Tag: gospel preacher

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 3

Denominationalism had received acceptance by the late 15th century.  Luther’s ideas had not been championed by Melancthon, Luther’s second in command (who later had come all the way to the New Testament position on most subjects but did not have the generalship to lead) and the gaffe left, gave rise for the world to have another who could decipher his beliefs from the inspired Word of God and tell mankind what God intended to say by His apostles in the Bible but was unable to articulate.  Among those most famous in this area was a French lawyer named John Calvin.  Born in the late 15th century, Calvin left Roman Catholicism while a young man and went to an area around Geneva, Switzerland.  The world now had two reformers of German descent, but that was about the only thing they had in common (Martin Luther had also aspired to be a lawyer).  When the Pope called on Charles V (a defender of the faith) to condemn Luther, Calvin was not going to risk such insult.   Invited to Geneva by the city fathers to reform the church, Calvin found his Jerusalem.  What had started out as a desire to restore the church of the New Testament in doctrine and practice soon became a climb to fame and fortune.  He forgot God and became god.   In Geneva, Calvin found the opportunity to preach the old Augustinian doctrine of predestination and write his catechism, called the Prayer book.  He eventually took the power of the government and in the first five years of his power executed 58 people and exiled another 75.  His boldest move was the execution of a Spanish doctor turned preacher, Servetes, in 1553, which they burnt alive atop his own written books that had come to Geneva to debate Calvin in public discussion.   He seemingly took no interest in his own native country of France but sent missionaries and preachers to her for years.  His doctrine came to England through one of his converts, John Knox, then to Scotland.  Calvin taught that God had chosen a select “elect” and nothing good or bad they might do would change their eternal destination, but, and if you were chosen to be eternally damned, there was nothing you could obey, do, or believe that would change your eternal consequences.  He sided with Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper and for this reason could not be a Lutheran.  His unearthly cruelty was evidenced in many ways.  He is said to have starved to death his oldest daughter for disobeying him.

No one had ever heard of the Presbyterian Church until John Calvin started it.  If she is the select of God, what happened to all those who lived and died before John Calvin was born? I guess it is alright to be “predestinated” to eternal life and not know about it, but what about being “predestinated” to eternal damnation and never having a chance? The Calvinist think the better they live, the more proof they are “predestinated” to eternal life, but if you NEVER knew you were “predestinated” to eternal damnation, it would be a little raw to wake up in Hell having lived all your life being an exemplary student of the life of Christ and not know you could never have been anything but LOST!!

Other doctrines the “lawyer from France” did not check with the Word of God about were “inborn sin” (called hereditary total depravity) and sprinkling for baptism.  I have often wondered why every Presbyterian has their children baptized (sprinkled) when one of them might be hereditarily totally depraved?  Maybe the doctrines of penances of Roman Catholicism was error, Mariolatry was sinful, and transubstantiation was completely absurd, but the idea that once you are in a certain family God would select you because of your parents church affiliation for eternal life seems a little profound.

At the same time in history King Henry VIII of England decided to divorce his wife and marry Anne of Boleyn.  Henry, being King, thought nothing of doing everything his way.  When he received word the Pope had decided to excommunicate him, Henry flew in a fury and started his own church which in the American continent is called the Church of England.  This church did not start as a reform movement, it started over who was the “guilty party” (whatever that is, I have never read this verbiage in God’s Word).  Not being among the reformed movements, it still spawned another of the modern day denominations called the Baptist Church.  Henry passed the decree that no one worshipped God in England in any other church than the Church of England, or be killed.  So corrupt she became in a short time that there arose a “separatist movement” that was a reform effort called, in mockery, the Baptist Church, started by a minister of the Church of England in 1602, John Smythe.

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part 2

Europe had grown tired of the Roman Pontiff by the 14TH CENTURY.  The Papacy continued to increase, BUT a secret lust in the bosoms of Protestants for ecclesiastical power and patronage worked in the members of the Protestant Popes, who gradually assimilated their new church to the old.  Creeds and manuals, synods and councils, soon shackled the minds of men, and the spirit of reformation gradually forsook the Protestant church or was supplanted by the “spirit” of the world.

Luther was not alone; there were other “giants” in religion which appeared on the scene.  Erasmus and Zwingli.  Erasmus was the son of a protestant preacher out of wedlock and Zwingli was the scholar from Switzerland.  These two men helped set the minds of men looking toward the writings of the apostles and them alone.  Erasmus (who had personal conference with Luther) wrote: “the Roman Catholics have cultivated a religion of external acts and substituted pilgrimages, indulgences, and relics for true faith.”  Erasmus wrote:” the source of doctrine MUST BE the Bible, not the church; we have too long drunk from the fountain of the Papacy rather than through the word of God, and now we are in the troubled streams of traditions of men.  We must exalt the Bible above the church as the source of doctrine.”  Reading the writings of Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper one will think he is reading from a learned member of the Church of Christ, today.

Then appeared John Calvin, a very cruel man (it is recorded that he literally starved his oldest daughter to death to punish her for disobedience).  Calvin renewed the speculative theology of St. Augustine, and Geneva in a few years became the Alexandria of modern Europe.  The power of religion was soon mugged in debates about forms and ceremonies, in speculative opinions.  Fierce debaters were more interested in burning heretics than seeking truth.   Still, the wound inflicted upon the “man of sin” would never heal, it was incurable, his day of sole ruler in Europe, was over.

Reformation became the order of the day; and this, assuredly, was a great matter, however it may have been managed.  It was a revolution, and revolutions seldom move backward.  The example that Luther set was of more value than all the achievements of Charles V, or the literary and moral labors of his distinguished contemporary, the erudite Erasmus.

It is interesting how extremes begat greater extremes in every step of the reformation cause, to the dawn of the present century.  The penances, works of faith and supererogation, of the Roman church drove Luther and Calvin to the ultraism of “faith alone”!  Churches that started in European states HAD status and were THE religions of those states in which they began.  What saved Luther’s life on many occasions was the only fact that he was before a German court and Germans!!  I am told that still today, the Germans pay a tax to keep the Lutheran church buildings operating!

In debating, the Protestants had lost all affection for truth, and would as soon have “communed in the sacrament” with the Catholics as with one another; speculative abstracts of Christian Platonism, the divine mysteries of Egyptian theology, became alternately the bond of union and the apple of discord, among the fathers and friends of the Reformation.

The five great dogmas of the Geneva reformer (Calvin) were carried to Amsterdam, and generated in the mind of James Arminius, in 1591, five opposite opinions; and these at the Synod of Dort, in 1618, formed a new party of Remonstrants.  (Some new names you are not familiar with have disappeared but were the leading denominations of the day.  They did not survive the 100 year mark, but they were extremely important at that time).   This is JUST 500 years, ago.  Has your church been mentioned?

Into Britain came Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Arminianism!  Like all raw material, they were introduced, were immediately manufactured anew.  There were extortions, but the beggarly elements of opinion flourished more than on their own native soil.  Abroad it was no better.  The Saxon reformer had his friends; John of Picardy lived in the grateful remembrance of the Geneva family; and James of Amsterdam speculated in a very liberal style among all the Remonstrants at home and abroad.  See! you have never heard of some of the “greats in religion” of the 16th century!!   And Jesus prayed that we would “all be ONE.” The Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostals and more, have not historically arrived, yet!!

 

Is Christ Divided? Why are there so many denominations? Part1

Since the full development of the great apostasy, foretold by the Prophets and Apostles, numerous attempts at reformation have been made.  Three centuries, carrying with them the destinies of countless millions, have passed into eternity since the Lutheran effort to dethrone the “Man of Sin.”  In this period many great changes took place in our world.  Nations composing the western half of the Roman Empire greatly benefited by adjustments and no person acquainted with either political or ecclesiastical history can reasonably doubt man is now better.  Time, that great arbiter of human action, the great revealer of secrets, has long decided that all the reformers of the Papacy were public benefactors in all the states/countries in which they were welcomed.  The Protestant Reformation has proved to have been one of the most splendid eras in the history of the world, and must long be regarded as one of the most enlightening interpositions in the behalf of the human race.

We Americans owe our national privileges and our civil liberties to the Protestant Reformers.  They achieved not only an imperishable fame for themselves, but a rich legacy for their posterity.  When we contrast the present state of these United States with Spanish America, and the condition of the English nation with that of Spain, Portugal, and Italy, we begin to appreciate how much we are indebted to this faithful intelligence evidenced by Martin Luther and his heroic associates which began the reformation in 1519.    Mr. Luther restored the Bible to the world A.D. 1534, and boldly defended its claims against the impious and arrogant pretensions of the haughty and tyrannical ‘See of Rome.’  In a moving debate in defense of his life, Luther declared the now famous words: “Here I stand, I will not move, so help me God!”  Unfortunately, at his death, there was no Joshua to lead the people, who rallied under the banners of the Bible, out of the wilderness in which religion, and the spirit of reformation that he had flamed, to the “promised land of the New Covenant.”  His “back to the Bible” was soon quenched by rival political interests.  A secret lust for power and ecclesiastical supremacy was seen in the bosoms of Protestant churches.  The “new” movement was gradually assimilated back to the old.  Creeds, manuals, synods, and synods soon shackled the minds of men, and the spirit of reformation gradually forsook the Protestant church.  They became just the second act of error that had followed the Papacy.

Calvin, renewed the speculative theology of St. Augustine, and Geneva in a few years became the Alexandria of modern Europe.  The Spirit of Christ was soon merged into political burnings of heretics; the honorable debate in the arena of ideas was lost.  Still, however, in all these collisions much light was elicited; and had it not been for these extremes, it is problematical whether the wounds upon the “Man of Sin” would have been as incurable as it has since proved itself to be.  With Calvin’s staunch, unflinching demeanor, his followers, the Presbyterians, gained great foot holes in the minds of the seeking, intelligent that for the first time actually had a copy of the Word of God in their own languages and in their own houses of worship!

Reformation became the order of the day; and this, assuredly, was a great matter, however it may have been managed.  It was a revolution, and revolutions seldom move backward.  The example that Luther set was of more value than all the achievements of Charles V., or the literary and moral labors of his distinguished contemporary, the erudite Erasmus.   The long-seeking freedom in the political arena found its new home in the new denominations that were springing up all over Europe.  Some came into being without even confirmed beliefs.  The Baptist (Separatists) for example existed 80 years, from their inception in 1603 A.D., before they ever decided on the mode of baptism they would have in their churches.  First called Anabaptist, the other sect were called Pedobaptist.  Neither sect had the power to enforce their definition of baptism, which the Holy Spirit had already decided some 1600 years earlier.  Penances and works of faith drove Luther and Calvin to their “faith only” doctrines, not the Bible!

 

 

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 42

Examples or en samples are good for nothing if the example does not show what the writer is striving to teach. Christ entered into the throws of death, as a boxer enters the ring in a boxing match. He was not made, as some teach, nor did He entreat the Father to extricate Him. In no cowardly fashion did our Lord and Captain approach His death. Paul, as he is directed by the Holy Spirit, uses verbiage that teaches the Hebrew Christians NOT to ever relinquish or surrender citing them example after example previous to citing them Christ, to prove his position. “Ye have not resisted unto blood.” The image here is from pugilism (boxing), as the Holy Spirit previously had the image of a race, both being taken from the great national games of the Greeks, the example could not be used if it had not existed, it would not teach a lesson. An example of fighting an opponent would have been useless had our Lord “withdrew from the ring” as some contend in Gethsemane! The brethren to whom Paul was writing were to suffer the loss of goods, and become a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions; they would shed blood (Hebrews 13:7). “The athlete who had seen his own blood, and who, though cast down by his opponent, let his spirits be cast down as often as he had fallen, had to be exhorted to rise the more determined than ever to win the contest. The fighter goes into the ring and anticipation and intends to win!! What mockery this would have presented the world if the Captain of our salvation had failed to “win the race, set before Him.?”
We are to fight against sin, not give in to it. Sin is personified as an adversary; sin, whether with you attempting to spare your blood, or in our adversaries, leading them to shed it, if they could not through your faithfulness even unto blood, see some example in Christ to cause them to fight to the death, how would this example induce them to continue in the faith? The cause of the conflict was sin, the gentle and moderate would never stand up to the fight. The fight has a good cause, for sin is the worst enemy both to God and man. We are engaged in spiritual warfare, which is both honorable and worthwhile. We are not defending ourselves, we are defending the Captain of our Salvation, we are enlisted under His banner, against sinful doctrines, practices, and habits. We cannot “throw in the towel” because the opponent is too strong, we have to bear up under the fiercest odds. Thankfully, our Lord, does not call His people out to the hardest battles at first, but wisely trains them by the easier rounds to be prepared for greater. He will not put new wine into weak vessels, He is the “gentle shepherd,” who will not ruin the “young ones in the flock” by breaking their spirits in conflicts that the wisest and most tried would have trouble bearing!! As He, we CAN bear up under battle!!
It becomes Christians to take notice of the gentleness of Christ in accommodating their trial to their strength. We should not over play our afflictions, but should take notice of the mercy that is mixed with them, and should admire, pity, and use as examples those who are called to the fiery trials to “resist to blood;” not to shed the blood of their enemies, but to seal their testimony with their blood!! This the example of our Lord and why it is used!! Afflictions endured, though they may be the fruits of God’s displeasure, are yet proofs of His paternal love to His people. “Whom the Lord loves, He chastises, and scourges every son whom He receives.” The best of God’s children need correction; we are His family, and shall not escape His rebukes even when we want not to have them. In this He acts as a father, and treats us like children. No wise and good father will wink at faults in His own children as he would in others; his relation and his affection oblige him to take more notice of the faults of his own children rather than those of his brothers! If God allowed us to go on in sin without correction, He would show us a bad sign, that He was alienated from us, and cause us to think we were bastards or strangers, not sons. Many call Him Father, because He is the head of the church; but do not appreciate His affection in correction!! If we are resistant to His correction and behave worse toward Him than we have to our earthly fathers, we show Him no reverence!! But, who can be proud of a father who is called a coward by His won children??, that which, some of the sons of the Almighty call our Captain!!
Children who have parents that will not correct them when wrong are loved less by the very parent that brought them into this world than they deserve. Do not expect this of our righteous King!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 41

“We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” Hebrews 12:1 Who would the could of “witnesses” be? How are we “compassed about”? What has this to do with the 11th chapter which has received so much more attention than this part of the 12th?
Being “compassed about” has been expressed to inform the Christians who were attempting to include the Law of Moses with the Law of Christ by showing them which trials are apart of Christianity! The “witnesses” are definitely not apart of the denomination of the Watch Tower nor the Arian heresy of the second century, they were the soldiers in a spiritual army that had been called to duty, and obeyed the call, even at the expense of their physical life and not complained about it!! Important to remember is that they who are on record in the 11th chapter were they who had no knowledge of the “end.” Without the promise of reward, many will not even dare to enter the fray, yet these (most of these) were not privy to special knowledge or information that would make their decision easier to make! When one knows the reward, it is a lot easier to make the commitment! Trials are apart of every life, faint trials that are considered such, are not considerations, but to be unable to know the results of faithfulness, in order to have faithfulness, makes the trial harder to bear. The Law of Moses was a law of terror, not of hope. To despise the penalties imposed in proportion to the greater privileges offered, makes our decision so much easier than the heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11. The “numberless cloud“ are the “unknown.” Their testimony defies determined response based on stimuli. The witnesses, Greek word martus, are first spectators. Next, they are those who after His example have prove the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death, they are martyrs. They who are witnessed now have become witnesses to the faithfulness of God to His people, for He has prepared for them a Home!! “That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12
In Rome, the spectators gave additional spirit to the combatants, so the “cloud of witnesses” who have themselves been in the same contest, increased in earnestness, due to God’s faithfulness. They, who had gone through the same combat, could fortify the courage and industry of we who have yet to enter that arena. By the fact they still are testifying, they instill and encourage our strength that might have been mutating a little to stand even stronger. Some had won the battle and testified of the faithfulness of God standing by them in the hour of deepest trial!! “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Timothy 4:16-17 This extraordinary wisdom and courage, to enable Paul to speak so much the better himself when nobody else would defend him, shows how “God caused His face to shine upon him.“ What a favor and privilege to be put into such a position to receive such a blessing. Wonder if Paul would have traded this privilege for anything the world would have offered?? The “privilege”? What meant more to Paul than the “preaching of the gospel”? Answer: nothing!! If front of whom was Paul able to present Jesus Christ that no other man alive had had the opportunity?? NERO. Nero was the lion! For this, Paul by inspiration reasoned, if he could escape Nero and his might from what was it that God could not deliver him? “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” When God quits delivering, our work is over!! Matthew 11:1-7. Guess John had this rule down pretty well!! Former deliverences provide future hope!! We are in a Heavenly kingdom and the Lord will preserve His faithful for His greater good. We ought to give God the glory of all past, present, and future deliverances: “To whom be glory for ever and ever more, Amen.”
I have to put this in for future references: Paul in 2 Timothy left Trophimus at Miletus, sick. This will mess up the Pentecostals and Healers, won’t it?? Though the apostles healed all manner of diseases miraculously, only for confirmation of the gospel, they did not have permission to exert such power on their friends and associates for personnel gain!! Jesus did not get John the Baptist out of jail, either!! Maybe we blame God when in fact, He has given us a privilege. We just don’t recognize it!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 40

