Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An In Depth Outline of the Creation Account



Outline:

God’s Act of Creation (1:1-2:4)

1.      Introduction (1:1)

2.      Day 1 (1:2 – 5)

a.       Earth’s Condition (1:2)

b.      God’s Light (1:3 – 5)

                                                              i.      The Institution of Light (1:3)

1.      God Commands (1:3a)

2.      Creation Obeys (1:3b)

                                                            ii.      The Effect of Light (1:4)

1.      Makes the Unseen Seen (1:4a)

2.      Causes the Darkness to Flee (1:4b)

                                                          iii.      The Result of Light (1:5)

3.      Day 2 (1:6 – 8)

a.       Appointing the Plan (1:6)

b.      Accomplishing the Task (1:7)

c.       Appreciating the Results (1:8)

4.      Day 3 (1:9 – 13)

a.       The Appearance of Dry Land (1:9 – 10)

                                                              i.      Land and Water are Seen (1:9)

                                                            ii.      Land and Water are Named (1:10)

b.      The Sprouting of Vegetation (1:11 – 12)

                                                              i.      God Said (1:11)

                                                            ii.      Creation Did (1:12)

c.       The End of the Day (1:13)

5.      Day 4 (1:14 – 19)

a.       The Constant Purpose of Light (1:14 – 15)

                                                              i.      To Separate Day from Night (1:14a)

                                                            ii.      To Mark Sacred Times (1:14b)

                                                          iii.      To Indicate the Seasons (1:14b)

                                                          iv.      To Number Your Days and Years (1:14c)

                                                            v.      To Give Light on the Earth (1:15)

b.      The Constant Power of Light (1:16 – 18)

                                                              i.      The Creation of Lights (1:16)

1.      The Sun is the Greater Light (1:16b)

2.      The Moon is the Lesser Light (1:16c)

3.      The Stars Also (1:16d)

                                                            ii.      The Placement of Lights (1:17)

                                                          iii.      The Authority of Lights (1:18)

1.      To Rule the Day and the Night (1:18a)

2.      To Separate the Dark from the Light (1:18b)

c.       The Constant Presence of Light (1:19)

6.      Day 5 (1:20 – 23)

a.       God Fashioned Fins and Feathers (1:20 – 22)

                                                              i.      God’s Directive (1:20)

                                                            ii.      God’s Creation (1:21)

1.      Sea Creatures (1:21a)

2.      Winged Birds (1:21b)

                                                          iii.      God’s Blessing (1:22)

b.      God Finalized the Fifth Day (1:23)

7.      Day 6 (1:24 – 31)

a.       The Building of Beasts (1:24 – 25)

                                                              i.      Beasts of the earth (1:25a)

                                                            ii.      Livestock (1:25b)

                                                          iii.      Creeping things (1:25c)

b.      The Making of Man (1:26 – 30)

                                                              i.      God Built Man (1:26 – 27)

1.      The Power of Man (1:26)

2.      The Plurality of Man (1:27)

a.       Male (1:27c)

b.      Female (1:27c)

                                                            ii.      God Blessed Man (1:28 – 30)

1.      What to Do (1:28)

a.       Be Fruitful and Multiply (1:28b)

b.      Rule Over the Earth (1:28c)

2.      What to Eat (1:29 – 30)

a.       Plants Yielding Seed (1:29a)

b.      Fruit Trees (1:29b)

c.       The Culmination of Creation (1:31)

8.      Day 7 (2:1 – 3)

a.       God’s Summation of Creation (2:1)

b.      God’s Suspending of Creation (2:2)

                                                              i.      God Completed Creation (2:2a)

                                                            ii.      God Ceased Creating (2:2b)

c.       God’s Sanctifying of Creation (2:3)

9.      Conclusion (2:4)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Darkness Falls - FREE PDF


Would you like to know more about Satan? When he fell? What were the events surrounding his heavenly departure? Click the link to download the free PDF of Darkness Falls.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Second Look at the Angelic Stance

If you are like me, then you probably grew up believing that the seraphim are continually flying around the throne of God proclaiming His glory. But what if I told you we were wrong? What if what you thought these angelic beings were doing was actually just a misunderstanding of the text?
 
The Scripture passages are found in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4. There is no doubt that these holy beings are forever praising and declaring the great glory of the Almighty God. That truth is indisputable. The issue that I wish to bring up is not concerning what they are saying, but rather what they are doing. More specifically, what is their stance? Are they really flying around the throne of God night and day forever and ever or are they actually standing in awe of their Maker?
 
Even though this is a minor thing in the Christian life and will not at all have any effect on your sleep tonight, I would like to argue for the latter position because we should always be striving for an accurate and deeper understanding of the Scriptures. 
 

The term Seraphim means "Burning Ones"

 
While Revelation spends more time describing their appearance, Isaiah focuses more on their actual actions. The text reads:
Above Him [God] stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew...Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar...
We know from the passage in Revelation that there are four living creatures (seraphim) here. We also know from this section in Isaiah that they are standing above God. We could speculate there to be four pillars, one at each corner of the throne, each having a "burning one" resembling a mighty flaming torch resting on the top.
 
The text in Revelation is clear that they never stop declaring God's glory, but they are not constantly flying. They can fly, but in Isaiah they are seen to be standing. Is there a significance to this? I have no idea. But I just wanted to stir the pot and cause you to ask questions. And I wanted to post my eighth blog this month....

Monday, November 7, 2016

The 4 Keys to Evangelism


If we desire to be effective evangelists then we must understand 4 things:
  1. God is holy (Isaiah 6:1-5; 1 Peter 1:15).
  2. Man is not (Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
  3. Man has a problem (Isaiah 59:2-8; Romans 3:10-18).
  4. God has the solution (Romans 3:21-26; 5:6-11; Ephesians 2:4-10; Titus 3:4-7).
Isaiah, a spiritual giant of the Old Testament, also needed to learn these four keys to evangelism before God would send him as a prophet to the nation of Israel. See what is written:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for." And I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me." And He said, "Go, and say to this people..."

Isaiah 6:1-9

 Isaiah now understood:
  1. Who God is (Isaiah 6:3).
  2. Who we are (Isaiah 6:5).
  3. What God did (Isaiah 6:7).
  4. What God is doing (Isaiah 6:8-9; Matthew 28:17-20).
God is holy, righteous, just, and pure and we have defiled ourselves from before Him. Each of us has turned to our own way because of the evil that is right here in our own hearts and lives (Isaiah 53:6). "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." (Ephesians 2:4-5). He has pursued us and saved us by removing our sins and giving us abundant life which He is offering to all of mankind. The problem, however, is that there are still billions of people in this world who have never heard the gospel of Christ and the freedom it brings. God has commissioned us to go out and tell the world of who He is and what He did on our behalf.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

How Quickly Did Satan Fall?

An argument is given that says that Satan and the demons could not have fallen so quickly after their creation. Its proponents insist on there being quite a length of time before pride was found in Lucifer's heart.
 
Why? Barely anyone questions the idea that Adam and Eve fell quickly?
 
There is no specific text given in Scripture which details the exact amount of time in which this tragic event took place. All we know for sure is that the angels were created on Day 1 (Job 38:4-7) and that they did not fall into sin until after Day 6 (Genesis 1:31; 2:1).
 
Isaiah 14:12-14 gives us a glimpse into the pride that consumed him. Here Satan is seen speaking with an authoritative form of arrogance as he by some stretch of the imagination assumes that he can actually dethrone the Most High. Ha!
How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
The fact that Satan even thought this possible shows a clear lack of understanding of who God is. I believe that his famous "I will" declaration is an implication of how quickly after his creation he must have fallen. If he truly realized God's infinite being, then he never would have made such a false statement. I am not saying that he wouldn't have fallen, but I am saying that he would have used different terminology.
 
Emperors and kings have made such proud proclamations only to their demise. They did not truly realize the true power of the Almighty. Their idea of a god or gods was that of the feeble and fickle so called deities which supposedly dwelled on mountain tops like Olympus. These gods could only exist in one place at a time, were severely lacking in knowledge into certain realms of life, and could even be overthrown by another of equal, greater, or even lesser power if the circumstances gave rise to the opportunity.
 
Not so with the true God. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1), the all-intelligent and all-wise God (Psalm 139:1-4), and the only One who alone exists throughout all moments of time (Psalm 90:2) and space (Psalm 139:7) simultaneously. He is the Owner of all things (Gen. 1) and the Ultimate Authority who sovereignly rules over all creation (Psalm 139:16). Infinite power belongs solely to Him (Matt. 19:26) and He will forever remain the same unchangeable God (Psalm 102:27).
 
Five times Satan foolishly declared war on God with his arrogant I will statements. What he did not yet realize, however, was that his proud willingness would stand absolutely no chance against the Great I AM!
 
Satan said, "I will!" God is like, "I AM!"
 
Satan didn't stand a chance. One pastor said it like this: "God is Creator and Satan is creation. This is not war, this is domination!"
 
Though the account is recorded in Isaiah which was written twenty-seven hundred years ago, the tragic event occurred shortly after Day 6 of the Genesis creation week. Since that time he has grown in his hatred for God, yet he has always recognized his place. Throughout the remainder of Scripture he is never again seen foolishly thinking he could actually take on the Most High God because even he knows that he is a defeated foe. 
 
For him to make such an assumption implies that his knowledge of God at the time was only of God's physical manifestation which walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. Satan was completely blinded to the reality that God was everywhere present throughout time and space and that not even the universe could contain Him. If he would have known truly how majestic and magnificent God is, then he would have realized that his war was an impossible and nonsensical fool's errand.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 
Therefore it is highly unlikely that Satan would have lasted very long in the direct presence of God. We know that he made it through the first week, but given the rise and fall of Adam and Eve and key Biblical texts I believe we can safely conclude that not too long after Day 6 he reasoned within himself that he, a created being, could somehow make himself greater. Where was even a little extra power going to come from? There is no source of power other than God Himself. Satan is a fool and Jesus is Greater!

The Self-Emptying of Christ


Jesus Christ has, is, and will always be God. A time will never come when He ceases being Deity. I am a human because I was born a human. A dog is a dog because they too were born a dog. Neither of us will ever be able to quit being who we are by nature. I will forever remain a human. I will not become an angel or any other created lifeform, but will remain as I am. Jesus is the same in that respect for He will always be who He is — God. He cannot be greater because He is already infinitely great. However, because He is God and the Creator of all things, it is possible for Him to take upon Himself human flesh and bones. He manifested Himself through a human mind, body and will the process of which is ultimately beyond our understanding. Jesus did empty Himself. That much is certain. However, He did not abandon His Godhood.

I once heard that a local store was suffering because there was no one to fill the management position. A woman who held a much higher role in the company, willfully chose to take a demotion for the good of the company and stepped into the gap in order to help that local store. She never became something different nor did she even take a pay cut to her salary. The only thing that changed was the status of her position within the company. In terms of employment, Jesus Christ took a demotion in status for our ultimate good and now because of His humility and willingness to do this, “…God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name….”

Skip Heitzig quoted the following from D. L. Moody which I think encapsulates these difficult topic well.

I am glad there’s a depth in the Bible I know nothing about, for it shows its divine authorship. A man once came to me with a very difficult passage and said, “Mr. Moody, how do you explain that?”

            I replied, “I don’t.”

            “But how do you interpret it?”

            “I don’t interpret it.”

            “Well, how do you understand it?”

            “I don’t understand it.”

            “What do you do with it?”
            “I believe it! I believe many things I don’t understand.”


Bibliography


THE HOLY BIBLE, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION. Crossway, Wheaton, IL, 2001 

Heitzig, Skip, HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE AND ENJOY IT, Tyndale, Albuquerque, NM, 2002


Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Basic Outline of 2 John


Outline:


2 John 1-13

1.      Greeting and Introduction (1-3)
2.      Walking in Truth and Love (4-11)
a.       Living the Truth (4-6)
b.      Guarding the Truth (7-11)
3.      Final Greeting and Conclusion (12-13)

The Jealousy of God

If jealousy is wrong, then how can the Bible say that God is jealous?

In his epistle, the apostle James refers to a certain type of jealousy. His statement implies that there is both a good and a bad way to express this fierce emotion. He says, "...if you have bitter jealousy..." (James 3:14-16).

The jealousy we experience is often tainted by evil thoughts toward other people. It can lead us down a path to which there is no guarantee of our return. Jealousy is wrong when we are consumed with envy and hatred for someone else. Like when someone obtains the raise or promotion instead of you. Or when this or that guy gets the girl. Cain became jealous of his brother and it led him to commit murder (Genesis 4).

So then how can God be said to be jealous?


The prophet Nahum says that the "LORD is a jealous and avenging God..." (Nahum 1:2).

There are two types of jealousy:
  1. Bitter or unrighteous.
  2. Righteous.
Unrighteous jealousy is rooted in selfishness and insecurity. It always breeds envy and hate.

Righteous jealousy is when you mourn for something that does belong to you but has been wrongfully taken away. God is holy and righteous in His jealousy because He owns everything, including us. Since He is our Creator and Owner, our affections rightfully belong to Him and it is wrong when they are taken away and given to another.

We, along with all of creation, were made to worship. Either we will worship God (the only One who can satisfy us) or we will worship something less which always only leaves us empty and dry.

God is rightfully jealous that we be consumed with passion for Him because He knows that the only and best thing we truly need is Himself.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trying to Explain the Trinity

Define and defend the Trinity to a group of junior high school students. Use appropriate vocabulary and examples being careful for how you use analogies.
When discussing Christianity the concept of the Trinity is often brought up. What is the Trinity? Is it just something taught by the Church or does the Bible actually teach this doctrine of Christianity?
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The doctrine of the Trinity states that there is one God who exists eternally as three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…The three persons of the Trinity…are distinct persons, yet they are all one God. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and copowerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God.[1]

The Trinity has been widely talked about for the last two thousand years. These truths about God are so far above our comprehension that ultimately we must believe that what God says regarding His nature is truth. Throughout the pages of the Bible we see multiple passages that clearly state there is one God. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Before Me there was no God formed. And there will be none after Me. ‘I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me.’”[2] Also Moses said, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”[3] We could go on but for the sake of length we will leave it at just two examples. Once we understand that there is clearly one God, we move on to examining the passages that speak of His three unique persons. Philippians 1:2, John 1:11, Acts 5:3 refer to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as God respectively. Additionally, all three persons are respectively called the Creator in Genesis 1:1, Colossians 1:16, and Job 33:4. Finally, each member of the Trinity is eternal as found in Psalm 90:2, John 8:58, and Hebrews 9:14.[4] Again, there are verses upon verses that speak of the Trinity and these are only a mere handful.

If we understand that there is one God, three distinct persons, how do we describe Him in terms we can understand? Several analogies have been given over the years to describe the Trinity. Examples such as:

1.      Water

H2O can and does exist in a solid, liquid and a gas. This is one element which can appear in three different ways.

2.      Egg

An egg has three parts — shell, white, and the yoke. Again, we have one object which has three different parts.

The problem, however, is that within the Godhead, each of the members are different, but they are not separated. For instance, water cannot be a solid, liquid and gas all at the same time, yet God is distinctly the Father, Son and Holy Spirit simultaneously. While the water analogy is good to a point, it falls apart because each distinct state of solid, liquid and gas must exist together concurrently like God.

The egg, also presents a false picture of God for two main reasons. First, the shell is the least desired part when we are craving eggs. When we order breakfast, we do not expect the waitress to place a whole egg, shell and all, onto our plate. Second, the fact that you can separate part of the egg from itself and still have an egg is nothing like God. If you removed one of the members of the Godhead, then there would be no God.

Another analogy, which is more abstract but perhaps a little more accurate than the first two is that of a three letter acronym. For example, BLT is an acronym for the delectable sandwich containing bacon, lettuce and tomato. There are three letters each containing a degree of depth of understanding and play a necessary role in the overall function of the name. All letters must be present at the same time and in the same order for the acronym to carry any meaning and for people to recognize what you are talking about. If one of the letters is removed, then the name of the sandwich is gone (non-existent).

Ultimately, all analogies break down and limit God. We are limited beings and our attempt to describe a God who is infinite is impossible. Although we will never be able to fully grasp the concept of God being a triune God, we must always remember that a lack of understanding on our part does not make something to be untrue. It just causes us to realize that we do not know everything. A concrete illustration would be trying to explain the color blue to someone born blind. No matter what is said, the blind man will never truly be capable of understanding the concept of color let alone specific shades. Their lack of understanding does not make blue any less true or non-existent. All it means is that the blind man cannot understand as it is outside of his ability. If we as His creation could understand everything about Him then that would prove god to be very small indeed.


Bibliography

Cameron, Kirk, THE SCHOOL OF BIBLICAL EVANGELISM, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, FL, 2004

 

NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE. Foundation Publications, Inc., Anaheim, CA, 1998

 




[1] Cameron, 310
[2] NASB, 603
[3] NASB, 152
[4] Cameron, 312