The Four Essentials to Finishing Well by Jerry Bridges

Excerpt from the sermon:

For most Christians after conversion, it is a works performance to the end. That is why we should have a daily appropriation of the Gospel because it is in our nature to drift off course towards a performance relationship and when you do, you will have a superficial view of sin in your life. If you think of sin as the gross sins we are committing outside of us, then you tend towards a religious pride because you are not doing those things.If you’re conscientious and you’re seeing some of these respectable sins such as gossip and pride and jealousy, and envy and critical spirit and these kinds of things; if you are seeing those in your life and you do not have the gospel, then those lead you to despair. And so often time the people in the second category just kind of slack off because they can’t handle the tension.

They can’t handle the difference of what they know they should be and what they honestly see themselves to be. And that which resolves that tension is the Gospel-to remind ourselves that we areclothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and that which keeps us from spiritual pride is the Gospel because, again, the Gospel is only for sinners. And so, we are a bunch of sinners, practicing sinners, we’ve been delivered from the guilt and the dominion of sin. Yes, that’s true, and we are now called saints, separated from sin, but we still sin in thought, word, deed and most of all in motives. We wanna please God, but, we want to look good in the process, So we come to the Lord admitting that we are practicing sinners, but we look to Jesus Christ and His shed blood, and His perfect obedience, His righteous life which has been credited to men, and we see ourselves standing before God clothed in His righteousness.

That will get you excited about the Christian life; when you see yourself daily clothed in His righteousness, and that will keep you from loving the world. You can’t love the Gospel and love the world at the same time. That will keep you from getting off course.

The following are notes taken during the message. (Desiring God website)

Four Essentials to Finishing Well

Paul endured to the end but Demas, as far as we know, did not

(2 Timothy4:7,10), even though he was once a fellow worker (Philemon 1:24). This is a sobering thought because so many of us are still very young.Finishing well is guaranteed to none of us, apart from the grace of God. How can we, like Paul, endure by God’s grace?

1) Daily time of focused personal communion with God.It must be daily, otherwise we will find ourselves drifting in the wrong direction. Demas was in love with this present world. Our time with God must build in us affections for God that trump the temptations to love this world. It’s helpful to have a plan, but the plan must direct us to God himself.

2) Daily appropriation of the gospel. The gospel is for sinners. Before we spend time in communion with God, we must come to him with the attitude of the tax collector who prayed,”Have mercy on me, a sinner,” and trust God alone to make us righteous.This alone will give us the confidence to approach God and have communion with him.

If we don’t daily appropriate the gospel then we will begin to base our spirituality on our performance, which will eventually lead us either towards pride or despair. But reminding ourselves daily that we are sinners and that, by God’s grace, we’ve been clothed with the righteousness of Christ, will equip us with true and pure motivation to continue following Jesus and renouncing the desire to love this world. We ought to work hard, not in order to earn God’s approval but because we already have it.

3) Daily commit yourself to God as a living sacrifice.Romans 12:1. The Old Testament sacrifice that Paul alludes to was daily performed by the priests. He carries that same significance over to new covenant saints. Our bodies are on loan from God, and we must daily re-consecrate ourselves to him. Just as Paul appealed to Philemon(Philemon 1:8-10), even though he had the right to command him, so also he appeals to us to give ourselves to God. The sheer wonder of the mercy of God should cause us to spontaneously give it, and this we will do if we daily bask in his love.

4) A firm belief in the sovereignty and love of God. Lamentations 3:37-38. Life is full of pains, through natural circumstances and the ill will of others. But God is sovereign over all such evils, and—by faith—we can give thanks for them. God is using them to conform us to the image of Christ and will never leave us or forsake us. The gospel and the promises of God will never fail, nor will he take them from us.

© Desiring God

University Indoctrination- ‘Christianity plagiarizes Mithraism’

Irenaeus on heresies:

„Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than truth itself.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.2)

The word „heresy” originally meant „choose” or „faction,” but as the early church grew, false teachers started to infiltrate.  It became necessary for the early church to determine what was and was not true doctrine.

The Bible condemns false doctrines and false teachers.  Gal. 1:8-9 says, „But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.”  See also 1 Cor. 16:22; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; Titus 3:10.

Christians are saved by faith in the work of Jesus on the cross, but faith by itself is not enough.  Faith is not a substance you obtain.  Faith is belief, and faith is only as good as who you place it in.  False gods don’t save anyone.  This is why the True God says in Exodus 20:3, „You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Faith is not what saves, but faith in the true God is what saves.

Many college students’ faith in God gets smashed by secular professors presuming to teach them historical facts that discount God’s existence and attack the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since we now have a prominent pastor who through his video ministry speeches, validates the belief that it’s possible that Christianity borrowed from the cult of Mithra, it is important to know the Christian response.The enlightened professors at universities across the country never present an opposing view in the classroom other than their own personal set of beliefs. Here is a response from www.carm.org/ a Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. There are other excellent articles at this website, on various subjects that are highly informative. Talk to your children about this, and give them historical facts before they head to college. And then again, check and see if what your own church pastor has to say on this subject.

Doesn’t the religion of Mithra prove that Christianity is false?

Some critics of Christianity teach that the Christian religion was not based upon divine revelation but that it borrowed from pagan sources, Mithra being one of them. They assert that the figure of Mithra has many commonalities with Jesus, too common to be coincidence.

Mithraism was one of the major religions of the Roman Empire which was derived from the ancient Persian god of light and wisdom. The cult of Mithraism was quite prominent in ancient Rome, especially among the military. Mithra was the god of war, battle, justice, faith, and contract. According to Mithraism, Mithra was called the son of God, was born of a virgin, had disciples, was crucified, rose from the dead on the third day, atoned for the sins of mankind, and returned to heaven. Therefore, the critics maintain that Christianity borrowed its concepts from the Mithra cult. But is this the case? Can it be demonstrated that Christianity borrowed from the cult of Mithra as it developed its theology?

First of all, Christianity does not need any outside influence to derive any of its doctrines. All the doctrines of Christianity exists in the Old Testament where we can see the prophetic teachings of Jesus as the son of God (Zech. 12:10), born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), was crucified (Psalm 22), the blood atonement (Lev. 17:11), rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10), and salvation by faith (Hab. 2:4). Also, the writers of the gospels were eyewitnesses (or directed by eyewitnesses as were Mark and Luke) who accurately represented the life of Christ. So, what they did was write what Jesus taught as well as record the events of His life, death, and resurrection. In other words, they recorded history, actual events and had no need of fabrication or borrowing.

There will undoubtedly be similarities in religious themes given the agrarian culture. Remember, an agriculturally based society, as was the people of the ancient Mediterranean area, will undoubtedly develop theological themes based upon observable events, i.e., the life, death, and seeming resurrection of life found in crops, in cattle, and in human life. It would only be natural for similar themes to unfold since they are observed in nature and since people created gods related to nature. But, any reading of the Old Testament results in observing the intrusion of God into Jewish history as is recorded in miracles and prophetic utterances. Add to that the incredible archaeological evidence verifying Old Testament cities and events and you have a document based on historical fact instead of mythical fabrication. Furthermore, it is from these Old Testament writings that the New Testament themes were developed.

Following is a chart demonstrating some of the New Testament themes found in the Old Testament.

Theme Old Testament
Reference
New Testament
fulfilled in Jesus
Ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God Ps. 110:1 Matt 26:64; Acts 7:55-60; Eph. 1:20
Atonement by blood Lev. 17:11 Heb. 9:22
Begotten Son, Jesus is Psalm 2:7 Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5
Crucifixion Psalm 22:11-18; Zech. 12:10 Luke 23:33-38
Eternal Son Micah 5:1-2; Psalm 2:7 Heb. 1:5; 5:5
God among His people Isaiah 9:6; 40:3 John 1:1,14; 20:28; Col. 2:9; Matt. 3:3
Incarnation of God 1)Ex 3:14; 2)Ps. 45:6 Isaiah 9:6; Zech. 12:10 1)John 8:58; 1:1,14; 2)Heb. 1:8; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:1-3
Only Begotten Son Gen. 22:2. See Typology John 3:16; Heb. 11:7
Resurrection of Christ Psalm 16:9-10; 49:15; Is. 26:19 John 2:19-21
Return of Christ Zech. 14:1-5; Mic. 1:3-4 Matt. 16:27-28; Acts 1:11; 3:20
Sin offering Ex. 30:10; Lev. 4:3 Rom. 8:3; Heb. 10:18; 13:11
Son of God Psalm 2:7 John 5:18
Substitutionary Atonement Isaiah 53:6-12; Lev. 6:4-10,21 Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18;
Virgin Birth Isaiah 7:14 Matt. 1:25

(For a more complete list please go to Are the New Testament themes found in the Old Testament?)

As you can see, there is no need for any of the Christian writers to borrow from anything other than the Old Testament source in order to establish any Christian doctrine concerning Jesus. If the argument that pagan mythologies predated Christian teachings and therefore Christianity borrowed from them is true, then it must also be truth that the pagan religions borrowed from the Jewish religion because it is older than they are! Given that all of the Christian themes are found in the Old Testament and the Old Testament was begun around 2000 B.C. and completed around 400 B.C., we can then conclude that these pagan religions actually borrowed from Jewish ideas found in the Old Testament. Think about it, the idea of a blood sacrifice and a covering for sin is found in the first three chapters of Genesis when God covered Adam and Eve with animals skins and prophesied the coming of the Messiah.

Furthermore, those who wrote about Jesus in the New Testament were Jews (or under the instruction of Jews) who were devoted to the legitimacy and inspiration of the Old Testament scriptures and possessed a strong disdain for pagan religions. It would have been blasphemous for them to incorporate pagan sources into what they saw as the fulfillment of the sacred Old Testament scriptures concerning the Messiah. Also, since they were writing about Jesus, they were writing based upon what He taught: truth, love, honesty, integrity, etc. Why then would they lie and make up stories and suffer great persecution, hardships, ridicule, arrest, beatings, and death all for known lies and fabrications from paganism? It doesn’t make sense.

At best, Mithraism only had some common themes with Christianity (and Judaism) which were recorded in both the Old and New Testaments. What is far more probable is that as Mithraism developed, it started to adopt Christian concepts.

„Allegations of an early Christian dependence on Mithraism

Foxe's Book of Martyrs (nearly 3,ooo pages)details ALL historically known and recorded examples of the torture and martyrdom of the Saints from the First-Century Apostles through the Reformation of the 16th Century.(People lived and died for a very real faith)

have been rejected on many grounds. Mithraism had no concept of the death and resurrection of its god and no place for any concept of rebirth – at least during its early stages…During the early stages of the cult, the notion of rebirth would have been foreign to its basic outlook…Moreover, Mithraism was basically a military cult. Therefore, one must be skeptical about suggestions that it appealed to nonmilitary people like the early Christians.”1

What is more probable is that with the explosive nature of the Christian church in the 1st and 2nd century, other cult groups started to adapt themselves to take advantage of some of the teachings found in Christianity.

„While there are several sources that suggest that Mithraism included a notion of rebirth, they are all post-Christian. The earliest…dates from the end of the second century A.D.”2

Therefore, even though there are similarities between Christianity and Mithraism, it is up to the critics to prove that one borrowed from the other. But, considering that the writers of the New Testament were Jews who shunned pagan philosophies and that the Old Testament has all of the themes found in Christianity, it is far more probable that if any borrowing was done, it was done by the pagan religions that wanted to emulate the success of Christianity.

  1. 1. R. Nash, Christianity and the Hellenistic World as quoted in Norman Geisler, Baker’s Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999, p. 492.
  2. 2. Bill Wilson, compiled by, The Best of Josh McDowell: A Ready Defense, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, p. 167.

(VIA) Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

Mithra? Attis? Really, Rob Bell? by Dr. Oakley (Review of troubling Nooma video)

Dr. Oakley discusses one of Rob Bell’s Nooma videos in which he uses atheist data, most of which comes from a book titled ‘Christ and the Caesars’, written by Ethelbert Stauffer, a Universalist author (who makes some very grand claims and draws some grand conclusions without much supporting evidence.) The troubling part is that the book has no citations. Stauffer says a lot about how things were historically, but the only real evidence he cites is coinage from the time. The book was brought back out of print after Rob Bell talked about using this book in his research. Rob Bell believes Christianity copied pagan religions because he read a book?

Dr. Oakley states that this is nothing new, it is what is taught in Liberal Protestant seminaries. He also states that the modern movement (read emergent) finds absolutely no contentment in the clarity of the past; they seem to have a disdain for it. Dr. Oakley addresses some of the Rob Bell claims; the last one is shocking where Rob Bell ends the video with the statement-„You are the Good News; You are the Gospel” to his video audience.

Here is a link to a short essay on Mithra mythology.

Matthew  24:4  Jesus answered,“Watch out that no one deceives you.

Other articles of interest:

  1. David Platt -on Rob Bell Intellectual universalism is dangerous, but functional universalism is worse
  2. Sinclair Ferguson – Universalism and the reality of eternal punishment
  3. Paul Washer – Do you believe in the existence of a literal hell?
  4. North Carolina Pastor loses job over universalism belief and other stuff
  5. Al Mohler – the new atheism

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

Mithra? Attis? Really, Rob Bell?, posted with vodpod

Casa de Rugaciune din Bazna, jud. Sibiu- Claudiu Samartinean si Ioan Cazan

Tudor Petan (AlfaOmegaTV) interviu cu Claudius Samartinean si Ioan Cazan despre Biserica Domnului din Romania si centrul de rugaciune din Bazna, Judetul Sibiu, infiintat in anul 2005; o Casa de Rugaciune asemanatoare Casei de Rugaciune IHOP din Kansas City, Missouri unde se inalta rugaciuni  24 de ore non-stop .(de la emisiunea ‘Calea, Adevarul si Viata’)

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for YouTube – Calea Adevarul si Viata – Casa de rug…
Follow my videos on vodpod

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari