Wednesday, December 23, 2009

12 Days of Christmas

Christmas should remind us that nothing is impossible with God

Luke 1:34–37 (NKJV)

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

There are many significant truths about God that were manifested at the birth of Christ and perhaps the most obvious fact is that God has the power to do the impossible. This truth should be something accepted at face value because it is inherent in the nature of God to do the supernatural. Yet from our perspective we have to be reminded of this fact.

In the case of Mary, God sent an angel to tell her that He would create life in her womb. God does not require the natural reproduction process of procreation to give life to a human being. Remember the first man was created from dust (Genesis 2:7) and the first woman was made from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:21). So it should not be much of a surprise that God would create life by supernatural means. In fact in our text the Angel points to Mary’s cousin who is with child beyond her natural childbearing age.

Christmas should remind us that nothing is impossible with God, including granting eternal life. (See Matthew 19:16-26)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Gospel of Moralism

On Wednesday evenings we are going through a series called Building a Biblical Church. This program is based on the Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever. The main emphasis of this session is on defining a Biblical view of the Gospel. The Nine Marks ministry provides the following definition of the Gospel.

"The gospel is the heart of Christianity. But the good news is not that God wants to meet people's felt needs or help them develop a healthier self-image. We have sinfully rebelled against our Creator and Judge. Yet He has graciously sent His Son to die the death we deserved for our sin, and He has credited Christ's acquittal to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus' death and resurrection. That is the good news. The gospel is clear from Scripture, but unfortunately it can be clouded by many false teachings."

The video below is an example of moralism.

Moralism is an external change of behavior or conformity to a prescribed standard regardless of the inward condition of the heart.

Jesus was not very politically correct when dealing with this type of hypocrisy.

Matthew 23:25–28 (NKJV) 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Your diet will not improve your righteous standing before God. Jesus said it is the matter of the heart not the stomach.

Mark 7:18–20 (NKJV) 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.

Through the course of history God has imposed various restrictions to man’s diet. Initially it was all vegetables, except for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. After the flood all living creatures were allowed. Under the Mosaic Covenant there were many restrictions given. Finally, under the new covenant all dietary restrictions were removed.

• Adam Diet Genesis 1:29 (NKJV) 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

• Noah Diet Genesis 9:3 (NKJV) 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

• Moses Diet Leviticus 11:46–47 (NKJV) 46 ‘This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, 47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.’ ”
• Jesus Diet 1 Timothy 4:4 (NKJV) 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;

Christians are not regulated by specific dietary restrictions, but rather they are governed by conscience and conviction to glorify God at every meal.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.