Holy

Finding comfort in Christ

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favour bestowed on us through the prayers of many. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:5-11

The Apostle Paul wrote this introduction, roughly 3 years after spending 18 months in Corinth establishing their church. In these 3 years and in the years that followed, Paul and his companions had experienced terrible ordeals; beatings, stoning, lashings, dangers from robbers, dangers from the Jews, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the cities, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea and dangers among false brethren (2 Corinthians 11:26); he would spend many nights thirsty, hungry and cold outside without clothing. Yet he spoke and wrote with confidence, “our comfort is abundant through Christ”, “we have set our hope on Him”, “He will deliver us”.

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The Mexican Standoff

Anyone remember the scene in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ where Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach are standing in the graveyard, ready to shoot each other in what has become known as a “Mexican Standoff”?

The premise is simple, three people who all think they are correct face off against each other, three opposing view points….. they can all be wrong but they can’t all be right. This idea has great parallels within Christianity, for two millennia men have debated, argued and even shed blood over their interpretation of Scripture, each believes they are correct and the others are wrong, with deep theological and passionate arguments Christians have generally taken one of many sides; are you a Calvinist? Maybe an Arminian? What about Universalism? Or maybe some mixture taking parts of two or all three?

Now I don’t expect to solve this problem or give some perfect answer, for there isn’t one despite what many sincere teachers and false heretics have claimed over the years; but I will lay out an objective view of three (or more) viewpoints on the following subjects: Hell, Atonement, The Rapture and maybe more as I begin to compile research over the coming weeks and months.

These topics are either avoided or taken to extremes without considering the other possibilities in light of Scripture, let’s be honest, there are many things in God’s Word which are absolutely clear but there are a few areas which have become open to interpretation.

Friends, this is not going to be an easy study, no doubt some of my preconceived notions may be challenged along the way. I ask that you pray, as I will be, that throughout it all the only voice I will be open to is Gods, the only teacher I will adhere to is the Holy Spirit and the only leader I will follow will be Christ.

God Bless and watch this space!

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

The Christian Ostrich

A while back I wrote about the “Christian Ostrich”….

An ostrich isn’t the brightest bird and it will generally eat anything that fits into its mouth whether it’s edible or not. The Christian “ostrich” is one who does not (or cannot) discern between true and false, as long as something has the slightest connection to Christianity or Jesus then it must be good, even if it is something clearly defined as false in Scripture….they’ll swallow it anyway. We’re seeing a lot more of this lately with the rise in universalism, the liberal-emergent church, word of faith teachings and the attempts of many popular “christian” leaders to unite Protestantism with Catholicism or even Christianity with Islam!

Then I came across this paragraph written in 1885 which sounded too familiar…..

“Myriads of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with colour-blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. Romanism or Protestantism, an atonement or no atonement, a personal Holy Ghost or no Holy Ghost, future punishment or no future punishment, ‘high church’ or ‘low church’, Trinitarianism, Arianism, or Unitarianism—nothing comes amiss to them; they can swallow it all, even if they cannot digest it! Carried away by a fancied liberality and charity, they seem to think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, every clergyman is sound and none are unsound, everybody is going to be saved and nobody going to be lost….” ~ J.C. Ryle (Holiness)

Then again, even in first century, in early days of the Christian Church the apostle Paul had to deal with the same situations, so really it’s nothing new…..

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! ~ Galatians 1:6-8

On Stony Ground…..

“The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. “Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. “Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. “Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Luke 8:5-8

This is one of the few parables which is found in Luke, Mark and Matthews Gospel books, I believe that it’s importance was repeated for a very good reason, both applicable among the disciples of Christ’s day as well as among the modern disciple of today. All Christians (especially young ones) need discipleship, it is not an optional extra of the Christian life but an essential. In the wild, lions will pick off the young and the weak among their prey, our enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) is no different, those who are weak in their faith, knowledge or discernment are easy pickings for the enemies lies and deception.

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