There are many different thoughts on celebrating Christmas, and I find it something that seems to bring conflict to many who follow Christ! While many believe that practicing what originally began as a pagan celebration is wrong, the fact is that Christians turned it into a day to celebrate the birth of Christ. Others find it wrong that we celebrate birth at all. The birthday was not something that was celebrated by early Jews.
We are not instructed in the Bible to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it is notable that the birth was noted in the Bible itself with the honoring of the baby by Angels declaring His birth, by Wise Men looking for Him and bringing gifts to celebrate His coming and recognizing the importance of His future Kingship. The gospels do not give us a date of His birth, and yet they do emphasize the importance of His birth. Without His birth, we have nothing. He had to come to earth as a human to fulfill the prophecy and give the sacrifice. It stands to reason that His birth is one of the most important days in history. And while we are also told to celebrate death over birth, without the birth, you can not have the death.
As for the fact that Christmas itself began as a pagan holiday, people ceased to associate the day with the worship of a pagan god and began to associate it with the birth of the Savior of the world. For ministry, is that not what we want? For people to disregard pagans and remember Christ’s coming?
One of the biggest problems with modern day followers of Christ is that all to often the celebration becomes more about themselves than it is about Christ. We don’t truly celebrate the birth of Jesus so much as we take the opportunity to party and feed our own desires, whether with food, friends, presents or other indulgences. Do we really spend enough time in reflection on the reason for His birth and thanksgiving for it?
While we may or may not agree on whether we should celebrate Christmas, I decided that I would include a few others thoughts on that very thing. God bless!
“Christmas now means that we mark, in Christian ways, the birth of Jesus Christ. I think the birth, death and resurrection of Christ are the most important events in human history. Not to mark them in some way, by way of special celebration, would be folly it seems to me.” From: Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? John Piper
Charles H. Spurgeon on Christmas from Founders Ministries Blog:
He had little patience with his Protestant brethren who made much of the day out of religious devotion. Yet, Spurgeon was far from a Scrooge. Nor did he think it some violation of Scripture to utilize the inevitable emphasis of the season to preach the incarnate Christ. So it is easy to find sermons on the birth of Christ that he preached around Christmas time.
In December of 1855 he preached on “The Incarnation and Birth of Christ” from Micah 5:2. His opening words were these:
THIS is the season of the year when, whether we wish it or not, we are compelled to think of the birth of Christ. I hold it to be one of the greatest absurdities under heaven to think that there is any religion in keeping Christmas-day. There are no probabilities whatever that our Savior Jesus Christ was born on that day and the observance of it is purely of Popish origin; doubtless those who are Catholics have a right to hallow it, but I do not see how consistent Protestants can account it in the least sacred. However, I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt laboring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us, particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus. We do not wish to be classed with those“Who with more care keep holiday
The wrong, than others the right way.”
By Paul Ravenhill
300 years after Jesus’ death the church set December 25th as the day of commemoration and celebration of His birth.
Was Jesus born December 25th?… Possibly not!
Does the exact date matter? I don’t think so! Some people have a problem with December 25th because it was the date of the heathen celebration of the mid-winter festival. As Studdert-Kennedy (to whom I am indebted for his notes which lay the basis for this writing) has pointed out, for the heathen it was based in a time of dread
(dread of the winter cold which had taken the life from the trees and plants and
touched the waters and the fields with frost,
dread of the darkness which had taken over a greater portion of every day,
dread of the scarcity the uncertainty, the unrelenting attack of winter) from this fear was born the custom of lighting fires and burning logs to “warm up the sun” lest he flicker out and die and never rise again….. Read the rest at Christmas
By Paul Ravenhill
From Billy Graham
“I don’t think we ought to stop celebrating Christmas, but I do agree that we’ve lost sight of its true meaning. All too often, I’m afraid, we have left Christ out of Christmas, and yet (as the popular saying goes) He truly is “the reason for the season.”
Instead of focusing on what Christmas has become, however, let’s focus instead on what it can become for us, no matter what others do. Christmas celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, which set in motion the greatest event in human history. What better time to stop and reflect on what God did for us by sending His only Son into the world?
Why is Christmas important? It’s important first of all because it reminds us of our greatest need: to be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to the God who created us. If we could solve this need by ourselves, Christ wouldn’t have had to leave heaven’s glory and come to earth. But He did — because God loves us, and He wants us to know Him and spend eternity with Him.
Christmas reminds us too of what God has done for us. We could never save ourselves — but Christ came to save us by His death and resurrection. Make Christ the center of your Christmas this year — and then you’ll begin to understand the greatness of God’s gift to us that first Christmas. As the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)”. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
From A.W. Pink:
To you the Word of the Lord is, “Be THOU AN EXAMPLE of believers in word, in deportment, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Is it not true that the most corrupt “churches” you know of, where almost every fundamental of the faith is denied, will have their “Christmas celebrations?” Will you imitate them? Are you consistent to protest against unscriptural methods of “raising money,” and then to sanction unscriptural “Christmas services?” Seek grace to firmly but lovingly set God’s truth on this subject before your people, and announce that you can have no part in following Pagan, Romish, and worldly customs.
1 Corinthians 15
King James Version (KJV)
15 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.
33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Was America once a Christian nation?
Exclusive: Bill Federer looks at Obama’s 2006 statement in light of state constitutions
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.” – President Barack Obama, June 28, 2006
Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out “whatever we once were”?
Originally, laws that governed personal behavior were under states’ jurisdiction, not federal.
People today are aware that some states allow minors to consume alcohol, and others do not; some states have smoking bans, and others do not; some states allow gambling, and others do not; some states attempt to limit the Second Amendment, and others do not; some states allow gay marriage, and others do not; and one state allows prostitution, while the rest do not.
At the time the Constitution was written, religion was under each individual state’s jurisdiction, and each state expanded religious tolerance at its own speed.
The U.S. Constitution went into effect June 21, 1788, when two-thirds of the states ratified it.
What was in those original 13 state Constitutions concerning religion at the time those states ratified the U.S. Constitution? [Caps added throughout for emphasis.]
DELAWARE – first to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“Every person … appointed to any office … shall … subscribe … ‘I … profess faith in GOD THE FATHER, and in JESUS CHRIST His only Son, and in the HOLY GHOST, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’”
PENNSYLVANIA – second to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution, signed by Ben Franklin:
“Each member, before he takes his seat, shall … subscribe … ‘I do believe in one GOD, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”
NEW JERSEY – third to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“All persons, professing a belief in the faith of any PROTESTANT sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government … shall be capable of being elected.”
GEORGIA – fourth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 state constitution:
“Representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county … and they shall be of the PROTESTANT religion.”
CONNECTICUT – fifth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1662 Colonial Constitution, which was established PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONAL, till 1818:
“By the Providence of GOD … having from their ancestors derived a free and excellent Constitution … whereby the legislature depends on the free and annual election. … The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility and CHRISTIANITY call for.”
MASSACHUSETTS – sixth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1780 state constitution, written by John Adams:
“Any person … before he … execute the duties of his … office … [shall] subscribe … ‘I … declare, that I believe the CHRISTIAN religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth.’ … The legislature shall … authorize the support and maintenance of public PROTESTANT teachers of piety, religion and morality.”
MARYLAND – seventh to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“No other test … ought to be required, on admission to any office … than such oath of support and fidelity to this State … and a declaration of a belief in the CHRISTIAN religion.”
SOUTH CAROLINA – eighth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1778 state constitution:
“No person shall be eligible to a seat … unless he be of the PROTESTANT religion. … The CHRISTIAN PROTESTANT religion shall be deemed … the established religion of this State.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE – ninth to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1784 state constitution: “No person shall be capable of being elected … who is not of the PROTESTANT religion.”
VIRGINIA – 10th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution, bill of rights, written by James Madison and George Mason:
“It is the mutual duty of all to practice CHRISTIAN forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
NEW YORK – 11th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1777 state constitution:
“The United American States … declare … ‘Laws of nature and of NATURE’S GOD … All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights … Appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE of the world … A firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE’ …”
NORTH CAROLINA – 12th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, stated in its 1776 state constitution:
“No person, who shall deny the being of GOD or the truth of the PROTESTANT religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding … office.”
RHODE ISLAND – 13th to ratify the U.S. Constitution, retained its 1663 Colonial Constitution till 1843, which stated:
“By the blessing of God … a full liberty in religious concernements … rightly grounded upon GOSPEL principles, will give the best and greatest security … in the true CHRISTIAN faith and worship of God. … They may … defend themselves, in their just rights and liberties against all the enemies of the CHRISTIAN faith.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Lafayette Black wrote inEngel v. Vitale, 1962:
“As late as the time of the Revolutionary War, there were established Churches in at least eight of the 13 former colonies and established religions in at least four of the other five.”
John K. Wilson wrote in “Religion Under the State Constitutions 1776-1800″ (Journal of Church and State, Volume 32, Autumn 1990, Number 4, pp. 754):
“An establishment of religion, in terms of direct tax aid to Churches, was the situation in nine of the 13 colonies on the eve of the American revolution.”
The Journal of the U.S. House recorded that on March 27, 1854, the 33rd Congress voted unanimously to print Rep. James Meacham’s report, which stated:
“At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State – certainly 10 of the 13 – provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government. …
“Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people. …
“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.”
Over the years, the Christians in these states extended tolerance to other denominations, to Jews, to monotheistic religions, to any religion and eventually to atheists.
Activists judges creatively used the 14th Amendment to remove authority over many issues from state jurisdiction.
Though our government has seemingly abandoned ties to the past, for the student of history, it is still fascinating to find out “whatever we once were.” —
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American Minute By Bill Federer
His death went unnoticed, as he died the same day John F. Kennedy was shot.His books are some of the most widely read in English literature, with over 200 million sold worldwide and, nearly 50 years after his death, continue to sell a million copies a year.
His name was Clive Staples Lewis, born NOVEMBER 29, 1898.
An agnostic, he became a professor at Oxford and Cambridge.
C.S. Lewis stated (The Oxford Socratic Club, 1944. pp. 154-165):
If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on bio-chemistry, and bio-chemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms,
I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”
In Mere Christianity, 1952, C.S. Lewis wrote:
“All that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’
That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”
“Christianity…is a religion you could not have guessed…It is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.”
In Mere Christianity, 1952, C.S. Lewis wrote:
“The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus in a woman’s body.”
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“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48 KJV
When we give thanks this Thanksgiving, we should take time to consider if we are giving as much as we are receiving and what we can do better. We need to review our abundance and look for opportunities to share. The most important thing that we can do is make sure that we do not pass up any opportunity to share God. Whether it is monetary, or with the message we send, or if it is simply with our actions in how we celebrate the day. For in everything we do, we are the face of God that people see, if they see our own thanksgiving, they can have a better understanding of God.
King James Version (KJV)
100 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
American Minute By Bill Federer
After the victory of the Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving, November 1, 1777:”The grateful feeling of their hearts… join the penitent confession of their manifold sins… that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance…
and… under the providence of Almighty God… secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace.”
That He would go forth with our hosts and crown our arms with victory;
That He would grant to His church, the plentiful effusions of Divine Grace, and pour out His Holy Spirit on all Ministers of the Gospel;
That He would bless and prosper the means of education, and spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth…
I do therefore… issue this proclamation… appointing… a day of public and solemn Thanksgiving and Prayer to Almighty God… Given under by hand… this 11th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1779… Thomas Jefferson.”
After traitor Benedict Arnold’s plot to betray West Point was thwarted, the Continental Congress proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, October 18, 1780:
“In the late remarkable interposition of His watchful providence, in the rescuing the person of our Commander-in-Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened for execution…
“It being the indispensable duty of all nations… to offer up their supplications to Almighty God…
the United States in Congress assembled… do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe… the last Thursday… of November next, as a Day of Solemn Thanksgiving to God for all his mercies.”
After the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War, John Hancock, the former President of the Continental Congress now Governor of Massachusetts, proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, November 8, 1783:
“The Citizens of these United States have every Reason for Praise and
that all the people may then assemble to celebrate… that he hath been pleased to continue to us the Light of the Blessed Gospel…
That we also offer up fervent supplications… to cause pure Religion and Virtue to flourish… and to fill the world with his glory.”
After the U.S. Congress passed the First Amendment, it requested President George Washington issue a National Day of Thanksgiving, which he did, October 3, 1789:
“Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me
‘to recommend to the People of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness;’
That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere andhumble Thanks… for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government…
particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed… to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
After the Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812, President James Madison proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving, March 4, 1815:
“The Senate and House of Representatives…signified their desire that a day may…be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a Day of Thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace.
No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States.
He protected…them under all the difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days…
In the arduous struggle…they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of His benign interposition…
He…enabled them to assert their national rights and to enhance their national character in another arduous conflict, which is now so happily terminated by a peace and reconciliation with those who have been our enemies.
And to the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land…
I now recommend…a Day on which the people of every religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies unite their hearts and their voices in a freewill offering to their Heavenly Benefactor of their homage of Thanksgiving and of their songs of praise.
Given…in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen… James Madison.”
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“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” This makes known the principle which is to be exercised in our approaches unto God, for, “without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). None but a genuine believer can obtain access unto God: all others are rigidly excluded. There must be the actual ex- ercise of faith in every spiritual work: “by faith Abel offered unto God” etc. (Heb. 11:4). The “full assurance of faith” does not here signify a firm knowledge of our sonship, but an implicit confidence in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice and priesthood. Many Hebrews who had received in general the faith of the Gospel were wavering in their minds about the Person and office of Christ and the glorious things predicated of Him by the Apostle, and therefore he stresses the fact there must be a firm conviction of the reality and efficacy of the Atonement if we are to draw near unto God.
“Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Here is the twofold preparation prescribed unto us for the right performance of this duty. In these expressions there is an obvious allusion unto the necessary preparations for Divine worship made by Israel under Judaism. As there were various ways in which the Jews became ceremonially and legally defiled, so there were various means appointed for their purification (Heb. 9:13). Those institutions the Apostle now applies spiritually: “our hearts” and “our bodies” signify the inward and the outward man. “Bodies washed with pure water” has no reference to baptism, but is to be understood of our members being preserved from evil and used for God. Rightly did John Owen say at the close of his exposition of these verses, “Universal sanctification upon our whole persons and the mortification in an especial manner of outward sins are required of us in our drawing nigh unto God.”
“Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” has reference to an efficacious application of the blood of Christ unto sanctification or internal purification, so that the burden of guilt is removed. This is accomplished originally in the communication of regenerating grace at the new birth, and is repeated whenever the Spirit grants a fresh renewal and experience of the virtues of the Atonement. That a good conscience is an indispensable qualification for access to God is seen from, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14), where “serve” signifies communion and worship. When the conscience is unpurged, the weight of condemnation lies so heavily upon it that we are then at a loss in approaching the Holy One.
Now to sum up. It is one thing to know theoretically the legal way and right of approach unto God, but it is quite another to enjoy conscious access to Him. For that, the aid of the Spirit is imperative, but He will not perform His gracious operations within us if He be grieved. If we have spent the night in ransacking the newspapers, in worldly conversation, or in backbiting the servants and saints of God, think you that the Holy Spirit will draw out your heart unto the Father when you perform your evening devotions? Not so, unless you penitently confess those sins, and sincerely determine there shall be no repetition of them. “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8). What has been before us was strikingly foreshadowed of old in connection with the approach of Israel’s priests unto God: first the blood was applied to their persons, then the oil (emblem of the Spirit), and then they washed at the laver.
