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Sunday, December 31
Tuesday, December 26
Near Glenwood Springs, Colorado torrents of water flow out of the side of a mountain as the above photo shows. This is an illustration of John 7:38 where Jesus says that rivers of living water will flow out of the hearts of the redeemed. He is referring to the fruit that flows from grace and he does not say ‘some’ or ‘most’ will show this fruit. The ‘whoever believes in me’ means all that believe will show this fruit that flows from grace like living water.
Grace, how sweet the sound! Grace is more than a mere offer of spiritual salvation that man chooses apart from God, and it is more than a one-time acceptance of this offer by “simple” faith. Grace secures salvation for lost sinners who have no hope apart from this grace. Grace is powerful and changes people through the work of the Holy Spirit by replacing their heart of stone and giving them a new heart of flesh. This grace does not wait on a human decision because that would never come from humans that are all born spiritually dead. This is why Jesus said that you must be born again. You must be born spiritually to even see the kingdom of God. This grace regenerates and quickens a sinner by giving them spiritual birth, which enables a willing response. The sinners so enabled gladly and thankfully respond in faith and repentance to saving grace. With a new attitude and new desires, redeemed sinners have new goals and desire different activities than before their re-birth. Such things as prayer, Bible study, worship, fellowship, and love toward others are all part of the new Christian’s life and they all flow from grace. Jesus called this grace living water and it enables and motivates believers to produce good works that God planned that they should do. Grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone is what saves sinners and everything including the faith to believe comes from God. While some deny this power of grace and claim that a simple passive claim of faith without any repentance, change of heart or behavior is a saving faith, the Bible over and over again describes a grace that is life changing and like living water. This is not an addition of works or deeds to justification by faith alone. It is simply an affirmation that the grace of God saves people from their sins and does not leave them unchanged to wallow in their sins. Grace will fill them to overflowing with living water. The following list is a some of the characteristics of grace with supporting Scripture passages.
Grace is applied by God and is not a decision made by man apart from God.
Romans 9:15-16 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Also…. John 1:13, Eph. 2:5
Grace secures spiritual salvation for men by changing them from the inside.
Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Grace results in a new person.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Grace is powerful.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Also…. Matthew 3:11, Hebrews 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3, 1 Thess. 1:5
Grace sanctifies through the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Also…. John 17:17, 2 Thess. 2:13
Grace gives the gift of faith.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Also….. 2 Peter 1:1, Eph. 2:5
Grace gives the gift of repentance.
2 Timothy 2:25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
Also Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18,
Grace is 100% effective.
John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Also..... John 6:39
Grace is applied by God.
John 6:65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
Also…. , Eph. 1:3-6, Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9:6-13
Grace makes spiritually dead people alive.
Eph. 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Also…… John 3:3
Grace chooses and calls out of darkness.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Also…. Eph. 1:4, 2 Thess. 2:13, 1 Thess. 4:7, Acts 2:39,
Grace gives eternal security by not losing any of those redeemed.
John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
Also… Romans 8:29-30, Romans 8:38-39
Grace enables good works.
Eph. 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Also..... Galatians 5:21-24, Romans 8:1-17
Posted by jazzycat at 10:49 PM
Monday, December 25
What does the Bible say about grace? What is grace? Is it more than an offer? Is it just a get out of hell free card that simple faith takes hold of? Does grace change a person? Does it continue past a moment of salvation? We will look at these things in a day or so and we will find that deep complicated discussions of what greek words mean are not needed to glean these truths from the Bible.
Posted by jazzycat at 7:51 AM
Monday, December 18
Many students in colleges and universities profess and claim they are going to work and study hard to achieve their degree. However, many fail to actually do what they claim and flunk out. Paul tells us in Titus that some profess to know God, BUT……
Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
It is clear that Paul is linking how people behave or act to what they say. It is very close to what James says in James 2:14 (What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?). Paul is talking about people professing faith and James is talking about people saying they have faith. This is the same thing, and Paul and James also give the same bottom line. Paul says that their lack of works are a denial that they know God and James asks rhetorically is that kind of faith any good for salvation. They are not talking about a temporal salvation. They are talking about a faith that secures a spiritual salvation of eternal life. Paul and James are both affirming that this kind of faith is not implemented by claiming and professing, but by action. Sincere faith that saves will motivate a person to a response of action and works. This is action is not motivated to earn justification, but rather flows from the grace that brought about the justification. For example, a student in a college like the one shown in the photo above does not succeed by claiming and professing to his parents that he is going to study and apply himself to the work at hand. He succeeds in his course work by actually studying and working hard. When the semester grades are posted, it will be evident if the student has actually done the required study and work or if his claims and professions were worthless. It is the same with the faith that secures salvation. Saying, claiming, and professing faith does not save, but possessing faith will save and will result in works that were prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10). Therefore, do not kid yourself into believing teachers that say faith has no action (Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.).
Posted by jazzycat at 9:37 AM
Tuesday, December 12
1 Cor. 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
From where did you receive your free will? There are some who believe that the free will that humans possess is independent of any and all causes. However, this is not true at all. The will in the human being can be traced to the brain. The workings of the brain can be categorized into things such as the conscience, the heart, the emotions, and such. We routinely trace all kinds of human attributes to genetics and ultimately back to God as the creator of the universe. Why is the will of human beings any different? The answer of course is that it is not any different. The will like all natural gifts such as athletic ability, intelligence, etc. are all from God. The Bible is clear in many places that this is fact. Paul in 1 Cor. 4:7 shown above asks three questions and the answers are simple and clear. The answer to question one is God, to question two is nothing, and to question three is pride.
Conclusion: Everything a human being has, including his will, can be traced to God. When a person says that they are so glad that they made this or that decision, they should thank God for the gift of their will that made the decision. For some reason people, that have no problem thanking God and giving him credit for all kinds of talents, think their decision-making ability is of their own creation. However, while human beings have a free will, every good decision that they make can be traced back to God. James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. For those that claim that their free will made the crucial and final decision in coming to faith in Jesus Christ, they should consider from whence their will came from. Salvation through grace alone by faith alone is from God any way you want to look at it.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:43 PM
Friday, December 8
2 Timothy 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Not only does a lighthouse warn ships of danger, it also points the way for them to arrive safely home. What a joy it must be for the captain of a ship, on a dark, overcast, rainy night, to see a familiar light from a lighthouse to firmly fix his position and enable him to navigate safely into port. In a like manner, it is a joy for a Christian to be brought safely home by the light that entered the world in the person of Jesus Christ… When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Darkness is a characteristic of this world, and the people who follow the ways and wisdom of this world are blind to the light. They are deceived by the spirit of the age……..The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4). Sinners are blind to the light that entered the world in the person of Jesus Christ and it takes the grace and mercy of God to open their eyes to the marvelous light…. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14). For a person to see the light from a lighthouse, he must have the gift of physical sight which gives him the ability to see light. For a person to see the spiritual light that Jesus Christ brought into the world, he must have spiritual sight. This comes from God and this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 11:5 when he said the ‘blind receive sight .’ This is grace and in grace God provides the lighthouse, the light, and the eyes to see the light. Praise God for his intervention into the darkness and his provision of everything needed for salvation. If you have not seen the light, pray that God will give you the eyes to see because he has promised that he will do it.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:06 PM
Monday, December 4
God in his providence and workmanship brought a New England fall to Mississippi in 2006 as leaves turned gold, red, and orange instead of the normal brown. God also speaks of his workmanship in Ephesians 2:10.
Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Paul tells us that we are saved by grace alone by the gift of faith in Eph. 2:8-9. Since the faith to believe is a gift from God this eliminates all boasting by the redeemed. God does everything in salvation as v. 4-5 makes clear. But then we get to verse 10 as shown above. In this verse Paul makes the following points:
(1) The believer is the work of God and not a self made work.
(2) The believer is Created in Christ Jesus.
(3) For a purpose of good works.
(4) God prepared these works.
(5) God did it in advance.
(6) God wants believers to do them.
The question arises are these works that God prepared for us to do something he hopes or desires that believers do or are they something that he has ordained that believers will do. Do good works flow from God’s sovereign powerful work of regeneration or does he withdraw his grace and leave the new believer on his own to produce works by himself. Yet another possibility is that God continues giving grace through the power of the Holy Spirit but it fails to produce any good works in the believer who simply resists the Holy Spirit with a greater power. In other words God’s sanctifying grace fails.
I think the conclusive evidence in verse 10 is shown in point 4 above. God prepared these works. He planned them and accomplishes all that he pleases (Isaiah 46:10). God does have a perceptive will that he allows to be disobeyed, but when God prepares something to be done, that indicates that he has ordained it to be done. That means that verse 10 is speaking of God’s decretive will (1 Thessalonians 4:3) and this will of decree is one hundred per cent successful (Isaiah 14:27). This means that God’s power expressed through his grace and implemented by the Holy Spirit will always result in the good works that God has prepared for a believer to do. They may be great and many or ordinary and few, but God will accomplish all that he has ordained.
Posted by jazzycat at 2:19 PM
Thursday, November 30
Matthew know as Dyspraxic Fundamentalist asked me the following question in a comment on the Gojira's Stomping Ground blog:
If a person does not persevere in the Christian faith and walk, will she go to heaven?
This is an interesting question because Matthew asked for a simple yes or no answer. It is interesting because under his “Free Grace” belief system it is a valid question, but under my reformed belief system it assumes a false premise and bases the question on that false assumption. For example if I asked the following question: Could an airline pilot that new nothing about flying successfully land a jumbo jet? The false premise would be that someone that knew nothing about flying could be a pilot. Therefore, a yes answer would be incorrect and absurd, while a no answer would be correct, but would affirm the error that someone who knew nothing about flying could be an airline pilot.
So it is with Matthew’s question. Only he has loaded up with two false premises. The one that is implied is that perseverance is a work that is required for salvation. The other false premise is that it is possible for a Christian to not persevere. Therefore, if I gave a yes answer, I would be affirming the free grace theological position and if I gave a no answer then Matthew could assert that I held to a faith plus works salvation which is not true. Matthew would obviously be a good lawyer and I might add that he is extremely bright.
The question correctly framed is who is a Christian and will he persevere?
THE ANSWER: Eternal life (heaven) is assured once a person has been born again by the power of God. Faith follows shortly after this and a person becomes a ‘Christian’ at this moment. This is when his Christian walk begins and through the power of God’s grace he will persevere in this walk. (Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.)
Posted by jazzycat at 11:11 PM
Tuesday, November 28
(1) From #3 Grace I say, “Eternal life is a free gift from God that is not earned or deserved.”
Posted by jazzycat at 11:40 PM
Thursday, November 23
In spite of redundant and clear explanations that the lordship position does not add works to justification in any shape form or fashion, I am flabbergasted that some of the no-lordship proponents will not accept repeated affirmations that this is the case. For the antinomian gospel to grow, I believe the no-lordship proponents must discredit lordship salvation. The only way to do this is to misrepresent the lordship position and thus claim to be the only ones holding the ‘faith alone’ position. The dangerous thing for the church is that the evidence of the last few weeks indicates that some are so committed to discrediting the lordship view, out of delusion, blindness, or perhaps disingenuousness, that they have no problem with proceeding full steam ahead at misconstruing the lordship view to their advantage. To promote their view is one thing, but to distort what they oppose is quite another. It is sad if their distortion is motivated by blindness or delusion, but if it is out of dishonesty to win converts to their view, then their spiritual problem is indeed great.
I do not know what is in the hearts of those that continually distort the lordship view into a justification of faith with works added. However, I issue the following challenge to anyone who wants to assert that my doctrinal position adds works to justification. I have written approximately 60 photo meditations that are brief, not complicated and illustrate basic doctrinal points. Fifty-two of them were written before I ever had a blog or knew anything about FG theology. I say this to point out that there have been no revisions to prepare for issuing this challenge.
THE CHALLENGE………… Search the Jazzy cat blog and all of these photo meditations and copy and paste a direct quote in context showing where I present justification (eternal life) as requiring works or deeds. I will defend this blog and my Photo Meditations only. I am not interested in quotes from books or reformed theologians or paraphrasing of what someone may have said in a comment.
Since I am a proponent of the theological position that is being accused of this position, it should be an easy task for some of you to search my blog and through my own quotes show where I have affirmed that works are meritorious toward justification. If no one can do it, then I will consider it a total victory in showing that all of the accusations that have been made and are continuing to be made against my theological position (reformed, Calvinist, lordship) are pure folly!
Posted by jazzycat at 11:16 PM
Tuesday, November 21
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Lighthouses warn ships so they can avoid the rocky New England coast. Ships are warned that disaster is near with a light at night and with a fog horn in fog. Scripture also warns sinners, who live a life dominated by the acts of the sinful nature, they will not inherit the kingdom of God. The warning is for both non-Christians and false professing Christians. A person will either be controlled by his sinful nature or by the Spirit. Paul makes this point in Galatians and he also makes it in Romans where he states…. Romans 8:6-7 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. This does not mean that a person will be sinless, but it does mean that his new heart, attitude and mindset will enable him with the grace of God to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit with a mind controlled by the Spirit. Galatians 5:21 above does not warn that a Christian can lose his salvation, but it does warn that a professing Christian that continually lives this way has not been born again by the Spirit of God. Such a person has and may continue to give a false profession of faith, but his actions show that he is honoring God with his lips only and his claim is worthless. Later in Galatians Paul says….Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone and not by any merit that comes from living according to the Spirit, but a saved person will through regeneration and the Spirit of God be enabled to show the fruit of the Spirit. That is why Paul says that anyone wallowing in the acts of the sinful nature will not receive eternal life. Scripture passages such as this are found throughout the Bible and serve as a warning for sinners in the same way that lighthouses warn ships. One warning is about physical disaster and the other warning is of spiritual disaster. Heed the warning!
Posted by jazzycat at 9:54 PM
Wednesday, November 15
Posted by jazzycat at 4:34 PM
Saturday, November 11
In the blink of an eye, the fish in this photo became a captive to this pelican. The period of captivity for this fish was very short as death followed very soon after its being taken captive. Human beings are also captives. We are born captive to sin and in great need of being freed from its darkness and power or we, also, shall perish. Isaiah 61:1 above is a messianic prophecy about the ministry of Jesus approximately 600 years prior to his incarnation. In Luke 4:18-20, Jesus confirmed this when he spoke in Nazareth and quoted this verse and said…. “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Freedom from the captivity of sin and death came to fallen humanity in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus sets sinners free…. John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. There is no other way to escape this captivity and there is no neutral position. There is not a probationary period while a person considers to believe Jesus and accept the freedom he offers. No, humans are born captive and remain captive until they are freed by Jesus Christ. Jesus, and Jesus alone, frees the prisoners and he did it by paying their sin debt on the cross of Calvary. Being a ‘good person’ or sincerely following other religious faiths will not obtain release from captivity. Belief and trust in Jesus for his atoning sacrifice as our substitute is the only way that is available for our captivity to end in the freedom of eternal life rather than to perish like the unfortunate fish above. Perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, says it best….. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Faith in Jesus secures eternal life. Everything else leads to perishing. Let us thank God that he has provided a way rather than complain that he does not accept mankind’s invented ways.
Posted by jazzycat at 10:45 PM
Tuesday, November 7
In the parable about the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus tells about a rich man who was exceedingly blessed during his life and about a beggar that suffered much misery while on earth. However, after death came to both, the beggar was in heaven at Abraham’s side while the rich man went to hell where he was in agony. One had his sins covered and one did not (Luke 16:19-31). God makes it clear in the Bible that he is a holy, loving God that does not want to punish sinners. But, he is also a God of justice and must punish the sin that all human beings commit. Even the sins that are covered must be, and in fact have already been, punished by God. Jesus Christ was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary so that those who place their faith and trust in him have their sins covered by his atonement. Therefore, there are two ways for human beings to deal with their sins. One way requires that humans pay the sin debt themselves, which requires an infinite duration of time, and the other way is through Jesus who did it for a finite time but with an infinite worth. Jesus is worthy and able to justify all that place their faith and trust in his perfect sacrifice… (God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood…..Romans 3:25). The gift of eternal life is given as a free gift to all that have this saving faith. What amazing grace that the creator of the universe would suffer and die to cover the sins of the many that come with nothing to offer but faith in his perfect atonement. The Holy God of the universe is true to his word and requires an infinite payment for sin. Humans can pay the debt themselves with an infinite amount of time or they can accept, as a free gift by faith, the payment accomplished by the infinite worth of Jesus Christ. Choose wisely.
Posted by jazzycat at 8:43 PM
Thursday, November 2
With the rapid advances in technology, humans have reached a point where they can produce some awesome displays of power. Atomic bombs, space travel, the internet, and medical advances are just some of the impressive achievements that have been accomplished. However, these human works of power are not even worth comparing to the awesome power of God. In chapters 38-41 of Job, God explains to Job in very graphic language what real power looks like. The Apostle Paul confronted the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens Greece and explained to them the characteristics of almighty God (Acts 17:16-34). Earlier, when Paul was known as Saul, he was traveling to Damascus to persecute Christians when he experienced, up close and personal, the power of God….. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me (Acts 9:3-4)?” In today’s culture, it seems that man has attempted to discard or minimize some of God’s basic characteristics such as his attribute of power. His attributes of love, mercy, and forgiveness are given such attention that other attributes are ignored or even denied so that the human perception of his love, mercy, and forgiveness are protected. Sovereignty, providence, and power must be replaced so that bad things, such as evil and natural disasters, are thought to be beyond his control. This thinking is called open theism, which holds that God does not foresee events and is powerless to prevent them from happening. Thus, God’s power, sovereignty, and providence are denied to preserve the false human perception of God’s love, etc. When properly interpreted, The Holy Bible allows for all of God’s attributes to complement each other and include his wonderful majestic power.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:52 PM
Monday, October 30
In our culture today you will hear people say, “I saw the handwriting on the wall.” When they use this phrase, they mean not only that they see what is going to happen in a certain situation, but that it is inevitable and is usually a bad outcome for them.
When King Belshazzar saw the fingers of a hand write on the plaster wall, he called for the prophet Daniel to interpret the meaning of the words. Daniel gave the king the bad news….. “This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. 27Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. 28Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:26-28).” This is exactly the situation that all human beings are in with God. God, in his sovereignty and providence, has numbered the exact time that we have on earth (Acts 17:26). All human beings are found wanting when God measures our lives and deeds on his scales (Romans 3:10). No matter how much success, fame, wealth, and possessions humans may have acquired, it will all be divided and transferred to someone else when death comes. The wealthiest person alive will not take anything more from this world than the most poverty stricken person on the planet. However, there is good news for both the rich and the poor. There has been one who has been weighed on the scales and not found wanting. Jesus Christ is He and He has provided a way that all sinners can be weighed and not be found wanting. By trusting through faith in his atonement and perfect righteousness, sinners can climb up on those scales, clothed in his righteousness, and be found not wanting. This verdict of not guilty is one hundred percent due to what Jesus Christ did for sinners and zero percent for what sinners accomplished. Just as King Belshazzar reached the time when he had to face the handwriting on the wall, there is a day appointed for all human beings to face the handwriting on the wall. Human beings can either face that day alone and be found wanting or cling to the cross of Jesus, secure for all eternity.
Posted by jazzycat at 10:29 PM
Friday, October 27
The clock on top of the Lamar Life Building has been recording time for well over sixty years or approximately one lifetime. The concept of time never ending is difficult to imagine. The gift of eternal life will never end!
As the previous meditation revealed, the first part of Romans 6:23 tells the extremely bad news of the condition of human beings at birth. However, the last part of Romans 6:23 is packed with great news for those redeemed by God’s grace. Gift, God, eternal life, Christ Jesus, and Lord are words that explain the bottom line of Christianity. God is the giver of the gift. By definition, gifts require nothing from the recipient but acceptance. The gift that God is giving is eternal life. This life of happiness, worship, bliss, peace, joy and love will never end. This eternal life is in Christ Jesus. He made it possible by his perfect life of obedience and his sacrificial atoning death. There is no other way to receive this gift but through him. Human beings can sincerely follow other religions and be extremely moral and good by human standards, but this will not result in eternal life. Believing, accepting, trusting, and submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ is being in Christ Jesus. This is a relationship of love that is initiated by God….We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:16). This process is not like applying for social security where you sign up and return to your normal life style. It is a gift from God in which God, the Holy Spirit, applies a new heart in the recipient and enables him to willingly come and trust in Christ Jesus…..I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36-26). The only thing that man brings to the table is the sin. God, through his word and the preaching of his word, quickens sinners with his power…. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). As the old hymn so beautifully states, “There is power in the blood.” Praise God for this most amazing gift.
Posted by jazzycat at 4:12 PM
Thursday, October 26
Does God hope, wish, and keep his fingers crossed wanting things to happen or does he ordain and cause things he decrees to happen? Does he regenerate and sanctify with power or does he hope believers will become disciples? Is it possible for a genuine Christian to reject following Christ and be all carnal all the time? Connect the dots……………
Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
Isaiah 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
Romans 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Posted by jazzycat at 12:38 PM
Thursday, October 19
A group of buzzards wait in an old dead tree to scavenge a meal made possible by death.
Adam was created by God and placed in the garden of Eden where he was given a covenant of works to obey. This covenant had but one simple requirement…… And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die (Gen 2:16-17).” The consequences of disobeying this covenant was physical and spiritual death. Romans 6:23 above states that death is earned by sin. Sin is disobeying God. The nature and traits of God are revealed in his word, the Holy Bible. Among many characteristics, God is pure, holy, just, and absolutely true to his word and when he says death is the result of sin, it has to be that way. Since the result of Adam’s sin (original sin) is that all men are born sinners, physical and spiritual death is the inevitable consequence for all of mankind…..Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12). Physically, man is born alive and remains alive until death. But spiritually, man is DOA (dead on arrival). Just as a physically dead man cannot make himself alive, a spiritually dead man has no hope in and of himself of making himself spiritually alive ….As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:1-2). Although man does not have the power to become spiritually alive, in the next photo meditation we will look at how God can and does breathe spiritual life into sinners as the second half of Romans 6:23 is considered.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:56 PM
Monday, October 16
Before the fall, God, man and nature lived in harmony in the Garden of Eden. Man, due to his sin of disobedience, brought a multitude of problems upon himself, including difficulties with nature. God, in his mercy and grace, chose to redeem many from the spiritual death that resulted from the fall. God’s plan of redemption involves saving men from this spiritual death for eternal bliss in heaven where there will be unbelievable joy with no pain, suffering, or death. However, in this fallen world, God has not said that pain, suffering, death, tragedy and natural disasters will not occur. In fact, He has said the opposite….. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10). Jesus said …..“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Quite simply, peace comes from Jesus and trouble will come from the world. Scripture reveals in many places that God has ordained all that comes to pass…. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please (Isaiah 46:10). Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are just some of the disasters decreed by God that are recorded in the Bible. The book of Revelation has prophecies about future natural disasters that have been decreed by God. While it is beyond human understanding, The tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005 were also part of God’s purpose and plan. Though death and destruction are terrible in this world, they have no effect on the spiritual eternal destination of the redeemed. Paul even referred to dying as gain….. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). His point was that death was but a doorway to eternal glory. If people are searching and expecting health, wealth, fulfillment, physical and emotional happiness in this world, they are searching in vain and in the wrong place. However, if they are seeking these things in heaven, they will be fulfilled even if death in this fallen world comes from a natural disaster. (Matthew 6:19-21, Colossians 3:1-4)
Posted by jazzycat at 10:06 PM
Thursday, October 12
What a beautiful thing it is to see God's creation and glory from your bedroom window. The view of a mother deer and her offspring is quite a touching sight. Perhaps that is why Scripture uses deer to illustrate some wonderful truths. Psalm 42 paints a picture of a sinner desiring and wanting to be near God. This is a characteristic of those that God has redeemed. Their hearts will yearn for fellowship and closeness to God.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:26 PM
Monday, October 9
Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
These are clear words from John the Baptist and from Jesus. Repent! This certainly indicates that ‘Houston we have a problem’. Yet, we not only have Churches proclaiming unconditional love from God, we also have no-lordship proponents proclaiming that repentance is not a part of the gospel message and a changed life is really not necessary for salvation. Excuse me but I just don’t get it. It seems to me that we should read a little further and find out why Jesus thinks we need to repent, or would that make make a ‘sensitive seeker’ too uncomfortable.
