Jesus

What happened?

Walking on water and changing water to wine.

Lifting up the dead and opening the eyes of the blind.

Healing the sick and feeding thousands with a handful of food.

What happened when all of this was done?

The miraculous and supernatural? No doubt!

But beyond these elements there was also the testing of hearts.

Some saw the miracles and an opportunity to make it big in the world. But Jesus’ desire was for the miracles to reveal how big Israel’s opportunity was to get right with God.

What do we do with the blessings that God sends our way? EA

I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. … Jesus answered them and said, “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 6:15, 26-27)

Bible Questions and Answers – Blaspheme the Holy Spirit

“Dear brother Thurman: In a moment of weakness I was tempted to curse the Holy Spirit. Now, based on Matthew 12:32 I am afraid I will lose my soul. Have I sinned in such a way I cannot be forgiven? – C.S., CO”

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:30-32). Jesus is speaking to people who are rejecting Him as Messiah. He tells them that they can reject Him but they better not reject the Spirit. Why? Because the Spirit was giving ample evidence Who Jesus was. The miracles, the healings, the powerful demonstration of God’s presence with Jesus should convince them He is the Christ. If they reject that evidence, they have blasphemed against the Spirit and cannot be saved. They are not beyond redemption. But as long as they reject the evidence concerning Jesus they cannot be saved.

This is still true. If we reject Who Jesus is, we will not be saved. When we ignore the clear evidences of the Spirit as to the nature of the Son of God, we will not be saved by the Son of God. But, if we embrace that evidence and trust it, we can always be saved. So, a moment of weakness in which you considered saying something hateful about God or Jesus or the Spirit, is not beyond forgiveness. The only ones beyond forgiveness are those who reject the only path to forgiveness, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. – David Thurman

Excerpted from Volume 61, Number 19 of Gospel Minutes. Gospel Minutes is a publication originating from Forth Worth, Texas; Clem Thurman, Editor, David Thurman, Associate Editor.

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

What Keeps You From Coming to Jesus?

What causes the average person to be “taken aback” when they think about Jesus?

It happens in more ways than one, but it’s definitely not because Jesus doesn’t want us to receive Him with an open heart of faith (John 1:10-13); but people still find a reason not to come to, believe in or love Jesus in the way He desires.

Jesus understood that most people weren’t willing to come to Him because of fickleness, faithlessness and straight up foolishness (Matthew 7:14), but He still promised a blessing to those who could swallow the less palatable parts of the gospel due to personal taste and see the Father’s grace filled redeeming work through His Son (John 14:7-9). When one individual worried that Jesus wasn’t acting the way they thought the Messiah should, Jesus said, “…blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Matthew 11:6)

What is so offensive about Jesus that people refuse to come to Him? What wrong do people see in Him? What wrong do you see in Him? What wrong has He committed? Pilate asked this very question:

Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:23)

Pilate got no answer to his question! Does avoiding the question sound familiar?

Perhaps the offensive thing isn’t what we see in Him – perhaps it’s the offensive thing we see in ourselves after we look at Him! That’s one undeniable conclusion the apostle John was led to include after witnessing the gospel with his own eyes.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:18-21)

So what keeps you from coming to Him? EA

And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:46)

Bible Questions and Answers – Profaning the Lord’s Name

“Dear brother Clem: What does the Bible say about profaning the Lord’s name? What of the habit of some people exclaiming, ‘Lord, have mercy,’ or just saying, ‘Good Lord’? – T.H., GA”

Let us see some commands regarding this: “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, and profane the name of thy God: I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 19:12). “They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God” (Leviticus 21:6). “And that they profane not my holy name: I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 22:2). “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7). “But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16).

The verb, “profane,” means “to make common or unholy, to desecrate, to pollute.” To profane the name of the Lord, then, is to use His name in a way that is common or degrading or unholy. And surely, not just proper names such as Jesus or Jehovah is meant. To profane “Christ” or “God” or “the Lord” would be just as bad.

The use of the Lord’s name in “by-words” or in slang expressions is profaning His name. The use of the Lord’s name in a casual or flippant way also profanes His name. And to casually say, “Lord, have mercy” is profaning His name, unless we really mean it. The Lord is good, but to make a thoughtless habit of saying, “Good Lord,” would be profane. When we use the name of the Lord, it should be with reverence and sincerity.

It’s very easy to fall into the habit of using te Lord’s name (or the equivalent thereof) in a thoughtless way that profanes it. For instance, a friend of mine once preached a sermon on the use of “by-words.” He pointed out that “golly” was derivative of “God Almighty,” that “gee” was derived from “Jesus” and so forth. Then, thinking of another point, he said, “Oh, by the way…” I later asked him if he had read John 14:6, where Jesus said, “I am the way“? I never got an answer. It is difficult to be consistent in all things. But we should try. And the habit of such slang expressions should be broken. All of us would be better for it. – Clem Thurman

(Made me think of the commonly heard phrase O.M.G. and other not mentioned words EA)

Excerpted from Volume 61, Number 39 of Gospel Minutes. Gospel Minutes is a publication originating from Forth Worth, Texas; Clem Thurman, Editor, David Thurman, Associate Editor.

Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election, Part 3 – Your Vote Counts

Election, election, election – it’s not just for presidents! Election is for God’s people…people who come to God by faith through Jesus. This form of election is created by God, but we must choose to participate in it. No one elects God to the throne! His government is a monarchy, but we choose whether or not we’ll join His kingdom. The ticket will not change: it’s Heaven or it’s Hell for every sinner, and we can choose Heaven! That is the wonder and grace of the gospel!

But this isn’t enough for some! For some, well, they want the choice made for them. They want their election to be “unconditional.” Not only do they want salvation to be unconditional – they want damnation to be the same! After all, how can one be “unconditional” without the other being the same??? If one person has his or her ticket punched for them then all must follow the ‘party’ line.

The fact is that when it comes to God’s election, a person must choose which ‘party’ they’re going to be a member of; but a person may ask about the people in Romans 9? Doesn’t this chapter prove God chooses people according to whatever His desire is and not according to what a person chooses to do in response to God’s desire?

Good question! Think about the people in Romans 9. How did they choose to react to God’s calling? From Genesis to Revelation a person can read about God’s plan to bring a Messiah into the world to save people from our sins, and from Romans 1 to Romans 11 Paul is saying that God had a right to extend His grace to the gentiles and a right to reject Israel because of their treatment of His election that comes through faith in Jesus. Look at how Paul ends Romans 9:30-33. He ends it by saying that very thing! Israel lost their election because they stumbled at (meaning chose to reject) that elect rock of God’s people – Jesus!

Romans 9:7 mentions Abraham. Why does Paul begin with Abraham? Why did God choose to use Abraham? Because God foreknew him! Genesis 18:19 says:

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Through Abraham the whole world was going to be blessed through One seed – who was that seed? It was Jesus (Galatians 3:16). And through Abraham’s promised son, Isaac, the promise would continue to be brought to fruition.

Romans 9:10-13 mentions Jacob and Esau. Why? Because when it comes to Isaac the Jews could say, “Isaac deserved to be counted in God’s elect and not Ishmael because Isaac was the promised child.” But in the situation of Esau (the older brother) and Jacob (the younger brother) the elder child would have his “promise of inheritance” pulled out from under his feet. And to make this even more interesting, before either of the children were ever born God chose who He was going to use to bring his purpose (salvation from sin) into the world! God predestinated Jacob to be used to bring God’s elect into the world because He foreknew him. And listen to this, God predestinated the service of Jacob, but nowhere does it say He predestinated the salvation of Jacob. Jacob didn’t “earn” anything, but he would answer the call that Esau rejected and traded for a bowl of beans!!! Don’t think so? Then read this:

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.” (Hebrews 12:14-16) (more…)

Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election, Part 2 – Biblical Election by Faith Wins!

The concept of election is a biblically true and wonderful concept. The woeful concept of Calvinism’s “Unconditional Election” is biblically false. Calvinism takes biblical predestination which means God had a plan to pay the price of man’s sin from the beginning, and turns it into God buying everyone a one way plane ticket with no chance of cancelling the destination. According to Calvinism’s “unconditional election,” once you get on the plane…make that, once you’re forced onto the plane headed toward Heaven or Hell there’s no way off because your ticket is already punched!

Calvinism takes predestination through and turns it into predestination to. It has God throwing people into prison, throwing away the key and then saying we’ll be punished if we can’t get out!

Without a doubt, throughout Bible history, God chose to use certain individuals and nations over others – but the question is why did God choose to use them? Is it because God indiscriminately predestined some individuals to salvation and others to condemnation regardless of individual reaction like Calvinism teaches or is it because God knew exactly how those individuals would respond to His call?

Scripturally speaking the answer to this is clear! Doctrinally speaking, Calvinism muddies the water.

Where Calvinism falls short in its understanding is seen in the fact that God knowing what everyone will choose to do in their own heart when it comes to His commands is not the same as God making (irresistibly forcing) them do it.

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’” Isaiah 46:9-10

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.1 Chronicles 28:9

Combine the clear language of God’s attributes from these two verses and what we get is God’s ability to make His will come to pass, not by overriding the free will of men and women, but by using that free will in our hearts to make His plans complete.

With this biblical principle firmly established we can now objectively look at one of the most, if not the most, “controversial” books in the Bible when it comes to predestination and whether God simply chooses His elect’s salvation for them based on nothing they have done or on something they will do.

In Romans 8:28-30 Paul says the avenue to Heaven has been predestined, but those who walk in it must decide for themselves! It’s all about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what we as individuals choose to do with it.

Now, what is the purpose Paul mentions in verse 28? The purpose is salvation in Jesus! This is the same purpose Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 1:9: “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,.

Verse 29 follows up by saying God foreknew individuals, not for-chose!!! The verse does not say ‘those He predestinated He predestinated’ does it? Why not? Because the truth of Biblical election revolves around God foreknowing those who would be His elect by their willingness to conform to the image of Jesus. (more…)

A Rock-Solid Faith According to Jesus

The late and longtime newscaster David Brinkley said, “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” Chew on that for a second. Brinkley understood that we don’t get anywhere unless we learn to overcome our weaknesses by endeavoring to make them our strengths.

As a Christian our devotion to God will be challenged in various ways (Matthew 4:1-11). Bricks will be thrown!

Although we may love and want the best for our family, friends and co-workers, they can all become stumbling blocks that create weaknesses in our relationship with God (Matthew 10:37; 1 Corinthians 15:33).

False doctrine, evil aspirations and a lack of self-control can also cause our spiritual house to crumble and fall into disrepair; possibly even putting our entire foundation into peril (2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Peter 1:1-10).

These situations are not the desire of God. He desires a relationship (a house) that is “framed” on Earth and “finished” in Heaven. But for that to happen we must desire His desires, we must trust His grace, and we must have a rock solid faith to build our house on (Hebrews 11).

The foundation of our faith is vital to our spiritual survival. Contrary to the ideas of some, one foundation is not as good as another (1 Corinthians 3:10-11). A solid foundation is essential! A faulty foundation can be deadly!

Our faith’s foundation must have depth. Jesus used a parable to describe a spiritually wise person by saying, “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep. . .” (Luke 6:48, NKJV).

Pleasant weather brings easy care in our relationship with God, but the storms will eventually come. Troubles and temptations are going try our faith according to James 1:3. But according to James 1:12, standing strong in the storm will be worth it.

If our foundation has no depth, our house will have no strength. When storms strike a house sitting on shallow foundation, the house loses. A fickle, effortless or non-existent foundational faith will get the same result every time. 

Our faith’s foundation must also be made of the right material. Jesus said not every house would fall. The house that lasted would do so because the wise man “. . . dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48).

Our foundational faith must not be built upon family traditions, opinions, church creeds or what we “feel in our heart” (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 16:18; James 1:26). These can be bad building materials. Yes, we must have a foundation built in our heart (Romans 10:9-10), but the foundation must come from God’s word (Acts 20:32; Psalm 40:8).

Jesus had this idea in mind when he said the wise man was the person that heard his words, followed their blueprint and then built a house that could provide shelter through the coming storms (Luke 6:47). Remember, when it comes to the spiritual storms, Jesus said “when” and not “if” in his parable. We must build wisely.

A strong foundation of faith does not just happen overnight; worthy foundations take work, time, patience, humility, knowledge and confidence (Hebrews 11:6).

Trials will come and they will go, but we must not allow our faith to do the same. If we expect our spiritual house to last through the spiritual storms, then the only foundation worth building on is one that is “rock solid” according to Jesus. EA

Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election

Despite what some in the religious world thinks or teaches, there are doctrines that are false and dangerous and Calvinism is one of them. Calvinism fundamentally changes the way one must view the entire gospel of Jesus Christ from beginning to end. It changes the meaning of why Jesus had to die, it changes the meaning of what the cross stands for and it changes the invitation to man given by God!

Calvinism begins with Total Hereditary Depravity. It teaches that people are born completely wicked and so spiritually depraved and separated from God that we deserve hell the moment we’re born. Other than the obvious, another result of the doctrine teaches that we can’t do anything good spiritually or choose to love God and come to him in faith. So how can a person ever be saved if there’s no way that we can choose to do good, choose to believe or choose to come to God? What’s the solution???

The solution to that situation (according the Calvinism), whether we’re lost or saved, is that when it comes to salvation the decision has already been made for us and there’s nothing anyone can do about it! From that point on, the unconditionally conditional doctrine of Calvinism’s Unconditional Election walks in the door as a welcome or unwelcome guest; it all depends on what position you find yourself placed in spiritually.

When you get past all the “pleasant talk” Unconditional Election says that God doesn’t ask a sinner to do anything when it comes to responding to his offer of salvation through grace. This goes for both salvation and damnation! The real issue with unconditional election isn’t whether or not God has an elect people (because he does), it’s whether or not that election is unconditional.

There’s an inconvenient flip-side to Unconditional Election that’s not very logical much less scriptural. If a person is unconditionally chosen for salvation by no choice of their own, then the flip-side is that another person is unconditionally chosen for damnation by no choice of their own. To put it more plainly – the flip-side of being unconditionally elected is being unconditionally rejected!!!

Unconditional Election destroys the fundamental foundation of the gospel that says “whosoever believes should not perish” in John 3:16. Calvinism says “whosoever” doesn’t mean “whosoever” because “whosoever” means a choice; and unconditional election gives a person no choice when it comes to salvation or condemnation!!! The doctrine of Unconditional Election says “wait, we do have a choice – the choice we made when Adam sinned.” Talk about being disingenuous with words! What kind of choice is choice if it’s chosen for us?

A huge question is: If a person is unconditionally elected or unconditionally rejected without any consideration for personal response or responsibility then why did Jesus act a like a person is personally responsible? Think about it for a minute… (more…)

You Can Be a Part of the Kingdom of God Today

Many in the religious world are confused in thinking that the kingdom of God has not yet been revealed, but such thinking would have been a shock to Paul and the first century Christians. The brothers and sisters at Colossi were told:

giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12-14).

Through faith in the gospel of Christ, the citizens of Colossi had become present-day citizens of God’s kingdom, and we can do the same (Philippians 3:20).

The kingdom of God is present in the world today, but it is not a kingdom that originated with the world (John 18:36). God’s kingdom is not limited by physical borders (Luke 17:20-21), nor does it suffer from political turmoil as the leadership remains the same at all times (1 Timothy 6:15). It’s a kingdom of citizens who seek to serve (Luke 22:24-26). It’s a kingdom open to all but entered into by few (Matthew 7:21; John 3:3-5). It’s a kingdom started by the love of God and kept by the strength of God so you can be a part of the kingdom of God (Matthew 16:18-19; Hebrews 12:28-29). EA

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

Related Articles: