Bible Proven ‘Trustworthy’ Again after This Archaeological Discovery

Archaeological discoveries like this are important victories because although Christians believe Biblical accounts of history, non-Christians strive to disprove the Bible.

Mount Zions Site

(Israel) — [CBN News] Academics are saying the Bible is trustworthy after discovering evidence of the 6th century Babylonian siege of Jerusalem as it is described in 2 Kings, Chapter 25(Image: via CBN News)

Archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, excavating on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, say they have found physical evidence of the Babylonian attack, including burnt material, arrowheads, carbonized wood, bronze, iron, jewelry, and broken pottery.

Dr. Shimon Gibson, co-director of the university’s Mount Zion archaeological project, told CBN News the discoveries were “unexpected.”

The Bible describes King Nebuchadnezzar’s forces burning “every great house” down, including the house of the Lord—Solomon’s Temple. The soldiers also took bronze pillars and vessels from the Temple and carried them back to Babylon while the children of Israel were thrown into exile.

“What we’re finding are the results of that destruction,” Gibson said, adding that Nebuchadnezzar was known as the “Destroyer of Nations” at the time.

The researchers also found a particularly rare piece of jewelry with unclear origins.

“It might have been an earring. It might have been a tassel, some kind of ornament. It’s unclear at this point in time. It consists of a golden bell out of which extends this bunch of grapes made out of silver,” Gibson said.

“There have been over the past several decades a lot of discussion as to the veracity of the Biblical account. Some would like to see it more as mythically based, maybe having a basis in history, but still largely a document that is not really to be relied upon,” he explained.

“Our excavations prove that to not be the case.”

Gibson said the archaeologists will return to Jerusalem next summer to excavate the site in its entirety. 

Credit: CBN News

Awomberew Missionary Trip.

Date: 29th March- 31st March

Pastor Obed Preaching on Friday at Awomberew Baptist Church

It was Friday afternoon we set off our journey from the City of Accra to the Awomberew Community in the Central Region of Ghana. Our missionary teams were together in this journey to the mission field.  We arrived safely by the grace of God at about 5:30pm GMT. We immediately enter into serious prayer warfare to prepare us for our stay and assignment over there. Our prayers focus on taking over the territory and breakthrough the grounds for effective evangelism and Church planting. At evening we were in the church hall for prayer time with some members of the local church. Rev Arcton preached that Friday night. His sermon was from Matthew 16:13-18, the topic was “who is Jesus Christ to you”. The Lord himself knew people’s perceptions and misinterpretation of his true identity, something that matter a lot to him as he walk and live among them everywhere and at anyplace he goes.  He therefore engaged his disciples on the subject of his true identity! More so wanted to know if his own disciples recognize his true identity or not. He asked this question, “Who do people say I am”? It was his plan to make himself known his true identity that he was and is the true promise Messiah, the Christ who is to come into the world to save all mankind from their sins and show them the way to his Father in heaven. The wrong perception and perversion of people, he wanted to correct in the hearts and mind of those who followed him and believe him as the Promise Messiah (Christ, the Anointed One) the Old Testament Prophets preaches. Rev Arcton emphasized that knowing and believing the truth will set everyone free forever. Accepting the Lord as the Christ (Messiah) is vital in the journey of the believer to eternity because it is the foundation on which all TRUTH stands. Anyone can be saved and become new creature, set free from the dominion of sin, death and Satanic deceptions because of Jesus, the savoir of the world. The true revelation of His identity as the Christ will guide the believer’s life and pathway. This revelation of Jesus Christ true deity and identity comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts given to us freely by God. Knowing Him as our personal Lord and savior saves us from darkness into his marvelous light. We become new creation of God, no more under the bondage of sin and death. But save eternally to be called children of God, born again by the Spirit of God.  Click here to view the full message.

After the Teaching we entered into serious prayer time with the whole church, it was led by Deacon Fiifi Kakraba. The Church service came to a close with a prayer by Pastor Obed. We take a break for the night as we rest the morrow.

Saturday morning was the 2nd day of our mission. As usual we began the day with intensive prayer in the morning; it was led by Rev Ed Arcton, the Scriptural passage was taken from the book of Isaiah 10:27. He emphasis the need to have and to be filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit to do the work of God. We prayed intensively for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to be mightily use by God particularly for the task ahead of us. By mid-morning we move to the church premises for another intercessory prayer for the local church and the evangelization of the whole community and its surroundings. This lasted between the hours of10:30am to 1:00pm and was led by Deacon Fiifi Kakraba.

In the later afternoon we were on our knees again in prayers till 6:40pm. Evening service began with an opening prayer. Pastor Obed delivered sermon.  The topic was “Maintaining your deliverance”. He stated that the intention of God is to totally deliver man from the powers of darkness. The scriptural text was from Luke 13:10-15, where a certain woman was in bondage for eighteen years yet still believe in Christ but had not received total deliverance as a child of God. He said that so many Christian today are still in the churches that are spiritually trapped into satanic domination, control and oppression. This he said wasn’t the plan of God for his children. He further explained that Christians can receive deeper revelation from God as seen in Matthew 16:17-18.  At the same time like Apostle Peter received revelation from the Lord but later was rebuke by the Lord because was Satan hiding behind him to oppose Christ purpose in going to the cross as stated Matt 16: 21-23. He said that as believers in Christ we ought to be diligently to maintain our spiritual alertness, sensitivity and deliverance through consistence fellowship with God, daily walk with Jesus Christ, personal Bible study and prayer lifestyle. We have being delivered from the kingdom of darkness and have been translated into the Kingdom of God; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling and holding firm our unshakable victory that our Lord Jesus Christ has freely given to us through his bloodshed on the cross. Pastor Obed ended his message by praying for revival and the total deliverance of everyone from satanic domination and oppression. Click here to view the full message. The service came to a close with a prayer by Rev Ed Arcton. Before retiring to bed our missionary team continued earnestly in prayers for the missionary work and the local church in the community.

Rev Arcton Teaching at Awomberew Baptist Church

On the 3rd day, Sunday, was worship service; early hours in the morning we engaged ourselves into spiritual warfare, also to prepare ourselves for worship service. Church Service begins at about 8:30 am with a prayer time led by Pastor Obed. Sunday school Teaching was led by Rev Arcton. The topic for was “Living the Great Commandment as we fulfilled the Great Commission” with emphasis on living as true disciple for Christ Jesus and making disciples for Christ. The Scriptural message was from Matthew 28:18-20 He explains the authority of Jesus Christ which He received through the Cross and thereby commanding the church to go and make disciples of Him, Jesus Christ. He stressed on Jesus Christ triumphing over the power of sin and death. The Lord Jesus Christ purpose was to build his Church and spread the Gospel in all Nations of the earth by means of making disciples through his own people who believe in Him. He has received power and authority from his Father in heaven and now delegating that same power and authority to all who believe in Him to go and do as he did. He explained that one can only become a disciple of Jesus Christ by faith and receiving Christ righteousness as a gift freely given. He ended with a word of prayer and asks everyone to dedicate their life to Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Click here to view the full Teaching.

Deacon Fiifi Kakraba Preaching Sunday Sermon at Awomberew Baptist Church

Sunday sermon was delivered by Deacon Fiifi Kakraba. He preached on “The fight of faith”. The Scripture text was from Hebrews 4:2, Deacon Fiifi Kakraba explained and expanded the scripture text and highlighted the effect of unbelief and disobedience which makes the Good news preached powerless and unproductive in the life of a Christian. As children of God, we ought to manifest the glory of God through Jesus Christ who conquered sins with his great Love on the cross. He further said that we as children of God should fight the good fight for our faith in Christ Jesus; the devil comes only to steal, killed and destroys what is not his. His assignment is to destroy our faith and stop us from laying hold of the promise God as its written the Holy Scriptures. He concluded by calling people to total repentance and reject unbelief, disobedient and stubborn of hearts. We have to accept and believe that the Good news is the power of God to save sinful mankind from the dominion of sin and death. Click here to view the full sermon.

