Episode 127

Disciple Up #127
Louie’s Law #1, Nothing Is All About You (Or Me Either!)
By Louie Marsh, 9-25-2019

Live Stream on YouTube for International Podcast Day is coming up in 5 days!

 Link to YouTube: shorturl.at/inMX3

Louie’s Laws – things I believe are important that are supported by Scripture but perhaps not explicitly stated there. Either that or just ideas that are so important I believe they need to be stated and restated.

Rick Warren started his best selling book the Purpose Driven Life with this statement, “It’s not about you.” To date he’s sold about 32 million copies in 58 languages, so he just might have something here. I’m amending it slightly and it’s the first Louie’s Law that I’ll be doing.

Law One: Nothing is all about you (or me either!).

Life isn’t about me, the church isn’t about me, right and wrong aren’t about me, even happiness isn’t about me! All these, and a whole lot more – are about God! Even I shouldn’t be about me, it’s all about Jesus first, others second and them me, maybe.

23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:23-25 (ESV)

What this means: This doesn’t mean you don’t take care of yourself as if often said. Only a foolish person let’s themselves get run down because that’s not good for you or for your ability to serve God and others. All these “Laws” must be applied wisely!

16  Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (ESV)

18  Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

Being a servant is saying I’m putting others first. That doesn’t mean they are better than I am or that I’m not important. They are a greater priority they are not better than I am. This is not a statement of inferiority.

 28  You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. John 14:28 (ESV)

 5  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7  but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)

 Biblical servanthood is sacrificing now for later, time for eternity. It’s not being a door mat, it’s choosing to sacrifice for the Gospel of God.

 OBSERVATIONS:

 It’s my life – how can it NOT be all about me?

7  For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8  For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:7-9 (ESV)

THE WORD “ALL” IS IMPORTANT:

I’m not saying or implying you have no value, obviously to God you are of infinite worth.

32  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:32 (ESV)

25  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27 (ESV)

God values you greatly because He created you and Jesus died for you.

10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

But that doesn’t mean I have any intrinsic value. I’m like one of the old comic books I own. In and of themselves they are worthless. Old and printed on low quality paper. But because people want them then they have value and their values goes up and down depending on how much people want them.

My intrinsic value is very little – 6  All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)

(Gingerbread Man illustration thanks to Chuck Smith.)

But because God loves us and Jesus died for us THEN we become of infinite worth to God, not necessarily anyone else.

16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 (ESV)

This takes us right back to the Gospel.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 126

Disciple Up #126
Faith – What It Is & What It Isn’t
By Louie Marsh

Photo used in cover art by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

International Podcast Day live broadcast on YouTube will be on September 30th at 6:00 PM, Arizona Time, which is the same (till the time change) as California Time. Hope you’ll join me then.

An E-Mail Poured In!

 Check out the following Episodes for more information

 Faithfulness – http://discipleup.org/episode-71/

1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

WHAT IS FAITH?

Key to this passage is verse 27 –

27  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27 (NIV)

27  by faith he left Egypt behind, not having been afraid of the wrath of the king, for, as seeing the Invisible One–he endured; Hebrews 11:27 (YLT)

where Moses “saw” what was invisible, that’s faith – apprehending what you cannot perceive by the five senses – it’s a way of looking at your entire universe and life, both visible and invisible and understand that God is present and active there. Like Moses we must hold to this in spite of evidence that seems to say He’s not there.

 

Faith is the ground upon which all real life and wisdom and relationships must be built – otherwise we are like the foolish man who built on the sand. Matt 7:24-27

1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)

Hebrews 11:1

Faith

Without the article, indicating that it is treated in its abstract conception, and not merely as Christian faith. It is important that the preliminary definition should be clearly understood, since the following examples illustrate it. The key is furnished by v. 27, as seeing him who is invisible. Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is a real seeing.

Substance

in describing the nature of the Son as the image or impress of God’s essential being: but in this sense it is applied to faith, which is an act of the moral intelligence directed at an object; or a condition which sustains a certain relation to the object. It cannot be said that faith is substantial being. It apprehends reality: it is that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial. Assurance gives the true idea. It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact.

Now faith is (estin de pistis). He has just said that “we are of faith” (Hebrews 10:39), not of apostasy. Now he proceeds in a chapter of great eloquence and passion to illustrate his point by a recital of the heroes of faith whose example should spur them to like loyalty now.

The assurance of things hoped for (elpizomenon hupostasis). Hupostasis is a very common word from Aristotle on and comes from huphistemi (hupo, under, histemi, intransitive), what stands under anything (a building, a contract, a promise). See the philosophical use of it in Hebrews 1:3, the sense of assurance (une assurance certaine, M‚n‚goz) in Hebrews 3:14, that steadiness of mind which holds one firm (2 Cor. 9:4). It is common in the papyri in business documents as the basis or guarantee of transactions. “And as this is the essential meaning in Hebrews 11:1 we venture to suggest the translation ‘Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for'” (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, etc.).

Evidence

conviction… adds to the simple idea of assurance a suggestion of influences operating to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration. The word often signifies a process of proof or demonstration. So von Soden: “a being convinced. Therefore not a rash, feebly-grounded hypothesis, a dream of hope, the child of a wish.”

The proving of things not seen (pragmaton elegchos ou blepomenon). The only N.T. example of elegchos (except Textus Receptus in 2 Tim. 3:16 for elegmon). Old and common word from elegcho (Matthew 18:15) for “proof” and then for “conviction.” Both uses occur in the papyri and either makes sense here, perhaps “conviction” suiting better though not in the older Greek.  —Word Pictures in the New Testament

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. – Augustine

Hebrews 1:3

3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)

Rend the very image (or impress) of his substance The primary sense of ὑπόστασις substance is something which stands underneath; foundation, ground of hope or confidence, and so assurance itself. In a philosophical sense, substantial nature; the real nature of anything which underlies and supports its outward form and properties.  – Word Studies in the New Testament.

4  Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 2 Corinthians 9:4 (ESV)

17  What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not as the Lord would but as a fool. 2 Corinthians 11:17 (ESV)

Hebrews 11:2

What is Faith?

1) Faith Is…

Now faith is the title deed of things hoped for, proof of things which are not being seen. For by means of this [namely, faith] the elders had witness borne them. By means of faith we perceive that the material universe and the God-appointed ages of time  were equipped and fitted by God’s word for the purpose  for which they were intended, and it follows therefore that which we see did not come into being out of which is visible. Hebrews 11:1-3 (Wuest’s Expanded Trans.)

  • My Assurance of Stability

 to faith, which is an act of the moral intelligence directed at an object; or a condition which sustains a certain relation to the object. It cannot be said that faith is substantial being. It apprehends reality: it is that to which the unseen objects of hope become real and substantial. Assurance gives the true idea. It is the firm grasp of faith on unseen fact. –  Vincent’s

 My Conviction That The Unseen Is Real.

 to the simple idea of assurance a suggestion of influences operating to produce conviction which carry the force of demonstration. The word often signifies a process of proof or demonstration. So von Soden: “a being convinced. – Vincent’s

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. –Augustine

2) Faith is a way of seeing all of life – vs 3

Ages – eons

 Faith is also a way of viewing all experience since it is the way in which believers see the universe (tous aionas, lit., “the ages,” also rendered “the universe” in 1:2) for what it is—a creation by God. – Bible Background Commentary

 God bore witness to them in the victory of their faith over all obstacles, and their characters and deeds as men of faith were recorded in Scripture.—Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament

3) Faith Means I understand that…

  • There is a GOD WHO CREATED THE UNIVERSE.

Famed atheist sees evidence for God, cites recent discoveries

http://www.sbclife.net/article/1228/famed-atheist-sees-evidence-for-god

 

Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.

Flew — a prolific author has argued against the existence of God and the claims of Christianity for more than 50 years.

Flew said he is now best described as a deist — a person who believes God created the universe but is not actively involved in people’s lives today.

“I don’t believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I am open to that,” Flew. But it seems to me that the case for … [a] God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence is now much stronger than it ever was before.”

Flew credits his newfound belief in God to arguments from design such as those espoused by the “intelligent design” (ID) movement. “I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries,” Flew said. “… I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.”

Although many atheists appeal to naturalistic evolution as a method by which the world could have come into existence apart from God, Charles Darwin himself acknowledged that the process of evolution requires a creator to start the process, Flew said.

“Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers,” Flew said. “This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account.”

While Flew said he does not believe in a God who is active in the lives of humans, he is “open to” the possibility of divine revelation. He also believes that Christians are intellectually justified in holding to their religion and that the resurrection of Jesus has more evidential support than any other reported miracle in history.

“The evidence for the resurrection is better than that for claimed miracles in any other religion,” Flew said. “It’s outstandingly different in quality and quantity, I think, from the evidence offered for the occurrence of most other supposedly miraculous events.”

Despite his belief in the existence of God, Flew said it is unlikely that he will ever become a Christian. The major evidence against the God of Christianity is the problem of evil, Flew said.

“The problem of evil is a problem … for Christians,” Flew said. “The thesis that the universe was created and is sustained by a Being of infinite power and goodness is flatly incompatible with the occurrence of massive undeniable and undenied evils in that universe.”

Flew also argues that God does not have “any preferences … about or any intentions concerning human behavior or about the eternal destinies of human beings.”

