So when the apostle Matthew mentions a prophecy in Matthew 1:21-23, he is quoting from the prophet Isaiah written in 700BC (before Christ incarnate). Is that not mind blowing? The prophecy states in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
So now, you are in God’s work but lost, no feelings and you can’t feel your faith so what do you do? You have to depend on gimmicks and amusements to keep your “employers” (the church board) believing in you, for many of them are using you like Micah from the book of Judges – replacing the works of Christ as the mediator.
Jesus Christ tells us, “Upon this rock will I build my Church.” What did the Lord Jesus Christ mean when He spoke of this foundation? Did He mean the Apostle Peter, to whom He was speaking?
How many clergymen work hard in their profession for a few years, and then become lazy and indolent from the love of this present world?
Are my affections dead toward the world and alive toward God? What engages my mind in seasons of recreation? Can I truthfully say, “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103). Is communion with God my highest joy? Is the glory of God dearer to me than all the world contains?
The presence of God is a dreadful and a fearful thing; yes, his most gracious and merciful appearances; how much more then when he shows himself to us as one that dislikes our ways, as one that is offended with us for our sins?
In matters pertaining to his salvation, the unregenerate man is not at liberty to choose between good and evil, but only to choose between greater and lesser evil, which is not properly free will. The fact that fallen man still has ability to do certain acts morally good in themselves does not prove that he can do acts meriting salvation, for his motives may be wholly wrong.
We are dead! Dead is a strong word, but it is not my own coining and invention. I did not choose it. The Holy Spirit told Paul to write it down about the Ephesians: “You hath he quickened who were dead” (Eph 2:1).
To the worldly and careless they may seem nothing at all. To all who feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of God, they are full of unspeakable comfort. If we hope to be in heaven, it is pleasant to know what heaven is like.
Now God says “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. But the world says, “come lie with me and satisfy the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and fulfil the pride of life… you don’t even have to leave the church congregation.” Having intercourse right at the altar like Absalom did to David to shame him – they are now sleeping with other gospels of prosperity, social-economic and dominion spirits that lead the Father’s children astray.
This is exactly what has happened to humanity through sin. The human free will is biased toward evil. It really exists, and really can make decisions – just as the loaded scales still work. But instead of giving a balanced judgment, a serious bias exists toward evil. Therefore, human free will really exists in sinners, but that it is compromised by sin.
This lack of personal development is just sheer laziness on the part of many, and as a result, the church is happy just paying someone else to look after their Christianity. We need to address the fundamental issues facing Christendom with Scripture and Scripture alone.
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.
God’s whole counsel includes both the bad news about our natural state and the good news about God’s plan to redeem us.
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.
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?”
The tabernacle was instituted by God as the place where he would dwell in the midst of the people of Israel. It was the forerunner of the temple; it was a tent that went before the children of Israel as they made their way to the promised land. Within the tabernacle was the most holy place, where God came to meet man. Just as God came to meet man in the tabernacle, he came to meet man in the person of Jesus.
Christians, by definition, believe Christ to be God- made-man, God-in-the-flesh. His claims cannot be amended, watered down, relativised, negotiated away or nuanced into acceptability. But this exclusivism is not an exclusivism of Christian culture, of Christian ethics or of Christians as the only candidates for heaven.
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.
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.
Jesus Christ is this suffering servant, but Jesus’ death, while necessary, was not the end. There would have been no Christianity without His resurrection, this is central to the entire New Testament. For Jesus was declared the Son of God with power through his resurrection
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.
For Paul every Christian is a walking shrine, a temple for the Holy Spirit in which God is to be glorified (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Like the Old Testament tabernacle the Christian enjoys the permanent presence of the Spirit, but just as the old shrine enjoyed a special manifestation of God’s glory from time to time, so the Christian should be filled with the Spirit and display God’s glory to the world (cf. Acts 6:15: 7:55- 56; 2 CorInthians. 3; Ephesians 5:18).
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.