Thursday, February 25, 2010

Luke 6:36-“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Since we have received mercy from God, we are obligated to show mercy to those with physical or spiritual needs.

Jesus demonstrated His mercy many times as He went about healing people and casting out demons. Two blind men cried out, “‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ . . . And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight, and followed Him” (Matt. 20:30, 34). He was also deeply moved in spirit and wept when He saw the sorrow that Lazarus’s death caused (John 11:33-36).

His greatest mercy was shown, though, to those with spiritual needs. Not only did He heal a paralytic, but He forgave his sins (Luke 5:18-25). He also prayed for His executioners, saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

We can show mercy by our physical acts. John says, “But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:17-18).

We must also show mercy spiritually. Because we have experienced God’s mercy, we should have great concern for those who have not. We show spiritual mercy by proclaiming the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to the unsaved and by praying that God would show His mercy to them.

We also demonstrate spiritual mercy by lovingly confronting sinning Christians: “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourselves, lest you too be tempted” (Gal. 6:1). Sinning Christians bring reproach on Christ and His church and will fall under God’s discipline. In such cases it is wrong to say nothing and let the harm continue.

God has promised us in Matthew 5:7 that we will receive mercy from Him if we are merciful to others. If we have received unlimited mercy from our loving God, if we have been lifted from our poor, sinful, wretched state to become citizens of heaven, how can we withhold mercy from others?

- John MacArthur

Friday, February 19, 2010

The World vs. the Kingdom

A great commentary by KyleA over ar GCMW!

If folks in your own church keep asking you why you are so concerned about the acceptance of homosexuality in the church, read this! Unfortunately, many self professing believers adhere to (love) the world's systems rather than God's Kingdom. Too many "love is never wrong" think the ones who speak up against such a worldliness, are more of a threat to the church, than the world's systems and beliefs creeping into the church. A worldly "love" is in fact, no love at all.

Make no mistake, the two (God's way and the World's way) are at opposite ends of the pole and will be in utter conflict until Christ returns to gather His sheep. You either belong to Him, or you belong to the world. (James 4:4)

John 3:17- "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

Remember - the world was condemned already, so of course Jesus did not come to condemn it.

Homosexuality a sign of corporate decay

When addressing homosexuality, I believe the Bible uses that particular sin in the “corporate” sense meaning that when a group or society practices and/or accepts homosexual conduct as normal its a sign of complete moral decay.

Homosexuality is not necessarily greater or less than any other specific sin regarding individuals, but is rather a mark a society has completely broken down in EVERY matter of sin when homosexuality is engaged in accepted corporately. Romans 1:18-32 comes to mind.

I believe that there is particular emphasis given to homosexuality because essentially it attacks the very foundation of the creation of man. Man was created in the very image of God with the divine mandate to marry and bear children. This command is still in full effect. In this same gender sexual activity literally attacks the foundation of the scripture Genesis 1:1-28. In essence, if you can destroy the beginning you can destroy the future promise.

Homosexuality (and homosexual marriage) is a physical mockery of the spiritual marriage of Christ as the bridegroom and his Church as the bride. Such mockery has the potential to destroy the future promise if you disprove the beginning.

Now when I say “destroy” I’m not speaking of the literal sense because ALL things will come to pass. What I’m saying is that when a society in the corporate sense accepts homosexuality they are in essence attempting to destroy the foundation AND the promise, hence EVERYTHING in between.

In summary the Corporate acceptance homosexuality is a direct mockery of the foundations of creation. Therefore, the Corporate acceptance/engaging of homosexuality is a spiritual rejection of Creation in Genesis through Promise of consumantion in Revelation via physical homosexual activity.

In my summation it would then appear that these homosexual groups/movements are not merely “confused” but are antichrist in their intent, whether cognizant or not, on destroying Christ and his Church. This is why no believer should ever sanction or agree with any entity –whether secular or religious– that declares homosexuality to be an acceptable sexual expression in the eyes of God.

Finally, let me clearly state that this is NOT in any way shape or form an indictment on “individual” homosexuals. They like any other sinner need to repent, believe and turn away from their sin. Their individual sin(s) are no greater than anyone else’s. It is rather my opinion on the movement in the aggregate sense and its implications on biblical faith and why so much emphasis is directed towards that particular sin.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tactics - A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

This post is long overdue – that said, I highly recommend to all my brothers and sisters in Christ to read Greg Koukl’s book Tactics!

Click here to learn more about Koukl’s ministry Stand to Reason

This book was not only extremely informative about defending the Christian worldview by utilizing a sound and skillful argument, but it was quite convicting to me personally. Believers are faced with a world that is lost, in rebellion, and separated from God; the Truth has been under attack since creation and Tactics provides a well spring of sound reasoning tactics, that will at a minimum, put a nice little “rock” in the unbeliever's shoe; giving them something they will be forced to remember as they try to live a life arguing for things they call “true” [abortion, evolution, gay marriage, atheism etc...].

If you get frustrated or angry at those who argue for irrational conclusions, built around an argument entrenched in poor logic and indefensible conclusions disguised as science or secular philosophy, this book will change your entire approach. Paul reasoned and argued with anyone he could find at the synagogues, he did not call them names or dismiss them as simply “morons” – my favorite name calling tactic; he knew better than I when that was appropriate and when it was not. Koukl’s book reminded me, I as a believer - must be obedient to God and that calls us to be ambassadors for Christ, not ambassadors of our own personal likes and dislikes. We must remember, our arguments and positions are not built on a foundation of personal opinions, but rather God’s eternal word. Science, reason, and logic are all on God's side.

The apostle Paul knew all too well, that we must spend time maturing believers, not just “winning” them. Koukl’s book does just that. When believers help each other to become reproducing disciples, we will indeed turn the word upside down (Acts 17:5-7). There are those in the world who will most assuredly reject it, but Jesus promised that His sheep will hear His voice (John 10:16; 10:27; 18:37; Rev 3:20).

Still a Methodist?

Yet another shameful reminder of just how hard it is to remain in the United Methodist Church...

Sex and the Church — Ending heterosexism

In this article, Audrey Krumbach (a Field Organizer with the Reconciling Ministries Network and a graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (GETS); who is also a deacon candidate in the Northern Illinois Conference) writes - "Two men who love one another until death can exemplify the possibility for a new masculine role of cooperation rather than competition. This is the gift of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the church. Homophobia prevents receiving this gift and growing into wholeness through it."

She gives these examples of what "homophobia" looks like:
  • Asking a single person if he or she has found a nice partner of the opposite gender to “settle down with."
  • Encouraging gender stereotypes such as little boys should play sports and little girls should wear pink.
  • Ignoring the anniversary of two women who have loved one another for 19 years.
  • Failing to include sexual orientation or gender identity in civic laws that protect diversity.
  • Identifying a person primarily by sexual orientation.
  • Not talking about sexual orientation.
  • Ignoring the biblical interpretation of Sodom as failure of hospitality.
  • Not talking about transgender or the spectrum of gender identities.
  • Describing families as “mommies and daddies.”

Your Apportionment Dollars at Work by Shane Raynor on February 09, 2010.

The Sex and the Church series published at the General Board of Church and Society website is about as edifying as Sex and the City.

The latest article discusses the "evils" of heterosexism. (One wonders if there are also such things as asexism, homosexism and bisexism.)

Did you know that if you assume that a little boy will like toy trucks and guns or that little girls will like dolls, you're a heterosexist and a homophobe? You're also a homophobe if you describe families as consisting of "mommies and daddies". Sodom and Gomorrah's big sin was a "failure of hospitality." And yes, you're a homophobe if you don't consider this to be a valid interpretation. That's what Audrey Krumbach says anyway.

Does the average United Methodist know that this kind of nonsense is being propagated by an official church agency? (Have we forgotten that the official view of the UMC is that homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching"?) I attend a fairly liberal United Methodist church, but I'm betting that even in my congregation most of the people are in the dark about what's going on.

It's time to shine some light on some of these problems. A lot of shenanigans happen in our denomination because the average United Methodist either doesn't know or doesn't care. [Bold mine]

Frozen Wasteland

HT: 4simpsons