Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why Sound Doctrine is Important (philip 4:13)




 (Philippians 4:13)

I have been inspired to address something near and dear to my heart, which is sound doctrine. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not Bible Doctrine Scholar, I stumble over many difficult teachings in the Bible, but I open myself to teacher that are more knowledgeable and better studied then I for the wisdom of what the words of God says.  

So when I come and say that I have a problem with someone’s doctrine I’m not talking about seminary level doctrine, I’m talking about the basic understanding of the faith that separates a true Christians from an occultist, or a member of a sect.  I’m talking about the minimal amount of Bible knowledge we need to know before we can even worship Him in Spirit and Truth. 

But, error in doctrine is just as poisonous to the knowledge of God as no doctrine at all. We can’t manipulate scripture to say what we want, and we should not reiterate scripture if we have no knowledge of what is says or mean. Which leads me to the subject of this post.

One of the most inspirational passages in the Bible, recited by true Christians and pretenders alike is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” The pretenders know the verse, the true Christians know the passages before and after, the theologians and lovers of doctrine use it correctly. What bothers me is most people use this verse as if it is some kind of mystical incantation that by reciting it give us the power to become masters of the universe.  It’s like all we have to do is raise our mystical sword to the sky and say by the power of Grayskull I have the power! And puff God is on our side infusing us with the supernatural ability to get stuff done!

Do you want to start a business? Then recite Philippians 4:13; How about a new job or that job promotion” raise your sword in the sky and recite Philippians 4:13; Need a soul mate or better sex with your spouse? Then recite Philippians 4:13; Want to win a football game or address and adversary, no problem, all you have to do is recite Philippians 4:13 because you can do all things through Christ who strengthen you, through Christ who meets your (personal) needs. To believe this is the correct interpretation of the passages is to assume that the Apostle Paul was either a liar of crazy.  It not what Paul meant when he wrote “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” To get an idea of what Paul was actually saying, let read the two verses that precede   Philippians 4:13 Verse 11 starts off:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need”. (Philippians 4:11-12) ESV

You see Paul was not telling Christians that they can go out and conquer the world; What Paul was saying is that A Christian through faith in Christ they can get through their suffering when the world has dealt them a hard blow!  

You see Paul was a man of many suffering, but his suffering was not because he did not have the best chariot with the 20 inch wheels, it wasn’t because someone was blocking his mojo at work, it wasn’t because he could not get that loan to start his own business, or the new car he always wanted. Paul was a man of many suffering because he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

And because he would not stop Paul was given many death threats (Acts 9:23-25) Stoned and left by the road for dead (Acts 14:19). Attacked by an angry mob (Acts 17:5) Paul was under arrest for 2 years without a trial (Acts 24:26-27) bitten by a viper (Acts 28:3); Whipped with 39 lashes five times;  (2 Corinth 11:24)  Beaten with rods three times (2 Corinth 11:25) So Paul knew that suffering was inevitable to those that are in Christ because in  2Timothy 3:12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”  so when the apostle says “I can do all things through Christ that strengthen me” he was saying as Christians we will be persecuted, but the strength and the hope that we have in Christ will get us through our persecutions, our setbacks , and our failures.

What we need to understand is that when we say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” It not a mystical anthem that provokes God to help us meet our goals while allowing 100,000 Christians in Africa to be martyred year. We should not be thinking that God has infused us with some supernatural ability to live “Our Best Life Now” What we are saying that God has infused us with supernatural ability to live our best for Christ now.

When Jesus Christ was in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father three times to take this cup from Him. But in the end He carried His cross and propitiated the wrath of God’s anger. In three hours Christ suffered more than every sinner will in hell. And this he did not so that our quality of life would be better on this side of His humility; Christ suffered so that we would experience life with Him on the other side of eternity. 

Jesus Says in John 15:20 “…If they persecuted me, they will persecute you;”

TC FireSpeaks

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vomit, Infidels, and the Anvil



The Vomit

On so many occasions I hear the statement in one form or another, “the Bible is outdated and irrelevant” and this does not bother me for the most part because most of them that are saying this have little or no knowledge of What the Bible teaches. But increasingly I see pastors and leaders of mega congregations that have escaped the wickedness of this world through the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, the teaching of the Apostles and the doctrine of the Bible return once again to the way of this world, and the only justification that can give is to say that the Bible is outdated, or irrelevant.

I would content that their popularity (of those pastors that have call the Holy Scripture outdated) rides on the fads of this modern corrupted world. Whether it is pornography, or homosexuality, or same sex marriage, if we truly believe that the Bible is God inspired then we don’t have much choice. Because the Bible puts our sin in plain view, we must either deny ourselves, or deny what the scripture says. And one way for pastors and men of the cloth to call God wrong, or deny what the scripture say is to acclaim that the Bible is outdated or irrelevant. As If an eternal God can get old or irrelevant! So then the real issue is not an antiquated Bible, is a heart that lust after the sin of old. The Bible says it would be better for them to have never come to the faith than to turn back to their perversions like a dog which vomits and then goes to lap it up.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.   But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Peter 2:20-22 (KJV)

The Infidels

 
But when leaders of the church turn they take novice Christians with them (Malachi 2:8) and they cause non-believers to question the truth of the Bible, Christianity and God as a whole. (2 Samuel 12:14) And God will hold them accountable. (Matthew 18:6)

But before we jump to conclusions, let’s understand what is meant by “outdated and irrelevant”.  Dictionary.com defines outdated as no longer in use or fashionable.  So is the Bible no longer in use? While it’s true only about 37% of professing Christians worldwide read their Bible once a week, those low numbers hide complete the enormity of what they are actually saying.  When you consider 2.8 billion believers in this world, with Africa and China growing at a rate of over 20 thousand proselytes a day, each!  That’s more than 800 million Christians are reading their Bibles. That’s more than 2.25 times the population of the United States! Yeah that really sounds like the Bible is no longer in use.

In 2005 the most recent estimate I could find, one company according to the NewYorker Magazine sold not printed out but sold 25 million Bibles one single Bible publishing company. That’s more than twice the nearest best seller for that year. In 1445 when Gutenberg prints the first Bible it was the number best seller and has remained that way throughout time. If fact if they include Bible sales on the best seller list, it would be the only book to reach number one and remain there since it first printing.  In fact the best sellers list would be the Bible and all the rest. Does that sound like it’s no longer in use?

Did someone say it’s irrelevant? You many not like what it says or how it says it but to call the Bible irrelevant is just plain old stupid, and by no standard natural or spiritual is it justified.  Consider this!
·        The Bible has been translated into 469 languages completely and 2527 languages with at least some portion of scripture translated. That’s more than any other book ever written.
o   That sounds relevant to me!
·        It has inspire the lyrics to more songs than any other book, both Christian and secular.
o   Again that sounds relevant to me!
·        Just having a Bible is punishable by death in some countries for fear of the knowledge of freedom.
o   The fact the whole governments develop policy based on what the Bible says sounds pretty darn relevant to me!
·        One person is killed every 5 minutes about 105 thousand people a year because of what the Bible teaches. The truth the people would follow it teaching knowing that in doing so they could be killed.
o   Man, that take relevant to extreme levels!
·        And the Fact that the Bible can’t be destroyed.  Jesus said “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.Matthew 24:35 let history speak for itself;
o   Rome persecuted Christians for fifty years after Jesus death, and then Rome became a Christian state.
o   The communist government of Russia persecuted Christians and burned the Bibles, making it illegal to even have one. But in the end Communism is dead and the Bible remains!
o   In 1776, Voltaire, the French philosopher, announced, "One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible in the earth.” One hundred years later Voltaire was dead and his own press and house were being used to print and store Bibles by the Geneva Bible Society.

The Anvil 

When it comes to relevance, if we are to be truthful to ourselves, we must confess Bible is the only book that is relevant. In Josh McDowell’sEvidence That Demands a Verdict  he quotes H. L. Hasting hymn writer as saying
“ Infidels for eighteen hundred years have been refuting and overthrowing this book, and yet it stands today as solid as a rock. It's circulation increases, and it is more loved and cherished and read today than ever before. Infidels, with all their assaults, make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer would on the Pyramids of Egypt. When the French monarch proposed the persecution of the Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, 'Sire, the church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.' so the hammers of infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives." (p. 23)
H.L Hasting
Jesus said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35)
Soli Deo Gloria
FireSpeaks