Archive for the ‘church’ Category

Todd Rhoades over at MMI admonishes Ed Young Jr. for his video rebuke to pastors. While Ed makes some good points, I tend to agree with Todd – you don’t need to cuss to tell people not to cuss.

Check it out at:

What the @$&*? Ed Young Swears to Prove a Point: Don’t Swear


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(Matthew 19:16)  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Notice a few important things in this question:

1)      He believes there is life after death.  He accepts eternal life as a fact.  He knows he doesn’t possess eternal life.  The kingdom is for those who repented.  In Matt 10:7, the disciples are commissioned to preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  This man is obviously seeking the kingdom but has not yet found the way.  He is still grappling with his own sense of righteousness, his own performance and his own pride.

2)      He wants to “do” something.  We see in Matthew it is a “good thing” he wants to do to inherit eternal life.  He believes he is required to perform a work that would earn him the right to inherit everlasting life.

3)      He believes he is capable of earning salvation.

4)      There is no indication this man understands or believes the gospel of the Kingdom.  If he understood the message preached by John the Baptist in Matthew 3, Christ in Matthew 9, and the disciples as commissioned in Matthew 10, he would have obeyed the call to repent of his sins and identify himself with believing Israel by submitting to water baptism.

This man is no different than any of us who at one time looked for a religious solution to a spiritual problem.  At this point, it’s obvious he is an unbeliever.

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4 Fastest Growing U.S. Churches

The National Council of Churches issued its NCC 2009 “Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.”

According to the 2009 Yearbook, among the 25 largest churches in the U.S., four are growing: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (up 1.63 percent to 5,873,408; the Assemblies of God (up 0.96 percent to 2,863,265); Jehovah’s Witnesses (up 2.12 percent to 1,092,169); and the Church of God of Cleveland, Tenn. (up 2.04 percent to 1,053,642).

You can check out the rest of the report here.

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I attended a conference this week and saw the video below.  Hopefully, you see the trends indicated and the unprecedented cultural shifts we are experiencing.  How will we respond?  Will we turn a blind eye to the enormity of these changes?  Will we deny these events are occurring?  This is both thought and prayer provoking.

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(Luke 18:18) And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
(Luke 18:19) And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
(Luke 18:20) Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
(Luke 18:21) And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
(Luke 18:22) Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
(Luke 18:23) And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
(Luke 18:24) And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
(Luke 18:25) For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Another part of a recent comment asked a question regarding this passage about the “rich young ruler.”  Why did Jesus tell this person to keep the commandments?  This is a very good and very valid question. We’ll consider it in the next several posts.

I’ve heard a number of preachers claim this as a proof text that keeping the Law was part of the salvation message in the Old Testament.   Bear in mind this occurred immediately after the story about the Pharisee and the publican.  The Lord concluded the story when he said,

(Luke 18:13) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (Luke 18:14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee who laid claim to performing the legalistic requirements and proclaimed his relative righteousness when compared to others was not the man who was justified.   Meanwhile, the publican only appealed to the mercy of God in recognition of his sinful condition.  The publican went away justified.  He laid no claims upon performance.  The Law does not allow for humility.  The Law provides the ability to boast in those who claim to perform it for acceptance before God.

If the Lord was teaching the Rich Young Ruler to perform the Law as part of the requirements for his salvation, wouldn’t this in some respects contradict the lesson He just taught about humility and pride?

To Be Continued…

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A reader asked in a comment, “Why did God give the law if it had nothing to do with their salvation?”

This is a very good question.  I had this question myself at one time.  The answer is in understanding the purpose of the Law.  Scripture reveals to us two basic purposes God intended in giving the Law.

1.       The Law was given to govern Israel in her wanderings through the wilderness, possession of the land, and life in the occupied land.

The Law gave Israel a national identity amongst the Gentile nations.  It served as a testimony to the world that they were God’s chosen people and different from the heathen surrounding them.

(Deuteronomy 4:5)  Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.  (Deuteronomy 4:6)  Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

2.       The Law was given to point out sin and thus demonstrate man is a sinner in need of salvation.

Paul has a lot to say about the purpose of the Law:

(Romans 3:19)  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  (Romans 3:20)  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Them who are under the Law refers to Israel.  The rest of the world was set aside by God in Genesis 11 and therefore, already guilty before Him.  The Law points to all righteousness and wrongdoing and screams out one word:  SIN.

(1 Timothy 1:8)  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

(1 Timothy 1:9)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

(1 Timothy 1:10)  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

(1 Timothy 1:11)  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Using the Law “lawfully” is to use it according to its intended purpose:  to point out sin.  This isn’t a dispensational change in the purpose of the Law.  This was the original intent and remains so even today.  Our unrighteousness, in contrast with God’s holy Law, should bring us to the realization that we are sinners in need of salvation.

Read the Old Testament passages carefully.  When you encounter a verse that talks about salvation, justification, or righteousness, you should look at the context.  Many of them, when the meaning and context are examined, point to national redemption promised to Israel and physical salvation from her enemies.

God never intended the Mosaic Law to be a rules list that would provide eternal life.  Man could never attain the perfection demanded by the Law in any dispensation.  That’s why the Lord Jesus Christ had to die for people in every dispensation.

To Be Continued…

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(Acts 15:9)  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

(Acts 15:10)  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

If keeping the Law could provide justification unto eternal life in the Old Testament, why would Peter rise up to utter these words during the great Jerusalem Council in Acts 15.  Why would God demand the “fathers” in Israel keep the Law when He knew they were unable to bear it?  He didn’t.  Peter understood the impossibility of anyone to keep the Law.  But there’s something else astounding as well – in the very next verse!

(Acts 15:11)  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

How were the Gentiles saved? By  “…purifying their hearts by faith.”  There is no place for works in the grace of God – which He continually demonstrated and will yet demonstrate through every dispensation.

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