Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Why I believe that Jesus of Nazareth created the universe
First, I must tell you why I believe Jesus was a man "in the flesh". The reason I believe Jesus was a human is because He had a date of birth. He went from being a zygote to a fetus to an infant to a child to a boy to a fully grown adult Man. As a child He had to learn to walk and talk like the rest of us. Throughout His life He ate and slept like the rest of us. He walked, talked, cried, loved, became angry (always righteously), became grieved, distressed, He rejoiced, marveled, became tired, hungry, thirsty and worked a job (carpenter) like the rest of us. He had a mother, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles like the rest of us. He was a man; a one hundred percent flesh and bone human being.
And now, here are some reasons why I believe that Jesus pre-existed His humanity and was and is one hundred percent divine:
Out of the billions and billions of us who have been born into this world, He was the only one born of a virgin. Think about that. Jesus of Nazareth was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. No man was involved in any way in His conception. There was just a young teenage girl and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The way He spoke
Jesus never speculated or deferred to anyone else; He always, without exception, spoke with absolute authority. He never quoted a rabbi or religious leader. He just said what He had to say and thats it. He never said, "I think...", "Well, maybe...", "I hypothesize that...". Words like "possibly" and "probably" were not a part of His vocabulary. Even when speaking of the Bible He spoke with authority. For example He said things like "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery'. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
The things He said
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Most assuredly, I say to you, 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 food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?
The things He did
Jesus of Nazareth gave sight to a man who had been blind since birth. He cured lepers with a touch, cast out demons with a word, and had compassion on the hungry multitudes and fed them with a few pieces of bread and fish at least twice. He commanded a paralytic to rise, take his mat, and walk home and the paralyzed man did it. He raised Lazarus, who had been dead so long his corpse stunk, from the dead. He walked on water, turned water into wine, and commanded the winds and sea to be still and they obeyed Him. Did you know that it is believed that on any given day Jesus of Nazareth did more miracles than all the miracles of the Old Testament combined?
He also forgave sins; something only God can do.
His sinless life
Jesus never once sinned. He was perfectly holy and righteous in thought, word, and deed. He was tempted in every point like the rest of us, yet without sin. He was actually able to say "I always do those things that please" God. Can you say that? He was able to say to His most ardent opponents and skeptics, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?", to which they had no response [and still don't]. He was the perfect Person; completely impeccable and absolutely blameless. "The wages of sin is death" but because Jesus never ever once sinned, not even in thought, death had no claim over Him.
His claims about His identity
You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.
Then the Jews said to Him..."You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”...
Jesus answered, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple,going through the midst of them, and so passed by. click here for context
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father...
I and My Father are one.
His power over the grave
Not only did He raise dead people by the power of His word but He also promised that He would lay down His life only to raise Himself up from the grave three days later:
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
He is the only sinless Person who has ever lived who on behalf of others willingly died the worst possible death: crucifixion [the word excruciating is derived from crucifixion]. The charge for his death was "Jesus King of the Jews". Jesus, who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. Even up on the cross He forgave a criminal who was being crucified next to Him and promised him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." From 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, while He shed His blood on the cross, the sky was darkened. The last thing He said on the cross before giving up His spirit was "It is finished." Immediately after He died,the ground shook and the veil in the Jewish Temple which divided the holy place from the most holy place, was torn in two, from top to bottom (signifying that now sinners can enter the most holy place through the blood of Christ). Truly, His was a supernatural death whose every detail was a fulfillment of tons of ancients prophecies.
His resurrection from the dead
Jesus of Nazareth conquered death. Three days after He was crucified like a common criminal, He rose from the dead just like He said He would. The Father confirmed and validated Jesus' words by raising Him from the dead and then showing Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. He was seen by Peter, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by Paul. Jesus rose from the dead. There is a Man in history who was killed who on the third day rose Himself from the dead and this was seen by hundreds of witnesses!
His ascension into heaven
Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead and walked and talked and ate with His disciples, He ascended, bodily, into heaven in front of many witnesses. They literally saw Him being raised in the clouds back to heaven.
