Monday, January 28, 2008

Authority—Do We Need It in Everything We Do?

When we live are basic lives from day to day, we recognize authority and laws without even thinking about them. We know that the state sets a speed limit on the highways and we understand that the government doesn’t allow murder or theft. We also know that to find out what the federal or state government allows or disallows we have to go to the statutes. We understand and accept man’s authority with great ease.

However, when it comes to our Creator’s authority, we often try to rationalize, pick and choose, and deny the laws and commands of God so that we may do as we choose. Satan will tempt us and slowly get us to deny Christ’s laws and confuse things so that we will do as we please rather than as God commands. The evangelist, Timothy was warned of this in the early church…

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

I recently had a local evangelist tell me that writings of the New Testament were merely letters that applied to the people of the time and they weren’t valid in establishing any type of authority because the subject matter wasn’t applicable anymore such as eating of meats, woman wearing gold apparel, etc. He stated,

“There is no law code or legal pleadings in the New Testament. What you have is historical narrative (story) and situational personal letters.”

We are sliding down a slippery slope when we dismiss the authority of God and use the excuse that if the examples in the Scriptures don’t seem relevant then we will disregard them. If that be the case, why even read the Bible? God has always revealed what is needed for us to act appropriately and He is NOT the author of confusion.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

In the next few blogs, I will be going through a step by step process in examining authority and how we should, with reverence, approach God’s word. The New Testament is not like the old law in which every minor detail is given in how to worship God and behave. Rather, we are to have the right attitude and desire to obey God and his commandment with what His Spirit has revealed to us through the Word.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Just as Jesus told His disciples, if we love truly love Him, we will keep His commandments. So we will study the New Testament and learn what his commandments are rather than making them up ourselves as many do today.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Homosexuality and the Bible

“United Church of Christ backs gay marriage”
--USA Today, 5 Jul 05


Does it matter what a church synod says about an issue? Does it matter what man’s desires are? What do the Scriptures say about fleshly lusts? Look at these versus on this issue and decide for yourself.

Genesis 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Romans 1:27: “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

1 Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind…”

John 14:15: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

These are just a few verses that relate to this issue. Homosexuality is obviously a sin. We can overcome sin by making a choice to do right.

1 Cor. 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

This same article from USA Today also states, “The president of the United Church of Christ said his denomination "acted courageously to declare freedom" when it passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage on Independence Day.” Let’s look at the gospel of Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I find it so unbelievable that people are willing to accept a false doctrine, declare it okay in Christ’s name and yet it be completely opposite of God’s teachings. The scriptures are very clear about this lifestyle and the like. We must resist temptation and do the will of God.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Counterfeit Religion

When the Secret Service trains its members to recognize counterfeit money, they begin by studying and learning the genuine article. They study in great detail all of its protections, its paper and markings, and the very smallest details to ensure they know the “real thing” better than anything. A bank teller deals with money all day long and he or she can get a good feel of the currency and know the “real thing” from experience and handling the bills on a daily basis.

We too can learn much from these practices when dealing with the church. When we move or relocate, how do we determine if the church we attend is the “real thing?” Do we consider the importance of finding a sound church that adheres to God laws and doctrine?

We may begin with the name. When naming an organization, we show respect and honor in naming it after the founder and head. This applies to the church:

Ephesians 5:3 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

We begin by finding the genuine article by looking at the name…one that honors its founder and creator. (see…Romans 16:16 …’church of Christ’; 1 Corinthians 1:2 …’church of God’; Hebrews 12:23 …’church of the firstborn’) As Christ pointed out to Peter, in Matthew 16:18, Christ is the founder…any other is an imposter/man-made/counterfeit.

Another important detail when looking for a genuine church is the age. I’m not talking about the individual congregation, but the church itself. Many denominations that name themselves after a man, method or doctrine can only trace themselves to a modern era…a man-made era. For example,

Roman Catholic Church - Rome, 606 A.D., with Boniface III as pope.
Lutheran Church - 1520 A. D., Germany, with Martin Luther's writings as authority
Episcopalian - 1534, England, when Henry VIII broke with Roman Catholicism
Presbyterian -1536, Switzerland, led by John Calvin
Baptist - 1607, Holland, by John Smythe
Methodist - 1739, England, by John Wesley
Latter Day Saints (Mormons) - 1830, America, by Joseph Smith
Christian Scientist - 1866, America, by Mary Baker Eddy
Jehovah's Witnesses - 1872, America, by Charles T. Russell

At the time Jesus built his kingdom (church), no denomination of any kind was in existence. The church of Jesus Christ was established in 33 A.D., in the city of Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1, 2). Any denomination that had its origin by another founder other than Jesus at this time and place cannot be the genuine article.

The organic law of the United States is our constitution and all laws sprout from its core. Laws governing the church are found in the New Testament.

2 Timothy 3: 16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

We should also ensure that our church worships God in the correct manner. We know what pleases God by what His Spirit has revealed to us in His Word. Examples and scriptures of these acts include:
--Prayer, Acts 2:42…to God through His son
--Singing, Ephesians 5:19…making melody with our hearts, not instruments
--Contribution, 1 Corinthians 16: 1-2…laying aside money on the first day of the week
--Lord’s Supper, Acts 20: 7…taken every first day of the week
--Preaching, 2 Timothy 4:2-4…sound preaching from God’s word

John 4:24--”God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

We must examine and study the genuine article and know it in order that we can detect counterfeit religions. The inspired writers of the New Testament have warned us about these counterfeit efforts. We must be on guard and not easily deceived.

Mattew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.