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Romans 1-6 Translations and Commentaries

My apologies for not posting any articles for a while, but I wanted to announce that the class notes for BI-412: Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is now freely available.

Just head over to the Class Notes Tab and download your copy.

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Posted by on 20-April-2011 in Uncategorized

 

Class Notes on Biblical Hermeneutics

After a year of teaching out of the book of Revelation, I had set my sites on beginning studies in Paul’s epistle to the Romans.  We had finished last week (27OCT2010) and the following Wednesday (3NOV2010) is right before our church’s Revival Services, throughout the second week of November.  Rather than start Romans this Wednesday, stop for Revival, and then pick it up again the following week, Pastor Carlson suggested that I do a one day class on Hermeneutics and begin Romans afterward.

This was wonderful I thought!  I am always eager to teach, and I have found that God repeatedly directs me through authority.

Originally, I had planned on compiling a 3-5 page outline on the subject, especially since the class is only an hour long.  I prayerfully began to compile notes, obtaining ideas from my library and good theological websites.  Now, only a couple of hours before the start of class I have finished, with the complete outline running just over 18 pages!  I have a tendency to provide more material than what can fit in a 60 minute class, and this was no exception.

Ah well.

My notes can be grabbed here, if you want them, or head over to BibleBlogger’s Class Notes Page.  My heart’s desire is that God would be glorified through this material and that it will help Bible-believing God-fearing Christians in their walk with their savior.

 
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Posted by on 3-November-2010 in Uncategorized

 

The Link Between Halloween, Country Music, and Rock-n-Roll!!!

Over the past several weeks, several theologians went out on a limb and took a public stand on certain convictions.

  • Russell D. Moore (of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) admits to using country music to teach Bible truths.
  • Dan Wallace writes how he would use a haunted house and “various amorphous ghoulish delights” to provide a way to share the gospel.
  • Dr. Mark Young (President of Dever Seminary) sets up a straw-man conversation in an attempt to explain where it’s more important to make people feel welcome rather than obey the Bible.
  • Michael Patton tells a humorous tale of a conversation he had with his “Fundamentalist Toe.”
  • And finally an article written by Michael Patton on why he “dislikes” Christian music, and prefers listening to Rock.

At first, I wanted to throw out a quick response on BibleBlogger the moment I read these articles, but I have learned that sometimes such desires are more leading of the flesh than of God’s Spirit, so I kept my peace and prayed about the matter.  Now on the night of Halloween, I wanted to sit down and write a response; not a response from John Hall, but rather a response from a more important source: God’s Word.

So, What Does Halloween Have to Do With Country Music?

I confess, the title of this article is to draw the reader in.  Yet, there is a correlation between Halloween, Country Music, and Rock-n-Roll.  This correlation is what the Bible refers to as the “love of the world” or worldliness.

Worldliness Defined

1 John 2:15-17
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Here, the Bible teaches us not to love “the world or things of the world.”  1 John 2:15 is not teaching that we ought to hate apples and automobiles, but rather the things that would get in between you and your personal walk with Christ.  How do I know this?  Simple, I allowed the Bible to explain itself, as it does in 1 John 2:16.

According to this passage, the world and the things of the world are:

  1. things that promote the lust of the flesh,
  2. things that promote the lust of the eyes, and
  3. things that promote the pride of life.

/DIGRESSION

I am not speaking here to those who have no desire to follow Christ or obey God’s Word.  If you find yourself sitting there with no interest in what the Bible says, then please, move on.  Your troubles are far worse than listening to worldly music or scrounging for candy on an October evening.  This article is primarily written to my brothers and sisters in Christ who do want to obey the Bible and live a Christian life.

DIGRESSION/

Now, let’s take each point and follow it through.

Things that Promote the Lust of the Flesh

Genesis 3:6
6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

When Satan approached Eve in the garden, he used lies to convince her to disobey God by eating of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The first thing she noticed about the fruit was that it was good for food.

There is nothing wrong with eating, as long as it doesn’t become more important than God (gluttony), or it causes you to directly disobey God.  The fruit most likely was good for food.  I enjoy a good apple, or orange, but the produce isn’t very healthy if they were rotten or moulding.  The problem lies in the fact that she began listening to the temptation and that temptation was shaping into the Lust of the Flesh.

Jesus spent 40 days in the wilds (Matthew 4:1-11).  Needless to say, he was quite hungry.  This is when the devil came to him and suggested that Jesus turn the stones to bread (Matthew 4:3).  There wasn’t anything wrong with eating.  It wouldn’t have been a sin for Jesus to turn a stone into a warm loaf of bread.  He was hungry, and he would have been meeting a need.  The problem was that the suggestion came from the tempter, using the lust of the flesh.

Our Lord teaches us the importance of our priorities.  Christ responds to Satan’s temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.

Matthew 4:4
4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Unlike what John Piper and his Christian-Epicurean followers might believe, God does not have man’s happiness as His ultimate goal.  Man’s goal is to glorify God, and sometimes in this occupation, there will be times when we might starve.  The critical point here is to seek out God’s Will for a matter.

The other night, I had a meeting to attend to at a friends house.  Before this meeting, we walked across the street to the local deli, and everyone ordered either a sandwich or salad.  Since it was at the end of the month, the Hall coffers were a bit sparse.  I had about $4.00 left to keep me to the end of the month, and I knew I could live without the added purchase.  Then the thoughts started running through my mind.  Aren’t you hungry?  Why not get something, everyone else is?  It’s only $5.00, what harm can come?  I wish I could say that I didn’t yield to temptation, but I would be lying.  As soon as I whipped out the credit card, and made the purchase, God’s Holy Spirit convicted me and showed me through God’s Word where I was wrong.  Though I confessed my sin, and repented, I am reminded that I have a sin nature with me constantly.  There is nothing wrong with eating a sandwich, but it is wrong to give into temptation and rely on a credit card for my provisions rather than God.  If I had the money, I don’t think it would be a problem, but the Lust of the Flesh is there to draw you away from God.

The first definition of worldliness is anything that would draw you away from God, through the basic desires of the body.  Eve was hungry for food.  Jesus was starving in the wilderness.  John had the munchies in a deli with friends.  There is nothing wrong at all with any of these desires.  The problem is in the source of these desires!

So, how do we solve this?  Simple: obey God’s Word.  In my case, God promised to provide for all of my needs (Phil. 4:19).  If He hadn’t provided me the money, I should have trusted God that I didn’t need the salad.  {Yeh, yeh… I justified my sin by ordering the salad.  😦  }  Eve should have remembered what God’s command, but she didn’t.  Our Lord showed us the right way by quoting Scripture.  He knew who was tempting him, and he wouldn’t allow Satan to direct his ways.

Things that Promote the Lust of the Eyes

Genesis 3:6
6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Eve not only saw that the fruit would be good to eat, but she also saw how beautiful the fruit looked.  The world gets caught-up in “looks.”  Why is it that magazines pay millions of dollars on touched up photos of beautiful people?  Why do actors and actresses spend hours in makeup rooms and gyms and/or health spas?  Why is it that plain or ugly people are portrayed in a negative or demeaning way?  It’s because these groups seek to promote and live in a worldly manner with worldly values.

In Matthew 4:5-6 Satan tempts Jesus again.  The devil knew that Jesus was the Messiah, and the Son of God, so he took Jesus up to the pinnacle of the temple and dared him to jump off.  He knew that our Lord’s Father would not allow harm to come to him.  Why not?  He had an inkling most likely that the Jewish rulers wouldn’t approve of Jesus being the Messiah.  They wouldn’t stand a chance if Jesus was publicly seen floating down from Heaven into the courtyard.  The Sanhedrin would be silenced, the Jews would rally around the Messiah, and all that messy stuff of dying (as foretold in Scripture) could be avoided.  But praise God, Christ knew better than to listen to the father of lies.  Jesus refused to bow to the Lust of the Eyes.  Though Jesus knew he was the real messiah, he also realized that his primary mission was to die on the cross and pay for the sins of a lost world.  If he had listened to this temptation, he would never be crucified, and we would still be chained in sin.  Jesus would have fallen to worldly values.

Want a good test for that latest toy?

  1. Do you need {insert toy name here}?
  2. Will {insert toy name here} draw you closer to God, or drag you away from God?
  3. Will {insert toy name here} help you accomplish God’s will?
  4. Do you have the funds for {insert toy name here} without going into debt?
  5. Can you live without {insert toy name here}?

By prayerfully answering questions like these, you can develop a keen eye for discerning what many find hard to see.

Things that Promote the Pride of Life

Genesis 3:6
6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Though the serpent knew he had a toe-hold when he got Eve to doubt God and consider the fruit, his clincher was when Eve was deceived into wanting wisdom and knowledge over obedience to God. I caught myself asking, why did Eve want wisdom?  Didn’t she trust God to provide for her?  Apparently not, since she was doubting God already.  Didn’t she have enough already?  She and her husband had the entire garden.  It’s a sin trait that is found in all humans: pride.  Eve wanted to more than what she already had.  She wanted to go “higher” and “farther” than what her limitations allowed.  It is nothing more than what caused Lucifer to fall: pride.

Worldliness covers more than just physical beauty.  Many people run after fame and fortune.  They place such a high importance on their alma mater or their family pedigree.  They take pleasure in having the fastest, biggest, loudest, and/or costliest toy in the neighborhood.   In my hometown of Twin Falls, we have a street lined with huge houses.  When we first moved to Idaho, there was only one “mansion” (for lack of a better word) on Falls Ave.  A short while later, his neighbor bought the adjacent lot and built a bigger house.  Over the course of ten years, each mansion and property built had to be bigger, and greener, and more opulent than the previous houses.  Why?  One huge house (with a separate three car garage), was the home to a man, his wife, and one child.  Why did a family of three need a house of over 4-5,000 square feet?  It’s primarily the result of bowing to a value system where fame and fortune, beauty and lust is the currency of the hour.

Twice now, Satan has tried to turn Jesus away from his father’s will.  The tempter took Jesus to a high mountain and showed him all the great kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-9).  Maybe the devil cast his arms out to Egypt and Rome.  Maybe Damascus and Jerusalem were seen off in the distance.  Possibly Satan pointed to Persia and Greece.  I don’t know.  Yet, the prince of the power of the air was willing to give all the kingdoms over to Jesus if he would only bow and show worship to him.

Jesus rebuked the devil and quoted Deuteronomy 10:20, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10).  You see, pride exalts self above God.  When you allow pride to enter into your life, you are committing the same sin Lucifer committed back in the beginning of creation (Isaiah 14:12-14).

There is one theological podcast I enjoy listening to, where the speakers are introduced as being “graduates from Dallas Theological Seminary.”  Why is this important?  Is it supposed to impress the audience by their “scholarly education”?  Is it a warning to the self-educated that they better not challenge their views, or be decimated by their uber-intellect?  There was one time when I had a great respect for DTS, but after listening in on several of their lectures, and seeing the theology coming out of their halls, I praise God He protected me from such institutions!

At the present time, I am pursuing a ThD.  Personally, this idea is not mine!  My previous pastors have asked me to complete it, and all I need to do is finish my dissertation, but I don’t place any weight on the letters.  I know how easy it is for John Hall to fall into the sin of pride, and being in the scholastic world long enough, I know how easy it is to flaunt intellectualism over others.  I am doing this project to honor God.  I believe He leads through authority and both times, my pastors have requested that I get my dissertation done.  But I do so, out of fear and trepidation.  God humbled Paul through his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).   What would God place on the shoulders of Dr. John Calvin Hall?  God’s will be done!

Conclusion

Taking these paragraphs and boiling it down is easy.  We just turn to the Bible once again.

2 Corinthians 10:2-6
2  But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6  And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Worldliness is anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.   It’s not the new cars or the big houses that are evil.  It’s no sin to be handsome or beautiful.  There is nothing wrong being born into a wealthy or famous family.  The problem is when all of this turns you away from God and His will for your life!

Worldliness Exemplified

What’s So Wrong With Halloween?

“So, what’s wrong with trick-or-treating,” a neighbor had asked me?  His children weren’t going around, sacrificing animals or worshiping the devil.  All they were interested in were running around town in fun costumes and getting free candy!  From that perspective, I understand his query?  But as a Christian[1], I am asked by God to take into account the spiritual aspect of this annual event.

2 Corinthians 10:3
3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

This UNHOLY day undoubtedly honors beliefs that exalts themselves against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  Ask any mature Christian and they will tell you, sin never presents itself as it truly is: filthy and destructive.  No one wakes up and says to themselves, “Hey!  I think I will go out and try {insert drug or liquor here} so that I can trash my life and die early.”  Come on Brother/ Sister, do I REALLY NEED to point it out to you?  Are you so blind as to not see the demonic influence?

There was a time when sodomy was a hushed topic.  But in the 50s and 60s, movies came out and made sodomy something to snicker at, then it became something tolerated, and now, we have sodomites who are demanding to push their wickedness down our culture’s throats.

In the 60s and 70s, people who experimented with marijuana were called pot-heads and were despised by society.  Now, with all the talk and discussion of all the benefits of the drug, it is becoming tolerable.  States are even legalizing it now as a prescription.  How many more years will it take before it is openly available to all?  Don’t think it will happen?  Look at sodomy.  Look at the abortion issue.  Even people who claim to be a Christian will vote for a politician who supports abortion.

I remember growing up, knowing this group of kids.  They were clean guys; all of them in the same boy scout troop.  In the late 70s, one of them got a Dungeons and Dragons game for Christmas.  Over the years I watched several of those fine boys get steeped into witchcraft, that it nearly decimated their lives.  Demonism don’t come up and knock on the front door.  It came gift-wrapped in a beautiful box.

And the problem doesn’t just lie in Halloween.  What about the movie theaters and TV shows?  Are you so numb to the things of the world that you don’t see the blaspheme of Bart Simpson and Freddy Krueger?  Are you blinded by the beauty and imagination of Harry Potter and not see how it promotes witchcraft, which is nothing more than Satanism?

I can only remind you of what Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 15:33-34
33  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

What’s So Wrong With My Music?

I can hear someone’s comments now, “Come on John!  There is nothing wrong with my country music/ rock-n-roll.  Hey, it’s my culture!  I grew up with it.”  Brother/ Sister, I know what your saying.  I grew up with Phil Collins and Genesis.  I remember when Ted Nugent was known for his music rather than his conservative politics.  But that doesn’t make it right.

Someone else might be saying, “I don’t listen to the lyrics.  I just enjoy the beat.”  But I do challenge you.  You do in fact listen to the lyrics whether you realize it or not.

Quiz:  (Fill in the blanks)

  1. There’s a lady who’s sure, all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to __________. (Pink Floyd)
  2. Lucy in the Sky with ________________. (Beatles)
  3. And I can feel it coming in the air ___________. (Phil Collins/ Genesis)
  4. Her mind is tiffany-twisted, she got the mercedes bends, She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls _________. (Eagles)

Ok, so you younger pups might not recall these tunes.  I do.  I grew up with them and until May 11, 1986 I filled my head, heart, and spirit with these songs.  I don’t go to shopping malls because I get bombarded with the songs I have locked in my head.  It’s not the tunes that are so bad, but the philsophies they promote.  You have songs talking about some of the most ungodly issues.  I don’t have to go into details, because YOU KNOW what I am talking about.  One theologian I pointed to openly admits to enjoying music written by groups that promote sodomy and abortion.  What philosphies are you absorbing?

The Bible teaches us that we all will stand before God and give an account of what we have done.  How do you respond when you admit to disliking Christian music that glorifies God, with a preference to listen to music written by people who are blatently opposed to God?

Christian, we are at war.  Whether you choose to believe it or not, you have an enemy, and he is captain over a vast army whose desire is to destroy you.

Ephesians 6:10-13
10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

2 Timothy 2:3-4
3  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

1 Peter 5:8
8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Why do you entangle yourself in the pleasures of God’s enemies?  You want to reach out to the lost, but do you so blindly believe that the tools of the world will turn eyes to Christ?  It’s not the world, but the WORD! (Romans  10:17).  Why should the lost become a Christian like you?  You look like them; you talk like them.  What incentive do you provide?  How can you answer the struggles of life when you live like them?  Granted, what you wear and what you listen to doesn’t effect your salvation, but it sure does impact your sanctification (Romans 8:1-14; Romans 12:1-2).

Worldliness will turn your eyes away from God.  Worldliness will drown out God’s sweet voice.  Worldliness redirect your path away from the divine journey God has called you to.  In the end, worldliness will cast you down and shipwreck your life.  When you open your eyes and find yourself on the ash-heap, in total ruin, the only laughter you will hear is the jeering of the devil.  You see my brother/ my sister in Christ: Satan cannot touch your salvation, as much as he cannot touch God.  Yet, that devil can hurt God by hurting those He loves so much: that’s you!

Worldliness Resisted

Some of you won’t listen to what is being said here.  You accuse Godly Christians of being Pharisees when you don’t even understand what Christ was condemning them for[2].  I can only pray that God reaches your hearts and speaks to you, where you have silenced your ears to the Word of God.  Yet, there will be one or two believers in Christ, who are earnestly seeking God’s face on this matter.  It is YOU who I have written to!

So, how do you deal with Halloween?  How do you deal with music?  The answer is so simple, you might just be surprised: Obey God’s Word!

Psalms 101:3-4
3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
4  A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

Psalms 119:9
9  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Romans 12:1-2
1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Colossians 2:8
8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Titus 2:11-12
11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

1 John 2:15-17
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The whole intent of this article is not to have you keep your lights dark during Halloween, or to blast your Christian music so others can hear you.  I cry and plead with you to live a life, not according to this world but according to God’s Word.  I echo Paul’s pleading: “…be not conformed to this world…” (Romans 12:2).

My prayer is that God would be glorified through your lives, and that He uses you for His glory!

[1]  Let me stop and speak to my unsaved readers here.  Participating in Halloween will not send you to hell, as much as abstaining from Halloween will get you a ticket to Heaven.  My friend, if you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal savior, no righteous act will save you! I pray that God’s Holy Spirit shows you your need for Christ, before it is too late!

[2]  Many times when a Christian is living in a compromised life, they will be quick to accuse Godly Christians of being a Pharisee.  They are woefully convinced that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their separated lifestyle, and this is not true.  Though the Pharisees in the New Testament believed in living a separated life, they also believed that this lifestyle increased their righteousness and thus made them better than their neighbors.  My friend, this is not true.  I don’t care if you come to church in a three-piece suite carrying an oversized King James Bible.  Such adornments have absolutely nothing to do with your righteousness!  It doesn’t get you a membership into God’s inner circle.  Living a separated life won’t add one spect of dust to your salvation!

Romans 12:1-2
1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 
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Posted by on 31-October-2010 in Uncategorized

 

Eternal Security – John 6:37

πᾶν ὃ δίδωσί μοι ὁ πατὴρ πρὸς ἐμὲ ἥξει· καὶ τὸν ἐρχόμενον πρός με οὐ μὴ ἐκβάλω ἔξω. (John 6:37)

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)

Here is a very simple lesson in Greek.  In the Greek New Testament there are two words for, “no”: οὐ (“oo” as in shoe) and μη (“mey”).  The difference between the two negatives is found in the Greek Lexicons,

ΜΉ, not, is the negative of thought, as οὐ of statement, i.e. μή says that one thinks a thing is not, οὐ that it is not. The same differences hold for all compds. of μή and οὐ. [1]

Each of the two negatives are used differently, BUT when combined together as οὐ μὴ, it carries with it the strongest form of a negative possible in the Greek.

John 6:37 says that if anyone comes to Christ he will in “no wise” reject him.  When the Bible says “no wise”, the words being used are οὐ μὴ.  It is very clear.  If you are truly saved you will NEVER EVER lose your salvation.  God is the one who keeps you (John 10:28-29) and you are sealed with God’s Holy Spirit until you are completely redeemed (Ephesians 1:13).  Anyone who has an argument with this is not opposing me, but the very Word of God.
[1] H.G. Liddell, A Lexicon : Abridged from Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996). 507.

 
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Posted by on 27-October-2010 in Uncategorized

 

Suggestion to Logos Software

Preface:

Someone once told me that they can determine what is important to an individual just by looking at the checkbook.  They invariably spend their money on what they regard as important.  Well, if you look at my accounts, you will quickly notice that I have a sizable investment in Bible Software.  Though there are great tools out there for free (e-Sword, TheWord, etc.), the pricier tools are indispensable  to the serious Bible student.

I currently use two major Bible tools:  BibleWorks and Logos.  BibleWorks is ideal for students of Greek and Hebrew.  It’s power lies in the software’s ability to handle the languages like no other tool.  Logos on the other hand, is priceless when it comes to it’s resources.  Sure, BibleWorks has their own resources and books, but their layout pales in relation to Logos.  And yes, Logos does have some pretty powerful language tools, but when it comes to speed and power, BibleWorks cannot be beaten.

If you are a student, pastor, or teacher of God’s Word, Logos should be an integral part of your study tools.

Tonight, while working on my studies, I stumbled across a serious handicap for Logos.  So, I got onto their forums, and posted the following suggestion.

If you are a Logos User, drop a comment and let me know.  And if you find my suggestion to be a good idea, then go and support me on the forums!

Suggestion to Logos Software:

I don’t know about others, but when I make a suggestion to companies,  99% of the time, I don’t get a response.  Support is GREAT for Logos.   The people I know at Logos are wonderful and caring.  But when I make a suggestion, all I hear, on the most part, is silence.

I have been a Logos user for over 5 years now, and I am hooked!  The only thing that keeps me from buying more resources is the… well… lack of resources!  Logos is the tool that any serious Bible student, teacher, pastor, and scholar shouldn’t be without.  Yet one of the greatest hang ups of the entire suite is one of Logos’ greatest weaknesses.

The greatest problem I face is that of RESOURCE NAVIGATION.

At the moment, I have between 2500-3000 resources.  Once Logos reinstates PBB Resources in Logos 4, I will have a ton more!  But everything falls back on Resource Navigation.

Let me pose the question, and please, if you are reading this – kindly answer….

Do you not own books in your Logos Collection that you not only did not use, but also books you never knew you had?

I sure do!  And I wish Logos would provide a more robust way of analyzing my library.

Now that I am crying … it would be irresponsible for me to NOT give some ideas on how to solve this…

1.)  Make the Library Screen Bigger.  You know the drop down box when you click on the Library Button?  This is great!  Much better than what I recall Logos 3 had.  But to be honest, this is good if you know what you want, but it is a miserable tool when you are trying to wander through your library to see what you already own.  Give us something BIGGER, very much like the Home Page you have put together for us.  This would allow us to look at the Library as a whole, rather than a small sampling of our list.

2.)  Make the Library Screen MORE PERMANENT.  At the moment, the Library Screen is nothing more than a drop down box.  Instead, allow us to have it open much like our Home Page.  This will allow us to wander our virtual bookshelves and see what we have.  Currently I can see only 16 resources on my Library Screen/ drop down box.  If I grab the lower-right corner and drag, I can see more, but at the moment I take my focus OFF the screen, it disappears.  Can we make this more permanent?

3.)  Allow us to integrate Collections into our Library Screen.  This is where I get a bit foggy on my idea, because I am not quite sure how to have this set up.  I envisions tags being able to be placed on each book.  These tags automatically convert the related books into a Collection.  If I tag 20 books with the word “Calvinism” then this becomes a Collection and is quickly seen in my Library Screen.  If a book has more than one tag, it is included in multiple Collections.  Then the Collections are easily seen, much like virtual bookshelves in my Library Screen.  I know we have Collections already, but it seems to me that my Library is separate from my Collections.  This shouldn’t be.

I don’t know…. does anyone have some suggestions?

4.)  Provide the ability to see Book Titles, Abstracts of these books, and their tags in our Library Screen that we do not own yet.  This would allow us to see what is available in Logos that we have not purchased, and yet might need for our studies.  Right now, I am doing studies on the Will of God.  I am trying to search my resources to see what I have, but to also see what is not in my Library, but is available for this topic would be a valuable too.

All of these are suggestions on improving the Library Screen for Logos.  Yet, for all I know, they won’t get read except by a handful of fellow users who also patronize this Topic/ Thread.  Logos, please, help us with this problem.

ADDENDUM

I must make a confession here.  Less than 24 hours after posting this article on the Logos Forums, I received a response.  Apparently, I had not learned all the goodies provided by Logos 4.  Thanks to my kind fellow-users, I have learned that Logos is sever steps ahead of John Calvin Hall.

I cannot urge you enough!  If you are someone who spends most of their time in the Word of God, Logos Software is a powerful tool.  Though it does have a learning curve, the tool allows me to get done in a couple of days what it would take others months to accomplish.

 
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Posted by on 22-October-2010 in Uncategorized

 

Knowing the Will of God – Part I

Several weeks ago, a friend asked me via Facebook if I would write an article on the will of God.  I didn’t think this would be too difficult, so I sat down one weekend and opened up all my volumes on Systematic Theology.  After spending an entire day going through my resources, I had noticed several things.

Most of my sets on Systematic Theology were written by Calvinists, and they consistently worshiped at their alter of John Calvin.  Rather than point to various Scriptures to support their claim (specifically referring to Charnock’s Existence and Attributes of God), they make grand and glorious dogmatic statements, and leave it at that.  Charnock didn’t even spend too much time on dealing with the Will of God, having to find obscure comments in the index.

The other thing I noticed is that non-Calvinists have a tendency to not systematize their theology.  Though this is good at times, because it forces the readers to fall back more on Scripture, it also means you need to do some serious digging.  I guess this means I am going to need to find some good books on the subject [1].

So, if I may, I would like to post a series of short articles relating specifically to the Will of God.  Unlike my Calvinist brethren, I am going to go  Sola Scriptura.  I am not going to quote Calvin or his abominable Institutes, nor will I invoke the ghost of Augustine.  My foundation, as with all my other posts will be what all true theologians use: the Bible.

Romans 12:1-2
1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God….

Here, Paul turns to his Roman brethren and implores them.  Paul asks you to look back over your life, and gaze upon all the mercies God has blessed you with.  And with God’s grace and goodness reflecting in your mind, he pleads that you submit yourself wholly and completely unto God’s will for your life.  Yes, this does mean that you must sacrifice yourself.  You must sacrifice your ambitions, and dreams.  You have to sacrifice your priorities, your pride, your will to the will of God.

This “living sacrifice” is not easy, because we still wrestle with the old man (Romans 7:18).  Many times, I find myself happily wandering down some rabbit-hole, only to find that I was not following after God, but my own lusts and desires.  I want to do what is right, but my flesh deceives me into wandering off on some tangent.  This is why the Bible asks for a “living sacrifice” and not a dead one.  As soon as I realize that I am not following after God’s will, I repent, confess my sin, and get right back on.  This living sacrifice is sacred (holy), and it is exactly what God wants from you (acceptable unto God).  Does God have the power to force you to do His perfect will as many Calvinists think?  He sure does, but God will not force you to do His perfect will.  Why do you think God placed that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden of Eden?  It’s because God wants YOU to choose to love Him and follow Him.  This is why Jesus said,

John 14:15
15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.


…which is your reasonable service.

Not only does Paul write that this Living Sacrifice is sacred and pleasing to God, he also points out that making this sacrifice is the Christian’s reasonable service.  Friend, who made you?  Who created you?  It was God Himself (Psalm 139:14; Jeremiah 1:5).  Christian, look back over the time since you were saved.  Before God saved you, where were you heading for?  You were heading straight to hell, as we were also (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).  Know this:  GOD OWNS YOU, TWICE OVER.  He is your creator, and He is your savior.  That alone should demand your obedience and submission.

But, Christian, there is one more thing.  Not only is God your creator and savior, but He is also your provider.

Philippians 4:19
19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-33
25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I used to think it was MY DUTY to provide for the family.  God showed me how wrong I was.  Over the past five years, He allowed all my possessions to be taken away.  I lost my home, my job, and my health. Yet, He still provided for me.  I never went to bed hungry.  I always had a roof over my head.  At that time, five to six years ago, I had stopped living for Him.  I fell into terrible worldliness, and God permitted my family to be torn apart, and my health to be destroyed, so that I would come back to Him, and rest in His promises.  God has provided each step of the way.

  • God is our Creator.
  • God is our Savior.
  • and God is our Provider.

Is it not reasonable for Him to ask for you to submit yourselves to His will?  The answer is YES!

And be not conformed to this world…

When I lived like the world, I had my bad-looking motorcycle.  I smoked cigars, and listened to my rock and roll music.  Somewhere, I have a picture of me sitting on my motorcycle, with my leathers and dew cap on.  Down my back was a long pony tail, and sitting behind me on my bike was my tiny 2 year old daughter.  This was all around 2000-2001.  I was saved at that time.  I even had my Masters in Biblical Exposition!  Yet, I had wound up living for myself, and not for God.  The thing was, that while I had a dream job (broadcast engineer) paying me more money I had ever made before, I was miserable!  What was the problem?  The problem was that I was saved, and had God’s Holy Spirit inside of me (Ephesians 1:13).  He is a frightful bulldog!  If you are saved and living like the world, He never leaves you, and though you might be able to drown Him out with your country music and loud motorcycles, He never stops telling you what the truth is.  Eventually, you have to stop and rest Christian.  And when you lay there in your bed at night, and all is quiet, you hear Him chiding you and reprimanding you for your worldliness.  God’s Word says,

1 John 2:15
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Colossians 3:1-2
1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Titus 2:11-12
11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Psalms 101:3
3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

The most miserable creature on the Earth is not some lost person who might be doing drugs, and cranking up the tunes.  The most miserable person isn’t some soul wasting away in a nursing home or hospital.  The most miserable and wretched person in the entire world is the blood-bought child of the living God, who is seeking to be conformed to this world, rather than seeking after the Will of God.  He seeks happiness in vain and empty pleasures, and has God’s Holy Spirit beating on him from the inside.

What a wretch!

…but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Psalms 119:9
9  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Joshua 1:8
8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

2 Timothy 3:15-17
15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

“Garbage In, Garbage Out!”  While in high school and college, learning about computers and computer programming, I learned early on that if you create lousy programming, you will have lousy results.  If you input bad data, you will end with bad answers.  This is the same all throughout life.  If you live on soda-pop and candy bars, your health will deteriorate and your life span will shorten.  If you sit around all day and watch nothing but cartoons and soap operas all day, your mental faculties will be wiped out.  And if you fill your mind with rock and roll or country music; if you spend all your time reading Harry Potter and the latest garbage, your soul and spirit will shrivel up to an ugly mass.

So, is there a way to go from physically anemic to strong and healthy?  Yes, eat the proper foods and exercise.

Is there a way to transform from a moron to an intellect?  Sure is.  You drop the garbage, and start filling your mind with good literature, and material that stretches the thinking process.

What about the soul and spirit?  Is there a way to renew your mind?  ABSOLUTELY!  By reading and obeying God’s Word, the Bible.

The Bible will teach you what is right, and what is wrong.  The Bible will teach you how to get right, and how to stay right.  The problem is when man wants his own way!  He want’s his country music and liquor.  Man wants his porn and lewd television shows.  Sure, he wants a clean heart!  But not if it means obeying the Bible.  It is only when he realizes his sinful state before God and through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, he repents of his sins, does he become a new creature (1 Corinthians 5:17).

I know many people who have had their lives transformed because of reading and obeying the Bible.

… that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Do you see that word, “prove”?  That is not some logical statement.  Nor is it some mathematical nomenclature.  The word, “prove” is a culinary term.  It means to taste and check to see whether or not God’s Will is worth doing!

And what is the Christian attempting to prove?  It is that God’s Will is good, acceptable, and perfect.

Now, here is the clincher!

1.  God’s Will is good.   It’s not that God has a diabolical plan to destroy you (Jeremiah 29:11).  God wants you to live a good life!  He wants you to be healthy, and happy.  Sometimes that happiness doesn’t come till later, and we are forced to walk a hard path.  But God’s Will is far lighter a load and easier a path than what Satan wants you to travel on (Matthew 11:29-30).

2.  God’s Will is acceptable.  This is not referring to God’s will as being acceptable to Him!  That’s a given, right from the start.  Romans 12:2 is pointing out that the will of God is acceptable to you!  Let go of your personal dreams.  Loosen your grip on your plans, and humbly seek after God.  Though you might weep for the perceived losses of your dreams, you will find God’s will to be wonderfully acceptable to YOU.

3.  God’s will is perfect.  Did you know that God created you just for one single and specific task or position?  He wired your brain to this job.  He allowed you to be raised in an environment that will mold and conform you to fit right in where He has plans for you!  You are truly made for what God has in store for you!  But it’s not going to happen, unless you present yourselves as living sacrifices on His alter.

[1]  If any of my readers know of a good book or two on the subject of the Will of God, feel free to post them in the Comments.  PLEASE, no more Calvinist writings.  I have most of them.  Thank you!

Unauthorised use of an unauthorised vessel.
 
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Posted by on 18-October-2010 in Uncategorized

 

The Mission of the Church

One of the benefits of being retired, is that it allows me a lot of time to review and read material that is being disseminated across the Internet and the globe. Because many churches today have rejected the inerrancy of Scripture, and thus it’s authority, a great number of pastors and teachers flounder over issues that solid Bible-believing churches find as being “open for debate.”  The following is one such example.

Located on at Paleoevangelical Blog, is an article about two young pastors, Kevin De Young and Greg Gilbert.  They have decided to embark on a book-writing task about the Mission of the Church.  The video of their conversation is provided here:

The Mission of the Church from Ben Peays on Vimeo.

In this interview, they pose the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be missional?
  • How do you define what the Church is supposed to be doing?
  • What ought we to be doing as Christians?

Kevin De Young points out that he feels it is a huge issue in the [New] Evangelical world, and that it ought to be addressed.  What should the Church be doing?

As a Fundamental Bible-believing Christian, I place my final authority on God’s Word.  The Bible is and always will be the foundation for everything; not just for correct faith (orthodoxy), but also for correct practice (orthopraxy).  Let’s first define the Scriptural purpose of the church and then we will deal with some of the issues raised in the video.

The Purpose of the Church

Matthew 28:18-20
18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

When our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He appeared before the disciples first, and in the end over 500 witnessed His resurrection.  Right before ascending into Heaven, Christ commissioned all believers with what we call the Great Commission, which is found in Matthew 28:18-20.

Command #1 – Go…

When God established Israel as a nation, His original plan was to bring the lost to His people in order to show how a Godly nation was to behave.  He allowed a temple to be built in Jerusalem, and laws were established, both political and theological.  For a short time, this worked, but as with anything sinful man touches, things went awry.  When the Northern tribes broke from Judah, they turned to idolatry, rather than continue in God’s Word and law.  Kings became corrupt, and this led their people to follow suit.  In the end, God brought judgment down in Israel and Judah, and their testimony was lost.

When Christ came, and Israel officially rejected their messiah, Jesus began to lay the groundwork for a new people, called the Church.  This body was never intended to be a physical body, but rather a spiritual collection of believers, because Jesus taught us that we must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). No longer will God bring the heathen and lost to His people, but God has commanded His saints to Go out into the world (Matthew 28:19).  This is why we teach fellow brothers and sisters in Christ how to share their faith with others.  This is why we go out on weekends and knock on our neighbor’s doors.  This is why we invest our time and money into missionaries who are willing to go out and bring others to Christ and start churches outside our communities.

Command #2 – …Teach All Nations…

This is where some good-hearted Christians go wrong theologically.  No where in Scripture are we told to go and “save others.”  Some really devout brethren and misguided into believing that it is their duty before God to win others to Jesus Christ.  While in college, we would go out to the streets of Seville Square, Pensacola and witness to people hanging out on the streets.  One guy, his name was Davey, I loved going out with because he was a fire-brand!  One night he must have scared a bunch of teenagers, because they started running away from him while he was preaching the gospel to them.  What did Davey do?  He chased them down!  By the time I caught up with him, he was sitting on one guy’s chest forcing him to listen!  Was Davey’s heart in the right place?  I think so.  He loved the Lord and loved telling others about the love of Jesus, but I must say that Davey was wrong in that it was not his responsibility to save these teen boys.

God commands us to teach others about Jesus Christ.  God’s Word says,

1 Peter 3:15
15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

When we meet people on the streets, and God allows us to an opportunity to share with them the truth found in Scripture, we must take that opportunity.  We don’t save anyone, that is the work of God’s Holy Spirit, but we do sow the seed of Scripture (Matthew 13:3).  This is why programs like Bible Clubs and Sunday School Programs are so important.  Even something as small as this blog site, is fulfilling God’s commission to, “teach all nations.”

Command #3 – …baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:…

The third command is to baptize those who do get saved.  The issue of baptism is so messed up in churches who have rejected the inerrancy of Scripture.  Some churches sprinkle drops of water on their members, while others believe that infants ought to be baptized.  Still, there are even some who believe that baptism is required for salvation.  All of them are wrong because they refuse to read and accept the solid-rock truths of the Bible.

  1. Scriptural Baptism is only for those who believe in Jesus Christ and are saved (Acts 8:36-38).
  2. Scriptural Baptism is a picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4), and not a picture of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Baptism has nothing to do with salvation (Acts 16:31; Romans 5:1-2; Romans 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:7-8; Titus 3:5), but is an earthly picture of our ties to Jesus Christ (Romans 6:3-4).

When a believer first gets saved through faith in Christ, his very first commandment from God is to be baptized.  This is an open and public announcement that they are now a follower of Jesus Christ.  Any saved soul who refuses to obey God, even in the smallest of things such as baptism, cannot be used by God.

Command #4 – …Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.

While this off-hand appears to be a repeat on Command #2, I am convinced it is not.  The Great Commission falls into a sequence.  First you go.  Then you teach what the Bible says about sin and salvation.  When a person believes and is gloriously saved, they are then baptized publicly before everyone, announcing that they are obedient to Christ and have chosen to follow Him.

So, what is next?  Christ’s next command is to teach these babes in Christ how to live like a child of God.  We don’t live like the world, because we are not of this world (John 15:19; John 17:14; John 17:16).  Oh, how the world screams and hollers over this one issue!  They cry, “how dare you teach these people to walk and talk, and dress differently!”  The wicked world, and yes, even many back-slidden and worldly Christians will throw such accusations as, “You’re  nothing more than a LEGALIST,” at the God-fearing believer, only because Bible-believing Christians have committed themselves to following the mandates of Jesus Christ.

Why is the lost heathen and worldly Christian so adamant against changing the lifestyle of a new believer onto a path that glorifies God?  The answer lies in God’s Word:

2 Corinthians 2:15-17
15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

You see, as a Christian, we are earthly pictures and reminders that Jesus Christ is real, and that someday He will return to judge the nations.  If we dress the same as the world, and listen to the same filth and garbage the world dishes out, our public testimony is lost, and our witness fades.  Yet, if we have a public lifestyle that reflects glory and honor to Jesus Christ, we will stand out in the crowd, and the lost and back-slidden will in fact be ever reminded that Christ is alive in us, and that there will be a day of reckoning.

So, What Does it Mean to be Missional?

When you have a word that is being thrown around, and not properly defined, it becomes a dangerous tool which causes confusion and dissension among it’s users.  Though I am in no way, shape, or form a fan-boy of Christianity Today Magazine, they do have a good article on the term, “Missional”.  In the article, they first define what the meaning is NOT.

  • Missional is not synonymous with emerging. The emerging church is primarily a movement attempting to contextualize Christianity for a postmodern generation.
  • Missional is also not the same as evangelistic or seeker-sensitive. These terms generally apply to the attractional model of church that has dominated New Evangelical thinking for many years.
  • Missional  is not a new way to talk about church growth. Although God clearly desires the church to grow numerically, it is only one part of the larger missional agenda.
  • Finally, missional is more than social justice. Engaging the poor and correcting inequalities is part of being God’s agent in the world, but we should not confuse this with the whole.

So, what does the term “Missional” really mean?  Here is the response given in the article:

A proper understanding of missional begins with recovering a missionary understanding of God. By his very nature God is a “sent one” who takes the initiative to redeem his creation. This doctrine, known as missio Dei—the sending of God—is causing many to redefine their understanding of the church. Because we are the “sent” people of God, the church is the instrument of God’s mission in the world. As things stand, many people see it the other way around. They believe mission is an instrument of the church; a means by which the church is grown. Although we frequently say “the church has a mission,” according to missional theology a more correct statement would be “the mission has a church.”

In a nut-shell, Missional is a New Evangelical term pointing back to what Bible-believing Christians knew and practiced all along.  God doesn’t just command the missionary or pastor to “Go,” but this command extends to every single born-again Christian.  Missions is not just a tool or branch of the church, but is a mandate directly given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19.

So, with the knowledge of what the Bible teaches, what is the purpose of the Church?  To fulfill the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20.  The next question is, what should a Christian be doing?  Well, if you believe the Bible, you know that the Christian is the Church, and therefore the answer is the same!  If you are saved, then YOU are a missionary.  To not “go” is willful disobedience to Christ.

 
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Posted by on 7-October-2010 in Uncategorized