Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sinners Refuse to Acknowledge Their Personal Sin to Their Soul's Eternal Damnation

Sinners Refuse to Acknowledge Their Personal Sin to Their Soul's Eternal Damnation - They are repelled to accept the pathetic and damning truth about their souls

Of all the amazing sayings of Christ as recorded in the Christian 4 Gospels, Christ made the following stunning statement to certain Jewish people who continually hounded Him during His 3 year ministry John 5:16;17;18:

"But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." John 5:40

On another occasion, Christ said:

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:19;20;21

During my undergraduate academic schooling years, I was accustomed to (erroneously) think, that people (by and large) were repelled from the Christian Message and Faith, because they were generally ignorant of the Christian Religion's unparalleled historical roots, oftentimes substantiated by other "Christian evidences," such as archaeology.

I would often think that a person could be convinced of the historical fact of Christ, by logical persuasion and intellectual argument. By achieving that process, I falsely believed that such and such a person, then, was well underway, doing the best thing for his precious soul, and thereby in the (final) process, would believe, and than would avoid the just punishment for personal sin, administered by a holy and just Creator God.

However, my reasoning was false. That foolhardy thinking does not match up with Christ's own words, as referenced above. Even though souls could and would come back from the dead to convince people of the realities of eternity and the horrors of hell, humans will not be persuaded to change their thinking and behavior and to put their faith in Christ. Christ's Parable of the Rich Man and Lazurus tells us so. Luke 16:19-31 - especially Luke 16:27;28;29;30;31

Even at death's door people will generally live their remaining moments as they have lived, all their life

Death bed conversions are few and far between. I'm convinced that they are as scarce as hen's teeth. That is one of the reasons why the Good Lord urges: "Seek the Lord while He may be found..." Isaiah 55:6-7

One of the worst civilian airline crashes in history took place on the Canary Islands in 1977 when two Boeing 747's collided. I remember hearing Dr. James D. Kennedy one Sunday. In his sermon message he related how many of the passengers reacted upon the fiery impact. He stated that many of them were heard to have spoken their last, in profusely, cursing fashion. Rather than making their "peace with God," their last earthly moments, some were cursing God - living their last gasping [for air] moments in the smoking inferno, the same way they had lived their lives.

The sad fact remains - people will clasp and grasp their personal sin until their life's end. By and large most people will not recognize the present and eternal reality of unforgiven sin in their lives. They will take that sin to their deaths and enter a godless eternity -- thinking that they do not qualify for a holy Creator God's just accounting. [Romans 3:23] Others, are just as without a clue, in that in this life, they deny their created existence and deny the very God that rules all.

Wise up Friend and smell the "Gospel coffee"

Sinner, friend, even if you have the worst impression of Christian people, the Christian religion and the Christian holy book, the Bible, you owe it to your priceless soul to read the words of Christ. Of all the books in the world - past and present, the New Testament Gospels are the most important.

Don't allow someone's opinion or interpretation to formulate your thinking about Jesus Christ; what he said and the purpose for which he lived, died and rose from the dead. Don't allow yourself to be sweet talked and snake charmed that you and your human ancestors evolved from some lower form of life. Don't allow anyone to belittle or demean your eternal and priceless soul.

Come to realize that you are a sinner, by God's standards - not your own. After all, His standards are the only that ultimately count. Even if your mind cannot fathom many realities, expose your sinful life to that of Christ's sinless existence. Read those Gospels and pay particular attention to the prophesied fulfillment of Christ's birth, life, death, burial and resurrection from the dead, (documented in human history). Regard your soul with kid gloves. Cry out to Christ that he be merciful to you, a sinner. Luke 18:9-14

May you also face the reality that your soul is not yours to save by repeating a prescription prayer formula. [John 1:12-13 ; John 3:1-21] Realize as the thief crucified by Christ, that you have nothing to offer, but your sorry soul and life. [Luke 23:39;40;41;42;43] Recognize as did the "Lost Son" [Luke 15:11-32] that you have "sinned against heaven" [Luke 15:17 -19] Come as a pauper to God and believe His gracious call to repent of your sins and believe. Acts 3:19 ; Acts 17:16-31 ; John 3:14-21

May God grant you the faith to trust Christ, [1 Peter 3:23] that you may have true life and that you may have life everlasting, sparing your soul from death everlasting John 3:16-17 ; John 11:25 ; Mark 8:35-37 ; Luke 16:19-31

Amen.

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

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:

Psalm 1:1-6 - The way of the righteous and the way of the unrighteous

John 3:1-21 - Christ must illuminate the needy and sinful human soul. Most Bible translations render [the wording] that the sinful soul must be "born 'again.'" [John 3:1f] However, the more correct Greek rendering, is the phrase in John 3:3 -- being born "from above." ["ανωθεν" -- "from above; by analogy from the first; by implication anew: - from above, again, from the beginning (very first), the top" - Strong's C.] This correlates with John 1:12-13. Even though a sinner is commanded to repent and believe, that process initiates from the good and gracious action of a loving Triune God.

1 Peter 1:21;22;23 - The Lord's initiating action at work in the believing soul

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
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]


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Occupy Until I Come – Christian Responsibility

Please note: Luke 19:11-27 is copied at the end of this message

Sometimes I’ll relate to Christian hospice patients the parable of Christ about the master (nobleman) who went on a journey to acquire a kingdom. This parable is often referred to as the “Parable of the Minas.” [In the days of Christ, a mina was an exchange of money] But, before the nobleman left, he entrusted his three servants sums of money to be used for constructive and productive, trade. His parting words were: “Occupy until I come” [back]. I’ll tell Christian hospice patients that in spite of their condition, there are family members to visit and prayers for those family members, to be offered. I relate to these Christian dying patients, that they can utilize the remaining time the Lord gives them by being God’s faithful servants, “occupying” until the Lord summons their soul to His heavenly graces.

This parable of Christ about the nobleman, who went to another country to acquire a kingdom, is somewhat similar to another – the one about the talents. But, this parable of Christ introduces a fourth element, besides the 3 servants. The fourth element was those people who made it clear that they did not want the Master to rule over them.

Now, I don’t portend to interpret this parable of Christ and then say that I correctly interpreted it. The parables of Christ were earthly stories with heavenly meanings, which Christ utilized to teach the people of His day. These parables are now codified in Scripture for our learning and benefit. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Sometimes Bible scholars and others, take a parable of Christ and attempt to analogize it down to the knat’s eyelash. They will see this and that comparison and then claim to tell others the exact meaning. I will not claim to be either a Biblical scholar or one who claims to have the last word on the meaning of Christ’s parables, and, also, this message’s highlighted parable of Christ.

However, - be that as it may, I believe that this parable refers to Christ’s disciples’ responsibilities here on earth with handling the divine revelation gift – God’s Word (the Bible), which He left to His people. Christ, after He lived that perfect life and suffered and died as God’s perfect sacrifice for human sin, then rose from the dead. He then ascended into heaven. But, before He left, He gave the promise of His Holy Spirit to be with His disciples to guide them into all the truth. John 14:1f ; John 16:1f. He also, gave His disciples and to His present day disciples, the commission to spread the Scripture Word – His Gospel (good news) to the world, in every age and century. Matthew 28:18-20.

It is this parable of Christ, which gives us present day Christians a clear vision of what the Lord expects of us. It is clear for those who have ears to hear and spiritual vision, to see. Luke 19:11-27

How Christians and [so-called] “Christians” bungle the Holy Scripture Revelation

The primary manner, in which Christians are disobedient to God’s revelation Scriptures as the one servant in Christ’s parable was remiss with his monetary portion, is that Christians fail to genuinely understand their place in “God’s economy.” Christians fail to act accordingly, as members of God’s kingdom. Jesus stated to Pontius Pilate that His “kingdom was not of this world.” [John 18:37] And so, Christians today, fail to understand the great expanse of God’s spiritual kingdom. They live and move in their church buildings as if that were their proper and only place. They fail to understand that they were called to be God’s royal priests in a sinful and dying world. They fail to integrate themselves into the culture to be spotlights of Christian witness in their employment and in social gatherings.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying it is wrong, nor improper to attend church worship services and to participate in some way in “church life.” But, as with anything, some Christians have gone hog wild and invest all their time between two activities, - employment and time at church with all its many and seemingly endless preoccupations (meetings, volunteer activities, etc).

I’ve said it before and I might as well say it again, - many Christian church people know how to be sociable, but they don’t relate in a very friendly fashion. New church members are often treated like second class citizens. Sometimes, they are ignored, altogether. In order for some of these new church members to be fully recognized, they would have to wait 30 years to finally be appreciated, loved and accepted as equal members of Christ’s church going people. Sadly, too many Christian churches are rife with their pecking orders and their own totem polls of self importance. Hence these Christian churches have little effect upon the very communities and culture, in which they exist.


