Category Archives: Uncategorized

Are there reasons to think Judas went to heaven?

 Sometimes people will ask the question, “did Judas go to heaven?” Why is it that one might ask the question? It is because Judas Iscariot (the betrayer) is one of the twelve apostles. He is in appearance, a committed follower of Christ. Yet, one can note some worthy reasons to consider when examining his life, that are contrary to a true believer. The Scriptures are clear that he was a betrayer (Matthew 26:24). Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff, discuss the issue and why it would matter today for every believer. Listen to your Talking Truth today.

Overcoming Loneliness

Augustine, the great theologian and church father, said, “God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” Also note Psalm 131 – this is an excellent Psalm regarding rest in the Father.

Loneliness is a result of the fall. Although it is clear that God said, “it is not good for man to be alone,” he was stating a fact, not voicing an emotion that Adam was feeling. Therefore, he created Eve which began the community of family and fellowship with humans. It was the fall of Adam and Eve, that destroyed the perfect relationship with God and one another. God created us to have fellowship with one another, however sin has destroyed that perfectness leaving sin, shame, blame, rejection and other ingredients that perpetuate feelings of loneliness. One may look at Genesis and only see the image of marriage as fulfilling loneliness, however this is not always the case. Note in Matthew 12:48-50, where Jesus enlarges and redefines the community of family that provides fellowship needed for every believer. And later in Revelation, when Christ returns people are in community as a bride to Christ, not to one another. Therefore, we can see through Scripture that restoration with Christ, encourages fellowship with the church body not necessarily just through marriage. At the same time, one must realize that the fullness of loneliness will not be completely eliminated until heaven, but for now he has given the church in order to enjoy fellowship. This community is more than people relating to one another on Sunday, but it is God’s family and all believers going through triumphs and tragedies together. This community though sometimes has challenges due to the sin, will more often provide encouragement and a championing for the body during the darkest times and best times.

Knowing this information, how does one begin to make changes for healing loneliness? First, ask the Father to begin to reveal himself to you. Ask Him to identify areas of sin that He desires to eliminate in order for you to be in right relation with Him, such as self-focus. Self-focus can distract our eyes to continually be inward, instead of upward and outward (Matthew 22:36-37). Also, ask Him to plant you in a church where you can develop with Him. Remember through trials God desires to make you more like Him. Read the Scriptures daily to allow Him to speak to you and realign your thinking to His Word.

Consider Luke 7:11-13, when Jesus was in the midst of a crowd, He noticed a grieving mother and His heart went out to her. He stopped to comfort and restore her. Consider steps that will kindle Christ like friendships and notice the hurting around you. Listen to other people who are going through hardships too. It may be that your particular experience is going to encourage others, when they see God’s strength in you (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Lastly, seek wise counsel in the Church (Pro. 19:20-21). Ultimately, God has given the Church community to walk along side and encourage one another in the journey, so do not lose heart but be in a Church with believers (Hebrews 10:24-25).

God is walking with the believer and here are some verses to remember:)
Joshua 1:9
Isaiah 49:15
Philippians 4:19

College Students Being Persuaded the Bible Is Not Unique or True

The question surfaces while students study Western Civilization, “were the laws of Moses just another set of laws, written like the other laws in the surrounding nations at the time?” What was unique about the laws of Moses? College students are sometimes challenged by Professors that put the Biblical law on equal footing with all other Ancient Near East (map below) laws. Some professors insist on the Old Testament’s lack of truth if they do not see the uniqueness of God. The following is an example from two college Western Civilization books.

“Many scholars today doubt that the early books of the Hebrew Bible reflect the true history of the early Israelites. They argue that the early books of the Bible, written centuries after the events described, preserve only what the Israelites came to believe about themselves and that recent archaeological evidence often contradicts the details of the biblical account.” Western Civilization Jackson J. Spielvogel
 
“One of many small nations of the ancient Near East….the Hebrews would hardly merit attention if it were not for the example of their tenacious survival in the face of daunting odds and the fact that their spiritual legacy of strict monotheism became defining feature of Western civilization (mainly due to the spread of Christianity…)” CLEP Western Civilization I Robert Ziomkowski

For this setting, the events of the Israelites start in the book of Exodus, the Israelites were set apart through the seed of Abraham, when God called Moses to lead His people to the promised land. During the time of travel to the promised land they were given certain laws known as the Law of Moses or the Mosaic Laws, to set them apart as God’s people for His glory to reflect to the surrounding nations.

The time period was Ancient History dated between creation and 31BCE. Egypt, Canaan, Assyria and Babylon were growing and developing nations. The religion of the day “was polytheistic (believing in many gods), syncretistic (combining one belief with another), and pantheistic (God is everything). The ancients believed in multiplicity of gods-everyone being a specialist in some aspect of the world or nature… it was unthinkable to most ancients that a single god could be the only God.”[i]

Some of the surrounding laws or codes during that time consisted of the “Laws of Ur-Nammu from Ur, Laws of Lipit-Ishtar from Isin, Laws of Eshnunna from Eshnunna and one of the most well noted, the Laws of Hammurabi from Babylon also known as the Code of Hammurabi.”[ii] So the question arises, did Moses write a set of unique laws that were a standard of truth for all or did he just borrow from the surrounding nations and copy their procedures?

Moses did not copy from other ancient documents. He was bringing a correction, a better way of living, in contrast to the barbaric way of life. We can note that Moses is the author of the books since he does claim to be the author (Exodus 17:14, Exodus 24:4, Exodus 34:27). In addition, Jesus affirms that Moses wrote the first five books (Luke 24:44). Moses was revealing the true God and proclaiming a declaration that there was only one unique God. In addition, God was the one establishing authority not a King. The ANE laws elevated Kings and Rulers and they were the ones establishing justice, as opposed to the Exodus account which describes Yahweh as the judge and the one who brings justice. In the Israelite community the authorship is attributed to God, unlike the Code of Hammurabi which is attributed to King Hammurabi. Secondly, other Laws often catered to the upper class, also called the aristocrat or the ruling class. However, in the Biblical Law it liberates the citizen, stranger and slave alike. It brings justice to all, not just the ruling class, but also to the disadvantaged. Ultimately, there are two distinctions regarding the Mosaic Law, the first is establishing God as the one true God who brings justice and second, He is establishing laws for people to treat others as they would want to be treated.

There might be some that argue against the goodness of God in these laws, but that is for a later blog. The purpose of this blog is to point out that God is unique in the Mosaic Law, in claiming to be the one true God and He was bringing liberation to the slave and citizen alike. There were 613 laws given to Moses that can be summed up in 10 Commandments and lastly into 2 Commandments. These commandments call for the person to “love God and love their neighbor as themselves.” (Matthew 22:36).

So, if your student is challenged in the classroom, get equipped and get ready to respond in those situations with ready truth.
“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39

Map from – http://www.bible-history.com/geography/maps/Map-Ancient-Near-East.pdf

Recommended Reading
Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan
Has God Spoken by Hank Hanegraaff
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Edited by John H. Walton
Beyond Opinion Edited by Ravi Zacharias


 

[i] Stuart, Douglas K., The New American Commentary, B&H 2006; pg. 452
[ii] Walton, John H., Zondernvan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, pg. 235.

Should Christians still follow the Old Testament laws?

 There is an age old debate regarding the Old Testament laws. It has surfaced in our culture as the Hebrew Roots Movement. The call of the movement is for the Christian to return to the traditions of the Hebrews. When encountering a person from the movement they will put a heavy emphasis on why a believer should be set apart by following the Hebrew roots. Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff discuss this matter on Talking Truth.

Bible Overview

Many people are starting off the New Year by reading the Bible chronologically. There are some good helps to understanding the continuity of the 66 books. Some things to consider are timelines and overviews. Here are a couple to get you started and will help you communicate God’s message more clearly to those trying to understand the flow of the Bible.

Enjoy!

A Brief Overview of the Bible - God Redeeming Man


overview timeline of bible pdf

  1. God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it.
  2. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world until they disobeyed and sinned against God.
  3. Sin entered the world brought death and separated us from God.
  4. God gave the Law (10 Commandments) to reveal our sin.
  5. The prophets spread the message of hope (Christ Jesus) that was to come and would restore believer’s relationship to God.
  6. Christ Jesus is born to bring hope for all mankind to be in relationship with God.
  7. Jesus paid the price of sin and took the believer’s place on the cross, then three days later he rose from the grave.
  8. Now we can ask God to forgive our sins and receive Jesus who died in our place. Now the debt of sin has been paid and we can be in relationship with God forever.
  9. Christ established His Church through the disciples. Now we have the message of hope and while there is time we can share it with others.
  10. Judgment – One day we will meet Jesus face to face and for the believer there will be no more suffering or pain. We will live eternally with Christ where there is no more sin. For the unbeliever there will be punishment of sin.

Ancient History Timeline


Timeline of Ancient History pdf

An Important Goal to Consider for the New Year

Each December many people contemplate setting goals for the next year. Some consider physical, economical or spiritual goals. I would venture to say for the believer reading through the Bible is a goal that affects all three areas. It is interesting to note that there are approximately 6900 languages in the world today and only about 2479 have some or part of the Bible translated in their own language. There are only around 450 that have a complete Bible in their own language. If you are reading this blog, then you have the Bible available in your language.

The Bible is unique among the ancient documents. It is the revelation of God redeeming man. God used people such as Moses and the prophets with sources such as stone, leather and clay to pass down the words of God from about 2000 BC. About 450 BC Ezra the priest is noted for compiling the Old Testament Books. Around 250-100 BC the Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) into the Greek language and it is what is called the Septuagint. “The Old Testament canon was meticulously cared for by a cadre of copyists commissioned to solemn task of preserving the text. The Dead Sea Scrolls remain an enduring testimony to the reverential awe with which they engaged their sacred task.” By the time of Christ the teaching of the Hebrew Bible was endorsed by Christ. Jesus said, “do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Jesus’ disciples continued the message of God by writing the teachings of Christ down on papyrus scrolls and the New Testament was completed by the end of the first century. In the 4th century the books were confirmed as the 27 books in the New Testament.

Although the Bible was preserved over the years it was often preached in Latin instead of the common language of the people. John Wycliffe spent his life conveying the message that the Word of God should be in the hands of the people. It was William Tyndale who worked off of Wycliffe’s efforts at translating the Bible into English in 1526 and was later burned at the stake in 1536 because of these endeavors. The challenges of getting the Bible in the hands of the people did not stop there, but the printing press and the Reformation further opened the doors of the common people being able to read the Word of God.

So, should it be a New Year’s goal to read it because people gave their resources and sometimes their life to get the Bible into the hands of the people? No, but there should be a deep appreciation for those that were handing down the truth of God’s Word. So what should be the reason to learn and share the Bible? First, it is God’s revelation of His redeeming love for His people. Second, it enlightens our eyes and gives us everything for life and godliness. Third, if we are disciples of Christ, we are commanded to teach all that He commanded. How can one teach what they do not know? Lastly, we should read it because Jesus gave His life so that we might know Him and left this revelation for those who believe.

For Further Reading
Statistics from Wycliffe International
Has God Spoken by Hank Hanegraaff
The Story of Christianity Justo L. Gonzalez
Why Trust the Bible? Rose Bible Basics
 

Does God Love Everyone? Pt. 3

 What does it mean to say, God loves everyone? Does it place the gospel in universalism. If so, should one say that God only loves the elect? One can gain the right perspective from the words of Scripture. Listen to Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff discuss the last part in this discussion on Talking Truth.

For Further Reading

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D. A. Carson

Does God So Love the World ? by John MacArthur – http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace-to-you/read/articles/does-god-so-love-the-world-9312.html

Does God Love Everyone? Pt. 1

The statement, God loves everyone is often used, so is it true? Is there biblical support to stand behind that statement? What if someone said to you, God only loves those who come to Him in Christ Jesus? How would you respond? Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff, deal with these questions and more over the next couple of podcasts. Listen to your Talking Truth today and think through the Scriptures to be equipped with ready truth.

Jesus is Distinct

Repost

During this time of the year, it is not unusual to see many manger scenes portraying the arrival of Christ. But who is this man named Jesus? Why is it that many people still follow this man even after two thousand years? Is He really any different than Buddha, Mohammad or Krishna? What is so distinctly different about this man named Jesus?

Many people will discuss and ask the question “who is Jesus?” In fact, Jesus himself asked this same question of His disciples. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt. 16:13) The disciples answered, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” The disciples responded this way because some people during that time thought John the Baptist, after his death was reincarnated in Jesus. Some believed Jesus was Elijah from Malachi 4. Others considered Him to be the return of Jeremiah, because it is stated in the Apocrypha that Jeremiah would return to the earth to restore the Ark and alter to the Temple. And some thought he was a prophet, because of His supernatural powers. But after these considerations, Jesus asked Peter pointedly, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Even today many will ask the question, who is Jesus? What makes Him distinct from others in the past that have claimed to know the truth? During this Christmas season contemplate His birth. “Here, then, is the man from Nazareth, who claimed that His origin was from heaven and that His Father is none other than God Himself. A Son not born out of physical consummation, not out of a need for communion but the consummate expression of God in the flesh, in eternal communion with the Father His birth was not by natural means. This cannot be said of Mohammed, Krishna, or Buddha.”  [1]

Another distinction lies in the message of Jesus. All the teachers in History point to a particular teaching or show some particular way, but there is a division between the teaching and the person. It was “Mohammed, to the Koran, Buddha, to the Noble Path and Krishna, to his philosophizing. It is not Buddha who delivers you; it is his Noble Truths that instruct you. It is not Mohammed who transforms you; it is the beauty of the Koran that woos you. By contrast, Jesus did not teach or expound His message. He was identical with His message. Jesus did not just proclaim the truth. He said, ‘I am the truth’. He did not just show a way, He said, ‘I am the Way.’ He did not just open up vistas, He said ‘I am the door’. He said, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Resurrection and the life.”[2]

You see today even in our city people will try to define who Jesus is. C.S. Lewis, said one must recognize that Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar or He was telling the truth. It cannot be that there is another truth, if Jesus is the truth, there cannot be another way, if Jesus is the way. One cannot have life in another, if Jesus is the life. Returning to where we started, Jesus is distinct. So, who do you say He is?



[1] Zacharias, Ravi. Jesus Among Other Gods. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.

[2] Ibid.

Women in the Church Pt. 3

Women in the Church has been a 3 part podcast and this being the final one. Although not every intricate detail is not discussed, there are good thoughts to be considered. It is best to listen to part 1 and 2 before listening to part 3 because it will give a better view to the whole of the conversation. The role of women in the church is valuable and beneficial to the body of believers. How does the role of women unfold in your church and is it consistent with Scripture. Listen to the discussion regarding women in the church on your Talking Truth with Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff today.

 

 

 

http://www.chbchurch.org/page/talking_truth_women_in_the_church_pt_3