Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas - The Birth of Christ Is The Most Important Day In History


Christmas is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. No on really knows when he was born, though there is much speculation on the issue. But, December 25th is the day most Christians remember his birth. The fact is that even the enemies of Christianity claimed that Christ lived, and that he performed miracles! Early Jewish documents such as the Mishnah and even Josephus, as well as first-century Gentile historians such as Thallus, Serapion, and Tacitus, all testify that the one called Christ lived in Palestine and died under Pontius Pilate. As the British scholar, F. F. Bruce put it, “The historicity of Christ is as [certain]. . . as the historicity of Julius Caesar” (NT Documents, 119).

My point is this: since Jesus lived, then Jesus was born! The Gospel of Matthew tell us that his birth was shortly before Herod the Great died (Matthew 2:19). Herod's death can be fixed with certainty. Josephus records an eclipse of the moon just before Herod passed on. This occurred on March 12th or 13th in 4 B.C. Josephus also tells us that Herod expired just before Passover. This feast took place on April 11th, in the same year, 4 B.C. From other details supplied by Josephus, we can pinpoint Herod the Great's demise as occurring between March 29th and April 4th in 4 B.C.

Likely it sounds strange to suggest that Jesus Christ was born no later than 4 B.C. since B.C. means before Christ. But our modern calendar which splits time between B.C. and A.D. was not invented until A.D. 525. At that time, Pope John I asked a monk named Dionysius to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. Unfortunately, poor Dionysius missed the real B.C./A.D. division by at least four years!

Matthew tells us that Herod killed Bethlehem's babies two years old and under. The earliest Jesus could have been born, therefore, is 6 B.C. Through a variety of other time indicators, we can be relatively confident that the Messiah was born in either late 5 or early 4 B.C.

The birth of Christ is the most important events in human history. So important in fact, that the timeline of history is divided by it - B.C. abbreviated for “Before Christ” and A.D. abbreviated for the two Latin words Anno Domini (meaning in the year of our Lord). This was no ordinary birth and it changed human history forever. Even a complete skeptic like H.G. Wells, a professional historian and science fiction writer who made no profession of Christianity, admitted in his Outline of History, “More than 1900 years later, a historian like myself, who doesn’t even call himself a Christian, finds the picture [of history] centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man.…” The True Celebration of Christmas focuses the birth of Emmanuel (God with us). You can read about all the related facts surrounding the Savior’s birth in the Gospels of Matthew (1:18-2:11) and Luke (1:26-56, 67-75, 2:4-40). But what was the purpose of Christ’s birth? We read in 1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” Why do we need a Savior? The birth of Christ was necessary because all people are lost sinners (Romans 3:23). God gave His Son Jesus a body so that so that he could pay for our sins by offering of His own body (Hebrews 10:5 & 10; 1 Peter 2:24; Colossians 2:13-14). If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, do it today! “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Obsession With Greenness? We Were Green & Did Not Even Realize It!

A friend sent me this the other day. I found it very interesting in light of the obsession with "Greenness" in this current generation! Hmm! We were "green" and did not even realize it!

This reminded me that my generation was not as irresponsible as everyone today seems to think we were in many ways. I liked the article.

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day." The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

People took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Have You Been Converted?

Have You Been Converted?
by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
First Baptist Church of Oak Creek Wisconsin
I want to ask you a very important question that has Eternal ramifications. Have YOU been converted?  Salvation begins with conversion--that turning from doubt, sin, self, Satan, and turning toward God, Christ and righteousness.” (The Victor Bible Source Book, Stephen D. Swihart, Victor Books, p.116). Merrill C. Tenney writes, “In the process of salvation, it (conversion) is the first step in the transition from sin to God.” (Handy Dictionary of the Bible, Merril C. Tenney, Zondervan Publishers, p. 37). The goal of this message is to help you understand the nature of conversion so you can be sure you have been converted.

ÖTHE NEED & DEFINITION OF CONVERSION                                  

Christ told people very clearly that they needed to be converted. Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Peter preached, 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; Acts 3:19  
What is conversion?Conversion is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner, in which he turns, on the one hand, from sin, and on the other hand, to Christ. The former or negative element in conversion, namely, the turning from sin, we denominate (call) repentance. The latter or positive element in conversion, namely, the turning to Christ, we denominate faith.” (Systematic Theology by Augustus Hopkins Strong; Judson Press, p. 829)

The Greek word translated converted in Matthew 18:3 is strafhte (strepho, stref'-o; 4762). It is from the root word that means to twist, turn around or reverse. The term conversion refers to the human response to the Gospel. Strong’s Concordance says, “Conversion is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner, in which he turns, on one hand, from sin, and on the other hand, to Christ.” It is turning from sin, self, Satan, and the world and turning to Christ and His righteousness. “Conversion requires the commitment of the total personality, intellect, emotion, and will. This is how people respond to the message of the gospel, when they understand the nature of Christ’s atonement, when they feel the guilt of conviction, love of God, and surrender their wills to the offer of salvation. The result of conversion is the changed life.” (The King James Study Bible, Nelson, p. 1741)



üRepentance Defined

Repentance is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner in which he turns from sin. Being essentially a change of mind, it involves a change of view, a change of feeling, and a change in purpose.” (Systematic Theology by Augustus Hopkins Strong; Judson Press, p. 832)

üBiblical Support For Repentance

No one can be saved who does not repent -- The Bible makes it clear repentance is a part of salvation. We are told that God is "longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" 2 Peter 3:9

ûRepentance was preached by John the Baptist  -- Matthew 3:1-2  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
ûRepentance was preached by Christ -- Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. And -- Luke 13:3&5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Christ's goal in dealing with men was to bring them to repentance. Christ confronted men with their sinfulness and their need to turn from their sinfulness. No one can be saved who does not see themselves as lost sinners and repent of their sins.

ûRepentance was preached by the Apostles -- Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no Bible example of a person being saved who did not evidence a drastic change in his or her life. Further, the Apostle Paul, reviewing his ministry before King Agrippa, noted that he went about preaching to Jews and Gentiles both "that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance" Acts 26:20.

3 Areas Involved In Repentance

üThe Intellect (our mind) -- Repentance includes an acknowledgment of personal sin or guiltiness before God. Matthew 3:8 indicates this when it says, Bring forth therefore fruits meet (suitable) for repentance. King David of old illustrates this acknowledgment of personal guilt. Psalms 51:3-4 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Job gives us an Old Testament illustration of one that was truly repentant. Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. There is no doubt about this man realizing his guiltiness before an Holy God.

üThe Emotions -- Repentance includes a deep sense of sorrow for the transgression committed against God. This is noted by the Apostle Paul in his letter -- 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. The Greek translated sorrow is luph (3077. lupe, loo'-pay) which means to cause grief; sadness, grief, grievous, + grudgingly, or heaviness.

üThe Will -- Repentance includes the positive determination to change in thought, in speech and in action. Jeremiah 25:5 illustrates this aspect of repentance of will --  They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever. Again, King David shows his change in will in Psalms 51:10 when he says, Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

·       FAITH

üFaith Defined

“Faith is that voluntary change in the mind of the sinner in which he turns to Christ.” (Systematic Theology by Augustus Hopkins Strong; Judson Press, p. 836). It is important to point out that “repentance never saved a soul by its merits; it lays the needful foundation for the temple of faith in the heart. But all the penitential sorrows of Adam's family would not remove one faint stain of sin. If a man borrowed five thousand dollars, for which he gave security, and squandered it most foolishly, and afterwards, filled with true repentance, he solicited and expected the forgiveness of the debt because he was sorry for it, the spendthrift would only meet with contempt in his application; his sureties would have to pay the money. Faith alone in the Crucified cleanses from all sin, and repentance is God's instrumentality for leading the sinner to the Lamb of God, the Great Remover of sin(Cathcart).

Ø The Greek Word & Expanded Meaning

The Greek word translated faith is pistewV (pistis, pis'-tis; 4102). Faith means that which is believed or that which you are persuaded of. The Bible make it clear that it is impossible to please God without it. Hebrews 11:6 says, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. A companion word, from the same Greek root is the word pisteuson  (pisteuo, pist-yoo'-o; 4100) which means to trust, have faith in, to be persuaded of a thing or believe. This is the word used in John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

A Look At The 3 Aspects of Faith

üThe Intellect -- There must be knowledge of the facts of the Gospel and a recognition of the truth of those facts. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. No one can be saved without having the Gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) communicated to them. They must read it or hear it and recognize it as true. (Romans 10:13-16). But, this intellectual assent as to the historical facts and truth of those facts does not alone yield saving faith. John 2:23-24 illustrates this intellectual, non-saving faith -- Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men...”

Nicodemus comes to Christ by night with this kind of faith -- John 3:2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Though there must be an intellectual understanding and belief in the facts of the Gospel there must be more than that.

üThe Emotion -- There must be an acknowledge (admitting) that Christ alone is the answer to the present need of their sinful soul. I like the way Bancroft puts it -- “There must be a heart response to Him as my Saviour which springs from the sense of realized need and deep seated desire.” (Elemental Theology; Emery H. Bancroft; p. 211). The Apostle Paul put it this way -- Romans 10:9-10  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Note: If there is no recognition of the deep personal need for Christ’s Salvation, there is no salvation.

üThe Will -- There must be the consent of your will, a volitional (deliberate) choice for Christ. One writer put it like this -- “Faith not only recieves the word of Christ, it reaches out and lays hold upon the person of Christ.” (Elemental Theology; Emery H. Bancroft; p. 211)
            Davis says, “There is a volitional element in faith. There must be a will to believe. Hence faith involves not mere passive acquiescence in the truth, but an active response to the demands of truth. Faith is stepping out on the promises of God.” (Elemental Theology; Emery H. Bancroft; p. 211). John 1:12 shows the volitional aspect of faith --  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Biblical faith involves not one or two of the above elements but all of them... your intellect, your emotions and your will! 

In conclusion, conversion involves repentance and faith. In the last analysis repentance and faith are one and the same act. This is seen in 1 Thess 1:9 “Ye turned to God from idols”. Repentance is included in believing. I want you to know that repentance is not faith, nor faith repentance. But repentance is an essential part of faith or belief.   “He that believeth...” implies repentance. “Repent and be converted...” involves faith.  In fact, repentance and faith can never be separated as we see in Acts 20:21 --“Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Have you been converted? Have you repented of your sins and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture Will Come, But In God's Time!

The Rapture Will Come But In God’s Time!
by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
First Baptist Church of Oak Creek Wisconsin
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Harold Camping.05222011
·        Introduction

The RAPTURE is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. It is imminent, which means, it could happen any time. No prophecies have to be fulfilled before the Rapture can take place. I long for the Rapture of Church Age believers. But, it has grieved me to see people make fun of the Rapture and God’s coming judgment on unbelieving people because of the bogus predictions of false prophet Harold Camping. We are seeing 2 Peter 3:2-4 come to pass -  “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 Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

The Rapture WILL happen in God’s timing! Not Harold Campings. God WILL judge the Christ rejecters and unbelieving scoffers. We read in Jude 1:14-18 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”

·        Definition of Terms

Before I go any further, I want to define some words, so we are on the “same page” so to speak.

By definition The Rapture is the ‘catching away’ of Church Age believers in Jesus, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, thereby fulfilling His promise that the Church was not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10), and completing the age of the Church.

Lets look at these Scripture passages: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”

So, what is the “Church Age” also called the “Age of Grace,” or as Ephesians 3:2 calls it, “…the dispensation of the grace of God.” John F. Walvoord says, “most expositors agree that the New Testament Church in some sense began on the Day of Pentecost.” Dwight J. Pentecost says, “After the day of Pentecost and until the rapture we find the church which is His body…After the rapture we find no church….” So to clarify then, we believe the Church Age began at Pentecost, in Acts 2, and will conclude with the Rapture of genuine believers.

It certainly is my pray, “even so come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). I want the Rapture to come today, and it could, or it may not come for another 100 years. But it WILL come in God’s time. Peter wrote – “The Lord is not slack [slow, tardy, delayed] 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. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…2 Peter 3:9-10b.

The fact is, that the end time events that begin with the Rapture will come unexpectedly. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:2  “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

However, there have always been those who are intent on setting dates for the Rapture of the Lord, despite of the fact that our Lord clearly says you could not know the date.

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Mark 13:32 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

Let me give you several examples of those who will not accept “NO” for an answer, and who think they do an end run around God and figure out the date. I was in Battle Creek Michigan about a week ago. There is an historic cemetery there. Battle Creek was a haven for the Seventh Day Adventists. James and Ellen White are buried there, the co-founders of that movement. This group was founded as a result of setting dates for the Lord’s return. Let me give you a brief historical sketch.

A Vermont farmer by the name of William Miller who developed a theory in the 1820′s, based on Daniel 8:14 that Jesus would return to the earth on March 21, 1844. The verse reads – “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."

Miller converted the days into years. He assumed the prophecy was given in 457 B.C. then calculated that Jesus would return 2,300 years later, on March 21, 1844. Further, he interpreted the “cleansing of the sanctuary” to refer to the purging of the earth by fire at the Second Coming of Jesus!

Miller’s date came and passed without any sign of the Lord’s return. He recalculated and set the new date for October 22, 1844. But, when nothing happened on this second date, most of Miller’s followers became totally disillusioned and abandoned him. The whole experience was dubbed “The Great Disappointment.” Miller died in disgrace four years later in 1849.

But that was not to be the end of the matter. One small group of Miller’s followers in New England decided that he had not been wrong after all. Led by a young so-called prophetess named Ellen G. White, they began to teach that on October 22, 1844, Jesus had returned invisibly and had entered the Holy of Holies in Heaven to begin an “investigative judgment” of the works of every person who has ever lived in order to determine their fitness for Heaven. They further taught that the reason Jesus did not return to the earth on the October date was because of the Church’s failure to observe the Jewish Sabbath. Worshipping on Sunday was considered The Mark of The Beast. They asserted that he would soon return Thus they founded what is known today known as The Seventh Day Adventists.

Another group also tried to hold to the 1844 date. It was led by Jonas Swendahl and was known as the Second Adventists.  They believed that 1844 did not mark the date of Jesus' return, but of the beginning of the last generation, which would be 30 years long. Swendahl taught that Jesus would therefore return in 1874.
One of Swendahl's followers was a former Presbyterian named Charles Taze Russell. When 1874 came and went, he concluded 30 years was not long enough for a generation.  So he added 70 years to 1844 and concluded that Jesus would return in 1914.  This and other differences led him to split from the Second Adventists and launch Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence.  His followers became known as the International Bible Students, and they went about the country with the message, “Millions now living will never die!”  Followers were to leave their churches and fellowship together.  All churches were considered apostate, but God had provided a new channel for their instruction, Zion's Watchtower Tract Society. What began as the International Bible Students has become the Jehovah's Witnesses.   The date of 1914 was changed to 1925, 1941, and 1975.  What began as calling Christians out of their churches to prepare for Christ's return has become an anti-Christian cult.  I believe we are seeing a rerun of what has happened before.

Harold Camping follows the line of false teachers who think they can out smart God. He was trained as an engineer and he loves numbers. He “plays” with them constantly, giving them meanings that will support his off-the-wall interpretations.

Here are just a few of his hair-brained calculations & teachings

·        The Church Age ended on May 21, 1988 and the Tribulation began that day.
·        Between May 21, 1988 and September 6, 1994, the first six years of the Tribulation, almost no one was saved.
·        On September 6, 1994, God began to pour out His Spirit. This will result in a great end time harvest of souls during the last years of the Tribulation.
·        Since the Tribulation will last 8,400 days or 23 years, dating from May 21, 1988, the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011.
·        Those left behind will be judged by Jesus for a period of five months, until October 21, 2011, at which time the world will come to an end.
·        Harold Camping teaches that the Holy Spirit is no longer working in the church.
·        Harold Camping teaches that EVERY church in the world is apostate.

