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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What saved him?

Rocky was swimming in a lake one afternoon.  He became fatigued and began to drown.  Bobbing in the water and crying out for help Joshua hears his cries as he is rowing near Rocky.  Joshua rows over to Rocky and struggles to pull him into his boat.  By now a crowd has gathered on the shore intently watching this situation unfold.  As Joshua is rowing to the dock Rocky passes out.  Another man, on the dock, pulls Rocky out of the little boat and administers CPR and Rocky appears to be fine.  Rocky is shaken up but he will be OK.  Shortly after it is all over Rocky walks over to the little boat, and holds the oar in the air and yells, "I love this oar.  It saved me, and he kisses it several times."

This sounds absurd doesn't it?  I mean, the oar played apart in his salvation that is clear.  Without an oar Joshua could never have rowed Rocky to safety.  The same could be said about the boat, Joshua, The dock, and the man on the dock.  To say the alone saved Rocky is just ridiculous.  All these things played a part in Rocky's salvation.   

The Bible says several things save us as well.  Belief or faith saves us. Jn 3:16,17 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved
Repentance saves us. Acts 2:38-40 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”       

Confession saves us. Rom 10:9  if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
Baptism saves us. Mk 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Faithfulness saves us.  Mt 24:13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  To "endure" means to hold fast to one's faith in Christ.  See definition 2a.  

To stand up and say, "Faith alone saves you." is as equally absurd to say as it was for Rocky to say the same thing.  We must be living a lifestyle that fits in the Bible.  If the way we life our lives cannot be found in the Bible; do we change our lives or the Bible?  

The Bible lays out a plan of salvation for us to "be saved."  It is not a buffet where we can pick and choose what to obey.  To say, "I'll take faith and confession, but I'm not paying attention baptism and repentance" is living like Rocky swims.  It leaves you sinking in life!

Have a red letter day,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jude 1:17-25

JUDE 1:17-25

I had a friend in Pa that came out of a Baptist Congregation and he said before he left the congregation he had a dinner with the preacher about some concerns he had with their practices.  He asked the preacher why he didn’t bring his Bible.  The preacher responded, “There is nothing in that book that I already don’t know.  What are your questions?”  He said he didn’t really trust a person who claimed to have that much confidence in himself.  I AGREE!  A year later that guy was no longer a preacher, and had moved to a life of crime.  Apostasy, often times, sets in when we feel like God cannot or will not meet our needs!  CONSIDER EVE- God held back from Adam and Eve. What He had provided was no longer enough.  She desired more.  CONSIDER JESUS- God wouldn’t supply food.  God wants you to suffer and die, worship me and I can show you the easy way.  Let’s see what we can learn from Jude!

Vv17,18 These verse are so much like 2Pe 3:1-3 that many scholars feel Jude is merely repeating Peter and he actually sent his letter to the same people.  2Pe 3:1-3 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,
V17- This is a good idea in aspects of life, not just concerning apostasy. 
        But you- This is a plural word.  It is contrasting the brethren to the reprobate.
        remember the words…-  The same is said today.  We say, “No book but the Bible; No creed but Christ.”  We must always remember the Word.  Whatever a man teaches must be compared to the Word.  If a man intentionally teaches something other than the Word he must be avoided.

V18- Time- This word literally means "a space of time," whether short or long.  WHAT SPACE OF TIME IS REFERRED TO HERE?  Clark says, “The conclusion of the Jewish polity.”  We must always understand the “last time” or “last days” in the Bible:
                Gen 49:1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days   (Then he proceeds to talk about each tribe ending.)
                Isa 2:2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.  (“House” is a reference to the Church)
                   Acts 2:16-21 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.  19 I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’     (We can see that Peter quotes the prophet Joel concerning the last days.  All the things promised here are fulfilled by 70 A.D. “All flesh” is fulfilled in Acts 10:32-48.  “Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” is NOT a reference to the Second Advent, rather to the destruction of Jerusalem.
                Rom 2:5-8 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath  (This is the Second Advent.  We MUST make sure we know what “last days” or “end of time” we are talking about to avoid tremendous Biblical confusion.  Not understanding to whom, by whom, for what reason, and what time frame the Bible is speaking is how denominations start! )

V19- cause divisions(separate themselves)KJV  The older manuscripts are split on the word “themselves.”  Some have it and some don’t, but the focus is in the division that is happening.  Whether separating themselves or dividing a congregation.  Either way there is separation.  SEE Rom 16:17
        Sensual- Literally “natural” or “animal”; It is referring to the fact that an animal does not have a spirit which enables it to converse with God! 
        not having the Spirit- When Jude declares that the false teachers are without the Spirit, he leaves no doubt as to their eternal destiny. They are merely worldly persons and do not belong to God.

vv20-23-Encouragement and Instruction
 v20- We see somewhat of a contrast to verse 19.  Instead of division or separation we must “build up” or strengthen.  Instead of “not having the spirit” we must “pray” in the spirit.  Paul says a similar thing in Eph 6:18
        But you- AGAIN!  This is a plural word.  It is contrasting the brethren to the reprobate.

V21- keep yourselves in the love of God- Jesus tells us to abide in him. Jn 15:4,6,9   If we do not abide or keep ourselves in God we are separated and will receive the consequences of that decision. 
        Mercy-  This is no doubt referring when he returns to receive his people to himself.  Christian mercy is unique.  The world says, “It is his fault” or She brought that on herself.”  That should not be the final case in Christian mercy, what if God said that of us? Rom 5:8

V22,23-   making a distinction(making a difference KJV; who are doubting NASB; those who doubt NIV)  There is much debate about what is being communicated here.  The word in question can be translated all the ways listed.  You can find these words directly in the definition.  This verse is saying we must judiciously decide how to help others abide and show them mercy and compassion.  Every person is different and responds to different treatment!
        hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. This is alluding to staying wary of sin, even the remotest contact with sin.  I see this as  someone avoiding the coat of a leper or someone who had the plague!  In my house if someone gets the flu we wash the sheets immediately after recovery and throw away the old toothbrush in order to avoid contact again.  That is how we are to avoid sin!  Sin is that garment!
Vv24,25 Praise to the Lord
Vs24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling-   If Christians heed the instructions of their Lord and walk in the light as he is in the light, they will not stumble; and, for those who thus walk, the Lord indeed can and does guard them from stumbling.  God is able to keep us from stumbling Ps. 37:23, 24; 121:3; Pr 4:11,12

V25   To God our Savior- Who has provided Jesus and by his blood washed us from our sins, and with obedience we are acceptable to God the Father
          Who alone is wise- Who alone can teach, who alone has declared the truth; that truth in which we now stand. Rom 16:27

        We must be aware of men who do not teach the whole truth!  A HALF TRUTH IS A WHOLE LIE!  Stay in the Word and in the fellowship of fellow Christians.  Keep in mind, in order for us to stumble, we first must start to walk or run the race!  Make sure we are in the race by abiding in God!  Someone once said, "A journey of one thousand miles begins with the first step."  Are you ready to make that first step in walking with Jesus?

Friday, April 1, 2011

2Ti 2:8-13

TOLERATE- a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own.  Today, that word means a little different.  Today tolerate adds celebrate those opinions that differ.  We no longer can tolerate another we are asked to celebrate their homosexuality, abortion, or extreme beliefs.  In an attempt to tolerate we begin to be silenced as to not offend.  Tolerate does not have “celebrate” or “be silent” in its definition.  Today we must choose: listen to society-Celebrate my sin and be silent about your beliefs. Listen to Peter- …always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you (1Pe 3:15)

