What is the “…doctrine of Christ…”

Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” ~2 John 9 NKJV

DoctrineOfChrist

The Essential Doctrines of Jesus, the Christ:

  1. The Deity of Jesus, the Christ
    1. Jesus is the proper object of faith
    2. That Jesus is both God and man (Hypostatic Union)
  2. Salvation by Grace
    1. A gift offered to us by God, an olive branch
    2. We are offered life despite our imminent death
  3. The Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ
    1. Jesus had to be crucified and resurrected
    2. Jesus was to be our sacrificial lamb
  4. The Gospel
    1. Christ is God in flesh
    2. Salvation is received by faith, by grace
    3. and the resurrection of Jesus
  5. Monotheism
    1. There is only one God
    2. Understood to be in three persons
      1. Father
      2. Son
      3. Holy Spirit

 

First, Jesus was,  and is, the center of the faith in order to gain access to God, forgiveness and access to Heaven. We must understand the Deity of Jesus, that He is wholly God and at the same time wholly man. Jesus was very forward about who He was and His belief in His own Christology.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” ~John 8:58 NASB

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” ~Exodus 3:14 NASB

Jesus understood where he received His identity from and His purpose on this earth. Jesus claimed divine title by quoting Moses. He also claimed Divine authority when he publicly read the Book of Isaiah.

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. ~Luke 4:17-21 NASB

Jesus acknowledged that He was the center of and the proper object of faith. That through Himself that all could receive forgiveness of sins and gain access to God the Father and entrance to Heaven.

Second, that Salvation is by Grace. Salvation is a gift from God offered to man through the person of Jesus, the Christ, through whom we can receive forgiveness of sins through substitutionary sacrifice.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. ~Galatians 5:4 NASB

IF there is a true religion then there is a religion that we must follow and believe. That said, we cannot add to God’s works with our works in order to be saved…as God has already done the job. Remember the final words of Jesus on the cross:

It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. ~John 19:30 NASB

The works were finished on the cross. You and I, imperfect beings, cannot accomplish perfect works. Our salvation is based upon the perfect work of God through Jesus on the cross.

Based upon the writings of James, the brother of Jesus, we show our faith through our works, in that we will inherently act differently once we are saved and have dedicated our lives to Jesus. When we do something, as such, we will act differently. Those are the works that the world will see Jesus through. In that light we will be a beacon to the world.

Third, we must believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. It is a historical fact that Jesus lived, based upon Biblical, extra Biblical, Christian and non-Christian sources throughout history. It is also understood, and therefore factual premise, that Jesus died on the cross based upon Biblical, extra Biblical, Christian and non-Christian sources throughout history, as well as medical determinations from the historical documentation of history (refer to On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ). And based upon all of the above references, as well as, the empty tomb and the fact that the Apostles began their preaching on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the city of Jerusalem, where the crucifixion had taken place. Where were the objections to their preaching, if Jesus really didn’t die on the cross, or for that matter did die and was not resurrected? Nothing mentioned in history, or historical documentation, provides any objections to or refutation of the Biblical narrative.

Jesus had to be crucified and resurrected and the best-known prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the death of Messiah, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 certainly stand out. Psalm 22 is especially amazing since it predicted numerous separate elements about Jesus’ crucifixion a thousand years before Jesus was crucified. Here are some examples. Messiah will have His hands and His feet “pierced” through (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25). The Messiah’s bones will not be broken (a person’s legs were usually broken after being crucified to speed up their death) (Psalm 22:17; John 19:33). Men will cast lots for Messiah’s clothing (Psalm 22:18; Matthew 27:35). (Where do the Hebrew Scriptures prophesy the death and resurrection of the Messiah?) Jesus had to be sacrificed for our sins was, for brevity, explained in Isaiah 53, Hebrews 10, and 1John 2:2.

The conclusion of a paper written in 2010 seems to hit the nail on the head concerning the issue.

The resurrection is the ultimate confirmation of Christ’s identity as Saviour, Messiah and Lord (Romans 1:3-4, 14:19). The empty tomb, and the fact that none of Christ’s enemies were ever able to produce a body are important pointers to the historical value of the event. The numerous post resurrection appearances noted by the Gospel writers and Paul, together with the transformation of the Apostles into in some cases martyrs and the subsequent growth of the Church also give credence to the biblical accounts.

Numerous theories (including conspiracy theories) attempt to provide rationalistic explanations for the resurrection. Many of these do not fit the facts and do not appear plausible in the light of the Gospel accounts.

~Outline the arguments made against the historical resurrection, and explain how they should be refuted, Iain A. Emberson, 2010

Fourth, The Gospels must be believed to be true in order that we can understand the purpose of Jesus and the doctrines He taught us and which were carried on by His disciples.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! ~Galatians 1:8-9 NASB

Verses 8 and 9 here in Galatians are a self-declarative statement that you must believe the gospel. The gospel message which in its entirety is that Jesus is God in flesh, who died for sins, rose from the dead, and freely gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe. (Essential Doctrines of Christianity, Matt Slick, 2008) Also, it would not be possible to present the gospel properly without declaring that Jesus is God in flesh.

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ~1 Corinthians 15:1-5 NASB

Within these verses are the essentials: Christ is God in flesh; Salvation is received by faith; therefore it is by grace; and the resurrection is mentioned in verse 4.  Therefore, this gospel message automatically includes the essentials.

And, finally, fifth, the Monotheistic understanding of God and the Trinitarian doctrine. There is one God (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8) as depicted in the Bible. Many mentioned scriptures of of God being “we” (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 11:7) ; however, He is one entity. While the Trinity is not expressly mentioned in the Biblical text, it is inferred throughout the Old and New Testaments.

I hope this is and will be helpful to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

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We Must Totally & Completely Rely On Christ To Save Us

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Mark 16:14-18 NKJV Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

We as Christians are called to spread the Good News and to make disciples of ALL PEOPLE and NATIONS. So, how is it that people seek to paint us out to be arrogant? We are doing what we were commanded to do, yes commissioned to do! We know we are sinful, as we are steeped in sin from birth; yet that does not make us hypocrites, but keepers of the word which we were commanded to keep and spread to all people.

Consider this, I read some time ago where Jilette Penn where he stated something to the affect that he thought Christians were hypocritical when they did no speak of their faith to him because of the mandate of Christ within the bible. So, how is it that when we do speak of salvation to others that we are deemed to be hypocritical, arrogant, and trolling others to pigeon hole them in Hell?

I came across this video on Facebook…

And cannot say I totally agree with his assessment of the Christian faith! There are Christians who go at things wrongly, simple as that. But are all Christians wrong? Man truly has painted himself to be one who desires the “comforting lies” and steer away from those unpleasant truths in life. But wouldn’t it make more sense, if man truly desired those “comforting lies”, that he would be drawn more toward the hedonistic and pleasurable ways of letting go? Instead the Christian follows the ways of the “unpleasant truth” where he is confronted with his vile ways. I truly believe that Morgue has things twisted just a bit.

There are those Atheists who have had much different experiences, such as Bryan Melvin.

Some people have much greater testimonies in comparison to those Christians who have been either Christian and believers for the majority, if not all of, their lives. Converted Atheists have much greater testimonies compared to those who have strayed from Christ and then went back much later in life.

Contrary to Morgue’s belief, Christians as a whole are not trolling others to stomp them down into the ground so they can feel better about themselves. Their mandated purpose is to steer others toward salvation for the glory of God…or as he noted the invisible alien, as well as other designations throughout his presentation. He asked the question why don’t Christians explain why Jesus didn’t appear before Pontius Pilot? Well, why should they? Also, because it didn’t happen is a great response, as well. There are a great many arguments concerning what would have been great propositions for the furtherance of the Christian faith, but what is in the bible is sufficient for us to understand our faith and promote it, perfectly.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ~Romans 10:17 NKJV

Even in the book THINK AND GROW RICH, by Napoleon Hill, mentions in the chapter on AUTO-SUGGESTION that repetitiveness of mantras, concepts and commands will eventually cause your mind to bring about into reality that which you desire and command from your mind. Is our faith bolstered by similar such repetitiveness? Perhaps it is, but what is the harm in such a thing??? Is it more advantageous for man to become a hedonist, or steer himself toward a more moral line of thinking?

If one is a hedonist, an atheist, or some other person of belief which dwells upon a relativistic thought…where do your morals come from? What is the basis of your “moral” stance? Being relativistic, your morals are centered on your beliefs, a person who has similar beliefs can have a different perspective. You may believe pedophilia is morally reprehensible; while your friend thinks it is alright. How can either of you take a moral stance against the other, because of the relativism of your beliefs and therefore it is believed that “He is living according to what is true for him.” You can neither argue or dissuade the point. Although, with the belief of a Christian, the moral laws are given by a moral law-giver, God. And therefore, your laws are set before you, they are true and they are to guide you.

Morgue fails to understand that sin has consequences, and there is a time to pay the piper. Everyone will stand before the judgment seat of Christ! Every knee will bow! Everyone will acknowledge the Lordship of Christ!

We are unworthy to go to heaven, excepting only through the grace of God and our faith in Christ! Because “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…

We do not need to explain what and why something did not happen, we only have to present what did happen. After presenting the Gospel truth to our neighbors, friends, and family…it is up to the Holy Spirit to guide those whom God has elected to be saved. There are a great number of those professing to be Christian who will be sadly surprised upon their death and when they stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  This is perhaps the arrogance of man, by not checking himself at all times. Let this be a warning, not just to myself, but all others who follow Jesus and learn from the bible…we each must be willing to check our arrogance at the door and see truly what the bible teaches, as a whole, not piecemeal!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Comparatively Speaking…We All Suck

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The bible is rather explicit on this point!

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;”” ~Romans 3:10 NKJV

So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” ~Mark 10:18 NKJV

For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.” ~Ecclesiastes 7:20 NKJV

The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” ~Psalm 14:2-3 NKJV

This was but a sampling of what the bible has to say about the righteousness of the species of man. As the title of this blog posting indicates, COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING…WE ALL SUCK! That is of course if you compare man to God. Comparing yourself to others in the human race does you no good! While speaking on the good of a person many will think that they deserve to go to heaven because they are no Hitler or Stalin! Think about that for a moment. Nowhere in the bible does it indicate that only Hitlers and Stalins go to hell. No, nowhere!

We are saved by the grace of God…a gift to us that we do not deserve to have. Consider what God did for us, and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8 NKJV

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.” ~John 3:16 NKJV

All the while we are reminded from the very beginning that man is a bad boy on the block:

the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” ~Genesis 8:21 NKJV

Do not get me wrong, man can do some good things, too. But the underlying ideology is that man is evil from his youth. Men do great things, we can accomplish feats of amazement, creating what was not long ago a thing of incomprehensible power, and the list can go on and on… Consider the following:

abacusThe Abacus (unknown when it was created) was used Mechanical_calculatorsprior to the Arabic numeral system. This sooner or later morphed into the calculating machine which came on the scene in the 1850’s. Which then morphed into the adding machines. Now I couldn’t tell you which idea came first the adding machine or the computer, but it is my suspicion that one was UNIVAC_1101spawned of the other. The crazy powerful computers (some truly are super computers.) The ENIAC (the first computer) was invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania and began construction in 1943 and was not completed until 1946. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. iPhone8Then there was the UNIVAC 1101 which weighed about 8.4 short tons (7.6 t) and used 2700 vacuum tubes for its logic circuits. Its drum memory was 8.5 in (22 cm) in diameter, rotated at 3500 rpm, had 200 read-write heads, and held 16,384 24-bit words (a memory size equivalent to 48 kB.) Now you have the power of an iPhone (i have an 8 with 64 GB of memory); therefore the comparative difference is 1333333.333333333 times greater in your hand than that of the UNIVAC computer.

Sorry, got a little overboard there…but the idea was that man can do good. However, man whatever good he does has a nasty and historical tendency to take what is good and use it for evil intents. Consider the Tower of Babel. Man sought to be as God. Look at Sodom & Gomorrah. The Sodomites sought to do evil and unnatural things and were therefore destroyed due to their great abominations in God’s sight. The two towns of evil were discovered in the 20th century with the added mention of “The entire area was covered with a thick layer of ash from the firestorm that totally destroyed the town.” ~The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Apr 16, 2008 – by Bryant G. Wood PhD.

Sadly, man has proven himself to be good and bad, righteous and evil…and he needed no help from anyone else! We can do it all on our own. Consider medical advances over the last several decades. Some great and others not so much so. Heart transplants, lung transplants, the advancement in cancer research and survival rates have increased astronomically, stem cell research,  and of course Planned Parenthood.  Each can be used for the betterment of the human race, just as much so each can be used for the detriment of the human race. It has always been easier for man to destroy than to create. Now, man has kicked God out of schools and has, in essence, divorced God from his own soul.

We all fail to realize that man, his spirit and his soul, and everything he possesses, everything in and on the earth, as well as throughout the universe…IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD!

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.” ~Psalm 24:1 NKJV

It is truly our purpose to glorify God, that is our purpose in life. All we have to do is accept Christ into our hearts and lives and live for Him, seeking the Holy Spirit of God to be poured into our hearts and souls and therefore be guided by Him.

that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 15:6 NKJV

Let us seek to follow God and follow Him, thereby, glorifying Him by yielding our whole self, heart and mind to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit that we may do what we were originally designed to do!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

Why Do We Remain So Sinful?

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Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9 NKJV

While this scripture would appear to be circular reasoning, and yes it is; however, the epistle from which it comes was sent to believers in the risen Jesus. Why does this make a difference? Because those who believe what was written have no need of additional information due to the fact that they have already witnessed the miracles, they saw the risen Christ, they live according to the prescribed life of God. Their celebration is on the new day of Sunday and no longer on the Sabbath (Saturday.) They have no need of further descriptions or definitions or the many proofs because they already believe.

But then the question arises…If we are born of God and we continue to sin, how then can His seed truly be in us as we continue to sin and fail Him? This is a great question, also it is one I have asked of myself many times over. As I continue to read Systematic Theology, chapter 34 “Regeneration”, which reminds us (concerning 1 John 3:9) that while we as believers who have given our lives over to Christ who now have the spiritual seed of God in our lives, we will not have a perfect life; however, we will no longer have a pattern of life which no longer continues to indulge in sin. Our life’s pattern will change, some faster than others…but it will change!

Now there are several possibilities:

  1. We are not truly saved and must do something else to ensure our salvation.
  2. We are truly saved, but our sinful nature of the flesh gets the better of us.
  3. We can always blame it on free will, a gift from God.
  4. And there are other possibilities, but would enlargen the scope of this discussion to such a point that this blog post would become a multipart series…or just a much longer post.

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

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” ~Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” ~Romans 10:9 NKJV

I believe the aforementioned passages pretty much handles the suggestion that we are not truly saved. IF you asked Jesus into your heart and life and sought to live accordingly, you are saved. Simple as that!

But we are also reminded by the Apostle Paul of our sinful nature:

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”  ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV

The Apostle Paul reminded us that even though we will to do something and we do not do it, our sinful nature takes hold of us. This is what was meant by God when He spoke to Cain:

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” ~Genesis 4:7 NKJV

We have an obligation to lean to “…rule over…” our sinful nature. We can only do so through the guidance and help from God. Quite often we will feel as though we are on our own and maybe we are…to a degree. Think about when you were a child, remember when you road your bicycle for the first time? It was scary and what about when your dad took off the training wheels and sent you on your way alone? It was alright when you thought your dad was there, holding and stabilizing your every move. But guess what? Dad had to let go at some point in time so you could learn and have the confidence to do things on your own! (Of course, this brings up another topic for a blog post…but that is for another time.)

So this all brings us to the point of why do we continue to sin after giving and submitting ourselves over to God? While sin is bad, sin does remind of things:

  • Reminds us of where we came from
  • So we remain humbled
  • We can see our faults
  • Knowing & understanding God’s grace
  • By knowing & remembering we are sinful we are humbled – and stay such; we recognize God’s love for us, even though we do not deserve it. We are therefore unable to think too highly of ourselves. (Romans 5:8)
  • Until we become doers of good (James 1:22) promoted by Jesus and His Apostles, we will remain hearers of the word/good…stuck in a loop with eternal ramifications.

This reminds me of how Matt Slick explains the assessment of who is and who is not alive:

“...Let’s say that we are on a 20-foot boat out in the ocean. We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water. There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them. It lands just a few feet short. We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in. “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it! Grab it!” One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short. “Grab it!” we yell again. He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again. The other man is simply floating face down in the water. He isn’t struggling at all. But, the first man is trying for that life preserver. He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is. That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?” Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.” “Right,” I say. “He is struggling for life. Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin. Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle. The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ. If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved. But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.” Usually, the eyes brighten at this point. I then keep going…” ~The Assurance of Salvation, CARM.org

We each have our way of understanding things, even the difficult things. But we can all understand these things, even the difficult ones, in a manner where we can gain the full assurance of God’s salvation. Will we ever be sinless? Yes, but not while we are here on this earth…When we die and stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ we shall be adjudicated with righteousness. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we are righteous before God because Jesus is and always has been righteous. However, in our flesh…we are wicked and sinful creatures!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

 

 

By a nation without understanding will I anger you

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you.” And Isaiah is very bold and says, “I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.” But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” ~Romans 10:17-21 NASB

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So, I got into a “spirited debate” with someone over one of my posts, on another blog, where there was disagreement over the tenets of Christ’s teachings. And though we, often times, think we know the word…we more often take it out of context by separating the teachings, the tenets, and the Bible from one another. Unfortunately, this is where we tend to make our greatest mistakes because the teachings of Jesus reflects the essence of God (the same yesterday, today, & tomorrow.) We cannot separate each from one another. But we are obligated to show our dissenter(s) where they made a mistake, or they need to show us the error of our doctrinal statements. We are here to teach one another, not to be adversaries, but better yet to rid ourselves of our adversariesby making them our friends and allies.

For many are called, but few are chosen.” ~Matthew 22:14

We are each called by God to do His will and to Glorify Him. Each of us is called to do something different than others and we are charged differently to accomplish the task(s) that are set before us. But we are all called to read, understand, study, and teach the word. We are not suppose to change anything. Unfortunately, there are those that change much, or they have their own interpretation of the word & make the necessary changes in order to have their interpretations fit the bill.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” ~Hosea 4:6 NASB

In so doing, we destroy ourselves through such lack of knowledge and study bibleunderstanding of the word. And God will raise up those who disagree with each of us, either by challenging our stance, our beliefs, our understanding of the doctrines, etc. We have a duty to learn the word of God and an equal duty & obligation to study it diligently for comprehension and understanding. We should be prepared for these attacks on our beliefs, just because we follow the word of God. Remember what Jesus said?

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” ~John 15:18 NKJV

And we are charged with…

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

error-correctionNow, don’t get me wrong, we will from time to time get things wrong, speak out of turn, etc. But we can make corrections the next time we come in contact with others. It does happen as we are not perfect. However, we can be the bigger person through our apologies and responses. We are not seeking to do the wrong thing, but spread God’s word.

In the disagreement I had above mentioned blog post, the person I had the “spirited debate” with had the belief that, this is my opinion from what was implied to me, that love and compassion for all humanity is all there is to the message of Christ. However, this is one of the greatest fallacies of many New Age and pseudo Christian movements. We were taught to have love and compassion for our fellow man, but there are other aspects to the bible which also apply to the teachings of Jesus and the bible must be taken as a whole…not piecemeal. Consider the following:

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” ~1 Corinthians 5:11 NKJV

For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” ~James 2:10 NKJV

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” ~2 John 7-11 NKJV 

I expect disagreements and challenges; however, what got me was the implication that he was Christian (perhaps I read into the statement), “I stand for love and compassion. And whatever your Bible might say fourteen translations later, so did Jesus Christ.” But to infer that the bible is not what it says it is, is ludicrous! Saying you stand for love and compassion is a great platitude, but what is your basis? There are far too many New Age, Buddhist, and Hindu (among other) teachings out there that are based upon relativistic feelings that have no basis in reality. Meaning that “What is good for one is not necessarily good for another.” Each can have their own truth in reality. This person stated that none of his sittings (I assume statements) were “actually inaccurate”; although, he never expanded upon that. Much like when in a debate and someone asserts that you are using circular reasoning and not explaining where they got that from..?

If we cannot sway them to the true teachings of Christ, we are to separate ourselves from them. Because, as in the Old Testament if we yoked ourselves with those of pagan beliefs…we would, or could, be swayed toward paganism. The same though lies here, but we are not to count them as an enemy, but as brothers in need  and lost to the way.

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” ~2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 NKJV

So, as you can see, we must take the bible’s message in it’s entirety, because it is all interlinked as one message. I did not bring this up in order to seem like a know-it-all, but rather I saw this as a teaching moment in God’s Word! Because we each have made this mistake at taking one point from Christ, and thus forgetting all other teachings of Jesus and His Apostles! This is a grave and fallacious error on our parts.

Also, if God is real and therefore the Bible is the word of God THEN it would stand to reason that the writings within are valid (I’ll not get into the trustworthiness or historicity of the Bible in this post.) Furthermore, when the bible states:

we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” ~2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV

Also when the Bible says,

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:46 NKJV

Then it is a good chance, meaning highly probable, that we will be judged and sentenced to be punished or have eternal joy.

I hope this was helpful to you, my dear brothers and sisters!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

How Burdensome Are Keeping of the Commandments?

Jesus once said, For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:30 NKJV

Take My Yoke1

Yet, Jesus was both man and God, He was without sin. Jesus, being both fully man and fully God was far and away better capable of enduring the temptations of this world than we. We, on the other hand, are wholly the species of man and are born into sinfulness. As reminded to us by the Apostle Paul and King David, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10 NKJV) Now, I do not mean to, nor intend to, contradict the bible; however, I will speak some things here which will appear to do so, but in actuality are things that we people tend to think and say without further research.

To follow these commandments of the living God is a burden to the species  of man. Why is it so? Because we seek the easy way out of every situation. Sometimes that entails lying…yes, we learned to do that when we were young. “No, I wasn’t taking the cookie out of the cookie jar…I was getting it for you!” And “No, that wasn’t me you saw taking that stick of gum, it was someone that looked a lot like me.” And so on, and so on… We tended to turn lying into an art form, even though everyone could see through our lies. We learned this task quite easily because we thought it would keep us out of trouble. It comes easy to us because we are steeped in sinfulness. Instead, we just got into deeper troubles throughout our lives. Until, of course, we came to God and gave our lives to Jesus. Though, it may have become easier, overall, but because of our history with lies and other sinful behavior…it was a new way of life. Much likened to quitting smoking or some other bad habit. Now-a-days, telling the truth is the new hate speech.

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.” ~Matthew 23:4 NKJV

We have even learned the fine art of sinfulness from those who mentor us. Our parents made a great number of mistakes, but we learned from them both good and bad. We have learned from certain church leaders, pastors, priests, deacons, etc. They have all had a hand in teaching us both good and the bad. But instead of using these moments for good teaching moments, those great teaching moments were brushed under the table and it seemed to be another Monty Python moment…

It would be far greater a learning experience if our parents and leaders alike would use both good and bad moments to teach us right and wrong. Unfortunately, most parents and leaders tend to not use those moments because they do not desire to be seen as doing wrong and therefore do not see those bad moments as failures, but rather as moments of righteous indignation.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” ~1John 5:3 NKJV

Keeping God’s commandments is tough enough, especially coming from a background of sinfulness. If we were to take a daily tally…we each would be on the losing end! Completely because of our sinfulness. At any given moment, we are thinking sinful thoughts and bombarded by sinful behavior from the television.

The fact is this, we can do nothing by which we can deserve our salvation through Christ other than to accept such a gift as grace from God, through Christ, and to do our best to follow Christ. Which means we will try to live as Christ mandated us through the Great Commission:

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”~Matthew 22:36-40 NKJV

We shall never be able to live up to such a high moral standard of perfection, it is the perfection of Christ which is in us that allows us to stand in God’s presence. We do have our victories, at times. Sadly, we must look at our sinfulness and our failures as learning and teachable moments…to ourselves and those around us. Consider what the Apostle Paul said to us:

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” ~Romans 7:15-20 NKJV

This has always seemed to be quite the conundrum to me. But when you look at how we act individually, you can better understand it. Especially with an objective mind!

To dwell on our sinful failures on a daily basis, if dwelt upon too deeply, can either drive us to depression or suicide. But that is not the point, is it? No, it is not! The point is this: That by giving our lives over to Jesus and accepting His gift of grace and salvation, Jesus took our sins upon the cross and He was judged guilty in our place as a substitution for ourselves. He hung on a cross two thousand years ago, before we were ever born. But God knew we were to be born because God formed us in the womb, He formed our inward parts.

It becomes less burdensome to fulfill God’s will, in our lives, when we accept the fact that Jesus carries us through all of the muck and mire. Yes, we are going through it all, but we can rely on Jesus to guide us through it all…even at our weakest moments. Why? Because God loves us, all of us…Jew and Gentile alike! He abhors our sins and our sinfulness but He loves us as His creation!

WoeToScribePharisee

We will, all so often, wonder why the church or it’s leadership would cast upon our shoulders such heavy burdens that they themselves would not aid us with, nor would they acct accordingly. Jesus spoke on this subject within the warning to the Scribes and the Pharisees: “Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees” (Matthew 23 & Luke 11.) Sadly, man, regardless of his position tends to enjoy power and has no desire to give up such power. This is just as true for those who are in positions of authority within the church. There is but a small segment who will yield their power, or command over others. It takes a man of strong moral guidance and position to do so. The unfortunate truth about humanity is that they have the desire to feel important. even if that importance is false and at his own doing.

No matter how you look at it, we (the species of man) still have a long way to go and a long road to follow in order to learn about God’s humility. Our purpose is to glorify God, but our bravado consistently gets in our way…doesn’t it??

As mentioned before, none of us is perfect. The only way we can stand justified before God is through the perfection of Jesus. By accepting Jesus into our hearts and to Lord over our lives it is His perfection that God the Father sees…yes, even through our wretchedness. Even as wretched as we are, God loves us and gives us chances beyond our abilities to comprehend. That is the love of our Creator! We have until our dying breath…and that includes our church leaders. It is up to them to teach us the ways of God, but it is also up to us to learn those ways and read our bibles daily! It is up to each of us to check & challenge our leaders, in love, thus ensuring that we and they are on the same path. God wants each and every one of us to enter into the Kingdom through truth!

desires all men to be saved

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 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 2:1-4 NKJV

We can surmise that by reading 1 John 5:1-5 a way of choosing the right and moral path!

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world — our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” ~1 John 5:1-5 NKJV 

Earlier in 1 John we were warned not to love the world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” ~1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

If we will separate ourselves from loving the world and the things in this world, our faith will grow stronger and our hearts will be bound with great strength to Our Lord & Savior, Jesus. This is how we separate ourselves from our sinfulness and sinful behavior…by not setting our sights on the things of this world! Much like dieting or beginning a new routine for your life, it is burdensome in one respect because you are not accustomed to living that way. But once the habit is solidified and set in place, there is no longer a burden…because it is a part of your normal routine of life.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

When Men Run From God

RunFromGod2

My wife and I are both Christian,” the 70-year-old performer explains. “My father AliceCooperwas a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.” [ref: Legendary rocker Alice Cooper credits Jesus with curing him of alcoholism] We each have our demons, per se, those things which cause us to run away from God. Even though we tend to go that extra mile by telling ourselves that we are only running from the Church, the priests/pastors, or from the hypocrites within the Church. I myself was born into the Roman Catholic faith, but I always found it to be wrongfully preached or taught. When I was sixteen, I was in the pew listening to the priest say, emphatically I might add, “You are too ignorant and stupid to understand the bible. That is what we priests do, we learn the bible and teach you what you need to know.” While this was paraphrased, it was the crux of what this priest said, in essence, to the congregation. It was this particular straw that broke my camel’s back and sent me packing from the church, or from God. This was the driving force, in my opinion. I would truly say I left the Church because I did not accept what was stated, foolishly I might add.

Return-to-ChurchEventually, I ended up going back to Church, but it was a Pentecostal Church. Of course they had their doctrines which I disagreed with…after all, some of these doctrines that are taught in the Churches of a Denominational God tend to expound upon aspects of the Bible, which in essence, contradict the Bible, or God’s Word. After several other Return-to-Godconcerning issues, I left the Church, yet again. After a ten year hiatus, and much prayer, I returned. But unlike others I never actually left God. Though I had tested God, tried to disprove God, tried to explain away God…I still believed God. He tugs at your heart’s strings. Often times, you are saved from great dilemmas and problems which would essentially destroy you, and rightfully so – I might add. But God in His infinite & divine wisdom protects you in some of the strangest ways. Eventually, by God’s grace, you come around.

As discussed in a previous post we are the church, we the people, with Christ at it’s head. All the world IS God’s possession and can be used as a Church for God. What we do is return to God and return to His presence. It is our purpose to glorify Him in all we do…even if we do so through finding Him again and coming home to Him. Just as was spoken in the Parable of the Lost Sheep., or the Parable of the Lost Coin, or the Parable of the Lost Son.

I have, once I could identify it, always been of the mind of Jean Paul Sartre, who said (effectually):

“To name it is to kill it!”

Essentially meaning that if you define something through a naming process of some sort, you will in effect confine it. Yes, that does include God, as well as religion as a whole. When you name a religion that religion is then defined by it’s name through the associative process in your brain because you will associate all of the tenets of that particular religion to the name it bears, or it’s brand – if you will.

There are, as I recall, approximately 34,000 variations of Christianity throughout the world, today. Why? Because they each have a differing set of tenets to abide by. Drinking, no drinking, dancing, no dancing, snake handling (yeah! you heard me!), acknowledging holidays or not, etc. You change just one thing, one tenet in some manner or form…>>PRESTO!<< You now have a new religion.

Now I have gotten a little off the path of this post, BUT, you can focus on the remainder…This is why we as Christians that we MUST…ABSOLUTELY MUST…study the scriptures and read a lot! Because we will not learn all of this by osmosis. We must research and learn it all in order to have the answers for those who seek to know. We are a beacon of hope, in a manner of speaking. Those who are lost, they too are seeking. Either you and I will answer them…or someone else will misguide them. We have an obligation, according to the Great Commission to enlighten them and at very least steer them toward the truth that God has for them. In doing so, we fulfill the mandate in the Great Commandment.

There are those who are going through something similar to you in your youth, meaning they are running from God & the Church. And God has prepared you for just such an encounter by having you follow the path which you have followed over the course of your life. Man is never satisfied with what he has, because he always wants something more. Me in my youth I can truthfully say that I whored myself out to earn more money so I could obtain more. In so doing, I grew ever so slowly or quickly away from God by slowly divorcing Him out of my life. And though I obtained more, I was none the happier for it. But our God is strong enough and big enough to create something good, or help us to take away something good, from such an experience. And it is just such an experience that we need in order to help another who is going through such turmoil in their lives. We are able to show them God’s love and to let them know…”You are not alone in all of this!”

Jonah ran from God’s mandate and he was not happier for it, in fact he suffered for his brash actions until he fulfilled God’s command. In the Book of Hosea, Gomer ran from her husband back to prostituting herself for more until she was sent to the block to be sold. She was only to be bought back by her own husband, Hosea. This was the story of true love of God for His people and the showing of their ungratefulness.

The bible is full of the information we need, and I mentioned in a previous post as to Why we memorize scripture?…because of those AH-HAH! moments which we can learn quite a bit from.

I have written several posts concerning the subject of “Once Saved, Always Saved.” (Part 1, Part 2, & Revisited) I have always questioned such a thing; however, after much deliberation and much study on the matter I finally concluded that it is in fact the case. I have concluded that IF you do not believe in “Once Saved, Always Saved,” then you must hold the argument that YOU must do something over and above what God has already accomplished. I.e., the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus as the pure and unblemished lamb for our mis-deeds. Such a fallacious belief to have and I do not say such lightly. It is fallacious because you must ask yourself one very pointed question:

What can I do that is greater than the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior? What can I do that is far more superior than His being crucified for ALL of my sins?

[Keep in mind, when Jesus hung on the cross…you were not born excepting only that God knew of you before you were in the womb!]

I have often though long and hard on the opening monologue of the movie, The Patriot, where the opening words were spoken:

I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear.” ~Benjamin Martin, opening monologue of ‘The Patriot’

It is not our sins that come to visit us and cause us turmoil, but rather our bad choices. Choose now to follow Jesus, by accepting Him as the Son of the Most High God and as your Savior, YOUR sins shall be forgiven. Turn from your life of tumultuous behavior and turn toward Jesus who will guide you to the heavenly.

Godspeed my friends! I hope this was helpful and informative for you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD