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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Daily Bible Study Acts 9:1-21 part 4


Daily Bible Study Acts Daily Bible Study Acts Daily Bible Study Acts Bible Study   

For the final installment of the Acts 9:1-21 passage, let’s look at what Saul/Paul experienced in light of current-day teaching about salvation, purpose, abundance, and service.

Saul is walking along the road to Damascus planning to capture and imprison any Christian he can find. This is not the picture of a man who is ‘on the ropes’ so to speak in contemplation of his need for faith in Christ. As a matter of fact, I do not see in scripture where anyone who follows Jesus took time to weigh the pros and cons of the intellectual information about God, Jesus, service, or anything… I also do not see preachers appealing to man’s emotions, his intellect, his goals, his desire for a purpose, his humanity, his concept of self-image, his felt-needs…none of that.

Anyway, back to Saul. Saul sees no need for Jesus. He believes himself to be in perfect alignment with God. Even though he is wrong, he firmly believes himself to be correct and he is so confident that he sets out to rid the world of Christians. Then Jesus selects Saul to be His!

Saul gets up from the ground a changed man. This change is not due to ANYTHING Saul did, thought, hoped, intellectually assented to…it is due only to the sovereign will of God.

Next, let’s look at purpose. Did Saul have a purpose. Yes, God had something in mind for Saul/Paul to accomplish. And boy did he accomplish some things! However, notice the purpose was God’s and not Saul’s thoughts/desires/need for a purpose. Saul was not ‘adding Jesus’ on top of his already carefully ordered life to complete him. Saul’s life was totally destroyed! God had dismantled everything about Saul’s life. Saul had been crushed on the rock of offense. Saul would be transformed so that he could have a purpose.

This is in stark contrast to things we hear today. God did not appeal to Saul’s self-esteem or felt-needs. Saul did not ‘make a decision’ for Jesus but was transformed by Jesus. Saul was not enticed into the ‘faith’ by adding Jesus on top of his goals to complete him. Saul’s purpose would be God’s purpose and this purpose would be nothing like Saul would have thought of on his own.

But what about abundant life? Doesn’t God want everyone wealthy, healthy, and wise? Saul/Paul would go on to say in coming years that he was totally content and had learned to be happy regardless of his circumstances. God did indeed give him an abundant life. However, this abundant life did not include driving a Merc, living in a posh estate, or being served by everyone. Saul’s life would be one of toil, turmoil, striving for the faith, running for his life, sitting in prison, and being accused of all manner of wrongdoings. God’s call for Saul/Paul was no prosperity message in earthly terms.

And finally, what about service? Everyone catered to Saul’s every whim once he was saved, right? Uh, no. Saul labored for God’s work. He taught, traveled, discipled, rebuked, debated, suffered, and served. He served more than he was served. God’s work was no prestige party or social event for Saul. It was work. Later Saul/Paul would reflect upon his work and regret nothing yet hope he could have done more for God.

Be careful of who/what you listen to today. False teachers are plentiful. Ear-tickling messages are everywhere.  Listen to God’s word not man’s thoughts.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Daily Bible Study Acts 9:1-21 part 3


Daily Bible Study Acts Daily Bible Study Acts Daily Bible Study Acts Acts Acts “>Acts Acts

We will pick up in verse 6. Saul/Paul responds to Jesus by saying, “Lord, What do you want me to do?” Now that is a fitting response to give to Jesus.  The Lord tells Saul to rise and go into the city and wait for instructions. 

Watch the reaction of those who traveled with Saul. Now, remember, these people were associates and/or servants of Saul and are still in the old mindset of seeking the Christians out to imprison them.  The Bible says these people stood speechless because they heard a voice but saw no one. They helped Saul get up but Saul is blind. Wow, what happened? The people were undoubtedly confused. They heard the voice but saw nothing. And why did Saul fall down? Why was he now blind? Who is this he is calling Lord?

I would bet Saul told quite a story to his friends. But it was not the story they expected. Saul had made a serious 180 degree turn spiritually. What did they think about this? We cannot be sure since scripture does not tell us. However, Saul would go on to tell as many people as possible about Jesus as the Messiah. I would imagine that he told his friends about how he had been wrong to oppose Jesus and that Jesus is really the Messiah the Jews had been awaiting!

Saul was blind for three days and neither ate nor drank. While this was occurring, God was working on the other side of the conversion experience of Saul/Paul. Verse 10 says God spoke to a disciple named Ananias who was in Damascus. Ananias answers, apparently not having a heart attack at hearing a direct call from God, and listens to His instructions. God tells him where to go to find Saul and that Saul will see in a vision that Ananias would come to pray for him to receive his sight.

Verse 13 records Ananias’ concerns. This is a very understandable response. Ananias says something similar to, “Uh, what? Saul of Tarsus? The one who is trying to arrest the saints? The one who hates us? I have heard of this man. Are you sure, Lord?” I’m sure there were many more concerns and fears that are not recorded. Ananias has reasonable fears and concern but he did not know all of the information. God was in control…there was no reason to fear.

Verse 15 says, “But the Lord said to him, Go, for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Ananias is reassured and goes in obedience to God. We do not really have anything with which to compare this situation. We do not hear directly from God in a vocal command. If you did, you could not tell anyone because they would either think you were mad or accuse you of trying to sell books based on lies or sensationalism.

The point is, Ananias had reasonable fears yet he was obedient to God. That is what we should focus upon. Ananias follows through and Saul receives his sight. Saul spent time with the disciples in Damascus and was strengthened after ending his fast.

Saul immediately began preaching to the Jews in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. I can only imagine the confusion. What a conversion. The power of God had converted Saul from a vehement enemy to a faithful preacher. The HUGE change of direction in Saul’s life served as a witness of the power of God.

People who are converted today should also show a change in lifestyle, goals, cares, desires, behaviors, …etc. Why? The Bible is very clear that the ways of the world and the ways of God are diametrically opposed.

 Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination Daily Bible Study Acts Election Sovereignty Calvinism Calvinist Predsetination
 
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Posted by on October 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Daily Bible Study Acts 9:1-21 part 2 addendum


This article from Ken Silva at www.apprising.org expresses some valuable information concerning the doctrine of election vs. the freewill of man argument. There is a treasure trove of sound, doctrinal information found on his web page.

A man-centered gospel is the belief that the determining factor in whether or not a man is eternally saved, in the end, relies (at some level) upon an act of his own will i.e. human decision. This is often called synergism because it is thought to be a cooperative effort between God and man. While a God-centered Gospel means that man has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with causing his salvation by “choosing God,” “deciding to follow Christ,” “asking Jesus into your heart,” and/or any other like phrases so common today.

Sola fide and sola gratia as used in the Protestant Reformation mean that while the sinner is dead in his trespasses and sins God Himself sovereignly regenerates those whom He will. As His gift God gives them the faith to believe in Christ, and they repent of their sins. This is actually diametrically opposed to any of the seeker-friendly postevangelical movements e.g. the Purpose Driven Life as taught by Rick Warren.

The sad fact is that the contemporary American Christian Church largely believes in synergism (man cooperates with God), while in stark opposition to the synergism of apostate Roman Catholicism, the Reformers (even before John Calvin) taught monergism (soli Deo gloria). Yet to a great extent today the Emerging Church movement overall, and voices in this Emergent rebellion against Sola Scriptura like Rob Bell in particular, also strongly believe in synergism (at best).

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Daily Truth Bible Study Acts 9:1-21 part 2


Daily Truth Bible Study   Acts 9:1-21 part 2 Bible Study Bible Study Acts

The doctrine of election. We are waist-deep in it so let’s continue. Where exactly does the Bible say that God sovereignly elects man? Well, I would point you to begin in Genesis and continue to Revelation. Throughout the Bible, God sovereignly does what He does…He  chooses whom He chooses…He hardens whom He hardens. Anything less would be our work of ‘making a decision’ to allow Jesus to be our Savior and to allow God to be the sovereign creator and Lord of all! 

I am waiting for the dust to settle…Ok. Now, let’s look at what we see and hear today. People believe and preach in some places that man makes a decision to follow Christ. And this is true to an extent. But, the main thing to understand is that man cannot make such a decision unless He is chosen by God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God. Not by works lest anyone should boast.”

Some try to suggest that God selects those whom He knows will accept Him ultimately. This still suggests that man sovereignly chooses to allow God to be God. Man has some ability to be good, in other words.

The calamity of American society is that we are a self absorbed nation. We cannot fathom that we are not in control of everything. We even get to determine who God is and what He can and cannot do. Not! The Bible is not in harmony with American thought.

Man is dead in his sin. This death is total and complete. It is unalterable apart from God. The sinner cannot do anything about his condition. Psalm 14:1-3 sums this up precisely, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Ok, so much for man having some amount of goodness or ability to choose God. Let’s look at something Jesus said concerning the subject in John 6:37-40, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” And John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

In the passage above, the crowds were following Jesus because He had fed them physical food. Jesus changes the direction of the conversation and teaches them what it really means to follow Him and who can and does follow Him. Those that God gave Him follows and stays secure in Christ. No one comes to Christ unless the Father draws them. Man does not come up with the idea nor does man have the impetus to do anything apart from God but to hate God and the things of God (refer back to the passage from Psalms). Romans 8:7 says that the carnal mind of man hates God and is not subject to God’s law nor does it have the ability to be.

God sovereignly chooses to save and whom to save. He is able and just in doing so because He is God. Saul is an example of one chosen by God.

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Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Daily Truth Bible Study Acts 9:1-21 part 1


Daily Truth Bible Study  Acts 9:1-21 Bible Study Bible Study Bible Study

Verses 1 & 2 tell us where Saul was coming from mentally; he was enraged against the followers of Jesus. He played the political/religious system by getting permission to capture and imprison them. What was the crime of those he pursued? They were ‘of the Way’ or followers of Christ.

So, as he walked along the road toward Damascus, he was torn about Jesus and was considering His life intellectually? Not at all! He was enraged against the followers of Christ and desired to arrest them. Being converted to Christianity was the LAST thing on his mind! He had no plans whatsoever to become a follower of Jesus.

Verse 3 says that a bright light suddenly shone around him. This was no focused beam of light from the sun peering through clouds. This light came from Heaven. Saul fell on the ground and heard the voice of the Lord say, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

Saul was totally overcome yet he was unclear about the source of the light and the voice…of the presence of the One who had overcome him. Verse 5 records him saying, “Who are you, Lord?”

“I am Jesus, whom you  are persecuting…” said the Lord. Undoubtedly crushed by the power of the presence of the Lord as well as the reality of the truth of Jesus as Lord, Paul, trembling and astonished, asks, ” What  do you want me to do?”

At this point, the study of this text can go off into speculation and even absurdity. I have heard it said that during this instance, Saul considers Christ and decides to accept Him as Savior.  I see no grounds for this, however. I see Jesus selecting Saul to become His! Jesus is in control, not Saul. Saul does not consider the information about Jesus, he does not fill out a communication card, he does not walk down an aisle, he gets blasted by the sovereign election of God!

John MacArthur, in his commentary on the Book of Acts, says that although God does not always work this dramatically, He always initiates the contact in salvation. References can be found in several verses (John 6:37, 44; 10:27-29, 17:2,6,9,11,24; 2nd Cor 4:6; Phil 1:29; James 1:18).

Man is not sovereign in his decision to ‘accept’ Christ. People accept and follow Christ as the result of being saved by God’s sovereign grace. This is a very important fact of Bible doctrine. If a person misses this fact, they may drift and waver into all sorts of man-centered methods and theories aimed to entice and please the flesh of man in order to seek man’s assent for God to be God. Do not laugh. It is happening all around you as we speak. 

Church growth theories, seeker concepts, and entertainment megaplex churches all seek to gain man’s acceptance of God by enticing him to intellectually agree that God is good and can improve some area of man’s life or fill some felt-need. This is far from what the Bible teaches, however. Join me for part 2 and we will continue to discussion.   

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Posted by on October 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Is America Post-Christian? Hath the Glory Departed?


America is without a doubt the most materialistic and self-absorbed nation to have ever existed. Anyone disagree? I didn’t think so. Americans travel hundreds of miles to go to a rock concert or sports event, sit on hard bleacher seats in the broiling sun or falling snow, and stay up late regardless of needing to be at work the next day. Ask them if they went ot church last Sunday and they will say ‘no’ because the church is too far from home, the seats are uncomfortable, the temperature is too warm or cool, and they were too sleepy from a hard work week.

The irony is thicker than peanut butter.  

Some people are at least honest about the situation. They will say with pride that they do not want the traditional teaching of the orthodox Christian church because it is ‘out of touch’ with current trends.  I’m not saying I agree with them; I am saying that at least they are being honest.

To translate, most people will only tolerate a religion that gives them a stamp of approval for their lifestyle. “I’m in charge of my destiny” is the cry of this generation and the last several.

Ask an American to recount for you one of John Grisham’s novels, a poem of Robert Frost, a play by Shakespear, or a song by Lennon & McCartney and they will do so with no hesitation. Ask them to tell you a little something about the book of Romans and they will stare at you blankly.

 Have we been fooling ourselves about being a Christian Nation? I fear that maybe we have. If America was in court and the judge asked for evidence, would there be enough to prove that we are or have been a Christian Nation?

I’m not saying there are no Christians here. I am suggesting that we are a small minority however. Someone prove me wrong…

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Posted by on October 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Daily Truth Bible Study Acts 8:26-40


Daily Truth Bible Study for Acts 8:26-40 Bible Study Bible Study Bible Study

This time we look at a wonderful passage that explains a bit about a Christian’s role in the sharing of the faith with another. I am not saying that this passage depicts the only prescribed way for sharing the faith, I am saying that this is a definite example of how God worked and He likely continues to work in this way at times.

Philip had been with the others in Samaria and is told by an angel to go to a road that is to the south and connects Jerusalem to Gaza. Philip arose and went. Now, this is not a great deal of information. I don’t know about you but I like to have all of the information and all of the control when I leave to go somewhere. Philip was immediately compliant and went to the place he was instructed to go.

Philip sees someone  in a chariot traveling down the road. We are told in scripture that it is a servant who is the chief treasurer of the Ethiopian Queen, Candace. He had been to Jerusalem to worship and was returning to his country. He was reading from the book of Isaiah as the chariot slowly traveled along the road.

Philip knows nothing about who is riding in the chariot. He can tell it is someone important because an official of a nation rarely traveled without an entourage. So, after seeing this, Philip is told by the angel to go to chariot. We do not know if he is told anything else but it doesn’t really matter. Philip was obedient.

Let’s look at a few things about this situation. Philip is apparently sent into a blind situation. He is sent to an unknown destination, he is sent to an unknown person, and he does not know exactly what he is to do.

This holds some insight for each of us. We should be ready to go anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. How can we do this? Philip was committed to serve Christ. He was ready, willing, and able. Part of this was due to his relationship with Christ. He also had confidence in God’s power and he was willing to enter any situation in order to spread the word of God.

We could have hemmed and hawed about our not knowing where we were going, who we were going to see, whether there was danger, whether we were prepared to encounter someone of notoriety… the list could go on for a while. Philip was simply ready and willing and able. The scripture records no hesitation on his part.

Once we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus as our Savior, we should then prepare to be able to tell this wonderful story to others. We do not have to memorize presentation methods or techniques. We simply need to be able to show from scripture who God is, how we are lost in sin, and how Jesus came to save and accomplished His work for our benefit.

Philip hears the servant reading from Isaiah. Philip had to have known this part of God’ s word as well because he recognized it. Philip had an immediate opening and asked if the servant understood what he was reading. The servant did not and asked Philip for help.

We are to assume the man was convicted in his soul to read God’s word seeking to understand. God sent Philip to guide him. What must have been frustrating to the servant turned into a wonderful experience. Philip explained that Isaiah was referring to Jesus who was the Messiah. The servant immediately believed and asked to be baptised.

Notice there are no techniques used by Philip. He did not need them. He simply explained that Jesus fit all of the criteria to be the Messiah and had proven Himself so with many signs and wonders. Verse 35 says that Philip began with Isaiah and preached Jesus so we are to assume that he preached everything known about Jesus. This had to have been a truly exciting time for the servant and for Philip.

I do not believe Philip was interested in knotching his Bible with another ‘number’ to be bragged about in church next week. He was sincere and interested only in doing God’s work. God changed the servant’s life that day. Philip did not do it. The chariot did not do it. The water did not do it. All of these things were tools in the process. God was the power.

We are to follow God’s sovereign will. We will not likely hear a voice or see and angel but we do not need to. When we see or hear people struggling in life, it is a clear indication that they need to hear God’s word. God may be in the process of converting them or the person may be resistant. That is not for us to be concerned over. We must be faithful to Him. We must put aside our pride and be willing to be laughed at, criticised, and even impugned in order to be faithful to God’s call. We are to take His word to the world.

Philip went into a blind situation. The servant could have been a criminal or a hater of God’s people. Philip, like Stephen, could have wound up a martyr. He was obedient, however, and God used Philip to accomplish His plan.

Baptist Bible Brian McLaren Christianity Church Emerging Church Emergent Church Conservative Creation Discernment Doug Pagitt Evolution Faith Fundamentalist God Gospel Intelligent Design James McDonald Jesus Christ John MacArthur Joel Osteen John Piper Liberal Logic Relevance Missions New Age New Testament Old Testament Paul Washer Politics Post-modern Purpose Driven Religion Rick Warren Rob Bell Scripture Spiritual Theology Truth Inspirational Intellectual Calvinist Orthodox Bible Study Bible Study Theology Doctrine Daily Truth Calvinist Calvinist Calvinist Baptist Bible Brian McLaren Christianity Church Emerging Church Emergent Church Conservative Creation Discernment Doug Pagitt Evolution Faith Fundamentalist God Gospel Intelligent Design James McDonald Jesus Christ John MacArthur Joel Osteen John Piper Liberal Logic Relevance Missions New Age New Testament Old Testament Paul Washer Politics Post-modern Purpose Driven Religion Rick Warren Rob Bell Scripture Spiritual Theology Truth Inspirational Intellectual Calvinist Orthodox Baptist Bible Brian McLaren Christianity Church Emerging Church Emergent Church Conservative Creation Discernment Doug Pagitt Faith Fundamentalist God Gospel Intelligent Design James McDonald Jesus Christ John MacArthur Joel Osteen John Piper Liberal Logic Relevance Missions New Age New Testament Old Testament Paul Washer Politics Post-modern Purpose Driven Religion Rick Warren Rob Bell Scripture Spiritual Theology Truth Inspirational Intellectual Calvinist Orthodox Bible Study Bible Study Bible Study Christian Christianity Religion Religion Religion Reigion Grace Grace Grace Hope Hope Hope Change Change Change  Doctrine Doctrine Bible Bible Bible Relevant Relevant Relevance Post-Modern Happy Church Truth Truth Truth Truth Truth Emergent Church Emerging Church Emergent Church Emerging Church Emerging Church Discernment Discernment Discernment Discernment Discernment Discernment Soteriology Apologetics Hermeneutics Soteriology Apologetics Hermeneutics Soteriology Apologetics Hermeneutics Peace Mercy Grace Peace Mercy Grace
 
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Posted by on October 13, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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