Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ultimate Truth – How are we to determine if we know the truth?

The Distinguishing / Decisive Eternal Feature of Christ's Teaching

Every time I come to the Gospel of Matthew in my reading of the Christian New Testament, I am awed and struck by 2 specific phrases: “……..and the door was shut.” [Matthew 25:10] and, “……I know you not.” [Matthew 25:12] I am convinced that these 2 sayings of Christ, are, perhaps the most definitive and terrifying, in all the Gospels! These words are spoken by Christ in his parable of the “Wise And Foolish Virgins.” Matthew 25:1-13

The parable speaks of preparedness for the Bridegroom’s Coming. 

Five virgins were wise – in that they were ever watchful and prepared; and, 5 virgins were very foolish [unprepared].  The foolish virgins hadn’t equipped themselves with the needed oil for their lamps.  And when they left the premises to equip their lamps with oil, the Bridegroom arrived and entered into the marriage celebration.  And, so did the 5 wise virgins.  And, the Scripture says:  “………and the door was shut."  Matthew 25:10

We know that Christ “makes no bones” about referring to Himself, as “the ‘door’ of the sheep.” [Gospel of John 10:7] Christ also says (in what is termed, as an “eternal grammatical 'tense'”): “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers……” John 10:8


Christ also says:  "“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father [God] except through Me." [John 14.6] When a person who has been confronted with the eternal claims of Christ, fritters away this knowledge and acts in careless fashion as the 5 foolish virgins – the "door" will be eternally shut! [Luke 16:19-31] That’s the reason the Scriptures speak so seriously of not neglecting “so great a salvation.”  Hebrews 2:3

The true God of all human history made Himself available to His creation in the sinless flesh and blood person, of Jesus Christ.  It is because of His sacrificial blood, shed, for the forgiveness of human sin, and His Resurrection from the dead, that He becomes the entrance (door) to divine forgiveness and eternal life. 


Those, however, who find no use for the Savior from their human sin and think that they have no need to be forgiven of all their sins against Gods' holy commandments, will find the door of heaven shut to them. Hell and all its agonies of soul and body await them.  They will be forever tormented for having spurned the One who lived a holy life to be sacrificed for their sin against God and their fellowman.  To reject Christ the Savior is the worst action that any person could commit to themselves and their priceless soul.
Luke 16:19-31

         
May all of you who are confronted in your lives with the claims of Christ, never personally experience His ultimate words: “I know you not.”  [Matthew 25:12]  Be assured, if that is the case, it will not be a “cold day in hell,” for you who reject the entryway [Door] into life everlasting.  Rather than life eternal, it will be death eternal.  Hence, all the more reason to take Christ’s Words seriously; put your faith in Him and be truly repentant over personal sin. Amen.


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

Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures:


Psalm 1:1-6 – A comparison between the righteous and the unrighteous Psalm 33:1f – The sovereign Lord reigns with truth (Psalm 33:4)

New Testament Christian Scriptures: 

Matthew 25:1f – Christ’s Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and later on in the chapter, the judgment and separation of the sheep (righteous) from the goats (unrighteous)


John 18:37 – Christ’s unashamed answer to Pontius Pilate –  “….Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

John 14:6 – Christ proclaims Himself to be the truth

Colossians 1:13-20 – The totality of reality wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ                                  


Colossians 3:6-10 – Completeness in Christ



Colossians 2:2-3 – Treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in 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 message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Christ's disciples will not meet the approval of the culture because they are under the influence of Divine Revelation (3/20/11)

I have long since come to the conclusion that [for the most part] it is impossible to carry on genuine communication with certain individuals. I learned from family upbringing; personal experience and through various academic endeavors, that communication is a two-way street. I can converse [talk] or correspond [write] but no matter how clear and concise that communication may be, there are often the pitfalls of disconnect.

I may be genuine in my desire to communicate something as the "sender," but the person on the "receiving" end, may either be too busy to listen or, when attempting to comprehend my sent message, may be entertaining a whole different worldview. Even in the best of family relationships, proper (sent and understood) communication, often goes awry. I suppose, that's why it is most important, to continue conversing and to continue to listen. Serious and successful listening takes time, and one's attention. What often kills good listening skills are umpteen distractions, which, at times, are legion.


As a parent I taught my young children the little "dittie," -- "Learn to listen so that you can listen; so that you can learn." [I even put this short sentence to a tune and would sing it to them]

A major root reason why non Christians cannot "hear" and understand what is being communicated, by some Christians and the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures:


Christ had one world view. And that view all revolved around himself. [John 18:36-37 ; Colossians 1:13-20] Christ stated this certain reality when he told the crowd:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." [Gospel of Matthew 7:13-29]

In the Gospel of John 10:1f, Christ offered a clear and concise explanation of what that "gate" [door] was all about. In fact that "door" was clearly explained by Christ, to be Himself. [John 10:7 ; John 14:6] He is the very entrance door to life eternal (in the hereafter) as opposed, to death eternal. Luke 16:19-31 ; Matthew 25:31-46

The soul that follows the Christ of history will naturally, be misunderstood and persecuted:

Present day culture is rife with political correctness and expressions of multiculturalism that war against not only common sense, traditional morality, but that which is, of, Christ. [Romans 12:1-2] The God of all human history allowed Himself to be born; to live a perfect life; suffer; die and rise from the dead for His creation. [Philippians 2:5-11 ; Romans 14:9] He never was, nor is, confined by the parameters of sinful culture. Christ did not offer rose colored eyeglasses to His followers. Although He promised them heaven for their belief and commitment, [John 3: 14-21 ; Matthew 7:13-29] they were warned that they would suffer and be persecuted because of Him. John 15:18-25 ; 2 Timothy 3:12

Those who are Christ's are under the influence of His Divine Revelation:

Those who are genuinely Christ's disciples, will have no qualms as to His role in human history. [Colossians 1:13-20] Neither will they be swayed by the culture that attempts to make them less than rational. With the global proliferation of news "on the spot," it is easy to witness sinful culture's inbreeding.

In a desperate attempt to make "man the measure of all things," the masses are being beguiled with the embrace of pseudo science. "Evolution" is their false god of process. Their reception of this wild belief [partially] justifies for them an unproven flawed and false system of persuasion in which they think they can escape the Triune God of human history. Why be beholden to Creator God and His Ten Commandments when one is the product of primeval chance? [http://www.icr.org/] They will go out of their way to avoid the Triune God, at all costs. Romans 1:18-32

Friend, if some of the above describes you -- and, if you cannot begin to conceive what I have communicated -- I can, as a Christian, understand. The Scriptures talk about the blindness of unbelief. [2 Corinthians 4:3-4] They also describe the inability on your part to clearly see and understand Divine Revelation. [1 Corinthians 2:14] But, by all means, don't let that discourage you. Do whatever you can to listen to this true God of which I have been describing. [Proverbs 1:1f ; Romans 10:17] Your soul is too much of priceless worth for you to turn a deaf ear.


Expose yourself to the Holy Scriptures. In them you will find the historical Christ who came to rescue your wretched sinful soul. Turn your attentions away from culture's vanities. Faith that is in Christ, and everlasting, comes from hearing God's communication Word, as found in the Scriptures. Romans 1:16 ; Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; Acts 8:26-39

".......Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7

Amen.

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

Old Testament:

Psalm 2:1f -- Those who put their trust in the true God will be blessed by Him inspite of an unbelieving and vile world

Isaiah 53:1f -- The various prophecies of Divine Revelation, concerning Jesus Christ, hundreds of years before his birth. The Gospels are the fulfillment of those prophecies.


New Testament:

1 Corinthians 2:1f -- The wisdom of God revealed to those who are able to spiritually receive, as opposed to the inability of the "Natural man." [Verse, 14]

2 Timothy 3:14-17 -- The purpose of Divine Revelation


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 message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Saturday, March 12, 2011

All moral values are not equal

All moral values are not equal -
The dishonesty of believing that it doesn’t matter what a person’s believes and what lifestyle is followed, just so long as there is sincerity

It is universally accepted that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Mathematics is considered, an “Empirical Science.” The results of addition, subtraction, dividing, and multiplying are consistent, and all the “values” continually make perfect “mathematical sense.”

