ONLY THE RIGHT WAY

June 24, 2018

OK, WORDPRESS IS ACTING WEIRD AND THIS MAY GET POSTED TWICE IN ONE DAY.

WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS ADULT SEXUAL LANGUAGE OF A VERY FRANK NATURE, PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED OR LEGALISTIC

THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID THERE ARE THINGS SO SHAMEFUL WE SHOULD NOT TALK ABOUT THEM. I DON’T THINK I’VE CROSSED THAT LINE BUT IT MAY BE CLOSE. I MEAN NO HARM AND DON’T WANT TO OFFEND SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

FIRST A QUOTE FROM A MOVIE, IT’S NOT FROM THE BIBLE BUT IT WILL KICK OFF THE DISCUSSION. ‘YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THE POWER OF LOVE UNTIL YOU COMPLETELY SURRENDER TO IT.’ (I DON’T REMEMBER THE MOVIE BUT IT’S STILL A GOOD LINE)

WOMEN HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE BY GIVING BIRTH, MEN HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL WIVES WHO ARE FULFILLED AND HAPPY BY BEING MEN WHO LOVE THEIR WIVES MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE ON THIS EARTH.

SO HERE’S WHERE WE GET INTO A SENSITIVE AREA, SEX; IF YOU WANT TO BLESS YOUR WIFE PRACTICE GODLY SEX.  THAT MEANS NOT FORCING YOUR WIFE TO HAVE SEX WHILE ON HER PERIOD ( BECAUSE YOU THINK SHE HAS TO SUBMIT AND THIS PROVES SHE’S A GODLY WOMAN) REALLY, IF YOU ARE THAT KIND OF HUSBAND AND YOU WERE STANDING HERE IN FRONT OF ME I’D PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE. (GODLY COUNSELING DOESN’T SEEM TO WORK )

ONE THE BIBLE SAYS YOUR NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE SEX DURING THIS TIME. HEY HOW ABOUT THAT, GOD KNOWS WHAT SCIENCE HAS PROVED. THE UTERINE WALLS OF A WOMAN ARE WEAKER DURING THIS TIME AND IT CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS. AND REALLY YOU HAVE TO FORCE YOUR WIFE TO PROVE SHE’S SUBMISSIVE, THAT ONE IS GOING TO BACK FIRE IN YOUR FACE.

PLEASE DON’T READ ANY FARTHER IF YOU ARE REALLY SENSITIVE.

ANAL SEX, IT’S WRONG, DON’T CARE WHAT SEX IN CITY SAYS, SEX BOOKS, PORN, ITS WRONG, IT GOES AGAINST BIOLOGY AND IT GOES AGAINST THE BIBLE; I DON’T CARE IF YOUR PARTNER EVEN LIKES IT; GOD IS STILL GOD EVEN IN THE BEDROOM. YES YOU CAN PRACTICE HOLINESS EVEN IN THE MARRIAGE BED AND THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY THE MARRIAGE BED IS UNDEFILED AND ANYTHING GOES. IT SAYS WE ARE TO MAKE THE MARRIAGE BED UNDEFILED. GOD DOES NOT CONDONE ‘FREAKINESS’ IN THE BEDROOM OF A CHRISTIAN COUPLE.

I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN THE DAMAGE THIS ATTITUDE AND THE DAMAGE IT CAN WREAK IN A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE.

A WOMAN WAS BEING ABUSED BY THE ABOVE IN A CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE. THE MAN DIDN’T RESPOND TO COUNSELING. SO SHE DECIDED TO POISON HIM. NOT TO DEATH JUST ENOUGH TO MAKE HIM SICK TO HIS STOMACH AND HE WOULDN’T FEEL LIKE HAVING SEX AND SHE WOULD BE SAFE AND SOUND.

THE AMOUNT OF GUILT SHE RACKED UP WAS GIVING HER MIGRAINES, EVENTUALLY SHE INSISTED THEY GO BACK TO COUNSELING AND UNDER THE THREAT OF DIVORCE AND OTHER THINGS LIKE HER FAMILY HUNTING HIM DOWN. CONVINCED THIS MAN TO STOP ABUSING HER. AFTER SIX YEARS OF COUNSELING AND BEING SUBMISSIVE TO THE PASTOR, HE STRAIGHTENED UP.

I’M HAPPY TO SAY THEY ARE STILL MARRIED, AND HE DID STOP, BUT HOW CAN CHRISTIAN MEN BE SO WRONG, AND YET BELIEVE THEY ARE SERVING THE LORD AND DOING NO HARM. IT’S A LIE AND THUS THE DEVOTION FOR TODAY MAY BE UNPLEASANT AND EVEN MAKE SOME MEN ANGRY, YET IT IS NEEDED IN OUR VERY POLLUTED CHRISTIAN HOMES AND MARRIAGES.

REMEMBER MEN, THE APOSTLE PAUL ALSO SAID WE ARE TO SUBMIT TO OUR WIVES AS WELL; PLEASE BE GODLY MEN, EVEN IN THE BEDROOM.

GOD BLESS. From scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

WHO CARES?

June 16, 2018

  “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).

  How difficult it is for the hungry heart to adjust to the Father’s pace. He is so deliberate and thorough, while our need is so pressing and paramount. Apart from never being behind time, our Father is an eternity ahead of time! We have but to see in the Word what He has accomplished on our behalf in the Lord Jesus, and then quietly rely upon Him, “according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

  “God will perfect that which concerneth His own; and even where there are mistakes and failures, as alas! there are in abundance with all of us, the Lord’s rich grace abounds over all, and actually takes occasion from our very mistakes to shine out all the more brightly—though, assuredly, the mistakes and failures must produce their own painful and humiliating results.

  “It is the remembrance of this which alone can give calm repose in the midst of the most discouraging circumstances. If we take the eye of faith off God, our souls must soon be overwhelmed. It is our privilege to be able, in our little measure, to thank God in view of everything, and take refuge in His eternal counsels, which must be made good despite all the unbelief of man, and all the malice of Satan.”

  “May God give us to increasingly know Him! If we had only to learn what we are, we should surely be cast down, and sink into despondency; but His object in giving us a knowledge of ourselves and of His grace, is to give us an expected end.”

  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” (Ps. 23:6

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

NO DRY SPELL

June 12, 2018

rainy-sleepy-snoopy-peanuts

To Timothy, my young preacher.

There is a big east coast newspaper columnist and a huge west coast syndicated producer and a somewhat famous university professor of English and Literature that occasionally write me comments about the devotions.

They sometimes offer critics, or praise or criticisms, it is appreciated. But after preaching, teaching and writing for over 40 years, I learned something very early in this career. You are not writing to an audience, ultimately you are writing to yourself and to what God lays on your heart.

I think some people are born with a gift, as the bible says different people different gifts. I was taught or now days as they say mentored, by a very respected preacher. He had one bit of advice, ‘fear God, not man.’

I’ve never had writer’s block, not ever. For every text book, sermon, magazine article, or devotional. I just sit down and start writing. Editors love it. They can call and say we need a book on so and so and we want it by then, bam, out it comes.

Now I will tell you this, I started my writing career before there were computers. Some of you may not know what carbon paper was, or the smell of the old lithograph printer. I would keep three copies, one in a briefcase, one in an old fire proof safe, and one at the office. My biggest worry was to lose a copy. When computers came out I kept three copies on three different disks.  A loss then meant hours of retyping. Now we have the cloud and instant backup and usb drives.

So my advice my young preacher is write everyday at least 5 pages, read your bible at least an hour a day. Pray frequently, learn the difference between a message from God to yourself and the one for a congregation. Oh, and fear God.

Buy a bible with no commentary or notes and read that bible more than any other bible. Fill it with the notes God gives you. Underline, highlight, put paperclips, sticky notes, paste in extra pages. Duct tape that bible when it starts to fall apart.

After years of evangelism, street preaching, and traveling, I get offers from churches all the time to buy me a new suitcase, or a new bible. I always say yes to the suitcase, but no to the new bible. Although now I give the bibles away on this site.

Master your writing and you’ll never have a dry spell.

God bless my young preacher, preach the Word.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

You may or may not have noticed there is one topic that I don’t write about in our devotionals.

That topic is the end times or eschatology.

I have studied it a great deal as a hobby. I hardly ever do a sermon on it. The reason is this. All the prophecies concerning the return of the Lord Jesus have been fulfilled. The rapture could happen at any moment.

One reason I don’t write about it is because there are a number of theologies concerning the rapture and the tribulation and all of them have some validity and should be considered as a whole to your personal theology.

So I do believe in a literal rapture, a time of tribulation, a second coming of the Lord, a millennial reign. A literal interpretation of the book of Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel (as well as the whole the bible).

A real hell and a real heaven. And that some people have chosen of their own free will to go to a literal hell that is hot, and eternal. And a heaven that is for only believers that have chosen to submit and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, admitting their sin and helplessness to improve on that fallen state by any power of their own.

There will be the great white throne of judgement for non believers and the Bemas seat, the judging of Christians, not on their salvation, but on their motivation and works as a Christian.

This list could go on forever but it is a jumping off point. I am a Dispensationalist in theology, strangely enough more like a Bapticostal. (half Baptist half Pentecostal).

Questions, comments, prayer requests, please make them out to the web site at scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Next week we will have a bible give away for a 100 dollar bible. With a question about the bible that you can’t find the answer in google.

So stay tuned.  And God bless.

REVIRGINIZATION

June 1, 2018

WELL AFTER YESTERDAYS DEVOTION THIS MAKES PERFECT SENSE

It sounds ridiculous. Become a virgin again? Why not ask to relive last week? Yet if you’ve had sex, you may be saying, “I’ve asked for forgiveness. Now please tell me how to answer people who want to know whether or not I’m a virgin.”

Maybe the best answer to the question, “Are you a virgin?” is “None of your business.” But what do you tell yourself? If you want to start over, is it possible? Can you be a virgin again?

A man once posed a similar question to Jesus: “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” (John 3:4) Jesus answered by talking about a second, spiritual birth. “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven” (John 3:6).

You can lose your physical virginity just once. If you did it, you did it. You can’t get that first time back again. And the past carries with it physical and emotional consequences. If memories have been etched on your brain, you can’t pretend they’re gone. But spiritually, it is quite possible to start all over again.

Spiritual rebirth doesn’t destroy the past. It transforms it. A second chance, spiritually, means there are no limitations to what you can become. The God who made the universe out of nothing can take your past and make from it something beautiful.

The apostle Paul talked about this transformation when he wrote to a group of Christians in Greece. They had plenty in their past to regret. But because they trusted Jesus to redeem them, the past had been transformed:

Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshippers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers-none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

How do you begin that kind of transformation? You can’t manage it on your own. You need God’s power and forgiveness. And where do you find that? You ask for it. Spiritual transformation begins as simply and as mysteriously as that. You ask, admitting your need. And God goes to work in your life.

So when you’ve stopped having sex and asked for forgiveness, can you call yourself a virgin? Perhaps you are no longer a virgin in the physical sense. But because you have been purified by God, you are virgin in his eyes. That may not clear up your reputation or your memory. But it does clear up your future with God. You are as good as new.

Once you’ve experienced God’s forgiveness, you’ll still have to deal with the leftovers of your past, like guilt.

Feelings of guilt are your internal, emotional response. They aren’t always reliable. What we call a guilty conscience is often a mixture of feelings: regret, loss, sadness, self-reproach. These are natural feelings for someone who’s been heavily, emotionally involved in a sexual relationship.

The sense of guilt won’t instantly change. Like other natural consequences-pregnancy, disease, or painful memories-feelings don’t necessarily disappear when God transforms your life. But their sting is taken away. So, even though you may still feel guilty, it’s vital to know that, as far as God’s concerned, you’re not guilty. That’s the truth of

1 John 1:9, where God promises to forgive us and cleanse us when we confess our sins to him. And that’s the truth of Jeremiah 31:34, where God promises to forget your sins … forever.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to take away your feelings. He died to take away your sins. Cleansed of sin, you can work on transforming your feelings into a useful tool for God’s service. They need not lead you downward. Transformed, they can give you compassion for the pain of other people. They can give you deep determination not to go wrong again.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Joey S, kidney stones

Pray for Dave I, 4 time treating prostate cancer

Samantha R, that she carries her baby to full term

 

Stick, Stuck, Stunk

May 31, 2018

THE BAND-AID THEORY

Ok it goes like this, you are a band-aid, you are in the box, in your wrapper and you are brand new.

You are a virgin, so let’s say you have your first sexual encounter, you are not in the box (protected) and you have lost your wrapper. And when you have your next sexual experience you have to peel yourself off the other band-aid; and you get stuck to the next one.

As time goes by and your sexual experiences with other people increase two things happen, less adhesiveness , and what level of sexual experience you had with the last person you will bring into the next relationship. Date a freak, have sex, become a freak, share that with someone else.

Hear the sucking sound, its your life, if you are fortunate to only have one sexual encounter with one person and it is there only encounter and you get married or are married you can see the power of the adhesiveness. But the more experiences the less ability to stick.

With our sick level of attention to sex, where little 8 year old girls look like hookers and the rate of under 12 pregnancies increase, children raping other children we are heading ( no we are already there) living in the exact age where God annihilated nations for worshipping sex.

So to you virgins, keep the wrapper on, to those who have lost their wrapper, practice celibacy, don’t go to that last level of sex you had with your last relationship.

Act like a virgin, practice purity, abstain from lustful practices, stop watching, reading viewing anything related to sex.

From your elder brother in the Lord.

God bless

scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

pray for Vickie, as she battles breast cancer

pray for Walter, he dipped his toe in the dark side in the early days of his divorce. Now his wife wants to get back together and he’s going to have to tell her about certain things, (and no, he doesn’t have a choice).

Pray for Geraldine, she waited till she was 43 to get married, had saved her virtue, gave her heart totally to a man, dated (courted) two years. God married, had a storybook wedding. 9 years later he’s in prison, she’s lost everything and is having a spiritual breakdown.

 

S.O.S.

May 30, 2018

For some reason today, suicide was the hot topic. Not because everyone was watching 13 reasons why. But because the suicide rate is highest among seniors than any other age group.

For the Christian, it is essential to understand several things regarding suicide:

(1) Suicide is sin. God forbids murder (Exodus 20:13) and taking one’s own life is murder. It is also sin because it fails to take into account the assurances of God’s grace and mercy, of the compassionate High Priesthood of our Lord Jesus, and because it believes that there is no way out, but to sin. None of these are true. Taking one’s life is to disobey God, and disobedience is sin. Suicide is also sin because it causes great suffering for those we leave behind.  Suicide does not serve others for their good.

(2) While suicide is sin, it is not the unpardonable sin. (if the attempt fails) The only unpardonable sin is attributing the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus to Satan (Mark 3:20-30).

(3) While suicide is sin, it is easier to understand why a Christian would consider suicide than it is to grasp why an unbeliever would do so.  At best, the unbeliever who commits suicide enters into an uncertain future.  Little do they know that the are actually entering into a state of eternal separation from from God.  Knowing the glorious future that awaits the Christian, a believer might reason that it is better to escape the trials and tribulations of this life and enter into eternal joy in the presence of our Lord.  This is not to understate how tragic this choice is, or how destructive it is to one’s testimony, and to one’s claim that God’s provisions are sufficient for our every need. But the Christian is assured of going to heaven when they die (even if that be by suicide). When one is overcome by depression and is not thinking clearly, suicide may appear to be the only way out.

(4) There were genuine believers in the Bible who wanted to die, men like Elijah and Job, but the Scriptures that describe these men’s despair and suicidal desires make it clear that they were wrong. Later events make it clear that “bailing out of life” would have been a very bad choice.

(5) God sometimes brings us to a point of total despair and frustration so that we will give up trying to live this life in our own strength and cast ourselves wholly upon Christ.

After decades of crisis counseling and standing with parents as their young teens were brought from the brink of death by a suicidal attempt. I’ve reached one opinion. Every single kid was glad they didn’t die.

Suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do, it reflects a person consumed only with their own feelings and thoughts. It doesn’t “solve” anything.

My advice is tell the secret, come out of the closet, share what’s going through your mind, tell your wife you got aids, from that 20 dollar hooker, do the prison time. Whatever. Just get over you being the most important person in the world.

On a happier note our bible winner was actually brother and sister from Ecuador. And since we had two matching bible and a great phone call with some new friends of scumlikeuschurch. We are happy to announce that Birdy and Lollei are now even bigger friends.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

ADULT TOPIC, CAUTION, READ ONLY IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THE TOPIC.

THERE ARE NO PICTURES OR GRAPHIC DETAILS.

WARNING ADULT SUBJECT

Memorial day,

Every 98 seconds, an American is being sexually assaulted.

A government watchdog suggested that Congress might want to prohibit the Defense Department from spending money on Afghan military units whose members sexually abuse children or commit other human rights violations including the sexual abuse of our own American Soldiers. But the Pentagon disagreed with that idea, saying such incidents must be weighed against U.S. national security interests. (REALLY!!!) That attitude will never help soldiers come forward to tell their story because it’s at odds with ‘national interests.’

While in military service 1.5% of men reported being raped by Allied Troops while in the showers in forward operating combat zones. The figure in reality is much higher. Custom knife makers have been making neck knives to especially be worn while showering. Both to defend but also to mark the offenders so they can be challenged in a military court or more practical, shot while out on the next patrol.

The instructions are to slash the face and hands, leave a tell-tale mark. Problem is 99% of the men attacked don’t report it, especially if they were raped.

Hey, I’m a man, I’m supposed to be a lean mean green fighting machine. It’s hard for a man to admit something like that happened. Don’t let anyone tell you keep it to yourself, or, time is a great healer.

40% of women in the military report some form of sexual abuse, from groping, hazing, lewd comments, to physical assault.  Another reason not to have women in the military (in combat areas especially) (my opinion only).

13% of all men have reported the same thing.

What happened to the few, the proud, the Marines.

When I was in the military I saw 1 female in uniform, she was a major, a psychiatrist. Never saw women in the ranks. Never had one driving a truck with me or toting a gun out in the jungle. Now granted we still rode horses and shot bolt action guns (kidding) but it was a very long time.

Different jungle for me, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Banana Republics. For me we were told if you end up in prison down there kill yourself immediately. We all carried several knives, two single shot pistols as well as the usual weapons. We never all slept at the same time, two up 5 down, hypervigilance. Our biggest problem was money. Living in a place where bribes were 3 times larger than your annual salary. There was no loyalty.

So on this Memorial day, I’m encouraging soldiers to step up, speak out, sell your story (repeat until someone listens). Find someone to help you tell it all. Lay aside the self-blame. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed. You’re not less of a man for telling the truth about what happened. Women, the court experience can be worse than the event. You will be pictured as a slut, asking for it. I’m sorry, that’s all I can say, it’s not right. But hang tough. Take another beating, this time in court. But break the S.O.B. that did this to you.  As a soldier I apologize for what happened. A pastor might tell you vengeance is the Lord’s. well as a pastor, the court system is a part of God’s system. We won’t even go into the problems with the court. But it is what it is. By submitting to the law, you are submitting to God.

As our society further decays it is only going to get worse.

Changing the venue, sexual abuse here in the church, first thing, notice how high the numbers are that are being reported. It’s still to big a risk, to much shame in the military for men and woman to come forward. The stakes are higher while being in the military. You can lose your entire military career, or never be promoted, driven out silently.

In church, you just change churches. (I’m not making light of the situation) both are horrible events. But the problems are vastly different in the environment where the abuse happens. Because the systems are different, civilian world is an open system, whereas the military is a closed system.

Let’s turn to the church world

  • Evangelicals are initially more skeptical of media reports, even well-documented ones, than are members of the population at large—even when such reports come accompanied by significant evidence and documentation. It appears that we are more likely to go with the legal system’s “innocent until proven guilty” rule of thumb than the Bible’s “at the mouth of three witnesses let a thing be established” guideline. Nevertheless, when journalists continue to provide evidence, evangelicals are slowly persuaded.

  • That means often we believe the high-profile person who says “I didn’t do it” over the less powerful person saying, “You did this. And I have nothing to gain and everything to lose by bringing it up.”

  • When #MeToo initially went viral many Christians assumed the church was ahead of the culture in terms of morality. But it just took longer for the church stories to break. #ChurchToo followed with many stories about abuses of power beneath the steeple.

  • Some have suggested that a key problem with sexual harassment accusations is that the lines are gray, and people have misunderstood simple flirting—making a big deal out of nothing. But some solid Barna research contradicts such thinking. People, it turns out, are pretty clear about what constitutes crossing the line.

Hey, in my marriage it was simple, don’t look, don’t touch, don’t even think about it.

 Americans say that sexual harassment is most often about being touched or groped (women: 96%, men: 86%) or being forced to do something sexual (women: 91%, men: 83%). The list encompasses more than these extremes, however; it also includes someone touching themselves intentionally or masturbating in front of an unwilling witness (women: 89%, men: 76%); making sexual comments about someone’s looks or body (women: 86%, men: 70%); and sharing intimate photos or videos of someone without permission (women: 85%, men: 71%).

  • Christians who provide well-researched, investigated reports on allegations of sexual harassment and abuse are doing holy work, bringing darkness to light. Often public accountability is the only way to keep powerful people honest. Even church boards, seeking to reduce negative publicity, are often complicit in cover-ups.

  • There are a lot more people who get harassed and abused and finally come forward than there are who get falsely accused. So while we must take both seriously, we must also recognize our tendency to disbelieve the powerless.

  • If someone’s behavior is illegal (e.g., rape, child porn), the church has an obligation to more than deal with it internally; they must report it to the police. So those of us in leadership need to be familiar with our states’ laws. Many mental-health professionals believe that the power differential is so significant in minister with parishioner, physician with patient, and counselor with client relationships that there is no such thing as “consent.” That being the case, words such as “affair” have no room in our vocabulary for describing such situations.

  • When calling for an independent investigation, we need to look for ways that even a so-called independent investigation can leave the researcher beholden to the one(s) paying the bills. Such ties can create a conflict of interest—which can lead to accusations of cover-ups. So we must aim for fuller transparency and accountability.

  • When people confide in us their stories, we must avoid victim-blaming. One way to do so: ask super open-ended questions such as “What seemed the best course of action to you and why?” rather than “Why didn’t you call the police immediately?” Our questions can inflict more pain if we aren’t careful.

  • It is not enough to call for resignation when a leader has harmed a parishioner. And a verbal apology is not enough, either. Healing involves also making reparations such as taking full responsibility via rhetoric and paying for victims’ counseling. (When Zaccheus repented of ripping people off, he did more than apologize. He paid back his victims more than they had lost through his thievery. See Luke 19.)

Paul called on the Ephesians to expose the deeds of darkness Eph. 5:11). If you know of abuse happening—whether it’s like a David with a Bathsheba or a Potiphar’s wife with a Joseph—do something. Tell someone! The church of all places should be the best place in the world for victims and victimizers alike to encounter both mercy and justice.

Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up. (Galations 6:9)

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

FREE, FREE, FREE

May 23, 2018

I’m going to share the greatest spiritual secret there is, after salvation.

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Try Bible memorization free, 30 day proof of a changed life.

Call 1-800-try Jesus (seriously don’t call that number I have no idea who will answer).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

Jesus the only way.

 

(ok, this is really long, you might want to print it out, there’s just no way to make smaller bites, or this would turn out to be a one year study)

This issue about how can Christ be the only way to God is one of the toughest objections that will surface. It used to be the questions that concerned the issues of why do the innocent suffer. But now, I think, this question has become perhaps one of the largest obstacles. Why do you suppose that’s true? I think it’s a growth of pluralism and the issue of tolerance. We’ve discussed this in a number of cases but in our culture people have been educating us to suppose that tolerance is defined by agreeing with people or at least agreeing that their view may be just as legitimate as your view.

That is to say egalitarianism when it comes to truth has become the kind of course of the time. In other words, we are egalitarian with regard to truth. It’s interesting that we are often still elitists when it comes to people but egalitarian when it comes to truth. As I see it, it should be just the other way around. We are to be elitists when it comes to truth and egalitarian when it comes to people. That is to say, treat people in such a way that tolerance would be defined as loving and caring for the person and agreeing sometimes to disagree but in understanding that when we disagree on a truth that does not mean I’m rejecting you as a person.

Some how people have got the notion that to disagree with your thinking is to reject you as a person. I don’t know where that came from but that’s never really been the case at all. Such things would have eliminated the whole possibility of debate and dialogue in the past. Rather you have the idea that it is a good thing. Come now, let us reason together. (Isaiah 1:18) Let’s think things through and let’s have an opportunity to kind of evaluate options in the marketplace of ideas to see which ones hold and which ones do not. That is really all we are doing here.

the immediate objection surfaces that how can Christ be the only way to God is that means it’s too narrow. Some will say that since religion is all basically the same, some people feel that does it really matter which one you believe. In other words, aren’t all those religions pretty much variations on the same kinds of ideas? Isn’t it a matter of personal preference or upbringing or an estimated 75% of the world isn’t Christian, can they all be wrong? This sort of notion comes up. Jesus may be the only way for you but how does that make Him the only way for everybody?

You see, these are all really variations of the same objection. When this question surfaces then we need to consider that there are three basic options.

One could say that it’s not narrow and to revisit the whole issue and to say actually, as some have tried to do, that Christianity has been redefined in many circles as being so inclusive that it includes virtually anything. The question is whether that really is acceptable within the idea of mere Christianity or historic orthodox Christianity and whether that’s compatible or whether that’s coherent or not. The other option is if it’s narrow it must be wrong. The third option is narrowness doesn’t make it right or wrong. The question is whether it’s true or not.

When C.S. Lewis came to faith in Christ, ultimately he communicated that it was not because he wanted to believe. In fact, it was very much against his predilection. His disposition was to go against that. In fact, he said, I was a very satisfied, smug atheist. Then all these friends, these people I ran into, kept on jostling me. An atheist, he says, can never be too careful these days! You might read something, you might run into something that might be factual and so it is. It was not really something he wanted but something that kind of embraced him. It was not unlike Paul’s experience. He was really fighting against this whole thing. It was when Christ laid His hand upon him- that became a decisive experience in his life.

So Lewis came to the point where he says, you need to understand, it’s not because of any pragmatic value that Christianity may or may not have, it’s not because I feel good about it or that it is something I want to believe, I happen to be a Christian because I happen to believe it’s true. There is no other reason I believe but because I happen to think it’s true. I have been persuaded that there is a veridical case for Christianity among the worldview options. It’s such that it has the best evidential base of any of them.

Let’s take a look at the first option then that it is not narrow. My argument here is that such a view would conflict with the very exclusive claims of Christ. Now some people are clever and they try to redefine those claims or try to say that well, it looks like He said it but He really didn’t say it, the church put those words in His mouth. We’ve talked about that a little bit with this whole issue about Jesus being a myth or a legend when we talked earlier about the bible and it’s reliability. But the bottom line here is to say that there is no manuscript or historical or ancient traditions that would support such a view. In fact, it’s a view that’s rather recent that has been imposed upon the material to reconstruct or one might better say to deconstruct the text to fit modern parameters of a more pluralistic context. As we know, we live in a culture where truth is now presumably socially conditioned rather than something that’s objective. In a postmodern culture, which is actually ultra modern, basically the idea is that everything is up for grabs. What may be true for you may not be true for me. We’ll talk about that in a minute but let’s look at least at the texts themselves first of all.

Here’s what people often suppose. It might be that there is a mountain and as we go further and further up this mountain toward its pinnacle there are different ways up this mountain. Various people go up by different routes, some circuitous and others more directly but eventually they’re all going to converge at the top. The idea is that everybody at the top of the mountain will realize it was all the same quest after all. We’re all meeting at the top and whatever god, as you define who God would be, we’ll all say, oh, so all the religions really were all about the same god or about the same thing. It just looked different in our own culture. It’s often presented this way or else they use a wheel illustration. We look at this wheel and the various aspects and when we look at the hub, we see again that we’re all actually kind of heading toward the same hub, same center, whatever that might be and we may not know what it is. There are some accounts given that are of a pluralistic nature that say, nobody of course can know what kind of god this is. The very nature then of god is unknowable.

Of course that’s a content statement that everyone has to ask, how do you know that He’s unknowable? Immediately you have to realize that they are importing backhanded some particular facts and making very specific claims that the various people who made claims to know about God were completely deluded.

In other words you cannot be totally neutral on this matter. I’m suggesting here that actually that kind of view does not take seriously into account the claims and credentials of Christ. Now in John 3:18, the statement made by Christ, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Often, Jesus will speak of Himself as the Son of Man or the Son of God. He has this very strong claim that He’s making. In John 8:24 He said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Again this is a very strong claim.

Many people say, well, Jesus never really spoke much about Himself but even if He wasn’t true or even if He didn’t live or even if He wasn’t raised from the dead, His teachings would still be true. This was what Gandhi actually held as his position. He said that I admire His teachings so much that even if there never was a historical Jesus, still they would be true for me. The problem is, Jesus’ teachings are always about Himself – unabashedly, constantly referring back to Him. He doesn’t talk just about general terms but He says, unless you believe that I AM, then you will die in your sins. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

I take it as well, as I look at the various founders of world religions that there is a radical uniqueness of Christ in a number of ways in this regard. Some people promoted their teachings as the only way to God. But as I said earlier, Christ promoted Himself as that way rather than a set of teachings. Some would say that it is only through the teachings of various so-called prophets, and some said truth is spoken of in many ways but Jesus was very specific about this. He was specific not only about his exclusivity but also about His deity and His unique position. He boldly made this statement, (John 8:19b), “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” He who does not know Me does not know My Father. This is a very strong claim indeed and can be seen in another text in Matthew 11. This is just before the important text we’ve all heard, Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My Yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus is inviting them not to come to hear His teachings but to come to Him and He will give you rest. Take My yoke- receive – He constantly talks about receiving Him. The verse just before this, Matthew 11:27 says, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” So you have this pretty strong kind of claim that has to at least be accounted for. In John 14:9, He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

This other phrase that we just alluded to, I AM, often in bold letters, is seen again and again throughout the Scriptures in the New Testament as being a claim that Jesus makes. The I AM claim that He is making is related to the claim given to Moses. The proposition was given to Moses at the burning bush and you recall when Moses said in Exodus 3, whom shall I say is sending me? Who, will I tell Pharaoh, is sending me? Who, will I tell Pharaoh, is giving me the authority for this message? What did that voice give Moses? What was that name that Moses heard? Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.” That is the name then for the self-existent One. He exists in and of Himself. He looks to nothing else for His derivation. When Jesus said to the Jews, (John 8: 58), “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” How do you suppose they reacted to such a phrase? By the way, He didn’t say, I happen to exist or I am He, He said I AM. Else where, when they came to seek Him and there was a cohort, some 600 of them armed, and they came at night, as you recall in the Garden of Gethsemane, to take Him away, they came armed with lanterns, spears, torches and so forth. John 18: 4b, “Whom do you seek?” John 18:5a, “They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I AM.” (Note: now in your bibles it might say He in italics but this phrase was ego eime- I AM) John 18:6, “So when He said to them, “I AM He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” Something happened that was pretty powerful. In another case (John 57-59), when Jesus said, before Abraham was born, I AM, the Jews objected and said, You’re not even 50 years old and are You saying that You preceded him. They took up stones and wanted to stone Him to death for blasphemy because they understood that such a claim would be to make yourself tantamount to being God.

