Trump: Moștenirea noastră creștină va fi prețuită

FOTO CNN

FOTO CNN

Trump: „Cred că pot să aibă încredere în mine [creștinii]. 
În campania electorală Donald Trump a făcut câteva promisiuni importante pe temele avortului, căsătoriei și libertății de conștiință.
Trump a promis că va numi la Curtea Supremă judecători care să fie pro-viață. În prezent, în urma decesului lui Antonin Scalia, în februarie 2016, este un loc liber de judecător la curtea Supremă, potrivit Știri pentru Viață.
Când a fost întrebat la ultima dezbatere prezidențială dacă dorește să fie rejudecat de către Curtea Supremă verdictul din decizia Roe v. Wade din 22 ianuarie 1973, prin care a fost legalizat avortul la cerere la nivel federal, Trump a răspuns că aceasta se va întâmpla „automat” pentru că va numi judecători pro-viață. Practic anularea deciziei din 1973 nu interzice avortul, ci lasă fiecare stat să își decidă legislația în privința avortului.
Trump a promis creștinilor că pot să „aibă încredere” în el că va apăra „căsătoria tradițională”
În 2015, prin decizia în cazul Obergefell vs. Hodges, Curtea Supremă a anulat la nivel federal legislațiile statelor în privința căsătoriei homosexuale, impunând acceptarea ei indiferent de cosntituția și legile statelor.
Când a fost întrebat pe 2 februarie 2016 într-un interviu la CBN despre faptul că a fost numit „cel mai pro-homosexualitate candidat republican”, Trump a replicat: „Cred că pot să aibă încredere în mine [creștinii]. Ei pot să aibă încredere în mine legat de căsătoria tradițională. Sunt foarte mult în favoarea ideii ca decizia să meargă la state și să lăsăm statele să decidă. [Decizia Curții Supreme] a fost o decizie șocantă pentru dumneavoastră și pentru mine și pentru mulți alți oameni”.
Afla mai mult – http://www.activenews.ro/
Reclame

Our Father – Don Moen Songs – Cantari frumoase

Photo credit www.staciespielman.com

„Our Father”

Hear our prayer
We are Your children
And we’ve gathered here today, bless me
We’re gathered here to prayHear our cry
Lord, we need Your mercy
And we need Your grace today, yes, we do
Hear us as we prayOur Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Our Father, hear us from Heaven
Forgive our sins we prayHear our song
As it rises to Heaven
May Your glory fill the earth
As the waters cover the seasSee our hearts
And remove anything
That is standing in the way
Of coming to You todayOur Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Our Father, hear us from Heaven
Forgive our sins we pray

And though we are few
We’re surrounded by many
Who have crossed that river before
And this is the song we’ll be singing forever

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord

Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord

Hear our prayer
We are Your children
And we’ve gathered here today
We’re gathered here to pray

Hear our cry
Oh Lord, we need Your mercy
And we need Your grace today, yes, we do
Hear us as we pray

Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Our Father, hear us from Heaven
Forgive our sins we pray

Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Our Father, hear us from Heaven
Forgive our sins we pray
Forgive our sins we pray
Forgive our sins we pray
Oh yeah.

Lyrics by www.azlyrics.com VIDEO by kippik61 (73 minutes)

Easter songs: True love and Give me Jesus – Christ our eternal hope and salvation!!!! Christ is risen!!!! Hallelujah!!!! Easter songs –

Come close listen to the story
about a love more faithful than the morning
The Father gave his only Son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers broken heart
tears were filling heaven’s eyes
The day that true love died, the day that true love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died, The day that true love died

Search your heart you know you can’t deny it
Come on, lose your life just so you can find it
The Father gave his only son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers broken heart
tears were filling heaven’s eyes
The day that true love died, the day that true love died
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died, The day that true love died

Now, Jesus is alive

Jesus is alive X4
Oh, He is alive
He rose again

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn’t move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that true love died, The day that true love died

Uploaded by 

 

Give me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
Oh, when I am alone
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

Jesus
Give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
Oh, when I come to die
Give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
You can have all this world
Just give me Jesus

from www.elyrics.net

Know Your Roots (1) American Evangelicalism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Photo credit nathancherry.com

This is part 1 & 2 of 4 in a series produced at Trinity International University, an event that took place at the Carl F. Henry Center.

The speakers are Carl F. Henry and Kenneth S. Kantzer, who both happened to be editors for Christianity Today before this lecture/debate took place (which I am estimating to be in the early or mid 1990’s), and who are considered to be deans of the American Evangelical Movement. Some of the topic discussed in this Christian Thought Lecture Series:

  • What is evangelicalism?
  • What is fundamentalism?
  • How do we distinguish between the 2 movements?
  • What is the future of evangelicalism in an age so manifestly pluralistic and secular?
  • Have evangelicals conformed their lifestyles too closely to the ethical and moral standards of their culture?
  • How can they witness for Christ more effectively?

Dr.’s Henry and Kantzer will address:

  • Turning points within evangelicalism during the previous 50 years and the resurgence  of American Evangelicalism since the 1940’s
  • Later on they assess the prospects of the evangelical movement as the year 2000 approaches.

VIDEO by Henry Center (Introductions in the first 3:30 minutes) Video length 28 minutes

Know Your Roots, part 1

Know Your Roots, part 2

VIDEO by Henry Center

China Cry – The Nora Lam Story, Christianity during China’s Cultural Revolution (FILM)

China Cry is the true story of love, courage, and struggles of one women-Nora Lam-whose Christian faith leads her to make the ultimate choice between life and death. Set in China some thirty years before the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre, this sweeping drama portrays the harsh reality of the repressive Communist regime and Nora Lam’s indomitable will to survive.

WATCH 3  true animated Christian stories from the series – A True Story of Missionaries in China:

  1. An Evening visitor (Chinese animation, English subtitles)
  2. The Blessing of Eternal Life (Chinese animation, English subtitles)
  3. Forgiving Love (Chinese animation, English subtitles)

VIDEO by Spiritlessons

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions – Aug. 17, 1723

Photo credit marketingland.com

via A Puritan’s Mind.Scroll down to the bottom of article for a 19 minute audio (in video form) of this list

A list of the resolutions that Edwards read once every week to keep his mind on his duty before God.

Signature of theologian Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions

(written at 19 years of age)

In an effort to be helped spiritually by Edward’s idea in inscribing his resolutions and then reading them each week, I also made a list of my own Maxims, which may also be of help to you – even if they simply spark you to make a list of your own (See my Maxims in the list on The Christian Walk page). Some are very similar to Edwards, some are exactly the same, and some are completely different. In any case, enjoy these Resolutions and Maxims in your daily walk.

Resolutions 1 through 21 were written by in one sitting in New Haven in 1722.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is

perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14′ and July ’3′ 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Aug. 17, 1723

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

(1722-1723)

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions – Aug. 17, 1723

This video was the list of the resolutions that Jonathan Edwards read once every week to keep his mind on his duty before God.

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions
(written at 19 years of age)

In an effort to be helped spiritually by Edward’s idea in inscribing his resolutions and then reading them each week, I also made a list of my own Maxims, which may also be of help to you – even if they simply spark you to make a list of your own (See my Maxims in the list on The Christian Walk page). Some are very similar to Edwards, some are exactly the same, and some are completely different. In any case, enjoy these Resolutions and Maxims in your daily walk.

Resolutions 1 through 21 were written by in one sitting in New Haven in 1722.

VIDEO by turning2jesus

David Platt – Incarnation Wonder of Grace (Part 3 of 4)

God's grace Philippians 2:5-11 

Verse 8 – And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Why is the incarnation important? Why did it happen?

What belief, if any, separates Christianity apart from the world religions? Is there anything that is completely and totally unique to Christianity? That was the subject of debate and discussion, at a british conference years ago, on comparitive religions. And they were discussing, „Is there anything that makes Christianity unique? And while they were in their heated discussion, all these experts and religious scholars, a guy named C. S. Lewis wanders in. And he says, „What’s the fuss all about?” They say, „Well, we’re debating, trying to figure out if there’s anything unique about christianity”. And he responded immediately, „Well, that’s an easy one. One word: Grace”.

Grace is the why of the incarnation. It is incomprehensible to think about Christ becoming a man, because of the purpose for which He came. We should never cease to be a people that are not amazed about grace.

Three moves that Christ makes that helps to give us a picture of incomprehensible grace:

  1. He goes from exaltation to humiliation so that we might be exalted. His incarnate position as the Son of Man makes possible our eternal privilege as sons of God. 
  2. He goes from life to death, so that we might live. The reality: He was born to die a shameful, painful, cursed death. And even 2000 years later we are rejoicing at His mastery over death, because through Him we have life. You and I don’t walk around captive to our sin, we are freed to live. To live now, and for all of eternity. His shame on the cross becomes our honor. All that is shameful about us, our sin, our wickedness, the things we think, the things we do, the things that not even those closest to us don’t even know about, the things that would be exposed before God are transferred to Him (Christ). And He’s transferred to us His righteousness, and His beauty and His holiness, and His redemption. a)His humiliation becomes our honor. b)His pain becomes our joy, and c)His curse becomes our blessing. He left life to go to death, so that you and I might find life. We are not worthy of this kind of grace. May we never become numb, and tired and sleepy in the face of grace. This (grace) is a mammoth truth.
  3. He goes from rich to poor, so that we might be rich. The richness of all that He is, His divinity, His deity, His greatness, His majesty, and all that He owns, all the resources in the world belong to Him. Everything is His. For your sake though, He became poor. He entered a world of humiliation and depravation and poverty. The Creator of the world became homeless, so that we might become rich. See His poverty in the world: He gave up His rights, He gave us His resources and now, we are His people in the world. We are followers of Jesus Christ, who became poor so that others might become rich. And how can we ever show Christ if we don’t give up our rights and we give others our resources?

We talk glibly of the „Christmas Spirit,” rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis.  But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning.  It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas.  And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round.

It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians-I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians – go through this world in the spirit of the priest and the Levite in our Lord’s parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after pious wish, and perhaps a prayer, that God might meet them) averting their eyes, and passing by on the other side.  That is not the Christmas Spirit.  Nor is it the spirit of those Christians- alas, they are many- whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the sub-middle-class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.

The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob.  For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor- spending and being spent-to, enrich their fellow men, giving time, trouble, care, and concern to do good to others-and not just their own friends-in whatever way there seems need.

Excerpted from Knowing God by J.I. Packer.  Copyright 1973 by Intervarsity Press.

The Living Christ

A series of 12 videos (approx. 20-30 min. each= Total 5 hours)

  1. The Living Christ Series (1) Holy Night
  2. The Living Christ Series (2) Escape to Egypt
  3. The Living Christ Series (3) Boyhood and Baptism
  4. The Living Christ Series (4) Men of the Wilderness
  5. The Living Christ Series (5) Challenge of Faith
  6. The Living Christ Series (6) Discipleship
  7. The Living Christ Series (7) Return to Nazareth
  8. The Living Christ Series (8) Conflict
  9. The Living Christ Series (9) Fate of John the Baptist
  10. The Living Christ Series (10) Retreat and Decision
  11. The Living Christ Series (11) Triumph and Defeat
  12. The Living Christ Series (12) Crucifixion and Resurrection

Passion Week – Good Friday 1/2 – The hurt of Peter’s denial of Christ + ‘Just as I am’, by Brian Doerkson

Photo from  www.eons.com

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

How many times did the rooster crow when Peter denied Jesus?


Matthew 26:34 (also Luke 22:34, John 13:38)

„I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, „this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

Mark 14:30

„I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, „today – yes, tonight – before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”


Mark 14:66-72

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

„You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

But he denied it. „I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, „This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, „Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, „I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: „Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

From www.rationalchristianity.net

Jesus’ Great Confession; Peter’s Great Denial
Matthew 26:57-68

57 Now the ones who had arrested Jesus led him to Caiaphas, the high priest, in whose house the experts in the law and the elders had gathered. 58 But Peter was following him from a distance, all the way to the high priest’s courtyard. After going in, he sat with the guards to see the outcome. 59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were trying to find false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find anything, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” 62 So the high priest stood up and said to him, “Have you no answer? What is this that they are testifying against you?” 63 But Jesus was silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Now you have heard the blasphemy! 66 What is your verdict?” They answered, “He is guilty and deserves death.” 67 Then they spat in his face and struck him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy for us, you Christ! Who hit you?” (Matthew 26:57-68)

Two events are being described simultaneously by Matthew in this paragraph and the next, so as to set them in contrast to each other. The first is our Lord’s interrogation by Caiaphas, the high priest, and the Sanhedrin. The second is Peter’s “interrogation” by those around him. At the very moments Peter is denying His Lord, our Lord Jesus is affirming His identity as the Messiah – His “great confession.”

It is the middle of the night, and Jesus has been sent from Annas to stand before Caiaphas. The whole Sanhedrin is present (see also Mark 14:55), including the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Matthew 26:57-59). This is far from a legal gathering. In our terms, Jesus is not getting “due process of the law” here. These “judges” are far from neutral. They seek any testimony that will justify their resolve to kill Jesus (verse 59), but they can’t do it.

These are horrible and shameful moments in Israel’s history, but at times the account comes close to being amusing. Here is this pompous group of Israel’s “cream of the crop.” It is something like the convening of the Supreme Court in our day. These are the top religious and legal experts, and they are determined to execute Jesus. They resolved that they would not arrest or kill Jesus until “after the feast” (Matthew 26:5), but Jesus forced their hand when He informed Judas and the disciples that He would be betrayed by one of them (Matthew 26:21). Jesus even let Judas know that he was the one who would betray Him (Matthew 26:25). Judas no longer had the luxury of time. He had to act now to earn his fee, whether the Jewish leaders liked it or not.

The religious leaders were in a real bind. They seem compelled to include the Romans (Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers). They were forced to crucify Jesus, a very public death. And they must complete this matter before Passover, lest they be defiled, and thus would have been prevented from participating in Passover (seeJohn 18:28; 19:14; Mark 15:42-43). A few hours earlier, it would have appeared that they had almost two weeks to prepare for the execution of Jesus. They have not had any time to acquire and “coach” witnesses, and this was very obvious. Imagine these fellows attempting to give an air of sobriety and propriety, while things are in total chaos. Their witnesses disagree so badly that even with their disposition to accept any charge, it is evident this testimony won’t suffice. A parade of witnesses pass by, and all fail to meet minimum requirements. No two witnesses agree, and when two finally agree, the charges were not viable. It was, at best, a corruption of what Jesus had said (“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” – John 2:19). Even if their words were true, it isn’t a crime to say that you are able to do such a thing; it would be a crime if you attempted it. This case would have been thrown out of any court in our land.

You can imagine how frustrated these fellows must have been. Their case was stalling, and there seemed to be nothing they could do about it. The high priest sought to induce Jesus to violate His Fifth Amendment rights (in today’s terms) by giving testimony against Himself. “What did Jesus have to say to this charge?” Jesus had nothing to say. He need not have spoken. The charges were not worthy of comment or of defense. It was not His duty to provide them with evidence; it was their duty to produce evidence of a crime.

Then the high priest had an inspiration. He would charge Jesus under oath to answer this question: “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?” (Matthew 26:63). This was a question Jesus was not legally obliged to answer. And yet Jesus chose to answer. I used to think that this was because the high priest put Him under oath. I now look at it differently. This was a question Jesus must answer. To refuse to answer would imply that He was not the Messiah, the Son of God. If He were the Messiah, the Son of God, then why would He not answer to this effect? This was the crux of the coming of our Lord – to reveal Himself as the Messiah, and as the Son of God.

Our Lord’s answer was far from tentative. Not only did He identify Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God, He also referred to Himself as the Son of Man:

Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:67).

This is an incredibly powerful statement. Jesus affirms His identity. He is the Messiah. He is the Son of God. He is also the Son of Man, which means that He will return to the earth in power, to deal with His enemies and to establish justice.

These words, if believed, should have struck terror into the hearts of the Jewish religious leaders. Instead, they were taken as blasphemy, a capital offense by Jewish law (see Leviticus 24:10-16Numbers 15:30). No one in that group paused to reflect on the implications of Jesus’ claim. No one gave serious thought as to whether this claim might be true. In their minds, this was all they needed to condemn Jesus to death. And so the high priest musters all the righteous indignation he can produce, and calls for the death of Jesus:

Then the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Now you have heard the blasphemy!” (Matthew 26:65)

His colleagues heartily agreed, and they pronounced sentence on our Lord.

What follows is particularly significant. Once the guilty verdict is pronounced, there is a disproportionate outpouring of wrath and contempt on our Lord. They spit in His face – they spit in God’s face! They strike Him with their fists, pouring out their wrath on God incarnate. They slap Him, and challenge Him to prophesy who hit Him (26:67-68). Here is the highest court in the land, and look at its conduct. Here is God, in the hands of angry sinners.

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A slave girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it in front of them all: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” 71 When he went out to the gateway, another slave girl saw him and said to the people there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.” 72 He denied it again with an oath, “I do not know the man!” 73 After a little while, those standing there came up to Peter and said, “You really are one of them too—even your accent gives you away!” 74 At that he began to curse, and he swore with an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75).

Meanwhile, Peter is sitting in the courtyard of the high priest’s house, warming himself by the fire. A mere slave girl314 identifies him as one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter denies it. Initially, Peter does not pointedly deny knowing Jesus; he simply responds that he doesn’t know what she is talking about. Apparently this is sufficient to silence this first slave girl. But then another slave girl confronts Peter. She does not just question Peter; she speaks to those standing around: “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene” (Matthew 26:71). From Peter’s point of view, this is much more threatening. He denies his association with Jesus, underscoring his denial with an oath. Finally, a third person – one standing nearby – came up to Peter, and this time with an even more persuasive accusation: “You really are one of them too—even your accent gives you away!” (verse 73). Peter more pointedly denied even knowing Jesus, let alone associating with Him. This time he felt it necessary to punctuate his denial with cursing.

At that moment, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered Jesus’ words indicating that he would deny Him. Peter went outside and wept bitterly. Strangely, this is the last time Matthew refers to Peter by name in this Gospel. While Matthew does provide an account of the final outcome for Judas (Matthew 27:3-10), he does not do so for Peter. Is this because he knows that such an account will take a great deal more time and information? Is this because he knows that a subsequent history of the church (including Peter) will be written? For whatever reason, Matthew does not feel compelled to give us the “rest of the story” regarding Peter.

Conclusion

If our text demonstrates anything, it is that all mankind, without exception, is desperately sinful and, apart from the grace of God in Christ Jesus, hopelessly lost:

“There is no one righteous, not even one,

11 there is no one who understands,

there is no one who seeks God.

12 All have turned away,

together they have become worthless;

there is no one who shows kindness,

not even one” (Romans 3:10b-12).

Whether at his finest, or at his worst, every human being is a sinner, desperately wicked in heart and often in deed. There is no way that we can ever earn our own righteousness, that we can attain God’s favor by our efforts. We need salvation from some source outside of ourselves. We need Jesus, for He alone can save.

Our text dramatically demonstrates the sinfulness of man and the perfection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our text, no one comes out looking good, no one except Jesus, that is. Everything Jesus predicted happened just as He said it would. Under more stress and pressure than we will ever know, Jesus never failed. His words and His deeds are amazing to us. Though men (like Peter, or Judas, or the religious leaders) failed, Jesus did not. Though His closest friends forsook Him, He will not forsake His own – those who have trusted in Him for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Jesus Never Fails; He is always faithful, even when we fail:

Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end (John 13:1).

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5).

In mankind’s darkest hour, the perfections of our Lord shine ever so bright. He alone is worthy of our trust, and of our worship, obedience, and service. Do not let the horrors of these events in our Lord’s last hours distract your attention from Jesus. He deserves center stage. His perfections deserve our praise.

We should probably say a word about Peter’s denials. Let us not fail to read this text, describing Peter’s worst moments, without bearing in mind “the rest of the story.” We may have seen the last of Peter (by name) in Matthew, but we find a very different Peter in the Book of Acts. With the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we find a transformed Peter. We find a man who now boldly proclaims the gospel, in spite of the opposition and the risks:

8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, replied, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today for a good deed done to a sick man—by what means this man was healed— 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands before you healthy. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” 13 When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus. 14 And because they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say against this (Acts 4:8-14).

As a result of the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary, and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, Peter not only boldly identifies with His Lord, He instructs us to do so as well:

13 For who is going to harm you if you are devoted to what is good? 14 But in fact, if you happen to suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. But do not be terrified of them or be shaken. 15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:13-17).

The events of our text underscore for us the trustworthiness and authority of the Scriptures. Just as at the birth of our Lord, so also here we find that Matthew repeatedly points out to us that the Scriptures are being fulfilled at every point of this procession to the cross. God’s Word is true. It never fails. Even when men try their hardest to resist God and to rebel against His purposes, they end up unwittingly fulfilling His purposes and promises. We can trust His Word.

Let me end with one more observation and application. Our text describes the darkest hour in all of human history, and yet we gather every Sunday to remember the death of Jesus. More than that, we come every Sunday to celebrate His death. This is due to the fact that His suffering and His death is the only means by which sinful men may be saved, and have eternal life. It is also due to the fact that the resurrection of Jesus enables us to view these events in a whole new way. At the cross, Jesus took the curse (death) and made it the cure (His atoning work on our behalf). God used the most cruel and wicked actions of men to accomplish His eternal plan of salvation.

Surely this is an example of the truth that is proclaimed in Romans 8:

28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, 29 because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified (Romans 8:28-30).

God was able to make the horrid events of our Lord’s rejection and crucifixion into a salvation so blessed that it will take all eternity to fathom it. If our Lord can transform this kind of apparent tragedy into a triumphant work of redemption, then is it not reasonable for us to believe that God will cause every event in our lives to work out for His glory, and for our good?

Today was supposed to be my wedding day…

We first posted an excerpt from this story in May of 2012. We thought it was an important story, worth retelling to anyone who is the process of considering marriage.

A heartfelt journey of one young woman – read her entire story here – http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/05/26/today-was-supposed-to-be-my-wedding-day/

May 26, 2012. It was supposed to be a momentous occasion–the day I would walk down the aisle in my mother’s lace wedding gown, peonies in hand, best friend at my side, family and friends looking on with joy. It was supposed to be the day I started a new chapter, the day my dreams would be fulfilled. Little did I know, God had other plans.

We met in the winter of 2010–me and God, that is. He always had his eye on me, but I barely even knew who he was. Once I began spending time with him, our relationship blossomed into something special. He cared for me and loved me like no other. He filled a huge void in my heart.

That’s how I came to know God. It’s also how I came to know the man I thought I would marry.

The relationship started out like many others, following cultural expectations rather than God’s design. Dating, sex, spending the night, meeting the parents, integrating the pets (him, a dog; me, two cats). After 10 months, on a snowy Sunday evening in front of the place we first met, he asked me to marry him. It was romantic indeed. Even strangers passing by yelled congratulations from their car windows.

I was excited to be engaged–to finally be moving toward marriage–but something never felt quite right. I sensed a resistance in my heart, like I wasn’t totally sure about something. But he was a good guy–the right age, handsome, fun, easy-going, from a decent family. What more could a girl want?

So I moved forward. Even though I had just bought my own home, I gave it up and moved in with him on a spring day in early March. Everyone has to make sacrifices for love, I reasoned. That’s where we’re going to end up anyway. Why not start now? At first, it was exciting and felt like the right thing to do. But a different story soon emerged.

After just a few months of living together, God shook things up. I accepted an awesome job opportunity in another state, so we left behind the house we just finished renovating and drove across the country (pets in tow) to set up our life far from home, family, friends, and church.

Shortly after we settled, a friend from work recommended we try out a small new Presbyterian church in the area. I was a tad leery, as I had recently been baptized in a non-denominational church, but I agreed to check it out. I immediately loved it and felt like this could be my church home. On my second visit, I filled out a visitor card, which asked a few questions about how I wanted to get involved. Did I want to join a life group? Be part of a ministry team? Have coffee with the pastor? Coffee sounded good. I checked the box.

Later that week, the pastor emailed me, asking when I wanted to get together. What a great opportunity to get to know him and learn more about the church, I thought. Maybe he would even be willing to officiate our wedding in a few months. High hopes turned to frustration when I mentioned the possibility to my fiancé. „Coffee? With a pastor?” he asked. „Heck, no. That’s just too weird.”

After weeks of my coercing, praying, hoping, and begging, he finally obliged. But we continued to fight about it–all the way to the front door of the pastor’s house. Regardless, I enjoyed myself and looked forward to hanging out with the pastor and his wife again soon. I could see them being our friends–a couple who would help guide our marriage and bring us closer to God.

Before we could marry, the church asked us to complete a series of counseling sessions, so we set up time to meet with our new pastor. He recommended we start reading the book When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey. I ordered it online, along with Tim and Kathy Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage. And in my determination to be the very best Christian wife I could be, I also ordered a copy of Carolyn Mahaney’s Feminine Appeal.  I thought these books would help us get ready for one of the biggest steps we would ever take.

Help they did, but in a way I didn’t expect. As I started reading Harvey’s book, the first chapter stopped me dead in my tracks. He explained that faith is the most important part of a marriage. Faith? Really? Even though I was now a Christian, I had never considered this point before. Harvey explains that faith is like the first button on a shirt–if you get that wrong, nothing else will line up right.

I began considering how this idea played out in the episode at the pastor’s house, not to mention the weekly task of begging my fiancé to go to church, trying to convince him to join a Bible study, and asking him to remember to pray before dinner. Is it supposed to be this difficult?

No, it’s not, I learned from Harvey, Keller, and my pastor. I began to realize that just as my thinking had been flawed about sex as a prerequisite for love, I also had the wrong idea about the most important traits in a marriage. As I kept reading and talking to other Christians, no one said it was a good idea for me to marry someone with a different worldview. In other words, I had come to love Jesus and make my decisions based on him; my fiancé had not. That discrepancy became poison in our relationship–barely noticeable at first but eventually corrupting nearly every aspect of our lives. As I grew closer to God, I grew further from wanting to marry someone who did not have a relationship with him.

Keller’s teaching on Ephesians 5 helped clarify what I was discovering. Ephesians 5:25-27 says:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit spoke to me on a weekday in early January when my friend opened the Bible to this passage and showed me the truth. I came to understand that God intends for marriage to mimic Jesus’ selfless love for his people. I was awestruck. My husband is supposed to lead me closer to God? I immediately broke down crying. I kept digging, trying to understand how I got so far off base. „He’s a good man,” I argued. „Yes, but is he a Christian? Does he know Jesus?” people asked me in response. „But if I leave him, won’t I be going against what God says, by not loving the unbeliever?” Surprisingly, no. I was not yet married. I had not made a covenant with him before God. I was not bound to him. As much as it would hurt to say goodbye, I knew this was not the relationship God intended for me. He promises much more, and I wasn’t going to find it in a marriage with an unbeliever.

As this devastating realization sunk in, we began the process of disentangling our lives. And within a few weeks, my ex-fiancé headed back to his home with his belongings, including the dog I had come to love and all of my hopes and dreams for a lifetime of happiness together. We both knew he had to find God on his own terms, in his own way.

Who could have guessed that simply checking a box on a church form would eventually end in heartbreak, financial loss, and unwanted singleness? Difficult and sad as it was, God was there every step of the way. He was there in the simple way it ended, despite our lives being intertwined in nearly every way. He was there in the support and love our family and friends provided. He was there to give me a sense of peace that transcended all understanding. Left to myself, previous breakups had knocked me down to my lowest points in life. But this time, with more riding on the relationship than ever before, I was truly okay. I suppose obedience to God made the difference. As much as it hurts, God is always there to pick up the pieces.

Marriage and family are still the two things I want most in life, but I know that they’re in God’s control–not mine. Before I knew God, I tried to control my relational life by making poor decisions and sacrifices that brought little reward. Now, I find fulfillment in God. He is my rock, the one who deserves my love and attention. While it is a daily struggle to trust him with the things I care about so deeply, he has proven that he’s looking out for me. I leave my future in his hands.

 Written by M. Connor. Read the follow-up article from M. Connor, „Today IS My Wedding Day! at the Gospel Coalition.

Related posts

Union with Christ – Topic for the next Desiring God Conference Feb. 3-5 in Minneapolis, or watch livestream

Desiring God 2014 Conference for Pastors
February 3–5, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Plenary Speakers: John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Michael Horton

More information at the event page.

Union with Christ.

Whether this doctrine is an old friend or one you haven’t heard much about, it will be greatly enriching to give three days to basking in the theology and everyday implications with Michael Horton, Sinclair Ferguson, and John Piper. (Full schedule below.)

Whether or not it’s a live option for you to join us, we invite you into the 2-minute video below, narrated by John Piper. Our prayer is that you might pick up something fresh about this important doctrine and be inspired for a lifetime of diving deeper into its bottomless sea.

Source http://www.desiringgod.org

Leonard Ravenhill – What is your life?

Leonard Ravenhill:

You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.

Epistle of James:

For what is your life? It is a vapor

that appears for a little time and then it vanishes away.

You will never face a more challenging question than this text. Notice what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say what is life, because if it did, nobody has an answer. It doesn’t say what is our life, or we would pool all our thinking. It says, „What is your life?” and it replies, „It is even a vapor that appears for a little time.”

couple tripYou hear people say, „Life isn’t just; life isn’t fair.”  One man said life is a feast, another wise man said life is a fast. One man said life is a paradise, another man said life is a prison. You see, the question here is very pointed, it is very personal, maybe very painful if you could answer the question. What is your life? It’s a failure. What is your life? It’s a success. What is your life? It’s a disappointment. But, actually, it explains to us by the very context that life is like a vapor, it’s like the steam- when you try to get a handful of it, it’s gone. And, in every case in the word of God, where life is referred to, life is likened to something that is very swift. It’s likened to a tent that men wrap up and move on with in the night.

Isaiah likens our life to the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven. Supposing we change the language? Paul says, „Christ in you.” With Christ, nevertheless I live. And yet, when Christ lives in me and the life which I now live here, in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.

If I was to ask you tonight, „Are you saved?” would you say, „Yes, I’m saved?” (If yes) When? „Oh, well so and so preached, I got baptized…” But, what are you saved from? Hell? Are you saved from bitterness, are you saved form lust? Are you saved from cheating, are you saved form lying? Are you saved from bad manners, are you saved from rebellion against your parents? What are you saved from?

90 % of the people in the nation are not saved, they claim to be. „Well, I’ve been to an altar, I’ve confessed my sins.” „Fine, fine, you confessed them. Do you know that they’ve done that at every Roman Catholic Church last Sunday?” A man needs more than to be forgiven. He needs cleansing. He needs more than cleansing, he needs indwelling. He needs more than indwelling, he needs in doing. I’m not asking you for one night to kneel down and make a confession, and after that your life is not changed, your lifestyle is not different, your prayer life is not different, come on…

If I say most people are half saved, do you know what I mean? You go to the cross, but not on the cross. You go and get your sins forgiven and seem happy. And you go and to the same sins again the next day. Come on, what kind of a salvation is that? Once a man is born again he doesn’t want another life.

I ask, „Are you really saved?” and you say, „I don’t really know.” Oh, supposing you carry a 100 lb sack on your back, and someone takes the sack off your back and you climb up to the top of the hill, and a man says, „Have you lost your sack?” And you say, „I don’t really know.” It seems that someone would know when someone else took 100 lbs off his back.

….So we love the things we love the things we didn’t like and hate the things we used to love. I don’t think anybody gets it better than Paul, when he writes to the Colossians, „If you have been raised  with Christ, you set your heart on those things above.” Set your affections on things which are above. Your life is now hid in God. Can there be anything more wonderful than that? Your life is hid with God. Not when I die, but even here on this earth.

I bid the world goodbye, not tearfully, but cheerfully. All of its pleasures, its pomp and its pride. And, that’s what Paul says the world means – a system of corruption, rottenness and vileness.

Is the world crucified to you tonight? Or does it fascinate you? And Paul says, „I got branded there, because all of my thinking is about Jesus.” Do you think he fooled around with the material things of his day? His head was branded, his hands, his feet. „Let my hands perform His bidding, let my feet run in His way, let my eyes see Jesus only, let my lips speak only praise. All for Jesus.

Are you just a Sunday morning Christian? Do you live and move and have your being in Jesus Christ every waking moment of your life? Has he got your thinking, let me finish with Paul’s words here, ” The past, we are risen with Christ, the present we are dead, but in the future, Christ is our life.” What does John say in his epistle? „He that has the Son has life, and he that does not have the son does not have life.

Leonard RavenhillIn Romanian – De ce intirzie trezirea de Leonard Ravenhill (Top carte – essential reading)

Martyn Lloyd Jones Christmas Sermon

lloyd-jones

If you were not aware, there is a wonderful website – www.oneplace.com,  where you can listen to many of Martyn Lloyd Jones sermons. Here are the last four audio sermons from the archive. And, you can also subscribe to receive the weekly link to the newest sermon available on the website.

  1. The Supernatural Power of GodChristmas SermonSunday, Dec 22, 2013
  2. The Body of Christ EphesiansSunday, Dec 15, 2013
  3. Keeping the Unity of the Spirit EphesiansSunday, Dec 8, 2013
  4. Worthy of Our Calling EphesiansSunday, Dec 1, 2013

 

How to proclaim Christ (even at Christmas) by Spurgeon

Reasons why we hesitate to proclaim Christ to other people

  1. We might not feel worthy because of our own lack of devotion to Christ in our personal life?
  2. We don’t know where to begin or what  exactly we should say?
  3. We are afraid of insulting the unbeliever by something that we say and thus turning them off to the Gospel altogether?
  4. We think the person we are talking to will never come to believe anyways?

It is not about us. It is all about Christ and the power of God’s word. We forget that when we worry about these peripheral issues. In Isaiah 55:11 it is written:

…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

In looking at several commentaries on this verse, this particular one was the most impactful, because it reminds one that it is not about us the messenger, nor our delivery (the talk/speech we give) but it’s all about the Word of God which we must use to proclaim Christ’s Salvation and reconciliation to God:

That whatever is his design in giving the gospel, it shall be accomplished. It is never spoken in vain, and never fails to produce the effect which he intends. The gospel is no more preached in vain than the rain falls in vain. And though that often falls on barren rocks, or on arid sands; on extended plains where no vegetation is produced, or in the wilderness ‘where no man is,’ and seems to our eyes in vain, yet it is not so. God has a design in each drop that falls on sands or rocks, as really as in the copious shower that falls on fertile fields. And so the gospel often falls on the hard and barren hearts of men. It is addressed to the proud, the sensual, the avaricious, and the unbelieving, and seems to be spoken in vain, and to return void unto God. But it is not so. He has some design in it, and that will be accomplished. It is proof of the fullness of his mercy. It leaves people without excuse, and justifies himself. Or when long presented – apparently long in vain – it ultimately becomes successful, and sinners are at last brought to abandon their sins, and to turn unto God. It is indeed often rejected and despised. It falls on the ears of people apparently as the rain falls on the hard rock, and there are, so to speak, large fields where the gospel is preached as barren and unfruitful of any spiritual good as the extended desert is of vegetation, and the gospel seems to be preached to almost entire communities with as little effect as is produced when the rains fall on the deserts of Arabia, or of Africa. But there will be better and happier times. Though the gospel may not now produce all the good effects which we may desire, yet it will be ultimately successful to the full wish of the widest benevolence, and the whole world shall be filled with the knowledge and the love of God. (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Here is also a Spurgeon sermon that is a model on how to preach Christ crucified to an unbeliever. In it he addresses

  1. What we preach? In order to preach the gospel fully, there must be a very clear description of the person of Christ, and we preach Christ as God
  2. To whom are we to preach this?  “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
  3. How are we to preach Christ crucified? Boldly!

Preaching Christ Crucified

August 23, 1863

by  C. H. Spurgeon

(1834-1892)

“We preach Christ crucified.” — 1 Corinthians 1:23.


© Copyright 2001 by Tony Capoccia.  This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as
long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold.  All rights reserved.

Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
©1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

This sermon, preached by Tony Capoccia, is now available on Audio Cassette or CD: www.gospelgems.com 

In the verse preceding our text, Paul writes, “Jews demand miraculous signs.” They said, “Moses performed miracles; let us see miracles performed, and then we will believe,” forgetting that all the miracles that Moses did were completely eclipsed by those which Jesus did while he was on the earth as the God-man. Then there were certain Judaizing teachers who, in order to win the Jews, preached circumcision, exalted the Passover, and endeavored to prove that Judaism might still exist side by side with Christianity, and that the old rites might still be practiced by the followers of Christ. So Paul, who was “all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some,” put his foot down, and said, in effect, “Whatever others may do, we preach Christ crucified; we dare not, we cannot, and we will not alter the great subject matter of our preaching, Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Then he added, “and Greeks look for wisdom.” Corinth was the very eye of Greece, and the Corinthian Greeks sought after what they regarded as wisdom; that is to say, the wisdom of this world, not the wisdom of God, which Paul preached. The Greeks also treasured the memory of the eloquence of Demosthenes and other famous public speakers, and they seemed to: think that true wisdom must be proclaimed with the graces of skillful elocution; but Paul writes to these Corinthian Greeks, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith would not be based in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Now, today, there are some who would be glad, if we would preach anything except Christ crucified. Perhaps the most dangerous among them are those who are continually crying out for intellectual preaching, by which they mean preaching which neither the heavens nor the preachers themselves can comprehend, the kind of preaching which has little or nothing to do with the scriptures, and which requires a dictionary rather than a Bible to explain it. These are the people who are continually running around, and asking, “Have you heard our minister? He gave us a wonderful sermon last Sunday morning; he quoted Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, and he gave us some charming pieces of poetry, in fact, it was overall an intellectual treat.” Yes, and I have usually found that such intellectual treats lead to the ruination of souls; that is not the kind of preaching that God generally blesses to the salvation of souls, and therefore, even though others may preach the philosophy of Plato or adopt the arguments of Aristotle, we preach Christ crucified,” the Christ who died for sinners, the people’s Christ, and “we preach Christ crucified” in simple language, in plain speech such which the common people can understand.

I am going to try to put our text into practice by telling you, first, what we preach; secondly, to whom we preach it; and, thirdly, how we are to preach it.

Mai mult

Is Christmas really a pagan holiday?

Photo credit www.bible-archeology.com

Article #1 Did the Romans invent Christmas?

From Historytoday.com –  Matt Salusbury –  DID THE ROMANS INVENT CHRISTMAS?

I am excerpting the article’s conclusion:

Gwynn concludes: ‘The majority of modern scholars would be reluctant to accept any close connection between the Saturnalia and the emergence of the Christian Christmas.’

Devout Christians will be reassured to learn that the date of Christmas may derive from concepts in Judaism that link the time of the deaths of prophets being linked to their conception or birth. From this, early ecclesiastical number-crunchers extrapolated that the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy following the Annunciation on March 25th would produce a December 25th date for the birth of Christ.

Read the entire article at Historytoday.com –  DID THE ROMANS INVENT CHRISTMAS?

Article #2 Christmas Date set on Pagan Festival?

From bible-archaeology.com – Kevin McKinney –  Christmas date set on pagan festival

Given the time of year I wanted to take time to make a brief post on the subject of Christmas. There are those who claim the date for Christmas was originally set to coincide with a pagan holiday. The Romans celebrated the Saturnalia festival in late December of each year. In 274 A.D. emperor Aurelian set the feast date for the birth of Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun, for December 25th. Many have advanced the claims the early Christian church set the date of Christ’s birth to coincide with this festival to attract the pagan worshipers. This theory is stated in a popular movie as simply being a fact, a well known fact universally accepted by scholars and others who are in the know of how early Christian traditions were established. Is this in fact the case, or is there more to the story?

There are several interesting elements which should be considered. The first is that in the third century the early Christians were actively attempting to distance themselves from any form of pagan worship. This leads many scholars to believe they would never have set the birth of the Messiah to coincide with a pagan day of worship. While the belief is the early Christians would not have used a pagan holiday, just how did December 25th come to be known as the birth date of Jesus? In actuality, there was serious debate and separation among church leaders on the proper date for the birth of Jesus.
It should be noted that in the early years of Christianity very little significance was placed on when Jesus was born. The focus for the early church was the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. These dates were known and celebrated, which surprisingly ended up setting the date for Christmas. Early church leaders believed the birth and death of Jesus were tied together. Jesus came to earth to die for our sins and make it possible for us to achieve what it was impossible to achieve by the law. For this reason the conception and death of Jesus were believed to be so related that they happened on the same day of the year.
Using the Hebrew calendar it was determined Jesus had died on the 14th of Nisan, which is our modern day March 25th. Early Church leaders calculated that if Jesus was conceived on March 25th, and born nine months later, it meant Jesus was born on December 25th. In the eastern church they used the Greek calendar which placed the date of the crucifixion as April 6th. The eastern church held the same belief and used the same calculations as the western church and placed the date of Jesus’ birth nine months later, or January 6th. These two dates were used for centuries as the dates for Christmas. The time between these two dates came to be known as the twelve days of Christmas. It seems, based on the evidence and not the work of modern day fiction writers, the date for Christmas was set based on Good Friday and Easter, not a pagan holiday.

Article #3 Is Christmas really a pagan holiday?

Read selected notes which I have transcribed below or watch the entire video (70 minutes) at the bottom of this article.

Lenny Esposito , theologian and apologete answers the question:

  • The answer to this question could lead to eternal destinies. Esposito recounts the story of a 16 year old young man who was told by Jehovah’s Witnesses that the christian church ‘cannot’ be worshipping God in spirit  and truth because of all of the pagan paraphernalia used in the Christmas celebration, and that Jesus could not have been born December 25th because shepherds could not have been out in the field in December. The youth turned Jehovah’s Witness based on this information; as the JW promised that if he joined them he will know the truth, because JW only rely on the Word of God.
  • Atheists are also claiming that Christmas is a pagan holiday that started way before Christ was born. Esposito answers the questions: Is this true? What is the story? He points out that symbols could mean what ever someone would have them mean. Here, he points to the example of the swastika. Esposito says, „The swastika actually has roots that go back thousands of years. The Chinese have been using it as a symbol for good luck and it is incorporated into Chinese art. But, if you paint a swastika on a park bench, or if you put it on your front door, even if you’re Chinese and are hoping for good luck; I’m guaranteeing you, your neighbors are not going to react well, because the culture understands that symbol that means something different than what you’re trying to envision. And the problem you’re going to have is that you won’t be able to communicate that in any other way.” Then he makes his point, „Does a Christmas tree mean that I love pagans, now? No, we’re Christian. But, that’s not necessarily the best answer:

Is Christmas really just a repackaging of the Roman feasts? There are 2 feasts in Rome that are usually offered as primary candidates for the basis of Christmas being on Decemeber 25th: Saturnalia, which is the festival of the god Saturn, who is kind of the god of time, god of harvest, and then the Sol Invictus. Actually, the feast name is Deus Natales del Sol Invictus- the birthday of the unconquerable sun, the idea that the sun cannot die. This is tied into the idea of the sun decreasing in the Northern hemisphere and then increasing again after the solstice.

  1. So, let’s take them in order: Saturnalia- the worship of Saturn. Wikipedia says that ‘Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on December 17th of the Julian calendar, and later expanded with festivities through December 23rd. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice to the temple of Saturn in the Roman forum. And a public banquet followed by private gift giving, continual partying and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms. Gambling was permitted and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catalus called it ‘The best of days’. The popularity of Saturnalia continued into the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., and as the Roman empire came under the Christian rule, some of its customs may have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and New Year.’ So, there’s your first clue, that even Wikipedia is saying, „Saturnalia was an influence to Christmas.” December 17- December 23, revelry, nonstop partying… That’s Saturnalia; that’s the one that is most well known of the two.
  2. The other one is a single day holiday- Sol Invictus. Again, the Sol Invictus was the sun god, the unconquerable god and this is tied more to astrology and the winter solstice, because the winter solstice happens on Dec. 21st. It’s the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. That’s the time when we have the least amount of sunlight. What does that mean? Well, you tilt the earth on its axis and you have a fixed light point, and at one point, more of the sunlight hits the top part of the earth than the bottom. That’s summer. It heats up, days get longer. When it’s on the other side, more light hits the Southern hemisphere. In the Northern hemisphere the days grow shorter, and it’s colder. That’s why we have summer and winter, because of the 22 degree offset of the earth’s axis. So, December 21st marks the very shortest time of light, and it’s also when the sun is at the lowest on the horizon at noon time. And then as we enter into spring, through winter, you get the sun going higher until the summer solstice, when we have the longest day of the year, and so on. Given this, the Romans wanted to celebrate the unconquerable sun , that the sun could not die, and it would never sink away into oblivion. Aurelian is the emperor that actually started this and it’s a later holiday in the Roman tradition. The official sun god was the patron of soldiers, who of course needed to do their fighting during the daylight hours. And in 274 A.D. Aurelian made Sol Invictus an official cult; in other words there was an official religion of the empire, alongside the other Roman cults. And then by 375 A.D. he decides to declare a holiday, the birthday of the unconquerable sun, which is supposedly celebrated on Dec. 25th. This happens in the 370’s to 380’s A.D.

By 400’s A.D. or so, the Christians are aware of this stuff. Augustine, who is one of the church fathers had a Christmas sermon that he was preaching and he said, „Let us,” meaning the Christians, „celebrate this as a feast, not for the sake of this sun (sun in the sky) which is beheld by believers, as much as by ourselves, but for the sake of Him who created the sun.” This shows that Augustine was aware that there was this kind of competing holiday idea. Although the pagan holiday was celebrated in only a few places, it wasn’t widespread, but he knew about it, and he knew that because of the Roman calendar, it would move a little bit and it may land during Christmas. But, it’s interesting that he pulls those two things together.

The best thing you can do when you’re reading this kind of stuff is to say, „Who says so?” Let’s look at it from a historian’s perspective and maybe we can find some truth in here. When we start looking at Sol Invictus and Saturnalia, one of the things we find out is that the celebration accounts that are recorded really don’t fit. First of all, and before we really go into this, I am going to give you a really brief Roman calendar lesson. It’s not gonna be hard, it should’ the too scary. But you need to know this because this is how all these holidays are referred to. The Roman calendar, the Julian calendar that Julius Caesar started is not quite the calendar that we have today. We have the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar had 4 months that were 32 days long- March, May, July, and October, 31 days. Then they had short months, and that was 29 day months. So it wasn’t 30 and 31. It was 30 and 29. And that was January, April, June, August, September, November and December. And then they had February which was an accordion month. It could be 29 days, it could be 24 daysThey would use it to kind of fill up the gaps because we know that it’s 365 1/4 days, so we have leap year. We do the same thing. Once every four years we stick a day in February.

Initially, in this process, they would begin a month, traditionally, in a new moon. When the Julian calendar takes effect, that tradition fades away.  But the names persisted. So the first day of ever month is called the calends. The calends of the month meant the first of the month. We get the english word ‘calendar’ from it. The middle of the month, and again, this was based on lunar cycles, was called the ides of the month. Anybody familiar with Shakespeare and Julius Caesar’s ‘Beware the ides of March?’ On a long month, March happens to be a long month, it happens to hit on the 15th. In a short month, that would be the 13th. So the ides would move based on the length of the month, but the ides is the middle of the month. And then you have the ‘nones’, which falls between the ides and the calends. So it’s kind of the halfway point between the ides and the next calends coming up. Again, because the months change in length, that nones could be moving around. But this was the basic framework. So, we do the same things. We’ve got the 1st and the 15th; those are the paydays. Roman army- same thing. The ides and the calends, those are the important dates.

Why is this important? Because when the guys are writing about the festivals, they’re talking about the festivals in reference to the calends, in reference to the 1st of the month. So when we start looking at Saturnalia, and we start researching where Saturnalia was, it was one day initially. It was 14 days before the calends. So, December being a short month, that puts December 15th as the day of Saturnalia’s celebration. Now Dec. 15th isn’t Dec. 25th by any stretch of the imagination. So that causes me a problem, saying, „How can this be in competition?”  So, if Saturnalia is starting on the 15th, how could that be influencing Christmas which is on the 25th? It doesn’t make sense to me. Later, a new festival extended the celebration to complete 7 full days, but the festival would still end on the 10th of 9th day before the calends of January, which still falls short of the December 25th date. And as we saw here, even Wikipedia gets the dates right, December 17th, 16th, and lasting 5-7 days, you get December 23rd. It’s still not Dec. 25th.

Saturnalia doesn’t fit calendar wise or customs wise

So, Saturnalia doesn’t fit in terms of the calendar positioning. But, Saturnalia doesn’t fit in terms of the customs of the people, the way they celebrated the holiday, either. And it was really interesting. Basically, Saturnalia is kind of like a Sadie Hawkins of Rome. It’s kind of like a anti tradition, anti culture day. It’s a bizarro day. You do the things backwards. What do I mean by that? Well, Roman society was very formal, and the Roman togas were the proper attire. But, on these days, you ditched the Roman togas, you wore a more casual Greek garb. Imagine having to go into work wearing a suit and tie every day and this like, now, come in in your jambes (pajamas). It’s that kind of a feel. And with Roman societies that was like, ‘Wow, you just never do that.’ Again, gambling was very frowned upon, Romans were very disciplined. It was all about work, and order, and progression. Gambling and other vices were permitted and encouraged. So, rather than saying ‘Gambling is wrong,’ ‘No, gambling is right…’ Slaves would take the roles of masters and sit at the banquet table and be fed. And masters would most probably not be the ones sitting in the salves’ quarters, they would never go that fra. But, they would sit at the table with the slaves, which again was kind of unheard of. Some people, the masters, would even serve the slaves. So, it’s an upside down holiday, if you will.

Gifts were given, some trinkets, sometimes gag gifts were given, but the idea behind the whole thing was they were reversing the social norms. The master never gives a slave a gift. It’s the slave’s duty to give the master a gift. So, everything was flipped upside down. This is what Saturnalia was all about. There was a sacrifice, so where’s the Christmas tree in this? There’s gifts, but let’s face it, every time you’re gonna get people together, you’re gonna get gifts. You got married, what do you have to bring? A gift. Moved into a new house. What do you have to bring? Kid graduated high school. What do you have to bring? The fact that gifts are associated with a festival, it’s a nonstarter.

I don’t see the connection here. If these ancient pagans were celebrating Christmas before Christians, how are these connected at all? Could it be that this holiday just happened to be on Dec. 25th? Why would the Christians choose this?

What about Sol Invictus?

It’s interesting in Sol Invictus, when you read about it, there is no evidence that Aurelian instituted this celebration of Sol, the sun, on December 25th, originally. When he proclaimed the new religion ‘We will worship the sun god’, it’s not mentioned until 80 years later. It’s not until 354 A.D. and  362 by Julian, in his oration to King Helios, that they talk about Sol Invictus now beginning on Dec. 25th. Now, why is that important? Why is it that by the mid 4th century, that date important? I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s interesting that the chronography of 354, the same time that they start mentioning Sol Invictus on Dec. 25th, talks about Christmas, talks about Christmas being on December 25th. So, maybe the pagans claimed their holiday in order to match the Christian holiday. Again, I point you to Halloween, it wouldn’t be the only time in history where that happened (Halloween used to be the holiday for the Eve before All Saints Day, but Christians stopped celebrating it after pagans started celebrating it). Most people, if you’re talking about the winter solstice, those guys in the ancient world were pretty darn good at astronomy. I mean, look at Stonehenge, look at the timekeeping that thing took. They would notice the difference between a Dec. 21st winter solstice and a December 25th celebration. That’s  a big difference.

Of course, you hear the whole idea of celebrating the Son of God instead of the sun god. I’ve heard atheist throw this out. Let me just caution you guys. They didn’t speak english in ancient Rome. I remember I was working on a project for somebody once, and they were creating a Spanish website for Christian books. And they were basically gonna call it ‘Sunflower Books’. One of the things that they said is, ‘You can’t use the pun of SUNflower and SON of God because in Spanish it just doesn’t work. They are 2 different words. Similarly, the Latin for the sun that we see in the sky is sol- solstice, solar year. The latin for the Son of God is filius. So the pun doesn’t even work, it doesn’t make sense, only if you are naive. And this is what I find, atheists tend to do one of two things:

  1. They either tend to assume that the ancients knew absolutely nothing. Oh, December 21st, December 25th- it’s close enough. You know, they weren’t as smart as we were.
  2. Or, they assume that the ancients were exactly like us. Oh yeah, Son of God- sun worship, it’s all the same. They make this mistake in both sides of life.

Now, when we start looking at Christmas, though, we’ve got to say, „Wait a minute, how early did we start celebrating Christmas in December? T.C. Schmitt out of Yale University is doing a lot of primary source work. He’s done a lot of research work in this. He’s a translator. He’s getting his pHd. He reads latin and he’s translating commentaries from Latin and things like that. So, he’s looking at the primary sources. And what we’re finding out is the Christians were celebrating Christmas well before Christianity was allowed to be out in the open in the Roman empire, as early as A.D. 200, Christmas was already established in the empire.

Clement of Alexandria, one of the early church fathers, wrote somewhere between the 190’s  and 210’s. He wrote a book called the Stromata. And he calculates a date for Jesus birth. And he says, ‘From the birth of Christ, therefore to the death of Comotis (a Roman ruler) are 194 years, one moth, 13 days.” Pretty precise. „And there are those who determine, not only the year of our Savior’s genesis, but even the day, which they say took place in the 28th year of Augustus, on the 25th of December.” In this outlet, he’s pretty specific to place the birth of Christ right at December 25th. This is A.D. 200 or so, Clement of Alexandria, a church father who came from pagan roots, so he shunned pagan rituals and it’s highly unlikely that he would choose a pagan date himself.

But, he’s not alone. There’s another guy, Hippolytus of Rome, writing somewhere in the early 200’s as well. In his commentary on Daniel he mentions Bethlehem. And he says, ‘For the first advent of our Lord in flesh, when He was born in Bethlehem was December 25th, a Wednesday, while Augustus was in his 42nd year, from Adam, 5,500 years. He suffered in the 33rd year, March 25th, Friday, the 1th year of Tiberius Caesar, while Rufus and Rubion were counsels. There’s about 7 different manuscripts of this commentary by Hippolytus of Rome floating around. Because we don’t have the original, some people have debated that maybe that 25th date, maybe somebody stuck 12/25 in there, maybe they added it. Well, of the 7 manuscripts, 5 contain December 25th, one mentions no dates and one mentions two, December and March. And here’s the interesting thing. With all of the talk about the winter solstice and Christians trying to convert the pagans, what it looks like and what modern scholarship is finding is that Christianity had absolutely no interest in changing their festivals and making their festivals in order to attract the pagans. It looks like the Dec. 25th date comes from a tradition from within Christianity itself. It’s got very Christian origins.

