gospel

Jesus is the “THE” in Theology

Simply stated, the widely accepted definition of the word “theology” with the world is, “the study of religious doctrine.” And simply stated, the unaccepted definition of “theology” with the world is when someone tries to place a particular religion ahead of all others.

Despite how the world may feel, whether religious or not, Jesus stood up and proclaimed that He was not “A” theological topic, but rather that He is “THE” theological topic when it comes to the beneficial welfare of mankind’s soul.

Even in His days upon the Earth people had their “theological” opinions about Jesus, but He provided the facts and answers about the deepest religious doctrine ever revealed. Jesus told the Jewish people of His day to search the scriptures because they testified to the fact the He was “THE” answer to all the theological questions and concerns they had about the coming Messiah of God (John 5:39). He would continue on to tell the Jews and the rest of the world that he was not “A” solution to the woes of men and women, but rather “THE” solution by saying:

“…I am THE bread of life…” (John 6:35)

“…I am THE light of the world…” (John 8:12)

I am THE door…” (John 10:9)

I am THE good shepherd…” (John 10:11)

“…I am THE resurrection and THE Life…” (John 11:25)

“…I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life…” (John 14:6)

I am THE true vine…” (John 15:1)

Hebrews 13:8-9 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines….” Many people, with whatever intention they may have, try to make Jesus “A” Savior instead of the “THE” Savior; but intentions do not change facts. Jesus was Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). Jesus was “THE” God in the flesh, not “A” god. Amid all the religious ideas floating around in the heads of man, Jesus is the constant that man cannot change – He is the constant that changes man!

There is nothing wrong with getting a good theological education as long as a person is able to avoid a theological meltdown. The further man gets from the truth in Jesus the more danger there is in drowning in man’s ideas. Theological “deep thinkers” who have erred from the true and living God would benefit by coming up for some air and allowing the mind of Christ to renew their thinking.

Fetus told Paul that “his much learning” had driven him “crazy” (Acts 26:24). Paul responded by saying that his studies had actually driven him sane! He said, “…I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.” (Acts 26:25) When Paul received his new theological education in the scriptures he came to understand the difference between a “bright idea” that leads to trouble and “the actual light” that leads one’s soul to salvation (Galatians 1:6-24).

There is only one Teacher who wrote THE course that educates the soul (Matthew 11:28-30). Are you in His class? EA

Why?

There is a question for you! How many times have you asked that one? How many times have you been asked that one? How many times has an answer escaped the moment?

For many reasons and in many ways we can ask this simple question that leads to simple or complicated answers. I can scarce imagine a human language that would not include an equivalent word to the English word “why.”

Children are masters at using the word. A close second would probably be Christians. At times we ask with honest hearts of intrigue. At times we ask with hidden motives. At times we ask in rebellion. At times we ask because we do not know the answer; and at times we ask even when we do not want to know the answer! What a conundrum!

When was the last time you asked why? Why did you ask? I often have questions that go around and around in my mind like the earth around the Sun. I often find no answer –which sometimes leads to me ask…why?

I see the faith of some that grows cold and I ask, “Why?” I see the faith of some that grows bold and I ask, “Why?”

There can be a difference in asking why and in having doubt. Sometimes asking why is the fruit of doubt! Sometimes we need to lay the axe to the roots.

When the questions of life leave us with no answer, maybe we are asking the wrong questions. Maybe we are asking the wrong person. Maybe the answer is already staring us in the face but we do not like the answer. So we ask another question until we get an answer we like! Why is that???

Why ask why? Why not? What do you say? Or better yet, why do you ask? EA

And he was very sad in spirit, and said, Why is this generation looking for a sign?…” (Mark 8:12)

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Undefeatable

If Paul is free, he converts the world; chain him to a jailor and he converts the guard; put him in prison and he writes the Bible; if you kill him, you do him a favor as he goes to be with Jesus.  Now how do you defeat a guy like that?” — Billy Bland, Memphis School of Preaching Lectures

From Glad Tidings of Good Things – Jacksonville, AL

“…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.” (Acts 9:15-16)

Jesus Is The Real Deal

Long ago God’s prophet Amos warned his listeners, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11).

God kept His word. In an age that saw about 450 years of silence from the prophets of God before John came out of the wilderness preaching repentance and the kingdom of God, Israel managed to get their spiritual appetite back (Matthew 3:1-6). They were lacking true spiritual leadership. The religious sects of the day had abused the people with a fake outward show of righteousness and an inward moral decay (Matthew 23 & Mark 12:18, 38-40). The people were looking for someone who was truthful, understanding and passionate. They were looking for someone who was real. The prophet who broke Israel’s “spiritual fast” with his words from God declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-35). The real deal had come.

Jesus was the real Man. He taught the people of Israel how to truly show their love for God and their neighbor (Luke 10:27, Matthew 6:33 & Philippians 2:5-8). It’s easy to be a “man” when you have a crowd behind you, but Jesus stood up against wrong even when the crowd and public opinion was against Him (Matthew 21:12,13 & John 8). He showed what a real man was by treating women with respect, love and mercy (John 4:6-15; 8:3-11); and without a doubt, this man loved His mother (John 19:25-27). He showed the world what the definition of a man was.

Jesus was the real Friend. Jesus made friends before His public ministry began (Mark 3:21). He had a bad reputation with the religious leadership of the day for being a friend to “tax collectors and sinners” but He had a good reputation with the common people (Luke 7:34 & Mark 12:37). (more…)

Which Comes First???

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind.” (Genesis 1:21)

The “age-old” question, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” that so many in the world quibble about is easy to answer when one reads what God’s word says about it. So what does it say? Right there in Genesis 1:21 you have it. First the bird, then the baby.

Another question that so many in the religious world quibble about is, “Which comes first? Baptism or salvation?” The answer to this question can be found just as easy as the answer to the previous question if we would only let God’s word give us the answer.

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

So what does God’s word say about it? Right there in Mark 16:16 you have it. First baptism, then salvation.

Now, why do so many in the religious world trust God’s word when it comes to Genesis 1:21, but they can’t trust it when it comes to Mark 16:16? It’s something to think about. EA

The Greatest Peace Sign the World Has Ever Seen

For it pleased the Father that in [Jesus] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard…” (Colossians 1:19-23)

AND MEANS AND

Do you know what the word “and” means? From the elementary levels in school, kids are taught that the word “and” fulfills the role of a conjunction in a sentence. That means that the simple definition of “and” is, “along with; in addition too.

An example on how to use the word “and” would be: Go to the store and get a gallon of milk. When we want to tell someone to do two or more things in one sentence then we use the word “and.” I know all of that sounds like a “duh” statement, but I have a reason for speaking so plainly and simply, so please stick with me as I continue to explain.

Now, to be honest, English was really my least favorite subject in school, but I do remember some of the lessons that I was taught and the importance and meaning of “and” is one of them. Maybe one of the reasons I still remember it so well is because as a child I learned what the word “and” meant even before I started school. If my parents told me to do something by using the using the word “and,” then I knew whatever they were saying had better be done whether it was before or after the “and” was spoken.

It seems as if everyone completely understands what “and” means when it comes to everyday life. When someone gives us directions to a location we pay attention to every “and.” For example, if someone tells us to go straight and turn right at the second red light, then we look for the second red light so we can turn right. If you are cooking and the cookbook says to add one egg and a cup of flour, we don’t just add the egg; we add the egg and flour. Why? Because the cookbook said so when it used the word “and,” right?

You see, no person with a simple understanding of the English language will argue about what “and” means – that is until we start talking about what the Bible says about becoming a Christian. If the Bible uses the word “and,” why don’t we look at it the same way that we do any other time?

See if you can agree with the word “and” in all these scriptures. They are in order:

John 4:24; Romans 1:16; 1st John 1:8 “and” Mark 16:16.

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Now here’s my whole reason for what I said in such plain language earlier. Does a person have to worship God in spirit and in truth? Can the gospel save Jews and Gentiles? If a person denies their sin, is the truth in them? Look at the verses and answer the questions. They are easy to answer because of the word “and.” Now, can a person be saved without being baptized? I guess it depends on what your definition of “and” is. Think about it. EA

A Quick Fix or A Permanent Fixture?

The sixth chapter of the Gospel according to John begins by saying,

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.” (John 6:1,2)

All of the people saw something wonderful. Every single one of them saw something great. But in the midst of all those people most of them just saw an opportunity. They saw a quick fix for their problems.

Later in the same chapter, after feeding the crowd with the bread and fish, Jesus and His disciples go to the other side of the sea only to be followed by the same crowd. When they found Him they asked Him how He got to the other side of the sea and Jesus responded by saying,

…Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:26,27)

The people were looking for Jesus, they were interested in Him, and they wanted to find Him, but not for the right reasons. So in verses 28-40 Jesus taught the people that He did not come to be a quick fix for the problems of everyone; He came by the will of the Father to be a permanent fixture in the lives of fallen mankind. Jesus did not come to be a temporary answer – He came to be the permanent solution!

When we turn to God do we go to Him because we think He is the fastest way to fix a problem or do we go to God because we know that He is the only way to fix a problem? When a need arises in our life God wants us to know that He desires to be there for us (Matthew 6:24-33) but we have to ask our self, “Do we only turn to God when we need something?” Do we act like the people in John 6 and see Jesus as a quick fix for our problems or do we look at Him as the One that we want in our lives forever more?

The people got what they wanted; they got a temporarily fully belly. But after Jesus told them and the others that were listening what He wanted from them (verses 41-60) they left Him never to return anymore according to John 6:66. Jesus wanted a life long faith from them. He wants the same from us. He wanted a faith that considered Him to be the permanent fixture that they needed; not as the quick fix that they saw Him to be.

As the people left Jesus standing there, He asked the twelve if they were going to do the same. And what was their response? Peter said,

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68,69)

So how does Jesus look at our faith? The answer is found in the question, “How does our faith look at Jesus?” Is Jesus just a quick fix till things get better or is He a permanent fixture in our lives?

Think about it. EA

The Gospel is for All…

Afraid you can’t become a Christian because you have a past?

Well, that didn’t stop the people who Peter wrote his letter to from becoming Christians. He told them, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1st Peter 2:9,10) Don’t let your past control your present; and don’t let your present ruin your future. Christ died because we all have a past, but He also died because He wants us all to have a future.

Afraid that God won’t accept you because of where you were born or because of the color of your skin?

Well, that didn’t stop the people who Paul wrote his letter to from becoming Christians. He told them, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Don’t let the negative opinion of others or your own doubts stop you from accepting the fact that Christ positively loves you. Jesus died to bring all of mankind back to God.

Afraid that you have waited too long and are too old to obey the gospel and become a Christian?

Well, Paul didn’t hold a person’s age against them when he instructed Titus to teach the church that “…the aged men be sober, grave [serious], temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness….” (Titus 2:2,3) As long as a person comes to God the way He has taught in His gospel you can become a Christian. Christ died so that no matter how old a person may be they can experience a new birth (John 3:3-5).

The gospel is for imperfect people. The gospel is for sinners. The gospel is for all.

And why is that? It’s because everyone needs it. Paul taught, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). That’s why he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first and also to the Greek (gentiles). For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16,17).

When we’re willing to repent and obey the gospel of Christ then we can become a Christian exactly like the people who read the original letters that Peter and Paul sent. How did they do that? Read 1st Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:26,27 and Titus 3:3-6. These scriptures are apart of the same letters that teach the world that the gospel is for all. That includes you! EA

The Day Pilate Marveled

A judge had to be summoned before the death penalty trial of Jesus could begin. Pilate was this judge. Pilate was not a complete stranger to Judea. He had become governor of the area about the time that Jesus began His public work (Luke 3:1). Little did Pilate know when the job became his that the Judge of the world would soon stand before him.

Pilate was probably an experienced judge. He would have understood very well the role that politics, schemes and false witnesses played in the judiciary system. He had the ability to recognize character in another whether he had any or not! He understood his role as judge; he understood that life and death hung in “his” balance (John 19:10,11). No doubt many accused criminals had pleaded for mercy at his feet. But everything that Pilate was used to hearing from defendants would soon change. Pilate was going to meet Jesus!

The scriptures say, “And while He [Jesus] was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.” (Matthew 27:12-14)

The scriptures the eunuch from Ethiopia read say Jesus was “led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” (Acts 8:32) The judge who no doubt had heard everything during a trial now heard nothing! Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and how weak the case against Him was (Matthew 27:18, 24) and he was amazed at the silence that this falsely accused defendant maintained. Without a doubt this made no sense to Pilate at all.

The thing about the situation is that Pilate marveled at the silence because he did not understand who was really on trial the day Jesus stood before him. I marvel because I do! (Romans 8:5-19)  EA