What Does God have in Common with the Incredible Hulk?

•August 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment


In Scripture we are directed to look at a shepherd, a rock, and a lamb, all for the purpose of understanding the many attributes of God. There are also things that God is contrasted to so that we can know what God is NOT.
God is not a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19), God is not blind (Hebrews 4:13), and God is not quick-tempered (Nahum 1:3). We can contrast God to the Incredible Hulk because God is nothing like him. The Incredible Hulk has a quick fuse, but the God of the Scriptures is patient.
This is one reason why the book of Nahum is such an important book. In the book of Nahum, the prophet highlights three attributes of God – He is Jealous (v. 2); He is Patient (v3), and He is Good (v.7). Though these attributes appear to be opposites, they all exist, at the same time, in our Majestic God.
God’s people in the book of Nahum were skeptical about judgment coming to the Ninevites. Just 150 earlier, Jonah said judgment was coming the Ninevites repented. They had been slaves for so long they just couldn’t imagine a life of freedom. Nahum reminded them that though God was going to deliver them from their oppressors, it was going to be in His sovereign time and it may be longer than they expected because God is slow to anger. To those of us who are carrying heavy burdens and it seems like forever, let’s take courage in Nahum’s words: “The Lord is slow to anger and He is good.” The God of the Bible will never lose His temper after warning people, “Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry.” He is so different than the Incredible Hulk. They have nothing in common. When His judgment is finally executed against His enemies, and His deliverance finally comes for His people, it will be for our good and His glory.

Brian Spivey – D.O.C.

mysterium tremendum et fascinans

•August 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Roughly translated, “mystery that overwhelms and yet attracts”

“To approach God is to approach an unfathomable depth of reality and truth that, like the sun in the sky, is too intense, too bright to look at, but that nevertheless brings meaning and coherence and beauty to everything else. God is a mystery.”

From the introduction of “The Mystery of God, Theology for Knowing the Unknowable” pg.xiv, Steven Boyer and Christopher Hall

Good stuff.

C.M. Granger

THERE’S NOBODY LIKE JESUS

•July 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment


When was the last time you heard a sermon about Joseph? The famous ‘Coat of many Colors.’ “The Favored Son.” “The Tenacity of Joseph” “The Joseph Spirit.”
It probably focused on Joseph’s entrepreneurial spirit. Or how God will raise us up after we have been faithful in our trials. Is that the major theological lesson God wants us to understand from that story? The narrative of Joseph is just a demonstration of the Messiah and His future work. Joseph was sent to his brothers, and his brothers rejected him. Sound familiar? Joseph was put into a pit? Does this remind you of someone? His brothers were the ones who ate bread with him, and they were the ones who lifted up their heel against him. The ones who betrayed Joseph were the very people with whom he dipped morsels of bread. Remind you of another person? Joseph was raised and seated in authority to preserve the life of his people. What about the ‘Coat of many colors’? How does that point to Christ?
A sermon about Joseph that doesn’t mention Christ is missing the point!
There’s Nobody Like Jesus. He secured our salvation and lives forever.
In my past life, I once heard an “evangelist” sermonize for 70 minutes about how Christians need the armor of God to go to heaven. We need the armor, but the armor does not forgive our sins and change our eternal destiny. There’s Nobody Like Jesus.

ONLY ONE person can turn a woman who was famous for singing about adultery into a changed woman who now sings, (Shirley Murdock with Darwin Hobbs) “There’s Nobody Like Jesus” – JESUS THE MESSIAH.

 

Brian L. Spivey

Do we need a Priest?

•June 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A Roman Catholic asked me recently, “If there are no priest in your church, then who stands before God to clear you from your sins? Don’t you need a priest?” I was surprised by the question.   Most people, no matter what their religious beliefs, are not very reflective.   She obviously thought about this deeply.

I had very little time to answer; yet I wanted to provide a biblical answer.

The book of Hebrews is written to Jewish believers who wanted to return to the Old Testament sacrificial system. They wanted a priest they could see and touch. The Old and New Testament makes it clear that all men need a person who would stand before God and represent them with a sacrifice. In Chapter seven of Hebrews, the apostle compares The Levitical priesthood to Jesus. The Levitical priest became a priest on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent (Hebrews 7:16). There were many in number, and they offered up sacrifices all the time.

Jesus, on the other hand, was made a priest with an oath: “You are a priest forever” (Psalm 110:4). The Levitical priests coiuld not continue in office because of death, but Jesus hold His priesthood permanently. The Last thing about Jesus as a priest, was that He was holy, innocent, unstained, and separated from sinners (7:26). Jesus had no need to offer sacrifices for Himself first and then the people. The law appointed men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath appointed The Son who has been made perfect forever (Hebrews 7:28).

Yes, I do need a priest, and Jesus Christ represents me before the Father. God appointed Him with an oath and He entered once for all into the holy place, thus securing eternal redemption.

I wish this was answer, but all I said was, “Jesus Christ is my High priest, and He died once for me and lives forever to pray for me.” I pray that she thinks deeply about that!

 

Brian L. Spivey

Jesus’ Response to the Sadducees

•May 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

Jesus and the Sadducees

And the Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection.  And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.  There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.  And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring.  And the third likewise.  And the seven left no offspring.  Last of all the woman also died.  In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be?  For the seven had her as wife.”

Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?  For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’  He is not God of the dead, but of the living.  You are quite wrong.”  Mk. 12:18-27

Notice the absurdity of the question.  Is this a likely scenario?  Not really.  This is purely a snag attempt.  The Pharisees are better at these, even though they accomplish no more than the Sadducees.

But then, you may point out that the question was meant to be absurd because the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection.  “Reducing to absurdity” is a fine defeater for an illogical conclusion.  Did they succeed?

Jesus actually turns the table on them to show that their question is, in fact, absurd in light of a correct understanding of Scripture and an experiential knowledge of God’s power.

A few thoughts about Jesus’ response:

1.  Jesus believes that truth and the right interpretation of it is possible from the Scriptures.

2.  Furthermore, He expects those who teach to accurately understand the Bible’s implications.  See the burning bush.  Would you have understood what God intended to reveal about Himself in that account?  Do the details matter when it comes to Scripture?

3.  As far as I can tell, Jesus’ statement here about marriage and the resurrection is new revelation (in the sense that it is not taught explicitly in the OT).  The relationships we cherish in this life will substantially change.  We will no longer have a sense of loneliness and incompleteness in the life to come, but will be like the angels in heaven.  They are complete in God and have no need of special companionship.  As my pastor says, “The lamb is all the glory” in the new heavens and the new earth.  God will fill all the empty spaces.  He will be at center stage.

4.  The power of God is of a higher order than any power we are familiar with in this world.  The resurrection, which seems foolish to the natural man, is a display of this power.  Hydraulic power can move a lot of dirt around, even move mountains, electric power is awesome (ever seen lightning strike?), atomic power can level cities, but no power in this life can raise the dead.

C.M Granger

Confused about the Gospel? Look to the President!

•May 18, 2014 • 2 Comments

 

There are many portraits in this world that help us understand the gospel, but there is a place most of us would never think to look – the oval office. You want a picture of the gospel? Just look at the President!

Don’t worry, this is not an indictment on Obama, nor is this a debate about the faith of Bush or Clinton. No, the person I want to highlight is Franklin Delano Roosevelt (F.D.R.). It was not his faith in God (of which I have no knowledge), but “the picture” of the (former) president.

In 1921, at age 39, Roosevelt contracted Poliomyelitis (Polio for short), an acute viral disease. He was paralyzed and would never walk again. Whenever most people conjure up “pictures” of him in their mind, they remember him in a wheel chair, unable to get up. But what does this have to do with the gospel? Everything.

In Luke 6, we see portraits of the gospel.  The Bible records physical healing and deliverance of all kinds of people.  This is picture of how God brings salvation to sinners. One such picture is found in Luke 6:6-11. Jesus is in the synagogue and Jesus tells a man with a withered hand to stretch his hand forward. The way I have always understood this passage in the past was that the man with the withered hand had faith, and exercised his faith, THEN Jesus healed his hand. What is good about a “You take one step and God will take two steps gospel? The text said that the man had a withered hand. The word “withered” in that context means, “Infantile Paralysis,” an old synonym for Poliomyelitis (Polio). That man could no more stretch out his hand than Roosevelt could get out of his wheelchair. Jesus had to heal the man’s hand first, then he could stretch it forward.  The man with the withered hand is “picture” of the condition of man’s inability to come to Christ. God is the author and finisher of our salvation, and any repentance of faith we have, is a gift from Him. “For by Grace you have been saved through faith; it is a gift from God.

We can mask and dress up our sin. We can play with our electronics and forget that we are spiritually paralyzed – unable to come to God on our own. But when we look at the portrait of Roosevelt, we are reminded of how hopeless our condition is without the power of God.  If you are a believer be encourage that it is good who works in you for His good pleasure, and if you are not, then repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ.

 

Brian L. Spivey — D.O.C.

Audio from the Northeast ETS Conference

•April 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Sorry for the long delay between posts.  The ETS meetings were great and I spent too much money on books.  In other words, a smashing success.

You can listen to Al Mohler’s sessions here.

Enjoy!

 

C.M. Granger

 

 
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