Thursday, February 19, 2009
You look upon them with some sadness, fearing they have been misled and are not true Christians.
But how about you? Do you claim to be a Christian?
If so, do you believe you can lose your salvation, which is eternal life with Jesus?
If you answered “yes.” Please check your Bible again.
Jesus came to save you and not to simply win for you the “possibility” of salvation.
If you believe salvation can be lost, then you believe Christ won for you no more than a “chance” or “possibility” of salvation, because you believe that what Jesus won for you can be lost by you at anytime.
If you believe Christ won for you no more than a “chance” or “possibility” of salvation, you do not believe in the Christ found in the Bible, for he repeatedly assures, “He who believes in me has everlasting life” and promises he will let no one snatch you from him because he is holding you in his hand.
If the Christ you claim to worship is not the Christ of the Bible, who is he?
Sadly, he is an idol. Though he is invisible, he is as much an idol as the visible ones.
There is still time for you to believe in the true Christ who died to save completely all those he has given the gift of faith to believe in him.
Do you now believe that Jesus the Christ, Son of God, saved you completely when he died on that cross?
He wants you to take comfort in the complete salvation he has secured for you.
Live each day from now on knowing that he holds you in his hand. (John 10:27-30)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
The following are taken from Appendix D of Steele and Thomas' ROMANS, An Interpretive Outline. http://ckizz.xit.net/Tulip.html
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not--indeed he cannot--choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation--it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God. Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10
God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48
Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation. Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28
In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended. John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10
Perseverance (preservation) of the Saints
All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, John 10: 27-30, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39
The above came from the Canons of Dort, which were the result of the Synod of Dort, a meeting of the Dutch Reformed Church. For a complete look at the Canons, click here.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty ... Gen. 17:1-8; Deut. 6:4; Matthew 6:9
Maker of heaven and earth ...Gen. 1:1-31; Job 38:1-30
And of all things visible and invisible ...Col. 1:15-16; John 1:3
And in one Lord Jesus Christ ...John 20:28; Acts 16:31; John 3:16
The Only-begotten Son of God ...Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17; John 1:1
Begotten of the Father before all ages ...John 1:1-2, 8:58; Col. 1:16; Phil. 2:6
Light of Light ...John 1:1-9
True God of true God ...John 16:27-28; John 1:1-2
Begotten, not made ...John 1:1-2, 16:28
Of one essence with the Father ...John 14:10-11, 17:22-23
By Whom all things were made ...John 1:3-10, Col. 1:16
Who for us men and our salvation ...Luke 2:30; John 3:16; 1 John 4:14; 1 Tim. 2:5-6
Came down from heaven ...John 3:13, 31; John 6:12-38
And was incarnate of the Holy Spirit ...Luke 1:35
And the Virgin Mary ...Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35-46
And became man ...John 1:14; Phil. 2:6-8, Heb. 2:14-17
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate ...Matthew 27:24-31
And suffered and was buried ...Mark 15:16-46
He arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures ...1 Cor. 15:3-4; Luke 24:1-12; Matthew 12:38-40; Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:16-19
And ascended into heaven ...Luke 24:50-53; Mark 16:16-19
And sits at the right hand of the Father ...Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20
And shall come again with glory ...Psalm 72:9-19; Isaiah 40:5
To judge the living and the dead ...Rev. 20:11-15; Acts 10:42
Whose Kingdom shall have no end ...Psalm 145:13; John 3:16; John 6:40-47
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord ...Gen. 1:2; Matthew 3:16; Acts 2:1-4
The Giver of Life ...John 15:26; John 14:16-17; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 6:8
Who proceeds from the Father ...John 15:26
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified ...Luke 10:22; Matthew 3:17; John 4:24
Who spoke by the prophets ...Acts 2 17:18; 2 Peter 1:21
I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church ...1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 2:19-22; 4:11-16; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Tim. 3:1-15
I confess one baptism for the remission of sins ...Matthew 3:16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38, 8:36-40; Eph. 4:5
I look for the resurrection of the dead ...1 Cor. 15:12-58
And the life of the world to come ...Rom. 8:17-25; Phil. 3:20-21; 2 Peter 3:13
From The Orthodox Church A to Z by Fr. George Grube, Pages 5-7.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
In 1229 the Roman Catholic Council of Toulouse put the Bible on the index of Forbidden books stating," We prohibit also the permitting of the laity, to have the books of the Old and New Testament, unless any one should wish to have a psalter or breviary for divine service...But we strictly forbid the above mentioned books in the vulgar tongue."
The Council of Trent reaffirmed this decree. Pope Clement XI also affirmed this in his Bull Unigenitus in 1713. Leo XIII in the 1890's allowed the laity to read the Bible but only the Latin Vulgate and only with permission, and the Pope forbid you try to interpret the Bible by yourself, the laity are not able. Of course they probably couldn't read Latin either. I will grant you that the Bible is and was read in the church, but only by the priest, and than with the Rome's interpretation thereof.
Pope Clement XI condemned Bible reading in the Bull Unigenitus, by condemning the following statements by Pasquier Quesnel the Jansenist:
(Again, all the following, condemned by Pope Clement XI:)
79. It is useful and necessary at all times, in all places, and for every kind of person, to study and to know the spirit, the piety, and the mysteries of Sacred Scripture.80. The reading of Sacred Scripture is for all.81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.82. The Lord's Day ought to be sanctified by Christians with readings of pious works and above all of the Holy Scriptures. It is harmful for a Christian to wish to withdraw from this reading.83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scriptures. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men has arisen the abuse of the Scriptures and have heresies been born.84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.85.
To forbid Christians to read Sacred Scripture, especially the Gospels, is to forbid the use of light to the sons of light, and to cause them to suffer a kind of excommunication.
This dogmatic constitution [Unigenitus] was confirmed by the same Clement XI in the Bull "Pastoralis Officii" (Aug. 28, 1718) against the Appellantes, in which he declares that certain Catholics "who did not accept the Bull "Unigenitus" were clearly outside the bosom of the Roman Church; by Innocent XIII in a decree published on Jan. 8, 1722; by Benedict XIII and the Roman Synod in 1725; by Benedict XIV in the encyclical, "Ex omnibus Christiani orbis regionibus" on Oct. 16, 1756; it was accepted by the Gallic clergy in assemblies in 1723, 1726, 1730, by the councils of Avignon 1725 and Ebred, 1727, and by the whole Catholic world.
Here is what Pope Benedict XIV said about the bull Unigenitus:
3. The authority of the apostolic constitution which begins with the word Unigenitus is certainly so great and lays claim everywhere to such sincere veneration and obedience that no one can withdraw the submission due it or oppose it without risking the loss of eternal salvation.
― Ex omnibus Christiani orbis regionibus, Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on October 16, 1756.
Research by Michael Scheifler at http://biblelight.net/Bible-Clement-XI
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
There (in John 9) his healing of a blind man includes the use of Jesus’ own spittle and the soil of the earth to make mud. Jesus then applies this mud to the eyes of the man. Jesus commands the man to go to a particular location and wash. The man goes and does as Christ commands and he is completely healed of the blindness he has known since his first breath.
Yes, Christ could have healed this man without all of this (we know, because we read in the Bible many accounts of his miracles without the use of anything of an earthly or physical nature), but instead Jesus chose to do this miracle differently. He utlized all of following: The making of the mud, the applying of mud, the command to go and wash, and the man's act of going and doing, to show us that he (Jesus) does not need to explain his “means of delivering his grace” or “means of healing” to anyone. He will do as he desires and we don't need to fully understand in order to exersize the gift of faith he has given us to simply obey him and reap the fruit of his grace.
When they asked why the man was blind in the first place—was it the man’s own sin or his parent’s sin that made him blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
In other words, this man was born blind to give people a glimpse of the power of God’s healing works in our life. In this case, that healing work of God was delivered through physical elements and actions such as soil, Jesus' spit, Jesus' action in wiping that combination directly on the man's eyes, Jesus' command for the man to go and wash at a particular location and the man's obedient reaction to that command. Why did Jesus do and command all this? Obviously, it pleased him to do it.
So too, it should not be unusual to expect that the two chief sacraments Jesus himself specifically commanded (baptism and holy communion) are meant to deliver God's healing grace to us. Certainly, Jesus himself saved us without these sacraments by dying for us on a cross, and rising bodily from the dead to prove that he has won everlasting life to all who believe in him--as he told us.
But isn't he also telling us, much as he did the blind man, that he has special healing graces to bestow upon those who obey his command to be baptized and to participate regularly in his last supper or holy communion? Our baptism shows our burial and resurrection with him--the washing away of our sins. Our new birth may have happened at the very moment of our baptism, or it may have occured prior to it or sometime after it. That's up to the working of the Holy Spirit--not us. That's why we baptize children. We don't decide to be saved--He decides to save us.
Again, that's why it's not up to us to decide when to be baptized, but simply to be baptized because we know Christ has commanded it.
So too, we obey Jesus' command to take and eat the bread and drink from the cup that we may recieve his very body and blood during holy communion, knowing that while we are already saved, we will be graced to know all the more firmly that he dwells in us and we in him.
Like the blind man,it is for our sake, that Jesus commands us to be baptized and to receive his body and blood that his work in saving us from the cross is made manifest--made obvious--to all. Who is to say what healing he continues to work in us? It is enough to know that he can and does. This much we also know. We are all born blind in sin, and through him only, and the gift of faith that only he can give--now we see. --brother Jim.
of the Son of God: that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)
Yes, you can know if you will live forever with Christ in heaven.
Jesus himself tells you how you will know, when he says:
“He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47) and
“He who hears my word and believes on him that sent me, has eternal life and
will not come into condemnation (hell); but is passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Your ability to believe that Christ died for you on the cross and his death is the essence of faith
and the Bible tells us such faith is a gift that only God can give.
For it is by (God’s) grace you are saved through faith, (in Christ) –and this is not from yourselves,
it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
In other words, if you believe in Jesus and
what he did for you, you have been given a great gift.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16)
he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world… (Ephesians 1:4)
Though you may not “feel” any different, you can know that
the Holy Spirit has given you the new birth (John 3) when you are
able to believe that Jesus is the sinless Son of God who died
to save us from the hell that we truly deserve for our sins.
Who himself (Jesus) bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins,
should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. (Romans 6:23)
Your day of faith is the day you believe that Jesus alone did everything
needed to secure your salvation—rescuing you from sin, death and the devil.
He has saved completely all those he died for.
…he (Jesus) said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)
Your day of faith is the day you believe that Jesus has won for you a place with him
where you will go one day to live with Him in peace and joy forever.
“I go to prepare a place for you…” (John 14:2)
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and
receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)
In the meantime, Christ commands us to “Love one another, as I have loved you.”
And he gives to us a Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
“He will guide you into all truth… (John 16:13)
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, except by me.” (John 14:6)
Thy (God’s) word is truth… (John 17:17)
And as we travel this rocky road of life with its many ups and downs,
We remember that Jesus promised:
I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew (28:20)
I am the resurrection and the life… (John 11:25)
I am the bread of life… (John 6:35)
I am the light of the world… (John 9:5)
In this gift of faith that Christ has given us, he calls us to be baptized into a Church that teaches the truth about his death on the cross and how it means everlasting life for all who believe in him.
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:29)
…upon this rock (faith) I will build my church and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
He tells us to receive him in a very special way at Holy Communion.
This is my body…This is my blood (Matthew 26:26-28)
Jesus tells us that one way to love others as he loves us,
is to forgive others when they sin against us.
For if you forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
He calls us to live our lives in readiness, watching for his return.
Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape
all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)
Monday, February 2, 2009
(at the big beads...)
Eternal Father, we thank you for the body and blood
Of Your dearly beloved Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who atoned for the sins
Of all who believe in Him.
(on the small beads...)
For the sake of His sorrowful passion
Have mercy on us
And all who believe in Him.
(just prior--at the space--before the big beads
say the Trisagion)
Holy God, holy mighty One, holy immortal One,
Have mercy on us and all who believe in You.