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 

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Major Sin of Omission When Christians Meet for Worship

It is common to only think of “sin” as being something overt –- such as, murder, rape, theft, etc. However, sin, is not only a direct offense against God, His commandments and our fellowman, but it is also of a “covert” nature. While sins of [overt] “commission” garner all the headlines, sins of “omission” seldom do. That is one of the reasons you will rarely read in the liberal mainstream news media about our nation’s continuing abortion genocidal slaughter.

Without fail, most Christian groups, when they meet together for worship, have one major sinful, failing. It is a (grievous) sin of omission. This serious neglect is common to all religious persuasions. It is that God’s people neglect His Call [exhortation] to pray for government.

Why it is imperative for God’s people to pray for government?

It is imperative to be “tuned in” to God’s Will and perfect purposes. If Christians either don’t know, or, don’t care to please the God who created them, they have no basis to pray for and encourage [good] government authority to lead them.

How did our country arrive at its present crisis where people have been awarded for non productivity? Why has government allowed certain people to buy houses with little or no money down on the public taxpayer’s till? Why is it that there is the massive and detrimental redistribution of wealth that is laying waste to personal family finances? Certainly, Christ’s parable of the talents teaches us that productivity is to be encouraged and rewarded while sloth and incompetence is to be discouraged, demoted – and, even punished. [Matthew 25:14-30] But, when Christian voters are not grounded in Scriptural principles, they do themselves a huge disfavor when they consider their voting choices.

I cannot help but think that our nation arrived at its destructive juncture because people of religious practice, and especially Christians, did not involve themselves in the area of politics. For my own part, I come from a family and church tradition of individuals who went out of their way not to be involved in politics – and, especially not to speak out or run for public office. “Politics” was always considered a dirty and sinful “business” – almost, on the parallel of gambling.

But, what is “politics?” Is it intrinsically, bad or evil? And those who “indulge” in the practice of politics – do those individuals have to be bad or evil people?

If I remember (a definition) correctly, “Politics” is something positive, not negative. Its practice is supposed to be for the common [public] good. Politics is supposed to keep, maintain and promote proper moral behavior for the advancement of the particular culture. Following, is the original [Webster’s] definition:

POL'ITICS, n. "The science of government; that part of ethics which consists in the regulation and government of a nation or state, for the preservation of its safety, peace and prosperity; comprehending the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals. Politics, as a science or an art, is a subject of vast extent and importance." [mshaffer.com]

When Christians disobey the exhortations of Scripture to pray the best, for government –- it is ludicrous for them to be involved in influential leadership positions of that [same] government for the benefit and peaceful existence of the culture. If Christians can’t make it the Biblical priority it is, to pray for government, then why would they make it a priority to seek public office? Thus, (by and large), as a result, unregenerate sinners control the (political) leadership roles of society. Consequently (it follows) that their rule of politics fashions bad laws to the detriment and destruction of not only a peaceful existence, but of proper law and order. When bad government is in control, God’s purposes for the saving of human souls is drastically, thwarted. That's the import of the Scriptural exhortation to pray for [good] government:

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time….." 1 Timothy 2:1-6

Here is what one Biblical scholar had to say about the 1 Timothy 2: 1-6 Scripture:

…that while all people should be the subjects of prayer, those should be particularly remembered before the throne of grace who are in authority. The reason is, that so much depends on their character and plans; that the security of life, liberty, and property, depends so much on them.

God’s gives specific instructions on how His people are to pray for government

Note: Please read again, the aforementioned 1 Timothy 2:1-6 Scripture.

I would venture to say that most Christians first pray for themselves. And, most of their prayers are of a material or physical nature. Their private prayers seldom go beyond immediate family. Very often neglected in Christians’ personal prayers, are praise and thanks to the Triune God for their spiritual and physical well-being.

What’s most neglectful and sinful with Christian prayer is the omission of prayer for government authority of all levels – community, city, county, state and federal governments. When Christians meet at their various churches of worship, very rarely is there the priority of prayer for government on all levels. There is little consistency, and prayer for government is very general, only reserved before election times or the calendar's patriotic holidays. Individual churches, on the other hand, make it a priority to pray for their own welfare and its greater hierarchal church body, be it their collective "conference" or "synod."

Scripture's directive to pray for government, implies a priority of 1st order – every time Christians meet for worship

How often have you attended divine worship [“services”] and experienced just about everything prayed for, but, [good] government? Pastors of all Christian religious persuasions will make excuses why they can’t follow the Scriptural exhortation directive. Church members will not make it a priority in their family and personal prayers. The excuses abound, while the "prayer sin of omission" is continually committed. And then, Christians wonder why they have to suffer bad government, at the hands of irresponsible and evil political leaders.

Essentially, God allows [for] what Christians don’t pray [for]. Christians, don’t have anyone to blame, but themselves, for their lack of diligence to God’s directives. What Christians don't pray for, reflects their inexcusable apathy. Perhaps, this clearly explains (for the most part) why Christians by and large eschew the arena of politics. It simply does not rate on their priority scale. Hence, they are blind to recognize the "connection" to good government and the command by the Lord to pray accordingly. 1 Timothy 2:1-6

I sadly ask: “How often in Christian circles, whether be it church or home worship gatherings, is this Scriptural command [to pray for government] being dutifully practiced?” I dare say that its practice is as scare as hen's teeth. May our Triune God impress upon His people a resurgence of responsible priorities to that of Biblical proportions!

Amen.

Note: A Short Listing of the Christian's Responsibility to political leaders and to "Secular" goverment:

  • Pray for good government and political leaders. Pray for their conversion, and / or that their governing reflect divine principles.
  • Utilize the right and privileges of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, afforded to USA citizens to oppose ungodly governering agendas, policies and actions. Participate in government to make it better and more moral.
  • Render to the governing authorities their just due -- as Christ stated when He said: "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God, that which is God's." [Matthew 22:21]
  • "Exposing the deeds of darkness" [Ephesians 5:11] is appropriate for Christians in reference to the corruptions of political leaders.
  • Suspend obedience to government when that obedience conflicts with submission to God. Acts 5:29
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The Great Reformer's thoughts about praying for "temporal authority and government:"

I can't help but think that Luther was (apparently) thinking along the same type of 1 Timothy 2:1-5 lines, when he wrote his explanation for the petition, "give us this day our daily bread." As the Apostle Paul (under inspiration of the Holy Spirit) understood the priority importance of prayer for temporal authority and government, regarding the spiritual - the furtherance of the spreading of the Gospel, Luther also understood the priority importance of prayer for temporal authority and government regarding the physical sustenance of God's people:


___________________________________________________

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

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats: The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins


The Christian’s Responsibility to the governing authorities:

1 Timothy 2:1-6 -- Christians commanded to pray for government

Titus 3:1 – Christians are to be submissive to government

1 Peter 2:13-17 – Christians are to be subject to every “’human’ institution”


Attitude, submission and obedience to government:

“Submission is absolute, but obedience is relative. Submission is a matter of attitude, while obedience is a matter of conduct…….”

[Watchman Nee – Christian martyr]

Exodus 1:17 – The midwives disobeyed Pharaoh’s dastardly decree.

Please note: "Disobedient Midwives" - icr.org

Exodus 2:1-10 -- The godly action of Moses' mother of disregarding [disobeying] Pharoah's ungodly command.

Joshua 2:1f -- Rahab's deceptive actions and words. Please note: Scripture's commendation of her faith and behavior -- Hebrews 11:30-31 ; James 2:25

Daniel 3:1f – The 3 Jewish believers,Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refused to worship the King’s golden image.

Daniel 6:1f – Daniel disregarded the King’s decree and, instead worshipped the true God

Matthew 2:14 – The step father of the infant Christ avoided King Herod’s murderous decree by fleeing with the child and his mother. Also, the Wise Men disregarded King Herrod's directive to supply him with information about the Christ child.

Acts 5:29 – The early Christians regard to proclaim the Gospel despite the governing authorities’ censor of it

Acts 8:1-4 -- The early Christians were scattered abroad because of persecution. Were those who left their homes for fear of being cast into prison not being subserviant to the ruling authorities? Are Christians to actively pursue martyrdom?
________________________________________________________

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- an in-depth view of Isaiah 53:1-12 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. Note for further reference and understanding:

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 believer]?

Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

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