"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Those Boring Begats - The Importance of the Record of Biblical Genealogy

by A.M. Kisly

Several weeks ago I began to think about my family genealogy. I knew I had a strong Christian heritage, but really not much more. I was curious and made a phone call to my mom, and together we began our quest. Tracing our lineage has been somewhat confusing....the who begat who, and how many generations down the line we were and so forth...well, it has been challenging to find the undisputed, accurate accounting of our family tree. Just exactly why I began to think about our family history
out of the blue, I do not know. Perhaps it is a natural curiosity that one begins to wonder about as family members begin to grow old or die off. As we grow older, those who might have some information about our family heritage are no longer around to question, and in some ways, not knowing is as though something has been left unfinished...some revelation hidden forever.

Why am I sharing this? Well it seems that the portions of scripture that deal with genealogies are somewhat of a bore to some folks. I will admit I belonged to that group at one time in my life, that is until I understood the importance of the biblical record.

When one considers the amazing accuracy in which the genealogies are recorded in the Bible...one can better understand that God can do the most amazing miraculous things. Anyone who has researched their family history can tell you that records are hard to come by, and let's just say that the accuracy pales in comparison to the Biblical records by far. In my family genealogy, the records can show up to 4 or 5 different spellings of a last name for the same person.....but the Bible's record gives a complete and accurate accounting that is untarnished by man's inadequacy and proven truthful as it has stood the test of time.


I read an article recently by Dr. David R. Reagan. The article is entitled, "Those "Boring 'Begats' - Why did God bother to include all those boring begats in the Bible?" Apparently, some fellow wrote him inquiring about this...referring to the lengthy genealogies written in the gospels of Matthew chapter 1, and Luke chapter 3. In repy, Dr. Reagan wrote that the begats are very important, and they are anything but boring, if they are studied carefully. Their importance lies in the fact that they substantiate that Jesus' lineage fulfilled the prophecies that the Messiah would be descended from Abraham (Genesis 12:3) through Isaac (Genesis 17:21) and Jacob (Genesis 28:14), and that He would be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8), the family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), and the house of David (Jeremiah 23:5).


Paul mentions this prophecy (Genesis 12:3) in Galatians 3:16: "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ." It is evident from the genealogies in both Matthew 1 (Joseph's) and Luke 3 (Mary's) that both legally and naturally Jesus is a descendant of Abraham.

What a wonderful gift to be given a full and accurate accounting of the lineage of Jesus Christ from Genesis to the Gospels at the announcement of His birth. Thus the fulfillment of the prophetic passages in scripture is proof positive of the certainty of the Word of God . In an age where we are hard pressed to find truth anywhere, the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and the accurate historical accounts proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is authentic, accurate, inerrant and absolutely the true word of the living God.

D
igging a little deeper into the who's who in the family tree, there is yet something more that is revealed to us. In fact, those who God chose to be a part of the Messiah's lineage reveal something so wonderful about the nature and character of God. For within these begats, we get a full picture of the wonderful grace of God and his provision of hope and salvation for every sinner.

Dr. Reagan includes the following in his article:

Two Lists Full of Gems

Matthew presents the royal genealogy through Joseph who was Jesus' legal father. Luke traces Jesus' blood line through Mary's father, Eli.

The begats in these verses reveal that whereas Joseph was a descendant of David through Solomon, Mary was a descendant through David's son Nathan. This is an important distinction because God had disinherited Solomon's line through King Coniah, stating that none of Coniah's descendants "will sit on the throne of David or rule again in Judah" (Jeremiah 22:24,28-30). This curse did not affect Jesus since He was not Joseph's natural son and therefore did not literally descend from the cursed bloodline of Coniah (also know as Jeconiah — Matthew 1:11).

The begats are full of gems like this. Consider, for example, that Matthew mentions four women in the heritage of Jesus — Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. All were Gentiles, and three of the four were either prostitutes or adulterers. In prompting Matthew to mention these three, it's as if the Holy Spirit wanted to emphasize that the Jesus Christ came to save sinners among both Jews and Gentiles.

I hope you can see how the genealogy of Jesus Christ is immeasurably more than a list of ancient names; it is even more than a list of Jesus' human forebears. It is a beautiful testimony to God's grace and to the ministry of His Son, Jesus Christ. He is truly the friend of sinners who came to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:13).

Next time you read through the genealogy of Jesus Christ, I would encourage you to slow down and consider God's wonderful gift of grace, His accurate record of history, His ability to fulfill His promises and His sure testimony of TRUTH.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Soul's Crisis


by A.M. Kisly

The turning points of two lives—Divine Grace decided the one and the flesh decided the other—the one, in all human probability, is bound for Heaven and the other, alas, is bound for Hell.


"There is a time, we know not when,

A point we know not where,

That marks the destiny of men,

To glory or despair.


There is a line, by us unseen,

That crosses every path;
The hidden boundary between
God’s patience and His wrath.


To pass that limit is to die,

To die, as if by stealth:
It does not quench the beaming eye,
Or pale the glow of health.

The conscience may be still at ease,

The spirits light and gay.

That which is pleasing still may please,

And care be thrust away.


But on that forehead
God has set
Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man—for man as yet

Is blind and in the dark.


And yet the doomed man’s path below,

Like Eden, may have bloomed.

He did not, does not, will not know,

Or feel that he is doomed.


He knows, he feels, that all is well,

And every fear is calmed.

He lives, he dies, he wakes in Hell,
Not only doomed but damned!


O where is your mysterious brook,

By which our path is crossed,

Beyond which God Himself has sworn,

That he who goes is lost?


How far may we go on in sin?

How long will God forbear?

Where does hope end? and where begin

The confines of despair?


An answer from the skies is sent—

‘Ye that from God depart,

While it is called today,
Repent!
And harden not your heart."

- DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

THE BIBLE - Its Sufficiency and Supremacy


by A.M. Kisly

Most recently I engaged in a conversation with a young man who was quite skilled in attacking the Bible, twisting the meaning of Scripture and perverting its interpretation. To be fair to the young man, he was not a Christian, but a self-acclaimed atheist and therefore could not understand the spiritual nature of the Bible. It is like describing color to a blind man. Yet to the hungry soul the Word of God is like manna from heaven; to the thirsty soul like rivers of living water that quenches their thirst.

Just what is the Bible? Here's the answer, the Bible is the most powerful book in existence, the most powerful piece of literature ever written. Why? Because it is not the word of men, it is the word of God.

The Bible claims to be the Word of God, that is, His communication to humanity. Over three thousand times in the Old Testament alone we find such phrases as, 'Thus says the Lord," or " God said." For centuries people have turned to the Bible for the answers to the basic questions of life: Where did we come from? Why are we here on Planet Earth? What will happen to us when we die?

The Bible answers these questions and more. For within each page, we find a personal and infinite God who created the entire universe, created man in his own image and reveals his true nature and character to us.

Whether or not one accepts its claims, one must recognize its importance. Throughout the centuries, the Bible has wielded great influence. We could reasonably call it the most important book in the world. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that you understand its makeup, contents and claims, as well as the literary interpretation.

The Bible stands up to all objective scrutiny. God's word can be investigated from within itself, or from outside sources....but the fact remains that it remains to be TRUE...HIS TRUTH REVEALED...that's if you honestly evaluate the evidence.

That said, C.H. Mackintosh wrote a wonderful article on "The Bible - Its Sufficiency and Supremacy," an article that is well articulated and worth sharing with you.

The Bible — Its Sufficiency and Supremacy

by C. H. Mackintosh

Some, we are aware, would fain persuade us that things are so totally changed since the Bible was penned, that we need other guidance than that which its precious pages supply. They tell us that society is not what it was; that the human race has made progress; that there has been such a development of the powers of nature, the resources of science and the appliances of philosophy, that to maintain the sufficiency and supremacy of the Bible, at such a point in the world's history as the nineteenth century of the Christian era, can only be regarded as childishness, ignorance, or imbecility.

Now, the men that tell us these things may be very clever and very learned; but we have no hesitation whatever in telling them that, in this matter, "they do greatly err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." We certainly do desire to render all due respect to learning, genius, and talent, whenever we find them in their right place, and at their proper work; but when we find them lifting their proud heads above the Word of God; when we find them sitting in judgment, and casting a slur upon that peerless revelation, we feel that we owe them no respect whatever; yea, we treat them as so many agents of the devil, in his efforts to shake those eternal pillars on which the faith of God's people has ever rested. We cannot listen for a moment to men, however profound in their reading and thinking, who dare to treat God's book as though it were man's book, and speak of those pages that were penned by the All wise, Almighty, and Eternal God, as though they were the production of a shallow and short-sighted mortal.

It is important that the reader should see clearly that men must either deny that the Bible is the Word of God, or admit its sufficiency and supremacy in all ages, and in all countries all stages and conditions of the human race. Grant us but this, that God has written a book for man's guidance, and we argue that that book must be amply sufficient for man, no matter when, where, or how we find him. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . that the man of God may be perfect (Gr) thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). This, surely, is enough. To be perfect and thoroughly furnished, must needs render a man independent of all the boasted powers of science and philosophy, falsely so called.

We are quite aware that, in writing thus, we expose ourselves to the sneer of the learned rationalist, and the polished and cultivated philosopher. But we are not very careful about this. We greatly admire the answer of a pious, but, no doubt, very ignorant woman to some very learned man who was endeavoring to show her that the inspired writer had made a mistake in asserting that Jonah was in the whale's belly. He assured her that such a thing could not possibly be, inasmuch that the natural history of the whale proved it could not swallow anything so large.

"Well," said the poor woman, "I do not know much about natural history; but this I know, that if the Bible were to tell me that Jonah swallowed the whale I would believe it."

Now, it is quite possible many would pronounce this poor woman to have been under the influence of ignorance and blind credulity; but, for our part, we should rather be the ignorant woman, confiding in God's Word, than the learned rationalist trying to pick holes in it. We have no doubt as to who was in the safer position.

But, let it not be supposed that we prefer ignorance to learning. Let none imagine that we despise the discoveries of science, or treat with contempt the achievements of sound philosophy. Far from it. We honour them highly in their proper sphere. We could not say how much we prize the labours of those learned men who have consecrated their energies to the work of clearing the sacred text of the various errors and Corruptions which, from age to age, had crept into it, through the carelessness or infirmity of copyists, taken advantage of by a crafty and malignant foe. Every effort put forth to preserve, to unfold, to illustrate, and to enforce the precious truth of Scripture, we most highly esteem; but, on the other hand, when we find men making use of their learning, their science, and their philosophy, for the purpose of undermining the sacred edifice of divine revelation, we deem it our duty, to raise our voice, in the clearest and strongest way, against them, and to warn the reader, most solemnly, against their baneful influence.

We believe that the Bible, as written in the original Hebrew and Greek languages, is the very word of the only wise and the only true God, with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, who saw the end from the beginning, and not only the end, but every stage of the way. We therefore hold it to be nothing short of positive blasphemy to assert that we have arrived at a stage of our career in which the Bible is not sufficient, or that we are compelled to travel outside its covers to find ample guidance and instruction for the present moment, and for every moment of our earthly pilgrimage. The Bible is a perfect chart, in which every exigency of the Christian mariner has been anticipated. Every rock, every sand-bank, every shoal, every strand, every island, has been carefully noted down. All the need of the Church of God, its members, and its ministers, has been most fully provided for. How could it be otherwise if we admit the Bible to be the Word of God? Could the mind of God have devised, or His finger sketched an imperfect chart? Impossible. We must either deny the divinity or admit the sufficiency of The Book. We are absolutely shut up to this alternative. There is not so much as a single point between these two positions. If the book is incomplete, it cannot be of God; if it be of God it must be perfect. But if we are compelled to betake ourselves to other sources for guidance and instruction, as to the path of the Church of God, its members or its ministers, then is the Bible incomplete, and being such, it cannot be of God at all.

What then are we to do? Whither can we betake ourselves? If the Bible be not a divine and therefore all-sufficient guide-book, what remains? Some will tell us to have recourse to tradition. Alas! what a miserable guide. No sooner have we launched out into the wide field of tradition than our ears are assailed by ten thousand strange and conflicting sounds. We meet, it may be, with a tradition which seems very authentic, very venerable, well worthy of respect and confidence, and we commit ourselves to its guidance; but, directly we have done so, another tradition crosses our path, putting forth quite as strong claims on our confidence, and leading us in quite an opposite direction. Thus it is with tradition. The mind is bewildered, and one is reminded of the assembly at Ephesus, concerning which we read that, "Some cried one thing, and some another; for the assembly was confused." The fact is, we want a perfect standard, and this can only be found in a divine revelation, which, as we believe, is to be found within the covers of our most precious Bible. What a treasure! How we should bless God for it! How we should praise His name for His mercy in that He hath not left His Church dependent upon the igni fatuas of human tradition, but upon the steady light of divine revelation! We do not want tradition to assist revelation, but we use revelation as the test of tradition. We should just as soon think of bringing out a rush-light to assist the sun's meridian beams, as of calling in human tradition to aid divine revelation.

But there is another very ensnaring and dangerous resource presented by the enemy of the Bible, and alas! accepted by too many of the people of God, and that is expediency, or the very attractive plea of doing all the good we can, without due attention to the way in which that good is done. The tree of expediency is a wide-spreading one, and yields most tempting clusters. But remember, its clusters will prove bitter as wormwood in the ends. It is, no doubt, well to do all the good we can; but let us look well to the way in which we do it. Let us not deceive ourselves by the vain imagination that God will ever accept of services based upon positive disobedience to His Word. "It is a gift," said the elders, as they boldly walked over the plain commandment of God, as if He would be pleased with a gift presented on such a principle There is an intimate connection between the ancient "corban" and the modern "expediency," for "there is nothing new under the sun." The solemn responsibility of obeying the Word of God was got rid of under the plausible pretext of "corban," or "it is a gift" (Mark 7: 7-13).

Thus it was of old. The "corban" of the ancients justified, or sought to justify, many a bold transgression of the law of God; and the "expediency" of our times allures many to outstep the boundary line laid down by divine revelation.

Now, we quite admit that expediency holds out most attractive inducements. It does seem so very delightful to be doing a great deal of good, to be gaining the ends of a large hearted benevolence, to be reaching tangible results. It would not be an easy matter duly to estimate the ensnaring influences of such objects, or the immense difficulty of throwing them overboard. Have we never been tempted as we stood upon the narrow path of obedience, and looked forth upon the golden fields of expediency lying on either side, to exclaim, "Alas! I am sacrificing my usefulness for an idea"? Doubtless; but then what if it should turn out that we have the very same foundation for that "idea" as for the fundamental doctrines of salvation? The question is, What is the idea? Is it founded upon "Thus saith the Lord"? If so, let us tenaciously hold by it, though ten thousand advocates of expediency were hurling at us the grievous charge of narrow-mindedness.

There is immense power in Samuel's brief but pointed reply to Saul, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord! Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam15: 22). Saul's word was Sacrifice.'' Samuel's word was "Obedience." No doubt the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen were most exciting. They would be looked upon as substantial proofs that something was being done; while on the other hand, the path of obedience seemed narrow, silent, lonely, and fruitless. But oh! those pungent words of Samuel! "to obey is better than sacrifice." What a triumphant answer to the most eloquent advocates of expediency! They are most conclusive — most commanding words. They teach us that it is better, if it must be so, to stand, like a marble statue, on the pathway of obedience, than to reach the most desirable ends by transgressing a plain precept of the Word of God.

But let none suppose that one must be like a statue on the path of obedience. Far from it. There are rare and precious services to be rendered by the obedient one — services which can only be rendered by such, and which owe all their preciousness to their being the fruit of simple obedience. [What a pattern of this we have in our blessed Lord! who for thirty years lived here in retirement, known by men only as "the carpenter" (Mark 6: 3), but known by, and the delight of, the Father, as the Holy One of God, the perfect meat-offering of Lev. 6: 19-33 — wholly burnt upon the altar. [ED.] True, they may not find a place in the public record of man's bustling activity; but they are recorded on high, and they will be published at the right time. As a dear friend has often said to us, "Heaven will be the safest and happiest place to hear all about our work down here." May we remember this, and pursue our way, in all simplicity, looking to Christ for guidance, power, and blessing. May His smile be enough for us. May we not be found looking askance to catch the approving look of a poor mortal whose breath is in his nostrils, nor sigh to find our names amid the glittering record of the great men of the age. The servant of Christ should look far beyond all such things. The grand business of the servant is to obey. His object should not be to do a great deal, but simply to do what he is told. This makes all plain; and, moreover, it will make the Bible precious as the depository of the Master's will, to which he must continually betake himself to know what he is to do, and how he is to do it. Neither tradition nor expediency will do for the servant of Christ.
The all-important inquiry is, "What saith the Scriptures."

This settles everything. From the decision of the Word of God there must be no appeal. When God speaks man must bow. It is not by any means a question of obstinate adherence to a man's own notions. Quite the opposite. It is a reverent adherence to the Word of God. Let the reader distinctly mark this. It often happens that, when one is determined, through grace, to abide by Scripture, he will be pronounced dogmatic, intolerant and imperious; and, no doubt, one has to watch over his temper, spirit, and style, even when seeking to abide by the Word of God. But, be it well remembered, obedience to Christ's commandments is the very opposite of imperiousness, dogmatism, and intolerance. It is not a little strange that when a man tamely consents to place his conscience in the keeping of his fellow, and to bow down his understanding to the opinions of men, he is considered meek, modest, and liberal; but let him reverently bow to the authority of the holy Scripture, and he will be looked upon as self-confident, dogmatic, and narrow-minded. Be it so. The time is rapidly approaching when obedience shall be called by its right name, and meet its recognition and reward. For that moment the faithful must be content to wait, and while waiting for it, be satisfied to let men call them whatever they please. "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity."

But we must draw to a close, and would merely add, in conclusion, that there is a third hostile influence against which the lover of the Bible will have to watch, and that is rationalism — or the supremacy of man's reason. The faithful disciple of the Word of God will have to withstand this audacious intruder, with the most unflinching decision. It presumes to sit in judgment upon the Word of God — to decide upon what is and what is not worthy of God — to prescribe boundaries to inspiration. Instead of humbly bowing to the authority of Scripture, which continually soars into a region where poor blind reason can never follow, it proudly seeks to drag Scripture down to its own level. If the Bible puts forth aught which, in the smallest degree, clashes with the conclusions of rationalism, then there must be some flaw. God is shut out of His own book if He says anything which poor blind, perverted reason cannot reconcile with her own conclusions — which conclusions, be it observed, are not infrequently the grossest absurdities.

Nor is this all. Rationalism deprives us of the only perfect standard of truth, and conducts us into a region of the most dreary uncertainty. It seeks to undermine the authority of a Book in which we can believe everything, and carries us into a field of speculation in which we can be sure of nothing. Under the dominion of rationalism the soul is like a vessel broken from its safe moorings in the haven of divine revelation, to be tossed like a cork upon the wild watery waste of universal skepticism.

Now we do not expect to convince a thorough rationalist, even if such a one should condescend to scan our unpretending pages, which is most unlikely. Neither could we expect to gain over to our way of thinking the decided advocate of expediency, or the ardent admirer of tradition. We have neither the competency, the leisure, nor the space, to enter upon such a line of argument as would be required were we seeking to gain such ends as these. But we are most anxious that the Christian reader should rise up from the perusal of this volume with a deepened sense of the preciousness of his Bible. We earnestly desire that the words, 'The Bible: its sufficiency and supremacy," should be engraved, in deep and broad characters, upon the tablet of the reader's heart.

We feel that we have a solemn duty to perform, at a moment like the present, in the which superstition, expediency, and rationalism are all at work, as so many agents of the devil, in his efforts to sap the foundations of our holy faith. We owe it to that blessed volume of inspiration, from which we have drunk the streams of life and peace, to bear our feeble testimony to the divinity of its every page — to give expression, in this permanent form to Our profound reverence for its authority, and our conviction of its divine sufficiency for every need, whether of the believer individually, or the church collectively. We press upon our readers earnestly to set a higher value than ever upon the Holy Scriptures, and to warn them, in most urgent terms, against every influence, whether of tradition, expediency, or rationalism, which might tend to shake their confidence in those heavenly oracles. There is a spirit abroad, and there are principles at work, which make it imperative upon us to keep close to Scripture — to treasure it in our hearts — and to submit to its holy authority.

May God the Spirit, the Author of the Bible, produce, in the writer and reader of these lines, a more ardent love for that Bible! May He enlarge our experimental acquaintance with its contents, and lead us into more complete subjection to its teachings in all things, that God may be more glorified in us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read more!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Story of Jonah and the Whale

by A.M. Kisly

This was just too awesome not to share. The retell of Jonah's story is an absolute delight.

ENJOY!


The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.



Jonah and the Whale
A true story found in the Holy Bible book of Jonah
Authorized King James Version of 1611
Keywords: Jonah, whale

Chapter 1

1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.


Chapter 2

1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Chapter 3

1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.

4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Chapter 4

1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

D. Martyn Lloyd Jones - "A Question of Priority"

by A.M. Kisly

D. Martyn Lloyd Jones was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Lloyd-Jones was strongly opposed to the liberal theology that had become a part of many Christian denominations, regarding it as aberrant. He disagreed with the broad church approach and encouraged evangelical Christians (particularly Anglicans) to leave their existing denominations, taking the view that true Christian fellowship was only possible amongst those who shared common convictions regarding the nature of the faith.

I recently found an old recording entitled "A Question of Priority". The message was preached on Sunday June 5, 1966, and is based on the book of Acts from chapter 6:1-2. This sermon covers the following topics:

... The priority of the Church is not philanthropy.
... Benevolence that comes from the changed man.
... Priority must always be the Gospel message.
... The fundamental need of men.

I pray this message builds you up in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more!

Monday, October 25, 2010

ISRAEL AND THE LAST DAYS

by A.M. Kisly

The following video presentation by Chuck Missler called, "Israel and the Last Days" is in response to the anxiety that we are all feeling today about the danger rising in the Middle East. As we appear to be moving on the threshold of a major engagement, let's look to the Scriptures to see what has been foretold of these events in order to discern the times, and make sense of the things that are unfolding before our eyes.

Let's watch:

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Friday, October 8, 2010

GOT TRUTH? An Examination of What Truth Is and How It Affects Us – PART Three-b (taken in part from John MacArthur’s The TRUTH War, and the Holy Bible


~~By James Fire

Whereas in times past, Truth-haters intended the actual destruction of the Bible (some Popes were known to have ordered the burning of entire libraries of Bibles!); in today’s world, a different tactic is employed – not the actual destruction of its paper and ink, but of the Truth they contain! Emergent leaders like Brian McClaren and Doug Pagitt as well as Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens (two of the Four Horsemen of the New Atheists movement) want to dismiss by subterfuge and, or denial both intellectually and experientially the Truth as contained in the Holy Scriptures.

Yet the Word of God still abides, the Truth endures – to – all – generations!
In this second half of the article of GOT TRUTH? we will continue this study by turning to the New Testament scriptures (but hardly an exhaustive study) in the hopes that we whet the appetites of you the readers to conduct your own more thorough search!
*Obviously there is more on the subject of Truth as found in the Old Testament, and these other verses and portions of scripture I would submit to you and your own further study; for now however, I would like to turn to the New Testament and see what nuggets we can find there! I will take a slightly different approach with this second half however.

It’s quite interesting to know that the word ‘Truth’ appears in the Gospels a total of sixty five times. Six times in Matthew, five times in Mark, ten times in Luke, and an astounding forty-four times in John! More than all the other Gospel accounts put together! And as the Gospel of John focuses on the Divinity of Christ, its no small wonder that ‘Truth’ would be mentioned so frequently, as God is a God of Truth!

Mat 14:33
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

God grants us truth incrementally, have you noticed that? If He divulged the sum total of it to us all at once, it was be a (literally) mind-blowing experience! Once before during a tumult at sea, the apostles witnessed the LORD bringing calm, and asked themselves “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” They knew something was up with this carpenter from Nazareth, something unusual, but they didn’t even know the half of it. In this passage above, they recognized the truth that Jesus is indeed the Son of God! This truth led them to worship Him, and rightly so!

Mat 15:27
And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

In the next chapter over, we see a woman, desperate for the healing of her daughter (who was possessed of demon(s). Yet she was a Gentile woman from the coastal area of Sidon and Tyre, and the Jews had no dealings with the Gentiles, and it would seem the LORD is reluctant to even speak with her, but when He does, He sounds demeaning: “Its not acceptable to take bread from the children and give it to dogs (a common Jewish term for Gentiles).”


Yet this woman, who was prostrate in worship, humbled herself even further with an admission: “Truth, LORD, but even the dogs eat of the master’s crumbs that fall from the table!”

We can see how this woman was willingly humbled by the Truth and accepted her place in rank, as it were (a dog, lower in status than the children of the Father). Being so humbled by her own admission, she found an answer to her plea, and her daughter was delivered!

Her faith was in the Truth, that the Master would out of the goodness of His heart, bestow a blessing (even to a dog), with a few crumbs from His table!

(Of course in the dispensation we find ourselves in today, such rank and file of Jew and Gentile is temporarily suspended, for in the church, there is one body comprised of both Jew and Gentile, and neither is superior to the other. In the kingdom of heaven, Jewish people will enjoy a place of preeminence among the nations (excluding the church).)

Mat 22:16
And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.


As we, who loves the Truth, maintain a stalwart and consistent hold on the Truth, we will lose any fearfulness and respect of persons in Light of their awed reverence for God Himself and His Word (Gal. 1:10). We see this happen time and again throughout the scriptures, from Noah, to Moses, to Elijah, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and others, all the way to John the Baptist and the LORD Jesus Himself, along with His apostles (AFTER Pentecost). Observe the bold response that the LORD gave to the Herodians when they posed their question regarding “tribute to Caesar”!

Luk 4:25-27
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.


The Truth can certainly hurt, can’t it? It can cause offense and wound terribly, but those who hate and reject the Truth will experience far greater peril and destruction than anything Truth would do; indeed, if they would humbly submit to the Truth, they would only find benefit and good. In the passage above the Jews who heard the teaching of Jesus were offended, because He reminded them that in the days of Elijah and Elisha, none of the Jews of their day were delivered such mighty blessings, provisions and healings as did these two Gentiles – a woman of Sidon, and a Syrian General named Naaman. The woman received a perpetual supply of flour for her and her son’s sustenance in the midst of famine; Naaman received a miraculous healing of his leprosy by dipping himself in the Jordan River, seven times. Just as the Word preached by Elijah and Elisha was generally rejected by Israel, so also the preaching from the Messiah Himself was, on a national basis, rejected by Israel. I believe this was the LORD’s way of telling the people that if they didn’t receive His Word, He would turn to those who would (the Gentile nations).

Consider what a terrible loss we experience if we reject the Truth; what about all the multitudes of innumerable souls that will stand condemned before the White Throne of the Holy God because they summarily rejected the Truth of the Gospel! Think of those who knew the Truth, but didn’t believe it, or receive it, these that “held the truth in unrighteousness”! See Romans 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:10, 12.

John 1:14, 17
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.


The ‘Word of God’ aside from being the inspired canon of scripture and the revelation of Truth as sent by God, is also a title of Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity (1 John 5:7; Rev. 19:13). He is the very embodiment of Truth in the person of a Man (truly ASTOUNDING!), Who is God (John 1:1).

How we are affected by Truth, and likewise the world in which will live, can no where else be demonstrated with greater clarity or ramifications than how we deal with the Person of Jesus Christ Who is essentially ‘Mr. Truth’.

This is a rather remarkable statement when one realizes we are talking about a person who was born two thousand years ago to peasants, in an insignificant town in Judea called Bethlehem, was raised in a similarly insignificant and disreputable town known as Nazareth, grew up in obscurity for thirty years, and for a very brief three to three and a half years ministered in towns and cities throughout Israel, but still no more than two hundred miles from where he was born. He owned virtually nothing, was disrespected by the religious establishment of Israel, ridiculed and rejected by most of her people, mocked, imprisoned and crucified by the ruling government of Rome, whose followers all abandoned him, and who, to this day remains a curse word to the world!

Upon this Person hangs the eternal destiny of every single man, woman and child, every human soul who was ever born into this world and ever will be! The LORD Jesus asked His disciples that very question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?”

Who do YOU say that Jesus is? A great teacher? Religious leader? Revolutionary? A good man? A renegade prophet? Or is He God made into man, the God-man, wholly Divine and wholly human? Your own eternal destiny will hang on your very answer to this quintessential Question of questions!

Note that Jesus Christ is full of grace as well as truth. This mixture is of paramount importance for the truth alone would indict us with our own treasonous abandonment of it; yet grace steps in, and with unmerited favor brings about a truth not otherwise obtainable: that we sinners by believing in the truth of God’s grace can become saints! Rather than seditionists in league with Satan, we become the sons of the Living Savior!

John 3:18-21
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

The nature of one’s heart and propensities will be manifest when exposed to the Light of God, which is God Himself (1 John 1:5). If one is evil, as the verses above state, they will flee from the Light to the darkness which they love, for in that darkness they are not reproved for their evil. Yet if one is a doer of Truth they have no fear of the Light nor of its manifesting power, because Truth and Light are twins in the spiritual sense and even more denotatively, in a Divine sense. We saints, “walk in the Light, as He (the Truth made flesh) is in the Light, and we have fellowship one with another” (1 John 1:7).


John 4:23-24
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Worship of God isn’t a free-style matter; nor is it a do-it-yourself religious practice. This verse plainly indicates that they who worship God “must” worship Him in spirit and in truth. Yet worship in some of America’s churches has become a free for all where anything goes! Don’t believe me? Walk through the Museum of Idolatry and see it for yourself (WARNING: You just might want a barf bag before you watch some of these clips, they are not only grievous, they are sickening and sad):

A Little Leaven

We approach God the Way He has prescribed for us: through the LORD Jesus Christ; we worship Him the Way that He has determined: with surrendered hearts that are committed to obeying God in a walk of holiness and righteousness. On FROM The MIND of FIRE, we have an article on worship for your perusal:

Seeking Such To Worship

John 8:31-32, 34, 36
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.


It’s the Truth of God that delivers, saves, redeems, restores . . . every genuine benefit you can think of, somewhere along the line is derivative of the truth; every destructive force, power, or intent is based upon deception and lies.
Think of the sort of destruction that resulted from Eve believing the lie of the serpent:

Gen 3:4-5
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


Think of the destruction and ruin that’s resulted from the lie of evolution; follow the history of the most heinous, wanton evils and violence, and just see if the destroyers didn’t justify their actions (at least in part) to the theory of evolution (this is why I like to spell it ‘evilution’)”

Think of the sort of blessing that the Truth brings; firstly, the Truth as represented in the Gospel:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Rom 10:9
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


Think of the benefits of the truth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that has secured for us a freedom in a Republic form of government, a rule by just law (as we were originally founded as, not a Democracy which is a rule by majority vote).

From the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government …”
And from the Constitution of the United States: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

In the passage from John ch. 8 the LORD Jesus states that the Truth will make one free, and then He also states that “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” Thus declaring Himself as the Truth, and that this Truth is of Divine origin, as opposed to the issue of spiritual bondage and slavery to sin, which we all have become by the Fall of man, and in which we continue in blinded fashion, seldom realizing that anything is wrong, that sin is ‘normal’ because ‘everybody does it’. Sin is deceitful and it blinds us to the truth (Heb. 3:13; 2 Cor. 4:4), and it’s only the power of God in revelation of the Truth that can deliver souls from the quagmire of this condemnation!

1Cor 13:6
Charity (love) . . . Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;


Some say that telling the truth is unloving, but what does the scripture here state? That love REJOICES in the truth! Truth if delivered by a heart intent on and inspired by unconditional love and which is born of Divine wisdom that’s always easily intreated (James 3:17) can be readily received.

2 Cor 6:7
By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,


The minister of God is always approved by the truth (among other things) and this is something regarding integrity in the ministry. Measure the standards of pastors and teachers in the churches here in America with the standard of truth according to God’s Word, and see if there are any discrepancies (2 Cor. 6:4-10).

Can you list the fruit of the Spirit? Is truth among those fruits? Check out this verse in Ephesians –

Eph 5:9
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)


And where spiritual warfare is concerned, truth is the primary element. Why do I say that? Read in the next chapter of Ephesians –

Eph 6:14
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

The belt in the soldier’s armor was essential, foundational in a way, because everything else connected to it. Likewise in our Christian lives, everything we are engaged in spiritually is connected to the Truth.

Our (helmet of) salvation is based upon the Truth; our (breastplate of) righteousness is likewise based on the Truth, our (shield of) faith is based on the Truth also, etc.
When we are assailed with the multitude of lies, deceptions and falsehoods by the enemy, and these come in various shapes and sizes, the one weapon we have to combat them all is the Truth!

Dave Hunt points out that since the doctrines of the Word of God are resolute and unchanging, and so in order to combat the Truth, Satan likewise in his arsenal must have false doctrines that never really change either (terms and certain cosmetic changes may be evident, but the essential lies as promoted in this world are always the same).

In addition to the doctrinal truth of God’s Word, note that this is a belt, a girding up of the loins which, allegorically speaking, refers to the passions and lusts in this life. Bringing such under control, girding them, we are able by God’s Spirit to maintain a morality and truth in the form of personal integrity. An inward truthfulness, as it were that manifests itself as honesty, genuineness, and committed to sound and demonstrable truth.

1 Cor 9:27
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

As mentioned before, we at TTUF will be doing a study on the Armor of God and spiritual warfare, which will be a shared article with FROM the MIND of FIRE (FtMoF) where I am currently doing a verse by verse study of Ephesians.

One can readily acknowledge that this subject on Truth is an exhaustive one, and we have hardly scratched the surface! May we at TTUF encourage you to delve into this critical subject as you engage in your own personal studies?

In the meantime we pray that the LORD will draw all of us deeper in our love and commitment to the Truth of God’s Word! CrossTV on this youtube clip elaborates:

GOD'S WORD IS TRUTH!

And in opposition of the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD, there is the idea of Relative truth:

The RELATIVE TRUTH OF THIS WORLD & Its MEMBERS

This concludes this article on GOT TRUTH? But it by no means indicates a conclusion of our continual heralding of God’s Holy Truth as written in the Holy Bible. More and more as these days march towards its inevitable climax, we are witnessing the Truth under fire!

YET THE TRUTH IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST (MAY HE RETURN SOON!) SHALL PREVAIL!
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

GOT TRUTH? An Examination of What Truth Is and How It Affects Us – PART Three-a (taken in part from John MacArthur’s The TRUTH War, and the Holy Bible


~~By James Fire

We now continue with this article, and proceed with an examination of John MacArthur’s book, The TRUTH War, and we will then wrap it up with a look into the scriptures themselves on the subject of Truth, and how it affects us and our world.

MacArthur advances his treatment of The TRUTH War in chapter four entitled, “Creeping Apostasy: How False Teachers Sneak In

If only false teachers wore black caps and tall black top hats, with long curly moustaches and giggled with malevolent intent (and attempted to tie damsels in distress to rail road tracks wouldn’t hurt) to properly identify them!

The very fact however that such false teachers and prophets are deceptive is readily demonstrated by the use of analogies made by the LORD Himself: “Sheep in wolve’s clothing,” “white washed sepulchers,” “tares among wheat,” “transforming apostles,” etc.

“As a matter of fact,” MacArthur begins, “most false teachers are not so conspicuously unspiritual as Rasputin (a licentious Russian Orthodox mystic) or Gene Scott (Southern Californian televangelist who smoked fat cigars, used profanity and a surly personality in the ‘ministry’). They usually do a passable job of imitating the fruit of the Spirit. They disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness (1 Cor. 11:14-15). They seem quite sincere [and] look and sound harmless enough . . . They know the truth well enough to use it for their own ends – sometimes taking cover behind one truth while they attack another. They know exactly how to gain trust and acceptance from the people of God.”
*“ . . . They [attack the foundations of the truth itself] by suggesting subtle redefinitions, by making modifications, or by suggesting that contemporary Christianity needs to re-imagine, update or simply jettison some supposedly obsolete doctrine. They usually try to sound as innocuous as possible while planting as many doubts as they can. Those doubts are like sticks of dynamite in the foundation holes they have drilled. They are actually working towards the wholesale demolition of the entire structure (of Truth).”

As MacArthur accurately points out, such people and conduct are referred to in Jude :12 as “spots in your love feasts”. ‘Spots’ in the Greek is spilas, and it refers to dangerous reefs or rocky protrusions just under sea level that would prove destructive to any unsuspecting vessel happening by. Such false teachers were (and are!) capable of tremendously disastrous spiritual shipwrecks as in 1 Tim. 1: 19.

Its interesting to note (as MacArthur does) that most (not all) of the dangerous confrontations the church has had, throughout history, has been from within her own ranks; such leaders as were once among the church, who have arisen and led many astray, precisely as Paul the Apostle forewarned:

Acts 20:29-31
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.


Such evidences of potential infiltration into the church by false teachers and false brethren are easily found in such admonitions and commendations by the LORD Jesus Himself in passages like Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 (2:2, 6, 9; 14-16, 20). In 2 Thessalonians Paul had to undo the damage done by some other by writing and addressing the false teaching that the LORD had already returned and gathered His people to Himself (and that they were left behind).

Such false brethren and their influences were warned against by Paul in his instruction to Timothy, namely Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17), “who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and overthrow the faith of some” (vs. 18).

Likewise the apostle John warned against Diotrephes (3 John 9).

MacArthur is commendable in his observation that “Jude wrote this Spirit-inspired caution about the influence of false teachers who sneak in unnoticed – ‘ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (vs. 4) – he wasn’t speaking only to a single church facing an unusual peril. This is a message that applies to every true believer in every age.”

Who were some of these false teachers and systems of false belief, and have they survived in today’s world, to even now confront and infest the church with their errors?
Two groups that were prevalent in those days were the Judaizers and the Gnostics. In The TRUTH War, both are addressed.

The JUDAIZERS –
The entire book of Galatians, written by Paul was a biblical refutation of the Judaizers and their teachings of salvation by the inclusion of works. The claim was made that salvation indeed came through Jesus Christ and faith in Him, but that this was insufficient; works were also required (such as circumcision and the keeping of the law).

Paul went so far as to pronounce an “anathema” on any one who brought in “another Gospel” and “another Jesus” and would not tolerate (there’s that politically incorrect word again!) any kind of heresies, false teachings, or erroneous beliefs based not on God’s Word, but tradition or at the least a misapplication of God’s Word.

Acts Ch. 15, and the entire book of Hebrews, and throughout the New Testament, one sees how the Judaizers and their teachings were quite pervasive, ceaselessly endeavoring to gain a foothold in the church; the lengths of this endeavor was so powerful that even for a time, the apostle Peter, as well as Barnabas was led astray by it, as documented in Galatians Ch. 2 where Paul had to rebuke Peter for his inconsistency.

J. Gresham Machen (famous theologian and author) stood opposed to liberal theology at the beginning of the 20th century; MacArthur quotes his observations in the distinction between the doctrinal beliefs of Paul as differing from the Judaizers:

“The difference [between Paul and the Judaizers] concerned only the logical – not even perhaps, the temporal – order of three steps: Paul said that a man (1) first believes on Christ, (2) then is justified before God, (3) then immediately proceeds to keep God’s Law.
“The Judaizers said that a man (1) believes on Christ and (2) keeps the Law as best he can, and then (3) is justified. The difference would seem to modern ‘practical’ Christians to be highly subtle and intangible matter, hardly worthy of consideration at all in view of the large measure of agreement in the practical realm.’

Machen thought about how a modern thinker would deal with such a dispute, particularly in terms of the prevailing view in “promoting moral reform in secular society, evangelicals should actively cooperate with any one whose views on moral and spiritual issues so closely align with their own” –

“What a splendid cleaning up of the Gentile cities it would have been if the Judaizers had succeeded in extending to those cities the observance of the Mosaic law, even including the unfortunate ceremonial observances! Surely Pal ought to have made common cause with teachers who were so nearly in agreement with him; surely he ought to have applied to them the great principle of Christian unity.”

MacArthur replies: “Many Christians in Machen’s generation wanted to declare a truce like that with modernism. Today there is the same pressure from evangelicals who want to accommodate postmodernism. But, said Machen:

“Paul did nothing of the kind; and only because he (and others) did nothing of the kind does the Christian church exist today. Paul saw very clearly that the difference between the Judaizers and himself was the difference between two entirely distinct types of religion; it was the difference between a religion of merit and a religion of grace. If Christ provides only a PART of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin.”

The vital issue was that “sinners are saved by grace, solely on the basis of what Christ has already done on their behalf and not in any way because of anything they do for Him”

Paul preached the truth of this; the Judaizers denied it.

The GNOSTICS –

“Before the controversy with the Judaizers was completely quelled, another battle had already broken out on a whole new front in the Truth War. Primitive forms of Gnosticism began to creep into the church. Most of the later Epistles argue against the ideas that were fundamentally Gnostic. The doctrinal arguments John makes in his first epistle, for example, make a fine catalogue of replies to some of the favorite false doctrines of Gnosticism.
“Gnosticism was not a single, unified cult. Gnostic thinking offered the possibility of ‘designer religions’ where each false teacher could basically invent his own unique sect. That is why Gnosticism as a system wasn’t easy to refute and isn’t easy to describe. The ideas of one Gnostic group weren’t necessarily held by other Gnostics. It took much labor and diligence to contend against this diverse set of false doctrines. And over several centuries time Gnostics produced hundreds of varieties of counterfeit Christianity.”

For the Gnostic the concept of ‘truth’ was a secret only known by a select few; elevated and enlightened minds who alone could perceive the sublime nature of it. Often they would borrow ideas, myths, superstitions from pagan mystery religions and various human philosophies. Eventually they came to write their own ‘more enlightened’ gospel accounts and presented them to the world at large as inspired of God.

Gnostics became wealthy as their followers were given the many secrets and esoteric knowledge, but at a price, which their followers gladly paid. With careful and deliberate synthesis of Christian symbolisms and terminology, Gnostics were able to fool many Christians with their philosophy. By simply creating a glossary of terms, identical in wording, but quite different in definition, Gnostics were able to pass themselves off as Christians, but of a far more enlightened brand.

“Just as Judaizers’ doctrine obscured the gospel by burying it in Jewish tradition, Gnosticism altered every distinctive of Christian truth by overlaying it with pagan ideology. Like the Judaizers, the Gnostics denied justification by faith and thereby shifted the focus of the gospel. The message they proclaimed instead was all about what people need to do to gain enlightenment (The Gnostics substitute for salvation) – rather than the truth of what Christ did to save helpless sinners from divine judgment. Since Gnosticism attacked the truth at the very foundations, every variety of this error needed to be answered and strongly opposed. And this was no easy task.

One sect of Gnosticism, led by a man named Cerinthus, subverted the doctrine of the incarnation, God made flesh, and taught that Jesus (the human person) was actually indwelt by a divine spirit being known as ‘the Christ’. Further, that Jesus’ own deity was mere illusion and any divinity was the influence of the Christ-Spirit that possessed him (for a time: from the point of Jesus’ baptism up until the time he was crucified, they say).

Some of the pseudo-Christian writings, which were actually Gnostic to the core, are two gospels: the Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Thomas; supposedly relatively recently discovered works that revealed ‘new truths’ but were in all actually well documented, quite familiar Gnostic works that did nothing to expand theological, and doctrinal truth, but on the contrary, were opposed to such. For example, the Gospel of Judas was first mentioned by Irenaeus who rightly identified it with a rather evil Gnostic cult that viewed Cain, Esau, the men of Sodom, Korah and others as heroes of the faith (?!). Obviously, they also viewed Judas himself as a ‘hero’.

This concludes this summary of John MacArthur’s fourth chapter in The TRUTH War.
For more about ‘Gnosticism’ and how they influenced the church, please refer to a previous TTUF article: How Near Eastern Religion Invaded the West –
How Near-Eastern Religion Invaded The West

Now we turn to the scriptures themselves and see what the Holy Word of God has to say about Truth. This would prove to be quite the exhaustive task, as any cursory examination of a concordance would reveal. Sufficient for our purposes here, would be a brief overview of this vital subject, and it’s our hope at TTUF that this will whet your appetites and propel you on to your own study!

TRACING TRUTH THROUGH HOLY WRIT –

Doing a word search for ‘truth’ in the Bible is rather like looking for water in the ocean. It’s EVERYWHERE! So how does one go about a word-study about truth in the Word of God? Rather selectively, by category; and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I decided to start with the Old Testament and focus what it has to say about the Truth, and have placed the various scriptures into certain headings with associated titles.

These are as follows:

The keepers of God’s Truth are His delightProv. 12:22; Isaiah 10:20

The keeping of truth brings God’s blessing, salvation and knowledge –Psalms 15:2; 40:11; 45:4; 57:3; 60:4-5; 61:7; 69:13; 85:10; 91:4: 98:3; 146:6; Prov. 23:23; Isaiah 26:2; 38:3; 65:16; Jere. 4:2; Jere. 33:5-6; Ez. 18:8-9; Zech. 8:3,8
Here is an example of the above verses:
Psalm 57:3
He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
God’s truth has a preservative effect, even when there are those who are intent upon our destruction, or those that “would swallow me up”.

Psalms 146:5-7 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:


Our hope in God is reliable because He keeps truth forever; because of this, both God and the Truth are immutable, or incapable of change. Thus we can place faith in God and never be disappointed. Because God is a God of Truth, we can take comfort in the truth that justice will ultimately be served for He “executes judgment (justice) for the oppressed.

The Rejection of Truth Brings Cursing –
Isaiah 59:4, 14-15; Jere. 5:1-3; 7:27-28; 9:3-5; Daniel 8:12-14, 25; 9:13; Hosea 4:1-3

Isa 59:4, 14-15
None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.


And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

Read the entire chapter of Isaiah 59 and you will get a picture of what a society will breed when truth is rejected. We have previously posted a RED PILL Consortium article on this subject, and if you haven’t yet read it, here is another opportunity for you –

The Demise of Civilization

The judgments and ordinances of the LORD are Truth –Psalms 19:9; 33:4; 54:5; 89:14; 95:13; 111:7-8; 119:43, 142, 151; Isaiah 16:5; 25:1; 42:3; 59:16-18; Jere. 4:2; Daniel 4:37; Zech. 8:16; Malachi 2:16.

Psa 54:3-5
For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul

He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth
.

Note that here, the very same God that upholds and helps one person is also the same God that cuts others off and rewards them for their evil. What is the difference? Those cut off, never set God before them, that is, they never acknowledged or regarded God for Who He is; and those who are helped and upheld by God (such as the Psalmist here) are those who do acknowledge God and regard Him. God will discriminate the one from the other by means of His Truth.

Jer 4:2
And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory
.

See that the LORD lives, in Truth, Judgment and Righteousness, and if a nation bless themselves with God and His attributes and actions, they will indeed be blessed and shall glorify God.

The Truth as Divine Guidance and Promise –
Ps. 25:5, 10; 26:3; 43:3; 51:6; 86:11; 89: 49; 119:30, 43; 132:11; Proverbs 22:21; Prov. 23:23: Isaiah 61:8; Daniel 9:13; Micah 7:20.

Psa 25:5, 10
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
What a comfort to know that God will guide us and make provisions in accord with His promises in an uncertain world of bewilderment and deceit. As partakers of the New Covenant (Jere. 31:31) we can be assured that the paths God leads us, and will lead us upon are paved in His mercies and His truth!

The Perished Have No Part in the Truth –
Psalm 30:9; Isaiah 38:18; Jeremiah 3:1-3

Isa 38:18
For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.

God is a God of Truth –
Psalms 31:5; 85:11; 86:15; 115:1; 119:160; Isaiah 10:20; 65:16; Jere. 4:2; 10:10; Zech. 8:8.

Psa 31:5
Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

Isa 65:16
That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.


Our entire faith is predicated on the fact that God is a God of Truth, that there is no lie in Him (Numbers 23:19; 1 John 2: 21, 27). In allegory, God is compared to a rock, unchanging, immutable, etc. and this is properly so, for God Who is perfect in all of His ways, cannot change, for if He did, He would no longer be perfect.

Those Faithful Who Declare God’s Truth –
Psalm 40:10; Prov. 8:7; 12:17,19; 22:21; Isaiah 38: 19; Jere. 28:9, 15; Zech. 8:16; Malachi 2:6.

Prov 8:7
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

In this personification of wisdom, that is the wisdom of God’s Spirit we have these words, and we understand that the greatest and most faithful of those who declare the Truth of God is the LORD Jesus Christ. To incrementally lesser degrees (but no less valid) are those saints who will not shrink back from declaring God’s Truth and the blessed reward for doing so, even in the face of obscene opposition and persecution.

Isa 38:19
The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.


Jer 28:9,15
The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, [then] shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him.

Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.

Jeremiah was a strong opponent against the false prophets of Israel that did not represent the Truth of God, and even though it cost him dearly (as it did to all the prophets that were sent to Israel), he nonetheless was faithful to declare the truth of God.

The Truth is Exalted beyond Human Capability to Comprehend it –
Psalms 57:10; 108:4; 138:2; Dan. 4:37; 9:13


Psa 57:10
For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Long before the invention of airplanes and hot-air balloons, the idea of attaining to the heights of the clouds was unimaginable. In today’s vernacular we might well say that “thy truth unto Andromeda;” something truly unobtainable by human powers. Yet the LORD in His mercy and humility has deigned to bring us lowly beings His Truth! Even the most prideful and self-glorious individual can be humbled and realize the Truth; take Nebuchadnezzar for example. After seven years of insanity, and animalistic behavior, groveling in the dirt and eating grass, this once proud and obstinate Emperor lifted up his eyes at the end of that condition and said: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” See Daniel 4:37.

Truth Inspires Worship and is Central to its Focus –
Psalm 71:22; 138:2; Isaiah 25:1; 38:19

Psa 138:2
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Truth and mercy are compatible now in salvation –
Psalm 85:10; 145:18; Prov. 14:22; 16:6; Isaiah 10:20
Psalm 85:10-11
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven
.

I find this passage particularly intriguing, full of biblical truth, and quite revealing in light of the New Testament.

I believe it was Plato that stated (around the 3rd century B.C.!), “It may be possible for Deity to forgive sin, but I can’t see how.” This is extremely perceptive for one of his culture, recognizing a dilemma that isn’t necessarily self-evident.

If God is holy, He cannot tolerate even the slightest sin. Yet if God is love, how can He not? However, how can these two attributes be reconciled? How can Truth (that by the Law of God that expresses truth) coexist with Mercy (that longs to bestow forgiveness and withhold any charges against the helpless sinner)?

How can the righteousness of God (that must mete out judgment on all unrighteous deeds and thoughts) coexist with peace (that would desire reconciliation with the unrighteous)?

The answer is found in vs. 11 of this passage! Jesus, Who declared Himself to be the Truth (John 14:6) ‘sprang’ out of the ground, that is, the garden tomb, resurrected from the dead! Having paid the penalty of sin, died for our sins personally, and defeated both sin and death by His resurrection, the righteous eyes of the Father looked down upon the propitiatory (a satisfactory sacrifice) atonement paid for by the Son and because of this, mercy and truth are met amicably together, and righteousness and peace have kissed one another!

The Truth is Eternal and Immutable –Psalm 100:5; 117:2; 138:2; Isaiah 61:8

Psa 100:5
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations
.

The book known as the Holy Bible is one whose destruction has been sought after by generations of Truth-haters. From Pontiff Persecutions to marauding Moslems, even to hateful Hindus and aserbic Atheists, this Book has known more hatred (and more love by the way), than any other book in history.

Here we end the first half of this third installment on GOT TRUTH? We will continue in the second half immediately; it is our hope that these articles bless and encourage you in the LORD Jesus Christ.
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

MY HOPE

by A.M. Kisly

Thought you'd all enjoy this new worship song by Matt Redman. My Hope rests in none other than Jesus Christ....When the mountains are falling, when the waters are rising, I shall be safe in you...Though the nations are quaking; every kingdom be shaking...still I will REST IN YOU! No matter what trial comes our way, we can rest in the safe and loving arms of our Risen Savior and King, Jesus!






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