Church service came to a close after Rev Ed Arcton pronouncing the benediction and sharing of the Grace of God.

Powerful Prayer

GEORGE MUELLER, the great Christian, pastor and social reformer, tells a story of persistent prayer in his diary:

“In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land, on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted.  I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day, I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted.  I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two. These two remained unconverted.”

Thirty-six years later he wrote that the other two, son’s of a friend were still not converted.  He wrote, “But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.” In 1897, fifty-two years after he began to pray daily, without interruption, for these two men, they were finally converted—but after he died! Mueller understood what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that he “night and day praying exceedingly….”  In 1 Thessalonians 3 Paul shares some good news that he heard about the faith and love of the Thessalonian believers.  This good news was the result of powerful prayer.  What was Paul praying for that resulted in such good news?  I believe he gives us a hint in verses 11-13.

First Paul prayed for connection and fellowship with those believers.  He had been forced away from them through persecution and had to leave them unexpectedly.  During Paul’s time with them he taught them the gospel, which they received and it transformed them.  While Paul was worried that in his absence they may have drifted away in their faith, he heard in the “good news” from Timothy that they were established in their faith and in their love for one another.  Paul prayed that he could soon be back in their presence.

Secondly Paul prayed for their love to increase.  While in the “good news” report he learned that they did have love, he also prayed for it to abound more and more.  He prayed that they would not just love one another, but they would also love the lost and even their enemies.  Love in this epistle is always seen as an action, “labor of love.”  In other words love has a purpose, it is not an end in itself.  Love is not simply an emotional feeling, but love results in action.  Paul prayed that their love result in more action “toward all men.”

Finally, Paul prayed for their hearts to be established in holiness.  The Thessalonian believers were taught that Christ is going to return and we need to be ready. Paul wanted them to be ready.  How do we get ready?  How do we get our hearts established so that when He comes we are not embarrassed? Repent of your sins and believe in Christ, His death, burial and resurrection.  By faith and grace we become His child.  But being His child does not mean that we will be blameless and holy at His coming.  The holiness here is separation from sin in our daily lives.  This is speaking more of our sanctification.  We must protect our hearts from hooks of sin by repenting of it immediately.  Additionally, we should seek to obey God’s instructions and find our delight and joy in His Word and in Him rather than sin. My prayer for us is the prayer of Paul, “that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Th 3:13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

By Ryan

Ordination of Pastor Chris.

Ordination of Pastor Francis Christian Anoquampong

Date: 2nd December 2018

The Ordination of Rev Francis Christian Anoquampong, a student and Graduate of Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) Michigan, USA. He was ordained as a Commission Minister of the Word. This was officiated by Rev Ed Arcton from Ghana on the 2nd December 2018 at Christ Victory Evangelical Church, Takoradi – Ghana. There were other Ministers of the Gospel that witness and grace the occasion with their presence and gifts. Family members, friends of the newly Ordained Minister and the whole Church were in attendance. The Holy Spirit presence was greatly felt and the joy of the Lord fills the hearts and life of everyone presence.

The testimony about the Newly Ordained (Rev Christian Anoquampong) by Rev Hagan, Pastor of House of Kings OMI is here. Rev Forson testimony is also here

Rev Christian Anoquampong and his wife knee as the Officiating Minister and Other Pastors pray for them.

In a sermon delivered by Rev Ed Arcton, the Officiating Minister, stresses the need for the newly Ordain Pastor to learn and practice the habit of total dependence on the Holy Spirit in every area of his life, calling and Ministry. He said the Lord Jesus Christ himself during his life on earth saw the need of his fully dependency, empowerment and obedience of the Spirit of God from the beginning to the end of his ministry on earth.

In the Book of Luke Gospel 3: 21-22; scripture says; 21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Likewise in Chapter 4: 1-2. He was led by the Spirit of God to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In verse 14 same chapter after the temptation he was full of the Holy Ghost, there he begin to preach and teach. Rev Arcton emphasis the continues infilling of the Holy Spirit if we are to make any impart that affect the life of people that hear us when we preach and teach the Word of God everywhere and anytime. The Scripture declares that from there the Lord Jesus enters into the synagogues and it was delivered unto him the Book of Isaiah, the (Holy Scriptures) where it was written about him, the purpose of his life and mission on earth. Rev Arcton said that the Holy Scriptures, is the Word of God, everything we need to start and finish our God given assignment here on earth in the Bible. This Bible must be sufficient and enough for us as Ministers of the Gospel. We should not look for anything outside the Word of God, the Bible. Worldly attractions will certainly rise its head at all course, Satan will attack us from different direction but cannot overcome us when we are fully situated in Word of God and filled with the Spirit of God.

Newly Ordained: Rev Francis Christian Anoquampong being introduce to the congregation after his consecration by Officiating Ministers.

The Lord Jesus Christ declares in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Rev Arcton said we need more of the Holy Ghost in our daily living to fully obey God, we need always to abide under the anointing of the Holy Spirit if we are to carry out God given mandate and faithfully discharge our God’s given assignment to the end. Without the Holy Spirit in our life and ministry all that we do will be in vain at the end of our journey on earth.

It is the Holy Scriptures delivered to the Lord Jesus, where he find the road map of divine assignment. He open the scriptures and it is there in the scripture he discovered His Mission here on earth.

As newly ordained minister of the Gospel, you must devote your totally life fully in studying the whole Bible not some part but all. The Bible have all that we will need to do God’s will from beginning to the end. God’s Word gives us wisdom, knowledge and power to accomplish the impossible for Christ Jesus and advance the kingdom of God wherever we are.

The Apostle Paul charged Timothy and said 1 Timothy 4:10-14 – ” 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11 These things command and teach12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Newly Ordained: Rev Francis Christian Anoquampong delivering his Ordination speech to the Church.

The Newly Ordained, Christian F. Anoquampong response after his Ordination is here

In conclusion Rev Arcton charge the newly Ordained Minister to hold in high honor the Holy Bible. He said …

“You must open the Bible, read it and eat them everyday as your daily meal.  Live the Bible and let your daily lifestyle be a written Scriptures to all who observes you. In the same way it is your responsibility to preach and teach others the same Word of God and let them do just as you have done”.

God Bless you all. Amen.

Click here to view our sermons and learn more

Why You Should Read the Bible Every Day

I was talking with a friend recently about how I’d been spending a lot of time reading books about the Bible, but less time reading the Bible itself. The spaces between my personal reflections on Scripture were growing wider. I still felt like I was growing and learning, but deep down I knew I was missing something.

Our conversation turned to my parents, who have been incredible, faithful examples of what it means to follow Jesus all my life—but they rarely read the Bible. For my parents, years of task-oriented, check-the-box dedication to Bible study left them with a bitter taste in their mouths. Reading the Bible and memorizing its verses had been impressed upon them so strongly that they could no longer read the Bible without also recalling the negative reinforcement and guilt that often accompanies regimented Bible-reading groups. Both of my parents have preferred to learn and grow by reading someone else’s reflections on Scripture rather than diving into it themselves.

They were spiritually scarred by their perspective of Bible study.

I grew up thinking, “But that’s still no excuse.” Yet, as I found myself encountering similar methodologies for Bible study, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this going to wear me out too?” My parents were once just as enthusiastic about Bible study as I was.

The church has more Bible study plans, methods, groups, and techniques than we know what to do with. But here’s the thing: these methods help you create discipline to do something you should want to doIf you don’t see the purpose behind the methods, you’ll burn out. On their own, Bible reading plans and verse memorization techniques are overwhelming—they take time and effort, and can leave you feeling guilty for missing a day, a week, or a meeting.

