Not A Fan

Pastor Bruce Simpkins
http://renewalcommunitychurch.org/
Palm Sunday, Sunday, March 24
RENEWAL COMMUNITY CHURCH
 

Sunday; Five days before Jesus Crucifixion.  The Sunday known as “Palm Sunday”:

John 12:12-15, 18-19

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

 

“Hosanna!  (meaning Savior or save) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the King of Israel!”  14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 15 “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” . . .

(Skip to verse 18)

18 Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!

 

There were so many people praising Jesus that the Pharisees thought the whole world had gone after Him.  But 5 days later on Friday, Jesus had been arrested and abused and insulted and taken to the governor Pilate for disposition.

 

Matt 27:15-26

15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.  21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.  They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

 

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

 

25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

 

26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

 

This is another side note, but I can’t let it go by without mentioning it.  Peter reminded them at Pentecost that they had said this and were cut to the heart.

Acts 2:36-39

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified , both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?

 

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

 

They had placed a curse upon themselves and were terrified.  But Jesus is merciful and forgiving.  AND His mercy and forgiveness extends beyond just them to all who are far off and are called by Him.  That means you and me.  If you have been cut to the heart with guilt and need forgiveness, I have good news for you . . . see me after the service!

 

Now, Jesus had a crowd of fans on Palm Sunday that made it look like the whole world had gone after him . . . but fans are fickle.  Where were they when the going got tough?  Yes, Jesus’ true followers were in hiding, but at least they hadn’t turned on Him like His fans did.

 

So, instead of me stating the obvious, you tell me, what is the difference between a Jesus fan and a Jesus followerThat’s right.  A true follower does not give up when the going gets tough.

 

That’s why Jesus said, Matt 16:24-25  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

 

That statement, “take up his cross” has lost all its impact today.  In Jesus day, that statement would send shivers down your spine.  They knew all too well, not just the pain and agony, but the indignity and humiliation that went along with it.  There was NO sympathy or compassion while you were being tortured on an instrument of death.  Even as you are hanging there dying, the guards removed all of your clothes . . . the last thing you owned . . . and cast lots to see who would get to keep them.

 

Following Jesus meant suffering physically but also facing mocking and ridicule.  It meant enduring the same things Saeed Abedini and his family are going through right now in Iran.  How can we even begin to relate to what it means to “take up our cross” in the soft and cushy world we live in?

 

I have been reading the book “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman.  He makes this statement:

The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ.  They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all of the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything FROM them.

 

 

A fan of Jesus is probably someone who goes to church every Sunday, puts money in the giving box, shows up for potlucks and movie night, listens to KTSY, and waves their hands at Christian concerts (as long as everyone else is).  They would say, “Hello?  Of course I’m a follower.  I don’t do all that stuff for nothing!

 

One of the core symptoms of being a fan is not knowing that you are just a fan.  Like an alcoholic is always the last to know they have actually become one.  Fans often confuse admiration for devotion, and knowledge of Jesus for intimacy with Him.  Fans assume their good intentions make up for not actually walking the walk.

 

Here is another quote I actually put on face book this last week.  I found that when Jesus had a large crowd, He would most often preach a message that was likely to cause them to leave.

 

He is not looking for fans, but followers.  Jesus will not let people stay on the fence.  He will bring tests into our lives that will demonstrate to you and everyone else if you are a fan or a follower.  He will allow us to have our own crosses to bear.  So, what does it mean for you and me in our everyday lives to take up our cross and follow Him?

 

Think about that while I share a couple of example of people who were NOT a fan.

 

This last April 21, 2012 Chuck Colson died at age 80.  For those of you too young to remember the famous Watergate scandal, Chuck was one of Richard Nixon’s closest advisors and known as the “dirty tricks” man.  Chuck was quoted saying, “I would walk over my own grandmother to ensure the reelection of President Richard M. Nixon”.  While Chuck was in prison for his part in the scandal he made a decision to become a Christian.  I heard a testimony he gave shortly after he was released and he said he thought he would just quietly live a truly changed life.  But Jesus will always bring a defining moment in our life that will determine if you are a follower or a fan.  He said a newspaper reporter managed to get a phone call into him and during the conversation Chuck knew he needed to tell the reporter he had become a Christian.  So he did.  There was a long silence and the reporter said, “soooo let me get this straight . . . you are saying you are a so called “Christian” now?”  “Yes.”  “You mean like you are . . . born again?”  “Yes.”  There was another long pause followed by a hilarious long belly laugh.  “Oh boy, have I got a scoop!  We are going to have a great time with this one . . .”  And of course NOBODY believed he had ACTUALLY become a Christian.  Everyone thought it was just another dirty trick to get something.  Chuck said he was humiliated by the press and most of his best friends but Chuck Colson went on to everyone’s amazement to really walk the walk.  He went on to found a worldwide prison fellowship ministry that has never been equaled in all of history.  His prison ministry touched every country in the world in one way or another.  It transformed and reformed prisons everywhere.  He was not just a fan . . . He died walking the walk.

 

Let me give you one more example.  Sometimes being a real follower may take you to places you never dreamed Jesus would take you.  Here is the story of Rachelle Starr:

As a girl raised in a Christian home, I had never been inside a strip club in my life.  But I felt a calling from God to reach out to women in the sex industry.  I didn’t really know how I was going to do this, but I knew that Jesus had given me a passion for these women to know how much He loves them and how precious they are in his eyes.  Still, I was definitely nervous to share the idea with others.  I mean, going to a strip club isn’t exactly “typical” for a church raised girl.  But whatever my doubts, I new Jesus was calling me to take action.  He wanted more out of me than just having a feeling of compassion for women in the sex industry.  He wanted me to DO something about it.

 

In 2008, I started Scarlet Hope.  It is a ministry that reaches out to women involved in the sex industry.  We take big, southern-comfort-style dinners to strip clubs.  Our prayer is that we are not just feeding their stomachs, but that we are feeding a deeper spiritual hunger.  In some clubs we fix hair and makeup so we can get some one-on-one time with the girls.  It gives us the opportunity to pray with women in the middle of a strip club.  How often does THAT happen?

Through this ministry, I have seen hearts changed and lives touched as many of these ladies have turned to Christ for forgiveness and a new beginning.  Honestly, my heart and relationship with Jesus have also been drastically changed.  I have seen Jesus show up many time in the back of a strip club dressing room.  Many dancers have opened up to us, sharing their struggles, asking for prayers, and some have even accepted our invitations to church.

 

It’s funny, but the dancers have taken to calling us “the church ladies”.  I never thought I would end up with such a traditional title doing such radical work for God, but I think that’s the kind of church lady God was calling me to become.  My name is Rachelle Starr, and I am not a fan.

 

What is Jesus calling you to do that requires taking up a cross?  For Chuck Colson, it was enduring ridicule from his friends and the media.  For Rachelle, it was enduring ridicule from some people inside the church and subjecting herself to an environment that was WAY outside her comfort zone.

 

What is holding you back from being the follower Jesus has called you to be?  What is it you are afraid of that keeps you from doing it?  I’m not old enough or I’m too old?  I’m not smart enough or I can’t lower myself to that level?  I don’t have enough time?  I don’t have enough money or I have too much money (like the rich young ruler)?  I wasn’t raised in the church or in a church family?  How about, I don’t look right or I’m not healthy enough?  I’m too bald or too short or I have tattoos?  There is no end to the things that hold us back from following Jesus.  Throw away those restrictions and just get busy doing the impossible.

 

The good news for Renewal is the our church is FILLED with true followers and I am so proud of you all.  I am not doing this to embarrass anyone, but let me just highlight a couple of examples inside Renewal.

 

Hannah, is not too old at 97 to be here every week and to show up for the Nick Vujicic gathering.  Cathy is not too old to learn to play piano in church after 32 years of marriage.

<< Randomly select a few other people as examples >>.  I praise God for you all.  You can’t lose with God!  We are so blessed.

 

Do not let the cares of the world turn you into being just a fan.  Be encouraged that even though it doesn’t get a lot of attention or thanks, Jesus has a reward waiting for you that is beyond anything you could ever ask for or even imagine if you will take up your cross and follow Him.

 

Let’s pray.

 

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Jer 29:11-13

 

Go in peace.

 

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When Did God Create the Angels?

My purpose for writing this is not to simply present another theory.  I will say this many times throughout this article; Satan’s purpose is to get us to doubt God’s Word (Genesis 3:1).  My purpose for writing this is to CHANGE YOUR MIND.  I don’t want you to doubt God’s Word.

For years I have made it a project of mine to study; creation, evolution, and dinosaurs.  The subject is fascinating and the subject of creation is the very foundations of our faith.  The enemy keeps pounding away at our foundation and we say, “It’s okay, he didn’t the church.”  Soon, the church starts to become wobbly…until it crashes.  I have read everything and watched everything I can get my hands on.  I have written articles and books on the subject.  I believe that Genesis 1 is literally true, as is the rest of the Bible, the King James Bible.

I believe that God created everything in six 24-literal days.  The King James Bible is VERY CLEAR on this.  There can absolutely be no mistake about this.  Whether you believe what it says is the only question.  Let me show you:

GENESIS CHAPTER ONE

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

In Genesis Chapter one we see the phrase, “And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” There can be no mistake.  “The evening and the morning”…this can be no other but a 24 hour day  Now, I understand the word day can mean different things.  For example:

“Back in my father’s day, he traveled during the day for a day.  There are three different uses of the same word, “day”, however, just as in the First Chapter of Genesis, we know the meaning by context.  What about the Hebrew?  Again, the Hebrew word for the word day is “yom”, can mean more than one thing.

It can refer to the 24-hour period of time that it takes for the earth to rotate on its axis (e.g., “there are 24 hours in a day”). It can refer to the period of daylight between dawn and dusk (e.g., “it gets pretty hot during the day but it cools down a bit at night”). And it can refer to an unspecified period of time (e.g., “back in my father’s day . . .”). It is used to refer to a 24-hour period in Genesis 7:11. It is used to refer to the period of daylight between dawn and dusk in Genesis 1:16. And it is used to refer to an unspecified period of time in Genesis 2:4.  So, what does yom mean in Genesis 1:5–2:2 when used in conjunction with ordinal numbers (i.e., the first day, the second day, the third day, the fourth day, the fifth day, the sixth day, and the seventh day)? Are these 24-hour periods or something else?  Could yom as it is used here mean an unspecified period of time?

Jesus and the apostles quoted from Genesis, arguably more than any other book of the Bible.  I believe that the evidence clearly shows that dinosaurs did not live millions of years ago, but they have lived on this earth for only about 6,000.  I believe that dinosaurs have always lived with man.  I believe that evolution is not even a theory, it is a fairytale. I believe that to deny the creation in Genesis 1 is to question the very credibility of Jesus and the Apostles.

Some will read this article and disagree with me on the time when God created the angels.  Of course, some of you may disagree with me on everything. J   You and I can disagree, as long as you and I agree with what God’s Word says.  I know many Christians that will simply hold that angels were created the first week or “early” first week”.  However, I believe that scripture can be more precise and show us an exact day during the creation week when God created the angels.  To be honest, as long as you are at least putting angels the first week and even after reading this article…and reading the Scriptures that I will share you still disagree…then I am ok.  And you should be too.  We have bigger fish to fry…souls that are lost…we do not need two mature Christians arguing about a day or two.

However, if you are from the camp that claims that God created angels before the first week, then we have a problem.  I dare say that if you are in this camp that you are stepping into heretical territory. Come back on this side of the line, the truth is over here.  In fact, since I am making bold statements, I will make one more.  If your position is that God made the angels before Genesis 1:1 then you sir/madam are in fact calling my God a liar!

If the hair just stood up on the back of your neck, GOOD, then I have your attention.  “I would never call God a liar!” you bark back at me.  Of course, you would not.  But I believe that inadvertently that is what some of you may be doing.  What I am about to teach you may contradict what you may have already learned and believed the truth to be.  A few assumptions if I may.  Both of us cannot be right.  One of us has to be wrong.  Both of us could be wrong.  So what do you do if what I am about to teach contradicts what you may have already learned?  First, keep in mind that this is not what I would refer to as a “Salvation Issue”.  The virgin birth, the resurrection, the deity of Christ and the creation account in Genesis all are examples of what I would call, “Salvation Issues”.

If you are questioning if God created angels in the first place or if God created them sometime other than the creation week in Genesis 1, then we need to have a different discussion.  As far as this discussion is concerned, and this may be dangerous but I will assume that you will agree that angels were created and that they were created during the first week.  The only thing left to settle is on what day during the first week was the angels settled?   Let’s look at the creation account in Genesis 1 to see if we can find the answer?

Verses 1-5 — FIRST DAY

1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. {this will become important later}

3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day”.

“In the beginning…”  We have what we call a definite article here.  Meaning there was a beginning.  This is important.  The other thing I want to point out is who did the creating.  Genesis 1 says, God.   Now, we know and understand from further study of Scripture that God is actually three persons in one: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  The Son submits to the Father and the Holy Spirit submits to the Son.  John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16, etc. all proclaim Jesus Christ as the Creator, not the Father and not the Holy Spirit.  This is important…Jesus is not a created being…He is the Creator.

On day one of the creation Verses 1-5 we see the Creator, Jesus Christ, creating heaven (not heavens as incorrectly translated in some versions, see my article on the three heavens) and earth.  The heaven, in this case, refers to outer space, everything beyond earth.  It also says that the Spirit of God moved upon the waters.  Then the Creator created light and darkness.   We see no evidence of angels being created on day one as recorded in the first five verses alone.  But pay close attention…

Verses 6-8 — SECOND DAY

6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

God creates the sky.  The sky forms a barrier between water upon the surface and the moisture in the air.  At this point, earth would have an atmosphere.  Some talk about a layer of ice or water called a canopy around the earth that shields the earth from UV light.  This canopy came down at the time of the flight.    Read carefully, were there angels created on the second day?

Verses 9-13 — THIRD DAY

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13And the evening and the morning were the third day.

God creates dry land. Continents and islands are above the water. The large bodies of water are named “seas” and the ground is named “land.”  The Creator creates dry land, the seas, and vegetation. God declares that all this is good.  We do not see any direct clear evidence of the creation of angels on day three of the creation week…pay close careful attention,  I am about to trick…play VERY close attention.

Verses 14-19 — FOURTH DAY

“ 14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. “

On the fourth day, God made the sun, the moon, the stars and the planets.  Complete with an established orbit so as to mark the passage of time (months, seasons, and years).

Verses 20-23 — FIFTH DAY

20”And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day”.

On the fifth day, the Creator created the living creatures of the water and of the air (The birds and the fish).

Verses 24-31 — SIXTH DAY

24”And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day”.

On the sixth day of creation, land animals, dinosaurs and man were created. At this time there was no death on the Earth, and God proclaimed it was good.  Up to this point at least in the Genesis account, we do not see, angels being created.  If it were that simple there would be no need for me to write this document.  When we look at God’s Word as a whole it becomes very clear that angels were created on day two of the creation week.  It was not a complete waste of time spelling out Genesis chapter one…it helped us to sort out exactly what was created on each day.  This will be important later on in this article and many of you had no idea as to the order.  And just because the order can get lost in a bunch of words I am going to outline it for us here:

The First Day The heaven, the earth, light and darkness.
The Second Day The atmosphere, (a canopy of water or ice)
The Third Day The land and plants
The Fourth Day The sun, the moon and the planets
The Fifth Day The birds and the fish.
The Six Day The Land animals, dinosaurs and man,

Remember that the issue of this discussion is not if He created them but when He created the angels.  If Satan can get you to doubt what God says then he has you!  The truth is God created angels and the truth is He created them early first week or creation and the truth is He created them on the second day.

Alright, we need to jump over to second Peter chapter three.  It is important for us to understand that Satan has been twisting the Word of God since the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:1 Satan says to Eve, Yea hath God said.  Right off the bat, we see Satan twisting God’s Word.  He is a professional; he knows every trick because he has been at this game for the last 6,000 years.  And if Satan can get us to doubt God’s Word then his job is finished.  Some have asserted, and to be honest, I have heard this argument before, that 2 Peter 3 shows that we are standing on the second earth. Their theory claims that the Millennium is actually the third coming.  Say what?  We used to say in Junior High, “brotha please!”   Ok, before we get too far ahead of ourselves and all the bad 80’s terminology starts coming out… let’s open our Bibles to 2nd Peter chapter 3 and get into the meat of this thing.

Verse 2 — “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior:”

Verse 3 — “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,”

Verse 4 — “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? {Doubting God’s Word} for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation{there God goes ago again, claiming there was a beginning}.

Verse5 — “For this they willingly are ignorant {In the Greek this means dumb on purpose :)} of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:”

Verse 6 — “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:” (ahhh, interesting!  Here we have a clue.  Write this down.)

Verse 7 — But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

Verse 10 — “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” {sound like the big bang?}

The BIG BANG is going to happen…it just has not happened yet. 

Verse 13 — “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Why would God send His son to die for a world that has already been destroyed?  In other words, is it enough for Jesus to die for one world or does He need to die for multiple earths?  I am not asking you to make a stretch or leap of faith here.  However, I am asking you to THINK!  Put to work that 4-pound organ between your ears that God designed.  2 Peter 3 is clearly speaking about future events; events that can be lined up with the book of Revelation. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night”2 Peter 3:10.

Paul also makes mention of this in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”  When is the day of the Lord?  When will He come as a thief in the night?   At the second coming…a future event that has been prophesied in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The second coming of Christ is an event that we as Christians long for.  This event is referred to as the RAPTURE 2 Peter 3:9 —The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  If 2 Peter 3 was talking about the past, why would God be concerned that none would perish and that all would come to repentance?  2 Peter is referring to the future and is supported by Revelation 21:1, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Unknowingly, some Christians that teach that there was an earth before this one are teaching part of the Gap Theory.  Now, when you mention that they say, “no way”…look at the Gap Theory and you will see.  Basically, the Gap Theory claims there are millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

We are still standing on the first earth.  Revelation 21:1 says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”  Is there still a sea?  Yes.  This is an event that is yet to happen.  John Hagee preaches a sermon that states the first earth was destroyed when Satan fell.  This is not scriptural.  It preaches real good and he has nice graphics and all, but he is dead wrong! John Hagee is a heretic.

So when did Satan fall?  The answer can be found in Ezekiel 28:12-15,

Verse 12Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. {Satan was smart and beautiful}

Verse 13 — Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Verse 14 — “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Verse 15 — “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

We can learn a lot from this scripture:

  • Satan was in Eden
  • Satan was Created
  • He was perfect until sin was found in him
  • He was in Eden until he sinned

Genesis 1:31, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

After the sixth day God had a look around at everything He had created.  He said, “yep, everything is very good.”

Satan could not have fallen before the sixth day.  God would not have said everything was, “very good” if Satan was running around being a bad guy.  He was probably a nice guy in Eden for a long time.  Another argument, but from my studies, this was probably about 100 years.  Can you imagine God saying everything was very good and the lion ripping guts out of the zebra or Satan running around doing what he does today or any of the terrible things we see today?  I think not.

The scriptures tell us that angels were created.  Psalm 148:2-5, etc.  This would include Satan.  In order to understand when angels were created, it is important to understand why angels were created.  Now, I understand we read about angels worshipping and praising God, but was that why they were created? (Revelation 5:11-14) According to Scripture angels were NOT created to worship and praise God, I understand that is something angels do…but that is not why they were created.  Yes, I did repeat myself.  Not because I have a speech impediment, but because for some reason people will come back to this point over and over again.   We need to be clear, angels do things…they sing they fly, they are messengers, etc., but these are not WHY they were created.

Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

Hebrews 1:14 clearly says that angels are ministering spirits created to minister to manGenesis 28:12, Psalm 104:4, Matthew 4:11, Mark 1:13, Hebrews 1:7 could all be used to show that angels were created to minister to man.  Question?  If God created angels to minister to man, and He did (see Scripture); why would He need to create them millions of years before man got here?  I asked this question to a Pastor who was speaking on the topic of creation.  Of course I was fascinated by every word he spoke.  I loved his animation and the detail of his presentation.  When I question him about his theory that angels were created before Genesis 1:1 using the fact that angels were created to minister to man he responded this way:

“Did God create plants on the 3rd day and plants were for man to eat and God created plants before man needed them?”  God created everything before man I said.  And we are talking 3 days not millions of years.  If that is what he believes he is welcome to, but I believe the scriptures show otherwise.  I then went into my explanation of why angels were created on day two, what you are reading here.  His senior Pastor was standing within earshot of our conversation.  He walked over and said, “I have to go with Airrington on this.”  It’s not hard when you are right.  Hold on, I am not being arrogant…I have been wrong plenty of times.  Let’s continue…before I get myself into trouble…

Looking now back to Genesis 1:1 and then we will wrap this up with the final blow to the theory that angels were created before Genesis 1:1.  “Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven {no s, another argument for another day} and the earth.”  I would like to point out your Honor that God through Moses said that there was a beginning.  It is true that according to Psalm 90:4, the same man that wrote Genesis 1:1, said that God was outside of time and then Peter quoted Moses in 2 Peter 3:8.  So, once upon a time, there was no time.  I would also like to point out your Honor that the Bible was written for man’s benefit not for God’s benefit.  If God said there was a BEGINNING and Moses believed Him and wrote it down…then I believe Him too.  Why would God tell us that there was a beginning if this was really not the beginning?  Remember Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”  Satan has been trying to confuse us and make us doubt God’s Word for the last 6,000 years.  If God says, “In the beginning…” we have no reason to doubt God except Satan trying and make us doubt what God said.  You know there is another name for this theory it is called the pre-adamite period.  Look that one up.

Job 38:4&7 tells us that the angels including Satan shouted for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth.  Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”  In Genesis 1:2 The earth was empty and nothing was here.  The earth was a ball of water.  The foundations were laid on the second day.  Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”  On the third day, the foundations of the earth were formed.   Kevin, how can you be sure of this?

Psalm 104:1-5, “Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.”

There are three significant things that I would like to point out from Psalm 104:1-5 (in the first two verses the psalmist is praising God):

  1. God creates the waters
  2. God makes the angels
  3. God laid the foundations of the earth

Notice the order of things in Psalm 104Job 38 says that the angels (including Satan) witnessed the laying of the foundations of the earth.  Genesis, Job, Psalm all point to angels being made prior to the laying of the foundations of the earth.  Psalm gives us the order of events and amplifies Genesis, the first 3 days of creation and again it says that angels were created as ministers.

Summary – Statements of Fact

  • God’s Spirit moves across the face of the water(Genesis 1:2)
    • “Who Layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters” (Psalm 104:3)
    • Angels were Created (Hebrews 1:14, Psalm 104:4)
    • Angels were Created to minister to man  (Hebrews 1:14, Psalm 104:4)
    • Angels witnessed the laying of the foundation of the earth(Job 38:7, Angels shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid)
      • “Who laid the foundations of the earth…?” (Psalm 104:5)
      • Genesis, Job & Psalm all point to Angels being made prior to the laying of the foundations of the earth.
      • Exodus 20:11 God tells us that He created EVERYTHING in six days.

If this is not enough, I wonder what God Himself said?  For that, I will take you to the 20th chapter of Exodus where the 10 commandments are recorded.  Exodus 20:1, “And God spake all these words, saying,” Okay boys and girls…what you are about to hear next GOD SAID!  That’s right!  All 1189 chapters of the King James Bible were inspired only this one chapter was actually written by the finger of God (Exodus 20).  Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.”  God said that He created the heaven, the earth and the sea and ALL THAT IN THEM IS…in six days.  Including…angels.  The question you should not be asking is, “Did He say it?”  The question is do you believe He said it? By my count, God asked Job 84 rhetorical questions.  One of those questions can be found in Job 38:4:

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?”

None of us were there when God laid the foundations of the earth.  Moses was not there when God laid the foundations of the earth (Day 3), but Moses believed God.  All we have is God’s Word and if we cannot take God’s Word when angels were created then we can’t take His Word when it comes to anything else.

At this point there should be little doubt in your mind that God created angels early in the week; probably the second day according to Job 38 and Psalm 104.  If we begin to doubt what God said, this is exactly what Satan wants us to do (Genesis 3:1).  If we doubt God’s Word on something as simple as when the angels were created…then what else will we doubt?

Copyright © 2010-2017 Reverend Kevin R. Airrington All rights reserved. www.airrington.com

Copyright © 1989 - 2017 AIRRINGTON MINISTRIES | www.airrington.com |All Rights Reserved.

The Feast of Tabernacles: God’s plan for mankind involves restoration

The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process.
 
After being Baptized with the Holy Ghost and then giving his first inspired sermon the apostle Peter summed up God’s instruction for man this way: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitutionof all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21).So, what are these “times of refreshing: and “times of restoration” that Peter is talking is talking about?We can be certain that God’s plan for mankind involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process, which will start with the return of Jesus Christ, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, and the banishment of Satan, depicted by the Day of Atonement. Once these events have taken place, as represented by the previous Holy Days, the foundation is in place for the restoration of the creation to peace and harmony with God.

The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with an annual Holy Day (Leviticus 23:34-35), pictures the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ over the earth after His second coming (see Revelation 20:4). This period is often called the Millennium, which simply means “1,000 years.”

That age to come, a wonderful “rest” following the hardships of the present age, is symbolized every seven days by the weekly Sabbath (Hebrews 4:1-11) and every year by the Feast of Tabernacles. Also called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16), it celebrates the great harvest of humanity when all people who are alive on earth will learn God’s ways. Humanity will at last be restored to a right relationship with God (Isaiah 11:9-10).

In the beginning, God created mankind to cooperate with Him in a beautiful relationship characterized by love, peace and obedience to His laws. At the completion of His creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). This time of peace and harmony abruptly ended because of Satan’s deception and man’s disobedience (Genesis 3:1-6). Disobedience cut mankind off from God’s way (verses 21-24). The Bible describes the tragic result: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5).

This broken relationship between God and man has continued through history to our time. Paul reflected on this state: “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:(Romans 5:12).

Paul knew that the breach created by man’s disobedience is healed through Jesus Christ: “For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

Isaiah prophesied the restoration of the world

God used the prophet Isaiah to reveal parts of His magnificent plan for restoring the world. Written at a time during which Israel faced punishment for continued disobedience, the book of Isaiah was inspired by God to give the nation encouragement through the promise of a better world to come.

Jesus Christ, after reading in the synagogue one of Isaiah’s prophecies, acknowledged the special understanding given to the prophet: “These things said Esaias [Isaiah], when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” (John 12:41). Isaiah prophesied not only of Christ’s earthly ministry, but also wrote of Christ’s return in power and glory (Isaiah 66:15-16).

The basis for the messianic rule of Jesus will be God’s law. Again, as Isaiah foretold, “it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2-3).

A world of peace and abundance

After Christ’s return, He will bring the creation in its entirety into harmony with God, and peace will no longer be the exception. King David said, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165).  If everyone knew God’s law and lived by it the world would be a wonderful place to live.  Can you imagine such a place?

To bring about amazing transformation in the lives of people more than just knowledge would be needed.  Among people we would need to see a spiritual change.  Not the kind of change that takes place on the outside that makes us look religious, but the kind that takes place on the inside that makes us look like Jesus. God, speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, describes how it will happen: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.(Ezekiel 36:26-27).

People will willingly and enthusiastically obey God from their hearts as the Spirit of God influences them.  People will begin to set their personal interests aside and place the interests of others ahead of their own. Other people will be thought of as better than themselves. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3). Personal goals will be to help their fellow human beings instead of exclusive self-concern. Amazingly, we will see an end to theft of personal property. A blatant disregard for others’ property and feelings will be eliminated. Because the world will finally be at peace, countries will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3).

During this 1,000-year period, God will change even the nature of wild animals, reflecting the peace that will descend upon society. Conditions on earth shall return to that of the Garden of Eden before sin brought death into this world.  Describing this idyllic time, Isaiah 11:7-9 says: ” And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.   They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Reversing the effects of sin

Physical infirmities shall be healed by God.  Isaiah 35:5-6 prophesies of this time during which “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”

Of even greater importance will be the spiritual healing that will take place.  Jesus Christ will complete the healing He begun during His ministry on earth according to the Prophet Isaiah: ” The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind [heal] up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.(Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:18-19). We will start to see a reversal of the accumulated results of generations of people following Satan’s sinful ways.

As already mentioned, the Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16). This name signified the completion of Israel’s annual harvest.  In this setting, God said, “Ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 12:12, 18; 14:26). So this feast is a time of celebration for the abundance God has given. The same bountiful harvest theme continues in the future fulfillment of the festival. Through Isaiah, God spoke of the desert becoming productive land: “…for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.  And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. “(Isaiah 35:6-7).

Although, Isaiah 35:7b has little to do with the context of this article, I will take a short side bar to discuss a word found here.  Just because I find it so fascinating, we will discuss the word “dragon”.

The word “dragon” is the old English word for “dinosaur”.  The word “dinosaur” was not found in the dictionary until 1841.  The word was first coined in Modern Latin by Sir Richard Owen, from combining form of Greek deinos “terrible” and sauros “lizard”.  Prior to 1841 they described these animals by the use of the word dragon.  Thus prior to 1841, you will find throughout literature and the Bible the word dragon to describe dinosaurs.

In Exodus 20 God tells us that He created everything, including dinosaurs in six days.  Dinosaurs have always lived with man…they lived with Adam in the Garden of Eve, they were with Noah on the Ark and some of them may still be alive today.  That’s all, side bar over. 

Abundant harvests will be produced at that time. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” (Amos 9:13).

The significance of tabernacles

The name of the Feast of Tabernacles derives from God’s command to ancient Israel to build temporary “tabernacles,” sometimes called “booths,” to live in during the festival. The Israelites left their houses and built temporary dwelling places (Hebrew succah, meaning “hut of woven boughs”) to live in while rejoicing before God. These reminded them of their release from slavery and their dwelling in booths when God brought them out of Egypt (Leviticus 23:34
, 41-43).  This festival emphasizes rest, peace and prosperity as it meets the needs of all the people, including strangers, widows and the poor.  This of course, is in stark contrast to the hardship of slavery.

The Bible emphasizes that, as with booths or temporary dwellings, our physical life is transitory. The Apostle Paul’s writings reflect this theme: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).

Hebrews 11 recounts the examples of many of God’s faithful servants down through the centuries. It then concludes that “these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (verse 13).

The Feast of Tabernacles is an annual reminder of our temporary state and that we also “seek a homeland” (verse 14). This lesson is reinforced when we travel to a site of the Feast of Tabernacles and stay in temporary dwellings such as hotels and campgrounds.

This festival reminds us that, in spite of our material possessions, we are still mortals in need of a literal transformation so we may possess eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).

In the accounts of the vision that has come to be called the “transfiguration,” Jesus gave a glimpse of the Kingdom of God to Peter, James and John. Christ appeared in glory and was talking with Moses and Elijah. Peter’s immediate response was to suggest that they quickly construct three tabernacles. He seemed to understand the important connection between tabernacles and the future age of God’s Kingdom.

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” (Matthew 17:1-9; Luke 9:27-36).

The role of the resurrected saints in the Millennium

The judgment of the inhabitants of the earth who live during the 1,000 years as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles (Isaiah 2:4; 51:4-5) begins in earnest as Christ brings “many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10). This judgment is a time of universal opportunity for salvation. And to this end, God has allocated 1,000 years during which the resurrected saints, the first fruits of God’s harvest, will reign with Christ on earth as kings and priests, leading the way so many others can enter God’s Kingdom (Revelation 5:10; 20:6). “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”  Jesus promised that “he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26). People whom God resurrects at Christ’s return will experience the unparalleled opportunity to work with Him to help all nations build a right relationship with God.

The foundation for this relationship begins with instruction in God’s law, including the observance of these very festivals we are now studying. Notice the words of the prophet Zechariah: “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.(Zechariah 14:16). Other prophets described the time as an era of God’s law covering the earth “as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

Many will assist Jesus Christ in this universal educational program of helping others understand God’s way. Speaking of this time, Isaiah says teachers “yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20-21). The opportunity to help others understand and be reconciled to God is a wonderful calling. Each who serves in this way will be called “the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In” (Isaiah 58:12).

God calls people out of the world at this time to become His chosen people, sanctified and redeemed by Him (2 Corinthians 6:16–7:1). They are to live exemplary lives as God prepares them for service during Christ’s millennial reign and beyond.

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

One final conflict

If one reads God’s plan for saving humanity you will not find one place where he forces anyone to obey Him. You are free to either accept or reject God’s way of life.  For that matter, you can choose what you will or won’t do with your life.  Go ahead, if you want to wreck your life with drugs, alcohol, fornication, adultery, lying, cheating stealing or any number of other of sins, it is all your choice.

The spiritual convictions of man will be tested by Satan after the 1,000 years of the Millennium and God will allow this. Revelation 20:7-10 describes this time.  The devil will be loosed by God from his place of restraint and allowed to deceive those who are not convicted of the perfect righteousness of God’s way.  God will destroy by fire those who follow Satan in this rebellion. The devil’s futile efforts will be thwarted. This final, tragic rebellion against God will come to nothing, and Satan’s destructive, deceitful influence over humanity will finally draw to a close.

The Bible says to choose this day whome you will serve.  With that choice be God or will that choice be the world?  Will you rule as kings and priest with Jesus or will you be cast into the lake of fire with Satan and his demons?  The decision is yours.

 

References   

King James Version Bible

Reveling Through Revelation, J. Vernon McGee, 1974

 

Pastor Kevin Airrington

Copyright © 1989 - 2017 AIRRINGTON MINISTRIES | www.airrington.com |All Rights Reserved.

What is your Verdict?

VALIDITY OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
Copyright ©2012 Pastor Kevin R Airrington


Juries in the United States are asked every day to determine if there is enough evidence in a criminal trial to convict a person “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In this article I am going to ask you to weigh for yourself the historical and the physical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from about 29 a.d. and then, you judge for yourself if the Bible is a credible document.

About 2,000 years ago an event was supposed to have occurred and the Bible records evidence of that event.  Much of the evidence that is recorded in the Bible is supported by outside documents and first-century historians.  If the man we call Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead then the Christian faith and the New Testament are complete and entire frauds.  In short, prove the Resurrection to be false and the entire Christian religion would fall apart and Jesus would found to be a liar.

But if true, this single event, above any other in the history of mankind, provides something solid to believe in. It provides evidence of the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth more powerfully than anything that he ever said or did.  It proves that Jesus is who He claimed to be: the Son of God.

Any event that claims to be historical must satisfy certain tests of authenticity.  For example, we know that people and events were historical by the things that were said and not said about them in their own time and the time immediately following.

Examine within these few pages the arguments that demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was truly raised by God from the dead. You will then have a solid basis for faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and with your whole heart, soul, and mind lay hold upon the hope of eternal life.

If true, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the single most important event in the history of mankind, and therefore the one most crucial to establish as an authentic historical event. In fact, the Resurrection is the very linchpin of the Christian faith, holding together every claim and every blessing. If the Resurrection could be proven a fraud, Christianity would disintegrate as a total fabrication with little redeeming merit. Jesus would not even be an example of a “good moral teacher,” as some maintain, for his most important prediction—that he would be raised from the dead—would be found a lie.

As Christians, our very salvation depends in large part upon the reliability of the four historical records of the birthlifedeath, and especially the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.   The most important, most vital element for our salvation is a deeply held historical factual raised Jesus from the dead.   Romans 10:9 asserts: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  We are trifling with the bedrock of our salvation when we entertain doubts about the historical accuracy of any part of Scripture.  But most crucial are those parts that make historical claims upon which our salvation depends.

Therefore, those who argue that historically the resurrection is not provable and even unnecessary are contradicting the testimony of the apostolic witnesses.  The Apostle Paul’s entire ministry was built upon the foundation of the Resurrection, and it was his personal encounter with the risen Christ that caused him to develop a firm conviction in the reality of this event. In the following verses, I have highlighted in bold type Paul’s statements of the consequences to the Christian faith if the Resurrection of Christ did not, in fact, happen.

1 Corinthians 15:14-20

(14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

(15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

(16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

(17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

(18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

(19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

(20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

Later in his life, Paul’s public testimony to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and his proclamation of the Gospel in Ephesus caused such uproar that the Roman authorities took him into protective custody lest he be killed by the Jews.  After several appeals according to Roman law, Paul found himself standing before King Agrippa, his last level of appeal before the Emperor himself.

Given permission to speak freely, Paul launched into a passionate account of his life, concluding with his encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus.  When Paul then verified the Resurrection from Old Testament prophecy, the governor, Festus, interrupted him and told him he was crazy. The truth of Paul’s brilliant reply remains emblazoned across the pages of human history.

Acts 26:25-26

(25) “But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

(26) For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

Amen! And that is why, taken together, the following historical proofs of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ present evidence that is beyond a reasonable doubt.

1. The Resurrection narratives have the ring of historical truth

The Resurrection narratives (Gospels) bear unmistakable signs of being historically accurate. The earliness of these accounts, at a time when hostile witnesses were present, would have made a fabrication unlikely and dangerous.  There is agreement on the main facts and great variety in the witnesses given, yet they are not a mere repetition of some standardized story with all the discrepancies worked out.  The accounts of Christ’s resurrection appearances are clearly independent of one another, as their surface dissimilarities suggest.  Deeper scrutiny, however, reveals that these appearances are non‑contradictory.  Henry Morris writes:

It is a well‑known rule of evidence that the testimonies of several different witnesses, each reporting from his own particular vantage point, provide the strongest possible evidence when the testimonies contain superficial contradictions that resolve themselves upon close and careful examination. This is exactly the situation with the various witnesses to the resurrection.1

2. The Apostle Paul’s life and ministry is a strong witness of the Resurrection

At the time Paul met the resurrected Christ, he was an ardent antagonist to the Christian faith.  A highly educated man, he was not easily persuaded of anything that appeared contrary to or inconsistent with the Mosaic traditions.  It could be said that he would have been the last person on earth to accept the idea of a crucified and resurrected Messiah based on the Jewish expectations of the time. The fact that he became so fully persuaded of the resurrection of Christ that he completely dedicated his life to his risen Lord is powerful evidence of the reality of the Resurrection.   Canon Kennett writes:

Within a very few years of the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was in the mind of at least one man of education [the Apostle Paul], absolutely irrefutable.2

3.  The empty tomb is a historical given

No reputable New Testament historian doubts the historical fact that the tomb in which Christ was placed after his crucifixion was empty. Therefore, there are only three explanations for it. His enemies took the body, his friends took the body, or Jesus was raised from the dead. The first possibility is extremely unlikely, because his enemies would have certainly displayed his body if they could have, in order to humiliate his disciples, quell the rumors of his resurrection, as well as to cut short any new religious movement that threatened their Mosaic traditions.

It is equally unlikely that his friends would have taken his body, because after his crucifixion they were profoundly disappointed and discouraged and did not believe that he would be resurrected. It is absurd to think that under these conditions they would invent a scheme in which they would steal away the body to fabricate a story they obviously did not believe.

4. The disciples were devout Jews

The disciples were Jews who took seriously their Jewish privileges and obligations. Therefore, it is unthinkable that they would have been party to making up a new religion for personal gain. To a first‑century Jew, such an act was equivalent to lying against the God of Israel, as Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15:12‑19 (where he called it bearing false witness, contrary to one of the Ten Commandments). For a first‑century Jew, lying against God and perverting His revelation would mean risking one’s salvation and future participation in the Messianic Kingdom. Would such a person risk divine retribution for a few years of prestige as a leader of a new religion? The answer can only be an emphatic “no.”

5. The testimony of women

The presence of women at the tomb is strong evidence that the biblical record is true. Women had virtually no credibility in the firstcentury Jewish culture, and their testimony in a court of law was considered worthless. For example, if a man was accused of a crime that only women witnessed, he could not be convicted on that basis.  If the account of Jesus’ resurrection were a fable added later in an attempt to authenticate Christianity, why would the record have women be the first to see him and testify to the empty tomb, unless it had really happened that way? Women bringing testimony of his resurrection that is then denied by the male disciples makes the latter look bad, and these men were the first leaders of the Christian Church.  A fabricated story added later by the Church would certainly have painted their first leaders in a more favorable light.

6.  Jewish propaganda presupposes the empty tomb and the missing body

The Jewish Temple authorities paid those who had seen the tomb empty to lie and say that the disciples had stolen the body, and they even murdered many of those who preached about his resurrection. With such a powerful incentive to squash the new movement, they would have stopped at nothing to produce Jesus’ dead body if they could have. The fact that they did not means they could not because he was risen.

7. His enemies would have produced his dead body to silence the believers

If he did not rise from the dead, what became of his body?  If his enemies stole it and never showed it openly, that would have encouraged the very rumors of a resurrection that they were very anxious to prevent.  But the decisive proof that His enemies did not take the body is that they surely would have quickly produced it with great fanfare, for they stopped short of nothing to discredit the story.  As William Lane Craig argues:

This is historical evidence of the highest quality, since it comes not from the Christians but from the very enemies of the early Christian faith.3

8. There was no veneration of the tomb

If Jesus was not resurrected, why is there no record of his disciples venerating his tomb as so often happens to religious leaders?  Though God forbade it, the practice continued among the Israelites to the point that God Himself disposed of the bodies of Elijah and Moses lest their followers venerate their gravesites.

9. A non-Christian historian testifies in support of the Resurrection

Josephus, the firstcentury Jewish historian, wrote about Jesus Christ and the growth of Christianity as follows:

And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned Him to the cross, those that loved Him at the first did not forsake him; for He appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribes of Christians, so named from Him, are not extinct at this day.4

Though some have tried to dismiss this corroborating secular testimony as fraudulent, this is unlikely because Josephus’ writings were well received at the time of their writing by both Jews and Romans. He was even made an honorary Roman citizen.

There is no record of any objection being raised to this passage by early detractors of Christianity, and had this been a fraudulent and late insertion into the writings of Josephus, this fact would have been openly debated in the literature of the day. Because this did not happen, the silence of the critics is damning to their cause.5

10. No alternative explanations in the early non-scriptural sources

There is no alternative explanation for the rise of the Christian Church given in early historical sources that would even attempt to give the “real” story.  In the event that the story was fabricated, surely some critic would have attempted such an alternative explanation.  But the only adequate explanation for the rise of the Church that has ever been given is that the early Christians believed Jesus had been raised from the dead.

11. The biblical records of the Resurrection appearances give a unified witness

The Four Gospels and the Apostle Paul give a unified witness of eleven resurrection appearances.  Because these records are harmonious and noncontradictory, the burden of proof is upon those who would say that they do not tell the truth.

The eleven resurrection appearances, in their likely order, are as follows:

  1. To Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:11–18)
  2. To the other women (Matt. 28:8–10)
  3. To Simon Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5)
  4. To the two men on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:13–35)
  5. To eleven of the disciples (except Thomas-Luke 24:33–49; John 20:19–24)
  6. To the twelve a week later (John 20:24–29; 1 Cor. 15:5)
  7. To seven disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1–23)
  8. To more than five hundred followers (1 Cor. 15:6)
  9. To James (1 Cor. 15:7)
  10. To all the Apostles [this could be speaking of the Ascension](1 Cor. 15:7)
  11. To the Twelve at the Ascension (Acts 1:3–12)6 

12. The idea of Christ’s new body was a totally foreign concept

The disciples had enough trouble believing that Christ would die and then be raised, and would never have even conceived of the idea of the Messiah having a different body.  It is virtually inconceivable that early Christians fabricated such a story, which even today sounds like science fiction to many doubters.

13.  Modern scholars and historians admit that there is strong evidence of his bodily resurrection

J. P. Moreland confirms this and quotes other scholars:

Almost no New Testament scholar today denies that Jesus appeared to a number of his followers after his death. Some scholars interpret these as subjective hallucinations or objective visions granted by God which were not visions of a physical being.  But no one denies that the believers had some sort of experience. The skeptical New Testament scholar Norman Perrin admitted: “The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based.” Dunn, professor of divinity at the University of Durham, England, agrees: “It is almost impossible to dispute that at the historical roots of Christianity lie some visionary experiences of the first Christians, who understood them as appearances of Jesus, raised by God from the dead.”7

Thomas Arnold, former Professor of History at Rugby and Oxford, and one of the world’s greatest historians, made the following statement about the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better, fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair enquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died, and rose again from the dead.8

Simon Greenleaf is one of the most highly regarded legal minds ever seen in America. He was an expert on the laws of evidence, and the founder of the Harvard Law School. He analyzed the accounts in the Four Gospels of the resurrection of Christ in terms of their validity as objective testimonial evidence, and concluded:

It was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.9

14. The conviction of his followers in the Resurrection

Those who first published the story that Jesus had risen from the dead believed it to be a fact.

They rested their faith not only on the fact of the empty tomb, but on the fact that they themselves had seen Jesus alive after his burialHe was seen not once or twicebut at least ten recorded times; and not just one at a time, but in groups of two, seven, ten, eleven, twelve, and over five hundred.

15. The martyrdom of his followers for their belief in the Resurrection

The firstcentury believers preached and acted with conviction about the truth of his resurrection, many of them even dying because of their belief. If his friends had stolen the body to make it look like he had been resurrected, they would have known that they were believing a lie, and men do not become martyrs for what they know to be false.

16. The unanimous testimony of eye-witnesses, who could not all have been deceived or deluded

Some critics say that the early Christians had a vision or a hallucination of Christ after his death, in the same way people today claim to have “seen” the pop icon Elvis Presley.  Could it not have been an ecstatic visionA dreamA fantasy of an excited imagination?  Perhaps an apparitionNone of these is at all probable, for different groups of people do not keep on seeing the same hallucination. Over five hundred people in a crowd would not all dream the same dream at the same time.

Some modern Christian apologists have argued that it is irrelevant whether or not Christ actually was physically raised, because his “spirit” went to be with God.  God then supposedly gave Christ’s followers a “vision” of Christ continuing to live “spiritually” at God’s side. Such a mystical and spiritualistic concept would not have satisfied the Hebraic mind of the disciples, however, who believed the dead to be dead until raised in a bodily, physical resurrection.  It would also have placed the Christian faith on a subjective, mystical basis without historical claims and would not account for the early disciples’ energetic witness of the bodily resurrection of Christ.

17. The unbelief of the disciples concerning his resurrection

With the exception of Joseph of Arimathea, the followers of Jesus did not believe that he would die and then be resurrected. They were not expecting the event, and when it happened they did not believe it at first. They considered it an “idle tale” (Luke 24:11 ‑ KJV). They did not believe it until they had to, when they were directly confronted by the risen Lord.  Henry Morris writes:

One thing is certain: the disciples could not have fabricated the story of the resurrection from their own imaginations. On the contrary, they somehow failed to anticipate it even after such an abundance of prophetic preparation for it, both from the Scriptures and from Christ. It took the strongest of evidences to convince them it had actually taken place.10

18. The idea of a resurrected Messiah was a hard sell to the Jews and absurd to the Greeks

The picture of Jesus was not in keeping with then current conceptions of what the Messiah would be like (a theocratic ruler who would deliver Israel from Gentile oppression) and it would have been hard to convince others of its truth.  The Greeks, with their doctrine of the immortality of the soul, thought the idea of a bodily resurrection absurd and unnecessary (Acts 17:32).  If the disciples had invented an event or a doctrine around which to build a new religion, it would have been more in line with the standard expectations of the day.

19. He could have gotten out of the tomb only by resurrection

The “swoon” theory has proposed that Jesus was not really dead when they buried him, and that he “came to” again. But in that case, weak and exhausted, encased in heavy grave wrappings; he could scarcely have moved, much less removed the heavy stone door (about 2,000lbs) and gotten out of the tomb.   Furthermore, the Roman authorities had sealed the door, and even if he had been successful in moving the stone, the guards would have rearrested him and further humiliated him. Since there is no record of such an event, it must not have happened, because his enemies would have made much of such a bizarre happening.

20. The very existence and growth of the Christian Church makes no sense if he was not raised

Some critics say that the resurrection was a later addition to the story of Christ, invented years later by the Church to glorify a dead hero.  But it is known, from historical records outside Scripture, that the sect known as Christians came into existence in the reign of Tiberius, and that the thing that brought them into existence was their belief that Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Resurrection was not a later addition to the Christian faith, but the very cause and incentive for itThey rested their faith, not on historical records, but on what they had seen with their own eyes. The records were the result of their faithnot the cause of it. Christianity hinges on the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection, for without it the entire faith is found fraudulent.  Had there been no resurrection, there would have been no New Testament, and no Christian Church.

21. The disciples had nothing to gain by fabricating a story and starting a new religion

His followers faced hardship, ridicule, hostility, and martyrs’ deaths. In light of this, they could never have sustained such unwavering motivation if they knew what they were preaching was a lie.  Religion had its rewards for them, but those rewards came from a sincere belief that what they were living for was true.

22. The unanimous testimony of the early Christian leaders

If the empty tomb and resurrection was a fabrication, why did not at least one of the disciples break away from the rest and start his own version of Christianity?   Or why did not at least one of them reveal the claim as a lie?  The Temple authorities were willing to pay good money to anyone who would provide such information.  Or if money was not alluring enough, what about the possibility of proving the Resurrection a lie in order to draw disciples away to follow some enterprising would‑be cult leader?  History has shown that this role is a popular one, and this would have been a golden opportunity.

Without the strong and persuasive evidence of the Resurrection, the continued unity of the early Christian leaders is inexplicable in light of the human tendency to want to promote oneself.  The assumption that they were all committed to the truth of their message is the only adequate explanation of their continued unity and the lack of any revelation of fraud.  Those who lie for personal gain do not stick together very long, especially when hardship decreases the benefits.

23. All of the alternate explanations proposed for the Resurrection lack credibility

In light of the evidence of the empty tomb, the Resurrection appearances and the rise of the Christian Church, a reasonable person should conclude that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a wellestablished historical fact.   In a court of law, such evidence would compel conviction unless contradictory evidence could be brought forward to introduce “a reasonable doubt.”   But all alternate explanations and theories are extremely doubtful and counter‑intuitive.

Therefore, Christians are being rational, sensible, and fully consistent with common sense when they rest their faith on this wellestablished historical event.  Not only is there compelling historical evidence to back the beliefbut extravagant benefits in the future are promised to those who believe it.  According to the Bible, the only sure promise of everlasting life for mankind, both individually and collectively, depends upon belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As Halley writes:

What a Halo of Glory this simple belief sheds on human life. Our hope of resurrection and life everlasting is based, not on a philosophic guess about immortality, but an historic fact.11

What is your Verdict?

From my research I have found 23 pieces of evidence proving the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We have more evidence of proof of the Resurrection than we do evidence that Abraham Lincoln ever lived.  Yet, you believe Abe lived, don’t you?

Maybe this article has helped you come to your own verdict and you are ready to offer the same kind of prayer that changed my life over 23 years ago.  Perhaps you are still skeptical; let me encourage you to continue in your research, but act quickly as the Bible says we are not guaranteed our next breath here on earth.  Hear me for just a moment, there is a lot riding on your verdict!  If Jesus really is the Son of God, then your eternal future depends on how you respond to Him.  John 8:24 says, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”  Those are strong words; I get it!  But please understand my friend, they are meant with the most concerning love for you.  Jesus paid it all for you.  He is opening the door to Heaven for all who will put their trust in Him.  The choice is yours.  The evidence is in; it is not disputable — what is your verdict?

1.  Henry Morris, The Defender’s Bible (World Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995), p. 1576.

2. New Bible Dictionary (Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1975), p. 1087.

3. William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics   (Crossway Books, Wheaton IL, 1994), p. 277.

4. Translated by William Whiston (originally published in 1737), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus (The Winston Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1957), p. 535.

5. For more on the authenticity of Josephus’ reference to Jesus, see Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1999), pp. 55–57.

6. Traditionally, Judas Iscariot is excluded from the number witnessing his ascension because of the record in Matthew 27:5 that seem to indicate that Judas went and “hanged himself” shortly after the crucifixion. It seems more likely, however, that Judas was received back into the company of the disciples in the period between his repentance and the Ascension, which he witnessed. After he saw Jesus ascend, and all hope of the restoration of a Davidic kingdom lost, Judas went and killed himself. His absence then precipitated the need to replace him, which became the first order of business after the Resurrection (see Acts 1:16–26). If Judas had killed himself before the Resurrection, it is logical to assume that Jesus himself would have been involved in choosing his replacement, since he chose the original 12. The fact that Judas was received back into the company of the disciples after his betrayal of Jesus speaks volumes about the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus, as well as the committed brotherhood of the disciples.

7. J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1987), pp. 171 and 172.

8. Thomas Arnold, Sermons on Christian Life (London, 1854), p. 324.

9. Simon Greenleaf, the Testimony of the Evangelists (New York: 1874), p. 28.

10. Morris, op. cit., The Defender’s Bible, p. 1574.

11. Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1955 edition, p. 497. 

 

Other Information, Books, Booklets, and Articles available from:

Airrington Ministries: www.airrington.com

Save a VillageTM: www.saveavillage.org

For Further Evidence

Craig, William Lane, Reasonable Faith, Westchester, Ill Crossway, 1994

Geivett, R. Douglas, & Gary R. Habermas. Eds. In Defense of Miracles. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press 1997

Habermas, Gary, & Antony Flew. Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987

Hanegraaff, Hank.  The Third Day. Nashville: W Group, 2003.

Morrison, Frank.  Who moved the Stone? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987

Wilkins, Michael, J. and J.P. Moreland, eds. Jesus Under Fire. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985

Wilson, Ian. Jesus: The Evidence. San Francisco: Harper 1988

Schonfield, Hugh. The Passover Plot. New York: Bantam 1965

Johnson, Timothy Luk. The Real Jesus. San Franscico: Harper 1996

Strobel, Lee. The Case For Easter. Grand Rapids:Zondervan 2003

 

Copyright © 1989 - 2017 AIRRINGTON MINISTRIES | www.airrington.com |All Rights Reserved.

Should Christians Drink Alcohol?

A Biblical Study…

Reverend Kevin R. Airrington
December 10, 2011
Saturday Morning Bible Study
Community Bible Church

The World is a system opposed to God.   We profit from the Word when our eyes are opened to discern the true character of the world.

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1

There is a high death rate as a result of alcohol-related accidents in this country.  Daily you can pick up a newspaper and read scads of stories of families that are destroyed due to a drunk driver.   According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a person dies every 33 minutes in an alcohol-related accident.  And that’s not all.   There is an estimated alcohol-related injury every two minutes.

Consider these additional statistics from the United States Justice Department: Nearly 4 in 10 violent victimizations involve the use of alcohol.  Also, victim reports show, on average each year about 183,000 rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol use by the offender, as do just over 197,000 robberies, about 661,000 aggravated assaults, and nearly 1.7 million simple assaults.

Many people have told me that drinking has nothing to do with DUI’s or tragic deaths due to alcohol.  I beg to differ.  Say what?

The Scriptures are true! “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1. 

Alcohol is at the root of all kinds of problems in our country today and it has been for hundreds of years.  Proverbs 23:31-32 is a powerful injunction against drinking alcoholic beverages. It says, Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

There is clear evidence in the Scriptures that believers should not drink alcoholic beverages.

There are 637 references to wine, drink, and drinking in the King James Translation of the Bible.  Most people think in today’s terms, believing that when the word “wine” is mentioned in the Scriptures it refers to alcoholic wine.  Actually, that is not necessarily true. Thirteen different words are translated “wine” in the King James Version of the Bible.  The word “wine” has a wide range of meaning in the Bible, covering everything from grape juice to concentrated grape syrup to alcoholic wine.  To understand what the Bible has to say about drinking, we need to look at several of these words.  

OLD TESTAMENT HEBREW WORDS FOR WINE

“Yayin” — It is a general term for grape beverages and it includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; unfermented, in the process of fermentation and fermented. (Proverbs 31:4) Usually, the context will show whether it is alcoholic wine or not. Yayin, when used properly was always diluted with water.

“Shekar” — It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine.  The 1901 edition of THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA says, “Yakin, wine, is to be distinguished from Shekar, or strong drink.  The former is diluted with water; the later is undiluted.”  Shekar was not diluted with water.” (see Numbers 28:7)

“Tirosh” — This word refers to fresh grape juice. It is referred to often as new wine or sweet wine. (see Proverbs 3:10; Deuteronomy 7:13)

NEW TESTAMENT GREEK WORDS FOR WINE

“Oinos” is the counterpart to the Old Testament word Yayin. It is a general term for grape beverages and includes all classes of wine, non-alcoholic or alcoholic; fermented or unfermented.  The context has to be used to determine whether the drink was intoxicating or not. (Luke 10:34; Ephesians 5:18).  Oinos, when used properly was always diluted with water.

“Sikera” is the counterpart to the Old Testament word Shekar.  It is the word for strong drink, unmixed wine. (Luke 1:15)

“Gleukos” is the counterpart to the Old Testament word Tirosh.  Dr. Paul Dixon says “It refers to fresh wine, a new wine” or freshly squeezed grape juice.

8 REASONS CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT DRINK

 

INTRODUCTION

And we know that we are ___ ________, and _______ ____________ ____________ lieth in wickedness.  1 John 5:19

And he said unto them, Ye are they which _____________ ____________ before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is ___________ ___ ____ _____ of God. Luke 16:15

The World is an enemy to be resisted and overcome.  As Christians, we are commanded to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) and to be a good testimony to the world.  THEY ARE WATCHING!  as there is the Holy Trinity The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost — so also there is an evil trinitythe flesh, the world and the devil (Not to be confused with the Holy Trinity discussed in the book of Revelation by Pastor Joh.

The world has turned its back on Jesus Christ, and through His Name is professed in many places (even church), the world will have nothing to do with Him.  All the desires and designs of worldliness distract us from Christ and can cause each of us to stumble.  Christians are in the world and cannot get out of it; we must live here until we die or Jesus returns to take us home.  While we are here we have to earn a living, support our families and attend our worldly business.  BUT WE ARE FORBIDDEN TO LOVE THE WORLD AND THE THINGS IN IT!

  1. Can I as a Christian, fraternize or seek pleasure in the things of this world? James 4:4, John 2:15

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

  1. What did Jesus say about worldliness? Mathew 15: 8   ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Mathew 16:26 For what a man profited, if he shall gain the ________ ________ and _________ _______ ______ _______? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    2. Luke 21: 34-36 __________ __________ _________
  2. Can giving into the world mold our activities and plans of life? Ephesians 2:2

While there are many things in the world that can distract us from our walk with Christ; let’s look at just a couple.  We shouldn’t have to eat the whole pie to know it was made with rotten apples.  How big is your God? ____________________________________________________________________________

  1. Should Christians watch rared R movies? Psalm 101:3 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. As Christians is it important how the world looks at us? 1 Thessalonians 5:22  ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Why is this important? Matthew 5:13-16 ______________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

  1. Pliny, a Roman Officer and historian said, “Without salt human life cannot be sustained.” How might this apply to our Christian Life and those around us?  _________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is clear evidence in the scriptures that Christians should not drink  Over the years I have heard all the arguments as to why it is ok to drink and to be honest…not one single case holds up to the Bible.   I have even heard that Jesus Himself drank.   In this study, we will discover that not only did Jesus not drinkHe refused it when it was offered to Him and as a king, He was forbidden to drink.   To say that Jesus drank alcohol is just heretical in its purest form!

I have said it before, “I am not the wine police.”  If I am at your house you have a six-pack of beer in your fridge or a jug of wine that is your business.   My job, just as your job is to show you what God’s Word has to say on the matter.  After, learning the truth if you wish to continue drinking…that is between you and God.

ONE THING I WILL ESTABLISH IN THIS STUDY IS THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO BIBLICALLY SUPPORT FOR SOCIAL DRINKING IN THE BIBLE.  If you think you have found it…let’s look at the evidence together.

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

 

  1. What does Jesus tell us people were involved with prior to the flood? Matthew 24: 38-39 _____

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Jesus is telling us that just as people before the flood…so shall people be caught off guard when he returns.

 

  1. Proverbs 20:1, “________ is a ___________, __________ _____________ is ___________: and whosoever is ___________ thereby is not _________.”
    1. What are some of the affects on the human body? Proverbs 23:29-35

v.29 _______________________________________________________________

v.30_______________________________________________________________

v.31_______________________________________________________________

v.32 _______________________________________________________________

v.33 _______________________________________________________________

v.34 _______________________________________________________________

v.35 _______________________________________________________________

The first effects of alcohol on the brain is to dull the capacity for self-criticism and the sense of caution.  A lessening of care and anxiety follows this.  The checks on irresponsibility and unreasonable behavior are also curtailed.  Actions follow impulses, which is dangerous.  Reaction time becomes slower; coordination is disturbed; drowsiness follows.

  1. Does drinking make you forgetful? Proverbs 31:5 ______________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

  1. Does drinking affect our judgment? Isaiah 28:7 ______________________________________
  2. Is it okay for Christians to drink one or two beers or a

glass of wine (in moderation)?  *Ephesians 5:18 ______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

  1. Why does Paul tell us not to drink wine? Romans 14:21 _________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Some Christians claim their “Christian Liberty” when it comes to social drinking.  In order to do that, they must turn their backs on this portion of scripture.  It is a fact that drinking causes some to stumble; others to be influenced, some to be offended and many to be weakened.  The number one reason teenagers drink is their parents drink.  What kind of example are you setting for your kids?  One day, I called one of my older children, I think he was 18 or 19 at the time, a jackass.  As in a goofy donkey.   Definitely, not a bad word…but perhaps a word, as Christians we should not make it a part of our regular vernacular.   My youngest, 5 year old Joshua, heard his daddy say this abouot his brother.  A few weeks later, Joshua called his sister, Leila a jackass.  Our children are watching and so is the world!

