You Foolish Galatians!!!

Our Blog is about Grace. God’ Riches at Christ’s Expense, someone has said. You will find an occasional article on a different subject but our main focus is the Grace of God. It is clear that many Christians do not understand the Grace of God.

Paul dealt with this issue almost constantly. Judaizers and other Jewish Christians insisted that new gentile converts keep the law of Moses in order to be saved. Paul deals with these issues as straightforwardly as he can throughout his epistles but especially in Galatians and Ephesians.

Many Christians today feel like they must earn God’s love and blessing. This could not be farther from the truth. Paul called the Galatians foolish for going back to the law after being saved by the grace of God. Some translations translate “foolish” in some pretty derogatory ways!

The author of Hebrews says we have been perfected forever. These are the issues we will discuss in this blog.

Now upfront, I would like to state that I am not making light of sin or teaching people that it is okay to sin. Sin is terrible and opens the door for Satan to destroy your life and drive you away from God. But what I am going to prove to you from scripture is that as a believer your sin s forgiven past, present, and future. When God looks at you, he sees a perfected spirit washed clean of sin, all because of what Jesus did on the cross, not because of something you did or do.

Some will say this is heresy, because the traditions of the church say differently. Well, I am sorry, but I cannot agree. Any doctrine that teaches that you must do this or that to be saved is a false doctrine. We are saved by the grace of God alone–not by anything we can ever do. How much were you praying and fasting before you were saved? NONE!

If by obeying the law we could be saved, there was no reason for Jesus to die. But by His death, He has satisfied the penalty that we deserved forever.

Please stop by often. This teaching can change your life. It certainly did mine.

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10 Reasons to Study Prophecy

Why study Prophecy?

Gregory D. Davidson, D.D.

 

I have been acquainted with many Christians who believe that a study of prophecy is useless. I even heard a prominent evangelist here in my area say that we should never study prophecy and that the Bible backed up his claims.

This centuries old trend is not only confined to my neck of the woods, it seems to be an “unspoken” rule throughout many churches and ministries in our nation that they do not teach prophecy.

Many find prophecy hard to understand and boring. John Calvin, a great Reformer, wrote a commentary on the whole Bible except Revelation. Prophecy was never meant to be so hard to understand that even one of the greatest leaders of our Church could not understand it.

People get into trouble when they get away from a literal understanding of scripture and begin trying to symbolize or allegorize everything. We should take the Bible literally and not try to read into it something that isn’t there. Every prophecy that has ever been fulfilled has been fulfilled literally.

As Christians, we have the author of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, present with us when we read and study scripture. We should always seek His wisdom when we try to interpret God’s Word.

It is my view that we should all at least familiarize ourselves with the basic tenets of prophecy. After all, all of God’s Word was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Below are Ten reasons why we should study Prophecy.

1. Jesus told us to watch. He tells us in Matthew 24:42:

“Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord is coming” A knowledge of end-time events will keep us alert and ready.2. Prophetic scripture is the Word of God. We must never ignore any part of God’s Word. It has been said that 28% of the Bible is prophetic scripture; almost a third of scripture! The second coming of Jesus is mentioned some 318 times in the New Testament. Remember Paul’s words to Timothy:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

II Timothy 3:16,17 (emphasis mine)3. It proves the Word of God is true. Friends, God is no liar! When we see how many prophecies were fulfilled to the smallest detail, we will build our faith. Jesus fulfilled many, many, Old Testament prophecies by His birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Lets look at one of Jesus’ prophecies that was fulfilled to the letter. In responding to His disciples statement about the grandness of the temple, Jesus said,

“See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” This prophecy saw its fulfillment in A.D. 70 when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem. Tradition says that the fire in the city was so hot that the gold on the temple melted and ran into the cracks of the rocks. Thusly, the Roman soldiers had to tear down every stone to get the gold!

This is not a special case. Every prophecy given by inspiration of God has been fulfilled literally and to the smallest detail.

4. The Apostle Paul valued prophecy. Many scholars agree that the first epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians was one of the first books of the New Testament. It was certainly one of his first. The mass of content in both letters to the Thessalonians is prophetic. Thus we see that prophecy was important to Paul and the early church.

5. Jesus rebuked the people for not knowing the signs of the times.

“Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?”

 

28 Now learn a parable of the FIG tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Mark 13:28-30

 

We know from Hosea 9:10 that Israel is the fig tree. Israel became a nation again in May of 1948 thus putting forth her leaves. There are differing views on this issue but some think that this generation will not pass away until we see the second coming.

You can see that a study of prophecy is essential to knowing the signs of the times.

6. Prophecy promotes revival. Looking back over history, you will find that when congregations and individuals focused on the study of prophecy and end-time events great revival resulted.

There is just something about learning of the reality and consequences that we will face in the end times that motivates us to live better lives and focus on God’s will.

7. A promise of blessing. God promises blessing for those who read and meditate on the Book of Revelation. We see this throughout the word of God that if we read and meditate on the Holy scriptures we will make our way successful. We can not meditate and be complete by ignoring almost a third of the Bible.

8. A study of Prophecy promotes Holy living. As we touched on earlier we will want to live better when we see the blessing that study brings and the reality of the consequences of sin now and in the future.

We can be sure that every prophecy that has been given will be fulfilled to the letter because that is how it has been since the beginning. A study of prophecy assures us that God will do what he says in the future because He has never failed to do so in the past. Prophectic study also reveals that the Rapture of the Church is emminent so we must do our best to witness and live right for God now, which brings us to our next reason.

9. Prophecy promotes witnessing and missions. When people see prophecy being fulfilled around them and the terrible events that will take place during the Great Tribulation when the restraining force of the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, many will be motivated to witness to their family, friends, and to the ends of the earth. There should be an urgency in our hearts. The Church in America needs to study prophecy to be educated on this issue. A recent poll showed that nearly 70 % of Christians agreed that there was more than one way to heaven. This is unacceptable. A good study of prophecy would resolve this issue and motivate Christians to rebuke this heresy before it is too late.

10. A good study of Prophecy gives us confidence and hope. It shows us that no matter what happens, God is in control and He has a plan for our future. It assures us that we will spend eternity with Him if we have given our lives for His service.

The world can crumble around us but we can be assured that God will do what He says. Prophecy reveals that as members of the body of Christ, we will not have to endure the Tribulation and the wiles of the Antichrist. We can rest easy knowing that our fate is sealed.

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The truth about Hell

Eternal Seperation

The Reality of a Real Hell

Gregory D. Davidson, D.D.

 

 

 

 

I apologize for such a stern title, but I wanted to get your attention. Has anyone besides me noticed how mainstream Christianity has gotten away from teaching about the place of eternal torment. Where are the messages that teach of eternal seperation from our creator? It seems that our churches today want to stay politically correct and not offend anyone. Consider these facts:

*The results of a poll of thousands of Protestant ministers revealed that 35% of Baptist ministers, 54% of Presbyterian ministers, 58% of Methodist ministers, and upwards of 60% of Episcopalian ministers did not believe in a literal Hell. (George Gallup, Hell you say! Timothy Books)

*A number of years ago Louis Harris and associates polled ministerial students at eight leading theological schools. 71% of them did not believe in a literal Heaven or Hell.

This is unacceptable. Dr. A.C. Dixon once said, ” If we had more preaching of Hell in the pulpit, we might have less Hell in the community.”

As a result of this lack of teaching on the place of eternal punishment, few people have an understanding of its meaning in Scripture. Lets take a brief look at its usage in the New Testament.

The New Testament uses three Greek words that are translated into English by the word “hell”: tartarus, hades, and gehenna.

Tartarus is used only once in 2 Peter 2:4: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness…” (emphasis mine) Here it refers to a pit of darkness that serves as a prison for angels who have rebelled against God. Jude 6 also explains their habitation as they await their final judgement.

In the sixteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus who had died and went to hades, which at that time was split into two compartments. One was a place of torment (16:23,24,28) and the other was a place of comfort (16:25). A ‘great gulf’ was between them (16:26), and although they could see each other, the people in each section could not pass from one section to the other.

The section that the righteous dead went to was called “Abraham’s bosom” and “Paradise”. Remember that Jesus told the thief on the cross beside Him that, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) This indicates that at death, Jesus went to paradise, which at that time was in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)

But when our Savior rose from the dead, He opened the Paradise section and led the Old Testament saints into Heaven. (Read Ephesians 4:8-10)

Please note that sheol is the same as hades.

The last of the three word translated by the English word “hell” is gehenna. This word refers to the final destination of every lost soul. It is found twelve times in the New Testament and of those twelve, Jesus used it eleven times.

Gehenna, the Lake of fire, and the second death are synonymous. The Lake of fire is mentioned five times, all in the book of Revelation. Right now there is no one in this place of torment. The first residents will be the Beast and the false prophet. (Revelation 19:20) The devil and his angels will follow them.

At the Great White Throne Judgement(Revelation 20:11-15), the wicked dead will be cast into the “lake of fire.” Notice in verse 14 that death and hell(hades) will be cast into the “lake of fire.” Death here refers to the grave, which received the body, and hell refers to hades which had received the soul. Both body and soul will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Jesus told us in Matthew 25:41 that the everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. This fire was not intended for man. Therefore, if a person goes there it will be because of his own choosing by refusing God’s mercy and grace.

Nobody can ever blame God for sending him to Hell. We have the choice right now. God is very merciful. In fact, He is “not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.” ( 2 Peter 3:9)

We are told again and again that Hell will be a place of torment where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Hell is a very real,literal place that is prepared for those who reject the gracious offer of Jesus Christ. It is a place of eternal punishment where there will be constant pain and agony. Most importantly, it will be a place where we will be seperated from our Creator and Father forever.

America needs to be reaquainted with the prospect of eternal damnation. Revival will come when people are presented with the reality of an eternal, literal Hell. I am afraid that many leaders of our churches and many Christians will stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ ashamed and regretful that we did not speak of the urgency and importance of avoiding eternal seperation from God in constant agony to everyone that we could.

People need to know about Hell, but they also need to know of God’s grace right now. Not only could they avoid Hell, but they could live life more abundantly right now. (John 10:10) This is the great balance of the Christian life—-knowing that we will spend eternity with Him, and knowing that we have Him with us every step right now.

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Declaration of re-Dependence

Declaration of reDependence

Gregory D. Davidson, D.D.

 

 

 

 

When Americans hear the words Constitution or Declaration of Independence their hearts often swell with pride. Many hold these documents in high regard. The truths and ideologies expressed in them mean different things to different people. These different views seem to run along generational lines. The current generation seems to have a whole different view of what they mean as secular society seeks to mold these documents, especially the Constitution, into their own set of humanistic views of society. What do I mean by this? Well, it is clear, even to the amateur historian, that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are far from their original state of independence from government interference and dependence on our Creator in the minds of many today.

Many say that these documents have to be changed to meet the needs of society as new problems and needs arise. This may be true in some circumstances but our founding fathers never intended for the basic tenets that they set forth under the guidance of God to be altered. The purposes of these documents were to guide us in protecting our freedoms and to keep government out of our personal lives. I

Our forefathers based our system of government on the First Commandment which states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” They understood that man was created to serve God, not the state. We can bicker and fuss all we want, but an objective look into the lives and actions of the founders of our nation will reveal that they were strong believers in the Christian ethic. It is the goal of our humanistic society to erase this history of the beliefs of our founders, as well as eradicate Christianity. I do not wish to offend anyone and I do my best to present the facts in a non-biased way, but no one can deny that our earliest government and it’s creation was carried out with a great fear of God and a respect for Christian morals.

Consider these words of James Madison:

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We haved staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

How can we sustain ourselves by these Ten Commandments if they are being taken out of our public places and society? If we don’t know what they are, how can we follow them?

I have been taught by the Bible and my God-fearing parents to respect others and their views. It is my personal perspective that everyone should have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I realize however, that not everyone agrees because after all ‘narrow is the way.’ But if you will look objectively, you will see that Christian morals and the basic tenets of the faith are the best way to govern and deal with others. Christianity teaches respect, charity, love, and obedience among many other things. Even if you will never darken the door of a church or believe in Jesus as the Christ, won’t you agree that these are good morals?Jesus taught us to be good citizens saying “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22:21) But the ‘things of Caesar’ in the times of our forefathers, and in our current times have become excessive.

Even today, in a country where people believe the myth of complete freedom, our government threatens our basic freedoms. Currently, more than 40 percent of a citizens income is disposed of on his behalf by the government at the federal, state, and local levels. Back in 1928, federal spending amounted to only 3 percent of the national income.

The framers of our Constitution had the ideal that government would be a servant of man and never the master. They advocated people governing themselves and that government should never deprive individuals rights that the Constitution stated were “endowed by their Creator.” The Declaration of Independence states that the government derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” and that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it….”The concentration of power to one group or individual sooner or later leads to abuse and tyranny.

Although many disagree, Christians believe, as our founders did, that man was made to serve God. We believe that the only way to sustain our country and bring it back to its former glory is to place our total dependence on God.

The Christian community has been silent too long on these issues. We need to declare our redependence on Him boldly and without reserve.

There is a persecution coming for American Christians. Indeed, the battles have already begun and will only intensify in the days to come. These battles will not be fought on the battlefield. They will be fought in our schools, communities, churches, and courts.

As Christians, we must never forget to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free…” (Galatians 5:1) Christ has made us free and that can never be taken from us, but he has also called us to be a light to the world and the salt of the earth. We must stand strong for what is right and for the principles and morals of Christianity that made our country strong. Through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us and among us, we are the restrainers of our societies. Lets call our nation back to God, because He is full of mercy and has told us:

” …if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

II Chron. 7:14As Christians, we should take a stand to ensure that our children and grandchildren are taught “real” American history that includes God. Facts are facts.

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I Believe I Can (will) Fly! The Rapture of the Church

I Believe I Can Fly

The Rapture of the Church

Gregory D. Davidson, D.D.

 

 

It seems that man has always been fascinated with flying. From the Wright Brothers to NASA to the current day, technology is advancing. But  I truly believe that I can fly and I will not need a machine. No, I have not went crazy. I am speaking of a future event in which the church will be “caught up” in the air to meet our Lord known as the Rapture.

There are many people confused about the second coming of Christ. Many, many, Christians do not realize the second coming will be in two different stages: the Rapture and His Glorious Appearing at His Second Coming. These two events are clearly taught in the Bible. Lets look at the Biblical evidence.

At the Rapture, Jesus comes for his own. (John 14:3) (I Thess. 4:13-18)

At His Second Coming, He comes with His own. (I Thess. 3:13; Jude 14)

During the Rapture, He will come in the air. ( I Thess. 4:17)

At His Second Coming, He will come to the earth( Zech. 14:4; Acts 1:11,12)

Only His own will see Him at the Rapture.(1 Thess. 4:13-18)

All will see Him at His Glorious Appearing (Revelation 1:7)

The Rapture has no signs preceding it, but His Second Coming has definite signs that will precede it. (Luke 21:11, 25)

These two events will be seperated by a seven year period known as the 70th Week of Daniel or the Great Tribulation. This seven year period is also called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) referring to Israel. This in itself is a hint because it refers to Israel and not the Church because it will not be here on earth during this time.

God has a distinct plan for both Israel and the Church. Israel must endure the 70th Week of Daniel to fulfill its payment to God. The Churches payment has already been paid by Jesus Christ, therefore we will not have to endure the Time of Jacob’s(Israel’s) Trouble.

There are many references in Scripture that convey a message of a Rapture of the Church seperate from our Lord’s Glorious Appearing when He comes to set up His Millennial Kingdom here on earth. Most people use First Thessalonians 4:16 & 17 as the base scripture for the Rapture.

(16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ shall rise first. (17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with theLord. (emphasis mine)

Some opponents say that the word ‘rapture’ does not appear in the Bible. This is not a worthy objection. The original Latin translation of the Bible by the Christian scholar Jerome, used the Latin word ‘rapere’ to correctly translate “shall be caught up.” The word ‘rapere’ was later used as the derivation of our English word ‘rapture’.

The most concrete biblical evidence for the Rapture, I believe, is found in the Book of Revelation.

For starters, the Rapture is in the right place chronologically in Revelation. Chapters 2 & 3 deal with successive Church eras. The first event after the end of the Church age in chapter 3 is the call of John (who typifies the Church) to ‘come up here’ in chapter 4. The rest of chapter 4 and chapter 5 deal with visions in heaven. Chapter 6 introduces the Tribulation.

On careful study and consideration, you will notice that the Church is absent in chapters 6 through 18. Why? The events described in these chapters are taking place on earth. The church is absent because it has been Raptured. The extensive use of Old Testament language and symbols in these chapters point to Israel.

There is also other Biblical evidence that implies that the Church will be Raptured before the Tribulation. Consider these four reasons:

1. The Lord has promised to deliver us. (Revelation 3:10)

2, The Church is to be delivered form the wrath to come. ( 1 Thess. 1:10)

3. The Church is not appointed to wrath. (1 Thess. 5:9)

4. The Church is absent in Revelation chapters 6 through 18.

There is more evidence in the Word of God that point to a Rapture or taking away of the Church. Remember how God ‘took’ Enoch away from the world because he walked with Him. (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5) Or how about Elijah who was taken away. ( 2 Kings 2:11) You might even say that Noah and Lot were in a sense ‘raptured’ from the evil that came upon the world in which they lived.

For me this amount of evidence in itself is enough for me to know without a doubt that one day, I will fly away from this wicked world to be with my Lord forever.

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The Spirit of Christmas–What are these feelings of peace, joy, and giving?

Every year about this time you hear people talking about the Christmas Spirit. Almost everyone falls prey to this phenomenon, although to different degrees. If you will be honest, you will have to admit that you get the Christmas Spirit. It usually comes along between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

For some it is a feeling of peace and joy. Giving to charitable organizations increases. Some do things they would not normally do other times of year.

What if I told you that you could maintain this attitude year round?

This spirit of love, giving, peace, joy, longsuffering, patience, security, and well-being has been made available to all who will receive it in faith.

I am speaking of the Holy Spirit of God made available by the blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary.

I personally believe that the Holy Spirit loves this time of year. He gets to anounce the Good News of Jesus Christ and convict those who are lost. Non-believers are shown the true Spirit of giving and love. God gave His only Son that we might be saved and guided by the Holy Spirit that indwells the Christian.

If you are an unbeliever and have felt the Christmas Spirit, consider inviting the Spirit of God into your life and feel the fruits of the Spirit as you submit to HIm.

God is offering you the ultimate “fruit basket” that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit–love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, , gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
Who says fruit baskets are crummy gifts?!!

Secular society is trying its best to take Jesus away from Christmas and I will admit they have succeeded in some areas. But they will never be able to take away the true Spirit of Christmas—Jesus Christ.

If you would like more information or are considering being able to maintain this wonderful Spirit year round, please contact us. We aren’t here to judge you or your past or present. We just want to share with you the Great News of Jesus Christ. I am not talking about religion. I am talking about something real and tangible–a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Contact us at nln@reborn.com
Merry Christmas!

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