Archive for the 'The Gospel' Category

In my last post, Steve Taylor put forth the challenge to examine what Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God in order to unlock a deeper understanding of the Bible. This article, by Anthony Buzzard, presents a foundational look at that crucial subject.

One of the most remarkable phenomena in the history of human thought is the way in which the obvious can be hidden from both scholar and layman. The history of Christian thought demonstrates a signal example. Jesus Himself constantly taught that His Gospel Message would be hidden from the masses, whose minds were blinded by the counter-interests which would preoccupy them and prevent complete devotion to Him (Matt. 13:11-17).

Over the years, there has been a trend to remove the “Christ” out of Christmas.  I remember when I was a little girl, people writing, “Merry X-Mas” on cards, yet we still went to Christmas programs at our public school, and sang Christmas carols like Joy To the World, Silent Night, The First Noel.  Now, our school has a “Holiday Program” and merchants tell their clerks to wish customers, “Happy Holidays” rather than say the words, “Merry Christmas.”  You see, the very word “Christ” is offensive to some and they would like to see it completely removed from our vocabulary.  If you don’t think so, then you are probably not familiar with the ACLU…  The sad thing is, while most Christians know that the “Christ” word is important to defend, few of them realize the importance of its meaning, especially at Christmas time when Christians celebrate the Messiah’s birth.

Written by Pastor Steve Taylor
(Originally posted on the website of Lakeshore Bible Church.) 

“I can’t understand the Bible!” is a common complaint voiced by many who open its pages. Yes, it is hard to understand IF you don’t have the key that unlocks its mysteries. You are about to have in your hand the crucial but much-neglected key that Jesus offers to unlock the mysteries of the Bible:

I often tease my husband by calling him, “Farmer Tony.”  He grew up farming with his dad, and loved it.  He no longer farms, but let’s just say he takes gardening to a new level.  His soil preparation is intense and when he is finally ready, he plants the seed.  Almost always, the seed comes up and brings forth a produce that our family can enjoy.  Other times, a certain seed will be old or conditions will be too wet and rainy, so that the seed fails to even break forth from the soil.

(The Promises of God to Christians)

Growing up, my daddy liked to crank the stereo up in our house on Sunday mornings, and usually blaring from the two speakers in our living room, was country music.  Not the country music of today, but the ‘real country’ when country wasn’t cool.  This song, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” was one I remember hearing as a child, and I thought of it recently, when I was thinking of what God promises us as Christians.  Does God promise us a rose garden, where everything in life will be perfect, and go smoothly at all times?  Yes and no.  Yes, God promises us this perfect life, actually a life without end, in the ‘age to come’ when Jesus puts all his enemies under his feet, the earth is restored and sin and death are no more.  Then, God will come down to the earth to dwell with mankind, and it will be very similar to the Garden of Eden, a rose garden, if you will, of when life will be perfect and holy and good.  But, not until then.

The Kingdom in the Prophets (Continued)

Jerusalem has been under the control of the Gentiles since the time of Daniel, as illustrated by his visions of the successive Gentile empires. But a time will come when it will be trodden underfoot, and Israel will turn back to God, at which time the Gentile kingdoms will be subdued by God’s Kingdom.

Matthew 23:
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The Kingdom in the Prophets

The promise of land and blessings to Abraham and his descendants was only temporarily fulfilled by the kingdom of Israel. But they did not keep God’s covenant, and so they were divided, the northern kingdom (Israel) being defeated by Assyria and scattered, and the southern kingdom (Judah) being taken captive to Babylon. Yet God had promised to establish David’s throne forever.

The Heir To David’s Throne

It is amazing that most people who call themselves “Christian” don’t actually know what the word means. A “Christian” is a follower of Christ, but like most people, I did not know what the word “Christ” meant for many years. Like some, I assumed that it was part of his name. Others know that it is a title, but don’t know exactly what it means. The fact is, however, that the word Christ comes from the Greek word christos, which means “anointed one.” It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, mashiyach from which we get our English word, Messiah. The titles Messiah and Christ mean exactly the same thing: an anointed one.

I was recently in a store, conversing with a sales manager, when the topic turned to our church that my husband and I are planting in our area. I had mentioned that we rent a school for our location, and he asked me, “Is it non-denominational?” He asked that, because that is what most new church plants are, that arise out of theatres and schools. It’s the current national trend that follows a basic formula: have a core group of people, who are being sponsored and financed by a much larger, mega church, and plant the people within a new community, to offer rocking worship bands and great seeker messages, that will attract large crowds. People filter in, almost like attending a concert. My husband and I have attended these before, saying it makes a great date, because you get free childcare, a concert and a speaker!

A Prophet Like Moses

The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years because the older generation did not believe God nor trust Him to enable them to overcome the inhabitants and enter the Promised Land. When Moses told the new generation about God’s promises, he referred back to the land promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Numbers 32:8-13). He warned them against forgetting about God after He would bring them into this wonderful promised land (Deuteronomy 6:10-12).

Joshua led them into the Promised Land and God gave the land into their hand and drove out the inhabitants (II Chronicles 20:7-8). It might seem as if that were the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham.

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