The Great Change—Conversion

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I have heard men tell the story of their conversion, and of their spiritual life, in such a way that my heart hath loathed them and their story, too, for they have told of their sins as if they did boast in the greatness of their crime, and they have mentioned the love of God, not with a tear of gratitude, not with the simple thanksgiving of the really humble heart, but as if they as much exalted themselves as they exalted God. Oh! when we tell the story of our own conversion, I would have it done with great sorrow, remembering what we used to be, and with great joy and gratitude, remembering how little we deserve these things. I was once preaching upon conversion and salvation, and I felt within myself, as preachers often do, that it was but dry work to tell this story, and a dull, dull tale it was to me; but, on a sudden, the thought crossed my mind, “Why, you are a poor, lost, ruined sinner yourself; tell it, tell it as you received it; begin to tell of the grace of God as you trust you feel it yourself.” Why, then, my eyes began to be fountains of tears; those hearers who had nodded their heads began to brighten up, and they listened, because they were hearing something which the speaker himself felt, and which they recognized as being true to him if it was not true to them.

    Can you not remember, dearly-beloved, that day of days, that best and brightest of hours, when first you saw the Lord, lost your burden, received the roll of promise, rejoiced in full salvation, and went on your way in peace? My soul can never forget that day. Dying, all but dead, diseased, pained, chained, scourged, bound in fetters of iron, in darkness and the shadow of death, Jesus appeared unto me. My eyes looked to Him; the disease was healed, the pains removed, chains were snapped, prison doors were opened, darkness gave place to light. What delight filled my soul!—what mirth, what ecstasy, what sound of music and dancing, what soarings towards Heaven, what heights and depths of ineffable delight! Scarcely ever since then have I known joys which surpassed the rapture of that first hour.—C. H. S.

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No Firmer Foundation

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“Could there, then, be granted us a firmer foundation for the holy joy of Christian assurance than is contained in this revelation of the love of the Spirit for us? Is faith grown so weak that it cannot stay itself on the almighty arm of God? Surely, surely, though our hearts faint within us, and the way seems dark, and there are lions roaring in the path, we shall be able to look past them all to the open gates of pearl beyond, whensoever we remember that the Spirit which He hath made to dwell within us is yearning after us even unto jealous envy!”  –B.B. Warfield “The Power of God Unto Salvation” – p. 148

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/no-firmer-foundation/

Is Jesus a Myth?

There are a number of people claiming that the accounts of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament are simply myths borrowed from pagan folklore, such as the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, and Mithras. The claim is that these myths are essentially the same story as the New Testament’s narrative of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As Dan Brown claims in The Da Vinci Code, “Nothing in Christianity is original.”

To discover the truth about the claim that the Gospel writers borrowed from mythology, it is important to (1) unearth the history behind the assertions, (2) examine the actual portrayals of the false gods being compared to Christ, (3) expose any logical fallacies being made, and (4) look at why the New Testament Gospels are trustworthy depictions of the true and historical Jesus Christ.

The claim that Jesus was a myth or an exaggeration originated in the writings of liberal German theologians in the nineteenth century. They essentially said that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of popular dying-and-rising fertility gods in various places—Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Horus in Egypt. Of note is the fact that none of the books containing these theories were taken seriously by the academics of the day. The assertion that Jesus was a recycled Tammuz, for example, was investigated by contemporary scholars and determined to be completely baseless. It has only been recently that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the Internet and the mass distribution of information from unaccountable sources.

330px-Horus_standing.svgThis leads us to the next area of investigation—do the mythological gods of antiquity really mirror the person of Jesus Christ? As an example, the Zeitgeist movie makes these claims about the Egyptian god Horus:

• He was born on December 25 of a virgin: Isis Mary
• A star in the East proclaimed his arrival
• Three kings came to adore the newborn “savior”
• He became a child prodigy teacher at age 12
• At age 30 he was “baptized” and began a “ministry”
• Horus had twelve “disciples”
• Horus was betrayed
• He was crucified
• He was buried for three days
• He was resurrected after three days

However, when the actual writings about Horus are competently examined, this is what we find:

• Horus was born to Isis; there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary.” Moreover, “Mary” is our Anglicized form of her real name, Miryam or Miriam. “Mary” was not even used in the original texts of Scripture.
• Isis was not a virgin; she was the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris.
• Horus was born during month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), notDecember 25. Further, there is no mention in the Bible as to Christ’s actual birth date.
• There is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. The Bible never states the actual number of magi that came to see Christ.
• Horus is not a “savior” in any way; he did not die for anyone.
• There are no accounts of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12.
• Horus was not “baptized.” The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water.
• Horus did not have a “ministry.”
• Horus did not have 12 disciples. According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four demigods that followed him, and there are some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.
• There is no account of Horus being betrayed by a friend.
• Horus did not die by crucifixion. There are various accounts of Horus’ death, but none of them involve crucifixion.
• There is no account of Horus being buried for three days.
• Horus was not resurrected. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and then becoming the lord of the underworld.

When compared side by side, Jesus and Horus bear little, if any, resemblance to one another.

330px-Mithra_Musées_de_la_Cour_d'Or_100109.jpgJesus is also compared to Mithras by those claiming that Jesus Christ is a myth. All the above descriptions of Horus are applied to Mithras (e.g., born of a virgin, being crucified, rising in three days, etc.). But what does the Mithras myth actually say?

• He was born out of a solid rock, not from any woman.
• He battled first with the sun and then with a primeval bull, thought to be the first act of creation. Mithras killed the bull, which then became the ground of life for the human race.
• Mithras’s birth was celebrated on December 25, along with winter solstice.
• There is no mention of his being a great teacher.
• There is no mention of Mithras having 12 disciples. The idea that Mithras had 12 disciples may have come from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac.
• Mithras had no bodily resurrection. Rather, when Mithras completed his earthly mission, he was taken to paradise in a chariot, alive and well. The early Christian writer Tertullian did write about Mithraic cultists re-enacting resurrection scenes, but this occurred well after New Testament times, so if any copycatting was done, it was Mithraism copying Christianity.

VishnuMore examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus, and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus portrayed in the Bible is unique. The alleged similarities of Jesus’ story to pagan myths are greatly exaggerated. Further, while tales of Horus, Mithras, and others pre-date Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings of these religions date from the third and fourth centuries A.D. To assume that the pre-Christian beliefs of these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to their post-Christian beliefs is naive. It is more logical to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions’ copying Christian teaching about Jesus.

This leads us to the next area to examine: the logical fallacies committed by those claiming that Christianity borrowed from pagan mystery religions. We’ll consider two fallacies in particular: the fallacy of the false cause and the terminological fallacy.

If one thing precedes another, some conclude that the first thing must have caused the second. This is the fallacy of the false cause. A rooster may crow before the sunrise every morning, but that does not mean the rooster causes the sun to rise. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the Gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Making such a claim is akin to saying the TV series Star Trekcaused the NASA Space Shuttle program.

1280px-Ostia_Antica_Mithraeum.jpgThe terminological fallacy occurs when words are redefined to prove a point. For example, the Zeitgeist movie says that Horus “began his ministry,” but the word ministry is being redefined. Horus had no actual “ministry”—nothing like that of Christ’s ministry. Those claiming a link between Mithras and Jesus talk about the “baptism” that initiated prospects into the Mithras cult, but what was it actually? Mithraic priests would place initiates into a pit, suspend a bull over the pit, and slit the bull’s stomach, covering the initiates in blood and gore. Such a practice bears no resemblance whatsoever to Christian baptism—a person going under water (symbolizing the death of Christ) and then coming back out of the water (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection). But advocates of a mythological Jesus deceptively use the same term, “baptism,” to describe both rites in hopes of linking the two.

This brings us to the subject of the truthfulness of the New Testament. No other work of antiquity has more evidence to its historical veracity than the New Testament. The New Testament has more writers (nine), better writers, and earlier writers than any other document from that era. Further, history testifies that these writers went to their deaths claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. While some may die for a lie they think is true, no person dies for a lie he knows to be false. Think about it—if someone was about to crucify you upside down, as happened to the apostle Peter, and all you had to do to save your life was renounce a lie you had knowingly told, what would you do?

In addition, history has shown that it takes at least two generations to pass before myth can enter a historical account. That’s because, as long as there are eyewitnesses to an event, errors can be refuted and mythical embellishments can be exposed. All the Gospels of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses, with some of Paul’s Epistles being written as early as A.D. 50. Paul directly appeals to contemporary eyewitnesses to verify his testimony (1 Corinthians 15:6).

330px-Epicurus_bust2The New Testament attests to the fact that, in the first century, Jesus was not mistaken for any other god. When Paul preached in Athens, the elite thinkers of that city said, “‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean’” (Acts 17:18–20, NASB). Clearly, if Paul were simply rehashing stories of other gods, the Athenians would not have referred to his doctrine as a “new” and “strange” teaching. If dying-and-rising gods were plentiful in the first century, why, when the apostle Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead, did the Epicureans and Stoics not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?

In conclusion, the claim that Jesus is a copy of mythological gods originated with authors whose works have been discounted by academia, contain logical fallacies, and cannot compare to the New Testament Gospels, which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels between Jesus and other gods disappear when the original myths are examined. The Jesus-is-a-myth theory relies on selective descriptions, redefined words, and false assumptions.

Jesus Christ is unique in history, with His voice rising above all false gods’ as He asks the question that ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny: “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

http://www.gotquestions.org/

The Vital Importance of Prayer

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by on 2016-07-27 / Category: Full Sermons, Video / Topics:

Here are six reasons on the vital importance of prayer.

1) Prayer as communion to God, is the goal of the Gospel.
2) Prayer as asking is God’s ordained means for meeting our needs. He has all the riches of heaven to give you but He says I’m not going to give it to you unless you ask. “You don’t have, because you don’t ask.”
3) Prayer as the language of dependence is the very heart of the Christian life. God’s power made strong in our weakness.
4) Prayer as praise, gives God the glory due to Him, He deserves it, and He is worthy.
5) Prayer as confession, keeps our consciences clean.
6) Prayer as a weapon of the church, is an indispensable means of accomplishing the church’s work.


Chuck Vuolo pastors in Maryland | http://www.newlifemd.org/

To watch the video, click HERE

Resisting the Love of God

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“Could there be given us a higher incentive to faithfulness to God than is contained in this revelation of the love of the Spirit for us? Are our hearts so hard that they are incapable of responding to the appeal of such a love as this? Can we dally with the world, seek our own pleasures, forget our duty of love to God, when the Spirit which He hath made to dwell in us is yearning after us even unto jealous envy?”  –B.B. Warfield “The Power of God Unto Salvation” p. 147

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/response-to-the-spirits-love/

With Jealous Envy

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“Could there be presented to us a more complete manifestation of the infinite love of God than is contained in this revelation of the love of the Spirit for us? God is love. Does not this greatest of all revelations take on a new brightness and a new force to move our souls when we come to realize that not only is the Father love, and the Son love, but the Spirit also is love; and so wholly love that, despite the foulness of our sin, He yearneth for us even unto jealous envy?” –B.B. Warfield “The Power of God Unto Salvation” p. 146-147

Every Sin Has to be Slaughtered

Reformation Pratum

Any pretense of friendship with iniquity is mischievous. If you are a friend of sin, you are not a friend of God. All sorts of sins are our enemies and we are to hate them with our whole soul. If you can say of any sin, “I do not hate it,” then you may gravely question whether you were ever born again.

One of the marks of a child of God is that, although he sins, he does not ‘love’ sin. He may ‘fall’ into sin but he is like a sheep which, if it tumbles into the mud, is quickly up again; for it hates the mire. The sow wallows where the sheep is distressed. Now we are not the swine that love the slough, though we are as sheep that sometimes slip with their feet.

What a misery sin is to us! Every sin hates us and we…

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According to the Good Pleasure of His Will

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Eph. 1
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
 “…according to the good pleasure of His will.”
God Himself, the creator and sustainer of the universe, chose me before He created the world, predestined me for salvation and not for damnation…why? Because it brought Him pleasure!
It brought Him pleasure to choose me for salvation. It brought my God pleasure to write my name down in the Lamb’s Book of Life before anything was created! Awesome! Unbelievable! Amazing!
If this doesn’t bring a song to your heart, a tear to your eye and a skip to your walk…I don’t know what ever will.
Thank you Father for saving me. Thank you for choosing me for salvation rather than choosing me for destruction. It was your choice, not mine. You chose me, I didn’t choose you. You loved me whilst I was in rebellion. You died for me, and took my cross, my punishment and my destruction.
Thank you.