What’s the point of Bible study plans?

Starting a Bible reading plan is like starting a new diet.

Changing your diet takes discipline. Even if it’s something you really want for yourself, it’s easy to slip up and forget about it. If you let bad habits keep footholds in your life, you’ll fail before you start, and you’ll never create the healthy new habits you want.

Bible reading plan

 

The Bible is one of our greatest sources of spiritual food. But sometimes we still fill up on junk food. Blogs, social media, news, TV shows, books, and games. These things aren’t bad in themselves, but when they’re the only sources of perspective, information, and insight you consume, something is missing.

When you have a sodium deficiency, your body craves salty foods. You might not even notice that you’re craving salty foods in particular, but your body is reacting to that deficiency by creating a desire for something that restores it.

Many non-Christians have no desire to read the Bible. They want nothing to do with it. But that doesn’t mean that as God’s creation they don’t, on some level, crave his truth, his wisdom, his love, or his perspective. I see non-Christians all the time who have no idea how closely their innermost desires parallel God’s desires for them.

A Christian, though, is much more likely to notice the source of this spiritual deficiency—we’ve already been exposed to the source of God’s wisdom, truth, and perspective. God’s Word is meant to permeate every aspect of our lives. Our knowledge of him is supposed to transform us into “the aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15), but something smells fishy.

The more the spaces grow between my daily readings, the more I find myself saying things like, “That reminds me of a verse in [book of the Bible],” or, “That sounds kind of like the passage where . . .” Before I know it, I’m not just paraphrasing Scripture anymore—I’m making vague references to it, or letting other sources have a greater impact on my understanding of God’s character.

In those moments, losing sight of the value of daily Bible study is more like cutting caffeine from my diet. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I have energy drinks all the time because they help me stay alert and focused when I need to be. Caffeine is something I’ve made a part of my regular diet for a purpose—and when I stop having it, I feel it. I don’t have the energy I used to throughout the day. I can’t focus as long. Or, worse, I get headaches.

Without your daily dose of Scripture, it’s tough to be at your best all day.

But reading your Bible isn’t just something you need to do to stay spiritually healthy. It’s not a pill you have to swallow or a chalky vitamin you have to chew. Reading the Bible is something you should do because you want to.

What if I don’t want to read the Bible?

Imagine that your parents wrote a book for you—it’s the history of your family, their marriage, your childhood, how you’ve become the person you are today, and their hopes and dreams for your future. Woven throughout the book is a clear, underlying theme: they love you very much. Maybe, just maybe, you pick up on another theme as well: you haven’t always known what was best for you, and they usually know what they’re talking about.

How do you think they would feel if you told them, “Look, at least I read a chapter today”?

How much you read and how frequently you read is not the point.

Part of my job at Faithlife lets me write reflections on Scripture or dig into biblical topics. To do that well, I need to dig into the Bible daily. But whenever I read the Bible for work, I’m reading with an agenda—I’m hunting for a verse or prowling through a passage. For Scripture to penetrate my heart and permeate my life, I have to read it just to read it, too.

Reading the Bible exposes you to the history of the creator’s relationship to creation—that includes you. If you want to know who God is, he had 40 people write a whole book about him over the course of about 1,500 years. Now all you have to do is pick a Bible up off the shelf, read the Bible online, or download the Bible on your phone.

However you read the Bible, you’re going to get the most out of it if you do it because you want to.

Don’t do it because someone is making you.

Don’t do it to show off how much you read.

Don’t memorize verses to get a cookie, a prize, or acknowledgement.

Those can all be useful motivators to help you get on the right track and create healthy spiritual habits you want to have. But don’t let those be the reasons you read the Bible.

Read the Bible because it excites you.

Read the Bible because you want to know God.

Read the Bible because it’s living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

Read the Bible because it can speak powerful truth into your life right now.

Read the Bible so that your life reveals more of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Those are reasons to open your Bible every day.

So why bother with Bible reading plans?

I lead a small group of high school freshmen boys. Every two weeks this year we’ve read a chapter of Mark and talked about it together.

Every time we meet, at least half of them say, “I didn’t have time to read it.”

One chapter. Two weeks.

Without discipline, you’ll never read the Bible regularly—no matter how badly you want to.

Daily Bible reading plansBible study techniques, and external incentives are all tools designed to help you develop discipline and make Bible study part of your regular routine.

My wife started a diet because she wanted to. At first, she knew that she wouldn’t always be able to resist the unhealthy foods she used to have whenever she felt like. A group of her coworkers started dieting too, and together, they held each other accountable. Sometimes my wife would decline cookies because she knew she would have to tell her coworkers she’d cheated on the diet. But she didn’t start the diet because of her coworkers. She started because she wanted to eat healthier. After eating healthier for a few months, the reasons why she started were enough to keep her going. She didn’t need reminders or accountability.

In the same way, those external factors that help us read the Bible regularly are not the reason why we read. But they are, hopefully, tools we can use until we’ve created healthier habits and made Bible study part of our daily lives. These tools, coupled with meaningful, personal reasons to read the Bible will help you have a far richer spiritual life.

My church recently went through a series called, “Room for Cream.” The premise was that if we want to have room for God in our lives, we couldn’t “fill our cup” until there’s no room for the good stuff. If you don’t have time to read your Bible, what do you need to remove to make time?

The conclusion was profoundly simple:

If you want room for cream in your life, put the cream in first.

If you’re trying to make Bible study a habit, start your day with it. Don’t wait until you’ve filled your day with everything else. Don’t wait until you’re too tired.

You could even read the Bible right now.

 

Passion to Read the Holy Bible yourself everyday.

Learn how to read the Bible for yourself

Want help getting started? We have a free 10 day Bible study course that can teach you some of the same strategies veteran Bible readers use all the time. See how easy it is to draw fresh insights from the Bible, and start applying it directly to your own life.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, or contact us here and we’ll send you videos with lessons taught by professional Bible teachers.

The Eyewitness Testimony That’ll Make You Never Doubt the Resurrection Again

Christianity’s core belief is that the Son of God took on human form, died for our sins and then rose from the dead to give us eternal life. But if Jesus Christ didn’t come back to life, it undoes His claim to be the all-powerful, eternal Son of God, Savior and Messiah.  So, Christianity hangs on the Resurrection.

To believe the events around that first Easter, you pretty much have to believe that Jesus did indeed exist and that the New Testament can be trusted.

At the Impact 360 school in Pine Mountain, Georgia, Prof. Jonathan Morrow preps college-bound Christians in how to fight with the facts of their faith.

Jesus Isn’t Just in the Bible

He told CBN News, “Investigating the Resurrection is a historical question that you can do with eyes wide open; it’s not a blind faith kind of thing, like believing in the Easter Bunny or a lucky rabbit’s foot.  This is real world kind of stuff.  And you can investigate the data for it.”

Morrow added, “So when it comes to the Resurrection, we say ‘Well, how do we know Jesus existed?’ Some people even doubt that.  The fact is, we have far more sources for Jesus of Nazareth than we do for many historical figures in the first century.  We have at least 18. Twelve of those are non-Christian sources.”

There’s more evidence Jesus existed than Julius Caesar. Anyone doubt Caesar existed?

As for the Scriptures, Prof. Darrell Bock of the Dallas Theological Seminary explained that any piece of a surviving ancient work is called a manuscript. And more ancient pages or fragments of the Bible have survived by far than any other book from antiquity.

“It’s exceptional,” Bock said. “You’re talking about over 5,800 Greek manuscripts, over 8,000 Latin manuscripts. Most books that we work with in the ancient world have maybe at best a dozen manuscripts.”

Jonathan Morrow is a defender of the faith, the literal meaning of “apologist.”  But he says Christians shouldn’t just defend the faith and the Resurrection. They should embrace it and let it change their lives just like it changed the ancient world. Watch below: 

Christians: If Jesus Is Dead, So Is Your Religion

For some people, they might be ready to believe the Bible is legitimate, but they have a hard time believing Jesus Christ could have actually risen from the dead.

The problem with that, as far as Morrow is concerned, is that everything hangs on that fact.

This author of Questioning the Bible explained, “Paul made the argument in I Corinthians 15, saying ‘Look, you can test this: if the Resurrection didn’t happen, Christianity is false. Whether you believe it or not, whether you’re sincere about it, if the Resurrection didn’t happen, Christianity’s false – go to the next religion.”

If He’s Dead, Then They Lied

Some suggest that the apostles all lied in a vast conspiracy to turn the deficit of Jesus’ death into the positive of a risen Lord. But biblical apologists insist when you examine it all the way through, it’s actually easier to believe in the Resurrection than its alternatives.

Such Bible experts say that to dismiss the Resurrection, any theory you come up with to explain the historical happenings has to explain away three historical facts:

  1. That there was an empty tomb three days after Jesus’s body had been placed in it, though it had been constantly guarded by Roman soldiers;
  2. Jesus appeared to hundreds of people in numerous places for almost seven weeks after His crucifixion;
  3. And something huge did happen to suddenly and forever turn all the cowering, cowardly disciples into bold believers, proclaiming a risen Messiah they were willing to be tortured and die for.

Top biblical experts point out all the holes in these and other anti-Resurrection theories. Watch below.

Did Jesus Die, or Just Almost Die?

Still, alternative theories live on.

Some theorize that Jesus didn’t die on the cross but just went into a death-like state that fooled everyone who checked His body. Then under this theory, He awoke in the tomb, got up and walked out.  Proponents say that explains His many appearances after His supposed death.

What this doesn’t explain is how in a near-death state and with exceedingly crippling wounds, He could work His way out of tightly-wrapped, glued-on burial garments and then roll away the massively heavy stone sealed onto the tomb by the Romans.  And it doesn’t explain why He’d suddenly disappear after several weeks among His disciples, never to be seen again.  Nor does it explain how so many people saw Him ascending up into the heavens.

Oops, Wrong Tomb

Some suggest the female disciples who first found the empty tomb might have just had the wrong one, and the other disciples took advantage of that, concocting a Resurrection myth to explain the empty tomb. But surely the Jewish leaders who’d had Roman guards placed by Jesus’ burial place, and Joseph of Arimathea who owned the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid, would have quickly displayed the body and corrected the mistake if indeed the women had gone to the wrong tomb.

“If you’re going around preaching Jesus was physically raised from the dead and people knew where He was buried and knew where they could find His bones, that message wouldn’t even get off the ground,” insisted Bock, author of Truth Matters.

Not Smart to Lie Where Everyone Knows You’re Lying

Josh McDowell, author of New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, said the disciples knew this well.

“In the Resurrection, where was the hardest place in the world to convince anyone it was true if it was false?  Jerusalem, where a 15-minute walk by anyone could confirm the emptiness of the tomb,” McDowell said.”

Matthew 28 points out the Jewish leaders bribed the tomb’s guards to say they’d fallen asleep and the disciples then stole Jesus’ body. But if these guards were asleep, how would they know it was the disciples?  And how could they have slept through the disciples rolling away the huge stone that covered the entrance to the tomb, a stone some have suggested was so heavy, it may have taken more than a dozen men to push it away?

Debunking this conspiracy idea, Morrow said, “Conspiracy theories unravel very quickly because people will eventually tell what they know. And the more people who are involved, and the more people who saw the event, you multiply your chances of the story getting out. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is the Gospels, the earliest historical record we have, don’t show the tales of being doctored to say the same thing, like they got their stories straight. They had the ring of truth to them.”

Would You Die for a Lie You Made Up?

And if the disciples were making up Jesus’ Resurrection, would they have lived and died for Him and a fiction they themselves made up?

McDowell explained, “They said after He was crucified and buried, He was raised from the dead and for 40 days — not 40 hours, not four days — for 40 days, they lived with Him and walked with Him, with overwhelming proof that He’d been raised from the dead.”

McDowell concluded, “If the Resurrection was a lie, they had to know it. And if they knew it, then you’d have to say here were these men who not only died for a lie, but they knew it was a lie. I challenge you to find others in history who that’s true of. It’s not.”

Morrow added, “The earliest disciples would have known – not just believed, but would have known – that either Jesus was who He claimed to be and was actually raised from the dead or they were making this thing up. And yet history tells us that we have good reason to think they all went to their death with the exception of one for that core belief: that Jesus was raised from the dead. They didn’t recant that. Conspiracies break down under pressure.  And this conspiracy would have cost them their lives.”

What Would Cause Such Radical Transformations?

These and other experts say that in truth, it would take something as radical as Jesus’ Resurrection to completely transform the disciples like cowardly Peter, who was so scared just before the crucifixion, he swore he didn’t even know Jesus. Watch below.

But just a few weeks later Morrow pointed out Peter went from hiding away, fearful the Jewish leaders might have him killed as well, to boldly preaching salvation through Christ before a crowd of thousands, including some who sought Jesus’ death.

Morrow explained, “You see Peter with this radical transformation, going from coward to this courageous champion who’s saying ‘Look, here I stand, this is what I’m saying, this is what’s true. You crucified this guy, but this is what He offered.’ You’ve got that radical transformation right at the heart of what’s going on around that earliest Christian movement.”

From Christ-Hater to Christian Martyr

Morrow pointed out Jesus’ doubting brother James was also instantly changed.

He said, “James – the brother of Jesus —didn’t follow Jesus during His earthly ministry; thought He was crazy.”

McDowell agreed, saying, “James despised his brother. Thought He was embarrassing the family. And then Jesus appeared to him in James’ own word, and he became the leader of the church of Jerusalem.”

Morrow added, “And after the fact, James becomes an early leader in the Church, and was persecuted and eventually killed for that belief.”

And biblical apologists say it could only be a resurrected Jesus showing up forcefully and vividly two to three years later that could transform the church’s worst persecutor into its main missionary.

Greatest Murderer Turned to Greatest Missionary

“Saul of Tarsus was anything but a follower who believed in Jesus,” McDowell said. “He went from city to city casting his vote to have them imprisoned and executed. But in his own words, Christ appeared to him. Whether you believe that or not, something took.  One of the greatest murderers into one of the greatest missionaries.  A Christian-hater to a Christian-lover.”

Morrow stated,  “What in the world would flip Paul – or actually, Saul of Tarsus – to Paul, the chief proclaimer in the early Church?  He was a smart guy. He was holding the coats when people were killing the first Christians.  He was adamantly opposed to this movement. And then he became a Christian. What accounts for that?”

Short of the risen Jesus appearing to Paul, Bock believes it’s an unfathomable transformation.

As he put it, “So the main thing is just explaining how someone like a Saul who becomes Paul even exists.”

McDowell concluded, “Something happened in Paul’s life that I’ve never found any other explanation that even comes close to satisfying me intellectually except: ‘And Jesus appeared to Paul after the Resurrection.'”

Liars Wouldn’t Have Testified About the Female Disciples’ Role 

Another crucial factor that debunks the idea all these disciples were trying to sell a false Resurrection to the world: the fact that they proclaimed it was females who found the empty tomb and let the male disciples know Jesus was missing.

The first century Jews believed women were second-class citizens.  So if the disciples were lying about the resurrection, they made their story all the harder to accept by putting women at the forefront.

“Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – they all recount Jesus’ earliest women followers finding the empty tomb,” Morrow said. “In the first century, where a woman’s testimony would have been about the level just above a slave, that would not be your best foot forward.”

Bock imagined being with the disciples plotting how they’ll push a false Resurrection.

The Criterion of Embarrassment 

“‘We’re going to sell this difficult idea, and the people we’re going to get to sell it are people that the culture doesn’t believe have the right to be witnesses,'” Bock imagined them saying.

