7 Reasons to Contend For the Faith


Christianity has its share of detractors, many of whom have simply made up their minds in advance what they think Christianity is, and they’re opposed to it. They often don’t want to be bothered with facts – their minds are made up already!

To contend for the faith requires simply prayer, a little study, a few tools, and lots and lots of patience. Don’t pray for patience – that’s a bad idea.

But putting yourself in the line of fire doesn’t sound like fun! So, why should you jump out there and do this?

  1. The Lord commanded you to. For most of Christianity, the Great Commission has become the Great Omission. You really don’t have any choice in the matter. If you’re a Christian, this is something the Lord has commanded you to do. These are orders, not suggestions.
  2. You were witnessed to by someone. Very few people just decide to become Christians for no reason, Usually there’s someone who just won’t take no for an answer.If nobody witnessed to you ever, then… how would you ever have gotten saved? What if the person who witnessed to you simply decided “That’s for someone else to do – I’m going to coast!” Where would you spend eternity?
  3. You have no excuses not to. It’s been said nobody needs to show they’re called to missions – rather, the burden is on Christians to show they’re called to stay home!
  4. The Lord witnessed to those who were willing to hear. Since Jesus Christ did many things as an example to us, then obviously we should follow in His steps!
  5. Spiritually, you will wither if you do not! Christians feel the best when they’re actively involved in learning and sharing. When we first got saved, my wife and I spent a lot of time listening to preaching. Every night. And we were ordering tracts and leaving them all over town. When we stopped doing it, it felt like part of us died. Get back to your first love.
  6. Heaven is real. No, I don’t need Todd Burpo telling me it’s real, because what he wrote down about Heaven bears little resemblance to the Bible’s depictions of Heaven, so I disregard his story as well… made up. But this is important to keep in mind! You’re going there. Others are not…
  7. Hell is Real. Here’s the ultimate reason to contend for the faith. If you do nothing, then people will suffer forever. Think about the people whom you care about. You want that to happen to them? If you do nothing, I guarantee that’s what’s going to happen to them.
Conclusion

Contending for the faith is part of your Christian faith. It’s part of what Christians are required to do. Do it now! He who winneth souls is wise.

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First Steps To Gog


Recently the king of Saudi Arabia visited Moscow.
Yeah… that’s the first step towards Gog and Magog.

I place Gog and Magog right before the rapture, like Thomas Ice and Tim Laheye do/did. I think it happens shortly before the Rapture, but we don’t know the interval between Gog and the Rapture.
So, if two of the key players are suddenly acting just like Scripture said they would…

Then if there’s anything you want to do for the Lord, you’d better do it soon!

4 Ingredients of Effective Prayer


Prayer.

It’s one of the key components to an effective life as a Christian.
Yet most Christians either only pray when they want something, or many who call themselves Christians simply babble in nonsense sounds and assume that constitutes prayer.

One of my jokes during a sermon was that the only way to get some Baptists to pray was put food in front of them. We laugh because its funny, and we laugh because it’s true.

Prayer is not “Earthly license for heavenly interference”, as one televangelist put it.

Prayer is an act of worship.

Let’s let that sink in for a minute.

Prayer is an act of worship. Bible study and devotional reading also are acts of worship.

But prayer is worship in a different way.

To have a relationship with God, you need to pray. If you don’t pray, you don’t have much of a relationship with God.

So let’s look at how to begin to change this.

Tim Laheye liked to diagram prayer sessions as “ACTSAdoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication.” I personally like CATS better!

I think that confession should come at the beginning – if you’ve got unconfessed sin and unrepentant sin, God does not hear your prayers until you take care of that. I think that should be actually taken care of first.

The adoration section of prayer should be fairly lengthy. About 30% of your prayer time really should go into this part. If you’ve set aside 5 minutes of prayer, that would mean almost 2 minutes should be on this.

How do we work on this? Read the Psalms. A good portion of Psalms is the psalms of glory, where David magnifies the Lord for the length of the Psalm. “The mountains skipped like Rams”, “You who set the seasons in order” “You who set the boundaries of the seas…” “Who ordained the stars…”

We can learn a lot from this. Consider praying at first those Psalms. Then use some of that formula as a blueprint. Think about the Glory of God. The Majesty of God. The Forgiveness of God. The Mercy of God. God as our father. God as the righteous judge.

These are ways to start for now.

Thanksgiving – try thanking god for salvation! Try thanking God you are alive! Try thanking God that He is merciful!

If you really dwell on God’s attributes, there’s a lot of things to thank God for. Remember when a group of men came to Jesus Christ and asked to be healed, and the Lord healed them, only ONE came and thanked Him. And Jesus Christ said something about it!
Hint number one: That’s God’s way of saying he wants more than just Credit – He wants thanks as well.

The last ingredient – supplication… that part I don’t need to tell you about! WE all beg God for a million things. “Lord, can I have an Atari 2600?” What we don’t know is sometimes God answers us with, “In five years, you’re going to just throw it away because you’re bored with it.” Everyone knows how to ask for things, so I don’t have to explain how this part works!

Conclusion

Prayer should be a regular part of the Christian life. Learn how to adore God and thank God, and not just ask for things!

The State of Christianity


One key element of my blog has been to examine the state of Christianity.

Whenever I do this, I go into rants.

Today, it’s time to explode a little.

Dealing with Faithlife, the parent company for Logos has shown me that what I dislike about Faithlife is pretty much the tip of the iceberg of Christianity.

What do I mean?

The prevailing attitudes I see evidenced in Faithlife are pretty much representative in modern Christianity.

Roman Catholicism is not Christianity.
Roman Catholicism (by the time you’re really done analyzing it) is anti-Christianity! Christianity is salvation by faith through grace. Roman Catholicism is salvation by works.

Christianity is praying to God through Jesus Christ. Roman catholicism is about praying to saints, who will intercede on your behalf to Mary, who takes the prayers to God.

Christianity has the Bible for sole authority of faith and practice. Roman Catholicism has Church tradition and the magisterium.

By the time you really analyze it, Roman Catholicism is not Christianity, but rather a modified form of Hinduism!

Yet most Christians today consider Roman Catholics to be Christians! This is so great an error among Evangelical Christians today, that it really deserves its own rant!

Seventh Day Adventism is not Christianity
Just as you can buy the Verbum software for Roman Catholics, you can buy the Logos package for the SDA, with such great SDA teachers as…

Wait. Anyone see a problem with this? They believe Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael. We rightly reject the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a cult for believing this, but we turn a blind eye to the SDA. We call the Jehovah’s witnesses a cult for believing in soul sleep, but we turn a blind eye to the SDA. We call the Jehovah’s witnesses a cult for rejecting a literal hell, but then we turn a blind eye to the SDA.

By the time we’re done with it, the only real difference between the JW’s and the SDA really is vegetarianism (SDA) and blood transfusions (JW’s).

But one is a cult, and the other a denomination. Listen, if the one is a cult then so is the other.

Church of Christ (Campbellite) is salvation by works
If we reject other cults for salvation by works, then we should reject all groups that preach salvation by works as well. It violates the Bible, and the Bible calls it a damnable heresy to teach you must work your way into heaven.

The only real issue with Campbellites is that they claim baptism saves us. Baptism is a work. It’s the first essential sign, the first essential work you perform to PROVE you’re saved.

They’re absolutely right when you say that if you refuse to be baptized you’re not saved. But it’s not the BAPTISM that saves – it’s faith in Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice!

By transferring the faith from Jesus Christ to a work you yourself perform… you have gone from faith to works.

Famous People
There’s a lot of famous people who claim to be Christians. One thing that astounds me is when Christians tell me Jane Fonda is a Christian. Her own remark after supposedly getting saved was, “I’m not one of those born again Christian types.” Then… you’re not a Christian!

There’s a football player who made millions selling his autobiography about how Christian he is. Technically, if he mentioned his conviction for animal cruelty in his book for dog fighting, he’s in violation of the law – you cannot legally make a profit writing about your crime. I’m not going to mention any names, but there’s ample evidence he’s an active gang member. I’m sorry, that’s not really evidence of a changed life.

Are you Christian?
The numbers I’m seeing in polls are shocking. Most Christians today evidence beliefs that 30 years ago mainstream Christianity would have decried as not being Christian!

Have you read your Bible all the way through, at least once?

If I were to drag you into court to prove you were a Christian, would the evidence of your life show you were a Christian? There has to be some kind of evidence!

Do you believe that there is only one way to heaven? Hint – John 14:4…
Do you believe the righteous of every faith will wake up in heaven, surprised and a little embarrassed about how wrong they were? Or do you believe that if you are not born again, there remains no other fate for you than eternal hellfire? (hint – the answer to this is far more revealing than you believe!)

Do you believe your Bible is inerrant, inspired, the preserved word of God? Or do you assume your Bible has errors, and only the Scholars can really decipher what the Bible really says? (this answer reveals a lot)

Most people who think they’re Christians are in for a horrible surprise. Guess what? Eternity is not going to be good.

Let’s see how you do…

  • Do you believe in salvation by grace through faith alone?
  • Do you believe in Jesus Christ as God in human flesh, eternally the Son of God, died on the Cross and rose again, one third of the trinity?
  • Do you believe Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven?
  • Do you believe the only propitiation for sin is the atoning blood of Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe Jesus Christ is not just a man, and never was just a manDo you believe in a literal six day creation?
  • Do you believe in a literal flood that covered the entire earth?
  • Do you believe that no matter what, you cannot earn your salvation?
  • Do you believe your Bible is the preserved word of God without error?
  • Do you have one moment in your life you can point to where you came to Jesus for salvation, and that there was a change in your life after that?

“Yes” answers are good. There should have been no “No” answers in that list.

If you have one or more “No” answers… can you tell me why you think you’re a Christian? Because your definition of what a Christian is and what the Bible teaches one is apparently are two different things!

I’d keep going with this one, but I’m worn out after the work week I had!

Why did I Remove Comments From My Blog?


I’ve been reading another blog where the blog author removed – for much different reasons than I did – comments from his blog. Recently, he put up another post explaining why he put them back!

I don’t know if I’ll ever put them back. To do that would require moving Narrow is the Way to it’s own domain name and service.

To do that would unsubscribe every last one of you. Now, I’ve got almost 300 people subscribed. I don’t know how many of them are getting my posts in email, and how many are simply going to their reader to read.
But.

I don’t know, I’m just not willing to risk unsubscribing everyone just to allow comments!

The system I’d looked into to replace the WordPress comment system is the Disqus system. It gives you a reputation when you sign up. You start at Zero, and not only the blog owner, but the other readers can actually go in and add ratings to your reputation.

Trolls apparently don’t last long on Disqus, because if one comes in here, tries to start trouble, 30 of you rate him a minus – he loses the ability to comment on ANY website with Disqus.
Hm!

But let’s get to my reason why I removed comments. The answers are pretty simple. And – no, I’m not using the super blog posting formulas that I’ve learned are what brings readers (which would get my message out there, and possibly turn Christianity around into being followers of Christ!).

Here’s the simple reasons.

I was spending far more time answering comments than writing.

Yup. That’s the primary reason. Notice by looking at the calendar on my past posts, that when I addressed a topic, people would start arguing with me. I’d answer. They’d answer back. And suddenly, I’m missing days of writing. I think I averaged 22-24 posts on any given topic series because I’d start going through comment debates, and didn’t have enough time to write. I’m not blogging for a living. I know there’s people out there who earn $5 million a year blogging (no kidding). I earn nothing. I’ve never asked for donations or support. Indeed, I joke around from time to time and ask for support – in the form of READING my blog! So, I work a day job, eat dinner with my wife, work on other things. I usually only have two mornings a week I work on this blog. And if I end up having to work on a weekend, I miss that weekend for writing.

Absolutely nobody paid attention to my comment policy.

Let’s face it – Comment policies are essentially rules to ban someone from commenting on your blog. It’s like HR policies – they exist not to keep things professional, but give someone an excuse to fire you.
Nobody paid attention to the comment policies. It’s stated pretty clearly that I don’t do comment debates. And if you go back almost to the beginning, you’ll see that the VAST majority of comments I have are literally “you’re a heretic blah blah blah.”

I was getting discouraged, and thinking of shutting down my blog.
If you go back all the way to the beginning, and read my comments, you’ll see that almost nobody ever said,”Good blog post!” “Wow, that blessed me!” “Keep up the good fight!” I think I’ve had two positive comments, and 6,000 bad ones.

The last go round before I shut down comments affected me so badly, you pretty much can tell something’s different about Philip.At one point, I actually was so despondent over it, I asked a couple of other people who have blogs to help. Their answer was kind of a curt, “you’re on your own.”
So I pulled back a little bit. This blog still is a labor of love to the Lord. But it’s really hard to keep persevering sometimes.

Many other Bible teachers do not allow comments.

I went around, looking at people like john MacArthur, David Cloud, R. C. Sproul, Josh McDowell, and several others. I found that those who are Bible teachers either do not allow comments, or else they have someone who works for them full time moderating comments.

I don’t have any income coming in from the ministry, and I don’t believe in asking people to volunteer, so I can’t hire someone to do it. So the final decision was to shut down comments.

Was it the right decision? I don’t know. I feel sometimes like I’m preaching to an empty church. But I do know that my time to blog is better now. As I mentioned right now, I’m so busy that I don’t have enough time to write at the moment. I can’t imagine how much of my time would be wasted in theological debates.

So for now the comments remain closed.

Have a comment? Sorry – other people ruined it for you…

4 Reasons to be a Fundamentalist


Why should you be a Fundamentalist? Now, from everything I’ve been studying about blogging lately, I’m supposed to have a short 25 word lead in here. Let’s assume I did this!
Now I’m supposed to have a short personal story that shows me as getting this wrong. Okay. I was an Evangelical when I got saved. I thought that was the same thing as being a Fundamentalist. I was wrong. I fixed that.
Wow, that’s almost blog post over! I could just end this with…” why haven’t you?”

But I won’t.

The Bible tells you to. The Bible actually assumes that you’re a Fundamentalist. This really should solve the issue right here!

“People walk either in the flesh or in the Spirit, leading to death or to life. The carnal person is hostile to God, unable to please God (Rom. 8:1–11)” Chad Brand et al., eds., “Carnal,” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 270.

Carnal—Unconverted men are so called (1 Cor. 3:3). They are represented as of a “carnal mind, which is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:6, 7).

Enjoyments that minister to the wants and desires of man’s animal nature are so called (Rom. 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:11). M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893).

The Bible strongly speaks against this who are not Fundamentalists. The Corinthian church was not Fundamentalist.Paul spends an entire book of the Bible addressing a church that pretty much looks like any of today’s churches.

Jesus Christ speaks against those who are not Fundamentalist. Ever read the seven letters at the beginning of Revelation? They’re pretty blunt. Ask yourself if you think that God is pleased with Christians rejecting His word, something that He says He has placed above His name?

Loss of rewards if you don’t. You get rewards for Christian service. Being a Evangelical pretty much amounts to spending your life in a backslidden state.

Grumpy ol’ Philip. It’s been a while since I was this grumpy. I’m assuming its sinuses again.

At this point in the fancy new way of successful blogging, I’m supposed to engage in a call to action.

Conclusion
Be a Fundamentalist. God expects it of you.

Why No Mention of the Reformation?


October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Thesis to the door of Wittenberg Chapel.

A great many blogs and websites have all decided to teach on Romans for the month of October. I don’t know if they went through with it or not.

But this is the only mention I have of it.

Why?

I’m not a Protestant. I’m a Jewish believer in Christ. My theological heritage as a believer is as a Baptist, which never was part of Rome.
As a matter of fact, it’s been pointed out many times that those “heretics” that the Roman Catholic Church was persecuting was Baptists!

While a great deal is made of the fact that the word Baptist was not used until the 1700’s, Baptists were known as Anabaptists prior. Once you know that, it’s easy to trace it back to the Waldenses and Albigeneses. Then you can trace it back to Donatists, Catharists… Once you’ve gone that far, it’s actually easy to trace it back to…

Jerusalem, and eleven men staring up at the sky as Jesus Christ ascended physically to heaven.

So, the Protestant Reformation is interesting.

But it’s got very little to do with me.