  1. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 True or False, Paul warns us to abstain from evil? ___________________

______________________________________________________________________________

  1. 1 Corinthians 6:12d, “…but I will not be ______________________________________________

of any.”  (The only exception is the Holy Ghost, Ephesians 5:18)

 

  1. Is alcohol addictive? Proverbs 23:35 _________________________________________________
  2. Does drinking lead to drunkenness? Isaiah 5:11 _______________________________________
  3. It is clear from scripture that drinking sets off a domino effect; if we give the devil a foothold and we rebel against God and drink what is the effect?  Isaiah 30:1 ________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

  1. Why else are Christians forbidden to drink? 1 Peter 2:9 _________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

  1. Should we even look at wine (Alcohol)? Proverbs 23:31 _________________________________
  2. I have a little wine left over; I will just give it to a friend of mine who is not a Christian, after all this stuff is expensive so I will just pass it on. Habakkuk 2:15  ____________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Drinking, even social drinking cannot be legitimately supported by the Bible.  Every drink that is available today, even beer, falls into the category of unmixed or strong drink.  Drinking socially is a worldly activity and in light of the fact that believers are neither to be conformed to the world (Romans 12:2) nor love the world (1 John 2:15), our choice should be clear.  Perhaps social drinking has enhanced the acceptability of Christians in society, but it has not advanced the cause of Christ, and it does not glorify God!  Social drinking is simply a means which the devil uses to blunt our testimony for Christ and squeeze us into his mold.

 

MEMORIZE   1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

 

* The word excess is translated from the Greek word asootia which means “Riot”.  In otherwords, drinking can lead to rioting.

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The Hunter

Don’t Eat Blood Or Meat Sacrificed to Idols

When the Jerusalem council met regarding what to require from the new Gentile believers, they basically summarized the requirements from Leviticus 17–18.  Leviticus 17 deals with the sanctity of blood and idolatry (offerings to demons) while Leviticus 18 focuses on forms of sexual immorality.  In this essay we will look primarily at Leviticus 17.

Leviticus 17:1-7 basically teaches that all clean animals must be brought as korbanot (offerings) and must be offered in the Sanctuary.  The location of the Sanctuary varied in the early days but eventually, the only place sacrifices could be made was in Jerusalem.  If anyone killed a clean animal and didn’t offer it to the Lord, he was guilty of bloodshed.  Sacrifices could not be made in the open fields or somewhere in the camp other than the Sanctuary.  These sacrifices were offered to goat-demons.  Since the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., no sacrifices to the Lord have been made because of this commandment.

Deuteronomy 12:13-16 re-emphasizes this commandment but gives permission to slaughter and eat clean meat in a manner similar to gazelle or deer whereas previously, the Israelites had to offer peace offerings when they wanted to eat meat.  From this point on, no matter where the Israelites lived they were permitted to eat meat whenever they wanted as long as they didn’t eat the blood.

Even though people could slaughter and eat meat where they lived throughout the Promised Land, offerings were still brought to the Temple in order to draw near to God.  You may be surprised to know that as Jews became believers in Jesus Christ, they still offered sacrifices at the Temple and made pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the feasts until it was destroyed in 70 A.D.  This was long after Christ’s death and resurrection.  This is evident in Acts 21 when Paul purified himself and took the men into the temple so they could finish their period of purification.


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As church history evolved, anti-Semitism sprang up and Constantine’s creed forced Gentile Christians to renounce and stop observing the new moons, Sabbaths and the Feasts of the Lord.  Gentiles also had to stop performing purifications, saying the Jewish prayers, and fellowshipping with Jews.  All of this did not end with the Reformation which was started by Martin Luther.  His writings indicate he was anti-Jewish as well.  This separation of Gentile Christians from Jewish practices has continued through the Reformation to the present.

Today, Christians have begun seeking their Hebraic Roots.  God is moving His people to read the Scriptures for themselves so they will choose to obey them despite the errant teachings of Christian churches.  Christian pastors can either find their Hebraic Roots and lead their congregations back to the truth of God’s word or continue to deceive their laypeople by continuing to teach what the seminaries and numerous commentaries have errantly taught them.

We should constantly seek the truth now because during Christ’s reign, God’s commandments will be regularly performed including sacrifices which will be offered only in the Temple.  They will not be performed in vain but with a sincere heart full of love and devotion to the Lord while remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made for the sins of mankind.  If you doubt this, read the description of the third temple shown to Ezekiel for more details.

As previously mentioned, the Israelites were commanded not to commit idolatry or offer sacrifices to demons (Leviticus 17:7-9).  In Acts 15:29, the Gentiles were specifically commanded by the Jerusalem council not to eat meat which had been sacrificed to idols.  In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul emphasized that non-believing Gentiles participating in idolatry were really sacrificing to demons and not to God.  This was probably because the new Gentile believers were still somewhat ignorant of the Torah.

Paul said some people had the knowledge that idols did not have any real existence in the world nor could they affect the meat which was sacrificed to them while others believed differently.   Paul suggested that believers should not eat meat sacrificed to idols so they won’t cause someone else with a weak conscience to stumble; however, this was not the primary reason to avoid meat sacrificed to idols.

Many Christians believe that believers are free to knowingly eat food sacrificed to idols when someone weaker in their faith is not around.  This could not be further from the truth.  Paul finally gives a better reason to avoid meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians 10.  In this chapter, Paul equates eating food sacrificed to idols to having fellowship with demons.  Clearly, we are not to eat at the table of demons.

Is this something we should be concerned about today?  Some think not.  Without the knowledge of the general public, meat packers in America are putting out meat that is ‘halal’ (lawful).  What is this?  This is meat that has been ritually slaughtered according to Islamic law – slicing the jugular vein with a sharp knife while reciting the name of Allah and allowing the blood to drain from the animal.  Even though a portion the meat was not burned as a sacrifice, shall we consider this a sacrifice to Allah?  It is obviously slaughtered in the name of Allah.  You will have to decide for yourself.  While you are at it, let me know what you think.

If you don’t know whether or not your meat was offered to idols (demons), don’t ask.  Just eat it with thanksgiving to God.  If you hear your meat was offered to idols, don’t eat it. Whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:27-31).

Leviticus 17 also prohibits Israelites and foreigners living with them from eating blood.  This is because blood sustains life and it is to be used to make atonement for sin.  Blood is contained within our circulatory system.  Normally, it is circulated through our bodies and is not eliminated.  The cells carry oxygen to the cells to sustain life while the plasma carries other substances necessary for life.  The kidneys filter the waste products from the blood which pass out of the body in urine while the clean blood re-circulates to continually give life to other parts of the body.  Blood was not intended to be eaten and eliminated by our intestinal tract.  When life-giving blood is destroyed and excreted from the body this way, it is a picture of blood-loss and death.

You might be surprised to know that ordinary people eat blood in various places around the world.  Some people actually make sausage out of it.  I understand that it tastes very good but I have never eaten it.  Many eat blood without realizing God has forbidden it.  On the other hand, those who are involved in demon worship drink blood as part of their Satanic rituals.  Those who eat blood regardless of the reason will be cut off from the community of God’s people.

Remember, hunting and killing clean animals to eat is fine but the blood must be completely drained onto the ground and covered with dirt.  I suspect this is because God formed Adam from the dust of the earth.

Leviticus says that if someone eats meat from an animal that died naturally or that was torn to death by wild animals, he will be unclean.  Israelites or foreigners who became unclean because of what they ate had to be extremely careful to immerse themselves and wait for evening to come in order to avoid defiling the temple.  If they didn’t they had to bear the consequences of their wrongdoing.

All of this comes down to the letter of the Jerusalem council to the Gentile believers which upheld the Levitical laws:

But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that [they should observe no such thing, except that (this phrase is not in the Greek text)]they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality (Acts 21:25).

Since the phrase “they should observe no such thing, except that” is not included in the Greek text, we should understand that since Paul kept Torah, Gentile believers should also be free to observe Torah (Acts 21:24), especially Leviticus 17-18 which is the core of Torah.

Copyright © 1989 - 2017 AIRRINGTON MINISTRIES | www.airrington.com |All Rights Reserved.

Jesus and the Truman Show


Does it really matter if the resurrection of Jesus is a total lie?

One Easter, a relative cornered me at a family dinner and wanted to talk about the resurrection of Jesus.  Let’s just call her my dear Aunt Sally. Some people try to stay away from politics and religion at parties. Not Aunt Sally. 🙂

Aunt Sally she started off by telling me that Jesus didn’t come back from the dead in any real sense–that the story of Jesus’ resurrection just emerged over decades after the crucifixion. She said that Jewish peasants who missed Jesus and needed a Messiah figure basically made the whole thing up–probably because it helped them feel better emotionally and things like that.

But she said something else, too. She said that it doesn’t really matter if the resurrection of Jesus actually happened. After all, can’t we draw inspiration from a story even if it’s not true?

 

How do you respond to these two challenges?

  1. It doesn’t matter if Jesus really rose from the dead
  2. The story of the resurrection of Jesus emerged over decades after the crucifixion

 

Does it really matter if the resurrection of Jesus is a total lie? I’ll bet you’ve heard this kind of question before: “Can’t we draw inspiration from a story even if it’s not true?”

Jesus and the Truman Show

This reminds me of an old Jim Carry movie: “The Truman Show.” If you’ve seen the movie, you might remember that Truman basically lived the perfect life. But he had no clue that he was part of this fantasy world that was made up by the people who produced the Truman Show. Truman had no clue his view of the world was built on a total lie.

Now I guess you could say, “What does it really matter?” I mean, he’s happy, right? But Truman got suspicious and he tried to figure out what’s going on. And I don’t blame him. I mean, what would you do?  Wouldn’t you want to know if your best friends were a bunch of fakes; if your idea of the world was based on a total lie? I would. That’s because the truth really matters–especially when we’re talking about spiritual stuff.

The apostle Paul thought so, too. Here’s what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14-17:

“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

Paul wasn’t a fan of drawing inspiration from fiction.

