Tag Archive: Salvation


Robber or Redeemer

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“Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to releasing unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will you that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” Matthew 27:15-17

Pilate said, “But you have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover: will you therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.” John 18:39-40

From the cereal isle at the grocery store to the food court at the mall, there’s no doubt this world is inundated with an almost endless amount of choices. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements featuring the “latest and greatest” of everything. It’s no wonder we’ve almost become completely desensitized to the daunting amount of decisions staring at us day after day. Yet, in spite of this mountainous menagerie, our choices really don’t have to be that complicated. You see, when it’s all said and done, we are left with only two simple, but absolutely crucial decisions in all that we believe, do, say, and think – the robber or the Redeemer.

When Christ was led before the people, Pilate gave them a choice, Barabbas or Jesus.  The people had arguably made hundreds of thousands of choices in their life times, yet all those decisions could all be boiled down into one of these two categories, the robber or the Redeemer.  The same can be said for all of mankind throughout time. Although material is not necessarily good or bad, our hearts, being stubbornly self-willed, tend to allow us to become completely distracted by the lusts, pleasures, and pain of this planet. In a very real sense, we are often more than willing to be robbed of the joy and peace and wonderful knowledge of Christ for what is, at best, a measly bowl of stew. (Genesis 25:29-34). When examining the presence and power of the robber and the glorious reality of the Redeemer, there are definitely some things worth carefully considering. Here are just a few.

The Robber: Destroying the Foundation
This sin-soaked world, comprised of the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, only has one goal, one aim… to steal all the glory from God!  Jesus called Satan a thief and a murderer and reminds us that he comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.  Even though he is the thief of all thieves, the devil obviously cannot actually steal the Lord. Nor can he kill the truth. And he most certainly cannot destroy the Word of God.  Some might wonder about Psalm 11:3… If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? Doesn’t this verse teach that the foundations can be destroyed?

There are two vantage points to consider when examining this verse, man’s and the Lord’s. Considering the Lord, we know there is nothing that can stand against Him, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Since this is the case, we can logically and biblically conclude that this verse is not saying that God’s Word can actually be destroyed. However, mankind’s love for and access to God’s Word can most definitely be rotted, replaced, and ruined.  I have absolutely no power to actually destroy God, but I most certainly have the capacity to infect and influence the hearts and minds of myself and others, causing a lost desire and direction for the truth, in essence, stealing away the one true foundation. So although the foundation, that is to say, God’s Word, endures forever, we do know that our appropriation, understanding, and application of that foundation can assuredly be robbed from us.

One example of this is found in the parable of the soils (Luke 8). The “birds” (the devil) snatched the Word from the hardened heart, therefore removing the only foundation that will endure forever. Did the Word actually get destroy? No. But the Word was robbed from taking root in the hardened heart.  So, it might be better to say the robber’s strategy is an attack of the heart, an attack designed to prevent us from seeking and being satisfied in the Lord and the truth of His everlasting Word. This attack often involves offering us deceptive distractions and distorted doctrines in an effort to keep our hearts calloused and “dull of hearing”. (Matthew 13:15-16, Hebrews 5:11)

The Redeemer: All Things New
So many have said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only Jesus can fill, and while this is true, it is not completely the case. Jesus does not come to simply fill the hole in our old, selfish hearts. No, He comes to remove the stony heart and transplant a new and living heart, His love and life, in its place.  God’s Word calls this the new birth. (John 3) Jesus does not simply fill our old, prideful, flesh-driven and glory-gleaning hearts. He does something much more amazing! He gives a total and spiritual heart transplant. God’s promise to Israel through Ezekiel is also a promise to all who desire to receive His full and free forgiveness in Jesus –  “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” Ezekiel 36:26.

Not only do we receive a new heart, we also receive a renewed mind. The Bible calls this the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Jesus does not desire to fill a portion of our self-centered, “me, myself, and I” preoccupied mind. No, He instead gives us a renewed mind. Being born again means we receive a new heart and a new mind.  This is the truth of the new birth only made possible by the righteous Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The Reality: Being Born Again is Just the Beginning
Jesus represented all of humanity and as that perfect representation, the Last Adam walked the walk mankind (the first Adam’s race) was always supposed to walk. Just as Jesus fully and freely laid down His life to the will of His Heavenly Father, so too are we to do the same. Jesus does not steal our old nature. He is no robber! He truly is the remarkable Redeemer! He paid our sinful price in full, offering all who are willing to come to Him. He purchased us from the slave market of sin, self, and Satan and in its place, He offers us new life in Him. Jesus freely offers His Spirit, His nature, as the great exchange for all who are willing to turn to Him, all who choose to be redeemed. But this exchange is not the end. Actually, it’s just the beginning. Just as in all births, being born again means there’s a lot of growth to come.

Even though those who have been born again have passed from death to life, having received a new heart and new mind, there is still the presence of the old man and of this broken, sinful world. That is why, for our good and His glory, the Lord requires us to bury the old man by daily turning from ourselves and this rebellious world to the True and Living God, Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever and ever, amen!

