creator of life. God controls the timing of our birth. He wanted us born when we were born, where we were born and to whom we were born. He has a reason and a purpose for everyone. At the moment of conception God already knows us. Before anyone else even knows us, God already knows us and loves us and gave His life that we might have life eternal with Him in Heaven. What is conceived in the womb is a “child” — a baby human being however very small. We should understand that destroying what has begun to form in the womb is taking the life of a child. We could not justify such action before God. Only man was created in God’s own image. Not animals, man did not evolve over millions of years. God created us in His image and God breathed the breath of life in us. All life comes from God, but human life is set apart from all other life, in that it was God Breathed. (Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.)Our bodies are not our own. Neither is someone’s body that is unborn. Not one has a right over their own bodies or the bodies of the unborn. We all belong to God. We are created in his image. We must honor and respect the sanctity of God given life.

This subject may have disturbed some people; it can be a difficult subject to study. God is willing and ready to forgive, and to cleanse anyone from all unrighteousness. Jesus died on the cross for the sin of abortion, for the sin of taking human life unjustly, and all sin. Three of the greatest men in the Bible are Moses, David and Paul. Did you know that Moses was guilty of the killing of an Egyptian? David was guilty of the killing of Uriah. Paul was guilty of the killing of Christians. Yet look at our Bible. The first five books of our Bible were written by Moses. Most of the Psalms were composed by David. Perhaps half of the New Testament was written by Paul. All three were guilty of murder, but they had been saved by the grace of God. There is good news. You too can be saved and you too can be forgiven just like these men; and those guilty of the sin of abortion can also be saved. God’s grace is greater than all our sin. All you need to do is to repent of what you have done, confess it as sin, and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. (I John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. & II Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.)

Related Links:

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part 1

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part 2 – Darwin & Racism

***This is part 2 of a 6 part blog series on Racism, the World & the Bible***

DARWIN AND RACISM

First off, let’s take a look at an icon of the world and it’s thinking when it comes to the value placed on human life. (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?) – The human heart can be a very wicked place. It can conjure up all sorts of evil, wicked and Godless thoughts and beliefs. Some of these Godless wicked beliefs can take on a life of their own after the originator of them first espouses those wicked, sinful thoughts or theories. (Matthew 15:18-19 – But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:) – When one starts to take away the fact that man was created by God in His image; one then opens the door to the devaluing of human life across the board. One opens the door to devaluing of certain ethnicities or groups of people. One kicks the door wide open to racism and prejudices of all kinds; and the one that espoused this devaluing of human life holds the brunt of the responsibility of the results of his actions and the drastically negative and brutal results of his theories as they have spread around the world.

True, Darwin was not the inventor of racism; but his theories, his books, his premises and the ideas espoused in his books certainly were very racist indeed! With just a cursory examination of his writings, one can see them laced with racist ideas and racist undertones. Only God can know the true condition of anyone’s heart; but the Bible does tell us by a person’s works we shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-17 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.) It is hard to understand why certain people, of which there are a lot, seem proud to stand with Darwin; even placing Darwin bumper stickers on their vehicles. It makes one wonder if they have ever actually ready any of his writings. Or perhaps they are just thinking it is the in thing or cool thing to do. If the latter is the case it shows their vast intellectual inferiority or if they have actually read his writings and still support him and his statements it shows their inherent racism or disregard thereof.

Darwin did not invent racism but his theories and the school of thought they created promoted his racial ideas and undertones along with his theory of evolution. For example, in 1906 a pygmy from Central Africa was caged along with an orangutan in the Bronx Zoo as an exhibit. The Aborigines in Australia in the 1800’s were hunted down by the ‘enlightened’ evolutionists searching for the “missing link”. Hitler built on this same thought process in his efforts to advance the Aryan race as the “master race”.

Where did all of these people get their ideas about race? It certainly was not from the Bible. God commands us to love all people as He loved us. (John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.) So where did these ideas come from? – They could be a result of the teachings and influence of Darwin and others like him.

The full title of Darwin’s most famous work I think displays how racist his theory of evolution was. “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” In his next book, Darwin also theorized man evolved from apes to become different races one at a time with his own “white” race, being the one that was most advanced (i.e. racist thoughts and conclusions). He classified the other different races as “savage”, “low” and “degraded” – Darwin is not a man anyone should be promoting as some kind of hero or using his name with feet attached as a bumper sticker. (I Timothy 6:4-5 – He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.)Darwin is the kind of man that should be shunned and abhorred as one would Hitler. Even if you think some of his ideas are valid you certainly should not be proud of the man and promote his name at all!

Related links:

RACISM, THE WORLD & THE BIBLE: Part – 1

***This is part 1 of a 6 part blog series on Racism, the World & the Bible***

I Samuel 16:7 – “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

Notice what the Lord is saying in this verse. God does not judge us based on our outward appearance, He does not look down on us for being too short or too tall; He does not judge us based on our skin color. God looks at the heart and judges us according to our heart condition. To God all lives matter, no matter your skin color. If your heart is full of racism or hate how do you think the Lord sees it? What is the condition of your heart today? Do you judge others, maybe not on their race, but do you judge them on other outward characteristics? Do you think all lives matter?

Racism is a deeply held belief that one’s ethnicity or racial heritage makes them superior over those of other ethnic backgrounds; this usually results in discrimination and can and has resulted in segregation and unjust treatment by those who consider themselves superior to those who they consider inferior. What everyone needs to understand is that all of mankind was equally created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26-27 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.)

God loved all of mankind, not just the Jews, not just the Caucasians, not just the Asians or Africans, but He loved all of mankind so much that He sent His only begotten Son down to earth to equally die for all of mankind no matter what color his skin may be. (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) The Lord also has given us a commandment to love all men and all ethnicities as ourselves. (James 2:8 – If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:). There are people in the world that may try to say the Bible contains racism and will try to give you a few examples. This is why we need to know what the Bible teaches about racism, verses what the world may try to say it teaches. We need to be ready to defend our faith on this front. Like I Peter 3:15 says we need to be ready to give that answer.

GOD, GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”

Romans 13:1-2 – “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

INTRODUCTION: Christians are commanded to willingly submit themselves to the higher powers. We should be an example of some of the best citizens around. We should love our country; honor our country and those who have fought to preserve its freedom. We should give honor to whom honor is due as the Scripture commands us. We should also remember that our true citizenship is not on earth if we are believers. If we have been born again our true citizenship is in Heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So our ultimate allegiance is to God who is on the throne in Heaven and not to a man that rules on earth.

Alexis de Tocquiville came to America in the 1800’s to study our nation; to try to find out what made America so great and what made Americans tic so to speak. In his long study he came to this conclusion as to what truly made America great – “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret to her genius and power. America is great because America is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Alexis de Tocquiville. – He concluded that America’s greatness was based on the righteousness and boldness of the preaching in which the majority of Americans sat under. America was great because of her fear and reverence of God. Would he come to the same conclusion today?

Look at what the congress of the United States used to say was the central and most important element to America – “The great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” United States Congress 1854

REMEMBER OUR COMMAND FROM CHRIST (Matthew 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

Remember our command from Christ. We should be more concerned with winning and discipling souls for Christ than with the temporal things of this world. The Great Commission is not a suggestion from the King of Kings, but a command from the King of Kings, and we can fulfill it in many ways; such as inviting friends to church, speaking up on a hot topic and politely yet bolding giving the Biblical stance on the issue. We can fulfill in part the Great Commission by witnessing for Christ with our social media accounts. We also need to go out and compel the lost to come in. (Luke 14:23 – And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.)

Remember our citizenship is in Heaven with our King. As Christians here on earth we are his Ambassadors to this world. We are his representatives to the Lost. As His Ambassadors we are to follow His commands and do our best to live by His word. We are to live by His commands and His Word not our concerns. As a good Ambassador our priority should be representing our King to the best of our ability. As Ambassadors for the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, we should be striving to follow His orders in every detail and in every way we can. (II Corinthians 5:20 – Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.)

How do we get our orders from our Commander, from our Captain, from our King? ….. By reading His Holy Word. By searching the Scriptures, by meditating on His Word. The Bible is how God talks to us. The Bible is to be our guide for our life. The Bible will guide our life. The Bible will give us comfort in the storm. The Bible will teach us how to live a Holy life. The Bible is all we need. The Bible is what we need. How much time do you spend in the Bible every day? Do you spend any time in the Bible every day? (Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. & Matthew 4:4 – But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.)

President John Quincy Adams said “Let us, then, search the Scriptures ….The Bible contains the revelation of the will of God. It contains the history of the creation of the world, and of mankind”

REMEMBER IN WHO WE TRUST (Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.) We should not put our faith and trust in political parties or political leaders. We need to be putting our trust in God. Men and political parties will let you down but God never will. Trust God to meet the needs of your life don’t trust government to meet your needs.

“IN GOD WE TRUST” – If the motto of our country were only true. We find this on our currency and etched on courtroom walls throughout our land. But is this just a slogan of a by-gone era in our county or is it something you live by? As a Christian this should be your motto not just your countries motto.

We can trust God with national and foreign affairs. No matter who is in The Whitehouse, the Congress, or on the Supreme Court, God is on the throne.  (I Timothy 6:15-16 – Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.)

God is Sovereign over all the affairs of this world. He is Sovereign over:

  • Satan and sin – Job 1:12 & 2:6 – “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life”
  • Over governments and powers – II Chronicles 20:6 – “And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?”
  • Over nature and natural disasters – Psalm 107:29 – “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.”
  • Over sickness and disease – Revelation 21:4 – “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
  • Over every human being and leader – Romans 9:17-18 – “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

God is in control. So why not go through life trusting in Him instead of yourself or others or government. God is sovereign over all anyway so just trust in Him. (Ephesians 1:11 – In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:)

Christians need to focus on what we are called and commanded to do, and trust in God to enable us to do it, instead of being focused on the disaster that our government is, or trusting in it. (I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;) – If you are a Christian you have a ministry God is preparing you for. You have your orders given to you by the King of Kings. Put your trust in God and go about following His orders.

“If we ever forget that we are one Nation under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.” – President Ronald Reagan

REMEMBER OUR RESPONSIBILITIES (I Peter 2:12-15 – Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:)

We have a responsibility of living out our Christian faith and letting our faith in God and His word guide our political stance.

Remember our first responsibility is to God and the principles laid out in His word and if our government runs contrary to God and His word we must obey the King of Kings and trust He will take care of us according to His will. (Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.)

If our government has laws that run against God and His word, we should work to repeal those laws. (James 4:17 – Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.)

  • What are some laws you can think of that run against God’s word?
  • Are you working and doing your best to get those laws repealed?

We should however respect the authority over us. We may not respect the man in that position or office, but we need to respect the office and the authority of the office. Remember, government is ordained of God, and we are commanded to submit to it and honor those in the position of authority over us. (Matthew 22:20-22 – And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.)

We are called to boldly denounce immorality and unrighteousness but we must do it in a respectful manner. (I Peter 2:17 – Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.)

If our government and its laws are ever in direct contradiction to God and His commands – what is a Christian to do? – A Christian should do what a Christian should always do and that is to follow God and what He says no matter what. (Acts 5:29 – Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.)

Our country is in the midst of a great decline in morals; it is suffering from a self inflicted, through legislation and court rulings and the backsliding of Christians, quick decent into a great moral decay. Is there hope for America? Is there hope for another Alexis de Tocquiville to come to America and find our greatness as a result of the righteousness of God lived out by her citizens? – Yes with God there is always hope; but we as Christians need to get on fire for Him, we need to get busy for Him and start taking the country by storm with our bold statements of our beliefs, we need to start taking stands, drawing lines in the sand, planting a flag and not being moved no matter the hatred and visceral reactions we get from the world. (Acts 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.) – Pray for boldness and take your stand for Christ.

“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.” – General Douglass MacArthur

REMEMBER WE ARE TO PRAY FOR OUR NATION AND ITS LEADERS (I Timothy 2:1-2 -I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.) We have no right to complain about the government we have, or its leaders, if we are not praying for them.

In addition to submitting to the laws of our country and having respect for those in authority over us we are also commanded to pray for them too. Paul wrote these words during Nero’s reign. Paul prayed for the king who eventually authorized his execution. Are you praying for your country? Are you praying for its leaders? Are you praying for your President?

Christians should pray for those in authority over us, so that we may lead a peaceful, free and quiet life. Pray we get to keep the freedoms we already have. Pray for the safety of our country and the brave men who are charged with keeping us safe and free. What is your first response when our leaders do something you don’t like? Is it frustration? Is it anger? Is it disgust? Our first reaction should be to pray for them.

Christians should be praying for the salvation of our leaders. We should be praying for their eternal souls. Pray they will get saved if they are not, and one day be in Heaven, and not faced with an eternity in hell. (I Timothy 2:3-6, 8 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.)

Remember true “Change” begins from the inside out. It starts in the heart and then it manifests itself in actions. If we want our government to change, we need to pray for the salvation of the souls of the leaders of our government. Christ living in their heart will change their actions and their priorities and their stances on the issues. (Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

We also need to remember true change and revival in a nation also starts with Christians not with the world. We as Christians need to get ourselves right with God and then God promises revival in our land as a result of Christians collectively humbling ourselves and getting right with God as a whole. (II Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.)

“It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness …” President Abraham Lincoln

IN CONCLUSION: Remember our citizenship is in Heaven. Though we currently dwell here in America our true home is in Heaven. We are to be in the world but not of the world. We are to influence the world for Christ and not allow the world to influence us. We are Ambassadors for Christ we represent Him here on earth. We are to follow His directions, His commandments, and live by His standards and laws. When earthly laws contradict God’s, we are to follow His as supreme over all earthly laws because He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Our identity is not defined by being an American. Our identity should be defined by being a Christian first and an American second. If we are saved we are citizens of Heaven here on earth representing our Heavenly King and doing His work and following His commandments. The Great Commission should be a top priority of ours. Heaven is where our fellow countrymen dwell, it is where our names are recorded, it is where our King is at and it is where our Savior sits at His right hand.

President George Washington at his first Inaugural Address had this to say about our earthly country verses our Heavenly home. “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Philippians 3:20-21 says “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Our life is in Heaven. Our Lord’s concerns should be our concerns and He is concerned about the souls of men. We need to “Go ye” and fulfill His command. We as Christians should boldly proclaim the truth in love. We should stand up for right. We should maintain respect for those in authority over us. We should “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s“. We need to pray for our leaders and remember real “change” starts in the heart. If we want change in our country pray for the salvation of our leader’s souls. Remember God is Sovereign over the affairs of men. (James 4:13-17 – Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.) Spend your life concerned about the eternal priorities of your Lord instead of the temporal concerns of men.