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John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
A Christian who lacks joy is an odd creature. The reason it is so odd is because by definition a Christian has joy. A Christian is a possessor of eternal life and that entails joy. How can someone who was dead now be alive and not have joy over a new life? Understandably, it seems odd and out of place. How can a person know they have eternal life? The answer could be simply stated: Do you know the Gospel and believe it? Even in that answer there are implications. In this post I want us to consider a few those as referenced in John 17:3: (more…)
Veteran’s Day is a time to thank those men and women who have served the nation. Sometimes Christians rethink their service in the military during this time. They question their professions and reconsider their commitments to the nation in light of their commitment to Christ. Should Christians, who are part of the kingdom of God, participate in worldly, national affairs (such as the military, civil service, etc.)? I say yes and here are a few biblical examples we can look to: Soldiers speaking to John the Baptist, the centurion speaking to Jesus, and Abram (Abraham).
When John the Baptist begins his public ministry crying out to the nation of Israel to repent, there is a great response. People from everywhere come to hear him and are responding by being baptized and also seeking instructions on what to do with their re-dedicated life of obedience to God. When the Soldiers come to John and ask what they should do, he tells them
“Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”” (Luke 3:14 ESV)
Collin Garbarino wrote an article for reformation21.org on the subject of Halloween. In the article he argues that the history of Halloween is Christian rather than pagan/Celtic. Rooted in the memorialization of the martyrs and celebrating the victory over death by Jesus. His article has some helpful points but some areas that I would take exception with. I’ll begin with the areas of agreement.
The history of Halloween has proven to be difficult to nail down. I have tried to research it on the internet a few times over the years and would find evangelical leaders on both sides of the discussion. They would either approve or condemn the day, the dressing up, participation with neighbors, or all activities all together. Some would argue for a redeeming activity where the local church had a Trunk or Treat, Fall Festival, or some combination of both. Ultimately it was pretty pointless because I never could land on a position with great confidence and just went with what I thought was wise and honoring to God. We handed out candy, dressed as heroes or movie characters, and spent time with friends. (more…)
The last few weeks I have written on some of the apologetical reasons for the resurrection of Jesus. This 7th Sunday of Easter I focus on the meaning of the resurrection. Acts 9:20 says that after Paul was converted he proclaimed “He is the Son of God.” What is the significance of this title? What does the resurrection of Jesus have to do with this peculiar title? Have we over looked something? I think there is more to this title than we realize. (more…)
This sixth Sunday of Easter we continue looking into the resurrection. In the previous essay it was established that the Apostle Paul was a skeptic who changed his life because he claimed to have experienced the risen Jesus. This week we look at two facts: The skeptical James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed and the empty tomb.
In the book, The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family, Shanks and Witherington discuss the archaeological discovery of an ossuary (bone box) dating back to the first century with the following inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. James, a monumental figure in the first centuries of Christianity, was the first head of the church in Jerusalem and he was a faithful, Torah observing Jew. (more…)
This fifth Sunday of Easter we continue looking into the resurrection. In the previous essay it was established that the disciples and others claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. This week we look to another claim that has consensus from scholars: A key persecutor of the Church (Saul of Tarsus) was suddenly changed and claimed to meet the risen Jesus. Saul of Tarsus is better known in history and by the Church as the Apostle Paul. In 1 Cor 15:9-10; Gal 1:12-16, 22-23; and Philippians 3:6-7 the Apostle accounts of his conversion. One moment he was persecuting Christians and he was preaching the Gospel, suffering persecutions and killed. During his ministry, Paul would write the majority of the New Testament, in the midst of these trials. (more…)
This 4th Sunday of Easter we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord from the grave. In this second essay we focus on a claim that has shared consensus: Shortly after Jesus’ death, a number of his followers had experiences that allowed them to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to them. Skeptical scholars, of course, would not grant that it was the risen Jesus his followers experienced. The naturalistic response to this claim has usually been a hallucination hypothesis of some sort. The naturalist response is that they were grieving and thought they saw the risen Jesus but it was a hallucination. (more…)