My Reasonable Responsibility: Wearing the Redeemer’s Clothes
Although the old, selfish, and rebellious man has been dethroned, he will not be completely eradicated until the rapture or in death. Oh, what a day that will be, to see without the fleshly veil, my great and glorious King! Oh, what a day that will be!!! So, in order to keep myself from being robbed by the riches and cares of this world; if I am to prevent myself from having my love of Jesus and His Word stolen through subtlety, then burying the old man daily is a must! (1 Corinthians 15:31, Colossians 3:4-11)

Great, but what are practical means necessary to keep from being robbed of the depth and beauty and glory of the Lord? “Just give me a list,” says the baby Christian. “Tell me the things of this world that Satan will use to rob me of the knowledge of Christ. Then I will be prepared.” The Bible definitely gives us some broad and sometimes even detailed lists of what we should “take off/mortify”, however it is interesting to note that God’s Word does not account for every single, specific danger we will face in the world. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but arguably one of the main reasons has to do with our hearts.

I’m sure we’d all agree that even good, godly things have the potential of robbing the throne of the new heart, the throne only Jesus deserves to sit upon.  So, it’s not necessarily just about following a list of do’s and don’ts. It’s more about diligently guarding our hearts daily. (Proverbs 4:23) It’s about putting on the full armor of God so we can daily stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11-24) Mortify the old man, yes!  Make no provision to the flesh, yes! But we have the privilege and responsibility of putting on the new man by clothing ourselves everyday with Christ. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” Romans 13:14.

Get to know the Good Shepherd’s voice by reading His Word often, praying fervently, knowing our righteousness is in Christ, and obeying our Heavenly Father willingly and wholeheartedly.  Then, and only then, will we be able to prevent our hearts from being robbed of the amazing beauty and joy found solely in Jesus Christ, our great and glorious Redeemer!

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.” Job 19:25

Jesus said, “All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:8-11

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heart-in-bible“The work of Christ on the cross did not influence God to love us, did not increase that love by one degree, did not open any fount of grace or mercy in His heart. He had loved us from old eternity and needed nothing to stimulate that love.

The cross is not responsible for God’s love; rather it was His love which conceived the cross as the one method by which we could be saved. God felt no different toward us after Christ had died for us, for in the mind of God Christ had already died before the foundation of the world. God never saw us except through atonement.

The human race could not have existed one day in its fallen state had not Christ spread His mantle of atonement over it. And this He did in eternal purpose long ages before they led Him out to die on the hill above Jerusalem. All God’s dealings with man have been conditioned upon the cross.”

― A.W. Tozer, The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ

imageSin is so terribly destructive, so utterly diabolical! Sin is so horrific that it’s true power and perversity are arguably unfathomable by the human mind. How much more so for the father of lies, the father of sin!?

We dip and dabble at it as if certain sins are permissible. We tolerate sin in our lives and sometimes even encourage it as if it’s as harmless as a squeaky screen door. Perhaps our reluctance to resist the devil (in the Lord’s strength of course) has something to do with our own perspective of sin and the father of it.

What if you discovered you were born into a family that had been hunted and killed for years? What if you also discovered that there was one person behind it all, a person only known as the prowler? You are forced to grow up on the run and after a decade of fear, the unthinkable happens. Your parents, your brothers, and sisters are all trapped and killed. Some how you are able to get away, only to go on the run again.

Another decade goes by, and you finally think you’re safe so you decide to settle down. Not too long after you move into your first place, a package arrives in the mail. Wrapped in beautiful, shiny paper, this intriguing gift causes you to let down your guard. There’s a small card attached. Your curiosity gets the best of you. You open the card. The message reads, “Dear Boy, I hope you accept my gift. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Your Friend, The Prowler.”

Would you open the gift? If not, then why? Why not open a present offered by the one responsible for hunting and destroying so many?

Of course, it’s not always so black and white with Satan, the enemy of our souls. Or is it? Perhaps it is that clear, but because of our deep personal devotion to the flesh, we often allow the issues to become muddied so we really don’t have to think too much about them.

Maybe if we’d ask the Lord to seriously pull back the curtain on sin, Satan, and our own selfish hearts, we’d begin understanding the deep destructiveness of the worldly nets we’ve wrapped ourselves in. Perhaps if we’d sincerely ask the Lord to give us eyes to see the sinfulness of sin and the beauty of Himself, we’d choose to leave this world’s temporary temptations alone, instead clinging wholeheartedly to the only gift that truly and eternally matters, Jesus Christ!

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“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:15-18, 21

Bible Light Bulb ImageThere are many questions and even more supposed answers about eternity. Lots of people have said there are many ways to get to Heaven.  After all, don’t all spiritual roads lead to the same place? Does it really matter what religion we follow?  If we’re simply sincere, devoted, and passionate about whatever we believe, won’t it all work out in the end?  Can’t my good works outweigh the bad things I’ve done in the past?  How can we really know for sure?

What’s the Answer?

Maybe you’re wondering some of the same things.     If not, you should be. After all, eternity is a lot longer than the few short years we’ll spend on this planet.  Asking good questions is important, but finding the right answers is even more crucial! If you’re lost and stop to ask someone for directions, it really does matter whether the directions he/she gives you are right or wrong. So in hopes of preventing anyone from getting even more lost, let’s examine several of today’s most popular myths.

We’ll examine seven basic misunderstandings/ myths in pursuit of discovering the true answer to how we can know for sure we are going to Heaven.

MYTH 1: The majority must be right. Just because people have answers doesn’t mean those answers are true, even if a majority agrees. A survey of 35,000 American adults shows that 70 percent believe there are many paths to God, but just because a majority believes the same thing doesn’t necessarily make it true.  Consider Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Just because many were in agreement with Hitler doesn’t make what he believed and did correct. Following the majority isn’t the answer!

MYTH 2- Sincerity is what matters.  Just because someone is sincere in a belief doesn’t make it right.

  • Does it matterif a sincere pharmacist puts the wrong pills in a bottle?
  • Does it matterif a surgeon sincerely believed he removed a kidney when in fact he removed the liver?
  • Does it matterif a woman ate a poisonous mushroom, even though she sincerely thought it would be good for her?

It is possible to be very sincere, but be sincerely wrong. The critical question is not whether someone is sincere, rather what is the truth?  Sincerity is not the answer.

MYTH 3: Pretty good is good enough. One of the greatest lies ever believed is that human beings can be good enough to get to Heaven!  I’ve heard this so many times and at one point even believed it myself.  I’ve even had professing atheists tell me if there is a ‘God’, then when they die they’ll be okay because they’ve been pretty good. Here’s the thing, being pretty good isn’t the real issue. God’s standard isn’t pretty good, it’s perfection. After all, God isn’t simply pretty good. He’s perfect.

Being pretty good isn’t the answer.

MYTH 4: Religion is good enough.  At some level, all religions say we must do good works in order to be right. Biblical Christianity is totally unique.  In religion, man has to reach up to God by his good works. In Christianity, God reached down with the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. He was crucified for the sins of the world. If religion, rituals, and traditions worked, Jesus would’ve never had to come and die.  Religion is not the answer!

MYTH 5: My future good deeds will make up for my past bad deeds. Here’s the problem. Let’s say you get a speeding ticket for driving 55 in a15 mph school zone, then stand before the judge and tell him you’ll never speed again. Will that make up for the crime you’ve already committed?  No. What if you tell the judge you’ve driven through that area many times before, always following the law? Will that make up for your crime?  No. We don’t get extra credit for following the law. The law requires that we follow it completely. That’s the whole point. Following the law tomorrow will never make up for the fact that we broke it today.  Simply said, the price has to be paid!  Future good deeds are not the answer.

Myth 6: I’m a good person.  We all tend to compare ourselves with one another; forgetting people are not the standard.  We did not make this universe, and we did not make the moral laws any more than the physical laws of this universe. God is the Creator, and He is the standard, not us. All one has to do is look at God’s law, which can be boiled down to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20)  to see if we really are good people, if we measure up to the holiness of God.  Here are a few of God’s moral laws:

  • “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Telling the truth is the backbone of any society and the Bible. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie…” God is truth.  Have you ever told a lie; even a “little” one?
  • “You shall not steal.” Have you ever taken something that is not yours?
  • “You shall not commit adultery.”  Jesus took this commandment to a deeper level when He said, “If you have even looked upon someone with lust, it means you have already committed adultery in your heart with that person.” Matthew 5:27-28. Have you ever looked at someone with lust?

Now things get a little more interesting.  James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

So if we’ve even broken one of God’s commandments, we’ve broken them all.

 I ask you again, “Have you broken any of the Ten Commandments?” If you’re honest, you’ll have to say yes. Since we’ve all broken God’s law, it’s clear no one is really a good person.

Here’s the truth:  The reason sincerity, religion, and good works just don’t cut it is because they all originate from men and according to God, we’ve all willfully sinned. That is to say, we’ve all come short of God’s standard of perfection. Period!  We’re not the solution, frankly we’re the problem.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

God knows we’ve sinned.  We know we need His forgiveness. “For I will declare my iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” Psalm 38:18  

The shedding of an animal’s blood reminded the Israelites that death was a result of man’s choice to rebel against his Creator. It was also a clue of God’s faithfulness to one day send One who would pay the ultimate price by dying for all of humanity, One who would not only die, but take the spiritual and eternal punishment we deserve so our penalty against God would be fully paid. A male lamb without spot was used in the Old Testament for a yearly sacrifice to God. This was a clue that One would come, not as a spotless lamb, but as a sinless man and God to die for the sins of the world.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29  

Jesus is the Lamb of God that the Old Testament pointed to, the One that would be the final, complete, and eternal sacrifice to God the Father by dying on the cross for our sins. God the Father literally poured out the anger and wrath we deserve upon His Son!

“He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Are you ready to repent (turn) and put your    belief in Jesus and His finished work on the cross for you?

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-6  

Myth 7: Christianity is just too narrow-minded.  With so many religions around the world, this might seem reasonable. Jesus claimed to be the only way to Heaven, yet many believe this is too narrow-minded. But is this bad? When I walk through the front door, does it ever bother me that there’s only one door? When I enter a gas station or a store, do I ever stop to complain when there’s only one door?  No. One door doesn’t mean anything other than there’s only one way in.  One way, in reality, makes it simple. There’s one way, making it very easy to identify both the true and the false doors.  Yes, one way to Heaven is narrow, but narrow doesn’t mean it’s bad. The God of the Bible says He’s one God (Deut. 6:4), so why not only have one way? God doesn’t want us to follow a lie. All may enter, but we must enter His way, not our own. Being too narrow just isn’t an excuse. Believing there are many ways to Heaven isn’t the answer.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

 THE TRUE and ETERNAL ANSWER

The answer of eternity is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!  You have two choices. Sadly, most choose the wide road to exit planet Earth. The other way is the narrow road which is covered with the blood of Jesus Christ.

WHICH ONE WILL YOU CHOOSE?

“If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture says, “Whosoever believes on [Jesus] shall not be ashamed.”  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-13  

“For [God] says, “I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I helped you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:2  

There is only one way to get to Heaven. The true path is through Jesus Christ and Him alone. You must make this decision before you die. There’s no second chance after death.

Repent and believe on Him for the forgiveness of your sins before it’s too late.

(Originally produced and distributed by Once Lost Ministries)

JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON!

bigstock-Christmas-Cross-bright-Christ-25582868 JESUS REALLY IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

He is also the reason we can rejoice in every season! To think that God, the Father would be pleased to send His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world is truly unfathomable. But then to think that God the Son willingly and joyfully offered not only to come, but make His soul THE sacrifice for sin is gloriously amazing and humbling indeed! Isaiah 53:10.

The reality is that Jesus, willing to lovingly obey His Father’s will and wanting to rescue men from a horrible, Christless eternity, chose to not only allow the wrath of God to be poured down from Heaven upon Himself, but also to be separated from the Father He had been one with for eternity. Psalm 22:1. He also chose to literally change His appearance, now bearing the scars of Calvary for eternity! John 20:27-28. (I’m not sure I’d be willing to even change what I’m wearing for someone else, let alone my very appearance.)

Coming to grips with who Jesus really is and what He has done should cause us to respond to Him with such resounding thanks and heartfelt praise! This knowledge is too wonderful for us, yet the glimmers we receive this side of eternity ought to produce rejoicing which cannot be contained in these temporal bodies, neither constrained by the god of this world!

God’s ways and thoughts are so far above our own, yet He desires to reveal Himself to all who would come to Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6), teaching us of His heart and mind through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 55:6-9. He demonstrated and continues to demonstrate His love day in and day out, showing Himself faithful and true from generation to generation (Psalm 100:5) and nothing this world throws at Jesus will ever change Him! Hebrews 13:8.

May this day in which we remember the ultimate gift- the One who is the Living Word, yet became flesh and dwelt among us; the One full of grace and truth (John 1:14); the One who became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21); may this day in which we remember the wonders of His love propel our hearts and minds to rejoice unto Him with joy unspeakable and full of glory, declaring His truth and His love to all those we meet now and for eternity!

TRULY, JESUS IS THE REASON!  

“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

eagle-nebula[1]The closer we get to Jesus’ return, the more the discussion continues migrating to outer space. The more errors that continue being exposed from evolutionary philosophies focused on planet earth, i.e. geology, genetics, etc., the more the argument gets launched deep into space.

In all the arguments and discussions involving the so-called final frontier, aliens seem to be the new missing link. The problem, however, is that even if aliens were real, they could never bring salvation to the sinful soul. They could never solve the issue of evil. They would simply serve as one more missionary field to be evangelized.

“You are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:10-11

Below is an insightful and biblical Q&A regarding extraterrestrials from Dave Hunt (The Berean Call).
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Question: What’s your view of extraterrestrials?

Answer: “There are many biblical reasons for not accepting the idea of intelligent life beyond earth other than angels and demons.”

“First of all, it would be impossible for morally responsible humanoids anywhere in the universe to keep from sin. If they had the genuine right of choice, it must inevitably have been used to disobey God. Thus they would require salvation.”

“Secondly, Jesus Christ is the only Savior, and His death is the one and only perfect sacrifice for sins ever offered in the universe (Hb 9:23-28;10:12-14). If there are morally free agents on other planets, they would have to believe in Christ for salvation.”