But he insisted, “You’d never make up a story that way.  This is what’s called the Criterion of Embarrassment in historical Jesus studies: that you’d never make up the story this way.  So the reason the story is this way is because it must be grounded in what happened.”

Morrow completely agreed, stating the Gospel writers testifying about the women’s role has “the ring of truth.”

Morrow said, “That would have been an embarrassing detail you would have never led with UNLESS it actually happened. And the fact that all four (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) say it happened just gives it that much stronger evidence that it actually did happen.”

Hard to Simply Dismiss 500 Eyewitnesses

Saying the disciples lied about Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t explain His post-Resurrection appearance before 500 people. The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15 suggested doubters go talk to them.

Morrow said of that, “You’ve got living history. You’ve got the people who were there to cross-check whatever message is being put out there. So, it’s not as though these things could have been invented and no one would have challenged it. You’ve got this idea that ‘there are witnesses; go investigate them.'”

He added about this call in I Corinthians to talk to witnesses, “Ancient historians loved eyewitness testimony. That’s what they all wanted. Livy, Herodotus, Tacitus, Thucydides – they all wanted eyewitness testimony to get back to the original.  And that’s what you have.”

McDowell said of such eyewitness testimony, “I put a lot of weight on this.  You see, people today say, ‘How do you know Jesus said that? How do you know He did that?’ Well, they had the same question in the New Testament times. Even more so than today because they were dying for it. And they wanted to know: ‘Is this true? Did Jesus really do this? Did He really say this?’ ”

‘Can’t Get Much Better Evidence’

McDowell pointed out, “In I John 1, how did John answer that? They said ‘How do we know this is true?’ John said , ‘What our eyes have seen, what our eyes have heard, what our hands have handled is what we’re declaring unto you.’ In other words, ‘We were eyewitnesses. We were there.’  And then with their opponents they would say, ‘You were there, too. You saw Jesus do this; you heard Him do this.’  And you can’t get much better evidence historically than that.  And we have that in the Scriptures.”

Morrow returned to how Paul pushed his readers in I Corinthians 15 to gather proof that Jesus rose from the dead: “He says, ‘It’s not a matter of wishful thinking.  Investigate this.’ That’s why he mentions the eyewitnesses. He mentioned that Jesus appeared to more than 500, and as well as His disciples, and to Paul himself and to others. Because eyewitnesses authenticated that event. And it was central to Christianity.”

Morrow concluded, “It has all the ring of truth and not the ring of that conspiracy theory where they just made this thing up to invent their own religion.”

Jonathan Morrow and Josh McDowell share more of their insights regarding eyewitness testimony below:

Could 500 People Have the Same Hallucination?

Some doubters try to do away with all the post-Resurrection appearances by saying those who thought they were seeing, talking to and touching Jesus were all hallucinating, even the 500 Paul discussed in I Corinthians.

McDowell told CBN News believing that takes more faith than simply accepting that Jesus really did rise from the dead.

The writer explained, “Here’s the key: what is a hallucination? A hallucination is an internal experience, not triggered by anything externally.  This is why no two people ever have the same hallucination. Because it’s all internal; subjective. Well, to have 500 people have the same hallucination would be 500 miracles equal to the Resurrection.”

Speaking of miracles, Morrow called on people to not dismiss them as casually as most folks do these days.

If God Exists, so Can Miracles

“When historians investigate this, in our modern mindset, there’s this idea that ‘Look, miracles are out of bounds.’ Well, why? Because if it’s at least possible that God exists, then miracles become possible,” he insisted.

But Morrow added, “We shouldn’t believe just any and every miracle. We then investigate them on a case-by-case basis. And when you look at the Resurrection evidence, it’s pretty remarkable how strong it is, and that’s why it’s at the core of Christianity. And so, I don’t think it’s intellectually credible to rule out miracles before you investigate the event, out of hand.”

Bock insisted, “The faith is very, very defendable. That’s why it’s lasted for 2,000 years.  And not only that. There’s a rationale that shows the uniqueness of what Jesus is that’s important to appreciate as well. And so all the time that’s often spent on the Resurrection makes sense because that really is the hub of the discussion.”

Morrow added, “Christians don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible says so. They believe He rose from the dead because that’s what the earliest and best historical documents show, and that’s what’s the best explanation of the data.”

Early Is Important

Just like historians put great weight on eyewitness testimony, they also give more respect to early historical writings done close to the events they discuss.

With Peter, John, and James, you have both: They’re eyewitnesses who wrote early.

“You can push the earliest core teaching of Jesus – His death, deity, and Resurrection – within months of the Resurrection. Because then it goes back to Peter, James, and John,” Morrow said. “These people were eyewitnesses, they were there, and it was early.”

Paul’s encounter with Jesus came just two or three years after Christ’s death and Resurrection, and not long after that, he interviewed Peter, James, and John.

“Then 18 years later he cross-checked himself again,” Morrow said of Paul. “In I Corinthians 15, he goes ‘Look, I met with them again and they added nothing to my gospel. We’re preaching the same exact thing.’ This is the core message. And you can trace it back to the beginning, that there was never a Christianity without that at the heart of it.”

Bock said that’s crucial knowledge for those who might instead have believed these key Christian doctrines were dreamed up much later.

He explained, “The issue that’s sometimes raised up: ‘well, these books were written many decades later. And so they reflect a theological development coming down the road.’  All that shrinks back when you look at the person of Paul.”

“He was writing within a few years of the time of Christ,” McDowell added. “And this is why for many of the scholars will give I Corinthians incredible credence: because of its closeness.”

The Resurrection Proves Jesus Was Who He Said He Was

Morrow said of Paul, “He understood why Jesus of Nazareth was different in the unique claims that He made, but that then those claims were authenticated through His Resurrection that said ‘What I said is what is real. This is who I am.'”

Morrow summed up, “These claims to forgive sins sound crazy unless you’re the Son of God, you’re the Son of Man, you’re the Messiah. And that’s who He showed Himself to be. And Paul is probably our earliest and best witness to that. And our critical scholars will grant us Paul being that eyewitness.”

McDowell spoke of evidence that can help readers believe the words of Paul and other New Testament writers, like archaeological findings.

He explained, “Right now you can almost say every single reference in the Book of Acts has already been verified through archaeology: 600 some references to kings, people, places, everything. In Luke 3, in the first three verses, there are 17 historical references. Every single one now has been confirmed by archaeology.”

‘The Evidence Is Only Getting Better’

Biblical expert Bock flat-out stated, “These books are the best-attested pieces of ancient literature we possess.”

Morrow added, “One of the fascinating things about New Testament manuscripts: We have over 5,700 Greek manuscripts alone. And more manuscripts are being discovered all the time.”

He summed up, “I think what Christians need to know is that there’s really good reason why we believe what we believe, and the evidence is only getting better. The more we discover and the more we find, the more confidence you can have that this is really true.”

By Paul Strand

Credit: CBNNEWS.COM

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WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT GOOD FRIDAY?

What is Good Friday and why do we call Good Friday “good,” when it is such a dark and bleak event commemorating a day of suffering and death for Jesus?

For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).

On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).

Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.

In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus’ grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.

In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both “just and the justifier” of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the deathblow in God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage.

The cross is where we see the convergence of great suffering and God’s forgiveness. Psalms 85:10 sings of a day when “righteousness and peace” will “kiss each other.” The cross of Jesus is where that occurred, where God’s demands, his righteousness, coincided with his mercy. We receive divine forgiveness, mercy, and peace because Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God’s righteousness against sin. “For the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to his resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.

Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That’s why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.

 

A Good Friday Prayer

Today, God, I ask that You would teach me to mourn. Don’t let me rush to Easter Sunday too quickly. Give me grace to linger here, in the place where sorrow meets redemption. Make Your death as real to me as Your resurrection. Keep me always near the cross.

As I wait at the foot of the cross, God, reveal to me again the costliness of my sin. Don’t let me live in an imaginary world where Easter’s happy ending makes my selfishness irrelevant. Remind me that Your all-consuming grace came at a highest price. Forgive me for the times I’ve lived as if sin is no big deal, as if Good Friday never really happened.

Fill me with the joy and sorrow and reverence and gratitude that befit a Good Friday funeral: joy for Your victory, sorrow for Your death, reverence for Your holiness, gratitude for Your grace. Don’t let me settle for just one of those emotions at the expense of the others. Give me a heart big enough to hold them all in tension. Make me bold enough to search after a truth that’s really true, not just a truth that fits easily in the palm of my hand.

Give me eyes, God, to see the triumph of the cross. Even when all seems lost, even as I mourn Your death, remind me that You conquered the grave by sneaking inside of it and unraveling it from the inside out. In the midst of defeat and disappointment, sing songs of victory over me. Turn my world on its head so I can recognize the upside-down Kingdom of God at work.

Jesus, You tell me to take up my cross and follow You. Today more than ever, I remember what a weighty invitation that is. You won by dying—and it’s only by dying that I can follow in Your footsteps. It’s only by dying that I’ll ever truly come alive.

Teach me, God, to mourn and celebrate Your death. Then take me by the hand, lead me into my own death, and teach me to mourn and celebrate that death too. Amen. ~ written by Gregory Coles

Good Friday Bible Verses

Romans 5:6-10 – “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Isaiah 53:3-5 – “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Matthew 27 – The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ

By Justin Holcomb

Justin Holcomb is an Episcopal priest and teaches theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary. Justin wrote On the Grace of God and co-authored with his wife Lindsey Rid of My Disgrace and Save Me from Violence. He is also the editor of Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can find him on FacebookTwitter, and at JustinHolcomb.com.


This article is part of our larger Holy Week and Easter resource library centered around the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

 

 

Significance Good Friday

Good Friday, popularly known as “Holy Friday,” is celebrated conventionally as the day on which Jesus was crucified. This is the Friday that comes immediately before the Easter Sunday. Celebrating Jesus’s death does not seem a logical reason, but the Christians believe that the results of Christ’s death were all in good faith. Roman Catholics believe that “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Most of the Christian churches celebrate Good Friday during the evening hours, with a subdued service, where Christ’s death is remembered and revered by singing solemn hymns, saying prayers of thanksgiving. The Good Friday celebration gives out the message that Christ had to suffer for our sakes, and finally everyone observe the Lord’s last Supper.

Significance of Good Friday in Christian Faith –

Good Friday is actually a dark and bleak event, remembering a day of suffering and death for Jesus. Then, why is it termed as “good”? Good Friday has a deep significance and relevance in Christian beliefs; they consider Good Friday to be a crucial day of the year and they celebrate it religiously to commemorate the most momentous weekend in the world history.

The death of Jesus and when his soul was raised, ever since then the Christians proclaim that the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be an enormous turning point for all creation. They strongly believe that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then again raised to life on the very third day following the divine promises that are mentioned in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).

As history says, Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion on Good Friday and it was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Next is the Easter celebration, when Jesus was raised from the dead, declared his triumph and victory over death and sin indicating a future renaissance for all who followed Him. Good Friday is thus marked as the dramatic finale of God’s plan to save his people from their wrong doings and sins.

The significance of Good Friday is further explain in the Holy books of Christianity, saying that the good news of the gospel is only significant and well deserved if you can understand the relevance of the bad news. Sinful people will always be condemned and enslaved; only then the good news of deliverance makes sense. Another saying on this context explains that it is important to distinguish between gospel in scripture and law. The law first shows how hopeless our condition is; finally the gospel of Jesus’ grace comes to the mankind as a savior to relief and salvation.

Good Friday is “good” despite the terrible event that took place on that day because it then brings the joy of Easter. God poured out his wrath on sins over Jesus in order to bestow forgiveness and salvation out to the nations. If Good Friday and Jesus’ demise would not bring suffering, sorrow, and blood loss at the cross; God would not be revered as the “just and the justifier” who trust in Jesus. On a paradoxical note, Good Friday signifies the greatest triumph over evil and God’s plan to release the world from oppression.

 

Credit: Easter Good Friday

“THE GOD OF PEACE, GIVE US THE PEACE OF GOD WITHIN YOU”

There are four reasons why we lose our Peace of Mind and why we need the Peace of God in our hearts and Minds.

1.     We try to change the people in our lives. 

As you grow wiser you begin to realize that you can’t change other people, only God can! And He does when you back off, and love them as they are. This doesn’t mean you agree with everything they do. It means committing to love them regardless, claiming God’s promises on their behalf and allowing Him to deal with them in His own way. In His time and for His Glory. And you stay out of it, let God have His own way. The reason you are stressed out is because you keep trying to do something about something you can’t do anything about. It is better for you to commit yourself to God in Prayer. For it is written.. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and again “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE OF GOD which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 6-7) KJV. Chose to spend time alone with God than to get yourself worried about thing only God can handle.

2.     We try to make things happen when it’s not the right time.

 The Holy Scriptures declares “There is time for everything”….. (Ecclesiastes 3:1). NIV. If you’ve raised children you know one of their main characteristic is impatience; they can’t wait for anything because they do not understands why they must. God want us to outgrow our childishness so He makes us wait, trust, and mature. A man of patience understands the times and opportunity in life, but never rush in doing thing he knows only belongs to God. Never force yourself into situations to do anything you know you can’t. Know what you have to leave in the hands of God. And don’t think you can make thing happen by force or at all course. There is always an appointed time for everything under the sun, so be patient and learn to wait, you will not burn out or be left behind. God is in full control. Trust and obey Him.

3.     We get upset because we’re not progressing fast enough.

Who told you so and how did you know that you are not progressing?  You can slow down your spiritual growth through neglect, but ultimately, “We all …. Are being changed… by the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18) NCV). So learn to enjoy your life while God works on your problems, for you will always have problems to face! The Lord Jesus said “in this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Scriptures says “……. We through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God”.  (Acts 14:22b). Again scripture say “….. but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us”. (Roman 5: 3-5). If you love God nothing shall “separate us from the LOVE of CHRIST” ……. Instead “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:35-37) KJV. In the Book of Romans 12:12 the Scriptures declares “Rejoice in Hope; patience in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (KJV).  Again we were admonished not to be discouraged because of suffering that we goes through in everyday lives, it is for our glory not shame. (NIV).

4.     We push ourselves harder and harder.

 We do what we think God wants without consulting Him as to what He actually wants, or how He wants it done. As a result we wear ourselves out. What‘s the solution? “You will keep him in perfect PEACE, whose Mind is FOCUSED, STEADFAST, STAYED on You, because he trusts in YOU” (Isaiah 26:3). Are you focus in life or total confused, is your Mind steadfast or wondering in the desert. Do your Mind stay always on the Lord and the Promises in His Word or your mind are on the things around you and the problems that surrounds your life every day. You always want to fight your ways out according to your own strength and wisdom. You cannot continue that way all the time. Turn and tune your mind to God and rest in his faithful promises in the Word of God. If you chose to give Him your everything, the God of Peace will take your everything and rule your Mind with The Peace of God that transcends everything you can imagine because your Minds stayed on Him alone. To push ourselves always hard and hard will one day break you down and you will not be able to rise up again. It’s better to rest in the Lord and let your mind be at peace and steadfast on the Lord no matter what you see around, feared or trouble about. Remember the battle is the Lord’s. Don’t get trap in duty waters, if you do you wore out and faint on your way. Remember His name is Prince of Peace.

