cru·ci·fy ˈkro͞osəˌfī/ verb past tense: crucified; past participle: crucified 1. – to put (someone) to death by nailing or binding them to a cross, especially as an ancient punishment. For as…
Through the gospel God exerts his power to transform lives and change cultures. I am of the opinion that the church does not need another summit or conference on racial reconciliation or multi-culturalism; what’s needed today are preachers who will prophetically proclaim the gospel. When the gospel is preached to people whom the Holy Spirit has prepared to receive it, they receive it, and they demonstrate their faith in the gospel by walking in “newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) Let me suggest that anything short of this (changing or accommodating our music styles, or creating night club like atmospheres in our sanctuaries, etc.) will not bring the needed flame of radical revival, but will produce a mere reshuffling of the same old deck of lukewarm cards.
I love this section from George and Woodward’s book, The Mark of Jesus. Using an example from the history of the church, George and Woodward challenge us to consider afresh the power of the gospel to change our lives. They write:
The Testimony of Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr effectively depicted and defended the lifestyle of Christians. In his First Apology (c. A.D. 155), Justin challenged Emperor Antonius Pius to take a good, hard look at the way Christians lived. Justin apparently did not fear that an investigation by the emperor would find the Christians to be hypocrites: “It is for us, therefore, to offer to all the opportunity of inspecting our life and teachings, lest we ourselves should bear the blame for what those who do not really know about us do in their ignorance.” Then, in a marvelous passage, Justin described how the power of the Gospel had transformed Christians at the very core of their aspirations and desires:
Those who once rejoiced in fornication now delight in continence alone; those who made use of magic arts have dedicated themselves to the good and unbegotten God; we who once took pleasure in the means of increasing our wealth and property now bring what we have into a common fund and share with everyone in need; we who hated and killed one another would not associate with men of different tribes because of [their different] customs, now after the manifestation of Christ live together and pray for our enemies and try to persuade those who unjustly hate us, so that they, living according to the fair command of Christ may share with us the good hope of receiving the same things [that we will] from God, the master of all.
According to Justin Martyr, Christians turned their backs on sexual immorality, on the making of money as a life avocation, and on yielding to racism. Rather, they shared their goods even with those whom they had formerly disdained for racial reasons—those who belonged to other tribes. Many Christians were living in unity and were intent on seeing their non-Christian neighbors come to Christ. They prayed for their enemies with the hope that they might likewise become followers of the true God. They believed that only those persons were worthy to be called Christians who actually obeyed their Lord’s teachings.
As for those persons who did not obey Christ’s teachings (hypocrites), Justin Martyr offered little comfort: “Those who are found not living as he taught should know that they are not really Christians, even if his teachings are on their lips, for he said that not those who merely profess but those who also do the works will be saved. For he said this: ‘Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’”Justin Martyr, therefore, viewed “apologetics”(the defense of the faith) in a somewhat different fashion than we often do, if we limit its scope to the presentation of the “theistic proofs”or historical arguments for the resurrection of Christ. Certainly Martyr made the case for fulfilled prophecies in Scripture, the reality of Christ’s miracles, and the truthfulness of the resurrection. But Martyr was not hesitant also to make the point that many of the Christians he knew obeyed Christ’s teachings. This would mean that any hypocrisy charge regarding them would not stick. He wrote: “Many men and women now in their sixties and seventies who have been disciples of Christ from childhood have preserved their purity: and I am proud that I could point to such people in every nation.”
Justin Martyr’s presentation of how Christians actually lived out their faith received confirmation of sorts from a surprising quarter. Pagan critics, while condemning Christianity as an irrational faith that attracted the weak-minded, on occasion paid backhanded tributes to the Christians by describing them as those who kept their word and shared their goods with each other. Undoubtedly, the early church had its hypocrites who by no means followed Christ in the way Justin Martyr indicated. At the end of the second century, Tertullian complained that he knew Christians, including members of the clergy, who ran after money and church offices rather than seeking to follow Christ’s teachings. For many early Christians, not following Christ’s teachings indicated a person was worse than a hypocrite; the person was a “non-Christian.
Galatians 5:13 ¶ For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Amazingly, one of the most controversial sermons that I ever preached was based on this verse; particularly the phrase that says, “through love serve one another.” What made this message so controversial (to some) was when I asked my Christian brothers and sisters this question: “Would you rather be a servant or a slave?” To which, virtually everyone in the audience answered that they would rather be a servant. No one wanted to be a slave. Therefore, when I suggested to by fellow Christian “servants” that the word “serve” in the original language of the N.T. conveys not the image of a servant but the image of a slave, many in the audience got uncomfortable; some even got a little mad.
Let me suggest that the reason being slaves to one another make us feel uncomfortable is because of the different way in which we view the status of a servants and slaves.
- Servants work for wages. ……………. Slaves work for free
- Servants can chose where and for whom they work ,,,,,,,,, Slave have no freedom and are bound to their master’s service
- Servants retain a sense of personal pride or dignity ……… slavery is considered undignified and beneath us
No one wants to be a slave; even the founders of the United States-a slave owning country at the time-recognized:
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
The idea of becoming a slave is abhorrent to us. However, becoming a slave was not abhorrent to Jesus, “who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.” (see Philippians 2:6,7 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible) Therefore, if being a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and if growing in our Christian faith means being transformed in to the image of Jesus Christ, than as Christians the image that we must bear is not the image of the self seeking, self promoting, self absorbed, and the selfish; all of which are characteristics of the old man, but not the new man that God has created in us (Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:8-9).
The image of Christ is a selfless image that loves with no strings attached, that serves without seeking the reward and the applause and the thank-yous of others (our reward is awaiting us in Heaven, and our applause will come from God when He says, “well done, you good and faithful slave”). The image of Jesus is the image of a slave, as it is written:
Philippians 2:1-8 ¶If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death– even to death on a cross.
Yes, “Wisdom is the principal thing”, and true wisdom is not found in books, discussion and focus groups, gossip columns, Google searches, or Wikipedia. Furthermore, wisdom cannot be found in religion.
True wisdom can be found in the person of Jesus Christ; as it is written:
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
With this said, read the biography of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson below. Dr. Wilson was a brilliant man, who found true wisdom, not in academics, but in Christ. Enjoy.
Robert Dick Wilson (1856-1930) was fluent in 45 languages and dialects, including all of the Biblical and cognate languages, such as Hebrew, Greek, Babylonian, Phoenician, Coptic, various Aramaic dialects, French, German, and so forth. 45 languages and dialects in all.
Wilson could already read at the early age of four, and by the age of five he had read, among other books, Rawlinson’s Ancient Monarchies. Wilson graduated from Princeton University at the age of 20, and he read the New Testament fluently in nine languages by the time he got to seminary. He had memorized the entire New Testament in Hebrew, along with portions of the Old Testament, and it is said the he could recite the New Testament in Hebrew without missing so much as a syllable.
Dick Wilson demolished the critics of his day, especially the likes of the heretic S. R. Driver and the Graf-Wellhausen School. Wilson’s major publications, in which he not only annihilated the liberal critics, but also fortified the foundations of the study of the Old Testament with brilliant elucidations and conclusions, like nobody before or since, were, The Scientific Investigation Of The Old Testament, Is Higher Criticism Scholarly, Studies In the Book Of Daniel (a two-volume masterpiece, and THE classic defense of the book of Daniel), and a host of papers and treatises in various publications. An example of Wilson’s genius and scholarship can be seen in this short paper — The Veracity Of The Old Testament — which delivers conclusive evidence for the accuracy of the foundation and transmission of the Hebrew Text.
Wilson became the leading professor at Princeton Theological Seminary where he spent many years defending the Bible against all comers, as well as turning out students with a sound foundation of rare learning. Nearing the age of seventy, Wilson nevertheless produced a stirring moment for his students when, after a dissertation on the complete trustworthiness of Scripture, the renowned scholar said with tears streaming down his face —
“Young men, there are many mysteries in this life I do not pretend to understand,many things hard to explain. But I can tell you this morning with the fullest assurance that:
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so!”
Psalms 19:7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.
Last Thursday Alibaba was introduced to world of finance with much fanfare, as Panos Mourdoukoutas notes, “Anyone following Alibaba’s (NYSE:BABA) debut on Wall Street this week cannot help but be impressed by the buzz it generated among institutional and individual investors, as the stock rocketed higher in the first day of trade.” (Forbes Online, 09/20/2014) What is so good about Alibaba? Well, to many investors Alibaba is the next best thing to offer investors an avenue to enormous profits and earthly riches. However, as good of an investment Alibaba may be, if you are one of the fortunate investors to strike it rich through this investment, when you die, how much of your earthly wealth will you leave behind? And more importantly, “when you pass from earth into eternity, how much of your treasure will you take with you?” The answer to the first question is, “all of it.” And the answer to the second question is this; if your treasure was only material, then you will take nothing with you. (supposedly these were questions being asked after the death of J. D. Rockefeller)
Now if you will, imagine what would be the price of an IPO that promised to give “new life to the soul”, to give wisdom to the foolish”, to make “glad the heart”, to give “light to the eyes”, and it was always “clean”, “true”, and “full of righteousness” (quotes are excerpts of Psalm 19 from the Bible in Basic English)? Wouldn’t this product be priceless? Yet this is exactly what the Law of the Lord is guaranteed to do. Nevertheless, the LORD beckons us to come and buy it without money and without price. (Isaiah 55)
What grace the Lord has bestowed upon us in giving us the Bible; it is the only infallible source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding on earth. Read it! Feast on it! And if you make it your aim in life to both know and to do it, God’s word will positively change your life forever.
Proverbs 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; 8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
I remember years ago listening to the Temptations sing, Ball of Confusion. If the world was a ball of confusion in 1971, just think of what it is today. Look at the headlines below:
- UK HIGH DRAMA!
Global Crisis of Elites…
Europe Gripped By Secession Panic…
Eight separatist movements that could be next…
British Pound at 2 Year High; Currency Traders Bet ‘No’…
Murdoch: ‘Anti-establishment Groundswell’…
Drunken Anger On Streets…
BBC 5 LIVE… SKY NEWS LIVE…
TURNOUT NEARS 90% IN SOME LOCATIONS; HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE WW2…
- MYSTERY VIRUS COAST TO COAST…Cases confirmed in CA…Hospital tells children to stay away…
SIERRA LEONE TO SHUT DOWN FOR 3 DAYS TO SLOW EBOLA OUTBREAK…6 million people confined to homes while volunteers hand out soap…
UN: Ebola threatens global peace, security…Eight dead in attack on virus education team in Guinea…
- WASH POST LEAD THURSDAY: Disagreements how to fight ISIS mount between Obama and military leaders…
Congress votes to arm Syrian ‘rebels’…FLASHBACK: Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda…
In the new heaven and earth, won’t it be great to cuddle up with a lion. Wow! Can’t wait! “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.
Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD.