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The Purpose of Jesus Christ March 13, 2014

Posted by regan222 in Religion.
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Easter-HeLives-smallThe second in a series of sermons on the Person and Purpose of Jesus Christ.  This sermon was delivered at the Central Baptist Church at Legacy Point in Whitesboro, TX.\

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Our author lists three points for this section of the manuscript; the death, the resurrection, and the ascension of Christ.  While these are the seminal events in the life of Jesus, they are just singular points in the ongoing work of Christ; a work that continues today

John 6:38 – For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

We don’t know as much as we would like about the work of Christ prior to his coming to Earth.  As we learned last week, the Father is the architect and Jesus, as the pre-incarnate Word, was the executive or creative force.  The Father spoke and the Word brought creation into existence.  While supremely important to us, surely this was not all that Jesus ever did.

In hermeneutics there is  a thing called the “Full Mention Principle”.  God gives us full details on events or subjects that are vital to our understanding and does not go into detail on things that do not bear so much importance to us.  The Bible gives us little detail about the pre-incarnate or pre-human era in the life of Christ,  The only reference I could find is in…

Luke 10:18 – And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven

Being given so little information about the pre-incarnate Son, we must assume that those events are not the most important elements of Jesus’ work and may safely confine our musings to the events we are privy to.  In any case, it is understandable that our author would limit his scope.  There is just too much material, even in our limited exposure to His life, to truly cover the works of Jesus Christ.

John 21:25 – And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

The Death of Jesus Christ

It is odd to start a story at what seems like the end.  The disciples are crushed and scattered.  Christ is captive of the Roman empire.  Satan appears to be winning.  Looks are, in this case, completely deceiving.  Christ is on the verge of His ultimate victory and our great hope.  The death of Christ was about to accomplish its purpose.

Isaiah 53:5 – But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

He died in our place.  What makes Christianity unique among the religions of the Earth is the doctrine of atonement.  All men recognize the great universal truth.  There ain’t no free ride.  Buddhists practice good works in order to escape the wheel of Karma – a continual cycle of birth and death and rebirth until one’s life is good enough to merit their ascension to oneness with the Buddha.   The fundamental idea behind Islam is to appease Allah by the performance of a rigorous daily routine and so achieve paradise by one’s work.  The Hindu are focused on the four paths or yogas to reach enlightenment.  Christianity is unique in all the religions of Earth as a system of beliefs based solely on the work of another.  Christ did the work and we are allowed to benefit from it.

The death of Christ is tightly tied to the his life.  Without that perfect life, his death would have done us no good.  Jesus Christ lived a perfect and sinless life and did not deserve his fate.  He went willingly to it, however, in exchange for you and I, who did deserve it.

Sin is, apparently, a communicable disease.  It passes from one generation to the next.  It infects every descendent of Adam’s line.  We are all equally guilty under the law of God and deserve death for our sins.  The punishment for sin is always death.  The law has no room for mercy, and yet, God’s purpose for us is to exist in His presence.  .

This is the choice we face.  In order to live forever and be able to exist in God’s presence, someone had to pay the price for our sins.  The scales must balance.  We can either choose to pay that price ourselves or we must accept the sacrifice and the atonement of Jesus by faith.  Merely believing that he was is not enough.  We must purpose in our hearts to depend on his sacrifice as our only hope.  This is the nature of faith.

Romans 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.

It is important to realize that the death of Christ was real in every respect.  He allowed himself to suffer the pain and anguish of his mortality and ultimately allowed himself to succumb to his injuries.  He allowed his soul and spirit to leave his body and follow the path of all men who die.  The flesh died, and no doubt, began the process of decay.  The soul and spirit traveled to hell where, no doubt,  Satan assumed that he would be able to gloat that Jesus had been unable to set up his kingdom.  Satan assumed that with Christ’s death, the kingdom of God was defeated.  Silly Satan.  The Bible tells us that Christ triumphed over hell and death and the grave and led the righteous souls held there to the presence of God the Father.

Colossians 2:15 – And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

I wonder sometimes, if the Devil, who is NOT all knowing, but whom is reputed to be very smart, was surprised at what happened next.  It must be assumed that he thought Christ’s triumph would come in some more direct fashion like setting up a political kingdom and overthrowing the Romans.  I cannot imagine him allowing the cross to take place if he knew what would happen next.

The Resurrection of Christ

Without the resurrection, the death of Christ is meaningless.  It has no power.  If he did not return then he was nothing but an insane and deluded man and there is not hope for humanity but to strive and eternally fail at perfection.

