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Monday, December 5, 2016

Jesus is Either God or a Liar

Jesus is the Only Way of Salvation
Jesus said He is God, not simply a good teacher or prophet ...

Some religions and individuals claim Jesus was a good prophet, but they deny He is God. 

That isn't possible. 

Jesus is either God or a liar. 

Why? Because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, equal to God, and the Only Way of Salvation.(1) 

If a person truly accepts Jesus as a good prophet or teacher, they must believe what He says. 

As C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity: 

“You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” 

I choose to fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. How about you? 
(1) John 11:25; John 14:6-7; John 17:1-5; John 5:16-40 - see below.
You can also find a full Scriptural explanation here: Did Jesus Claim to Be God?  

Bible Study

Read Christ's words in these passages and you soon realize that Jesus would have to be crazy to make these claims if they were not true.

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies." 

John 14:6-7: Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. 

John 17:1-5: After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." 

John 5:16-27, 39-40: So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man...39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life." 

 And there are many other passages containing these truths. 

You cannot accept Jesus as a prophet without accepting Him as God. Because He Himself proclaimed that He was God and in other passages clearly says He is the Only Way of Salvation - there is no other. Jesus said this, and I believe it.
copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tolerance Isn't Approval, Agreement, or Silence

Standing up for Christ's values, Matthew 5:10; Luke 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:2-3; James 1:12.
Tolerance is only necessary when we disagree...

Genuine tolerance means treating everyone with respect even when we disagree with their lifestyles and beliefs. 

However, some people use the word "tolerance" to mean approving all lifestyles and beliefs. 

Ironically, tolerance isn't necessary when we agree.  And no one can approve all lifestyles and beliefs because many contradict, oppose or exclude each other. 

Those who claim to celebrate diversity actually celebrate the diversity of people who agree with them and reject the diversity of those who disagree.

God expects us to show true tolerance, treating people respectfully. 

But He doesn't expect us to approve of their sins any more than he expects us to approve of our own.

This misuse of "tolerance" is often an attempt to shame or silence Christians which leads to the misuse of another word - "hate." 

No matter how kindly a Christian defends God's truth, they're often called "haters" by those who claim to love diversity.  But God has a different name for His defenders. He calls them faithful. See Matthew 5:10Luke 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:2-3; James 1:12.

Bible Study

Standing up for Christ's values, Matthew 5:10; Luke 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:2-3; James 1:12.
1. There is a false notion held by both Christians and non-Christians that it's tolerant and loving to approve all lifestyles or at least keep our mouths shut about sin. The following Scriptures should put that notion to rest.

Ephesians 5:5-13: For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 

1 Corinthians 15:33-34: Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 34 Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.

Don't fall into the trap of believing that we are not meant to judge people and things. Scripture tells us how and when to judge appropriately. To read more on Biblical judgment, please check out:
The "J" word
Biblical Judgment: 5 Errors and 5 Commands

2. Another false notion is that everyone liked Jesus, something easily refuted by Christ's words below.

John 7:7: The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.
(Jesus was speaking to men who agreed with worldly values.)

3. Associated with the false notion above is the notion that everyone will like Christians if we act Christ-like.

Matthew 10:22: You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

For more encouragement to live for Christ's values, check out:
God Says, Man Says
Good and Wrong
copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Monday, November 21, 2016

They'll Know We Are Christian by Our Love - Or Not

Getting Along With Christians, Disagreeing With others without personal accusations
Can we love Christians with whom we disagree?

A woman commented on one of my devotions. She doubted I was born again and knew I didn't have God's Spirit because I was spreading poisonous lies from Satan and preventing people from being healed.(1) 

I responded kindly, but that inspired four more comments in which she quoted Scriptures and attacked my faith and character. 

If a non-believer visited my site before I deleted her comments, I doubt they'd believe John 13:35: "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

In the forty years I've been a believer, it seems like Christians have become more angry (and not righteously so) - about politics and non-essential doctrinal differences.   

If we can't disagree without discrediting the character and faith of other believers, we should keep our mouths shut.

Because I'm an opinionated person, I need to occasionally remind myself of the principles in Romans 14 - 15:1-15.

If you haven't read that passage lately, why not do it today. With God's help, we can disagree and still be a testimony for Christ's love. 

(1) This was regarding my devotion "Does Faith Heal?"

Bible Study

If Scripture says something is wrong, it's wrong for everyone. But there are some non-essential areas where Christians can have different convictions without either party being wrong. 

Dietary and holy day observance are specifically mentioned in this passage. In today's Church, issues are more likely to include things like consuming alcohol, wearing make-up, dancing, watching television, wearing a head-covering, and politics. Or they may involve tithing, church membership, and church sacraments. They could also include how we approach holidays, material wealth, hospitality, and education. 

There are right and wrong behaviors in all of these areas, but there is also more than one right approach. This means Christians will apply Biblical principles in different ways, some with more liberty and some with less. The weaker brother is the one with stricter convictions about these non-essentials. And this passage tells us that we should not dissuade him nor judge him for following his conscience.

Note: please do not think that this passage means we should never judge a fellow Christian. While there may be more than one right way to do something, that doesn't mean that there aren't wrong ways - ungodly ways. We are called to judge those within the Church and help them correct wrong behavior (1 Cor. 5:11-13; Matthew 18:15

Romans 14: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.  

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.  

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.  

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.  

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. 

These articles can help you understand how this passage applies to us today: 
Christian Liberty
Strong & Weak
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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