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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Was Jesus Really God? Part 5-Hey Man, Jesus NEVER said He was God

jesus is god

Hello friends and readers! Long time no see, at least in this study of the deity of Jesus Christ. Way back in February we started a study on the deity, or non deity in some quarters, of Jesus Christ. Life interrupted, and we took a small hiatus from the series. It is now time to continue on and work our way to our conclusion.

Since it has been so long since our last installment in the series, today we will keep it light, and not dig too deeply into the meat of what Scripture teaches about the deity of Jesus. That is the point, however, where we are in our study. We have covered other things related to the topic, and all we have left is to understand what God’s own Word teaches us on this topic. So, today will mostly be a recap of what we have already covered, and what is coming up.

In Was Jesus Really God? Part 1-Does It Really Matter? ,we discussed the absolute centrality and necessity of this doctrine to historical orthodox Christianity. We discussed the essential  nature  of the deity of Jesus Christ as a major part of how His death on the cross was actually able to pay for the sins of mankind

In Was Jesus Really God? Part 2- The Hypostatic Union For Dummies we made a quite feeble attempt to discuss the Hypostatic Union, or the incomprehensible melding of Jesus as 100 percent man and 100 percent God in one being.

In Was Jesus Really God? Part 3-Attacks On the Divinity of Jesus Christ we covered some of the major attacks on this doctrine, both historically and currently and provided some very informative links to additional reading.

In Was Jesus Really God? Part 4-Why Don’t We Believe In Jesus? we covered mainly the doubts of this vital doctrine coming from supposed “Christian” quarters, and why people hold to doubt about it. We also arrived at the conclusion that those who deny the deity of Jesus, are desperately in need of Jesus, and are not truly Christian in any meaningful sense of the word.

So, here we are.

Hey, Jesus never said He was God!!!

That is the common argument made to support the contention that Jesus never claimed divinity. Hmm..ok..yeah He never said those words. I guess I am done here.

Ok, not really.

If you are reading this, and are a doubter of Jesus’ claims, other people’s claims, and the claim of God’s Word as a whole, then a lesson in proper Bible interpretation is coming. First, the Bible is not a collection of verses with no relationship to each other which can be plucked out and hurled at random to prove whatever a person want. The Bible is a STORY. It is the story of the creation, fall, and ultimate redemption of God’s creation through Jesus Christ. Any doctrine supported, or not supported, always has to be looked at through the lens of the redemption narrative which runs from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation.

Next, within the Bible, any given passage or narrative always has to be looked at through the lens of history, culture, and language. The English words most of us read sometimes have much more meaning than just the simple way we may see them without putting on those lenses when we read.

My point here is that, no, Jesus never uttered the words, “I am God.” Fair enough, but yet not enough. By looking and interpreting the things we read, we will find during the rest of this study, that Jesus did make claims of his own divinity, and that the people around Him clearly understood what He was claiming.

Let’s just look briefly at some things we will consider over the next few weeks:

Jesus did make claims that he and God were the same being

Jesus often claimed equality with God

Even Jesus’ enemies understood He claimed to be God in the flesh.

Jesus clearly claimed attributes and rights only to be given to or by God

Jesus was worshiped and accepted the worship of others

Various authors of the Bible clearly understood the divinity of Jesus in their inspired writings

That is where we are heading over the next few weeks. I hope you will follow along and be blessed as we move along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Master Builder

My post from yesterday on the Church Set Free Blog

The Master Builder

Psalm 127:1

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Mathew 7:24-27

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it

Jesus was a carpenter a long time ago. Joseph taught Him all thingsHe needed to know. He grew up straight and strong, working on the shores of Galilee. He learned to use a hammer, and He learned to drive a nail. We read, in our Bibles, primarily about the ministry of Jesus on this Earth. So, naturally that is what we talk about most, because very little is revealed about His life before the beginning of His ministry. Let’s ponder that some quickly. Although there is debate about exact numbers and such, we know the length of His ministry was around 3 years, and that He lived on this earth for around 33 years. Jesus had much more time on this planet as just a regular guy than he did engaged in His ministry.

We know Jesus was a carpenter, or builder, or whatever term seems right. How do we know this? Well, first and foremost, his adopted earthly father Joseph was. That’s how things worked, you became what your father was. (That’s a point to ponder, for sure). When He preached in the Synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, we hear the people saying the following: Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus was a baby, a young boy, a teenager, and ultimately a man just like any other man. He was fully human, just like any man. He had to be one of us. Why? Let’s recap quickly:

Only a man born under law could redeem those under law. Man had sinned, therefore man had to pay. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Only a living man could shed the blood needed for the forgiveness of sins. Under the Old Testament sacrificial system we learn that the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. We can read that even under the New Covenant, blood had to be shed for the remission of our sin and that nothing had changed:  Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. He was one of us: tempted in the same ways, enduring the same hardships as us, being sad and happy as us.

And when He finished building, it served Him mighty well. Cause He started on a building that stretched from sky to sky and sea to sea. Even though Jesus was just as normal, and fully human as you or I, He was also God incarnate in the flesh. He was 100 percent man, and 100 percent God. Not only that, but He was likely living His life knowing His mission was not of this earth.When Mary and Joseph lost track of Jesus when he was 12 years old coming back from feast time in Jerusalem and returned to find the boy teaching with great wisdom in the Temple and inquired about what was going on, Jesus answered as follows:  Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? In Cana, at the famous wedding Jesus showed an understanding of the special nature of his mission on our Earth when His mother asked him for help with the situation at the wedding, responding Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.

Now He’s back in Heaven and He’s building once again. He’s working on a city called the New Jerusalem. It sits on a firm foundation according to the Master Builder’s plan. The streets are lined with mansions for the saints to move right in. It was customary in the day of Jesus that once a man and woman were betrothed to on another, committed to be married in other words, for the Groom to return to his father’s house to begin to prepare a place for he and his bride to live together as husband and wife. It’s no different here. Jesus is the groom and we are the Bride; we are the Bride of Christ. Who is the Bride? Well, we aren’t told any list of requirements believers must meet to be part of the Bride, but we do read that our groom’s expectations of us are similar to what any groom of the day might have had for his betrothed,   For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

And when He’s finished building, He’ll come back again. To take us to that city fashioned by the Master Builder’s hand. Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Jesus is the Master Builder.He built His church upon a rock.He built it upon a firm foundation. When Jesus said to Peter And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Who is the rock? We won’t debate that here, but note some things: Jesus is the foundation and the cornerstone, as we are told This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone, and that no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the Master Builder. He takes the old and  makes it new.He can take a life of sin, make it clean and pure within. And He can make a brand new you. Jesus rebuilds us. We all come from a life of sin; we all live lives of sin, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Yet  while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves any better in the eyes of a perfect and Holy God, as all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

We don’t,however, have to stay in the condition. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus is the one who had no sin, made sin by God the Father to pay the price we owed. All we have to do is call, for whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Once we do that,  if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Are you a brand new you?

Jesus was a carpenter a long time ago
Joseph taught Him all things He needed to know
He grew up straight and strong, working on the shores of Galilee
He learned to use a hammer, and He learned to drive a nail
And when He finished building, it served Him mighty well
Cause He started on a building that stretched from sky to sky and sea to sea

Jesus is the Master Builder
He built His church upon a rock
He built it upon a firm foundation
And the work is never gonna stop (no, it never gonna stop)
Jesus is the Master Builder
He takes the old and makes it new
He can take a life of sin, make it clean and pure within
And He can make a brand new you

Now He’s back in Heaven and He’s building once again
He’s working on a city called the New Jerusalem
It sits on a firm foundation according to the Master Builder’s plan
The streets are lined with mansions for the saints to move right in
And when He’s finished building, He’ll come back again
To take us to that city fashioned by the Master Builder’s hand

Written by Dianne Wilkinson

Performed by The Cathedrals

Read the original post here on Church Set Free

God’s Garden-Squash Gossip Part 2-James On the Powerful Tongue

My post from yesterday over at the Isaiah 53:5 Project

lettuce

The Powerful Tongue

Well, as I said yesterday, even though strictly speaking this is about gossip it is likely we will detour into other areas. In fact, we begin our detour today! It’s hard to separate the sins of the tongue from each other, as they are all very much intertwined. As we begin to take a look at this, I will be drawing heavily on some previous writings I did concerning the Book of James. In fact it is more or less a rerun of the material, but I think we will find it useful.

James 3:1-4

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.


Read all of James Chapter 3 here

Taming the The Tongue

James apparently had strong feelings about the role of the tongue, or the words we speak, in the life of the believer.  He actually mentions it in every single chapter of his book, in fact. He mentions it in the following passages: 1:19,26; 2:12; 3:5,6,8; 4:11; and 5:12.

Reading what James has to say about our speech and we can see the idea of the tongue not only being the reflection of what is in our hearts, but also representative of the depravity of our nature.

Also, since James’ primary objective with his Epistle seems to be to teach believers how to behave, it follows in line that one of his lessons here is that the ability to control one’s tongue is a mark of a mature believer.

Let’s just take a look at some of the thoughts God shared with us regarding the tongue in His Word for today’s devotional.

When Paul was illustrating to us all our fallen condition, in Romans 3:13-15, he listed 5 organs of the body which are common vehicles for sin: throat, tongue, lips, mouth and feet. It seems very significant that four of the five have to do with our speech!

Some of the most Godly men in the Bible had issues holding their tongues, as well; Moses (Psalms 106:32-33), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5,7), and Job (Job 40:4) all had tongue issues at some point.

The tongue is described using many words in Scripture: wicked, deceitful, perverse, filthy, corrupt, flattering, slanderous, gossiping, blasphemous, foolish, boasting, and many others.

Jesus even had thoughts about our tongues

Matthew 12:36,37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Our words are similar to a sound wave broadcast into the air. Eventually, that sound wave will reach the far parts of  space in a never ending journey; not only that, but the trip cannot be cancelled. Once that sound wave or our words start their journey, they cannot be brought back to the source and packed away.

What do our words say about our walk with Christ? If our words are a reflection of our heart, then what do we reveal about our heart when we speak?

The Tongues of Teachers

Why does James lead off a passage detailing the misuse of the tongue, and our speech, with an opening sentence about masters, or teachers? That is a good question, so let’s explore it briefly. There are several possible applications of this teaching.

Teachers shall receive the greater condemnation. Teachers should be persons of great Christian maturity, and the ability to speak proper things in a proper way is a sign of that maturity. Anyone who places themselves in that position will be held to a high standard of judgment for the things they say while in that position. Here is  a good illustration of this principle.

Luke 12:48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Why then, this initial mention of the responsibilities of those who teach to bridle the tongue? It seems pretty straightforward. If the tongue in and of itself has great power when used just by one person to another, how much more powerful is a misused tongue in the mouth of a person influencing many?

Does this teaching apply to all of us? Primarily, this is directed to those holding positions of responsibility, such as pastors, evangelists, preachers and teachers. But, on the other hand, don’t we all teach somebody? Parents teach their children. Believers teach non believers. Mature believers teach newer believers. Every single one of us has a circle of influence, whether large or small. We need to insure that we mature in Christian behavior in such a way that our use of our tongue causes no harm, but only good.

The Power Of the Tongue

What I am about to say is simply the thoughts and opinions of one man, but this is simply one of the most vivid and descriptive passages in all of God’s Word. As we have covered, James is teaching the point that one of the ways we illustrate Christian maturity is by learning to control our tongue. He has also made the point earlier that by controlling our tongue, we can control the entirety of our bodies.

This seems rather like the two greatest commandments, the ones given by Jesus to the questioning Scribe in Matthew Chapter 22. When the scribe was attempting to trip Jesus up by pinning Him down to stating one commandment as more weighty than another, Jesus neatly rolled them all up in two simple directives: Love God above all else, and love one’s neighbor as oneself. The reason He did this was to show that by doing these two things, all other requirements would naturally follow as an outflow.

The tongue is like that. We can see in Verse 2 of our passage James stating that if a man can learn to control his tongue, he can control his entire body. James doesn’t seem to mean this in a literal sense, but in a metaphorical sense regarding the whole of our behavior. In other words, if what issues from our mouth tends to be God honoring and God exalting, then likely the rest of our behavior will be as well. Then he moves on to show two very clear examples of the smallest of things exercising the greatest of control.

The first example is that of a horse. It’s quite amazing, really that an animal weighing in at over a half a ton can be easily controlled by a 100 pound rider simply through a tiny metal bit in their mouth. Likewise the direction and course of a large ship can be controlled by no more than a small rudder which is only a fraction of the size of the ship.

Our tongues, and our speech are like the bit or the rudder. They are only a small part of us physically, but they can and do turn us in whatever direction they point. If our speech is Christlike, then we will be likewise Christlike. If our speech is the opposite, then our behavior will be as well.

A Controlled Tongue Shows Maturity

As I was preparing this Devotional, I received in my Blog feed a wonderful poem written by blogger Gloryteller. Rather than write anything on this issue today, I am including his poem as a powerful illustration of words, the tongue, and their proper role in the lives of mature Christian believers.

A Farmer of Words

I want to be a farmer of words
I want to nurture words
I want to plant them in good soil
Cultivate them
Grow them until mature
Make them fruitful
Pick them and harvest them
Squeeze out their nutritious juices
Prepare them deliciously
Give them to those in need of
A good word

I want to begin a culture of
Word husbandry.

Read the original post here: God’s Garden-Squash Gossip Part 2-James On the Powerful Tongue on the Isaiah 53:5 Project

In Every Thing…

Just a nice post for a Tuesday morning from my friend Pastor Anthony Baker at the Recovering Legalist

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give Thanks

With regards to thanks, you have to give it for it to exist; being thankful is not the same thing as giving thanks. You can be thankful in your heart all day long, but you can easily offend someone by not saying “Thank you” at the appropriate time.

Thanks can be given in many different ways, but the fact is that it must be expressed in some way, not just felt. Say it with words, express it with a card, show it with a gift, or something. The whole concept of “giving” means it leaves you and goes somewhere else.

Every Thing

Note that it’s “every thing,” not everything. It may seem like an insignificant point, but it’s every little thing in particular – every situation, every circumstance, every joy, every pain – not an all-encompassing kind of thing we’re talking about.

You see, it’s easy for us to express a generic “Thank you, Lord, for everything,” but it’s much harder to be specific, especially when things are not going so great. Getting specific with our giving of thanks takes time, points out where we are not so grateful, and forces us to take stock of what we really have.…..read the rest of the post here: In Every Thing… | The Recovering Legalist

Great Questions In the Bible-Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Just Who Are We Talking About Here?

great_question_jpeg

Matthew 18:21

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

A while back we touched briefly on this question, and over the course of the next few posts at least, we are going to explore it much deeper.  Before we move deeper into this, I wanted to briefly address a topic quickly that I believe is very important to our overall understanding of this issue of forgiveness as being discussed in this passage.

Some of what is written, especially later as we talk about the parable of the debtor which follows, seems pretty harsh and quite possibly could be misunderstood. So, it seems appropriate to quickly establish who the audience for these teachings seems to be. I am pretty sure not everyone who reads will agree with what follows, but it seems to be what is being taught here.

What we see being established in the passage we have quoted, the discussion before hand, and the parable that follows are not a pattern for salvation. These words are written for believers to establish a pattern for how we are to live as saved followers of Jesus Christ.

The reason this seems important to establish is that as we read we see what might appear to be linkages between God’s forgiveness of us, and our forgiveness of others. None of what we read in this passage, properly read, teaches that we can somehow lose our status with God as saved sinners if we behave wrongly towards our brothers and sisters.

God’s forgiveness of us at the moment of salvation is not temporary, transient, or based on any work or effort we have put into it. It is all encompassing and permanent; it is unconditional based on no more than our faith. As we read and discuss, we will see this is the actually lesson being taught in this entire passage as a whole; we are to forgive our brothers and sisters in the same way we have been forgiven, not as a method to become saved, but as a pattern for our lives.

Freedom from the Bible Police

This was a very good, well considered post on Bible translations by my blogging friend David over at Applied Faith.

group-therapy-7-mixed-ages-races1

I was reminded yesterday in a group counseling session how problematic selecting a Bible can be. A young woman was discussing her difficult experience in a small Southern Baptist church that imposed teaching from the King James Version (KJV) Bible as the one acceptable for the church’s congregants. Yes, in the Bible Belt of 2016 there are still pastors and elders that strictly require use of the KJV only, and are actually called “KJV Only” churches. While I love reading the King James English, I can certainly see how 400-year-old English can be a barrier to delivering the Gospel. We have many great translations that serve many legitimate purposes, and KJV Only hurts far more than it helps………Read the original post here: Freedom from the Bible Police | The Isaiah 53:5 Project

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