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    Get the Meat of the Gospel

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7:35 AM [General]

    I had started in my last post about growing from ‘milk’ to the ‘meat’ (that spiritual maturity).  Copying and pasting so many passages make the posts very long, so I will depend on you to search the Scriptures and see if these things are not so.  I ask no one to believe in me.  I am only a lowly sinner saved by God’s grace.  I ask you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Word, as He is the Word (John 1) and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14).  If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you will want to know Him better.  You can know Him better through studying His Word, as He told the religious leaders of His day that they searched the Scriptures, but it was the Scriptures that told of Him (John 5).  Some references that I wish to refer you to that speak of defending the Gospel- (Philippians 1: 14- 17; 2nd Timothy 4: 1- 4; 1st Timothy 6: 12; Hebrews 13: 9).

    Based on the Scriptures cited, and others as well (go and teach throughout the world), a church should teach the Christian to defend his faith.  This is part of Christian maturity and growing from the ‘milk’ of the Gospel to eating the ‘meat’ of the Gospel.  There are many teachings by many sects, religions, and so-called churches that go contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We should learn what those teachings are, and why they are contrary to the teachings of Christ.  This is so that we, ourselves are not led away by strange notions, and also because the Lord may use our feeble selves to help lead others away from such lies, heresies, and false doctrines.

    I have heard it said of a certain people that they are such fine people, live to high moral standards, and they believe in Jesus.  They may well appear to be ‘fine, upstanding, moral’ people, but as the Scriptures teach, all our righteousness is as filthy rags before the Lord.  This will not save them.  They may believe in Jesus, but do they really believe in Who He is and what He taught?  Satan ‘knows’ Jesus and confronted Him in the wilderness to tempt Him.  This is where translation and interpretation and nuances are very important.  The ancient Hebrew language had many words that may be translated into some verb form of the words ‘know’ and ‘believe’.  When the Scriptures teach of ‘believing in Jesus’ to bring salvation, it is a belief much stronger than simply believing that He lived, died, and even rose again.  It means to believe thoroughly in Who He is and what He taught.  It is more of an intimate and personal knowledge of Him than simply of an acquaintance accepting of His Being.

    Philippians 1: 17 speaks of those who proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition.  These are those who would trade their eternal rewards for earthly rewards.  They teach how God will make you prosper in this earthly, worldly life, whereas Jesus wants you to prosper in God’s works and find your inheritance when you reach your Heavenly home.  Those who seek to get earthly riches from the Gospel of Christ will have eternity to regret their earthly choices.  This is why we should pray for preachers like Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Benny Hinn, and many others who amass super riches in this world by proclaiming a ‘gospel of prosperity’, whereas they are leading many away from the Gospel of Truth.  As the Scriptures teach, they lead away people with itching ears by telling them what their itchy ears want to hear.

    I wish to paste a comment I left on another friend’s post to show another instance of false teachings.  “The Bible teaches that through the blood of Jesus Christ, we can come with confidence to the throne of our Heavenly Father.  Some believe that you can go to the Heavenly Father through confessing to a priest in a confessional- this is contrary to going straight to the throne of grace with confidence.  Some teach that you can have your prayers heard by praying to Mother Mary- this is contrary to coming with confidence to the throne of grace.  Some believe that you can pray to the saints- this is also contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures.  Some believe you can call on angels, but this is contrary.  Only through Jesus Christ can we come with confidence to the throne of grace, and the Scriptures teach not to bow down to humans or angels.  Those who try to pray through Mary, or saints, or angels are trying to worship God through what God created, rather than worshipping God through Jesus.  That is my firm conviction.”

    Jesus said that He was the door to the sheep, and any who come into the sheepfold (the church) through any other means is a liar and a thief.  Churches need to start teaching the ‘meat’ of the Gospel to train people not to fall to silly notions and myths and to save people from falling into the pitfalls of Satan’s teachings that would lead them to seek any other way than the Lord Jesus Christ as presented in the Scriptures.

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    Who Are These People Calling Themselves Christians and Churches?

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 10:58 AM [General]

    Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God.  You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

    How many go to churches and hear the same sermons over and over?  How many of those sermons tell about being saved and knowing Jesus?  Yes, people need to know Jesus, and there are times when these are essential messages to those who are unsaved and need these messages.  But how many times do people who need to grow spiritually not get the spiritual growth they need because they are still going over and over again the salvation message?

    New Christians are considered as ‘babies in Christ’, but as they grow and mature, they are not to remain as babies.  Babies are fed milk, and this message teaches that once a person has been fed (taught) the milk (message of salvation) there should come a time when they move on to the meat (more solid substance of Biblical teachings) so they can mature into Christ’s Kingdom and serve as better servants to the King.

    So where should Christians find the ‘meat’ (weightier matters that grow maturity) of the Gospel.  Pray that more churches will start seeing the need to teach the Bible more deeply.  Once a person gets the ‘milk’ of the Gospel, they should start growing into teachings that help them to know the Savior better and moving closer to their Savior.  Then they learn more about better living the Christian life by being an example for others and doing for others (as in part of the good works that God has foreordained, Ephesians 2: 10).  They should begin to learn to be more loving, caring, and understanding in family relationships, being a better son/daughter, brother/sister, husband/wife, father/mother.  Then moving on to being a better brother/sister to mankind in general, a work ethic that doesn’t seek to get rich for self, but doing and serving for others.  They should start developing a love for lost people who seem destined to spend eternity without a Heavenly home.  Are you learning to witness or do you teach others to be good witnesses for Christ.  Some people are so busy ‘judging’ others, they don’t seem to have time to ‘love’ their enemies.

    Some people seem to spend more time bad-mouthing neighbors, other people, even government leaders that the Bible expressly says we are to honor and obey, even if we don’t agree with them.  Even if you don’t like what your president does and consider your own president to be your enemy, you are mandated by the Scriptures/God’s law to love him (even as your enemy) and to care for him, pray for him, and obey him.  But some people would rather call themselves ‘conservatives’ or something else than to call themselves Christians and they love to speak pompous words against their enemies, rather than to learn the Christian way and follow God’s instructions.  Learning these things are part of learning the ‘meat’ of the Gospel.  But then again, I remember that a lot of people who call themselves Christian will stand before the throne and tell the Lord how many good works they did in his name, but He will tell them to depart from Him because He never knew them (Matthew 7: 22-23).  But who are the shepherds who are feeding (teaching) the sheep?

    One man calls himself a preacher and makes a big show of burning a Koran.  If he considers followers of the Koran to be his enemies then hasn’t he heard the Master’s teaching to love and pray for his enemies?  One preacher pushes his church to picket the funerals of US soldiers.  If he considers US soldiers to be his enemies then hasn’t he heard the Master’s teachings to love and pray for his enemies?  One preacher recently went viral online saying that the cure to aids was to kill all homosexuals.  If he considers homosexuals to be his enemies, then hasn’t he heard the Master’s teachings to love and pray for his enemies?  So who and where are the shepherds of the flock?

    With so many people vehemently bad mouthing the politicians, followers of the Koran, soldiers, homosexuals, these people, those people, etc. & etc. then where is the CHURCH.  There are a lot of churches, and churches of hate are churches of Satan!!!  Our Creator’s CHURCH is a CHURCH of LOVE.  But so many people who call themselves “GOD’S CHURCH” are really churches of Satan because they teach HATE rather than LOVE!!!  JUDGMENT DAY IS CLOSE AT HAND- and many will say, Lord, we did many good and mighty works in Your Name, and He will say, “DEPART FROM ME YOU WORKERS OF INIQUITY- I NEVER KNEW YOU!”

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    Know the Lord or Learn a Deeper Meaning of Sheol

    Monday, May 4, 2015, 9:02 AM [General]

    Understanding the way people in ancient time used language helps to understand their thoughts.  Language developed around having ways of naming (or speaking about) things.  If you wanted a rock, you needed a word to mean rock; if you wanted water, you needed a word to mean water; etc.  So the language developed along terms that were concrete- what could be seen, touched, physically in some way experienced.  So how do you ‘develop’ words for ‘grace’, ‘honor’, ‘loyalty’, or ‘glory’, etc. since these cannot be seen, smelled, touched, or otherwise experienced in a physical way?  This is why the Hebrew word ‘aph’ for ‘nose’ which you can see and touch on a person’s face, could also mean ‘anger’; though you couldn’t see or touch ‘anger’, you could see that someone was angry when his nose flared.  When you are ‘fearful’ (fear is not something you can see or touch) it may feel like you stomach is churning (you can feel your stomach churning); so saying that your stomach is churning could mean ‘fearful’.

    The Hebrew letters ‘ayin, lamed, nun’ may be pronounced something like “ahlawm” and mean “concealed, veiled, or hidden from sight”.  The same letters could be pronounced something like “ohlawm” and mean “something beyond perception”.  Something beyond perception could mean that it is so far away (in the physical dimension) that it is beyond sight (out of sight), so being out of sight it is ‘hidden from sight’ which would be as in pronouncing the word as “ahlawm” instead of “ohlawm”.  But “ohlawm” could also mean beyond perception in terms of ‘beyond conception’ (beyond a person’s capacity to perceive or conceive).  So something that is ‘infinite’, or ‘eternal’, or ‘forever’ is generally beyond one’s capacity to conceive, so the word “ohlawm” could be translated (from ancient Hebrew, not modern Hebrew) as ‘infinite’, ‘eternity’, or ‘forever’.

    The Hebrew word ‘ad’ means ‘until’ (I believe this is in both ancient and modern Hebrew).  Adding the conjunction ‘vav’ to the beginning of ‘ad’ you have ‘vad’ which literally means ‘and until’ but also can mean ‘forever’, which could be translated as ‘eternal’.  What I am trying to do is to introduce you to the difficulty in translating the ancient Hebrew Bible into languages that we speak today.  One has to be very careful in considering the ways words are used, and the different nuances that may be given to words, and figurative and abstract meanings that may come from concrete words.

    Isaiah 5:11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!  12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands.  13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.  14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.

    The Lord says through Isaiah here (and through Hosea in Hosea 4: 6) that people are ‘carried into exile’ (figuratively ‘destroyed’) for a lack of knowledge.  People have a ‘lack of knowledge’ primarily because people believe what they want to believe and do not search for the ‘true knowledge’ that our Creator wants us to seek.  We are to seek our Creator with all our heart; we are to seek to know Him; then in knowing Him, we are to seek to know Him better.  Sheol has sometimes been translated as ‘grave’ or ‘underworld’ (because the grave is generally considered ‘under the ground’ or ‘under the earth’ or ‘under the world’ depending on how you view it) and sometimes as ‘hell’ (as the ‘underworld’ was thought by many in old times to be ‘hell’).  This did not mean that the person ‘ceased to function or exist’ but that his physical, earthly body was used up and his ‘soul/spirit/essence of being or existence had left the confines of this physical, earthly body.  The Old Testament Scriptures teach (and the New Testament confirms) that those who become God’s children (His adopted ones) would not be ‘abandoned’ to Sheol.  Those who become God’s children will have an eternal home with their Heavenly Father (their Creator) whereas those others would be ‘abandoned’ to whatever torments their existence out of this body would be in.  Without the knowledge of the Lord, people would be eternally abandoned.

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    Doubts

    Sunday, May 3, 2015, 6:34 PM [General]

    Do you ever feel doubts about your salvation?  That’s not really a good thing, but it can lead to good if you think about it a little deeper.  To understand, we need to remember that words in any language can carry certain nuances that change their meaning and understanding when used in different ways.

    When the disciples met with each other and told Thomas that Jesus had risen from the dead, Thomas doubted them.  Maybe he felt as if they were mistaken, delirious, or someone made them think Jesus had risen when really he hadn’t.  That’s when he said that he would have to see for himself the nail prints in His hands; and the hole in His side where the Roman soldier put the spear while Jesus was on the cross.  When Jesus appeared, He said not to ‘doubt’ but ‘believe’.  Now a person may believe something, but doubt certain concepts or things about what he believes.  Then sometimes it is really a matter of knowing just what it is that you are doubting.  You may believe that Jesus is all that the Bible says He is, but there may be certain concepts or teachings about Jesus in which understanding is lacking, and so there may be doubts about just what or how to believe.  That is part of why God said that if you search for Him, you will find Him, if you search with all your heart.  So the search may continue, in some respects, even after you have found Him.  It is that search to know Him better, to be closer to Him, and to find His will for your life.

    Now, if you doubt your salvation, consider this:  If you asked someone who did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ if he doubted his salvation, what would you expect his response to be?  If he did not believe in Jesus, then would he see a need to believe in Jesus to be saved?  Then he would have no reason to ‘doubt his salvation’ because he would not believe in it to begin with.  So if a person doubts his salvation, then that should be a good sign that he is a believer; and the Scriptures teach that if you believe in Him, you WILL be saved.  So you may have someone who ‘doubts’ without believing, but someone who believes but has ‘doubts’.  So the unbelieving doubter will not “feel doubts about his salvation”, because he is not a believer to begin with.  This is partly why Paul told a church that they needed to leave the ‘milk of the Gospel’ (the elementary teachings) and start ‘eating the meat of the Gospel’ (the deeper understanding of the Gospel implications).

