Archive for August, 2010

Jesus is God and…

As a Christian, all of what I believe is completely and utterly centered around who Jesus Christ truly is.  However elemental this sounds, the born again believer will never move beyond it, only deeper into it.  The truth of  Jesus Christ is the absolute key to eternal life and is found in His Word, illuminated by the Holy Spirit of God.  To say we are Christians is to actually say we are followers of Christ and His truth.  It is not for us to claim anything other than His Word as our doctrine.  It has rightly been said that Jesus is not merely a good man.  He is either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord Almighty.  His claims to be The Messiah, The Prophet, The Word of God, The Savior of the World, and The Almighty God are not good unless they are true. 

For those who have moved beyond the stumbling stone of Jesus being God, there is a peace and comfort knowing God became a man, never stopped being God. Entering His creation, Jesus died upon the cross taking away the penalty of our rebellion against Him.  There is rest in knowing that Jesus is our Advocate, the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls.  He truly is the Lamb of God, and the Lord of Lords! 

Although there is comfort and rest in the wisdom that is beyond this world, we always need to be careful not to become complacent,  falling asleep to the lies which our adversary spews forth.  We are to always be on guard and alert against false teachings and teachers which claim to be from God, yet are not.  There is one word that will reveal the heart of false teaching. It is the little three-letter word “And.”  

Why is it that some who claim to hold so tightly to the divinity of Jesus Christ also hold onto the misguided and antichristian teaching of human godhood?  Although many who claim to be Christians would agree upon the fact that Jesus is God, some hold to what I would call the doctrine of “…And”.  “Yes, Jesus is God,” they would say.  But then they would go just a little further…”And…so are we.”  What!?  How can someone who truly knows the Lord of Lords not only fall for such heresy, but also teach such lies?  Is there still a small part of the old man in them that desires to share in the Glory of God?  Perhaps they do not really think they are that bad?  Or maybe they are happy their sins are forgiven, but don’t like it that they won’t get some of the credit for being good enough to get to Heaven.  Or maybe they have never truly believed the true Gospel of Christ.  Consider a few quotes from very popular teachers who claim to believe the Gospel of God…

  • Kenneth Copeland Every Christian is a god. … You don’t have a god in  you, you are one“. (Kenneth Copeland, The Force of Love (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1987), audiotape #02-0028, side 1.)  
  • Benny Hinn says “God came from heaven, became a man, made man into little gods, went back to heaven as a man. He faces the Father as a man. I face devils as the son of God. Quit your nonsense! What else are you? If you say, I am, you’re saying I’m a part of Him, right? Is he God? Are you His offspring? Are you His children? You can’t be human! You can’t! You can’t! God didn’t give birth to flesh…You said, “Well, that’s heresy.” No, that’s your crazy brain saying that.” (Benny Hinn, Our Position in Christ #2—The Word Made Flesh  Orlando Christian Center, 1991).
  • Mr. Kenneth Hagin, “Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle. The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”( the Incarnation Kenneth Hagin, p. 12). 
  • Creflo Dollar-“Now I gotta hit this thing real hard in the very beginning because I ain’t got time to go through all this, but I am going to say to you right now you are gods, little “g”, you are gods because you came from God and you are gods. You are not just human.  The only human part about you is this physical body that you live in.” (Sept. 15, 22, 2002, Made after his Kind)
  • Joyce Meyer– “You know, I was listening to a set of tapes by one man and he explained it like this, and I think this kind of gets the point across, he said, ‘Why do people have such a fit about God calling His creation, His man—not His whole creation, but His man—little gods? If He’s God, what’s He going to call them but the god-kind?’ I mean, if you as a human being have a baby, you call it a human kind. If cattle has another cattle, they call it cattle-kind. So, I mean, what’s God supposed to call us? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re created in his image? Now, you understand I am not saying you are God with a capital G.” Joyce Meyer, “Authority and Opposition,” audio tape 1236.

The false teachings here make the dangerous and unbiblical assumption that creation (ie. Adam and Eve) was not only created by God, but created from God.  So just as a kitten comes from a cat, men come from God- making men little gods.  I remember talking to a Mormon once reminding him that God went to great lengths to record how Adam was formed…He was formed out of the dirt.  Man was not made from God, he was made from the dirt which God made out of nothing on Day 3.  Yes God breathed life into man, but no where, absolutely no where does God’s Word teach that man was created from God. 

Interesting side note:  “After their kind…”   All trees, plants, sea and air and land creatures were all created to produce after their own kind.  For mankind, the difference is not that we were created to be something other than men, i.e. little gods, but that man was created to produce after our own kind as vessels for the True and Living God, our Creator and Savior- Jesus Christ. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

So is Jesus God?  Absolutely!!!  But should the true follower of Christ ever believe or teach that we are little gods?  Absolutely NOT!!! May we carefully consider the warning from the One and Only God in Jeremiah 10:11

“Thus shall you say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” Jeremiah 10:11 

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me…”  Isaiah 46:9

“For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”  Isaiah 45:18

“Self rules in the heart of every person, even at times among new creatures in Christ. Satan has not missed any opportunity to entice the world into seeking his delusionary prize of godhood. The idea that man could become a god, or part of God, or that he is a god but doesn’t yet realize his divinity, may seem farfetched to some people, but that’s because they are simply unaware of how prevalent this belief is. Furthermore, from a biblical perspective, the criterion for being a god is rather simple. Everyone who has not submitted to Jesus Christ and has not been reconciled to God through faith in Christ’s finished sacrifice as payment for his sins qualifies as a god–that is, an autonomous, or self-governing, being who has elevated self over his Creator. As Dave Hunt has noted, “The basic cause of the many problems in the world today is not that man fails to recognize his godhood but rather that there are about seven billion gods on this planet, each one doing his or her own thing.”  The First and Final Lie: Self Deification, The Berean Call Newsletter.

The concept of ‘worldviews’ has been popularized over the last several years and is now integrated into Christian terminology as a way to explain how Christians should “see” the world around them.  Arguably, someone cannot properly understand the present without understanding the past.  But a ‘worldview’ does not just have a beginning.  Nor does it  just a middle.  So for simplicity sake we might say that a ‘worldview’ has three basic pieces.  Any ‘worldview’ has a beginning (past), middle, and a future (an end).  For the born-again, Bible-believing Christian, a ‘worldview’ should come from one place and one place only- God’s Word.  Here it is interesting to note that although many good Bible teachers hold to a literal, biblical beginning (creation), and the complete redemption and atonement of the Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, they may fall very short in the last piece of the Bible puzzle- The Future.  Below I’ve attempted to ‘boil down’ the three basic puzzle pieces both biblically and rationally and welcome any discussion or debate on any or all.

The Beginning:  Creation.  Not evolution plus creation, but as we let God’s Word speak for itself, telling us our history, creation is revealed as a miraculous six-day event in which God created all things out of nothing by His all-powerful Word. (See Genesis 1.)  All things were created without sin (very good).  Nothing with blood was created to die.  All creatures were created to eat plants. However, once Adam and Eve rebelled against God, things changed.  Sin and death entered God’s perfect creation.  This piece of the puzzle is quite controversial not only in the world, but also among many Christians.  interestingly, the debate becomes fairly simple if you just let the text speak for itself.  After all, Genesis is grammatically written as a historical account, not an allegory. 

The Middle:  (Although there is much to be explored between Creation and Jesus’ birth some 4,000 years later, this post is meant to explore the contradictions that exist in the last piece of the puzzle.)  Jesus Christ, being God and Creator, came from Heaven to Earth.  He became a man, born of a virgin (Mary).  He never stopped being God.  He lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross, died and was buried, just as the Old Testament Scriptures prophesied.  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4.) Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, never to die again.  He paid for mankind’s sin against their Creator, the Just for the unjust.  Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life.  No one comes to the Father,  but by Him. (John 14:6.)  This is the Gospel of God which was foretold by the prophets and seen by  hundreds of eye-witnesses.  This teaching is neither a fairy tale nor religion.  This is reality!  This is the only truth that will set men free.  (John 8:31-32.)