What often is overlooked about Christ on His way to Calvary was His despite for the cross, the pain and agony, and the shame accompanied. Christ despised, counted as nothing of importance the cost He was to pay for the forgiveness of sin on man’s behalf. What a prize our Lord is fo all who follow Him to eternity. He FINISHED!! If there is anything to be considered in the definition of words, finish is what most people do not do well!! There was no quit in the Lord. He came to “do the will of the Father.” What it cost to do that Will was of no consequence, it would be done. When trials met Christ on His journey, He endured! The Greek word means to preserve; under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith; to bear bravely and calmly ill treatments. Inordinate care for His body, this present life, and the world were not even in consideration. The fondness most have for this world actually becomes a dead weight pulling as an undertow. It pulls down when they need most to ascend. It pulls back whey we should press forward. There are many things that can come across our path of life when we travel. These things become a drag on our spirit and drag us into complacency, it causes us to put the world before the Lord, and it causes our cares to be for the wrong life!! The more the weight they pull, the heavier becomes our load, and the more we find ourselves doing exactly the opposite of what we intended when we entered the race!! The love affair we have with the things of the world have to be held in check or they will control our place of habitation for eternity! For some to think Christ was so naive as to not consider the cost before going to war is ridiculous!! Remember the parable of the king who “counted the cost?” Was this king wiser than our Lord? Did this King have more integrity than the God who created the heavens and the earth? Luke 14:28-32 It seems ridiculous that some faithless unbeliever would preach that our Lord was not as wise as the King!! If you think a King too high, what about the man who was to build a tower? Either the darling sin of the Jews, the over-fondness for the world, or the damning sin of unbelief causes this lack of drive to achieve the goal. Does this describe our Lord?
The race MUST be run!! That is what most of us do not consider. One day it will be finished-then what? Our Lord knew when He came into the world He was to die. He knew it before He created the heavens and the earth. He knew it as a baby in Mary’s arms. He knew what it would take for the Father to forgive sin. Do you think He dreaded His roll? When Christ was drawn out into the desert by Satan to be tried, did He throw up because of fear? Did He not know Satan? Had they ever met? Was He not Satan’s creator, also? If Christ had dreaded the cross as much as some of our brethren preach, could He just have not created Satan?? When He created Him, did Christ not pre-determine His death at Calvary? When Satan led Him off into the wilderness did Christ hesitate or was His spirit within Him such that He eagerly went out for the challenge? The book says “Jesus was led up of the spirit into the wilderness.” Matthew 4:1 The word “lead up” means to launch out, set sail, put to sea. Is this accidental? Or on purpose?? What spirit lead Him, His own spirit of the Holy Spirit? It is interesting, is it not that never are we without the tempter no matter what station we have in the Kingdom? Great privileges and special allowances will not secure us from being “tempted”!!
We had better consider that when we have great honors bestowed on us Satan or one of his imps will be around to check our resolve to be a child of God! Expect something humbling!! God usually prepares His people for temptation BEFORE He calls them to it; He gives strength according to the day, and, before a sharp trial, gives more than ordinary temptation, the good Spirit of adoption has already written out our plan of escape in that mighty book called the Bible which gives the answer to all the suggestions of the evil spirit that is trying to debauch or destroy us!! When we have been invited into the communion of God, we must expect we are at our weakest, then is when the evil one will set upon us. The Bible calls temptations fiery darts, thorns in the flesh, buffetings, siftings, wrestlings, combats, all which denote hardship and suffering!! Christ submitted to them because He humbled Himself, we are watched over, guarded, and protected BUT we too must show our colors!! Though Satan is the strong man armed, the Captain of or salvation is stronger than he!! Physical weakness from fasting never deterred the drive of His spirit for battle. Our Captain won the day!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 39

