Newly discovered "Gospel" is nothing more than a "magic eight-ball"

A recent discovery of “another gospel” only adds more proof to what the apostle John said so long ago in 1 John 4:1.

Basically, according to the interpreter herself, this gospel “that is like no other” was used for divination. In other words, it was a sixth-century “magic eight-ball” that used random oracles for those seeking to know “God’s will” for a particular situation in his or her life.

The sad thing is that this isn’t anything new. This a story that has been repeated over and over and over with people; think Deuteronomy 18:14-22.

We don’t need a diviner of divination when the Divine has already spoken (Ephesians 5:172 Peter 2:1-4).

We need to put away the tarot cards and pick up the word of God if we really want to know what the will of God is for our life.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

#divination, #new-gospel, #news, #the-will-of-god

Strong Marriage – Medicine!

The subject of divorce and remarriage is very controversial in our time, but the controversy is by no means a new one. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus picked up the hot potato subject of divorce and addressed it with direct and simple but very sobering words — “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 5:31-32). Space won’t allow an in-depth analysis of this text, but Jesus’ teaching here is augmented by His further teaching later in Matthew 19:1ff. There Pharisees attempted to put Him on the defensive by asking in verse 3, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” As a part of His answer Jesus declared in Matthew 19: 8-9 – “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” Those are strong words about divorce and remarriage! Combined, the two passages emphatically declare only one reason God allows divorce — sexual infidelity by the marriage partner. If a divorce takes place for any other reason and then remarriage follows, all the parties involved commit adultery: the divorce-er, the divorcee, and the one the divorce-er or divorcee remarries. That’s tough marriage-medicine in a me-first world where people want a quick, easy way out of any difficulty and inconvenience that arises, including in marriage.

Jesus’ words, though not difficult to understand, have proven difficult for many in our divorce-prone, no-fault divorce world to accept, including some in the church. I have read that a friend of W. C. Fields once entered the old comedian’s room to find him reading the Bible. Fields, a self-avowed atheist, was asked what he was doing. Fields quickly shut the Book, and, apparently embarrassed, replied, “Looking for loopholes, just looking for loopholes.” Many people look, and with first one argument and then another, insist they have found a loophole that releases them from the authority of God’s law concerning marriage and divorce. The mental twists and turns people go through bring to mind something I learned from fellow-preacher and friend David Sain. In a sermon I heard David preach, he mentioned a quote people often use regarding different Bible teachings — “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” But Brother Sain pointed out that saying is incorrect, and went on to proclaim the truth of the matter this way: “God said it….and that settles it!” Whether or not we believe a Bible truth has zero to do with its veracity! A majority of men and women once believed the earth was flat, but that did not make it so. Some in Jesus’ day had relaxed God’s law on marriage and divorce — but Jesus never did. Marriage is sick and getting sicker in our society, and even in the church. The hope for a cure is not in diluting Jesus’ teaching. Let us, at least in the church, take and trust the strong marriage-medicine the Great Physician prescribes.

Dan Gulley – Smithville Church of Christ

#culture, #divorce, #god, #jesus, #marriage, #remarriage, #the-will-of-god

Has God Changed His Mind About Repentance?

According to some people who profess to know him, God has softened his stance on repentance. According to what they say, Jesus is optional, sin can be rational and salvation is left up to what we want it to be. But is it so?

I for one say not so! Without a doubt I fail my Lord. Without a doubt sin can creep up on me. Without a doubt my salvation is important to me. But when it comes to God softening his stance on repentance toward him when it comes to unrighteousness there is some very serious doubt that those who say such things know what and who they’re talking about.

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

While preaching to a group of men and women who were living as unbelieving pagans, old-fashioned sinners and individuals outside of the safety of God’s grace Paul plainly said God expects and requires repentance. This expectation and requirement wasn’t for individuals here and there – it was for everyone, everywhere. Judgment is coming and its basis will be upon the righteousness of God; that standard that we all fail to meet at one point in our life with many, many, many more to follow. And the judgment of God will be accomplished by the non-optional and solo sacrificed Savior of the world.

Has God changed his mind about repentance since Paul preached those words in the first century? Has God softened his stance on the necessity of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus? The way we answer the first question determines the way we answer the second, but the way we answer won’t change the way that God thinks.

There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”” (Luke 13:1-5)

#day-of-judgment, #god, #repentance, #salvation, #the-will-of-god

Jonah – A Type of Jesus

There is a form of music called the “sonata-allegro” format, in which there are three segments—exposition, development, and recapitulation. The concept is that you present a melody called a “theme” in the exposition, perform more-or-less recognizable variations of it in the development, and then restate it almost verbatim in the recapitulation, often a bit more dramatically. The Bible is kind of the ultimate demonstration of the “sonata-allegro” format. Exposition Man breaks his covenant with God, and God seeks to restore the broken relationship. Development – the rest of the Old Testament—the flood and Noah, the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Moses, the judges, the prophets, etc. Recapitulation – Jesus reconciles man to God on the cross. What I have written below has probably been noticed before and written about hundreds of times, but you always feel like you’ve got something when you discover it for yourself.

The second paragraph below will mirror the first one. The best way to see the comparison is to read the first sentence in the first paragraph below, followed by the first sentence in the second paragraph below; then the second sentence in the first paragraph, followed by the second sentence in the second paragraph, etc.