He supported His case for deity in a number of ways besides His numerous I AM statements. He also claimed the attributes of God. For example, the attribute of eternality is something that He claimed in John 17:5, “ Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” He claims as well the attribute of omnipresence. You see this illustrated in several passages for example when Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Now you can see where there are lots of times when more than 2 or 3 groups of people as well will gather together and it would imply a clear statement of omnipresence. “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b) I am with you. I’m constantly present with you. I would also say another claim, His sinlessness, is also a divine attribute. He would say, which of you convicts Me, charges Me with any sin. That’s a pretty strong statement. Now I have run into one or two people, maybe two people, who claimed to be sinless. They’re pretty rare but every so often I’ll run into someone who claims to be absolutely perfect. It’s an astounding claim but it requires no self-consciousness whatsoever or the perfection of those 3 defense mechanisms of denial, rationalization and projection. The only way I can account for a person who thinks himself or herself sinless is of course to see what friends and perhaps a spouse would reply to that statement about them! This particular person had to hold that view because he held a particular theology where by if he sinned at all, he would lose his salvation. What I did was I pressed him a little bit with that particular theology and said, well, what kind of sin are we talking about? Is it something pretty big or something more modest because the question is, where is your cutoff? I pressed him with that. He hadn’t murdered anyone. Then the problem would be, what if you hate somebody in your heart? Do you recall when Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said if you hate your brother you’ve committed murder in your heart? Then I pressed it farther and I got it down to where if he exceeded the speed limit, unbeknownst to him, by ½ mph, he would lose his salvation. Now at that point, frankly, he had committed the sin of pride in order to hold to such a stubborn position because he refused to acknowledge the incoherence of his position. The point is, if that’s your view then any sin will do it- thought, word or deed and it can be sins of omission as well. The sins of omission cut both ways as well. There are a lot of things I have done wrong by simply not doing them. Remember that idea- if you have a liturgical background part of the confession is that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and in what we have failed to do. That will nail you because there are all kinds of things that we should’ve done. We look back and say, I should’ve said a word of kindness to that person or I should’ve- you see where I’m going with that? Thought, word and deed will get you too. It’s not just your deeds but your thoughts and your words count too! We have a dilemma that we have to address. Scripture hits us front on with that.

There are a number of indirect claims that Jesus makes concerning His deity. There are a number of these but one of these is His ability to forgive sin. That is a pretty strong claim in Mark 2:5-11 and Luke 7:48-50 when Jesus says, I forgive them, and particularly when it was not a sin committed against Him. Try this at home- somebody complains to you about another person who had said something mean to your friend and your friend told you about this and whatever they did you say, that’s okay, I forgive them. Do you see the absurdity there? Wait a minute, what do you have to do with this, you weren’t involved? To make such a claim is to make the supposition that all sins are committed ultimately against Him. This would mean, of course, that He claimed to be God. In fact the Pharisees rightly said, who but God could forgive sins? They were right and again- they wanted to stone Him for these kinds of claims and these so-called blasphemies because they were right- if He wasn’t God these were indeed blasphemies.

Jesus’ acceptance of worship was pretty strong. Remember when, for example, Thomas sees Him and he says, my Lord and my God. (John 20:28) Peter worships Him in the boat and when Jesus says, all must honor the Son even as they have honored the Father. (John 5:23) The word that is used is the word for worship. These are very strong claims. That all people would face Him in judgment is not a modest claim either in John 5. Imagine me coming to say to you that by the way, when you die it’s going to be me that you give an account to- not anyone else- me. These are pretty strong claims if you would analyze the implications of that. Also, that judgment will be based upon what you did about Me is again, a very strong claim.

Stay tuned

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for James, he and his son have drifted apart.

Pray for Fritz, always been in church, never accepted the Lord because of “hypocrites.”

Pray for Robin M. a burned out child of the 70’s, never grew up.