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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 3:09pm On Feb 16, 2013|
Things We Know
January 12, 2013.
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:4).
In these days of relativism, situational ethics, and changing mores, it does a Christian good to note the many things in Scripture we can know, things we can count on, things that do not change. Following is a sampling of such truths, with little comment, intended to encourage the reader to extend the list, perhaps as an ongoing project.
We can know that Christ is God: "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
We can know that we are saved: "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).
We can know we are His dear children: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" (1 John 3:2).
We can know His protection: "And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28).
We can know He answers prayer: "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14).
We can know He will help us through temptation: "In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).
We can know how we should act: "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done" (John 13:15).
We can know He desires us to speak on His behalf: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).
We can know that He will come again: "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
We can know of our eternal rewards, as in today's verse: "An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4). JDM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 8:07pm On Feb 16, 2013|
What Jesus Said about Hell
January 15, 2013.
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29).
People do not like to think about hell--especially those who are headed there! But that doesn't mean it isn't real.
We need to know that the Lord Jesus Himself often warned about the reality of hell. Today's verse is in His Sermon on the Mount, a message often quoted because of its wonderful promises. Hell is also mentioned in the same sermon in Matthew 5:22 and 5:30. Jesus also stressed in that sermon that "broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Matthew 7:13). He later warned that we should "fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 ).
The religious leaders of the day were not exempt. To them, speaking of their religious hypocrisy, He said, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33).
Hell is also a place of fire or possibly of some fearful environment that could only be described adequately under the metaphor of fire. "Depart from me," He will say to the lost souls at His coming judgment, "into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). Hell is called a "lake of fire" by Christ in John's vision of Him on His great white throne, where He will have to say, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, . . . and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8 ).
Hell will indeed be very real--eternally real! Since Christ is both our Creator and our Saviour, who died for our sins and defeated death by His resurrection, it is foolish for anyone to reject His revelation about hell. HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 10:49pm On Feb 17, 2013|
The Honest Use of Scripture
January 16, 2013.
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye" (Mark 7:13).
Jesus uttered these sharp words of rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees, who had encumbered the plain teachings of Scripture with numerous "interpretations" which enabled them to ignore whatever teachings they found inconvenient. The Lord Jesus Himself always took the Scriptures literally and as of divine authority, and so should we.
Furthermore, He taught that every word was true and authoritative: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18). He also said that "the scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).
Skeptics may pose certain difficulties in the Bible, evolutionists may ridicule its account of creation, and sinners in general may try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, but the Scripture cannot be broken! Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). He Himself is the living Word of God, and we dare not tamper with the written Word inspired by the Holy Spirit. Christ, of course, could and did in some cases extend and apply the Old Testament Scriptures, because He Himself was their Author, but He never questioned their factuality or literal accuracy, and neither should we.
Nevertheless, many modern "Christian" intellectuals and cultists are following in the example of the Pharisees, rather than that of Christ, "wresting" the Scriptures for their gain but "unto their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16). God has spoken plainly in His Word. It is our responsibility to believe and do what He says. HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 12:42pm On Feb 18, 2013|
The Mighty Hand of God
January 17, 2013.
"That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever" (Joshua 4:24).
The testimony of Joshua to the children of Israel as they entered the promised land reminded them of the tremendous strength in the mighty hand of God whom they were to fear and trust forever. This is only one of about 20 references in the Scriptures to God's mighty hand. Moses had often recalled how "the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 7:8 ).
The first reference to God's mighty hand is in Jacob's dying prophecy concerning Joseph. "His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob" (Genesis 49:24).
Like those of Joseph, our hands also can be strong when they are placed in the mighty hands of God. Some may note that this is only a figure of speech, for God is Spirit and has no physical hands. Yes, but "he that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?" (Psalm 94:9). God indeed is God of the mighty hand!
The final reference to God's mighty hand and the only specific reference in the New Testament is in the apostle Peter's exhortation to humility. "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:5-6). Our human might is only a vapour, but "in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength" (Isaiah 26:4).
Jesus said concerning His followers, "They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 2:37pm On Feb 18, 2013|
January 18, 2013.
"Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it" (Habakkuk 2:19).
How foolish are those who worship idols--objects of wood and stone with no life in them, not even when they are adorned in silver and gold. Can inanimate objects come to life and even become teachers? A child knows better.
But not college professors! All over the land, these proud purveyors of "science falsely so called" are indoctrinating young minds with the absurd belief that inorganic substances can somehow first become simple living substances and then eventually organize themselves all the way up to being people. They would not, of course, suggest that sticks and stones could suddenly become human (neither did the ancient idolaters, for that matter). They just believe that time--lots of it--can magically develop people out of much simpler substances than even these ancient philosophers ever imagined. "In the beginning, hydrogen" is their arrogant notion.
But God will not be mocked in this way forever. Life can only come from life--ultimately from the living God! The wooden idol of the pagan is every bit as scientific as the evolutionary models of the modern intellectual; neither one can create life. "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: . . . They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them" (Psalm 115:4-5, 8 ).
Only God can create life, and He can even cause stones to teach. "Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: . . . Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?" (Job 12:8-9). HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 7:52pm On Feb 18, 2013|
Let Them Alone
January 20, 2013.
"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone" (Hosea 4:17).
The Lord is long-suffering, and those who speak in His name should be also. There do come times, however, when further witness becomes useless or even harmful, or when continued interaction merely invites contamination with ungodliness. In such cases we must simply leave such people alone, following them with prayer and trusting God alone to deal with them.
Such was the ten-tribe nation of Israel, led by the tribe of Ephraim, just before God sent them into Assyrian captivity. God, through the prophet Hosea, told Judah henceforth to let them alone--they were hopelessly given over to pagan evolutionist idolatry. The words "joined to" in today’s verse mean, literally, "under the spell of."
The Lord Jesus used similarly harsh language in reference to the hypocritical Pharisees of His own day: "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14).
There are other similar warnings. Of those who come, "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof," Paul says, "from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:5). He has also warned us to "shun profane and vain babblings |that is, the empty philosophizing of those who reject God|: for they will increase unto more ungodliness" (2 Timothy 2:16). "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).
Most, if not all, such warnings seem in context to apply especially to people who once knew and understood the truth, perhaps even professing to accept it for a time, and then knowingly rejected it. When such men oppose our testimony, God says to let them alone; He can deal with them better than we. HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 12:12am On Feb 19, 2013|
The Fire of Hell
January 22, 2013.
"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell" (James 3:6).
The word for "hell" in this verse is gehenna, and this is the only one of its eleven occurrences in the New Testament that is not a direct quote from the lips of Christ. Since the tongue is not a literal fire and since its misuse can in effect make it a "world of iniquity," this passage suggests that hell itself is the ultimate world of iniquity which has made the uncontrolled tongue an extension of itself.
The Bible speaks of this future hell as a place of "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). However, if these were fires such as we have here on earth, it is difficult to see how, as Jesus said, God will "destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 ). Fire would destroy the body, but what about the soul?
The fire of hell may include some kind of spiritual fire or environment whose destructive nature can only be characterized by the metaphor of fire. The "lake of fire" cannot be on earth, of course, because the Beast, the False Prophet, and Satan will all be sent there before the disintegration of earth in its present form, whereas all lost human souls will be sent there after that event (Revelation 19:20; 20:10-11, 15). The awful lake probably is somewhere far out in the "outer darkness" (Matthew 25:30; Jude 13).
And it will be "a world of iniquity" where "he that is unjust |will| be unjust still: and he which is filthy |will| be filthy still" (Revelation 22:11). Those who have opted not to be with Christ will be given their chosen status forever. That means no light, no peace, no rest, no joy, nothing at all associated with the Lord. One should certainly "flee from the wrath to come" (Matthew 3:7) while he can. HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 12:42pm On Mar 06, 2013|
The Face of Jesus Christ
January 24, 2013.
"And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads" (Revelation 22:4).
This is the last reference in the Bible to the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a glorious promise it is, with its assurance that all His servants will finally see Him face to face! Although they give us no specific description of His physical appearance (the only description of His appearance is in Revelation 1:13-16), the gospel writers do frequently mention His face.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw how "his face did shine as the sun" (Matthew 17:2), as He spoke of His forthcoming death. Shortly after this, "he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51) to meet His death.
A few days after His entrance into Jerusalem, He was delivered into the hands of wicked men who took delight in desecrating that face which, in loving grief, had just wept over the city and its indifference to God. But first, in the garden just before His arrest, He "fell on his face" in agonizing prayer (Matthew 26:39).
Then the Roman soldiers began "to cover his face" (Mark 14:65), and to "spit in his face" (Matthew 26:67), and finally, "they struck him on the face" (Luke 22:64). In fact, they abused Him so severely that "his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men" (Isaiah 52:14).
But when He comes again, the Christ-rejecting world will cry out to the mountains to "fall on us, and hide us from the face . . . of the Lamb . . . from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away" (Revelation 6:16; 20:11). All the redeemed, on the other hand, will rejoice forever in "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 12:52pm On Mar 06, 2013|
The Fire of God
January 25, 2013.
"For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29).
Fire was considered by certain of the ancient pantheistic philosophers to have been the primeval element out of which all things had evolved, and this same myth is promulgated today by evolutionary cosmogonists in the form of their "Big Bang" theory. The fact is, however, that fire is a creation of God used both actually and symbolically as God's vehicle of judgment on sin.
It is significant that both the first and last references to fire in the Bible mention both fire and brimstone, used in flaming judgment on human rebellion against God. First, "the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven" (Genesis 19:24). And finally, "the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8 ).
Today's verse is a reference to Moses' words to the tribes as they were preparing to enter the promised land after his death. Warning them against corrupting their faith through idolatry, he said: "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God" (Deuteronomy 4:24). Its New Testament context is a grave warning against rejecting God's Word: "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven" (Hebrews 12:25).
In a sense, God's Word is also God's fire. "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay" (Jeremiah 20:9). It is better to be refined with the fire of God's Word than to be consumed by His judgment fire. HMM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by OLAADEGBU(m): 5:40pm On Mar 07, 2013|
The Summary of Divine Grace
January 26, 2013.
"Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old" (Micah 7:18-20).
The lengthy passage above is quoted in its entirety because, coming as it does at the end of Micah's dual prophecy of imminent judgment of the sinful, rebellious nation of Judah, and of the coming glorious reign of the Lord, it sums up the work of God's grace in dealing with iniquity. Each of the three verses quoted describe a part. Such grace:
Pardons iniquity (v. 18 ): As sinners, we have the assurance of mercy instead of judgment. God pardons our iniquity, passes by our transgressions, and retains not His anger. Why? "Because He delighteth in mercy."
Subdues iniquity (v. 19): As forgiven sinners who have tasted of His grace and mercy, we have assurance of deliverance in time of temptation. Why? Because "he will have compassion upon us."
Performs what it promises (v. 20): When circumstances surround and difficulties discourage, we have confidence in the inheritance of covenant promise, just as Jacob and Abraham did. Why? Because "thou hast sworn," and God's own reputation is at stake.
Israel refused to respond to the warnings of the prophets to turn from their sinful ways. In doing so, they missed God's great blessing and reaped His wrath. May God grant us the wisdom and conviction to accept His mercy and compassion and to believe He is still trustworthy regarding His promises. JDM
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|Re: Nairaland Christian E-Fellowship (Season 2) by tpia5: 10:31pm On Oct 24, 2013|
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