Friday, October 19, 2012

The Thinker - What was he thinking about?

Auguste Rodin made what is considered by some the most famous sculpture in the whole world. It is called the thinker. I knew about this famous sculpture throughout my life, and it seems that everyone I talk to knows about it, too. But what was this character thinking about? I always thought it was just a representation of mankind in general, man the philosopher, trying to figure out deep things.

But what was he thinking about? Can we know? Does he represent mankind in general, or any certain individual?

Apparently, he seems to represent Dante, the author of Inferno. Around the year 1890, Rodin (1840-1917) "completed" a huge work known as The Gates of Hell (It is about 20 feet tall!) Near the top, at the center, is the Thinker! Around him, people are falling into Hell, to their eternal punishment.

Dante, (Dante Alighieri 1265-1321), wrote Inferno, which is Italian for Hell. In his work, over the entrance of Hell the famous qoute is found, "Abandon all hope, those who enter here." Rodin carried this book around in his pocket for years! Dante was the thinker, and the very sober doom of people who die without Jesus, of people who die in their sins, was the general bent of his thought!


The original "thinker" is at the top under the topmost 3 figures.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Of The "Apostolic" Denomination

There are people today who call themselves "Apostolic." They say that there are not 3 persons in the Godhead, but only 3 manifestations. "Jesus only" is one of their sayings, from what I understand.

I hope any who are inclined in this direction will sincerely consider some of God's revelation about this important subject, and I hope they will let God be true, and not be mislead.

We know that when Jesus was preparing to leave the earth after His resurrection, He said,

"Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17) Jesus wasn't trying to trick anyone, He really does have a Father...He really does have a God.

Jesus said that He has a a Father and a God. This is consistent with what we find in 1 Corinthians 11:3 which says, "the head of Christ is God." Paul, speaking after the ascension of the Messiah, declared that the head of the Anointed One is (not was) God (God the Father).

"that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him," (Ephesians 1:17) We find Paul again speaking in the present tense, and decades after the ascension of Messiah. Jesus was already glorified, but He is not the only person in the Godhead; there is One who is greater (equal in essence, but greater in role, like a general and a private are both men, and so they are equal in essence, but they are not equal in their military roles).

Three Persons, one Essence. Triunity. "God in three persons, blessed Trinity!" Magnify the LORD with me, let us exalt His name together!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Christians and Remarriage

Believers and those who want to be mindful of God's revelation ought to keep in mind some important points before they consider remarriage! This post is not meant to be exhaustive but helpful.

You could say that true marriage (between a man and a woman) is a two step process.
      Step A) Vows are made legally in the eyes of the state, and before witnesses.
      Step B)  God recognizes these vows being taken and in His eyes the 2 become 1

Divorce in the eyes of the state nullifies Step A, but to a certain extent the couple is still one according to step B. (Please note: this does not mean it is all right for them to be intimate before restoring Step A.) However, this point about the remaining union is very important. As long as these individuals remain pure from other unions, there is hope and concern about the union. Should one of the divorced partners go and remarry, this breaks Step B between the first couple.

If a person divorces from a second spouse and wants to remarry their first spouse, they are not to do so. The Bible states very plainly that this is defiling. (Deut. 24:1-4; Jer. 3:1)

If a person has been divorced according to Step A, even for decades, they should not feel free to remarry if the one they have been divorced from has not remarried.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dare to be a Daniel

I love the song Dare to be a Daniel! The words and music were both written by Philip Bliss. It calls for people who will take God's commands seriously. "Standing by a purpose true, Heeding God's command, Honor them the faithful few! All hail to Daniel's Band!" They may start off as solitary figures. Others may join them, or they may die as martyrs. The results? God is pleased and glorified. They are a testimony of light amid great darkness.

I think of men like John Huss, Martin Luther, and John Wycliffe. These men heard God calling, and they stepped out boldly and in faith. They were mightily used of God. God tells us to honor men like this. There are many battles today, and the hosts of Satan seem to be gaining ground all around us. I pray that Daniels will step forward into the gaps. I pray that others will join them. May all believers cheer on the Daniels of the world.

"Hold the Gospel banner high! On to victory grand! Satan and his host defy, and shout for Daniel's Band! Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone, Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known!

Daniel may even have been made a eunuch. Weak and alone, he stood up to all the might of Babylon, the greatest of earthly kingdoms, the head of gold. A few friends joined him. They would not bow to idols. They would be true to God, even if it cost them their lives. I applaud their example!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Does Anyone Other Than God Play a Part in Salvation?

Someone has described what man has to do to be saved using the illustration of a coin. A coin has two sides, heads and tails. Man must do two things to be saved - repent of his sins (or turn from something and someone) and place his faith or belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (or turn towards someone.) Man must cease from his dead works and trust in the grace or unmerited favor of God alone.

Man brings nothing to the table in terms of salvation except a dirty and needy sinner. But if he will truly bring that (which of course would take the drawing of the Holy Spirit -John 6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. John 6:44 No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.) then he will find that God is a most generous and a most capable Savior!!! He certainly doesn't need any help from us, and without a doubt we are completely incapable in ourselves of giving Him any help. If anyone doubts this it might be helpful for them to meditate on Ephesians 2 for a time.

