Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Glorifying Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus is Central to Christianity

Islam basis its religion on the life and teachings of Mohammad.  Hinduism basis its teachings on the Vedas (their holy book that is full of imaginary stories about their various gods).  Buddhism is based on the life and teachings of the Buddha.  Mormonism finds its roots in the teachings of Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon.   Christianity alone finds its roots in a historical event.  It is not the teachings of Jesus Christ that give rise to Christianity but rather it is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The resurrection is recorded in all four Gospels.  It is the one event that caused the Apostles to go from scared, running men to willing to die for Jesus.  The Apostles in the four Gospels are different men when you come to the book of Acts.  We have Peter who denies Jesus three times that he knows Him (Matthew 26:69-75) yet he preaches boldly in the book of Acts that Jesus is alive and he is willing to suffer for that name (Acts 4:5-13).  Luke records that Peter told the Jewish leaders that he could not but speak of what he had seen and heard (Acts 4:20).  The resurrection of Jesus completely changed these men.  Church tradition tells us that all of the Apostles gave their lives for the Lord Jesus including John who was exiled on the isle of Patmos.

If Jesus was not alive, if He did not rise from the dead then these men went from hiding while Jesus was alive before His crucifixion to boldly standing for Him when they knew He was not alive.  There was no doubt in their minds that Jesus was alive.  They had seen Him die.  They saw where He was buried.  They heard the women tell them Jesus was not there when they went to visit His grave (Matthew 28:1-10).  Peter had been one of the first Apostles to look in the empty tomb (Luke 24:12).  But it wasn’t that Jesus’ body was stolen or simply removed to a different tomb.  They saw Jesus (Luke 24:36-43).  Matthew even records that some doubted which is an amazing statement if Matthew believes a lie (Matthew 28:17).  The story of Thomas in John 20:24-29 is one that many (including myself) can identify with.  Yet Thomas saw Jesus alive and later was martyred for his faith in the living Jesus.

The resurrection is central in the New Testament letters.  Paul speaks of the resurrection in nearly all of his letters as do the other New Testament writers.   Paul the Apostle even states in 1 Corinthians 15 that without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no faith.  Even worst, we are liars for we claim that God raised Jesus from the dead but if Jesus is not risen, we are making God a liar by saying that He raised His Son from the dead (see 1 Corinthians 15:12-19).  The central message is not about the teachings of Jesus but His bodily resurrection from the dead.

The central message of the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  It is central to our salvation (Romans 4:24-25).  Paul records in Romans 10:9 that we must confess Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead.  Yet this is not based on mere faith but faith in the historical record given to us by the Apostles.  Yes we don’t see Jesus now (1 Peter 1:8) but we have faith that God did in fact raise Him from the dead just as the New Testament writers claimed (2 Peter 1:16-21).  This has been the hope of the Church for 2000 years.  Jesus is alive and He sits at the right hand of God and He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 22:12-13, 20).

The resurrection is pivotal to Christianity.  Present a body and our faith is done.  Present facts with proof that Jesus did not rise from the dead and our faith is in vain.  The resurrection of Jesus is our cornerstone.  If He is not alive, if Jesus is not risen, our faith is foolish.

When it comes to the resurrection the world does a couple of things with it.  First, some just refuse to believe.  They don’t care about the evidence.  They just refuse to believe that Jesus is alive.  Second, many just don’t care.  Who cares if Jesus is alive?  Who cares if Jesus rose from the dead?  The historical event mattes to them about as much as George Washington crossing the Delaware river.

This is why we must preach that resurrection to sinners.  Our lives must reflect His resurrection.  Our God is not dead like the false gods of all the false religions.  Our God is the only true God.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  We must preach this.  We must live this.  The resurrection of Jesus is what is our guarantee for peace with God (Romans 5:1).  The resurrection gives us hope for our own resurrection (John 5:24-25).  No doubt it takes faith to believe in the resurrection (Hebrews 11:1) but it is not blind faith but faith in the historical writings of the historical event of the resurrection of Christ.

My prayer is that God would raise up more and more people who boldly preach like the Apostles that Jesus is alive.  I pray that many people in the churches would come to see that our God is alive.  Jesus is not a historical person who once lived and then rose but He is alive right now.  His Spirit abides with us forever and someday we will see Him face to face when our faith will be made sight (2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 John 3:2-3).  May we all boldly preach the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!  May we live that truth every day in holiness.

Let Them See Jesus

And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. – Mark 5:6

The world needs to see Jesus.  They have seen our programs and they are not saved.  They have heard our music and they are not saved.  They have read our books and they are not saved.  They have debated our apologists and they are not saved.  They have seen our protests and they are not saved.  They have watched us and they are not saved.

The world needs to see Jesus.

You see no program at your church would deliver the demon possessed man here in Mark 5.  No music ministry was going to break his chains.  No strong man in the flesh was going to take him down.  This man needed Jesus.  Jesus alone was the One who could break his chains.  Isaiah had promised in Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV):

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Jesus came in the power of the Spirit and He could break this man’s chains.  And He did.  We read in Mark 5:15 (NIV):

When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.

Jesus delivered this man.

Jesus can still save.  I am convinced that if we would be exalt Jesus, preach Jesus, live for Jesus, seek to be like Jesus in all that we say or do, if we would but show the world Jesus, Jesus would save sinners.  He proclaimed in John 12:32 (NIV):

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

Jesus was given to set the world free.  1 John 2:2 promises us that “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

I would urge you to preach Jesus.  I pray that my co-workers are drawn to the Lord Jesus who dwells in me.  My family, my friends, the world – they all need to see Jesus.  This will bring salvation.  This is what will bring repentance and this is what will truly transform our world for the glory of God.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/15/2013 at 10:47 AM

What Are You Reading For?

After reading a commentary on the book of Romans and especially studying Romans 9 for a series of posts I was doing on the subject of prevenient grace, I was struck with how people read the Bible looking for their own doctrines.  For instance, Dr. Vic Reasoner quoted Martyn Lloyd-Jones who states on Romans 9, “For anyone to exalt predestination as the main theme in this section in this selection is almost to be guilty of blasphemy.  It is God Himself in the glory of His person and character.  Predestination is merely one of the ways in which God works out His great purpose” (A Fundamental Wesleyan Commentary on Romans, p. 385).  

It seems that many go to Romans 9 or other places looking for their doctrines.  F. Leroy Forlines points out in his commentary on Romans that nearly 80% of all commentaries he had read saw Romans 9-11 as teaching unconditional election as the main subject.  Calvinists such as John Piper have written books on the subject of Romans 9 and conclude that God elects individuals unto salvation by His own sovereign decree and will.

I am convinced that when we read the Bible, we often read it looking for something.  I remember reading a man’s testimony of his “conversation” to Calvinism in which he said that after “God opened my eyes to the doctrines of grace, I begin to see them on every page.  The Bible was dripping with the sovereignty of God and His electing purposes.”  Really?  I don’t doubt that the Bible does speak of God’s sovereignty nor that election or predestination are subjects the Bible does deal with but to say that the Scriptures are dripping with their teachings are hard to fathom.

Unless you are looking for them.  If you are looking for a certain doctrine, it is there.  I am convinced that we can convince ourselves that any doctrine is there.  Whether it is right or wrong is another question.  I have watched Jehovah’s Witnesses find their pet doctrines in the pages of their New World Translation.  I have watched Mormon elders find doctrines such as baptism for the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:29.  I have watched antinomians build a case against living a holy life from the pages of Scripture.  Again, the issue is not whether they are right or wrong but they find their doctrines in their reading of the Bible.

This is why exegesis is so vital.  I know godly Calvinists would certainly agree.  Too often I myself am guilty of looking for Arminianism in the pages of Scripture.  I should be reading looking for Christ but instead I find myself looking for Arminius.  Instead of looking for Christ, for example, in the book of Revelation, we look for our end time views.  Instead of looking for the glory of Christ in John 6, we look for our proof texts on the drawing power of God.  Instead of looking for the glory of Christ in the book of Acts, we look for the work of the Holy Spirit, the style of the early Church, or evangelism.  Christ should be our focus.  All of Scripture points to Jesus (see Luke 24:26-27; John 20:31).  Christ is the glory of God.  Christ is the focus of the Bible.  Christ is faithfully revealed in the Bible.  I don’t doubt that all that the Bible says about history, science, geography, etc. is absolutely true but the purpose of the Bible is not to prove creationism or to disprove atheism or to prove Arminianism but the purpose of Scripture is this: to reveal the glory of God as He has revealed His glory in His Son (Colossians 1:15-20).  All of Scripture drips with the glory of the Lord Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.

So when you read the Bible, what are you reading for?  Are you looking for Christ or are you trying to prove your doctrines?  Are you looking for the glory of Christ in the pages of Scripture or are you looking for Calvinism or Arminianism?  Let us be careful to look for Christ and find that He is the One that is worthy of all worship and praise.  Jesus is not a doctrine.  He is our Risen Savior who lives forevermore!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/20/2013 at 3:14 PM

Focus on the Gospel (Follow Up Post)

As a follow up post to my last post on evangelism and The Way of the Master, I wanted to emphasis what we should be preaching in our evangelism and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.  His gospel is what saves sinners (Romans 1:16-17).  None of us believes that evangelism methods save sinners.  The “sinner’s prayer” does not save sinners.  The Ten Commandments does not save sinners.  Using signs to make people mad at you does not save sinners.  Merely preaching to a crowd about sin does not save sinners.  It is the gospel that saves sinners.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

He wrote later in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

That is the gospel according to Paul the Apostle.  The focus is on the Lord Jesus.  The focus is upon the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  The focus of Paul was not on the Law or upon questions nor even upon the utter sinfulness of humanity but upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is what saves us.  His gospel is what saves.  His work is what saves.  None of us are saved because of anything or anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:18).  He alone bore our sins and He alone makes intercession for us before God (Hebrews 7:25; 9:14, 27-28).

I pray that in our evangelism we make much about Jesus.  Don’t make much about the Law or about the sinfulness of the hearers.  Make much about Christ.  Make much about justification through faith (Galatians 2:15-16; 3:1-5).  Make much about how we receive forgiveness of our sins through faith in Christ Jesus alone (Acts 13:38-39).  Focus on the exaltation of the Lord Jesus to the right hand of God the Father.  Focus on how it is through the cross alone that we find forgiveness of our sins and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Make much about how no church or group can save us but only faith in the Lord Jesus (Titus 3:5-7).  Emphasize that salvation is a work of God (John 1:12-13) and while we are called to repent of our sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38), the Holy Spirit is the One who brings about true conviction and true repentance (John 16:8-11).

My point here: make Jesus Christ your focus in your evangelism and this glorifies God (John 16:12-15).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/09/2013 at 10:04 AM

Good To Be Saved

I don’t know everything about God.  I don’t always understand His ways (Romans 11:33-36).  I don’t have all the answers.  But I do know this: I am saved and that is good news for my soul.  I can’t answer all the “why” questions about God.  I can’t always explain the balance between the sovereignty of God and the freedom of people like I would like.  But I do know this: God saves sinners and He saved me!

As we enter into this day of worship unto Jesus (Acts 20:7), I pray that my focus and your focus would be all on the absolute truth that Jesus Christ is worthy of praise and worship because He saves people by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Salvation is not accomplished through human strength or through joining a church but is through faith in Jesus and His work on the cross (John 1:12-13; 20:31; Acts 13:38-39; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  I am saved because of Jesus and because of Jesus alone.  I take no credit in my salvation but rejoice only in the Lord Jesus and what He has done for this sinner now redeemed by grace (Ephesians 2:1-9).

If your thankfulness is not in the cross, run back to the cross and repent before God and thank Him for His salvation in His Son (Colossians 2:13-15).  Make Jesus your focus and not your good works (Titus 3:5-7).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/15/2011 at 7:37 PM

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