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Forgiveness

We end this year with this Billy Graham sermon

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Sex & the Bible

Here is another classic sermon from Billy Graham

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

 

 

Who is Jesus?

This old Billy Graham sermon is worth listening to again and again. In this day and age, it is hard to remember who Jesus is. May this encourage and strengthen you

 

God & Politics

There is an interesting piece over at The Christian Post but we will only deal with the title of the article

Has the decline of Christianity led to extremist political cults in America?

This is a good question since the decline of the influence of the church has meant that morals and morality have become vulnerable.  We cannot solely blame the church for this decline, but Christians should take their share of the blame as, throughout the past 50 years, they have strayed further and further from biblical teaching.

This straying opens the door for unbelievers to freely and willfully make alterations to their thinking, ideology,, and lifestyles. The thinking can go like, “well if the Christian doesn’t believe or follow their God, why should we?” Once the church starts to make alterations to biblical texts, then the flood gates are opened for anyone to put their interpretation of scripture over what God has actually told us.

Or when Christians start retranslating the Bible, then they pave the way for unbelievers to act in any way they can image. We know that, for the most part, Christians make the worse bosses. There are a variety of reasons for this but part of the problem is the love of money. Even churches get in on the act when they misinform people about the amount of their tithe or keep pleading for more money.

The church is only entitled to tithes and offerings, with the former being a command of 10% while the latter is a freewill gift not to be manipulated by church leaders. The offering part is between the giver and God. The bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. That passage indicates that the giver is willfully giving extra money for the work of God. The cheerful giver does not give because they are guilted into it, have their arm twisted or the church wants grander quarters.  The give extra because they love God.

He does not command anyone to force people to give offerings. The church needs to cut back on their strong requests for money for it is setting a bad example and creating a bad reputation for both God and the church. But because the church creates its own need for money, they drop their morals and morality in achieving those financial quests.

This lack of morality and morals seeps into other aspects of life. With fewer morals to abide by the believer is then allowed to act any way they wish. Part of the reasoning for their very unchristian behavior is that they think they will receive forgiveness from God. The RCC confessional has led many people astray about God’s forgiveness and how Chrstians should lead their lives.

Another reason why Christianity has declined in influence over politics is because its adherents do not lead very sexually moral lives. They are just like the unbeliever so why should the latter change? Christians lie to and cheat on their spouses. They also indulge in other sinful sexual activities and ignore God’s instructions on how to live their lives. These are not the only sins Christians commit. Why should anyone listen to a Christian?

It is not a surprise that the Christian faith has lost its influence over politics. The example it has set shows that it does not want to be the light unto the world. Instead, it wants to be part of the world and continue to partake in the sinful activities they are supposed to have given up when they repented and were redeemed by Christ.

If you want respect, then live the Christian faith correctly. If you want influence, then stop with the silly games and sill religious talk and get wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  If you want to be the light unto a dark world, then change your lifestyles, goals and direction. You won’t be representing God or Christ if you continue to alter what the Bible says, ignore what God says, and disbelieve what he says.

The only way to have influence over politics and political fringe groups is to live as Christ lived, talk as Christ talked, and do the work Christ has instructed everyone to do.

 

Our Comments on a Few Topics 12

Here are some topics that deserve a few comments

#1. https://www.christianpost.com/news/anne-graham-lotz-warns-her-cancer-could-be-sign-israel-is-in-danger-of-fatal-attack.html

Anne Graham Lotz has suggested there might be a deep significance attached to her battle against breast cancer, as it could be a warning sign that Israel is in danger of suffering a fatal attack.

Some people really think highly of themselves. It would be nice if prominent Christian leaders & speakers would stick to promoting Christ and stop making everything about them. Let’s not embarrass Christ, the Church or the faith with these comments.

#2. https://www.christianpost.com/voice/why-i-avoid-using-a-dirty-biblical-word.html

I have learned that there is one word that shouldn’t be used in modern Christianity. If I use it now, I’m taking a risk that you won’t even finish reading this article. It’s a turnoff for so many Christians, even though it’s the very reason the Church exists.

It’s the word “evangelism.” That’s the “dirty” word. It’s because of its connotations that I don’t even call myself an evangelist.

It is not that the terms ‘evangelist’ or ‘evangelism’ are dirty words. It is that they and the act of evangelism are moved to idol levels and elevated above other commands and instructions by God. Evangelism is given a faulty priority over teaching the truth, having solid believers and more. Evangelism has its place but it is not more important than living the Christian life correctly.

#3. https://www.christianpost.com/news/hundreds-of-sexual-abuse-allegations-revealed-in-fundamental-baptist-churches-investigation-finds.html

Hundreds of sexual abuse allegations have been found in Independent Fundamental Baptist churches spanning 40 states and Canada, according to a new report.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram released an extensive, eight-month investigative report Sunday recounting the stories of women who were victims of sexual misconduct, including molestation and rape when they were minors, in IFB churches.

This is always sad news to hear but we would like to know how they define sexual abuse, what kind of stories they are accepting and how much evidence supports each allegation. The Bible does not instruct us to believe the victim only. It tells us that we have to find the truth, go with the truth and have supporting evidence.

We also would like to hear their definition of the term abuse and how distorted that definition has become. The wild accusations thrown about only make us more skeptical. Accusation does not equal guilt.

#4. https://www.christianpost.com/news/thousands-of-women-burned-alive-in-india-not-recognized-as-humans-christian-ministry-warns.html

Thousands of brides are being burned alive in India despite the practice being illegal, a Christian ministry has warned.

India Partners, a Christian organization that works alonside indigenous Christian grassroots agencies in India, told Mission Network News on Thursday that there are still as many as 8,000 bride burning cases a year in the Hindu-majority country.

These are just a few of the real victims that are deprived of honest help due to the false claims made by others in different parts of the world. Greed is a deadly sin costing innocent people their lives. But it doesn’t just happen to the unbelievers of the world. There are many people claiming to be believers driven by greed to reach their objectives.

Also, greed may not be limited to just money. Awareness is only the first step in helping someone in need. Believers need to roll up their sleeves and get involved to bring others to safety and to the gospel. Believe it or not, evangelism is tied to social activities and giving a gospel message is not always the first thing a believer must do to win someone to Christ.

#5. https://www.christianpost.com/church-ministries/we-have-more-evidence-than-we-need-to-prove-christianity-apologist-says.html

Believers in Jesus Christ “have more evidence than they need” to intellectually defend the claims of Christianity, says noted apologist and Liberty University professor Gary Habermas.

Habermas, a New Testament scholar who chairs Liberty’s Department of Philosophy, noted in a recent interview that he believes Christians “often crawl into a cubby hole and are embarrassed of being called out” or told that they “don’t have any evidence.”

It is a good article to read.

 

The Church Represents God

If believers are confused as to their role in society today, those few words sum it all up. How the unbeliever sees God, depends on several factors. Those factors include how believers act during their stay on earth.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/conservatives-slam-church-of-englands-new-transgender-guidance-re-dedication-ceremony.html

Conservative voices in the Church of England are warning that the Anglican branch is moving toward a “denial of God” through its new guidance on transgender people.

The new pastoral guidance, released on Tuesday, says that it encourages clergy to be “creative and sensitive” in the use of liturgy when acknowledging so-called “gender transition” for those suffering from gender dysphoria, the belief that their gender doesn’t match their biology

One of our duties while here ministering on earth is to maintain the truth. God does not change nor does his teaching. We do not change the teaching of the church to fit the ideologies or deceived beliefs of those who do not have the truth.

It is not the deceived that teaches the church how to act or respond to different issues. The church is to bring the truth to the deceived so they can be freed from the sins enslaving them. If a believer doesn’t know how to respond correctly, then they need to go and get educated correctly. This allows them to be used of God in the proper manner.

The Church of England welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people, equally with all people, within the body of Christ, and rejoices in the diversity of that body into which all Christians have been baptized by one Spirit,” the new guidance declares.

God does not. The only way God accepts them is if they are coming to salvation and repenting of all their sins, including the sin of homosexuality and transgender. There is no other way to God except through the redeeming power of Jesus. Sin is not allowed in paradise. While sinners can attend church services, their sin is not to be accepted, called good or normal.

The church is to follow God’s rules not secular society’s rules.

The document advises clergy to respect transgender people’s chosen name and gendered pronouns, and says that the existing rite of Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, a ceremony used for those who have already been baptized, can be used at church services to mark a person’s gender transition.

While we do not liturgies or rituals, let’s not corrupt them have them blessing evil. Remember, loving our neighbors does not include keeping people enslaved to sin. Jesus did not do it, and the church cannot do it.

If you are unsure about where God and the Bible stand on the issues of transgender and homosexuality, here is a good article to read

https://www.christianpost.com/voice/a-short-primer-on-the-bible-and-homosexual-practice.html

Once again, the Christian world is abuzz with controversy over the Bible and homosexual practice, as if this was a difficult or ambiguous subject. To the contrary, the Scriptures are totally clear: homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight, but it is not the unforgivable sin.

Here’s a brief primer, along with some helpful resources

The article has a lot of good resources to help your spiritual growth on these issues.

 

Let’s Not Use Human Strategies

If you are a long-term reader of this website, you know that we do not agree with Thom Ranier. He has come out with another church strategy to help churches get better. The problem is his strategy is not biblically based but secular business based. You can read about it at the following link:

https://www.christianpost.com/voice/churches-revitalize-replant-is-relaunch-a-3rd-option.html

Everything Mr. Ranier mentions for returning a church to spiritual health is not supported nor mentioned in the Bible. At best, he is copying the secular business world to formulate his ideas on how the church should be renewed. Everything he is talking about is a direct copy of business world terms and strategies. Contrary to a large contingent of people, the church is not a small business and it should not be treated like one.

It is an extension or representation of the kingdom of God and it needs to follow God’s rules if it wants to be or return to spiritual health. The Bible tells us that it is “not by might nor by power but by my spirit”… that will rejuvenate ailing churches. It is clear from his point # 1, that Mr. Ranier does not know how to bring God’s ways to churches. He says:

A relaunch may be more palatable for members who are not ready to give away their church to another church. Granted, relaunching has many challenges. It is basically shutting down the church for a period and re-opening it with a new purpose and identity

The church does not need a new identity. There is no other god they can represent and still be a member of God’s Kingdom. There is no other faith than the one Christ started for the church to switch to. The identity of the church remains the same because God and Christ remain the same. Nor can the purpose of the church be changed. It still represents God, his ways and his purpose.

Whether it goes from missions orientated to evangelism orientated, the church is preaching the same gospel message to unbelievers. It still has the same duty to care for everyone and it must teach the truth so that believers can grow in Christ.

We will let you go through the rest of his points and see for yourselves that his ideas bring nothing of God to a hurting or dying church. Needs are not being met, problems are not being solved, but they are being avoided by his strategy. He brings nothing to help solve the problems that ruined the spiritual health in any given church.

In Mr. Ranier’s work, he says he uses other words to help ailing churches regroup. The problem is that those two words, revitalize and replant, have nothing to do with God’s ways. They are as bad as his relaunch idea. God tells people to wait for him in Isaiah 30 . He does not say gain new strength through following the secular business strategies of the world.

Psalm 51 has David telling us how spiritual health can be returned. He says:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (v. 10 NASB)

God does the renewing and creates the right spirit in people. Not badly used and formed business ideas.

Lamentations tells us:

Restore us to You, O Lord, that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old, (5:21 NASB)

Again, it is God who does the spiritual renewal and not the blind deceived secular world or people like Mr Ranier who have left their bibles behind and ignored God’s instructions. Then Paul warns us in Romans about copying the secular world when he says:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (12:2 NASB)

The church has to conform to God’s way if it wants to remain spiritually healthy or return to spiritual health. We do not use those strategies that care nothing for people and only about the survival of the business.

If any church wants t be spiritually healthy, then it must learn to obey God, ignore what secular culture deems vital for survival and make sure they preach the truth. False teachers must be removed from leadership and teaching positions. Immature believers need to be taught correctly how to hear the voice of God and given the support they need to follow God’s will wherever it takes them.

Then accepted ideas of God’s will must be done away with so the church can clearly hear what God wants them to do. Discernment, wisdom, and an open mind (not to sin or false teaching), must be used to make sure the person is following the right spiritual directions. The key of course is to discern the difference between bad secular advice and strategies and God’s way.

Church leaders also have to be strong enough to stop popular or famous people from offering the wrong advice and tell them that their advice is misleading and in error. getting the church back to spiritual health means taking God and his words seriously. You can’t win people to Christ when you ignore his instructions and follow the secular world.

 
 
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