Posted by jazzycat at 10:17 PM
Monday, October 2
This old abandoned church near Port Gibson was certainly well built. It still stands as a reminder of a church congregation that no longer meets together. While the history of this church is unknown to me, there are churches that do give up meeting together because of dwindling resources and attendance. The Christian life is one of endurance and encouragement where believers need to encourage each other and worship together…. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4). Meeting together as a body, whether in public places or in homes, is an encouragement to all believers…. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, (Acts 2:46). Jesus encouraged as few as two people to meet together in his name…. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20). Thus, it is apparent that the body of Christ should meet together and encourage each other even if their congregation should shrink to as few as two people. The Bible speaks of encouragement as a necessity and not an option …. Therefore encourage each other with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Posted by jazzycat at 10:38 PM
Friday, September 29
Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about tospit you out of my mouth.
Jesus, in the verse above, was speaking to the Church at Laodicea. This was an indictment of their lack of zeal. They were not hot with zeal for Jesus, as they should have been, but lukewarm and satisfied with their situation. Jesus gave them a stiff rebuke and called on them to repent. True zeal is more than singing, clapping, and giving lip service to God. It means getting involved and performing Christian service…. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord (Romans 12:11). Nearly everyone in the United States has zeal for something. Bumper stickers and t-shirts, such as ‘Fishing is life’, display zeal for many activities in this country today. Instead of the word fishing, just substitute any of a number of words such as football, basketball, golf, hunting, car racing, soccer, music, sky-diving, etc. People have plenty of zeal for a lot of things that are really meaningless in the end…. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Solomon went on to conclude that the whole duty of man was to fear God and keep his commandments. The Apostle Paul was zealous and made it clear what life was to him…. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). Paul’s bumper sticker or t-shirt would proclaim, ’Christ is Life.’ A person should consider what word he would use in the statement, For to me, to live is. The word that a person places here is where his zeal lies. Jesus said it another way…. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). Praise God for his grace and mercy and may we all be zealous for Christ and the Kingdom of God and not lukewarm as was the Church at Laodicea.
Posted by jazzycat at 4:37 PM
Sunday, September 24
A thirsty person has an intense desire for water. In the passage above, Jesus is offering the free gift of eternal life to those who are thirsty. Who are the thirsty and what are they thirsty for? Since everyone is not redeemed, it follows that everyone is not thirsty for the living water that Jesus promises. Perhaps Jesus is referring to those that hunger and thirst for righteousness…. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6). The thirsty then would be those that mourn for their sinful condition and realize they are sinners and cannot save themselves….. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). Death is the wage that is earned by man before a Holy and righteous God. There is no possibility for salvation other than the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. He is the spring of the water of life. The drink is without cost to the sinner who is thirsty. Therefore, a sinner must first be thirsty for this living water. Without a thirst and desire to drink, a sinner will not partake of this living water of eternal life. Praise God if you see the need and have a thirst and desire to drink of this water. If you are not thirsty, pray that God will move you to see the need and have the desire for this living water…… Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20). What a great promise Jesus makes in this verse.
Posted by jazzycat at 12:46 PM
Thursday, September 21
Posted by jazzycat at 9:15 PM
Tuesday, September 19
There are many ways that a Christian can be of service to the body of Christ. It is amazing to consider all of the things that are required to send a missionary to an overseas mission field. For example, a missionary needs education which required many school teachers and spiritual teachers over a period of 15-18 years. Financial support is required which means that contribution is required from people. These people had to perform work to earn the money before they could make a contribution. The missionary would need clothes, shoes, transportation, food, books, etc. In short, it takes nothing less than a developed economy to place a missionary on a mission field. Perhaps that is why Paul said…. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:23-24). There is no shortage of tasks for a person to perform for the Lord. A person should not consider what they cannot do but rather consider all the things they can do to serve Jesus Christ. The next step is to do it.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:41 PM
Thursday, September 14
In Air Force pilot training a student pilot is required to pass many check rides to be qualified to be a pilot. In getting ready for these check rides students have many hours of solo flights where they practice the acrobatic maneuvers and examine themselves to be sure they are prepared to pass the test. For example to do a loop in the T-38 you must be able to start at ten thousand feet, straight and level and at 500 knots. At this point you pull back on the stick and begin a rapid climb pulling several G’s with a goal of being inverted at approximately twenty thousand feet at around 220 knots. Pull too hard and you may gray out (temporarily lose vision) or possibly black out (lose consciousness). Don’t pull hard enough and you will exceed the twenty thousand feet goal at the top. From the top of the loop you will be increasing speed rapidly on the way back down and at 450 or so knots the ground will be coming toward you very rapidly. At this point not pulling hard enough on the stick could bring you to a close encounter with the ground and pulling too hard could cause you to blackout and well that would also be bad. The goal is to be back at ten thousand feet, straight and level and at 500 knots. If all student pilots had to do when check ride day came was to explain verbally how to do a loop, they would all pass. However talk is cheap and on check ride day a student pilot must be able to show that he can actually do a loop not just talk about it.