    Do you feel doubts about God loving sinners, as unlovable as they may seem?  Do you feel doubts about Jesus coming to save a dying world from sin?  Or do you doubt your own worthiness?  Well, I don’t have any doubts about my worthiness, because I know that I am so pitifully unworthy that I don’t have to have any doubts about my ‘worthiness’ because I know I’m not at all ‘worthy’.  So there is a major difference in ‘doubting the Lord Jesus’ and ‘doubting yourself’ when it comes to knowing salvation.  So when you doubt your salvation, you must be a believer, or you wouldn’t have those doubts about your salvation.

    Sometimes I can think how putrid my life can be and wonder how God could love something as unlovable as I am.  Then I can remember that even Job had similar feelings expressed in the book of Job, but God asked Satan, “Who is like my servant Job?”  David fell short and cried, “Lord, I am a worm and not a man.  How could you take notice of something like me?”  Yet the Scriptures teach that David was a man ‘after God’s Own heart’.  So if sometimes you may doubt your own salvation, remember that it is not our Savior that you are doubting but yourself.  Remember, I am not saying that any doubt is good, but, as Paul taught, all things can work together for the good.  Even after a person is saved, though he may strive to live more perfectly, we are still so far from perfect.  So when you feel moments of despair and start to doubt, let that feeling motivate you to strive to do better.  Then let the doubt that you considered be something that strengthens your confidence.

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    Tree of ~

    Saturday, May 2, 2015, 10:37 AM [General]

    Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.  Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—" 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.

    After Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were punished by causing them to have to ‘eat by the sweat of their brow’ (work) and to have pain in conception.  This was why they were sent out of the Garden of Eden.  But why would God not allow them to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever?  Well, it’s something of a confusing blessing that we not eat of the tree of life and live forever at that point.  To begin with, God told them that if they ate from the one tree they would surely die.  Adam and Eve certainly had perfect DNA as God created them, and probably could have lived forever in Eden had they not disobeyed God.  In disobeying, they began the process of aging that would certainly result in death, which they did eventually die.

    It seems unlikely that any scientist would ever prove it, but there is in theological circles a theory that the perfect DNA that was created into Adam and Eve could have survived forever.  It was in this perfection that they could multiply and not be concerned about genetic abnormalities no matter the relationship.  Yet after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, something changed in their DNA that caused this aging and decaying process.  The more generations that passed, the weaker the DNA strain would become.  This was why the earlier generations could live such extremely long lives and weren’t concerned so much that Adam and Eve’s children and for many generations would not have concerns with abnormalities in birth due to the closeness of relationship.  It was a naturally occurring phenomena that over so many generations, the DNA would become weaker and the aging process accelerated and the more chance of abnormalities in birth.

    Now, why not allow them to eat of the Tree of Life, which would likely regenerate their DNA so they could continue to live forever?  The blessing is, that after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then the painfulness of ‘this world’ became known.  In obeying the Serpent and not God, man had given Satan the dominion of this world.  How could he do this?  God had given man dominion of this world, but mankind bowed down to the will of God’s adversary, Satan.  The one you serve is the one you turn your life over to.  By that act of eating the forbidden fruit, mankind turned himself to Satan’s will rather than the will of our Heavenly Father and Creator.  God still ‘owns’ the world, and will have the final judgment, but since God gave man dominion, then man turned himself over to Satan.

    Now consider living in this world forever, with its pains, heartaches, work, injustices, and many other maladies and calamities.  Is that something to be hoped for?  What would life be like forever in these earthly bodies with the desires, the world full of greed, and what has been phrased ‘the dog eat dog’ approach to life?

    This earthly body doesn’t live forever, but that ‘breath of life’ that God breathed into man does live forever.  Yet because man separated himself from his Creator in disobedience, that breath would be doomed to a tormentuos (as Jesus describes) eternal separation from his Creator to eternity with the Satan that man bowed himself to in the Garden of Eden.  Yet because of God’s love for man, God offers man reconciliation with his Creator to be his Heavenly Father forever, through the sacrificial life, death, and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Have you come to believe in your Creator’s love for you through Jesus?

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