A Lamb for the Lame

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How do you read the Bible?  Is the Bible just a book that teaches us how we are to live, or is it more than that?  The Bible is God’s story of salvation.  It makes all the difference in the world how we read the Scriptures. 

 

For instance, when we read in the Scriptures that God used Peter and John to heal the lame man (Acts 3), what should be our response?  The answer all depends on whether a person views the Bible as a book of morals, or God’s story of salvation.  If we view it as a moral book, then the result will be a desire for us to find a lame man and ask God to work through us like He worked through Peter and John; besides, “God is no respecter of persons.”  Yet, if we view the Bible as God’s story, then the result will be a deeper appreciation and devotion in us toward the God who heals those who cannot heal themselves. This lame man was healed by the lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

 

If we are reading the Bible as God’s salvation story, then when we read about a leper or a lame man, it should automatically remind us of our own condition.  As sons of Adam, we are spiritual lepers.  We cannot heal ourselves.  We were born sinners.  When we see the lame, we should remember that we have no ability to come to God unless He draws us. 

 

In 2 Samuel 9, we are introduced to a lame man by the name of Mephibosheth.  He lived far from the king. He was a descendant of Saul, so he was a natural enemy of the king.  He had no intention of ever seeking out the king.  He was a rejected refugee.  Mephibosheth was as good as dead.  He hid from the king and was not part of the king’s family.  But the king called Mephibosheth and gave him life.  He gave him an inheritance and adopted him.  He made him a son with all rights and privileges.

 

A moral book?  Then, we should praise God for David and try to imitate king David.

 

A book about God’s salvation history?  Then we stand in awe of how our King humbled Himself and came to earth to show us mercy.  He gave us new life, an inheritance, and the adoption of sons.  This story should evoke gratitude for the wisdom and kindness of our God – The Lamb of God came to earth to heal lame.Kosher+slaughter

 

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever.  Amen

 

 

Brian (D.O.C.)

 

What is a Biblical Peacemaker?

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9)distant horizon

“PEACE”

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you heard the word peace? Did you think of someone holding up two of his fingers?  Or did you imagine a bunch of people sitting around smoking drugs and listening to the Beatles? Maybe images of people marching across a bridge, while dogs attack them came to your mind, or people who are pacifists.  If your brain automatically associates words with pictures, then you probably thought of an upside broken cross with a circle around it, or a blue ocean; but whatever association we attribute to this word, if it is not biblical, we will misunderstand these familiar words of Jesus The Messiah.

It is true that Christians are commanded to pursue what makes for peace (Romans 14:19), and so far as it depends on us, we should live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18), but is the war between men the predominate meaning that Jesus wanted to convey?  Is one who seeks peace with men a biblical peacemaker?

On the surface it might seem that way, but man’s biggest spiritual problem is not war against himself, but war against a holy God.  God revealed Himself as holy.  He is also just.  He must judge sin.  Man is sinful and stands condemned before a holy God. God’s wrath is poured out on all mankind (Romans 1:18).  Man is separated from God and there is a gulf that cannot be crossed (Isaiah 59:2).  The good news [the Gospel] is that God has bridged that gap through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Now for those that embrace Jesus as the Messiah, He is our peace, for both the Jew and the Gentile (Ephesians 2:14).

God is the God of peace.  He has already reconciled some to Himself through the finished work or Christ on the cross.  Christians don’t make peace between man and God, but we are ambassadors for Christ.  God is making His appeal through us – we implore men on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).  I believe that the true blessing Jesus speaks of in Matt 5:9 is not for marching men with peace signs, but is poured out on Christian men marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.  Peacemakers are those men who proclaim, “Be reconciled to God!”— Christ completed the work of redemption on the cross.

 

Repent and receive Jesus as your personal Savior and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) AND YOU can become a biblical Peacemaker today.

 

Brian L. Spivey – D.O.C.

 

Are You a Groundhog or a Christian?

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There are seven festivals instituted by God for the Israelites.  These festivals were shadows or types of Christ.  You can find a detailed description in Leviticus 23.  Males were required to travel to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate three out of the seven – The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Weeks and The Feast of Booths.  The one that’s probably most unfamiliar to us is The Feast of Booths.  They had to hold a holy convocation for the first day, and a holy convocation for the eighth day.  No ordinary work was to be done.  You can read about all the details of this festival in Leviticus 23:33-44.  The point I want to emphasize here is what the Israelites were suppose to remember during this time – that the people of “Israel dwell in booths when I (The Lord) brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (verse 43).

The children of Israel had to leave the ‘comforts’ of their homes and live in these ‘booths’ for seven days.  This helped remind them that when God brought them out of Egypt, they had nothing but His presence.  If they had His presence, then they needed nothing else to survive.  These booths, or ‘tabernacles,’ were reminders, but they also pointed forward.  They were to look forward to the Messiah who would be ‘God with them.’   The tabernacle stood as a visible witness that salvation was God’s way or no way.  It typified the Incarnation of Christ.  The tabernacle was also a visible reminder that God’s presence – the most holy place, was off limits; it was only accessible by a representative.  The curtain dashed all of our hopes, and kept us out of the presence of God.

But the greatest miracle the world has ever experienced happened over 2000 years ago – Jesus was born.

John said that Jesus dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14).  Jesus said that He was the only way to the Father – there is no other name whereby men can be saved.  Jesus became our hope that entered into the inner place behind the curtain (Hebrews 6:19).

Why do we need to participate in a shadow?   We don’t need to go back to darkness and build booths.  Jesus said He was the light of the world.  A shadow disappears when the sunlight is directly overhead.  When the true Light of the world came, He dispelled the shadows.  Those festivals were not the real thing, they only pointed to the real thing.  Only a groundhog is foolish enough to believe that a shadow is a real thing… Are you going to be Christ-follower, or a groundhog?

 

Brian L. Spivey

Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament

Published by IVP Academic, © 1992.

Many Christians claim to love Jesus, but our love for Him can only grow in direct proportion to what we know about Jesus.  Is this a call to spend more time reading and studying the four gospels?  Actually, this is call to do the opposite

Wright opens his book with this statement, “In the midst of the many intrinsically fascinating reasons why Old Testament study is so rewarding, the most exciting to me is the way it never fails to add new depths to my understanding of Jesus.”

For the next 252 pages, Wright explores the salvation story from Genesis to the reign of David and explains how different aspects of God’s story point forward to Jesus.

There were several eye-opening themes that help me appreciate my Savior a little more than I did before I read this book, but the concept that I most appreciated was Wright’s explanation of the difference between promise and prediction.  He used the illustration of a marriage to shine light on one of the differences.  He states, “That it is one thing to predict a marriage between two people, but quite another thing to promise to marry a particular person – a promise is made to someone, where as a prediction is made about someone.”  Because it is a promise that God gave to his people, “it is the relationship behind it that really matters, the material form in which it is fulfilled may be quite different from the literal form in which it was originally made, and yet it is no less a valid fulfillment of the promise.”

Just this small section of the book helped me answer some of the questions that I once had about the dispensational view that God has two salvation plans – one for the Gentile, and a separate one for the Jew.  This book was full of those kinds of nuggets of truth.  If you can make it through the first fifty pages, which is slow and dry, you will benefit greatly from reading this book.  More importantly, your love for Jesus will reach depths you never thought imaginable.

 

Brian L. Spivey D.O.C.

Important Information for Infants in the Faith

I did not study Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians for the first fifteen years of my Christian life.   Of course I used some of the classic proof text passages like 4:17, to prove the rapture of the church; 5:23, to prove that man is made of three parts; and the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians to try and figure out the identity of the Man of lawlessness.  Oh, if I knew then what I know now, I would have devoured the contents of this book and spent the rest of my years marveling at how the Holy Spirit used the contents to establish my faith upon the Rock of Christ!

The apostle Paul came to the city of Thessalonica after he was beaten at Philippi.  He taught for three Sabbaths and then started preaching to the Gentiles.  It was recorded that he was there for at least three weeks and then the leaders of that city ran him out of town.  Paul left some brand new believers in Thessalonica.  These believers were newly born – infants in the faith.  So what did Paul teach them?  Did he expound on man being a tri-part being?  Did he spend a huge amount of text on the man of lawlessness?  No.  Paul began his letter with the doctrine of election (v. 4).  These new believers were suffering persecution, and Paul wanted to reassure them that suffering was an essential part of the Christian life. He informed them that though they were still infants in the faith, God had used their suffering as an example of true faith.  They had received the Holy Spirit and proof of that gift was perseverance in the midst of suffering.  He referred to the theme of comfort at least twelve times in these two short letters.  He wanted those infants to know that God called them for salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) and they could find comfort in the hope of Christ’s return.

Though they were doing well, these infants could have gotten discouraged by all that suffering, so Paul admonishes them not to grow weary of doing good (2 T 3:14).

If I would have focused the first fifteen years of my Christian walk on understanding these truths, instead of trying to avoid negative confessions, claiming God’s promises so that I could get rich and healthy, and attempting to convince everyone that the Bible teaches divine health, my faith would have been firmly planted on the solid rock of Christ.  Now I spend my time meditating on the truth that God called me for salvation and the sufferings of this present age cannot be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.  I was under-nourished, now I am getting the spiritual vitamins and essential nutrients from the milk of the Word so that I may grow up into full maturity.  Come join me.  Taste and see that the Lord is good!

 

Brian L. Spivey

50 years after Vatican II began

Fifty years ago this week, Roman Catholicism convened its most recent (still) ecumenical council, now known as the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II. Beginning in October 1962 it would conclude at the end of 1965. Fifty years later, Vatican II remains the official position of the Roman Catholic Church.

Over at the Desiring God blog, David Mathis writes a helpful article on this 50th anniversary. One of the things he does is to quote Dr Lorraine Boettner, a conservative Protestant theologian who would later write his own book, Roman Catholicism. He said Vatican II

repeated the claim that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church, although it did recognize that other churches contain some elements of truth. . . . Pope John XXIII, who called the first session, and Pope Paul VI, who presided over the later sessions (as well as several prominent cardinals and theologians), took care to emphasize that no changes would be made in the doctrinal structure of the Church. However, Pope Paul did promulgate one new doctrine, which asserts that “Mary is the Mother of the Church.” The primary purpose of the Council was to update the liturgy and administrative practices and so to make the Church more efficient and more acceptable to the 20th century world.

Note the added italics: “no changes . . . in the doctrinal structure of the Church.” Boettner continues,

On previous occasions, Rome has changed her tactics when old methods became ineffective, but she has never changed her nature. In any religious organization, doctrine is the most basic and important part of its structure, since what people believe determines what they do. An official document, “The Constitution on the Church” prepared by the Council and approved by the Pope, reaffirms basic Catholic doctrine precisely as it stood before the Council met. . . . .

[I]f the Roman Catholic Church were reformed according to scripture, it would have to be abandoned. But the gross errors concerning salvation still remain. Moreover, the Council did nothing toward removing the more than 100 anathemas or curses pronounced by the Council of Trent on the Protestant churches and belief.

Boettner concluded that Vatican II

makes it abundantly clear that Rome has no intention of revising any of her basic doctrine, but only of updating her methods and techniques for more efficient administration and to present a more attractive appearance. This is designed to make it easier for the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant churches to return to her fold. There is no indication that she has any intentions of entering into genuine give-and-take church unity negotiations. Her purpose is not union, but absorption. Church union with Rome is strictly a one-way street. The age-old danger that Protestantism has faced from the Roman Church has not diminished; in fact, it may well have increased. For through this less offensive posture and this superficial ecumenicism, Rome is much better situated to carry out her program of eliminating opposition and moving into a position of world dominance. An infallible church simply cannot repent.

Mathias summarizes these qutes: Strong words, but a helpful perspective from a thoughtful evangelical contemporary of the council. Whether you consider Boettner’s concerns to be warranted or overstated, they should give today’s evangelicals some pause about being too optimistic about what happened in the reforms of Vatican II.

I encourage you to look at the whole article, in which Mathis adds a few of the positive results of the event, and has some suggestions on how we might pray over all these things.

 

Pastor David Bissett

The Bible is God’s Word

What Scripture says, God says; for, in a manner comparable only to the deep mystery of the Incarnation, the Bible is both fully human and fully divine. So all its manifold contents — histories, prophecies, poems, songs, wisdom writings, sermons, statistics, letters, and whatever else — should be received as from God, and all that Bible writers teach should be revered as God’s authoritative instruction. Christians [indeed, all men] should be grateful to God for the gift of his written word, and conscientious in basing their faith and life entirely and exclusively on it. Otherwise we cannot ever honor or please him as he calls us to do.

~ J. I. Packer, Concise Theology (IVP 1993, p. 5; emphasis added)

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