In the same manner Christians should be able to do more than just talk about their Christianity. Paul in 2 Cor. 13:5 asks professing Christians to examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Like check ride day to a student pilot, judgment day is coming and Paul knows that being in the faith is more than just claiming to be in the faith. On judgment day professing faith without possessing faith will result in failing the test. So Paul is exhorting Christians to examine themselves. We are told In 2 Cor. 5:17…. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. A Christian has been enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. He is different from what he was and has a new attitude with new desires and new characteristics. He has been born again and does not resemble his old self. He should be different from unbelievers and Paul is saying test yourselves to be sure you are different. How should a Christian be different from an unbeliever or a false professor?
First and foremost a Christian places his faith and trust in the atonement of Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. He understands that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man and paid the penalty for his sins by being crucified on the cross of Calvary. This fact convicts him of his sin and causes him to repent and to endeavor to turn from them. By this faith a sinner is justified in the sight of God and has eternal life. However, is this the end of the test or will a redeemed sinner show other signs of being a true Christian? Is he truly born again as John 3:3 and 2 Cor 5:17 point out or has he just made a decision similar to joining a civic club? To merely claim faith is as easy as joining a civic club. Very little is required and many such claims and professions of faith are false. However, if a sinner has been born again by the POWER of God, then he will show signs of the new birth. James in James 2:14-26 makes it clear that a claimed faith with no action or deeds is a dead faith that does not save. These deeds of good works flow from a true saving faith and are a part of Christian sanctification. Sanctification will always flow from justification and this is another way to examine yourself. Do you see sanctification in your life? I think the last part of the verse gives the answer in how to examine yourself. It says….. If you are in the faith, Christ Jesus is in you. To more fully understand what that means we look to the words of Jesus himself.
John 15:4-5 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
If upon examination a person is found in Christ, then Christ is in him and he will be different from unbelievers. He will bear fruit due to ongoing grace. He will show signs of sanctification and growth in his Christian walk due to grace. Unless of course, as the verse says, he fails the test. It should be emphasized that sanctification is a result of justification and has no merit toward justification.
Posted by jazzycat at 10:47 PM
Tuesday, September 12
Thanksgiving to God flows naturally from the hearts of the redeemed….. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). There is a spirit of continual thankfulness that is present in Christians due to the marvelous grace that God has bestowed upon them. In many passages, the Apostle Paul expressed thankfulness to God for the grace that others also received. It gave him great joy to see the Holy Spirit seal God’s gospel to believers through the preaching of the Word of God. Thanksgiving and joy go together in the Christian life….From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing (Jeremiah 30:19). Another characteristic of thanksgiving that the Bible teaches is the use of music and musical instruments to express thanksgiving to God….. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp (Psalm 147:7). The more that Christians understand that everything they receive comes from God, the more they express thanksgiving and praise to the Holy God that created and sustains the universe…. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17). Christians that understand this are thankful people who have an outward focus on God rather than an inward focus on self.
Posted by jazzycat at 8:32 AM
Sunday, September 10
Posted by jazzycat at 3:15 PM
Tuesday, September 5
Jesus, in the above passage, admonishes the practice of harsh continual judging of others while ignoring and overlooking one’s own faults and sins. When a Christian first looks inward at his own sin and sinful condition, he will be less inclined to hastily condemn and express judgment on others. Does this mean that a Christian should not condemn sin? Absolutely not! The Bible, in many passages, teaches Christians to judge sin and to discern good vs. evil. Paul said…. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things…..(1 Cor. 2:15) and Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them…. (Ephesians 5:11). Although a Christian has this calling to judge sin and evil, he should be extremely careful in judging brothers that are practicing sin. A spirit of love and compassion should be extended to those brothers involved in sin, with a mindset of encouraging and helping them defeat sin…. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently….. (Galatians 6:1). Love the sinner but hate the sin is certainly the correct attitude to have. Church officers (Elders) have the responsibility to administer church discipline, as required, to church members…. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you (1 Thess. 5:12). Church leaders or members have no business or authority to judge anyone outside of the Church…. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?….(1 Cor. 5:12). God has given civil governments the power to establish and enforce civil laws for all people…. Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God (Romans 13:1).
Posted by jazzycat at 8:22 AM
Friday, September 1
Joy is the second fruit of the Spirit listed (Galatians 5:22). Christian joy is a fruit that is given by the Spirit and is a feeling of bliss that comes from being redeemed by God….The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family (Acts 16:34). The verse listed under the photo above points out that God has made known through his Word, the Holy Bible, the paths of life which will lead to being filled with joy. Thus, living a life in accordance with God’s direction will bring a person joy and a closer walk with The Lord. These blessings from God come through the power of the Holy Spirit…. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). The Bible is full of passages that extol the joy that comes from a right relationship with God….Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs (Psalm 100:1-2). David even asked God to restore the joy of your salvation after being confronted with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba (Psalm 51:12). What a blessing from God when a Christian feels and lives the joy that is a result of his salvation.
Posted by jazzycat at 8:35 AM
Monday, August 28
The writer of Hebrews, in this verse, not only tells Christians what they are going to receive but tells them to be thankful and to worship God in an acceptable manner. He names reverence and awe as two things necessary for this worship to be acceptable. From this verse, it logically follows that there must be ways of worship that are not acceptable to God. Therefore, men should stay away from the unacceptable ways of worship which would be anything that the Bible does not specifically direct man to do. In short, the worship of God should be done as prescribed by the Bible and not by the whims and imaginations of men. The Bible says the following when discussing proper worship…. See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:32). Therefore, the basic principle concerning worship to God is that it should be done in the manner as prescribed by the Bible with nothing added or nothing removed. Worship to God can be ineffective and useless as Jesus verified when he quoted the Prophet Isaiah …. These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men (Matthew 15:8-9). The Westminster Confession of Faith article 21 contains the elements of proper worship that God has instituted in Holy Scriptures. The churches that have the seeker friendly worship services that are popular today should take care to insure that their worship services are God centered and God friendly. God does not call worldly principles to the church but rather calls sinners from worldly principles.
Posted by jazzycat at 10:59 PM
Saturday, August 26
Thursday, August 24
The dictionary defines one form of pride as inordinate self-esteem. The Bible and history reveal that this kind of prideful self-esteem has caused much pain, suffering, and strife throughout human history and is no virtue. Yet, many touted experts think, and popular secular opinion seems to agree, that in materialistic self-absorbed America today low self-esteem is a problem, especially with young people. You will hear it said that teachers should be careful not to harm the self-esteem of their students. They believe America needs more of the very thing that has caused so many problems for the human race. Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, expressed a different view of prideful self-esteem. The first thing he said was…. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). The opposite of pride is humility and Jesus is saying that the humble are blessed. The Matthew Henry commentary on that verse says ….” The poor in spirit are happy…….They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them.” Paul also taught that humility is a characteristic of a Christian…. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2). Paul warned that in the last days people would be proud, boastful, and lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2). A focus on self with pride is a value of the world; whereas, a focus on God with humility is a value of Christianity.
Posted by jazzycat at 9:44 AM
Monday, August 21
The dictionary defines gambling as betting on an uncertain outcome. Casino gambling is anything but uncertain because the mathematical advantage is held by the house, and the house will always win with repetition and time. They get plenty of repetition and are open 24 hours a day seven days a week which insures they will always win week by week, month by month and year by year. Just as a spider builds his trap bigger and better, casino operators build their traps with more lights, glitz and entertainment. Some people consider it harmless entertainment, but there is a percentage of people who will become addicted and bring devastation and financial ruin to their lives and also their families’ lives. Crime, divorce, and even suicide are all part of the cost of this ‘entertainment’. Entertainment was also very big in Sodom and Gomorrah, but it was not harmless there and it is not harmless in the United States. Las Vegas did not get the nickname Sin City without reason, and for a Christian, or anyone else, to view gambling as just another form of entertainment is pure folly. As Paul said…. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8). Think of the good that could result if the money, lost every year to gambling by professing Christians, were instead invested to please the Spirit instead of the sinful nature. May God enable us to sow wisely.
Posted by jazzycat at 3:24 PM
Friday, August 18
Jesus last command was to evangelize…. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also told his disciples…."The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38). Paul in his letter to Philemon encouraged him to share his faith…. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith,…... (Philemon 1:6). Peter instructed Christians to not only share their faith but to be prepared…. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15). Being prepared means knowing the gospel, knowing how to effectively communicate it to others and, as Peter says, do it with gentleness and respect. Such ministries as Evangelism Explosion (EE) teach effective ways to present the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Knowing the gospel and knowing how to present it properly are two totally different things. The EE evangelism ministry always asks permission before sharing. It avoids arguments. It affirms the truth of the gospel without being confrontational. It keeps the gospel message from being side tracked and it precludes objections. The Apostle Paul used similar techniques…. Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious (Acts 17:22). To be successful in fly fishing it takes knowledge, planning, preparation, and discipline. It is no different in evangelism. The EE ministry depends on an outline that breaks the gospel into five parts: Grace, man, God, Jesus Christ, and faith.
Posted by jazzycat at 5:49 PM
Tuesday, August 15
The desires, goals and focus of a Christian are not on the things or pleasures of this world….Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). The world is presently controlled by Satan and he has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4). Jesus told his disciples that they were chosen out of the world and would be hated by the world….If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (John 15:19). Jesus also makes the point in this passage that the world will love people who belong to the world, and he even warns that when all men speak well of you, you have a problem (Luke 6:26). Jesus is basically saying that worldly people love the pleasures, things, and principles of this world and will love people of a like mindset. In A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards explores the signs of a true Christian and said the following…..”those who are spiritual are set in opposition to natural men, and carnal men.” It is obvious that the secular world is not going to speak well of men and religious leaders who are in opposition to the prevailing politically correct standards of the world. This is currently evident in the debate of such issues as abortion, homosexual marriage, gambling, pluralism, etc. It is especially interesting to note the religious leaders that are spoken well of by the media and those that are not. Those leaders that are well received have adopted views that are in accord with the prevailing secular world view. The Bible says the following about their popularity: You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4). The early Christians were faced with a decision of whether to obey God or man. That is still true today. Choose wisely who you obey.
Posted by jazzycat at 6:51 AM