Menu +

Month: April 2011

Faith Of Our Fathers: Unity Produced By Christian Doctrine

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.
Originally published in Uplook magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2011.
Western nations celebrate different belief systems in order to accommodate the disparate races, cultures, and people-types that coexist within their borders. In everyday life, politically correct speech and philosophical relativism combine to make people studiously avoid discussing subjects that are the most important to them, thereby averting controversy. Likewise, conventional wisdom advises one to steer clear of discussions on politics, religion, or worldviews, for they almost certainly result in unpleasantness. By abstaining from discussions of strongly held views, the tenuous admixture of divergent groups mostly holds, at least providing the veneer of peace.
Christianity, on the other hand, demands confrontation and engagement in the rough and tumble issues of life. To become a Christian one must deal with the most depressing reality about oneself: one’s personal sin and guilt in the eyes of a holy God. Unity is achieved by leveling the field of human distinction. That is, all have sinned, all need the Saviour (Rom. 3:23.) People of every kindred, tribe, and tongue are redeemed by the same blood. They place their confidence in the same Lord. Unity comes not by looking to oneself and one’s personal characteristics; rather it stems from adherence to the same body of teachings, known in the New Testament as “the faith” (Eph. 4:5; for other usages of “faith” in this sense see Acts 6:7; 1 Tim. 1:2; 4:1, etc.) These doctrines are the substance of Christian belief, linking the saints to Christ their Head, as well as to one another (Eph. 4:13-15.)
Defining Faith
Of course, faith is a common word, occurring 244 times in the Greek New Testament. Often it refers to belief, such as in God the Father or the Lord Jesus (e.g. Mt. 8:10; Rom. 3:28.) Other times it is used of “faithfulness” or “trustworthiness” (e.g. Rom. 3:3, NKJV.) While some expositors hold that it refers to the first type of faith, in the context of Ephesians 4 it makes more sense to take it in the second sense. As Ironside puts it: “This is not the faith by which we are saved, but the faith of the Christian Church, the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. It is the one standard of truth that God has given to be proclaimed in the world, it is that which the apostle calls the faith. Faith in Christ is confidence in Jesus, but the faith is the body of the Christian doctrine.” It is used in the New Testament approximately 28 times in this manner (some of the references are debatable as to which of the meanings of “faith” are in view.)
The Content Of The Faith
The teaching that comprises “the faith” is multifaceted and covers every aspect of life for time and eternity. Its doctrines begin with the truth that there is one God (1 Tim. 2:5), existing in three co-equally divine persons (Jn. 14-17, etc.) He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Mt. 22:32), who inspired the Old Testament Scriptures, as well as the New Testament writings (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; 3:15-16; Jn. 14:25; 16:12-14.) Jesus is God the Son, as well as the only impeccable and perfect man (1 Tim. 3:16.) The Father and the Spirit are also God (Jn. 14:16-17, 23; Mt. 28:19.)

Christ In A Celebrity Culture

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.
“Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, ‘Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.’ For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.’ When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee. But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” John 7:2-10
The modern world is obsessed with celebrity. Scores of newspapers and magazines are devoted to charting the movements and opinions of the rich, talented, and famous. Websites like youtube have become showcases for many internet exhibitionists, who are willing to do seemingly anything in order to gain Warhol’s proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. So-called “reality television” – surely, a misnomer if ever there was one – follows “ordinary” people through both mundane and ludicrous situations in the name of entertainment. Judging by the proliferation of these programs in many countries, there is an insatiable desire on the part of contemporary people to become famous – or even notorious, as long as it gets their name in lights.
From American Idol To Your Best Life Now
For lost men and women to zealously pursue fame is unsurprising, for they put themselves first and seek glory in this world, not realizing the better glory that Christ offers. Sadly, in many quarters professing Christians have been bitten by the celebrity bug. It is now commonplace to see churches staging publicity stunts to get themselves in the news (one recent example is Mr. Jones of Florida, who publicly burned a copy of the Muslim Koran – a foolish act with tragic and murderous consequences.) Less grandiose, but still gravely in error, are the many preachers who permit a celebrity-status to be conferred on them. Many “Christian” organizations in the multimedia age have become publicity-generating engines for a thinly-veiled cult of personality that promotes the preacher, as much or more, than the blessed Lord Jesus.
TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK ON THE TITLE.

Classic Expositions From The Past: "Come; Take; Learn" by Hamilton Smith

CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.
“Come”; “Take”; “Learn”
Matthew 11: 25-30
There are certain passages in the Word of God that are especially endeared to the hearts of all
that love our Lord Jesus, inasmuch as they very definitely set forth the loveliness of Christ.
Among such portions we may well include the six closing verses of Matthew 11, for in these
verses we see the perfection of Christ shining out in one of the darkest moments of His earthly
pathway.
The passage opens with the words, “At that time.” We may well pause to enquire, what was
“that time”? The preceding chapters bring before us the Lord’s ministry in the midst of Israel. He
had presented Himself in all the glory of His Person as Emmanuel — God with us — cleansing
the leper with a touch, healing the centurion’s servant with a word, and commanding the demons
to depart (8). He had revealed the grace of His heart in forgiving sins, in sitting down to eat with
sinners, in raising the dead, opening the eyes of the blind, and in making the dumb to speak. He
had revealed the tender love of His heart by suffering in His spirit the sorrows that He took away
by His power, and had expressed His compassions for those who were scattered abroad as sheep
having no shepherd. He had shown the lowly grace of His heart by entering the humble home of
a fisherman, by preaching the gospel to the poor, and by becoming so poor that He had nowhere
to lay His head.
CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.

Classic Expositions From The Past: “Come; Take; Learn” by Hamilton Smith

CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.
“Come”; “Take”; “Learn”
Matthew 11: 25-30
There are certain passages in the Word of God that are especially endeared to the hearts of all
that love our Lord Jesus, inasmuch as they very definitely set forth the loveliness of Christ.
Among such portions we may well include the six closing verses of Matthew 11, for in these
verses we see the perfection of Christ shining out in one of the darkest moments of His earthly
pathway.
The passage opens with the words, “At that time.” We may well pause to enquire, what was
“that time”? The preceding chapters bring before us the Lord’s ministry in the midst of Israel. He
had presented Himself in all the glory of His Person as Emmanuel — God with us — cleansing
the leper with a touch, healing the centurion’s servant with a word, and commanding the demons
to depart (8). He had revealed the grace of His heart in forgiving sins, in sitting down to eat with
sinners, in raising the dead, opening the eyes of the blind, and in making the dumb to speak. He
had revealed the tender love of His heart by suffering in His spirit the sorrows that He took away
by His power, and had expressed His compassions for those who were scattered abroad as sheep
having no shepherd. He had shown the lowly grace of His heart by entering the humble home of
a fisherman, by preaching the gospel to the poor, and by becoming so poor that He had nowhere
to lay His head.
CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE.