Jesus by the Rules – Darrell Bock

Dr. Darrell Bock starts his talk at Texas A & M University by recounting how he came to faith in Jesus Christ. Originally wanting to be a sports broadcaster, God changed the course of his life through several people.

~~5:20 minute mark- You are a professor of New Testament studies, can you just tell us how you got into that  line of work?

Bock: People were sharing [the Gospel] with me throughout high school. But the first person who shared with me, I was in 8th grade and he had gone to a Young Life Camp. He came back and all he knew was: “You need Jesus.” And he could tell it to me 3 ways. ‘You’ need Jesus. You  ‘need’ Jesus. You need ‘Jesus’. And when I asked him why I needed Jesus, that was the extent of his knowledge. And I thought he kind of lost it. You know, 8th grade is kind of on an edge to omniscience, you know. So, I had a number of people share with me throughout high school and into college. And eventually… I’ll show you how theological I was.

The night before I went to university, and my freshman year was at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And I got  a potluck roommate. So I’m pretty nervous the night before I’m going, because this is like getting married without having an engagement. So, I’m praying, and the prayer goes like this, “God, I don’t know if you exist, but if you do, please don’t give me a Bible carrying Southern Baptist for a college roommate, because I want to enjoy my college years. Amen. That was the whole prayer. I still remembered it word for word. And I arrived at the Dallas Campus of SMU, I’m in Bose Hall 335 East and I walk  up to the room. And the door has my name and the name Doug Mickey, from Atlanta, Georgia. I open the door. He’s not in the room, but his footlocker, in SMU colors- blue and red, and I walk in and on top of this footlocker was a Bible.

So, I knew God had answered my prayer as I was walking in the room. I didn’t have to ask his denomination. Of course, he was from First Baptist in Atlanta, Georgia. He knew I needed Jesus. He didn’t know quite how to talk about it either, but he lived a very consistent Christian life. And he brought friends around that would answer the questions that I would have . I was good as a nonChristian, I would get them to talking away in talking about Jesus and talk about something else. And so, I developed this compassion for Africans, and would say, “But, what about the lost in Africa?” So [this way] they wouldn’t talk about me. It was like throwing meat to a lion that hadn’t had a meal in two months. They would go after it, I was off the hook. I was happy.

Eventually, through the testimony of the quality of their life and their engagement with me, I came to the Lord between my freshman and sophomore year in college and received Christ sitting next to the guy who had originally shared with me, when he was in 8th grade.  So, that caused me to have a bible study in my apartment, in my sophomore year, when I went to the University of Texas, cause when I went to Texas, I decided: These people need the Lord. So, we went from 6 [in the Bible study] my sophomore year to about… – we had a 4 bedroom apartment my senior year at Texas, and we literally packed the place out every week to do Bible study. There were people sitting in bedrooms that couldn’t see the people speaking, but who came anyway, just to sing and have Bible study.

That was kind of a clue that I should go to seminary. I went to seminary, majored in Old Testament as a Masters, went to Aberdeen in Scotland to do doctoral work in New testament and then came right back to Dallas Theological Seminary to teach, where I have been teaching for 31 years. That’s the story. So, just watch your prayers. God hears them and He answers. It’s just not always Yes.

~~11:00 minute mark – What would you say to someone college aged who has doubts that there was even a historical person named Jesus?

Josephus told me so

Bock: Josephus is a jewish historian, writing at the end of the 1st century. He wrote a text in a book called the Antiquities, which is the study of the history of Israel, beginning from the very beginning – [as in] “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth..” It starts there, and as we move through the history, he goes all the way to his own time, which is in A.D. 90. He had been captures by Vespasian, the person who became the Roman emperor when he was general conquering Israel. His son finished it, Titus. But after Josephus was captured, he had a vision that Vespasian would become emperor. And when Vespasian became emperor, he said, “I wanna talk to that guy who knew I would be come emperor before I was emperor. Cause that was impressive. And he invited him into his house. Josephus wrote a book, defending judaism to Romans, and explaining judaism to Romans.

Well, in a section in the Antiquities, Book 18, unit 63 ND 64, he has this that he says about Jesus. This is a nonChristian talking. Although, we’re pretty confident that the manuscript has been tampered with by  some Christian copyist, because there are things that Josephus says that a jewsih person wouldn’t say about Jesus.But when we call that out, we have a remainder that most scholars think gets back to Josephus [actually writing it]. There is another section in the Antiquities that alludes back to the brother of the so called Christ, which means that he must have referred to the Christ before that, in order for that little phrase about James to make sense.

“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man.” Okay, that part is good, the idea that Jesus was a wise man and that He existed. But then “if it be lawful to call Him a man”. Okay, now that leads to suspicion. He thinks that He’s something more than a man. Probably not something a jewish person would write. We think that’s an addition. That’s why it’s in italics. We think the things in brackets don’t go back to Josephus. “For He was a doer of wonderful works. Greek word here means unusual works. And one of the interesting things about the miracles of Jesus is that His opponents don’t really raise the question whether they really happened or not.

Skeptics today will raise questions as to whether Jesus really performed miracles, but His opponents didn’t doubt that He performed miracles. They debated where the power came from for the miracles that He did. They claimed that it was from below, He claimed it was from above. But they didn’t debate whether they happened or not. That’s important.

So Josephus testifies to the fact that Jesus did unusual works, that He had a reputation for doing wonderful and unusual works. “For a teacher of such men who received the truth with pleasure, He drew over to Him both many of the jews and many of the gentiles. He was the Christ.”  Okay, that sounds like a confession the pope could make. Probably doesn’t go back to Josephus, probably not jewish, something a jewish person would say. But we think the original line that he wrote  and may have read something like ‘He was the so called Christ’. It goes on: “When Pilate, at the principal suggestion of some among us, had Him condemned to the cross, that’s a confirmation that Jesus was crucified and that He was crucified in a kind of combination pincer movement between the jewish leadership and the Romans, who reserved the right to the crucifixion for themselves. No one else could crucify, but the Romans, for those forces that were distractive in their societies. And so, Josephus confirms that Pilate and the jewish leadership  were involved in that.

“Those that loved Him at the first did not forsake Him. “He appeared again to them alive on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold about these things concerning Him.” Probably didn’t write that. That sounds like something a Christian would write. “And the tribes of Christians, so named for Him, are not extinct to this day,” and it goes on to talk about 1000 other wonderful things that Jesus did.” Probably not written by Josephus.

Here’s the point that’s important: Josephus, a jewish writer, writing at the end of the first century says this,

  1. Jesus existed
  2. That He had an impact as a wise teacher
  3. He had an impact as a miracle worker
  4. That He was crucified by a combination of forces from the jewish leadership and PIlate.

And so, people who deny that Jesus ever existed, it isn’t that we believe that in part because ‘the Bible tells me so’. No, we believe it because Josephus told us so. That’s one of the reasons we think Jesus was historical.

Paul told me so

There’s another reason we think Jesus is historical and that has to do with Paul or Saul. The events about Jesus happened about A.D. 30The Gospels were written, depending on who you talk to, certainly by the end of the fist century- the Gospels are written. And the debate is John is usually put in the 90’s by everybody. And then, there’s debate about Matthew, Mark and Luke- the synoptics. Some people put them in the 80’s, some people put them in the 60’s. Well, if you mark that outNow, there’s a gap there, from the time of the events to the time the Books are written. And some people, skeptics, like to say that all kinds of things happened in the gap. In theology, you’ve got to mind this gap, here, between what is said and what is written.

Well, Paul or Saul, was a persecutor of the church  and we know he came to faith within a couple of years of these events. Not only that, he lived in Jerusalem, was one of the chief persecutors. He knew what was going on in Jerusalem. There is no one who doubts that Paul existed and Paul was impacted by the Christian movement. That’s one of the most certain things we know about the classical period. And so, the idea that Paul would be writing about a fabrication is crazy, because he was in the midst of those events. Now, Paul is a couple of years away from Jesus. So, that’s not a gap. That’s a hop. There’s not that much distance between Paul and his description and discussion about what the early church believed and what happened with Jesus. And he was acquainted with all that. So, that’s another reason why we think Jesus actually historically existed.

There are texts where Paul is talking about passing down the traditions which he received, which talks about what he believed when he came to faith.

  1. And 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, which talks about the death and resurrection of Jesus according to Scriptures. 1
  2. Corinthians 11 is another text that talks about what happened at the Last Supper when Jesus interprets His death before He dies. That’s another tradition that was passed on.
  3. He talks about a tradition in Romans 1:2-4 that talks about Jesus as the Son of God on the one hand, and yet marked out in the line of David on the other.

So there are lots of texts that go back to Paul. And we know that Paul was very, very early.

Jesus, and the title of Christ,
is attached to Him very early and thoroughly through the tradition

Here’s another element that’s important. The name ‘Jesus Christ’, think about it. This is not something that’s stamped on a passport, where Jesus is the first name and Christ is the last name. Jesus did not have  a dad whose name was Joseph Christ. So, Christ is a title. And it’s connected to Jesus at all layers of the tradition. It’s something that happens very, very early. So, the point is that Jesus, and the title of Christ,  is attached to Him very early and thoroughly through the tradition.

~~Transcript from 5:00  –  23:15  minute mark. VIDEO Length 64 minutes.

Who is David’s “Lord” in Psalm 110:1? And: Who was Melchizedek?

Who is David’s “Lord” in Psalm 110:1?

From the Series “16 Prophecies that Prove Jesus is the Messiah – Series 1″. Please go to JAshow.org for more information.

VIDEO by John Ankerberg

Who was Melchizedek?

Who was Melchizedek? What can his story tell us about the Messiah?
From Our Series “16 Prophecies that Prove Jesus is the Messiah – Series 1″. Please go to JAshow.org for more information

How can Jesus be David’s “son,” but also his “Lord”? Darrell Bock

From the Series “16 Prophecies that Prove Jesus is the Messiah – Series 1″. Please go to JAshow.org for more information.
VIDEO by John Ankerberg

” Așa Vorbește DOMNUL”! – Ioan Burca

TATALUI, FIULUI, DUHULUI SFANT,

Toata GLORIA inVECI!!!

” Asa Vorbeste DOMNUL”!

“DUMNEZEU vorbește, însă, când într-un fel când într-altul, dar Omul NU ia seama.” ( Iov 33:14 )

Noi oamenii putem comunica între noi în diferite feluri: prin viu grai, prin semne, prin scriere, prin imagini fotografice sau filmate, ș.a.m.d. Putem comunica la distanțe mai mici sau mai mari, în funcție de metoda pe care o folosim (prin telefon, internet, radio, televiziune, fax). Cu toată această înaltă tehnologie, uneori se poate întâmpla să nu putem comunica cu anumite persoane, fie că acele persoane au o funcție prea înaltă față de noi, fie că pur și simplu persoana respectivă nu vrea să ne asculte, nu vrea să ne bage în seamă.

Toate aceste posibilități fizice, intelectuale, tehnice, știinţifice, pe care le avem noi oamenii, nu ne pot ajuta, însă, în a comunica cu Dumnezeu, decât în măsura în care El dorește să ni se descopere, în masura în care El dorește să comunice cu noi.

Ce minunat este însă că El, Creatorul și Suveranul Universului, dorește să comunice cu noi, dorește să ne vorbeasca, să ne dea informații, să ne transmită voia Lui, nouă oamenilor muritori! Dumnezeu a folosit și folosește și astăzi diferite metode de comunicare cu noi, adică așa cum spune Biblia, “…vorbește când într-un fel când într-altul…”

I.  Să vedem câteva CĂI prin care Dumnezeu vorbește,

sau se descoperă, omului:

1 – Una dintre căile folosite este prin CREAŢIE, prin NATURA înconjurătoare:

“La început, Dumnezeu a făcut Cerurile şi Pământul… Dumnezeu a făcut pe om după Chipul Său; partea bărbătească şi parte femeiască i-a făcut.” (Geneza 1:1,27) Tot ce vedem în jurul nostru ne duce cu gândul la un Creator, la cineva care le-a făcut. Dacă vezi un lucru simplu, oricare ar fi el (un scaun de exemplu), ești sigur că l-a făcut cineva. Cu atât mai mult când e vorba de lucruri nespus mai complexe cum este OMUL, sau VIAŢA în general, NATURA înconjurătoare, Pământul și celelalte planete pe care le știm și multe altele pe care nu le știm. Sunt lucruri deosebit de complexe și care totuși funcționează într-un mod minunat, desăvârșit. Toate acestea te duc cu gândul că în spatele lor e Cineva (nu ceva) care le-a făcut și le susține. Teoria evoluției nu mai e de actualitate, lucru recunoscut chiar de foștii ei susținători.Varianta Creator-creație e mult mai ușor de crezut și acceptat atât pentru suflet cât și pentru minte.

2 – O altă cale prin care Dumnezeu vorbește omului, este prin CONSTIINTA;

Prin aceasta, omul îşi dă seama de ceea ce e bine și ce e rău. În traducerea românească a Bibliei este folosit cuvântul “CUGET”. Conștiința judecă dacă o acțiune sau o atâtudine este sau nu în armonie cu standardul moral din noi, și ne îndeamnă să facem ce este în armonie cu acesta, și să ne ferim de la ceea ce nu este. Conștiința nu e ceva autoimpus și nici nu e ceva de care te poți descotorosi. Acest simț al binelui și răului este reflectarea lui Dumnezeu în sufletul omului, la fel cum se reflectă soarele în apă; conștiința revelează existența Creatorului, și într-o oarecare măsura și natura Lui. Conștiința poate fi pângărită dar nu distrusă.

“Când Neamurile, măcar că n-au lege, fac din fire lucrurile Legii, prin aceasta ei, care n-au o lege, îşi sunt singuri lege; şi ei dovedesc că lucrarea Legii este scrisă în inimile lor; fiindcă despre lucrarea aceasta mărturiseşte CUGETUL lor şi gândurile lor, care sau se învinovăţesc sau se desvinovăţesc între ele”(Romani 2:14-15).

3 – Prin SCRIPTURI, prin BIBLIE.

Biblia este scrisoarea de dragoste a Lui Dumnezeu adresată omului. Ea este cea mai răspândită și cea mai citită carte din lume si conține lucrările lui Dumnezeu, legile, sfaturile și învățăturile Lui pentru om. În ea găsim situații asemănătoare cu ale noastre, și vedem voia lui Dumnezeu pentru situația respectivă. Tot în ea găsim originea omului, posibilitatea SALVARII lui cât și deStinul lui veșnic. Dacă în urmă cu câțiva ani era mai greu de procurat o Biblie, astăzi acest lucru nu mai e o problemă, și orice român care se pretinde a fi creștin sau care vrea să devină creștin o poate avea. Problema este dacă ne facem timp să o și citim; sau poate nici măcar n-o deschidem de teamă că viața noastră nu corespunde cu voia lui Dumnezeu scrisă în ea.

“Toată SCRIPTURA este insuflată de DUMNEZEU şi de folos să INVEŢE, să MUSTRE, să ÎNDREPTE, să dea ÎNŢELEPCIUNE în NEPRIHĂNIRE…” (2 Timotei 3:16)

Dumnezeu ne vorbește în Biblie și prinPROFETIILE scrise în ea. A “profeți” înseamnă a prevesti viitorul, dar şi lucrurile din prezent sau trecut. Vechimea scrierilor biblice este recunoscută azi chiar și de atei; descoperirea sulurilor de la Qumram, cât și alte descoperiri arheologice, îi obligă la aceasta. În Biblie sunt profeții atât cu privire la poporul Israel, cât și la lumea întreaga, profeții făcute cu sute sau chiar cu mii de ani în urmă; unele s-au împlinit deja, altele se împlinesc sub ochii noștri, iar altele se vor împlini curând. Istoria a confirmat deja, că ceea ce era scris în Biblie cu mult timp înainte, s-a întâmplat întocmai. Și prin aceasta Dumnezeu ne vorbește și ne arată că El există și că are puterea să împlinească ceea ce spune, și că El știe atât trecutul cât și prezentul și viitorul; toate sunt în mâna Sa.

4 – O altă cale folosită de Dumnezeu este prin VISE, VEDENII sau ÎNGERI.

Nu orice vis este o cale prin care ne vorbește Dumnezeu. În Eclesiastul 5:3 scrie: “Căci….visurile se nasc din mulțimea grijurilor…”. Deci sunt unele vise care sunt rezultatul grijurilor și frământărilor noastre zilnice. În cursul anilor însăDumnezeu a folosit de multe ori și această metodă de a comunica cu omul. Câteva exemple (voi cita doar începutul viselor pentru că sunt mai lungi): e vorba de vise cu impact asupra unei personae, familii, naţiuni sau chiar a lumii întregi. Iosif – ” Iosif a visat un vis şi l-a istorisit fraţilor săi…” (Genesa 37:5); Faraonul Egiptului – “După doi ani, Faraon a visat un vis. I se părea că stătea lângă râu[Nil].” (Geneza 41:1); Nebucadneţar – “În al doilea an al domniei lui Nebucadneţar, Nebucadneţar a avut nişte visuri. Duhul îi era tulburat şi i-a pierit somnul.” (Daniel 2:1); Daniel: “În anul dintâi al lui Belşaţar, împăratul Babilonului, Daniel a visat un vis şi a avut vedenii în mintea lui pe când era în pat.” (Daniel 7:1); Pavel – “Un înger al Dumnezeului al căruia sunt eu, şi căruia Îi slujesc, mi s-a arătat azi noapte…” (Faptele Apostolilor 27:23,24); Maria, mama Domnului Isus –”In luna a sasea, ingerul Gavril a fost trimes de Dumnezeu, intr-o cetate din Galileea, numită Nazaret, la o fecioara logodita cu un barbat, numit Iosif, din casa lui David. Numele fecioarei era Maria. (Luca 1:26,27).; Iosif, bărbatul Mariei – “…i s-a arătat în vis un înger al Domnului,…” (Matei 1:20).

5 – Au fost vremuri când Dumnezeu a vorbit DIRECT patriarhilor din vechime, cât și proorocilor și poporului Israel.

Câteva exemple: Avraam – “Când a fost Avraam în vârstă de nouăzeci şi nouă de ani, Domnul i S’a arătat, şi i-a zis: „Eu sunt Dumnezeul Cel atotputernic. Umblă înaintea Mea, şi fii fără prihană.” (Geneza 17:1; “prihana” inseamna pata), Moise – “Domnul a văzut că el se întoarce să vadă; şi Dumnezeu l-a chemat din mijlocul rugului, şi a zis: ‘Moise! Moise!’ El a răspuns: ‘Iată-mă!’” (Exodul 3:4). “Aşa vorbeşte Domnul”,au transmis proorocii. Un exemplu este Ieremia: “Cuvântul Domnului a vorbit lui Ieremia a doua oară, pe când era încă închis în curtea temniţei: “Aşa vorbeşte Domnul, care face aceste lucruri, Domnul, care le urzeşte şi le înfăptuieşte, El, al cărui Nume este Domnul” (Ieremia 33:1,2); Isaia 9, despre Nasterea Domnului ISUS: „Caci un Copil ni s-a nascut, un Fiu ni s-a dat, si domnia va fi pe umarul Lui; Il vor numi Minunat, Sfetnic, Dumnezeu tare, Parintele vesniciilor, Domn al pacii.” ; Isaia 53, despre suferintele si moartea Domnului ISUS: „Totusi, El suferintele noastre le-a purtat, si durerile noastre le-a luat asupra Lui, si noi am cezut ca este pedepsit, lovit de Dumnezeu si smerit.”etc.

6 – O altă cale folosită de Dumnezeu este prin FIUL SAU, prin DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS.

Dacă în vechime Dumnezeu a vorbit direct patriarhilor și proorocilor, unui număr așa de limitat de oameni, cu aproximativ 2000 de ani în urmă Dumnezeu ne-a vorbit prin însuși Fiul Său, prin Domnul Isus Hristos, a cărui naștere în trup o sărbătoresc creștinii în fiecare decembrie. El a lăsat slava cerească, a luat chip de om, născându-se ca un umil copilaș, a crescut și a trăit 33 de ani pe Pământ ca om, dar fără păcat, ca să poată comunica oamenilor voia lui Dumnezeu pentru ei și în același timp pregătind mântuirea și posibilitatea de salvare a omenirii prin însăși Jertfa Sa ispășitoare.

“Fiindcă atât de mult a iubit Dumnezeu lumea, ca a dat pe singurul Său FIU, ca oricine crede în El, să nu piară, ci să aibă viaţă veşnică.” (Ioan 3:16)

7 – Un alt fel prin care Dumnezeu ne vorbește foarte adesea nouă celor din ultimul veac, este prin DUHUL SFANT.

“În ziua Cincizecimii, erau toţi împreună în acelaşi loc. Deodată a venit din cer un sunet ca vîjîitul unui vînt puternic, şi a umplut toată casa unde şedeau ei. Nişte limbi ca de foc au fost văzute împărţindu-se printre ei, şi s’au aşezat cîte una pe fiecare din ei. Şi toţi s’au umplut de DUH SFANT, şi au început să vorbească în alte limbi, după cum le da Duhul să vorbească.” (Faptele Apostolilor 2:1-4) Duhul Sfânt este a treia Persoană a Divinității, și a fost trimis la noi pe Pământ cu aproximativ 2000 de ani în urmă, în ziua de Rusalii, după înălțarea Domnului Isus la Cer. Duhul Sfânt este cel ce CONVINGE omul că e păcătos și că este necesar să lase păcatul și să se întoarcă la Dumnezeu, prin Domnul Isus Hristos- Salvatorul omenirii. Apoi Duhul Sfânt LOCUIESTE în acel om și STAPANESTE viața celui convertit la Dumnezeu, însuflându-i voia lui Dumnezeu și dându-i putere să o împlinească.

8 – Dumnezeu vorbește foarte adesea și prin OAMENII LUI.

Dacă oamenii mari ai vremurilor noastre își au oamenii lor prin care vorbesc, așa numiții “purtători de cuvânt”, cu atât mai mult Dumnezeu a avut și are oamenii Lui prin care vorbește poporului. Domnul Isus spune ucenicilor Săi: “Duceți-vă în toată lumea, și propovăduiți Evanghelia la orice făptură. Cine va crede și se va boteza va fi mântuit; dar cine nu va crede, va fi osândit”(Marcu 16:15-16). Iar în Faptele Apostolilor 1:8 le zice:”…voi veți primi o putere, când Se va pogorî Duhul Sfânt peste voi, și-Mi veți fi martori…….pâna la marginile pământului”.De asemenea în Efeseni 4:11 găsim: “Și El a dat pe unii APOSTOLI, pe alții PROOROCI, pe alții EVANGHELIŞTI, pe alții PĂSTORI și INVĂŢĂTORI…”

În cursul vremurilor oamenii adeseori au respins pe trimișii lui Dumnezeu, cum de altfel L-au respins și pe Domnul Isus. Astfel mulți trimiși ai lui Dumnezeu au fost batjocoriți, prigoniți, sau chiar omorâți împreună cu familiile lor. Același lucru se întâmplă adeseori și azi cu cei ce transmit voia lui Dumnezeu și îi îndeamnă pe oameni la pocăință, la împăcarea cu Dumnezeu, pentru a scăpa de pedeapsa veșnică, de iad. Ei însă sunt trimișii lui Dumnezeu prin Duhul Sfânt, şi aceasta este un fel de a vorbi al lui Dumnezeu, care în dragostea Lui, îndeamnă oamenii să se împace cu El și să fie salvaţi, mântuiţi. Rolul acestor trimiși ai lui Dumnezeu este stabilit clar de apostolul Pavel când scrie în 2 Corinteni 5:20:

“Noi dar, suntem TRIMISI IMPUTERNICITI ai lui HRISTOS; și ca și CA SI CUM DUMNEZEU AR INDEMNA PRIN NOI, vă rugăm fierbinte, în Numele lui Hristos: împăcați-vă cu Dumnezeu.”

9 – Dumnezeu vorbește adeseori oamenilor prinBUCURII, BINECUVANTARI, SUCCESE.

În Evanghelia după Luca, în cap. 12, de la versetul 16, Domnul Isus le-a spus oamenilor o pildă: “Țarina unui om bogat rodise mult…” Deci omul era bogat și peste toate acestea Dumnezeu i-a dat și o recolta deosebită în acel an. Din toate aceste binecuvântări el nu a înțeles însă nimic, și acest lucru îl vedem în versetul 19 unde omul bogat spune: “…și voi zice sufletului meu: ‘suflete ai multe bunătăți strânse pentru mulți ani; odihnește-te, mănâncă, bea și veselește-te!” În vorbele lui, Dumnezeu nu este pomenit de fel; nici un cuvânt de mulțumire! În versetul 20 avem răspunsul lui Dumnezeu la atitudinea lui: “Dar Dumnezeu i-a zis: ‘Nebunule! CHIAR IN NOAPTEA ACEASTA TI SE VA CERE INAPOI SUFLETUL, și lucrurile pe care le-ai pregătit, ale cui vor fi?’

În Evanghelia după Luca 16:19-31, Domnul Isus dă o altă pildă, numită “Pilda bogatului nemilostiv”, care spune așa: “Era un om bogat, care se îmbraca în porfiră și in subțire; și în fiecare zi ducea o viață plină de veselie și strălucire. La ușa lui zăcea un sărac numit Lazăr, plin de bube. Și dorea mult să se sature cu fărâmiturile cari cădeau de la masa bogatului, dar NU I LE DA NIMENI.”

Dumnezeu adeseori vorbește oamenilor prin binecuvântări, bogății, succese, dar omul din vârful piramidei, cu funcții înalte și onoruri, în mijlocul veseliei, mâncărurilor și băuturilor, nu ia seama la vorbirea lui Dumnezeu, îi este greu să-I audă glasul, să vadă darurile Lui și să-i mulțumească; NU aude glasul celor în necaz care sunt în jurul lui.

10 – Dumnezeu vorbește și prin INCERCARI, BOLI, NECAZURI, MOARTE.

În cartea lui Iov 33:19-22, găsim scris: “…și prin DURERE este MUSTRAT omul în culcușul lui, când o lupta necurmată îi frământă oasele. Atunci îi este greață de pâine, chiar și de bucatele cele mai alese; carnea i se prăpădește și piere, oasele cari nu i se vedeau rămân goale; sufletul i se apropie de groapă și viața de vestitorii morții”.

Dacă în mijlocul veseliei, în belșug și bunăstare, omul nu aude glasul lui Dumnezeu, El poate opri veselia, poate lua înapoi bogățiile pe care i le-a dat omului: sănătatea, viața celor dragi din familie, chiar și viața lui.
Dacă ești sănătos, ai o familie sănătoasă, dacă ai de toate, poate mai mult decât ai avea nevoie pentru a trăi, NU UITA DE CEI CARE DUC LIPSA, și mai ales, NU UITA DE DUMNEZEU care ți le-a dat! Ascultă-L acum pe Dumnezeu și fă ceea ce-ți spune. E mult mai bine să asculți ce-ți vorbește Dumnezeu în bucurii, decât în necazuri, boli, gemete, moarte!

Până aici am arătat doar câteva căi, câteva metode, prin care Dumnezeu vorbește omului, caută să comunice cu omul. El ne-a vorbit fiecăruia din noi cel puțin odata, și cel puțin prin una din aceste căi; a vorbit oamenilor, fiecăruia în parte, indiferent de comportarea lor, și continuă să le vorbească (chiar și prin aceste rânduri).

II. DE CE ne vorbește DUMNEZEU?

Știm din proprie experiență, ca și oameni, că atunci cand vorbim cuiva, avem motivele noastre bine determinate, pentru care o facem.
Dar care sunt oare motivele lui Dumnezeu? Ce Îl determină pe El să ne vorbească nouă, oamenilor?

1 – În cartea lui Iov în cap. 33, v.11 și v.18 ne sunt arătate două dintre motivele pentru care Dumnezeu ne vorbește nouă oamenilor: -“….ca să abată pe om de la rău…” “…ca să-i păzeasca sufletul de groapa”.

În Romani 6:23 găsim scris: “Plata păcatului este moartea”. Dumnezeu însă nu dorește moartea păcătosului, ci dorește ca omul să se întoarcă din greșelile și păcatele lui și să asculte de El, și astfel să aibă parte de binele și binecuvintarile pe care El le are pregatite pentru noi. El este Părintele nostru, și ne dorește binele, așa cum noi dorim binele pentru copiii nostri.

2 – Dumnezeu ne vorbește pentru că NE IUBESTE.

În Evanghelia după Ioan, cap. 3:16 scrie:“Fiindcă atât de mult A IUBIT DUMNEZEU LUMEA, că a dat pe Singurul Lui Fiu, pentru ca oricine crede în El să NU PIARĂ, ci să aibă viață veșnică.

Dumnezeu ne iubește așa de mult pe noi oamenii păcătoși, încât a dat pe Unicul Său Fiu, pe Domnul Isus Hristos, să vină în lumea noastră, El, Sfântul lui Dumnezeu, El Cel fără de păcat, să primeasca pedeapsa (moartea), pentru păcatele noastre; astfel în loc să ajungem noi în iad, în pedeapsă veșnică, să putem fi salvați, și să putem ajunge pentru veșnicie în raiul lui Dumnezeu, în fericire și bucurie veșnică. Ce iubire mare!

Care dintre noi am face așa ceva? Să dai la moarte pe unicul tău fiu, nu pentru niște oameni deosebiți, sfinți, ci pentru oameni care au comis păcate, poate dintre cele mai grele și urâte, și care te înjura și pe tine, cel care-ți dai fiul pentru ei? Pentru orice părinte adevărat, copilul sau copiii lui valorează mult mai mult decât toate bogățiile pe care le-ar putea avea. Tot așa și Dumnezeu, are multe lucruri deosebite în acest Univers creat de El, are îngeri fără număr care-L servesc, dar pe cine are El cel mai de preț în Univers este Fiul Său, Domnul Isus Hristos, pe care”Dumnezeu L-a înălțat nespus de mult, și I-a dat Numele care este mai presus de orice nume, pentru ca în Numele lui Isus să se plece orice genunchi al celor din ceruri, de pe Pămînt şi de sub Pământ, şi orice limbă să mărturisească, spre slava lui Dumnezeu Tatăl, că Isus Hristos este Domnul.” (Filipeni 2:9-11).

Iată pe Cine a dat Dumnezeu să moară în locul nostru, pentru a ne arăta cât de mult ne iubeşte!

3 – Un alt motiv pentru care Dumnezeu ne vorbește, este pentru că El dorește PARTASIE VESNICA cu omul.

Așa cum părinții doresc să fie cu copiii lor, și Dumnezeu ne dorește în rai cu El, pentru că suntem creaturile Lui, și El ne-a creat nu pentru pedeapsă veșnică, ci pentru rai, pentru fericire veșnică, pentru a avea părtășie cu noi și după ce trecem dincolo în veșnicie. “Şi am auzit un glas tare, care ieşea din scaunul de domnie, şi zicea: ‘Iată cortul lui Dumnezeu cu oamenii! El va locui cu ei, şi ei vor fi poporul Lui, şi Dumnezeu însuşi va fi cu ei. El va fi Dumnezeul lor.’” (Apocalipsa 21:3)

III. CE ne spune DUMNEZEU?

1 – Că SUNTEM PACATOSI. Nu numai unii oameni, ci TOTI!
La 1 Împărați 8:46 găsim scris: “NU ESTE OM care să nu păcătuiască”, iar la 1 Ioan 1:10 spune: “Dacă zicem că n-am păcătuit, Îl facem mincinos [pe Dumnezeu]”.

Știm fiecare că nu se poate să nu greșim, cu gândul, vorba sau fapta. Chiar dacă copiii nu se nasc cu păcate, ei moștenesc de la părinți o natura păcătoasă, având înclinația să facă răul, nu binele. De aceea părinții depun eforturi și îi și pedepsesc pe copii pentru a-i învăța să facă ce e bine, frumos și folositor pentru ei și pentru societate. Desigur că dacă un copil moare, el nu va da socoteală înaintea lui Dumnezeu pentru greșelile lui, pentru că nu are înca discernamint, dar după ce devine matur, când va înțelege lucrurile și va fi capabil să deosebeasca binele de rău, el va trebui să dea socoteală pentru ce face, înaintea lui Dumnezeu (și chiar în fața societății). Deci Dumnezeu ne spune că toți suntem păcătoși, lucru de care suntem conștienti. Dumnezeu ne mai spune că:

2 – Fiind păcătoși, SUNTEM PIERDUTI !

“…Plata păcatului este MOARTEA” (Romani 6:23). Moartea nu e nihilism, dispariţie, ci separarea sufletului de trup (corp), iar pentru cei PIERDUŢI, despărţirea sufletului de Dumnezeu, şi în chinuri pe veci! Dumnezeu este bun și iubitor, și a dovedit aceasta dând pe Unicul Său Fiu să moară pentru păcatele noastre, dar El e și sfânt, adică nu poate accepta păcatul, și e și drept, adică dacă nu ne corectăm ne pedepsește, chiar și cu iadul (dacă-i cazul); “…Ce ar folosi unui om să câştige toată lumea dacă şi-ar PIERDE SUFLETUL.” (Matei 26:16)

Dumnezeu ne mai spune că:

3 – Există o JUDECATA!

Așa cum și pe Pământ există judecata pentru cei ce fac răul și nu se supun legilor acestei societăți, pentru a fi pedepsiți și pentru a se face dreptate, cu atât mai mult va fi o judecată pentru cei ce nu vor să se supună legii lui Dumnezeu, pentru cei ce nu vor să aleaga binele. Dacă însă, aici pe Pământ sunt unii care reușesc să scape nepedepsiți pentru răul pe care l-au săvârșit, de judecata lui Dumnezeu nu va scăpa nimeni, pentru că Judecătorul nu va fi un om, ci Dumnezeu însuși! Atunci se va împlini dreptatea lui Dumnezeu, așa cum găsim scris în Faptele Apostolilor 17:30-31:

“Dumnezeu…a rânduit o zi în care va judeca lumea după dreptate…” si in Apocalipsa 20:11-15: “Apoi am văzut un scaun de domnie mare şi alb, şi pe CEL ce şedea pe el. Pământul şi Cerul au fugit dinaintea Lui, şi nu s-a mai găsit loc pentru ele. Şi am văzut pe morţi, mari şi mici, stând în picioare înaintea scaunului de domnie. Nişte cărţi au fost deschise. Şi a fost deschisă o altă carte, care este CARTEA VIEŢII. Şi morţii au fost judecaţi după faptele lor, după cele ce erau scrise în cărţile acelea… FIECARE a fost judecat după FAPTELE LUI. Şi moartea şi locuinţa morţilor au fost aruncate în iazul de foc. Iazul de foc este moartea a doua. Oricine n-a fost găsit scris în CARTEA VIEŢII, a fost aruncat in IAZUL DE FOC.”

Deci judecata nu se va face la grămadă, nici măcar pe familii, ci “FIECARE” va fi judecat după “FAPTELE LUI”. Vei fi întrebat ce-ai făcut şi nu trebuia să faci, şi ce nu ai făcut şi trebuia SĂ FACI. Nu vei fi întrebat(ă) de faptele soţiei, soţului, copiilor, părinţilor, rudelor, vecinilor, prietenilor, preotului, păstorului, etc., ci de FAPTELE TALE! Oare cum vei sta atunci în fața Judecătorului Suprem din Univers, când știi că ești vinovat, plin de păcate? Nimeni nu va putea sta cu capul sus în fața dreptății Lui! Dumnezeu ,insa, ne mai spune și faptul că:

4 – Există SALVARE!

E adevărat că toți suntem păcătoși, e adevărat că va fi o judecată ținută după dreptatea lui Dumnezeu, o judecată unde nimeni nu va putea sta cu fruntea sus, dar Dumnezeu în bunătatea Lui și în dragostea Lui pentru omenire a pregătit și o cale de scăpare. În Biblie găsim numeroase texte prin care Dumnezeu ne spune cum putem scăpa de păcate, de judecată, de pedeapsă, de iad. În Ioan 3:16 găsim scris: “Fiindcă atât de mult a iubit Dumnezeu lumea, că a dat pe singurul Lui Fiu, pentru ca oricine crede în El, SA NU PIARĂ, ci să aibă VIAŢĂ VEŞNICĂ”.

Iar în textul citat mai înainte din Faptele Apostolilor 17:30, unde ni se vorbește despre judecata și dreptatea lui Dumnezeu, chiar acolo, în prima parte a textului, Dumnezeu ne dezvăluie și metoda de a scăpa de judecată, și în dragostea Lui, poruncește acest lucru, așa cum spune versetul: “…Dumnezeu poruncește acum tuturor oamenilor de pretutindeni să se POCĂIASCĂ…”. Toți cei ce cred în Domnul Isus, că e Fiul lui Dumnezeu și Salvatorul lor, care se lasă conduși de El și se pocăiesc, adică își cer iertare pentru păcatele lor și se lasă de păcate, sunt salvați, adică sunt iertați de păcatele lor, nu li se mai ține seama de ele și nu vor mai merge la judecată ci vor merge în rai cu Dumnezeu și cu Domnul Isus, Salvatorul lor! Aceasta este singura Cale de a evita Judecata lui Dumnezeu. Isus Hristos este aceastĂ Cale! El însuși zice în Ioan 14:6: “Eu sunt CALEA, adevărul și viața. Nimeni nu vine la Tatăl decât prin MINE”.

Dumnezeu ne vorbește, El ne spune lucruri deosebit de importante și folositoare.

“Dumnezeu vorbește când într-un fel, când în altul, dar omul nu ia seama”.

IV. DE CE nu ia omul seama

la ce spune Dumnezeu?

1 – Sunt unii oameni care au o părere mai bună despre ei înșisi decât are Dumnezeu, și care nu consideră grave sau serioase lucrurile pe care le fac. Am auzit pe mulți zicând că n-au spart casa nimănui, n-au dat în cap la nimeni, și neavând păcatele amintite ei se consideră oameni buni cărora li s-ar cuveni raiul. Ei nu știu, sau nu vor să știe, că înaintea lui Dumnezeu e păcat și beția, și ghicirea, și să minți, și să furi, și să înșeli pe cineva, și să urăști pe cineva (fiindcă Dumnezeu cunoaște și gândurile), după cum păcat este și să nu crezi în Domnul Isus că e Fiul lui Dumnezeu, sau să nu asculți de ce spune El. Înaintea lui Dumnezeu “ASCULTAREA prețuiește mai mult decât jertfele…”. “Căci neascultarea este tot atât de vinovată ca ghicirea, şi împotrivirea nu este mai puţin vinovată decât închinarea la idoli…” (1 Samuel 15:23).

2 – Mulți cred că ei sunt pe o cale bună, că au o religie bună, și nu mai au nimic de făcut. În Proverbe 14:12 găsim scris: “Multe căi pot părea omului bune, dar la urmă se văd că duc la moarte”.Verifică cu Biblia calea pe care ești, să nu te trezești la sfârșitul vieții că ajungi unde n-ai fi vrut.