Well, please consider two precious words with me.

Justification...Imputation....these are very special words, and we find them both in Romans 4 and 5.

First, let's think about Justification.

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Justified - Declared righteous in the courtroom of heaven but totally unattached to any works on our part. As one song states "Oh what a standing is mine!" The gift of God is eternal life.

Outside of Jesus and Jesus alone, the very best you or I can even hope to accomplish is utterly sinful in God's sight. Consider these verses from Isaiah:

Is. 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Is. 64:7 And there is none that calls upon Your name, that stirrs up himself to take hold of You: for You have hid Your face from us, and have consumed us, because of our iniquities.


Justification - a sinner like myself, only deserving of hell, is now accepted in the Beloved. I am pronounced righteous by God Himself.

That leads us to our second special word, imputation.

Rom 4:6 Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works,

Imputes - God takes an inventory of those who are born-again and sees them (reckons them, considers them) as righteous and good...without works. Where did that goodness come from? Where does it come from?

That's what the cross of Jesus is all about!

2Co 5:21 For he has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

Every truly saved person, every one who has been born-again, is a saint. They are a holy one. The righteousness of Christ is placed in their account. God imputes it or counts it as their asset (and oh most precious of all assets!!!) apart from works...not based on us doing anything. By the Grace of God alone.

One song puts it this way: "Tis done, the great transactions done! I am the Lord's! and He is mine!"

Imputation - a sinner like myself, only deserving of hell, is now accepted in the Beloved. I am pronounced righteous by God Himself because the very righteousness of His precious, perfect, unblemished Son has been totally and undeservedly eternally given to me.

Does anyone other than God play a part in salvation? Only in providing a hopeless and needy sinner. But that's something I am truly qualified for. What about yourself?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is the Sanctuary a Holy Place? Are Church Services & Gatherings Holy Times?

In the old testament we find striking instances of the importance God placed on people treating sacred things with great respect.

King Uzziah is suddenly struck with leprosy upon his forehead for entering the temple and acting like he had just as much rights as the tribe of Levi while he was actually of the tribe of Judah. (God had called a certain tribe to handle the things of God in an 'up-close' kind of a way when it came to corporate gatherings and when it came to tabernacle/temple 'furniture'.)

Uzzah reached out to steady the ark of the covenant with his hand and God struck him dead on the spot. 2Sa 6:7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

Nadab and Abihu, who were certainly of the proper tribe, were struck dead for bringing strange fire into the holy tabernacle.

What can we conclude from these things? Do they have any relevance for us today?

In the old testament we find God setting up the tribe of Levi as those who would handle the 'furniture' of the tabernacle/temple. Within the tribe of Levi was the subgroup of priests (Aaronic priests.) And yet even the priests and levites had clearly defined limits on how they were to handle holy things. For example, the ark was to be carried by poles. This was plainly God's will.
(Note: Elders and Deacons seem to me to correspond quite closely in roles and duties to Aaronic Priests and Levites)

In the church today, is God at all concerned about how we handle things??? Consider the following passages:

1Ti 3:14 These things (the entire preceding portion of the book of 1 Timothy?) I write unto you, hoping to come unto you shortly: 1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

This is a very, very important passage! God cares deeply about how things are done 'at church.' Paul very much wanted Timothy to know how he ought to do things 'at church.'

Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Heb 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

1Ti 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.

It seems like there is a growing attitude in churches that anything goes. Similarly, people seem to think that anyone at all can lead. The idea of having a group of Biblically qualified, Spirit-led elders ruling the local church while they themselves seek to carefully follow the word of God is out. The idea of majority rule (no matter the spiritual condition of the majority) or family or personality rule is in.

Jdg 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Will the way the average local church is being structured and handled lead God to say to His children in the great day of judgment "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Church Leadership and Qualifications - Deacons

What does the new testament have to say about the very important subject of church leadership??? (Do churches today tend to go by the word of God in this area?)

The Bible present two main titles - Pastor or Shepherd/Elder/Overseer (all titles for the same office and not necessarily used in that order Biblically) and Deacon.

What are some key things to remember about deacons???

Act 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples were multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Act 6:2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Act 6:3 Wherefore, brethren, look you out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Act 6:4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

This is widely held to be the first Biblical reference to deacons. ('The law of first mention' is an helpful thing to remember in Bible study.) How many deacons today are men of this level of Christian maturity? Much might change for the better in a great many churches if only men who were full of wisdom and truly full of the Holy Spirit were serving as deacons. Do we find deacons running things in this text from the book of Acts? We seem to find them taking care of physical labor and entrusted with some financial distribution in order to free up time for another group of men in the church who are in a position of oversight. Is there any place in the Bible that speaks of deacons having any kind of a church leadership (i.e. church government)position? Not that I am aware of.

1Ti 3:8 Likewise the deacons must be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 1Ti 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:11 Even so their wives must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The type of men who God considers deacons are men of outstanding Christian character who rule their houses well. Perhaps some men ought to step down from being deacons, at least until they clearly meet the qualifications that are found in these portions of God's own word.