Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

The House of Jesus — post by Michael J. and Mary C. Findley

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“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:1-6 NASB)

Many people want to argue about whether Jesus Christ says “mansions” or “houses” or “rooms” in this passage, but they are missing the real point of what Christ says. He is actually talking about making believers part of the royal family. Not the king or heir to the throne, but a prince, duke or duchess, something of that sort. It is a person who has royal access — to the throne room, the ball room, the royal yacht — and also royal responsibility. People in David’s kingdom were given royal responsibility. People in the royal household of England have responsibilities. Not all of the people we read about in the Scriptures or other historical accounts carried out their royal responsibilities the way they should have, but we have a better example and much better preparation and help available to us.

Thomas brings up that very point about preparation and help. He wasn’t exactly saying, in response to this, “We have no idea what you’re talking about.” He was saying that he didn’t feel prepared, or that he had enough knowledge. If Christ was indeed going to leave and go to that place he spoke of, did He expect them to be ready to follow, as well as to bring others? Thomas was pretty sure he wasn’t ready to do that.

In Egyptian culture, writings cover the walls of the tombs and are sometimes even inscribed inside the sarcophagus. These writings vary a great deal but are sometimes called “the book of the dead” and other times “the book of gates” or “gateways”. The pharaoh had a set of instructions for getting him through to the afterlife, and he also had the charge of returning to lead his people through. That these “return instructions” were flawed and incomplete is pretty clear, since no pharaoh ever returned to lead his people to bliss.

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. He went, upon His ascension, to the royal palace in heaven. He promised that He was going to prepare it for us, not just to give us an eternal home, but royal access and royal responsibility.

To ease the troubled hearts of those like Thomas, who felt unequal to the task of being royalty, complete with royal burdens, He left behind two ways of understanding how to be prepared for His return and for that royal responsibility. The first is the inerrant Word of God. The second is the promised help and clarity given by the Holy Spirit.

Our instructions are pretty simple. We are to be prepared ourselves for Christ’s return, by study of the Word through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That Word makes it clear that we are to lead others to follow Christ as well, and to be prepared to come along. After all, whether it’s houses, rooms, or mansions, there are lots of them. We can bring plenty of company, and we absolutely should.

 

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Studying the Bible to Become a Heretic — Post by Michael J. Findley

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Charles Augustus Briggs, originator of the word “bibliolatry.” “In every department of Biblical study we come across error.” Briggs insisted. He also believed that “Reason is a fountain of divine authority no less savingly enlightening than the Bible and the Church.”

A common theme in most universities and many places throughout the internet is that the Bible does not mean what it says in English. These people claim that you must know the original languages, the history of ancient cultures and comparative religions to understand the Bible.

While there are various “schools of thought,” it is very difficult to find much agreement among these people. They seem to agree only on one point. The Bible is the product of humans only. It is not God’s Word.

Studying the original languages, background, culture, history, and comparative religions can be very helpful. But information without being filled with God’s Spirit does not produce godliness. It produces hardness, arrogance and an unwillingness to allow the Spirit of God to work.

Their education is actually indoctrination. These men are educated in ignorance. Not only do they not want the Spirit of God to work in their own lives, but they do not want the Spirit of God to work in the lives of others.

As Paul wrote to Timothy, these men are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7 NASB)

This verse has a context. Once these men, and women, decide to rebel against the Word of God, they continue in their sins to become worse.

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.” (2 Timothy 3:1-9 NASB)

 

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The Greatest Commandment


“Master Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

Everything we do, every decision we make must have these two guiding principles. Does it glorify God? Does it show that I love my neighbor as myself? This blog post is inspired by a variety of topics that come across my Facebook page.

People have said in many different ways that they want their Facebook experience to be, in effect, “light and fluffy.” They don’t want to talk about religion or politics. A cute picture or a funny story receives many, sometimes hundreds of “likes,” reposts, and comments. Sometimes we like and repost such things too. But important posts, prayer requests for persecuted Christians or links to important news items, rarely show any evidence that anyone has even seen them.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we are not keeping these two commandments when we keep our lives “light and fluffy.” As believers, we are part of the Church, engaged in warfare. As believers we are faced with daily choices. Are our bodies temples of the Holy Spirit, or are they simply, as the Secular Humanist bumper stickers claim, amusement parks?

The Scriptures have detailed teaching about how a church should conduct itself and what it should expect of its membership, and vice-versa. Failure to follow these Scriptures is sin. A church or an individual needs to condemn failure to follow clear Scriptures or the making up of practices the Scriptures do not teach or allow for.

The Word of God clearly commands us not to fellowship with believers living in open sin. Though it grieves God’s heart, some people in positions of church leadership are living in open sin. Sadder still, unbelievers mock and ridicule the Word of God in the majority of the church buildings of Western Europe and the United States. We can neither glorify God nor love our neighbor in these services. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us discern exactly what type of ministry we should join and support.

But some people say they won’t go to a church service if it does not meet their “needs,” whatever that means. Would you attend a church where men were segregated from women and children? What about a service without pews or chairs, where you had to stand for the entire service? What about a church that met in a different place each service because of threats on the worshipers’ lives?

There are three standards in the word of God for choosing to fellowship and support a local work by joining in membership. First, does it preach the Word of God? This means the whole council of God, not just what I want to hear. Second, is there a place for ministry? If the abilities and gifts God has blessed you with cannot be used in one fellowship, seek out another place where they can be used. Third, can I faithfully attend the services? The perfect fit a thousand miles from your house is not such a perfect fit.

These should not be such high standards. Instead, Christian Churches are filled with people “whose god is their appetites.” Philippians 3:9. These people will only attend a church which meets their appetites. The sad part is, what might be acceptable for one believer, might be a stumbling block and a sin for another believer.

The following is a brief list of some of the issues we have seen which cause people to leave a church. 1) The church is not the right size. These are “Goldilocks” Christians. This church is too big. This church is too small. They go through life forever searching for the church that is “just right.” 2) The music or worship service is not “contemporary” enough. They often tie this to other issues. They say the church is cold, unfriendly, judgmental, sometimes after attending for years and suddenly discovering that all these things have bothered them for years. Do they really mean to say, “I hate this church and I know this church hates me because I hate its music”? 3) The Church isn’t “giving” enough. What they usually mean by this is that other members are not giving them enough. 4) The Church is “legalistic.” This word is so overused that it has lost it’s meaning. In the Bible the word legalism simply means works salvation. Sometimes people simply mean that this particular church has standards they do not like.

So maybe our facebook pages, and our churches, and our lives, should not consist of what is light and fluffy, of what is pleasing to us, but rather of things that fulfill the Greatest Commandment.

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What Did You Do Wrong?

You sacrificed to homeschool your children or put them in a Christian school. Yet they still turned their back on you and God. Today they are nothing more than another statistic, no different from any other sinner without Christ. There are almost unlimited people, Christian workers, articles and general advice to tell you what you did wrong.

According to the Word of God, we must carefully examine and confess every known sin. “Purposes are established by counsel.” Proverbs 28:18 The Word of God commands us to seek out Godly counsel to know if we are doing what is right. We will never be perfect but are we “training up a child in the way he should go”? If, after diligently searching the Scriptures, seeking Godly counsel and praying for the direction of God’s Holy Spirit, we find nothing wrong, then there is one other possibility which is rarely, if ever, mentioned. The child is responsible for his own choices.

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the sins of the sons, neither shall the sons be put to death for the fathers. Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16 Our Secular Humanist culture despises the concepts of sin and personal responsibility. So God gives us an extended example at the end of Judges, chapters 19-21. I have heard and read thousand upon thousands of sermons and only one man has preached on this passage. A very brief overview: A Levite had a wife who left him. He went back to her father’s house, retrieved her and stopped for the night in a town of Benjamin. An old man invited them to stay the night with him. The men of the town surrounded the house. The old man gave the Levite’s wife to these men and they raped her all night. When the Levite awoke in the morning, she was dead. The Levite cut her in twelve pieces and sent the pieces “to all the borders of Israel.” All Israel gathered together and asked for these men to put them to death. The tribe of Benjamin refused to hand them over and the rest of the tribes attacked Benjamin. At first Benjamin killed thousands of his brothers, but Benjamin was eventually destroyed so that only 600 men were left.

The important point is in Judges 28:22 “and Phinehas the son of Eleazer, the son of Aaron stood before (the ark of the covenant of God) in those days.” Phinehas killed a leader of Israel with a Midianite woman during sexual intercourse while Moses was still alive before they crossed the Jordan River.

Joshua was at least 80 years old when they crossed the Jordan River. The campaigns took somewhere between ten and twenty years. Then Joshua retired to his possession. Eleazar was the high priest of the older men under Joshua, and Phinehas the high priest of the younger men under Joshua. Phinehas became high priest when Eleazar’s generation was gathered to his people.

“And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.” Judges 2:7

“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

Though the historical account is placed at the end of the book of Judges, these Benjamites were “another generation after them, which know not the LORD.” These wicked atrocities occurred just a few decades after the death of Joshua.

Yet nowhere in the Word of God is any fault laid at the feet of Joshua. There is no direct blame placed on Eleazar’s entire generation for the actions of these men. The Benjamites were completely responsible for their own actions.

As parents, we can do everything right, yet have children who openly rebel against the Word of the LORD. The prophet Samuel’s children corrupted the Word of the LORD and took bribes. Noah was righteous in the eyes of the LORD, yet every wicked sinner on earth today is a child of Noah. Though we need to constantly examine our hearts for sin, there is no reason to blame ourselves for every sin our children choose, to the point where we destroy our own ministries with undeserved guilt.

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Why I Am A Baptist

I believe in denominations. You actually believe in denominations too. You don’t? Then give me your $20 bill for my $1 bill. Not that kind of denomination? I believe that the word denomination is used the same way with money and with faith.

Both a $1 bill and a $100 bill are money. One is just more valuable than the other. In the same way, all believers are believers, whatever their denomination. They are all saved. Some denominations are more faithful and obedient to God’s Word than others. Some are $1 bills and others are $100 bills. And though it breaks God’s heart, there are many, many counterfeits.

Since the Word of God commands us to be faithful, we need to carefully examine the various denominations to be as faithful and obedient as possible. This is not about what is wrong with everybody else. This is why I am a Baptist.

The Baptist-Anabaptist goes back as far as New Testament/Church era written records. Many periods of Church History have witnessed the destruction of written records. A continuous, unbroken tradition is impossible. But Baptist beliefs are not a novelty.

Doctrinally, Baptists and Bible Churches have the same faith. The Bible Church movement began as a separation of practice when many Baptist Churches abandoned the historic Baptist Faith. To the grief of God’s Holy Spirit, many Bible Churches have now departed from that same faith. It is easy to point to Baptist and Bible Churches who no longer believe these distinctive Baptist doctrines.

Baptists believe in the Apostolic Confession of Faith. We believe in the absolute authority of Scripture. There are three levels of authority in every believer’s life. The inerrant Word of God, human laws, such as a stop sign, and some human laws with divine sanction, such as a pastor or a family.

Baptists believe in the priesthood of every believer. While someone who has walked by faith for years is a friend of God, the prayer of a small child has the same standing with God.

Baptists believe in justification by faith alone apart from works. Works are necessary to demonstrate that we are saved and we can examine the fruit of someone who claims salvation but shows no evidence of good works. Works are not part of justification, because all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. We are incapable of doing good works before we are justified.

All reformed Protestants believe these points. Baptists also believe in the autonomy of the local church. While there are often mission churches begun by other churches, eventually the new church must become self-sufficient.

The most import distinction, where the name Baptist comes from, is the nature of the Church. Catholic and Reformed Churches believe that the Church is grafted into Israel and at least for this present age, replaces Israel. Baptism replaces circumcision, Sunday replaces the Sabbath and communion replaces the temple sacrifices. Baptists believe that the Church is a New Covenant. Though we are grafted into God’s promises and God is working through the Church instead of Israel in this age, the Church in no way replaces Israel. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are symbolic only; they confer no grace in and of themselves. They are for believers only. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward act. Baptism is only for those who are old enough to understand what it is and are ready to join the Church.

 

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