Paul was convinced that if Jesus didn’t come back from the dead in any real sense, the entire faith tradition is a waste of time–and that the Christian religion is based on a total lie. As a Christian, I’ve got to be OK with saying that if the resurrection of Jesus was faked, we’re in the same kind of spot that Truman was. We wouldn’t have hope in anything real. In fact, we’d be totally hopeless. Our worldview would be based on a total lie.

Sharing the Truth

You might consider sharing this illustration and idea with a skeptical family member who asks something like, “Can’t we draw inspiration from a story even if it’s not true?” on Easter Sunday.

It’s interesting that virtually every critical scholar believes that 1 Corinthians is an authentic letter of Paul. Even more, that Paul’s conversion is a fact of history.

Your personal production show

I want to ask you a more personal question.  Is your personal walk with Jesus a fake?  Do you really love Jesus or have you made a few changes on the outside in order to look religious?  Perhaps, it doesn’t really matter to you if you are religious or if you have changed on the inside to look more like Jesus.  If you are faking your Christianity and your whole Christian walk is just a production show like The Truman Show, I would challenge today to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of your faith.  Shed the religious skin that you have on like a snake sheds its skin and start making changes on the inside in order to look more like Jesus.  And, if you have not asked Jesus to come into your life you can do that right now.

Romans 10:9 says that we must confess with our mouth that we believe (John 3:16) that He died and rose from the dead and that we must repent and ask forgiveness of our sins (Acts 3:19) and finally we must invite Him in and have a personal relationship with Him (Revelation 3:20).

Welcome to the family of God…pray every day, read your Bible every day (start with the book of John (4th book of the New Testament) and find a good Bible preaching church in which to fellowship with other believers.

Copyright ©2011 Pastor Kevin R Airrington

Copyright © 1989 - 2017 AIRRINGTON MINISTRIES | www.airrington.com |All Rights Reserved.

Living Stress Free In Today’s World

Pastor Kevin R. Airrington

I.  Introduction

Just over 25 years ago, I wrote my first sermon.  It was entitled, “Why Worry?” I was excited to preach it.  When the day arrived, I am not certain if all the words came out right and at least one point my nerves got the best of me and even though I had notes in front of me…I completely lost my place.  Ironically, I began to worry, worry mostly about what others thought.   Sensing my distress, friend and mentor, Alan Baker of Medford, Oregon looked me in the eye, let a out a chuckle…then smiled and said, “You stinking devil!”   I heard a couple of Amen’s and suddenly, what the devil tried to rob…I was back in control of.

Worry and stress is part of life.  But is there a way we can recognize stress and attempt to minimize it?  Let’s find out.

Is it possible to live stress free in today’s world?  That’s a good question we should all ask ourselves, because stress is one of the prevailing characteristics in today’s world.  We live in a tension-charged, fast-paced world that is full of demands and complexities that have caused the stress level of the people of our society to reach epidemic proportions.

A couple of questions we must ask ourselves are, “Does Jesus offer us a stress free life?”  And does the Bible offer us solutions to living a stress free life?  I believe the answer to both of these questions is yes and that’s what I want to look at in this essay.  We will be looking at the subject of stress and the constructive solutions we can apply for living successfully in an environment that fosters stressful living.

1.  A Biblical Picture Of Stress Free Living.

Let’s begin by looking at a portion of scripture found in Matthew’s Gospel that shows us very clearly that Jesus intended for us to have a stress free lifestyle.

Matthew 6:25-33  “…do not worry about your life… Look at the birds of the air… why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field… if God so clothes the grass of the field… will He not much more clothe you… but seek first the kingdom of God… do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This passage of scripture offers us some real hope in today’s tension-charged, fast-paced world that is full of the many complexities of modern life.

2.  Defining Stress.

Stress is simply defined as “a factor that creates a mental, emotional, or physical strain.”  It is “a state of unresolved tension arising from the pressures, irritations, and demands of life.

In biblical terms, the word “affliction” is the closest equivalent.  Affliction can also be defined as “the pressure which affects a person’s life.”  It is a broad term which includes many factors which contribute to stress.  Affliction in the Greek means anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulations, and trouble.

Keep in mind that God did not promise us that we would be exempt from the things that cause stress and anxiety, but rather He would enable us to live in such a way that these things would not affect us.

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Stress is a universal problem which periodically troubles Christians and unbelievers alike.  Even Paul referred to the stress he experienced when he wrote: “We were pressed out of measure”.

2 Corinthians 1:8 “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.”

II. Common Symptoms Of Stress.

How do you know whether you are experiencing stress or not.  Maybe you are and you are not even aware of it.  You may think that what you are experiencing is the normal function of life.  Stress can breed a host of destructive symptoms which affect us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • mental and emotional fatigue
  • drug and alcohol dependency
  • loss of appetite
  • physical weariness
  • high blood pressure
  • frequent headaches
  •  stomach problems
  • heart problems
  • migraines
  • ulcers
  • insomnia
  • hypertension

Stress often produces a sense of anxiety, irritability, frustration, restlessness, and depression.  It creates a feeling of hopelessness and disillusionment which undermines a person’s sense of purpose, direction, and meaning in life.  Stress can keep you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.

III. Common Causes of Stress.

What are some of the common causes of stress in our lives?  There are a number of things that contribute to stressful living, especially in our society today.  The unrelenting pressures of contemporary life, the constant challenges and deadlines of our fast-paced society, the ever-changing state of our unstable world, and the pressures of fear and uncertainties concerning the future all contribute to stressful living.

  • the tempo of life the strain of demands and responsibilities
  • a failure to seek adequate rest and relaxation
  • a poor use of time
  • a poor diet
  • vitamin deficiencies
  • wrong priorities
  • spiritual conflicts
  • a tendency to overextend ourselves
  • lack of exercise
  • insufficient communion with God
  • unresolved inter-personal conflicts
  • emotional problems
  • procrastination
  • unresolved sins

How to Join the Coronary Club: Membership Requirements

  1.  Never say No to a request ‑ always say YES.
  2.  Your job comes first; personal considerations are secondary.
  3.  Accept all invitations to meetings, banquets, committees, etc.
  4.  Go to the office evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
  5.  Golf, bowling and hobbies are a waste of time.
  6.  It is a poor policy to take all the vacation time which is provided to you.
  7.  Never delegate responsibility to others; carry the whole load at all times.
  8.  Do not eat a restful, relaxing meal ‑ always plan a conference for the   dinner hour.
  9.  If your work calls for traveling ‑ work all day and drive all night to make your appointment for the next morning.
  10. 10. Fishing and hunting are a waste of time and money ‑ you never bring back enough fish or game to justify the expense.
  11. Take the briefcase home on the evenings when you do not go to the office.  This provides an opportunity to review completely all the troubles and worries of the day.

Unresolved stress can become an extremely destructive condition.  The accumulated effect of longstanding stress can eventually lead to a condition which is commonly referred to as “Burn-Out Syndrome.”

IV. Principles For Stress Free Living.

Let’s keep in mind that God desires for each one of us as His precious people to live a stress free life that is rich in God’s fulfillment.

Psalms 66:12  “…We went through fire and through water; but you brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

When we look to God’s solution in any matter that has the tendency to bring stress in our lives, He will bring us into a rich fulfillment.  The key is learning to trust Him and His way rather than our poorly devised plans.  Let’s look at some of God’s principles for stress free living.

1.  We Must See Things From God’s Perspective.

Life is filled with a wide variety of circumstances.  Some situations are positive, some are negative.  However, the circumstances we encounter, regardless of the nature, often produce feelings of stress.  This is especially true of the adverse situations which suddenly affect or alter the course of our lives.

A great deal of stress can be alleviated or minimized by viewing our circumstances from a godly perspective.  If we fail to perceive our life situations, at any point, as God perceives them, then we become susceptible to stress.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

This can be a real liberating revelation which has the potential of freeing us from much of the self-imposed stress we experience by seeing our circumstances in a negative light.

In one of Germany’s famous art galleries, a painting called “Cloud Lane” hangs at the end of a long dark hall.  It appears at first to be a huge, ugly mass of confused color ‑‑ unattractive and foreboding.  Upon closer examination, however, you see an innumerable company of angels.  Theodore Cuyler writes, “How often the soul that is frightened by a trial sees nothing but a conglomeration of broken expectations.  But if he analyzes the situation from a position of faith ‑‑ he will soon discover that the cloud is God’s wonderful chariot of providence, full of angels of mercy.”

2.  Deal With Unresolved Sins & Conflicts.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Sin generates inner tensions and conflicts and if it’s unresolved, whether public or private, we must sincerely seek Christ’s cleansing power and forgiveness.

Whatever your conflicts may be, learn to deal with them as they come up.  The more you put them off, and the more they pile on top of one another, the more stress you will experience.  If you are experiencing irritations in your marriage or whatever, deal with them.

Conflicts with others create incredible amounts of stress.  If we are harboring hostility, hatred, resentments, or offense, we should seek genuine reconciliation, healing, and forgiveness through the scriptural steps God provides.

Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, “leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

3.  We Must Redeem Our Time.

Many people waste time and manage it poorly.   The inevitable result is a stress-filled consciousness.

Ephesians 5:15-16  “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

This also involves pacing ourselves in such a way that we do not take on to much in a given time, but we understand our limitations.  This also involves taking time for rest and relaxation.

4.  Give Everything To God In Prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

A great deal of stress is the direct result of shouldering the burdens of life without turning to The Lord in prayer.  We have access to “the peace of God” when we release our burdens to The Lord.

1 Peter 5:7         “…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

When we fail to release our problems and cares to Christ, we begin to experience increasing tension, anxiety, and fear.  Prayer is one of the most powerful remedies for stress.

5.  Trust In God’s Word.

Romans 15:4  “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

The promises and counsel of scripture provides us with a rich storehouse of stress-relieving comfort and peace.  Stress often results from failing to stand upon the absolute reality of God’s Word, in spite of our circumstances.

When we confront life’s problems, dilemmas, and uncertainties with the reality of God’s Word, we can effectively overcome a great deal of stress we suffer.

6.  Fellowship With One Another.

Romans 15:32  “…that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.”

2 Corinthians 7:13 “Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.”

Fellowship can often provide a potent remedy for stress. 

Studies have proven that interaction with loved ones and friends helps relieve the pressures of stress.

Those who isolate themselves and withdraw from people and relationships suffer a greater degree of stress-related problems.  Companionship with others provides access to warmth, love, understanding, comfort, counsel, and encouragement.

Copyright © 2011  Pastor Kevin R. Airrington.  All rights reserved.

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