Now, let me give you the reason why. You’ll notice, both in the Clement and in the Hippolytus quote they talk about Jesus’ passion, His death, His crucifixion. Why is that important when we talk about Christmas? Well, we know. We never forget the cross. This is why He came. Jesus is the reason for the season. Well, it seems like the early Christians held that same view. And, what the Christians held was an even more ancient Hebrew tradition. That a major prophet, he would have either his birth or his conception land on the very same day as his death. They believed in symmetry. So they held that Jesus was the greatest of all that God could send to us. Therefore, his birth would be a significant date. And so, they wanted to tie that into His death. In the Stromata, Clement of Alexandria talks about our Savior’s genesis. That genesis doesn’t only mean birth, it could mean conception. From the Christian viewpoint, the ministry starts at the point of conception, because God calls you from the womb. So, if Christ’s conception lines up with Christ’s death, and they’re using the March 25th, A.D. 30, the point of passover of Jesus’ crucifixion death, that means his conception is on March 25th. Guess what 9 months after March 25th lands on? December 25th.

This isn’t only a tradition within christendom, there were some Jews who would hold that same idea. Thomas Talley, in the Origins of the Liturgical Year, writes, ‘Around 200 A.D., Tertullian has reported that the calculation of the 14th of Nisan (which is the day of the crucifixion), was March 25th.’ Now, it was later recognized that the feast of annunciation, when Gabriel encounters Mary, the commemoration of Jesus’ conception would be March 25th, plus nine months, then you move it to Christmas. Augustin was familiar with this association as well. He writes, ‘For Jesus, it is believed that He was conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day He also suffered. As a matter of fact, the Christians went one step further. They would say that the actual creation day of the universe is also March 25th. If you were to go backwards, count all the way to the beginning, March 25th is the most significant date in history because that’s when the beginning of the world was and that’s when Jesus would start the new beginning to come back into the world, and that’s when the new life, through His death and resurrection would start  as well. And that’s what we have.

So, we’ve got the Biblical Archaeological Society writing that Christian authors of the time, do note a connection between the solstice and Jesus’ birth. Ambrose, the church father, for example, describes Christ as the true sun who outshone fallen gods of the old order. But early Christian writers never hint at any recent calendar engineering. They clearly don’t think that the date was chosen by the church. Rather, they see the coincidence as providence, a providential sign. As natural proof that God has selected Jesus to be above, and over. Basically, ‘you’re going to give me a false copy, but the real one stand-in its place.’ The first mention of a date for Christmas in about A.D. 200, and the earliest celebrations we know about Christmas  form 230 to 300, come in a period when Christians were not borrowing heavy from pagan traditions. They wouldn’t do that; they were being persecuted, especially around 300 A.D. with the persecution of Diocletian.

So, it’s interesting that this is what we find. That perhaps, it has nothing to do with the winter solstice, that’s just a coincidence of time that it happens around the same time of year. But, the Christians were more precise than that. They said, we know when Jesus died, we count 9 months and that’s when Jesus was born, because He had to have been conceived at the same point when He died. This means that December 25th has its roots in Christianity. It doesn’t have its roots in any pagan traditions. The December 25th date came from within the church, based on church understanding of the time, and therefore is in no way, shape or form corrupt as a pagan process. Tom Schmitt summarizes, „A feast of Sol Invictus did occur on December 25th, but the earliest evidence for it dates to the middle or late 4th century. About 200 years after Christmas has been established. There’s no evidence that emperor Aurelian established a festival of Sol Invictus or anyone else on December 25th. 43:00

Video of Francis Schaeffer’s workshop on „The Question of Apologetics” 1983 (70 minutes)

Francis Schaeffer workshop on „The Question of Apologetics”
L’Abri Conference, Atlanta, June, 1983
Recorded by Soundword Associates for L’Abri Fellowship

This 70 minute section is a lecture based on the chapter „The Question of Apologetics” from Francis Schaeffer’s book ‘The God Who Is There‘.

PHOTO credit Amazon.com Amazon’s description of the book:

In 2006, Christianity Today voted this title to be one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals! For over thirty years The God Who Is There has been the landmark book that changed the way the church sees the world. In

Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Francis Schaeffer’s remarkable analysis, we learn where the clashing ideas about God, science, history and art came from and where they are going. Now this completely retypeset edition includes a new introduction by James W. Sire that places Schaeffer’s seminal work in the context of the intellectual turbulence of the early twenty-first century. More than ever, The God Who Is There demonstrates how historic Christianity can fearlessly confront the competing philosophies of the world. The God who has always been there continues to provide the anchor of truth and the power of love to meet the world’s deepest problems.

VIDEO by FrancisSchaefferStudies.org

Ravi Zacharias – We Are Made in the Image of God

We Are Made in the Image of God by Ligonier Ministries

In this excerpt from his message at the 2013 National Conference, Ravi Zacharias reminds us that human beings are made in the image of God.
Full Message here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/confere..

As persecution increases, so does the distribution of Scripture

biblia 7

If you live in the West you might think the Church is in decline, but more printed Bibles were distributed by United Bible Societies last year than ever before. 32.1 million Bibles were distributed across the world in 2011 – an increase of 11.2% over 2010.

Total Scripture distribution, 2009-2011

It is the first time that the number of Bibles distributed by Bible Societies has exceeded 30 million in a single year. And these figures do not include Bibles in other formats, such as audio or digital, which are rapidly growing in importance and will soon become the main channels for Bible distribution.

The biggest growth was seen in Africa and the Americas, where 3.6 million more Bibles were distributed last year than in 2010. Bible distribution in Europe and the Middle East rose by a modest 2.7%, but fell by 4.2% in Asia Pacific.

The majority of the Bibles we distributed were in the world’s major international languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

biblia 6Report from Christian Today. Photo credit www.unitedbiblesocieties.org

The United Bible Society has reported a sharp increase in the number of Christian Scriptures distributed in some of the countries where believers suffer the highest levels of persecution. Statistics suggest that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and Baroness Warsi made headlines recently when she warned that Christianity could be wiped out in the Middle East.

However, recent figures released from Bible Societies around the world indicate that more Christian Scriptures were distributed than ever before in 2012. Global Scripture distribution rose from just over 381 million in 2011 to more than 405 million in 2012; an increase of 6%. Of the 405 million distributed, 32.1 million were whole Bibles, which matched 2011’s record-breaking year of Bible distribution.

Surprisingly, the highest increase was in Syria, which is facing huge humanitarian crises as a result of ongoing conflict across the country. Despite this, over eight times more Scriptures were distributed by the Bible Society, through a network of church volunteers, in 2012 than 2011; 163,000 in total last year. „Christians in Syria are under enormous pressure and are in great need of encouragement,” said Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Lebanon Bible Society, which oversees Bible Society work in Syria. „Staff in Syria are working hard to produce enough Scriptures to meet these needs.”

There has been a similar substantial increase in the distribution of Scripture in Iraq, which borders Syria to the east. Although only 330,000 Christians remain in Iraq, following a mass exodus of believers as a result of increasing persecution, more than 66,000 items of Scripture were distributed in 2012, a 57% increase on the previous year.

Similar reports are coming from countries such as Egypt, India, Laos and Nigeria, which, along with Syria and Iraq, and among those suffering some of the highest levels of persecution according to Open Doors.

United Bible Societies Director General Michael Perreau says that he is greatly encouraged by the continued growth in demand for Scriptures, particularly in countries where Christians are under increasing pressure. „With rising persecution of Christians in certain parts of the world, and increasing secularisation in others, it is encouraging and heartwarming to see that God’s Word is more sought after and cherished than ever before,” he observes. He noted that there has also been „a huge boost” in digital access to Scripture, which is particularly helpful in countries where it is dangerous to read printed Christian literature.

Mr Perreau asked that Christians around the world would pray for the protection and blessing of those who undertake the dangerous task of distributing Scriptures in persecuted countries, and for everyone who encounters God’s Holy Word.

Previous Older Entries

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari