The Heart of the Matter

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.”

Sin comes in clusters. People start out casually with sinning and hanging out with sinners.

Then, they graduate to being entrenched and habitually committed to sinning and adopting the sinner’s ways.

Overtime, unresolved sins harden the heart and lead to addiction.

Hence, some add sin to sin because they have learned to manage sin than confess and forsake it.

When convicted, they simply wink at sin and say, “I don’t care.” They go on sinning right away.

With sins, you live with guilty conscience and the guilt gradually deadens your heart.

If you come to God for forgiveness, He will abundantly pardon. Yet some will not.

Such people know that if they come to God and receive God’s forgiveness freely, God will need from them to deal with their hearts but they don’t want to deal with their hearts. So, they keep on sinning, adding sin to sin.

There are three unbelieving lifestyles identified in this passage:

The ungodly (rasha); morally wrong; actively bad; wicked; bad.

Sinners (chatta) – criminal; to miss the mark; pass the limits of the law.

Scornful (luwts): to make mouths at; scoffs at; to mock.

This Scripture speaks of the degradation of SIN – walks, stands and sits.

If you stand in the way of sinners, you will not stand in judgment.

If you sit with the scornful, you will not sit in the congregation of the righteous.

Judgment Comes With Sin. But People Repent Not Because of Judgement, they repent because of the Grace of God & the Work of the Holy Spirit over their hearts.

If God should withdraw His Holy Spirit from you, you will not feel the slightest wish to repent. For no man can come to God except the Spirit draw him.

I heard the story of a rich business man:

A successful business man hides his money in the ground but goes periodically to count his proceeds. Once the thieves were watching him through the window dig out and count his huge collections.

At night , the bad guys returned to steal but his dog bark relentlessly. In his stupor and dislike, the business man shot the irritating dog for his continuous barking.

He stifled and eliminated the voice that spoke to him – warning him.

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart.

Today, it is easier to repent than it will be tomorrow.

Do not turn away from the voice that turns you to Jesus.

 

The Righteousness of God – Romans 1

The main theme in Romans is the righteousness of God. 

For man to understand and appreciate the grace and the righteousness of God, he must first understand his own unrighteousness. 

To know what salvation is, you must know how bad sin is!

“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6).

In Romans chapter 1, Paul talked about two things revealed from heaven by God:

1. The righteousness of God (Rom. 1:17; Phil. 3:9)
2. The wrath of God

The wrath of God is His feeling – His holy anger, not His punishment of sin; it is God’s constant and insistent displeasure with evil.

Paul laid out the scope of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).

He tells us of the origin of the Gospel: it is the Gospel of Christ (v.16a).

He tells us of the operation of the Gospel: it is the power of God (v.16b).

He tells us of the outcome of the Gospel: it is the power of God unto salvation (v. 16c).

He tells us of the outreach of the Gospel: “to everyone that believeth” (vv. 16d-17).

The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God, His wrath against sin and the plan of salvation (Rom. 1:16 &17).

The Gospel tells us about the mercy and redemptive grace of God. 

The Gospel has made it possible for the sinner to hear and believe the redemptive love story of God to mankind.

However, the Gospel has not in any way changed God’s attitude towards sin. 

God is merciful, not because He is lenient with sinners but because Christ died.

The sinner (now) has the choice of either accepting the righteousness of God or the wrath of God as both are revealed from heaven.

God put His witness in the universe (Acts 14:17). The original revelation from God can be seen in nature (Rom. 1:20). The universe tells two things about God: His person and His power (Ps. 8:3, 19:1). 

“There is there that within man which so catches the meaning of all that is without as to issue in an instinctive knowledge of God” Dr. James Denny.

However, God has put His full and complete revelation in the Gospel.

According to the Scriptures, all men are sinners:

1. The Gentiles are guilty (Rom. 1:18-32)
2. The Jews are guilty (Rom. 2:1-3:8)
3. The wholly world is guilty (Rom. 3:9-20)

God’s wrath is revealed against …

Unbelief – lack of faith or conviction in God

Disbelief – the state of a soul. “The fool (insane) hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Ps. 14:1)

Ungodliness – that which is against God

Unrighteousness against man

“Who holds the truth in unrighteousness,” that is, to hold down or suppress the truth in unrighteousness. 

God’s wrath is revealed against such actors and acts (Rom. 1:19).

Since the Fall, man had been moving downward. Every generation had had a light, but moved away from God. No generation or people have ever lived up to the light that they have had.

They did not glorify God – they did not give Him His rightful place. In order words, man became self-sufficient and his own source.

There were neither thankful. Ingratitude is a sin.

They became vain in their imaginations. So, their foolish hearts became darkened and they edge deeper into darkness through secularity and the systems of this world.

They “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:23).

Consequently, God gave them up” (Rom. 1:24). Since they turned from God to Satan, He handed them over.

With the restraining, sovereign grace of God withdrawn, the land and the people went into the ever widening spiral gyre of sin, evolving into several complicated sexual perversion, immorality, passions of dishonor, idolatry & greed. 

Man’s rebellion develops into full blown sins (Rom. 1:29-31).

Man has the revelation of God, His righteousness and wrath, yet he continues to disobey God and actively celebrates anyone who indulges in such ungodly habits (Rom. 1:32).

But God is not pleased or amused.

Folks, what do we need today?

Repentance

Revival

“Sow for yourselves according to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God); reap according to mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor, till He comes and teaches you righteousness and rains His righteous gift of salvation upon you” (Hosea 10:12).

A ground once tilted but now in waste and neglect; it needs to be broken up and mellowed, before it can receive grains again.

Examine your own heart!

• Ingratitude – moments of favor from God yet without any expression of thanks
• Flagging affection for God
• Consistent neglect of the Bible
• Unbelief towards His promises and declarations
• Neglect of prayer – secret prayer, family prayer, prayer meetings
• Neglect of the means of grace 
• Worldliness
• Pride
• Lack of interest in soul-winning
• Lack of brotherly love

We need revival (not some signs and wonders, thunder-clapping meetings); a call to a new beginning of obedience towards God. 

We need a ‘deep repentance, a breaking down of heart, a getting down into the dust before God, with deep humility, and a forsaking of sin. (Charles G. Finney).

It has been said that …

• When there is a want of brotherly love and Christian confidence among professors of religion, then a revival is needed.
• When there are dissensions, and jealousies, and evil speaking among professors of religion – they show that believers have gone far from God, and it is time to think earnestly of a revival.
• When there is a worldly spirit in the Church (a backslidden state); when the Church finds its members falling into gross and scandalous sins; when sinners are careless and insensitive to the presence of believers while perpetrating their ungodly habits, or when believers are found willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it on – sacrifice their feelings, their business time, to help forward the work, right there and in that moment, repentance and revival are dearly needed.

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Ps. 85:6).

SOMETHING HUGE IS MISSING FROM THE LAST SUPPER!

 

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

The Bible miniseries on the History Channel is one we cannot endorse. Many have said, “What’s the big deal? It’s getting unchurched people interested in the Bible, isn’t it?” The problem with this is that the complete Gospel – the only message by which the Bible says we can be regenerated to life by the Holy Spirit – is missing! No sin, to repentance. And there’s something else you need to know. Something huge.

Open your Bible to the Last Supper and then watch this:

If you didn’t catch it, hover your mouse pointer over this verse, John 14:6.

I found that video embedded in a blog post by Christian author Sunny Shell, who was one of many producers Roma Downey and Mark Bennett contacted to help promote this series before its release. But when she saw what these two had done to the real breathed-out Word of God, she flatly refused. Read her story. It is excellent – especially the Q & A interview at the end. Then share this with your friends and family who still think this miniseries is perfectly fine:

History Channel’s ‘The Bible’ exalts man over God

(via SunnyShell.org)

About a week ago, I was contacted by the History Channel’s media group asking me to help promote “The Bible”, a new mini-series that was created and produced by Roma Downey, (Touched By An Angel) with her husband Mark Burnett (producer: The VoiceSurvivorShark TankCelebrity Apprentice).

