Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gospel Meditations from John 3:16...

If you're like me, you've grown up hearing the verse John 3:16 till you can say it in your sleep. Even the average American has at least heard it before. But how many have truly meditated on what each part of the verse means...Christians included?

In this post, I'm going to break the verse down, and give some thoughts about each part...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)

For God...
  • This is the God of the Bible...the God who has revealed Himself to the world since the beginning of time...
  • He has existed eternally, and will exist eternally...
  • He created all things, and holds it all together (Col. 1:17)...from the tiny cells in our body to the biggest star in our vast universe...He holds it all in His hands...
  • His proper name is Yahweh, which means the one who exists or causes.  He is the one true God...
So loved...
  • The Greek word that this word is translated from has the idea of choice...God chooses to love...
  • This love is pure...unfeigned...
  • It's not marred like our love is by selfish human motives...
The World...
  • The fact that God loved the world is astounding when you consider that most, if not all of the Old Testament spoke of God's love for Israel...
  • God loves everyone in the world...Jew and Gentile (non-Jew) alike...
  • Every tribe, tongue, and nation...
That He gave His only Son...
  • This is not merely a sentimental love that doesn't act...God acts on this love by giving...
  • This loves motivates our God to give Jesus...
  • Jesus suffered and died in our place...this is one of the persons of the God-head...dying...wow!
That whoever believes in Him...
  • There is no distinction...
  • All who come to Christ can find salvation if they believe...
  • All...that means everyone who ever lived, will live or is currently living...the greatest sinner to the nicest person we can imagine (but even they're still a sinner)...the richest person to ever live to the poorest person...
  • ALL can find salvation in Christ if they put their trust in Him!
Should not perish but have eternal life.
  • There has been death in the world since Adam brought sin into the world...
  • Death is what we deserve because we all sin (Romans 3:23)...
  • Jesus bore the wrath for our sins on the cross...He died a physical death...He then rose from the grave, conquering death, and He now lives with God eternally in heaven...
  • When we believe in Jesus, we are identifying with Him in this...we too, like Him, will experience physical death, but we will live with Him eternally... (the older I get, the sweeter the truth of an eternity with Christ becomes)
  • The Book of Revelation speaks of a day when He'll wipe away every tear from our eyes...we'll experience eternal joy and peace with God...
So what?
How do we respond?
Believe in Jesus...put your trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins!

Maybe you say, "I'm already a believer."
Great!  Do you think the truth of this ends for you with that?
No!  The truth of this verse should never become old to you!
Meditate on these truths...allow them to seep into your life...

Ultimately...go and tell those who haven't heard about it!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Clarifications...

I have received some feedback on my previous post, and I would like to make some clarifications about what I wrote.  I understand that I used the terms Calvinism, Armenianism, Dispensationalism, and Covenant Theology pretty flippantly.  I talked about them as if it's not a big deal which side you align yourself with.  I understand that these titles have stigma for some people when you talk about them.

We think of Armenians as believing in works based salvation, and believing in losing your salvation.  Calvinism we associate with the sovereign choice of God about who will believe in Jesus...we have no free will.

We have to understand though...that each of these titles have a broad spectrum of belief's under them.  You have 5 points of belief for each, and some are more extreme in their interpretations of things.  Some allow their belief in those doctrines to cause them to do extremely unbiblical things...the belief becomes their god, and the one true God and what He calls us to do is put on the shelf...

This is however not the case with them all.  Someone may call themselves an Armenian or a Calvinist because they lean more toward one or the other.  We can't make blanket judgements about either side...when we find out someone is an Armenian or a Calvinist...we should have questions we ask to have them clarify what that means.

For example...I know two different 5-point calvinist pastors...one I would not work with him ever, the other I would love to work with him.  The first one takes his calvinism and decides that he has no reason to pray for people to be saved, because if they're of the elect, why should he pray for them?  That's taking things to an unbiblical level, if you ask me.  The other pastor is all about missions...he's a wonderful, loving and caring pastor.  I would love to work with him because I think he's had a balanced reaction to his Calvinism.

My post was a reaction to a spirit of "judgmentalism" I've seen from both sides toward the other, that should not be there.  I would say that we should be united around the gospel...as long as someone preaches a pure gospel...then I should cooperate with them in the mission, and not try to compete with them.  When the world sees us fighting and clawing at one another...they don't want any part with us.

I hope that made sense...

If you would like to give me feedback, or maybe you have questions...feel free to comment, or email me using the emails listed on the sidebar.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Making decisions about what I believe...

Calvinism vs. Arminianism...Covenant Theology vs. Dispensationalism...these are terms we often hear in Christians circles.  We hear someone say something that points toward them believing one or the other side of these issues, and we tack one of these labels on them...sometimes we're happy about the label we've given them, sometimes we're not.

Where am I on these issues?  I really don't know...I think I'm too young and uneducated to decide.  I know when it comes  to Covenant Theology vs. Dispensationalism, I certainly lean to the dispensational side...but then comes the question...where are you on the dispensational spectrum?  Again, I really don't know...

I took two classes this last semester at Northland that talked about these topics quite a bit.  One of the classes was Biblical Hermeneutics.  Which, if you're unaware of what that is, it's "the science and art of Biblical interpretation"(Mr. Trach would be so proud that I could still quote that from memory).  One of the things our teacher, Mr. Trach, said I really liked...he said that before making up our minds what we believe about topics like this, we should do A LOT of study on them.  He said that if someone makes up their mind really quickly, it's usually because they read a book by someone who argued for one of them, and they really liked it...so they say, "that's what I believe!"  This is of course a very unwise thing to do...we can't just take the opinion of one person whom we like and decide that we're going to believe the same thing.  This could cause us to believe all kinds of heresy.  Mr. Trach says that our decision should take us a very long time, and even when we do decide what we believe, we should hold to that belief in a humble way.  Not exalting ourselves above someone else who might interpret things differently...

I think the trouble comes when we zero in too much on one idea, and it becomes our "axe to grind."  For example, a Calvinist might zero in so much on God's sovereignty, that they forget that they still have a responsibility...the Great Commission still applies to them...they still must love and reach out to the lost and to their fellow brothers-in-Christ.  An Armenian can be so focussed on "doing a good job" that they forget that they can't do anything without God's help (the Armenian side is the one I especially need to study more).

We must view all of scripture, as a whole, and realize that many ideas must be balanced.  We can't so greatly emphasize one thing, that we forget so many of God's other commandments.  I think of Biblical Separation...this one has been so abused...churches separate from anyone and everyone, and they forget  the lost man dying on the street who needs someone to tell Him about Jesus.

Sorry, I'm rambling...ultimately, this all must be handled with humility, and seeking wisdom from God. He's our Lord...we need His help to do this.

Now, I would like to clarify something.  Should we humbly, and quietly just accept someone who denies the truth of the gospel, because "he just interprets the Bible differently"?  No way!  The Bible is very clear on the Gospel...if you look at the Pauline epistles, when someone rejects the gospel, Paul has strong words for them.  Look at Paul's reaction to Peter in Galatians 2.  The Gospel is something that should never be compromised.

Anywho...there's my rant...I hope it all made sense...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Price of Freedom

by:  Patch the Pirate (Ron Hamilton)

Our Fathers paid the sacrifice, 
Though the fight was long.
They shed their blood, they paid the price 
Singing freedoms song

Remember, Remember
The price that was paid.
Remember the sacrifice
Americans have made.

Be faithful to the mission
Though others turn away.
Never forget the price of freedom.

Come guardians of this sacred trust
Keep our nation free!
Our duty's clear, our cause is just.
Fight for liberty!

Remember, Remember
The price that was paid.
Remember the sacrifice
Americans have made.

Be faithful to the mission
Though others turn away.
Never forget the price of freedom.