How are Christians to occupy themselves until they die, or, until the Lord returns?

There are three Scriptures with which I like to refer. They are as follows. They (at least to me) best exemplify how Christians are to “occupy, “ – how they are to live responsible lives as caretakers of God’s blessings to them:

(1) Faithful Christians are to feed their faith with God’s Word

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17

(2) Faithful Christians are to spread God’s Word, in keeping, with Christ’s Great Commission charge:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20

3) Faithful Christians are to defend the Christian Faith

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude1:3;4

Think of a three legged chair. Without one of the legs, the chair is virtually useless. Also, Christians, who only read and study their Bibles but don’t disseminate God’s Word and defend it, become like cesspools of stagnant water. Christians who only defend God’s Word, without feeding their faith on it and spreading the good news of Christ, become useless. Often these Christians are involved with only debating and discussing Christian doctrine (teaching). That endless parade of exchanged personal commentaries about various Biblical teachings becomes unproductive and doesn’t carry out Christ’s Great Commission Call to a world of dying priceless souls. Wrangling about Scriptures, certainly doesn’t give time and opportunity for Christians to defend and contend for the Christian Faith in their communities out in the decadent culture.

You non-Christian – You are also represented in this parable which Christ, related

Here’s the end of the parable which relates the verdict and judgment of those who did not want the Master nobleman to rule over them:

But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’” Luke 19:27

You non-Christian – You unbeliever – your very unbelief and disloyalty to your Creator God will spell your perdition doom. [Mark 16:16 ; 2 Thessalonians 1:6;7;8;9] Your unbelief in Christ the Savior will lead you to a forever hell, because you will have rejected the One who died for all your sins. Only through faith in Christ, will you be set free from your arrogant and stubborn unbelief.

You may try as you may to reason and say that, such is unfair and unjust. But, as much as you object and make yourself the object of your own reasoning, you will further dig your way to perdition. You must have God’s cleansing for your sins against His holiness, His commandments and your sins of commission and omission which you have committed against yourself and your fellowman. Without the forgiveness of sins for all your transgressions against God, His commandments and your sins against yourself and your fellowman, there is no eternal life for you, - only eternal death. You must come to faith in the Savior who was God’s perfect sacrifice for your sins. Without faith in Christ, your soul will not enjoy heaven’s glories but be ravaged by the torments of hell. Luke 16:19-31

Sinner friend, I cannot whip up a prescriptive “sinner’s prayer” for you as a chef readily whips up some scrabbled eggs. In fact there is no step by step prescriptive plan for you to walk from your wide road of unbelief into the narrow path of belief in Christ, your Creator, Savior and Lord. You can’t even pray, because you have no faith.

However, I can tell you how you can attain faith. I can direct you that way, although I cannot guarantee that you will come to faith, - as I am not (of course) God’s Holy Spirit. But, I will tell you this – “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” [Romans 10:17] Other Scriptures that you can look up, for you to recognize your need to expose yourself to the Scriptures, are, as follows:

Hebrews 4:12;13 ; Romans 1:16 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Colossians 1:4;5;6 ; James 1:18;19;20;21 ; 1 Peter 1:23;24;25

May God grant you His grace (undeserved mercy and kindness) as you avail yourself of His life giving Words. May you, by those Scriptures and others, come to the point where you finally believe in Christ your Savior.

Amen.

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

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:

The Parable of the Minas

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”

_____________________


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
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]


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Unregenerate Sinners stereotype and judge Christians without knowing why

Please note - the principle Scriptures which drive this message: 2 Corinthians 4:3;4 ; 2 Corinthians 2:14;15;16 ; Philippians 1:27;28;29


Recently, I had an online forum comment directed my way. I sometimes participate on my town's online forum. Rather than remaining anonymous, like most of the participants, I freely use my own name. Hence, I am an easy target.

This following comment is not unusual. I've heard forms of this type of judgmental criticism, before:

"emeritus — adj (usually postpositive ) retired or honorably discharged from full-time work, but retaining one's title on an honorary basis: a professor emeritus.

Tell me, what is so honorable about you. Your posts seldom have any positive message, something that I find odd about a Pastor. If the pastor at my church was as honorable as you, we would be looking for a new one."

Accordingly, I replied. My comment was pointed and lengthy. However, (here) I will attempt to briefly summarize:

In my response comment, I stated that he was stereotyping me, - that he was making blanket charges without foundation and evidence. I explained that his flawed and flaccid reasoning would bar Christians and Christian pastors from exercising their God given rights to express themselves and that those same persons have a right to free speech according to our nation’s Bill of Rights’ 1st Amendment. I also, (basically) told him that there are plenty of pastors out there, who are mealy mouthed and that I was not one of them. And, that he should not be so quick to judge me from his limited experience.

I also corrected him about his slanted definition of what constituted, an "emeritus" pastor, giving him the (older dictionary) definition which states:

"....having served out one’s time........retired from active service, usually for age, but retaining one’s rank or title....."

I further explained: "From my life long academic and living learning experience, I've known this title of "emeritus" to usually be a title attributed to clergy and professors."

Why do unbelieving souls so often take exception with Christians? Why the clash?

It is the unregenerate nature's bent, not to want to hear any message which runs contrary to one's thinking. People will say that they are open to reality and truth, but, when push comes to shove, they will abhor that reality and truth when it presents itself on their life's doorstep. There is the familiar adage which states: "A person convinced against his own will, is of, the same opinion, still."

And, when a non-Christian often communicates with a Christian, there is a "disconnect" which often takes place. This disconnect has really nothing to do with the Christian, but, of the unbelieving soul. The Bible gives us an indication, for this disconnect:

Please note again - 2 Corinthians 4:3;4 ; 2 Corinthians 2:14;15;16 ; Philippians 1:27;28;29

The Bible states – “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” [Amos 3:3] There will always be miscommunication between the unregenerate non-Christian and the disciple of Christ. Such, is unavoidable. On one hand, the Christian is in communion with the Lord [1 Corinthians 6:17] and the non-Christian is spiritually bankrupt. [1 Corinthians 2:14] So, on this basis, Christians and non-Christians, clash.

Christians are commanded not to lend their ears to the advice of unbelievers. [Psalm 1:1f] Unbelievers have not been [spiritually] born from above [John 3:8] and therefore do not have the spiritual capacity to appreciate the spiritual as do Christ’s disciples. 1 Corinthians 2:14

Christian – count it a privilege to be separated from the world of unbelief

I think that some of the loneliest people (humanly speaking) are Christians. Christ prophesied that life would not be easy for His disciples. John 15:1f ; 2 Timothy 3:12

However, faithful Christian – take heart! Know and be reassured that you have the communion of the Triune God within your [His] spiritual sphere. [1 Corinthians 6:17] God has not abandoned you, but has set you apart. Romans 12:1;2 ; Philippians 1:27;28;29

Christian – your godly behavior is noticed by the non Christian world

My fellow Christian, if you are like me, you become discouraged. Sometimes you feel that you are being scorned and laughed at, behind your back. Sometimes you feel all alone, as if no one is there to help you battle the spiritual darkness that pervades the decadent culture. When you read and view the daily news, you become even more frustrated and wonder if people have any moral smarts. You ask yourself: “Why are they so stupid to believe all these political promises and lies?”

Take heart, dear Christian friend. Your prayers, your conduct, your daily life is in full view. It’s in full view of the unbelieving world in your particular niche of this world’s sinful culture. Here’s what the Scripture, says, is taking place:

…….Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,…… - Philippians 1:27;28;29

Non-Christian, friend and, unbeliever

The reason that you act the way you do towards Christ’s disciples, is very plain. The very Scriptures which you distrust and sometimes ridicule, tell, what your mode of behavior, is like.

First of all, the Scripture says that you are a dead man walking. [Ephesians 4:17;18;19] The Scripture also says that your understanding of spiritual realities is zero. [1 Corinthians 2:14] The Bible states, that because of your lost condition, Christians living around you become offensive. Their very presence makes you feel uncomfortable [2 Corinthians 2:14;15;16] You instinctively despise them and even sometimes hate them.

Secondly, that same Scripture, you despise, says that you will be damned in hell when you die, because you will have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to rescue you from your sins against God, sins against His holy commandments and sins against your fellowman. Romans 3:23 ; John 3:36 ; Mark 16:16 ; Romans 1:18

Third, the very reason that you harass Christians and give them a difficult time, is that you are one of those spoken about in the aforementioned Philippians 1:27;28;29 Scripture. Instinctively, you know that you are headed for hell. But, you can’t seem to do anything about your lost, perverse and pathetic condition.

There is hope, my friend. And, that hope, which is an eternal hope, can be found in the very divine revelation you scorn and cannot understand. Why do you continue to scorn and distrust God’s divine historic revelation and the prophesied and fulfilled Christ, of human history? Is your posture to God’s Word a convenient excuse to slap him in His face by accepting, for instance, the false religion of evolution, - that pseudo science, which conveniently leaves God out?

Don’t trample the divine revelation. The Scriptures are God’s gift to you. They can smarten you up. [2 Timothy 3:14-17 ; Romans 10:17] Those same Scriptures reveal your Savior to you. [John 3:14-21] Those same Scriptures are to be read, heard and even studied by you. God will not grace you with understanding them, apart from simple faith in the Christ, of the Scriptures. Only God’s Holy Spirit can work within you to change your attitude and rebellious spirit which is set against Him. I encourage you to begin your quest. May you be like the Ethiopian eunuch. [Acts 8:26-39] Read God’s Word as did that heathen man. And, may God grace you with the faith to believe and be baptized. Romans 10:17 ; Hebrews 4:12;13 ; Romans 1:16 ; Luke 16:19-31 ; Colossians 1:4;5;6 ; James 1:18;19;20;21 ; 1 Peter 1:23;24;25

Amen.

Above Message and 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

Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Psalm 1:1f and Psalm 2:1f

Also, the following New Testament Scriptures:

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." KJV - 2 Corinthians 4:3;4 – [Note: Please read the whole chapter for context]

For better understanding - read the following Scriptures in their context (before and after):

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? - 2 Corinthians 2:14;15;16

"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake....." - Philippians 1:27;28;29


_____________________


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
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]

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What is the Gospel? How is it perverted?

I often take walks while listening to my audio Bible. What I have found, is that my “intake” of God’s Word, seems to be heightened. Most of my life, I’ve read the Bible, material about Scripture and listened to preached sermons. But in my (now) later years, I very much enjoy uninterrupted hearing from the Biblical (spoken) text.

This last week, on one of my walks, I listened to the New Testament book of Galatians 1:1f and some of Ephesians 1:1f. I was particularly struck by the references to “faith” in Galatians – specifically, Galatians 2:16:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [KJV] - Galatians 2:16

Now, I don’t by any stretch of the imagination claim to be an expert Bible scholar, steeped in the Scripture languages of Hebrew and Greek. Nor do I tout any worldly titles and / or degrees. But, as an aging emeritus Christian pastor and continued student of God’s Holy Scriptures, I, would just like to simply think of myself being in the same simple league as (were) my first century ancestor Christian brothers and sisters:

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. [KJV} - Acts 4:13

What is the “Gospel?”

Tersely put, the Christian Gospel is the good news of (about / concerning) Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who was prophesied in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures hundreds of years before His virgin birth, holy life, (divine) sacrificial suffering and death and resurrection from the dead. [1 Corinthians 15:1;2;3;4;5] That “good news” becomes priceless and eternal “good news” to sinful human beings, when; they by faith receive the Lord Jesus Christ.

This reception of [belief / faith in] Christ, is a result of God the Holy Spirit’s working in their life, to bring them to repentance [change of heart / mind / direction] and the faith. Please note that I mentioned, “the faith” and not necessarily, “their” or “one’s” faith. And, please note the Galatians 2:16 Scripture, above. Also, zero in on the following Scriptures, as many people erroneously think that human souls can drum up (by and for themselves) Christian saving faith by their own reason, or strength, (thinking or human efforts). Dr. Martin Luther, the notable and God blessed Christian messenger whom God raised up to bring back to our world the essence of true Scripture teaching, made the following precious statement in his explanation of the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed:

“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost [Spirit] has called me by the Gospel……..:”

The following Scriptures, help to evidence Luther’s simple explanation of how a human soul comes into the (saving) Christian faith:

Matthew 16:17 ; John 3:3-7 ; John 1:12;13 ; John 6:65 ; Romans 9:15-18 ; Ephesians 2:1-10 ; Galatians 1:15;16 ; Colossians 1:20;21 ; 1 Peter 1:3 ; 1 Peter 1:23 ; 1 Peter 1:5 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:13;14 ; Titus 3:5 ; Philippians 2:13 ; James 1:18 ; 1 John 5:4

How is the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ, Perverted? Doubtless, there are many ways in which the Christian Gospel can be, and has been perverted. But, for purposes of keeping this topical message from being too lengthy, I'll focus on but one major Gospel perversion.

There is a present odious element in the Christian world. It's many followers have left the divine revelation teaching documents, of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, and gone their own way. Their odious and destructive element, "tool" is referred to, as UOJ - "universal objective justification." Basically, this anti-Scriptural teaching rejects the Scriptural principle truth of the sinner being "justified by faith, alone," - the same Scripture reality that was revived by the Reformation, championed by Dr. Martin Luther and faithful Biblical scholars, leaders and pastors who followed him.

This UOJ deadly disease (tool) has spiritually infected a large portion of Christianity. This spiritual disease, with its often, high and mighty (ecclesiastical) church leaders, and, also, pastors and teachers, end up leading human souls, astray. This false teaching pacifies sinners and heavily contributes to leading those same sinners upon the roadways to eternal destruction in hell. Remember the old adage about what the goal of a faithful Christian preacher, should be? It is this: "To comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable." Not so with the UOJ leadership crowd, (though) as they do the opposite! Instead, what makes the UOJ teachers so deadly, is that their "universal objective justification" teaching, lulls sinners to a soul damning (permanent) sleep!

The UOJ followers' error? They magnify the grace of God, while at the same time, pathetically and incorrectly diminishing the Scriptural reality of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which places the sinner at peace with God. They essentially disregard how this all takes place, in the person and work of God, the Holy Spirit. This faith which justifies the sinner, is initiated and generated by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity (Triune God). Lord, only knows the far reaching and destructive trail results this infectious perversion of Scripture has cost needy priceless souls. And, Lord only knows the divine judgment He will bring upon those who have led priceless souls upon the path to perdition!

Note: To find out more about the soul destructive and damning teaching of UOJ - "Universal Objective Justification," - please access the following:


A Gospel Without the Holy Spirit, Working Faith, Is a Worthless Gospel of Cheap Grace

I will have to admit that as an emeritus Christian pastor, I have (at times) neglected to adequately highlight God, the Holy Spirit, and His work. Instead, I've indirectly referred to His work by mentioning "God," the Father and "Jesus Christ," God's Son. However, be that as it may, Jesus promised His [then] disciples,before he was sacrificed upon the Cross, that He would send His Spirit to them and His future Christian disciples, when He would be no longer physically walk this earth. [John 14:1f ; John 16:1f ; Matthew 28:18-20] It was and is this same God, the Holy Spirit, whose job is it is, to ".....reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." John 16:8 - See, also: Acts 16:29—30

My fellow sinner – The Triune God did not abandon this earth after the personal ministry of Christ. He carries it on with and through His Holy Spirit. The message of man’s sin and of God’s holy righteousness is being heralded. If you miss that message about how you can escape God’s wrath and punishment because of your sins against God and His commandments – and, against your fellowman, - if you fail to put your faith in Christ to save you from God’s just wrath to come (on account of all your sins), you will end up forever damned in a real place of eternal torment.

Our Holy Creator God cannot allow sin in His holy heaven. And, so He provided the means to escape that certain and just punishment, in the person of the Holy Christ, who was sacrificed for your sins. Now, just because Christ died for your sins, does not translate you to be in heaven, someday. You must come by faith to enjoy and fully experience the Lord’s gifts upon your needy and priceless soul! That faith cannot be manufactured at a whim,by personal fiat, a "sinners prayer," – or by walking umpteen times to some church structure altar. That faith can only come by God’s Holy Spirit, as the aforementioned Scriptures convey. But that (same) faith can be spurned if you would spurn the very holy Christ who made it all possible for you to be clothed with His holy righteousness. Matthew 22:1-14 ; Philippians 3:7;8;9-14

Part and parcel of Christ's promise to His disciples was, that the [His] Holy Spirit would guide and lead his present and future disciples into all the truth. [John 16:13-15] We can witness from history some of that fulfillment in the Christian ministries of Martin Luther, and other Christian notables such as William Tyndale, Jon Hus, Richard Wurmbrand and other Christian martyrs. These God blessed men of faith (and, there were many Christian women who are seldom if ever are mentioned) were God’s messengers and royal priests sent by the Lord to often highlight erroneous Scripture teaching and steer God’s people to follow the Lord as disciples committed to His Scriptural truth.

Back to Christians (or, at least, CINO’S – Christians in name only), perverting the Gospel as it is from Genesis to Revelation

When Christians emphasize part of Scripture at the expense of other Scriptures, they are riding on thin spiritual ice. Christ made the following strong statement:

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38

Please note, of the aforementioned verse, - the discipleship context stretching back to Mark 8:34;35;36;37

Those words by Christ contain a very strong statement and warning. That statement and warning by Christ is to be taken even more seriously, when considering that all of the divine revelation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are Christ's total composite Word (s)! He, as the Nicene Creed correctly states, is “very God of very God.” Also, see - 2 Timothy 3:1-5 ; Psalm 40:7 ; Hebrews 10:7 ; 2 Peter 1:16;17;18;19;20;21

However, Christian pastors and teachers and their perspective ecclesiastical "leaders," often and continually disregard Scripture’s teaching and take it upon themselves to falsely fulfill, (for themselves) - for instance, the following verses of Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:18 - And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [KJV]

2 Corinthians 5:19 - To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [KJV]

2 Corinthians 5:20 - Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [KJV]

2 Corinthians 5:21 - For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [KJV]

These (often), pious, (perverting Scripture) Christians will enthusiastically and also, (not so enthusiastically) twist the Scriptures in order that they might (somehow) play their part in the Lord's Great Commission directive, [Matthew 28:18-20] to spread God's Word throughout the world. Often, in their pathetic efforts, to do this, they misconstrue Scripture, by placing a cock-eyed emphasis on God's grace and His blanket forgiveness to all mankind in the once for all sacrifice of the holy Messiah Jesus Christ. They will end up (falsely) concluding, that God, in the person and sacrificial sin offering work of Christ, ended up providing the necessary blanket pardon that is [therefore] imputed to all sinners.

I’m sorry, sinner, friend, - and sinner Christian friend – just because you and I see a cookie jar on the kitchen cupboard, - that, presence of a cookie jar, does not indicate that cookies are contained, in that cookie jar. Just because Christ died on the Cross for all human sin, that, does not signify that all sinners are absolved and pardoned for their sins against God, His holy Commandments, their fellowman; and sins of commission and omission.

Friend, I can’t offer you a 3 or 5 point prescription to put you on the road to eternal life with all the saints in heaven. If I did that, and if I gave you the impression that you were put right with God and on the way to heaven because Christ died for your sins, I would be an unworthy servant of Christ. I can only tell you what you are and what Christ has done. You are a sinner with a priceless soul, headed for God’s just punishment in hell, forever. Unless you repent of your sins and believe in Christ as the [your] Savior for all of your sins, and are baptized in His Name, you will be miserably lost. John 3:14-21 ; Mark 16:16 ; Acts 2:38

Friend, what I can tell you, is that you need to regard your soul as priceless. All that will be taken from you when you breathe your earthly last will be your priceless soul. However, if you are a genuine disciple of Christ, that genuine faith in Christ, will follow your priceless soul to heaven’s gates and glories. If you do not possess that genuine faith in Christ, which the Scripture so often relates, I pity your lost soul. Faith in Christ is not something that can be drummed up on its own – or, even by your own machinations and / or, self will. True faith is a gift from God. [Ephesians 2:8;9] That faith “comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 ; 2 Timothy 3:14;15;16;17 ; Acts 8:26-39

Amen.

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An aging Christian mother was anxiously approached by her dear Christian son, who intensely asked her, point blank: "Mom, how do you know that you are saved?" To that, his mother perked up and stoutly stated: "Because, I believe God's promises!"

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I know my faith is founded on Jesus Christ, my God and Lord; and this my faith confessing, unmoved I stand upon His Word. Man's reason cannot fathom the truth of God profound; who trusts her subtle wisdom, relies on shifting ground. God's Word is all sufficient, it makes divinely sure, and trusting in its wisdom, my faith shall rest secure.

[Above hymn lyric from - TLH - "I Know My Faith Is Founded" - C. 1941 - CPH]


Above Message and 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

Related Scriptures To the Above Message

The Gospel - 1 Corinthians 15:1f


Conversion - John 1:12-13 ; John 3:3 ; Matthew 16:17 ; Ephesians 2:8-10 ; James 1:18


Divine Mercy, Favor and Blessing - Romans 9:15-24 ; Matthew 20:1-16


A historical account of a soul who believed - Acts 8:26-39

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
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]