In the case with “moral values,” it is increasingly becoming accepted in our culture that many, most, or all moral values, are of equal worth and value. “Morality” [ethics, principles, decency, goodness, honesty, integrity] comprises human and divine values of “right” and “wrong;” and of, “good” and “evil.”

The flawed thinking (logic) of: “Every person has the right to determine what is moral for his own being:”

Every person has the God given freedom to choose for themselves between good and evil. This freedom is commonly known as “free will,” or, “free moral agency.”

The flawed argument, is -- that all personal determinations are [equally] moral. The flawed thinking is, as follows: “Whatever, you choose for yourself is okay and whatever I choose for myself is okay – just leave me alone because my value system carries equal weight.” This type of thinking is utterly illogical, damaging, and destructive and lacks credible foundation.

Atheists will continue to [accusingly] point out evil models and personalities of those associated with the Christian Religion - and other religions. Then, they proceed, (in their skewed thinking) to justify their [own] value system. They tell themselves that their value system carries equal weight to all other value systems. Their flawed assumption ignores a host of principled fundamentals and disciplines, as they would then, [logically] have to admit that the 9/11 Twin Tower disaster and Hitler’s treacherous regime, was perfectly justified.

The “Equal Values” contention (multiculturalism) ignores objective “outside” standards:

Many people fall into the cultural trap which preaches that all human value systems are equal. This is sometimes referenced, as, "Multiculturalism." Essentially, when a person adopts that type of philosophy, they can justify anything – including strapping terrorist bombs to the bodies of young boys and girls. Radical Islamic terrorists are fanatically mesmerized into this damnable type of erroneous thinking.

They live in their fantasy world and some day will come to realize [too late] their Creator Christ who will grant them their life’s cumulative “rewards" [punishments]. -- [Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46 ; Acts 17:31] Once at the “judgment seat” of Creator Christ, they, (or anyone else) will be able to convince themselves that “all human value systems are equal.” Gospel of John 18:37 ; 2 Corinthians 5:10 ; Romans 14:10-12



The Value “System” that is incomparable and priceless:

The God / man Jesus Christ, whom the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures testify, was born without sin, lived, suffered, was crucified, buried and rose from the dead, [Acts 17:31] said this:

For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Gospel of John 18:37

Friend, if you are caught up in the “equal value systems trap” of today’s culture, and attempting to live your life without your Creator Christ [Colossians 1:13-20] – then, I pity you. I pity you because you will have squandered the opportunity of a lifetime and of an eternity. [Luke 16:19-31] You will have bartered your priceless soul for worthless human depravity. Whether you like to realize it or not, you are a sinner who needs Christ’s eternal forgiveness and love. If you reject Him and go your own way, He will not stand in the way of the free will that He has granted you. Luke 16:19-31

As a Christian, and as an emeritus Christian pastor, I urge you to discover through earnest and humble search, what is, of priceless eternal worth. [Proverbs 1:1f ; Psalm 1:1f ; Luke 18:9-14] May you come to realize that all human value systems are not equal, and that only in the Lord, Creator Jesus Christ, will you find the truth – and not only the truth, but the eternal (forever) respite for your ongoing life, after death. 


May God's Holy Spirit grant you, anguish over personal sin, and that you come to faith in Christ and repentance for your many sins. [Luke 18:9-14 ; Luke 19:1-10 ; John 3:14-21 ; Matthew 7:13-29] May you be granted life eternal, rather, than death eternal. Matthew 10:28 ; Matthew 10:32-39

Amen.

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

Old Testament:

Isaiah 44:6-8 --The Triune God of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures -- the only true God

New Testament:

Gospel of John 14:6 -- Christ's claim of uniqueness -- His claim to be the truth

John 10:1f -- Jesus Christ makes it clear that no other avenue of truth, other than Himself, is legitimate

John 18:28-38 – Jesus Christ before Pilate and Christ’s proclamation of the truth

Acts 17:16-34 --The "unkown" [true] God explained to the Athenian philosophers

Colossians 1:13-18 -- None can compare to the eternal, creator, Christ

1 Corinthians 15:1f – The New Testament Epistle chapter explaining the importance of the reality of Christ’s resurrection -- the bedrock foundational reality of which the Christian Faith rests

________________________________________________

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 message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel

Friday, March 4, 2011

“How to” (step by step) formula driven, prescription Christianity

Some Christian persuasions have a
rigid "step by step" mentality. Often
their frame of reference is
"anthropocentric," [man orientated]
 rather than "theocentric" [God
orientated].
I remember a conversation with a well meaning sincere Christian, who attempted to tell my wife and me, the correct formula of prayer. His line of [faulty] reasoning was [paraphrase]: “You must be (utterly) specific in all of your prayers; otherwise the Lord will not hear you and answer your prayers.”

I don’t remember if this person ever actually heard [listened to] what my wife and I attempted to say, in response. Most often, “A person convinced against his own will, is of the same opinion, still.” We essentially conveyed to this dear Christian Brother that our prayers don’t necessarily have to be verbally spoken in specific detail. Here's what the one hymn lyric beautifully states:

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, unuttered or exprest, the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh, the falling of a tear, the upward glancing of an eye, when none but God is near.

Nor prayer is made by man alone – the Holy Spirit pleads, and Jesus on th’ eternal throne for sinners intercedes. [TLH - 1941 - CPH]


People are often brutal in their expectations of Christians

Non Christians are highly critical of Christians. They will often unfairly brow beat Christians for just being “human.” If Christians misbehave or do not meet certain expectations, they become the [almost endless] subject and topic of discussion and / or ridicule.

A common [erroneous] ploy directed to Christians by non Christians, is, as follows:


“How dare you involve yourself in politics! You claim to be a Christian – yet you are so out-spoken on political issues!”

Then comes the zinging [illogical] mindless argument that Christ did not involve Himself in politics. That may very well be true. But if every Christian were to fully model his or her life after Christ, there would be a lot of frustrated Christians, because we can never emulate Christ’s sinlessness, or His many Divine attributes. It is best to admit who we are - sinners. After all, Martin Luther was said to have humbly observed (on his deathbed):  "We are all beggers."

Of course, this argument that Christians should stay out of politics because Christ [allegedly] did, is a very weak argument, indeed. I’d rather think that when that mindless assertion is made, most of the founding fathers of our nation would roll over in their graves. If any one group should be involved in “politics,” it should be Christians, as good Christian morals elevate society and culture, rather than assisting in its demise. Following is Webster’s original definition of “Politics:”


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.

General ignorance and especially Biblical ignorance, abound with Christians, unduly holding out, expectations for other Christians. Christians will require spiritual litmus tests, as the one Christian did with my wife and me, regarding the issue of Christian prayer. Spiritual litmus tests have been in existence since after Christ’s Resurrection. The Apostle Paul instructed Christians of his day [and also, for our day] not to be entangled with ["litmus test"] legalism. Colossians 2:16 -- Note also the context, - Colossians 2:6-23

Some segments of Christianity erroneously
attempt to simplify that which is God the
Holy Spirit's work of bringing the sinner to
repentance and faith in Christ. John 3:1-21
Christian pastors and Christian leaders often are guilty of "formula driven," step by step, Christianity"

Christian pastors and Christian leaders are often guilty of formula driven Christianity, when they “prescribe” certain litmus like steps, to arrive at a certain destination in the Christian life and walk. Preachers are prone to emotionally lead earnest people, seeking spiritual relief, into formula driven prescription prayers. Once having led the soul searching individual into a step by step [“repeat after me”] type of prayer, the person is told that they have fulfilled the spiritual requirements to now label and proudly proclaim for themselves the title of “Christian.”


Often, part and parcel of a “repeat after me” prescription step by step prayer, led by a Christian pastor or evangelist, is, immediately following the preached message. It is proclaimed a quiet time of “every head bowed, and every eye closed,” in which the preacher incorporates a combination [quasi / pseudo] prayer along with an emotional plea to “come forward” to the altar to “accept Jesus Christ.” I have never been comfortable with this well-intentioned practice, as I believe it leads both sinner and Christian saint into believing that an individual, can, by personal fiat, determine his own soul’s “salvation.” I respectfully disagree with this practice, as the impression and practice it invokes, flies in the face of the clear teaching of Holy Scripture:

1 Corinthians 2:14 ; 1 Corinthians 12:3 ; John 1:12-13 ; Romans 9:10-16 – especially Romans 9:11 and Romans 9:16 ; James 1:18 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Titus 3:3-6 and Philippians 2:13

Christ would instruct His disciples that His Presence would be with them

When asked by some of His own disciples to “increase our faith,” Christ never directly responded. [Luke 17:5-6] Christ was not in the practice or “business” of prescribing step by step instructions to His disciples. He promised them, [and those, presently, who believe] however, that He would be with them until the end of the age. [Matthew 28:16-20] He promised His disciples that His Holy Spirit would guide them into all the truth. He promised them the “Comforter,” ["Helper"].  John 14:16-31

Friend, if you are looking for step by step instructions to be, and / or continue to be a Christian – please don’t play that frustrating game.

There is no end to book learning. [Ecclesiastes 12:12] There are literally tons of “Christian” books on the market. For every conceivable subject, there are prescription type formulas on how to live the Christian life and how to survive the sinful culture. This pastor will give you no formula prescriptive steps. What I will relate, is, that there is no alternative to reading the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures – the Bible. It is, in and through the Holy Scriptures that God-given faith will come alive in your sinful soul. Romans 1:16 ;  Romans 10:17 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:13 ; James 1:18 ; Acts 8:26-39 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; 2 Peter 1:16-21

How did the spark of faith prompt the Ethiopian eunuch to enquire about the Savior, Christ? [Acts 8:26-39] He was reading the Scriptures. Those of you burdened by the weight of your damning sins, and, with questions, abounding – know, that God’s Voice is, [in] the Holy Scriptures. [2 Timothy 3:12-17 ; 2 Peter 1:16-21] You who seek more out of this life than selfish pleasure or vainglory, know that it is Creator God who has made you – and not you, Him. [Psalm 100:3 ; Psalm 39:4-6 ; Colossians 1:16-18] Know that it is His perfect will for your soul to be rescued from [your] human sin that will damn you, forever. 1 Timothy 2:3-6 ; Romans 3:23 ; Romans 6:23 ; Romans 5:1f

As a Christian, and as an emeritus Christian pastor, I urge you to discover, through earnest and humble search, what is, of priceless eternal worth. Proverbs 1:1f ; Psalm 1:1f ; Mark 8:34-38 ; Luke 12:13-21 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Luke 18:9-14 ; Luke 15:1f

May you come to realize that all human efforts, formulas and prescriptions are worthless, and that only in the Lord, Creator Jesus Christ, will you find the truth –- and not only the truth, but eternal peace for your ongoing life, after death. May you, come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repent over your personal sins. [Luke 18:9-14 ; Luke 19:1-10] -- [John 3:14-21 ; Matthew 7:13-29] May you be blessed  with life eternal, rather, than experience, death eternal.  Matthew 10:28 and Matthew 10:32-39

Amen.

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

Scriptures that testify to the reality of Creator God, initiating the process of a person coming into the Christian Faith:

1 Corinthians 2:14 ; 1 Corinthians 12:3 ; John 1:12-13 ; Romans 9:10-16 – especially Romans 9:11 and Romans 9:16 ; James 1:18 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 ; 2 Timothy 1:9 ; Titus 3:3-6 ; Philippians 2:13
________________________________________________

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 message (with minor editing) was previously posted online by Nathan Bickel