The trailblazer, Jesus Christ , is the subject of these verses. This example comes from the Olympic games so recognized by all peoples of this time. There were two types of service, passive and active. As with the Lord, our race is marked out, it is set beforehand. This makes our lives more interesting when we recognize the Lord has beforehand set out our race!! These, being the “cloud of witnesses” set before us, we are compassed about surrounded, set about by proper limits and directions. These witnesses are both the word of God and sacrificial examples that gave their all for the cause. There is no one “looking over the balconies of Heaven” watching our lives, as some have taught. We can never offend some faithful one who has gone on before by sinning away their good name nor will will we put in agony some loved one who is caused to watch our direction, be it good or bad!! The watchwords of our journey must be faith and patience!! Christians have more examples than any who had just been mentioned in the previous chapter, but particularly Christ Jesus our Lord!! This being true, we can gaze upon, aphouontes, Jesus because He is the trailblazing pioneer, archegon, the One who brings faith to completion, teleioten. He set an example for all His brethren by enduring the agony and suffering of crucifixion, discounting the shamefulness of a criminal execution. He had set His gaze on the joys of the resurrection and His eternal role as High Priest at the side of the Ancient of Days!! We are asked to carefully examine and re-emphasize the example set by Jesus in His endurance of the verbal hostility and abuse, antilogian, of sinful men. The perfect tense of the verb “endured” stresses the abiding results of His endurance. It is not just a matter of historic interest; it is significant for all believers. Careful consideration of Jesus endurance of persecution has the power to encourage and keep we who are gradually dropping out of the race when things get rough. How could this be said of Christ had He been only half committed to dieing at Calvary? How could His brethren, who are suppose to defend His name, claim faith in a quitter, if in fact Jesus ever considered backing out of the agreement with God the Father? Remember the warning: “Having done all, STAND.” Ephesians 6:14 When Christ met obstacles and frustrations in His journey, He did not throw up His hands and quit, He ENDURED!! Remember—the sword was thrust into His abdomen, not His back!!
The Jewish Christians to whom the epistle of Hebrews was written were reminded that even though they had “resisted” (antikatestete-stood against) the sin of unbelief because of their identification with Christ, they had not yet been asked to die while struggling, antagonizomenoi, wrestling against, the temptation to apostatize. Jesus and the Old Covenant saints are reminders to all Christians that is possible to endure such persecution even to the point of dying IF Christ is at your side. The eternal nature of the reward is far superior to anything that can be gained by “giving up in the struggle.” To continue living in the present age at the expense of forsaking Christ and His eternal kingdom is to squander the greatest treasure for a mere pittance!! “To gain the world one can lose his soul!!” The “end” of His race brought joy, peace, comfort and a seat at the right hand of God!! Nothing passes between earth and heaven but by Him, He does all that is done, and “He ever liveth to make intercession for the saints.”!! Hebrews 7:25 We must set Christ continually before us as an example, our advantage would be never weary or discouraged. It is amazing what fresh supplies of encouragement and faith can do for all of us, for it was He who said: “if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” Where will our journey take us?? A quitter never wins and a winner never quits!! is the banner on the helmet worn by the faithful child of God!!
The fact that some of the Jewish Christians who were recipients of this letter may have been thinking about giving up their confession of Jesus the Messiah, indicates they had lost sight of a confession Jesus as Messiah had made before Pontius Pilate: “I give you charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.” 1 Timothy 6:13
What kind of larceny does some malcontent have in his heart who stands in the pulpit and charges Jesus Christ with quitting: “let this cup pass, from Me.” This would have been SOME example for the apostle Paul to have had when he stood before Nero, he would have had to be ashamed of his Captain!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 38

Of all the verses we have discussed is this study, the one least discussed by the advocates of denial who teach Christ did not want to die, is Hebrews 12:2. It reads: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” There are key words that must be either denied or misunderstood for good men to dis-believe the intent of Christ intending to die!!
The first word will be “joy.” Usually, the word joy brings delight and encouragement. This word in the Greek language is the word “chara.” It means joy and gladness but further restricts this to the persons who are one’s joy. We are the purpose for Christ to have joy. He was intent on bringing to pass what He had had in preparation for the past 6,000 years. The author, chief, leader of Christianity was given an army. With this army, He was to take over and make over humanity. What had been so disadvantageous about mankind was his continual movement in the wrong direction, away from God. Christ was to bring into existence the army that would head in the opposite direction!! We would change the destiny of millions by the gospel we would be given to proclaim. No other institution had ever been given this charge. The Church of Christ is and was always in the mind of God as the defender of God’s love. “God, so loved the world.” John 3:16 There had to be something, someone, or some reason God would love. Until now, that was conspiculously absent from our race. Going away from God seemed to be the way the river of humanity was running. Things had gotten so bad that man had committed acts of treason against his very own flesh. Surely, something had to make some sense as to why God loved!! All the prophesies, all the sacrifices, all the teaching and instruction had to have a finality. Something had to make sense!! As consistent as God, the consistency of His message to mankind was, man had to change. Man, himself could not bring this about, angels were not offered the opportunity, so what did God have in mind by sending His Son!! When His Son came, mankind for whom He was coming flatly rejected Him. Christ had come healing the sick. One would have thought that sufficient to produce love, but it had not been. Christ came serving mankind, unlike John the Baptizer, Jesus had come and had been socially acceptable; but that had not changed man. If nothing else, it had seemed to make things worse!! No Jew had tried to kill John!! With superior wisdom, Christ had fed the hungry, raised the dead, made the deaf, hear, defended the righteous, showed kindness to little children, and comforted the mourners. All these things had had their appeal, but all put together they had not made man “take their shoes off their feet” in His presence. It had even been recorded that one of His closest disciples had had talks with His frantic enemies making arrangements to set a trap for His arrest. Yet, Christ was looking for “joy.” He knew that among mankind there were people like that for which He would die; He knew that His creation had not gone that far toward evil that some of us were worth saving and He was willing to sacrifice His life to prove His creation was better than what it seemed. He had born the opposition of those who were professed sinners and those who professed self-justification and righteousness. What was in this species called humanity He saw that we could not, see? He had heard their rants against His Holiness, God, the Father. He had recognized that one tremendous lacking in humanity was appreciation, yet onward He kept moving toward the cross—mind you- with ‘JOY.’
He “endured” the cross. This word, endure means He was not to recede, flee, or change. It is the Greek word hupemeno and describes what Christ had on His mind when He considered the cross of Calvary. Included in the definition of this word is the fact that He bore bravely and calmly. All His time among man, He never heard man profess openly, “this man loved Me.” His last interview with Simon Peter is a heart-breaker if you expect to find Simon openly, unabashedly declaring “Christ, I love You.”!! Anticipating and knowing the difference His obedient would bring into this world when He and the Holy Spirit had an opportunity to make over they who would serve Him, what the world had never had the pleasure of having a plethora of, Christ NEVER one time backed off His continuous journey to make US possible, never deterred from His mission of going to the cross!! His love was not lip service, He loved all the way to Calvary. If you can’t appreciate this, don’t deny Him this love!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 37

Remembrance of this event had to be a painful thing for the Lord. “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered unto you.” 1 Corinthians 11:23 Often, revisiting an event or incident brings with it new and better insight to the event and affect it had on your life. What mental state would the Lord be in to re-visit this night? What tone of voice did He use to speak to the only apostle of the twelve that had no memory of this most famous happening? In grave tones, deep and mellow, or in exuberant tones with the brightness and clarity only the Lord could have spoken? What whirlwind of remembrance did all the events of that one night flood the Lord’s mind? 5,000 or 6,000 years of development had gone into this one evening. Every event had to have been played over and over again as the Prince of Heaven had for a million times visited every moment before He actually lived them. He would know every expression on the faces of every disciple, every breath each would live, and every utterance each had made though we have not the record given. This was the night!!
Six thousand years of struggle, dedication, and sacrifice had made this night possible. Each hero of God had brought this moment into existence. Each soldier of an unseen army had rendered this event possible by their sacrifice and then men of today think Christ was caught off guard, by surprise, and failed the test when taken?? Even humanity with the precise knowledge and perfect information about the events of this night would have prepared themselves to pass this test!! From the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane was a great distance, but each step had been totally planned for and prepared. The Creator of the Universe, mankind, and everything in between with a history of perfection in every detail He performed would dictate in this night the type of perfection before seen in all His works, continued. There were no surprises, no lapses, nor any unforseens unprepared for or not considered. The trophy designed from before time that would be laid at the feet of His Redeemed was being made this night and the entire perfection of Deity was on display!! No mistakes!! No surprises!! No circumstances that Satan nor all the imps of Hell might devise had not been rendered empty, for the Son of God was going to sacrifice His life’s blood for payment that had now come due, He was going to die!!
It is easy to understand why the Lord of Glory had not destroyed Judas, why the tree on which He was to be impaled had not been destroyed, and why the Roman soldier that was to pierce His side had been allowed life to remain in his body from the womb of his mother. All of these were for the “glory that would await Him.” This was not selfishness seen to the point of ridiculousness, this was selflessness to the point of perfection!! This was God at His finest expression, something man has had a lot of trouble comprehending. No dark, doomsday theories, no disappointments, no challenges to His nature had produced in Him anything that would at any time give thought to not “doing the will of My Father, in Heaven.” Christ Jesus our Lord was moving on to a job greater than sacrifice, greater than His triumphant journey to the Hadean world, and greater than His return to the Ancient of Days; and nothing nor no one would or could stop Him. Christ was moving on to the greatest work of His gift to His bride; He was going to become her High Priest in Heaven, Her means of making it safely to the abode of righteousness, and Her acclimation announced before Her purchase; “Come ye blessed of My Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” How could He ever have envisioned such a delightful address IF He would not have died on Calvary’s stake??
How many nights had He spent in prayer with His Father? How often had He predicted through His prophets His death, and how much had He put into making this moment a truth to have given up in face of predictable odds?? Yes, He could predict what was to happen!! So, in what tones did He give this message to Paul, the apostle? Answer: VICTORIOUS!! Having now been reigning at the right hand of the Father for about forty years, Christ would be riddled with joy, enthusiasm, and finality. Only they who have lived moments can fully express them, and such would be the case with the Lord of Glory.
What a thrill this must have been to His courageous apostle! To hear this eloquence and feel this tenderness must have been unearthly!! To have been thought worthy to have shared with Christ this most touching of moments must have been beyond understanding, yet He shares this thrill with us!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 36

In 1st Corinthians 5:6-8 we have an admonition not taken too seriously by some: “Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened, For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” So serious were some of the participants of the passover feast in ridding themselves of any leaven that they demanded new vessels both with which to bake the bread and partake. They paid close attention to this admonition that many of us overlook and that to our damnation.
In every respect, every demonstration of piety should be paid to the partaking of the emblems that were given to us as typical of the body and blood of Christ. In every sign or type, the thing being signified or patterned points to something beyond itself and must be understood to have certain properties consistent to what it is that it is prophetically showing. Bread, could have been an emblem apt enough to show the body of our Lord, but the Holy Spirit wanted us to see more concerning the disposition of the participant. We must partake in sincerity and truth, the very opposite of malice and wickedness. The very taste of the bread was at the very first instructive, it was unleavened! As the symbol shows by taste the extreme concern to show the purity of Him of whom we partake, so the attitude of the partaker. He who comes to this remembrance of the offering of the body of Christ with malice or ill-will against anyone present or absent shows the lack of respect demanded for the offering of His body, itself. Again, if he come with a profligate or sinful life, we are damning and judging ourselves for we have not determined to understand the type of life this bread represents!! “He is eating and drinking damnation to himself, not discerning the purpose the Lord had in mind when He sacrificed His body.” Like represents like!! Christ died that all sin might be destroyed and the absolute purity of Christ life denies anyone actively “continuing in sin.” The clearest light should not be able to discern sin, only truth. The Law of truth which it represents, can never show itself anything in common with sin or profligacy. Had the bread used been one of common kind, it would might have allowed mockery, but His was of the purest of the pure. For this bread communicates to the participant a story of utmost sinlessness, and as it is rarely used (as a type of bread) its representation is deeply more impressive. The sign and the thing signified have an agreement so that to destroy one you must destroy the other, not only in correspondence but also in influence!! Unleavened bread MUST be the type bread used in this offering to God! It is the only type bread that is fitting what it represents!!
In like manner, the wine. Most denominations use fermented wine. It is here, it could be argued, that the communicate gets his first taste of an influence not of his nature. It is man-made, not God made!! The influence attending the cup is not only adulterated by making the wine intoxicating, but shows the demeaning disrespect to Him who’s blood it represents! Imagine coming into the presence of Deity, by invitation mind you, and showing the detestable disrespect and lack of appreciation man-made wine brings!! Since no one who partakes is sinless, why would we practice adultery in substance. Children, imbeciles, nor those without control of the mind are invited to this celebration. If the symbol of the container in which the blood was sealed be without contamination, how could the blood which was contained not be as pure? How improper and indecent to mock the Lord of Glory in His celebratory remembrance!! How could we lift this fruit of the vine to our lips if these lips were mocking the truth that the “life of the flesh is in the blood: and God has given it to us upon the altar of sacrifice to make an atonement for our souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul!!” Leviticus 17:11 Let him who enters into the presence of God fear, but let him fear in a far greater sense who has the audacity to enter here with the contamination of sin and its fruits on his lips!! The church at Corinth was busy setting itself up as supporting those who practiced sin instead of falling on its knees before a holy God fearful to enter into His presence!! and there they had to come every first day of the week!! Can you imagine the pain and insult to the great apostle to the Gentiles when an assembly he was solely responsible for bringing into existence partook in such fashion!!