Apologetics Class 4-23-2017

In our Apologetics class last Sunday, we started a series on young earth creation.  During the class, I’d primarily been exposing students to material that implicitly supported the ancient universe view of creation.  But now, in order to be “fair and balanced” (and because I believe they have some really good arguments), I’ve decided to show the “other side” of the argument.  Our first week started with Dr. David Menton speaking on the topic “Origin of the Species: Was Darwin Wrong?”  We watched this in 1 part, but I also found this on YouTube in 7 parts:

  1. Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UncGAsdIoS4
  2. Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXPGkz5wfyA
  3. Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd-4JLtH9uE
  4. Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=canaOhDOMuY
  5. Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qlfc-D_Xk8
  6. Part 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlyXcD2lmag
  7. Part 7: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUiru4dQc_0

Below is the note-taking form I made up for the students.  At the bottom of the post, I have provided a link to the answers.

Was Darwin Right? Dr. Terry Mortenson (Young Earth Creationist)

(He has a Ph.D. in history of geology from Coventry University)

  1. National Academy of Science – “There is no d____________ within the scientific community over whether evolution has occurred…”
  2. Evolution theory is based on assumptions, called “Ph__________ Na___________”, which says:
    1. Nature or matter is all that exists
    2. Everything can and must be explained by time plus chance plus laws of nature working on matter.
  3. “The influence of evolutionary theory on fields far removed from biology is one of the most spectacular examples in history of how a highly sp___________ idea for which there is no really hard scientific evidence can come to fashion the thinking of a whole society and dominate the outlook of an age. Ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.“ – Michael Denton, Evolution: a theory in crisis
  4. Creationist’s presuppositions come from the Bible (especially in Genesis – “after their kind”).
  5. God created the different kinds of plants and animals distinct. He built into their genetic information potential for v__________ w________ the k________, but not the ability to change from one kind into another.
  6. 2 Key Questions:
    1. How did the DNA In___________ for the supposed first living microscopic creature come into existence?
    2. How did the DNA Information in that “simple” creature get ch___________ and augmented to produce all the different kinds of plants and animals that we see in the fossil record and living today?
  7. 1953 – Miller / Urey experiment. Attempted to create “life” (amino acids) from n___-l_______.
  8. They had to create a “trap” to hold the organic compounds otherwise they would’ve been destroyed in the same environment in which they were created (that’s cheating).
  9. “Nobody knows how a mixture of l___________ chemicals spontaneously organized themselves into the first living cell.” – Paul Davies (Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Macquarie University)
  10. Does the fossil record support evolution or creation?
    1. Evolutionists created the Geological Time Scale (or Geological Column). This column does not exist anywhere in the real world, except in the text books and magazine articles.  We find m___________ fossils all throughout this column.
    2. Evolutionists claim that v__________ change has occurred. From single cell à Humans
    3. Creationists say that h_____________ variation has occurred – variation within kinds.
    4. “The extreme rarity of tr______________ forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not evidence of fossils” – Stephen J. Gould – Evolutionist-from Scientific American magazine
    5. The evolutionists can only point to a handful of very controversial examples (of transitional forms).
    6. According to Gould, 2 characteristics of the fossil record are:
      1. Ab__________ Appearance (creatures appear suddenly in the fossil record)
      2. St________ (once creatures appear in fossil record, they basically stay the same)
    7. Living fossils – organisms that we thought to have gone ex________ but are found alive
    8. Many creatures have not changed at all (comparing live specimens with fossils) in the “supposed” tens or hundreds of millions of years of evolution.
    9. Evolutionists sometimes commit misinterpretation based on in________ fossil evidence
    10. Whale evolution given as an example. U.C. Berkeley
  11. Embryonic re_______________ – that the embryo “rehearses” its evolutionary history as it develops (Ernst Haeckel – embryo pictures were a fraud, printed in some text books)
  12. Conclusions (Part 1):
    1. Evolutionists have NO idea how the first living cell came into existence by ch_________
    2. Evolutionists have NO INDISPUTABLE f_______ ev____________ that one kind of creature evolved into a different kind of creature.
  13. Does the study of living creatures support evolution (t_____ of life) or creation (f______ of life)?
    1. There is not an evolutionist on the face of the earth that would look at this (amazing sand sculpture) and say “look at what the ocean washed up on the shore last night!”
    2. Information comes from a m__________.
    3. “There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in m___________” – Werner Gitt
    4. Space shuttle, cell phones and other examples of man-made technology are s_______________ compared to a living cell.
    5. Information in DNA:
      1. DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid or D______ N__ A____________)
      2. DNA to cover a pin tip would be the information equivalent of a stack of books from the Earth to the moon ____ times
  • The amount of DNA in every cell of our bodies is the equivalent of 3 or 4 sets of the 20 volumes of the en______________ Britannica (Richard Dawkins)
  1. It’s the DNA that produces the variety (peas, horses, skin color, etc.)
  1. The Supposed Mechanisms of Evolution:
    1. Natural Selection
      1. Natural selection is a FACT – creationists believe in it
      2. Natural selection is NOT evolution
      3. Natural selection is a CO_________, not a cr________, process. Nature can only select what is already there.  It can’t create something new.
      4. Dogs – the question is “where did the first dog come from”, not how did you get the variety.
      5. This process of variation involves a l__________ of genetic information (e.g. poodle)
      6. Nature selects the long haired dogs because they have the characteristics that will allow them to live in that environment
      7. Natural selection can explain the SU__________ of the fittest but NOT the AR___________ of the fittest.
      8. Natural selection is the God-designed method of pr___________ representatives of the original created kinds
    2. Random Mutations
      1. Fruit fly experiments – bombard them with radiation and see what mutations occur. None of these is an im___________ on the original and none of these would survive in the wild – nature would select the healthy, “normal” ones and weed out these mutants.
      2. Mutations are a FACT
      3. But mutations nearly always re_________ information, they never IN____________ functional information
      4. “All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not to increase it” – Lee Spetner, Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution
      5. Evolutionists will say that there are some b___________ mutations
      6. Pylori – bacteria, which is can be killed by absorbing the antibiotic which is converted to a poison. Mutant H. pylori lacks the ability to produce the enzyme.  No enzyme, no poison, no death. Survived by a L______ of information.
      7. “Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up in volume.” – Lee Spetner, Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution
      8. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:22)
      9. Mutations are the God-ordained c_____________ of His curse on creation because of Adam’s sin.
      10. Undirected, Random, Natural Processes + Time Complex, Functional Design (Information)
      11. Tools found in cave not result of random chance. SETI program (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), listen for organized pattern of sounds
    3. Summary:
      1. Natural selection? FACT
      2. Mutations? FACT
      3. Natural Selection + mutation=molecule-to-man evolution? NOT FACT
      4. Information does not come from matter.
      5. No indisputable transitional fossils
      6. Nature produces no new information
      7. The issue is not micro-evolution vs. macro-evolution
      8. The issue is not the s______ of change, it is the d_____________ of change
      9. The issue is the origin and addition of genetic information
      10. “A man who has no assured and ever-present belief in the existence of a personal God, or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those i__________ and i_________ which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones” – Charles Darwin (Judges 17:6b)
      11. If ape is in your past, morality is r____________, man sets the rules
      12. Romans 1:18-20 (we are without excuse because of creation)

 

Link to answers

mid-week apologetics booster (4-27-2017)

Good morning,

I hope you’re having a great week!  Here are the things I’ve run into this week:

  1. KNOW WHY YOU BELIEVE: Connecting Faith and Reason, by Paul E. Little.  This is the free audio book of the month from Christian Audio (normally $14.98).  Great book!  I’m already starting to listen the 2nd time through.  I really think that this could also be given to any of your unbelieving friends, neighbors or family who have questions about the Christian faith.  It seems to be written not so much to the Christian, but rather to the seeker who has honest questions.  Here is the description from the site: How can you know that there is a God? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Why is there pain and suffering in the world? Do science and the Bible conflict? If you have found yourself asking similar questions about Christianity, you need to know….the Christian faith and reason are compatible.  Sunday is the last day to get this for free (it is a set of downloadable MP3s), don’t miss this: http://christianaudio.com/free
  2. Answering the Galileo Myth: http://subspla.sh/rulahty
  3. Case-Making 101: Why Do Christians Need To Understand and Practice Apologetics? – Truth, Faith and Reason: http://truthfaithandreason.com/case-making-101-why-do-christians-need-to-understand-and-practice-apologetics/
  4. Florida High School Students Forced to Remove Cross Jewelry and Participate in LGBT Activities | The Stream: https://stream.org/florida-high-school-students-forced-to-remove-cross-jewelry-and-participate-in-lgbt-activities/
  5. Earth Day—A Christian Perspective | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/earth-day-a-christian-perspective/
  6. 8 False Assumptions about Christianity – Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/8-false-assumptions-about-christianity/
  7. Watch “Summary of the Deity of Christ in Mark by James White” on YouTube – this is a whirlwind tour of the evidence from the Gospel of Mark for the deity of Jesus: https://youtu.be/StX81To97dY
  8. Stunning Protein Fossils Confirm the Flood | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/9940
  9. Jehovah’s Witnesses:
    1. Being Tactical with Jehovah’s Witnesses: http://subspla.sh/nvyk8a2
    2. I think this article is the exact text of what the speaker is saying in the above podcast: http://www.str.org/articles/being-tactical-with-jehovah%E2%80%99s-witnesses#.WP0G09LyuUk
    3. Here is an article on how to handle the knock at your door where the Stand to Reason speaker Tim Barnett is talking how to tactically deal with JW’s.  One of the things he explains is how to use their “translation” to make the case to them: http://www.str.org/publications/solid-ground-july-2016-ready-for-the-knock-on-your-door#.WP0HD9LyuUk
  10. Pdf from Gary Habermas – Essential Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus: https://www.summit.org/resources/fact-sheet/essential-evidence-resurrection-jesus/
  11. What Do I Have to Do Before I Can Call Myself a Christian “Apologist”? | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/what-do-i-have-to-do-before-i-can-call-myself-a-christian-apologist/
  12. Communism – Conservapedia: http://www.conservapedia.com/Communism
  13. God’s Fingerprints are Everywhere – Marvin Olasky: https://m.townhall.com/columnists/marvinolasky/2017/04/25/gods-fingerprints-are-everywhere-n2317394
  14. Is It “UnChristian” to Execute 8 Murderers? https://www.raptureforums.com/politics-culture-wars/unchristian-execute-8-murderers/
  15. If Bill O’Reilly Followed Mike Pence’s Rules, He Might Still Be On TV: http://thefederalist.com/2017/04/24/bill-oreilly-followed-mike-pences-rules-women-might-still-tv/
  16. An Often-Missed Example of Media Bias: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/an-often-missed-example-of-media-bias
  17. Thought Snack: The Root Fallacy – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/thought-snack-the-root-fallacy/

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners –of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15-16

Blessings to you all!

AWANA Hike Night – Significance of Mountains in the Gospels

This past Wednesday was “hike night” at AWANA.  We do this once a year, normally in the spring.  Our Church is blessed to have a 14 acre property with 2 small mountains (really foothills) behind it.  The views from up there are really spectacular.  Here is the mountain we hiked up:


Here is the same foothill from the street-view:

From there, we could see all the mountains in our city (Ahwatukee):

After we got to the top of the mountain and looked around, we gathered all the 3rd to 6th grade clubbers around to pray.  I told them how Jesus hiked.  At least He must’ve since the Bible talks frequently about Him going up mountains to pray by Himself, to teach or to heal the multitudes, or to teach His disciples and to be transfigured before them.  He appointed His 12 disciples on a mountain (Mark 13:13-15).  He was even arrested at the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:47-57).  In fact the Mount of Olives is very significant in the whole Bible (it is found by name 14 times – most in the Gospels).  The first reference to it by name is in 2 Samuel 15:30, when David was fleeing from Absalom and the Bible says that the Messiah (Jesus) will return to this world again at the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).  At the end of Jesus’ life, He left this world after giving His disciples the great commission from a mountain (Matthew 28:16-20)   Here are the verses in the Gospels where Jesus is described as being on mountains:

Matthew 5:1-2
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying

Matthew 14:23
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone

Matthew 15:29-30
Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.

Matthew 17:1-2
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Matthew 24:3
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Matthew 26:30
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said

Mark 3:13-15
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve–designating them apostles –that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

Mark 6:46
After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

Luke 6:12
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

Luke 21:37
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives

Luke 22:39
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him

John 6:3-5
Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?

John 6:15
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

John 8:1-2
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them

So many significant events happened on mountains in the Bible.  Moses received the 10 commandments on a mountain.  God showed him the Promised Land from a mountain.  Elijah had his show-down with the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel.

We are blessed to live in a village that has mountains we can climb. I’ve even talked our men’s Bible study into having our study next Thursday at the top of the same mountain where the AWANA club hiked to!  We’re going to bring fold-up chairs and when it becomes dark, we will use our smart phone flash lights to read. During our study, I plan to start by reviewing these passages about mountains in the Bible.  It ought to be a great time of communion and fellowship with each other and with our Lord!

mid-week apologetics booster (4-20-2017)

Good morning all,

I hope you’re having a wonderful week following our resurrected Savior, Jesus the Christ.  If you are following Him, your wonderful week is likely full of:

  1. Denying yourself
  2. Taking up your cross daily
  3. Following Him
  4. Losing your life for Him
  5. Not gaining the world
  6. Not being ashamed of Him or His words

Jesus made that clear when He said:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:23-26

Like Paul I hope we can all say, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”  Philippians 3:8-9  That’s the true joy, knowing Him.

And like anyone else we know and love, we will defend our belief in them in the face of attack, but with gentleness and respect – that’s Apologetics – Paul practiced it, Peter practiced it and Jesus practiced it.  Let us do likewise:

  1. Hank Hanegraaff’s Switch to Eastern Orthodoxy, Why People Make Such Changes, and Four Ways Evangelicals Might Respond: http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/april/how-should-we-respond-to-hank-hanegraaffs-switch-to-orthodo.html
  2. 10 Worst Nations To Live In As A Christian | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/10-worst-nations-to-live-in-as-a-christian/
  3. Notecard Answers for Why I Believe the Bible | TGC: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/erikraymond/2015/10/15/notecard-answers-to-why-i-believe-the-bible/
  4. World-Famous Physicist Drops Bombshell “God” Discovery… Atheists Will NOT Like This: http://conservativetribune.com/physicist-bombshell-god-like/
  5. Funsized Tactics: Chapter 9 – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/funsized-tactics-chapter-nine/
  6. Why I Put My Son Back in Public School: http://thinkdivinely.com/why-i-put-my-son-back-in-public-school/
  7. It’s Time for Youth Pastors to CH.A.T. With Their Students: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/its-time-for-youth-pastors-to-ch-a-t-with-their-students/
  8. Gender-neutral Chromium code – I’m a software developer and during the course of technical reading I do for work, I ran into this.  I include this just to emphasize how this insanity is permeating every part of society now: https://chromium.googlesource.com/chromium/src/+/master/styleguide/gender_neutral_code.md
  9. Four Ways the Earth Is Fine-Tuned for Life | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/four-ways-the-earth-is-fine-tuned-for-life/
  10. Three Important Questions to Balance in the Wake of Gun Violence: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/three-important-questions-to-balance-in-the-wake-of-newtown/

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Blessings to you all

AWANA Game on Miracles 4/12/2017

Last Wednesday at AWANA, we’d planned to show a short video on evidence for the resurrection:

However, minutes before showing the video, we were concerned that, as a mixed group from 3rd to 6th grade, there may actually be some clubbers who still believed in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, so, since this was a central theme in the video (Jesus is not a fairy tale like Santa), we had to decide to not show the video.  I was very disappointed, because it was a great video with a great message at the right time.

So, we had to improvise.  Fortunately, I had a presentation stored on the computer in our room that I’d given several years ago and could reuse.  It was a game on guessing the miracle by looking at a painting / artist’s rendering of the miracle.  It was a fun time for the clubbers and the rewards for the points were given in candy 🙂  In case you would like to do the same thing with your children, here is the PowerPoint.  Here they are:

 

Apologetics class – Easter 4/16/2017 – Case for Christ

Yesterday in the Apologetics class at my church, I showed “The Case for Christ” – not the current movie that is out in theaters, but rather the documentary.  It is an hour and 11 minutes long, but very good.  We watched from DVD, but I also see this on youtube:

Here are the notes from the movie (with fill-in blanks):

The Case for Christ (documentary) – 1 hour 11 minutes

  1. Lee Strobel thought that, if Jesus existed, he was probably a nice guy and good teacher, but he certainly wasn’t the Messiah and he certainly wasn’t the Son of God.
  2. When Leslie started to go to church, Lee thought nothing good that would come out of it.
  3. Lee saw sermon on ‘Basic Christianity’ and realized that if this is true, this had h__________ implications for his life.
  4. He thought it was going to be so easy to expose the fallacious thinking behind Christianity.
  5. Lee didn’t accept the New Testament as the inspired word of God, but he had to accept it as a set of h__________ d____________, which it undoubtedly is.
  6. The expert witnesses interviewed by Lee
    1. JP Moreland, Professor of Philosophy, Biola University
    2. Mark Strauss, Professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary
    3. Craig Blomberg, Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
    4. Craig Evans, Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College
    5. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, United Kingdom
  7. What you find in the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John comes up in 3 dimensions and says, “My goodness, this actually belongs, it makes sense, it fits” – N.T. Wright
  8. These (the Gospels) are biographies. They are very clearly attempts by eyewitnesses to describe exactly what Jesus said and did.  – J.P. Moreland
  9. Luke’s prologue is one of the finest Greek sections in the whole New Testament … this is the work of a historian, someone who has done his research – Mark Strauss
  10. We have, actually, very early attestation of the authorship of the gospels – Mark Strauss
  11. Papias (a disciple of the apostle John) identifies Mark’s gospel as essentially the e______________ account of Peter – Mark Strauss
  12. Scholars generally agree that the gospel of Mark was written first, between 60-75 AD. Matthew (60-85 AD) & Luke (60-85 AD) were written shortly after, followed by John (65-95 AD).
  13. The New Testament Gospels are, by far, our earliest and most r______________ records of Jesus of Nazareth – Mark Strauss
  14. Eyewitnesses are still around. If they (the gospel writers) were passing around untruths we expect eyewitnesses to say “Wait a minute, this isn’t what happened” – Mark Strauss
  15. All of the gospel writers were eyewitnesses or they interviewed eyewitnesses – Mark Strauss
  16. In the first century, the primary way that information was preserved and passed on was through o_________ t_______________, which had been memorized. – Craig Blomberg
  17. The first century apostles, who passed on information about Jesus, were deeply concerned to get this information correct, because they saw it has sacred, holy tradition. – J.P. Moreland
  18. Oral tradition is a community event and is self-correcting – Mark Strauss
  19. Most of these ‘apparent contradictions’ between the gospel accounts are quite e__________ r______________ – Mark Strauss
  20. Had every single account given us exactly the same detail, we might’ve accused them of some form of collusion. – Craig Blomberg
  21. Its natural when you have multiple eyewitnesses to the same event, you’re going to get d________________ p____________. And that’s ok, you want that!  What you’re looking for is a “core” to the testimony that’s the same – that’s consistent. – Lee Strobel
  22. We have better m____________ a________________ for the New Testament than any other ancient document. – Mark Strauss
  23. Much of the New Testament is preserved in the quotations of the early church fathers, so that if we had no copies of it, we could r_____________ it from these quotations. -J.P. Moreland
  24. Non biblical Jewish historian Josephus, in AD 93, published ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ – talked about Jesus
  25. The G_________ G__________ – a collection of religious writings from the 2nd and 3rd centuries:
    1. Gospel of Thomas
    2. Gospel of Truth
    3. Gospel of the Egyptians
    4. Gospel of Peter
    5. Gospel of Philip
    6. Gospel of the Twelve Apostles
    7. Gospel of Mary Magdalene
    8. Gospel of Matthias
    9. Gospel of Eve
    10. Gospel of Judas
    11. Secret Gospel of Mark
    12. The Dialogue of the Savior
    13. Secret Book of James
    14. Gospel of Nicodemus
    15. Gospel of the Lord
    16. Pistis Sophia
    17. Acts of Thomas
    18. Acts of John
    19. First Apocalypse of James
  26. These documents are almost universally recognized to be much later than the gospels of the New Testament and to not record historically reliable material related to Jesus – Mark Strauss
  27. There’s a view among some that there were all these c___________ views of Jesus Christ and the one that “won out” became the o_____________ perspective of Christ reflected in the Gospels. All the evidence runs contrary to that.  Jesus was a 1st century Jewish teacher, who revealed and demonstrated himself to be the Messiah. – Mark Strauss
  28. What I’ve come to discover is that, the Gospels in the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are our b______ s___________ for Jesus, and I’ve also found that they are reliable and that from these sources we can form a picture that I believe is very accurate – that tells us about Jesus – what He taught, how He was perceived by His contemporaries and what His life was really all about. – Craig Evans
  29. Jesus didn’t come to help me discover who I really am. He came to tell me who He knew I really was and to do something about it, and that’s much better news.  –N.T. Wright
  30. More scholars interviewed to determine ‘Who Was Jesus’:
    1. Michael Rydelnik, Professor of Jewish Studies, Moody Bible Institute
    2. Ben Witherington III, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Asbury Seminary
  31. People say that no one teaches like Him – he teaches with His own authority. – Michael Rydelnik
  32. He would clarify, even overrule in some ways the Old Testament law – Mark Strauss.
  33. Jesus (Yeshua) went into the s_______________ and read Isaiah 61:1 and claimed that it was r_______________ to Him.
  34. Jesus clearly presents himself as the self-revelation of God – Mark Strauss
  35. Over 80 times in the New Testament, Jesus refers to Himself as the S_____ of M______ – this refers to Daniel 7:13-14
  36. Jesus’ contemporaries – people who l_____ Him, people who were in__________ (neutral) and people who o_________ Him all acknowledged He did extraordinary things – Craig Evans
  37. The New Testament Gospels record at least 40 separate miracles performed by Jesus.
  38. One of the most astonishing things that Jesus did was when He claimed to forgive sins in Mark 2…Only God forgives sin. – Mark Strauss
  39. A guy typed out Isaiah 53 without any indication where it was from. He showed it to everyone in his office and asked them who it was describing and where it was from. All said Jesus, NT.
  40. In the Old Testament, you have 2 kinds of prophecies. You have those that are fulfilled u_________ in Christ and prophecies that are fulfilled ‘t____________’ in Christ. – Mark Strauss
  41. Some skeptics have said that Jesus could’ve engineered the fulfillment of these prophecies. But many of these couldn’t have been engineered. – Mark Strauss
  42. The odds of any human being f_____________ 48 of these ancient prophecies would be one chance in a trillion (13 times). – Lee Strobel
  43. Jesus recognizes Himself clearly as the c__________ of God’s plan of salvation – Mark Strauss
  44. There were so many reasons why I didn’t want there to be a God, because I didn’t want to be held a________________ for my life – Lee Strobel
  45. Lee got so mad over Leslie being part of this Christian sub-culture he didn’t fit into, that he kicked a hole in their wall.
  46. Expert witnesses for the resurrection of Jesus:
    1. William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy, Biola University
    2. Gary Habermas, Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy, Liberty University
    3. Michael Licona, Director of Apologetics, North American Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention
  47. The resurrection of Jesus really is the pivotal event of history. Anybody can c_________ to be the Son of God, as Jesus clearly did.  The question is, ‘Can ya back it up?’ – Lee Strobel
  48. Chances of surviving crucifixion were extremely b____________ – Michael Licona
  49. Jesus was being tried and executed as a rebel leader, now in the Roman army, if you were responsible for looking after one p__________ of w_____, even if he was a rather insignificant prisoner of war, if you let him get away, your life would be forfeited in place of his – and life was very cheap. If you were looking after the execution of a rebel leader and you let him get away, you’re in deep trouble … the Romans were very, very good at killing people. N.T. Wright
  50. The presence of Joseph of Arimathea in the empty tomb narrative (in all 4 gospels), indicates that this is a h________ r___________ account of what really happened. – J.P. Moreland
  51. It is highly unusual to find that the person who, alone, has the courage to go Pilate and give Jesus an honorable burial is not: 1) members of His family, 2) faithful disciples who followed Him to the end. Instead it is a member of J__________ S_________, the very high court, all of whom Mark says, had condemned Jesus of Nazareth to the cross.  The fact that it is Joseph of Arimathea who is the person responsible for giving Jesus an honorable burial is an awkward and e_____________ fact for the early church, and yet this tradition is faithfully preserved in almost all of the traditions that we have about the burial of Jesus – William Lane Craig
  52. The empty tomb story features women, which is an embarrassment in 1st century Palestine where women were considered 2nd class citizens. – William Lane Craig
  53. If you were going to invent an account about an empty tomb, then why on earth would you invent p__________ w____________ whom no one would believe? – Michael Licona
  54. Justin Martyr and Turtullian both verify the charge by the Jewish Leaders that the disciples stole His body. If the body is still in the tomb, why are you saying that the disciples had stolen it? Michael Licona
  55. These people (who saw Jesus), Paul tells us, were still alive. The implication is, we have hundreds of people who actually saw Jesus risen from the dead.  If you don’t believe me, you can ask them about it, because they’re still alive.  – J.P. Moreland
  56. The accounts of the r____________ were creedal traditions that were passed onto Paul. So, if 1 Corinthians was written in the early to mid-50’s, these traditions were much earlier than that, going back to the period of Paul’s c______________. – Mark Strauss
  57. Critics say that Paul got this material (1 Cor. 15) in Jerusalem, in about 35 AD – Gary Habermas
  58. The full impact of the event (resurrection) is perhaps best measured by the subsequent growth of the early Christian church in the face of intense persecution.
  59. Without belief in Jesus’ resurrection, the e___________ C_____________ m__________ could never have come into being. – William Lane Craig
  60. When they met the risen Lord, their skepticism was transformed into a very confident faith, a great joy, and a determination to preach the good news to everyone else. – Craig Evans
  61. Somehow you have to explain the e______________ from scared followers, who run away, to “let’s worship Him, let’s sing to Him, let’s pray to Him”. – Gary Habermas
  62. If there was no resurrection, and more to the point, if there were no resurrection appearances of Jesus to those who doubted, denied and betrayed Jesus, we would not be sitting here talking about this today. – Ben Witherington III
  63. The t__________________ of the disciples, from a bunch of cowards to boldly and fearlessly proclaiming the Gospel, even to the point of d_____________, confirms that something happened on that first Easter morning. – Mark Strauss
  64. After Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples lived lives of hardship for 20, 30 or 40 years, suffered greatly in their ministries and eventually suffered martyrdom and execution, without r______________, for their belief that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead. –J.P. Moreland
  65. You also have to remember that the disciples died, not just for something that they believed was true – they died for something they actually saw with their own eyes. – J.P. Moreland
  66. In light of this av_______________ of evidence pointing toward the truth of Christianity, it would require more faith for me to maintain my a____________ then to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Lee Strobel
  67. Jesus is the truth – everything hinges on His i___________ – in fact, everything hinges on the r____________. If Jesus really did return from the dead, then He is who he claimed to be and that changes everything!  -Lee Strobel.

In case you want to see the answers you can download the PDF here.

mid-week apologetics booster (4-13-2017)

Good morning beloved of God,

I hope you have a blessed Good Friday and Easter Sunday, contemplating the marvelous sacrifice and vindicating resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here are your weekly links:

  1. Your Kids Need to Think Critically About the Resurrection, because Secular Media Does Not: http://christianmomthoughts.com/your-kids-need-to-think-critically-about-the-resurrection-because-secular-media-does-not/
  2. How to T.R.A.I.N. Christian Students (Rather than Teach Them) | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/how-to-t-r-a-i-n-christian-students-rather-than-teach-them/
  3. Does the Bible Have Contradictions? Quick Response. – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/does-the-bible-have-contradictions-quick-response
  4. Why Some Arminians and Calvinists Need to Calm Down – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/why-some-arminians-and-calvinists-need-to-calm-down/
  5. Why Should I Believe that Jesus Rose from the Dead? – Discover: https://cccdiscover.com/why-should-i-believe-that-jesus-rose-from-the-dead/
  6. How to Defeat Modern Day Atheism With Three Easy Questions | Shadow To Light: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/how-to-defeat-modern-day-atheism-with-three-easy-questions/
  7. Five atheists who lost faith in atheism | Christian News on Christian Today: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/five.atheists.who.lost.faith.in.atheism/61784.htm
  8. 7 Reasons You’ll Be Glad You Saw The Case for Christ – Thinking Christian: https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2017/04/7-reasons-youll-glad-saw-case-christ/
  9. A Brief Overview of the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/a-brief-overview-of-the-jehovahs-witness-worldview/
  10. God’s Word vs. Roman Catholic Tradition | HOME: http://www.reformingamericaministries.com/single-post/2017/04/03/God%25E2%2580%2599s-Word-vs-Roman-Catholic-Tradition
  11. 5 Signs You Glorify Self: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/5-signs-you-glorify-self
  12. How To Avoid Being A Hack As A Christian Apologist: http://thereforegodexists.com/avoid-hack-christian-apologist/
  13. GREG KOUKL EXPLAINS THE RIGHT WAY TO HANDLE AN ANGRY, AGGRESSIVE ATHEIST: https://winteryknight.com/2015/09/18/greg-koukl-expains-the-right-way-to-handle-an-angry-aggressive-atheist-2/
  14. Apologetics and Your Kids: Part 2 – Authenticity & Worldview: http://sharperiron.org/article/apologetics-and-your-kids-part-2-authenticity-worldview
  15. How to Raise Your Kids So They Will Remain in the Faith | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/how-to-raise-your-kids-so-they-will-remain-in-the-faith/
  16. “Debunking Christianity” Writer Becomes Christian Because Of Evidence | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/debunking-christianity-writer-becomes-christian-evidence/
  17. Critical Tactic: Surfacing the Question Beneath the Question – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/critical-tactic-surfacing-the-question-beneath-the-question
  18. What the Fallen Governor of Alabama Can Teach Us – No amount of privilege or power can shield us from temptation: https://stream.org/fallen-governor-alabama-can-teach-us/

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’ “ The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ “ The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13

Have a blessed week!

Apologetics Class and the bias of the publicly funded media

We’ve recently, in my Apologetics class at church, been placing a big emphasis on the historicity of Jesus, the resurrection and biblical reliability.  The reason for that becomes apparent when you take a look at the type of content the public is being served up on our (partially) publicly funded television PBS:

Last Days of Jesushttp://www.pbs.org/video/2365987523/

This was playing on Arizona PBS yesterday afternoon.  From what I could see, there was not a single known conservative scholar on the show (e.g. Dr. Gary Habermas, Dr. Michael Licona, Dr. Ben Witherington III, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Dr. N.T. Wright, Dr. Craig A. Evans etc), but rather a whole load of liberal scholars (Dr. James Tabor – co-author with Dr. Bart Ehrman, Simcha Jacobovici who was co-author of the Lost Gospel, and others).  Of course, they were coming up with all sorts of speculative theories about Jesus’ last week – namely that it was not a last week, but more of a 6 month period and that it couldn’t possibly have been at Passover time because it would’ve been so difficult to harvest the palm branches for Palm Sunday triumphal entry.

They also mention that all the disciples and their wives were with Jesus, although the New Testament says that the disciples left their wives. It also says that the Last Supper Jesus told them to drink this cup and eat this bread to remember me, which is accurate, but they left out the part about the cup being the New Covenant in His blood. They also seem to indicate that Jesus had influence at the highest levels of government because of the wife of Chusa, and that that is the reason why when He overturned the money changers in the temple, the authorities did nothing about it, however the New Testament records Jesus as saying that His kingdom is not of this world and that He was so poor that He had no place to lay His head.

The show ended with no talk of the resurrection.  There were all sorts of weird theories about Jesus’ motivations.  To be honest, I was not surprised.  I’m always on alert whenever watching any public / secular television programming about Jesus or Christianity in general.

We pay public funds for PBS.  Since that’s the case, shouldn’t they be providing equal time to material presented by conservative scholars who hold the traditional (supported by evidence rather than speculation) view?  Well, that’s why it’s important for me to provide content for believers in the apologetics class, where they’ll hear the other side of the story.  Recently we’ve reviewed the following material:

(yesterday) Sean McDowell, on the Mystery Religions and dying and rising gods in the ancient near east:

http://www.coolgadgetssoftware.com/SeanMcDowellMysteryReligions.mp4

Lecture – Dr Peter Williams – Things Which Ought To Be Better Known About The Resurrection Of Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBVBUeHXZ4

Dr. Craig Hazen – Evidence for the Resurrection:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocbtjLgUnQY

Tim Barnett – is the Bible Full of Contradictions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQgR3BrBhss

Remember, your neighbors and family who are curious about Jesus at this time of year are possibly watching these PBS, History Channel and NatGeo shows to get their information about Jesus from “reputable” scholars.  As always, the words of the Apostle Peter are applicable:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15)

That is what we’re doing each week in the Apologetics class, getting ourselves ready.  Best not to “wing it” on this…

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (4-6-2017)

Hello Friends,

Last night I had the awesome opportunity to speak into the lives of 3rd to 6th grade AWANA clubbers by teaching them the word of God, which I’ve been doing once a month this year.  The Bible says “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17b). Earlier in the same passage, Paul says “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14).  Also, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21)

I was overjoyed to be that “foolish preacher” last night.  The topic was Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”.  I’d planned the message for 5th and 6th graders, but we decided on the spot to bring the whole club into the same room and deliver the message to all of them.  The Gospel was preached.  If you would like to see the contents of the message (slides, speaking notes and a self-examination questionnaire), you can take a look at that on my blog.

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 12 Reasons Millennials are OVER Church. I’ve included this link, not for apologetics value, but for the perspective of a millennial on why millennials are largely absent from the church.  In my opinion, I think he gets some things right and some things wrong.  If I get time, I would like to write a blog giving my comments on these 12 Reasons.  Make sure and read the comments at the bottom of the article too: http://www.recklesslyalive.com/12-reasons-millennials-are-over-church/
  2. Faith and Lifestyle of Born Again Christians Evaluated in Extensive National Survey | American Culture and Faith Institute.  One interesting stat from this article was “only 30% of born again adults have a biblical worldview”: https://www.culturefaith.com/faith-and-lifestyle-of-born-again-christians-evaluated-in-extensive-national-survey/
  3. Biblical Creation Confirmed [Podcast] | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/biblical-creation-confirmed-podcast
  4. Watch “Creation in the 21st Century Creation and Mathematics” on YouTube – this is really interesting.  It talks about how our current human population only makes sense in light of a young earth view: https://youtu.be/1oFAooUFbdY
  5. Is How We Live More Important Than What We Believe? (Christian Mom Thoughts) – http://christianmomthoughts.com/is-how-we-live-more-important-than-what-we-believe-bad-secular-wisdom-series-1/
  6. How does God relate to time? http://creation.com/god-and-time
  7. Quest for Truth: Lee Strobel on The Case for Christ Movie | CBN.com – this movie opens this week: http://www1.cbn.com/movies/quest-truth-lee-strobel-case-christ-movie
  8. Dinosaurs ate birds – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/dinos-ate-birds
  9. The way it really is: little-known facts about radiometric dating – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/the-way-it-really-is-little-known-facts-about-radiometric-dating
  10. Fallacy of Composition | SES: http://ses.edu/fallacy-of-composition
  11. Christian Student Reprimanded for Disagreeing with Muslim Professor about the Resurrection – Christian News Headlines: http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/christian-student-is-reprimanded-for-disagreeing-with-muslim-professor-about-the-resurrection.html
  12. College drops charges against Christian student who challenged Muslim prof’s claims about Jesus – The College Fix: https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/31930/
  13. Did Jesus Ever Do Apologetics? – Hope’s Reason: https://www.stephenjbedard.com/2016/10/21/jesus-ever-apologetics/
  14. Two Things to Remember When Discussing Creation with Other Christians | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/articles/two-things-to-remember-when-discussion-creation-with-other-christians#.WOA9as-p7qD
  15. A Look at Jewish Messianism: A Crucified Messiah: What An Embarrassment! – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/a-look-at-jewish-messianism-a-crucified-messiah-what-an-embarrassment-3/
  16. Microevolution versus Macroevolution: Two Mistakes | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/07/microevolution/
  17. The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem – AlbertMohler.com: http://www.albertmohler.com/2016/01/20/the-scandal-of-biblical-illiteracy-its-our-problem-4/
  18. Christian parents, your kids aren’t equipped to be public school missionaries – Matt Walsh: http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/matt-walsh-christian-parents-your-kids-arent-equipped-to-be-public-school-missionaries/
  19. A Very Brief Review of Arguments for the Existence of the Soul: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2013/a-very-brief-review-of-arguments-for-the-existence-of-the-soul-bible-insert/
  20. The Best Question to Ask When Starting a Conversation About God: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-best-question-to-ask-when-starting-a-conversation-about-god/
  21. Top 5 Reasons Most College Students Give Up their Christian Faith – Summit Ministries (at the end, this was an advertisement, but I thought it was a good article): https://www.summit.org/resources/articles/top-5-reasons-college-students-give-christian-faith/
  22. Study: Only 4 Percent of Millennials Hold a “Biblical Worldview” | The Stream: https://stream.org/study-4-percent-millennials-hold-biblical-worldview/

As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.  Matthew 20:29-34

Blessings to you all!

AWANA Teaching on Romans 1:16 (4/5/2017)

Today, Lord willing, I will be teaching the AWANA 5th and 6th grade clubbers on one of their memory verses, Romans 1:16.  Below are the slides and the speaking notes (above each slide), as well as a self examination survey (Are You Ashamed of the Gospel):


Can anyone quote this verse from memory?

Someone please read it.  This is a rich verse!  There’s so much in it. Just look at all these important words in this verse!  We’re going to go through this phrase by phrase to make sure you understand it.

What does it mean to be ashamed? (wait for answers)  Ashamed means that you’re embarrassed about something or someone and you don’t want to be associated with them.

Our verse tells us that Paul is not ashamed of “The Gospel” this word appears 91 times in the New Testament, so it’s a pretty important word.  What does the word Gospel mean? (wait for answers)

The word Gospel literally means “Good News”.  Let’s read this definition together: “the Gospel is the Good News that Jesus died and rose again and offers us forgiveness of sins and eternal life if we will repent and trust Him as Savior and Lord.”  That is what Paul is not ashamed of.

The Gospel is only made possible because of what happened on Good Friday and Easter.  It is only made possible by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

If there was only Christmas (Jesus coming into the world), there would be no Gospel – no good news.  If He only came into the world, but didn’t die for our sins and rise again, we would not even know about Jesus today – and our salvation would be impossible!

This verse says the Gospel is “the power of God”. The word translated “power,” is the Greek word dunamis. That is the word from which we get “dynamite.”

What is the Gospel powerful for?  The next phrase talks about “salvation”.  For the salvation of everyone who believes.

Salvation, means to rescue, to de­liver, to set free.  Talk about picture of guy drowning…

Like the guy drowning in the water, we also need to be saved from something:

1.From the Penalty of Sin – Hell / the Wrath of God – Romans 5:9 says we are “saved from God’s wrath” through Jesus’ blood shed for us.

2.From the Power of Sin – We are no longer slaves to sin – Romans 6:14 says “for sin shall not be your master”

3.From the Presence of Sin (one day) – when we get to Heaven – Revelation 21:27 says “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful

(may want to ask if they know what sin is – talk about sins of commission [doing or thinking wrong things] and sins of omission [not doing what you know you ought to do – James 4:17])

Then it says “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile”. Most of the first believers in Christ were Jews.  But the Gospel was intended for everyone. Jesus said that He was sent to the Jews (Matthew 15:24). Paul initially tried to share the Gospel with the Jews, but they opposed him, so he went on to the Gentiles (Acts 18:6). You and I are (most likely) Gentiles.

Now that we’ve gone through the verse one phrase at a time, do you have any questions? (wait for questions)

Now, before we continue, I want to make sure you know that none of what we’re talking about here applies to you if you’re not saved.  So, I have to stop here and ask you point blank – are you saved?  Only you know the answer to that question.  I would suspect that for many of you the answer is a definite yes.  The Bible says “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Now back to our verse Romans 1:16 – I’d like to focus in on the part of the verse where it says “I am not ashamed of the gospel”.  This is very important for us as Christians.  God specifically says in His word that He does not want us to be ashamed.

In fact Jesus specifically warned us not to be ashamed of Him and His words. In Luke 9:26, He says “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  Matthew 10:32-33

The Apostle Paul also tells us in other places not to be ashamed, for example in 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul says “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

The Apostle Peter tells us, “if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name

Then of course, there’s the AWANA verse: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

So, the Bible is really clear – God does not want us to be ashamed of the Gospel – He wants us to be proud of it and to share it whenever the opportunity comes.

Now we’re going to take a little self-assessment survey.  You don’t have to turn this in and I won’t ask you your answers. It’s to get you to think about whether you’re ashamed of the Gospel.

(here is the survey that I handed out to the clubbers to have them work on it – if they have enough time, in class)

Self-examination Test: Are You Ashamed of the Gospel?

Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Question Your Answer
Do your friends and those at school know you’re a Christian?
Have you ever talked with someone about your faith?
Have you ever invited someone to church or AWANA?
In a group, if others were making fun of Christianity, would you speak up?
Are you worried about offending people?
Are you worried about pleasing people or pleasing God?
Do you care more about what people think of you than what God thinks of you?
Are you afraid that you won’t be able to answer people’s objections or questions about your faith?
Have you ever had to go against the crowd when they were all doing something wrong?  If so, when they asked you why did you mention your faith?

Finally, this is my last night of the AWANA year for teaching the 5th and 6th graders.  It has been such a pleasure teaching all of you, that I want to give you some small gifts as a token of my appreciation.

(end of presentation)


I pray that this teaching would draw any non-Christians in the group to repent and place their faith in Christ, and that it would embolden any Christians in the group to not be ashamed and to share their faith with those in their circle of influence.  Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you and one of the things He has commanded us (that we have to teach to the disciples we’re making), is the command to go and make disciples.  So, I’m trying to teach the believers to go and make more believers – it’s a self-replicating process – that’s how God designed it!

Apologetics Class (4/2/2017)

As Easter is approaching, in the apologetics class that I teach / facilitate at my church, I’ve started a series on the resurrection.  Yesterday we watched an excellent video.  The speaker was Peter J. Williams. He was a fast (and engaging) speaker and dumped a lot of information on us.  The video can be watched here:

Lecture – Dr Peter Williams – Things Which Ought To Be Better Known About The Resurrection Of Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBVBUeHXZ4

Here is the note-taking form and the discussion questions we used:

Non-Christian Accounts of how Christianity Began

(Dr. Peter J. Williams)

Cornelius Tacitus

  1. Cornelius Tacitus from R_______ who was a R_______ H________ who lived 56 A.D – 120 A.D.
  2. Tacitus was writing about the f_________ in Rome (set by emperor Nero) about 64 A.D.
  3. How many times does the word Christian appear in the New Testament?
  4. Christians were being called Christians by outsiders as a term of derision.
  5. Tiberius was emperor from the year _______ to the year _________.
  6. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea from the year ______ to ________.
  7. Tacitus talks about v________ n__________ of Christians being arrested.
  8. Knowing how f_____ and how f_________ Christianity has spread is some of the background knowledge that we need to use when we come to judge whether it would’ve been possible for the story of the resurrection to have been made up later.

Pliny the Younger

  1. Governor of Bithynia, which is Northwest T___________.
  2. He wrote this letter to the R___________ E____________ in 1___ ___ A.D.
  3. His argument is this: don’t kill everyone who’s been called a C____________, only kill those who persist stubbornly to call themselves C__________ once you thr________ t_______.
  4. Here are the 3 tests you apply to check that people aren’t Christians:
    1. They have to w____________ other gods.
    2. They need to make s____________ to these other gods.
    3. They need to c__________ C____________, which it is said that no true Christian can ever be compelled to do.
  5. This is a later stage than Tacitus (~68 A.D. vs. ~112 A.D.). Not only are Christians willing to call themselves Christians, but non-Christians are also identifying themselves as Christians!
  6. Christians only worship o_______ G________.
  7. Pliny the Younger describes a first c___________ (approx.. 92 A.D.) Christian meeting, according to people who have renounced the Christian faith.

Josephus

  1. Josephus was a J_______ historian writing about what happened (~62 A.D.) in his home town when he was about 25 years old.
  2. Josephus mentions both J__________ and J____________.
  3. Josephus agrees with the New Testament that Jesus has a brother called J________ (Mark 6:3)
  4. Josephus reports that James was s_________ for belief in his half-brother J_________.
  5. Josephus reports that Jesus was called C_________.

 

Tacitus and Pliny tell us that people a long way away (in Rome and Bithynia) who are d____ for their b_____ and Josephus tells us that we also have people close to the events that are d___ for their b____.

Christian Accounts

Bias does not mean that something should not be c____________.

1 Corinthians was written approximately __ __ A.D.

Galatians was written approximately __ __ A.D.

The resurrection wasn’t a p______________ Christian belief, it was something that was really c______ and was there u_________.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to be able to speak about non-Christian accounts?
  2. Why does Peter J. Williams make a big deal about Tacitus saying that vast numbers of Christians were arrested?
  3. In Tacitus, believers were called Christians by outsiders (as a derogatory term), but in Pliny, believers called themselves Christians.  Why is this significant?
  4. Why is it significant that Christians were singing to Christ as a god in 112 A.D.?
  5. In what ways do both Tacitus, Pliny and Josephus agree with the New Testament?

 

Why is Christianity true over and above all other religions?

If someone asked you why you think Christianity is true as opposed to all the other religions, what would you have to say?  Could you defend your belief?  Why couldn’t Judaism, Islam, Mormonism and other religions be true?  How do you know Christianity is true and the others are not?

I’ve given some thought to this question recently…  For me, it all starts with Jesus.  According to the apostle Paul, writing in 55 AD (~25 years after the resurrection) under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, if Christ was not raised, then Christianity is useless and of no value (1 Corinthians 15:16-17).  Of course, if Christ did predict and accomplish His resurrection, then that would validate His claim to be who He said He was.  So, I have to ask…  Who would’ve been in the best position to know the facts about Jesus?  There are 3 groups that were closest to the events:

  1. The Jews – they were the ones opposing Jesus at that time. Many passages affirm this.  The phrase “the Jews” appears 127 times in the New Testament.  In many of these verses where the Jews seem to be in opposition to Jesus are in the gospel of John.  Here are the verses in John where it seems that the Jews are in opposition to Jesus:2:18, 2:20, 5:10, 5:16, 5:18, 6:41, 7:1, 8:48, 8:52, 8:57, 9:22, 10:31, 10:33, 11:8, 18:14, 18:28, 18:31, 18:36, 19:7, 19:12, 19:21, 20:19
  2. The Disciples of Christ (of which most were Jews as well). Not only was Jesus thoroughly Jewish, but so were His disciples.
  3. The Romans – they were the occupying force in Palestine during the time of Jesus.

Many religions have something to say about Jesus.  For example:

  1. Judaism says that Jesus’ tomb was empty and that his disciples stole the body.
  2. Islam says he was a prophet, but not the Son of God and was not crucified, that Allah put a substitute on the cross, but instead took Jesus directly to heaven.
  3. Mormonism says that he was the spirit brother of Lucifer

So, if I’m going to pay attention to any historical source, I would be wise to consider those who were closest to the events.  It seems to me that the disciples were closest to the events of Jesus since they lived and walked with Him for 3 years, directly experiencing His miracles, teaching and post-resurrection appearances.  The Jews were also very close to Jesus and they acknowledged some of the key facts in the story – namely that He was a miracle worker, that He was crucified and that His tomb was empty Sunday morning.  John 12:10-11 tells us that “the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.”  Acts 6:7 tells us “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”  Since the faith increased in Jerusalem, which was the center of Judaism, we can assume those priests being spoken of were Jewish.  So, the biblical record is clear that even though the Jewish leadership in large part rejected Jesus, many Jews did actually believe in Him.

So, in relation to the religions that had something to say about Jesus, I would not trust Islam, since it does not record eyewitness testimony about Jesus, but rather personal revelation written down more than 500 years after the events.  Nor would I trust Mormonism, since it’s writings come ~1800 years after the events.  The New Testament writings are the most credible source of information about Jesus.  We have excellent historical evidence that the resurrection is the best hypothesis to account for the known facts about Jesus.  Here are the facts:

  1. Jesus died by crucifixion
  2. He was buried
  3. Jesus’ death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope, believing that his life was ended
  4. The tomb was discovered to be empty just a few days later
  5. The disciples had experiences which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus
  6. The disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify themselves with Jesus to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection
  7. This message was the center of preaching in the early church
  8. This message was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before
  9. As a result of this preaching the church was born and grew
  10. Sunday became the primary day of worship
  11. James, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faith when he also believed he saw the resurrected Jesus
  12. A few years later, Paul was also converted by an experience which he, likewise, believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus

Here is a chart that shows theories that attempt to explain these facts:

So, you can see that the only theory that accounts for all the known historical evidence is either that Jesus was an Alien or that He was bodily resurrected.

As good historians, we must go with the theory that accounts for all the facts, therefore, the most likely explanation is what the New Testament reports – that Jesus was resurrected bodily.  Therefore, Christianity is true, beyond a reasonable doubt and anything that contradicts it is false.

mid-week apologetics booster (3-30-2017)

Good morning friends,

Once again, I had the awesome privilege of serving in AWANA (3rd – 6th grade) last night.  Our Pastor had come to AWANA last week to talk about what a pastor is.  He described that pastor means shepherd and that Jesus is described in Scripture as being the Good Shepherd.  Later in the evening, one of the clubbers asked a really good question.  The question was, ‘If God is a Shepherd, then why does he allow bad people who hurt and kill others?’  It’s hard to give a quick answer to a question like that in a minute during AWANA handbook time, so we decided to show this excellent little ~2 minute video to the clubbers at the start of Counsel Time last night:

This really hit home with the clubbers!  They were able to summarize the message of the video and make additional comments on the topic.  In fact it was so popular, many of them wanted to watch it again!  But when we told them it would take away from their game time, they opted not to 🙂  It was such a blessing to see these precious young clubbers excited and interacting with this topic, thinking deeply about their faith!  We also had a great sword drill during Counsel Time, focusing on God’s faithfulness (e.g. 2 Thess. 3:3).  I pray this prayer for them:

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. ”  Numbers 6:24-26

Here are your weekly links:

  1. 5 apologetics arguments Christians should avoid: https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/5-apologetics-arguments-Christians-should-avoid
  2. Watch “Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?” on YouTube – this is really good – 4 ½ minutes – cartoon video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyZ1l7faKSw
  3. Spiritual Inventory Questionnaire – I ran into this while searching for some spiritual inventory questions.  It is REALLY extensive (10 pages long), but seems to be really good – note: it is a PDF file: http://www.bethanychurch.com/home/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/1_Personal-Spiritual-Inventory.pdf
  4. Sanctuary Cities in the Bible: https://historyforthechristianfaith.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/sanctuary-cities-in-the-bible/
  5. CE 5: You’re Only Christian Because You Were Born in the West – A Clear Lens: https://clearlens.org/ce-5-youre-only-christian-because-you-were-born-in-the-west-2/
  6. Watch “Tim Keller on evangelism in the 21st century” on YouTube (first step is let ‘em know you go to church): https://youtu.be/DHQBoLo31Ns
  7. The Jihadi Who Turned to Jesus: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/world/middleeast/the-jihadi-who-turned-to-jesus.html
  8. Is Christianity Jewish?  Dr. Michael Brown:
    1. Watch “Is Christianity Jewish? w/ Dr. Michael Brown 1/2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kjkm6XS149s
    2. Watch “Is Christianity Jewish? w/ Dr. Michael Brown 2/2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cwDWnXdyV9U
  9. Was Jesus’ Death & Resurrection Copied From Krishna? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/was-jesus-death-resurrection-copied-from-krishna/
  10. Top 10 Lies Christians Believe: http://www.unsealed.org/2016/05/top-10-lies-christians-believe.html
  11. Christianity is rejected because of dislike rather than rational reasons | Real Life Apologetics: https://reallifeapologetics.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/is-the-rejection-of-christianity-an-emotional-or-a-rational-decision/
  12. The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians | PragerU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytdMUddGe-U
  13. Tell Someone | Harvest Online Courses – free course with video teaching on evangelism sent to your inbox: https://tellsomeone.harvest.org/register/tell-someone/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=paid&utm_content=harvestamerica&utm_campaign=tellsomeonecourse&hs_fb_account_id=22405970&hs_fb_campaign_id=6052164846641&hs_fb_adset_id=6053392481041&hs_fb_ad_id=6070678863441&hs_parent_creative_id=6070679192041&source
  14. C. Boycott Over Bathroom Bill Fails Magnificently: https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/03/22/this-just-in-boycott-of-n-c-over-bathroom-bill-dies-with-a-whimper/
  15. How Christianity Led to the Rise of Modern Science: http://www.equip.org/article/christianity-led-rise-modern-science/
  16. Stop Using the Term “Fetus”: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/stop-using-the-term-fetus/

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.  Galatians 1:11-12

Blessing to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (3-23-2017)

Good morning friends,

I sincerely hope you’re enjoying your week!  I was blessed again to be a Community Judge at a homeschool speech and debate tournament – the Camelback Classic!  What an event and what an encouragement to see these young people so proficiently able to defend the faith and to speak intelligently about current events!  I was judge for 2 different events:

Apologetics – Semi Final Round – Saturday morning.  Here are the questions that I judged:

  1. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the Mediator?  Why does this matter?
  2. What does John 1:1-3 mean when it says that Jesus is the Word?  Why does this matter?
  3. How would you respond to the common observation: “Jesus was a good man and a good teacher, but certainly not the Son of God”?
  4. What does it mean to call Jesus Christ the Lamb of God?  Why does this matter?
  5. Is the Resurrection essential to the Christian faith?
  6. Compare and contrast the origins of the Quran and the origins of the Bible?
  7. Are Mormons Christians?
  8. What are unique features of Christianity that set it apart from all other religions of the world?

Extemporaneous (Current Events) – Friday morning.  Here were the questions that I judged:

  1. What will be President Obama’s legacy?
  2. Is ‘Alt Right’ the new face of American Conservatism?
  3. Will conservative Republican congressmen scuttle the repeal of Obamacare?
  4. Will punishing the media backfire on President Trump?
  5. Was it wrong for Attorney General Sessions to ask all of the federal district attorneys to resign?
  6. Will President Trump’s affinity for Russian President Putin last?
  7. Will the “Resistance” topple President Trump?

I was greatly encouraged to watch them “make the case”.  My thought was, could any adults get up and give extemporaneous talks on any of these topics?  Maybe, but it would certainly be a challenge.  If you want to be encouraged about the next generation of Christians being raised up, I would highly recommend that you volunteer to be a community judge.  The local events occur in November (Cactus Clash) and March (Camelback Classic).

Here are your weekly links:

  1. The Source of Our Fear When It Comes to Evangelism: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/the-source-of-our-fear-when-it-comes-to-evangelism/
  2. Carbon-14, Radiometric Dating and Index Fossils: http://creationstudies.org/articles/science/geology/196-radiometric-dating-and-fossils
  3. Three Things The Gospel Authors Would Have Never Invented About Jesus – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/three-things-the-gospel-authors-would-have-never-invented-about-jesus-4/
  4. Watch “G.O.S.P.E.L. – Propaganda (Full Video)” on YouTube this is a “rap” presentation of the Gospel: https://youtu.be/jyYFxp7apl4
  5. Reasons To Believe : 12 Evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, Part 1: http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/12-evidences-for-the-resurrection-of-jesus–part-1
  6. This Will Help Quiet Pro-Lifers Speak Up | Jim Daly: http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/will-help-quiet-pro-lifers-speak/
  7. Did Jesus & His Disciples Speak Greek? | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/did-jesus-his-disciples-speak-greek/
  8. Patrick: Reclaiming the Great Missionary: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/st.-patrick-reclaiming-the-great-missionary
  9. Answering another abortion argument: http://creation.com/abortion-answer
  10. Bible Contradictions:
    1. HOW TO ANSWER ALLEGED BIBLE DISCREPANCIES AND CONTRADICTIONS: http://christianapologeticstraining.com/how-to-answer-alleged-bible-discrepancies-and-contradictions
    2. Are There Any Errors in the Bible? http://normangeisler.com/are-there-any-errors-in-the-bible/
    3. Watch “Is the Bible Full of Contradictions?” on YouTube – Tim Barnett – we watched this video in our apologetics class Sunday: https://youtu.be/YQgR3BrBhss
  11. This is the ‘Single Greatest Contributor’ to Millennials Abandoning Faith According to New Book – Faithwire: http://www.faithwire.com/2017/03/09/author-reveals-the-single-greatest-contributor-he-says-has-led-so-many-millennials-to-abandon-faith/
  12. Why Apologists are Not Reaching Pop Culture – Free Thinking Ministries: http://freethinkingministries.com/why-apologists-are-not-reaching-pop-culture/
  13. CNN religion quiz needs to take Christianity seriously | Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/19/cnn-religion-quiz-needs-to-take-christianity-seriously.html
  14. Here we go again: Will someone please explain Christianity to the Associated Press? — GetReligion: https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2017/3/20/here-we-go-again-will-someone-please-explain-christianity-to-the-associated-press
  15. How to Unmask a Hardened Skeptic: http://www.blogos.org/compellingtruth/skeptic-scoffer.php
  16. Disney:
    1. A Beast of a Decision? Should Christians Watch Disney’s Beauty and the Beast? https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/should-christians-watch-disneys-beauty-and-beast/
    2. Is It Time to Kiss Disney Goodbye? https://answersingenesis.org/family/homosexuality/time-to-kiss-disney-goodbye/
  17. Romans 1:16:
    1. What does it mean to not be ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)? https://www.gotquestions.org/not-ashamed-Gospel.html
    2. The Power of God for Salvation | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/power-god-salvation/
    3. Romans – Wayne Barber/Part 5 | John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/bible/bible-studies/romans/romans-wayne-barberpart-5/
    4. Watch “I Am Not Ashamed of the TRUE Gospel. (Paul Washer)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vwpm1G5pVho
    5. Six Signs That You May Be Ashamed of the Gospel: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/six-signs-you-may-be-ashamed-of-the-gospel/
  18. Watch “An Atheist’s Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/h4j7FBYXQKs
  19. Watch “Living Waters University, Kevin” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4Uftyxz0SWk
  20. Watch “I’m A Christian, But I Don’t Read My Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jvBmRGD8FuI
  21. Watch “I’ve Kinda Given Up On God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jPNslXAxAvI
  22. Watch “Ricky Gervais & God’s Existence” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EM-53Bq_U6M
  23. Watch “Ten of the Top Scientific Facts in the Bible” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/t2sMJMXDiH4
  24. 17 States Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortions. Does Yours? | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/03/17/17-states-force-taxpayers-to-fund-abortions-does-yours/
  25. Watch “Nabeel Qureshi // Why I stopped believing Islam is a religion of peace” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2htOWOF4gqs
  26. Watch “Shabir Ally & Dr.Nabeel Qureshi – What is GOD really like? part 1 of 2” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dghjlgnZzuY
  27. Ten quick responses to atheist claims | Christian News on Christian Today: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ten.quick.responses.to.atheist.claims/41439.htm
  28. Don’t All Religions Basically Say the Same Thing? (Quick Video) – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/dont-all-religions-basically-say-the-same-thing-quick-video
  29. Let’s Make Jesus Less … Offensive! | The Stream (Satire): https://stream.org/make-jesus-less-offensive/
  30. Remember Those Exciting “Earth-Like” Planets of the TRAPPIST-1 System? The Honeymoon Is Over | Evolution News: https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/03/remember-those-exciting-earth-like-planets-of-the-trappist-1-system-the-honeymoon-is-over/
  31. The Shack Author Rejects Biblical Substitutionary Atonement: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=703
  32. Frank Turek podcast and a guy calls and asking about predestination at about 34 minutes into the show. Frank gives interesting analogy about God’s foreknowledge and man’s free will: http://subspla.sh/ohvtxka

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  Galatians 1:6-8

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-16-2017)

Good morning friends,

I was reminded again last night of the importance of heeding the words of 1 Peter 3:15, Jude 3, Colossians 4:5-6 & 2 Timothy 24-26 – being ready to give an answer.  Our AWANA Truth & Training leader gave our 3rd to 6th grade clubbers a chance to ask questions about the Bible and their faith last night during counsel time.  What a great session it was.  Once we got them started, the questions were non-stop and we had to cut it off at the end due to running out of time.  Here were some of the questions asked by these young, precious ones:

  1. Who made God?  How could He just always be there?
  2. Why did God make hell?
  3. Why did God create the first people if He knew they were going to sin?
  4. Why did God put the tree in the garden if He knew they were going to eat from it?
  5. Why did God make Satan?
  6. Why doesn’t God (Jesus) come back to earth to prove to everyone that He exists?
  7. How do we know Angels and Devils exist?
  8. (the answer to the prior question prompted this one) How do we know the Bible is true?
  9. Why did God love Satan more than any other angel?
  10. Why did God make people if He knew they were going to be evil and bad like stealing things and killing?

It was a 20 minute session and, wow, were the clubbers engaged and loving it… Unfortunately, I don’t have the time (or the memory) to remember all the answers the leaders gave, but it was a great session – they asked tough questions – deep questions.  We even had one of the 4th grade clubbers answering one of the questions and she was right on target!

I pray to God that this session was meaningful for these clubbers.  It is so important that kids at this age know that they are welcome to ask questions and that it is OK to have questions and even some doubts.  And it is extremely important that we adults have done what Peter has stated (as a command for all believers) “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you”.  That means you can’t be “winging it” at the time you’re asked.  That command implies that you have (already) been preparing yourself through study prior to the child asking the question.  I truly believe that the parents are the number 1 apologists in our culture.  We need to be ready when the question is asked.  Being ready can consist of having answer ready “off the top of your head” or knowing about a resource that you can get to that explains the answer.

Because this is such an important command, I continue to bombard you with these articles and videos each week.  I pray that you find something useful here, coming just at the right time!

  1. When the emotions are gone, what’s left? Engaging the mind as well as the heart is vital: http://creation.com/emotion-gone
  2. Why would a loving God allow death and suffering? – This is a very good (and very long) article that gives comprehensive, Biblically based answers to this issue – excellent!  http://creation.com/why-death-suffering
  3. The Absence Of A Papacy In Early Responses To Christianity: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-absence-of-papacy-in-early.html
  4. Indulgences – CHRISTIAN HISTORY TODAY (March 15th) – “My guess is that if Pope Leo X knew what he would set off by allowing the sales of indulgences on March 15, 1517, he’d re-think that one. The building of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican had gone way over budget (it would be almost 80 years until it would be completed) and the Pope’s financial adviser suggested the idea of buying an indulgence would help get a repentant sinner out of purgatory sooner and it was a “win-win”. Then a regional indulgences salesman stopped by the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany and ran into a priest named Martin Luther who decided he’d read about the sale of indulgences in the Bible and found no basis for it. The rest, as we like to say, was history.
  5. Questioning Jesus’ Existence: http://breakpoint.org/2017/03/questioning-jesus-existence/
  6. Staying Outside The Shack | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/reviews/movies/staying-outside-the-shack/
  7. Parents, Hollywood wants to brainwash your kids. Don’t let them: http://www.theblaze.com/podcasts/matt-walsh-parents-hollywood-wants-to-brainwash-your-kids-dont-let-them/
  8. Does James 1:5 teach about praying for a testimony? http://www.mrm.org/james-15-testimony
  9. Celebrating gender confusion: http://creation.com/celebrating-gender-confusion
  10. Convergent evolution of crocodile and dolphin skull shapes | Uncommon Descent: http://www.uncommondescent.com/news/convergent-evolution-of-crocodile-and-dolphin-skull-shapes/
  11. A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely-Tuned Cosmos (with Dr. Luke Barnes) – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/a-fortunate-universe-life-in-a-finely-tuned-cosmos-with-dr-luke-barnes/
  12. Biblical Faith VS. Blind Faith | Crossexamined.org: http://crossexamined.org/biblical-faith-vs-blind-faith/
  13. Every American Needs Know Qur’an (Bill Federer) | Video | C-SPAN.org: https://www.c-span.org/video/?314071-10/every-american-needs-know-quran
  14. Watch “How to Listen to the Lord (Mark 4:21-34)” on YouTube (this is a John MacArthur sermon I watched on Sunday since I couldn’t go to church because I was sick): https://youtu.be/RFzGD7S-w3g
  15. DOES GOD REALLY HATE ESAU? http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/05/25/does-god-really-hate-esau/
  16. Why did the early church decide to indoctrinate a canon of New Testament books in the first place? https://www.josh.org/early-church-decide-indoctrinate-canon-new-testament-books-first-place/
  17. Will We Ever Colonize Mars? http://www.icr.org/article/9900
  18. Greg Koukl Stand to Reason podcast – at about 26:30 into the show, an atheist calls in (he calls himself the “Street Epistemologist”).  They are talking about the difference between mind and brain and whether there is a “non-physical realm”.  It is quite a long call (and very cordial, not adversarial at all): http://subspla.sh/0376859
  19. What You Can Learn From the Pilgrims (Bill Federer): http://subspla.sh/7277698
  20. Watch “Wretched: Nothing made everything.” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sK2yNkTuJkY
  21. 3 Horrific Consequences When a Nation Rejects God — Charisma News: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/63453-3-horrific-consequences-when-a-nation-rejects-god
  22. Q&A with Sam Allberry: Same-Sex Attraction, Synod Remarks, and Why The Gospel Is Truly Good News For All | RZIM: http://rzim.org/global-blog/qa-with-sam-allberry-same-sex-attraction-synod-remarks/
  23. Planned Parenthood abortion quotas: https://m.facebook.com/video_redirect/?src=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent.fphx1-2.fna.fbcdn.net%2Fv%2Ft42.1790-4%2F16616327_245823025863146_1673784158666620928_n.mp4%3Fefg%3DeyJ2ZW5jb2RlX3RhZyI6InN2ZV9zZCJ9%26oh%3D6e69f150dc01e34d1c5525689be4b732%26oe%3D58CABADF&source=misc&id=10154959592988728&refid=52&__tn__=F
  24. Here’s 5 things to say when discussing Planned Parenthood: http://www.liveactionnews.org/heres-5-things-to-say-when-discussing-planned-parenthood/
  25. Watch “Hollywood and God” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Fohrk2jt0LA
  26. Watch “Mark Spence & Shaw the atheist” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dfsS3BB5C-I
  27. Book of Job: https://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Job.html
  28. Cannabis boosts risk of stroke and heart attack, independent of tobacco, new study finds: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/03/09/cannabis-boosts-risk-stroke-heart-attack-independent-tobacco/

Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said, “O LORD, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. ” Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear ; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see ; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. “Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. “Now, O LORD our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O LORD, are God.”  2 Kings 19:14-19

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-9-2017)

Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this morning finds you content in where God has you, knowing that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).  Here are some things I ran into this week as I’ve been recovering from mononucleosis (I just got the results of the blood test yesterday):

  1. Watch “DEBATE: Was Jesus Raised from the Dead?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IW9w6c2RWmA
  2. Answering a Common Question: “I want to learn more about apologetics. How do I get started?” – THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/answering-a-common-question-i-want-to-learn-more-about-apologetics-how-do-i-get-started/
  3. In Indiana, State Senate Affirms Teaching Evidence For and Against Evolution: http://evolutionnews.org/2017/03/in_indiana_stat/
  4. Darwin’s impact-the bloodstained legacy of evolution: http://creation.com/charles-darwins-impact-the-bloodstained-legacy-of-evolution
  5. Former Planned Parenthood director: Why I’m now pro-life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc9VTnJBg1M
  6. Planned Parenthood executive responds to Trump’s offer: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5351320587001
  7. New study: first life pushed back earlier, leaving less time for naturalist magic: https://winteryknight.com/2017/03/04/new-study-first-life-pushed-back-earlier-leaving-less-time-for-naturalism-to-work-magic/
  8. The Beastly Beauty of Disney’s ‘Gay Moment’ – And How We Should Respond – Christians must answer with wisdom to match gay activists’ strategic savvy: https://stream.org/beastly-beauty-disney-gay-moment/
  9. Watch “Kennedy Classics – Liar, Lunatic or LORD?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/YEHMLF6-zPs
  10. A Curious Clue About the Origins of the New Testament Canon – Canon Fodder: https://michaeljkruger.com/a-curious-clue-about-the-origins-of-the-new-testament-canon/
  11. America’s Godly Heritage (David Barton):
    1. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 1 – David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/pme3o0WimkU
    2. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 2 Barton .flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/PEvwu7hRiWg
    3. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 3 Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/oL4jplZ_PoA
    4. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 4 David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LiudwVNTUWA
    5. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 5 David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6zo5L4f57H4
    6. Watch “America’s Godly Heritage 6 David Barton.flv” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tTLOrHgANtI
  12. The Truth About America’s History: http://www.cfaith.com/index.php/blog/22-articles/christian-living/21392-the-truth-about-americas-history
  13. Watch “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (lyrics & chord) Chris Rice” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ax_NMWLEb6U
  14. Watch “ARE YOU TOLERANT? (QUIZ)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Rt8bJyiUAhY
  15. Watch “Understanding and Sharing Truth in our Culture” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5ODX5r3d_2I
  16. Watch “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – Nabeel Qureshi” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/NoJvNFrUZz4
  17. Watch “Kennedy Classics – George Washington: Christian or Deist?” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3hs98lLmt-U

I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. 1 Corinthians 4:14-16

 

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (3-3-2017)

Good morning friends,

I’ve been sick the last few days, that’s why I’m a day late today.  Here are your weekly links:

  1. Don’t Expect Your Kids to Care What the Bible Says Unless You’ve Given Them Reason to Believe It’s True: http://christianmomthoughts.com/dont-expect-your-kids-to-care-what-the-bible-says-unless-youve-given-them-reason-to-believe-its-true/
  2. The Need for Apologetics in the Local Church – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/article/the-need-for-apologetics-in-the-local-church/
  3. Christ Journey Church Apologetics Series – Pastor’s introduction, “This series is designed to help believers think and to help thinkers believe.” – interview with John Lennox, PhD: https://youtu.be/KFLIyX-J_-E
  4. Watch “The Gospel Message (HD)” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/n1Ex2FpwqvI
  5. Watch “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus | Nabeel Qureshi Testimony” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/HVBiELaxzAs
  6. Watch “Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox | The God Delusion Debate” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/zF5bPI92-5o
  7. The Three D’s of Tolerance | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-three-ds-of-tolerance/
  8. The Myth that Religion is the #1 Cause of War | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/religion-cause-war
  9. Discovery of 7 Earth-Sized Planets | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/extrasolar-planets/7-earth-sized-planets-trappist-1/
  10. 3 Textual Variants Every Christian Should Know About – Alisa Childers: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/3-textual-variants-every-christian-should-know-about
  11. How Abortion Led an Atheist Feminist Professor, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, to Christianity. | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/how-abortion-led-an-atheist-feminist-professor-elizabeth-fox-genovese-to-christianity/
  12. 10 Signs You Might be Rejecting Biblical Authority Without Realizing It: http://www.alisachilders.com/blog/10-signs-you-might-be-rejecting-biblical-authority-without-realizing-it
  13. Testimonies from ex-Roman Catholic Priests | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://www.carm.org/testimonies-ex-roman-catholic-priests
  14. Watch “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist (Session 2) – Norman Geisler, PhD” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/FNsdkBK4iO8
  15. You Don’t Need to Believe in God to Know What’s Right and Wrong, But… | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/you-dont-need-believe-god-know-whats-right-and-wrong#.WLYoP8tlDqA
  16. Tucker vs. Bill Nye the Science Guy on Climate Change ~9 min video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN5L2q6hfWo

After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His servants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Sam 12:15-23

Blessings to you all

This Past Sunday’s Apologetics Class – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

This past Sunday in our apologetics class, which has students from 7th grade through to adult, we watched the excellent video “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” featuring Answers In Genesis teacher Dr. David Menton.  This was an amazing 1 hour video that covers the many miracles involved in the conception and birth of a child.

Here are the notes for the video.  I passed out a version to the class that had fill-in the blanks, but here is the version with the answers:

Notes for Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – Dr. David Menton

Intelligent Design in the process of conception and birth of a child

He is a former professor at Washington University School of Medicine, and has a PhD, Cell Biology from Brown University, and a BS, Biology and Chemistry, Minnesota State University.

credentials

  1. Psalm 139:13-16 – indeed we are knit, we are woven as the LORD tells us in this verse.
  2. A person, biblically, is someone who is known to God – someone who has a soul.
  3. As the baby is developing in the womb, God is “looking on”.
  4. The eggs leave the ovaries and enter the oviduct every 28 days an egg will be released from the ovary, one month from one ovary, the next month from the other ovary – this is a miracle.
  5. A baby girl, as soon as she comes out of the womb, she has approximately 400,000 eggs ready to go, and no more are made – the new born girl has all the eggs she’s ever going to have.
  6. The scar left behind from this corpus luteum (if fertilization doesn’t occur) is so large you can see it with the naked eye. One scar is created each month (assuming no fertilization).  This is the one scar on our body that gets totally removed.  This is a miracle, the hand of God.
  7. In the case of evolution, if you can’t get the egg down the oviduct, you’re not going to get a second chance to get it down the oviduct. Talk about irreducible complexity!
  8. Cilia – there are trillions of them in the oviduct which move the egg, but they can’t just move back and forth, they have to move like a “wave” in the crowd at a sporting event.
  9. With 30 hours, the first cell division occurs.
  10. The fertilization process is itself incredible. It is important that only 1 sperm fertilize the egg.  There are 3 barriers the sperm has to get through: The cumulus, The shell (zona pellucida), The membrane
  11. When God created the stars, He didn’t have to argue with them!
  12. You’ve probably met a clone in your life (an identical twin), but when God makes a clone, it works!
  13. 5-6 days after fertilization, the blastocyst implants into the wall of the uterus (miracle).
  14. The whole placenta is one cell – the biggest cell in the body. Placenta is called “Super-organ”.
  15. The mother and the baby’s blood never mix.
  16. Alcohol will go across from mother’s blood to baby’s blood “passively”.
  17. The placenta is part of the baby, not part of the mother, but it is not in the baby’s body.
  18. Special jelly that exists nowhere in the body so that when the baby is doing somersaults the blood vessels won’t kink or crimp.
  19. When the placenta “disconnects” during birth, there are 20 blood vessels inside the uterus that spray blood at approximately a ½ quart per minute. This is the biggest wound any human being gets and lives to tell the story.  Little sphincter on mother’s side crimps end of the open vessels.
  20. Haeckel’s Recapitulation – the drawings he made were completely falsified.
  21. “Folds” in the neck of the embryo are not gills and are not used for breathing.
  22. Analogy to someone who built a boat in the basement of their house and couldn’t get it out of the door. Same with baby in the uterus.  Bones in the pelvis widen so head can fit.
  23. Tail bone (coccyx) is not left over from our evolutionary history. Many muscles connected to it.
  24. The birth of every baby is a miracle!
  25. The placenta was doing everything (liver, lungs, intestinal tract, etc.), but after the baby is born all those seems need to be ready to perform their functions.

AWANA Teaching on Titus 3:5

I’ve prepared my monthly teaching for the 5th and 6th grade AWANA clubbers.  This month the verse is Titus 3:5.  Below are the slides and notes I will be using to present this material this coming Wednesday evening.  My timing of this took 17 minutes.  First is the notes for talking about the slide, then the slide image:

Today, we’re going to be talking about one of your memory verses – Titus 3:5.  This is from the Ultimate T&T Challenge Book 1 (Challenge 3:6 – pg. 65)

slide1

Here is that verse – who would like to read it?  “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

slide2

Now, I’m going to read the verse in context.  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” This passage was written by the Apostle Paul to Titus, who he calls “my true son in our common faith” (1:4).

slide3

Titus was someone that Paul left in charge of the church he’d established on the island of Crete.  You can see this on the map here.  As you can see, this is in the Mediterranean Sea, just southeast of Greece and southwest of Turkey.

slide4

I want you to notice several things about this passage.  (click) The first part of the passage describes how Paul and Titus used to be before their conversion to Christianity.  Consider verse 3 …

slide5

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.” They weren’t acting very nice – they were disobedient and enslaved by passions and pleasures.   They “lived in malice and envy”.  (click) Do you know what malice is?

slide6

The New Testament dictionary describes Malice like this: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws, depravity, evil, trouble.

slide7

But then, God intervened in the situation.  It says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us”.  So, while we were still sinning and rebelling against God, He stepped into history in the person of Jesus Christ and saved us.  The Bible (click) says “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  Notice that Titus 3:5 says that God saved us “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy”.  This is very important – we did not and cannot do anything to merit salvation.

slide8

Instead, we are receiving God’s mercy.  That’s the word used in Titus 3:5, and it means that we are not getting something bad that we deserve (punishment).  Mercy is kind of the opposite of grace, which is where we are getting something we don’t deserve (God’s favor).

slide9

The meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited favor from God.  Later in this passage (v.7) it says that we are “justified by His grace”.  There are many places in the Bible that talk about this concept of Grace – the word appears 156 places in the New Testament to be exact.  You need to understand that (click) this is a uniquely Christian concept.  Some people wonder what sets Christianity apart from other world religions.  Outside of Jesus, this is probably the main thing.  No other world religion has a concept of Grace or unmerited favor from God – you always have to do something to please the god of other religions.  Let’s talk about a few of them.

slide10

First, Judaism.  This is the Jewish people – they believe in what we would call the “Old Testament”.  They call it the Tanakh.  Remember, we believe much of what the Jewish people believe, because we also believe what is written in the Old Testament.  However, the Jewish people largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah.  The New Testament talks a lot about the Jews and their beliefs.  They believe that being a Jewish person (a descendant of Abraham) and adherence to the Law is what will get them into heaven.  However, the Bible says “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20)
slide11

Next, Islam.  These are Muslims.  They believe that God will weigh up your good deeds and bad deeds and if your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, you will go to heaven, otherwise hell.
slide12

What about Mormonism?  That’s also referred to as “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” or sometimes abbreviated LDS.  They believe that good works factor into their salvation.  The book of Mormon is what they call their scriptures (which they say is “the most correct of any book on earth”). It says “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”  By the way, who can say that they have done everything they can do?  No one!  Contrast this with the Bible which says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

slide13

Then there’s Hinduism. Hinduism is a very diverse religion that began in India.   They have the concept of Karma and Re-incarnation, which are connected. Karma, is a system they believe in where your behavior, whether good or bad, will affect what happens to you in the future – both in this life and the life to come.  They believe that Karma affects what you are re-incarnated as.  If you’ve led a good life, you will be re-incarnated as a higher life form (click) (maybe a King), but if you’ve lived a bad life, you will be re-incarnated as a lower life form (click) (maybe a bug).  But the Bible says “Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27)

slide14

For example, Fakirs are holy men in India.  Here is a fakir sitting on a bed of nails to demonstrate his religious devotion to the gods. They believe that eventually, if you keep living a better and better life each time, you work your way up through the “caste system” to be able to escape the cycle of birth and re-birth and achieve Nirvana. Nirvana, they say, is a place of perfect peace and happiness – it is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person’s individual desires and suffering go away.

slide15

Here is a Hindu devotee lying on a bed of nails, being carried by fellow devotees during a religious festival in India. Hundreds of faithful devotees offer sacrifices and perform acts of devotion during the festival in the hopes of winning the favor of Hindu god Shiva and ensuring the fulfillment of their wishes.

slide16

Finally, Buddhism – Buddhism is based primarily on the teachings of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama – a spiritual teacher from India who lived from approximately 563BC to 483BC). Buddhism incorporates a variety of religious traditions, beliefs and practices. They believe in what is called (click) the “Eightfold Path”.  These are the “works” they have to do to achieve nirvana or the state of enlightenment.  Like Hinduism, they believe in the cycle of re-incarnation leading to nirvana, but they reject the “caste system”.

slide17

So, in summary, all of the other religions we’ve talked about, require man to work (often hard) for their salvation – to please God, but in Christianity salvation is a free gift.

slide18

Think about a gift – like a Christmas gift or a birthday gift.  Do you work for that? No.

slide19

When someone hands you a gift, do you take out your wallet and pay them for it?  Of course not.  That would be an insult!

slide20

So, religion doesn’t save you – Jesus saves you.  Religion is man reaching up to God

slide21

Christianity is God reaching down to men.

slide22

Now, I want to make sure you know that although we’re not saved by good works, that does not mean we’re not to do good works.  Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” and the book of James tells us that faith without works (good deeds) is dead. (James 2:26)

slide23

Now, back to our verse. The passage goes on to talk about the results of our salvation.  It says “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”.  What does justified mean? Simply put, to justify is to declare righteous, to make one right with God.

slide24

Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous. As this graphic shows, justification is where Jesus Christ’s righteousness is credited to us, and our guilt is credited to Jesus as he was on the cross.

slide25

The verse talks about “heirs”…  What does “heirs” mean? The literal meaning of heir is “someone who has been appointed to receive an inheritance.”

slide26

An heir is a person who receives something of value from a father. The Bible sometimes uses the word heir to describe us as recipients of a gift from God

slide27

Let’s wrap this up – our verse Titus 3:5 teaches us:

  1. (click) We can do nothing to merit eternal life (salvation) from God.
  2. (click) We are saved by God’s mercy, which is not getting the punishment we deserve for our sins.
  3. (click) We are justified (made right with God) by His grace (unmerited favor), which is a uniquely Christian teaching – all the other religions we talked about require the person to do good works to be accepted by God
  4. (click) All we can do is choose to receive His salvation by faith.
  5. (click) Since we’ve received this free gift, we can and should choose to thank Him by devoting the rest of our lives to loving Him and others.

slide28

Who has questions either about our passage, what grace or mercy means or about the other religions we talked about?

slide29

mid-week apologetics booster (2-23-2017)

Good morning beloved saints!

You and I have been given the awesome privilege of being an ambassador for the King of kings and Lord of lords.  How’s that going for you?  Here is some material that may help you in living out your calling:

  1. Jesus: history or myth? https://georgesjournal.net/2017/02/19/jesus-history-or-myth/
  2. Are You a Christian? | John Ankerberg Show – John Ankerberg Show: https://www.jashow.org/articles/apologetics-2/are-you-a-christian/
  3. Is Jesus God? https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/jesus-is-god/is-jesus-god/
  4. 3 Reasons Why You Need Apologetics: https://cccdiscover.com/3-reasons-why-you-need-apologetics/
  5. Clarifying Objections against Bible Reliability: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2017/01/clarifying-objections-against-bible.html
  6. Q&A: Are There Transitional Intermediates in the Fossil Record? http://www.reasons.org/articles/q-a-are-there-transitional-intermediates-in-the-fossil-record
  7. Top Ten Convincing Reasons to Believe That Jesus Factually Rose From The Dead!
    1. Part 1: http://chaseathompson.com/2016/05/28/top-ten-convincing-reasons-to-believe-that-jesus-factually-rose-from-the-dead-and-why-that-makes-a-difference-for-you/
    2. Part 2: http://chaseathompson.com/2016/06/01/top-ten-convincing-reasons-to-believe-that-jesus-factually-rose-from-the-dead-part-2-6-10/
  8. “Christ Is The Lord”: Popular Anti-Christian Blogger, The Raving Atheist, Converts To Christianity: https://jamesbishopblog.com/2017/02/16/christ-is-the-lord-popular-anti-christian-blogger-the-raving-atheist-converts-to-christianity/
  9. Do Animals Display Morality? Animals appear to show morality in their behavior. Is this the source of human morality? http://www.reasonablefaith.org/Do-Animals-Display-Morality
  10. Jonathan Sarfati – Does our DNA show that we came from apes? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzmOu1YdFkg
  11. The Radical Conversion Of Jesus’ Brother James | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/radical-conversion-jesus-brother-james/
  12. America’s Changing Religious Landscape: http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
  13. Same-sex attracted church leader addresses the Church of England – but his message may surprise you: http://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/Same-sex-attracted-church-leader-addresses-the-Church-of-England-but-his-message-may-surprise-you
  14. Shame on the Silent Christian Leaders Who Refuse to Stand Against Government Tyranny | The Stream: https://stream.org/shame-silent-christian-leaders-refuse-stand-government-tyranny/
  15. What is a good process for preparing a sermon? https://www.gotquestions.org/preparing-a-sermon.html
  16. 9 Truths About Sex and Marriage From the First Two Chapters of Genesis | The Stream: https://stream.org/9-truths-sex-marriage-genesis-1-2/

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.  Romans 5:7-17

Blessings

Questions (with answers) for AWANA

Next Wednesday, we’re going to have a question and answer session in our 3rd – 6th grade AWANA club.   If the clubbers are not asking any questions, we can use some of the following questions as starters…  In preparation for that I’ve attempted to give some answers to these questions:

  1. What about those who have never heard of Jesus Christ?
    1. First of all, everyone has a knowledge of God. Since there is a creation, there must be a Creator (Romans 1:18-25, Romans 2:14-15, Psalm 19:1-3). So since everyone has knowledge of God they can’t make the excuse that they don’t know that He exists. But God also promises us in His word that if we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13, Matthew 7:7, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:26-27). And that starts with the realization that God exists because of the creation that we all can see. See the case of Cornelius in Acts 10.  He knew God existed, but He didn’t know anything about Jesus, and God heard his prayer and sent Peter to him to share the Gospel about Jesus. Jesus said “anyone who comes to Me I will never drive away” (John 6:37b). So the offer is open to everyone. There are also many cases of people who receive dreams about Jesus in countries where it’s illegal to preach about Jesus (e.g. Middle East), and therefore no one would have ever known about him.  Anyone who responds to the light that they have (who seeks), will be given more…
  2. Is Christ the only way to God?
    1. What do you think Jesus said on this topic? (John 10:7-9; 27-33; 12:44-48; 14:6, Matthew 7:13-14; 24-27; 28:18-20, Mark 14:61-63). Now it’s clear that Jesus thought that He was the only way to God. So we have to ask ourselves the question: was Jesus lying? Or was he just a lunatic? If neither of those two things are true then Jesus really is who He said He was. Jesus was the most honest man and He definitely was not crazy. So the only option left to us is that Jesus was in fact the Lord of the universe that He claimed to be and the only way to God. We also need to ask ourselves, did any other religious figure claim to pay for our sins? Jesus was the only one who even claimed to be the Savior of the world paying for the sins of all who believe in Him. Buddha, Muhammed or Krishna didn’t do that, only Jesus did.
  3. Why do the innocent Suffer?
    1. First of all, biblically, there are no innocent people. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that there is not a righteous man on Earth who does what is right and never sins. Nevertheless we have the problem of human suffering and pain. If there’s a good God, who is all-powerful, then why doesn’t He stop it? Well, just because He hasn’t stopped at yet doesn’t mean that He’s not going to stop and in the future. In fact God promises in His word that one day there will be no more death, suffering, crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4). So for those who want to be part of God’s family, their suffering will end. And we must also remember that everyone dies. Whether they die at the age of 2 or 82, everyone dies. No one gets out of this life alive. The person making the charge that there can’t be a good God who’s all-powerful because evil exists – they are basically saying that they know better how to run the universe than God. But we are all limited human beings. God has all the knowledge in the universe. We only have a very small fraction of the knowledge in the universe. So how do we know that God doesn’t have good reasons for allowing evil and suffering to exist? For example, we look at Job who went through incredible suffering. Satan had asked God’s permission to harass Job, and God allowed it. He wanted to show the Job was his faithful follower and that he would remain faithful to God. There was also a time in the gospels where the disciples asked why this man was born blind. Was it because of his sin or because of his parents sinned? Jesus answered them that it was neither for his sin nor his parents sinned but that the glory of God may be manifest in this situation (John 9:1-3). Jesus also allowed Lazarus to suffer and die, so that later he could raise him from the dead displaying the glory of God. We have bad things happen in our world like the 9/11 tragedy. But many people returned to church and came to Christ during that period of time. God often does use tragedy to get us to turn to Him. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” So while we don’t have all the answers we can trust in One who is infinitely more wise than we are and be sure that He has good reasons for allowing evil and suffering to continue.
  4. How are miracles possible?
    1. If you believe in the first verse of the Bible which says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth”, then why is it unreasonable to believe that God, who created the heavens and the Earth, could perform miraculous actions inside the heavens and the Earth that He created? He set up the rules. The laws of physics and chemistry are descriptions of how nature normally works (as far as we know). God, being the creator of those natural laws can intervene to suspend or alter those laws since He Himself create created and sustains them. I’m a computer programmer. I create web pages and other programs for people to use. I can control how those web pages and programs behave. I can make a program (that I created) behave differently. No user of the program can do that – only me, the creator of the program can do that. This would seem miraculous to the average user of my program, but since I am the creator of that program I can make it do whatever I want. In the same way God is the all-powerful creator of this universe and He can make it behave however He wants. There’s no logical contradiction here.
  5. Isn’t the Bible full of errors?
    1. The person who asks this question should be required to give an example of such an error. I have a book called “The Big Book of Bible Difficulties”, where answers to many challenges and questions about the Bible are found. If there’s a specific contradiction or error that a person’s concerned about we can address that particular issue. Remember the Bible has been analyzed, questioned and attempted to be destroyed for over 2000 years and no one has been successful yet, so it’s highly unlikely that someone in 2017 is going to come up with the one error or contradiction in the Bible that makes it impossible to believe it’s true. If it is God’s word, it will continue to stand the test of time (as it has for 2000 years).
  6. Isn’t Christianity just a crutch because it makes weak people feel better?
    1. We could ask the same question about atheism, which is non-belief in God. Isn’t an atheist just believing something that makes him feel comfortable? Because if there is a God, that person would be accountable to Him and would have to answer for their behavior in this life. That’s uncomfortable for many people, so we could say that a person who doesn’t believe in God, holds that belief because it makes them feel comfortable. They don’t want to go to hell, they don’t want to think about hell, so they give the excuse that there is no God. Then they tell the Christian “You only believe in God because it makes you feel comfortable”. But actually we have many reasons for believing in the existence of God (existence of the universe, argument from design, evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, etc.) The atheist would have to be explain those things somehow without the existence of God, which would be very difficult. So I reject the charge that Christianity can’t be true because it makes us feel comfortable.  Yes, it does make us feel good and comforted, but that’s no reason to think it is not true.
  7. Won’t a good and moral life get me to heaven?
    1. My question to the person asking this question is: how moral you have to be? How many good things do you have to do to get to heaven? The biblical answer is that you would have to be 100% perfect. And there was only One who was ever perfect, and that was Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The Bible describes the human condition accurately – it’s depiction of humanity makes sense with what we actually see in the world. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Everyone here is told a lie. Everyone here has dishonored their parents at some time. Everyone has failed to do everything that they should to help those in need. So we’ve all sinned. Even if you’ve only sinned once that’s enough to condemn you. The Bible says “For whoever keeps the whole law in yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10), so if you’ve ever lied (even once) you’re guilty of breaking all of the law of God. The Bible also says or if you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it that’s sin (James 2:14). It also says that anything that doesn’t come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23b). So all of us are condemned, it is impossible for any of us to be good enough to merit eternal life in heaven. Our only hope is God’s mercy.  Like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, we must say “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13), then Jesus will say as He said of the tax collector “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.” (Luke 18:9-14)
  8. Who made God?
    1. This question misunderstands the nature of God. One of the attributes of God that makes him God is the fact that He’s eternal. So the questioner has a wrong concept of God to start with. Part of how we define God is that He is eternal – that He had no beginning and will have no end (1 Chron. 29:10, Nehemiah 9:5, Psalm 90:2; 93:2, Isaiah 44:6-8; Habakkuk 1:12, John 1:1, Hebrews 13:8, Revelation 1:8). We and every other created thing had a beginning. So it’s very hard for us to conceive of someone who had no beginning. But that is in fact what Christians call God. So, the questioner has the wrong view of the Christian God. However we also have to look at the scientific evidence which tells us that the universe that we live in began to exist. Therefore, based on the law of cause and effect, something or someone had to create it. That someone Who created it is God. Now, if we ask who created God, then we would also have to ask who created whatever created God. And then who created that, and then who created that, and you would never end. There has to be an Ultimate Cause of everything – Aristotle called it “the unmoved Mover”.  That ultimate cause is what we call God.

I pray that this session goes well, and that clubbers would get answers that satisfy their curiosity.

mid-week apologetics booster (2-16-2017)

Hi Friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. How should Christians react to ‘The Golden Compass’ movie? https://www.gotquestions.org/golden-compass-movie.html
  2. Watch “Does Science Argue for or against God? – PragerUniversity” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/spdgQPJWLfE
  3. Watch Ricky Gervais and Stephen Colbert Debate the Existence of God: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/slices/watch-ricky-gervais-and-stephen-colbert-debate-existence-god
  4. Who was Simon of Cyrene? https://www.gotquestions.org/Simon-of-Cyrene.html
  5. 7 Things We Know about Jesus and His Followers from Non-Biblical Sources: https://greatcloud.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/7-things-we-know-about-jesus-and-his-followers-from-non-biblical-sources/
  6. Detecting Design: http://www.daviddesonier.com/apologetics/2015/12/5/when-to-infer-design
  7. S. Lewis on Why He Wasn’t Roman Catholic: https://hcchristian.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/c-s-lewis-on-why-he-wasnt-roman-catholic/
  8. Tell Someone Talks – Greg Laurie on evangelism – message starts at 36:45 into the video: https://www.harvest.org/watch-and-listen/watch/tell-someone-talks-20170209
  9. Why doesn’t God reveal Himself clearly so we can all be saved? Is God incompetent? http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2017/02/why-doesnt-god-reveal-himself-clearly.html
  10. A Universe from Nothing? Dr. Krauss Explains Nothing: http://crossexamined.org/a-universe-from-nothing-dr-krauss-explains-nothing/
  11. Ancient Dinosaur Depictions | Genesis Park: http://www.genesispark.com/exhibits/evidence/historical/ancient/dinosaur/
  12. Introduction to Islam: https://shariaunveiled.wordpress.com/islam-101/introduction-to-islam-101/
  13. Is there any truth to The Da Vinci code? https://www.gotquestions.org/DaVinci-code-truth.html
  14. Why do people reject Jesus as their Savior? https://www.gotquestions.org/reject-Jesus.html
  15. Is it possible to be a gay Christian? https://www.gotquestions.org/gay-Christian.html
  16. Preacher locked up for hate crime after quoting the Bible to gay teenager (in the U.K.): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/05/preacher-locked-hate-crime-quoting-bible-gay-teenager/
  17. What is relativism? https://carm.org/what-relativism
  18. The Lord’s Day, Meet Darwin Day. and Shudder – Charles Darwin did what he could to hide his materialistic worldview, but we know what he was up to: https://spectator.org/the-lords-day-meet-darwin-day-and-shudder/
  19. South Dakota Academic Freedom Bill: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/02/reporting_on_so103492.html
  20. Shocking Beliefs of John Calvin: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankviola/shockingbeliefsofjohncalvin/
  21. Abortion Related:
    1. Watch “Why Abortion Is Unjust Discrimination” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tL_R0y1Utnw
    2. Watch “HOW TO TROT OUT THE TODDLER” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6ktPmgBX_FU
    3. Watch “The Most Important Question About Abortion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/AMwkQVpy98A
    4. Watch “Planned Parenthood’s 3% Abortion Myth” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/KKIOBOFaVYs
    5. Watch “One of the best Pro-life speeches EVER! Gianna Jessen abortion survivor Full video” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/hOWMmx6eBjU
    6. 2nd Trimester Surgical Abortion: Dilation and Evacuation (D & E) – Former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, explains the most prevalent second trimester abortion procedure, a dilation and evacuation (D&E).  I don’t know how anyone can remain “pro-choice” after watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgw4X7Dw_3k
    7. SLED test intro: http://subspla.sh/cd6e7d6
    8. S – Size: http://subspla.sh/52200fa
    9. L – Level of development: http://subspla.sh/c03b7b5
    10. E – Environment: http://subspla.sh/469db33
    11. D – Degree of dependency: http://subspla.sh/fcd0a3f
    12. SLED Conclusion: http://subspla.sh/60e03e2

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.  Psalms 127:3

Blessings to you all

Apologetics Class 2/12/2017

Yesterday our topic was abortion.  Here were some videos we watched in class:

  1. The 180 Movie (~ ½ hour): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI
  2. The S.L.E.D. Test (total of 9 ½ minutes):
    1. Introduction: http://subspla.sh/cd6e7d6
    2. S – Size: http://subspla.sh/52200fa
    3. L – Level of Development: http://subspla.sh/c03b7b5
    4. E – Environment: http://subspla.sh/469db33
    5. D – Degree of Dependency: http://subspla.sh/fcd0a3f
    6. Conclusion: http://subspla.sh/60e03e2
  3. Trotting out the toddler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ktPmgBX_FU

Unfortunately, all the people making the argument in these videos are men.  However, there are many strong pro-life women.  In some quick research, I also found this video from a woman abortion survivor to the Australian parliament:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWMmx6eBjU

Very powerful.

This was not necessarily a “traditional” Biblical apologetics issue, but it is a moral issue that certainly flows from our Christian worldview.  There are a few Bible verses I quoted in the class, which are relevant to this issue:

  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.  This tells us that God forms us in the womb.
  2. Psalms 139:13-16For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,  your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Again, here we are told that God is the one ‘knitting us together in our mother’s wombs.
  3. Finally, I referenced how the baby John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy SpiritLuke 1:41.  This tells us that John was a human person – a baby, not just a fetus, when he was in Elizabeth’s womb.

It was a good class and we had a good discussion at the end.

After the class, I was talking to one of the students (a female student who is a senior in high school).  She expressed a few different concerns regarding the topic and the video:

  1. She might be considered hateful by others if she tries to convince them about the pro-life view.
  2. She’s concerned that the woman that have abortions do not feel loved, but rather, judged by Christians – that we need to show them more love and less judgment based on the situation they’re in
  3. It would be more effective to have women make these arguments for the pro-life position, since they’re in a position to know more about the special burdens and trials of pregnancy and childbirth

By the way, I do agree with all those points.  Part of my purpose in showing the videos in the class, was not only to equip the students to make their pro-life case, but at a minimum to convince them personally that the pro-life position is the Christian position and the most logical/moral position.  So, my biggest concern is that the students are personally convinced and have a chance to think through the issues their selves in a safe environment where they can ask questions.  So, I hope that at least watching these videos has had an impact on their personal views.

That being said, I completely understand that it is a daunting task, as a senior in high school, to go out and convince others of that position.  My hope is that the students would be able to stand up and say “I’m pro-life” if the issue ever comes up and will be able to defend their views if someone asks them why they’re pro-life.  That’s defensive apologetics – giving a reasoned answer for your views when challenged, and not being persuaded by the pro-choice view because you’ve taken the time to think deeply about the pro-life view.

I did share with this student the one pro-life video by a woman (15 minutes), who happens to be a survivor of an abortion that she would possibly be interested in watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWMmx6eBjU

She did watch it and said “I watched the video and it was really powerful and got me to think more about abortion.”

I also shared with her some links to several female bloggers that blog about pro-life issues:

http://www.lifenews.com/author/mallory-quigley/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/kristan-hawkins/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/cora-sherlock/

http://www.lifenews.com/author/rebeccataylor/

It was a great class and I think it was a divine appointment for this particular student, because she had just been struggling with this issue.

AWANA Teaching on Joshua 1:8

Last Wednesday evening I had the awesome privilege of teaching about 10 fifth and sixth graders as I do once a month.  The purpose is to take one of their memory verses and expound upon it so that they understand it at a deeper level.  The topic I chose for that evening was Joshua 1:8.  Below is the content of the Power Point I used to present along with the comments that I made:

slide1

Today, we’ll be looking at one of the verses that you are memorizing.  It is from book 2 challenge 4:2, Joshua 1:8

slide2

Would someone like to read this verse? “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8)

slide3

First of all, who is speaking in this verse? I’ll give you a hint – it is not Joshua or Moses. Look at the context…  (click) Verse 1 of this same chapter says “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, (click) the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide”  So, when we read verse 8, these are the direct words of the Lord spoken to Joshua.

slide4

“Book of the Law”. The Bible. Do not let it “depart from your mouth” and “meditate on it day and night”.  Read/memorize Bible daily.

slide5

the reasons why we are to meditate on God’s Word day and night  – “so that you may be careful to do everything written in it”.  That’s obedience.  That’s action.

slide6

Result :  “Then you will be prosperous and successful”. Do you think that God is saying to Joshua that he will get a lot of  money and no longer have any problems in life? No, He’s not telling Joshua that. We can be prosperous and successful in God’s sight by reading, memorizing and obeying His word.  This may include riches and it may not.

slide7

In summary, Joshua 1:8 is the LORD telling Joshua (and us) that

1.the Bible is His word

2.We are to be

  1. reading it
  2. memorizing it
  3. Talking about it
  4. Thinking about it
  5. Obeying it
  6. Result will be blessing by God.

slide8

Now, I’ve been telling you that the Bible is God’s Word, but, so far, I haven’t given you any evidence for that belief.  Why should we believe the Bible is God’s Word?  What makes it more special than any other book?  How do we know it is not just a book of fairy tales and fables?

slide9

(hold up the Bible)

1.great privilege to have the Bible.

2. Many died to get this message to you (could’ve saved their lives by denying Jesus)

3.We don’t really appreciate what we have.

4.This is the Word of God He inspired men to write.

slide10

What we mean by inspiration of Scripture:

1.Men wrote the Bible

2.Not inspired like music or artwork

3.But the wrote what God wanted them to write

slide11

Americans becoming more skeptical lately – each generation…

slide12

Will give several lines of evidence that Bible not man’s word, but God’s word.  Hope you walk away convinced, not become “statistic”.

slide13

1.The Bible is indestructible

2.Many attempts to destroy the Bible in history

slide14

1.Before Christ, Jewish people under Antiochus Epiphanes.

2.Known as “the madman”

3.Persecuted Hebrew people.

4.Attempt to destroy copies of the Old Testament.

slide15

1.Maccabees says Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to destroy Scriptures by fire.

2.Wasn’t successful

slide16

We know we possess same Scriptures today because of the Dead Sea Scrolls – contain every book of the Old Testament except Esther.

slide17

1.Roman emperor Diocletian, known for persecution of Christians.

2.No tolerance for Christianity,

3.Called it a “cult”.

slide18

Diocletian’s initiated the most terrible of all the persecutions of the early Church.

slide19

1.302 A.D. he (Diocletian) told his government “to tear down the churches to the foundations and to destroy the Sacred Scriptures by fire”.

2.Massacred town because they where Christians.

3.Didn’t wipe out Christianity because of faith, perseverance and courage of the early Christians.

slide20

As the Word of God says: There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

slide21

And “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever”

slide22

1700’s in France, Voltaire hated Bible.

Within 100 years Christianity would be gone

50 years after his death, his house used by Geneva Bible Society for printing Bibles

Now, 91% of American homes have at least 1 Bible, and 47% of Americans read the Bible at least once a week

slide23

The Bible best selling book of all time. “the Bible is the best-selling book of the year, every year.”

The Bible most stolen book as well.  In the United States alone, 50 Bibles are stolen every minute.

The Bible most read book of all time and remains the most important book of all time.

The Bible is amazing and could not have survived all these years without God’s direct involvement

slide24

1.Bible has consistent message.

2.Its human authors:

1.Lived in different places,

2.Spoke different languages,

3.The message of the Bible in one sentence is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed”.

4.Couldn’t be true without God directing things

slide25

1.The Bible is not a single book, but actually 66 individual books

2.written

1.on 3 continents,

2.in 3 different languages,

3.over a period of approximately 1500 years,

4.by 40 authors

5.who came from many walks of life (shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a doctor, a military general, and a Pharisee)

3.One unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.

4.This is evidence of Bible being God’s Word.

slide26

2,500 prophecies in Bible, 2,000 of which already have been fulfilled to the letter—no errors.

slide27

This document (show document) contains 60 of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth (there are actually over 300 in total). This chart shows 8 of them.  As you can see, many of these prophecies are not something a human being could have caused to happen.  For example:

1.Place of birth (Micah 5:2)

2.Date of birth (Daniel 9:25)

3.Manner of birth (Isaiah 7:14)

4.Manner of death (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 22:16 prophesied before the invention of crucifixion)

5.Burial (Isaiah 53:9)

The odds of 1 man fulfilling just 8 of these prophecies are 1 in 1000000…. (lot of zeros) – essentially impossible, which shows that God had to be involved…

slide28

1.Take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep.

2.“Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.

3.Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one.

4.What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”

slide29

Question:

Who, in all the history of the world,

1.Born of a virgin;

2.A descendant of Abraham;

3.from the tribe of Judah;

4.from the line of David;

5.was both God and man;

6.was born in Bethlehem;

7.was preceded by a messenger, and visited the Jerusalem temple before it was destroyed in A.D. 70;

8.died in A.D. 33;

9.rose from the dead (Isa. 53:11)?

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only possible candidate. Only he hits the bull’s-eye.

slide30

There are many other prophecies that I could tell you about.  Please be sure that you can trust in the Bible, which is the Word of God.   He proves that He is the Author of it by fulfilled prophecies contained in the Bible

slide31

The 4th reason we know that the Bible is the Word of God is it’s reliability as a historical document.

slide32

A reliability of a historical document is judged by a few things:

1. Does it contain eyewitness testimony?  The New Testament consists of 27 books that were written by 27 authors who were either eyewitnesses to Jesus or interviewed eyewitnesses of Him

2. How early are the copies we have?  Any writing of history is judged by how close the writing is to the events it records.  The New Testament events all occurred in the first century (0 – 100 A.D.) and all of the writings were written in the first century.

3. How many copies do we have?  Historical documents are viewed as more reliable if they have more copies of them.  The reason for this is that mass printing wasn’t invented until 1440 A.D., by Johannes Gutenberg.  By the way, the first book printed on the printing press was: The Bible. But before that, people (called scribes) had to copy the writings by hand so that they could be distributed to other areas.

slide33

27 New Testament books by 9 authors (eyewitnesses or interviewed eyewitnesses)

slide34

1.Why don’t we have more written about Jesus?

2. 10 non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life.

3.By contrast, over the same 150 years,  there are 9 non-Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus.

4.Jesus is actually mentioned by one more source than the Roman emperor at the time.

5.If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning  Tiberius 43 to 10!

slide35

the number of manuscripts compared to other ancient documents and the time gap from the events.

slide36

1.Wrap-up / Summary / Purpose:

1.understand Joshua 1:8

2.Overview of the reasons why we believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

3.Increase your confidence and faith in the Bible

4.Give you information to respond to challenges you hear

slide37

We talked about 4 lines of evidence that the Bible is God’s Word.  They are:

1. Indestructibility – we reviewed the examples of Antiochus Epiphanes, a few of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, as well as Voltaire

2. The Consistent Message of the Bible – Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction.  The consistent message of the Bible throughout is “Through Jesus, God is restoring everything that sin destroyed

3. Fulfilled Prophecy –Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament.  Many of those could’ve been fulfilled only by Jesus and many are not things that a mere human could arrange.  The fact that men wrote down hundreds of years ahead of time what was going to happen in the future, this shows God’s intervention.

4. Historical Reliability – the Bible is historically reliable.  We can be sure that we have the text of the Bible that was written down in the first century.

slide38

I hope that your faith has been made more sure by this information and that you’ll now be able to contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints!  Are there any questions that you have on this material?

mid-week apologetics booster (2-9-2017)

Good morning,

Hey everybody, I wanted to pass on a wonderful and encouraging opportunity for you.  A homeschool speech and debate club is looking for community judges for an upcoming competition.  The name of it is the Mars Hill Speech and Debate club.  The event is March 16-18 and they have a lot of different time slots to be filled.  It is on the west side of town, so it is quite a drive for many of us, but it is worth it…  In the past, I’ve done the Christian Apologetics events where the students are given a topic and have to prepare an impromptu speech to defend the Christian position.  It was so encouraging to see these young people defending their faith and so knowledgeable about such critical matters.  If you want to be encouraged and amazed, I would encourage you to attend.  You can find out more at: https://camelbackclassic2017.homeschooldebate.net/ .  You can look for a Judges link at the top of the page.  I blogged about an event I participated in November 2015, you can read about that to get more details on my experience.

Here are your weekly links:

  1. There’s No Good Reason to Deny the Early Dating of the Gospels: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/theres-no-good-reason-to-deny-the-early-dating-of-the-gospels/
  2. Who Is Jesus, According to Other Religions? http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/who-is-jesus-according-to-other-religions/
  3. Is salvation by works true? https://carm.org/is-salvation-by-works-true
  4. Why believe in Christianity over all other religions? https://carm.org/why-believe-christianity-over-all-other-religions
  5. World Religions: https://carm.org/world-religions
  6. How to Prevent Losing Another Generation: https://answersingenesis.org/christianity/church/how-prevent-losing-another-generation/
  7. Report: Christians Were Persecuted In Every Corner of Globe in 2016 – Leah Barkoukis: http://m.townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2017/02/05/open-doors-persecution-of-christians-report-n2280204
  8. William Murray, Son of the Founder of American Atheists, Converts to Christianity | Reasons for Jesus: http://reasonsforjesus.com/william-murray-son-of-the-founder-of-american-atheists-converts-to-christianity/
  9. Jesus isn’t the means to something wonderful: http://adam4d.com/jesus-isnt-the-means-to-something-wonderful/
  10. Evidence for the Historical Jesus – free eBook from Dr. Gary Habermas: http://www.garyhabermas.com/Evidence/

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”  Mark 1:38

Blessings to you all!

mid-week apologetics booster (2-2-2017)

Hi Friends,

Below are some links for you to take a look at:

  1. A must-read series of posts on cosmic fine-tuning by Allen Hainline: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/29/a-must-read-series-of-posts-on-cosmic-fine-tuning-by-allen-hainline-4/
  2. Requiring Young Christians to Raise the Bar: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/requiring-young-christians-to-raise-the-bar/
  3. Clarifying Objections against Bible Reliability: http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2017/01/clarifying-objections-against-bible.html
  4. Video: Evolution- A Theory in Crisis by Dr. Thomas Woodward: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/01/video-evolution-theory-in-crisis-by-dr.html
  5. Creation Is the Foundation: http://www.icr.org/article/9800
  6. The Beginning of Knowledge: http://www.icr.org/article/9803
  7. Major Evolutionary Blunders: Evolutionary Psychology for Serious Tabloid Readers: http://www.icr.org/article/9805
  8. The Atheist Delusion Movie (2016) HD – 1 hour – I would highly recommend watching this movie – the main thesis is that as a book requires an author, so DNA, the book of life, which is more complex than a book, needs an author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChWiZ3iXWwM
  9. The Top Three Reasons the Bible Is Reliable (Video): http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/the-top-three-reasons-the-bible-is-reliable/
  10. The Trinity is Not A Problem, It’s A Solution: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/the-trinity-is-not-a-problem-its-a-solution/
  11. Responding to National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution”: https://answersingenesis.org/family/gender/responding-national-geographic-gender-revolution/
  12. The Hidden Faith of Silence: http://www.equip.org/article/the-hidden-faith-of-silence/
  13. A Simple Reason Why The Qur’an Cannot Be The Word of God: http://crossexamined.org/simple-reason-quran-word-god/
  14. Answering questions about suffering: http://www.bethinking.org/would-a-good-god-allow-suffering/answering-questions-about-suffering

Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  James 3:11-14

Blessings

mid-week apologetics booster (1-26-2017)

Hello friends,

Here are your weekly links:

  1. If we can’t see God, how can we know he exists? – Christian Research Institute: http://www.equip.org/bible_answers/if-we-cant-see-god-how-can-we-know-he-exists-/
  2. Faithful Thinkers: Your Challenge Does Not Apply- The Strawman: http://lukenixblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/your-challenge-does-not-apply-strawman.html
  3. When was the Bible written and who wrote it? | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://www.carm.org/when-was-bible-written-and-who-wrote-it
  4. Are We 99% Chimps? http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30394
  5. Why Are There So Many Atheists on College Campuses? https://chab123.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/why-are-there-so-many-atheists-on-college-campuses-3/
  6. GARY HABERMAS AND JAMES CROSSLEY DISCUSS THE MINIMAL FACTS CASE FOR THE RESURRECTION: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/05/gary-habermas-and-james-crossley-discuss-the-minimal-facts-case-for-the-resurrection-3/
  7. A Christian’s Rebuttal to “Why I Am Not a Christian” by Bertrand Russell: https://sjthomason.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/a-christians-rebuttal-to-why-i-am-not-a-christian-by-bertrand-russell/
  8. Is apologetics relevant to today’s Church? http://www.christianweek.org/apologetics-relevant-todays-church/
  9. 5 Reasons To Believe Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John Wrote The Gospels: http://reasonsforjesus.com/5-reasons-to-believe-matthew-mark-luke-john-wrote-the-gospels/
  10. Video: Understanding Greg Bahnsen by Kenneth Samples: http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2017/01/video-understanding-greg-bahnsen-by.html
  11. When Someone You Love Says, “I’m Gay”: http://www.equip.org/article/someone-love-says-im-gay/
  12. Watch “Believing Means Behaving Alistair Begg” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3kpvq8FJ45U
  13. Watch “True & False Conversion” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/r_vRvn0rRFY
  14. Watch “The Way of the Master – “The Greatest Gamble”” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4uIZkYqkKqM
  15. Planned Parenthood / Abortion:
    1. Planned Parenthood’s Most Misleading Statistic: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/planned-parenthoods-most-misleading-statistic#When:2017-01-24T06:10:00+00:00
    2. 5 Reasons Planned Parenthood Must Be Defunded ASAP | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/12178/4-main-reasons-planned-parenthood-needs-be-amanda-prestigiacomo
    3. Money to Planned Parenthood Pays for Abortion. Period: http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/736192
    4. How Much Cash Did Planned Parenthood Clear Last Year? The Answer Will Disgust You. | Daily Wire: http://www.dailywire.com/news/11723/how-much-cash-did-planned-parenthood-clear-last-amanda-prestigiacomo
    5. New Video Destroys the False Claim That Abortion is Just 3% of What Planned Parenthood Does | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2016/09/14/new-video-destroys-the-false-claim-that-abortion-is-just-3-of-what-planned-parenthood-does/
    6. Watch “Ben Shapiro: The Truth About Planned Parenthood” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RhoFNmMeO8k
    7. Watch “Debunking Planned Parenthood’s “3%” Abortion Myth” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qtgqxvaV-8U
    8. Birth control leader Margaret Sanger: Darwinist, racist and eugenicist – CMI Mobile: http://creation.mobi/margaret-sanger-darwinian-eugenicist
    9. Writer Tells Abortion Activists: If Your Sex Life is None of My Business Stop Demanding I Finance It | LifeNews.com: http://www.lifenews.com/2017/01/17/writer-tells-abortion-activists-if-your-sex-life-is-none-of-my-business-stop-demanding-i-finance-it/
    10. Abortion Justifications Flip Moral Reasoning Upside Down | Stand to Reason: http://www.str.org/blog/abortion-justifications-flip-moral-reasoning-upside-down#.WIO38stlDqB
  16. Global Warming:
    1. Notes from the Great Global Warming Swindle movie: http://wp.me/p4WCk1-hT
    2. Inconvenient Question: Gore asked about failed ’10-year tipping’ point – Refuses to answer, enters SUV in snow | Climate Depot: http://www.climatedepot.com/2017/01/22/inconvenient-question-gore-asked-about-failed-10-year-tipping-point-refuses-to-answer-enters-suv-in-snow/

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.  Hebrews 6:13-15

mid-week apologetics booster (1-19-2017)

Good morning friends,

Here are some links to equip you:

  1. 5 Ways Christian Parents Fail to Prepare Their Kids to Engage with Questions of Faith and Science: http://christianmomthoughts.com/5-ways-christian-parents-fail-to-prepare-their-kids-to-engage-with-questions-of-faith-and-science/
  2. The Spiny Postage Stamp: http://www.creationmoments.com/radio/transcripts/spiny-postage-stamp-0
  3. What the Case Looks Like When Young People Are Your Jury | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2017/what-the-case-looks-like-when-young-people-are-your-jury/
  4. 7 Tips For Apologetics Judo – Intelligent Christian Faith: https://intelligentchristianfaith.com/2015/06/14/philosophical-judo-apologetics-as-a-martial-art/
  5. Watch “Ravi Zacharias – Jesus Among Other Gods” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Q0QM-DaOZtM
  6. Should Students Be Exposed to Evidence Against Christianity? – Sean McDowell: http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/should-students-be-exposed-to-evidence-against-christianity
  7. The Great Separation: http://gracegems.org/Ryle/great_separation.htm
  8. How Geographic Separation Affirms the Reliability of the New Testament | Cold Case Christianity: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/how-geographic-separation-affirms-the-reliability-of-the-new-testament/
  9. Problems with the Book of Mormon | CARM Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry: https://carm.org/problems-with-the-book-mormon
  10. Breaking the Materialist Spell: http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/30355#.WHkA5t6avQU.twitter
  11. evolution
  12. Minuscule Erosion Points to Hawaii’s Youth | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/article/9751
  13. Christians Who Accept Millions of Years Undermine God’s Word | Answers in Genesis: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2017/01/16/christians-who-accept-millions-years-undermine-gods-word/
  14. christian-persecution
  15. Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/climate-change-what-do-scientists-say
  16. Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree? | PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/courses/environmental-science/do-97-climate-scientists-really-agree
  17. Fossils Reflect Life’s Original Diversity | The Institute for Creation Research: http://www.icr.org/fossil-diversity
  18. Luke Barnes discusses the fine-tuning of the fine structure constant: https://winteryknight.com/2017/01/08/luke-barnes-discusses-the-fine-tuning-of-the-fine-structure-constant-2/
  19. What’s Apatheism? https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/whats-apatheism/
  20. Atheism Became Way More Popular During The Obama Era | The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/12/atheism-became-way-more-popular-during-the-obama-era/
  21. What is the Geneva Bible? https://www.gotquestions.org/Geneva-Bible.html
  22. Watch “[official] Q&A with Tim Keller – Reason for God? Belief in an Age of Skepticism” on YouTube: https://youtu.be/L9jHlrMRJAo

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. 2 Corinthians 12:20-21

Blessings

JC Ryle – The Great Separation!

What a powerful piece this is…

The Great Separation!

J.C. Ryle, 1878

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor. He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!” Matthew 3:12

Wheat or chaff? You see my question — for whom do you think it is meant? Is it for corn merchants and farmers only, and for none else? If you think so, then you are much mistaken. It is meant for every man, woman, and child in the world. And among others, it is meant for you.

The question is drawn from the verse of Scripture which is now before your eyes. The words of that verse were spoken by John the Baptist. They are a prophecy about our Lord Jesus Christ, and a prophecy which has not yet been fulfilled. They are a prophecy which we shall all see fulfilled one day, and God alone knows how soon.

Reader, I invite you this day to consider the great truths which this verse contains. I invite you to listen to me, while I unfold them and set them before you in order. Who knows but this text may prove a word in season to your soul! Who knows but my question may help to make this day the happiest day in your life! Listen, before you begin once more your appointed path of duty. Listen, before you start once more on some round of business. Listen, before you plunge once more into some course of useless idleness and folly. Listen to one who loves your soul, and would sincerely help to save it, or draw it nearer to Christ. Who knows what a day may bring forth! Who can tell whether you will live to see tomorrow! Be still, and listen to me a few minutes, while I show you something out of the Word of God.

I. Let me show you in the first place, the two great classes into which the world may be divided.

There are only two classes of people in the world, in the sight of God — and both are mentioned in the text which begins this tract. There are those who are called the wheat — and there are those who are called the chaff.

Viewed with the eye of man, the earth contains many different sorts of inhabitants. Viewed with the eye of God, it only contains two. Man’s eye looks at the outward appearance — this is all he thinks of. The eye of God looks at the heart — this is the only part of which He takes any account. And tried by the state of their hearts, there are but two classes into which people can be divided — either they are wheat, or they are chaff.

Reader, who are the WHEAT in the world? Listen to me, and I will tell you.

The wheat means all men and women who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ — all who are led by the Holy Spirit — all who have felt themselves sinners, and fled for refuge to the salvation offered in the Gospel — all who love the Lord Jesus, and live to the Lord Jesus, and serve the Lord Jesus — all who have taken Christ for their only confidence, and the Bible for their only guide, and regard sin as their deadliest enemy, and look to Heaven as their only home. All such, of every church, name, nation, people, and tongue — of every rank, station, condition, and degree — all such are God’s wheat!

Show me men of this kind of people anywhere, and I know what they are. I know that they and I may not agree in all particulars — but I see in them the handiwork of the King of kings, and I ask no more. I know not whence they came, and where they found their religion — but I know where they are going, and that is enough for me. They are the children of my Father in Heaven. They are part of His wheat.

All such, though sinful, and vile, and unworthy in their own eyes — are the precious part of mankind. They are the sons and daughters of God the Father. They are the delight of God the Son. They are the habitation of God the Spirit. The Father beholds no iniquity in them — they are the members of His dear Son’s body — in Him He sees them — and is well pleased. The Lord Jesus discerns in them, the fruit of His own travail and work upon the cross — and is well satisfied. The Holy Spirit regards them as spiritual temples which He Himself has raised — and rejoices over them. In a word, they are the wheat of the earth — God’s wheat.

Reader, who are the CHAFF in the world? Listen to me once more, and I will tell you this also.

The chaff means all men and women who have no saving faith in Christ, and no sanctification of the Spirit — whoever they may be. Some of them perhaps are infidels — and some are formal Christians. Some are sneering Sadducees — and some self-righteous Pharisees. Some of them make a point of keeping up a kind of ‘Sunday religion’ — and others are utterly careless of everything except their own pleasure and the world. But all alike, who have the two great marks already mentioned — no faith and no sanctification — all such are chaff. From the atheists Paine and Voltaire — to the formal churchman who can think of nothing but outward ceremonies — to the unconverted admirer of sermons in the present day — all, all are standing in one rank before God all, all are chaff!

They bring no glory to God the Father. They honor not the Son, and so do not honor the Father who sent Him. They neglect that mighty salvation, which countless millions of angels admire. They disobey that Word which was graciously written for their learning. They listen not to the voice of Him who condescended to leave Heaven and die for their sins. They pay no tribute of service and affection to Him who gave them life, and breath, and all things. And therefore God takes no pleasure in them. He pities them — but He reckons them no better than chaff!

Yes — you may have rare intellectual gifts, and high mental attainments — you may sway kingdoms by your counsel, move millions by your pen, or keep crowds in breathless attention by your tongue — but if you have never submitted yourself to the yoke of Christ, and never honored His Gospel by heartfelt reception of it — then you are nothing but chaff in His sight. Natural gifts without saving grace, are like a row of ciphers without an unit before them; they look big — but they are of no value. The vilest insect that crawls in the filth — is a nobler being than you are! It fills its place in creation, and glorifies its Maker with all its power — and you do not. You do not honor God with heart, and will, and intellect, and members, which are all His. You invert His order and arrangement, and live as if time was of more importance than eternity, and body better than soul. You dare to neglect God’s greatest gift — His own incarnate Son. You are cold about that subject which fills all Heaven with hallelujahs. And so long as this is the case, you belong to the worthless part of mankind. You are the chaff of the earth.

Reader, let this thought be deeply engraved in your mind, whatever else you forget in this volume. Remember there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are wheat — and there are chaff.

There are many nations in Europe. Each differs from the rest. Each has its own language, its own laws, its own peculiar customs. But God’s eye divides Europe into two great parties — the wheat and the chaff.

There are many classes in England. There are nobles and commoners — farmers and shopkeepers — masters and servants — rich and poor. But God’s eye only takes account of two orders — the wheat and the chaff.

There are many and various minds in every congregation that meets for religious worship. There are some who attend for a mere form — and some who really desire to meet Christ; some who come there to please others — and some who come to please God; some who bring their hearts with them, and are not soon tired — and some who leave their hearts behind them, and reckon the whole service as weary work. But the eye of Jesus only sees two divisions in the congregation — the wheat and the chaff.

There were millions of visitors to the Great Exhibition of 1851. From Europe, Asia, Africa, and America — from North, and South, and East, and West — crowds came together to see what human skill and industry could do. Children of our first father Adam’s family, who had never seen each other before, for once met face to face under one roof. But the eye of the Lord only saw two companies thronging that large palace of glass — the wheat and the chaff.

Reader, I know well the world dislikes this way of dividing professing Christians. The world tries hard to fancy there are three sorts of people, and not two. To be very godly and very strict does not suit the world — they cannot, will not be holy. To have no religion at all does not suit the world — as that would not be respectable. “Thank God,” they will say, “we are not so bad as that!” But to have religion enough to be respectable — and yet not go into extremes, to be sufficiently good — and yet not be peculiar — to have a quiet, easy-going, moderate kind of Christianity, and go comfortably to Heaven after all — this is the world’s favorite idea! There is a third class, a safe middle class — the world imagines; and in this middle class — the majority of men persuade themselves they will be found.

Reader, I denounce this notion of a middle class as an immense and soul-ruining delusion! I warn you strongly not to be carried away by it. It is as vain an invention as the Pope’s purgatory. It is a refuge of lies, a castle in the air, a Russian ice-palace, a vast unreality, an empty dream! This middle class is a class of Christians no where spoken of in the Bible!

There were two classes in the day of Noah’s flood; those who were inside the ark — and those who were outside. There were two classes in the parable of the Gospel net; those who are called the good fish — and those who are called the bad. There were two classes in the parable of the ten virgins; those who are described as wise — and those who are described as foolish. There were two classes in the account of the judgment day; the sheep — and the goats. There were two sides of the throne; the right hand — and the left. There were two abodes when the last sentence has been passed; Heaven — and Hell.

And just so, there are only two classes in the world:
those who are in the state of nature — and those who are in the state of grace;
those who are in the narrow way — and those who are in the broad;
those who have faith — and those who have no faith;
those who have been converted — and those who have not been converted;
those who are with Christ — and those who are against Him;
those who gather with Him — and those who scatter abroad;
those who are wheat — and those who are chaff.
Into these two classes, the whole world may be divided. Beside these two classes, there is none.

Reader, dear reader, see now what cause there is for self-inquiry! Are you among the wheat — or among the chaff? Neutrality is impossible. Either you are in one class — or in the other. Which is it, of the two?

You attend church perhaps. You go to the Lord’s table. You like good people. You can distinguish between good preaching and bad. You think Popery false, and oppose it firmly. You think Protestantism true, and support it cordially. You subscribe to religious societies. You attend religious meetings. You sometimes read religious books. It is well — it is all very well. It is good — it is all very good. It is more than can be said of many. But still, this is not a straightforward answer to my question: Are you wheat — or are you chaff?

Have you been born again? Are you a new creature? Have you put off the old man, and put on the new? Have you ever felt your sins, and repented of them? Are you looking only to Christ for pardon and eternal life? Do you love Christ? Do you serve Christ? Do you loathe heart-sins, and fight against them? Do you long for perfect holiness, and follow hard after it? Have you come out from the world? Do you delight in the Bible? Do you wrestle in prayer? Do you love Christ’s people? Do you try to do good to the world? Are you vile in your own eyes, and willing to take the lowest place? Are you a Christian in business, and on week days, and by your own fireside? Oh, think, think, think on these things — and then perhaps you will be better able to tell the state of your soul!

Reader, I beseech you not to turn away from my question, however unpleasant it may be. Answer it, though it may prick your conscience, and cut you to the heart. Answer it, though it may prove you in the wrong, and expose your fearful danger. Rest not, rest not, until you know how it is between you and God! Better a thousand times find out that you are in an evil case, and repent in time — than live on in uncertainty, and be lost eternally!

Reader, remember my question. Begin to meditate on it this very day. Are you wheat — or chaff?

To read the rest, go to http://gracegems.org/Ryle/great_separation.htm

Conversation at work…

Right before I left the office I had a conversation with an associate, who I’ve known for years, but have only had very casual conversations with – I don’t know much about her.  I asked her what she was doing for the weekend and she talked about going to see a movie. She said which one she was going to see, and it was about an African-American girl who was hired by NASA. That was one my wife saw recently, so I was vaguely familiar with it. Then she said that she wouldn’t go see this one called Silence where Liam Neeson was a missionary in Japan and apparently the missionaries were killed by drowning. A friend had told me about that Thursday night at Bible study, so, again, I was vaguely familiar with it. She said she can’t watch horrific things like that on screen.  I felt maybe this was an opportunity to turn the conversation to something spiritual, so I asked her if she had ever seen “The Passion of the Christ”. She said, no, she can’t watch that. Then she brought up this question, “I’m a Christian, but I still don’t understand why God had to make his Son go through such a horrific, torturous death.” (I can’t remember the exact words, but that was the gist of it) She surmised that it was to show the depth of his love for us (or something like that). I wanted to interject, but unfortunately, she immediately kept talking with no break and eventually went on to a different subject.  I was so disappointed, because I so wanted to talk about that great question.  I wanted to say that the level of suffering that Christ had to go through was a statement on the severity of God’s hatred for sin and the cost necessary to pay the penalty sin deserved. But unfortunately the subject changed very quickly and it would’ve seemed unnatural to redirect back to that.  I hope to be able to revisit that conversation with her at another time.

Then she started talking about Donald Trump and how she’s not going to watch the inauguration. However, she didn’t sound like she was extremely opposed to him. She was just strongly against his constant tweeting and lashing out in retaliation against his enemies.  She said she cringes every time he does that. I said that reminds me of this Bible verse that says “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Prov. 15:1)  She replied, “That’s nice…”  I went on to say that first off, he needs to have his twitter access removed, which is not to say he shouldn’t tweet, because it is harder for the media to “twist” a tweet.  On the other hand, he could give an hour speech and they will find one or two sentences in there to focus on to make him look bad.  So, I think twitter is a good thing for him to get around the media and go directly to the people with his message.  However, I think what he needs is an “editor” for his tweets.  Then, when he wants to send a tweet, he needs to send it to someone (the editor) and that person needs to decide whether it will actually be posted, and if so, how it will be worded.  The editor needs to be someone he trusts – a person who really understands him and can communicate exactly what he wants to say, but in a more gentle way.

I said to her, “As a Christian, I cannot and will not defend Donald Trump – from what I can see, he’s not a godly man and I’m not even sure he is a Christian, but I get the feeling that he will defend me.” She seemed to agree with that. She talked a little bit about a friend of hers who got to go to some meeting where Trump met with a bunch of Christian leaders and how he seemed to listen to them and be concerned about their issues.

Then, she brought up the concern that she couldn’t understand some of Trump’s cabinet nominations.  Specifically, she brought up Ben Carson for housing (I added that specifically, it was HUD – Housing and Urban Development), saying that she didn’t think his medical experience qualified him for that.  She also brought up Rex Tillerson and was concerned about his involvement with Russia.  She went on to complain about how she couldn’t imagine Trump meeting with heads of State in any kind of diplomatic sense to make peace. I told her that he has met with heads of state as the CEO of his business, to which she responded that that was on his own agenda and for his own gain.

At least during this conversation, I found out that this associate of mine was a Christian and maybe, just maybe, I opened up the door for future conversations focusing more on Christianity (rather than politics).