I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Gay marriage, homosexual marriage, same-sex marriage, lesbian marriage, civil union…All of these are terms used in the ongoing campaign that homosexuals are waging against the American culture and people to gain the “right” to marry as heterosexuals do.  Why?  Simply put, to destroy our belief in God.

The basis for marriage between one man and one woman is traced all the way to the beginning of time as recorded in the Bible.

… for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:20-24 (NKJV)

Jesus uses this very scripture reference to defend marriage when confronted by the Pharisees with questions of divorce (Matthew 19:3-6; Mark 10:4-9).  In fact, Jesus always talked about marriage in this context of one man with one woman.

We see Jesus using word pictures and metaphors concerning marriage throughout His earthly ministry.  They range from attendants for a bride waiting for the groom’s party to come take them to the wedding (Matthew 25:1-13), to the wedding contract used by Jesus in the Lord’s supper that shows how His sacrifice would be for our salvation from our sins (Luke 22:19-20), to the return of Jesus to take up His bride to the wedding feast and eternity (Revelation 19:7-10).

Marriage between one man and one woman was very important to Jesus.  As such, it became important to the apostle Paul as well.  And why shouldn’t it be since Jesus Himself instructed him after Paul’s conversion (see Galatians 1:11, 12).

Having therefore been instructed by Jesus, Paul then instructs the church at Ephesus about marriage.  He gives a very succinct picture of roles and relationships between the husband and wife particularly in how the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the church.  Then, quoting the same scripture that Jesus quoted to the Pharisees, Paul emphatically states,

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:29-32 (NKJV)

Marriage between one man and one woman is a reminder of the relationship that exists between Jesus Christ (the man) and his bride the Church (the woman).  Any other type of arrangement as the homosexuals are attempting to do destroys what God has created.

If two men were to “marry” then using the analogy that Paul used there would be two Christ figures.  Only one ever lived to save that which was lost by dying on the cross and be raised from the dead.  That one is Jesus Christ.  To have two parties claiming the headship of Christ in a “marriage” is to denigrate Jesus Christ and His ministry.  The two men become pictures of anti-christs and only deny both Jesus Christ and God the Father.

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:22-23 (NKJV)

If two women were to “marry” then again using Paul’s analogy there would be two Churches.  They would be picturing two false religious systems.  These systems would not exist for the saints to worship God but rather to enslave and destroy them instead.

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Revelation 17:1-6 (NKJV)

Homosexuals say they want to marry as heterosexuals do so they may gain health benefits.  This makes sense sexually transmitted diseases and other disorders are disproportionately high among the homosexual community making the need for affordable health care a priority.  However, the average median income for homosexuals ranges from upper middle-class to “rich” which suggests that “affordable” healthcare is not really out of reach.  They want to be their own gods.

Others will say that they want a way to publicly express their love for and to a partner in the same way heterosexuals can.  One has to wonder why as the average homosexual relationship typically lasts less then five years.  Given that there are indeed some long-term anomalous relationships, this would drive the average down closer to one or two years if those relatively few anomalies were removed from the statistics.  Is this the love they want to express?  And even for those who have “married” in states in which it is allowed, the divorce rate is equal to or higher than the heterosexual divorce rate.  They want their own system.

Homosexual marriage has nothing to do with benefits, or love, or constitutional rights.  It has everything to do with destroying belief in God, His gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, and responsibilities of the universal Church in this world.  The fact that Satan is using homosexuality in this particular fashion is both appalling and frightening.  The fact that the Church seems powerless is both not-surprising and saddening.

There is a challenge therefore offered by homosexuals to the Church.  They are saying, “If you will not be who you say you are, then we will take it for our own and destroy you.”  It is a challenge that is not easily countered in today’s homosexual favoring media.  There is a way that the Church in America can defeat the challenge being presented.  That way is to heed the warning Jesus gave to the church at Ephesus:

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent. Revelation 2:4-5 (NKJV)

The Church needs to turn back to Jesus Christ.  She needs to be separate from the enticements of this world.  She needs to repent and return to being that place in which the saints – those Jesus gave His life for – gather to worship God and share His love obediently.

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Lord, thank you for the salvation that comes by your Son’s shed blood washing our sins away.  We praise You for grace and mercy.  Help us to repent of our continued neglect of our relationship with you.  Bring us back to that marriage picture of Christ and His Bride.

I pray also, Lord, that heterosexual and homosexual sinners all would receive that same gift of salvation.  May they all become as new and join the Church as You prepare to receive Her to You.

In Jesus’ Name…

Amen.

Jesus Is God

Given that Jesus said,

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17 (NKJV)

AND

 …love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10b (NKJV)

THEREBY:  Jesus is Love.

Further more,

…God is love. 1 John 4:8b (NKJV)

THEREBY:  God is Love.

Therefore…

Jesus is God.

 

 

Behold your God!


Strutter

Originally uploaded by Through the Veil

(Eighth in a 52 part introspective devotional series, weekly more or less, based on the Scriptures that inspired George Federick Handel to write The Messiah.)
[see the entire series here]

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. –Isaiah 60:1-3

History is the display of the supposed advantages of power and intelligence which some men possess over others, of the struggle for existence hypocritically described by ideologists as a struggle for justice and freedom, of the ebb and flow of old and new forms of human righteousness, each vying with the rest in solemnity and triviality…

–Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans (p. 77)

Looking at history it is all to common to see the struggle for power be so prominent. In fact, history could be conceivably described as the running account of sin on mankind since sin originates in the power seeking of Satan himself.

The judgement of God is the end of history, not the beginning of a new, a second, epoch. By it history is not prolonged, but done away with…God speaks: and He is recognized as the Judge…the end is also the goal; the Redeemer is also the Creator; He that judgeth is also He that restoreth all things. –Barth (Ibid)

If history then is a running account of the effects of sin on mankind then our history is not something to be tolerated by God. He, if He is indeed the Holy God described in the pages of the Bible, must end it. In fact, Jesus Christ on the cross was the beginning of the end of history. That was the statement of action that put God’s judgement on all humanity.

The most radical ending of history, the negation under which all flesh stands, the absolute judgement, which is the meaning of God for the world of men and time and things is also the crimson thread which runs through the whole course of the world in its inevitability. –Barth (Ibid)

Yet, we are stumbling around in darkness looking for the light as Isaiah foretold to Judah. Humanity knows its fate in the darkness. Will the church universal hide the light? Will the bride of Christ not look expectantly for her Bridegroom in the dark of the night?

One day the fulfillment of history will occur and God’s final Judgement will bring an end to “this terrestrial ball.” With expectancy, we must look to shine the gospel light into the darkness of mankind, freely weave the thread of the crimson stain that is the blood of Christ for redemption, and bring all “to thy light.”

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I pray, Lord, that I will be able by Your strength, to look with expectancy to Your coming. Until then help me to bring out darkness those that would seek Your light and glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

April 19, 1995

oklahoma-city-bombing-1

(Photograph by Charles Porter IV, a freelancer, taken after the Oklahoma City bombing and distributed by the Associated Press, showing a one-year-old victim handed to and then cradled by a local fireman. http://www.pulitzer.org/year/1996/)

As we went about our lives another went about our deaths. He wanted to steal the innocence from our routine and interject shear terror into our existence. As he slipped away into obscurity we cried out for justice. Our children died horribly while we lived horrified.

We face the same spiritual reality from the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) that seeks to blind and destroy us. He seeks to blind and destroy us because we are God’s creation, created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26,27). The same emotions we expericienced on April 19, 1995 are very much akin to the ones God feels for us. And yet He did something more than bringing one man to trial and punishment.

God gave of Himself in the fashion of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, to die in our place (Luke 22:42-44). By His sacrifice the one who would see God thwarted saw his trial and coming punishment (Revelation 12:9).

Death is not what God intended for His creation. Uneasiness of spirit, of feeling, of emotion that may be in the reader at this moment should be addressed as leading by God to receive His adoption. Find a pastor, elder, — or better yet, a friend that knows the comfort of God for His children. Talk about your spiritual fate. Read what God says in the Bible. Know that this day is not forgotten.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God;

1 John 3:1a

Behold! A Virgin Shall Conceive

Behold...(Sixth in a 52 part introspective devotional series, weekly more or less, based on the Scriptures that inspired George Federick Handel to write The Messiah.)
[see the entire series here]

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

This verse forms a basic foundational belief for Christianity. It molds the understanding of the supernatural in our theology. Without it, most of our treasured orthodoxy crumbles.

Isaiah brings a message to the King of Judah, Ahaz. Essentially, he informs King Ahaz that God will deliver Judah from destruction and therefore Ahaz is to request a sign from God that will show Isaiah’s words to be true. Like most of today, Ahaz was too proud to actually obey and request a sign. He deferred! How curious to be granted safety and then give up the option for gratification by seeing what you actually expected. Perhaps this is still in play today.

Since Ahaz would not ask for a sign God gave a sign to him instead. It is this sign that we read of in Isaiah 7:14 “Behold a virgin shall conceive.” There is a particular strain of scholarship that implies this only referenced the immediate time of Isaiah understanding that this meant judgment before the maturation of future offspring for either Isaiah or Ahaz. While this is possible historically speaking the scope of the canon of scripture gives another and better understanding…

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. –Matthew 1:23

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. –Luke 1:26-27

…and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David –Luke 1:32

…he shall save his people from their sins. –Matthew 1:21

What do all the above references have in common? They all refer to Isaiah 7:14 centuries after the exile to which Isaiah prophesied about. They each refer to the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus Christ through whom the salvation of His people would be dependent upon.

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Father, by the words of Your prophets You proclaimed Your plan for Your children. By the life death and resurrection of Your Son You fulfilled those prophecies. Help me to live each day with the expectancy of Isaiah, Mary, and Joseph until Your Son comes again. In His Name, AMEN.

But who may abide the Day of His Coming?

(Fifth in a 52 part introspective devotional series, weekly more or less, based on the Scriptures that inspired George Federick Handel to write The Messiah.)
[see the entire series here]

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: Malachi 3:2

From every perspective of mankind’s being there is not even one that could withstand the coming judgment of God (Romans 3:10). As I contemplate the vast passage of time gone by and the great learned men (and women) that have struggled with this very thought, I am awed by the immensity of the thought processes. Paul, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, Karl Barth, John Piper…all come to the same conclusions — as mankind stands on its own mankind will perish.

Who am I? I have no heritage like Israel, the chosen children of God. I have never been selected to write a canonical tome. I have a hard time thinking the small thoughts that never seem to come from the pens of the men I have previously mentioned.

Yet, my purpose (not the copyrighted version of recent infamy) is determined by the One who will test me by a refiner’s fire. As He purified the sons of Levi, so God will purify you and me alike. My purpose is to worship Him (Revelation 4:11).

As a sinner, there is no way I can stand and face His coming. To do so would mean certain annihilation.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. –1 Corinthians 15:10

God’s grace is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It is the eternal life given to His adopted children and heirs (Romans 8:14-17).

Who then, without the grace of God may abide the Day of His coming? No one. Unless the gift of eternal life is received then death is the only course (Romans 6:23).

Therefore the question is really more about what I will do with the gift of grace given to me by God. Am I truly prepared in any circumstance to proclaim Christ crucified (2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Corinthians 1:23)? Is what I preach, teach, and say “as the droplets on the fresh grass”, that is, are my words true and right doctrine (Deuteronomy 32:2)? More importantly, do I do it because I am properly trained and do it well? Or do I do it because I love it (Revelation 2:4,5) and want to do it the best I can (2 Timothy 2:15)?

—————-

Lord, hear Your Servant. By Your Holy Spirit, strengthen me for Your will unto that day of Your coming that I may be found obedient under Your blood shed for my sins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.