Archive for June, 2019

Could Jesus Have Sinned? – Isaiah 7:14-15

June 27, 2019

Some say it was impossible for Jesus to have sinned, but consider Isaiah 7:14-15 – “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Matt 1:21-23 confirms Isaiah 7:14-15 is a prophecy regarding the promised Messiah.

Our text affirms the coming virgin born son will “refuse the evil, and choose the good.” This phrase indicates the possibility of the Christ choosing evil (he “refused” evil, not that evil wasn’t available to him), else His choice of good wouldn’t actually be a choice, but set in concrete before he was born. This passage states the truth succinctly on this question – that Jesus chose to do good, not that He was forced to do good.

The fact that Jesus could have sinned (being tempted as we are – Heb 4:15) , but lived a whole 33 years without committing even one sin, is (in my opinion) the greatest accomplishment in the history of the world. Teaching that Jesus couldn’t have sinned nullifies that most magnificent accomplishment.

Preacher Peer Pressure

June 20, 2019

Many Christians judge how good a preacher is by his speaking ability, or good looks, or something else trivial, but how many judge a good preacher by whether or not he is willing to hold to his convictions under pressure? We sometimes use I Cor 15:33 (“Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals” – ASV) to warn our youth against moral peer pressure, and rightfully so. Well there is immense “peer pressure” for a “preacher” (and even regular Christians for that matter) to take the mainline position of their particular segment of the brotherhood on issues there is disagreement on. It is very similar to peer pressure among teenagers; preachers don’t want to seem odd to other brethren (many times their salary depends upon not seeming odd), so they conform to the majority view. And just like with peer pressure among youth, sometimes Bible teachers don’t even realize brotherhood peer pressure is the underlying reason they are doing it.

Let me illustrate with some of my observations through the years …

Matt 6:24 reads “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (money), but I remember a preacher who told me privately he did not know what he believed about the Homer Hailey divorce and remarriage position back in 1990 when the NI brotherhood was at a juncture where it wasn’t known what side of that issue the majority was going to take. He evidently decided his position after finding out which way the wind was blowing.

John 12:42-43 demonstrates how we must stand for the truth even if we lose our position in church because of our stand, but I witnessed a case about twenty years ago where a preacher was real strong against a practice while he was in a private meeting with a close friend and mentor who took that side of the issue, but ceased all opposition to the practice in a follow-up meeting when that old friend was not there and the majority there felt the other way.

Matt 10:37 says “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” but I know a preacher who is very well respected in the brotherhood, and even does a good job with divorce and remarriage topics as a general rule, but he couldn’t see that his sister in the flesh was in sin when she left her husband admittedly without scriptural cause (I Cor 7:10,3-5).

Along the same lines, I knew a very well respected older brother in Christ who opposes Mental Divorce (Luke 16:18), but several years ago was not willing to make that stand when a relative took the position.

Still speaking of Mental Divorce, I knew a well respected preacher who stood for the truth on that issue, but he and the congregation he was with could not see such a case in their own midst. Sometimes it is easy to stand for the truth as long as that stand doesn’t affect me (Matt 10:34), as long as the problem is somewhere else.

Several years ago, a younger brother in Christ asked me to debate a denominational preacher that had challenged his beliefs, but when the debate happened, the younger brother was pressured into not attending by his local preacher. This in spite of the fact that God shows His approval many times over for such type Bible studies, for example, see Acts 19:8-10.

And I spoke with one of our most popular meeting preachers years ago because it seemed he would never preach on issues in which he believed something different than his audiences. Suffice it to say he was not willing to change his practice based upon my admonition. His way is a sure way to keep getting further opportunities, but Luke 6:26 says “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

Conclusion: It is easy to stand for the truth when that stand doesn’t cause any personal sacrifice on our part (Luke 14:33).

The Jews Were Expecting The Wrong Kind Of Saviour

June 13, 2019

The Jews were expecting a physical saviour, one that would lead them in military battle out of Roman subjection …

John 6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Luke 24:20-21 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

But that is not what Jesus came to be/do. Instead Jesus came to be king of a spiritual kingdom …

Luke 17:20-21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

And that spiritual kingdom is in existence today …

Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

I Cor 15:24-25 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Acts 2:30-31 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

How Does God Give Faith, Thru Force Or Thru Means?

June 6, 2019

The following passages prove God does not give us faith is the sense that He forces us to believe (as the Calvinists say):

· Matt 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

· Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

· Matt 13:15 … and their eyes they have closed …

· Acts 16:30-31 … Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved … [God doesn’t do the believing for us]

God does “deal” faith to men (Rom 12:3), but only in the same sense that He grants repentance to men (Acts 11:18) – in the sense that he leads men to repent (Rom 2:4). God does not force faith upon men; He would be a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) if He gave faith to one and not all. Instead He leads men to believe through His word (Rom 10:17). God gives faith in the same way He gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11) – not miraculously thru raining down manna from heaven, but through means (our jobs). Likewise the way God gives us faith is not through miraculous force, but through the means of the gospel (Rom 1:16) – divine persuasion.