“Thirdly, God has gone to great lengths to give us an historically verifiable record of His Son’s death and resurrection at the hands of eyewitnesses and this message is contained in a Bible which can be verified in many ways by the inhabitants of earth (geographically, archaeologically, etc.) and which would not be available to ETIs. It would seem both unfair and a violation of God’s way of dealing with mankind for beings elsewhere in space to be required to believe in a Savior who was crucified on a distant planet.”

“Fourthly, the Bible seems to indicate that this earth is the only such place in the universe. When Satan is cast out of heaven, he comes to earth; it is on this planet that the battle will be fought resulting in Satan’s defeat and imprisonment in the abyss; it is on this earth that Christ will reign for 1,000 years while Satan is locked up; it is to this planet that Satan will return when he is released; and it is on this planet that Satan will meet his final defeat and his eternal doom will be sealed.”

“Finally, if life happened by chance on this earth and evolved upward, then it could seemingly happen elsewhere in the universe. But if, as we believe, human life resulted from a purposeful act of God, and if sin is inevitable for such beings, and if the human soul is the prize for which Satan and God do battle, then it hardly makes sense to have this same process repeated on countless other planets throughout the cosmos.” ~Dave Hunt

 

Additional Resources: 

Planting Summer Seeds

IMG_12017981708482GOOD EVANGELISM HABITS: Over the summer, it’s easy for children to forget they still have the exciting privilege of sharing God’s Word with others. Sharing is oftentimes a scary thing to think about for children (and even many adults). I mean, walking up to complete strangers and asking them if they believe in Jesus… how unnatural to our flesh!  That’s why it’s so important for children to learn good evangelism habits early on. Once they see that it’s really not that scary and that many people will at least respectfully listen, they’ll grow that much more lovingly bold at an early age. Never forget, we have the truth and the Lord on our side so we really have nothing to fear!    

Because talking to others doesn’t always come easily, comprehensive, biblical tracts can be a nice way to break the ice. With that in mind, I’ve put together a simple, black and white Bible tract that parents can print and children can cut, fold, and color.  (Reminder: Carefully read through tracts before purchasing or printing. Not all tracts are biblical. Sadly, many focus on man, not God.)

Click “HERE” to go to the Kid’s Tract PDF. Simply download it and print.20140524_183434

A SUMMER FAMILY PROJECTLet evangelism be a fun summer family project. First, look up a few Bible verses on evangelism such as Matthew 28:19Acts 1:8, and Romans 1:15-16 during your family devotional time. Then pray about making a certain day each week designated as an evangelism day. Start out by going to familiar areas such as your neighborhood houses and grocery stores. It goes without says, but please, please, please… Safety First. Perhaps also bring a small notebook to write down names and prayer requests from people you talk with. Then consider designating another day each week to pray specifically as a family for those you’ve shared with.  Follow-up is always another great option.  Again, please us godly wisdom when following up. Some situations may warrant going with another adult instead and then sharing the story with your children later.

EVANGELISM AS A LIFESTYLE: It’s definitely beneficial to designate specific times to focus on outreach and evangelism, but it’s as much of a blessing to share the good news of Jesus as part of our daily worship unto Him. We so often have our plans, but the Lord directs our steps. Sometimes the Lord’s plans might be interwoven. For example, we all go to the grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, etc. Why not use those day-to-day trips as opportunities to tell others about Jesus? I personally make a habit of asking waiters and waitresses if they have any prayer requests. Many are happy to share a little about their children, schooling, etc. Often, it opens a door for further conversation which hopefully leads to the truth about the Lord.

These daily demonstrations of our love for the Lord and others is key, not only for our own growth, but the growth of our children. Kids are so keen to recognize hypocrisy. If we simply go to church on Sunday mornings and have no other avenues demonstrating our Christian walk, they will quickly see the dichotomy in our lives. When our daily walk is so shallow, whether we mean to or not, what we’re really telling them is that Jesus is only a microcosm of our lives. Yes, He died for our sins. Yes, He rose from the grave. And although we’re happy to have Him as our Savior, we really resist letting Him be our All in All. We often are sending the very clear message that Jesus is important, but not really that important compared to everything and everyone else.

Having daily Bible study, prayers, discussions, application, biblical consequences in discipline, biblical education, outreach, and evangelism are all excellent tools in growing in the grace of God. They are also such a blessing to everyone around us.

“I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of Your righteousness, even of Your’s only. O God, You have taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Your wondrous works.” Psalm 71:16-17

“The living, the living, he shall praise You, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known Your truth.” Isaiah 38:19

ICE BREAKERSOften we struggle with how to make that first connection. Here are some thoughts on helping break the ice:

  • Be genuine. Remember the person you’re talking with is a lost and eternal soul.  Most people will at least listen when they see you really care. One good quote to remember, “Evangelism is a conversations, not a presentation.” Take time to listen and care, but also be sure to take time to then swing the conversation to Jesus.
  • Handing someone a tract is a great ice breaker, but if you’re able, take the time to share the truth found in the tract.
  • Ask questions.  Ask questions. Ask questions. Many times, asking good questions helps open the door to good conversations.  Here are a few: “Could I ask you a quick question?”  “What are your thoughts about eternity?”  “Do you think the Bible is an important book?”  “We like to pray to Jesus. Do you have anything we could pray for?” Remember, if you’re going to ask questions, be ready to listen.
  • Don’t forget to pray for the Lord to direct your steps and conversations. We always want to be led by the Spirit! After all, God knows best.
  • Never forget to let the joy of the Lord be your strength. Although sharing is sometimes intimidating, it shouldn’t be daunting. Let the love of your Savior shine through. After all, He’s promised to never leave or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • The more we share, the easier it gets.
  • Don’t listen to your flesh. Although there will be times you just can’t stop and talk, we often make excuses that shouldn’t be listened to. Your flesh will stir up all kinds of fear and doubt, but take those steps of faith with confidence. Open your mouth and speak. The Lord will do the rest. (Matthew 5:2, Acts 8:35, Acts 10:34)
  • People are often willing to share their opinions about everything, so why not share in return?
  • When in doubt, share the Gospel. You will never be able to answer every question. If you get stuck, there’s nothing wrong with simply going back to what you believe and why you believe it.
  • Keep studying the Word. Although you’re not going to have all the answers, you want to keep studying the Word to prepare your heart and mind. It can also be helpful to do some research and watch others share with others. I often find helpful questions and answers by listening to other evangelizing. (2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Peter 3:15)

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings  glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

“One of the most important things to realize is that the Christian life, the real Christian life, humanly speaking, is impossible. It was never intended to be lived by human beings. It was to be lived by God within the heart of the Christian, by the power of God, the presence of God, of Jesus Himself living within us in a victorious way. Sadly, most of us live the Christian life with two Christians in one body. We open our heart, we invite Jesus Christ to come in. We now say I’m a Christian, but then we have Jesus who sits there for most of our lifetime wanting to take over while we’re showing Him how to be a Christian.” 
 
“The interesting thing about the Christian life, you really don’t need two Christians in one body. One is quite adequate. When we’ve already invited the finest Christian who ever lived with our life, why do we spend time trying to impress Him with our efforts to do it?  Basically Jesus is saying, I got into your life through My death on the cross and you’ll get into victory through your death to Me, dying to self, dying to your unbelief, dying to all your carnal wickedness and corruption and nature. When you give up on that and stop making promises on how hard you’re going to try and good you’re going to do and simply start saying, Lord I’m going to look to you, then you’ll realize there’s no way humanly to do it.”  ~Don McClure  
“Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Three Legged StoolIn part 1 of Creation Navigation, the goal was to expose the root of what men call “Scientific Evolutionism”.  Knowing that the philosophy of evolution was birthed as a doctrine of devils and incubated in the hearts and minds of sinful men should be enough to keep its sales pitch locked outside of any reasonable man’s consideration. However, since there’s been such a massive propaganda movement over the last 300 years to give evolution a scientific veneer, it’s worth examining a few of its biggest scientific errors.  Part 2 will not explore every minute detail of evolution for one simple reason – it is not necessary.  It’s this author’s conviction that if someone does not have an adequate answer for the big picture pillars of their belief system, attempting to refute all the tiny details is irrelevant.

Take, for example, a cake.  What if two people come across a cake and one believes the cake was made by a secret factory run by ants?  The same person then desires to discuss his belief about the frosting being mixed and applied by an invisible herd of elephants.  If the man cannot provide adequate evidence for his primary belief regarding a secret factory, there’s really no point taking time discussing the probability of an invisible herd of elephants that manufactures frosting.  Forgive the simple (and silly) analogy, but I believe it makes the point.

Part 2 of this post will focus on the following three key scientific pillars or legs necessary for evolution to be a reality: time, chance, and mutations.  If even one of these legs can be shown to be contrary, then evolution cannot scientifically stand.  It is the goal of this post, however, to demonstrate that not only one, but all three legs are in direct opposition to “scientific evolutionism” and its underlying ideas.  Before starting, please consider carefully the following quotes:

Dr. Colin Patterson, who was senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, delivered a speech at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on November 5, 1981. He began by saying:

“I’m speaking on two subjects, evolutionism and creationism, and I believe it’s true to say that I know nothing whatever about either.

For over twenty years I had thought that I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up, and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it.

I tried that question on the geology staff in the Field Museum of Natural History [Chicago], and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time, and then eventually one person said: “Yes, I do know one thing. It ought not to be taught in high school.”

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of God, wrote,

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.”

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:18-25

Three Legs of “Scientific Evolutionism”

Leg 1 – Time: In an evolutionary sense, time is really the glue that holds everything else together.  Unfortunately, the darkened heart can be so easily fooled into believing anything is possible given enough time. There are many time issues with evolution, however one of the the main ones is connected to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a basic sense this law states that matter/energy in a contained state becomes more wild and less stable over time. In other words, over time things wear out. This is a simplification, however true nonetheless. Energy is slowly wearing out.  For evolution to be true, time would have to work in its favor, however according to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, it’s one of evolution’s greatest enemies.

Leg 2 – Chance: For evolution to be a viable process, no intelligence could be possible. Those who originally embraced and promoted the philosophy of evolution as a science were mainly looking for a process that would be able to naturalistically explain the origins of the universe. If naturalism is the actual answer to this universe, then, strictly speaking, there would be no need for a intelligent Creator, and if there’s no intelligent Creator, then there would be no intelligence behind the process of evolution. Blind chance is the strict evolutionist’s replacement for anything intelligent, namely a Creator God. The problem here is that there are way too many things that mathematically and scientifically cannot function if chance is a main factor in the equation. The odds of everything in this world working properly to sustain life, let alone produce life are so astronomically high that they are simply impossible.  Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the odds of getting just the correct enzymes necessary for life (mind you, not life, just the enzymes necessary for life) by random chance to be 1 chance in 10 with 40,000 zeros after it.  Christian author and researcher, Dave Hunt, wrote,

“The astronomical odds make evolution mathematically impossible. Hoyle calculated that the odds of producing just the basic enzymes of life by chance are 1 over 1 with 40,000 zeros after it. By comparison, the odds of plucking a particular atom out of the universe is 1 over 1 with 80 zeros. Even if each atom became another universe, the odds of plucking a particular atom out of all those universes by chance are 1 over 1 with 160 zeros. One chance in 1 with 40,000 zeros after it just to produce the basic enzymes! But enzymes perform incredible feats, which fact further compounds the already impossible odds.” (http://www.thebereancall.org/content/evolution-or-gods-word)

Putting aside all the supposed fossil and biological evidence for evolution, if the math doesn’t add up, evolution just cannot stand. Random, mindless chance has absolutely no room in the explanation of the complex and symbiotic relationships that help maintain this universe. Ironically, any scientist seeking to prove that life came through random chance must do so using his intelligence. No successful research scientist begins a complex project deciding that random chance will govern his direction.

The other huge contradiction to the concept of chance is the scientific Law of Biogenesis.  This law basically states that life CANNOT come from non-life.  We could roll the dice for eternity and still not see the little plastic cubes grow legs and walk off.  No amount of chance can produce something that is scientifically impossible.

The “Chance” leg of evolution is neither mathematically nor scientifically possible!  

Leg 3 – Mutations:  This is arguably the most confusing, popular, and mystical legs in the philosophy of evolution. One popular, Sci-Fi movie starts out with this opening quote, 

“Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.”  (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/X-Men_(film)

The most popular and mystical idea regarding evolution is wrapped in a mythical understanding of mutations. You can have trillions of year, but without some sort of vehicle or engine causing matter to change from the “simple” to the more complex, there would be no point to the story. The pop concept of mutations teaches that new information can be and is readily added to organisms causing them to evolve over unimaginably long periods of time.  In reality, this understanding of mutations is simply that, a popular sci-fi story. Scientifically, mutations cannot cause an increase of information. Instead, mutations are scientifically defined as either a loss of or rearrangement of the information already present.  Yes, some mutations might be beneficial to a local region, however, mutations never introduce new information to a creature’s DNA.   This popular idea of mutations is necessary for evolution to be a credible belief system, however it is neither observable nor biblical.

A quick reading through Genesis 1 makes it clear that God has set a permanent wall between each of the created kinds: plant, animal, and human.  The Bible uses the phrase “after their kind” ten times in Genesis 1. (Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24-25)  Creatures were not created to eventually change from one kind into another.  If the perfect God is the one who created, then why wouldn’t He create everything perfectly in the first place?  Most of man’s inventions evolve because men are not perfect.  Interestingly, even when considering man’s inventions, additions are almost never intended to change a product from one category to another.  No car designer hopes that his invention will be eventually changed into anything other than a “better” automobile.

Mutations never cause a gain of information within an organism, NEVER!  Over the last several years there’s been a new field of study called Information Sciences. Through their study there has been an observable and repeatable process defined by the following law- The Law of Information.  This law states that information, such as that which makes up a creature’s DNA, always comes from something or someone who has a great  amount of information.  Take, for example a DVD.  A DVD is packed full of information, but is produced by a machine that has a greater amount of information than the DVD.  That machine was designed and produced by a man that has even a greater amount of information.  A book is also a simple, yet proper example.  A book is filled with information, but is originally written by a person with even more information.  Information always comes from something or someone with a greater amount of information.  This directly contradicts the belief system of evolution.  In order for evolution to be true at any level, new information must be introduced from somewhere, yet this has never been observed.  And based on Genesis 1, it is this writer’s conviction that it never will.

Based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the Law of Biogenesis, and the Law of Information, not to mention the mathematical and statistical laws mentioned above, evolution is not nor ever will be viable at any level.  It is nothing more than a metaphysical philosophy adorned in scientific jargon designed to intimidate and confuse the average listener.

Truly “Scientific Evolutionism” does not have even one leg to stand on!

One Final Question: Even though evolution is clearly not an accurate belief system or explanation of the origin of the universe, what makes the Bible the reliable source?

There are many reasons to trust the Bible as God’s Word, but taking into consideration the parameters of this article, the laws mentioned above are a great place to start.  Simply said, we have no reason not to believe God’s Word because all of the laws mentioned above are consistent with, not contradictory to the Bible.  Consider each law in light of the Bible.

1. The Second Law of Thermodynamics:  Matter in a contained state becomes more wild and less stable.  Although science has no satisfactory answer for the reason matter and energy are wearing out, the Bible addresses the issue and supplies a completely credible origin for corruption.  “And unto Adam [God] said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of your wife, and has eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake…” Genesis 3:17.  “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:21-23.

2. The Law of Biogenesis: Life cannot come from non-life.  Although there is no evolutionary or scientific answer for the origin of life, the Bible clearly explains that the Living God is the Creator of life, creating living creatures.  (See Genesis 1)  “For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself…” John 5:26.  Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  John 14:6.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

3. The Law of Information: Information always comes from a greater amount of information.  Neither science nor evolution can answer where information originated from.  Logic would dictate that if information comes from a greater amount of information, then if one goes back to the origin we would find the Originator as the One infinite in information, that is to say the all knowing One.  The Bible is clear that God is the exclusive, all knowing Creator.  “You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.” Psalm 139:2-4

4: Mutations:  Mutations cannot cause a gain of information, but rather produce a rearrangement or loss of information.  Observable science proves that mutations cannot cause a gain of information.  Yes, some mutations are locally beneficial, however none cause a gain of new information. No plant or living creature has ever been observed to be anything other than that which it was designed to be.  This “wall of separation” has been clearly designed by God Himself.  One such example is from Genesis 1:24. “Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.”  (Also consider: Genesis 1:11,12, 21, and 25)

God’s Word has been tested and God’s Word can be trusted! 

THE TRUTH

OldRuggedCross_B&WRegardless of the physical facts of science, there is something much more pressing at stake, namely the destiny of men’s souls.  The True and Living God is not only the Creator of physical life, but also the One who created Adam and Eve in the image of God, giving each a living spirit that would last forever housed in perfect bodies.  Sadly, they stole their responsibility and privilege in hopes of reflecting their own glory.  They sinned against their Almighty Creator, rejecting His Word in favor of their own foolish thoughts, introducing sin and death into God’s perfect creation, eternally separating themselves from God.

All men since then have been born in separation, embedded with this same disillusionment of grandeur in the very fiber of their hearts and minds.  Men have desperately desired to be their own gods, seeking to destroy the very thought of the One True God.  Regardless of men’s continued predilection for perversity, God, in His great kindness and love, sent His only begotten Son to this darkened planet, a planet groaning from centuries of rebellion.  He became a man and never stopped being God, all to provide the opportunity for those seeking souls to be liberated from the shackles of darkness and death.  True light and life are offered in only One.  He is Jesus Christ. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12.

“Nor is there salvation in any other [than Jesus], for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12  

A Few Helpful Articles:

Eternal Freedom

 

God's love to peopleFreedom is the song all men long to sing. Yet too often freedom means free from the true God; free from His “constraints.” Sadly many will realize only after it’s too late that Jesus Christ is the only One who offers true, everlasting freedom. Deep down inside we believe we can somehow attain freedom to do what we want, yet this is an unattainable illusion. Too often we believe we can actually attain a level beyond servant hood, yet again this can only be done by deluding ourselves.

We will always be servants. We will always serve someone or something. The question isn’t whether or not we can ever be truly free to do what we want. The question is whether we can ever truly be free enough to follow the One we were designed to pursue. You see we were never designed to live apart from the One who created man. Currently men are shackled by their own selfish desires, yet they foolishly seek heavier irons all in the name of freedom, all the while making them more the slave to sin, self, and Satan.

Jesus came to make men truly free. Free to follow God. Free to leave self and pride behind. Free to love and worship God the way He intended all along. Freedom is the lover’s song and only the sinner saved from his eternal chains by Jesus Christ dying for his sins can know eternal freedom. Only the wretched man who humbles himself before the Almighty God will ever know what it feels like to truly be free, not free to run from God, but finally free to run to Him.

If you seek to be free from God, you already have it. If you seek to be free to follow the true and living  God, His invitation is for you. Perhaps today you would desire to once and for all be freed from the bondage of sin and selfishness. “Jesus answered them, Truly, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. If the Son [Jesus Christ] therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34,36 OldRuggedCross_B&W

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