After prayerfully reviewing the materials and consulting with my wise husband, I stated that I am unable to participate in promoting this endeavor due to its highly unbiblical content, as well as their portrayal of championing the virility of man while palliating the glory, righteousness and holiness of God. God our Father revealed Himself through His holy word (the real Bible) to proclaim:

  1. God’s righteousness;
  2. Man’s depravity;
  3. Humanity’s desperate need for a Savior—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

From the words of the creators and producers of not“The Bible” mini-series, their purpose is to portray God:

  1. As an angry God who punishes the “bad” people and curses the “good” people who disobey;
  2. As a really cool deity who still blesses all the “good” people no matter what they do;
  3. Whose ultimate desire is to “change the world”, make people nicer and happier through social reform and show all humanity the “good” we all have within ourselves.
Show’s website: “The Bible – an epic 10-part miniseries retells stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation from Genesis through Revelation. This DVD set is sure to entertain and inspire the whole…offering new insight into famous scenes and iconic characters…”
 
Roma Downey: “We knew that we could make it heartfelt. We knew we could make it faithful. But we wanted to be sure that we could make it cool.
 
Mark Burnett: “Our goal is to breathe fresh, visual life into the sacred text, the Bible…There are many, many epic battles in the Bible, and telling those from the character perspective makes you care more about the outcome of the battles.”
 
Nancy Dubuc (History Channel’s president and manager): “The faith community is going to sample it, unquestionably. Whether they stay or go remains with the TV gods. Our job has been to present this as an epic tale of adventure.”
 
Kierston Wareing (Delilah): “My hopes for the Bible series is that it brings in a larger range of audience, especially the younger audience because I can really say this for myself, this is really different, it’s really modern, it’s for everyone. If I saw this advertised myself and I wasn’t in it, I would certainly be tuning in.”

Beloved saints of the Lord Jesus Christ, I share this review out of my abiding love and devotion to our heavenly Father, my great love and compassion for God’s elect, and those who are still lost. Please, be careful what you teach and what you condone.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea…It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.” ~Mk 9:42Rom 14:21-22 (emphasis added)

 
This mini-series has unfortunately been endorsed and promoted by Jim Daly (Focus on the Family), Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Lisa Harper (Women of Faith), Luis Palau, Dick Rolfe (the Dove Foundation) and many other well-known Christian leaders and organizations.
 
Some of the project’s advisers were: Joel Osteen who is a heretic, T.D. Jakes who is a modalist (which is heretical and blasphemous) and Rick Warren who is known for his faulty doctrine. Trying to obtain doctrinal accuracy from these men, is just asking for failure…of biblical proportions (pun and truth intended).
 
I’m not surprised by many of these advisers and endorsers, however I am disappointed by Jim Daly, Lisa Harper and Dick Rolfe’s promotion of this Hollywood-ized show of the Bible.
 
There’s so much added and so much taken away from Scripture (and I don’t mean Bible stories, I mean the truth is omitted and replaced with lies) that this mini-series plays more like a religious soap opera with overly emotional characters than an accurate depiction of God’s word, and His call for His people to be holy, as He is holy.
 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” ~Matthew 6:9

 
Biblical inaccuracies that matter (Jer 9:23-24):
    • Opening: Noah quotes Genesis while he’s on the ark with his family (though only Moses knew this and was commissioned by God to write the Pentateuch). During this nice little family story time, Noah tells his family that God caused the flood because Cain killed Abel and not because God saw that the people of Noah’s time were consumed with evil (Gen 6:5-8). Noah’s monologue continues with Noah saying, “God has seen too much evil in people’s hearts…wrong choices, wrong decisions”, though it is written in God’s word that there is nothing but evil in all our hearts; we are dead in our trespasses, born sinners and enslaved to the sinful passions of our flesh until we are born again as new creations in Christ Jesus the Lord (Rom 3:10-122 Cor 5:17Eph 4:20-24) .
    • First attack on the Gospel: Right after Noah’s monologue, the voice-over narrator states, “After the flood waters engulfed the world, there is a new beginning for Noah’s descendants, and a chance [for them] to restore the relationship between God and humanity.” This statement completely negates the Gospel of Jesus Christ while it denies the depravity of man, the holiness of God, and humanity’s desperate need for a Savior.

 

  • God visits Abraham: Never does Abraham demonstrate reverent fear of the Lord, rather he speaks to Lord as if He were a man. While this is happening, the two angels sent into the city are attacked by the people of the city and come to Lot’s door, breathless and begging for Lot’s help. The angels who earlier feared the people, now reveal they are wearing armor under their cloaks and have swords which is how they fight and kill their way out of the city. God destroys the city as the angels run away bleeding and injured; barely escaping with Lot and his family (Gen 19:1-22), as opposed to the accurate biblical telling of the angels appropriating their God-given, supernatural power from the moment they entered the city to the way they left.
     
  • Sacrifice of Isaac: Though Scripture depicts Abraham as one who quickly and faithfully obeys God’s call to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1-3), in this mini-series we find Abraham arguing and irreverently talking back to God, “What? No! Haven’t I shown you enough faith?”

    After Abraham lifts his knife to strike the boy, biblically, the angel of the Lord tells Abraham not to touch Isaac. Abraham then looks up and sees a ram with its horns caught in a thicket which he understands to be God’s substitutionary sacrifice; foreshadowing Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. But in the mini-series, Abraham asks Isaac for his forgiveness, the angel only calls Abraham’s name and there is a cute little lamb just standing there, not caught in anything (Gen 9-13). The ram with it’s horn caught in a thicket is a very important thing to change. The ram and it’s horns symbolize strength while the thicket represents the crown of thorns our Savior wears as He’s being mocked by Pilate’s men. In Scripture, Abraham has no idea exactly where he is going (Gen 22:1-4) only that God will lead him to a mountain in the region of Moriah. But in the mini-series Sarah knows exactly where they are, and meets them at the foot of the mountain, hoping to stop Abraham. She cries out to Isaac who shows resentment towards Abraham for almost sacrificing him. Isaac runs and embraces his mother and Sarah glares at Abraham. The scene ends with Abraham rejected and standing alone.
     
  • Moses: God never tells Moses that he’s standing on holy ground so Moses keeps his sandals on (another clear omission of God’s holiness [Exodus 3:5]). Moses speaks to Pharaoh himself (rather than Aaron speaking to Pharaoh) and Moses doesn’t argue with God when He first calls him to this task (Exodus 3:10-4:17), instead, Moses is full of courage throughout the mini-series.
  • Second attack on the Gospel: After the crossing of the Red Sea (which in Downey and Burnett depicts as happening on wet and muddy land rather than the miracle of dry land) Moses confidently declares, We’re going to fulfill Abraham’s covenant with God.” What? This was a one-way covenant that God initiated while Abram (Gen 15:12-21) was asleep. The hope in this covenant is that God promises to this great and awesome thing for Abram and his descendants without any assistance or participation from Abram or any man. Godestablished the covenant and He alone will, and can fulfill it, just as He promised. The correlation between this covenant and the new covenant that Christ establishes (through His shed blood) is once again, an unbreakable covenant because it’s initiated and fulfilled only by God Himself: for those He calls, He grants them the gift of repentance that leads to salvation found only in His Son (John 6:44Rom 8:29-302 Cor 7:10).
  • John the Baptist: In Scripture, John the Baptist is the one who is commissioned by God the Father to “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” (Matt 3:1-3). But in the mini-series, when John sees Jesus as he’s baptizing people, rather than proclaim who Christ is and how unworthy he is to even untie Jesus’ sandals (Luke 3:16), John merely says,“Lord, you need to baptize me.” To which Jesus replies, “John, what you are doing is right.”Again, the mini-series neglects to reveal Christ’s deity, His greatness and that His desire is to fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3:13-15).
  • Third attack on the Gospel: Prior to being beheaded John exclaims “He [Jesus] will bring a new age of righteousness and justice. His [Jesus’] power will draw all men to a new world.”This entire statement is very new-age and doctrinally unsound. Jesus is not interested in social reform. He’s interested in reconciling utterly sinful human beings to a holy, righteous and good God through: His substitutionary death for sinful man, His resurrection of new life for those who’ve repented and trusted in Him, and a glorious eternal life spent in the presence of the Almighty once we’ve completed our sojourn here on earth. Jesus did not come to earth, die, be resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father so we could have a “better life” here on earth.
  • Jesus’ calling of Peter: Jesus sees Peter rolling up his nets and asks him if he needs any help. Peter is tired and angry and rudely declines Jesus’ offer. So Jesus just smiles understandably and starts walking in the water toward Peter’s boat. When Jesus gets waist deep, he asks for Peter’s help into the boat. Peter reluctantly helps Jesus. Jesus suggests they go fishing, Peter angrily says “No”. Jesus then smiles and pleads, “Peter, just give me an hour, and I will give you a whole new life.” To which Peter retorts, “Who says I want one?”No majesty, no power and no reverence for Christ is depicted here; only humanity’s vivacious spirit and the God of the universe trying to convince people to follow Him.
  • Fourth attack on the Gospel: While Jesus and Peter are fishing, Jesus tells Peter He needs Peter to help Him “change the world.” Downey, Burnett and their theological advisers continue to portray the Almighty much like the false pagan gods who something from their subjects in order to do anything. Nowhere in Scripture does God state that He is trying to change the world or needs our assistance with anything; rather our Lord clearly states, without Himwe can do nothing (John 15:5). Also in the Scriptures, our LORD declares He is going to do something magnificent—He’s going to give us new hearts and new minds and conform us into the image of His Son, Christ the Lord. God certainly has no interest in merely making this world a nicer place to live.
  • Last Supper and Fifth attack on the Gospel: While the actor who portrays Jesus says the bread is the body of Christ and the wine is Jesus’ blood, he never says the most important thing: it is for the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:28). Though all of Scripture points to the Gospel, in this mini-series, there is no Gospel message; only a message of man’s power to have enough “faith” to see himself through and lead others to a “better place”.
  • Second Coming: They have the actor who portrays Jesus to say that he’s coming again, with a smile and in a comforting, reassuring tone; as if Christ’s Second Coming will be a happy day for all…which it won’t be. As it is written, our Lord’s awesome Second Coming will be a time of great rejoicing and relief for believers, and a dread beyond words for unbelievers (2 Thess 1:5-9, Revelations 3:10-11, 22:12).
Throughout the entire series, God’s holiness and righteousness is either completely omitted or diminished. The Almighty is portrayed as the Roman Catholic’s angry God who curses people if they don’t obey, mixed with the heretical false god of Joel Osteen who wants to give you a big hug and make you happy no matter what you’ve done. Putting both sects of heretical teachings together produces an angry and sappy deity who desperately wants people to know about His love (as defined by the world) and will punish all the “bad” people, while allowing all the “good” people (by their own merits) to continuously receive blessings regardless of any ungodly behavior.
 
This is most certainly not the true nature of the Almighty God as He reveals Himself through His word. The one true God reveals Himself as: holy, awesome, righteous and just, full of compassion and mercy, who, in spite of our great sins, provides salvation to us through the condescension, perfect life, death and resurrection of His one and only Son, Christ the Lord.
 
There are many more incredulous liberties Downey and her husband took on their re-writing of the Bible stories, but it’s not necessary to divulge them all. What I’ve shared should suffice and convince any God-fearing, Christ-loving, Bible-believing Christian to stay away, warn others and respectfully share this truth with the Christian leaders and organizations that are endorsing this project.
 

Q. “Even though there’s a lot of error in this movie, still, don’t you think it’s a great way to show people who God really is, I mean, can’t God use anything to save someone?

 

A. No, I don’t think this movie is a great way to reveal the truth about God since it’s filled with lies about God. And yes, I realize God can use anything to save someone, but He only chose to use the message of the true Gospel to save all men (John 14:6Acts 4:12). Nowhere in Scripture does God command or allow His children to use the work of Satan to proclaim His truth. And God is clear, anyone who denies Him and defiles His holy character or word, works for the devil, not for God. Since the beginning of time, the devil has attempted to minimize and blaspheme God’s holy character by lulling us to disregard His holiness, justice and righteousness. God has never called His children of light to partner with the works of darkness (2 Cor 6:15-16). As God’s children, we are commanded to pursue holiness, rather than try to find a way to compromise the glory of Christ in order to ‘reach more people’.

Q. “Sunny, don’t you think you’re taking this a bit too seriously? I mean, when’s the last time you saw “the Bible” trending at #1 in social media? Don’t you think this is great!?”

A. Jesus said, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God…Now when He [Jesus] was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs that He was doing. But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for He Himself knew what was in man…The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’ ” ~Luke 16:15John 2:23-25Jer 17:9-10

Q. “Sunny, this is Roma Downey and her husband’s movie. Don’t you think they have the right to leave out or add into the film whatever they want?”

A. While I agree that this mini-series belongs to Roma Downey and her husband, the story they’re telling doesn’t. The Bible and everything in it belongs to God and no one else. God clearly states in His word, that He has given no one “creative liberties” with His word or His immutable character (Is 46:5-11James 1:16-18).

Q. “I know they left things out in the mini-series Sunny, but did you really expect them to fit the entire Bible into 10 hours?”

A. No, I didn’t expect them to include every detail of God’s word in that short time span. However, when I said they left much out and added much in, I didn’t mean biblical content, I meant biblical truths were left out and lies were added in. Downey and Burnett tried to re-write the word of God to fit their idea and the public’s idea of who God should be; someone more approachable, easy to get along with, someone who makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. And this depiction of God is false. It is the world’s idol of who they want their god to be. Their god who has no power, no authority and no salvation.

Q. “Don’t you think it’s useful for all Christians to have this great springboard to talk to people who normally wouldn’t be interested in God or the Bible (i.e., people at work, school, etc.)?”

A. Let me ask you a question. Do you believe Romans 1:16-17, that the Gospel of Christ alone has the power to save and reveal the righteousness of God? If you do, why would you need anything else to talk to people about the Lord? If you’re sincerely desiring to learn ways to reach more people for Christ, go to www.livingwaters.com to find out how you can biblically and effectively share the Gospel in every area of your life. Trust me, God’s word was sufficient for Christ and all His faithful witnesses of old and I assure you, God’s word is still sufficient to do the job today. God doesn’t need the spectacle of Hollywood to make Himself more presentable to the world.

Q. “Okay, I agree with everything you just mentioned, but don’t you think the more mature Christian could use this as a teaching tool so we’re better equipped to defend our faith and help those weak in faith to distinguish between the errors and truth?”

A. In law enforcement, when they’re training officers to quickly discern counterfeit money, do you know what they do? They tell them to study the authentic bill so well, that it’ll be easy to spot a counterfeit. Just the same, God commands His children, children of the light, children of truth, to be students of His word so that we are not tossed by the waves of false teaching and false doctrine (Matt 7:15-2016:12Eph 4:11-14).

Q. “Well, don’t you think it’s still a ‘good’ movie? I thought it was well made and quite entertaining.”

A. Remember what Jesus said, only God is good (Mk 10:18); therefore if whatever anyone does is not of God, then it of no good. Besides, God never created us, nor revealed Himself to us, for our entertainment, He did it to make us a holy people—set apart for Him.

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”  ~1 Peter 1:13-19

Read (below) other biblical reviews that honor God rather than entertain the masses and please help me spread God’s truth and warn the other saints of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. Then faithfully share the true Gospel to a dying and depraved world (2 Tim 2:15Heb 4:11-13).

May God’s name and character always be honored and exalted in the lives of His children.
 
To God alone be the glory.
 
The video, Episode 8. The Last Supper, is currently blocked on YouTube, but if you are able to view it elsewhere, go over the video again. Or you can simply type this address into your browser: http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/03/something-huge-is-missing-from-the-last-supper-2/
 
NB. I will like to hear your reaction to this article.

Be Still, Stand Still, Sit Still

• Be Still: “Be Still and know that I am God …” (Ps. 46:10). It means “to take your hands off, relax.” Don’t be impatient with God by interfering because your hand will get in the way!

• Stand Still “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever” (Ex. 14:13). There is no need to panic because God is in control.

• Sit Still: “Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day” (Ruth 3:18). It is the time of absolute submission to authority and divine protocol. 

Human nature gets tired sometimes and we want to help God. However, our human interference make things worse. Ruth waited for Boaz to work (Ruth 3:18). She submitted to (Ruth 3:6-9), listened to (Ruth 3:10-14), and received gifts from Boaz (Ruth 3:15-17). She sat still through the process of her elevation.

A Brand New Man (Part 2)

What is God’s life like?

The life (Zoe) of God exhibits the nature of God.

When you have the life of God, you do not become God but you begin to think, feel, and live as a child of God. You do not react to people and things; rather, you act. You start thinking with the thoughts (Scriptures) of God.

The new nature created after the life of God works and behaves differently.  It acts in harmony with the nature of God. You must become conscious of the new nature and walk in the newness of life in your daily.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God… Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 Jn. 3:1a, 9).

Paul, the Apostle, gave a greater insight into the new life and how it works.

 “If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:21-24). 

The appetites, language and disposition that come with new life are totally different. The life of God hates evil speaking. It does not participate in slandering or gossip. The Scripture confirms this standard.

Believers do not lie – they hate to tell lies because the new nature in them does not have the inherent ability to sweep things under the carpet.

When believers get angry, it should be more of righteous indignation, not a root of malice or bitterness.

The power for this new life comes from God’s kind of love.

 “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.  “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.  Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:25-32).

The Path to New Life

The path to new life begins with a godly desire for the nature of God. The desire stimulates awareness that the current life and its nature are unacceptable to God. In order words, you have to recognize that your present life and its inherent ability are failing you.

Now, you are ready to call upon the name of the Lord and experience biblical salvation.

In the Bible days, calling on the name of the Lord was the way to salvation. However, people teach these days that we should say the sinner’s prayer and we become saved. But being saved goes beyond merely professing a belief in Christ. 

Paul and Peter said, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). “For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). 

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:32). 

However, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

So, does Matt. 7:21 clash with passages such as Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:13 since some believers EQUATE being saved to “calling out to Christ,” when Christ Himself proclaimed that a mere calling upon Him would not save a person! The CALL in Acts 2:21, Rom. 10:13 Acts 22:16 is not EQUATED with the “call” Jesus spoke of on the Mount (Matt. 7:21). 

“Calling on the name of the Lord” involves more than verbal petition directed towards God or just making a request. “Calling on God” in the Bible had deeper meaning: 

Paul said in Acts 25:11, “I appeal unto Caesar.” The phrase “Appeal” (epikaloumai) is the same word translated “Call” or “calling” in Acts 2:21, 22:16 & Romans 10:13. 

Paul was not saying to Caesar, “I’m calling on you to save me.” 

In that episode, Paul was claiming the right of his citizenship, Roman citizenship, to have his case transferred to Caesar’s court and judged by Caesar. In so doing, he was saying whatever Caesar decide, he would abide by or trust. 

If his “appeal” is granted and his case is transferred, he must be willing to follow all protocols of Caesar – including the travelling, treatment and the handling by the soldier; any necessary, temporal custody. 

Paul calling on Caesar means he is totally disposed and submissive to Caesar. As T. Pierce Brown wrote, “… Calling on the Lord involves obedience.” 

A Christian believer is someone who has submitted himself or herself to the authority of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:18). 

Calling on the name of the Lord is equated to serving the Lord.  A Christian believer is, therefore, someone who serves the Lord. 

“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord” (Zeph. 3:9). 

Calling on the name of the Lord tantamount to submitting to the will of the Lord (Acts 2:21). It means you have agreed to do all things in agreement with His authority. So, Christianity is not the last aid, but the first and only aid. 

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17). 

Peter told the crowd who listened to the proclamation of the Gospel to call on the name of the Lord in Acts 2:21. 

The people asked, HOW? “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38). 

The non-believers came to understand that “calling on the name of the Lord for salvation” was equal to obeying the Gospel. They repented of their sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38, 41). 

The crowd believed in the resurrected Christ whom Peter preached.

A Brand New Man 1 John 5:1-13

Do you long for transformation in every area of your life? Do you seek genuine changes in your character, thoughts, nature and life? Then, let’s consider what Jesus said about life, living and true transformation

What is life?

Life is the principle of power and mobility. Power is the ability to do, accomplish and actualize. Life is about “being” and “doing.” Transformation is about living the life of God.

The first man in human race is Adam. He was made by God and designed to live life at its fullest. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). The life in him was powered and inspired by the breath of God. “But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding” (Job 32:8).

Adam sinned and became cut off from the life of God. The man died.

Actually, the Bible put it this way:

“ … through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Rom. 5:12-14).

“As it is written: There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”

“Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes. … For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:10 -18, 23).

Sin is a nature. It is a way of living different from the life of God. Sin produces after its nature. You are not a sinner because you sinned. You sin because you have the nature of the sin.

Jesus said, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man … Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Matt. 15:11, 17-20).

The original life as intended by God for Adam and his children was lost. But not just the life, it was life and its concomitant propensities to “be” and “do” that were lost.

He lost the nature, character and the thought system that came with the life of God. Then, he inherited a fallen (below originally installed capacity) nature. The nature is corrupt and hostile to God. It is the nature of sin.

Your nature puts a limit on who you are as much as what you can do as you can never express yourself outside of your constituent properties or nature; you cannot behave differently than your nature.

In all reality, the nature of a creature determines its capacity for action. Your nature influences your daily habits and future.

I have a German shepherd dog. She is a huge creature that lurks around the family and the house. She is friendly though (if she likes you); she rolls and plays around. Her favorite game is soccer. As beautiful as B… is, you do not want to see the other side of this dog. When we go on a stroll and she sees another dog especially the big species, she can’t resist it, her nature just comes up, in a charging way, because that’s who she is.

The New Nature

If the default human nature is corrupt, how do I acquire a new nature? So, how do you rid yourself of this nature? How do you get a new nature? What is the secret to a complete transformation in your being?

The answer is: You Must Be Born Again.

You received your current, old nature through Adam and your parents who gave birth to you. You need to be borne by someone else to get a new nature.

In the Gospel of Saint John, chapter three, Nicodemus came to Jesus to ask Him a question about transformation because he noticed that Jesus had a different nature, character, way of thinking and life, altogether.

“There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (Jn. 3:1-2).

Jesus said, “You must be born again.”

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (Jn. 3:3-7).

When man sinned, there was equal condemnation on all men, both Jews and Gentiles. But the good news is that God gave all men equal justification when Christ died and gave us the righteousness (approval, right standing) from God. But you must be willing to call on the name of the Lord and receive the gift of life that gives birth to the new nature.

“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Rom. 5:12-18).

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD” (Isa. 55:7-8).

When you get born again, you received a new nature. It is the miracle of transformation.

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn. 5:12).

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 Jn. 5:9-11).

With the new life, you have the nature of God.