By Bill Federer
Born a slave in New York in 1797, she spoke only Dutch until sold around the age of 9, together with a flock of sheep, for $100.Suffering hardships, her third master made her marry an older slave with whom she had five children.
After New York abolished slavery, she returned as a domestic servant and helped with Elijah Pierson’s street-corner preaching.
Her name was Sojourner Truth.
In Massachusetts, she worked with abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, Sojourner Truth moved to Washington, D.C., met Lincoln and helped former slaves.
In 1850, she dictated her biography, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, stating:
“When I left the house of bondage I left everything behind. I wanted to keep nothing of Egypt on me, and so I went to the Lord and asked him to give me a new name.”
“I set up my banner, and then I sing, and then folks always comes up ’round me, and then…I tells them about Jesus.”
Her last full day on earth was NOVEMBER 25, 1883. Sojourner Truth would begin her messages:
“Children, I talk to God and God talks to me.”
Always the decisive conflict in religion will be where important concepts are joined in opposition, concepts so vital that they are capable of saving or wrecking the Christian faith in any given generation. At this critical juncture in church history, the real conflict is between those who hold to an objective Christianity capable of being grasped in its entirety by the human intellect and those who believe that there are far-in areas of religious experience so highly spiritual, so removed from and exalted above mere reason, that it takes a special anointing of the Holy Spirit to make them understood by the human heart. The difference is not academic merely. Should the advocates of religious intellectualism succeed in setting the direction for the church in this generation, the next generation of Christians will become helpless victims of dead orthodoxy.
In conversation with one of the better-known devotees of neo-intellectualism in evangelical circles, I asked the question bluntly, “Do you actually believe that everything essential in the Christian faith may be grasped by the human intellect?” The answer was immediate–”If I did not, I would be on my way toward agnosticism.” I did not say, but might properly have said, “And if you do, you are on your way toward rationalism.” For such indeed is the truth.
Having as the High Priest of our profession the incarnation of all divine wisdom and having as our source book of religious knowledge the holy Scriptures, the soundest and saltiest work ever written, why do we tend so easily to become confused about things spiritual? I believe the causes are four, and I propose to state them in this and the next chapters.
The first cause of religious confusion is our failure to understand that the truth as it is in Christ Jesus is a moral and spiritual thing and not something intellectual merely. Let a man approach the burning bush of divine truth with the desire to grasp it in his hand and the intensity of the fire will blind his eyes and cauterize his hands and face to the point of insensibility. Before the awesome vision of revealed truth, the human intellect should kneel and hide its face in trembling adoration. Because Moses was afraid to look upon God, the Lord could speak to him face to face as a man speaks to his friend; but God hides His face from the man who does not instinctively hide his own.
Intellectual pride, then, with its corollary, irreverence, is one cause of religious confusion. Satan’s original doctrine, “You will be like God, knowing . . .” (Genesis 3:5) has been accepted by millions of religious persons through the centuries and commands a big following today even among professedly orthodox Christians. In spite of all Christ said while among men and all His inspired apostles wrote after His ascension, we seem never to learn that the inner essence of truth cannot be apprehended by the mental faculties. We still come at the awesome supernatural reality headfirst.
Verse of the Day
Obadiah 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done (to Israel), it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
China’s new air defense zone above Senkakus ‘very dangerous’ escalation, Japan says 11/23/13 The Chinese feel that now is the time to move for control of Asia.
It appears China feels that America is now weak enough under Obama as the Commander-in-Chief to exert itself in Asia. With the weakness of Obama, it was just a matter of time until China felt safe to move against America. Obama is embarrassingly weak and the Chinese are about to test America’s mettle.
Please notice the connection to China’s move against Japan and what Obama/Kerry are doing to Israel! They are pushing Israel to war with Iran, at the exact time that God is raising up China to confront America!
It is frightening to think of America going to war in Asia with Obama as the Commander-in-Chief. This is the man who is a world evangelist for homosexuality, he leads the charge to kill babies in the womb and betrays God’s covenant nation Israel.
