Archive for February, 2017

Shooting The Messenger

February 25, 2017

I saw the following the other day on Facebook – “The only people mad at you for speaking the truth are those living a lie. Keep speaking the truth.” Unfortunately, the quote has a lot of truth to it. Gal 4:16 says pretty much the same thing as it reads “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

The messenger was literally shot in Acts 7:51-60 when Stephen was stoned for preaching the truth. Many Christians react in a similar way today. Instead of appreciating being warned about their sin and false doctrine (Ezek 3:18), they “heap to themselves teachers” (II Tim 4:3) that limit their preaching to what their audiences already agree with. My observations tell me preaching to the choir is at an all time high among Christians; it is much more common these days than preaching “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Of course gospel preachers should speak the truth “in love” (Eph 4:15), but the issue here is our attitude toward truth; do we really want to hear truths that would demand changes in our belief and practice (Matt 13:15)?

The Purpose Of Bible Miracles

February 17, 2017

Of course Jesus healed the sick and the hurt because He had compassion on them (Matt 20:34, Matt 14:14, etc.), but the overriding purpose for miracles was to confirm that the healer was from God and was speaking the truth. The following passages illustrate such …

I King 17:24 (after the Zarephath widow’s son was resurrected via Elijah’s request of God) “And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.”

John 3:2 “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”

Mark 16:20 “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

Hebrews 2:3-4 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

Matthew 9:6 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”

Acts 14:3 “Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” (NKJV)

However I think it is a false argument for the truth to say the purposes for miracles have ceased, therefore miracles have ceased – because some of the purposes for miracles have not ceased, namely Jesus healed people out of compassion, that is, so the person would be well again. As long as we have physical sickness in the world, there would be a need for miracles. The argument that should be used is that miracles have ceased because the Bible teaches they would cease at the completion of the New Testament (I Cor 13:8-13), during the time period of the first coming of Christ (Zech 13:4).

Could Jesus Have Sinned? – Acts 2:23

February 10, 2017

Some say it was impossible for Jesus to sin. Their argument goes something like this: It was prophesied that Jesus would die for the world. Jesus could not die for the world unless He lived sinless. Therefore it was impossible for Jesus to sin else the prophecy would not have been fulfilled.

This argument ignores the difference in foreknowledge and predestination. I knew every day when I got home from work that my seven year old son Wesley was going to ask me to play ping pong, but I didn’t force that; he had a free will choice in the matter. Likewise, the Father absolutely foreknew (with 100% certainty) that Jesus was not going to sin (even though Jesus had free will in the matter), and the Father used that foreknowledge as an essential element in His plan to save the world.

This is similar to Jesus knowing ahead of time that Judas would be the betrayer (John 13:21,26, Matt 26:21,25), but that doesn’t mean God forced Judas to betray Jesus, that Judas didn’t have a free will choice in the matter. Likewise, Jesus “prophesied” that Peter would deny him three times (Matt 26:34), but this doesn’t mean Peter was forced to betray Jesus in order to fulfill that prophecy, does it?

God’s plan to save the world included predestination and foreknowledge according to Acts 2:23 – “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Jesus avoided all sin, not because He had to, but because He chose to. What a great accomplishment! What a benefit to us!

The Greatest Accomplishment In The History Of The World

February 3, 2017

The phrase “was in all point tempted like as we are, yet without sin” in Heb 4:15 emphasizes Jesus’ astounding accomplishment in completely overcoming sin throughout the course of his whole life. Saying Jesus couldn’t have sinned ignores this greatest feat in the history of mankind – a perfect 33 year life on Jesus’ part. If Jesus couldn’t have sinned, then there is no real achievement in His having lived sinlessly … because it would have been impossible for Jesus to do otherwise.  The truth from this verse is that Jesus was tempted regularly just like any other man, yet he resisted every time.

Practically speaking, what is the significant difference between “Jesus couldn’t sin” and “Jesus didn’t sin”? It is important to understand the fact that Jesus could have sinned but didn’t (I Pet 2:22), because that leaves us without excuse for our sin. Saying Jesus couldn’t have sinned (because He was God) provides excuse that we (not being God) can’t help but commit sin; that God made us that way. Jesus’ grand triumph of perfectly overcoming the real possibility of sin (as a man) proves conclusively it is possible for us (men) to resist sin, thereby making us responsible for each and every sin we commit (Rom 6:23).