Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I guess, from the viewpoint of a woman, this must be the dream wedding that every bride wants - bridalshoot in the Maldives, two bridal gowns - a Vera Wang plus a Bollywood-inspired bejewelled gown specially designed by Bally (worth $300,000), sponsored self-designed jewellery worth about $2.5 million, tv special, official website, celebrity guests for 90-table wedding banquet, not to mention a handsome bridegroom suited in Ermenegildo Zegna .....
However, I can't help wondering, after such a fairy-tale wedding, if the couple are prepared for the reality of marriage, the nitty-gritty of trying to live happily ever after together. When the going gets tough, is this dream wedding day going to be enough to keep them together or is there another bond which binds them together no matter what?
You know, it is the same with being a Christian. 2 Cor 11:2 says that the church is the bride of Christ, and I wonder how many Christians, who after the initial euphoria and bliss of the wedding ie. receiving Christ as their Lord and Saviour, are now finding "married" life a drag? They find that the gospel isn't really the Good News that the evangelist or preacher has hyped it up to be. They find out later from the preacher that they have to obey many rules in order to please the husband and continue to be in his good books. This is what many preachers are doing in church today, poisoning our marriage with Christ with erroneous teaching that push us to try to earn Christ's love when He already loves us while we were still not married to Him.
Are you living happily ever after with Christ? Do you want to? Find out how from preachers like Pastor Joseph Prince, Joel Osteen, Peter Youngren who preach to you the unadulterated grace of God just like the apostle Paul did.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"Bevere said, "Don't confuse between justification and sanctification."
Mark Driscoll (reformed) and John Bevere (charismatic?) are both saying the same thing and you are disagreeing with both."
I don't understand all these theological labels ... reformed, charismatic, puritan, anglican, methodist, baptist, pentecostal, lutheran, etc. Does the ordinary Christian appreciate the difference? Does it matter to him? Does it matter to God?
I read an article on christianpost entitled "Anglican Leader Proposes Two Ways of Being Anglican" which reported on Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams' response to the recent gay-affirming actions of The Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church approved two resolutions opening the ordination process to all baptized members, including practicing homosexuals, and calling for the development of liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex unions, and Dr Williams "acknowledged the real possibility of the global body adopting a "two-track" model in which there would be "two styles of being Anglican." " as the "Anglican Communion rejects homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture".
Personally, I find this struggle to maintain "anglicanism" irrelevant because I find that the bible only recognizes 3 groups of people - the Jew, the Gentile and the Church. We, the Church, are the body of Christ and Christ is the head - "For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church." (Eph 5:23)
Instead of expending so much effort to define what it means to be an Anglican or a Methodist or Charismatic or Reformed or Puritan or Reformed Puritan, we should spend time discovering what it means to be in Christ and to have Christ in us.
The apostle John says in 1 John 5:20 - "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."
The apostle Paul himself was also concerned that the Church might lose its focus on Christ:
2 Cor 11:2-4
For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
What is your identity? Isn't being a CHRISTian enough? Do we need to tag on all these labels?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
However, there is something that he said which really disturbs me. He quoted John 1:17 - "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." and interpreted what Jesus said in Matt 5:21-22 and Matt 5:27-28 regarding the law thus: that the standard demanded by grace is higher than that of the Law.
In Matt 5:21-30, Jesus taught on the commandments of "Thou shall not murder" and "Thou shall not commit adultery":
21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
JB says that under the Law, you have to do the deed to break the Law but under grace, you only have to want to do the deed and you are considered to have broken the Law. JB interprets Jesus' teaching this way because John 1:17 says grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, and therefore JB interprets what Jesus said as teachings under grace.
I disagree with his interpretation because the grace of God is not manifested in Jesus' birth into our world and His ministry on earth BUT rather the grace of God is Jesus' death, burial and resurrection - 1 Cor 15:2-4 "2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,". If Christ did not die for us, there is no grace for us. All the teaching, healing and casting out of demons by Jesus was all in vain.
The context of what Jesus preached in Matt 5 regarding the Law is that man has too low an estimation of the standard of the Law and Jesus illustrated how high that standard is; even the thought of sinning is already breaking the law but man has lowered the standard to the act itself (Matt 5:28).
That standard of the Law is so high that "if your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matt 5:29-30)
Now, if JB is to be consistent in his use of John 1:17, then what Jesus said in Matt 5:29-30 will be what is expected of us under grace! This is of course not correct! Jesus is showing us that it is impossible to keep the Law and therefore He has come to fulfill it for us, which is what He said in the very same chapter, Matt 5 in verse 17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."
Does Grace demand a higher standard than the Law? Yes, but not in the way JB interpreted. Grace's standard is LOVE and God empowers us to LOVE by filling our heart with so much of His LOVE that the LOVE overflows and we can't help but LOVE others - "We love because he first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who LOVES his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore LOVE is the fulfillment of the law.
Monday, September 14, 2009
She also sent me the link for a youtube video of an excerpt of John Bevere preaching about the grace of God being used as a cover up for sinful living. You can watch it here:
Monday, September 7, 2009
"The essence of evangelism is not merely to talk about the cross but to proclaim the true doctrine of the cross. The purpose of the cross is not to arouse pity in us, neither is it merely some general display of the love of God. Not at all! It is finally understood only in terms of the law.
What was happening upon the cross was that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was enduring in His own holy body the penalty prescribed by the holy law of God for the sin of man. The law condemns sin, and the condemnation that it pronounces is death. "The wages of sin is death." The law pronounces that death must pass upon all who have sinned against God and broken His holy law. Christ says, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." One of the ways in which the law has to be fulfilled is that its punishment of sin must be carried out. This punishment is death, and that was why He died. The law must be fulfilled."
Actually, if you read this carefully, Martyn Lloyd-Jones was explaining why Jesus must die and I fully agree with his explanation. However, he was not explaining why Jesus must die on the cross, and not by any other way eg. by stoning which is the punishment for blasphemy, which Jesus was accused of (Matt 26:65), under the Law (Lev 24:16, John 10:33).
Some people have said that Jesus died on the cross because that was how the Romans executed criminals during that time but that does not explain the spiritual significance of the cross. Considering the kind of extreme whipping that Jesus received from the Roman soldiers, Jesus could very well have died from the whipping and still fulfilled His task of paying the wages of sin of the world. So, why must Jesus die on the cross?
Gal 3:21 says "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."" This verse is very clear - Jesus must die on the cross to redeem us from the curse of the law. Yes, the law is holy and the commandments holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12), and the law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." (Gal 3:12) Hence, those under the law were perpetually cursed because it was impossible for them to keep the law since whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10).
Do you know how many curses there are under the law? Read on:
15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
16 “Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.
17 “Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
18 “Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
19 “Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.
20 “The LORD will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me. 21 The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. 22 The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. 23 And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. 24 The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
25 “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. 27 The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. 28 The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. 29 And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you.
30 “You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes. 31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it; your donkey shall be violently taken away from before you, and shall not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have no one to rescue them. 32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand. 33 A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually. 34 So you shall be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see. 35 The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head.
36 “The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods—wood and stone. 37 And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you.
38 “You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. 41 You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. 42 Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land.
43 “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
45 “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever.
47 “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you.
52 “They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you. 53 You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. 54 The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, 55 so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, 57 her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
58 “If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, 59 then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues—great and prolonged plagues—and serious and prolonged sicknesses. 60 Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this Book of the Law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed. 62 You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. 63 And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.
64 “Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.
68 “And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”
Quite a long list, isn't it? Do we need to be concerned about all these curses? No, because Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. I recommend that you listen to Pastor Joseph Prince's sermon "The Significance of the Cross" (which is my favourite sermon, by the way) for a detailed explanation of why Jesus must die on the cross.
One final question: Why did Jesus redeem us from the curse of the law?
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Gal 3:14 (NIV)
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
In my previous post, I attached a youtube video entitled “Grace and Law made simple to understand” which showed a preacher using children as visual aids to explain Grace and Law. Have you watched it yet? Did you understand what he was trying to say? Did you understand the true intention of his “live powerpoint” presentation? I think many of you probably missed it because the preacher was speaking very fast and you were probably distracted by the audience (and perhaps you yourself) repeating those key words after him.
Let me again attach the video here, and break down the final portion of what he said and you can then see his “logic” better and understand what his main point was:
Today, you’ve got men fighting God’s LAW … in church! And they say that the LAW is done away with.
Now if you do away with the LAW, the bible says that where there is no LAW, there is no SIN.
And if you do away with sin, you don’t need GRACE, which is pardon for SIN which is breaking the LAW.
And if you don’t need GRACE, you certainly don’t need a SAVIOUR who died that we might have GRACE, which is pardon for SIN which is breaking the LAW.
And in that case, you don’t need a GOSPEL because it is the story of a SAVIOUR who died that we might have GRACE, which is pardon for SIN which is breaking the LAW.
And if that be true, what in the world do you need a PREACHER, and if you don’t need him, you might as well throw away the CHURCH.
Now, do you understand what that preacher is trying to say? He is saying that the church needs God’s LAW and if the LAW is done away with (which is what GRACE preachers are preaching), then ultimately (based on his above logic)the CHURCH should be done away with too.
What that preacher demonstrated in the video is deceptively persuasive and seems logical at first glance BUT his logic is flawed because he did not understand (and therefore did not explain) how and why the Law was done away with.
In the video, the preacher brought all seven children up onto the stage together, and named them from right to left:
If I were to do the video, I would not have brought all seven children up onto the stage together. As I don’t have the time and resources to make a real video, imagine with me as I walk you through my video:
I would bring only the first child up and introduce her: “This is SIN. SIN entered the world through Adam, and Death entered the world through SIN but because the LAW had not yet come, SIN was not charged to men’s account as there was no law to transgress.”
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.)
Romans 5:12-13 (NKJV)
The second child comes up to join the first child: “This is the LAW. God gave the LAW so that men can see how truly sinful they were. The LAW is holy but it cannot make you righteous; it only makes you conscious of SIN. The LAW was also given to lead us to Christ, the personification of God’s GRACE.”
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Romans 3:20 (NIV)
So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:24 (NIV)
The third child comes up to join the first two children: “This is GRACE. God found fault with the covenant of LAW as it only brought death to men. The LAW cannot make men righteous and so He decided to cut another covenant to replace the LAW. This is the covenant of GRACE.”
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Romans 3:21-24 (NKJV)
17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17 (NIV)
The fourth child joins the other 3 children: “This is the SAVIOUR. God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Saviour of the world. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.”
2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:2 (NIV)
The first and second child ie. SIN and LAW leave the stage while the third and fourth child ie. GRACE and SAVIOUR stay: “Christ, through his finished work on the cross, has fulfilled the LAW and therefore the covenant of the LAW is done away with. It has been made obsolete and replaced by the covenant of GRACE. SIN has also been done away with because through His once and for all sacrifice, Christ has paid the penalty for and taken away the sin of the world.”
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29 (NIV)
1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:1, 11-14 (NIV)
6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.Hebrews 8:6-7 (NLT)
The five and sixth child ie. GOSPEL and PREACHER join the third and fourth child ie. GRACE and SAVIOUR on stage: “This is the GOSPEL, the good news that we are forever made perfect in God’s eyes because we are in Christ. It is not about what we must do to get right with God but all about what the SAVIOUR has done on the cross. We are made righteous through faith in Christ, not through obeying the LAW. We don’t deserve it but God sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ to reconcile Himself with us. We just need to receive this GRACE to reconcile ourselves with Him. The PREACHER has to preach this GOSPEL so that all can receive His GRACE.”
10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"Romans 10:10-15
The seventh child ie. CHURCH joins the third, fourth, fifth and sixth child on stage: “Those who believe the GOSPEL are the CHURCH. The CHURCH will grow stronger and stronger, and larger and larger as more and more people listen to the PREACHER preach, and believe the GOSPEL of Christ Jesus, our SAVIOUR and personification of God’s GRACE who died on the cross, fulfilling the requirements of the LAW, and paid the penalty for and took away the SIN of the world.”
17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
Matt 5:17 (NIV)
9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:9-10 (NIV)
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
At the end of the video, there are only 5 children left on stage; the first two ie. SIN and LAW have been done away with because of the finished work of the cross ….. and 5 is the number of GRACE.