False Prophets & Teachers Among Us

false-teachers

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber…For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who [i]have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.” ~2 Peter 2:1-2,18-19 NKJV

false-prophetsSome time ago I had a bit of a disagreement with some Ghanaian friends on Facebook. They, the Ghanaian People or the Legislature, were proposing a law that you must have a bachelors degree in theology in order to be a minister/priest. I took umbrage with such an argument on several accounts. First as a matter of rights ordained upon us by God and secondly, as a matter of liberty which would be eventually taken away by the government. John the Baptist had no degree in such studies and yet he drove people to repentance. We were reminded by the Apostle Paul that,

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.” ~Romans 1:26-27 NKJV

While this verse primarily discussed the vile passions as being those of homosexuality, the looser reading would be of the vile passions of our spiritual hearts. How many fallen evangelists have had degrees?

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.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV

our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant” ~1Corinthians 3:5-6 NKJV

We have been charged by God, through Jesus, to minister to the people of the world, every nation. We each are called to do so. But, unfortunately, not all heed the call. Just as we were reminded that we will always have the poor among us, we will always have false teachers and prophets among us, as well. And I say this based upon the fact that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” For false-teachers1whatever their reason or desire, the evil in man’s heart will always strive to turn man from the spiritual blessings that God has to offer him in his life.

It is my opinion, that we can recognize these false teachers and prophets by the fruits of their actions and demeanor. We are suppose to be active learners and studiers of God’s Word by comparing our actions and the actions of our teachers to the Word we have. Anyone who varies the Word and changes the Word to suit his needs…is not a teacher or prophet of God. We are reminded by the Gospel of Matthew the following:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

My greatest concern with such a situation as this, there are several situations which will create adverse problems with an enmeshing of government and religion.

  1. There will be a state sponsored church or religion and all others made illegal.
  2. If you do not meet the state requirements, you cannot be an evangelist, apologist, or pastor.
  3. Some European countries take your 10% tithes out when you claim a religion as part of your taxes.
  4. Though you meet the state mandated requirements, you are free to reassess the tenets of the religion; thereby teaching it wrongly.

The blind allegiance to a country’s governing authority over all matters within the country is very troubling to me. It is bad enough in America where all things religion and political are being reassessed all of the time and reinterpreted all of the time. Sadly, it is very hard to get the student of the Word of God to actually actively listen and discern what he or she is being taught while sitting in church. All the while thinking it was a great and appealing service. We are reminded by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans:

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” ~Romans 1:24-25 NKJV

I believe God gave us not only the ability to discern right from wrong, truth from false, love for God and His Word and a reprehensible hatred of/toward it. God, by His Grace, gave us reason and logic to formulate an understanding in every situation, as well as, the ability to discern the proper path that we should take in any given situation. While the Apostle Paul’s statement in the Book of Romans was primarily geared toward sexuality, it can and is applicable in all matters of truth. God has, throughout the history of man, given man over to the lusts of his heart when he chose not to follow God’s Word. The term “lust” could be anything that man has placed higher in his own heart and mind above that of God.

The Word of God, the Bible, is a manual for our lives and should be used everyday in order to compare what people say (including pastors, ministers, and other people of God) against what the teachings of Christ are. In so doing, we can determine, through the gift of reason and logic, if a person truly is a man or woman of God. By comparing what they teach, say, and how they act we will know their intentions, because You Will Know Them by Their Fruits.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. ~Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

We, the species of man, should not be placing our governments above our abilities to reason and logic and entrust them is such a way that they will be our moral compass in our lives to protect us from all wrong doings. I have always say, and still believe to this day – despite how crass it may be, “The government is so inept that it can run a brothel into the ground.” [A brothel being an entity which is a self contained and revenue generating business since the beginning of time.] Refer to the article: That Time the U.S. Gov’t Tried (and Failed) to Run a Brothel.

While God has placed our governing authorities in their place for specific purposes, He did not place them where they are that we should place our governing authorities in a higher priority and position to God in our lives. WE must step up our game and strive to make those determining decisions as to what is right and wrong and choose to follow God’s Word and love. These teaching, which Christ promoted and carried forth throughout His ministry, were meant to guide us and lead us to God.

