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The Most Convincing Evidence For God We Can Offer

by | Oct 10, 2016 | Apologetics, articles, Devotions | 0 comments

THE MOST CONVINCING EVIDENCE WE CAN OFFER THE WORLD

One of the things which gripped me as a new Christian was just how short life on earth was compared with eternity. As I read through the Gospels I was struck by how often Christ made this contrast to put this life into its proper perspective. Even if, as the Psalmist declared, man lives to a ripe old age, his life is but “a breath” –  a mere “blade of grass” which sprouts in the morning and withers by the end of the day. This life is no mere dress rehearsal for next. It is of infinite and eternal consequences. The apostle told the Colossians that not a minute of it should be wasted. When it comes to the after-life, despite the teaching of those who identify as liberal Christians, the eternal Gate of Heaven into Paradise is not merely opened for the “religious”, but for the redeemed in Christ. And if we have any compassion for our fellow man we will do all we can to persuade them to repent from their rebellion and to humbly turn to the Saviour to accept His offer of salvation. Yet many will not do this because they are yet to see what Jesus described as the most convincing proof of all.
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WHY MANY WILL NOT BELIEVE

Even though I hold to Reformed Theology (“Sovereign Grace”), I have good reasons to passionately believe that the Sovereign God who elects and foreordains also has elected the means by which unbelievers will open their hearts to receive the truth about Christ. This means is quite simple: Gospel proclamation. But Jesus reveals something both powerful and profound in His last prayer before He was executed.
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¶ “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.
John 17:20-21
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As much as I believe in Apologetics – the giving of good reasons to believe in the God of the Bible, without an application of what Christ described in John 17:21, every apologetic argument is basically rendered useless! This is why the local church is so incredibly important to the salvation of individuals within a community. When a local church is led by humble, God-honouring, called, competent, gifted leaders, who courageously work to maintain the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:2) the result is a caring, compassionate, servant-hearted, spiritual community which balances beautifully the two aspects of Christ’s identity: Truth and Grace.
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¶ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth . . . For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14, 17 
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A recent survey of Australians found that 60% of Australians do not have a close friend who is a Christian.
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It’s one thing to enter a Christian church and take a look. It’s another all together to enter into a Christian’s life and take a look! And based on what Christ prayed in John 17:21, it is another thing completely to enter into a Christian community and observe/experience authentic unity where there is forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, practical care, a willingness to listen to one another, and respect for leaders. Jesus said this kind of devotion to Him and the resultant unity would be a cause whereby the world may believe You have sent Me. I wonder how many members of the world enter our church on a Sunday and are initially shocked by and strangely moved by this unity of the Spirit? Without it, even the best apologetics by all the best apologists is of little to no value!

IF ONLY WE KNEW

I wonder how many Christian parents with young children realise the tremendous power in what Jesus prayed in John 17:21? I wonder if they realise what the spiritual consequences are for their young children when they choose to be somewhere else other than in the gathering of their assembling church family? I wonder how many young parents appreciate that when Christ spoke about His Church being “one” as He and the Father are one, He was recasting the community of His followers in the language of family. Time with your church community in worship is not time away from your family – it is time which Christ says that your family needs with your spiritual family. Parents help their children to gain a much broader, richer, deeper, understanding of ‘family’ when they demonstrate to their children that attending church is family-time.

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¶ So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
Ephesians 2:19
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Christ seeks to gather, to unite, to knit people together (John 17:21). His plan for the world is to build His Church (Matt. 16:18). Thus, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians at a time when there was bickering and bitterness toward each other with a pastoral rebuke. When believers divide and isolate themselves they render the witness of Christ in the world as impotent. This, the Apostle says, was a devilish tactic. Believers were not ignorant of these devilish schemes (“Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christso that we may not be exploited by Satan (for we are not ignorant of his schemes)” – 2Cor. 2:10-11). But little wonder then that the devil’s primary scheme to undermine God’s plan of redeeming the world is to isolate, to divide, to individualise believers – because he knows that if the world actually sees a united, devoted, forgiving, self-sacrificing community of Christ-followers, they stand the best chance of becoming believers in the Christ. And the devil does all he can to prevent people coming to believe in Christ. 

THE MEANS OF FULFILLING JESUS’ PRAYER

In a world that is now more indifferent toward Christianity than any other time in history, the need for apologetics to advance the Gospel is desperately urgent. But without a network of strong, healthy, vibrant local churches led by caring, unifying shepherds (pastors and elders, officers and deacons, small-groups leaders) who do all they can to assemble their flocks weekly to feed their sheep and tend their lambs, apologetics can only do so much. Because when a local church becomes a model of a loving, accepting, forgiving and a well-disciplined community of passionate fully-devoted followers of Christ, the work of Gospel proclamation, and even apologetics, is made all that much easier. It is my hope that we will be willingly led by the Holy Spirit to be such a church!
Amen.
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Ps. Andrew

Impossible Faith

Some people find faith in God to be impossible. These people have reasons for their impossible faith. Their objections may be intellectual, moral, or emotional. There are three well-known figures who each exemplify each of these objections to faith in God. Charles Darwin, Thomas Hardy and Bob Hawke each respectively held these particular objections to Christianity.

The Reliability of The Bible and How Best To Interpret It

The Bible is the most influential book of all time. It’s contents have changed the course of history. It’s story has formed the pattern for all the great literary classics. It also makes the astounding claim that it is the uniquely authoritative revelation from God and therefore has the authority to command our moral behaviour. But if the Bible is not reliable, then its claims are indefensible and Christianity is without foundation! Yet despite this glaring vulnerability, the Bible has withstood rigorous scrutiny and repeated attempts to refute it. Here’s why it is indeed reliable.

What Is Heaven Like?

I honestly used to think that Christianity was all about having the assurance of going to Heaven. But as I learned more about the Gospel and the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth I became curious about the relative scarcity of references to Heaven in the Bible. Yet, while my understanding of the place of Heaven in my Gospel proclamation has been refined, some God-Channel evangelists have headed in the other direction and made Heaven central to their Gospel. Some of these evangelists now even claim to have the spiritual power to make repeated visits there!

Presumably God, the Supreme Being, has a supremely beautiful home, in a supremely magnificent neighbourhood. Amazingly, God invites mankind to move into His neighbourhood- for eternity! But what is Heaven like? Is it possible, as some are now claiming, that we can visit Heaven? While I am going to lead readers to conclude that Heaven is not the Gospel’s focus, if it is the only reason someone is motivated to convert to Christ, then we should rejoice!

The Tragedy of Suicide – And How We Can Help

Suicide hurts. It is motivated by pain, but causes much greater pain. For those affected by suicide the guilt and anguish it produces is almost unbearable. But since suicide is in the Bible, how can we know that it is wrong? How should we regard the sinfulness of suicide? Is it unforgiveable? How can we help avoid suicide? What should those affected by it know after its happened?

The funeral celebrant rang me to warn me. He was used to dealing with sensitive situations but this one had a few extra layers of complexity. He decided to get me involved. He outlined the story to me and then told me the purpose of his call. When a loved one dies there is often a measure of guilt for those left behind. But when the death is caused by suicide that guilt is compounded. Suicide hurts. The funeral celebrant told me that a young man with a diagnosed mental illness, who had professed Christianity, had taken his own life and his devout mother (who we will call “Betty”) was devastated. The celebrant told me that Betty would ring because her guilt was beyond his expertise due to her Biblical understanding of suicide.

How To Handle A Crisis

The definition of a crisis is a calamity or event which disrupts a person’s sense of well- being and lifestyle. It is generally short term and requires immediate action in order to restore balance and control in the person’s life.  The results of crisis are: anxiety, bewilderment, confusion, desperation, anger, helplessness and even apathy. There is an increased sense of dependency upon others, a sense of urgency, and decreased efficiency in decision making and performance. The account of Judah being sieged by the Assyrians in Second Chronicles 32, involves all the aspects of a crisis. The major distinctive is that it involves a nation of people rather than just one person. The “helper” in this instance was their leader – King Hezekiah.

Roman Catholicism Compared With Christianity

Any discussion about religious wars, clergy violations, or child abuse, and it won’t be long before the The Roman Catholic Church unfortunately features. But I want to have a different discussion. And unlike most of the ‘discussions’ of this nature, I’m not on a mission to attack, ridicule, or mock anyone. Rather, I want to look at what the Roman Catholic Church officially teaches and asserts and compare it with the Bible’s teaching.

I’ve been a denominational minister for over two decades, so I know that it is possible to be a part of an organisation with which you disagree on some points.  I understand that this is certainly the case with the Roman Catholic Church as there are many priests who do agree with all that their Church asserts. For the purposes of this discussion, I have chosen to take the official Catholic positions on the matters I am comparing with the Biblical data. It is my hope that my Roman Catholic audience will acknowledge that I have represented their views fairly – but it is also my hope that I can appropriately demonstrate how these core views compare with the Biblical prescriptions.

Soli Deo Gloria

The final statement in The Five Pillars of Biblical Christianity is Soli Deo Gloria – for the glory of God alone! The reason we are saved is so that we can glorify God. In one sense it is true that reason Christ died for us was to save us from our sins and the just wrath of God for our sin. But the main reason Christ died to redeem us was for the glory of God.

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:44

The glory that comes from God is when we give God glory. One of Christ’s last prayers was that His disciples would see His glory (John 17:24). Therefore God’s glory, His radiant magnificence, is visible and apprehendable. God’s glory is described several times in Scripture. In this sense, God’s glory is a visible reality (a noun). God’s glory is variously described as being like a cloud (Exodus 16:10), a devouring and consuming fire (Exodus 24:17), fire and smoke-like cloud (2Chronicles 7:1), and a brightly glowing cloud (Ezekiel 10:4).

Where Are The Dead?

Sitting across from me in my office was an older middle-aged man who had just read my draft commentary on the Book of Revelation. He had come from Queensland to visit friends in Tasmania and while in the neighbourhood, dropped in to see me to have chat and get a later edition of my book. He asked a lot of theoretical questions and we discussed the implications of what we discussed. Not until he returned to Queensland did I get an email regarding the chapter on the Resurrection. It was at this point that he confided in me that he was in the advanced stages of cancer and that his query was far more than theoretical.
The ancients believed that death was merely a change of location for the soul of a person. The place of the dead was called “Sheol”. When Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead: “All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.” (Gen. 37:35 ). When the judgment of God came upon Korah and his rebellion.

TULIP, The Essence of The Reformation

Jesus Christ taught that following Him was only possible through the miracle of conversion. He taught that for someone to authentically claim to be a Christian they needed a spiritual encounter that changed their heart and mind. Without such a miracle, known Biblically as ‘regeneration’, no one could merely decide to be a Christian.
It’s important to appreciate the geo-socio-politico conditions at the time of the Reformation. This was the time when John Calvin, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and others dared to defend the Biblical revelation against a militant Papal Church which had previously executed similar voices (Wyclif, Tyndale, Savonarola, to name a few) for daring to defy the teaching of the Papacy. One of the central claims of the Papacy was “Universalism”, the doctrine which taught that Christ’s sacrificial death was repeated over and over through the celebration of the Mass and was effective in saving all those in communion with the Roman Catholic Church (thus, universal salvation was activated by works). Since Salvation was universal (everyone is automatically saved), the Papal Church was more concerned about administering this salvation through having people in communion with it, or alternatively, disfellowshipping (or, ex-communicating) those who it disliked. Calvin on the other hand saw that Scripture did not teach universalism, but conversely- that not everyone would be saved.

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- April 21, 2018, 11:57 am

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- April 20, 2018, 5:24 am

Christians claim that the Bible is divinely inspired and without error! But just reliable is the Bible really? Chec… https://t.co/yMSPikQMHD
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- April 19, 2018, 7:15 pm

How could a good, loving, forgiving, all-powerful God send anyone to Hell for eternity? https://t.co/VZuTBfi2Tjhttps://t.co/TnjaanPXDQ
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