CONCLUSION

To be well FOCUS you need the God of Peace to give you the Peace of God to stay on track in the race set before you, or whatsoever you are committed to do. Don’t ever think you can help God in anything to succeed; neither thinks without you God can’t accomplish His plans and Purposes. The truth is this “God don’t need us, we need God in every area of our lives. Whatever God does for us, it’s for His Name sake and for His own Glory sake, nothing less.” Miracles happen when God is around and in Full control of affair. Let God rules your mind, your heart and your total Life for you.

 

Sermon preached at Liberation-House Chapel today. By Rev Ed Arcton

 

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What is the Gospel?

Introduction

In a day of depressing headlines and uncertainty all around us, good news is very welcome. What better news could there be than as the old hymn says: “The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives?” When Christians refer to the “Gospel” they are referring to the “good news” that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might become the children of God through faith alone in Christ alone. In short, “the Gospel” is the sum total of the saving truth as God has communicated it to lost humanity as it is revealed in the person of His Son and in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. If you aren’t sure whether or not you are God’s child, you might want to read God’s Plan of Salvation before you read on in this lesson.

The Basic Meaning of the Term

The term gospel is found ninety-nine times in the NASB and ninety-two times in the NET Bible. In the Greek New Testament, gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion(occurring 76 times) “good news,” and the verb euangelizo (occurring 54 times), meaning “to bring or announce good news.” Both words are derived from the noun angelos, “messenger.” In classical Greek, an euangelos was one who brought a message of victory or other political or personal news that caused joy. In addition, euangelizomai (the middle voice form of the verb) meant “to speak as a messenger of gladness, to proclaim good news.”1 Further, the noun euangelion became a technical term for the message of victory, though it was also used for a political or private message that brought joy.2

That both the noun and the verb are used so extensively in the New Testament demonstrate how it developed a distinctly Christian use and emphasis because of the glorious news announced to mankind of salvation and victory over sin and death that God offers to all people through the person and accomplished work of Jesus Christ on the cross as proven by His resurrection, ascension, and session at God’s right hand. In the New Testament these two words, euangelion and euangelizo, became technical terms for this message of good news offered to all men through faith in Christ.

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia summarizes the gospel message this way:

The central truth of the gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His triumph to all who will accept it. The gospel is good news because it is a gift of God, not something that must be earned by penance or by self-improvement (Jn 3:16Rom 5:8–11II Cor 5:14–19Tit 2:11–14).3

The Gospel in a Nutshell

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, the apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. Note the four clauses introduced by that in bold type in verses 3-5 below:

15:1 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, 15:2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…

These verses, which were an early Christian confession, give us the heart of the gospel and show the that the resurrection is an integral part of the gospel. Note that Paul described this as “of first importance”—a phrase that stresses priority, not time. The stress is on the centrality of these truths to the gospel message.

Actually, the central ingredient of the gospel message is a two-fold confession: (1) Christ died for our sins and (2) He was raised on the third day. The reality of these two elements can be verified by the Scriptures (cf. Ps. 16:10Isa. 53:8-10) and by such awesome historical evidence as the empty tomb and the eye witnesses. Thus, the other two elements mentioned here accomplish two important facts regarding the gospel. The fact that He was buried verified His death, and the fact that He appeared to others verified His resurrection.

Modifying Terms

While gospel is often found alone, it is very often modified by various terms that focus on a particular aspect of the gospel.

It is modified by various descriptive phrases, such as, “the gospel of God” (Mk 1:14, ASV; Rom 15:16), “the gospel of Jesus Christ,” (Mk 1:1; I Cor 9:12), “the gospel of his Son” (Rom 1:9), “the gospel of the kingdom “ (Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14), “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the gospel of the glory of Christ” (II Cor 4:4, ASV), “the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15), “an eternal gospel” (Rev 14:6, RSV). Although distinctive aspects of the message are indicated by the various modifiers, the gospel is essentially one. Paul speaks of “another gospel” which is not an equivalent, for the gospel of God is His revelation, not the result of discovery (Gal 1:6–11).

In the New Testament, the various modifiers bring out some aspect of the gospel that is being stressed in the context and is a part of the good news of what God offers us in Christ.

(1) The gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:11 Cor. 9:12) and the gospel of His Son (Rom. 1:9). These two descriptions speak of the good news of salvation that comes through the person and work of Jesus Christ who is the very Son of God in human flesh. Again, this is a good news of deliverance from sin’s penalty, power and presence through the two advents of Christ.

(2) The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) emphasizes that salvation in all of its aspects is on the basis of grace rather than on some meritorious system of works.

(3) The gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14) is the good news that God will establish His kingdom on earth through the two advents of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(4) The gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15) describes how this good news of salvation in Christ brings peace in all its many aspects (peace with God, the peace of God, peace with others, and world peace) through the victory accomplished by the Savior.

(5) The eternal or everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6) expands our perspective of gospel as we normally think of it. This gospel as proclaimed by the angel has several key elements of gloriously good news that are developed in three commands and two reasons:

  • Command #1: “Fear God.” This refers to a holy reverence that recognizes the sovereign authority and power of God to deal with man in His holy wrath and thus, to bring an end to the world of sin as we now know it. To fear God is to recognize Him as the true God who can destroy the soul and not just the body as God will do with the beast of Revelation and His anti-God system.
  • Command #2: “Give Him glory.” This refers to the praise and honor that should accrue to God from mankind due to our recognition and high estimation of God as the sovereign Creator of the universe.
  • Command #3: “And worship Him who made …” The word “worship” means to show reverence or respect. This word emphasizes the external display as seen in our obedience, prayer, singing, and formal worship. The word “fear” emphasizes the reverential mental attitude behind the worship. In the Tribulation people will be forced to fear and formally acknowledge the beast and his image. In this message the angel is demanding that mankind reject the beast and formally turn to God to worship Him (cf. Rev. 14:11).
  • Reason #1:“The hour of his judgment has come” is a reference to the final judgments of the Tribulation—the bowl judgments—which are about to occur that will put an end to the system of the beast and bring the rule the Lord Jesus, the King of kings. These will conclude with the return of Christ Himself (Rev. 19) and lead to the removal of all unbelievers from the earth. The emphasis is to not delay because the time is short.
  • Reason #2: This is seen in the reference to God as the Creator in verse 7b. Here we are called to pay attention to the ageless and universal message of the creation itself. Age after age creation has called mankind to recognize God’s existence and to seek after Him (cf. Acts 17:26-27 with Psalm 19:1-6). This means people are without excuse and that, when the angel proclaims this gospel, the hour of the Creator’s judgment is about to fall (see Rom. 1:18f). Though this is the essential and primary element of the angel’s everlasting gospel, perhaps he will say more than this for from age to age a person’s capacity to reverence, glorify and worship God has come only through believing and knowing Christ (cf. John 14:6 with Acts 4:12John 4:23-24).

Popular Notions
Limit the Meaning of the Gospel

Popular notions about the term ‘gospel’ tend to limit it to the message of how one may receive eternal life through faith in Christ, but it is much broader than that. For instance, Paul says in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “the righteous by faith will live.” But by using the term “gospel” here, Paul is not

…limiting his thoughts to those central truths by which a person is given eternal life. For Paul, his gospel included such matters as justification by faith (3-5), sanctification through the Spirit (6-8), and God’s future for Israel (9-11). In fact, the gospel gathers together all the truths that are found in Romans. Therefore, we can conclude that in Rom 1:16, Paul is expressing his confidence that the truths of justification, sanctification, and even glorification provide God’s power to deliver us from enslavement and bondage to sin.

In a footnote to the above statement, Hart adds the following explanation.

Romans 16:25 demonstrates that sanctification truth (Romans 6-8) was part of Paul’s gospel”; “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel…” (italics added). In Romans, Paul is defending the gospel he preached. While the apostle preached “the gospel of His [God’s] Son” (1:9), the “gospel of God” (1:1; 15:16), and the “gospel of Christ” (1:16, MajT; 15:19), Paul also found it necessary to use the phrase “my gospel” (Rom 2:16; 16:25). Paul’s use of the term “gospel” is very broad, including all the truths about Christ in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The gospel (1:1) concerned Old Testament revelation about Christ (1:2), his Davidic lineage (1:3), the Holy Spirit’s role in the resurrection (1:4), and Paul’s apostleship to Gentiles (1:5).… It is more adequate to see Paul as using the term “gospel” in a wider scope than popular notions about the word.

Reception of the Gospel

One of the important issues about this gospel message has to do with how one receives the salvation offered in the gospel. The fact that God offers us salvation from sin’s penalty and power with the glorious promise that this will one day result in the glorious reign of Christ on earth with sin, death, and Satan as vanquished foes is glorious news to be sure. However, the fact that God offers us salvation as a free gift through faith in Christ is good news beyond description. Paul clearly links the gospel with faith in Galatians 3:6-9.

3:6 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” 3:7 so then, understand that those who believe are the sons of Abraham. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, “all the nations will be blessed in you.” 3:9 So then those who believe are blessed along with Abraham the believer.

If the salvation offered to us were dependent on our merit or our ability to keep the law, it would not be good news because of our sinfulness and complete inability to keep the law or any kind of righteous principles as a means of our justification or right standing with God.

19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:19-20 NASB).

16 yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified (Gal. 2:16 NASB).

Why is this element of grace such wonderful news? Because it guarantees justification with God and the reason is that justification is based on the accomplished work and merit of Jesus Christ.

4:13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 4:14 For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified. 4:15 For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression either. 4:16 For this reason it is by faith that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants—not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Rom. 4:13-16, emphasis mine).

Warnings About
‘Another Gospel’ Which is Not a Gospel

One of the beautiful and joyful aspects of the message of salvation in Christ that makes it such good news is the element of grace (Acts 20:24). Salvation is the free gift of God to be received by faith alone in Christ alone (Rev. 21:6; 22:17Rom. 4:4-5Eph. 2:8-9Tit. 3:4-5). But the message of grace goes contrary to the heart and thinking of man who intuitively thinks in terms of merit. After all, you can’t get something for nothing—at least not if its worth anything. Man has always had a problem with grace and this is easily seen in the book of Acts. From the very early days of the church, it has faced the problem of those who wanted to add some form of works to the message of grace.

In Acts 15:1 we read these words: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Verse 5 tells us that these were men from the sect of the Pharisees who had believed. From within its own ranks (they were members of the church) a controversy broke out concerning the exact nature and content of the gospel message. Later the apostle Paul had to deal with a similar controversy in the book of Galatians. Writing regarding those who wanted to deny the gospel of grace, Paul wrote, “Now this matter arose because of the false brothers with false pretenses who slipped in unnoticed to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, to make us slaves. But we did not surrender to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you” (Gal. 2:4-5).

So, the apostle warned of those who offer a gospel of works for salvation rather than grace. We should remember, as Paul teaches us in Romans 4 and 11. If it is by grace, it is no longer by works and if by works, it is no longer by grace (see Rom. 4:3-4; 11:6). So in reality, any time someone offers a gospel of works, it is not the gospel—a message of good news. Instead it is bad news, it is false, and a terrible distortion.

1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and following a different gospel— 1:7 not that there is another gospel; but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! 1:9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! 1:10 Am I now trying to gain the approval of people or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ (Gal. 1:6-10).

Therefore, if distorted by rejection of the truth that all God does for us in Christ is by grace alone through faith apart from works or by a denial of who Jesus is, then the “gospel” is a “different gospel, which is in fact, no gospel at all (Gal. 1:7).”

Conclusion

In summary, what is the gospel? It is the message of the good news of salvation, the word of truth offered to mankind by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is a message not only of eternal life, but one that encompasses the total plan of God to redeem people from the ravages of sin, death, Satan, and the curse that now covers the earth.

The world is blinded to the gospel by Satan who wants to keep people from seeing the glorious nature of the gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4:3-4), but the Christian should never be ashamed of the gospel nor reticent to share it because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes for the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).

Furthermore, the gospel does not come simply in words. “For our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (in much assurance) (1 Thess. 1:5).

Of course, the gospel is a message of words since words are basic to the intelligent communication of God’s truth. As a message, the gospel is a witness to the historical work of God in the person and work of Christ for which the right words are crucial. However, this message is not merely a message of words. Words can be very eloquent, persuasive, and entertaining and they may move people emotionally and intellectually, but such can not save them and bring them into the family of God (see 1 Cor. 2:1ff). Thus, the apostle added, the gospel came “also in power.”

In contrast to mere words, the gospel came “with power.” Some would like to relate this to miraculous works as authenticating signs, but normally, the plural, “powers,” would be used if that were meant (see Matt. 13:54; 14:21 Cor. 12:10Gal. 3:5Heb. 2:4; 6:5). Others would relate it to the inward power in the messengers as a result of the filling of the Spirit, but this important characteristic is brought out by the next prepositional phrase mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 1:5, “with” or “by the Spirit.” Rather, could it not refer simply to the inherent power of the gospel as the “Word of God which is alive and powerful” (Heb. 4:12)? It is not just a message of words, but a message which is living, active, powerful and able to bring people into a saving relationship with the living God for one simple reason: It is God’s Word and it is truth. It is the true revelation of God’s activity in Jesus Christ. See also the apostle’s comment in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

But Paul quickly adds, “and in the Holy Spirit.” This takes us to the second of the positive elements that gave these missionaries their boldness in presenting the gospel. Paul and his associates knew they were indwelt by the Spirit as their helper or enabler for ministry (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7f; Acts 1:8). The Spirit of God, as the third person of the Trinity, is called “the Spirit of Truth” because of His role in taking the truth of the Word and revealing it to men (see John 14:17; 15;26; 16:8-131 John 4:6Acts 1:81 Cor. 2:6-16). Because of the blindness and hardness of men’s heart, they are powerless to even desire, much less grasp the life-giving truth of the gospel (cf. Rom. 3:11), but by the powerful pre-salvation ministry of the Spirit who led the missionaries (see Acts 16:6-10), who prepares hearts (Acts 16:14), and who convicts and draws men to God (Rom. 2:4John 12:32; 16:8f), some will listen, grasp, and believe the gospel and experience its saving power (see also 2 Thess. 2:13).

Thus, the apostle added a third positive element concerning the gospel which they brought to the Thessalonians—“and with full conviction.” This point us to the faith and confidence of the missionaries. It was not in their looks, in their beaming personalities, in their eloquence or oratorical skill, nor in their methodology that they trusted. They preached the gospel with conviction resting in the fact they were preaching the powerful, life-giving truth of God fortified by the powerful ministry of the Spirit of God who worked both in the missionaries and in their hearers.

May we realize with Paul that the gospel is a sacred trust (1 Tim. 1:11). Thus, may we with the apostle be under divine compulsion to proclaim it (1 Cor. 9:16), and seek the prayer of others that we may carry out the task of sharing the gospel with boldness (Eph. 6:19). This will often involve us in opposition (1 Thess. 2:2) and affliction (2 Tim. 1:8), but the gospel of salvation is “the word of truth” (Eph. 1:13).

1. Colin Brown, general editor, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1976), Volume 2, 107.

2 Colin Brown, 107.

3 Charles F. Pfeiffer, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975), electronic media.

4 Unless otherwise note, all quotations are from the NET Bible www.bible.org.

5 Charles F. Pfeiffer, electronic media.

6 John Hart, “The Use and Abuse of Romans 10:9-10,” Journal of Grace Evangelical Society, ed. Robert N. Wilkin, Vol. 12, no. 23, Autumn (1999) : 17.

7 Hart, 17.

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