9/16/15

From Mark Copeland... "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST AND THE PROBLEM OF SIN" The Gospel's Answer To The "Result" Of Sin (The Gift Of Eternal Life)

              "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST AND THE PROBLEM OF SIN"

               The Gospel's Answer To The "Result" Of Sin
                       (The Gift Of Eternal Life)

INTRODUCTION

1. The purpose in this series of lessons has been to help us understand
   and appreciate how the gospel of Christ is indeed God's power to save
   us - Ro 1:16-17

2. We have examined various aspects of the problem of sin, and then how
   the gospel of Christ with its commands and promises effectively
   addresses the problem of sin

3. To summarize thus far...
   a. When the command to believe is obeyed, the love of sin is addressed
   b. When the command to repent is obeyed, the practice of sin is dealt with
   c. When the command to be baptized is submitted to, the state of sin is changed
   d. When we have obeyed these commands, we receive wonderful  promises...
      1) Remission of sins, which removes the guilt of sin
      2) The gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to deal with the power of sin

4. In this final lesson, we shall examine another promise which deals
   with the result of sin:  the promise of eternal life - Ro 6:23

[In the first lesson, we touched briefly on the result of sin; we shall
now examine it more carefully...]

I. THE "RESULT" OF SIN

   A. ONE RESULT OF SIN IS "SPIRITUAL DEATH"...
      1. The death referred to by God when He warned Adam & Eve - Gen 2:15-17
         a. Note:  "...for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou
            shalt surely die."
         b. They did not die "physically" in the day they ate of the
            forbidden fruit, but they did die "spiritually" in that day
      2. "Spiritual" death is "separation from God"
         a. Death of any sort involves the idea of "separation"
         b. Just as physical death is the separation of body and spirit
            - Jm 2:26
      3. "Spiritual" death is what occurs when all sin - Ro 5:12
         a. It occurs when we reach that "age of accountability" where
            we know the difference between right and wrong, and then
            violate God's law - cf. Ro 7:9
         b. This is the "death" referred to in Ep 2:1-3
            1) All who are outside of Christ are "dead in sin"
            2) Those who are "dead in sin" are separated from God and
               all the blessings that would otherwise come from union
               with Him - cf. Isa 59:1-2

   B. ANOTHER RESULT OF SIN IS "PHYSICAL DEATH"...
      1. Because of their sin, Adam and Even lost access to the "tree of
         life" - Gen 3:22-24
      2. Because access to the "tree of life" was lost, all mankind is
         subject to "physical" death - "in Adam all die" (1Co 15:22a)

   C. THE FINAL RESULT OF SIN IS THE "SECOND DEATH"...
      1. This death is referred to in Re 21:8
      2. This "death" involves eternal separation from God!
      3. This "death" Jesus often spoke of and warned about - Mt 10:28; 25:41-46

[Truly, in more than one sense, "the wages of sin is death" (Ro 6:23);
but the same can be said about "the gift of eternal life"!  No matter
what the result of sin, the promise of eternal life more than makes up for it!]

II. THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE

   A. THE GOSPEL PROMISES EVEN NOW "ETERNAL LIFE"...
      1. John speaks of this "life" as a present possession in 1Jn 5:
         11-13
      2. This is "eternal life" in the sense of knowing God and Jesus in
         a special way, having fellowship with them - cf. Jn 17:3; 1Jn 5:20
      3. With this type of "eternal life"...
         a. One is no longer "dead in sin"
         b. One is no longer "separated from God"
         c. The emphasis is on the quality of life, not quantity - cf. Jn 10:10
      4. "Eternal life" in this sense begins when we rise from the
         watery grave of baptism
         a. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:
            that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory
            of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
            life." - Ro 6:4
         b. This is because in baptism...
            1) Our sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16
            2) We enter into a new relationship with God, having put on
               Christ - Ga 3:26-27
      5. We who were once dead "spiritually", are now "made alive"!
         - cf. Ep 2:1,4-9

   B. THE GOSPEL PROMISES "THE HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION"...
      1. Jesus spoke of this "hope" in Jn 5:28-29
      2. Paul wrote of this wonderful "hope" in 1Co 15:20-23,50-58
      3. This hope of the resurrection we have is based upon our
         conviction that Jesus Himself was raised from the dead - 1 Pe 1:3
      4. With such hope, "physical" death has lost much of its sting
         - 1Th 4:13-18

   C. THE GOSPEL PROMISES "THE HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE"...
      1. In this sense, "eternal life" is still a future hope (and not
         a present possession)...
         a. Jesus spoke of "eternal life" in this sense, in Mt 25:46; Mk 10:29-30
         b. Paul spoke of "eternal life" as a future hope in 2Ti 1:1; Tit 1:2
      2. This "eternal life", which is yet to be realized by those who
         are in Christ...
         a. Comes after one has:
            1) Been set free from sin (which occurs in baptism - Ro 6:3-7)
            2) Become a slave to God (which occurs when we present our
               selves as servants of righteousness - Ro 6:17-19)
            3) Produced the fruit of holiness - Ro 6:22
            -- Note carefully what Paul says: "...and the end
               everlasting life."  Everlasting life comes at "the end"
               of a life that has borne fruit unto holiness! It is a
               gift, yes (Ro 6:23), but in the text Paul is speaking
               about a gift that one receives at "the end" of the
               Christian's faithful life!
         b. Comes after the resurrection and judgment - Mt 25:31-34,46
         c. Comes to those who patiently do the will of God! - Ro 2:4-7
         d. Offers honor, peace and glory to those who receive it - Ro 2:8-11
         e. Is beautifully described by the apostle John in Re 21:1-7;
            22:1-5

CONCLUSION

1. This is how the gospel addresses the result of sin; in response to:
   a. "spiritual death" (where our sins separate us from God) there is
      "eternal life" (in the sense of knowing the Lord, which begins at
      one's conversion)
   b. "physical death", there is "the resurrection from the dead" (which
      occurs at the coming of Christ)
   c. The "second death" (eternal separation from God), there is
      "eternal life" (in the sense of eternity with God and Christ,
      which begins after the Judgment)
   -- Thus the gospel of Christ effectively deals with the result of sin!

2. I hope that we better understand the wonderful grace of Christ; why
   Paul calls it "the gospel of the grace of God" (Ac 20:24)...
   a. Even the commands to be obeyed involve God's grace:
      1) We must believe in Christ, if we are to stop the love of sin;
         yet by grace God's Word produces such faith! - Ro 10:17
      2) We must repent, if we are to end the practice of sin; yet it is
         God's goodness (i.e., by grace) which leads us to repentance
         - Ro 2:4
      3) We must be baptized into Christ, if we are to change the state
         of sin; yet, even in this, it is by grace (for God is the one
         who is at work in cleansing our sins and regenerating us anew)
         - Col 2:12
   b. How much more are the promises of the gospel indicative of God's
      marvelous grace!
      1) The remission of sins removes the guilt of sin
      2) The gift of the Holy Spirit helps us to overcome the power of sin
      3) Eternal life is God's gracious gift in response to the result of sin

Have you accepted the grace of God by obeying the gospel of Christ?  If
not, may the words of Paul encourage you do so today...

   We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to
   receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: "In an acceptable
   time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped
   you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of
   salvation. - 2Co 6:1-2

If I can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.  May
God be with you!


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Seeing God “Face to Face” by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=2682

Seeing God “Face to Face”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


In the Kyle Butt/Dan Barker debate, Dan Barker alleged that He “knows” the God of the Bible cannot exist because “there are mutually incompatible properties/characteristics of the God that’s in this book [the Bible—EL] that rule out the possibility of His existence” (2009). One of the supposed contradictions that Barker mentioned was that God claims invisibility, yet has been seen. (His assertion is found 10 minutes and 55 seconds into his first speech.) Since biblical passages such as Exodus 33:20-23, John 1:18, and 1 John 4:12 teach that God cannot be seen, while other scriptures indicate that man has seen God and spoken to him “face to face” (Exodus 33:11; Genesis 32:30), allegedly “the God of the Bible does not exist.”
Although in modern times words are regularly used in many different senses (e.g., hot and cold, good and bad), Barker, like so many Bible critics, has dismissed the possibility that the terms in the aforementioned passages were used in different senses. Throughout Scripture, however, words are often used in various ways. In James 2:5, the term “poor” refers to material wealth, whereas the term “rich” has to do with a person’s spiritual well-being. In Philippians 3:12,15, Paul used the term “perfect” (NASB) in different senses. Although Paul had attained spiritual maturity (“perfection”) in Christ (vs. 15), he had not yet attained the perfect “final thing, the victor’s prize of the heavenly calling in Christ Jesus” (Schippers, 1971, 2:62; cf. Philippians 3:9-11). Similarly, in one sense man has seen God, but in another sense he has not.
Consider the first chapter of John where we learn that in the beginning Jesus was with God and “was God” (1:1; cf. 14,17). Though John wrote that Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us” (1:14), he indicated only four sentences later that “no one has seen God at any time” (1:18; 1 John 4:12). Was Jesus God? Yes. Did man see Jesus? Yes. So in what sense has man not seen God? No human has ever seen Jesus in His true image (i.e., as a spirit Being—John 4:24—in all of His fullness, glory, and splendor). When God, the Word, appeared on Earth 2,000 years ago, He came in a veiled form. In his letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul mentioned that Christ—Who had existed in heaven “in the form of God”—“made Himself of no reputation,” and took on the “likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7). Mankind saw an embodiment of deity as Jesus dwelt on Earth in the form of a man. Men saw “the Word” that “became flesh.” Likewise, when Jacob “struggled with God” (Genesis 32:28), He saw only a form of God, not the spiritual, invisible, omnipresent God Who fills heaven and Earth (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
But what about those statements which indicate that man saw or spoke to God “face to face”? Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face” (Genesis 32:30). Gideon proclaimed: “I have seen the Angel of the Lord face to face” (Judges 6:22). Exodus 33:11 affirms that “the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” First, although these men witnessed great and awesome things, they still only saw manifestations of God and a part of His glory (cf. Exodus 33:18-23). Second, the words “face” and “face to face” are used in different senses in Scripture. Though Exodus 33:11 reveals that God spoke to Moses “face to face,” only nine verses later God told Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (33:20). Are we to believe (as Barker and other critics assert) that the author of Exodus was so misguided that he wrote contradictory statements within only nine verses of each other? Certainly not! What then does the Bible mean when it says that God “knew” (Deuteronomy 34:10) or “spoke to Moses face to face” (Exodus 33:11)? The answer is found in Numbers 12. Aaron and Miriam had spoken against Moses and arrogantly asked: “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” (Numbers 12:2). God then appeared to Aaron and Miriam, saying: “If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the Lord” (Numbers 12:6-8, emp. added). Notice the contrast: God spoke to the prophets of Israel through visions and dreams, but to Moses He spoke, “not in dark sayings,” but “plainly.” In other words, God, Who never showed His face to Moses (Exodus 33:20), nevertheless allowed Moses to see “some unmistakable evidence of His glorious presence” (Jamieson, 1997), and spoke to him “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (33:11), i.e., He spoke to Moses plainly, directly, etc.
The Bible does not reveal “mutually incompatible characteristics of God” as Barker has alleged. His assertions in no way prove that the God of the Bible does not exist or that the Bible is unreliable. In truth, Barker’s comments merely reveal that he is a dishonest interpreter of Scripture. If Barker can work “side by side” with a colleague without literally working inches from him (Barker, 2008, p. 335), or if he can see “eye to eye” with a fellow atheist without ever literally looking into the atheist’s eyes, then Barker can understand that God could speak “face to face” with Moses without literally revealing to him His full, glorious “face.”

REFERENCES

Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Jamieson, Robert, et al. (1997), Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
Schippers, R. (1971), “Telos,” The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

It Takes Intelligence to Design a Human—oid by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2681

It Takes Intelligence to Design a Human—oid

by Kyle Butt, M.A.


On Monday, March 16 the world was introduced to HRP-4C, a female, humanoid robot designed and created by developers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Ama, 2009). This 95-pound technological wonder wowed onlookers with her animated facial expressions, lifelike walk, and human-like responses. Designers created her to be a fashion model. They hope that future models will be able to help “with daily chores or work side by side with people.” But Hirohisa Hirukawa, one researcher who worked on the robot, said concerning this dream: “Technologically, it hasn’t reached that level” (Ama, 2009). For all the money, man-hours, and technology applied to the field of robotics, robots simply cannot perform standard tasks that an average human does with little thought or exertion.
Models of the HRP-4C robot will soon be on sale for about $200,000. Japanese robotics developers, who are some of the leaders in the field, believe that the market for humanoid robots will soon be in the billions of dollars. They want to be the front-runners in this technological expansion.
As exciting as HRP-4C’s debut was, however, it was not problem-free. As Ama noted:
The demonstration didn’t all go smoothly. The robot often looked surprised, opening its mouth and eyes in a stunned expression, when the demonstrator asked it to smile or look angry. Its walk was also not quite ready for the Paris Collection, partly because its knees are permanently bent. It has sensors in its feet but it lacks the sensitive balance of a real human (2009).
If we wanted to list a few other things that limit the robot’s capabilities, we could mention that it does not have light-weight, super-strong bones that heal in a matter of weeks if they are broken, it cannot turn a banana into usable energy to keep itself going, it cannot do simple jumping jacks, does not have self-cleaning eyeballs, etc. To put it mildly, the robot’s abilities are dismal when compared to a living human.
Shuuji Kajita, the leading developer of the group, optimistically noted that HRP-4C “is just the first step” (Ama, 2009). He means this is the first step toward making a robot that can come closer to human functionality. But future steps in that direction will cost billions, consume massive amounts of research time, and require input from thousands of brilliant men and women across the globe. These things do not just happen by accident, which, of course, is the point. Robots don’t happen by accident; they require intelligent designers to bring them into existence.
Only the most obstinate mind can miss the clear implication. Robots are inferior to humans and they require intelligent, personal beings for their construction. Human beings are superior to robots in functionality and complexity; therefore they must also require an intelligent, personal being for their design. As the psalmist so aptly put it some 3,000 years ago: “I will praise You [God], for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well” (139:14).

REFERENCE

Ama, Yuri Kagey (2009), “Walking, Talking Female Robot to Hit Japan Catwalk,” [On-line], URL:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090316/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_girl_robot.

Dawkins Can’t See the Forest for the Trees by Kyle Butt, M.A.


http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3590

Dawkins Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

by Kyle Butt, M.A.


Richard Dawkins recently penned The Greatest Show on Earth that he believes sets forth overwhelming evidence to establish the “fact” of evolution. He wrote the book because he admitted that in his previous works, he “realized that the evidence for evolution itself was nowhere explicitly set out, and that this was a serious gap” that he “needed to close” (2009, p. vii). This self-acknowledged gap remains open, however, because the text of his newest book fails completely to state explicitly anything resembling “the evidence for evolution.”

Confirmation of the book’s failure to provide a rational case for evolution can be clearly seen in Dawkins’ discussion about trees (pp. 377-380). In his assessment of trees, Dawkins suggests that tall tree trunks are simply a waste of energy that could be disposed of “if only all the trees in the forest could come to some agreement” not to grow past a certain height. He states:
And this brings us face to face with the difference between a designed economy and an evolutionary economy. In a designed economy there would be no trees, or certainly no very tall trees: no forests, no canopy. Trees are a waste. Trees are extravagant. Tree trunks are standing monuments to futile competition—futile if we think in terms of planned economy. But the natural economy is not planned. Individual plants compete with other plants, of the same and other species, and the result is that they grow taller and taller, far taller than any planner would recommend (p. 379).
According to Dawkins, tall tree trunks are the squandered natural resources of plants that must constantly compete with other plants to capture the precious rays of sunshine that drive their nutrition production. In fact, he states that massive tree trunks “have no purpose apart from competing with other trees” (p. 379). He concludes that “the forest would look very different if its economy had been designed for the benefit of the forest as a whole” (p. 380, italics in orig.). He believes that only the idea of competition between individual trees can account for the look of a forest with massive-trunked trees filling it. In summarizing his “evidence” about trees, he states: “Everything about trees is compatible with the view that they were not designed—unless, of course, they were designed to supply us with timber, or to delight our eyes and flatter our cameras in the new England Fall” (p. 380, emp. added).

In assessing Dawkins’ conclusion about trees, it must be stressed that he has not provided any evidence by which one could conclude that “everything about trees is compatible with the view that they were not designed.” He has not shown how genetic information could spontaneously assemble itself through any known natural process that would give rise to a tree. He has not shown how genetic mutations could change one tree into another kind of tree, say an apple tree into an oak. Nor has he shown how trees could possibly share any type of ancestral relationship with animals, which he would have to do in order to defend evolution and refute creation. All Dawkins has shown is that trees have the genetic ability to grow trunks that eventually reach a certain limit of height and breadth that they cannot exceed.

Furthermore, Dawkins admits defeat, at least in his discussion of trees, when he acknowledges that a Creator could have in mind other things besides forest economy. Dawkins acknowledges that tree trunks would make perfect sense if they were designed to provide humans with timber or beauty. Yet that is precisely why the Bible explains God created the world—to be inhabited by man: “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). Not only that, but also to show the glory of God (cf. Psalm 19:1 and Isaiah 6:3). Dawkins’ obvious mistake is that he refuses to accept that the Creator of the world might have a more involved agenda than Dawkins is willing to allow or can even conceptualize. Why would Dawkins waste at least three pages of his book on “explicit evidence” supposedly proving evolution, only to admit that everything he just said about trees is not evidence of evolution “if” the Designer had humans in mind? Simply because this is the only kind of “evidence” that can be marshaled for evolution—the kind that can rationally be refuted when a correct interpretation of the facts is made available.

REFERENCE

Dawkins, Richard (2009), The Greatest Show on Earth (New York: Free Press).

How To Offend God by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=314

How To Offend God
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Americans have their daily concerns just as all human beings: food, clothes, housing, transportation, employment, etc. Most people give some thought everyday to such concerns, along with the broader issues that occupy national attention—the economy, foreign enemies, etc. But how many Americans ever give any thought whatsoever to whether the God of the Universe is offended by their conduct? How many contemplate the idea that the Great Ruler of Nations would actually punish an entire country for its citizens’ violations of His will? Should this consideration be of any concern to society? Should the U.S. Congress discuss this question? Should state legislatures across the country give any time or attention to such a matter?
The Founders of the American Republic most certainly shared this greater concern (Miller, 2009). They repeatedly expressed their conviction that the successful establishment of the nation was dependent on the approval of God. They insisted that it was imperative that Americans not be guilty of offending Him or earning His displeasure, lest their entire national enterprise fail. For example, four months before officially declaring independence from Great Britain, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation to the entire country:
In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered…, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly [sic] to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger…. Desirous, at the same time, to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God’s superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely, in all their lawful enterprises [sic], on his aid and direction, Do earnestly recommend, that Friday, the Seventeenth day of May next, be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life,appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance…. (Journals of…, 4:208-209, emp. added).
Subsequent proclamations contained similar sentiments regarding the wrath of God, including such phrases as: “to acknowledge GOD in all his Ways, and more especially to humble themselves before him when evident tokens of his Displeasure are manifested” (Journals of…, 10:229-230, emp. added); “that so he might turn from his Wrath” (Journals of…, 13:343-344, emp. added); “humbling ourselves before him, and turning from every evil Way to avert his Anger and obtain his Favour” (Journals of…, 16:252-253, emp. added; cf. 19:284-286).
Who, today, believes the perpetuation of a blessed America depends on appeasing God’s righteous displeasure over the sins of Americans? How many Americans are actually and vitally concerned about offending God? Perhaps a key indicator was the number one concern of the vast majority of Americans during the last presidential election—the economy, not morality (“Economy Top Issue…,” 2010)! Since the Bible is proven to be the only book on the planet that conveys the will of God (Butt, 2007), what does it say about offending God? How are Americans offending God today, and consequently endangering the existence of the Republic? The Bible delineates a number of such offenses that merit divine displeasure, but please consider three.
When Harry Reid invited a Hindu priest to open a session of the U.S. Senate with a Hindu prayer, neither he nor a host of others apparently gave the slightest thought to whether such an action was an offense to the God of the Universe. After all, political correctness demands that all religions and ideologies be celebrated and treated as equally authentic. To fail to do so would be “intolerant” and “judgmental”—the only ultimate evil in the minds of many. But to give credence or credibility to pantheistic religion (“God” inside the Earth, sky, etc.; see Miller, 2007b) that advocates belief in thousands of “gods” and that cow-killing is a sin, while rejecting the one true God of the Bible, would be unthinkable in America in 1776. It was equally unthinkable for most Americans until the last 40-50 years. The politically correct climate now enshrouding America literally is suffocating the moral and religious sensibilities of society. The nod to Hinduism follows closely on the heels of the election of a Muslim to the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the first atheist in Congress (see Miller, 2006; Miller, 2007a).
But wait! The fact is that the God of the Bible exists, He is the only one that exists, and both atheism and polytheism are an affront to His righteous character (cf. Warren and Flew, 1976; Butt and Barker,2009). Consequently, human behavior that violates His will displeases Him. Rather than being overly concerned with whether our Christian beliefs offend our misguided fellow human beings, we would do well to show greater concern for whether our behavior offends God.
Second, whereas at one time in American culture, the average citizen understood the concept that using God’s name in vain was taboo, now it is common place. Both adults and children regularly use God’s name in a flippant, thoughtless, frivolous way (“Oh, my God!”). Yet, God informed the Israelites that such disrespectful misuse of His name would bring His displeasure: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Deuteronomy 5:11, emp. added). God holds guilty those who misuse His high and holy name.
Third, the gross and flagrant immorality that has blanketed American civilization, becoming commonplace and comfortable to the population, is an offense to the God of Heaven. The very actions that most Americans disdained for most of American history are now widespread, rampant, and defiantly defended or downplayed: stealing, lying, murder, covetousness, adultery, homosexuality, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, rape, gambling, intoxication, the killing of the unborn, and the list goes on and on. The Great Governor of the Universe is offended by such conduct, and historically, He will allow it to progress only so long and so far (e.g., Genesis 6:5-7; 19:24-25; 15:16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4). Legion are the nations that were destroyed for their wickedness, now lying in rubble, ruins, and the dust of antiquity (see Miller, 2005).
Writing from Mount Vernon on June 29, 1788, the Father of our country, George Washington, wrote a letter to Major General Benjamin Lincoln. In that letter, remarks were made to which every American today ought to pay earnest heed:
No one can rejoice more than I do at every step the people of this great Country take to preserve the Union, establish good order and government, and to render the Nation happy at home and respectable abroad. No Country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means, and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far on the road to happiness and glory, to forsake us in the midst of it. By folly and improper conduct, proceeding from a variety of causes, we may now and then get bewildered; but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path before we shall be entirely lost (1788, emp. added).
The only remedy and the only hope for America to perpetuate its national existence is to swallow the antidote prescribed by God Himself:
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God… But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: The LORD will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me (Deuteronomy 28:1-2,15,20, emp. added).

REFERENCES

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Butt/Barker Debate: Does the God of the Bible Exist?(Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Economy Top Issue for Voters; Size of Gov’t. May Be More Pivotal” (2010), Gallup, October 26, http://www.gallup.com/poll/144029/Economy-Top-Issue-Voters-Size-Gov-May-Pivotal.aspx.
Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (1904-1937), ed. Worthington C. Ford, et al. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office), Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwjc.html.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Is America’s Iniquity Full?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=7&article=1528.
Miller, Dave (2006), “A Muslim Now in Congress?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1999.
Miller, Dave (2007a), “First Atheist in Congress,” Reason & Revelation, 6[5]:17,20-R, May,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2140.
Miller, Dave (2007b), “Hindu Prayer in Congress,” Reason & Revelation, 27[8]:57-63, August,http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=592.
Miller, Dave (2009), Christ & the Continental Congress (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Warren, Thomas B. and Antony Flew (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
Washington, George (1788), “George Washington to Benjamin Lincoln, June 29, 1788,” George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbooks, Letterbook 15, Image 172 of 341, The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mgw2&fileName=gwpage015.db&recNum=171.

From Jim McGuiggan... War Or Boredom?

War Or Boredom?

The gospel the prophet was given in 2:4b was this: "The righteous shall live by his faith." To reduce the word "live" to mere "survival" is thievery. The gospel he was given isn't, "The righteous will survive by his faith." There's a world of living in the word "live" that we shouldn't dare to reduce. We should feed the expectancy of believers and fill their hearts and eyes with fire rather than a disappointed submission to or expectation of tameness.
My suspicion is that boredom is a major enemy of Christians. We hear of the dramatic life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and in penitent trust we're baptized into union with that glorious Christ. Then we're fed a steady diet of stories about a "nice" God who wants us all to be happy and nice before we get our post-mortem blessing in heaven where we'll play harps to our heart's content and walk on golden streets.
Habakkuk's gospel isn't to "nice" people--it's to desperate people who've committed themselves in trust to a God that has a galactic enterprise under way. His gospel of "life" is offered to people about to face death, to people who hear the drums and the tramp of approaching killers and rapists and he promises them "life" through their trust.
But what if your "enemies" aren't invading armies or liver cancers or a stock market crash that wipes out a life's honest work? What if the "enemies" are the same dull routines day after day? What if the enemy is a job that narrows the heart and mind, what if it's the same round of petty arguments with family members, the same bitter nonsense chewed on "one more time"? What if it's one more "nice" sermon and one more "church service" in a long line of church services? Are these less dangerous than violent paramilitaries or brutal regimes that suppress believers? Hmmm.
And if our lives are one long boring diet of sameness--is there no gospel for that? Is the gospel only for the gallant who stand radiant and trusting as enemies burn down their houses or drive them from them? Does God come to people like us that are fighting no visibly gallant battles and say, "Those who trust live through their trusting!"--does he? Has he nothing to say that strikes our humdrum days through with glory? Is that what "life" comes down to--washing dishes for a living? Ceaselessly doing the same housework? Does the fact that we prepare meat loaf "one more time" for Sunday lunch prove that all talk of glory and profound meaning is so much spindrift?
No, just as surely as God whispered to Habakkuk's neighbours during calamity, "Trust me. Appearances only tell a part of the truth," he comes whispering to every listless heart trapped in the seemingly ho-hum of life, "Trust me. Appearance only tells some of the truth. Glorious things are being worked out even now. Live!"
Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

From Gary... Bible Reading September 16


Bible Reading 

September 16

The World English Bible


Sept. 16
Psalms 74-76

Psa 74:1 God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
Psa 74:2 Remember your congregation, which you purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your inheritance; Mount Zion, in which you have lived.
Psa 74:3 Lift up your feet to the perpetual ruins, all the evil that the enemy has done in the sanctuary.
Psa 74:4 Your adversaries have roared in the midst of your assembly. They have set up their standards as signs.
Psa 74:5 They behaved like men wielding axes, cutting through a thicket of trees.
Psa 74:6 Now they break all its carved work down with hatchet and hammers.
Psa 74:7 They have burned your sanctuary to the ground. They have profaned the dwelling place of your Name.
Psa 74:8 They said in their heart, "We will crush them completely." They have burned up all the places in the land where God was worshiped.
Psa 74:9 We see no miraculous signs. There is no longer any prophet, neither is there among us anyone who knows how long.
Psa 74:10 How long, God, shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme your name forever?
Psa 74:11 Why do you draw back your hand, even your right hand? Take it out of your pocket and consume them!
Psa 74:12 Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Psa 74:13 You divided the sea by your strength. You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
Psa 74:14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces. You gave him as food to people and desert creatures.
Psa 74:15 You opened up spring and stream. You dried up mighty rivers.
Psa 74:16 The day is yours, the night is also yours. You have prepared the light and the sun.
Psa 74:17 You have set all the boundaries of the earth. You have made summer and winter.
Psa 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy has mocked you, Yahweh. Foolish people have blasphemed your name.
Psa 74:19 Don't deliver the soul of your dove to wild beasts. Don't forget the life of your poor forever.
Psa 74:20 Honor your covenant, for haunts of violence fill the dark places of the earth.
Psa 74:21 Don't let the oppressed return ashamed. Let the poor and needy praise your name.
Psa 74:22 Arise, God! Plead your own cause. Remember how the foolish man mocks you all day.
Psa 74:23 Don't forget the voice of your adversaries. The tumult of those who rise up against you ascends continually.
Psa 75:1 We give thanks to you, God. We give thanks, for your Name is near. Men tell about your wondrous works.
Psa 75:2 When I choose the appointed time, I will judge blamelessly.
Psa 75:3 The earth and all its inhabitants quake. I firmly hold its pillars. Selah.
Psa 75:4 I said to the arrogant, "Don't boast!" I said to the wicked, "Don't lift up the horn.
Psa 75:5 Don't lift up your horn on high. Don't speak with a stiff neck."
Psa 75:6 For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor yet from the south, comes exaltation.
Psa 75:7 But God is the judge. He puts down one, and lifts up another.
Psa 75:8 For in the hand of Yahweh there is a cup, full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours it out. Indeed the wicked of the earth drink and drink it to its very dregs.
Psa 75:9 But I will declare this forever: I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
Psa 75:10 I will cut off all the horns of the wicked, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.
Psa 76:1 In Judah, God is known. His name is great in Israel.
Psa 76:2 His tabernacle is also in Salem; His dwelling place in Zion.
Psa 76:3 There he broke the flaming arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the weapons of war. Selah.
Psa 76:4 Glorious are you, and excellent, more than mountains of game.
Psa 76:5 Valiant men lie plundered, they have slept their last sleep. None of the men of war can lift their hands.
Psa 76:6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep.
Psa 76:7 You, even you, are to be feared. Who can stand in your sight when you are angry?
Psa 76:8 You pronounced judgment from heaven. The earth feared, and was silent,
Psa 76:9 when God arose to judgment, to save all the afflicted ones of the earth. Selah.
Psa 76:10 Surely the wrath of man praises you. The survivors of your wrath are restrained.
Psa 76:11 Make vows to Yahweh your God, and fulfill them! Let all of his neighbors bring presents to him who is to be feared.

Psa 76:12 He will cut off the spirit of princes. He is feared by the kings of the earth.

 Sept. 16
1 Corinthians 12

1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual things, brothers, I don't want you to be ignorant.
1Co 12:2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led away to those mute idols, however you might be led.
1Co 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is accursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," but by the Holy Spirit.
1Co 12:4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all.
1Co 12:7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages.
1Co 12:11 But the one and the same Spirit works all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot would say, "Because I'm not the hand, I'm not part of the body," it is not therefore not part of the body.
1Co 12:16 If the ear would say, "Because I'm not the eye, I'm not part of the body," it's not therefore not part of the body.
1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the smelling be?
1Co 12:18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as he desired.
1Co 12:19 If they were all one member, where would the body be?
1Co 12:20 But now they are many members, but one body.
1Co 12:21 The eye can't tell the hand, "I have no need for you," or again the head to the feet, "I have no need for you."
1Co 12:22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
1Co 12:23 Those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, on those we bestow more abundant honor; and our unpresentable parts have more abundant propriety;
1Co 12:24 whereas our presentable parts have no such need. But God composed the body together, giving more abundant honor to the inferior part,
1Co 12:25 that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
1Co 12:26 When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
1Co 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
1Co 12:28 God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages.
1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all miracle workers?
1Co 12:30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with various languages? Do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way to you.