V8- Death, burial, and resurrection must be the focal point of our teaching!  Paul says 1Co 1:22,23 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
        According to my gospel— I noticed when studying this verse that the phrase “Jesus Christ, of the seed of David” is in the anarthrous form.  Which basically means that there is no definite article and this phrase is one that Paul considered common knowledge to Timothy.  When you look at Rom 1:3 Paul includes a definite article!
        Now the word “Gospel” on the other hand has a definite article!  Paul is referring to one specific Gospel. Same thing in 2TH 2:14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  What is this Gospel1Co 15:3,4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures  Paul is reminding Timothy to preach, share, and focus on the Gospel and not listen to the heretical teaching if the Gnostics.   Do we do a good job of that in the 21st century church?  Can we claim Rom 1:16

V9- Paul’s 1st imprisonment was house arrest, so to speak. AC 28:16 When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.
This epistle is written in another imprisonment to which we do not know how he was treated, but this verse seems to allude to a much tougher treatment.
        the word of God is not chained- Human circumstances cannot confine the word of God. Whether through a tract, a book, a Bible, or a simple statement, God uses His word to accomplish His purposes.  What are some ways man can chain the Word of God?      Is there an open attempt to chain that Word in society today?

V10- for the sake of the elect- Eph 1:4,5  Much confusion is made of this word elect.  Scripture teaches clearly Christ died for all 1Pe 3:18.  LOOK AT 1Jn 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world
        The first “our” is the church/believers/obedient.  John goes on to say not “ours” only but the world!  Predestination excludes Jn 3:6-18; Acts 10:43!  ***The call to come to Christ is an invitation to all, all who hear the "gospel"mentioned in verse 8 are faced with a decision to either accept or reject Christ.  Thus, if a person person perishes in sin, he is condemned in his own choice, not a punishment from God. Tit 3:10,11 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned 
The "elect" person obeys God’s will and Word by living a faithful life, resulting in him becoming one of God’s elect!
Concerning this word Vine’s says, “The source of their "election" is God's grace, not human will, Eph. 1:4, 5; Rom. 9:11; 11:5. They are given by God the Father to Christ as the fruit of His death, all being foreknown and foreseen by God, John 17:6; Rom. 8:29. While Christ's death was sufficient for all men, and is effective in the case of the "elect," yet men are treated as responsible, being capable of the will and power to choose.”

V11- This is also in RO 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
        if we died with Him- This is in aorist tense; indicative mood, which means it is not a continuous action that happened at a certain point in the past!  BAPTISM!! 
        We shall also live with Him- This is in future tense, which usually refers to a single action, but the emphasis is on a future action with the action not being specified.  RESURRECTION!   NO BAPTISM; NO RESURRECTION    
This “faithful saying” is common knowledge throughout the Bible, but is it common knowledge today?  NO  What do we need to do about that, if anything?  BE FAITHFUL SOLDIERS AND SERVE THE WAY WE ARE COMMANDED!  The Great Commission!!!

V12- endure- Is a compound word mad up of two words that mean “under” & “to remain.”  It literally means endure or sustain a load of miseries, adversities, persecutions, or provocations in faith.  Peter says as much in 1Pe 4:12-19.
        If we deny Him, he also will deny us- Jesus said the same thing in Mt 10:33! 1Jn 2:28         How did Peter deny Jesus and still gat the keys to the kingdom?  This verse is referring to a final decision and a deliberate refusal.  How does it make you feel that the Bible often refers to “suffering” as a Christian?  Jesus did, why shouldn’t we?

V13- One of the sternest scriptures in the Word!  This is one of those verses people like to twist and lessen the blow!

 Mk 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved  
 Man says “He who has believed is saved and should be baptized!

Vs 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself
Man says "If we are faithless and deny him, nevertheless he, remaining faithful to his promise, will give us everlasting life!
        Faithless describes the life of an immature believer who lives for oneself and not for the Savior
        He cannot deny Himself-  “Mercy without justice is unrighteous!”   Mk 16:16 finishes with this promiseMk 16:16 but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned
Like Tit 3:10,11 we are speaking of self condemnation, not a punishment!

Where are you in this story?  When we do nothing, we still do something.  When we say nothing, we still say something.  Will you live for Christ?  Will you witness for Christ?  Are you faithless with an inactive faith?  Do you deny Christ with silence in public?