I will leave you with this final word: Read and Follow God’s Word! Rely on no one and nothing else in God’s place.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

 

Advertisements

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

Why Do We Remain So Sinful?

downtrodden1

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

 

 

 

 

Looking Through The Looking Glass of Another Lense

The-Looking-Glass

I recently finished reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to AlexMalcolmX Haley. Which you can read my review of it on Doc Murf’s Corner Bookshelf. It was one of the most moving and prolific books I had read in quite a while. I don’t believe I had truly seen through the eyes of another as staunchly and as vividly as this one. While I neither agree with Malcolm X’s methods, his religious beliefs, nor position on many things, I can truly understand how he came to believe such things. I understand and can empathize with his struggle and with the path he had taken to get to where he finally arrived. His beliefs about the white man that he encountered daily had truly softened by the end of his trek. It was when he sought out to take his pilgrimage to Mecca, THAT was when it all changed how he thought about man, in general. It was reading this biography where this blog post was conceived and birthed to get others to see through the eyes of another who, perhaps, is the butt of jokes, bullying, or on the receiving end of a hard time by yourself or by those who are your friends. We are not called to dog other but to guide, uplift, and help them…because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether they are misguided and have taken a wrong path, perhaps God is placing across your path for you to help them…not to give them a hard time or pick on them.

We are called to:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

And trust me, there are many more scriptural references to urge each of us on to help our brothers and sisters. And guess what? This includes that we should not be talking about anybody behind their backs and tearing them down! It is idle talk and idleness that truly tears us down and makes us look like hypocrites. Which is one of the main reasons so many people hate going to church. Because it is the hypocrite in each and every one of us that shows it’s ugly head every time we are out of church.

 

gandhi-quote-if-it-weren-t-for-christians

No, again I am not pointing fingers at anyone, because this is an individual problem…yes, me too! I tends to be these paths we follow that allow us to learn these hard teachings from God. We don’t like them, no not at all! Who likes being chastised as such? I do not. We see in the Book of Ezekiel:

Signs of the Coming Captivity
2“Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house. 3“Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile by day in their sight; even go into exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand though they are a rebellious house. 4“Bring your baggage out by day in their sight, as baggage for exile. Then you will go out at evening in their sight, as those going into exile.… Bible Hub

New American Standard Bible

But think about this for a moment, who would we run away from? Who would we exile ourselves from? All of us has the same problem, unchristian acts of our hearts. Those who are atheist, agnostic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Nondenominational, etc. (I won’t list them all, as it would take up far too much space and you would get bored! I think you get the point.)

If we were as smart as we thought, wouldn’t we change our bad, hurtful and harmful ways and pick-up & develop better habits? It sounds great but it also reminds me of all those “New Year’s Resolutions” from days long gone bye! We start and at some point in time we go back to our easier, no thinking ways.

Sadly, as the species of man goes, we are always judging others. At work, on the streets, passing people at the mall or while doing our grocery shopping…feel free, name the place, we are always judging someone. Concerning their manner of dress, their mannerisms, their actions toward others or the clerk(s), whether or not we can take them (in a fight), whether or not he/she is cute enough to date, and the list goes on and on. We were warned by Jesus Himself:

Judge not, that you be not judged.” ~Matthew 7:1 NKJV

Our reprehensible sin of judging others is always in our way! Jesus showed Himself to be the Light of the World because of His righteous judgement upon others, and His gracefulness and merciful attitude toward others. We are also subject to the laws of man, as well as God. Jesus noted that who are we to judge another if we ourselves are not free from sin? All things, all laws truly have their pitfalls…can we truly sit on a jury and adjudicate another for a crime? Truthfully, we can. While we cannot sit in judgement on other for spiritual matters without serious spiritual consequences, we can make judgement upon others for the safety of our society, as a whole.

Sadly, once again, nothing occurs within a vacuum with regard to life. Everything is constantly changing and is most likely very complicated. While Malcolm X lived through a great number of things which were travesties and shaped his worldview and how he viewed the white man, much the same goes on with us as to how we view the world, the occurrences around us, each thing we experience hones and shapes our worldview and our view on those around us.

bibleWe can use the Bible as our rock and moral compass for our journey through this life, but as is noted within the New Testament we do live in this world, until we move on to be judged by God, or stand before the judgement seat of Christ. The Bible should be our looking glass that we use in order to place things into the proper perspective. And if we are truly followers of Jesus Christ, our Bibles should be well used and broken in! Friends, when you overwhelmed by a problem of great importance or of significant magnitude…turn to the Word of God in order to obtain a better perspective on the matter.

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

References & Other Reading:

Lesson 17: The Sin of Judging Others (James 4:11-12) | Bible.org

22 Inspirational Bible Verses About Empathy – Bible Reasons

Ezekiel 12:3 “Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings … – Bible Hub

Walking in others’ shoes | Staunton Mennonite Weblog

Developing Empathy: Walk a mile in someone’s shoes

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

 

 

God is with you wherever you go

Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:7-9 NKJV

crossing the Jordan joshua

While we are no longer under the law, but grace, Jesus gave us the guidance that summed up all the law and the prophets:

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 22:37-40 NKJV

But should we not know the word of God? Yes, for the short answer! It is easy to glean from the bibles we have. And so many believe we cannot truly know that the bible is what it was, because we have copies. But we can know. With all of these copies existing today, we truly can know. First off, most of what was stated was first leaned via the oral tradition, which meant it was memorized (to a certain degree) but provided you maintained the intent of the speaker. In oral cultures like this people often memorized LARGE amounts of material. Passing on information orally was the NORM in ancient Palestine. This means that people living in such an environment developed memory skills that sound amazing to our modern ears. Next we can ascertain the understanding and the original from what was printed ,also gleaning from the text that were anomalous mistakes from other comparative copies. The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest known copy of the Greek Bible, written approximately 1600 years ago. You can use this, too, in order to understand what was written, even though it was written about the 4th century. There are several other concerns that are brought up in debates, or arguments, over the validity of the bible. Topics such as:

  • We don’t know who wrote the bible.
  • Bible not written by eyewitnesses
  • Bible was written late.
  • etc., etc., etc.

There is very strong evidence that the case for traditional authorship was valid and true. The external evidence throughout history accepts and promotes that each of the Gospels were written by those who have entitled them. [I.e., Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, Luke wrote Luke, and John wrote John.] Papias (60-~130 AD) and Irenaeus (120-202 AD) support it. The internal evidence is rather indicative of it’s truthfulness:

  • The criterion of Embarrassment suggests traditional
    authorship for 3 of the 4 Gospels

    • Matthew wasn’t an apostle but was a tax collector –
      regarded as suspect – thus probably not invented Many of the specific events concerning the life of Jesus can be historically verified such as the Last Supper, the death by crucifixion, and the discovery of the empty tomb.
    • Mark wasn’t an apostle, why make him an author?
    • Luke wasn’t an apostle, why make up that name?
    • So we have three relatively “unspectacular writers”
      Why would someone make up names like this? Why
      not make up a more authoritative name? Peter? Paul?
      James? Thomas?
  • Furthermore, details in Gospel of John suggest the:
    • Author was a Jew with detailed knowledge of Hebrew
      feasts customs and scriptures
    • Author was a Palestinian with his knowledge of local
      geography
    • Author was an Eyewitness – given the repeated compelling
      references to people, places, etc.
    • Author was an Apostle – given his acquaintance with
      the activities of the Twelve.
    • All of this sounds a lot like John!
  • All of this amounts to a very strong case for traditional authorship!
    So whoever says “we don’t even know who wrote the Gospels” would have to shoulder a tremendous burden of proof to go against all of this evidence.

~Scott M. Sullivan, PH.D., How to Defend the Bible, pages 8-9

Despite frequent claims to the contrary, the evidence remains strong that the Gospels were written by the authors to whom they are traditionally ascribed – apostles or close associates of the apostles.” — Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, p. 41.

objections-gospels

The objection of the Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses is false, but is irrelevant even if it were true. Why is it false? Strong evidence suggests that Matthew and John were actual eyewitnesses and is supported by evidence of traditional authorship. The Gospels by Luke and Mark are not eyewitnesses and they do not claim to be, their purpose was to present the truth.

Now, why this objection wouldn’t matter even if it were true? How many of our history books were written by eyewitnesses? Relatively few, at best. Why? Because you do not need to be a witness to present factual truth and history. Also, Mark and Luke had access to eyewitnesses. Mark was a follower of Peter and because of his closeness to him he also had access to other Apostles which were also eyewitnesses. Luke, on the other hand, was close to Paul and followed him. Now, many will claim Paul was not an eyewitness. Yes, this is true, to a degree. However, Paul had a special relationship with Jesus and was truly touched in a different way. But those who disbelieve in Paul cannot overcome the sudden transformation of Paul from Christian killer and executor to martyr for the cause of Christ. Also, Paul had access to the original Apostles.

The objection that the Gospels were written late is a bit of a fallacy. “Late” gospels-greekis a relative term. When someone says “late” ask them what they mean. What the average person on the street usually means by “late” is a few centuries. This is flat out not true about the Gospels. There are strong arguments for a relatively early composition of the Gospels (showing that all of the NT was written before 70 A.D.!) but we don’t need to even go into those since the commonly accepted “later” dates do not pose a problem
for historical accuracy. According to the most commonly accepted later dates the Gospels were written about 35-65 years after the death of Jesus.

Consider this: Most of what was written about Alexander the Great was written 4 centuries after his death. That is a long time between his life and his death. But most people believe that he existed, that he lived and that he was a great leader. The biographies about Jesus (the Gospels) were written within 35-65 years after His death. But there is evidence that would push that even earlier (approximately in 40s AD) than the conservatively accepted dates of their writing.

This was but a topical overview touching on only a few objections. There are a great number of resources out there, especially within the topic of apologetics from which you can learn much.

Think about this for a moment more, if you can get beyond the objections that prevent you from reading the bible; then you can start reading the bible and start believing what it says and the promises espoused within it! That is a big jump, or leap in faith, for anyone. But grasp that concept and begin your journey of reading and believing. Your life will change, though you may be riddled with doubts during your journey…do not fear! God is big enough and powerful enough to help you overcome those doubts. There is always someone near to you who can guide and help you understand what causes you confusion.

I hope and pray this was helpful and interesting to you!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

 

 

Once Saved, Always Saved ~REVISITED

eternman

Some of you are probably wondering, will he ever just move on? What is up with this topic? This, quite honestly, is a hot topic for many, not just myself. And as like so many, I want everyone to have as much knowledge and understanding at their fingertips in order to make a truly wise, understandable, knowledgeable, and prayerful decision as to what they truly believe about the subject matter at hand! In the past (August & September of 2015) I wrote a two part blog posting on this very subject (Once Saved, Always Saved? & Once Saved, Always Saved? ~Part 2). The blog postings were cursory and were unassumingly ambiguous, in that, I still was not certain at that time about the subject. However, I desired to get as much of the information out to you so that you could decide for yourselves, despite the fact that I was not 100% sure in either case. Many have the belief that once saved & always saved is a fallacy and a license to sin, because if one cannot lose their salvation then they can do anything without regard to consequences. Remember Father Zosima’s quote, from Dostoevsky’sBrothers Karamazov“, “If there is no God then all things are permissible.”

This is not what the bible teaches. And if you can lose your salvation then you aren’t truly saved, hmmmmmmm…also, this is not taught within the biblical text. So, this, I hope, is the last of this question and my input on this subject, as I am (as you can see) grasping information from numerous sources. But no promises on this being the last word on this topic of discussion. Also, it is not like I do not have other topics to discuss, as I have in my drafts anywhere up to 40-50+ topics. But as with anything else, your mind is constantly thinking on what NEEDS to be heard and understood by those who follow your blog(s). I hope I keep everyone busy and tantalized by the topics that are posted.

My greatest problem, that which holds me back from this teaching, is the fact that I believe that somehow we (mankind) can subvert our salvation through our God given right to choose (good or bad, right or wrong, righteous or evil, etc.) I understand that the grace of God is how we receive our salvation which is a gift from God. I also understand that many rely on this scripture:

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. ~John 6:37-38 NASB

My problem with this is that God, Jesus, says, “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out…” which leads me to believe that though Jesus will not cast a person out, but if he can chose to be saved by calling on God, can he not also choose to walk away from such a glorious gift, as well? Consider the story of George Wilson, the man who refused a presidential pardon. This is my dilemma, which I hope to solve by the end of this particular blog posting. Therefore, my friends, this will probably be my longest post, or several blog posts, only time and research will tell. Sorry!

So, what is the Doctrine of Free Will? According to Matt Slick of CARM.org he has defined as such:

Free will is the ability to make choices without external coercion.  There are debates as to what extent this free will is to be understood as it relates to people.  There are two main views:  compatibilism and libertarianism…The compatibilist view is the position that a person’s freedom is restricted by his nature as is described in Scripture and that his free will is consistent with God’s foreordination…Libertarian free will says that the person’s will is not restricted by his sinful nature and that he is still able to choose or accept God freely…[see more of this refer to What is free will? ]

Free will and the Christian religion

The problem of free will assumed quite a new character with the advent of the Christian religion. The doctrine that God has created man, has commanded him to obey the moral law, and has promised to reward or punish him for observance or violation of this law, made the reality of moral liberty an issue of transcendent importance. Unless man is really free, he cannot be justly held responsible for his actions, any more than for the date of his birth or the colour of his eyes. All alike are inexorably predetermined for him. Again, the difficulty of the question was augmented still further by the Christian dogma of the fall of man and his redemption by grace. St. Paul, especially in his Epistle to the Romans, is the great source of the Catholic theology of grace. ~Catholic Encyclopedia

This might be a good segue to ask what was the point of the law? What was the purpose of the law? Remember what the Apostle Paul told us, in Romans 7:

…I would not have come to know sin except through the Law… ~Romans 7:7 NASB

So, the law was a means of accomplishing your salvation, that linked with the blood sacrifice of animals could land you into heaven. Of course, you would have to adhere to all of the 613 laws on the books and properly and morally give your blood sacrifices throughout your life. And Jesus taught us that He was “…the way the truth and the light…” by which we could “…come to the Father” and it was only through He that we could do so. Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry He, during the Lord’s supper, stated (according to the Apostle Matthew):

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” ~Matthew 26:26-29 NKJV

We are reminded of the “My blood of the new covenant”, which was a foretelling of His own trial and tribulation that the Christ had to endure in order to become the final sacrifice…for us all…once and for all! Yes…do you you get it now? He died for you and me, for all of us and for all those not yet born. Now, with the “New Covenant” through the blood of Jesus we are no longer held accountable to the law. Now we are to live as Jesus lived; Jesus being our premier example of how to live.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. ~John 19:30 NKJV

When Jesus said, “It is finished!” He meant that His task was completed for all mankind; i.e., He was that final sacrifice. Upon that moment Jesus gave up His Spirit and His blood was spilled on our behalf, as our final sacrifice. We were freed from the law…although, keep in mind the law is what we use to determine if we are sinning in any particular area of our lives. Of course, this is a no braniner since,  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (for better context refer to Romans 3:21-26 NASB.) This is why we are saved by grace through faith [in the blood of Jesus…the lamb which was slaughtered on our behalf.] Further consider what the Apostle Paul had written:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB 

CrucifixionJesus suffered for each and every one of us and He was held accountable for each and every one of our sins. Those nails, the crown of thorns, the cross upon which He bore our sins…it is in our place that he was condemned, it was for our sins He died.This was prophesied by Isaiah, one of the major prophets:

He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. ~Isaiah 53:3 NASB

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. ~Isaiah 53:7 NASB

We all think, at some points in time, that we are good people. But what exactly Maniacsdo we use as a basis for our arrogant statement? Why? Because we didn’t kill anyone? Because we aren’t Hitler? Stalin? Mao Tse Tung? Pol Pot? THAT is a bit relativistic, don’t you think? The list could literally go one for quite some time, but for brevity I will leave it there. But, yes, Jesus died for each of them. Yet, they did not accept Jesus…they rejected Him and therefore, Jesus also rejected them. Remember what Jesus taught?

“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:32-39 NASB 

license-to-sin

Now, from a moral standpoint we are not given a license to sin. Because as children of God we are to strive to be better than what we once were. Unfortunately, I know people who take this literally as a license to sin. And if they do sin, there is no admission of such a thing, because it wasn’t them but the evil one who sinned within them…hmmmmmmmm.

So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.~Romans 7:17-20 NASB

This is but one, there may be others because the Apostle Paul generally refers to other things he has written about. However, people take this out of context for their benefit in order to sin and continue to keep on sinning. We are meant to understand that we do wrong because of the sinful nature within us. That being said, we are to use Jesus as our Godly example of how we are to live out our lives. But because that is way too hard to do…we should just let our bodies do what they will do, because our souls are saved. That is ungodly thinking and antithetical to the teachings of the bible. Look at the Apostle Paul who killed Christians his brothers & sisters. You can see in his writings that he is tormented due to the memory of what he once was and what he did, but he knew and held on to the hope that Jesus forgave him and he made great strides to do God’s work and fulfill the purpose for which he was created. Let’s look at King David who was a warrior, an adulterer, he lusted, and he killed in order to hide the truth, but God was there and saw it all. Consider, for a moment, that if we were to live as though we have a license to sin then why didn’t the Apostle Paul continue to torment and torture Christians? If what happens while in our flesh truly didn’t matter, then Paul had a license to continue to do what he was doing. And the same could be said of King David. But they each knew they were wrong due to the sin that was within them and they struggled to be better. If God could save David and Saul (Paul), then that gives us great hope…because God wants to save each and every one of us. He desires all of mankind to be saved and to enter into the heavenly realm.

I love the Matt Slick explained his point of view on this, in his article THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION:

…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…

Well, I think I truly kept my word, this is the longest post I have written…<<whew!>>

Here after the teaching of the Beatitudes while still speaking to the multitudes during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised and forewarned us:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 5:17-20 NASB

All in all, I believe the final belief that can be derived from this post is that we are saved eternally from the aspect that Jesus was that final sacrificial lamb to die for all of our sins. Those who have not yet been born and those who have died. We are told that we will answer for our sins, but unless we lived a life antithetical to God’s word without ever seeking God’s forgiveness, we are saved. Though we sin, we will still answer for them but we are heaven-bound.

Do not forget about the thief on the cross…REMEMBER HIM?

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:39-43 NASB

You can be on your deathbed, and if you are truly seeking God’s forgiveness, He will give it. You might consider reading the minor prophet’s Book of Jonah. If God was willing to forgive the Ninevites, how much happier do you think God would be that YOU seek His salvation and forgiveness?

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 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 NASB

So now is the time for you to seek God out, pray to Jesus. Find a bible believing church in your area and start associating with the like minded. Search out a bible that you can read and that is good for your soul. I read the NIV, NASB, NKJV, and the KJV. Most of my references are NASB & NKJV. To help you look here:

BibleSpectrumChart1

Also, one of my other blogs I posted What is the Best Bible to Read? Which has numerous references and articles for you to glean through in order to make your decision.

May the Love of God Shine upon each and everyone of you in your life’s journey toward salvation! I pray for each and every one of you that you find your way, if lost; those of you who are already saved…I pray for you to see and understand God’s will and purpose for you in your lives.

Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

REFERENCES:

The Bible (BibleGateway NKJV & NASB)

The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)

1 John 5:16-17, The sin leading to death

What is once saved always saved? by Matt Slick

What is the Eternal Security of the Believer? by Matt Slick

What is the difference between eternal security, once saved always saved, and perseverance of the saints? by Matt Slick

If eternal security is true, why did the Holy Spirit depart from Saul? by Luke Wayne

Can the Christian believer lose his salvation? by Matt Slick

What is free will? by Matt Slick

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem