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.

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.


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!

7 Important Bible Chapters to Study!

When it comes to Bible study, many of us are clueless about where to start. Very often, we end up just using whatever current chapter we’re in in our devotional reading, That’s good – but if you slack off the habit, you may have missed the more important Bible chapters to really dig into!
I’ve tried to lessen that slightly by my lessons in Hebrews, and Galatians. However, essentially you have to read the Bible for yourself, read the words and apply the rules I’ve given you on it.
So, which chapters are the ones to ensure you have studied? There,s 1189 chapters to read in the whole Bible!

  1. John 3. Absolutely. Study this chapter in detail. We’re so used to hearing this chapter that often we miss out on the fact that this chapter teaches a LOT about Christianity we must really understand – and as you read on my blog the other day about how I just don’t recognize Evangelical Christianity any longer, you’re aware of my often repeated points that most of us not only don’t read the Bible, only a few actually understand what they’re reading!
  2. Ephesians 5. Important chapter about how to walk as a Christian.Try copying this passage into Evernote, and breaking it up into a checklist of do’s and don’ts. For those people who blather on and on about how you don’t want life to be a series of do’s and don’ts rules, I’ll give you a hint – you’re on the left hand side at the Great White Throne judgment -Go back and read John 3.
  3. Romans 6. Another essential chapter to study on how to walk as a Christian. I’ve got most of this chapter highlighted in my Logos.
  4. 1 Timothy 2. This chapter gives essential information to pastors on how their congregations should behave. Tim Laheye includes this chapter in his list of Bible chapters to study for a Christian.
  5. Romans 8. The New Life. This explains the reasons why Ephesians 5 and Romans 6 were written!
  6. 1 Thessalonians 4. It’s not just a Rapture chapter! It has information on how to live as Christians as well.
  7. Isaiah 53. Every detailed study of the Bible must at some point include a study of the person of Jesus Christ. There are many Christological patterns throughout the Bible – but Isaiah 53 is so clear cut that if you can get someone to read it and ask them who it’s talking about, you only get ONE answer. Study this!

These are just the starting point, and there’s many more for sure! But these seven mark important chapters and topics to study!

Psalm 22:16

They pierced my hands and feet. Kari כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י can be K’ari, “like a lion” or the Aramaic Kari, “they have pierced”. which is it? it’s clear from context that the Aramaic makes more sense (“Like a lion my hands and feet” lack the clear sense that “They have pierced” has) – but even if you’re a purist, okay! Let’s look at the Hebrew and ask a simple question – what does that mean? “They did to my hands and feet like a lion did… either claw and rend, or more likely, bite. Tigers shred, lions bite. Lions prefer to jump at you, dig their claws in only to keep you from getting away, then start biting. So, what would that mean, “they did to my hands and feet what a lion would do?”

It would mean… “they have pierced.”

Argument over.

Politics Versus The Bible

Let me preface my remarks today with a simple formula. I can’t insert the “is not equal to” symbol you learned in the 5th grade… BUT…

  • Christian is not synonymous with Republican
  • Republican is not synonymous with Christian.

Now, YES… a VAST MAJORITY of American Born Again Christians flock to the Republican party. And politicians are quick to try to either A). support Israel while running for office or b). talk either about God, prayer, or maybe a lame quote from the Bible. note they’ll never quote something like John 3:3!

Most politicians stop the pretense as soon as they’re in office. Um… except the Donald. It seems he’s conducting Bible studies in the White House. right in the Oval Office. Guess what? I could be very wrong, but I think he won the election. And he’s carrying on far past the point where everyone else drops the pretense!

But here’s the flipside – there’s a political party who has seemed to make it a priority to legislate out of existence Christianity within America. And a lot of Christians STILL are part of that Party.

The Republican party pushed a member of a cult as a candidate for President, and suddenly Franklin Graham and countless others are rushing to embrace anyone who’s ever even driven PAST Salt Lake City as a fellow Christian.

No, let’s get our heads clear. We test everything by the word of God. Even political expediency. If your party routinely opposes God, Christianity, and the Bible, and exalts every manner of sin – as a Christian, you have only one response. Leave that party. Vote with your feet.

If your party attempts to push a member of a cult as President, then click on “other” at the ballot station and manually type in the name of another Candidate! The Republicans would have been astounded if they’d pushed a Mormon, only to find that a candidate who’d not gotten the nomination found himself President the following morning!

We as Christians need to send warnings to Washington DC – we matter. And we will not stand for any attempt to silence Christians, or to stand against the Bible. Here’s our answer to Pelosi Democrats and their agendas… we pull every Christian voter out of the Democratic party. Which almost happened last November.

If they lose enough elections, they’ll figure it out, and boot the Pelosi-ites out of office. That’s how we answer Washington. We vote. And at this point, you have to vote against things sometimes.

We also send a clear message to the Republican party, which I think they heard loud and clear – no moderate Republicans. No Liberal Republicans. High ye away to the democrats, if that’s ye platforme!

STAND for the Bible. Stand for God. Vote according to those factors, and sooner or later, the politicians get it.

And stop parroting political expediency. Ye are not your own, and ye were bought with a price. Not by politics, but by the Son of Man.

The Atonement

27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Leviticus 23:27-32 (KJV)

1 And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. 2 A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same. 3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. 4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. 5 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 6 And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. 10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD. Exodus 30:1-10 (KJV)

During this time of year, as Christians approach Ressurection Sunday, we begin to dwell upon our sin. The catchphrases that seem so trite during the year gain meaning during the Spring. “We owe a debt we cannot pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.”

This is your fault. This is my fault. We cannot blame Adam and Eve for this, as the Bible says

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23 (KJV)

You deserve to pay the price – not on the Cross, for that is the role of the sinless, perfect offering.

Dave Hunt uses the illustration of the Judge and the Criminal. The Criminal says, “If you give me a second chance, I’ll never break the aw again!”

The Judge responds, “That was the bare minimum of your duty, to keep the law and not break it. You get no extra points for doing what was required.”

Keeping the law was your duty. You get no rewards for that. If you never broke the law ever, you would have made it into Heaven only by the skin of your teeth.

But all we like sheep have gone astray. There is none righteous, no not one. All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. Let God be true, and all men liars.

So the Lord went and died on the Cross for us.

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, 16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:11-17 (KJV)

The Lord performed one sacrifice. One. It was effecacious, in that it atoned for all sins for all time, past, present, future. There is no need for a re-offering of the Mass. The Roman Catholic mass is performed all over the world, every day. It tells Roman Catholics that the death of Jesus was no different from the death of any Passover lamb.

But that’s a different Jesus, not the Jesus Christ of the Bible. The Jesus Christ of the Bible offered Himself once for all. He atoned for the sins of those who accept it.

The problem with today is we have a lot of people who stand there and say, “Yes… i’ll accept it. I want it. Lord thank you for your sacrifice!”

And they never reach out and TAKE it!

If you are not 100% sure you are saved, please make that sure today. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait.

The Last Supper

Can I say this?

The Last Supper is a memorial. It’s not a re-sacrifice of Christ. There are Protestant denominations who literally decry the Roman Mass… but in effect present the exact same terminology.

There’s a lot of teachings out there on the Passover, and it’s tie-ins to the crucifixion. It’s a major teaching, every Christian really should learn of it.

The evening before the Seder, we must prepare for it, searching by candlelight throughout the house to find one last bit of leavened bread. It is swept away by feather, and burned. This typifies the Word of God searching through your conscience, showing us our sinfulness and eventual end if we do not accept Christ. By repenting and being born again, the guilt of our sins is removed, and we are justified.

The Matzoh is bruised and perforated, like a scourged man. The wine cups represent the blood of Christ. In the middle of the Seder, wine is sprinkled once for every judgment, signifying the atoning blood of Christ.

The bitter herbs, meant to show the bitterness of slavery in Egypt, also show the bitterness we feel in that Christ was sacrificed for unworthy sinners such as ourselves.

One part of the matzoh is broken, then half is taken and hidden, not to return until the end of the Seder.

Salt water is on the seder table, and we dip the herbs into it to typify tears shed over our slavery in Egypt.

It also reminds us of, “I thirst.” And He would not drink.

The events of the last night and day of Jesus Christ are bound up in Temple service, in the Yom Kippur offering and service, Barabbas and the Lord are presented. The Lord is chosen as the offering, and Barabbas sent away, as the Azazel goat.

The Lord is presented to Annas first (being the legal High Priest) and then Caiaphas. They have examined Him, and found Him worthy as the offering – just like the Passover offering, a lamb without blemish.

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. John 11:49-52 (KJV)

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. Matthew 27:22 (KJV)

Really, a lot can be written here. Pilate has watched the tumult at Jerusalem, which should have built into a fervor that resulted in the mob entering Fortress Antonio to seize Herod – which would have left Pilate in a quandry. He’d have to rescue Herod, and ship him to Rome, relieving him of a headache.

But the tumult died down, as if nothing had happened. He’d probably shaken his head and gone about his business.

Days later, he hears another tumult, and the Priests are bringing him a prisoner for judging. Who is this?

Pilate recognizes the same man, the crowds had exalted as King. He begins to question the Priests, and finds its a violateion of their myriads of ritual laws. He attempts to dismiss it…

and the crowd goes ballistic. The Roman guard would have moved into position, knowing Pilate. He is about to order that a large number of them be killed.

12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. Mark 15:12-14 (KJV)

Pilate can’t. He remembers the orders from Caesar – one more riot and Pilate will answer before Caesar’s judgment seat. So Pilate sends Him to Herod, hoping Herod will make his usual violent decision, and relieve Pilate of the responsibility. Pilate’s stress mounts as he recieves a message from his wife, the niece of Caesar, not to kill Jesus.

Herod questions the Lord, is mystified by the Lord’s silence, and orders Him sent back to Pilate.

Pilate, now seeking a way out of this, questions this prisoner. He hopes for some admission that can justify killing the Lord, or releasing Him. Pilate (not a patient man, but desperate to avoid another riot so soon after his warning from Rome) now speaks with the Lord.

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. John 18:33-38 (KJV)

Pilate attempts to appease the Jews, by haing Christ scourged. We know that Jewish law requires a maximum of forty lashes. We know that the Rabbi’s shortened it to 39, so that a mistake is not made.

What we fail to realize is that the Romans are not bound by Jewish law. They can whip Him with the flagellum as many times as desired.

Christ is scourged, a horrific event, and sent back to be exhibited to the crowd. Pilate is hoping that the crowd will be appeased by the sight of Him, bloody and beaten nearly to death. Pontius Pilate has underestimated the situation again.

5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5 (KJV)

The crowd demands Christ’s death. “הצלב אתו Ha’Tselev Ato! Ha’Tselev Ato!” They scream. “σταυρωσον αυτον!”

PIlate is well aquainted with the Hebrew words, as well as the Greek. He has ordered them many times himself, and heard the order repeated in Hebrew.

Crucify Him.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. John 19:12-15 (KJV)

Pilate is now painted into a corner. He has gotten an admission of loyalty to Caesar from the High Priests, and he sees their plan at last. If he does not kill an innocent man, the High Priests will denounce him to Caesar. “We pledged loyalty, and Pilate showed contempt for Rome!”

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Matthew 27:24-25 (KJV)

Pilate’s wording shows that his time in Judea has not been wasted. He’s learned something of Jewish expressions and their language. The phrase was almost certainly said in Hebrew, and not Latin, or he would have used the Roman expression of, “His blood is on your head.”

“אנכי מדם הצדיק הזה אתם ראו”.

Anoki Medem ha’tzaddik hazeh atem’Ro!. I am innocent, it’s on you.

The people accepted it. Pilate was guiltless.

Does this mean the Jews are forever guilty of Regicide, and Deicide? Many Jews have been assaulted and even killed over the years for that reason.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:34 (KJV)

These words purge all assembled, Jews and Gentiles alike, of any guilt of the murder of God our King. But their guilt from sin remained.

The irony is… the guilty were killing the innocent. And at the same time, the lamb was being slain at the Temple.

And they crucified the Son of God.