Friday, December 31, 2010

It’s the Object of Worship – not the sincerity of worship that must be first and foremost


I have heard this all too familiar “objection” throughout my Christian life, stated in various forms and fashions.  It is the familiar:

“There are many religions – what makes you so confident that you have a ‘hotline’ to God?” 

In the online town talk forum I had answered a posting about profaning God’s Name.  Another person took exception and offered a sarcastic comment [Paraphrase]:  “I find it remarkable that you know what God is thinking and feeling.  I stand in awe of you.” And, so I seriously answered that person, that I considered myself one of “God’s children” and, being, who I am, I read God’s Scriptural Revelation, I do recognize  the Good Lord’s intentions.  I also pointed out the following Scriptures:

"But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." 1 Corinthians 6:17

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him and He will show him His covenant." Psalm 25:14 

I concluded that I thought some people begrudge Christians such as I, the privilege to express our faith and confidence in the Good Lord. People are too ready to grant equal status to all religions because each religion has its share of sincere worshippers.

In my daily Scripture readings I was again impressed with Christ’s words to the Samaritan woman at the town’s well. [John 4:4-30] Christ’s Words to her were very revealing about her personal life.  (She readily, recognized Him as a prophet).  But more revealing, was Christ’s statement of worship:


……But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth………. John 4:23-24

Christ not only makes it clear that God is not a graven image of some sort to be worshipped, but that “God is a Spirit,” and that He must be worshipped, “in spirit,” and, “in truth.” But even before Christ mentions the “quality” of worship -- that worship, had to be done, "in, truth,” Christ makes the most revealing statement:

"You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews." John 4:22

So, here we have it -- Jesus Christ, Himself, unabashedly states, that “salvation” [true religion that delivers (“saves”) one’s eternal and priceless soul, from hell] comes (originates) from “the Jews.” As one commentator put it:

Salvation is from the Jews. Salvation seems here to mean the Savior, the Messiah, as it does Luke 2:30 ; Acts 4:12:  and so the woman appears to have understood it, John 4:25. The Messiah was to spring from the Jews - from them, the preaching of the Gospel, and the knowledge of the truth, were to go to all the nations of the world. It was to the Jews that the promises were made; and it was in their prophetic Scriptures, which the Samaritans rejected, that Jesus Christ was proclaimed and described. See Isaiah 11:3.  [Clarke]

In the Gospel account of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, as related above, [John 4:1f] Christ never questions the woman’s religious sincerity or earnestness.  He never questions it, because sincerity and earnestness are not the first and foremost issues at stake involving genuine worship of the true God.

Don’t trifle with your present, priceless and eternal soul -- Luke 16:19-31

I know that it is culturally fashionable to be accepting and approving of all forms of religious worship.  The "power of positive thinking” mentality, the influence of mega churches and herding group pressure is so easily accepted, when there is the push to be multicultural and politically correct.  But that is not the way of Christ, nor, His follower disciples.

Christ did not come to be born into human flesh, to live, die and to be sacrificed for humanity’s sin – and, then to be resurrected, in order to win humanity’s approval and popularity contests.  [Nor, does He expect His followers to seek for the same cultural approbation]


Christ came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:10] And, that includes you and me.  If you are a “holier than thou” personality, then Christ is not for you.  Hear what Christ says: 

“…..they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick……..for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  Matthew 9:9-10 

Sinner -- if you think that you are a good person and that your sins do not offend God and are not damnable violations [worthy of hell] against His Ten Commandments, then, stay as far away from the Hebrew (Jewish) and Christian Scriptures as possible.  If you don’t think that your sins offend God and that you are better than most people, don’t seek help when you fall flat on your face.

However, if you can humble yourself and admit that you are a sinner, such as the tax collector in the parable which Christ told –- if you can contritely exclaim with all shame, [“God, be merciful to me, a sinner,”  -- Luke 18:14] -- then, there is present and everlasting hope for you.  This hope is not in a particular geographical place of worship.  Nor, is this hope found in a particular “fever pitch” of emotion or sincerity.  This present and eternal hope can only be found in the person of Christ Jesus, who is the living God, the (only) One who sacrificed Himself for you and your sins and who was raised from the dead for your present and eternal peace with a Holy Creator, Father God.  Amen.


Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament:

2 Chronicles 18:1f -- the true God’s Message is voiced by the minority and not the voice of the popular majority

Psalm 10:1f -- the wicked’s persecution and God’s defense of the humble and the oppressed
 


New Testament: 

Luke 18:9-14 -- divine rejection of those who trust in themselves; His mercy to humble sinners

Luke 19:1-10 -- the Lord’s “salvation” – He is here, to seek and to save that which is lost

Acts 4:1-13 -- no divine deliverance (“salvation”) in any other name, but Christ


__________________________________________


Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
___________________________________________


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith:  Parts 1-3

Note:  The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel 


Saturday, December 25, 2010

The “Peace” of the Christmas Season, often misunderstood for the “Peace” that Christ came to bring

The Christmas holiday season is usually associated
with the often misunderstood Biblical phrase:
"Peace on earth and good will to men." It is only
on those who have been graced by God, that His
peace will truly exist.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” Isaiah 55:1-2

It is often the ploy of the unbelieving soul to call attention to the background and credibility of the Christian messenger, rather than having to deal with the message.  Such personal assassination tactics are as old as time began.  Even the Hebrew Old Testament prophet Isaiah, was well aware of this flimsy ploy when (under direct inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit), he penned the timeless words of Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53:1f -- “Who has believed our report…….”

Jesus Christ, the long awaited fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy also encountered his own generation’s unbelieving skeptics, who made the fatal mistake of discounting His message and damning his reputation by making personal attacks about his family, upbringing and learned background. Had they made a thorough check of the Scriptures, they would not have erroneously regarded, and slanderously referred to Christ, as a bastard. John 8:41 ; Isaiah 7:14

Times haven’t changed since the days of Christ, here on earth. Unbelievers and skeptics alike will not change their sinful ways. They seem to relish among themselves, the ridiculing and debunking of God’s messengers who continue to preach and present the revelation truth of the Holy Scriptures. Rather than hearing the message, they persist to cast aspersions upon the messengers. And to them, Scripture itself has, the final damning word directed towards these unbelieving skeptics -- 2 Peter 2:1f and Jude 1:1f 

The “peace” that Christ came to bring is not the same “people ‘peace’” that most people envision at Christmas

This calendar year’s wintry season is upon us again to celebrate Christmas and the holiday season.  The music, the gifts, the decorations, the parties and the good will of people as the old year comes to an end, are all nice and proper things to do.

It is, at this time of year that peoples' emotions are most sensitive – which is a good thing.  In spite of the physical trappings of the holiday season, many people are being reminded of the spiritual nature of this time of year.  Even those who are not Christian believers , are impressed with the one resounding message that is always prevalent at Christmas time – “peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Those, words, “peace on earth” originated from the angelic announcement [Gospel of Luke 2:14] to simple shepherds who were privileged to visit Christ, the God / Man, born, into human flesh. Luke 2:1-20

The Christmas Season always brings this message, of “Peace on earth and good will toward men.”  But how does this angelic message, repeated throughout history, by humans, square with The “Prince of Peace,” [Isaiah 9:6-7] who was prophesied hundreds of years before his Bethlehem birth? [Micah 5:2] What did, Christ, who is the “Prince of Peace,” intend, when He said that He did not come to bring “peace,” but a “sword?” [Matthew 10:32-42] A clear understanding of what Christ intended, can go a long way in clearing up the confusion that comes with the worldly celebration and understanding of the Christmas Season.

The "peace" that Christ came to bring is that
"peace through the blood of his Cross." [Colossians
1:20. The Bible also says: "For the preaching of the
[Christ's] cross, is to them that perish, foolishness
but, unto us which are saved; it is the power of
God." - Colossians 1:20 
Refusal to believe the totality of God’s revelation record, brings confusion – especially “Christmas confusion”

People choose to hear what they desire to hear.  The Christ of Christmas is often overlooked for the glitz and glitter of the festive holiday season.  The words of Scripture of “peace on earth and good will to man” are secularized and taken out of Biblical context.

What is often forgotten, is the totality of Scripture’s words, and, especially Christ’s Words which He related to His disciples that they would continue to be subject to persecutions [John 15:18-27] and that the days of human history would be fraught with “wars and rumors of wars.” Matthew 24:4-14

But you may say:  “I thought that the Jesus babe born in Bethlehem and whose birthday is celebrated at Christmas time, came to symbolize peace for the world.  After all, isn't that, what Christmas is all about?”  Not so, my friend.

The angelic announcement of “Peace on earth and good will toward men” starts with a relationship with Creator God

Remember when Christ stated the summary of God’s Ten Commandments? Christ summed up the Commandments by His command to love God and to love one’s fellowman. [Matthew 22:35-40] When a person truly loves God, then there will naturally follow and flow a love for one’s fellowman. What was the last part of 1st Christmas angelic announcement?  “Peace on earth and good will toward men.” Luke 2:8-17

When Christ stated that He comes with a “sword” to divide even families, [Matthew 10:32-42] He was proclaiming that it was far more (spiritually and eternally) important that a person would have His “peace” that “passes all understanding,” [John 14:1-27 ;  Philippians 4:7] –- providing, He, Christ, takes first place and priority in a person’s life.  Apart from Creator, Savior, Lord Christ, all else, consequently takes, the back seat. The “peace” that Christ brings is that peace that knows no other allegiance and worship than to Him –- [above all else]. Matthew 12:46-50

The “peace of God,” is that peace which Christ spoke about to his disciples -- [John 14:1-27]. Christ’s peace emanating from Him, the “Prince of Peace” is totally different than the world’s conception of peace.

What about you, my friend – do you have “Peace?”

Friend – make it a point during this Christmas season (and the following seasons) to familiarize yourself with this "'peace' of Christ."  This Prince of Peace came to deliver you of your personal sins which offend a just and holy Triune God; who according to his Word and holiness must punish human sin – else He would not be holy and there would be no (holy) heaven.

Do not take lightly God’s gracious offer of genuine and eternal peace, wrapped up in the person of Christ who came as God, born in human flesh to deliver you from the present and eternal [hell] ravages and destruction of sin.  Forget for a moment about others.  God is a loving God and He desires your personal soul. 1 Timothy 2:4

I don’t have a 4 or 5 point prescription and prayer for you to follow.  I’ve never felt comfortable with that approach as I believe it is not only unscriptural, but that the best way for your soul to reach out to God for His help, guidance and deliverance, is to expose oneself to the Scriptural revelation [Bible] and listen to the messengers that He has sent in your life. It is in the divine revelation of the Holy Scriptures where genuine faith can be found to believe in the true and Triune God who forgives sins and who can rescue your soul from eternal damnation . [Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17  ; Hebrews 11:6 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Acts 8:26-39 ; 1 Peter 1:23] If what the messengers say and preach to you agree with the Scriptures, and you believe, -- then you will have  been truly blessed.  Come humbly to the Lord, believing and confessing your sins.  Truly believe that same message which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds, that First Christmas:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 

Amen.

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:
Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures:

Isaiah 53:1f – The prophecy of Christ, in descriptive detail, hundreds of years before his birth

Isaiah 9:6-7 – The “Prince of Peace” prophesied hundreds of years before his birth

Micah 5:2 – The birthplace of Christ prophesied hundreds of years before His birth

New Testament Christian Scriptures:

Matthew 10:32-42 – Christ’s own words, describe the allegiance (love) to Him what He expects

John 14:1-27 – Christ’s offer of His “peace”

Please also note other Christmas messages

 The Eternal Significance of the Holiday Christmas Season --  "Why God, Became a Man" (12/6/09)

The True Christmas Message is Not the Cradle, but the Cross

_______________________________________


Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.
___________________________________________


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith:  Parts 1-3

Note:  The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Eternal Significance of Christmas Holiday Season -- Why God became a man

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” [Isaiah 55:1-2]

It was the harshest of all frontier winters. The man’s wife and children left for the Christmas Eve worship. He could not bring himself to believe in the Christ of Christmas. To him, God, becoming a man to “save” humanity, was, absurd.

The old Indian chief’s community weather forecast proved to be false. Rather than just a few flurries there appeared on the horizon a cold wind of blanketing heavy snow. As the wind increased with intermittent gusts and the snow began to drift, the man scurried to gather the farm animals into the barn.

Once inside the sheltered barn with all the animals intact, the man noticed the birds being blown hither and yon by the gusting winds. It was if they also wanted in the sheltered barn to be delivered from the treacherous storm. The man, who loved birds and often welcomed their nests as perched residences within his barn, sadly paused before closing the door. He thought to himself:

“If only I could coax them inside, they would not freeze and would be saved from the wintry blast. It’s too bad I can’t be a like a bird and communicate with them to coax them into my barn. If only briefly, I could transform myself into a bird, I could fly to the flock, inform them of the present danger they face and end up rescuing them into my barn of safety – free from the present dangers and ultimate devastation of the wind, snow and cold.”

Upon hearing himself think these [above] thoughts, there flashed into the man’s mind, the clear and simple meaning of the First Christmas.

My friend, the simple, yet clear meaning and significance of Christmas, is the celebration of Jesus Christ. He came as God, in human flesh to destroy sin, death and the devil. He came to rescue us from our sins by His birth, [holy] life, suffering, death and resurrection. He came to deliver us from being children of God’s just and holy wrath [because of our sins] and call us into His forgiven family. The Lord God could do that masterful divine work, no other way, than to communicate with us -- and He did so with flesh and blood. He did it by being born as you and me [yet, without sin]. He did it by living a sinless life, (of which we could not), and by suffering and dying [as God's perfect sacrifice for human sin] upon a cross. He completed his rescue and sealed its eternal finality by rising from the dead.

It is my prayer that those who visit this site, would come to know the one and only Triune God, who manifested Himself in the Savior person of, Jesus Christ. The good Lord did not leave His creation without a clue. He provided for us the Holy Scriptures -- His Divine Revelation for that very purpose. [2 Timothy 3:14-17] May you utilize this website to help equip you to understand, that, which only the Lord of all, can reveal to you. Amen.


Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures:

Isaiah 9:6-7 -- The Savior, Christ, prophesied 700 hundred of years before his birth

New Testament Christian Scriptures:

Luke 2:1-20 -- The first Christmas -- Jesus Christ, the Savior, is born

Matthew 7:13-29 -- Words of Jesus, the Christ

John 3: 14-21 -- The Gospel Message


Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

___________________________________________


Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

Note: The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Friday, December 10, 2010

“Mary,” the mother of Jesus Christ -- Not the “Mother of God”


An artist's depiction of Mary, Joseph and the baby
Jesus in a simple stable.
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” [Isaiah 55:1-2]

This is that time of year in which Christians celebrate, the birth of Christ. Especially at this time of year, there are depictions of that blest event. Often overshadowing the birth of Christ, is not only the emphasis, but the over emphasis, of Christ’s mother, bearing, the Christ child.

As much as Mary, the earthly (human) mother of Jesus Christ, is to be regarded, respected and honored, she is not (as some, in Christendom, mistakenly believe), the [so-called] “Mother of God.”

Why it is a gross mistake to regard Mary, the human mother of the Christ, to be the “Mother of God:”


First of all, nowhere in the Scriptures, is Mary, the (earthly) mother of Jesus Christ, referred to, as the “Mother of God.” Although Mary is afforded the special God blest privilege [Luke 1:26-56] of bearing the long promised and prophesied Christ [Isaiah 7:14 ; Isaiah 53:1f] by the miracle of the “Incarnation,” that does not justify what some (in the Christian world and religion) have done to elevate her to almost the same equal status with God, Himself.

Secondly, Scripture teaches that one of God’s “Attributes,” is that He is a “Spirit,” [John 4:24] -- [Also, that He is “Invisible” -- 1 Timothy 1:17] Scripture also, ascribes to God, the quality of being, “Eternal.” That means that He has no beginning and no end. [Psalm 90:1-2] Hence, Mary, the (earthly) mother of Jesus, cannot be what some, erroneously term, the “Mother of God.”

Thirdly, those who claim that Mary, the (earthy) mother of Jesus Christ, is the mother of God; do so because they misunderstand and confuse the “Trinity.” The Triune God is a mystery which transcends human reason. Yet, the Scripture teaches that Jesus is God; [John 1:1-18 ; John 8:1f ; Hebrews 1:1f] –- and, He is distinctive from God, the Father and God, the Holy Spirit. [Hebrews 1:1f] Although He is God Incarnate, He is His own person. If Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus Christ, were to be the actual “Mother of God,” then, the Scripture’s teaching of the Triune God, would not be true.

Why it is so dangerous to regard Mary, the human mother of the Christ, to be the “Mother of God:”


An artist's depiction of the Mary being
visited by the angel, Gabriel, announc-
ing that she was chosen to give birth
to the Lord Jesus Christ. See
Hebrews 10:5
Elevation of any other, above that of the Triune God, and his Christ, is, Idolatry. [Exodus 20:3-6 ; Acts 4:8-12] When people ascribe to Mary, the (earthly) mother of Jesus Christ, that which venerates her in unscriptural ways – then, that veneration has become forbidden worship. To suggest that Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus Christ can be prayed to and can intercede for sinners is pure and simple blasphemy. Only the Christ is worthy of interceding on behalf of sinners, and, in His Name are Christians, to pray. 1 Timothy 2:5-6

Scripture says little of Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. Much of what it does say, is contained in the Gospel of Luke 1:1f where it is announced to her, that she was chosen to birth the Christ. Upon hearing this angelic announcement, Mary [herself] makes mention that she, as a sinner, is especially favored and blessed. Mary herself, would not desire herself to be adored and worshiped  as she regarded herself, in need of the Savior, Christ. Luke 1:46-47
To be sure, it is proper and in keeping with Scripture to honor Mary as the human mother of Jesus Christ. But, to be carried away with that reality and to ascribe to her status to be as the "'Queen of Heaven,' dispensing graces to all the faithful." is not the role of Mary for us sinners to imagine, believe -- or, even to wishfully grant.

Christians are warned in Scripture not to add or take away from God’s written revelation. [Rev. 22:18-19] Christians are also warned, not to twist God’s Word [the Scriptures] to our own detriment and destruction. Matthew 15:3 ; Matthew 22:29 ; 2 Peter 3:16


Worshipping the Lord (only) -- and, Him (only) to serve

In the beginning part of Christ’s short, but active and productive ministry, Christ was met by Satan in the wilderness of temptation. In Christ’s firm answer to the devil, He did not mince words. He emphatically stated: 


 "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve." Matthew 4:1-11

As another Holiday Season is upon us and as the world is about to celebrate another Christmas – the most important message of this Season is often, sadly and pathetically, lost. That message, is, – to worship Christ, the Lord – and, Him only, to pay our homage and allegiance. May the Triune God be merciful to open the eyes of the spiritually blind, to heed His Gospel invitation and obey His commandments. That invitation is for all people for all time; and, for you, personally: 

“….For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord……” Luke 2:1-20

May those of you hearing and reading this message accept the reality of your sinful status; and, may you by faith believe that Christ the Savior came for you. May you be careful to hear God's Word as it is taught in its Scriptural context. May you read, mark and inwardly [spiritually] digest God's written (divine) revelation as it is gifted to you in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Those same Scriptures are God's instrument for His Holy Spirit to bring you to personal faith in order to genuinely believe and trust in Christ, your sinless Savior! Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Acts. 8:26-39 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; Hebrews 4:12;13 ; James 1:18

Amen.

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament:

Isaiah 7:14 -- The Virgin Birth of the Messiah, Christ, prophesied

Isaiah 9:6-7 – Prophetic message of the coming Christ, hundreds of years before His birth


New Testament:

Luke 1:26-56 -- The announcement and birth of Christ to Mary who was to become His human mother by the miracle of the "Incarnation" and Virgin Birth

____________________________________________


Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

___________________________________________


Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

Note: The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Part 2 -- Why atheists are fools and agnostics follow closely behind

Note: Please reference “Part 1” if you haven’t already done so

Definitions:

Atheist: One who believes there is no God
Agnostic: One who does not believe that God’s existence can be proved

Last week there were listed 4 major reasons why atheists are fools and where agnostics follow closely behind. Following is that list:

Atheists are fools because they fail to acknowledge:

That the place in which they live [the world and the universe] had to have a first cause

That the world they live in is a place of order and arrangement

Atheists are fools because they fail to acknowledge:

God as active in their consciences.

God in the historical documents of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Finally, atheists are fools because they attempt to deny and rationalize their sin by denying that a God of justice and punishment, exists

I continue to believe that the primary reason that atheists deny God’s existence is not that they lack the intellectual smarts or logical facilities to connect the dots, but they continue their stubborn denial because they possess a love affair with their particular life and / or, lifestyle sins.

Think of it, if a person does not wish to be held accountable for his sins against an all knowing, all powerful, holy and just God, -- why not deny His reality and live as if there is no God and no accountability for one’s sins and any future hereafter judgment and punishment for those sins? Atheists and their first cousin, agnostics, go out of their way to deny God’s presence. They will deny the obvious reality of the [created] universe in all its natural beauty and order. They will even deny their sense of human justice, which is a reflection of a God created conscience that calls out, to [make] right, personal wrongs.

Atheists and agnostics utilize mind games of rejection to utter their personal proclamations of denial, as smokescreens to hide from the Almighty. Somehow, the perverted thinking of atheist and agnostics, portend that if they do not acknowledge the existence of God, who holds His human creation accountable for sins against Himself and other human beings, that therefore they can somehow escape personal responsibility to God. The atheist thinks to himself: “After all, if God does not exist [which I believe to be so] – then, I cannot be held accountable before him for my human failings and unfairly judged by this so-called Christian God who Christians say is the supreme judge, whom all must give an account.” So goes the [fuzzy] thinking of an atheist [or, an agnostic].

I like what one Biblical scholar related in his exposition of the Scripture [Psalm 14:1] which calls those who say [to themselves] that there is no God, “fools:”

The creed of the fool is “There is no God.” He does not want there to be a God, therefore he denies the existence of God. It is an irrational position to take. First of all it is a claim to omniscience; it says, “I know everything. It is not possible that a God could exist beyond the boundaries of my knowledge.” Second, this attitude claims omnipresence; it says, “I am present in all places at one and the same time, and it is not possible that God could exist any place in the universe without my knowing it.” Again, this position ignores the wonders of God in creation – the immensity of the universe, the amazingly precise movement of the planets, the marvelous suitability of the earth to sustain life, the intricate design of the human body, the fantastic complexity of the human brain and the extraordinary properties of water and soil….………

……..The possibility that all this happened by chance is too small to warrant consideration. That is why the Bible says that atheists are fools. They are moral fools. It is not a question of their intelligence quotient but of their morality quotient.

God’s verdict on these fools is that they are corrupt in themselves and that they act abominably. There is a close connection between a man’s creed and his conduct. The lower his conception of God, the lower his morals are apt to be. Either as cause or consequence, atheism and agnosticism are linked with a corrupt life. Barnes writes:

The belief that there is no God is commonly founded on the desire to lead a wicked life, or is embraced by those who in fact live such a life, with a desire to sustain themselves in their depravity and to avoid the fear of future retribution.......

Source [of above]: Psalm 14:1f -- from, “Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald – Thomas Nelson Publishers, c.1995

Scripture pronounces judgment upon those who do not know the true God -- Titus 1:15-16 But to know God – the true [Triune] God is to not only believe in His existence, but to follow Him. After all, doesn’t the Scripture say: “Faith without works is dead?” [James 2:14-26] And, as martyred Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared: “He, who believes, obeys – and, he who, obeys, believes.” [1John 2:5] All this belief and action, takes “faith.” The Scripture states, “that without faith, it is impossible to please Him. For whoever would draw near to God, must believe that he exists and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him.” Hebrews 11: 6

When a person ignores God’s written revelation, [the Scriptures] he cuts Himself off from God


Didn’t Christ proclaim that He [also] comes to humanity in the Book? [Psalm 40:7] Didn’t Christ, Himself declare that the Scriptures testify of Him? [John 5:38-40] Old Testament Hebrew prophecy is rife with the declaration of the Messiah, Christ. [Example: Isaiah 53] No other human book can compare to the Scriptures, as the Scriptures contain prophecy recorded hundreds of years before its fulfillment. Scripture, itself declares its purpose. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 When a person stubbornly resists the God-given gift of the Scriptures, he ends up writing his own eternal death warrant. To neglect and ignore the Triune God’s greatest treasure, [the Scriptures] besides, that of the Lord, Christ, Himself – that is the zenith of spiritual stupidity.

The atheist and agnostic lie in their hearts when they say that there is no God and that He cannot be possibly be known to them. They say these things while they cut themselves off from the written revelation resource that can bring them, not only temporal spiritual riches, but hereafter, heavenly treasures.

How can a person “know” God in such a way as to truly believe in Him and “make his peace with God?”


Friend, -- you especially who claim yourselves to be atheistic and / or, agnostic: I wish that I could point you to a 4 or 5 point simple solution, whereby you could “buy into” to save your wretched souls. However, I have no Billy Graham, “every eye closed and every foot step forward," simple, solution for you. As hard as you may try, you can never save your soul by repeating a “sinner’s prayer.” [Only the Lord can "save" your soul]

The Bible makes it clear that all of us are sinners, both by nature and practice. Our sin not only offends ourselves and our fellow human beings, but most of all, is offensive to a holy and just God who must damn us in hell forever because of those sins. Heaven is barred from us. It is only a place of perfection. Only in the perfect life, suffering and death of the perfect Christ, who was sacrificed before God, for all of humanity’s sins, can we find acceptance and forgiveness in the eyes and heart of the true God.

But, when all is said and done, it takes “faith” for you to believe that the Creator God of this universe provided you -- His creation, a way out of your sinful mess and future dismal destruction in the hereafter, apart from all that is holy, just and perfect.

The best advice I can give anyone who does not know and experience the forgiveness of his or her sins in the person, life, death and resurrection of the Christ, is to start intently reading the Scriptures. The Scripture says that "faith comes by hearing and hearing, by the word of God." [Romans 10:17] Start reading the Gospel of John. That, Gospel alone, some say, is the most important singular piece of writing ever penned. Read what the Messiah, Christ, said about Himself. Read, what he said about your sin. Read, and read what He did for you. May the good and gracious Lord draw you by His Holy Spirit, and cause you who are dead in sins [Ephesians 2:1] to understand the spiritual. [1 Corinthians 2:14]

Amen.

Please note -- see link: "What is the central teaching of the Christian Religion? -- What distinguishes it from all others?"

Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament Scriptures

Psalm 14:1 -- The foolishness of people

Proverbs 1:7 -- What fools despise

New Testament Scriptures

Romans 1:16-32 -- Especially note verse, 20

Romans 2:14-15 -- The God conscieness of right and wrong written in a person's heart

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.


The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

1 -- What is meant by “Believing” and / or, being, “Saved?”
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian








Note: The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Monday, November 29, 2010

Part 1 -- Why atheists are fools and agnostics follow closely behind

Human beings are stubborn creatures. What they
think they cannot explain away, they dismiss.
Since the Triune God of the divine revelation
Scriptures cannot be comprehended through
human understanding and logic; most people
make the worst mistake of their life by dissing
their Creator. They then follow a degenerative
path. Note the New Testament, Romans 1:16-32
Definitions:

Atheist: One who believes there is no God

Agnostic: One who does not believe that God’s existence can be proved

Divine revelation vis-à-vis the Scripture, states that a person who says there is no God, is a fool. [Psalm 14:1] But why are people, who call themselves, “atheists,” fools? First of all, atheists are fools because God said so. If you had created the universe and had people question and deny your existence – would'nt you also designate those people to be “fools” – especially, when you made your existence and creation plainly evident?

Atheists are fools because they fail to acknowledge that the place in which they live [the world and the universe] had to have a first cause

The Cosmological argument is that contention which states, that in order to have a universe, there has to be, what is called, “A First Cause.” The New Testament Scripture communicates about this first cause:

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
Atheists are like some families moving into (empty) foreclosed homes, without permission and, without having bought them. They assume that they have a squatter’s type of right to live within these houses. They take these housing shelters for granted. They steal their way in and enjoy the roof over their heads and the space with which the house affords – without any acknowledgment that someone built the house in which they find shelter. They assume that the house was there for the taking . What could be more brash than that?

Atheists are fools because they fail to acknowledge that the world they live in is a place of order and arrangement


The Teleological argument is that contention which states, that the world and universe exhibit a particular organization and arrangement in order to function. Why is there a sunrise and sunset? Why is it always on schedule as the earth revolves around the sun? Why are their seasons? Why is there cold, warmth, winter, summer? Why are plants green when they are alive? Why are they no longer green and shriveled up when they are uprooted? Do they uproot themselves? We could go on and on asking these questions that imply “order” and “arrangement.” Certainly all this world and universe order, did not come into existence by mere chance – and, certainly does not continue, by mere chance. Scripture says:

"For every house is builded by some man but He that built all things is God." Hebrews 3:4
Atheists are fools because they fail to acknowledge God as active in their consciences

Atheists are no different than most people when they cuss another person out. It is common to call down judgment upon someone in the form of cursing and misusing God’s Name. Without [at first] realizing it, atheists, will use God’s Name, in vain or – at least acknowledge a type of divine justice in their cursing invective, that is humanly impossible to deliver. Also, atheists when enraged, will tell someone to “Go to hell.” With that tirade, they are acknowledging a moral superiority, of which they have no right to administer. Only God, who is the ultimate judge can sentence a person and send that person to hell.

Atheists are fools because they fail to acknowledge God in the historical documents of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures


There is no ancient document more reliable than the compiled Hebrew and Christian New Testament Scriptures. Hebrew culture’s forte was the accurate transmission of the written word. No document in human history is so replete with prophetic writing and fulfilled prophecy. Time and time again, the reliability of the Scriptures has been scrutinized, only to successfully withstand the skeptic’s pen of derision. In recent times, [1948] there was the Dead Sea Scrolls Discovery. On-going archaeological digs continue to substantiate very names, places and facts, recorded in the Bible.

William Kilpatrick in his commentary, “Jesus of Nazareth vs. Jesus of Neverland” compares Islam’s Koran to that of the Christian Scriptures:


…….One thing you find in the Gospels which you don’t find in the Koran is a solid geographical and historical context. If the story of Christ was set in some mythical location, long before the age of recorded history, it would be easier to pass it off as…well, a myth. But the story takes place not in some vague neverland but in places that can still be visited today—Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem. Christ doesn’t just go to some indeterminate wedding feast, he goes to the wedding feast at Cana; in his parable about the good Samaritan, he mentions a specific road, the one going from Jerusalem to Jericho. He converses with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in the town of Sychar. He cures one man at the pool of Siloam, and another at the pool with five porticos. Sidon Tyre, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, the Mount of Olives, the Praetorium, Herod’s court, Golgotha—there is a specificity and facticity that you won’t find in mythology…….

…….. Whatever you may think of the claims of Christ, it’s hard not to believe in his existence. As Dinesh D’Souza puts it in What’s So Great about Christianity, “Do you believe in the existence of Socrates? Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? If historicity is established by written records in multiple copies that date originally from near contemporaneous sources, there is far more proof for Christ’s existence than for any of theirs.” Historical reliability? F.E. Peters in his book Harvest of Hellinism writes that “the works that make up the New Testament were the most frequently copied and widely circulated books of antiquity.” What does that mean? It means that the New Testament survives in some 5,656 partial and complete manuscripts that were copied by hand. And that’s in Greek alone. If you add in the Latin-vulgate and other early versions, there are more than 25,000 manuscript copies of the New Testament in existence. How does that compare with other early histories? Well, there are seven copies of Pliny the younger’s NaturalHistory, twenty copies of the Annals of Tacitus, and ten copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars. Score: Christianity, 25,000, Caesar, 10. When you render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s in manuscript terms, it doesn’t seem to amount to much.
http://frontpagemag.com/2010/06/16/jesus-of-nazareth-vs-jesus-of-neverland/

The Holy Scriptures were designed to be the Triune God’s gift to humanity. With this revelation record of history, there is clear and convincing evidence of the true God’s activity in the affairs of humanity. Atheists will often go to great lengths to denigrate the written record – so much so that they will grasp the evolutionary belief of the universe and the world coming into existence by itself. They refuse to believe and accept that somebody greater than themselves fashioned and rules the universe. And, so, the Scripture itself, calls atheists, “fools.” And it further pronounces and predicts what people will become when they deny the obvious. Romans 1:16-32

To acknowledge God, is not enough

I’m sure that you’ve heard the old saying that "there are no atheists in fox holes." Often, atheists will “break down” and acknowledge their own foolishness. When their lives are being threatened or hanging by a thread, they will be motivated by their fear of the unknown and cringe before a (punishing) hereafter, of which they finally admit is an awful place of reckoning for their sins against God and fellowman.

The Bible states that to acknowledge God – even the demons do that. [James 2:17-20] Believing that there is a “god,” will not rescue a priceless soul from God’s just punishment for human sin. Continued................


Part 2 -- Why atheists are fools and agnostics follow closely behind

Related Scriptures -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament:

Psalm 14:1 -- The foolishness of people

Proverbs 1:7 -- What fools despise

New Testament Gospel:

Romans 1:16-32 -- Especially note verse, 20

Romans 2:14-15 -- The God conscieness of right and wrong written in a person's heart

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel
http://www.thechristianmessage.org/

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.


The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3

1 -- What is meant by “Believing” and / or, being, “Saved?”
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian

Note: The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel










Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pain – The Unwelcome, Uninvited, but Indispensable Guest of Prayer

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters….” [Isaiah 55:1-2]

A “stereotype” is often an image label given by someone who is often prejudiced and bigoted. To “stereotype” is to err against sound logic. Stereotyping borders upon generalizing – pigeonholing various ideas and / or actions of people.

An example of stereotyping, is what homosexual activists do to committed Christians who disagree with their lifestyle and their push to over-turn history’s definition of marriage. These homosexual activists are quick and ready to “label” certain Christians as being “homophobes.” However, we must remember that this word, in itself, is wrongly utilized, as it actually means from its etymology: “fear of man,” -- not “fear of homosexuals.” But I think you gather the idea here. Stereotyping can be a maniacal and malevolent political tool, used by activists of any cause, to hijack the English language and turn it into propaganda fodder.

A Stereotype of “Prayer:”

Prayer is often represented as a spiritual means of acquiring something often asked for, of God Almighty. And, when a prayer is often answered, the action and repetition of “prayer” is often, in, and of itself, given the credit for the [humanly perceived] “successful” answer. Hence, “prayer,” becomes the primary focus, rather than the One who hears and / or answers prayer – that being the Triune God.

Prayer is often stereotyped in glowing terms. Often prayer is highlighted as the vehicle with which someone is finally rewarded and / or delivered from extenuating circumstances – ranging from ill health to financial straits.

“Pain” to the skeptic and unbeliever:

Having lived 6 decades, I have come to increasingly realize that human suffering – especially physical bodily pain, plays a crucial role in not only the praying process – but also, the outcome of prayer (petitions) to the Good Lord. Pain, in a Christian believer can precipitate a longing for God. Conversely, pain for a non Christian believer can precipitate more unbelief and revulsion, as it did in the case with Job’s wife who urged him to “curse God and die.” [Job 2:9]

“Pain” to the Christian believer helps precipitate earnest and, continued prayer:

I cherish the very brief time I was privileged to spend with a very pleasant, sick and dying middle aged man. His body was riddled with terminal disease and his physical pain became increasingly [almost, humanly] unbearable. Within the first few minutes of meeting this dear soul, he began to pray – and, I joined in. Usually, as pastor, I am the one expected to initiate the request for prayer. But this dear soul instinctively understood his imminent, precarious, and worsening situation and he was not about to be denied any priceless time he had left to seek the Lord’s help.

In addition to the Lord’s Prayer, my dear friend [as he quickly came to be] began praying the very simple prayer: “Lord, have mercy.” Each time I visited him – and it was rather frequent, he would always and consistently pray: “Lord, have mercy!” I assured him that, that one prayer was the best prayer and thanked him for reminding me of that very reality. [Luke 18:9-14] And, with escalating physical pain, he would often pray aloud in my presence: “Lord, have mercy.”

A few hours before he died, unable to “vocally” pray himself, I prayed with him the Lord’s prayer, reminded him of the Lord’s promises that we had talked about – and then I prayed with him his favorite and superb, prayer, “Lord have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.”

When I finally breathe my last, and come, by God’s grace (as my friend) into heaven’s glories, I want to seek out my faithful departed friend and listen to him relate to me all of the Lord’s mercies. 

Amen.

Please note:


Prayer offered by "believers"

This Week’s Related Scriptures -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Old Testament:

Psalm 136:1f -- The mercies of the Lord, recounted

New Testament Gospel:

Luke 18:9-14 – Christ’s Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Revelation 21:3-7 – The Believer’s glimpse of heaven to come

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

___________________________________________

Please note:  


Topical Messages, by subject

Please also note:


The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith:  Parts 1-3

Note:  The above sermon message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel