Author: Christopher
•10:44 AM



Thought I'd post my thoughts to a great discussion on FB. It let's you know where I stand on a few things. The discussion started with a question about Hebrews 6 and it's interpretation.

Here are my responses:


"I'll bite :) I always liked the hypothetical 'if' argument. Paul often argues from the 'hypothetically speaking' standpoint, and here he says that "IF" someone did lose their salvation, they'd be toast because there'd be no further source... of salvation.

1 John 2:9 is a great commentary on this verse. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." Here John tells us that IF people who are 'saved' then become 'unsaved', it was because they were never 'saved' to begin with. They were professors and not possessors, as the saying goes.

IF a person could go out from us, who had been of us, then John's verse would be a lie. But God's word is truth, and therefore IF someone goes out from us, it's because they were never actually part of us to begin with.

And therefore, Hebrews 6 is hypothetical, not literal.

"But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak." Hebrews 6"

-------

2nd post:

"I read "They Shall Never Perish" by Strombeck when I was newly saved. Awesome.

He argues that to 'walk away' from salvation, we'd have to somehow un-birth ourselves from God's family, and re-birth ourselves back into Adam's family. However..., the only way to re-birth yourself is to die, and we can't do that anymore!

We'd have to recover our sins that were washed away. We'd have to find our old heart and put it back inside of us. We'd have to dis-member the body of Christ of which we are flesh and bone. We'd have to un-join with the Holy Spirit. etc.

Can we make unholy was God has made holy?

It's not a simple case of walking away. You're not just deleting the new programming, you have to re-install the old stuff too. But it doesn't exist anymore!!"

-----

3rd post:

"I want you all to think about that word 'eternity' for a second.

To lose something, or walk away from it, you must do so inside of time. Inside of time, there is a progression of events. But in eternity, all time occurs at once.

God is ...the I AM because he "inhabits eternity" (Isa 57:15). To Him, the past, the present, the future (even to a thousand generations) are all at the same time. Time is a place, more or less, not an event.

Now listen, to be joined with Him for a moment, no matter how brief, is to touch all parts of time. To be saved for a second, is to be saved for eternity. It can't be undone. It is done.

If you are part of Him, you ARE part of the I AM. Your salvation is ever-present just as His life is ever-present.

We cannot undo our eternal life. We'd have to make God to be NOT the great I AM first. We are joined to eternity. And that is for ever."


Hope you liked them. Leave me a comment if you did.






Author: Christopher
•2:07 PM

Philippians 4:19 tells us, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."


What a wonderful promise! What a wonderfully sure supply!

I was thinking about my family. The Lord feeds them. He clothes them. He gives them toys and goodies and warm beds at night to sleep in. And He does it through me. He supplies their needs by me getting up and going to work every day.

They don't work. I work.

By my hand, God provides for them. They just enjoy the blessings.

Now, isn't that a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus? He does the work. Actually, He DID the work. It's finished now. Everything's been accomplished. And, by HIM, the Father provides for us all good things to enjoy. By HIM, the Father supplies our every need.

We don't work. We just receive. We enjoy the blessings that come to us through him.

Like little children.



Author: Christopher
•3:56 PM
Where's the switch?

There have been many times in my life where I've wished that God operated like a light switch. Do you need healing? Flip the switch. Money? Flip the switch. A new job? A relationship fixed up brand new? Help on a test? Flip the switch.

I've wanted God to operate on a 'cause and effect' basis. I do something, and then God responds by giving me what I need.

But that's called religion.

Religion is a 'cause and effect' view of God. It's impersonal. It's unloving. Do you need financial blessings? Make sure that you tithe. Do you need your kids to grow up into loving adults? Make sure that you take them to church every Sunday. Do you want your prayers answered? Then 'toe the line,' son, and get a haircut.

But that's not God.

I've recently discovered that when we come to God, we come bankrupt. And He gives to us simply because He is good. Have you ever experienced that extremely humbled feeling when someone pays for your car repairs because you can't?

Or, have you ever purchased food with food stamps?

Or, somebody pays your bill because you just don't have the money?

You feel bankrupt. Helpless. Undeserving. Humbled to the point of emptiness. And, yet, you stretch out your hand and take the gift. You know that you can't repay it. But, you also know that you need it.

And, so you LET somebody else pay your way.

They smile. They know its hard for you. And, there's no judgment in their eyes. It's okay. Inside, you're so happy that the need is met. Yes, you're a little angry at yourself for not being able to pay your own way. Yes, your pride is shot. But, you're happy.

"Thank you!" you say. 'You have no idea how much this means,' you finish in your head, silently to yourself.

They smile as if they understand.

You get in the car, and you cry. "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!" And there's no thought of repayment. You know that you can't. You just receive.



Now, that's how you get things from God. It's not a bartering. It's a humbling. It's letting the most loving Person in the world pay to have your need met. It will leave you breathless from tears, and feeling bankrupt of self-sufficiency.

And, when you lie down on your bed at night, tears will roll down your face.

"Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus."

It's the key to receiving from God.


Author: Christopher
•3:54 AM
One of the greatest hindrances to my understanding of the Bible was the false doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. This teaching is a latter day doctrine of devils.


Okay, I know that's a very harsh statement, but trust me on this. Charles Spurgeon spoke against it when it first came on the scene. So did George Mueller of Bristol. I don't have time to go into all of it right now, but I wanted to get this down in writing for Aidan, Evan and Meagan.

Kids, one of the worst mistakes that you can make is believing all the pretty pictures in Clarence Larkin's book, Dispensational Truth.

When I was first saved, I read your grandfather's copy of this book. After he and mom divorced, Dad had left behind a box with a bunch of books in it, and this was one of them. I was newly saved and believed every word of it, especially since the same Pre-Trib heresy was taught in every other book as well.

It wasn't until many years later, when your mom was pregnant with Evan, that I found the truth. I prayed that the Lord would reveal to me any false doctrines that I might be holding to, and He did. (I highly recommend this prayer every decade or so in your life, but watch out, the Lord will answer it!!)

First, He brought to mind that the New Jerusalem has foundation stones named after NT apostles, and gates named after OT tribes of Israel. That was the key. It opened everything. I began to investigate this seemingly minor point. I found out that John Bunyan who wrote Pilgrim's Progress was a firm believer that the OT saints and the NT saints all belonged to the SAME church. Then I found out that Charles Spurgeon and many of the older saints believed the same thing.

Then, I realized that this was why Abraham could be saved by faith just like me (Romans 4). Spurgeon's comment sticks with me, "Jesus is the Saviour of the body besides which I know not that he is the saviour of any other." In other words, according to Ephesians, Jesus is the Saviour of the body, and if he is the Saviour of the body, then the OT saints must be members of his body, too!!

This led me to discover 'New Covenant Theology.' (If you can find it, read Mark Webb's Parable of the Two Trains; it is the best thing out there on this topic.) There are two historically accepted views of how to understand the Bible. One is called Dispensationalism, and one is called Covenant Theology. I'll let you research those on your own, but what nobody ever told me was that there was a third option. This is called New Covenant Theology.

New Covenant Theology basically teaches that the OT saints were saved, but they lacked the Holy Ghost inside. When they died, they were placed into a holding area to await the Cross. After the Cross, when the Spirit was now available, these were released from Abraham's Bosom when Christ "led captivity captive," i.e. when he took these perfected OT saints up to heaven with him. He couldn't take them up to heaven before this, because they had not yet been perfected.

I just mentioned some really cool stuff there. Hebrews 11 is called the Hall of Faith. It lists the OT saints who showed great faith. It ends with a verse that says, 'That they without us should not be made perfect.' They had to wait for us. They were perfected with us. When did this perfection occur? At the Cross and the giving of the Spirit. The Spirit is Jesus. When He comes inside of us, we get eternal life, righteousness, etc. We are all sealed and baptized into the Church which is his body.

The Spirit allowed those OT saints to finally be perfected, and was also the source of the gifts given to men. That is why the phrase "led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men" is important. It shows that this is about the Spirit being given. The captivity is the OT saints. The men are the NT saints who are still alive.

Well, this whole thing showed your Daddy that there is NO CHURCH AGE as typically taught. The elect of the OT are no different that the elect of the NT. The Church Age is not a parenthetical time where God deals with the Gentiles, blah blah blah.

When you believe in a so-called Church Age that delineates a period of time, you have to find out what the bookends are at the front and back of the thing. So somebody called Pentecost the birth of the church, and then somebody else came along and called the Rapture the removal of the church, and everybody swallowed it. But what the Scriptures teach is that the church, the saints of God, have always been here. Pentecost was an empowering, and an enlivening of the church, for sure, but the people of God have always been here.

Let me back this up real quick for you. Jesus said that he was the Good Shepherd. He said this, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." He talks about the OT sheep, and then talks about other sheep. These new sheep will be added to the first sheep (not be separate from them!), and there will be ONE flock. That is, one body. He spoke this prior to the Cross, and prior to Pentecost. He did not say that he was going to desert the sheep that he then had, and trade them in on a new flock. No, the post-Cross flock will be joined with the pre-Cross flock.

Again, in Romans, the unbelieving branches of the nation of Israel are broken off, and new believing Gentile branches are grafted in. But the Vine and the believing branches are left alone. The NT branches are grafted in to the SAME Vine that is already a source of life for the believing OT branches! Same Root, kids.

That's why the names of the apostles and the names of the tribes of Israel appear on the same New Jerusalem.

With the beginning of the Church Age being suspect, I then looked at the end of the Church Age. I found that the Pre-Trib Rapture is a new contrivance being only a few hundred years old. One of the main biblical supports in my mind for a Pre-Trib Rapture had always been the concept of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, also known as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Somebody said that this was time of trouble for Israel, and that the Church must have been removed beforehand.

This it turns out is wrong on so many levels. Not the least is that it creates a fourth category of people called the tribulation saints, where Paul only lists the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church. I won't go into it all now, but it's out there if you want to do some research.

Anyway, I have to go back to sleep. It’s 4:30 in the morning. But listen to your Dad. The Rapture occurs at the Revelation, just moments before. There is a Greek word apentesis which is translated to meet. It means to go out to meet somebody who is arriving and then escort them the rest of the way. It is used in Matthew 25:1 and 25:6, Romans 28:15, and 1 Thess 4:17.

Stop right now, and read those verses. When the Lord returns, He comes to the clouds. He stops. He is in front of the armies of heaven. He shouts, and the last trump is blown. Joel 3:16 says that He "roars" and it is referring to this 'military shout.' The angels of God gather together the saints up to meet him in the air (with the intent of escorting him the rest of the way to the earth!). Matthew 24:31 talks about this, too. As you can see from Matthew 24, this rapture is AT the Revelation.

The Church will see the Antichrist FIRST (read 2 Thess 2). The Antichrist will persecute the Church, but mainly he will focus on the nation of Israel. The first 3 ½ years of the Daniel’s 70th Week will be business as usual. At the end of that time, midway through the seven years, a great world leader will die on earth. At the same time, war will be fought in heaven. Michael will cast out Satan who will enter the dead body of the world leader, and a false resurrection of a false messiah will occur. And all the earth will wonder at this event. It will be very publicized. This man will then enter the holy temple area (the Greek word in 2 Thess 2 suggests that the Temple proper is not rebuilt, but rather that the sacrifices are held in the open area of the Temple mount). There will be 3 ½ years of crazy stuff that happens on the earth.

Keep in mind, as a key to the book, that the Book of Revelation is only covering a period of 3 ½ years. To best understand this book, look for the ‘great earthquake’ as you read. This is a marker to help your understanding. Every time this book mentions the ‘great earthquake’ or ‘there was a great earthquake’, realize that it is talking about the same one!

In this way, you will see how the book repeats itself, showing things from different viewpoints (the Gospels are repetitious too, aren’t they?). If you keep in mind the earthquake, and that the book is only covering 3 ½ years, you’ll see that the two prophets show up right as the Antichrist does. After they are killed, there is a great earthquake, they come back to life, and they are called up to the Lord. That is the Rapture, and it occurs at the Revelation of the Lord.

A side note. There are two methods of interpretation that are commonly used. One is to take things literally as written, giving heed to the the historical and grammatical context. The other is to take things out of context, and read 'hidden' meanings into the passage. ALL the Pre-Trib Rapture teachers use this second method of interpretation. For example, Revelation 4:1-7 can't be used to teach a Pre-Trib Rapture IF you approach the text honestly.

I have this all written out in detail for you guys. I really have to go to sleep.

I just wanted to say one more thing: DON’T believe Clarence Larkin!


p.s. Oh by the way, if there is no front bookend to this so-called Church Age (and there isn't), then there is no division between the Gospels and the Book of Acts. The Gospels flow into the Book of Acts, and there is no nasty stagger-step in the early history of the Church. What Jesus began to do and teach in the Gospels, He continued to do and teach in Acts. And there is no reason why He can't continue to do and teach today. (And there went Dispensationalism, out the window!)



Author: Christopher
•3:42 AM
Hi kids. It's 3:42 am. I just had a thought that I wanted to share with you. You may hear some people say that when they asked Jesus into their hearts, it was a like a gray film was removed from their eyes. I just wanted to let you know that I experienced the same thing.

On the day that I accepted Christ as my Saviour, nothing happened ~ I still felt the same. But the next morning, I woke up completely changed. I can remember being outside that afternoon. I looked up at the sky, and I noticed that everything was brighter. Not physically brighter, and yet it was like I'd been wearing a pair of light gray sunglasses my entire life, and NOW I was seeing for the first time without them.

The Bible talks about veil that covers our eyes. I wonder if that's what I noticed? Anyway, you guys all were saved at a young age, and probably never experienced this. I just wanted to tell you about my own experience so you'd be able to believe it if somebody else told you.


Author: Christopher
•3:34 PM
‎"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

The religious interpretation comes from a works-based understanding of God's blessings: "If you seek to win souls - thereby increa...sing God's kingdom - and if you seek God's righteous through a separated, holy lifestyle, THEN God will bless you." This interpretation is seen as addressing the believer who needs to be a better Christian. This interpretation makes God's blessings conditional on YOUR works.

The right interpretation comes from a grace-based understanding of God's blessings: "If you seek to enter into God's kingdom through his Son, and thereby obtain the gift of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus, THEN you get all the blessings that God has provided for in Christ!" This interpretation is seen as addressing the unbeliever who needs to be saved. This interpretation makes God's blessings conditional on Christ's finished work.


For us believers, the Kingdom of God is within us. We don't have to seek it. We just believe it.


And we have already been made the very righteousness of God, and God grants us eternal life BECAUSE we have already been counted righteous.


What?!?! You think that God's imputed righteousness is able to bring you eternal blessings, but its not able to bring you blessings in this earthly life?



Author: Christopher
•7:28 PM

I heard a thought the other day that got my gears turning. We are told to pray in Jesus' name, but some people end their prayers with "We ask these things for Jesus' sake, Amen."

Now, it's not a bad prayer. And our Father is merciful and will answer the spirit of the prayer; I'm not saying He won't.

What I'm saying is, it shows a lack of biblical understanding. When the Lord Jesus left the earth, He gave us believers authority over his kingdom. We are stewards, which means that we are in charge. We sign the checks. We make the decisions. We rule in the place of Jesus.

What we do is for Jesus' sake, obviously, and for the sake of His kingdom, but our prayers are made as the representatives of God on this earth. We pray in the stead of Jesus, in HIS name. As his deputies, so to speak.

When we realize what 'in Jesus' name' means, we understand that we are asking as if we were Jesus.

I think sometimes folks pray "for Jesus' sake" because they don't feel that their own sake is good enough. They try to get the Father to do it for the Son because he loves the Son. But He loves us, too. Didn't Jesus come to die for our sake?

No, this is an authority issue. It's a representative issue. And, honestly, it's scary because if we have to pray in Jesus' name, God might ask us to do something in Jesus' name, or speak something in Jesus' name, or even heal somebody in Jesus' name.

And that takes faith.
Author: Christopher
•10:53 PM
What a terrific Christmas pageant!! We were given tickets to an outstanding Christmas play at the Grace Brethren Church of Polaris. The singing was top notch! And, they had real camels and donkeys and goats walk through the audience! When the Magi came to visit baby Jesus, I had tears rolling down my face.

Awesome!

There were a couple of technical glitches, as with any big production, and that's what I wanted to talk about today.

One of the scenes was supposed to have a black light shining on it àla Fighting Gravity, the almost winner of America's Got Talent this year. For this scene, some people were dressed all in white and some were dressed all in black. The props were painted neon red, orange, and green.



If the black light had worked, it would have been awesome, too. But it didn't work. So, someone put on a regular spot light. Instead of blending into the shadows, the folks dressed all in black were very visible. They were lifting the white-costumed people, and juggling with balls that were on long, black sticks. It was comical.

But they didn't stop.

Everything that they did, the lifts, the flips, the 'jazz hands' were all choreographed with the understanding that the audience wouldn't be seeing the folks in black. But we COULD see them.

I felt so bad for them. And, I giggled.

But they didn't stop.

Somebody should have stopped them. Somebody should have stepped up and said, "Oops!" or "Let's try that one more time." But the entire troop just kept on doing what they'd been trained to do even though the magic was gone and the effect had been lost.

It reminded me of church. It reminded me of 'having the form of godliness' long after the power has gone out. It reminded me of traditions that keep going ... and going ... and going.

Unfortunately, there are some churches that won't admit that they are not relevant to their surroundings. They go through the motions thinking that they are the latest thing since sliced bread, when those who are watching are not really impressed. The spectators are actually embarrassed for them, and they can't help but giggle to themselves as they watch the show being performed for their sakes.

But the Light's not right.

The effect has been lost.

So why won't they stop?