The End:  Jesus, the Lamb will return from Heaven to Earth as the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  All saints would agree on this truth; however God goes to great lengths to give us much more detail than this.  And even though many Christians cannot seem to agree on the details, God’s Word is clear.  When one applies the same logic and reason to discerning Scriptural text regarding the future as in the beginning and middle of God’s Word, there is only one way to understand the return of our Savior and King.  No where in God’s Word does it teach that Jesus returns for His saints.  Rather Jesus returns from Heaven with His saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 1:14.)  The Bible does reveal that the Lord does return for Israel, not the Church. (Matthew 24:24, 31.)  But hasn’t Israel been replaced by the Church?  Isn’t Old Testament Israel more or less just an allegory for the New Testament Church?  No and No. 

Israel: A Key in the End– It is this Christian blogger’s view that your understanding of Israel and it’s relevance and place in the last piece of your ‘worldview’ puzzle will affect your entire ‘Worldview’ sooner or later.  Even though the beginning of someone’s ‘worldview’ will most likely shape their understanding in other areas; all pieces of one’s ‘worldview’ will affect and influence one another.  Why?  Simple.  God’s Word is not just made up of one piece.  All the pieces are intertwined and interrelated for the purpose of not exposed the pieces, but to reveal the One True God.  No one piece of God’s Word enlightens a man, rather it’s the One true God, through His entire Word, who illuminates the entire heart and mind of man.  Back to Israel… Israel has played a huge role in all of Scripture, yet it is somewhat ironic and truly tragic that many who hold to a literal Creation, don’t seem to understand the role of a literal Israel in this piece of the puzzle.  For example, Lord is called “The God of Jacob” 25 times and “The God of Israel” 205 times. Without Israel, God has no reason to return to earth. (Matthew 24:31.) Without Israel, the Antichrist will have no reason to gather the world together.  The whole point of gathering the world will be to destroy Israel. Without a literal and Biblical Israel, many Old Testament prophecies become allegorical at best; empty and worthless lies at worst. 

While it seems many saints understand what happens when you allegorize the Genesis account, these same saints don’t see the danger in allegorizing the Lord’s future return for Israel.  You could reason if one allegorizes the beginning, why not allegorize the middle.  Could it not also be reasoned that if you allegorize the end, why not allegorize the beginning and middle?

From Cover to Cover: Putting all the Pieces Together.  Many Christians claim to believe God’s Word from cover to cover.  And many teachers have been willing to become very unpopular by teaching a literal creation, as well as the power of the exclusive Gospel of God.  So why is it that such willing vessels become so unwilling to allow God’s Word to speak plainly of the role of Israel in the end times, as well as God’s never-ending love and faithfulness for them?  If God does not hold to His promises made to Israel in the Old Testament, assuming they are now nullified and replaced by the Church due to Israel’s disobedience, what kind of hope do we have as New Testament saints.  Does God’s faithfulness depend upon any man’s works?  It is clear from Scripture God is dealing with Israel today and has blinded them in part (Romans 11:25), but God is not through with them.  This is clear.

Praise our God that His faithfulness endures not just in the beginning and not just in the middle, but forever and ever!  “If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, If they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving-kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail.”  Psalm 89:30-33

May we always be willing to allow the Lord to reveal our inconsistencies when reading and teaching His Word.  May we all allow God’s Word to speak plainly in those areas that are plain, leaving the teaching of men behind.  May we all be willing to not only be unpopular with the world in the beginning and middle of our biblical ‘worldview’, but also in those doctrines regarding the end, no matter what the cost!  “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8

“The Bible is the most exciting book there is, yet for years here in the U.S. our children have been fed a “let me entertain you” diet with only a hint of scriptural nutrition. That’s part of Satan’s “Yea, hath God said…?” strategy. The consequence is an upcoming generation that is, for the most part, spiritually anemic and ripe for the various schemes of apostasy. Deprived of the objective truths of Scripture, they are easy prey for those who would entice them through the subjective and experiential, that is, their “feelings.” Nevertheless, our marching orders involve a rescue operation as found in 2 Timothy 2:24-25: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.

Pray for our young people that they would have a heart for truth, but then seek out those of their generation to whom the Lord would have you minister His love and truth.”     T.A. McMahon, “The Battle Over the Truth”,, April 1, 2009.

We are trained both by society and the flesh to avoid anything that might cause us any ‘pain’, but recently it has occurred to me that for the Christian, problems are in reality opportunities to draw nearer to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The quote below sums it up perfectly. 

“Every problem in life is an opportunity for spiritual growth (Romans 5:1-5; Romans 8:28-29). So often believers pray for God to change the other person when they themselves are in a perfect place to draw close to the Lord, to come to know Him more deeply, and to love Him more completely.  All believers have numerous opportunities to focus on their own relationship with Christ, to look to Him to work in their own lives for spiritual growth, and to confess their own sins rather than the shortcomings and failures of others. Shifting the focus to how others must change defeats the purpose of spiritual transformation and growth (see Genesis 3:12-13).”  Martin and Deidre Bobgan, “Person to Person Ministry-Soul Care in the Body of Christ”, p.59.

Sorcery or the Savior?

Can a sorcerer inherit the Kingdom of God?  The World English Dictionary defines sorcery as: “the art, practices, or spells of magic, esp black magic, by which it is sought to harness occult forces or evil spirits in order to produce preternatural effects in the world.”  In God’s Word there are many things forbidden and for those who practice these things, their’s is not the Kingdom of Heaven.  In Revelation 21:8 it says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” 

When examining the subject of sorcery there are four quick questions that will hopefully be helpful in growing in discernment and understanding.   To better understand a thing, it’s often best to go back to its roots.  So the first question asked is who was the very first sorcerer? Before answering this it might be needful to add another couple definitions here.  In painting a broad brush one could say that generally sorcery is the ritualistic practice which attempts to discover and use certain phrases and actions which allows a person to tap into the power supposedly available to them.  Sorcery might also be defined as:  seeking to use physical objects along with certain discovered spiritual laws to attain spiritual power and enlightenment. For example, let’s look at the sorcerer’s wand.  To the sorcerer, the wand is a physical tool that can help channel or direct certain spiritual energy to and from the sorcerer.  So most simply stated, sorcery is the act of using something physical to attain something spiritual.

Okay, so with all this said, who was the first sorcerer?  See if you can figure it out.  Who was the first person to seek wisdom by eating something physical?  If you are thinking Eve you’re correct.  Even though Eve never went to Hogwarts School of Wizardry, she was taught by the top professor himself- The Serpent.  “And when the woman saw that the fruit was…to be desired to make one wise she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat…” Genesis 3:6  Wisdom is not a physical item, yet Eve sincerely believed that by eating the physical fruit that she would magically attain wisdom.  This act of reaching out to something physical to tap into the spiritual is not new age, rather the oldest lie in human history.  Satan’s promise to Eve was not subtile, but extremely enticing.  “You shall surely not die.  For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods…”  Genesis 3:4-5  Here Eve’s heart is revealed.  She desired to be as one of the gods.  This is the heart of all sorcery. 

The next question: “Isn’t it just make-believe?”  There are many books, movies and video games that are designed to both entice many into magic and also make it seem like harmless fun.  But a simple Google search reveals that sorcery is not designed to be harmless and for many it is much more than fun.  For many, even in today’s technological society, sorcery and witchcraft are a way of life.  We might never question if adultery, fornication, or murder is harmless, and go to great lengths to keep young children from these actions. Nor do we tell our children it’s okay to watch these things as long as we know they’re just pretend.  Yet too often we let our guard down when it comes to the subject of sorcery.  However the Word of God does not separate them.  The Bible puts them all together and has nothing good to say about any.  See: Galatians 5:19-21.

Thirdly, why does God forbid the practice of sorcery?  Hopefully it should be obvious by now why God forbids sorcery and witchcraft.  To God these practices are not make-believe, fantasy, nor fun.  Sorcery enslaves and binds just as any sin, but even more so, it opens doors to demonic teachings and an unseen world bent on destroying mankind.  Whether intentional or not, doors can be opened, ones that are very difficult to close.  God has never winked at such actions.  Before Israel even entered their land, God clearly forbade them from practicing such things.  See: Deuteronomy 18:10-11

The final question: So now what?  The answer is simple.  In fact, God made sure He gave us a crystal clear example from His Holy Word.  In Acts 19:19 it says, “Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”   May we all be willing to say goodbye to those curious things in our lives that only lead to destruction.  

If you had to choose between sorcery or the Savior, which would you choose?  As for me, I choose the Savior!

Is Christianity Like Going on a Diet?

Too often too many people find themselves falling off the ‘diet wagon’.  When asked why people have a hard time staying on their diets, many nutritionists and dietitians would agree.  Most people have a difficult time staying on a diet because of how they understand the changes in the foods they eat.  There are two basic misunderstandings that can trip us up. 

The first one has to do with our access to certain kinds of food.  If we begin a diet without letting go of the idea that we can eat any food at any time, then a diet merely becomes a system of withholding food.  Instead of thinking of a diet as withholding certain foods, maybe we should finally admit that certain kinds of foods are just not good for us.  The second belief has to do with the overall idea of a what we’re doing when going on a diet.  We call it a diet because it has a starting and a stopping point.  Instead of thinking “diet”, perhaps we should think of food changes as if we’re making a life long, lifestyle change for our benefit and the benefit of those we love.  This way, we’re not hopping on and off anything, rather making a change for good simply because it’s good. 

Perhaps the same could be said for those who have become born-again Christians.  It is easy to come to the Lord without counting the cost.  There is definitely a cost in becoming a Christian.  But once we count the cost, too many tend to look at this new life much like a diet instead of a life long, ‘lifestyle’ change.  Christianity isn’t a diet.  Christ isn’t asking us to withhold certain actions and attitudes as if we’re some kind of hero to God for giving up our sinfulness.  “Look God,” we sometimes think.  “Look at all I’m giving up for You!.”  Really?  If we’re honest God isn’t asking us to give up anything of value.  All that we have before coming to Christ is temporal and fleshly.  All of it will burn.  If we are truly willing to allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, all that we held so tightly to- the world, the flesh, and the devil, was only keeping us from our blessed Redeemer.  And again, it will all perish some day.  To the Christian, we were not holding onto anything of ‘nutritional’ value, rather bags of rotten potatoes, rancid meat, and moldy bread at best.   We are not called to enter into some kind of straight-laced, narrow-minded way of living that we have to white knuckle through, gritting our teeth until one day we finally get to Heaven.  That isn’t Christianity, that’s just religion.  Jesus said, “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Christianity should not be like a diet because it does not start and stop when we feel like it, giving ourselves permission to go back to our old ways of ‘eating’.  Rather, we are called to reckon ourselves dead that we might fully live in Christ.  This new life is eternal and has no stopping point.  May we beware of putting our relationship with Christ into compartments, only allowing our Lord access at certain places and times.  May Jesus truly be our All in All, no matter the cost because we know that any cost on our end is nothing compared to the cost He already paid to redeem this rotten sinner from the chains of the flesh.  God is good all the time.  Nothing He asks us to do is for anything but the eternal good for both us and those we love.  

Let us not think we are dieting from this world, rather died from it, letting Christ renew our minds daily in His Word so that we may grow in Him, bearing much eternal fruit to feed to those who are starving around us.

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:11-14

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