Episode 124

Disciple Up #124
Let’s Talk About Hell
By Louie Marsh, 9-4-2019

This episode is devoted to a subject we hear precious little about today. This topic is about where, according to the Bible, Satan and those unfortunate enough to have followed him will spend eternity – Hell!

There is probably as much debate, ignorance and unbelief about Hell has there is about any topic found in the Scriptures. Most modern people’s attitudes towards hell might well be summed up in a story told by the late Dr. Walter Martin. After a service in which he had preached on hell he was confronted by an angry man.

“So,” the man almost shouted, “you believe in a God Who enjoys roasting people on a cosmic spit for all eternity?”

Of course Dr. Martin denied that he had ever said any such thing or that the Scriptures taught it. And all true Christians will agree with that answer. This article is devoted to presenting a clear view of the Basic Biblical Teaching on hell.

The Purpose of Hell

To answer the basic questions that most people have about hell, it’s important to see that hell was created with a purpose in mind.

This purpose is told to us by the Lord Jesus in Matt. 25:41 where He says, “Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'”

Hell then was created by God, and affirmed by Jesus. The same Jesus Who gave us the Sermon on the Mount also gave us His teaching about the Judgment of God. Hell is an essential part of that judgment. Originally it was created for Satan and his angels (we usually refer to these fallen angels as demons).

Hell then is a place reserved for those who, like Lucifer, choose to rebel against God. By making that choice they are, whether they know it or not, choosing to follow Satan and will end up where he ends up –Hell!

The Perseverance of Hell

Having seen that the Bible teaches that there is indeed a hell, the next question is, how long does it last. The answer is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10. “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out of the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power…”

Hell is eternal. If it isn’t, as many people today try and teach, then heaven isn’t eternal either! The word everlasting is used of both heaven and hell, you can’t be consistent and say one is eternal while the other isn’t.

Notice how Paul stresses that hell is a place where you are shut out of God’s presence and from experiencing the majesty of His power. This seems to be the ultimate punishment. God is finally revealed and available – and you are shut away from Him. What could be worse?

Our Response to Hell

Many an argument has been had about whether the fire in hell is real fire or not. I believe these arguments miss the point

The main point that Jesus stressed when He spoke of hell was not it’s location, nature or length of the punishment, etc. His main point was something much more simple and practical, as seen in Matthew 5:29-30. “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell…”

His point is obvious – we should do everything anything possible to avoid going to hell!

This point was stressed over and over in the teachings of Jesus. It comes as a big surprise to many to learn who the greatest preacher and teacher on hell was in the New Testament. It was Jesus. That’s right – loving, kind, gentle Jesus taught more about hell than anyone else did in the entire New Testament. In fact the Greek word for hell, Gehenna, is found only once outside of the Gospels!

Why did Christ of all people teach so much on hell? Because as God in human flesh He was only one Who had seen it! Jesus better than anyone knew the horrors of hell, and so used some very strong language to warn us away from it.

Properly understood then, hell becomes the motivation of heaven in giving us salvation by grace. For without it we would all be destined to spend eternity apart from God there.

The Sound of Silence

Today we almost never teach, talk or hear about hell. Most Christians will go far out of their way to avoid mentioning hell to their non-Christian friends. Hell rarely finds it’s way into modern presentations of the Gospel either.

Why? Because the Post-Christian culture we live in has rejected all absolutes.

As a result of this rejection of absolutes we find the doctrine of hell extremely offensive. What could to more offensive to an anything goes culture than hell – which is about as absolute as you can get!

The church too suffers from this. We, along with our culture, ask how a loving God could allow souls to be punished     eternally. Many Christians today cannot accept the doctrine of hell and either ignore it or deny it. In the end it all comes out about the same. We don’t really believe the Biblical doctrine of hell, and we don’t take it seriously. As a result we end up on opposite ends of the spectrum from our Lord Jesus, Who both believed in and took hell extremely seriously!

The Terrible Truth

The terrible truth is that when we approach the doctrine of hell we find ourselves on what seem to be the horns of a dilemma. How can a loving God allow a horror like hell to exist? Even worse – how could He send His creations there with no possibility of parole?

This is the question addressed by The New Bible Dictionary on page 519.

“The fact is on the one hand, God is omnipotent and God is love, and, on the other, eternal retribution is plainly taught in Scripture, raises problems for our minds that in all probability we cannot fully solve. It is easy in such cases to produce a logical answer at the expense of one side of biblical truth, and this has often been done…we must admit that the counsels of God are past the understanding of our finite minds. The reality and eternity of suffering in Gehenna is an element of biblical truth that an honest exegesis cannot evade.”

To which I say -Amen! To deny the doctrine of hell is to deny the teachings of Jesus. He Who was incarnate love taught more on hell than anyone else in the entire Bible.

It is from Him that we must develop our attitude towards hell as a terrible, horrible place to be avoided at all costs!

The Challenge

Spread the Word is the first challenge the doctrine of hell presents us with. Jude wrote of this in Jude 1:20-23, which says in part; “…snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear…”

Hell does have a place in evangelism. Sometimes it’s necessary to present the fear of God, not just His mercy and Grace to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ.

Personal Humility is also something that a understanding of hell challenges us with. It

strips us of our false pride and draws us closer to God through His Grace – and not our works!

Becoming a Caring Community is another challenge the Bible presents us with as this point. Hear these words from the late, great, Mark Heard,

“But we believe so well, don’t we tell ourselves? Don’t we take exclusive pride that we abide so far from hell? We might laugh together, but don’t we cry alone? For the ashes and dust we’ve swept beneath the holy throne.”

Let us then with love and compassion present the full truth to the world and stand fast in humility on the Word of God.

Hell in The New Testament

Below are all the verses where the word Gehenna (hell) is used in the New Testament.

MT 5:22;    MT 5:29 -30; MT 10:28;   MT 18:9; MT 23:15,33 MK 9:43, 45; MK 9:47 LK 12:5, JAS 3:6

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Episode 118

Disciple Up # 118
Can a Disciple Use Cannabis or is that One Toke Over the Line?
By Louie Marsh, 7-24-2019

Introduction:

Why I’m talking about this, why it’s important beyond just the use of cannabis or any other drug. This whole discussion strikes to the heart of the Christian faith and of what is authoritative, Scripture or experience and culture.

Links:

News Article – https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/porn-pot-christian-cannabis-marijuana-pastor

https://christiancannabis.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6KJc5E1hEP5-cV3f3bTAJg

https://www.xxxchurch.com/

https://fultonsheen.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strychnine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrocannabinol

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Leary

Introduction to Craig Gross.

 He’s not the first one to advocate on the behalf of pot or cannabis being something Christians should use. He is the latest and he’s got a track record of doing some good work in his former ministry XXXchurch.

Read from article.

The sound clips you are about to hear are taken from one of the videos he has on his Youtube page, links in the show notes. They are edited but I’ve tried hard not to take things out of context. Hopefully I won’t be sued for sharing these, if there’s a problem I will take this down and replace it with an episode without his sound bites.

Introduction clip

 His explanation and defense of using cannabis;

You don’t need that your not a doctor clip

 I’ve done a lot of work – clip

If you want to have a conversation you can’t define people out of it just because they haven’t used cannabis. I’m in the conversation and haven’t and won’t. So there’s that.

The Spiritual side of things

Not replacing God with cannabis clip

 I’ve never been closer to God since I starting smoking cannabis clip

 Read from article about spiritual experience.

How Do We Approach This? From a Biblical Perspective

The Bible does not mention cannabis but has a lot to say about this topic.

The Bible and Getting drunk or high

Getting drunk or high is essentially the same thing. It is allowing a substance you put into your body to take partial or full control or you, alter your senses and perceptions and to do and say things that you would not do otherwise. Thus you are not in control of yourself, you and under the control of a substance.

1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1 (ESV)

20  Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, 21  for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. Proverbs 23:20-21 (ESV)

29  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30  Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31  Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32  In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. 33  Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. Proverbs 23:29-33 (ESV)

18  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

Becoming intoxicated is a sin because it removes you from controlling yourself and from the Spirit’s control as well, and puts you at the mercy of something else. Thus Paul’s contrast between being drunk and being filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit.

 Using anything as a substitute for the Spirit is bad and should never be done by a Disciple of Jesus.

But God created it!

“Plants were created on the third day, and humans were created on the sixth,” he said in part. “The provision was created before the need. God created the earth (and the plants) FOR us, BEFORE us.”

As Fulton Sheen said about strychnine, “I don’t have to take strychnine to know it will kill me.” By the way according to Wikipedia, the most common source is from the seeds of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree. Not every plant is edible yet every plant is from God.

Using Cannabis to Connect Closer to God is Sorcery.

20  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, Galatians 5:20 (ESV)

Greek word for sorcery – pharmakeia. Refers to the wide spread practice of shamans and priests using local substances to put them into an altered state of consciousness in order to contact the Spirit World. Native American tribes here in the Southwest often used Peyote (from a small spineless cactus) to do this. This is done all over the world.

Timothy Leary – Promoted LSD as a way to alter your mind, discover the truth, or God or whatever.

When they speak of cannabis bringing them into close contact with God they are in fact demeaning the faith and reducing Christianity to the level of many other religions. One of the distinctives of the Christian faith has always been it’s complete and utter rejection of using any mind altering substances. This doesn’t change just because you like or enjoy it or found it helpful.

Wrapping Things Up

 5  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)

 You can’t be sober minded if you’re not sober. The word there means self-controlled. You can’t be self controlled if you are allowing another substance to control you. Either way you translate it, it effectively bans the use of cannabis or all other mind altering substances.

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Episode 115

115 Disciple Up Show Notes
The Essential Art of Application
By Louie Marsh, 7-3-2019

An Email Poured In!

 Wayne wrote: “I have been listening for just over a month and find it a great places to grow spiritually! I am sharing this with all my family and friends! May God continue to bless and grow!”

“I am a Gideon and we conduct a weekly bible study at the county jail, I am always looking for a message of hope, a message of purpose, etc.to incorporate so I googled ‘disciple’ and found the ‘up ‘ I was looking for!”

https://www.gideons.org/

NOTES:

On any given Sunday, approximately 53 million Americans hear preachers preach over one billion words of sermons.  When it has been all said and done, a lot more will have been said than done

22  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22 (ESV)

11  The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. Ecclesiastes 12:11 (ESV)

11  The wise man’s words are like goads that spur to action. They nail down important truths. Students are wise who master what their teachers tell them. Ecclesiastes 12:11 (TLB)

WHY is application so important?

  • This is how to do what the Bible teaches us to do.

Your Pastor/teacher/small group leader should be doing this. But whether they are or not it’s still MY responsibility to do this for myself! And it’s yours as well. This is the only way to obey James command.

  • Application mirrors how Jesus Taught

Look at how Jesus taught. About 90% of the Sermon on the Mount is pure application. There is some teaching, “You have heard that it was said…but I say…” Otherwise it’s almost all application.

  • Personal Application mirrors how Paul taught.

Let’s look at a few New Testament books and see how much of them are teaching and how much are application.

Romans – 50% application

Ephesians – 50% application

Galatians – is maybe 80% application

James – also probably 80% application

1st Peter around 60% application

In most of Paul’s letters he first lays out the problems and what the Scriptures say about them and then deals with how and what the readers should do. He tends to be around 50/50 on this, not a bad goal for teachers and preachers to shoot for IMHO.

  • Personal Application strikes at the root of a deadly spiritual disease – PRIDE.

1  Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2  If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3  But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 (ESV)

    • Knowledge loves to compare – I know more than you and you and you!
    • Love never compares. It just seeks to serve, help and enjoy the object of your love.
  • Personal Application Helps me overcome sin and change my life
    • All behavior is based on belief.
    • Behind every sin is a lie or false teaching that I believe.