These teachings raise a lot of questions, the most important being, “How did Camping arrive at the date of May 21, 1988 as the end of the Church Age?”

The answer is absolutely bizarre! He begins his explanation by claiming that the first Jubilee Year after the re-establishment of Israel in 1948 was 1994. Then he says that because the last part of the Tribulation is identified with a great multitude to be saved (Revelation 7), the last part of the Tribulation must have begun in 1994, since it was the first Jubilee Year since the re-establishment of Israel in 1948. He goes on to explain that because the first part of the Tribulation must be identified with the 2,300 days of Daniel, the Tribulation must have begun 2,300 days earlier, which would place it in 1988. AND, since the Church was established on the Day of Pentecost, the end of the Church Age must have occurred on the day before Pentecost, which in 1988 was May 21.

Are you confused yet? I certainly am, but there is one more thing I want to share.

How did Camping come up with the date of May 21, 2011 for the Rapture?” Here is the trick the master magician used to come up with the date. He dogmatically claims that since the Tribulation lasts 23 years, the Rapture will occur on May 21, 2011, because that is 23 years after the Tribulation began on May 21, 1988. I can not figure out how he arrived at 23 years for the length of the Tribulation when both Daniel and Revelation make it clear that the Tribulation will last 7 years. I’m sure his answer is in his writing, or at least his head somewhere, but I can not find it.

To be honest, his writings are so obtuse that are like chasing a skunk in a labyrinth with no way out. This convinces many people that he must be a profound thinker and a genius. He must have received these revelations from God, because they do not make sense to the average person. 

I believe Harold Camping is a False Prophet. He is being used as a tool of Satan just like the false teachers of the past. By substituting the false, he is conditioning people to be skeptical of the true teaching of the End Times. As Paul wrote - “…let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings….” Romans 3:4 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

False Prophet Harold Camping

Modern self-proclaimed prophet Harold Camping, the 89-year-old California radio station has proved once again that is a FALES PROPHET, predicting the rapture of the Church on May 21, 2011 and the destruction of the world (final judgment) on October 21, 2011. Camping predicted the end in 1994.

I remind you of what the Bible says - Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Also, note Mark 13:30-32 “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. 31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

The truth is, the Rapture is imminent (could happen at any time). 1 John 3:3 says, “…every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

His false teaching on the Rapture and the end of the world is not his only problem. He teaches a false salvation and tells his followers that all churches are corrupt and totally ignores Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Camping is a false prophet! Steer clear of his false teachings. If you listen to Family Life Radio, beware of his teachings, in fact do not listen to them at all. Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Camping has spoken presumptuously! He his deceived his followers. May their eyes be opened to this man’s lies!

We need to keep on keeping on for the Lord. Two Scriptures come to mind - Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Ephesians 5:15-16  “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our Suffering Yet Victorious Savior

Our Suffering Yet Victorious Savior
by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
First Baptist Church of Oak Creek Wisconsin                      
Text: Isaiah 53:5-11
Today we remember the most important event in Christianity, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the day Christ arose victorious from the dead. When Christ revealed himself to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos He said, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18. Hallelujah, we have a Savior who is ALIVE! We have a Savior who making intercession for us today before God (Romans 8:34)! Hallelujah! However, I remind you that before our Lord’s Victorious Resurrection, there was an enormous amount of suffering that he went thru. In this message, we are going to consider the sacred symbols associated with our Savior’s suffering and then look at the symbol of His Victory. Again, I remind you that all Christ’s suffering was for us! Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

·        The Scourge

“But he was wounded for our transgressions… and with his stripes we are healed.”

Scourging was a common and brutal form of corporal punishment that involved tying the victim to a post or bench and whipping him severely. The number of blows was fixed as we read in Deuteronomy 25:2-3 – “And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.” Later, by Rabbinical instruction that was reduced to thirty-nine. Paul says that five time he had received 39 stripes from the Jews (2 Corinthians 11:24). The person being scourged was to receive thirteen stokes on the chest and twenty-six on the back. It was not uncommon for victim died from a scourging. Perhaps you are wondering, why Paul didn’t die. He was whipped five times. The answer is revealed in a study of the Greek words used. The Greek language indicates that there were three levels of whipping. Scourging was the worst. Then there was flogging and finally chastisement. Different whips were used in administering the beatings. The flagrum or scourge used on Christ likely had lead balls and pieces of bone affixed to it, because we know His flesh was mutilated by the beating. Isaiah 50:6 prophetically foretold, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”

Why was Jesus Christ bruised and beaten? The Apostle Peter tells us, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." 1 Peter 2:24-25. Christ had no sins of His own (1 Peter 2:22). He was paying for our sins. The scourge is a symbol of the awfulness of our sin and the terrible price Christ personally paid for our sins (Isaiah 52:14).  

·        The Crown of Thorns

“And when they had platted [to twine or braid] a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.” Matthew 27:29-30 

The Crown of Thorns is a symbol of Christ suffering public humiliation and public rejection. The Lord of Glory was despised and rejected of men! Why did he allow it when he could have stopped it! Christ could have called 81,912 angels (Matthew 26:53) and they would have instantly been at His side to stop this! The answer is found in 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” Christ suffered for you and for me!

·        Cruel Nails & The Cross

“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” Psalms 22:16. “He that is hanged is accursed of God.” Deuteronomy 21:23

The Jews detested the death of the cross. Roman citizens were exempt from this heinous form of death. This form of death was reserved for the most serious crimes such as treason, desertion in the face of the enemy, piracy, assassination, sedition, etc. The suffering of death by crucifixion was intense, especially in hot climates. Severe local inflammation, coupled with bleeding from the jagged wounds produced traumatic fever, which was aggravated the exposure to the heat of the sun, the strained of the body, and insufferable thirst. The swelling around the rough nails and the torn lacerated tendons and nerves caused excruciating agony.

The arteries of the head and stomach were supercharged with blood and a terrific throbbing headache ensued. The mind was confused and filled with anxiety and dread. The victim of crucifixion literally died a thousand deaths. Tetanus often appeared and the rigors of the attending convulsions would tear at the wounds and add to the burden of pain, till at last the bodily forces were exhausted and the victim sank into unconsciousness and death. The sufferings were so frightful that “even among the raging passions of war pity was sometimes excited.”

But why did Christ endure all of this? There are two passages, one in Galatians and one in Colossians that answer this question –

Galatians 3:13   “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”

Colossians 2:13-14 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

My friend, these are the sacred symbols of our suffering Savior –

The Scourge; The Crown of Thorns; The Cruel Nails; & The Cross

He suffered all these for you! W. G. Ovens wrote –

Wounded for me, wounded for me,
There on the Cross He was wounded for me;
Gone my transgressions, and now I am free,
All because Jesus was wounded for me!

There is yet one more important symbol that we must look at. It is the symbol of victory!

·        The Empty Tomb

“…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,” Luke 24:5-6

The literal, physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christianity! The resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that He was the Son of God and that God accepted His sacrifice as payment for the sins of mankind. (See - Romans 1:4 says that Christ was “…declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” 1 John 2:2 says, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”)

The New Testament church was born out of Peter preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Act 2. Peter preaches it again in Acts 4, then again in Acts 10. Stephen preaches the resurrection in Acts 7. Philip preaches it in Acts 8. In Acts 9, 13, and on through 28, Paul preaches the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Why is the resurrection so important? It is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are born-again. The same divine power that physically raised Christ from the dead is the power that brings the spiritually dead sinner to spiritual life. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Paul put it this way: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 4:25-5:2.  But, there’s more. Believers will be physically raised from the dead to immortality just as Christ was (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The unsaved will be raised as well, but to eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire (Acts 24:15). The resurrection you will have part in depends on what you have done with Christ. Is Christ your Savior? If not, I urge you to receive Him today!