3 – Apoi sunt mulți care ascultă mai mult de alți oameni (poate chiar religioși), decât de Dumnezeu. Poate le e frica să nu-și piarda funcția, onorurile, aprecierea oamenilor, sau poate se rușinează de cei din jur să-și părăseasca viața, calea, sau religia pe care au avut-o până în acel moment. Domnul Isus ne atrage însă atenția în Evanghelia după Marcu 8:38, și ne spune: “Pentru că oricine se va rușina de Mine și de cuvintele Mele, în acest neam preacurvar și păcătos, se va rușina și Fiul Omului, când va veni în slava Tatălui Său împreuna cu sfinții îngeri”.
Da, El va veni în curând cu sfinții Săi îngeri! Nu mai este mult și va avea loc acea mare judecată! Acum însă, Dumnezeu, Stăpânul Universului încă ne mai vorbește, și ne vorbește când într-un fel, când în altul. El ne vorbește, pentru că ne iubește, pentru că vrea salvarea noastră. El ne spune că suntem păcătoși, pierduti, că va fi o judecată în curând, dar ne spune și că există salvare prin credința în Fiul Său, în Domnul Isus Hristos și prin pocăință. Sa ascultam de DUMNEZEU, NU de oameni! Apostolii, după înălțarea Domnului Isus la cer, au avut claritatea și curajul să spună: “Trebuie să ASCULTĂM mai mult de DUMNEZEU decât de oameni.”(Faptele Apostolilor 5:29). Să nu ne fie rușine să ascultăm de Dumnezeu.

Când un om cu funcție înaltă vorbește, toată lumea ascultă cu atenție să afle ce vrea să spună. Cu atât mai mult când vorbește Dumnezeu, Stăpânul Universului. Universul întreg, natura înconjurătoare ascultă de glasul Lui! Se cuvine să luăm și noi seama la ce spune Dumnezeu. Se cuvine să ascultăm de El, pentru că este spre fericirea noastră de pe Pământ şi din veşnicie.
Care e atitudinea ta, iubite cititor (cititoare), când îți VORBESTE DUMNEZEU (indiferent de metoda pe care o folosește)? Iei seama la ce-ti spune? Ii asculți pe TRIMISII Lui, sau îi respingi, îi batjocorești? CiteştiCuvântul Lui – BIBLIA, sau nici nu te interesează?

IA SEAMA când îţi vorbeşte, şi la ceea ce-ţi vorbeste DUMNEZEU pentru salvarea și fericirea TA VESNICA! Amin!

P.S.: Sublinierile din textele Biblice aparţin scriitorului articolului.

“Cercetaţi toate lucrurile şi pastrati ce este bun”, adicăBIBLIC.

DATI acest articol la CAT MAI MULTI , pentru clarificare, intarire in credinta, sau intoarcere la DUMNEZEU, prin DOMNUL ISUS HRISTOS, si convingerea DUHULUI SFANT, si va veti intalni cu rezultatele aici pe Pamant, sau in Cer!

“…cine seamana mult, mult va secera.”

Ioan Burca
Doctor in Teologie

Aici e audio:

http://www.perlesicomori.net/index.php?option=com_avreloaded&view=popup&Itemid=3&divid=338

Accesati aceste site-uri:

www.perlesicomori.net

www.crestinul.org

Jesus Christ is Superior to the Angels – Hebrews 1:7-14

Photo credit w3ace.com

Jesus Christ is Superior to the Angels Part 2

Hebrews 1:7-14

And of the angels He says,

Who makes His angels winds,
And His ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son He says,

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
And the righteous scepter is the scepter of [a]His kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”

10 And,

You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
11 They will perish, but You remain;
And they all will become old like a garment,
12 And like a mantle You will roll them up;
Like a garment they will also be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.”

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,

Sit at My right hand,
Until I make Your enemies
footstool for Your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

A series of sermons by Dr. Wayne A. Barber on the Book of Hebrews entitled from ‘Shadows to Substance’  (Sermon 4)

VIDEO by John Ankerberg

Ben Witherington: The Self-Understanding of Jesus – Biola University

 

From “To everyone an answer: 10th Annual EPS Apologetics Conference”.

VIDEO by BiolaUniversity

 

The Historical Jesus – Ben Witherington

VIDEO by Myers Park United Methodist Church

Christophany by Eric Ludy

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

 Jesus ChristPastor Eric Ludy Church at Ellerslie, Windsor, Colorado VIDEO by SermonIndex.net

Christophany – I’m gonna define the word Christophany for you, because it is extremely difficult. I don’t care if you never use the word again and it’s not that I am trying to add a word to your vocabulary, I am adding a concept to your spiritual library. In fact, if you have a spiritual library that is missing this concept, what I would encourage you to do is liquidate it, start with one singular volume on your book shelf and have it be Christophany, and then begin to rebuild the book shelf. That’s how central, foremost and preeminent this particular message is. This has the potential to radically alter your perspective and yet, it might not teach you one new thing.

It has to do with positioning that which matters most into the right spot. For instance, if you’re building a house, you wouldn’t want to start with a chimney. And yet, a lot of us in our Christian life do exactly that. We are handed a chimney. We come to Jesus and someone has their pet doctrine, and the one who invited us into the presence of Christ, which was such a blessing to start with, they hand to us, first thing, the kitchen sink of Christianity or the sink of Christianity. Which, by the way, have a place and are very important, but what do you do with a kitchen sink? Could you imagine how awkward that is? Most of us are lugging around a kitchen sink and setting it down wherever we go. “Whew, this is exhausting!” We have no idea, we cannot make sense of it. It doesn’t work. You turn on the faucet and nothing comes out. You read in the Bible and it says that it’s supposed to work. There’s supposed to be rivers of living water that flows out of it and yet, nothing’s coming out of your sink. It’s frustrating.

Let’s make sure we build correctly. And that’s what this message is about.

Christophany – is a poetic word. This is my most simple definition:

Seeing Jesus in the Bible. Seeing Him here, seeing Him there, seeing Him everywhere! And not just in the symbols, such as the ark of Noah, the manna, the rock in the wilderness, the tabernacle, the high priest, the temple, the king of Israel- but in the themes, the circumstances, the characters, the stories, the literary styles. He is the histories of Israel re-enacted in a singular human life, the law of God incarnate, the proverbs come to life, the prophecies fulfilled… He is the word of God made flesh.

This is a quote from Charles Spurgeon and it was a young pastor coming to an elder wide known pastor who was (I’m guessing) his disciples. And so, he gave a sermon, and guess who was in the audience? That great elder pastor. And so, this is the conversation that flowed after the young man gave his sermon:

Charles Spurgeon: Upon finishing his sermon, the young man went to the old pastor to ask how he had done: “What do you think of my sermon, sir?” “A very poor sermon, indeed,” he said. “A poor sermon!” said the young man, “It took me a long time to study it.” “Ay, no doubt of it.”

“Why then, do you say it was poor; did you not think my explanation of the text to be accurate?” “Oh yes,” said the old preacher, “very correct indeed….”

…Well then, why do you say it is a poor sermon? Didn’t you think the metaphors were appropriate, and the arguments conclusive?” “Yes, they were very good, as far as that goes, but still it was a very poor sermon.”

“Will you tell me why you think it a poor sermon?” “Because,” he said, “THERE WAS NO CHRIST IN IT!” ….

“Well,” said the young man, “Christ was not in the text; we are not to be teaching Christ always, we must preach what is in the text.”

So the old man said, “Don’t you know, young man, that from every town, and every village, and every little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London?”

“Yes,” said the young man.

“Ah,” said the old preacher, “And so, from EVERY TEXT in Scripture there is a road to the metropolis of Scriptures, that is CHRIST!”

“And my dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, “Now, what is the road to Christ?”  and then preach a sermon, running along the roads towards the great metropolis- CHRIST.”

(24th minute) – I will give you the 7 great -ologies that we are facing as the Church of Jesus Christ and let me make something clear. Each of these -ologies  have validity. But, only under the banner of Jesus Christ as the center.

  1. Cosmology – the study of origins and beginning
  2. Eschatology – the study of what is to come, the ending.
  3. Theology – the study of all things pertaining to God.
  4. Soteriology – the study of salvation.
  5. Sabbatology – the study of the Sabbath and the particular day for honoring this rest.
  6. Etiquetteology – the study of moral excellence and appropriate behavior.
  7. Powerology – the study of enduement and the expected evidences of indwelling Grace.

The -ology of all -ologies: CHRISTCROSSOLOGY – The thing I want to emphasize is what Paul emphasized. It’s not just Christ, it’s Christ’s work. See, Jesus is enunciated in all the natures of the Father is enunciated in Him and in the work of the cross. The cross is the full enunciation of Him, His nature. Everything about God is revealed in and through the cross. And so, this is the study, this is the great focus and this is the great key that unlocks all the other -ologies. You wanna understand all the other -ologies. Get to know this -ology and suddenly, all the other -ologies have context in place to be understood.

CHRISTCROSSOLOGY:

The quest to intimately know Jesus Christ, to be found in Him, to win Him, to comprehend, understand, and intimately behold His work, to know the power of His resurrection, and know the fellowship of His sufferings. To deliberately make “Jesus and Him Crucified” the great centerpiece of reasoning and thought, the magnetic fixation of all philosophical deduction, and the central doctrine and interpretive key to all Life and Truth.

The Names of God(40):

  • The Almighty, which is, and which was, and which is to come (Revelation 1:8)
  • The Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16)
  • The Upholder of all things (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The Beginning of the Creation of God (Revelation 3:14)
  • The Father of Eternity (Isaiah 9:6)
  • The Beginning and the Ending (Revelation 1:8)
  • The Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8)
  • The First and the Last (Revelation 1:17)
  • The Life (1 John 1:2)
  • The Eternal Life which was with the Father (1 John 1:2)
  • He that Liveth (Revelation 1:18)
  • The Express Image of His Person (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The Brightness of His Glory (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The Light (John 12:35)
  • The True Light (John 1:9)
  • A Great Light (Isaiah 9:2)
  • The Light of the World (John 8:12)
  • The Light of Men (John 1:4)
  • A Light of the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6)
  • The Rock of my Salvation (2 Samuel 22:47)
  • The Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)
  • A Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
  • The Author and Finisher of Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
  • My Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • The Strength of the Children of Israel (Joel 3:12-16)
  • A Strength to the needy in distress (Isaiah 25:4)
  • A Refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4)
  • A Covert from the Tempest (Isaiah 32:2)
  • The Hope of Thy people (Joel 3:12-16)
  • The Lamb  of God (John 1:29)
  • A Lamb without  blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19)
  • The Lamb that was slain (Revelation 5:12)
  • The Lamb in the midst of a throne (Revelation 7:17)
  • The Savior of the World (1 John 4:14)
  • A Savior, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11)
  • Messiah (John 4:25)
  • The Way (John 14:6)
  • The Door of the Sheep (John 10:7)
  • The Builder (Hebrews 3:3; Matthew 16:18)
  • The Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11)
  • A Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16)

HE WAS and IS Perfect

  1. The Image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4)
  2. The Image of the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15)
  3. The Express Image of His Person (Hebrews 1:3)
  4. The Brightness of His Glory (Hebrews 1:3)
  5. Holy, Harmless (Hebrews 7:26)
  6. The Holy One and the Just (Acts 3;14)
  7. The Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:7)
  8. The Holy One of God (Mark 1;24)
  9. Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6:3; John 12:41)
  10. Merciful (Hebrews 2:17)
  11. Faithful (Hebrews 2:17)
  12. Undefiled (Hebrews 7:26)
  13. Separate  (Hebrews 7:26)
  14. The First-Born from the dead (Colossians 1:18)
  15. The First-Begotten of the dead (Revelation 1:5)
  16. The First-Born among many Brethren (Romans 8:29)
  17. The First-Fruits of them that slept (1 Corinthian 15:20)
  18. A Bundle of Myrrh (Song of Solomon 1:13)
  19. A Cluster of Henna Blooms (Song of Solomon 1:14)
  20. Yea. Thou art all together lovely. Thou art my Beloved and my Friend (Song of Solomon 5:16)

Jesus Christ and Him Crucified – the great focus, message, and meditation of the believer. Jesus Christ is-

  • The focus of our faith
  • The catalyst of our understanding
  • The object of our love and our affection
  • The wellspring of our joy
  • The source of our peace
  • The Power of God unto Salvation
  • The Root of our every doctrine

Everything is about Jesus, and Him Crucified:

  • Every message is about Jesus– exalting Him, glorifying Him, and increasing our faith in Him
  • Every message flows out of the exaltation of Him, His work, and the purchase of His work
  • Every discussion is about Jesus or increases our faith in His work
  • Every doctrine stems from the Person of Jesus, the work of Jesus, the victory of Jesus
  • Every thing that is not born out of this faith-focus on Jesus and His Great-CrossWork, increasing  the understanding of it, the adoration of Him, and the ever-increasing faith in Him and His work, is off-center and distraction from the Center.

There is much, much more in this 77 minute sermon…

Persoana si Lucrarea Duhului Sfant – “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”

Photo credit www.disciples.org.au

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Faith Matters Episode 12 –  “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit” featuring a discussion between Dr. Mark Williams, General Overseer of the Church of God and Dr. Steven J. Land, President of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

Notes from the video:

Dr. Mark Williams – It’s undeniable that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today. He is convicting people of sin. He is drawing them to Christ. We see Him at work, as the Lord is pouring out His Spirit in the last days, which are a sign, of course, of the last days. He is so important. And He is also very important in worship. Is He not?

Dr. Steven J. Land: Absolutely! How could we know God, unless God wanted to be known? You know, you can come together and simply remember facts and rehearse Scriptures, and if God doesn’t show up, to know God and encounter God, is it really worship? We remember we are taught things, but, by saying that this is an encounter with the living God, we participate in His life and He is in our midst, He speaks to us and moves and manifests gifts and informs us and speaks to His character, that’s what helps the whole world to see that we are a community that has God at the center. We’re not just a religion making group. But, we’re gathered around God at the very center. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to each other.

Dr. Mark Williams: 1 Corinthians 12:13-14 are really very important passages  for me as a disciple and as a pastor, as a shepherd, as I begin to learn  about the manifestations of the Spirit, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:7 -the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every person to profit. And we see, as Paul, in a corrective way at the church of Corinth, begins to lay out the person, the work of the Holy Spirit, how he works, what the purpose of the Holy Spirit at work among us, corporately, really is- to glorify Jesus. Also, to edify. We see in those passages, the gifts of the Spirit. Perhaps in my view, not necessarily an exhaustive list. It’s certainly a representative list of the gifts of the Spirit. We see in there, gifts for the mind, gifts for might, gifts for the mouth- for utterance. We see, sandwiched in there, also, the ultimate test of the Spirit’s work, which is love.

Dr. Steven J. Land: And why is that? Because God is love. Again, it goes back to this participation in the life and mission of God. What would we be if we didn’t have love? If you didn’t have love, it means you wouldn’t have God. The whole point of God was not just to reveal information, but to reveal Himself. Let us know Him. And that He that hath the Son, hath life. And he that hath not the Son, hath not life. So, the very life at the center is the life of God given us in Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of life, the Holy Spirit. So, 1 Corinthians 13 can talk about the more excellent way . The most excellent way is not love. It’s love motivating all the other things: the tongues, the knowledge and the faith, and the giving and the sacrifice. That’s the most excellent way of life. It’s not a multiple choice test. It’s to make sure love is the central motive, the central reality. So that God remains central and we’re not competing with each other.

Dr. Mark Williams: How many times have I seen the Holy Spirit work corporately in pointing us to Christ? Pointing us to the love of God? And releasing supernatural enablements to help give guidance to the church. We read in Scripture about the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom and discerning the spirits. I would say, in your experience, you have also seen times when we didn’t know what to do, and the Holy Spirit would give to us divine direction that we could have never known before.

Dr. Steven J. Land: Or, the Holy Spirit speaking and revealing people’s hearts. Just astounding. People falling on their faces in reverence for God because He’d reveal things that no one would know, but God.

Dr. Mark Williams: I’ve got to tell you this. My dad was not raised in a Christian home at all, He came to faith out of dating my mom. He found Christ as His Savior. They were married. He was in the Air Force and he goes to church, a Church of God in Wichita Falls, Texas. And they invite a friend of my dad’s and his girlfriend, to go over with them to church. They were at a revival. Now, my dad was very skeptical about the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. He saw people living in such a way, you claimed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and he thought, “Well, I live just as good as they do, and I even pay my tithes.” So, he really had doubts.

At this service, a preacher who is now in heaven, he was up preaching. And he had a prayer line and my dad’s buddy went up for prayer. And when my dad’s friend went up for prayer, brother Krutcher (?) a visiting evangelist who had never seen this guy before and this man had never been to this church before, brother Krutcher laid his hand on this man and looked at him in the eye and he said, “You’re living a lie. The woman you have brought with you does not know that you have a wife  back in Ohio. You have a family. You need to call on God.” The man fell to his knees, repented of his sins. I’ll tell you something else that happened. It made a believer out of my dad. And fear came upon the congregation. And my dad never doubted the person and the work of the Holy Spirit again.

Dr. Steven J. Land: It was either right or wrong, very specific.

Dr. Mark Williams: Yeah, this was no general… “There might be someone here…” He looked at him right in the eye. The gift of the word of knowledge was right there prophetically speaking.

Dr. Steven J. Land: Yeah, those are the things that made this revival, this renewal, this missionary movement  spread around the world. It’s also the thing touching people in other places. For example, we’re going to witness in the world where other religions are entrenched. Manifestations where there is Buddhism, or Islam or radical secularism. When you get the Gospel coming with words of Scripture and signs and demonstrations in the Spirit, that combination, not just separating them, just Scripture and just manifestations, but coming together. That’s a powerful combination.

Dr. Mark Williams: I long for this generation to see authentic supernatural at work. How important is that?

Dr. Steven J. Land: It is so essential because what we so often have is to believe that the individual is the key. Just finding the individual and just lifting up that individual. My mother said so often to me, she’s now with the Lord, but she would say, “Steve, when you teach or preach, you’ve got to find a way to always move behind the cross.” I think people need to carry away Christ, not you.” Move behind the cross, always. And isn’t that what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit continually lifts up Christ, even though the Holy Spirit is God, but lifts up Jesus Christ because He’s the Savior and in Him we know the life of the Father. We discover the will of the Father and we worship God. So, that’s very critical for us who are filled with the Spirit. To lift up Christ, to point away from ourselves and lift up Christ. And when we do that, the signs will follow.

Dr. Mark Williams: Okay, so you’re sitting in a service and you’re not skeptical. There’s a difference from the discernment of spirits and pure old skepticism. We’ve seen both before. How do you know whether a manifestation truly is of the Holy Spirit or whether it is of the flesh? Or, God forbid, another Spirit? Don’t we have some instructions on discernment there?

Dr. Steven J. Land: Discernment;s huge. True and false prophecy is the roots and fruits. If it comes from a guy who doesn’t bear Godly fruit- you don’t get sweet water out of a bitter well. And so it’s roots and fruits. And sometimes you don’t know til later, you wait and kind of see til it bears out, what fruit does it produce? Does it divide the church? Does it build up the church? Does it edify? Does it comfort? Does it  exhort to righteousness? You know, they are put in those tests in Scripture, whether in 1 Corinthians 14 or the prophetic passages of the Old Testament and you put all that together in discernment to determine true and false prophets and true and false prophecies, and you see what finally happens. Some people will clearly lift themselves up, they’ll say wild and exotic things. Some of it just won’t bear with Scripture. They’ve gone beyond Scripture. You know, [they’ll say], “We’ve got further revelation.” But, how much sense will it make if the Holy Spirit will reveal things which contradict what He inspired people to write in Scripture? So we have to set it.

Dr. Mark Williams: The old timers used to say, “The Holy Ghost WILL NEVER contradict Himself!” What we have to be careful of not allowing the excesses to rob us of the genuine.

Dr. Steven J. Land: When I was growing up, there was a lady who came through and my aunt called my dad, and said, “You’ve got to come to church tonight. There’s a  woman here, God has filled her mouth with jewels.” Some people just go crazy over that. She would open her mouth and they’d see things glittering and they’d get excited. I had no confidence in that at all. It doesn’t lift up Christ and it’s just sensationalism. It’s not of the Lord, I’m not moved. And that proved to be the case. It turned out that she had taken this colored foil and put it in her mouth and got exposed. Well, it was just a show. It was not something lifting up Christ, and it wasn’t in the context of the word. It was just, “Look what God can do.”

It’s like gold dust falling from the ceiling. I got a call from a newspaper reporter. He said, “What do you think about this gold dust?” “Well, did you get a bag of it?” “No.” “Well, did anybody?” We need to question that, don’t we? “It fell, but nobody’s got any.” And if it’s just to lift up people, it’s just sensationalism.

And I go back to that quote from the Azusa Street revival and what it said: “People look for the spectacular and they miss the wonderful.” Signs and wonders, these are wonder works. They lead to wonder before God, in reverence before God, or does it lift up individuals? You know, if a manifestation of a gift leads to hate and not to love, not joy in the Lord, but despair in the Lord, not to peace, but to discord and strife; it’s pretty clear that there’s contradiction there between gifts and fruit. The fruit, as for the gifts, to manifest for the character. It’s like, our deeds should manifest our character and our motivation. The gifts of the Spirit, they should form us in that and not contradict us. Those should go together, the way that personality goes together with character. And the external and the internal. We should see that. In church, it should be like a garden. A place that cultivates the fruit of the Spirit, so we produce people that have Christian character. I think that’s what upsets me more than anything, that Christians  who make a claim of their character, it doesn’t bear it out.

Dr. Mark Williams: You know, by their fruit you shall know them. You know, my grandpa always had a statement. He would see people slain in the Spirit, and he would basically say, “You know, It’s fine to be slain in the Spirit. I believe in that, wonderful, but, when you get up, how you walk is what is really important.” There’s no doubt about it, God is a Spirit. Those that worship Him, must worship Him in Spirit, and in truth. God is seeking such. And I just pray that God would continue to favor us with the manifestations of the Spirit. Not for spectacle, not for show. But, that the name of Jesus might be lifted up and that the manifestation would become a platform upon which to to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Faith Matters Episode 12 –  “The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit”

featuring a discussion between

Dr. Mark Williams, General Overseer of the Church of God

and Dr. Steven J. Land,

President of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary

John Piper – Raspuns la “Un Cuvant Comun” (scris de musulmani) si Documentului de la Universitatea Yale (raspunsul crestinilor)

Photo credit www.yale.edu

Citeste documentul musulmanilor aici  – A Common Word (Un Cuvant Comun)

Citeste raspunsul Universitatii Yale, semnat de mai multi lideri Crestini (dar, nu de John Piper si Al Mohler) – “A Common Word” Christian Response (Un Cuvant Comun – Raspunsul Crestinilor)

Traducere Agnus Dei: Raspunsul lui John Piper, din 18 Noiembrie 2009:

Sunt deacord cu a doua propozitie din documentul “Un Cuvant Comun”, care spune in felul urmator: ,,Fara pace si justitie intre cele doua comunitati religioase (musulmani si crestini), nu poate exista o pace semnificativa in lume.” Eu prin aceasta inteleg ca este vorba despre un comportament national, social si personal, dar nu si exprimarea sentimentelor, sau exprimarea ideilor. Si, totodata sunt deacord cu propozitia din ultimul paragraf, care spune: ,,Deci, sa nu lasam ca diferentele noastre sa produca ura si cearta intre noi.” Acestea sunt dorinte enorme pe care le impartasesc si eu.

Piper s response to A Common WordIn Ioan 18:36 Isus a zis, de fapt El a renuntat la sabie, ca fiind o strategie pentru ucenicii sai, ca o modalitate de a avansa imparatia. El a zis: ,,Daca ar fi Imparatia Mea din lumea aceasta, slujitorii Mei s’ar fi luptat ca sa nu fiu dat in mainile Iudeilor; dar acum, Imparatia Mea nu este de aici.” Si, prin urmare, crestinii ar trebui sa lucreze impreuna cu oameni cu vederi religioase foarte radical diferite, cu scopul de a cauta modalitati pentru a evita violenta nejustificata. Ei ar trebui sa caute impreuna sa pastreze libertatea de inchinare religioasa, intrunirea religioasa, si proclamarea publica a religiei. Crestinii ar trebui sa renunte la folosirea fortei fizice atat prin violenta ilegala cat si prin pedeapsa legala care are ca scop limitarea expresiei religioase pasnice, ne coercitive, inchinarea sau discursul persuasiv religios.

Dar, centrul acestei chemari “Un Cuvant Comun” este defectuos. Aceasta chemare isi propune sa ofere un  fundament pentru fiecare dialog interconfesional din viitor. La pagina 15 scrie: ,,Fie ca acest fundament comun sa fie baza viitoarelor noastre intruniri interconfesionale, pentru ca acest fundament comun cuprinde toata Legea si Proorocii.” Matei 22.

Care este asadar chemarea centrala a cuvantului comun?

Fraza: ,,Un Cuvant Comun Intre Noi”, este luata din Koran. Citandu-l pe Dumnezeu, spune: ,,Oh oameni ai scripturii (evrei si crestini), veniti la un cuvant comun intre noi si voi, ca sa nu ne inchinam la nimeni, decat lui Dumnezeu.”

Acest citat este important deoarece arata clar ca chemarea centrala “A Cuvantului Comun” nu este ca noi suntem deacord ca monoteisti pe principiile formale de dragoste pentru Dumnezeu (oricare este El), si dragostea fata de aproapele nostru (oricare este el). Aceasta ar putea fi adevarat. Dar  ceea ce citatul din Koran face clar este ca chemarea centrala din ” Un Cuvant Comun” este aceea ca crestinii si musulmanii de fapt iubesc pe acelasi Dumnezeu. Cu alte cuvinte, cand am citit “Un Cuvant Comun” intrebarea mea a fost: Este disertatia ca oficial religiile noastre sunt similare? Voi pune-ti o mare importanta pe dragostea de Dumnezeu si de aproapele nostru. Noi punem o mare importanta pe dragostea de Dumnezeu si aproapele nostru. Acestea sunt structural si formal similare, si noi putem sa fim deacord in aceasta privinta.

Sau aceasta inseamna ca: Noi avem o dragoste pentru Dumnezeu, si voi aveti o dragoste pentru Dumnezeu. Ca dragostea comuna pentru un Dumnezeu comun, este temelia. Aceasta din urma este ceea ce documentul insemneaza. Sunt alte doua motive pentru a crede aceasta. Paragraful, care urmeaza imediat acestuia pe care l-am citat, identifica aceasta chemare din Koran cu o porunca mare din Biblie. Ele spun: ,,Este clar, ca inchinandu-te nimanui decat numai lui Dumnezeu se relata cu a fi devotat in totalitate lui Dumnezeu, si deci la prima si cea mai mare porunca. Astfel, noi suntem chemati sa stam impreuna, pe un fundament comun de o singura inchinare la Dumnezeu, un singur devotament fata de Dumnezeu si o singura dragoste pentru Dumnezeu.” A treia proba de evidenta din “Un Cuvant Comun”. Citeaza Koranul in felul urmator: ,,Sa ziceti, oh musulmanilor, noi credem in Dumnezeu, si in ceea ce Moise si Isus au primit. Si, daca ei cred in felul in care voi credeti, atunci ei sunt indrumati drept. Dar daca ei se intorc de la aceasta, atunci ei sunt in schisma si Dumnezeu iti va fi deajuns impotriva lor.”

Problema principala cu raspunsul Universitatii Yale

Asadar, este clar ca fundamentul comun prezentat in “Un Cuvant Comun” nu este o similaritate formala intre doua religii monoteiste, dar de fapt, o dragoste impartasita comun pentru un singur Dumnezeu. Inainte ca sa prezint ce este eronant in aceasta, principala problema cu raspunsul Universitatii Yale, care inca nu a fost adresat, este ca (universitatea) este deacord cu ea. Acestea sunt principalele probleme. Eu nu am nici un fel de obiectiuni la ceea ce ei adreseaza. Am cinci, dar toate acestea sunt de forme diferite. Si aceasta este cea mai principala, si propozitia cheie este gasita in sectiunea “Sarcina Ce Ne Sta In Fata”, si este scrisa in felul urmator – acesta este acum raspunsul lui Yale la “Un Cuvant Comun”: Noi trebuie sa lucram impreuna din rasputeri pentru a transforma relatiile dintre comunitatile noastre si dintre natiunile noastre, ca ele sa reflecte cu adevarat “dragostea noastra comuna pentru un singur Dumnezeu si a unuia fata de celalalt”. Aceasta este cea mai problematica propozitie din acest document.

Este clar ca din fraza “dragostea noastra comuna pentru un singur Dumnezeu” ca cei ce au scris aceasta sau ca s-au exprimat gresit – care este putin probabil din moment ce prea multe alte semne distinctive din acest document ne indruma inspre aceasta directie, sau ca ei sunt in agreanta cu “Un Cuvant Comun” si fundamentul comun de dialog Musulman- Crestin, nu este o similaritate formala in religiile noastre, dar de fapt, o dragoste impartasita pentru un Dumnezeu adevarat si pentru aproapele nostru.

Greseala din Fundamentul Comun propus in documentul Un Cuvant Comun si acceptat prin raspunsul Universitatii Yale, arata deslusit ca Isus nu exista

Opinia mea ar fi ca aceasta absenta intr-un astfel de fundament comun trebuie facut explicit, nu de dragul de a distruge acest dialog, sau de a submina pacea. Dar, din partea crestinismului, pentru a fi deschisi (sinceri), cinstiti, credinciosi public, inaltand pe Christos, un dialog care sa pastreze increderea, si pentru o pace durabila care sa fie bazata pe adevar. Isus a zis: ,,Stiu ca n’aveti in voi dragoste de Dumnezeu. Eu am venit in Numele Tatalui Meu, si nu Ma primiti; daca va veni un altul, in numele lui insus, pe acela il veti primi.” Deci, atunci cand Isus a zis,  “Ma primiti”, El zice sa-L primiti pentru cine este El cu adevarat – ‘Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care isi da viata pentru oile Sale; si o ia inapoi in trei zile.’ Daca o persoana nu-L primeste in felul acesta, Isus spune ca aceasta persoana nu-L iubeste pe Dumnezeu. Isus a spus deasemenea: ,,Tatal nici nu judeca pe nimeni, ci toata judecata a dat-o Fiului, pentru ca toti sa cinsteasca pe Fiul cum cinstesc pe Tatal. Cine nu cinsteste pe Fiul, nu cinsteste pe Tatal, care L-a trimes.” Si cand Isus a zis “cinsteste pe Fiul” El zice sa Il onoram pe El pentru cine El este cu adevarat – ‘Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care isi da viata pentru oile Sale; si o ia inapoi in trei zile.’

O persoana care nu-L cinsteste pe Isus in felul acesta, nu-L cinsteste pe Dumnezeu. Isus a zis: ,,Voi nu ma cunoasteti nici pe Mine, nici pe Tatal Meu. Daca M’ati cunoaste pe Mine, ati cunoaste si pe Tatal Meu.” Cand Isus spune ‘daca M-ati cunoaste’, inseamna “sa ma cunoasteti pe Mine pentru cine sunt Eu cu adevarat”. Deci, persoana care nu-L cunoaste pe Isus ca fiind Cel divin, etern, crucificat, Fiul lui Dumnezeu inviat din morti, nu-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu. Din punct de vedere istoric musulmanii nu-L cunosc pe Isus, nu-L cinstesc pe Isus si nu-L primesc pe Isus pentru cine El este cu adevarat: Cel divin, eternul Fiu al lui Dumnezeu, care si-a dat viata pentru toti pacatosii prin moartea Sa pe cruce, si care apoi a inviat din morti. Si, orisicine crede in El sa primeasca mantuirea. Deci, Isus spune ca musulmanii nu-L cunosc pe Dumnezeu, nu-L cinstesc pe Dumnezeu, si nu-L iubesc pe Dumnezeu. Atat de ofensator cat este lucrul acesta, dar Isus a spus-o celor mai saturati oameni religiosi ai Bibliei, cu disciplina rituala, celor mai constienti oameni religiosi de prezenta lui Dumnezeu, din timpul Sau.

Asadar, chemarea centrala din “Un Cuvant Comun”, impartasita de raspunsul lui Yale, este profund eronata, cu alte cuvinte ea nu exista. Eu cred, prin urmare, ca exista o cale mai buna de a merge inainte, intre crestini si musulmani. In special, ma gandesc la scolarii biblici, nu cei ce fug la moara, cei obisnuiti, cei de la o intalnire evanghelistica, cei de peste drum de biserica mea, unde sunt mii de musulmani somali, vecini de-ai mei. Ma gandesc la scolari si cleri scriind documente unul celuilalt si care stiu deja ceea ce ceilalti cred, in general.

Din partea crestina, aceasta va fi cinstita, credinciosi bibilei, Christos ca punct central, preamarind pe Christos, dialog care sa pastreze adevarul, daca punem aceste lucruri la masa de discutie. Nici intr-un fel sa ne impingem unul pe altul deoparte, ci sa vorbim in baza celor mai dureroase diferente. Eu cred din toata inima mea, caci ca pacatosi iertati, care ne datoram viata prin harul lui Dumnezeu cu care ne-a rascumparat, noi crestinii putem privi cu dragoste si bunavointa si cu o compasiune blanda din adancul inimii, in ochii musulmanilor si sa le zicem: ,, Eu nu cred ca il cunoasteti pe Dumnezeu, eu nu cred ca il cinstiti pe Dumnezeu, eu nu cred ca il iubiti pe Dumnezeu. Si sper ca in timpul conversatiei noastre, frumustea lui Christos va fi vazuta mai clar, pentru cine este El cu adevarat. Si daca am fi amenintati in aceasta sala chiar acum, de crestini sau musulmani, eu as spera sa mor pentru acesti oameni. Nu sa-i imping in fata mea, ci sa stau nemiscat in fata lor. Cu alte cuvinte, cred ca este posibil ca sa vorbim in felul acesta cu afectiune, cu dorinta din inima, si totusi sa spun ceea ce am spus. Eu nu cred ca oamenii care il resping pe Christos, in principiu, sa nu-L primeasca pentru cine El este,  nu este pentru a nu-L cunoaste pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru a nu-L cinsti pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru a nu-L  iubi pe Dumnezeu.

Asa ca evit limbajul ca noi ne inchinam la Dumnezei diferiti. Eu vreau numai sa spun ceea ce Isus a spus aici. Daca dragostea noastra pentru Dumnezeu este ca sa fie vorbita, fiind centrul discutiei noastre, cred ca atunci ea trebuie  sa vina din 1Ioan 4:10-11 – ,,Si dragostea sta nu in faptul ca noi am iubit pe Dumnezeu, ci in faptul ca El ne-a iubit pe noi, si a trimes pe Fiul Sau ca jertfa de ispasire pentru pacatele noastre.” Aceasta este cea mai esentiala definitie de dragoste crestina divina. Si urmatorul verset este: ,,Prea iubitilor, daca astfel ne-a iubit Dumnezeu pe noi, trebuie sa ne iubim si noi unii pe altii.” Aceasta este baza mea pentru a ma apropia de musulmani. Dragostea lui Dumnezeu pe care ei nu o cunosc, este chiar dragostea lui Dumnezeu care ma face sa ma duc la masa de discutie.

Citeste documental musulmanilor aici  – A Common Word

Citeste raspunsul Universitatii Yale, semnat de mai multi lideri Crestini (dar, nu de John Piper si Al Mohler) – “A Common Word” Christian Response

NEW: Video of John Piper’s & Al Mohler’s response, on November 18, 2009-

ENGLISH:

 

John Piper:

I agree with the second sentence in ‘A Common Word’. which goes like this: “Without peace and justice between these two religious communities – Moslems and Christians- there can be no meaningful peace in the world.” I take that to be a national, social, and personal behaviors, not to expressed feelings, expressed ideas. And, I agree with the sentence in the last paragraph in the document, that says: “So, let our  differences not cause hatred or strife between us.” Those are massive longings and I share them.

In John 18:36 Jesus said, actually He renounced the sword, as a strategy for his disciples, as a way of advancing the kingdom. He said, “If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would be fighting. My kingdom is not of this world.” and, therefore, christians should work together with people of very radically different views religiously, in order to seek ways to avoid unjust violence. They should seek together to preserve freedom of religious worship, religious assembly, religious public proclamation. Christians should renounce the use of physical force either through illegal violence or legal punishment aimed at restricting peaceful, non coercive religious expression, religious worship or persuasive religious speech.

But, the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is flawed. This summons aims to provide a foundation for all future interfaith dialogue. Page 15 says, “Let this common ground be the basis for future interfaith dialogue between us, for our common ground is that upon which hangs all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22.

So, what is the central summons of a common word?

The phrase “A Common Word Between Us” is taken from the Koran. Quoting God, it says, “Oh people of the scripture, (Jews and christians) come to a common word between us and you, that we shall worship  none but God.”

The quotation is important because it makes clear that the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is not that we agree as monotheists on the formal principles of love to God (whoever He is) and love to neighbor (whoever he is). That may be true. But, what the quotation from the Koran makes clear is that the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ is that christians and Moslems actually love the same God. In other words, when I read ‘A Common Word’, my question was: Is the thesis that formally our religions are similar? You put a lot of importance in love for God and neighbor. We put a lot of importance in love for God and neighbor. Those are structurally and formally similar, and we can meet on that basis.

Or, does it mean: We have a love for God and you have a love for God. That common love for that common God is the foundation. It’s the latter (that) the document means. There are 2 other reasons for believing that. The paragraph, following the one I just quoted, identifies this summons in the koran with a great commandment in the Bible. They say, “Clearly, also worshipping none but God relates to being totally devoted to God, and hence, to the first and greatest commandment. Thus, we are summoned to stand together, on the common ground of one worship of God, one devotion to God, and one love for God.” A third piece of evidence from “A Common Word”. It quotes the Koran, as follows: “Say, oh Moslems, we believe in God, and that which Moses and Jesus received. And, if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then they are rightly guided. But, if they turn away, then they are in schism, and God will suffice thee against them.”

The main problem with the Yale response

So, its clear that the common ground, held out in ‘A Common Word’, is not a formal similarity in the two monotheistic religions, but, an actual shared love for the one God. Before I turn to what’s flawed about that, the main problem with the Yale response, which has not been addressed, is that it agrees with that. That’s the main problems. I don’t have any objections to what they address. I’ve got five, but, they’re different form all of those. And this is the main one, and the key sentence is found in the section ‘The Task Before Us’, and goes like this-this is now the Yale response to ‘A Common Word': “We need to work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect ‘our common love for God and of one another’.” That’s the most problematic sentence in the document.

It’s clear from the phrase ‘our common love for God’, that those who wrote this, either misspoke- which is unlikely, since too many other traits in the document point in this direction, or that they agree with ‘A Common Word’ and the common ground for Moslem-Christian dialogue is not a formal similarity in our religions, but, in fact, a shared love for one true God and for our neighbor.

The flaw in the Common Ground, proposed in A Common Word, and embraced by the Yale response is that Jesus makes clear it does not exist.

My contention would be that this absence of such a common ground must be made explicit, not for the sake of destroying dialogue, or undermining peace. But, from a christian side, for the sake of forthright, honest, publicly faithful, Christ exalting, trust preserving dialogue, and for truth based durable peace. Jesus said, “I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in the Father’s name and you do not receive Me. If another comes in in his own name, you will receive him.” So, when Jesus says ‘receive Him’, He means ‘receive Him for who He really is- the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down His life for His sheep; takes it up again in three days’. If a person does not receive Him in this way, Jesus says that person does not love God. Jesus also said, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” And when He says ‘honor the Son’, He means ‘honor Him for who He really is’- ‘the divine, eternal Son of God who lays down His life for His sheep; takes it up again in three days’.

The person who does not honor Jesus in this way, does not honor God. Jesus said, “You know neither Me, nor my Father. If you knew Me, you would know My Father.” When Jesus says “if you knew Me”, He means “know Me for who I really am”. So, the person who does not know Jesus as the divine, eternal, crucified, risen Son of God does not know God. Historically, Moslems do not know Jesus, honor Jesus or receive Jesus for who He really is: The divine, eternal Son of God, who laid down His life on the cross for sinners, and rose again form the dead. So, whoever believes in Him would be saved. Therefore, Jesus says Moslems do not know God, they do not honor God, and they do not love God. As offensive as this is, Jesus said it to the most Bible saturated, ritually disciplined, God aware religious people of His day.

Therefore, the central summons of ‘A Common Word’ shared by the Yale response is deeply flawed, namely it doesn’t exist. I believe, therefore, there is a better way forward between christians and moslems. Especially, I am thinking scholars. Not your run of the mill, average, evangelistic encounter, across the street from my church, where there are thousands of Somali moslems, as my neighbors. I’m thinking of scholars and clergy writing documents for each other and who know what each other already thinks, by and large.

From the christian side, it will be honest, biblically faithful, Christ centered, Christ exalting, truth preserving dialogue, if we put these things on the table. Not in any way to push each other apart, but, to talk in basis of the most painful differences. I believe with all my heart, that as forgiven sinners, who owe our lives to God bought grace, we christians can look with love, and good will, and even tender hearted compassion into the eyes of moslems and say, “I don’t believe you know God, I don’t believe you honor God, I don’t believe you love God. And I hope that through our conversation, the beauty of Christ will be more clearly seen, for who He really is. And, if we were threatened in this room right now, by christian or moslem, I would hope that I would die for these men. Not push them in front of me, but, stand in front of them. In other words, I think it’s possible to talk this way with affection, heart felt longings, and still say what I just said. I don’t think people who reject Jesus, in principle, not to receive Him for who He is, is not to know God, not to honor God, not to love God.

So I’m avoiding the language that we worship different Gods. I’m just trying to say what Jesus said here. If our love for God is to be spoken of as central, I think it has to come from 1 John4:10-11- In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That is the most essential definition of christian divine love. And the next verse is: If God so loved us, we ought to love one another. That’s my basis for moving towards moslems. The very love of God that they don’t share is the love of God that moves me to the table. (15:00)

 

The Last Instructions of Jesus (Tenth Resurrection Appearance) and His Ascension

Ultimile Instructiuni ale Domnului Isus

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

After Jesus’ resurrection, he was on earth for 40 days (Acts 1:3), then He led His followers out to Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, and “lifting up His hands, He blessed them. While He blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).
John 21:1-23 relates the story of the last appearance of Jesus after His     resurrection.  Then Matthew’s center of these instructions is the future mission to spread the good news through baptism and teaching (Matthew 28:18-20). In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus teaches them to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins  (Matthew 24:47). In the fourth Gospel, Jesus breathes on the disciples the Holy Spirit, thereby empowering them to continue his mission, including the forgiveness of sins (John 20:22-23).

TENTH  RESURRECTION  APPEARANCE

From the upper room to the Mount of Olives. Mark 16:19, 20  Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:4-11.

A. Jesus blesses them and promises the baptism of the Spirit.

B. He orders them to witness for Him:

  1. In Jerusalem
  2. In Judea
  3. In Samaria
  4. unto the uppermost parts of the earth.

C. He is received up into glory to the right hand of the Father.

D. This is the Old Testament Prophecy fulfillment number 38, that He would ascend. (Compare Psalm 24:7-10 with Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51). Did the resurrected Christ appear before any unsaved individuals? On the strength of Matthew 23:37-39 it would seem He did not.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

These words conclude  the Bible’s account of the greatest  life that was ever lived. It should, however be said that His glory story is not limited to the four Gospel accounts. In fact, each of the sixty-six Biblical books presents a glimpse of this marvelous and mighty Messiah. Note the following “scriptural summary of the Savior”:

Christ in every book (of the Bible)

Christ is the theme of the entire revelation of God. He is promised in Genesis, revealed in the Law, prefigured in its history, praised in poetry, proclaimed in its prophecy, provided in its Gospels, proved in its Acts, preeminent in its Epistles and prevailing in Revelation.

(thanks to Gabi Bogdan for above video, illustrating Christ in every book, through song)

He is seen in every book of the Bible. Take a journey through the Halls of Holy Writ and and in every one of them you will see Christ. Starting with Genesis He is the seed of the woman; in Exodus the Lamb for sinners slain; in Leviticus, our High Priest; in Numbers, the Star of Jacob and the Brazen Serpent; in Deuteronomy,  the Prophet like unto Moses and the Great Rock; in Joshua, the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts; in Judges the Messenger of Jehovah; in Ruth our Kinsman-Redeemer and the Faithful Bridegroom; in 1 Samuel He is seen as the Great Judge; in 2 Samuel as the Princely King; in 1st Kings as David’s Choice; in  2 Kings as the Holiest of All; in 1 Chronicles as King by Birth; in 2 Chronicles as King by Judgement.

In Ezra He is seen as Lord of heaven and earth; in Nehemiah as builder; in Esther our Mordecai; in Job our Daysman and our Risen,  returning Redeemer; in Psalms the Son of God and the Good Shepherd; in Proverbs our Wisdom; in Ecclesiastes as the One above the sun; in Song of Solomon the great Church lover; the one Altogether Lovely and the Chiefest among ten thousand. (VIA)

The ascent into heaven

Only Mark (longer version) and Luke include an account of the ascension. For the other evangelists, Jesus’ return to the Father is taken for granted (implied). Luke wants both to round up (finish) his Gospel and to provide a link with his second volume, The Acts of the Apostles. Favorite themes, first appearing in his infancy narratives, are all fitted into these final two verses–journey, Jerusalem, rejoicing, prayers of praise(Luke 24:52-53). Jesus is portrayed as lifting His hands in blessing over the small group of disciples; in Acts 1:6-11, He will commission them to extend this blessing to the entire world and thus throughout the ages. (VIA)

The Ascent of Joy by John Piper (on Jesus’ Ascension forty days after the Resurrection)

 

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Luke 24:44-53

And Jesus said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you that, everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are my witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.

In the book of Acts, which Luke writes to continue his account of Jesus’ work in history (by his Spirit), he says (1:1–3):

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God.

Therefore, we learn that the ascension of Jesus back to the right hand of God the Father occurred forty days after the resurrection. Had it been Easter 1981 when Jesus was raised from the dead, the ascension would have occurred last Friday, day before yesterday. And had we been among the disciples, we would now find ourselves waiting in Jerusalem for the outpouring of God’s Spirit which came about ten days later on Pentecost. Therefore, today I want to focus our attention on the ascension of Jesus, and next Sunday on the meaning of Pentecost.

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Ascension Day – The Deity of Christ – Jesus Christ is God

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The world often attempts to remove the deity from Christ, in an attempt to make Him only “a good man”.   In contrast, you will find an almost overwhelming amount of Biblical support and affirmation that Jesus Christ is God, the second person of the Trinity.

1.    Jesus Christ is the Word who is God

Photo credit Ilie Marian

 ·    John 1:1—In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 Literally, translated from the Greek, (kai theos en ho logos) “and God was the Word”.

 So, literally it would read like this,

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.”

·    Let’s take a step further and see how it would read if we remove the word “Word” and replace it with “Jesus”.

 “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and God was Jesus.”

·    God became flesh.

2. Jesus Christ, Himself, claimed to be God.

·    Jesus repeatedly used the Jehovaic statement, “I AM” as used in Exodus 3:14. (John 8:25, 56-59; 18:6, 8).

·    The power of these spoken words of Jesus, knocked the soldiers backward to the ground in 18:6, “I AM He”.

·    Jesus claimed to be the Old Testament Adonai, (Matthew 22:42-45).

·    Jesus claimed to be one with the Father, (John 10:30), and that those who saw Him were also seeing the Father (John 14:3), and those that know Him also know the Father, (John 14:7).

·    Revelation 1:8– Jesus is called Almighty God, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 John 1:14—“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

3. Jesus accepted worship.

Jesus said,”You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”
(Matt. 4:10). Yet, Jesus received worship, as God, many times.)

·    John 5:23—“So that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father”

·    Phil 2:9-11—at the name of Jesus “every knee will bow” (a quote from Isaiah 23:22-23 which calls him God).

·    Luke 24:52—Disciples worship Jesus

·    Matt. 14:33—those who were in the boat worshipped Him

·    John 9:35-38—and he said Lord I believe, and worshipped Him

·    Matt. 28:9, 17—took hold of His feet and worshipped Him; when they saw Him they worshipped Him

·    Heb 1:6—let all the Angels of God worship Him.

·    Rev. 5:8,14—When He had taken the book the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…; And the elders fell down and worshiped.

·    Also, Matt. 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; Mark 5:6; John 5:23; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:12-13.

4. Jesus Christ is prayed to.

(Psalm 116:4 teaches, “call on the name of the LORD).

·    1 Cor. 1:1-2—“call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

·    Romans 10:13—“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Acts 7:59—Stephen, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (psalm 31:5 “YHWH”).

·    John 14:13-14—Ask me anything in My name and I will do it

·    John 15:16—Whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He will give you

·    John 16:23—If you ask of the Father in My name, He will give you

5. Jesus Christ claimed power and authority to forgive sins.

(Forgiving sins is restricted for God alone in Isaiah 43:25).

·    Mark 2:5-10—“Son, your sins are forgiven.”

·    Luke 7:47-49– Then He said to her, “your sin have been forgiven.”

Source HT

JESUS IS THE GLORY OF GOD
The Deity of Jesus Christ
by John Piper

Christ does not exist in order to make much of us. We exist in order to enjoy making much of him. The assumption of this book is that to know the glories of Christ is an end, not a means. Christ is not glorious so that we get wealthy or healthy. Christ is glorious so that rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be satisfied in him. The first particular glory that upholds all the rest is the mere eternal existence of Christ. If we will simply ponder this as we ought, a great ballast will come into the tipping ship of our soul. Sheer existence is, perhaps, the greatest mystery of all. Ponder the absoluteness of reality. There had to be something that never came into being. Back, back, back we peer into endless ages, yet there never was nothing. Someone has the honor of being there first and always. He never became or developed. He simply was. To whom belongs this singular, absolute glory?

The answer is Christ, the person whom the world knows as Jesus of Nazareth. The apostle John, who wrote the last book of the Bible, received the decisive revelation. He quotes God: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Revelation 1:8). This is not Christ talking. This is the Almighty God. He calls himself “Alpha and Omega”—the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the alphabet, one cannot speak of anything (or nothing) before alpha. There is no “before” alpha in the alphabet. Nor can one speak of anything (or nothing) after omega. There is no “after” omega in the alphabet. So it is with God and reality. There is no “before” God and no “after” God. He is absolutely there, no matter how far back or how far forward you go. He is the absolute Reality. He has the honor of being there first and always. To him belongs this singular glory. This is the essential meaning of his Old Testament name Yahweh (or Jehovah). It is built on the verb “to be.” When Moses asked God his name, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. . . . Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:14). This “I am” is unfolded by God in Isaiah as implying absolute, eternal Reality—past and future. “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD . . . ‘that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no God was formed, nor shall there be any after me’” (Isaiah 43:10). To be “I am” is to be absolutely the first and the last. No “before” and no “after.” Simply “I am.” God makes this explicit in Isaiah 44:6, “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God.’” And again in Isaiah 48:12, “Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he, I am the first, and I am the last.” This is his name: Yahweh—the one who absolutely, eternally, and invincibly is. He has the unique honor and singular glory of always having been, when nothing else was. Nor will he be outlasted by anything. This is what it means to be God.

What, then, does this have to do with Christ, whom we know as Jesus of Nazareth? Everything. The apostle John quoted Christ near the end of his Revelation: “Behold, I am coming soon. . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. . . . I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches” (Revelation 22:12-13, 16). This is Christ talking, not God the Father. Now, two cannot be “Alpha and Omega” unless they are one. Two cannot be absolutely “first and last” unless they are one. Yet Christ (who calls himself Jesus) claims for himself the same honor and glory belonging to God the Almighty (see also Revelation 1:17-18; 2:8). Christ even took to himself the uniquely glorious name of God, “I am.” “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am’” (John 8:58). “I am telling you this now,” Jesus says to his disciples near the end of his life, “before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am” (John 13:19, author’s translation; see John 8:24). Nothing greater can any man Jesus Is the Glory of God say of himself. It is true, or it is blasphemy. Christ was God or godless.

John knew which. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh . . . the only Son [some translations, “begotten”] from the Father” (John 1:1, 14). Jesus Christ, the “Word,” was “begotten,” not made—and not at any point in time, but eternally. Two Persons standing forth as one God, not two Gods—the “Son” begotten from the “Father,” one essential deity. This is a great mystery, as we would expect it to be. But it is what God has revealed about himself.

The apostle Paul also knew the unique glory that belonged to Christ. He is “according to the flesh . . . the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 9:5). Nevertheless, “though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7). Therefore, “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9; see 1:19). And we Christians are now waiting not for a mere man, but for “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13; see also 2 Peter 1:1).

This is why the writer to the Hebrews is so bold as to say all the angels worship Christ. He is not the chief among angels who worship God. He is worshiped by all angels as God. “And again, when [God] brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship him’” (Hebrews 1:6). For he is the Creator of all that is, and is himself God: “Of the Son [God] says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. . . . You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning’” (Hebrews 1:8, 10).

Thus the Father bears witness to the deity of the Son. He “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Jesus Christ, the Person, never had a beginning. He is absolute Reality. He has the unparalleled honor and unique glory of being there first and always. He never came into being. He was eternally begotten. The Father has eternally enjoyed “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3) in the Person of his Son. Seeing and savoring this glory is the goal of our salvation. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me” (John 17:24). To feast on this forever is the aim of our being created and our being redeemed.

A PRAYER

Eternal Father, you never had a beginning. You will never have an ending. You are the Alpha and the Omega. This we believe, because you have revealed it to us. Our hearts leap up with gratitude that you have opened our eyes to see and know that Jesus Christ is your eternal, divine Son, begotten, not made, and that Jesus Is the Glory of God you, O Father, and he, your Son, are one God. We tremble even to take such glorious truths on our lips for fear of dishonoring you with withering and inadequate words. But we must speak, because we must praise you. Silence would shame us, and the rocks themselves would cry out. You must be praised for who you are in the world you have made. And we must thank you because you have made us taste and see the glory of Jesus Christ, your Son. Oh, to know him! Father, we long to know him. Banish from our minds low thoughts of Christ. Saturate our souls with the Spirit of Christ and all his greatness. Enlarge our capacities to be satisfied in all that you are for us in him. Where flesh and blood are impotent, reveal to us the Christ, and rivet our attention and our affections on the truth and beauty of your all-glorious Son. And grant that whether rich or poor, sick or sound, we might be transformed by him and become an echo of his excellence in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

John Piper (via Monergim.com)

Jesus Of Testimony (Must See Documentary!)

Did Jesus really exist? If so, what can we know about Him historically? For any Christian, the historicity of Jesus isn’t merely a matter of curiosity. The Christian faith is dependent upon the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as historical reality. But how can we know if the Jesus of the the Gospels is historical or legendary? Jesus of Testimony answers many of the important questions for skeptics as well as Christians in the area of Christian apologetics.

  1. In Part 1: Lord or Legend, the historicity of Jesus Christ is demonstrated by the important non-Christian historical sources that are available to us today.
  2. Part 2: Are the Gospels Reliable? examines the historical reliability of the Gospels as eyewitness testimony to the life of Jesus.
  3. Part 3: Miracles provides strong evidence that miracles happen today and happened in history.
  4. In Part 4: The Testimony of Prophecy, many of the Old Testament messianic prophecies are quoted along with their New Testament fulfillments which establish a solid confirmation of Jesus’ credentials as the Messiah.
  5. In Part 5: The Resurrection — Fact or Fiction? the case is presented for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Finally,
  6. Part 6: The Good News concludes that the portrayal of Jesus in the Gospels, dependent on eyewitness testimony, is more plausible than the alternative hypotheses of its modern detractors and presents the Jesus’ message of the Gospel.

The participants in the film include many of todays top Christian apologists, authors and scholars including Richard Bauckham, Craig Blomberg, Michael Brown, Paul Eddy, Steve Gregg, Gary Habermas, Craig Keener, Mike Licona, Dan Wallace and Ben Witherington III.

We would like to have this movie available with subtitles in multiple languages. English and Greek are available now. Please contact us if you would like to help.

VIDEO by Christianity Reason and Science

The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Study By: Bob Deffinbaugh at http://www.bible.org. Our text deals with the first three of our Lord’s four post-resurrection appearances in the Gospel of John. The first appearance is to Mary Magdalene, and the next three are to the disciples. Jesus will appear to Mary Magdalene (20:10-18), then to the disciples, minus Thomas (20:19-23), then to the disciples, with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples, including Thomas, who were fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (21:1ff.). There are some very important lessons to be learned here, so let us listen and learn, looking to the Spirit of God to interpret, apply, and implement these truths in our lives.

General Observations

It would serve us well to begin with several observations concerning our text and its relationship to the other Gospels.

We do not really know a great deal about the time between our Lord’s resurrection and His ascension. When you stop to think about it, a significant portion of each of the Gospels is taken up with the events of the last week of our Lord in Jerusalem. And yet, the 40 days following our Lord’s resurrection gets very little attention in comparison. The material we do have about this period is not meant to satisfy our curiosity about all that happened during this time, but is recorded to prove one important fact: Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father!

Of the details we do find regarding our Lord’s ministry after His resurrection, a number of them are recorded only in Acts and 1 Corinthians. Until now I did not realize how much of my understanding of our Lord’s ministry after His resurrection is based upon New Testament books other than the Gospels. Some of the most important details come from Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15:

1 I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after he had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he had also presented himself alive to these apostles by many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. 4 While he was with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for “what my Father promised, which you heard about from me. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had gathered together, they began to ask him, “Lord, is this the time when you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He told them, “You are not permitted to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” 9 After he had said this, while they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him away from their sight. 10 As they were staring into the sky while he was going, suddenly two men in white clothing stood near them 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come back in the same way you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:1-11).

3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still living, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

I am not sure why I had concluded that my understanding of the post-resurrection period was dependent solely upon the Gospels. It was probably due, in part, to my assumption that if one Gospel didn’t mention something I knew about this time period, it was because it was recorded in one of the other three Gospels. But this is not necessarily true. If it were not for Acts 1 and 1 Corinthians 15, we would not know nearly as much about the Lord’s ministry during the 40 days following His resurrection. From Acts 1:3 we learn that during this time, Jesus taught His disciples about the kingdom of God which was yet to come. While our Lord’s instruction to His disciples to wait for the coming of the Spirit can be found in Luke’s Gospel (24:49), we probably remember this command from Acts 1:4-5. Apart from 1 Corinthians 15:5, we would not know that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time after His resurrection. It is from Paul (1 Corinthians 15:5), as well as from Luke (24:34), that we know Jesus made a private appearance to Peter. We would certainly not expect the replacement for Judas to be Saul, to whom our Lord made another (albeit, a later) post-resurrection appearance (1 Corinthians 15:8). A good part of what little we know of this period in our Lord’s life and ministry comes from outside the Gospels.

Some of the details about events which occurred in this time period may appear to be contradictory. For example, in Mark we read that after the women saw and heard the angel at the tomb, “they went out and ran away from the tomb. They were in a state of trembling and amazement, and said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8, emphasis mine). In Luke’s Gospel we read, “Then they remembered his words, and when they returned from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest ” (Luke 24:8-9, emphasis mine). I believe the solution to this apparent contradiction is found in Matthew’s account: “So they left the tomb quickly, with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. But Jesus met them, saying, ‘Greetings!’ They came to him, held on to his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee. They will see me there’” (Matthew 28:8-10, emphasis mine).

By putting all these details in sequence, we get a pretty good idea of what happened from the time the women left the tomb till they spoke with all the disciples and others. The women saw and heard the angel, who instructed them to go tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and would meet them in Galilee. The women rush off toward the city, but they are in a virtual state of shock. They tell no one they encounter on their way what they have just seen and heard (this conforms with what Mark tells us). Then, as they are still on their way to the city, Jesus Himself appears to them. This is the first time they have actually seen Him. He tells the women to go and tell the others, and indeed they do. Thus, all statements (those of Mark, of Luke, and of Matthew) harmonize when viewed in terms of the entire event. I believe we must assume this to be the case in every instance where an apparent contradiction appears. The details that differ are not an occasion for wringing our hands, they are the opportunity for a fuller grasp of what happened. Let us keep that in mind as we approach our text.

We find that some of the Gospel accounts are particularly brief at this point. This is especially true of Matthew and Mark’s accounts. Matthew writes of one appearance of Jesus to the women (28:9-10) and of one appearance of Jesus to His disciples (28:16-20). Mark’s account is terse as well, depending to some degree upon where you think his account really ends. Mark does briefly mention the appearance of Jesus to the two men on the road to Emmaus (16:12-13; compare Luke 24:13-35). He also tells of the appearance of our Lord to the eleven disciples (Mark 16:13-18). Mark does not include an account of Jesus appearing to any of the women, but only of the angel speaking to them (16:1-8). Luke and John have the most lengthy accounts of the post-resurrection ministry of our Lord. Luke does not describe an appearance of Jesus to the women; he chooses instead to emphasize the appearance to the two men on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35). He then writes of our Lord’s subsequent appearance to the disciples (24:36-39) and then of His ascension (24:50-53). John focuses on four of the Lord’s post-resurrection appearances: first to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18), then to the disciples minus Thomas (20:19-25), then the disciples with Thomas (20:26-29), and finally to the seven disciples as they are fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (21:1-25).

Finally, each Gospel has something unique to add to the story. Matthew informs us that the tomb was secured by a Roman seal and guards, provided at the request of the Jewish religious leaders who recalled Jesus’ promise that He would rise from the dead in three days, and who were afraid His disciples would steal His body. Matthew then follows up with an account of how the guards and the religious leaders fabricated a cover story to explain the missing body of our Lord. Mark’s account is indeed unique, causing much discussion as to where his Gospel should end. Luke provides us with a detailed account of the appearance of our Lord to the two men on the road to Emmaus. John’s account is almost entirely unique. He alone describes the investigation of the tomb by both Peter and John (Luke 24:12 tells us only that Peter went to see the tomb), of the appearance of Jesus to Mary, of three appearances of Jesus to His disciples—more than any other Gospel. His focus on Thomas’ reluctance to believe in our Lord’s resurrection is unique. The appearance of Jesus to the seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias is also unique, including our Lord’s three-fold question and exhortation to Peter. With this background information in mind, let us take a closer look at the first three post-resurrection appearances of our Lord, as described in John 20.

Jesus’ First Appearance: Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18)

10 So the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood outside the tomb and wept. While she was weeping, she bent over and looked into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’ body had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary replied, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Because she thought he was the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus replied, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene came and informed the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her.

It was Mary Magdalene who first arrived at the empty tomb in the early hours of the first day of the week. When she saw the stone had been removed, she seems to have jumped to a hasty conclusion—someone had taken the body. We do not know to whom the “they” (“They have taken the Lord from the tomb …”—verse 2) refers, and I doubt that Mary did either. I believe it is safe to say that it never occurred to her that any of the disciples took the body. She seems to have assumed it was either the Jews, or the Roman soldiers, or someone like “the gardener” (see 20:15). It never occurred to Mary that Jesus had been raised from the dead. She did not hope to see her risen Lord; she simply wished to locate His body and give it a proper burial.

A year or so ago a young woman’s body was stolen from its grave at Restland Cemetery, just a mile or so down the road from our church. It was a terrible thing to do, and the family was most eager to get the body back and see to it that it was buried properly, once for all. Someone had added insult to injury. Not only had this family lost a loved one, they suffered the agony of not knowing what had become of her body. Mary must have felt the same way this young woman’s family felt. She had devoted herself and her livelihood to following Jesus and supporting Him, along with some other women. She had watched helplessly as Jesus was tried, convicted, and crucified. She looked on as His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Now, she believed that the body of her Lord had been taken. It was almost too much to bear.

When Peter and John left the tomb, Mary remained behind. At first she stood outside the tomb, weeping. She stooped sufficiently to be able to see inside the tomb, apparently for the first time. Two angels were inside, clothed in white. An angel was sitting at each end of the place where Jesus’ body had been laid. From Mary’s response to these angels, one can hardly avoid the conclusion that Mary did not recognize these angels as angels. But then why should she? It is true that in Matthew’s account the one angel who sat on the stone had an appearance that was like lightening (28:3), and this fellow was so awesome the guards were terrified (28:4). But John does not tell us that these two angels were as awesome in appearance as the first angel was. And this should come as no surprise. Often in the Bible, angels simply look like men, so that their appearance alone would not reveal their true identity (see Genesis 18 and 19; Acts 1:10-11; Hebrews 13:2). It would seem that the two angels made no effort to identify themselves as angels, nor even to inform Mary that Jesus was not there. Perhaps it was because our Lord was going to do this personally.

The angels asked Mary, “Woman, why are you weeping?” The inference is that her tears were not really called for. They were tears of love, and of sorrow, but they were also ill-founded. In Mary’s mind, this was the darkest moment of her life, and yet her tears were based upon false assumptions: that Jesus was dead; that His body had been stolen; that she would not be able to find His body. If Mary had known the real reason why the tomb was empty, she would not have been crying.

Some have suggested that the angels gave a look of recognition when they saw Jesus behind Mary, outside the tomb. We do not know why, but for some reason Mary turned around to gaze at the risen Lord. She saw Him, but she did not recognize Him, in much the same way that I had seen Sally Rackets in the parking lot this past week, but did not recognize her. Mary’s vision may have been obscured by her tears, and Jesus may not have looked exactly the same as He did before His resurrection. He most certainly looked different from the way she saw Him last, from the horrible sight she could not erase from her mind—a badly beaten, bloody figure, who could hardly be recognized for all the abuse His body had taken: “Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:15, NIV).

Jesus asks Mary the same question the angels had asked her moments earlier: “Woman, why are you weeping?”, but He adds a further question, “Who are you looking for?”. Jesus knew why she was weeping. He knew that the empty tomb caused her great grief. He knew that she was seeking His body. His words indicate to Mary that He knows something about her dilemma. Mary’s grief still blinds her to the truth, but she nevertheless seems to discern that this “gardener” holds the key to her quest for the Lord’s body. She pleads with Him to convey any information He may have to her: “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will take him” (verse 15).193

Jesus answered with but one word—“Mary.” For Mary, seeing was not believing, but hearing was. Would you not love to have heard this one word just the way Mary did? That one word was spoken in the voice she knew so well. It was also spoken in the manner she knew so well. What love, what compassion, what healing was conveyed by this one word—“Mary.” I cannot help but recall the words of our Lord, spoken earlier:

1 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own sheep out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow himbecause they recognize his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the stranger’s voice” (John 10:1-5, emphasis mine).

Immediately Mary recognized that it was her Lord, and called Him “Rabboni” (or teacher). We know from our Lord’s words that Mary has already locked Him in her grasp. It is as though she intended to keep holding on to Him, so that He would never leave her again. And it is because of this that Jesus responds, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God’” (John 20:17, NAB). I must differ with the NET Bible translation here (“Do not touch me, …”) for two reasons. First, it is not that Jesus could not be touched. In but a few verses we will read, “Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe’” (John 20:27). Why would Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him, and instruct Thomas to do so? In Matthew 28:9, Jesus allowed the women to take hold of His feet and worship Him. Second, the tense of the imperative is present, and this grammatical construction often conveys the thought of ceasing to do something.194 Jesus is not trying to prevent Mary from touching Him; He is trying to make it clear to her that He is going to leave this world to return to His Father. She should not suppose that by clinging to Him she can prevent His departure.

John does not include the command which Jesus gave to Mary, though it is clear that He instructed her as to what she was to tell the disciples (20:18). She who was the first to go out to the tomb was the first to see the risen Lord, and apparently the first to be privileged to share the good news of His resurrection with others.

Before we go on to the next appearance of our Lord, I would like to make a comment or two. I would like you to note that our Lord’s first appearance is not to one of the eleven disciples, but to Mary Magdalene. She will never be one of the apostles. She will never write a Gospel. She will never become a great preacher or leader. Nevertheless, our Lord chose to manifest Himself to her first. Why do you think this was? I would call your attention to three important factors. First, she had a great love for her Master, as He did for her. Second, she seemed to be the one with the greatest measure of grief. I am reminded of the words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who mourn, because they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). In the context of this sermon, Jesus did not promise blessings to those who were the greatest, or the most powerful, but to those in the greatest need, with the greatest desire for spiritual things. There is a third reason: Mary was there first. Jesus revealed Himself first to the one who was there first. Mary came to the tomb early, because of her great love, and her great grief, and Jesus revealed Himself to her, first.

I would also like to point out an important lesson which this text teaches us: When we come to see things as they really are, we will find that many of our tears were unnecessary. To put it in different words, Many of our tears are ill-founded. Both the angels and our Lord questioned Mary as to why she was weeping. The reason she gave was that her Lord’s body had been taken, and she did not know where to find it. The truth of the matter was that Jesus was not dead; He had been resurrected. And beyond this, His body was not missing at all, and no one had taken it. Jesus did not need to be found by Mary; Jesus found Mary.

We know that in heaven there will be no more tears: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more—or mourning, or crying, or pain; the former things have ceased to exist” (Revelation 21:4). Why will there be no more tears in heaven? The first answer is because there will no longer be those things which cause us to cry—no more suffering, no more sin, no more injustice, no more death. But the second reason is that we shall then see all of our sorrows in an entirely different light. We shall see them in the context of the perfect work God was achieving through the things which caused us to weep.

When you and I get to heaven, we will see things in a very different light, and when we do, we will discover that many of our tears of sorrow were as groundless as Mary’s tears were. I am not saying that Christians should not cry. What I am saying is that a good deal of our sorrow is the result of our inadequate knowledge of what God is doing in and through our adversities. When Christians get to heaven, they will see the entire picture, and thus they will find that everything that has ever happened to them is for their good and His glory. No wonder there will be no tears in heaven! Our comfort and joy may not come as quickly as Mary’s did, but it will be just as great, just as real, and it is just as certain.

Jesus’ Second Appearance: The Disciples, Minus Thomas (John 20:19-23)

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place for fear of the Jewish authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 And after he said this, he breathed195 on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

John very kindly does not tell us what Mark and Luke record in their accounts—that when the disciples were told that Jesus was alive, they refused to believe it without seeing Him:

9 Early on the first day of the week, after he arose, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who were with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 And when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe (Mark 16:9-11; see also verses 12-13).

10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed like pure nonsense to them, and they did not believe them (Luke 24:10-11).

It was on the first day of the week—the same day that Mary saw Jesus—and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors. They were afraid of the Jews, and rightly so. They were disciples of Jesus, and He had just been crucified for sedition. And now, the story was circulating that they had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15). Remember that the tomb was sealed by Rome, and guarded by Roman soldiers. The disciples may have felt in greater danger here than on any previous occasion. They must have been deeply troubled by the reports they had heard that Jesus was alive. What were they to think of all this? What were they to do? They did not know.

And so the disciples met together behind locked doors. We are told that one disciple was missing—Thomas. We are not told why he was absent. There is no particular blame cast on him for his absence. In some miraculous way, Jesus enters the room, even though the door is locked. We do not know what the disciples saw, but John certainly leaves us with the impression that our Lord’s entrance was unusual—one more proof of His resurrection. Our Lord twice repeated the words, “Peace be with you” (20:19, 21). This certainly reminds us of what Jesus had said earlier to these men:

25 “I have spoken these things while staying with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you. 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe” (John 14:24-29, emphasis mine).

It would appear that this was our Lord’s first appearance to the disciples after His resurrection. If this is so, it may be the same appearance that Luke describes, providing us with additional details:

30 When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 At this point their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Then he vanished out of their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?” 33 So they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and those with them gathered together 34 and saying, “The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread. 36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 But they were startled and terrified, thinking they saw a spirit. 38 Then he said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Touch me and see; because a spirit does not have flesh and bones like you see that I have.” 40 Then when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in front of them (Luke 24:30-43, emphasis mine).

Jesus would have appeared to Mary and the other women by now, and they have already announced to the disciples that Jesus was alive. But the disciples refused to believe. Then, the two men who talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus arrived to tell the disciples of their encounter with the risen Lord. Once again, the disciples refused to believe:

12 After this he appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 They went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. 14 Then he appeared to the eleven themselves, while they were eating, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him resurrected (Mark 16:12-14, emphasis mine).

John spares us from yet another account of the unbelief of the disciples, and of Jesus rebuking them for their unbelief. While their unbelief deserved rebuke, John moves on to tell us how Jesus convinced His disciples of His resurrection. He shows them His nail-scarred hands and His spear-pierced side. There was no mistaking the fact that His wounds, now healed, were incurred at His crucifixion. It was Jesus, and there was no denying it, incredible as that may be.

The disciples had a job to do, and they were being left behind so that they could accomplish it. This task is summed up in the “Great Commission”:

18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

To accomplish this task, the disciples are in need of divine enablement. This was promised by our Lord in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13–16):

15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you. … 25 I have spoken these things while staying with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you” (John 14:15-17, 25-26).

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me; 27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).

7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 16 In a little while you will see me no longer; again after a little while, you will see me” (John 16:7-16).

I had never noticed before that in His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus does not ask the Father to send the Spirit, which He has promised in chapters 14-16. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is not even mentioned in this prayer! How can this be? I believe that while our Lord prepared His disciples for the coming of the Spirit in the Upper Room Discourse, He did not intend to send the Spirit until after His ascension. In other words, the Holy Spirit would not come until Pentecost. Some suggest that in our text Jesus is temporarily bestowing the Spirit upon His disciples, until Pentecost comes. I don’t agree.

In the first place, John does not report anything out of the ordinary happening as a result of our Lord’s actions. The disciples are not transformed, as they will be at Pentecost. The gospel is not preached. In fact, the next thing to happen in John’s Gospel is that some of the disciples go fishing. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit was immediately bestowed upon the disciples at this moment, as a result of what Jesus says and does. I believe Jesus is symbolically bestowing the Spirit upon His disciples, although it will not actually take place until Pentecost. Jesus will have ascended to the Father then, and so this gesture indicates to the disciples that when the Spirit comes at Pentecost, it will be as a result of what Jesus had promised earlier, and symbolically indicates here.

I wish to be very clear here, both as to what I am saying, and as to what I am not saying. I am saying that our Lord is here symbolically bestowing His Holy Spirit on the church. This symbolic act will literally be fulfilled at Pentecost. Jesus wants it to be clear that it is He who is sending His Spirit to indwell and to empower His church. I am not saying that the Spirit is given at the moment Jesus breathes upon His disciples. I am not saying that this is a temporary bestowal of the Spirit, until the permanent coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.

Specifically, I believe that what Jesus is symbolically bestowing is the coming of the Holy Spirit upon His disciples as those who will act as His apostles. Earlier, Jesus outlined some of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. For example, the Spirit would call Jesus’ teaching to their minds. He would convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. But here, none of these ministries seems to be in view. Here, the Holy Spirit is given to the apostles so that they can either proclaim the forgiveness of sins, or the retention of sins. I do not think this text justifies some priestly hierarchy, who hears confessions and grants absolution from one’s sins. Instead, I believe Jesus is giving the apostles the authority to declare men and women to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I believe we see an example of this in the Book of Acts:

1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them point by point, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came to me. 6 As I stared I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!’ 8 But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord, for nothing defiled or ritually unclean has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice replied a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up to heaven again. 11 At that very moment, three men sent to me from Caesarea approached the house where we were staying. 12 The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He informed us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, 14 who will speak a message to you by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15 Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them just as he did on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as he also gave us after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles” (Acts 11:1-18, emphasis mine).

It takes a monumental work of God to convince the Jews that God has purposed from eternity past to save Gentiles (see Acts 22:21-23). Our Lord had promised to send the Spirit, which He did at Pentecost. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit directed Peter to go to the house of a Gentile and to proclaim the gospel to those gathered in his house. The Spirit then came upon all those who had come to faith, thus indicating that the gospel (the forgiveness of sins) was not just for Jews alone, but for all who believe, Jew or Gentile. It is difficult for Gentile believers today to grasp how hard it was for Jews to accept the salvation of the Gentiles. Even the apostles found this difficult. As the Spirit came upon the apostles, this truth was embraced, proclaimed, and defended by them. By means of the Spirit’s guidance and illumination, the truth that the gospel was for Jews and Gentiles was declared by the apostles, and particularly by Paul:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed in the body by hands—12 that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, the one who turned both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, in his flesh, 15 when he nullified the law of commandments in decrees. The purpose of this was to create in himself the two into one new man, thus making peace, 16 and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and non-citizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, 20 because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:11-22).

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that by revelation the divine secret was made known to me, as I wrote before briefly. 4 When reading this, you will be able to understand my insight into this secret of Christ. 5 Now this secret was not disclosed to mankind in former generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, 6 namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the exercise of his power. 8 To me—less than the least of all the saints—this grace was given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ 9 and to enlighten everyone about the divine secret’s plan—a secret that has been hidden for ages in the God who has created all things (Ephesians 3:1-9).

Jesus’ Third Appearance: The Disciples, Including Thomas (John 20:24-31)

24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in his hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe it!” 26 Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and examine my hands. Extend your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.” 28 Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The disciples seem to have been convinced of our Lord’s resurrection, except for Thomas who was not there. He did not see the resurrected Lord, nor did he behold the Savior’s wounded hands and side. And so it was that when Thomas was told that Jesus had appeared to them, he refused to believe. He insisted that in order for him to believe, he would have to see Jesus with his own eyes. He would have to personally inspect the Lord’s nail-pierced hands and His pierced side. Only then would he believe. Before we become too harsh with Thomas, let me remind you that the other disciples did not believe until they saw, either. Thomas is really demanding to see the same things that convinced the others. He is not asking for anything more than what the others saw.

Eight days passed. Apparently Jesus did not appear to any of His disciples during this period of time. The disciples were all together once again, including Thomas. The doors were locked, but in spite of this Jesus arrived and stood in their midst.196 Jesus repeats the greeting He gave at His earlier appearance, “Peace be with you” (verse 26; see also verses 19, 21). Immediately, Jesus turns His attention to Thomas. He summons Thomas to come and to put his finger where the nails had pierced His hands, and to feel His side where the spear had pierced it. He challenged Thomas to forsake his unbelief and to believe.

We do not know whether Thomas actually pressed his fingers into our Lord’s nail-pierced hands or not. Since John does not tell us that Thomas actually felt the wounds of our Lord, it may well be that after seeing Jesus alive he no longer required this proof. It may have taken this sight to convince Thomas, but once convinced, Thomas got it right. He does not merely profess a belief that Jesus has risen from the dead. Thomas professes to believe in what the resurrection proved—that Jesus was God, and that He was Lord (verse 28). Thomas now has it right.

Bible translations handle our Lord’s response differently. Some render the first words of verse 29 as a question, “Have you believed because you have seen Me?” (as does the NET Bible). Others render it as a statement: “Because you have seen me, you have believed” (NIV, KJV, NKJV). The difference is not important. The contrast Jesus seeks to emphasize is between those who must see in order to believe, and those who will believe without seeing. Peter seems to take up this same thought in his first epistle:

8 You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 because you are attaining the goal of your faith—the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).

It is not too hard to see what John is leading up to. John is writing this Gospel for those who have never seen the risen Lord. He has selected just a few of the many miraculous signs Jesus performed to demonstrate that Jesus is who He claimed to be, who John proclaims Him to be.

The Bottom Line: Believing Jesus Is the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31)

30 Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples that are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

If there is one thing I despise, it is deceptive advertising. I hate those phone calls that come from unidentified (“out of the area”) sources, which begin with the assurance that the caller is not “selling” anything. John could not be more open and direct about the purpose of this book. I believe John has two conclusions. The first is found in chapter 20. It is aimed at those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ. The second is aimed at those who have believed, and it is found in chapter 21.

In our text, John informs his unbelieving readers about the “bottom line” of all that he has written. John has one goal for the unbeliever: He wants to demonstrate as clearly and as forcefully as he can that Jesus not only claimed to be the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of God, but that by many miraculous signs He proved it! The last and greatest of these signs was His resurrection from the dead:

38 Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The people of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; yet something greater than Jonah is here! 42 The Queen of the South will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; yet something greater than Solomon is here! (Matthew 12:38-42).

While the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was prophesied in the Old Testament, and by our Lord Himself, John makes it very clear that the disciples were not predisposed to believe it. Only after the most forceful and compelling evidence would the disciples believe Jesus really was alive. And having become convinced of this great truth, the disciples never ceased to proclaim it. The resurrection of Jesus is the final and compelling proof that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world:

1 From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God 2 that he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 concerning his Son who was a descendant of David with respect to the flesh, 4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 1:1-4).

Believing in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is the only way God has provided for the forgiveness of your sins and for the gift of eternal life. By believing in Him, you will be saved:

9 Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and thus has a right standing and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. 11 For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. 13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9-13).

11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children 13 —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God (John 1:11-13).

In many ways, the Gospel of John is not a simple book. But its message to the unsaved is incredibly simple, and John sums it up in these last verses of chapter 20. If you have never come to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, then John has written this book to you, and for you, to give you all the evidence you need to believe in Him. Have you believed? This is the most important decision you will ever make. It determines your eternal destiny.


193 Some have criticized Mary for being so nave as to assume she will be able to carry away the body of our Lord. They are missing the point. She is not thinking in terms of logistics here. She is simply saying that if this “gardener” will tell her where to find the body, she will see to it that it is returned to its proper place. Of course she will get help to accomplish this. For now, she just wants to know where His body has been placed.

194 A. T. Robertson comments, “Present middle imperative in prohibition with genitive case, meaning “cease clinging to me” rather than “Do not touch me.” Jesus allowed the women to take hold of his feet … and worship … as we read in Mt 28:9. The prohibition here reminds Mary that the previous personal fellowship by sight, sound, and touch no longer exists and that the final state of glory was not yet begun. Jesus checks Mary’s impulsive eagerness.” Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1931), 6 vols. Vol. V, p. 312.

195 I am reminded that the breath of God is the source of life (Genesis 2:7; Job 33:4; Psalm 33:6; Ezekiel 37:9), even as it is also the means of divine judgment (2 Samuel 22:16; Job 4:9; Psalm 18:15). The breath of God is sometimes a symbol for His Spirit (Job 33:4). In a symbolic way, our Lord is breathing life into His church.

Both the NET Bible and the NIV smooth out the translation here. The NIV reads: “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” (John 14:26). Both the old and the new King James Versions and the NAS leave the translation a bit rough, in order to convey the unusual word order: “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you’” (NAS). “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’” (NKJ). The original text seems to be emphasizing the fact that Jesus entered the room, in spite of the fact that the doors were shut and locked. (On seeing and believing, http://www.bible.org)

DORU POPE – Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 3-a – Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu – Logos Podcast

photo credit www.theologyfg.com

Ted Pope: Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Dumnezeu este spirit. Ori, un spirit nu are caracteristici spatiale, deoarece un spirit nu are substanta, materie, trup. El poate fi, astfel, prezent in inima unui om; inima insemnand nu neaparat, sau nu numai organul care pompeaza sangele, ci mai ales omul dinlauntru, spiritul omului. Dumnezeu poate fi prezent in spiritul omului, care devine astfel, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, un templu a lui Dumnezeu. Dar El poate fi prezent concomitent si in vastul cosmosului care se afla in expansiune.

Asculta emisiunea aici:
http://www.logospodcasting.com/doru-pope-atributele-lui-dumnezeu-partea-3

Dan Miclea: Aratami-L pe Dumnezeu. Vreau sa-L vad pe Dumnezeu. Unde este Dumnezeu? Continuam sa discutam despre atributele lui Dumnezeu. Si in aceasta zi vom discuta prezenta lui Dumnezeu. Unde este Dumnezeu? Totodata, vom discuta sentimentele lui Dumnezeu.

Doru Pope: Inainte de a continua cu lectia de astazi, am primit ceva feedback, de la unii care au recunoscut vocea mea sau numele meu si au ascultat podcasturi anterioare. Unii au zis sa inserez in discutia mea, mai multe texte biblice. O sa incerc sa fac lucrul acesta. De asemenea, altii au pretins ca discutia mea sa fie mai academica si acelora le-am raspuns cand am inceput podcasturile. Reiterez faptul ca  noi nu vrem sa fim foarte academici. Pentru cei care doresc sa studieze mai mult, exista manuale si exista scoli unde se pot studia lucrurile acestea. Noi vrem doar sa determinam, in copiii lui Dumnezeu, dorinta de-al cunoaste mai adanc pe Dumnezeu. In ultima instanta, in spusele lui Isus Hristos, viata vesnica este sa-L cunoastem pe Dumnezeu. Si aceasta este dorinta noastra. Acestea sunt niste studii care sunt create pentru a fi ascultate de pe telefon, in masina, sau chiar si acasa pe ecran, de cineva care se ocupa de altceva si  si vrea sa asculte ceva crestin in fundal. Si, al treilea feedback care l-am primit a fost dintr-acela- astazi este Vinerea Mare si imi amintesc ca unii i-au zis lui Hristos: “Ba, ba, Tu care ai promis ca strici Templu si il zidesti in 3 zile, da-te jos de pe cruce.” Aici, unii ne-au vorbit de rau si au zis: “Ba, voi n-aveti treaba, n-aveti de lucru? Vedeti-va de altele.” Si acelora, le multumim si lor, pentru feedback. Daca pana si Fiul lui Dumnezeu si lucrarea Sa a fost vorbita de rau de unii, atunci de ce ar fi vorbita de bine sau numai de bine lucrarea noastra? Cam atat.

Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu –  Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Photo credit – www.charlotteridge.com

De data aceasta vorbim despre insusirile sau atributele lui Dumnezeu – partea 3-a. As vrea sa luam omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu. Data trecuta am vazut ca ceea ce priveste relatia cu timpul – Dumnezeu este etern, este vesnic. Acum, pe scurt, vom privi la felul in care  se relationeaza Dumnezeu cu spatiul. Cu privire la spatiu, Dumnezeu este omniprezent, spunem noi. Adica este prezent pretutindeni in acelasi timp. Dumnezeu este concomitent prezent peste tot, dar El este si in afara spatiului. Spatiul, ca si timpul, sunt creatii ale lui Dumnezeu. Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu. Si nu exista nici un spatiu in care Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent.

Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Dumnezeu este spirit. Ori, un spirit nu are caracteristici spatiale, deoarece un spirit nu are substanta, materie, trup. El poate fi, astfel, prezent in inima unui om; inima insemnand nu neaparat, sau nu numai organul care pompeaza sangele, ci mai ales omul dinlauntru, spiritul omului. Dumnezeu poate fi prezent in spiritul omului, care devine astfel, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, un templu a lui Dumnezeu. Dar El poate fi prezent concomitent si in vastul cosmosului care se afla in expansiune.

  1. Solomon a inteles omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu, cand s-a rugat cu aceste cuvinte la dedicarea Templului, construit de el la Ierusalim, si scrie in 1 Regi 8:27 –  Dar ce! Va locui oare cu adevărat Dumnezeu pe pămînt? Iată că cerurile şi cerurile cerurilor nu pot să Te cuprindă: cu cît mai puţin casa aceasta pe care Ţi-am zidit -o eu!
  2. Ieremia intelege si el cum este Domnul, cand vine in cuvantul Domnului cu aceste expresii. Ieremia 23:23-24 – ,,Sînt Eu numai un Dumnezeu de aproape, zice Domnul, şi nu sînt Eu şi un Dumnezeu de departe? 24 Poate cineva să stea într’un loc ascuns fără să -l văd Eu? zice Domnul. Nu umplu Eu cerurile şi pămîntul? zice Domnul.
  3. David intelege si el ca nu exista nici un loc unde s-ar putea el duce, unde sa nu gaseasca prezenta lui Dumnezeu. Astfel, el scrie in Psalmul 139:7-12 –

    Unde mă voi duce departe de Duhul Tău, şi unde voi fugi departe de Faţa Ta? Dacă mă voi sui în cer, Tu eşti acolo; dacă mă voi culca în locuinţa morţilor, iată-Te şi acolo; Dacă voi lua aripile zorilor, şi mă voi duce să locuiesc la marginea mării, 10 şi acolo mîna Ta mă va călăuzi, şi dreapta Ta mă va apuca. 11 Dacă voi zice: ,,Cel puţin întunerecul mă va acoperi, -şi se va face noapte lumina dimprejurul meu!“ 12 Iată că nici chiar întunerecul nu este întunecos pentru Tine; ci noaptea străluceşte ca ziua, şi întunerecul ca lumina.

Anterior, cand am mai vorbit despre aceste caracteristice ale lui Dumnezeu, mi s-a pus o intrebare. Este o intrebare foarte buna si anume: Daca Dumnezeu este pretutindeni prezent, este El prezent si in iad? Eu cred ca da. iadul manifesta o prezenta a maniei a lui Dumnezeu si a pedepsei Sale fata de cei ce n-au ascultat de adevar si au trait o viata in afara voii lui Dumnezeu. Deci, daca Dumnezeu este prezent pretutindeni, El vede totul, El vede orice pacat comis, dar de asemenea, El vede si orice fapta buna. De aceea, nu ramane fara rasplata niciun pahar de apa oferit in Numele Domnului.

Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu nu trebuie sa fie inteleasa in sens panteistic. Panteismul este o conceptie conform careia Dumnezeu este totul si totul este Dumnezeu. Sau altfel spus, Dumnezeu este sinonim cu creatia. Dar omniprezenta nu trebuie inteleasa nici in sens panenteistic, un termen mai recent care defineste o conceptie conform careia divinitatea este aparte de creatie, dar creatia ii confera divinitatii un trup, ca sa zicem asa. Adica, Dumnezeu nu exista in afara si separat de creatie. Deci, Dumnezeu nu este o fiinta corporala si n-are substanta fizica care sa fie raspandita pretutindeni. El este pretutindeni prezent ca esenta, chiar daca Biblia afirma ca Dumnezeu este aproape de cineva, intr-un mod special. Este clar prezent in actiuni si interactiuni a lui Dumnezeu cu omul si cu creatia in spatiu si in timp intr-un mod antropomorfic, adica, are caracteristici umane.

De exemplu, citim ca Dumnezeu este sus si ca El este in ceruri. Psalmul 97:9 spune  Căci Tu, Doamne, Tu eşti Cel Prea Înalt peste tot pămîntul, Tu eşti prea înălţat mai pe sus de toţi dumnezeii. Iar Psalmul 108:5 spune – Înalţă-Te peste ceruri, Dumnezeule, şi fie slava Ta peste tot pămîntul! Cerul. Hum, devine o astfel de casa a lui Dumnezeu, un fel de palat regal, daca vreti. Imaginea unui loc in spatiu, sa zicem, dar nu neaparat in spatiu, in care este scaunul de domnie a lui Dumnezeu si unde prezenta lui Dumnezeu este manifestata intr-o slava si o maretie, ca sa spunem asa, vizibila. In cartea sa, Elenctic Theology, Francis Turretin (1623 – 1687) spune ca in cer este manifestata gloria deplina a lui Dumnezeu. Este locul unde gloria deplina a lui Dumnezeu este manifestata. 

  • Citim in Biblie ca Isus s-a ridicat in ceruri dupa invierea Sa. Fapte 1:9 – După ce a spus aceste lucruri, pe cînd se uitau ei la El, S’a înălţat la cer, şi un nor L -a ascuns din ochii lor.
  • Si Biblia ne spune ca, acum, Hristos este asezat acolo. 1 Petru 3:21-22, cand Petru vorbeste despre botez, el zice – Icoana aceasta inchipuitoare va mintuieste acum pe voi, si anume botezul, care nu este o curatire de intinaciunile trupesti, ci marturia unui cuget curat inaintea lui Dumnezeu prin invierea lui Isus Hristos, 22 care sta la dreapta lui Dumnezeu, dupa ce S-a inaltat la cer, si Si-a supus ingerii, stapinirile si puterile.
  • Evrei 12:2 – Să ne uităm ţintă la Căpetenia şi Desăvîrşirea credinţei noastre, adică la Isus, care, pentru bucuria care -I era pusă înainte, a suferit crucea, a dispreţuit ruşinea, şi şade la dreapta scaunului de domnie al lui Dumnezeu.

Tot in stilul unei naratiuni cu un caracter antromorfic, Dumnezeu coboara din cer pe pamant pentru a privi mai indeaproape ce se petrece intr-un anumit loc. Expresiile acestea trebuie intelese ca fiind analogice cu actiuni umane. Deoarece, Dumnezeu este prezent oriunde si petutindeni. El nu trebuie sa coboare intr-un anume loc pentru a vedea ceva intr-un mod specific. Vreau sa precizez aicea ca naratiunile descriptive ale lui Dumnezeu si ale actiunilor Sale trebuie mereu intelese in lumina versetelor care Il definesc direct pe Dumnezeu si nu invers. De exemplu, un scriitor spune ca lui Dumnezeu ii pare rau sau regreta ca a facut o anumita alegere. Exprimarea autorului respectiv trebuie inteleasa prin prisma unui enunt clar  despre Dumnezeu.

  • Ca acela din Numeri 23:19 cand Dumnezeu spune ca ‘Dumnezeu nu este un om ca să mintă, Nici un fiu al omului, ca să -I pară rău. Ce a spus, oare nu va face? Ce a făgăduit oare, nu va împlini?
  • Sau 1 Samuel 15:29 – ‘Cel ce este tăria lui Israel nu minte şi nu Se căieşte, căci nu este un om ca să -I pară rău.`

Deci, acestea sunt enunturi cum este Dumnezeu, clare, si altele sunt actiuni narative descriptive. Astea din urma trebuie intelese in lumina enunturilor clare despre Dumnezeu si nu invers.

Omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu, ca fapt ontologic, aicea vreau sa spun ca ontologia este ramura filozofiei care se ocupa cu natura sau cu esenta fiintei, cu studierea naturii existentei. Deci, omniprezenta lui Dumnezeu, ca fapt ontologic, nu exclude , ci implica vis a vis de poporul lui Dumnezeu sau de cei ce sunt numarati prin alesii lui Dumnezeu, o prezenta a lui Dumnezeu specifica si speciala. In promisiunea unui Mantuitor, Dumnezeu spune ca  Numele acestuia va fi Emanuel, adica Dumnezeu este cu noi. Inainte de plecarea Sa la cer, Isus a promis in Matei 28:20 – ‘Şi iată că Eu sînt cu voi în toate zilele, pînă la sfîrşitul veacului. Amin‘ Astfel intelegem ca Acela care este pretutindeni, fata de alesii Sai are o manifestare  a prezentei, aparte , intr-un fel personal  in care El nu este prezent in si cu restul creatiei. In Teologia sa sistematica, John Frame spune ca este o prezenta etica, adica este manifestata de cel neprihanit. Spre deosebire de prezenta lui Dumnezeu cu cel ce nu este neprihanit, fata de care, Dumnezeu, intr-un fel, este departe sau separat.

Deasemenea, gasim in Biblie descrieri ale unor locuri in care Dumnezeu este prezent iarasi in mod specific. Aceste locuri devin din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, locuri sfinte, ca sa zicem asa. Si asta pentru perioada de timp in care Dumnezeu este  prezent acolo, in felul acesta special. Astfel, Moise intalneste un tufis care nu se consuma de niste flacari de care el arde. Si in tufisul acesta, Moise Il intalneste pe Dumnezeu. I se spune sa scoata incaltamintea din picioare, deoarece locul din jurul acestui tufis este sfant, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu. Tot in Vechiul Testament intalnim si Muntele Sinai unde a dat Dumnezeu legea Sa. Acest munte era in flacari si se cutremura si poporului ii era interzis sa se atinga sau sa se apropie de munte, precum si unor animale ale poporului. Caci oricine s-ar atinge de munte sau s-ar apropia va fi ucis. Noi nu intelegem ca in asemenea locuri exista o concentratie a prezentei lui Dumnezeu mai mare decat in alta parte. Ci doar ca in asemenea spatii, Dumnezeu cere celui care se afla acolo un respect si o reverenta mai mare, nu fata de loc, ci fata de Dumnezeul acestui loc. Reverenta, in lipsa careia pedeapsa lui Dumnezeu va veni peste omul prezent acolo. Prezenta aceasta a lui Dumnezeu, specifica cu cei ce sunt ai Lui, va culmina in viitor, cum o descrie Ioan in Apocalipsa 21:1-4 -

Apoi am văzut un cer nou şi un pămînt nou; pentrucă cerul dintîi şi pămîntul dintîi pieriseră, şi marea nu mai era.
2 Şi eu am văzut coborîndu-se din cer dela Dumnezeu, cetatea sfîntă, noul Ierusalim, gătită ca o mireasă împodobită pentru bărbatul ei.
3 Şi am auzit un glas tare, care ieşea din scaunul de domnie, şi zicea: ,,Iată cortul lui Dumnezeu cu oamenii! El va locui cu ei, şi ei vor fi poporul Lui, şi Dumnezeu însuş va fi cu ei. El va fi Dumnezeul lor.
4 El va şterge orice lacrimă din ochii lor. Şi moartea nu va mai fi. Nu va mai fi nici tînguire, nici ţipăt, nici durere, pentrucă lucrurile dintîi au trecut.`

Un alt atribut, o alta insusire,  despre care vrem sa discutam in momentele urmatoare, este impasibilitatea. La ce ne referim? O sa intrebam daca Dumnezeu simte ceva, daca El are sentimente. Am vazut deja ca Dumnezeu este suficient in Sine Insusi. Se El este singura fiinta independenta de tot si de toate. De asemenea, o sa vedem intr-o emisiune urmatoare ca Dumnezeu este neschimbabil. Dar, intrebarea este, daca asa este Dumnezeu, are El sentimente? Citim prin Biblie si vedem ca Dumnezeu este descris in Biblie ca avand mila, ca iubind, rabdator, fiind gelos, maniinduse. Aceste emotii le simte Dumnezeu. Are El aceste sentimente? Daca nu le are, atunci ce urmareste Dumnezeu cand inspira pe autori sa descrie in felul acesta? Deja am spus in alta parte ca Dumnezeu nu are trup fizic. N-are corp; este o fiinta spirituala. De aceea, El nu este o fiinta spatiala. Acuma, cand un om gandeste, de exemplu, El gandeste cu ajutorul unui organ fizic ale carui conexiuni nervoase sunt esentiale procesului de gandire. De asemenea, cand un om iubeste, in organismul lui fizic se petrec anumite reactii chimice. De asemenea, corpul uman secrete un hormon numit adrenalina, cand omul este confruntat cu anumite experiente traumatice si sufera in urma lor, sau cand este confruntat cu sentimente puternice de frica sau de groaza, sau cand este provocat, de exemplu, ca inaintea unei provocari sportive pe 100 de metri.

Este clar, din cele de mai sus, ca Dumnezeu nu are sentimente diferite de sentimentele omului. Dumnezeu gandeste si El are ganduri. Insa, gandurile lui Dumnezeu nu pot fi legate de un creier divin, Dumnezeu fiind duh. Apoi, emotiile omului sunt in general privite ca fiind reactii la anumite evenimente, la intamplari, experiente. In ce fel putem spune despre Dumnezeu, fara sa gresim, ca El reactioneaza la ceva ce El deja cunoaste din vesnicie? De exemplu: El creeaza ceva si apoi priveste ceea ce a creat. Simte o anumita placere, ca sa zicem asa,  si declara ca lucrul acela este bun.

Nu stia Dumnezeu ca va fi bun ceea ce ce urma sa faca, inante de a incepe sa faca?  Aici lumea teologica se desparte in doua.

  1. Unii care cred ca descrierile lui Dumnezeu ca avand emotii sunt doar descrieri cu caracter antromorfic pentru a ne face sa intelegem cum ar reactiona Dumnezeu. Dar mai ales, pentru a determinacate reactii sau emotii… De exemplu: Citim ca lui Dumnezeu ii pare rau, cititorul poate evalua prin prisma direct experimentat personal, cam cum ar trebui sa simta Dumnezeu cand ii pare Lui rau.
  2. Altii cred ca Dumnezeu are cu adevarat sentimente. Si ca faptul ca Dumnezeu a creat totul si ca din vesnicie a determinat totul, nu Il impiedica pe Dumnezeu ca impreuna cu planul facut de El, sa fi predeterminat  si reale reactii la evenimente si la evaluarile acestuia in timp real.

Dumnezeu este fara timp si fara spatiu, sau in afara lor.  Dar am spus cu o alta ocazie ca El esti si imanent. Ca este in spatiu si in timp, in istorie. Este oare imposibil ca Dumnezeu sa aibe sentimente cand evalueaza evenimentele din interiorul istoriei sau a spatiului, sau a timpului? Astfel, eu cred ca Dumnezeu se bucura de bine si se supara pentru rau. Si El este cu cel ce sufera si vede, aude, sufera alaturi de el. El promite in Isaia 43:2 – ‘Dacă vei trece prin ape, Eu voi fi cu tine; şi rîurile nu te vor îneca; dacă vei merge prin foc, nu te va arde, şi flacăra nu te va aprinde.‘ El are raspunsuri emotionale la ceea ce se intampla in interiorul istoriei. Dar e de alta parte, oamenii, avem sentimente pe care Dumnezeu nu le are. Dumnezeu nu este nerabdator. El nu este curios ce se va intampla maine. Nu este curios cum se va sfarsi un anumit lucru. Nu-i este dor de casa. samd.

De asemenea, cand vorbim despre sentimentele lui Dumnezeu sa nu uitam aspectul intruparii lui Dumnezeu. In intruparea Sa, Dumnezeu a plans. Eu cred ca a si ras. I-a fost foame, sete, a obosit. A experimentat intreaga gama de sentimente ce sunt si nu doar necesare, ci proprii omului. Experienta umanitatii lui Hristos n-ar fi insemnat nimic daca Dumnezeu nu are sau nu este capabil de sentimente.

O alta intrebare cu care vom incheia acest studiu scurt este daca Dumnezeu sufera. Afirmam mai sus, pe scurt, ca Dumnezeu sufera alaturi de cel ce sufera. Este lucrul acesta adevarat? Ce impact, daca are vreun impact asupra lui Dumnezeu, suferinta mea? Care-i suferinta mea. Dar a omului in general si a crestinului in special? Teologii au privit pentru raspuns la aceasta intrebare la Dumnezeu intrupat in Hristos. Jürgen Moltmann, de exemplu, in cartea ‘The Crucified God‘, da motive pentru care Dumnezeu sufera.

  1. Primul motiv este datorita suferintei lui Hristos. Este adevarat ca Isus a murit ca om, sau in umanitatea Sa. Dumnezeu nu moare. Dar cel ce a suferit chinurile premergatoare mortii n-a fost numai omul Isus, ci persoana lui Isus care este 100% om si 100% Dumnezeu.
  2. Un al doilea motiv al suferintei se datoreaza dumnezeirii lui Dumnezeu. Natura iubirii este de asemenea intr-un fel incat cei ce iubesc sunt predispusi suferintei provocate de fiintele pe care le iubesc. La cruce am vazut manifestarea iubirii lui Dumnezeu.
  3. Un al treilea motiv pentru Moltmann este problema suferintei umane in general. El zice ca nu exista un alt raspuns adecvat la problema raului si a suferintei din lume, decat ca Dumnezeu sufera alaturi de fiintele umane  care sufera din cauza pacatului lor.

Am amintit aici pe Jürgen Moltmann, numai pentru a arata un fel de parere cu privire la intrebarea noastra cu privire la suferinta. Trebuie sa tinem cont de faptul ca Dumnezeu Tatal, Fiul si Duhul Sfant  sunt una si nu putem separa suferintele lui Isus de suferintele lui Dumnezeu. Dar desi Fiul are anumite experiente, suferinte, dupa rolul pe care Il are in mantuire, in mantuire, Dumnezeu are un altfel de rol. De exemplu, Fiul se boteaza. In timp ce Fiul este in apa botezului, Tatal este in ceruri de unde vorbeste. Fiul este rastignit, Tatal nu este rastignit. Deci, ca Dumnezeu intrupat, Dumnezeu are anumite suferinte care sunt impartasite de Dumnezeu Tatal.

Dar intr-o alta dimensiune sau intr-o alta masura si calitate, vreau sa concluzionez in cuvintele lui John Frame, din Teologia sa sistematica, parafrasez- ‘Dumnezeu in existenta Sa e in afara de spatiu si timp, planifica si determina in slava Sa anumite evenimente care produc intristare si necaz si le evalueaza corespunzator. Adica se intristeaza, dar fara a suferi pierdere sau fara sa fie ranit  cum suntem noi de obicei, sau cum simtim noi o la o anumita pierdere.  In al doilea rand, in spatiu si timp, Dumnezeu sufera alaturi de creaturile Sale si chiar experimenteaza infrangeri temporale in drumul Sau catre biruinta finala. El sufera cand iubitii Sai sufera. Dar le promite victorie finala si completa. Deasemenea razbunarea le va fi inclusa in razbunarea lui Dumnezeu.

logos podcasting

 Podcasturi precedente

Alte Emisiuni Logos, Realizator Dan Miclea-

  • Misionarul Român din Egipt Partea 1-amisionarul ne-a povestit cum a ajuns in Cairo, cum si-a inceput misiune printre egipteni si calatoria pe Raul Nil, ca sa duca evanghelia la nubieni, iar apoi calatoria la muntele Sinai unde a propovaduit evanghelia la beduini. E foarte fascinant sa asculti martuira misionarului si felul in care Dumnezeu se face cunoscut egiptenilor musulmani prin vise, ca mai tarziu diferite persoane sa-l traga la o parte pe strada si sa-l intrebe daca e crestin, si sa le spuna despre acel Isus pe care ei L-au visat.
  • Misionarul Român din Egipt Partea 2-a – Pretul platit de 3 convertiti egipteni, credinciosi pana la moarte… – Misionarul Român din Egipt – Partea 2-a
  • Gicu Stan
    1. Cand s-a nascut Biserica Domnului?
    2. Exista vreo diferenta intre manifestarea Duhului Sfant  inainte de Cincizecime si dupa Cincizecime?
    3. Unde e frontiera care desparte insusirile noastre native, cat si cele pe care noi le dobandim prin instruire, de darurile pe care le imparte Duhul Sfant?
  1. Dumnezeu Tatal Introducere (1) In crestinism, Dumnezeu este prezentat in Cuvantul Sau din Biblie. Cel mai bine putem sa-l cunoastem pe Dumnezeu de aici, din Scripturi. El este o persoana, in primul rand, El este prezentat ca fiind o persoana.
  2. Teologia: Arma sau Ajutor? (2) Ce inseamna teologie? Ce este teologia, in special teologia crestina. Sigur ca teologia se ocupa, in general, despre existenta Divinului si interactiunea dintre divin si cosmos si lume. Din punct de vedere crestin, teologia se ocupa de un studiu sistematic a revelatiei crestine cu privire la Dumnezeu, la natura lui Dumnezeu, la scopurile lui Dumnezeu si la relatia lui Dumnezeu cu universul in care noi traim. Este un studiu a lucrurilor sfinte, a Divinitatii, a adevarului lui Dumnezeu.
  3. Despre Trinitate (3) Dumnezeu este doar unul singur. Dar atunci, de ce vorbim despre Trinitate? Si mai ales, de ce vin scriitorii Noului Testament si ne vorbesc despre Duhul Sfant si Fiul? Si ne spun ca si Fiul si Duhul Sfant au caracteristicile lui Dumnezeu. Cand au aparut aceste fiinte care sunt asemenea lui Dumnezeu? Chiar si in Vechiul Testament avem pasaje despre un Dumnezeu existand in mai multe persoane. Numai trebuie sa intelegem ca descoperirea lui Dumnezeu a fost progresiva, adica, Dumnezeu nu a corectat azi ceea ce am gresit ieri si n-a inlocuit azi ceea ce ne-a spus ieri. Ci, ceea ce El nu ne-a dezvaluit despre Sine, ne-a dezvaluit astazi. Deci, de ce a procedat astfel Dumnezeu?
  4. Exista Dumnezeu? (4) Gandul despre Dumnezeu nu-l putem scoate din mintea noastra, fie ca suntem atei, fie ca suntem credinciosi. Atunci, ramane intrebarea: Cum stim ca exista Dumnezeu? Nu se poate stii despre existenta lui Dumnezeu decat daca El se descopera, daca se reveleaza pe Sine. Indiferent cat suntem de savanti sau puternici, noi suntem extrem de limitati. Si cu toate descoperirile noastre in diverse domenii, nu putem decat sa admitem ca stim ca exista din ce in ce mai mult necunoscut.
  5. Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 1 (5) Introducere – Insusirile lui Dumnezeu: Incomunicabile si Comunicabile – Atribute transcendente si imanente a lui Dumnezeu – Insusiri absolute si insusiri relative.
  6. Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 2-a (6) Daca Dumnezeu este suficient in El Insusi, care este ratiunea pentru care am fost noi creati? Ce inseamna autosuficienta lui Dumnezeu, aseitatea lui Dumnezeu, eternitatea lui Dumnezeu? Cum intra in timp Dumnezeu? Pentru ca noi, cand intram dintr-o dimensiune, dintr-o camera intr-alta, atunci parasim primea dimensiune, aceea din care am iesit. Deci, cand Dumnezeu intra in timp, si lucreaza in succesiunea timpului, iese El, sau altfel spus, abandoneaza calitatea Sa de a fi in afara timpului? Iese El din afara timpului si intra in timp?
  7. Atributele lui Dumnezeu PARTEA 3-a (7) Pagina actuala – Dumnezeu nu este limitat de spatiu si nu exista nici un spatiu unde Dumnezeu sa nu fie prezent. Dumnezeu este spirit. Ori, un spirit nu are caracteristici spatiale, deoarece un spirit nu are substanta, materie, trup. El poate fi, astfel, prezent in inima unui om; inima insemnand nu neaparat, sau nu numai organul care pompeaza sangele, ci mai ales omul dinlauntru, spiritul omului. Dumnezeu poate fi prezent in spiritul omului, care devine astfel, din cauza prezentei lui Dumnezeu, un templu a lui Dumnezeu. Dar El poate fi prezent concomitent si in vastul cosmosului care se afla in expansiune.

Urmareste Emisiunea Logos aici-

 

More on Bart Ehrman’s new book – Biblical Scholars call it ‘Sloppy Scholarship’

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Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Craig Evans discusses Bart Ehrman’s assertions against the divinity of Christ in Ehrman’s book ‘How Jesus became God’, as he published in his own book ‘How God became Jesus’.

~~ Bird et al, How God Became Jesus. http://amzn.to/1gJHalo (Canada: http://amzn.to/1jmdez6 )
~~ Ehrman, How Jesus Became God. http://amzn.to/OKT20e (Canada: http://amzn.to/1plFQKP )

You can read an article in the Christian Post on the latest response to bart Ehrman’s book here – http://www.christianpost.com/news/theologians-challenge-bart-ehrmans-sloppy-scholarship-in-how-jesus-became-god-with-book-on-how-god-became-jesus

Here’s an excerpt from that story: Ehrman’s newly published findings have been resoundingly challenged by some of his peers, a group of which has put forth their own book in response to his work, which they reportedly view as “populist conspiracy theories and sloppy history.”

Bird, in a submission made to The Christian Post, argues for “5 Lines of Evidence Missing from Ehrman’s Latest Popular Study, How Jesus Became God.” Read it here. Bird explains how he and his colleagues’ challenges to Ehrman’s work in the video below.

VIDEO by  YouTube/religionphilosophy (Via Christian Post) In the video-

Michael F. Bird comments on Bart Ehrman’s new book, “How Jesus Became God,” and his own work written in response, “How God Became Jesus.”
You can also watch a video response by Craig Evans, one of Bird’s coauthors, here – http://wp.me/p1eavz-gbO

Christ has risen! The significance of the Resurrection

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Matthew 28:1-10

1. According to the four gospels, Jesus rose from the dead following
   His crucifixion...
   a. Matthew records how the women found the tomb empty and were
      instructed by an angel to tell the disciples - Mt 28:1-8
   b. Also how Jesus appeared to them while on their way - Mt 28:9-10
   -- In all, the New Testament records ten distinct resurrection
      appearances of Christ prior to His ascension to heaven

2. The significance of the resurrection of Jesus to the Christian faith
   cannot be overestimated...
   a. It has great significance for one who has yet to believe in Jesus
   b. It also has great significance for those who are Christians

[In this study we shall consider "The Significance Of The Resurrection"
for both unbelievers and believers...]

I. FOR THE UNBELIEVER

   A. IT VERIFIES THE DEITY OF JESUS...
      1. The resurrection proves that Jesus truly is the Son of God
         - Ro 1:4
      2. It also demonstrates that He truly has all authority in heaven
         and on earth - Mt 28:18; Ac 2:36

   B. IT VERIFIES THE TRUTHFULNESS OF JESUS...
      1. Jesus foretold His resurrection on three occasions - Mt 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19
         a. If Jesus was telling the truth in describing His suffering
            and resurrection...
         b. ...then He was telling the truth in everything else He said
         -- Would God raise a liar?
      2. Therefore the following teachings of Jesus are true:
         a. He was from the Father above, and spoke the words of the
            Father - Jn 8:28-29
         b. No one can come to the Father but through Him - Jn 14:6
         c. His blood was shed for the remission of sins - Mt 26:28
         d. He came to offer abundant life - Jn 10:10
         e. He went to prepare a place for us - Jn 14:2
         f. He shall come again - Jn 14:3
         g. There will be a resurrection of the dead and ensuing
            judgment - Jn 5:28-29; 12:48; Ac 17:30-31

[If Jesus was in fact raised from the dead, "The Significance Of The Resurrection" for the unbeliever is enormous!  It compels unbelievers
to come face to face with reality, and the need to accept the Lordship
of Jesus.  The resurrection of Jesus has even more significance...]

II. FOR THE BELIEVER    

   A. IF JESUS HAS NOT BEEN RAISED...
      1. Gospel preaching is vain - 1Co 15:14
         a. The preaching of the apostles is empty, meaningless
         b. There would be no purpose in preaching about a liar, or
            lunatic
      2. Our faith is vain - 1Co 15:14
         a. Our belief in Christ would also be empty, meaningless
         b. For our faith would be in a liar, or lunatic
      3. The apostles were false witnesses - 1Co 15:15
         a. They swore that God raised Jesus from the dead - Ac 2:32
         b. They claimed to spend 40 days with Him after the
            resurrection, eating and drinking with Him - Ac 10:39-41
         c. There is no way they could have been deceived or mistaken;
            either they told the truth or they were deliberate liars,
            deceivers, and frauds!
      4. We are still in our sins - 1Co 15:17
         a. It would have been a liar or lunatic that died on the cross
         b. No such person could have provided a sacrifice that was
            holy and without blemish
      5. Believers have perished at death - 1Co 15:18
         a. Their faith would have been in a false Messiah
         b. They would have had no atonement for their sins
         c. Dying in their sins, there would be no hope
      6. Christians are to be pitied - 1Co 15:19
         a. Because we believe in a false Messiah
         b. Because our faith in Him leads us to refrain from much
            worldly pleasure
         c. Because we are often ridiculed or persecuted for our faith

   B. IF JESUS HAS BEEN RAISED...
      1. It verifies our justification - Ro 4:24-25
         a. Jesus claimed His blood would be adequate - Mt 26:28
         b. By raising Jesus from the dead, God demonstrated His
            acceptance of Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins! - Ro 8: 33-34
      2. It demonstrates the power available to the Christian - Ep 1: 18-20
         a. Power available at our conversion - Col 2:11-12; 1Pe 3:21
         b. Power available to live the Christian life - Ro 8:11-13; Php 2:12-13; 4:13; Ep 3:20; 6:10
      3. It gives us hope concerning our own resurrection - 1Pe 1:3
         a. His resurrection gives us a living hope! - 1Pe 1:21
         b. Especially concerning the resurrection of believers! - 1 Th 4:13-14
      4. It demands our complete loyalty to Him - Ro 14:9
         a. He was raised and then exalted to become our Lord - Ac 2: 32-36; Ep 1:20-23
         b. Thus our lives and service belong to Him - Ro 14:7-8; 2 Co 5:15
CONCLUSION

1. The impact of the resurrection of Jesus should not go unfelt in our
   lives...
   a. As a historical event it has everlasting implications
   b. For both the unbeliever and believer

2. The unbeliever needs to examine the evidence for the resurrection
   carefully...
   a. The nature of the testimony provided by the witnesses
   b. The unfeasibility of alternative explanations for the empty tomb
   -- For if Jesus rose from the dead, one must believe in Him! - Jn 8: 24

3. The believer must never lose sight of the significance of the
   resurrection...
   a. Do our lives demonstrate that we serve a risen Lord and Savior?
   b. Do we possess the hope, peace, and strength that the reality and
      power of His resurrection gives to the Christian?

May we never forget "The Significance Of The Resurrection" of Jesus
Christ in our lives!
(VIA)

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România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari

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