More than 245 million Christians worldwide are enduring high levels of persecution for their faith—from militant extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram (an Islamic extremist group terrorizing West Africa), to government law and the general culture that often sees converting to Christianity as betrayal.
The faculties which men receive at birth have a carnal bias, an earthly trend, a distaste for the heavenly and divine, and are inclined only to selfish aims and groveling pursuits. In the most polished or religious society, equally with the vulgar and profane, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” and can never be anything better. Prune and trim a corrupt tree as much as you will, it can never be made to yield good fruit. Every man must be born again before he can be acceptable to a holy God.
This remission of all sins is not limited to past sins only, but to all sins—past, present, and future. If it were not so, then justification would have to be repeated over and over again, and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ would be lowered to the level of the animal sacrifices of the old covenant. Therefore it has to be offered over and over again for the continued presence of sin.
Though Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6), we are being urged to “visualise” ourselves into success.
Grace from the Work of Christ is NOT to be understood as grace to be external enlightenment or instruction graciously provided for humanity by God. God does not just demand that human beings should be “perfect”, which is a vague term. Rather, God graciously provides specific guidance as to what form of perfection is required – such as keeping the Ten Commandments, and becoming like Christ. Grace thus informs humanity what its moral duties are (otherwise, it would not know what they were); it does not, however, assist humanity to perform them, because there is no need for such assistance.
Moralism is the default mode for preachers. It’s second nature. But it misinforms the congregation. Why do it then? Maybe it tells them what they really want to hear, which is that they can please God through moral improvement. But moralising cannot save. We must do better than this if we are to escape the rebuke of Christ: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me”
Therefore, those who truly understand the Gospel will not downplay doctrines, to do so is to minimise how much they will know about the Gospel. Could it be that those who are arguing for the “Gospel” at the expense of “doctrines” are simply trying to find a way to justify their opposition to some of our distinctive beliefs or avoiding to disclose their ignorance.
We depart from Biblical teaching when we think that today’s so-called gospel rock, gospel clowns, gospel magicians, and other forms of gospel entertainment can legitimately be employed to communicate spiritual truth. The Scriptures teach that the world is on its own, “without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:12). Therefore, instead of borrowing worldly methods to reach the world, Christians are sent forth like the apostle Paul, “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”
With the explosion of different sects that claim to honour and follow Jesus, how does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? Just what are “the marks of a cult?”
Should a Christian use some Zen Buddhist meditation techniques? Should Chinese Christians use Confucius as their teacher of social ethics? Should Christian pacifists learn from Gandhi’s methods? Should Jewish Christians celebrate the Jewish holidays? Such questions should be addressed with great care, for religion is the active, actual service of God, gods, spirits or demons.
Baptismal regeneration is not a biblical concept. Water baptism is the symbol of what has already occurred in the heart of one who has trusted Christ as Saviour (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christian should take, but it is not a requirement for salvation. To make it such is to question the sufficiency of Christ’s death and resurrection.
In summary, as the Son of Man, Jesus followed the pattern laid out for the “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7:13. He had authority; he suffered at the hands of his enemies; and he was vindicated and exalted by God. As the Son of Man he also called on his followers to follow him in this pattern of life. (1) They were God’s chosen people and possessed the authority God gave to his people. (2) Now they must suffer faithfully in their commitment to Jesus. (3) When God brings his purposes to an end and executes judgment on all peoples, they will be vindicated and restored to their rightful place of authority.
After Jesus fed the five thousand, those who came to find Jesus asked him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” (John 6:30). Do not miss the audacity of their questions. They asked Jesus these questions the day after the feeding of the five thousand—after that miracle, after that sign, after that work. They refused to see it.
Do you have a hunger for something more in life? Is there something deep inside of you that never seems to be satisfied? Are you confused? Are you unable to find a path or purpose in life? Does it seem like someone has turned out the lights and you cannot find the switch? Do you ever feel like you are locked out of life? Have you tried many doors only to find that what is behind them is empty and meaningless? Are you looking for an entrance into a fulfilling life?
Jesus kept pointing people to himself, saying, “Come to me” (Mt 11:28). Buddha said, “Look not to me; look to my dharma (doctrine).” Buddha also said, “Be ye lamps unto yourselves.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Lao Tzu taught the way (tao); Jesus said, “I am the way” (Jn 14:6). Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad and other religious founders fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and did not rise from the dead. Jesus did. Christians ought to realise how difficult, how scandalous, how objectionable, how apparently unbelievable and absurd this doctrine is bound to appear to others. We can’t apologise for truth.
For the “day of the LORD” to come, for God’s kingdom to come, the covenant must be fulfilled from both sides. The actions and roles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, and the rest are not to be set alongside the person and work of Jesus Christ as less effective performances of the same kind of service.
When God promised His people that He would judge their sin, and when He kept His promise and judged them, He was acting in accord with His character. He is a just God, and only someone who is unjust would allow people to commit crimes and acquit them indefinitely. God’s wrath against sin arises from His goodness and holiness.
The burnt offering uses a personal picture: of man the guilty sinner who deserves to die for his sin and of the animal dying in his place. God accepts the animal as a ransom for man. The sin offering uses a medical model: sin makes the world so dirty that God can no longer dwell there. The blood of the animal disinfects the sanctuary in order that God may continue to be present with his people. The reparation offering presents a commercial picture of sin. Sin is a debt which man incurs against God. The debt is paid through the offered animal.
An introduction to the basics of sermon construction and delivery. This is not primarily a course on the theology of preaching, but rather is a practical introduction to the tools, structures, and concepts that help preachers learn to put a sermon together.
FREE BOOK: However, the scriptural doctrine of the Church has not come in for any great amount of emphasis. In spite of the great deal of activity in churches, the current state of the Church is not very healthy. There is a great deal of superficiality, a lot of shallowness, and it is permitted to continue partially because of inadequate views of the local church.
As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [’by one man,’ v.15] shall many be made righteous.” The same nature that transgressed must work out the remedy. This truth is reiterated in 1 Corinthians 15:21: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” Our ruin could not be restored, nor deliverance from our guilt be effected, except by one in our own nature.
To serve God we are not called to choose self-denial or sacrifice, rather are we called to fulfill God’s purpose. The basic principle is not to choose the cross but to obey God’s will. Should the principle on which we work and serve include rebellion, then Satan will obtain and enjoy glory even through our sacrifices. Saul might offer sheep and oxen, yet God never accepted them as sacrifices to Himself because there was a Satanic principle involved.
Christians want to appear to be living for eternal life, if you really examine their plans they are filled only with earthly concerns, which brings to expression their greed, ambition and desire. To remove from us our love for riches, power and honour. God reveals the vanity of the present life through the afflictions of the cross.
Human reason tells us to avoid dishonour and disgrace as the worst of plagues, but faith in Christ reveals to us that being reviled for the sake of his name is the highest honour we can receive in this life.
Many Evangelicals today think of the good news, or gospel, as an explanation of the steps an individual must take to find salvation in Christ. But this wasn’t the idea that
Jesus had in mind.