WHERE DOES FAITH COME FROM?

Does God give it to us as a gift, are we unable to believe without this gift?

Or is belief in Christ a choice, aided by the Holy Spirit’s ministry but never-the-less my choice?

Some use this passage to teach faith comes from God.

4  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9 (ESV)

And that (kai touto). Neuter, not feminine tautē, and so refers not to pistis (feminine) or to charis (feminine also), but to the act of being saved by grace conditioned on faith on our part. Paul shows that salvation does not have its source (ex humōn, out of you) in men, but from God. Besides, it is God’s gift (dōron) and not the result of our work – Word Pictures in the New Testament.

Not faith, but the salvation.  – Word Studies in the New Testament.

If “this” refers to faith then Paul is also saying faith is by grace and not by works so no one can boast. NOT that Salvation is by grace so that no one can boast.

You CAN’T have it both ways, it must refer to one or the other.

How could God command people to believe if they are unable to do it?

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 125

 

Disciple Up #125

Nostalgia Isn’t Worship

By Louie Marsh, 9-11-2019

 

Update on Live Streaming on International Podcast Day

September 11th – Never Forget

Background to today’s episode:

Links:

https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/8492/nostalgia-and-faith

https://www.zachicks.com/nostalgic-worship-disorder-and-getting-worship-my-way/

https://churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/334133-is-worship-nostalgia-kililng-your-church.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/when-nostalgia-was-a-disease/278648/

1  “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. 2  For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. 3  ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 6  “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, Isaiah 58:1-9 (NIV)

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

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

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 123

Disciple Up #123
Can I Be God’s Lone Ranger? Christian Community Gone Wrong
By Louie Marsh, 8-28-2019

Update on Live Stream for International Podcast Day – Sept. 30th, 2019

Many Christians Don’t See the Need for Community:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/august/lifeway-discipleship-assessment-growth-alone.html

Some of the “One Another” Passages in Scripture

http://storage.cloversites.com/wakarusamissionarychurch/documents/59one_another_scriptures.pdf

Love one another: John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:12;

4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5

Serve one another: Galatians 5:13; 21; Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 4:9; 5:5

Accept one another: Romans 15:7, 14

Strengthen one another: Romans 14:19

Exhort one another: Hebrews 3:13; 10:24

Encourage one another: Romans 14:19; 15:14; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25

Forgive one another: Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13

Meet with one another: Hebrews 10:25

Carry one another’s burdens: Galatians 6:2

Community Gone Wrong: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/ray-ortlund/one-anothers-i-cant-find-in-the-new-testament-2/

Gospel Centered Life Spiritual Growth Campaign

http://christschurchontheriver.com/the-gospel-centered-life/

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 122

Disciple Up #122
When Someone Leaves the Faith
By Louie Marsh, 8-21-2019

Recent “High Profile” Christian leaders have either abandoned the faith or nearly so. Marty Sampson and Josh Harris are two of them.

John L. Cooper(lead singer of Skillet) FaceBook post on this: https://www.facebook.com/johnlcooperstuff/photos/a.2899206263638620/2899204140305499/?type=3&theater

John L Cooper’s “Rant” Edited

 Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once “faces” of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?) as they announce that they are leaving the faith. I’ll state my conclusion, then I’ll state some rebuttals to statements I’ve read by some of them. Firstly, I never judge people outside of my faith. Even if they hate religion or Christianity. That is not my place and I have many friends who disagree with my religion and that is 100% fine with me. However, when it comes to people within my faith, there must be a measure of loyalty and friendship and accountability to each other and the Word of God.

My conclusion for the church: We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!) I’ve been saying for 20 years that we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth. We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.

I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?

My second thought is, why do people act like “being real” covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. Have they considered the ramifications? As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying “I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing and preaching it.” So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.

Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

And lastly, and most shocking imo, as these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their “new insight/new truth” that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’s words?! It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say “I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others”. Ummm, why? That is actually not human nature

It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.

Is it any wonder that some of our disavowed Christian leaders are letting go of the absolute truth of the Bible and subsequently their lives are falling apart? Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers…I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. “The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)

 CT Article: https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/august/leaving-faith-by-losing-focus-part-1.html

How Should We React When People We Know Do This.

 1) Stay calm, do NOT overreact and get in their face.

 2) Pray immediately. For them and for yourself and what you should do about this. Don’t spread it around, take it to God.

 Check yourself and make sure you are standing strong.

 1  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

 3) When you talk to them the most important thing is to try and get to REAL root of the problem. This usually isn’t what they’ll tell you at first. In my experience it’s often tied to personal pain or betrayal inflicted on them by a Christian. Or it’s a tough time and God hasn’t answered their prayers they way they wanted Him too.

4) Ask lots of question and actually LISTEN! Be like Jesus who did exactly the same thing.

5) Reaffirm your love for and friendship with them. Be in this for the long haul if that’s what it takes. Don’t reject them just because they are, or think they are, rejecting the Lord.

6) Main question – where’s Jesus in all this? Often this will bring them to realize this is more of a rejection of the church or other believers than it is a rejection of God or Jesus.

7) Ask them if you can pray for them when talking to them, and tell them you are going to pray for them privately.

Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 121

Disciple Up #121
Should We STOP Sharing the Gospel?
|By Louie Marsh, 8-14-2019

 

Article

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/july-august/elliot-clark-evangelism-exiles-sharing-gospel.html

Proclaim

42  And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. Acts 10:42 (ESV)

Transliteration: kēryssō

Phonetic Pronunciation:kay-roos’-so

Root: of uncertain affinity

Cross Reference: TDNT – 3:697,430

Part of Speech: v

Vine’s Words: Preach, Preaching, Proclaim, Publish

of uncertain affinity; to herald (as a public crier), especially divine truth (the gospel) :- preach (-er), proclaim, publish. – Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.

5  When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6  they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7  and there they continued to preach the gospel. Acts 14:5-7 (ESV)

Usage Notes: is translated “to proclaim” in the RV, for AV, “to preach,” in Matt. 10:27; Luke 4:19; Acts 8:5; Acts 9:20. – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words.

17  From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (ESV)

20  And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” Acts 9:20 (ESV)

Preach

10  And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:10 (ESV)

Original Word: εὐαγγελίζω, euangelizō

Usage Notes: is almost always used of “the good news” concerning the Son of God as proclaimed in the Gospel [exceptions are e.g., Luke 1:19; 1 Thess. 3:6, in which the phrase “to bring (or show) good (or glad) tidings” does not refer to the Gospel]; Gal. 1:8 (2nd part). With reference to the Gospel the phrase “to bring, or declare, good, or glad, tidings” is used in Acts 13:32; Rom. 10:15; Heb. 4:2. In Luke 4:18 the RV “to preach good tidings” gives the correct quotation from Isaiah, rather than the AV “to preach the Gospel.” In the Sept. the verb is used of any message intended to cheer the hearers, e.g. 1 Sam. 31:9; 2 Sam. 1:20. See GOSPEL, B, No. 1. – Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words.

Reasoned

 2  And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, Acts 17:2 (ESV)

Reasoned (dielexato). First aorist middle indicative of dialegomai, old verb in the active to select, distinguish, then to revolve in the mind, to converse (interchange of ideas), then to teach in the Socratic (“dialectic”) method of question and answer (cf. dielegeto in Acts 17:17), then simply to discourse, but always with the idea of intellectual stimulus. With these Jews and God-fearers Paul appealed to the Scriptures as text and basis (apo) of his ideas. – Word Pictures in the New Testament.

  1. to think different things with oneself, mingle thought with thought (cf. διαλογιζομαι); to ponder, revolve in mind; so in Homer.
  2. as very frequent in Attic, to converse, discourse with one, argue, discuss: absolutely, Acts (18:4); 19:8f; (20:9); περι τινος, Acts 24:25; τινι, with one, Acts 17:17; 18:19; 20:7; Hebrews 12:5; απο των γραφων, drawing arguments from the Scriptures, Acts 17:2; προς τινα, Acts 17:11; 24:12; with the idea of disputing prominent: προς

αλληλους, followed by the interrogative τις, Mark 9:34; περι τινος, Jude 1:9.* – Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

16  Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17  So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Acts 17:16-17 (ESV)

Different Ways to Communicate the Gospel

 Look At Jesus

1  Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2  This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:1-3 (ESV)

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 120

Disciple Up #120
Is Giving Sanctuary to Illegal Immigrants Scriptural?
By Louie Marsh, 8-7-2019

Sources:

 The Bible (verses below)

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

https://www.cnn.com/2017/02/17/us/immigrants-sanctuary-churches-legality-trnd/index.html

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2006/08/can-criminals-hide-in-churches.html

https://www.compellingtruth.org/horns-altar.html

https://www.biblestudy.org/maps/cities-of-refuge.html

https://www.ucc.org/justice_immigration_worship_biblical-references-to

Remember what you were taught about Research Papers?

 You’ve got to narrow your topic!

Today I’m talking about what’s is Scriptural according to the New Testament, and NOTHING ELSE!

 There will be NO, I repeat NO, politics here!

What is sanctuary in the Bible?

Horns of the Altar?

Sanctuary Cities.

Exodus 12:49 and Leviticus 24:22 – “There shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.”

48  If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. 49  There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” Exodus 12:48-49 (ESV)

Ephesians 2:11-22 – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.”

11  Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12  remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:11-12 (ESV)

***

21  “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21 (ESV)

 33  “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34  You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 (ESV)

16  And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. Deuteronomy 1:16 (ESV)

19  “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ Deuteronomy 27:19 (ESV)

What is sanctuary in the Law today and throughout the history of Western Civilization?

Biblical Compassion:

11  Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12  As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14  Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” Luke 7:11-14 (ESV)

29  But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30  Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:29-34 (ESV)

Of course we are to be compassionate. But we must remember this truth:

Compassion is a choice and it is limited.

If I spend an hour helping you that’s an hour I can’t spend helping someone else.

If I give funds to Charity A, that’s money I cannot give to Charities B or C.

In other words we have to choose where our limited help can go. I only have so much time and money and energy, so where am I going to put it?

The New Testament and Disciples Obeying the Law

We Recognize the Need for Authority in Our Fallen World, that Includes Lethal Authority from the State.

1  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4  for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6  For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)

But, we also know we Obey God Before Men and when the Government Contradicts the Word of God, we Obey God Rather than Man.

27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28  saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30  The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Acts 5:27-32 (ESV)

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

Episode 119

Disciple Up #119 Show Notes
What’s So Important About the Cross?
By Louie Marsh, 7-31-2019

Introduction: The only way to comment publicly on the podcast is at the FaceBook page, facebook.com/discipleup.  You can e-mail me at louie@discipleup.org.

Request for an upcoming episode I’m researching now.

Most of the information on today’s episode is taken from John Stott’s masterful book, “The Cross of Christ.” Link below.

The Centrality of the Cross

What part does the cross of Christ play in our Christian faith? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross, and why has the cross remained the central symbol of the Christian faith for over 2,000 years?

Christians agree that it was on the cross that Christ died to save our souls. But is it really central to our faith? Here’s what Paul said, For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speeches and high-sounding ideas, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God. 1 Cor. 1:17-18 (NLT) [See also Gal. 5:11; 6:12,14; Phil. 2:8]

To Paul there is more to the cross than it’s use by God in redeeming mankind. He makes it central to his message and his life. As we begin our look at the cross of Christ we must start with attempting to discover why it is placed squarely at the center of our faith.

The Cross as a Sign and a Symbol

Every major group, movement, nation and religion has a visual symbol. Buddhism has the lotus flower and Islam the crescent. Ancient Judaism avoided a symbol for fear of making an idol, but modern Judaism has two symbols, the Star of David and the Menorah.

Secular states have symbols also. The Nazi’s had the swastika, the Soviet Union had the hammer and sickle and the New Age Movement today uses the rainbow. Today almost every business or group has its own symbol (called a logo usually). This includes Christ’s Church on the River!

In the early church the Christian symbol wasn’t the cross. The earliest symbol was the peacock, which symbolized immortality. The first Christians also used a dove, the athlete’s victory palm and of course the fish. Yet gradually the cross replaced all these. (It also precluded others from rising such as the manger, the empty tomb, etc.)

Instead the cross was chosen. It’s two bars were already a cosmic symbol from antiquity of the axis between heaven and earth. When the church chose the central truth of the faith to commemorate they chose neither Christ’s miracles nor teachings, they didn’t even choose His resurrection! Instead they chose the cross. (By the way, just in case you’re wondering, the crucifix doesn’t seem to have been used before the 6th century AD.)

How they used the Cross

 From the second century onward early Christians made the sign of the cross on themselves and others. Early Church Father Tertullian (A.D. 200) wrote this,

“At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of life, we trace upon the forehead the sign.”

 Hyppolytus wrote The Apostolic Tradition (215 A.D.) about the traditional rites of the church. He recommended in private prayer to, “imitate him always, by signing the forehead sincerely; for this is the sign of his passion.”

It seems clear then that the sign of the cross was intended to identify and sanctify each act belonging to Christ. In the early church the cross of Christ was ever present in the life of the believer.

The Surprise of the Cross

It is surprising that the church chose the cross as their symbol when we remember the horror it was regarded with in the ancient world.

Cicero wrote, “To bind a Roman citizen is a crime, to flog him is an abomination, to kill him is almost an act of murder; to crucify him is – what? There is no fitting word that can possibly describe too horrible a deed…the very cross should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen, but from his thoughts, his eyes, his ears.”

The first surviving picture of the crucifixion of Jesus is a caricature found on Palatine Hill in Rome, in a school for Imperial Pages. A crude drawing shows stretched on a cross a man with the head of a donkey. To the left stands another man with one arm raised in worship. Scribbled underneath are the words, “Alexamenos worships his God.”

In the light of all this why did the church choose the cross for its main symbol? Only one answer can suffice – that the centrality of the cross originated from the Lord Jesus Himself.

Scripture and the Cross

 The centrality of the cross began early in Christ’s ministry.  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. (Mark 8:31-32)  The word plainly means “with freedom of speech or openly.” In a parallel passage (Matthew 16:21-23) the cross was so important that Jesus called Peter “Satan” when he urged Jesus to avoid it!

Jesus repeats himself in Mark 10:32-34. By saying the Son of Man will suffer and die Jesus daringly combined the two images of the Messiah in the Old Testament; the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 and the Reigning Son of Man of Daniel 7. Jesus said that He is both and will die before He reigns.

Jesus emphasis on the cross is also reflected in the amount of space the Gospels give to their accounts of His passion. It takes up between one-third and one-fourth of the Synoptic Gospels, and almost one-half of John!

The Apostles View of the Cross

How the Apostles viewed the cross can be discovered in their use of the word “tree.” Peter used it in Acts 5:30 and Paul used it in Acts 13:29.

Why is this so important? Because of what the book of Deuteronomy says, If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. Deut. 21:22-23

The Apostles deliberately drew to people’s attention that Jesus died under a curse! Why on earth would they do that?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

These Scriptures show that the ancient people guessed right about the cross. The cross of Christ indeed became the nexus of heaven and earth! For on the cross God met and dealt with man’s central problem – sin!  Jesus did this by bearing our sins in His body!

Why Did Christ Die?

The standard Christian answer to this question is four fold: 1) He died for us (Rom. 5:8). Professor Martin Hengel has shown that the concept of a person dying voluntarily for his city, family, friends, the truth or to pacify the gods was wide spread in the Roman world. They even had a special word for it. That’s one reason they so quickly understood the Gospel.

2) He died to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). 3) Christ died to forgive our sins (1 Cor. 15:3). 4) Christ died our death, (Rom. 6:23) He died so that we might live.

All this means that the simple statement Christ died for our sins says a lot more that it appears to on the surface. It says that Jesus, though sinless and not needing to die, did die the death we deserve to die for our sins.

Do these answers fit the facts, as we know them from the Gospels? Or are they something cooked up later to explain what happened to Jesus? To find out let’s look at two events beginning with Maundy Thursday and the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Last Supper

When I read about the Last Supper the first thing that stands out to me is that Jesus doesn’t spend the evening sadly looking back over His life and lamenting the fact He is going to die so young. Instead He look forward to His death as something that must happen and must be remembered!

Here in the only regular commemorative act ever authorized by the Lord Jesus, He is concerned not about His birth, miracles or teachings, but His death. Jesus is saying to us that above all else we must not forget His death and what it means!

According to Matthew and Paul Jesus said that His death and the shedding of His blood would forgive sins and bring about a new covenant (relationship) between God and man.

The Old Covenant was brought about by blood.  Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”  Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” ( Exodus 24:7-8)

Later the Prophet Jeremiah foretold a New Covenant,  “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. Jeremiah 31:31 (See Jer. 1-34 for the whole picture) Six centuries after this prophecy Jesus said that His blood must be shed to bring this New Covenant into being.

The Lord’s Supper was an advance dramatization of Christ’s death. It is designed in such a way that everyone in the room is a participant! No one is a spectator – everyone must get involved. To take part in it you must personally take inside of yourself the bread and the cup. This symbolizes the necessity of personally making a choice about Christ.

 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (John 6:53-55)

The Garden

The Gospel accounts of Jesus in the Garden use some very forceful words to describe what happened there. Luke says Jesus was in “anguish,” the Greek word means “Appalled reluctance.” Matthew and Mark use the word “troubled,” which means a “loathing aversion.”

Jesus said He was “overwhelmed” with “sorrow.” Mark says He was “deeply distressed,” a phrase that literally means “horror struck!”

What caused these very strong reactions? The Cup. What was The Cup? Some say that it was Christ’s fear of physical death. To that I say – No way Jose!! Christ who knew that there life after death, who had brought people back from death itself, could not have feared it.

So what caused this reaction? In the Old Testament The Cup was a phrase often used to refer to God’s wrath. As a nation or people sinned the cup would get fuller and fuller until at last it was filled up. Then God in His righteous wrath would pour out His judgment until the cup was empty and justice was satisfied.

Jesus knew that He was going to take upon and within Himself all His Father’s wrath for all the sins of the world! This knowledge that He – a sinless being – would experience all sin – caused Him such horror.  He foresaw that this would separate Him from His Father for a moment – and that in Paul’s words,  “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:21, NLT)

Yes The Cup had to be drunk. People often say that God can do anything – but that’s not true. According to the Bible He cannot lie, cheat or fail to fulfill His Word. He also could not avoid the need for a sacrifice for our sins. His love drove Him to make the greatest sacrifice of all – Jesus dying on the cross for your sins and mine!

Why the Cross?

There are many theories about why God chose to use the cross to forgive us. Was it to satisfy the devil, as the early Greek Fathers (church leaders) thought? Was it to satisfy the Law as the early Latin Fathers thought? Or did God’s sense of honor and justice as Anselm taught in the 11th century?

While there is some truth in each of these ideas, the plain fact is that the cross is necessary because it arises from within the nature of God Himself. So how and why does God react to sin? The Bible uses several words that will help us understand this question.

The first one is “provoked”. In Judges 2:12-13; 1 Kings 15:30, 21:22 among others places we see this word used. It expresses the inevitable reaction of God’s perfect nature to evil. He is never provoked without reason and must react this way or He would cease to be God!

The second word is “burning.” It’s used in Joshua 7:1, 23:16; Judges 3:7-8 & Hosea 8:5 and many other places. It’s when God is provoked to anger that He is said to burn with anger. (See 2 Kings 22:17)

So there is something in God’s essential moral being which is provoked by evil, which is ignited by it and that burns until the evil is consumed.

Our third and final word is “satisfaction.” The Hebrew word means “to be complete, at an end, finished, accomplished, spent.” It’s found in Ez. 7:8 and Lam 4:11 where God is described as about to “pour out” and “spend” His wrath. Notice that pouring out and spending go together. That which is poured out can’t be gathered again, that which is spent is finished.

So, to sum this up, God is provoked to anger over sin, once kindled His anger burns and is not easily quenched. At last He unleashes it, pours out the cup, and spends it.

But this isn’t a complete picture because it leaves out the background of God’s wrath. What’s that?  Believe it or not it’s God’s love!

 Love and Wrath

In this section I’ll be using human figures of speech here, because I don’t have any others to use! Does the Almighty really have problems? Not from His perspective I’m sure, but from ours He’s does! So I’m talking this way so that it will, hopefully, make sense to us mortals!

God’s problem in dealing with humanity is described in Hosea 11:

     “When Israel was a child, I loved him,

        and out of Egypt I called my son.

    But the more I called Israel,

        the further they went from me.

    They sacrificed to the Baals

        and they burned incense to images.

    It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,

        taking them by the arms;

    but they did not realize

        it was I who healed them.

    I led them with cords of human kindness,

        with ties of love;

    I lifted the yoke from their neck

        and bent down to feed them.

     “Will they not return to Egypt

        and will not Assyria rule over them

        because they refuse to repent?

    Swords will flash in their cities,

        will destroy the bars of their gates

        and put an end to their plans.

    My people are determined to turn from me.

        Even if they call to the Most High,

        he will by no means exalt them.

     “How can I give you up, Ephraim?

        How can I hand you over, Israel?

    How can I treat you like Admah?

        How can I make you like Zeboiim?

    My heart is changed within me;

        all my compassion is aroused.

    I will not carry out my fierce anger,

        nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.

    For I am God, and not man–

        the Holy One among you.

        I will not come in wrath. Hosea 11:1-9

 Paul expresses this dual nature of God, “he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) This dilemma between justice and grace is always worked out in a way that is in perfect accord with both love and holiness.

The cross then is the event in which God reveals His holiness and love simultaneously. The cross is the only place where we can see that God’s holiness and love are equally infinite. Emil Brunner wrote this daring sentence, “The wrath of God is the love of God.”

It might help us understand this if we think about why we discipline our children. We do it out of love – but they don’t see it that way do they? Have you ever looked at God’s wrath like a child?

Well you don’t have to any longer because God’s wrath against your sin was poured out, and spent on, the cross of Christ! There isn’t any left to pour on you – it’s was spent on the cross! That’s what the whole New Testament means as Paul points out in Romans, “But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight—not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.”

“For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)

The Achievement of the Cross

What did Christ’s death on the cross achieve? To really answer that question we’ll need to look at the four main images that the New Testament uses of Salvation. They are drawn from four different places: the shrine, the market place, a court of law, and the home.

Propitiation

I know, I know, this sounds more like a disease than anything else doesn’t it? Well it’s isn’t! It comes from the ancient temples and shrines. It means to appease or to pacify anger. Is God an angry God who demands bribes and gifts to forgive us? No!

Propitiation is necessary because as we’ve seen sin arouses God’s wrath. Pagan religion, and in some ways legalistic Christianity, say that we must provide propitiation for our sins. But the Bible doesn’t say that! In fact it says the exact opposite!

In the Old Testament God provided the Law – “for the life of any creature is in its blood. I have given you the blood so you can make atonement for your sins. It is the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement.” (Leviticus 17:11, NLT)

In the New Testament God presented Jesus to save us as we saw in Romans 3:25.

Dr. David Wells wrote, “man is alienated from God by sin and God is alienated from man by wrath. It is in the substitutionary death of Christ that sin is overcome and wrath averted, so God can look on man without displeasure and man can look on God without fear.”

Redemption

Our next word comes from the ancient market place. The word literally means, “a ransom or price of release,” and was used of buying or setting free slaves.

Just was have we been redeemed from?  “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.” (Titus 2:14, NLT) Moral slavery, guilt, God’s wrath etc.

We must never forget the great price Christ paid to redeem us. What was that price? First his incarnation (when he became a man, Phil. 2:5-7). Secondly his shed blood on the cross (I Peter 1:18-19).

We’re looking at these things in a logical manner. Propitiation inevitably comes first, because until the wrath of God is appeased (that is until His love has found a way to avert his anger) there can be no salvation for us. Next, when we are ready to understand the meaning of salvation we begin negatively with redemption. Which is our rescue, at the high price of Christ’s blood, from sin and death.

Justification

This third word is taken from the law court. Justification is the opposite of condemnation, and both are verdicts of a judge. Justification is the positive counterpart of redemption. It bestows on us a righteous standing before God. J.J. Packer wrote: “Justification by faith appears to be the heart of God’s saving grace…like Atlas, it bears a world on its shoulders.”

The Source of our Justification according to Romans 3:24 is God’s grace. “…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

Grace means something freely given that brings about well being. Therefore self-justification is impossible (Rom. 3:20) and so God does it for us (Rom. 3:21-25). This is grace, a free gift that brings good.

The Ground of our Justification. We are justified by Christ’s blood,

“And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ,” (Romans 5:9, NLT). The blood shed on the cross allows God to make us right with him. Therefore justification isn’t amnesty or an overlooking of guilt, or a pardon without principle. It’s not some plea bargain with God. Justification is an act of justice, a gracious justice, but justice nonetheless.

The Means of our Justification, is faith. “So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.” (Romans 3:28, NLT). But faith in what? Faith and grace belong together. Since faith’s only function is to receive what Grace freely offers, you cannot split them apart. So we are made right with God by our faith in his gracious sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Reconciliation

The fourth word or image of salvation is very popular because it’s so personal. We’ve left the temple and the market place and the court of law behind, and now we’ve come home.

“And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God—all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.” (Romans 5:9-11, NLT)

To reconcile means to restore a relationship, or to renew a friendship. So this word presupposes an original relationship with God, which was broken, and that Christ recovered for us. Reconciliation is the opposite of alienation.

It’s linked to justification in Romans 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” (NLT) Only after you have a right standing with God can you have peace through reconciliation.

Reconciliation is the fruit of justification. Peace is a synonym for, and a result of, reconciliation. It gives us peace and a personal relationship with God. According to Ephesians 2:13-18 it helps to bring us into peaceful and close relationships with those around us, especially those in the church.

How did this happen? According to 2 Cor. 5:18-22 it took place on the cross. “All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (NLT)

God was in Christ and together they reconciled us to them! God took the initiative, and reached out to us when we couldn’t reach out to him!

Reconciliation is finished! All we have to do is accept it!

What Does All This Mean To Me?

The first thing that the cross assures us of is that God is not mad at you – ever!  His wrath’s been placated by the cross. He’s now free to love us completely and unconditionally because of the cross. We then should be free from fear (1 John 4:16-18).

The Death of False Guilt

False Guilt will die when we understand and take this to heart. False Guilt is feeling guilty over something that you shouldn’t feel guilty about. If God has not condemned us how can we condemn ourselves?

And even if I am guilty the cross still rescues me! Justification teaches us that we are legally and morally in the clear – there’s no reason to feel guilty. Reconciliation teaches us that God’s not holding our sins against us- we have a restored relationship with Him! It also teaches us that we don’t have the right to refuse to forgive someone God has forgiven!

This is the real answer to guilt – this and not psychology – holds the answers we need!

The cross says that God wants you! He paid an unbelievable price for you. This doesn’t prove how wonderful you or I are – it proves how wonderful He is! He paid this price in spite of knowing, far better than we do, what terrible sinners we are!

And finally the cross teaches us that God’s not going to give up on us! After everything He went through to propitiate His anger and to ransom us from sin – there’s no way He’s gonna quit on us now! (See 1 Peter 1:3-6)

Thank God for the Cross!

LINKS:

 The Cross of Christ by John Stott – shorturl.at/GKZ56

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books – 

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.

 Please Get In Touch!

Email – louie@discipleup.org

 


Check out the Disciple Up Facebook page:

My books –