24 June 2016

A few doctrinal notes

Death is not merely separation but is termination of life. Physical death is the end of cellular respiration and metabolic processes. The Christian understands that there is a separation of the spiritual (soul and spirit) from the flesh (2 Peter 1:14, 2 Corinthians 5:8). Death is a result of sin (Romans 5:12, Romans 6:23). Spiritual death is also a termination of which all humans have. This is an end of fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1, 1 John 3:14). Death is the punishment for sin (Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:12).

Faith is believing God. Adam did not believe God and chose to disbelieve. Adam’s disbelief was shown by his actions of deliberately disobeying God. God said, “Do not eat.” Adam chose to eat. After eating, God revealed the substitutionary sacrifice of a sheep. Faith is then seen though out the Bible as people “believed God, and it was accounted as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6, Daniel 6:23, Jonah 3:5, John 3:16, Romans 4:3, Romans 4:22-25, etc.).

Original sin is the doctrine that all have sinned. We have inherited the “me first” concept, since Adam was the head of human race.

Sin is disobedience to God’s law. This is best seen in His commandments. We are not good because we are liars, blasphemers, covetous, disobedient to parents, adulterers at heart (if not in flesh), thieves, etc.

Sin is punished by death, not only physical but eternal (Revelation 21:8, Daniel 12:2).

All people are in darkness (John 3:19, Ephesians 5:8, etc.) and dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13, etc.). This is total depravity. We are complete sinners and are not good enough for heaven according to God’s standards.

No one seeks God (Romans 3:10-18, Psalms 14:2-3). This is total inability. Unless God initiates salvation (prevenient grace), no one will be saved. God seeks us (Luke 19:10). God is the one who opens our eyes and hearts to the Gospel (Acts 26:18, Acts 16:14). God draws us to Himself (John 6:44) to understand the Gospel.

The Lord Jesus had our sins laid on Him, suffered for our sins (1 Peter 3:18), and died in God’s judgment for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).

The Lord Jesus was raised physically from the dead proving righteousness (Romans 1:4, 1 Peter 1:3).

Jesus doesn’t exist?

Jesus doesn’t exist?

“Jesus doesn’t exist,” claim some scholars. Here is a link to an article that has a summary of their argument and further references. 5 good reasons to think Jesus never existed   

Is this argument without a satisfying challenge? Is their view even true?

It seems to me that they are very selective in what they bring forth as evidence. Consider that Bart Ehrman writes in the above mentioned article, “There are no birth records, no trial transcripts, no death certificates; there are no expressions of interest, no heated slanders, no passing references – nothing.” The Gospels of the Bible have these, but it is rejected because these scholars believe that the Gospel were written decades after the supposed time that Jesus had lived.

Here are two links from J. Werner Wallace, who has written on these topics

Seems too many deniers rely on dismissal of any and all facts. A simple search on the internet of
“Did Jesus exist?” will show this. There have been books written, too, which while more scholarly than articles do not have the reasonableness of those whose argument is that Jesus did exist.

You might want to take the time to see the YouTube video by Dr Paul L. Maier on the existence of the historical Jesus. https://youtu.be/y5vkYd3WBD8

You may want to read the above and listen to Dr Maier’s presentation and consider the reasonableness of their argument. I am sure any open minded individual will want to study it.

21 June 2016

When People Drive You Crazy

Theme: Loving Problem People


Know: The Scriptures indicate that the marks of a Christian include the ability to deal effectively with problem people.
Think: Our daily interactions with others should be guided by the mindset that we are all problem people in need of a Savior.
Do: Follow the teaching of Scriptures to effectively deal with the problem people in your life.

Scriptures: Romans 12:14-21 and Matthew 18:15-17

Questions and answers:
B1 Ever have a problem with someone? Can you name (in your mind, please) any one who is a problem person?
B2 What is the definitions of a problem person?
B3 Why are they a problem?
B4 What emotion do we feel if we find this person is not around today, whether it be work, church, family gathering, etc.?
B5 How is a Christian differ from a non-Christian in dealing with problem people?
B6 "Bless those that persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but rather associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; providing that which is good before all men. If possible, as much as depends on you, keeping peace with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy should hunger, feed him; if he should thirst, give him drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:14-21, EMTV)

The Problem
The Solution
Bless; do not curse
Rejoice with those rejoicing; weep with those who weep
Discord, conflict, friction, strife
Live in harmony with one another
Arrogant people
Do not be proud but associate with the humble
Opinionated people
Do not be wise in our own opinion
Trouble makers
Do not repay evil for evil, instead providing that which is good
Disagreements, agitation, upsetting, fighting
As much as possible keeping peace with all
Angry, abusive people
Do not avenge; give place to wrath. God will repay.
Hungry enemy
Give them food and drink
Evil people, governments, churches, leaders, family, etc.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

B8 What do we do when/if someone gets in our face and yells? ...lies? ....slanders?
B9 What did Jesus do with these kind of people? Consider
do unto others
B10 Any application for us here? "“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. " (Matthew 7:12, NKJV)
B11 Matthew 12:14
  • C1 What is wrong with the Pharisees?
  • C2 Was it necessary questions about Sabbath keeping, or was it due to envy, revenge, or something else. The Lord Jesus had beaten them in debate and righteousness.
  • C3 The Pharisees in this passage showed more concern for sheep than humans.
  • C4 From the College Press commentary on this verse:
    • Mat. 12:14 But the Pharisees went out, and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him. Their counsel was not merely about Him, but decidedly prejudiced against him. Justice and evidence, fair play and commonsense have nothing to do with this discussion among these ecclesiastics, for no gentle graciousness nor logical argument on His part could sway them from this verdict of guilty. Their reaction, according to Mar. 3:6 and Luk. 6:11 is immediate and pointed:
    • 1. They became furious (eplçsthçsan anoías), true enough, but their motivation may well have been mixed with envy of His sway over the people. Even a relative outsider like Pilate could sense this. (Mat. 27:18) Why should they not be furious? He had ignored their traditions, reduced them to silence and publicly shamed them on vital moral issues! Their list of complaints against Him is growing:
      • He had attacked their illicit economic gains produced by the market which He claimed desecrated the Temple (Joh. 2:13-16)
      • He applied Messianic Scripture to Himself (Luk. 4:18-21)
      • He claimed to forgive sins, risking the charge of blasphemy (Mat. 9:3)
      • He mingled freely with the scum of Jewish society (Mat. 9:9-13)
      • He did not observe their stated fast days (Mat. 9:14)
      • He ignored their rules for Sabbath observances and justified His disciples in the same (Joh. 5:16; Mat. 12:1-14)
      • He claimed to be equal with God (Joh. 5:17-18)
    • Lange (Matthew, 218) summarizes the fundamental basis: Objections of less weight, and an interminable catalogue of calumnies, were connected with these charges. But the real stumbling block of the Pharisees, was that conflict between the spirit and the dead letter, between the gospels and traditionalism, between salvation and unbelief, righteousness and hypocrisy, and holiness and proud self-seeking, which Christ represented and embodied.
B12 Often those of us who read and study the Bible in its plain, normal sense are labeled Pharisees. Is there any justification for that label?
B13 Of all the things that the religious leaders of the Jews did to Jesus, how did Jesus respond to them?
  • C1 He told them the truth, whether they liked it or not.
  • C2 He attempted to lovingly correct them until they totally rejected Him.
  • C3 He told them of coming judgment against them. He warned them in many ways.
B14 How are we to respond to people that are problem people? (It depends on what the problem is. If the problem is of doctrine, or lifestyle, or the death penalty for being a Christian).
B15 How did the Apostles and early Christians respond to persecution? (They prayed. They encouraged each other. They remembered the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus. See Matthew 5:10-12, Acts 7:59-60, Romans 8:35, Romans 12:14-21, 2 Corinthians 4:9, 2 Corinthians 12:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:4, etc.).
B16 What are we to do if we respond wrongly? (The Scriptures have told us what to do, but we are not perfect. First, ask God for forgiveness. Second, ask the offended parties for forgiveness. We do not ask forgiveness for the truths that we tell but for our attitude and actions).
B17 Even if all attempts fail, what are some things we can still do? (Pray for them and be kind to them).
B18 How many discussions are won by arguing (the fighting, yelling, in-your-face type of argument)?
B19 Matthew 12:15, after the Jewish leaders withdrew to find a way to destroy Jesus, what did the Lord Jesus do? Did He rant, rave, criticize anyone at this point?
B20 Matthew 12:16, why did Jesus not want to be publicized? (He wanted to preach the Gospel to those who had not rejected Him. If He had been known His enemies would send people to cause trouble at His meetings).
B21 Matthew 12:18-21, Some things about Messiah in this verse. Utley writes in his commentary on this passage, "This is a quote from Isaiah 42:1-4 (but not the LXX), which is the first of the "Servant Songs" of Isaiah. Notice the characteristics of the Coming One which are being displayed in Jesus.
  • 1. called
    • My (YHWH) Servant
    • whom I have chosen
    • My Beloved
    • in whom My (YHWH) Soul id well-pleased
  • 2. YHWH's Spirit upon Him
  • 3. proclaim justice to the Gentiles
  • 4. personal characteristics
    • will not quarrel
    • will not cry out
    • will not hear His voice in the streets
  • 5. personal actions
    • will not break the battered reed
    • will not put out the smoldering wick
    • will lead justice to victory
    • in His name Gentiles will hope”
B22 "And if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have won your brother. But if he does not hear, take along with you one or two more, so that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' But if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you as a heathen and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15-17, EMTV).
  • C1 What are some of the sins that we commit against each other?
  • C2 What is the standard for right and wrong in the church?
  • C3 What attitude are we to have when there is a disagreement?
  • C4 What is the purpose for this activity that Jesus speaks of in this passage?
B23 As Christians what is our primary purpose for the way we treat non-Christians?
B24 As Christians what is our primary purpose for the way we treat Christians?
B25 What is more important for helping others? A. To listen B. To talk
B26 How are we going to treat our problem person/s this week?

14 June 2016

Breaking down barriers

Breaking down barriers

Theme: No room for Racism


  • Know: Scripture teaches us that God does not play favorites. He desires that all people come to know Him.
  • Think: Live with the mindset that all people are created in the image of God and His offer of grace is without restrictions.
  • Do: See all people as loved by God and seek to get the gospel to them, even those who are not life "us."

Scriptures: Acts 10:1-48

Questions and notes:
B1 Even seen or experience favoritism? What did you feel like?
B2 How did your parents treat you? Were you their special one?
B3 Do we have any favorites? Our spouse, child, friend, parent, aunt, uncle, etc.
B4 Does God have any favorites? Consider 1 King 8:14-19 and Acts 13:17. God does make choices.
B5 What is the difference between favorites and prejudices?
B6 What is the attitude, motivation, for prejudice? (Pride--we are the best).
B7 Pride
  • Defined--an attitude that a person is superior to others whether true or not. Accomplishing a difficult task as education, etc. would be a feeling of pleasure of arriving at one's goals. The other side of pride is the arrogance of a person that they are superior to other people due to their attitude.
  • This love for self above all is the original sin. Pride is the sin that brought down the devil and each of us. We are born with it.
  • God doesn't like pride. 1 Peter 5:5 and Proverbs 3:34
  • Does pride impress God? No--Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:27 NKJV)
  • If God hates pride, what should our attitude be? Proverbs 8:13
  • How does pride show up in a church? Consider James 2:1-10, Isaiah 65:5, Luke 7:44-46, 2 Corinthians 2:9
B8 Acts 10
  • Acts 10:1-8
    • Angel sent to Cornelius to have him send for Peter.
    • Why did God choose this method of  bringing the gospel to Cornelius and his family. (Cornelius needed to believe God and show obedience and belief by sending for Peter. Faith is always tested).
  • Acts 10:9-23
    • Why was Peter so against the message to get up and eat?
    • Why would Peter hesitate to go with the men from Cornelius?
  • Acts 10:24-48
    • What temptation did Peter face when he met Cornelius?
    • What lesson had Peter learned in his response in Acts 10:28?
    • What did the proud Jew, Peter, learn about God's character in Acts 10:34-35?
    • What are the main points of Peter's gospel message in Acts 10:36-43?
    • What was the response of the Jews that traveled with Peter in Acts 10:45-46?
B9 Some Christians (?) respond with joy, when someone they perceive is evil, saying things as, "They got what they deserved." What does God teach us in the Scriptures?
Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live? (Ezekiel 18:23 NKJV). For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!" (Ezekiel 18:32 NKJV). Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?' (Ezekiel 33:11 NKJV). For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV). The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV). God wants repentance. We are all sinners and rebels, but God graciously opens our eyes and hearts to understand the truth about ourselves and the truth of the Gospel of His Son, the Lord Jesus.
B10 Have missionaries and others in the past showed prejudice? Are we supposed to push our lifestyle on new converts? Are we supposed to teach the Bible lifestyle?
B11 Why does God choose to have humans present the Gospel instead of angels or doing it Himself?
B12 What happens to those who never hear the Gospel? (According to Romans 1, people have some understanding through creation. The Holy Spirit works in their hearts, too. They have to place faith in God just like all people have to. The Gospel has always been the same).
B13 Do we still see prejudices when people share the gospel?
B14 How are we going to prevent these bad attitudes this week?

13 June 2016

Hard Questions #7

Hard Questions #7

What are key similarities and differences between the world's major religions (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism)?


A1 Problem
B1 All religions lead to the same thing.
B2 The main thing to be concerned with is forgiveness of sins and an eternal home with blessings.

A2 Answers
B1 Chart


*Though atheism is essentially NOT religion, it is a belief system, so it is included.