He has done everything in his power to sodomize the military. Notice the short time between sodomizing the US military and China confronting America! The judgment did not take long.
Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S. 11/01/13 (This article was in my post of November 2. To read this entire post go to: Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.)
Just a short time ago, the Chinese newspapers showed China’s ability to attack America with nuclear weapons and now this move against Japan. The Chinese pattern is clear that they are heading for war with America.
It is crystal clear to me, that God has raised up China as a rod of judgment against America.
Dangerous Times: A Looming Strategic Disaster in the Middle East.11/23/13 This is a great article showing what Obama’s lies and weakness have done to the Middle East. He now has set the stage for World War 3 or, as I see it in the Bible, it will start with the Psalm 83 war. This is the all-out war between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations that will spread throughout the world.
God is about to turn the world we know upside down. Please do not fear but stay focused on God and His word. This will keep you from fear.
May the Holy God of Israel bless and protect you.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As America Has Done to Israel
Hagel: U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ with China air defense map 11/23/13 This map includes islands that belong to Japan!
“We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region,” Hagel said in a statement. “This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.” “The Associated Press reports that the Chinese Defense Ministry issued a map showing the new East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, which encompasses what the Chinese call the Diaoyu islands. The move is seen as an aggressive step against Japan, which bought what it calls the Senkaku islands from private owners in 2012. The islands are uninhabited, but are believed to rest near large underwater oil reserves. Taiwan also claims possession of the islands.”
Iran, world powers reach historic nuclear deal 11/23/13 President Clinton did the same thing with North Korea, and it turned out to be a joke. NK actually completed the nuclear bomb and detonated it while under the terms of the agreement! Iran needs this time to complete its bomb and maybe six months is all Iran needs. The key issue is what is Israel going to do?
“The deal, intended as first step toward a more comprehensive nuclear pact to be completed in six months, freezes or reverses progress at all of Iran’s major nuclear facilities, according to Western officials familiar with the details. It halts the installation of new centrifuges and caps the amount and type of enriched uranium that Iran is allowed to produce.”
‘Geneva talks a facade, US-Iran worked secretly on deal for past year’11/17/13 This shows just how treacherous and underhanded Obama is. Deep down, I knew that Obama would sell Israel out. His love for the Muslim Brotherhood was all the proof that I needed. Now that it is his second term in office, he does not have to worry about the political ramification. This is the real Obama and Hard Left in action against Israel.
“The Geneva negotiations between the so-called P5+1 powers and Iran are a mere “facade,” because the terms of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program have been negotiated in talks between a top adviser to President Barack Obama and a leading Iranian nuclear official that have continued in secret for more than a year, Israeli television reportedSunday.”
Will Israel Attack Iran? 11/23/13 Now that the West made a “deal” with Iran, watch these nations unify against Israel. It is possible that Iran will become the “good guy” while Israel now becomes “intransigent” to the West. I think that Obama will try to break Israel. What will happen if he does this is that God will break him.
“Benjamin Netanyahu understands this. Jewish history, and not just Jewish history, teaches this lesson. Netanyahu may well judge that he has to act to stop the Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons. If he does, then Israel will fight. And Israel will be right.”
Iran Launches ‘Massive’ War Drills 11/21/13 Iran is building and preparing its military for an all-out war with the “dreaded Zionists”. According to the Bible, they are preparing for their own massive defeat.
“Iranian military forces launched a series of “massive military drills” across nine provinces on Wednesday following an order by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to state media reports.
The drills, codenamed “Towards Jerusalem,” will continue over the coming days and throughout the rest of the year.”
Rouhani to the West: Ignore Israel, Sign a Deal 11/22/13 What I think will happen is that the coming war will turn into a world war. There is great bloodshed coming to all these countries as God will use the Muslims as judgment. I also think that Russia will take control over Europe also as judgment. The West is forcing Israel into war and bloodshed, and that is exactly what is coming on a massive scale to the West .
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.