His fulfillment of prophecy
There are hundreds of ancient Jewish Messianic prophecies which were fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. Everything from the time, place, and manner of His birth to His ministry and identity to His crucifixion and resurrection was predicted hundreds to thousands of years in advance! Jesus Himself frequently pointed to this. He said,
"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.
click here to see some of the prophecies for yourself
He forgave and saved me
Among other things, Jesus Christ is known for turning God-hating wicked sinners into God-glorifying saints and I submit to you my life as a clear example of this. Three and a half years ago I had zero interest in the things of the Lord (not enough to read this article thats for sure). I enjoyed drunken parties. I enjoyed all sorts of perversions. I used to love getting high. I enjoyed and was entertained by immorality and violence. I, just like the woman caught in adultery who deserved to be stoned to death, was a guilty sinner utterly deserving of death and hell. But then Jesus came into my life, changed my heart, and instead of condemning me, forgave me and then commanded me, "Go and sin no more". My testimony is this: Jesus of Nazareth forgave me of my sins, which were many, and gave my soul indescribable, all-satisfying joy and rest, and secured my place eternally in heaven. He changed my heart. What I once enjoyed and sought I now hate. What I once hated and had no interest in [God, truth, Jesus] now brings me pure joy. I, along with millions of others throughout history [some whom you know], have personally experienced His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and transforming power and can fully attest that this Jesus was and is not only the Savior of the world... but the Lord God Himself... in the flesh.
These are some of the reasons why I believe that Jesus Christ was and is the God of the universe, the One to whom we must all give account someday. The Bible clearly reveals Him as the Judge of the living and the dead. My hope is that you will come to cherish Him as the treasure and joy of your life and be saved from wrath through Him. And now I leave you with a question from Jesus Christ Himself:
Who do you say that I am?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.Jude 1:3
Yep... I had an encounter with Mormons yesterday. This is how it happened...
It was about 7:30PM, I had just gotten home from work, and felt the call to go to Main Ave to share the Gospel. There I was passing out tracts to people when I saw a couple of Mormons coming up the street. Mormons are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, very polite, kind, and sincere in their faith. With that said, none of these qualities can forgive someone's sins, only the blood of Christ can do that.
I gave one of them a tract and immediately he smiled and said "Thanks, I also have something for you." We exchanged literature. He saw that what I gave him was a Ticket to Heaven so I asked him, "So what do you believe someone must do to get to Heaven?" His basic response was that a person must 1) believe in Jesus Christ 2) repent 3)get baptized 4)receive the Holy Spirit 5)produce good works. YOWZA! That is a works-based salvation which the Bible condemns. So I asked him what would happen if a person didnt have time to do all that, "What if I only had 3 minutes to live? What would you tell me?" His response included the prospect of having a second chance to do all those things in the afterlife. I told him, "Sure doesnt seem like the rich man in Luke 16 got that second chance. Or did he?"
A little later on I mentioned something along the lines of whether Hitler also received that second chance; Elder Quincy's response was that repetitious murder was too big a crime to be forgiven. I took the opportunity to ask him whether he had ever hated anyone which God sees as murder. He had. After some probing, I realized that both Elder Quincy (age 19) and Elder IforgothisName (20) were self-righteous (they thought they were good people) so I proceeded to walk them both through the law of God in hopes that it would bring them a fuller understanding of the gravity and depth of their sin. Most specifically I expounded on the gravity of blasphemy. I told them that blasphemy was probably even more serious than murder "for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." They admitted to being guilty of breaking Gods laws and deserving of God's punishment but quickly mentioned "Thats why Jesus came... so that we can be saved."
This is when things got interesting, I told them that I was a Christian and asked them whether or not Mormons and Christians believe in the SAME Jesus. They said we do, which is NOT true. After much talk, this is the recap of what we concluded in respects to the nature of God and the Gospel:
- Three gods (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit) who exist among other gods
- God was once a man who became God
- Jesus came into existence after the Father
- Jesus is the brother of the devil
- Salvation is by faith after all we can do
- One God who is Triune (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit)
- God is eternal
- Jesus is God who is eternal
- Jesus created ALL things including the devil and hell
- Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.This means that Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator of ALL things. Amen.
This is what I was going for: I was trying to get them to admit that Mormons and Christians believe two different Gospels. We believe in two different natures of God, two different Jesus', two different plans of salvation. In essence, two different Gospels. Once I got them to agree to that... We turned to Galatians chapter 1:
YOWZA! Did you read that? Re-read it please. Notice how it says that even if an angel from Heaven... (Picture that for a moment. Imagine looking up and seeing a beautiful magestic angel in the sky! How do you think you would react to that? People usually get scared when they see that.) Anyhow, the Scripture says that even if an angel from Heaven preaches to you any other gospel than the one the apostles preached, let him be accursed. When it says "accursed" it means that the preacher of this false gospel shall be damned to an eternity in hell. What makes this extra interesting is that that is exactly how the founder of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, claimed to have received his "gospel"... from an angel named Moroni.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him, that called you into the grace of Christ, for another gospel. For this is not another; but there are some who trouble you and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But should we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again: If any man preach any other gospel unto than that which ye have received, let him be accursed!Galatians 1:6-9
So I did my best to reason with them to repent of their sins and put their trust in the Jesus of the Bible! I told them that the created Jesus who is the brother of Satan cannot save anybody. That they must trust the Jesus who is Creator of all things in order to be saved. I pleaded with them that if they didnt repent of their going after false gods the wrath of God would remain upon them and they would surely lose their souls. Did they repent right on the spot and believe? I wish that I could tell you that they did but I cant. But glory to God that one more seed was sown!!! Please pray for Elder Qunicy and Elder IforgothisName, that the Lord will grant them repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.
As an aside. Here is a verse that could have helped me in our discourse:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.Isaiah 43:10
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Who can this be?
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The Godfather of Soul, Dead at 73
I would like to comment on, not specifically the last words he ever spoke, but on the last words he ever heard.
"The gravity of his condition was apparently not lost on Brown, who finally alluded to it late Sunday, Bobbit said. "He told me ... 'I'm going away tonight,' and my statement to him was, 'I don't know where you're going, because wherever you go, I'm going with you, unless you're going up there or over there, and I'm sorry, I can't go there with you.'
excerpt taken from CNN
What do you think James Brown's friend meant when he told him that?
Shortly after, James Brown the "Godfather of Soul" passed on into eternity to meet his Maker, God the true Father of souls. Sad as it is my friends we will all go away someday; some of us much sooner than later. Whether we like it or not we all have an appointment with death, but as James Brown and his friend alluded, that is not the end. The Bible says that "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" Hebrews 9:27. And after the judgment each and every one of us will go to one of two places: "up there" which is Heaven, or "over there" which is Hell. I have no idea whether or not James Brown was prepared for his judgment but the question of the day is: Are YOU?
Here is what the Bible says about that fateful Day:
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
My friend, is YOUR name going to be found written in the Book of Life? Is James Brown's name on that Book? I dont know, God does and by now James Brown does too. But my friend what I am concerned with right now is this:
Will YOUR name be found written in the Book of Life?
Go here to find out.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Monday, July 10, 2006
It is always a great idea to have tracts in your car. Tracts stashed in your car are perfect for giving to toll booth workers, people you ask for directions, gas attendants and drive-thru workers!
Just today I gave one to the McDonalds drive-thru guy while picking up some early morning breakfast. After I paid, I handed him a Ticket to Heaven tract. Now, usually people will just take them and I'll be on my way, but every now and again you will get someone who eagerly takes the tract and begins reading it right then and there. As he inspected it, I told him what it was and he responded that he already had a ticket to heaven. When I asked him what was his ticket he told me, "The Lord, who is in my heart." I asked, "So you're a Christian?!" He told me that he was a Roman Catholic so I asked whether he had been born again (John 3:3). He asserted that he was. He called himself a born again Roman Catholic. Now this is when things got really weird. I said, "Yeah man, thats our only ticket to heaven, our Lord Jesus." He responded with, "Not Jesus. His Father."
So this took us off into a discussion as to who Jesus really is. He said that Jesus was the Son of the Father and Mary, that He was created, and that the true Lord is God the Father. I urged him to make sure he was believing in the right Jesus because the Bible makes it perfectly clear that Jesus Christ is in fact more than just the "Son of Mary". I referred him to John 1:1-14 which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" and "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." Those verses make it clear that God, the Creator of all things, became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In the Bible, Jesus is referred to as the Lord of lords, and King of kings. I also pointed to the verses where Jesus told Phillip, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father," and "I and the Father are One" and "Before Abraham was, I AM. "I AM" is the same name by which God identified Himself to Moses and the children of Israel. Still he insisted that Jesus was just "God's Son and not God Himself." I then reminded him that the Holy Trinity (which I assumed he believed in being that he was a Roman Catholic) teaches that Christ is Himself God. He wasnt hearing it.
As his co-workers urged him to get back to work, I urged him one last time to make sure he was believing in the right Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that if you don't have the Son, you dont have the Father. Then we said our good-byes and I moved forward to the second window to pick up my McGriddle. Who knows? Maybe now he'll go home and crack open his Bible and see the truth of who Jesus really is?! Remember, it isnt our job to convert the sinner's heart, it is to point them toward the Savior. I pray to God that He will open that guy's understanding and lead him safely into the arms of the true Jesus of the Bible, the Lord of the universe. This would not have happened if I didn't carry tracts in my car!
Labels: Gospel encounters