Jesus in the Old Testament?

Ever read this passage and was confused?

Jhn 8:56 – (Jesus speaking)Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
Jhn 8:57 – “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
Jhn 8:58 – “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!

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The Word for the Homeless

I had an idea a while back to give Bibles out to homeless people that dwell in my area, but not just any Bible – the idea was to highlight certain passages of the Bible that dealt with specific topics in different colors. So far the simplest categories I could come up with were Christian Identity and Instructions, Christ and His Work, and Sin.

My hope is that the recipient would look at the Bible in a new light – as something that has answers instead of an intimidating book I could never read. As they flip through it not sure what to read they may find helpful passages that they would otherwise have skipped over.

I posted this as it may help other believers in their Bible reading and I’d appreciate it if any of you have any scriptures to add to this collection.

 

Jesus and His Work

Isa. 9:6

Mic. 5:2

Mat. 4:23, 8:29

Mar 3:11, 15:2

Luk. 4:43, 5:31-32, 27:70

Jhn. 1:1-14, 29, 8:28, 10:30, 12:50, 14:10, 15:1-2, 20:28

Act. 8:37, 9:20

Rom. 1:4, 3:24, 5:8, 5:8-11, 6:8

Php. 2:6-11

Col. 1:3, 13-22, 2:9-15

1 Tim. 3:16

Tts. 2:11, 13-14

Heb. 1, 2:3, 9-11, 18, 4:14-16, 9:13-15

1Pet. 1:18-21, 3:18, 4:6-10

2Pet. 2:1-2

1Jhn. 2:1-2, 3:1, 4:9-10, 5:5, 20

 

Christian Identity & Instruction

Psa. 1:1-5

Pro. 16:2-3, 6-8, 16, 18, 22, 25, 32

Isa. 1:16-17

Mat. 6:33-34, 7:14, 21-24, 10:39

Mar. 13:35-37

Luk. 11:13, 12:34-36, 14:27, 18:17

Jhn. 14:13-15, 21, 15:7, 12-13

Rom. 6:1-3, 8:1, 6-7, 12:1-2

1Cor. 6:12, 10:13, 13:4-8, 14:1

Gal. 5:22-26

Eph. 4:1-6, 17-19, 21-28, 5:1-5, 8-11, 6:10-18

Php. 2:3-5, 3:8, 18-20

Col. 1:10-12, 2:8

Tts. 2:12

Heb. 11:1, 12:1-8, 13:5

Jam. 1:2-4, 7-10, 12, 2:14-17, 3:3-12, 3:16-18, 4:3-8, 17, 5:7-9

1Pet. 1:13-17, 22-23, 2:1-3, 3:9

1Jhn. 1:6-10,16, 2:3-6, 15-18, 3:1-3, 16-20, 4:1-3, 7-8, 11

 

Sin and the Carnal Nature

Psa. 1:6, 32:5

Pro. 15:29, 26:11, 28:13

Isa. 1:18, 59:2

Mat. 5:28, 12:31

Luk.8:17

Jhn. 3:19-20

Rom 6:1-3, 23,

1Cor 6:9-13

Gal. 5:19-21

Eph. 5:5-6

Col. 3:5-6

Heb. 10:26

Jam. 1:14, 4:4

1Pet. 4:18

1Jhn. 1:8, 10, 2:15-17, 3:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

1st, Fix the question – Most questions that confused or unbelieving people ask about Christianity are full of assumptions and erroneous statements. For example:
“Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether you say yes or no you are an abusive husband! This question is made on the assumption that you are an abusive husband; if you are not how can you answer the question without first fixing the question?
“Did you like your sandwich?” also presumes that you ate a sandwich, what if you have not? How much more so must we fix a question before we ask it about something so deep and important as God’s character.


Who’s fault?

  • People only go to hell because they do not believe in Christ as Savior (remember belief means more than mental acknowledgment)
    • Jhn 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    • Jhn 5:24 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
    • Jhn 6:47 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
    • Mat 25:41 – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
  • By having faith in Christ as your Savior your name is written in the book of life
    • Rev 3:5 – “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
    • By not believing in Christ you opt out of having your name in the book of life
  • Not being in covenant with Christ is what sends you to Hell
  • Individuals who purposefully ignore God express their desire to live without God. In hell your wish is perfectly granted.
  • Therefore: God does not send anyone to Hell, they send themselves. God is just obeying the spiritual laws that have existed since before time that darkness cannot dwell in the light, and that sin incurs wrath.
    • Laws like gravity, fire, and water can kill or injure you but when you know of the consequence of jumping off a cliff etc. who’s fault is it when you get hurt or die? Can you blame God for not breaking the laws He set up and holds you accountable by?
  • Sin cannot exist in God’s fullness in Heaven, it must be washed away.
    • Isa 59:2 – Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
    • Rev 21:27 – But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
    • Rev 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
  • “God doesn’t send his children to hell” correct, because His Children believe in and surrender to Christ.
    • You are only a child of God if you are born again by Christ, else you are still subject to sin and God’s wrath aka a child of Satan
    • Jhn 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
    • 1Jo 3:1 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
    • 1Jo 5:2 – By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
    • He gave salvation for free at the cost of His Son
    • He warned and informed us of the consequences of sin & unbelief
    • He convicts us of sin by the Holy Spirit
    • He forgives us of sin and sees us as righteous via Christ’s righteousness

God has actually worked to keep us out of Hell!

  • The one thing God can’t do is control us against our will
    • We are accountable for our own actions and we can’t hold God responsible for them
    • Jam 1:13-14 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
    • 2Pet 3:9 – The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    • If someone does not want to be with God in this life they will be totally separated from Him in the next.
    • “This life is a dress rehearsal for the next”.


A great resource on sin:
http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Alkitab/alkit7.html

How Do You Know Christianity is Right?

This is part one of my new “Big Questions” series where I am addressing common questions and disagreements with the Christian faith in a simple and dialogue oriented way.

 

“How Do You Know Christianity Is Right?”

 

Uniqueness

  • It deals with the human condition of sin unlike all other religions.
  • World religions don’t acknowledge sin or imperfection.
  • Christianity provides not only an explanation for our problems, for evil, and for imperfection but it provides a solution – Jesus Christ.
  • Because of Jesus we don’t have to work our way to God.

1Jhn 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Rom 3:24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, 20

  • God came to us (relationship) not us searching for Him (religion)
  • God came to Earth and was born as a human so that He could come to our level and redeem us from our limitations that held us back from our destiny.

Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jhn 3:17 – For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Rom 5:8

  • Our Savior can relate to our temptations because he was tempted, he can relate to suffering and struggles because he endured them also

Hbr 4:15 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

  • God desires a personal relationship with us
  • Yahweh is not distant, impersonal, or absent.
  • He wants an intimate relationship with you similar to marriage.

Jhn 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

1Cr 2:12

 

Effectiveness

  • The God of the Bible works
  • If the God of the Bible were not real- miracles would not happen the way they do. When we say “In Jesus name get up and walk” and they walk it is evidence toward the God of the Bible.
  • When we obey the Word of God miracles happen, it works
    • It answers the questions
    • Purpose
    • Identity
    • Strength
  • It satisfies the soul
  • Christianity meets the psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of mankind in a way that other lifestyles cannot imitate.
  • People have been set free from decades of drugs, addictions, sickness, and hurt because of Christianity. Other religions imitate this change.
    • It works for the good of mankind
    • Abolition of slavery
    • Equal rights – slavery doesn’t work when we’re all the same
    • Science – flourished under Isaac Newton, Galileo, Robert Boyle, Gregor Mendel, Kelvin, Planck,
    • Universities – Ivey League, Harvard, Oxford,
    • America

 

Exclusivity

  • The Bible does not allow for any other way to God or Heaven

Jhn 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Jhn 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Act 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • Other religions don’t allow for other gods or paths to salvation
  • Hinduism says you must meditate and liberate yourself to Moksha
  • In Buddhism you perfect yourself until you reach Nirvana
  • With Islam you must serve Allah who the Quran says cannot have a son

Jhn 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

How Big is Your Phylactery?

Mat 23:2 – saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
Mat 23:3 – “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
Mat 23:4 – “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Mat 23:5 – “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.

The Pharisees are mentioned often throughout the New Testament and appear to be the bad guys who were always trying to catch Jesus red handed in some deceptive scheme. They wore on their heads something called a phylactery which was a small black box that contained a parchment inside on which was written passages from the Torah. These passages were probably memorized, thus the bigger your phylactery was the more of God’s Word you memorized. The same goes for the arm-phylactery or arm tefillin which was a leather strap wrapped around the arm and it represented passages from the Torah.

The Problem of Hypocrisy

The problem with the Pharisees was that they memorized and knew so much but actually did so little of it. They were hypocrites that ruled the Jewish people and instructed them on how to best follow the Law yet they themselves did not follow it through completely. Worse than that they missed the point, and ultimately missed their Messiah which was prophesied from the beginning by their own texts.

They probably felt a sense of worth and value when the people looked up to them as more Godly them themselves, heck who doesn’t? I know I’ve felt a sense of pride and satisfaction when people consider me as “doing it right”. But they converted their genuine spirituality in to a physical show, the size of their phylactery, the length of their scripture strap, and the volume of their prayers dictated the level of faith and spirituality. That is the dwelling place of self deceit, false spirituality, and hypocrisy.

Pharisees Today in the Church

This problem of Pharisaical hypocrisy is rampant in the Western Christian culture. I see many Christians who were raised going to church; they know all of the stories, answers, and solutions to life’s problem but they don’t truly live what they claim to believe. These individuals don’t have a relationship with God and underneath the self gratifying religious mask they really just live for themselves. And another group exists that lacked the Christian childhood or education yet they have “come to Christ” in more recent years and play the part well. They of course believe they are going to heaven, claim the title of Christian and know a few religious answers. Yet they too know and don’t do. Another way to put it is they think but don’t have. Both groups have enough Christianity in their lives to make them self feel good about their life and spirituality. But they don’t have enough Christ in them to pass for a true follower of Christ.

It’s not enough to have a religion about God, it’s having a relationship with God that counts in this life and the next.

Mat 5:20 – “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

So are you one of these people? Test yourself by comparing your Christianity to the religiousness of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time:

  • The Pharisees loved to be known publicly for their spirituality and discipline.
    (Matthew 6:5-6)
  • The Pharisees were clean on the outside but were secretly full of injustice and evil on the inside.
    (Matthew 23:25-28)
  • The Pharisees cared more about peoples sins than their repentance and worship of Jesus.
    (Luke 7:39)
  • The Pharisees focused more on their own righteous accomplishments and status than their sin and need for God.
    (Luke 18:11-13)
  • The Pharisees focused on peoples status more then loving them.
    (Matthew 9:11-13)
  • The Pharisees accused Jesus of working Satanically because they could not equal or duplicate His works.
    (Matthew 12:24-28)
  • The Pharisees asked to see a miraculous sign from Jesus though they had likely seen many and still did not believe.
    (Matthew 12:38-39)
  • The Pharisees paid attention to rules pertaining to the outward being but ignored deeper things like honoring ones parents.
    (Matthew 15:1-9)

Compare yourself with the above statements and challenge yourself to become truer and purer in your relationship with God. Knowing about God isn’t enough. Looking good to others and fooling your pastors isn’t enough.

Jam 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Seeing Christ in the Fire

Since I moved to Austin for ministry school there have been numerous trials, most of which involving money and the non-existence of a job. I have learned a lot about what it means to go through a trial or a test of your faith.

I don’t believe hard times are always from God, but even when they aren’t (such as if they are your own fault, or if it’s an attack from Satan) God can use them to mature you and bring you closer to Him. They are opportunities for you to grow and to hold on to God’s hand like never before.

Today on the radio I was listening to Woodrow Krull from “Back to the Bible” and he explained the scene of the firey furnace in a way that I had never thought of before.

Here are some of my new thoughts on the matter and what we can learn from it.

Dan 3:15 – “…But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”
Dan 3:16 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
Dan 3:17 – “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.
Dan 3:18 – “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Dan 3:19 – Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.

When you live right before God you will encounter hardships that might have been avoided if you lived contrary to God’s Word.

God With Us

Dan 3:21 – Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:23 – And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Dan 3:24 – Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
Dan 3:25 – “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

Because the three young men did not compromise, fight back, or fear their situation but rather trusted God, He honored their faith by saving them from death. When we trust in God through our “fire” He will always be faithful. If God does not seem faithful in the end, it’s our failure to be faithful through the trial because God never changes and never fails.
Nebuchadnezzar described the fourth man in the furnace as THE Son of God, else where in the Old Testament angels are called sons of God, but we don’t find this singular use anywhere else. I believe it was Jesus, the manifestation of God Himself long before being born in Bethlehem (about 550 years before Christ was born) showed up to these faithful Jewish men at the moment of sure death. If it was Jesus it provides a beautiful picture of how Christ is with us even in the hardest of times, and He Himself endured tests and trials.

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Scriptures, Without Context

In my years of enjoying sermons, songs, and theology I have encountered many uses of scripture that have been taken out of context and twisted to mean something else. When something is take out of context the surrounding scriptures are ignored, surrounding stories are not mentioned, history is overlooked, and cross references are conveniently not used.
It’s like renting a movie you’ve never seen and only watching 5 minutes of it in the middle of the movie. You then claim to know the entire plot from just seeing 5 minutes of the movie! This is the leading cause of error in the Church.

“Calls those things which do not exist as though they did” – Romans 4:17

This scripture is used often by followers of the “Word of faith movement” when they instruct believers to speak things in to existence, declare and it will be done for you.

Rom 4:17- (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations” ) in the presence of Him whom he believed God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

With this scripture you don’t even have to read contextual scriptures to figure it out: it’s speaking about God, not the believer. We as God’s creations have no creative power, only He does. When we are in right relationship with God we can ask things of Him and He may do them but that is not what most Word of Faith or “Name it Claim it” teachings propose. We don’t convince God to follow our will, we follow His will. He originally gave man dominion and stewardship over the Earth but this does not mean that believers can speak money, cars, or health in to being. We put our faith in the Father, not in our faith.

“New Wine in New Wine Skins” – Matthew 9:16-17

This scripture has been used to back “new moves of God” or some new revolutionary thing that God is supposedly doing.

Mat 9:16 – “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.
Mat 9:17 – “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

However, the message of new wine in old wineskins and new cloth on an old garment signifies the complete newness of the New Covenant. The context reveals Jesus’s reason for why His followers did not need to fast while He was present. Fasting was connected to the law heavily and the pharisees expected Jesus and His followers to follow the Law if He was truly from God. The New Covenant isn’t the Old Covenant plus Jesus and the cross it’s a whole new deal. The Old Testament was completely finished by Christ’s life death and resurrection, not partially finished as some thought who mixed Jesus’s teachings with their Judaism.
So the “new wine” (or the New Covenant) was poured in to the “new wine skin” once and for all time back at the crucifixion, not every time a local church thinks they have something new and fresh from God.

“When you have shut your door, pray to the Father” – Matthew 6:5-6

I actually had this one used against me after sharing the Gospel with a student outside of U.T. in Austin. He said “Jesus said when you pray to go in your closet and close the door and pray to God, your religion is between you and God. It’s not a public thing”.

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