It was the will of God for Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah knew that the men on board needed to sacrifice him to calm the wrath of God being demonstrated in the storm. The men did not want to throw him overboard; but the will of God cannot be prevented, so no matter how hard the men tried to row, the storm kept them from reaching shore. So the men prayed, declaring their innocence in the matter. They threw Jonah overboard, and the wrath of God subsided, resulting in the abating of the storm. The men then knew that Jonah’s God is the real God, and they turned to Him. Jonah then spends three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, before being vomited onto the shore.

It was the will of God for Jesus to go to Golgotha (Matthew 26:39-42). Jesus knew the angry mob needed to sacrifice Him to calm the wrath of God, which would otherwise be demonstrated in the final judgment of all mankind. Pilate was hesitant to sentence Him to death (Matthew 27:22-23); but the will of God cannot be prevented, so no matter how hard Pilate tried to avoid sentencing Jesus, the angry mob continued to demand His life. So Pilate washed his hands before the crowd, declaring his innocence in the matter (Matthew 27:24). He handed Jesus over to be crucified (Matthew 27:26), and when this was accomplished, the wrath of God subsided, resulting in salvation for mankind. Upon the signs accompanying His death (the veil rent in two, the earthquake), the guards keeping watch over Jesus knew that He was the real God, and they were frightened. Jesus spent three days and three nights in the tomb before being seen alive on the third day.

The symmetry is amazing. Parallelism is a desired feature in all kinds of artwork, from architecture to music to painting to sculptures to story-telling to dance to fill in the blank. God is the ultimate Artist, and His Word contains beautiful demonstrations of this effect. Should we be surprised? After all, He programmed our brains to search for it. – Joshua Gulley 

Josh is a teacher of music at the High School level and a member among the saints at the Smithville Church of Christ

#characteristics-of-the-bible, #god, #jesus, #jonah, #music, #the-will-of-god, #types-and-shadows

We Need to Study the Bible Because it Reveals the Mind of God

As I alluded to a couple of times in the previous post, studying God’s word is necessary because of its source and because of its source the Bible reveals and gives insight to something that we’re not able to see with our physical eyes alone – and that’s the mind of God. We know what we know about God because God has revealed it about Himself to us through His written word. If we use any source other than God’s word recorded in the Bible whether it be secular or religious to try to explain the will of God we become no different from anyone else who “speaks for God” but contradicts His word.

This is not to say that the existence of a Creator cannot be seen through the existence of creation for even Psalm 19:1-6 says this much. But the difference between knowing that there is a Creator and personally knowing that Creator’s will can be huge; this is where the word of God comes in. God’s word opens the door to a proper relationship with Him by opening our eyes to His will. Read further into Psalm 19 and you’ll find that, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;” (Psalm 19:7-8).

The word of God has revealed the will of God for our lives, and this will of God contains commandments, guidance, hope, love and correction, all of which have been given for our benefit. And contrary to what some try to teach concerning God’s word and will, the fact that God wants us to understand His will means that we can understand it. Ephesians 5:17 says, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The song “Amazing Grace” reminds us of the importance of seeing the things that exist in the spiritual realm both good and bad. Contained within the word of God is an opportunity to have a portion of the infinite mind of God revealed to our finite minds. You see, God’s word reveals what needs to be seen, and not always what we want to see. When people try to go beyond what is written they reveal their own will and not the will of God. When people ignore what is written they reveal their own will and not the will of God. What has been revealed in God’s word has not been revealed because people “figured” it out, but rather because God Himself removed the veil of ignorance to reveal His glory, knowledge, honor and grace to a creation and people who He loves in such way that He has allowed us to see enough of His plan to know how to be with Him eternally in Heaven. From the garden of Eden to the garden of God in Heaven we can see the will of God because we can read about it (1 Peter 1:3-12).

The Spirit-Breathed word of God has revealed the mind of God through the wisdom of God so the salvation of man can be understood by the will of God to the glory of God! And that’s just one more reason why we should study the Bible.

But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16 – NKJV)

#characteristics-of-the-bible, #christianity, #god, #inspiration-of-the-bible, #religion, #the-mind-of-god, #the-origin-of-the-bible, #the-will-of-god, #we-need-to-study-the-bible-because

A Thought About Prayer for the Fellows, Fellas and Guests

Here’s a thought about prayer that I thought some of you might be interested in commenting on. It comes from an outline I put together for a VBS class on Bible study and prayer.

“The single goal of prayer isn’t to gain God’s favor or God’s attention – it’s to gain the involvement of God’s will in our life and our life in the will of God.”

There’s much more to it than what may appear on the surface.

I’m not saying that prayer shouldn’t be used to ask for necessities or to cry out to God through emotional despair or even thanksgiving. I’m saying this in light of the beginning words of Jesus’ model prayer (your will be done on earth…Matthew 6:10) and Jesus’ comments on the Father already being aware of our needs (Matthew 6:8).

We have the attention of God (think John 3:16 for a moment), but the question is, “Does God have our attention when it comes to His will?”

To have our life involved in the will of God and to have the will of God involved in our life should be the primary goal of prayer, should it not? What do you think?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 – NKJV)

You make your request but you do not get it, because your request has been wrongly made, desiring the thing only so that you may make use of it for your pleasure.” (James 4:3 – BBE)

#bible-questions, #prayer, #prayer-principles, #questions-about-prayer, #spiritual-questions, #the-will-of-god, #theology