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).

Kingdom = Heaven (sometimes)

January 27, 2017

Many times the word “kingdom” in the New Testament refers to Jesus (as King) plus the same people the term “church” refers to (the saved). But sometimes “kingdom” refers to heaven – as in the following passages …

II Tim 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

I Cor 15:50,53 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. … For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

I Cor 6:11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Matt 5:10,12 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

Matt 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

Calvinism Says God Gives Repentance

January 20, 2017

Yes there is a sense in which God grants repentance to a person (Acts 11:18b). But it is not in the sense of miraculously forcing us to repent (as the Calvinist understands it). Rom 2:4b says “… the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” So God grants us repentance by leading us through means, and does not take away our free will in the matter. As a parallel, God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11), not through the miraculous raining of manna, but through providentially providing us opportunities to work.

Notice “the gospel … is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16) and “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Notice also from John 6:44-45 that the way God “draws” us is by teaching and learning, not by force. So God grants us repentance by leading us to that end by inspired persuasion (II Cor 5:11). Repentance is something “we do” (Acts 2:37-38). God doesn’t repent for us. It is our choice (Josh 24:15).

And God’s leading/persuasion/calling can be refused:

· Matt 22:14: For many are called, but few are chosen.

· 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.

Repentance is a very important condition of salvation (Luke 13:3). Have you repented, or are you still living in sin?

May One Congregation Withdraw From Another Congregation?

January 13, 2017

Passages such as Eph 5:11 (“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness”) not only authorize one congregation withdrawing from another congregation, they require such under some circumstances. It is true that just because an individual is authorized to do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean the congregation is likewise authorized (I Tim 5:16, etc.). But if the individual is forbidden from doing something (such as lying), that automatically means the congregation is also forbidden, because (for example) if the congregation lies, that means the individuals of the congregation are lying. Illustrations: (1) If a congregation A is regularly having benevolent fellowship with congregation B (such as what we see in Acts 11:26-30) and then congregation B becomes a “gay church,” should congregation A withdraw that fellowship from congregation B, or must they continue to send benevolent financial support … because “it is wrong for one congregation to withdraw fellowship from another congregation” as some teach?  (2) Suppose congregation A is in the habit of announcing congregation B’s gospel meetings, and then congregation B becomes a “church of Satan.”  Must congregation A continue to fellowship congregation B by announcing their gospel meetings, or should congregation A now withhold that fellowship (II John 10-11)?

A related issue is “May A Congregation Withdraw From A Member Of Another Congregation?” The answer to that question is also “yes.” II Thess 3:6 commands us to withdraw from “every brother that walketh disorderly,” not just brothers at the same local congregation. Suppose congregation A is financially supporting an evangelist at congregation B. Suppose then that evangelist becomes a homosexual and won’t repent, and so congregation B withdraws from him. Must congregation A continue to financially support said gay preacher, or can they withdraw that fellowship? If we bid God speed to a brother who is not abiding in the doctrine of Christ, we become a “partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 9-11) – period; it doesn’t matter what congregation he might be a member of.

Carefully Following Bible Doctrine

January 6, 2017

Many believers in Christ don’t think it is important to carefully follow the doctrine of Christ. For example a Facebook friend recently wrote “Worshipping God can look very different, in different places in the world. God knows our hearts.” Another Facebook friend wrote “We live in a different culture today and things are different than they were 2000 years ago. That goes for a lot of practices we do differently today.”

However, we must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). That means we must do it the way God specifies. Lev 10:1-2 relates an example of two who worshiped God according to their own designs. God was very displeased to say the least. Paul wrote in II Tim 3:10 “you have carefully followed my doctrine.”

Of course II John 9 verifies this by stating “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” Since it is true that if we don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ we don’t have God (we won’t be saved), then you better believe we should be careful to follow Jesus’ doctrine.

I Timothy 4:16 says “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” So to be saved, this text says we must be careful to continue in God’s doctrine.

Question: Are you carefully following the doctrine of Christ?

False Arguments For The Truth – Some Examples

December 30, 2016

Matt 23:8-10 and its context most definitely teaches it is wrong to elevate one above another in the Christian brotherhood. But it is a false argument for that truth to say “in the Bible the term ‘reverend’ is applied only to God.” Can you locate the instances where a form of that word is applied to others?

I’ve heard many say that everything the Holy Spirit does He does through the word, that God’s word is said to do everything the Holy Spirit is said to do. It is truth that God’s word is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16, 10:17) not the miraculous, but I find at least one thing the Bible says the Holy Spirit does for us that the word does not do. Can you find it?

Passages such as Mark 16:16, John 3:5, Gal 3:26-27, Col 2:11-13, and I Pet 3:21 most definitely teach water baptism is necessary to salvation. But it is a false argument for that truth to say baptism is always mentioned before salvation in passages where both are mentioned. Can you locate a text where salvation is mentioned before baptism?

Passages such as Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16 also teach water baptism is necessary to salvation. But it is a false argument for that truth to say “baptism is mentioned in all conversion accounts in the book of Acts.” I have found 18 conversion accounts in Acts where baptism is not mentioned. How many can you find by reading that book?

Many teach there are only five conditions of initial salvation – hear the gospel (Rom 10:13-17, etc.), believe in Jesus (John 3:16, etc.), repent of sin (Acts 2:38, etc.), confess Christ (Rom 10:9-10), and water baptism (I Pet 3:21, etc.). But if you do a thorough reading of the whole New Testament you will find several additional conditions. I challenge you to look for the others.

What Does The Bible Mean When It Says Jesus “Bore” Our Sins?

December 23, 2016

I Peter 2:24 says about Jesus “Who … bare our sins in his own body on the tree”

Hebrews 9:28 reads “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many”

Isaiah 53 identifies for us the meaning of Jesus “bearing” our sins. Verse 12b (“he bare the sin of many”) and 11b (“he shall bear their iniquities”) is defined just 5 verses previous in 6c as “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

So Jesus bore our sins in the sense our sins were laid on him. Just like when a heavy load is “laid” on a pack mule, the mule “bears” or carries the pack. Except as regarding sin, we mean spiritually not physically.

The scapegoat of Leviticus 16 affords the same definition for “bearing sin”:

v.22 the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities

v.21all their sins,putting them upon the head of the goat

In our case, “bearing sin” means Jesus took responsibility for our sin – Lev 24:15-16:

… Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.

Jesus took responsibility for our sins by taking our curse (Gal 3:13), our penalty (II Cor 5:21), our consequences (Matt 27:46), our punishment (Isa 53:5). Many are hesitant to give Him the glory for doing that!

What About All Those Hypotheticals?

December 16, 2016

No matter what questions, hypotheticals, or scenarios are raised, it is still going to be true that …

If a person teaches the commandments of men, his worship is vain (Matt 15:9).

If a person follows a false teacher, he will fall into the ditch, be lost (Matt 15:14).

If a person teaches a different gospel, then he will be spiritually accursed (Gal 1:6-9).

If a person violates God’s law in even one point, he is guilty of the whole thing (James 2:10).

If a person does not abide in the teaching of Christ, he does not have God (II John 9).

If a person worships differently than the way God instructs, God will be sorely displeased (Lev 10:1-2, John 4:24).

If a person adds to or subtracts from God’s word, his name will be taken out of the book of life (Rev 22:18-19, etc.).

If a person does not continue in Jesus’ word, he won’t be Jesus’ disciple (John 8:31).

If a person does not believe and practice the truth, he will not be set free from his sins (John 8:32).