Saturday, April 15, 2017

Humanism

https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDkHNYSdYBg&list=RDGDkHNYSdYBg#t=52


Image result for humanism
People Helping People

It is very good for people to want to help each other.  Jesus said that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us. However, having the will to help each other and having the knowledge and ability to help each other may not come together in a neat package, unless we know where to look. 

One knowledge source, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was placed in the middle of the Garden of Eden. Instead of human knowledge being the saving grace, partaking the fruit of the tree was forbidden on the pain of death. There is a way that seems right to a man (mankind), but the end of that way is death.  And the destroyer was out to do harm; the deceiver said "You will not die, but be wise like God."

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You Will Be Wise Like God!

How human knowledge has been used to help mankind has a very checkered history.  We celebrate our revolution against the hateful oppression of the Anglican Church State, and enjoy the personal freedom of conscience insured by our constitution.  But we used our freedom of conscience to exalt our human impulses, and many chose to rebel against our Creator. 

Yes, David said long ago that such rebellion is foolish, 


Psalm 14:1English Standard Version (ESV)

The Fool Says, There Is No God
To the choirmaster. Of David.

14 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;

there is none who does good.


Why is rebellion against God foolish?  It is foolish because it denies the evidence of history.  The Jewish people prove the existence and power of God.  Study the history.  The resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate tomorrow, proves the power of God. 

Rebellion against God is foolish because it denies the evidence provided by the universe.. Science, at last, after wandering in the wilderness of human stupidity for hundreds of years, has finally discovered Genesis 1.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2010/06/02/science-vs-bible-reconciling-genesis-big-bang.html

Genesis 1English Standard Version (ESV)

The Creation of the World

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse[a] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made[b] the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.[c] And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,[d] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants[e] yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[f] and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds[g] fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Trusting people to develop utopia while going against the wisdom of God shows a blind disregard of the history of secular humanism, the humanism that denies the existence of God, and which speaks evil of God and those who serve Him. All governing systems that exalt human wisdom at the expense of Biblical teaching have failed miserably.  Personal freedom is essential, and using government and the weight of public opinion to suppress and abuse people of Biblical faith will never prosper. 

We are faced with a choice between blessings and cursing.  The history lived out by the Jews is sufficient to produce faith in thoughtful people who are willing to examine the evidence.  God is able to keep His promises.  He is exalted in power, wisdom, and majesty. Those who trust in Him will be lifted up.  Those who oppose Him are fools, and will be destroyed.


Curses from Mount Ebal

9 Then Moses and the Levitical priests said to all Israel, “Keep silence and hear, O Israel: this day you have become the people of the Lord your God. 10 You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.”

11 That day Moses charged the people, saying, 12 “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13 And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall declare to all the men of Israel in a loud voice:

15 “‘Cursed be the man who makes a carved or cast metal image, an abomination to the Lord, a thing made by the hands of a craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

16 “‘Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

17 “‘Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor's landmark.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

18 “‘Cursed be anyone who misleads a blind man on the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

19 “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

20 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his father's wife, because he has uncovered his father's nakedness.’[b] And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

21 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with any kind of animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

22 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

23 “‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

24 “‘Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

26 “‘Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’



Deuteronomy 28English Standard Version (ESV)
Blessings for Obedience

28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. 3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 6 Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

7 “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. 8 The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 9 The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, 14 and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
Curses for Disobedience

15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

20 “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. 21 The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought[a] and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. 23 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. 24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away. 27 The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed. 28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, 29 and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways.[b]And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you. 30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit. 31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you. 32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless. 33 A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, 34 so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see. 35 The Lord will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

36 “The Lord will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. 37 And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away. 38 You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off. 41 You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity.42 The cricket[c] shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground.43 The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

45 “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. 46 They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, 50 a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. 51 It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.

52 “They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. 53 And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. 54 The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces,[d] and to the last of the children whom he has left, 55 so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. 56 The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces,[e] to her son and to her daughter, 57 her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.

58 “If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, 59 then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. 60 And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. 62 Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God.63 And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

64 “And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 65 And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. 68 And the Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Meeting God at the Cross

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The Shack
After reading several reviews of The Shack, by Paul Young, including a review by Jack Cottrell, I am compelled to make some remarks about God's Love.  God's love is balanced by His holiness, and His absolute commitment to justice.  The God who loves us is the same God who overwhelmed the world with water in the time of Noah, and Who has promised to destroy this world with fire in the future.  Love, justice, and mercy find their balance in Jesus Christ dying on a cross on a hill outside the city walls of Jerusalem, by the side of the major road from Jerusalem to Jericho.

Often people are crushed by life events that cause us to question the love of God, and even to question the reality of His existence. If God is infinitely powerful, and merciful, how do we explain the world around us?  How can we explain the brutality of evil that exists in the world today, the crushing of innocent lives in West Mosul?

Perhaps the modern celebration of diversity of faith and culture has missed an important element. There is a way (many ways) that seems ok to men and women, but the outcome of mankind following his inclinations is death.

The way to righteousness and joy must travel the way of the Cross. God's love is revealed by something terrible; an innocent man is beaten, spit upon, reviled, brutalized, scourged, ridiculed, and nailed to a cross to die, on a hill by the roadside. Why? To satisfy the justice and righteousness of God. 

Isaiah 53

English Standard Version (ESV)

53:1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected[b] by men,
a man of sorrows[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.


4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.


7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.


10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[g]
when his soul makes[h] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[j]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[k]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.


Yes, the wages of sin is death, and a sinner cannot be with God. So Yeshua, the very Son of God, gave His sinless human life as an offering for sins, so that we can have life instead of death. 

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[e]blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you[f] do not receive our testimony.12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[g] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[h]
For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

So if it does not matter what people believe, and if everyone is going to be delivered by God's love regardless of their faith, then Jesus suffered for nothing. Yes, God loves every person, but He also holds them responsible for having faith in Him.  As Jesus said, 


John 14 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


So it does matter what people believe and practice.  We need to be kind and helpful to all people, but we also need to speak the truth. I cannot pretend that Islam is good.  I believe there are many good people who are Muslim, and many good people who are atheists, but their goodness will not take away their sins.  

So the story of The Shack may encourage a lot of people who are hurt, but in the end those who are hurting must come to the cross or go back to the cross.  Love does not promote acceptance of evil. Love leads people to the cross, not to the shack.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

One Cup


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Passover Seder In Upper Room

Brethren have upset the unity of believers in Bangladesh by teaching that only one cup must be used in communion.  They insist that the unity of the one body is represented by the one cup, and that we must follow the example of Jesus as He ate the Passover with His disciples.  And they refuse fellowship with all who use multiple cups for communion.

The unity of believers results from being added to the number of those who believe and trust in Jesus when we repent of our sins, confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and are immersed in water by the authority of Jesus Christ, as He commanded.  Unity results from being led by the Holy Spirit that is given to us when we are baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ. See Acts 19.

The Passover Supper of Jesus with the disciples did not take place on Sunday.  The wine of the Passover is mysterious in its origin, as it was not commanded in the instructions for the Passover, but developed over time.  https://jewsforjesus.org/newsletter-mar-2002/the-mystery-of-the-passover-cup

The symbolic use of cup as a representation of judgement is well established in scripture. Jesus prayed in the garden "Let this cup pass from me." http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-cup-consumed-for-us

Therefore we have no reason to focus on the container, but rather on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  We have life by being members of His body.  We eat and drink the bread and the wine in memory of His sacrificial offering for our sins. 

Jesus and His disciples ate the Passover in an upper room in the Essene quarter of Mt. Zion on Wednesday night. He washed the disciples feet, and said we should do likewise. They sat on the floor around a table.  They drank real wine. Jesus said that as often as we eat this supper, we should do so in remembrance of Him.

We should avoid setting rules about our personal understandings of what scripture teaches. The several accounts of what happened should be laid down beside each other, examined in the light of all scripture, and applied in accordance with what Paul taught in Romans 14.  We are not in the business of binding laws based upon opinion, but we are in the work of building each other up in love.

"By this shall all men know you are my disciples, by the love you have for each other."

Please reject those who divide brethren by binding their opinion as law.



Warning Against False Teachers
1 Timothy
3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship[a] from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.



8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,[b]liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound[c] doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Moral Clarity


jesus-suffers-the-little-children-to-come-unto-him.jpg (1800×1200)

Matthew 19:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)

Let the Children Come to Me

13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1/16/17)  I received an email from a Jewish friend saying that today is a day of prayer for him (even thought he is not religious) because of his respect for Dr. King and his work. 
I took the opportunity to talk about Dr. King's faith in Jesus (Yeshua) and the fact that he was a Baptist preacher.  Dr. King's faith was unorthodox, but he did love the teaching and example of Jesus.
Somehow Dr. King's faith in Jesus has been left out of the conversation by admirers who promote love and justice, but who have progressive ideas about morality.  Jesus loves all people, but wants all to repent and come to Him for life. 
Some of these same people who love Dr. King and disregard Biblical values accuse people who speak out against sin of being "haters." Maybe they are helped in this attitude by the hateful antics of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS.

But Dr. King was a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. 

 http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_ebenezer_baptist_church/ 
An interesting part of Dr. Kings history has to do with his being attacked by J. Edgar Hoover, who openly attempted to discredit Dr. King.
So we have a Baptist preacher, Dr. King, being attacked by a suspected homosexual practitioner, J. Edgar Hoover, on the topic of sexual immorality. Is this the  pot calling the kettle black?
The truth seems often to be stranger than fiction.  So how do we view human sexuality with moral clarity? Adultery and homosexuality both belong to the same list of sins recorded by Paul in his writings to Christians. 

Keep in Step with the Spirit

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5English Standard Version (ESV)

Walk in Love

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Those of us who look to Scripture for instruction in moral clarity find that how we feel is not the standard for how we should act. Also trusting what we think and agree on as humans makes certain that we will miss the mark of living righteous lives as defined by Scripture (the canon of accepted scripture Old and New Testament)

Scripture teaches us to control our feeling and passions, and to pursue what builds up and edifies society.  So how we feel cannot determine how we are supposed to act. We are taught to seek fulfillment by giving, rather than by getting. 
Society is blessed when we pursue righteous values. Moral clarity is revealed by our Creator, not developed by social scientists. Moral value is also put to the test over time in cultures where various ethical standards are applied.  The history of the world shows the superiority of those cultures where individuals are allowed to practice their individual faith in Jesus (Yeshua). 
Moral clarity gives society an anchor for acceptable conduct.  Such a foundation is sadly lacking in our modern culture. We need to repent and return God to the throne of our hearts.  In God we trust must be renewed and respected. 

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Trust