CAPTIVE OR COMPLETE?


If you believe the Bible is God’s word, but you believe Christians put too much emphasis on Christ, then this post is for you. 

COMPLETE IN CHRIST

Does scripture teach we are complete in Christ? Absolutely!

Colossians 2:6 Therefore, just as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, 7 having been rooted and being built up in Him, and being strengthened in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding with thanksgiving. 8 TAKE HEED LEST THERE BE ANYONE TAKING YOU CAPTIVE through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the principles of the world and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily. 10 AND YOU ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, who is the head of all rule and authority,

WHO ARE THE CAPTIVES?

The psalmist spoke of a time when God would lead captivity captive. Paul says this is fulfilled in Christ.

Psalm 68:16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord isamong them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

Ephesians 4:7 Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 This is why it says: “When He ascended on high, He led captives away, and gave gifts to men.”

Clark’s commentary reads: “That the Lord God might dwell among them – יה אלהים yah Elohim, the self-existing God; see on Psalm 68:4 (note). The conqueror now coming to fix his abode among the conquered people to organize them under his laws, to govern and dispense justice among them. The whole of this is very properly applied by St. Paul, Ephesians 4:5, to the resurrection and glory of Christ; where the reader is requested to consult the note.“

The only satisfying explanation and interpretation of this passage, and the interpretation I believe to be correct is found at SimplyBible.org:

The simplest explanation of “he led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8) is to think of captivity as slavery. Paul thinks of the new birth as an enslavement to Christ when he releases us from enslavement to sin (Romans 6:6,16-18).When Christ died, was buried, arose from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of God, he set a host of captives free from sin and took them captive to himself. He continues to do so even today and until he comes again, “that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:10).

Now if we become captives to Christ, how then are we complete? 

The beauty of the Gospel and of Christ’s atonement is that while He takes us captive, He then sets us free; free from sin and shame and captive to Christ’s love. We are complete in Him because Christ not only allows us to be declared not guilty, He enabled us to love and serve Him. Christ provides all we need because He is light, food, and water to those who trust Him and He justifies us.

Acts 13: 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.39 Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses.

AUTHORITY OF CHRIST

There are 18 passages in scriptures teaching that YHWH has placed all His authority in Christ, who came to earth as Son of man and Son of God. See Knowing Jesus…

Hebrews 1:1 On many past occasions and in many different ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets. 2 But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.…

When we are placed in Christ, we are under this awesome Authority, yet Christ sets us free from sin and death. There is no greater place to be! A person can NEVER put too much emphasis on Christ! It is in Christ that YHWH makes us complete and we are justified before Him! 

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

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Posted in Bible prophecy, Bible Teaching, Biblical History, Christ, Gospel, Grace of God, Jehovah's Witness, Jesus, Religion | Leave a comment

America’s History -Founding Father Roger Sherman


Roger Sherman

Roger Sherman (April 19, 1721 – July 23, 1793) was an attorney. He is said to be the only person who signed all four great state papers of the United States: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.

Sherman was instrumental in securing the addition of “or to the people” in the wording of the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and caused the cent to be used in the financial system. In a letter to Oliver Wolcott (May 21, 1777) he wrote, “I think it dangerous to admit citizens not connected to the army to be tried by a Court Martial”.[28]

With the passage of time, and not many papers written by Sherman, we need to look at what he supported to learn his political leanings. It is recorded that he made motions or seconds in reference to the Virginia Plan 160 times. So what was the Virginia plan and what did its supporters believe?

THE VIRGINIA PLAN

The Virginia Plan was drafted by James Madison, and presented by Edmund Randolph to the Constitutional Convention on May 29, 1787.  It was a plan for a strong central government consisting of the three branches we know as: legislative, executive, and judicial. It had a flaw; it favored the large states as the plan provided for all states to be represented equally in Congress regardless of size. While Sherman made motions concerning the plan many times, he saw its weakness.

THE GREAT COMPROMISE 

The Virginia Plan did favor the large states, but there was an opposing plan called the New Jersey plan that gave all states equal representation. Roger Sherman was the person who proposed a compromise. It was adopted and became known as the Great Compromise.  His plan provided for two houses of Congress, one with representation according to or in proportion to the population of the state. The other house would have equal representation regardless of the size or population of the state. This has worked for 237 years and we have Roger Sherman to thank.

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Education, First Amendment Rights, Freedom

America’s History – Dr. John Witherspoon


We hear much talk of our Founding Fathers, what they believed and what they intended for the USA.  Most of us can name a few, but who exactly is included in this group and what influence did each have on our  history?

For my next few posts, I wish to learn who these men are and become better acquainted with each of them and how they helped to shape our nation.

FOUNDING FATHERS

Thought.com lists the most well-known among our founders: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams,Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, & Gouverneur Morris. Biography includes John Jay. But for a complete list, see Ranker.com.  At Ranker we find all those who had a part in founding the nation. Perhaps you have an ancestor listed here!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Declaration_of_Independence_%281819%29%2C_by_John_Trumbull.jpgIn John Trumbull‘s famous painting, Witherspoon is the second seated figure from the (viewer’s) right among those shown in the background facing the large table. Photo is taken from Wikipedia

My plan here is to carefully study each person and as best we can, given the passage of time, sort out facts from fiction. We will begin with:

DR. JOHN WITHERSPOON 

Historical Records

John Knox Witherspoon, Feb 5, 1723, Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland was a pastor, a professor and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and ratified of the Constitution of the USA

Private Life

Dr. Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister before coming to America in 1768. He became president of the College of New Jersey which is now Princeton University. He was a family man, very committed to his ministry, and he lost a son, James, in a war in Europe.

Political Life

There is much information about his religious beliefs found at Wikipedia, but there is not a great deal known about his political beliefs. It appears that he was dedicated to the cause of independence for the Colonies.

On the Princeton University site, W. Frank Craven wrote a very biography on the life of Dr. Witherspoon. There is not a great deal written about his political life, but these paragraphs are helpful:

In his support of the American cause there is no occasion for surprise. He subscribed to John Locke’s political philosophy as wholeheartedly as to his psychology, and brought from Scotland a strong sense of ‘British liberty,” which he came to see as greatly endangered by the course of British policy. When John Adams stopped over in Princeton on his way to the first meeting of the Continental Congress in 1774, he met Witherspoon and pronounced him “as high a Son of Liberty, as any Man in America.”

Through the years he served in Congress, Witherspoon’s patriotism and judgment won the respect of his colleagues, as evidenced by his assignment to many committees, some of them among the most important. He struggled through these years — not always successfully — to keep the College in session, and he became a frequent commuter between Princeton and Philadelphia. He resigned from Congress in November 1782, when a war that had cost him the life of his son James (who graduated from the College in 1770 and was killed in Germantown) was ended, and peace, with American independence, seemed assured.

John Locke’s Political Philosophy

Since Witherspoon agreed with John Locke’s philosophy, we will look at what Locke believed. It can be summed up as follows:

Locke believed that

  • Everyone is born equal and free.
  • The purpose of forming and submitting to government is to secure the individual rights to life, liberty, and property.
  • Men have the right of revolution when it is called for.
  • The individual acquires property in nature by “mixing his labor” with natural objects.
  • …“for ‘tis labor indeed that puts the difference of value on every thing…”
  • People should have religious toleration for dissenters from the state church.
  • There should be broad legal toleration of competing religious doctrines, including Judaism, Islam, and even paganism.
  • Locke believed that we should “value a virtuous or wise man infinitely before a great scholar.”

The above was taken from a summary of John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration.

 

 

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Freedom, History

What happens to the spread of the gospel when Bibles are banned?


WILL CHINA STOP THE GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY?

In China, not only have they stopped the sale of Bibles and the download of the Bible, they have forced the closing of Zion’s House Church. Apparently the Chinese government believes they can control the spread of the word of God with these actions. They are mistaken.

John 1:4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.

GOD PRESERVES AND KEEPS HIS WORD

From the scriptures, I have concluded that those who believe they can stop the spread of the written or Living Word are disillusioned. 

(Jesus said) Matthew 24:35 The heaven and the earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

Psalm 119:89
Your word, YHWH, is everlasting; it is firmly fixed in the heavens.

Isaiah 51:6
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its people will die like gnats. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never fail.

Isaiah 55:11
My word that proceeds from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and it will prosper where I send it.

Matthew 5:18
For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

At least three times Jesus said:

Matthew 24:35 The heaven and the earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

Mark 13:31
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

Luke 21:33
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away

HISTORY SHOWS THAT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS RESULTS IN DEEPER FAITH AND COMMITMENT

Consider the following:

The Timothy Initiative when “Many people were added to the church as a result of that particular persecution.” 

The Church in Iran  In 2017, Operation World reported that the number of Christians in Iran saw a 19.6% rise in 2016 alone.

Persecution and Church Growth teaches “But the Bible, especially in the book of Acts, is clear that church growth will likely bring persecution.”

The early church is the best example we have of the church growing in spite of persecution. We are here today in spite of the persecution of the early Christians who describe the following situation:

Acts 5:28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name (Jesus),” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” 29But Peter and the other apostles replied,“We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree.…

PRAY FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHINA

Colossians 1:We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified youe to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13e has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

Posted in Bible, Bible Teaching, Biblical History, Christ, Christianity, communism, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Jesus | 4 Comments

My journey to faith…


BY FAITH

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Were you born with faith? I believe we all are, until someone or something (sin) destroys our faith. Our first expression of faith is that if we cry, someone will feed and clothe us and if you are reading this, someone did. So we begin our journey by faith, but where will it end?

https://church4u2.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/33911-13768104_1800063893570664_1977447120_n.jpg?w=306&h=306

THE WILDERNESS

John 11:26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

In the world I was born into, we had little, but enough. My parents carried me to church when they actually had to walk to get there. They were faithful to attend. Mother sewed the clothes that I wore as I grew and we sat in services every Sunday. I was much like other children. I heard the songs and some scripture and I began to wonder. I heard that “Jesus saves” but really had very little comprehension as to how or why Jesus did this. As I grew to be a teenager, the questions increased in my heart and mind, but I did not dare ask. I truly thought I should know the answers, but I didn’t actually know. I was in my own wilderness. I did hear frequently that if we would believe in Jesus we would not die and John 11:26 stated this truth. John 3:16 was memorized at an early age, but death was occurring all around me. My grandfather died. People in our church died. I wanted to believe, but I had trouble making sense of this and I would not ask. I did believe in God and I believed that somehow the Bible was right, but I was wandering and wondering.

THE LIGHT

I needed the light that is promised in John 8:12

Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.

My parents encouraged me to join the church and be baptized which I did at age seven, however, this changed nothing in my life. I did it because it was expected by them.

As I grew older, the world began to creep in and I thought less and less about the questions I had harbored as a child.  School activities and guys began to interest me more and the Bible interested me less. I did have faith, although it was very shallow. I did believe that somehow, God is good, Jesus saves, and things would work out in the end. That was about it. Philip Yancey had never written a book at this time and I did not realize, as I do now two truths that he later wrote in two of his books:

Somehow, …faith was what God valued… – Philip Yancey, Disappointment With God

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who approaches Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

“Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy. Does God really want close contact with us? Jesus gave up Heaven for it.” Philip Yancey, Grace Notes: Daily Readings with a Fellow Pilgrim

Hebrews 12:2 Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Luke 7:50 And he (Jesus) said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

I was busy reading “Gone With the Wind” and it actually ended up playing a part in God’s reaching down for me. If you’ve read the book, you know it is not a thin book. When I completed it, a thought occurred to me. Suppose I died and stood before the judgement seat of Christ. How would I explain that I had time in my life to read “Gone With the Wind“, yet I had never read the Bible. My mother had given me a new Bible as a gift and I decided, for that reason alone, to read it from Genesis to Revelation. It was during this reading that I met the risen Lord.

Luke 19:10 ‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” 

As I read, my mind often wandered. I didn’t stop, however, and one Saturday morning I reached John, chapter 3. This was the chapter I should have known better than any other chapter in the Bible, but that morning, it was as if I read it for the first time. Also, the Lord spoke to me as clearly as He spoke to Nicodemus. Here is what I read:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but youf do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

As I read, I knew that I had not been born again. All I did about it at the time was be honest. I said something like, “Lord, I do not understand all about this, but I do believe what is written.”

JUST AS HE PROMISED

Matthew 11:28 All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I felt a new peace in my heart. Peace that the world doesn’t offer. Something happened after that. I realized that I was a sinner and that only Christ could save me. I rededicated my life to the Lord publicly and eventually was baptized again. I began to read and understand the Bible more and more. I found myself with a new outlook and a new understanding of the crucifixion, atonement, and salvation by grace through faith. It was as if the Lord became my teacher by His Holy Spirit that continued to show me truth from the written word as my faith in the truth of the Living Word continued to grow.

THE JOURNEY

Fairly early on in my journey, this verse was given to me.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Truly the Lord values our faith and it is faith that pleases Him. Faith allows us to experience grace and salvation.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God…

Paul and Peter wrote of the importance of living by faith and the importance of faith in the life of a Christian.

Acts 15:8-9And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

2 Corinthians 4:13-14Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

GOD IS FAITHFUL

Another thing that the Lord has made clear to me on my journey is that God is faithful. If we have a little faith, and we exercise that faith in repentance of sin and trust in the atoning blood of Christ, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Corinthians 1:8-He will sustain you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Posted in Bible, Bible Teaching, Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Gospel, Grace of God

WHAT HAPPENS IF A PERSON DENIES THE HOLY SPIRIT?


WHAT HAPPENS IF A PERSON DENIES THE HOLY SPIRIT?

If a person is not in Christ, then that person has no part in the Holy Spirit because those who are in Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit and they belong to God. This is life and without Christ and the Spirit, there is no life according to the scriptures.

1:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you,whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple…

Jesus is the Living Word. He said:

John 6:63: The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

We should study and read what the Spirit says and ask that He reveal to us what happens to those who deny that:

GOD IS SPIRIT 

Ephesians 4:4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;…

Through the scriptures, found only in the Holy Bible, mankind is introduced to the Holy Spirit. The King James translation often translates the word, Pneuma, as Ghost rendering the phrase, Holy Ghost, but it is sometimes rendered Spirit.

Without the scriptures, we would not know of the Holy Spirit. The first mention of the Spirit is in the story of creation:

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

The Spirit is active throughout all history, from creation and all through the period of history as the Bible was being written. The Holy Spirit was sent by the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection and ascension and will remain active on earth until the church is taken up as described in First Thessalonians 4:13-17 and Revelation 20.

We are told:

John 4:24 24 God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

So who or what is the Holy Spirit? Since the Bible is the only place we learn of the Spirit until we are born again, the Bible is the only source we should turn to when acquainting ourselves with the Holy Spirit.

There are cults and religions who deny that the Holy Spirit is a person.  These call the Spirit a ‘force’ and deny that the Holy Spirit is a part of the Godhead. In this post, we will look at what is written, what the Spirit does, and some of the consequences of failing to recognize and/or give respect to the Holy Spirit of God.

HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON

An excellent Study of the Person of the Holy Spirit is found at Make Sure Ministries. It is here we see:

The Greek language tells us the Holy Spirit is a person by its choice of pronouns:  He and Him – NOT It

ekeinos = he………….NOT  ekeino = it

auton = him…………..NOT   auto = it

Even when the Greek word auto is used in a passage, the pronoun should be translated to agree with the noun.

The noun we are discussing is Counselor, Comforter, Helper.  In the Greek parakletos is masculine singular.  Jesus says that He would ask the Father to send “another” Helper just like Himself in John 14:16.

allos (Greek) = “another of the same kind”  NOT  heteros (Greek) = “another of a different kind”

CHARACTERISTICS OF A PERSON THAT ARE SHARED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

Grieves – a person grieves, a force doesn’t:

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit;
therefore he turned to be their enemy,
and himself fought against them.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Speaks – a person speaks, a force doesn’t:

Mark 12:36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

Mark 13:11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

Acts 4:25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?

Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice,

Leads – a person leads others.

Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.

Warns of impending danger –

Acts 20:23 I only know that in town after town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions await me.

Teaches – a person teaches, a force doesn’t:

Luke 12:12 …for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Helps – A person intentionally helps others.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit…

Reasons – A person reasons and reaches conclusions. A force could never do either.

Acts 15:28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements:

Controls – A person is able to control those over whom they rule.

Acts 16:6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.

Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,which he obtained with his own blood.  

Testifies – A person testifies or bears witness.

Acts 20:23 …except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.

Prays – A person prays, a force does not.

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Searches – even the mind of God. Could a force even begin to search out the mind of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

HOLY SPIRIT IS ABLE TO ACT ON BEHALF OF OTHERS, BE LIED TO, AND DIRECT OTHERS

Acts 16:6 After the Holy Spirit prevented them from speaking the word in the province of Asia, they traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia.

Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.

Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?

WARNINGS REGARDING OUR BEHAVIOR TOWARD THE HOLY SPIRIT

Mark 3:28 Truly I tell you, the sons of men will be forgiven all sins and blasphemies, as many as they utter. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.”30 Jesus made this statement because they were claiming, “He has an unclean spirit.”…

Luke 12:10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A PERSON DENIES THE HOLY SPIRIT?

There is only One true Holy Spirit. If a person is in Christ, they have the Holy Spirit at work within them, however:

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons,

My conclusion is that a person will not continue to deny the Holy Spirit after being saved by Christ and in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit.  If we do not have Christ, we do not have the Holy Spirit or life.

1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life.

If we are following a spirit that is not of Christ, we are deceived and do not have life. If we have Christ, we have the Holy Spirit and life.

Can a person receive Christ and the Holy Spirit and then deny that the Holy Spirit is living within them? What do you think?

Posted in Bible, Christ, Christianity, Cults, Eternal Godhead, Holy Spirit, Jehovah's Witness, Watchtower Society

IS PREACHING FORGIVENESS OF SIN AND SALVATION BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST BIBLICAL?


Christians believe entrance into the kingdom of God is by new birth (John 3:5). Watchtower’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, who disagree with what they call Christendom, teach their members that many cannot teach properly about God’s Kingdom. Christians believe in salvation by grace through faith in Christ as taught in the New Testament. Watchtower seems to disagree with this, also, because they have written (and I quote from their official site) “they (watchtower clearly refers to Christians here) preach feel-good sermons about forgiveness of sins and faith in Jesus.”

I write this post with the hope that many who are ‘Jehovah Witnesses’ will read the scriptures given and consider God’s Holy Word as opposed to what is written on the official website of Watchtower concerning the gospel and salvation through Jesus Christ alone. 

WATCHTOWER TEACHES

I found very little on their site teaching the gospel and nothing that teaches the verses concerning the gospel and salvation given in context. Here are excerpts copied from JW’s website:

“Those who do not understand what the Kingdom is —and there are many— cannot accurately teach others about it. Instead, they preach feel-good sermons about forgiveness of sins and faith in Jesus. They also seek to win converts through social work or by building hospitals, schools, and homes for the poor. While such efforts may boost church membership, they do not produce true Christians who sincerely seek to live in harmony with what Jesus taught…”(After this paragraph, Watchtower writes several paragraphs telling how Christians are failing) then begin to advertise their magazine…”This magazine, the full title of which is The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom, is now published in 185 languages and has a circulation of more than 42 million copies each issue. The companion magazine, Awake!, which also publicizes the Kingdom, is published in 83 languages and has a circulation of about 40 million copies each issue.”

Watchtower tells about their NWT and then they go into a long speech about end-times. Not once do they share the gospel in this section! 😢😢😢

In the glossary on JW.org website I was able to locate the following definition concerning the gospel.

“Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on, meaning “good news.” (Mt 4:23; 24:14; Mr 1:14) As used in the Bible, the gospel, or good news, refers to the message about the Kingdom of God and of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.”

The above  seems to be as close as they come to giving the gospel. They have written volumes of doctrine and do acknowledge that Jesus death and resurrection is “beneficial” to many, but in searching from their teachings on ‘gospel’ the results leave out the heart of the gospel, that forgiveness is only by faith in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ who is the only Begotten Son of God. (There are hundreds of thousands of pages of written doctrine, and it would be impossible for me to find everything they have written, but I can say it wasn’t turned up in my searches.)

The Bible teaches:

THE GOSPEL OR GOOD NEWS FROM GOD

The word gospel, meaning ‘good news’, is mentioned 95 times in the New Testament! It is referred to as the ‘gospel of the Kingdom,’ ‘the gospel of God,’ ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ,’ ‘the gospel of the grace of God,’ ‘the gospel of peace,’ ‘the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,’ and ‘the everlasting gospel.’

The Holy Bible clearly describes the gospel in two places. Once in Peter’s writings and once in Paul’s:

1 Peter:1:18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth,  so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure  heart love one another constantly,  23 BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN​— ​NOT OF PERISHABLE SEED, BUT OF IMPERISHABLE  ​— ​through the living and enduring WORD OF GOD 24 For “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25  but THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER. AND THIS IS THE GOSPEL THAT WAS PROCLAIMED TO YOU.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I make known to you, brothers, the gospel that I proclaimed to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, 2 by which you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I proclaimed to you; otherwise you have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you in the foremost what also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. 6 Thereafter He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, the greater part of whom remain until now, although some have fallen asleep. 7 Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 And last of all, He appeared also to me, as to one of untimely birth.

BIBLE TEACHINGS CONCERNING THE GOSPEL

Power of the gospel:

2 Titus 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Paul’s declarations:

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

God’s warnings through Paul concerning the gospel:

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Other teachings concerning the gospel:

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One having blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world for us to be holy and blameless before Him, in love 5 having predestined us for divine adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He has freely given us in the Beloved One, 7 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished upon us in all wisdom and understanding, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will according to His pleasure, which He purposed in Him 10 for the administration of the fullness of the times, to bring together all things in Christ—the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth— 11 in Him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of the One working all things according to the counsel of His will 12 for us, the ones having first trusted in Christ, to be to the praise of His glory, 13 in whom you also, having heard the word of truth, the gospel your of salvation, in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance to the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

We are commanded:

Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

THE GOSPEL BRINGS SALVATION

Romans 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. 17For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”…

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

In understanding this gospel, or good news, there are other related passages we need to know. Throughout the Bible, we are taught that YHWH is our Savior and Redeemer and that He saves us through the Savior, Messiah, Christ Jesus the Lord, His only begotten Son. Here are verses that Christians believe. Watchtower’s Jehovah’s Witnesses teach their members that we (Christians) teach (and I quote) “they preach feel-good sermons about forgiveness of sins and faith in Jesus.” I want to say that we do believe and teach that Jesus died for our sins, that His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness, and that through faith in Christ our sins are forgiven and not counted against us. I, we, believe this to be true because it is written in the Holy Bible:

Romans 4…7 “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whose sin  the Lord will never count against him.”

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, except anyone be born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus says to Him, “How is a man able to be born, being old? Is he able to enter into the womb of his mother a second time, and to be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless anyone be born of water and of the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God….16 For God so loved the world that He gave the only begotten Son, so that everyone believing in Him should not perish, but should have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 The one believing in Him is not judged, but the one not believing already has been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

The Old Testament gives us the law and prophets and teaches us that our Creator God is a God who loves His people and has a plan for their redemption.

The New Testament introduces mankind to Jesus Christ the Messiah and the New Covenant. Here we find the gospels, the fulfillment of God’s Covenant plan to save mankind from sin and death, and the Revelation of Christ.

Christians believe we are saved by God and He enables us to do good works, not saved by good works. It is our faith that endures if we are born again and placed ‘in Christ.’

Jesus tells us that we must be born again and that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. John taught that we must repent and believe the gospel, turn from going our way and go the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul, Peter and the apostles taught that we are saved by grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ and the resurrection.  They taught this is not of ourselves, but a gift of God. It does feel good, once we realize that salvation is of the Lord. It doesn’t come from our works or from an organization, it comes from God.

John 6:47 Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes has eternal life.

CONCLUSION: YES! PREACHING FORGIVENESS OF SIN AND SALVATION BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST IS BIBLICAL?

Posted in Bible, Bible Teaching, Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Jehovah's Witness, Jesus, Religion, Resurrection | 2 Comments