 3  At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. Titus 3:3 (NIV)

 Real, lasting change always starts in the mind.

2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 (ESV)

  • How Life Change Happens.

1, My beliefs must change before anything else can,

32  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (ESV)

2, My mind changes when I repent. Metanoia = change of mind, turn around, about face.

3, I don’t change minds, but God Word can and will!

4  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)

4, Changing the way I act is the RESULT of repentance.

8  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8 (NIV)

20  First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. Acts 26:20 (NIV)

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Episode 114

Disciple Up # 114
Let’s Talk About the Trinity
By Louie Marsh, 6-26-2019

 The notes for this episode were taken from an old series that I wrote quite a few years ago called Basic Bible Questions. Also, don’t forget to check out http://www.waltermartin.com/ for great Bible teaching!

Introduction

 One of the most frequently misunderstood subjects in the Bible and the Christian faith is the Trinity. If you have questions about the Trinity – welcome to the club! Almost everyone does! Questions like: How is it possible for three to be one? What do we mean when we say they are one? What is the doctrine of the Trinity anyway?

This chapter will attempt to give basic answers to these and other questions about the Trinity. Please don’t think of this as the last word, or the most authoritative word, on the topic. Rather think of this as a basic explanation of this important biblical truth.

Only One God

The best starting place for an understanding of the Trinity is the bedrock of all the Bible’s teachings about God. If you don’t understand and believe this – then you do not and cannot understand what the Bible teaches about God. This is absolutely essential to understand and believe.

There is only one God! Not three or four or five or hundreds or more, only one! While many cults and other religions deny this, it remains the cornerstone of biblical truth about God. All Jewish and Christian faith is based on the unshakable conviction that this is true.

The core of the Old Testament faith is found in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  Rabbi’s call this the Shema. It declares the unique biblical view that there is only one God.

God Himself says the same thing, “Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”  Isaiah 44:8

God also had this to say about the issue: “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed– I, and not some foreign god among you.

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Isaiah 43:10-12

If God doesn’t know of any other gods, and if He in fact declares that they don’t exist, never have and never will, that ought to settle the matter shouldn’t it? [See the End Notes of this chapter for more Scriptural support of this position.]

Three Called God

The Jewish faith lived by their belief in only one God (a belief called Monotheism) for two thousand years. But in the New Testament we learn something new about this One God. We find that there are three Persons (or Personalities) who are called God.

  • The Father: Jesus taught us to pray this way: “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Matthew 6:9. Paul also wrote this; I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father…Eph. 1:17.It is obvious then that the Father is God!
  • The Son: Jesus Christ was called God and called Himself God many times in the New Testament.  In the John’s Gospel He not only claimed this, but he enemies clearly understood Him to be making that claim.  I and the Father are one.”  Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”  “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10:30-33The Apostle Paul teaches us that Christ is completely God, and not some half-god, half-man myth like Hercules for example. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, Col. 2:9 [See this chapters End Notes for more references like these.]

    It is equally obvious that the Son is God!

  • The Holy Spirit: Besides the fact that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of God and therefore must be God too, there are other Scriptures that show us His divine nature. One that is often overlooked was written by Paul, Now the Lord is the Spirit… 2 Cor. 3:17.We see this very clearly in Acts where in a confrontation with a man who refuses to quit lying Peter makes it clear that lying to the Spirit is lying to God.  Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit… What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3-4

    Clearly the Holy Spirit is God too!

References Throughout the New Testament

Throughout the New Testament references to the three members of the Trinity abound. For example look at the baptismal formula Jesus gave us: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19.

Or look at what the Apostle Peter said: who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood… 1 Peter 1:2.

Then there is Paul’s blessing (or wish prayer as some call it) on the Corinthians:  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Cor. 13:14.

From these references (and many others can be found) it’s obvious that the writers of the New Testament believed in the Trinity even if they never used the word Trinity.

A Little Logic

Now it’s time for a little logic. Follow this chain of thought through and see if it doesn’t make sense to you.

  • The Bible says there only one God;
  • Yet the New Testament calls three Persons God.

Therefore one or the other of the following two conclusions must be true:

  • The writers of the New Testament were complete idiots who didn’t realize they were contradicting themselves, or
  • Somehow, in someway not completely understood by us, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit together make up the One God of the Bible!

That is what Christians have always believed that the Bible teaches – that is the position Christians everywhere have held.

Defining Terms

I took debate in college and one of the things they constantly stressed to us was the importance of defining your terms. If you can’t define it, you can’t believe it or defend it! Below is a good working definition of the Trinity, this is the classical formula that has been used and believed for centuries.

“Within the nature of the one eternal God, there are three eternal Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Three Being One, Not One Being Three

Having defined the Trinity, it’s important to look a bit deeper at what it means. The Trinity isn’t one God acting like three different persons, or becoming them one after the other, or at different points in time.

This view, known by various names but perhaps best known today as the “Oneness” doctrine (held by the United Pentecostal Church among others) is not what the Bible teaches. It is also not what the Church has taught through out the ages or what Christians have believed.

To illustrate why this interpretation can’t be right let’s look at a couple of situations from the life of Christ and imagine how different they would be if the Oneness doctrine was correct.

 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22

Here at one place and at the same time we have the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending on Him like a dove, and the Father speaking from heaven. Now either God is a ventriloquist or a magician or else the three members of the Trinity co-exist simultaneously together.

If the Oneness doctrine is correct then in the above example God deliberately deceived us by pretending to be three persons when He’s really only one! The same is true of the Transfiguration, look at what God said about Jesus.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5

If the Oneness view is correct then God the Father either lied here – or He made a mistake. He should have said, “This is my beloved me, with me I am well pleased, listen to me!”

Kind of confusing isn’t it? Of course! When Jesus prayed to the Father was He talking to Himself?  No! That’s why the doctrine of the Trinity is so important because it helps us make sense of some of the things Jesus said and did! He wasn’t talking to Himself; He was talking to His Father. So in the New Testament when we see Jesus talking to the Father or the Father talking to Him what we are seeing is one Person in the Trinity talking to another, as they have done from all eternity.

How Does It Work?

No one other than the members of the Trinity themselves could possibly understand or fully explain the way they co-exist together. However through out the history of the church many different illustrations have been used to help us grasp a little of what the Triune God is like.

You’ve probably seen pictures of an over lapping circles to explain how the three Persons of the Trinity can be one yet separate as well.  Or you may have heard the Trinity compared to an egg or a three-leaf clover (that was St. Patrick’s favorite!). Below are my two personal favorite illustrations.

An Illustration From Nature

Picture a beautiful lake surrounded by towering snow capped peaks on a cold mountain morning. It’s covered with a layer of ice and a dense fog is floating over it.

If you could reach into the ice and take a molecule from it, reach into the water below the ice and take a molecule from it, and also take one from the fog what would you have?  You’d have three identical H20 molecules. The substance of the liquid (water), the solid (ice) and the gas (fog) look different, and act different, but has the same molecular makeup – H20.

So it is with members of the Trinity. Their substance is the same, yet they are three distinct Persons. The three are one!

An illustration From Science

Chemists tell us of something they call “The Triple Point of Water.” When you put water into a vacuum tube, pump out all the air and put in under an exact pressure and extremely low temperature, something remarkable happens. Inside the tube the water at the top bursts into steam, the water at the bottom freezes solid, and the water in the middle stays liquid.

All three states exist simultaneously. The Triple Point of Water is the best example of the Trinity I’ve ever heard of (thanks to the late Dr. Walter Martin for teaching it!). The three are unique, yet one, and co-exist simultaneously.

H20 is the simplest of all the molecules, yet God has created it so that it reflects His complex nature. If water can do that – why can’t God? The argument against the Trinity that it’s impossible or irrational is simply not true, as I hope I’ve demonstrated here for you.

The Trinity isn’t completely beyond our grasp. We can understand a little bit of what it is and how it works. God created His universe to mirror His nature, so that we could grasp a little of His glory.

It’s not too hard to believe.

End Notes

Below are some Scripture references that will help you as you study the doctrine of the Trinity, the nature of God and the identity of Jesus.

Only One God: Duet. 4:35,39; 6:4; 32:39; Neh. 9:6; Psalm 83:18; Isa. 37:16; 43:10-15; 44:6-8; 45:5-12,21-25.

Mark 12:29,32; John 5:44; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15; James 4:12; Jude 1:25.

Jesus is God: John 1:1-3; 5:16-18; 14:6-9; 20:27-28; Phil. 2:5-11; Col, 1:15-20; 2:8-10.  There’s more but this should get you started!

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Episode 99

Disciple Up #99
Wounded by the Church, Pt. 3
By Louie Marsh, 3-13-2019

Very common problem –

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/february/wounded-church-harvest-bible-chapel-elders-resign-mars-hill.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/03/08/amid-a-wave-of-church-hurt-one-boston-pastor-tries-to-repair-christians-relationship-with-god/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.baf5369876bf

Focus on ASSESSING my wounds,

3  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:3-4 (ESV)

 You are blessed if you are spiritually poor or mourning, but only if you KNOW that! Without a real, honest, frank self assessment you are in real trouble!

 3  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (ESV)

The real hope here is that when we see it, admit it and turn to God for help, HE WILL HEAL US AND HELP US TO GROW THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE NOT JUST GO THROUGH IT.

Closing Promise:

26  He confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the plan of his messengers. He says about Jerusalem, “It will be inhabited.” He says about the cities of Judah, “They will be rebuilt.” He says about their ruins, “I will restore them.” Isaiah 44:26 (GW)

Restoration: Rise From the Ruins

Step Two: Fight to Forgive

By Louie Marsh; 4-28-2013, Parker AZ

 FORGIVENESS IS…

 1) What GOD HAS DONE for me in Jesus.

 22  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23  But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24  but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25  who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Romans 4:22-25 (ESV)

Forgiveness (what God has done for us in Christ) is a gift given to us by God. In Christ our sins for forgiven immediately when we repent and cry out to God, because of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection. We are declared forgiven and right with God in an instant.

This has to be the starting point for any discussion of forgiveness for the disciple of Jesus, because our forgiveness is motivated by and modeled after Jesus’ forgiving of us.

9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

This forgiveness from God continues to be active in our lives to continue to cleanse us from our sins as we ask Him too.

So God’s forgiveness to me is in two parts or sections, or has two sides to it. One is immediate when I’m declared righteous and a forgiven status with God is credited to me through Christ’s account.

Secondly the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from the guilt of our sins. We know this continues because John wrote that verse in the present tense, which means continual action. The blood of Jesus continually washes us clean when we turn to Him – Hallelujah!

2) DIVORCING MYSELF from the pain.

Original Word: ἀφίημι, aphiēmi

(1) send off or away, let go (MK 4.36); (2) as a legal divorce (1C 7.11); (3) abandon, leave behind (MT 26.56); (4) of duty and obligation reject, set aside, neglect (MK 7.8); (5) of toleration let go, leave in peace, allow (MK 11.6); (6) of sins or debts forgive, pardon, cancel (LU 7.47)

47  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7:47 (ESV)

11  (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:11 (ESV)

Its things like this that just make me love the Bible! Who would have ever thought that you could translate a word forgive in one place and divorce in another!

So the first thing that forgiving consists of is letting go. To send off and away from us the pain, hurt, anger, remorse, guilt, etc that is associated with the issue in question. Or to put it another way, and this is how I often think of it, DIVORCE YOURSELF FROM THE PAIN.

3) DISMISSING the hurt and pain.

Original Word: ἄφεσις, aphesis

Usage Notes: denotes “a dismissal, release” (akin to A, No. 1); it is used of the remission of sins, and translated “forgiveness —Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

77  to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, Luke 1:77 (ESV)

Another powerful image, one that supports the first one as well. It doesn’t’ mean dismissing in the sense of belittling it, saying “Oh it’s not that bad.” No it means I am to Let it go, turn it loose, and keep turning it loose until it’s gone! I’ll come back to this image later..

4) RELEASING God’s grace into broken circumstances.

Original Word: χαρίζομαι, charizomaiUsage Notes: “to bestow a favor unconditionally,” is used of the act of “forgiveness,” whether Divine, Eph. 4:32; Col. 2:13; Col. 3:13; or human, Luke 7:42, 43 (debt); 2 Cor. 2:7, 10; 2 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:32 (1st mention). Paul uses this word frequently, but No. 1 only, in Rom. 4:7, in this sense of the word.—Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words

You may have noticed this word contains the word Charis – or Grace! Now there’s some good news. Grace is unearned, unmerited favor from God. That’s what we pass on to others each time we forgive.

 God wants his grace to active in every situation and every human heart, but it won’t be and can’t fully be there until I begin to forgive. Then I release it or inject it into myself and the situation.

32  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

Note again our forgiving is modeled and motivated by Christ’s forgiveness of us.

FORGIVENESS IS NOT…

 1) Forgiveness is not…

Approving or diminishing sin

  • Enabling sin
  • Denying a wrongdoing
  • Waiting for an apology
  • Forgetting
  • A onetime event
  • Trusting – built slowly, lost quickly
  • Reconciliation – it takes two – “do your best to be at peace with all men…”

  FIGHT TO FORGIVE…

So forgiving means I let go of my anger, resent, and all ill feelings towards those that hurt me.

5  Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6  For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7  so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8  So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9  For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10  Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11  so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (ESV)

The Two Hand Method:

One Hand –– LORD FILL ME WITH THE SPIRIT

  • The Other Hand – LET THE PAIN GO TO GOD

 6  Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 (ESV)

29  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:29 (ESV)

21  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV)

Learning to forgive takes time – a lot of time – and is always accompanied by pain. Its part of following Jesus, and like much else in the authentic spiritual life is often painful.

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Episode 24

Disciple Up # 24
Unity, 9-27-2017
By Louie Marsh

We talked last week about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. One of the big issues that flows from this historic event is divisions in the church. They didn’t start with the Reformation, but they certainly accelerated because of it. So today I want to talk a little bit about the topic of unity, why it’s important and some overlooked aspects of it.

http://reformingcatholicconfession.com/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/september/how-many-churches-in-america-us-nones-nondenominational.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Last_Will_and_Testament_of_The_Springfield_Presbytery

Unity Quotes:

https://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/15-powerful-quotes-about-unity/#axzz4tkD2Ife2

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always. – A W Tozer

Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it – Joni Erickson Tada
Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell. – J C Ryle

Jesus prayed for unity – why?

 20  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21 (NIV)

 It’s essential if we are to reflect God’s nature – unity in truth, and essential if we are to win the world.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Romans 14:19

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Eph. 4:3

ANY attitude that causes disunity is sin.

Col. 3:15, 1 Cor. 1:10, 2 Tim. 2:14, Pr. 17:14, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 1:27; 2:1-3, Col. 2:2, Phil. 4:2, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 Cor. 14:33, John 13:34-35, 2 Tim. 2:23, Rom. 12:16-18, Col, 3:13-14, Ps. 133:1.

“In Essentials Unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love.”

It comes from an otherwise undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius. The phrase occurs in a tract on Christian unity written (circa 1627) during the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), a bloody time in European history in which religious tensions played a significant role.

 Source: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/essentials-unity-non-essentials-liberty-all-things/

  • In Essential Beliefs – We Have Unity.

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  Eph. 4:4-6

  • In Non-Essential Beliefs – We Have Liberty.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters…Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand…So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  Romans 14:1,4,12,22

  • In All Our Beliefs – We Show Love

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  1 Cor. 13:2

Disciple Up Low Down on Christian Unity

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