The Bible is careful to list many evidences of the return of Christ.  Once again we follow the hermeneutic principles.  A thing that is most often mentioned and most fully described will be a thing of importance.  The most majestic and powerful of all the verses of the Bible deals with the return of Christ and his triumph over the grave.

John 20:15 – 16 –  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

John 21:1 – After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

Matthew 28: 1 – 10 – In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

And they departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

1 Corinthians 15:5 – After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

Why is the resurrection important?  In order to pay our debt, Christ must die for our sins.  As we are now identified with Christ in his death, we, in sinful flesh, will die.  We may only rise if he does.  His triumph over death is our triumph.  The resurrection establishes Christ as God just as his death established him as man.  Now we must establish his resurrection in the eyes of humanity in order to make our witness efforts legitimate.

 

The Ascension of Christ into Heaven

 

The final act in the eternal drama is Christ’s triumphant return to the Father.  The question raised most often is “Why did Christ return to heaven at all?  Why not set up his kingdom?”  In short, because the father wanted more for us than just an Earthly existence.  He wanted fellowship with us for all time.  That can only happen in His presence.  This is what Satan missed.  God never intended for this world to be our permanent home.  He always had in mind that we should be in His presence.

As Christ, now a human forever, can stand in the presence of the Father, we, in Christ by his death for our sins, are also allowed access to the Father.

Christ’s return to the Father signified the end of his earthly works until his return as king.  But it by no means marks the end of his work.  Christ’s efforts on our part continue until his final return.

What is he doing now?  The Bible tells of two tasks that he has set for himself:

He is gone to prepare for our arrival:

John 14:2 – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

He stands before the Father as a mediator to plead humanity’s case:

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

He has a place prepared for each of us.  All we have to do is accept it.

 

Forgive as You Would Be Forgiven: A Lofty Goal February 23, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Religion.
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Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray. The prayer template that he gave them, although often called “The Lord’s Prayer” was only his by way of authorship. He in no way ever prayed this prayer nor was it meant for him. Also, the model prayer was never meant to be a rote repetition as some have made it. Jesus said, in essence, pray LIKE this or “after this wise” and not “repeat this prayer word for word”. The Lord’s Prayer is meant to be a model and an example.
One of the most important aspects of the Christian life that the prayer models is forgiveness. The model prayer not only stresses forgiveness for the Christian but forgiveness BY the Christian and that is a much harder subject. Hopefully a short scripture study will let us see exactly what God expects from us as far as forgiveness is concerned. Let’s start with the ultimate authority on Christian doctrine, Christ himself, and see what he expects.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

The meaning seems pretty clear. Forgiveness for the Christian’s sins may only be attained if we are also forgiving. We know this is meant for Christians because no lost person can pray this prayer. They are not His children and can not say “Our Father”. Verses 14 and 15 are very direct. If you wish to be forgiven then you must forgive.

How much must we be willing to forgive? Just as verse 12 tells us, we are forgiven as we forgive. Peter tried to put a label on it when he asked how often we should forgive…

 

Matthew 18
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 

There is no minimum daily requirement for our forgiveness. We must forgive even as God forgives. Now think about that for a moment. God forgives the Christian anything and everything. He would forgive those who nailed his only son to the cross had they asked for it. He would forgive Hitler for the Holocaust. His mercy knows no limits. He knows the sins of every Christian, both past and future, and they are all covered under the blood of Christ. Now ask yourself again, what am I expected to forgive against me and my family? The answer is “EVERYTHING”. No transgression, no matter how large, should be held against someone who honestly comes to you asking forgiveness.

 

Luke 17

3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

 

What was the response to this doctrine? The apostles threw in the towel. They knew it was impossible without help from above. Most of the Christian life is impossible to live without Christ but this one aspect is doubly so. We CAN NOT forgive as we are expected to without the power of Christ in our hearts. The story has been told of a pastor whose son was killed by a drunk driver going to that man’s hospital bed to witness to him in the hopes that he might be saved. THAT is the kind of forgiveness that is expected of us. It goes against every fiber of human nature. Without Christ it would be impossible and yet we can do all things through him. Join me in prayer for that kind of heart that forgives without ceasing.

A Parable is NOT Two Male Cows August 19, 2012

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Tonight is just a short scripture study on a passage that caught my attention. I had always had trouble with the parable of the householder who sent servants and then his son to receive the fruits of the vineyard. It dawned upon me tonight just how clearly this parable demonstrates the Father’s plan for the son.

Matthew 21
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

For those who think God unjust or unkind in His treatment of the unsaved, I offer this interpretation. The owner of the vineyard may do as he pleases with his property. He builds and develops it into a useful and profitable venture for his own pleasure. He then hired others, sharing his wealth with them, again out of kindness, to work the vineyard and gain profit from it.
When the time of harvest arrived and the landowner sends servants to collect his share, the workers kill the servants and refused to give the landowner his due. How would YOU feel? Instead of bringing grief and misery down upon their heads, the landowner gives them another chance. In SPITE of the fact that they killed his servants, the landowner was willing to allow them to stay employed. Would any of us be that merciful? When the landowner sent his son and the workers killed him, Jesus asked the pharisees and scribes what THEY would do. They said “Kill the workers.” Even here, the landowner is merciful. He gives the workers a VERY long time to repent and apologize before he brings justice upon them.

The story is a very accurate depiction of the interaction between God and man over the last 2000 years. God built and prepared a paradise for man and shared it with him. He allowed man to profit from essentially no labor. Mankind rebelled. God sent prophets and servants to woo humanity back into the fold. The servants were killed or ignored. Others were belittled and scoffed at. Sounds remarkably like the treatment most Christians get when they declare themselves believers. God sent His son to bring mankind into the kingdom, not by force, but by offering them everything they needed. Humanity treated the son even worse than the servants that were sent before. Even now, after ridiculing and killing God’s servants, humanity is allowed room to repent.

2 Peter 3
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

God is not ignoring the things that don’t please Him. He just does not want to punish and destroy people. The time is at hand. Today is the the day of salvation. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow and yet people live like they are going to live forever. News Flash: Death will NOT be cured before it comes for YOU. Be sure you are ready.

Ephesians 2
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Acts 16
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

Grace is free but any gift requires acceptance. You must be willing to believe. Belief is an act of will. Choose to believe and be saved. It’s as simple as that. If you have questions, comment below but remember…a sincere seeker will never be turned away but mockers will have no place in God’s heaven.

Let a Man Examine Himself August 10, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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Watch the video and then watch the sermon

But Let a Man Examine Himself

1 Corinthians 11:27-29

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Taken in context, these verses encourage anyone partaking of the Lord’s Supper to examine their own hearts and make sure they are approaching the Lord with the right motives before they sit down at His table.  It may be inferred that self examination is profitable at any time.  I made the majority of that video a reflection in a mirror for a reason.  We need to pause and reflect upon our own reflections for a moment and take stock of our growth and progress.  Hopefully what you have just watched will offer up some things to look at as you examine yourself.

I. Examine your Methods.

Right away we should be aware that God is not so nearly interested in what we do as He is in why we do it.  Each of us has been given talents and gifts to make us uniquely suited for the role God would have us play in the world.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We have no right to glory or boast in our abilities because God is the source of the talents and abilities we have received.  God, in His wisdom, knew that the church would need many different kinds of workers, just as the body needs many different kinds of organs.  Some He called to preach or to teach or to give, or to encourage, but we all have in common the source of our abilities and what we are to use them for.  Of ourselves, we are nothing.  If you are a great singer, a powerful speaker, a wise businessman, beware of pride.  What exactly did you get outside of God who sovereignly gives and takes away?  Look at the person who has nothing and think for a moment, there but for the grace of God go I.

As this is the case, we are held responsible for very little.  In the work of salvation, Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  We only accept or decline.  As a witness we are called upon to spread the gospel.  We are not held accountable for its results.  I don’t hold James responsible for carrying out the trash or washing the car yet.  There is very little that we are held responsible for because we are capable of very little.  God does, however, expect at least two things from us.  We must be faithful in our service if we want to serve and we must do our best.  If we have the faith of a mustard seed we can do much, but we must have that faith.

  Numbers 19:2
This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
  Numbers 28:3
And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.

  Numbers 28:9
And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:
  Numbers 28:11
And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
  Numbers 29:17
And on the second day ye shall offer twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:
  Numbers 29:26
And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:

When we do give something to God, be it sacrifice or service, He only wants our best efforts.   We need to examine ourselves and see if we are truly giving our best.

II. Examine your motives

To a Christian, motives are the most important factor in their actions.  The unsaved man’s motivation comes from worldly things.  They are focused on self and what pleases self.  Even their good deeds are motivated by selfish motives.  They give to causes and charity because it makes them feel good.  All actions from the lost man are motivated by self and the world.

The early Southern Baptists held that “The scriptural doctrine of depravity is not that every man is a bad as he possibly can be, for there may be indefinite progression in guilt:–nor that one man is necessarily as wicked as another,–for there may be as many shades of depravity as there are sinners in the universe. But it teaches us that man, by nature, is destitute of all holy principles and desires; that there is nothing in his character which is pleasing in the sight of God; that being alienated in his heart from God, corrupt in the very fountain of action, in the temper and spirit of his mind, all the actions that he performs, even those which are in themselves excellent and lovely, are still the service of an alien and a rebel, and consequently an abomination in the sight of heaven.”  The lost man, even in the act of caring for his child or providing for his family, is in the service of “an alien and a rebel” and is “consequently an abomination in the sight of heaven.”

The Christian, on the other hand, is commanded to put self last on the priority list.  We are motivated by God’s will.  He asks and we act in disregard for self or worldly gain or anything else that would motivate a worldly person.  History is filled with examples of Christians who would prefer to live in poverty or die in pain rather than act out of God’s will.

Matthew 6: 1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

The lost soul does good to receive a reward.  They operate under the law.  When the Pharisee prays on the street corner and in the market place he gets his reward from the people who are impressed when they see him.  The Christian is commanded to do alms, or to give, in secret.  No one should know.  We are not motivated by worldly recognition.  We only seek God’s well done.  We need to examine ourselves and see if we are acting out of love for God or for ourselves.

III. Examine your Future

You’d think we should examine the past first rather than the future, but as you will see, the past determines the future.  For the saved church member, we stand at a critical junction.  Like Gideon’s army at the river

Judges 7:4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

Look around for a moment.  There are seats empty that were once filled.  The people who sat there have, for one reason or another, fallen by the way.  We have a place being prepared for us just as the Israelites of the Old Testament but not everyone who set out with us on this journey will arrive.  In order to have a future we must be faithful in the present.  They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until none of that original generation of adults was left alive because of their lack of faith.  The group future was preserved just as God promised but a lot of individual futures fell by the side of the road getting there.

Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

The church has been described as a vine.  I am not so familiar with grapes but I have an acute awareness of blackberry vines.  The best way to get more fruit from the vine is to cut away the dead wood during the winter.  The time for pruning is when the vine is not actively producing fruit.  The wise gardener knows this and when he sees the vine with no fruit he cuts away the dead wood.  In the spring, the remaining wood produces more fruit.  No vine ever died from careful pruning and in fact, they produce more fruit for the gardener.  We need to examine our future.  Don’t be part of the pruned.  Hold fast and remain faithful and receive the reward.

IV. Examine Your Past

Contrary to what you might think, the past is more important than the future in this case.  The past writes the future.  If you believe and receive the gospel in the past, then in the future, your reward is assured.  If you have no past relationship with Jesus Christ, you have no future.  You cannot sneak into heaven.  Some people have the mistaken idea that if they hang around the church long enough, attend enough services, give enough, even get baptized or become a member of the church, then they will somehow establish a relationship with Jesus by proxy or by just being around long enough.  You need to examine your past right now and see if there is a moment in time when you definitively responded to the call of the gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as savior.  Somewhere at sometime in your life you said yes to the Lord and your life was changed.  This is the only way in to heaven.

The past is past.  It’s gone.  The wonderful thing about the present is that you have a chance to change the future.  Today is your opportunity.  It’s the only chance you are absolutely guaranteed.  The future is very uncertain.  You might not have one outside of this door.  Don’t take that chance.  Examine your past and write your future here in the present and for all time.  Accept the Lord Jesus in faith.  Choose to believe the gospel that he died for you and rose again and you will rise as well.

I’m Not Lost, This is the Scenic Route August 2, 2012

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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To all my loyal readers, sorry I have not posted in a couple of weeks.  Between trying to finish up a movie and get ready for school to start back up, not to mention trying to cut wood with my cousin in 110 degree heat, I have been remiss in my duties as a writer and minister.  To you who are interested, I heartily apologize.  I WOULD apologise like they do in Europe but the word press spell checker insists that it is misspelled.

To make matters worse, my family has been on vacation at the family reunion, which I did not attend, and that has me completely out of sorts.  Enough excuses, I promise to turn out some Pulitzer Prize winning material just as soon as I can copy some from a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  Meanwhile, God Bless and Keep You and Make His Face to Shine Upon You.  For those of you who were put off by my reference to the Deity, please see my entry under “Live Forever, Ask Me How” tab immediately.  You can thank me later after we have both passed away.

There are No Absolutes…Are You Sure…Absolutely. June 16, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
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Isaiah 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Judges 17:6  In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Malachi 3:6a   For I am the Lord, I change not;

I am amused at the current philosophy that says, in effect, there are NO absolutes in the universe.  All things are relative and based on context.  All moral philosophies and religions are equal.  In short, an absolute single truth, in the universe, does not exist.  I am amused because of the absolute conviction with which the people  who hold that belief hold on to it.

We teach our children to make decisions based upon a methodology that begins by telling us that we can’t know the right answer.  Our scientific method results in a conclusion we call a theory.  By definition, a theory is “No” answer at all.

Theory:   A proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.

A theory, in essence, is the best answer we have at the moment for a question that can be changed when a better answer comes along.  This “wishy-washy” brick is the unit we base our entire system of logic and decision-making on.  The scientific method consists of a series of organized steps that allow us to take a possible solution to a problem (a hypothesis) and test it in a very limited exercise called an experiment.  Based upon the results of this testing we form a theory concerning the answer to our question.  Unfortunately this theory is subject to change based on the preponderance of evidence.  Should someone else’s experiment give different results over time, we change the answer.  Should a new body of data come into light, we change the answer again.  According to this method of reasoning there are no answers, only the closest answer we can know based on our observation and analysis.  Here is the funny part.  People take these conclusions and offer them as “proof” of everything from the existence of God to the origin of the Human species.

As a high school science teacher I hear the word “proof” constantly in my classroom.  I am confronted daily by students who regale me with tales gleaned from television and the Internet concerning scientists who have “proved” one or more things.

Proof:   Evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true.

Ah but we’ve already established that there is no truth, only the best solution based on current evidence, subject to change.  How can anything, outside of a mathematics classroom, be proven.  In math it is possible to prove things because mathematics allows for absolutes.  There IS an absolute zero, an integer has only ONE value, etc.  Without these constraints, no PROOF is possible.  It is not wise to use the word “proof” in any context outside of math.

Christianity, on the other hand, is completely based upon and supported by absolute truth.  It is said that Christianity can’t be proven.  I say that it is not necessary.  We spend entirely too much time trying to “prove” God with the most blunt of instruments.  This is akin to building a nuclear reactor with an Erector set and some 9 volt batteries.  There is no system of reasoning or philosophy or thought capable of analyzing God.  We can’t even build a completely accurate computer model of a (relatively) simple natural phenomenon like a thunderstorm or an earthquake.  How could we hope to understand the creator of those things.

  Isaiah 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

         Isaiah 55:9   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This is why God does not require an intellectual solution to our moral problem.  We don’t have the capacity to understand.  God simply asks us to, if we can’t believe all the things going on around us, simply to believe Him.  We don’t  turn off our minds and proceed on blind faith.  We simply accept our mental limitations and proceed on faith.  This is not such an unusual or unreasonable proposition.  We do it thousands of times a day with simple things that it IS possible to understand.  An automobile is a finite and knowable object.  It is possible to completely understand its workings, and yet most of us do not.  We know that a car has a motor and a transmission but very few people understand compression ratios or differentials, or could explain how an automatic transmission works.  It is POSSIBLE to know, but most of us do not.  Does that stop those of us who are less informed from driving.  Do we NEED to understand in order to get into a car, start the motor, and pull out of the driveway, all the while BELIEVING that the gears will move us and that the brakes will stop us.  We don’t understand, for the most part, why, but we believe it.  People of faith carry the process a step further.  We KNOW that we can’t understand God or His creation but we have been told that He exists and that He loves us.  Just as young drivers are told about the brake and gas pedals in a car.  We don’t call them mindless fanatics because they believe what they are told without any sort of proof.  Being a Christian does not involve denial of fact in the face of faith, it is an exercise in waiting on God to reveal how fact and faith go hand in hand.  Some things we can know in this life and some things we will have to wait for.

1 Corinthians 13:12   For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

That is how I can stand before you today and make claims that, on the surface, seem to fly in the face of reason.  I make them without “proof” and without apology.  Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, lived a perfect life, died to pay for the wrong that you and I have done, and rose from the dead in order that, even as he died for us, we might live after death through him.  I offer no proof of that claim, I merely ask that you consider it.  Anytime the Gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit of God offers all the proof that is needed.  Christians use the word “conviction” to describe the effect of the Holy Spirit’s actions upon a lost soul.  This conviction is what draws the lost soul to faith and salvation.  If you are currently an unbeliever and have read this entry then it is likely you feel some pull or tugging or restlessness in your heart and mind.  If so, simply accept.  Agree to give God the benefit of the doubt and He will give you all the proof you need.  If you have a question about how to do this, leave me a comment below and I will respond.

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